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First off, I'm writing this during a preliminary read-through. Wow. This is absolutely amazing. Great work, Thurston.
PFS Prep users: I have uploaded Hero Lab portfolio files to the site for both Kaarim and Imlathre in subtier 12-13. Modifying them for 14-15 shouldn't be that difficult, but they are a slight bit messy looking for validation errors. The numbers should all be right or very close to it and assume the written Before Combat tactics occur.
Pg 12: Does the Enhanced Magic trait replace the normal effects (+2 CL on select spells) with the Quickened effect, or is it supplemented?
Pg 12: For the subjective directional gravity, are players assumed to default to down = land upon unwilling entry?
subjective directional gravity:
Subjective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity on a plane with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity's pull. Such a plane has no gravity for unattended objects and nonsentient creatures. This sort of environment can be very disorienting to the newcomer, but it is common on "weightless" planes.
Characters on a plane with subjective directional gravity can move normally along a solid surface by imagining "down" near their feet. If suspended in midair, a character "flies" by merely choosing a "down" direction and "falling" that way. Under such a procedure, an individual "falls" 150 feet in the first round and 300 feet in each succeeding round. Movement is straight-line only. In order to stop, one has to slow one's movement by changing the designated "down" direction (again, moving 150 feet in the new direction in the first round and 300 feet per round thereafter).
It takes a DC 16 Wisdom check to set a new direction of gravity as a free action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a +6 bonus on subsequent checks until he or she succeeds.
Pg 19: Magic Vestment is not prepared or listed as a scroll/oil. Is Kaarim's armor just magical, as suggested by the Other Gear?
Boon Companion wrote:
That bold wording is critical. It's not that the companion is boosted by up to 4 CL. Your Courtly Hunter level is treated as 4 higher. VERY big difference.
As a player, if I found out that the method of destruction was overly complicated, I would simply follow ye olde 2500gp solution: buy a bag of holding, put the horn in it, and rupture the sucker.
If a bag of holding is overloaded, or if sharp objects pierce it (from inside or outside), the bag immediately ruptures and is ruined, and all contents are lost forever.
Problem solved...at least for my lifetime. That's the glory of nondimensional spaces, as well as extradimensional spaces.
Press the GM to allow you to make Knowledge (local) or Diplomacy checks to gather information so you can find out their names from other sources. The DCs might be kind of high at lower level, but as characters become higher level, the DCs should go down as they gain notoriety. Once you find out the name (or what people have been referring to them as), start using that in-character.
If nobody knows the PCs names, then clearly they should have a reputation as being murderers and would be known by some alias. PCs don't exist in a vacuum, after all.
Can you tell us if the new seeker content has a hard mode? I thought I read a rumour which suggested that was the case.
The fact that it has a 14-15 subtier isn't hard mode enough? Sure, players have a lot of capacity in that subtier, but you can do some fun things in a monster budget with that.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
A fact that I'm sure Jolene also finds SO VERY EXCITING.
Murdock Mudeater wrote:
The issue here is that none of the things mentioned should require any Fame. Everything is on the Always Available list.
For reference, Flayleaf is 20gp for 2 lbs. There is no reference for what a dose entails. I was making .5 lbs joints for these giants.
Something I'd like to see clarified:
Pg 25 - Spellcasting Services
There are other restrictions placed on spellcasting services in the entry, but it doesn't address Fame at all, despite being on the same page as the Fame purchase limit chart. My inclination is that it is not restricted to Fame, but a clarifying sentence would be appreciated.
That'd be the spirit under which my comment was intended.
John Compton wrote:
My apologies for the offense. It was not intended.
The only thing you'd be missing here is that the Improved Familiar feat has never been modified from the original Core printing and requires an Arcane Caster Level for any selections. There are, to my knowledge, no errata, FAQs, or developer posts that indicate that your effective wizard level for the familiar counts towards the requirement on Improved Familiar.
