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Angvar Thestlecrit

Kolokotroni's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 8,401 posts (8,429 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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NobodysHome wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
........ with Richard Sherman grinding Tom Brady's face and legacy into the Arizona turf (hopefully that is, its the Seahawks so they could easily choke, in fact last year we didn't let ourselves believe they would actually win until the final whistle blew:p)
I can only imagine how seahawks fans felt last weekend with that rediculous ending. Probably even more astounded and overjoyed then i felt in the Giants last two superbowls. That onside recovery feels like it will rival the helmet catch in the wtf omg moments of recent nfl history. Here's hoping you join that 'beat that pats in the superbowl club'. If you do, see if you can get a hold of the losing team hats they throw away. My literal favorite possession is a 19-0 Patriots superbowl hat.

My brother went to Africa and searched far and wide for a "Broncos defeat Seahawks jersey" for his girlfriend (she's a Broncs fan, he's a Seahawks fan). His impression is that the NFL donates all the "wrong" gear to poor countries in Africa. But he didn't find any, so instead he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro...

Is it weird that I got my hat from a friend who did the exact same thing successfully and then also climbed mount kilimanjaro?

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captain yesterday wrote:
........ with Richard Sherman grinding Tom Brady's face and legacy into the Arizona turf (hopefully that is, its the Seahawks so they could easily choke, in fact last year we didn't let ourselves believe they would actually win until the final whistle blew:p)

I can only imagine how seahawks fans felt last weekend with that rediculous ending. Probably even more astounded and overjoyed then i felt in the Giants last two superbowls. That onside recovery feels like it will rival the helmet catch in the wtf omg moments of recent nfl history. Here's hoping you join that 'beat that pats in the superbowl club'. If you do, see if you can get a hold of the losing team hats they throw away. My literal favorite possession is a 19-0 Patriots superbowl hat.

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I think championships as the lone or just the key measure of success in sports is just plain stupid. Especially when judging individual players. And especially in football. Not only is the single game playoff format a near coin flip in the case of most top tier teams, but maybe football more then any other sport requires all the pieces to be in place, and a single great player can only account for so much. Yes the qb is the most important player on a team, but if he doesnt have anyone to throw to, to block for him, to run the ball, or someone to stop the other team and get him the ball back, he could be the god of football and it wouldn't matter.

In basketball, hockey or baseball, a great player can take over a game almost on their own. In football, if you gave peyton manning a jv highschool team and put them against a top tier highschool team, peyton would eat alot of dirt.

In addition, other sports have a multi game playoff format. You cant win on the strength of a single game, or even on 4 games, its closer to two dozen. In some ways its more exciting. Underdogs have a much larger chance in the nfl then other pro sports. Crazy things like a tight end bouncing an onside kick off his head, a backup reciever catching a miracle heave on his helmet, or a bs ruling on a nonsense call about 'tucking' the ball, arent what makes or breaks a team in a 7 game series. Or at least not just one of them. You get a lot more indication of who the 'better' team is then in a one and done game.

Both Peyton and Marino deserve to be in the conversation of the greatest ever, regardless of how many rings they wear. Hell, both of them for much of their career barely had a team around them, gaining the success they did with what amounts to smoke and mirrors. If anything that kind of performance is worth MORE someone who say had the luxary of throwing to likes of jerry rice, or having the 1970s steelers to back them up.

You need to look at the player, what they were able to do and what tools they had to work with and who they were working against. Super bowl rings should barely register in a coherent discussion about the all time great players in the nfl.

Heck by that measure, eli manning is a dramatically better quarter back then tom brady. He beat him in 2 superbowls after all, and thats all that matters right? 2 for 2 in the only game that end of discussion? Eli manning should get brady's seat in the hall of fame? Mind you I love eli, I am a die hard giants fan, but he isnt a better QB then brady, or his big brother. But by the superbowl measuring stick, he is. And that doesn't make any sense.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

It might not be a game you're interested in, but how can that possibly be obnoxious if it's all up front and clear from the beginning?

First, you cant really be up front about how narrative elements will play out. Baring alot of first hand knowledge ahead of time about the setting and how things go, if you present a player saying narrative element x will limit your use of ability why, what that actually MEANS in game play wont be apparent until it happens.

Second, knowingly being excluded doesnt make it any less wrong. If we go back to my video game example, even if I tell you up front, the guy playing the snes gets to play all day and the guy playing the xbox one only gets to play 10 minutes on the hour, it doesnt alter the level of jerkiness aside form the fact that no one is surprised.

And really here im talking less about things like spell availability (assuming at least SOME spells are available) and more about things like magic being shunned, or mages being hunted/enslaved, or your mind is corrupted if you cast spells, stuff like that. Restraints on power are what they are, you can then choose if you want to deal with it or not. Restraints on getting to participate for fear of outside backlash, is a jerk move.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
Kolokotroni wrote:
gamer-printer wrote:
If you're going to curtail the abilities of a wizard or another class, this should be made known before a game even begins, so a player will know up front, before character creation, what specific limits are placed on a given class. He may opt to play something else, or not play at all, but the decision should be his and he should be provided with all such information to make such a choice.
This is all fine if the limits or curtailing is done within the mechanics of the game. If its narrative, its dramatically less predictable. Its also less real to the person making the choice. Its often a matter of perception or opinions. What is too much? What is 'noisy' in the belgariad, what causes 'ripples' in the force. Narrative limits on mechanical abilities cant be accurately described before the character choices are made because all the circumstances of those limits are not apparent until the moment they occur.

Sure. That's part of the enjoyment of playing a magicuser in a limited magic setting.

It's obviously wrong to impose limits without warning players beforehand, but if everyone knows about them (including the uncertain nature) what's the problem? If you don't like that uncertainty or lack of definition, you know not to play a magical character or not to play at all.

Is it actually enjoyable to anyone to not get to play during portions of the game? Because that is what your asking. It often makes for a tense and interesting sorry. But it makes for a crummy game when you tell someone to sit there and do nothing while other people have fun, because if you had fun it will ruin everything for everyone and you'll have to be punished for it.

As I have mentioned before, most of the time, games that have these sorts of limitations shouldn't have classes like the wizard where the overwhelming majority of the thing they do is arbitrarily limited by narrative means. That isn't fun, thats obnoxious. In a story, a character sitting there and doing nothing because its someone else's turn, is just fine, the specialist gets to shine. In an rpg thats an actual person, spending hours of his actual life, watching other people have fun.

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Otherwhere wrote:

How do others allow access to higher level spells in their campaigns?

In my low-magic game (where Magic is drying up and arcane casters are rare), arcane casters do not automatically gain new spells when they level. (I am allowing the Sorcerer his bloodline spells, however. Mainly because the story pace has not supported taking time out to do research and study.)

I raised the DC by+5 in order to research new spells, and am requiring the 1kgold/spell lvl and the 1wk/spell lvl requirements before they can even attempt to see if they understand/learn it.

It's simply an attempt to implement mechanics to reflect the story environment - i.e., magic ain't easy. And the few practitioners who do exist opt to steal it from someone else rather than spend weeks of time and thousands of gold and still risk failure.

I guess that's where a large part of the challenge for the GM is in designing and running a low-magic campaign: how do I capture the flavor that made me want to write this? And is that challenge enjoyable enough for my players to want to play it?

Does the sorceror get anything back for the removal of his primary class features? Its fine to want to make magic hard. But you also left in a class that is effectively all magic. If you want to make it harder to attain new spells, thats fine, but for characters whose entire set of abilities is based on those spells, they need to be compensated. Otherwise you just gut the class, and leave a system in place that actively discourages people from wanting to participate in the story you are trying to present.

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gamer-printer wrote:
If you're going to curtail the abilities of a wizard or another class, this should be made known before a game even begins, so a player will know up front, before character creation, what specific limits are placed on a given class. He may opt to play something else, or not play at all, but the decision should be his and he should be provided with all such information to make such a choice.

This is all fine if the limits or curtailing is done within the mechanics of the game. If its narrative, its dramatically less predictable. Its also less real to the person making the choice. Its often a matter of perception or opinions. What is too much? What is 'noisy' in the belgariad, what causes 'ripples' in the force. Narrative limits on mechanical abilities cant be accurately described before the character choices are made because all the circumstances of those limits are not apparent until the moment they occur.

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Dreaming Warforged wrote:
PhelanArcetus wrote:

Plot is, generally, a bad way to restrict magic. If all magic is going to carry consequences, just keep it away from players.

At least, my experience is that having an ability that you're afraid to use is just frustrating; I'd rather not have the ability than stare at it and feel like I don't dare use it. Or it devolves into the player trying to figure out ways to protect against the consequences so that they can use the ability. This approach works much better in a narrative than in a game.

