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This is actually a great topic, Zolan. I'm glad you brought it up.
I've run hundreds of sessions, and dozens of campaigns with all kinds of groups. Challenges, such as what you describe here, as well as many others, have killed countless campaigns. Real life circumstances tend to polish off those not murdered by drama.
Among those, I have had a few that did not really care about the game itself. It seemed that they were there more for the social aspect than any of the RP. Thankfully, that number runs low. Usually, I end up asking those people to leave. In a small group like the one you describe, I may just dissolve it altogether.
There are many, serious RPGamers out there... you just have to keep looking :)
Personally, I will be houseruling the slide that it still provokes unless used as part of a withdraw option. I know of a player who wasn't just sliding to get out of melee issues, but popping in right where he could do more damage with cone spells and the such. Even with my houserule, this skill is still plenty powerful for that reason alone. You can pop into exact position (in range) and fire off your spell...much easier than running into position while worrying about tripping AoOs.
Over the last four years, I've GM'd nearly a dozen campaigns and dozens of PFS games. In my home games, like most GMs, I use a list of house rules. My rules include the following...
As you can see, its quite similar to the arcanist in structure. While my version cannot meta on the fly, and has no arcane pool powers, they do get the same number of spells/day as the RAW wizard while having the arcanist's flexibility.
So, my opinion is not "armchair general" analysis, but opinion based on years and countless games of observation "in the field".
In short, my qualified, experienced opinion is This set up is not OP'd.
Over the years, I've had players complain to me when they play next to an optimized, pouncing barbarian, certain summoner builds, and a gunslinger. I have nurfed or outlawed most of those.
However, I've never had players complain, once, about feeling that their team wizard was overpowered. I have had other GM players who say they want to use this houserule. I believe there are two reasons for the GM *and* player love.
In PFS, where wizards must run as RAW, I find few wizards. They're very hard to play. You must prepare your spells ahead of time, oftentimes not knowing what you're going to face. And, if you want to cast a certain spell multiple times, you have to memorize it multiple times. The end result is that the fabled flexibility/adaptability of the wizard generally gives way as players memorize multiple copies of spells effective in the majority of situations, and don't bother with the more situational ones that make them feel more special. Taking away their ability to scribe scrolls in PFS(the best way to keep those situational spells on tap outside of arcane bond) makes it more difficult. Being squishy and generally not doing a lot of damage doesn't help, either.
In my home games, even with these rules (which clearly make wizards/casters more powerful) I don't find players banging down the door to play them (though I generally get balanced teams). Now, I've clearly made a powerful class more powerful. Why don't players bellyache, the way they gripe about some of the other, semi-broken classes? Simple. The way the wizard is OP'd mostly makes others shine. When a wizard buffs someone with invisibility, or crowd controls with stinking cloud, sets others up to knock those pins down. The wizard enables team awesomeness. Sure, I get the occasional evocation build that just kills things as often as possible, but true power gamin' wizards go for CC and buffage. Unlike, say, the OPd summoner build of death that consistently kills tough (or even some boss) mobs in on round... which drew comments from my players like "Why are we here? It's like we're the backup singers for the summoner."
So, this gets more people to play arcane (which always seems to be a need), and gives the wizard more ways to shine which, in turn, helps the entire party to feel more awesome. I think I'm OK with that :) The only ones who tend to feel the burn, here, are my lovely monsters. The added flexibility does allow the wizard to be more effective, more often in combat. But, hey, my enemy casters get to use the same rules, so its all good :)
I've given this a lot of thought...and I believe the right decision for me is to step down as GM of this campaign. Most of the reasons are personal. Mainly, as I look ahead to 2014, I want to reduce the number of concurrent campaigns I run so I can make the remaining campaigns a higher quality, deeper-RPG experience. Running contradictory to that is the fact that my responsibilities are increasing at work which makes this it more difficult to do just that on these play by posts. And, judging by the number and whatnot of the posts, many of you are in similar circumstances.
