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Alurad Sorizan

David Bowles's page

FullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 3,002 posts. 3 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 10 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Silver Crusade **

For the most part, I really like the ACG classes. The warpriest is something that just couldn't be built right with fighter/cleric levels, just like the magus couldn't be build with fighter/wizard levels. For this reason, I'm not participating in CORE, as none of the classes I'm interested in are available in that mode.

Silver Crusade **

I still don't see how running CORE is any different than running regular mode, since they aren't changing the scenarios. I'll run it, but I don't see why I'd ever play it. I looking forward to the TPKs in season 4+, personally. I'm not giving people a "CORE break" on enemy tactics. All hail the King of Storval Stairs.

Silver Crusade **

Stat dumping just means NPCs that damage stats should be used more often :)

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I'm not in support of something like this until druids get looked at. Druids are like the original sin of OP classes that break scenarios.

Silver Crusade **

Charon's Little Helper wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
trollbill wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The purpose of most laws seems to be stability rather than mortality.
What is the purpose of morality?
Stability.

I'd argue that while stability is definitely a positive result of morality (generally), I think it's a bit too cynical to think that's its purpose.

After all - many wars etc have been fought for reasons of morality. And wars are hardly the same as stability. (I'm not going to weigh in on which ones etc here - too controversial for a Pathfinder message board.)

Call me cynical, then. I don't believe any of the morality peddlers actually believe it themselves.

Silver Crusade **

trollbill wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
The purpose of most laws seems to be stability rather than mortality.
What is the purpose of morality?

Stability.

Silver Crusade **

John Compton wrote:

There are many things I'm reading in this thread, but I'd like to briefly touch on one related point.

Undone wrote:
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
depending on how the dm does the skill checks, being the second best at a skill often amounts to you being no more useful than a plus two aid another bonus. The more useful and more often a skill comes up, the more likely it is that someone else has a higher mod than a gneralist. The generalist also doesn't hit the dc they need to as often.
This is why if it's not your primary stat and can be aided it's unlikely that investing more than 1 point does anything significant. For example diplomacy if you can aid on a low number but you've got a 10 cha it's pretty pointless to raise it because someone else will have it or you'll get +6-10 in aids for the roll. Perception, acrobatics, exct things you can't assist for in a pinch but effect your character are the best options.
Is this to say that challenges such as those in The Blakros Matrimony and Library of the Lion, which call on all of the PCs to attempt skill checks, are well received? I ask this regarding the structure of the challenges and not quite so much the particular blend of skills involved.

Yes, those scenarios are great. Personally, I like the ones that are almost 50% skill/RP and then 50% brutal combat the best, because then everyone gets to shine. I'm talking combats with a non-trivial TPK chance. That tests out if the skill monkeys can hold up their end in a fight. Library of the Lion needed one more solid fight for the fighty types. Push-over fights aren't fun for anyone.

Silver Crusade **

I think season 4+ largely fixed the difficulty problem. When I GM Season 0-3, almost no one dies. I've killed plenty in season 4+.

Silver Crusade **

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
He wrote The Sealed Gate, Rats of Round Mountain I, The Technic Siege, and other wonderful scenarios. :)

Technic Siege was a rope-a-dope. It wasn't that bad at all.

Silver Crusade **

TOZ wrote:
snickersimba wrote:
five star GMs should be allowed to play antipaladins and such.
You want Baird to have an antipaladin? :D

Sure, why not?

Silver Crusade **

deusvult wrote:
Undone wrote:


In PFS to be completely honest they should call those suited to the job. In story it's mindbogglingly stupid that venture captains keep their jobs sending 4 barbarians to a wedding to represent the society or sending 4 paladins to infiltrate a cult. In real life the VC's would have been outed for such behavior in an instant.

You see the problem, but you place the blame in the wrong place.

It's not the Society's fault that 4 agents are all carbon copies of an overspecialized build.

