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Lizardfolk

Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,710 posts (9,080 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 9 Pathfinder Society characters. 15 aliases.


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Grand Lodge

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Hmm... Like many CORE games, we seem to be a bit ranger heavy. I may make Hadanka into something else before I reach 2nd level. But currently he is a switch hitter ranger bow/curved blade.
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Honor Guard wrote:

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I sent a PM to GM Rutseg, and will be perusing the Pathfinder ruleset to create a submission for the game. I understand my inexperience with the game may be a drawback, and if not selected I wish the game and the players selected nothing but the best.

This a PFS and CORE game.

PFS (PathFinder Society) games are kinda the follow up to Living Greyhawk. It is some rules by which people all over the world make characters and have adventures using the same assumptions. That way you can take the same characters and continue to play them with other people any where at anytime.

The free rules for PFS play are here.
CORE means the PC's must be made using only the Core Rule Book (CRB).

Low level PFS CORE is actually just about ideal for people new to the game. It only uses the CRB so not as many books you have to learn. Plus the groups tend to be at least moderately experienced players who are well able to help with any difficulties or misunderstandings you might be having (and can incidentally help keep you alive if things go wonky).
PbP can also be good for learning because it gives the player plenty of time to go look up a particular rule or even ask questions in the forums if not sure how to do something.

If you don't have a PC ready when the game is ready to start there are pregens available. They are serviceable, but nothing special. Some beginner builds are also available NOOB Builds. They are a little better than the pregens but still relatively simple for a beginner to get the hang of. Many people would still prefer to make there own character and that is perfectly fine. If you would like some assistance, sing-out and lots of people will be willing pitch in with suggestions.


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ryric wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:

If you use any published material at low level for example, it just doesn’t match up very well with high level stuff. Apparently even within a given AP.

Just off the top of my head, I can think of 2 published where the ultimate BBEG has divinations, predictions, auguries, whatever that clearly indicate the PC’s are a threat to his very survival. So confident in the truth of that, he sends assassins to kill them across the nation or world on multiple occasions. Yet for some reason he only sends very weak, inexperienced, and small numbers of assassins after them. Yet at the end of the thing you find out BBEG has literally hundreds of agents more powerful than what he sent and dozens that are much more powerful than what he sent. He actually doesn’t seem to have any agents as weak as what he has been sending. Why? Ok, maybe the first time. But after the PC’s had survived the first couple of tries. Wouldn’t he have said, “Enough of this! Lord Death Slayer take your 50 most powerful minions, teleport over there, and personally ensure I don’t have to worry about this anymore! Report back to me by supper!” Apparently not.
Here's how I see this. The divining BBEG uses his divinations to find threats to his rule. There are 170 low level parties that may someday thwart his plans.(low level groups are a dime a dozen) So he sends out his numerous minions to handle the threat. Most come back but 23 of the parties survived. So he sends his more powerful minions to deal with the greater nuisance, and so forth. By the time the actual true threat of the PC party is narrowed down, and he's sending his big guns at them, they've had time to level up and can meet the threat. Also all the lesser guys are hiding or dead by now. It all depends on how you spin it. ...

Not unreasonable, but not how it was written. As it was written (in one of them, I haven't read the other) the BBEG knows that the PC's are destined to thwart him. He sends a single 3rd level assassin across the world taking months to get there. Next he sends three (or five) 3rd level assassins across the world taking months to get there. Next he sends six 3rd level assassins with a 5th level leader across the world taking months to get there. Etc...

When you finally get to his lair it is chock full of bad guys (not one of which is less than 8th level), many of whom had teleport and quite a few of the real big badguys have greater teleport.

Yes, a good GM might have re-written that story. Assuming he has the whole series at the start, sees the problem, knows how to fix it, and has the time to fix it.

ryric wrote:

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How does detect evil help here? Anyone under level 5 doesn't ping, and even being Evil isn't actually a crime in most areas. Heck, you can be LE and obey the letter of the law while getting your rocks off as the bureaucracy messes with people's lives. Evil can be just petty dbaggery making people's lives miserable.

A previously LG society, rulers, nobles, and army. Are suddenly all evil. I don't know why but the write-up specified the power making them evil did ping on detect evil. Plus almost anyone in charge of anything is actually a spawn of something now (easily above the 5 HD limit). To top it off they are obviously not acting normal now.

Maybe not obviously illegal. But it seems like just maybe it might have been enough to get someone in all those high powered clergies suspicious enough to cast a couple of low level divination spells. Just possibly.
The PC's had the whole thing pretty much figured out in about 1/2 day in-game time and about 30 minutes of RL play time.


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Dekalinder wrote:

@ElterAgo

First, your world need to be fitted for high level characters from the start, not retrofitted after your PC got a few levels. ...

Granted. But there is already a ‘standard’ world in existence. There are literally dozens of threads that will tell you the captain of an army might be 6th level. A royal champion would be 8th level. There is almost no one in the world over level 10. Except for bad guys that are for some reason waiting until the PC’s are high level before they start causing problems. People start play in that world because it is the ‘standard’ and most of us don’t have the skill to make our own world that makes more sense than that ‘standard’ world. Of if we have the skill we don’t have the time.

If you use any published material at low level for example, it just doesn’t match up very well with high level stuff. Apparently even within a given AP.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of 2 published where the ultimate BBEG has divinations, predictions, auguries, whatever that clearly indicate the PC’s are a threat to his very survival. So confident in the truth of that, he sends assassins to kill them across the nation or world on multiple occasions. Yet for some reason he only sends very weak, inexperienced, and small numbers of assassins after them. Yet at the end of the thing you find out BBEG has literally hundreds of agents more powerful than what he sent and dozens that are much more powerful than what he sent. He actually doesn’t seem to have any agents as weak as what he has been sending. Why? Ok, maybe the first time. But after the PC’s had survived the first couple of tries. Wouldn’t he have said, “Enough of this! Lord Death Slayer take your 50 most powerful minions, teleport over there, and personally ensure I don’t have to worry about this anymore! Report back to me by supper!” Apparently not.

Dekalinder wrote:

On the second issue, the answer is the same os why wasn't Elrond but Frodo carring the ring. Or why in the company there was Legolas instead of Thranduil, why gandal was always somewhere else ecc. ...

That really isn’t. That is some low level guys helping out with a critical side mission while the big guys play ball.

Remember this is a series of novels written by what a lot of people consider to be one of the genre’s greatest authors ever.
Even then, some of us couldn’t help but think of why? Why did the BBEG wait until the ring resurfaced to attack. If he had attacked a year earlier, 5 years earlier, or a generation earlier; he apparently would have been unstoppable.

Dekalinder wrote:

The short of it, is that there are always bigger troubles. And on the other hands, you always need fresh blood to rise up through the ranks.
Also, even if 17 level wizards may be aroud, that doesn't mean they are actually available. If you are a 17 level character, you definatly can't be bothered to interrupt your planeshaping resarch to come solving some low level trouble.

I encourage you to read the thread that was linked in the first page. ...

Yes, a minor problem is not worth their time. I get that. But that low level issue was apparently wiping out the nobility, turning the entire capitol into zombies, opening a portal to the abyss, eliminating magic from the land, etc… That’s not really a minor problem anymore. It just might be worth 15 minutes of the arch mage’s time to ensure it didn’t happen.

Nope. Instead he decides to just hope that the beginner schmucks won't let his family, home, nation, or magical power won't be wiped out.

I will try not to spoil anything for those that haven’t played it yet. There is an AP. A major city has at least 1 cleric capable of casting true resurrection. Several good churches are at least powerful enough that there is fierce competition for influence.
Bad guys have ‘for a long time’ been taking over the government, nobility, and military. A first level detect evil finds which ones have been taken over. A low DC sense motive check reveals people are not behaving properly. In the first couple of days, the PC’s will almost effortlessly trip over dozens of clues that almost anyone should be able to pierce together.
Yet until the PC’s get there, not one of the churches has noticed anything wrong let alone done anything about it.

Dekalinder wrote:

No one ever suggested that running a high level campaign was easy. But the classic complaint that "the games break" is only because people refuse to adapt to the new paradigm. ...

Actually, yes a lot of people do say it is easy. There was another of those just a little ways up thread.

I think a lot of people don’t ‘refuse to adapt’ as much as they can’t figure out how to do it, it is too late in their campaign when they realize it isn’t set up right, or just don’t have that much time to completely re-write everything published for a hobby.

Dekalinder wrote:

On a last note, if I remember correctly, in the BECMI starting 10th level you had to deal with characters having castles, reigns, wizard towers, and warriors having armies in the thousands of mens. It's just that right now people complain much too easly.

You only had thousands of troops if you spent all your money on them. That did occasionally happen because some GM’s would let you amass huge amounts of money, but you couldn’t buy magic items. So you quite literally had almost nothing else to do with it.

People complained just as much back then. It was just about different things. As I recall, one of the big ones was that even 20th level characters couldn’t challenge the gods.
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Again, I'm not saying it is impossible to have a good high level game. But it is much harder to achieve than a good low-mid level game.
the OP asked why their aren't many high level games. I believe that is a large part of why. The stuff that is published, the stuff accepted as 'standard,' the rules themselves, what people expect at various levels, and just plain person skill sets make it more difficult.


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ryric wrote:
Saldiven wrote:


For the example you give, with a group of lower level characters, instead of the characters being the already experts on the subject matter, the adventure could easily revolve around the party having to find the forgotten, ascetic sage high on a lost mountain top who points them to the lost library in the center of a vast wasteland which points to a powerful artifact hidden in the ruins of a civilization sunk beneath an ocean to solve the problem.

Amusingly, your example of how to "level down" the plot illustrates one of the reasons I like high level play. In your example, basically the PCs become errand runners. They go find the hermit/sage, get the info, go find the artifact, and use it. All the power and agency comes from other, "better" characters than the PCs - all the actual planning and solving of the problem is done for them. In most good high level games, there is no one else to turn to. The PCs are it. They are the Justice League and if they can't solve the problem certainly no one else can.

It really hammers home to the players just how far they've come when they realize that they are now the high level guys who hire lesser groups to do the small stuff they don't have time for. They are now the group who has to deal with the unbeatable evil - do they seal it away for a later generation? Do they try to kill it now and risk the destruction of civilization? High level PCs should be making choices that change the world. They are the big boys now.

I actually agree with you almost completely on this.

However, I also have to say that when I am GM, I just plain don't know how to write a good 'change the world' adventure.


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Hmm... variety of reasons.

Many have already been mentioned, so I will just point out the ones that I think could use a bit more emphasis or explanation.

Unlike a lot of people, I actually don't mind starting at 1st level. Though I think 2nd or 3rd often works a little better. (It is much more difficult to GM for 1st level and come up with something interesting / challenging that doesn't accidentally TPK on a couple of bad rolls.) But if you always start at very low levels some people just plain get tired of the whole thing before they get to really high level.

