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Gold Dragon

Jason S's page

RPG Superstar 2013 Star Voter. FullStar Pathfinder Society GM. 2,412 posts (2,438 including aliases). 94 reviews. 2 lists. No wishlists. 14 Pathfinder Society characters.

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Donny Schuijers wrote:
I do think that people are blaming Carrion Golem on totally wrong reasons.

The problem with the carrion golem is the discards from your deck before and after the encounter. That's how you kill characters, because you can't even judge your mortality anymore by your hand size and the cards remaining in your deck. It's kind of cheap. If it didn't make you discard, I think we would see far less complaints about this card, if any.

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My bad, wasn't thinking.

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So I went to Origins 2015 and my sample size is fairly low, but just for kicks will state my observations.

Jason S wrote:
How many players did you have at your table? Did you ever have a solo or 2 player table? How often did you have a 6 player table?

Most of the time I had 3 players at my tables, but occasionally we had 2 players or 4 players.

There was low attendance, so that's the reason for 2 players tables, as well as the fact that certain players needed certain scenarios.

Jason S wrote:
What level was the player skill? Better than expected? Less than you expected?

For the majority of players (and certainly the guys I hung out with most of the time), better than expected. They play fast, smart.

Was also surprised the more casual players didn't understand the basics of deck building.

Jason S wrote:
Did anyone roleplay? :)

Tiny bit, was funny. :)

Jason S wrote:
Did anyone at the table misunderstand a rule and then have it corrected by playing OP? (I think this is one of the greatest benefits of OP).

Only with a beginner player. Wrath is so new (and were beta testing adventure 2), we frequently asked questions.

Jason S wrote:

Were players teamwork orientated and did players discuss choices (at critical points) or did everyone "do their own thing"? Did players ask for blessings at critical points (or where they were in trouble) or did they just roll and fail without asking for help?

Everyone was really awesome at teamwork except in one circumstance (where the player screwed me out of an upgrade for no reason).

The players who had their hands open at all times were the best at teamwork.

Jason S wrote:
Did players try to work as a group or did some players "go rogue" and start exploring locations that benefitted them in terms of boons (but perhaps they couldn’t close the location)?

Mostly as a team, I think everyone trusted that everyone knew what they were doing. Sometimes it made sense to stack, sometimes not.

Jason S wrote:
Did you ever have time to harvest locations for loot (by not closing a location on purpose)?

OH YEAH! (Mansion House, I'm looking at you!)

Jason S wrote:
Were there any characters archetypes that were played more than others? Were Seoni and Kyra really common? :) Were any class decks more common than others? Were any class decks rarely seen?

Did not see a single Seoni or Kyra oddly.

I saw a lot of Meliski's (3 in fact, in a small sample size). Thought this character was bad, but he's quite good.

Bard, Cleric, and Fighter decks were popular. Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, not as popular (1 character each). No wizards!

Jason S wrote:
Were healers frequent or were people flexible enough someone would play one if no one else was playing support? Were there ever too many support characters at a table? Did you ever play in a group with no support characters (and were you successful)?

There were so many people playing support, I was unable to play my support character. That's in over 4 days of gameplay. I was shocked.

Yes people were flexible but people also had characters they wanted to play.

Wrath almost demands you have a healer in the party, unless you have the Herald cohort available.

Yes, my first table had 2 support characters out of 3. Too many, but it allowed me to open up and play recklessly, which is fun.

Yes, I played several (4) tables with no support characters successfully, but Wrath almost demands support, and the only reason we were able to do this was because of the Herald cohort and/or the Sacred Prism loot item.

Jason S wrote:
I imagine players are very flexible with what characters they play in adventures 1+2, but in adventures 4+ do the trends in the paragraph above still hold true?

As you get into adventure 2, people are less flexible for the simple reason that they don't have a character of that tier.

Jason S wrote:
Was there anything else you were surprised by?

Was surprised that some people would stick to their group of 3 and never offer to take another player. Always thought the point of OP was to play with (at least some) players you don't usually play with.

In general though I was very pleasantly surprised by the majority of people I met and only wish they were around locally.

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This week at Origins, something like 10 base sets were out at all times. And there's no way Tanis could have watched every box or even what we were doing at our tables.

Having said that, I think 99% of gamers are a good bunch and wouldn't steal cards.

You either need to trust them or play with them.

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Did 1A 3 times on three different characters with week, at Origins. Was a piece of cake. Second game was with a player who had never played PFCG before.

