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For a while now I've been working on rules to run an E6 Fallout campaign using 3.5/PF as a base. I'd like to share what I've got so far and would appreciate some feedback. I have yet to finish the Bestiary as well chapters on Action Points, NPC Classes, Random Scavenging, and Vehicles & Maneuvers.
Character Creation and Advancment
About a month ago on my Monday night game:
The party had arrived in an isolated, creepy swamp-town ruled by a cruel theocrat of an evil god and reluctantly agreed to do a job for him which required that they trek through untamed wilderness. They asked for some lighter armor since they were mostly wearing medium maror and not only wanted to move faster in an area that already cuts their overland speed but also didn't want to die due to armor check penalties when trying to Climb/Swim their way out of quicksand, so, after succeeding on a Diplomacy check, they were loaned some leather armor by the guards. I had them note that a large symbol of the theocracy had ben scorched into the leather. Not a one of them having ranks in Survival, they hired a local hunter to help them not get lost along their journey.
On their first night around the campfire, the party's cleric asked the hunter what she and her family thought of the theocrat. The hunter stares at the symbol of the theocracy on the cleric's armor and responds, monotone, "We love the theocrat."
Can't believe I forgot this one from a long time ago in an old AD&D game.
The party had finally encountered the BBEG who was bent on conquering the world, as BBEGs are wont to do, and just learned his motivation, deciding to try talking him down before simply attempting to smash his head in.
BBEG: "What better gift for the love of my life than the world itself along with all its splendors?"
Fact. Many things deny you your Dex bonus. Few things make you flat-footed.
The Forgotten wrote:
So in your opinion what is silent Mage good for. I have to say putting illusionry magic marbles on the floor to Crete difficult terrain seems like a perfectly valid application of the spell. Shadow conjuration is for when somebody makes there save and still gets nailed with the spell.
Creating the appearance of a hazard (like the appearance of a pit) so an area is avoided.
Creating an opaque barrier to block sight.
Creating the image of a potential target for foes to waste attacks on.
Need more examples?
I don't think so Karlgamer. For example, here I am in combat with X. I cast an illusion, making it obvious that I am casting a spell, and make the image of a bunch of blue-glowing, obviously magical, marbles rolling around on the floor underfoot. In a world where magic is understood to exist, my opponent is going to try an avoid stepping on them: he takes an acrobatics check, which makes him loose his dex benefit. This will be interaction with the illusion, which would give him a saving throw, but he's already committed to the check. The saving throw is anything from him noticing some detail about the marbles that's wrong, to him accidentally stepping on one, and discovering it won't trip him by involuntary experiment...
Incorrect. A silent image cannot force an Acrobatics check. At best you can cause an opponent to believe there are marbles in a nearby square and make them want to avoid that square for fear of having to make an Acrobatics check. But they won't actually have to make one if they end up there.
On Wednesday I'll be kicking off a new campaign. I want the game to start on an exciting note. I've built the following encounter to jump right in and begin the session. I'd like a bit of help fine-tuning it. The party will be starting at level 1 and for non-combat encounters I plan on giving out XP for a CR equal to APL. Any suggestions on enhancing/improving/tweaking the encounter as well as comments on its relative difficulty/unforseen issues would be welcome.
Enounter, spoiler for length:
ENCOUNTER 1: THE SUDDEN SQUALL (CR 1)
This event occurs 21 days after the Autumn Wind has sailed out of Port Godless. about a day and a half out from Blackwind Port. Despite skirting the Eye of Abendego the sky and sea have been calm, and though the gulf is usually rife with piracy no threats have presented themselves.
It is late evening on your 21st day at sea. The stars hide behind, low dark clouds, which rumble with tell-tale thunder, and the chill wind picks up, pelting you with seaspray and causing the deck-lanterns to dance wildly and cast ominous shadows. A spiderweb of lightning crackles through the sky for the briefest moment illuminating the concern on the stern captain’s weathered face as she grips the helm. A wave crashes into the ship, nearly knocking you from your feet. “Ready yourselves, lads,”[b] the dwarf, Rolin, who serves as the ship’s first mate comments. [b]“Gozreh won’t let us skirt the eye with ease.”
This encounter takes place over the course of 10 rounds, during which 6 problems arise. The PCs must effectively handle 5 of the 6 issues to spare the ship from sinking. If the PCs are successful, they will sail into Port late the next afternoon, none worse for the wear, with the crew’s gratitude. If the PCs fail to save the vessel, they wash up on the beach in 2 morning’s time, nearly dead. During the encounter there is a thunderstorm in effect. This imposes a -8 penalty on Perception checks, a -4 penalty on ranged weapon attacks, and checks Small characters. All exposed flames are automatically extinguished and there is a 50% chance each round that any protected flame is extinguished. If all light sources are extinguished then dim light conditions prevail (the lightning is providing some illumination). A DC 12 Acrobatics check is needed for characters attempting to move at greater than half of their normal speed upon the wet, storm-tossed deck. The storm and the crew all act on initiative 10. each round. The crew generally have positions and jobs (such as fixing leaks or bailing water) and will not deviate barring extreme circumstances. Each round there is a cumulative 10% chance that a strong wave pushes or pulls everyone on deck in a random direction. This is treated as a bull rush maneuver with an effective CMB or +4. Characters pushed over a rail may attempt a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid going overboard. After each wave the chance is reset.
