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I greatly appreciate all the work done by 4 and 5 star GMs. I don't know what percentage of the total number of Pathfinder Society games are run by 4 or 5 star GM's: but I would hazard a guess that this is a significant portion of total PFS games, Thus, I believe that these GM's are an extremely important part of the Pathfinder Society and I do not begrude them any special or additional perks they may obtain, even if I am not eligible for these perks. Having GM'ed a few games, I know first hand the time and effort needed to fill the role of GM.
Post the city or town in which you live. Someone might be able to refer you to a game in your geographical area. Or, contact the Venture Captain for your area (listed on Paizo boards ).
I think it a good idea that players and DM's can choose either CORE only or an expanded version which includes additional options. I see three advantages to the core version: easier to learn, easier to DM, and less power gaming. Additionally, for those playing in Pathfinder Society play, it enables a player to play the same scenario twice: in core and expanded versions. On the other hand, the expanded version provides an opportunity for players to form more types of characters with more unique backgrounds, skills, feats, etc. Neither option excludes the other: and I think that those players who begin playing Core only will later move on to the expanded version. I think that it will be interesting, in a year or so, to evaluate as to how many players are using each system, and to compare the growth rate of new players into PFS with that of the year prior to its introduction.
Personally, I think that Pathfinder Society should allow only lawful evil, lawful neutral and neutral alignment for the Cheliax faction, since that faction is inherently lawful evil. Similarly, Silver Crusade should allow only lawful good, neutral good, and lawful neutral since that faction is inherently lawful good. Only Cheliax should be allowed to play an evil alignment;but this should also involve a charisma penalty when interacting with all non-Cheliax factions.
If you play Pathfinder as a home game, your DM can adjust the perameters, setting, and rewards the players receive so as to customize the game more to the group's liking. Thus, your group could have either a higher or lower level magic using campaign. If you play in Pathfinder Society organized play, I have found that the amount of magic, while available, is limited in comparison with other worldwide systems. I distinctly remember the days of "Living City" or "Living Grayhawk" in which players came to play armed with loose leaf binders full of certs for multitudes of magic items. No system is perfect; however Pathfinder is quite enjoyably playable. One more thing- Pathfinder Society organized play is in the process of instituting a CORE version as a separate option in which all players who participate in this option use the CORE rulebook only. This makes the game both easier to learn: and restricts higher powered classes, magic items, feats etc.
I recently tried 5.0 at a game convention. It was better than 4.0; but not as good as Pathfinder, which offers a much wider range of choices/options for your character. As a D.M. I enjoy Pathfinder's varied and well supported settings for adventures.
I am looking forward towards trying out PFO once regular enrollment starts and the bugs are ironed out. I am not very computer savvy, have poor eyesight, and almost of my experience has been in tabletop, non PvP gaming. I would enjoy a game enviornment in which I can explore and craft. Whether I will continue in PFO will be dependent upon whether I can find at least a small niche in the game and whether the PvP aspect is so onerous and intimidating that it drives me away. Anyway, for what that's worth, that's my 2 cp.
I believe that if there is no chance of character death the game becomes more boring and meaningless. I have had two of my own 11 PFS characters die- one at level 2 and one at level six. Though I was saddened by their demise, I chose NOT to have them resurrected. I still remember them well. Looking back upon the reasons for their demise, I feel, has taught me to be a somewhat better, less impulsive, and more effective player and character builder. And, to realize that- as in life- sometimes the luck of the dice just isn't with you so you must bear your fate with grace. This is not to say that scenarios should be total meat grinders; but even in the most challenging scenarios I would hazard a guess that the death rate probably is not more than 10-15% Maybe i've been lucky ( or blessed with generous D.M's ); but I have never been involved in a table which has been a tpk.
My advice would be to play a few more games and see if you have fun in those games. Everyone makes mistakes at times. No one is forcing you to play games with a particular D.M. Also, since you mention that you have had rather extensive experience with a number of different game systems, you might, in the future, consider becoming a PFS D,M. yourself. It certainly gives a different perspective from the other side of the table.
