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Alurad Sorizan

David Bowles's page

FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 2,272 posts. 2 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 7 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Silver Crusade *

" I'd probably flip a table on David Bowles trying to run my animal companion."

I've totally given up on that. I just hope the NPCs are written smart enough to not engage the thing in a futile effort to damage it.

Silver Crusade *

BigNorseWolf wrote:
Hangman Henry IX wrote:
if players have problems with how a gm is ruling they should complain to their vl or vc. if said gm is a vl or vc, they should complain higher up the food chain. that is the only way things will change.

DM gets a note, DM gets annoyed, DM stops dming. DM either gets replaced by someone with less experience who is probably going to be at least as bad, or worse, doesn't get replaced at all and games stop happening.

Make sure the sin is big enough to run the risk.

I've had more problems with experienced GMs than newer ones. Experience can also mean dogmatic stubbornness and having a mistake ingrained 50 times.

Silver Crusade *

I agree with Silbeg on this mostly. However, I think Pathfinder needs a middle ground in the item hardness regime. I think that mithril should have had the ability to ignore hardness less than 15 or perhaps 12 in order to provide an alternative to adamantine. Because frankly, adamantine has been >>>>>>>>> +1 magic for a long time now.

Silver Crusade *

You're assuming the GMs are playing deeper darkness correctly. Which is not a guarantee, given how arcane those rules are.

Silver Crusade *

So breadth of experience would as well?

Silver Crusade *

Why is there a "no" under the skill table for untrained knowledge skills, then?

Silver Crusade *

Being capped at DC 10 is practically useless, though.

Silver Crusade *

This also makes breadth of experience less than useful. I may or may not have played my PC that has that feat.

Silver Crusade *

In general, people don't care how powerful your PC is as long as they still get to do their thing. That's why my archer ranger will often take a couple of rounds to reposition/cast buffs before he starts shooting.

Silver Crusade *

trollbill wrote:
If I review an adventure, I prefer to have both played it and GMed so that I can see it from both sides of the screen. I absolutely won't review an adventure if I have not GMed it as I don't know whether problems I experienced as a player came from the author or the GM.

I often read them after I've played them. Actual GM experience doesn't matter that much to me. I'm still getting my 1XP/2PP; I don't expect them to be written for GM experience.

Silver Crusade *

I'll try to start reviewing scenarios I play and/or GM.

Silver Crusade *

Some of the saurian options are pretty strong.

As for the magic items, remember that with animal archive, you can buy strategic magic item slots for the animal companion. Like belt...

Silver Crusade *

I'm not going to ask players to self-nerf. I just really wish that Paizo or someone had thought out the effects of pets in a society where the CR of each encounter is hard coded. The pets are just so dominant; ESPECIALLY when the other PCs are of average optimization (my PCs) or lower.

I focus more on animal companions because they have the very powerful mechanic of stacking barding on top of inherent natural armor class. They often also have access to multiple natural attacks backed up by a high STR score as well as pounce.

An animal companion of equal optimization level can frequently out damage a martial class by taking advantage of the move/full attack dynamic that pounce brings. This doesn't even take into account what the pet OWNER is doing. It's almost like having 2 PCs, neither of which are sufficiently depowered to account for there being two of them.

At the same time, I don't like asking players to not play their PCs. I really feel like Paizo has put us in a weird situation regarding pets in society play. It's not the players' fault so I'm not going to take it out on them in any way. And it's not the GM's fault.

I don't single any player out in my games. In fact, intelligent NPCs often STOP attacking animal companions in my games when they realize they have practically no chance of hitting them. Of course, frequently by the time they figure this out, it's too late and the combat is essentially over because they have wasted resources on a pet they are never going to be able to stop no matter what they did. And even if they do KO the pet, that's resources that weren't used on a real PC. It's a lose/lose/lose for the NPCs.