That goes for both OOC and IC. ICly, Agents are supposed to be well rounded generalists. OOCly, the encounters are balanced with the assumption that characters are not optimized.

You want to optimize anyway, and roflstomp the encounters? That's your kind of fun? Ok, but don't say it makes no sense when ROFLSTOMPERS get put on missions they can't handle.

And since writers are assuming a non-optimized stance for characters, making wider and better use of skills is the point of the thread.

Most game systems punish generalists pretty heavily. I don't think Pathfinder is an exception. A strong archery build can do the combat works of 3-4 generalists and/or pregens. I've been asked twice to not use my magus at a table because he's not a burst damage crit fisher and they wanted high DPR at the table.

Silver Crusade **

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
Oh, certainly no argument there. (Everything I've read about Warhammer paints Law as nearly as bad however.)

I agree, but there is no army called "Law Marines", whereas this is a list called "Chaos Marines". It's just a matter of spamming the word.

Silver Crusade **

Steven Schopmeyer wrote:
I don't think Games Workshop predates Michael Moorcock's writing.

I'm not claiming that, but GW certainly popularized Chaos = Evil amongst many wargamers.

Silver Crusade **

In a society like Cheliax, I'd say that chaos is more easily conflated with good. It all depends on how much an individual likes their system. Which is why I very much do not like DnD's alignment system.

Silver Crusade **

Imbicatus wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
trollbill wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
You can thank GW for conflating chaos with evil. In my anecdotal experience, CN is pretty much a train wreck. GMs allow torture, bullying, and murder of NPCs under the auspices of CN.
Wait. Using the Intimidate skill is an evil act?
I meant physically bullying, not intimidate skill. But I agree that's different than torture or murder.
So is attacking someone with intent to kill evil?

No, but killing helpless NPCs often is.

Silver Crusade **

trollbill wrote:
Babylon 5 didn't really help any either as the Shadows were supposed to be the champions of Chaos but usually came off more as Evil. Ironically, the Vorlons who were the champions of Law could come off as being either Good or Evil depending on which Kosh you are talking about.

The Vorlons started blowing up planets first. Just sayin'.

Silver Crusade **

My primary hobby is wargaming, so I do have a tendency to view everything through that lens. Probably why I'm one of the more tactically challenging GMs that my local players sit with.

Silver Crusade **

trollbill wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
You can thank GW for conflating chaos with evil. In my anecdotal experience, CN is pretty much a train wreck. GMs allow torture, bullying, and murder of NPCs under the auspices of CN.
Wait. Using the Intimidate skill is an evil act?

I meant physically bullying, not intimidate skill. But I agree that's different than torture or murder.

Silver Crusade **

You can thank GW for conflating chaos with evil. In my anecdotal experience, CN is pretty much a train wreck. GMs allow torture, bullying, and murder of NPCs under the auspices of CN.

Silver Crusade **

TOZ wrote:
Build fighter, multiclass out. It's like taking a prestige class with no prereqs! :D

Not so much.

Silver Crusade **

3 people marked this as a favorite.
GM Lamplighter wrote:

First: if a player or GM has a bunch of additional restrictions on themselves like "won't play core classes" or "won't start a PC with GM credit", blaming core for their inability to play is silly. Self-limitation is, well, limiting.

Second: if your GMs only GM to get player Chronicles, try expanding your player base. We have a bunch of people who prefer to GM, and even run a scenario more than once - with NO CHRONICLE (GASP!) - because it's fun and they get good at it and every experience is different and...

Seriously. If credit is all that drives your local Lodge, it is doomed. Even with Core Campaign, you will eventually run out of scenarios unless you play less than twice a month.

"

I don't GM just to get chronicle sheets. So I don't have a problem with that. However, I think it's fair for players like myself to claim burnout on core classes. Some of us have been playing them since 2000.

Silver Crusade **

Chris Mortika wrote:

Well, in your case, yes, David, but only because you don't ever want to start a new PC with GM credit.

(Or are you under the impression that GM credit expires in some way if unused?)

