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Akata

Odraude's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 6,999 posts. No reviews. 1 list. 1 wishlist. 2 Pathfinder Society characters.


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Truthfully, how the rest of the world feels about imperial doesn't affect my players or group. We know imperial better than metric, and our point of references for them make sense to us in our group. For planetside missions, if I say "This is 10 miles away", they have a good mental image and understanding of the distance. The same isn't really true if I say "This is 16 km away". And trust me, I have tried it with HERO system, which uses metric. For combat, it was never a problem because we just counted the hexes. But whenever I would try and impress a distance or measurement on them in metric, I'd get questions on how heavy or hot or far the concept was. So for me it is just simpiler to stick with Imperial for my games. Even when I run Stars Without Number or Eclipse Phase, I run it in Imperial. It's just easier for me and my group to grok.


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Cydeth wrote:
Hill Giant wrote:

Who needs granularity?

My thermostat.

Also, as a chef, I prefer the granularity of Fahrenheit when we bake, fry, and sous vide our food. Though for weights, we always use grams.


Have you ever read through the game Eclipse Phase? If so, what did you think of the setting and the rules?


I think we can probably use AUs and Lightyears. AUs would be less cumbersome than feet or meters (or even miles and kms) given the large measurements of space between planets.

I can definitely understand lys over parsecs. I tend to prefer whole numbers when I run SWN, even if a parsec is essentially 3.25 ly. Sometimes, I'll simply just truncate it to just be 3 ly.


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So kind of on topic, I actually found this while randomly searching. An interesting way to convert km to miles and back. I kinda of dig it.


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Odraude wrote:

That's fair. I just personally don't really see any reason to change to metric that will enrich the game. To me, it's just measurements and feet/miles/pounds/acres work well for me. Especially with weight. For my job (baking and cooking) I'll stick with metric (except for temperature). But I think I'm okay with feet in Pathfinder. For me, it just feels like change for the sake of change, rather than improving it.

How many non-US people have an intuitive understanding of how far 200 feet is?

I think that's the key question. I, personally, have enough exposure to both US customary and metric that I can understand both feet/second and meters/second, but I have no idea what a furlong/fortnight is. (And, honestly, conversion between ft/sec and mph, or for that matter, km/h is something that I don't have an intuitive feel for; I have to math it out; if a car is driving at 30 km/h, how long will it take to cross a 200 foot (or 60 m) bridge?)

If a substantial fraction of the expected market feels about feet and inches the way I do about furlongs, rods, and chains, then it's an issue. If, on the other hand, anyone who reads English well enough to play Starfinder has been trained in the WOMBAT(*) system, it's not an issue. It's just a cultural quirk, like counting in French....

* WOMBAT = Way Of Measuring Badly in America Today

I don't think I've ever seen furlong used in any RPG except maybe Harn?

Truthfully, I think another key question is, is it worth immersion to make it difficult for the American gamers that play D&D? The same problem that the OP mentions in their post will just end up shifting it over to those of us that use Imperial/Standard. And I agree with what you say about it being an issue, but simply changing it to metric at the expense of those that are fine with Standard isn't solving anything.

Explaining to my players that someone is 63 kg means nothing to them. Explaining that the hexmap is about 10 kilometers corner to corner will just get blank stares from them. They don't use metric every day, so they don't have a point of reference to compare weights and distances for. Maybe having both options is fine, but for now, I just don't see a reason to make me and my group have to make the conversions or understand a point of reference every time I use a measurement in metric.

Do I like the metric system? For the most part, yes. But for everyday gaming, it's just easier for my group and I to keep things as is and add the option for metric in there for those that desire it.


Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Odraude wrote:
I think now that I've had time to think on it and sleep, I'd rather stay with feet. Personally, I generally find counting 5, 10, 15, etc easier than counting 1.5, 3, 4.5, etc. Especially going from 3 to 4.5 slows me down a bit.
If they did switch to meters - they'd probably switch to each square being two meters to prevent that kind of issue. (Yes - I know that two meters are a bit over 6.5 feet.) I think that was what d20 Star Wars did. (I think both Revised & Saga.)

That's fair. I just personally don't really see any reason to change to metric that will enrich the game. As the OP said, they want the change so that they don't have to continuously translate the lengths to metric while playing. However, changing to metric means that my group and I now have to do that translation. I'd rather not do that personally, sorry. And having both options would be interesting, but kind of tedious for the editior to have to get all that.

So I'm fine keeping things the way they are. To me, it's just measurements and feet/miles/pounds/acres work well for me. Especially with weight. For my job (baking and cooking) I'll stick with metric (except for temperature). But I think I'm okay with feet in Pathfinder. For me, it just feels like change for the sake of change, rather than improving it. And this is coming from someone that more often than not, prefers metric.


I think now that I've had time to think on it and sleep, I'd rather stay with feet. Personally, I generally find counting 5, 10, 15, etc easier than counting 1.5, 3, 4.5, etc. Especially going from 3 to 4.5 slows me down a bit.


Honestly I don't really see a reason for one way or the other, since most of the time, you're just counting squares. I'd prefer feet but that's admittedly from just the status quo point of view.


Rysky wrote:
CorvusMask wrote:
I'm kinda wondering how many here on paizo forums referring to Iomedae meme actually have read/played WotR instead of reading about it on forums .-.
I know, right?

