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.
There may be a lot of noise in this thread, but Enpeze really gets hits the nail on the head. It's not about the amount of setting material, it's depth of setting material that Golarion really lacks. Neil Spicer also does a really good job of focusing the discussion. It's a shame that Neil's post is hidden behind a spoiler button.
I could just repeat their points, I could voice how much I want to have adventures in the Empire of Taldor but can't feasibly do it due to how sparse the canon is, I could talk about how combat-heavy the APs are and how it would be nice to let the players bask in canon rather than run them through many, many combats in grid-lined areas, but instead I'll just highlight these two posts, so that these brilliant posts might get less-lost in all the noise.
What I will say, though, is that Paizo produces canon so I can buy it and not have to make it up myself. Paizo produces APs so I can buy them and not have to make up my own adventures. Telling someone to fill in the details of APs or of Golarion themselves is telling them to turn away from Paizo products.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Maybe I'm reading too much into your "tone," always a dangerous thing to do in a messageboard, but you seem disappointed in the quality of PFS scenarios going all the way back to early season zero. If so, why would you continue to play and GM (you have three stars)?
I was wondering how quickly someone would ask that. I have actually given this matter quite some thought.
Like many other organized-play participants, my life, and the lives of my gamer-friends, just do not accommodate very much beyond the organized-play format. Homegames and Adventure Paths require a lot of preparation and coordination, whereas organized-play requires very little. Just show up, game for six hours, then go home knowing that you will not have to wrangle the group together again for the next session. No waiting for the right people to have the right availability for the next session to occur. Even preparation of a scenario is easy. All I have to do is examine what is provided to me, the self-contained scenario, instead of having to spend many hours preparing a homegame session or an Adventure Path session, hours I just do not have.
In other words, it's hard for adults with jobs, families, and commitments to get together. It often takes a wedding. Or a funeral.
The organized-play format is perfect. Also, I have a tremendous amount of fun playing my character, and interacting with other players who put forth the effort to play a character that is interesting to interact with. This fun is entirely outside what is printed in the scenarios themselves, however, as the scenarios are, by and large, very generic, overly routine-combat-heavy, unsuitable as an exploration of canon, and lacking in character-developing situations. The scenarios are just not very memorable.
Behind the GM screen, I have a great deal of fun with using my own GMing abilities to attempt to make the scenarios much more interesting than they are on paper. Any chance I get to create tension, pretend that the PCs' actions have meaning, insert bits of Golarion canon, encourage in-character interaction, treat the PCs as more than the Decemvirate's instruments of murder, and immerse my players in a world, I seize.
Thirdly, Paizo has been very good at stringing me along with hints of future improvement. Every once in awhile, I see a bit of news in a blog, a post by Mike or Mark, or a scenario which gets me excited for the future. In Season 2, it was the Shadow Lodge as well as the departure of Josh Frost and with him seven-fight scenarios. The Dalsine Affair being so head-and-shoulders above anything that came before really helped here. In Season 3, it was the promise of a Ruby Phoenix plot, a plot which really didn't pan out due not enough dedication to the plot and due to the sudden mid-season 180 from the tournament to the Hao Jin Tapestry. Red Harvest, Temple of Empyreal Enlightenment, and God's Market Gamble were very hinting of good things to come, however. In Season 4, I was tantalized by the idea of more in-depth faction missions.
However, we're into the fifth year of the campaign now, and the pace of improvement has been quite sluggish. I guess I just have to understand that though the PFS format is perfect for me, I also desire a style of gaming that Paizo is just not interested in providing. Instead of innovation, we just get more generic material, even beyond what is published in PFS. I point to Not-Actually-Ultimate Equipment-Reprints, Mythic Arithmetic, and Ultimate Campaign (Do we really need printed rules to play teenage characters? Is that the best you guys can come up with to take up your page count?) as examples. Even the APs are proving to be combat-heavy dungeonfests, as I am slowly learning.
