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Life took its toll and put me in hiatus for a little while. Funny, I though it would give me more time to design and playtest Journey, but it had the opposite effect.
In the meantime I've been playing some 5e edition D&D and I must admit it has exceeded my expectations. It hasn't change much of my own designs; on the contrary, it has crystallized my definition of what I like and dislike in a RPG. Among which ;
some kind of bounded accuracy allows a better transition from level to level.
"goodies" can be acquired through class features; universal character level abilities are not required for you to feel that your character is evolving.
Symmetry between attacks, spells and abilities, saves and skills untaps a great potential.
A simple and universal mechanics to deal with bonuses and penalties is liberating. It has drawbacks, but the ease of play wins in this case.
Hit points as a measure of physical exhaustion/strain rather than bleeding injuries can work well with fantasy.
I'd like actual injuries to happen sporadically with a mechanical/detrimental effect.
I'd like more granularity in the way abilities are developed.
I'd like less all-or-nothing crippling effects and more short/long or bad/worse effects.
I'd like game-outside-combat to have a bit more "meat".
In reality this isn't anything new. Many games had this before the d20 OGL took over, but I have a clearer idea of my goals than before.
Anyhow, all this to say that the project hasn't been dropped but that I'm reviewing Journey RPG with a newer, more critical eye. I'll keep posting things as they come.
(...) maybe (hits) are not actually broken bones?
I like to see hit points as a renewable bank of "readyness" or stamina buffer, with damage representing tiring parries and taxing dodges. PCs don't get injured before they reach 0 hp.
However, the action of regaining hp is, and has always been, referred to as "healing", suggested that there is wounds to heal in the first place. Some people are also bothered that a "hit" doesn't produce a connecting hit (if damage = tiring parries). In either case, regardless of the severity of those wounds, the fact that they heal that much without magic or medicine over a period of 30 minutes is stretching verisimilitude even for D&D's standards. Thus reliance on healing kit.
It's apparently stated somewhere in the DMG that up to half its hp, a PC doesn't show much signs of battle and that from half hp, more serious cuts and bruises start to appear. That's where the "healing from below half hp requires healing kit" comes from.
The fact that broken bones don't heal overnight without some kind of explanation, I guess.
I've heard of people allowing HD healing during short rest up to half the character's hp, but requires magical healing or healing kit when below 1/2 hp.
One of my idols and major inspiration of my life as an artist (along with Brian Froud).
DiTerlizzi would shape what I expect art to be in a RPG (incidentally, I was also drawn to Pathfinder for the coherency and consistency of their art).
I've boxed all of my 2ed AD&D stuff except for Planescape Monster Compendium I and II, the Planewalker's handbook, the Factol's Manifesto and Uncaged: Face of Sigil which I consider works of art. I wish I still had the comic that went along the first WoD's Werewolf: The Apocalypse. I managed to lose the one that came with Hellbound too, gaahhhh.
I'm digging 5th edition with the same kind of enthusiasm I had discovering 2e AD&D some 20 years ago, which is saying much. That's a pleasant surprise since the playtests left me rather cool about the whole D&D next thing.
In no order, these are the things i like best:
I can learn and teach the game easily to any type of crowd, be it veteran players or my 7 years-old kids. Even the Beginner's Box wasn't that straightforward (although I still think this was a turning point in RPG history and I will always love Paizo for that).
Choices and options are meaningful both in themselves and in relations to each others. One of my main criticism of 3.5 was that it takes a significant level of game mastery to see how relevant a +1 to hit is compared to a +2 damage or a +1 to one kind of save etc, and the only reason why the Beginner's Box will never be completely kid friendly.
5th edition is easily customizable, and houserules are less likely to crash the game like the house of card that late 3.5 was. Judgement on the fly, rule twists affecting a single scene, plug-and-play subsystems work better here than in any other iteration of D&D since the "advanced" series.
Low level threats can be used much longer into the game thanks to bounded accuracy. I had my doubts at first (especially concerning skills), but now I'm a convert.
Things are loose enough yet the guidelines are precise enough to play the game in the style/genre/ambiance that works for your group. Heck, even sword-and-sorcery and low-magic can work with minimal adjustments.
Settings are less threatened to fall in the Tippyverse paradigm thanks to a better iteration, scaling and distribution of spells. Magic is still a bit too flashy and many spells are still too "out there" for me, but the urge to find a low(er) magic setting is much diminished by 5th ed default magic.
Pathfinder art and layout is still best, but 5th edition is pretty darn good. I especially like that fact that items can be visualized with an illustration or a evocative description. My biggest complaint: when will RPGs publish a character sheet that doesn't feel like a fraggin' tax form?
So anyhow, there are more but these are the main elements that work for me.
So come-on Paizo, impress me with Pathfinder Unleashed!
TL;DR: Best game for the book-feel of Middle earth and I can recommend it enough, but its far from a high fantasy D&D/Pathfinder game. If the latter is what your players expect, they will be left unsatisfied.
Longer version: Its an excellent game. It's mechanically diverse enough without being too game-y, and is exactly what a low-magic game should be; magic and fantasy are there, you can't ignore them but it is subtle and thematic.
As other have said, it's the game that respects the feel and tone of Tolkien's work best so far, and by far. But I do say Tolkien's, but not necessarily Peter Jackson's take on Middle Earth.
That's where some players may be disappointed; if you are expecting to play a back-flipping, shield-boarding ninja-elf like Legolas, this isn't the game for you.
