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Matthew Downie's page

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There are a lot of non-spoiling resources out there, but you seem to focus only on silver. I'm thinking... werewolves?

OK, I'm out of this thread. I don't want no trouble with werewolves.


A dazing physical attack would presumably work by causing a head injury that inflicts temporary brain damage / concussion and stops someone acting normally for a round. Something that's immune to mind-affecting effects (a plant, a skeleton, a golem) doesn't have a brain in the conventional sense and logically would be unaffected.


Larkos wrote:
My favorite TN character in fiction is Nico Bellic from GTA IV. He's just so completely and utterly mercenary. What separates him from a Ne mercenary is that he doesn't really enjoy killing though he's good at it nor does he want massive wealth. He just wants to get a fresh start and have a comfortable lifestyle. Unfortunately, being trained as a professional killer and working at the height of the Yugoslav Wars doesn't leave one with many peaceful marketable skills. And so Nico will do almost anything: killing, stealing, driving, bodyguarding, bowling (Cousin!)

You think that killing hundreds of innocent people, either for the sake of money he doesn't really need, or just to pass the time while driving across town (I assume that all GTA4 players did this), doesn't push you into 'evil' territory?


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Sissyl wrote:
I did not imply eighty years of fighting. You did.

The starting ages table implied it.

Basically there are three questions about elves:
1 Do they physically age much slower than humans (and look like a four year old at age 20)?
2 Do they emotionally/mentally age much slower than humans (and are therefore incapable of gaining PC class levels at age 20)?
3 Do they have cultural values stopping them from going adventuring until they're much older?
If the answers in your gameworld are:
1 No, 2 No, 3 Yes
...then it's sensible to have elves with unusual childhoods having younger starting ages.


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Sissyl wrote:
Please, what would you say? Perhaps one could hope for "Sure, let's ignore the fossil age table and get you a character you'd enjoy playing."

Either that or: "Please cross out the bit about you being twenty when you were enslaved because that doesn't make sense given that you rolled your starting age and you are now 106. In my game-world, a 20-year old elf is physically mature but too scatterbrained to learn to fight well, and you would never have survived the harsh rigors of the fighting pits of the Q'trath Dominion. The rest of your backstory is fine."


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Ashiel wrote:
5,000 gp would get her 41 years of average lifestyle, which is pretty solid if you're just looking to retire humbly. It'd only be 4.1 years if you wanted to retire wealthy though.

Really? Good. That leaves some flexibility for her to get greedy later on.


My sorceress has the goal of earning 5000 gold pieces. She reckons that should be enough to live comfortably on for the rest of her life.

She's level 4 now. If survives long enough, there will come a point where she'll either have to adjust her objective or retire, but since it's a low wealth campaign this hasn't been a problem yet.


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In the Pathfinder XP system, you gain experience from surviving dangers and achieving objectives, whether you kill anyone or not.


Silver (usually in the form of electrum) was an important component of currency up until around the time large amounts of silver were discovered in the Americas in the 19th century and governments worried that the price of silver would plummet, so they went over to the gold standard. Nowadays, 98% of money exists only as numbers in bank computers. Silver may be a good measure of the value of the dollar, but it may not: In 1980, the Hunt brothers cornered the global silver market and the price shot up to five times its previous value for a couple of months. This did not mean the dollar was worth suddenly 20% of its old value, unless you had to buy silver for some reason.

You know what a reliable measure of the value of currency is? The consumer price index that we use to calculate inflation.


Well, by level 11 the PC's Lead Blades + Enlarge Self to Huge + Improved Vital Strike Greatsword combo might be coming into play.


yellowdingo wrote:

Average Silver

1982: $4.98 per ounce
2013: $23.79 per ounce

The buying power has dropped. So to have the value of around 100 million dollars from 1982 their current 2013 income would need to be 477.7 million dollars per year.