Drill Instructor, from a cavalier archetype called Strategist. That ability is 4 levels deep and pretty terrible, honestly, unless you can expect every encounter to be in a short distance from each other. You spend 10 minutes prepping, then it lasts for 10 + 1/2 cavalier level minutes for the cost of a Challenge, as well as breaking if you go around a corner because it requires both being seen and heard.
Nothing terribly surprising, really. No dips, maybe use an aasimar boon so Celestial Servant is an option for the companion. I'd probably play similar to Zara/Pumpkin - animal for attacking, character for talking/casting - but still able to bring the critter into places without using Carry Companion. I'd probably do a stat array close to 8/10/12/14/16/14 before racial modifiers.
The easiest way to address this, in my experience, is for the GM to hand out notecards at the beginning of the session, ask the players to pre-roll the secret rolls, and record them on the cards. Just say "I need you each to give me 20d20 on this card." Also have the players provide a couple modifiers - perception, sense motive, etc. on the card for reference. As rolls are utilized, the GM just crosses them off in order.
I understand where your GM is coming from. Some players tend to metagame the hell out of some rolls and Perception is the biggest offender, by far. That said, the downside here is that you have to trust your GM enough to not "dramatically" pick the garbage rolls out of order. Sometimes, that's a big problem for a group. It all depends.
And here I thought this was just going to be about the highly suggestive writing of the archetype.
You might consider the Courtly Hunter as another option that will better meld with most PFS scenarios for the bulk of its class features. The main difference would be that you wouldn't get the slow Bard progression of spells that the Dandy gets, but you'd still have a lot of the social benefits, though they're more likely to be impactful as the Courtly Hunter.
Played this in a PFS group yesterday in a 10 hour marathon session. Excellent module, tons of fun to be had. I'd love to see more content from Mike in the future.
A couple of the encounters seemed like throw-ins that didn't really contribute much to the plot. Overall, we had some incredible melee synergy with reach that negated a number of issues and trivialized those encounters. Most combat bent towards Good-aligned resolutions, which was highly satisfying.
Pirate Rob wrote:
Actually, it's part 3. Part 2 is "I'm on a boat." I don't think there's anything a PC with that profession could contribute to that issue, though.
They effectively did decide not to pursue it further, which is a shame. For the problems within the optional rules, they were still more balanced and interesting than standard casting. Notably, it had a SIGNIFICANT impact in differentiating the sorceror and wizard classes.
I would have loved to see more content here, but unfortunately it was an optional system that didn't get the same traction as the Stamina system.
Jolene Danner wrote:
Let's not forget the fact that the store in question has a better event space for PFS conventions than most hotels. I'm not convinced that I should go back to CotN as a local convention, but I definitely want to go back to Skal Con. CotN was hidden away from conference amenities in a cramped space. It was a subpar experience as an attendee because we were a sliver of the convention action. On top of that, from everything I've heard, it's significantly more arduous work for our organizers.
Skal Con was a smashing success because a lot of the problems that come up from being part of some other event weren't there. PFS was the star of the show, so we had a convention room in a store to ourselves. The kitchen was scarcely 100 feet away and served more than frozen pizza and hot dogs - it's a friggin' gourmet kitchen! People traveled from other regions to play and GM. We had special access to a retired scenario run by its author. We could hear our GMs and players at each table without making them shout over the entire room.
A couple notes from someone who has GM'd the entire dungeon:
Underground is most appropriate. Most levels are urban, but not all. All levels are underground after the first.
As Imbicatus mentioned, the loophole is closed for Favored Terrain so the rogue talent is worthless. That said, you can still get plenty of mileage out of a more standard build of Horizon Walker with a modest Favored Terrain bonus.
You will not get much mileage out of FE: Evil Outsider...at all. Your best choice is Construct. There is a construct on virtually every floor.
