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Uzbin Parault

David Haller's page

FullStarFullStarFullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 369 posts (404 including aliases). 2 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 7 Pathfinder Society characters. 1 alias.


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***

Nothing bothers players more than the sense that they have limited control of their characters - it's just a feature of gamer (and probably human) psychology. The least cool thing a player can do is take over another player's character. So it's *likely* that you'll meet at least some players who take umbrage at your gaze "attack".

When you're not "on", you could wear smoked goggles - I'd rule it blocks the gaze, but even RAW it could easily be argued to grant a +8 to saves (and I'd let this stack with the aforementioned +5, since they're differently-sourced bonuses). A hood might have similar effects - really, if they can't see your eyes, they're good.

***

Like any caster with an AoE, you just have to deploy it carefully - it could add an interesting tactical feature to playing the character: think Cyclops from X-Men, sans eye shield (only less... destructive.)

While in a very technical sense it IS pvp, I probably wouldn't treat it as such at my table (it is a cool ability!) I'd also say that since your allies are *aware* of the effect, I'd give them a +5 to the save (per spell description). Obviously, if you're at a table with a player who, as a PLAYER, is discomfited by the gaze, you'd simply not be able to use it - beyond that, it's an interesting RP thing.

Certainly, as a GM I'd rule that attempts to magically influence the other characters would simply fail (they get a +20 circumstance bonus to their charisma check!), UNLESS it were a crazy situation like the party fighter has been dominated by the vampire/succubus/enchanter, and so you decide to charm him, and there's a war of wills, etc... could be interesting!

But, again, a 30' gaze isn't *that* unmanageable - find ways to be clear of the party, if possible (movement, fogs or other barriers between you and them, etc), and it could be fun.

***

Slightly non-sequitor, but I'll throw out there that the EotT boon is kind of a nice way to make a "less optimal" character viable, like a nagaji wizard or gnome barbarian or some such.

Aasimar kind of already have the EotT boon "built-in".

(Of course, if you just want to go uber, never mind!)


Everyone seems to be using the same tool to generate stat rolls (based on common output format) - can anyone provide a link? I have one I like to use, but it doesn't have a similar format.


Squeaking in just under the deadline! (I just happened to check recruitment tonight.) "Serpent's Skull" has long interested me as an AP, so here's hoping (also, equipment pending, but not planning anything wonky.)

Stats:

Sessenji
Catfolk Sorcerer (Wildblooded) 1 (Pathfinder RPG Advanced Race Guide 90; Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Magic 0)
CN Medium humanoid (catfolk)
Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +6
--------------------
Defense
--------------------
AC 13, touch 13, flat-footed 10 (+3 Dex)
hp 10 (1d6+4)
Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +1
--------------------
Offense
--------------------
Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
Sorcerer (Wildblooded) Spells Known (CL 1st; concentration +5):
. . 1st (4/day)—color spray (DC 15), grease
. . 0 (at will)—dancing lights, daze (DC 14), detect magic, haunted fey aspect[UC]
--------------------
Statistics
--------------------
Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 18
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 13
Feats Eschew Materials, Toughness
Traits jenivere crew, seeker
Skills Climb +8, Knowledge (nature) +5, Perception +6, Spellcraft +5, Stealth +5, Survival +2, Use Magic Device +8; Racial Modifiers +2 Perception, +2 Stealth, +2 Survival
Languages Catfolk, Common, Polyglot
SQ cat's luck, mutated bloodlines (sylvan)
Gear TBD 150 gp
--------------------
Special Abilities
--------------------
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Cat's Luck (1/day) (Ex) Can roll 2d20 for a Reflex save and take better result.
Climbing (20 feet) You have a Climb speed.
Eschew Materials Cast spells without materials, if component cost is 1 gp or less.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in low light, distinguishing color and detail.
Share Spells with Companion (Ex) Can cast spells with a target of "you" on animal companion, as touch spells.
Sylvan Your magic shows a kinship to that of the beast-talkers and shapechanger fey.

Background:

Now I return to the place of my birth - the Mwangi. All have heard of it, and few have visited. They call the "the expanse", and do it some honor, but they cannot imagine its extent, its depths, the places with trees so tall, so thick, that night is perpetual.

Mine was a poor village, our people shunned. Outcasts. We, blessed with feline spirit, were mistrusted. The great cats, all hunters, some killers, but even in the Mwangi, people do not understand the world, and they assumed that we were dangerous to them. My mother was touched by the spirits, and she passed her gifts to me, and even in our poverty, I loved to walk through the trees, and climb them, and run silently through them, and the great cats knew I was one of them.

But they came. They had come before, generations past, with their spears, their hatred, and they put our village to the sword, killing my mother before my very eyes. They lit our huts ablaze, and led the children off to the slave markets. Three days march, and our numbers arriving were half those that left. The warriors were cruel.

