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Fergie's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 2,316 posts (2,344 including aliases). No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 4 aliases.


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At some point in the past, I recall learning that '...' isn't three periods, but rather it's own symbol. Anyone know the keyboard short cut for that? (Or am I mistaken about the symbol thing?)


As a GM I have fun:

  • Presenting a campaign world with locations, encounters, mythos, timeline and NPCs.
  • Presenting a wide variety of encounters that engage the players, and encourage them to have fun playing their characters.
  • Knowing I have general control of the storyline and timeline, with occasional (sometimes unexpected) exceptions.
  • Knowing that players will use wits and creativity to solve encounters, and vary their tactics to fit the situation.
  • When everyone at the table participates in the game to the amount they are comfortable with.
  • When players are friendly, kind, and enjoy themselves.
  • While I decided if a roll is needed and add the modifiers, the dice decide the outcome.*

* GM, and even player "Cheating" (i.e. ignoring dice rolls) is a highly debatable topic. Like all issues, discuss it beforehand, and come to a consensus on how your group views it.

player fun:

Players enjoy the game for different reasons then GMs.
As a player, I have fun:
  • Controlling the actions of my PC.
  • Customizing my PC with skills, feats, equipment, and other features.
  • Knowing that if I generally play well, and have a little luck, I will do well most of the time.
  • Having my characters decisions and actions affect the environment and story.
  • Getting experience and treasure that allows me to increase the power of my character.
  • Feeling that I can, and occasionally must do my best to defeat encounters.
  • Knowing that my fellow PCs are supporting me, and that we act in each others best interests.
  • Knowing that my PC is on par with the rest of the party and that we affect the game in fairly equal amounts.
  • Not knowing exactly what to expect, and trying to be ready for anything.
  • Even if bad things happen to my character, or the dice go against me, I still have fun if I am engaged in the game.
  • Feeling that in most opposed circumstances, it is the dice that decide the outcome.*


SilentMonk wrote:

ya sorry about that lol, I also see this is the wrong forum for this subject. Is thier anyway I could remove it?

You have a few options...

You could flag the post, and select "wrong forum".
You could PM one of the moderators.
You could just leave it be, and if it gets moved, it gets moved.

Just a quick thought about your original post. Without being there myself, I can't really judge how much animosity there was, or if it was just a lack of social skills on the part of the new player. I have found that when a guy is new to a group, he will often try to show how much he knows, or what skills he has, rather then just hanging back and learning what the expectations are. I would not be inclined to boot a player who was simply not familiar with the kind of game you are accustomed to, but I would boot a belligerent jerk without a second thought.

I would also just point out that not having a ranged weapon is kind of a trope, and could be a sore spot for some gamers. (It is for me)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

No ability scores above 16 AFTER racial adjustment.
This puts a dent in the power of the most disruptive builds- god wizards (and other full casters), super strength barbarians, and the like, while not affecting the classes that are generally considered weaker. It also allows the GM to be more generous with the point buy, without disrupting PC power levels.


Well, Fromper is totally right about everything, but I would recommend sticking with Core for at least character generation if you have new players. Having everything in one book keeps things much more simple.

With time, you will discover what parts of the game world you and your group want to explore and expand on. NOTE: Never end a sentence with a preposition!. Anyway, once you have core, the first thing I would add would be an issue or two of an Adventure Path, and there is usually a free players guide download that is full of great stuff.

The Advanced Players Guide is great, but like Fromper said, some of the classes have been reworked in Pathfinder Unchained, so I think I would recommend buying that before the APG, but you can't go wrong either way.


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I think a more relevant question might be, how does point buy affect APL - Average Party Level.

For example, you have 4 PCs using the default 'Standard Fantasy' 15pt buy.
4 X 15 = 60 points for character creation.

Next you have 5 PCs using the PFS standard 'High Fantasy' 20pt buy.
5 X 20 = 100 points for character creation.

Finally, you have 5 PCs using the 'Epic Fantasy' 25pt buy.
5 X 25 = 125 points for character creation.

Looking at these numbers, I would say that anything that boosts the total PC ability buy points by 25 or more could result in a +1 increase to APL.

Note also that the difference between 4 and 5 PCs is probably more significant a boost to power then upping the point buy. Also, the terms for the different point buys are misleading. Generally, higher point buys don't produce a game with more or less fantasy, they just produce PCs who are generally better at what they do. For some groups, this will add versatility, others will will have PCs that are better at the things they are already good at. Either way, more ability points = less challenge for the PCs.


From this thread

Attack
Level 10 Fighter Primary Attack
+10 BAB, +5 Str, +2 Weapon Training, +1 Feat, +2 Weapon
+20 To Hit
+17 Power Attacking

Level 10 Fighter Secondary Attack
+10 BAB, +3 Dex, +1 Weapon Training, +1 Weapon
+15 To Hit

Level 10 Fighter Tertiary Attack
+10 BAB, +5 Str, +1 Weapon
+16 To Hit

Damage
Level 10 Fighter Primary Damage
+7 Str, +2 Weapon Training, +2 Feat, +2 Weapon
2d6+13 Damage
2d6+22 Damage Power Attacking

Level 10 Fighter Secondary Damage
+5 Str, +1 Weapon Training, +1 Weapon
1d8+7 Damage

Level 10 Fighter Tertiary Damage
+5 Str
1d6+5 Damage

Armor Class
Level 10 Fighter
+11 (+2 Full Plate), +3 Dex, +2 NA, +2 Deflection, +1 Feat
AC 29
AC 34 with +3 Large Steel Shield)
Touch 16
FF 25


Pillbug Toenibbler wrote:
{sekritly crushes on Rosario Dawson some more}

Yeah I've had a fondness for her since she got arrested at the 2004 RNC in NYC, and spent the night in jail. Also, seeing her nekkid in a movie or two didn't hurt...


