Michael Brock wrote:
I get the torture is torture message - but this one actually interests me.
Are we just delineating some lines for "mechanically counts as evil" or is there an application of real-word ethics being applied here that justifies killing 29 more kids to keep blood off one's hands?
Jeff Mahood wrote:
Ghost salt arrows aren't a stopgap, they're a trump card.
If I'm not putting cold iron on my primary weapon for whatever reason, I tend to do a morningstar or heavy flail as my CI bypasser (good traits on the weapon, covers B or B/P)
Silversheen (from Qadira book) is a nice special material for weapons, that covers MW, silver, and provides anti rust monster / caustic touch / others.
But now we're getting into esoterica.
Once you're buying a masterwork weapon (or MW transformation), you're probably rebuying your weapon anyway. This way you have a non-MW-but-DR-bypassing option that matches your primary weapon once you get into the +1-something
Personally, I tend toward DPR racing using Vicious, or parallelizing on bane for bows, in the monetary range of PFS.
David Bowles wrote:
Right, but the "heroic geared" and "casuals" become a problem for forming a balanced group for a given round's seating which is even more pronounced than it is now.
To continue WoW derived terminology, carrying an LFG PUG (convention table) is viewed by many as a more acceptable outcome than failing to seat a player who is not a problem player.
This would be more likely to happen due to the exigencies of mustering.
This seems like an outcome counter to your goal of putting like with like most of the time. If we're making a common situation worse, we're not serving the campaign well with the suggestions we're making.
Things I Try to Buy For Every Weapon Swinger Out Of Starting Gold
* primary weapon they intend to use, in cold iron.
There's no reasonable in-character reason that comes to mind NOT to be able to cover P/B/S cold iron/silver on a level 1 martial. It's kinda the job, and we've got a Master of Blades to at least look at the weapon-swingers on the way in to the Society.
First four prestige tend to be
air crystals are great but not likely to be needed in the Siege (could be wrong, Thursty's a crafty guy....)
To borrow some population analysis work from WoW, there's several tiers of players in any large population you're trying to serve from the same pool of content. There's the hardcore group that pursue World First achievements and then ram their way through Heroic modes on the new content for more, better "stuff".
There's the less hardcore, but still raider, group that more or less corresponds to the "will go to conventions", "we have 9+ rounds of events in a 45 minute travel radius every month" and "running out of stuff to play" groups.
And there's the new folks, casuals, and otherwise not raider players, who comprise a likely high majority of the players in our campaign.
Itemization and rewards are part of the treadmill-reward feedback loop for Heroics, and would need to be similar for Hard Modes to be worth development time (if no one plays them, they weren't worth the time invested... if there's nothing but bragging rights, the population that would play them becomes very very small)
The most likely result of this would be even more stratification and fragmentation of the player base.
Hard modes would seem to perpetuate and encourage precisely what you wish to avoid with them.
If you are having a problem with a player making tables not fun, it's a people problem, not a character problem.
An approach that can work is to encourage them to think about ways they can keep the can of spinach in their back pocket, only to be unleashed when it's time to have the Popeye "wabbit out of the hat" level of power. Multidimensional play that makes them fun for others to be at the table with is the goal, and "Explore. Report. Cooperate." and "Don't be a jerk" are both campaign rules...
This means that the 3 to 6 other people at the table with you are also entitled to have fun - if notional-you're stealing theirs because you can't let them try to contribute, then you actually ARE playing the game wrong.
We don't need a campaign rule to say this - it's inherent.
Pointing that out to someone who's engaged in it can be uncomfortable, but it's also a necessary thing.
Even if we normalize to a state of 80% of the current power curve, there will still be people who want their character to occupy that point out on the edge of the power curve. They have fun with the game that way. They, as you have acknowledged, are also entitled to play the charop mini game. Where they can't go without causing problems is the "making it not fun for others" game.
Sometimes this results in in-character repercussions; sometimes it's a conversation with people they trust about the not-fun they're causing.
