I've seen a variety of odd professions chosen by PFS characters without anyone complaining. Just off the top of my head, I've seen...
Admittedly, it might be hard to see how a swineherd could make 50 gp in a couple weeks' herding, but such elevated levels of pig-headedness must be rare and valued by bacon enthusiasts.
I have a couple of observations I'd like to offer:
First, it's somewhat 'metagamey' to say that a creature unloads his full-attack routine "because he doesn't have another foe within five feet". That may be what happens in the game turn, but in the game's world, the creature just took down one foe and looks for its next opponent. It isn't conscious that it just completed a turn and began the next one.
When appropriate, GMs should try to make their players aware of opponents' motivations and approach to combat. A hungry beast may stop to devour a foe while its packmates fight others or a greedy brigand might use his remaining attack to cut his victim's coin purse from his belt or search his victim's backpack for liquor. Just as players' tactics may be suboptimal, some foes aren't on the right sheet of music.
I've had players roll Sense Motive mid-battle when an opponent "shifted gears". "You sense that he's taking the battle more seriously than he did before the barbarian hit him. You expect that he's also not going to take the chance that the cleric will bring anyone else back into the fight."
Scenario 0-20: King Xeros of Old Azlant has an encoutner that prudent players can settle by roleplaying, making it easily playable in a four-hour slot. I'm also fond of the adventure's plot, which may have your (Tier 7-8) players thinking "Game Over, man! We're all gonna die on this rock!"
I wish that I had read this before running a "slot-zero" game for the Dark Menagerie. In our post-mortem, we hit upon several of the same ideas that were detailed here. We also had a few of our own twists:
* The floating helm should play "tour guide" in Ancient Azlanti. I'd keep it silent and mysterious to start out, but then it starts to provide unhelpful commentary as the party is attacked by the dungeon's various inhabitants. "Many visitors ask how Nhur Athemon keeps the creatures in his exhibits so docile. It's no mystery, really: They are bound with enchantments designed to last for centuries! You can even go up to these scorpions and pet them if you wish."
* My players immediately slammed the door and started buffing when they reached the scorpion room. One of the scorpions promptly ripped it off its hinges and tried to drag a PC into the room.
* The decapus should have an illusion up since it just heard the PCs massacring the scorpions. I'd recommend an illusionary floor with a robed, skeletal figure standing in front of an altar. The skeleton is holding a pitcher, which it raises dramatically and begins to slowly pour its contents onto the altar. That vignette will get one of the fighter-types in almost any party to charge, only to fall through the floor and end up prone in front of the beetle.
If the monsters have the HP to pull it off, don't be afraid to deliberately draw AoOs. Once the PC uses his AoO, the next monster can often grapple, run past to nuke the squishies, bull rush, trip, disarm, or cast spells with impunity.
Make the PCs AFRAID to use their attacks of opportunity.
I've participated in organized play events for many years now (Living Greyhawk before Pathfinder Society) and in that time, I've seen few situations that couldn't somehow be settled. Nearly all problems can be resolved if people communicate with tact and mutual respect.
Having said that, I try not to force my GMs and players to sit at the same table with people who kill their enjoyment of the game. If an otherwise legal tactic or overly powerful combination of abilities keeps the other players from enjoying themselves, I'm going to request that the involved player change some details of his approach. As an example, a ferociously-optimized character who dominates play might be no problem at all if he looks for a table where he's a level behind the other characters instead of being the highest level PC at the table.
In the end, it all comes down to the fact that NOBODY likes being told how to play their character. Clerics don't like being told to shut up and heal the "real damage dealers" and other classes don't being told what to do, either.
I think that this community has recognized that if one forced healer-types to overspend on consumables in order to accomplish their party responsibilities, healers become scarce. Based on that, characters have been advised to carry their own healing resources.
The original poster's point seems to be adequately summarized by the statement, "Don't be a jerk, no matter how valid your basic concern may be."
Maybe give the fighter class enough skill points to actually feel like a competent, skillful character and see if that improves anyone's desire to play one.