This past Wednesday, we once again attended the Richard Wolff lecture on economics and socialism in NYC. This one was very different because the NYPD had the WHOLE area blocked off for the Bernie rally that was going on nearby in Washington Square Park (the lecture is a half block from the park). Hundreds of cops were preventing people from even getting close to the park, and it took a while to find a gap in the barricades.

The lecture was great, and I'll post a link one it is up.

The next day I had a long conversation with the Capitalist from Poland, and realized that Socialism is WAAAAY too broad a term for a decent discussion of economics.

Here is the thing:

socialism definition wrote:
A political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

So apparently, anything between laissez-faire capitalism and communism is socialism. But I have never heard any thinking person advocate laissez-faire capitalism, and almost every person I have ever spoken to likes an economic system with "common sense" regulation. The conversation also drifted to international trade, and I was confused when The Capitalist decried tariffs and "protectionism", but then went on to explain that it was up to the Government to create a "level playing field", so that US workers could compete evenly with workers in other countries that lacked labor and environmental laws. I was baffled!

It has led me to conclude that those in power have used language to control the debate on economics in order to push a deregulation agenda. We hardly have access to the tools (words) that allow us to have a real discussion on issues like trade, ownership, etc. The positive part is that we now have a "Socialist" who could well be the next president, and these economic issues are now opening to debate and scrutiny for the first time in my lifetime.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:


*sigh* Am I the only liberal who abhors hip-hop, and considers it something that shouldn't be endorsed in this fashion, or something?

You don't like Peace, Love, Unity, and Having Fun?

More seriously, Hip Hop has a long history of very righteous morality. For example, check out the beliefs of the Zulu Nation.

Like any form of music or entertainment, there is a huge amount of it that is total crap, but I think this is largely because it is produced in a society that places much greater value on money then artistry or morality. Most of what I hear on the radio or see in videos would be better described as a promotional product formatted in the style of Hip Hop then a song made my musicians. Another thing to keep in mind is that much of Hip Hop is a reaction to the very oppressive and violent racism that has existed for generations. It would be unrealistic to think that situations like that would produce happy bubblegum pop.

Disclaimer: I would agree that a 3 hour lecture on just about any form of music would suck, as lectures about any form of art are generally going to suck. A 3 hour Hip Hop party would be great however.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Treppa wrote:

Why undo such gorgeous architecture? Many cities are renewing their old-timey train stations, not making them look like an anchor store in a mall.

Short answer is that it was privately owned, and the owner could do whatever he pleased with it.

Longer answer is Ken Burns documentary on New York.

EDIT: "There is historic justice in trying to rectify a crime committed a half-century ago that galvanized the architectural preservation movement. “One entered the city like a god; one scuttles in now like a rat,” is the familiar lament from Vincent J. Scully Jr., the Yale architectural historian, about the difference between the former and present Penn Stations."
From this article.

Normally, I would take offense at the suggestion that scuttling like a rat is a bad thing, but I love that quote.


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While I think fighters need some boosts, I reject several of the assertions of the OP.
Fighters are great at first level. They don't really start to fall behind until 6th level, and that is largely for reasons other then the ability to deal damage. Fighters are good at dealing HP damage at just about every level of the game, and don't really need a boost to damage. CoDzilla beats the fighter at versatility, not physical damage.

I recommend changes to the class that don't increase damage, but rather gives the fighter versatility, in and out of combat.

  • 4 Skill points, and more class skills (heal, social skills, etc). You could add something that lets fighters use their BAB in place of ranks for something like 1 skill/ 5 fighter levels.
  • Probably give the fighter good will save progression.
  • At 5th level, and every 5 levels thereafter, fighters can swap out one fighter bonus feat for any other fighter bonus feat. This is done each day after the fighter rests. Evil Lincoln did an excellent detailed write up of something like thisd.
  • Fighters (And perhaps any other full BAB class and race, including dragons!) can forgo additional attacks granted by high BAB, and instead take additional 5ft steps.
  • Fighter bonus feats that allow the fighter to attack multiple targets, deal area damage, make touch attacks, target saves, etc.
  • Feats that allow higher level fighters to create effects similar to lower level buff spells- false life, enlarge person, bears endurance, displacement, and maybe even dimension door.

Beyond that, you would need to create a whole new mechanic to allow fighters to really affect the narrative, like powerful skill unlocks, rituals, strongholds with followers, etc. That would be beyond the scope of fixing a single class, and could dramatically alter the game.


Somewhere in the last few years, the expression, "You would not believe!" turned into, "You have no idea!"

I know people intend it mean that the information would stress the bounds of understanding, or good taste, or whatever, but I can't help be annoyed when people use that expression.


I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Fergie wrote:
A guy who came from failing Poland in the '80's with a suitcase and a couple hundred bucks, and is now a millionaire.
How did he manage that?

