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When I'm playing, I find that rolling up characters inspires me toward more interesting characters. I still remember some of the odd characters the dice handed me: The 18 Int genius paladin, the wizard whose stats all sucked, the high-charisma con man rogue...
I agree that it is certainly possible to create an original character with point-buy systems. Unfortunately, we've all met guys who just... don't. They min-max like crazy, then try to ignore their substandard stats. Those characters need to be periodically reminded that dump stats come at a cost.
On one hand, your interpretation is based in the rules: Diplomacy does specify that failure by 5 or more can increase the subject's hostility. Aid Another in that context is a type of Diplomacy skill check.
On the other hand, I think that your interpretation may be counterproductive toward the behavior we want to see from the players. We want players involved and engaged, not tuning out while the "diplomancer" does his thing. As such, I recommend that players be required to specify how they are attempting to aid, but not be penalized for failure. That maximizes their involvement while clarifying their activity in the game world.
Rysky, it wouldn't absolutely prevent them: It just makes them awkward...
Sketchy Innkeeper: "Sir Knight, why are you standing that way and looking around all the time? It looks like you expect someone to attack you at any moment. I run a nice place: My girls wouldn't do something like that!"
Sir Paranoia: "I'm not here for your girls! I just needed shelter. Besides, I ALWAYS suspect an ambush: That's why I'm still alive!"
Sketchy Innkeeper: "Surely your Worship must need rest and a warm bath to soothe you after the travails and filth of the road."
Sir Paranoia: "Bathing! I would never be so vulnerable! I shall remain ever-vigilant, seeking only the aid of my loyal allies, whose magic can remove the road's soil!"
Sketchy Innkeeper: "Then all I can offer is.... NINJA ATTACK! KIYYYAAAAA!"
I've had some friends who were fun to be around, but made me want to throttle them when we gamed. There are several possible solutions that have worked in those situations:
1.) Board Game Night - Get these guys to play board games or other non-cooperative games instead of RPGs. Then their utter failure to work together can be channeled into healthy competition.
2.) Paranoia - The Paranoia RPG is perfect for the play style these guys seem to prefer. You can then enjoy plotting against and betraying them, as it is an expected part of the game.
3.) Split the party - Recruit a few competent players and find a way to split the group into two separate groups, each with some decent players to temper the bozos' excesses.
It sounds like you played that one just right. Not every party is going to agree about the best solution for justly dealing with captured foes. A cleric of Sarenrae will certainly try to convince captured enemies to repent and will always encourage her party to choose mercy over vengeance. Sometimes this won't seem very profitable: There will always be some who cling to their evil ways.
The Dawnflower brings her gifts to the Just and the Unjust alike, giving all the chance to see their errors and repent of their sins. Who are we to think ourselves greater than her?"
Sometimes it's better to anticipate such conflicts and pull out a different character, even if you then play a pregen.
The Inquisitor's player was clear that he wouldn't tolerate the creation of undead, but the Necromancer then "went there". His refusal to subsequently heal the Necromancer was fair. He is no more forced to support the behavior he detests than a paladin of Abadar would be forced to heal up a rogue who had just caused a fight by ripping off items from a bank vault.
My opinions are colored by previous encounters with folks whose behavior was borderline, but who then expected the party to support their thoughtless choices. One example from a game that went horribly awry: A brand new player's rogue impatiently attacked the town watch while the rest of the party was talking with their leader. The party's displeased paladin refused to participate in the ensuing bloodbath. The rogue then ran and hid, leaving the remaining party members in a needless, brutal fight with the watch. The other players were quite angry that the rogue had pulled such a stunt and let him know that he had better not start needless trouble again. The rogue then bailed out of a later fight to "punish" the party for ordering him around.
When that happened, I pulled the player aside and advised him that he was expected to cooperate with the rest of the party. He then quit, claiming that we were "just hack and slash" and wouldn't let him "roleplay". We later concluded that the player had decided to play chaotic evil while claiming chaotic neutral.
I'm sorry that I overlooked your message, Quentin. The Alabaster Urn is an evil, self-aware artifact that imprisons a number of powerful monsters. When held, it can disgorge its imprisoned victims. (The hags are the only creatures released during the scenario.) The Urn's special purpose is the destruction of human civilization: It is reserving its most potent monsters until it finds itself in the hands of a weak-willed owner in the capital of a powerful empire.
