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Personally, I find GMing to be more art than science. There's no particular style that works for everyone, and some people are much better at one specific variety than others are.
Personally, for the most part, I'm a world-based prep-work GM, I do lots of setup on the world and how it functions, including multiple NPCs, then let the plot sorta develop from there. When I do sandbox games, I have people tell me at the end of the session what they're going to do and where, thus giving me time to prep it.
But I can freestyle it, too. And have done so successfully on several occasions.
And, far more importantly, I've played for other GMs who use other standards of prep, or avoid prep altogether, and with at least one who's lots of fun, but gets actively worse if he tries to prep too much.
So...anyone saying 'this is the right way to GM' in this area always strikes me as both arrogant (in a 'my way must be the best way' fashion), and pretty clearly factually wrong.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
No.. they ARE gaining their powers from Sarenrae. She may be the good goddess of redemption, but it's canon that she's run off her own rails every now and then in the past. She hasn't cut the Dawnflowers off because she is overcompensating for her rush to judgement in the Pit of Gormuz,
This part is accurate, more or less. She's trying to give them the opportunity to see the error of their ways on their own.
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
which resulted in her slaughtering a town full of innocent people.
This part isn't. Their death was something Sarenrae certainly regretted, but they'd just gone berserk en masse and ripped her Herald limb from limb...calling them innocent seems a bit of a stretch.
Undeath is an unnatural state of the soul that gradually degrades the psyche and integrity of the spirit. Any undead that isn't evil will eventually become evil with time.
This is not accurate to Golarion. Undead are mostly Evil, but it's due to the nature of being undead, and the impulses that come with that, not the degradation of the spirit.
Heck, Blood of the Night explicitly notes that older vampires are much more likely to be Neutral than younger ones, as they've gotten some self control and realized it's often a better pragmatic choice to not be an a&@@$~#.
Speaking of which, that reminds me of another official non-Evil undead. There's a LN Vampire in Kaer Maga. He's a pretty chill guy, actually. Subsisting entirely on the blood of his harem (who are well compensated and allowed to leave whenever they like), and generally only kills people if they try to blackmail him by threatening to reveal him as a vampire.
David knott 242 wrote:
Except he said "(including non-racial FCB 1hp/level)". Emphasis on the 'including'. My point was that it costs you 10 HP at most, and those purely from FCB.
The Vigilante was designed specifically to play in a whole party of Vigilantes. Most of what they have doesn't work very well any other way, especially because of Dual Identity. You can't be seen too often associating with the party in one identity or the other, limiting group time in public areas mostly to one of your identities. You also have to switch identities if you need to fight while in your social identity, and you need to not stay with the group, at least openly, to take advantage of Startling Appearance (unless you're Small and have the Go Unnoticed feat). You basically HAVE to get Many Guises and Quick Change as soon as possible just to function in a group, and those talents aren't available until 5th and 7th levels respectively.
That's simply not true.
A Vigilante can just walk around in Vigilante Identity with the party, occasionally using the Social Identity for other specific stuff away from them, and do fine.
Or he can disdain a secret identity and use all his abilities from both identities freely (technically in the Social Identity), losing only the ability to have two separate identities.
Or he can walk around in social identity and then kill everyone who sees him fight (aside from the other PCs) if he has to fight in it. The only risk of using Vigilante Identity abilities in social identity is having the two identities connected, after all.
It's really doable, and Vigilante is still awesome under those circumstances.
Sure, and I agree with that entirely. But I'm talking actual changes, not interpretation of the fuzzy bits. To use the example I was responding to, a Belt of Dex qualifying you for TWF is simply how the rules read, not an interpretation of a questionable bit, and if you're gonna change that, people should know that you're doing so up front.
Kahel Stormbender wrote:
It's kind of like why a rules lawyer is so annoying for the GM. Rules lawyers are always strictly Rules As Written, and can't accept that the GM has the right to make their own rulings. Such as I wouldn't let someone use a +dex belt to qualify for TWF feats. A rules lawyer would argue them self blue in the face that I must allow this because it's written in the rules.
