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The best thing I could say is to rp the enemies. This makes things more diverse. But it puts the onus of responsibility on the villain not you.
For instance if the party fights assassins I will ruthlessly coupe de gras.
If the party fights what basically amounts to an animal it will run when it feels it is beaten. But it will might also FEEd. If the giant alligator drops the rogue unconscious. The beast will bite down and drag the victum away from the party trying to protect its kill.
Thugs will flee.
Enemies who expect to fight or defend their home will have and use tactical advantage and utilize surroundings, call for help, and so on.
I provided the following to my gang. It included my own take on the code as well as examples of pirate codes both made up and historic. Perhaps this will help.
Code of Besmara- The code has undergone many changes over the years to serve different captains and purposes. Longer and more complex versions are known to exist but most agree these are additions of famous captains than from the will of Besmara. While this list is vague it is used in the creation of longer and more complex codes of most pirate vessels. The Code of Besmara often serves as the framework for sometimes lengthy bylaws. It is common for pirates to advise someone to look at the size of a ship’s charter. Too long is the sign of a litigious captain and crew given to loopholes often aimed at cheating sailors of their due. Too short is the sign of a rookie crew and captain who will have a long road of contentiousness ahead till reasonable guidelines are struck.
1. Ye don’t sail or ride for Free
2. Blood and sweat has a price
3. Fortune favors the courageous action but martyrs and fools don’t live to spend the reward
4. One fool can sink a whole crew
5. Keep ye blades sharp and boots ready
6. There is no rule 6
7. Neither soft-hearts or tyrants can keep a ship or crew long
8. If ye fall behind ye gets left behind
9. Keep the peace of the ship
10. The code is more a guideline than actual rules
Common Code Expectations
1. Ye don’t sail or ride for Free
· Ye work not ye eat not- The captain, quartermaster, first mate, boswain or a vote of the crew can deny food, water or grog to any able bodied member of the crew who does not work. Only by captain’s command or vote of the crew can charity be given. If a crewmember wishes to bestow charity on the lazy it comes from their own rations.
· Each crewman gets a wage, and a share in the treasure, that captain gets 3shares, the quartermaster, first mate, and sailing master get 2.
2. Blood and sweat has a price
· Double normal wages (Hazard Pay) will be paid the man or woman who braves a hazard be it battle or daring on behalf of the ship or proper order.
· Any sailor injured in performance of orders shall receive full wages and a share in plunder just as any who is fit until ships doctor finds them able. If they lose a digit they get 200 gold. If they lose a limb 800 gold.
3. Fortune favors the courageous but neither martyrs nor fools live to spend the reward
· Often quoted but rarely additional ship rules attached
4. One fool can sink a whole crew
· Sailors found deficient in their duties will be left in the nearest safe port.
· No open flames below deck, light a lantern. Sailors who court with fire below deck will be marooned.
· If any crewman acts in violation of local law or custom outside of the chain of command risks the whole crew. Such a sailor can be left to his fate.
5. Keep ye blades sharp and your boots ready
· All crew must keep their weapons ready, clean and fit for action failure will result in being left in the nearest safe port
· Cowardice before the enemy or desertion of post is punishable by death (provided the sailor is not under enchantment)
6. There is no rule 6
· Often quoted for things that a crew feel should be self-explanatory. Though it is likely an insult to Asmodeous is often associated with excessive rules and the number six and is one of the principle targets of Besmara’s own efforts.
7. Neither soft-hearts nor tyrants can Captain a ship long
· Like several other items in the code this one results in few rules but is often invoked when a captain is viewed to soft, weak, or alternatively cruel or reckless with the lives of the crew.
8. If ye fall behind ye gets left behind
· Easily the most broken of the code. While it expresses the somewhat callous nature of pirates captains or crews take a measure of pride of rescuing crewmembers or even engaging in revenge. But the flip side is also true. Piracy is a bloody business and it should not be the crews fault that someone unable to the task took the risk.
9. Keep the peace of the ship
· Disputes are to be settled by arbitration of the Captain or First-mate. If that fails any grudge must be set aside till the crew members are off ship and in safe harbor.
· Stealing from crew members is punishable by marooning.
· While a crewman has the right to put issues to a vote no direct order during the course of sailing or in times of danger will be disobeyed. Insubordination will result in a lashing. Grumbling against the captain or officers will result a flogging.
10. The code is more guidelines than actual rules
· While generally no actual law of ship is created with this guideline it is often invoked when exceptions are warranted or defiance of the rules is prudent.
• Every member of the crew gets an equal share of treasure.