Mark Hoover wrote:
You're interpreting prestidigitation too strictly. It can't reproduce what other spells do, but that doesn't mean it can't reproduce aspects of their function or mimic their effects in a limited way. Obstructing someone's vision isn't blindness.
Ahhh... The legendary "Katana debate", which inspires dread wherever it appears...
Orfamay Quest wrote:
As far as I know, European swords were made with a single, uniform kind of steel; if you needed ten pounds of steel to make a sword, you started with ten pounds of steel, without worrying...
European swordsmiths were welding together steels with different hardnesses to produce blades that were both sharp and resilient as far back as the Viking era. Their blades were not normally designed to hold an edge as sharp as that of a katana, as European warriors favored sturdier blades able to withstand rough treatment that would leave a katana in fragments.
K177Y C47 wrote:
So I take it to many of you that if a guy plays a ninja he has to run around in pajamas and be asian and use a Kusari-gama?
No, not at all! If someone has an idea that...
Reskins ninjas as a secretive desert cult whose cloistered followers learn to harness malevolent spirits for supernatural abilities of stealth...
Or they want to make a type of monk whose abilities mimic the legendary powers of the Leopard Men of the deep jungle...
Or they envision the "Behirin Brethren", sorcerers whose bloodline takes on aspects of the draconic and serpentine bloodlines...
I'm all for that.
What I'm not into is the guy who carefully plucks forth the most powerful elements from a dozen books, assembing them into some chimeric travesty in hopes of maximizing his power level. That guy has crossed the line between reasonable optimization and blatant powergaming. An egrigious example I once encountered was a player in a 2nd Edition AD&D game who wanted to play a female drow ranger with one of the fighter class "Kits", with a Native American religion (So he could use the potent "medicine pouch" found in the original Deities and Demigods book), armed with an "improved masterwork katana". I really didn't know what to say to this outrageous display.
I have no idea what a Stormwind Fallacy is. My guess is that is has something to do with being right. In that case let me just say I Stormwind Fallacy early and often.
In theory, there is no reason that an optimized ubermensch couldn't be the focus of satisfying roleplay encounters.
Unfortunately, the people who are quickest to shout "Stormwind Fallacy" are often the ones using absurdly warped logic to justify their character's bizarre combinations of classes, spells, feats, and equipment. "Why can't I roleplay an ice-elf ninja from the jungle lands?"
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."
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.
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.
I've posted this before, but here is the text of the handout I give the mist-tainted. I find that by emphasizing silly ape-like shenanigans, I discourage PvP. While a bit of inter-party brawling could be fun, I don't want to risk that something bad might happen to a character at another PC's hands. If someone's 7 HP sorcerer were squished dead by a fellow player's mist-tainted barbarian, they would likely take it amiss.
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:
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.
If you know your team faces a tough fight, prepare a path for retreat before you engage the enemy. Caltrops, lamp oil spread on the floor (or stairs!), bear traps, shallow holes filled with pungi stakes, and defensive spells can all make pursuers consider a different line of work. Canvas tarps or other innocuous objects spread on the floor can leave them wondering what you covered there.
If a smart enemy knew you were coming, and had time to buff/summon/set traps/call his minions, retreat. Don't fight him in the place of his choosing. Instead, go eat lunch. Enjoy a few relaxing tunes from the party bard. Come back over an hour later, when most of his buffs will have expired and his minions are tired of standing around waiting.
Then send a silent image into the room first, letting it suck up the first attack (or first few attacks, if your foes aren't too bright...).
If the enemy feels impatient, he may come after you instead. Draw him into your trap-seeded line of retreat and watch him suffer...
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.
Is it more likely that enemies who move around happen to end up adjacent to each other?
That's where your fellow party members come in. With a little bit of battlefield control, you can encourage them to move just where you want them. A trip here, a summoned beastie there, and they'll group right up. By aggressively engaging these foes, you also discourage them from scattering again, making them more vulnerable to spellcasters' efforts.
Foes may take cover behind various obstacles, clumping together behind rocks, trees, or other clutter. Other foes will try to hide behind heavily armored fighter-types. It may even be worth sucking up an AoO to set these poor slobs up as your "cleave fodder".
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.