Herald makes a huge difference, a support character isn't even needed.

At Origins this scenario was changed from "+1 damage" to "-1 damage". I can see how the "+1 damage" version could be hard.

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Best moments.

Amaryllis beating a DC 18 demon to death using a hatchet (D6 STR). Halfling power!

Winning on the last turn of the last encounter of the last check. After failing her combat check, Katie used her Ivory Dice to pull out the lucky 50/50 win! Awesome!

Winning on the 2nd last turn with Rogue and Dan.

Watching Valeros (Dan) get eaten by 3 blood demons (nom nom nom) thanks to a Demonic Horde (right, that NEVER happens).

Farming the Manor House. Close this location, no way!

Everyone avoiding the Lava Core, lol. And crossing our fingers on the Torture Chamber.

Realizing surges put you over the top and that you don't need to be afraid of Wrath.

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Ron Lundeen wrote:
Put another way, are there conditions under which you can do either "trigger" action (gain a card feat, or complete an adventure) but not go up a tier?

Unless you complete all of the scenarios in an adventure, you have a choice if want to increase your tier.

I just finished both adventures 1 and 2, and believe me you WANT the rewards for completing each and every adventure. I don't think being gimped would be a wise move going forward, it's quite tough.

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I just wanted to thank Tanis and company for coming out to Origins and supporting OP there. For me, that was the perfect way to spend most of my week. It turned a horrible week into something very relaxing and fun. Thanks!

Also want to thank the guys I met while playing OP all weekend, Mike and Len (who I played through Adventure 1 with) and Rogue and Dan (who I played through Adventure 2 with). Loved playing with you guys, hopefully will see you next year.

Btw, 100% success rate! :)

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1) There are feats that are as good or better (when in combination with other chain feats) than don't depend on someone else.

2) Non-teamwork feats don't depend on someone else, so you're not stymied as often. It's like Magic the card game, why would you depend on a 2-3 card combination when you can get the same results from a single card? You're setting yourself up for failure.

3) Don't depend on others. It would suck if that player didn't show up or left the gaming group.

Despite the drawbacks, not sure why they're not used *sometimes*.

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Andrew L Klein wrote:
Sure it can kill your character, but that just means your strategy needs to change, as it probably will with every adventure path.

What strategy do you use when you’re permanently dead by being one-shotted (through bad luck)? Raise Dead is tier 5.

PFACG isn’t a “one shot” game, it’s a campaign, and perma-death does more to destroy campaigns than anything else. That’s why there are “save points” in video games or there's no penalty in restarting. Even in Pathfinder Society, death is extremely rare and permanent death is even rarer. If perma-death isn’t rare in the APCG OP, it’s not going to be popular. Period.

Because of perma-death, I dislike any card that forces you to discard from the top of your deck, especially if it happens regardless of success.

Let’s face it, OP is already hard enough: support characters don’t get the cure spells they need (which is one of the many reasons Kyra is so popular), and other characters get non-optimal weapons and spells compared to campaigns. In OP, the odds are already stacked against us. We can’t “fudge”. Are we going to get mythic surges to help us with Wrath? So yeah, perma-death and not even being able to gauge your risk level (because of discards from the top of the deck) is not fun.

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I was just curious what people have seen, on average, with convention play for OP. (APCG developers can feel free to post anonymously on their alts :) ) Yes, this is probably colored by the players that attended, but nevertheless I’m just interested in what you’ve seen.

How many players did you have at your table? Did you ever have a solo or 2 player table? How often did you have a 6 player table?

What level was the player skill? Better than expected? Less than you expected?

Did anyone roleplay? :)

Did anyone at the table misunderstand a rule and then have it corrected by playing OP? (I think this is one of the greatest benefits of OP).

Were players teamwork orientated and did players discuss choices (at critical points) or did everyone "do their own thing"? Did players ask for blessings at critical points (or where they were in trouble) or did they just roll and fail without asking for help?

Did players try to work as a group or did some players "go rogue" and start exploring locations that benefitted them in terms of boons (but perhaps they couldn’t close the location)?

Did you ever have time to harvest locations for loot (by not closing a location on purpose)?

Were there any characters archetypes that were played more than others? Were Seoni and Kyra really common? :) Were any class decks more common than others? Were any class decks rarely seen?

