Hakak the Half Orc wrote:
Kinda the GM's fault. 4 man party with 2 brand new players using pre gens. GM failed to "guide" the brand new players IMHO. i.e. GM: "Well new player, being that you are looking at the BBEG on the roof in front of you you should consider using potion of fly, rather then sit there with a dumbfounded look on your face." Just seems like if the GM was alot more involved with helping the BRAND NEW players, they invited to the table, to use pregens that made the party have a fighter(noob), rouge(noob), barbarian 9 (me), and caster 9ish (other guy that knew what he was doing. At the very least the pregens should have rounded out the party with a cleric or something. I'm just very disappointed with the way the scenario was judged is all. I'll get over it soon enough. I realize everyone makes mistakes. Just sucks the scenario had a decent boon.
The first mistake was that two pregen level 7s were being played in a 5-9 or 7-11 by completely first-time RPG players at all.
My Enemy's Enemy:
There's a guy who watches the party in gaseous form, so if gaseous guy saw the party using invis, or the inquisitor casting invis to start sneaking, it would have been a reasonable and allowed adjustment of tactics to drink it. If gaseous guy saw nothing of the sort, then not.
Season 4 So Far:
Rise of the Goblin Guild--Above Average. RP, skill uses, and fights.
In Wrath's Shadow--Hard. Basically all fights.
Golemworks Incident--Somewhat Hard. RP and fights.
King of the Storval Stairs--Hard. Basically all fights.
The Sanos Abduction--Slightly Below Average. RP and fights.
The Green Market--Average. RP, story, and fights.
Severing Ties--Very Hard (with a potential horrible fate). Great RP and some gimmicky fights.
Cultist's Kiss--Hard. Plenty of RP, mystery, and some tough fights.
Blakros Matrimony--Difficulty Unclear (about to run it). Tons of RP. Few fights.
Feast of Sigils--Hard (very hard without the right spell, like the time I ran it). Plenty of RP and some tough fights.
The Disappeared--Slightly Below Average (the fights anyway). Mostly skills/mystery, then RP, then fights. One distasteful part where player speed at doing a puzzle determines victory, so you better put the puzzle guy OOC on it even if he brings the 7 Int barbarian
The Refuge of Time--Somewhat Hard (could be worse if you fight a diplomacy-able enemy with some nasty abilities). Mostly fights, but some RP in there too.
Fortress of the Nail--Difficulty Unclear (Read it once to run at a con but then lsot the slot). Seems like plenty of RP followed by extreme challenge.
My Enemy's Enemy--Above Average. RP, mini-puzzle, mini-mystery, fights.
Everything Released After That--???
Race for the Runecarved Key--Hard. Tons of everything. Way too long for a slot.
Day of the Demon--Average. RP and skills, minor mystery. Also a few fights.
Frostfur Captives--Average. Fights, loads of great RP.
Sewer Dragons--Average. Fights, lots of RP.
Ghenett Manor--Slightly Above Average. Lots of fights. Several good RP opportunities.
Tide of Twilight--Somewhat Hard. Lots of fights. Good RP.
Song of the Sea Witch--Slightly Easy. Fights. Minor RP.
Echoes of the Overwatched--Slightly Easy. Fights and RP.
Among the Gods--Below Average. Basically all fights.
Quest for Perfection 1--Hard. Basically all fights.
Immortal Conundrum--Below Average. Tons of amazing RP. Then fights.
Quest for Perfection 2--Below Average (due to nova potential). Lots of RP and fights.
Wonders in the Weave 1--Average. Lots of interesting fights. (PLAYED ONLY, NOT GMED)
Quest for Perfection 3--Slightly Above Average. Fights, RP, skills, interesting setup.
Wonders in the Weave 2--Very Easy. Plenty of fights, lots of RP.
Haunting of Hinojai--Average. High RP potential depending on the GM and what the party does. Few fights.
Midnight Mauler--Below Average. Good use of RP, skills, and fights.
Red Harvest--Below Average. Plenty of RP. Also a few fights.
God's Market Gamble--Somewhat Hard. RP, Skills, Mystery, and Fights.
Icebound Outpost--Easy. Basically all fights. (PLAYED ONLY, NOT GMED)
Rats 1--Very Hard (could be easier for compromising PCs). Some RP. Lots of fights.
Temple of Empyreal Snlightenment--Very Hard. Lots of RP. Hard fights.
Rats 2--Very Hard. Some RP. Lots of fights.
Goblinblood Dead--Easy. Starts with some good RP. Then plenty of easy fights, with some RP potential.
Golden Serpent--Average. Plenty of RP. Plenty of fights.
Storming the Diamond Gate--Hard. Some RP. Lots of fights. Mild riddles.
Portal of the Sacred Rune--Hard. Basically all fights.
Cyphermage Dilemma--Easy. Needs a lot of work from the GM to play up the RP. Also some easy fights.
