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Golden-Esque's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber. FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 764 posts (5,344 including aliases). 38 reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 9 Pathfinder Society characters. 4 aliases.

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Hazrond wrote:
this is actually very similar to a racial trait for kitsune that was printed in the Kitsune Compendium by Everyman Gaming, glad there is a 1st party way to do it now :D (if this gets seen by the author, I LOVE THAT BOOK)

That's because I wrote both the Kitsune Compendium AND the Trickster Races rules in the Dirty Tactics Toolbox. ;-)

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CBDunkerson wrote:
Logically, it almost certainly shouldn't. Rules as written, it does.

I didn't know about the spear-sling when I wrote the book. Even if I did, however, I didn't have the word space for an exclusion clause. Considering that I wrote a combination of feats that allows you to throw a boomerang, hit a guy in the face with it, bounce the boomerang around corners to several other targets before returning to you, AND do all of this in the amount of time needed to perform one iterative attack, I don't think that its a problem.

If there truly is a martial/caster disparity, it is the result of people thinking that casters should be able to do anything while martials should be constrained by physics and the "possible." In order to create the content that I did for Paizo in the Weapon Master's Handbook, I literally said, "To heck with reality! BRING ON THE COMIC BOOKS!"

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Another point that can be made: archetypes like the brawler and the archer usually trade each iteration of weapon training for something different; few archetypes (aka none that I can think of or find with a Kreighton's perusal) are a straight down-grade for the fighter archetype in question.

For example, the archer fighter gets a weapon training-like bonus in exchange for weapon training 1, then gets a new ability when she gains weapon training 2, then another ability when she gains weapon training 3, and so on. In this aspect, the archetype sort of DOES get advanced fighter trainings; they're just predetermined for her as part of the archetype.

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CBDunkerson wrote:
I'd like to see more info about 'Shadow Absalom', but as this is a player companion it'll probably be fairly light on setting material. Still, a shadow plane metropolis co-located with the city at the center of the world and populated by all manner of shadow creatures should be home to all manner of shadow specific races, spells, traditions, et cetera.

That's probably not likely; the Player Companion line got a LOT of harsh feedback about including detailed city and environment information in Blood of the Elements. Shadow Absolam is cool, but its likely a better topic for a general "Shadowy Places" Campaign Setting line product.

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Arachnofiend wrote:
Kalindlara wrote:

I keep forgetting to post this, but I do have one minor quibble about one of the Style chains.

Outslug Style doesn't work with the brawler fighter archetype. I've been planning out a brawler fighter for a while. The Style doesn't function for them to its full extent. It would be nice if the Close Combatant class feature were one of the class features listed in the Special part of the feat.

I know you can't be expected to take every single option into account. Still, it's a bit disappointing.

The Brawler Fighter actually gets very little from this book I think, which is disappointing. The downside of Weapon Training being a desirable class feature now is that Close Combatant not counting as Weapon Training actually hurts.

Its true. When you're designing an all-new class option, you have to start broad to make sure the option fits the class and then trickle down into specific archetypes and options. Perhaps if Owen gets enough feedback, then somewhere down the line something can be written that helps the fighter archetypes that trade weapon training for a more specialized weapon training (which is basically what the archer and brawler do; they still get weapon training the mechanic, but only with one group and with a different name).

If you're not playing in PFS, I would say that it is a perfectly acceptable house rule to treat the brawler and the archer and similar archetypes that hyper specialize their weapon trainings as weapon training and the weapon master archetype for the purpose of selecting the Advanced Weapon Training feat.

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Crai wrote:

Blood of Shadows would be an ideal book to also provide some developer clarifications on RAW usage and adjudication of the 3 big "Shadow" spells in Pathfinder - Shadow Conjuration, Shadow Evocation and Shadow Enchantment (and all their lesser/greater variants).

Those spells are among the most common spells you'll see in Rules Forums everywhere (and have been going back to the early 3.0 days). Especially concerning the quasi-real effects and percentages of non-damaging spells affecting enemies and beneficial spells affecting allies.

Sounds like a better topic for a PDT blog post then a Player Companion that the design team may or may not have had any input in to me, personally.

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Major_Blackhart wrote:

The book is missing two things:

A decidedly Rovagug divine style of combat.
A sword style that doesn't involve combat expertise.

I like Combat Expertise, and that sort of parry-counterattacking is how Medieval Martial Arts worked.

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Gorbacz wrote:

Great book. One of our players took Flight Mastery with his dwarf Foehammer Fighter. Although technically his ability to fly is granted by his amulet of natural armor, the entire table unanimously decided that he's actually propelled by his magical hammer. Needless to say, now he has also a helmet with tiny wings and speaks in faux Old Norse. And we play Hammerfall whenever he takes to the skies.

Owen, AlexAug, we love you guys.

Please send some of that love to Crystal Fraiser and David Ross too! This book would not be as awesome as it is without them as well. <3

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You're an expert if you know enough to help someone else have fun at the table.

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
I think I want to get this one just to use the shapeshifters in non-occult campaigns and adventures. They sound amazing!

Hopefully people find the vessel just as amazing!

The vessel is a 3/4 BAB 6th-level spellcaster that casts psychic spells from the cleric spell list. Vessels are similar in many regards to kineticists and spiritualists merged together; each vessel has a specific kind of outsider that he harbors within his body; the book has a fair number of options, including aeons, angels, psychopomps, and even kami.