Some of it is a self replicating cycle. The GM never plays high level so doesn't really know how to handle it. The game starts to fall apart at high level, so he wraps it up. And never gets any experience at high level.

Some are the 'sameness' of themed campaigns.
A while back we played a heavily modified synthesis of Ravenloft and Carrion Crown set in Ebberon. Eventually we were just sick of fighting vampires and lycanthropes and rolling horror checks for things we had already been fighting for months. We pretty much had it down on what to do vs. various types. It became a yawn fest. We started using kinda stupid tactics just to see if it would work and because we really didn't care if we got killed anymore.
Does it have to be that way? No of course not, but it often is. Remember not too many GM's are actually professional caliber authors. They often have a good idea for a campaign. But that may not really be enough material for 20+ levels of encounters.

Slow and complex. If the group doesn't really force the pace of the game, it can really slow down. At 3rd level your PC probably really only has some where around 3 reasonable things he could probably do in any given round of combat. Once he gets to 18th level, even a simple character is likely to have a couple dozen possible things to do. Plus it becomes even more difficult to tell which ones are good from which ones are less good. I've heard of groups taking an hour or more for each round of combat especially at high level. Which could mean they can't even do 1 fight in an evening of play.

System breaks down. A few levels is so incredibly more powerful that things stop making sense. I've been in a few level 15+ situations with "Why isn't this guy running the world?" constantly running through my head.
Ok, the lich cleric 18 can quite obviously take on the whole entire country in a stand up fight all at the same time. No one else in the kingdom other than us is above 8th level, so really can't threaten him. Last month our characters were 8th level. So why didn't he just walk in, take charge, and kill anyone that disagreed? Why would he bother trying to trick/scam his way onto the throne?
(Plus you start getting silly things like the martial taking on the dinosaur with his bare hands just because he can.)
Again, does it have to be that way? No of course not, but it often is.

Anyway, that is some of my random thoughts.


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Mark Hoover wrote:

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If I do get the chance to play I'm going to try and work that in. Maybe have a fighter that calls his weapons girls' names or a brawler that names his moves. Instead of "I attack" I'll shout out "Take a face fulla' GLADYS!" when rolling to hit with my greataxe.

Everyone at work is staring at me because I started giggling when I read this.

I am SOOOO stealing this idea.


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DrDeth wrote:
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Is there someone here who has professed to always wanting to run one? (I'm not going back through this thread looking, so I don't expect you to either. Just thought maybe you saw one you can point out.) For the most part it seems to be people arguing about how it's always bad versus only sometimes being bad.

"I run GMPCs all the time."

"I have used a DMPC since I began DMing"

"I use GMPC's a lot"

Ashiel says he always runs one.

and Jaelithe seems to indicate that they use DMPCs most/all of the time.

However, why quibble? Do you agree with my main point: "I just ask that the DMs who use them consult your players and think of their real motivations for running one."

He isn't on these forums, but I used to game with a guy that almost always added a GMPC into the party.

He would always say he was doing it to help us out, round out the party, provide clues, provide a little extra power when needed, or save the party if it looked like a TPK.
However, that wasn't the case. The GMPC came along whether we needed more power or not. It never provided clues. If we didn't have a role covered, that was usually not what the GMPC could do. Etc...
Before I got there, while I was there, and after I left players were trying to politely tell him the GMPC wasn't needed, we didn't want to split the loot further, in-character the personality didn't fit with the team, whatever. Either that GMPC was with the party or another one would soon be introduced.
In reality, I think he just wanted to be a player at the same time as he was GM. (Put didn't want to give up enough creative control to let someone else GM.) Oddly enough; we would constantly find scrolls on that spell list, that specific exotic magic weapon, or a cloak that augments that class ability.
He wasn't horrible about it, just enough that it was noticeable and slightly annoying.

But as I said before, it wasn't enough for me to just walk. Most everything else he did as GM was good enough that I still enjoyed the game. Overall, if he had dropped the GMPC, I think I would have considered him a good GM instead of a decent GM.


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LazarX wrote:
Akerlof wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I prefer "I'll bomb when he starts to do something magical". It won't prevent channeling, but they can't avoid my readied action by doing something that's just subtly different from "when he casts a spell".

That's why I like to take at least one rank of Spellcraft on my martials:

Martial: I ready to smack him when he casts a spell.
GM: He begins to mumble and wave his hands.
Martial: Is he casting a spell or just bluffing. Don't need to know which spell he's trying to cast, just whether or not he's casting.
GM: Spellcraft check?
Martial: Sure, here you go.

If you've got spellcraft trained, you should be able to ID whether or not he's actually casting or not with a fairly reasonable spellcraft check at the most, certainly lower than it takes to ID what he's casting. I personally generally let people ID an actual cast flat out if they have spellcraft trained, and not if they don't. Though I could see requiring something like a DC 10 (or 10 + spell level at most) to ID the fact that they're casting.

What's the point? The spellcaster is taking his action. Are you NOT going to hit him because he's not casting a spell?

I start to wave my hands and mumble as my move action.

The barbarian hits you.

Ok, for my standard action I cast dominate person on the barbarian.


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TCG, you have way too much spare time. Go start a PbP homebrew campaign merging PF, Cthulu, and the old d6 Star Wars rules in the Gammaworld universe. That might keep you busy for a while.
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Also, we don't know the system mastery level of the group. They may honestly not know there are other ways to take care of those classic 'roles' in the party.

Another thing would be knowing the actual roles of the rest of the party. The druid, fighter, ranger, and cleric could all be melee machines. The druid and cleric could be offensive casters. PF lets you make almost any class fill almost any role to the point where just the class name doesn't really tell you very much about the character anymore.


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Jaelithe wrote:

...

Quote:

Second, very few of us are saying GMPC’s are always done badly and should never be used. What we are saying is:

- While we acknowledge that a GMPC can be done well and be great for a campaign. It is also very true that a GMPC can be done really horribly. I don’t think this is at all controversial. I think almost all players have examples of GMPC gone bad.

Agreed. But usually it's attached to someone who's a bad DM otherwise, as well, in my experience.

Quote:
GMPC seems to be done poorly more often than done well. Yes, this could just be perception or isolated incidents.
DMing seems, in my opinion, to be done poorly more often than done well, so ... that's not unique to DMPCs. ...

True. I would never say that a GMPC is the only thing that can go wrong. Or that just that one thing, even if done wrong, will cause me to walk away.

I have stayed with a GM that insisted on using a bad GMPC because most of the rest of the experience was pretty durn good. It still would have been better without.

But it has become an indicator for me. I see an obvious GMPC and it's like a flashing yellow warning light "Uh Oh Be Careful, This Could Be Another One Of Those GM's"

Jaelithe wrote:

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Quote:
Yet to many of us it seems to be a fairly consistent occurrence. To the point where some people will quit (or never join) a group as soon as they learn there is a GMPC in use.

I feel no need to coddle people with the mentality of nine-year-olds who decide, "There's something here I may not like. Not even gonna give it a chance!"

Gosh ... I'll really miss you.

Quote:
Small point. Most players that I have known will not tell the GM, "I don't like your GMPC." They don’t want to initiate that confrontation. They will just become more and more dissatisfied until they quit the group. The GM will never know that the GMPC contributed to the dissatisfaction.

In other words, "I'll be a passive-aggressive wimp about this, and just walk away, rather than show an iota of backbone and say, 'You know, this isn't working for me.'" What ... a ... crock.

Not only small, but appalling ... and speaking to their issues, not the DM's. Players are solely responsible for having the strength of character to say what's working for them and what isn't. ...

That wouldn't be passive-aggressive, at worst it is just passive. No hidden aggression or striking back.

It's also not acting like a 9 year old. Nine year olds are the ones that throw screaming hissy fits. They don't politely say, "This group doesn't seem to be matching up to where I like to see my game going. I hope you guys have fun in the future and find someone more to your liking."

I understand what you are saying here and I sorta understand it. On the other hand.
I am one of those people that probably would not say anything on a subject like this to the GM for 2 distinct reasons.
A) If no one else seems uncomfortable with it, I will probably assume it is a long term factor in their game. They are used to it and enjoy it. It would be rather petty of me to expect them to change their existing game just for me.
B) This game is supposed to be an enjoyable pastime. Around 90% of my professional job is confrontation and arguing with people. I game to get away from that not add to it.
Adding a confrontation questioning how someone runs things is not enjoyable. Especially if might be someone who doesn't take such comments well. To be honest some of your responses in this thread sound like someone who would turn any such criticisms into an antagonistic argument.
Guess what? Not liking that one aspect has just turned into not liking the whole situation. I'm probably going to be quitting the group at that point anyway.
What would that confrontation have gained me?

Do I have the strength of character, intestinal fortitude, or whatever you want to call it for a confrontation? Of course I do, it's how I make my living. Doesn't mean I feel it is worth it in this case, will have a desirable result, or is how I want to spend my free time.
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Feed back that is less likely to set-off the GM and I think he will actually listen, yeah sure. I've given feedback and suggestions, no problem.


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Jaelithe wrote:
I find the anti-DMPC crusade tiresome and silly, frankly, because it almost invariably features sweeping generalizations that are usually resentment-laden and downright vitriolic, as with some of the above posts. ...

First, many of the above examples of good GMPC’s would not be called a GMPC in my groups. They would just be a long term re-occurring NPC.

Second, very few of us are saying GMPC’s are always done badly and should never be used. What we are saying is:
- While we acknowledge that a GMPC can be done well and be great for a campaign. It is also very true that a GMPC can be done really horribly. I don’t think this is at all controversial. I think almost all players have examples of GMPC gone bad.
- GMPC seems to be done poorly more often than done well. Yes, this could just be perception or isolated incidents. Yet to many of us it seems to be a fairly consistent occurrence. To the point where some people will quit (or never join) a group as soon as they learn there is a GMPC in use.
- GMPC is very easy to do badly without the GM apparently realizing he is doing it badly.
- GMPC is so ‘expected’ to be a problem, that some players will begin looking for and anticipating problems that may or may not actually be there. So even if run well, it could be causing friction within the group just by its very existence in the game.
- The plot help or capability assistance the GMPC is intended to provide can almost always be provided in some less controversial method that is less susceptible to causing problems.
- Many of us prefer to not utilize such a problem prone option when another possibility exists.

NOTE: This is not an absolute. I have still used them on occasion and will continue to do so when it is the appropriate solution to the situation. But I always try to explore some other solution first. If I do use one, I am very careful in how I go about it.
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Jaelithe wrote:

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If your players bring it up as an issue, then you should probably reconsider the character's participation. ...

Small point. Most players that I have known will not tell the GM, "I don't like your GMPC." They don’t want to initiate that confrontation. They will just become more and more dissatisfied until they quit the group. The GM will never know that the GMPC contributed to the dissatisfaction.

