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Mike J's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 300 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 2 Pathfinder Society characters.


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The OP's behavior is not metagaming, but I can't think of a better term to label the behavior. The OOC comments are bordering on what the "Star Wars fanatics (TM)" do in a Star Wars game that deviates even slightly from the movies/canon (it ends up killing the game). It may seem like the comments are helpful or interesting, but they run a very big risk of forcing the GM into adhering to whatever you say (setting as written/canon).

I suggest just smile knowingly when you hit situations like this and let the GM's version of the setting play out.

Lorewalker wrote:

Honestly, you could give every class +2 skill points and nothing would break. You could give every class that isn't INT based with 2 + INT SP 4 + INT skill points and you won't break anything.

I'd even go so far to say you could give paladins and fighters 6 + INT SP and nothing bad would happen.

So, a straight +2 bump for certain classes will certainly end up better, seem more fair and make your players happier than a random dice roll.

(Before anyone calls me crazy, remember that most skills are CHA, INT or DEX, and only a couple are STR or WIS based based)

This. Absolutely, this. There is nothing worse than getting to a spot in a published adventure and finding out none of the PCs took Knowledge (nobility) or Linguistics to be able to make the DC 25 check and move the story forward. More skills for PCs = good.

The only way additional skill points can hurt a game is if there are lots of players. With 6 PCs and +2 skill points for every class, you might get a few "roll off" situations due to skill duplication.

I agree with master_marshmallow. Background skills or just simply handing out more skill points (2 more seems right) would address the issue without introducing something that could be greatly abused.

Kalshane wrote:

Yeah, I'd be shocked if "He's alive" referred to anyone but Obi-Wan.

I'm thinking Ezra's "How do we destroy the Sith?" question took precedence and they got treated to a vision of Luke's journey to face Vader and Palpatine, but too disjointed for him to really make out details. Maul probably saw Obi-Wan among the images.

I agree that "He's alive" refers to Obi-Wan. I could be wrong, but I got the impression that both Ezra and Maul got the same or similar vision - one of Tattoine, which would be the place where both their questions are answered.

Part of the problem you are seeing is the variability that the dice bring. This has a greater impact at lower levels, especially level 1, where the fighter and wizard differ in hit percentage by 25% or so. At higher levels, the wizard is laughable in melee/ranged when compared to a full BAB character. But at 1st level, the wizard may be the reliable damage dealer with his crossbow due to a bit of dice variability and luck.

The other confounding factor is that you are using NPCs rather than monsters. NPCs follow the PC power curve which is very different from the monster power curve. Basically, the game is "rigged" so that PCs have a distinct advantage over monsters. NPCs tend to have higher AC, higher to hits, and dish out more damage than monsters (they mimic PCs). That is because NPCs use class levels made for PCs. You can offset this with poor stats (the NPC stat blocks are inferior) and less equipment. But even then, and especially at low levels, NPCs will wipe out PCs where monsters don't stand a chance.

The CR 2 NPC is a big red flag. Even a CR 1 NPC is risking a TPK aganst a level 1 party. Add in a few mooks, and it is all over, as you have seen. Levels 1-3 is where the encounters have to be pushovers or you risk luck dictating the outcome. At higher levels, the PCs are strong enough to take on NPCs of higher CR.

The best way to challenge your players is with attrition - long strings of encounters that wear them down. Luck becomes a non-issue over the span of several lower CR encounters. But resources get used up making low CR encounters deadly after a while.

NPCs are a great solution. Initially, you (the GM) should "play" them. As your group gets more experienced, have your players control them to ease the burden and prevent you from accidentally metagaming.

However, to Dave Justus' point, encourage your players to play the "side kicks" as one-dimensional (or zero-dimensional) so as to not detract from the player's actual character. Batman and Robin are a great example. You have The Batman with all his complexity. And then you have the "other guy", who makes fighting lots of foes believable but isn't missed when omitted (no offense to Robin fans). It works.

I use both MapTool and Roll20 - either/both can get the job done. Each has their strengths and weaknesses. I suggest giving both a try (the price is right).

I play face-to-face and use MapTool to draw custom maps and Roll20 to display them. My players use an iPad to view the maps, allowing me to take advantage of fog of war. I use a battle map and tokens for actual combat. I can't comment on how each program handles online play.

I think this all comes down to metagaming. Either way, the rolling issue is kinda moot. If your players can keep from metagaming, they can roll for themselves. If not, rolling for them will do little to stop their metagaming ways. They'll memorize the Bestiaries, buy the published adventure and read ahead, you name it. Metagaming goes way beyond knowing the result of the die rolls.

My players don't metagame, so I have them roll everything for themselves.