Real world example
Honor Among Thieves
I. Every man has a vote in affairs of the moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment.
II. Every man to be called fairly in turn, by list, on board of prizes because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. But if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels, or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.
III. None shall game for money, either with dice or cards.
IV. The lights and candles to be put out at eight o'clock at night: if any of the crew, after that hour, still remain inclined for drinking, they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.
V. Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass, and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
VI. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man were to be found seducing any of the latter sex, and carrying her to sea in disguise, he shall suffer death.
VII. He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
VIII. None shall strike another aboard the ship, but every man's quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner: at the word of command from the Quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall walk an agreed upon number of paces, turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the Quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim, they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draws first blood shall be declared the victor.
IX. No man to talk of breaking up their way of living, till each had shared £1,000. If in order to do this, any man should lose a limb, or become a cripple in their service, he was to have 800 pieces of eight from the common stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately.
X. The Captain and Quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize: the Master Gunner and Boatswain, one share and a half, and all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.
XI. The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only, by right, on all other days, by favor only.
I have tried on several occasions to play Kerpca basically a squirrel. One DM I had in 3.5 made a go at the race. He thought it worked best as tiny and allowed it to be pretty fast. I never got to use it cause the campaign fell apart.
One of the other players was a very strong Goliath. My plan was to run around for one round around enemies with rope and then end the round handing the rope to the Goliath and yelling "pull."
You mean like Queen albums. Flllllaaaaasssssshhhh AHHH ah.
1- Out of time characters- human astronaut in a more ancient time setting.
I think the issue should not be formulaic CR -4 or whatever your work is harder.
1- Use monsters that do not have defenses only magic can defeat. Either to not pick them or make it so mundane items that are made of silver, cold iron or whatever material you want effect them.
2- Adjust monsters so that their magical abilities do not overwhelm the reduced magical defenses of the party.
Elf children after the age of 12 are sent as apprentices to a far off land actually on a whole other plane where they work as slave labor for a degenerate fat elf who uses them to assemble toys. He keeps them in line with psychologically terrifying combination of holiday songs and making them addicted to candy canes and egg nog. After 80 or 90 years of this slavery the elves are returned to their communities where they begin a sort of occupational therapy learning ti chi like sword and bow techniques to forget their troubles.
1- Explain that it is locked into a robitcs law paradox and must destroy itself.
2- Treat it real nice so that when it falls in love with you it explodes.
3- Trap it in some sort of trash compactor.
4- While in the future reprogram it to go back in time to protect you now.
5- Knowledge Robotics=off switch.
6- If Earth based robots are analogous run up the nearest stairs and laugh.
7- Hack wireless network give it a virus.
8- Hack wireless network self destruct command.
Also PF is not generally a Points of Light setting but it is a "the wilderness is dangerous" setting. Also depending on where you are there are varying degrees of governing authority with the ability to respond to situations. I mean the River Kingdoms pretty much are a Point of Light situation and when you get there the "light" is held by murderous bandits. Large sections of Varisia are wild, almost all the southern continent, are we calling the shackles government. Certainly Andoran, Nidal, Taldor, Cheliax, Osiri, Absoam and other places will have different resources and responses. However in all of these places you run into squirrely humanoid tribes running amok from time to time. Part of the fun of Gol is that it incorporates from multiple genres. You can play a pirate game in a few places, Points of Light game in the River Kingdoms, nation-state level intrigue around the inner sea oh and high science fantasy in Numeria.
If you want to talk about a world building aspect that breaks down its that all these places co-exist cohesively and separately at the same time.
Spook I don't think we disagree. I am just saying that I like the PCs to feel special. They do have peers just less than it felt in past editions.
Think about it this way. In Star Wars Leia appealed to Obi Wan as her only hope. This sort of plea adventurers hear a lot. However in some worlds this means the word "only" needs to be redefined. I mean if every city has a team of rapid response troubleshooters of 10th level answering to a wizard who can keep 7th level spells on the table some one walking in and telling the PCs that only they can address the problem is odd.
Don't get me wrong. They still need to get to the higher levels its just that there is a lot less company up there. Also certainly higher level issues like dragons or cadres of giants do from time to time rise up narratively I would suggest that it happens rarely not biannually.
Uncommon but not unheard of is how I try to play things.
Well I think the gnome obsession (which can be applied to many things) covers the tinkering, crafting, gemcutting of old. Culturally gnomes have the element of being fey touched being from the first world and the aspect of the bleaching.
I would say halflings are more easily lost among humans than gnomes.
It probably my take on things but I really think PF saved gnomes from being a little bit everything that they were in previous generations they were kinda like dwarves but skinny kinda like elves but small, kinda like halflings but more magicy.