Price of Detective Comics 27 in Mint Condition:

1939: 10 cents
2010: $1,000,000
So the dollar has fallen to one ten millionth of its old value. Or: the comic has become more valuable.
Similarly, the price of silver might have changed over the last three decades, based on new silver deposits found, people discovering that silver is useful in the manufacture of solar panels, or many other economic and cultural factors. Silver is not the one substance in the universe of fixed value against which all other things can be compared.


yellowdingo wrote:
If you want to know the current value of previous period currency you compare its buying power.

Against a typical 'shopping basket' of things that the average consumer will buy. Personally, I don't spend more than a small fraction of my income on ingots of precious metal. The prices of food, electricity and rent are usually more relevant.


yellowdingo wrote:
Check the price of silver for 82/83.

Yeah, a lot of young people nowadays don't realize that silver nuggets were the primary form of currency used in gaming stores thirty years ago. They went out of fashion when credit cards were invented.


If a player wants to make a large character, the chances are they have a plan to use a greatsword with Lead Blades or similar.


The way I handle elves: normally, ignore the question, since it doesn't usually arise during play.
If I'm trying to make the elf minimum starting ages from the book seem plausible: immature elves have bad memories. There simply isn't enough room in their brain to store decades of experience, so while they can learn things as quickly as a human, they forget things at an equal rate. Over time they get better at retaining the important stuff.

Leveling up during adventures makes less sense than elves. "I've killed a lot of undead over the last two months: as a result, I have gained Knowledge: History, learned how to craft magical items and can survive being shot full of arrows and then falling off a cliff."


Bandw2 wrote:
the thing I find funny though, is the creature takes up the same room as a horse. not exactly something that is horribly diminished in a 5 foot wide hallway.

Unless the horse wants to turn around for some reason.


The Genie wrote:
Dex to Damage is something Monk players have been dreaming of for a very long time.

Is the Agile Amulet of Mighty Fists no longer legal?


So on that scale, 'good' is 1-3, 'neutral' is 4-6 and 'evil' is 7-9. Yes, a 2 point ding for pranking someone who injured you is clearly going too far.


You might want good Will saves?


What the heck does '2 points towards evil' mean? What scale are you on? Are they being lowered from 100 to 98? 10 to 8?

On a practical note: a GM forcibly changing someone's alignment isn't going to help anything unless the character in question has some reason to maintain a good alignment.

If the purpose is to prevent internal group conflict getting out of hand with escalating vengeance, then it's more valuable getting the players to agree on what an acceptable level of conflict is for that game.


toxicpie wrote:
What item should it be?

The golden fleece?


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Previous thread on the subject. Summary: some people can believe in elves who mature very slowly and other people can't.


Snake Style can only be used against one attack per round. If there's two enemies, or one enemy with multiple attacks, it's not too hard to hurt them.


If the goal is to keep the APL 1 below what's indicated, then the easiest way to achieve that is to drop XP entirely and just level them up when they achieve certain milestones.


I knew exactly what it did, having looked it up. My question was whether it was a feat, trait or item, since the page I found it on didn't say. It being referred to as a compulsory option for optimizing wizards was a warning sign, same as those silly orc-bloodline crossblooded sorcerers.
Since my current game is Core-only, it would definitely be banned.


Hm. Looking at the context, it appears to be a feat.


How does a wraith commit suicide?


Lucy_Valentine wrote:
lastknightleft wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
Spell Specialization + Varisian Tattoo with Empowered Spell and Admixture is standard for blast wizards.
I've seen lots of blast casters (sorcerer and wizard) and I've never seen that combo in game
Really? Wow. I thought that was the standard for blasty wizards.

I don't even know what Varisian Tattoo is. It's not in any of the books I own. A trait? A feat? An item? Although it sounds like it would be banned as cheese in any game I play in so I don't really care.


roysier wrote:
The insult rule will be kept as is. I think players will accidently do these rather then seek them out.

Careful. Players trying to game the insult system is going to be just as annoying as gifts.