Round 1: The crew, having mostly just awoken by the sudden storm, and half-dressed and groggy, and very disorganized. They clumsily scramble about aimlessly, causing more harm than good as many of them file up on deck. The captain is keeping a tight grip on the helm and her shouts to command her team are being drowned out by the high winds and peels of thunder.
A DC 15 Diplomacy check or a DC 12 Intimidate check is sufficient to get the crew into proper order.
Round 2: A particularly strong gust of wind causes the mast to groan and the rigging to snap! It flails about in the high winds damaging the boat and injuring all who come in its path.
The rigging attacks a random PC each round with a +1 to hit, dealing 1d6 damage on a successful attack. Any attacked PC can attempt a DC 15 Reflex save to grab the rope and may tie it off to an object with a standard action. Each round that the rigging is held by a player the player must make a DC 10 Strength check or let go of the rope, allowing it to strike at another target.
Round 3: A slew of curses is heard near the helm where the wheel seems to have locked up. The captain struggles with all of her might as the ship steadily tips to its side, unable to right the Autumn Wind.
A DC 15 Disable Device or Strength check made as a standard action is sufficient to fix unlock the helm.
Round 4: A bolt of lightning explodes by the bow of the ship, narrowly missing Elyrn, the cabin boy, who is trying to coax his pet hound , fang, from where it cowers. Flames instantly ignite about him, sealing the duo from the rest of the ship. He screams with fright and hollers for help.
2 things need to occur to solve this problem. The fire needs to be extinguished and the boy and his dog need to be saved. The fire can be put out by smothering it, or dousing it in water; it may even go out on its own. Each round the ship may attempt a DC 20 Reflex save per flaming 5-foot-square. It gets a +2 circumstance bonus from the rain. If smothered or doused with water it gets an additional +4 circumstance bonus for each such attempt during the previous round. If the fire is not put out it spreads to another 5-foot-square in a random direction. If asked, 1d4 of the nearest sailors will instantly stop what they are doing to aid in the attempt to put out the flames. After the fire is put out the dog must be coaxed to safety, either with a DC 12 Handle Animal check, or by grappling it and moving it.
Round 5: The mast snaps under the pressure of a tremendous gale! It swings down at a 90-degree angle, barely attached dropping beams and debris to the deck below. A screech is heard from Adreaf; he hangs by his fingertips from the tipped over crows nest 20 feet over the deck!
A PC interested in saving Adreaf must climb the rigging 20 feet vertically with a DC 10 climb check and then brachiate 10 feet horizontally with a DC 15 Climb check to reach the imperiled crewman, spending a standard action aiding him.
Round 6: One of the beams from the broken mast tumbles down upon Rolin with a sickening crack! He lays limp under the heavy beam and blood begins to flow into the rain.
Lifting the beam requires a DC 15 Strength check, after which the dwarf must be stabilized via magical healing or a DC 15 Heal check.
When making a full-attack action with a bow, your first attack fires two arrows. If the attack hits, both arrows hit. Apply precision-based damage (such as sneak attack) and critical hit damage only once for this attack. Damage bonuses from using a composite bow with a high Strength bonus apply to each arrow, as do other damage bonuses, such as a ranger's favored enemy bonus. Damage reduction and resistances apply separately to each arrow.
Deciding Between an Attack or a Full Attack wrote:
After your first attack, you can decide to take a move action instead of making your remaining attacks, depending on how the first attack turns out and assuming you have not already taken a move action this round. If you've already taken a 5-foot step, you can't use your move action to move any distance, but you could still use a different kind of move action.
You don't have to decide whether you are full attacking or just standard attacking until after you see if your first attack hit. You only get an extra arrow for your first attack if you full attack.
If I am an archer with Manyshot do I:
I don't view any class as being particularly useless anywhere as a whole; it all depends on how they are built. Paladins generally have a good Cha which can be useful in a social situations, and healing and restorative abilities to help with diseases, poisons, and other adverse conditions. Physical skill DCs and Cha-based skill DCs don't get so high that Paladins will continually need to have max ranks in skills to be effective in them, so they are free to spread a few around.
My players now know to begin sudden OoC statements by saying the words "out of character" first.
My group says "oog" first (out-of-game). Though that eventually led to a trend of a particular player saying and/or doing something stupid and then yelling: "Oog! Oog!" afterward while facing the repercussions.
So; you get more resources than before, but need to spend more resources to gain the same benefit. Doesn't that mean all you're really getting is complication?
I love how people seem to think the DM needs to do anything special to orchestrate a TPK.
Well, if you don't file all of the correct TPK forms beforehand the DGM (Department of Game Mastering) revokes your liscense for 5 years, and then you have to pass a written test. Its a whole pain in the ass. Best just to go through all of the proper channels.