You are correct, Bob, in that it's really on the GM and players to bring the scenarios to life. However, a memorable scenario has memorable content. I distinctly recall being actually brought to tears by the Living Greyhawk scenarios HIG5-03 All Good Things, GEO3-06 Rite of Eternal Spring, and GEO5-08 Sorrow as Deep as Night. These were scenarios played nearly a decade ago, and they have proven to be more memorable than all but a tiny number of my PFS experiences, simply because of passionate writers who didn't let the constraints of time slots and page counts to stop them from delivering character-driven, dramatic conflicts presented in a coherent, visible world where the PCs were characters who could feel involved in the stories and whose actions were meaningful. Memorable stories take center stage, instead of making the drudgery of combat the centerpiece of the scenario.
It's not about pursuing "fringe" aspects of the gaming system, it's just about good storytelling. PFS has a great format going for it, but the memories are not generated by the scenarios; you have to do that yourself.
Or you can ask the campaign staff to do it for you with an outline on the Chronicle.
Morrolan de'Morcaine wrote:
The other day 2 of us were talking and noticed we had the same chronicle sheet. But it had been awhile and we couldn't remember anything about 'Black Waters' until we asked around.
You actually bring up a good example of a larger issue. I don't remember much of anything about Black Waters either. I realized awhile back, though, that a large amount of PFS content is just not very memorable. The scenarios themselves, by and large, are so full of routine combats, with very generic "go through the dungeon and clear the rooms" structures, such that it's really on the GM to make the scenarios much more than a tactical boardgame.
In other words, don't feel bad about not remembering the unmemorable.
And of course, if the scenarios were memorable, there would be no need for outlines of the scenarios to placed on the Chronicles to jog the players' memories.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Since in most cases, other classes are not penalized to remove their armor and leave weapons behind, items that can be just as offensive to a social engagement, are we doing the player a disservice by blocking their animal companion?
You bring up an interesting point, though I'll be focusing on the side-point about armor and weapons.
Does anyone enforce socially-appropriate weapon/armor restrictions? If no, then it's pretty much a double-standard to enforce a restriction on animal companions but not an appropriate restriction on weapons and armor.
The reason I bring this up is because I am reminded of:
my Immortal Conundrum table:
It was a bit strange having tea with a paladin in full-plate, holding a teacup in her gauntlet, a barbarian with a meteor hammer and greatsword strapped to her back while at the table, and two Synthesists in active power armor.
Dennis Baker wrote:
Again, for a 4 player group, there is zero difference between the CR of a S4 final encounter and the CR of a S0-3 scenario. If there is a difference, it's not a systemic change. My suspicion is it has more to do with the change of the guard in scenario authors. Season 3-4 has seen a lot of new faces writing PFS scenarios and I think many of them are writing tougher scenarios than earlier seasons.
Arkos does hit on a rather important point here, regarding de-powering encounters for four-man tables.
Bumping CRs up by one is a simple solution to the problem of six-man tables being the norm, but it is not an elegant one. CR itself is very wonky, and it is based on a four-man balanced party. Thus, bumping it by one does not scale the encounter for six players; instead, bumping it by one is fitting for a four-man balanced party one level higher. And as we all know, six PCs of level X are, on average, significantly more powerful than four PCs of level X+1.
Since CR is very wonky, and the Season 4 scenarios are written for six-man tables, the inefficiency of that +1 can be made up through other means. The first four Season 4 scenarios are examples. As Dennis mentions, authors are writing tougher scenarios; the expectation of six-man tables serves as an "unleashing" effect, giving the authors "more license" to build tough fights.
The problem lies in the reverse. Four PCs of level X are, on average, significantly less powerful than six PCs of level X, to the point where a single CR drop often does not cover the gap. Arkos's examples, as well as Golemworks Incident, demonstrate this. Just as encounters built for four do not scale up well, encounters built for six do not scale down well. It's a crapshoot at best.
