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So I have been trying to encourage pirate/swashbuckling shenanigans a number of people have suggested action or hero points. A tweaked it a little to play on the theme and to steer things more in the pirate stunt awesomeness.
Take a look.
Tell me I am crazy.
What are Pieces of Eight:
Pieces of Eight are an adventure/hero point system for Swashbucklers. Pieces of Eight (Po8) allow characters to take dramatic action at key moments.
Po8 give character the means to affect game play in significant ways, by improving important rolls or unlocking special abilities. Each character has a limited number of Po8, and once a Po8 is spent, it is gone for good.
Po8 also make it more likely that the use of a character's most potent abilities will be successful. For example, although its overall effect on an encounter might be minimal, few things frustrate a paladin more than missing with a smite attack—an event that becomes less likely when using Po8. That said, Po8 can also lead characters to routinely get in over their heads (relying on Po8 to save themselves), and for GMs to unconsciously increase the difficulty of encounters (since characters are more likely to succeed against foes of equal power). This is as fine as long as the characters have a reserve of such points to spend—but if they run out, encounters that would otherwise be merely challenging can become incredibly deadly. Keep the number of Po8 available to your characters in mind when designing encounters.
For GMs who are worried that Po8 increase the power level of characters without an offsetting cost, there's an easy solution. Just think of each Po8 as a one-use magic item with a broad range of possible effects. With that analogy, it becomes easy to justify reducing the amount of treasure awarded to balance out the accrual of Po8. Note that this is merely a tool for GMs interested in carefully monitoring character power levels; Po8 should never be for sale.
Using Pieces of Eight:
You can spend 1 Po8 either to add to a single d20 roll, to take a special action, or to improve the use of a feat.
You can spend 1 Po8 in a round. If you spend a point to use a special action (see below), you can't spend another one in the same round to improve a die roll, and vice versa.
Add to a Roll
You're a Class Act
Who Needs a Shield
All Together Now
One More for Good Measure
Negate Miss Chance
I have yet to flesh the idea out and I mentioned it in a previous thread but I was thinking of having an uncharted island (probably movable) that was a tweak of Neverland from Peter Pan. A heavy fey touched island with a small colony of children.
I am trying to work out if it is a twisted place where it is evil crazy weird fey in which case I see Peter Pan being something like a "Spring Heeled Jack." Or if it is a place very much like Neverland where lost children of shipwrecks have been saved by Besmara (There has to be a reason she is not completely evil right). The island would of course be full of natural hazards and creatures the residents know to avoid.
Mythic +10 Artifact Toaster wrote:
No I am really sorry I did not realize what sub forum this was. I saw Epic level and thought of the WOTC Epic Handbook.
10. At port a seed trader sells on of the crew a cute little ball of fur reportedly from the continent of Acadia. The little buggers reproduce at an incredible rate. They also have voracious appetites and are not above chewing wood. Problem: THE SHIP IS MADE OF WOOD. Incidentally they are calm and often purr when almost any race pets them they however screech horrifically around orcs.
So I was reading some of the 101 things that happen at camp or in town threads and realized that once your off the Wormwood most situations are external to the ship. When I watch Star Trek, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica some threats or problems should come from the ship. Yes I know those are all sci fi but there is some overlap. The setting changes but the plot remains the same. Here are few things that I thought would make for some fun.
1. Aretta Banison is a former prostitute since moving over to the new ship she has realized that with regular pay there is a steady stream of those who have money to spend. Several sailors come down with the clap.
Another hilarious moment was Jack Scrimshaw hitting on one of the PCs. I played him like Mclovin from Superbad. He is nervous but brash. Trying to play tough in front of the other pirates. So when the Druid asked how someone so young got on board I said the best pick up line I could.
"I am older than I look, perhaps I can show you, they call me Jack Scrimshaw cause I'm good with the bone."
Oh he rolled a Nat 20 on the diplomacy.
Well we had a great time with the session. The fatigue effects, knowledge and heal checks made them wary of the rum. There is a Druid and a Caiden cleric in our bunch so they are already being termed "scroll" thumpers. This will turn on them. But so far it has been good. I am moving in waves Plugg and Scourge are pricks. To they don't like you stage. The are moving into the trying to royally screw you phase.
The bloody hour I liked because I used Dudemiester's clock idea. The clock requires punishment one of the reasons such sick jerks dole out the punishments.
High points. One of our group Urdnot our barbarian is a half orc. When Cutthroat met him she made a passing joke about hooking up. She fully expected it to be ignored. He looked at the gross picture of her and made it clear he would be into it. He rolled diplomacy and hit pretty high I figured not many pirates are trying to hook up with her. So he has been shacking up with her. This also will pass. They were without the barbarian for the day two welcome fist fight cause he was sleeping with Grok.
Our merry band not only got Rosie's violin back but stole Cronchobar's lute and tossed in the bilges.
