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Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,710 posts (9,471 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 9 Pathfinder Society characters. 15 aliases.

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Ever had the contingency spell end up being a really bad choice? A friend and I were talking about some old games. The subject came up from some things that had happened to one of my characters.

Long time ago I had a character that was mostly just very hard to kill tank. Throughout most of his adventuring campaign he was rarely all that close to dead even when many the other were unconscious. At some point we found one of the old staves that would explode on breaking, but we didn't have anyone that could use it. At some later point someone offered to cast a few high level spells for each of us as a reward. I got a contingency to cast some powerful AoE spells on staff when my character died. We all figured everyone else would be dead or at least smart enough to move away from him in that circumstance and I would have a decent chance to take some powerful bad guys down with me. This was back when it was permanent until activated and could hold several spells. Then I promptly for got about it.
Several levels (and RL months) later, my PC agreed to trade his life to buy the release of some important hostages. (Totally in character for that guy.) Ended up taking place on ship board meeting between 2 vessels. The GM even had me make a couple of wisdom and intelligence checks for reminders. I rolled in the low single digits every time. Right after I put my head on the chopping block, the GM says "Ok, the axe is swinging down... Let me see exactly what you have written down for that contingency spell from last fall." Wait what?!?
The explosion/spells sank both ships, killed most of the bad guys, the hostages, most of our allies, and a few of the PC's.

More recently, had a character going into a very lethal situation. We certainly did not expect very many of the party to survive. Campaign BBEG, super secret stronghold, annex of Hades in our world, yadda yadda...
My caster uses a contingency and teleport. If PC dies, teleport to the chamber of the high priest of the sun goddess. Already paid him for a resurrection, heal, and what ever other condition removals are needed. I even left some backup gear with him just in case. Like I said, was expecting it to be lethal. Then I would be able to prep a little bit and pop back to aid my fellows. All planned out for the worst case.
Only it wasn't quite the worst case.
We are working through the lair. In his office We got a list of names that are traitors working with the BBEG. All good info for cleaning up after word. GM is still smirking though.
We're in a later fight with some sort of constructs and a bunch of 'dimension step' assassins. All of a sudden in the middle of the fight, my brain suddenly makes a connection. I recognize the 3rd name on the list at the same time as the GM is rolling the dice for the assassins flanking me. I don't have a chance to say anything before I died. That 3rd name on the list is the high priest of the sun goddess.
After a short while my character does teleport back to the others, but he is now a skeletal champion/sorcerer blasting his former allies with debuff/curse spells. Becoming the skeletal champion also removed most of the weakness that had been plaguing my sorcerer. I ended up being a tougher fight than the BBEG.

The group all threatened to immediately kill any of my characters that tried to use contingency after the second time.

You have any stories of contingency gone wrong?

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"It would appear you are of two guts on the matter."

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Snowblind wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:

Guess I should add:

5) Can be affected by your history.
Some GM's tend to pick a small number of very powerful creatures. In this case, they tend to have a higher to hit bonus then even the monster melee machines and will rarely miss unless you have a really sky high AC.
Some GM's like large numbers of moderate opponents. In that case, your experience will tell you that a decent investment in defense can have a big payoff, but still leave you plenty for respectable offense.

I favor large numbers of moderate opponents.

... hoping defense will let you weather the storm is a terrible idea that leads to getting entangled, tripped, flanked and murdered by longspears and ranseurs. ...

Didn't say anything remotely close to 'hoping defense will let you weather the storm' in my post. I certainly didn't suggest ignoring good tactics.

However, let's assume we have a bunch of bad guys that do not have +367 to hit and 9132 hit points and are instead individually substantially less powerful than the PC's.
A very slight reduction in offensive might will often not significantly affect the number of hits required to take an opponent out of the fight.
Yet that very slight reduction in offensive focus converted to defensive options can make a pretty significant decrease in the number of hits received.

If you are say a 8th-10th level character (focused entirely on offense) wearing a mwk chain shirt and have a dex of 12, your AC is 15. Most of even the crappy opposition at mid levels will hit you almost every time.