I always aim for as low as possible outside the party. Granted you need governments to not be push overs but I want the PCs to eventually feel special and significant as early as possible and for as long as possible. Even if they are fighting foes that challenge them. I want the players to feel after a while like they are growing into the legendary hero status. In previous additions PC felt like the B team because every hamlet in Forgotten Realms has an epic level caster as their benefactor or ruler. Apparently they cant be troubled with this crisis that might wipe out their beloved city so we must rely on the B team cause Dritzzt is out dancing with snow leopards.
I treat NPC classes differently. I stop dealing with the hit points for most experts commoners or aristocrats after a few levels but allow them to gain skills and or feats. This means I can create a level 16 expert tavern owner as a social challenge and have a built in xp reward for a level 14 party.
I usually treat guard captains, local well known crafts people around 5-8 level. Government officials, regionally known masters at 8-12 level. Beyond that is pretty rare.
My point was the promotion of gritty realism just for me immersion is broken when people use strategy based on some game mechanics and not real world thinking. My example has flaws. I just prefer it when real world tactics line up with in game tactics. It breaks immersion for me when a math problem that has nothing to do with heroics or reality breaking trumps sound real world tactics.
I prefer magic as rare and items as special. However I tend to play as RAW. What I found is that there is a huge difference from you can buy what you want when you want and how buy magic items is presented. That alone made it a lot easier on me.
Whenever we get to town. I will actually roll up a few shops from this generator.
If its a small town I will just to a general store. If it is larger I will do a few shops. When people start asking for who can make what they can but it there is a wait and cost for pushing you way up the wait list.
For me it has worked a good balance. Its not item entitlement syndrome or death by no item.
John John wrote:
I uses the prices as guidelines not set prices. I do this for everything. I am famous for asking my players to find the listed price while I deal with something else. When they tell me the price I always adjust it up or down. Even if I don't want to rp every sale. I will tell them mundane items are available at +10% list price. There is a 75% chance that you can find alchemical gear and after an after noon of gathering info you find these randomly rolled items are available for sale also at +10% list. The next town will be different. I will allow the party face to try to diplomacy a better deal through haggling and gain a 10 or 20% discount one way or the other. Some stuff you just can't fence.
The biggest thing that could say about magics effect on economy is to gauge how common I want magic to feel. One of the things I liked about Golorian is that after a few levels I felt the PCs were major contributors to the city or region rather than just one of several hundred random adventures around many of whom are higher level and every point of interest has an epic level NPC handling the "real problems." I mean after 5th or 6th level in Curse of the Crimson Throne I felt awesome. There was no 24th level Elminster or 23rd level Drizzist to be the real mover and shaker. We were Korvosa's only hope, even the captain of the town guard thought so and the BBEG of the whole campaign was threatened by us.
Don't confuse the fact that every time you play there is magic going on and strange ruins to explore to mean its not special or unique to the world at large. You may not be the only wizard in the world but you might be one of the few people have ever met.
You can now play an effective rogue in the modern adventure format.
Part of the 3.x change to traps made them easy to implement but they are by in large a single skill check or a hp tax if you don't have the skills or ability to bypass. Elaborate puzzles are not as much a part of the current fluff of games like they were in the 10 pole days. Add to that that much of character contribution is decidedly combat based and other "skilled" classes have spells or other options. This makes the rogues lagging behind the fighter harder to swallow. Enter the Slayer. Full BAB enough skills to hang out with skilled kids at the lunch table and hits often enough to by on the line next to the melee bunch.
The rogue is now pretty much an NPC class.
They seem to really hate people who build houses too or dog houses.
If you did awaken a house and it started taking class levels what would be a good class to focus on?
I would suggest some variant of arcanist. I mean you want your hose to be prepared for specific things but you also want it to be spontaneous not so stodgy. You know not to formal but could still whip up an impromptu heroes feast.
Cool. Now finally we can assemble a team made up of a Human Gunslinger, a pair of Half-orc Slayers, a Wyrwood Druid and a Raccoonfolk Alchemist and have them team up with a wheelchair-bound Human Psychic and his uncanny students on a quest to save the galaxy from Dominion of the Black.
You seriously made me stop reading this thread and look for Raccoonfolk.
Totally. Its almost like the build came up on the boards so many times that someone had to do the Captain Andoran archetype.
You might consider a higher teir of gods thus limiting the # of keys.
Use events or small complexes rather than 20-30 room dungeons.
For instance a short mystery discovering undead, which unfolds into dramatic revealing of undead localized zombie outbreak. This could be 2 or 3 encounters and some investigation as opposed to dungeon exploration.
