I've been a increasingly disgruntled with the complexity of the Pathfinder Core Rules, and the Beginner Box preview has me thinking that running a game limited to the Beginner Box rules might make for a faster, more streamlined play experience that I'm looking for.
* Streamlined monster stat blocks
Even as an experienced Pathfinder player, I might be interested in running a campaign that it "Beginner Box Rules Only" to see if it recovers the lively pace I'm seeking. (I thought Essentials would do this for 4E, but it didn't actually speed play that much.)
Hey, all. I had a similar question to one posted in another thread, and thought it better to make a new thread of it.
The situation is: there is one PC within threat range of a BBEG, and the BBEG has three attacks. With the first hit, the PC is still standing, but barely. With the second hit, the PC is dropped deep into negative hps. You have a third attack left, and using it against your only available target (the downed PC) will definitely kill the PC. Do you have the BBEG take the attack?
I say yes. I anticipate that most DMs would also say yes. But some DMs and players would consider this needlessly cruel or vindictive. Thoughts?
My eidolon is Large in size, and uses a Huge bastard sword. From the weapon size table on page 145 of the Core Rulebook, a Huge bastard sword does 3d8 damage (1d10 --> 2d8 --> 3d8).
When I cast Enlarge Person on my eidolon, what is its bastard sword's base damage? The table doesn't say what 3d8 becomes. Should I assume that it's the same as 3 times as much as the 1d8 advancement (1d8 --> 2d6), so 6d6 damage? Or would it be something else?
And, looking down the road when my eidolon is Huge and carries a Gargantuan bastard sword regularly, how much damage would its bastard sword do when enlarged then? Because 1d6 --> 1d8, would it be 6d8? Or because 2d6 --> 3d6, would it be 9d6?
The Improved Natural Attack feat (which is not directly applicable but perhaps instructive) would imply that the enlarged Large eidolon would do 4d8 base damage, and the enlarged Huge eidolon would do 6d8 base damage.
My Faction Mission Removed Another Party Member From Play! (Spoilers from HoM2 Where Dark Things Sleep)
We had an interesting situation come up this weekend where, due to my character following his faction mission, my friend's 6th level character is now permanently removed from play.
As non-spoiler background, we were playing 2-07 Heresy of Man 2: Where Dark Things Sleep. Two of us were Andorans, and we had two other non-Andorans at the table. One of these non-Andorans was a 6th level bard.
Now, on to what happened, behind the spoiler tag:
When we fought the ghouls, the bard and another character contracted ghoul fever. In-character, the bard told us that they'd turn into a ghoul if he died, and we didn't have any reason (or the skill checks) to doubt him.
The Andoran faction mission was very vague, but contained this crystal-clear direction: "Undeath, too, is a form of slavery, and to let a companion fall to its grasp is an atrocity of the first order. Better to commit a friend to the fire than to face him again as a slavering horror from beyond the grave. Think on this as you face the adversaries that await you and ensure that none you know find themselves doomed to the slavery of undeath."
Later in the scenario, the invisible efreeti killed the bard. Suspecting he might come back as a ghoul due to the ghoul fever, or worried that the necropolis' magic might otherwise animate him, we two Andorans thought it a pretty clear direction that we incinerate our friend's corpse immediately.
Because of what we'd done to the PC's body, raise dead wasn't an option. He didn't have the PA for anything more powerful than raise dead, and even pooling our gold together we didn't have enough to pay for a more powerful spell. So his 6th level bard is permanently dead, but we gained our PA for our faction mission and feel like we did a pretty good job of it.
With a recent influx of cash in our high-level PFRPG game, I'm trying to make sure to "fill up" all of the available body slots on several very different characters. I've been frequently frustrated by the fact that 3.5 doesn't have a list of magic items organized by magic item slot on the body. Does anyone know of a list like this for PFRPG, preferably on-line?
I'm envisioning something like:
I've got a few questions regarding the tension between the "send us a complete submission" call and the 12k word count limit:
1) Where do we start the submission? At the title header and author (like on Page 3 of most adventures)? Or do we need to put together the title page (like on Page 2 of most adventures), which will decrease our available word count?
2) Should we include the Open Gaming License statement and, if so, does that reduce our word count? That thing is almost 1000 words itself.
3) Should we mock up a Chronicle Sheet, or at least identify the items to appear on the Chronicle Sheet?
My assumption is that we need not include the title page or the OGL, and should have a short list of the items to appear at each tier of an adventure for the Chronicle Sheet. But I didn't want my assumptions to cause auto-rejection of my manuscript.
