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Matthew Downie's page

2,533 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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thejeff wrote:
It's more likely that the value doesn't matter and the cost does.

That implies that I could just pay someone 25,000gp for a tiny 50gp diamond and it would work as a spell component.

LazarX wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

A dragon is presumably supposed to be able to fly at incredible speeds - otherwise they wouldn't have made them over twice as fast as most flying creatures.

There are birds in real life that can fly at 200mph.

That's in a gravity assisted power dive, not horizontal flight.

True - 70mph is about the limit for a bird in level flight.

If you were trying make a wind walk assault, and the GM was enforcing the 'can't dismiss because you can't dismiss' rule, you could have the caster land somewhere nearby and solidify, then the rest of the group drops in on the enemy, then the caster dismisses the spell.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Did I not link the text you quoted?

The referenced text was

"PRD, Conditions, Bound wrote:
A pinned creature is tightly bound and can take few actions."
The second line is in the book. The first line isn't.

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If you want to have the giants use dilute super-sized potions, and a medium creature uses 1 oz potions, then a large giant might make 8 ounce potions, and a huge giant might make 64 ounce potions. The 8 ounce potions could reasonably be drunk by a human as a standard action. The 64 ounce ones would be... difficult.

A dragon is presumably supposed to be able to fly at incredible speeds - otherwise they wouldn't have made them over twice as fast as most flying creatures.

There are birds in real life that can fly at 200mph.

Owly wrote:

I disagree. The "other exemptions" argument is more like a case of sloppy editing left over from past editions. In fact, looking at D20, there is a description for flying creatures "a flying creature can fly down at twice its normal speed".

And "default assumption" is no reason to allow someone to double or triple their movement speed.

However, it makes sense to allow a winged creature to beat their wings faster and get more speed out of it. Using a winged mount with higher stamina would make sense for someone to want to gain a speed advantage if their mount can "sprint" for some distances. This is all great and wonderful stuff, so long as the players can accept my gargoyles and harpies can come at them really fast, while the flying wizard putts along at 60' and the cleric goes running past in the air at 120'.

I can't tell what you're disagreeing with.

The wizard can double move for 120' with a level 3 spell, the same as a cleric running with air walk, a level 4 spell.
Are you saying that your players wouldn't accept winged creatures moving fast? A harpy run-flying at 320' per round is travelling at something like 36 miles per hour, briefly, until they get tired.

I think 'instantly turn solid if dismissed' is a reasonable answer. "Each change to and from vaporous form takes 5 rounds" is part of the spell effect, and no longer applies if the spell is dismissed. This is logically consistent, and makes dismissal into a valid tactical decision, so unless you have some contrary evidence, I'd go with that.

By RAW, making several doses takes several days. They'd probably stop once they made a working potion.

A regular potion magically affects a creature of any size. The giant's potion will only be a tiny drop of liquid to him but will still work.

I suppose giants could use giant-sized flasks of diluted potion, but that's not standard.

Nefreet wrote:
Neither the Run or Speed sections are limited to land speeds.

I'm not sure if that's true. It doesn't specifically say it has to be land movement, but the word 'run' implies it.

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It's impossible for us to say whether the GM is incompetent, malicious, or just trying to train you to make the ultimate optimised character to overcome the deadliest challenges.

Providing a balanced challenge in Pathfinder is difficult. Providing a balanced challenge for a single-player campaign is practically impossible. An effect that gives a 30% chance of knocking out any given PC during a battle is no big problem for a group of adventurers, since usually at least half the group will resist and be able to fight back. The same effect inflicted upon a solo adventurer has a 30% chance of rendering him helpless and doomed - which means that within three of such attacks the campaign will most likely be ended.

James Risner wrote:
Keep in mind there is a minority contingent that asserts that everything that gives an armor bonus to AC is actually armor. I don't agree with them and a large number of others also don't agree.

For what it's worth, Paizo stat blocks frequently have Monks wearing Bracers of Armor or drinking potions of Mage Armor.