I did not say focus entirely on defense, but at those levels it is relatively cheap to have AC of ~25 and say a 20% miss chance (or some other non-AC defense). Now a noticeable number of attacks will not be doing damage to your PC and your reduction in offensive power is probably negligible against those opponents.

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It is a few things working together.

1) Preference: Think about a soccer team. How many people want to be the striker scoring goals and how many want to be the goalie stopping the other team from scoring goals?
Same kind of thing. Most people would rather be the one taking the enemy down, so that preference leads them to focus on offense.

2) Mechanics: The system as a whole tends to reward offense more than defense. There are more feats that effectively boost offense. There are more stacking buffs for offense. Offense is easier in this system than defense. You have to work pretty hard to get enough defense to make a significant difference.
A lot of people se virtually no difference between a AC=10 and an AC=25 at mid levels. Most any significant opponent is still going to hit the AC=25 almost all the time. So what did that gain you?

3) RL Time: If you have very many PC's with a bunch of defense (which means less focus on offense), often the fights will tend to drag on forever. Some people don't like that. They want it over in 2-3 rounds whatever the results.

4) No Significant Consequences: Early campaign, it doesn't really matter how much you got hurt as long as you don't quite get killed. Wands of CLW are stupidly cheap and easy to procure. Mid campaign you don't even have to worry too much about death since raise dead becomes available. Late campaign the PC's are so rich that even the resurrections are a meaningless cost.

Taken together, these things push a lot of people to focus almost exclusively on offense.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:

You are a member of the pathfinder society: a lose collection of murderho..erm.. adventurer archaeologists, explorers treasure hunters, adventurers and vagabonds from across golarion. You make a character. Go on an adventure, get a sheet. Get three sheets you level up.


Have something you can do in combat, have something you can do out of combat: Talky face stuff, knowledge skills, sneaky rogue stuff.

I would like to emphasize the bolded portion from BNW.

Not all, but some home groups are perfectly ok with completely dividing things up. This PC only fights in melee. That PC does all the talking. This other PC does all the sneaking. At he just blows carp to pieces with magic. Etc... The PC's are all very specialized.
That level of specialization is not only not necessary in PFS, it can actually be very severe hindrance. A PFS table is usually a random collection of individuals who then need to learn to work together very quickly.
You might not have a super optimized combat machine that can handle all the fighting for you, so you need to be able to do something in a fight. Might be that, none of the guys at the table have a super diplomat bard with +467 in all the social skills, so you might have to help out when talking to others is necessary.

I try and get people to have an answer 4 for questions.
1) What is your primary role/activity in combat? I was planning to hit things with an earthbreaker. That’s good.
2) What is your secondary role in combat, when the primary doesn’t work? What do you mean? It might be a wizard on top of a cliff throwing lightning bolts at you. Oh, I will buy a good strength rated composite longbow. Works for me.
3) What is your primary role out of combat or in social situations? I was planning on ranks in survival so I can track bad guys. Certainly worthwhile in some situations.
4) What is your secondary role out of combat or in social situations? Uhmm… Well I have a little bit of wisdom, so I could put some ranks and a trait toward sense motive to tell when people are lying to us. Excellent. Might even be more useful than the tracking.

I personally, usually also have a tertiary role in and out of combat. But a primary and secondary is usually good enough for a successful career.

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Claxon wrote:


I'm no structural engineer so I can't tell you which ones would be load bearing based on that picture. However, a DC X know(engineering) could.

Also consider, it is unlikely the person that made that picture is a structural engineer. So I wouldn't rely all that heavily on analysis of the picture anyhow.

If collapse would inhibit the story, give it a high DC knowledge engineering check.
If collapse would promote the story, give it a low DC knowledge engineering check.

Claxon wrote:
Stone to flesh on some load bearing walls would make quick work. ...

I once had a group that used stone to flesh on a wall. Then set down to luch. Ewww.....

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redward wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:
I have been verbose, because I would prefer the policy to change.
To clarify, are you saying you want it to be explicitly allowed for players to read chronicle sheets so they can be aware of rewards prior to playing a scenario?

Hmm... That is probably stating it to strong.

I would prefer fore knowledge of chronicle sheet rewards to not be a thing that is addressed at all.

