Based solely on the information given, you did the right thing.
However, I'm not surprised to hear a story like this. Going through forums for a lot of "modern" games a common recurring theme seems to be that the GM isn't really a Game Master anymore but rather a circus performer present only for the sole benefit of the player's giggles.
It's not an issue if you only worry abour reprinting OOP modules. New players can't get any of that stuff except through vastly inflated secondary market prices (and Paizo doesn't see any of that money either). There wouldn't be a reprint if the original never sells out. Telling new players, "You can't have this, you should've gotten in earlier. Neener, neener." isn't a sound strategy. The amount of material, its cost, the level of system mastery needed, and lack of availability for current edition products are all blocks to new players coming in; that's lost money too. PDF's can be nice until you have to print them out in a durable format at which point you're paying more for the product than you would have buying the book; also not attractive to new players. Paizo has a loyal fanbase but selliing only those who are already playing is going to give diminishing returns over time unless all current players buy everything that comes out. To new players, PF is becoming an increasingly harder sell.
You would only do a compilation when the original is OOP; in whole or in part. If the AP is still fully available then there's no need to do a compilation but once even one module goes OOP the market for it is pretty dead if you aren't going to re-realease..
That's the problem I have with PF: if you've been following since the beginning (or close to it) it's great but new players kind of get the shaft. There are a lot of books, it's very expensive, and even if you're willing to pay all that there are still many things you just can't get.
I'm not trying to GM a video game. I don't think players are entitled to a "god mode" just because they can't handle the occassional loss or need to run away. I think there are far better outlets for that than a tabletop rpg. In my opinion, I don't think its the role of the GM to play court jester handing out mechanical benefits like candy to players who can't seem to envisualize a concept without them. The GM is playing the game as well and is entitled to as much fun as the players. Being the clown for the players amusement doesn't strike me as fun. If that's how you enjoy the game though then knock yourself out but I think most GM's would get bored with 1-round encounters all the time.
Ninja'd by Thunderfrog.
The reason people think concepts suck is because GM's super optimize their encounters as they think the players will do the same with their characters. So a concept only sucks when the rules don't allow it it to be super-optimized. If you take away the need for super-optimization then less concepts will suck (and you'll have less math to do to boot) since you don't need to go hog wild nuts with the build.
All that super optimizing just makes fewer builds viable and takes longer and more effort to get the ones that do to work. There's no need to go to the hassle of nuclear power when steam works perfectly well.
Then it's smart not to have him go down the well then. Lol.
In that case, it would probably be smart not to go down at all then :) Unfortunately, Adventurer Personality Afflictive Disorder (APAD) trumps having a high Wisdom.
Out of curiosity, if we do go down the well and make it do we get t-shirts that say, "I went down the well!" on the front with "And survived!" on the back?
It's still fun to create a race even if I end up not needing it since I'll have the time. I don't have a solid concept yet, I may have to pull out some oldies but goodies for inspiration (Talislanta, Skyrealms of Jorune, etc.).
I haven't posted crunch yet as there seems to be a problem with the Wolflair store that has prevented me from downloading the ARG data package for HeroLab. I always prefer to use HeroLab as it's so much quicker and I don't have to worry about my math being wrong (I can also export the character straight into BBCode so it's like two clicks to copy the character into my alias). It's also nice not having to look through 5-6 books trying to remember which book that one feat was in.
As a sidenote, I don't drop stats below 10 except for racial modifiers. It's just my personal preference. I mainly bring it up to forestall questions like, "Why didn't you dump "X" down to 2? Monks don't need it anyways!"
It just occured to me that I could still go ahead and create a race and just set it aside for a "next" character; that would give me the time to develop it better. I've never played through Rappan Athuk before but, from what I understand, it's degree of difficulty is higher than your standard PF AP which will (likely) mean a higher percentage of PC deaths.
