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Leonard Kriegler

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4,099 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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This spell isn't useless, but I would agree that it is less useful. In the shadow example above, you're correct; a magic weapon spell would do the trick. However you can't refute the fact that Magic Missile would have SOME effect there, so it isn't useless, just less useful.

Not every spell is a win button. Heck; a lot of them are not. However one thing I (along with Dr Deth apparently) get frustrated with is folks saying less useful = useless. It was demonstrated upthread that MM is more useful than Burning Hands long term if you factor in saves, energy resistance and range. However this does not obsolete Burning Hands by any means as the spell has its own merits that it is a cone shape and that it ignites flammables in the area of effect. Just as MM is situational, I could see Burning Hands' extras coming in handy in certain situations; say a bar fight. One spell and suddenly there's a 15' cone shape of the bar, liquor, and folks' alcohol-stained clothing on fire, reducing the action economy of anyone in that vicinity and potentially causing the place to empty.

All I'm saying is that no option in the game is fully useless. It wouldn't be added if it didn't add SOMETHING to the potential success of the PCs. However I agree that some choices are superior to others in terms of their value add. Magic Missile, as it stands without any special build or mechanics added, is one of those lesser options. In a pinch however it can be utilized to contribute reliably, albeit miniscule, amounts of damage toward ending a threat to the party.

Just remember: part of the formula for DPR is chance to hit. MM hits, every time. Not much actual damage, but it's a 100% chance of success. That's not too shabby.

Another part of horror in general is strong, negative emotions. Loss, rejection, guilt; these are all fun motivators. You can have horror without even putting in haunts and undead. Take mites for example:

The classic mite has vermin empathy, weak DR, Doom 1/day and Prestidigitation at will. Now since your players are level 3 tack on just a couple levels of NPC classes, PC classes or a template or 2. Alternatively you could tweak their SLAs. Finally, add in one of those motivators.

Imagine, if you will, a humble teen commoner, we'll call him Virgil. Virgil was already a bit odd; he enjoyed collecting dead bugs and studying them. He spent a lot of time in the woods for his hobby. He fell in love with the prettiest girl in the village but she wanted nothing to do with the creep and rejected his advances. Some of the boys, to humiliate him, dropped a hornets' nest on him and he fled into the woods, his face covered in welts.

Here he was found by a brutal fey spirit in the woods. This presence promised Virgil the power to take revenge on his old chums. It then transformed the lad into a CE male mite witch 4 with the Simple: Advanced template applied. Only, you don't describe him that way.

Virgil is a twisted vision of horror. The welts on his face have swelled and become permanent. While his head ballooned the rest of his body has shriveled, his skin turning a sallow corpse-blue hue. He drools and slurs around his swollen face. He is however infused with the power of the First World, and the darker power at that.

Virgil barely feels pain anymore (DR 5/Cold Iron). His affinity for bugs has been exaggerated to supernatural proportions; his skin and clothes crawl with at least one swarm and his trusted vermin familiar (as appropriate). What's more, his patron has given Virgil access to a site that will turn others into mites. All he needs to do to make it work is bring the victim to the site...and scare them.

So as the game opens Virgil has been seeding the town with every manner of horror to play upon people's natural fears. Graffiti on the walls is a litany of sins exposing some villagers; bugs crawl through peoples' homes; spells like Darkness or the pit spells are used not just to injure folks but also to terrorize. The carnival coming to town is a welcome respite from the fears.

But the troop of carnies are more mites, made to look mortal. They caper about but have disturbing humor. They employ giant bugs in their tricks, games or as brute labor. And through it all, Virgil's former chums and enemies are disappearing.

The point of this is to illustrate that with the right storytelling and misdirection even CR 1/4 creatures, updated to the challenge level of the APL, can be really horrible. You just need to feed into their horrifying aspects: creepy-crawly insects, fear effects, and the motivation of revenge at ALL costs. That's one last point: if you use this scenario consider that the mites may not fear death. For Virgil he considers all his minions expendable. So long as he survives, he can always make more right? That's one thing you see a lot in horror: the never-ending force. These mites might not need to be tweaked and the party can take out one or two easy, but they just keep coming...

I don't know; spend 3 uses and channel smite 5d6 maximized through your melee attack? That sounds kind of fun...

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DrDeth wrote:
Jay the Madman wrote:

Of course a magic Missile is situational. All spells are situational.

Wizard:"We need to get out of this deep hole, what spell should I use? Magic Missile!"
GM: No effect
Wizard: "Fireball! That is my go-to spell"
GM: Still no effect
Wizard: "ooo I know. Haste! That spell is perhaps the most useful spell available"
GM: ugh

Yeah, well that's one thing about the Optimizers here on these boards.

Toughness isn't the VERY VERY best feat evar, so it's useless. The rogue niche can be filled by other classes, so the class is worthless. The crossbow isn't quite as good as the Longbow for dedicated archers, so it's there as a trap. Or maybe just there because SKR hates crossbows or some other silly reasoning.

Everything must be the very very best in ALL situations and the way THEY play or it's worthless crud, and a TRAP! by the devs.

Unless you're talking about the sling or a slingstaff in the hands of a halfling; then cue Admiral Ackbar. [/humor]

Working on a second encounter...sweating to make deadline...