You can choose to cast a spell at a lower caster level; that's not my problem, rules-wise. But dispel magic says you automatically succeed on your check to dispel any spell you cast yourself. Not you can or you may, but that you automatically do. Not only can he cannot choose to fail, he has no chance of failure.
I don't think the wizard can intentionally fail a dispel magic check (the only rule I can find about foregoing and failing a roll is about saving throws). In fact, if they were his own explosive runes I think he automatically succeeds to dispel them under the dispel magic rules. Surely at some point in the adventure an arcane sight or detect magic would be involved (especially at the level where a dispel magic, greater is being used), so the players should have a chance to see the magic auras anyway. Feels very forced.
Timothy Withem wrote:
It's counter-productive to get 10 rounds to destroy the undead while not risking injury to anyone? How does PF channel compare in that scenario? Cute contrived situation though.
Please stop trying to use a CR 6 20HD zombie as an example to back up your argument.
Just counter with ANY undead from PF to show how well Channel Positive Energy affects them (hint, it doesn't). I'd rather have an ability that does what it is supposed to a good chunk of the time (3.5's Turn Undead) of the time rather than one that almost never works (PF's Channel Positive Energy to harm undead).
Removal of alignment. Characters and creatures do not need to list alignments. Only undead, deathless, aligned outsiders, and dragons have their appropriate alignment. Characters with the aura ability (such as clerics and paladins) are treated as the alignment of their diety for purposes of spells and effects. Smite evil smites any intelligent creature (or unintelligent creature if it is actually evil; see the creature types above).
That is not correct. The truth is that if you really focus and you have an undead campaign you get something a little better. I can't really call it meaningful when zombies(the minion undead) are laughing at your turn attempts, unless of course you are advocating stepping outside of core, which is not a point in your favor since that just shows how bad the ability is.
Zombies laugh just as hard at channeling positive energy to harm them as they would at 3.5's turn undead, because the damage you will deal (even on the very off chance that they fail their save and take full damage) is negligible. The point is that you can actually affect some things with 3.5's turn undead (even instantly destroy a few enemies), unlike PF's channel positive energy, which doesn't even match up to a rogue's sneak attack damage. Not only do you have to expend your ability to heal in PF, but you gain nothing for doing so (in many cases less than 10% of a monster's total HP). The ability to hurt undead with channel positive energy is a waste of space and an appeal to flavor; PF effectively removed the cleric's class feature of being able to deal with undead with a method other than spells.
I have yet to see an argument as to why something as limited as turn undead is better than something that stays useful all the time. I am not saying channel is great, but it is at least mediocre.
To be clear: I'm advocating keeping channel positive energy for healing, but divorcing it from dealing with undead, and having a separate ability to turn or damage undead- one that at least functions some of the time with an increase in usability if you put some resources toward it (preferably one that doesn't diminish your ability to contribute via healing). PF has no such ability. 3.5's turn undead was better for dealing with undead than PF's channel positive energy, because you could at least use it to good effect occasionally. Without investing your entire character's resources into buffing channel positive energy (including taking resources outside the CRB) you cannot do that. And even when you do, it is still an all right ability at best, which is terrible for being the culmination of a lot of effort.
Is channel positive energy better than turn undead? Yes, but only because it heals the party and adds length to an adventuring day. When you use that resource to damage undead it suddenly becomes worse because you are expending healing for no gain. The abilities should be separate so they can each function instead of awkwardly mashing them together and pretending like clerics have a special ability to battle undead.
The ability loses power damage-wise because the monster's hit points outscale it as you level up so just like turn undead it falls off at higher levels in that regard. Unlike turn undead it has other uses such as healing people and saving party resources.
Channeling positive energy to harm undead fails right from the start and never becomes useful because the damage is too little. To make it have a meaningful effect you need to take a feat to alter that damage into something useful (a design flaw), and then pump resources into until things stop failing their saves only on a natural 1. At least turn undead was used occasionally.
I was talking about the preference of having something that stays useful vs something that does not. I never saw demonstration of channel failing. If you consider channel to be a primary damage ability first then it fails, but I don't. I see it as a success because it stays useful without me having to invest in it. If I do choose to invest it does not take much most the selective channel. I guess if you want channel to be an offensive minded ability that it would be a failure in your eyes.
When it replaces an offensive ability, then yes, it fails in my eyes. My entire position is speaking about channeling positive energy to harm undead versus turn undead. One can have a meaningful game effect, the other doesn't (well, it does, if you consider wasting a healing resource to pretend like you are helping in a fight a meaningful game effect).
For me any ability that is niche and falls of the map even when used with its niche very early is a failure. Yeah you might fight vampire, and get a lucky high dice rolls, but dependence on the dice gods is not helping turn undead get any more points.
In my analysis of channel positive energy to damage to turn undead you are just as reliant on "dice gods" for monsters to roll those natural 1s and be affected (for only 1 round if they are intelligent, and that is after burning a feat). 8 of 21 basic undead need to roll a 1 on their saving throw. Your best chance of success is 35%! To increase this, yes, you need to expend resources, but for some reason the second you say that a 3.5 cleric could expend resources to increase his chances of success, then there is design flaw.