The rules are the default assumptions of the game. If you're gonna arbitrarily change them in a substantive manner, you need to tell the players that so they can make choices based on how your version of the rules actually functions.
Not informing people if such things up front is a pretty big dick move and basically lying to the players about how your game is gonna work. Which is, needless to say, bad.
Most rules lawyers are actually fine with House Rules of this sort (or indeed almost any sort) as long as you inform them of them at the beginning of the game, rather than having them be a 'gotcha' later on. I have an 18 page House Rule document including large numbers of changes in the fundamental way some Classes work...and have never had a single complaint from any player (which have included some very RAW people). Why? They're written down and clearly laid out, not imposed arbitrarily with no notice.
Well, any Humanoid race can wear a clown outfit, and any Bard can take Versatile Performance (Comedy) and sub in that skill for Intimidate.
Additionally, the Bogeyman is depicted in fairly garish clothing, and makes a great 'scary clown' monster if you want to use it that way.
A bogeyman vampire could combine this suggestion with the above one, and be kinda terrifying both mechanically and thematically.
I don't know about the Seeker class, sadly, but a character like this is definitely an available option.
Magus is a pretty bad class for it, though. I personally recommend Bard. The Arrowsong Minstrel Archetype is particularly appropriate and allows a lot of super cool stuff for this kind of character.
What other people have said, basically.
A class with 6-level casting, 6+Int Skill Points per level, and preferably social skills and trapfinding.
Which narrows it down to Investigator (preferably Empiricist with Student of Philosophy) and Bard (Archaeologist). Both of which are excellent choices.
If you are willing to do without the Trapfinding and maybe social stuff, Inquisitor, Hunter, non-Archetyped Bard, and Mesmerist become available. All of those are decent choices as well (Mesmerist being the weakest choice since it lacks healing magic to take care of itself).
If willing to also drop skill points a bit, you can add Medium, Occultist, and Alchemist to that list.
And if willing to ditch spells, Vigilante and Slayer are also decent choices (actually, Vigilante can work with some archetypes even with spellcasting, but not as well as the first tier choices IMO).
I usually go with 25 point-buy, but only one stat below 10 (and that one no lower than 8), and none above 16 (before racial mods).
That actually winds up with similar distributions in, say, your top 2 or 3 stats to 15 point-buy for martials, anyway, and powers up MAD characters a little while powering down SAD characters a bit (since they can't get a 20).
It's worked out very well historically.
Well, at that price (48k), anyone can activate the manacles, even without putting them on someone. It also works in a radius, rather than effecting only a single target.
That's way better than the item as described, which is limited by being forced to grapple the target, and only works on that specific target. I don't actually know how much that should reduce the cost, but it seems like it should be by quite a bit, actually. Those are both pretty big limitations as opposed to the hypothetical 'ring of silence' that lacks them.
Doesn't Greater Beast Totem require level 10? So you have to forfeit a post-10 bloodline power to get it.
This is correct. So you'd probably need to give up wings (and probably Draconic Resistance to avoid Natural Armor redundancy). Which hurts, but on the other hand fly is on your spell list (and you get free at 13th from Bloodline). You can pick up Superstition or some other Rage Power at your option.
That's not quite where I was going with that. I mean, those two statements are sorta contradictory.
I don't. Not always, at least. As said above, I generally start with the build.
Sure, but it wasn't directed at you alone, it was directed at everyone who sees those two processes as separate.
I know what I want to play. Mechanically, that is. The fluff is developed during the gameplay.
See, this still doesn't quite make sense to me. How do you decide what Favored Enemy to have as a Ranger, what skills to invest in, what Traits to take, and so on?
And heck, even if you pick all of those purely on an optimization basis don't they inherently suggest a certain amount of backstory? I mean, Traits explicitly note a particular background element, and all the rest sort of beg the question of where they got that particular skill or ability.
