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Angvar Thestlecrit

Kolokotroni's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 8,580 posts (8,608 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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First off, whether written by paizo staff or not, single monster encounters are exclusively a bad idea. They are iconic, they are often dramatic in books and movies. In the game, they are a dumb choice. Period. Any steps you take to make a single enemy encounter work out would have been even more effective by simply having 2 slightly weaker monsters/enemies. You are working against the way the game functions (without significant house rules or alternate rules) by puting a single enemy in an important encounter. Just dont do it.

Dragons dont need to be alone. They can have minions, a mate, children, whatever. And not just throw away mooks. There should always be at least half the party's number in worthwhile dangerous enemies in any fight that is supposed to be a challenge. You can sprinkle in mooks too for flavor and set dressing, but against a party of 4 there should ALWAYS be at least 2 significantly threatening enemies in every meaningful encounter. If an ap has a single enemy encounter, change it. If you want to put a dragon in your homebrew game, give it a mate, some children or a bunch of potent kobold priests or something.

After you have done that, remind yourself that the game, and especially the AP is designed around a standard 15 point buy unoptimized party. What does that mean?

1. The base assumption is the party will consist of: A character who fights (fighter), a character who sort of fights and casts divine spells (cleric), a character who sort of fights and is skillfull (rogue) and an arcane spellcaster (wizard). If your party instead includes a druid, summoner, magus, and bard, you have alot more offensive power in that party then the base assumption. Adjust for situations like this.

2. The game doesnt expect heavy optimization. If your group scoures soucebooks for the 'best' options, particularly around combat, they will perform above the expected level. That isnt a bad thing per say, but it requires adjustments.

3. The game expects 4 character. I know it says 4-5 characters, but an extra character makes a huge difference in the party's capability. Use 4 as your baseline, and again if you deviate, adjust accordingly.

4. The game, particularly adventure paths assumes a 15 point buy. Higher then that can give substantial advantages to the player (especially at low levels), again if you deviate from this you are going to need to adjust published adventures and make note of it when assigning encounter crs for homebrew games.

Basically for each of the above factors you should up the assumed APL by one (or one per player in the case of 3) for each one you deviate from in the player's favor (or reduce it for a small party or deliberately unoptimized characters etc). But there is a caviote here. For everything but #2, you shouldnt adjust encounters by making individual enemies stronger, but by adding more enemies to the encounter, particularly when accounting for extra players.

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So, the biggest piece of advice I have for you is make sure you know and understand what your players can do. Make sure your players submit their characters to you for review. Aside from the possiblity of genuine or not so genuine errors on high level characters built from scratch, the crazy stuff they are capable of will necessitate specific encounter choices. Challenge rating wont be a useful tool here. You will have to customize everything you want to be meaningful.

Insist your players submit their characters in full to you at least a week before the game, and that they explain exactly how they plan to use various abilities, spells and gear. That should be a prerequisite for this kind of campaign. Once you have that we can give you more specific advice, but it is absolutely vital that you know what they can do before designing your adventure and it's encounters if you want there to be a descent level of challenge.

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The Koldemar in the Kobold Kings by rogue genius games are precisely this. I've used them a fair bit in my games and they line up pretty well with the core races.

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swoosh wrote:
How does the GM not know what class you're playing?

Seriously...I can understand not doing like a detailed audit...but not knowing the class? That seems rediculous.

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The inquisitor IS my favorite class. I like flexible characters, this is the biggest example of that in the game.

Each of those things the Op marks as 'so-so' is sort of true, except he doesnt realize that with all of those things together, they are really good.

Yes you only get one judgement per day, but it lasts the entire encounter, no matter how long it lasts. Bane is rounds per level true, but you can get extra bane, plus you dont need it constantly, leave it off on rounds you are moving into position or buffing, then use it on the rounds you go to town. Speaking of buffing, dont forget, when you are low on bane, and have used your judgement you still have divine spells. A bless or divine favor spell can go a long way at low levels when you dont have a lot of judgements.

Combine that with fun abilities around skills and a bunch of skill points, this is an excellent class. He isnt the best at any one thing, he's not supposed to be. But he can do alot of things well for a short time. Which is how flexible classes are supposed to work.

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I would say 95% of the time, a party made up of partial casters is just fine. In fact I'd say the 3/4 bab 6 level casters are some of the best classes paizo has created.

A magus, inquisitor, alchemist, bard party would be just fine in the vast majority of situations. At very high levels the party would suffer a bit from not having the walking miracles and demi gods walking around, but if you accounted for that in the challenges, you would overall have a better campaign.

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Doomed Hero wrote:
Durngrun Stonebreaker wrote:
With point buy you receive a benefit for intentionally lowering an ability you don't need. There is a difference between lowering your Cha to 7 in order to max out your Int and putting a rolled 7 into Cha because that 7 has to go somewhere.

^ nailed it.

Point buy min-maxing is about selling things down in order to raise other things up.

When rolling, you don't have that option. You'll still put your lowest rolls in the least useful stat, but you can't actually make your other stats better by doing it.

Basically, with point-buy, you can min-max harder than you can with rolls.

This is why I use a point buy without a sell down. 25 points, no stat under 10 before racial modifiers, no stat over 17 after racial modifiers. Problem solved.

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Though I like the above mentioned Battle Scion, I have never seen a better take on a pathfinder arcane paladin then the Iron Mage

The concept was started very early in the days of pathfinder, and went through several iterations. I've seen a few played at the table, a very solid class in my opinion and a perfect fit for the 'arcane paladin' mold.

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LazarX wrote:

Having played Mythic, I have only one piece of advice for GM's.

If your players are system optimizers and crunch junkies, Do not under any circumstances, allow them mythic. You probably need it for your own uses, if you plan on giving them any challenges at high level.

You've been warned.

As one of my groups is closing in on the end of wrath of the righteous...yea this is pretty true. If your group likes to exploit powerful combos, its going to get rediculous. Our sorceror basically has 'spend a few mythic points to end encounter' most of the time. Its sort of insane.

As an aside, I have seen a lot of success of dms granting specific mythic abilities to characters as story rewards, choosing them carefully, and making them relavent to the character. It still represents cool and often powerful abilities. But without the capacity to specifically choose everything, its far more contained even with optimized characters.

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Your players who spend most moments of downtime during sessions discussing the mechanical choices they made or will make, are instead debating, in character, constitutional law of their kingdom before, during and after the session.

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The total value is likely higher, but it will have a certain disadvantage against the swashbuckler in particular. The clasic weapon for a swash is a rapier, which means alot more panache back on crits then the natural 20 of the enforcer. At least thats my expectation. It is one thing I have noticed about swashbucklers, the in flow of panache is a lot higher then the gunslinger, and now the Enforcer.

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I think you could pretty dark with combining healing magic and torture. Or even more significant healing like regeneration. You really could have a bird of prey eat someone's liver over and over again.

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KenderKin wrote:
I admit that a character created at level such and so is always going to be optimized much better than a character where each level choice was made along the way. The other issue is gear selection and crafting, PCs made for a higher level game using the appropriate wealth are way better equipped than PCs who went through the levels.