Bound is not listed as a standard condition, implying that normal English is being used. That means we should apply common sense. If RAI was that a pinned creature was also helpless it would presumably say so.

There are many different types of 'bound' in English. If your hands are tied together, you're not helpless. If your hands are bound to a post and your feet to another post and their stretched apart so you can't move, you're helpless.

If someone gives me a hug, I am 'held' but not helpless. If someone pins me down, I am 'bound' but not helpless.

The Green Tea Gamer wrote:

In science, a traditional study is more valid than a case study.

Similarly, the opinions of 40 people who played 1 year are more valid than the opinion of 1 person who played 40 years.

There haven't been any case studies carried out. All we have is anecdotal evidence and personal experience.

There have clearly been dozens of campaigns spoiled by bad GMPCs. Other campaigns have been improved by them, or at least not made worse. I would suggest that the potential damage greatly exceeds the potential benefit. On this basis alone, I think a good rule of thumb is that you shouldn't have a GMPC.

A good GM knows to stick to the rules of thumb. Don't go outside normal CR limits. Don't let PCs exceed wealth by level. Don't allow PvP conflict. Don't let the group split up. Don't break the game rules for the sake of a story you want to tell. Don't use the players as an audience, only as active participants. Make sure they know your decisions are not up for debate. Always prepare in advance so you don't have to improvise.

A great GM knows when and how to break these rules. A great GM can have a powerful ally follow the party around, be the centre of the plot, save the day, talk to the other NPCs, and be incredibly entertaining the whole time.

mplindustries wrote:

I remember during the 3rd edition era either reading something in some obscure book or something on the WotC site saying that Empowered Maximized stuff empowered the roll and then added to the maximum. So, a 10 CL Empowered Maximized Fireball, at least back then to my recollection, would deal .5(10d6) + 60, not 90.

But yeah, there's nothing in Pathfinder about that.

"Maximize Spell (Metamagic)

Benefit: All variable, numeric effects of a spell modified
by this feat are maximized...
An empowered, maximized spell gains the separate
benefits of each feat: the maximum result plus half the
normally rolled result."

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Has no one read the CRB quoted text I provided?

Fear of a "penalty", or otherwise bad income, from a failed check, does not prevent one's ability to Take 10.

It explicitly states that is one of the reasons one would Take 10.

Can one not see how ruling otherwise, is in direct opposition to the stated rules?

Fear of failure doesn't prevent taking 10, but from that quote, immediate danger does, irrespective of if you're afraid of it, unaware of it, or anything else. The idea that you can take 10 while climbing a dangerous cliff-face is based on developer explanation of RAI, not the rulebook, as far as I can tell.

Also, this refers to the player fearing failure, not the character fearing danger:
"In most cases, taking 10 is purely a safety measure—you know (or expect) that an average roll will succeed but fear that a poor roll might fail, so you elect to settle for the average roll (a 10)."
A GM might reasonably conclude from this text that the purpose of take 10 is for non-life-or-death skill checks - for Knowledge: History rolls and so on. Which is one of the reasons this debate has been going on for several years. (The other being that some GMs just like randomness.)

Snowblind wrote:
Can you think of any other reasonable explanation as to why getting your spellcasting and ability scores nuked on failure is a significant and distracting threat? If you can't, then severe penalty=can't take 10 is the ONLY reasonable interpretation.

I still suggest the difference is that this 'ability score nuking' is explicitly mentioned as being at the hands of a third party, while with climbing you're dealing a static environmental hazard. Similarly, you couldn't take 10 to move through an enemy's threatened area safely with Acrobatics, but could take 10 to walk along a narrow wobbly bridge.

This is the only explanation I can think of that is consistent with past clarifications.

I'd argue that it's the extraplanar entity that's distracting, not the penalizing. Climbing while under threat of falling to your death - can take 10. Climbing while a potentially hostile demon flies past - can't take 10.

Byakko wrote:
No mention of nauseated? Could use clarification on that one too.

That's been heavily debated and FAQ-requested here.

