Cao Phen wrote:
We all know that all magus came from Minata. All of that training as a Wayang Spellhunter gave them the Magical Lineage to make their shocking grasps all the more poweful. In matter of fact, I think that the majority of spellcasters come from Minata...
That would explain where all the funny hats that Pathfinders wear come from, as well.
Good point! I saw that sort of thing happen all the time!
Mark Seifter wrote:
The Guide to Absalom book told me that casting invisibility is massively illegal in Absalom, punishable extremely harshly. We could use sources like that one if we wanted to answer that question.
Yeah, this is a question to be asked of the setting. Are there any other insights into how magic fits in Golarion's various cultures scattered throughout the sourcebooks?
If there are, it would be nice to see them placed in the Guide, or at least in the scenarios.
I keep thinking back to that one time my PC sat down to tea at a formal event with a paladin in full-plate, a barbarian with multiple reach weapons strapped to her back while at the dinner table, a druid who shed his armor out of respect to the host, and two synthesists in full power armor. The socially-acceptable use of magic question goes hand-in-hand with the socially-acceptable carrying of very large weapons (even loaded guns!) and mighty animal companions.
It would be nice to have some guidance on this issue.
Wearing armor or wielding a shield that you aren't proficient in, that causes an initiative penalty equal to its armor check penalty:
PRD Equipment entry wrote:
Nonproficient with Armor Worn: A character who wears armor and/or uses a shield with which he is not proficient takes the armor's (and/or shield's) armor check penalty on attack rolls as well as on all Dexterity- and Strength-based ability and skill checks. The penalty for nonproficiency with armor stacks with the penalty for shields.
PRD Combat entry wrote:
Splint Mail and a Tower Shield would buy you -17 to initiative right there.
I tend to require no introduction.
I make it a point to pay attention and listen while others take their time introducing themselves, which can occur when a group of Pathfinders are assembled. I am often the only one concerned enough with the content of the monologues to pay attention rather than simply await my turn to speak.
-Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher
I haven't posted here in awhile, but since the "Death of the Rogue" seems to be a topic, I thought that would be a good reason for me to come in and finally share some build ideas from the rogues which have served me well in PFS. I have played two Rogues so far in PFS, one up to 10th level, while the other is currently 16th.
Fortunately, this build, if you can call it that, is very flexible. It works on a Fighter2/Rogue, a Monk2/Ninja, as well as a straight Rogue. It has room for personalization in the archetypes, attributes, and the exact feat and talent selection.
Mattastrophic's Rouge-Kissed Lady
Human Swashbuckler Rogue, though this is very flexible. I like Lore Warden2/Rake Rogue a lot, for example.
The attributes are pretty flexible, as well.
And of course, so is the feat list. I'll post the "vitals."
At this point, now that the Lady has hit BAB +6, she is free to retrain Gang Up into a leg of feint tree, such as Two-Weapon Fighting/Improved Two-Weapon Fighting/Improved Two-Weapon Feint, or in the Monk/Ninja version, Feinting Flurry/Improved Feint/Greater Feint. Moonlight Stalker/Moonlight Stalker Feint/Improved Feint/Greater Feint is even a possibility, made easier by using eyes of the owl for low-light vision, and an incandescent blue sphere ioun stone slotted in a wayfinder (see Seekers of Secrets) for Blind-Fight. Or she can keep Gang Up if it continues to work. Essentially, for the Lady, Gang Up helps her get sneak attacks in the low-level game, and a feint chain takes over once she hits BAB +6.
Meanwhile, Trip is arguably the most powerful maneuver in the game at these levels, made even better by the fact that the Lady can use any weapon (and thus its enhancement bonuses) to trip, and that Weapon Finesse lets her add her Dex modifier to the attempt instead of her Strength modifier. Trip also lowers her foes' AC by 4, effectively adds 4 to her own AC, and the target has to spend a move action and suffer one or more AOs to remove the condition. Trip also helps keep the target locked in place, making for easier flanks when Gang Up doesn't kick in.
Of course, if Trip is powerful, then Greater Trip is super-powerful, especially when the Lady and an ally or two are all threatening the target. I personally had to refrain from using Greater Trip after seeing it in action, because it led to so many super-easy combats in Tier 10-11 PFS.
There are a lot of ??s in the feat list because, well, there's a lot of room to do whatever you want with the feats. Note that those ??s can quickly become a full chain of feats thanks to retraining. What really matters is taking Combat Expertise and using it as a prerequisite for things like Gang Up, Improved/Greater Trip, and the feint chain.
I've had a lot of success with Rogues in PFS, and the "build-sketch" above pretty much highlights the "core" of that success. As long as you can leverage your Sneak Attack dice and Rogue Talents to make Sneak Attack work consistently, you're fine.
I also believe that the full Sneak Attack progression and the number of Talents represents something about the Rogue that the Investigator, Swashbuckler, and Slayer can't keep up with. And that's a nice thing to know.
Also note that the swashbuckler has a crapton of other useful abilities that the fighter won't have, so just looking at DPR won't tell you much :)
Yep. What's important is that the math says that Swashbucklers aren't exactly kings of DPR. Precise Strike is what makes a free-hand fighter a viable option.
I actually agree Cheapy. I think level to damage is already amazing.
After doing the math, level-to-damage keeps the Swashbuckler close to a Strength-based two-handed weapon user for the 1-9ish game, until the Strength-based character really gets going.
Note that Precise Strike precludes the Swashbuckler from two-handing for 1.5x Strength, and from receiving 3:1 Power Attack. Also note that Precise Strike does not multiply on a crit, but the damage the Swashbuckler sacrifices to receive Precise Strike does.
I would like to note that the class pretty much confines the Swashbuckler to using a rapier, due to its reliance on critical hits for fueling Panache, to the point where it even gives out Improved Critical at 5th level.
I would suggest revising Panache to not be so concerned with critical hits, thus opening up a variety of weapon choices instead of an incredibly narrow set.