Our ugly swine goblin befriended Owlbear.
Remember that there are multiple reasons to worship a force of evil in this sort of setting only one of which is hey I am evil and want to accomplish evil things. One might worship a diety out of respect or fear of its great power. I.E. Hey at the end of they day this guy Rovagug is the biggest baddest force going I want to be on his good side. This is closely related to Rovagug is powerful beyond measure even the other gods we must appease him with our humble worship so that he does not destroy us or to delay that destruction. For instance Shiva in Hinduism is part of the cycle of death and rebirth on a universal scale. One day Shiva will destroy all things so that the cycle can begin again.
Now if your Barbarian does more than express a troubling philosophy that you disagree with you might consider action but at this point he has taken little direct action.
You can tell them that new characters need to have some experience with Harrigan. Perhaps you could make up a new batch of Campaign traits that give each character reason to hate/fear Harrigan.
Sweatbox Delirum- You were once a conscript of the infamous Barnabas Harrigan a chance remark landed you in the sweatbox. You do not recall for how long. This experience would have killed most however you have by luck or some unexplained reason developed a resistance to hot weather. You gain a +2 to saving throws dealing with hot weather.
Lost legacy- You have learned that your father left many years ago to take up the life of a humble sailor to earn his fortune and provide for your family. Word has reached your family that he was killed brutally at the hands of the infamous pirate lord Barnabas Harrigan. You set out against your mother's wishes to chase down the scoundrel. Your desire for vengeance consumes you and developed in you a sense of unrelenting purpose granting you a +2 to all will saves.
Scorned Dream- You grew up in a port town in the shackles. Seeing the pitiful existence of city life scraping ends off the scraps of pirate tables you longed to enter the sweet trade. You were weaned on pirate tails. Still young you signed on as cabin boy aboard the ship of the pirate captain Barnabas Harrigan. Your turn aboard ship was not as glamorous as you hoped you learned that Harrigan was brutal, wicked and not unwilling to betray those closest to him. This experience taught you much about human nature granting you a +2 to sense motive and sense motive is always a class skill for you.
These are just a few examples I would look at the characters they are thinking of playing and revamp the benefits of other traits with a story that makes Harrigan an important part of their story.
Neckerchief of the Scout Lads
Also sedentary pirates like most organized crime ventures eventually turn to politics, corruption and protection rackets. Like the current agreement with Sargava to not raid their ships. Barbary pirates survived for decades by only pillaging ships from countries and companies that would not pay tribute. America's first foreign war was because Jefferson did not want to pay the extortion money. So he created the Navy/Marines to fight back against the pirates. Most European countries just paid the money and were annoyed that we went all cowboy and caused trouble.
This sort of Pirate extortion seems a great way to go for the Shackles. It also sets up a power struggle between bloated entrenched pirate lords like Kerdak and upstart "honest pirates" earning plunder by the sweat of their brow.
Traps are part of the legacy of the game. Ironically people use less traps and then complain the Rogue is useless.
Old school traps were sometimes heavy handed and unfair. Which a little thought can correct. Not using traps is fine but they can be used for dynamic and add to the feel of dread that should be felt going into a dungeon.
The use and placement should be considered logically placing traps illogically and in such a way that it feels unrealistic is a GM or Adventure design failure not a defect in the concept of using traps.
A wizard who traps his area rug yes is likely to lose an underling. Certainly that is different from trapping the secret compartment that the extra spellbook is in makes sense not to mention the Snake Sigils in its pages.
As I already said this is not a one I would say deserves to be labeled evil.
That said there are plenty of examples of this in multiple cultures that would be considered evil. Desecrating the corpse even of an enemy is something plenty of cultures look down on. I would not bother to make an issue of it at the table but the question is not out of left field.
Optimism is not my nature but I think there is a pervasive pessimism about the future.
Paizo cut its chops making content for a what was a tired bloated system whose only income stream was power creep. They made money then by injecting solid content via Dragon, Dungeon and Adventure Paths. They then upped that bet by rather than transitioning to the new system but instead saying lets keep 3.x going by publishing Pathfinder RPG.
My point is that more than anyone else Paizo should be aware that substantive content trumps new editions. Now a new edition my happen at some point but I hope that its a long time away because I don't in anyway see the need for drastic change. What I will always see the need for is engaging content. New editions recycle content.
I want the guys to have jobs too but your prophecy of doom I think is misplaced. Look at it this way. Compare 3.0 power creep to PF power creep I think they have done a far superior job at keeping things balanced other than the Summoner and the Master of Many Styles. 2E lasted almost a decade. Expanding relevant content has been the success of Pathfinder. People still play chess, checkers, Monopoly ect without significant rules change.