Then we add another layer of trouble with an APL falling between two Subtiers, and we've got a "chain of error" here.
I do wish Paizo had decided to be a bit more innovative with building encounters for six-man parties, instead of just working within the CR system. But that's just wishful thinking; this sort of innovation would probably require a Pathfinder 2ndEd.
RE: Mark Moreland's spoilered request:
Why The Dalsine Affair is the best scenario ever:
Chalfon really takes the trophy home here. He very cleverly exploits a weakness in the Pathfinders' network by placing them in a legal bind. As it turns out, Venture-Captain Muesello was illegally smuggling Taldan artifacts out of Taldor, and harboring cultists of Sarenrae. So Chalfon pounces on the opportunity, leading up to the beginning of the scenario.
And the Pathfinders' only option is for the PCs to break the law, subjecting themselves to legal punishment if they are caught, as well as getting the Society kicked out of Taldor. In order to save their Society, the players have to become lawbreakers! Awesome!
And on top of that, Chalfon even arranges for a feud between Baron Dalsine and Pasha Al-Jakri to boil over when the Pasha's sister is a victim of Chalfon's arranged raid, which is actually an execution of the law.
He sets them up, and he watches them fall. He's the best villain in PFS. Puppet-masters like him, who place the PC's in difficult circumstances, are what we need to see more of.
I guess my thought was that paizo really needs a play test team or something. That way stuff that looks tooo good can be ran through something and then judged if broken. Some kind of positions best filled by a group of seasoned munchkins able to spot exploits and give it the hammer before the presses...
You are absolutely right. As we've seen, public playtesting has limited effectiveness. Public playtesting turns the ironing-out of rules issues into a competition of whose post can best attract developer response.
Instead, a closed-group of volunteer playtesters who have shown to be good at identifying rules issues would be much more effective and efficient. And the only compensation they'd need are little taglines next to their forum names and maybe their names in the finished product.
As far as being slapped silly with a lady's paper fan, yeah that does stretch my verisimilitude muscle (was going to abbreviate that 'v-muscle' .. thought again). But so do most of Jackie Chan's fight moves. Choreographed much? XD
Paper? It's made with silk and lace, thank you very much. Not that anyone from Andoran would know what silk even is...
Just run it in the way that is most dramatically-appropriate. Ensure that the action the surprising group gets to take is meaningful to the encounter.
In the orc-ambush example, they get to make some sort of offensive action in the surprise round. In the assassination example, if the PC prince fails his Perception check, the assassin gets to make his attempt.
Surprise rounds are very wonky in the current rules. They require discretion to run well.
Something else you could do, Florian, is to have dedicated 5-9 tables, on days where the seats are reserved for your 5-9 players. You don't have to have every table open to the masses. This sort of thing is essential to getting out of perpetual low-level play.
Then, you can float an incentive to GM low-level games. The people who GM for you can be given first-choice of which modules and Subtiers get run at the 5-9 sessions, and can be guaranteed a seat.
Then, you'll have a solid incentive to do some GMing.
The idea is an excellent one, but the implementation is like the posters have described. Archetypes suffer from the same problems. There are just so many archetypes written by so many different authors producing so many different levels of quality. So, only the top archetypes and traits are worth considering, and all the others are junk.
Generic traits are a good idea. This wouldn't really work for generic archetypes; the best we could do there is having alternate class features instead archetypes. That way, a player can choose his abilities when he levels up instead of all at the beginning.
I don't know about you guys, but personally, I've been having a hard time building Pathfinder characters, because of so many choices all being front-loaded. In trying to make a choice, there are so many things to choose from that I have trouble choosing at all.
At least with generic traits, the "hunt-time" for a desired trait is vastly reduced, and I don't have to worry about certain traits being just better than others. MendedWall's treasure hunt might seem fun, but as more traits, archetypes, feats, races, alternate racial features, spells, etc. get released, it's taking longer and longer to go on that hunt.