I've certainly begun with a particular build, but by the time I've finished character creation I always have at least the germ of a backstory in mind. And it sorta boggles my mind how anyone can manage to not develop something similar in the course of doing so.
Fudging rolls as a GM without informing your players that you do so is, in fact, cheating. And generally super inappropriate behavior.
This is not to say you need to mention every time you do it, but you definitely need to note whether that's a thing you do at some point when talking about your general game policies and House Rules.
Doing anything else is straight-up lying to your players. Which is just seriously bad form.
Do players REALLY do this? I don't see it much in modern RPGs. I will see people playing "let's pretend" and defining what they feel their character is/does/can do/will do/has... etc. Or sometimes talking (in character or OOC) about what the PC they built can do... Seldom about HOW to play the role... or even about the role they are playing...
I dunno about you, but most people I play with think and talk about this pretty extensively. I really don't enjoy games where that didn't occur (and have quit games over them not encouraging doing so, actually).
Talking like focusing on the characters and who they are isn't common thus seems deeply surreal to me. If you aren't doing so, what's the point of playing an RPG rather than a complicated board game?
I mean I like complicated board games, and they're quite a bit less effort to prep for. Without caring about your character and the story of their adventures, why would you ever put in the work an RPG requires?
This paragraph makes no sense. The two aren't separate processes, they're intimately connected to each other and doing one in a vacuum from the other makes basically no sense.
I mean, how do you even come up with any detailed backstory absent the character's stats so you know what their capabilities are? Do you guess at random?
And how do you come up with stats without knowing who you want to play?
Given that you can explicitly drink a potion as a Standard Action and pull it out as a Move Action, and can explicitly do both in a round...logically opening a vial must be a Free Action (or non-action). That being the case, I see no reason closing it wouldn't also be a Free Action.
Which, again, makes dropping it and it spilling sorta not a problem. People stealing it still is, and the action economy is still crap, making it a bad idea in combat, but it's not just gonna spill out unless you're super careless.
Succubi have 7 HD and are CR 7, so I'm guessing a 7 level class?
After that point, I don't think a full spell caster is ever gonna be a good call. That said, a Charisma based class is obviously gonna be really good for anything approximating a Bestiary Succubus. And you can make good use of the full BAB by going with a full martial class.
So with that in mind, I'd be inclined to go Paladin, Antipaladin, or Bloodrager (depending on Alignment). All are Full BAB and make good use of the Succubus's very high Cha and Con scores.
15 point-buy is not necessarily non-heroic. It's pretty easily doable to make heroic and impressive with that as long as you're willing to dump a stat.
Which makes them flawed heroes, but not unimpressive.
Remember, everyone with a PC Class is fairly impressive to start with, and precious few of those have more than one stat at 16+...something a PC can do easily.
It does limit your classes and capabilities somewhat (and I prefer higher point-buy myself to reduce the need to dump stats), but 15 point-buy is totally workable.
Now, if you specifically don't want to deal with the mechanical (and possibly thematic) consequences of low stats, that's very doable. I mean, let's examine one build designed to minimize those costs:
Half-Orc Empiricist Investigator with Student of Philosophy, Fate's Favored and Sacred Tattoo:
Str 16 (14+2) Dex 12 Con 12 Int 16 Wis 10 Cha 7
Feat: Medium Armor Proficiency
That gives you +3 Fort, +5 Ref, +4 Will Saves, solid AC, a perfectly good melee offense and, starting at 2nd level, for every purpose except for feinting and Perform effectively no stat less that 12.
You can do even better on the 'stat compensation' game by taking the Conversion Inquisition on an Inquisitor, or dumping Wis on a Bard and taking the right Versatile Performance. Or dumping Dex on certain kinds of Oracle.
Really, compensation of that sort is very doable.
Being a prepared caster as opposed to a spontaneous one is huge. Especially if, like a Cleric or Druid, you have the whole list to choose from.