As a GM I always keep in mind that I'm getting my 1XP/2PP and table credit no matter what happens. I also didn't write the scenario. I don't take things personally at all. I've just had my PCs invalidated by pets and have GMed tables where some players had nothing to do because Fluffy got there first and full-attacked. It makes the session kinda meh.

Silver Crusade *

Penumbral Accords was boring for all involved. The final boss made me, as as GM, want to swallow my own face in protest.

Silver Crusade *

I think Paizo should have made the technology guide core material for Season 6. That would have fixed this totally.

Silver Crusade *

Flutter wrote:

AoO = attack of opportunity. As pumpkin is neither using his natural instincts to sink his teeth into something and hold onto it (the grab ability) or spent time in a tien monestary (the improved grapple feat) when he tries to grab, disarm or trip someone he leaves himself open to attack. During that time the opponent gets a free attack on pumpkin. If the attack hits, the amount of damage counts as a penalty against the combat maneuver check (and at higher levels will almost inevitably cause it to fail)

Assuming the NPC can mathematically hit Pumpkin. Which is not a guarantee the way PFS rolls.

Silver Crusade

Bigguyinblack wrote:
It seems to settles as legal per RAW. The current argument is RAW vs RAI. Since a power named Misfortune is clearly not intended to help. I can yell "Legal per RAW" all I want but I have to get along with the GM.

RAI is a futile argument, since no one can telepathically communicate with the authors. All we have is the written word. GMs can not contradict explicit mechanics that are legal by RAW in PFS. "Getting along" is an issue for your VOs to iron out if the GM persists. It's NOT their home game.

Silver Crusade *

Depends on how many are at the table, but I almost always have animals on their own initiative. They do have their own initiative stat, after all, and there is no language anywhere to suggest that any entity in PFS gets to use another entity's initiative roll.

Silver Crusade *

If the barding has an armor check of "0", then you don't need any feats for the animal. Otherwise, you are looking at feats to prevent attack roll penalties. Which would be fine with me as a GM, honestly.

"If it's any consolation, I think that it's dumb. But thems the rules."

I think it's dumb as well, but I'll take any limitation on any animal companion I can get.

Silver Crusade *

At least I can take the season six feat tax and then retrain out of it later.

Silver Crusade *

Kyle Baird wrote:
JurgenV wrote:
I like the idea of clearly marking "mostly RP" and "meatgrinder" mods
This often depends more on your GM than the scenario itself.

Not really. The GM can INFLUENCE it, but the author ultimately sets the tone.

Silver Crusade *

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Slavery is acceptable likely because slavery was a acceptable in our own Renaissance period and before. Or, pre-electrical age, if you are an American.

Silver Crusade *

I can even accept failure as long as the reason is something other than "save or you don't get to play anymore".

Silver Crusade *

David_Bross wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Stuff

The last part was overstated, but generally PCs hate status conditions, and real threats of death. Besides Bonekeep, can you think of a particularly deadly scenario that reviewed well?

Most negative reviews for scenarios come from PC deaths and/or being unable to contribute to a fight.

PFS authors, due to the CR system, often have to resort to what I consider cheap monsters like harpies to introduce threat level. Pathfinder has gimpified NPCs and the authors often compound this by building them poorly. Make stronger fights with other classed NPCs and quit using cheap outs like monsters that have incorrectly assigned CRSs to begin with. At least an enemy wizard has to cast slow to make me suck. They just can't DO it like a harpy. And not every enemy NPC can do it. Every harpy can make you suck. It's obnoxious.

Silver Crusade *

David_Bross wrote:

One thing I'm noticing. People tend to hate scenarios that drop them into combat hot zones via a teleport at the beginning, even if they have good reason to thing they're stepping into trouble.

People also really hate save or suck mechanics.

Putting them both in a scenario virtually guarantees poor reviews.

The only issue I have with this is it is virtually guaranteed only to happen in 7-11s, where we should expect save or suck monsters to exist, and you are the PFS field agents called into to deal with big problems.