In organized play, all Pathfinder Society members must speak common. If they did not, or especially if they outright refused during their training period, they never would have been allowed to become Pathfinders in the first place since this would hamper their group's missions. If, after being admitted to the society, they became permanently disabled and could not be cured, they would be retired/pensioned by the society. In a home game, however, I would allow the player to impose this large disadvantage upon himself if he/she chose to do so.
This can open up many different plots and avenues for role playing. For example, what if the NPC bed partner is actually a spy, a thief, or the wife/ husband of an important and influential NPC ? What if the affair becomes common knowledge/ town gossip. How will this effect the group's reputation in the community ot the community's willingness to cooperate with the group? This doesn't even take into consideration the consequences of an affair with a non human, magical, or demonic being.Go with the flow as it can lead to a more interesting game.
PFS scenarios for seasons 4&5 have shown increased challenge and are harder for the unoptimized and/or inexperienced players. I think the present difficulty level is about right; but if the great majority of players express an interest for more challenging scenarios, PFS could rule that no treasure or items which are found during the scenario can be used in the scenario and must be "bought" after the scenario is completed. Or, to revive an old "living" rule, make listed treasure on the sheet unavailable after the completion of three further scenarios. Or, to lower the GP value of items available through use of prestige point purchases. Any of these changes would decrease the type/amount of equipment available to players thus making them less powerful and making the encounters they face more challenging. I doubt, however that the majority of players are interested in decreasing their character's power to enable even more challenging scenarios.
Sadly, the Andoran faction is slowly succumbing to a mixture of political correctness and multinationalism. Be proud, Andorans, for we alone are the nation and the people who represent the ideal of freedom on Golarion. We are not the masters of trade, or the seekers of lost empires, or the dealers in slaves, or in league with dark powers. Andoran lives on; and it will be reported as such on all my character sheets.
In Pathfinder organized play, low int, wis, and cha based skills are fairly easy to mechanically compensate for; and this a drawback in design that you just have to accept as part of the rules. In home games I DM, I do not set a minimum of one skill gained per level- thus a character with a 7 or a 5 stat could possibly have no or very few skills. Moreover, I make it clear that players with stats of 7 or less will have additional restrictions placed upon their characters which will increase as their stats decline even further below 7.As one example, a character with 7 intelligence is functionally illiterate and unable to learn any foreign language.
Intelligence=5; Most likely illiterate. Speaks in short sentences using one or two syllable words. Cannot offer helpful or meaningful suggestions to others in game, especially regarding tactics. Unable to acquire certain skills involving the need for literacy and/or advanced language,writing, or training. Unable to learn any other language than common or characters native racial language. One skill point per level. Possibly superstitious and/or idiosyncratic.
From what you say, you seem to have the opportunity to participate in a large number of games. If you and this other player can't get along, play at different tables , DM PFO scenarios yourself, or organize a home game where you don't have to invite the other player. Why get yourself aggravated?
Personally, I just don't think gunslinger fits into a fantasy type setting; and I ban it in my home games. I also think that summoner is overpowered. Nevertheless, I recognize that different people have differing interests and opinions; and that, in order to maximize profitability by attracting a lsrger and diverse audience, I don't think Paizo should ban any of the present classes. In people's home games, they can tailor the choices/ rules variations to meet their own preferences.
As you described the situation, it doesn't sound right from a core standpoint. Now that the game is over, privately and politely ask the DM if he or she could explain his ruling step by step. Perhaps the situation did not unfold precisely as described; or, if it was a home game, the monster had special abilities. Hopefully this can be amicably settled, so that in the future there is no confusion or antagonism. DM's and players both make mistakes. Roll on and let the fun continue.
For our home games, we've always used the roll 4d6 ( drop the lowest ) method, even though the resultant players stats might not be of equal power level for each player. I've always felt that this was more of a challenge; and that it encourages role play and teamwork over optimization.
