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I'm certain this thread's going to come up with some great stuff.
Someone that's capable of understanding what his/her players want or enjoy and is comfortable flexing his storytelling to give his/her players the best experience possible. This has been, without a doubt, the most prevalent 'bad DM' flaw I've encountered in the past few years. Tabletop RPGs have so much potential compared to modern gaming (video games mostly) but a lot of DMs seem to be under the impression that deviating from the script somehow hurts the integrity of their game. This couldn't be any further from the truth.
Aspiring DMs out there: Give your players a great time and the story will follow.
The DM that wants his/her players to play as spectators in his/her epic masterpiece is exceedingly common. The sad part is that besides being overly rigid and controlling, they're often otherwise great storytellers. My recommendation: Find a DM who's flaws are the least unbearable and stick with them for life. Funny enough that's the same suggestion they give you when you're shopping for a house. =P
Born the youngest daughter to Horatio Jeggare of the wealthy noble house Jeggare, by all appearances Zephyr came into this world gifted with opportunity and privilege. She was a pretty and bright child and at a young age she was sent away to receive a formal, and very thorough, education focusing on law, the teaching of Asmodeus, and most importantly magic from the prestigious Egorian Academy. There was no doubt she was gifted but the girl’s heart was not in it and she consistently found herself distracted throughout her tutelage. She was afflicted (some say cursed) with an appreciation for kindness and beauty in a kingdom solely focused on power – no matter the ugliness that comes with it – and no amount of discipline or reeducation could break her from this flawed thinking. Eventually her learning plateaued and she was expelled from the academy much to her family’s disappointment. Wizard 3.
Faced with the shame of a daughter that would not conform the Jeggare family did the thing wealthy families often do with a troublesome scion; they gave her a sizeable sum of coin and sent her away. The hope was that seeing the world for what it was would drive home the importance of her family’s (and all of Cheliax really) commitment to order and its merciless pursuit of power. She would see that Golarion was a chaotic violent mess where the strong visited chaos upon the meek and that entropy and ruin was the inevitable conclusion to all of it. Happy to be free of the Academy’s colorless halls, Zephyr left for all the vibrant places her studies had brought to her attention but had never dreamed of visiting – from the metropolitan Absalom, to the gritty Riddleport, and the shining elven kingdom of Kyonin. Everywhere she went Zephyr saw the chaos her family had warned her about but she also saw beauty and in during these travels and, after a time, the subtle whispers that had shielded her heart when she was a child began to take form as the teachings of Shelyn, goddess of love and beauty. The Eternal Rose began to share divine gifts with Zephyr and the young woman was grateful for validation of the intuitive beliefs that had shaped her life. Shaman 3.
With new purpose Zephyr used what remained of her family’s stipend to travel to Katapesh, a land mired in the worst kind of ugliness – slavery, demon-worship, and worse. She did good works wherever she went, aiding the sick, providing assistance to escaped slaves, and protecting those that wanted it from the predation of Katapesh’s various criminal elements. She did her best to live as Shelyn would have all good peoples live and showing what’s possible in the pursuit of beauty and love. Evangelist 3.
This pathless path eventually lead her to a somewhat seedy tavern where she was told about a ‘Scroll of Kakishon’...
Zephyr will be a human wizard 3/shaman 3/evangelist 3 with a focus on buffing/support.
If I’m in, I’ll get started on nailing down specifics for crunch. =)
Zephyr can't help but laugh softly at the gnome's furry companion. The chubby raccoon's animated antics were a welcome distraction from the otherwise smoky interior of the inn. She didn't know what to make of this 'Greeting of the fuzz' but if all of her companions were to be this charming, she had little doubt she'd be in good company. The Pathfinder Society doesn't have the most shining reputation but I'll need help if I'm going to continue doing the goddess's will here.
Here's my app. Bits relevant to crunch have superscript notes and links woven into the text.
Despite being only nineteen years old, Truk is a literal pillar of strength and virility, standing over two meters tall with a broad-shouldered frame thick with muscle¹. Unlike his late mother, Truk wears his hair longer, a shaggy auburn mop that trails down his bull-neck. His brow is a little heavier than fits face but its easy to miss alongside his strong lantern jaw. He smiles often enough but never with his teeth.