I memorized their faces. All of them.

I do not know how old I was. A girl, far unflowered. Years? Trees scoff at years; their days are seasons, their lives, ages. I was younger than a sapling, let us say.

A catgirl slave? A climber? I spent my childhood on ships. I practiced my spirit arts in secret. In time, with the luck of a fair captain, I earned my freedom.

But ships, like trees, scoff at years. Their clock is the crash of waves, seasons of storm and calm, the slow, unstoppable flow of currents. I am no longer just a girl. I am tall now, lean, fast, and my spirits answer me. And I am returning home, at last.

I remember those faces. Forever.

***

Not so much another vote for "yes" - but "yes" - as a thumbs up: I'd certainly love four-player tables for all my earlier-year (and even many later year) PFS scenarios, both as a player and as a judge.

I just played a four player table - my wizard, a monk, a fighter, and a sorcerer/oracle/theurge - of Where Mammoths Fear to Tread the other day, and it was much more fun, roleplaying-wise, than it would have been with six players.

Personally, I'd be in favor of some kind of table-addendum notation for listing scenarios at game days so player would know what the intended table size is. Perhaps a/b/c for 4/5/6 players, so you'd have a table of, say, #3-21a for a four-player-capped table of #3-21.

I'd sign up!


I'm interested in a wizard - probably either a divination or illusion specialist. Race? I'm not sure yet, but nothing along the aasimar/teifling axis... maybe a fetchling? (mostly because I've never played one, but partly because I'd imagine such a creature is regarded as a bit of an underclass, for reasons discussed in the next paragraph.)

Now, my basic idea includes some presumptions about the nature of the world, but here it is: the path to wizardry generally is much more open to the youth of wealthy and connected families, simply as a result of the "academy system" - usually this involves formal study at a school or college with residency requirements. In other words, it's expensive, not to mention simply getting accepted requires the kind of formal process and background more easily accessed by those of the upper classes. Students of wizardry unable to access such schools are reliant on an apprenticeship system, which can be very wonderful or very terrible, depending on the student's luck at finding a mentor.

The character I have in mind (let's call him a maybe-fetchling illusionist), hailing as he does from a looked-down-upon race (who will trust a fetchling?), has grown up as an apprentice to a decently-competent but negligent wizard who happens to be a retired adventurer. Such conditions have elicited an independent streak in this character, and has afforded him ample opportunity to pore over his master's notes and old journals (the master sleeping off a night's drinking, or whatever). Between that, and gazing in envy at the walls of the wizard's academy in his city, a dream of finding lost lore and wizardly power in this underground city - Barrakus - consumes him day by day until finally he sets off on his own, hoping to seek companions who might make an exploration of the place possible.

(He may have some notes on aspects of this lost city which he has stolen from his master's journals).

What if I can find this Devron? According to Master's notes, this... helm of power?... could be the leverage needed to extract secrets from him known to none other in this modern age. How the academy will beg for my acceptance then! What secrets must lie forgotten in those ancient halls... what power.

***

Ring_of_Gyges wrote:
Spring load wrist sheaths to draw potions as swift actions and Accelerated Drinker to drink them as move actions. Also very useful in using Breath of Life scrolls in a timely manner.

I'd say spring-loaded wrist sheathes are very, very common in PFS - I hardly know anyone who DOESN'T wear them (although I actually don't... the item just bugs me!)

That said, I don't think they can be used with potions or scrolls:

"The sheath can hold one forearm-length item, such as a dagger, dart, or wand, or up to five arrows or crossbow bolts"

Until potions are available in Pixy Stix form (a cool idea!), I don't see them fitting in a wrist sheath. As for scrolls, a scroll tube might fit in a wrist sheath, but a scroll itself hardly matches the kinds of items (thin, rigid) mentioned as loadable in a wrist sheath.

Considering the possibility of table variation, a handy haversack is probably a safer place to store a scroll of breath of life.

***

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Bear traps :)

The heartseeker enchantment for melee weapons I've seen used to very good effect recently; it's certainly a "must have" for characters reliant on precision damage which is negated by concealment; it's even better on a throwable weapon, in conjunction with the returning enchantment.

***

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Technically, no - they do not. The theory is that they avoided the potential financial losses due to encounter risk (like death, or needing to have a disease removed, etc) as well as having avoided expending resources such as wand charges, scrolls, and so on.

No risk, no reward.

That said - and, caveat, I am Chaotic Neutral - here's what I do:

First, time never actually runs short - it's the players who run long, right? I assess the cause of "running long".