Handing out more skill points is the easy answer. Ranks in each skill are capped by character level, so you aren't risking unbalancing anything. Worst case, you end up with more "roll-off" situations where multiple PCs have the same skill.

I think the changes are a mixed bag and depending on the situation are either a nice bonus or a really bad deal. I'm assuming the new bonuses only apply to spells where SR applies. If it applies to all spells, there is nothing good and you should go back to RAW.

SR is usually set at CR + 11, giving a flat 50% miss chance for level-appropriate monsters. Against saves, spells land 25% to 75% of the time, depending on the save targeted. This makes SR spells land 12.5% to 37.5% of the time. This doesn't really change with level.

Your GM's new method varies with level, since the flat miss chance is now a bonus to saves that progresses every 4 levels. What that does is makes spells that target a strong save fall into 5% success range (Nat 1 to fail). At the same time, spells that target a weak save start out at a 60% success rate (at 1st level) and fall to a 35% success rate (at 20th level) with the break-even point around 18th level. So, at lower levels with you targeting the weakest save, the new method rocks (except there aren't many SR monsters at low levels, d'oh!). Otherwise, you're better off with RAW.

Spell Penetration is likely a wasted feat with the new method, as anything that increases your spell DC by +1 has the same effect and applies to all your non-SR spells too.

I didn't run hard numbers on AC, but many of the AC-related spells are touch attacks and the better ones also have a save (Necromancy). The AC bonus is punitive and like saves, increases with level. At 1st, it is +6 AC. At 10th, +10 AC. At 20th, +15 AC. That is really steep for a 1/2 BAB character even if it is against touch AC. If the spell then has a Fort save (often a monster's best save), you'd probably do more good using Aid Another to give someone a +2 to hit.

If it were me (I play debuff-style casters), I'd "hate it too much" and go back to RAW.

TL;DR: It depends. New method is better at low levels and when targeting weak save. RAW is better otherwise. AC aspect is bad and gets worse with level. I'd say no to it.

If it were me, I'd enforce the rules without apology or regret. If someone doesn't like the rules, they can send a complaint to (Attn: development team).

Optimizer + inspiration is buckler + archer = highly dubious and likely extreme stinky cheese. IMO, the player is just trying to get one over and came to the game prepared (the inspiration was always the buckler, seriously?!?). I've played with people like this before. Expect a full meltdown if you enforce RAW or pick an option that costs the player feats to keep the buckler's bonus. Sadly, you may have to watch the player like a hawk and regularly audit their character sheet. Sucks, I know.

The notion of "didn't catch it" and/or "I'm the DM, so I win" is a slippery slope that leads to rampant cheating, PC vs GM, and PC vs PC behavior. Been there, done that. I recommend avoiding it.

However, I would recommend that when you discover situations like this, you allow the player to make an adjustment without penalty. In this case, I'd let the player sell the buckler for full value (as if they never purchased it).

Good luck.

Without knowing exactly what issue the "pacifist" has with combat, it is difficult to recommend a solution. With regard to the realism aspect, could it be that when role playing, you are immersing yourself into the character (and therefore the combat) so maybe it seems more real or personal? With a video game, there is far less immersion, especially if the game is not a first-person shooter. You're just pushing buttons to control a dude on the screen.

I have to agree with previous posters that Pathfinder is a combat-oriented game and I've yet to come across an AP where combat is not the primary means of success through most of the adventure. Even when non-combat appears to the be intended solution, there are usually allowances for the murder-hobo approach (Book 5 of Carrion Crown, I'm looking at you). And all of this makes sense if you consider how many pages of the rule books cover combat situations.

Until 9th level, I think one of the better solutions is Hero Points. After 9th, death is a minor inconvenience that becomes less and less relevant with each additional level.

Two Hero Points lets you cheat death while just one can avoid a bad situation entirely - act out of turn, extra standard action, +8 to a die roll, etc.

I don't think there is much to be done about someone who dies more often than they make levels or attend sessions. Or much to be done with meat grinder-style adventures, where every encounter results in at least one death. For those, I recommend not even naming the character and having a stack of duplicate, filled-out character sheets ready.

I have the exact opposite view of knowledge checks than the OP. Rather than restricting information, knowledge checks (and skill checks in general) provide an opportunity to give players more information.

Yea, it takes work to lay out a quality skill check result table for relevant checks. And, yes, you need to "train" your players (I suggest hot pokers and a whip) to ask about the right stuff. But once you get it all in place, it makes for a fuller gaming experience and less "why did we just kill that dude?"

Read (or re-read) the Untrained section under Knowledge skill in the Core book. If the DC for the info is 10 or less (common knowledge), you can make the check untrained (and Take 10). King's name, major landmarks, location of markets, symbol on flag, location of public bathrooms, etc. should require no check at all.

