To back it up 10 pages: "OK, now I know we're doomed. Belkar is acting like a ranger."
Also, Durkon as a bat was awesome, though I have to wonder why the staff didn't convert with the rest of his equipment.
I... completely forgot about that. Here it is again, for everyone else who needs their memory refreshed. Be sure to keep reading into the beginning of the next strip.
I feel dumb. I'm so used to Pathfinder Society, where you can't change details of the published adventures, that it only just occurred to me that I can just change the color of a dragon in the adventure to match the character's back story.
The exact dragon colors aren't essential to the story, are they? In many adventures, changing it to a black dragon should work just as well as any other color of evil dragon, unless there's an environmental reason why a particular type is best suited (red dragon in a fiery area, white dragon some place cold).
I'm thinking of suggesting to the player that her character picked up the draconic bloodline from magical damage that her mother sustained during a dragon attack while pregnant with her. Her motivation might be a combination of revenge for that attack, and to recover a family heirloom that was stolen by the dragon. I'm thinking I can check the dragon stats and find a piece of jewelry or something in its horde that could be her heirloom.
Time for me to make a contribution.
I'm preparing to run this campaign, and reading through the Anniversary Edition for the first time, and I realized that the appendix about Sandpoint is just too long for me to remember everything. There's 20 pages of good stuff in there, so I need an easy way to find things quickly. If my players ask where to find a store that sells particular types of items, I want to be able to find it easily, not spend 5 minutes skimming that appendix and holding up the adventure.
So I went through and made a map guide. This is just a quick guide to help me remember what's what quickly, roughly sorted according to why the PCs would care.
Information (see also 4 and 22 in stores (goods), above):
Founding Family Homes:
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
I'm sure it'll be explained in another strip or two. Maybe Miron was just the northern most of the three enemies at the time V said it or something. Or maybe V really was just reminding Roy that they're on a time crunch because Xykon had moved on to the gate to the north, though that seems like a really cryptic way to do that.
I have a strong suspicion that V's odd behavior two strips ago (telling the others to run despite the wormhole chase and poking the bad guys with an occasional spell, then watching them move around) was some sort of scouting technique, which will also be explained at the same time.
As for the last panel, I have no idea, but I doubt it's alignment based. Too many mixed alignments around there. I'd agree that Tarquin probably has a specific item to make him immune. Or it's a power that only targets enemies, as Tarondor said. But if that's it, then why is Tarquin's head glowing like the others?
Edit: So am I the only one who saw Miron pop out and think "They just got a ton of xp for defeating that bastard"?
Given that Prismatic Spray is a 7th level spell, V has to be at least 13th level, so you have to figure the rest of the group is at least that level, too. Roy's got fighter HP, and probably a decent Con score. He's tough, though it's a safe bet Durkon has the most HP in the group now that he's vamped up.
Haley has to keep reminding him, though. I really don't think it was intentional this time. Commenting about the fun of helping out and asking Roy what to do is just typically Elan, and not something he'd say just to rub his dad's face in it.
"It's fun to help out!" LOL Elan doesn't even realize how much he's pissing off his dad, which makes it that much better.
Great move targeting the dino with the spell. That was actually surprisingly smart tactically, coming from Elan.
Or as The Muppets called it, "travel by map".
It has to be Elan. It won't be Elan that kills him, but it'll definitely be Elan who tells him he's the side quest, not the main villain.
So at this point, I’ve played all 11 characters at least once in a solo game, mostly in pairs, but a couple with just the one character. And I’ve been in larger groups (3-4) with each of them through at least 5 scenarios. I still haven't played with 5 or 6, which I understand is a different enough experience to be worth trying out.
There are some characters that are my favorites, a few that I still don't have a firm enough grasp of, a couple that I just don’t want to ever play again, and one that I didn’t think I’d like that ended up being among the favorites.
In evaluating each character, I've come up with some things that I've found as common preferences regardless of which character I'm playing. I'll put this and the details about each character in spoilers, just to cut down on the "wall of text" factor, because this post is going to be pretty huge.
Common evaluation criteria:
1. I've come to highly value the ability to cycle through your deck to get the cards you need for a specific situation. This means I tend to prefer characters that recharge a lot of cards, allowing them to draw regularly and change their cards in hand to suit the situation. Characters that don't recharge many cards often get stuck with whatever they happened to draw first, and have to discard for no purpose than to get those cards out of the way to draw more, which is effectively taking voluntary damage just to try and draw better cards.