Within PF, I think the best options are to stick to the E6-E8 area, where spellcasters haven't pulled massively ahead (and other problems, like math breakdown, haven't started yet), and to selectively nerf or ban particularly problematic spells. Or to play a game wherein casters in general are banned (and not torture the players by throwing tons of casters at them).

I agree with you about restricted magic, but there perhaps many shades of gray to restriction, like in public, or others?

The shades of grey are generally just excuses. When you restrict a characters ability to use what amounts for the majority of the 'stuff' that they get as a character, you are basically asking them not to play.

That is a godaweful way to 'balance' set of abilities. If you want balance between magic and not magic, or to reign in the power of magic. Do that. But do it at the core of the game. Change what characters get.

I will repeat an example I give fairly frequently. I have 2 friends over to play video games, with 2 setups. I have a super nintendo, and an xboxone set up. I my two friends pick one and start playing. However, if the person playing the xbox one plays for more then 10 minutes an hour, i come in and punch him in the face, until he stops playing. That is a really crappy way of ensuring that both of my friends have similar amounts of fun.

Because the point here is to actually have fun. If the stuff a wizard can do is an issue, change what he can do, or replace wizards with a different class, or alter how spells work to limit their power/narrative influence. But done punish, either narratively, or mechanically a player for using the tools he is given. You can call it 'story' or 'setting' all you want. You are still being a jerk.

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One character is using his influence as a hero of a recent dragon attack to build a paramilitary police force to better protect the people of the city. He is also learning alchemy as he recently encountered a clan of kobolds with some seriously cool, enhanced alchemical items that my gm made up.

Another character drafted his fledgling kingdom's constitution, and goes about vigorously protecting it, effectively becoming the boogeyman of the ruling council.

Another character spends his non-combat time being intensly creepy, as he is literally the monster under the bed, that will steal away your children if you threaten his people or his companions.

If you mean in terms of rules, well the most obvious thing is skills, but lots of spells and class abilities also lend themselves to non combat situations.

I think part of the problem is you are looking at pfs, which while interesting, doesnt really offer the same opportunities for character development as a home game with consistent characters and wiggle room in how a session will progress. There are x things that MUST happen in Y amount of playing time. That leaves a lot less time for diversions and personal side projects. So really all character do is help overcome the plot in pfs. Which is often mostly killing things.

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Lord Mhoram wrote:

My working definition of Low Magic is a setting where magic can not do better at anything than a non-magic ability, and it isn't really "flashy".

A spells that does damage is low magic.
No flying is low magic.

In a lot of ways the Belgariad is like that, on the smaller scale. Wizard change weather and do huge fogs and such - but that is a grand scale (and the high magic involved).

In a fight the mages fight with sword and shield. Traveling - they use horses or wagons. If the do something else they shape-change, to regular animals. That is almost folklore level. They can do some mental influencing. Except when the Orb of Aldur is used, we don't have fireballs, invisible mages, flying.

That is the kind of thing I think of. The "personal level" of magic in the Belgariad.

Isnt the only reason the 'flashy' magic restrained in the belgariad because of plot contrivances and the need for 'stealth'? Magic was only limited by power and imagination, and it was the need to 'keep quiet' that caused them to do things like use swords or ride horses.

Edit: It seems to me that the only limits on what magic could do was your own understanding of the physics involved, and your lack of desire to make a lot of magical noise. When Belgarath or Polgara pulled out the stops it would be super hard to define that as low magic.

I think maybe this is another area to look at. Low magic setting vs low magic story.

The world of the belgariad has some very high levels of magic. But plot and world contrivances/consequences limit it's use to minimal or crucial effects. IE you can bring down that castle gate with magic, but every enemy mage in 200 miles will 'hear' you do it. You can conjure that thunderstorm and lightning strikes to emphasize your point, but you are going to kill thousands of people with weather disruptions in the process.

This is probably the most obnoxious way to go about creating a 'low magic' campaign. If you dont want mages using flashy magic powers, dont give them flashy magical powers. Dont say 'sure you can be a wizard' and then punish ever spell they cast.

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James Jacobs wrote:

(Frankly... I kinda wish that whole "this does not apply to touch attacks" line was removed entirely from Deadly Aim. It doesn't really make sense to me.)

Presumably its there for 2 reasons. One mundante touch weapons are not particularly precise. Can you imagine taking deadly aim with an alchemist fire? Even with a ray spell, its hard to imagine taking the kind of precise aim one does with an actual ranged weapon like a bow or crossbow.

The second reason is one of balance. Given the overwhelmingly low touch ac most things have by mid levels, the trade off of a penalty to attack is more or less meaningless as compared to things that target full ac.

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Arikiel wrote:
I'm not sure why people are even trying to do this. It's like trying to define beauty. You're never going to get a consensus. Just a lot of argument. It pretty much means whatever you personally want it to mean. It has less magic then X. That is all.

You dont need a consensus, you just need the ability to describe your preference. You might not be able to agree with everyone on who is beautiful, but the people you do think are beautiful you can(particularly with prompting) describe what you think about them is appealing. Eyes, cheek bones, ears, hair, skin, figure, lips, whatever, you can describe it by saying I like his/her x y and z.

In terms of a game, by enabling that description, you can not only better understand your own opinion, and make informed choices, you can better enable others to assess that preference and make an imformed choice as to how to approach that game.

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Dreaming Warforged wrote:

4. Avoiding the Magical Christmas Tree: This is not so far from 1. The fell of the world, but it has been repeatedly been stated as a thorn in the side of the game that you need to accumulate an inordinate amount of flat-bonus items that can rob the game of flavour. Not every DM or player feels that way, but those who do sometimes choose a Low Gear version of Low Magic where they remove most Big Six items. As some have stated, this needs to be fine-tuned carefully with other house rules, especially if the game goes beyond level 8.

For me this falls under #1, the feel of the world, but I guess it can be divided up a bit.

1.1How common magic is in the form of magical characters, such as spellcasters, and creatures with magical or supernatural abilities. This can drastically alter the feel of a setting. Compare say ebberron to game of thrones, its not just the plot or the characters that makes them different. Having mechanical men, weird creatures, and magic elemental powered trains is going to alter the tone of your setting. Wizards on every street corner is going to change what it means to be a wizard character, or to interact with one.

1.2 How common magic is in the form of magical items.
1.2.1. How potent those magical items are and how much they impact the setting. If everyone has a magic trinket, and every warrior worth his salt has a magic sword, then the perception in setting is going to be different. And in the default setting, things that by any normal examination would be priceless, are just trinkets. Think about what masterwork is supposed to represent. The best that normal hands can craft. A weapon so good it actually gives you a noticable advantage in battle. A mw blade is a hitori hanzo sword (from kill bill). But in pathfinder/dnd, its a throwaway you get at like level 1 or 2 to be replaced with a magic weapon that you'll replace again shortly thereafter.
The feel of magic within the party. Though this is linked to the feel of the setting, often the party is special or unique. The fellowship in the lord of the rings actually had a large amount of magic items relative to the rest of the world (even among elite warriors). So often they are expected to be more fantastic then the base assumptions for a setting. But even so, the magic item in every slot, and the constant rotation of items in and out of use because of minor upgrades can be offputting for some stories, or desired themes. So for instance combating the christmas tree effect doesn't HAVE to alter how magic items feel in your setting, it often can be a goal in and of itself.


5. Staying in the Sweet Spot: For some players and DMs, the game starts to grind down to accounting and loooong combat. These individuals wish the game to stay in lower levels, but do not necessarily wish for shorter campaigns, starting over and over at level 1. For them, a Low Power (Spells and Gear) version of Low Magic is preferable and they'll be naturally drawn to variants like E6.

This is basically #3. Curbing direct power. E6 certainly curbs power. It puts a cap on the numbers. It puts a cap on what spells are available. Staying in the 'sweet spot' basically means holding magical characters back after level 6 or so, by some fashion or another.


Does those sound like valid additional reasons to choose Low Magic, though they possibly lead to different versions of Low Magic (Gear vs Power)?

More on topic (though I agree that DMs need to look at the reasons behind their choice to align their decisions on categories and distinctions accordingly): have some of you built or chosen settings where the Creature category had been modified towards a lower level of magic (or fantasy?). For example, only humans and very few fantastic creatures (only mythical for example)?

Not really, i've played in such games, but never built one. Though with the new monster codex, and the npc codex, it might be less of a chore. I never liked that if you cut out most monsters, it meant building lots more npcs from scratch. Tools like the codex(es?) make that far more practical.

Edit: though i disagree that looking at goals is off topic. A principle tool in defining low magic is examinging why you are trying to acheive it in the first place. And by putting a sort of colored lense on the end result based on the intended goals, what becomes a very messy definition of 'low magic' becomes a lot more clear. A dms tastes and desires are vitally important to understanding what low magic means in their setting.