A more workable solution might be something along the lines of what Star Wars SAGA edition did. They made a single condition track with 6 levels that ranged from "normal" to unconscious/disabled. Each time something applied a condition, you drop one level on the track. At each level you suffer more negative effects; often another -1 or -2 to attacks, saves, etc.

They also made a damage threshold (some amount of hit points based primarily on Con, HD, and size). Each time an attack beat a creature's threshold, it dropped one level on the condition track. So, between applying conditions and attacks that exceed threshold, you could disable a foe without chewing through all their hit points.

A creature could improve its condition, with 3 swift actions. SAGA allowed spending greater actions for lesser ones, so you could take 3 swift actions in one turn and do nothing else. 8 hours of rest removed most conditions. Naturally, some effects applied more than one drop on the condition track and were not easily removed.

Something like this wouldn't be that hard to implement and wouldn't introduce that many problems. Food for thought.

Takhisis wrote:
Slavery. It was a dark element of the world in which we live and it also exists in the world of pathfinder. Despite the fact it exists, I rarely see it brought up in games due to it's controversial nature. While it may be mentioned here and there, it's true ugly face never comes up and that's most likely a good thing. However, despite this it is still a factor in the setting and I can't help but have a morbid curiosity about the topic of how slavery and characters related to it are handled in both Pathfinder Society and home games and exactly what level of exploration of the topic is considered socially exceptable...

I'm going to deliberately side-step the "Ever-falling Paladin(TM)" and "Failed Alignment System(TM)" side treks and stick to slavery in Golarion. I've seen quite a bit of it, even in PFS. I can't remember which scenario it was (one of the early ones), but part of getting the extra points for an Andoran was to identify that the main NPC's servant was actually a slave and then try to free them or something. I missed it and didn't get the points, but it was part of the scenario. There was another (that I barely remember) that had something to do with purchasing a slave in Absalom who is a princess or something.

The Legacy of Fire AP, while not PFS, has campaign traits where some of the PCs can start the game as slaves, eventually earning their freedom. It made for a great starting hook - some of the PCs are hired on, the others are slaves. Serpent's Skull was loaded with slavery notes. The whole place might as well be colonial Africa.

While the presentation of slavery differed in each of the examples above, they all had a "this is how it is" feel to them. But the main story in each case is not some kind of exploration or moral statement about slavery. That leaves the players and GM to make as much or as little as they want of it.

Tayse wrote:

Would it be worth my effort to convert the AP to 5e?

Ultimately, you are the only one who can answer that question. I guess what you need to ask yourself is: do you think the AP with its inherent flaws is worth putting more work into? I think the kind of group you have will greatly influence your answer: are they cool with an AP that is 6 somewhat disjointed adventures that becomes a whistle-stop tour of the horror genre? If yes, then it is well worth it. If no, not so much.

Does anyone think The Story could work in MtG planes shift setting of Innistrad?

I'm not overly familiar with that particular setting, but it looks like it could work. You may have to dial back the prominence of the undead in the setting a bit. Ustalav is more like Transylvania and less like a zombie/undead feeding ground. But that isn't a big shift.

Since it is an entire book of an AP, you could massage how Kakishon works and allow the eidolon to function normally - explanation: it's magic! If it were just a game session or two, I'd let the player suffer without the eidolon. But the player is getting sidelined for an entire book, and it is the best book of the AP. Seems like a perfect time to apply the Rule of Cool instead of sticking to RAW.

The advice so far is outstanding.

Here is a thread with letters from the main villain. They are fantastic and I highly recommend using them: Letters Link

I went one further and had Adivion attend the funeral as one of the pall bearers. But it might be too late for you to do that.

I'd also recommend possibly using the info in this link to flesh out the NPCs in Ravengrow which will help keep your PCs in town: Reavengrow NPCs Link

Lastly, during the game, don't get too hung up on not knowing a rule. If you have no clue how an entire rules set (like mounted combat) works at all, then go ahead and look it up. For smaller situations, make a call on the spot, use it for the rest of the session, and look it up after the session is over. At the start of the following session, share with your players what you found. It will keep the game flowing, you'll learn the rules faster, as will your players. But, most importantly, they'll respect you.

Above all, have fun!

It is horribly unbalanced. You can fix it by lowering the HD allowed by the calling ability to be more in line with the planar binding spells and/or summon monster spells. Also look to other 4 Rp abilities that involve spells. Do any allowing casting 5th+ level spells?

I'd change calling to be HD = character level, and even that might be too much. Maybe make it a 6 Rp ability.

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Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
I would suggest that she run two characters instead. Even so, the AP is going to need major adjustment for the lack of action economy and character resources.