If on the contrary you can enjoy a long-winded literary style where armor being a liability just as much as an asset, long voyages being draining, exhausting and an important part of the campaign and resources being scarce and precious (no pun intended), then you will enjoy this game very much.
Also, the art is exquisite, coherent and quite fitting for the tone of the game.
It's worth mentioning that at the moment, the game covers regions that were not much involved in the war of the ring; so no Shire, no Mordor, no Rohan, no Gondor yet. The game covers areas more familiar with The Hobbit and is set in the aftermath of Bilbo's journey; The Anduin Vale, the Mirkwood forest, Dale and Esgaroth on the Long-Lake, the Lonely Mountain, and recently northern Eriador as well. While this sounds odd at first, it is ultimately very liberating to know that the actions of your heroes won't screw-up the upcoming events of Frodo's voyage to the Cracks of Doom.
 or where you expecting more personal thoughts?
32. Purplesksin Goblin
The skin of these goblins is of a deep shade of purple due to their diet primarily consisting of vegepygmies. Their ears are also unusually long and must be trimmed monthly to avoid other goblins walking and tripping over them.
Purpleskin goblins have a +4 bonus to hide in areas primarily consisting of purple hues. In addition, Purpleskin goblins are immune to the violet effect of a prismatic ray or prismatic wall .
Continuing with the overview...
Heroic Races - the major lines and influences. Still playing with campaign-specific names, so here are the generic names.
Players must select an ethnicity and a subculture.
Sea Elves: Graceful, noble and melancholic; inspired from the celtic Sidhe. They are the diminished nobility of the Fey people who chose to remain behind when the faerie world separated and departed. They live on islands in the west, the remnant of their coastal realms
Woodland Elves: Graceful but wild and warrior-like; inspired by the norse ljosalfar. They live in forested valleys of the northern fjords and are on friendly terms with the northerners and dwarves who live there.
Hill dwarves: Typical fantasy dwarves, living in clan-borrows under the northern hills. They are on friendly terms with northerner humans and woodland elves, but clans are prone to feud with each other.
Deep Dwarves: Live deep below the mountains; inspired from the norse svartalfar. They are the magical artisans of the world; most legendary items were made by them. They rarely venture to the surface of the world; when they do, they are likely to become adventuring heroes.
Northmen: The warrior-sailors of the north; inspired from the danes and Vikings (minus the raider and plunderer part). They are on friendly terms with dwarves and the hearthlanders of the northern marches, which they consider as 'cousins' to their own kin.
Hill Men: Shorter and swarthier than their northmen cousins, the hill men are said to have dark Fey blood, such as kobolds and goblins. They are good miners and can see in dim lights like their ancestors but to call them half-orc is a great insult.
Half-Elves: The “blessed” among westerners, typically composing the ruling class. They share some of their elven ancestors’ abilities and can see through illusions.
Men of the West: Superstitious people living among the ruins of the faerie kingdom. Many Fey still inhabits these lands and not all are benevolent, so they have developed ways to resist magic.
Men of Northern Marches: Cousins to the northlanders; inspired from the franks, anglo-saxon and other germanic tribes. They live in large towns and fortified burgs, each ruled by a house. These men and women make natural riders.
Men of Mixed Blood: Men and women living in the southern fiefs and along the warmer climates of the inner sea. Originally of the same stock as men of the northern marches, countless generation of marriage with nearby kingdoms made them into a people of their own. Many live in large city-states ruled by monarchy and influential members of the rising merchant class. Men of mixed blood are the most educated and cosmopolitan.
as for alignment, I'd coin Dash as CG (doesn't think the rules apply to him. Uses powers against her sister in a "no powers!" zone/game/houserules, consciously pushes boundaries to see how far he can go before getting caught).
Where Dash is the Incredible who most likely to "go deep", violet is the one looking after the group. She isn't the kind of protector that becomes the target like Bob, she acts in shadows to strike at the most opportune moment, usually to thwart the plans of the bad guys in an unforeseen way. I hesitate between LG and NG, but I could see her developing into a LG character.
I mean, I guess I never put it in the same context as the others, because it was so blatant and heavy-handed throughout.
Yes, its an obvious trick, but a coherent trick with other characters nonetheless.
The whole movie is about transformation; its not a trick really, its (one of) the theme of the story.
Both Violet and Dash (and even Jack-Jack for that matter) change their view on things after their adventure.
At the beginning, Violet is shy in her outlook and relationship, but also in the way she handles change and her powers. It's about confidence of course, but she goes from "better be small, better be protected, better be overlooked" to "others will know I'm there and I will move forward to protect my family". That doesn't prevent her from being invisible, but her powers go from hiding to allowing her brother to run.
Dash goes from "I wish I could show the world how I'm the best" to "I'm good with fronting as close-second"
The movie shows Bob and Helen after they have been transformed. For Dash and Violet, it shows the transformation itself.
Before documents come, a bit of an overview:
Player characters in Journey RPG are called heroes. Their natural aptitudes are determined by their attributes (which many games call "stats" or "abilities").
Every hero possesses five attributes, each rated with a score ranging from 1 (poor) to 5 (very high). 2 is the baseline, but the game has attributes ranging between 0 (for negligible contribution) to 10 (for the strongest monsters). Attributes are used as modifiers to dice rolls with no differentiation between attribute score and its modifier.
Attributes don't go in the negative; in the worst case scenario, a hero simply doesn't have a bonus. The relatively short range between "average" and "very high" is meant to down play the concept of "dump stats".