The way Acrobatics is opposed by CMD has always been wonky. Since something like this won't be fixed until perhaps a Pathfinder 2nd Edition, I suggest houseruling that Acrobatics is opposed by some number that doesn't scale out of control, such as DC 10+BAB+Dex, in the style of how Intimidate and feinting work.
Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
I am going to ask people how long they've been playing PFS and start the cuts with the most experienced. If they protest, I will tell them they're more than welcome to run a game, but if they aren't willing with their experience, I'm not going to bump someone new--who might well become a judge--on their behalf.
Don't do this.
The last thing you want to do is drive away your best players in favor of walkins. That is how you end up in a stage of perpetual cycling of players, with no progress made towards breaking out of a downward spiral.
Instead, if you have to cut someone, start by trimming the fat; uninvite the players who are a detriment to the play experience and thus would make the worst GMs.
It sounds like your problem, though, is that your sessions are too infrequent. Perhaps a change of strategy is in order. Perhaps you could talk to your best players about scheduling a second table on a different day?
The price for the bracers of falcon's aim is incorrect:
From the pricing of a continous magic item:
If they were Caster Level 1st instead, they'd be spot-on, though.
That being said, having continuous magic items of min/lvl spells, especially really good ones, is pretty shaky all by itself.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Could we please see an example of a mythic feature that is more typical of what we'll be seeing, something that is is not "Mythic Arithmetic?"
Well, it sounds like you guys have two choices:
-You can continue going along, expecting a no-to-low-teamwork experience, continue spending way too much of your Prestige, wealth, and build resources on things you would not have to in an environment with teamwork, and have not only a less powerful character, but a less enjoyable experience than if you were in a teamwork-focused environment.
-You can work to change your community environment. Ask your clerics to prepare blessing of fervor. Ask your bards to learn haste. Ask your melee PCs to provide flank, grapple foes, keep themselves from providing cover, impose conditions, etc.
It all starts with yourself. Show your community how beneficial teamwork play can be. Cast haste, use Bit of Luck, provide flank, give out heroisms, Fortune hexes, and mage armors, cause the Entangled condition, channel energy, and from time to time, aid frickin' another. Spread the teamwork love, and your whole community will have a better time.
How would you guys make optimal use of this item?
Off the top of my head...
-Silence, centered on the user. This one has a lot of potential.
This item isn't as egregious as the quickrunner's shirt, but as mentioned earlier, things that mess with actions are always "tread carefully." Fortunately, a discussion board is a great place to iron out these sorts of issues, if the posters are able to refrain from sarcasm and the "Nuh-uh! Yeah-huh!" oneupmanship, and instead think analytically.
Thank you, Feral, for bringing this item up.
OOC: Hi guys. I spotted the PaizoCon Bloggery thread, and I had a neat idea to talk about PaizoCon... in-character. Upon Painlord the Wise's recommendation, I'm giving this its own thread.
I invite players of Taldan PCs to chatter about the Grand Convocation here in this thread, so we may best orchestrate the accomplishment of the Empire's objectives.
IC: What follows is excerpted from the diary of one Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher, Lady of Taldor and Pathfinder. It covers the events of summer 4712.
4 Erastus, 4712
I have been ordered by the Society to embark on a set of missions in frequent succession for a series of Venture-Captains. The briefings promise to take me far and wide, across Golarion, in search of ancient trinkets and powerful artifacts originating from civilizations lost to time. These expeditions promise to be a wonderful opportunity to contribute a treasure trove of lore to the academic community through the renowned Chronicles that will result from my adventures.
I can hardly imagine a worse way to spend the season.
