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Lizardfolk

Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,708 posts (7,791 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 Pathfinder Society characters. 12 aliases.


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Mulet wrote:
DO NOT ALOW MONSTER RACES. ...

Uhmm... Yeah... No... In fact... HELL NO!

One of my favorite characters of all time was Thrikreen druid that couldn't talk to hardly anyone. Anytime he was found in true form he was almost always attacked or run out of town. Or the group had to bring me into town in chains and pretend I was a captive. I had a blast with it.

I would never deny that kind of fun to my group.

I would try to figure out a way to allow almost anything the players want.

I just need to figure out how to judge the nasty side effects of whatever they pick and make sure they are not going to overshadow everyone else at the table.


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MeanMutton wrote:
mardaddy wrote:


This is the first time the DM has run this world ala-Pathfinder. The first few times he had us doing skill checks he was incredulous at some of the bonuses I had at that level, and arbitrarily adjusted the DC numbers up just to compensate for my bonuses.

I absolutely HATE when GMs do this. Why bother being good at anything?

The issue is that GM's are also supposed to make things a challenge. How do I (as GM) challenge the guy who jacked up his diplomacy to the point where he breezes through all the social encounters? Even when he rolls a one and casually insults the king?

I will admit, I'm not always sure how to handle things like that. What I have tried to do is find a medium ground. Increase the DC's somewhat to the point where success is not a forgone conclusion but he will still be doing much better than average.

I also try to make sure I am following the rules. I don't just give Matteson a +20 to sense motive. I say well to myself, if Mattson is going to be the kings agent; he should have skill focus in diplomacy and sense motive, decent stats, maybe a couple of traits toward those skills, and the king might even find it worth while to give him a minor magic item that grants a +x to the ability.

That will still be worse total than a focused PC, but it will probably be in the same ballpark.


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I don't think a class composition is really all that meaningful anymore. you can build the 4 classic PC's and still have terrible party balance. you can build 4 bards and have great party balance.

What is more important is do you have the basic capabilities covered or a plan to get around needing them? If the answer is yes, you have a capable group. If the answer is no, you will probably have a difficulties coping.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Avatar-1 wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
The PFS forums seem to disagree at least the last time I asked about it. How long have these new changes been in?

You're right - it's a very common misconception.

I only know of this because I asked about it in this thread and I've been following the rules for running as written closely when I used to enforce them heavily and then realised many of the guys running PFS advocate "follow the rules, but keep it fun", vs the common mentality of "100% run as written or else you're doing it wrong".

I'd have to look up when the chapters changed that section. I think it was in between seasons 3 and 4.

I will check the thread. I don't want to add any houserules to PFS because I think its not fair and not what PFS is for. However, if the bad guy knows that the PC's will invalidate his written tactic such them all being able to see invisible creatures then it would make no sense to cast invisibility. Things like that are the types of things that have stopped me from GM'ing a PFS game. Thanks for the link.

Well you really can’t use any house rules*, can’t add/subtract/modify opponents, and change rewards in PFS.

But one of the biggest beefs I’ve heard from people is running the tactics as written unless the PC’s actions invalidate them.

As an example: Not too long after I started playing PFS, there was a scenario that said the bad guys would use an area of effect spell on the doorway as soon as he hears or sees the PC’s.
Except what happened is the PC’s were all invisible and under a silence spell. So the first he saw/heard them was when they had surrounded him and were beating the crap out of him.
The GM said well it doesn’t make sense, but the AoE spell on the doorway is still possible therefore it is valid. So he had the caster send an AoE on the doorway. It didn’t touch a single PC. "I have to run the tactics as given."

There have been a few less extreme, but similar examples of the opposition doing something really stupid because it was written and still possible.

The problem is, that is not what ‘invalidate’ means. If a tactic is weak or not optimal, that fits within the definition of invalidate. many people do not seem to know that. So while it was certainly possible to center the spell on the door, it was a very weak tactic. Thus invalidated and the GM would have been right to have the caster do something smarter.

* Note: No house rules are allowed. But if you don’t know what the particular rule actually means (and no one you trust to ask) then take your best guess. But if I’m really not sure, I almost always side with the player. Then I go online and ask in the rules forum for the next time it comes up.


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Petty Alchemy wrote:

...

I see it a different way. The player has selected their weapon, it's Diplomacy. They've selected their goal, to get help (as opposed to getting improving their attitude, so it's a basic attack rather than a trip). Asking how they attempt to get help is more like asking if they swing the weapon overhand or from the side. The character, with a high diplomacy check, should realize what the best approach is (or at least identify several of the best ones, which you could inform the player of).
If the player is being general in the type of help he wants, he's probably unsure of what the best way the NPC can aid them is.
Usually NPCs that do agree to help will volunteer the options themselves. They're not going to be cryptic about it (unless the check isn't good enough for their aid, or their best aid).
"I could tell my people you're on the way, they'll make sure no one bothers you." or "I want to see your mission succeed, I can spare these holy waters for you."

I can see your point, but I disagree. Diplomacy is too huge. It covers way to many possibilities.

Using a diplomacy check to cover everything is (to me) closer to saying. I'm going to get in a fight and I roll a single BaB check to decide the result.

Also, I would say things like knowledge nobility, knowledge local, or sense motive would be better for letting you know which type of approach to take. Diplomacy would let you do a good job of flirting with the countess. It is not going to tell you that she is a fundamentalist and absolutely committed to her spouse and will be highly offended.
People are usually cryptic about what is needed to get them to agree with what you want them to do.

But if the only skill the PC had was diplomacy, I would probably give it a chance to work. Especially if used as a separate gather information check about the intended target.

Also, it can easily have much longer term results.
Example: You use diplomacy to convince the merchant prince to stand up to the blackmailers.

1) If you convince him that you can make sure the secrets are kept, but then the whole kingdom knows about the affair... Well, you have probably made a powerful enemy.

2) If you convince him that it is his duty no matter the results. He won't be too surprised when the affair becomes public knowledge. He will probably just have to be stoic and ride out the scandal.

3) If you bribe him with enough money to leave and set himself up all over again in a new country. He may not care about the scandal and you might have a powerful ally in a new land.

Also, depending upon the NPC, one of those approaches might not work.

If the guy is a venal money grubber that has been having a rough time financially the last couple years, option 3) might be very easy to convince him to agree. But he wouldn't care about his duty to the city for option 2) to succeed no matter how eloquent your argument.


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Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

...

I'll venture a guess that you've never even seen a game with a good non-combat interaction system. Not a system, a GOOD system, one that players enjoyed using.

I've never seen one. I won't say it isn't possible to have a good one, just that I haven't seen it. And most of the ones I've seen proposed have not looked like much of an improvement.

Anonymous Visitor 163 576 wrote:

...

I can play the part of someone stronger, or faster than myself.

Wouldn't it be nice if I could also pretend to be someone more charismatic than myself?

Or, what if a player who wasn't good at roleplaying wanted to learn? Can't we have something better than "figure it out, buddy?"
...

Absolutely agree!

But I actually get a lot of details when someone is fighting someone else. Full attack, charge attack, earth breaker, crossbow, trip, disarm, vital strike, sneak attack, mounted charge, spellcombat with shocking grasp, etc…

But on social interactions (from some players) I get nothing except:

I got 29 on diplomacy.
What are you trying to do?
Use diplomacy for help.
Are you flirting, bribing with 1000 pps, convincing of the logic in helping you, appeal to sense of duty, or asking for a favor?
I’m using diplomacy for help.

Does the player need to know the proper grip on a scorpion whip? No. But he should be able to tell me what weapon he is using and if it is full attack for damage or a trip attempt.

Does the player need to be the consummate politician? No. But he should be able to tell me the general type of approach he is taking.

Now I don’t require it, but I will say that the more detail a player can provide helps everyone’s enjoyment and immersion. So if you can actually handle the conversation of an appeal to the baron’s sense of duty, please do so. It makes everything better for everyone.


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Haladir wrote:

I've played PFS exactly three times (all with pregens) and really had a lousy time each time. And in the third game, I decided to walk away from the table after two hours.

It wasn't so much the PFS system, it was the PFS players/GMs that I've played with that really soured me on organized play. I just did not have any fun playing with them. If those are the kinds of gamers who go to PFS (at least in my area), then I'll stick with home games.

I've been playing in / running home games exclusively ever since.

I can understand that and I'm sorry to hear you had such a bad time of it. I will just say I've experienced more lousy home games than lousy PFS games. When I moved and was trying to find a new group... {{shudder}} There are some real wacko's out there.

I have met a very small number of unpleasant people in PFS (only 2), but I just don't sit at the table with them anymore. So far they have never sat at the table when I was a PFS GM. I don't think they like me either. I don't consider it a loss.

If you are willing to give it another try, you might consider a different location or PFS PbP online.