Both of these are a serious failure on the part of the dm. If they let people create new characters from scratch but NOT allow people to rework characters periodically (we have retraining rules now for crying outloud) if the player is disatisfied is asking for trouble. This just makes dropping characters for new ones more appealing and is bound to create strife in the group.

Also, if they are both under equiping characters (either intentionally or unintentionally) and/or dont let them in some fashion trade out less useful gear for more useful gear in some fashion AND they let new characters pick and choose precisely what they want by strict WBL they are being stupid. All they are doing is encouraging people to drop existing character for new ones, either by choice or death. That is bad gming 101 right there.

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There are a number of issues here, some have been mentioned, some havent.

The biggest one I think is that of storytelling. At 15+ you arent telling the same story as you were at 1st or even 10th levels. Yes its more complicated (a significant problem) and the diversity of options on both player and dm slow things down . Yes it takes a long time to get there and some games break up, or peter out before that. Yes balance problems between 'optimized choices' and 'sub-optimal' choices become dramatically more pronounced at high levels. But ultimately, those are all workable problems. You could have a story that starts at high levels. You could have a new dm pick up where an old dm left off and start a new story. You can make sure everyone puts together characters of similar power levels, and carefully learns all their abilities to keep the game moving. But you cant change the fact that you aren't playing lord of the rings anymore.

Not just in terms of 'power' as in the ability to end encounters. That can all be 'scaled' or use a 5E type 'bounded accuracy' thing. Very high level characters aren't fantasy characters anymore. At least not in the terms we are used to. They are DC's justice league. They are green lanter, superman, wonderwoman, the flash, batman. Characters so absurdly capable, that when they are teamed up you have to come up with truly contrived reasons they dont just fix whatever is wrong.

You can no longer tell many kinds of stories. You need a whole new story to crop up. How long does the lord of the rings take if the characters are high level pathfinder characters? 4 minutes? Forget using the eagles, Elrond had been to mount doom before. Greater teleport, drop ring, greater teleport. Man that was easy, who's up for some hobbit weed?

If Eddard stark was a 20th level Fighter, he would have literally laughed as the headmans axe failed to kill him after hitting him square in the neck. Not to mention arresting him would have been a fair bit more complicated given the difficulty in keeping high level characters prisoner, particularly if they have allies who are not prisoners. You have to have like some super high security death fortress to keep them contained...maybe.

It is hard to write and tell a good story with high level characters. You are strongly limited with the kinds of stories you can tell. The scale has to be grand, it has to be earth shaking, worldshaping and sort of crazy. Most dms and adventure writers alike really struggle with this. So, less games, which means less experience at high levels, which just exagerates all the other problems. But in the end, I think the most important issue, is it's impact on story.

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Any meta rule (something that isnt an in world thing) that influences player behavior is bad. XP doesnt exist in world, but it does in players minds. In my opinion the game would be better without it entirely, but if you are going to use it, it has to be even. Otherwise it encourages negative behaviors (like anti social anti teamwork) and that literally never ends well.

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If the group is using traits, I'd ask the gm to allow the trap finder trait, then you can play whatever class you want and still be the 'trap' guy, at least to a point. I am exceptionally opposed to forcing a player to play a specific class to cover a role, and since the gm is limiting things to core only (which makes it harder) I would ask for a reasonable accomodation to allow the party to have everything covered without forcing someone to play something they dont want to.

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Owen KC Stephens wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Oh, and in terms of providing useful feedback, where are your feelings on firearms at the moment.
I'd use Pathfinder firearm rules for now, though if you use AA firearms that should still provide useful info.

Hmmm, ok, I was leaning towards the AA firearms simply because I am not sure how to do modern weapons in the Pathfinder style, and I'd rather not throw houserules into the mix for something as basic as weapons. Things like misfire chance, and attacking touch AC might get a bit complicated when its the default choice of weapon for an Urban fantasy campaign. Does an M-4 really jam every 20 rounds? Does an AK? Should a pistol go through a dragons armor like a hot knife through butter? The ballistic armors from the Bullet point account for the problem with humanoids, but not creatures who have a significant portion of their AC come from natural armor.

I'll give it some thought, but any guidance would be appreciated, as what I come up with may skew any info away from usefulness.

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First draft of an npc to be used in a modern urban arcana style campaign I am working on.

LT. Jason Spelling, First Marine Supernatural Suppression:

Division CR 5
Human Devil Dog Enforcer 6 LN Medium humanoid (human)

Init +4; Perception +9

AC 19(22 vs balistic Weapons), touch 14, flat-footed 15(18 vs balistic weapons) (+5 armor, +4 Dex)
hp 52
Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +3;
Defensive Abilities: Tough It out

Speed 40 ft.

+8/+3 combat Knife (dagger) 1d4+2

+12/+7 Masterwork Assault Rifle 2d8+1 (x3)
Unload +12/+10 2d8+1(x3) (standard and move action)
+11/+6 Heavy Automatic Pistol 2d4+2 (19-20/x2)
Unload +11/+9 Heavy Automatic Pistol 2d4+2 (19-20/x2)

Special Attacks Deadeye, Focused Violence, Point Blank SHot, Mettle 2/day


During Combat Spelling attempts to keep his distance from his foes, using his mobility and tactical awareness to greate effect. He also takes advantage of his schooling in the supernatural to use the best available weapons against the bizare foes he and his unit must face.


Str 14, Dex 18, Con 13, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 10

Base Atk +6; CMB +8; CMD 22

Feats Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus Firearms, Skill Focus Survival

Skills Climb +10, Heal +9, Knowledge Arcana +12, Knowledge Dungeoneering +13, Knowledge Engineering +13, Knowledge Nature +12, Knowledge Religion +13 , Perception +9, Spellcraft +12, Stealth +12, Survival +11, Swim +10

Languages Common, Elven, Orc, Goblin

Traits: Child of the temple, Scholar of Ruins

SQ Suck it Up 3d6, Classical Education, Devil Dog Armor Training, Specialty Knowledge Engineering.
Deeds: Deadeye, Focused Violence, Suck it UP, Tough It Out

Combat Gear: Masterwork Ceramic Armor, Masterwork Assault Rifle, Heavy Automatic Pistol, Combat Knife(dagger), Headband of Intellect +2, Cloak of Resistance +1, Boots of Striding and Springing

After the Event, which heralded the re-emergence of the supernatural into the modern world, the US Marine Core (along with other branches of the armed forces) created a specialized unit to counter threats of to national security that came with it. Highly educated and well versed in the lore and research on these new creatures, they are well armed and well equiped, and willing to persue and destroy the things that go bump in the night.

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Oh, and in terms of providing useful feedback, where are your feelings on firearms at the moment.

At the time of starting the AA classes, you had decided to deviate from the paizo firearm rules in favor of a different set presented in the enforcer. However when the technology guide was announced you mentioned you wanted to see sort of what that would be like for potential incorporation towards modern/future type products, and those function in sort of the same space as the firearms from ultimate combat, just more spacey.

So in terms of what firearms rules I might use to try this out, which would be most helpful in terms of feedback? The ones presented in the original enforcer, or some kind of amalgamation of the ones paizo has produced.

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I like the rewrite at first glance. I will have to do some playing with it to see what shakes out.

Question, for those of us who have the original enforcer pdf, will this eventually (assuming a successful beta) be put into the pdf similar to the updated vanguard or dragon rider? Or is this a seperate branch in the class' development for say some sort of large post apocalypicy product thingy that has been kicking around for a while?