I own it, read it, and ran it as is and I'm fairly against what they did with Iomedae. As were my players. People forget that she does attack your players when they take too long (or act too quickly) to decide on one of her trials.

But that's off topic and idk why it was brought up.


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If you're looking for ancient indoor plumbing like the Romans/Indra/Inca, I'd add a Sewage Connection and you're good to go!.


James Jacobs wrote:
Odraude wrote:

1) What aspects of character building do you see from being a player in a D&D game?

2) Same question as above, but from being a GM of a D&D game?

3) Which do you feel is more beneficial to a person; being a player or being a GM? Or both?

4) How do you feel these change (if they do at all) for games like Apocalypse World and FATE, where the roles of player and GM are often blurred?

I've been interested lately in the idea of role playing games being really ideal for character building, expression, and exploring topics in a more interactive way than most fiction. So I'm curious to hear other people's opinions on the matter.

1) I'm not sure what you're asking here. Please rephrase.

2) Or here.

3) Depends on your personality, but being a GM makes you a better player, and being a player makes you a better GM, so switching back and forth is best.

4) Don't change at all, save that since the lines are blurred, it's less easy for a player or GM to fall into bad habits.

Sorry, let me rephrase the first two.

What I mean is, when one is playing D&D as a player, what character traits do you feel are taught to the player? And likewise, what character traits do you feel are built when one GMs?

Like, I think as a GM, it teaches patience and responsibility. And for player, I feel that it helps to teach teamwork and expression. What do you feel being a player and GM teaches people?

I hope that's worded a bit better. Thanks for answering the questions!


James Jacobs wrote:
Odraude wrote:

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Just some questions from me.

1) What's your favorite food to have during Thanksgiving?

2) How do you feel about tabletop rpgs being good potential character building hobbies for the people involved? Character being personal things, like teamwork and patience?

3) I was curious if you've ever seen several of the D&D retroclones in the OSR movement and how you felt about certain aspects of older styles and attitudes in there? I like some aspects (sandbox gaming, rewarding player ingenuity) but dislike others (lack of skills, race as class).

4) Of the races and classes reveals so far for Starfinder, which are your favorite?

Thanks and I hope you continue to have some great holidays. Here's a picture of the turkey I did this year. I'd send you some, but sadly I live in Florida. I broke it down, used sous vide to cook it, then boiled it for the nice crispy outside. Everything was really tender and juicy!

1) Abalone, but that's hard to get, so in its place I enjoy turkey, salmon, rolls, and/or pumpkin pie.

2) I think they excel at that.

3) I've seen a lot of them, own some of them, and have played some of them. Some are fun, some are bad. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. Kinda like any entertainment genre.

4) Humans for race. I've not really yet looked at any of the class info and have no opinion there yet.

Thanks for the answers. I've sadly never had the opportunity to eat or prepare abalone at my job.

Some more questions, focused on my question 2 from earlier

1) What aspects of character building do you see from being a player in a D&D game?

2) Same question as above, but from being a GM of a D&D game?

3) Which do you feel is more beneficial to a person; being a player or being a GM? Or both?

4) How do you feel these change (if they do at all) for games like Apocalypse World and FATE, where the roles of player and GM are often blurred?

I've been interested lately in the idea of role playing games being really ideal for character building, expression, and exploring topics in a more interactive way than most fiction. So I'm curious to hear other people's opinions on the matter.


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If it's just low income housing, I'd suggest taking the House and removing most of the rooms to cheapen the cost. Most people lived in one-two room huts, so all you need is a kitchen and maybe storage. Kitchen is essentially the bedroom. With 1 Kitchen and 1 Storage, you have a total cost of 280 gp. It's cheap and has up to 14 squares of room for the family(ies). For bathroom, you can go outside or use chamberpots. Luckily, the rules just give you the cost of everything so you can simply ignore the Capital. Nothing really complicated about it.


Happy Belated Thanksgiving! Just some questions from me.

1) What's your favorite food to have during Thanksgiving?

2) How do you feel about tabletop rpgs being good potential character building hobbies for the people involved? Character being personal things, like teamwork and patience?

3) I was curious if you've ever seen several of the D&D retroclones in the OSR movement and how you felt about certain aspects of older styles and attitudes in there? I like some aspects (sandbox gaming, rewarding player ingenuity) but dislike others (lack of skills, race as class).

4) Of the races and classes reveals so far for Starfinder, which are your favorite?

Thanks and I hope you continue to have some great holidays. Here's a picture of the turkey I did this year. I'd send you some, but sadly I live in Florida. I broke it down, used sous vide to cook it, then boiled it for the nice crispy outside. Everything was really tender and juicy!


Generally, for HP like that, I use the base one and then have them vary by +/- 1d4. Or I just vary them by 2-3. For higher CR creatures (usually every 3 CR), I bump up the die a step. So a group of CR 4 guys will have a variance of +/- d6 HP, or I'll stick with +/- 3. Works well in Pathfinder. I do the same with D&D 5e, but I have it start as d6 and add a d6 for each CR above 3 since the HP in that is very bloated.


