|Paizo Pathfinder® Paizo Games|
|About Paizo Messageboards News Paizo Blog Help/FAQ|
Gary Teter wrote:
An observer mode for a public game would be good. Observer = gets to watch, otherwise locked out of input.
In terms of longterm API, hooks for someone to ultimately get basic combat values from, ultimately, a Herolab sheet would appear to be optimal.
We'll be chatting tonight, Sunday March 17, 2013 at 6:30 pm PSt/9:30 pm EST with Chris Pramas of Green Ronin on Chronicles LIVE. Check it out on Google Hangouts, on Youtube when complete, or you can wait for the podcast audio feed on iTunes tomorrow. Psst: that Jason Bulmahn fellow might be joining us as well. See you there!
So far, I think it has been very successful. I credit that to having run 7 of the 12 installments before; knowing the overall story arc very well; and knowing Golarion very well.
All of that has allowed me to make more out of the Age of Worms than could be achieved by just running it out of the book, as written.
I also believe that modification of the story, settings and encounters, and using a judicious rasp to file off the burs and make the whole thing fit "better" for your group is an approach that can and SHOULD be used running every single AP that Paizo has ever released, without a singular exception.
Given the manner in how they are written, the one constant throughout the past seven years is that they are written and developed under incredibly tight time pressures. Accordingly, it's just not possible for one developer to do everything they can to shepherd the best possible AP out the door that they could develop if they had twice the time to do it.
Those are their workplace realities. But they are not OUR workplace realities. We have more time. LOTS more time.
So take that time and add + reduce, trim and cut, mold and strengthen whatever AP you choose to make it your own in order to fit your players' needs best. It doesn't matter which AP you run using this approach, your game will be the better for those efforts.
Age of Worms, Re-Rolled: A Pathfinder AP set in Golarion
I thought I would post an update to my current Age of Worms, Re-Rolled campaign. As I have posted elsewhere in this forum, my Age of Worms campaign has been converted to Pathfinder RPG and has been completely converted to Golarion. Without giving too much away, the central conceit is that the Greyhawk NPC's and mythos which lies at the heart of Age of Worms has been completely excised and has been redesigned with the NPCs and mythos of Golarion substituted.
Note: I have created a design document to convert Age of Worms for use in Golarion for this and anyone who is interested may PM me for that design document as I do not want to post it here (my players read this message board). The current document is a work in progress, but weighs in at 5600+ words.
Events in The Champion's Belt
The Heroes travelled from Diamond Lake to Egoria, (the "Free City") a journey of about 3.5 days along the Imperial Highway on horseback in search of Ezren ("Allastan") who disappeared via a telepport spell carrying Harsk at the beginning of Encounter at Blackwall Keep. At the time, Harsk had been infected by a "slow worm" and was on the verge of turning into a Spawn of Groetus.
During the course of the events of Hall of Harsh Reflections, Ezren's daughter, Marzena worked with Grandmaster Torch to find the location of Ezren without success. As The Champion's Belt began and the Great Fire was lit to start the Games, the heroes met at the ding room of an absent Chelish noble. The home's owners were absent, but the great dining room was in use by GrandMaster Torch as he entertained the heroes, Marzena and a new companion, the sorceress Seoni (Celeste). Seoni confirmed that no trace of either Ezren or Harsk had been found in Absalom. Given the considerable enchantments placed upon the former "Heroes of Westcrown" to prevent them from being magically located -- no spell would ever locate the missing pair. Still, where magic would fail, old-fashioned intelligence, rumours and informants might yet provide a clue. A few pointed to the involvement of Lord Valeros (Loris Raknian) as the man who was behind the attempt on the PCs life at the hands of the doppelgangers.
As the dinner unfolded and the Heroes prepared to feats, a silver chafing dish was uncovered to reveal a rack of lamb. Beneath the cover of the dish, a delayed blast fireball went off at the table severely injuring the Heroes and almost killing Grandmaster Torch. In the panic, smoke and fire which followed the Heroes escaped from the capital and returned via teleportation to Ezren's home in Diamond Lake to heal up and prepare for entry into the Champion's Belt. While there, the PC Wizard, Felinx who had been working on his familiarity with Ancient Azlanti, noticed amongst Ezren's papers the old Azlantui runes for the word "Icosiol".
Thinking little more of it, the Heroes prepared to return to Egoria and to enter the competition for the Champion's Belt. Under the protection of the Fires of Peace, even the hero pledged to the worship of the Dawnflower might safely reveal his divine spellcasting power safely within Cheliax -- as long as the Hellfires of Peace burned, at least.
Gladiator Studs for Hire...
The tourney progressed and, with some difficulty, the Heroes prevailed against the competition. Between matches, the Last Knight of Aroden was visited by the Chelish noblewoman Ilya, who the Heroes had rescued from bondage in Sodden Hold. Entering into a private chamber beneath the Arena, the Lady Ilya had paid dearly for the privilege of spending some... quality time... with the gladiator of her choice.
Following their tryst, the Last Knight learned that last year's champion, Auric, had a similar tryst last year with Hakim's (Ekaym) missing sister, the Lady Lahaka last year during the games. Understandably, Auric was reticent to speak of his tryst with the Lady Lahaka, given that she was the second wife of the Minister of Punishment, Lord Valeros of Blackstone -- the Chancellor of the Arena and patron responsible for the Champion's Belt tournament.
Later investigations of the rest of the chambers beneath the Arean ultimately lead the Heroes to Bozal's lair, the Apostolic Scroll and the Great Worm. Bozal was defeated and slain and the secret passage to the wine cellar of Blackstone castle found as well -- but the Scroll could not be touched and the Worm remained in its force field cocoon.
On the eve of the final battle against Auric and Khellk, the Lady Seoni, in disguise visited the Last Knight posing as a matron who had paid for his stud services. Seoni revealed that in an attempt to hunt down GM Torch's would be assassin, the clues lead to Merisiel, a former adventuring companion of Seoni from the old days. Seoni advised the Heroes that she had defeated Merisiel's plot to have Bozol raised from the dead in Absalom, but Merisiel had eluded capture. Seoni also revealed that a copy of the Apastolic Scroll she had read in the holdings of the Arcanamirium indicated that a sacrifical event involving the great worm Ulgurstasta and the Blood of a Champion could have apocalyptic consequences. Seoni subtly suggested to the Last Knight that it might be best if he and his companions did not win the match -- but Takomah rejected the advice.