If the players made some bad calls which delayed them, then I penalize them the gold. This could mean camping to rest when they should have pressed on, following a red herring, just sucking at combat (thus taking to long), and so on. It's a player-side problem.

If we were all just having a blast roleplaying, and "oops, look at the time!", and I haven't egged them on to completion (judging that the RP should be encouraged), then that's really on me, not them; I don't penalize them. Full gold.

My general guideline is that if the pacing dragged because of me, I'm not docking gold; if it's because of them, I am docking gold. It's a bit subjective, obviously, but I've GMed organized play at cons for 15 years, and I don't recall any particular umbrage among players.

I will try to assess the nature of a group of players when we sit down at the table - do they seem like the kind who are just going to want free-form roleplaying? or the murder-hobo type? and adjust the pacing (and even the encounters) accordingly: I might remove a thug encounter/resource soak so we can spend more time at the Duke's dinner party, or shorted the dinner party to a few roles so I can fit in the tactically rigorous optional encounter - it's all about the feel I get for the players' (collective) preference.

***

I guess I'm vaguely surprised that this sort of thing is still a topic of conversation; I suppose I'm a bit spoiled because I tend to play with quite a few women gamers. It's not 50/50 (though my old home group was, because it was a trio of couples), but it's probably something like 33/67 (favoring men).

Moreover, most of the women I play with are *gamers* - while the classic "gamer girlfriend" exists (I can think of three in particular over the past 15 years), I find that the lion's share are self-motivated and interested.

Are male and female gamers different? Absolutely. Not to the point of zero overlap, but I do think there is a play-style asymmetry across gender lines. The key thing, though, is there's nothing hierarchical about it - one isn't better than the other. I do think men are more "crunch-oriented" and women more interested in narratives, and I think this corresponds to conventions of gender socialization, but it's incidentally male/female in the sense that it more "learned" than "biological".

The mention of hormones as being a cognitive factor in gaming is a bit silly.

The best tables, of course, blend narrative and roll-play, so there's great benefit in having gender-balanced tables. We certainly want to encourage women gamers, and I think we'll see many more as the next generation of gamers comes of age.

***

Well, crafting is basically "disabled" in PFS.

You can take the "Trapper" archetype of ranger, which allows you to "make" traps, but that doesn't involve crafting skill. In straight PFS, the most "use" you'd get out of your suggestions is a profession check for day job income.

That said, if it fits your concept, go for it - just bear in mind that in vanilla PFS, judges won't allow them to have in-game impact.

(If I were running you, and the time frame were right, and you had "stuff", I'd let you craft traps, just because I love player creativity. That would be an exception, though, not a rule.)

Beyond that, many scenarios occur within a time frame which is fairly unforgiving for "set up" (a problem I have with things like planar binding).

***

Likewise - I ran it pretty tough (the zombie lords coups de grased paralyzed PCs at the end, for example), but ultimately had one PC death. As I said earlier, if you just let your players do their thing, they'll prove clever and resourceful.

I don't think any of the four tables at our venue TPKed.

***

True.

This is where a sandstone-colored sheet comes in handy, used like a low-level veil.

(Adding "sheet" to "10ft. pole" as classic dungeoneering equipment!)

***

Well, it's an animated object, so its slam attack is just the "arm" of blocks which extrude out from the pyramid to slam someone.

It's worth noting that the rolling pyramid *does* have a perception of -5 (no skill ranks and a wisdom of 1); one could fairly give players a chance without softballing the encounter by taking that into account. I can certainly see a fun (and still very, very dangerous) encounter in which the players leverage the pyramid's lack of wits.

***

The rolling pyramid is shaping up to be a legendary encounter, I think!

I'll say this: it's a disservice to players to presume the necessity of softballing the encounter - the best "this one time" gamer stories arise from creatively dealing with problematic odds. Give players a chance to deal with it, and be prepared to adjudicate creativity fairly (but firmly)... THAT is what will keep them coming back.

As for new players, they're frequently the most creative because their thinking isn't bound by the rules yet; they're more focused on doing *something* than on what they *can* do. I've seen it often when GMing at big conventions, the most likely time to have a table of first-timers!


The ring of telekinesis from UEG allows use of telekinesis on command.

It's caster level 9, so it's going to be something like +13 CMB for the combat maneuver uses. It's really better as a utility item.

If you have UMD, you can always use a scroll - that could be a way to have a better CMB (if you had a scroll with a higher caster level).

***

It looks like we're running 6 full tables at one venue in Atlanta alone.

I'd love to expand that to 9 4-player tables, personally, but one can't tame a stampede!

(Well, a DC40 Handle Animal check - maybe - but that's not my area of expertise.)