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I can agree with a lot of what Jiggy said. I will add a bit more.

For me one of the primary purposes of gaming is social. I am a bit of an introvert. If I didn't have F2F gaming it could easily become much worse. I mostly don't mind sitting at home reading a book, watching some TV, and playing on the computer. But it isn't really healthy for mind or body.
F2F RPG's are a way to force myself out into the world. Home group does that some. PFS does that even more. It gets me out talking to and interacting with complete strangers.

Every so often someone in the home group changes job schedule or moves. About half of the new additions to our group have been people I play PFS with. Someone that I have realized over the last several months that I get along with how they behave and play the game. So I invite them to the home game.

PFS lets me experience how others play the game. Quite a few of my ideas for PC's, NPC's, tactics, and situations have come from things I saw while at PFS. (Also some things I clearly want to avoid.) For example: At a con I saw three guys that had invested in a few teamwork feats, absolutely kicking the crap out of some of the difficult scenarios. Now my home group is willing to give them a bit more serious consideration.

Also PFS is more casual and relaxing. As a PFS GM I don't have to modify a bunch of things to specifically fit the particular PC's. I prep what is written and that is it. Takes much less of my limited personal hobby time.
As a player, I have some half dozen PC's at various levels ready. I show up at an open table and we go. Very little work involved. they are generally less difficult so I don't usually get all that worked up over if I'm going to die or at least fail the mission. And even if I do, it doesn't bother me as much as it does at the home game.
There I have been working with the same PC for over a year toward a long term goal. That bothers me (probably more than it should sometimes) when I fail.

Also the portability aspect that Jiggy mentioned is one of the really best things about it. I'm stuck on a business trip in Detroit for a week, guess what I have something to do in the evenings.


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Murdock Mudeater wrote:

...

-Considers role playing characters to be derailing the group sessions. This isn't just the DM, many of the players have this attitude.
...

This could be very dependent on your definition of role playing the characters.

I have been with some groups that tried to role play everything to ridiculous extremes. One group spent 45 minutes to go through paying the bridge toll. There was nothing special about it. It was just a few copper pieces per person on foot. They were not trying to get away with not paying.
But they went through the conversations they had while standing in line, introducing themselves to the officer, flirting with the person behind them in line, arguing with each other over who's turn to pay the toll, detailed motions they were using to hide where their money was kept, etc... It was ponderous.
In another group a person decided his bard would always speak in rhyme. So we had to keep waiting on him while he would try to think of a way to rhyme what he wanted to say.
Another guy wanted to make up, on the spot, a Tolken-esque ode to each and every fallen comrade.
Trying to speak with bad accents, yoda-like syntax, or other forms of method acting is not fun for me. I do consider it to get in the way.

On the other hand, I do enjoy what I personally consider to be the essentials of role play. My characters have attitudes and personalities. They some times do things differently because of that.

The rest of the group had to ditch my undead hunter so they could make a truce with some vampires that I wanted to blast. Then they paid some very high level clerics to all geas me at the same time (to make sure I'd fail the save vs one of them) to abide by the terms of the truce. I eventually found a way around the geas and started a new undead re-killing jihad. We're winning by the way.
But most of the time he is a treasured member of the team and puts his fellows welfare above his own. He only gets difficult when someone tries to stop him from destroying undead.

I have a Nagaji that complains about the smelly mammals surrounding him. He also points out their mistakes and the reasons why a clever reptile would not have done that.
But a little of that stuff goes a long way. It usually happens while the GM is otherwise occupied. Like updating the map or checking on a spell he doesn't remember.


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People being inconsiderate of others time and effort.

"Per your request, I've made that rumor into a serious quest."
"Oh, we decided a while ago not to bother with it."

People that show up 15-30 minutes late then spend the next 30-45 minutes getting their character ready. Keep interrupting your intro for questions about leveling up, how much exp they got last time, and what magic items were found last time.
"That's ok, we don't mind, you can just run over to make up the time we've lost."
"Uhmm... No. My wife and I have to get up for work at 5am tomorrow. Time for you guys to leave."
"Well that sucks. We didn't get very much done!"

People that don't bother calling when they aren't going to make it.
Yes, emergencies happen, but usually you know at least a little bit ahead that you won't be there. Please leave a message or send a text.


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Dire Elf wrote:

...

Having to cancel a game because one player out of a group of six won't be able to make it. ...

If we do play with someone missing: Pretending that the absent player's PC has just conveniently gone to look after the horses. Why can't we let him have some actions, at least during combat? ...

Some players really hate to let anyone else run their character. I personally don't care.

When I'm GM I usually give the player the option.

If you leave me your character sheet, we'll have it follow along and take part. It won't have any game changing genius inspirations, but can take normal actions. Which also means it has some risk of being attacked.

Otherwise, because of your dysentery you were left back at camp to care for the horses.


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Te'Shen wrote:
** spoiler omitted **...

Never said it was a good build. It wasn't too horrible compared with some of the others, but no powerhouse.

However he always hammered on everyone else for anything not simple, unless they had a really amazing backstory to logically and sensibly cover it. It couldn't just be some wierd set of facts. You pretty had to right a fairly legit story. And clear it all with him ahead of time. Which you would almost never get the all clear form him before game times, so no. Something normal.

Then he went about 12 miles on beyond what he would have thrown a fit about anyone else doing to him.
.
.

Aranna wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:

I once had a GM who never liked non-standard races and classes. He often banned them. Or modified them until no one wanted to play them.

Then when he was player, he showed up with a half-drow, half-construct, samuri, psion kineticist. {Zero warning or discussion with the new GM.)

Then got mad at all of us when we couldn't stop laughing at him.

It is frequently true that the things we hate the most in others are the things we would do ourselves if given the chance. I mean there are notable exceptions but nine times out of ten if someone is hating on whatever, "power gamers" to pull a random example, then that is probably what they are when they are sitting in the other seat.

Probably true. But that is the kind of hypocrisy that really tends to tick me off. Even if I had wanted to do something like that I would not of because it would have looked so bad. I would have at least run a short any wierd builds mini-campaign first, just so it wouldn't be so hypocritical.

He really didn't see anything wrong with it. He actually said something close to "I'm almost always the DM so it's ok if I do it."


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I once had a GM who never liked non-standard races and classes. He often banned them. Or modified them until no one wanted to play them.

Then when he was player, he showed up with a half-drow, half-construct, samuri, psion kineticist. {Zero warning or discussion with the new GM.)

Then got mad at all of us when we couldn't stop laughing at him.


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Professional Calvinball wrote:

I get kind of annoyed when everyone plays "rare" races, unless the game calls for it in some way. Like, the party that is supposed to try to fit in consists of a sylph, ifrit, tengu, and strix that just happened to all meet up. I guess this is more for APs and modules, as it's always odd that the small town of Sandpoint suddenly has a bunch of native outsiders and mistrusted humanoids just kinda...wandering around.

I don't want to sound like I'm saying it's badwrongfun, but I see it too often used as a roleplaying crutch. "My character has the personality of bland cardboard, but he's half-vampire! That makes him interesting!" It can make him interesting, but it doesn't automatically make him so.

That used to bother me more than it does now. I have to admit, that over the years I have grown tired of and rarely choose human, half-elf, or half-orc as the race for my PC. I’ve just done it so many times that I am usually not captured by the possibilities.

However, I will still always try to have an interesting personality, unusual style of play, and weird goals. And I fully expect that Joe-Normal will not instantly like and trust me. In fact I would expect most of them to run screaming from my nagaji or immediately assume my wayang is the criminal. Not a problem. I am well aware that is part of playing the race.

I know a guy that always wants to play a drow. But then gets upset with the GM whenever anyone doesn’t trust him, has any kind of negative reaction to him, or is suspicious of him because he is drow. “Dude, you’re a Drow. The race that only gets its powers from worshiping foul demons.”
“Yeah, but Drizz’t…”
That bugs me.


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thegreenteagamer wrote:

Players with B.O.

...

I've really only encountered this a couple of times in the last decade. Back in the 80's when I started gaming, it seemed like more people had the problem then not. I couldn't even stand to go into the game store in the summer.

Luckily this situation seems to be improving. Maybe in a few more decades the kids will think it is an urban myth.


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shekaka wrote:
Dr. Deth, quick question, what do you mean each paladin should have a Phylactery? Not sure how that would be useful/reasonable/logical…probably being dense here ,but please enlighten me…sorry to derail ya'll

I believe he means this:

Phylactery of Faithfulness:

Aura faint divination; CL 1st

Slot headband; Price 1,000 gp; Weight —

Description

This item is a tiny box containing religious scripture. The box is affixed to a leather cord and tied around the forehead, worn so that the box sits upon the wearer's brow. There is no mundane way to determine what function this religious item performs until it is worn. The wearer of a phylactery of faithfulness is aware of any action or item that could adversely affect his alignment and his standing with his deity, including magical effects. He acquires this information prior to performing such an action or becoming associated with such an item if he takes a moment to contemplate the act.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, detect chaos, detect evil, detect good, detect law; Cost 500 gp

It gives the GM the opportunity to say, "Hey jerk-face the button on your shirt is pulsing red hot. Almost like it is trying to tell you something."