It doesn't matter, because I'm very unlikely to ever play a core class again. The next two PCs I would make are from the ACG.

Silver Crusade **

Chris Mortika wrote:
That's my understanding, yeah. Those Core GM credit Chronicles don't go to waste for GMs who only want to play in Standard Mode.

Yeah, they kinda do, I think.

Silver Crusade **

Chris Mortika wrote:

Silhren Rilbahn,

Your local GMs' arguments don't hold water. GMing a Core Mode game earns them Core GM credits, that's correct, but any Core Mode character can be converted immediately into a Standard Mode character, just by sitting at a Standard Mode table or taking any non-Core elements.

So they can GM Core Mode, apply all that GM credit to a Core PC, and immediately play it as a Standard Mode character.

Their disinterest in playing a Core Mode PC is groundless.

I don't want any new PCs really at the moment, I'd rather add sheets on to my existing non-CORE PCs. That's why I'd decline a CORE sheet as a GM at this time. And if I did want to make a new PC, it probably wouldn't be a CORE class anyway. Useless.

Silver Crusade **

rknop wrote:
Hurm. If you're Cheliax, you really outta be LN. Cheliax is all about the order. And, devils.

Maybe they aren't in Cheliax and with the PFS BECAUSE they are CN.

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Walter Sheppard wrote:
Clearly you just need to run some tables of Core and show them how fun it can be Silhren! Once you've given your GMs a taste of it, then they'll be itching to play more.

I think it sounds like the opposite of fun, but I'll still run it because others might love it.

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Silhren Rilbahn wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
The GM's refuse to run CORE? That's kind of a strange situation, I think.
Not really. If they don't want to play core, they aren't going to bother running a scenario to get credit for a character who could only be used in core. *shrug*

I plan on doing exactly that. I'll run it, and just not keep any sheets for myself because I'll never play it. I think they are being rather selfish. It's no different than GMing a game more than once.

Silver Crusade **

The GM's refuse to run CORE? That's kind of a strange situation, I think.

Silver Crusade **

trollbill wrote:
David Bowles wrote:

" CN should not be seen as an excuse to do anything."

But in practice, it is. I know many people who have selected CN for this explicit purpose.

While it is true there are some people out there that do this, I find the majority of CN characters are played by people who just don't want to be hassled about alignment. (This was especially true back when we had individual faction missions as some were very questionable.)

*****

GM: That sounds questionable. What is your alignment?
Player: (Responds with a alignment that contains Good or sometimes Lawful)
GM: That doesn't sound like an act that fits your alignment.
Player: I think it does because of X.
GM: Well I am the GM and I don't. So if you do it you will be punished.
(Argument ensues.)

*****

GM: That sounds questionable. What is your alignment?
Player: Chaotic Neutral
GM: Oh, okay.
(Game continues on without any further delays or disruptions)

That's legit.

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.

We have evil, it's called CN. The choice alignment of murder hobos everywhere.

Silver Crusade **

Chaos Hammer is totally useful in the Fortress of the Nail. But, no, my spontaneous caster would never have it.

Silver Crusade **

"I agree that this is not what chaotic Neutral is. Too many people think that it is an excuse to be evil and vile and detrimental to group cohesion and put it under the catchall of 'I'm WACKY!"

Quoted for truth.

Silver Crusade **

" CN should not be seen as an excuse to do anything."

But in practice, it is. I know many people who have selected CN for this explicit purpose.

Silver Crusade **

I don't like DnD alignment system in general, and the CN "do whatever I want clause" just makes it worse. Some GMs talk tough on here, but I've never seen a PC marked evil; not even for killing NPCs who wanted to surrender.

Silver Crusade **

rknop wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Chaotic neutral in practice is EXACTLY being evil without being evil.

Huh? What? Do you really think that, or are you being sarcastic here?

If you really think that: then you're one of the problem players that makes GMs not want to have CN players in a game.