Each attribute has its own saving throw. As a rule of thumb, skill checks and attack rolls are resisted, contested or opposed with a saving throw. Oftentimes, a hero is allowed to substitute a saving throw with a skill check, when appropriate.
Brawn: How big and strong the hero is. Brawn include the typical RPG stats of strength and toughness. Fortitude is the Brawn-derived saving throw, which serves to resist body-altering spells, poisons and physical manoeuvres such as grappling.
Agility: How quick and dextrous the hero is. Agility include the typical RPG stats of dexterity and quickness. Reflex is the Agility-derived saving throw, which serves to resist dodge-able spells like fireball, avoid falling or being surprised.
Acumen: How sharp and clever the hero is. Acumen includes the typical stats of intelligence and regulates the hero's knowledge and perception. Alertness is the Acumen-derived saving throw, which serves to resist being ambushed or sneaked upon.
Intuition: How in tune with the forces of nature and with its own instinct the hero is. Intuition includes the typical RPG stats of wisdom and empathy. Insight is the Intuition-derived saving throw, which serves to avoid being fooled, bluffed and disbelieve illusions.
Presence: Presence is force of character, representing strong will, stubbornness, wits, charming or inspiring personality or even frightful aura, depending on the character. Presence includes the typical stats of Charisma and other social attributes. Willpower is the Presence-derived saving throw, which serves to resist mind-affecting spells, temptation, fear and despair.
I’m getting close to unveil the whole character creation and combat chapters of Journey RPG. Actually, Journey RPG is a compendium of 5 books entitled Heroes, Adventure, Combat, Magic and Lore.
The Heroes Book is all about character creation and equipment.
The Adventure Book is about traveling (an important aspect of Journey RPG), exploring and spending downtime actions.
The Combat Book is, not surprisingly, about combat rules.
The Magic Book is about spells, rituals and the mechanical aspect of magic (including magic items and equipment).
The Lore Book is mainly about fluff, but it also includes the monster section as an appendix. The lore book is divided in five chapters, each tying with one of the Recite Lore skills that a character can learn:
Lore of the Land is a description of the setting in geography and demographics, tying with Recite (Area) Lore skill. It also fleshes out the five playable character races in more depth.
Lore of the Past is about the setting’s history and discusses the free people’s legends, superstitions, tying with the Recite Legend Lore skill.
Lore of the Divine is about the religions and gods of Journey RPG, runes, the “other world”, and is tying with the Recite Divine Lore skill.
Lore of the Arcane discusses the concepts behind magic, the history of magic, dark magic and necromancy, astronomy and astrology , other planes of existence, and tying with the Recite Arcane Lore skill.
Finally Lore of the Wild is about the Fey, the faerie world, gauntlet springs and ley lines, medicinal plants, and is tying with the Recite Nature Lore skill.
I can relate to that. I don't completely agree, but I could be comfortable in a game with this philosophy.
Ok, RPGs are not reality simulators. My bad
Nevertheless, if a poster asks "help me explain this", and your answer is "don't", you're not contributing to the thread and just shutting down people's opinion and denigrating their interests. This is rather frustrating...
We're playing in a world of myth and legend. Let it work like a world of myth and legend.
That is a constructive answer however, expressing a vision of the game and not only saying "don't do it, it's badwrongfun". (although is the answer to dragon flight is magic, what happens to the dragon in an antimagic zone is, for me, a relevant question).
Personally, I find the argument that "dragons fly because magic", and magic exist "because dragons!" rather circular. Regardless of what the characters will ever know for sure, i believe that a world can work of an internal logic without losing it's "fantasy" tag.
The answer is, don't use physics. This is a game, not a reality simulator.
I agree with the "this is a game" part, but...
Physics, even if its a made-belief set of physics rules, are require the make the world coherent. Otherwise things fall upward, except when they fall toward what's red, cold makes you catch fire, or whatever.
Whether we like it or not, the game is a reality simulator. We have (many) books full of rules that regulate how we can play this simulator, even if the fantasy reality is different from ours. I agree that there is a sweet spot where the in-game world feels similar enough to our reality for us to relate to our character, but not close enough to make the fantasy element disappear for non-conformation with the Laws of our world.
And we need to accept that this sweet spot, this comfort zone is different for all of us. If coherency or verisimilitude with our world is not important for you, that's cool, but please don't shut this conversation down because you think different from the OP :)
There is a discussion on a facebook (...) The consensus is that internally consistent rules for magic and physics are more important than realism. (...) A dragon would be too heavy to fly according to real-world physics, so what if dragons have magic that make them lighter?
Perhaps (part) of the solution could be to re-imagine what dragons look like, or how big they are.
If an adult dragon had a body the size of an elongated horse, there wouldn't be as much mass to lift. You could go a bit larger, but I think the Colossal dragon will never be realistic or coherent with any laws of physics unless magic is significantly involved.
Also, if dragons were more anatomically "correct" (4 limbs, like a D&D wyvern), there would be less mass and would require less bio-energy. Increase the dragon's wing span to about 3 times body length (from nose to tail) and you have something closer to real world flyers.
When I think back of the amount of helium balloons it took to make one of my G.I.Joe figures fly, I doubt than any gas would give a dragon any significant buoyancy, unless you say that your dragons look like bloated flying whales.
Otherwise the "accepted" theory of most players I know is that, as magical creatures, dragons were allowed to evolve into their present form because of their ability to cast "fly" or "levitate" naturally, akin to oriental dragons.
