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1. Dragons might be wise and intelligent, but they're also powerful. They don't HAVE to outsmart their foes, they can also kill them. He doesn't need to be all-knowing, he just needs to be smart enough to apply his might.
2. Don't try to think of everything. You can't. Every plan does have a flaw, that doesn't mean the dragon wouldn't use it, but he might be aware of it. Traps and strategies don't need to be foolproof, they just need to be dangerous enough to his enemies to weaken them so that they're easier to eat. Set the DC's to do things high, allow player cleverness to give opportunities to roll to overcome things, but don't let it be automatic success. Be ready to improvise and add things.
ex: if the PC's defeat a trap by jumping over it (a simple solution), let it work. Then in your notes quickly add something to the next trap to prevent that.
3. Roleplaying, there's lots of advice. My main thing is understand what the dragon wants and what it's willing to do to get it. Give it a few character flaws, maybe hubris? He's old and killed every other adventurer/enemy who came to kill him, no reason for him to assume otherwise this time.
4. If the PC's are powerful enough to be a threat, figure out how the dragon would know about it. Maybe it hires spies and has a rough estimate of their capabilities (not a list of their gear, but class/level and how they've defeated previous foes). Maybe divination magic. Let him counter a couple of their obvious tactics.
Ep 1 of SAC I believe, after a mission Togusa goes to the gun range to sharpen up a bit. The major comments that if he isn't sure enough to make immediate decisions about when to shoot, going prosthetic would fix that. She also mentions that they brought him on board for specific reasons and that he's already a valuable member of the team, prompting him to go do more detective work.
I've rewatched the series a few times.
It also means that you can't ignore the things in Leviticus, just because they don't suit your interpretation of things.
Leviticus 10:9 - you're not allowed to drink anything fermented in the "tent of meeting", or the tabernacle. This was essentially the "house of God" while Moses wandered the desert with his people.
Basically, you're not allowed to drink wine in church according to God.
Of course Jesus says to eat bread and drink wine in remembrance of Him. He doesn't exactly say to do it in church though. He also says if you do it the wrong way, you're guilty of sin as if you had put Christ on the cross anew.
It's all super clear and to me speaks of a level of consistency only possible by an omnipotent and omniscient being.
Also, you're going to hell if you have a rip in your clothes.
If you're an a-unicornist, how can you have unicorns and pixies in your setting?
I have karkadann's in my campaign. They're like a unicorn... but more of a cross between a rhinoceros and a tiger. They're a mythical beast from Persia.
The system is designed to do a very specific thing: convert Marvel story-lines into a playable format for table-top RPG's. It is not designed as a one-size-fits-all superhero game. It's not a bug, but a feature.
There are other one-size-fits-all superhero games, such as M&M.
You're right in that the game does not handle certain aspects of RPG's that we're used to, Scythia. This is intentional. The game isn't about designing your own superhero and leveling them up. It's about playing well-known characters and allowing players to interpret those heroes as they encounter challenges.
The game can (and does) accommodate character change. It just doesn't do it in the way you normally see in other games.
If you want to play your own heroes, or do a long campaign which involves expanding the characters abilities, something like M&M would be better. If you want to recreate scenarios from the Marvel universe (and allow players to make new and interesting choices in those scenarios) MHRP is probably the better choice.
That Other Guy wrote:
Hi! I want to do a campaign that's focused on exploration, complex problems, with a lot of options presented for players to try to overcome those obstacles... and apply that sort of style of problem solving to combats and things other than ancient relic puzzle things. I don't want to overdo it, because that could make combat more about finding the right 'button' to press among a hundred and take the struggle out of it, but I feel like it could add a lot of depth to gameplay.
The solution to having lots of complex puzzles, but not requiring a specific button to be pressed is to not choose the correct button ahead of time.
As GM, I often come up with problems for my players to solve. In an effort to not railroad, I might imagine a couple different ways to solve it, but sometimes I don't come up with any solution. Instead I present the players the problem and let them react to it. I let them be creative and come up with ideas, but I rely on the die rolls to inform me when the problem is solved.
Another thing, when puzzles are plot important, change what failure means. Normally, failure is often discussed in terms of stopping the action. Failure to pick a lock means a door remains closed and an alternate route now needs to be discovered, but sometimes there isn't an alternate route. My suggestion would to instead be prepared to alter the story.