Salamandyr, you're a bit behind the times. A skillful fighter isn't hard to build in Pathfinder. A human fighter with INT 13 can bring 5 points to the table with every level (2 + 1 INT + 1 Human + 1 Favored Class). There are plenty of build options that will make that Int 13 a worthwhile investment. Start him with Combat Reflexes, Combat Expertise, and Improved Trip (or Improved Disarm), hand him a polearm, and watch as he makes foes cry with frustration.
As another option, give your monsters a custom feat that allows them to automatically close any time someone near them makes a five-foot step. That'll get rid of the annoying "melee archers" who back up and full attack repeatedly.
Why would you get "walloped" when casting Color Spray? It's a standard action to cast, so just move out of the way after spraying your foes.
I expect that he's putting himself into harm's way to get the most targets into the color spray's area.
To make the most of your spell, people need to use the delay action. If the fighter who beat your initiative delays, you can move up to cast, immediately followed by your meat shield. If you stand 5 ft. behind two front-line types (leaving 5 feet between them), you can nuke the spaces right in front of them. Anyone who wants to melee with you must walk into a flank box. By using delay, you can ensure that you all advance and retreat together.
During last Saturday's session into the Accursed Halls, the players decided to visit the "civilized" local goblin tribe, hoping to find information about the goblin warlord that had once ruled there. This improvised scene worked well. Allow me to offer the following suggestions for interactions with the goblin tribe:
1.) The chief's title grows longer and more absurdly grandiose each time it is used.
2.) He requires gifts from any non-goblin who enters his august presence. My players brough pieces of scrap metal, making up absurd stories about the items.
3.) No one entering his "court" is allowed to have their head higher than the chief's. Fortunately, his throne places his head 3 feet from the ground.
4.) Every time Zog's name is mentioned, all the goblins present go to one knee, shouting "Kneel before Zog!"
5.) The chief wants a famous item of Zog's (his sword), but will not tell non-goblins what this mighty item might be.
6.) All those requesting permission to enter the Accursed Halls (or do anything else) must first prove their worth... in a yodeling contest.
7.) Goblins cheat any way they can think of in such a contest. Intimidation and Sleight of Hand are just as important as actual Perform (yodel) skills.
Adam Mogyorodi wrote:
I've never heard of a business refusing to print a single copy of a Paizo PDF that was legally bought. Does this happen to others?
Most print shops just look that my name is watermarked on the document and check for permission to make a copy for non-commercial purposes, but I have occasionally run into some problems: A local print shop refused to print a copy of The Jester's Fraud for me.
I thought that was a bit overcautious, especially since I'm the scenario's author.
That apparently otherwise reasonable people actually believe that the founding fathers built an "auto-armed insurrection" button in to the Constitution is just beyond me. There is no "right" to violently revolt against the government built into any of our laws.
You're entitled to your opinion, just as Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story was entitled to his...
"The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
Perhaps I should have spoken more precisely and stated that I particularly agree with THIS STATEMENT from Ted Nugent...
Ted Nugent wrote:
“So those of us of goodwill, decency, and logic and who’ve studied the evidence and the facts we know that it’s not a gun issue, it’s not an ammo issue, it’s not caliber issue, it’s not a rate of fire issue,” he said. “It is mostly a prescription drug and a mental derangement issue where we do not take care properly of the people that show signs of dangerous behavior and mental retardation.”
I didn't mean to imply that I agree with him all the time, but I definitely agree that our nation has failed to care properly for those who suffer from mental health issues.
I agree with the Motor City Madman...
Ted Nugent wrote:
Thank god I have a garage! When shopping for a home I wanted a place close to a theater, bar, liquor store, university, and restaurants. I need to start sleeping in the car in the garage!
I'm just the messenger. It's really not my fault that criminals like to hit cars in theater parking lots.
I explain that he has made himself subject to “The Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Rule”: His first shot of any combat automatically misses and opponents gain a +10 Luck bonus to AC against any others.
I do ask my players if this is why they wanted to play First Steps, Part I again and resolve to slaughter them in the last act.
After Jason dies, I ask him whether this was what he had in mind when he wrote the rulebook.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
We all agree on basic principles, such as "don't let your players abuse cantrips by exploiting poorly-phrased or vague rules". We just disagree about where that line is properly drawn.