Blood Under Absalom--Above Average. Loaded full of everything to the point it can't fit the slot.
Before the Dawn 1--Average (one pretty tough fight that may have illegal stats, rest very easy). RP, skills, and fights.
Before the Dawn 2--Easy at 1-2, Average at 3-4, Extremely Easy at 6-7 (can't handle PCs with 3rd level magic). Some RP, lots and lots of fights.
Rebel's Ransom--Very Hard. Puzzles, fights, a little RP, and devious Jason Bulmahn antics.
Shadows Fall--Easy. Fights, a little RP, and an extremely easy "mystery".
Heresy 1--Slightly Below Average (one encounter can go bad if you aren't prepared for it). Fights, some RP.
Heresy 2--Hard. Fights and mild mini-puzzles.
Sarkorian Prophecy--Hard. Fights and some possible RP.
Heresy 3--Somewhat Hard. Fights and some RP.
Fury of the Fiend--??? playing next month
Penumbral Accords--Below Average. All fights.
Silver Tarn--Hard. RP, skills, and fights. Wow, I guess all the Crystal scenarios have all three, huh?.
Throaty Mermaid--Very Easy. Lots and lots of RP. Mystery. A few fights.
Chasm of Screams--???
Shades of Ice 1--4-5 is Easy, 1-2 is Hard. Plenty of RP and some fights.
Shades of Ice 2--Below Average. Lots of RP potential if you have Cities of Golarion. Lots of fights.
Forbidden Furnace--Below Average. Plenty of fights. Very little RP. (PLAYED THIS ONLY)
Shades of Ice 3--Quite Easy. Plenty of fights. A good RP opportunity.
Wrath of the Accursed--Pretty Hard. Plenty of fights. A mystery and some RP.
Dalsine Affair--Hard. Plenty of fights. Also good RP and story.
Shadow's Last Stand 1--Above Average. All fights.
Shadow's Last Stand 2--Below Average. Mystery, RP, politics, and fights.
You Only Die Twice--Average. Excellent RP opportunities. Also fights.
Mantis's Prey--Average. Fights, Puzzle, some RP.
Year of the Shadow Lodge--Average. Fights, though two noncombat things.
Intelligent NPCs are trying to win. If you're going to yo-yo all the unconscious characters back to consciousness and they're going to rejoin the fight, those intelligent NPCs can clearly see that they can't possibly win. You might say "well, it's not like I'm not expending my channels and spells on this, so it's not coming for free". And in terms of the next fight, that might be true. But for the NPCs, whose lives are on the line right now and who don't care if your healer has fewer channels next fight, that's what they see--they can't ever win without dropping the whole team, and if each dropped character comes back through healing and keeps on fighting them, then that can't possibly be achieved.
There's two solutions for the intelligent NPC:
Solution 1: Kill the healer(s) dead. Now you don't have to worry about that whole "back into the fight" thing and can instead continue to knock out active opponents and ignore unconscious ones.
Solution 2: Finish off the unconscious PCs so they can't be healed, hopefully using as few resources as possible to do so (perhaps final iterative attacks that aren't likely to hit an active PC but are very likely to hit a 0 Dex unconscious PC).
There's really no way around this conclusion for an enemy with even remotely approaching human intelligence.
As an aside, I dislike this conclusion, so in home games I've instituted a rule that causes the trauma of being knocked out by damage to prevent you from awakening instantly upon being healed. My players love this rule, as it means that there is no longer an NPC incentive to kill unconscious characters.
Of course, this can't be used in PFS. At the least, you're using up enemy resources in most cases to obtain those kills. And if Solution 2 is getting you down, then worry not! Just make sure your healer has breath of life, and you'll probably be able to get them to switch over from Solution 2 to Solution 1.
Mike Mistele wrote:
I have a feeling that their comments were mostly based on "Day of the Demon", which was being run by them at this con (acknowledged that it’s a “special”). I know both gentlemen fairly well, and I don’t have any reason to believe that they were divulging NDA information, or making things up otherwise.
DotD is not as bad as they say. I had a table of 4 basically level 7 pregens run through it (the cleric wasn't a pregen but was lower level and was thus worse than level 7 pregen kyra in pretty much all ways, everyone else was a pregen) and curbstomp it (and trust me, I don't have a reputation as being a super-easy GM). They had not great dice rolls and pregen characters, and they didn't even come close to dying in any of the fights, though admittedly the players used moderately good tactics (nothing stellar). So I wouldn't worry about needing two out of three of those for Season 5 based off DotD.
Now, granted, I do agree that some of the other Season 4 adventures can be pretty hard, just not DotD (unless your PCs are less prepared for basic challenges of low-mid-level adventuring than the pregens are).
Dennis Baker wrote:
Of course a level 5 haracter is going to contribute more than a level 1 character. But assuming that you have a party that can handle the scenario at high subtier already and then add characters at the absolute bottom of the tier, it's the new characters who are in the most danger, not the others.
