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John-Andre's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 189 posts (190 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 Pathfinder Society characters.


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We had a single player who I eventually banned from my tables... and I am one of the most forgiving GMs I know. This was during the 4E D&D Living Forogtten Realms campaign, so it wasn't like the player could kill the campaign... but he sure made it not fun for the rest of the party.

He was known for playing characters who served themselves and only themselves. He didn't get the 4E system. The very first character he played, was a 4E Ranger (from the PHB, not Essentials). The minute he found out about Double Strike, he was in love. Up until he discovered that the Ranger had no self-healing ability.

He tried a number of characters. The one that caused the TPK was the cleric that refused to enter combat, refused to heal anyone except for himself, and generally was a complete obstacle to the party. The party entered into combat and tried to get him to help, but he refused to even do so much as drop a healing word on critically-injured teammates. They all died except for him... until the monsters found him, whereupon the GM called it a TPK by fiat.

The last straw, for me, was during a low-level mod set in Waterdeep. The situation was an ambush in a theater. He was playing a paladin, and had pretty much shown his usual colors, up until the archers on the balconies started up. He panicked, and dived into the nearest cover he could find: the orchestra pit. Where he hid until the fight was over. In the meantime other characters managed to withstand the arrows, chase through the theaters to melee the archers and eventually drop them.

He had to leave the session shortly after that, whereupon I called the game and said we'd try again... which we did, minus the trouble player. And a much better time was had by all.

We had several people try to help the guy understand the rules and set him up with characters that suited his playstyle, but it seemed like all he wanted was an invincible tank with the largest bow in existence.

I know he went to the PFS group in town, but they got tired of his antics there too. I don't know if he got banned there, but I do know many of the PFS players in town refuse to play with him.

If the problem is one of availability, i.e. the MagicMart syndrome, then take their toys away. Steal them. You have to figure that at some point, some group of dungeon denizens have learned how much of a force multiplier these things are, so they've worked out methods to relieve the party of this stuff -- possibly even going so far as figuring out how to use these things for their benefit against the party!

So here's what you want: a large room near the start of the dungeon with good places along the side to hide or escape. A great hall or courtroom is perfect for this sort of thing. Hide some spellcasters or alchemists along the side, put some artillery in the back and put some tanky skirmishers in the front. When the party comes in, the skirmishers come up to distract them, and then the spellcasters/alchemists drop strength-reducing spells like Ray of Enfeeblement on the weaker members of the party (the ones not in heavy armor -- they're probably the ones with consumable magic items). Or some STR-draining poison. Then the monsters withdraw, to protect the artillery.

The party, now a few points of Strength down, will probably divest themselves of heavy packs so they can move closer to the artillery. That's when the stealthed monsters swoop in, grab the packs and run like hell.

Even if they've only grabbed the mundane stuff like rope, rations, etc., from the party, they've still cost the party resources. And the rest of the monsters will learn where those consumables are, because those rogues will be trying again. And again. And again.

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JoeJ wrote:

Why Pathfinder instead of something like D20 Modern?

Because Pathfinder is the more commercially successful product line.

Psychic powers really don't say "cyberpunk" to me... yes, I know, Akira and all that, but it still doesn't strike me as a cyberpunk staple. What it hits me as, is a dystopian staple. And the postmodern dystopian genre and the cyberpunk genre do blend well together.

How I'd most likely use psychic powers in a cyberpunk setting is for the opposition to the players. An example would be a less technologically-developed nation creating their own psychic secret police to monitor its own people. Players would run into these guys who always seem to know where they'd show up, and be able to counter some of their decisions. They might have to dig into who these guys are, and develop plans which can rapidly evolve and change.

I'd keep psychic powers mysterious and undefined. I might have defined rules for them, but the players aren't going to learn about them, because the players aren't going to obtain psychic powers. I've seen way too many situations where you give the players abilities beyond the pale (outside of a superhero game, where that's the basic idea to the setting) and they learn ways to horribly abuse them.

Especially in 3.Paizo.

But any cyberpunk setting already has "heavy magic" in it, because it's got elements in it which let humans do something outside of our base experience. The moment you allow a netrunner/decker/hacker get into the network and hack a computer-controlled device for the benefit of the player characters, you have introduced "magic" into the game. And this Tendril Access Processor (Side note: Tendril? Really?) sounds like it makes all sorts of cybernetic magic take place.

Add to this the genetic modification, which I'm guessing is for adding new races to the game. (If you're going to add new races, don't just add "Dwarf" "Elf" "Gnome" etc. Realize that genetically modified entities are, or were, consumer product at some point, and have to have some commercial viability to have been produced. Sure, dwarves sound great as heavy world miners, but there are robotic mining machines already in place for such a purpose, and they can reach smaller crevices, harvest harder-to-reach ore veins, plus if a collapse happens, you don't have weepy-eyed media and concerned consumer audiences demanding expensive rescue efforts.)

At this point I'd also wonder about nanotechnology in the game, too. Another good source of "technological heavy magic", regardless of how far you go with it -- from simple cellular surgeons to "gray goo" wonderstuff.

When I see a new Pathfinder-compatible product, I don't want to see another Pathfinder In SPAAAAAAAACE! product. Don't just transfer classes ("You're playing a barbarian, in a cyberpunk game? Really?"), come up with your own. ("I'm not a barbarian. I'm a Go-Ganger. They're different, as you can see in the book...") And if it don't make sense, toss it out. ("Sorry, this game doesn't have an equivalent to the Paladin...")

Or, you know, instead of being defensive about the guy's accusations, the OP could help this guy with the rules and how to build and play his wizard much more effectively. As has been mentioned many times in this thread already.

Why do people automatically want to laugh at the poor guy who obviously doesn't understand the rules quite as well as the OP? Aren't we here to help our fellow players? Or is it wishful thinking?

The target of the rant admitted he wasn't familiar with the options available in 3.Paizo, and was more used to how a Magic-User worked in 1st edition AD&D. Seems to me the best thing to do would be to point out what he's doing wrong, and what he could be doing right. Pointing him to the various class guides might be a step in the right direction.

What is it with you people what when you see someone who's struggling with the game, you jump on the bandwagon to all laugh at the guy instead of helping him become as good as you so obviously think you are? After all, if you improve his character and his gameplay, it helps you out too, by making him much more effective.

Dark Immortal wrote:
The rest of the description goes on to demonstrate how it isn't a low wisdom issue. He never learned to stop and think.

That still is indicative of a low Wisdom, not Intelligence. With a decent Wisdom, you know the difference between bad decisions and good. Your low Intelligence just makes it harder for you to understand the complex details of your surroundings -- but you definitely know what's good and what's bad.

In fact, with such a low Intelligence, you may not understand exactly what your vices are in the first place. Sure, you remember the nice man that gave you that powder that made you feel really good -- but all you remember is that it was white powder. You probably entertained the entire inn by snorting a bag of flour and not understanding why it didn't make you feel just as good.

People with impulse control and addictions lack Wisdom. With a high Wisdom -- 14, in your case -- it might in fact be likely you decided taking that white powder was a bad idea, in the first place.

To the OP, if you watch the [b]Game of Thrones{/b] series, your character is like Hodor -- only Hodor is brain-damaged, which is why the only word he says is "Hodor". Hodor is used as general labor around Winterfell, untrained labor which doesn't require skill, just a strong back and a willingness to learn. Your fighting skills may just be a natural talent combined with raw instinct.