Presence of wings (6 limps) is probably a result of magical experimentation, which allowed them to propel better into the sky, which allow them to invest less bio-energy in their innate levitation, which allowed them to increase in size for dominance.
Bigger, meaner specimen with larger, more powerful wings would survive better, eventually evolving into what we know of dragons today.
pres man wrote:
Also, how close are the Iron Hills to the Lonely Mountain?
Hard to say because AFAIK there is no canon emplacement of where in the Iron Hills lives Dain and his kin, but if we assume that his halls are near the source of the river Carnen (similar to how the halls of Erebor are at the source of the River Celduin), that'd be about 150-200 miles "as the crow flies" (not all maps have the exact same scale).
The distance between Mt. Gundabad and the Elven king's halls is about twice as much, and over MUCH more difficult terrain.
I recently dusted-off one of my old houserules. It was created for 2e AD&D but it translates easily to 3.x or even 5e D&D (probably 4e D&D too, but I never tried).
This houserule aims at offering a quick and dirty way to track encumbrance. So if you are on the fence between keeping track of your player's stuff and viewing encumbrance as a waste of time and efforts (or if like me you are playing with young-ish kids), this houserule might interest you.
Encumbrance Variant: Load & Burden
In a nutshell, forget about weight in lbs; objects have burden. Carried objects' burden add-up to determine the character's load. As long as a character's load is equal or inferior to its Strength score, the character has light encumbrance. If the character's load is superior to the character's Strength score but equal or under its STR x2, it has medium encumbrance (reduced speed, max dex bonus to AC of +3 and skill check penalty of -3). If the character's load is superior to the character's Strength score x2, it has heavy encumbrance (reduced speed, max dex bonus to AC of +1 and skill check penalty of -6).
Normal clothing and small objects (such as a dagger, a potion or a single arrow) have negligible burden; a character can carry as many such items as sensibly possible. As a rule of thumb, items with a listed weight of 1 lb. or less in the core rulebook do not have a burden rating.
Armors are the most burdensome items typically carried by adventurers. A suit of armor has a burden rating equal to its armor bonus to AC. Armor properties or character abilities that lessens an armor's skill check penalty reduces the armor's burden by an equal amount.
Most other adventuring gear has a burden rating of 1 or 2. Most one-handed weapons, light shields and other manageable items (such as a blanket or a bedroll, a wizard's spellbook or a waterskin) have a burden rating of 1.
Two-handed weapons, heavy shields and weapons (such as a heavy shield, a heavy flail or a heavy crossbow) and other cumbersome objects have a burden rating of 2. The definition of "cumbersome objects" is left intentionally vague but if a line has to be drawn, items with a listed weight of 10 lbs or more (such as a sledge hammer, 50 ft. of hemp rope or a two-person tent) are considered cumbersome.
Items sold or carried in bulk (such as 7 days worth of rations, 10 torches, 20 arrows, 100 coins) have a burden rating of 1 per bundle. A half-used bundle conserves its burden even though it should logically be lighter; this represents the growing weariness of the adventurer compensating for the loss of weight.
When calculating burden, do not include the weight of bags and backpacks. In this philosophy, the backpack is an extension of the character’s ability to carry things more than an object in it own right. If players insist on carrying large chests and heavy barrels, just tell them that they can't fight with those in hand.
TRAVEL (Brawn Skill)
Similarly to how a hero may forgo its Simple Action to double its movement during a combat round, a hero may forgo its Overland Simple Action to perform a forced march and double the distance covered in a single day. A failed check means that the hero takes 2d6 points of nonlethal damage and cannot rejuvenate parry points above half its maximum overnight.
A successful Travel check also allows the hero to move up to 2 leagues while protecting itself against the effects of harsh weather, or twice as far if the hero forgoes its Simple Overland Action for this day. While doing so, the hero gains a +2 bonus on all Fortitude saves made to resist the effects of weather (such as bitter cold, severe heat or extreme conditions). If the hero remains stationary, this bonus increases to +5. For every 2 points by which the skill check result exceeds the DC, the hero can provide the same protection to one other companion.
RECITE LORE (Acumen Skill)
A successful check allows the hero to answer a question or perform a task based on its knowledge of the subject. The base DC to answer a question in the hero’s field of study depends on the complexity of the question, as indicated in the table below.
table would be here, indicating DCs. Simple check = DC 15, Average = DC 20, Complex = DC 25, with examples
Like Craft, Recite Lore is a number of different skills that must be trained individually. The nomenclature used for this skill is Recite (type of lore) Lore. For example, the lore of nature would be written down as Recite Nature Lore. Lore skills include the following:
Arcane Lore: This lore allows the hero to gain information on various mysterious or occult subjects such as astronomy and astrology, cosmology and planes of existence, dragons and magical beasts, demons and planar denizen, and of the foundations of arcane magic. Although many dark priests channel powers of undeath and of the unholy, the dark secrets of necromancy are considered an arcane lore.
(Area) Lore: Select a geographical area. This lore allows the hero to gain information about the lay of that land and the customs of its inhabitants. This skill can also be used to gain knowledge about local laws, important personalities and groups of influence within the chosen area. Knowledge of local monsters and hazards also fall under this skill. A hero can take this skill several times. Each times it applies to a new geographical area. As a rule of thumb, the narrower the selected area, the more specific the information is. Every hero is trained in the lore of its native region.