Let's take an example--
Say you have 4 level 6 characters who can clearly win the 6-7 of a 3-7 scenario. And the APL is 6, so that's all they can play. Suddenly, a level 3 arrives, and the wealth is using the podcast proposal system. This party is undeniably stronger than the 4 level 6s without the new friend. Now the APL is 5.4, which rounds to 5 and is in between tiers.
The 4 level 6s say "Hey new guy, we were about to play the 6-7 with our APL 6 party. Let's go."
The new guy says "Absolutely not! I'm likely to be one-shotted or swept up in an AoE or killed by a trap and there's no way to cover that expense. We're playing in 3-4, and that's final. GM, they can't bully me into playing up right?"
And the GM says "The lower level isn't in favor of playing up, so we play down."
And this group, which is strictly stronger than the group that was ready to easily win their 6-7, plays down to 3-4 instead and curbstomps it. The high levels all get half gold and are now less equipped for future adventures.
Joe M. wrote:
Hey Joe--true, it doesn't cause problems for the person playing down, if a cakewalk is what they enjoy, but it might cause problems for the on-tier characters if they don't want one. In the one example of tier bullying I've ever seen where someone actually walked away (me) to avoid a cakewalk (which was still a cakewalk even with the empty seat), I wasn't even locked into a high level character (I had a level 2 to play as well, who I played at the other table I found). So sometimes the players playing on-tier don't want the high level carry dominating and turning it into a cakewalk (for the same reason that they don't want to see a double wealth by level monster doing the same).
Paul Trani wrote:
I hope we won't have a clean fight, or any fight at all in this thread if we can help it. I truly hope that we can keep this as a respectful thread where we try to leverage the Paizo and PFS community's awesome brain trust to find a solution that will work and make people happy.
Agreed that it can cause issues (but let's not call it "horrible")--
Known Premise: Characters who play up all the time get too much wealth.
Corollary: Characters who played down all the time would get too little wealth, but it doesn't happen as often.
Personal Opinion: Wealth aside, victorious games with playing up are way more fun than cakewalks playing down.
Fact: Some players are risk-averse and currently like playing down even with the current system.
Conclusion: Since the gold-always-on-tier system gives them more rewards for the same action, these same people will be even more likely to play down, thus leading to more cakewalk play downs.
Dennis Baker wrote:
So in a hypothetical world, it would be great if every game was always played with all characters exactly in tier. But the proposed system makes playing up so bad of a decision for low tier characters, that only the true thrill-seekers would do so without being extremely unhappy, so in the non-ideal situation when you don't have a full match, the lone lowbie will probably go home instead of playing, possibly stopping a legal table from happening.
If this is desired behavior, then why not just make it so that a level 1-2 is simply banned from playing a subtier 4-5 and so on? That's de facto what will happen in all but corner cases anyway (I'm personally a corner case who would play up for excitement alone, but I know most others wouldn't).
Will Johnson wrote:
This method has plenty of drawbacks, but you have to be looking at things from a gold per XP standpoint (the same standpoint that allows us to see that the current system is allowing for overpowered-for-their-level characters). And really, that's how we have to look at it--this is the reason that the current greatest way to twink your character is to intentionally fail lots of scenarios just before halfway, never gaining XP but still getting gold and a little bit of prestige. It's why I heard about Living Greyhawk characters who killed themselves on purpose (since raise dead made you lose levels in those days) so they could keep on playing with more wealth.
The 2 XP proposal, in fact, gives roughly the same amount of money per XP as the method proposed by MJM (as shown by Mergy). It does not allow accumulation of far more wealth than normal. It can't "gamed" really in any way. Heck, this hypothetical "power leveler" had better live in an area with dozens and dozens of other players because this requires playing with a different group entirely every few games or so (once you catch up, you can no longer play up). And in reality, you can already power level easily with Thornkeep more efficiently and with far less risk than you get from this proposal--remember, spamming the 2 XP proposal yields characters who have the same gold at any given level as characters who always got the low tier money (like MJM's proposal), so it's not like you're getting more and more powerful for your level. You're just leveling faster, and with greater risk. In fact, if you have more than double the chance of dying when playing up or spend more than twice the consumables (a very reasonable possibility), you still wind up worse for money than if you had played on tier, just not as much worse as with MJM's proposal.
Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
I've run First Steps a lot of times and
I think not once did they discover the embezzling. They always discovered the liquor and the servant thing, and they all agreed it wasn't cause to eliminate Baltwin. Funny thing is that the few times I play instead of GM, I get all the psychopaths that want to murder her because of how ugly her portrait is...
The difference between "wealth cheating" and "fast leveling cheating" is that "wealth cheating" actually makes your character overpowered for your own subtier, whereas "fast leveling cheating" does not (Netopalis put it elegantly with his timeline analogy). Heck, you want "fast leveling cheating"? Play Thornkeep. 3 XP per floor and some of the floors aren't even longer than a scenario.