But it is not clearly defined what counts as distraction. Does climbing count? Swimming? Walking? Running? Bad weather?

It's generally considered to be untyped energy damage.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
For someone with a higher than average bonus expected for a level taking ten is a strait out increased chance of success. The DCs are not random: they're reasonable for your level.

That's far from certain. For example, let's say a goblin is planning to ambush you. He has a stealth skill of +10. If the goblin doesn't take 10 to hide, the DC for your Perception versus his Stealth roll is random - between +11 and +30 - with more variance added for circumstances. If your perception is +20, taking 10 to spot the goblin makes it reliable that you will succeed. If your perception skill is something like +7 (more plausible at a level where a goblin is a threat), rolling probably has a higher chance of succeeding.

In any case where the entire party is travelling together and you want at least one of them to spot the DC 25 hidden treasure, and you all have +12 Perception modifiers, then you're guaranteed to fail if you take 10, but almost certain to succeed if there are four people rolling.

A hydra is as dangerous as the GM wants it to be. If it pounce-ambushes out of a lake, focuses all its attacks on one PC, then swims away to fast heal back to full, they're very hard to beat for low-level groups. One that chases them at 20 foot speed while they hit it with ranged attacks is likely to be less of a problem.

Or you could use one of these:

One-headed Hydra (CR 1)
AC 11, touch 9, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex, +2 natural, –2 size)
HP 7 (1d10+2); fast healing 5
Speed 20 ft., swim 20 ft. Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Melee 1 bites +2 (1d8+3)

Jacob Saltband wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:

So according to some of us, you have to roleplay in order to roleplay, but according to the dictionary, you just have to play a role-playing game in order to roleplay. And the original poster wanted to know why so many people insisted on RP in their RPGs.

You know what a recursive definitions is? It's a definition that's recursive...

No the OP wanted to know why people insisted on 'acting out the scene' in their roleplay.

But what you said was: "How much RP is required in your groups? Not everyone is comfortable RPing"

You were (I presume) using RP in the same way Hama does, to mean 'acting out the scene' - which somewhat undermines your case as it implies acting is, by definition, integral to RPGs.

I've wondered about that. I wanted to make a character who had a set of Bane amulets for different types of opponents and would switch to the correct one at the start of a battle.

You're safest when your opponent is dead. The Vicious damage boost is a big help with that.

If you're at the point where you can't afford to take 1d6 damage, maybe you should be retreating, going Total Defense, or similar.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
How does one walking through a dark dungeon take 10 as opposed to roll 1d20 for their perception checks? What does the character do differently?

Taking 10 generally means doing something in a relaxed way, using the power of your unconscious mind.

When an experienced driver drives down a normal road, they're taking ten. They're not utterly focused on trying to drive perfectly - they're just letting their instincts take over. In game terms, they're not going to miss a DC 5 check one time in twenty when their driving skill is 3, because then crashes would happen constantly.
If there was someone in the back of the car holding a gun to your head, you'd be distracted, unable to relax, and you might fail that 'easy' drive skill check.

Rolling a d20 for perception checks when you're looking for ambushes implies a slightly paranoid attempt to search for danger in every possible hiding spot. You might see things earlier, or you might miss the guy in the bushes right in front of you because you're looking up in the trees.

Taking 10 implies a more zen approach where you just take in your surroundings and rely on your instincts to draw your attention to anything dangerous.

So according to some of us, you have to roleplay in order to roleplay, but according to the dictionary, you just have to play a role-playing game in order to roleplay. And the original poster wanted to know why so many people insisted on RP in their RPGs.

You know what a recursive definitions is? It's a definition that's recursive...

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thejeff wrote:

I like how everyone has strict, hard limits on what is or is not roleplay. And how they're all different.

I use the strict dictionary definition:

Roleplay (noun): a form of entertainment where you use randomly generated numbers to kill orcs.

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Hama wrote:
No, saying "I say:"Inkeep, is there a good place to lay some gold on a good racing horse in this town?"" Is a good example of role play. Just describing your action isn't.