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In addition to the 3rd party options, what about a spell reference document? There are lots of interesting spells stashed in various campaign source books. Wouldn't mind a consolidation there as well.

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As others have said, use the downtime system from ultimate campaign for this. Theres even a specific example of a brewery in the buildings/organizations section. Also, using managers, means he can have the business running (after he gets it going) and still adventure. There are specific rules for it. I think this is the best middle ground between ignoring the player's deisire to run a business and allowing it to dominate entire sessions of the game.

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Indeed, thank you paizo, not only for all your hard work, but for fostering both a corporate culture and a community that puts having a fun game first. With every potential criticism there are always dozens of things that make me believe that everyone in that office truly cares about the products they are producing. And above all thats what's most important to me. Every time I pick up (or download) a paizo book, I truly feel it was a labor of love and not just a job that lead to its creation. So thank you. And keep up the good work.

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So, to answer your question, yes they are open content (Take a look at the final page of the pdf)

From the Enforcer wrote:

DECLARATION OF OPEN CONTENT: All game mechanics, proper names of classes, prestige

classes, archetypes, feats, skills, spells, magic items, monsters, rituals, artifacts AND OR the names
of abilities presented within this book are Open Game Content as described in Section 1(d) of the

Someone could for instance, add these classes and to D20pfsrd (several other Genius classes are up there).

Also, I am reasonably confident Owen (the owner of said content) would not object to you purchasing the pdfs and distributing them to your group, so long as the distribution stopped there. Thats sort of the point of these pdfs, to use them in games. Its fairly difficult for a group to use a pdf if only you have seen it. Its not like we are all required to buy our own print books and not share them around the table.

I know I have specifically asked Owen about sending the pdf to my dm before (he was ok with it of course) but I can't seem to find the post. Might have been in an email instead. In the mean time, if you are really concerned, you could post in the product discussion for the pdfs. He responds to those fairly quickly.

Just for reference, I have used these classes and I like them a lot. Though the enforcer suffers a bit as it was the first in the series to be released. I know it was going to get another pass at some point but I dont think Owen has gotten to it. Probably wont see much until he moves forward on Warlords of the Apocalypse I would assume.

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Cinderfist wrote:

I dunno, this constant hiring back and forth, i'm not sure it's that great for the industry. Nothing against Sean, some of his work I like, some I don't care for.

But it comes off as clique-ish. And seems to discourage honest critiquing by those in the "clique" about each other.
You wind up with gaming philosophies that are considered sacrosanct and any disagreement is considered heretical because to hold an opposing viewpoint may offend your future/past/future employer/coworkers.

All industries are cliquish. Some companies, like paizo make an effort to bring in new talent, others rely on the people they know. Others are somewhere in between. And somehow I am really skeptical that SKR was highered because he never said something that upset or insulted anyone. He is sort of known for speaking his mind and being willing to be blunt.


You can kind of see one of the results on the boards here where negative talk of wotc is heavily discouraged, ostensibly because Paizo's employee is tomorrows WoTC employee. Maybe I'm wrong, but I've seen posts where people preaching the superiority of a different companies products are treated better and with more tolerance(by site admins) then people defending the product and company that actually owns the forum.

Negative talk about WotC is so heavily discouraged because we dont want the massive flame wars that goes with it. Not sure how familiar you are with the days around the end of 3rd edition, the start of 4th and the ride of Pfrpg, but there were some rediculously heated arguments across all gaming communities about it. It got nasty, it wasnt productive, and it just created a negative environment. Things are calmer now, but you often see some of the same venom in various posts.

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Shade_XY wrote:
Hello, I have just created an account. Someone told me I could have a great roleplaying time without the players determining their own damage here. Teach me the ropes please :D Notice me sempai!

Players determing their own damage? I assume then you are coming from some of the free form roleplay forums/chats the internet has turned up from time to time yes?

Well, if thats the case then yes, this is totally the idea. Roleplaying Games basically take that free form interaction and structure it slightly (more or less depending on the game). Pathfinder is a bit more structures then most, not as structured as some.

In terms of where to get started, you are in the right place. You want the begginer box. You can get one here on this site, on amazon, your friendly local gaming store (if there is one near you). Heck even alot of book stores will carry the begginer box.

It comes with everything you need to get started, except ofcourse, other people. You'll need a couple of those. See primarily, the game is meant to be played in person with other people around a table. That isnt the only way to do it, but it is the baseline experient. The begginer box literally gives you that in a box, and it is meant to help people who know little to nothing about it how to get started.

Now, if you dont have people around you to play with, there are tools to help find them, and there are online games, though that is slightly less begginer friendly, since mostly that involves established players creating games online, but it is doable. Either way I would start with the begginer box, if only to run through the solo stuff there, read through everything and get an idea of how it works.

Once you get started you can move on to either online play, or the complete ruleset (the begginer box is a simplified ruleset) and go from there.

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Otherwhere wrote:

I hear you on the "I don't know what's changed!" thing. It seems like - for me anyway - combat in PF just takes forever. So many rules, and interactions of feats and spells, etc., that it's not like my old AD&D days where things were simpler. You had an attack - one swing or spell - and the rest was really just assumed (moving into position and so on). This leads to the "couple of encounters/rooms per week" that the OP mentions. We simply can't get much done.

I dont know about you, but I think this is a case of rose colored glasses in alot of cases. The games I remember from ye old edition still took a long time, I just had more of it. I remember we played after school on fridays, and often transfered to the game store when the club teacher had to go home, then to someone's house, and then on until morning. And it was only then that we got 'lots done'. I think gamers in general are getting older and realizing with families and work, and other responsibilities, you dont have the option of playing all night twice a week, and then wondering why you arent getting the same experience.

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One thing I have found really effective is to rotate games. Wether your group plays weekly, monthly, or whatever, get 2-3 games going (each run by a different member of the group), and rotate them in and out of play.

It can take a bit more work to keep track of everything, but it also keeps everything fresh, and you look forward to getting back to each game more. It also gives each gm more time to prepare, and lets them relax when they are just the player for a session or two. Even if your preference is to run exclusively, its good to take off the dm hat every now and then.

It also helps to build the idea of collective storytelling as opposed to single sided story telling. Even more so if you are all working in the same game world. Nothing is more fun (in my mind) then seeing an organization you created for one game show up in another campaign. That has definately helped me recharge and stay excited for a game.

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MAJT69 wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
Effectively in 3.x and pathfinder you are playing 3 games. Levels 1-8ish are lord of the rings/game of thrones. Levels 9-14ish are lesser super heroes like certain xmen or spiderman. Levels 15ish-20 are justice league dc or the avengers. The level you play at should affect the scope and challenge of your story.

Having played early editions of D&D, I can't really agree with that, but I see where you're coming from. Even Justice League and the Avengers still have Batman or Black Widow, don't they? Batman can still be 20th level without super-strength or being bulletproof.

I am merely talking about how the game plays in 3.5 and pathfinder, not early editions, but even early editions, the 'real' people topped out at around 6th level. And both batman and black widow, while they dont have 'super powers' are no where near human. Black widow picks up an alien rifle and kills 5 people with it. Batman has gotten punched by darkside and lived (someone who can literally knock down mountains). Even the 'normal' people are not normal.