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Dreaming Warforged wrote:
PhelanArcetus wrote:

Now I've got two basic approaches I use for that. One is E6-E8, in one setting. The other is writing an entirely different game system that aims to avoid many of the issues that arise with magic.
Interesting... What are your thoughts on allowing only partial (1-6) casters?

Going only partial casters helps to a degree but it doesnt eliminate the problem, it just makes it smaller. The problem is mostly that magic is flat out better and more flexible, while requiring less investment then not-magic.

Partial casters have less magic, and more not-magic in the 'stuff' they get. But it doesnt make the disparity of individual instances of 'stuff' any different.

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being skilled (having lots of skill points, is the 'thing' some classes are good at. Or at least one of them. Nullifying that decreases the value of certain classes.

If you want low level characters to be more skilled I would just give out a few free skill based traits to each character based on their backstory.

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Otherwhere wrote:

Hate to sound too much like a noob, but are there official guides for "E6", "E7", etc.?

@Kolo: the Rogue Genius product for the Riven Mage sounds interesting. Can you send me info?

Nice work, everyone, on fleshing out details! These really help when designing new areas/encounters for my low-magic campaign.

Do you mean the product link? It can be found here riven mage. It has the basis for riven magic.

As for my homebrew rules, I dont want to post them just yet as I have a few things I am working on, but basically, all 6 level casters and the druids ditch their casting for something close to the riven mage's casting with the stat altered to what fits the class' existing casting. Some classes require specific tweaks for abilities that work with spells, but that is the gist of it.

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'Golarion Modified by Kolo's House Rules'


1.1 Spells

  • Level Demographics (Setting)Casting classes are fairly common, with core caster class npcs being present in most towns, and a larger variety in cities. The only difference is the classic 9 level casters other then the druid are exceedingly rare, and are effectively legendary heroes or villains.
    Most npcs are npcs classes, but important npcs are almost always pc classes.
  • Classes availableNone of the 9 level casters except the druid. All casting classes have mandatory archetypes to use riven magic (see bellow)
  • Character Level20
  • Caster Level20
  • Spell LevelThis is sort of complicated since my default setting doesn’t use vancian magic as presented in the core book. It instead uses an expanded version of the rogue genius games product the genius guide to the riven mage. Riven spells are basic effects that you put more or less energy into to create bigger or lesser effects. Example: Blast creates a blast of force, or of an energy type if you specialize, and the more energy (called flux) you put into it the bigger and more damaging the blast. There are only a handful of riven spells compared to the endless list of vancian spells. This drastically curbs narrative power of magic.
  • Specific SpellsRiven spells only, including a homebrew expansion to the list.
  • Healing AccessAny riven caster can heal, and I allow generous access to healing items
  • Resurrection Access: Possible through Scrolls which are sort of like rituals
  • Counter Magic AccessNot applicable to riven magic
  • Casting EaseNo difficulty casting riven magic, its actually easier to do then normal magic, but riven spells are considerably weaker then normal spells (sort of like half a spell really)
  • RitualsScrolls of vancian spells are available as rituals.

1.2 Gear (Magic Items)

  • Crafting ArtsOnly craft wand, brew potion and scribe scroll are a player option
  • Big Six AccessReplaced with homebrew rules to replace the bonuses with choices characters make as the level.
  • Magic Item AvailabilityExceedingly rare, characters will get at most a handful of items through their whole career, and they are only introduced where it makes sense in the story.
  • Magic Item UbiquityBasic magic items are more like artifacts in the core rules, rare, priceless, and impossible to recreate normally.
  • Magic Item PowerLow, but the power is replaced with homebrew rules to give the expected bonuses and some abilities.

1.3 Creatures

  • Fantastic CreaturesNormal?
  • Fantastic Races AvailabilityEberronish, I am happy to allow all sorts of crazy races so long as they are played in an interesting way.


2.1 Arcane and Divine MagicNo Real distinction

2.2 Players and Setting Mostly no distinction, except in the case of the very rare 9 level casters that can be npcs but arent a player option.

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thejeff wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:

It's easy to get lost in a LotR discussion, but it is nevertheless a somewhat relevant topic because many GM aim to use Low-Magic system to emulate LotR adventures.

Things is, even if the fellowship had access to magic, the setting falls apart when you allow all your characters to play spellcasters and assume the same level of spellcaster demographics that you would in a typical Pathfinder setting.

So "what to consider if I want to play in Middle Earth" is right in your alley.

I agree with others...lets not make this another "what level are LotR characters". Ultimately LotR wasn't created under Pathfinder constraints, and can't be expected to follow guidelines for magic use.

And it's not like it's the only low magic setting out there. I expect Game of Thrones/Song of Ice and Fire" and its descendents is the first thing nowadays that a lot of people think about when they hear "low magic"

No, because for some reason it's become very popular to bash LotR, even though SoI&F makes a better comparison for most of things people complain about LotR for gaming style - low magic, few race options, etc.

I think its a matter of familiarity. Everyone compares things to lotr becasue everyone (even those that hate it) know it. Game of thrones is also a solid comparison point at this point, but since it is so low magic, its really hard to make comparisons with the majority of pathfinder/dnd. Fighters, rogues, cavaliers, and maybe spelless rangers make up the overwhelming majority of characters. For better or worse, when you think wizard, gandalf comes to mind for a big chunk of people. That and harry potter, which also has issues in comparison to dnd/pathfinder for other reasons.

That sort of comparison of iconic characters, abilities and heroic moments is really important to a lot of conversations, and while there are lots of famous fantasy worlds out there, how many are universal even within the rpg gamer community? If I tell you I want to make magic work like it does in the dresden files in my pathfinder game, am I sure you know what I mean? (Answer: I'm not sure, and also that is totally a goal of mine).

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MagusJanus wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
Scythia wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:
LordDeath wrote:
Just inflicting pain on yourself proves nothing. If the illusion is elaborate enough, then feeling pain would be just another aspect of the mirage. No, so far no one has proved this reality.
In ordinary life, Ockham's razor is superior to proof anyhow.

All other things being equal, do I have a beard? I could consider the relative effort and likelihood of growing and maintaining a beard vs the effort required to keep facial hair from growing out. Instead, I can just say that people of my gender rarely have a beard, therefore it is likely I don't either. Thanks Ockham's Razor!

Ockham's Razor: You'll never find a faster, more probable shave. ©

It's not always superior to direct observation, but it's superior to proof.
I was engaged in debate with someone on another message board years ago, and I realised that talking with them was utterly pointless when they said, without irony, that empiricism had been disproved long ago. Then again, they were a self-professed pyrrhonist, so they didn't know anything anyway. :P

He's technically right, but that's because empiricism and relying on empirical evidence are not the same thing.

Empiricism is the theory that all, or most, knowledge is derived from sense-experience. And, for the most part, that has been disproved; most of human knowledge is passed on without sense-experience of what led to it being involved.

It isn't just that, though thats probably the biggest knock against empiricism. There is a larger problem.

Without appropriate context and understanding, reliance on empirical evidence can lead one to incorrect understanding.

The biggest example in my mind, is physics. With good sir Isaac. Newtonian physics literally got us to the moon. Even today, we still teach newtonian physics. But he is technically wrong, particularly in the case of gravity. Einstein showed us that. But reality of gravitational physics is so outside our understanding of the world around us, that we teach the (technically) incorrect newtonian physics until high level education. It still works even if it is technically incorrect.

Emprical evidence is limited by our ability to observe, and there are fundamental problems with our ability to observe that may not be overcome ever let alone soon. Enter mr Heisenberg. There are things we literally cannot observe. This is not a function of inadequate observational tools. We are simply unable. Its almost like we reached the end of the programming in the computer simulation that is our universe. Nope, nothing to see here, move along.

Seriously, think about it. Imagine if you were, for instance, blind and deaf. Now imagine no one communicated what things were to you. You had to figure it out on your own. How exactly would you learn the difference between a bench, a bench shaped rock, and a predatory animal that was shaped like a bench? How exactly would you know that the chair you are sitting on, is actually there permanently, instead of say, placed under you by some extra dimensional being every time you sat down as a giant lab experiment?

Empirical evidence is still the best we have in terms of figuring things out, but our greatest advancements have almost always been from imagination, not observation. How often does it take years if not decades to verify the work of the great scientists of history? (often). But its their imagination that creates the foundation for future experimentation, not observation of existing data. Because their imagination gave new context for observation, and they just so happened, to be right.

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I have in fact or at least a version of them. My Rules
Updated Distinctsions

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In terms of defining low magic. I think rather then defining the effect, one should define the intent.

