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The Will Call line is huge and intimidating, but it moves surprisingly fast. When I got in last year, it was around dinner time Wednesday, and my group decided to get on the line and get it over with before eating. It only took maybe 20-30 minutes, despite the hundreds of people in line ahead of us. The convention staff really know what they're doing. The DMV could learn a thing or two from them.
I'm surprised a pair of paladins managed to be that sneaky, but it's not like the bad guys are paying much attention to their surroundings. They're in the middle of nowhere, and not expecting anyone to find them.
I just love how the friendship between O-Chul and Monster-San is becoming such a major plot point.
And from that final panel, I'm guessing we're done with this look at the bad guy camp and great white north for a bit. I suspect we'll be back to the Order, or the other Team Evil (Durkula), next strip.
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
It's not as obvious, but even the embassy in The Disappeared is fairly linear. However, during that one, you get to make a lot of choices in different ways to overcome each new obstacle. It's un-railroady in that the author tells you "you need to get there", provided several ways to cross the intervening distance, and left guidance to GMs for what if the players try something else.
This is a great example. When I first played The Disappeared, it looked like a sandbox adventure that you could tackle any way you want. Then I read it, and GMed it 4 or 5 times. Every single group has to go through the place in the same order. They have choices as to how to handle each section, but it's still an extremely well hidden railroad.
As for the complaint about Mists of Mwangi, the same problem existed in The Penumbral Accords... in the same map. I think this is why they changed up the layout of the Blackros Museum, starting with the Silver Mount Collection. My only complaint there is that they added a big, new building format that's mildly annoying to draw, and then waited a year to publish the flip-mat for it. And then didn't put out a second adventure in that new museum yet.
Agreed. A murder mystery like that can be fun, if done well. And actually, my big complaint about that one is the most railroady part.
Murder on the Throaty Mermaid:
No matter what's going on, the bad guys reveal themselves and attack the PC's in the end. So it doesn't matter at all whether or not they solve the murder - the murderers will reveal themselves. So what's the point of the investigation?
I only played this one, haven't read/GMed it yet. I actually plan to start reading this soon, since I'll be GMing it multiple times at GenCon. But I have a couple of comments about your complaints that I bolded in the spoiler above.
Sun Orchid Scheme:
Joining the caravan after training as a guard was possible when I played it. Not sure who got that wrong, but our GM allowed it, so we had one spy undercover in the caravan, and that meant one less guard to fight when we attacked.
As for sabotaging construction or hiding inside the platform while it's built, I'm not 100% certain, but that seems to go against the point of the mission. You're supposed to test the caravan's defenses after they're built, not stop them from being built in the first place. That's what the teams was hired for.
Not sure about your other complaints, but I did get a general feel from our GM that some of this stuff was covered, though he may have just been improvising and selling it well.
I really liked the scenario, though, even though it ended up being more railroady than I initially thought it would be. But again, our GM let us improvise on the spy stuff, and get good results from it.
As for the rest of the season, I've enjoyed most of it, having played more than half and GMed a couple of them. There are a lot more skill challenges, but they're mostly handled well. I have complaints here and there about some of the scenarios, but not of the type you're complaining about.
Yeah, my halfling dex based melee PC still has a 10 str, for the sake of carrying capacity. I don't track all the details too closely, but I wanted to be able to wear a mithral chain shirt, carry my primary weapon and 2 or 3 backups, and a handy haversack, while still being light encumbered.
I've never dumped any stat as low as 5. I do have a fighter with 6 charisma, but I play it up appropriately, and he's smart enough to stand in the back, shut up, and "let the pretty boys do the talking" if a social situation is important to the mission.
pH unbalanced wrote:
That one struck me as weird, too. So many people play PC's that are different from their own gender that I just don't consider it unusual or noteworthy. The idea of anyone being upset about it, or changing the PC's gender for that adventure to accommodate them, just seems very strange to me.
I agree that anyone who has a problem with cross-gender play really shouldn't be playing in public.
I never said it was awesome. But they are better than nothing at low level. Not better than the really good options, but still usable.
I actually have two PC's in PFS that have domains with these types of first level powers. One is my casting focused druid with the Weather domain, mentioned above. The other is a cleric with the Fire domain, that I wanted to be able to do a little bit of blasting. Maybe they're not uber-optimized, but I did use these first level abilities on both of them at low levels, and nobody ever complained that my PC's were too useless to bring along on a mission.
The bottom line is that they give low level casters something to do when they don't have enough spells yet. People keep saying that's what Acid Splash is for, but many of these powers are on classes that don't get ANY direct damage cantrips (clerics, oracles, druids, etc).
If you need them to scale up so they're still useful at higher levels, then you've got other problems.
How? I know there are boons to get an extra trait, but the Additional Traits feat is in the Advanced Players Guide, so not legal for Core.
The last campaign coordinator ruled that it's ok to assign a pregen death to a new character number. As far as I know, that's still an official ruling for PFS that hasn't been contradicted since then.
I just have to ask: Am I the only one who thought of Negation?
I'm with BNW on this one. I allow substitute skills for various things, if the PC's can explain why it should work. In the older scenarios, especially in faction missions, there were situations where it had to be one specific skill, with less flexibility. But the newer scenarios are much better about giving options, and that opens it up to "and whatever other options the PC's can make a good excuse for".
In the Rise of the Runelords campaign I'm GMing, I allowed our ranger to give his badger Raging Vitality even with only 2 int.