Yeah I imagine things like escape velocity and all that can be ignored except when it counts for the adventure. I know escape velocity, I just have the ship use up some more fuel. That's how I do it with my hack of SWN. But generally, fuel usage won't come up unless you do some strenuous to your ship (combat, escape/enter a planet's atmosphere, high speed maneuvers, going above normal speed, etc.). Escape velocity only became a plot point when I had an adventure where the players were stranded on a massive Dyson sphere that had a higher escape velocity than their ship was able to achieve. Was a good adventure.

Also I really like the idea of DIY clunkers for the players. I'm imagining something like the Hot Rod/Rat Rod/Performance Vehicle culture we see here with cars and trucks. Imagine Roadkill in space, where if you have knowledge of wielding and a blueprint for an old ship (or a 3D printer fab), you can make your own ship that can limp across the vesper sky. So all these guys are running their 2857 U.S.S Chargers and Datsun 240z that trundle their way from planet to planet ;)


Obtaining the space ship is as easy or as hard as you make it really. Many people put the spaceship on quite the pedestal for sci fi games, but really, having a space ship isn't unbalanced at level 1.

While I do love me some D&D fantasy, my first love has always been sci fi. And I've run plenty of Mongoose Traveller, White Star, and lately, a lot of Stars Without Number. And in many of the games, the players have started owning, or at least using, starships. That's because startships in a sci fi game aren't really all that unbalancing. In many ways, it's like giving your players a boat at level 1. With a starship, you can get from Point A to Point B faster. More often than not, it's really just your method of traveling. You can't really take a space ship into a 'dungeon' (using the term more for 'area of adventure') because it's way too big. And the weapons really would only be all that useful in ship to ship combat or taking on sieges (strafing runs). But, you still have to have players going inside the complex to take on the adventure. And strafing runs may not be possible depending on the laws of the worlds. On frontier worlds, you have more openness to do that. But in a civilized core world? Probably not as much.

So starting with a spaceship isn't unbalanced. Rather, it requires the GM to realize that the campaign will take place on a wider scale. Nothing wrong with that, but it is a change of mentality. In addition, there are a variety of ways to give the players a starting ship. I typed this up in another post, but I'll repost it here.

1: Ships are expensive, but that's because they are the current model. It's like buying a 2017 car vs one from the 90's. My gf's Audi is more expensive than my 93' Geo Prizm. So have used spaceships available to the players at a fraction of the cost. Sure, they aren't as fast and reliable as the latest stuff, but at level one, just having a spaceship is awesome enough. And being a used ship means it'll have personality flaws. Just like the Serenity or Millennium Falcon have mechanical issues, these can cause some interesting complications to travel and such and can lead to their own adventures.

2: They take out a loan and get the good ship, but now they have to pay the loan every month or two months. For a sandbox game, this is actually pretty good, as the players have a goal and an adventure hook they can fall back on when they are unsure what they want to do next. Need 2,000 credits this month? There's a bounty for the Space Pirate Captain Harlock for 5,000 credits! Or, there's a convoy guard job for a shady hypercorp dealing with enslaved uplifts. Or, a shift senator needs passage to his secret home-away-from home. All of these are pretty ripe for adventuring.

3. They stole it! Or won it via shady bets and lots of luck. But now, there's a soft bounty on their heads so they must be careful out there in space. Like the one before, this adds a good metaplot that's ripe for adventure. Though for this, I would bring it up sparingly. Having bounty hunters every session would get old hand pretty quickly. But this can add some great complications to the mission, or it's own great adventure.

Most of the ships that you've mentioned fit in these categories. Serenity, Millennium Falcon, Bebop... their stories are filled with getting to the next adventure so you can pay off your ship, or your ship being ill gotten or even stolen, or your ship having 'character flaws' due to age. Hell, the Millennium Falcon fits all of these depending on the movie it's in.

As for starting craft, I think for ships smaller than capital class, having a pilot and engineer should be mandatory, and everything else is just icing on the cake. That way you can have your Serenity style ships where you don't really NEED a medic or a comm officer or a science officer, which would make a lot more sense on the Enterprise or the Normandy. But even with that, you can have multiple gunneries a la Millennium Falcon so that your players aren't bored watching the pilot do cool things. And while you don't need the science officer, having one is still beneficial. So this I feel is a good method to have a more simplistic and engaging way to do space battles for a group while still allowing more of the nuance of something like Mass Effect or Artemis Space Bridge or Star Trek.

And if your players all want space ships, or you have 6+ players... give them all space ships. Seriously, it's really not game breaking. I've run a BSG/Robotech themed game where the players all had fighter ships aboard a larger capital ship. And it worked out fine. All it meant was that everyone had a more combat focused part in the game, but everyone had fun and it wasn't overpowered or unbalanced. Or, as someone mentioned awhile back, have the players control drones that protect the ship.

There are a variety of ways to make space combat engaging for everyone involved and I hope to see them explored in this. Same with level 1.


I like the Drift concept. And for those that don't like it, I can't imagine it'd be integral to the rules. Probably wouldn't be hard to remove.


Bluenose wrote:
nomotog wrote:
Morgen wrote:

How much do we know of spaceships so far? I haven’t read every post on the forum.

I’m just worried because they always seem to be either priced outside of any PC’s possible ability to buy, require some kind of extreme number of crew members that it removes some/all the ships out of most games or even without thousands of crew you need to have 4-6 PC’s specialized in just running it. It can really throw a wrench into things especially when players start to just steal them.