I have grown so bored with these errands, with the unknowable depths of the Decemvirate's greed. I am tired of the Ten's treatment of me, as a blunt instrument, a slave to their endless hunger for more and more magical power. I find myself becoming ever more disconnected from the interests I supposedly represent when I am called upon to play ambassador for the Society. Where once it was no trouble at all to create well-meaning motives for their expeditions, where I could play the heroic face of the Society as easily as I donned my roles for the opera, now I only feel the bile creeping up my throat whenever I invent a noble purpose with which to cover up the Decemvirate's endless lust.
Would you mind sharing that concept? I'm curious about it. (Or you could PM if you prefer, so as not to de-rail the thread.)
Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher, lovely Taldan noblewoman, carries her courtier's fan with her constantly, as any well-to-do lady of Taldor would. She is often seen fluttering it about, fanning herself as relief from the heat of the day. However, when combat inevitably begins, little do others know that her feminine fan can quickly become a deadly weapon!
Under SKR's post, Lady Gabrielle would have to start punching people. How unbecoming of a lady of such stature! (I'll also note that she just added Agile to her fan on Monday. Unarmed damage: 1d6-2, fan damage: 1d4+5. Ugggh.)
Any chance of seeing the return of the Vest of Resistance? The importance of the Cloak of Resistance really makes all other cloaks invalid.
Can we get an alternative to the Amulet of Mighty Fists, one which only enhances unarmed strikes? The current Amulet is overly punishing to monk PCs.
Also, is there a chance of seeing the market prices of reprinted magic items redone so as to be free of legacy pricing errors? For example, the Boots of Speed are way too cheap when measured against the pricing rules.
Are the prestige classes going to be balanced around the assumption that Favored Classes are in the game? If so, then how will the Prestige Classes in this book be adjusted to compensate for this inherent disadvantage?
I really hope that this book isn't 64-page of player-traps. I must admit, the Inner Sea Pirate (a clear player-trap) has me very skeptical.
Let's consider what such a change would accomplish from an objective standpoint:
-Squelches extra GP rewards for six-man tables, and lessens the incentive to powergame.
A change like this would simply encourage people to play their level, instead of play up whenever they can. Also, since there is no extra reward for playing outside one's PC level, there is less incentive to trick out one's character to survive those higher Tiers.
-Frees up modwriters to include more wealth within the module, such as interesting items for the Chronicle sheet.
And more freedom is good.
-Normalizes the wealth curve amongst PCs.
If no one ever gets screwed on gold, and no one ever gets extra gold, then everyone will be the same.
-Can be easily coupled with an option for tables to choose their own difficulty level.
That way, if a table wants additional challenge, solely for the sake of the additional challenge, they can have it, without skewing wealth or needing to tweak their APL to get there.
Michael Brock wrote:
I will confirm that these still aren't legal.
It would be entirely inappropriate to ban these classes. They represent roles which fit entirely within Golarion's flavor (you don't think Andoran is run by Witches, do you?), and the precedent set by the refusal to ban the Synthesist is more than enough to justify keeping these classes as player options for the campaign.
If it is the campaign management's belief that the Expert or the Adept suffer from balance issues, then they should be handled at the source, not with a band aid in organized play. It is not Pathfinder Society's job to correct errors in other products.
It would be entirely irrational to ban these classes and yet give no consideration to banning other, more-disruptive classes. These classes have established to not only be widely represented in Golarion canon, but they have proven time and time again to not be overpowered. I will not use this juncture to argue the flavor of, oh, I don't know, the Synthesist, because whether a particular class's flavor is appropriate for the campaign is in the eye of the Beholder(TM).
So, for the integrity of the campaign, I implore you... save the Commoner!
Purple Fluffy CatBunnyGnome wrote:
If that player chooses to get up and walk away because I asked if I could sit a 7th player that would be his choice. I wouldn't arbitrarily seat a 7th player without the tables ok.
The problem you run into then is the newbies-vs-veterans conflict. Is it really worth alienating a veteran, who more than does his share of GMing, in order to seat a walkin who might not show up next time?