That is one of the reasons I rarely use them anymore. I am aware that I am not nearly empathic enough to intuit the players being dissatisfied with the GMPC if no one says anything. So I don’t see enough potential gain to take the risk that I might be running it worse than I thought.


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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:

If you're not comfortable roleplaying, then view the game as an opportunity to fix that ...

... RPGs are the antithesis of "casual gaming" - ... you need to be creative to play RPGs. ...

... a deceptive trap that's led to "play only this way because ..."

... It's something to aspire to ... you practice and aspire to improve ...

... I'm feeling edged out of what should be my home turf ...

Do you realize that what you are saying comes surprisingly close to - Play only this way, that's the game I like.

There is a place in the game for people that want to expand their ability/freedom/creativity to role play. Occasionally I really get into that myself (more so when I was younger and had less responsibilities).

But not usually. I have an extremely stressful job. I am constantly challenged and pushed 'outside my comfort zone' on a daily basis. Usually, I do not look for that in my RPG time. I want to relax, putz around with something I'm pretty good at, hang out with my friends, and just have fun. I don't want a challenge to my emotional interactive equilibrium.

What many people call a beer and pretzel game (although I don't drink beer).

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
... and judging from the Favorite I've earned on that last post, I'm not alone).

You are certainly not alone. I'm quite sure there are a significant number of people that like to game the way you do. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes however, it is difficult to match up those people at the same location and time.

I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
... There isn't one worthy pursuit in all the world that's meant for everyone. ...

Agreed, but there is also no need to exclude people from something they have fun with because they don't play the game the way you like it.


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Had a GM do some very similar to this once. It wasn't just dinosaurs for him though it was big animals in general. So anything bigger than a light horse just didn't exist in nature anymore.

The reason being, people had to kill them off. Anything larger ended up invaded by a spirit from some other world that was trying to get into ours. Similar to the fiendish template.

I can't remember the exact specifics.
Neutral Evil alignment
intelligence +3
natural armor +1
wisdom and charisma +1
fast healing 1
then some random warping like "left claw seeps caustic goo for extra 2f of acid damage" or "has a multitude of eyes so can't be flanked and gets a +3 to perception"

Imagine trying to fight a semi-intelligent evil whale that thinks it's fun to crush ships.

In the other world the sentient races were some sort of titan druids and it never occurred to them that our civilization might be topped by shrimpy little guys.
So they kept sending these possessing spirits into the biggest creatures to try and find one smart enough to open a portal for them.

Was a weird campaign in lots of respects.


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Different groups do like/require different things.

I know a group made up of players that always wished and dreamed of being actors. That groups games are like a very poorly done stage improve session.
Player JimmyJoeBob stands up and strikes a heroic pose and flourishes imaginary blade. He declaims with great projection (they can probably clearly hear him out in the street. Fear not my Lord. Forsooth, myself and mine boon compatriots shall henceforth, seek by diverse methods to ascertain ...
Sitting through one evening was very close to torture for me. But they have a blast, so it's all good. I just wish they would put a bit more specific description on their postings, so people like me wouldn't show up.

Some groups are pretty darn close to a warhammer table top battle simulation.
Rex diplomacies at the noble while Jorgen intimidates. Rolls dice.
I don't really like that either.

Most groups are somewhere much closer to the midpoint on that spectrum.

A) Here is an example of what some of my groups would usually consider about the minimum RP participation.
Rex and Jorgen will try a Good-Cop/Bad-Cop routine. Rex will point out the benefits of helping us, like getting away with his life and a bribe. Jorgen will threaten with all the penalties of not helping us, like getting beat up and taking the fall for the crime. Roll dice.
GM has previously decided that the con is mostly worried about going to jail, so gives a +2 circumstance modifier.

B) What some of my groups would prefer is closer to:
Rex sits down and puts an arm over his shoulder, Look I get that you don’t want a reputation as someone that breaks his word. I really do. But look at it this way. There won’t be any of them left to spread the word. We won’t because we don’t want anyone to know our methods. Once we have the info we need, I really don’t care where you go or what you do. It won’t make any difference to my goals.
Jorgen sits across the table giggling and taking the point off of several spikes so they will be dull and have to tear their way into … anything, Besides we will get the info we need one way or the other. Roll dice.
GM decides watching the Nagaji barbarian giggle will weird out anyone plus no one will know he squealed, so gives a +3 circumstance modifier.
Note: That was almost certainly spoken in a normal tone of voice with no accents or mannerisms.

We cut a huge amount of slack on this for new players or people that are just fairly introverted. Note, I am usually closer to A) than B). I have more fun when I’m playing like B) but often have trouble doing that. I’m still working on it.


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Honestly, I think it is usually just players that want to disrupt things and work out frustrations in their RL. They find putting a particular alignment on their sheet to be a method to justify those actions. If you played without alignments they would still disrupt things.

But I did say usually. There are a few players who genuinely think that is the way they are supposed to behave.

I remember one who only saw the alignments in extremes.
Lawful was a straight jacket that kept him from doing almost anything.
Neutral was a balancing act. So he was always trying to keep good/bad, legal/illegal, etc... actions in roughly equal proportions.
Chaotic was random. He would actually usually roll dice to determine what he would do or say.
We couldn't seem to get him to understand any other way to look at the alignments. And he wasn't having fun with it.
He was very heart felt thankful when we decided to play without alignments.


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Ok, I just remembered one from long ago and far away in fabled hoosierville. This was an example of what I consider a GMPC done well.

Character was actually not intended to be a GMPC, just a short NPC. A warrior/rogue hired by the PC's for some odd profession, craft, and knowledge skills they needed for a mission, but capable enough to stay alive in dangerous situations. Much less powerful than the PC's. Feats were for survival. Gear was at the poor NPC level.

During the mission, just for the heck of it, the group was getting really bogged down in what to do next. So just to break up the arguments/deadlock, I had the guy suggest elaborate kool-sounding complex strategies. Twice the players thought I was railroading them (like a bad GMPC) but went along with it and followed the suggested strategy to nearly disastrous results. They finally figured out he was just an idiot and ignored his advice (much grumbling by the NPC).

The party decided to actually keep the guy and use his profession as their cover for moving through the nation. Every so often he would continue to provide bad advice which was always not followed.

A few times I was worried that the party would do something really stupid (past performance indications). So I used him to suggest that particular stupid plan. Just the fact that he suggested it instantly defined it as stupid, so they certainly wouldn't do it.
Eventually one of the players realized what I was doing, but didn't say anything to the others because he didn't like some of their less than brilliant tactics.

I consider this a well done GMPC:
-The PC's not the GM decided to keep him part of the group.
-Couldn't overshadow any of the PC's except in that profession/craft.
-Occasionally required a bit of effort on the part of the PC's to keep him alive. Sometimes they just sent him to hide, while they did the important stuff.
-Was not a major part of the plot. Nothing revolved around him.
-Influence on the story line was minimal and very subtle.
-I didn't write any of the story around him.
-I didn't provide any equipment or rewards specifically for him.
-I as GM had no investment in the character. If he died, I would have been a little bummed because I found it an amusing way to give them some negative advice. But I wouldn't have done anything fantastical to keep him alive.
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So yes, they can be done well. But I feel they usually are not done well. Even by me. The first few times I used them, it was a crutch for me as GM that hurt more than helped. And at least twice, the players expected the obvious GMPC to cause problems to the point where I couldn't hardly use it for anything since it would just be interpreted as poor GMPC'ing.

Generally speaking, I now avoid them if possible. Unless like the above example, it creeps up on me unexpectedly.


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I've seen GMPC done well. Having said that I've much more often seen it done poorly. And EVERY SINGLE ONE of the GM's that did it poorly thought they were doing it well. So be very careful it you want to consider trying it.

I have used them when necessary. But only with serious limitations.
- Try to find a different option first.
- Much less powerful than the worst PC or cohort in the group. I will use NPC classes like expert or warrior, lower point buy for abilities, lower level, or whatever to make sure there is no way the GMPC will overshadow the PC's.
- Clearly defined, limited, non central role. Never make a GMPC that is the face character. If it is, the players get to watch while the GM talks to himself. Yeah, that's fun. Same with scout. Just barely possible someone that can disarm traps that the PC's find, but not someone that will sneak ahead and/or find them for the group.
- Very simple build that requires nearly no time, decision, expertise, or attention to operate.
- If at all possible, I let one of the more capable players run the GMPC and only intervene if they are having it do something wildly out of character.
- Retire said GMPC as soon as reasonably convenient.

For example:
Group's lost a player due to work. His character was the only melee presence in the group.
First, I checked if the group wanted to try continuing without a melee presence. They did not.
Second, I asked if anyone was interested in making a new character that could operate in melee. They were not. They were all having fun with the characters they had been playing.
Third, I asked if anyone wanted to take leadership to get a melee cohort. Nope, one was considering leadership but he a different path planned already.
They suggested I just run the PC. A TWF cavalier/tactician. A moderately well built complex class. No way. Like 6+ rolls on a full attack with several damage dice and high crit range. Way too much and too likely to outshine some of the PC's.
I let them rescue Mr Meat. A human warrior 1 level lower than the party, 5 pts lower point buy, feats were the toughness/iron will/lightning reflexes/great fortitude variety, used a greatsword and had a lot of hit points. No knowledge skills, no social skills, and low perception. He wasn't doing anything but getting in the way of bad guys and doing a moderate amount of damage. Also he was so simple to operate that any of the players could easily run him along with their own PC and not feel overloaded.
As soon as it looked like we had another player joining the group, Mr Meat fell in love with a different NPC and ran off with her.
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Snowblind wrote:

...

Some define it as pretty much any NPC that tags along with the party on a regular or semi-regular basis.

Others define it as the GM trying to act like a player while they are being a GM.
...

That is actually a pretty good point. I've always used the first definition which includes within it the second definition.


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Got to share. A few nights ago at a public PFS event. There was a rather amusing situation.

We managed to finesse our way around the first encounter with no combat, just words.

Second encounter is a tense sneering at and threatening each other across the street with a gang of toughs.

One of the players says, "I walk right up to the guy in the middle and poke him in the chest, Are you really sure you want to do this punk?"

We're all thinking that he has a plan, for example, to surprise with high DC color spray or something like that. Gutsy, but still it's a pretty risky move for 3rd level sorcerer.
We're all waiting for him to say 'color spray' or 'sleep', but he doesn't. He just looks at the GM waiting for the punks response.
The GM finally shrugs and says "roll initiative."
The guy just grins and says "All right, I will ... ... ... HOLY CRAP! THIS IS MY SORC NOT MY WARPRIEST!"

We all just busted up laughing. It was hilarious.
We managed to just barely keep him alive (within 2 points of neg con).
The rest of the scenario, every time it was his turn we kept whispering to him "sorc, not warpriest."


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Mighty Squash wrote:
... I think I may be more bothered by catfolk existing at all (especially as a player race) than by their name in particular.