Pathfinder is definitely imbalanced, always has been. I think the basis of this has been well hashed out in this thread thus far. I do not expect this to change unless there is a significant business need to do so. The game is held back by legacy concerns, absolutely atrociously written early material, and design staff that are seemingly not interested in moving on to more modern "RPG technology." Addressing these items is a significant risk to the platform and market position.
I think the legacy concerns are self-evident. This thread has significantly covered the imbalances in the CRB. Core spells are among the least balanced in the entire system and frequently the most ambiguously powerful. Consider the fact that Ultimate Intrigue has several pages devoted to "Spells of Intrigue" that clarifies CRB spells almost exclusively. Other elements of the game have also been addressed in later releases with limited success. Pathfinder Unchained introduced replacement subsystems to address perceived holes in game design, including the Stamina subsystem to allow martials to do more with their feats. In both cases, these were effectively errata and FAQs masquerading as new content, filling holes that have been known since 3.5's heyday.
This brings me to point 2: the CRB is the worst-written book in Pathfinder. To be fair, this was at a point when Paizo simply did not have the resources that they have today. Paizo is a fundamentally different company today than they were when the CRB came out in 2009. I cannot stress that point enough. Still, there are significant grievances to be had with the CRB. Needless variation in language muddles important concepts. Entire sections of rules were left out. Because of the need at release to maintain ties with 3.5 content, incredibly little was done to address concerns other than slapping a couple extra things on classes (i.e. feats more frequently, prohibited schools to opposition, etc.). As releases became successful, the quality of the writing increased dramatically. None of that, though, makes up for the fact that the system is running on bandages and duct tape.
What this all circles back to, though, is a design team where there are new, interesting ideas from some and old, tired ideas from others. There is no more perfect example of this than the Psychic class. I say this as someone with a level 11 Psychic in PFS. The Psychic is the pinnacle of lazy design. It is a phoned-in Sorceror with the serial number filed off. It's a "good" class for two reasons only: (1) it's a 9-level caster that (2) has a lot of CRB spells on its list. This is to say that it's a "good" class for the same reasons that Sorcerors, Wizards, Clerics, and Druids are "good" - it's imbalanced. It's a continuation of the same bad design choices made before Pathfinder was written. When you compare that to the Kineticist, which has riskier gambits within the game's framework, it's pretty clear that there's a divide between original design concepts and "stay safe to the core" design. This is a fundamental problem frequently caused by clique formation and echo chambers of ideas.
With all that said, though, there's little reason for Paizo to stop doing what they're doing. The game is, in some aspects, imbalanced in all the wrong ways, but the appeal of the game remains marketable. There is insufficient fiscal inducement to change the game address these issues. I still open my wallet to them, after all, and so do thousands of other people. As long as Paizo remains profitable and growing (or even profitable and stable), I wouldn't expect the lingering issues to be properly addressed.
tl;dr: It's not the new stuff that's broken. It's the old stuff and old people.
Bob Jonquet wrote:
Is your goal to allow the new player to feel like they're contributing? I find that is typically key to a fun experience. How about minimizing the amount of math they have to do, which intimidates a lot of players?
Amiri is flavorful and interesting. So is Crowe. The difference, especially for first level, is that Crowe is also easier to use and generally more effective. Crowe doesn't scare people away from the game. As Keith pointed out, as well, later iterations of Crowe also introduce additional concepts in bite-sized portions, which is appropriate for a new player. Crowe's design is the equivalent of Mario 1-1 as a tutorial.
Have you ever met a GM who follows steps 9 and 10 as written? That's my entire point in bringing this up.
Organized play is predicated on everyone following the rules. This specific section of rules is one that I've seen universally ignored. It is my opinion that players and GMs are more likely to follow the rules in this case if some sort of process accommodation is made. I think the rules here make sense and should be followed if possible.
I'm looking at the diagram right now. Step 9 references I, M-O, and S-T. Those correspond to Experience Final Total (I), Prestige Spent, Prestige, and Fame (M-O), then Gold Spent and Total (S-T). Not sure what you're referring to here.