But yes, you're right that it's PFS, so it doesn't matter. If you catch a GM who thinks differently, all he can do, really, is refuse to have you at his table. Go find another GM.

Duncan7291 wrote:
Supposed to be a batman bane type build [...]

Oh boy, the fun I could have with that and my Tom Hardy impression. :)

Strangely enough, if you're looking at dams that have stood the test of time, looking at modern dams can help with this. After all, most principles of dam construction are just engineering. Even the most advanced dams in the world are still based on engineering principles developed by the ancient Egyptians. Admittedly, the ancient Egyptians didn't have access to modern construction materials -- but the engineering is the same.

As far as the purpose of the dam goes, it could have been built to turn an inundated river valley into fertile farmlands. Or flood control, keeping back flood surges created by seasonal downpours. As well as providing a spillway for water-powered mills. (Why do people think dam = hydroelectric plant? We harnessed falling water for mechanical power WAY before the principles of electricity was discovered.)

Most dams are constructed hollow, so us humans can get inside it and fix leaks. In a fantasy setting, you don't have to do that so much. Using a friendly earth elemental, you might be able to repair erosion damage -- or just some stone shape spells. I leave the concept of getting underwater to survey erosion damage as an exercise for the student.

If you play World of Warcraft, there was Stonewrought Dam in Loch Modan -- which I think was crafted by the dwarves to create Alterac Valley? (Been a while since I played.) That's a great example of a medieval dam in a fantasy setting. (Of course since Blackwing destroyed it, it doesn't work for that purpose...)

4th Edition D&D had ... two undead character races (revenants and dhampyr), and one undead character class (the Vampire). Both were pretty much fiatted to work like PCs do, although I think the dhampyr had resistance to negative energy, and the Vampire eventually acquired immunity to it.

You could try a conversion, though it's probably also not an ideal solution.

Corvino wrote:
It might be fun if their next OTT creative plan is slightly spoiled by this (their target is in another city, and their Scrying has been fooled) and you can trigger a mole hunt.

"How could they have known our plans?!? It's like they can see the future!!!"

No matter how powerful these guys are, they have to share their plans with someone, or they're going to upset the local power structure. If these two are just throwing mananukes all over the place without informing the local helpful ruler, then they're going to find themselves surrounded by enemies -- enemies with Dispel Magic to get rid of all those secrecy spells -- and no sanctuary to run to.

So start by finding those someones, and getting them on your side. How? Bribery works well. So does blackmail. So does mind control.

Have the opposition start using social engineering to get details about the party's security. When the support structure doesn't even know it's been leaking information to the enemy, that's even better than using overt methods.

Spy networks. Use a druid or ranger -- and after that little stunt with the mananuke, there's going to be plenty of nature-lovers and balance guardians just aghast at what the wizard did (and the oracle approved). It doesn't take a high level druid to start using spells to see through the local songbirds eyes and hear through their ears. Or just using Awakened critters as spies...

If the game is going to be really low gold, then I'd question the validity of taking any magic crafting feats, because you may not be able to acquire the gold to make the item(s) in question for a long, long time. During which time, that feat slot might be better used for something more combat effective, like weapon focus, dodge or combat reflexes.

And chaoseffect, your first piece of advice is why no one loves a mix/maxer... and why so many GMs want to punish players for dumpstatting.

Mavael wrote:

I don't understand everyones problem with "dump" stats.

Why do all characters have to be good at everything? Isn't it natural that strength and weaknesses alter from person to person what ever that persons goal is?

The problem isn't so much focusing your character in specific areas as doing it to the point of making yourself WORSE in other areas. And really, this topic started with myself and the other GM looking at someone's build -- it's not so much that people do it, as they advise other people to do it.

The first part is illogical. Would you damage your own body, your own health, in order to make yourself better at what you do? Because that's essentially what these people are doing. They're rendering themselves deficient to the point of handicap, to make themselves better in one area. My argument (from a role-playing stance) is that, if your attribute is that low, then you would never have been allowed to be an adventurer in the first place. If you have the lack of personality and self-awareness that is indicated by a super-low Charisma, then the community you grew up in wouldn't have allowed you to learn fighting skills. That low a Charisma doesn't mean you're uninteresting -- it means you're autistic.

(Then again, autistic people sometimes do end up with the ability to hyperfocus on one topic, so there's a basis in reality for this, but... see my next point.)

The second part is when everyone does it.

When you have a party where everyone is deficient in the specific attributes that their class doesn't rely on... you're playing a group of stereotypes. The fighter is dumb, the wizard is weak, the rogue is impulsive, the cleric is clumsy... these are stereotypes. Sometimes the GM gets tired of seeing the same stereotypes brought to the table.

DeciusNero wrote:

It's quite possible to achieve being a munchkin via game mastery and other things. You can't drop a label on someone's playstyle if it's slightly different from what you expect.

Honestly, if you don't know, maybe you should allow 'Core Only' rule, until you feel more comfortable.

I did exactly this, and my players rebelled and formed their own game and excluded me from it.

All right, Scythia, but what if I roll the crap character? What if, after rolling my stats, the highest attribute I rolled is an 11? Meanwhile Lucky Joe got a character with three 18s, and whose lowest stat is a 14.

If I get to reroll, then what's the point of making me roll randomly? I'll just keep rerolling until my character's stats are just ad good as Lucky Joe's character. (And before you go on about how incredibly rare three 18s are, I know a man who could roll 18s all day -- and rolled ten characters in front of our gaming party. All attributes 18, percentile strength 00 for all ten characters.)

If I don't get to reroll, and I'm forced to play Mr. Average... well, if I wanted to play Hercules, why am I wasting time in your game? It's not at all fair for me to have to play the 11-Strength Non-Wonder, when everyone else gets to play heroes.

Point-buy is fair. The only other fair system is a standard array. If you're requiring me to accept mediocrity to play in your game, I'm going to tell you where to stick your game, and I'm going to find someone else to play with. Or go play an MMO.

Master of the Dark Triad wrote:

Really? We haven't learned yet to stop feeding the "why are rogues bad, again?" trolls yet?

Yes, I realize that I'm posting on this thread too, but come on guys!

Then maybe people should shut up about how bad Rogues are?

The core classes -- expecially the non-casters -- all seem to be subpar in many ways. Maybe what's required is for Paizo to finally abandon the 3.5e D&D OGL SRD, and rebuild the core classes to the same level of capability and power as the classes in other books?

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Scavion wrote:
I find the "But I can't find games!" argument to put up with b@~#%#&@ GMs shaky at best.

Really? What about the "I can't find games to fit my schedule!" argument?

What about the "I don't have a computer!" argument? Lots of those people around, especially in small towns.

What about the "My internet connection is crud!" argument? Again, a lot of those in small towns too.

When your internet access is the town library, and it's only open during the times when no games in English are being played, then you're kind of pooched when it comes to finding GMs. Don't think this is common? I know twenty people in rural Nebraska that will prove you wrong.

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Also, one thing I hate is that I mention these people I know, who run games that make me want to have some input on how it's done elsewhere, and the feedback I get invariably runs to "He's a bad GM".

Seems like for some of you, unless your GM allows you to get away with whatever the hell you want, "He's a bad GM". I'm talking to you, EsperMagic.