I had thought of designing a race but was afraid I wouldn't have time to do it justice. If I design a race, I want more than just a list of abilities; I want at least some idea of what it "means" to be that race, where do they come from, why has nobody ever seen one before, etc., etc. I also find it's (usually) better to create races in a vacuum otherwise, it's too easy to fall into the trap of making a race that simply pumps up whatever class currently catches your fancy. I've found that to be a big problem in a lot of science fiction rpg's; certain races are so obviously geared to a certain class/role that if you're playing "X" then you're almost always playing "Y" too. At that point you might as well make the system "race as class" saving the designers and players a lot of time and be done with it.
Brown Lotus lacks a strong sense of self-personality. He's never had to show initiative on his own before and, when left to himself, lacks (to a certain degree) the sense of context that life experiences give to help with decision making. The high rarity of his race diminished the sense of identity that the revelation of what he is might otherwise have brought. He would likely have been very happy to have stayed at the temple, where he could have identity as part of a welcoming group, but the monks there realized that this would only have stunted his need for individual development.
An adventuring group would be a natural fit, if given the opportunity, as it would remove much of the social pressure from him while allowing him to get vital life experience. Also, his oddness isn't out of place in an adventuring group who are considered by many to be a rather odd lot to begin with.
As for heading into dungeons, I see it as doubtful that he has any preference for one adventure type over another and is likely to go along with whatever the group consensus seems to be. This will be mostly true at lower levels where his lack of experience makes him hesitant to venture an opinion of his own volition. After a couple of levels, his confidence and sense of self will grow and that will start to change.
In my head, the Temple of the Transparent Lotus was mostly LG so that's the alignment I see him as. If the group ends up as almost all Neutral though I can change him to LN as this would have been a large factor in deciding whether or not to join a given group.
I have an idea for an Oread Monk (Qinggong). He was once the property of a merchant of Katapesh who was killed, while travelling, by an overzealous (and not quite all right in the head) Inquisitor of Hanspur, the Water Rat. Unsure of what to make of the "golem" travelling with the merchant, the Inquisitor decided he didn't really care and wandered off. Unsure what to do with his newfound freedom, and believing himself to be a magic object and not a sentient being, he wandered randomly until stumbling upon the Temple of the Transparent Lotus where he was informed that he was an actual being and not a construct. He has no true name that he knows of and so goes by his temple name: Brown Lotus.
In my opinion, "The campaign timeline never moves forward" is problematic over the long haul.
Personally, I agree. People who have both the time and inclination to make radical changes to a world based on their characters actions are often playing in a homebrew already because they have the time and inclination to do so (though, certainly, this isn't always the case).
The reason many people buy published settings is so they don't have to do all that work. Some people just don't have the time to keep track of the sensical changes that should be occuring and also might be timid of making a change which might conflict with an upcoming AP or story. Also, not everyone is a great worldbuilder and so they look to the company to provide it for them. Keeping that world in a frozen point of time is, imo, a mistake.
As for the original topic: Eventually, love it or hate it, PF 2.0 (or whatever they choose to call it) will come out. It may be sooner and it may be later but it's going to happen. How big a change that edition will be we'll just have to wait and see.
Paulcynic: If I'm playing a Plot-based game (the way you describe it), I'm not playing PF at all. Nor any game that uses a level-based mechanic. Level-based systems are already arbitrary abstractions. XP is no moreso than the levels themselves. Using levels without using the method that defines them seems backwards to the point of having a level system at all. If that's the kind of thing that negatively affects our narrative, then I'm going to switch to a more freeform point-based system and remove the stricture of levels entirely.
I should point out that, going back to OD&D to today, we don't let players calculate or track their own XP. When it was time to level the DM would say so. In the older editions characters advanced at different rates anyway so it didn't stand out as much.
With XP, the player(s) were/are rewarded (even if the didn't know how much) for making good decisions. Without it, as long as no one dies, it doesn't matter what kind of decisions player(s) make as the rewards are the same either way. To me, that's a more negative impact on the narrative than what you describe XP as doing since it seems, to me, to trivialize decision making outside of your build . As a GM, I want the players to consider whether the the decisions they're making are good ones or not and as a player, I want to have to consider that.