Side note--7-11 is actually the exception; if you have a table forced to 10-11 and a player with a level 7 character under the proposed change, this is the only time that a level-appropriate pregen isn't even an option. That player either plays up with huge risk and the lower reward or leaves, no other choice unless you force everyone else at the whole table to play a level 7 pregen.
Joe M. wrote:
Relmer's solution actually doesn't lead to as much friction as the current plan because he is proposing that high level characters who play down still get high tier gold. However, it does lead to cakewalks with a high level carry, which MJM also specifically wanted to avoid.
I still maintain that the XP solution is simple, practical, effective, and actually solves additional issues while it's at it.
Catching up has been a terrible issue for our small (1 table) home group with respect to Eyes of the Ten. I've managed to wrangle the players and keep everyone within 3 XP of each other, but those last 3 XP are going to be horrible for the player who's behind (probably playing with a table full of 7 pregens despite being 11). This 2 XP idea solves that problem too, even though I hadn't even mentioned it yet.
Hayato Ken wrote:
But that's the beauty of it--in most tiers, the low tier gets about half the high tier gold. So your gold per experience point stays constant. It's elegant, powerful, and without (as far as I can tell) any serious drawbacks. And it's all based in the math that the original game works on anyway (pairing XP and gold rewards).
OK Hayato Ken--are you ready for why you are a (maybe unintentional) GENIUS? My girlfriend (And co-liaison) just came up with this, and it makes me lobby heavily for your idea--
So take the version of Hayato Ken's proposal where you get 2 XP every time you play up, and the high tier gold. First off, this stops you from getting too much gold for your level. But second, think about why you're playing up all the time in the first place. So why? Probably because you joined your group a bit late and you're perennially one or two levels behind everybody else. With Hayato Ken's idea, you catch up. And then you never have to play up again. All while keeping WBL and not causing a serious problem with consumable cost and raise dead. This is brilliant.
Hayato Ken wrote:
That's...actually fascinating. And you could give 2 XP for playing up. Hmmmmmmm...wealthwise that could really work. I'll have to mull on it.
Tristan Windseeker wrote:
This is a great example. And if one of those level 3s was a level 4 instead, then you don't even have all those options even. You can't play 3-4.
Premise: As a store liaison, I've coordinated a good number of games. I've seen mostly playing on-tier but also a good amount of playing up. The current proposal would be quite harmful in mustering tables because I believe this is going to cause all but the most major thrillseekers to absolutely refuse to play up, even if they're the odd one out and the table will be high tier with or without them (like a level 5 sitting at a table with all level 9s). I expect we'll have people just have to walk out, and it will make it more difficult on liaisons to muster tables
Why?: Basically the extra wealth is a cushion for deaths and loss of consumables, which definitely do happen. The same reason, in part, that we rarely see slow progression.
But the idea of curbing the super-wealth characters is a good one.
1) Only after paying for raises and replaced consumables do you get capped at the lower tier when playing up. So for instance, let's say you are a level 3 playing in a 6-7 and you get 3000 instead of 1000 gold. You can start with 3000, pay for a raise or replaced consumables first, and then you are reduced to 1000 or however much is left, whatever is lower.
2) Wealth by level cap based on the chart in the CRB--this will stop playing up from getting you too high without penalizing people who die or lose lots of consumables from playing up when necessary (since sometimes it's the high tier, a pregen, or the highway).
More ideas as I think of them.
Matthew Morris wrote:
Agreed, though I imagine it would just go the other direction. The main problem I see is that it will make singleton low level characters very very uncomfortable with playing up (when the table has to play the high tier, no choice) because they have all the increased likelihood of death but no extra cash to pay for the raise or for more expendables. So in many cases, I imagine that they will walk away from the table and not play until they can find a 1-2, particularly if the character is very dear to them. It's essentially similar to the problem with slow progression. I know a lot of people who have considered slow progression but can't deal with the fact that in slow progression, consumables and raises cost twice as much as in normal.
But no need to analyze it when it isn't even a guarantee. It's just I've been particularly worrying about this possibility since even before I saw Mike's post, so now I can't think of anything else in the "wealth earned in scenarios" category of changes.
This is also a viable judge interpretation. It depends on that devilish prevailing clause. I try to be nicer to the PCs if possible and allow the mundane light sources to function, but the way you run it is also backed by the rules depending on prevailing.
