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Matthew Downie's page

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Xexyz wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
People dislike it when GMs ban their favourite things. That's not anti-GM, unless you believe that GMs are beyond all criticism.

It's anti-GM when people tell the GM they're wrong for doing it or demand justifications for making the decision. Especially when those people aren't actually players in that game.

It's anti-GM when you say, "let's play one of those GM-less RPGs like Capes because GMs suck".

A sentiment like "GMs should not change the rules just because they feel like it" could more accurately be referred to as "anti-all-powerful-GMs" or similar. These people are still in favour of GMs, they just want the power balance tilted more towards the players. Calling them anti-GM is biased language, like accusing people of hating rogues if they think rogues should/shouldn't made a bit more powerful.

It might seem like a minor distinction, but imagine being labelled "anti-police" for saying police should have to obey the law. It's the kind of thing that happens in political debates all the time, and it just leads to greater misunderstandings and the escalation of arguments.


People dislike it when GMs ban their favourite things. That's not anti-GM, unless you believe that GMs are beyond all criticism.


BigDTBone wrote:

2) the burst heal myth is just as bad as the fireball myth. "If we can get all of the baddies to stand in exactly a 20-ft radius circle then I can do 123,547 damage with my 4d6 fireball."

If that works out then great, but that isn't exactly likely. Also, who cares if you can heal 100 damage in a round if it is spread out in 17hp chunks to all of your allies. The dude at the front soaking that 50hp a turn isn't helped by you patching up "grimoire" the witch's familiar for damage he hadn't taken.

Situational. Say you're facing an enemy sorcerer (using greater invisibility or similar so he won't just die immediately). He hits your entire group with a fireball. If you channel energy, this heals about half the damage you took - maybe all the damage for allies who passed their reflex save. It won't win the battle, but it doesn't cost you much and it buys the group time to respond. There's no reason to assume any given cleric will have a better option available.


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Opuk0 wrote:
Otherwhere wrote:
What's the DC on a CHA check for "murder your family" anyway?

There is no DC, that's the problem

You just need to roll higher than them

I guess people with low Charisma don't like their families much.


thegreenteagamer wrote:
Oh well. My interpretation of "to the best of their abilities" includes the caveat if they can identify those enemies. They don't have supernatural terminator vision with HUD identifiers pointing out threat vs ally.

Yeah, are we supposed to believe these are some kind of magic animals? Just appearing out of nowhere and helping us for no reason? That seems highly unrealistic.


Kolokotroni wrote:
Simplest example is the whole rogue thing. Without question, the rogues potential ability to do stuff is less then every other class. But that is only an issue if other classes are meeting their potential or close to it. If the optimization of a group is low, then there isn't a need to say 'rogues suck dont play them' because it isn't an issue.

I've seen rogues in low-optimization groups a couple of times. The rogue was still the least useful party member - a poorly optimized rogue can easily be a guy who can't take go into melee because he'll almost certainly die, and can't hit the enemy if he risks it.


The bonuses to initiative and immunity to surprise are very valuable, increasingly so at high levels. It keeps you from dying before you get a chance to act, which can happen very easily to frail characters like wizards.

(The actual divination spells aren't that great for the most part.)


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Rynjin wrote:

Except you DO have control over what he does. It literally says it in the spell. You can make them do things against their nature with a Cha check.

No, "convince" is not an ability. That is the fluff justification for that very open-ended game mechanic that says unequivocally you can make Cha checks to CONVINCE someone to follow an order against their nature.

That is what the Cha check does. Technically speaking, you don't even need something convincing, you just need to say "Do it" and be likable enough.

You say "Kill your wife".

And he says no, because that's "Obviously harmful".

There are three categories of Charm Person command.
Category one: perfectly reasonable requests, like "don't stab me".

Category two: things that the person would not normally be willing to do (like, say, a guard lending you their only weapon), but might make an exception for a good friend - these require a Cha check.

Category three: things that are obviously harmful to the interests of the charmed person, such as attacking their allies, unless they already dislike those allies. A Cha check will not help you there.

(While the 'harmful' clause could be interpreted in other ways, a sensible GM should choose to read it in a way that doesn't make the spell grossly overpowered.)


Darkheyr wrote:
A group of friends playing Pathfinder and a professional soccer game are not exactly comparable situations.