They're not visible when he's clothed or wearing armor but when he's bare chested a chain of linked shoanti glyphs can be seen stretching from one shoulder across his bulging pectorals to the other - an obvious sign of his shoanti heritage². He's not shy about them and he's happy to tell those that ask that they mark him as favored by the spirits.
Perception DC 28:
The tips of pointed ears can be seen beneath his mane and when he speaks, thick tusks are visible. Truk is a half-orc.
Truk took his mother's advice seriously and has worked to hide his orc-blood his entire life. Toward that end he's been blessed with genetics that favor his human side. The rest has been a matter of lifestyle and habit such as wearing his hair longer to hide the pointed tips of his ears, never smiling with his teeth so that his thick tusks aren't exposed, and rarely raising his voice to avoid revealing a bestial growl¹².
One aspect of the orc-blood pumping through his veins that he's had a hard time hiding is a constantly simmering anger. A lifetime of discipline has taught the young half-orc the best ways to channel that savage rage but it sometimes bubbles to the surface - especially when someone calls him weak or speaks ill of his late mother. This pride got him into plenty of scraps when he was younger and resulted in plenty of bloodied noses³. Despite the somewhat double-life he's lived, Truk treasures his friends and his community and takes every second of his training with the militia seriously with the belief that his strength will make the difference between life and death at some point.
Truk's story begins with Toska, exiled burn rider of the fierce Sklar-Quah. Banished from her Quah's lands, she was forced to wander the greater Cinderlands alone. Her travels took her south, through the Mindspin mountains and the Skittermounds. While she searched for shelter amid the hostile terrain she encountered a pack of orc brutes and though Toska was a skilled rider and an experienced warrior, she was outnumbered and quickly overwhelmed. She was beaten and raped savagely but by night she was able to escape while her captors dozed in a drunken haze.
Despite her ragged state Toska made it to Trunua where the brave locals took her in and nursed the exile back to health. Grateful for the aid, she repaid their kindness by helping to break and train the town's horses. The people of Trunua admired her strength and she admired their courage. As the weeks passed Toska discovered two things: That Trunua had become her new home and that the seed from the orcs that attacked her had taken root - she was pregnant.
Nine months later Truk was born and, though Toska hated the orcs that had attacked her and hated what they had done to her, the exiled Shoanti could find no hate for her newborn son. Still, fearful of what her new family would do think of her somewhat monstrous progeny, Toska hid the true circumstances of her son's conception. This became a habit that she worked hard at even as the child grew.
And grow he did...
Born with a combination of Shoanti and orc blood Truk was enormous starting as a babe, a great deal bigger and stronger than even the largest of the other children within Trunua near his age. This disparity only became greater as he grew older. By the time he was eight years of age he stood as tall as the teenagers and by twelve he could see eye to eye with a fully grown man. Toska did her best to guide this strength as her son grew, sharing with him the notion of honor and compassion along with the more practical skills that she used to contribute to the good of Trunua. From his mother Truk learned the basics of bonding with horses¹ and riding². She also impressed on him the importance of hiding his orc-blood for as long as possible and that strength above all was the one virtue that he must always strive for. Strength allowed one to provide for themselves and protect the ones they loved³.
One day, when Truk was fourteen, he received news that his mother had died - slain when the ranging party she was with had been ambushed by ogres. The loss of his mother was a blow but the half-orc was not without friends to support him and the people of Trunua were no strangers to tragedy. Truk bounced back quickly enough, taking up where his mother had left off by helping with the town's mounts when not training with Trunau’s militia under Patrol Captains Kurst and Rodrik Grath*.
For the past five years that's where he's been, training and growing stronger by the day.