I'm not talking about the Channel feats like Smite or whatever. I'm talking about stuff like metamagic. Why is there no Empowered, Maximized or Extended Channel effect?

HS: you've still got a few hours. Could you maybe cobble something together? I don't know which real life issue is messing with your participation but who knows; maybe the inspiration of this last minute deadline will drive you to unheard of adventure!

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In! As I've said before its an honor just to submit. That being said fingers and toes crossed!

So in a 4E game I played a little while ago I had the opportunity to both create my own PC quirks and add some to another. When we started the campaign there were only 2 players and the GM so we decided to make one character on our own and then play a pre-gen the GM had made. I ended up with a half-elf wizard and a pre-gen human warlord.

Ignus Arcanamux was my wizard. I took ONLY flame/fire spells and a high Dex so he was going first often. My GM pulled a pic for me and the wizard looked like a little kid because of his half-elf fairness, so I ran with that angle since I'd intended to be brash anyway. So Ignus then was a punk upstart who figured he'd solve any and all conflicts with arcane fire. He was quick witted, quick tempered and fueled by adolescent angst.

Barnabus, Master of the Watch on the other hand was in his forties with a wizened pic even though he was a warlord. His powers were all about moving people around the battlefield, so I worked him in as Ignus' bodyguard. According to what was on the pre-gen Barnabus had retired from being a very small-time sheriff and master of a militia watch before answering a desperate call to adventure. So I added in that part of this call was that, for whatever reason the wizard's master had decided Ignus was worth something and had met and been impressed with Barnabus years past, so he coaxed the elder warlord out of retirement.

Long story boring, I played Barnabus as my primary while shouting little quips and snot-nosed challenges from Ignus. I named all my spells Harry-Potter style and would call them out when playing my wizard. The warlord however was a powerful social character and was constantly drilling and marshalling the party as if it was a military unit. As such I stole every line I could remember from my brother's drill sergant, military individuals in TV and movies, etc. Barnabus was fond of telling everyone he met to get their stuff "squared away," "high and tight" or "ship-shape." He was however patient, kind and wise.

The sad thing is though that, when the chips are down, a lot of my characters revert to being chips off the same block. I never play evil (personal preference) so since my characters strive to be heroes they all end up seeming like the comic book heroes I grew up revering.

Like Blaphers I try to develop a character out of their backstory. One PC years ago was a real stretch for me. As an adolescent guy I had to play out a female elf of a noble line. She was honorable and dutiful to her family and people, but at the same time the background I rolled indicated that she had little actual hope for title of her house.

So in a nutshell a spoiled, privileged elf fighter/magic user who craved attention but was on the outskirts of importance. Naturally she was a "bad girl".

She acted out, drank, swore, and flirted with all the boys (AWK-ward to roleplay). Then the DM had her father reign her in as part of the campaign story. She had a come-to Corellion-Larenthian, cleaned up and decided "If I'm just GOOD enough, daddy will LOVE me!" A tad simplistic sure, but fun to roleplay.

What'd I get for it? I had the freakin demon prince on the ropes and failed ONE saving throw... and fast-forwarded into the future 1000 years where my forest kingdom had been turned to barren desert, all elves were either dead or pariahs and the demon's following in the wake of his disappearance had turned the world into a dystopian cesspit.

Yeah, it was a dark campaign...

But I guess my point is the character emerged from playing her. Look at what you wrote down on the sheet, let it inform your first couple sessions, then grow upward from there.

A few off the top of my head using 0 level spells:

Every-Flavor Pipeweed: just like the children of Hogwarts, now your grown up wizards can have tobacco infused with prestidigitations to go smokeless, blow pink rings that smell like bubble gum or have the puffs of smoke come out square and sideways!

The Potable Portable: a watersack that can purify any watery liquid to make it drinkable. A larger version could be a cooking pot hung in a hearth. Since in real life "pottage" was just leftovers in the pot from the night before re-imagined the next morning, this cauldron would keep ANY foodstuff cooked within it from spoiling indefinitely so that you could just keep adding more and different things to the broth.

One I actually used in a game: The Directional Arrow!

This arrow is flightless; if shot from a bow it will auto-fail. However if jammed forcefully by hand it will wedge into any surface. Sure, it might still be used as a weapon, but it's TRUE purpose is revealed when the "surface" is natural stone or the ground. At that point four lights as bright as torches appear and swirl out to a 10' distance from one another lighting a good area of space. What's more, while three of these glimmer like firebrands the fourth radiates a greenish luminescence. The green light always marks true north and grants a +2 Circumstance bonus to Survival checks to avoid getting lost or gaining one's bearings.

One last question Mr Broadhurst: in a previous contest you allowed 2 submissions per entrant. Is this still possible or are we limited to one shot only?

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I heard "Greyhawk folio maps" and immediately upped my pledge. Darn you guys and your shrewd sales tactics! Let's chip away all the stretch goals!

There might be an issue in the forums which I'm sure you folks already know about. A lot of threads in the PF forums with ph no's it looks like. Anyway, just thought I'd mention. Carry on your excellent work and thanks again (as always) for Paizo's fantastic customer service! :)

New stretch goals are in. Everyone; we should all head back in for round 2. Add ons galore.