The main differences I can think of are:

(1) In RPGs it's relatively trivial if the decision goes against you. Worst thing that happens is you have to make new characters. In pro-sports, there may be huge amounts of money and national prestige riding on it. So it's far worse to have a wrong decision in sports.
(2) In RPGs, arguments that get out of hand can ruin friendships. The professional referee is rarely a personal friend of the players.
(3) In RPGs, the GM is expected to make up rules on the fly.


Ms. Pleiades wrote:
Casting comes online faster than wildshape for a druid

While this is true - you have no wildshape abilities at all for three levels - a druid with maxed out physical stats can make a competent melee fighter (with an animal companion and some utility spells) during this time.


There is a convention in most professional sports that the referee is always right, even when he is wrong. If you think the ball was inside the line, and the referee says it was out, and you argue with him, you are punished, even if you were right. This is an accepted convention because it is better than constant arguments.

A lot of people apply a version of this convention to RPGs.


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Paladins should earn their money the honorable way - by killing people and taking their stuff.


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BigDTBone wrote:
If a player is in a game for years with the same character, from 1st to 13th level (or whatever), it is completely unreasonable to expect the player to shut up or quit if a bad call that killed his character can't be resolved in 10 minutes or less.

If it killed your beloved character beyond all hope of resurrections, fine. Argue your case, get out your phone, look it up on the forums, demonstrate why you're right and the GM is wrong.

Any other circumstances, let it go. Nobody died.

The GM has to make rulings constantly. Some of these rulings will be wrong. If you argue every time, it means you're having an argument instead of a game.


shroudb wrote:
This whole debate is based on two readings of a single sentence

That's just the tip of the iceberg. For example, does the (plus free and swift actions as normal) in brackets mean that you must be permitted free actions for it to count as restricted action, or does it mean that if your actions are restricted, you can still perform free actions?

I don't have much confidence in an FAQ resolving this any more. For example, if swift actions are allowed while nauseated, which ones require too much attention? Lay on Hands? Inquisitor Judgements?


DM_Blake wrote:
Davor wrote:

Let's say the party... oh, druid, springs for a Wand of Cure Light Wounds. Common item to buy, really useful, and at the same level he's down 750 GP for a good item. Fair enough.

However... does that 750 GP deficit follow him for the rest of his career?

Simple answer, yes.

But as I said, nobody ever does this.

Does what? Buy a wand? Allow a deficit?

My answer would be that there are two basic ways of handling it. One is for the GM to put in enough wealth into the adventure that competent players will be able to have roughly their WBL or a little above. If they spend their wealth on consumables and then use those consumables it's gone forever.
If you're running an Adventure Path you're probably doing this by default.

The other is to monitor PC wealth and put in more loot if they've fallen behind the curve.

The question is, would you rather punish PCs who are careless with their money, or keep them balanced with the rest?


One option is to put more control in the hands of the players. The seal might allow the PCs to create the emperor of their choice - or end the imperial system forever.

This is good, as long as the players are able to handle it maturely and not murder one another in a struggle for the throne (unless they enjoy that sort of thing).

Note that in book 6 the PCs should be able to get their hands on the seals of the other noble families from the palace vault - which might help with the 'council of five' theme.


Voadam wrote:

Mythic can give it as the first mythic power.

Quote:

1st-Tier Guardian Path Abilities

You can select these path abilities at any tier.

Fast Healing (Ex): As a swift action, you can expend one use of mythic power to gain fast healing 5 for 1 minute. This ability can be taken a second time at 3rd tier or higher and a third time at 6th tier or higher. Each additional time you take this ability, the fast healing increases by 5.

While that's good against bleed, it expends a finite resource every time. Most of this discussion has been about the concept of free healing with no limitation except having to wait a few minutes.


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The book says when you make a standard action attack using a ranged weapon you provoke. I can't find anywhere saying individual shots provoke.


Rikkan wrote:

I thought Full attacks don't provoke attacks of opportunity, only standard ranged attacks do (and ranged touch attacks)?

So full attacking with a bow does not provoke at all?

So 'standard action ranged attack' is listed as provoking, but 'full attack' is not...

...I can't see anything RAW to disprove that, but I'm pretty sure that's not how it's supposed to work.