I'd say that you're not duplicating the effects of a higher-level spell if it takes you several minutes to freeze up a patch of floor. The effect may have some similarities, but there are also significant differences. If you draw the line that conservatively, you're essentially telling players not to "push the envelope" at all.
I would have documented the PCs behavior on the chronicle sheets, writing a brief note about what each did. I wouldn't auto-fail the mission immediately, but would suggest that they make sense motive checks to see that Amara Li is considering using her power and influence to crush them. Roleplaying her, her reaction would be icy cold, something like "You're concerned that I have not revealed all that I know about this mission? Perhaps I misunderstand your positions: You're doubtlessly members of the Decemvirate, merely disguised as insolent upstarts. Otherwise, I can see no reason why you would make such an assumption." If they immediately tried to make amends, they would be allowed to proceed. The trade prince would storm off in a huff after being slighted. Major Colson could laugh at their "fiery spirit", then "accept their offer" to spar a bit. He would then happily kick their arse (I'd describe the fight instead of playing it out.), leaving them with a mess of nonlethal damage and the advice to "consider who you're dealing with before you slight his cause".
We all want our players to have "epic" moments at the game table. We just dislike dealing with players whose idea of epic is to steamroll adventures without risk or challenge because they're so ferociously optimized. If that sort of optimization is coupled with self-centered narcissism, the rest of the table gets to watch while some "SuperToon" forces them to be spectators instead of adventurers.
While "builds that make GMs cry" may be hyperbole, Kyle's reaction wasn't that different from my own occasional frustration. I've watched while some guy demolished a scenario, then had other players choose not to come back because they spent an entire adventure without doing a single worthwhile thing. In a couple of cases, I only discovered afterward that the player had misremembered important abilities, taking advantage of "broken" spells or feats that weren't really broken: They just didn't work the way he had described them.
Organized play games don't give the GM as much latitude to tweak encounters as a home game might, so fairly challenging everyone can be difficult. As an author, I've had people tear into me for writing encounters that "no 1st or 2nd level party should have to face". I've had others complain that the same scenario's fights were all too easy.
I Corinthians 10:23 tells us that we are allowed to do what we want to, but not everything encourages us to grow. RPGs can be a positive and creative outlet, but can also be pursued in an unhealthy way (as can any other pursuit). We need to make efforts to consistently set a positive example for our friends and make our adventures ones we would be proud to share.
Jesus spent many an evening with his friends, telling stories and enjoying himself. That isn't so different from some of the things we do.
233.) Having trouble opening that door silently? Now its hinges are clean and well-oiled!
234.) Want to keep some rascal from sneaking through the door? Now it makes a hellacious racket to open because its unlubricated latch and hinges are encrusted with rust!
235.) "By Gorum's wiry whiskers! That nobleman's moustache and beard just fell into his pudding! He must be an imposter!"
236.) Visiting a Shoanti tribe: Instant tattoos... On the other hand, you might want to cover up that "Death to all orcs!" tattoo on the dwarf's shoulder.
237.) "I doubt that these are the men you were looking for: Those fellows' mounts were bays, and these men are riding Appaloosas."
238.) The lock's hasp looked like sturdy iron, but it turned out to be made of soft lead... (This one will likely be vetoed by the GM...)
239.) "I wonder how his weapon cord managed to tie itself to that table."
240.) "Strangely, his sword got stuck when he tried to draw it. I wonder how pine tar got onto the blade while it was still in its scabbard?"
When I've run this, I've had the undead in the barrel aging caves hidden underneath the surface of the water: It really creeps players out when they don't know how many undead they face or where they are. At one point, I also had zombies grappling flatfooted PCs and attempting to bite. This really messed with people's heads. ("Wait: Trying to bite? I thought these were zombies! WHAT ARE THESE THINGS!?")
Your friend was mistaken, the blades were kept quite sharp. That particular blade was most likely dull because nobody had sharpened it, and swords are often kept dull if they are to be used for decorative or training purposes. It also helps with transporting them through customs and the like. A dull sword is still somewhat effective, but a sharp one is always better.