But Ashiel: all these rules, so much's too cumbersome. Go back to old D&D... :)

In all seriousness though, I agree with what Kryzbyn is saying. A lot of the difference is just in number of player options. AD&D had no real "build" options except for minor decisions along the way and a lot of decisions were made by DM fiat. PF has a lot more of the options, rules and even some of the campaign creativity rooted in the players. It really depends on which system you enjoy as both have pros and cons.

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Back in AD&D there was more threat of death and yes; more consequence when your character died. I wasn't necessarily a killer DM but I ran Tomb of Horrors for my PCs a couple times. Another DM I played under routinely ran a dark world. You couldn't grab a drink from a stream while dying of thirst because as you drank you were grappled and drowned by xvarts.

But one threat I DON'T miss from those days is hazards and traps. They were diabolical, quick, and deadly. In one module my buddy always tells me about there's a pair of boots in the first room.

DM: you see a pair of boots
Player: I try em on
DM: Give me a save
Player: umm (rolls)... seven?
DM you die.

See, there's yellow mold in the boots. Even if you look in supposedly the module just says "a yellowish substance coats the inside of the boots" but if the PCs try any other inspection of the footgear they risk dying. In the first room. Of a 1st level appropriate adventure.

Now yellow mold hasn't gotten any less lethal for novice 1st level players but experienced Pathfinders can use Knowledge: Dungeoneering to identify it, try a cantrip or orison to test it from a distance or sacrifice an animal companion or summoned creature for the effort. Bottom line, hazards are still hazardous, its just that now you have ways of dealing with them.

Now, there were ways of dealing with them in older editions, but either your chances were low OR they were esoteric, undefined by the system. There was thus a lot more interaction between DM and player, but since things like "knowledge" rolls were up to the DM to decide and adjudicate, there was even more of an attitude that the DM was a separate entity like there were the players and then this impartial/cruel/tyrannical/fair/fun/godlike entity off to the side called the DM.

This might be another part of the "essence" folks want to recapture.

What about working in some item creation feats to make consumables? I'm making a cleric and one of the things I'm struggling with is the fact that even with a high wisdom I'm just a guy in heavy armor that can't hit the broad side of a barn, and I have a couple spells.

My thought was to take Scribe Scroll and start churning out low level buffs for cheap, then eventually pick up Craft Wand for bigger buffs and heals. What do you think?

Goth Guru wrote:

45.Mechanical Hand

This thing made of white, lightweight, but strong metal is attached to a sleeve, that fits over a hoof, paw, or stump. It works like a normal hand, but radiates no magic. It recharges from the wearer's nervous energy while they sleep. It is most useful to someone waiting for a regeneration spell.

Fits over a paw or hoof right? You give one of these puppies to, say, a mundane familiar; can they use it like a hand? If so, HELOOO feat-saver! I don't like monkey familiars so I've had to go "improved" twice for past characters. If I can keep my kitty cat or owl and still have them using wands like champs, then where do I sign?

Sorry DS; what I meant was a guy that switches between ranged and melee as a Fighter 2.

Can we add class levels to creatures in the bestiary that normally don't have them, like a Magical Beast for example?

Private, hand me my bull roarer and digerie do while I make a couple native calls:

Crikey, what a BEAUTY!

Now THAT'S a knife!

Fruit salad, yummy yummy!

Dark Sasha wrote:
You add 5 dollars to your total pledge, but do not adjust the pledge level. Then, when the Kickstarter closes you will be asked to fill out a survey telling Frog God what you want done with the additional dollars. At that time you'll be able to select the Player's Guides.

Done! Dearest Bill, if you keep adding even more amazing add ons to this project please understand you'll have to answer to my wife.

So far all the stretch goals have been wilderness encounters, so we probably don't need any more than that. I also agree a base would be cool, but it sounds like that's in the works for it's own product so I won't beat that dead horse. What about some fleshed out FEATURES then as a compromise. Doesn't need to be a base, but an extra group in the area added and detailed to provide potential aid to the party like a mercenary group or a traveling caravan. I've not played any FGG megadungeon type games but run several of my own. One thing my players have always liked and asked for more of in those types of games has been interesting NPCs to interact with in and around the dungeon; folks to provide useful intel, items, or resources.

TL/DR: I think if maps are too expensive and settlements aren't a thing, give us NPCs or useful groups added in as stretch goals.

How would you run/build a cleric/ranger? I've been all over the boards but can't find any suggestions. I have the chance to gestalt in an upcoming new campaign and the group has no skills monkeys or buffer/healers. It's 2 melee types, a blaster arcanist and a melee/ranger switch hitter.

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Ashiel wrote:
MattR1986 wrote:
Didn't watch it, but all the kids are obsessed with this movie atm. I'll probably have to watch it eventually now with the youngin' but I really don't like the CGI stuff that's done now.

I do miss the oldschool 'scratchy' Disney animation. My favorite Disney movie is probably Sleeping Beauty as well (even if it bombed at the Box Office, Maleficent forever!). But the animation is really good in Frozen. Really, really good. It's beautiful and feels right for the movie. I feel like a lot of it wouldn't have been as good with the oldschool methods and that's saying something 'cause I'm a big animation fan.