+ 637

off topic:
I was once in a large gaming group and 3 of the players always wanted to play some sort of cat race. They beg and plead with every GM (we rotated) to allow them some uber-awesome cat race.
When they came out with catfolk as a playable race we all rolled our eyes. Those 3 would be in ecstasy now. But they actually weren't. It wasn't good enough. Catfolk should have +6 dex, +4 to charisma, soft fall, darvision as well as low light vision, bonus to climb and jump, grab ability, etc...
They still played them every time, but constantly made a point of how they should be better. Always tried to be in charge, but not actually do anything. Run away from serious threats. Stuff like that. "But I'm just playing my character's race, what's wrong with that?!?"
Just to offset the situation, I made Snicker, a LN ratfolk ranger with favored enemy of catfolk. I optimized it to the hilt so they couldn't easily fight him. He didn't just attack them, but he wouldn't let them get away with all the crap they had been doing. Completely in character he made them pull their own share of the load and take risks with the rest. "I agree it probably is in your nature to be lazy and cowardly as a slinking cat. But since you profess to be civilized thinking beings, you are able to overcome your nature and behave as you should. If you chose not to, you certainly won't get the same share of pay as the rest of us. Or feel free to leave since you obviously are not a civilized thinking being."
More than just a bit passive-aggressive, but most of us thought it was hilarious. I think they finally realized they had been pushing it too much and backed off. Later any time the cat-ness started getting too extreme, someone would say something about the Grandson of Snicker being recruited into the group. Then the cat-fans would back off a bit.


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LazarX wrote:
The Terrible Zodin wrote:

Oh my, it annoys me.

Why would any intelligent race call themselves some-animal-folk?

It would be like us humans calling ourselves ape-folk.

The names in the Bestiary aren't generally what the races call themselves, but what Humans call them.

In that vein, they make perfect sense.

This.

In the draconic that they normally speak, Lizardfolk have some name for themselves. Let's say it is Sloomseth.
Some humans saw them and said "Hey those dudes look like great big, walking, and talking lizard! They must be lizardfolk."

At the same time; those Sloomseth are saying to themselves (in draconic), "Hey those dudes look like upright, hairless, and talking monkeys! They must be Monkeyfolk."

The translation books would show:
Sloomseth = Lizardfolk
Monkeyfolk = Human

And both groups will be offended when they learn the actual meaning of what the other calls them.


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132b. How much does your character weigh and how much gear is he carrying? Uhmm... ok, how much of that is in something like his backpack and how much of it is things like armor that are attached to him? Really? Ok, wow. This could be... Hmm...
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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
... 3-D print) minis of the PCs out of long-lasting hard cheeses. ...

What the heck kind of printer do you have and where can I get one?


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For the record, I am not anti-sandbox. I actually really like it some of the time.

I'm just saying it is not necessarily the ultimate gaming experience for some players. I could not begin to guess the fraction, but there is a significant portion of the community for whom a sandbox just doesn't click. They don't get it, they don't know what to do, and they only get frustrated.

Many people (especially in these forums) seem to be under the impression that a sandbox is the goal for everyone. Anytime it doesn't work there is either something wrong with the GM or with the players. I don't believe that to be true. It simply isn't a good match some of the time.

richard develyn wrote:
... 30 minutes arguing about what to do next, as long as it's in-game arguing, and good-natured, is great RP, and great fun.

It wasn't really in-game, wasn't really RP, it was really just ponderous.

Liberty's Edge

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Subject brought up at the end of another thread. What about letting people know which scenarios would really apply to their character?

ok, people are against picking scenarios for the reward:

I kinda understand the complaint about cherry-picking rewards, if it was hurting the other players. I do sorta understand how that bothers some people.
But only sorta. How does it really hurt Jim if Bob plays through scenario X only because it has Y? He obviously intends to succeed or he wouldn't get Y. So why does it bother you if he is playing for a different reason?

It does get kinda deflating when there are all these wonderful rewards, boons, story lines, people to interact with, situations, etc... that you never have the right character to use with them.

examples of what I mean:

I have a nagaji druid up to 5th level. He has yet to encounter a serpent or reptile of any kind. The most recent scenario is the only one with anything even slightly nature-ish. It was great. I had a bunch of fun with him doing his nature thing. Every other scenario he has been in was cities, towers, court, libraries, etc...
There are a bunch of scenarios that are nature-ish, but they were the ones where I happened to bring some other character.

A friend has an undead blasting life oracle at I think 6th level. He has encountered undead exactly once. In the confirmation. There were several that sounded like they would have undead. They may have had a couple of necromancers or outsiders, but no undead. Undead are actually fairly common in scenarios, but not the ones where he has been at the table.

I have a disarming/tripping build. Most of the scenarios he has been in, have been very few opponents to trip or disarm. Several times the description sounded like we would be up against humanoids with weapons. Nope, mostly snake bodies or flying with claws and spells, an ooze, traps, things like that.

I know another guy that was trying to make a long range crossbow sniper. There aren't a lot of them, but there are some scenarios that potentially have encounters at long distances. He hasn't made it into one of those yet with this character. The PC isn't useless, but I think he's going to drop it because he hasn't been able to do his specialty. Ever.

I have 7 characters of various levels. The only character who has been able to make use of his 'thing' on a regular basis is a magus that learned a bunch of weird languages just for the heck of it. Oddly enough he has just happened to sit at tables to make use of every wierd language more than once.

Don't get me wrong, we have had fun with every character in almost every scenario and all of them are well enough constructed and played that they always contribute. But almost every time, by about halfway through the scenario I find myself saying, "dang this would have been perfect for that other character instead of this one."

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

Like I said, I sorta see why you don't like someone picking a scenario for the chronicle sheet. But how about some other ways that it might be memorable to a character. Maybe you would be willing to give advice on picking a scenario for the challenge, story, or opponents?

Are you willing to say "Hey, this would be great for a worshiper of Desna. That really needs a diplomancer. Those 2 really make use of knowledge skills. The other really is great for those that hate Aspis. There are some great RP opportunities in that one for a Kitsune. Etc..." instead of who will like what rewards?

Sometimes you can get some of that from the name plus general product text. It should be pretty obvious to anyone that thinks about it that Library of the Lion will really make use of a bookish sort of character. But often you can not get any of that.

I will get into a very specific example with one that the title and description DO give you some info so I won't spoil anything for anyone.

Legacy of the Stonelords #6-00.
Very applicable for anyone that has a character that likes (or is against) dwarves and fiends.
That is enough to tell someone that it might be even more fun run with their Dwarf, Elf(old school prejudice against dwarves), anti-fiend paladin, or devil summoning Chelaxian characters. Yet, even if you hadn't read the description, I didn't give any information that would spoil the adventure or make you not want to run some other character.

Would you folks have severe heartburn if this sort of advice was provided to players?


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Sorry, lost connection.

Wall of text alert since it is a big topic.

To the OP, in some ways, this is an impossible to answer question.

Problem being, that different people like different things. Some people really like to optimize, role-play intense relationships, play joe average thrust into the heroic spotlight, gritty realism, light-fluffy fantasy, political intrigue, running a kingdom, etc…

In addition what people like changes over time.
A few years ago, my original gaming group got together to play an old ‘blue book’ game. We all had fun getting back together again. However we each expressed the same thing. “I had fun but the game just didn’t seem as good as it used to.” It was kinda confusing until I thought about it some more.
I eventually realized, I just don’t like that rules-lite type of a system anymore. One of the other guys just doesn’t like the simplistic good heroes and everyone lives happily ever after, even though he used to love it. Etc…

Having said that, we can make some suggestions of things that might more might not help some people.

A) One of the things you mentioned was related to the speed of the game. The game really does run slower than the original version. Some of that is inevitable due to it being a much more complex system. The original red and blue book together was everything you had and much less than just the CRB by itself. That is a heck of a lot of crap to learn and keep track of. There are orders of magnitude more options for build, items to purchase, spells to understand, combat choices.

On the other hand, there is a lot that can be done to alleviate some (but not all) of that.

A1) Preparation by both the GM and the players is a huge factor.
I’m not sure why, but many people seem to think that only the GM needs to prepare and know the rules. They show up at the game and only then begin to look at their character sheet, figure out what to purchase, how to advance the next level, etc… Also they seem to expect that only the GM needs to really need to know the rules very well. They will just say “I want to do X” and the GM will take it from there.
Folks, the GM already has a huge job. Please don’t pile more on him.
Figure out how to advance your character before game night. Maybe get advice on these forums or from a fellow player. If you do want to discuss it with the GM (which isn’t unreasonable), don’t do it while he is trying to run the game.
If you want to run a reach combatant, it makes sense that the GM and other players can expect that you have read/understood the reach rules. And if you summon creatures, you sure as heck better have all those complexities understood and prepared for.
This may be just a statistical blip, but recently I’ve seen several GM’s that appear to be reading the adventure for the first time while they are running it. How can anyone expect that to go well.
When I GM; I try to have my maps, minis, and monster print out ready the night before. I’ve read everything that I think will apply several times until I’m pretty sure I’ve got it down.
When I am a player: I have my character ready, I’ve read all my spells, checked the section for the combat maneuvers I know, have printouts of all my spells/monsters/weird items, etc…
I am well aware that things happen that you can’t prepare for. Recently a player tried to throw a caster into the black tentacles that he had created because it sounded kool. The PC wasn’t built for combat maneuvers, so wasn’t real familiar with them.
Once I had a caster that did NOT summon creatures. But we found a scroll of summon natures ally IV and really needed a distraction. Yeah, that went slower since I needed to look up the lists of possible and the choice’s stats.
Sometimes the party goes way off the rails and the GM needs to really adlib.
None of that is prepared for and it is not a problem. It is just the way the game goes sometimes.

A2) While the game is underway, there are a lot of things that help things go quicker.
Don’t shout over each other. That just makes things missed and have to be repeated. It slows things down as well as being rude.
Think about your actions while someone else is taking their actions and get ready. Occasionally the actions of the guy before you will change what you were going to do. But that is not usually the case.
Organize your dice. If I have a iterative attacking martial I have several sets of dice ready.
Red dice are my first attack, the black dice are the second attack, and the blue dice are the third attack. The d6 with pips instead of numerals is the energy damage. This is clearly written on my character sheet!
I roll them all at once. I give the GM the to-hit totals. I can quickly start adding the results.
Last week at a public venue, there was a guy with a high level two-weapon fighter with frost and holy on his weapons. He had one set of dice and rolled 1 die at a time, wrote down the result, added the total after he was done. It took him forever to full attack.
If you are bad/slow at math, consider running a build that doesn’t have much of it. For a friend of mine I built a caster that mostly uses buff and SOD spells. I also made him a skill/martial that usually charges (single attack) with the lawful property to take 10 on the die roll and the rest are static bonuses. He rarely rolls a die or has to do very much math for either character.

