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A lot of it is the removal of meaningful restrictions on casters, especially as they level. Most metamagic feats help them get around such restrictions which really makes them ramp up.
What I've done in my games is that for spells, I take a lot of inspiration from novels and such on restrictions on magic. Wild Magic, magic that harms the caster, turning most high level spells into long rituals.
There are three main types of encounters. Combat, social, and skill. Every other class can contribute something to these encounter types. Rogues have sneak attack and skills to deal with people, obstacles, and traps. Unchained rogue has other stuff that I don't recall right now for combat. Barbarians have a good skill list, rage, and some nifty rage powers to help them deal with obstacles. Wizards and clerics have magic and with more feats that let them break what little constrains they have, plus are consistently buffed by additional spells added to their list. . Rangers have skills, spells, weapon styles, an animal companion... You get the picture.
Fighters though don't have that same versatility. In combat, they do damage, but so does a barbarian. More often than not, the barbarian and ranger can come close and occasionally out damage while still having utility outside of combat. Without a great deal of investment, they can have some decent skills while still contributing greatly in combat. If a fighter wants the same skill points as a barbarian, they need at least an Intelligence of 14 to get the minimum 4 points that a barbarian straight up gets without any intelligence investment. They'd need an 18 in Intelligence to get the same 6 that a Ranger starts off with. And while they can get feats to shore up the weaknesses of a lack of skills, they become less effective in combat. Remember that while they get a feat every level, half of those must be combat feats. And putting points into Int or Charisma makes your Wisdom suffer, which is really bad because your will save is terrible. Bravery only works on one type of Will save. Mind control is pretty much your enemy, even with Iron Will. If you put points into Wisdom, then you will be hard pressed to find room for Int and Char.
It's not a matter of being a "dirty rotten min-maxer". I'm actually a firm believer that you don't NEED an 18 in your primary stat. But I've played a two handed fighter that didn't have an 18 Strength or a negative Charisma. And it was still difficult to contribute to anything outside of combat. With 20 point buy and the intent to not min-max, I found myself with a 14 Strength, a 14 in Dex, a 14 in Con, and a 13 in Int, with a 12 in Wis, and a 10 in Charisma. This is without picking a race mind you. That gets you 3 skill points and if you pick a trait that gives you Diplomacy as a class skill, that's really only a +4 to Diplomacy, which is okay, but nothing special. And now you have only two other skill points to use. Your perception is going to be +2 unless you can find a way to make it a class skill. Plus, your other physical skills are lower. You have a lower AC and HP, so you will feel that pain. Your Will save is +1. It's going to be a long rough road unless you pick a race to compliment your stats.
Meanwhile, a barbarian has their rage and rage powers to continue to rock out. Superstition is like an Iron Will that levels with you, and the drawback has rarely come up in game. So that makes up for your poor Will save, along with the bonus from Rage. Meanwhile the ranger has their spells and weapon styles and two good saves that make them still rock and roll in and out of combat without nearly the investment that the fighter needs. With 20 point buy, I can give my ranger similar stats and they will bring more to the table. Without min-maxing, I decide to give my ranger a 14 Strength, a 14 in Dex, a 14 in Con, and an 8 in Int, with a 14 in Wis, and a 12 in Charisma. . Since I have six skill points, I don't need Int, so I can give myself some more Con for HP or Dex for AC. With me purposefully dumping my Int, I have 5 skill points, the same AC and Health, but a better Will save, more skills, a better Perception, and if I take the same trait to make Diplomacy a class skill, a better Diplomacy. Hell, I could be better at Intimidate (the only social skill a Fighter gets as a class skill) than a fighter. And comparing feats, yeah a Ranger only gets one while a fighter gets two, but both are probably snagging Power Attack. While the fighter can get another fear (combat or social), the ranger still has a better Will save, way more skill points, and later one, will have spells and a cool pet to kick ass with. Or the ability to support my allies with the other Hunter's option. And some of your skills improve in the right terrain, so unless you are travelling to a different terrain type every session, you're covered.