I've heard someone dies or something. Either way no Disney can ever fully traumatize a child like Bambi did.

Oh look the mommy and her fawn they're so nice and cute together an.. *BAM*


I won't spoil it for you, but yeah, Bambie. Jeez, Bambie. That movie was traumatizing for me as a child too. :P

It was also a good depiction of fighting an elemental. Now if Prince Hans had been in possession of, say, a +1 Flaming longsword, that probably would've been a different fight. It probably wasn't part of his build though.

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So, are we saying the essence of AD&D in PF is to complain a lot, do bold stuff with our characters and then tell people how awesome we are?

I think we should get back to the essence of AD&D in PF. I didn't play at a lot of cons back in the 1e/2e days, but I played a couple event games and now since PF I've played a couple of those at cons too. I think when it comes to events the games play pretty similarly. You get some pre-gens, roll some dice, and try not to die.

So I think a lot of the "essence" that's changed/stayed the same/disappeared/whatever is at home games/private games. Is that ENTIRELY due to the system and ruleset, or could it also be the maturity of the gamers?

I wonder if too much of this debate can be summed up with the fact that we were younger when we played 1e, and now we're older and playing PF.

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You might get some mileage out of an incorporeal "barker"; someone who directs the players' attentions to the myriad attractions.

If you've got all these Haunts and undead, you might also have someone/thing taking advantage of it all:

- Necromancer utilizing the place to collect souls needed to power a diabolical machine

- Mites using the fear factor to add to their own "Doom" SLA and general freakiness

- Old Man Witherspoon who's using the haunted amusement park to keep people away from the buried treasure he's searching for

I personally like to go truly horrible. I conceptualized but was never able to play a puppeteer, a really nice fellow, but wears a mask and never comes out at night. At the same time he arrives a bugbear starts manifesting though children's dreams and slowly terrorizes them, draining Wis and Cha from them until as mindless automatons they wander into the woods where Old Pogolo Peeps waits with a torture chamber to inflict the final horror; he replaces their eyes with mirror glass trapping their souls in the broken mirrors.

The bugbear hunts by the scent of fear and is in fact blind. He's also immortal. The only way to truly destroy Old Pogolo Peeps is to kill the puppeteer who has mirror glass embedded in his eyes as part of a witch's curse.

While I agree with Puma that curiosity should lead to horror I also think a great way to horrify folks is to muck with innocence. Children are a good metaphor here. Perhaps kids giggling and when the party arrives there's nothing but a drying blood pool around a dolly. You might also have one of those Attic Whisperer undead stalking the carnival. "Where's my mommy... I wanna go home..." then it turns out to be undead and "mommy" is currently being tortured on a wheel.

Finally, there's an element too that you might explore. What if the heroes aren't the ONLY mortals in the faire. If you give them real people amid all the horror you can really mess with them. Perhaps by the end of the game you've tricked them so many times with who's a real person and who's not that they just don't care any more. That's when you've got the last victim NPC standing right there, bloody axe in their hand, saying "if we just head through here we'll get out, I PROMISE!" and WHAM! They take 'em out, only to find the escape tunnel was real. Now THEY'VE killed an innocent, making them no better than the haunts they've just survived.

But that's just mean...

snobi wrote:
There are fountain drink machines with every flavor imaginable, but the only one that works is Diet Coke.


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Personally I don't think you can go wrong with Hollow's Last Hope. I've used the module or a version of it modified for home used now to start up 2 home campaigns. It's become my "Keep on the Borderlands" for PF.

Hollow has some NPC interaction, exploration elements, and ends with a dungeon hack, all with a sense of urgency since the players are on a clock. It's also open ended; it could lead into more dungeon delving using the kobold modules after or just making it up as you go, or you could just as well throw a sandbox game at them with the map provided of the area surrounding Falcon's Hollow.

Come to think of it you could even, with a bit of modifying, even tie this module into the original Keep on the Borderlands for one mini-mega-campaign. They start out at the hollow, solve that crisis, then exploring out from there find the caves of chaos in the nearby mountains. Adventure ensues...

So I see that we've hit all the stretch goals and the $5 Player's Guides are available as an Add On. So do I just change my pledge to $45 and then, when I get a survey I select the Player's Guide add on then? I ask because it's not giving me the chance to add it on right now.

KH: some skills already have a "get close/partial success" sort of thing to them. Fail your climb roll by 4 or less and you just don't make any progress but you don't fall. Maybe use that as a baseline.

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No, you guys are right; I should stop dissing old school D&D. It wasn't all bad. My snarky post above was my experience as a player. As a DM I really liked the game. Yes, because of the grey areas of the rules there was a lot more talking, at least in my experience.

I usually let the players roll 4d6, take the best 3, and re-roll 1's, maybe 2's. I also tended to hand out something unique to get them going at 1st level. Maybe a 1/day magic power or a magic item that would grow in power with them. My games tended to involve a lot of roleplay, a lot of trying weird stuff and a lot of adventure.

I jumped right into 2e when it came out, but when 3x arrived I was there at Gen Con that year and I was soul crushed. They'd completely re-written the game I loved. I kept playing 2e for a couple years before finally getting into 3x.