Example: The kings crown was stolen and is in a locked room. The PC's fail to pick the lock. Instead of the door remaining closed, one of several things happen:
1) Guards/monsters come along while the players struggle with the lock. Essentially the failed roll increases the difficulty of the adventure by adding an encounter.
2) The crown is gone, someone beat them to it, either a thief or someone else who is going to take credit, or whatever fits the story.
3) The crown is now trapped, making the room more dangerous.
4) The players learn something new in that room, but it's not helpful. Like they learn why the bad guy stole the crown, but knowing why only fills them with dread.
In a sandbox game, I like to be prepared to change and alter the game to accommodate both player craziness, and to give myself the opportunity to add things at the spur of the moment like this. I keep as much of my story planning vague and overarching as possible so that I'm not tied down to specific details. I may have details written down, but I'm not afraid to change them.
I've been playing in a campaign using the early version and it's going quite well. It does a good job of utilizing a similar transition as Harry Potter, early stories can be focused on less dark and gritty stuff, more lighthearted while still foreshadowing the coming problems. Then as the dragons age the game gets darker and more complex.
Yes, you can always activate a limit. It costs you a doom die. You also don't get to increase your doom pool with that opportunity.
Something to remember, having a small doom pool means the opposition is weak. You need doom pool to activate abilities, boost your rolls, etc. As Watcher you get to choose what you're spending your doom pool on.
Also, players get FIRST OPTION, meaning if they choose to set off the limit, they get the PP, which can be used for something else, or to activate an opportunity rolled by the Watcher to restore that power.
You can and should combo SFX. Doing cool stuff is fun.
As Lincoln Hills said, it's not the HP values that are "unrealistic", but the lack of consequences.
Pathfinder is an action movie style game. Think about any martial arts movie where 2 guys square off for 4-10 minutes of brutal fisticuffs. They're bashing each other in the face, body, spraining joints, etc. They keep going full speed until someone stops though. Someone might limp a little, but overall his effectiveness isn't reduced.
In Pathfinder, you're battered, bruised and covered in blood (some of it isn't yours), but until you're out, you're fine.
There are a LOT of games out there with injuries and wound penalties. If you'd like a list we can certain recommend them. Typically this puts the emphasis on going first and hitting hard.
For example, if you've ever played Shadowrun RPG, it's typically a good idea to win initiative, shoot the other guy (twice if you can) and then let him miss because of his wound penalties. Then your next turn you finish him off. The other strategy is to make yourself so resistant to damage that everything just flows off of you like water on a duck.
The game is already tactical. How you build your character and what actions to take matter. You just want to change the tactics to emphasis other qualities more.
Also, once people know how to build damage focused characters, combat rarely lasts more than 2 rounds as it is.
Lastly, google "hiroshima survivor no face". People can survive more than you think.
When a limit is possibly triggered it goes like this:
1) If if pays PP, the player chooses to take it and shutdown the power, or...
Typically you want to take the PP as a player, unless you want to take the hit for the team to deplete the Doom Dice. Spider-man for example would bank the PP, then if the Watcher rolls an opportunity, he could activate it to get his web-slinging back.
Lastly, you can also tag Cam Banks on google+. He was the lead designer of MHRP. He's pretty friendly and if you can't find an answer to something he'll probably answer (he's pretty active on social media).
Raymond Lambert wrote:
I found what VincentTakeda said very interesting. I am going to ask, players if they want to try something like double HP for both PCs and NPCs.
Increasing the PC pool of HP just makes monsters/NPC's feel less threatening unless you increase their damage. Creating players and adversaries using the exact same rules leads to a never ending arms race. I don't recommend doubling ALL monster HP. Rather, just double monsters/NPC's that are solitary and otherwise wouldn't be a significant challenge.
The CR system works fine for encounters with multiple targets, it's the single targets that it often requires either massive amounts of planning to make effective, or simple changes to rules.
Bear (and dog) story
We were houseboating on Rainy Lake (US/Canada border again), I was in my early teens. It was a nice day so we had pulled the boat up onto a sandy piece of short and I went walking in the woods with the family dog, a shar-pei. We found a game trail and went walking.
We didn't go terribly far, maybe a quarter or half mile when I see two black fuzzballs about the size of a basketball go shooting up a tree. It took about 2 seconds to realize they were cubs, even though I didn't get a good look. The dog of course immediately went chasing after them, barking at the base of the tree. I valiantly yelled at the dog for about 5-10 seconds to leave them alone before I took off running, not wanting to see mama bear.