"OK, we're nearly ready to level up."
"But we haven't insulted the NPCs yet! We'd better retreat!"
"But we're in the middle of rescuing Ameiko from the torture chamber! How can we insult her if we haven't rescued her yet!"
"Maybe we could send her some kind of magical message?"
"The important thing is, we abandon the rescue attempt for now and get in some insults. Have you got yours planned?"
"Yeah. Koya's easy, since we can just blaspheme against Desna repeatedly until we pass an Intimidate check. I've got some new anti-Varisian racist slurs lined up. Pity we don't have Ameiko - I can easily upset her with my relentless misogyny. Shalelu's the hard one. What did we have on her?"
"Calling her 'frigid cow' seemed to work, though it's hard to think up good variants on that. Did we try anti-elf racism yet?"
"Hey I'm an elf!"
"Doesn't matter. We need the XP."


roysier wrote:

I will have 6 players so I will adjust encoutners up 50% when they are parts that they are at the same level as written.

I’m going to run my party on slow track so often times they will behind and the APs encoutners will not likely need asjusting.

OK, let's run the numbers on that.

Let's say an ordinary four man group would earn enough XP to let them reach 15th level (in medium track) for the final battle.
That's 635K each, 2540K total.
If you were running a group of six players through the same encounters, and dividing up the same experience six ways, they'd have 423K at that point, making them nearly level 14. They could probably get to level 14 just before the end, but not 15.
If the encounters were typically increased by 50%, then they'd reach level 15 around the same time as the four-man group - 50% more experience, but it's shared further so it amounts to the same, 635K each.
If you were running a group of six players through on slow-track advancement and increasing the encounters by 50%, by the end they'd be on 635K experience each, but they'd need 665K for level 14. This would be pretty tough since they're fighting larger encounters at lower level.
If you were running a group of six players on slow-track and not increasing the encounters (because they are lower level and can't handle bigger encounters) by the end they'd have 423K each and be 12th level. Some of the end game encounters would be very nasty for level 12 PCs, even six of them.


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Claxon wrote:
At the very least I would say that if you willingly lower your AC it last for an entire of combat, not just your turn or however long it takes to for you to be affected by what you desire. Remember that combat is an abstract, and though turns are all taken sequentially they all occur simultaneously within the same 6 second round. If you open yourself up to taking (beneficial) hits from an ally you open yourself up to taking harmful ones from an enemy.

I disagree with this. Trying to dodge three sword swings from three different enemies requires you to respond to each one, to identify the threat and move out of the way. If you can do that for free, you can equally move intentionally into the path of something you do want to hit you, which would make you much easier to hit than an AC 10 flat footed character.

We don't require to-hit rolls for PCs who want to be hit by touch spells from friendly characters - they aren't trying to evade, so no attack roll is needed. Doing the same at range shouldn't be much harder.


Going by the 1gp = $100 estimate, buying a 200,000gp item is a bit like buying a $20 million dollar military helicopter. (Which is actually pretty cheap - some military helicopters cost over ten times that much.) It's a major purchase where hundreds of people will be employed (gathering materials, security, advertising, sales, accountants, catering, maintenance, assists on crafting rolls, etc.) Much of the profits will be paid in taxes and/or bribes to the local mob.
Every purchase on that scale will probably be celebrated locally, since they keep so many people in employment.

This assumes a relatively mundane trade. The alternative is that you buy it from, say, a mysterious high level caster who lives on his own timeless demiplane, in which case the city you were in when you bought it is largely unaffected.


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The caravan rules summarized:
In combat, the two sides take turns rolling to hit and then rolling damage with no tactical decisions. One player can do this; the rest can check their email. The fact that your PCs could easily win the battle with a couple of fireballs does not factor into the result. Eventually one side is destroyed. It is usually the PCs' side that will be destroyed because the rules weren't play-tested. At this point you can ditch the caravan rules because there's no more caravan.
Until that point, you have to keep track of food, even though by the time it's an issue you can probably cast Create Food & Water multiple times per day, which by RAW creates enough food to feed dozens of people.