Were healers frequent or were people flexible enough someone would play one if no one else was playing support? Were there ever too many support characters at a table? Did you ever play in a group with no support characters (and were you successful)?

I imagine players are very flexible with what characters they play in adventures 1+2, but in adventures 4+ do the trends in the paragraph above still hold true?

I'll be responding with my thoughts after Origins, which will be my first official session with OP with strangers.

Was there anything else you were surprised by?

Just curious. Please don’t take this post too seriously. Thanks.

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1) Not knowing your (modified) +Hit, damage, saves, and AC. Players should have a Q card with their most up-to-date stats imo. Makes life easier.

2) Not being ready for your turn and ready to drop the dice. Not paying attention during other player's turns.

3) Shaking your dice too long before rolling, or not rolling all/most of your dice in one roll.

4) Not knowing your spells and not ready to select one before your turn.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
He never got a chance to cast a spell or use an SLA. All characters, the BBEG included, were 9th level. After a 5 hour session and weeks of planning, this was how the story arc ended. I hated it.

The problem is simple, you have a 9th level party and you gave them an CR 8 encounter (9th level NPC). That fight is considered "easy", so it's not surprising that's exactly what happened.

Designing Encounters

Your BBG fights should have a CR of APL + 2 or even APL +4 (depending on your group's optimization).

1) Don't allow options if you find they're extremely unbalancing. 3rd party supplements tend to be unbalancing.
2) The PCs can't just run around beating up whoever they like, there are repercussions. They can be attacked/ambushed too.
3) Maybe less magic items or wealth is a good idea, but it's probably too late.
4) This is a home game, if you don't like a rule, change it.

I've never had a problem challenging my party or characters, if anything I have a hard time not killing them (RAW without home rules). It shouldn't be hard to challenge characters in Pathfinder.

Pathfinder is a great system. I recommend being a player in organized play for a different point of view and new experiences.

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Snorb wrote:

This is one of my favorite descriptions of alignment.

No no no. That very old description of alignment is part of the problem. It's the reason why so many people hate alignment and other hate players when they play certain alignments. I'd rather not play with alignment if that's how Pathfinder defined them. Luckily the game has improved since then.

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That's awesome! And we get to preview adventure #2 for Wrath too, wow, this is going to be great. I have every afternoon off to play PFCG at Origins, looking forward to this.

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When I was growing up, I always used a GMPC, but I made sure that:
1) I never favored him or put him in the spotlight or made him “special”.
2) I never made him more powerful than everyone else.

Yes, it’s more fun to have a “PC” of your own, it’s like you’re playing too. No one objected because I did it right and it was more fun for me at the time, but I realize now that the game is better without a GMPC.

I don’t do it anymore because:
1) Your “turn” as GMPC takes away from turns from other characters, and the GMs turn is already too long with the bad guys.
2) Conflicts between your GMPC and other PCs.
3) NPCs can’t talk to your GMPC without it being really weird and boring the other players, which makes it hard to reveal plot.
4) You have an entire world of NPCs, including recurring NPCs, to play. Some of these NPCs can tag around for a limited amount of time with the party... which is recommended! But really, there’s no need for a GMPC.
5) It can be hard to wipe the party if you’re too attached to the GMPC. The other players might even feel protected by this fact.
6) GM already has enough to worry about.

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EntrerisShadow wrote:
Anyone else have a Scrappy alignment at their table that's not Chaotic Neutral?

There's nothing wrong with either chaotic good or chaotic neutral, just the way people portray them.

In D&D video games, you'll note that many of the most beloved and enjoyable characters are chaotic alignments. In Baldur's Gate 2, Minsc (and hamster), Korgan, Jan, all chaotic. And all playable.

Most players don't really understand alignment anyway, it's not meant to be a straight jacket or a way to typecast a character's each and every moment of their life, it's just a short hand for their GENERAL attitudes.

I play both chaotic neutral or chaotic good quite often at PFS tables. Apparently not many people know how to do it well. Chaotic doesn't mean crazy. Sigh.

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adembroski wrote:
Jason S: Yes, I could sit down and rewrite the entire system to suit my needs. I could. But then I'd be a game designer.

I'm pretty sure you don't need to be a game designer to implement a few of your suggestions, like using 3d6 for ability scores or removing feat prerequisites.

I agree that high level play should be revised, the question is revised to what? That's a thread on it's own.

I'm actually more on board with what Bugleyman is saying. Simplify, simplify, simplify wherever possible.