Right underneath this entry box, there's a reiteration of Wheaton's Law: "The most important rule: Don't be a jerk." That also applies to offline people as well. If the only thing you have to contribute to the conversation is "He's a bad GM", that's being a jerk.

In another thread I posted about the GM who had an entire group sit down and create an adventuring party that consisted of nothing but mundane types. I got a lot of comments of "He's a bad GM" even though he did exactly what these people said he should have done. (Yes, he did. Go back and read my posts. Don't skim this time.)

What makes for a good GM in your eyes, then? Not all of us know the game so well we can handle munchkin characters. Not all of us know the game so well we can deal with the power creep in the 3.Paizo system. And not all of us are ferking BAD GMs.

I won't use rolled attributes in my game. Simply put, I can't. Players around here simply won't join your game if you make them do that. There are plenty of other games that don't make you play what the dice give you. If there aren't, then there are other things to do on Friday or Saturday night.

Some people want to play the character that they want to play, and if they can't do that, they'll look elsewhere for a game. Or just give the game up entirely.

I realize that this sort of sentiment breeds min/maxers and dump stats. Well, what ya gonna do? This is kind of why I wanted to start some discussion on this topic.

Oh, and that DM? Is not me. He is a person that plays the same MMO as I do and is a member of an IRC channel I frequent. I like the rule he makes about encumbrance, as it discourages the arcane types from using Strength as a dump. I don't think I'd have penalized the entire group for having Ugly Dwarf as a member. However, increased prices for magic items?* Oh yes, a very good penalty.

*This would require an entirely different topic, but in my 3E and 4E D&D games, purchasing magic items is a personal endeavor, the money spent representing time and energy looking up the location and owner of that one person who has that very specific item you want (or who can make it). Obtaining contacts in certain areas can help reduce the price, too. But if you're so antisocial or unlikeable that you have no contacts and people don't like to deal with you... that price is only going to rise.

Low attributes are, indeed, only going to bite you in the ass, and a skilled GM knows how to create obstacles subtly but definitely to show players that they maybe shouldn't have given their character a low attribute, unless they're willing to roleplay that lowered attribute and accept penalties for it, so long as the penalties are explained beforehand ("Your lowered Intelligence will prevent you from using my rules on Advanced Fighting Styles. Are you sure?").

A fair GM at least gives you the ability to correct your mistake. (I get the idea that this person tends to accept characters from other games in his campaign.)

EDIT: You know, folks, I have to point out that in quite a lot of cases, players don't have a lot of choice when it comes to accepting GMs. Some places only have one person in the entire town willing to run Pathfinder -- and unless you're willing to accept his rules, or you want to go to the hassle of playing online, you don't get to play at all.

I also didn't ask for more specifics. He might have a better handle on it. Should I post the conversation so you understand how much information is passing between us? (I can't, I closed IRC for the night.)

I was pointing out a character build on another site and we were looking on it, and he said "Dump stat strength? He better not use that character in my game. I'll ---- him up the --- for taking dump stats like that." I asked for clarification, and he pointed out some of the things players have tried to get away with -- the Charisma 4 dwarf, and the Wizard with a Strength of 6 -- and how he dealt with such.

Do I know why he did this? No, I do not. Perhaps he understands his players. Or perhaps he's just really tired of seeing people bring characters into his game with dump stats. And maybe his players don't have a choice when it comes to GMs, so they take their abuse and they ask for more.

Wrath wrote:
Punching someone over a game is inexcusable.

Agreed. Thus why the child is banned from further play, I'm thinking.


Some questions though.

Sleep takes a whole round to go off. They should have all got another go before the spell was finished. Is that what happened here?

It's only a ten foot burst. How did it get 4 players when two were holding back for range attack and one was hiding in the bushes.?

Don't look at me. This is what I was told: "I had the eizard cast a sleep spell on the guys closest to the front line and nailed everyone but the gunslinger."


If you punish people for not playing your game the way you want they will get angry and leave. This GM punished relentlessly on a group of young and new players.

He was the wrong GM for this group. New players should be encouraged to have fun and explore the game. They should learn over time to modify their thinking so they understand Pathfinder is not all movies and PC games. It takes patience and a certain amount of leeway in both how the scenario pans out and how hard you enforce the rules when training new players. None of this seemed to happen in what you've described so far.

Nothing is wrong with this GM's style, as long as its an experienced group of players on the same page as the GM it would work fine.

The other players were fine with what happened, and I think had they been shown the benefits of a balanced team -- and avoided the inclusion of the teenager (it sounds to me that much of it was his fault) -- they would have gone on to have a lot of fun.

As I said before, the way I'd have handled it would have been to give them the illusion of choice when it came to assignments -- run them through some missions tailored to their abilities (low-stress combats, role playing and some puzzles, like a good Shadowrun adventure), introduced balanced parties including casters as opposition gradually, and tried to steer the players towards seeing the advantage in casters over other classes. For example, the Archer character might have done well as a Ranger. The gunslinger might have liked to explore some levels in Alchemist or Paladin. And so on. But I was not the GM.

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Part of a conversation tonight involved the concept of "dump stats". One of the GMs I was talking to said, "If any of my players takes a dump stat, I will [figuratively subject the character in question to a rather painful and humiliating personal indignity]."

Examples were offered. It seems that one of this GM's players chose to play a dwarf with a dump stat Charisma. The GM decided that even though the party had a highly social leader, the antisocial dwarf was a millstone around their necks. Prices were raised to unbelievable levels. Serious social penalties were applied. Most of the time, the powers-that-be of any town or village they went to, were willing to (grudgingly) sell the party supplies -- so long as the dwarf wasn't in sight. (They'd heard about the social abomination the party insisted on dragging around with them, and the party got shunned by association.)

Another example was Strength. The GM in question scrupulously applies Encumbrance rules. And then loves to hit characters with low Strength values with Strength-draining attacks. The wizard, who had Strength as his dump stat, got nailed by a rogue who had coated his dagger with a Strength-draining poison -- and then later, in combat, hit him with a maximized Ray of Enfeeblement, which pretty much ended the wizard's usefulness to the party, as the opposition decided to start moving away from the wizard's position, and the poor wizard could only move 5 feet a round -- and that as a full-round action.

Now, this GM does allow players to rebuild characters within 3 sessions of the character joining his game, so it's not like you're stuck if you bring in your dump-statted Alchemist. (He uses a 20 point build base, so it's not like people have to rely on dump stats for points.) And he confided that he considered a 9 (adjusted by racial modifiers) to be the baseline score. So he discourages lower scores, unless the player role-plays the dump stat well, and it's not a cliched dump stat. Playing a dumb fighter, cliched. Playing a fighter with emphysema (low Constitution), not so cliched.

My questions are these:

1) If you discourage dump stats in your game, how do you do so?

2) How does the discouragement of dump stats affect your willingness to join a campaign, and your enjoyment of the game, as a player?

You may also want to comment on the above GM. Certainly it seems to me that singling out players who use dump stats as 'targets' is rather harsh, especially when such tactics affect the group as a whole, but this is not my game.

For those of you wondering, the descriptor "train wreck" doesn't quite describe what happened to this game.

They were ambushed in their camp by the opposing team. To make it a bit less one-sided, the GM gave them a group Perception "I have a bad feeling" check. They all made it, so they were on alert, had their armor on, etc.

The ambushers were another 1st level group consisting of a sword & board fighter, a cleric, a mage, a rogue and a ranger. I think the GM might have just used the pregenerated characters.