Or perhaps, over time, any light or one-handed weapon the Swashbuckler wields could eventually have an 18-20 crit range, which would stack and mean that the Swashbuckler crits on 15-20 no matter what he wields?
I have met quite a few Pathfinders who invent strange names for unbelievable histories or crippling phobias for themselves, all to cover up their own hollow personalities. A strong personality is much more memorable than an assumed quirk.
There is a reason why the actors are features as the stars of a play, not the makeup artists or costume designers, or even the playwrights in most cases. Uniqueness comes from the heart, not from the various costumes one assumes.
-Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher
Walter Sheppard wrote:
I think that this further enforces that the class tier system is lacking in substance when by your own omission you admit that one of the "worst" classes in the game out performed other, high tier classes.
Keep in mind that any tier chart... it is what it is. A rough estimate of a rank-order, showing which classes can perform the best in the largest variety of situations, given the options on paper. What the original poster is looking at is to highlight things like "In the PFS environment, the Summoner is at a higher tier than the Rogue." (Pretty sure that one's clear)
It's a valid question, one which really encourages good analytical thinking and examining many aspects of the Pathfinder system.
Bristor Gwin wrote:
I agree with the OP. Definitely thinking more about being a Pathfinder and less about what room I'm going to find the "macguffin of the week" for my faction mission. I'm curious for examples of what people consider great faction missions - I don't remember a single one that made me feel like I was part of larger story.
I have to say, the Cheliax faction mission from Requiem of the Red Raven is the best faction mission ever, in the best PFS scenario ever.
Anyways, the thing about secondary goals... I have always been eager to have my PCs be better Pathfinders and not be bloodthirsty murderers... but I cannot control the actions of my party members. So now I'm losing Fame when someone else decides to massacre everything with a pulse, even when I step out of character to tell him not to.
Yuck. I want Team Taldor back. Then, I could rely on myself to earn my Fame, and not have to deal with others screwing it up. Those people were almost universally on Team Andoran.
To continue what's becoming a post series, I'm going to say a few things about Rogues and attack bonuses. As has been posted in this thread, and I believe is a part of the Paizo Board Wisdom, Rogues have very glaring attack bonus problems, largely due to having 3/4 BAB and no class features with which to boost its attack bonus. Fighters get Weapon Training, Barbarians get Rage, Rangers get Favored Enemy, Inquisitors get Bane and Judgment, Monks get Flurry of Blows, Cavaliers get Challenge, Paladins get Smite Evil, Magi get Arcane Pool, spellcasters get spells, and Bards get Inspire Courage. Oh, and Gunslingers target touch AC.
But Rogues? Nothing, unless you want to count bonus feats from Rogue Talents.
What this means is that to play a Rogue who can keep up in the realm of attack bonuses, we'll have to scour the depths of the system, searching for other ways to increase it. We'll rifle through every hardcover and scour every Player's Companion for assistance.
The Rogue has a preinstalled damage source in Sneak Attack; the challenge is to get it to work. And that means boosting attack rolls, not damage. This means that, in my experience, feats like Power Attack are not as important as options which increase the Rogue's attack bonus. The attack bonus is the Rogue's struggle, so anything which drops it is quite painful.
Here's what I've collected from my searching, though this list is off the top of my head...
How to boost a Rogue's attack bonus:
-Weapon Finesse, possibly through the Finesse Rogue talent. This feat enables a Rogue to focus on Dexterity and not have to worry about boosting Strength. Of course, there is the damage issue due to having less Strength, an issue which can be somewhat alleviated with things like the Dervish Dance feat, an agile weapon, and Sneak Attack.
-Weapon Focus, perhaps through the Weapon Training talent. This one's pretty obvious, though it can get a bit tricky when using it with certain two-weapon fighting builds. It's more desirable to dual-wield two of the same weapon with this feat, meaning that, for example, kukri/kukri becomes more desirable when compared to rapier/kukri.
-The heroism spell. This spell adds to attack rolls, skill checks, and saves, all of which the Rogue enjoys. It also lasts a really long time, meaning that a Rogue can get a lot of mileage out of scrolls and potions. This is a great spell to ask your teammates for.
-The courageous weapon enhancement. This enchantment boosts the bonus provided by morale effects, particularly heroism.
-The Gang Up feat. The effectiveness of this feat for achieving flank (and thus +2 to attack rolls) is very dependent on the Rogue's party. Since the Rogue gets so much benefit from flanking his target, this feat is definitely worth considering. In my experience, its usefulness tends to drop off in later levels, once hasted full-attacks become very lethal and full-attacks with enough allies threatening the target become rare. Things just die too quickly for Gang Up to work in the later levels.
-The menacing weapon enhancement on an off-hand weapon or an amulet of mighty fists. A situational +2 to hit is not worth a +1 weapon enhancement on a primary weapon, but it pulls double-duty when on an offhand weapon or amulet, since the bonus applies to attack rolls beyond ones made with the menacing weapon itself. Combines well with Gang Up. Also note the adjacency requirement.
-The Militia trait from Dragon Empires Primer. +1 to hit when flanking.
-The Outflank feat. This one requires a teammate to take it as well, but is very strong for a Rogue when a teammate has it. It also gives a Rogue a reason to wield a weapon with a large critical threat range, like a rapier or kukri, as doing so increases the chances of granting the teammate a free attack. I'll have to look into whether it combines well with Butterfly's Sting from Faiths of Purity.
-A bane baldric. This is a very strong item for Rogues, because its ability to provide +2 to hit as a swift action is very useful, on top of the extra 2d6+2 damage. It's a great buy at 10,000gp. Note that unless the wearer has Inquisitor levels, it only works with light or one-handed weapons, weapons which fit a Dex-based Rogue's weapons of choice.
It's worth noting that activating a bane baldric requires a swift action. So do many of the Ninja's ki powers. Since the wearer cannot use more than one swift action per round, this means that the Ninja's ability to spend ki for an extra attack conflicts with the powers of the bane baldric, reducing the extra attack's usefulness as a go-to ability in every full-attack.