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Everyone has an opinion on how the game could be more tailored to their personal tastes. The good part is you're free to make up whatever house rules you like.

You realize feats without trees are what actually make it possible to have OP combinations right?

I'm pretty happy with my library of APs, scenarios, and not feeling like I need to relearn a new system.

We're still 5-10 years off from a new edition at least (I hope). The entire reason I like and respect Paizo is that they're not trying to edition me to death like other companies.

Unchained is likely a beta for what it could look like. But I'm a lot happier that it's just an option right now.

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Hama wrote:
Why do people do this? I don't understand.

He actually explained it perfectly to you. He was bored and he's kind of an a-hole.

I can see where your campaign style might not be for everyone but he doesn't have to ruin it for everyone else.

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Didn't like the finale:

Doesn't make sense to me a surgeon, no matter how drunk, would try to kill Rick, a trained combatant, with a sword, in a fair way. And especially not in front of the community. It's a lose-lose situation. The doctors I know... are not even 1% that stupid. Thought that was unrealistic.

Didn't like how weak and "humane" Glenn has become. Seriously, letting Nick live after another attempt on your life after killing your friend and leaving you for dead? This is getting ridiculous trying to prove how humane the group is becoming. In real life, this just gets you dead.

Didn't like how Deanna got only Nick's side of the story and not Glenn's after being portrayed and being wise (and thorough) before.

Hopefully the wolves are more than 2 guys.

Morgan going from a normal dad to some kind of bo staff wielding ninja. Come on... that takes training, you can't just pick it up, and who would provide that training? And how could you make mistakes when one mistake against zombies costs you your life? "Good tv" (because people love that stuff), kills the realism for me.

Didn't like how they didn't show Glenn getting out of a certain death experience and then tried to be dramatic by letting him somehow snuck up on Nick in the woods when being wounded.

Although it was a different kind of ending compared to the formula ending, it felt anti-climatic and didn't feel like a season finale.

Although I loved season 5, I wasn't a fan of the writing for the finale.

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Alzrius wrote:
My understanding is that Jensen tweeted that there was going to be an eleventh season, but there hadn't been any official confirmation yet.

Really? They've been saying all season (even at the fan festival), that this would be the last season.

I guess we'll see. All things have to end, but I really like this show...

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Highly doubt it will be better. If it's as good as #3, I'll be happy. Have no faith in JJ and I'm not impressed with the CGI compared to model starships (looks fake).


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You know you're in trouble when you get to the table and...

... no one is wearing pants.

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So I’ve been playing the last 2 months and here’s my report.

This is the best MMO I’ve played since WOW vanilla. The game is a horror/survival/Lovecraft based game and meant for adults. The game is actually challenging, both in terms of combat and quests. (Of course if you cry “Uncle” and read the walkthroughs, it can be less challenging).

There’s lots of content for both grouping and solo play, and definitely the best questing I’ve experienced of any MMO. In terms of questing, its worlds ahead of WOW.

There are also lots of people still playing and lots of people levelling up in the old zones (thanks to the Steam sale). So you can still find groups for dungeons.

For $30, this game is a great deal. I like the game so much; I’ve recently bought all of their additional content and have a subscription as well. And it’s worth every penny.

I’ve completed every single quest and every dungeon until Transylvania (maybe 200 hours of content?) and there have been no bugs. I’ve read this game was buggy on release but it’s completely clean ATM.

The game hasn’t been a grind at all; you only need do at most 25% of the quests before you have the gear and XP to leave a zone. Having said that, I find the story/questing to be so well done, I usually do every single quest before leaving.

In terms of progression, I’m still not at end game yet (after 2 months) and I’m a fast at levelling in WOW. I think my PC has 15% of the abilities and that’s only on one ability wheel out of three. So in terms of horizontal progression, there is a lot to go. I’m still not sure how much vertical progression there is, but it takes a while.

They have substantial content updates every 4 months. Like any MMO, I assume eventually I will run out of casual-player content, and will need to do elite content if I want to play every day.

This game is not for people who want to:

1) Level up as quickly as possible: If your goal is to level up as fast as possible and to get the most uber gear as possible, you won’t enjoy the game. And quite frankly, you’re missing the best parts of the game. Yes, you can probably do 25% of the quests in each zone (less with an XP booster or a friend) and get the gear/XP you need, but you’ll be missing all of the content and you’ll get to end game and say “is that it”? And then the content becomes more horizontal and challenging, which most grinders will not enjoy.