Either way, a structural change to the campaign that reduces everyone else's options to "fix" a substantial minority problem is a drastic step.
Now let's look at your proposal.
First, the Year Zero problem (not Season 0, but Year Zero - the first year of implementing a sweeping program of change)...
What do we do with the existing scenarios in your scheme of difficulties?
How do tiers work for development?
How do we get enough story to fit with three difficulties in the scenario, and how do we yardstick those difficulties? How much increase in wordcount / pagecount will we be allowed to implement this change?
Unless a change proposal addresses at LEAST these concerns, as well as whatever specific implementation details the proposal would require, I would contend that it's not thought out far enough to be more than a theory-crafted desire for change.
I can think of one particular that I have mentioned before, King of the Stoval Stairs. The amount of TPK's for that one is staggering.
The level of challenge presented in Storval was a deliberate choice. I don't see it getting retired since it was DEVELOPED to be a stiff challenge.
I have yet to kill a player running this scenario, and I don't anticipate ever doing so. Plenty of dead PCs, though.
It's a mission that not every group of pathfinders is suited to:
(assault and hold until relieved)
Time units and crafting returning to the game.
Accepting that WBL will vary. Fix that by the next....
Return to the medium XP track and real XP tracking, and half-awards (both wealth and XP) for playing more than one step out of tier.
Adventures having specific level targets within their tier published.
Factions get items of interest and access to boons, in a hybrid of the current faction system and meta-organization access from LG regional metaorgs, without actually adopting the regional system.
Having Prestige to spend with multiple organizations and in-scenario uses for expending prestige to call in specific favors fitting the scenarios.
Strangely, this looks like adopting most of the metagame components we didn't take into PFS from Living Greyhawk.
Nosig: I believe that I could run Haunting of Hinojai for you in a fashion that is good, fun storytelling. I think Jim Groves did a bang-up job of doing haunts in a way that uses them to enhance story and flavor for that scenario. The quality of haunt judging is still shaky, as its a much less common type of hazard to adventurers than the other things in the writers' bag of tricks.
And First Steps is being replaced with new content that is intended to be evergreen and related to the season it will be released with, so...
I'm not seeing "successfully" in the quote, just "completed".
As the GM for Dragnmoon's table who asked Mike, completion is definitely measured as "successfully defeated or bypassed".
So, talk past, shoot through, cause to flee your overweening power.... are all completion.
Run away dragging bodies and trailing expended consumables? Not completion.
Proposal: The only equitable measure of 'difficulty' for a scenario is how much of a level's percentage of CR for its target levels it contains.
This would require a scenario's difficulty be evaluated at each subtier it supports. This could result in a scenario being very hard low - aveage high.
This would also let us publicize the standardization that the tiers mean "Parties APL 2 or 5", "Parties APL 4 or 7", "Parties APL 6 or 9", and "Parties APL 8 or 11" as the balancing targets... if that's the case (fix numbers if not)... Or rate as "Difficulty X for APL Y" if that was the balancing intent, to allow a mix of target APL/Difficulty pairs within a tier.
Kinda complicated and not pretty, but it puts the onus on mechanical systems and lets an Iconic 6 group be a proxy for the difficulty of the adventure. (Iconic 6 groups being unable to bypass some DRs is actually an advantage in balance computation this way, I think?)
It's a baseline suggestion, at least.
You can always remind players that they can choose to complete their season missions rather than the listed missions. The Andoran characters at my table took that route.
My Andoran PC believes his season mission is to make sure that Krune can never wake up... but that he needs to do whatever it takes to get in reach to make sure of that.
And being down 1 prestige because he's getting cranky and told Major Maldriss off seems to fit his growing.... unreliability.
At tier 10-11 if the PCs do not have a way to deal with incorporeal quickly, they should fail the mission.
If they bypass the trap, autofail the osirion faction mission. Expected faction completion rate is 75%.
The faction missions are designed to be a test of several aspects. Choosing to complete them ahead of the goals of the society is putting your faction ahead of the society.