But the thing I liked was that, with all the rules plus feats I had less work to do. I didn't have to houserule as much or try to balance a power I gave to one guy but not another. I had baselines from which to rule. It made my job easier.

Honestly, all snark aside the only thing I can consistently point to in AD&D that I wasn't a fan of is the arguing. Every time I houseruled something there'd always be that ONE guy who didn't agree because he read it differently. We were all DM's back then; maybe that was the problem.

But there was also debate over playing without maps. You guys that pulled it off flawlessly - bless you and your games. You obviously are better storytellers than I, and I mean that sincerely without sarcasm. I've struggled with such descriptions for years and it ALWAYS seemed that the vision in my head never quite matched what my players were seeing.

So for me AD&D was a LOT of talking, describing, debating and socializing with a few dice rolls thrown in for sound effects. The reality of killer DM's only came up when I was playing; when I ran the game hardly anyone ever died. But then a LOT of my games imploded and never made it past like 6th or 7th level because of all the debates and hurt feelings.

Yes, I like the new editions. For me the essence of old D&D versus new boils down to one thing: description.

Sure, you can make a roll with a skill and talk your way out of a fight with some gate guards, but I do honestly miss when you had to ACTUALLY talk to those guards. I don't miss other skill checks, but I do miss things like speaking in character, describing off the wall actions you want your character to take or whatever.

Anyway to Logan specifically or other folks in this thread: sorry for cheezing you off. I didn't mean to dis old D&D and I honestly do have reverence for it. It is a solid first step into gaming and none of what I have today would've been possible without it.

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Oh my goodness that's a lot of reading. One point I want to harp on though is this idea of "magic marts." Where are these places in your games? Barring some silly games as a kid that based loosely around the Bazar at Deva from the Myth series by Robert Lynn Asprin, I've never had a giant warehouse full of magic items.

Similarly though, I've never had a single settlement since converting to 3x that didn't AT LEAST have a crazy old cat lady that could make potions. In fact, I've played with unique ways to work magic consumables into new forms. One town had a crazy old lady making magic pies; she made them with "love" and when you ate them you just felt better - potion of cure light wounds.

I agree with many of you: if the PCs walked into the town square and I said "you see a massive superstore, with the sign 'Wall of Magic Mart' in blue and white and miles of towering shelves stocked with ALL the magic items costing 10k GP or less on them" I'd expect immersion to be compromised. But I don't do that do I. If they're on the hunt for magic items I usually run shopping trips through email, but I'll roleplay it out.

"You enter the small shop crammed with curios and trinkets. Many are useless baubles; other are arcane components used in the casting of spells. The interior is dark, musty, and smells of aging paper. 'Good morning, young master,' a voice purrs from behind the counter. Moments ago there was no one; you're sure of it. Suddenly at second glance there is a crooked little man, his eyes a hungry smolder beneath the white shrubbery of his furrowed brow. 'you are seeking something yes? Something beautiful, something dangerous...something, magical perhaps?' his words drip from his mouth like honey even as the light seems to fade at the corners of the shop until there is only his leering face and you. 'Then step into the parlor then young master; you have discerning eyes that I would not taunt with my usual fare. Such wonderful, young eyes...'"

And that's how, over email, a young wizard might purchase a new wand. I've also had sexually suggestive cougars that came on to the clientele; a tiefling wizard that boasted of his "TRUE power!" but was really a hack; a consortium of kobolds, gnomes and goblins called Tinkers and Gnaws that used spells to rework garbage into art or even magic items...for a price.

Now I'm not begrudging any playstyle here but it seems like the argument is over extremes. Either you can't buy magic items at all OR you have a "magic mart" with all the items listed in the settlement stat block in warehouse next to tubs of rations sold in bulk. I'm here to tell you that there are OTHER ways to buy, sell and craft items that might add to the roleplay of the game, if you're interested. If not, that's fine, but you'll want to make some adjustments if you go magic-light.

Me, I love the idea that you walk into a creepy old curio shop and the old man offers you junk until he realizes you're a real player with real money. Then suddenly he changes his tune and pulls one or two "real pieces" and grins maniacally as he asks (paraphrasing Hellrazer here) "What's your PLEASURE sir?"

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Want to recapture some of the essence, least from times when I PLAYED 1e/2e?

1. roll 4d6, take the best 3; no re-rolls and apply all rolls AS rolled. This means: you show up wanting to play a paladin; you end up rolling up a m-u with a 4 dex and a 12 Int as your highest stat (it happened)

2. If you're a level 1 spell caster cast 1 spell. That's it, just 1. No cantrips, scrolls or what-not at level 1... just that spell.

3. Learn to debate. Get REALLY good at it. Learn math, physics, history and study a lot of science. Be ready to quote not only game rules but also debate those rules with A LOT of passionate, real-world numbers/examples

4. Talk to NPCs. No, don't roll anything (Charisma is basically there to fill space on your sheet), just start talking and hope you impress your GM.

5. Learn to impress your GM. Not just in the game (see 3 and 4) but find out what his drink of choice is; buy him food; laugh at his jokes. This will pay dividends in rulings later.