First round, the big stick jock and the samurai go to meet the front-liners of the other group, while the archer and the gunslinger spread out to hit them at range. The ninja immediately ran into the bushes to hide. (The barbarian player apparently decided not to show up -- he wasn't mentioned to me.)

The party inflicts some damage, until it gets to the enemy wizard's turn. He casts Sleep. Four failed saving throws later, only the gunslinger is left.

The player of the ninja immediately loses his stuff. He flips out over one spell taking him out of the action. And then the kid went so far as to pop the GM. Hopefully needless to say, that player is no longer welcome in that GM's games. Ever. (The GM said that since the kid is underage, he wasn't going to press charges, but from now on his minimum age for players is 16. No more psycho teenagers...)

After that, no one wanted to continue, so the game is now kaput. I offered my services, but the GM declined.

I have that very problem, along with my players. Now, it's all right for a home game, but for timed games the propensity to suddenly lapse into a long kvetch about something completely unrelated to the game eats up a lot of time that you can't afford to lose.

Now, I'm a 4E D&D GM, but the system I came up with should work well for Pathfinder or really, any other game system.

The idea is this: I put out two small stacks of cards, red and green. I used colored construction paper cut into size and laminated. That's all they are, laminated pieces of construction paper.

A green card can be used, by the players, to reroll any one die roll. Be it a Hit Roll, a Saving Throw, a Skill Check, or even a damage roll. The die can be thrown by any player, including the GM.

A red card can be used to force a reroll of any one die roll rolled by a player or the GM. It cannot be used to force a player who rolled badly, to reroll for a better result. In other words, the green cards are good for the players, and the red cards are bad for the opposing side.

Green cards are a reward. If someone comes up with a good idea, makes the whole party laugh, or otherwise does well, a green card can be awarded as a prize. (Green cards must be used at the table and cannot be saved between game sessions.)

Red cards are a penalty. Losing focus is the main way that they're handed out. If the GM is the one to do this, then the party can take a red card on a majority vote of the players.

So, if I suddenly see the players reaching for a red card, I know I need to get back to the game.

Now, I know that Pathfinder Society has a system for rerolls already in place. My system is for me, to train me away from launching into a 15 minute conversation about Star Wars or South Park when I should be concentrating on D&D.

Mostly based on the people who tell me "You can't do that", or "That can't be done", I create characters who shouldn't exist in the world, usually paladins who take very broad interpretations of their alignment and code of conduct.

Like the paladin of the God(dess) Gozruh, for a Skulls and Shackles game (the GM allowed it). Unfortunately the game only had two sessions, one of which was character creation.

Or the PFS paladin, whose daily job was as a Procurer, or 'pimp'. He ran a brothel in Absalom. (Hey, prostitution is legal in the city, so he was taking poor women & men, giving them food, shelter, clothing, and training them in an honorable profession ensuring their future employment.)

The two problems I see with potions are cost, and action economy. Yes, cost, I said. A potion of cure light wounds costs 50 gp, as opposed to a less expensive option such as the happy stick -- the wand of cure light wounds, where each charge costs 25 gp. Assuming both the potion and the wand were created at 1st caster level.

It's more cost-effective for adventurers to carry around happy sticks, provided someone on the team has the ability to use them, rather than potions.

As far as action economy goes, I've never really understood why potions take an entire move action to retrieve, whereas something as unwieldy as a long sword can be drawn as part of an attack action. If you're a professional adventurer, you're going to put your potion vials somewhere easily accessible, where they can be grabbed, taken to the mouth, and swallowed all in one smooth motion. And since these things become vital to your ensured success, you're going to design better places to store that potion and better methods of unstoppering during a crisis.

In my games, drawing any item from a dedicated storage location -- sword from a scabbard, potion from a bandolier or pouch -- is a simple (move) action, or a free action if done as part of an attack action to use the item, so long as the character has a BAB of +1 or greater. So you can draw and drink a potion as an attack action. Note this applies to potions and not extracts, which have their own rules. As an extract is a spell, you can't use this rule to use two extracts when hasted or you otherwise have been granted extra actions.

Okay, before we get into this: Yes, I understand that all the Open Game Content is located at and any player with internet access isn't actually limited to the core rulebook. But for the sake of argument, let's say that the player in question has no internet access (they live in farm country in Montana) and only access to the printed material.

If a player is restricted to the Core Rulebook content only, can he create a character comparable in effectiveness and power level to characters using other official source material? Can the player join a Pathfinder Society table and contribute, game mechanics wise, to the power level of the team?

And they're not even 2nd level yet. (The GM tells me that he's planning on using a balanced party to capture them for the local authority, then offer them a deal: suicide missions or prison. The 'suicide missions' will be adventures tailored to their style, i.e. straight-up fights with no arcane backup; their payment for these jobs will be their eventual freedom IF they behave.)

Just to clarify -

The group is all first levels, brand new characters. They're all young players who haven't learned the whole 'teamwork' thing. They spent their starting cash on gear and don't have enough for potions or healing kits.

The GM wanted to tailor the adventures to the party and was told not to do that; the players thought they could just mow through the opposition.

The ninja player is 13 and thinks he's the guy from Assassin's Creed. Seriously. He didn't build an adventurer, he built Ezio Auditore da Firenze from Assassin's Creed II and other games. There's not a lot you can do when you have an idiot PLAYER in the game...

The big problem with this group is that everyone wants to be the star; everyone wants to do the damage, and no one wants to step back and consider tactics. I agree with whoever said it's going to be a train wreck. Honestly, with this group of kids I wouldn't have started them off playing Pathfinder. This is a situation that 4th Edition D&D was designed for and is perfect for. This is a bunch of video gamers taking that first step into role-playing games, and the GM is doing his best, but Pathfinder isn't good with handling that transition.

Brom the Obnoxiously Awesome wrote:
Rudy2 wrote:
Brom the Obnoxiously Awesome wrote:
I better be able to craft my Homonculus. I love those lil' guys. Golems too.
Sadly, no. :( One of the reasons I no longer play PFS.


That is the dumbest rule I have ever heard. Why would they remove that? Is there any actual logical reason for it?

Because it makes the wizard too powerful in comparison to the other classes. Other classes that don't have access to Craft (x) feats, have to pay full cost for magic items, and that's not fair.

Since everyone has to pay full cost for magic items, crafting feats are useless. They balance those casting classes with inherent crafting feats, by giving them other feats instead.

Alchemist, for example, gets Extra Bombs instead of Brew Potion.

Also, I think they don't want to dink around with casters creating consumable magic items cast at higher caster levels. So no Wands of Magic Missile crafted at 9th caster level, doing damage like machine guns.

If it's really that much of a dealbreaker, I suggest you not play PFS.

EDIT: Oh, by the way -- standard Pathfinder Society gameplay ends at 11th level. Your character essentially retires upon reaching 12th level. There are special mods, available at SOME conventions, where you can play your 12th level character, but they're something I think are only offered once or twice a year.

The GM did what I would have done -- he offered them jobs suited to their capabilities. Something like guarding a location (a warehouse or a keep) would have given them plenty of opportunity for fighting, but the time scale where they could have healed up between fights. The group said "No, we can handle a REAL adventure!" -- so the GM gave them a real adventure.

And they flubbed it.