I know my local group is having this problem, and though we've been lucky so far, it's going to come to a head in about a month, when we just won't have enough space to have all the existing high-level-to-be PCs play as well as have all the low-level PCs play, all without resorting to seven-man tables.
And that's assuming we don't get any newbies in the meantime.
Do guns ignore the -4 to hit for being prone like crossbows do?
Turns out that, IMO, Prone Shooter gets the Crappiest Feat Award:
OK, so you ignore a penalty for firing while prone. Let's see how severe that penalty is...
Under the "Attack roll modifiers" chart:
Most ranged weapons can't be used while the attacker is prone, but you can use a crossbow or shuriken while prone at no penalty.
and under the Firearms rules:
Fire while Prone: Firearms, like crossbows, can be fired while their wielders are prone.
So, Prone Shooter lets you ignore a penalty that does not actually exist.
It's the Crappiest Feat Ever, because it has the distinction of not actually doing anything.
Since the blog comment page has lost focus, I am starting this new thread with the intention of discussing a solution to the presented sanctioned modules issue of "no risk, no reward." My suggestions are very preliminary, working from a starting point of simplicity. Here goes:
It appears we have two opposing issues with sanctioned module play:
So, an ideal solution here would take the best of both worlds, i.e. maintain the modules' accessibility as well as make them "count." These two issues are not, in actuality, oppositional. We can have both.
One issue with the sanctioned modules as they are is that PCs who receive their Chronicles receive less gold and Fame as they would have from going through three PFS scenarios. Michael has indicated that the gold issue will be remedied by reissuing the Chronicles for the sanctioned modules.
Michael has also indicated that he wishes to make the rules for running sanctioned modules as simple as possible, meaning that they will differ as little as possible from regular PFS play.
I will propose a simple solution, then:
This solution is very simple, as well as sufficient for addressing all of the presented concerns. The sanctioned modules maintain their accessibility, while incentivizing playing them with an at-level PC.
-Accessibility is maintained. Anyone can join a table of a sanctioned module.
Let's start from here. We can solve this problem without restricting sanctioned module play any more than it needs to be.
Now, for the constructive phase:
It appears we have two opposing issues here:
So, an ideal solution here would take the best of both worlds, i.e. maintain the modules' accessibility as well as make them "count." These two issues are not, in actuality, entirely oppositional.
One issue with the sanctioned modules as they are is that PCs who receive their Chronicles receive less gold and Fame as they would have from going through three PFS scenarios. Michael has indicated that the gold issue will be remedied by reissuing the Chronicles for the sanctioned modules. (What about the Fame issue, Michael?)
Michael has also indicated that he wishes to make the rules for running sanctioned modules as simple as possible, meaning that they will differ as little as possible from regular PFS play.
I will propose a solution, then:
This solution is very simple, elegant, and sufficient to address all of the presented concerns. The sanctioned modules maintain their accessibility, while incentivizing playing them with an at-level PC.
Michael Brock wrote:
Is this up for discussion, Michael, or is it a done deal?
I've GMed three and played in four of the sanctioned modules so far. Judging by what others have posted, it seems that we have a very active local group when it comes to sanctioned modules.
Our local group really enjoys these sessions, and the reason we are able to enjoy them so much is because we are able to create groups of both veterans and newbies. Taking away the ability to create PCs for the module will sharply curtail our ability to do that.
I don't know how we'll cope. I don't know whether we'll end up playing less PFS if this changes. I do know that if this change is made, the fun that we have now will not be available anymore.
William Johnson wrote:
If you as a GM do not feel the character is truly repentant, atonement doesn't work.
It is not the GM's privilege or responsibility to dictate the roleplaying of a PC.
It is the player's job to play his character. The player decides whether his PC is truly repentant, not the GM or anybody else.
Mike Schneider wrote:
An adventurer's life is not predictable. Just as the adventurer is not certain of what he'll have to deal with in combat, he is not certain of what he'll have to deal with skill-wise.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, Mike.