-Boots of speed. Not only do they give a +1 bonus to attack rolls, not only do they grant an extra attack in a full-attack, but they also increase the Rogue's movement speed, enabling him to move into a flanking position or other ideal attack position more easily.
That's all for now. I hope you guys can find some useful tips in there.
More to come,
I was pointed to this thread last night, and I thought I would present my thoughts on rogues, largely drawn from PFS experiences since the beginning of the campaign. I've got a few things to talk about which really haven't been touched on in this thread, and are likely not contained within the Paizo Board Wisdom at this point (ex: the Rogue and the bane baldric). First thing to note, I'm not going to have a whole lot of time for a lot of back-and-forth, so the most analytical posts will be the ones at the top of my "respond to" pile.
As some background, I have played two Rogues throughout PFS's lifetime, one starting with the APG's release in 2010, and the second starting with Ultimate Combat's release in 2011. The first Rogue is now 10th level, and the second just hit 16th. And since I slow-track a lot, these two Rogues have a lot of adventures under their belts.
I've found Rogues and Bards to be my favorite classes. With the Rogue, I really enjoy building and playing in such a way as to make Sneak Attack pay off. It's much more interesting to me to work to create sneak attack opportunities than it is to just walk up and hit things with Power Attack. With the Rogue, I have to work at it, and that's more fun to me. This point matters because it means that the playstyles which I've found make Rogues work well are not for everyone.
To start us off:
Rogue vs. Ninja
As strong of a choice Ninja is, it lacks an early route to Evasion (spending a Master Trick doesn't cut it, that's too late), and its ki abilities often require swift actions. The bane baldric also requires a swift action to activate, a very relevant item which I will detail later.
Also, a Ninja cannot take any of the sweet Rogue archetypes which trade out Trapfinding and Trap sense. As other posters have mentioned, Trapfinding is pretty crappy these days. I look at it and Trap Sense as empty class features, asking myself which Rogues archetype I'll take to fill those empty slots with. Whatever I choose will be stronger than Poison Use and No Trace, the Ninja's equivalent, that I know.
It's also worth noting that in my experience, the ninja's ability to spend a ki for an extra attack isn't all it's made out to be. Most of the time, when I've gotten full-attacks, either the target will fall over without the extra attack, the target will have more than enough hit points to withstand an extra attack but not another full-attack, or an ally is in position to mop up without my having to spend a ki. Pathfinder combat is not about maximizing damage, it's about achieving sufficient damage to take the target to zero HP.
I hope that's enough to give you guys something to think about.
More to come,
The problem is cinematic scenes like this are completely counter to concepts of realism and probability. As cool as they are, real combat doesnt work that way.
Well, this isn't actually a problem in RPGs if you don't want it to be one. If the GM and the players want to engage in swashbuckler duels, closer in style to a movie than to reality, they're allowed to do that.
I've thought about this topic over the past day, and here's what I've got...
The central problem is time. In this case, we are wanting our battles to last longer than, well, the ruleset and its six-seconds-per-round assumption lets them last. So, if we want to create film-like swashbuckling duels...
We just abstract the timeline. Throw out the six seconds per round assumption. Let a round of actions represent as long or as short of a time period as the GM and players wish.
To use the Princess Bride illustration...
GM: "Okay, Inigo, you've won initiative."
And so on. What's important here is that we've decoupled a single action, Inigo's full-attack, from the six-second assumption. In Pathfinder, the durations of all effects, such as spells and special abilities, are measured in rounds, because one can easily convert minute-per-level spells into rounds. And since Pathfinder is an RPG and not real life, a round can last as long as the GM and the players want it to. By removing the six-second assumption and the assumption that all hit point damage causes visible wounds, we are several steps toward an environment where drawn-out, cinematic swashbuckler duels are possible.
I would love to see a good chase scene, in a tense style like the ones in Skyfall, Thunderball, The Bourne Ultimatum, or The French Connection, appear in a Pathfinder game. They all manage to maintain tension, have nice twists and turns, and they don't have the problem of ending with a single PC action on the first Chase Card.
Upon closer thought, I'd say that something movies can do that RPGs have a hard time doing is draw out a tense conflict, like a chase or a combat. In both, the two sides are doing their best to end the conflict as quickly and as efficiently as possible, a result which just ends up happening in RPGs. In a movie or novel, the writer gets to draw out the conflict for as long as he wishes, but a GM doesn't really get the tools to do that in a Pathfinder. Not without totally breaking believability.
In a movie or novel, there are no dice and there is no opposition to what the writer/author wants to make happen.
John Compton wrote:
One concern I have is comparing your first and third suggestions. Granted that I don't have enough time to manage all of the faction head personalities on the messageboards, is handing over control of that character's voice to another person contradicting your suggestion that I limit who can speak as a faction leader?
Actually, I believe that having eight volunteers play the eight faction heads would actually help the matter of giving consistent voices to the NPCs. The volunteers would have a chance to really develop the voices and personalities of their faction heads, meaning that each one would becoming naturally unique.
Right now, we have one person (you) playing each faction head for, what, two paragraphs a year? I received more exposure to their personalities, as interpreted by my GM, in The Immortal Conundrum alone. You alone just don't generate enough material often enough to show us their personalities and voices.
Either roleplayers playing them often, here on the boards? That would create a much better opportunity to let them be developed. There would be eight different roleplayers each generating material all the time for the eight faction heads.
lso, when a scenario author is looking for inspiration, or needs to include a faction head in a scenario, the author will know who to turn to for advice...
"Hi, Volunteer Jane, what would Ollysta think if some Pathfinders asked her about her brother?"
"Hey, Volunteer Jeff, could you translate this idea for a speech into Guarilese?"
Authors would have experts to turn to when writing faction heads into their scenarios, because the volunteers would really get to know their assigned NPCs.
Handing over the reins to volunteers doesn't contradict my first point at all. Actually, it helps deal with the undeveloped-personality problem.