A vessel can accept raw planar power called grace into her body by uttering prayers called invocations. Accepting grace causes nonlethal damage in a manner similar to burn unless the vessel sacrifices a number of levels of spell slots equal to the vessel's level. Accepting grace gives you a benefit that's not unlike an inquisitor's judgement, and is either a sacred or profane bonus based upon what outsider you're harboring. But this isn't all grace does; a vessel can actually spend grace that he's accepted as a resource. Doing so doesn't remove the damage he's taken or return his spell slots; instead it allows him to fuel an ability called auspice, which allows him to roll an extra dice when rolling checks or rolls, or even allows him to reroll dice after the fact. Essentially, it allows the vessel to twist fate in his favor. Furthermore, other class abilities modify how a vessel accepts and spends grace, specifically his omens (which are sort of like arcanist exploits), and he even has class features that give him benefits if he chooses to gather a bunch of grace and just sit on it. He even has a buffer of grace that he can spend from without taking damage or sacrificing spell slots at higher levels.

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VM mercenario wrote:
15 Bucks for a pdf is expensive.

66 pages is a lot of content.

Can the shapeshifter, or one of its archetypes, turn into other humanoids, possibly copying individuals, with abilities to support infiltration? Can he transform in any of the following or only animals: Vermin, Magical Beasts, Oozes, Giants, Dragons, Undead (or at least undead versions of animals and vermin)?

A shapeshifter gains one or more new animal shapes at every level. When he gets an animal shape, he chooses a real kind of animal (such as 'black widow spider' or 'rattle snake'). When he uses his change shape ability to assume that animal shape, he gains a number of base abilities depending upon the shapeshifter kingdom that animal belongs to. Kingdoms include classifications such as "insects," "felines," "lizards," and "humanoids," and can even be further modified using a subkingdom mechanic introduced in the book. At 2nd, 8th, and 15th level, you gain an ability based upon your animal shape's kingdom.

Animal shapes by default aren't generic creatures of their kind; they have very specific characteristics that make it clear that you aren't a real animal of your kind. (Aka no bonus on Disguise checks.) This is modeled after Beast Boy / Changeling; you're essentially an animal version of yourself. However, the shapeshifter class gains two different class features that alter your animal shapes; instincts, which represent cunning tricks and abilities that give you bonuses or special abilities while you're shapeshifted, and adaptations, which allow you to modify the actual appearance that your animal shape takes. For example, one adaptation allows you to split a Tiny or smaller animal shape into a swarm of animals that are all mentally united via a hive mind (your mind). Another adaptation allows you to change into a more generic animal instead of "you-the-beast," and an improvement on that adaptation allows you to assume the form of specific, individual animals that you have encountered. There's also an archetype that removes most of the adaptations for special abilities, effectively changing the theme of the class from "Beast Boy" to "Animorphs" in that your animal shapes must always be of specific animals and you can't transform into an animal that you've never encountered before.

From your list, you can do animals, humanoids, and vermin. Monstrous humanoids aren't baseline, but certain monstrous humanoids are doable if you take the hybrid shape adaptation, which allows you to merge aspects of your real form with an animal shape. So when I add bulls to the mix down the line, you could add bull aspects to yourself in order to transform into a minotaur analog. There's even a specific option that makes centaur analogs a thing. (And if you want the upper body of a human and the lower body of a tiger, to be a cattaur, technically that's doable too.)

The system is by no means complete, but I think that when you'll see it, you'll be pretty impressed with the potential and ease of modification that the system has to offer.

Most importantly, what is his BAB, HD and please tell me he doesn't cast spells.

Full BAB, no spellcasting. The class uses a modified version of the change shape universal monster rules, and if you belong to a race that already has change shape, you get a bonus animal shape based upon your true form. (For example, a kitsune could treat her human form as a humanoid (human) shape.)

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Crai wrote:

I would like to see some new published spells with the Shadow descriptor ... that aren't Illusion spells.

With some creative tweaking ... sculpting, manipulating and transforming shadows could easily fall under the schools of Abjuration, Transmutation, Divination, etc.

Shadow-themed magic of all sorts has been tremendously popular throughout all the incarnations of Pathfinder and D&D. It's time to take that popular concept and expand its horizons into some more non-traditional usages.

This is extremely unlikely to happen. "Shadow" isn't a descriptor, it's a subschool. Just like you will not see polymorph spells from schools other than transmutation, it is doubtful that anyone would ever create a shadow subschool spell that doesn't belong to the illusion school. That's simply not how the magic system works. Now, we just got a shadow enchantment spell from Occult Realms, so maybe we could see spells like the one you describe here. But such a spell would be an illusion mirroring the effects of a spell from another school.

Now, hopefully we will see some new spells with the darkness descriptor, but that remains until February to be seen.

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Arachnofiend wrote:
For clarification, are the benefits of Startoss Style supposed to create a Captain America ricochet effect? Your thrown weapon hits a target, then bounces to the next target on its own?

Yes. It essentially works like Cleave, except you use the first target's space to determine cover for the second target. So you could hit an enemy, then "cleave" the thrown weapon around a corner to the next enemy. And if you have Ricochet Toss, the attack will immediately find a way to return to you.

Because let's be honest: one thing that Pathfinder DESPERATELY needs is more martial-focused extraordinary abilities that function under "rule of cool" rather than "rule of reality."

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Gisher wrote:

I love the Liberating weapon special ability. It's like wearing a lesser version of a Ring of Freedom of Movement, but cheaper and without taking up a slot.