I’m just hoping that people are thinking about and looking at that. It’s hard enough to rope 4-6 people together as a unit without them needing to know how to use sensors or things after all.

For my take, they should only have small ships focused around catering to player teams.
I think small PC-focused ships should be the primary concern, but there should also be some larger vessels. Yes to the Millennium Falcon, Serenity, T-65 X-Wings, Starbug and their like; but also yes to the SSV Normandy, USS Enterprise, Liberator and others.

I plan on running a Mass Effect inspired game, so I'd love stats for bigger ships like the Normandy or the Tempest.


Well with ship roles, I imagine you can do the tried and true method and have NPCs fill in those roles. So if you only have 3 people, you can still have a couple that tag along. Also, aside from the pilot and engineer, most of the other positions aren't really necessary in smaller ships. How I've always run my SWN games is that for ships smaller than capital class, you only need a pilot and engineer (sometimes that's the same person!), and everything else (communications, medical bay) are irrelevant. That seems to work and get the feel of a Winnebago in Space for smaller ships (Eagle 5 wooo!!).

If you do have a capital ship style campaign, you can also go the Gundam/Macross/BSG route. The players are all pilots of their ships/mecha that protect their mothership as they travel to their goal/mission. That way, they can all do stuff in combat, and none of them need to have split duties as the comm officer or engineer and such. Works out well.

Of course, in the future, just about anything can be automated. So you can just have some parts automated by the AI. That said, I generally encourage players to make multiple characters in RPGs so it's not really an issue for me.

As for ships at level one, there are many ways you can handle it.

1: Ships are expensive, but that's because they are the current model. It's like buying a 2017 car vs one from the 90's. My gf's Audi is more expensive than my 93' Geo Prizm. So have used spaceships available to the players at a fraction of the cost. Sure, they aren't as fast and reliable as the latest stuff, but at level one, just having a spaceship is awesome enough. And being a used ship means it'll have personality flaws. Just like the Serenity or Millennium Falcon have mechanical issues, these can cause some interesting complications to travel and such and can lead to their own adventures.

2: They take out a loan and get the good ship, but now they have to pay the loan every month or two months. For a sandbox game, this is actually pretty good, as the players have a goal and an adventure hook they can fall back on when they are unsure what they want to do next. Need 2,000 credits this month? There's a bounty for the Space Pirate Captain Harlock for 5,000 credits! Or, there's a convoy guard job for a shady hypercorp dealing with enslaved uplifts. Or, a shift senator needs passage to his secret home-away-from home. All of these are pretty ripe for adventuring.

3. They stole it! Or won it via shady bets and lots of luck. But now, there's a soft bounty on their heads so they must be careful out there in space. Like the one before, this adds a good metaplot that's ripe for adventure. Though for this, I would bring it up sparingly. Having bounty hunters every session would get old hand pretty quickly. But this can add some great complications to the mission, or it's own great adventure.


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smaller clanholds and isolated villages probably would venerate them. Especially in areas that aren't socially stable. Say a village is going through a famine. They might be more willing to sell their souls to be able to feed themselves.


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Victor Ravenport wrote:

I will not pretend that I am worried about the consequences of a Trump presidency, primarily because I suspect that most of the man's initial rhetoric was done to win the nomination within the party and as far as I have seen, he is already commiting a lurch to the left in the few policy announcements that has been released since he became the President-elect.

That being said, he announced that homosexual civil unions is a "settled law" yesterday.

A lot of the worry is less about Trump and more about everything else. The Republicans own the entire government, from the Senate to the House and once the spot is filled, probably the Supreme Court. That level of control means that things like the Religious Freedom act and things similar to it can be passed much easier. For securing trans rights, it is going to be a steep uphill battle.


John Napier 698 wrote:
Odraude wrote:

I suppose that's fair. I've done a lot of space game setting building since sci fi has always been my first love over fantasy. And I've set up how planetary invasions work in a setting where there is no FTL communication. Stellar System Defense would work like forts on the borderlands in fantasy. You'd have several sensor arrays in the Oort Cloud or even in the heliopause of the system (in my game, FTL stops working just at the heliopause) that can detect FTL signatures. You'd probably have some space stations out there patrolling, but it'd be like the s$!$ duty. I think you'd only really start seeing the defensible positions passed the Oort Cloud since the home system can mobilize easily. Granted, this is assuming a very civilized core world of an empire, or a capital world. Frontier worlds wouldn't be developed enough to have a good defensive position.

I'm a bit excited for Starfinder as you can see.

Which is why, in Traveller, the Imperial Navy would do regular patrols. Even if said patrols are just a pair of corvette (the ship, not the car) sized ships.

Yeah that's something I've always felt would happen. While I haven't played Traveller, I've definitely played a lot of other sci fi games as well as skinning Savage Worlds for sci fi and playing Mechwarriror. Ran a commando campaign for players that infiltrated a core world system, did a lot of sabotage and terrorism, and then played out the resulting planetary invasion. It was fun and used a mix of Savage Worlds and Firestorm Armada for space battles. People definitely enjoyed it.

Just picked up Cepheus Engine which is an OGL Traveller product. Really good stuff.


Yeah that makes a lot more sense and I dig it. I've always preferred that since it makes frontier space games possible and fun.