After looking over the final PFRPG rules, identifying my issues with 3.5, and reading some very good analysis of the 3.5/PFRPG rules set (such as Trailblazer), I wanted to come up with one page of formal house rules for all of the PFRPG games I run. Here they are, with my annotations hidden behind spoiler tags. I'd appreciate any input from others about where I might be off base (or on track) with my house rules.
I already find the favored class bonus to be far more of an irritation than a genuine feature. The extra hit point or skill point is nice as a player, but not at all necessary, and it’s easy to forget where those few extra points came from when looking over a character sheet. Favored class is an artifact of older editions, and there is no reason to keep it. This reduces character power, but this loss is offset in other ways in these house rules.
2. Hit Points. Do not roll for hit points. Gain maximum hit points at 1st level, and half of maximum plus one (plus Constitution modifier) for each level thereafter.
A good rule from Living Greyhawk and Pathfinder Society, easy to remember and implement, resulting in hit points that are not “swingy” and easy to institute when making (or rebuilding) a higher level character.
3. Starting Gold. Do not roll for your starting gold; take the maximum amount.
Starting gold means so little over a character’s career that there is no reason not to just allow the maximum amount at the beginning.
4. No XP. XP is not tracked. Leveling up is performed at the DM’s discretion. Spells or effects that cost XP instead cost 5 gp per 1 XP that would be expended.
I find XP is generally more trouble than it is worth to track. The PFRPG now has even less items that require XP expenditures and no XP loss upon death, so the game is already two big steps to being XP-free. This does make magic item creation virtually worthless, but I almost never have magic item crafters among my player's characters.
5. Feat Retraining. At every 4th level, a character may drop one feat known and replace it with another for which the character qualifies (the new attribute just gained may be used to qualify for the feat). You must still meet all of the prerequisites for every feat and prestige class you have.
This just formalizes a way to retrain out of feat choices that a character isn’t much using and is no longer happy with. Skill choices don’t need this type of retraining, since skill points are far more plentiful than feats, and it is more comforting to think “hey, I used to be a good sailor, although I never use that anymore” than it is to think “I used to be proficient in repeating crossbows, although I haven’t used one in the last five levels.”
Skill and Attribute Checks
Characters assist each other on crucial skill checks in order to succeed. DMs let them coordinate because they ought to succeed (DMs that don’t want characters to succeed instead generally require the characters to roll separately anyway). This allows a greater chance of success when the characters work together, which makes skill use more fun.
2. Aid Another with Alternate Skills. The DM may permit Aid Another attempts with an alternate skill, if the player makes a reasonably good case (i.e., an Intimidate check to aid party trying to Bluff a guard). Someone rolling an alternate skill never becomes the lead character.
Being unable to contribute at all effectively in an assisted skill is not fun, particularly when you have a good reason to be doing something else to help (I will use my Perception to help our group’s Survival check to follow the tracks). This flexibility has a cost, however—no matter how well you roll, you can’t be considered the lead character. Furthermore, the DM can always nix abusive or inappropriate uses of this rule.
Movement and Combat
Characters who use ranged weapons fall into two types: those that need to use ranged weapons but aren’t good at them (i.e., low-level characters, or even high-level characters against a foe they can’t reach), and those that use ranged attacks and are really good at them (i.e., archer rangers, halfling wizards). The latter folks will usually hit regardless, but the former folks need a little help. They are already making a sub-optimal attack to try to join in the fun; providing additional cover just because your fighter is in the way is not particularly fun or interesting. Regarding creature sizes, I don’t know whether this rule is ever stated in this simple form, but it’s easy to remember and quite sensible.
2. Standing Up. Standing up from prone does not provoke an attack of opportunity.
The most precious commodity in the game is character actions. Standing up already requires a move action; having it also provoke an attack of opportunity is unnecessary overkill.
3. Charging. Allies do not block a charge or impede movement during a charge.
Charging is the only movement in the game where you cannot freely pass through your allies (this includes running, swimming, or walking around blinded). There is no sensible reason for this, so I’ve removed this restriction. Also, rules that keep characters out of combat, generally speaking, run counter to the nature of the game.
4. Moving Five Feet. Any movement of five feet never provokes an attack of opportunity. That is, even if you are blinded and moving through difficult terrain (so each five feet moved costs you 20 feet of movement), you do not provoke if you have only physically moved five feet.
Situations where a character’s “five foot step” is actually a move are uncommon, and it is always an unpleasant surprise when these debilitated characters take a wallop just for scooting a short distance. It always feels to me that the rule, and not the monster, is blindsiding you. This house rule is easy to remember: “5 feet or less, no AoO.”
5. Withdraw. If you take the withdraw action, no point in your movement provokes attacks of opportunity.
Withdrawing is an action of last resort. No one takes the withdraw action unless they are forced to by being in a very bad situation. Even so, against creatures with reach or multiple creatures, the withdraw action is effectively useless. Since taking the withdraw action is itself a penalty of sorts (in that you cannot meaningfully contribute--or even roll a die--for the round), penalizing withdrawal with AoOs seems like overkill.