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Vincent Takeda wrote:
There's more square footage of gaming table than I have square footage of bed to sleep on. Could your dice maybe land on the table? I feel like I should install rails like in bumper bowling.

I know a guy that absolutely has to shake his dice for a good 10-15 seconds. Then he always throws them up so at least 1/3 of the time the bounce off the table.

The more important the action the longer he shakes them and the higher he throws them.


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I think it is great that you are doing this with your family.

Lune wrote:

...

I can't speak for everyone but I can tell you that Hmm, myself and several others are parents of children that we game with. Sometimes I know it is helpful to get advice from people who have been where you are at now.

It has been a long time. But about 15 years ago I got all 3 of my kids interested in 3.0 DnD. It helped their basic match and reading ability tremendously. They were slightly older than your kids, but not much.

our family's RPG story:

Well, I’m not real good at the esoteric things. But I do have examples of learning concrete real world skills.

Some years back, both of my boys were having trouble in school. Though they are both reasonably intelligent, they were at the bottom of their respective classes in reading, spelling, and mathematics. One has an actual learning disability that makes reading very difficult and slow. The other just really didn’t try. I think because he was reading as well as his older brother who obviously wasn’t getting in trouble for it.
I got them interested in Magic The Gathering card game (including a computer version that let them play against the AI all they wanted). Well, to play that game you have to read and understand the card then add and subtract all those numbers. Then decide what will well work together in a deck.
In one game there is more reading and basic math than in any 2 school lessons that we would have to fight all night to get them to complete. Yes, eventually they would get the cards memorized. But that is also a good skill. Didn’t bother me at all. Every so often I’d get them a new booster back that they would have to understand then figure out how to incorporate in their decks.
After a couple months when they had that well in hand. I introduced them to DnD 3.0 books I still had lying around (I wasn’t in a gaming group at that time). They loved it. There’s tons more crap to read, understand, consider, add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc… than in any card game.
“Dad, my ranger’s got a bunch of gold but not enough for a better bow. What can he buy to be better at shooting and stuff? Well, maybe look at a wand of a ranger spell that will help like Cat’s Grace. They can really use that? What’s that do? How much does it cost? I don’t remember exactly off the top of my head, go look it up in the players handbook.”
(Of course I did remember, but I wanted him to check it.) Sure I had to help him with a bunch of words and some math, but for the next couple of hours he worked over the ranger spell list, what the spells did, how it might help him, and how much it cost. Found he couldn’t afford what he wanted. I suggested a partially charged wand might be found and more affordable. Then more time was spent figuring how much he could afford and if he wanted to spend all that.
It was quite literally almost an entire evening of general studying for his 3 most difficult classes. He didn’t realize it and loved every minute of it.
A couple months later their teachers asked us what we had done with the boys. In less than a semester they had gone from the very bottom of the class (with my wife and I pulling out our hair in frustration) to the top fourth of the class. I said “I got them interested in a fun game that has a heavy dictionary’s worth of rules.” They were shocked. They were afraid my wife and I had them in some sort of facist style boot camp studying all night every night. I answered, “Nope they got themselves studying all night every night and they don’t even know it.”

Their vocabulary is a bit skewed shall we say. But all through college they had instructors that would be surprised at some of the words they knew and used correctly in normal conversation. Adults don't expect a 4th grader to use words and phrase like pantheon, exclusion, area of affect, rebuke, dimension, non-combatant, ragnarok, etc... Especially not to use them correctly.
They were quicker and more accurate on their basic math than a math major. You know the same math you use to figure out whether this can of peanut butter on sale is a better buy than the two-pack.
At an age were most of their class mates were reading comic books they started reading the hobbit. Because I said it was written kinda like a long DnD adventure. Then we got in a big hours long discussion of how it wasn't really like a DnD adventure because X. Sounds to me like a comparative literary evaluation of a several hundred page novel when their class mates were doing 1/2 page book reports on a 50 page kids book.

It is one of my parenting decision that I am most proud of. And I almost didn’t do it because I was initially afraid if they really liked MtG, they would do that instead of studying. I finally agreed to it as a reward for something I don't now remember. Probably for passing a spelling test or something like that.


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Players the argue and fight about some other player's character.

Example: I was GM and we had a paladin in the party. The paladin had to make a hard decision about who to support and protect.* The player and I had worked out a pretty detailed interpretation of the code for that PC. The decision he made was well within that. It wasn't what I would have done. But hey, not my PC. there was no perfect decision.

* No I was not being a jerk and intentionally putting the paladin in a bad spot. He managed to shoehorn himself into that bad spot with a little help from the rest of the party.

The other 4 players then got into an ongoing heated argument about how a paladin must/can't/should/never/etc... I repeatedly said that I was ok with the decision let's move on. They completely ignored us. After a while, the player of the paladin and I went into the other room and watched most of an episode of Big Bang Theory before they even realized we had left. Then they got mad at us for leaving and disrupting the game.

Days like that are why I am ever so close to banning paladins from my games.

But there have been other less extreme examples of players telling other players how to play. "You're a necromancer, you have to be creepy and sickening to others."


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First things first. Welcome to the hobby! I hope you have fun.

Personally, I would go for something in between what you started with and what Blakmane suggested. I think you should have (and it is perfectly possible with a fighter) some out of combat utility.

But before I even start on builds I ask 4 questions. You can't be good at everything, so...
1) What primary thing do you mainly want to be best at in combat? (Examples might be: Hitting things really hard with an earthbreaker. Or Being a wall of steel that my allies can hide behind.)
2) What secondary thing do you want to be pretty good at in combat when the primary thing doesn't work or isn't needed? (Examples: Shooting things with a bow. Or Grappling opponents.)
3) What primary thing do you mainly want to be good at out of combat? (Ex: Using sense motive to tell when someone is lying. Or tracking our enemies.)
4) What secondary thing do you want to be decent at out of combat when the primary thing doesn't work or isn't needed? (Examples: Knowing all the weakness of monsters. Or being lookout to keep us from being surprised.)

Fighter can easily have 2 things they are good at in combat and at least 1 thing they are decent at out of combat. Possible, but more difficult to have 2nd thing they are good at out of combat.

They don't have a lot of skill points, but most players do not like to be totally helpless out of combat. There are a few scenarios where combat can be entirely avoided. There are quite a few that don't necessarily have lots of combat.

A few general pointers. Do not neglect defenses especially will and fortitude saves. It isn't bad the first couple levels. But later on poisons and charm or suggestion type spells become much more common. As a fighter, you should be fine vs. poison. But it really sucks if the super optimized death machine fails a save vs confusion and starts taking out his allies before they can help him.
So I don't recommend new players ever dump constitution or wisdom. And if will saves are poor for your class (as they are for fighter) seriously consider Iron Will and maybe even Improved Iron Will. Fighters especially have so many feats they can usually work it in.

The most important skill in the game is perception. Both for not being surprised and finding things. Most PC's keep max ranks in perception. Even if it is not a class skill and you have a low wisdom, this one is worthwhile.

The second most important skill is diplomacy. You usually only really need one character in a group to have it. But the random nature of the tables means you may not have a sorc or bard with a high charisma and diplomacy ranks.

Next is the knowledge skills that can give you information about an opponent. You usually only really need one character in a group to have them. But the random nature of the tables means you may not have a wiz or inquisitor with a high intelligence and knowledge ranks.

If I assume your answers to the questions were something like:
1) Hitting with falchion (more critical hits).
2) Bashing through the line to get at the casters in back.
3) Lookout.
4) Catching lies.

Race: Half-Elf
Str 18 (16+2)
Dex 12
Con 14
Int 12
Wis 14
Cha 7
Traits: Suspicious (+1 to and class skill for sense motive) and Eyes of the City (+1 to and class skill for perception)
Half Elf free feat: Skill Focus Perception or Sense Motive

Skills:
Keep perception and sense motive at maximum ranks then spread the rest among your other class skills.