The problem isn't actually balance. It's equity. It's everyone having something to bring in during combat, skill, or social encounter. They don't have to bring the same thing as another, or even be 'equal'. But they have to bring something to do so they don't stay silent and twiddle their thumbs while the grown ups are talking. A bard can fight, surprisingly well in combat. But they bring their spells and Inspiring Song to the table for combat. For skills, again, spells are useful and they have a wide variety of skills they can use, plus Jack of All Trades. For social encounters, bards can use their Performance skills in place of their social skills to have duels of wit. They aren't damage dealers like barbarians or reality shapers like wizards, but they still bring interesting options to the table. Same with a paladin and ranger and even a barbarian! Every other class has class features that help them bring something different to the table in any of those three scenarios, and most of them have spells to boot, which are stronger than feats. To do the same with a fighter, you have to sacrifice more than any other class to have an 'okay' Diplomacy that has a 45% chance of success against an indifferent person. And you still only have two more points to spend, assuming you don't go human or favored class skill. And that's it. No spells, no class features, no nothing. Just that and the hopes that the GM will throw you a bone with magic items.
With only three skill points in a non-min-maxed Fighter build, what can they bring to the table in a social encounter? Or a skill encounter? That's the problem They don't NEED to be skill monkeys or faces, just like the bard isn't a massive damage dealer. But the bard still has options in combat. And the fighter needs options in social and skill encounters. That's essentially my problem with the fighter in just about every iteration of D&D.
I live in Ft Lauderdale and commute to Miami a lot so here is what I can tell you.
Avoid drinking the tap water. It was recently discovered that there is some kind of nuclear leakage getting into Biscayne Bay.
Have an umbrella on you. It gets really rainy, especially in the afternoon.
Be careful where you go. Some areas are not friendly to outsiders. Liberty City and Overtown are no gos. Wynwood is lovely but it is in the middle of gentrification and so there are still some rough areas. Be careful at night. Hialeah is great for Cubans, but definitely a rough neighborhood.
Like said before, public transportation is absolute garbage. Cab drivers are also shady down here. Best to avoid them. If you're going to drive, be careful with traffic, Traffic in Miami is terrible. It's like Mad Max down here. People will cut you off with barely an inch between you. You absolutely have to be aggressive. Uber may be your best bet, but so is walking. Just be careful, because cars have very little regard for pedestrians. And parking isn't cheap, just a heads up.
The food scene is really eclectic in Miami. I've worked many events down here with fellow cooks. Seafood is big. You'll get fresh fish and seafood daily, which is nice. There are some nice Cuban places and bodegas to get some great Cuban food. American food down here is southern food (biscuits and gravy, fried chicken grits, barbecue) mixed with American classics (hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs) and a wide variety of ethnic foods. Since we have a large Italian and Jewish population, you'll find some amazing pizzerias and delis.
Also a big thing is upscale casual gastropubs. Essentially pubs that have good food, and takes pub fare and elevates them to be more fancy but still way more relaxed than a fine dining area. You'll see a lot of local microbrews with great beers (Like Funky Buddha and Wynwood Brew), fancy but delicious pub fare (big fancy burgers, high quality fish and chips, delicious mac and cheeses), and a good mix of other foods, like Korean bbq or Hawaiian poke salads. Wynwood is king here. Wynwood Kitchen is an amazing restaurant that I've had the pleasure of working with, and I know the cooks there. They are amazing and love their job. Jimmy's Kitchen has amazing Puerto Rican food. As a Puerto Rican, I can say they do a pretty great job. Joey's and Kyu are also good, Kyu especially if you like Japanese and Korean inspired food.
If you want to take a break from Miami and come more North, Ft Lauderdale has some good restaurants in the Las Olas and Himmarshee areas. Foxy Brown and Red Cow are great and owned by the same restauranteer. Roco's Tacos is a great Mexican area. Tap42, where I work at, is an awesome gastropub with 42+ kegs of beer.
Hopefully you enjoy South Florida. It's great to visit, just not live in :)
Cole Deschain wrote:
Let's not forget the island chain between the Americas that is more than just pirates and colonials ;)
Like said above, Conan handled Lovecraftian stuff differently but well, More of a pulp feel to it than horror.
BUt let's be honest, horror is a difficult type of game to run, even if running CoC. Running a game is less about the game itself and more about the atmosphere. The players have to buy in because no one is really going to be scared of imaginary monsters attacking their imaginary characters.
For me, horror RPGs are like WWE. I know the whole thing is a work and wrestling is fake. But, when a wrestler has a great gimmick and can get me invested, I still dig it. Guess that makes me a horror smark :D
I'll definitely agree, it's a really good city right up. But I would've preferred something more tied to Tian Xia. With yokai or something that really reflects the culture instead of taking traditionally western creatures and putting eastern trappings on them.