Through revolutionary socialism Not Revolutionary Capitalism I presume. I don't really know how he went from rags to riches, but I think he got some sort of business or law degree at a university in Poland, so that probably helped. I was wondering if he got help from his parents (his father was a university professor in Poland) but he was telling us just today that when he came to the US, he had a very hard time spending money, because $30 was like a months wages in Poland at that time (early 1980's I think). It took him a long time before he could spend his money without stressing over how far that money would go in Poland.

He also told us about when he first showed up to NYC, fresh off the boat from Poland. One of the first things he did was go to a big record store some where on St. Marks in Greenwich Village. His mind was blown by the amazing selection of classic rock... Zeppelin, Stones, Rush, etc. He buys a bunch of records he had always wanted and is thrilled! It is only later that he realizes that he just spent almost a third of his total assets on a bunch of records when he should have been thinking the basics of food and lodging. He credits that experience with shaping his thinking about spending his money.

A recurring theme in our conversations about life and such often comes down to being humble enough to admit you don't know things, and be open to learning. This also favors the "Classic" analytical view of life over the "Romantic", emotional outlook. If you went to a fancy school, you might already know this. I learned it when I was reading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance cuz I wuz into motorcycles.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
I'm sure you've heard it before.

Earlier today in fact. We are working for a guy who came from failing Poland in the '80's with a suitcase and a couple hundred bucks, and is now a millionaire. We had a long talk about a lot of things, especially the welfare programs of the Great Society Era. Let's just say, he was not a fan. Interesting perspective though.


Deadmanwalking wrote:
Let's not start such an argument again.

Agree 100%

EDIT:

Aelryinth wrote:
Ignore the picture.

Never! When I read the boards, I think of everyone as the character in their portrait... sitting at a keyboard... in their underwear, (unless depicted otherwise). Thinking of posters this way gets confusing when different people use the same portrait, but it keeps me from taking things too seriously.


Aelryinth wrote:

Taku,

I have to give your system the Ashiel test.
NPC's are at half CR by level. So, a Warrior/20 is effectively CR 10.
==Aelryinth

I have tremendous respect for Ashiel, I consider her to be among the most knowledgeable posters on the boards. However, that is not how NPC CR is determined. CR=NPC Level-2. A quick look through the NPC gallery confirms this.


Deighton Thrane wrote:

The only problem with this is that you've basically just flip-flopped the bias from Sad classes to Mad classes. There are plenty of classes that perform admirably with only a 16 in their highest stat (paladin's, clerics/oracles, druids, alchemists, summoners, etc.) that that really won't see a drop in power under this rule. But along with nerfing the wizard, the fighter becomes a much less enticing class. Same with barbarian, cavalier, brawler, slayer, and swashbuckler. Most of them have very little reason to not have an 18 in their primary stat using a point buy, and gain very little from spreading stats around.

18 post racial is a nice middle point between keeping sad classes in line and punishing them for not having class features that rely on other stats.

I don't expect these limits to really affect most PCs much at all. The builds that are the most disruptive to play in my opinion are not the classes that fight and cast spells (because those builds generally require giving up some casting power in order to be good at fighting). Anything that cuts into a full casters spell casting makes them a less powerful character. This is designed to limit the real culprits of imbalance, the high stat casters.

In order for me to believe that this rule would negatively impact fighters, barbarians, cavaliers, etc. You would need to show that the character would not be able to deal enough damage in order to participate effectively in CR appropriate encounters. I've never seen anyone show that full BAB classes can't do enough damage. In fact, martials dealing lot's of damage is often considered disruptive to lower level campaign balance.

Since we are talking about at most +1 to hit and +2 to damage, the difference is +4 to hit 1d12+4 or +5 to hit and 1d12+6 damage.


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I go even more extreme and say no stat above 16 after racial adjustment, and no stat under 10 before racial adjustments.

This puts a cap on caster power, without really harming martial characters at all. It also encourages characters who are more versatile, and work better within the CR system.


GM 1990 wrote:
There have even been posts saying its -unplayble- (not on this thread).

Yeah, all the hyperbole and even out right myths make it really difficult to get a handle on balance issues. During my early days on the messageboards, there was some extreme caster/martial disparity proponents who would really overstate the issue. I was usually on the 'game is fine as-is' side of those arguments, and find myself still on that side often. It took me a while to find the middle ground that matched my game experiences and analysis of the rules. Thankfully, there were some patient posters who really cared about the game, and were willing to post builds, and really explain their beliefs and opinions. There are some great guides, posts, and articles that would save a new GM a lot of headaches, but they are not always easy to find.

The funny thing is, I'm more inclined to play a more classic AD&D style of Pathfinder then a by-the-book playtest. I prefer beer and pretzels laid-back play, over an optimized highly lethal game. But altering the rules to make that happen requires a fairly decent understanding of what is under the hood. Some of the most common fixes, such as giving monsters more HP or DR just make the problem worse. Also, many GMs see the martials as overpowered when they first start playing, while the casters power generally appears later, and often in more subtle ways.

My goal in all of this is not really for my home games. I have figured most of this stuff out, and have a fair number of changes that make the game play the way I would want. I just think it would be great if some of this stuff was stated up front, and didn't require wading through thousands of posts. It could be a few rule changes, a few alternate rules, or even just a sidebar about what players and GM can expect if they play the game as written at higher levels.


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Scooby Doo and the Carrion Crown today! (Different location, Twitch may not happen.)

Do you happen to have any links to your past games? I would love to see how some of the regulars on these boards game.