A3) Wing it. (I admit I have a lot of trouble with this one.)
Just because the is a rule doesn’t mean you have to find/follow it if it isn’t all that critical. I have seen groups that will spend 30 to 40 minutes looking up how to use every single aspect of a niggly rule for something really minor.
“If you don’t give us a name, I will feed you your own fingers!” Rolled an intimidate of 30+ vs the 2nd level pickpocket. You succeed. You don’t have to look up every single bonus to tell if it is a 36 or a 38. What is the exact rules interpretation of switching between diplomacy and intimidate (or if there is one). Etc… It doesn’t matter. Make a ruling and move on. If you feel it is needed, look it up later (not game night) so that if it comes up again it can be handled accurately quicker.

B) The ‘new’ feel.
I’ve noticed that a lot of AP’s and home campaigns do have a feel of sameness about them. There is a lot to be said for running with a theme, but sometimes it is too much. Let alone from one campaign to the next.
I used to know a GM that only wanted to run a combination of Ravenloft/Cthulu games. Almost only undead and horror/insanity checks. It got boring. After awhile. Pretty soon almost everyone wanted to run at least part cleric and max the wisdom saves. We had figured out the pretty much optimal set of buff and attack spells in each level range. Same-old-same-old…
But even within a single campaign it can be too much. If you campaign is “Battle against the forces of X” and that is all that happens it can get old. Ok, now you have 3 iterative attacks. What do you know; it still takes about 2-3 rounds to wipe out the encounter, we still lost about 1/4 of our hitpoints, and used up about 1/5 of our spells. What a coincidence.
Try to have section of the campaign that are significantly different in what challenges are occurring how they are to be resolved.
A campaign about a war could be sections for:
Learning that the kingdom is under attack and defending against the initial strike.
Trying to alert the king while others are trying to stop you.
Evacuate Bob’s Town and protect the slow moving train of refugees.
Make some spoiling attacks to slow down the enemy until winter sets in.
Garner allies from surrounding city-states during the winter.
Figure out who is the traitor in the royal palace.
Escort the prince on some actions against the enemy and make him come out looking like the hero.
Snatch the enemy’s holy relic.
Take out the god-king that sent them on this crusade against your home.
Then they are not all a seemingly endless stack of fights against very similar but slightly more powerful foes than the last time.

Other people don’t run AP’s or traditional campaigns. They run a series of modules/adventures and invent some reason to link them for the group. That usually forces a level of ‘difference’ that can keep it from becoming too stale for many people.
Every so often within a campaign, throw in a 1-shot that is a completely different sour of set-up.
Switch out who is GM sometimes. Even if it is the same campaign, let someone else run for a while. It is rare that two people run a game similar enough not to seem new.
Don’t run the same types of characters all the time. And be sure to play them with very different personalities.
Have your character grow and change as the game progresses.

C) Change games and/or groups every so often. Now this one isn’t for me, but I do know it works for some others.
I know a few people that change gaming groups every so often. They don’t necessarily have a problem with a group and they might come back to it in a couple years. Or if possible, they are in a few different groups at the same time.
Play PF for a couple of months. Switch to d20 modern. Maybe a Dresden files. Then the old d6 starwars. Mix in a little Space Heresy. Then back to PF. On to gamma world. Etc…
As I said, I don’t prefer these options for myself. Though I can deal with it if the group wants to change game systems or if a couple of players come and go every so often.
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So that was wall of text of general suggestions. Without more details on exactly what is causing you to be dissatisfied with your games, I don’t think I can be more specific.


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In some ways, this is an impossible to answer question.


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Hmm... Ok a few things.

I have both characters that max a stat and others that only make it 'high-enough to use' as well as others that are somewhere between.

I will often/usually dump a stat. Mainly because I think it is fun. Not too long ago, the stat generation method gave me a char whose lowest stat was an 11. I asked the GM to let me lower my wisdom to 8 (for no mechanical benefit) because my mental image for that guy was kinda clueless and unobservant.

I don't think I have ever dumped more than 1 stat. Though I might not raise a couple of them.

If I have a guy that has a 5 in strength or wisdom or intelligence or whatever, I role play him that way AND roll play him that way. Part of the fun is figuring out how to deal with and work around the dumped stat.
My weak oracle is basically going to cast ant haul any time he is carrying anything. he isn't going to offer to help break open the door because it would be stupid to try (even though mechanics says I have 7 in 20 chance of assisting for a +2 and no chance to hinder).
My 7 wisdom fighter has improved iron will and a maxed cloak of resistance. He's stubborn as a mule and doesn't like people messing with his head. But he still doesn't notice what is going on around him (perception -2).
I have also played a character that had a charisma of 6, but piled points into social skills in spite of that. Haven't you ever met someone that seemed unpleasant with no personality, but for some reason, they often seem to get their way at meetings/discussions?

Personal opinion time:
Unless you are making a One-Trick-Pony build, I think going for that penultimate 20 stat at level 1 is rarely worth it. Dropping your intelligence to 18 gives you quite a few points to put into wis, con, dex, or cha to make you much more survivable and versatile. It only changes your spell DC by 1. But it gives you more HP, AC, initiative, saves, social capability, etc...

Having said that, I sometimes build for that 20 dex because I want to be the most tricky/agile/quick person around. I do that even knowing it isn't the optimal thing to do, since it fits my concept.
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Separate topic. A lot of the argument/insult above is people intentionally not reading (or ignoring) what the other person wrote, taking it out of context, or taking it to ridiculous extremes.
I don't understand what that advantage they think that gives. You don't gain any money or other benefit from that last/longest/insulting post on a subject. You don't convince anyone they are wrong by ignoring or insulting them. It's really just silly. If one is not going to actually seriously consider what the other person has written, why bother posting at all?


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I agree that is a huge red flag that someone doesn't want to play, wants to be disruptive, or is RL depressed.

Having said that, I have seen players for whom this is the height of role playing. The reluctant hero. Other players are expected to cajole them into coming along and participating. There are piles of novels with that theme.

Unfortunately, these people have a hard time with the differences between what someone might like to read and spending half the evening talking someone into playing along. It is just a grinding chore not fun for most people.

On the other hand, some people have realized the problem or grown out of it. They will say their depressed character just wants to sit in the bar and drink. However, as soon as someone tries nearly anything to talk them into coming along will say something like "Well after a few more drinks and convincing Grundle agrees to accompany the others." So it doesn't really eat into the game, but everyone understands the characters attitude.
It is very difficult to do well though.


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graystone wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:
I only disagreed with bolded portion of your original statement, "Exotic weapons should be great..." I don't think that is necessarily true.

Everything in the game should have a reason and purpose for being. Weapons that are harder to learn and obtain SHOULD be harder to obtain and learn for a reason. Hand crossbow fails at every turn. it's simple to learn and use, not even having to learn how to winch it like a heavy one. I don't see how it's harder to obtain than a monks spade of a tube launcher so total fail there.

"It is not a common weapon that a professional warrior type would spend any significant time with.": Compared to "Sling-spears, tube arrow shooters, poison sand tubes, Syringe spears, Iron brushes and monks spades", weapons that ARE "common weapon that a professional warrior type would spend any significant time with" by your standards? I have an easier time seeing that "professional warrior type" with a hand crossbow than a poison sand tube... Again, total fail for a reason for exotics.

Legacy/'it's always been that way' is about the only reason for exotic status.

PS: I said "Exotic weapons should be great or at the very least better than simple and martial weapons.". I stand by that. As a category above martial, they should be special in some way. Something should justify it's cost but nothing does for the hand crossbow. As/is, it's pretty much a waste of ink/space.

I will try again.

Exotic - {meanings which could be applicable to this discussion}
1. of foreign origin or character; not native; introduced from abroad, but not fully naturalized or acclimatized:
2. strikingly unusual or strange in effect or appearance:
3. of a uniquely new or experimental nature:

That is not great or better than X. Something can very easily be exotic and yet totally worthless.
I have been looking for a different definition of exotic in the books. So far I have not found it.

Now in the history of the game exotic has been defined as: non-classically medieval weapons (oriental, firearms, drow, lasers, etc...), not usually used as a weapon, not a common weapon, or difficult to learn (dire flail). Or some combination of those. Depending upon which set of those you are using the hand crossbow may or may not fit into the exotic category.
I agree it is pretty simple to use, but it is also not commonly trained to warriors. RL History: As I recall it was the only thing allowed for elegant ladies to use for hunting (so of course no true man would touch one), assassins in a few cultures, and as a curiosity for sport hunting today.

Again, your whole second paragraph does not mean "Exotic should be better." What you wrote more closely means all those other weapons you mentioned were classified incorrectly.

I think "...Sling-spears, tube arrow shooters, poison sand tubes, Syringe spears, Iron brushes and monks spades..." should all be exotic weapons. They are unusual, rarely used by professionals, and extremely complex to use properly.
Think about it a monks spade, for example, is actually a pretty lousy weapon. It was used as a weapon because it could be carried by a peasant without him getting killed for it. Because it really isn't a good weapon. Yes, a small number of people are absolutely lethal with one. But that is because they spent an inordinate amount of time becoming an expert in its use.
Really it should require even more than just an exotic weapon proficiency. But game designers don't want to make it too difficult because fans want to use it.

Legacy is not the only possible reason for the hand crossbow being exotic. But I agree it is the most likely.

I never said the hand crossbow should be in the exotic category. I personally think that the fact it is so simple to operate should override the fact that it isn't normally used as a weapon by trained professions. Seems like it should be in the simple category to me.

But that has nothing to do with whether or not is great or better than anything else.


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First: This pretty much becomes "Who got the highest initiative? You win."
The martial grapple or otherwise lays into the caster so he can't cast.
The caster spams some max DC SoD spells on everyone else.

Sometimes you get a bit of a fight if they are all martials. But it still mostly comes down to who got initiative, then a glass cannon DPR build to take them down.

I don't think it works very well past about level 10-12.

Byakko wrote:

...

4) No pre-buffs or pre-battle preparations (not even hour/level)

...

Completely in-character, I would be tempted to cheat this. There is a lot you can do that makes other things nearly undetectable.


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graystone wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:
Personally, I was considering fie-forged steel for a polymorphing eldritch knight.
I take it you meant FIRE forged right?

Well either that or using the skin of the fee-fie-foe-fum giant.


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Detect Magic – I’m one of those grognards that liked needing to figure out what an item does and how to use it
Glitterdust
Mad Monkeys
Haste
Greater Invisibility
Fly (and similar) – makes a lot of supposed difficulties (like castle walls) too easy to bypass
Teleport – ditto

Another that I almost never see mentioned is Pilfering Hand.

