|Dennis Baker RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor|
Regardless of what you call the relationship, Reaper took people's money with the promise of future delivery of product. That's a customer relationship of some sort or another. As a customer who has prepaid for a product, there is an expectation of reasonable communication about delivery timing.
Being late is understandable. Communicating it terribly and in a mis-leading manner is far less so.
*I* find it amazing that all of that can be completely forgotten because some nerds have to wait an extra month for their freaking toys but then I have never been let down by the pettiness and vindictiveness of the 'typical gamer'.
I can't speak for everyone, but I think most people are more upset that we're 45 days into the process and only just now found out that there is a big delay in the works. People were openly speculating here, on KS, and on Reaper's forums about when their order would ship and Reaper reps just sat on their hands and let people assume their orders might be coming...
Wait a month for the miniature deal of a lifetime? Sure, NP. Just tell me about it. That's all. They knew back in early April the big minis were "on the slow boat" and many of the orders were going to be held up. They should have said something then rather than leave people hanging.
A two paragraph update takes about 10 minutes to pen and saves lots of frustration. One a week saves more.
As for pettiness and vindictiveness... I haven't seen much of that, just lots of frustrated people disappointed in some really bad communications.
It's right there on their KS project page: "Estimated delivery: Mar 2013"
Yes, it's tough for a little company to ship 1,000 times their normal volume of product, but right now we have no idea when to expect our orders. Not knowing whether my order is shipping tomorrow or in 2 months is frustrating. I'm certain the more complex orders will take more time, so it's likely the process is only going to slow down.
It only takes a few minutes to write an update. Do they expect to finish shipping in May? Someone said something about Origins in June? What is it? What percentage of orders have shipped?
Based on the early communications, I was under the impression that most of the orders would have shipped by now, but it doesn't seem to be the case and there hasn't been any kind of update on that.
I'd love more PFS scenarios where role playing is a bigger part of the scenario, I love writing them. I also love non-combat encounters, but they tend to get a lot of hate on the forums.
You've obviously put a lot of thought into your characters and it sounds like they can do some neat things which is cool. I wouldn't call that sub-optimal at all.
There is a 5th level character melee focused character in my local group who deals out 5-10 points of damage per round (if they hit) and that's what their character does all the time. When someone says "suboptimal" that's the image I get. I'm going to sit down with the player and see if I can help her achieve something beyond what a typical first level character does on a consistent basis.
Again, I see Yugos when I hear the word.
It's not clear to me whether sub-optimal is supposed to be "below standard" here. Or "less than the best". The word can be used for either.
I agree. And I'm not trying to put words into people's mouths, all I can say is the mental picture someone's words put into my head.
If I were to tell you someone has a suboptimal car, do you picture a Yugo or a Honda Civic?
From the context I think he means the latter. He's having to do his best just to have a decent change, which in a RPG means ruling out a lot of fun, but not top-notch options. Which seems like a bad idea.
This isn't a problem with PFS, it's a problem with Pathfinder. The system has lots of options which are not perfectly balanced against each other. Do you target the weakest options or the most powerful?
I think most designers try to target something in the middle where most of the players will have maximum fun. That means people who choose the weaker options are going to have problems, I'm not sure there is an easy fix for that. I certainly don't think targeting the weakest options is going to make people happy because most players self-filter those options out.
If you target the weakest choices then you wind up with the majority of your player based bored out of their minds.
Well the fundamental question is how many deaths are you getting? And are the players enjoying it? If deaths go up and numbers go down, ease up. If deaths go down and numbers go down, crank it up.
This is a reasonable way of looking at it. Reviews are a big help also.
increase the chance of mission failure, rather than the rate of death? If scenarios included an option that gave out reduced PP, Gold and/or XP if certain conditions were not met (The hostage not saved, the PCs arrested after losing the final battle, etc.)...
I'm trying to figure out how you could implement this.
There was a scenario where you could get captured and ransomed back, but characters would lose all their wealth and many/ most players said they would just mark the character as dead at that point.
Well how other than the current way of running away.
I don't see anybody suggesting that.
When someone is complaining that their (in their words) sub-optimal character is struggling and they don't think that's right, what does that suggest to you?
To me, that suggests something somewhere below where typical PCs are. Maybe that's not what he meant. Maybe he meant "My typical character", but that's not the impression I get from the phrase "sub-optimal".
I don't see how you can have a system where it's challenging for a typical group and survivable for a "sub-optimal" group.
Similarly, when someone says "if the party is having it too easy/hard, do this." What is the point of this if not to help groups that aren't capable of completing the scenario?