Divine Lore: This lore allows the hero to gain information on various religions and their associated gods, rites, traditions and history. Although many wizards also use symbols and sigils of powers, the knowledge of runes and of their meaning is considered a divine lore.
Legend Lore: In the world of Journey RPG, documented history is practically non-existent. Even the carved records of the dwarves are written in prose, conveying hidden meanings that only the initiated can decipher. This lore gives knowledge of a culture’s folklore through its myths and the ability to retrieve historical facts from its legends.
Nature Lore: This lore allows the hero to gain information on the flora and fauna of its environment, as well as knowledge of fey creatures, dangerous animals and wild beasts living in the wilderness. Knowledge of magical beasts and medicinal herbs also falls under this skill.
I managed to bring the skill section from 18 000 words down to just under 10 000. Ye!
So today's excerpt is about skills. First the complete list of skills, then two text examples
Journey RPG Excerpt #7: Skills
arh, word count reduction is hard! not that I didn't know that already...
Looks like I'll be able to cut the skill section down by 10-15%, but it's still a rather voluminous chapter.
The consistent use of "hero", "companion" and "opponent" saves me from going from "character" to "PC" to "NPC" to "ally" to "creature" to "monster" to "villain" all the time, and refrains me from switching between "you" and "he" or "she" or "it". So there's that. On with the revision...
Dreaming Warforged wrote:
Laurefindel brings another way of limiting the Spell category by tweaking requirements for spells. This sounds time intensive though.
yes, too complicated to be practical as a tack-on house-rule; I was just thinking aloud.
For the longest time I was hoping for a third party publication to propose a completely new set of spells, keeping the same names and levels in order to leave spellcasting classes as-is and retain all cross-referencing to the spell section. Basically, rewrite the spell as it should function in a low-magic setting mind frame.
However, even this wouldn't solve the issue of magic items and of their mechanical bonuses required to play the game as conceived and remaining on par with CR.
Perhaps Steve is referring to components of the spell that don't seem to cost much when observed in a vacuum but expensive for the character in the storyline's perspective.
For example, a spell requiring 1 year to cast may not cost much gp, but it grounds the character for 1 whole year. Or a spell might require specific conditions that may not be convenient to the character, such as "cast during a thunderstorm", "answer can only come dawn after a foggy night" or "emerge from the lava of a volcano".
Bonuses to defence DC granted by shields do not stack with bonuses to defence DC granted by cover; use whichever is higher.
Buckler: Smallest of all shields, the buckler can be held in one hand or worn strapped to the hero’s forearm in order to leave the hand free. Bucklers grant a +2 shield bonus to Defence DC against melee attacks only.
A hero strapping a buckler to its arm is allowed to wield an off-hand weapon or a two-handed weapon, but the hero takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls while doing so. Bows and crossbows count as two-handed weapons for the purpose of determining penalties when wearing a buckler.
Shield: Most shields are round with an iron boss at center or heater-shaped (somewhat of a flat-topped heart), but other forms are known to exist. Embossed shields are gripped at center, while heater shields are further secured with a leather strap around the arm. Both types allow a hero to carry another item in that hand, although that item cannot be used in combat. Shields grant a +2 shield bonus to Defence DC against melee and ranged weapons alike.
A shield can be used as a weapon in its own right and may even be used as an off-hand weapon for the purpose of two weapon fighting feats.
Great Shield: Great shields are larger and bulkier versions of the shield, sometimes nearly as tall as its user. They come in a variety of shapes and form, and are often made of wood or thick hide. Great shields are gripped in the hero’s hand but are too heavy to use that hand for anything else or be used as a weapon.
Great shields grant a +2 shield bonus to defence DC against ranged and melee attack, as well as Reflex saves made against spells and damage effects using a burst, cone or line area of effect.
A hero can also ready an action to take cover behind a heavy shield. While doing so, the shield’s bonuses to defence DC and Reflex saves increases to +5.
Helms and helmets can negate wounding hits and even critical hits. A wounding hit negated with a helm or great helm still deals damage but does not inflict the wounded condition or carry any secondary damage effects. A critical hit negated with a great helm deals only single damage and does not inflict the wounded condition or carry any secondary damage effects.
Helms and great helms are cumbersome and restrict their user’s senses of sight and hearing. A hero suffer a penalty on all Perceive checks and Alertness saves when wearing a headgear, depending on the type of helmet worn.
Helm: Helms usually consists in a skull cap made of steel or hardened leather reinforced with iron, usually including a nose-guard, cheek-guards and other decorative features. A coif of mail (including the hood of a chain hauberk) also qualifies as a helm.
A hero wearing a helm can negate one wounding hit per combat (but not a critical hit). While wearing a helmet, the hero suffers a -2 penalty on all Perceive checks and Alertness saves.
A coif of mail is sometimes worn under an iron cap for greater protection. This cap-and-coif combination counts as a great helm (see below)
Great Helm: Great helms are entirely made of metal and protect most of the wearer’s skull, neck and face. Great helms are often decorated with gold, gems and etchings.
A hero wearing a helm can negate one wounding hit or critical hit per combat. While wearing a helmet, the hero suffers a -5 penalty on all Perceive checks and Alertness saves.
Plate mails and full plate armours typically include an assorted helm upon purchase.