2. At this point in the game, I'd say a 5 card hand is ideal. I've found that characters with only 4 in hand sometimes have a tough time getting the cards they want into their hand when they need them. Those with 6 are more susceptible to damage, and may get into trouble having to draw up after discarding a lot. I think 5 is the Goldilocks zone, at least at this point in the game. Once character decks get larger at later stages in the adventure path, it wouldn't surprise me if that changed.
3. When evaluating characters, usefulness is obviously a top priority. But they're all useful, just in different ways. Some are the best at combat, but not as good at other things. Others are great at acquiring boons, or healing, or scouting, or whatever else, but not as good at combat. So it's a balancing act. When comparing the usefulness of two characters, it's best to compare similar characters doing similar things, rather than completely different characters. Complaining that Lini isn't as good in a fight as Valeros is kinda meaningless, because Lini is much better at other things, and less combat focused. But comparing the healing ability of Kyra and another divine caster (Lini, Lem), and then branching out to comparing other aspects of the characters in question, can be a useful way of looking at things.
4. One other thing to consider is that armor just isn't that useful overall. Yes, I can see keeping one or two damage reduction cards in a deck, but three or more is just overkill, and gets in the way of more frequently useful cards. Needless to say, this hurts the evaluation of characters that start with too much armor.
So here's my thoughts on each character, roughly in order from most to least favorite, though the exact order is subject to change on a whim.
1. Lini the Druid:
Spells are cool, and Lini gets a lot of them. With a couple of starting Inflicts, she's good at combat. With a couple of starting Cures, she's a pretty good healer. With a couple of starting Detect Magics, she's a decent scout. She's not the best character at any of these things, but with two of each of those as her starting spells, she can serve all three of those roles in any party. Or go with different spells to specialize more, or on different areas, depending on what you need.
She has animal companions that give her a pretty much permanent +1d4 on everything. This allows her to succeed on a lot of random checks where her normal skill wouldn't normally give her much chance, such as using her 1d6 dex or intelligence to try and roll a 5 through 7 for something. This makes her the best character in the game at acquiring random treasure or closing locations without necessarily having the perfect skill for it. And since Survival is a common skill to close many locations, she's already great for that one.
She can recharge her animals when others would be discarding them, which helps with cycling through her deck faster. Recharging spells is also good for cycling through her deck, and she has more spells even than most spellcasters. And unlike most characters, she actually doesn't need specific cards in hand to engage in battle - discard anything and she turns into a combat animal... literally. If she happens to have the Amulet of Mighty Fists (basic card, but usually best suited for Sajan, so Lini only gets dibs when he's not around), then she's even better at unarmed fighting. But again, that relies on getting the card into hand.
Her biggest down side is that she doesn't begin with a weapon in her deck. Using a weapon and boosting her strength by wild shaping is one possible strategy for how to play her in combat, but it relies on either borrowing a weapon from an ally, or else waiting until you can eventually get a weapon using a card feat.
So Lini is probably my favorite character overall, due to a combination of flexibility, effectiveness, and the fact that she's such a cute little gnome with lots of cool animals. Yes, she gets bonus points for fluff!
2. Valeros the Fighter:
Speaking of combat animals, Valeros is the ultimate weapon master. He starts with 5 weapons, and it's his favorite card type, so he always starts with one in hand. I always make sure he only keeps melee weapons that have the "discard for an extra die" clause in their power. He recharges them when he discards that way, which is a great way to make sure he doesn't get stuck with too many weapons in hand and no way to cycle through his deck. When I play him, I pretty much recharge a weapon on every fight, unless it's the last one in hand.
His other character power to aid allies in combat at his location is a nice little bonus, particularly since there's no cost, unlike the card recharge costs to use similar powers for some other characters. So not only is he great in a fight, he makes his allies better in a fight for free. Between the extra die from discarding his weapon in every fight, and the ability to boost his allies, I'd say he's probably the best raw combat character in the game.
Besides combat, he has a d8 dexterity, which is useful for some barriers and other things, and 1d6+2 diplomacy, so he's better than average at making new friends.
For downsides, he has 3 armors in his deck, and he doesn't lose fights often enough to need them. Also, his three starting blessings is less than any other character besides the atheist Ezren. Combined with only having two allies to start, he doesn't have the cards necessary to get extra explorations as often as many other characters.
But for raw combat power, I'll choose to play Valeros and cycle through weapons every time.