I am still of the opinion that a new Pathfinder Edition would suck. Its not necessary. They have a great system they have a great world. Given that most the important rule books are free. They are making money off support material, adventure paths, minis, paper minis, maps, and all sorts of stuff. Much of which would be made obsolete by a new edition. Which is why many people play Pathfinder because they did not want to stop playing 3.5.
If they want to do a rules super book or recombine the rules including FAQ material and so forth that would be great for new players who want to buy the books. The pathfinder special sauce is keeping their content relevant over time. For instance their first AP (made prior to the release of their game) is still selling.
As for what they should do about DND Next. I think they should keep doing what they have been doing when they see innovations in other systems roll them back into their system. If there are worthwhile features to the new system then incorporate them.
I don't think one on one for Pathfinder is going to have the right chemistry. Part of the magic of the gaming table is the experience, the chatter, the laughter as well as dynamic play and roleplaying.
Ideally a fighter or barbarian seems like a simple play but honestly invest the time in letting her get excited about the type of adventurer she wants to play.
Tone down the inside jokes and assumed knowledge. For example when combat starts give insights that her character knows that she may not and let them informer her choices. Even if the insights have no mechanical value it will help get into the mindset. If she is a fighter add tactical information about the room with words like, "you notice," "training has taught you," "experience has shown" and so on. This feels like you are describing the room but you are setting the stage for some of the options that a character of her class might normally naturally go for. This prevents the need to coach later. It is so much better when you describe the room and finish off with a statement like, "as an experienced archer you see a table already knocked over off to the right which might be ideal for cover and keep you from aiming around the backs of those who while likely charge into the fray." Or "As a monk light and fast on your feet know that you have a chance of reaching the enemy in the rear who seems to be casting some sort of spell or taking aim at one of your fellows."
Let the character roll up, give him just money and no gear. The last line of his back story should be, "Over the last few months I have been conscripted as a slave in Chelaxian Navy, aboard the pirate hunter 'Dominator.' Tonight have taken my chance as luck would have it the scoundrel of a leftenant beat me one to many times. I beat him to death with a batten, took his weapons, and money including a number of gems he kept on his person."
If you want to be generous give him a few items of your random choice not his off the Leftenant and the cash comparable to the party not WBL.
This fits into the book, it starts him out as a nobody and it gives him the cash but should end the temptation of viewing the character as some rich noble fop at a semi secret dry dock.
When ever I hit something I know what it is I make judgement call as to how obscure whatever it is. If I imagine that my fighter has only heard that trolls are hard to kill I race forward with my shocking burst weapon. If its a toss up. I will directly ask if I know. Chances are I will have to make a knowledge check. We always laugh when we make inappropriate conclusions.
Well most bards I have played or encountered primary in something that they can do with a weapon in hand; comedy, oration, singing, dancing rather than whipping out the lute mid fight.
I tend to think of it more like the bard is insulting the enemy like Spiderman while kicking tail.
Dancing about acrobatically in a performance o death.
Calling out an ancient tale that invokes power that blurs the line between arcane and divine, Aragorn yelling about Elbereth while hacking at wraiths in Fellowship of the Ring.
I have never seen The One Ring. I did read through the LOTR RPG fast play adventure and it was pretty cool. I have a friend who really recommends The One Ring.
I know for our 3.e excursion into ME I used a mix of homebrew and Merp adventures and that worked fine. I would just use analogous stat blocks and reroll NPCs.
The biggest thing I can suggest if you want the feel of ME. Put everthing in context. There are no such things as +1 swords. There are hardend blued steel dwarf broadswords. Purge as much metagame language as you can. Yes it functions as a +1 longsword but do your best to keep things part of the culture, or rare and special. Nothing is without a place or story.
In keeping with my above theme I was thinking of another option that might be interesting in a "fantastic" 3rd level treasure trove.
Splinter- This seemingly inacuous wooden toy sword is fashioned from sturdy oak. One could imagine a child swinging this sword about as a pretend greatsword. It functions as a +1 longsword in the hands of a medium sized adult. Normally such a mundanely crafted item would not be enchanted much less be an intelligent item. The sword is imbued with the spirit of an elderly paladin who in his later years often was the trainer of young would be knights. The sword loves and encourages righteous battle, often crying aload with war cries and taunts toward the enemy. Extremely opinionated, and honorable to a fault the sword expects and trains his wielder not just in swordplay but in the makings of a prooper noble warrior. If you want this item sticking around for awhile it can have abilities unlocked over time. Perhaps the personality does not make itself know at first.
I did not play in this game but I thought it was a cool approach when I heard my former DM talk about it.
Basically the region was preparing for war against a demonic power that was established as an empire. The PC's began play as being pulled together out of other soldiers, conscripts and as recognized as particularly capable, uniquely skilled or not a fit for regular army. Essentially they were picked to be a kind of special forces. They took to the situation like water working to impress the general and stand out.