I'm glad you're intrigued. Let me know if you have any more questions about implementation. If I can't answer them, I can certainly connect you with people who have the relevant experience.
Well, in the interest of helping out, I can present a few key suggestions regarding factions in PFS:
-Don't have the scenario authors speak for the faction heads. This was a very big problem in the past, as many different authors all had their own take on NPCs who were unestablished before the campaign began. Reduce the number of people who write Zarta, or Aaqir, or Amenopheus. That way, the campaign will avoid falling into its previous stereotypes, such as the oft-mentioned tea-set-craving Baron Dalsine.
-Reduce the number of factions. Four is a good number. Four would have the advantage of giving the players a good number of choices, yet would not overcrowd the field. With four factions, under the Season 5 model, each faction could have a role in at least every other scenario, and a skilled author could include all four in a scenario, which would yield a better experience for everyone. And be quick about it; choose your number and reach it as soon as possible. Don't get there slowly.
-Do something with the undeveloped faction boards. I was very excited when, at PaizoCon 2012, Painlord showed the new faction boards to me minutes after they went up. I can even claim credit for the very first faction-specific post. There is a great opportunity here for a unique and interesting online roleplaying experience. It would also do a lot to draw in players who might not feel so immersed in their local PFS environment. Paizo.com also has a lot of really solid tools, used for play-by-posts, which can enhance the online experience. And there's a really easy way to really embrace this underutilized aspect of the campaign...
Find eight solid volunteers. Have them roleplay the faction heads, and give them a large amount of freedom to interact with members of their factions. Give them plot points to start threads with, and let the volunteers' creativity shine. The reason why the faction boards don't have very much going on is because the players have very little to discuss! The scenarios really don't give us topics to talk about, and the topics we might want to talk about quickly fall into spoiler territory. A creative roleplayer playing a faction head could do a lot to develop a faction's storyline, merely by having the go-ahead to run threads which have to do with topics relevant to the faction's story.
Such an approach would give players another angle through which to experience their faction's storyline, having the effect of increasing player investment in their PCs and the campaign itself. We saw the response to the chronicle-piracy blog post earlier this year, and it was pretty impressive. All it took was a hook to draw players in and a relevant topic to discuss. We already know that this sort of approach can work. The board aliases are already there, perhaps the campaign could start making use of them?
The best thing you can do right now is ready your gold pile for your Headband of Charisma, for when you end up with enough Fame.
If you are concerned with AC, and will have enough gold to spare, consider a Page of Spell Knowledge for Mage Armor. It's from Ultimate Equipment, but being that you are using a Wand of Infernal Healing, I assume that book ownership is not a roadblock.
To bring things back on track, since the original poster did not want a War of Words...
My now-primary PC was created as a result of this thread about non-combat-focused PFS PCs. If that PC can pull off 7+ and higher-level play, so can you, Kezzie.
You don't need a ridiculous amount of damage per round, a giant attack bonus, or unbeatable save DCs. Those just mean you're aiming for Easy Mode anyways. All you need is a willingness and desire to try new things, analyze where things went wrong, and learn. A thread like this shows that you want to learn, Kezzie, and that's what matters.
It's really unfortunate to hear that these mighty PCs seek to breeze through the higher levels of play. They build powerful PCs, and sit with other powerful PCs, in order to make the experience as easy as possible?
*scratches head* Do they not want a challenge or something? Are they the types of gamers who'd play on God Mode if they could?
If that's the case, perhaps your area would be better served if you focused your efforts on the players who don't want to play on Easy Mode with cheat codes. Then, perhaps the others will jockey to be included in the table with Not-Easy-Mode PCs. And the people who are most willing to take on the challenge of not playing on Easy, perhaps they're the ones you really want at your high-level tables.
In other words, encourage positive, inclusive behaviors, and your area might be better-off.
The ability to draw a weapon as a free action as part of a move action, but only if you have at least +1 BAB. This rule is a perfect example of a rule that really actually need to be a part of the system. It only matters at level 1, and it's something that really doesn't add anything to the gaming experience. Why is it still there?
Honestly, the whole system really needs some streamlining. Every aspect of the game deserves to be examined, scrutinized, and revised, in order to ensure a modern, smooth experience. It needs to be made easier to play, especially past the low levels, and it definitely needs to be made easier to pick up and GM.
I would love to see Pathfinder Second Edition make the genuine effort to do that, rather than design with cut-and-paste.
Spell durations in precise increments. It's pretty much impossible to keep track of minutes/lvl and 10min/lvl spell durations meaningfully, because things like minutes and hours are almost entirely undefined in-game. The GM basically has to make an instinctual call. Even rounds/lvl spell durations are wonky. 95% of the time, everyone casts their spells, and if the fight goes on long enough, someone might say "Oh, right, what about our spells? Are they still running?" Then, the table has to think back and figure out which spells were cast on which rounds, in order to figure out which ones are still running. Ugh.
I would love to see Pathfinder Second Edition switch to abstract spell durations, much like Evil Lincoln set out to do.
Challenge Rating. It's based on an assumption of a party of four versus a single monster, which is very unrealistic and very limiting. It also assumes four encounters per day, which is also very limiting.
I would love to see Pathfinder Second Edition adopt a system where Challenge Rating had a "squad versus squad" assumption instead of the "squad versus solo" assumption that's there now. Instead of a party of four Level 7 PCs going up against a CR 7 monster, Challenge Rating could be reworked to be intended for a party of X Level 7 PCs going up against X CR 7 monsters.
That way, it would be much easier to scale encounters based on the number of players. Fifth player for a Level 3 party? Add another CR 3 monster. Only three people showed up tonight with their Level 6 characters? Drop down to three CR 6 monsters.
The current version of Challenge Rating is needlessly limiting due to its unnecessary assumptions, and I don't like it.
I also don't like how Challenge Rating doesn't account for whether the monster makes use of its allotted treasure, but that's a side issue.
Oh wow, I like this thread.