Only I wouldn't have given them that option. I'd have said 'Okay, real adventure time," and then set them to scouting a bandit camp or taking on some highwaymen or something equally mundane. (This is called 'giving them the illusion of choice'.) Sure, I'd have hit them with a magician or a divine caster -- only to show them "This is how awesome a caster can be, guys." Like, if the bandit camp had an alchemist in it -- alchemists are pretty frickin' awesome caster types. Especially if the leader of the camp was a Mr. Hyde alchemist. Bombs and a built-in boss fight! And of course the alchemist has a bunch of potions of CLW in a stash in camp, because alchemists get Brew Potion...

And there are some pretty nifty options for DPS casters in Pathfinder -- heck, you give a cleric a couple of turns to prepare, they suddenly become combat gods.

And I'm also confident enough in my GMing abilities that I wouldn't have hesitated to run an NPC cleric. I do it often enough in other games.

But I suppose I should clarify. The question wasn't supposed to be what you'd do if you found this bunch on your doorstep. (I get the feeling they're all pretty young.) The question was supposed to be... okay, you've decided to run a Pathfinder game, your players have sat down and generated characters, and you're looking at a bunch of mundanes with no casting capabilities.

What would you do, in this situation? Talk to them and convince people to play arcane/divine types? Or tailor the adventures to their limitations? What if you were intending to run an AP?

Talking over a situation from another game makes me want to get y'all's opinions on the matter. A friend of a friend is running a Pathfinder game which is suffering what I call 'A Lack of Mikey'. This is when no one will play Class X. No one wants to be the (insert one: healer, talker, skills person, squishy, etc.). Discussions over this situation devolve into the script from the Life Cereal commercials with Mikey in it -- "I'm not gonna play that! You play it!" "I'm not gonna play it!"

In this case, they are lacking several Mikeys. The party consists of 2 Fighters (one Archer, one Big Stick Jock), a Ninja (who went with an 8 Charisma and does not know what the hell UMD is, so didn't bother getting it), a Barbarian, a Gunslinger and a Samurai.

That's right. No casters. No healers. No talkers. And the Ninja refuses to do anything but sneak around and leap out of shadows and backstab, so no skills guy.

The GM refuses to run an NPC healer, as he doesn't want to have to split his attention between an NPC helping the party, and the opposition the party is fighting. He suggested someone switch classes and was ignored. He suggested someone take a level in a class with CLW on the spell list, and the Life Cereal commercial started up again.

The GM is also refusing to alter the game world based on their choices. Their first adventure was an unmitigated disaster, as they had to return to town after the second encounter to rest and recuperate -- and the GM ruled that in the interim, someone else beat them to the prize. The second adventure was "interesting", I was told, as the group was out of money and resorted to banditry -- and ended up angering the local authorities. (Oh, and it ended up with two forced alignment changes, and the Samurai becoming a ronin.)

With what I've been told about the GM, I don't expect this group to last much longer. They already have powerful enemies on their trail, and these include spellcasters.

My question: How would you handle such a group? When no one wants to play a caster, and even incentives fail to change their minds?

EDIT: It's been pointed out to me that the GM is being a little bit of a dick. He could, after all, tailor the game to match the players' skills. He offered that option to the players, giving them opportunities that, while not as lucrative as adventuring, suited their group build, like guarding a fixed location or scouting a bandit camp. The group refused and went on an adventure to rescue a group of villagers from a cult. (This is the adventure that turned into an unmitigated disaster.)

The problem was that I didn't want to have to rely on the other players' books; besides which, the other players weren't the lending type, from what I could tell. When I said that I only had the Core Rulebook, not one of them said "Well, you can borrow the books when you're over here." Or words to that effect.

Yes, I have access to the SRD. But the SRD is not portable. And as far as learning the rules, then using them -- okay, I have three other games I run or am learning to run. 5th edition Shadowrun, 5th edition D&D, and 4th edition D&D. Oh, and Witch Hunter, and Arcanis. Learning new rules from Pathfinder is a little much on top of all that. I prefer to have the rules at my fingertips.

Was I wrong to ask for the other players to buy me the books? Yes, I admitted it was a dick move. I did apologize, but these guys didn't want me to buy one book at a time -- they wanted me to buy all of the books at once.

The individual who asked me to GM for these guys apologized for the situation, and he excused himself from the group when they decided to form their own game.

Which is fine. As I said, I run other games more regularly than Pathfinder. There are always other games to play.

Arcturus24 wrote:

You don't actually have to buy the books: all the main rulebooks are on paizo's PRD, which is linked on the paizosite under the 'pathfinder roleplaying game', and the contents of other books are on both the 'archives of nethys' and 'pathfinde srd'. Just google those two, and you can look up everything.

If you want the books themselves, they can be bought as cheap pdf's.

You might want to go back and read the post, especially the part where it says that I have to run games at other peoples' apartments, and I can't take my computer with me.

Yes, I have an iPad. It's a first-generation iPad 1. I open one page in a PDF, it's done. Next page, it crashes. I can't fix this problem because the only way to fix it is an OS upgrade, and iOS 5.1 is as high as the iPad 1 goes.

I want books because when a rule comes up, it's easier and faster to look up rules in a properly indexed book than it is to open a PDF, go to the table of contents to find out what page the index is on, go to the index to find out what page the rule is on, and then look up the rule. By the time I've done all this, I could have looked it up in a book and been done with it.

Would be nice if the Paizo PDFs were searchable and hyperlinked, but they're not, last I knew. (And searching on a tablet is horrid.)

And no, Oath, they neglected to invite me to their game.

I was recently asked to run a Pathfinder game. I acquiesced, but since I only have access to the Core Rulebook, I decided that I was only going to allow races, classes, feats, gear, spells and such, from that book. I also had two players who were supposedly "new" to Pathfinder, so I felt keeping the rules limited to the Core Rulebook was a good idea.

My players have rioted. They want to play using weird races. Weird classes. Weird stuff from books I do not have. Using rules I do not have access to.

Well, I put my foot down. I said either they can play with the Core Rulebook only, or they could find themselves another GM. And sure enough, they found themselves another GM.

Now, as I've said on this forum, I'm poor. I'm sorry, but I just cannot afford $60 game books for a game I only play once in a blue moon. I have enough problems budgeting for books for games I run regularly, like Shadowrun and now 5th Edition D&D. I know the PDFs are cheaper, but I have to go to other peoples' houses and apartments to run, and I can't take my computer with me when I go. So I can't rely on the SRD either.

I did tell these players that if they were willing to buy me the books, I'd allow them to use rules from those books. But until I had the books in my possession, I could not allow use of those books in the game. (Okay, it was kind of a jerk thing to ask, but insisting that I let players use rules I'm not familiar with is also kind of a jerk thing to ask, in my opinion.)

Was I right? Is it ethical to only allow the players to use rules the GM has access to? Or should I just decline all further requests to run Pathfinder because I can't buy the hardcopy books?

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GM's forces ignoring your tank and attacking the squishies behind you? Here's a way to grab their attention: Do it right back to them.

In ignoring you, the opposition isn't protecting their own assets, leaving you with free reins to go find their spellcasters and make yourself an annoyance. My PFS dwarf fighter is built upon this concept, and boy, does it work well. As a dwarf in heavy armor, with a tower shield and all, the opposition just runs right past me -- which is exactly what I want. I then go find the enemy spellcaster, plunk myself down in front of him and WAIT. Eventually he's going to have to cast, and then I'll have him, having declared my intention to strike him if he casts.