The romance rules summarized:
In order to gain XP and bonus powers and have sex, you have to give gifts or insults to all the NPCs. You can gain one relationship bonus point per level this way. You must also make a Diplomacy / Intimidate check and if you fail you get nothing. If you're not focused on Diplomacy or Intimidate, then after a while it will be impossible to advance your relationship. (Characters who haven't put at least ten skill ranks into Diplomacy can never have sex.) So if the group are adventuring and close to leveling up, they must stop what they're doing, round up the NPCs and start handing out the gifts. Bring multiple gifts because you might fail the Diplomacy check. If all the PCs in your party want to be friends with all the NPCs, they will need around 1080 gifts. (6 PCs, 15 levels, 4 NPCs, and 3 gifts per level to allow for failed Diplomacy checks and inappropriate gifts.) Since you won't usually be near any shops, you should aim to buy most of your gifts well in advance - try to have several hundred in reserve by the end of book two, plus an extra wagon in your caravan to carry them all.
Make sure you role-play out every present-opening scene because you can gain a bonus or penalty of up to 4 on your roll this way. It's a good idea to set aside an hour or so at the start of each play session exclusively for gift giving, but try not to let it go beyond that so as to leave time for other activities, such as buying gifts. (The NPCs, of course, will never get presents for the PCs or try to initiate a romance; the NPCs are prizes to be won and have no free will of their own.)

You might be able to make these rules work for your group, but you shouldn't expect them to work well unmodified.


Allowing multiple encounters to bleed into one another is usually one of the simpler ways of providing a challenge.
If a PC has AC that is too hard to hit then
(a) make sure they're doing it legitimately and not stacking bracers of armor, mage armor and actual armor or something like that.
(b) try to discourage them from increasing their AC further.
(c) have minions flanking and taking Aid Another actions to help the boss hit.


Probably doesn't help against stun, daze, nausea, etc. But in past discussions I don't think we ever even came to a consensus on whether it works for difficult terrain.

One simple interpretation is that you can ignore the word "even", making it that you can "move and attack normally for the duration of the spell under the influence of magic that usually impedes movement". In that case it works against magical restraint, grapple, pin, water, and nothing else. Still a worthwhile spell.


Ah, but you also probably have evil clerics to spread disease and famine, so it balances out.

A couple of other things to consider when creating a believable fantasy economy:

Magic can make producing some goods a lot quicker and easier. This is a bit like someone in our world owning a factory. It increases the availability of certain goods, and drives some old-fashioned craftsmen out of business, and may focus wealth in the hands of the owner, but doesn't fundamentally break anything.

If things get too out of whack, the majority of gods (including lawful evil ones) have a vested interest in keeping the world going, so will probably intervene when necessary to preserve civilization as we know it.


The diet of orcs is more of a Lord of the Rings problem than an RPG problem.


Renegadeshepherd wrote:
From a practical standpoint in a world where magic items are everywhere and cost so much the medieval, feudal, or agrarian societies make no sense. He who had the money or the power would rule whole kingdoms and be unstoppable in many cases. With this person being so strong why would be ever pay anyone, just take slaves.

Again, nothing wrong with that in RPG realism terms. Good people with power will rule kingdoms fairly. Bad people with power will abuse it and become the type of villains that adventurers have to kill.

A President with nuclear weapons and tanks at his disposal isn't necessarily going to reintroduce slavery, and the existence of trillion dollar military budgets doesn't mean people aren't still going to be farmers.


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In Pathfinder, a tiny elite have all the power and wealth and can use it to make themselves even richer and more powerful without concern for the impact their actions will have on the masses. That sounds like a pretty realistic economy to me.


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200,000 gold isn't that much from the perspective of a kingdom.
It's enough to equip 1000 soldiers with breastplates, or to buy six or seven galleys, or 4000 cattle.
I don't think commoners are as badly paid as you think.

The guy selling items for 200,000 gold is probably some extra-planar traveler anyway.


On the one hand, I think stunned and dazed are in the same category as 'unconscious', things which primarily restrict action rather than movement.
On the other hand, I think a simple method for making creatures immune to dazing metamagic would be really good from a game balance perspective.


I GMed with four (fairly optimized) PCs.