***

Doug Miles wrote:
Everyone please understand that your session credit will be restored, eventually. In the big picture at Paizo, this bug is not a high priority. They have product release schedules, turnover deadlines, PaizoCon, PFS Season 6, GenCon, etc. A lot of irons in the fire right now. Mike & John have no control over website bugs. Feel free to make jokes and share your mock dismay. Just be patient and realize that it may not be fixed today or even this week.

True, but I'm one module (which I'm currently running) from three stars!

It'll be like taking a -1 on shirt rerolls!

I could DIE!

... well, I'll just tread carefully for the next little while...

***

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I understand the one-time willingness to run 7-player tables, back when PFS was in growth mode. That said, I've maintained for some time that it's important to recognize the point at which an organized play campaign needs to shift from growth of playerbase to growth of play experience; a 7-player table greatly undermines play experience.

I won't run a 7-player table, and if I'm sitting at a table and a GM adds a 7th player, I'll leave that table; the only option with 7 players should be to divide into two 3-player tables, with one of the players GMing, and run pre-gens.

I'd love to see 3-6 players become a hard-and-fast rule so that 7-player tables are no longer an arguable option.

***

My perspective, as a long-time PFS player (and before that LG, and LC, and LD, and HOR, and...):

I've played since Year Zero, have a lot of high-level characters (a 10, three 11s, and a 17), and know, greatly respect, and have enjoyed playing with key folks in the campaign (Mike Brock, John Compton, and others). I do think I've "wound down" from PFS - I feel that there's a lot of rules bloat and power creep - but that has nothing to do with D&D 5E. Gamers just like change from time to time.

If 5E comes with an organized-play campaign, I'll certainly give it a shot. Would I "leave" PFS? Yes, if high-level support ceases, since I now have little interest in creating any new characters. I *would* like to trot out my high-levels from time to time (currently I play about once a month, down from 8-10 times a month in the heyday), play with old friends, and so on... but it's time for something new.

For fantasy RPG play, I'll probably switch to D&D5E - it's a good system - and when it (invariably) becomes bloated and unwieldy, hopefully Pathfinder 2 will be on the horizon. And so on, cyclicly.

I'm more keen on Shadowrun right now than anything, though!

***

There are enough counters to being dominated that when it does happen it should be a memorable experience.

I usually have the Bad Guy tell his (or, usually, her) dominated minion to slay a specific party member (the wizard, for example). If it's a player I know is good and I can trust to play the part, I'll let them do whatever they would do to kill their fellow PC - there's no reason they wouldn't do what they always do facing a matching threat: fight to the best of their ability. they should use every feat, trick, and combo in the book to slay their erstwhile ally.

In the rare case in which I had a player reluctant to do so, I'd probably just "NPC" the character; I've never had to do this, though.

My view of dominate person is that it's among the most potent, dangerous spells - when a PC is dominated, he should become the sole focus of the rest of the party. Why nerf it on the (very rare) occasions when it happens?

***

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He's probably a superhero?

***

I do think it would be interesting to have a mechanism whereby a PC can be rendered an NPC as a mode of character retirement.

Maybe have a thing post-12 where you can select an NPC fate - the NPC enters the realm of options (venture captains, allies, villains) available to scenario and module authors.

I know when my sorceress, Violetta - currently level 17 - achieves level 20, I'd be amenable to becoming some kind of interesting force on Golarion.

I mean, what's not to love about a level 20 fey-bloodline vampire sorceress with a charisma of 40? ;)

***

My sorceress, Violetta, has some big ones: Staff of the Master (absolute must-have... how else do you quicken a 8th level spell?), Scarab of Protection (say no to level and con drain), and a Ring of Freedom of Movement (another no-brainer for a caster).

The BIG upcoming purchase (pending successful completion of "The Moonscar") will be a Tome of Leadership and Influence +5 at 137,500gp... that will give her a 35 charisma.

That said, I think for most characters, the little things (especially consumable) are actually a better investment than big-ticket items; I know my rogue (11th level) takes a more utility-belt approach to magic items, with good effect. He may have nothing over 8k gold (a ghost-touch +1 short sword).

Violetta is all about save-or-suck, so very intensive investment is more of a thing.


the David wrote:
Neo2151 wrote:

Why so much hate on the doing drugs?

Point-of-fact, I've never met a gamer (who wasn't underage) that didn't drink. Alcohol is a drug, therefore, most gamers are on drugs.

:P

I don't drink alcohol, and I'm not underage.

Though, I do eat chocolate which contains caffeine. So yeah, I do drugs.

Well, chocolate contains a caffeine isomer, theobromine, but still, good point!

Caffeine, drug of writers everywhere (with bourbon a close second...)


Golems, certainly, unless a wizard is specifically prepared to deal with them.