The same way a 20th level fighter isnt a normal person. He isnt particularly fantastic or superpowered, but he's well outside the range of human ability. Batman might not have super strength, but he has his 'magic' toolbelt. And he has super intelligence. He can do things far in excess of what character more tied to reality can do. Something like the Watchmen (besides dr manhattan) would be the equivalent of like 6th level characters, where batman and superman, while very different, are both 20thish level characters in their own way.

You dont have superman, batman, and green lantern take on watchmen style stories of roughing up street thugs, it just doesn't work. They need bigger scope stories with more potent villians, and lesser enemies are trivial. This is more or less how pathfinder actually runs as you level.

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MAJT69 wrote:

Problem is, that only simulates a no-magic world, not a low-magic one. You can play Conan that way, but not Bilbo, because he gets Sting, Thorin gets Orcrist, and the other dwarves don't get anything.

Like I said, it doesn't have to. In my game, thorin totally gets orcist, and a magic cloak, and maybe one more thing over the course of the hobbit. Players in my game get magic items. Often they get them early. The difference is they only get a few, and they keep them over the course of their career.

Example, duelist type fighter in one game, was given very early on, a Named Keen Rapier, gifted by a noble whose life he saved. It had a history, a description, I even pulled art and created a card with the story on it. he had this through the whole campaign and got a few other items as well. And it was valuable through the whole story, because he got the +x to hit as he leveled instead of through items.


E6 doesn't appeal to the players, alas. They want to play Conan or Grey Mouser or whatever. It's the reliance on armfuls of gear they don't want. And yes, the ones playing fighters or rogues are absolutely fine with how the mages are going to be much more powerful than them without gear.

E6 doesnt rely on gear. It can be altered exactly the same way the normal game can be altered. The difference is simply that the math tops out at a certain point. You can then choose encounters based on that and actually make use of what is in the bestiary.

Theres no reason you cant be conan or the grey mouser in an E8 game. Heck it models it far better then the normal pathfinder rules do.


I think it's doable, it just needs me to change the stat blocks, and be able to modify them on the fly if necessary. Hard work, as you say but if that's what they want.

Up to you, I know I am sort of pushing hard, but I am simply hoping to provide you with tools to make the kind of game you want in pathfinder. I definately think it can be done. You just have to adjust a few preconceptions.

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MAJT69 wrote:

Thanks for responding.

Problem is, that works in a no-magic world like Conan, but not in a LotR style world where there are _some_ magic items that do boost your fighting skills. Even if not everyone gets them.

My world does have magic items and some of them do boost fighting skills. Particularly there are magic weapons. They dont give you +x, but they might be flaming, or keen, or agile or whatever. Which can boost your abilities, but they also dont have to scale. If I get a scaling +x bonus inherenently, I dont need a +1 keen sword early, and then trade it for a +2 keen sword later.


Having a whole tribe of 20th level goblins might break immersion though. Maybe some of them could be a challenge, yes. And as you say, if everything simply levels up around you, what's the point in levelling up? If every 20th level fighter goes to market and haggles with a 20th level merchant, gets his pocket picked by a 20t level urchin and in a bar brawl with 20th level thugs.

Doesnt have to be a whole tribe. But they could have a pair of legendary hero brothers who are higher level. And maybe they dont get involved in every conflict in the area, but when they heard about the pcs slaughtering their bretheren they come to town. Like I said, I still have throwaway encounters, but I also allow for challenging encounters on occassion from unexpected sources.


I was certainly looking to tweak the numbers, and get rid of things like DR, unless it's part of the plot they have to find magic to kill a particular creature that's resistant. But I don't mind if creatures like giants or dragons give even heroes pause, and cause people to be wary of attacking them without a plan.
I'm likely missing something, but wouldn't a PC who tops out at level 6 be in a worse place than a 20th level one with minimal items? Apologies if I'm missing something obvious.

Basically E6 does what you want, but it does it in a structured way (I actually recommend E8 for pathfinder). Players still advance slowly with new feats, but they never get the raw numbers of higher levels. What that does is keep them in a measurable place in the CR system. An 18th level character with no magic items is really hard to guage against monsters in the bestiary. An E8 character with 6 additional feats is an 8th level character with a few extra boosts. I know about where that goes in cr. It means you max out probably at around CR 14 challenges (preferably not a single cr 14 creature though) that can be taken straight on, but thats ok. They can take on higher challenges with lots of advanced warning, planning, and possibly finding specific aids in game.

The point of Ex is to say, yes your progression is curbed, but I know precisely where the numbers top out, and where you are, and can plan my adventure accordingly using the tools the game gives me. If you cut out magic items but keep progressing to higher levels, you can no longer use the in game tools.


Genuine question: if so many of these options exist that are not useful, why are these included in splatbooks by Paizo? If these are simply 'trap' choices that weaken the character through not choosing the correct option, why is this done? Is the game really intended to be a 'puzzle' of sorts where people taking a general feat are punished? Why even include something that was not ever intended to be an option?

Because an npc or pc can take one or two of them to be flavorful without drastically hurting their ability. In addition, its about being able to build a world, and fleshing it out, even if that means the game isn't perfect. So for instance, evil fairy tale witches should be able to hunt children. But since everyone follows the same rules in pathfinder, an npc witch is built like a pc witch. Which means she has hexes. So child scent is a hex you can give an evil witch to allow her to hunt children without a dm handwave.

Basically, paizo, particularly with their campaign setting has slightly favored the rules connecting to whats going on in the world, over making a perfectly balanced game. So you might 'feel' like a character is more connected to the flavor of what they are doing, but it might not be perfectly balanced. Other games focus on narrative, or game balance, rather then rules being strongly associated with their in world effects.

The example I always give is the succubus. A succubus should (in lore) be able to enthral people. But save or lose mental spells can be a real pain in game because when used against the party, they basically say, roll a die and if you fail, stop playing the game with us. Pathfinder kept with the potentially harsh game wise, but well connected to world lore way. 4E chose to make such abilities far less potent (allowing effectively a 50-50 save against it every round in definately. The problem is, that means a succubus could barely enthral a commoner for a few minutes, let alone a pc.

Obviously not everything falls on the extreme, most things are in between, but thats the kind of design choices you have to make with stuff that may not be great 'game' options, but are important 'world building' options.


Yes, that seems about right. I was kind of intending to use the plots and situations but ignore the official stats, depending on what battles were meant to be challenging and which were not. Some fights were clearly intended to be 'boss fights' at whatever level, but goblins and minions shouldn't be.

At the end of the say, I was kind of wondering aloud if 3.5 allowed you to run a game that felt like a novel or movie rather than a session of Diablo. The answer to that question might just be 'no', I appreciate that. It might just be easier to convert everything to 1st or 2nd edition D&D, or even 5th, where these elements matter less, and just preserve the plots.

In the end it depends on what you mean like 'book' or 'novel' vs diablo. As I told you, I've managed to run pathfinder games with minor tweaks without having to toss out the listed encounters in APs and to curtail CERTAIN gamist ideas (like loot everything that isnt nailed down, and disposable magic swords). But the idea of scaling challenges that eventually leave lower level challenges obsolete doesnt really work.