I suppose that's fair. I've done a lot of space game setting building since sci fi has always been my first love over fantasy. And I've set up how planetary invasions work in a setting where there is no FTL communication. Stellar System Defense would work like forts on the borderlands in fantasy. You'd have several sensor arrays in the Oort Cloud or even in the heliopause of the system (in my game, FTL stops working just at the heliopause) that can detect FTL signatures. You'd probably have some space stations out there patrolling, but it'd be like the s@** duty. I think you'd only really start seeing the defensible positions passed the Oort Cloud since the home system can mobilize easily. Granted, this is assuming a very civilized core world of an empire, or a capital world. Frontier worlds wouldn't be developed enough to have a good defensive position.

I'm a bit excited for Starfinder as you can see.


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There's always been something that bothered me about FTL ships but no FTL communication. If you had sensors that can scan parsecs of areas, then those sensors would have to be using energy waves that are FTL to cross those gulfs of space and return quickly for use. So with that technology in existence, why couldn't there be FTL communication?


Wait, there's a Mass Effect TTRPG? Where can I get this?


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Checking in to see how everyone is holding up. My parents are a bit worried because they've had a small amount of people talk about how they can't wait to get rid of Puerto Rico and deport the Puerto Ricans to make room for more jobs. My girlfriend and her trans friends are also very worried. I'm admittedly anxious, but I'm very much a wait and see kind of person.

I know things look grim right now everyone, but I know that we can come together as an American community and make it through. We are in an uncertain time right now. Now more than ever, we have to stay united, look back and change how we approach things for the next four to eight years. What we are doing now isn't working anymore. But I do earnestly believe we can still make things work for our community, not just the LGBT or minority community, but as Americans.

Don't give up hope. Please, if you do feel the pangs of hopelessness, find someone you trust and talk with them. Hell, keep posting in this thread. There are good people here that want to help you. Message me if you need to and I can at least promise to try and talk to you.

We can do this.


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BigNorseWolf wrote:
Its english. You can verb anything.

Doesn't mean I have to like it :p


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The only term I'm not a fan of is people using the word 'stealth' as a verb. Like instead of saying "We are sneaking" they say, "We are stealthing." I hate it.


Yeah. Pretty much if you were a civilization that partook in hunting, raiding, and endemic warfare, and you survived that, then you knew how to fight. Especially if you had a professional career military program like the Roman Legion.

For a book like this, I'd like it to focus on the primary martial classes. If it did add spells, I'd prefer it stuck with the half casters only. So spells for the ranger, bard, paladin, warpriest... no cleric or wizard spells at all. Personally I think we have more than enough spells, so I'd really like a focus on the main, non-casting martial classes.


I agree with you there Vid. Martial arts can be boxing, Greco Roman wrestling, Collar and Elbow wrestling, Savate, Sambo, Krav Maga, Capoeira, Pankration, Kalaripayattu... every culture has their own fighting style, not just China and Japan. I feel limiting the book to just three Asian themed classes isn't going to have enough options to make it worth the money in my opinion.


MMCJawa wrote:
Nightterror wrote:
Anyone in possession of the new d&d monster book called volos guide to monsters? Anyone willing to share a list of names of all new monsters in that book? I want to know if it is worth bying, as i dont want a book with 10 (of 100) beholder variants in it if we only get 100 new monsters. I already know about firbolg, froghemoth and flail snail. Thanks if you want to help

I haven't read it, but from the sounds of it it's more a monster ecology book than a monster manual, since there are sections on goblins, etc.

So I SUSPECT it won't be to your tastes.

It's partially that and partially new monsters for 5e. And new race options for PCs and GMs.


General consensus I see from several similar forum posts seems to be that it's just fluff inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey. So nothing "special" aside from a free reincarnate that ages you a week.


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PossibleCabbage wrote:

What if the PCs in the OP's example simply failed to notice a bunch of indications and failed to take adequate precautions and simply walked right into a competently executed trap from the villain. At the point where they're all at the bottom of a 100' shaft with smooth and greased walls with a metal grate on which the villain is standing with an anti-magic field spell active while pouring knockout gas into the hole, then I think it's appropriate to just handwave "you all pass out", provided that there were numerous actions they could have taken up to that point to avoid ending up in that unfortunate situation.

Like at the point where the PCs say "this is an interesting hole, let's see what's at the bottom of it; everybody in!" they've basically already committed to their fate. You could sit there rolling fort saves until everyone fails, or you could just realize they're not getting out of this one and move on to the next scenario.

We don't know for sure the players didn't get knocked out and deprived of their gear because they did something that brought it upon themselves. If the players do something really foolhardy, end up in a bad situation from which they cannot plausibly extract themselves, and you don't want to kill their characters then "dumping them on a deserted island without their stuff" is a reasonable thing to do.

Since the players had every opportunity laid out in front of them to avoid their fate and due to luck or bad choices, they ended up here, and they legitimately have no way to escape the hole, then for expediency of play, you could have them fail their saves. In that context it isn't rail roading. They had all their options and they failed. Now they are stuck in a hole and can't get out and it's clear that magic doesn't work and nothing they have works. So you can definitely say that "you guys are really truly trapped and instead of rolling for five minutes, we're going to move on. That alright?" Again, they made their choice to jump in. You didn't force them into that hole.

And that is the point I'm trying to make. Having that happen organically as above works. Just saying "you guys are now trapped in this hole and lose your gear no matter what because I said so" really is forced and railroading. Failure isn't railroading. Removing all opportunity and forcing the players into an outcome of failure despite their actions is.