Specialization breeds weakness. He made choices. I am not suggesting you go swinging for his jugular every encounter every time. But 9 levels is a long time for a gaping weakness not to have come calling. Also if any enemies see that he is that incredible then he is a target. Smart enemies fight smart especially when they want to live. Sometimes it happens.
Between Plunder & Imfamy, Ship combat, Fleet combat and skill checks aboard ship has anyone made a document that might serve as a 1 or 2 page at a glance distilled version of the campaign specific stuff. That would be amazing and save me the trouble of making one or commissioning one of my players to make one.
Male Aasimar (Plumekith)- Scion of Humanity
Vital Stats:Gestalt- Slayer/Monk (Weapon Adept)8
HP 88/88 (AC 25, T 24, F 13) Saves: F 8, R 11, W 10 Init: 4 Perception: 14
Catwoman and I have discussed a previous meeting. I added it to my history. But for the lazy here you go:
Previous Meeting with Selena Kyle AKA Catwoman:
Korvosa is city who has made corruption part of its judicial system. Rather than competing with Falconi's mob, Fisque's trade company which includes the Cerulean Society. Imagine a city where a known thieves guild agent walks the streets in the trademark blue collecting protection money in the open. When caught significant legal protections and lessor sentencing kicks in. That is Korvosa.
Mathias Murdock a journeyman barrister working with his master Franklin Nellsken volunteers for a case in the legal defense of a young hard edged woman, Selena Kyle. Kyle a locally famous burglar is being denied the softer treatment by the law that normally extended to her. It seems as Murdock has explained that her employer is prepared to burn her and let her suffer the full extent of the law. Despite her predicament she refuses to do as council directs, rejecting an offer of lighter sentence to testify against her employer. Despite Murdock's pleas for her not to be the stooge she stood firm. Throwing his efforts back at him mocking his idealism. She made a pass at him. He saw it as her way of ending the discussion. Though he was sorely tempted.
Selena though sentenced an extended time in prison was able to break out. Using a distraction among other prisoners arranged by her likely. She looked up Mathias Murdock at home intrigued by him. Thinking a blind administrative type an easy target. Mathias woke suddenly and an altercation ensued. Shocked by the fighting skill of a blind man Selena fled.
Well given Matt Murdock's list of ladies if they ever did a DC/Marvel crossover I am sure just to keep the trend going he would have to hook up with some one. In fact I will have to review the Marvel versus DC books from the 90s and see if Daredevil did work his black magic or if one of the 2 Amalgam characters that pulled from Daredevil got enough ink for a date.
Yoda is in-fact a hobbit.
In the early days of the 4th age of Arda (later known as earth) a hobbit, Bilbo who for a time was the bearer of a ring of great power left that planet sometimes called Middle Earth as it in the ancient cosmology it was Mid-way between the realm of Illuvatar and the "underworld." He left this Middle Earth along with many residents of the planet to join the powerful Valar in their realm in the "heavens."
While for many the story ends here but few know that it does not end. You see Hobbits are strange and resilient creatures. One of their number possessed an evil artifact for many decades and experienced many mutations that in some artist rendering give his skin a greenish hue in addition to giving him a wicked soar throat and big eyes.
It has been suggested by some that this time among the Valar was ended for some unknown reason he left the idyllic realm of the Valar whose planet has not been identified, to journey to a distant galaxy. Their are several reasons given for several physialogical changes that this hobbit under went though most suggest that the lack of natural starlight or poor oxygen filters caused a pigment change from the normal hobbit pinkish hue to a more sage green. Additionally it is suggested that when first admiring a laser sword he was somewhat clumsy and damaged his his ears and lopped off several fingers. While surgeons were able to save both his ears stuck out funny and the reconstruction of his hands left him with only two fingers and a thumb on each hand.
The strange pattern of speech he developed some have suggested is due to playing bridge with old friends, Gandalf, Rhadagast, and Elrond feeling he had no way to compete with their actual wisdom he adopted a strange and backward way of speaking which forced people to ponder his words and in the end seemed more wise.
Once in this strange new galaxy some sort of magic symbiotic parasite really liked his mutated skin cells so much that he was first paraded around as some sort of curiosity because of the "high mitochlorian" count. Eventually they figured he should be trained in the manipulation of this quazi-divine magic prevalent in that galaxy.
It is unclear exactly when he started going by the new name Yoda but people from his original planet, in that era, changed their name all the time for example; Ellessar/Aragorn/Strider, & Mythrandir/Gandalf.