Pilfering Hand:
How many adventures have you seen where the BBEG epic combat was primarily dangerous because he has the Ultimate Sword/Spear/Axe/Dagger/Staff/Bow of Doom? Probably a lot of the them. Nope, now I have it and he isn’t all that dangerous. Most write-ups don’t even have a backup weapon for the BBEG. If they do; it probably isn’t the weapon for which he has focus, specialization, improved critical. It certainly isn’t nearly as damaging. To say nothing about the divine focus and spell components that you can take from casters.
It’s only second level (eventually you always have 2nd level spells to burn). No save. It scales almost perfectly since it uses your caster level and casting stat. Most casters try to keep those max’d. Works with all those buffs that raise your attack roll. It can make use of Improved Disarm (which usually isn’t worth it for a caster, but with this spell, it can be). One of those semi-rare situations when true strike is worthwhile. Works well with a reach meta-rod or feat. Even with no shenanigans, 2 casting will almost always disarm the bad guy.
I’ve lost track of the number of ‘tough’ fights that became trivial after a use of this. “Oh, it took a while to finish him off since he was such a high level fighter. But we were in no danger with him using a mundane hand axe.”

In one campaign I remember:
A caster that dual wields wands. He had some power that let him use both in 1 round along with staff like wand power. But every time he would pull one out, I had a readied action to pilfer it. His CMD was awful so I almost never failed.
An antipaladin with some +3 sword that every hit bestowed a negative level, poison, disease, and a curse. Yes, you got a save for each, but 4 saves for every hit with 3 attacks each round when full attacking. Most characters would have failed a few and rapidly been in trouble. Potion of true strike. He attacked and almost killed our tank in one round. Pilfering hand and then move away. He was almost zero threat with his +2 dagger or shield bash.
Bad guy has rod that controls the iron golem. Nope, now I have it.
Bad guy is a cleric that is variant negative energy channeling focused. But without his unholy symbol…
I will admit, it didn’t help much against the vampire monk. ;)

I’ve had several GM’s ask me to stop taking that spell. It has wrecked a lot more combats at a lot of levels than I’ve ever seen with any other single spell that is usually mentioned.


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richard develyn wrote:

I've never understood the appeal of this feat.

Sure, doing lots of damage is sexy, but DR to one side I would have thought the most efficient way of dealing damage was with lots of little blows rather than with a small number of big ones.

In most cases any damage beyond taking an opponent down to -1 hp is wasted. Power attacking barbarians with greataxes are frightening but most of the time smashing someone down to -50 is just wasted effort. If by the laws of probability you were destined to do 100 points of damage over 4 rounds, you'd be better off doing it with 4 x 25 pt blows than with 2 x 50 pt ones.

Richard

I would say that yes, it is a very good feat. But I would also say that yes it is overvalued.

It is clearly great for some builds. Because of that 'some' people feel the need to put it on every single build that uses a weapon even part of the time. It isn't necessarily great for everyone.

A while back I was asking for some help with the progression for a kinda-gish PC. I wasn't doing enough damage because I was rarely hitting the opponent. Almost half of the suggestions I received, were to take power attack. Uhmm what? Then I will almost never hit. Yes, but then when you do hit it will be with some extra damage. It was weird. They seemed totally unable to see that it would significantly lower my damage in that situation.

IF you are a full BaB class, have a high attack ability score, lots of other bonuses to hit, use a two-handed weapon, are up against opponents that you can hit most of the time, etc... then it is very well worth it.

IF you are a 3/4 BaB class, only have a medium attack ability score, don't have many bonuses to hit, use 1 handed weapons, are up against very hard to hit opponents, etc... then it will only hurt you.


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On the one hand, I understand the complaint about cherry-picking rewards. I do sorta understand how that bothers some people.
But only sorta. How does it really hurt Jim if Bob plays through scenario X only because it has Y? He obviously intends to succeed or he wouldn't get Y. So why does it bother you if he is playing for an additional reason?

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

On the other hand, it does get kinda deflating when there are all these wonderful rewards, boons, story lines, people to interact with, situations, etc... that you never have the right character to use with them.

I have a nagaji druid up to 5th level. He has yet to encounter a serpent or reptile of any kind. The most recent scenario is the only one with anything even slightly nature-ish. It was great. I had a bunch of fun with him doing his nature thing. Every other scenario he has been in was sewers, cities, towers, court, libraries, etc...
There are a bunch of scenarios that are nature-ish, but they were the ones where I happened to bring some other character.

A friend has an undead blasting life oracle at I think 6th level. He has encountered undead exactly once. In the confirmation. There were several that sounded like they would have undead. They may have had a couple of necromancers or outsiders, but no undead. Undead are actually fairly common in scenarios, but not the ones where he has been at the table.

I have a disarming/tripping build. Most of the scenarios he has been in, have been very few opponents to trip or disarm. Several times the description sounded like we would be up against humanoids with weapons. Nope, mostly snake bodies or flying with claws and spells, an ooze, traps, things like that.

I know another guy that was trying to make a long range crossbow sniper. There aren't a lot of them, but there are some scenarios that potentially have encounters at long distances. He hasn't made it into one of those yet with this character. The PC isn't useless, but I think he's going to drop it because he hasn't been able to do his specialty. Ever.

I have 7 characters of various levels. The only character who has been able to make use of his 'thing' on a regular basis is a magus that learned a bunch of weird languages just for the heck of it. Oddly enough he has just happened to sit a table to make use of every wierd language more than once.

Don't get me wrong, we have had fun with every character in almost every scenario and all of them are well enough constructed and played that they always contribute. But almost every time, by about halfway through the scenario I find myself saying, "dang this would have been perfect for that other character instead of this one."

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

Like I said, I sorta see why you don't like someone picking a scenario for the chronicle sheet. But maybe you would be willing to give advice on picking a scenario for the challenge, story, or opponents?

Are you willing to say "Hey, this would be great for a worshiper of Torag. That really needs a diplomancer. Those 2 really make use of knowledge skills. The other really is great for those that hate Aspis. There are some great RP opportunities in that one for a Kitsune. Etc..." instead of who will like what rewards?


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Was traveling last week and tried to join a pickup game. Most of the players were so stuck in the way the game used to be that they literally couldn’t get the game started.

Ok, I will admit I am a grognard.
There is a lot about the 3.x/PF that I’ve really never been fond of and some things about the old versions of the game I really miss.
* Magic items. They are too prolific, emphasis on the +X items, easy to get exactly what you want, and people feel the game absolutely requires free access.
* Level/party/build appropriate encounters. I think the bad guys should do what makes sense for someone in their situation based on the resources the bad guys have. NOT based on how powerful/clever the PC’s are. If the PC’s are stupid they get squashed.
* Every single person carries around a click-stick.
* The number of people who refuse to use any sort of tactics because, “well charging usually works…”
* Power level. I think the classes get too powerful too quickly. I don’t care that you are one of the better combatants in the city, you should be able to beat a rhino to death with a stick or whip. It shouldn’t hardly be able to tell you are there.

On the other hand, there is a lot that is great and on the whole I prefer the changes incorporated into PF.
* The ability to customize (if you want) is amazing. If I want to make Abhorsen that specializes in sound magic, I can come pretty close to the book character. If I want a killer cleric that mostly uses a greatclub to huge effect in melee, I can build it. There is an absolute wealth of possibilities.
* Yet if you prefer, you can play CRB only and have a perfectly serviceable game.
* Internally consistent, relatively sensible, yet simple enough to be playable. I’ve seen a couple of system that seemed more ‘realistic’ but they always labored to ever get anything finished. Even relatively simple combats took hours and piles of bookkeeping.
* Broader base of enthusiasts. It is much easier to find a game because it appeals to more people as well as being more socially acceptable.
* Rules enough that I feel I know how to play the game but not so much that I feel I’m in a straight jacket. A big example is illusions. They are much more defined now. In the past a GM would change how he would rule them on a whim moment to moment. So I rarely took a chance on them because they were too unknown. Now there is still enough freedom that I can try something truly weird sometimes, but I also have a basis to know how the GM is likely to respond.

This group (GM and all but one of the players) was absolutely stuck in the old strength Fighter, dex Rogue, Arcane Caster (blaster), and Cleric (healbot) as the only role possibilities. The guy they apparently usually talked into running the healbot refused to do so again (good for him) and no one else wanted to do it.
I tried to explain how it really wasn’t needed and most groups don’t do that anymore. Especially at the low level they were playing. I offered to make a cleric that would be capable of using the wands and stuff to heal out of combat, but wouldn’t usually be healing during a fight. I am obviously an idiot, since that would be “just be a waste of everyone’s time. It is completely impossible to play without a healer. Everyone knows that if they have any experience playing at all.”
I also offered to make a ranger scout to handle the stealth, perception, and disabling activities. At their low levels magical traps are nearly nonexistent. But if they seem likely, there is an archtype that gives them the trap finding to deal with magical traps. Again… “We don’t need that. Everyone already wants to play a fighter type. We need a rogue or cleric for healing.”
Yeesh! After that short conversation, I wouldn’t have joined their group anyway. But I was tempted to stick around just to see how long it took them to convince one of the others to take one for the team. After about 20 minutes looking around the shop I left. They were still arguing about who had to play the cleric and rogue this time.


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First, any veteran player should be considerate enough to not build one of the highest tier damaging builds in a group with 3 new players to make them look bad. That's just rude and obnoxious. I'd have a talk with him about that.

Second, iteas:
- invisibility should be quite common at this level
- caster with pilfering hand to steal the bow from him (or improved sunder if you're feeling really mean)
- swarms
- wind wall (or some other walls)
- confusion (Our group encountered a band of bards who opened with a confusion from each of them. There were a lot of long faces when the archer failed his save and killed 2 of the other PC's.)
- narrow twisty corridors
- illusion of additional bad guys and/or all the bad guys look the same so he doesn't know who to shoot
- waves of hidden/invisible opponents, later waves know he is the danger to stop
- fast/hidden grappling creatures like mimics


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wraithstrike wrote:
Can'tFindthePath wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
VampByDay, if those are the things you got from the boards, you need to be more faithful about actually reading people's posts (and also the Core Rulebook) and really absorbing what's actually being said instead of what you assumed was coming once you got through the first sentence. Frankly, you have a lot of people to apologize to.

I must disagree. I have been haunting these boards for around 6 years, and I got the same exact impressions the OP listed. No, I did not exhaustively research every topic and read thousands of posts to track down every differing opinion, so as to "fact check". Many of us cannot keep up with the sheer magnitude of post output on these boards. But, I have consistently seen the same or similar "absolutist" opinions that are being discussed, and I drew the same conclusion as to the prevailing attitude toward the subjects outlined by OP.

I think many of you are being very hard on the OP. In fact I have rarely seen so many well considered opinions posted on these varied topics in all my years here.

I don't fall into the trap of the absolute opinions, just as I don't go for all the "optimization", but I can easily see how someone could.

Extreme viewpoints get noticed because they are extreme. That does not make them the majority. If I look into the first 5 threads on each topic and I actually count posters the ones with extreme points matching what the OP said will be the minority. I am sure of that.