Shifty wrote:

Pretty much PC.

Odraude, at some point there will need to be a narrative set up though - a start point where the stimulus hits the players. This is going to be a 'railroad' no matter which way you argue it. It wont always be in the players hands to decide - they want a story all about them building a village, but they find the village is wrecked by an earthquake.

Past the initial setup though, it IS over to them.

There Is a misunderstanding here. Let me try and clear it up.

Having the villains making actions against the players isn't rail roading. That's fine. It's forcing a specific reaction or result from your players that is. Ambushing the players isn't railroaded. Hand waving that they surrender/lose with out a chance is.

And if that's the starting conceit of a campaign and the players are cool with it then no problem. But If you keep hand waving their decisions, then yeah that's pretty rail road ing. Maybe This will be a better explanation, though too generalized for my liking. I'm tired, sorry.

As for adventure paths, I have my own thoughts on them. Time For bed though


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I think every game, in order to function, is going to need some sort of externally imposed structure, and players who feel the need to control literally every narrative twist and turn are both unreasonable and rare.

Like if you say the campaign starts on Continent A, the players are going to have to either be from Continent A or have some reason to have gone there. A player who insists his character is from Continent B and has never left his home village will simply not be appearing in the campaign.

Certainly players are free to perform whatever character actions they deem appropriate, but at some level you have to pay attention to the direction the GM suggests this is going and go along with it, or there isn't a story. If the evil necromancer bent on destroying the world is on Continent C, if the players don't want the world to be destroyed they're going to have to go there somehow.

The long and short of it is that "railroading" is not inherently bad. A lot of players realize that the stuff you've prepared is probably more interesting than the stuff you have to ad-lib and will happily just go in whatever direction they are pointed.

I mean, Paizo got its start because people like adventure paths. The very notion of "an adventure path" suggests you have to keep players on (or at least nearby) the path.

It's not controlling narrative twists. It's just them making their choices and abiding by those consequences. And if those consequences are "the world ends", I imagine most players would probably go stop the evil necromancer.

You can still throw monkey wrenches at them. Hell half the fun of D&D is that.


Shifty wrote:

Cool

GM: Hey players, you fought and beat the troll - cool, I'm heading home to dial up Netflix

Players: But the session was 15 minutes

GM: Yeah but I had only spent 30 hours working out what the campaign and storyline looked like for you if you lost, so now you have one and just looted the troll and walked off then the rest of what I wrote is redundant - you don't need to fight your way out of its lair nor investigate who sent it or why it came.

Players: Why didn't you run that then?

GM: Well that would be railroading.

Players: Good point, we'll play Uno, see you next week!

That's why as a GM, you don't prep entire storylines. You learn to improvise, be flexible, adapt to the actions of what happens. It's also a good idea not to hinge your entire story on one specific action. It's essentially doomed to fail.

Sadly, in this example, there isn't really anything stated about the troll, but here's another example.

Let's say there is a troll and he's part of something bigger. Like an invasionary force. The players are 'supposed' to capture him and interrogate him. But instead they kill him. What do you do?

Well, first, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Maybe he has a note about it in his lair. Maybe he has a partner that looks like a solider or is wearing the heraldry of some far off nation that wants to invade. There is a myriad of clues, and it is good to make many of these clues in case the players miss some. So they can interrogate the troll, or the person, or find the note, or whatever else you can think of. Hell, they could even befriend the troll. That's the beauty of D&D.

And if they decide not to continue? That's fine. You can have foreshadowing of the continuing of the villain's plans. In the meantime, they can adventure somewhere else. That's where improvisation comes in, as well as having a good repetoire of maps and encounters to throw at players. It's not hard to have a list of NPCs, or just basic plots or even maps. There are a great deal of these online and I'd be happy to share them tomorrow. Got to get to bed now.

But the point it, improvising is your best friend and a great skill to hone. It really makes Gming more rewarding.


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Shifty wrote:

Following that logic:

"You are in Golarion" is also railroading.

"We are playing Pathfinder" = railroading.

The only way not to railroad is for things to be totally open sandbox play, and then you are still railroading, and railroading the GM as well.

Not at all.

D&D is fundamentally different than other storytelling mediums in that the characters are played and controlled by thinking, acting people. That is the core of its appeal compared to movies, books, and even something as interactive as video games. Video games still have limiting factors in them that D&D doesn't have. So ultimately, to facilitate a story, you have to play to the strengths of the medium. The medium in the case of D&D is simple.

In a role playing game, the players are people in the world that do things and have consequences befall them for their actions. They have the ability to attempt anything they can feasibly do. Notice I said attempt. From that, as GMs, we take their actions or series of actions and weave it into a story by having consequences for their actions. This doesn't mean that they always succeed, or that we coddle our players. Far from it. We place obstacles in their path, struggles to overcome. And if they overcome, then that's great. If not, that's fine too. But from their success or failure, every setback and great job, we extrapolate from that and describe what happens next.