But particularly, I would like for someone to be able to say something like "Hey I heard there was spear that gives a shield bonus. Which scenario is that?" and get an actual answer rather than being verbally flayed alive.

I see nothing wrong with the lists that some people have started with items/boons that can be found in scenario whatever.
(I really disagree with the people that say knowing X item is on the sheet gives someone a tremendous advantage in the scenario. That is really reaching to try and find something wrong.)

I would like for people to not be looked down on and accused of cheating (at least in spirit), because they want to get something with the character that can use it.

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I've been rereading a few of my posts and I want to clarify a potential mistaken impression I may be giving.

I do understand that there is a policy against 'chronicle fishing.' I have not been so verbose in this thread to excuse my own 'chronicle fishing' activities. Ever since I learned of it, I have been trying to abide by it as best I can, given my current understanding of this rather nebulous 'bad' thing. Personally, I think I abide by it better than some of the most vocal people in my local area have done. I will continue to follow the policy as long as it is the policy.

I have been verbose, because I would prefer the policy to change. It at least slightly hampers my enjoyment of the hobby. I personally, would prefer to have my character win the XYZ of Koolness that he can make use of by his own actions.
"Ok, we were down to only 3 of us upright and I only had a little bit of life left. But I bullrushed the tyrant off the ledge, Jim kept the slope greased so he couldn't climb back up while Julie turned him into a pincushion. I claimed the XYZ as my share. It was close, but we managed to ..."
That is fun to remember and think about it.

Yes, I can GM the scenario to get the XYZ of Koolness. But to me, that doesn't have the same ring.
"Yeah, I wanted the XYZ for this PC so I ran it for some yahoos that really didn't know what they were doing. But whatever, I got the XYZ on this PC now."
Not so fun and memorable. Don't get me wrong, I GM when my schedule permits and enjoy doing so. But getting the XYZ in that manner makes it seem less not more special. At least to me.

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I will say that I don't know what the best solution is, but I will say that some of the ones proposed seem like poor ideas.

I think the hints will not work, unless you make it so obvious that you might as well have just said it. I have 7 PC's so far with dozens of chronicle sheets. I usually only get a few minutes at best to decide which table I will play at and which PC will be used. The odds of a subtle hint reminding me that this one PC has a sheet with something that sound similar seems remote.

I would be careful about making this another convention only boon. Those are starting to really aggravate some/many players. At least in my area, most of the players even very active players simply do not attend conventions.
"Ok we realized this is an issue for lots of people so we have this solution. But the only way you even have a chance to get this solution it to attend a convention whether you want to or not. Even then, you probably won't get"
I go to a few local conventions and would have a chance to get it. But there are already bad feelings over some of the convention boons that a few players have but no one else can get.
I would rather see no solution than this solution. I can't say for sure if any would quit, but I'm pretty sure the response would not be positive.

I would rather just see it as something added to the guide. use the cost as suggested by another poster. Spend 2 prestige on the giving and receiving character to transfer a boon from one to another. The receiving character must also pay any associated gold or other costs directly associated with the boon. The boon can not be used until the receiving character is at least as high of level as the character that one the sheet.

I think that would make the cost high enough that it won't be done for just everything, but it is still possible to get the special X with an appropriate character.

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andreww wrote:
Nefreet wrote:
and that sometimes means getting the uber-paladin-sword-of-uberness for your uber Paladin

Does this really actually happen? Most loot on chronicles is pretty terrible for the level at which you see it. It is very rarely something you probably couldnt just buy with fame anyway. Even if it is something unique to the chronicle often it is priced in a way which makes it far better simply to buy something standard out of existing resources.

Outside of higher caster level scrolls and potions or partially charged wands I have yet to see much worth the cost on a chronicle I couldnt already buy with fame.

Rarely for actual power reasons, but abit for theme reasons. Also there are a few that are very nice and/or have something that you just can't spend gold to get.

certain types of animal companions/familiars and unique items come to mind

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kinevon wrote:
ElterAgo wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


I admit. I didn't understand it at first either. But one of the designers at the time, specifically Sean K Reynolds, changed my mind with a post that is linked way above.