To digress a bit from the thread's main topic.... Actually, large swords like the claymore mentioned were not always fully sharpened. European fighting styles of the 15th Century included elements known as "half sword" techniques, which involved the sword's wielder grasping its blade for additional leverage or power. To facilitate this, they would only sharpen the blade half-way along its length, leaving the forte unsharpened. Blades made for such use often had a longer ricasso than earlier swords.
For examples of these fighting styles, you may want to look up the fighting manual of Hans Talhoffer or other German fechtbuchs of that period.
As far as the actual thread topic goes, I still don't think the player should be prevented from carrying his strung bow. Let him play his character his own way.
Mike Mistele wrote:
That may or may not be, but if you have a 12-year-old whom you don't otherwise know at your table at a con or game day, you have no idea what that kid actually has or hasn't been exposed to...and, more importantly, you have no idea what his or her parents are going to be comfortable with. IMO, it's irresponsible to make those assumptions about other people's kids.
Patrick Harris @ SD wrote:
I'm not a parent and I will not stand as surrogate to some con kid. If parents leave children unsupervised at my tables they are advised that I am not a babysitter, which means that kid is free to go as he or she pleases, and I am not obligated to make things kid-proof.
While I was not overly squeamish about the plot elements that my children encountered, and have no desire to make others responsible for their welfare, I have encountered a few moments of "what the ...." at gaming events.
I have had event organizers muster me at a different table from my 11-year old daughter, despite my request to be at the same table. (My kids are now old enough that this isn't a major issue.) I have overheard people whose language and choice of conversational subject matter forced me to offer awkward explanations after the game.
I don't want to stop anyone from enjoying their game in their own way, but I'd ask others to exercise consideration and tact when gaming in a public setting. This doesn't just apply to kids: There are plenty of adults who may be uncomfortable around strong language, excessively-described gore, or graphic sexual comments.
The main purpose of the "bring a book" rule is to emphasize the players' responsibility to provide access to any non-core rules when needed. The GM is not required to be a walking rule encyclopedia, nor is he required to bring his entire Pathfinder library to every game.
If several players shared a text, but routinely played together, I wouldn't have a problem with that. If a rule question about a class ability, archetype, item, or feat arose, they might be required to efficiently find the relevant rule for reference. If that wasn't practical, they would be wiser to play a character built around abilities they could document.
(Digressing a bit...)
If someone told me that their animal had been trained to routinely flank when it attacked, I'd take that at face value.
I'd also remember the player's preference when it might not be as convenient, directing the player to "push" the animal whenever he didn't want the animal to move into flank. He might want to keep charge lanes open, keep the animal next to a healer, or avoid putting it in the way of missile fire or allies with polearms.
The player can have what he wants, but he has to be consistent and deal with reasonable consequences of his choice.
Chris Mortika wrote:
And a reminder that the mists affect humanoids and monstrous humanoids. Not animal companions and familiars. Not Aasimar and Tieflings.
I wouldn't EVER want to suggest that ANYONE violate the LETTER of the law in the name of fun, but I would have a hard time resisting the "terrifying hellmonkey" image...
When running this, I made a handout summarizing the changes, along with description taken from the text of the adventure.
Overcome by the mist’s bizarre, corrupting influence, you begin to degenerate into a raving madman, little better than a jungle animal.
Strange ideas course through your mind: Bloodthirsty urges to smash those who oppose you, discomfort at your constraining garments and armor, and the need to find any tiny parasites inhabiting your fur and that of your friends. You would enjoy eating a banana, if you had one.
You have gained the Mist-Tainted template:
(I also used some art that I don't have permission to distribute, so I can't post the handouts online as they are.)
The text I gave seems to encourage people to "ham it up" instead of descending into PvP.
The Pathfinder rules need more details on light-weight outfits for PCs...