I get back to the house boat and I'm in tears, I always get very attached to my dogs. I eventually tell my parents what happened. My mom is somewhat calm, my dad is freaked out and expecting a bear to come charging out of the woods and up onto the boat (he's getting it ready to leave). Eventually my mom convinces him to wait a few minutes to see if the dog shows up.
About 5 minutes later he comes trotting out of the woods, his wide mouth open and looking like a giant grin (really he's just tired and panting). All over his face and upper chest are these little 1 inch scratches, distributed very randomly. It took a moment to realize that they were probably from him running through the underbrush so fast and hard that he cut himself on the branches.
Also, on each haunch, right in the meaty part of each leg... 4 parallel red lines, just deep enough to bleed slightly.
Nearly a decade later you could still see the scars from the claw marks.
That dog also survived cancer a few years later and ended up living to about 13 y/o (which is about 3-5 years longer than the average shar-pei). He was a tough son of a b~&*%.
Aaron Bitman wrote:
I've played book 1 three separate times.
The setup is cool, with some really interesting story lines. Unfortunately the adventure is written on very strict rails. Certain events HAVE to happen or future events don't happen at all or make any sense.
I have fond memories though. In high school we had a large gaming group (roughly 15 people, though usually only 7-8 showed up on a given day). In Dark Stryder everyone gets 3 characters, a command character, a premade crew member and then make their own crew member. You have a ship with a crew of about 150, so we had about 1/3 of that in actually played characters, which was kind of amazing.
I'd only recommend the campaign with the following caveats:
1) You need to rewrite the plot to make it more fluid and adaptable.
Otherwise though, it is kind of an amazing campaign.
It hasn't been mentioned yet: Fiasco
It's a great game. It runs one type of story, though that story can be set in a lot of different places/genres. Basically it's a Cohen brother's movie. People with big ideas and poor impulse control.
It's GM-less, plays in 2-4 hours and your character is likely to die (or have a fate worse than death).
A couple weeks ago I played the Paranoia inspired playset. My character was an ultra-violet programmer who was a member of the Illuminati. It turned out that his conspiracy program created a conspiracy against himself, he ended life in a pit-fight against a mutant monster made out of 43 hands.
Driving home one night I see a big fuzzball followed by 3 smaller fuzzballs scurry across the road and into a storm drain. Trying to get a better look I stop the car and turn slightly to point the lights at the drain. Up pops a set reflective eyes, followed by another set. The first set dropped down, while a third set popped up. One of the other dropped down, while the first came back up. This continued on for a bit.
I imagined the mother raccoon in the storm drain trying to pull her babies back down, who were curious and kept popping up to have another look.
On the border between Minnesota and Ontario (well, about 2-3 miles from the border) I'm on a canoe trip with my dad and my dog. It's a wilderness area, no motorized vehicles within at least 10-15 miles of us. End of the second day we find our camp spot around 3 pm. I don't set everything up right away but decide to take a nap, I put my sleeping pad on the ground and the dog snuggles up next to me.
I wake up to the sound of my dad yelling and hollering at something. Instinctively I grab the dog by the collar, then sit up to look around. Behind a small rock shelf (where all our gear is) is a black bear. I start yelling, the dog starts barking. The bear just gives me this puzzled look, like a slight cock to it's head. Then after a brief moment, maybe 10-20 seconds of everyone yelling, the bear runs past my dad and into the woods.
Next to our pile of gear is a pile of bear crap.
I like to think that we scared the s#&@ out of him.
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Nothing you just mentioned references "restricted activity". Slow (the spell) has it's own rules. Surprised is it's own thing.
This is using the EXACT same logic you just used for Nauseated. Either that logic is sound and it applies the same way, or your logic is faulty.
Your claim is that:
1) Nauseated doesn't reference "restricted activity"
2) "restricted activity" has nothing to do with Nauseated
By that same logic, Slow doesn't mention "restricted activity", neither does surprise, nor any other rule/spell/feat/condition/etc. Using YOUR logic, therefore the rules in "restricted activity" don't actually apply to anything at all, since NOTHING references it.
If you do a word search of the corebook, the phrase "restricted activity" appears exactly once.
Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Based on this logic, the restricted activity paragraph is superfluous and applies to nothing, since the term appears exactly once and is never referenced anywhere else in the book.
Since that seems unlikely, you're probably wrong.
I could care less about burden of proof. I'm honestly done with trying to treat the game rules as some sort of legal document.