And my group has a sylph sky druid who I convinced should have a wizard father named Tornaq, so I'll probably get good use out of Under Frozen Stars, which I hear is also great. And going on the record that I really love the work of everyone from Legendary Games, both their Paizo work and their LG work (I've never seen anything of less than top quality by Jason or Neil), I'm with you on this one particular point Insnare. It might work for other groups, but someone like Masato or, say, pregen Hayato joining the caravan before Brinewall (when the caravan had no plans to go to Minkai yet) makes no sense to me (though I think the idea for the twins is awesome, Neil!), and the first thing I did when I started my JR group last month was to make sure everyone in my group was on the same page, and they agreed with me on this, so I guess it varies based on your group. I managed to get mostly characters with huge hooks to the campaign while being Westerners (like Tornaq's daughter above), even the one guy deadset on playing a ninja (he wound up being Tsutamu's grandson, raised in Magnimar), and for that I'm grateful to my players for working with me.
If you chose not to take the automatic hit but instead roll it out, why couldn't you crit with a cure light wounds? You can certainly crit with inflict light wounds (and if the enemy, unknown to you, is a dhampir, that crit will heal him).
Katie Sommer wrote:
OK, I think I see where you're coming from, even if I don't agree it's RAW. You're giving me a better perspective of where the other side is coming from, thanks! :)
Just two follow ups--this is even if the ally is super small size, has improved cover on the other side of an arrow slit (+8 cover bonus to AC) and has concealment, right? (if there's no attack roll, then the AC changers like cover wouldn't matter one way or the other).
Katie Sommer wrote:
No, I would never allow you to auto-hit a willing ally with a ranged, non-touch attack.
Why not if you can with a ranged non-touch? Let's say it's on a character whose touch AC is equal to my regular AC--say a monk?
It's not without precedent in PFS. Your unconscious character also gets a say in whether the wizard throws a fireball that hits and kills you but also wins the encounter.
Players are suggesting that their unconscious Paladin would know all about IH, even lacking Spellcraft or Know:Arcane - which is pretty Meta, and despite so many Paladins with dump stat mental abilities. Different story if they HAD those skills - assuming they were alert and not 'sleeping'.
The paladin might have seen IH in a past adventure. The paladin might have good Sense Motive. Another party member that didn't use the wand might tell the paladin if the paladin asked them honestly what happened to make them feel evil.
People are suggesting that IH could 'cause the Paladin to fall', which appears to be solidly grounded in the impartiality of personal bias.
Agreed. If it's against your wishes and without your consent, you wouldn't fall. Using the spell on purpose, violates the dogma of Iomedae flagrantly and Sarenrae as well. Even so, having it cast on your unconscious body isn't going to make you fall. You still could RP wanting an atonement though. In my games, I will make a note of it if your character is a cleric of Iomedae or Sarenrae (or any other class that loses its powers for violating the deity's dogma) and you are doing something egregious like buying one of these wands yourself and using it while proselytizing how much more cash efficient it is than CLW.
Now, that's only what I would mark on your sheet for--really a good cleric or paladin of almost any good deity (and many other good-aligned characters) wouldn't be allowing this spell to be used on them except in dire circumstances, depending on their personality and value system. In the world of Golarion, there's things a lot worse than death, and the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Asmodeus knows this--it's why he offers up such a useful spell: to tempt mortals into using it.
I've covered this--the paladin should have a potion or two if she's the only one capable of healing without IH. Then she can get back on her feet.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
I agree with Eric. Sometimes less is more, and giving the goals and mindset can help us choose the tactics for our party. An opening move can usually be okay. Take this example, written by some guy named Mark:
OK, so this guy's opening bid is to try to fool you into thinking he's an ally, right after the night hag tried the same thing. That's pretty silly. In fact, it's very silly. But once we get past that, it's great:
Cssting power word stun as an opener is a solid move. And then it says he tries to focus all his fury on the stunned character until dead, hoping to harvest a soul. OK, that's pretty mean, and it is likely to hurt the demon in terms of the encounter while killing off the one character, but it gives us his motivation. We know what he's looking forward--one soul and then get out of there. Then it says using reverse gravity and such to get people out of your face, which is also a solid choice. It says what health he'll teleport away, leaving Cheliax in the lurch if they didn't bring dimensional anchor. It's really got what you need to run it without forcing you on a turn-by-turn basis. These tactics were actually good enough that when I played it and GMed it, the GM was able to follow them as a general guideline and both fights had very similar tenors, even though the exact moves in each were different.
So I'm almost always either GMing at or playing at a table that is tackling the 'correct' subtier for their group composition and overall level because I'm the liaison in charge of setting things up at our local store and I also run my home group, and I strive to give us balanced parties of the right level.