Agreed they are more noticeable because they are extreme. Sometimes they are also more numerous.

Couple years ago, I had a big long post with almost everyone acting like I was a complete moron because I was trying to help a friend build a combat healer. He was familiar with PF and wanted to try a combat healer and his party was ok with him making the attempt.

Almost no matter what I posted or the couple of people trying to help me posted, there would be 1-5 posts declaiming it as an awful idea. They were very clear on the NEVER heal in combat over-and-over-again.
After a few pages of that I actually checked the posters aliases.

Turned out there were actually only 2 guys using multiple aliases just to make sure they massively shouted down everyone else. I sometimes look for that now.

Don't know how often it actually happens, but I have seen a least a few instances of a small number of people actively working to seem like a large number of people to promote some absolutist extreme point of view.

It's one of the reasons I really wish these boards had an 'ignore' function.


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Personally, I do not really recommend the crossbow. At low levels acid splash has a much better chance to hit and does nearly as much damage over time. What it doesn't have is range, but that isn't usually needed in PFS. So a lot of sorcs will use a couple of prestige for a wand of magic missile for those times when range is needed.

After a few levels when acid splash is a complete waste of time (xbow would also be a complete waste of time) you almost never run out of spells anyway.


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Aubrey the Malformed wrote:
... Someone who is motivated enough to post up a decent character in a jiffy is likely to be excited by the game and motivated to keep on posting. ...

Just be aware, there are a lot of us that can’t make a decent character that quickly. It has nothing to do with my enthusiasm or motivation for the game.

Yeah sure, I can slap together an NPC or short term PC for a one-shot in a few minutes. But to make a character I like, that is self consistent, interesting, developed, and that I will want to play for a long time – that normally takes me days (minimum) to completely round out a character. I have spent weeks working out the details of some of my favorite long term characters.
Some GM’s will say, “just give me the concept right away,” but for me it changes constantly throughout the process.

For example: Just last weekend, I applied for a PbP. If asked right at the beginning, it would have been a dwarf buffing cleric of Torag (secondary melee) trying to find what happened to the missing miners. I started playing with background and builds. The skills I’d need. The capabilities I wanted. Attitudes toward others and motivations to self. What I was tired of in previous characters. Etc…
By the time it was done, I have a religious ‘Indiana Jones’ half-elf inquisitor of Desna trying to find a lost artifact.

It took me most of the weekend to get it all together. Even that fast was only possible because I had the whole weekend relatively free to cogitate on it. Usually it takes me longer than that. I don’t yet know if I’m in or not, but if he only took the first 6 applicants, I wouldn’t have a shot.
The only possible way I could get into a FCFS game would be to have a ‘stable’ of pregenerated generic PC’s that I tried to quickly modify the fluff to fit each game application. But every GM says they hate those.


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The appropriateness of this depends a lot upon your group. If they are tactical, scout, prepare, buff, non-glass cannons, experienced, and/or optimize well - it might be pretty easy for them. If however, they tend to just stomp through dungeons with no planning or tactics - this could hurt a lot. I would guess, this is pretty much the limit I would try for most 3rd level groups. But only you really know your group.

This is a kinda 'swingy' boss fight. If several fail the saves on radiance or sound burst, a few barbarian crits, and he hits with a couple of searing light, you could easily have a TPK with this. I'm not necessarily saying that is a bad thing. Just want to make sure you are aware.
I am one of those that tend to believe many games are too easy. You said the players know the 'lethality knob' has been turned up and are ok with it. So I don't see it as a problem.


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I don't think any 1 word (or other tiny number of words) classification system can really encompass a system as complex as PF has become.

Given that, I think the Hammer, Anvil, and Arm comes close.
Soon after reading about this classification system we had a group one time that was making new characters for a one shot adventure. Of the 5 players; 1 planned to bring an anvil, 1 arm (me), and 3 hammers. it seemed like a decent mix. Except...
Game day we all had squishy primary casters. There were 2 blasters, a SoD caster, a debuff/CC caster, and a buff caster. We had a good laugh and decided to try it anyway. But we had extreme difficulties keeping all the bad guys far enough away to have time to cast any spells. Sure if we had the time, the concentrated spells were devastating. We also had to worry about not using up all our good spells too fast.

But I prefer to match that with Martial or Caster as well as Close or Ranged.

If someone says they are making a Close-Martial-Hammer, then I can pretty clearly judge what they see as their role in combat. Probably a barbarian or fighter melee beat stick.
If I hear Close-Caster-Anvil that tells me something else. Maybe a cleric or oracle focusing on touch range debuffs.
In our above situation, every player would have said ranged and caster so we would have known there was a potential problem.

[Slight Derail]
I know this thread is primarily about combat roles, but I also try to get people to give a little bit about their out of combat roles. "I also have condition removal, face, UMD, monster knowledge, catching lies, tracking, sneaking, dealing with traps, utility spells, divinations, etc..." something. I personally really dislike it when players make characters that have only combat roles. The player almost always either is either disruptive (because they are trying to generate a fight so they can participate) or not paying attention (because they are bored). [/Slight Derail]


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wraithstrike wrote:
Space McMan wrote:
My wife wants the frontliner role, but hasn't picked a class. How much power would it add to the inquisitor class is she went melee inquis and I went bow inquis and we coordinated on teamwork feats? Would the synergy be cancelled out by us bringing the same spells to the party, or would it bring the overall value of both of our characters up?

One thing I like about this game is that two people can play the same class and bring different things to the table. The overlap is more about how you play the class, than the class at times. As an example if the party rogue is trying to be the scout and party face, and you play a bard who does similar things then you might step on his toes. But if you had been a rogue who focuses on other skills, there would be little overlap.

To answer your question: If you and your wife play inquisitors your teamwork feats are not likely to do much because one of you will be ranged. If both of you were melee it would work better. Most of the teamwork feats are not really that much of factor except in very specific circumstances.

If your wife wants the frontline role she might want to go barbarian. They can also have some utility so she does not get bored with just hitting things.

Personally, I disagree with some of this.

No, there doesn't need to be a huge overlap between 2 inquisitors. You don't get all that many spells known, so it is easy to not duplicate. Inquisitors get lots of skills, but it is easy to specialize in different skills. Feel perfectly free to have 2 inquisitors.

I very much disagree with the comment of the teamwork feats not being a factor except in very specific circumstances.
For some reason it seems to be fairly difficult to talk people into trying the teamwork feats. However, nearly every time I've seen people actually give it a try, they were amazing.
Just having the teamwork feats helps people actively consider ways to work together as a team rather than collection of individuals.
There are a couple of teamwork feats specifically intended for a ranged/melee pair. (Don't remember the name off the top of my head.)
Several are defense and/or movement teamwork.

Consider the feat Stealth Synergy. A lot of people will tell you stealth is a complete waste of time for a group, unless everyone completely specializes in it. Someone will roll bad and then the attempt is ruined. But we had a group of 5 people all take it. That is 5 rolls of the dice and everyone uses the highest number rolled. Even with only moderately decent stealth modifiers, we were almost never discovered getting into position.

Consider the feat Escape Route. Two people attempting to cover each other and with the inquisitors solo tactics ability, can run almost at will around the edges of a combat.

Consider the feat Shake it Off. Inquisitor in the front line and the archer standing right behind. Assume a 5-6 person group in a double file. This feat along with solo tactics, you both have a +3 to +5 to all your saves. A lot of people will tell you that Iron Will with a +2 to your will saves is worth while. If you make some effort the can be a +3 to al saves most of the time.

Not all of them are great for all builds. But they are better than most people think. Especially for inquisitors, cavaliers, and hunters. And most especially if you make some effort to try and gain the benefits.


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Hmm... I've been looking at some of the PFS scenarios I've done to see where an opponent might be likely to have come from. Examples might include:

PFS messed up the plans of the Zyphus cult in the Among the X series and some ratfolk in the Rat of Round Mountain. So a Zyphus cultist or a fallen clan ratfolk might be interested in vengeance.

Some of it might depend on what level you want to start at for believability of the background. But it is certainly doable.

You thinking more along the lines of a group of do-gooders opposing the not really all that good PFS?
OR
More of a potentially evil group trying to take over the niche, organization, and discoveries - more like the Aspis Consortium (maybe even including some of their members)?


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NO, NO, NO ! ! !

Don't you guys know anything? You have to let him think he is dead first. Otherwise, how will he know how wonderful you are for saving him?!? sheesh


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LazarX wrote:
Rastrum wrote:
Isn't master summoner explicitly called out as being mostly for solo adventures, and being DM discretion to allow otherwise?
Don't know about that, but I do recall that even James Jacobs bans the summoner almost entirely from his home games. The Master and the Synthesist are banned from PFS play.

Most people that I know and PFS ban it due to the way it bogs down the game rather than the actual power level.

Well played and built Druids and Wizards are stil substantially more powerful.


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Just remembered another thing I had to learn for the more recent versions of the game.

Back in my AD&D and 2nd Ed days, we could usually run the modules as written. They were normally decent to challenging for the average player.

Most of the time, this is NOT the case for recently published material for PF. The AP’s are written for using 15 point buy for PC’s (most groups use 20 or 25), for players (many groups have 5 or 6 players), and most importantly they assume pretty much neophyte players without much system mastery (yours and many other groups have much more than that). That can make a huge deal.

I usually find that any encounter that was intended to be significant or challenging I basically have to re-write and massively up the power level. I double quantity, add class levels, optimize builds, adjust tactics, add traps, environmental barriers, add hostages, and/or improve equipment.

If I don’t, they just waltz through the entire thing without any real effort. Quickly becomes boring for everyone.

It took me a while to accept the significant power difference between the minimum assumed by the authors and what my experienced players actually bring to the table.


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Experiment 626 wrote:

...

It the summoner drops them in the right square, they'll attack the correct enemy. If you, as the GM, allow it, he can drop different birds in different squares, setting up a flank. ...

Agreed. Eagles show up and decimate first goblin. I don’t have a problem with that. I meant after that, they are just going to move on to which ever enemy is closest to each individual eagle. They won’t all move toward the chief/shaman and surround him for flanking and to prevent an escape route. That would be several handle animal checks.

.
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Otherwhere wrote:

I can't believe Paizo thought that extending the duration by a factor of 10 wasn't broken!

Cause it really isn’t.

Ok, you fight in a room. Typically they search the room. That is about a min for each square. Summoned creature gone.
Ok, didn’t search the room. The rogue sneaks down to the next door, listens, comes back to tell the rest, searches for traps, picks the lock. Summoned creature gone.
Ok, didn’t search the room and didn’t sneak to the next. There is usually discussion on what to do next, healing wounds, picking a route, travel time, etc… Summoned creature gone.

My experience has usually been that even with the increased duration they are gone before the next fight. Unless of course the whole party is sprinting from encounter to encounter without searching, stealthing, investigating anything. If they are sprinting from encounter to encounter, that should give them other problems.
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Otherwhere wrote:

...