Michael Brock wrote:
I'm a skilled GM, but no matter how hard you try, the combats are cakewalks...
If there is a problem with PFS combats being cakewalks, then perhaps that problem should be addressed directly, by toughening the combats or by officially giving GMs the flexibility needed to toughen the combats on-the-spot.
Reducing maximum table size is an indirect and ineffective solution which will not solve the problem of combat-cakewalks. The combats are already cakewalks with less than seven players.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Please don't. There's a reason why the Rogue is widely considered to be the worst class in the game, and the limitations of Sneak Attack are a part of that.
Could you instead look at revising the Feint rules and feats, to make them not suck so much?
Let's make sure we're all on the same page first:
-Bob the rogue begins his turn.
Effectively, Bob has spent his swift action, his move action, and his standard action, and has made one attack with the Hidden condition against Orc. He had to win two opposed rolls, a Bluff vs. Sense Motive roll and a Stealth vs. Perception roll.
If Bob were to take two feats for Improved Feint, he could do all this with his move action and his standard action. In doing so, his Bluff check for feinting in combat would be against the higher of DC 10+Orc's BAB+Orc's Wisdom modifier or DC 10+Orc's Sense Motive modifier. Also, Bob would not gain an additional +2 to hit Orc due to being Hidden. However, Bob only has to win one opposed roll.
So, at the additional cost of a swift action and having to make a second opposed roll, Bob saves two feats, Bob gets to do whatever he wants with his move action instead of spending it on the Feint action, Bob has to roll Bluff vs. Sense Motive instead of the higher of DC 10+BAB+Wis or 10+SenseMotive, and Bob gets an additional +2 to hit.
It's time to rewrite the Feint action, as well as the feats which reference it.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Why do we need HiPS or a similar effect, Stephen? The new Stealth rules do the job without one.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Feel free to come up with creative ways to deal with situations as they occur, but try to avoid doing things that bypass entire sections of the scenario or to destroy the plot.
In addition, a good GM is one who can improvise, allowing the PCs to do as they wish while still making the module work.
PFS scenarios are improving, yes. However, they still tend to suffer from two easily-fixed problems:
-Too much combat. See Sewer Dragons of Absalom. Modules really need to max out at three combats to have room for an actual story. Two combats for a story-driven scenario.
-Too many "chump" combats which add nothing to the experience, other than making your players roll initiative, smash everything, then spend a couple of wand charges to heal any damage taken. By removing these extraneous combats altogether, PFS will take a big step in improving module quality.
As well as a new problem:
-Too many factions. First Steps really highlights this issue; the ten faction heads are crammed into the three modules, to the point where there are too many names to keep straight, much less remember them all. The factions have yet to become a really involved experience; having ten of them seals their fate. There really needs to be around four instead. Four factions with their own plotlines as well actual involvement in the main plot. This would also make room for faction-specific rewards, boons, and enmities on the Chronicle sheets.
Again, the modules are improving, but are honestly being held back by some basic problems. Fix those, and we'll be on our way to a solid experience.
Wasn't the baseline for PA awarded per scenario equal to 1.5?
If three Fighters, which, last time I checked, were not exactly skill-heavy classes, were unable to get that second PA because none of them took Linguistics... that's a good thing.
The faction missions are already so much of a gimme, so terribly easy to accomplish, that we have 7Int/7Wis/7Cha Fighters who manage to earn more than the baseline 1.5 PA per scenario.
They're so easy to accomplish that they're being treated as entitlements, not earned rewards. That's the real problem.
Magical Knack is a trait, and traits represent "half" a feat. Magical Knack is "half" of the feat Practiced Spellcaster, which was a non-OGL source. So, without the actual feat around anymore to balance the trait against, the trait becomes overpowered.
If Pathfinder brought back Practiced Spellcaster, then I suspect Magical Knack would come back, too.