And the Sharding weapon special ability is freaking amazing for thrown weapon builds! You can sink your money into enhancing your melee weapon(s), and then also use those for ranged attacks without ever letting go of your weapon(s). Unlike a Blinkback Belt, it could be easily combined with a Belt of Mighty hurling for STR builds.

David and I both REALLY like thrown weapons and we both felt like there wasn't much support for them in the game. We actively tried to support character concepts that lacked strong options (such as me writing a sling-focused fighting style), and we both wanted to make sure that there were multiple ways of being good with thrown weapons.

So, you have the blinkback belt, which is the easiest to get of the three current options in the game, but its also the most taxing because it effectively takes away your enhancement bonus to Dex / Str. Next, you have the sharing special ability, which is REALLY cool visually and while it takes up more gold resources than the blinkback belt, it doesn't occupy any item slots. Finally, you have the Ricochet Shot weapon master feat, which costs no gold, but instead takes up a feat slot and either requires you to be a fighter or to take a feat tax.

Overall, there are several different options to achieve the same end goal with different benefits and drawbacks, and I think that's a strength for the game overall.

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Hayato Ken wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:

What sort of love does the shadowdancer need?

Unsure about writing something that makes shadowjump work with dimensional agility, since that somehow implies that it does currently not work, what i´m opposed to.

Shadowdancer is my favorite Prestige Class, but it´s actually very awful.
Thematically it suits rogues, but is best with barbarians or fighters because of how it works.
Then it has a bad BAB, bad saves and all abilities are so very limited that they are nearly unusable.
The only really strong thing is the shadow companion and that is a bit too strong in the eyes of many. But very flavorfull, even though shadows don´t have much of a descritpion in the beastiary.
I think the whole PrC could use a rewrite. Class and PrC design has made leaps since then. Think Unchained there. That seems like a very good way to go.

Shadowjumpers tunic was a very nice start btw.
I would compare shadowjump directly with wizards and arcanists shift abilities as well with the monk ability.

-balance the shadow and other abilites, making them more usefull and more often useable. This might include more work, since it actually means working on the shadow. Seems like the right book though.
-prereqs: dodge and mobility yeah! Combat reflexes? Why? Where is the connection?
-uncanny dodge could be replaced by optional slayer/rogue talents.
-Spell like abilities: Not my main area of expertise, but they seem a bit weak without metamgic somehow. It´s surely a nice gimmick to have on a PC who otherwise focuses on combat and "pet".
Having it give magic levels and enhance a shadow themed caster alternatively might be a great idea.

I wouldn't expect a Player Companion to "unchain" anything. It would be pretty lame for the two rules-focused lines (RPG and Player Companion) to get into an arms race with one another, especially since one of those lines is the CORE rules line. But that's just my 2 cp.

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christos gurd wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
christos gurd wrote:
So this is pretty vague for me. Will consider when I know more.
What do you find vague about the description?
well class names with a basic description of what they are and a general idea of what some of the cooler feats allow you to do would give me a clearer idea of what I'm looking into. I didn't even realize what your class names were till I read the favored class bullet point. Admittedly I can guess the shapeshifter's function.

The shapeshifter is "the kineticist of polymorphing." She does one thing REALLY well, and with more flexibility then any other class in Pathfinder with shapeshifting options. As she levels up, she gets to create shapes that are associated specific kinds of animals (like "ring-tailed lemur" or "triceratops") and gains abilities based upon the type of animal shape she creates. The system is similar to a mesh between eidolon base forms and cavalier order abilities, topped with an ability score association not unlike the medium's spirits. (Although each animal shape is associated with two different ability scores, and that association governs how her other class features function while she's in that form.) She also gains the ability to gain special abilities called instincts while she's shapeshifted and can modify her animal forms using adaptations. For example, one adaptation allows you to bypass an animal shape's normal size limitations, allowing you to be a Tiny tyrannosaurus or a Colossal cockroach. (A 17+ level transformation, but still pretty cool if you want to be a massive bug. Or if you want to shapeshift into King Kong.)

The vessel is like a mix of the summoner and the spiritualist, except rather than summoning an outsider the vessel is fully possessed by it. He harbors a supernatural entity, such as an agathion, a psychopomp, or even an aeon within her consciousness. A vessel has the ability to invoke his outsider passenger by uttering invocations that grant him temporary benefits as well as grace, a resource system that functions similar to a kineticist's burn with one key exception: a vessel can spend grace that he has accumulated in order to power other abilities. Spending grace doesn't remove any nonlethal damage he has already suffered from accepting grace, but he can mitigate his damage taken by sacrificing spell slots. (The vessel is a 6th-level spontaneous psychic caster whose spells are drawn from the cleric spell list.)

Archetypes for the two classes vary heavily. There's a shapeshifter archetype that transforms the class into Mr. Fantastic / Elastigirl and another that transforms it into the Animorphs (the shapeshifter is very Beast Boy/Changeling in its shapeshifting by default). There are also "subkingdoms" that further alter the shapeshifter's base animal shape optiosn. The vessel gets a number of esoteric archetypes, such as the the planar scribe, which focuses on using bardic performances to spin the tales of the gods. Another, called the messiah, trades away the "I'm possessed by an outsider" aspect of the class for a "I'm the child of an outsider" aspect, allowing just about anyone to have creepy occult powers as a result of being the spawn of an otherworldly force. I'm certain I'm forgetting stuff, but that should be enough of a teaser to let you know what Paranormal Adventures is like; its very much designed to be a, "Bring the cult to Pathfinder," product, in which the "cult" is "cult TV shows and movies."