Just being able to use whatever specific spell fixes problem X with a little foreknowledge or time is a huge narrative toolbox right there. And, really, a large part of why asking for specifics is a little misleading. It's not like invisibility or teleport alone offer unstoppable narrative power (though both offer a fair bit), but being able to use either of those or a hundred other options at your whim and as necessary or convenient sure does.
So anything that gives you that.
That particular bit is referring to a specific encounter. Apparently with multiple instances of one Bestiary monster. So in that encounter? Yep.
Though what in the heck has Int 21 and DC 13 Saves? I'm super curious.
Trevor Burroughs wrote:
Potion vials can (and should) be made of metal. Add in that there's no real mechanic for this and why would it break?
Someone taking it is another matter entirely, and quite plausible.
The problem with that example is that after they threw off the control, they remembered there was a sun and believed in it again. The belief in its nonexistence lasted as long as the magic and no longer.
Nobody is arguing that magic can't make you believe things while it's ongoing. It certainly can. But you didn't choose to believe them, and you don't keep believing them forever once the magic is gone.
This sort of ignores the fact that my other two points are more objective than that one. Especially the latter.
My point has always (aside from noting that making it all Will Saves made no sense and was otherwise unpleasant) been that there are vastly better ways to do this kind of thing.
Players having narrative power over their own character is one of the key points there, yes.
And, for the record, I've successfully stopped myself from falling in love once, so that's definitely possible.
now, if you think there's a objective reason that this makes the game worse, provide it, otherwise, stop s%$@ting all over this idea, especially since this is how some other games run it.
Uh...I've listed a number of pretty objective examples of how doing this in any blanket fashion makes no sense (and most people care about game worlds making sense), makes the game less fun for many players (also bad), and that there are much better mechanics for doing this (and have cited examples).
To reiterate: From my first post on (and including my most recent ones) I've said that if you want something like this there are many good ways to do it. Just not the one suggested.
For a concrete example of this (basically stolen from FATE, which I've been citing as an example since my first post) use Hero Points, and give players Flaws, and when they come up (something the GM should note when it happens), the player can spend a Hero Point to ignore them or gain a Hero Point by giving in to them.
is basically where your sided ended. we're here for the benefit of the OP, give advice and discussion to help them succeed at this.
Not actually a response to anything I said.
Having them based on random dice rolls rather than player choices based on mechanical incentives is still an extremely suboptimal way of doing this. It means that players will either succumb to temptation or not in en entirely random fashion rather than when it actually makes sense and is appropriate.
If the player basically has to succumb some time, but can decide when, you get a much more logical pattern of behavior.
1. it was the aforementioned staring contest.
For ten days?
2. i suppose, but do you keep it every single time? I definitely always wake up in different positions
Eh. Some people sleep in one position pretty much consistently. If you wanna say people can't do that you should tell them before they go to sleep, though. People mostly know how much they toss and turn in their sleep.
3. what reasons are just barely good enough or just barely not good enough.
Uh...failed saves are a good reason. Aside from that I'd probably let them decide that for themselves. Getting hit in the stomach might do so, but it's an entirely meaningless thing mechanically, why not let the player say whether it happens?
4. why do i gain control then?
Because that's how that works in real life? I mean, you can hold your breath until you pass out...and then you start breathing.
I game terms, holding your breath would be a free action, which you can thus no longer take once unconscious.
Eh. Very few character traits properly explain failing at a Save vs. Dominate Person or Bestow Curse. It's an interesting idea, but doesn't work well in the format.
Saves are an awful way to do this, though. There are vastly better methods (some of which can even be added to Pathfinder pretty easily), but rolling randomly? Not a good idea at all and does not lead to consistent characterization.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
My motives are being questioned, so: I was thinking mostly about White Wolf games where characters often do roll dice on their urges and fears. Although, I suppose in that case everyone is usually playing a particular creature type that has a well known set of problems. The will save is too all-encompassing.