Level 1 Crunch:
Alf-orc half-orc cavalier (gendarme, honor guard, beast rider) 1
Medium humanoid (human, orc)
Init +1; Senses Perception +0
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+5 armor, +1 Dex, +1 shield)
hp 14 (1d10+4)
Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +3
Speed 30 ft. (20 ft. in armor)
Melee hopeknife +6 (1d4+4/19-20) or
. . warhammer +5 (1d8+4/20/x3)
Special Attacks challenge 1/day (+1 damage, )
Str 19, Dex 13, Con 16, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 11
Base Atk +1; CMB +6; CMD 16
Feats Endurance, Pass For Human[APG], Power Attack
Traits almost human, bred for war, fate's favored, trunau native
Skills Acrobatics -5 (+0 to Jump checks., -9 to jump), Diplomacy +0 (-2 vs. Creatures that threaten, accuse, or challenge you and haven't apologized), Disguise +4 (+14 to disguise yourself as human (and ignore the penalty for different race while doing so), +8 on checks to pass as human), Handle Animal +4, Intimidate +5, Ride -1, Sense Motive +0 (-2 vs. Creatures that threaten, accuse, or challenge you and haven't apologized)
Languages Common, Orc
SQ mount (horse (bodyguard) named Animal Companion), orc blood, order of the hammer, pride, shared vigilance, sworn defense
Other Gear scale mail, light wooden quickdraw shield, hopeknife, warhammer, backpack, belt pouch, blanket, flint and steel, hemp rope (50 ft.), pot, soap, torch (10), trail rations (5), waterskin, 23 gp
Animal Companion Link (Ex) You have a link with your Animal Companion.
Challenge +1 (1/day) (Ex) +1 to damage target, -2 AC vs. others when used
Endurance +4 to a variety of fort saves, skill and ability checks. Sleep in L/M armor with no fatigue.
Fate's Favored Increase luck bonuses by 1.
Orc Blood Half-orcs count as both humans and orcs for any effect related to race.
Pass for Human +10 to Disguise yourself as a human. Can take 10 on this check in human areas.
Power Attack -1/+2 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.
Pride -2 to diplomacy and sense motive vs. those who threaten, accuse, or challenge you, until they apologize
Shared Vigilance (Ex) A bodyguard and its master both gain Alertness as a bonus feat whenever they are adjacent. This ability replaces share spells.
Sworn Defense (Ex) Select a ward during a challange, sacrificing AC to grant bonus to ward's AC.
I've been active on the Paizo boards for a while now and I'm active in several games as both a player and a DM. I was co-DM for a Skull and Shackles PBP on these forums that played through all six books in a four months - one of three AP PBPs on these forums to ever finish. I'm also DMing a CoT game that's in the final battle of book six and am co-DMing a Second Darkness PBP that's made its way to book four in only 14 months.
In short, I'm an active regular poster that knows what it takes to keep a game moving and healthy. =P
I'm also an involved player and I'm happy to help out in other ways outside of game such as managing spreadsheets for loot tracking and combat maps.
Erick Wilson wrote:
And in the process we lose any hope of seeing a widespread adoption within PFS of the simple formula that rknop has just articulated, which should have been SOP all along. To paraphrase: "Stop optimizing past the point of basic effectiveness and have a bit of fun with character concepts."
I would love it if this was possible but there's a pretty vocal chunk of the community that's only having fun if they're optimizing to the 11th degree and for years now we've been telling them that's okay - some even encourage it. These types of players aren't going anywhere. It's a bit ham-fisted but I think Core is the best solution for now, creating an environment that the worst optimizers aren't interested in so the rest of us can play the game in peace.
I don't think anyone's arguing that powerful/overpowered/broken options don't exist in Core.
I think the general idea is that the lack of additional broken options will deter the playerbase prone to abusing them from playing. A lot of the problem players I personally know aren't interested in Core and will be sticking to non-Core (do we have a name for non-Core?). For me, that's working as intended.
Oh boy. It's a big list for me.
In no specific order:
I'm looking forward to the prospect of not needing to stack initiative just so I can get a round of combat in before the *stuff from this list* ends the encounter.
The answer to this question depends largely on the campaign you’re playing in and your DM’s tendencies. If you’re talking about PFS you’ll do fine with the ‘massive damage’ approach or the traditional metric of 15+character level. If this is for some kind of home game where the DM can or will create encounters that are massively outside what’s CR-appropriate, then you really need to start stacking up the AC.
The Fox wrote:
Yup. Proof of concept.
I'm going to do a core rogue. I love a good I-told-ya-so.
Your DM is correct. Swashbuckler is broken.
The class should still be fully playable with his nerfs in place.
I'm intrigued and curious what the ultimate purpose of the core campaign is? Is it to provide players a simpler environment in which the more egregious optimization will struggle to take root or provide new players a place to start? I have a hard time seeing it support both for long.
In any case, I plan to give it a shot. I look forward to a game where I don't have to screen my tables to avoid playing with the newest summoner/gunslinger/magus cheese.