Other Armour Accessories
Gauntlets: A gauntlet is an armoured glove made of chainmail or interlocking metal plates. A character wearing gauntlets is better protected over the hands and wrists, and gains a +5 bonus on saving throws made to resist being disarmed. In addition, a gauntlet lets you deal lethal damage rather than nonlethal damage with an unarmed strike.
Plate mails and full plate armours typically include a pair or gauntlets upon purchase.
Greaves and Vambraces: Greaves and vambraces are pieces of armour, usually made of metal, protecting the shins and forearms of the user. Greaves and vambraces can be worn over a suit of light or medium armour, improving the armour’s base defence DC by +1 but also increasing the armour’s skill penalty by 2 points.
Journey RPG Excerpt #7: Armours and Shields
In today's excerpt, the descriptive text accompanying the armour and shield table.
Light armours provide limited protection but also incur the least restrictions. Preferred by rogues, huntsmen and other mobile heroes, light armours allow the hero to add it’s Agility score as a bonus to defence DC and do not incur any skill check penalty or restrict movement in any ways. Light armours do not require proficiency feats to be worn efficiently.
Light armours mostly protect the torso and shoulders of its wearer, with some limited protection on the forearms as well.
Leather Armour: Leather armours are made from rigid or hardened pieces of leather. Leather armours are cheap, simple to make and do not hinder movement as much as other armours.
A typical leather armour covers the torso and arms, sometimes together as a vest or as a sleeveless jerkin completed with separate bracers.
Padded Armour: Padded armours, also called gambesons or arming doublets, are worn as padding under heavier types of armours but offer a limited protection when worn independently. All heavy armours included padded armour underneath.
Padded armour protects as leather armour (see above).
Studded Leather: A studded leather armour consist of several layers of leather riveted together to form a vest, usually completed with reinforced shoulder pads and bracers.
Studded leather vests are sometimes worn over a chain shirt. This combination protects as a chainmail (see below).
Ring Mail: A ring mail is a leather vest reinforced with larger metal rings or buttons sewn on its surface. Like the reinforced leather armour described below, ring mails are simple to manufacture and are often crafted by their owner.
A ring mail protects as studded leather (see above).
Chain Shirt: Most effective of the light armours, the chain shirt is simply a short-sleeved chainmail covering only the torso and shoulders. Chain shirts are typically worn over a thin padded vest or thick linen tunic for comfort.
Scale Corselet: Also known as scale mail, this corselet is composed of small overlapping metal plates riveted on a leather armature, similar in appearance to the skin of a snake or a fish. Scale corselets are sometimes covered with felt or velvet and decorated with the coat of arms of its wearer. Such version of the scale corselet is usually referred as a brigandine.
A typical suit of scale mail covers the torso and shoulders of its wearer, protecting as a chain shirt (see above).
Medium armours offer better protection than light armours but are not as restrictive and expensive as heavy armours. Most soldiers on the battlefields of Journey RPG wear medium armours.
Medium armours restrict body movements and are tiresome to wear. A hero wearing medium armour may only add half its Agility score as a bonus to defence DC (rounded down) and suffer a -2 penalty on all Brawn and Agility related skill checks. In addition, medium armour prevents the use of some class abilities and feats such as the rogue’s Evasion ability or Mobility feat.
Most medium armours protect the torso, arms and upper thighs of their wearer.
Hide: Hide armour is made with the tanned and preserved skin of thick-hided animals or beasts. Some are boiled and moulded to fit like a breastplate while other are made of multiple layers of large and thick scales sewn on a leather armature.
Hide armour made from a particularly thick-skinned or fantastic creature protects as a breastplate instead (see below).
Reinforced Leather Armour: One of the most popular armour among soldiers and militiamen, the reinforced leather armour consists of several metal plates sewn on a boiled or hardened leather tunic. A typical reinforced leather armour covers the shoulders and torso, reaching down to the knees.
Reinforced leather armour protects as hide armour (see above).
Chainmail: Chainmail is made of thousands of interlocking metal rings, weaved after the fashion of a long-sleeve tunic. A typical chainmail tunic reaches down to the knees and doubled over the shoulders.
Tunics of chainmail are sometimes doubled over the torso and worn with a separate set of mail leggings or chaps. This combination protects as a chain hauberk (see below).
Banded Mail: Banded mails are composed of wide overlaying strips of metal fasten together with leather laces and straps. A typical banded mail covers the torso and shoulders.
Banded mail protects as a chainmail (see above).
Breastplate: A breastplate is a single plate of metal shaped to fit around the torso of its wearer, typically complemented with pauldrons and tassets to protect the wearer’s shoulders and thighs. A typical breastplate is made up of two pieces, one for the front and one for the back.
Breastplates are sometimes worn over a tunic of chainmail. This combination protects as a plate mail (see below).
Cuirass: A cuirass is a breastplate made of bronze or moulded, laminated layers of animal skin. The shells, scales or hide of particularly thick-skinned beast can also be tailored into a cuirass.
Chain Hauberk: A chain hauberk is simply a longer, heavier chainmail tunic worn over a separate set of mail trousers and padded undershirt. A typical chain hauberk reaches down to the ankles, usually split at the front and back to allow riding. A chain hauberk includes gloves (protecting as gauntlets) and a hood (protecting as a helm).
Plate Mail: This armour consists of several metal plates shaped to cover most of the wearer’s body. Plate mail includes padded armour and a breastplate, both of which can be worn independently if desired. A typical suit of plate mail includes gauntlets and a helm upon purchase.