Anything the wizard can't actually target - like a mind blanked, greater invisible rogue (or just about anything else) would be a BIG problem for a wizard, especially if it can spring attack.

Wizards tend to dump strength, so strength-draining enemies are very dangerous for them.

So, I propose the mind blanked, greater invisible greater shadow rogue as well up in the ranks of wizard-killers...

***

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Players actually being engaged in the scenario, thinking strategically, and going out-of-box should ALWAYS be rewarded.

For timers? I'd start it, but with a little more prep: for example, the victim isn't bound to the altar, but is struggling as he's being led up to it.

For missing stuff? This is a big issue with scrying and teleport. I'd probably either give hints that they should check out the areas they bypassed (maybe a history check to remember tales of hidden wealth here, or a wisdom check for a "nagging feeling"), OR I'd just have the treasure be in the final area. There's just no good reason why players who play "smart" should be penalized for it.

I know as a player of a diviner I've been at tables where I scouted with an arcane eye, or scryed, or whatever, and the GM basically said "well, if you do that, you'll bypass stuff", leading to the table deciding to deliberately NOT do the tactical thing (like teleporting ahead to a safe location further in), and instead to slog through dangers... THAT is metagaming of the worst sort ("let's farm stuff"). Better for the GM to go with it, and be creative about rewarding the players appropriately.

Probably the #1 competency as a GM is being able to improvise when players eschew the linearity of a scenario (and let's admit it, PFS scenarios as a whole are very linear).

***

As a player, I've always hated the kind of "hmmm, well let's figure out how you can bypass this challenge you're incapable of dealing with" mode of GM handholding. Failure IS an option!

There are so many things a group can do natively:

1. Certainly, they CAN hire an expert, if they're in a place where it's reasonable one exists, though any kind of secrecy is immediately out the window at that point (well, unless they kill the expert). I tend to think most Pathfinder missions are "secret", so I'm inclined to think this is not a very good option, unless...

2. ... those experts are some kind of follower (as in: purchased with prestige). I believe there's a scholar option?

3. One can also spend prestige to get a bonus of a skill check (+4?) One could certainly combine this with a follower's check. Again, the use of prestige implies that this assistance is on the down-low: they aren't just waltzing into Rent-a-Sage for a hireling, they're going through channels.

4. One can always summon or bind an outsider with knowledge skills: plenty of demons and devils are terrific academics!

5. Pathfinder Chronicles: those dusty Pathfinder stacks are there for a reason.

You can combine things: bind a demon, hand it a Pathfinder Chronicle, call in a favor for a +4, and have a scholar hireling assist it. A planar bound glabrezu (I didn't say it was wise to do this) could be rolling a +26 Knowledge: History. Cast fox's cunning on it for +28. Summon a lilend bard to serenade it with inspire competence and we're north of +30!

And this from a lunk-headed sorcerer.

All just a matter of creativity ;)

***

Here I go being all generous again...

Gender has no mechanical* benefit or penalty, really; it's as much a roleplaying detail as hair color or style of clothing. So - I'd say you could just declare it "changed" for role-playing reasons.

So: after so much devotion to Arshae, she grants the gender-change as a gift (or test?) to the PC.

I'm fine with it at my table!

*(I think maybe there is *one* feat which grants some small bonus to social checks versus opposite gender, but assuming absence of that feat, gender has no mechanical effect).

***

The encounter scale is so large that it frankly defies any conventional table size, at least in several cases.

The linnorm encounter, for example: the linnorm has no reason to confine itself to "a map". It would essentially just pick up one PC at a time, take him a mile away, kill him, then find the PCs again to rinse and repeat. It didn't quite work out that way, but we still had to basically abstract the scale (one idea is to use sets of d10s to track the x, y, and z coordinates of the PCs relative to some origin, and denote relative location on a "not to scale" mat).

As for running the module uncut: I'd definitely allot two days, especially if one wants to savor the roleplaying. I hope to do such a run eventually!

(The aforementioned 5 hour run is incomprehensible to me - even if each encounter ended in the surprise round, I'd expect it to run longer!)

***

I ran Curse of the Riven Sky in about 10-12 hours.

It is VERY combat intensive (potentially), and I had every statblock ready to go in Hero Lab (with hard copy backups), had minis counted out and ready, and in general was "ready to rock and roll" - I wanted it to be very fast-paced, unrelenting, and brutal (I was running a table of very experienced powergamers); it was also obvious that there was no way to run it in a day without editing. The many large combat were handled very, very efficiently.

I removed the extraneous satyr/dryad encounter entirely, and handled the blob invasion of the city via cinematic handwaving; the hill giant camp encounter, fortunately, played out diplomatically, so that was a matter of roleplaying (which can be more controllable timewise).