If you have any other questions, please ask!

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Now available from your friendly neighborhood golem, Paranormal Adventures is here! With good fortune, the print option should be available by the end of the month. :D


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I had similar thoughts to xeose, except I think the local GM races should be based in Golarion lore. If a race is common enough to be considered a Core Race on a foreign continent (such as kitsune/nagaji/tengu/samsaran/wayang on Tian Xia), they should be a local GM reward. Weird, exotic races should be Con races, and extremely rare races should be charity boons.

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GM Aram Zey wrote:
Aelryinth wrote:

You'd get a situation like a bow and arrow. The net is going to be a +15 set of weapons...but the combined cost will be, what, 700k?

However, an interesting way to help keep the cost of wielding two weapons down by spreading the cost across the amulet as well.


I'm mainly asking because there appears to be some doubt as to whether or not this was intended.

As the guy who wrote it, it was not.

Until an Owen answer or an official Paizo FAQ happens (both of which supersede me), my suggestion would be to treat it like a magical bow and ammunition; enhancement bonuses don't stack, but special abilities would. Considering that the amulet of mighty fists is in general more expensive than the bow, this should be a relatively balanced way to handle it.

With that said, I would NOT allow the style feat to transfer enhancement bonuses, as that was NOT my intention. It was designed to work on class abilities and feats, not magic weapon bonuses.

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Indeed! Thanks for the stellar review. :D

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GeneticDrift wrote:

What type of stamina options are there?

edit: I see they added details for newer feats. if that is it, anything stand out?

Owen gave me a lot of flexibility in choosing which feats got stamina tricks in Weapon Master's Handbook. In the end, I ultimately chose to do all of the weapon-focused combat feats from Inner Sea Combat, Inner Sea World Guide, and Inner Sea Gods as stamina trick options. I felt that they were the best sources to draw from because two of those books are definitive, setting-defining sources for Golarion and the third is the definitive guide on combat in the Inner Sea region.

Hopefully everyone finds a few stamina tricks in the book that they're keen on. :D

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Xethik wrote:

So, Advanced Weapon Training has been mentioned to have an option:

** spoiler omitted **

It's one of two ways. Finesse Training is the easier way, but it's fighter only. Spear Dancer style can do it too and be take by anyone, but it is much more feat intensive.

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
Alexander Augunas wrote:
Human Fighter wrote:

I'm pretty much disappointed in what I read.

Racial style feats don't even include human.
Fighter archetype is pretty much a brawler and a monk master of many styles. The other archetype uses magic item feats. Neither archetype gets more skill points, or class skills in perception or acrobatics.

So humans don't get a racial style for a few reasons. First, human versatility really hurts them here; they have no iconic, traditional weapons they use, nor do they have any racial traits that really define their attitude in combat. Take a look at the racial styles: Orc is based on Orc weapons, dwarf on the hatred trait, and halflings on the warslinger trait.

If you wanted more skill ranks, I'm surprised that the versatile training advanced training doesn't interest you more; it's worth +2 skills per level per selection.

Dumb question, does that versatile training skill bonus stack with the new skill points per level you gave fighters in Everyman Unchained: Skills and Options?

This'd be a better question for my 3PP's product page, and ultimately that's up to your GM.

That said, if a bard is allowed to have 6 + Int skill ranks AND multiple versatile performances (easily putting it equal to or above the effective skill ranks of the rogue, depending on the bard's selections), then I don't think its a problem for the fighter to have both. As a matter of fact, the skill rank boost is STILL good for fighters who can't pick that advanced training.

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April seems so far away... *stares forlornly at his PFS warlock, gathering dust in his binder*

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Human Fighter wrote:

I'm pretty much disappointed in what I read.

Racial style feats don't even include human.
Fighter archetype is pretty much a brawler and a monk master of many styles. The other archetype uses magic item feats. Neither archetype gets more skill points, or class skills in perception or acrobatics.

So humans don't get a racial style for a few reasons. First, human versatility really hurts them here; they have no iconic, traditional weapons they use, nor do they have any racial traits that really define their attitude in combat. Take a look at the racial styles: Orc is based on Orc weapons, dwarf on the hatred trait, and halflings on the warslinger trait.

If you wanted more skill ranks, I'm surprised that the versatile training advanced training doesn't interest you more; it's worth +2 skills per level per selection.

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*Me, on the phone with Diego*
Me: Silence for several moments. You know, I was expecting Paizo to be noisier.

Diego: It usually is....

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redpandamage wrote:
What's outslug and swordplay?

Two of the Weapon Style Feats in the Weapon Master Handbook. Outslug focuses on weapons in the close fighter weapon group while Swordplay focuses on weapons in the light and heavy blades groups.

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Calth wrote:

Most disappointing part of the book to me is the weapon design portion, which took a major lesson from the race builder I guess. Most existing weapons are above budget, so anything you make is generally going to be worse.

For example, the elven curve blade has 19 points by the builder, when the maximum allowed for a custom weapon is 12 points.

I can understand your frustrations. I don't have my own copy of WMH in front of me at the moment, but I'd be delighted in sharing my brain-space when I wrote the rules.

Basically, things like swords and spears? Everyone KNOWS how to make those. Those are easy, and they're not the sort of things that you should be building with this system; you should be focusing on weird things.