It shows what the designers intent was. Which in something that was slightly ambiguous was very important to me in how I decided to interpret things from that point forward.

Almost everyone I have talked to agreed with the interpretation we have all been using.

Until this thread, I had never seen or even heard of this post from SKR. Even then, that thread doesn't really say that is what the rule means. It sounds more like he is saying "I do it this way because it seems to work better." Actually I'm fine with that. But if that was really what they wanted the rule to say, put it in the errata / faq / or multiple re-printings of the book.
Obviously a heck of a lot of us are going to continue reading it they way many of us already have.

A lot of these posts are sounding like we are obviously horrible, mean, vindictive GM's. There is apparently no reasonable way anyone could think take 10 isn't allowed for almost anything. Because obviously we all should magically know SKR suggests handling it like this.

So, according to your interpretation, if I am understanding it correctly, you can never take 10 while swimming? After all, you are in danger of drowning if you fail your Swim check.

** spoiler omitted **

Try reading the conversation. I said I am now inclined to agree that take 10 is allowed if the danger is only on a failed result. I will try to remember to use that in the future.

However, I am offended by the attitude that I am a rotten person for reading it and getting the exact same understanding that the vast majority of people I have met got when they read it.
When even some of the people emphasizing there is no other possible interpretation are relying on a post (which actually doesn't exactly say that) most have never seen, rather than the 'supposedly clear' text being discussed.

Read the last couple of pages. Even people that agree on the fact that immediate danger does not include results of a failed check are still arguing about how to apply the rules to a fairly simple and common situation.
Yet the rule is so simple and obvious, that the only way I could possibly have used my prior judgement was the fact that I was intentionally being mean to the players. There is no possible way I (and most of the gamers I know) could have legitimately thought we were doing it right.

That attitude really bugs me.

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I will point out a conversation I heard at the game shop yesterday on this very exact subject. I will not quote so as not to embarrass anyone. The 3 individuals involved had very obviously read this exact thread.

It basically boiled down to:
* Most of the people don't seem to consider it 'fishing' if you learned about it 'legitimately' (like GM'ing or playing a scenario) or accidentally if some mention/writes about it when you didn't ask.
* They're going to keep track of what they accidentally hear about.
* GM a few old ones they need for particular things.
* Make powerful, fast, easy Core PC's that they really don't care about.
* Grind through everything that is new for them in a Core game. GM a few on Core if no one else will.
* Then they can play the ones needed with the 'right' PC to get what they want on they character they want.

(Incidentally 2 of those 3 guys are absolutely horrible as GM's. They don't enjoy it and are pretty obviously just cranking through it as quick as they can. They brag about their multiple stars, but I would much rather not play than have them as my GM. I personally don't want more things encouraging them to GM.)

In my opinion, this behavior is much worse for the community than letting people know 'chronicle sheet X-X has the Halberd of Doom on it'

redward wrote:
... I like seeing people get excited when something especially useful or fun pops up. ...

I absolutely agree with everything you said in that post except this bit. Because it almost never happens.

It has never happened to me or as far as I've heard to anyone that I know that they just happened to have a character play a scenario with a character that can use the reward bangle. Not once. Every single one has been GM'd to get on the right sheet or they knew about it before hand and played the right character.
Yes, I'm sure across the world the odds have played out so that it has happened a few times. But the chances are astonishingly small.
The are umpteen bajillion possible combinations of builds and character concepts. It is pretty unlikely that you just happened to have a character with an animal companion for whom an Axebeak is thematically appropriate when you played that campaign for the first time.

Everyone was talking about it when that came out, so I did hear about it. So I said I was going to make a tengu cavalier specifically to get it. Everyone acted like I had the plague for saying that. Everyone knows that is 'wrong' to play for a specific reward. Building for it is even worse. So now there is this kool reward that I am unlikely to ever be able to make use of because it would be somehow nebulously wrong to do so.
Later I find out that many of those same people somehow have a build that it just somehow coincidentally seemed to work for. But oh no they didn't build for it, it just worked out like that. Yeah right.

The system we have is just promoting being stealthy about chronicle fishing, not actually dissuading it at all.