Feats:
1: power attack
2: weapon focus (falchion)
3: improved overrun (or improved bull rush)
4: furious focus
5: iron will

* Improved initiative and toughness are also good choices.
* Don't worry too much about your equipment right at first. The low level missions are usually easy and your strength and hitpoints are good enough to carry you through. I've seen fighters start with leather armor, a great club, and a sling. That way they have cash for vials of holy water, alchemist fire, potion of enlarge person, etc... Plus you are likely to quickly get usable gear after the first or second encounter.
* Try to keep some ready cash on hand so that if the mission briefing mentions undead or catacombs you can purchase a few vials of holy water (or whatever seems appropriate for that mission).
* Always keep a potion of Cure X wounds on your person. That way if you go unconscious someone can pour it down your throat to save you.
* With your first 2 prestige points buy a wand of cure light wounds. No you can't activate it yourself right now, but you can hand it to someone else at the table who can. "Please use this on me when I get hurt." It is both smart and polite to provide for your own healing.
* With your second 2 prestige points buy masterwork composite long bow at your strength rating. No you are not an archer, but you have a high BaB and sometimes the badguys are not within arms reach. So you can still give a meaningful contribution to a ranged fight.
* Multi-classing with cleric actually works pretty well with this build. A 1 single level of cleric will give you a few spells for buffing yourself, a bit of healing, some domain powers, and the ability to activate cleric list wands or scrolls.

You might want to look at THIS old thread on some simple CRB only builds for beginners to PFS.

Note: If you have different answers to the 4 questions, let us know and we can give you help in that direction.

Liberty's Edge

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I'm not an organizer for our area, but I have noticed a few things.

The time of year is just busy for a lot of people. But I think this year is a bit lower game count than the 2 preceding years.

Some bad miscommunications about the season 6 tech. But I haven't seen as much as I would have expected based on what I read on the boards.

A few people have complained about having nothing left to play. But most seem willing to sit at a table for no credit just to take part in a game and have fun. (I know I am.)

But the biggest problem I see in our area is few people willing to GM. I know I get quite irritated at some of the guys complaining about the lack of tables or the quality of the GM's, when they have never taken a turn on the other side of the screen.

No, I don't enjoy GM'ing quite as much as being a player. But it isn't that bad. I try to take my turn when my schedule allows me to have something prep'd and know I will have time to get on the schedule. Yes, that also means I've run most of the ones I have prep'd multiple times without getting GM credit. So what?
I know of at least a couple people that have quit because they felt like they could never be a player since they were the only ones willing to GM.

We do have a couple of GM's in our area that are frankly not very good. But if you don't like it, try doing something about it and run some yourself rather than just b$%!&ing behind their backs.
I am well aware I'm not the perfect GM. I don't know every rule and spell in all bajillion books. The comments I overhear from some of these guys has nearly got me to quit PFS a couple of times. So far the compliments and appreciation from others have managed to counteract the insults. But at least I'm trying (and I like to think slowly improving).

I would really like to see more people willing to take a turn in our area.


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thejeff wrote:
Talk to the players. Find out why they're doing this. Trying to deal with it in game without understanding what the players are thinking isn't going to work.

Agreed. However, there can still be an issue. My group continually says they want a sandbox campaign since that is what 'everyone' wants. But they are horrible at it and have no fun when they are in one. They dither around, make no progress at anything, get bored, start bickering, then PvP usually ensues. They actually enjoy a fairly railroad-ish plot that has quite a few options.

First, drop the terms sandbox and railroad. Don't let them use the terms either. Everyone seems to have a different idea of what the terms mean. Plus the community has established a false positive feeling for sandbox and a false negative feeling for railroad that really have no correlation with whichever definition is being used.

Second, ask them, "What do you want to do? No don't use an ill defined generic term. What specifically do you want the campaign to provide?"

Many players I know merely want choices. Not complete openness.


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One of my biggest peeves is players that do something extreme with their build then get upset at the consequences for the build they choose.

I have no problem if you want a sorc with a con of 8. It is a challenge I have considered trying myself. But don't complain at the rest of us when you keep getting knocked unconscious if you get in risky situations.

I have no problem if you devote all resources to hitting as hard as possible with lucern hammer. But why are you surprised when you continually fail and get beat up trying to grapple?

Ok, so you made a drow noble yaun-ti initiate. Yes, you have all these amazing spooky powers. No, you will probably not be able to convince the church of Sarenrae to trust your promises. Again. After you failed to keep you word the first 2 times. Sheesh!


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Well, I’m not real good at the esoteric things. But I do have examples of learning concrete real world skills.

Some years back, both of my boys were having trouble in school. Though they are both reasonably intelligent, they were at the bottom of their respective classes in reading, spelling, and mathematics. One has an actual learning disability that makes reading very difficult and slow. The other just really didn’t try. I think because he was reading as well as his older brother who obviously wasn’t getting in trouble for it.
I got them interested in Magic The Gathering card game (including a computer version that let them play against the AI all they wanted). Well, to play that game you have to read and understand the card then add and subtract all those numbers. Then decide what will well work together in a deck.
In one game there is more reading and basic math than in any 2 school lessons that we would have to fight all night to get them to complete. Yes, eventually they would get the cards memorized. But that is also a good skill. Didn’t bother me at all. Every so often I’d get them a new booster back that they would have to understand then figure out how to incorporate in their decks.
After a couple months when they had that well in hand. I introduced them to DnD 3.0 books I still had lying around (I wasn’t in a gaming group at that time). They loved it. There’s tons more crap to read, understand, consider, add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc… than in any card game.
“Dad, my ranger’s got a bunch of gold but not enough for a better bow. What can he buy to be better at shooting and stuff? Well, maybe look at a wand of a ranger spell that will help like Cat’s Grace. They can really use that? What’s that do? How much does it cost? I don’t remember exactly off the top of my head, go look it up in the players handbook.”
(Of course I did remember, but I wanted him to check it.) Sure I had to help him with a bunch of words and some math, but for the next couple of hours he worked over the ranger spell list, what the spells did, how it might help him, and how much it cost. Found he couldn’t afford what he wanted. I suggested a partially charged wand might be found and more affordable. Then more time was spent figuring how much he could afford and if he wanted to spend all that.
It was quite literally almost an entire evening of general studying for his 3 most difficult classes. He didn’t realize it and loved every minute of it.
A couple months later their teachers asked us what we had done with the boys. In less than a semester they had gone from the very bottom of the class (with my wife and I pulling out our hair in frustration) to the top fourth of the class. I said “I got them interested in a fun game that has a heavy dictionary’s worth of rules.” They were shocked. They were afraid my wife and I had them in some sort of facist style boot camp studying all night every night. I answered, “Nope they got themselves studying all night every night and they don’t even know it.”

Their vocabulary is a bit skewed shall we say. But all through college they had instructors that would be surprised at some of the words they knew and used correctly in normal conversation. Adults don't expect a 4th grader to use words and phrase like pantheon, exclusion, area of affect, rebuke, dimension, non-combatant, ragnarok, etc... Especially not to use them correctly.
They were quicker and more accurate on their basic math than a math major. You know the same math you use to figure out whether this can of peanut butter on sale is a better buy than the two-pack.
At an age were most of their class mates were reading comic books they started reading the hobbit. Because I said it was written kinda like a long DnD adventure. Then we got in a big hours long discussion of how it wasn't really like a DnD adventure because X. Sounds to me like a comparative literary evaluation of a several hundred page novel when their class mates were doing 1/2 page book reports on a 50 page kids book.

It is one of my parenting decision that I am most proud of. And I almost didn’t do it because I was initially afraid if they really liked MtG, they would do that instead of studying. I finally agreed to it as a reward for something I don't now remember. Probably for passing a spelling test or something like that.


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Triphoppenskip wrote:
Vincent Takeda wrote:

As a GM I'm firmly against restricting player agency even at character creation.

I just cant say I see the appeal of some of their choices...
Thats the beauty of it though. If all my players were just another me it would probably be less interesting.
I'm kinda the same way. I do have a few races on a "bad list" due to the fact they don't really fit my vision of the world but I've told my players that is you have an interesting back story that justifies why he has come so far from his homeland or has turned his back on his people then by all means play him.

Most of my house rules are actually allowing things that PF doesn't rather than restrictions.

OR
The player has to work with me to develop a way to bring that into being.

{{ Except the whole drunken monk thing. That just really torques me off for some reason and I just can't stand it. So I don't allow it when I am GM. }}

Occasionally I will take something out for story reason.

Like one time elves, guns, alchemists, and mystic theurges were not allowed because most of the mega plot revolved around finding out why there were none of the legendary X in the world.

Another time magic didn't work the way the older races remembered. Summoning and travel spells were 2 levels higher or just didn't work. It was a things the gods had done to keep the mortals in line.

-----------------------------------------------

Original topic:
Another thing brought up by Teatime42's comments on communication.
I have gotten no better at this over the last several decades and by this point I probably won't.

I am not a real empathic person. I will virtually never be able to tell that someone is not having as much fun as they say they are or would like something to be different if they won't tell me. Making real subtle hints does NOT work.
If you tell me you are having fun and the campaign is going great...
I WILL BELIEVE YOU and give you more of the same. If you don't like something you have to actually say it.