Jeff: As the prospective DM, you have every right to set the ground rules for the campaign. If the players cant abide by this, they didn't have to play. Find another group to play with or recruit another group to DM for.
If any areas should be free of PvP in a PvP based game, it should NOT be those areas in which extremely valuable items or resources exist. As one who dislikes the idea of PvP in general, I nevertheless think that, in this game, safe non PvP areas should be located near beginner player starter towns. Perhaps these could be slightly enlarged.
Haven't yet played the newest version (probably will do so when I attend the Falcon convention in Stamford Ct. at the end of September) but from what i've read so far it seems like a sort of simplified version of 3.5. My friends and I call it 3.1. It doesn't seem to have any really remarkable improvements or striking innovations and Pathfinder seems far superior; but i'm willing to give it a try even though i'm inclined to think that " the train has already left the station " as far as it's concerned.
I probably will try the online game once regular open participation begins ( So far, i'm leery of pvp but will at least give it a chance ). But thank you for your generous offer anyway. I hope that your overseas tour is successful. Best wishes and best of luck to you.
Pathfinder is a great game in my opinion; and I think that there is only a miniscule chance of me switching to D&D5. However, when I go to my next convention in September, I will play at least one game of D&D5- just so I can see what it's like. I will not buy any of the books unless I feel that it is far superior to Pathfinder ( which would be a very high hurdle for them to clear ).
Since there is no real faction competition between factions; there is no need for factions at all. They are fluff only. As it now stands, factions do not materially effect events/game history/game standing. The progress of factions towards their goals, or their failure, does not effect their members in any significant way.
Zair: What you are describing in your opening question does not appear to be a kingdom, but rather an isolated town/population center of undetermined size. If it is part of a larger kingdom/entity, who are the rulers? What is their alignment? What form of government or rule is practiced and what is the relationship of the starting area to the kingdom as a whole? If it is an isolated or partially explored area, some questions I would ask are: why are the town's inhabitants here in the first place? Are they explorers? traders? gatherers? farmers? missionaries? refugees? criminals? etc. You mention that there is a tavern (you do not specify if it is part of an inn or a simple bar), blacksmith, magic shop, church, castle, and abandoned/unused guild hall. Dependent upon the town's population/size, items in a magic shop would probably range from hardly existant to common. Unless the town is rather large, I think you have overestimated the availability of magic items. With regard to the church, town size/wealth would also have great implications, as a small isolated town might have little more than a small shrine staffed by a small number or even only one low level cleric. You would probably want to ask what religion is practiced by this church and what is the chuch's relationship to the town? How strictly do the town's residents follow the church's religious beliefs? What is the toleration level of this religion towards other religions? What are the townspeople's tolerances or biases against or towards other races or non-humans? towards outsiders and non-residents? How is the town governed and by whom? What are some of the town's key laws and/or customs? An actual castle would imply large population, wealth (at least on the part of the ruler or rulers) and a higher degree of military organization. Most medieval villages did not have castles- small ones might have a palisade or even no walls at all. Finally, I would ask what surrounds the town? what do most of its people do? and what resources are available to the town? Other town sites I might suggest are stables, general store, one specialized craft shop, one nearby geogaphic site such as a forest, river/stream or cave; and possibly one unusual site such as a nearby site sacred to a neighboring humanoid tribe. The answers to these questions will help you flesh out your area.
Please note that wages and benefits in the U.S. are far higher than in countries such as China; and U.S. weapons systems are more technologically advanced (though this technolgical advantage is lessening). Therefore, in a similar manner to production of other items, products made in the U.S. cost far more: and the dollar ammount spent to produce one fighter aircraft is disproportionate. This applies to manpower costs as well: and I am certain that the cost of maintaining one chinese army conscript is far less than what the U.S. spends for each volunteer army soldier. Moreover, while much of the U.S. budget spent for military purposes is relatively public and open for inspection, military budgets of dictatorships are far more secretive- so we can only estimate what they cost. I believe (and this strays from the original alternate history topic of this thread) that both the rich and the poor will have to make sacrifices in order to maintain a strong military. Neither can have all the benefits or entitlements they desire.