3. Lem the Bard:
Like Lini, the key here is flexibility. He only gets four spells to start, but he's the only spellcasters that uses both arcane and divine, so neither goes to waste.
With his ability to trade a card in hand for a card of the same type in his discard pile, he can fail his recharge check when casting Cure, and just keep grabbing it back. This makes him just about as good a healer as Kyra, even with only one Cure spell in his deck.
Give him a decent ranged weapon and use his flexible favored class bonus to always start with it in hand, and he should be able to handle himself in a fight, even without an attack spell. Maybe give him attack spells for extra firepower.
His other power lets him aid allies at his location, while also cycling through his deck to find what he wants. He starts with 3 allies and 5 blessings, and he can acquire new allies easily, so he's good at getting extra explorations or boosts on die rolls.
Downside? His d4 strength makes him very dependent on ranged weapon or attack spell cards to survive a fight. I'm not sure if he's got the combat power necessary to survive solo, unless you really load him up with attack spells.
All in all, as an RPG player, I've always liked both halflings and bards, and this one doesn't disappoint.
4. Harsk the Ranger:
You know how I said there was a character I didn't expect to like that ended up being a favorite? Well, it's Harsk. As a Pathfinder RPG player, I've known about this character for a while and didn't like him much as a pregenerated character to use in Pathfinder Society. I just wasn't enthusiastic to try him in PACG. But now that I played in a group with him, I realize he's a great character to have around.
The irony of this gruff loner dwarf is that he works best with a large group. He's got lots of ranged weapons and a nice +3 starting bonus to his Ranged skill that makes him quite effective in a fight, even though it's only based on a d8 dexterity. But his real combat strength shows when the characters at other locations get into a fight. He recharges any card from his hand to give them an extra d4, which helps their fight and lets him cycle through his deck nicely. But because he runs around with crossbows, most of his weapons also have a "discard to help an ally at another location" ability on top of that. So he can easily give his allies 2d4 in the toughest fights, just as long as they leave him alone at his locations.
On top of that, his ability to peek at the top of a location deck at the end of his turn is great for scouting. If need be, he can scout one location, then move to scout a different one every turn. He's got a couple of useful skills (+2 Survival and Perception) and 5 starting blessings, which are always nice to have.
As for downsides, his charisma is terrible, so don't expect to pick up any non-animal allies. And the fact that his most useful features are based on aiding allies at a distance means that he's probably a lot less useful when playing solo.
That's the end of the 4 characters that I'm sure I like. Now we're up to a group that I'm still not entirely sure about. These are characters that I think have potential, and I want to like. But I either haven't played them enough to be really comfortable with their strengths and weaknesses, or else I know enough about their weaknesses to consider them less optimal than some of the best group, above.
5. Merisiel the Rogue:
The elven thief is a character who theoretically revolves around her items. This is good for acquiring boons, defeating barriers, closing locations, or whatever other skill checks come up that she can use items to help out with. Combine all her skill boosting items with good skills in Acrobatics, Stealth, pretty good Perception, and especially Disable, since that one comes up the most, and she's any group's "go to" character against barriers.
But in a game that revolves around combat much of the time, does she have enough combat power to go with all this non-combat ability? Yeah, actually, she does. She may not be Valeros, but she can handle herself ok when things turn violent.
She starts with only 2 weapons, and doesn't get one in hand automatically. With her d12 dexterity, these should be ranged weapons, but she has the d8 strength to use a melee weapon if she happens to find one. As long as she's alone, she can recharge a card for an extra d6 in combat, or discard it for another d6 on top of that, though I wouldn't recommend using that discard... ever. Ok, maybe if it's the final villain fight of the game, but that's about it. The recharge power is not only good for combat, but again, it's a deck cycling method. If she or another character can boost her fighting power with a blessing, she can handle easier combats even if she doesn't have a weapon in hand.
Or if she doesn't want to get into a fight, she can evade anything that comes her way. And remember, that evasion isn't just against monsters. She can evade any encounter. Let's say she flips the top card of a location deck and finds a great spell that she thinks Ezren would want, but she doesn't have the Intelligence or Arcane to pick it up. Evade it, and you'll know it's still at that location for Ezren to come and get later!
Downsides? Mostly just her reliance on weapons, and no easy way to get one in hand. Also, her 2 allies and 4 blessings might not give her enough extra explorations in a large group. So she might be the best character to play solo, decent in a mid-size group (2-4), but not the best in a large group.