That is 'speaking in character' or 'improvisational theatre'. Some people also refer it as role-play, but that tends to cause confusion since role-play has so many other meanings.

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Muad'Dib wrote:
What's the point of engaging a conversation if you mind is not open to be enlightened?

To prove everyone else wrong, of course!

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

Has anyone changed their minds?

I ask that in so many threads...

The answer is almost universally no.

I've changed my mind.

I was very anti-GMPC.

In the hands of a bad GM, a GMPC will probably make a bad campaign worse.

But there's enough anecdotal evidence here of GMPCs that didn't spoil the game for the players that I now believe a good GM can pull it off.

GMPCs will only ruin a game if the GM doesn't understand the potential risks and doesn't notice/care that the PCs are being turned into sidekicks.

The amount of hit points you have represents both the amount of damage you can take and your ability to reduce the damage you take - by skill, luck, divine favour, or something of the sort.

Losing hit points always represents an injury of some kind - otherwise it wouldn't make much sense to drink a healing potion.

A character who's lost half their hit points should look much the same whether they're level 1 or level 10 - bloodied but not beaten.

Of course this raises the question of why it now takes a lot more potions of Cure Light Wounds to heal the same level of injury - but they're divine magic and you probably need a lot of that to heal a True Champion.

Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
the condition and the term "no actions" strongly suggest no movement

No walking long distances, but not 'no movement' as in paralysis. That you don't lose Dex to AC says that in your mentally confused state you can't make any planned or complicated actions, but you can still respond instinctively - or reflexively - to danger.

DM_Blake wrote:
Also, why do people not need to dive out of the way for FORT and WILL saves?

Because they don't rely on Dexterity. Dexterity implies movement - just as Armour Class normally assumes you're trying to move out the way of an attack.

(I agree that you should never deny someone a Reflex save, but that doesn't mean you should never apply a flat-footed or helpless reflex penalty.)

Tacticslion wrote:

So... all the grognards who played the old modules multiple times weren't getting the player experience?

Not the player experience that I know. A very different player experience. Either the experience of using the things you learned with the last group to survive what killed you last time (making use of metagame knowledge was less frowned on in the old days when there were no Knowledge rolls to find out about enemies), or the experience of pretending you don't know what's coming up - for example, casting spells you know will be useless, on the grounds that your character doesn't know.

Neither of these particularly appeals to me, but each to their own...

pres man wrote:
There seems to be a lot of subjective assumptions here. I have no idea what you mean by "a player experience". When I run a PC, I don't go all Blackleaf with it. If the character dies, gosh darn. Oh well, time to roll up a new one.

The player experience that the GM with a GMPC can't have is the part of play that relies on lack of knowledge; suspense, and the challenge of trying to figure things out. What's around the next corner? Is there anything nasty lurking in that muddy pool? Can this mysterious stranger be trusted? This is an obvious trap trigger, but is it safe to set it off from over here? What are this monsters' special abilities? Will casting Protection from Energy: Fire before I go into this mystery dungeon be a good use of my resources? Is this a safe place to sleep? How many more battles will we have to fight if we don't turn back now?

There are also aspects of the player experience that the GM might be able to have but probably shouldn't: Woohoo! I found the exact item I need!

The GM might be able to mitigate this by randomising things so they genuinely don't know what's coming up, but this may be to the detriment of the experience for the rest of the group.

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wraithstrike wrote:

+7 according to you +2 assuming 20 feet equals a 9

level 1 ranger

1 rank
+3 class skill
2 wisdom


So at worst he has to roll a 3, and that is at level 1.

Since the character isn't in combat (until the point where he's perceived the enemy) and isn't rolling dice every few seconds, I'd assume taking 10. So even with the +9 DC increase and 8 wisdom and no skill ranks, you should still be able to make the skill check every time.

I find being the GM helps. Instead of worrying about whether your PC will fail, you can worry about whether the players are having fun, which is at least a real-world concern.