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kestral287 wrote:
Really, the fact that you're touting "Fast Healing is useful in combat" right next to "the character getting lots of Fast Healing was frequently knocked out" kind of proves the point that Fast Healing is not great in combat.

Still, if he did go down in combat despite fast healing, there's a good chance the fast healing made a difference between 'unconscious' and 'dead'.

While fast healing isn't worth spending all your money on, it's always a good thing. I find a few hit points makes the difference between conscious and unconscious, living or dead, fairly often.


Some less intuitive ones:

You don't provoke more than once from movement from the same opponent if you pass through multiple threatened squares in the same move.

You provoke twice if you cast a ranged touch spell - once for casting, and once for making a ranged attack. (You would only provoke once if you Cast Defensively.)


I don't think there's any real harm in making the PCs be the claimants to the throne. (Though there can only be one emperor, so the whole 'cross half the world to make someone else an emperor' problem still applies to most of the group.)

If your players are competent they shouldn't need NPCs to help them in battle. (Though having Koya or a substitute might be useful if they're low on clerical magic.)
Feel free to replace the NPCs with your own - there's not much material in the books that relates to them specifically. Be flexible about which NPCs you focus on - it's hard to predict who your players will respond to.

I don't recommend using the caravan system (which is low on interaction and needs modifying if the PCs are to have any chance of winning) or the relationship system (which is largely based around buying affection with ridiculous numbers of presents and Diplomacy checks in place of role-playing).


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Some Guy again wrote:
Do you feel like he is a bland

Some classes have strong built-in flavour, like the alchemist. Others are innately bland, like the fighter, in which case it's up to the player to make them interesting. A Slayer could be Aragorn or The Hound or any other fictional hero who doesn't go around casting spells.

Some Guy again wrote:
murder hobo

Any class can be a murder hobo. It's an equal-opportunities profession.

Some Guy again wrote:
designed to fill every power gamer

Pretty much all classes can be power-gamed. Barbarian, Alchemist, Magus, Zen Archer, Sorcerer... I'm not convinced Slayer is in the top 10.

Some Guy again wrote:
fantasy of the awesome assassin sitting in the corner of the tavern?

Is that bad? The Wizard is designed to fulfil a gamer's fantasy of being an awesome spell-slinging wizard. The Barbarian is designed to fulfil a gamer's fantasy of being an awesome barbarian picking fights in a tavern. The Assassin was probably designed to be the awesome assassin sitting in the corner of the tavern, but turned out not to be particularly awesome except in highly favourable circumstances. The Ninja fulfils that role better. The Slayer is a Ninja for people who don't want mystical ki powers and shuriken.


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Since not allowing free actions leads to idiocy, I think we should interpret it as standard (ambiguous) English rather than formal logic. If you read, "you can only drive at 30mph in this area", that should not be taken to mean you can't walk through the area, turn corners, or breathe.

This interpretation does not lead to idiocy:
They don't need to mention free actions in the nauseated condition because they're free actions. You can take free actions whenever you can take any other action.
You can take swift actions whenever you can take free actions.


I like that it is can fight rogue-style, yet (unlike the rogue) inflict fairly good damage.

Why shouldn't it be allowed to participate with everyone else? Do you think it's too powerful? Too weak? It's hard to defend it against accusations no-one has made.


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Kazaan wrote:
The problem is when the GM says, "Oh, well, I know you're flanking, and that would normally give you sneak attack, but that's bad for me so I houserule that this creature is really good at watching you and is immune to sneak attacks." Or, half-way into a campaign, "Oh, btw, did I mention that I houserule that you can totally TWF with a 2-h weapon and armor spikes? I didn't? Hmm, wierd... well, here comes an Orc Ranger with a greatsword and spiked armor.

That's not a problem that a rules lawyer can sort out - the GM is openly making up his own rules (in an annoying manner). Rules lawyers are for when the GM is under the mistaken impression that you can't sneak-attack undead creatures by RAW.


What about the "Spell Completion Items: Activating a spell completion item is the equivalent of casting a spell. It requires concentration and provokes attacks of opportunity. You lose the spell if your concentration is broken, and you can attempt to activate the item while on the defensive, as with casting a spell." quoted above?


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Xexyz wrote:
You imply that's how the campaign is designed around the concept of a certain number of encounters per day. Maybe that's how APs are designed, but since I run homebrew, I certainly don't design my encounters that way.

