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You've answered your own question. Save or dies almost guarantee short character lifespans. Character death should be possible, maybe even with a higher probability than at present; however, save or die effects make it highly probable.
My characters are almost never optimized.I'm just happy to be able to play fun and challenging games with a group of players who generally cooperate. As far as I am concerned, players should be able to make the character they want as long as they cooperate with the group and not actively sabotage or undermine team game play. Nor does it matter to me whether group tactics are optimized or most efficient as long as a TPK is avoided. I have found that there are many ways to have fun playing as long as the group is not severely divided, argumentative or vindictive. When I play clerics, I have no qualms about healing or buffing team mates or using my resources to help my group. Let's not get all worked up over issues that have no one all inclusive "right answer". Happy gaming to all.
You appear to be putting yourself into a situation where you are being bullied and abused. The choice to leave the group is always open- even if no other group appears to be immediately available. The options of playing via computer group or at a convention are additional possibilities. Or, either you or your DM might want to start a second group which would not be open to the bully.
Speak to the players and the DM prior to your next game. If the issue cannot be resolved to your satisfaction via discussion and compromise, find another group.
Unless the player of the dead character was an absolute jerk, or the character died because of his players total stupidity,I would do my best to effect his character's resurrection ( assuming the player wished to have his character resurrected ). I have found this to be the case in all the PFS groups I have played with.
When I DM, especially in home games. I do not tend to specifically describe creatures by name , but rather by appearance,unless I am aware that the monster they are facing is extremely common or of a type they have specifically previously fought.
As a DM, I generally adjust the DC of the roll upwards or downwards anywhere from plus two to minus two depending upon the situation and the players action. In diplomatic situations, I try to take such factors as character race, social status or class, and whether characters know one another or have a particularly good or poor reputation into consideration.I would add that I use this method much more in home games, not in PFS games; where I generally use the written DC.
You do seem to be set on the vampire escaping. Just be ready for a lot of player anger if you let it get away through the solid ground. Perhaps it could escape through a small floor grating that leads to a thin pipe, or a chimney. Perhaps its lair could have many trapped holes in the wall and only one is the real emergency exit. Perhaps the coffin contains an illusory vampire; but the real one is in a coffin/secret compartment below the assumed coffin. Strictly interpret the solid ground rule but be creative in the use of trickery to mislead the players if you intend for the vampire to escape. Vampires are quite cunning and can be used as a continuing nemesis.
If a character melee attacks without a weapon (assuming the character does not have a special ability or class ability or spell or granted power which would enable the character to do lethal damage as if using a weapon), the character does non lethal damage and will be subject to an opportunity by the intended target.
Seems like a dumb move to me. But, then again, since when has Wizards of the Coast been noted for its smart moves, or listening to/ consulting its audience. Over the years, they shut down both Dungeon and Dragon magazines, suddenly ended 3.5 D&D and launched the 4.0 disaster. Now, they hardly support 5.0. They should have stuck to Magic the Gathering instead of entering the role playing game business which they apparently know little about and care less.
On the general topic of rise and possible fall of companies and systems: what is going on with Pathfinder Online? From what I have heard, Goblinworks has had mass layoffs and is struggling to keep its head above water, or to possibly sell off to another company. Does anyone have further info from what was last posted on their website?
In Pathfinder Society play, i've had one of a dozen characters die. It's not enjoyable; but that is the risk a character in the game has to take. I make it a point to refuse re-rolls as well as resurrection or raising of any of my characters. I guess i'm stubbornly old school.
Our groups have used the following suggestions in order to increase the number of available G.M.'s: i.give gm preference to play at an upcoming event. 2. Have the group provide the GM either with free snacks or a token payment. Possibly the game store might be willing to provide a small store credit.Paizo also extends certain privileges to G.M.'s : see the Paizo board.
As far as I am concerned, this is a tempest in a teapot. I have never found a PFS DM to use blatantly unfair tactics against players. If anything, I feel that most DM's go out of their way to avoid killing player characters.
A CHA 1 character would not be able to effect his groups actions in any way. He would be passive in terms of his own actions other than self defense. NPC's, in many cases, would view him as an immediate alien and bizarre threat and would probably attack him on sight. In this respect his character would indirectly be very harmful to the group. After all, most "normal" people don't associate with oozes or zombies. This character is essentially harmful to the group and to gameplay. Why the DM would allow this is beyond me. The character should be either retired, changed by wish or miracle, or killed off by the local populence. If this continues, this is an example of gross DM error.
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 ).