6. Invent telepathic transmission. This is the only way you and your GM will see EXACTLY the same thing when he's describing the action. Otherwise see the post above about the mapless fight scene.

7. Manage disappointment. You won't be building your character; they will change as the game changes. Sometimes you will die, fail a save and turn to stone, be put to sleep, charmed, or otherwise transformed in some way beyond your control. You have far fewer resources to not only prevent these changes but to reverse them when they occur. Accept the change.

8. Don't get attached to your PC. For the first 3 levels don't even name them. Even after that make sure you've always got 5 backups ready to go at a moment's notice.

Also remember: Pharasma is the goddess of the dead and her clerics are charged with the sanctity of the remains. They look after the REMAINS specifically and care little for superfluous regalia. It may be, within the church that other faiths' burial rites are considered anywhere from distasteful to downright heresy.

Imagine for a moment that a Pharasmin entered the tomb of a devout of Nethys. Said worshipper was entombed in a lavish underground lab and library complex. This campus includes a dungeon of fell creatures for further experimentation, summoning chambers and necrotic cysts. Y'see, the master fully anticipated his own return to unlife at some point and wanted everything ready for his furthered studies.

Well along comes the Pharasmin and finds a bunch of monsters and accidentally summoned creatures trapped in the tomb alongside construct servants. The Pharasmin realizes all of these trappings are tainted by the desire to cheat the Mother of Souls and when she reaches one of the necrotic cysts and finds the corpse in suspended animation surrounded by a host of undead acolytes, well that TEARS it. This whole place is a blasphemy to Pharasma and everything in it is null and void.

I see the Pharasmin as "correcting the mistakes" of other religious traditions and how they bury their dead. This might not be the case with everyone's campaign, but that's how I do it.

Frostmites: change DR 2/Cold Iron to Cold Resist 5; change Light Sensitivity to Vulnerable to Fire; mod a few vermin to cold-weather types; change Prestidigitation and Doom to 2 new unique powers:

0 Level: Create Snow - as Create Water save that it only works as the function where it fills an open area, not receptacles. The liquid created takes the form of snow. It deals no damage but the area that it fills gains Concealment for 1 round.

Level 1: Ice - reflavored Grease spell that creates brief sheets of ice which can be augmented by special materials like the Grease spell can with Alchemical Grease.

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Let me get this straight: the Great and Powerful TOZ is saying you should prep more? You're one of the kings of the no prep model of gaming. You've even told ME that when I was ranting in a thread, and I've GM'd for 3 decades. Now you're saying PREP MORE?


Oh Tri, what happened to you... :)

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Here's why the football analogy didn't work for me. Because back when I WAS watching in the 80's, I never saw Jim McMahon walk on the field, wave a hand, and change the snow falling on Soldier's Field into streaks of multi-colored lightning and a rain of frogs.

Y'see, QBs are just guys in tight pants that throw well. They are more akin to players. The GM is more likely ALL of the things just on the outskirts of the plays. The GM is:

The distracting cheerleader on the sidelines
The snow coming down
The astroturf when you were expecting grass
The stress-induced heart attack the coach has
The league bosses who put the schedule together for that day
The air

All of these are the GM. Do they affect game play and thus might be considered players? Sure. But they are not exactly the same as the contributions of the other players, therefore the GM (IN MY OPINION) is not "just another player."

But there it is folks: opinion. This thread is about opinion, not fact, so everyone's right and no one is. Some people can think that GM = Player. Others may disagree with that opinion, and that's ok too.

Opinions are not fact. They should not be treated as such.

Personally I feel that the GM comes up with a game concept or chooses to run an AP. Then he sits down to play with his Players. Together they weave out the game with everyone contributing. But at the end of the day the GM decides the particulars such as what is available in the setting, what loot to give out, and what random encounters to drop. For this reason the Players should never demand any of these things from the GM, but should instead expect a reasonable amount of tolerance and consideration from the GM when making their decisions.

I would never as a player go up to my GM and say "I demand to fight a goblin tonight" anymore than I would say "I demand a +2 strength belt tonight." I would however have NO qualms saying "Y'know what'd be awesome? If we got to just completely WAIL on some goblins! It's been a long, stressful week and it'd be nice to flex a little in fiction! And hey; if said goblins just HAPPENED to have a +2 strength belt laying around, I wouldn't be sad..."

Now some GMs would drop a troll witch 6 riding an adult green dragon. Another GM would have a cave full of goblins guarding a +2 strength belt. Still another GM would have the goblins fight, then relent, bargaining with the PCs to go after the troll witch and his dragon and doing so with a +2 strength belt. Each style has their own merits.

If my player said this stuff to me, I'd ask why they're looking for the +2 strength belt, then decide if it would be game-breaking to just have some weird energy-gas that infuses power into the PC and gives him a 6/day use "strength surge" that grants him a +2 Adrenaline bonus to Strength for 1 minute/level. Then I'd throw in the goblins just to be nice. After all; he's had a hard day and all.

Lord Webb, with that kind of confidence I can't WAIT to see what "additional stretch goals" crop up AFTER the 30k. Man I'm lovin this!

I missed the first one; I won't make that mistake again. Even if I'm not chosen I'd be truly honored just to be in the company of such great talent. I need to get some typing done PRONTO!