6. Attacks of Opportunity. A character provokes attacks of opportunity for only three actions:
a. Movement out of a threatened area. Movement out of an opponent’s threatened area (not threatened square) provokes an attack of opportunity. You can move into or within an opponent’s threatened area without provoking an attack of opportunity. A five foot step or the withdraw action can be used to avoid this attack of opportunity.
Worrying about attacks of opportunity are one of the most significant ways to bring the game to a crawl. Micromanaging positioning for fear of taking an attack of opportunity is not fun and works to create a static, locked-down combat. This rule prevents characters from running past an enemy or attempting to disengage thoughtlessly, but otherwise provides for increased in-combat movement. If it does not seem reasonable that a character can close in on a monster with reach without taking a hit, look to the next rule. Note that this rule really helps rogues and other characters that benefit greatly from flanking.
b. Charging out of a threatened square. If you leave a threatened square when charging an opponent, the opponent may take an attack of opportunity against you.
The previous rule assumes that a reasonably careful opponent can get up to a giant to attack without taking an attack of opportunity: this rule encourages active and fluid combats, as mentioned previously. However, a heedless rush at an enemy with reach should pose more significant danger, hence this rule. Note the balance between this rule (which slightly penalizes charging) and the rule regarding allies not blocking charge lanes (which provides for more prevalent charging).
c. Other Actions. Per the rules, some actions provoke attacks of opportunity.
Except for standing up and withdrawing, now.
This is likely to be the most controversial house rule, but sit back and think about it for a minute. It’s really designed to prevent the “10 minute adventuring day,” particularly at mid levels. Twenty minutes is enough time for virtually all round/level or minute/level buff spells to drop, so the characters will “debuff” in this downtime. Without this rule, what do characters do when finishing up a tough fight and expecting another tough fight? They pull out their wands of cure light wounds--the most ubiquitous magic item in the game--and start burning through charges in a race against the durations of their minute/level buff spells. This house rule just gives them the healing, in exchange for taking away the buffs.
In essence, a wand of cure light wounds every level or so is a “tax” on adventuring that every group has to pay in order to get healing they need. It’s also not very fun to roll for this healing outside of combat: “speed healing” out of a wand is often hand-waved anyway at 5 or 6 points per charge by many DMs anyway.
So what this rule does, at its core, is assume that the whole party would otherwise have enough wands of cure light wounds to get everyone up to full fighting strength when taking a short bit of downtime. This assumption is maybe erroneous at very low levels (1st to 3rd), but those are the levels at which characters need every one of their precious hit points to survive (and this rule gives those to them). It also may be erroneous in a low-magic-item game, but party healing in those games just makes playing the cleric less fun. If you’re willing to assume that the whole party would regularly heal up using their magic item resources after a fight, then you lose nothing by instituting this rule. If you really think it’s necessary for game balance, then cut 750 gp out of the treasure they would otherwise find once or twice each level. They’ll never know, and it’s just like they bought the wands and used them during the downtime anyway, but without the bookkeeping.
Note that this rule makes playing the party healer (cleric, paladin, etc.) more fun. It also lets people with class-based healing (like lay on hands or a monk’s healing) use it in combat instead, where it is most needed and most fun to use.
Please feel free to comment on what you like or don't like about these house rules. I've already heard from a couple of people that these rules lean toward "gamist" rather than "simulationist" games, which seems true to me.
I've been helping a few locals convert their characters recently, and someone asked whether there is a level cap in Pathfinder Society. Another player declared that the cap is 12th level (that is, once you hit 12th level your character must retire). But I wasn't sure that was the case. I looked through the player's guide and couldn't find a statement to this effect. Since the 10-11 subtier is the highest PS adventures seem to go, eventually your character won't have any challenge--but is there a mandatory retirement at a particular level?
So, my Curse of the Crimson Throne character died at the beginning of Seven Days to the Grave (see how here) and I'm making up a new character.
My idea is to play a rogue/sorcerer with the Undead bloodline. After only 1 or 2 sorcerer levels, I'm taking rogue levels the rest of the way. When I'm in flanking, I'll be able to add sneak attack to my bloodline-granted touch power. That is, I get sneak damage on a melee touch attack, which should connect with just about anything. However, it's always a standard action to use the touch, so I'll only ever get one such touch attack per round.
Any thoughts on this build? Anyone tried anything like it? It seems like I could get into Dragon Disciple from this fairly easy, but that doesn't seem to fit the "touch of death" theme. Thoughts?