Effectively in 3.x and pathfinder you are playing 3 games. Levels 1-8ish are lord of the rings/game of thrones. Levels 9-14ish are lesser super heroes like certain xmen or spiderman. Levels 15ish-20 are justice league dc or the avengers. The level you play at should affect the scope and challenge of your story.

Regular street thugs dont threaten the justice league, or iron man. But they do threaten the watchmen. Same goes for 3.x and pathfinder. Based on the scope of story you want, choose your levels, or at least how high you will level up.

Thats why E8 is so good for many games, because many people want the lord of the rings or game of thrones story. That system keeps the players in that close to reality range of ability, danger, and challenge.

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MAJT69 wrote:

Fair comment, but a cloud giant is what, 20 foot tall and 5000lbs? I think even Conan might think twice about attacking one, let alone two.

Of course, that assumes the PC sees it as 20 feet tall and 5000lbs and not a level-appropriate set of stats to fight, but that was kind of what I was hoping to aim at - that someone might think to sneak around, bargain with or trick something like that.

But yes, point taken at having to look at the numbers for saves and things.

The cloud giant is an example(this specific thing happened in a 'low magic' game I played in which is why I thought of it. But every brutish thing in the bestiary will do the same thing as you go up in level.

If you want giants to always be scary and threatening, thats cool, but that means you need to halt player level progression (See the rules for Epic 6 or E6/E8). That is a system specifically designed to implement that in something like pathfinder. And it doesn't give false impressions about what characters ought to be capable of.

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You would probably be ok up until about 6th level, with problems arising after that, and then basically not being able to continue around 10th-12th level.

Monsters are actually worse then humanoid npcs. They wouldnt run into the same problems due to reduced gear. It wouldnt be a matter of adjusting diffulty down, you would have to evaluate each individual monster. Things like special abilities, to hit bonuses, AC and saves would all have to be examined against what the pcs can do.

Often very debilitating monster abilities have relatively low saving throw dcs (for their level) to balance out the harsh effects. But if the players are significantly behind the curve numbers wise, that threat becomes vastly disproportionate.

Not to mention, if the front liner's AC stops going up, and some higher level enemies hit with every attack, it wont matter the front liner's HP, he will just be tropped.

Take for instance, a cloud giant. A CR 11 opponent, If say an 11th level party was facing 2 of them. A dedicated front liner's AC would be somewhere in the high 20's or low 30's. That means that its very unlikely either cloud giant would hit with all 3 attacks. Thats good because he would be doing an average of 96 damage with 3 hits, enought to drop all but the absolute toughest pcs at that level. But without magic items, AC basically stops progressing for pcs. Which means the chance of the pc getting flattened in a single round by the cloud giant is much, much higher. And there are 2 of them. Which means you literally could have 2 dead pcs in one turn, and not even with unlucky rolls, but rolling close to average. And that problem only gets worse as you progress to higher levels.

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MAJT69 wrote:

This involves both mechanical and narrative elements. Narratively, they want something that is less like a videogame and more like a book or TV series. Less ‘looting’ and grinding fights for XP, more story and character and that kind of thing. A lot of this is up to the players and GM obviously – people like Evil Lincoln have advised me that the ‘grindier’ aspects of the Adventure Paths can be cut and XP awarded for other things. Essentially, it boils down to ‘if this was a TV series or a book, would I show this?’ They want fights, but they want emphasis on other things too. As a GM, I want to encourage negotiation, or even running away as legitimate options, rather than just fighting everything out. Table-time is important, and I don’t want to waste it having to explore every last corner of a dungeon so as to get every last scrap of XP.

Well first off, I thankfully no longer have this problem. I dont use XP anymore, instead I decide the approximate pace of my game that I want, and then inform the players roughly how often they are going to level up. IE, if I want the players to start at 1st level, and face final enemy in a CR16ish encounter, then I probably want them to be around level 12-13. Thats 11-12 levelings. If I want to play say once a month for a year, I tell them they will level approximately once a session.

For money, I use a homebrew alternate system that replaces the vast majority of magic items with innate bonuses. Magic items are rare, and are effectively priceless. There are no +x items, and each item is unique. Players generally only get a few over their lifetimes, and buying or selling one is akin to trying to sell or buy a Picasso painting in the modern world. Sure you can do it, but it requires very specific efforts.

All of this removes the grindiness of xp and gold. Gold becomes more of a flavor item, as it doesnt relate directly to personal power as it does when magic items are for sale. It might have indirect effects (bribing people, highering spies etc) but the paladin who doesn't want to loot the dead isn't punished for it.


There’s also the matter of scaling things, as PF is very balanced with its specific challenges for every level and exact amount of magic item bonuses, etc. Obviously, PF is a very stats-driven game and this appeals to most of its players. But –narratively – characters shouldn’t really know their experience level? Do goblins just disappear from the game world when they are no longer a level-appropriate threat for the PCs? If a 20th level character gets into a bar-room brawl, are all his opponents a level-appropriate challenge? Do only 20th level pickpockets try to steal from him when he goes to the market?

The answer is...sort of. It doesnt have to be. You can have throwaway encounters that are a synch for the players as they get stronger to make them feel more powerful. Sometimes I even just let everyone narrate how they beat the tar out of the backroom thugs they run into in town when they are higher levels. And luckily, normal enemies dont have to disappear. You can add levels to a goblin to make it a threat at any level. And I especially like the relatively new monster codex for this. It provides some great options for lots of classic monster races. Its a great tool to keep those classic monsters coming back later on.

But I definately think players as they get stronger SHOULD encounter things that were once a challenge and are no longer so they get that sense of progression.


One thing that D&D5 tried to do is flatten that curve a little, with its lack of Wealth By level and ‘bounded accuracy’. I was looking to run a very low-magic game, where items appear about as frequently as in most fantasy novels, rather than a Diablo-type game where the defeat of any NPCs gives the players a big sack of level-appropriate magic items. Magic items will exist, but they will be rare and valuable – even the humble +1/+2 items will give you a bonus you won’t get anywhere else.

There won’t be any stat-boosting items and I was going to keep statistic raises topped out at 20, to encourage more organic-looking characters.

So I guess my question is really about adjusting encounter levels for the PCs, yes? PF assumes you will have the correct booster items at each level, choose the ‘right’ feats and abilities, max your main stat and put your stat raises in that one. Whereas we’ll be looking at characters that resemble earlier editions of D&D like Dragonlance or something.

As there’s no protective magic items and only basic armour, that should keep ogres and things a threat even at slightly higher levels, I assume. Some damage is going to get through, even on high HP characters?

Be VERY careful with something like this. Its not just a matter of having slightly higher or lower crs. You will have to be very careful with what you throw at the players (particularly in terms of special abilities. ACs and to hit bonuses.

Armor class for players basically stops scaling if you dont have magic items. It becomes static, but to hit bonuses do not. You will basically be allowing trolls to remain a threat and make it so players literally cannot face higher cr foes, who when they hit on everything but a 1, crush even the hardiest of pcs.

If you want to limit magic items, you can use internal bonuses. If you want to put a cap on the math, you need to look up something called E6. Basically it caps out the class level progression at level 6 (or level 8). This prevents the balooning numbers, and after the level cap you advance only with feats, and possibly a few class abilities.