Full Plate: Pinnacle of armour craftsmanship, the full plate armour is an improved version of the plate mail described above. It consists in a suit of articulated interlocking metal plates covering as much of the wearer’s body as possible.
This suit includes gauntlets and a great helm upon purchase. Each suit must be individually tailored for its owner by a master armourer (or else the wearer is considered non-proficient with the armour). A captured full plate armour can be resized to fit a new owner for 25% of the market price.
Journey RPG Excerpt #6: The Huntsman's Lore
Every class get a scaling ability when they reach 3rd level.
Enemy Lore: At 3rd level, the huntsman may select a category of creatures among those given on the table below. The huntsman henceforth gains a +1 bonus on attack and damage rolls against these creatures, and a +1 bonus on any skill or lore check made about or against them. These bonuses increase to +2 at 6th level, to +3 at 9th level, to +4 at 12th level and to +5 at 15th level.
Whenever his enemy lore bonuses increase, the huntsman may add an additional category of creatures to his list of enemies. If a specific creature falls into more than one category, the huntsman’s bonuses do not stack.
Huntsman's Favoured Enemies
Animals and Beasts
* Although Elves are fey creatures, they share the anatomy and social structure of humans and dwarves.
Class Archetypes is one of 5e D&D's easiest "plug-in" element of the game (along with backgrounds). It's also one of the most "tread carefully" element of the game IMO: I really hope we'll not be drowning in archetypes in two years from now.
Every class has rooms for one or two extra archetypes but otherwise, most concepts can be done in combination of background/multiclassing/feats selection. I do think that "local" archetypes could open interesting setting regional diversity however.
Of the things I can think of:
A amazon/unarmored athletic warrior for Barbarian class.
A "druidic" bard for that snow-white vibe (although that can easily be built with lore college bard)
Some kind of hope domain for clerics
A potion maker/party buffer druid
A commander/marshal fighter (although there are manoeuvres for that).
A mystic healer monk
A feudal knight/samurai code paladin
ranger... I just wished its path were a bit more permissive...
A con-artist rogue
A fiendish/celestial bloodline sorcerer (the other obvious source of innate magical abilities)
A ancestors pack warlock
I actually hope there will not be more wizard options; 8 is more than enough.
It's easy to get lost in a LotR discussion, but it is nevertheless a somewhat relevant topic because many GM aim to use Low-Magic system to emulate LotR adventures.
Things is, even if the fellowship had access to magic, the setting falls apart when you allow all your characters to play spellcasters and assume the same level of spellcaster demographics that you would in a typical Pathfinder setting.
So "what to consider if I want to play in Middle Earth" is right in your alley.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Now, here is the question. If elves are the magical artistic sophisticated nature race, dwarves are craftsmen, miners, engineers, and inventors, and magni are scholars and bards, what are the drow known for? If they aren't cruel, manevolent, bloodthirsty beings, what should they be, in broad terms?
They don't have to be that culturally different than the surface elves, unless you want them to be for the sake of diversity.
So other than their history being written from the side of the defeated, the drow could simply be the magical artistic sophisticated underground race. They could cater to their caves the way surface elves cater to their garden and orchards, growing stalagmites and stalactites over the course of centuries the same way elves grow their millennia-old trees.
Marroar Gellantara wrote:
"haha players look at you struggle while the enemies wield cosmic power you were never expected to be able to face!"
I did say if your GM isn't a tyrannical bastard. A decent GM will know when to tone things down on the fly or at the very least won't brag "haha, puny PCs" about it.
or that's part of the adventure and the players need to understand that this villain cannot be beaten with the resources they have. Then I'd hope that the GM left a way for the PCs to fall back and return with a better plan/macguffin/army. Otherwise we're back to the tyrannical bastard.
I disagree that the game revolves around CR. CR is a scale. Scales can be translated.
It means that not 100% of the monster manual will be usable. Considering that not all 100% of the magic item section or of the spell section will be used either, it's not unfair. The game doesn't have to be used in whole; very few games ever do so anyways.
And if a CR 15 dragon TPKs a party of 20th level characters, then CR 15 becomes a new benchmark. There nothing silly there. Not more than a medium-sized fighter slaying a Colossal dragon with a sword barely long enough to pierce through its epidermis anyways...
It's all in the expectation of how super you want your character to be, but there are no ways that you can disguise a high-magic game as a low-magic one; it needs to become another game. This is perfectly possible to do with Pathfinder, but I can understand that some people will prefer if the book bares another name.
Unless you are planning to run an existing adventure written specifically for Pathfinder, dependency on the Big 6 is a bit of a fallacy.
Big 6 are necessary to keep up with CR.
Big 6 are necessary to keep up with published adventures.
Big 6 are necessary to compare your character to "default Pathfinder".
But for a home-brewed game, in a home-brewed (or adapted) setting and with a GM who isn't a tyrannical bastard, the Big 6 are not necessary to run the game efficiently.
Challenges in a low magic setting need to be adapted. Critters with high saves are expected to resist magic efficiently. Monsters with DR are harder to bring down than in a comparable high-magic setting. Flight becomes a much more powerful ability, and so forth. But that's ok because that's probably what you're looking for in a low-magic game anyways.
Adjusting your expectation of your character's abilities and of the extremely versatile toolkit that is spellcasting is part of the low-magic game, but if the GM does its part and lowers the challenge of its beasties, things even out fine.
Personally, I don't have a big problem with Ye Olde Magic Shoppe. I actually like the curio's boutique where local wizards get their pickled basilisk eye or whatever spell component they need. That this place sell potions, a few scrolls, half a dozen magical rings and trinkets and one or two magic swords doesn't bother me.