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We're through all but the last of the stretch goals already. I'm really psyched for this project! I hope the momentum continues so I can pick up that $5 player's guide so that, later when I finally have the product my players can completely ignore it and wander blindly through the campaign. C'MON FORUM!

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I use the Take 10 approach to several skills, Perception being one of them. I tell my players ahead of time that I'll be using their "base" perception or whatever and just tell them when they notice something if they're not under duress. Then, if we're in combat or some kind of conflict threatens the party, I make them roll.

For example if my players are exploring the entry of a cave and they tell me up front they're being cautious then I note their base perception checks. If it's high enough to notice the signs of the trap in the hall (Perception DC 20) then I'll just tell them "You notice an odd flag in the floor" and just roll from there. Similarly if I know a wizard has invested skills in Knowledge: Arcana and comes upon some arcane runes on a door, I'll tell the player they are arcane in nature, in the tradition of the flame mages of Kithyar, and may in fact be enchanted.

I think where I fall down as a GM is I rarely add things JUST to add things; they usually have some kind of game impact. As a result my players have learned that, if I'm telling them something, it must somehow be a boon/threat to them. On the plus side they pay close attention but on the downside they tend to be very jaded.

Play. Play as you did when you were in grade school. By that I mean try to remember back to being 9 or 10 and the weird, bizarre make believe you had then. My daughters (10 and 12) for example like to play with their dolls ("babies") still and make up these elaborate backgrounds for themselves and their children. If they were 20 something and asked me how to GM, I'd expect their games to be full of lots of plot, background and fluffy details.

So If it's not fun, don't do it. Do you think tactics are fun? That's cool; do it a lot in your games. Think tons of story is fun? Do lots of that then.

Remember that this is a team effort. Think about the fun of others at the table, even as you own your own part of it. Now you can't read people's minds, so this brings us to the final point:

Communicate. Talk, sing, email, send smoke signals or Morse code, but chat w/your players. It doesn't have to be feedback specifically about the game. Find out where they work, who their families are, and where they grew up. Learn whether they like DC or Marvel super heroes; are they in a fantasy baseball or football league; when was their last piece of candy and why. All of this dialogue gives you a sense of who your players are and what they want from the game.

I personally love epicness. Epic plots, fight scenes, and conflict. I'm not ashamed to say I thoroughly enjoy Jerry Bruckheimer movies. Also I root for underdogs CONSTANTLY. My fave comic book character is Spider-Man; a poor kid from the outer boroughs who, even with super powers, could barely make rent, not to mention the fact that, back when I was reading the book he got his head handed to him by more villains than any other hero in Marveldom.

Needless to say as a player/GM I love games with lots of action, epic villains and heroes that are underdogs. I don't mind it when the players have some fights with puff-ball opponents, but I always try to have at least one fight where they have to pull out all the stops, throw everything they have and drag themselves out of it when they're done.

TL/DR: Play like a kid, include others, and communicate. Oh, and one more thing: be nice. It's a simple thing but one a lot of GMs overlook. Be nice. Here's a phrase I say to my kids all the time to remind them to be nice to each other when they play together: "Go with the flow and say yes more than no." Now I'm not saying be a pushover, but work WITH your players, not against them. Be nice.

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Now Simon, I don't think they were saying "you're doing it wrong" but rather explain the math because I think in terms of tactics and don't understand how you have a successful battle with the odds stacked so heavily against you.

I too would love to be regaled by the story. Not because I think ANYONE (Damian OR Chengar or even Simon) is doing it wrong but because my tactics suck and I probably would've been obliterated in the same scenario. I'd like to learn how this party survived.

1. As a GM I like learning about new tactics to challenge my tactically minded players

2. As a potential player in an upcoming game I want to improve my odds and not be my usual "boat anchor" self in the party

Add on the fact that I think EVERYONE can benefit from learning how to go low magic if for no other reason than to astonish fellow gamers. D-Mage, tell us how you pulled it off!

@RCdubs: these all sound fine. I still chafe at the no crafting thing but you've run PFS so I'm sure you have the handle on this. Hopefully you give the wizard something cool when you take away their bonus feat at 1st level.

I think the wilderness areas being variable is your strongest OD&D angle. One thing that was always dangerous in older editions was random encounters. Consider; you made about half or more of your EXP on gold, so random encounters that usually didn't carry any treasure were already a low return on investment for the players. Add in the "random" nature where you might be a 5th level party meeting 2 goblins, or the same party meeting an ettin and his ogre cousins, and you've got the potential for some really challenging encounters.

For the PFS crowd, I would sculpt some random encounter charts for various areas. Then if the party was going there I'd call for either a Diplomacy or Knowledge roll; in return I'd reward them with SOME kind of forewarning of a couple of the monsters in the chart. Ex:

(player rolls Diplomacy for Gather Information)If you're setting out for the Forest of Vryr, you should know; there be a dragon in them woods. A great, green she beast locals call Treerender whose breath is so foul it can boil a man's flesh from his bones. She's served by a special kind o' kobold what makes its way in the daytime and aint bothered by the light like their cave-dwelling cousins. Vryr can be a dangerous place, mark my words...