* Got a STR 7 wizard who wants to somehow look heroic? He can wear a Woolen Kilt in a plaid that makes your eyes water. (2 pounds, -2 to Stealth rolls, boots come separately)
* Playing a Chelaxian with political aspirations? Was your character portrait painted by Brom? She can wear a Black Leather Catsuit. (4 pounds, gives a +1 reaction modifier from Chelaxian politicians and bondage fetishists, 6 in. heels come separately)
* Running a powerfully muscled barbarian (of either gender)? Don't pass up on the famous Furry Loincloth, or the equally well-known Bunny Fur Bikini. More contemporary barbarians may prefer the Posing Pouch, available in a variety of gaudy colors. (1 pound each, wearer suffers -2 to saving throws vs. environmental effects such as cold or sunburn, Austrian accent comes separately)
*Want something a bit more protective? Don't forget the well-known Chainmail Bikini. [4 pounds, +1 Armor bonus, -2 to saving throws vs. chafing)
So my question is: I realize that I would be at a disadvantage compared to DnD/Pathfinder veterans, but would it be enough of an obstacle to be a dealbreaker?
I once read that for every worthwhile endeavor, you will run into obstacles at least three times, daunting barriers that make you worried that you can't go on. You'll be told not to waste your time and energy. People will insult your best efforts.
Having said that, I'll answer your question: Your inexperience with the system will be a dealbreaker... The first time. It may still prove insurmountable the second time you submit something.
If you refuse to be discouraged, not only will you eventually succeed, but you'll learn techniques that will serve you well in other endeavors.
Faced with such a situation, build yourself a second character. Make him opposite the paladin in every reasonable way, with notable social flaws. Don't deliberately make him useless, but make him less desirable company than the paladin would be. If needed, use GM credit to get him up to a level where he could travel with the other party members.
When your paladin sees the companions that have been chosen to adventure with him, have him storm out of the room. (Obviously, this has to be cleared with the GM beforehand: You can't switch PCs once the game has started!) Your second PC then comes slouching into the room, mumbling apologies for being late.
+ Health-conscious priest of Irori ("Why do you need endure elements? Years of SOFT LIVING have made you weak!")
+ Snooty Elven Wizard ("Once again, the Venture-Captains demand I travel with morons.")
"This, gentleman, is my proudest possession: A khopesh crafted in the forges of Pharoah Katenkenin!"
"Hmmm. Looks like a katana to me."
"No, it is a KHOPESH. Look at these heiroglyphics on the hilt."
"Are you sure that writing isn't Tian? I think I can make out a few words, 'Made in Taiw...'"
"Ill-mannered fool! May the dung of a thousand vultures drop into your wineglass! Those characters are Ancient Osirioni heiroglyphs! They call upon the blessed spirits of the Dawn to watch over the sword's bearer!"
"But.... it still looks like a katana to me."
When dealing with evildoers, a paladin’s decision should always be tempered by the concepts of justice and mercy. He should strive to ensure that in all his deeds, he reflects the ideals that he stands for. Overmatched foes should know that they will be treated fairly and decently if they yield to such a paragon, receiving justice rather than revenge, and understanding before judgment.
In a medieval society, such lofty ideals faced several practical obstacles. In the first place, historical knights did not necessarily possess authority to deliver more than “low justice”: Those guilty of significant crimes such as brigandage or bearing arms against the Crown had the right to be heard in the court of the local lord. A knight who slew his foes while they cried for quarter might soon find the nearest baron demanding that the knight compensate him for any ransom the baron could have demanded as compensation for their crimes. No matter how legitimate the paladin’s cause, the kindred of the fallen foemen might also demand “weregild” from him. Eager to prevent a blood feud, the local ruler might support their claim.
In addition to these frustrations, a paladin might also be bound by his vows. Typical chivalric oaths swore knights to “protect the weak and helpless” and “always give quarter if it is honorably requested”. He isn’t bound to accept a foeman’s surrender if he strongly suspects the foe plans treachery, but he would be bound to accept surrender under ordinary circumstances.
A paladin who doesn’t want to accept his foe’s surrender would be fully in his rights to encourage his foe to resume the fight. “Pick up thy blade, thou craven worm! Thou hast earned a peasant’s death on the iron frame of the baron’s torturer, but I’ll grant thee some little mercy: Face me in honorable combat. If the gods favor thy blade over mine, my party will let thee pass on thy way with no further injury.”