As a player, I'm generally trying to 'win'. I'm determined to survive the adventure. I've had too many campaigns terminated by TPKs - too many characters I like having their story cut off abruptly.

If I have metagame knowledge, it's extremely hard for me not to take advantage of it. "Well, I know my character will get killed if I stand over there because I've read the monster's bestiary entry and I know it explodes violently upon death. My character doesn't know that. If I didn't know, where would I stand? Hard to say. I think I'll err on the side of not dying, rather than killing myself on purpose to make a point."

I tend to expect others to feel the same. I tend to suspect that people who think they are capable of being entirely uninfluenced by metagame knowledge are fooling themselves.

I dare say there are exceptions.

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Two most common definitions of GMPC:

One is Ashiel's from the previous page - an NPC that consistently follows the party around helping out, and has the power of a PC, and is controlled by the GM. This is a good thing if the group is too small and the players don't want to run an extra character and the GM tries to keep the character in a support rather than starring role.

The other definition is a character that the GM thinks of in the same way that a typical player thinks of their PC. "How can I optimise my power? I hope I get a chance to shine. I hope I don't get killed. I hope there's some good loot here. Here's a door - should I search for traps? Here's a monster - what can I deduce about it?"
The latter is what GMPC-haters think of, and it's almost always a bad thing because it distracts the GM from trying to make the game fun for the players, and it's almost impossible not to take advantage of his GM omniscience and omnipotence to give his character an unfair advantage.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Uh...let's examine this statement. A level 15 Orc Barbarian will have Str 28 when Raging (due to a +2 Belt), a +15 BAB, and a +1 Furious weapon, plus Furious Focus and Power Attack. That's 12k of the 45k an NPC of that level gets, by the way, and not all that hard to do.

That's a +27/+18/+13. Do your 15th level Adventurers usually have an AC of 44? Because that's not impossible, but it's sure not typical either, and I can give the Orc I just mentioned +5 more to hit casually with minimal effort (Reckless Abandon + Weapon Focus).

AC 44 is pretty easy to achieve for anyone willing to invest in it.

And for anyone who does, that Level 15 orc is a joke who will probably flail around missing for two rounds and then die. And an Orc Barbarian is about the best case scenario for an NPC that can hit high AC. Look through the NPC Codex and you'll find things like a CR 17 monk with +24 to hit.

Deadmanwalking wrote:

Paizo boss monsters are built assuming a party of four PCs at what many consider a minimal level of optimization, not adjusting them if you have PCs with AC in the high 40s is more your fault than that of the encounter design.

And even if the encounter design was at fault, that's the fault of the encounter design, not the system as a whole, which can most definitely be used to make threats to even highly optimized high level characters.

If all the encounters in an adventure need to be rewritten to provide any kind of challenge to competent players, that isn't a good sign. I haven't played 5E, but if it's found a way to avoid that, I'd like to give it a try.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

...actually this entire thread is pretty worrying.

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You'd be part of an inseparable group of friends consisting of a muscular psychopath, a priest, a shifty kleptomaniac, and a frail intellectual obsessed with the occult (that last one's probably you).

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Given that a level 1 Barbarian can rage to a strength of 24, you guys are making some of these things worryingly easy...

Malwing wrote:
Am I the only one that likes the fact that a lvl 1 orc can't really threaten a lvl 20 adventurer?

My issue with Pathfinder is that a level 15 orc can't really threaten a level 15 adventurer - not an adventurer who's put any real effort into boosting their AC. Unless the orc has the same wealth as a level 15 PC, in which case the battle is likely to be insanely profitable for the party.

If a level 1 orc can't hit a high-level PC, that's a design style. If a boss monster from a Paizo adventure path can only hit a PC on a 17+, that looks more like a design flaw.

They used to execute people by tying a horse to each of someone's limbs and having them pull in opposite directions, so four horse power is probably about what you're aiming for?

But in Pathfinder, how hard it is to tear someone in half depends on how many hit points they have.

Anything that increases Touch AC - Ring of Protection, fighting defensively - will help against Shadows.

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