Well, now that Arkos has posted about Kotyk, I really should post about his good friend and wearer of many shinies...
Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher, Taldan Aristocrat
There's really not much to say here. Lady Gabrielle is quite obviously a dedicated friend and trustworthy confidante, whose ideals are perfectly-suited for such an accomplished member of the Pathfinder Society. The Chronicles she has penned on the Society's behalf more than prove her unquestionable loyalties to the organization and to the friends she has made within it, whom she definitely places as high as she would her family. There is absolutely no reason at all for anyone to ever suspect that this lovely and upstanding lady would have a priority list anything like this one...
1) Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher, including her own health, wealth, and comfort.
I'm sure there are others. Fine tea and well-made clothes, for example. Who wouldn't want a vial of sun orchid elixir? However, there is one other motivation, befitting of someone who has experienced the adventures she has, is overarching, does not fit very well in a rank-order, and has everything to do with loyalty to the Society...
X) Limits on the power of the Decemvirate. What has been seen cannot be unseen.
But, of course, all that right there, that's just fiction, the ravings of a madman. Lady Gabrielle would never think such things of the leaders of the Society.
Ryan's right. As I think back to the various stages of character development Lady Gabrielle has undergone since 2010, I notice that the more adventures I have played, the less important the Society has become, to the point where it has for the most part fallen off the list for her. This is probably because the scenarios really don't call a character's loyalty into question, or have decision points for a player to choose between his PC's priorities and the Society. There have been exceptions, of course, but I had to think for myself to create them for myself; they were not presented to me. Though, there was that one time where I did lose out on The Boon to End All Boons due to placing personal goals above the Society.
Anyways, in the campaign as it is, where the Society falls on a PC's priorities list doesn't really matter. And that's totally fine.
Having written and edited adventures for both LG & LFR, I have found the adding more monsters scaling option to be a simple one, but one also fraught with potential problems. Adding more of the same when you are scaling for party size rather than party level seems logical, but even that has problems. One particular problem I have seen is when you add additional creatures with AoEs. When the entire party goes from taking 20 points of damage in a round from AoEs, to taking 40 points of damage from AoEs, then that extra guy you brought along doesn't really balance that out.
This is why it would be nice to see, in Pathfinder 2nd Edition, a fundamental change to the CR system such that a monster's Challenge Rating becomes a "one-on-one" value, instead of the "one-on-party" that it is now. That way, the game would be able to handle parties of various sizes, because the CR system would no longer assume a four-man party.
Just a thought.
John Compton wrote:
In my experience, level 7+ scenarios serve an important community purpose. A few have commented on this before, so I’ll aim to keep this short. Higher-level scenarios typically reward organized play participants who have stuck with the campaign, and by the sound of things they’re also potent motivation for others to play more Pathfinder Society. It sounds as though a strong majority supports having high-level play, just not in the ratio presently presented. I am very reticent about removing Tier 7–11 entirely, and this is not the first time I’ve discussed it.
OK. Given that Tier 7-11 is sticking around, it would be very bad to have less of it, because you risk making the capstone of a PC's career being a sparse experience, devoid of immersion, due to having to bounce around the seasons and storylines to get to 12th. Remember, 10-11 is the only thing a 10th or 11th level PC can play. Season 4 was smart in that the Lissala Arc essentially was the second Seeker arc, in that it was a set of linked adventures that had a climax at the end, and was for PCs at the pinnacle of their careers.
The more I think about it, the more a different approach seems like a more solid one. Instead of focusing on Tier 1-5 vs. Tier 7-11...
What if the problem lies in 3-7 and 5-9? Has anyone considered that the mid-levels (by John's definition) are too "fat?" Tier 3-7 is considered low-level by Mike, yet it's not low-level enough for Dragnmoon and Drogon. Maybe that's the problem.
Perhaps four level bands is just too many for an organized-play campaign producing two scenarios per release. I give VC Ryan Blomquist full credit for the idea that follows: perhaps the campaign could merge 3-7 and 5-9 into a single 4-8 Tier? That way, there could be a 1-5 every month, and the second scenario could alternate between 4-8 and 7-11. With one less level band to support, all three level bands would get more support. Sure, it might be a bit clunky for PCs of levels 3, 6, and 9, but it'll solve the Tier availability problem by rearranging existing resources, and both Tier 1-5 and Tier 7-11 support would actually increase.
The campaign would not have to sacrifice the high-level stories in favor of low-level stories if it were to instead trim the fat in the middle. John, you already divide the setting into three level bands; perhaps dividing the scenarios into three level bands is the way to go?
Kyle Baird wrote:
I think people balking at $8 a scenario fail to grasp that $3.99 a scenario (3.39 for AP subscribers, free for VO's which spread to volunteers often) already doesn't make Paizo a profit. PFS is a loss leading marketing tool. Asking for more content without an increase in price is dumb. Why do you think APs and modules were made PFS legal? They actually make a decent profit on those products :)
$8 for 4+ hours of fun for 5+ people? It's a steal! Gaming is such a cheap hobby.
Either way, I will always treasure our time together at the Seeker table, brief as it was. :)
Excellent. It was a pleasure to bring Gerard out after years of being stuffed away.
Though honestly, Eyes of the Ten over the rest of the weekend, playing Lady Gabrielle, was head-and-shoulders above every other PFS experience I've had. Requiem of the Red Raven is the best thing PFS has ever produced; the campaign needs more scenarios like that, and it needs to ensure that the campaign is set up so that a larger percentage of players will get to experience the climactic stuff. Even if that means making Seeker play occur at 10th.
Honestly, I'd rather see PFS just ban guns, or at least the double-barreled pistols which are the source of the shenanigans. The Touch AC and Dex-to-damage mechanics don't really mesh well with a bow-using environment. The campaign's Bestiary authors were concerned about balancing their ACs, not their Touch ACs.
It also just doesn't make sense to have guns all over the place in Golarion, where guns are confined to Alkenstar. As said by the campaign staff in the past, setting-appropriateness is an important part of the decision to remove or include something.