Do that and I'll start announcing every item retrieval - even legitimate retrievals of scrolls or potions - the same way, and just enjoy my sudden immunity to AoO's. ;)
I've pulled similar stunts many times, typically working as part of a two-man team. A high-HP bruiser or unhittable AC monkey will deliberately draw an AoO, "drawing the foe out of position" so another PC can stand up, pick up a dropped item, pull a combat maneuver, move past a threatened area, or safely cast a spell.
I've also had NPCs deliberately pull AoOs:
At my tables, it hasn't been uncommon for player characters or NPCs to forego taking AoOs, lest they leave themselves vulnerable.
I have uploaded some revised maps on the Cartographer's Guild site. Echoes of the Overwatched GMs will recognize them:
When running this adventure, I keep a cardboard jig cut out to match the needed curves. With it, i can draw the maps much more quickly.
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."
Yup. I think it would be good for the country if the government / corporate overlords had more to worry about than peaceful protests. Unarmed citizens are basically serfs and as the government gets more and more efficient with better and better chemicals and robots, they will have less to fear by taking away our liberties.
And of course, that those weapons would be used far more against other citizens or by lawbreakers resisting the government when it's not taking away our liberties, but just doing its job is not important.
While criminals' illegal possession of military-grade ordinance does pose the risk that they'll turn these weapons against law enforcement agents "just doing their job", actual numbers show that such incidents very rarely happen. In 2011, 68 American police officers died from gunfire (A 13% rise from the previous year). The majority of these deaths involved handguns, with assault weapons only described in three instances (One of which involved Mexican drug cartel members ambushing American officials near Mexico City). While these deaths are tragic, they hardly support the claim that criminals use such weapons with any frequency.
Americans have been fortunate to live in a country whose government generally respects human rights, but recent history provides numerous frightening proofs that our government or military can forget its values when bad things happen. Over and over we've seen police and military forces dishonor their oaths of service while responding to terrorist attacks, natural disasters, or political embarassments. While the chance of a military coup d'etat or fascist political movement now seems remote, the people of 1930s Germany or Spain or 1920s Italy may have felt the same way.
In the US, the presence of firearms does not correlate with murder rates. In the US, the number of gun owners per capita is much higher in rural areas, yet murder rates are much, much higher in urban areas with much lower numbers of gun owners.
What these urban areas do have in abundance is violent criminal street gang members. The majority of US murders are committed by a subset of this criminal subculture. Studies have found that less than 6% of the active criminals in an area are responsible for over 75% of the violent crime, so efficient identification and incarceration of such individuals can tremendously reduce crime.
As an example, when Arizona authorities learned of a plot to kidnap and assassinate correctional and police officials, they arrested over 50 gang members alleged to be involved with the plot. While many were eventuially released, 13 were subsequently convicted of various murders and other serious crimes. The next year saw murder in the Phoenix area drop by over 50%.
Decemvirate Member: "Venture-Captain Dreng, I have a mission on the far side of the Wall of the World Mountains. There isn't much chance of glory from it, only ignominious death."
Drendle Dreng: "A good training mission for the second-stringers, then. I imagine that they'll be away from the lodge for a good three or four months. I have just the team for it."
Decemvirate Member: "Really? Who did you plan to assign?"
Drendle Dreng: "Some young pup from Qadira called me a 'half-senile old fool' when he thought I was too far away to hear him. He thinks he's such a diplomat: We'll see how well the mountain goats and yeti like his diplomacy!"
Decemvirate Member: "And the rest?"
Drendle Dreng: "There's a malodorous half-orc who doesn't speak a word of Tien; a twisted Chelish fop who thought I'd be interested in 'some prime herb' (whatever THAT is), and a drooling, gold-obsessed dwarf who has repeatedly led his teammates into traps."
Decemvirate Member: "Sounds like no one we'll miss, then."
Drendle Dreng: "Exactly. In fact, I'll ask their faction leaders to send them off on additional errands, just to keep them away from the lodge for two-or three more weeks."