What are you trying to achieve with low magic? In my mind there are 3 areas a gm is trying to adjust.

1. The feel of the world.
Many gms dont like the idea of magic marts, or players who light up like a christmas tree under detect magic etc. They also often envision a world that is more game of thrones or lord of the rings then it is dnd/pathfinder. This is by far the most common stated goal in 'low magic' games. But often, there is another motive or two. The biggest symptom of this is when a gm lists out what isn't an option under his campaign, without offering some way to make up for the listed lacks.

IE No magic marts, and magic items are rare, without an explanation of how the lost power, or lost customization (a archer fighter with a magic great axe hasn't gained very much) will be countered. This is a very big red flag to me when a gm is describing their game. As I mentioned, the stated goal is fine, and depends on taste, but if you just take, and dont give back as a gm, usually you are actually seeking one of the other two things.

2. Curtailing narrative power.
Magic means narrative power. This isn't about killing bad guys, the dumb fighter with the sharp bit of metal is plenty good at that. This is about altering the circumstances of the encounter, adventure, or campaign. Magic, both in item, and in straight spell/supernatural ability form has the ability to take some of the story telling out of the GM's hands and put it in the players hands. Sometimes this is small scale, IE, improving the party's situation in an encounter, such as giving the fighter flying to help deal with air bound enemies. Narrative power in this form doesn't directly help overcome the danger in an encounter, it just alters the circumstances.

Then there is the middle scale of narrative power. Altering the nature of an adventure. If you need to find a specific person, and the wizard successfully scry's him and in the process finds out where that person is, the nature of the adventure, which might have involved numerous encounters hunting for information, has now skiped damn near to the end. Enchanting the unhelpful noble, or any number of things and drastically mess with the story. Where as not magical means generally oppose and overcome challenges, magical things can alter the circumstances making the means by which the challenge is overcome partially or completely trivial.

Then there is the big scale narrative power. Easy example is lord of the rings, if elrond was a high level wizard, the lord of the rings takes 30 seconds. He had been to mount doom before. Grab the halfling, teleport, drop ring, teleport, yay, evil defeated.

Now as a gm all of these can often be managed to a degree. But it usually puts you in direct opposition with the player, and can create a negative environment. So it is often a goal of 'low magic' rules to simply take this sort of thing out of the equation entirely.

3. Curbing Direct power
In addition to magic helping alter the circumstances of challenges, it can also overcome them directly. Magic items make character more potent, certain spells can at certain levels, wreck some serious face in encounters. Cutting magic in all its forms can drastically scale back how powerful your characters are.

This is probably (in my mind) the least noble of the goals in 'low magic'. Not that wanting to reign in super munchkin players isn't sometimes neccessary, the issue is usually one of honesty. If you want a low powered game, you should say so, instead of hiding it under the guise of something else. Most players are willing to scale back things, without having to do something so drastic as gutting magic from a system that is utterly reliant on it. That isn't to say a low magic low powered game isn't fun, but people should know what they are getting into. If you just say low magic, and someone optimizes a low magic character, you havent achieved your goals anyway, and you again can get into an atagonistic gm vs player mentality.

No matter what your stated or actual goals are I think the most important thing to asses when doing 'low magic' is to know and understand what those goals are and how to best approach the issue.

For instance, I am working on a way to curtail the narrative power of magic in my game, but I recognize that if i simply removed all the narrative altering spells from the game, I'd be drastically hampering some of the fun parts of playing a spellcaster in pathfinder. So, I am redesigning magic, ground up, including altering classes, to be less narratively powerful, but still able to contribute to situations. I take, but I also give back, because if I just take out all the good spells, a wizard, for whom most of the 'stuff' they get is spells, is sort of left high and dry. And I dont want to punish a player for making a specific character choice, if I dont want that character choice, it wont be in the options, and I will give them different options instead.

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Dreaming Warforged wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:

Unless you are planning to run an existing adventure written specifically for Pathfinder, dependency on the Big 6 is a bit of a fallacy.

Big 6 are necessary to keep up with CR.

Big 6 are necessary to keep up with published adventures.

Big 6 are necessary to compare your character to "default Pathfinder".

I wonder to what extent these are absolutely true. And if they are, then what various steps need to be taken to alleviate this need and use published adventures (though in a different setting with different expectations)?

Saving throws seem like a big item IMO. Others?

Oh, and at what level would you say the Big 6 become absolutely necessary?

I've done a ton of work on this, its way more then just saving throws.

The math matters. Particularly when dealing with non-human/humanish opponents. Monsters dont generally use equipment, but their stats are scaled towards characters who have big six items.

Basically anything after 7th or 8th level will really start to feel the loss of AC, To hit, Saving throws, DCs of abilities etc. By 10th level, the same group of characters vs the same group of enemies but without big six items will really struggle, possibly outright fail depending on optimization levels. And its not a simple matter of scaling things up or down CR wise. AC for instance, basically stops going up. The heavy armored fighter might as well be naked after mid levels if he doesnt have magical items that enhance his ac (3 of the big six).

What I have done is effectively create a replacement system, where players just choose from these +Xs as they level up as is appropriate to level. This plus a system of adding a set of abilities to each character lets me replace the vast majority or the player's wealth in magic items. Leaving them an option as opposed to a necesity. PCs in my game can generally expect a couple magic items over their entire career, that they will keep with them the enitre time. They might for instance get a magic sword, but it will have a backstory, a name, and a specfic affect (Ignus the flaming blade of [insert legendary hero here]). No +x, that comes from the abilities they select from.

In this game, magic items (besides wands, potions and scrolls) cant be crafted by normal means and priceless artifacts. I also only include them where it makes sense for the story, and because the player has abilities to make up for their lack, it isnt a downgrade to their capability.

It goes a long way to make money a story choice, not a requirement, and to make magic items be more meaningful and integrated into the characters overall story. Gandalf didnt trade in glamdring for a +3 glamdring after helm's deep. I want that sort of effect with magic items in my game, without hampering the players unduly. There are some minor issues with overcoming dr, but generally, this can be overcome by actually carrying alternate material weapons since the fighter is just as good or very nearly as good with his main longsword, as he is with a cold iron longword or a silver longsword etc, because the +x is built into him and not the weapon.

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Malusiocus wrote:
A druid might be nice, but I don't know how my stats are looking for wild-shaping business stuff.

Let your companion fight, use wild shape for utility and mobility

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My advice? Dont play with a dm that punishes you for dying.

But in all seriousness, I would probably play a druid. Access to divine spells, if optimized and properly equiped the animal companion can be a capable front liner.

Second best might be a summoner. Cant heal everyone else (except possibly with umd) but you can heal the eidolon, who certainly can be a good front liner. And since I assume your desire for an int based caster is out of a need for knowledges, with the skilled evolution between you and your eidolon you can make a good show of covering the knowledges.

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Quemius wrote:

I am somewhat new to DMing, and am running a pre-written module inspired homebrew game. We play once a week.

It seems that if we are to start at 2:00pm, that we never really get going until about 2:45. Players arriving, getting their gear ready, talking, eating, someone always being late, etc. holds up the start to the session. As DM, it is frustrating, and I try to find a lull in the action to set the tone, and begin play.

How do you more experienced DMs let the players know that it's Go Time? And how do you ease from real life conversations into Pathfinder-mode?

EDIT: Note that the game is hosted at the home of one of the players.

Theres a couple aspects to this, and I think to one degree or another that every group deals with it somehow.

First and most importantly, organization. Do players show up on time? Is there an expectation that they do so? Even if there are no outside distractions, no one can just walk into a place, sit down and play. 15 minutes or for people to settle in, grab a drink from the fridge, pull out their character, dice, minis whatever is normal. So really if your goal is to start by say 2pm, you should ask that your players be there by 1:45.

In line with this, as dm or as host (if not the same person) you can and should set up as much as possible, ahead of time. Set out cups, drinks, snacks ahead of time. Nothing kills the mood like someone tearing open a bag of chips mid sentance. So if you can, get everything in bowls (or other easily accessible containers), and have them placed on or near the gaming table ahead of time.

Next, is a meal expected in your game? My group generally takes a midwayish break for food. We usually order somekind of takeout (my neighborhood has a great selection). If you DONT want this, you need to make sure your players know to eat lunch beforehand. Again this is a matter of organization, communication and buy in from players. Having a conversation about this stuff can help. But be willing to listen to opinions. Some people need the 'pizza break' as a moment to step back from deep roleplaying and recharge, so its worth considering what the group as a whole wants.

The next big thing is about socialization and expectations. Is your group an existing circle of friends? Are they becoming one? Do they see eachother regularly outside of the game? For many, gaming is also a primary social outlet. Its very normal for friends who havent seen eachother otherwise to want to talk a bit even if they are meeting for a purpose like gaming.