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This may be lack of sleep talking, but I think I just had an idea for what may just become my favorite character ever.

Fighter 1 / Summoner X
Dump both intelligence and wisdom (will take iron will and improved iron will to help with saves)
Give the eidolon the Ability Score Increase to intelligence and Wisdom as often as allowed
Make the eidolon small and looking like an angel, have it ride around on my left shoulder giving ‘good’ advice
Take the feat from the Familiar Folio to get a familiar (I forget the name) and improved familiar for the imp or quasit have it ride around on my right shoulder giving ‘bad’ advice
Run the scenarios with the intelligent items. I know there is a shield and I believe at least one with a weapon, but I don’t remember what kind off the top of my head.

He will literally have an eidolon, familiar, shield, and weapon that are all smarter than him and constantly telling him what to do.

It should be epically hilarious!

Any more ideas on what I should do to make this better?

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Andrew Christian wrote:


I admit. I didn't understand it at first either. But one of the designers at the time, specifically Sean K Reynolds, changed my mind with a post that is linked way above.

It shows what the designers intent was. Which in something that was slightly ambiguous was very important to me in how I decided to interpret things from that point forward.

Almost everyone I have talked to agreed with the interpretation we have all been using.

Until this thread, I had never seen or even heard of this post from SKR. Even then, that thread doesn't really say that is what the rule means. It sounds more like he is saying "I do it this way because it seems to work better." Actually I'm fine with that. But if that was really what they wanted the rule to say, put it in the errata / faq / or multiple re-printings of the book.
Obviously a heck of a lot of us are going to continue reading it they way many of us already have.

A lot of these posts are sounding like we are obviously horrible, mean, vindictive GM's. There is apparently no reasonable way anyone could think take 10 isn't allowed for almost anything. Because obviously we all should magically know SKR suggests handling it like this.

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Kevin Willis wrote:
Tempest_Knight wrote:
... I understand that there is the potential for abuse ... ...
The player started during season 5 and purchased all the previous seasons, then went through and picked out the ones that gave him the biggest mechanical advantages to sign up for. I sat at a convention table with him and he made no bones about what he had done (though he did claim he hadn't read the scenarios, just the chronicles). A player that does this kind of thing is already going to be a min-maxer but he took dominating combats to a whole different level. Not much fun for the rest of the table. ...

I understand why that was no fun. But given that player and his personality, Do you think denying him the chronicle info would have suddenly made him a team player who wasn't trying to win bigger than everyone else? I'm guessing not.

So his knowing what was on the chronicle sheet to cherry pick scenarios was not the problem. The problem was his attitude and style of play. So trying to prohibit cherry picking wouldn't solve anything, even if it worked, which it doesn't.

I suppose you could say the cherry picking made his 'winning' incrementally worse, but certainly not by much. It really isn't hard to build a PC for PFS that out combats the average PC by a substantial margin if you are trying to do that. Oooh he has a +47 instead of the +45 he would have had without cherry picking. Big deal.

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Some people seem to think it is a wrong on par with stealing cars.

Honestly, I've never seen a problem with it. Why does it hurt me if JimmyJoeBob brings Dofus the wonder magus to my table because he knows there is a mask that will work perfectly with his specialization? He's trying to succeed, else he wouldn't get the mask either. So his determination to get it makes us all more likely to succeed. Not a problem to me. Plus your not really stopping that kind of thing anyway. Players talk about what they've gotten anyway, some guys have played lots of scenarios, some have GM's others. A lot of people are making those plans anyway, even if they don't specifically admit it on the forums.

Additionally, I've found it particularly disappointing that I have never gotten a chronicle sheet with something kool/interesting/useful/unique with a character that can use it.
New familiar option - inquisitor
Sneaky social skills item - paladin
Intelligent shield - kensai
Mythic weapon - sorcerer

The only way, I can have any of those things on the PC they work for is to GM the scenario. I don't mind GM'ing. However he has it, but didn't win it. I want to be able to say my PC has the Gauntlet of Zyfon because he wrested it from the dying grip of the evil Malignaton, nearly dying in the process. Three guys were unconscious, yet the team persevered and managed to save the princess... Nope. I GM'd the scenario where some other guys who played pretty badly and failed the mission, so I applied it to this guy. {yawn}

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Orfamay Quest wrote:


I assume you mean "wouldn't hit the exact same spot"? Because those things really wouldn't hit a manhole cover at five paces.