2) If you skip watching videos to do the quest as fast as possible, this is not the game for you. If you don’t take the time to listen to the optional voice dialog offered, this is not the game for you. It’s extremely entertaining stuff.

3) Like to be handheld through quests. If you like your quests to be “kill 10 rats”, you might not like this game and you’ll probably spend most of your time reading the walkthroughs for every quest. Congrats on making the game easy mode, but again you missed the point.

This is a game for:

1) People who like a good story.

2) People who like dark horror themes and mature content. Zombies, werewolves, vampires, ghost, etc.

3) People who don’t like questing and dungeons to be super easy.

4) People who like to try different builds and options for their PC.

5) People who like to customize how their PC looks and dresses.

6) People who want something different in an MMO.

It’s a great game, I give it 9.5/10 stars.

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Mark Hoover wrote:
Is "auto-win-while-looking-more-awesome-than-anything-ever" count as a campaign setting?

If you don't fudge, there's no such thing anyway.

For example last session a challenging encounter almost ended with a TPK (3 hp and 1 guy standing). It wasn't intended. If I had intended a killer encounter, I would have needed to cheat and fudge. Fudging and cheating to keep the campaign going is auto-win to me, and the worst part is the players know exactly what you're doing.

In my experience when everything is hard all the time, it gets boring too. And... arduous. Variety is best.

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Because the show could only rent a tank that was decommissioned (Sherman), they probably couldn't get permission to use a current army model. It was on one of their "how they made" segments.

Yeah, great show can't wait until it returns.

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When the Pounce ability was first created, it was only meant to be used by animals like cats, so they could jump on you and use all 4 claw attacks and bite when charging.

In my opinion, Pounce should only be used with two weapon fighting or unarmed. You shouldn't be able to "pounce" with a two handed weapon, that's completely against the original intent of the ability (and it's impossible to explain (or imagine visually) like we did with the cat).

This change would help make two weapon fighting (and unarmed combat) more comparable to 2H weapons, which is badly needed.

Just imo.

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ShinHakkaider wrote:
So sick of people not understanding that the written word and film are two completely different medium and dont work in the same way to entertain.

I think you just have to accept the fact that some adaptations are good and some are bad. And sometimes the movie is just bad on it's own and being a fan of the original work just rubs salt in the wound.

I agree, some fans take it way too far (that *any* change makes the movie horrible), but saying a fan can't dislike the movie/TV show is going in the opposite extreme.

I think what bugs me most these days is that many directors and writers don't even make an attempt to pay homage to the original material. For example, why did "World War Z" even have the same title as the book if the only thing they have in common was zombies? Yeah, that makes fans mad, and rightfully so.

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How can you answer this question without having huge assumptions about the aliens?

On one hand, one alien like Galactus could conquer Earth, and if you had weaker aliens that didn't want to use weapon of mass destruction, it could take millions of aliens to do it.

If you want to see how many tanks, planes, and infantry each country has, it's pretty easy to Google. Then take whatever alien assumption you have and divide.

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Yeah, regarding homebrew, because of my age and the fact that I’ve been playing for 35 years, I’ve had more negative experiences with it than positive.

1) Homebrew campaigns have always felt railroadier than pre-made campaigns. The GMs always THINK they’re not, but they are. Their favorite NPCs always put us in our place and the only solutions that work to solve problems are ones the GM has already thought of.

Several homebrew campaigns fell apart before they began because “we were doing it wrong”. I’m pretty sure the GM put anywhere from 40-300 hours into the campaign and yes, many of them fell apart in 1 session and almost all fell apart in 10 sessions, either because we got stuck or “we did it wrong” or followed a storyline he didn’t anticipate. And the sad part is that we tried our best and weren’t even trying to break the campaign. Railroad!

2) Having a huge campaign bible isn’t always a good thing. What I mean is, you’re definitely running the campaign YOU want to run, but it might not be the campaign the players want to run. I had one GM who did this and it can get very… narcissistic. The campaign was more about him (and his plans) than us. Huge turn off. Yes, we played it for months, but it wasn’t good (for me the player).

Please contrast that to the GM who gives their players 15 campaign options (including adventure paths) to choose from. The players and GM compromise on the campaign that everyone wants to play. A much better experience for the players imo.