Overall, I like Merisiel. I just haven't played her enough to be really comfortable with her, which is why she's not in my top favorites. But I think she's likely to join them once I've played her more.
6. Sajan the Monk:
With the most average stats (no d4 or d12), no weapons, no armor, and no spells, Sajan is pretty much a blessing-based life form. He's got 8 blessings to start, and he knows how to use them. With a blessing or two in hand, he's a combat beast that cannot lose.
The problem? His 8 starting blessings might look like a lot, but since those are the only cards he ever uses, they actually aren't enough. He's got 4 items and 3 allies to start, but he'd rather have more blessings. He discards the allies and occasionally blessings for more explorations. But the items are often unnecessary, other than the Amulet of Mighty Fists and maybe a Thieves Tools, later upgraded to Masterwork Tools, to deal with barriers. So why exactly is item his favored card, when those are frequently the least useful cards in his deck?
And with a hand size of only 4 cards, he sometimes just can't get enough blessings in his hand to be useful. Any time you have to beat a henchman, then summon another monster or henchman to close the location, he's at risk of not having enough blessings in hand for both fights. His first power feat should definitely go into boosting his hand size to 5. And he's the one character I'd seriously consider upgrading from a 5 to 6 card hand.
His other downside is that he may be great at combat, but he's incredibly average at everything else. Remember that his recharging blessing trick only works on combat checks. Non-dexterity checks to acquire most items, close locations, or overcome barriers will be at d6, or d8 if it's a wisdom check, and spending a blessing for an extra die is a discard, just like for anyone else, but it hurts his combat power more than most others. Since he needs the blessings for combat, and only has a 4 card hand, he's unlikely to use them for acquiring stuff, so a lot of good boons will go to waste when he encounters them.
Sajan is a character I really wanted to like, and he's great in a fight, but his downsides make him just barely annoying enough to keep him off my "favorites" list. I like him, just not quite as much as the top 5, above. Still, he's probably great if you just want to play a solo game based on killing everything, without worrying about picking up boons along the way.
7. Ezren the Wizard:
As mentioned earlier, spells are cool, and Ezren gets 8 of them. With his high arcane skill, he should be recharging them most of the time, and he can frequently draw another spell from his deck when he casts one. So deck cycling should be pretty easy for him.
He's also good at exploring locations with lots of magic present. If necessary, he has a d6 strength and dexterity, with a weapon in his starting deck, so he can fall back on beating people with a stick if he runs out of offensive spells.
I haven't played Ezren enough to be really comfortable with him yet. It was actually a tough call for me whether to rank him above or below Seoni - both primary arcane casters are pretty good, but have at least one major weakness. In this case, that would be his lack of blessings. With only 3 allies, and nothing special in charisma to pick up more, he's not going to explore many times per turn. So he's probably good in smaller groups, where exploring only once per turn every time is acceptable.
8. Seoni the Sorceress:
The fact that she's refered to as a sorcerer, instead of the feminine sorceress, has always bugged me.
Like Ezren, Seoni is a primary arcane caster with lots of spellcasting, and one major weakness. Seoni only gets 3 spell cards, but she's got a fire blast she can use any time she wants, so she's one of the few characters that can get away with going into battle without an offensive card in hand. The downside is obviously the discard cost of using that blast.
With 5 blessings, 4 allies, and a good charisma, she's also one of the best characters at getting extra explores per turn, which is great for a large group. Unfortunately, those are discarded, as well.
And that's really her weakness - not just that her blast spell relies on discarding, but so does everything else she does. Her 3 spell cards are just about the only thing rechargeable cards she has. Of all the characters in the game, she's the most reliant on healing. I think this is why I ranked her below Ezren, though it was a tough call.
9. Kyra the Cleric:
Kyra's a great healer, at the cost of a divine card. She's great against undead, and she's got the fortitude to pick up better armor easily. Unfortunately, that's about all she's got going for her.
Like Seoni, I kinda wish Kyra had more than 3 spells. She has 2 weapons, and possible attack spells, but her favored card type is blessings, so she may start without any offense in hand.