5 people marked this as a favorite.
GM 1990 wrote:
Just the fact that some get magic, some get all armor/weapons, even among martials not all get tower-shield would indicate that its about variety, not equals.

I think if you view variety as being in opposition to equality, you are missing the point of those who seek change.

To use your examples above, let's compare the fighter who gets all weapons* and armor, including tower shields. These allow fighters to essentially deal damage, and have a good AC.
The wizard gets limited weapons, and no armor, but gets spells. The spells allow fighters wizards to essentially deal damage, and have a good AC.

So far, things are fairly balanced. The fighter has some advantages, such as "always-on armor" and very good average damage. The wizard has some advantages, such as variety of defensive boosts, and attacks that target touch AC, deal elemental damage or even automatically hit, and target multiple opponents.

Looking at it in this way, the characters are fairly equal, even though they do their offense/defense in different ways and have different options. Things are good and balanced.

Hangs 'Mission Accomplished' banner

But wait! Once the fight is over, the fighter essentially starts sharpening his sword for the next fight. There isn't much he can do that a commoner could not. The wizard is just getting started. He has useful options for social encounters, adventuring, etc. etc. He still has a large variety of class features (spells & spell-like abilities/familiar/crafting) that are incredibility useful, the fighter has virtually none of these options. But it gets even worse... the wizard has much better options in combat then chipping away at HP. He can blind, stun, drain levels, and inflict just about any condition in the rulebook. He can control the battlefield, summon allies, move friends and enemies, and Wish for anything he wants.

Things are not all good and balanced. I don't think that balance issues are really that bad, but it is difficult to compare various classes at 10th level and above, and not see issues that require a GM to work really hard to present challenges that are fun for everyone. The fighters are basically only equipped for challenges that require HP damage to solve, while the wizard can handle just about everything, including HP damage.


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I believe that Kirth can, and has, said it far better then I'm about to:
The concept of, "The game is balanced because the GM has control", really is a spectrum of how much the GM is expected to override the rules to maintain balance.

The group that feels the game needs to be fixed are generally the people who attempt to follow the rules and dice closely, and generally are not into games with heavy GM 'fudging'.
The group that feels the game is working fine, are generally the people who expect and encourage GM overriding the rules and dice.

The thing is, modifying the rules so that the first group is happy, won't really affect the second group at all, since they already alter the rules as they see fit, and generally don't rely on the numerical aspects of the game. The second group really has nothing to lose from some fairly small alterations to the rules, in order to reduce perceived balance problems. As has been said many times, NO ONE WANT'S THE CLASSES TO BE IDENTICAL OR EXACTLY EQUAL IN POWER. However, some re-balancing would add to the total number of players who can enjoy the game without having to learn the pitfalls the hard way.

Finally, saying that something isn't broken because the GM can fix it, is poor game design. If the GM is required to override a rule or decide something, the game should just clearly say that, and not have a bad rule in the first place.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

How does everyone have fun?
I would start by going over the different ways the players and GM have fun and discussing them as a group. This is NOT the time to argue, it is a time to be HONEST with yourself and the group, and express and LISTEN to everyone's opinions. Do you like Rollplaying more then Roleplaying? Be open about it! Your not doing yourself or anyone else a favor by pretending to like things you don't really like. Be open to new experiences and playstyles, but express your desires and expectations honestly. Come to some kind of consensus with the GM and players about how you will all enjoy the game.

In addition to how YOU have fun, this is a great time to discuss other aspects of play, such as:
House rules.
Use of computers and/or phones and access to reference material at the table. In general characters should have access to information about their own characters, but most GMs frown on players looking at information about enemies. Reading the adventure path or module is usually very strictly forbidden.
What books and material are allowed in the game and what restrictions are there. Do these restrictions apply equally on both sides of the screen?
Dice handling and GM and/or players ignoring dice. This usually take one of three forms:
-GM roles in the open, results are not altered by the GM
-GM rolls in secret, and may or may not follow the dice. Requires the players to trust the GM will fudge, but they will not know when, for fun to be maintained.
-GM dictates action in some opposed circumstances without dice rolls. Requires players to trust the GM will dictate the action for the benefit of the game (without the 'illusion' of dice rolls) for fun to be maintained.

more...Click on the Optimizing Pathfinder for fun spoiler.

EDIT: The most important part is to find out what players (and yourself as GM) enjoy and then provide that experience. It won't always be easy because each person at the table will have fun for different reasons and in different ways. The "aspiring actor" player is probably going to care more about the drama and story, while the "systems analyst" is going to have fun dealing a lot of damage or solving a difficult as efficiently as possible with a single spell. The first player will enjoy a large amount of GM ignoring the rules for fun, while the second player will have his fun undercut if the GM ignores rules and dice.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Trogdar wrote:
I think somebody needs to start a thread on argumentation. All this arguing from bad faith is a serious problem. It really undermines the benefits of the forums.

I think issues like this get heated quick because they tread and retread many of the same points, and that causes frustration and grumpiness for many people. Also, many of these issues make people feel like their favorite class, playstyle, or experiences are under attack.

I think that the best way to have a productive discussion is to first link people to Jiggy's excellent post:
Dispelling the Myths: Caster-Martial Disparity
I just got to be the 100th person to favorite the post!
I should have posted this link right away, and it could have saved everyone a few headaches.