CN is not evil. If it were, it would be called CE. But there already is a thing called CE. So, presumably, CN, is supposed to be something different.

Go and read everything that's written in the CRB, the GameMastery Guide, Ultimate Campaign, and Champions of Balance about Chaotic Neutral, and then compare it to what's written about Chaotic Good and Chaotic Evil.

They're not the same thing. Players that start with your attitude, and who actually follow up on that attitude, should have their PFS CN characters marked as having their alignments shifted to evil, and should be marked as unplayable in PFS.

I'm talking about how other people use CN as an excuse to do ANYTHING. I don't have any CN PCs, but I sure have to sit with them often enough.

Silver Crusade **

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Undone wrote:
DM Beckett wrote:

I was pretty excited for this. It would solve a lot of issues between what some players can still play and also each time we get someone new, someone either just cant play their character or someone just cant play. Sadly, everyone has declined based on how limited options are. Maybe the next solution, though. It kind of dawned on me that I think this option will be a lot more popular among the DMs than the players, but we will see.

:)

Remember you can only apply GM credit to core only characters. One of the selling points of GMing in PFS for many players is that they can rotate but still level up their guys. If the first adventure is core only you're limited to core only race/class/feats/traits.

z

All my chronicle sheets from GMing core are going in the recycle bin after the table credit posts on Paizo.com.

Silver Crusade **

Tsriel wrote:

Initial reactions in my local area brought forth a few people who had interest of GMing come to light, but didn't want to be overwhelmed by the massive amount of resources currently available to players. As a result, it's likely I'll see some core only tables pop up in my local area but I definitely don't see it completely dividing the club's player base as there are still alot of us that are comfortable in the standard campaign. That includes many of the people in my area already GMing (myself included).

A general consensus see it more as a challenge from a few different aspects but wonder if character fatalities will become more common-stance since the modules and scenarios themselves will not be held to the "core only" restriction.

Personally, I will not be GMing any core games unless I am requested to do so. I certainly do not know nor always comprehend every available option out there, but I know a wide margin to be comfortable to make spot calls to keep the game moving. My concern from a GM standpoint is that certain adventures just might be suicidal to play in, or simply just boring since every character will be "old hat" to my standards. (Sometimes I like surprises.)

I would be more inclined to be involved as a player moreso than a GM since I could provide a veteran's experience at the table while still enjoying the challenge that comes from being so restricted on options.

Still, if there is just one more book I could add to the core only campaign, it would be the APG. Yes, it does add a few more classes and archtypes. I personally think however that this is the point of Pathfinder that things were fairly solid as far as power creep is concerned without there being too many options that could break things. As someone pointed out last night, $20 for two .pdfs can give a new player more than enough options to contribute even in the main campaign and still feel effective.

Why do GMs care what is available to the players? It's not their job to provide those rules.

Silver Crusade **

Robert Carter 58 wrote:
I don't allow CN in my games either. Any good, plus LN, and N

Not an option in PFS.

Silver Crusade **

Andrew Christian wrote:

Disruptive people will be disruptive no matter the means.

Allowing any kind of evil is enabling that disruptiveness, because disruptive people often use tags, labels, and titles as excuses for why the are allowed to be disruptive.

These disruptive people are often not mature enough in their interpretation or definition of what it means to be evil to be discerning enough on how to play a non-disruptive form of evil. They often play a caricature of evil rather than a personality that just happens to be evil. In other words, evil defines the personality, instead of being a part of it.

While those types of evil beings exist, they are often the most heinous of psychotic anti-social serial killers or Demons/Devils.

I'm reminded of Cyric of the Time of Troubles trilogy in the late 1980's/ early 1990's of the Forgotten Realms of 2nd edition AD&D. He often did things to sabotage or betray his friends, he did not do them because he was evil. He had a personality, motivations, likes, dislikes, feelings, etc. And his way of acting out on those things is what defined him as evil.