Other events in the city in the two days leading up to the final battle in the arena also changed the celebratory tone of the city of Egoria. Some event in Andoran -- a great battle as the rumor went -- had emptied the city of most of the troops that had patrolled the streets. The Queen and the Infernal Court was also said to have left for the battlefield and many of the Infernal Court's Wizards who had acted as Umpires at the battle and tended the force field surrounding the competition had also left the city for the front.
The Final Battle
During the course of the final showdown with the Grand-Champion Auric, Khellek and their Flesh Golems, the heroes witnessed a fatal attack on the Archmage Talibir, Umpire of the Games, by Lord Valeros from within the Royal Box. At that time, the Ulgurstasta burst from its holding chamber into the arena and Pandemonium ensued.
As matters turned out, the battle against the Ulgurstasta was touch and go. The worm did not burst through the floor of the arena until the 4th round of combat and by that time, Auric had been brought to near death by the efforts of the Heroes during the contest. The Great Worm had the Champion in its mouth and if it had swallowed the Champion, an apocalypse would have been unleashed upon Egoria.
As chaos unfolded, the Last Knight strained to hear the urgent whispered words of a far-off woman, pleading help -- or perhaps providing instructions. Whatever the case, the words could not be heard and the Champion was soon to be swallowed. The world's fate teetered on the edge of the razor's blade.
However, at that moment, the elven Ranger Yuimiara saved the day (and the world) by firing three arrows at the Worm, doing 89 points to it with one attack. The demon worm was brought to (Un)Death's door and was easily dispatched before the worm could swallow its sacrificial prize.
In the immediate wake of the attack on Talibir and the worm's entry into the arena, the Crown Prince and Lord Valeros had vanished during the chaos and there was still fighting within the Arena halls. The surviving Umpire dropped the force field and the Heroes quickly provided to the Infernal Court their notes concerning the worms and the cult of Groetus. As the Wizards traded words, Seoni dropped to the sands and told Takomah that earlier that morning Diamond Lake had been destroyed by a dragon.
We resume on Monday, Feb 25, 2013 with Wolfgang Baur's "A Gathering of Winds".
Downtime systems, story feats and -- perhaps the best and most obvious thing to emerge in a D&D RPG since 1974: an Honor system which rewards a player for sticking to his PC's personal code.
"A man's got to have a code."
- Omar Little, The Wire
Paizo continues to take risks and forge new paths with the Pathfinder hardback series. I continue to look forward to Ultimate Campaign more than any other hardcover that Paizo has yet released. Let's hope the reality lives up to the hype -- and most of all -- to the hopes of fans.
Stephen Radney-MacFarland wrote:
Map Pack - Sewer System:
Simply Awesome. Buy *three* copies with complete confidence. (And yes, I have three copies of the original Sewers map packs as well - but only because they were on sale during the 10th anniv sale.)
SRM's approach to Map Packs is the best thing to happen to the GameMastery Map Pack line since the product line started (and yes, I'm well aware that's saying something).
When it comes to adventures, the market has clearly indicated that people prefer long and epic adventures and have very little interest in smaller adventures. (At least when it comes to buying them. What people actually play is anybody's guess).
The Adventure Path concept itself is Exhibit "A" in this trend. As we look at other 3rd party adventure products, once more, it is the long and lengthy campaign adventures that sell: Rappan Athuk, Slumbering Tsar? These sell. The Rise of the Runelords hardcover? Big seller once again.
Compared to 32 page modules? The sales figures are rather telling. While we don't have hard data on this from within Paizo, we do have sales figures from retailers. At Black Diamond Games, for example, sales at that store indicate that the entire 32 page module line is less than 3% of the store's overall Pathfinder RPG sales volume. Their turn rate is low as well.
APs are three times -- and closing in on four times those sales figures at BDG. Because of the subscription model that Paizo uses for direct sales, my guess is that the AP line clearly sells better than that directly to hardcore fans and the AP line is Paizo's flagship for a reason.
Which leads one to wonder why Pathfinder Society is emphasizing the play of one-off unconnected adventures at all. Put bluntly, I think the entire concept behind PFS Scenarios is the perpetuation of a play style that has not existed since 2nd Edition. It is the selling of yesterday's game using yesterday's adventures. Why? There has got to be a better way of accommodating casual attendance than presenting an endless supply of one-off adventures where the story content is only a little above that presented in Farmville.
In a world where players are linked to the web via smartphones, tablets and computers virtually everywhere, at every time, there has GOT to be a better way than promoting a playstyle that has its roots in the 70s and which clearly isn't selling any more.
(Yes. I get to say things like this again Jeff :))
I think I approach this topic from a very different perspective than many posters here, in terms of the foes I prefer to see in PFS and those I look forward to seeing in the future.
No Thematic Approach to Monsters
With perhaps a slight bias in Season 3 to Eastern flavored monster types (and that's *quite* a catch all) there has not been a thematic approach to what monsters we are fighting at the table. The themes in terms of season design breaks down, more or less, as follows:
In short, what I want to see is a coherent STORY emerge out of a Season of PFS, not a series of theme park rides set in a region. The story should engage the player, the use of interesting environmental challenges should entertain them and make them think, while the maps and minis should be eye candy which creates and sells visual excitement to both players and non-players alike.
Enough with the Multiple Files Already
Lastly: Can we PLEASE stop sending the GM to some other stat block published in another book in a PFS scenario? We have PDFs for these scenarios and there is no print product or page length concern engaged. At all. Ever. EVER. Yes, I have the books in hardcover, yes, I have the books in PDF (all VC's do) but the stat blocks are available online anyways. Can we just STOP with this file/book chase? Especially if we are going to use more monsters from Bestiary 2 and Bestiary 3 in the future?
My pattern is to run the scenario straight from my iPad and from what I can see, that a habit a LOT of PFS GMs are following. The more I need to open another document in another tab and navigate to it, the more my game slows down. Please put the stat block in the scenario and don't make me go look somewhere else for it.
This design "feature" slows down my game and there does not appear to be a valid commercial goal behind this decision at all. Convince me that there is a valid commercial interest being served here and I'll shut up. To date, that argument has not been made and the design feature is adversely impacting the quality of my game. I can't be the only GM out there that this is affecting.