The difficult thing about designing a system like this (or the ARG's race building rules) is that you're effectively trying to build a system to bring order into an orderless place. Its like trying to build a casino in the Maelstrom and expecting it to be a casino very long. In all my tests, I got REALLY close to the gold costs of simple and martial weapons with this system (that's was my metric for whether or not the system was successful; final gold cost and abilities compared to similar weapons). The tricky thing about Exotic Weapons, however, is the sheer number of crazy cool and diverse special abilities they have, as well as how expensive they can be. (Compare the cost of a firearm to an elven curve blade.)

Ultimately, I wouldn't expect a system like this to EVER be legal in PFS play, just as the race building system isn't legal. That said, this is great for approximating new weapons and when you get right down to it, you're more than free to up the point cap for your games. And if your a player, show your GM this post and tell him yiur GM has my non-Paizo Endorsed permission to make whatever changes are necessary for your home games to make this the perfect system for his or her games!

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Orthos wrote:
Yet another acronym I don't get, and Google isn't helping >_>

Variant Multiclassing.

The feels when CS is nerdier than the forums is wonderful.


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I don't think that a good argument can be made for dropping Convention Boons because in the long run, there IS no good argument. People who put the time and energy into traveling to a convention, paying an exuberant amount of money, and combating the anxiety of having no clue over who is going to be at your table is commendable and deserves a reward.

The problem, however, is that Convention GMs aren't the only GMs who make sacrifices and work hard to make the Pathfinder Society great. If Convention GMs are the face of the Pathfinder Society, then Local GMs are the heart and soul. Despite the press that Conventions get, far, far more PFS games happen locally then at a Convention, and the message that we're sending those GMs by not offering them anything aside from a small bonus on rerolls, a lone boon, and a small number of scenario replays is that their effort and sacrifices aren't valuable to the Society, which should never be true.

I made a thread about creating a new GM Rewards system. It was battered by a bunch of naysayers who don't seem to want Organized Play to grow and evolve. This perplexes me, as those same Convention GMs deserve to be rewarded for the work they do on the local front too. Simply put; Convention games aren't the only games that matter. If local games didn't happen, then no one would go out to those big, fancy Conventions to play Pathfinder.

It is also important to remember the difference between something that is rewarding and something that is a reward. It is rewarding when I open a Player Companion that I contributed to and see my name listed as a contributor. But just because I find my accomplishment rewarding doesn't mean that said feeling of accomplishment is adequate compensation for the work that I did; I expect the reward of monetary compensation for my work in addition to my personal feeling of satisfaction. To put it another way, when we give Con GMs proper compensation for their time and effort while simultaneously giving local GMs nothing for their own hard work and determination, are we truly any better than the multimillion dollar corporation that asks an artist to create for them for nothing other than "exposure?"

The Pathfinder Society Organized Play Program should reward everyone who volunteers their time to make it great; its outstanding regional coordinators and Venture Officers, the men and women who take time out of their busy Convention schedules to run Pathfinder Society games, and the local GMs that keep the hobby alive and well. I am not saying that these people should be rewarded in exactly the same ways. I am saying, however, that everyone deserves a reward for their hard work, time, and effort, and currently local GMs get nothing for doing what they do for us, and that aspect of organized play needs to change.

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Eric Hinkle wrote:
Just posted a review. I really do like this one, it has some great options for anyone who wants to play a poisoner rogue.

Thanks! I appreciate the time you took to write the review, Eric. :D


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UndeadMitch wrote:

Being able to get a charity auction race boon every three games seems a bit much. For catfolk, they should make their way to GM's at major cons first before they flood the environment. And I would like to see the grippli get put into the seasonal rotation before grippli similarly flood the environment. You say you're not trying to abolish con rewards, then making the reward for GM'ing three games something rarer than tier one at Gencon, which is puzzling to me.

As far as the replay option goes, I would just like to see Expanded Narrative be made available to all GM once every season or every other season.

A couple points. First, the catfolk boon was a charity auction boon two years ago. To the best of my knowledge, it has never returned as a charity race boon, and when you bid on those boons, its with the knowledge that the PFS team could create more of them if it wanted. That said, the races I nominated aren't set in stone; I chose catfolk simply because its implied that they're common enough to be a Core Race in Garundi. (After all, they have their own nation, which is more than one can say for the wayang, gnomes, and halflings.)

Second, putting grippling into this system would actually help styme the "grippli flood." If they are added to the seasonal rotation, then anyone can make a grippli without needing any GM stars and without needing to spend anything. Furthermore, this system could actually replace the seasonal racial rotation by restricting the creation of characters of new races simply by merit of having an artificial gate on when such a character can be created. Requiring three games of credit isn't insignificant; even on my best weeks at PFS, that's still two weeks of work.

Also, just because something is rare now doesn't mean that it should stay rare forever. That doesn't necessarily make the game better. Con rewards can still exist (and rightfully should); they would simply have different races available, such as the elemental races, tieflings, aasimars, dhampirs, that new chaotic native outsider from Distant Shores, and so on. The current system accurately simulates the populations of the Core Races, but it doesn't do much for the other races. Catfolk are WAY more common on Golarion than Androids, but currently the same number of each exist in the Society. If anything, the current system of seasonal rotations and Con Boons does little more than throw the porportions of other, non-Core Races out of whack compared to their in-world populations.

Finally, you could even keep, say, a grippli boon as a low-level Con reward and if you earned it, that would be the same as getting three bonus CP in the current system. Having a system like this means that one could actually put race boons into the PFS token-based lottery system for players, which is something I've heard many players complaining about while at conventions.