In fact, the U.S. has contined to reduce its military strength and the added pressures of increased entitlements only make this more likely, not less. As an example, U.S. military doctrine now no longer commits to being able to fight a two front war ( since we do not have the capacity to do so). The number of ships in the navy has steadily decreased and various weapons systems are in the process of being dismantled, reduced, and/or delayed. Or, are you suggesting that Gore would have sacrificed entitlements for guns? I believe the former is more likely than the latter. One must also note that at the time Iraq invaded Kuwait, it had one of the best and largest land armies in the region, measured both in size and equipment (especially armor). Very importantly, its leadership was willing to commit its forces to a large scale offensive which might involve heavy losses. War is hell; and without a formal declaration of war I would doubt that Gore would have the stomach for a protracted campaign which might have caused a large ammount of U.S. casualties. I also believe he would have dithered indecisively long enough both for Saddam to have consolidated his gains, threaten our allies, and launch further adventures. Historically, the U.S. was partially victorious in the Gulf war because it was decisive, was able to mobilize its resources relatively quickly, had help from european allies in the form of being able to use their bases as staging areas, and had a battle plan which combined maximizing our airpower's effectiveness, superior technology, and good generalship. It was only by repelling the historical invasion of Kuwait that iraq's armed stregth waned.
Gore cuts U.S. military spending drastically to focus on providing more entitlements in order to more equalize the incomes/benefits of the rich and poor. Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Gore does nothing miliarily and Kuwait is absorbed. Iraqui invasion/conquest of Saudi Arabia. Gore speech at U.N. is critical of Iraqi policy. Iraq conquers various small but oil-rich sheikdoms. Gore accepts this as a fait accompli. At that point, Iraq would control well over 40% of the world's oil production: and Europe would be a similar energy situation to that of the present Ukraine vis a vis Russia. Oil prices skyrocket, leading to an early worldwide economic depression. Income earned from Iraq's oil exports goes towards increased nuclear, chemical, and missile technology (aided by North Korea, which always trades missiles and nuclear technology for large sums of money). Syrian/iraqi invasion of Israel results in a nuclear exchange. After all that, who knows; but I doubt it would get better.
The game was far deadlier for characters. Many more traps with save or die rolls. Far fewer and more restrictive class choices. In certain respects, different races were different classes. As the game progressed, more and more races, classes, and choices became availble, for example, an assassin. Steadily, the game has changed to the point where class choices and options have become almost inumerable. In the beginning, the D.M. (not G.M.) was the godlike and final arbiter: whereas today the players have much more input- to the point they feel entitled. Of course, entitlement may just be a reflection of today's more "entitled" society in general- or perhaps that is merely a reflection of my own conservative curmudgoness. In the beginning, I believe the game was more of a straightforward fantasy battle simulator, with less emphasis on social themes.
Various posters have insinuateded that only racists and/or conservatives support Mr. Sterling's freedom of speech. I would beg to point out that the American Civil Liberties Union has, on a number of ocassions, actively supported the right of neo-nazi groups to publicly protest and air their opinions in public venues. If freedom of speech is allowed to be eroded then ,in other circumstances, you might be the one to be punished for your opinions. This is not to say that his views should be quietly accepted and that he should not be criticized. What would be most interesting in this regard would be for a conversation to take place as to how he came to accept his beliefs ( this is probably wishful thinking ) so that he might possibly change his attitude.
In the past, Mr.Sterling has shown a tendency towards extended and protracted litigation. However, since the NBA is attempting to rid him of his property (franchise) and, in the process, putting him in a weakened selling position from which he would derive a smaller profit, he might just decide to carry on (or add this complaint to his potential suit against the NBA). I have no idea what he will decide; but he certainly has the resources to keep a lot of lawyers on both sides in business for a long time.