As someone who has done several 1 player games with and without gestalt and Mythic, I'd go one further and suggest two plain-old characters for the player and two NPC "sidekicks" run by the GM. That gives you a regular party of four - be sure the NPCs "fill out" the party. I'd avoid anything resembling a GMPC. If played correctly, they are just an NPC. If not, they steal the player's spotlight (bad, bad, bad GM).

If you want the player's characters to stand out, give them a higher point buy. Maybe 25 for the PCs and 20 for the NPCs. Or 20/15 depending on your preferred power level.

I'd avoid gestalt entirely. The concept looks really cool on paper. But at the gaming table it is a mess and is often wildly unbalanced.

As for Mythic, either make the entire game Mythic or don't. Mythic works fine as designed. But it was not designed to take the place of additional characters and fails at that task (go figure).

Slow XP keeps everyone in the tier, but also slows the mechanical growth of the character. Sounds like the OP is trying to achieve what E6 does for the lowest tier. I think it would be a ton of work to do for the other tiers, but could be done. The trick would be finding a way to expand a character's capabilities with out sliding into a different tier. I think extra feats is probably a good place to start.

I say talk to your players and find out what kind of game they want. Sounds like they want a game where every encounter is maxed out - like a table-top miniatures game where the "winner" is the the side where everyone died except one guy. If that's the case, give it to them.

I'd start out by upping the CR of every encounter by at least 4. See how that goes and how often you kill someone. You'll want a PC death every 2-4 encounters or so. Also make sure to throw in an encounter with CR = APL + 10-ish to make them run away every once in a while. Naturally, the monster should give chase until he gets a treat (aka PC death).

This isn't my preferred style of playing (been there, done that). But some people really enjoy it. Maybe your group does too?

I've been using Revised Action Economy in my games for about a year and will continue using it. We play once a week. I think it is a far better system than the standard action economy and would be a great fit for any game.

But (and this is one *huge* but), it requires either:

1. High amounts of GM adjudication that will greatly influence game balance (can you say "massive table variation"?)


2. Revisiting many (most?) existing PF rules (spells, feats, abilities, etc.) and "converting" them to RAE.

Sadly, I think in order for Paizo to properly implement RAE, they would have to write an entirely new edition of the game.

I think Background Skills and Loyalties (Removing Alignment) are great choices. I also like Automatic Bonus Progression, although I think it could be improved to allow more flexibility.

I start out with restricting things to Pathfinder Roleplaying Game resources (Core, APG, ARG, ACG, the Ultimates). Then I restrict it further based on the flavor of the campaign/setting, if necessary. The optional stuff (Words of Power, piecemeal armor, race builder) is restricted as are a few easily abused rules (Leadership, etc).

I'll consider other rules on a case-by-case basis. But my typical answer is "Denied. Resubmit in 30 days for final disapproval." Most of the time, the request is for something ridiculously game breaking (Ancient Red Dragon for race at 1st level). If it is a flavor-based request (I've yet to see one), I'm inclined to allow it.

My criteria is trying to strike a balance between having plenty of player options and yet keeping the rule set contained and "balanced".

Just be glad the GM was running your character. I've been in many games where being absent meant that one of the other PCs ran your character, usually as a crash test dummy. It was rare that a character survived a missed session.

I've run a number of published games with just one player and have tried several solutions (gestalt, high point buy, mythic). The only one that has worked out over time is having the PC play two characters and then have two NPC "side kicks" that the GM plays. Trying to make a party of four without four characters always has a shortcoming that is likely to become an issue - often it is action economy. Just make sure that the two NPCs are really NPCs and not GMPCs. Otherwise you end up making decisions and directing the story.

I think it strikes a nice balance as you have a full party of four and the PC only has to play two characters. More than two can be overwhelming and starts to strain roleplay. Do yourself a favor as GM and make the NPCs easy to play so you don't get overwhelmed.

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If the group is for it, give it a go.

However, I'd have a few mechanical concerns if playing an AP. I'm picturing Serpent's Skull Book 1 with all 14 Str characters and those lovely DC 20+ climb and swim checks at level 1-3. Party diversity (actually being significantly different mechanically) is a big strength and generally assumed in many APs - just look at some of the skill DCs. Or some of the animated objects with hardness 10 thrown at low level parties. The writers are hoping/assuming someone in the group is exceptional in a particular area. Being exceptional gives the player a moment in the spotlight. No diversity means every member of the party will be competing with each other.

On the other hand, one upside to a flat stat array is that everyone will be super, which means no one is. Oh, wait...that's not an upside. D'oh.

Gilarius wrote:

The biggest problem I have had with Wish as a GM is the mistrust that almost all players show whenever they get access to one and therefore they avoid using it.