That is pretty much the only way you can accomplish what you want. As it stands your current plan simply wont work after a while, probably around 10th level, with problems arising between 6th and 8th level.


Narratively, the adventure paths are basically a channel into which you put a 1st level character and it comes out the other end as a 17th level one, at which point you retire it and do it all again with another AP. I wanted to keep some of the characters between the various stories, even if that means they are higher level, if possible.

Like I said, look into E6. One dm in my group has had a game going for almost 4 years now running through numerous adventures using the E6 rules. The normal system simply cant support what you are looking for.


For example, running the initial AP for Runelords for higher-level characters is going to be overly easy, even with few magic items and non-optimised characters. To a degree, I think this is okay; they will expect to thrash the goblins, although these same goblins are dangerous to the townsfolk... And throwing around high-level magic is liable to endanger the townsfolk even more. I can obviously increase the power of Nuala and the other notable NPCs so that they at least present a challenge – I think the book even suggests that. I will keep magic items that are appropriate to the story, such as if the adventure revolves around the recovery of a magic sword or whatever. But not items that just give the correct mechanical bonuses that the NPCs are supposed to have.

Thats an option, but not really a good use of the material. You will create alot of work for yourself. If you want to, go ahead, but this is almost going to be more difficult then writing your own adventure.


With regard to running things like Skull & Shackles as a second AP, I think I’d best just treat the whole thing as a sandbox. If they kill Harrigan and most of the other pirates straight away, take the ship and skip most of the first module, so be it. Likewise, if they take out the Hurricane King and other Shackles NPCs early, they still have to contend with the Chelish invasion and everything. They’ll just do it all out of order, what would be a ‘New Game Plus’ equivalent in a videogame.

You might want to check out the 3rd party product, Razor Coast. That is meant to be a fairly large, mid level sandbox pirate adventure. You will have a much easier time with that kind of story then you would with a paizo ap.


Is there anything else I need to be aware of, running this style of game? I should add that everyone is just picking character stuff based on what seems ‘cool’, so there won’t be any optimising of stats, feats, class abilities etc.

Keep in mind that in a game like pathfinder, deliberate de-optimization (IE choosing things that are not very effective, but cool) is as much a problem as overoptimization. For instance it may be cool to give your witch the hex that lets them locate children by smell, but that is a character resource spent on something that wont help the party. Which means you will be able to contribute less then a witch that picked a useful hex. There are flavorful but useless options in the game. And while choosing a few usually isnt a problem. If you dont keep an eye on it, it can become a real problem.

I think my biggest piece of advice if you go through with your plan is dont plan to be able to use CR at all. Be aware of what the numbers your players have, to hit bonuses, armor class, saves, skill bonuses etc. Plan your encounters directly against that. The CR system will effectively be useless to you very quickly. Whenever you want an encounter to be challenging, you will have to look directly at the numbers your players have, and choose/design your enemies and challenges accordingly


Yes, you could say that we won’t really be playing PF at all, and that we may as well play an earlier game system anyway. But we’ve liked the feel of the game, the adventures and the plots, and I think it’s worth a try to amend a few things to our tastes.

I would take a long hard look at E6 or E8. It may be a far easier way to adapt pathfinder to your desired play style. And no I dont think you have to go play another game. But I think you should be aware you are creating ALOT of work for yourself, and potentially going to create serious issues in your game if you are not very careful.

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If you dont plan on monetizing it, (IE no adds on the youtube page) you can probably use the community use policy. I am pretty sure that some community use products have indeed included paizo artwork and other copyrighted material. I certainly know for instance the podcast/youtube show Know Direction has often shown artwork from books they are reviewing. But they also dont monetize their show besides asking for donations to cover costs.

They also dont like flip through a whole book. I think if you wanted to show parts of a pdf, you would have to cut them up and edit them in. You couldnt just put a scroll through an entire pdf of a book on youtube.

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At some point i found a rather high quality map of the whole area (various maps from the AP stitche together). I think it is here. Cant check at work. But you might check there. For sure someone put together a high quality map of the whole region (as I have used it). If thats not it I'll keep looking.

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DeathQuaker wrote:

Violence solves nothing, and it's only making it harder for the people really working for justice and serving the community.It's telling when the Crips and Bloods unite to tell people to stop the violence.

I pray after this that Baltimore's city council's efforts to get bodycams on cops and other precautions are no longer blocked.

Main sources for the above: Baltimore Sun, WJZ, and WYPR.

The truth of it is, 'real justice' only works in a system that is actually just and fair. When people spend enough time seeing the system not work, or simply work against them, violence is inevitable. We can idealize the peaceful non-compliance type protests, but that again, only works if there is a system in place to temper the response. The system isn't fair. It isn't just. We have a problem that cant be solved within the system itself.

To say violence never solves anything is pretty naive. Without the violence of the Civil War, there is no Civil Rights movement. Without the violence of the Revolutionary war, there is no US Constitution. In both cases, people did attempt non-violent solutions first, but in order to take power from those who have it, generally there has to be violence somewhere along the line. The violence may not directly result in positive change, but it fascilitates it. We remember violence. We forget peace quickly.

In this particular case, it doesn't seem that the violence previously expended on civil rights is sufficient to support the cause. The human animal is forgetful. 200,000 people can march down 6th avenue in new york and we forget in a week. Knock down a single block of buildings in new york though, and the effects are still being felt 14 years later. Violence is remembered, it affects change. Not always good in the short term, or even in the long term. But real, fundamental and systemic change rarely happens without underlying violence.

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Question one, are you aware of this section of the forums? You are likely to find advice and resources best there. Each AP has its own subsection for people only looking for things about that AP.

Second, there is infact a community spreadsheet for kingdom tracking.

I believe the latest one can be found here

In case you dont know, 'ultimate rulership' is a 3rd party product that expands on what is in ultimate campaign for kindgom building. Obviously its optional, but you may want to check it out. My group has liked the improvements made both to kingdom building and mass combat, but they have a version of the sheet for JUST ultimate campaign rules so no need to go beyond what you want to use.

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The ideal situation in my mind, for introducing a new player to the game isn't one on one.

My preference would be to get a few knowledgable players (probably just 2) and recruit them with the specific intent of teaching the new player. There are several aspects of the game (teamwork, roleplay, character development) that really require additional people.

Next, for someone who doesn't like to read, or do math, dont hand her the rulebooks. In fact it would be better if she never see's them. Or at least dont have them used at the table. If you need reference material, use a tablet connected to the internet or a phone or something. Those big books can be scary to someone who DOES like to read. Let alone someone not very interested.

The truth is, no one needs to know those things to play. They only need to know how to interpret their character sheet. Hand her 2 pages, and explain that to her and thats all.

If she wants to play a caster, no problem, just make sure its a spontaneous caster with a spells known list. Use the spell card generator from to print out ONLY what she needs, which for a 1st level character is pretty much one more sheet of paper.

Make sure the co-teaching players play relatively simple concepts (no crazy mix and match characters, but basic archetypical stuff).

Talk to her ahead of time and figure out what kind of character she wants to play, then make it for her. If thats a bard, fantastic, if its a sorceress, great, whatever it is, at least to start, keep her out of the creation process.