People also hate it when they feel a particular NPC/monster is unfairly strong. You can simplify this and say that anytime the threat of PC death is real, players are unhappy about it, particularly if you denied them actions via abilities that they could have otherwise used to save themselves.

So I guess the only way to write a good scenario is when there is no save or suck spells, no sense of urgency for the PCs actions, and no powerful melee combatants on the NPC side of things.

I'll take powerful melee and sense of urgency over save or suck all day long. There are harpies in many different tiers of scenarios, and they are some of the worst offenders. I don't mind dying. I don't want to die to a single die roll in which I made no decisions. Players should die to bad decision, not cold save dice.

Silver Crusade *

Disk Elemental wrote:
David Bowles wrote:


There's a lot of scenario concepts between "generic dungeon crawl" and the Sealed Gate. Most of them better than the Sealed Gate. Challenging does not necessarily mean frustrating. And that's really what Sealed Gate is. Frustrating.

No arguments there. However, even with all that, I still don't believe it's the worst of the worst.

Maybe it's because I had the opportunity to run it, maybe it's because I had the opportunity to watch Baird run it, maybe it's because I'm a masochist that enjoys crazy-hard scenarios.

But, I think the Sealed Gate is a lot more interesting, unique, and, ultimately, more worthy of your time than numerous other scenarios.

David Bowles wrote:
Idiot.
We're all adults here. Act like it.

No, no. Talking about the NPC VC, not the author. I understand completely what the author was doing. How did he blow that will save again? :)

Silver Crusade *

Disk Elemental wrote:

Really? Assault on the Wound and Sealed Gate are really your idea of the bottom of the barrel?

Come on people.

Did the scenarios work 100% of the time?

No, not at all. But at least they were creative, at least they tried something new and interesting.
While I can't speak for anyone else, I know I'd rather play something unique instead of yet another generic dungeon crawl.

There's a lot of scenario concepts between "generic dungeon crawl" and the Sealed Gate. Most of them better than the Sealed Gate. Challenging does not necessarily mean frustrating. And that's really what Sealed Gate is. Frustrating. I wanted to kill the VC in question at the end, and had it been a home game where it would have stuck, I would have. Idiot.

Silver Crusade

Page 317 of the PDF does not seem to be scanned in quite right. Any fix for this? Or just live with it?

Silver Crusade *

Lots of early season stuff runs cold just fine.

Silver Crusade *

I don't like to have anything banned if it can be helped. Perhaps an errata would serve better.

Silver Crusade *

Not miniatures games. War games. Like World in Flames, Tactics II, Advanced Third Reich, Ancients Battles, etc. They uses chits and hexes.

Silver Crusade *

deusvult wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Something having hardness does not make it an object.

OTOH there's nothing saying creatures can't be creatures and objects at the same time. But despite that, at least one person with a golem next to his name disagrees.

So my point is, if you don't use the object hardness rules for creatures with hardness, then what rules DO you use for creature hardness? It's not defined in the bestiary at all, or anywhere else as a creature defensive ability. The only rules (that I know of) that cover hardness are those rules for damaging objects in the CRB.
The developers cherry pick object hardness rules to apply to creatures with as far as I can tell, no rhyme or reason. So it's impossible to answer spinoff questions that haven't already been explicitly answered.

I will just treat them as creatures with hardness. And apply none of the object-specific rules. Because they are not objects. The spell animate object heavily implies this as well.

Silver Crusade *

Something having hardness does not make it an object.

Silver Crusade *

Tempest_Knight wrote:

David, Why do you keep ignoring the point to complain about the wonkiness of imaginary distances?

The point is ease of path along the greater number radial lines.

-

Hex grids are best in systems that use facing.

Most RPGs do not use facing.

Games like CBT(BattleTech) and Naval combat games work better/best on Hex...

I don't care about ease of path. I care about accurate and reproducible distances. I don't see why hexes are best for systems with facing. Most wargames have no facing and they use hexes.

Silver Crusade *

"4e uses 1 square on the diagonal."