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To summarize, here is what GMs currently get:

1. They get to GM! You know, tell the story, play the monsters, be the bad guys, and bring Golarion to life for the players. Same number of hours of fun the players get, or more (depending on how much prep you do and whether you enjoy that or not).
2. They get a free Chronicle, which can be applied to any of their PCs (making it much likier that any special class-related boons are applied to the right PC), with max gold, max prestige, all items, and any or all boons, with absolutely no risk to their character - no risk of death, no CLW charges used, no expendables. This is already better than a player gets, since as a player you can lose prestige, boons, etc through no fault of your own.
3. They get a chance to get the same Chronicle benefits twice - once from playing, once from GMing. No player gets that either.
4. They get GM stars which give bonuses to re rolls. Players don't get that.
5. They get a stronger community, which benefits everyone.

So, GMs already get more than players. A lot more. If you can't attract GMs with the existing rewards, adding more isn't going to change much. If you don't think GMing is "worth your time", don't do it.

#1: Being a GM is rewarding, but its not a reward. Put another way, being a GM often provides immense satisfaction to the GM, but it does not provide anything tangible to the GM that she couldn't have gotten from sitting at the table as a player.

#2: As above. Yes, you get a risk-free chronicle. But the only reward here is the "risk-free" part; if you sat at the table as a player, you would have gotten a chronicle too. Getting XP is not a reward; it is a basic right for being a player at the table. (And in Pathfinder Society, the GM is a player. Maybe not at the current table, but unlike a home gaming every single person in PFS is both a GM and a player simultaneously, even if they choose to never occupy a given role at the table at any point during their lifetime.)

#3: This is a true benefit of GMing.

#4: This is also a true benefit of GMing.

#5: See #1; this is rewarding, but it is not a reward for the GM.

Ultimately, your "You should be happy with what little you get for your time, energy, and money," is similar to trying to pay an artist in "exposure." Experiences, even ones that feel good, are not rewards.


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kinevon wrote:
Jayson MF Kip wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:
Gives you something to trade with at least

Still wouldn't say it's incomparable.

And since I see that I'm starting to devolve into 'internet argument guy' I apologize, and will drop it.

I will continue to believe that circumstance should not be a factor in determining 'fair.' Even if everyone could volunteer, not everyone does. It is fair to reward the ones that do.

And, I think, the purpose of this thread is to give suggestions to help incentivize/reward those who do volunteer, but cannot , for one reason or another, get to conventions. After all, local GMs are still volunteers, yes?

Yes, it is. :D

I'm reading what's been said and currently drafting a sample system based on people's feedback.


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Kalindlara wrote:

This was a huge factor for me as well. I don't care about being the best or about having the most powerful character - but I do want to be able to role-play the character of my choice.

Imagine if you needed a convention-only boon to play a witch. We'd be seeing people in these threads saying "Just play a wizard and call yourself a witch, you rollplayer!" or...

It amuses me when the rollplayer line is rolled around too, because with the exception of one or two niche builds per race (if any) human and half-elf are almost always the most optimized races. :-|

One of the major reasons I like to play kitsune; the look on people's faces when I say, "kitsune" and "bloodrager" in the same sentence is HILARIOUS.


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Wei Ji the Learner wrote:

@Jayson: However, part of the underlying discussion point here was to reward GMs. Somewhere along the way conventions got added in at extra rates, and a few other things have been hit on as well.

If a person is unable to attend conventions, and folks at conventions are getting 'more weight' to their GMing time, isn't that taking the equation back to square one?

I could be suffering from a gross conceptual error here, but I thought the idea was to *balance* it out, not load up one section over another?

I haven't seen anyone in the thread who claims that Convention GMs should get nothing special for their commitment, but the general thought process seems to be that Convention GMs shouldn't be getting something unique. I'm not entirely sure I agree wholeheartedly with that sentiment, but that is what I'm taking away from the conversation.

Generally speaking, I think its probably the race gate. People don't want to be barred from playing the character that they want because they didn't have the time / money / conviction to travel to a Con and run games in a strange environment, so to speak. I personally have GMed at a small convention now and the special reward was a fun bonus, but at the same time a major factor that kept me from joining the PFS for as long as I did was the fact that I couldn't play the race that I wanted initially, and I only started when Ryan Costello traded me a kitsune boon for my first character. (After which the race was made 'always available' a month later, and now I have eight kitsune characters. :-P)

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QuidEst wrote:
Feros wrote:

Emphasis mine.

You know it could have been "alternate class features" rather than archetype for the alternate class, so a little more has slipped out there. With only three alternate classes, we can almost eliminate the anti-paladin (highly unlikely). That leaves us two. Of course it could be a poetry oriented samurai archetype, but I'm not counting on it...


A deceptive, sneaky Antipaladin archetype focused on infiltration? I could totally see that being in here. Of the three, that's actually the one I'm hoping for. Still, four for Occult is enough to guarantee something I like being covered.

If we get a sneaky antipaladin, it needs to include artwork of the recurring antipaladin sneaking in THIS pose!

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Crossing my fingers for one or two more Empyreal Lords; high-level stat blocks are always fun. :D

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Also, a potion of remove fear costs 25 gp and suppresses all preexisting fear effects for the spell's duration.