Now, if the party's second level, they might think twice. Heck, even if they're 10th level they still might have some reservations. But they feel a LITTLE more prepared, aren't blindsided by a potential TPK and if they choose to still go can feel they're really being adventurous.

I think, because old modules didn't have a lot of NPCs save the villains and victims, many folks discount the value of RP in "old school" games. If you guys don't or don't agree that's cool. Anyway, I'd say watch out for that bear trap and fill up your "exploration" parts of the game with just as many rich interactions with locals as you can.

TOZ, it never fails. You chime in and what you say; it MAKES me see you as your icon. I picture you IRL looking like Chevy Chase in Fletch and literally not giving a F about anything at the gaming table, grinning the whole way. Oh, and for some reason you're in a smoking jacket. Is that weird?

Book bloat too. Keep 'em coming. Sometimes I game w/out any books in PF. None. I just sit down and wing it. I did the same back in 1e. Drives my players insane.

"But the DMG says..."

"But the MM shows skeletons have..."

"But in Ultimate Campaign..."

I don't care. I'm running. Trust me to be fair, balanced and even. If I get a rule wrong, trust it's for the right reason.

Again, this doesn't have anything to do w/the system. I don't own MOST of the books for PF. I tell my players to use whatever they find on PFSRD. A couple have taken me up on the offer and picked some weird trait or feat.

I don't really care

If it does come up in play I just hack it and move on. If I get it right or wrong it doesn't slow down gameplay.

Now movement on a grid map, THAT slows play. There's ways around that though and it isn't a requirement of PF to use one. So again, it's not the system.

Now on the flip, this is a true story: I lugged ALL my AD&D books one day to school. They filled my entire gym bag in eighth grade. Anyway I go to hoist the bag over my shoulder coming out of lunch and "pop!" Herniated groin.

Oh yeah, that was AWESOME! I collapse in a spasm of pain under the weight of near a dozen hardcover gaming books and a binder, then have to grunt through the pain to my dad why he had to come pick me up from school and what I'm doing in a wheelchair. The cherry on top? The doctor, accompanied by a group of students, decides to do a FULL exam, including rectal.


No point to telling you all that story, I just think it's hilarious. Hope you all had a good laugh and realize: it's not about the amount of books, it's how you choose to USE them that matters. Make your game what you want and pick the books you choose to use wisely. They may try to kill you someday...

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Grimmy wrote:

One big difference I've identified, is declaring actions in game mechanics terms versus descriptive terms.

As a kid I remember more "I want to swing from the rafters." "Ok, make a dexterity check." "

Now I see more "I make an acrobatics check to avoid the AoO." "Ok, you beat his CMD."

That's a bad example but if you've seen both you'll know what I mean I think.

Perception is an easier example.

"I roll perception." "OK there's a secret compartment in the bookshelf."


"I pull out some books from the bookshelf."

Very true Grimmy, I know exactly what you mean. What I've done is ask players to dig a little deeper.

"I make a Perception check"

Me: For what


Me: you notice a lot

"Are there any traps or anything out of the ordinary?"

Me: Oh, you were looking for traps? No, no obvious signs that say "trap here." you did however notice scorches on the wall across from the wall sconce and an oddly-colored flagstone covering most of the middle of the hall.

"I use acrobatics to avoid the AoO"

Me: how, and where are you moving to?

"I roll"

Me: please note - while you avoid the AoOs you are still flanked by the cardinal's guards here. Your acrobatics is high enough you might be able to make a jump for the chandolier overhead; I'll add your jump roll TO your 5' move to represent swinging, if you want to chance it?

Where I find it near impossible is on social rolls. Diplomacy took the wind out of a lot of RP sails. Still, I try to muddle through.

Touc wrote:
Fundamentally, it starts with character classes, the phenomenon of more focus on a sheet and what it can do "by the numbers" versus imagination and what it can do "by the story put forth before you." May be mixing threads into what people would want to see for a Pathfinder 2E, but moreso if we perceive the character rules bloat as the effect which has caused a mechanical focus versus a creative one, then we are really expressing a thematic perception of where the game should be.

Heh, this makes me laugh. As if PF made folks concentrate on their character sheets. I had a guy in my 1e games who consistently played wizards or dwarf fighters. When playing these characters his dwarves always got as strong as they could and hacked everything with an axe; his wizards always blasted with attack spells. Period. He played "by the numbers" all the time.

Some people are hard-wired to numbers. Others are creative types. A precious few do both well or neither. People are people; a game system doesn't make them who they are.

I've seen some VERY dynamic players who could probably spend an entire night glancing at their character once or twice for a reference. I've also seen tactics types who obsess over bonuses and don't really care what the ghoul queen's motivation is for dangling those teenagers over that pit of her newly-turned offspring. The bottom line is there are all kinds of players, playing all kinds of ways, in lots of different systems. PF is no different.

All 3x and PF did was present MORE for the numbers types to obsess over and lay down baselines for how dynamic types do their daring-do. In many people's opinions the designers did so inelegantly with too much clutter. Similarly when I was a kid running a games shop at the tail end of 2e folks complained that D&D didn't do ENOUGH to provide those numbers and guidelines.

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