After she plays a bit, and either decides she likes the game or doesn't you can slowly introduce making character choices as she levels up. Before you know it if all goes well, she might very well be pouring through rulebooks of her own volition (I have 2 friends that dont like reading that pour through rulebooks to create character and adventures).

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wraithstrike wrote:

Jason is still a normal human so he would top out at Iron weight or level 4 or 5 in Pathfinder. I wont make a full build, but I would say he is a slayer.

I think he is 'action move normal', not actually normal. A real human being couldnt take the punishment he does through the series. I would probably put him in the 7 or 8 level range. The one scene where he falls like 8 stories in the middle of stairs and lands on a body and gets up ok comes to mind. Though I do think slayer is a descent choice, possibly with a little multiclassing with brawler for the unarmed stuff.

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Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:

The d20 says this is a terrible idea.


Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack.
Once in every 20 times(at least) a person walked past the sign, or statue or whatever they would feel a hostile force they couldn't place. Eventually someone would place it and recognize something was wrong in the area mentioned. Eventually someone outside of the direct control of the ruler would investigate and with a detect magic spell find out the fountain the king installed has a powerful permanent enchantment spell on it. This will hardcore backfire in a relatively small amount of time.

Now this is a rather gaping problem that I was not aware of. I didn't realize anyone would notice on a failed save. Statistically this would happen occupationally and with enough such occurrences people would get suspicious of a particular location. Even without figuring out exactly what's going on they'd probably start avoiding the area even if they don't know exactly why.

Alright. My idea is sufficiently shut down. Anyone have any alternate subversive methods for controlling your population?

Yea its one of those things people often gloss over, without some kind of special ability or trick, hiding magic is difficult long term. Probably intentionally.

My suggestion, the classic, bread and circus!

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The d20 says this is a terrible idea.


Succeeding on a Saving Throw: A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack.

Once in every 20 times(at least) a person walked past the sign, or statue or whatever they would feel a hostile force they couldn't place. Eventually someone would place it and recognize something was wrong in the area mentioned. Eventually someone outside of the direct control of the ruler would investigate and with a detect magic spell find out the fountain the king installed has a powerful permanent enchantment spell on it. This will hardcore backfire in a relatively small amount of time.

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Yea I have to agree that just dropping HP numbers isnt going to work. The game simply doesn't function in a 'realistic' way when it comes to damage. Its an action movie, or a comic book. The binary hit or miss nature of the game itself is problematic when considering 'realism'. You are really going to have to fight the system head on if you want to instill that kind of realism into the game past an E6 model.

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If the goal is to remain somewhat near pathfinder rpg rule, what if all trainers were an archetype of the summoner, probably akin to the master summoner? The eidolon representing their 'primary' pokemon, and summons representing the managerie carried around in pokeballs?

Then you only need to create the templates for the various pokemon and figure out what level of summon they need to be. And also how powerful you want to make the primary pokemon (eidolon).

My intial thought is:
1. Remove all casting besides the summon spell like ability (trainers dont have spells, and to be honest, they dont really do anything on their own).
2. Create an eidolon template that has a fixed progression of evolutions for each of the potential primary pokemon (the one you pick when you first start the game). Each type of starter pokemon is represented by a fixed progression of evolutions (possibly with some selection for specific attacks) to make it resemble a pokemon type.
3. Create a new summon list and fit different pokemon into the Summon 1-9 and gate list.
4. Trainers must encounter and defeat a type of pokemon to access it in the summon list (possibly everyone starts with one option at each level automatically).

Obviously this creates the issue of the primary pokemon being dramatically stronger then any summon, but if you cut out all the summoners spellcasting, and you keep the limit of 1 at a time (either eidolon, or a summon) then you can probably make the available summons more powerful then those normally summoned by the spell as written.

Basically all this new Trainer archetype can do is Call his Starter Pokemon (eidolon), or summon a specific list of more powerful creatures via the spell like ability. With a little tweaking I think that could work.

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Snowblind wrote:

It always helps to compare the cost of the feat to the cost of an item that provides the same.

Boots of striding and springing provide a +10 move speed bonus and a minor boost to jump checks. They cost 5500. This effectively provides 2 feats and a minor bonus but with less conditions than fleet (works even in heavy armor). The pricing for an item that gives +5 move speed would probably be in the region of 1250gp. Fleet is worse than that - lets price it at 750gp.

Losing a feat for 750gp of bonuses is atrocious.

I agree with this. Its not that extra movement isnt valuable, its that the return on investment for fleet is so poor. Boots of striding/springing, someone casting haste, and any number of class features do it better. Most people, if they want speed, go with one of those.

Fleet just doesn't give you enough for anyone that has things they want out of their feats.

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thejeff wrote:

Sometimes it's not me having trouble staying polite. I'm usually pretty mellow. Perhaps I should rephrase that as - a polite way of saying "I'm not going to discuss it with you, because I know you can't stay civil."

Sometimes it is worth it. I've certainly done it. Sometimes you've tried before and know it isn't. Or know it isn't worth taking past a certain point.

Its frustrating, its difficult. Sometimes it seems impossible or pointless. But that mentality is a big part of the reason why thousands of people lost jobs, had pay cut, or were forced to go on unpaid leave, and millions were indirectly affected by the same events because left and right couldnt talk out a budget in the US Capital building.

The two are connected. We all have to be willing to keep hammering those arguments, keep having them, letting the valvue go just a little so reason can prevail. If you want to live in a functioning democracy, part of your payment is having that argument with the jerk who never even tries to listen, because if you dont, he'll be more of a jerk next time. And so will you.

We talk about or civil rights. But we often forget the flip side of that. Civic responsibility. You cant have one without the other. Unless every member of a democracy takes their responsibilities seriously, the system fails in the long term.

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Spook205 wrote:

A party, or block as you put it, also exists to make your individual vote more powerful as a component of a group. The modern party system stands because groups of individuals say, "Well I agree with 78 percent of what the Party Against Fireants, says, so I'll support them, but when possible I'll disagree on the other 22%."

The slates provided weren't followed slavishly. I'll note that nobody's slate came through with 100% accuracy.

Similarly, if I'm a bull moose party member, I have no obligation to vote bull moose, and they no means of compelling me. Will I be outvoted if I deviate? Yes, but not if enough people choose to deviate with me. If I were to say, publicize and campaign amongst my fellow bull moosers for a certain outcome for example.

Ofcourse no one is 'obligated' to vote on slate. That doesn't actally matter. The pressure and psychological influence is real. The same way you dont HAVE to vote your party exclusively in an election, but what percentage of people actually deviate? (Hint: Its small)


The idea that people forming into groups with other like minded individuals 'disenfranchising' someone is laughable. I'm not going to get into an argument over pure democracy or republicanism or the like, but if the group forms because they share an objective and beliefs, and they communicate this amongst themselves, and then vote together, I'd argue this supports rather then disenfranchises anybody.

Actually, by definition, forming groups disenfranchises people. That is what groups do. They isolate you from those that differ from you in some fashion. No such group is 100% uniform. But by forming a group, they become more so. Their organization limits individual choice. For instance, that group, will come together and decide who or what represents them. Both within and without of that group, some people will disagree with that choice. But, the groups choice has either removed the other choices, (like say the primary races in american presidential elections) or drastically reduces the viability of those other choices (such as having a environmentalist party candidate running seperately from a democratic, but green friendly candidate).