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Souphin wrote:
Owen K. C. Stephens wrote:

Now if I do an Unarmed Tactics Toolbox later down the line, that might see a lot of both unarmed and unarmored options.
That I would love to see

A book focused on fighting with fists, improvised weapons, and natural attacks could certainly be cool! ;-)


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p-sto wrote:

I won't deny that GMing conventions is a time consuming and tiring process but in my opinion unless a location has a very stable group game days easily take more effort and bear more stress than an average convention.

Every time I come to these forums and see someone claiming that something can't be done because we need special things for conventions my desire to GM dies a little bit. It seems that nobody has even stopped to consider that current method of promoting conventions might actually be alienating some GMs.

I volunteered for four local conventions in 2015 but I continue to be on the fence on if I wish to continue the same level of support next year.

I agree with this; its sort of the fundamental idea behind why I proposed the GM Fame & Prestige system to begin with.

When you say that one group of GMs deserves special treatment over another for their time, effort, and commitment, the result is pretty alienating. Yes, convention GMs need to pay for travel, food, and sometimes lodging and they deserve thanks for that. But regular store GMs have their own challenges ahead of them. Its a minimum of 30 minutes of driving to wherever I need to run as a GM, and unlike a convention GM I'm usually expected to purchase my own scenarios and provide my own resources for the game.

Again, my point isn't that convention GMs and store GMs make the same sacrifices and in the same capacity. (They don't.) What I am trying to say is that the current system of rewarding one very small percentage of GMs could be expanded to the benefit of Organized Play as a collective. Because most organized play doesn't happen at a convention.


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GM Lamplighter wrote:
I like some of the thoughts presented here,

It would be helpful if you noted what you liked instead of what you don't like. That might help us find some common ground.


but after several years of consideration and experience I am against the increase of GM rewards beyond what they are now. People say it is hard to get GMs, and that is a valid issue to be dealt with... I'll come back to that.

(I will say that there is a fundamental assumption built into my ideas: to me, a bad game is actually *worse* than no game at all. Just having a warm body there to click me through initiative and sign my Chronicle isn't sufficient for me - I hope that the GM will at least know the scenario and present it to the best of their ability - the same responsibility I put on myself as a player.)

In my experience, motivating GMs with in-game rewards is not a good thing in the long term. While it's true that there is no PFS without a GM, the wrong GM can destroy games very quickly, and also do lasting damage to your community. If a GM won't GM unless they are getting better loot than a player, you are preferentially choosing people who are primarily reward-motivated to be your GM.

It's fine to be reward-motivated: I was extremely motivated by GM stars, personally; for other people it's race boons or cool Chronicle items or whatever. GMs, though, need to also have the game experience as a driving motivation, or the whole table suffers. That motivation is an internal one, and often only comes to the fore when the Lodge is about to fall apart because no one is GMing.

This is why it's not a bad thing to have the occasional game day collapse for lack of willing GMs. If you need to bribe your GMs to participate by giving them more "loot" than a player, they're probably not going to do a great job anyway. You are just prolonging the inevitable, and preventing other folks from seeing the need for them to step up themselves.

There's a decent chance that what I'm about to say will offend you, and I apologize in advance. With that said, this is perhaps the most ego-ridden post that I have read in a long time. Your point isn't clearly constructed because you contradict yourself several times, but it seems to boil down to, "We can't be having the 'wrong' type of GM in our GMing pool because their 'wrongness' might ruin games." What the heck does "wrong GM" mean and who are you to determine what "wrongness" is? Different people enjoy different kinds of games, and as a result they enjoy different GMs.

For example, I've played with GMs who love embellishing roleplaying and I've played with GMs who roleplay only the bare minimum required by the scenario. People who love roleplaying often say, "I love GM Y because he lets me play my character more," but other people who enjoy combat or who value timeliness often say, "I prefer GM Z because he lets me do what I enjoy most," or "I prefer GM Z because she always ends the game like clockwork, which means I know I can plan my day around her games." None of these traits are bad, and encouraging more players to try GMing (even if its as a result of a rewards system) is likewise not bad. Having a larger stable of GMs helps to ensure a lack of burnout, for instance, and in the long run players who know the rules well enough to run are more competent playing the game, too.

Finally, no one starts "out of the box" as an amazing GM. People learn and grow with experience, and GMing for anyone can be intimidating, least of all a crowd of people who don't really have anything invested into your success. Having a rewards system could be enough of a motivator to help nudge someone into trying a gaming style that they wouldn't have otherwise tried, and that is GOOD for the longterm success of both Organized Play and the game as a whole.

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Zerri wrote:
Of course, for any of these books to happen, we need to blow out Paizo's stock on Blood of Shadows first.

I don't know if we need to blow out stock, but I think its worth remembering that we went over a year between Blood of the Elements and Blood of Shadow, and I'm willing to bet that the lukewarm (if not downright hostile) reaction to Blood of the Elements had something to do with that.

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Samy wrote:
I don't see that it's "crazy" good. The best beneficiaries are classes like bards and wizards, who get the equivalent of ten extra skill points in preset skills, and in exchange, they have to give up twenty freely placeable skill points. With other classes, the benefit VERY rapidly goes way way down. I certainly wouldn't take it on every character.

Read it again; like Deadkitten says, that treat currently says that you get a +1 bonus on ALL skill checks per Knowledge skill that your class gives you as a class skill. So if you're a bard and have ten Knowledge skills as class skills, you'd get a +10 on ALL skill checks.

Obviously, the problem is that the trait has a typo in it. Instead of "a +1 racial bonus on skill checks for each Knowledge skill..." it should read, "a +1 racial bonus on skill checks made with each Knowledge skill...."