But let me tell you about it from the other side of most of these anecdotes. Last year at Paizocon, for the first time ever one of our home group players decided to try a con, and so the gf and I signed up to play a PFS game with him (we couldn't get into a ticketed event together). The gf wound up getting a ticket for Richard Pett's game, so it was down to me and my friend at a table of Icebound Outpost. We had a 7 player table, and I could either bring a level 2, a level 3, or a level 4. If I brought my level 4, our APL with the +1 for 6+ players was 4.43. So we technically were allowed to play down by that one clause in the guide. Anyway, our GM asked us to decide what tier we wanted to play. Needless to say, we wanted to play 4-5. Except one guy. He was level 2 (we didn't have any level 1s--we had 5 4 3 3 3 him and me), and he said he flat-out refused to play 4-5. He wouldn't be persuaded, he didn't offer to switch tables, and of course no one tried to pressure him to do so. Knowing it was going to be a letdown even with my level 2 character, I decided to just leave, even though I didn't get to play with my friend, since at least then the scenario would be more challenging and fun for everyone. My friend said it was still a cakewalk and one of his least favorite and most boring play experiences in his PFS history, even without me there. Turns out that the table of God's Market Gamble that I had the extreme fortune to walk into (it was literally the only thing offered that I could play and it happened to have a free seat) absolutely needed my character too or it would have been a certain TPK, so it worked out at least somewhat, but I didn't get to play with my friend and that table of Icebound still wound up being a major letdown for everyone even if I lucked out.
So I guess what I'm saying is, before this thread is completely filled with the horror stories of being forced to play up--bullying goes both ways. That level 2 player was a major bully because he should have been the one to walk. He was the only one who was even in Subtier 1-2 at a 7 player table, and he wound up ruining (or at least substantially decreasing) the fun for everyone else who stayed all by himself.
I'm glad that we've never had this drama about subtier as far as I've seen in the Boston Lodge. I think it's because of players with great attitudes who love the added excitement and don't mind when they have a challenging and exciting game with a noble and memorable death and then a split for a raise that lowers the money earned back to the lower subtier, even though it's the same reward as just playing the lower subtier to begin with.
Sidenote: Reading into Mark's query perhaps too much, if the system was changed so that playing-up characters got the lower subtier's gold, it would just make the bad part of the situation (when death happens) much much worse without the funds to defray, so please don't do that, if that's an option you're considering.
Steve Miller wrote:
Can someone provide me with a link to an end-all be-all darkness adjudicating guide? Or a diagram? I'm thinking a Venn diagram with light, darkness, daylight, deeper darkness, and heighten daylight in prevailing light conditions of darkness, dim light, normal light, and bright light would solve the issue.
I've gotten to the bottom of it in an old thread. Basically, daylight has a special clause, so let's look at it without daylight for a moment:
Any darkness spell requires a higher level light spell to both beat it and continue to shine light. So to shine through a darkness, you need a 3rd spell level or heightened higher light spell (such as clerical continual flame) while shining through deeper darkness requires a 4th spell level or heightened higher light spell (requires heighten in other words).
Daylight has a special escape clause that says that areas of overlapping daylight and deeper darkness return to prevailing condition, which means that technically heightening daylight is useless (continual flame is a better bet).
So here's the Venn Diagram:
Prevailing Bright Light--Darkness puts you to normal light unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case bright light. Deeper Darkness puts you to dim light unless there is a daylight or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case bright light.
Prevailing Normal Light--Darkness puts you to dim light unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case normal light or whatever the light spell gives, whichever is better. Deeper Darkness puts you to darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to normal light, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to normal light or the light spell, whichever is better.
Prevailing Dim Light--Darkness puts you to darkness unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case dim light or whatever the light spell gives, whichever is better. Deeper Darkness puts you to supernatural darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to dim light, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to dim light or the light spell, whichever is better.
Prevailing Darkness--Darkness doesn't change the light level, but it does prevent nonmagical light sources from helping unless there is a 3rd level or higher light spell present, in which case whatever the light spell gives. Deeper Darkness puts you to supernatural darkness unless there is a daylight, in which case it goes back to regular darkness, or any 4th level or higher light spell present, in which case it goes to the light spell.
Other fun facts--light spells and darkness spells can be used to counterspell or dispel others of the same or lower level if you can target the object that is the target of the other spell (usually by touching it).
Not all of us can use the magical runes that you call writing that beam information into your head. That said, we "primitives", as you call us, make up for it with a strong oral tradition. I like to hope my extensive oral reports are better than the scribbled ravings of certain other (7 Int 7 Wis) agents I've known...
All of this is technically correct--however, this leads to incredible silliness where a reach-weapon wielders can never attack on their own turns in one of those diagonal hallways that are occasionally included with our scenario maps. They can still get AoOs, but they can't actually make any of their regular attacks. This leads to many GMs occasionally ignoring Sean on the grounds of the common sense rule, especially when diagonal corridors are involved.