He takes a five foot step? Oh, yeah, I have Step Up. So, he takes a step, I take a step. He continues the movement to try to get away from me? Following Step.

He can cast defensively, sure. I still get to add to the DC to that check, 'cause I'm going to hit him. And I'm a dwarf with awesome Fortitude and Will saves.

Eventually the guys with the big sharp sticks have to come back to rescue their squishies from ME.

Yeah, there are ways to deal with this. Flying wizard, and I'm kind of useless. Invisible wizard, same deal. Sometimes you don't get to be the end-all be-all answer to everything. But if I'm truly useless, if the GM is truly working to make me have no reason to be there, then I take the hint, and leave the table. (Now, most GMs are not intentionally being jerks, and I can voice my frustration and request advice as to what my character should do in this circumstance, but occasionally you get the jerk GM who just wants to see your character wander about helplessly, and that's when I just get up, pack up my stuff and leave.)

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I still think the best "day job" I ever heard of, happened in the Living Force campaign: A noble character had "Whine to Daddy".

Seth Gipson wrote:
Bringing it directly to the boards makes it look more like you are trying to get even than trying to get the decision overruled, though I doubt that was your intention.

Thus the reason I named no names nor the city. The VC in question knows who he is, who I am and where this happened; only people who know me (like Clint, above) would know the particulars of this case.

The VC's statement to me suggested that I am banned from ALL Society events in this city, not just the ones he is responsible for. I understand his concerns, but if I find someone else willing to organize an event which he is not responsible for, and is willing to have me come play, then I should be allowed to play.

Also, someone stated that such bannings usually come after warnings. I wasn't given any warnings; all I was given was one dismissal from a table (before play had started), a couple of months ago, by our VC, and then the banning on Saturday. No warning given, no chance to show that I had improved. I was just told that there were people who had approached the VC and stated that if I was present at a venue, they were not going to be.

If some people have problems with me being at a venue, then it's still their problem. These people are welcome to come to me with their concerns. They are not; they are instead choosing to sneak around behind my back and possibly spread rumor and gossip about me. I find this behavior reprehensible, myself. If you have a problem with me, tell it to me directly, and don't assume I know what your problem with me is. Unless you tell me about an offending behavior, I generally don't know I'm doing it.

I am more than capable of organizing and running my own Society events; I already organize and run Living Forgotten Realms events for a game store in town. Doing so for the Society wouldn't be difficult. But I wasn't given that option. I was just told that as far as my city went, I was banned.

Earlier today I was informed by our city's Venture-Captain that "as far as [this city] is concerned", I am ejected from Society play. He cited past behavior problems (caused by mu bipolar disorder, for which I am considered disabled) as the reason for the ejection, and that 'several' persons have come forward to him stating that as long as I was present at any Society event, they would not be willing to play with me at the table or be willing to attend at all. I accepted the decision at the time, but have come to question it.

First of all, I know for a fact that there are Society players who will accept me and enjoy my presence at a table. Similarly, I know for a fact there are Society GMs willing to have me at their table, including our Venture-Lieutenant. When I brought this up to our Venture-Captain, he dismissed it by saying, "They don't know you like I do." This smacks of a personal vendetta against me. If an event is being coordinated by the Venture-Lieutenant, or another GM who is willing to let me play, I should be allowed to play.

If I am being ejected from the Society, then it should be from the Society in general, not just in this city. Also, I am taking steps to control my disorder (which, as I said, is a disabling condition for me), so events in the past should not reflect against my future behavior.

I enjoy Society play very much and have very few opportunities for social contact; depriving me of this activity would unfairly rob me of a necessary outlet for socialization with my peers. Is this judgement against me legal, by Society rules? And is there a higher authority that I can appeal to?

Omega9999 wrote:

Ok, you asked for them.... :D

Forsaken Racial Traits

Undead: Forsaken are undead rather than humanoids. This provides a Forsaken with numerous undead traits:

Blizzard has stated time and again that the Forsaken are NOT undead.

"But what are they if not undead, John-Andre?" Simple. They're humans given posthuman status by the original Plague.

I mean, if we're going to give them powers based on personal opinion, we should be giving them +2 to all Will saves, because according to lore, the reason why any given character is Forsaken and no longer Scourge is because they had the strength of will to throw off the mental domination of the Scourge. So they all have free Iron Will that stacks with Iron Will...

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So now the conversation has gone from players metagaming, to characters listening at a door... people will continue an argument just for the sake of arguing.

Dakkonn wrote:

Did another search and found a few posts already asking this question. That just seems so freaken crazy to me. I love how one of my other friends said "trick them into using smite on neutral targets" But I don't see how that possible with paladins having detect evil at will. I mean almost every fight starts with "I cast detect evil" after the surprise round.

Don't get my wrong I'll throw some neutral or good targets that smite won't work on them but it makes that "climatic fight vs some great evil mastermind" a lot harder to do without having to plan how I am going to deal specifically with the paladins (which I hate that mentality)

From the Paladin section of the SRD:

At will, a paladin can use detect evil, as the spell. A paladin can, as a move action, concentrate on a single item or individual within 60 feet and determine if it is evil, learning the strength of its aura as if having studied it for 3 rounds. While focusing on one individual or object, the paladin does not detect evil in any other object or individual within range.

You might also want to read up on the rules for Detect Evil; I threw that url into the quote block for your convenience.

The problem is if the target isn't high enough level to show an evil aura -- and a lot of opposition forces at low level are going to be within the 1-5 HD range. So when your paladins stand there and concentrate on the bad guy and don't detect him as evil, it's not necessarily because he isn't evil -- he just may not be high enough level to detect as evil.

Also keep in mind that smite evil can only be used once per day until the paladin hits 4th level -- and only twice per day until 7th. Your average day of adventuring should consist of between 3 to 5 fights. And it lasts until the specific target is defeated. Many is the time I've salivated at the thought of using my smite evil, and landing a solid blow on the enemy, only to have the enemy go down in one hit, because he was actually fairly wimpy compared to the real threat on the table.

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GM Jeff wrote:

So, the monk listens at the door only when the rogue rolls badly. And if the Monk rolls badly, then the next character steps up and makes a roll. Repeat, until someone gets a good roll or we run out of PCs.

I try to hint at it.

GM: Rogue, you just listened at the door and heard nothing. The Monk doesn't trust you and you are a little bit insulted.
Rogue: Whatever, he's helping me.
GM: He didn't help you before...

Stop hinting at it, and start clubbing them over the head with it.

Rogue: I listen at the door.
GM: Roll Perception.
Rogue: Crap, I rolled a one.
GM: You hear nothing.
Monk: I listen at the door.
GM: You hear nothing, just like your Rogue friend, because you trust your Rogue friend, and if he said he heard nothing, you believe him.
Monk: No I don't! That's stupid!
GM: Fine. You listen at the door. The ear mites attack you. They burrow into your brain and destroy it. Roll up a new character and stop fscking metagaming, you munchkin.



Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Magic

Archetypes: broodmaster summoner, clone master alchemist, gravewalker witch, pack lord druid, master summoner, reincarnated druid, synthesist summoner, undead lord cleric, vivisectionist alchemist archetypes are not legal for play.

So assuming you didn't take a banned archetype, you'd replace extra bombs with the archetype ability.

Living Arcanis, a couple years back.