Guns belong in Alkenstar, and PFS has never been to Alkenstar.
That being said, weapon cords... ehh, not that big of a deal. Has anyone figured out how to make them overpowered without using guns? Sure, there's the disarm issue, but locked gauntlets are in the Core book anyway. Plus, the cord is easily sunderable, something I have done in the past.
In other words... perhaps weapon cords are not the issue; perhaps double-barreled pistols are.
It sounds like what happened is that your players fully expected to get a total success, slay the dragon, rescue the princess, and be handed the platinum trophy, and that they somehow "lost" because they didn't reach 100% completion. And they expected to get a flawless victory with merely a +4 to Diplomacy between them.
This isn't an issue with the skill system at all, but an issue of misaligned player expectations.
Modules might be the best compromise, else get one if them to run the AP instead of you; be a player maybe?
Honestly, many (not all) of the modules are even worse at interconnection and storyline. I'm preparing The Moonscar right now, and it has no plot to speak of, just an epic adventure seed.
Over time, I have come to the understanding that Paizo's scenarios and modules are, by and large, very generic, largely made up of stat blocks and maps. The trick, as a GM, is to take what's there and fill in the gaps with a story and with interconnection that you and your players will find interesting.
Paizo, by and large, doesn't provide the storyline and the interconnection your players are really searching for; they provide the setting, stat blocks, and maps, but it's really on you guys to forge the rest for yourselves. With a relaxed setting and a regular group, it's very possible to do that. So, encourage your players to immerse themselves in Golarion and generate roleplaying prompts for each other, meanwhile you can go out of your way as a GM to present the canon and the cultures, because the products, by and large, really don't provide the sorts of interconnection and roleplaying prompts your players are likely looking for.
As FLite and David Bowles noted, it makes little sense to talk about "a positive experience for the community" in cases where two segments of that community have definitions of "positive experience" that are mutually exclusive.
Again, it is the responsibility of every participant to provide a positive experience for the community. Not exclusively him- or herself. As Greasitty notes, we all make the choice to be a part a part of a community, which means that we all accept a level of responsibility to our communities to provide a positive experience.
David Bowles wrote:
What if someone's "enjoyment" is making PCs that crush these scenarios? Both from my GMing experience and playing experience, there are many who will NOT show restraint. Is it worth throwing them off your table?
This sort of person is, quite obviously, not providing a positive experience for the community. This sort of player needs to not do that, and it is the responsibility of the community to ensure that this player doesn't do that.
In other words, good community management requires not only self-examination, but the community can't just sit back and hope the problem fixes itself. The Rules won't solve this problem.
David Bowles wrote:
And then what if the party subsequently TPKs from *lack* of optimization?
"What if" is not an excuse to provide a negative experience for others.
David Bowles wrote:
Also, PFS NPCs hurling SoS spells all the time. Why shouldn't PCs hurl them back?
NPCs using these sorts of tactics is not an excuse to provide a negative experience for others.
The difference between people who are providing a positive experience solely for themselves, such as by building PCs which curbstomp scenarios, and who are providing a positive experience for the table, is often quite clear. These two people could be running identical PCs, yet one person creates a happy table and the other creates a sad table. Good community management requires the community to encourage the behaviors which create happy tables and prevent the behaviors which create sad tables.
Again, the Pathfinder Society community requires us all to be responsible gamers, because PFS is a community-based game. It's also on the community to enforce those responsibilities.
Before this thread quickly derails, let me make a clarification...
Good community maintenance requires all participants to show restraint in their character-building and in-game actions in order to promote a positive experience for the table. If you can use Slumber Hex or a falcata or a Summoner or whatever and provide a positive experience for the table, that's great. However...
David Bowles wrote:
For many optimizers, optimization IS the game, which is not a community based game.
It is the responsibility of every participant to provide a positive experience for the community. For good community maintenance, the behavior of hurting the enjoyment of others needs to be prevented, though both self-examination and through asking others to not hurt enjoyment. The Pathfinder Society community requires us all to be responsible gamers, because PFS is a community-based game.
Felix Gaunt wrote:
I did. Slow tracked every level except 1st (because of First Steps) and 6th (because it was my PC's weakest level) on the road to 12. I like playing my PC, and it's tough for me to get games past 7th or so, so 21 scenarios is not enough to get to know and appreciate a character.
There are several key assumptions being made going into this thread, assumptions which are vital to a discussion of economics.
A: Items, magical and nonmagical, are freely available.
In the original poster's illustration, anyone with 375gp can acquire a scroll of fireball without very much effort, as that is the price set by the Core Rulebook. Now, what's important to keep in mind here is that those prices reflect a situation in which a few player characters are going shopping, where their actions do not carry enough weight to affect the overall market.
But when we're talking about the actions and reactions of the macroeconomy, the world beyond the buying decisions of four to six individuals, the above assumptions create a world which really doesn't make any sense.
Why is a scroll of fireball priced at 375gp? If an arcanist is scribing a scarce and desired scroll, why doesn't he charge 400gp for his time, effort, and materials? Or 500? Or 1000? He is obviously producing a valuable and desirable good, as 375gp is obviously a heck of a deal for the ability to blow up twenty armored knights! What divine force somehow mind-controls the entire world, dictating that the value of the arcanist's time and scribing materials is exactly and always 375gp?
What about the makers of the arcanist's materials? Why is it that those materials always seem to cost 187gp and five silver? Is there no scarcity of raw materials? Do the inkwells never stop flowing? Do the paper mills always run? Does sulfur fall from the sky? Does the world have an infinite amount of bat poop?
Just as I can spend $10,000 on tuna fish and not have enough of an effect on the tuna market to actually influence the price of tuna, player characters can fill up their scroll cases, backpacks, and spell component pouches and not actually influence the prices of scrolls, rations, and bat guano. The prices in the Core Rulebook might function for a small group of individuals in isolation, but they don't work very well when referring to a whole world in evolution.