If all these things are the case, you arent going to have a luck cutting this out without being kind of a jerk. I generally just plan for it. Add in half an hour of bsing into the schedule, so if you want ot start by two, ask that everyone is there by 1:15ish. I often do some last minute prep work (like organizing notes, pulling out miniatures from my collection or what have you) during this time, something that doesn't require a huge amount of attention, because after all, I too with to joke around with my friends a bit.

When I want to signal an end to the general non-game revalry, I generally do it by loudly announcing something along the lines of 'ok so about that pathfinder thing we are doing', or something similar.

I have found it very rare that a homegame will ever just sit down and play, the things you describe are just basically human. Its usually better to just plan for it, and be organized to limit/mitigate it.

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Rerednaw wrote:

Anyone tried playing on open maps?

Some adjustments would be made for area bursts, cones and so forth, but now they can be truly shaped. Just measure from point of origin in a radius for a burst, with a 90 degree angle for a cone and such.

Determining cover and flanking can be from measuring the miniature to miniature.

And no more odd counting on diagonal movement or determining threatening squares. If the measurement shows you within range, you're within range.

What issues/pitfalls does this create?

Cheers and happy holidays!

I did free form movement for 2 campaigns in my group. We were avid wargammers so we used 1inch=5ft and just did free form movement and set up terrain for encounters and such. It adds a lot of freedom, and can add some dynamics to encounters (physical 3d terrain can make for a more immersive experience with the right mind set), and theres no artificial limitations on what direction you can move. Just break out the tape measure and move. Even curved movement was a simple matter of arcing the tape (commonly done in a lot of wargames).

Pitfalls, well for one, it takes longer. Not a lot longer. A few seconds if you are comfortable with it. But over a couple rounds with a dozen or more participants in the encounter (especially for dms) those few seconds can really add up.

Setup time can also be longer if you want to make use of 3d or wargaming terrain. Edge cases of movement (vertical movement, moving over obstacles etc) can also become a bit tricky, particularly early on. So really the biggest downside is it can take longer.

Also, it makes the game even more tactically focused. Which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but it makes theater of the mind people even more unhappy then just using a grid.

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Tassel wrote:

Good morning:

I am directing a game with a swashbuckler and i have many doubts. Does the swashbuckler´s precise damage works as the rogue´s or other precise damages? Does it need flanking? or being denied dexterity? It is not said in the class, but I don´t really know if there is a need or not. Moreover the swashbuckler has many other deeds that allow him to do different things, but a lot of them also state that if the target is immune to precise damage is also immune to these deeds. All this deeds could be done without flanking? And can this deeds be made if the enemy has concealment? As I know concealment makes the rogue unable to sneak attack, am i right?.

Many thanks and I hope you can understand my English.

Precision damage is a class of damage. Leaving out the concealment discussion, the only thing that the swashbuckler needs is what is stated in the ability. Only specific creatures immune to precision damage prevent this. That fact is stated in the creature type description. Specifically, oozes and elementals have this statement in the creature type description "Does not take additional damage from precision-based attacks, such as sneak attack." If a creature has that in their description or creature type description, the swashbucklers ability doesnt work, otherwise, it works.

Concealment as mentioned is contentious. But flanking and being denied dex have nothing to do with the swashbuckler.

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Pendagast wrote:

All the guys with the guns are funny.

How many of you are actually good with a gun? I mean really good with one in combat.
You're talking about the one thing, that's both an extremely limited resource and the thing jut about anyone who saw it would be trying to kill you to steal.

Not as limited as you think if you choose the right weapon (lighter ammunition), and also, I've seen alot time on the firing range, when I used to do airsofting in my college days we had a relationship with the local army base, and lots of combat and survival simulations using reasonably close simulations of the weapons I plan to use. So I am reasonably confident I can use it effectively, at least as confident as I can be about anything in a fantasy world, hard to know for sure how i'd react to a dragon or a band of orcs until I do.

As for people trying to steal it, most people would have no idea what it is, and probably be awed by it as opposed to see to take it. At least initially.


IF we are talking about actual medieval lands/times and not fantasy, modern humans are much larger and stronger than our past ancestors. the typical high school jock would make viking barbarians look like sidekicks. So I wouldn't worry too much about combat dominance.

You are thinking specifically mideval europe, a literal dark age. Other points in history, humans were not nealy so small, or weak. It has to do with physical activity and nutrition. Good sources of calcium any other essential viatmins means big strong people. And honestly, I'd not put my money on the jock in a hand to hand fight with a viking warrior. Size doenst equal strength. The kind of muscles a lifetime of combat builds is very different then the kind built on a football feild or in a gym.


Healthwise the majority of modern humans have been inoculated, traveling back in time we would be nearly immune to most of their diseases.

Um...what? Are you serious? Get on a plane, go to india, take a big drink of water from a faucet. People are immune to the germs in their own environment. Travel to a new location, no immunity. Diseases are different from region to region in THIS world. What makes your current immunities would have any bearing at all on what you would find in literally another world.


The thing we would have to worry about most would be sepsis. so anti septics would be of paramount importance.
Lack of Clean water/dysentary also a big issue for us (locals would be accustomed to it)

Completely agreed clean water is probably the single more important thing you will need.

Most modern people can't start a fire to save their lives, so fire cheating supplies would be important (* i personally have never successfully started a fire with sticks and string, but I have seen it…I think I fell asleep for a while with how long it took)

I've done it, but its way easier with soem dry leaves and a flint rock (or other source of a spark). That I can do relatively easily.


Water proof gloves and boots and a good cloak or overcoat would be extremely important and valuable.

Also completely agreed, particularly boots. Wet feet is a near death sentance in a long term survival situation, and thats in warm weather.

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Dexion1619 wrote:

I'll go against the grain and suggest a S&W 627 .357. Considering what you might be running into, I want better penetration than a .40.

Lots of people suggesting some really high draw bows (80-100 lbs), and I have to wonder if they have ever tried to shoot something with that high of a draw weight. Even with a Compound Bow, that's a hell of a draw. I have been doing archery for 25 years and I shoot a 65# compound (and only a 50# recurve). If you can get shots off quickly with that high of a draw, more power to you lol.

Ive done a fair bit of archery training, and I am comfortable with a heavy draw (I am a fairly big guy mind you, particularly in the shoulders). I am not overly quick with it, but theres a reason I brought guns too.

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ngc7293 wrote:

Well, I can't go. I have Epilepsy.

But is everyone playing Twilight 2000? You're going to a fantasy world you can't come back and yet you want to bring guns ammo and medicine which will all run out.

Having a limited supply of something is better then having none. It would also make for a very good means of trade in a pinch.

As for guns and ammunition, with proper gear, you would be surprised on how much ammunition you can carry. And in all likelyhood it wont take a large amount of it to end any specific conflict, its not useful to fight a war, but it would be useful in dangerous situations that need to be ended quickly. If history is any sort of guage, people who havent seen guns before react very strongly to guns putting down combatants at range seemingly in a flash. In my plan I am bringing just 9mm rounds, the rest of my gear (based on experience) comes to around 70lbs (including weapons), if my max load in my alice pack is around 130lbs, that leaves me with 60lbs of ammunition, which is around 3500 rounds(30rounds is close to half a pound at around 8 grams each).

That will change alot of situations in my favor.


The bow is a good idea.
Learn to make arrows, so you can hunt for your food.
Learn to trap for food (Bear Grillz, Survivorman)
Learn what kinds of plants might have healing properties

Except this is a fantasy world, there is no guarantee plants will have the same properties or would even be recognizable at all.

Though I agree on the bow thing, hence the compound bow and fletchers kit in my list.


computers are bad (batteries)

Notice I am bringing a solar powered charger, so it will be a long time before the batter goes bad, particularly on a low charge use item like an e-reader.


Watch every episode of every survivor show you can find before you go unless you are military or the like.

Certainly both these things help. But again, most of those people would always be glad of any potential tool to have handy, even if its a limited resource, it might still save your life, or give you an advantage.

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First off, there are 2 routes to making an optimized animal companion. One is the pouncer. Big cats or the dino, thats the only time multiple attack animal companions is really worth it.

The other is the single big hit animal companion. Especially if you can get your hands on some means to give it strong jaw, (normally a druid or ranger spell). High strength and one big attack (like the exaple of the anklyosaurus).

Either way you need to pick animals with a good strength to be good combatants. The ones that have high dex are more or less not going to be good combatants long term (particularly since that goes down when they grow).

Also remember the animal companion is meant to have gear. Most druids will give some of their wealth to their companion. The single best option is to give them armor proficiency and give them barding. It can very easily send their AC through the roof, allowing you to focus on their offence. Amulets of mighty fist are helpful. As are strength items.