Once a wizard murdered a bunch of people (not complete innocents, but the violence was unnecessary) in a scenario where the Pathfinders already have to stand trial in Qadira and then teleported to Absalom while using magic jar to possess the body of an Erinyes, cradling the corpse of his normal body in his arms. He didn't return for the rest of the scenario. Hilarity ensued at the trial, as the PCs blamed everything on the wizard. The Qadirans let the PCs go in exchange for being deputized to extradite the wizard to Qadira if they get a chance, which I wrote as a boon. The wizard got "wanted to stand trial for murder in Qadira" and I explained to everyone that the Venture Captains pulled a few strings with Aaqir al Hakam to make sure the Qadirans won't push the claim unless he goes to Qadira again. Because of the necessity of pulling in political favors which could be revoked, I also gave him the boon of being on a short leash of the Venture Captains. The player seemed to really enjoy the boon and roll with the punches, and the wizard has shaped up his act. Last time I saw him he was planar binding Hound Archons and agreeing to abide by the paladin's code of Torag in exchange for their help. I know the others still grin about that deputized boon occasionally, mentioning sometimes "Well you're lucky this last mission's in Tian Xia, since if it was Qadira...".
So sometimes players enjoy the negative boons too. Especially if they're related to the infamy of their character.
Looking only at snowball--
Snowball is the best single-target damage dealing spell at level 1 from level 1 to 5 for certain. In fact, it's strictly superior to the second level spell scorching ray from levels 4 to 6 (cold is less resisted than fire and also has more ways to build off it, like the Rime Spell feat). On top of that, it ignores SR. On top of that, it has a staggered kicker (and staggered is a very nice condition). On top of all that, it's conjuration, which is already the strongest school, and it's impinging on evocation's main shtick (damage-dealing spells).
Now, due to snowball's extreme power for its level, there's going to be a lot of builds that capitalize on this with Wayang Spellhunter and Magical Lineage. But even if you don't take those traits, Intensified Snowball is the undisputed most powerful single-target damage-dealing spell up to level 10, even without ignoring SR or the staggered kicker. In fact, the only other contender (scorching ray), is saddled with the fact that it loses out big-time to energy resistance of any sort, so snowball is honestly a better choice even at level 11+ against many monsters. Take a demon, for instance, which has resist 10 to both fire and cold. Scorching ray with three rays does 12d6-30 (around 12), and intensified snowball does 10d6-10 (around 25). And it also ignores SR and has a staggered kicker. And of course, with magical lineage or wayang spellhunter, this intensified version is actually a 1st level spell (more a fault of those two traits being overpowered though).
Anyway, I recommend banning snowball so that choosing evocation as an opposition school means more (if conjuration has the best blasts, then why fret evocation?).
It did not miss your AC, but neither is it a hit any longer--it was deflected. And anyway, if it's my thread you mean, Iakhovas was tanking a skeletal t-rex (which doesn't have Grab to begin with).
Honestly, in the case of the axebeak, it even makes more sense for it to be another character. Something like:
"You found some axebeak eggs and brought them dutifully back to the lodge. New generations of Pathfinders will raise and train these birds to become loyal and stalwart companions. You may apply the attached boon sheet to any character."
I don't disagree. I'm just saying, we're being naive if we think everyone is following this except the few who are willing to admit it on the messageboards. Our local Lodge (and I'm sure yours as well) is strong on following all the rules in play, but other places are doing things differently, and we're not going to convince them to come to us and listen unless we show more understanding to those like Lou who are willing to tell us about it.
In other words, imagine you're playing in a group that doesn't read the forum much and you know you might be doing things wrong, so you start reading the forums a bit more (or maybe you never knew you might be doing things wrong but started reading the forums and now begin to suspect it)--I think you'd be more likely to reach out for help if the responses to others in a similar situation were more understanding.
The Great Rinaldo! wrote:
Yeah we play that if anyone wants to play down and you're in between subtiers, we play down (in other words, you need unanimous to play up). If you are actually at the higher subtier solidly (so like you have APL between 4 and 4.5 in a 1-5) due to 6 players in a pre Season 4 scenario, then instead you need a majority to play down instead of playing at the appropriate subtier.
That said, I'm a reasonably good judge of when too much is too much, and so I generally offer my frank advice when a group is unsure, based on my knowledge of the scenario and the group's capacities and cohesiveness. I've never been badly wrong about which subtier to play so far (in that I've never suggested playing up to a TPK or deathgrind and I've never suggested playing down to a cakewalk). If possible, I want the group to experience a fun challenge, with neither a cakewalk nor a deathgrind.
Kyle Baird wrote:
Just make the caster Neutral aligned.
They did that in an early S4 scenario, and so far all it's done that I've seen is made people rather cross that the ridiculously evil serial killer BBE was given a neutral alignment, seemingly only to prevent Protection from Evil. So I'd revise that to say, make them neutral but really make them neutral, don't just flip the alignment.
One time in Magnimar, Gloriana Morilla sent me on a mission that was not befitting of her at all--more like one of those awful Jacquo Dalsine "Fetch me some teacups and also I want to have a torrid love affair with poison" missions. So I intentionally refused her and used my skill at matchmaking to arrange some political alliances tying Magnimar's noble families to Taldor's. I figured if the brutish Andoran barbarian was going to a dinner party at that point in the scenario, why shouldn't I? I later found the poison mold she wanted but just didn't gather it. She should be ashamed of herself for that mission; I thought she was bringing a change to Taldor.