That is completely absurd by the way. I can make my PC move faster by a factor of radical 2 by just changing the path?

Silver Crusade *

It's never been a problem. All its ever done at my tables is make arcane casters think harder. And I've been doing it this way since 3.0 came out.

And I have died for others' mistakes in PFS, just not direct damage ones. I didn't get any special shielding from those mistakes. I fail to see why this should be special snowflake.

Silver Crusade *

That's great for easy shots, but if there are very few safe squares available, I think the possibility for mistakes should be there.

Silver Crusade *

DrakeRoberts wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Lormyr wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
I really, really dislike the idea of ranged AE casters being able to magically target their spells in the exact perfect place.

Well, it is magic. . .

David Bowles wrote:
I don't see why there is this level of shielding from arcane mistakes, when other PC mistakes are punished at full force.
The "shielding" is not for the arcanes - they are not the ones who will roast or be persistent DC 30 save or sucked. The shield is for everyone else.
But people aren't shielded from stupid party healers. Or bad dpr builds. Or bad positioning. Or bad spell selection. Or lack of preparation. Or lack of methods of dealing with swarms. Or Kyle Baird scenarios. Just this. It makes no sense to me.
Except not one of those is actively harming your teammates. They may be passively harming by not adequately helping them, but that's not at all the same thing.

Same result, though. Which is what matters in the end.

Silver Crusade *

But druids and animal companions DO come together. Because those buffs exist, perhaps the animal companions should have had a lower starting point. Especially since they get handed out to clerics and sorcerers.

Silver Crusade *

Blazej wrote:
Nick Greene wrote:

I don't know if I would've made the same call as the GM in question. I can't know, because I wasn't there. However, I think the call was reasonable enough, given the circumstances as explained. Two mistakes came together to form a perfect storm in a deadly scenario. These things happen.

Lest you think I am speaking without experience, I was killed by another player in Bonekeep I. The player happened to be 8 or 9 years old, and caught my unconscious fighter in an AOE effect after being warned that the act would probably kill me, as unconscious reflex saves are difficult to make. He completed the action anyway. The GM ruled me dead. I hold no grudges, and in that case, I would've made the same call. The GM is actually one of my best friends in PFS and I have driven 4 hours for a chance to play at one of his tables. It happens.

There are a couple of important things to remember: this is a game. If you find yourself getting too angry over a game, then it's not fun anymore. Also, if we continuously second-guess our GMs, constantly looking over their shoulders and criticizing calls they make in the heat of battle, so to speak, we will very shortly run out of GMs. I've been involved with a lot of volunteering, and the main thing I've learned is that volunteers are a precious resource that should be handled with care. If you criticize one too much, you lose the volunteer, and most of the time, that's bad for the community at large.

I hope you can understand how horrible experience sounds to me. It is vastly different for you because you are best friends with the GM and he knew you very well, but if it was myself (running under the same situation withe little information given) with a GM I was playing with the first time I would come away feeling that the GM was being just as fair as if he said my character died from a random condition at the outset of the scenario just because it would be funny.

It is hard being a GM and it can really be disheartening to receive criticism...

I expect to receive due criticism and I take ownership of my mistakes. Likewise, I rarely spare criticism, because it's better to get problems out in the open.

Silver Crusade *

Lormyr wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
I've seen several that my fighter would not even be able to hit; ie 32+ AC. Consequently, NPCs couldn't hit them either, making the rest of the party superfluous.

Well, this situation of vs. will have varying results depending upon how the parties in question build. From what I understand from your posts, it appears that you are not a min-max sort of player.

That said, if you have a min-maxed animal companion vs. min-maxed fighter, the animal is done. Late game with extremely liberal amounts of druid buffs on the animal companion aside, that is.

I just think that the animal companion advancement table just starts the animal off too close to the capabilities of a fighter or other melee with no min-maxing factored in on either side. Yeah, the fighter is better, but the animal is close enough that once you add in the druid on top of the animal, the fighter is a joke. It's even worse with sorcerers and clerics. I hate them more for this than any humiliation heaped on my PCs, although that is a factor as well.