I'm working on my own "guide" to understanding the C/MD, and hopefully that will cut down on the number of misstatements about fighters sucking at combat, casters running out of spells, and the occasional, "if you hate rogues, just don't play them" type comments.


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The caster/martial disparity is a tendency for higher level magic using characters to outshine their non-magic using counterparts in many aspects of adventuring.

Before we go further, let's get specific about what we are talking about here:

Casters, Martials, and Others defined:

Casters: For purposes of this topic, casters are the classes that have a caster level equal to class level, and generally have access to 9th level magic. Wizards are the most classic example of "caster", while druids, clerics, sorcerers, generally present similar issues. Classes that only have access to 6th level spells are generally considered "casters", although many people have far more problems with summoners then bards. Each class fits into the disparity is slightly different ways, although the end result is usually similar.

Martials: Martials are classes that never have a caster level, and whose class features are usually extraordinary special abilities, not supernatural or spell-like abilities. Fighters are the most representative martial class, with rogues, barbarians, and monks presenting fairly similar issues.

Others: Classes that have access to 4th level spells such as rangers and paladins are generally not considered to be representative of balance problems, and are used more as a reference point for appropriate class power rather then an exception to it. Some people put bards into this category, although summoners are almost always considered representative of casters.

Now that we have defined the caster/martial part, let's move on to "disparity". While many words such as imbalance and inequity get used to describe the issue, it is important to realize this is NOT about identical performance, perfect balance or sameness! No one is asking for the classes to perform the same, or have perfect mathematical equality. Generally, people find the core problem to be a lack of options for out of combat effectiveness for martial characters. Beyond use of skills, martial characters generally have no class features that allow them to influence the narrative. Monks and rogues have adequate and great skills respectively, however both classes infamously struggle to stay relevant in combat. As both classes were recently rewritten in Pathfinder Unchained, I'm not going to bother discussing their previous issues, except to mention that they both required full round actions to contribute well, and almost completely lacked a decent ranged attack option.

At the lowest levels of play, martial characters are often considered to be better off then casters. A strong fighter or skilled rogue can effectively solve most problems that low level adventures face, and magic is usually fairly limited. This is not to say that casters are weak, they are fully effective at facing CR appropriate encounters, and if built for it, can disrupt encounters from level 1.

Most effects of the disparity begin around level 6, although they frequently don't affect gameplay much until level 11 or so. These effects can be broken into several categories.

Read more...


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Hmmm, this is a surprisingly complex topic. And before I go on, let me just admit that I'm not up to speed on every rule in every book.

In the beginning... The roots of tabletop role playing (AD&D) were never well balanced to begin with. In the beginning, balance mattered less because there was virtually no basis for comparison, and the answer to every question was, "seek out a sage" a.k.a. "ask the DM". Players didn't know what went on behind the DM screen, because the DM had the big rule book with the whacky charts, so he made the calls.

As the game evolved through the editions, most aspects got more balanced, although some issues remained or grew worse. Probably the most well know issue was the Caster - Martial Disparity. While the C/MD existed in AD&D, it was only a problem at high level play, and AD&D unofficially topped out at 10th level. Also, the GM ran the show, and controlled magic items, spells, etc. Pathfinder is the first edition of "the world's favorite role playing game" that put all the rules in the players hands, (continuing a 30+ year trend) and "ask the DM", turned into, "tell the GM you are making a DC 22 rules check".

3.5 Core D&D had brutal problems with C/MD that Pathfinder generally tried to minimize, with mostly positive results. While many small and a few large rules changes generally helped, there were a few flaws built into the foundation, that were not fixed. These flaws make it so that it is almost impossible to introduce new content without making the existing problems worse. Here are a few quick examples.

Feats vs Spells. Let's say Paizo introduces two new books, one of feats, the other spells. One player has a 10th level fighter, who has about 10 feats he can draw from the new book, that then become a permanent part of his character. So, he looks over all his options, and decides to keep 5 core feats, and selects five feats from the new book. He has no use for a book of spells. He is slightly more powerful, but only in specific circumstances. Another player has a 10th level wizard. This player skims the feat book and selects one or two that make her magic more powerful, but this generally doesn't affect her power level more then a slight bump. HOWEVER, that book of spells is like crack to her! Everyday she can look through all those options and build her daily spell list to fit the needs of the situation. She can also make scrolls, wands, and even wondrous items of all those weird, situational spells. Basically, most of that book is potentially useful to the wizard every day, while the fighter is lucky to get more then a page of useful material over the lifetime of the character. Oh yeah, and the one feat the wizard did pick? Well, it might have been spell perfection, or dazing metamagic, or many of the other feats that take whatever she is already game-breakingly good at, and make it even better!

There are several other areas of the game where new material yields vastly different benefits depending on class. For example, a race that lets you start with a 22 or even 24 in an ability score is likely to offer marginal benefit to a martial character (assuming it also has penalties), however a caster is likely to gain crazy power from that race. Every bestiary that comes out offers the caster more options for polymorphing, summoning, and familiars, but no benefit for the martial character. Every book of magic items are more things the caster can craft at half price, while the martial pays full. You can have a whole book that increases the power of skills, but is Acrobatics or Climb ever going to be better then Fly?

Summary: The System is set up so that existing problems in the game are made worse by every new book, and every option that comes out. This isn't because of what is in the new books, but rather because of how the different classes can use the new material. I think that Paizo is generally making a good effort to maintain balance in the game, especially with books like Pathfinder Unchained. Unfortunately, the reality of a business means that for every positive step there is a half step back, and "it is up to the GM to maintain balance" is often difficult to shoehorn into the business model.