However, I dislike the Magic-Mart "if it exist in the multiverse, we'll deliver it within 30 days!" type of magic shop where characters can treat the magic item section of the core rulebook as an online catalog.
Magic can still have a place in a lower magic setting. All I ever wished to do in my games was to turn the magic dial from "9" to "6" or "7".
Dreaming Warforged wrote:
Looking forward to your comments Laurefindel. The ones I've read in the other threads on Low Magic were very thoughtful and helpful!
It's a pretty throughout and helpful guide to "what should I think about if I want to DM a low-magic game".
It is understood that like all creative processes, it should be a back-and-forth development process. Once everything has been decided, one should look at the whole picture asking "Do I like this?" and "will it be fun to play with this?". Since RPG are at the core a social activity, other questions like "are my players on board with this?" or "am I being a jerk?" needs answering too. One shouldn't be afraid to go back and fix what needs fixing, then reevaluate.
But that doesn't take anything away from the guide you posted. It's an awesome tool to have a discussion based on common grounds.
I always wanted to do a guide to low(er)-magic based on the style and intentions of the GM, but I had to admit, Pathfinder has become quite a large and intricate beast to tackle.
OK, long time without updates...
Played a few games of 5th ed D&D recently. I must admit it has some awesome elements. I'm also a bit bummed to see that many of my “original” ideas have been recreated almost verbatim in the player’s handbook… oh well.
One thing I appreciate the most about 5e is simplicity of the advantage/disadvantage mechanics. The mechanics of rolling two dice and take the best/worst aside, I admire that the designers found a simple and universal tool to build special abilities and conditions that can affect a character.
This made me reconsider my own conditions and decided to bring down the penalties in Journey RPG to five categories; two that are conditions properly speaking, two that are based on environmental factors and one situational to your battle readiness against a particular opponent.
Journey RPG Excerpt #6: Conditions
Exhausted: The hero is worn out and lacks in strength, speed and presence of mind. Exhausted heroes treat all their attributes as two points lower. In essence, exhausted heroes receive a -2 penalty on defence DC, ability DC, spell save DC, saving throws, skill checks, attack rolls and damage rolls.
Overwhelmed: The hero is hindered, handicapped or otherwise severely distracted. An overwhelmed hero receives a -2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws and skills checks. Many situations also force an overwhelmed spellcaster to succeed on a concentration check in order to retain and cast a spell.
Concealment: The hero does not have a clear idea of its opponent’s exact position due to darkness, mist, foliage or impaired vision. Invisible and fully concealed opponents impose a -5 penalty on all attack rolls and Alertness saves made against them. In the case of partially visible or partially concealed opponents, the penalties are reduced to -2.
Cover: The hero’s opponent is shielded by a solid obstacle such as a barrel, a tree or battlement. Opponents in cover receive a +5 bonus to their defence DC against ranged attacks and to Reflex saves made to resist spells using a burst, cone or line area of effect. In the case of partially shielded opponents, these bonuses are reduced to +2. Obstacles providing cover usually prevents the hero from directly engaging an opponent in melee. Once the obstacle has been overran, circumvented or pushed aside, the opponent loses cover advantages against that hero. Shield and cover bonuses to defence DC do not stack.
Flat-Footed: The hero is unable to defend itself properly against an attack or an opponent. Attacks that catch a hero flat-footed use the hero's flat-footed DC instead of its regular defence DC. a hero's flat-footed DC does not include the hero's Agility score or any dodge and shield bonuses the hero may have.
These are not the only conditions in the game, but these are the "building tools" for all the conditions in the game. For example, blinded is a condition stating that all opponents have full-concealment against you, all opponents catch you flat-footed and and your speed is reduced to 2 yards.
(1) THE BUMBLING ETTIN
This is a shabby tavern just out of the town's walls by the harbours. It has a few rooms upstairs, but people go there mainly for the tap room. It's dark and loud, making it perfect for shady dealings. Not surprisingly, the tavern attracts the less savoury type of crowd...
The tavern's run by its owner, but the real rulers of the tap room are two brothers, both uglier than the other. These thugs run their petty criminal organization from there, and they mean business.
As the PCs sit around the table (probably debating to leave), the two brothers crash onto their table. They are obviously drunk, arguing with each other and blaming the PCs for tripping them and spilling their beer.
If the PCs were waiting for a contact at the inn, it manifests itself at that moment, apologize to the brothers on the PC's behalf and pays them a round. If the DM was just looking for a good tavern brawl to entertain its players; things turn ugly quickly. If the DM was looking to introduce the PCs to a petty criminal organisation, it's obvious that they found it...
Yes, I'm talking about the Simon Pegg's movie where his character and friends evade android aliens while visiting a dozen pubs and taverns.
One interesting element of the movie is that the name of each pub they visit ties with the action happening inside.
So here's the challenge: create an inn, tavern or fest hall with a name foreshadowing what might happen as the character go inside.
- Ulysses 31
If long features are allowed:
- The Flight of Dragons
Sometimes less is more
A simple game engine allows you to be complex on other levels. it becomes much easier to house rule, or to give it a thematic rule that fits the game.
Mechanics don't impact your role play... except when it does. Simplicity in the system just leave more room for the rest. When I was younger and my mind was vast enough, I had room for both, but I know that with the years, I only have energy and readiness for only so much.