And while she's the clearly the best healer in the game, the fact is that Lini and Lem can be almost as good at healing, and much more useful in other regards, because they don't have to give up exploring to heal. Any of them could use Cure spells for healing instead of Kyra's power, but she's got the least spells of the healing characters, so she has the least flexibility in other spells if she does rely on Cure spells
Maybe it's because I played Kyra in a 4 character group, but she spent all her time healing, and rarely got to do any actual exploring. Maybe in a smaller group, that wouldn't be such a problem. As is, I'm just more likely to pick Lini or Lem as the healer for any 3+ character group, because they're better at other things, too. I'm tempted to try her solo (or duo), just to see if she works out better that way.
Remember how I mentioned two characters that I don't want to ever play again? Well here they are:
10. Seelah the Paladin:
I really want to like Seelah. I'm actually a fan of paladins in the classic D&D/Pathfinder RPG. There are a ton of threads here on the Paizo forums about people hating paladins, because they have to play noble, lawful good personalities, and I'm constantly standing up on the side of the paladins. I'm not all noble and honorable in RL, but in a role playing game, it's fun to play that type of character once in a while. As long as they're useful, which they definitely are in the RPG. But here in the card game, she's just not that great.
With 1d8 +2 starting Melee, she's pretty good with weapons, though not quite as good as Valeros or Amiri. But she only starts with 3 weapon cards, and they aren't her favored card type. Armor as a favored card type? Really??? Could you start a character with a more useless card, especially in a 4 card hand? So just getting a weapon in hand doesn't always happen right away, and she doesn't have an easy way to cycle through her deck to find what she wants.
Speaking of lack of deck cycling, she gets one spell in her starting deck, which rarely actually gets into her hand and played. I think in our group she actually got to cast her Cure spell once in 5 sessions.
She's got a decent wisdom and pretty good charisma, though no bonus on diplomacy, so she can still roll a 1 or 2 on the d10.
As for her character powers, scouting the location deck before diving in is nice, though driving away any boons means that she frequently still won't know what monster she's about to face before doing so. And recharging a blessing for an extra d6 on any check would be a sweet deal, if she didn't risk discarding other cards when she used it. But those powers are sometimes pretty good, which is why she isn't dead last on this list, despite my having no desire to ever play her again.
11. Amiri the Barbarian:
So Amiri is great at pounding on things with her 5 starting weapons, just like Valeros. And she has decent survival skill, along with the ability to move at the end of her turn, which can be handy. And that's it.
Unlike Valeros, she has no way to cycle through her deck, because she lacks his power to recharge weapons when using their discard power. Her second character power lets her bury a card for extra combat power - the one thing she really doesn't need. Has anyone actually seen her use this power when it ever mattered? In our group, she'd use it during the final villain fight, when we knew she was going to win anyway, and the buried card was irelevant, because the game was over.
Yes, she's great in a fight. But so are a lot of other characters who have other things to contribute to the group. Kinda like how Kyra's the best healer, but doesn't contribute enough in other ways, so I'd rather play one of the other healer characters. If I want a melee weapon beast, I'll take Valeros over Amiri or Seelah every time.
The bolded text in this just gave me a really simple idea for how Paizo can change the cards in future versions of the game to eliminate all of these questions. Unfortunately, it's too late for the current base set and adventure path that are already printed. So it'll have to wait until they put out a new base set and everything next year, or at least a reprint of the current game.
Next to every power that a player can ever play, on every single card, put two little icons. Because they'd be the size of a letter or number, they wouldn't take up much space. The icons would represent the following:
Y (you) - This power can only be played on your turn.
1. You can only use this power on yourself.
So every power would have two icons next to it. For instance, the blessing card powers that let you add dice to a check would be marked A3. The power that lets you discard to explore would be marked Y1. Thieves Tools would be Y1. Merisiel's evasion ability would be a Y1. Valeros and Lem's abilities to aid their allies would both be O2. Weapons and armors would mostly be Y1, except for the ranged weapons with the "discard to help a combat somewhere else" power, which would be O4.
Obviously, I imagine using picture icons instead of numbers and letters, but this is just an example to get the point across. The point is that it would be a very small number of icons for people to remember, with a key prominently featured in the rulebook, and it would only take up 2 characters worth of space next to the power description. And if this had been here from the beginning, it would have easily eliminated half the rules questions we've seen about this game, including some I've asked myself.
So apparently, my putting scouting at the top of the list of important party roles in the character role thread has caused some discussion. This thread is to discuss details regarding the scout role in the game.
So what exactly is scouting?
Scouting in PACG is anything that allows players to look at the cards in a location deck without encountering them.
Why is scouting important?