But often as not, when you have folks playing evil, they purposefully make sabotaging or betraying actions and then say, "why? that's what my character would do, he's evil." Ok, why did he make that choice? What motivated him to do that? "He's Evil."

Allowing any kind of evil is a real good way to cause disruption in any game group let alone in an organized play environment. Look at how much disruption gets discussed just because of a neutral Cleric of Pharasma and a Neutral Necromancer having to find a way to interact that isn't adversarial.

Chaotic Neutral is also misunderstood. But regardless of how the alignment is interpreted (correctly or not), a GM can say, "If you do that, that is an evil act and I'll have to mark it on your character chronicle sheet." Or, "If you keep doing evil things like that, your character will become evil and I have no option but to mark them as dead." [NOTE: of course within the rules of the...

Chaotic neutral in practice is EXACTLY being evil without being evil.

"So being able to play Chaotic Neutral is not just another way (or shouldn't be) to play evil."

But it is. Whether that reality gets acknowledged or not. As echoed above, I'd much rather be with a LE party member than a CN one. Every day and twice on Wednesdays.

Silver Crusade **

Thanks for the advice. Maybe I should retrain all my rogue levels. That sounds expensive, however.

Silver Crusade **

talbanus wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
Sometimes it's worth slowing down the game. There is no PFS police that are going to haul you away for slowing the game down. More to the point, you'll never learn any non-core material just running CORE. If you think a PC build is dubious, make them explain to you for 5 min. 5 min that can save 30 min is time well spent.

If ONLY it only took 5 minutes and didn't totally derail the flow/momentum of the game.

You see, what I've found is that not only are certain type of players very good at pouring through the various available sources to find synergistic combinations that can be extremely powerful, a good portion of the same group often has different interpretations of how some of the feats/class abilities/etc work.

I found after the Ultimate series was published, I'd encounter issues with players' rules interpretations, where I, as table GM, ended up saying, "Well, I know that is how you would LIKE it to work, but that's not my interpretation. You can appeal to the gameday coordinator/convention coordinator or we can just go on with my interpretation, since I'm GMing this particular table."

As time went on, I resorted to this 'solution' less and less. I just hated the way it ground table momentum to an absolute standstill.

Anyway, with even more materials becoming available, my knowledge has lagged further behind all the possible combinations of what might require rules interpretation -- so the amount of times I would just hand wave and tell the player, "Whatever you say" increased. I hate doing this, but I'd rather just go that direction than bring the game to a grinding halt while we have a discussion that often ends up with a disagreement of the interpretation of the rules. My point is that this has increasingly led me to feel that I'm doing a 'bad job' at GMing (I know, I know, it's all relative).

My current 'solution' is to limit my GMing to low tier (1-5, occasionally 3 to 7) tables. While this satisfied my desire to GM, it just meant...

If a combo can't be explained in 5 min, then there's probably something fishy going on. I use the boards the keep up on which combos are truly YMMV and which ones have been ruled on. I find this makes this process go much faster.

Silver Crusade **

Mark Stratton wrote:
David Bowles wrote:
They claim to be paying attention, so that should theoretically do something.
They are paying attention, David, and the implication that they aren't (which is what this statement is), or the subtle suggestion that such a statement may be doubtful or questionable, is really unnecessary. Can we please avoid these types of statements? It's this sort of thing that can inflame this conversation, and we should avoid doing so, if we can.

I'm not saying they aren't. I'm not implying that they aren't. I'm saying that they ARE, and so something should theoretically happen if that's true.

Silver Crusade **

Jerrum Mallex wrote:
Mark Stratton wrote:


Jerrum:

Really, for all of us, the issue is just one of choice. Some people will choose to play regular PFS because it has all (or most or many) of the options they want. Some will play regular PFS because they have invested a lot of money in books and supplements and want to make use of them so they get some return on their investment. Some will choose to play CORE because they don't want all of those options in the game they play, or they can't afford all the books and so don't want to feel left behind. In my own case, I prefer CORE because I am something of a "teaching GM" and get low-tier tables and new...