The rules need to make sense. The rules interpretation that you back does not make sense and results in stupid outcomes (as you put it). Therefore, I do not accept that interpretation.
If you want me to accept it, present me with an interpretation that does not result in stupid outcomes (as you describe them).
You're ignoring an aspect of the word "only", and you're doing it purposely, because it serves your argument. English is a complicated language and the word 'only' can be used in MULTIPLE ways. In fact, some of those definitions of the word 'only' and how it can be used would suggest that your interpretation is wrong.
For example, in the sentence "you may only have 2 pieces of pizza" we know that it is highly likely that you are allowed to choose between 1 or 2 pieces, not that you can 2, but cannot take 1.
If you can't admit that that usage of the word exists, than your argument based on language is wrong, because your application of the rules of language is wrong.
The word 'only' can be used multiple ways, some of which support the inclusion of free/swift actions.
Can you conclusively prove that your interpretation of how the word is being used is correct?
Hint: you can't without a dev/designer quote.
Learn by doing my friend.
If you want to try it as a player, see if any conventions you attend have something called Games on Demand. GenCon for example has a huge room for it (I'm planning on being there this year to run games). It's a place that's usually more focused on the smaller press/indie games and Dungeon World has been fairly popular since it was released (though it's fallen down in popularity for new things recently). You can get in a game to see how others run it and maybe try running it yourself.
You're ignoring the fact that I've actually addressed the Specific>General issue and leave it intact.
Nauseated is addressing the statement "you may choose a standard or move action". It isn't addressing the "(plus free and swift actions as normal)".
Specific>General = fulfilled
You are choosing to apply the condition more broadly than it should be and it results in rules consequences that are by your own words "stupid".
Note, you are CHOOSING this. It isn't being forced on you. You are choosing it.
Except it's not actually in the RAW, is it? There's a sentence that is open to interpretation. You are CHOOSING the interpretation that results in situations you are admit are stupid.
Me: There's a limited amount of pizza, you're only allowed 2 slices.
That's the general rule. Now, Nauseated is a specific condition with the word "only" included in it. There are 2 ways to interpret that "only"
Now, one of these interpretations results in stupid outcomes (as you put it) and the other does not. I'm having a difficult time coming up with reasons why we should purposely choose to include rules with stupid outcomes. Maybe you can help me out as to how that makes for a better game?
It isn't about being a consistent GM, to be a consistent GM that your players can rely on merely requires you to communicate changes to rules prior to play beginning. Saying something like "I've changed the ruling on Nauseated, you can now take some free/swift actions as long as they don't require focus or concentration, we'll use rules like Take 10 and Concentration to help determine what qualifies for that."
Sounds like a pretty reasonable and consistent GM to me.
I highly recommend reading the GM advice section. It's a really good chapter for that IMO because it stays on the macro level of how to run the game, not how to do things within the game... if that makes sense.
One thing that might be hard for experienced GM's of Pathfinder/D&D/etc, is that you NEED to leave some aspects of the story blank ahead of time. There are moves in the game that trigger answers to questions, use these to fill things in.
The game doesn't lend itself to a super well-planned campaign. It's better for a fly by the seat of your pants GM, who might come up with half an adventure before hand, and just wing everything else. Things the players do will trigger new ideas and events directly because of the rules. If you plan everything to a "T", you either remove the impact of those rules (which are sometimes abilities of the characters) or have your plans ruined, or a mix of the two.
For me, Dungeon World is what you run when you have nothing planned. While the players make characters (which takes 5 minutes if you're slow), you read as much as you can in an old 1st edition module. Once they're done making characters, you start playing, without even knowing everything that's going to come up. Eventually you get to a point where all you're using is the map, cause the players have done so many crazy things, everything else is out the window.
That's what I do at least.
Challenge: using only the rules, make it logical for me why I can spend my action to stand up, but I can't spend my action to fall prone.
If your interpretation can't do this, I think it's safe to assume that your interpretation is wrong.
Here's my interpretation: Stop reading it like a lawyer.
The "only" in Nauseated is talking about the restricted activity. Normally, when you have a condition that restricts your actions, you get to choose: Standard or Move. In this case, it is limiting THAT choice, you can only choose Move. It isn't applying to the other aspects of restricted activity, it is only talking about that choice. The other aspects apply.
This interpretation you can use Free and Swift actions, allowing you to both stand up and fall down.
My interpretation produces results that are internally consistent and logical outcomes.
I could care less how you parse out the words. Provide an interpretation that results in consistent and logical outcomes.