That's definitely one big problem there, yeah. There's an in-world reason why a vampire, say, has certain almost irresistible urges that are outside their control in-universe as well as by the game rules. Pathfinder characters have no such excuse.
The other big issue with this is that in OWoD you could always auto-succeed by spending Willpower. So if you cared enough you could always resist. And NWoD has way fewer of those situations, and can spend Willpower for large bonuses that almost ensure success when they do happen...again, if you care enough.
There's no equivalent of that in Pathfinder by default, and even Hero Points don't do a very good job of mimicking it.
Even in the right group, you need a whole lot of House Rules to make this sort of thing work IMO. And there are better ways to do it even then. See my above discussion about games that allow manipulation of PCs via carrot/stick mechanics rather than forcing them to on a mechanical level.
Similarly it doesn't mean everyone is inherently an evil person - rather it represents a shift in the understanding of the nature of people. For people like me, the idea that everyone has darkness within them not only isn't an alien concept, it seems reasonable: it just matters whether or not your conscience is in charge, or your darker nature at that time.
I never said it did.
The issues with this is that the experience of being mind-controlled isn't hard to get, mind control isn't the only magic that requires a Will Save (Bestow Curse leaps to mind) which damages how much it makes sense, no other Saves work this way (which gets weird thematically), and that you don't gain bonuses to resist spells you'd object to more.
Frankly, look at it this way: Even the world's worst meth addict won't kill their kids for a hit if he already has a steady supply of meth for free...and yet Dominate Person can easily make you do precisely that even if you have someone in the party who can do it to you every time you ask.
This can create new and interesting worlds that haven't been explored prior or that have various rule subsystems kludged on after-the-fact - including addiction to magical compulsion or temptation and redemption, the addictive/seductive nature of magic, and so on.
The thing is you can do that without making failing to Save a failure of character. Just say that mind control feels good and use the existing addiction rules. This might result in a Save penalty vs. mind effecting stuff eventually, but it doesn't make failing a save always and inevitably a failure of character.
I still disagree. Making all Will Saves failures of character damages player agency for no real gain that can't be done better and likely easier with different less agency damaging mechanics.
People didn't misunderstand anything. The pitch was for it to be a failure of character every time you failed a Will save. For that to be what a failed Will Save meant.
Which is really objectionable.
Now, even just applying it to a particular Save is still pretty objectionable as a GM, since it's still denying the player the right to make decisions about their own character (ie: the only thing they actually get to make decisions about).
But if you want to do that as a player? Sure. That's totally reasonable. And also not what the pitch was suggesting or what was being objected to.
EDIT: Ninja'd. Ah, well.
How do you know they haven't blinked?
Can i make a player's character drop their weapon when they fall asleep?
Did something make them fall asleep magically? If not, probably not, sleeping with a weapon in hand and on top of you is very possible.
Can i, for whatever reason, make a player's character throw up?
Only if there's some reason for them to do so.
Can i force a player to breathe if they're holding their breathe for too long?
Not until they go unconscious.
Sure...but the argument isn't that they shouldn't roleplay that. They should. The argument is that they are magically compelled to do those things, they aren't doing them simply because of a failure of character on their part.
And that's a relevant roleplaying consideration in its own right.
This sort of presupposes that players are interested in playing a character in a collaborative storytelling game, rather than winning a fight in a wargame, however.
Nobody is arguing that perspective at all.
Actually...no. We were talking Alignment, which Vance had nothing to do with, not magic (which he had everything to do with).
bitter lily wrote:
Sorcerers are kinda pseudo-Vancian rather than Vancian in the classic sense.
Different Int scores still have a few unfortunate implications I'd generally prefer to avoid.
That said, Lashunta exist, and I'm fine with them and similar examples of extreme sexual dimorphism in non-human species.
bitter lily wrote:
According to the PF Wiki: the University of Lepidstadt was founded in 4422 AR; the University of Korvosa in 4488 AR; and the Sincomakti School of Sciences in 4570 AR. None of those, IMO, demonstrates an ages-old inheritance of the love of education, untouched by influence from Taldor & Cheliax. Did I miss something?