Too many GMs treat it as a trap where they try to ruin the player's day for daring to use one.

I prefer to use a Linguistic ability check so any phrasing or loopholes become a matter of the PC's ability rather than spending 3 hours plus while the players try to come up with some gibberish that works the way they intend.

This way, the games progresses and the meta gaming that some players are either afraid of or are too enamored of is avoided.

I attended a local GM conference that covered this very topic. The presenter did a great job of explaining how it gets to be this way and how to prevent it. Hopefully, I can do it justice.

He read a number of passages from the original Aladdin story. Aladdin and his mom were making some pretty crazy wishes. Stuff like wanting a feast with all the best foods, with no mess to clean up, not feeling stuffed when they over ate, and not getting fat. The genie gave it to them, based on the spirit of what they said. No word-smithing or tricks. The point being, what players often ask for (or want to ask for) is in keeping with the original wish story.

The ultimate problem is that wish is likely to change the game - the game that the GM and players originally agreed upon. "I wish I am king" said in just about any game is going to change that game from "The adventures of misfit murder hobos" to "The adventures of the king and his misfit murder hobos". The "proper" way to handle this kind of thing would be to have a group discussion about the impact and decide if that is where everyone wants the game to go. If so, long live the king! If not, maybe that wish doesn't get made. And hopefully, a greater discussion about why someone wanted that in the first place takes place, with a solution that meets whatever need that wish represents.

What I just described is pretty advanced gaming. The simpler (and more destructive) way is to start restricting wish rather than say "I don't want the game to change. I like it how it is now". Which leads to word-smithing, tricks, mistrust, etc. All things that make a wish no fun to use and/or eventually ends the game.

I don't use save or die. Save or suck is fair game.

I also don't throw any of the monsters that have effects the PCs cannot reasonably get rid of by themselves at their level. Wights (CR 3) are a great example. Put one up against a 3rd level party and the party will be stuck with level drain for another 4 levels.

I do not throw thematically inappropriate monsters at the party either, no matter what kind of challenge they present. No white dragons while exploring the lava tunnels of the active volcano, etc.

As for the actual players, local laws prohibit me from throwing anything at them, no matter how much I'd love to throw a hammer at some of them.

I've played in many different types of groups and never actually had a TPK as a GM or as a player. Having said that, I've *almost* had several TPKs that I was either fighting for or fighting against, depending on the group.

One group I played with treated the game like a table-top combat simulator. This was at level 8+, where death is just an inconvenience. At one game session, one of the players asked with great surprise to another player: "Your character has a name?!?". If there wasn't a character death each session, I took it as a failure on my part as a GM (and so did the players). I did limit myself to CR = APL+3 with no dice fudging and there were several encounters where I was hoping the TPK would come, but it didn't. Sigh.

Most of my experiences, and my preferred style of gaming is the opposite of that - story driven and almost always E6, so death is real. Having a TPK is usually a nightmare as it is very difficult to insert a brand new party into the story, especially if you are somewhere in the middle. In this style of game, the main issues is not "will the PCs succeed" but rather "how will they succeed". So, I fudge dice, change monster tactics, and even make in-game suggestions to avoid a TPK or even a PC death. Luckily, I haven't had to do anything overly obvious to the players.

However, when it comes to the final battle, I treat it like the previous gaming style (dice rolled in open, no fudging, etc.) and what happens, happens. But the story is over at that point.

It all depends on the type of game.

I think when the situation calls for it, refusing to heal in combat is a terrible tactical decision and a bit of a jerk move. If the party has done their job and hasn't been stricken with horrible luck, the situation should never come up. But "Plan D" happens from time to time.

Having a party member whose primary function in combat is to heal hps is a terrible, inefficient tactic that encourages putting the game balance on even more of a razor's edge. It is similar to spamming haste. It ups the party's power level (staying power, in the case of healing), which encourages the GM to increase the challenge level. That's all great until you face one encounter too many - a likely prospect unless the GM allows the 15 min adventuring day. The game becomes a few "speed bumps" followed by a TPK.

TL;DR - Combat healing: good in emergencies, bad as a tactic.

Something that I use that has been very effective is allowing one yes-no question for every 5 they beat the DC. The PC can ask anything they want provided it is a yes-no question. This has had a two-fold benefit: It severely limits the possibility of abusing the information (yes-no is extremely limiting) and it makes having a high Knowledge skill very useful.

However, it sounds like you've gotten some great advice already.

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Freehold DM wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Krensky wrote:
No more so then firing through your propeller.
... which, to be fair, did kill a number of pilots in 1914 before an effective synchronizer was developed. (Actually, they were still killing pilots that way until the end of the war.)
synchronization tech is much better in the first order than in wwi aviation technology.