Railroading is essentially removing the ability to attempt things in the game world. It's essentially saying that their choices and actions simply don't matter against the fiction of the game. Which to me is squandering the biggest strength of D&D or RPGs in general. That freedom to attempt anything. To play out your character's story, or your team's story. Let's say, in the example of ambushing, our characters do not trust our ambusher. Maybe it's a gut feeling, or we decided to roll and passed our Sense Motive check and decide that we should lay low and tread safely. What does the GM do then? It's why I prefer to prep scenes and not scripts. Being flexible and adaptable is a good trait to have for GM, rather than having a rigid story. Especially with how unpredictable the PCs are.

Now whenever I bring this up, people will always bring up how to have a villain do their plot without railroading. You can still have a villain do their plot without forcing the characters into any kind of scene. Just imagine the villain is a thinking agent against the party. What would they do if the players threw a monkey wrench into their plans? Or, what would they do if the players failed but got away? Villains can still do their plans behind the scenes so to speak while taking to account the players now hampering their plans. Look at, say, the show Luke Cage for great examples of a villain whose plans get wrecked, but then adapts. Or you can have the players stumble into your villain's plan when it's almost complete. They follow clues and investigate, interrogating people, and make it to the grand set piece encounter you really want to run. But again, it's the players making the attempts at, in this case, investigating and letting their actions spur you on. If they fail, then the villain's plan goes like normal and now people have to deal with the aftermath of it. And now you have a new, cool adventure to run.

It's not really about playing fair either. You can definitely have the odds stacked against the players in a scenario. The idea is more to organically weave a believable tale of your players' success or defeat without the usual literary contrivances and plot holes. Their success and failure and adventuring through the consequences helps the players feel much more immersed and involved in your game world when their choices have real weight. Real consequences, positive or negative.

I'm not saying let them succeed. Far from it. I'm saying, let them attempt and see where it takes the story. Their actions and their consequences will help build a story that they will be invested in and enjoy. And as a GM of this, there is something exciting about seeing what your players do and thinking up the results of their actions. It's like reading a book you've never read before, but you're writing it too.

That's the strength of D&D over other storytelling methods. The ability to surprise your players and conversely, the ability for them to surprise you. And I wouldn't trade that for the world.


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dwayne germaine wrote:
Chess Pwn wrote:


I believe the issue is the "GM handwave you autofail this" thing.
If a GM mechanically pulls of a surprise attack or ambush then cool. If we get jumped at night and had no watch we probably die.
But to have a GM say that the guy with 100 perception at lv5 auto-fails his spot check because the GM wanted to have an ambush, that is the issue the OP has. The GM breaking rules of the game because "it makes his story better".

I have no problem with a GM autofailing the entire party on something (though probably not something that ta player is specialized against) if it will advance the plot in a fun and interesting way.

I'm curious what this contrived situation of the theoretical 100 perception character getting auto-failed on seeing something comes in to the discussion. No one has mentioned anything like that happening. Even if it did happen, it might be a bit lazy at worst. Sure, the GM should probably have come up with something like a high DC sleep poison, or a Will save, or other plot device that gets the party in the situation that the GM is building things around. That would probably be better, but the results will be the same. The GM should just have picked another way that makes more sense to facilitate his plot.

But YOU just made up that contrivance to make this theoretical GM look bad. The OP didn't even play in the campaign in question, so I'm not sure how you can be so certain that the GM did anything like that. I certainly never said that the GM should feel free to take liberty in negating something that a player heavily invested in. If I'm the GM I'm just going to find another way of making this happen, and I'm not convinced that the GM in the OP's story did anything like what you are suggesting.

See, I'm not a fan of the GM shoehorning the players into a scenario to advance a plot. Rather, I'd have the plot come from what happens when the players are presented with a scenario that could land them into something and seeing what they do.

Let's say we wanted someone to ambush the players and capture them. I'd have them try and trick the players, with having a decent sized force for just in case someone makes the save. And from there, I let the scenario play out.

If the players all fail their saves to drink the poison in their cups, then viola! You have your escape from the jail adventure ready to go.

If only some fail, then you have the rest having to make a choice: fight, surrender, or flee. Then play it out. If a player escapes, then suddenly, you have an interesting scenario where the single player (or two) come back later to free their friends. I'd probably have the caught players play as some back up, or have a side by side rping of the fleeing players breaking in while the caught players breaking out.

If all of them survive, then things get interesting. They can surrender, fight, or flee, but at least now, they have some numbers. If they surrender, get dropped, or get caught, then you have your escape the jail sequence. If they make it out alive, now you have a chase sequence. They have a very angry pursuer trying to get them, and now they have to try and lose him/her and escape. Or, imagine that they are able to hide, if only briefly, in the mansion/keep/castle of their ambusher. Now the scenario becomes an escape from the mansion before their would be captor gets them.

Either way, you have a good story in your hands. Limiting to just the escape just boxes you away from the myriad of interesting possibilities that can play out if one just lets the players do their thing. The following scenarios just feel less forced and become more organic events that are real consequences to what the players do.

A while back, a buddy planned a similar ambush. We all escaped but one guy. So what he did was have us roleplay as the guards while our captured PC tried to escape. He almost made it too. It was extremely fun and a completely different perspective from the game that is memorable even to this day. Nobody got forced into it. it was just a natural result of the events from before. It was much more rewarding as a plot point and as a game than just being handwaved into a prison cell, even with the odds stacked against us.

I guess my point is, getting the story out of the players and their actions is ultimately more rewarding than forcing a story out of them and pushing their actions to that.