Ugh! Yeah - I'm still dealing with him at just lvl 3, and have to let him know he can't summon Fauns. I need to research the others on the list. Any opinions on the Grig or Pseudodragon?

Lantern Archons will be the next pain when he gets there.
...

As GM I haven't found any need to tell them to not summon any given creature. personally, as a summoning PC I try to summon different things all the time just for variety.

All of them have issues and weakness that intelligent opponents can make use of. Do they really shine sometimes? Sure! That's a good thing.

The eagle is the combat machine on the SM 1 list.
SM2 it is usually the small elemental or the lemure.
SM3 it is the lantern archon though the leopard is also pretty good.
SM4 usually the lion but sometimes the wasp.

But none of them are really all that great in most circumstances. Lantern archon cuts through DR and flies. Great! But it’s about as durable as a clay pot. Reasonable archer or burning hands at that level and they are gone having done just a little damage. Compare it to the damage of a 5th level fireball from a wizard in one round. Not that much.

Now if you have opponents that have DR you can’t get through and they don’t have and ranged attacks, spells, or flight capability. The lantern archons will start to rack up the damage numbers eventually. But if the bad guy can’t get to the archons, what is he going to do? Just stand there and curse at them? No, he’s going to charge the guy summoning them. So it actually can put the summoner at more risk by making him a target.

Otherwhere wrote:

...

Man - this archetype is looking more and more unattractive as a GM.

Again, you have a player that like to make a powerful PC. That is really your issue. Not the master summoner archtype. A vanilla druid could be doing even more with him and his AC both being great in combat. An average cleric could be doing as much and yet be more durable. A standard wizard could be doing more with lots of other options.

The only thing the archtype gives him is that it is easy to make powerful. From what you have said, he doesn’t need that “easy to make powerful.” He will take the time to make anything powerful. So if he were to run a magus, wizard, cleric, druid, sorc, barbarian, etc… he would still make a powerful character and would still outshine your other players that don’t make powerful characters.


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Otherwhere wrote:

... But the bigger issue for me is how to handle a MS regardless of campaign. MOST people say: "Don't! Ban it!"

...

Well you see that a lot online, but I actually don’t hear it that much in person. Very few people I’ve met ban very much for being overpowered. Or if they do, they ban a whole bunch of stuff trying to make it feel like AD&D which is nearly impossible.

In my opinion, you are doing it best. Trying to figure out how to handle it without banning.

Otherwhere wrote:

...

To get back to your question: this player has a knack for power-gaming. I don't think it is conscious and deliberate, but if I allow him to choose something he always homes in on something OP. ...

Well here is your issue. If someone likes to make powerful characters and is halfway good at it, he is going to be able to do it no matter what you ban.

I could get much more powerful with a druid. The animal companion would be more powerful than the master summoner’s eidolon, the druid would fight better than the master summoner, the druid is a better caster than the summoner, and he can summon many more creatures in a day than a master summoner. It gets even worse if I use the saurian shaman archtype.

For next campaign (or if this PC dies and is not recoverable) you might try a side conversation with the player. “You usually are very good at making powerful characters, but I think it is making some of the other players feel sidelined. Not saying don’t optimize, but maybe you could try optimizing starting with something that isn’t as powerful and seeing how good you can get that. Like an arcane trickster isn’t all that high on the power curve, but if you optimize it well, it should be in the same ballpark as the others. Or you could optimize something that makes the others strong so they don’t feel left out. Ex: buff casters or the halfling aid another specialists.” It might not have any result, but it is worth a try.
Personally, that is what I do as a player. I like to optimize more than most of the people I play with. But I try to start with something that my optimal version won't over shadow the others and/or it strengthens the others.

Purple Dragon Knight wrote:
Otherwere: maybe it's just me, but if the situation was reversed (i.e. the DM is throwing a Master Summoner at us, which would be part of a party of other enemy NPCs) my PC would yell: "FIRE AT WILL ON THE BLASTED SUMMONER!!" Most of our party would pool all attacks on this guy until he stops summoning. ...

All of my players know that intelligent enemies will use tactics at least as clever as the PC’s. If the PC’s are smart enough to focus fire on the caster/summoner then intelligent opponents will do the same. Note: I wouldn’t expect all goblins to be that intelligent. But some of them should be. Especially after repeated exposure.

The goblin leader screams, "All you biters throw both vials at the funny looking poofter hiding in the back!" When 6+ vials of acid sail over toward the summoner he might get a bit scared.
Plus I would say cowardly goblins might attack the squishy looking characters just because they look like less of a threat.


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Experiment 626 wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:
that's one of the reasons I wouldn't let a beginner run a summoner. I don't think they are over powered, but there is a lot to learn and be organized. Alchemist, druid, magus, gunslinger, etc... Some of those just have a lot to them. I would rather a player learn the basic lego set before they start working with solid state mechanics.

That's interesting, because I think it's more fun to walk people through the steps and turn them loose with a summoner. They have one main trick, but such a trick!

Its relevant at all levels. You can have their eidolon suggest things to them, in character. They don't have to deal with the mind-numbing mechanics of fighters ("I full attack. Again.") or the soul-crushing disappointment of rogues.

Its "battlefield controller guy" on easy mode. As I mentioned above, I felt like I was on vacation when I was playing it. Thusly, I had a lot of mental space available for roleplaying instead of frantically searching my character sheet(s) for just the right solution to the problems we encountered.

I can see what you are saying, but there is potentially also a lot of fiddly bits in all the different crap you can summon.

Can you speak the language?
Fly, climb, swim, grapple, trip, poison, disease, swallow, handle animal, CMB, CMD, trample, DR/good, slime coating, earth glide, whirlwind, drowning, etc...
Many of them also have spells to learn.

If you are careful to only pick the easy to run creatures, you can avoid most of that. But anyone that wants to be a summoner probably doesn't want to just use the simple creatures.

Also from what you said, you are there to explain it to them and help them through the pitfalls and complications. This case is the GM also learning the system.
And honestly, I am not the greatest GM in the world. When I am GM I find it hard enough to keep track of all the rest of the world. It is tough for me to also devote too much effort to helping one player with a pile-o-complications.
If I was a fellow player sitting next to him, I wouldn't have a problem helping him out. But I find it difficult when I am also GM.

Also, I don't think I've ever told a player "Don't play X."
I have told players, "It is complex and difficult for a new player, many of the abilities won't apply during this campaign, nearly everyone online agrees that it is one of the least powerful classes, that is a tough one for beginners, or this requires a lot of organization."
If they still want to try, we'll give it a go.

Not too long ago we had a new player. Hadn't played DnD since 2nd Ed but had played some other RPG's in recent years. He immediately fell in love with the magi. We explained the difficulty and that our campaign was already in progress at level 9+ (so he wouldn't be learning it from the early levels). He wanted to give it a try. Sure, we let him.

He did have a lot of difficulty with it. Pretty often, he was making poor choices and nearly dying from them. It took him a good while to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of that build. He really only got the hang of gish-weapon-spell combat about the time the campaign retired around level 15. But we all had fun and he did learn the system.


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Otherwhere wrote:
Experiment 626 wrote:

I can see how the summoner gets a bad rep. The SLA ability knocks it out of the park at low levels.

...
Or, just leave it as is, and let them enjoy their nova 1 or 2x/day if they so choose. Beyond 5th level, I don't think its going to be much of an issue except for turn hogging.

A Summoner wouldn't seem too bad. It's teh Master Summoner that is making me have to question: do I change this or can I deal with it on my end as GM?

Also: I'm over 50. LOL My 35+ years is actual gaming experience, starting with D&D back in 197-something. So I'm not a noob when it comes to trying to run a table. But PF has so many rules, and new ones added all teh time, it has been hard to stay on top of. Plus all the new rules for new classes and archetypes.

So, like I said, I try to educate myself and learn to be a better GM. This is a challenge and will earn me more system mastery, that's for sure!
Fly checks, animal handling checks; concentration checks; 5'-steps; and AoO; etc.,etc.

Well, I'm not quite in the 50+ category. But I'm not that far off.

Pretty often when someone is switching from an earlier version to PF, I suggest starting with just the CRB for a while, then add a few of the other books, then a few more, etc... That lets them learn all that crap in more manageable blocks rather than one huge lump-o-stuff.

The other thing I suggest is exactly what you are doing now. Come to the boards for advice. But you don't need to have all the stuff like fly checks and handle animal checks memorized. You checked with us and now you know about it. Make the player learn all that crap and just occasionally spot check him to make sure he is doing it correctly.

"Ok, did you have it successful make a fly check to hover while it is full attacking? Did you make your handle animal check to get it to leave off from the goblin and attack the chief? Did you make another to get it into flanking position?"
When he says I only needed 1 check at a DC=13, remember that. Next day check and see if he was right. "Nope, you needed 2 checks. One was DC=13, but the other was DC=18. Remember that next time." If you find he keeps screwing it up tell him he can't use that type of creature until he can learn the rules properly. (I just made up numbers, I didn't bother to look them up for the example.)

That is perfectly legit and not at all mean spirited. A responsible player learns all about what he is trying to do. It is not fair to just learn the positive stuff and make all the negative stuff the GM's responsibility. Don't let them put you in that box.

that's one of the reasons I wouldn't let a beginner run a summoner. I don't think they are over powered, but there is a lot to learn and be organized. Alchemist, druid, magus, gunslinger, etc... Some of those just have a lot to them. I would rather a player learn the basic lego set before they start working with solid state mechanics.


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Not always, but often when I hear about the Summoner or Master Summoner is OP because of X.
It has usually been that the rules, restrictions, conditions, etc... were not actually being applied correctly.

Eidolons should always be checked by multiple people. They seem to usually be screwed up.

The summoned animals are stupid. They should only fight with the combat tactics of that kind of animal.
(I once heard of someone having a lion sunder the spell component pouch and holy symbol of a cleric. Just no.)

Most casters can't communicate with most summoned creatures so there are limits to what you can have them do.
{My sorc learned all the elemental languages, celestial, infernal, and abyssal. Plus he UMD's a wand of speak with animals. But that takes planning.

The eagle is kinda ridiculous at SM1. But its attacks don't have a great to hit chance. Should be making fly checks all the time, doesn't have much durability once your opponents are even halfway decent, and it's a stupid bird.

This also seems kinda more powerful because it is almost a situation written for a master summoner. "You see a horde of goblins. Yeah well I throw my horde of eagles at them." It is literally what they are best at.

Edit:
What if the opposition instead of 6 Goblins was 3 Hobgolins in breastplate with large shield? Now suddenly almost none of those eagle attacks will get through. His summoned creatures will absorb a few weapon attacks, but that is about it.

If you make a channel focused cleric for an undead campaign, it will also seem way hugely powerful.

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