My PCs were tough enough that they had no need of the NPCs to help them out in battle. I'd throw one in occasionally but usually more as a person who needed protecting than someone to help them.

You can level up the NPCs whenever it suits you - you're supposed to keep them in the 'not useless, but not overshadowing the PCs' zone.

The caravan rules didn't seem to be worth the effort. I ditched them all, along with the romance rules.

I'd typically replace a caravan battle with 'the PCs are scouting ahead with Shalelu and they are attacked by a group of bugbears' or something like that.

The AP gives you very little in terms of making the NPCs memorable or interesting. That is to say, it never encourages you to make them have conversations with the PCs except when railroading them into following the adventure. (Also, it adds more and more friendly NPCs as time goes by; it's fun having a busy caravan, but it only makes it harder to connect to anyone.) So if you're trying to be creative, one of the places that needs this most is coming up with interesting interactions.

There were some ideas for Brinewall here.


No, brass knuckles damage is not added to unarmed damage. If you're using brass knuckles, you're not unarmed.


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This seems like a debate between the Simulationist approach (child characters should have the same advantages / disadvantages of a real child because that makes the game-world more plausible) versus the Gamist approach (child characters should be balanced with adult characters or omitted entirely).


Jurassic Bard wrote:
Here's a question for you. Imagine that you are up against a rival party consisting of two fighters, a wizard, a monk and a bard. Who would you attack first?

Is the wizard standing in a position where he's as easy to attack as anyone else, or hiding at the back with Mirror Image up?


AtLA is aimed at a younger audience than Korra, but does get better.


It sounds like you've developed the idea enough to try it out at the table. There may well be disadvantages that won't become apparent until you test it properly (Players forget what they were supposed to be doing? Or are forced to do stupid things that will get their allies killed because of what they wanted to do earlier? Combat taking twice as long?) but there's only one way to find out.


Avatar-1 wrote:
I don't know how you'd rule it, but I'm pretty sure it's a continuous cackle, not cackle-talk-cackle-talk-cackle.

That would imply that you couldn't use spells with verbal components and cackle in the same round, which I'm pretty sure would be mentioned if that was the intended rule.


FrozenLaughs wrote:
Everyone seems to think you get Natural attacks but retain all of your own stats and skills

Everyone who knows the rules of Pathfinder, yes. People who play D&D 3.5 do it another way.

FrozenLaughs wrote:
leading to situations like (still using my previous example) becoming a Behemoth Hippopotamus that still uses the Druids base strength of 10 (16 thanks to Beast Shape 3 bonus) but still a far cry from the creatures actual strength of 29.

Yup. That's why you don't make a wild-shaping melee druid with a strength of 10. If you play as a druid with an initial strength of 18, a one level barbarian dip for +4 rage strength, a couple of points of strength gain from leveling up, and cast Bull's Strength on yourself, you have a strength of 34 or so as a Behemoth Hippopotamus. You also gain the hippo's massive damage dice. This means you can be a full caster and have an animal companion and do damage on a par with a fighter while having better skills and also being able to turn into a bird for scouting or an elemental for flying or burrowing. This is why Pathfinder druids are generally considered a bit overpowered.

FrozenLaughs wrote:
What becomes the point of turning into a creature if you don't become fast, strong or tough like it?

You do become fast, in terms of movement speed: (Page 211)

"A polymorph spell transforms your physical
body to take on the shape of another creature. While these
spells make you appear to be the creature, granting you a +10
bonus on Disguise skill checks, they do not grant you all of
the abilities and powers of the creature. Each polymorph spell
allows you to assume the form of a creature of a specific type,
granting you a number of bonuses to your ability scores and
a bonus to your natural armor... If the form grants a lesser
ability of the same type, you gain the lesser ability instead.
Your base speed changes to match that of the form you assume."


FrozenLaughs wrote:
So how do you make an opposing grapple check if you no longer have anything to maintain a grapple with? Does the grappler now auto win every check?

You can still make a CMB check to break free of a grapple, and someone trying to grapple you still has to beat your CMD.

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