That's odd... I always thought that Conservative Anklebiter was just Doodlebug Anklebiter before he had his morning coffee... But here they are in the same place...

Also, judging by Conservative's greeting, he has a touch of Hulkamania. Hopefully, he can see a doctor about that...


Here is a link to the Richard Wolff lecture I mentioned a week or two ago.

I'm not sure if you can hear it in the video, but there was a part in the lecture where Richard Wolff was explaining how political parties get the masses to vote against their own interest, by electing capitalist shill candidates, who then throw the voters under the economic bus. When he then explained that once people wise up, and the Capitalists can no longer get support through votes,... Before he finished his sentence, several goblins in the audience murmured, "the gun!"


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Trogdar wrote:
This thread is a lesson in human nature more than anything else.

I think this thread illustrates that if you are looking for an argument on the internet, you won't be disappointed.


ryric wrote:
Some people's bar for what constitutes an optimizer is pretty darn low and/or weird - I once sat down at a PFS table and my neighbor called me a powergamer for bringing a high-Dex elf cleric of Desna.

I played an elf cleric of Desna from level 1-11 in Jade Reagent. Really fun character, but I was sad when I was no longer able to be effective with a bow. Augment summoning feat, and luck and travel domains were a blast however.

EDIT: Here is a funny exchange about powering up a clerics archery.Not trying to pick on Adamantine Dragon, but I think that back and forth is a great illustration of the subjectivity of optimizing


Caineach wrote:
Can you name another case where publishing the truth has resulted in a lawsuit? That's what makes this case different. There was no libel or slander, because they didn't lie.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ag-gag

These laws seem oddly related to the discussion, or at least the tangent.


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Trogdar wrote:
Um, no. Who would really advocate for the other position? If you are optimizing a character, then it ought to be the one you wanted to make in the first place to have fun.

Some people get their fun from building the most mechanically powerful build they can. Others seem to get more enjoyment out of success then in playing a character a specific way. This outlook seems more common in PFS where players often feel required to handle situations without the option of assistance from others at the table. Also, failure in PFS seems to have more defined penalties then in home games.

I do not share either outlook myself, but I have encountered both attitudes in my home games. I have never played PFS, so I don't have table experience with that myself, but it comes up on the message boards enough that I have seen it expressed often.


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A) Summoning is generally not considered very good until at least 3rd level, and really takes off around 5th or 7th level.

B) Summons last rounds/level. They deal damage, take damage, and occupy space on the battlefield. Many have nifty other abilities.

C) Summoning is probably the most diverse line of spells in the game. You can summon a single creature, or groups of lesser creatures. You can summon fiendish or celestial, elementals, demons, devils, angels, etc. Many of these creatures can cast a variety of spells or spell like abilities themselves. The real power of summons is that you can summon just the right creature for that particular encounter. If you pick well, there can be synergy with other party members (sneak attacks, haste, channel energy, etc). Also, the fiendish and celestial templates provide some sweet benefits such as smite, resistances, SR, and even DR.

D) Just like most other options, summoning does have it's weaknesses. Often different creatures from the same list will be of vastly different power - looking at you awesome ankylosaurus! Flying summons are often too weak in combat, and mobility limits the usefulness of summons in some situations. Protection from alignment can drastically limit options. Sometimes you just don't have a full round action to get them summoned.

Just a quick example from my experience in play. I was playing a conjuration specialist, and the party was taking a beating from a cloudkill (I might have cast the cloudkill, but let's not bicker and argue over who killed who...). I could not cast gust of wind, because evocation was my forbidden school, but I could summon an air mephet, and it could cast gust of wind for me.


Optimization is a spectrum, but I think for the purposes of this discussion, the intended question is, "Do heavily specialized PC's make the game less enjoyable? While it is very subjective, I think the answer is yes, for both players and GM's.

If your PC is not participating in an encounter in an adequate way, or worse, not participating at all, you're probably not going to be having much fun. For example, if you are playing Ugh the Rageful, a barbarian with a 6 Int, and 6 Cha, you probably will have great difficulty participating in social situations in a positive way. Likewise, if you are Charmy Charmerson, the enchanting bard, you might have difficulty participating in an encounter with mindless creatures or undead.

The thing is, you don't have to be great at something to have fun doing it. I have found that if your PC is adequate or better, you can have fun doing that thing. The more you specialize in one thing, the less situations you can adequately participate in. The more versatile you are, the more opportunities you will have for fun. Also, there are serious diminishing returns on PC power as it relates to fun. Beating the monster to death in an epic slugfest is often considered far more enjoyable then one-shotitng it in the surprise round. Contrary to many internet heroes, the game does not require such levels of power to be survivable/successful.

I recommend making a character who is good or very good at one thing, decent or adequate at two others, and weak in one area. For example, you can easily make a Fighter who is very good in melee combat, decent at ranged combat and diplomacy, but weak at sneaking and bluffing.

Note: Some classes optimize differently then others, and some tasks or encounters are not intended for the entire group to participate in. Not everyone needs to be able to pick a lock, but everyone should have something to do in a social encounter (even if it is keeping your mouth shut and using sense motive.)


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Five minutes of Irish Rebelion Music

"It all started with the great potato famine of 1916..."