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Never heard of something like that in the US. Not sure if I'd like it or not. Guess I would probably be willing to try it and see what the folks I met were like.

Closest we have is the Game Shops that sell the rpg's tend to have same tables that are usually free to use. You reserve a spot on the calendar and invite folks to join you.

The shop does it on the assumption that if you are having fun, you will probably buy some game stuff. Since that is where you are gaming it is also most likely where you will buy your stuff.


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Yeah, necro. But I feel like responding to part of it since I never saw this first time around.

Tarrintino wrote:

...

The first is a player that makes no attempt to create a unique persona for a character when sitting down to play. It gets to me when I ask, “Tell me about your character” and get told, “Dwarf Fighter.” Every human being on this planet has a life story (even if they don’t share it with everybody they meet). They all have interesting character traits and flaws. They have success stories and personal regrets. They have goals they want to achieve, and inner demons they have to face. When a player doesn’t have an idea of who the character is beyond their stats (even if they just rolled the character up), this really gets to me.
...

I understand what you are saying, but it doesn’t work like that for me. When I first start a character I personally have no history with or for him. I don’t know what his personality is like so I don’t know what shaped his personality.

If I try to come up with something before I’ve played a PC at all it is almost always very generic, boring and cliché. “He’s an orphan that came into his magical power late and feels like he should be helping others.” This seems to upset GM’s more than having nothing

But when I start to play him…
You know, I’m only using my summon and buff spells not my attack spells. I guess this guy finds it amusing to let other do all the fighting for him while he stays safely invisible. He’ll say he is helping them to reach their potential, but really he’s just kinda lazy and a bit cowardly. He’s a younger son from a moderately wealthy family and never really had to work hard. But he wished it was an even wealthier family so he didn’t have to work at all.
Hmm… I’m being a real jack-hole to all the nobles we meet, I wonder why that is. Ok, a group of nobles scapegoated me so they wouldn’t get thrown out of the academe. So I hate them all for getting me thrown out.
Yeah those first couple of fights against the supposedly ‘scary’ undead were dirt easy. He even took them out himself without bothering to summon or buff anyone. So he’s had a few more easy encounters with undead. He doesn’t understand how they got such a towering reputation or why people are so afraid of them. It’s not like they’re really dangerous. He’s is vastly arrogant and overconfident about his capability to deal with undead.

If the GM insists on something before play starts, it will almost always be boring and generic. Then my mind is kinda stuck on that and it doesn’t change much. If the GM will let me work on it over the first couple of levels or at least several sessions, it will be much better. Sorry, it is just the way my mind works.

Every once in a while I create a PC that has a full blown personality and history by the time I’m done creating him. For some reason, everything just clicked and I know how I want to run him and what made him the way he is. But for me, that is very rare.


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I agree a paladin will give you what you were asking about.

also

Jiggy wrote:
Krell, can I ask how you came to the conclusion that they should get a "healer"? Can I also ask specifically what you mean by "healer"?

+1

I've been playing and GM'ing a fair amount of PFS. I would say a healer is rarely needed (though it can be useful).

I believe every character (especially in PFS) should buy a Wand of Cure Light Wounds or Wand of Infernal Healing (free with either their first or second 2 prestige points).

After that the PC's can alternate for other condition removal consumable items. One buys a Wand of Lesser Restoration, another gets a Potion of Remove Blindness, the third purchases a Potion of Remove Disease, Scroll of Restoration, Scroll of Neutralize Poison, etc...

That and some saved prestige points will cover about any eventualities.

Even a martial character with a crappy charisma could take skill focus UMD and a few skill points to fairly reliably use the wands on everyone as needed.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:


So what? If you're having fun in Golarion-as-is, that's really all that matters. If you're not, if you can't get past the inconsistencies, you can try to modify the system, although it takes an awful lot of work to do that without introducing even more inconsistencies.

But that's what most of us who oppose "low magic Pathfinder" have been saying, and what (by my reading) most of the proponents have been ignoring.

A lot of people are suggesting simplistic and ill-thought out changes that will end up playing havoc with game balance if straightforwardly implemented. For example, "no magic shops" actually makes PCs more powerful, because everyone takes crafing feats and makes their own, so you need some way to prevent this, which unexpectedly nerfs martials because they can't get the toys they need, and so on. All of which is well-discussed upthread.

It's a real problem, and the more the people proposing low-magic handwave this issue a way, the more I realize that they have, as Ragnarok Aeon put it, "a bad sense of balance,".... to the point where I consider wanting "low-magic D&D" to be an indicator of having a bad sense of balance.

That is starting to sound really rather needlessly insulting.

Some of us have thought about it quite a bit. I have not hand waved away any problems. I thought carefully about them and discussed them with my players. Then we tried it to see what would happen.

Some things worked some didn't. We kept what did and changed what didn't. A few things were issues that were not expected and we had to add in something to deal with them. Generally speaking we did not find the need to make nearly the sweeping changes that I have repeatedly been told HAVE to be made or it will fail. There was no havoc with game balance. The game isn't really balanced now and it didn't seem that much worse with our modifications.

We have had very successful games that have not had all the problems that the gloomers assure us will happen. I have had several players request me to run another low magic campaign (unfortunately I had to move for work).

I do not inflict it on anyone that doesn't want it. My current group is not at all interested in a low magic campaign, so I won't try to run one. If I end up in another group that is interested, I probably will.

I will not claim to be a great GM. But I am far from the worst I have encountered. I have only had one campaign crash and burn, but that was due to out of game issues between several of the players.


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Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

...

Let's get back to useful info about low-magic games?

Here's one: can any of you describe a low-magic campaign attempt that went totally of the rails due to the changes to rule assumptions? What happened? Go into detail!

Oh yes, I've seen it done badly a few times.

1) The GM set up was there was almost no creatures with any Su or SLA abilites (which leads to almost no magic items). But there were NO limits or modifications placed on the PC's. One of the players made a focused enchantment caster. Almost nothing had a decent will save or any any kind of resistance to enchantment spells. The campaign was just everyone else guarding the enchanter while he enspelled everyone. Army of bandits - charm the leader. They won't give you any info - charm them. Etc... Very easy, very boring, very quickly.

2) Another time the GM set-up didn't allow the PC's to have any casters. If a hybrid class, they had to take other stuff to trade away spell casting. But then the GM was running high magic modules as written. It actually played out fine. The party just made sure their gear defended them from magic and provided the needed utility/recovery effects. But the storyline suffered.
"Wait so any kind of casting is so rare that we can't be, hire, have known, or probably even have heard of real magic users. Ok got that. But there are still all these magic items readily available and every other being we have to fight is a caster?!?"
It just didn't make sense and we couldn't get into the story (or really even figure out what it was supposed to be).

3) The last wasn't really a rules problem as it was a clever player vs. slow to react GM.
Had been some war/cataclysm caused by and between casters. No casters are fanatically hunted and lynched before they can become a danger. Every kingdom has special dedicated teams of 'caster hunters' that go after and put down any casters that the locals have a problem with.
Our arcane trickster realized the best way to deal with any opposition was to set the mob after them. Magic aura, bestow spell casting abilities, planting a scroll/potion/spellbook, etc ... And practically anyone is either dead or at least so distracted that they can't oppose you.


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Rynjin wrote:

...

RDM42 wrote:
In my experience with Paladins more of the drama is caused by the other characters than by the paladin.

IME the drama with Paladins is never caused by the other characters, the other players, or the Paladin player.

It's always the GM.

Have to disagree with you here.

My current game group has had a paladin in each of the last 2 campaigns. Different player of the paladin and a different GM.

Both campaigns, the play often came to a screeching halt while the rest of the party argued about a paladin can't / must / always / never / should / wouldn't do whatever. The player of the paladin and the GM had already agreed whether the action was acceptable, iffy, or problematic. It was the rest of the table that wouldn't shut up about it. For a while we were getting less than 50% of time spent on gaming the rest was listening to them argue. Once I even ended the game early because of it and sent everyone home. They stood in the dark out in my front yard and argued for close to an hour.

The arguments would continue through about the first 3-5 levels of play until they finally got tired of it. Then it started back up again in the next campaign. For a while when I was GM I started changing the campaign pulling out anything that might be morally ambiguous because I was tired of listening to them.


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wraithstrike wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It means running a game that the players and DM call "Pathfinder". What people on the forums who arent playing the game call it doesnt really matter.

Is there any confusion in the real world when someone says "I'm running a pathfinder game and here are my house rules"? Who cares if what you mean isnt what someone else on the internet means - whether it's high magic, low magic, race-restricted, anything goes, no-3PP,.... or anything else. Provided everyone at the table knows what's going on, I'm just not seeing a problem.