Silver Crusade *

Ascalaphus wrote:
David Bowles wrote:


There's nothing to stop a cleric from selecting out PCs they don't like from channels in the middle of a fight. At least, not mechanically.
Doesn't that lean towards the "No bullying" rule?

No. The cleric doesn't have to say a thing. There is no possible way to force a cleric to include someone in their channel. I have only considered this once in my entire seeker cleric's career, and even then I didn't do it. So yeah. Pretty corner case.

Silver Crusade *

Lormyr wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
No, no. It wasn't them. In fact, I'd feel better if it HAD been them. They can break ANYTHING. What scars me is that animal companions are redonkulous in the hands of pretty much anyone. "Class feature" my ass; more like 2nd character.
I've only seen one of Jared's animal companions in play so far since he started playing with our core group, and the thing just couldn't keep up with us. Animal companions are certainly strong, but I still have yet to see one that I could not murder with a well-built vanilla fighter.

I've seen several that my fighter would not even be able to hit; ie 32+ AC. Consequently, NPCs couldn't hit them either, making the rest of the party superfluous.

"I keep checking into this thread expecting someone to complain that shotting into melee should give a chance of hitting your friends... or when you shot at an enemy and miss, you should have a chance of hitting friends PAST the enemy. Or that we should have chances of hitting friends in melee with everyone jumping about and all. You know, what "friendly fire" is all about."

That is clearly beyond permitted mechanics even in base Pathfinder. Of course, GMs can always house rule it, and I can always not play in those games, as well.

Silver Crusade *

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Charming. I would no longer sit at their tables.

Silver Crusade *

Well as I said, I allow very limited friendly fire and it has still never come up. This seems like a very, very rare issue.

Silver Crusade *

"Square girds have simple(straight) paths along 8 radial lines. (N/NE/E/SE/S/SW/W/NE)"

But the paths aren't equidistant. Hence, the wonky every other square thing, which is only a rough approximation.

Silver Crusade *

To add to the above post, it could certainly be to the over all party's benefit to risk such an AE against, say, equipment-damaging swarms.

Silver Crusade *

LazarX wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
LazarX wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
PCs in PFS frequently pay for other PCs' mistakes. Constantly, as a matter of fact. I've seen two TPKs that could have been easily prevented if a cleric had quite swinging and channeled.
The cleric's player however, should be commended for taking the message board mantra on how one should never heal in battle if they can do damage to heart.
Sorry, was that sarcastic or not? It's unclear to me.
In this venue, You are far more likely to see someone criticizing a player for healing in battle, than complaining of a mistimed fireball.

Good battle healing is brutal against most PFS NPCs. It exacerbates the PCs action economy advantage. This in turn is exacerbated that the PCs can cram enough dpr to handle most scenarios into 2 PCs. Healing for NPCs is almost always a waste of time, however.

Silver Crusade *

Lormyr wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
I think people are arguably jerks for showing up with animal companions.

Lol Jared and Rod really scarred you for life with those things didn't they? ;)

*Please note, said with a level of humor.*

No, no. It wasn't them. In fact, I'd feel better if it HAD been them. They can break ANYTHING. What scars me is that animal companions are redonkulous in the hands of pretty much anyone. "Class feature" my ass; more like 2nd character.

Silver Crusade *

"are covered better by the "dont be a jerk" rule."

But that's an unenforceable non-rule, as everyone has a different threshold for "jerk". That's the supposed defense against hypermunchkins, but it doesn't work there either, because GMs have no legal standing to do anything mechanically about hypermunchkins. Other than shut down the whole table. Yay.

I think people are arguably jerks for showing up with animal companions. Does that really get me anywhere? Should it? Other people think that archery is jerkish. We could go on and on. "Don't be a jerk" rulings just degenerate into name-calling in my experience.

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