Organizing into voting groups literally cannot avoid disenfranchising people, because it limits choices.


If the fear is that this will balkanize the situation, that ship sailed a long time ago, its simply that one side of the equation is now showing up to the feud in uniform.

Since this literally just happened 3 years ago, the ship hasnt sailed a long time ago. It just pulled out of dock.


Regarding the 'loophole,' again, how can this guidance be changed such that people can still freely communicate with one another about their tastes? I can't talk to people grouped over 20? I can't make a post on the internet? I can't step into the public square and proclaim my appreciation of Count to the Eschaton?

Are we going to have campaign finance laws for a science fiction club's awards?

I'm being a bit ridiculous here, but I hope my point still comes through.

Its not an easy question. Heck its almost as complicated as the full scale political issues it mimics. But that doesn't mean we ignore the problem at its core. I am not sure what can solve the problem. That doesnt mean nothing can be done about it.

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thejeff wrote:

On the other hand, sometimes it's worth just shutting down the discussion rather than letting it blow up into a big argument, when you've gathered for something else. Whether it's work or game night or a family gathering or something.

But it is worth it. Because there is a very real consequence of not doing it. You let everyone drift further and further apart. Family gatherings, and social encounters is where you SHOULD be discussing this stuff. Otherwise you dont get the disperate view points. The more you dont talk about it, the harder it is to eventually talk about it. And literally nothing matters more in the long term. Not having this conversation is part of why eventually someone wont be able to afford gas to come to game night.


I actually find "I don't discuss religion or politics in polite company" often is a polite way of saying "I'm not going to discuss it with you, because I know we won't be able to stay polite."

You know what helps something you arent good at? Practice. You know what doesnt help? Not doing it. It takes work and effort to stay civil while arguing something that matters to you. But if you dont, then when the time does come, you dont have the skills, understanding or point of view to deal with the actual problem. And you get crap like we have in washington where literally nothing is getting done, because any compromise is seen as a vile betrayal of sacrosanct views set by a bunch of people who only talk to those who agree with them.

Krensky wrote:

The meaning of "Don't discuss religion or politics in polite company." is a caution to not discuss inflamitory topics in a purely social situation because it can lead to heated tempers, shouting, harsh language, fisticuffs, and dueling. So make small talk and enjoy the ball and leave politics to the smoking room or cloakroom.

Except again, without those shouting matches, you just get more and more angry at that impossible idiot who cant possibly be that stupid that he doesn't see how right you are. In highschool I had a certain group of friends. We grew up together, we loved eachother. But we were all hot headed egotists. That can breed tension after a while. One day, on a spur of the moment, we grabed some boxing gloves, and we duked it out with whoever in the group was driving us up the wall at the moment. Afterwards, we were all love and comradery again. At least for a while.

That argument is important. Not arguing doesnt work. Ask any relationship councilor. You have to argue. And like it or not, we are all in a kind of relationship with our fellow citizens. That relationship matters. If we never argue, that presure valvue never lets off. And that builds up and gets worse over time. To the point where 'left' and 'right' cant agree long enough to pass a budget to keep the g#+ d*%ned lights on in capital building, let alone actually accomplish something.

Talking like a rational civil human being and finding common ground with someone who disagrees with you has become a sign of weakness, instead of a sane thing human beings do so we can live together in a society.


The same reason you don't walk into a restaurant and slap you junk on the table. thing, regular discourse on complicated and difficult political topics, is a vital activity to a democracy continuing to function. The other is puting your junk on the table. They have no common factors, reasons or motivations.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Spook205 wrote:

A reminder, and this should be kept in mind whenever someone complains about a criminal 'let off on a technicality' those technicalities are the law. Rule of law is one of those spokes on which the wheel of civilization turns.

True, but laws change when they are shown to be obsolete or easily circumvented. Thats why there is (supposedly) a legislature, and not just a judiciary. Laws need to be updated from time to time. For instance in the presense of a new force in the equation (block voting).


I do wonder, how does a slate differ from just telling a bunch of friends and associates who you think should get the award? Which if memory serves, is what the SP contingent, alleges is what the old guard was up to, just not openly.

The differnece is a matter of organization, scale, and psychological effect.

We can go back to political parties as the easy example:

As a liberal, conservative, libertarian, etc, you could, encourage your friends and family to consider the issues of the day, highlighting specific candidates you like, talking about their individual beliefs.

Or you can attatch your strongest beliefs to a brand. A political party. By 'branding' those beliefs you have now simplified the person's choice. At the same time, to counter you, someone else has done the same with a different set of beliefs. And their branding has made the contrast with your brand more extreme then probably any normal member of either group would present themselves individually.

Picking a brand is a lot easier then evaluatiing a bunch of individuals you may or may not know. You just let the 'experts' evaluatate them, and pick the brand closest to what you believe. So where maybe you might have voted for the moderate conservative senator, the liberal but fiscally responsible congressman and the passionate independent for mayor, you are instead encouraged both by others, and by viewing the results of deviating from the brand, to stay on brand exclusively.

Block voting drowns out the disperate voices and forces people to converge around just a few points in the spectrum. Think of trying to vote in the states for an independent. Why is that generally a joke? Because its hard to get around the big 'brands' but also because even if they reach you, you like them, but, in the end, if you dont pick one of the 'big' brands, will your vote matter?

That is the difference between just supporting a handful of authors or stories you like (fandom) and creating an organized and distinct brand (block voting). Block voting is easy, individual evaluation of all the candidates requires a lot more time and energy and is less likely to yeild the result when someone else is presenting a brand.

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LazarX wrote:
Caineach wrote:
Political correctness was originally a conservative push and has changed meaning since the 90s. That it has now taken over the left and is strangling it is slowly becoming more evident, from the redacted story Entertainment Weekly published on this to the death threats being sent to the pizzeria in Indiana.
It's much more than political correctness taking over the left, right, or any other faction. It's the decline in the ability to disagree with grace. It's a poisonous trend that has been accelerated by the growth of instant response social media.

It is more then social media, though social media highlights it. The inability to disagree with grace started way before social media. It got its biggest boost in the 80s.

There are 2 phrases that should automatically require a punch in the nose in response.

1. 'I dont discuss religion or politics in polite company'. - this implies that we should only discuss complicated and important ideas among those who agree with us. Thats stupid. It prevents the transfer of ideas, and create a polarizing effect. If no one ever calls you on your bs, your bs becomes worse and worse over time as everyone agrees with you.

2. 'Its just business'. The implication here, societal norms around human descency, morality, or anything else dont apply in the 'business' world. Aside from the obvious negative effects of cut throat business practices, it does something far worse. It glorifies the sociopath. The person who doesn't feel, and just does what it takes to make the most, be the most, or 'win' becomes the most 'successful'. Much like voting blocks, once you let that particular plague out of pandoras box, its not easy to put it back in.

There are now people (on both sides of the isle) in politics and other areas of the public world (media for instnace) that are successful because they categorically dont allow challenges to their position, and they protect that position with a kind of visciousness that has nothing to do with the common good and everything to do with retaining power. And everyone else trying to get involved has to follow suit or get trampled by those 'doing it better'.

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