The laziest way possible to put these minis down on your table so that they can be used is of course to do nothing at all with them.
Beyond that, a quick color code system can be used depending on the type of mini (PC, NPC, undead, etc.) The way you do this is NOT to use a paint, but to use a PVC dye. It's pretty inexpensive stuff, too.
Example of home made PVC dyes: Click HERE
After the PVC dye is applied, you can use Army Painter Strong quickshade to bring out some shadows and details. Please do not confuse Army Painter Strong Quickshade with an ink wash. That's not what this product is and it is not a GW Devlan Brown wash substitute. Army Painter Quickshade is a hobby branded substitute instead of using a Minwax Polyshade Mahogany Dip. Both are oil based varnish products. It goops on and must be brushed off and left to dry for 24 hours or so, depending on your relative humidity. It goes on really dark and you wonder "what the hell have I done" but it dries mostly clear and creates shadows and depths in the model near the fold and corners of limbs, fabrics and so forth.
If you are looking at exerting the least amount of effort while still trying to do something with your Bones before you put em on the table - PVC dye plus a Minwax Polyshade dip is your ticket. You could dye and dip an entire Vampire pledge mini set in an afternoon if you cared to using this method.
You know, there was a reason why DM Screens were considered mandatory equipment back-in-the-day. It wasn't just so the DM could look up the saving throw and to hit tables. The open secret was that the screen was there so the DM could fudge his die rolls behind the screen and NOT kill 10 characters in a row in an arbitrary fashion.
When the DM got down and dirty he started rolling in FRONT of the screen. That's when the tension levels started to rise during the game sessions.
Without character death, the game becomes boring. With too much character death, the game becomes UN-Fun. Where the happy medium lies will vary with the GM and players, but it's not an unrestrained read-em-and-weep killfest. Not in 1st Ed -- and not intended to be so in The Slumbering Tsar Saga, either.
I never use a GM Screen with Pathfinder and I don't know any GM who does. There's a reason for that -- just as in the past, there was a reason that their use was the rule, not the exception.
My ENWorld review on Pathfinder Battles: Rise of the Runelords is now available HERE.
Short strokes: With Pathfinder Battles: Rise of the Runelords, Wizkids has provided a large set of miniatures that offers excellent quality with some truly unique and dramatic figures. All of this is great and well appreciated. The problem with the set -- the only problem -- is the price tag which attaches to all of this.
I also made a Youtube unboxing video and review, which when it has finished uploading should be available HERE. (Warning, the video is lengthy at about 45 mins or so in duration.)
I would also point out that it IS possible for a cleric to receive divine spell-casting power on the strength of his or her personal faith alone. A cleric is permitted under the rules of Pathfinder RPG to not worship any God and yet receive divine spells. While this is certainly an extremely rare exception to the rule, it is a permitted exception to the rule under RAW.
I take no issue with the fact that no cleric has been able to receive spells from Aroden since his disappearance and presumptive death. HOWEVER, that does not mean that a cleric who otherwise receives spells from "faith alone" might delude himself or herself into attributing the miraculous spell powers to the return of Aroden.
Faith when combined with excessive zealotry is one of the most powerful motivations known to mankind. Were such a cleric be able to "prove" to others of their ability to cast divine spells, that demonstration might stir others into believing the cleric that Aroden has, in fact, returned. The impact of that event could shake the very foundations of the rule of the Thrunes and plunge the Inner Sea into political turmoil.
Food for thought.
My ENWorld review of Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition is now up and can be found HERE. Short strokes: "This book stands at the pinnacle of the hobby games market. In terms of the hundreds of hours of epic entertainment it provides, value for the money, value-in-use at the table, available cross-product support, and sheer physical attractiveness, Rise of the Runelords Anniv. Ed. is the gold-medalist in every category possible by any reasonably objective criteria you choose to apply."
Full Review: HERE
Rise of the Runelords Anniversary Edition for the win. It is, in all seriousness, the best value in gaming right now, especially when purchased at the cheapest available price from a place I don't like to recommend but that we all know about.
$40 for twelve to eighteen months of gaming is exceptionally hard to beat. So hard, you cannot do it in my opinion. Buy the book from wherever you like, but if you do get it for about $40, please consider applying the $80 you just saved from having to buy six separate AP volumes at retail to upping your Pawn collection if you do not already use miniatures at your table.
I would recommend TWO (not one, but TWO) copies of the Rise of the Runelords Pawn Collection to go with it. Add two more copies of the Bestiary Box Pawn Collection and you are completely set to run a memorable campaign. If you care to expand that collection further, getting a copy of the Beginner Box from Amazon is a cheap means of doing so. The Pawn collection, (with bases) in the Beginner Box together with the dice and flip-mat are well worth the $20, even if you never use the books in the Beginner Box.
Being stridently anti-computer and anti-PDF is not a crime nor is it presumptive evidence of a deep seated character flaw. The OP is entitled to like what he likes and hate what he hates.
Now, that said, the OP also has to appreciate that his view is so far out of the mainstream that it borders on being a kooky view by the standards of 2012. So while he is entitled to hold his anti-PDF viewpoint he should fully expect to be ignored by Paizo. Sorry dude - that's the way it goes.
Clearly, that was what my post was; I'm all about that.
Dude, you're a long-time poster on these boards and I don't recall you being so antognistic and, well, deliberately trollish in the past. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention, but...
Can you just stop please? RPG.net loves this kind of discussion and there is no moderation there. You can post as much of this over there as you want. Stuff your pockets with it; fill your boots, even.
But here(or ENWorld)? It's just obnoxious. Please stop.
If the rules don't matter, why are you showing such disdain for pre-d20 rulesets?
I don't know what his answer is, but I will tell you that mine is:
1st Edition was an overly simple and restrictive set of game rules. I stopped playing D&D for over 16 years. I did not like the game and I wasn't alone.
The OSR movement puts on such rose colored glasses, it's amazing. You do recall that there were five major alternative FRPGs which arose to cater to those who were disenchanted with 1st ed, right? All of them made money. While they still barely scrape by today, until the release of 3.0 most were still quite profitable and all featured large contingents of fans and events at Gencon throughout the 80s and 90s.
There was RuneQuest, which had been around for a while if course, but it had its adherents on the 70s for that matter. And of course there was DragonQuest. That one got cancelled when TSR bought SPI and buried it unceremoniously as unwelcomed competition.