A world with freely-available goods and perfectly-stable prices doesn't really make any sense. In other words, in a world where it is known scroll of fireball could take out a troop of armored knights, that scroll would not be so cheap. So before we ask about the investments of nation-states, it's more important to first ask "Why does that scroll of fireball cost 375gp?"
Kyle Baird wrote:
Are you sure Matt didn't remove it?
I did remove it. That line of discussion just seemed unnecessary after I posted. I don't need anyone's validation to know about my ability to GM. The smiles on my players' faces that emerge after six hours of expanding their knowledge of Golarion canon and interacting with NPCs is enough.
If screwing around with NPCs and doing my best to immerse my players means speed-moding the purchasing process, I'll pick immersion every time.
Why do you feel compelled to send race boons out in the first place?
If this is a reaction to the numerous threads complaining about convention boons being unfair, then sending out boons using a lottery system would only generate more complaints from those who think it unfair.
If you really want to distribute race boons through non-convention means, and not have complaints, then the way to do it is to have a method in which participants "earn" the boon, and that method needs to be freely accessible.
Such as by playing X number of games within time period Y, or by earning a certain number of fame for their faction, or GMing a certain number of games.
You don't see anyone complaining about the GM star system, because players can freely choose to earn their stars. The key here is accessiblity.
First of all, Drogon, this is great thread. This topic is very important, and one which the community really needs to have. It's important that you took the aggregate, big-picture perspective, although many of the responses have taken the personal, small-picture view. The big picture is the one which matters here. The fact that you can do that, Drogon, likely speaks to your business savvy.
Okay, here we go...
They [Paizo] are the industry leader. They need to start acting like it. They have the money. They have the sales figures. They have the presence. Instead, they continue to act like a small house publisher. They are complacent.
This statement right here is one of the most spot-on and most important I've seen on this board in a long time. You are right, Paizo is acting complacent. Am I the only one who sees irony in an established industry leader relying on Kickstarter? Pathfinder Online's Kickstarter featured big-publisher dollar figures, yet came in a small-publisher format. That right there is evidence of Drogon's observation.
Here's some more evidence of complacency, from a post from a few minutes ago:
Mark Moreland wrote:
From a resource allocation standpoint, an adventure's position within a larger metaplot is less an issue than the number of words involved.
The campaign is in its fifth season. Mark, you have been telling us about this same development roadblock since you started at Paizo. Why is this barrier still a problem? Paizo has had a very long time to get better at producing Pathfinder Society scenarios, yet development is still a roadblock. That's complacency.
Before adding any more scenarios per month, Paizo needs to get better at producing two scenarios per month. It needs to get over this development roadblock first. It needs to start acting like an industry leader.
Erik has informed us of the strides Paizo has been making in this department. It's time to stop telling us about this roadblock and start telling us about how you guys are finally defeating it.
Michael Brock wrote:
This is something we receive a good deal of feedback on. I'm curious what the best number of scenarios released each month is.
Why do you guys need to ask us? You guys have the data to answer this question much more accurately than we do. That reporting data that you guys keep telling us to give you has everything you need. You know what we play, when we play, where we play, how often we play, which characters we play with, who we play with, and who our GMs are. And from the financial standpoint, you know what we buy, and you know what our coordinators, GMs, and tablemates buy.
Paizo is blessed with mountains of useful data through its online store and PFS reporting. The fact that you guys don't know the answer to the question of how many scenarios per month is ideal is evidence that you guys have yet to really dig through it. You have the big picture in your database, when all we have are a series of small ones.
You have everything you need to answer your own question more accurately than this board ever could.
Mark Moreland wrote:
Out of curiosity, how much do folks asking for more Pathfinder Society Scenarios utilize other sanctioned adventures such as Pathfinder Modules and Pathfinder Adventure Paths?
Not only would the data answer this question, but what you guys need to understand is that modules and APs are not a substitute for scenarios. They do not fit in the weekday-evening, five-hour, episodic format. Scenarios, modules, and APs are not interchangeable.
On that note, I've said this before, and I'll say it again. Reduce the number of combats per scenario so session time can fit the format that PFS is perfect for. Season 4 really exacerbated this problem with its six-player assumption and tougher combats, because the number of combats per scenario was not reduced to compensate. You guys need to choose a scenario format that does what you want it to do and stick with it.
The format of PFS, with low GM prep time, episodic play, and not having to commit to more than one session at a time, is the best thing PFS has going for it. It is a golden goose that is staring you guys in the face. It's time to take PFS seriously, by overcoming the development-time roadblocks and figuring out how to structure the campaign based on demonstrated participant behavior.
Erik has presented what Paizo has done. It's great to see that steps have been taken, but these have yet to yield solutions to the actual issues. How does an increased art budget solve the problem of not enough scenarios? Adding more staff is not the same thing as solving the development-time roadblock. Listening to messageboard feedback is not a substitute for analyzing your data on player behavior. Tripling the ranks of Venture Officers does not solve the matter of pushing a generic hack-and-slash campaign which has yet to produce a truly coherent plotline.
You have a large list, Erik, but providing a Kickstarter boon is not solving any problems. The list needs to instead includes issues that have been successfully tackled, the improvements which have been actually made, not the resources that have been thrown at the campaign or the number of products for which boons which have been issued.
It's time to start acting like an industry leader instead of a complacent small publisher. Pathfinder Society cannot ignore D&D Next, as it represents a pressure to improve instead of stagnate.
Perhaps if PFS did not continue to place so many combats in each scenario, and instead focused on telling good stories in every scenario, perhaps the challenge level of the scenario's combats would not be so important.
Stop publishing optional encounters. Use that page count to show us more of the Golarion canon.
Stop publishing 4+-combat scenarios. Set a maximum of three combats per scenario for slugfests, and two for story-driven scenarios, and use that saved page count tell a good story which lets the players bask in Golarion canon.
If the measure of a scenario was not its fights, and was instead the story it told and the canon displayed, perhaps this problem would not be so severe.