The other thing to keep in mind is what the player stats are. If you compare an animal against the default 15 point buy, its stats can often be quite good. If you have 25 point buy or a generous rolling method, it isnt going to be as good.

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Assuming I am limited to my real life skills and abilities, and assuming I expect physics to still work on the other side

1. My alice pack, with it i can pretty comfortably hump about 130lbs of gear over miles, Max load would probably be around 160-180lbs i think, never really went over around 120lbs.
2. Camel Pack, portable uv water sterilization system, and portable filtration system.
3. A leatherman and a survival knife
4. One man tent
5. Bedroll
6. Cold Weather clothing/boots
7. Warm Weather Clothing/boots
8. Hatchet
9. Solar Powered charger
10. Heavy duty tablet loaded with as many reference texts as I can fit on there
11. First Aid kit stocked with antibiotics
12. Binoculars
13. Entrenching tool
14. A couple weeks of MREs
15. One of those self charging flashlights
16. Modern Fire starter (flint and steel basically)
17. good pair of gloves
18. Hammer, wood saw, hacksaw, wood plane, chile, hand drill
19. 2000 zip ties
20. Large supply of vitamins and nutritional supplements
21. camp stove, pot, cup/bowl combo.

Now the fun stuff
1. Dragon Skin Body Armor and kevlar helmet.
2. MP5 sub machine gun 10 magazines
3. Glock 19 handgun with detatchable suppressor and 6 magazines
4. As much 9mm ammunition as i can carry.
5. Compound bow with 100lb draw and quiver full of arrows
6. fletching kit
7. hand pumped air gun and tranquilizer darts to fit it along with a spare resevoir of strong tranquilizers

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Throne wrote:
LazarX wrote:
137ben wrote:

Anyone who plays Pathfinder is using third party rules. Those who claim otherwise are deluding themselves.

By what leap of logic are you making that statement? If you're using a Paizo product to play a Paizo game, then by definition, you are using first party products.


Is it that hard to see?
I mean, I don't agree with it, but he's pretty obviously espousing the view that Pathfinder is just 3rd party 3.5.

Its not just that its 3rd party 3.5. Its that its the same people. The same company. The same process. Did james jacobs magically become a better developer, writer, editer etc when paizo switched from publishing adventures in dungeon magazine and publishing under the pathfinder brand? Do you gain game design super powers when you put a stamp on something and call it 'your game'? In 2007 James Jacobs wrote 3rd party products for Dungeons and Dragons 3.5. In 2009 he was writing 1st party products for pathfinder. Both were while working for paizo, under the same leadership, in the same building, maybe even on the same computer/desk (speculation on my part) Is the simple fact that he put the pathfinder logo on the cover instead of the ogl logo of 3.5 the driving force behind the quality of his work? Where did the magical 3rd party to first party switch happen?

Is the stuff that Owen Stevens writes in his capacity as head of the module line somehow vastly superior to what he writes in his capacity as head of his 3rd party company Rogue Genius games? What about the freelance work he and many others have done for paizo on paizo products before he begame a permanent paizo staffer?

The hard line in the sand some people draw is absurd. There was no knighting ceremony by the game design lords of creation for Lisa when she greenlit the idea of creating pfrpg. She and the rest of paizo's staff are the same people they were when they were publishing dungeon and dragon, and when they published those first few aps under the 3.5 ogl, and when they released pathfinder and council of thieves, and now when they are publishing pathfinder as an industry leader.

Paizo was 3rd party then, they are '1st party' now. It doesn't alter the quality of their work, or the nature of the creative team themselves. So where is the difference? If Kobold press released a Kobold RPG system revolving around the primary races of the game being kobolds and goblinoids using the open gaming liscences of pathfinder, will that magically transform them into a different company? Assuming you started to play KRPG, would you consider their products any differently then you do now other then the fact that they would specifically suite your kobold themed adventure?

Does it make any sense at all to asses those products differently then say if you were running a kingdom building game, whether or not you wanted to use ultimate rulership or ultimate battle by legendary games?

The divide of 3rd party vs 1st party made sense in the WOTC era where they did everything in house and churned out more material then you could possibly use. With paizo, that divide is barely there anymore if it is at all.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

Okay, so sorry to give preemptive information, but...upon showing her the description of Erastil and his church in page 66 of Rivers Run Red (or rather, copying and pasting a lot of it, but you get the point), she pretty much dumped him.

His misogyny is pretty much way too much for her, and it'd be too hard roleplaying someone who worships a guy she personally would wholeheartedly disagree with (at least on the get-in-the-kitchen-and-make-me-a-sammich-in-between-popping-out-chillun department).

I'll let you know when we get a new choice.

Many groups sort of rewrite the whole get in the kitchen part, even paizo seems to want to diminish it. So I would talk to her about changing it, family, hearth, hunting etc is a good kind of deity for kingmaker. Just need to remove the blatant mysogeny. You are after all the DM, you are welcome to just do that.

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Anzyr wrote:
Dabbler wrote:
Arachnofiend wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:

A balance tweak? Wouldn't one of those be accomplished by rewriting and rereleasing the Core Rulebook? This isn't an MMO where the developers can magically erase and replace the text in the Core Rulebook as a part of patching the system. That takes a new edition.


A new edition is more extreme than what Paizo wants to do and a total rewrite of the core rulebook is simply out of the question. The screaming and hollering people would do if that $50 they spent five years ago were to be obsoleted isn't worth the effort, so instead Paizo releases new books with content designed to patch old content (the Qinggong Monk being the most obvious example).

Indeed, and Paizo want an effectively static core in order to maintain backward compatibility for all the adventures. Remember, the adventure sales are what it's all about for Paizo and I don't have a problem with that.

That said, I'm still desperate for a monk that can actually do what monks are meant to do. The brawler was just salt rubbed in the monk's wounds as far as I can tell.

It's 3rd party, but Meditant Psychic Warrior is everything I ever wanted in a martial artist type character. The language that makes Flurry of Strikes count as Flurry of Blows in particular is a lifesaver.

Another option is the rogue genius games product, the talented monk. By being able to pick and choose things within all the options available with the monk and it's archetypes, you can actually make a pretty effective monk in the classic (core rulebook) style, without having to bang your head against all of it's issues (unless you want to ofcourse).

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If you define power creep as any option being better then any other option that does something roughly similar. Then certainly there is power creep. But thats sort of an insane standard unless the game was perfect to begin with.

Certain concepts (mostly those that lack magic) were relatively weak in the core rules. What can be created now, and what can be created then has become more even when considering all concepts, instead of limiting your comparison to just one.

For instance, the poor always maligned rogue. Core rules, very limited, sort of dull, and often are very difficult to make work the way you expect them to. Now, you can make a character that works alot like that, rather easily. Just pick one of the classes that does it well. None of them are better then a core rulebook druid though. To me, that means its not power creep, its power balance. More concepts are closer to equal then they used to be. To me this is a univeral good thing so long as the very top of the heap stays about the same.

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DrDeth wrote:

I do want to point out that Jails or Prisons for common criminals was not a medieval thing. Whipping, hands cut off, branding, banishment, work service or large fines were.

Prisons are expensive.

They werent the most common punishment, but they definately existed. Granted being a prisoner generally meant a short life as a slave, gladiator or via starvation, but jails certainly existed. In say roman times usually they were of the 'hard labor' variety as prison camps near mines, or mills or what have you. But that doesnt mean they werent used.

In medival europe they were less frequent but that was because government was less central. Local lords had their own dungeons and their own justice.

While the modern concept of 'rehabilitation' didnt exist, imprisonment as labor, or forced indentured servitude did. And it generally revolved around some location where the prisoners could be securely held when they were not working. Or they were sold as slaves. Either way, you were still conceptually imprisoned.

Any good kingdom in kingmaker is going to likely scoff at such ideas, but then again good kingdoms never existed in the real world, making it hard to judge.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

It seems to me that Erastil would be in favor of working off your debt to society in the form of community service. Justice in a method that actually benefits the people, no?

I pretty much told her, based upon what I read so far, that killing guilty surrendering bandits won't make her fall, but neither will giving them another suitable punishment, such as the aforementioned community service. Letting them go free with a simple "go and harm no one else", however, is a no-no.

(Also, I don't know why, but I picture Erastil as what would happen if Hank Hill attained divinity. I am probably going to whisper "that boy ain't right" in my best impression when she detects evil.)

The problem with community service is how does one enforce that until the group establishes themselves? Otherwise I think erastil would be in favor of that, but again, consider the traditions of the riverlands. They have extremely harsh punishments for oath breakers in this region by tradition and custom. That would factor in for a servant of Erastil.