If you're telling some strangers "I'm running a game of pathfinder" and then surprising them when they turn up to the first session with a whole bunch of extreme houserules then you're being silly and self-defeating - but the problem isnt one of nomenclature.

I agree. From what I read of the OP's post people were mad when they were not given any notice about houserules. Once someone has a copy of the houserules they are free to stay or walk. If they stay, they should not be mad if the GM has been up front about everything.

I have met a very small number of people that get mad anyway.

When someone expresses interest in joining one of my games the first thing I do is get their email address to send them the House Rules and Suggestions being used for the campaign. On the first page is specifically says "This rule set is open for discussion. If part of it is giving you particular problems, let me know and we can discuss it as a group." There have been a couple of rules that were tried for a while then the group decided wasn't enhancing their fun. Sometimes it is 3 lines long. Sometimes it is 3 pages long (most of that is actually suggestions). More than half of my house rules actually allow things the PF system does not allow. Yes, I still call it PF.

A very few people have flat ignored the file I sent, shown up at my house with a build that breaks at least half a dozen rules, then demanded that I let them play that character since I said it was a PF game and they are using PF material.

I used to try and work things out with those people. I don't think I will anymore. If you're going to be that obnoxious, you can just leave. I don't need the aggravation as a part of my hobby.


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PRD wrote:

Mind Blank

School abjuration; Level sorcerer/wizard 8
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration 24 hours
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

The subject is protected from all devices and spells that gather information about the target through divination magic (such as detect evil, locate creature, scry, and see invisible). This spell also grants a +8 resistance bonus on saving throws against all mind-affecting spells and effects. Mind blank even foils limited wish, miracle, and wish spells when they are used in such a way as to gain information about the target. In the case of scrying that scans an area the creature is in, such as arcane eye, the spell works but the creature simply isn't detected. Scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at the subject do not work at all.

Gives continual Mind Blank

side effects:
Bestows a -2 on all social skills (look stupid wearing a tin hat), -2 on stealth (wearing a shiny hat), and -2 to AC for anyone wearing armor that would have had a helmet as part of it (foil hat doesn't protect much against weapons).
Additionally the wearer has a -2 on perception checks due to the distraction from the voices whispering in her head.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Liranys wrote:
There's an Idea.. A magical Tin Foil hat that allows you to cast Invisibility x number of times a day. It is cast by putting the hat on, but when you attack or do something to break the spell, the hat falls off.... That needs to go in the Weird custom magical items thread methinks. :D
Not invisibility - mind blank!

I think I'm gonna have to do that. I'll actually give them a hat made of kitchen foil.

Gives Mind Blank
side effects:
-2 on all social skills and -2 to AC for anyone wearing armor that would have had a helmet as part of it.


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Te'Shen wrote:
The Indescribable wrote:

Tons of creepy old toys along with terrifying wooden statues that look like they could come to life and eat you.

** spoiler omitted **

Hmm... cool. I thought you were going to go with the Hall of Wooden Men kind of thing.

Once long ago (I think it was 2nd ed) we were on a series of quests for some Muckity.

Open the door to this large room with a couple dozen marble statues of fighting men. The cleric immediately used the scroll of earthquake she had been hording since there was no way we could handle fighting that many golems in our battered condition. Brought the stone building down on top of the statues.

The GM choked on his pop and turned purple because he couldn't breathe through his laughter.

Over the weeks of the campaign, seems we had forgotten that we were to retrieve a life size marble chess set.


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In my opinion, strength builds should be easier and generally more effective at combat than other builds.

From what I have been able to find out, it is very nearly universal in all forms of combat (not talking about missile weapons of course) that once they get past a certain level of expertise. The successful competitors spend most of their time strength training. It is the most efficient use of their limited training time.

Having a punch, throw, or block just that tiniest bit more technically perfect in form, speed, or precision is not as effective as more strength behind it.
Now it is different for those pursuing it as an art form rather than a combat competition. If you are trying to be the best at X martial art, you will be judged based on the form and precision.

If however, your goal is to come out of the cage match with most of your bodily fluids inside of you… Well, you will be doing a lot of raw muscle training.

Look at history.
Dueling swords were basically a way to say “I’m so well trained that I can win using this elegant blade rather than to simply hack you into pieces with those ugly commoner type weapons.” (That would be the analog of in-game needing a higher level character using a dueling sword to beat a brute with a greatsword.)
The samurai only added the two-weapon style fairly late in their history as an art form and a way to demonstrate their superb training. Even the acknowledged masters of it would say that in a serious fight they would use a single blade with both hands.
No army fielded frontline troops wielding an epee, whip, or twin daggers.
Sword and board in front with pole arms for formation fighting. Irregular troops usually used the biggest, heaviest, longest weapons they could get. Big axes, big maces, claymores, long heavy spears, etc...
Because that is what worked best.

The non-strength based fighting form only work as well as they do in games like PF because so many of the patrons want them so very badly to be as good or better than strength based fighting. If they didn’t write it into the rules the gamers would write it in themselves or switch systems. The other forms are only in shouting distance of strength based due to customer demand rather than all these cries of realism or balance. They shouldn’t be balanced and it would be unrealistic to expect them to be so.

Having said that. I also find it more fun to play a martial that uses something other than raw strength to win. I’m glad the system is written to allow them to be in the same ballpark. But I don’t think it should be just as effective to be a wiry guy using twin daggers as to a great big guy using a great sword.


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Well, I personally don't recognize most of the names you mentioned. It's been a long time since I had kids at home that wanted to watch fairy tale type cartoons and I'm not usually big on them myself.

I don't see anything wrong with unique or just weird characters. I would say most of mine are. But I don't think that requires me to not be part of the team or mess with the others reasonable plans.

Do your characters revel in not being part of the team or make things difficult for the rest of the team?


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vecnalives wrote:

I have DMed for 32 years and I totally agree.

we dont expect you to wear heavy armor or start doing pushups that your PC should be capable of doing. So why does a GM resort to this involuntary sense of expecting you to act out a high wisdom or intelligence. ...

Some do, but more of us don't.

As I've said in some other threads, I do expect something more than "I roll diplomacy."

I think of it as analogous to the tactics used in combat. Very few players just say I attack [[roll dice]] on their turn. Instead, you usually get at the very minimum something like, “I take a 5’ step around to the right (toward setting him up for flanking) then I use power attack.”
Ok that may have effects and responses. “Well the bugbear can tell you are trying to surround him and the hits are already hurting, so he backs into the doorway so you can only come at him from one direction.”

So give me your tactics for the social interaction. This a rewording of an actual example situation I encountered from a few years ago.

I would have liked something like these:
“I flirt with the Seneschal to get him to give us a good introduction to the merchant prince today.” OR “I will bribe the Seneschal.” OR “I will be polite but in the way refusing to leave until the Senschal lets us in to see the merchant prince”
“I try to point out to the merchant prince that helping with the caravan troubles will profit his clan and make the guild think he is altruistic.” OR “I will threaten to tell the guild leaders that the authority figure that is collecting fees to protect them refuses to pay for someone to take out the bandits.” OR “I will emphasis that it is his duty as a noble to protect those under his care.”
“I will tell the guild leader that I am composing a play in her honor to show the world that the victory would not have been possible without the generosity that she will surely shower on our endeavors.” OR “I will say that the merchant prince is willing to pay part of the fee, but not enough for the risk involved in us to taking out the bandits.” OR “I’ve heard rumors (and I will start them) that the reason she won’t pay for anyone to take out the bandits is because they really work for her.”

Those could make a difference both immediately and long term.
Maybe the Seneschal is gay or his spouse is standing right behind you. Or maybe he really is a horn-dog and will expect follow through on the flirting. Maybe your blaster sorc destroyed the caravan as well as the bandits. So the merchant prince lost money and the guild hates him for hiring you trouble makers. Might make getting the next job more difficult. Maybe your bard forgets (or never intended) to write a play. That betrayed rich woman is now a lifelong enemy.
Those give me ideas on how you are trying to proceed and what some likely ramifications are.

But instead the spokes person for the group just said “We go into town and roll diplomacy to get someone to hire us to take out the bandits. I got a 32.”
“So who do you talk to and what do you say to them?”
“Whoever seems best. I got a 32. That’s pretty good”
What can I do with that? Ok, I can either give you a big penalty for being an ash-hat and making my life more difficult or I’ll have to make something up.

So I said, “Ok, Cassi flirted with the Seneschal to get into see the merchant prince (he’s expecting you for a date tomorrow night), Gregor managed to convince the merchant prince to hire you guys. But he is expecting to see a profit and you better make him look good for the guild. And the guild leader is giving you guys some mounts and supplies and expects a successful play making her seem a generous heroin.”

Then I had a bunch of players screaming at me. “I wouldn’t flirt with a human, I certainly won’t go on a date with him! We would never guarantee that he’ll get a profit! None of us have the skills to write a play!” To damn bad. Then give me something to work with.