I think we did break for meals (rather than gorging at the game table), which is always advisable for long modules - I think the "lost time" is more than regained by refreshed, alert players.

Most key: everyone knew what they were doing. These were good, experienced players, and they paid attention to the table and were ready to go as soon as their turn came up. I had decided at the outset that I wanted the scenario to be brutal, so I pretty much poured the whole box of large minis on the table and rolled initiative as soon as they say down - blast had by all.

One encounter has a particularly variable outcome: the linnorm. Naturally - because I was going for *brutal* - they weren't going to escape it. They had some very useful countermeasures against flying creatures, however, and it actually was one of the less intense encounters - against a certain party, it could play out very long (and nasty and deadly), though. It *is* also easily avoided, and a GM tight on time could simply decide the party goes unnoticed.

So really, it comes down to three major plot points: protecting the cloud giant initially, dealing with the hill giant chief and his adviser, and the resolution in the cloud castle, with investigative links between them. If I ever run it again, I'll try to do so in a two-day run, so that the "center" of the scenario can play out more.

It's very fun, though!

***

Gnomes are really just more-socially-accepted versions of goblins, really: small and crazy.

***

More often than not, "expect rules variation" means "expect GM errors" :P

As the game becomes bigger and more complex, sometimes it just becomes impossible to actually *know* all of it: it's a bit like tax law.

I know I make incorrect calls from time-to-time. It's really up to the players to understand how their abilities works, to be able to cite the source, and to have the source available; it's up to the GM not to get all egoistic when a player calls him out on a rule and has the materials to clarify an incorrect ruling.

As a GM, I value speed of play, and I also value accuracy of rulings; really, it's an optimization problem between these two warring features of "a good game": when a game simply halts in its tracks as rules are looked up, this is very bad, but it's also very bad when a player is penalized (or worse, killed) because a judge makes an incorrect rules decision.

So, really, the problem of "table variation" comes down to preparedness, as much on the part of the players as the GMs.

***

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This thread has been discussed to death, so there's probably little to offer at this point, but I do have a couple of comments.

(i) There's a lot of very pompous declaration that "it's a social game". Well, it's not, really. It IS a role-playing game which is played in a social setting, but that's a bit different from saying it's a "social game". There's no special "duty" in making sure other players have fun; rather, it's really more effective to make sure *you* have fun. If you're doing that, and you conduct yourself in a manner which is respectful to other players (for example, not telling them how to play their characters, which seems to be the prevailing sentiment here), then that's about 90% of the pleasant play experience.

(ii) Lots of talk about good players handicapping themselves; it almost seems like a prideful mantra of "well, I do have optimized characters, but I make sure not to actually play them overly well!" Here's a thought: maybe if those characters are played to the hilt, it will be valuable for newer players? I, personally, value mentoring.

(iii) On a related note vis-à-vis (ii), if somehow we should agree that it *is* right for good players to restrain themselves, perhaps it's fair for "concept" players to strengthen their game? I know I've played at tables where I was having to burn resources and carry far more than my "weight" to keep the table alive... granted, for me that experience is more "awesome" than "onerous", but we may as well keep play modification symmetrical.

One of the great benefits of organized play is that it creates a great proving ground for improving rules knowledge, learning about builds, learning new strategies and spell combinations, and so on - benefits of playing with a ton of people; why try to throw a wrench into that? I'm sure I'm not the only one who has played with isolated "home game" groups which have been laboring under rules misconceptions, confusions with 3/3.5 and so on... problems which get "ironed out" in organized play. That is, if one allows the game to play out in-full.

***

I love the idea - I'm pretty competitive!

We tried to have a "Battle Royale" at a gameday in Atlanta, but there was little interest; I suppose interest may vary by region.

As I recall, it was to be a mix of solo PvP and team-based PvP (to engage support-style PCs). I'd certainly love to see a community standard for PFS-sanctioned PvP created; it might encourage some competitive play, and would provide a nice change from the standard scenario experience (witness the popularity of "We by goblins", for example.)

***

The "you need to accept 6 - or maybe even 7 - people at a public table, regardless of its diminution of play" mentality is an artifact of the early days of PFS, when there was a kind of intersection between a desperation to grow the player-base and a lack of GMs.

PFS has reached a level of maturity in which it's just no longer necessary. I myself will *never* judge OR play at a 7-person table - it just ruins the game. I actually prefer 4-player tables myself (both for play and to GM), but current-year scenarios presume a 6-person table (for what it's worth). I'd actually love to see 4-player tables become the standard (Pathfinder itself assumed 4-player tables), but it's unlikely given the problem of table space and GM availability for gamedays and conventions.