The way you describe "Plot-based" sounds like exactly how I want a non level-based game to run. But with levels, you're already adding in arbitrary plateaus of power. I don't see how removing XP makes arbitrary levels of power less arbitrary. If there's an arbitrary detractor here it's the levels, not the XP (especially when the classes aren't all balanced against each other--and, in PF, they aren't). And if levels aren't part of what the players are striving for, then why use them?
The players wouldn't know the XP rewards which should, IMO, be based on how well and/or cleverly they dealt with it anyways. There are better and worse choices in dealing with any challenge and the reward should be adjusted accordingly, IMO.
If they're going to be rewarded every 3 sessions regardless what difference does it make how they handle the challenge as long as it doesn't result in a TPK?
Characters are going to have a wide variety of motivations and reasons for doing things. You're not going to have every challenge perfectly mesh with every players in character reasons. And if by some means you manage it then there's no reason to even bother offering the other challenge as an option.
It's far more entertaining, for me, to give and receive rewards based on what the characters do and how they do it rather than just, "It's been three sessions and you all lived so level up."
But when you've been leveling the players every three sessions then, at some point, they're going to start expecting it.
It isn't so much about chasing the loot as it about you're going to get the loot regardless of what decisions you make. Stay in town and deal with the corrupt mayor or ride north to fight the bandits or explore the swamp to the south? Doesn't matter because it's level and loot in 3 sessions regardless. As a player or a GM, I don't find that very entertaining. For me, player decisions need to have more importance than just, did they survive the three sessions to level?
DM Locke wrote:
And characters didn't advance at the same rates anyways.
It happens because players stop thinking about the here and now of the game and are instead looking at that feat they're going to get at the next level instead of deciding if they should go stop the marauding dragon or instead rescue the princess from the evil sorcerer because, either way, that feat is coming in 2-3 sessions regardless. There needs to be a reason for players to consider the decisions they're making.
Unless the decision is so absurdly bad that it TPK's the group there really aren't any bad decisons. It's hard to be invested in a decision or course of action when there's no relevance to it. I prefer there to be more of a gradient to player/group decisons: stupid, bad, mediocre, good, excellent and reward appropriately rather than just having every 3rd session (or whatever) be the "level-up" session.
Having powerful character isn't something you earn.
This part I disagree with. Too many players seem to have a sense of entitlement about progression. Not only do they think they're going to level every 2-3 sessions (or whatever), they expect it because they feel it's their "due".
For me, that's always created disinterest in players rather than fostering interest. Decisions become meaningless because those levels are going to come regardless (so they typically choose the path of least resistance) and the lazy player who only shows up half the time and only plays half-heartedly gets the same rewards as the full-tilt, gung-ho, never misses a session player does. That creates player antagonism and tends to bring the whole group down to the lowest denominator of play style.
I've never thought of rewarding good play as a "bribe" and it seems, to me at least, a rather strange notion to view it as such. To each his own, I guess.
It's nice to see Len Lakofka's name mentioned again. I still weep over the loss of the Wormy comic strip; the greatest strip to ever appear in a gaming mag. Don't imagine if we'll ever know why Dave Trampier went MIA; no point in asking his brother-in-law, Tom Wham (I've tried), the most info I ever got was "Illinois".
The problem is, we're seeing the same arguements over the same stuff over and over and over again with no resolution and people getting more and more up-in-arms about it. We're starting to hit a point we're doing nothing is going to have a higher cost than making a change. The drama's already here and it's not getting better by keeping things as they are.
To people who have been following PF since day 1 it might not seem so bad but to many new players PF looks like a mess.
I agree but I think the OP's complaint is that the elf seems less like an elf as time goes on. I sort of agree but with the underlying math of the system I'm not sure there's much to be done about it that hasn't already been done (mechanically).
I'm very wary of comparisons to, and complaints of, earlier editions; especially 1st. The game wasn't scaled to 20th level in 1st edition. Your "high-level end of campaign" type modules were ones like Tomb of Horrors and Queen of the Demonweb Pits; both 10-14th level. This is because the game mechanics started to break down once characters hit their "lord" levels; typically, between levels 8 and 10. Racial level limits were almost completely meaningless as the system was already going wonkers long before you hit those caps and especially if you were multi-classing. If you were playing to those levels you already had to houserule like crazy just to make the system work.