Yeah, that's what I meant. Too much blood in my caffeine this morning.

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Unfortunately, I don't see that there is a lot you can do without at least a minor discussion. Try to make it as non-confrontational as possible. Talk to him separately (not at the game table even) but in person. Many people write emails or messages like an attack, even if they don't many people read them like an attack.
"Look I want to just put this out there as something I would like you to consider. For a while now I've been feeling like you are out to get my PC in particular. It seems like you constantly change the rules just to hurt what my character wants to do. You don't have to respond right now, just think about it."

To be honest, I don't see much chance of things getting better. But that is the only way that I see even a slim likelihood of improvement.

The only other thing you could try would be to take a turn at being GM yourself. But that might be even worse. Sometimes not-so-great GM's make absolutely awful players.

I recently had to leave a group for fairly similar reasons. The type of game I wanted to play just wasn't what he wanted. I blamed the decision to leave on work schedule, a class I take, and family commitments. I still hang out with those guys occasionally. We grill on a Saturday afternoon, watch a movie, or play cards, just not RPG's. Might have been some hard feelings, but it would have been much worse if I had stayed until I blew-up and said some not nice things.

I found a different group that meets at a different time that just happens to fit better into my busy schedule.

Edit: Did want to bring up one other possibility I just remembered. I have seen a few GM's do this for a 'reason' that makes sense to them. I still think it is lousy way to handle things, but it isn't unknown.
If one player is head and shoulders above the other players in building an optimized character or very tactical about how he plays his character, he can seem to be marginalizing the other PC's/players. This can be an actual problem. A few GM's will try to correct this by continually shutting down anything they try to do because it must be overpowered if they are the one trying to do it.
As I said, I think it is a horrible way to handle things. But I have seen a couple of GM's that think it is what they are supposed to do. In those cases I was able to work out a different solution with them. I optimized a very weak concept and made sure my tactics were to give others a bonus not myself.

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kestral287 wrote:


Hence, you have micro scale scenarios of actual play where they would have been helpful, but in the massive majority (read as: macro scale) of actual play they would not be. And that develops an aversion to consider them even in the .01% of the time that they're actually a viable choice outside of class features.

(I don't think it is anywhere near that rare that they are a good idea, but that is really irrelevant to my point.)

You last sentence is a reason that I could almost agree with. If I didn't constantly watch people spend huge amounts of time on convoluted schemes to make a really lousy feat workout at least halfway decent.
What ever, it seems most people are absolutely convinced they are horrible no matter what.

A few of the responses make a bit more sense than most of the others, but still don't hold out much hope that anyone will be willing to give them much of a chance.

Thanks folks. Catch you later.

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Ok, I can see why in PFS they would be unpopular. Unless you have a very small pool of players, you won’t know who you are going to be with at the table so they probably won’t have the matching abilities.

But as far as I can tell, most home groups never use them (unless free from the class abilities). Even when they are pretty obviously mathematically superior, people don’t use them. I’ve demonstrated it with the opposition forces (when I was GM) and with a short term demo with a 1 shot. Every single player and GM was amazed at how great they worked. But still no one was willing to take them next time they were making characters. Even ‘optimizers’ making teams to work together will only rarely consider using them.

example 1, designed to be a small team anyway:

Small group had 2 players making pet builds. A summoner and a druid. Both actively planned to provide flanking for their melee pets as much as possible. Plus there would be 2 pets usually in melee. One of which was intelligent and could work toward flanking with the other. The summoner was also working toward a reach eidolon (for attacks of opportunity) and was himself using a long spear.
Flanking and weapon focus claws (and PC weapon) gives a +3 to the claw attacks (and the PC’s weapon attacks). The bite and gore attacks are only at +2.
Flanking and outflank gives a +4 to the claws, weapon, bite, and gore attacks and an extra AoO when a critical is scored.
Besides you could still take weapon focus and they stack just fine.
Four melee creatures with outflank should be able to provide flanking most of the time. Yet neither player was willing to seriously consider taking outflank.