With that being said, I've loved this campaign so far, and I loved the roles and characters each of you have played. I brag about this group all of the time, and when it comes to getting in character, this group has been second to none. That's sayin' something since I've run over a half dozen campaigns since PF came out. Brandon, some of your posts are legendary. I love your character and the way you played him. Beppo, you've played the traditional in-your-face warrior I love so much very well. Kyle has made me laugh with his over the top love for the ways of Sheyln. Awesome stuff. And the rest of you too, of course!
Let me know what you think. Happy Holidays to all, as well.
Kyle looks carefully at the skull and body...and the items being held onto. He hates to interrupt the rest of the dead on one hand... but, on the other hand, he would hate to leave such lovely items behind. Their beauty must be redeemed, not left inside a dusty, dank Pathfinder Lodge.
As he looks carefully, he sneezes from the dusk.
Salud! the skull says, lying on the ground.
My apologies for taking so long to post...but I've been tied up.
Its becoming increasing clear to me that I don't have the time to keep up with this as I had hoped. I'm missing a lot of posting times...and even the ones I do hit, I'm often delaying higher priority items to make this happen. Unfortunately, I overestimated my ability to keep up with multiple things at once. I'm afraid that I'm going to have to suspend the game indefinitely :(
I want to thank you all for trying this out with me. In a better situation, I would have had more time to properly explain more and put down a better setting. I can understand why some of you feel lost at times. I just cannot keep up.
If that changes down the road, I'll email you guys first thing.
With that being said, again, thank you. And Merry Christmas/Happy New Year to you and and you family.
Ok...Well seems like most of you just want to play though. Fair enough. Be aware that for the next two weeks or so, my posting times may be off. Furthermore, there will be no postings from me on the following days...
Friday, Dec 20
Other days I have to play it by ear as I'll be in areas with limited internet connectivity. I'll do the best I can.
Even if I do not post, however, you can still post discussions between each other while waiting. Also, a number of you still need to post yoru background in the dropbox. Even if you have posted, you can feel free to add to what you have.
Well, I got some good news and bad news.
Bad news is Killian died. His heart just couldn't handle the fear. Killian, you will need to roll a d100 once revived, assuming you do.
Good news, the party found loot. I'll detailed everything you find on the body, using a take 10 on spellcraft with detect magic, and add it to the loot table this weekend.
Better news. Happy Holidays. The party level is now six.
1d20 ⇒ 121d20 ⇒ 21d20 ⇒ 11d20 ⇒ 16
Holy light pours from Kyle, causing the shadows and floating skull to sizzle and burn. Beppo slashes through multiple shadows as Aemon shoots the skull.
The shadows disappear, and the skull shatters into pieces on the ground. As the dust settles, you hear Damaia gasp. Killian? Killian! Wake up...I... I don't think he's breathing!! Killian!!!
Before you can attend to him, you see the bones of the skull coming together again.
Another Know: Religion check
I was kind of waiting for you all to declare what you want to do next. At the risk of sounding like a computer RPG or a which way book, you have numerous options at this point. You can drink at a tavern before heading to bed... you could wait out by the guild hoping someone opens the door sometime in the near future...you can follow up on the halfling's invite... you can ask people for information ... you can use diplo/Kn: local to listen/seek out rumors... And anything else you can think of.
Killian strides forward, and chops the head off. Instead of falling on the ground, however, it floats up into the air screaming Thieves! Thieves! Thieves!
As it does, chills go up Killian's spine. Three shadows come up from the bones, surrounding the party.
Killian, Will and Fort save. Everyone, COMBAT ACTIONS.
Taiyan - Spellcraft and Identifying items:
I know different GMs handle this differently. I'm a bit on the conservative side. First, the quote from Spellcraft... "Attempting to ascertain the properties of a magic item takes 3 rounds per item to be identified and you must be able to thoroughly examine the object." For me, 'closely examine' means you need to hold it. Part of using spellcraft is ascertaining tactile properties (an item that does fire damage or protection from fire is magically warm or cold to the touch, offering a clue as to what it does). Until you hold them, you are limited to using Detect magic to figure out their auras...in this case, you got a variety of weak to moderate strength auras ranging from enchantment to conjuration, I believe. From the skeleton itself, you sense rather strong necromancy and phantasm magic.