Or just don't spend the money and do it yourself. That way you get what you want out of the archetype.


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I just realized I fat fingered the o and i and called him PissableCabbage.

I am so sorry.


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Honestly, I don't really require this book because I don't mind just having my players find a drake/wyvern/dragon, befriend it, and have a mount.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
It's fine to start a campaign like this, cheezy to pull it at lvl 10.

Legitimate question. Is it unreasonable to have a segment of a campaign take place in an region where magic simply does not function, so your magic items are mundane versions of those items, you cannot cast spells or activate SLAs, or access your transdimensional storage, provided you design the encounters to be things that your party can overcome without any of that stuff?

Can I do that at level 10? Sure, this hoses the wizard way more than the fighter, but what if this is a deliberate scenerio where the point is for the fighter to be more useful than the wizard for once. Obviously you don't run the entire campaign like this, but I don't see a big difference between "someone took all your gear, go get it back" and "in this section of these ancient ruins magic doesn't work right, but you have to get through it."

Honestly, as a player I find those scenes where I feel disempowered are great because they add contrast that lets me feel truly powerful later.

Generally, it feels hamfisted and short sighted. Not really thought out through enough. Personally, I'd run it with either A) some foreshadowing to it if it's a place people have been to. Rumors and such.

Or B) make it gradual. When you are at the borderlands of, say, the Mana Wastes, have magic act more chaotically. As you get deeper, magic goes more haywire until it stops completely. I'd even have some lodestones in the outskirts that act as magic inhibiters, which foreshadow the anti magic zone to come. It feels more organic and 'natural' and allows for a risk and reward mechanic for the player. Do I cast and run the risk of it going haywire? Do I lead these magic adventurers to a antimagic lodestone to ambush them? It still disempowers the player but gives a meaningful option for them in the process. I find that to be a more interesting narrative and gameplay mechanic.


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Can't say I'm a fan of the GM Handwave Autofail. Now, if the GM sat down, levelled with us and say "Hey, I'm kind of interested in running a scenario where you survive without gear. Is this cool?", then I think I'd be more for it. I probably wouldn't do it myself as a DM, but as a player, I give a lot of trust to my GM for this.

If it was the starting conceit of the campaign, like Serpent Skull or a DCC styled Funnel, I'd definitely be down. As PissableCabbage said, it can be fun starting a campaign like this. I have done this and the previous example and it turned out great.

But if it's just rocks fall, you lose your stuff, no save, without any form of retaliation or fighting back... I'd have some terse words for the GM. Not a fan of being railroaded into a scenario.


EileenProphetofIstus wrote:
Odraude wrote:
If you want something a bit less nebulous that simply 'nature', have them worship the spirits of nature. Something akin to many of the animistic religions of old.
Spirits of nature would be very good for Druids. Can you give me some examples of what you have in mind?

Read a lot about shamanistic religions and old paegan religions. Shintoism is a good start honestly. Some other modern day religions include Vodou, Santeria, and the Neo Pagan movement. But some basics for this include the following:

- Personal, idiosyncrasy. animistic religions tend to be much more personal and less structured than their ecclesiastic cousins. There is still a religious leader in the group, but generally, there isn't a set scripture or set of rules. Shamans, medicine men, witch doctors, witches, and druids all exist as helpers and sages that do lead people during rituals. But ultimately, your beliefs are yours.

- Animism and Shamanism are important aspects to understand. Animism is the belief that there are spirits and souls that inhabit everything. The trees, the stones, the rivers, the animals... However, this doesn't mean that the spirits are good or friendly. Some might be mean and petty, demanding respect. That's where the shaman comes in. The shaman is an intermediary between the spirits and their spirit world, and our material world. Generally, this involves going into altered states of consciousness via hallucinogens or withholding food and water.

- Many will pray to different spirits depending on the situation. If I am going on a journey, i'll pray to the spirit of the roads and the woods to make it safe. I may pray to the spirits of brewing to make sure my beer comes out good. Things like that. That said, you can still have a tutilary spirit that watches over you, your household, or your family. Patron gods and totem spirits are good examples of this.

- Rituals are really important, just like in more ecclesiastic religions. They do take a bit more of a different shape though. Dancing and song are extremely important, not only for expressing your belief in your religion, but keeping the village together. Stories are also very important like in modern religion. Though depending on the culture, you could have everything written down or everything down orally. These stories tend to be focused a bit more on explaining nature via aitions and pourquoi fables. Though you can still have a fable or parable that focus on morality and ethics that you woudl see in later religions.

- Usage of natural effigies are important. Again, these tend to be personal to the individual or the clan/tribe. Fetishes and totems are examples of this.

Mind you, much of this is an oversimplification, but it's a good start. I have more stuff, but I have chores and work to do. I'll have to come by later.


If you want something a bit less nebulous that simply 'nature', have them worship the spirits of nature. Something akin to many of the animistic religions of old.


Honestly, it's easy enough for a good GM to simply file off the names and use it for your own setting. Should be a lot of good inspiration here for me to read.


Idk if I'd keep divine casters evil. Seems a bit too limiting.

I have always like the idea of gods that are distant. Maybe the gods are sleeping right now, but can still grant powers. Or the Celestial Bureaucracy prevents them from interfering. Or the gods are dead and people are just getting their powers from their husks. Lots of options there I think.

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