A while ago, I suggested that people, individuals can dial in their challenge level. I still like the idea and think it would be cool if there were a way to do it systematically. Maybe if you survive to retirement age you get a special boon for your next character or a forum badge.
I'm not sure doing it on a table by table basis works though, when people suggested characters playing up would get a lower reward players got up in arms. Unless there is some benefit, I doubt anyone would play "Hard Mode" even as they claim to want the challenge.
It is not an argument, it's a question.
This is actually what I think as well. In my eyes, the 'perfect' scenario is one that's filled with "Oh ****" moments where people think everything is going south, but in the end, everyone walks away. That's hugely difficult to achieve on a big scale though. You have a baseline expectation (CR) and groups that exceed that find it easy and groups that fall short get pounded.
Edit: You, by the way, are among some of the best when it comes to striking the balance between story and challenge. Don't alter what you are doing.
Hey thanks for the compliment! I try. If you like my scenarios, there is another coming... soon. I think it was outed on the Know Direction interview.
Should PFS be challenging or should progress be achievable simply by showing up?
I only ask because it seems a fair number are suggesting people should progress regardless of you player or character ability.
Also, if there are 'easier' alternates, should PCs get a greater reward for taking the tough option? They are ultimately risking more and likely require more healing and expendables to survive.
She's been in and out of our campaign, a sympathetic shoulder at times, sometimes she's been the bait, but not in a damsel in distress sort of way I hope. Right now she's enjoying the social life in Caliphas with "Edvian", an old friend of her father's.
I'm seriously thinking about making her the bad-guy/ final boss. Lots of problems with that, but if I can make it work, it would be neat and have a huge impact on the group.
From more of a numbers stand point, a season 4 scenario with an APL 7 party runs up against a CR 9 (Hard) combat followed up with a CR 11 (Epic+) combat. Both were surprises and both times the players were at a disadvantage that should probably add another CR to the encounter.
Possible scenarios for APL 7 include:
You are obviously familiar with the charts in the GM's section, so it should be pretty clear why an "APL 7" group is hitting epic encounters. Most likely they are playing Subtier 8-9 or subtier 7-8 and facing encounters designed for APL 8 or APL 9.
I say this because I've built a CR 9 encounter which is followed by a CR 10 encounter, but they were designed as "Challenging" and "Hard" respectively, based on the assumption of an APL 8 group.
Scenarios are written to be challenging to a range of character levels and targeted around the middle of that range. If you are below that target APL, you are going to struggle a bit, above and you will likely find it easy. There is no way to avoid that.
Christopher Rowe wrote:
Pretty much this. There's no reason to try and pin down a laundry list of specifics.
Don't do something to another person's PC unless they are cool with it.
You can apply a GM chronicle to any of your characters who could legally play the scenario. The rewards your character collects are based on the character's level regardless of the subtier you GM. If it's a Tier 1-5 scenario, and you apply the chronicle to a 4-5th level character, you apply the subtier 4-5 rewards to that character. If it's a 1-3 level character you apply the subtier 1-2 reward (tweeners get the lesser reward).
As the author of more than a couple scenarios with a reputation and a fairly avid player and GM...
There are a lot of players out there who just don't grasp the basics of effective character design and likely never will. The disparity between players who focus on optimizing and the players who can't figure out how Power Attack works is *massive*.
I don't feel season 4 requires super-builds, but if you wind up at a table with 2-3 PCs who aren't pulling their weight in any encounters, you are going to have lots of trouble.
I'm not sure if this is the reason you are struggling, but I've seen it quite a bit. I'm not sure there is an easy answer to this.
Anyhow... I wanted to post my own observations and let everyone know that Mark isn't the only one watching this thread.
My suggestion for players playing down is to give them the option to play for 0/0/0. They would get any boons and access to any items on the chronicle, but they would get no experience, no gold, and no prestige.
(let me re-iterate the word "Option")
This way players who do wind up playing down don't fall behind on the wealth curve. Essentially they are just playing for whatever boons might be on the chronicle.
Its unlikely consumables will be a big issue because they are playing a lower tier scenario.
I tend to run a few specific scenarios (it's easy to figure out which) over and over, but I just can't get excited about this idea. I've gotten to the point where most of the time I don't even bother with GM chronicles, particularly for characters past 5th level. Of course I enjoy playing my characters a lot too and I'd rather not run out the clock on my favorites without even playing them.
And Doug's right. Running a scenario multiple times really is like running downhill. You spend less time worried about the rules and more time having fun and making sure the players are having fun. The NPCs come more alive, the combats are snappier, and the game prep is vastly simpler (for me its just a matter of making sure I have the right minis and maps).