It probably wouldn't pass muster with PFS, but I'm pretty sure the AC feat rules say something about GM discretion on other appropriate feats besides those listed. This just seemed like an appropriate feat that should work for that type of animal.
I really don't believe this can be true. Nobody can make friends with a venture captain. :P
Yeah, I took Weather domain on Sylph Sky Druid. The character's totally air and weather focused, and mostly a controller caster. This is the only damage she ever does, but she uses it as much for the debuff as to deal damage. I'm sure it'll get less damage at higher levels, but she's only level 3 so far.
Chris, I disagree with you on what the rule says. It just says "once per session", you can spend prestige to buy an item. It doesn't specify that it has to be a session where you played instead of GMing.
As mentioned above, I've spent the prestige from GM credit chronicles to pick up wands or other items on many of my PC's. Until I saw this thread, it never crossed my mind that anyone might think this was against the rules. And I still disagree with your reason for thinking it is against the rules.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
On social stuff? I rarely see mechanical discussions come up on that sort of thing. Most people know what their skill bonuses are, and there's not tons of buffs going around for people to keep track of and add up, the way there is in combat.
Besides, why would that be any more or less common if you role play out the conversation vs just rolling the die? Even if you talk it out, you're still going to make a diplomacy/bluff/intimidate check at the end of the talking.
Wei Ji the Learner wrote:
I truly don't understand this comment.
How does "I ask the guy for information. I got a 25 on my diplomacy roll." take more time than actually role playing out 2-3 minutes of conversation with the NPC?
Can I share products with party members? Like, if me and a friend go somewhere as a duo, can they use my items and I use theirs? (Moreso asking them to share my PDFs because their still new, and we plan on sharing costs in the future).
Characters can share items all they want when playing together.
Players are each supposed to own their own copy of any book they use for their PC. But there are exceptions for family members, and possibly for members of the same household, even if they're not family. I'm not sure exactly.
For the most part, nobody polices this stuff, and everyone lets newbies get away with stuff, just to encourage them to join in without too many restrictions. So I wouldn't worry too much about it at first, though you'll eventually each need your own copies of whatever books you're using for your characters.
As others have mentioned, I'd say character intros are one of the keys. As a GM, I always ask my players to introduce themselves and their characters, and leave it to them to tell us as much or as little as they want.
As a player, I frequently have to ask "Can we do character introductions before we start?", which bugs me, since the GM should be leading that. But more often than I'd like, they don't unless I ask.
The other thing to remember is that nobody plays copyright police at the table. If you're using things from 10 different books, and only own 2 of them, then someone might notice. But if you're new to Society play, have a "borrowed" copy of a book for one feat or spell, you can usually get away with it in the short term. But you really should buy the books yourself to be totally legit with it.
Reposting my standard character building advice:
When I make a new PC, I try to answer 4 questions (used to be 3, but I ended up with a couple of boring PCs, so added a 4th):
1. What's this character's specialty in combat? As long as the PC can do something that helps the party succeed in a fight, this can be anything, not just dealing damage, but make sure you're actually good at whatever this is. You don't have to be uber-optimized, but make sure you can contribute.
2. What does this character do in combat when they're specialty isn't an option? This is things like having a ranged weapon even though your character is a melee beast, or an enchantment based character having something they can do when facing mindless foes. Also, everyone should try to get some splash weapons for use against swarms, though that might have to wait until after your first adventure to be able to afford it.
3. What does this character do outside of combat? This isn't just for personality, this is also making sure you have something useful to contribute between fights. Sometimes, it's diplomacy or other face skills, even if it's just enough of a bonus to be the "aid another" guy behind the main face. Sometimes, it's knowledges, sense motive, or whatever other skills could come in handy between fights.
4. What personality traits will you be able to actively portray at the table? The above 3 questions are designed to make a playable PC by giving them something useful to do in most situations. This question was added afterwards to make a fun character. I had a couple of PCs that were mechanically interesting, but didn't have a personality. Or they had a detailed back story, but that didn't really give me something to role play at the table. This is about giving your PC personality, whether it's a distinctive voice, an obsession that you can play up, or whatever other quirk makes the PC fun to play.
Just ran this again yesterday (have now played and GMed it twice each), and I had trouble keeping up with the skill checks in that bar scene.
The problem wasn't so much the quantity of successes needed at each step, it was keeping track of which check should count for which step. Sometimes, planning, implementing the plan, and recovering from problems will overlap, and I find myself thinking "Which step does this count for, so what's the DC?"
In this case, there were only 3 PC's and a pregen, so they only needed 2 successes per step with the 4 player adjustment. It's a good thing, too, since they were rolling awful, and didn't exactly have any high skill characters.
And now that I've been through the scenario 4 times, I still have yet to have a group go to the ship. It's always the bar and the alchemist. These guys did everything else different than my previous runs, though:
1. They're the first group who didn't start a bar fight using the "Three Stooges" method to disrupt the meeting.
Yeah, kitsune minis are hard to come by.
I'm still surprised there haven't been more in the prepainted Pathfinder minis line for the races that are common in PFS. There are no kitsune, wayang, nagaji, or tengu at all in that line. Given the quantity of PFS players, those would have been good minis to include a lot earlier.
I'd recommend playing one or two Pathfinder Society games first, just to get used to the quirks of PFS.
Their published adventures are usually pretty good, but you are required to run them as written, so GM's who prefer to make it up on the fly sometimes have trouble adapting.
And it's been over a week now, and that scenario still isn't in my downloads.
As I said, I've GMed this 5 or 6 times, and I've never had that problem.