They don't have or need synchronization tech. They have storm troopers shooting. There is absolutely 0% chance they will hit anything, including the wings of their own TIE fighters.


I saw the movie in both 3D and 2D, and enjoyed both. I didn't see much that really showcased 3D. Personally, unless it is animated, I prefer 2D.

Having fooled with this quite a bit over the years, I can tell you that you have only two real choices:

1. Implement something that mimics the current system, like the automatic bonus progression in unchained - I use something similar that is home brewed. No big 6 items, but the PCs get the bonuses from somewhere else.

2. Rebalance everything, which means writing your own game (and every monster) from scratch. I don't recommend this.

Anything else will result in an unbalanced game that will eventually fall apart. The problem is that the power curve is rather steep and being a few +1's behind means rarely scoring a hit. The farther behind a PC falls, the worse it gets.

If your changes give the PCs the bonuses they need, you are all set. Otherwise, not so much...

zainale wrote:

gaining new lvls?

i was then thinking of making the players having to actually have to spend time in game learning new spells and abilities at new lvls. call me old school but i believe that you don't suddenly just get new abilities over night. unless your a cleric, pally or druid then your god just gives it to you. but wizard or sorcerers not just suddenly having new spells at X new level or the PCs suddenly just getting feats. nothing hard just time passes at "home" while they acquire those new powers from books or under tutelage.


You give them levels?!? If you are going to be True Old School (TM), you give them saves vs. death and rocks (that fall and then everyone dies). What's next? Not keeping track of how often a weapon is cleaned and sharpened?

The power curve in Pathfinder is rather steep. Any size party will feel the effects of a monster that is too far away from the party's level. There are also the "break points" at certain CRs, where new abilities are introduced (flying, negative levels, etc.) If your players are too far below in levels, they will not be able to deal with the new ability.

So, your large party warrants a +2 APL in the encounter budget. However no monster should be more 2 CRs away (above or below) from the party level (not APL), especially at low levels. A tough 1st level encounter should be CR 4, probably a CR 2 monster with three CR 1/2s. A CR 3 monster is risky at first level as is a pair of CR 2s. By 3rd level, you can start to throw CR 5 monsters at them.

You could tell your players to stop metagaming. When a skeleton shows up, a non-metagaming player has to make a Knowledge (religion) skill check to *possibly* learn that the skeleton has DR/Bludgeoning. If they don't learn the information, they have to use trial and error to figure out how to overcome the DR.

If you decide to allow your players to continue metagaming, any published information is likely to be used by them to further metagame. That means custom monsters build by you (lots of work) is really the only thing they won't possibly know in advance. You can cut the work down by only changing the signature abilities of Bestiary monsters: Skeletons with DR/Slashing, etc.

Personally, I'd recommend a "no metagaming" policy.

It really comes down to the kind of game you want to have. This particular example makes it easier than the often-seen "My players worked together and did everything right, but luck was against them. Do I TPK or fudge rolls?"

In this case, they split the party (dumb-dumb-dumb, dumb-dumb). So, consequences or not? There is no "right" answer. But whatever you decide, it will set the tone for the rest of the game and mold your players' choices.

I prefer a consequences-based game. I've played in a game with very few consequences and it was not my idea of fun - others in the game loved it. So, I'd kill the ranger and have the kobolds string up his body in front of their lair as a trophy/warning to others. Maybe put his head on a pike. Kobolds in my games are little bastards that way.

Here's how I've ended up handling knowledge checks:

If you can attempt the check (have ranks), you automatically get the creature's name, type, and subtypes, including any information associated with type or subtype. At 10+CR and every 5 above that, you get some useless fluff from the bestiary entry - great for flavor.

At every 5 above, you also get one yes/no question (max 3 questions). It can be any yes/no question about the creature. "AC over 25?" "No". "SR?" "Yes". "has Combat Reflexes?" "No".

Alignment gets handled slightly different. If you ask about alignment, you get an answer for the generic creature. Ask "is it evil?" about a NG goblin, and the answer is "yes, goblins tend to be evil".

I've found it keeps the monster knowledge aspect very relevant without giving the PCs too much info. It also means I don't have to get into the business of picking what info to reveal based on the party composition. Reveal too little that's relevant and the PCs deem monster knowledge to be a wasted effort. Reveal too much and the monsters become push overs.

I've been using it for years and it works pretty good.

I agree with everyone else.

But they really didn't answer your question. So here's what you do: Go find a high level cleric or oracle (the higher level, the better). Get yourself a scythe. Have the cleric/oracle cast hold person on your "friend's" character. Then coup de gras.