Also perhaps we are veering off topic too much.
captain yesterday wrote:
Asian Hobgoblins tho, with a Half-orc Geisha, and a half-Oni template.
While true, I wouldve preferred something more tied to Asian mythology. We had Jade Regent which had a lot of good stuff about oni.
Honestly, something set in Goka or Dtang Ma would've been really cool. Goka is pretty metropolitan and has it's routes to the west, while Dtang Ma is that South East asian analogue that really isn't represented in RPGs. Seeing some of the creatures and customs of both of those areas would have been pretty awesome and I feel they missed out on an opportunity with Distant Shores to showcase that.
While we're on the subject of rabbits, how about the Centzontotochtin (or Totochtin for short)? These are drunken rabbit deities from Aztec mythology that wander and hold drunken parties for people. I could see the adventures with them luring people to party, and for those people to disappear and such. Would be interesting to see what's done with them.
And I think having stats for Santa would be interesting, but maybe a bit silly for the Bestiary. Though what if he could turn into Krampus... ;)
I'm really old school with some new school sensibilities. I don't avoid anything really, and Im upfront with my players about it. I do use certain abilities sparingly though. Mind control, save or suck, things like that. Monster knowledge really is important, so I always encourage players to put ranks and knowledge and be prepared. It's less golf bag syndrome and more.... more like playing Geralt in The Witcher.
The only thing I actively avoid is no-win situations. I don't force my players into doing adventures they don't like. Players always have options, even if it is diplomacy or running away.
The Minis Maniac wrote:
See were I running a game in Andoren I would probably gritty that up too. I'd put major threats to this burgeoning democracy. Constant subversive threats from within by Cheliax. Maybe some super corrupt noble families trying to bring it down from within. That sort of stuff.
Since Andoran is fantasy America, I'd play up the dangers of Manifest Destiny and native races getting moved to make room for more Andorans. And lynchmobs going after anyone that is suspected of being of noble blood.
You'd be surprised honestly. Some of the consistently bad players I've come across have unfortunately been Old School Grognards.
The Racist actually brings up a broader issue I see in RPGs. It's when players pick a character flaw that seems like it'd be interesting, but becomes extreme and nigh cartoonish, to the point of parody. Like a character that's greedy is more like Scrooge McDuck than a more human feeling greedy person.
James Jacobs wrote:
As someone really interested in fleshing out Arcadia and hosting the Arcadia thread on the forums here, I do look forward to seeing it one day. What are some elements of Native American culture you are looking to do in a respectful manner? I know one thing that has me a bit stumped is the Aztecs and religious sacrifice. That's tough to do.
To be fair, the same could be said about any kind of monster. Some people may want less fey or dragons and more undead or demons. Others may want less mythological creatures and more original monsters. Some may want less European monsters and more Japanese folklore monsters. Really, whenever Paizo makes a monster, theres going to be someone out there that thinks its space could have been used with another monster they want.
So I've been homebrewing an alternative to alignment in the fantasy game that I plan to run. I got some inspiration from a post I saw on GitP and ran with it. Here is the ruleset I have set up for my alignment alternative, Motives and Methods.
Don't worry about Detect and Smite abilities. I'll figure that out as I go along.
Thanks for any help and comments.
But the monsters are mythic content. When running a mythic campaign, you need mythic foes to throw at your players, especially high level foes. There are always going to be monsters in a bestiary that people won't use. How many are going to use cryptids, or the Japanese monsters, or the occult monsters, or the aliens? The goal though is to have a wide variety of options available to the different types of gamers and games that people run. I'm sure there are people out there that hate all the non-European monsters in the Bestiaries, but at least it means we all have options.
I'm with you and Jici on this. I think it's been long enough that we can have a dragonborn race in Pathfinder. But I also agree with you, it'd be cool if they were less upright lizards and more similar to tieflings and aasimars. And having some different bloodlines would be workable and awesome. The standard Colored and Metal dragons, Imperial and now Esoteric, maybe even some of the weirder ones like a zmey or even a jabberwock (I'd actually love an NPC that was a jabberwock dragonkin).
Also +1 for giant blooded race.
Actually with ghosts and phantoms, plus the occult adventures books explaining more about the afterlife, it is more possibly to have undead with varying alignments. And remember, the all undead = evil is Golarion based, while the Bestiaries are setting neutral. Also I trust Adam's take on the American creatures and their respect for the folklore, so I have faith they will do the myth justice. Especially after reading Distant Shores.