Do you just make 1 good attack roll and expect to win the entire fight? I would hope not. So why should this be different?

No. I don’t expect the exact words, facial expression, body language, tone of voice, etc… to be used.* Just like I don’t expect you to know the correct way to hold a claymore, perform a rising block, or what the exact angle of entry between the ribs to hit the heart. But I want to know in general what you are doing. In other words, the tactics of both combat and social encounters.

* I really don’t expect that level of detail. But I will say for those of you who can, I think giving more details helps the verisimilitude and role play experience of all at the table.


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Laurefindel stated it pretty well.

I agree your wife needs some time 'off' to be herself and have some fun. But so do you.

There was a time when all I did was eat, sleep, work, house work, yard work, and maybe a little bit of homework with the kids. Notice how much of that is work? Notice how little of it is fun? I was trying so hard to be a good everything, that I became a not very pleasant person much of the time and was actually not doing very well as a spouse or dad.

I eventually learned I had to make the time to do something fun to remain a sane person. But I had a job, wife, 3 kids, etc... So I had to schedule it. At first it seemed impossible. So I started really looking at it as a technical problem to be solved. (Can you tell that I'm an engineer?) Travel to, game time, and travel home should be about 6 hours. Is there really no way I can find 6 hours once a month for something I really want to do? That's less than 1% of the time in 4 weeks. That can certainly be worked into any schedule.

Talked it over with my wife and we just worked it in. The 2nd Saturday of the month I went gaming. The 4th Saturday of the month she went out with her friends. The 1st and 3rd Saturday we did something together.

All the crapola that I been doing on Saturdays had to be worked into the other days of the week. So I'd do laundry while watching the kids or mow the yard instead of watching another sitcom that I don't really like. Some of it was just dropped altogether. I decided I really didn't care if my yard didn't look as nice as the rest of the neighborhood. I'll mow the yard, but I'm not going to kill myself making it look perfect. I also stopped sleeping in until 10 on the weekends.


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Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Frankly - when it comes to teamwork feats - I don't think much of most of them unless you have a class which lets your allies count as having it. What they do just doesn't seem to be worth it considering they basically cost two feats, and are situational.

As to the rest - other than PFS (where I like my bard specifically because he can fill in the gaps), the groups I've played in have generally tried to be reasonably well balanced. We might not fit all of the four classic roles to not have any gaps, but we can get close enough that the group doesn't suffer.

Frankly - when we're getting a campaign together, I'll usually bring 2-4 character ideas which I've had on the backburner and try to figure out which one meshes best with the rest of the group.

I'm mostly not talking about the teamwork feats.* You can function as a team without taking any teamwork feats. I just haven't seen much of that recently.

Yes, PFS where you don't know who will sit at the table or what they will do in a situation is quite a bit different. I get that. But you can still guard the squishies, help setup flanking for the sneak attack, not charge before the buffs or area effects spells, etc...

* Though I think the teamwork feats are better than most people give them credit for being. Just as a quick example.

Outflank is one of the most basic. It gives you an additional +2 when flanking. My friend is making a melee summoner the eidolon will have 3 different attack types. he is irritated that he has to take weapon focus 3 times to get all of them a +1. He will be taking weapon focus on his long spear. He will be trying to set up flanking whenever possible anyway so he has a better chance to hit with is spear. My character will almost always be in melee with his eidolon. I will probably take weapon focus with my great axe. That is 5 total feats for a +1 to hit on every attack all the time. Instead we could all take Outflank. That is 3 total feats for a +2 to hit on every attack most of the time. We usually manage to get flanking set up on tough opponents that last longer than a round. If it wasn't a tough opponent to last more than a round we didn't really need a bonus to hit anyway.

By any math, if the party members cooperate and work together the teamwork feats are usually worth quite a bit more than many of the comparable 'common' feats that people take all the time.


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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

"Jock was a strapping young lad...!"

Strangely, I never got any further when delivering this background to my group. : /

Damn You! Now I have to do this just because...


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No I'm not talking about yet another new management fad.

I'm curious, how many of you play in groups that actually build and function as a team instead of a loosely allied collection of possibly incompatible individuals?

I don't know if it is a regional thing or just coincidence, but most of the groups and players I've met recently just do not do that. Game day starts and we have:
4 melee builds and PC's are struggling to get up to the enemy to strike
3 PC's with knowledge religion and no one with knowledge dungeoneering (or we have diplomacy and not sense motive)
Several blaster casters and not a buff, debuff, or condition removal among them
Martials charge to the enemy even though it leaves the squishies vulnerable
Martial immediately charges, then complains he didn't get hasted or got enveloped in the fireball
Anti-social misfit PC that refuses to cooperate or follow directions seem common
Etc...

Before I moved; most of the groups/players, most of the time, approached things as a team. Not everyone and not all the time, but often enough that it was noticeable.

We'd discuss things as a group. We'd ensure that the necessary functions were covered OR have a plan in place to deal with not having it (maybe 1/4 wealth set aside to purchase condition removal scrolls/potions).
Both in combat as well as social encounters, everyone usually had a role to fulfill and knew about it ahead of time.
PC's would delay, ready, flank, aid, provide cover, guard, etc... whatever helped the group as a whole. Not just "What is best for me right this moment."
We often had 'standardized' basic battle plans that could be called out during a fight without alerting the enemy. Much like football or basketball plays. If my wizard called out Red-H-2, the martials knew to not get close to the enemy leader for 2 rounds or they would also suffer bad things. If the martial call a Green-H-0, we knew that meant he was immediately charging the leader, so someone else might need to protect the squishies (and they would do it!). The rest could buff the person that made the call, debuff the leader if it won't affect the caller, or deal with mooks.

I tried this again with current group. All but one of them came to the build/planning session with already 90% of their 1-15 build set in stone.
It was like pulling wisdom teeth to get everyone to agree to one teamwork feat at level 3 (no idea if I can get them to make collective use of it in play).
No one was planning to cover any knowledge skills, 1 guy has enough charisma to probably cover party face if he puts ranks into diplomacy (probably won't be too good and any other face skills), finally talked another guy into some ranks and a trait into sense motive, almost all of them are melee martial characters (again, since they assumed the others would do something different this time), etc...

I don't know. Sometimes it is just kinda frustrating. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the campaign set up is just a random collection of individuals is thrown together and has to find a way to succeed. Then it makes sense and might even be kinda fun learning to deal with what you don't have. But even then there is that 'find a way to succeed' phrase. Hey guys, we might need to actually make and carry through on some plans ahead of time.
But some of them are not like that. Some noble chooses a group to go do X. Really, he chooses this group? He must be an idiot.

Completely meta-gaming. Some of them are complaining about how we can never manage X, how are we supposed to Y, it's do dangerous to play Z since too squishy, how was I supposed to know you were gonna do that, etc...
Hey, I've given you the solution umpteen times now.

[/rant] Ok, I'm done complaining for at least a little while. It's probably really not as bad as I portrayed the situation. But sometimes it bugs me more than others.

Any suggestions on convincing people to at least try a bit more teamwork?

and then there is HEY! YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!!


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Another thought to add on the power creep new stuff overpowered discussions.

A friend of mine finally got fed up with how over powered all the new stuff was because he was needing to go to APL+3 to even start to challenge the party. So he started the new campaign as CRB only. What happened? They still stomped all over his APL encounters. We looked at it together some with examples of what had happened. Turns out, the players have just gotten better at building characters and using effective tactics.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the newer spells, feats, and classes are a bit better than much of what is in the CRB for some things. But none of them are better at all of it than everything in the CRB. If you see what I mean.

The other change is that he has been allowing the good ideas, clever approaches, excellent role playing, and things like that to have larger and larger circumstance bonuses to non-combat situations. He also doesn’t (or at least rarely) set the non-combat DC’s out of reach of the group. The result has been that, all of the players are now optimizing totally for combat. Since all their social and investigative skills are low, he sets the DC’s pretty low. Since he gives them big bonuses for non-build stuff, they still succeed.

I am certainly not saying the way he is playing is wrong. They are having fun and he will probably not be changing his style of play.
What I’m saying is that, he is confusing causation with correlation. Every so often the group would add more books allowed. Over the same general period he started having more problems creating challenging encounters. Correlation. They both happened at the same time. But the books did not cause his problems.


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I don't think they were planning on the vampire lord fighting alongside them as a merc. It would just kill/spawn the provided victims who would then be placed in the towns and villages before they even rise as spawn.

In this GM's world, I think the PC's are already considered pretty high level. There will be some higher level, but not huge numbers of them. Though yes, that should be a threat they will eventually need to deal with. Fighting off an avenging team of inquisitor, paladin, and clerics could be really tough. Even if not substantially higher level.