The fact that a bunch of the faction missions make it harder to do the main mission is a good thing, IMO: making people decide NOT to do their faction missions for the good of the team is a mechanics that should have been implemented long since (One of my favorite things about Wonders in the Weave 2 is the Cheliax says no. My Andoran assassin said that Colson could go pound sand for this mission after the conversation with the dragon. We had no suspicion problems at that point....)
DCs on missions on 7-11 SHOULD be high.
Run tactics as written, reward PCs who have actually invested in sufficient paranoia for their tier. It's another 'competence check' encounter.
Andrew Christian wrote:
It's a question that I put to people regularly. I don't tell people what they can and can't play, but I certainly recommend that they think about playing characters that fit the core concept and conceits of the campaign. It'll very likely be way more fun if your character can get along with the stuff they're asked to do...
Yep. Correcting inconsistency with the rules has caused a lot of people to experience a sudden realization that this game is intended to have the risk of failure and death.
Consistency does seem to be one of the goals, though. That's what motivated the WBL correction discussion and what motivated the change to 6 player default.
I seem to recall that you were campaigning for your "players can play up or down at will" vision back in the beginning of season 3 - do I recall correctly?
Ignatius the Seeker of Flame, by your ordering, your character is not an ideal, or possibly even good at being, a Pathfinder Agent.
If you aren't committing evil acts but you are putting the Society in the number one position in your character's moral compass, you're going to find Season 5 fame reasonably available.
The converse seems likely to be true as well.
Edit to clarify the spectrum of 'good' I was asserting.
Moral compass is not precisely the term I'm hunting for but I need to go get dinner and start prepping a scenario for Saturday afternoon.
Definitely needs to be visible to count as presented, in my view.
Which is why my non-birthmark-trait clerics have these massively gaudy emo tattoos of roses and blood and cobblestones on their faces.
I'll worry about hats of disguise if I ever need 'em.
(Tattoo holy symbol is in Ultimate Equipment, and I view it as a good thing to overpay a lot to make it a BEAUTIFUL tattoo)
"Devil's Advocate" wrote:
Here's the thing though, for Cleric's and Paladin's, being a Pathfinder is at the bottom of their list of loyalties. Paizo has made it clear in their products that followers of Pharasma, (not to mention Iomedae, Sarenrae and others), do not in any way make exceptions for Undead, especially for reasons like "well I need them for my mission".
Except for, y'know, "Death's Heretic". And PFS modifies core PFRPG rules in many fashions.
Devil's Advocate wrote:
False. Mechanical issues with the class feature that made the undead companion, which had to be remade every game, and rebuilt based on what was available to make it.
Devil's Advocate wrote:
Out of character, there is a mechanical reason that such a Paladin or Cleric would not stand for something just like they would not stand for another party member murdering innocent babies. Because they can and should lose all their class features for not standing up against that. If that means PvP, (and absolutely last resort) than that is what it comes down to.
So then the GM would have to keep the animate deader from animating, as THAT would be the arguable PVP action.
Devil's Advocate wrote:
I fail to see how hand-waving away a massive part of one character motivations to allow the other is somehow ok, (or worse, encouraged). Trying to say that a Paladin or Cleric would work with a Necromancer raising Undead, (or a lot of similar things) and not follow their primary duty to destroy Undead is not only incredibly stupid, but destroys outright a lot of the flavor and fluff of the setting.
Well, it's also currently required by Explore, Report, Cooperate, and all of the other Necromancer possibilities which use straightforward templates are currently allowed.
Your suggested solutions which I'm not quoting are all not reasonable courses of action for an OrgPlay campaign that has rules that the players followed.
Being a Pathfinder Agent requires that you cooperate who you're on the table with. GMs are required to adjudicate the fluff in keeping with that. Unless we move to ban all undead creation magic from PCs (Bones oracles, Necromancer wizards, animate dead spell chain, summon undead spells, etc), your position is fine for a home game. PFS is not that game.