That said, I do wish the campaign rules would be amended to explicitly "permit" GMs to specify table size; it's time for the campaign to grow in play quality rather than player quantity. The scenarios have been excellent in Years 4 and (now) 5, but it's frequently impossible to follow or enjoy the story arcs given the "busyness" of a 6-player table, especially under a time limit.

A player at a 6-table has about 34 minutes of total actual playtime in a 4-hour slot; it's no wonder that eyes wander to tablets and books for much of the scenario, missing out on snippets of explication!

***

downerbeautiful wrote:
From page 24 of the
PFS Guide to Organized Play wrote:

Spells that are 7th level or higher are not available from spellcasting services. Spellcasters capable of casting such spells are quite rare, and as such, cannot simply be bartered with for higher-level spellcasting services. The

only exceptions to this rule are any 7th-level or higher spells listed as available to be purchased by your faction.
So for no other reason than that, no you cannot do this. Also, you cannot transfer wealth/pp from one character or another, but you could argue your way around that in the instance.

He can have access to resurrection as soon as he has a 13th level character. It's a nice thing for a retired character to do!

***

I can't see any reason it wouldn't be allowed.

I suppose if the first PC is listed as "dead" - that is, the GM entered the table and clicked "dead" for the PC - you'd want the GM to edit the table report to remove the "dead" notation, which may or may not be doable depending on whether it was a con, a GM you know, a GM who no longer plays PFS, or whatever, but it's kind of a neat idea. Certainly it adds a dimension to the resurrected character!

As for his PFS number, it would just be the same (per GM adjustment mentioned above), and he'd just sort of dust-off and be ready to roll in a somewhat changed (some factions are gone and so on) world.

***

GM credits are fuel for theory-crafted characters you'd otherwise not play OR would be too painful to level to the point at which they become "interesting".

Let your *real* characters level organically, so you can savor them.

Eventually you'll have a list of scenarios you just enjoy running again and again (and thus won't get chronicles for), and "too many credits" will diminish as a problem!

***

Patrick Harris @ MU wrote:

Okay, I've just played Bonekeep 1, and it's everything it's supposed to be. Awesome.

What that means is that people have complained enough that they got what they wanted--a hard scenario with absolutely no roleplay.

Okay.

But now it's time for the other half. We want a roleplay-only scenario. All skill checks, no combat.

If agitating on the boards is how we get these things done, then let's agitate on the boards. C'mon, folks, let's do this.

You need to have a look at the Legend of the Five Rings organized-play campaign, Sprit of Bushido: plenty of role-playing-only scenarios.

And you can absolutely die in them!... so they're challenging ;)

***

Based on languages spoken - which include Skald, along with Kellid, Taldane and Varisian - one might find some Ulfen folk in Brevoy as well.

My Aldori duelist, Nadezhda Aldori, is of Ulfen heritage (that tall physique lending itself to the long reach so prized by duelists!)


Eric Saxon wrote:

First, I was informed that you can get Ghost Touch on this, without having an initial +1. (I reluctantly accepted this as a GM, since I haven't found anything to counter this.)

Second, I was wondering if a wraith has a DR/Magic and is Incorporeal. Would such an Amulet of Mighty Fists of Ghost Touch, count as both Magic for DR purposes as well as allowing someone to hit incorporeal beasties like Wraiths and Wights for full dmg?

You can indeed get a ghost touch amulet without an initial +1.

A wraith doesn't have DR/magic; you just need magic weapons to hit it because it's incorporeal. A ghost touch amulet is all you need to hit it for full damage.

Wights are not incorporeal, and don't have DR/magic. You can hit a wight with anything.

Now, in cases of enemies with DR/magic, you do need an actual enhancement bonus (+1 or better) to bypass DR; your amulet will not bypass this DR (as it has no enhancement bonus). So, if there were some kind of extra special wraith with DR/magic, your amulet would allow you to hit it, but you wouldn't bypass DR/magic, so you'd do your full damage minus whatever the DR value is.

So a super-wraith with DR 10/magic (yikes!): you smack it with your might, ghost-touching fist, rolling 17 damage, and it would take 7.

***

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Steven Huffstutler wrote:


Yup.
I have a character with a DC27 Magic Jar. I play around with it when fighting the mooks of a dungeon. When its time for the BBEG I jump back into my body, because it wouldn't be fun to just take control of the finale of the scenario and have them coup themselves.

I hear this argument all the time, and I beg to differ.

Which is more interesting:

"The BBEG got hit with a sword and died, like has happened literally thousands of times"

or

"So, we met the BBEG, and I actually managed to magic jar him... I had him coup de gras himself! It was awesome."

Which are people more likely to mention as a "you wouldn't believe what happened the other day" anecdote?

If you have a cool schtick, use it - more importantly, if you're GMing someone with a cool schtick, let THEM use it.