The LA Clippers are NOT the NBA's room. The franchise is owned by Mr. Sterling and will probably continue to be owned by him until any court case(s) can be ultimately decided (which will take many years). Also, be reminded that the tape recordings have only come to the public's attention because of illegal spying/tape recording. If this were a criminal case, such evidence might be inadmissable. Furthermore, there now appears to be a possible connection ( criminal conspiracy ?) between the spy/information leaker and a potential buyer interested in the purchase of the team. AH, THIS CASE BECOMES EVER MORE INTERESTING AS IT UNFOLDS.
Of course, consequences are the result of people's actions. No one is forced to play in or attend Lakers games. Just as in the boycotts of segregated buses, I am sure that the will of the people would have made itself known to Mr. Sterling. I would even guess that the issue would have been decided in a shorter time than that of a protracted court battle which will probably now ensue.
It is my belief that freedom demands the toleration (not to be interpreted as agreement with) of differing, even repugnant speech. The diminishment of freedom leads only to a more and more closed and intolerant society based upon what is felt to be politically or religiously correct. Freedom is the ingredient that hopefully opens the doors to discussion, experimentation, and real change.
Is that the kind of society we want? One of "political correctness", blacklisting, vituperation, and intimidation? Sadly, I fear that that is the direction in which our society is heading.
Mr. Thunderspirit: i'm old enough to personally remember the late 1940's and 50's. The spirit of McCarthyism: that of intolerance, "political correctness", spying, vituperance and punishing went far beyond the government alone. Because of their "incorrect" beliefs or expressions of belief, many people were denied advancement, villified, blacklisted, or suffered the loss of jobs and careers. I believe that people have a right to express almost any belief as long as they do not advocate or practice physical harm to others.
The LA Clippers became Mr. Sterling's property once the sale of the franchise to him was approved by the NBA. And, with regard to Mr. Bugleyman's assertion, political correctness, character assassination, spying and vituperance are wrong and harmful whether they are used by the left or the right. Remember that in the 1940's and 50's these tactics were used to discredit,silence, and punish liberals.
The right of freedom of speech means you can say whatever you want within loose limits of harm and safety: and it does not apply only to laws passed by congress. For example, I could call you a moronic left winger and you could call me a fanatical right winger. Neither of us has the right to censor or punish the other for doing so. The NBA, by its attempt to take away both Mr. Sterling's right of free speech and his property in the form of ownership of the LA Clippers is depriving him both of his speech and his property: and is sending a message to the entire nation that political correctness will be enforced at the expense of free speech. Sadly, we seem to be becoming a nation in which spying ,political correctness, and character assassination is being employed more frequently and more vituperatively. Note also that the NBA is effectively a monopoly in the area of U.S. professional basketball and I assume that any lawsuit(s) filed by Mr. Sterling will also challenge the lawfulness of the NBA's actions on the basis of this as well as on the grounds of free speech. If the NBA was so afraid of the harm that Mr. Sterling could possibly cause to its own sterling (pun intended)reputation, then it should have investigated his credentials and suitability for team ownership before they let him buy the team in the first place.
I am sure that Mr. Sterling has the resources to mount a vigorous legal defense. I am more concerned about people who are not billionaires being able to exercise their right of freedom of speech, and not having private citizens or the government spy on them or attempt to pressure them into silence and submission.
Political correctness is today's McCarthyism utilized by left-wingers. In the 1950's, leftists were called communists to discredit and shame them. Now, this tactic is used by the left to discredit the right. This is a dangerous tactic to use, not only because it can be turned against you; but because it corrodes the entire political system which is based upon the right of freedom of speech which lets the populance know the facts and decide the right course of action. Moreover, it can be argued that any contract Mr. Sterling signed which abridged his freedom of speech was an illegal, unconstitutional, and therefore unenforceable one.
Once again, political correctness triumphs. Even though Mr. Sterling sounds like a louse, he should have the right to express his ideas as long as they do not inflict measureable and serious harm to others or put people in imminent danger ( you don't have the right to yell "fire" in a crowded theater ). I would hope that he vigorously defends his right of free speech by again suing the NBA.