I do not think such an argument could succeed here. The paladin's code would have to be.. well pretty unpaladin like to be anti run of the mill government.
Players have a responsibility to make characters that fit the campaign. If the campaign is overthrowing the non evil and semi functioning aristocracy then a paladin is a bad fit. Try a chaotic good ranger or an anarchist alchemist.
That's just it. Some of the nobles are oppressive and are openly unjust. At least as I understood it so the Paladin in keeping with the principal of law goes to those nobles who are not oppressive and calls on them to act as rightful authority against those that are evil. When they don't they are culpable of allowing such evil to occur.
Well my plan was not to just dencounce exisisting authority it was to offer them an opportunity to what is good and lawful. In most fuedal societies at least in pretense the system is not just slavery, the Lords are the protectors and just governors of the people. While in many settings because such lords are the just authority the neglect arrest themselves ;). By going to Good lords in the region and demanding they act it puts them in a place where they have to chose. If they chose marital ties or economic treaties or tradition over carring for the people their position is to protect in favor of supporting evil Lords or not acting against them. At this point the Paladin is absolved of his normal Lawful ties to the system. It is corrupt, the rightful good lords have sided with corruption and evil. Your right it might make enemies but it creates a system where the Paladin should be able to maintain his code and support the Rebellion. If a few Good lords decide the Paladin is right that is just a bonus.
In the example given if I was playing a Paladin I would not sign up with the rebels day one. I would go to other feudal lords that I consider good and suggest that they are doing enough to limit the despotism and oppression of the other nobles. If they seem interested in acting try to bring the rebels and the good nobles to the negotiating table with the understanding that first oppressive and evil nobles will removed and held responsible for their crimes. Second a lasting change to the system will be the long term goal that gaurntees a better life for the people. If the "good" nobles refuse I will denounce them as evil for failure to act then join the rebels.
Alternatively a Paladin could be convinced that an existing system of law is inferior because it allows for injustice to become entrenched. Perhaps a system like the Rebels represent could be a higher order of law that ensured more good.
I am reading through 4 right now. It is a cool dungeon but it is a dungeon . . . and a lot of dungeon at that. I prefer small intense dungeons to gigantic complexes where every section has a new enemy waiting as if in the history of the world no room is just an empty old room.
All of the chapters so far have had ships to prey upon in the back. So I think there is room to add a lot of piracy but they leave it to the players to seek it out or the GM to dangle the carrot. Also there are several X marks the spot treasure maps in every chapter they are almost complete there just to tease you but they are there.
I really would have liked a more free form nature to things. Something I intend to add with my players. Let them chase their own goals.
As for the Island in 4 I don't mind that they get an island nor the added expectations (many pirates after a certain point took a stronghold or "retired" to live off their riches).
I will definately be adding Vikingson's and Dudemisters suggestions.
I have had in my head a huge paddle boat powered by coral golems (moving them like hamsters in a wheel) eversince I saw the name "Coral Golem."
Let me lend machette to your intelectual thicket.
There are at least three things muddying the waters here.
1. "Messing with"- I interpreted Caleb's goals here to be more shenanigan in nature than disruptive to the other players. Further I took for granted that he was not asking for advice on how to ruin the game for others. Though I understand that some might think along different lines. I think quite abit of screen space has been spent explaining that Caleb's goals at least in intent were to be fun for all. Second this was encouraged by the GM so likely the intent was for a group benefit not to hurt or disrupt the game for others.
2. First impressions, secrets and cavorting with evil folks- Pathfinder is a game where betrayal is not an uncommon theme, creatures such as dopplegangers, vampires, and a host of others ner do wells roam the storied shores of the Inner Sea. As such adventurers can be a paranoid bunch. So lookng at what has been revealed Cableb is playing a nuetral character (who expects the goodies to be respectful of evil people). I think that as a player I would take note of this as suspcious and potentially threatening. Secrets from ones companions put them in the position of interpreting motives behind secrets that if they had not be secrets might never have come into question. Combine such suspicions with the first impression of being aloof and insulting might cause problems.
3. Baggage- We have all had different experiences at the game table. So groups hate group tension others love it. So groups want only action and rp light. Others expect to haggle over the price of every item purchased and interact with the lowliest barmaid and low ranking guard posted at the gate. Beware that we do not read into this situation our own fears and remembered bad experiences into the mix.
Now as for the original concept of how you might mess with the rest of the party. Well as a ratfolk you do have the one great advantage of looking to the untrained eye exactly like an evil disgusting wererat. Get some of your ratfolk allies to use alterself and such to switch between forms let them start to think maybe you have a secondary form. This could even be used to get you more in the good graces of the party. Use that hat of disguise and after they think you are an aflicted wererat, get cured, and adopt the form and personality of a now freed from the curse human. Thus throwing off suspicions and giving some understandable excuse for behavior they in the past hold against you.