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So a few responses in context of the character being a paladin of erastil.

thegreenteagamer wrote:
....I figured it would be a good idea to point out to her ahead of time that I believe killing those who surrender who have not actually attacked you, regardless of racial stereotype, is justification for falling.

Depending on the laws the group eventually sets up, you should be cautious here. A paladin of Erastil would be respectful of both the law and tradition.

Tradition of the River Kingdoms:

"While many inhabitants of the surrounding kingdoms think of the people of the River Kingdoms as back stabbing curs they are wrong as one of the codes of the River Freedoms is that oathbreaker must die (usually in a very painful manner), as a result most people from the River Kingdoms would die before they broke their word but are also very cautious about giving their word in the first place."

The law, it will depend on what is established, but currently banditry carries the death penalty. A legal execution or respect for the traditional code of ethics probably should not be fall worthy for a paladin of erastil.


What else do you think is pretty basic Paladin code stuff?

Not lying, cheating, or using poison are pretty much spelled out for me and don't seem open to interpretation (I will totally be okay with pulling a Carrot Ironfounderson and not actually lying while sending across a message contrary to the obvious in the form of a bluff).

I would be a little cautious here. Does this mean that your paladin is simply not allowed to decieve someone? That could be a major problem in a certain part of the end of book one of Kingmaker no? I think lying for personal gain, is an issue. Decieving someone to achieve a good on the other hand, probably not an issue, particularly when trying to 'go under cover' or something similar. I dont think you should endevor to exclude the player from those types of encounters, which potentially could come several times in kingmaker.


"Helping those in need" and "punishing those who harm or threaten innocents" seems to interpretation.

I think bob's post covers this one rather well.


I don't think she should have to refuse payment for good deeds, but is it wrong to ask for payment even though you're willing to help them even if they can't pay?

Thematically that might be nice, but again remember this is pathfinder, and money is power. I dont think you need to deliberately handicap the player in terms of wealth in order to keep in theme. She might want instead to insist on practical rewards (weapons and other equipment) or to make a point to spend reward money on such things, as a paladin of erastil would 'live simply' so lavish homes and clothing would be out of style, but a very fine bow, armor and other tools would be completely appropriate.


The PCs charter states that unrepentant banditry is punishable by the sword or the rope...but what about repentant, or supposedly repentant? Is it okay if she lets them live? I'm guessing yes, as long as they get some kind of punishment. More importantly, is it okay if she doesn't let them live, considering a. they were bandits, b. she's the legal authority in the area according to the charter and c. they're pretty much guilty.

I think that becomes very tricky until at the least the group has built a jail. What is a suitable lesser punishment? Remember the traditional punishment would certainly be death in the area regardless of punishment, and until a jail is built there is pretty much only execution or let them go free. There arent other choices. Once the kingdom establishes its self encourage them to actually write laws (it makes a huge difference in roleplay interactions like these), but mostly, this should be a character choice, but not one that results in a breach of the code.

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I treat 3rd party material pretty much the way I treat paizo material, not in the core rulebook, its on a case by case basis. I want to engage in a conversation with my players so I know what they are taking and why. As others have mentioned, its really hard to know EVERYTHING, so having players come to me for a soft approval helps me narrow that down to just what they are actually saying.

That said, stuff from rogue genious games almost always gets a quick approval, as does dreamscarred and kobold press. Others, I review a bit more carefully, mostly because I am less familiar with them, and I trust those companies. To be honest, in many cases they have been better about restraining my or my groups inner munchkin then paizo has. Then again most of the big 3pps write for paizo, so its weird to make the distinction in material based soley on the logo on the cover of the book.

The whole 'official' rules only is sort of rediculous. Paizo itself was a 3rd party company just a few years ago. Heck the main person for rogue genius Games Owen Stephens is now leading Paizo's module department (while still running Rogue Genius). Is he somehow magically better at his job when he has his paizo hat on?

That isnt to say some 3pp stuff isnt problematic, even in the more prominent publishers, but so is some paizo stuff. So I take everything case by case. Hopefully to help allow my players to make a character that fits their vision, both thematically and mechanically. And often the easiest and best way to do that is actually 3rd party material, since they are more willing to delve into 'out there' concepts, then paizo is.

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One thing to note is that sighted creatures even with good hearing are often still reliant on sight. How often have you heard a noise, looked up, saw nothing, then ignored it. Invisibility having an impact on sound based stealth checks is not completely rediculous. If a creature COULD see an invisible stealther, the bonus probably should still apply.

That said, RAW is really messy. One thing to point out is that all perception checks take a penalty based on distance, and circumstance.

A sentry on the other side of a door is at a -5 penalty (through a door), and an additional -1 for every 10ft away the opponent is. Is there a wall in the way? -10 per foot thick the wall is. These mods are often forgotten, but if you are going to nitpick about stealth and invisibility, you really should be accounting for this also.

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simon hacker wrote:

Nope nothing wrong our group we just imrove a lot, they dont tend to like to be railroaded and like to do thier own thing occationaly. If you GM in or group you need to know this and be perpared for the unexpected We are all the same in our group, fixed encounters work fine when they are there but sometimes we have mnore fun when the unexpected happens, thats all.

Not everyones play style is the same, Every group plays differently. BTW this s only happened since we started a sandbox, I have just found it to be immense fun to run, if it was not working I would have gone back to running as is. Sometmes you just need to try these things out.

Not railroading and planning are not mutually exclusive. I too dont like railroading, and am ok with pcs finding their own route for things. And I am a proponent for improvising situations that I didnt expect to happen because the party did something I didnt expect.

None of that has anything to do with random charts. There is no in game difference between a dm deciding the next random encounter will be an owl bear, and rolling for the next encounter to be an owl bear. The wacky hijinks are identical. The only difference is one is a choice by a dm trying to make a fun game, the other is probability. Choice, should give you a series of interesting encounters. Probability gives you the chance for a series of interesting encounters, or the same encounter 5 times in a row, or no encounter 20 times in a row, or 2 interesting encounters and 1 stupid encounter, or 5 nights of bad weather, roll your survival you cant fail again because reasons, or the 8th friggan time we are fighting a chimera on this same there like a hatchery near by or something? Chance is just that, chance.

The gm PICKING encounters off that random list is almost certainly going to result in a better session then rolling a die. And by picking, he can actually look up ahead of time what sort of things he needs to know, like spells, special abilities, or where he might find stats for the 5 gnoll pirates that are on that random ship parked in the harbor.

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simon hacker wrote:


If random encounters are more fun then the ones you actually plan, you arent good at making encounters.

LOL that would be Paizo then as Im runinng Skull and Shackles...

so that would suggest that as my players are trying to get me to do...make my own adventures which is where I struggle. Oh wellmaybe I should give it a go If I can find the time :)

And if your party is having more fun with the encounters on that random chart then the set peices presented in detail in the adventure, something, somewhere is wrong.

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Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

Oh Kolo.

I know you're right.

But with some sandbox games you get to a point where the GM is "playing" the game too. We're all waiting to see what happens! Random weather, random encounters, these can distinctly enhance the feeling of a living, breathing world.

In my Kingmaker game I love how procedural everything is. I don't really prepare (except the planned hexes) and the best stories we've experienced so far all came off the tables.

It is not for everyone. I daresay only very experienced GMs need apply. But if you're willing to take them on their own terms, there's more to encounter/weather tables than legacy assumptions.

It's a thing, unto itself. You really ought to try it some time. A GM with sufficiently honed improvisation skills can deal with whatever comes down the pipe, and often with better results than whatever was "planned".

I know its buried in some vitriol, but I do agree that random charts have a place in a true sandbox like kingmaker. It would be a tremendous amount of work to plan every encounter in every hex of those maps. I get that. But most adventures arent sandboxes, and the vast majority of overland travel isnt part of a sandbox. Its getting from one story point to another.

And for every 'random' moment that provides a really fun encounter, you get a dozen...nothing happens... in a row, or the 5th friggan chimera to turn up on this road. And really, would it somehow be different if the dm simply picked an item from the list? My problem isnt the encounters themselves, its the reliance on dice. If you want to have a list of 10 things that might happen as you move through hill hexes in the nomen heights...go for it. But what is gained by letting chance pick what happens?

Certainly some gms have great improvisational skills, and those can make for some really awesome moments, but those good gms will still be good gms doing awesome things without random charts. Average gms (you know, most of them) on the other hand, are pretty terrible at this, and most 'random' charts are not as well crafted as the ones in kingmaker. If they are not very carefully considered they can be just as jaring and immersion breaking as they can be a tool in world building. And deliberate choice is almost universally better there. Even kingmaker had some at first problematic, and then comically trivial encounters as the adventure proceded. Charts dont follow story progress, they dont know you've gone up 6 levels and are just going back to a region you didnt check out before and thus literally mock to death the band of 3 trolls or the owl bear as 9th level adventurers. They also dont know that you are actually 3rd level adventurers that went one hex too far going into the next books random encounter chart facing an unapproachably difficult encounter that your party may or may not have the knowledge to know they cant handle.