You look more carefully at the skeleton holding the items. You cannot see whats in the bag, but you do see magical leather armor. A magical ring sits on one bony finger, and a magical heavy crossbow sits across his legs. An magical quiver containing dozens of crossbow bolts and two magical javelins of is wedged between his bones and the back of the chair he sits in. A wayfinder is clutched in one hand, a dusty rose prism ioun stone set in the wayfinder’s central receptacle.
Toriel brushes against a brutish man. He immediately retaliates with a verbal assault. Hey, pointy ears! Watch where you're going. I guess you don't see too well with those eyes of yours!
He swears as he stomps off.
A halfling who witnesses the incident approaches her and says, Ummm, I'm sorry. Bukanuscanbeabitrudeattimes. Youlooklost. CanIhelpyouwithsomething? He sees that you're struggling to understand him, and he repeats what he said, slowly. Bukanus can be a bit rude at times. You look lost. Can I help you with something? You explain what you're looking for. Ah, well, the mage's guild is right in the middle of town. You can't miss it. It's the only three story building in Ushed.
Toriel thanks the older looking halfling. He replies, The pleasure is all mine. Let me show you a real Ushed welcome! Come to my house tonight at the corner of Main Street and Lanton. I'll make you and any friends you have some nice tea!
The well dressed halfling skips off.
And that would be a logical thought. Experience has taught me that players don't want to use it. Unless I specifically push for players to do so, I've seen players leave a dungeon/town/etc rather than entertain the thought that they missed something that obvious, lolz.
As long as *you* guys keep it in mind, it is a good thought. Remember, you don't get charged if there's no answer.
You try several of the keys. Finally, one of them works. You open the door and walk in. The walls of this room are lined with bookshelves. A velvet sofa along the southern wall contains a single skeleton clad in long-decayed rags, its arms wrapped tightly around a burlap bag bulging with unseen items. A scattered pile of junk sits on the floor before the skeleton, a corona of treasures and clutter alike. A message in Common is scrawled on the wall in huge crude lettering opposite the seated skeleton: “He who steals from me dies by my hand.” The grisly pile of skeletal remnants heaped in a mound in the center of the room seems to testify to this threat.
Nevuda is wearing a disguise, such as a heavy cloak, right?
Shallya/Toriel You look around, but you don't see one. Roll a Knowledge: Local (or, you may roll diplomacy to ask around), just in case you're missing something :)
Jark finds the constable, in charge of the Ushed malitia. A hearty man in his late 40's, Jark's story only seems to add lines under his aging eyes.
I'm very disappointed to hear that this small band of orcs pushed its way so far into our lands. Even more devistating, that they were able to cut down a number of our men. That's not good. He sighs heavily. Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about it. We have enough of our own problems here, and there's always too much on my own plate to worry about farmlands two weeks away. I'll be happy to mention it to the Royale Guard next time I meet with one of them.
In fact, listening to how you and your friends took care of those monsters, you may want to check in with them if you're in Silverfall or any major city that they have a presence in. They're always looking for mercenaries to take care of some of the smaller complaints.
I would just hate for you all to get stumped on something, like the keys. It's not the first time its happened, and I don't always have an NPC voice in the party. Some of these dungeons and situations literally become dead ends if you don't remember some of these details.
And as much as you don't have time to write/read...well, searching / scanning and entire month of posts (or more) takes a bloody long time, hahahaha. And it doesn't seem fair to presume that someone else will do it, and/or remind you (as a player) of those necessary details.
I'm open to other suggestions as well. Just trying to address what I see as a re-occuring concern here. With that being said, it's not a critical concern... yet :P
Thoughts about lost keys In most of my regular campaigns, I have players maintain a log of events. In the play by posts, I haven't requested that since we can see the full history in writing here. Yet, in talking about this situation with one or two of you, no one recalled the keys found in the cove or anything. And, it turns out it's a bit of a pain to read through page after page of gameplay to find that one thing you need to recall. Perhaps a journal *is* in order? Thoughts?