Adventure Paths aren't really designed like that either. If things go badly for the party, APs almost always allow for them to retreat, replace their dead members, and return.


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Cyrad wrote:
the gross assumption that a party has infinite amount of healing wands and/or the ability to exchange money for healing items at any given time

That's the default assumption. Settlements have wands for sale. Encounters provide enough money to buy wands. Anything else borders on a house rule.

Cyrad wrote:
Even if I agree with you, you cannot deny that it's much harder to beat up the PCs if they can recover from any injury completely for free by sucking their thumb for 5 or 10 minutes.

If they do that, their buffs will wear off or they'll get attacked by a second group of enemies before they're healed.

The hit-points attrition paradigm has never really described Pathfinder as I've played it. In Carrion Crown we burned through wands casually and often fought eight or nine encounters a day. In Kingmaker we rarely fought more than one battle a day. Other times there'd be an arcane caster who'd burn through all their best spells quicker than the cleric would run out of channels.

And there usually wasn't any real time pressure. If you wanted to rest and get your spells back after a battle or two, there were rarely any negative consequences.


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A good rules lawyer is one who knows when to let it go. If the GM allows someone to take Power Attack when they're not supposed to be able to take Power Attack, it doesn't do any real harm to the game. If you spend several minutes trying to persuade the GM he's wrong, it does harm the game.


If you can transform to medium (and your gear changes size too) when the terrain is against you, or you want to use stealth, then you really have the best of both worlds. You're a much better melee combatant at the price of a small reduction in AC / Reflex / Initiative. Using your reach to trip enemies as they approach would be an effective tactic. If you were a caster, reach would also be useful for Touch spells.


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Aelryinth wrote:
The 'game changing' effect of fast healing is 'go go go.' Since you don't run out of healing, you can just keep going.
Cyrad wrote:
The gameplay of D&D/PF centers around mitigating the healing cost.

If you don't mind spending a few thousand gold on wands of cure light wounds, you can achieve basically the same thing without fast healing.

Say you're in a game with 20-point buy instead of 15-point buy. That probably means that by the mid-game every character could afford to go with a +2 headband or belt instead of a +4. In doing so, you save 12,000gp each - 48,000gp for a party of four. That's enough for 64 Wands of Cure Light Wounds, which could heal 17,600 hit points - which is likely to be several times more than the party would lose in a long campaign. In a game where wands are available in shops, unlimited healing is worth no more than a couple of attribute points.


I can imagine a low-level encounter with a vampire working out if the vampire has a suitable agenda. He's amused by the PCs; they are no threat to him. He needs some agents to enter a place that is warded against the undead, steal something, and return it to him. He says, "Do it or I will murder you and your entire families." This sets him up as a boss villain you will be able to defeat later in the campaign.

Of course there is a risk in such cases that a paladin PC will just fight to the death against him, so the GM should make allowances for that.

On a related note, in my last game, a group of mostly level 5 PCs entered a building, and got attacked by an invisible vampire. Surprise round: it hit everyone with a fireball. Round 1: It rolled 24 initiative, acted first, and hit everyone with another fireball. At this point two of the party were dead and I was 3HP from death and only conscious due to my Die Hard feat. (I cast Glitterdust on it and it failed an easy Will save and we were able to escape.)

I do not recommend using a vampire like that against level 2 PCs.


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revloc02 wrote:


1 Ambushing
...
24 Walking

Perhaps there should be different tables for intelligent and unintelligent creatures? For a humanoid, we could add things like:

Trading
Robbing
Negotiating
Guarding
Boozing
Meditating
Crafting
Praying
Burying
Building
Partying


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It varies by campaign. If you're having slow-paced adventures, usually with only one or two encounters a day, then you're probably not short of healing anyway (assuming you've got a cleric or similar). If you're having rapid successive encounters - because you don't want buffs to wear off, or because an alarm has been raised - you don't have time to wait around for your health to recover. But there's a point in-between where it's useful.


rorek55 wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
One thing I found playing a low-AC martial is that you're more likely to get hit by creatures with grab abilities. If you depend on a two-handed weapon, that's a problem. So make sure you have a plan for what to do if grappled.
surge of strength and break free?

Round 1:

Enemy pounces, full-attacks you and grabs you.
You spend a standard action to try to break free. Thanks to strength surge, you succeed!