3) GMs who homebrew always think their campaigns are better than pre-made campaigns, but they’re not. The quality is never as good compared to a pre-made campaign with GM adding and modifying the material. GMs can still “homebrew” the campaign to personalize it to their tastes and the player’s tastes, but this is always in addition to what already exists, there’s already a base.

Anyway, I won’t play in a homebrew campaign anymore. I’ll play (or run) in an AP that has homebrew elements in it (personalization is GREAT!), but 100% homebrew. No way.

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Summoner (synthesist) is out of control, that's why it's banned in PFS. An acquaintance showed me a 13th level synth he created and it basically soloed an entire 14th level module. Fun? Fair?


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Jiggy wrote:
Jason S wrote:
Everyone is playing the character they want to play, not the character they should play.
The "should" doesn't come from simply using the alignment system; it comes from picking your alignment first instead of letting your character determine what your alignment is.

No. Even when a player picks their alignment based on what they think their character concept is, many people (players and people like you) still think all of their actions should fit into that alignment. It makes for bad gaming.

Do you ever wonder why real people and even fictional characters (Batman, Dexter) can’t have alignments assigned to them? It’s because every action we take doesn’t always fit an alignment. I don’t want an alignment debate (that's not what the thread is about) so I’ll leave it at that.

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There's no reason it shouldn't fit, Inquisitors are a flexible class. Play whatever you want to play.

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Malwing wrote:
I died but was brought back to life to get revenge for my murder in exchange for my soul and marrying one of Asmodeus' daughter (who is my cohort).

Doesn't sound like much of a punishment.

Malwing wrote:
Previously I convinced the party to make getting rid of the Queen our goal and allow me to rule Korvosa in her place.

And they never thought of casting detect evil on you?

Malwing wrote:
How much different am I from the Queen?

Very. Ileosa is just using Korvosa and is willing to sacrifice every living being in it to meet her goals.

Asmodeus wants stability, see Cheliax. Asmodeus and Zon Kuthon are the same alignment but are very different.

Malwing wrote:
Will my association with Asmodeus disrupt our goals or make them more in line with the Queen's?

I think you're still following the same goals, although the reason for it is nefarious. Perhaps some encounters around devils will be resolved with diplomacy instead of combat, but that's up to your GM.

Malwing wrote:
Considering what my character is what should my goals be?

Only you can answer that question. It sounds like you know what you want, get rid of the queen, possibly take her power, gain as many devil allies as possible.

The only problem is, I believe the throne is a monarchy, so it's unlikely Korvosa would support an usurper on the throne. Also, your secret (of being evil and a thrall of Asmodeus) wouldn't last long, other people would notice and tell the party. And assuming there are at least some good members of your party, I can see them supporting getting rid of you or rejecting your bid to take the throne when the campaign concludes.

This is all stuff for your GM to determine though and everyone has their own opinion.

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I loved the part where Gipsy used a supertanker as a baseball bat! That was a pure awesome display of the power behind the Jaegar.

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Hate what they did to the Wolverine character in "The Wolverine", especially the stupid bone claws.

This movie looks good, wish they could have stuck to the original sentinel concept/colors though, these sentinels look like Duracell gumbies.


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I like characters based more on their personality than their class, so I like most classes and don't have a "favorite".

The only class I dislike is the Paladin, not because I don't like people playing Paladins, I just have trouble roleplaying them.

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pjackson wrote:
If EoA were standalone I would agree it is backward, but as it is Lamm is just an excuse to bring the players together not the main story. So getting him out of the way quickly seems the right way to go.

It's the reason for getting together, however there's no real reason for staying together. To collect the reward from the Queen? Maybe. Because you have nothing better to do (and want to suddenly become lackeys to the guard captain)? Maybe. Because you have no friends or contacts other than this group that was gathered by a ghost? Maybe.

Most players find this aspect of the book contrived, believe me. Especially if they have character backgrounds and contacts in the city.

Also, I knew going in that my players would HATE Kroft's go-there-and-fetch missions, so I changed that too. Same NPCs and locations, different motivations and story. But that takes lots of work.

pjackson wrote:
Currently I am thinking about how I can stop my players from immediately concluding that Vencarlo is Blackjack.

I thought it was silly that he was introduced during the Kroft interview. I'll have him appear much later. By then the PCs will accuse everyone of being Blackjack: Kroft, Trinia, maybe even Grau. By the time they meet him they'll forget about it.