The Big Three to rise as a reaction to 1st ed in the early 80s were Rolemaster, GURPS and Palladium. All had followings and a lot of traction for well over 15 years. It was not until 3rd edition that most of these players returned to D&D - because it added the things you apparently don't like.
And we'll leave aside both of Gygax's alternative systems which arose a the time, too, or V:TM and CoC.
My point: there is a reason that 3.0 added skills and feats to the game. It did it because the 2nd ed rules set had bottomed out so low that the publisher of it was going to go BANKRUPT. There were a number of triggers to the game's failure, but it wasn't just novels or expensive settings and boxed sets which caused TSR to bleed red ink. The game was no longer selling well at all and players had left the game in droves. And they weren't coming back.
I'm not saying you have to like something if you don't like it, but 3rd ed saved Dungeons and Dragons. If it had not been successful, 3rd edition would have been the LAST edition of D&D.
Do try and keep that in mind, if you could.
"Had" a lot of nerdrage about that? Vrock You! What is this past tense grammar you are employing here? :)
Honestly, I still have a little of it, to this very day. I still remember the Internet essentially exploding on the day the cancellation was announced (and nobody referred to it then as "a failure to renew the license", to the fans it was a *cancellation*, plain and simple). I also remember just staring in open-mouthed disbelief when Chris Perkins a former Editor-in-Chief of Dungeon who clearly loved the magazine, later wrote that same week that the magazines were "coming home".
If by that he meant "funeral home", sure. Otherwise, no. Truth was, Dungeon was cancelled during the height of its Golden Age, cut down before its time.
Indeed, this whole series of retrospective blogs has allowed me to dust off that nerdrage so I can look at it and polish it a bit before I put it back away in my sub-cockle area.
I suppose we can say it's a case of all's well that ends well, except, truth is, I still miss Dungeon to this day. Dragon was a part of my childhood and 1st ed fandom - but Dungeon was at that time the favorite part of my adult hobby. *sigh*
I take some solace in the fact that, in hindsight, cancelling Dungeon and Dragon magazine was - when combined with the OGL itself, clearly the single worst business decision that WotC ever made concerning the D&D brand. Don't get me wrong, I love the OGL as a gamer; but the lawyer in me recognizes it as utter madness from a longterm business perspective.
Their loss - our gain as fans.
I'm not a big fan of the "all one race" AP idea, HOWEVER:
A mostly all Dwarf AP, set in the distant past of Golarion, titled Quest for Sky would be a pretty awesome idea for an Adventure Path. Drow, Orcs, Aboleths, starts in the Darklands and works its way to the darkened post-apocalyptic surface of the world... what's not to like?
Gregg Helmberger wrote:
I also second Steel's enthusiasm for book 3 of Jade Regent -- it was freakin' awesome. However, pretty much all the adventures there felt great as individual adventures and left me enthusiastic to run them -- book 4 had me giddy for days after I read it. I just didn't feel the whole was greater than the sum of its parts, which is what you look for (well, what I look for) in a full campaign. I was really hoping the four main NPCs played big roles in the crescendo and climax of the AP to pay off their being so important in the setup, but instead they sort of faded away. That left a sour taste in my mouth, which was a shame because the individual adventures (I guess with the exception of book 6) were fantastic, fantastic stuff. I mean, book 1 was a semi-sequel to We Be Goblins for crying out loud, so you can't get much more awesome than that.
While I am not saying you need to be pleased with the directon of the published versions -- unless you are only buying these products to read them, then this isn't literature. It's a RPG campaign module. The longer that ANY Adv Path runs, the more it goes off script. That's the just the nature of role-playing games. Indeed, when it DOES NOT go off script, that's when you should start to worry.
If enhancing the role of the Caravan NPCs is something you think it important to your Jade campaign (and to your players) -- then that's the way you should run it. I promise you the Pathfinder podcast police aren't going to show up at your door and no Pathfinder Society VC saboteurs will go to work on your car over night, either. Paizo will still respect you in the morning, too. It's the players' opinions that should matter most (albiet, GMs need to enjoy themselves, too).
When it comes to trying out new innovations during an AP, Paizo tends to cover its bets and rearely goes all-in. The ongoing NPCs and relationships one could forge with them was a new innovation to Jade. Usually, Paizo does not make a new and untested feature central to an AP if that can be avoided. They are wise enough to know that something new might not appeal to every customer. They leave themselves some wiggle room. Enhancing the end-game role of the NPCs in the way that seems best to you would be an "all-in" bet. Paizo's more sonervative than that with their APs.
Similar to your concern with Jade, I loved the first three installments of Kingmaker. Books 4 through 6? Nope. Nowhere NEAR as much (and book 6, not at all). What worked in Kingmaker Vols. 1 through 3 just did not work for me at all in the later half of the series. Like you, despite the foreshadowing, I felt Book 6 was bolted on from some other campaign. I must confess that I am hating Thousand Screams as a consequence. Still, there are others who enjoy it immensely though. Different strokes for differnt folks.
Ultimately, ALL of these issues are fixable, it is just that some issues are simply easier to fix than others. While it is great that we have pro developers and RPG superstar freelancers to write APs and modules for us -- that does not mean that any published product from Paizo (or anybody else) runs best without customizing it to the needs of your own table.
The reading experience provided by an AP is 100% Paizo's responsibility and you won't see any Paizo staffer suggest otherwise. The play experience, however, is ultimately the GM's responsibiity. That's true whether an individual is running Gygax's GDQ 1-7 or JJ's Shattered Star Adventure Path - or any other adventure campaign or module released at any point in time between those two (current) "book-ends" of the hobby.
A note on Second Darkness AP...
While the AP does suffer from the problems mentioned by James, none of these issues are terminal. There is a lot to like about Second Darkness. While there are problems, they are fixable by most GMs. The same can be said for Legacy of Fire, Council of Thieves, Serpent's Skull and Carrion Crown. The good bits vastly outnumber the bad parts. It's easy to renovate most of these issues. So if you are deterred from buying Second Darkness, Legacy of Fire, Council of Thieves, or Serpent's Skull -- all of which are on sale right now -- don't be. $30 for a complete AP is a frikkin NO BRAINER. Buy it!