Beyond that, I only understood about a dozen, non-consecutive, words of the song.

I learned everything I know about Ireland from Rubber Bandits songs!


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Sorry to water down this thread with all this talk of Evolutionary Socialism.
Starts chanting
The Revolution has come!
Off pinkskins!
It's time to pick up a gun!
Off pinkskins!


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Obama and Clinton are hardcore 1%'ers, as are almost all the DNC loyalists. If Sanders is honest about his positions, he represents more of a threat to the Democrats then Cruz, Rubio, etc. If Sanders is just another shill in populist clothing (possible, but hopefully not) then he and Clinton are basically interchangeable anyway, and it won't really matter.

I personally think Trump would beat Clinton in a general election. If the Democrats ran Sanders, he would stomp trump, but I think that could upset the 1% too much for them to allow.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
That being said, I'm still not voting for him.

I don't think the super delegates of the democratic party have any intention of allowing anyone to vote for Bernie as anything but a write-in candidate.

Yay Democracy!

On Wednesday evening, Mrs. Commonlaw Fergie and I attended the Richard Wolff lecture near Washington Square Park. In addition to the excellent lecture on history, economics, politics, and such, there is also big news in the organizing effort among Socialists. They are having a film screening to raise money for a new Democracy At Work-New York Center space in Brooklyn!

See a Python'esque film, for a good cause!

March 13, 2016 - 14:45 - 17:00
Location:
Village Cinema East (Second Ave and 12th Street) 189 2nd Ave New York, NY 10003
Terry Jones presents
Boom Bust Boom
This Time It’s Different?
Come join Democracy at Work (d@w) Chief Economist Prof. Richard Wolff; filmmaker Alan Minsky and D@WNY Program Coordinator Alan Schulman for the New York City Benefit premiere of BOOM BUST BOOM; an irreverent movie journey through the history of Capitalism, told by Monty Python's Terry Jones, a bunch of capitalist puppets, filmmaker Alan Minsky, his economist father Minsky the Leftist, and John Cusack. Boom Bust Boom will leave you laughing to the existential fatalism of a political economy that will always in the end go Boom and then bust if not on your head then close enough to make it scary.
This showing is a dedicated Fund raiser for the rent on a Democracy At Work-New York Center opening at The Commons on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn this April. See you on Sunday, March 13 at 2:45pm at the East Village Cinema!


Snowblind wrote:
...wow, this discussion just got so meta.

I think it has been meta for a while now...


Blackguards, the expansion, and Blackguards 2, are now on sale on steam for $8.24. 85% off the full price!

I picked it up yesterday, and have only played a couple of hours, but it seems fairly close to the old Atari Temple of Elemental Evil game, (except without the bugs). It's not "D&D" but it seems based of of a euro version of D&D that is close enough.

Anyone played this much? Any advice? Any similar games you would recommend?


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+1 On every positive comment in this thread!
May your servers stay as cool as you are!

(Reminds me of back when I worked as a designer/developer for an internet company. I recall a couple of times when our servers would start going crazy... Like denial-of-service type slammed. Turns out one of our clients, ECW Wrestling, would have some kind of pay-per-view event, without letting us know. Yeah, a couple hundred thousand people hitting the site at once might be something to give us a heads up about...)


GAH!

Also, I magic missile the darkness!


Fear not Greylurker! Ok, that is a lie. The titular dungeon is NASTY! Monsters hit really hard, crit all the time, and bleed you for large amounts of damage. My first time in, I lost my prized man-at-arms before even reaching the boss, and lost another character when I retreated.

I did better on my second attempt (from a different estate), with only one character going insane, and I defeated the shuffling horror (just barely). I recommend making the most powerful group you can - I used hellion, jester, occultist, and plague doctor, all 6th level with skills, weapons and armor fully upgraded. Also, lock in Steady, the various Hater quirks, and anything else that will give you stress resistance. Stress abounds.

Other things to note:
Bring all the food and torches you can carry.
There are no curios in the Darkest Dungeon (that I know of...), so no need for keys and shovels, but also no chances for help or provisions.

Don't worry too much about gold. You can sell trinkets, and the medium and hard dungeons pay off really well - double so if you can find the secret rooms.


Krensky wrote:

Also, you have an extremely naive view of the effects of 9/11 on privacy and surveillance.

Go read up on J Edger Hoover.

I have an extremely naive view about a lot of things, but I'm only somewhat naive about privacy and surveillance. I know of Hoover and FBI abuses. I get that things like CoIntelPro went on, and know that there were other abuses before my time. I get that various groups were targeted, especially minority and Lefties.

However, at the end of Hoover's reign, the FBI had had about 15 thousand agents and support staff, in 70 offices. They had to carry out their most sinister programs in secrecy, because the public viewed spying on fellow citizens as wrong. In cases like Nixon's fall, (which was before my time, I was born in '75) people went to jail for spying on fellow citizens. In NYC abuses by the NYPD resulted in the Handschu_agreement that put sever limits on police abuse of power.

I worded it poorly in my previous post, but my point was, it was once considered wrong among the general population for the government to spy on it's own citizens. The government did these things on relatively small scale (primarily the FBI), with a fairly small chunk of the budget, and targeted a fairly small percentage of the population. After 9/11 a much larger chunk of the budget and government was directed inward toward surveillance. In my lifetime the number of FBI personnel has approximately doubled. In the last 15 yeas "Homeland Security" and a huge "private sector" surveillance apparatus flourished on lavish funds and unchecked power. I wound guess their offices number in the thousands. But the biggest change is that many people really don't seem to care about being spied on. I don't think Hoover, or even George Orwell would believe the scale, efficiency and acceptance of the modern surveillance state.