Playing a fey bloodline sorcerer, it has been INCREDIBLY common for GMs to just flat-out refuse to let spells of mine work, because they would resolve the encounter in an "un-fun" way... several of these have been four-star GMs, incidentally (just the other day, a GM even gleefully admitted he'd had an enemy autosucceed versus my quickened DC 32 hold monster... wow, nice, thanks)

Guess what happened to every monster who was ever "saved" from my sorcerer by GM cheating - they got killed with a sword! Isn't that unique? I'm certainly happy the narrative could be so greatly strengthened by having them get Killed by a Sword, rather than suffocated, or transformed into my dominated minion. I'm not bitter, I assure you.

Bit of theory: when a game plays out, it forms a digraph of cause-and-effect linkages. This can be simple (GM-forced linear narrative) or complex (GM allows fully complex character interactions with game elements). Complex things are prettier, more interesting. The best play is always for players to PLAY, and for judges to JUDGE... when the players hold back, and the judges build walls, the game suffers.

***

I really like HeroLab - it's good fun to just mess around with it creating characters, and versions of characters, and just generally playing with builds - during a flight or a dull meeting.

That said, I AM very familiar with the actual game rules, so I can spot errors in Hero lab (they aren't many or often, but they do occur), and then I can tweak files to workaround. Especially when a character gets into high levels, do NOT assume everything is accurate. It's still a very handy tool, though, both for building and running characters.

***

Kezzie Redlioness wrote:
Xzaral wrote:
Check with your gaming community, friends and fellow GMs. If needed, I have two friends who rival me in gaming accessories (well, until I moved a few months ago). Perhaps others have some supplies they won't be needing that day and can lend you.

Now that you mention it;I could definitely ask around with a couple of the regular GMs in my group.

Thank You, Everyone! :)

Yep - I have pretty much all the Paizo flip maps, and I store them flat in an artists portfolio; I bring it too all my game days (whether I'm GMing or not!) in case GMs can use them.

One of the things I've found in playing PFS is that the community share materials pretty readily.

(I ran a table of Curse of the Riven Sky at a local Atlanta game day and posted to our forum for everyone to bring ALL their large humanoid and giant minis... quite a haul, and great for some of the huge encounters!)

***

Kyle Baird wrote:
One sign of a great player is when they make a really "powerful" character but choose to only exercise that power when the party needs it most.

That's what I call "good gaming citizenship".

The other aspect of good gaming citizenship is the converse: actually being able to do something to help the party when it's needed!

***

Kyle Baird wrote:
David Haller wrote:

I think part of it, as well, is the advent of the sort of implied "TPK Badge" - the "dangerous" GMs are accorded a certain respect (especially on the forums, but I see it in gaming communities as well). It creates a pressure to be a "challenging GM" right at the same time PCs are getting stronger relative to reasonable scenario challenges: it generates a certain anti-player response.

I'll certainly admit to having a "killer GM" reputation, so I'm not exclusively demonizing PFS "GM culture"; I just see a worrisome trend which I feel should be addressed!

("Addressed" means "in the guide")

No advent here. That's been around since OD&D and certainly in previous living campaigns.

Yes, that's true...

***

Kyle Baird wrote:

If the players work together and get creative or if the dice conspire against me*, I usually laugh, congratulate the players and generally feel happy that the PCs tore through my BBEG.

If a certain player or two are using known cheese or extremely effective but uninspired tactics it's hard for me not to get upset. Yep, I admit that I'm at least partially human.

I agree with this, and I think any "good" GM will as well... the problem is that as availability of "cheese" grows, there's more and more of the latter issue.

So either GMs need to re-imagine their role ("I'm facilitating access to chronicles') - in which case it needs to be "a rule" - OR... something else needs to happen.

(For the record, I'd LOVE it if PFS could trust its GMs enough to provide them leeway to adapt a table more to greater or lesser challenges - not on the fly (cheating), but at least in advance when one knows who's playing. Yes, it's hard at cons, but it could work for local game days and the like.)

Really, it just feels like late-phase Living Greyhawk to me (after all the crazy 3.5 splatbooks). My CRB is worn out enough as it is... I'm ready for the next one :P

***

I think part of it, as well, is the advent of the sort of implied "TPK Badge" - the "dangerous" GMs are accorded a certain respect (especially on the forums, but I see it in gaming communities as well). It creates a pressure to be a "challenging GM" right at the same time PCs are getting stronger relative to reasonable scenario challenges: it generates a certain anti-player response.

I'll certainly admit to having a "killer GM" reputation, so I'm not exclusively demonizing PFS "GM culture"; I just see a worrisome trend which I feel should be addressed!

("Addressed" means "in the guide")

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