I would far rather GM a scenario I'm familiar with for no credit (or only the stars) than deal with all the prep for a new one.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
I've seen this exact level spread before (but the people were all reasonable and played up) at gamedays. I've seen the unreasonable version before too at Paizocon with a similar level spread, albeit in 1-5 (and I had to walk from the table to avoid a cakewalk).
I don't disbelieve you. And I shouldn't use the phrase contrived.. because it does happen (and ascribes motivation which is rude, sorry I get excited sometimes), but it is not common.
You're right, it happens. I've been in a very similar situation to what you suggest and I'm a big believer in "Low tier gets to choose if you play down". Most of the time, the guy who is the outlier doesn't want to stink up the game for the whole group though. In my case, when the low-tier player hesitated, I suggested that rather than risk his character he play a pregen and he quickly agreed. Everyone had a blast.
Lots of things about this game involve people exercising judgement and when people do a poor job of that, the game suffers. Rules can't fix that.
james maissen wrote:
It's also worth mentioning that in season 4+ if you have a table of 4 and add a low level character it bumps the challenge rating of every encounter up by one, increasing the difficulty of the scenario far out of proportion to the contribution the lower level character adds.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
This party is undeniably stronger than the 4 level 6s without the new friend.
Not really. Adding a level 3 to a pile of level 6s is a rounding error in terms of power. He'd almost certainly not going to sway things one way or the other, particularly since you suggest outright they can 'clearly win' the scenario before he shows up.
Nothing like a nice contrived and statistically improbably scenario filled with irrational people to prove your point eh?
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Dennis--it depends on the scenario and the situation, really.
No, not really.
Assuming you have two reasonably competent players, a level 5 character is always going to contribute vastly more to combat than a level 1 character. Sure it's an improvement over no character at all... but that's not the point. The 1st level character isn't contributing equally, or even close.
Yes, the 1st level character might get swept up in an area effect spell, one shotted by a bad-guy, or killed by a trap. Which sort of illustrates the silliness of building rules that encourages that kind of play by creating hugely outsized rewards for doing so.
Its fairly common to see players deliberately choose the lowest possible level character to play for any given scenario exactly so they can collect that outsized reward. That's not fair to the other players who are also dealing with increased risk and get no additional reward.
Joe M. wrote:
I'm not convinced you are really taking on that much extra risk. What you are definitely doing is being a burden to the rest of the group because they have to make up for a lower level character.
Maybe the system should divvy up treasure based on your contribution to APL so in a tier 1-5 a 5th level character would get 5 times the gold of a 1st level character. They are almost certainly contributing vastly more to the parties survivability than the 1st level guy who is likely hiding in a corner trying to avoid getting smashed.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
Except the difference is that even now, with the system that encourages playing up if you can handle it, there's a lot of people out there who are forcing a play down with the threat of walking, or just walking. There's no reason to believe that making playing up less attractive will not make this more likely to happen. I know I'll walk before I play a cakewalk played-down (the only time I've ever seen a real tier dispute, at last year's Paizocon where a lone lowbie forced an entire table to play down to 1-2 and my friend at the table said it was still a cakewalk without my character)
"...a lot of people"...
I've played or GMed PFS since it was first introduced at Paizocon in season 0. Something like 100 games maybe more, I've been to cons, home games, and helped organize a local shop. I have yet to see a single person walk or even threaten to walk because of the table's choice or tier.
Maybe it's a regional thing? Considering I've yet to see it happen, I'm pretty sceptical it's 'a lot of people'.
Rogue Eidolon wrote:
So in a hypothetical world, it would be great if every game was always played with all characters exactly in tier. But the proposed system makes playing up so bad of a decision for low tier characters, that only the true thrill-seekers would do so without being extremely unhappy, so in the non-ideal situation when you don't have a full match,
If the goal is to encourage people to play on-tier (and I think it should be), then the system should work best for people who play on tier. Having a system that gives outsized rewards for playing up is a huge incentive for players to play out-of-tier.
Obviously there are going to be times when people are stuck playing out of tier, but right now the system actively encourages people to seek out those situations.
the lone lowbie will probably go home instead of playing, possibly stopping a legal table from happening.
This reminds me of the big uproar over replay. Lots of people saying why it was essential to their play group and how people would be going home disappointed... but now 2? years later the campaign is healthier for it's lack.
Cold Napalm wrote:
Why the interest punishing ANYONE? Why do you have to punish anyone to play up? They are taking more risk. They use up more consumable. So why do you want them to end up being CRIPPLED at higher levels for taking more risks?
Are they really taking more risks?