Once you have that out of your system, you can find some people worth playing with where you can explore the more interesting aspects of the game besides killing each other.

David knott 242 wrote:
And if the originator of this thread is unfamiliar with the "Big Six", it is likely that his players have ACs that are too low. Note that several of these items boost AC, namely the magic armor, magic shield, ring of protection, and amulet of natural armor. A belt of dexterity could also help with AC for characters who wear light or no armor and focus on that stat ahead of strength or constitution.

I agree. There is an entire calculus to optimizing your WBL. The CR system is expecting PCs to use the calculus for the most part. Using it will cause PCs to get hit less often, fail fewer saves, hit more often, and do more damage. I'd argue the offensive side helps with healing more than the defensive side - you should still have both.

D6Veteran: The specific calculus varies from build to build, but goes something like this for AC:

Incremental cost of magic armor and shield = 1, 3, 5, 7, 9k gp
Incremental cost of deflection, natural armor bonus = 2, 6, 10, 14k gp (note: deflection is the superior AC bonus as it applies to all three ACs)
Incremental cost of belt of Dex = 4, 12, 20k gp

You buy the cheapest incremental costs first, maximizing your AC/gold, resulting the a sequence like this:

+1 armor, +1 shield, +1 ring, +1 amulet, +2 armor, +2 shield, +2 belt, +3 armor, +3 shield, +2 ring.
That's +10 to AC for 32k gp. +5 armor with +5 shield (+10 AC) costs 50k gp. The first method saves enough gold for a +3 weapon.

That being said, I wouldn't bring any of this up to your players. Be happy they are playing and having fun. As GM, you can make adjustments and toss in the right magic items to "make things right" (a +3 weapon for the +5 armor/shield people).

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Isn't the summon eidolon spell supposed to take care of these situations? The "oops, I don't have my eidolon with me right now and this fight won't last 10 rounds..." 2nd level spell, one round casting time and you get your eidolon for 1 minute/level.

I'm surprised a method for speeding up the summoning process exists at all since it eliminates the need for the spell and one of the few balancing aspect of the class. *shrug*

Zenogu wrote:
The main 4 classes I want to see under this new system would be Inquisitor, Warpriest, Magus, and Investigator. All of them have a good amount of swift actions to use, and they would help me ultimately decide if its alright to allow more than 1 swift action per turn. I know how the new system works in my head, but I want to see it laid out in practice.

I've got an Inquisitor in my group that uses RAE. Being able to take more than one swift action per turn works just fine (seems balanced). Giving up additional attacks really hurts and often the Inquisitor (ranged) opts to keep 2 of the 3 actions for attacking. But sometimes not, and piles on the self-buffs.

Something worth noting is that I have adopted the houserule that some swift actions are now a free action once per round; specifically swift actions with a one round duration (ki for additional attack, etc.) and swift actions that are a "speed up" (action was a move then becomes swift). Without that houserule, many classes that rely heavily on swift actions take a serious beating with the nerf bat. So my "seems balanced" eval is with that houserule in place.

TwoWolves wrote:
Mike J wrote:

Took about six to seven months, playing every week for 5-6 hours per session. Didn't miss many sessions (maybe 2 or 3 total) and there wasn't much side tracking or lengthy discussions. Book 5 was a bit of a problem as the party went straight for the info (by pure dumb luck) and had to trudge through the rest of the book to get enough xp to "move on". They by-passed much of the "filler" in book 6.

** spoiler omitted **

The final battle was pretty epic, though.

This is part of the reason we agreed to ditch XP altogether and hand out levels upon reaching certain plot points. My group only hit 3 wings of Runeforge and immediately split, and this was after I made the place inescapable via any means other than the one in Wrath. They'll probaby try to run straight up the mountain, but that occluding field will likely send them back to the lower city for a while.

I've since ditched XP too. And I really didn't mind the book 6 by-pass. At that point in any adventure, it is "go time". I find it anticlimactic to wander around exploring and taking in the local flavor when the BBEG must die. But that's just me.

Zenogu wrote:
Mike J wrote:

Unchained Revised Action Economy - with a number of additions to make the rules fully functional (address Disabled, Nauseated, Staggered, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Flyby Attack, etc.)

Oh hey. Can you elaborate on this a little? I'm about to implement this, and I know not everything is covered in the book.

If I had to guess, Staggered is -1 act, and Nauseated is -2 acts? Also, how did you do Rapid/Many shot? I was going to treat them similar to two weapon fighting rules.

Sure. Putting it in a spoiler since it isn't on topic

My RAE adjustments:

Disabled: A disabled character can commit a single action (requiring up to 2 acts to perform) each turn. A disabled character moves at half speed. Taking an action with the Move subtype or no subtype doesn't risk further injury, but performing any Complex or Attack action (or any other action the GM deems strenuous, including some Simple actions such as Cast a Swift Spell) deals 1 point of damage after the completion of the act.