I don't think some/most/many of the spawn having little effect would even bother them. Vampire spawn showing up (even if easily defeated) all over the place would still be something the authorities would almost have to do something about.

From what he has said, the PC's are being extremely paranoid about covering their tracks. They have been that way over their entire careers anytime they are doing something even slightly shady. Bluff, disguises, and anti-divination stuff is standard. My guess is they would try to set someone else up to take the blame.


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TimD wrote:

I disagree with pretty much everything Taku has said.

I've found an outright ban on PvP is generally more common amongst less experienced GMs or newly formed groups who are not able to deal with multi-dimensional planning & conflict. Which is fine, it's a learning curve, but implying "you’re doing it wrong" because someone else can't handle it is almost as insulting as it is laughable.

** spoiler omitted **

-TimD

I will agree with you that saying any one that allows PvP is doing it wrong is taking way too extreme of a stance.

I am quite willing to say that in most groups, allowing PvP is probably not the best choice.

You are also correct in that it can be excellent. I have been in 2 groups that handled it very well and we had a blast.
But only if the entire group is ok with it (and I would say it should be clearly stated in the beginning that it will be allowed). If even one person in the group does not handle the PvP situations well, it tends to harm the player group. Sometimes slightly. Sometimes greatly. Other than those 2 groups, every time PvP was allowed it caused problems. Sometimes to the point of breaking up the gaming group or at least the campaign. Once destroying several long term friendships.

I also wish people would stop using 'adult' and 'mature' for this topic. It has nothing to do with age or maturity. One of the groups that did it well was when we were ~14. We were not adults and I guarantee you we were not mature.

I also know many well aged and very mature players that do not deal well with allowing PvP in their game.

It is a mindset. A way of looking at things. The ability to separate player vs PC feelings. The ability to take a mindset and personality that is alien to your own. And accept that others can and are doing the same. Not everyone can do that.

Then there are some people that can handle it, but just don't want to deal with that much hassle. I am sometimes in that group. This pastime is an escape from the reality and is intended to be entertaining. Fairly often, I don't find paranoia in guarding myself from murder by my closest colleagues to be entertaining.

Most groups I have played with have at least one person (usually several) that can not handle it well or doesn't want to deal with it.

When I am GM, I will not allow PvP with my current primary group even when they have asked to include it. We have at least 2 people out of the 7 that don't deal well with the situations when it even comes close to looking like PvP is likely. One gets nervous and agitated. The other gets quiet and withdrawn. But they are definitely not having fun in those situations. Just coincidentally, 'stuff' comes up and they are rarely able to make it to the next couple of gaming session. I'm not sure the one guy is even coming back. I don't think most of the other players or the GM at that time have even noticed since they won't say anything.

TimD wrote:
... We've found that the opposite "there is no PvP, so you can't actually stop Bob the Moron (appropriate apologies to those who share the name Bob) from ruining everything because he's had a bad week and now has decided to run his mouth or attack the +10 CR NPC" is far more destructive. Doubly true if you have new players. ...

This I very much disagree with. Passive aggressive in-game punishment does not solve out-of-game personal issues. Talk to the player out of character. If it is an in-game problem (which is not what you described) the group can in-character decide there is no reason to continue traveling with someone that makes things worse. Murder is not necessary.

I especially think that is a very jack-hole thing to do to new players that aren't doing what you think is right.


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Kirth Gersen wrote:
... At some point in the campaign, there's a contrived scenario where the entire world ends if monster X eats person Y. ...

I would have been very tempted to pre-emptively disintegrate person Y so there was not a body to eat.


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Hmm... Yes and no.

If it is out of balance to the point where 1 PC is like Superman, the rest are Lois Lane, constantly being saved, and just there to express admiration of the superman PC? Then I think that is a problem and most of the group will not be having fun. The lack of balance is not acceptable.

If the party is the Justice League except for one PC who is Joe Schmoe Average, can't contribute anything, and only survives because they other protect him? Then I think there is a problem and at least 1 player will not be having fun. The lack of balance is not acceptable.

If each PC has enough 'stage and shine' time to satisfy the players and contribute something to success? Then I think all is good even if not balanced.


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I doubt I would consider running away evil. However, it is entirely possible that it would be cowardly and disloyal. I don't know how bad the situation actually seemed at that point. I wouldn't let a paladin attack a person for that. On the other hand it might be reasonable for the paladin to never work with that person again.

I would find it very hard to justify caving in the only known entrance when my allies were not yet known to be dead. I have hard time saying that is not an evil act. You might have perceived it as necessary (the classic lesser of two evils) but still evil. I don't have too much problem with the paladin attacking you at that point.

If you had gone to the cave in point and waited to see if allies or undead came up then only caved it in if necessary, that would have been (in my opinion) a neutral to possibly slightly good act.

If you really think this is an in-game problem not a player issue, your only real possibility is to continue to apologize, try to make it up to them, and prove future loyalty.
Possibly a reasoned discussion along the lines of, "Look all the evidence said that we would all die an the undead would be loose on world. Is that what you really would have wanted to happen? I may have evaluated the situation poorly (please feel free to tell me where the error was in my reasoning) but there was no malicious or betrayal intended."

Totally meta-game, but did you have any fore knowledge that the GM would just let them live? Part of this needs a talk with the GM. If you make decisions based on what the GM has presented, then he just changes things after that decision has been made... Well, he is at least partially responsible for the incorrect decision.
Just one of the reasons I don't like GM's fudging things to make sure the party wins.

Virellius wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

I must say - pulling stuff like that is why I never allow CN characters in home games that I GM.

Player: I want to completely hose the rest of the group!

GM: Wait - what?

Player: It's okay - because I'm Chaotic Neutral!

GM: *facepalm*

CN implies that you are not bound to any moral or legal obligations save for those you consent to. You do good, generally, unless you choose survival over friendship. You act free, not bound to organizational ties or laws, but don't necessarily act destructive. You must have bad CN players.

I agree, but almost everyone I've seen playing a CN character plays it like that.


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Zalman wrote:

... kind of player myself, I am curious about how the other half goes about it. For those of you that start with a character concept based on fighting style, preferred class, etc., do you ...

then seek a campaign where your character fits? or ...

find a way to wedge it into any campaign through creative backstory? or ...

already know what campaign you'll be playing in, and so that part's assumed for you? or ...

something else?

I make lots more characters than I will ever get to play. When we get to new campaign time, I get the background info and an idea of what the others are playing.

Usually that narrows it down to just a few of the builds I already have.

I pick one then modify it some to fit even better with the campaign or group.


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Liranys wrote:

...

How can a GM be more upset by a short story that can easily be expanded upon than "nothing" or "amnesia"? How is that exciting and/or rich?

Since it isn't me, I can't be sure. But I believe the reasoning (such as it is) goes something like this.

With 'nothing' the response seems to be, "Ok this player won't participate in this part of the game. At least I'm free to make something up and use it as I see fit."

With 'simple, short, boring' the response seems to be something like He's throwing my reasonable request for a story in my face, That gives me nothing to work with but still limits me from coming up with something, and/or If you're not going to take it seriously and do a worthwhile job just forget it.

I think it is mostly a matter of being offended by not taking a particular aspect of the art as seriously as they do.
.
.
On the other hand. If

Liranys wrote:
... "I was born on a farm to some farmers who worked really hard, but I was born with a black thumb and everything I tried to grow or tend seemed to die. So my parents sent me to my uncle to train as a guard and I realized I was really good at sword work. About the time I was going to graduate from the academy, a caravan came along needing guards and my uncle gave me a good recommendation. I've been adventuring ever since and I'm looking for my next gig." ...

is good enough, I can see the point of people who say "Why should I even bother coming up with a back story if something that simplistic is good enough? It doesn't provide the GM with anything of any useful significance."

I don't get the GM's that expect a full, exciting, and rich history before 1st level. Ok, that just doesn't make sense. First; pre-teens don't topple governments (except maybe in Harry Potter). Second; if their history was that full, rich, and exciting, why aren't they back home managing their full rich and exciting life rather than investigating why a few horses are missing on the edge of town (remember adventures that 1st level PC's can handle).
Almost every time I read one of those 'ideal' full, rich, and exciting back stories I have 2 responses. Why are you not 7th level? And why are you here with us 1st level inexperienced puds?

Don't get me wrong, I try to come up with an at least moderately detailed backstory. (Though I do tend to come up with it over the first few play sessions as I decide on a personality rather, than before I create the character.) I usually try to throw at least a couple things in there that a GM could hang something on if he chooses. Only very rarely has a GM made use of any of my backstory.

When I am GM and a player comes up with something fairly unique I will try to make use of it. But if the player only puts together something very bland that's only 3 lines long, I don't feel any real drive to try and include something that obviously was not a central to the player within the campaign.

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