I have noticed a few people speaking about cannons. Having them not having them. How having them makes the fight with the Filthy Lucre less special. I have yet to roll this out yet but I had a different way to play this than I have seen talked about.
Some are having no cannons except Bonefists as the AP is written.
Others are having lots of cannons and just having a great old time.
My crew has yet to deal with any cannons. Just starting book 2. However one of the characters did lay eyes on one of the items Harrigan wanted off the Man's Promise. I showed him a pic of an early European cannon. If you have never seen one they are quite small and rather than shooting cannon balls shoot a short heavy arrow.
Through the course of their career they will encounter and search after a number of competing cannon tech. My thought process was that being where they are located in a very diverse area with influences from Vudra, the far east analogs (which I can't spell off the top of my head) as well as competing Inner Sea interests. This means that the will encounter a variety of weapons. Like the early cannon described above. Perhaps they will also meet the early chinese style cannons that the carved in the shapes of dragons that were essentially rockets similar to bottle rockets. My thought that these cannons will do varying degrees of damage at varying rates of speed a varying degrees of reliability and of course varying degrees of danger for the crew firing it.
Once I finish my write up I will post it. Though I wanted to bring up the idea to see if anyone else had similar ideas or ideas that would gel well. My hope is this will create 1- a real arms race and technology aspect to things 2- create very diverse strangeness to ships that reflect the great diversity of the Shackles 3- It gives the fun and flavor of cannons without giving the PCs or other ships encountered long before Bonefist weapons that rival the Hurricane King.
The best advice I can give you is not to hold back and flagrantly ignore the Meta aspect of the game.
No one remembers that time your character played it safe (even if playing it safe is a good idea).
If your half-elf warrior type is sensitive about his mixed heritage and someone talks down about half breeds around him. PUNCH HIM! Even if its not you he insulted.
If you play a happy go lucky thrill seeking pick pocket . . . umm pick pockets.
You are an ornery hairy dwarf. Evil nasties are up to no good. You just smashed 6 goblins. The elf is studying the elaborate tapistries, the rogue is looking at a locked box, the cleric and ranger are searching the room and then some dern fool brings up going over the wall searching for "hidden doors" as if all places have the time and resources for such tricks. Every room they search for hours after a few minutes of action. . . . Well screw this . . . "When yew navel gazers are finished admiring the 'aqutrimon' yew cin join me cracking gobber skull." March to the next door and kick it in.
Go back through the history here it is invaluable.
We are between book 1 and 2. I have them running around on some side adventures.
My biggest tip: There are a lot of NPCs. I got a pic of all of them. Even if they did not have a pic in the book. When interacting with them I would show them a pic and really play up some aspect of their personality. It totally helped. It prevented the crew from becoming a faceless commodity some of them are in relationships, some of the NPCs have real status in the crew. It really keeps the world breathing for them.
There is an excel sheet that one of the forumites did that tracks attitude, populated their foot locker, and so on. http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2o0pc?Skull-Shackles-NPC-Attitude-Helper#1
sabedoriaclark developed a system for the whole party for ship to ship combat that is based on the default system. http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2p54b?Naval-Combat-For-a-Whole-Party#8
Consider making some of the standard sailor or pirate weapons marshal or simple so people do not need to spend a feat.
Figure out what type of game you want to run alignment wise 1- Happy go lucky pirates of the Carribean (Jack Sparrow, Han Solo, all of the cast of Firefly). 2- Rape and pillage torturing pricks (real villans). This is really important if the pirates are mostly good Han Solo, Robin Hood types you need to really sell Cheliax as the evil imperialist empire and Kerdak Bonefist is Jabba the Hut. If they are really evil d-bags themselves you will want to send the law after them.
Figure out the system of "how the politics of a pirate ship works." There are several systems. The AP assumes similar to Wormwood; Captain- First Mate-Bosun and then had other officers that were incharge of things. Your players may be familiar with the show "Black Sails" where the position of Quartermaster is essentially the First Mate. The captain is elected by the crew and only really in charge in fights. While the Quartermaster is the voice of the crew. If they research pirate ships they will find this system or variants of it on a number of websites. I suggest you make it clear before you start. Movie pirate captains (and Harrigan for that matter) are tyrannical/beloved leaders of the ship that everyone will obey). The Black Sails or quasi-historical bunch feel more like a brutal democratic meritocracy.
Come up with multiple pirate underworld personalities. It is way to easy for everyone you deal with feel similar. Its a pirate campaign after all you don't want the Captain Barbosa parade of NPCs
I am really enjoying this flavor of game so I added a lot of additional and side content. There is a list of pirate adventures that are pure gold. http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2oho7?Dungeon-Issues-Module-Recommendations#1