I oppose any change that would make scenarios more of a stamp it out cookie cutter format, including uniform gold for scenarios / subtiers.
Is your feeling that the RGG needs to be updated to remove the "requirement" of reviewing player math by the GM?
Agreed with Jason S. Let's update the published procedure to match the reality of what 99.9% of PFS players and GMs currently do.
I agree that, generally speaking, rules and actions should match. My interpretation here is that the rule is fine, but the processes surrounding it are not. Given that this is organized play, it makes sense to have "mini-audits" on a chronicle basis to ensure everyone is on a level playing field. The problem is that the process is onerous - players cannot reasonably anticipate their purchases and most players won't want to immediately make their purchases at the table, which is what the current rules require.
For the record, I absolutely hate the "reduce gold by x" sections in scenarios. In my mind, we're getting paychecks rather than selling the gear. I understand the logic there, too, but that creates some pretty big headaches.
Yuri Sarreth wrote:
And lets not forget Fame limits guys.. You need the 300 gold for your next neat toy and 2 fame to buy that level.. oops you only got 1 fame this time.. Guess you have to wait..
I have no sympathy for players on Fame limits, especially since you can rapidly reach a point where you're completely neglecting your other gear slots if you're bumping up against the Fame limit, even on the assumption of 3/4 Prestige earned. The only time that Fame stood in my way past 22 was the race to 40 Fame for Staff of the Master. That is to say that Fame, for many characters, is not a limitation on purchases past level 5. For many of my characters, it's not a concern past 9 Fame.
Sure, there are going to be screwballs thrown at players in the course of adventures that may alter their purchases. Maybe you need a Raise Dead or you diminished a critical stock of consumables that just have to be replaced immediately. Still, you'd at least know what you need to do then and have an idea of what you're looking at when the chronicles are being handed out.
This is a silly frustration, but a frustration nonetheless.
Roleplaying Guild Guide, pgs 37-38 wrote:
Of note, sections S and T refer to the Gold Spent and Total boxes. Thus, according to the RGG, a GM should not sign a chronicle until the player has made all their purchases associated with the chronicle. There are two ways to address this as written:
So, if Step 9 and Step 10 are written as intended, which they seem to have very rational explanations included for requiring (i.e. session to session auditing), it would seem that the only logical thing to do would be to provide a more streamlined expectation set so that players know what they will buy in advance.
And so, the suggestion:
This doesn't resolve every problem, mind you. Out-of-subtier play, for example, is still slightly messy, but if I know that my level 1 character will get either exactly 500gp or exactly 1000gp, I can confidently plan purchases in advance. I also don't have to worry about "trap chronicles" with gold values significantly lower than average. The net result of this is a greater likelihood of Scenario 1 above actually happening meaning that, even at conventions, I could actually follow the rules in the RGG for filling out chronicles.
Example of a trap chronicle:
0-16 To Scale the Dragon, which has less gold at the 8-9 subtier (lolol 3531gp) than the out of subtier total for more recent 5-9 scenarios (as mentioned in the next spoiler, one example has 3971gp for out of subtier in a 5-9).
What do I mean by non-varied gold? (Spoiler for 7-13 Captive in Crystal):
Looking at 7-13 Captive in Crystal, the gold tiers are 2534, 3971, and 5408. Why not instead say that a 5-6 subtier scenario is worth 2500gp, an 8-9 is worth 5500gp, and out-of-subtier characters receive 4000gp? This could then be templated across all scenarios in that level bracket.
Ultimately, this isn't a request for OMG MOAR GOLD, but instead more predictable gold that allows players and GMs to follow the expectations of the Roleplaying Guild Guide.
I am currently sitting on a few blobs, myself, and recently spun one up to a real character. My tendency is to have a character shell in Hero Lab that I enter the chronicles on as I GM, but wait to make purchases until the final GM chronicle. It makes the math easier. As Jeff said, though, I thus limit myself to one prestige purchase.