I think the main trouble with Jade relates to the eastern theme which sits well with some players and not for others. There isn't a whole lot that can be done about that, but there are not that many problems with that AP as a whole. I thought Vol. 3 of Jade Regent was particularly strong, too, and deserves a shout out in support and admiration for it. Great adventure, great maps, great artwork... just a great effort, overall.
Thanks to James Jacobs for a great post which I am sure took him a few hours to write in response to what devs at most other game companies would have not bothered to answer at all -- let alone answer in as fulsome and honest a manner as JJ did. You ROCK sir.
I'm not saying the retailer was supposed to put it out there on the shelf. We are all quite sure he wasn't. Nevertheless, he did. It's not FGG's fault that somebody broke the street date 6 days ahead of schedule when it was put on the shelf in Canada a week early.
With tax, it would have cost you about $173 USD to buy the one single copy that was for sale. I guess that would be the most obvious value of a pre-order, PF64.
I made it quite clear in my review that I was provided a PDF of the book to review and not the book itself. So the physical size of the book was something which was necessarily absent from my review. Now that I have held it, live-in-concert, it is all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips, too
Just a note: I saw the print version of The Slumbering Tsar in the store last night. The dead tree version of this book is quite remarkable. Paper quality seemed thick and high quality, too and the printing appeared crisp.
But the thing which strikes you as the most remarkable is simply the sheer size of this book.
I think the last time I bought a book this thick -- and this large (8.5 x 11" format) was probably Black's Law Dictionary back in 1L. It's so big a book, that if you treated a book as an improvised weapon and ruled it as a "club"? Well, if so, this book has had shillelagh cast upon it.
REALLY, REALLY BIG BOOK. :P
A scroll is exactly that: a scroll. When something is "scrolled up" we know what it looks like. It is rolled up like a tube.
So you are proposing that a scroll can be put in a weapon sheathe, or that a caster place various scrolls all in a multiplicity of "pockets", essentially armoring themselves in a dozen tubes of fragile paper.
I would not suggest that you try to pursue this course of action at one of my tables. We have scroll cases in the game for a reason. They protect delicate items with one HP and no hardness from being destroyed or to become exposed to rainwater in a manner that would destroy them.
What you are proposing is far too "gameist" in approach for my tastes. RAW does not support it, and nowhere does it say that it works in the way you propose. While you might suggest that "it doesn't say you can't" and that this somehow supports your approach, I think a more accurate statement is to say that the rules are silent on it and as such, it is a matter left to GM discretion and you should expect heavy table variation.
I would also suggest that the first player at one of my tables to say that he was storing 15 scrolls scrunched up into individual pockets about his person is a character who is likely to lose half of those scrolls when he rolls a 1 on a saving throw against an area attack.
Because that would be RAW. It's one of those RAW rules I tend to "forget" as a GM because it can disappoint players a lot and make the game unfun. But in this case? I wouldn't just be remembering, I'd be waiting for it.
Scrolls are not potions. Potions are small, can be transferred to iron bottles for more secure storage and can be placed in leather Adventurer's Sash's. While they might become hit when in an iron potion bottle, they are unlikely to be damaged when stored in this manner. Far more to the point, very few GMs feel that by equipping yourself with potions in such a manner is somehow going against the RAI.
A spring loaded weapon sheathe is intended for a dagger and might be used for a wand. It is stretching the use and intent of the item beyond all recognition to suggest you can use it to insert a rolled up scroll into it, however. I would never allow it.
Scrolls are stored in scroll cases for a reason. They are expensive, fragile and delicate and easily damaged works of magical ink scribed on fragile parchment and vellum over a process of hours. The higher the spell level, the bigger the actual physical scroll is, too. (A spell takes one page per book to scribe per spell level). Even a mid-level scroll is a document that when unrolled is a sheet many feet long. This is not something you put into individual pockets by the dozen, unless your character concept is The Michelin Mage.
When you get to a high number of them, expecting to be able to produce one as a move at will without magical assistance is not a reasonable approach, imo. That's what a handy haversack is for.
I expect that we are NOT going to agree on this.
Jason Grubiak wrote:
Litko makes them. Paizo carries a lot of Litko's game accessory products here, but Paizo does not (yet) carry Litko's wooden base accessory line.
You want the 3mm thick, laser cut circular plywood bases. For mounting small figures, you get the 20 mm bases. The most common ones, medium size, you want the 25mm bases, for Large, you want 50mm in size. Huge 3" bases are also available, but considerably more expensive per base, (Happily, you won't need many huge bases for projects).
The Litko bases are the exact same size and width as a DDM/PFB base for 12 cents a piece. If you want them in plastic, those are available as well in black acrylic, but at 30 cents a piece, are a tad too expensive for converting 1,000 minis. If I was only doing 100 or so, acrylic black bases might be fine for my tastes.
A can of flat black spray primer will have the wood bases all black and ready to glue up your new min to it in a jiffy. Aleene's Tacky Glue (slower dry, better bond - Walmart carries it) or a Krazy Glue pen (faster dry, weaker bond) will be fine for your purposes, either way.
I noticed the box design within minutes of when Vic posted it. I'm bummed about the removal of the Huge White Dragon, but my guess is that by the time we see it in a miniature set following RotRL, many (if not most) groups will not have yet reached it as an actual encounter during play of the AP, so it should hopefully be a case of no harm, no foul.
I would like to point out that as a result of these "delays" in getting new minis out in the marketplace, I am in the midst of having to resort to extraordinry means of obtaining new plastic. I'm rebasing 700 Dreamblade minis (that I got in the shrink, for free no less) and nearly 1,400 Mage Knight minis to pass the time.
Oh, if you are still taking advice on "what minis to feature" in subsequent sets? Honestly? COMMONERS. Two per set of 60. Common figures with a common frequency. A Farmer (with pitchfork) and a farmer's wife (with an apron). A boy and a girl. A male miner (with pick) and a matronly baker (with a rolling pin). Angry Villager with pitchfork; Angry villager with torch. A barkeep and a barmaid. You get the idea. A tinker and a carpenter, etc.
Common villagers that are immediately useful and which, some years hence -- when all combined together in a group of 50 or so -- will provide most GMs with a large numbers of common everyday folk to fill a town or urban scene with common everyday people. Not a one of em wearing armor and, at best, improvised weapons only. Whether that is as part of a riot, part of the crowd in a bar or the villagers that need rescuing in From Shore to Sea or a host of other modules or PFS scenarios - there is a sore and pressing needs for such minis.