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I made each PC:
1) Have a strong reason for hating Lamm.
2) Have a reason or desire to protect or care about the city.
3) A strong relationship to at least one other member of the party.

That's the glue that binds the campaign together.

I didn't like that Lamm was so weak and dies almost immediately, so I changed the story. I think it's bad that Lamm dies so early in the AP, especially since it's the reason the party gets (and maybe stays)together. If you don't know each other, there isn't enough trust built up to stay together after killing him imo. Basically we do the job and go back to your regular lives. There's really no reason for staying together. Because of riots? I don't think so, if anything it would make you want to go back to your family, property, home, friends, work, to protect them.

Anyway, have fun, this has been a great campaign so far.

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I do away with XP altogether when playing APs. I level (all) PCs up at certain logical points in the books. When a player doesn't attend, the PC gets "XP" but they don't get gold or items.

For a long time I tracked XP (even to the point of minor things) using the Rolemaster system. XP was given for doing hit points of damage, criticals, taking damage, taking criticals, casting spells, and delivering killing blows. And I tracked it all. You know what? It was a massive waste of time.

^^^ That is just administration, which isn't fun for anyone and it's a waste of time. I suppose it was good in the sense that it illustrated that I never wanted to track XP ever again.


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Shatner's Comma wrote:
Thanks! Those are both useful tips. I'll likely be running "In Service to Lore" first, and maybe "Silent Tide" after that.

Sounds like a good start and I think you'll be fine. In a way your situation is ideal since you'll all be learning together (and you have the most experience).

All GMs make mistakes, even experienced GMs. As long as you're open to learning and correcting your mistakes, it's all good.

You might want to check out Painlord's threads on how to be a better GM, how to be a better player, etc, I think they're helpful.


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There aren't any "must have" boons on any chronicle, except for maybe the Shadowlodge and Lantern Lodge retirement scenarios, but those boons are no longer possible to gain. Everything else is just "cool" and should be treated as such.

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Drazulfel wrote:
That's when I initiated the 6-Second Rule. A single round in D20 combat represents 6 seconds in the game world. So, in order to make sure my players are paying attention, and in order to make sure that combat is fast paced, chaotic, and visceral, if things start to drag I announce that all players only have 6 seconds to respond when I call out their turn in the initiative, or else they end up losing their turn... essentially the player's indecision results in a Dazed effect for the PC.

I like it when players at least declare their actions in 6 seconds. This isn’t always going to be the case, but it should be the case 90% of the time if you were paying attention.

Imo most martial players should be ready to drop their dice immediately when it’s their turn. Do you have any idea how fast combat can get when you have a bunch of martial PCs and each turn takes only 10 seconds each?

Having said that, there are always exceptions but yes, I understand exactly what you mean. Players should know their order and should know who is ahead of them so they’re ready on their turn.

The worst case scenario is when it’s someone’s turn and they start calculating their “to hit” and damage bonuses on the fly… and they don’t even have any buffs/debuffs! That actually happened this weekend. And you know what? I’m going to start penalizing that s+~& because it’s ridiculous.

Kazaan wrote:
No one can think that fast if they're not hopped up on stress and adrenaline (as, one would presume, a typical player is not) so limiting their decision to 6 seconds is far flung and ridiculous; even 1 full minute may be drastically rounding down.

You're wrong, I play like this all the time when I have a martial PC. Each turn takes 10 seconds total after my name is called (which isn't even necessary since I know who goes before me).

My entire table at Bonekeep played like this, it was the only way to finish the scenario in time. And believe me, the game is a lot more fun for it. It's not about being stressed, it's just about being aware and prepared and actually paying attention to the game (and ready to drop the dice immediately and not shake them for 10+ seconds while everyone stares blankly).

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Confession that will get me shunned: I think anyone that reads this entire thread has way too much time on their hands.

And I think the thread has been entirely too negative for me to read, even as a "joke".

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If this ability has no save, it’s badly broken. It doesn’t take much imagination to find ways to make each and every encounter auto-win.

I think what a lot of people are missing is that it means almost complete battlefield control. Let me give you some examples.

Jiggy wrote:
The idea that only targeting one enemy is as good as hitting everyone in a 15ft radius seems like a flimsy myth to me.

If there are multiple enemies, they’re no threat to us anyway since they’ll have trouble hitting us and doing damage in general. Plus there are tonnes of tactics to use on them. Besides, AE damage is what alchemists do best.