Wow. How has this escaped my notice since almost a year ago?
1d100 ⇒ 94 Ooze-based Humanoid (wildcard, make your own!)
1d100 ⇒ 99 Mul (half-human/half-dwarf hybrid)
1d100 ⇒ 78 Vodyanoi (salamander-like humanoids)
Interesting mix. As I recall, the Mul were from Dark Sun which I don't have access to anymore. Is there info on them anywhere that I can access?
Each incident has the same chance, but over time things progress towards the average which is why when talking about the game in general referencing averages is useful.
Actually, it doesn't. That's the Gambler's Fallacy again; assuming that previous results somehow have an effect on future results. They don't.
Sure a single Kobold could walk up to the party and roll nothing but 20s and the party could all roll 1s and the Kobold would have TPK'd the party, but does that make the Kobold some mega-monster? Obviously not because the rolls in that one single incident were skewed. Instead you ask how likely is that to happen on average and the answer is not likely at all.
It only seems skewed because you obssessing over averages. If I flip a nickel a hundred times, how likely is it that I'll get heads every single time? Not very. But that chance isn't isn't any less than any other single combination of flips. Because how many times I flip heads has no bearing on how many times I'll continue to do so. The d20 is a flat probability. That "skewed" example you gave is no less likely than any other set of numbers than any other set of rolls the party an kobold might generate.
The same goes for the players, sure in any one encounter the dice could fall one way or the other, but over the characters career things will approach the average. Part of the fun of the game is that you don't know what the exact outcome of any encounter is going to be, you have to roll it out.
This goes counter to all your previous points. By your logic, you do know how an encounter's going to go because you've already run the numbers. When the probablity curve is completely flat, there are no extreme results. Your "avergae" result is no more likley than any other and isn't going to occur more often.
If this were really true, there would be no need to roll dice at all. You could just apply averages every round since, by your postulation, that's the end result anyway. These aren't things I'm making up here; these are established mathematical proofs. Things in PF are skewed but it's from looking for race/class/feat/spell combinations that load the results towards one end of the spectrum but none of that unflattens the probability of a certain number being rolled.
Unfortunately, IMO, your view is becoming more true as we continue to remove random elements from the game. Few roll stats, rolling hp is becoming less common, save or die results are largely gone and so tension is removed from the game because we've cooked the numbers to generate what we think the results should be and so, in that regard, the game is much more predictable. Letting the dice "fall as they may" is almost gone from PF because we take feats and abilities to ensure that doesn't happen.
That tension that you mentioned earlier no longer exists because we've made optimization (unfortunate as such a need scares off newbies especially as more material comes out) a virtual requirement so as to remove that tension. And players who don't get what they want get pissed so we play at higher than normal point buys and look for every bonus to remove how many time players need to boo-hoo over a bad roll. The biggest example of this was when treasure went from being something you earned to something you made for yourself while sipping afternoon tea plotting out your character already knowing what items he's going to get for the next 12 levels.
If you really want tension, look to indie games or games made before 3.0 came out. That was tension. PF? Not so much. PF is the rpg version of the first-person shooter when you've entered the cheat for extra ammo and lives (but not quite god-mode).
But monsters don't deal damage in averages. The result of one roll doesn't determine the result of subsequent rolls; that's the Gambler's Fallacy. If the hydra has a 1 in 3 chance of hitting it doesn't mean it's only going to hit 1 out of every 3 rounds. 37.5 damage is putting a big hurt on a 4th level character.