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Weightlifting, particularly with the best of human ability is as much about skill as it is raw ability. Pathfinder doesn't emulate this well becasue why on earth would there be rules for it in a fantasy adventure game? Weightlifter would probably be like an archetype of expert and probably added a skill 'weightlifting' to the skill list (maybe just proffession weightlifter). Then feats and equipement would modify it.

Its not just raw strength. The game isn't meant to model it, and it really shouldn't. It models things likely to be associated with adventurers going on adventures. Even when lifting things, adventures generally dont hike a specially designed weight above their heads, leave it there for a second or two and then drop it. Hence, its not part of the lifting/carrying rules, which are meant for long term lifting and carrying of things, which adventures might very well do.

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I am not sure what 'appropriately' time consuming is. I generally am trying to tell a story, its only very specific kinds of stories where overland travel is actually an important part of it. Otherwise, there really isn't a point. It wont drain resources for story relavent encounters (assuming a night's rest separates overland travel and whatever events happen at the destination), it doesn't enhance the story. It literally serves no purpose unless you have a desire to track resources, and make survival checks for a few hours of your group's lives and fight pointless battles that ultimately mean little besides their xp (if you even still use xp, I dont).

First and foremost, if I could destroy every random encounter 'chart' in existence and wipe them from everyone's minds, I would. Its just a dumb idea. If you want there to be encounters on the trip, plan encounters. They can be 'random' monsters that you pick from what might be in the area, but there really isnt any reason at all to make it a die roll. I cant tell you how many times a rediculous (either irrationally difficult or just plain ludicrous like a surprise dragon that pops out of no where) encounter has turned up in games and the defense has been 'Its what I rolled'. Thats bs. You are the dm. You choose to include the chart and what's on it. You are no more absolved of responsibility then if you specifically placed that encounter. So place it.

Own your choices. If you want there to be bad weather, say its day 5, bad weather happens, figure out how to get your wagon out of the mud. Day 9 bandits attack. Why leave development of your world or potentially your story to friggan chance? And trust me I know there are those that LOVE their random encounter charts. I guess, if you have a true sandbox game it makes sense, you cant plan for a sandbox. But if your party is going on a planned route, thats not a sandbox, set fire to your bs chart and actually plan the session. Heck, take the charts other people make and just pick things to happen. Chance is not always even handed. Sometimes you do in fact roll 90+ or 10 or less several times in a row.

And I completely disagree that a random encounter can produce more interesting results then a planned encounter. They are the same thing, its just one you roll to choose from a list, the other you choose. You can even look at the charts and pick something that seems interesting. You can plan non combat encounters just as easily as you can roll for them (more easily actually because you can be prepared for it) If random encounters are more fun then the ones you actually plan, you arent good at making encounters.

All that said. Why does overland travel have to be hard or at all important? I mean in something like jade regent where you are leading a caravan, sure, its relavent. But if you are more then like 5th level adventurers, rigors of the road are literally trivial, food is plentiful with magic or just good skills, and anything that challenges you would literally stop all travel of normal people, and all but prevent travel entirely. Most people dont have high level pc body guards to get them around. So if you are traveling within civilized lands, overland travel IS pointless and easy. You are traveling with a super hero, a walking miracle, someone who bends space and time, and james bond. Walking or riding a few hundred miles is not an important task.

There really isnt a reason to delay actually getting to the story so that overland travel isnt 'too easy'. Spiderman comics dont highlight how he swings from brooklyn to times square, they focus on what happens in his home, and what happens at times square. Who the heck cares how many swings it took him to get there, or how he almost slipped landing on the brooklyn bridge. And how dumb would it be if he DID slip on the brooklyn bridge, broke his arm, missing the fight with the green goblin in times square...yea thats a good story. Good thing getting across the east river wasn't 'too easy'.

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Cuuniyevo wrote:

Sooooo… My brother's starting a new campaign, and I get to be one of the 4 players (yay!). One player says they want to build a melee char, one wants to build a ranged char, and one wants to build a Skald, so I figure I'll make an Oracle that can do some healing. Everything's great so far. We decide on 4d6—drop the lowest and start rolling stats… The melee player gets 16, 12, 12, 12, 11, 9, no problem. The Skald gets 16, 14, 14, 13, 12, 10, no problem. The ranged player gets 14, 13, 13, 12, 11, 11. Then I roll 16, 16, 16, 15, 13 and my last set of rolls is a 1-2-3-4. To make it interesting, I decide to drop the 4 instead of the 1, and put the resulting 6 in Constitution. Our backstories are going great, and it seems everyone likes the idea of me being a glass cannon destined for great things, if I can only survive to see the day (6hp at the moment).

Here's the issue: I'm worried that with these stats, if I'm not careful I'll become too powerful, and even though everyone's on board at the moment, the other players may be annoyed if I hog the limelight too much. On the other hand, I don't want to be a burden. So far, I'm a Halfling Oracle of Time, working with the idea of multi-classing like so: 1 level of Cleric, 1 level of Feral Hunter, 1 level of Sacred Fist Warpriest, then back to Oracle full-time. The character should have a lot of versatility without stepping on anyone's toes. The Feral Hunter level is for Druid spells and the variable Animal Focus I'll be able to apply to myself. The Sacred Fist Warpriest is for the AC bonus, Flurry of Blows (for hot slinging action), and Blessings. I'll basically always have 1st Level spells and abilities available, but the excessive multi-classing will mean I have much less power in the long run.

Is this a good idea, or am I going about this all wrong? Thanks. =]

Um that is a ton of multiclassing for relatively little benefit. I can understand not wanting to over emphasise your really good stats, but since no single number is particularly high (your best equals their best), the best way not to overshadow people is to do ONE thing. Your advantage is how good your spread of scores is. If you do something that is single ability depenedant (like a focused caster) then your stats besides your casting stat become less important. The scald and melee character will both have equal primary stats (whatever they choose).

ANd you realize that the multiclassing you are doing is going to be extremely counter productive right? You are looking at 5th level before you get +1 bab....all of those give 0 bab at 1st level. Flurrying with a sling isnt particularly meaningful if you cant hit anything. Also unless this game is going to stop at like 6th level, multiclassing into hunter for 1st level druid spells and an animal focus bonus isnt worth it. They wont scale. And by 8th level those 1st level spells dont mean very much.

At most i'd recommend multiclassing with just one of those, maybe the sacred fist warpriest. Other then that go oracle. Focus on your spells and occasionally sling some stones. You arent going to come close to overshadowing anyone, assuming ofcourse your 6 con doesnt get you killed in like one session. Seriously, maybe drop the 2 instead of the 4? A 8 con still can be rollplayed as a frail sickly child. You dont need to put it in the physical disability range.

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It was presented formaly in dungeonscape towards the end, but unfortunately with the edition ending so shortly after, it sort of got lost, and that isnt open content, so it seems paizo hasn't decided to persue the idea. Though Maybe if we ever get an ultimate adventurer it will be in there somewhere.

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In general i dont like traps that are not part of an encounter. I think its a mindless hit point tax/busy work for the rogues, and in general slows down the game. Obviously some places it makes sense, vaults, secret doors, anywhere a kobold is, but the prevalence of them in pathfinder/dnd really just reflects a desire for gms to have the 'gotcha' moment on their players. It literally does nothing besides provide that in their current incarnation.

My preference is for traps as encounters, were overcoming/detecting the trap provides an advantage (or lack of disadvantage) in the encounter as opposed to simply being 2 die roll encounters. Something like a mechanism that will drop a gate splitting the party when they are to be attacked from both sides. Dealing with the trap would allow the party to better coordinate/escape, but the trap itself is only a part of the encounter, the environment and the enemies are also part.

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voska66 wrote:
I ran King Maker with 3 players with high than normal stats. It worked just find. With 3 classes you can cover things pretty even better now with Ultimate classes. I'd avoid Gestalt as it get over powered, did that with Council of Thieves with the same group. It ended up being lot more work for me as the GM to modify encounters.

I think gestalts power level entirely depends on what player's do with it. If they double down on a certain set of abilities, yes it creates higher powered characters, but if they do the intended thing and diversify, it doenst really do that. I've played gestalt games with both 2 and 3 player parties and they've run just fine with published aps. But in these cases the players made sure there wasnt a huge amount of stacking of abilities, and instead focused on versitility.

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