To find the villain, of course! Well, ok, sometimes you want to know in advance what type of monsters are where, so you can send the appropriate hero to deal with them. If Merisiel doesn't have a magic weapon, she's better off evading the shadow that can only be defeated with magic, and calling in Seoni to blast it for her. Or if you spot a boon while scouting that would be perfect in someone's character deck, then you know what character to send to that location with the proper skills to acquire it.
But the most important way that scouting aids in overall party success is by finding the villain, so the party can plan your attack. Once you know where the villain is, your group can plan what locations to focus on first. Close a couple of the easier locations, then position people at other open locations with the proper skills to temporarily close them. Then, one or two heroes confront the villain directly, those other open locations are closed to prevent escape, and victory is assured!
That's a whole lot quicker and easier than just exploring randomly, hoping to run into the villain when you have the firepower to beat him and the right people with the right cards in place elsewhere to cut off his escape. The more information you have, the more effectively you can plan your attack.
So how do we scout?
There are three main types of scouting, though there is some overlap. In order from least to most effective, they are:
Explore a location, then evade what you find there. This can be done using Merisiel's character power, items like Caltrops and Holy Water, spells like Sleep, Invisibility, and Sanctuary, or other methods that I'm probably forgetting right now. In most cases, the card you evaded get shuffled back into the deck after evading, though Sanctuary is a notable exception, and the best of the bunch in this group because of it. The end result is that you find out what one of the cards in the location is. See above for why that's a good thing.
So why do I call this the least effective form of scouting? The cost is pretty high. You use an exploration without eliminating the explored card from the location deck, which is a bad thing. In many cases, you also have to spend a card from hand. And if you have a lot of those cards in your deck, then that's cards you're not spending on other things. I'd rather have Detect Magic or Detect Evil over Invisibility or Sanctuary, which brings us to our next scouting method.
2. Peek at the top card
Spells like Detect Magic and Detect Evil, Harsk's character power, Seelah's character power (sort of), the ally Shalelu, and probably other cards allow you to look at the top card of a location before exploring and encountering it. Once again, you find out what one card in the location deck is.
This has two advantages over the "explore and evade" method. One, the card stays on the top of the deck when you're done looking at it, unless you're Seelah looking at a boon. Since you know exactly where it is, you can plan exactly what to do about it. Second, you don't have to explore to see the card, so you can save that exploration, possibly moving and exploring a different location instead. Again, more information lets you plan your attack.
And that brings us to the best form of scouting:
3. Multi-card peek, usually with rearrange
Cards like Augury and Spyglass let you look at more than one card from the top of the location deck, and at least partially stack the deck. There's also the Mayor ally card that you can banish to look through an entire location deck, but then you need to shuffle it afterward. Finding out multiple cards at once in a location deck is great information. And needless to say, the ones that let you control where to put back the cards after looking are a great way to set things up to help yourself and your team. There's no downside in terms of needing to explore before doing this, though as with all of these scouting techniques besides the character powers, there is a card cost. But given the advantage of being able to literally stack the deck in your favor, it's usually a small price to pay.
So that's my overview of scouting. I'm sure I left out cards and powers that relate to this. This isn't meant to be totally comprehensive, just an overview. And some scouting methods overlap in their technique, like the Sanctuary spell that fits into both #1 and #2, because it requires starting with "explore and evade", but lets you leave the evaded monster on top of the location deck, so you know exactly where it is.
So that's my overview of scouting. I'm sure I left out cards and powers that relate to this. This isn't meant to be totally comprehensive, just an overview. And some scouting methods overlap in their technique, like the Sanctuary spell that fits into both #1 and #2, because it requires starting with "explore and evade", but lets you leave the evaded monster on top of the location deck, so you know exactly where it is.
Hopefully, this is useful information to help you plan your attacks in the future. Good luck, and have fun storming the castle!
Obviously, there are a ton of problems in the wording of your post, which you'll need to clarify. I don't know what they are yet, but someone will be along shortly to point them out. :P
But seriously, thanks for your hard work on this. It's a great game, and in all the posts I've made here, I don't know if I took the time to thank you for designing it, and for being there to put up with all of our stupid questions since. I know I keep posting with things I'd like to see added, or wished were different, but that's only because I like the game so much that I want even MORE from it. If I didn't like it, I wouldn't care enough to post.
Well, I did say Tarquin would realize the dramatic shift. Not quite the response I was expecting, but I was at least right about that. "I think I'm just making Greenhilt look like a badass". Heh.