I agree that the Core sounds like it could be a great way to bring more people into the game, whether it be player or dm. I said it previously ={Doing this to introduce new players/dm's is understandable and great.}.

I really hope it does bring more players, who then end up getting into the rest of the Society stuff.

My apprehensiveness comes from past experience with other game systems that tried to get more players but instead drove off their key customers and ultimately killed the game.

Now some of you are going to say this isn't going to happen, I really hope doesn't, because I'd like nothing more than to play for many many years, but I've got shelves and shelves of rpg games as far back as the late 70's that say something else.

If this Core thing had happened just a few weeks earlier, I wouldn't have even bothered buying all the Pathfinder books I have now.

All I can do is wait and see.

If you like the material in the new books, don't play CORE. Tell your VOs you won't be playing CORE because you just bought all these new books. Paizo needs this input, even though it's indirect. They claim to be paying attention, so that should theoretically do something.

Your post about not buying their books because of this should raise red flags in and of itself, though.

Silver Crusade **

outshyn wrote:
doc the grey wrote:
Mike Lindner wrote:
I think this will really help those who want to or at least may be willing to try GMing.
Not really.

Speaking for yourself, I hope. For me: yes really. I've run 9 PFS games in Normal mode, and I'm dying to run in Core mode. I have the Core classes mostly memorized and understood. I know nothing from Advanced Class Guide, and I'm dreading the Occult book classes. I simply feel out of control when I have 5 out of 6 players using classes I've never heard of, and abilities that I don't understand and cannot double-check easily without slowing down the game. That is just my personal brain at work. We can all be derogatory of people like me and suggest that slow people shouldn't GM or something, but until they actually bar me from GMing, I will GM, and I will extremely value a Core game that sets my mind at ease.

Even if you think my mind being set at ease in a Core game is irrational, it doesn't change the fact that that's how my brain works and I'm fine with it, and I want to embrace the Core game. It's delightful to me. So I'm thankful to management for creating it, and I hope my Core games pull in a new player or two (or three).

(I think the concept of a Core game has merits and is easily defensible, but my point here is that there is no need to defend it with merits -- entirely subjective comments such as "I like it for no legitimate reason and irrationally feel good when I do it" is a 100% good enough reason for a person, since each person is fully entitled to decide for themselves. They don't even have to defend it or assert the good qualities of a Core game. They can simply say, "But I want it" and that's legitimate. If the detractors are right and the idea is terrible and yet people still respond to it anyway, then we have still met the target of pulling people in. So that's how I'm going to handle people telling me that I'm wrong to like this or that it will ruin PFS: I'll say, "OK, but I'm having...

Sometimes it's worth slowing down the game. There is no PFS police that are going to haul you away for slowing the game down. More to the point, you'll never learn any non-core material just running CORE. If you think a PC build is dubious, make them explain to you for 5 min. 5 min that can save 30 min is time well spent.

Silver Crusade **

Interesting. I've never seen anyone charged a move action to use a tool.

Silver Crusade **

I'm not afraid to massively modify fights in APs, though. I'll be as violent as the PCs demand of me. My usual MO is to add class levels, rather than numbers.

Silver Crusade **

That's not a restriction on summoning spells. Only the summoner SLA.

Silver Crusade **

I find gunslingers to be a vital check on armor/nat armor builds. Throw in androids, and you have fantasy Ahnold.

Silver Crusade **

Who are these GMs? The Stasi?

Silver Crusade **

Steven Lau wrote:
GM Lamplighter wrote:
That's interesting, since PFS has so many limitations compared to a home game! I assume the home game GMs in your area just choose to limit their campaigns?
Every home game I have ever played in is a lot more limiting then PFS, I always thought that as the norm.

I would never ban item creation in a home game. Items have to come from SOMEWHERE, right? I've never played in a home game with as many restrictions as PFS. I would never play with a GM more limiting than the PFS campaign.

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