Due to player apathy towards recording details of the plot (my fault, I should start writing things down), combined with playing a two-parter out of order, certain details about exactly who the BBEG of the module was were unclear.

So when a plot was uncovered, evidence was brought to The Man In Charge, who also happened to be the BBEG. We were supposed to take this information to his more lawfully-oriented underlings -- no, in fact, we were supposed to do more investigation and then take the evidence to his underlings. But no, we confronted the BBEG directly. This in the middle of an army camp, that the BBEG is in charge of.

The main roleplayer in the group insisted that we had found evidence of an evil plot, and when the BBEG asked him if he wanted to give a statement, the character agreed. So the BBEG escorted the PC out, took him back into the barracks, and when surrounded by the soldiers, the BBEG turns and says, "Kill this man, please."

The rest of us died by stupidity which I can only say was founded in the belief that this was all supposed to happen, and the module was supposed to end with us making a deal with the BBEG. No, we also told the BBEG we knew about the plot and we wanted to assist him. He took us all out, surrounded by soldiers of course, disarmed us "as a security precaution", showed us what was happening -- and then told us we were its next victims.

TPK, with no combat or even dice-rolling whatsoever.

I really need to learn to ignore threads that go over a certain post count, because at this point it's obvious to me that y'all are arguing for the sake of argument itself, and not producing any new input into the topic.

Which is not to say there's a place for that sort of thing -- maybe you were all on the debate team in high school. Sure.

I'll just be over there in another thread.

Raymond Lambert wrote:
You should make that nearby locker into a trap.

What I'd have done is set the party up: the two guards were only pretending to discuss what was to be done with the captives' gear. It would have been secured in a safe room upstairs; the guards were just B.S.'ing the party to see if they were gullible enough to go diving into the chuul-infested moat.

"Hey! Barney! They fell for it! They actually jumped into the moat!"

Well, this happened back in the days of 2nd Edition AD&D, but it translates pretty well.

Me: Experienced GM. Party: Combination of typical players, with two obnoxious new players who have decided that this is all a video game and they're the unassailable heroes.

Situation: The party, after discovering an alliance between BBEGs in the caverns outside of town, rush to the city to warn the local baron and get him to drop his petty squabbles and form an alliance of his own with neighboring baronies for defense and eventually facing down the monsters.

Now, a little backstory. This town the players are currently based out of is a small fortified city, that has been beset by raids from monsters coming from the cavern complex for the last century. The raids, and the petty squabbles of the neighboring fiefdoms, have kept the city from mounting any serious offensive to eliminate this threat. They're doing good if they just keep the humanoids from riding off with their womenfolk.

So when a group of mercenaries comes out with all this loot that's been stolen from the town over the last century, needless to say there are some bad feelings. Prices in town suddenly jump 300% for the adventurers, for everything from supplies to mugs of ale. The players assumed it was just the serious influx of cash that made prices jump, and failed Wisdom checks (remember, 2nd edition AD&D, no such thing as Perception or Sense Motive) to figure out that the common people are not very happy with the PCs.

The party goes to the baron to inform him of the evil alliance and to urge him to actually mount an offensive. Through a lack of any form of tact, coupled with complete obnoxiousness by the new players (and the more experienced players didn't try to cover this up -- I think they wanted the idiots to offend the guy, too bad it worked too well), they manage to mortally insult the baron. The baron claps them in irons (the two idiots are beaten to 0 H.P. by the guards) and sends them to the dungeon to await his decision.

The two idiots are executed at daybreak -- I didn't even give them a chance to avoid it, they made their bed when they opened their big fat mouths. Just dead, time to roll up new LEVEL 1 characters. (This was a standard rule of my games. If your character dies and is not raised/rezzed, you start new character back at the beginning.) Did I mention the rest of the party is 8th-10th level?

The rest of the party is summarily fined all their worldly possessions (save for the basic tools needed for their class -- one NORMAL weapon, leather armor, magic-users got to keep three level 1 spells out of their spellbooks, cleric got her holy symbol and normal clothing. The rest of their possessions, what they didn't loot from the cave, is redistributed among the baronial guard and the militia to assist the defense of the city, or held to be sold to the highest bidder.

(Now, at this point the party could have gone to the baron and asked for jobs in the militia to assist the defense of the city -- after all, there was this alliance of evil creatures in the caverns who were pretty pissed that a group of mercenaries based out of that town had come along, killed a lot of their friends, and made off with all that loot they'd been stealing from the town. So it's not like the party didn't know there wasn't a threat to be defeated...)

The entire party, bereft of their items, decided to all retire their characters and reroll as new 1st level characters. Not because they wanted to start over new with the two idiots, but because they felt it would be too hard to start over again without magic items or spells. (And I ran my world pretty straight -- if they wanted to do some things more appropriate for lower-level adventurers while they re-geared.)

paladinguy wrote:

Hey, I just started a new campaign with a new group. No one in the group has played with each other before. DM announces that all the players are going to roll for health at level 1. So, if a fighter rolls a 1, he gets to start with 1 health + Con bonus.

I think this is a really, really bad idea and I disagree with it.

There you go. If he disagrees, find yourself another gamemaster who doesn't hate his players.

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This is one thing I liked about D&D 3.5 over Pathfinder -- Potions of Longevity and Elixirs of Youth to prolong life. Though Longevity Potions had a cap.

Also, the Wish spell -- "I wish I were ten years younger" is a quite reasonable wish. So is "I wish I were one year younger" for a spell you cast once every year. Immortality, with the added option to continue aging if you get tired of life.

Or Polymorph Any Object -- if it can turn you into a rock or a tree, it can certainly turn you into a young man (or young woman). Shapechange, but shapechange isn't permanent.

Okay. Seriously. I don't have the kind of time to read this whole thread, but I want to say a few things.

The problem here is not whether a 'magic mart' would arise -- the problem is suspension of disbelief. See, this is supposed to be a medieval society, in a world where technology obviously exists (even if gunpowder doesn't work, the crossbow does, and you can get quite advanced just based on the kind of technology of the crossbow's level). And here's another thing -- most worlds have existed for a couple of thousand years with no societal or economic development. It's all still based on a medieval level. Even fashion doesn't go much beyond Renaissance levels.

And this is not the way the real world works.

Even without technology, ideas still emerge that will transform the world from a medieval level to a more modern level. Even something so simple as division of labor, taken to its logical conclusion, will lead the society out of a medieval base and into something more resembling 18th Century availability of goods.

See, the reason the Medieval Ages lasted so long in our world wasn't stagnation of ideas, it was the constant wars and plagues and other catastrophes that drained the population of the brainpower to develop these ideas fully and the labor to exploit these ideas fully. Only when the wars and plagues subsided did the Renaissance happen, then the Industrial Revolution was a natural outgrowth of that.

But this doesn't happen in a standard fantasy campaign. Why not? There's usually no great wars going on (as most fantasy milieus don't want to become strictly military campaigns). There's no great plagues (magic usually keeps them from becoming too obnoxious). We have the brainpower to come up with ideas, and we have the labor to develop them -- heck, we even have fantasy monsters that can be used for specialized labor forces. We already have this happening -- there are cobblers in most medieval fantasy settings, for example.

Given this sort of thinking, it's only natural that things like supermarkets are going to develop. A group of merchants get together, form a co-op, start selling their goods all under one roof? Natural thought. The guild mentality might prevent this from happening up until the first group that tries it and finds out how to make it profitable -- and in the kind of history that most fantasy worlds have, there has been plenty of time for someone to do exactly that.