I think it's safe to say Tarquin will call off the army and let them go in the next strip or two.
I think the hand size depends on which character you're playing, and the size of your group. Remember, the more characters you have in your group, the more times per turn you have to explore, so getting blessings and allies in your hand to allow more explorations is essential.
Playing solo, Sajan or Valeros are probably fine exploring only once per turn, so they don't need as many cards in their hand at once. But in our four person group, we're facing 6 locations at once, which is up to 60 cards to explore with only 30 cards in the blessings deck. So everybody needs to average 2 explorations per turn to get through them all.
Valeros frequently doesn't have an ally or blessing in hand to explore a second time on his turn. Sajan has the blessings to explore a second time, but he needs to save at least one for any combat that might come up. So that hand size expansion to 5 cards will be very useful for the two of them. Besides, Valeros never loses fights and has good armor, so I'm not worried about damage for him.
The very first line of the "Playing Cards" section on page 10 of the rules begins:
Playing a card means activating a card’s power
The first sentence of the second paragraph (after the example) begins:
Yes, you can activate a card's power at any time. But when you're closing a location by discarding a blessing, you're not activating that blessing's power. In fact, you're not using the text of the blessing card at all. You're playing the location card, and have to follow all the rules for doing so, which state that only the person whose turn it is can permanently close it. The blessing card that gets banished is merely the cost of closing the location, not a card being played.
I think that's the key concept that's messing up a lot of people in several of these debates. It's the same in the debate about Seoni trying to recycle the cards she discards to use her blast power. The rules for playing a card only apply when you're using the text of that card. When you discard or banish a card as the cost of using a different card, the rules for playing the card that you're getting rid of don't apply. As someone else said elsewhere, treat it as a blank card - it doesn't matter what it is. You're using it as currency to do something specified on a different card, not as its own card type.
Brett Carlos wrote:
I'd recommend against running The Pallid Plague at 1-2. It's a great scenario, but it has lots of skill checks, and characters might not have all the skills trained yet. Wait until they're level 3+ for that.
As for The Devil We Know, part 1, that one can be brutal on an all level 1 group. As long as you have some level 2s mixed in, and stick to the villain tactics written in the scenario, you should be ok. But there's one bad guy who could easily decimate a level 1 group, especially if played more intelligently than the listed tactics. It was a near-TPK when I ran it for experienced players with brand new level 1 PCs, and I intentionally stuck to the less deadly tactics in the adventure.
The low number of lower level adventures in season 4 was a big complaint by a lot of people. For a new group, you'll definitely have to play some of the older scenarios to get up to level 5.
Here's some older low level stand alone scenarios that I'd recommend:
First Steps part 1 (level 1 only - parts 2 and 3 are "retired", so no longer available for Society play)
And, of course, the infamous Blackros Museum adventures, which are stand alone and can be done in any order without breaking verisimilitude, until the latest one:
I have no problem with someone getting the foot long stick with paper wrapped around it into their hand just as quickly as getting the foot long stick into their hand. It's the unrolling of that paper into a readable position, possibly hampered by whatever was attaching it to the stick, that could logically slow things down.
And that's assuming that we're talking about paper thick enough not to be torn or bent completely out of shape by the spring mechanism, which could make for a thick enough package when wrapped around the stick to bring into question if it should still fit. But I'm definitely willing to let that part slide.
And I disagree with Andrew's assertion that this is a player vs GM argument. I GM, but almost never high enough level games to worry about someone bringing a Breath of Life in a spring loaded sheath. On the other hand, I do have a level 8 cleric with a scroll of BoL, who might want to do this. But I just can't bring myself to accept that it should logically work.
On the other hand, I'd be fine with some sort of bandolier item that allows drawing of small objects as a swift action. Not because I think action economy needs it, but because it actually makes physical sense.
Edit to add: But here's a completely different idea I had. Could a cleric just attach a scroll to the inside of their shield, so they just have to hold the shield up in front of their face to read it? Now THAT would break action economy, but logically, it should work. In a home game, I'd let a cleric do this, but say that they can't use the shield for defense that round, because it was otherwise occupied.
This may come as a surprise, but my biggest complaint is just the lack of fluff on most cards.
For instance, Merisiel's extra die when fighting alone should actually be called "sneak attack". That's what it is. That's what experienced Pathfinder players will call it. But leaving that off the card leaves out the non-RPG gamers from that shared experience of knowing that this is the RPG inspiration for her ability.