example 2, group sneaking:

Players all said they really wanted to make a sneaky group kinda like a magical special forces unit. Complained the system doesn’t allow it. They made builds with a whole bunch of feats and traits devoted to max stealth. With the 5 players, familiar, and animal companion someone would be rolling low and blowing the sneak most of the time. I showed them how replacing one of the feats with Stealth Synergy makes it work just fine. With 7 creatures rolling and always taking the highest die rolled, you will almost never blow the stealth. I both worked out the probability and used computer generated example rolls for 1000 times. Then we even all rolled dice at the table about 10 times. I don’t remember the percentage off the top of my head any more, but it is pretty dang rare to get 7 rolls to all be around 4-5 or less and the average was like +8 (much better than the stealth feat they were replacing).
They talked about how many possibilities this opened up and how much better the sneaky force would be. First session, other than me, they all brought characters without Stealth Synergy.

example 3, mounted combat:

Next campaign was going to be the PC’s were from a nomad tribe of Halfling dinosaur riders (Eberron & PF). They weren’t sure if mounted combat could be made to work with the way initiative rolls unless everyone delayed to whoever rolled the lowest. One of the last encounters of my campaign I made an opposing party of mounted characters with a few mounted teamwork feats. Most of the opposing party was lower level and much lower gear than the PC’s. But they very quickly almost killed several of the PC’s. They saw how easy it was to get lots of very successful charges with cavalry formation and coordinated charge.
None of them took a teamwork feat except for the hunters free one.

example 4, will saves galore:

We were in a campaign where we were constantly rolling moderately high AoE DC will saves from surprise ambushes. We didn’t expect it from the campaign description for our initial builds. So most just had the standard ‘decent’ will save. About halfway through every single PC took the feat iron will for a +2 on will saves. If they had instead took shake it off they would have almost always had a +3 to all saves. But no one did.

I just don’t get it. Even when a teamwork feat is numerically better and perfectly fits the build concept and/or does a better job of solving the problem in front of them, most people seem unwilling to even try them. The only answer I’ve been able to get is “They don’t work all the time. What if you are not right next to your team mates?” But you usually are next to your team mates and almost no feat works all the time.

Is there something I’m missing? If you are one of the people that won’t take them even when they work great for what you want to do, can you tell me why?

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melferburque wrote:
one of my fave aspects of the wounded wisp evergreen is the NPCs you talk to in the bar that reinforce many of the complaints in this thread. there's a reason it and confirmation are meant as an introduction. they flat out tell you "y'know, you really should have an acid flask" and "maybe you shouldn't just wantonly kill EVERYONE you come across" ...

I was especially thrilled the first time I heard this in the Wounded Wisp. I thought it was great.

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ryric wrote:

Theoretically you can use the pit spells to circumvent floor things that are even more inconvenient. Pressure plate that sets off a trap? Pit and it's gone. Small pool of lava or acid? Pit and it's gone. You can take out the middle of a bridge. You can temporarily erase a trap door/escape hatch. And so forth.

I wouldn't say that the pit spells destroy any of these things, but the real floor is suppressed for the duration of the pit.

We have used my pit spells to get past doors a couple of times. But we only did that in desperate situations, since the only pit I had at that time was the one with spikes at the bottom.

I don't know if it is actually legal, but we made a pit centered right at the front of the door. So just under half of it was extending to the other side of the door. Climb down on our side walk across (under the door) climb up the other side. It did mean we were trapped in a vault until I could refresh my spells in the morning.

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.

Honor Guard wrote:


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:


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:


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.
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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Read it again. He didn't say you have to play a rogue. He didn't even say non-core was impossible. Just that it needs to be checked and approved first.

The ranger is imprisoned.

Thought a rogue might help with the rescue.

He said, play what you want.

That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

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Mark Hoover wrote:


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.
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:



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.

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:


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.

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.
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.

Jaelithe wrote:


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.
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.

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.


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...

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.
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.
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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