No pressure Adam :p
Whether or not they did, the Golarion takes on such cultures can go crazy with it. We can take the ideas of mound builders or cliffside pueblos and go to town with them. High fantasy style!
A couple of questions for Adam or anyone that worked on Segada in Distant Shores. What were the inspirations for the architecture and clothing of the artwork in the Segada section? I'm really curious. Also, is Segada in the Northern section or Southern section of Arcadia?
Lissa Guillet wrote:
That always makes me sad to here when a group is a trans-exclusionary. Still, sounds like you found a place, and that's always pretty great. I've not found a lot of love in Florida but it's around in certain places from what my wife tells me.
Yeah it wasn't fun. Had some feminst and MRA guys pretty much call her an abomination and some gay guys flat out say we were just a gay couple deep in denial. But, that was months ago and we've made much better friends and are hopefully looking to see more soon.
She and I are slowly getting back into the lgbtq and feminist scene down here in Florida. We had a bad experience back in August with some feminists and gay people hating her because she is trans so w we distanced ourselves from the movement s. Now I think we've found a good group to make friends with. I'm happy too. We need the friends.
The good news is that it's not really difficult to remove the hex out of the sandbox. The hexes are simply there as an abstract method of separating encounters and such.
The Alexandrian's Gamemastery 101 page has a wealth of what you are looking for. Three Clue Rule, Node-Based Design, and Don't Prep Plots are what you are probably looking for. It is his method of allowing player's choices to really matter and shape the plot. A bit of a read but it is a very well-written group of articles that will help you out, guaranteed.
If your Tolkien-inspired pseudo-British setting can't account for a Spaniard hopping the channel then that says some pretty odd things about your setting.
This is actually similar to my mindset when running a game and allowing characters.
Whenever I run a game, I always ask myself "Does allowing X really harm my game?" If I allowed, say, a samurai in a Renaissance game, does it somehow ruin the integrity of the setting? And if my setting is so fragile that a single, fairly basic concept would somehow ruin the atmosphere, then I think that says more about the my setting and my inability to adapt as a GM. I mean, I can understand some limitations on technology and things for the setting (and even that I tend to bend somewhat), but overall, I don't have any issues adapting to my players and their characters. And honestly, to me, learning when to say yes and work with ones players is a sign of a good GM.
That I can mostly accept. But the point is that they used the historical accuracy excuse, which was pretty much completely wrong.
And since then, I've run and played games that were fairly open to concepts and I've yet to see having samurai, black people, and firearms ruin people's pristine, LotR-wannabe setting ;)
Growing up, I've had a lot of people use the historical accuracy excuse to stop me from playing my own ethnicity, or really any non-Anglo Saxon ethnicity. Hell, I remember bringing an El Cid inspired knight into a "Medieval Europe" campaign and told that, and I quote, Spanish knights don't fit in the Medieval Europe setting.
I'll let that sink in.
Basically, everyone had a hard-on for LotR and pretty much only wanted British influences in their setting. After a while, I quit playing because it felt like the GMs were using the historical accuracy argument as a facade to really say "No Non Whites Allowed". A lot of these GMs were older people and had really close minded views on how one should play the game. Because of that, I stopped playing until I left for college. I had always played with my father since I was 6 or 7, and he never had problems with people playing Hispanic or African or Asian inspired characters. So it was jarring to see people saying that my ethnicity doesn't belong in the game. Other minority friends of mine quit playing too because of that. No one likes to be told that they don't belong or don't fit in. S*&$ sucks for a kid (less so for a cynical, bitter Millennial ;) ).
Since then, I've run and played games with people my age and no one really cares about "setting integrity" per se. When I run, I give a brief synopsis of the setting then let the players make the characters and fit them in. Hell, I had a player want to bring in an Indian inspired character and ended up working with the player to create a fun, Mythical India for m setting which didn't even have that to begin with. Now I have a group of Indian assassins and yogis in my Caribbean setting that has enhanced it a great deal and I'm happy for it. Players using naginatas and atlatls having ruined my Medieval European game and I doubt it'll really ruin anyone else's.
As GMs, we need to learn when to say yes. Sometimes you end up with some great stories, great additions to your setting that you never thought about, and most importantly, a great time with your friends.
I'll admit, I feel this way about all of the short races (including dwarves). I think the way to have them taken seriously is to really play against the stereotypes. Ditch alcoholic dwarves, optimistic halflings, and quirky Zooey Deschanel gnomes and make them actual characters to your players. It'll take a while to get it through to your players, but it'll work.