Banning the Synthesist and the Vivisectionist was a good start. The campaign needs to go further to remove overpowered options, thus directly addressing Red Ninja's observation, an observation which is all too familiar.
I imagine the campaign staff and the Venture-Officers are pretty sure what some of these overpowered options are. Get rid of them. Stop sentencing us being forced to choose between watching Bond play or walking away. Then there would be a much better baseline to design the two-to-three combats per scenario for.
Previous organized-play campaigns would place labels on their scenarios merely based on trusting the author's and the editor's judgment. If the author and the editor know the game they are designing for, they should be able to do just fine, as they did in previous organized-play campaigns.
The game changes at tier 5-9. All of a sudden, you can get blindsided by the consequences of a poor choice made months earlier. This can be as simple as having 'wasted' money by enchanting a sub-optimal weapon, so when you eventually realise you should have had a weapon of a different type (or size), or one made of a different material, you end up paying more than a character built by a more experienced player. I don't like having to plan my characters five or more levels ahead to avoid this (let alone the insidious traps in areas such as feat tree progression), but it looks more and more as though this is necessary.
I would love to see some sort of method of perhaps paying a Prestige cost in order to retrain a choice or to sell an item for full gp value.
In a typical Pathfinder campaign, if a mistake is made, you get to work with your GM and repair the issue. In Organized Play, you're out of luck. That is, unless Organized Play were to institute some sort of system for repairing mistakes. Prestige makes an excellent mechanism for it.
1) There was some sort of a raise option available at that level
Perhaps the Prestige cost for raise dead could be based on character level and not be a flat cost?
Or what if, as a PC's Fame score rose, they would receive a number of zero-cost raises based on hitting certain Fame thresholds? That way, Prestige could go for cool things instead of sitting in the bank as a buffer against death.
The Beard wrote:
The latter. It is nice to get to play the game, rather than wasting my time and one of my limited scenario slots before the PC retires watching the former play. In addition, it takes multiple extreme examples of the latter to create a negative experience, one which can be corrected with teamwork, tactics, and my own efforts. It only takes one example of the former, which is not very hard to accomplish in Pathfinder, to wreck the experience.
The problem our group is discovering with Season 4 is that we are easing off the overpowered builds for the sake of fun, but there are so many combats which now take a long time (due to Season 4's upgrade in difficulty) that our sessions are taking way too long.
So we are stuck. We can either play overpowered characters and be done at a decent hour, or we can maintain our gentleman's agreement and be unable to play weeknight games or two-session weekend games. All because of too many combats. We can deal with Hard Mode; we don't want Marathon Mode. It's frustrating.
Also, one thing I didn't like that was mentioned in the podcast last week was that the change to the faction missions would be retroactive, so people playing season 0-4 scenarios would no longer get the faction missions for those scenarios.
Holy cow, seriously? That's a really bad change for those seasons!
Joko PO wrote:
The primary problem with Faction Mission is one of time. Time is a precious resource for a PFS scenario. Trying to tell a compelling story, advance a meta-plot, engage is exciting and challenging combat while completing so many side-quests is simply too much for the time frame required of a PFS scenario.
That reminds me...
Why does there need to be so much combat in scenarios anyways? Has anyone considered reducing the number of fights per scenario to make room for, well, other stuff?
But that's a side-concern. Let's wait and hear Mr. Compton; what will happen is likely to be much better than we are speculating.
So, does this mean that my, say, Taldan PC will not be able to do something specifically for Taldor every adventure? That most of his adventures will have him doing things for the Decemvirate and not doing things specifically for Taldor?
Can you tell us one way or another?
The Crusader wrote:
No, you don't need more. You just fill in the blanks.
For a third time now, Paizo fills in those blanks so I can pay them and not have to fill them in myself.
The same source I am drawing from.
Looooooot of blanks in there. Your posting is an effective demonstration of the lack-of-depth in the canon.
Since we are pretty much just repeating ourselves now, and not addressing the primary issue of having way too many rules items in a setting book, I think I'll leave it there.
The Crusader wrote:
If you need a butcher's shop on the corner of Main St. and Stavian Ln. in Oppara...
I may not need to know about every butcher's shop, but there are a few areas where the canon is really lacking:
-Government structure. How is the Empire governed? How is it set up? Who are the key players? What are their titles? How much autonomy do the individual provinces have? What about the central government in Oppara? Is there a set of departments/ministries/etc?
-Religion. I know that Aroden used to be really big in Taldor, but I know nothing of the religion of the Empire, other than that there's an illegal cult of Sarenrae.
-Culture. What do Taldans, rich and poor, enjoy doing? What do they like to eat? What does a Taldan aspire to when he grows up? Do Taldans follow the dogma of a particular religion? Do they define their world by what is told to them or through logic?
-The royalty. I know that Taldor has a Grand Prince who has only one daughter. Is he married? If so, what's his wife's name? Why has he not produced an heir? What would happen if Stavian III were to die? Who would the throne pass to?
-The nobility. Who are the prominent families? Which lands do they govern? What are Taldor's noble titles, and how do they rank? What are some of their heraldry?
-The merchant and peasant classes. How does Taldor acquire wealth? What are the surplus-producing crops? What about crafted goods?
I could go on and on. In order to run a campaign in the Empire of Taldor, I need more than what Taldor, Echoes of Glory tells me. Looking at the book, I count 18-20 pages of setting material and ten pages of rules items. I know how the OP feels, as I so wish those ten pages had useful setting material in them. All it took was a single sentence to spark the broad strokes of my campaign ("...the princess opposes its continuation and is currently building support among the Senate for her ursurpation of the throne upon her father's death.") but it will take more than a sentence to have a setting where the campaign can take place.
The Crusader wrote:
Again, Paizo produces canon so I can buy it and not have to make it up myself. I suck at worldbuilding. I am better at plot. I would much rather focus my limited time and energy on crafting the plot and the encounters in my specific campaign and pay Paizo for the setting it takes place in.