No, that's fair enough. But it wasn't quite what you said before and I was trying to clarify that Varisians are as well educated as most people...which in no way includes knowledge of ancient Azlant.
bitter lily wrote:
As for the rest of your answers, esp the bit about Azlanti & Thessalonians worshipping Pharasma primarily as the goddess of prophecy, thank you very much.
You're quite welcome. Always happy to be of assistance. :)
The thing about that is that the Master Spy can turn their Mind Blank on and off at will. So that only works if you can cast the spell on them without them realizing what you're doing. It's possible, but iffy with something you need to be in person to do, given how obvious spells are by default.
bitter lily wrote:
Given the Raven Black's hint down-thread, I ran off to look Groetus up in the PF Wiki. It appears that aboleths likely do show up in the Boneyard, but then get gobbled up by Groetus, given that Pharasma permits gobbling for atheistic souls. So then only iconoclastic aboleths would make it to one of the outer planes. It still might make for an interesting conversation or two out there...
For the record, that only happens to the bad atheists. And not in the sense of Evil, in the sense of not meeting their own standards and the like.
Nicer things happen to good atheists.
The thing is, this is basically victim blaming. 'Oh, if you were strong enough that wouldn't have happened to you. Having your free will violated is a failure of character on your part.'
I mean, it's non-real victims and effects, sure, but the logic gets really disturbingly close to a lot of real world attitudes that lead to things like honor killings of women who've been raped. And it's not some character in the world doing that, but the setting itself saying that such an attitude is correct.
It's much the same situation as a setting where all women get -4 Int because they're stupider. You can argue that it's true in-setting not in the real world, but by making it so, you're implicitly endorsing a real-world attitude I find utterly unpleasant and awful.
It's ugly and I want no part of it.
On a more purely game related note, all players in a traditional RPG have is their character's choices. They don't control the world, or even really control what happens to their character, all they control is what their character chooses to do. If they haven't got that they haven't got anything, so flat out taking it away is bad and not fun at all for the vast majority of players.
Now, if you want to set up a system where persuasion and social skills, or even the characters stated internal baggage have a direct mechanical influence on the character and what they can do, there are plenty of games for that (Apocalypse World has a great system for manipulating other PCs, FATE is very good at making people live up to their stated personality traits), but those systems don't work like failed Will Saves in Pathfinder. At all.
They tend towards more 'carrot and stick' approaches, where going with what someone persuaded you to do (or what your own impulses say) is mechanically rewarded, and not doing so is mechanically punished. But almost all the time, you do have the choice to refuse (FATE occasionally leaves you without that recourse, but only if you aren't careful and are seriously not working the system right, and even then only rarely).
Both of those games also give the players more narrative control of the world, which makes occasionally having less of it of their characters less of a blow.
Personally, for Saves, I'd be inclined to just strongly recommend high Will Save classes for a game using Sanity. Though I would also apply Bravery to rolls vs. Sanity loss as a default. That makes sense to me. It's not like there aren't plenty of them. Still, if you want them, see below.
In terms of total Sanity, if you want it to get higher adding your current level to it flat-out seems a reasonable (and simple) route to go, though how necessary that is seems unclear.
In terms of Threshold...I dunno if a change is super necessary, really. Getting a 14 in a mental stat and adding an Item at appropriate seems like it does well enough, mostly, and most martials I've seen or built have that much.
Maybe add a Feat for +2 Sanity Threshold? Or give something like that as a free bonus to it for any character without spellcasting? The latter appeals since non-casters need help anyway, and you could add a bonus on Saves vs. Sanity Loss to them as well (maybe +1 at 1st and then another +1 for every three levels in non-caster thereafter?).
That'd be properly thematic, given that spellcasters going insane is sorta very in-genre.