Rolling four 20's in a row on a d20 sounds improbable but it has the exact same probablity as rolling a 5, then a 12, then a 2, and then an 18. And if a I roll four 20's in a row four times in a row, my chance of doing it a fifth time is exactly the same as it was the first. This is why I hate all of the hyper-optimization average-analysis based threads that pop up all the time now. Games don't flow based on midpoints and arithmetic means. Well, they do if you decide to continue with the trend of removing as many random influences from the game as possible because, for some reason, randomness restricts creativity and is badwrongfun. :/
It's a joke word from an old Simpsons episode. The school has just watched a film about the history of the city where the founder used the word 'embiggens' (it's part of the town motto).
One teacher says to another: "You know, I never heard the word 'embiggens' before moving to Springfield."
Go to Wikipedia and do a search on embiggens; it's actually very entertaining.
I've always beleived that spells don't do anything apart from what's described in the spell. Water Walking lets you walk on the ocean but it doesn't calm it. I would definitely make it difficult terrain or require DEX/Acrobatics checks depending on how tumultuous the water was. At what point you apply that is a DM's call.
I'm in a bunch of campaigns but they're all having the same problem.
*No link I create to any Paizo thread works; it just comes up as a blank page. For PbP even finding the thread and clicking on the title doesn't work. I have to go to the original recruitment thread (which I can open) and click on the link there. That's a real hassle since I can't even link to the recruitment page. It's hard to remember what the thread is called since, normally, I don't click on it; I click on a link or favorites tab (neither of which works).
One was a Carrion Crown game by DM Haldhin, one a Jade Regent game by DM Hamied and a Skulss & shackles by DM Immortal. I just can't remember the actual thread name and they're hard to find as the dots and new posts are usually missing.
*I get dots and new post messages on threads I've never been to. Ones I have been to often have no dots or new post notifications and those few that do have wildly incorrect numbers.
*When I make a new post, it always goes to a blank page. If I hit refresh 4 or 5 times its about 50/50 whether my post shows up or just vanishes.
Also, these are the same problems I had on Tuesday. Not one thing mentioned is working better for me today than it was on Tuesday. I'm running IE 9 on a Windows 7 (64x) machine. No compatability mode (a pointless feature that few websites gain any benefit from; most get screwed up by it).
EDIT: Post came through, got lucky. Interestingly, the Edit feature seems to work without problem.
Early H.P. Lovecraft works differed in tone from his later works. His earlier works had a stronger "pulp" influence and he was constrained by the technology of his time. Cthuluhu's power comes largely from later ideas that humanity is fairly insignificant and irrelvant. Since most fantasy settings don't take this view you generally end up with a Cthulhu paraphrase.
One of the GURPS book, I think CthulhuTech but I can't remember, asked the question, "To Cthulhu, what's the difference between a 200 pt. hero and a 2000? None; they're equally tasty."
Prior to 3.0 we rolled at every level and took what we got; even if it was a one and even at first level. I remember a scene from the first Gamers movie whre the massive fighter has a 95% chance to rip open the gate but ends up throwing his back out when he tries. The weak archer who only has a 35% chance rips it off easily and tosses it aside. To me, that's just part of a game being a game. I understand why people may not care forit but I don't think randomness is "The Great Evil" that some make it out to be.
I found a link to the discussion thread in the discussion section but it still doesn't link to anything. I suppose, when I get time, I can search through my own posts and see if the ones from that thread still show up. If they do I might be able to get to the thread that way but I won't be able to test that until later this evening.
That update on Tuesay has really borked up the messageboards on many levels.
Usually a "high" average with max at 1st level. With all other random elements removed from character creation I saw no reason to keep hp random. In the groups I've played with, the more keen they are on optimizing the more likely they are to ditch any random elements. If they don't care about optimization at all, the more likely everything is going to be rolled randomly (stats, hp, money, etc.) Also, the older (age-wise) the group is, the more likely to use random; the younger, fixed. That's just my experience though. YMMV.
Solid themes. It's interesting that so many people brought up the Museum of Anthropology as that's where I got the idea to play an anthropologist.
One interesting thing about Vancouver being used for so many movie/show purposes is that it gives access to regular mortals "in the know" that have tons of wealth and power to have major influence. When you have that much money and that many lackies underneath you and you know how to use them (because you really know what's going on) you can be a practical puppetmaster.