And some stand alone tentacle minis wouldn't be that bad, either :)
Of all of the blogs and messages and yes, even the actual game .PDFs I read and download off of Paizo.com, this series of blog posts is EASILY my most favourite thing on the website that Paizo has ever done, bar none.
Hell, I'm still rather awestruck by the sheer dogged sticktoitiveness that James Jacobs demonstrated in his ongoing Quest for Hire that he recounted to us last month. I don't know whether he was motivated, or stubborn, but either way, it just goes to show you that you make your own luck. (Safe bet says: it had to be a lot of both).
Awesome stuff guys. Keep it comin!
When I reviewed Heroes and Monsters for ENWorld, I evaluated the low ball price for the minis from a deep discount online reseller, and added 10% to that price.
Even now, per mini, the cheapest price in the market for
While the cheapest online price for this set is not yet announced, going on past margins from deep discount resellers, the 58 figures in the main set should cost $280 a case for 128 figs or == $2.18 per mini for the 58 S/M/L figures in the set.
Add in the cost of the huges, at a discount reseller, these will be about $16 each and the Rune Giant will be about $30-40 if you pre-order a case of each.
The cost on the minis, other than the new Huge figures is about the same as heroes and monsters folks -- if anything, it has actually gone down a little bit. Add in the price of the huges to the mix, and the price goes up significantly from H&M per mini to $2.71 each.
The packaging on the figures for the main S/M/L set requires you to buy a little more than 2:1 to complete a set of 58 (132 figs) (The "double" percentage you are required to overbuy in a case is actually a little up and varied a little less than 2% from H&M).
For the huges, which you do not have to buy as part of your case buy, the cost goes up steeply, but they are optional and are expensive figures to produce. The overbuy rate on those is only 1.5x if you buy a case -- sharply down by the stnadards of random mins. That's why they are bundled separately and that's ALSO why the price is as high for the huge minis as they are.
At the top of the popularity of DDMs when they were bundled 8 minis per booster, 12 per case, with a set of 60, you were typically required to purchase 30 boosters to *almost* complete a set. Typically, you would be short two rares and could either trade for them or after market them at about $8 each on release. Back then, the discount price was about $10 per booster -- add in the two missing rares from that purchase and call it $315 per set at a cost of $1.31 for the minis when they were not offering Huges as part of the set. At $2.18 for Pathfinder minis, we are not at twice the price, so that's not as bad as I feared.
When WotC did offer Huges in the set (Giants of Legend or WotDQ, say), the math changed significantly. You still needed 30 boosters to complete the set for about $480, and the cost per figure went up to $2 per mini when bought at discount.
It's been seven years since DDMs were at their height. Comparing Apples to Apples, (huge cost added in, but not the Rune Giant) these minis will work out to 2.71 per mini. Now, in fairness, the DDM huge minis sets gave you at least 30 huges for that price, here we get only 6. That's the reason it's not quite twice the price of DDM's huge mini sets.
The Rune Giant is a special offer and is comparable in cost to the D&D Icon series.
Given the bundling decisions and case packing, it's not as bad as you might think. Yes, these are expensive. There is a REASON WotC stopped manufacturing random minis, after all.
But Paizo and Wizkids think they are offering a much higher quality product than the DDM's were at the end of their run and that there are a large enough number of fans to support the product line. I happen to think Paizo is right and I am happy as hell to hear about the pricing/bundling decisions on the S/M/L cases. The cost of the huge minis seems very high to me, but I'm guessing that these are being sold as an ultra-premium product to the most ardent of fans. As I happen to be one, I'll buy em and treasure them.
Now that you have printed out your color maps, protect them for easy storage (multiple posters will fit in one ACP sheet protector) and during play with these wet erasable, ziplocked blueprint protectors.
They will also hang flat for storage using this blueprint protector.
Todd Morgan wrote:
Well that's just the thing isn't it? By intent, it does cater to more than one crowd.
PFS is intended to exist as a point of first contact for players. That means that it exists to teach new players the game and to act as a group of players that a new player can attach to. So yes, the intention of the entire PFS program is to exist for players who are not yet (and may never become) enthusiastic character optimizers immersed in the player crunch of the game. It's there to teach the game and to permit a new player to attach to a gaming group.
This purpose also has consequences. I think it is fair to say that in terms of the overall game balance the PFS scenarios shoot for, the design is aimed at low to no optimization parties, too. Without this, we'd be offering up scenarios that kill off new characters too easily. That would be a pretty crappy first point of contact for the game, wouldn't it? Or at least -- that's the argument.
I don't want to get into a scenario difficulty debate here -- this isn't the place for it. But it is worthwhile acknowledging that this is a central problem that arises from trying to serve both player types. It creates a considerable "struggle" within PFS (for lack of a batter word).
So this is the inherent conflicting mission statement within PFS: (1) act as a point of first contact to teach players the game; (2) act as a longterm marketing program for established players, too. The aims are very difficult to rationalize with one program at the same table when RAW rules the day and there is no discretion to say "no". It's a struggle that has got worse over the course of 2011 with the release of both UM and UC. It will worsen this year, too, as new products are released. I think it's fair to say that it becomes increasingly more difficult with every release of a new product.
That means this problem just gets worse and it is unlikely to EVER get better.
Power creep widens the gap between a Core rulebook first character, and that of an experience Pathfinder RPG player with 40 books at the table/on her iPad.
The two lie very uneasily together under the same aegis. This is why we have complaints about ease of scenarios == and why we have complaints about "highly optimized" characters stealing the spotlight. How is it that you fit these same players at the same table, co-existing at the same time?
Only with very great difficulty. If your local PFS group is large enough, you can stream optimized players to play with one another - and new players to play with new players and attempt to separate them by table. The tier process attempts to do this for us by default -- but it's too blunt an instrument.
The first step to any solution is to acknowledge the problem. Moral suasion in a bid to ask experienced players to not optimize their characters in deference to new players or those who do not like to "build" or twink a character as part of the game-within-a-game is, imo, a Pollyanna approach. It's just not realistic and it doesn't work.
That's why we see these recurring complaints on the forums. When you put these players at the same table often enough, someone is going to go away unhappy. Ultimately, they are going to just go away, period.