Nauseated: Creatures with the nauseated condition experience stomach distress. Nauseated creatures can commit a single action (requiring up to 2 acts to perform) each turn and are unable to attack, cast spells (including swift spells), concentrate on spells, or do anything else requiring attention (no Complex or Attack actions). The creature can only take an action with the Move subtype or no subtype.

Staggered: A staggered character can commit a single action (requiring up to 2 acts to perform) each turn. A creature with nonlethal damage exactly equal to its current hit points gains the staggered condition.

Some Swift Actions Are Once Per Round Free Actions: A swift action that are supposed to be faster versions of an action that is already a simple action are free actions usable once per round. Swift actions that are part of a 1 round effect (ki point for an additional attack, etc.) are free actions usable once per round.

Flurry of Blows (Unchained Monk): At 1st level, an unchained monk gains an additional act that can only be used to make a Simple Attack action with an unarmed strike or monk weapon. At 11th level, an unchained monk gain another additional act that can only be used to make a Simple Attack action with an unarmed strike or monk weapon. These additional Simple Attack actions do not suffer subsequent attack penalties or count towards subsequent attack penalties for other Simple Attack actions. These additional attacks stack with the bonus attacks from haste and other similar effects.

Flyby Attack: When flying, the creature can take the rest of its actions at any point during a Move Simple action. The creature cannot take additional Move actions during a round when it makes a flyby attack.

Pounce: When a creature with this special attack makes a Charge, it can make all its natural attacks (including rake attacks if the creature also has the rake ability) as a Simple Attack action following the Charge.

Ranged Combat: If you have the Rapid Shot feat, you can make two ranged attack rolls with a –2 penalty on your first ranged Simple Attack action during a turn. If you have the Manyshot feat, you can make two ranged attack rolls on both the first and second ranged Simple Attack actions taken during your furn; both of the attacks made on the first Attack action are made at a –2 penalty, and both of the attacks made on the second Attack action are made at a –7 penalty.

Spring Attack: Using Spring Attack is an Advanced Attack Move action requiring 2 acts.

Make All Natural Attacks: The creature can also take one Step as a free action. The Step can be taken before, between, or after the natural attacks.

I have others adjustments for Mythic, but boil down to Mythic stuff is once per round as a free action with a few restrictions.

Zenogu wrote:

It's... somewhere back there. I was actually looking for that myself.

I've got another dumb question though. Fighting Defensively is a free action at the start of your turn. Under these new guidelines, does that mean you no longer actually have to attack to gain the benefits of Fighting Defensively?

There is nothing in the wording that requires making an attack. However, there are many aspects of RAE that are "rough around the edges" and require addition adjudication (or not).

Personally, I'd rule that you can fight defensively as a free action at the start of your turn as long as you make at least one Attack Action during your turn. That would be consistent with how fighting defensively works in Core. And it makes common sense - you have to fight to fight defensively.

Took about six to seven months, playing every week for 5-6 hours per session. Didn't miss many sessions (maybe 2 or 3 total) and there wasn't much side tracking or lengthy discussions. Book 5 was a bit of a problem as the party went straight for the info (by pure dumb luck) and had to trudge through the rest of the book to get enough xp to "move on". They by-passed much of the "filler" in book 6.

When you put a raised highway that leads straight to the BBEG, expect the PCs to drive right past and ignore any off ramps.

The final battle was pretty epic, though.

Murderhobo answer: Nuke it (from orbit). It's the only way to be sure... Then scrape the gold filigree off the walls.

Serious response: I would explode the nuke. Kill 100k to save an entire world? That's a no-brainer for me.

My group has quite a few standing house rules:

E6 - High level play got too crazy for us.

Heroic Bonuses - A level-based point system designed to eliminate big-6 magic items and the "magic mart". Similar to Unchained's Automatic Bonuses, but more flexible.

Strain-Injury - An alternate healing mechanic designed to eliminate the need for "heal sticks".

Unchained Background Skills

Unchained Revised Action Economy - with a number of additions to make the rules fully functional (address Disabled, Nauseated, Staggered, Rapid Shot, Manyshot, Flyby Attack, etc.)

Unchained Poison and Disease

Modified Environmental Rules - An attempt to make the environmental effects more relevant while reducing the number of saves to a more manageable level. We're still testing this one.

No coin weight

From time to time, a few rules are modified, usually to make a character concept work. Stuff like smoothing over the whip/scorpion whip rules for the Bard and eliminating the need for Ranged Study so an Investigator with a bow doesn't entirely suck.

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