Jeremy Clements wrote:
Hey Jeremy--The issue some of us mentioned above, explained more succintly, is that you can sometimes have spells with durations greater than 24 hours (hour / level spells with Extend Spell at Caster Level 12 or so, right around when you'll start having enough money for this item). Since the timepiece lets you reset the duration every 24 hours, and since the duration is greater than 24 hours, those spells now last forever as long as you use the timepiece at least once a day. Check my post last page for a list of which spells could be affected (I went through hour/level spells looking for beneficial spells that target one or more creatures).
Charlie Bell wrote:
Thanks again to everyone who's provided input and constructive criticism. In particular, I'd like to thank Template Fu (who'd have thought a spelling bee champ would misspell pocket watch?) and especially Rogue Eidolon for pointing out just which spells could be kept up indefinitely.
No trouble! I really took my time thinking for each item judgment, making lists like that one when I wondered if an item was too powerful, and I'm glad you've taken so well to constructive criticism, even though I admitted I had your item on my auto-reject list. That's the sign of a good freelancer in my book.
Clark Peterson wrote:
Yep, that was how I was looking at this item as well.
In addition to all the other goodies you get with this item in doubling shorter-term buffs, you can also use it to have extended hour/level spells up on yourself forever, which makes it a little better than a gaggle of Pearls of Power if you want to have those spells each day because it allows you to not even prepare the spells at all, whereas Pearl of Power you have to prepare it but you get two of them.
The item only gets more powerful with the more extended Hour/Level spells you have up on you starting at level 12 because you can have them all up permanently as well. Mage armor, water breathing, planar adaptation, resurgent transformation, delay poison (becoming immune to all poison because it is delayed forever), life bubble, ward of the season, nondetection, darkvision, ant haul, overland flight, lose the trail, eagle soul (as long as you don't activate the kicker), pass without trace, animal shapes, blessing of the watch, bloodhound, countless eyes, deadeye's lore, raiment of command, longstrider, delay pain, tireless pursuit, and ride the waves are the ones I could find.
So if look at a few big ones off the list, with permanent high caster-level nondetection we are superior to the Amulet of Proof against Detection and Location (costs 35,000 gold), with permanent darkvision, we are equivalent to Goggles of the Night (costs 12,000 gold), with permanent overland flight, we are superior to the Broom of Flying (17,000 gold and only 9 hours a day) and much much more (including Necklace of Adaptation due to life bubble). All that, and you can also use it to extend your short-duration spells too, as long as you always remember to use it once a day. It's likely to be better than Pearls of Power just for the doubling of short duration spells while in the dungeon (assuming that you would otherwise need to prepare two copies of each).
Based on this analysis, the item is at the very least extremely undercosted (honestly I wouldn't allow it in my campaign as anything less than an artifact), though if I was a developer working on this item, I would likely insert a clause that stated that no single spell may have its duration reset by this item more than once and curb all that stuff.
Now all that said, it was an interesting idea. I voted against this item every time I saw it due to balance issues (essentially that I thought it should be an artifact based on its power level), but you clearly have what it takes to design something quite interesting. To win me back, you're going to have to bring your A-game--use all that creativity from the timepiece but also show me in the archetype round that you're particularly taking an eye toward balance. I'm looking forward to seeing what you create!
When I first saw the CR 19 Tzitzimitl, I was impressed with its Light to Dark ability (which can allow it to transform a PC cleric's heal attempt into damage instead). It's pretty much guaranteed to kill multiple PCs if any of them get low during the fight. It's dastardly evil and just right for a rare CR 19 monster. In my opinion, this is not something we want to see on a wondrous item. For 1,500 gp, why wouldn't all evil overlords past a certain point have one of these on their person or at least on a minion whose standard action isn't as valuable. I know I would have had at least two deaths and likely a TPK in Part 6 of Rise of the Runelords in literally any of the last 10 encounters if one of these items had been present, which seems to me like it means the price point needed to be much higher than 1,500 gold (considering how high level those PCs are). Since PCs are much more likely than NPCs to run around channeling to heal, this is only really a problem from the bad guy side.
Anyway, the idea was creative and well-flavored, but the balance in my opinion is way off. I downvoted your item consistently for that reason, so you'll need to really think about balance for your archetype if you want to win me back. I'm looking forward to seeing it and hoping that with that feedback in mind, you'll really impress me next time!
My gf came up with the idea for a one-shot involving opening voting pages and then equipping the characters with no magic items other than one or the other of those items. Before the cull, it would have been a bit of a comedic one-shot for sure...
Jason Nelson wrote:
That said, if you want to it a table with an industry pro, there are PLENTY of those run by Paizo staff, Paizo freelancer contributors like me, and 3PP authors (also like me), many of whom are delightful GMs
(Also like Jason)