I don't see it that way. They are playing half the number of scenarios to get to that point. They are playing at tables with other more powerful characters at every juncture and those more powerful characters are almost certainly contributing more and likely taking the brunt of the enemies attacks as a result.
The people playing *at tier* are pulling the low tier guy along. They are taking on more risk by having a low-tier guy who doesn't contribute as much and they get no extra reward for doing it. Why should the low-tier guy who is causing the problem be able to short-cut the system and collect the same rewards as the guys who are pulling him along?
The whole point of the change is to encourage people to play *AT* tier. Your suggestion doesn't put any incentive on playing at tier. In fact many people would prefer to shortcut certain levels and would seek out playing up to do so. Lets align the rewards in the system in such a way that rewards playing the appropriate level.
I'm with Kyrt on this one.
If someone wants to build a character that is amazing at skills, let them. They are clearly sacrificing combat ability to be god-like at skills, play it up rather than try and stomp it out.
Give them impossible challenges to perform and play it up when they succeed.
FWIW, the DC to spot an invisible Pixie at 100 feet is pretty darned high. If the pixie is a going to be a hellacious check, its Stealth check is going to be monstrous (+20 for invis, +10 for distance, +16 Stealth).
The DC to jump ridiculous heights is also likely greater than you think. To jump 20 feet vertical, it's DC 80 and double that without a running start. Long jumps can be pretty amazing though, I've seen hasted monks nail 40-50 foot gaps, IMO that's awesome.
Considering by the time these insano skill checks are possible wizards are able to cast spells that make you fly, that make those invisible pixies plain as day, etc etc.
If skill checks are threatening to break your game, how can you deal with spellcasters?
* My favorite is picking up disarmed weapons in combat. For example hitting someone with grease to disarm them then having the unseen servant drag their weapon off.
Order it to pour the potion you gave it into your mouth if / when you fall unconscious. (Not sure if this works.)
It's a mindless force effect and while it can continue doing something while you are unconscious, I can't see any way you could give it contingencies.
Using your interpretation, you need to get a 15 or higher on your stealth check, before adding the +20 bonus from invisibility, or else it's actually easier to pinpoint you than if you weren't trying to be sneaky at all.
You say this as if its some esoteric interpretation of the rules. "According to me" is looking at the table and reading the line that says "Using Stealth — Stealth Check +20".
That doesn't say "DC 20" it says "+20 DC". Add twenty to the DC. What DC?
The DC to notice a creature normally with Perception. Noticing a visible creature in is DC 0. Noticing a creature 30 feet away is DC 3, etc etc.
Which means spotting an invisible creature who is moving at half speed but not using Stealth should be DC 15...
Trying to use the table you are referring to without taking into account the Stealth skill is vastly inaccurate. Stealth takes into account armor check penalties while your straight DC 35 check does not. It gets even more ridiculous when you take into account size as a Gargantuan creature is just as difficult to pinpoint as a Tiny creature.
Using the Stealth skill is clearly within the rules and is vastly more accurate than what you suggest, you are basically inventing a whole new system.
The DC 20 'hunch' is just that, a hunch something is up. If someone is trying to sneak past you invisible, you have a change of noticing them.
The table is confusing, the easiest way to resolve it is simply have the invisible creature make a Stealth check with a +20 DC bonus (this is even noted in the rules for invisibility). Then just apply all the normal bonuses and penalties to Stealth.
It doesn't say it because it shouldn't have to; item A is item A, not item B, unless a specific rule states otherwise.
The thing is, the rules do suggest otherwise. The sling staff made from a specially designed *sling*. You can argue this doesn't mean it is a sling, but the way I see it, that is exactly what it's suggesting.
I can understand that people disagree with this, but making straw-men that involve lasers shooting from eyes proves nothing other than the fact that you don't understand or don't want to understand where people are coming from.
It's difficult to abuse too much since you are in gaseous form and can't "attack or cast spells with verbal, somatic, material, or focus components while in gaseous form. ... The subject also loses supernatural abilities while in gaseous form. ... It also can't manipulate objects or activate items, even those carried along with its gaseous form. "
So your main methods of possible attack are limited to spell like abilities or spells which have a stack of metamagic applied. You can't even channel negative or positive energy since that is a supernatural power.
What exactly are people doing to abuse this?
Deflect/ Snatch arrows works regardless of whether it's a nat 20 or not.
Deflect Arrows wrote:
Once per round when you would normally be hit with an attack from a ranged weapon, you may deflect it so that you take no damage from it.
There are no qualifiers.
Since the triple 20 auto-kill rule is a house rule, you'll have to talk to your GM if that's some kind of special exception. There is no actual rule to argue on that.