And then there are some where the RPG inspiration for certain things were lost on me until someone pointed them out. For instance, losing a fight to a ghoul not only causes damage, but also makes you end your turn immediately. Why? Once someone pointed out that it was because the character had been paralyzed by the ghoul, it made perfect sense, but I missed that at first glance. People who don't play Pathfinder or other RPGs with this ghoul ability will completely miss that information. Again, a few words of fluff could have gone a long way towards explaining the reason behind the mechanic, and immersing players in the game world.
I'm pretty new to this game (just got it a few days ago), but doesn't it simply boil down to where in the location decks the villain/henchmen are located? If they all end up near the bottom of the location decks, you'll run out of your blessing deck. If they all end up near the top of the location decks, you won't. Regardless of the number of players. Luck of the shuffle, it seems.
With a large number of players, you have lots of blessing and ally cards between you, which will let the players explore more than once per turn. Add in healing powers to get those cards back from the discard pile (Kyra's power, Cure spell), and you can hopefully keep exploring a lot of cards from the location decks each turn, so you should have a chance to win even if all the villains and henchmen are near the bottoms of the location decks. And again, because you have that many characters with abilities to help each other in combat, you don't need to worry about saving those blessing cards in your hand to get extra dice, so you can use them all to get extra explorations per turn.
That's really the point. I've only played the game solo so far, with either one or two characters, and it's just a matter of going through the locations beating up on things until you get there. I use my blessing cards for extra dice just as often as to explore again on my turn. Not finishing before running out in the blessings deck has only been a threat twice in 7 or 8 games so far, and I've won every game with no deaths.
It sounds like it's a very different strategy with more people, and you have to coordinate better to win. The fact that low and high numbers of players require different strategies is actually a cool detail that I like about the game.
V has always been evocation focused, which I've always thought is hilarious since his/her personality has always struck me as being more "god wizard". But I'm assuming evocation is V's specialty school.
And I called that pun almost 500 forum posts ago! I even nailed the exact wording of Belkar's question!
Sounds like you're talking about people who expect a "GM vs players" competition. That's not what the game's about. This is a cooperative storytelling game, and making sure everyone knows the rules is everyone's responsibility. Hiding information to play "gotcha" so that you can kill a player for their lack of rules knowledge is just bad GMing.
Kevin Mack wrote:
Maybe it's just me but does anyone else think Tarquin has just completly lost the plot?
That's kinda the point. He never had the plot. He thought the whole thing revolved around him, which is why he thinks Elan should be the primary hero instead of Roy. He doesn't realize that dealing with him was never more than a side quest for the Order.
Ooh! New comic! I'm so distracted I forgot about the alignment debate!
Nice cleave by Roy - insta-kill on both the dino and its rider in one sword swing. And Durkon shows off his shiny new vampire DR by walking around with arrows sticking out of his head and no blood coming out.
Speaking of alignment, I think we can all agree that Tarquin has just taken lawful evil to a whole new place. And I thought Darth Vader trying to recruit Luke to "end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy" was the ultimate example of lawful evil. Tarquin just took it one step further. The safety of the world is meaningless without proper story structure??? He's so meta, I'm half expecting him to pull an Animal Man next: "I can see you!"
I am surprised Haley and Elan went to help Roy and the others with the troops instead of flanking Tarquin, though. The more I think about it, the more I want Haley and the rest of the team to kill Tarquin instead of Elan. If Elan brings him down, then Tarquin's right about his place in the narrative. But going down to a sneak attack he never saw coming would not only kill him, but also disgrace him.
Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
Even with good reason CG characters don't cold-bloodedly & calculatingly murder people, even if they deserve it. Which Haley has done, since Belkar's Mark was activated. Haley is still CN, she may have some Good leanings, but I'm pretty sure she's still CN.
You mean her rival in the thieves' guild? She was clearly evil, so eliminating her outside of the law is something a CG aligned person might do. The fact that her motivation was mostly personal, not just trying to make the world a better place, doesn't make it evil. The fact is that Haley wouldn't do that against someone who she didn't know for a fact was evil, and she knew that her murder would save innocent lives in the long run.
That's the only one I can think of right now, other than the hobgoblins they met on their way out of Azure City, but that was before Belkar activated his mark.
And yes, I know that Celia is more good than Haley, but I'd say Haley still qualifies for CG alignment, even if she does slightly border on CN sometimes.