Sorry if this offends, Deadkitten, but you'd have to be absolutely bonkers to allow that trait as written at your table. :-P

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I'd say this falls under the "nonstandard, dangerous effects" clause myself, so if the wish was worded well, I'd give the player a permanent version of form of the dragon III. If the wish was worded poorly (including "too well"), I'd do the whole, "you're a dragon of your comparable age and alignment" thing, so gold if you're Lawful Good, brass if you're Chaotic Good, and so on. If you specifically named a dragon, your alignment changes. Also, you'd be a dragon of your current age (in years), so since most of my players like to play late 20s, early 30s characters, most likely a juvenile dragon. (Although I could also see completely restarting the character within the egg for a particularly badly-worded wish....)


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Jason Wu wrote:
Kerney wrote:

I've thought of playing a kitsume against oriental cultural tropes.

For example, a black haired (kept short), Osirion raised kitsume with lawful alignment, and a role that involves judgement.

Or an Oracle with low wisdom, claiming to be a future god. His name, Coyote.

Running a heavyset, tall (as much as the race allows) kitsune paladin, myself.

It's fun seeing the reactions.

This is important not just for kitsune, but whenever you play a non-human race. Because humans are our default perception, it is VERY easy to assume that [race] is a meaningful character trait in a roleplaying game. But that is inherently racist. (Racist towards an imaginary people, sure, but still racist.) Its the same problem that a certain miniature, blue cartoon series has with the only female member of its cast. All of the characters on that iconic TV show / in that comic have personality traits, and said character's personality trait is ... girl.

When I'm writing new kitsune characters, I often start by looking at the various real-world pigmentation mutations that foxes possess and choosing one. Most of my kitsune ARE red foxes, mind you, but every now and then having something that's different helps keep them visually distinct in my head.

Second, I try to come up with something visually distinct or different about them. Sometimes its a color. Sometimes its physical. Sometimes its clothing. For example, my swashbuckler only wears shades of brown, white, and red. My kineticist is 14 and dresses like a punk (black leather armor with armor spikes). My bloodrager's armor doesn't cover his chest (sort of like the Iconic Bloodrager). My slayer is melanistic (her pigmentation is all black, silver, and white).

Third, I try to come up with something in their backstory that explains why the character looks and/or acts the way they do. Sometimes the backstories are positive. (My alchemist was rescued from Wanshou when he was eight by the Lantern Lodge and has been with the Pathfinders ever since.) Sometimes they aren't. (My kineticist's mother died when he was young, and his father was assassinated when his telekinetic powers started to develop, which forced him to stow away on a ship bound for Absolam.) Sometimes they are bittersweet. (My cavalier was raised by elves and when it became clear that his shorter lifespan was going to keep him from progressing in elven society, he left.)

Finally, I try to have a weird twist in that goes against the character's backstory or general expectations, just to keep things interesting.

— My cavalier loves things that are gaudy and his favorite color is pink.
— My slayer began play as being socially awkward and aromantic. (She has a REALLY difficult time understanding when people are trying to advance on her.)
— My swashbuckler always introduces himself as a hibachi chef first.
— My alchemist is a sociopath. (Or a psychopath, depending on your perception.)
— My bloodrager's Day Job is Profession (caligrapher).
— My kineticist is actually a fairly nice, somewhat confused kid under the bad boy attitude. (Which I think is fairly common, having worked often with eighth graders.)
— My cleric left his life in Tian Xia behind, travelled to Qadira, and took on a new, Kellish name when he received a vision of Sarenrae.

Even if it doesn't come up often in play, stuff like that is fun to have because it helps keep your characters distinct.


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UnArcaneElection wrote:
Kerney wrote:

I've thought of playing a kitsume against oriental cultural tropes.

For example, a black haired (kept short), Osirion raised kitsume with lawful alignment, and a role that involves judgement.

Or an Oracle with low wisdom, claiming to be a future god. His name, Coyote.

Somebody needs to do a Kitsune Ranger (botched attempt at being Galvanic Saboteur) with Favored Enemy Roadrunner Tengu . . . .

Adding to list of Iconic Designs to do for the Know Direction Network.


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Non-Philly Venture Captains: "I don't think kitsune are all that common; I hardly see any of them at my table."

Philly VC Jeff Fox: "What are you talking about? I usually see about one a table! Granted, about 95% of them belong to Alex Augunas."

Me: whistles

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TheDisgaean wrote:
It's definitely an awesome product. I can actually keep track of the deeds now. Just one problem: between the swashbuckler and the brawler, the old fighter is just getting more and more irrelevant. Maybe it's time it became Legendary too? Maybe place a greater focus on the unrelenting powerhouse or living fortress aspect of the class since this has the nimble duelist role filled?

I don't know what Jason has planned for the Legendary Fighter, but if I were to unchain the fighter, this would be my philosophy:

— The fighter's strength is getting the most out of his feats. That's essentially the heart and soul of the stamina pool mechanic from Pathfinder Unchained, and no one sans the fighter should be able to do it better.

— Fighters should be able to ignore some of the game's feat taxes because they're awesome.

— Fighters are weapon specialists and shouldn't have to wait until Level 5 to begin specializing in weapons.

— The fighter's "niche" is numerical bonuses.

— Martial Flexibility "feels" more like a fighter mechanic then a brawler mechanic.

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Thurston Hillman wrote:
I'd prefer not knowing the Wickerman is at all based on the 2006 Wickerman movie. ;)


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