I'm not talking about developing a technological base, though lord only knows why not. If gunpowder doesn't work, magic certainly does, and there's going to be enough development into magic to make it cheaper and easier to use. I'm talking about ideas like division of labor, like economic theory, ideas that came out of a medieval setting, yet changed our world. Read Adam Smith, and remember that he came from a time much like the base world of Pathfinder.

No, what's needed is suspension of disbelief -- the willingness to accept that these things did not happen despite the overwhelming impetus for it to happen. This just isn't something you can do with an internet discussion, because we-as-humans base so much of our arguments on our world and our experiences with our world. In order to develop this argument, you have to be willing to ignore your experiences with the world, and base your arguments on sheer speculation.

Now, that being said, it's time to move onto my actual point.

Magic items in a fantasy world are almost never seen as mystical treasures that are rare and fantastic -- they're equipment upgrades, pure and simple. Power advancement in Pathfinder is based on this assumption, that as your character gains in level, his equipment will also gain in power. If you want to change this basic concept, you have to seriously edit the game. Monsters have to become weaker in order to compensate for the loss of upgraded equipment, and so on.

Your average +1 weapon, +1 armor, or minor skill-bonus magic items are just what I said they were -- equipment upgrades. By their very nature they have to be (relatively) cheap to make for those skilled enough to make them. If they aren't cheap to make, then they aren't cheap to obtain, and you won't find them in treasure hordes, because they were guarded better than that.

Now, I can hear some of you saying 'You call 2000 gold cheap?!?' Yes, according to adventurer economy. Adventurers in fantasy RPG settings are all rich bastards. They go out, go on a few adventures, and come back with enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their days, doing nothing -- but they don't do that, since they've discovered the quest to save/rule the world. So they go on more adventures. And they become richer bastards. And they start looking for ways to spend all this money. Equipment upgrades are the natural target for all this cash, because rich bastard adventurers don't have day jobs and hobbies. They need better gear to keep themselves alive and do their jobs better. They'll eventually be able to afford some seriously expensive stuff -- but they're all rich. Dropping 2000 gold on a magic sword is nothing to them.

So, this stuff has to be cheap enough for rich bastards to be able to buy them. Cheap means lots of them are going to be made. And these rich bastards are going to keep wanting to trade up. So they ditch their 2000 gold-costing +1 sword for a +2 sword. Where's that +1 sword end up?

And here's the thing -- you've had a fantasy world that's been around for quite some time. Lots of rich bastards have come and gotten their cheap +1 swords and gone on and traded up. These things circulate. Someone's going to get their hands on quite a few of these. This might be a way to side-step the whole concept of the cheap magic sword -- but there's still going to be quite a few of them circulating. Someone's going to open a shop.

Let's maintain suspension of disbelief and ignore the concept of chain stores, of franchises, and of transportation networks. Someone's still going to open a shop where he sells used swords -- and the +1 swords might be in the back, but he's going to make it known that he has them. There isn't going to be a private collector for these things that you have to search out, because these aren't pieces of art -- they're equipment upgrades. Instead there's going to be a shop in a big town where someone sells +1 swords. You might have to travel a bit to get to it, but eventually you'll get there and you'll be able to buy your +1 sword.

Until someone else realizes what a lucrative business this is, selling used equipment upgrades to up-and-coming rich bastard mercenaries, and they're going to open their own shop. This is the sort of thing that would be covered under suspension of disbelief, but it's just too much to be suspended -- this kind of business is obviously lucrative, and it's expecting too much that someone else isn't going to get some money and start selling +1 swords too. There's suspension of disbelief, and there's willing belief in sheer lunacy.

So, are you going to have magic shops? Yes, you are. But these are going to be merchants who got a little money, bought some +1 swords cheap, and sell them as equipment upgrades. They might have branched out and picked up +1 armor, or even some boots of elvenkind or rings of protection, but it's the same thing. They sell low-grade equipment upgrades for those who can afford it. And there's enough low-grade equipment upgrades circulating out there that there's going to be a large number of these stores, certainly in most major cities.

As your magic items get more powerful, they become harder to find -- but your rich bastard mercenaries have more means to search and find these more powerful items. I'd just think the two forces -- rarity vs. more advanced search and retrieval methods -- would cancel each other out. So these shops probably also sell +2 swords, +2 armor, etc., because it's still equipment upgrades. Someone made it, someone used it, and then traded it in for better, later on. It circulates, and that means someone's going to sell it.

This breaks down when you start talking about specific magic items -- you can find a +2 sword pretty much anywhere, but asking for a +2 flaming orcbane sword is a little specific. There might be one or two floating around out there, but you're more likely to get one by finding a wizard who can make you one. However, you're not going to get that wizard to make you one unless you make it worth his while, so you pay the wizard the same as if you were buying it from a shop.

Now, wizards who can make +2 flaming orcbane swords and are willing to do so for the money are going to advertise their services. They might even be willing to travel to you. Especially given that they're probably skilled enough to cast Teleport and get to you with very little fuss. And there might be some rich bastard mercenary wizards who got tired of the quest to save/rule the world and decided it was just easier making +2 flaming orcbane swords for other rich bastard mercenaries -- certainly one or two. Since their wares are so specific, maintaining a shop is pointless, but hey, they'll come to you, make you a +2 flaming etc. etc. for the same time and effort of buying one from the magic shop in town. (And they probably rely on said magic shops to send and receive messages, too.)

The really powerful items -- the +5 Axiomatic Holy Avengers? Well, there aren't that many floating around, and they're carefully guarded, because these aren't just equipment upgrades, they're weapons of mass destruction. These fall into the category of 'If your GM wants you to have this, then you get it, and not a moment before'. These aren't purchasable, so don't even bother. They don't circulate, because they're used and then returned to storage for the day when they'll next be called for, or they're stolen and destroyed so they can't be used again against whatever forces they were designed to defeat. If you could purchase these items, then those latter forces would just buy them to get them out of the hands of the people they don't like.

If you want to change this facet of your game world, a few things have to happen.

First, magic items can't be equipment upgrades any more -- they're bonus items. Your challenges will have to be defined carefully so that player characters do not need magic items to defeat them. In this case, a +1 sword is nice to have, but it's not absolutely required in order to adventure.

Second, magic items have to become rarer. They have to become harder to craft, which means they become more expensive. Now merchants can't afford them, which means no shops arise. Merchants may acquire one, and sell it to the right buyer, but they're not going to advertise that they have +1 swords for sale. They're going to take the initiative and listen for news of someone who wants a +1 sword, and then set up a meeting.

And third... um... NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH INQUISITION!!! (Okay, I got nothing.)

Now, if we eliminate the suspension of disbelief of this argument, then I'm afraid that Magicmarts do in fact become reality within your typical fantasy campaign. It's human nature: Someone, out there, wants to own all the money in the world. They're going to amass a large chunk of change, buy magic items from crafters using division of labor and assembly line manufacturing, and then undercut other vendors until he's driven them out of business -- whereupon he raises prices to whatever the market will bear. This is standard business practice, and someone's going to come up with the idea.

But if we eliminate the suspension of disbelief, your typical fantasy milieu stops being a medieval setting and transforms into a post-Industrial Revolution game, quite possibly more steampunk than fantasy. We can speculate at that point, it's probably easier just to play Pure Steam than Pathfinder.

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