If you hit the boss and he has lots of minions, then it gives you time to kill the minions while the boss has a 25% chance to act. Also the boss will probably end up killing a lot of minions (attacking the closest creature).

If there are 2-3 bosses of equal strength, you can hit one of them with the bomb while killing the other. Again, if you position yourself right they could end up attacking their allies.

If it’s a solo boss, it can:
- Give you time to move out of the way and buff up. Or move up to the boss.
- Give you time to heal up while no one attacks. 50% reduction in DPS is significant.
- Force the target to attack only targets that attack him (ignoring squishies who just wish to heal or buff or dispel). You can control this from round to round (if someone is really hurt).
- Prevent the boss from escaping or being strategic (if you attack him he is forced to attack the attacker).

I’d say that’s potent. Maybe you can’t abuse that, but I’m pretty sure that could be ridiculous with a strategic group.

Jiggy wrote:
The idea that this becomes overpowered once the alchemist also has Fast Bombs (10th level) seems like a flimsy myth to me.

You’re right, it doesn’t make a huge difference, but probably not for the reasons you think. As you’ve seen in the example above, it would only really help if there were 3-4 equally powerful bosses, but then again if you can take 1 boss out of the combat each round while focusing on another, the combat is still quite simple at even 1 bomb per round.

Jiggy wrote:

The idea that it's a fair comparison to give the alchemist 10th-level abilities, factor in range penalties and cover/concealment, and throw some buffs on him; then compare him to what a caster can do as a standard action from 200ft away without even using their highest-level spells, seems like a flimsy myth to me.

The idea that all those caster BBEGs I've faced with mirror image and displacement up would be more likely to fail a save than to take a direct hit through all their defenses seems like a flimsy myth to me.

If you cast True Strike (ignores concealment), close your eyes (ignores mirror image), and throw your bomb none of your defenses matter.

Also, you’re assuming the enemy is a high level spellcaster now, but in my experience those encounters are rare compared to everything else.

In summary, I’m pretty sure this ability has a good chance of taking out even a Runelord like Krune, making him an easy target. :)


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roysier wrote:
I think you're right I've heard a lot of chatter between GM's about bragging about TPK's in Bonekeep, it seems there is a loss of clarity that a good judge is in charge of leading a enjoyable experience and is there to insure eveyone is playing by the rules including himself to the best of his ability.

Yes, instead of the session being about a fair and fun experience (that was also extremely challenging), I felt like some GMs actually felt like they were doing something wrong if they didn't have 1-2 kills during the scenario, and then went outside the rules and scenario stats to accomplish it.

nosig wrote:

The pharse that sticks in my mind was:

"Of course you got BONED, that's why they called it Bonekeep!"

this was the reply when I encountered things that appeared to not work via the rules. (Traps that can not be detected until triggered, monsters that can not be precieved until after they attack, etc.)

Yes, that's adversarial. Any GM with that mindset isn't going to provide a fun experience, they just changed the game from PC vs environment to PC vs GM.

I pretty much encountered the same thing as you nosig and much much more. I didn't complain at the time because I wasn't sure if there were specific things about Bonekeep I didn't know about. Plus you can't argue too much, there just isn't time (if you want to finish). Then, I spoke to several other groups about it and they didn't experience the same thing... at all. 100% different experience. Anyway, it's already handled so I won't say anything more except that it's a horrible experience (and rattles my trust in PFS GMs) and I sympathize with both of you.


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roysier wrote:
Is it illegal for a GM to change die roll results, add spells, and create special abilities that a creature does not have? It seems to me the GM has made the decision he was going to kill the party and was going to bend whatever rule he wanted to get this result, is this legal?

There's a lot of that going around. A very similar thing happened to me at Gencon this year. Bonekeep and Waking Rune has twisted some GMs and brought out the worst in them.


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And then again, some GMs take descriptions way too far, making them too long and only every single hit. I personally do not like that at all, there is a happy medium. But this has nothing to do with running tables with more challenge.


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My PC backflipped to Torch (using Total Defense), defended him, and said "Run Torch run!". I was the only one who beat him in init, so he just teleported away...

My PC also made a copy of "The Ten" before handing it over... heh.

If anyone asks (no one did), I would have just said that: "Torch was too tricky and sly not to get away (if he was even here), I did that as part of a ruse to perhaps one day contact him again and gain his trust".

Which is of course a lie. Death to the Decemvirate! lol.

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