Hey, all. I'm getting a group together for a game, and I even have a judge offering to eat an adventure. However, we're not going to get a start until 7 pm in the evening, and we have one player who has a hard-stop at 10 pm. Although an on-the-ball DM can run most Pathfinder Society adventures in 3 hours, we don't necessarily like to be rushed, and would rather pick an adventure that can be run fairly completely in the 3-hour time slot.
What Pathfinder Society adventures run short?
As a limit to your recommendations, we've played #1 through #6. Also, as I'll be a player, no spoilers, please.
I'm looking into getting this, as I've seen a lot about it recently. One question for the stockroom folks: I've seen the image above, which makes the book look bound along a long side, and I've seen a more recent image of this book that looks like it is bound on the short side. Which is the case?
I'm expecting that this will be a good "bookshelf" product that I will love to read but never actually play, like Continuum or a|state. Has anyone really dug into a campaign of this?
So, I had an interesting situation come up when I started this adventure last session, and I could use some advice.
As others have noted, I had a continuity problem with the adventure: at the end of HMM, the party is given a keep near the Storval Plateau and they've gotten the location of Jorgenfist from Barl Breakbones. Although I've stressed that they have months before any invasion will be ready, they insist on being proactive and heading right to Jorgenfist. Even the lure of a festival in their honor in Sandpoint wasn't enough to lure them back--"We have more important things to do right now than attend a party." A good point.
So off goes the party to Jorgenfist. As they are only 8th level, they are being exceedingly cautious, and scouting as best they can. Here comes the trouble.
The party's rogue is willing to scout the area. He is flying for 16 minutes and invisible for 8 minutes. He intends to make a sweep over the area and report back. The first building he checks out is the Black Tower, where two harpies are signing (and I decided the third was asleep). He fails one of the Will saves and is captivated. He flies into the roost atop the tower and just stands, helpless, right in front of the captivating harpy. The harpies don't know he's there...until the invisibility wears off. Suddenly a rogue appears right in their roost. So they attack (consistent with their tactics, they enter melee when they have an opponent alone). Because they are able to stun the rogue every single round, he doesn't even get a chance to flee or respond, and they have him unconscious by the middle of round 3.
What do the harpies do with the rogue? They aren't really allies of Mokmurian--they long predate his arrival at Jorgenfist and it seems that the giants and the harpies enjoy mutual defense, but leave each other alone. So a "march the prisoner to the leader" or even "take the prisoner to the brig" scenarios seem unlikely. They are Intelligence 6, sadistic, carnivorous monsters--I would guess they probably just eat him and divvy up his loot.
I know I've got the ability, as DM, to rule this whichever way I want. If I want the character dead, I can just say, "they kill and eat you." If I want to throw the character some mercy, I could rule that they choose to interrogate him, or turn him over to Mokmurian, or any number of plans in which he could engineer a cunning escape. But I'd like to be true to the intent of the adventure and its creatures, and ask what you guys think is the likeliest result here.
I've got a friend coming in from out of town for the holidays, and we're getting together a game on the South Side of Chicago on Tuesday, December 23, at about 7 pm. We already have 3-4 folks, and could use another few interested people to round out our table. No specifics as to which adventure we'll play--probably Scenario #7 or later--we'll have to see if one of our group has played something none of the rest of us have.
If interested, please shoot me an email at email@example.com
Hey, all. Has anyone played or run the DarkStryder campaign for WEG's d6 Star Wars system?
I'm starting a new campaign shortly. I love adventure paths, but want to move away from fantasy for a bit. I've had the DarkStryder books for a while, but my gaming groups have always been turned off of games where you don't make your own character, but play a pre-existing character. However, my current group would really enjoy this, so I'm kicking off the Dark Stryder campaign early next year. A few questions, though:
1) Can anyone that has played or run this give me a rundown, however, brief, of their experience? Most importantly, I'm looking for where the campaign's "trouble spots" are.
2) I haven't decided whether to run this as WEG d6, or as WotC Star Wars Saga Edition. There is a steeper rules learning curve for me to use the former, but I get to use the stats as presented right in the campaign books. There is not as steep a learning curve if I use the Saga edition, but I'll have to retool all of the stats in the campaign (where "retool" means "steal stats liberally from Threats of the Galaxy and the Saga adventure path at the WotC website")
3) It appears that the Jedi, a key part of the Star Wars universe, play a pretty small role in this campaign. I've been describing it to my players as a sort of "Star Wars meets Star Trek" model. It's the Star Wars universe, but you're flying around in one ship, and generally play the key characters on that ship. Does this seem accurate?
4) Per the campaign, everyone is supposed to be playing multiple characters. I've seen this advice in other gritty campaigns (like Dark Sun and Paranoia) and wonder how it has worked out.
I'm grateful for any input.