Oh, and I did grow up in a small town where everyone knows everyone's business. There is a big difference between gossipy neighbors, and being spied on, especially when it comes to photographic, video and other media monitoring.


Krensky wrote:
Privacy is a myth and always has been.

In a way I think you are correct, but like some myths, there is also truth involved. In the USA privacy is a Right, protected by law (note that half the words in that sentence should probably be in quotes). Like most rights, it isn't something you generally notice, until someone violates it. If and/or when someone violates it, you are entitled to bring the case into the legal system, with all of the fun that entails. Like most other rights and protected things, there is no magical shield or alarm that goes off when it is violated. It is only as good as the mechanism that protects it, and The Law is notoriously inconsistent.

The concept of privacy was strongly protected when I was younger. Nixon was impeached largely because he violated the privacy of some powerful interests. We supposedly fought the Cold War because we valued our rights, and did not want our own government spying on us like the hated KGB. Citizens reporting on their fellow countryman was what they did in East Germany, and that was as un-american as it gets!

All of that changed around the turn of the millennium, with 9/11 being used as a Reichstag fire moment, that turned the government against it's own people, and against it's previously proclaimed virtues. Privacy became a dirty word, and security replaced it as a virtue.

The other change in privacy is technology. In my parents day, usable cameras and sound recorders were large, bulky devices that generally produced a single unique piece of media. Film recorders were especially so. That media produced was relatively expensive, bulky and required special equipment and techniques to reproduce and share in a meaningful way. For a G-Man or Private Dic to bust you, they would have to follow you in person, take a photo, have that photo developed and copied, then physically deliver a copy of that photo to someone. If they wanted that photo to be seen broadly, they would have to mail copies, or at best display it on TV.

From the 1990's through early 2000's things could be done digitally, but quality was poor, and storage, especially of video, was very expensive. Also, operating the digital stuff required a fair amount of expertise to be done in a reliable way.

Today, things are totally different! I can go to my local supermarket, and for less then $100 buy a drone with a 1080 camera that links with the click of a button to my $100 smartphone. I can store hundreds or thousands of hours of video at virtually no cost, and can even have speech-to-text and automated searches done instantly. Privacy is easier to threaten then it has ever been, by far.

One important point: SS Numbers are valuable, but not the only valuable piece of info related to this case. These records could contain information (especially disciplinary info) that could be very useful in political or legal situations. If it is on the internet, it can be used against you in court.


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Hey everyone, it's bugleyman!
Haven't seen you around off-topic in a while.


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That the school is using the students Social Security Numbers at all seems wrong to me.

SSN's are a REALLY bad way to keep track of anything but well, social security. I just can't think of a single reason why the school would keep those numbers at all.

Also, when it comes to technology and security, many institutions and business are horribly protected. The only way to keep your data secure, is to keep it out of the hands of places like this (which is basically impossible).

"Section 7 of the Privacy Act (found at 5 U.S.C. § 552a note) provides that:

“It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual’s refusal to disclose his social security account number.” Sec. 7(a)(1)."

“Any Federal, State or local government agency which requests an individual to disclose his social security account number shall inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it.” Sec. 7(b)."


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Orfamay Quest wrote:


Goodness, no. They want to use the phone to find other co-conspirators, if any. (They've already found and charged one person, so it's not unreasonable for them to look for more.) ...

Taking a quick look at this this case, it seems like BS, and I highly doubt that the charges will hold up to a trial, although a plea bargain might be taken due to the risk of decades in prison.

I think it is also highly likely that the laws he was accused of breaking are actually being applied equally. Are any of the Oregon Wildlife Refugee Idiots going to be charged with "conspiracy to provide material support for terrorism" or "making a false statement in connection with acquisition of firearms"? Did Donald Trump comply with all immigration laws when he got his Russian sham wife? Those are just not crimes white people get charged with in the US.


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Sorry, I was in a rush to post before, and tried to jam a few too many thoughts into one poorly written post.

I don't normally assume malice or a conspiracy, but when we are talking about what comes from the J Edgar Hoover FBI building, it is hard to to ignore their extensive horrific record of abuse. They have my fingerprints, and mug shot, even though I was never convicted of a crime, and they have no right to keep that information. They are violating my rights this very minute, and that is only the stuff I know about... The FBI is not to be trusted!

I think it is safe to assume that their motive is broader then attempting to find co-conspirators, which may exist, but I doubt there is any reason to suspect there is evidence of conspiracy. Like Krensky said, it is a fishing expedition. I think it is also a bad precedent to set, which is why they picked a high profile, horrific case to publicly do this.

I don't think attempting to access a murderers phone is a violation of the fourth amendment, but I think forcing a company to provide a "masterkey" is absolutely a 4th amendment issue. I also would not trust the FBI not to abuse any info they find, or new tools they are given, in this case or others. I would also take a long look at who is on any court that approves these kinds of searches - many judges are corrupt as hell. My comments in the above post were more about the use of surveillance, spying and citizen monitoring in general. It was poorly phrased, but I intend to say that they should make themselves useful stopping real crimes, rather then trying to weaken privacy laws for what is likely a million to one-shot.

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