Round 2:
Enemy full-attacks and grabs you...


I don't think tremorsense does anything to negate miss chances.


One thing I found playing a low-AC martial is that you're more likely to get hit by creatures with grab abilities. If you depend on a two-handed weapon, that's a problem. So make sure you have a plan for what to do if grappled.


Elder Basilisk wrote:

struggling against the elements, finding food, trade (or battles) with natives (note that trade requires carrying and tracking trade goods--more beancounting), dealing with hostile animals and the aftermaths of river crossings, storms, rapids, etc that might destroy supplies, etc are all major parts of survival and exploration stories. If you don't deal with them, what parts of the exploration or survival story do you have left?

The exploration story: Pretty much all of it. Travel to unexplored places, find out what's there, add it to your map.

The survival story: You still have to physically survive encounters with hostile creatures, rivers, etc. You lose the possibility that your supplies will be lost and having to deal with it if they are. You don't have to trade with natives or murder them and steal their stuff to avoid starving.

But I don't think Kingmaker ever really did much with that anyway. It's pretty easy for most Pathfinder parties to survive by foraging - just take 10 on Survival checks. Got a druid? Cast Goodberry: that's a week's rations carried in your pocket.


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Multi-classing allows you to make a character that isn't like anyone else's. Mechanically, my level 7 human sorcerer isn't much different from all the other level 7 human sorcerers. But there are very few multi-class paladin/slayer/sorcerers out there, so making one of those feels a lot more creative.


No.


It's a good exercise for a GM to try to anticipate all the possible player responses:

Trust the NPC.
Spy on the NPC.
Murder the NPC.
Avoid the NPC.
Argue about the NPC.

Then you come up with a plan for each possibility and try to ensure that none of them leads to a dead end. If you can't do that, find a way to stop the players from wanting to take that option in the first place.

Or you could just wing it.


Bad lesson: Kill everything on sight.
Good lesson: Don't split the group.


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alexd1976 wrote:
I keep seeing comments about GMs ignoring encumbrance rules... that hurts my brain... They aren't optional

All rules are optional, especially those can only be properly enforced by strict and tedious book-keeping.

GM: "Searching the merchant's room, you find an engraved cigarette case, a painting of two dragons fighting, a small statuette of a female minotaur, and a small box of semi-precious stones. You reckon you could sell them for 400gp in total."
Player: "OK. How much does each of them weigh? I'm only 8.5lbs from medium load. Wait... 8.8lbs, I forgot about those arrows I fired."
GM: (Sighs and starts researching the question instead of getting on with the story.)


A Sense Motive check might be all you need.

It's not always a bad thing to kill off careless PCs at level 1. It teaches players to be cautious. It's better than doing it at level 4, when they've got too attached to their characters.


Other spells that stagger a target without a save (generally higher level than Frigid Touch):
- Dictum;
- Fool's Forbidance;
- Stunning Finale;
- Suffocation;
- Overwhelming Presence;
- Terrible Remorse;
- Waves of Ecstasy;
- Energy Siege Shot;


Repose Domain

Gentle Rest (Sp): Your touch can fill a creature with lethargy, causing a living creature to become staggered for 1 round as a melee touch attack. If you touch a staggered living creature, that creature falls asleep for 1 round instead. Undead creatures touched are staggered for a number of rounds equal to your Wisdom modifier. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Wisdom modifier.


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BigDTBone wrote:
Clearly, the appropriate dice spread is 2d4+1. ... ... yeah.

Low fantasy: 2d4 inches

High fantasy: 3d4 inches
Epic fantasy: 4d4 inches


Since the waterproof bag doesn't exist in Core, there is no Core rule saying that spellbooks aren't waterproof...

If I was a wizard, I'd wear a tall pointy hat and keep my spellbook in that. Then, if I had to go swimming, my book would be above water level any time I wasn't drowning.


Let's ignore the Blessed Book, which I agree is pretty weak evidence.
The waterproof bag text clearly states that a waterproof bag containing maps, scrolls and spellbooks can only be completely immersed for 10 rounds before enough water seeps in to ruin them (and similar items). So either this is a vulnerability that only occurs in waterproof bags (in which case they are less waterproof than regular bags, which is silly) or immersion in water ruins maps, scrolls and spellbooks within a minute. I guess RAW inks are water soluble?

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