The narrative to date has been dominated by a peer pressure view that somehow the twinkers and optimizers are "breaking" the game and "playing wrong". This is the "Bad/Wrong fun argument", as Eric puts it. I can't subscribe to that theory as I find it hypocritical and dishonest. In contrast, Alexander Damocles (and many others like him) says that he can't get behind the "optimize or suffer mindset". Problem is, in the medium to longterm for any player in PFS, I don't see any other alternative. That's the tyranny of RAW and the effect of power creep caused by it.
Perhaps part of the problem here is that by describing characters as "optimized" or "highly optimized" we may not actually be talking about the same thing. What Alexander may be objecting to may be something which I would consider not simply "optimized" or even "highly optimized" but a complete twink monster: Twinkosaurus Rex as we have referred to such character builds. I'm not in favor of such deliberate game breaking rules exploits either. (To whit: the raging barbarian using Crane Fighting Style, etc.) Then again, I don't blame the players for this as much as I have to blame the designers. This stuff needs to be fixed at a rules level.
It may be that its merely all semantics, but I do think it's more than that and that the conflict is a real one.
Look, I know everybody has a number of views on this matter; however, I have one which has not been expressed in this – and other – threads so far. Without putting too fine a point on it? I think all of you are mistaken.
Pathfinder Society is unlike any other type of play in Pathfinder RPG. The scenarios provided may not be tweaked by the GM on the fly to respond to a player(s) build and the rules are to be run per RAW. The game, generally speaking, was never intended to be played under such straitjacketed circumstances. When that straitjacket is applied? The game inevitably breaks because the safety valve – GM discretion – has been removed from the equation.
There is no discretionary mechanic available to deal with the intricacies and mistakes of RAW. In PFS play, the highlighter is directed towards the rules and nothing else.
However, what many people in this thread and others refuse to acknowledge is that the very nature of player character design in Pathfinder RPG itself is intended to appeal as a game-within-a-game to a significant minority of players who enjoy crafting optimized characters. The many monthly and semi-monthly publications of Paizo are, in fact, specifically pitched and crafted to appeal to this type of player. They are designed on that basis, written on that basis, sold on that basis, bought on that basis and used on that basis. That is the game we are all playing. If you think Pathfinder RPG isn’t that kind of game? You are profoundly mistaken and you are stuffing your head in the sand with a loud “glurk” .
To blame a player for building a character that the inherent design of the game is intended to support and which marketing of game supplements are intended to appeal to is disingenuous in the extreme and is blatant hypocrisy. I will have nothing to do with such misguided and unjustified condemnation or reprobation.
Ultimately, broken builds are not the fault of the player, they are not the fault of the GM and neither are they the fault of PFS or its coordinators, either. Such builds are, however, underscored in PFS in a manner which is wholly unique because the RAW must be accepted during PFS play and the compensating mechanism provided for within GM discretion is wholly absent in PFS play. The safety valve is also gone by design and so we get to behold RAW in all its naked, chaotic and unbalanced glory.
So who is to blame for spotlight stealing, scenario killing, broken characters that result from such rules? More often than not, nobody is to blame. Frequently, the player is doing exactly what he or she was intended to do with the rule and it is instead the players who design weaker sub-optimized characters who have nobody but themselves to blame for the state of their PFS sessions. The issue is only underscored when optimizers play at the same table with non-optimizers.
However, in some instances where the character builds are so broken that the PFS scenarios are shattering into dozens of pieces because of a RAW character build no matter what the other players do?
Then that blame lies solely at the feet of the designers of the Pathfinder RPG rule system. If it’s broken – fix it. Stop blaming players for buying Paizo’s products and using them in an intelligent manner and instead blame designers for not testing enough, thinking far ahead enough – and most importantly - for failing to fix significant issues after they have clearly arisen during PFS play.
Anything else is simply hypocrisy.
I'm not sure, but I AM sure that with a few layers of this and something going wrong + some liberal borrowing from Inception, this is high level adventure module just begging to be written.
As it's such a cool idea, I'm inclined to say yes; however, because it's potentially an even COOLER idea with something going horribly wrong with the attempt, I'm certain the real answer is *sort of*.
While I do not fault Dragnmoon for choosing to limit the combatants, the fact remains that it sucks to be sitting and watching. Does it suck less to be the beneficiary of this bonus at other times of the module's overall play? Depends, I think, on your selflessness and overall expectations and patience to take a longer view.
If I was running this module for players I knew well -- and who knew each other well, too -- I might be tempted to do this; however, when running this module in a convention setting for people I have not met before, I'm not comfortable with making anybody sit in the name of an improved challenge-- however laudable the goal may be.
For in- store play with my regular PFS players? No problem.
Evidently, it did.
Because I didn't see any homage to galleys crewed with slaves or free-rowers in your vision of the pirates. You think of them in the Age of Sail same as does everyone else.
The Age of Sail requires cannon -- or else galleys and their rams rule the waves.
More to the point, my Jack Sparrow requires a pistol in one hand and a cutlas in the other. Maybe yours is different.
The least that could have been done was to recognize that in Pirates of the Inner Sea with a Gunslinger archetype. Is that a weakness in the book? Damned right it is.
The Problem with Being So Awesome
I know that the practicalities and "inside baseball" project management on an AP which militate against this are very considerable in strength, but...
BUT the entire IDEA of buying a new Adventure Path without an awesome plastic-crack miniature set like Rise of the Runelords supporting that AP is beginning to feel and sound decidedly ... inferior? Yes, that's the word: inferior.
As in "inferior good".
I don't know if a pre-assembled set list of "Monsters and NPC descriptions you MUST include prominently in your AP manuscript" being distributed to your freelancers with every AP outline is going to effect their design creativity in a significant way or otherwise reduce the quality of the writing in subsequent Adventure Paths.
Whatever the case, I don't see a way around that sort of new approach unless you are going to dramatically increase the lead time of your production pipleline for Pathfinder Adventure Path -- and in a very shot period of time, too.
Because your fans? Probably the ones who spend the most money of all your customers buying all of your prodcuts, regularly, are going to demand those miniature sets with at least ONE of your APs a year (if not both of them).
That's the problem with these minis being so awesome. It creates significant customer expectations that become difficult to fulfill.
Pitchforks, torches, it's gonna get ugly I tell you - UGLY!!
Paizo Blog: Paizo Publishing's 10th Anniversary Retrospective—Year 0 (2002)--The Thrill of Starting Something New
Awesome stuff! Keep them coming, please.
I was always a huge fan of Johnny Wilson when he was with Computer Gaming World and I looked forward to reading him every month. I was upset when he left and the magazine was never the same afterwards. It was a loooooong time before I ended up throwing out (most) of a complete collection of that magazine, but I just didn't have the room for it and there no takers for the collection at all. I did try to sell it -- hell I even offered to just give it away at one point to a local library. Zero interest. Perhaps Johnny's sense of magazine collecting was too influenced by what became the sad ultimate fate of CGW.
My Dragon and Dungeon collection are, of course, still on the shelf and remain part of my gaming library -- and always will, too.
That reminds me, I have a grudge to go hone at the grinding stone. Grrr...
Episode 017 - Available Now! Click Here
Chronicles: Pathfinder Podcast returns...
Chronicles returns with a Monster of a Double Episode. Big Bertha covers two volumes of the Council of Thieves Adventure Path and more. We start off with an extended intro and discuss Heroes and Monsters, a new community survey concerning Pathfinder Society and what to buy for Pathfinder RPG. Gary Ray returns for a discussion about RPG retailing in Diamond in the Rough. Colen McAlister of Lone Wolf Development joins us to discuss the latest updates to Herolab. On the CCW, Research brings us the Tiefling Mage Hunter. Erik Mona returns to the cast in his smoking jacket to discuss the latest developments at Paizo Publishing. We welcome our first of two AP authors, Clinton J. Boomer to the podcast to discuss his work on Vol.4 of the Council of Thieves AP, The Infernal Syndrome. We follow it up with Greg Vaughan to discuss his work on Vol. 5 of the same AP, The Mother of Flies. After the break, Boomer joins us again for the spoilerific details. We welcome a guest designer to the Encounter Lab, as Paizo freelancer Jesse Benner joins us in the studio to discuss a variant on our Pathfinderized War Troll. Mr. Vaughan joins us again to provide us with insider Google Maps tips to touring the darker side of Tulsa, Okla.. And of course, interspersed on the back nine, Ryan and Steel pull double duty with their reviews of The Infernal Syndrome and The Mother of Flies. We send you on your way home with our final thoughts on the sheer stupidity of attempting to record, edit and release a podcast of nearly 6.5 hours in duration. Psst - we plan do it again next time on Episode 18, too!
[i]Please use the Above link until the iTunes Feed Updates![i]
And those players should feel perfectly entitled to do so, too.
While I was for a long-time openly contemptuous of the players who worked on so-called "builds" of characters, the CCW on the podcast and the incredible interest in that segment of the show has brought me around to those players' way of seeing things. It's been a slow journey, but I've reached the end now. I "get it".
Essentially, the design of 3.xx and now Pathfinder not only empowers the players with more rules, but provides the player with a vastly more interesting and dynamic character development path. The entire design of the current Pathfinder and all of the myriad of books and rules which are released monthly by Paizo gives players something that GMs have had since 1974: the ability to continue to game after the session is over.
GMs have always had the ability to continue working on their campaign and adventures after the sessions ends. For the DM back-in-the-day to the present GM, the ability to derive intellectual stimulation from the game all on your own has always been present.
That aspect of the continuing nature of the game was brought to players as well with the 3.xx edition rules.
All of the books, supplements, Player Companions, Chronicles -- and Herolab itself with its many add-ons -- is targeted at satisfying this voracious interest on the part of players to provide new options to consider between game sessions. Those players are entitled to play with their character concepts and to try to optimize them. That's the inherent nature of the rules of the game we are playing.
Ultimately, we need to accept that this is a LARGE part of the game for a significant number of players. We deal with it, or we decide to go play an OSR variant of the game where the rules are mutable at a GM's whim and the players have vastly fewer options. And then we hope we can find some players who actually want to play such a game.
It should come as no surprise that while finding GMs for an OSR game is pretty easy, finding players who actually want to play in one is a lot tougher.
Munchkinning for the sake of munchkinning is rather cheesey. But when a build is tied to a fully realized character concept? That's A Good Thing™. Moreover, it is the nature of the game we are playing and we need to not only accept it reluctantly -- we need to embrace it wholeheartedly.
*ahem* With respect to adventures in 3rd edition? You left out Monte Cook's take on The Temple of Elemental Evil as the most obvious omission from WotC's stable. (Sunless Citadel and Forge of Fury as well)
But there were TONS of classic adventures for 3rd ed because of the OGL -- but mostly because of Paizo and its official licensed status -- and later -- its FORMERLY Licensed status!
Paizo was the officially licensed publisher of adventures and they carried the ball with Dungeon Magazine. It was published by Paizo. They ultimately created this neat publishing concept of releasing one linked adventure every issue for 12 issues straight which Paizo called an Adventure Path within the page of Dungeon. This gave us Shackled City AP, Age of Worms, and Savage Tide. The adventures in Dungeon were accompanied by companion articles in Dragon Magazine covering the same AP by providing more background, player resources and prestige classes.
They were a big hit and The Whispering Cairn, the first adventure 1 in Age of Worms, became the closest thing to a shared experience in 3.5 ed.
The other Paizo APs published for 3.5 are also noteworthy. Rise of the Runelords, Curse of the Crimson Throne, Second Darkness (okay, maybe not Second Darkness!) and Legacy of Fire. And 23 other stand alone modules, too.
There was also Ptolus, World's Largest Dungeon, World's Largest City, Rappan Athuk (and RA Reloaded), the release of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy, the Slave Lords of Cydonia and Freeport - to name some of the other highlights. There were dozens more worthy entries in the annals of 3rd ed adventures.
WotC didn't do many adventures for 3E, because third party publishers were supposed to do that. As a result of the d20 License and the OGL, the 3PP actually did so.
When it came to 4th Ed, the 3PP were supposed to do that again -- except they didn't, as the GSL persuaded almost every company not to bother. Moreover, most of the best adventure designers were no longer working for WotC as they were busy beavering away on Paizo's Adventure Paths and module lines.
Adventures matter; they matter a lot.
Rob McCreary wrote:
MORE GUNS. I know why you have downplayed the presence of firearms in a Golarion AP, but of all the APs Paizo has ever done, this is the one to unleash the full weight of smooth bore cannon and musketry.
I know the decisions on this were made long ago and it is far too late to change anything, but something this important is still worth (pointlessly) repeating :)