Necromancers: my VC's got a necro cleric. bones oracle from this table. bones oracle at TotalCon last year.
They're very costly to run. Worse than a gunslinger, if ya can believe it. Blood money time for sure.
I like the notion of factions. I hope that they introduce a Mendevian Crusade faction using the Season 5 faction missions plan, with its own Faction Guide / Rival Guide style progression.
(Treating the Factions similarly to some regions metaorganizations in LG).
Paul Barczik wrote:
Again with the misconceptions.
Andoran is the evilest faction in the Society. Cheliax is the good guys. At least based on what the various factions are asked to do over the seasons.
It's been asserted that the most common play reports are for Group A's. Because it's a one size fits most campaign design.... Yep, Group A beomes the design target.
I don't advocate sending any new player and new PC out without a First Steps, MM, MotFF, etc, etc, credit. That's one of the reasons we're trying to have a perennial First Steps style intro adventure where the designed APL is actually 1.
Group A, you forget, could be 6x Level 3.0 and want to play the Down tier for lack of balance reasons, and be APL 3 in Season 4, with CR=4 as their "normal" encounter.
There's enough possible variance that targeting levels 2 and 5 for most Tier 1-5 is, as I understand it, the norm.
Wrath's Shadow is a walkover if the party has a clue how to fight clerics.
Rogue Eidolon summarizes my thoughts on the fact that perma-sickened is effectively -1 CR - which is the appropriate adjustment down from 6 PCs.
I would agree that we should follow the core rules here too - 4-5 players get the adjustment, and either all of the encounters need to scale by 1 CR or the net adjustment of CRs needs to be 1 per encounter across the game.
Also, there's at least one encounter in S4 that's way harder at level 7 than at level 10. That one bugs me because of the inexperience of parties dealing with it in PFRPG, to my knowledge.
BUt it's a 7-11 so I'm not overly bugged by its existence.
Stop putting elitist words in my mouth. I am championing one thing only here: Total CR in encounters per level should be in line with the core rules for medium advancement.
How is this in any fashion an elitist or non-inclusive position?
Season 0-3.5 were inappropriately low in total CR per level unless you could play up due to the number of players on average tables.
Being inclusive and non-elitist should not and does not mean that we should violate the core rules.
Cold Napalm wrote:
Season 3.5 and later is where the difficulty level of PFS came off of "training wheels".
Playing with 6 players at-tier, you were effectively playing with enemies wielding nerf bats.
They gave them back their real intended challenge rating versus the players this season.
If you have players who can't handle season 4... it's not the campaign's problem except to tell GM's: Stop softballing. It's a temporary solution to a permanent problem.
When I played it, we ended up fighting everyone in the warehouse, but that was more because it was because the gunslinger attacked both the tax collector and the naga at the same time. In that case, I could see ignoring that part of the tactics section to have both parties attack us. However, most of the time, I agree that the tactics section for that encounter needed to be followed.
Yep. Damn am I glad culverin's are gone.
james maissen wrote:
So in your vision, a player could sit down with their 6th level PC in a Tier 1-5 Suggested scenario, and until they demonstrated they were being a jerk, there would be no recourse for the group of level 1s that wanted to play it on hard mode but now have a 6th level bending the shape of encounters around their vastly different resources? (hp, consumables, gear, class abilities even if they've cherrypicked 6 classes that don't work together)...
How is this an improvement over "A party of 6 characters of APL X gets 15 CRX encounters, or a bit fewer with a few with CRX+2 and maybe one X+3 or X+4 epic encounter per level", which has the advantage of, y'know, being the published system?
james maissen wrote:
What you describe as "high variance" seems to me to match the prescriptive advice on how to vary encounter difficulty for APL in the CRB, so 2 is not a bug, but a feature.
I'm not sure of the extent of the reality of 1 as a problem; anecdotal evidence from our region doesn't suggest that it is a problem that should prompt campaign changes.
I have seen far more characters who are problematic and not-fun because they were built to fit a character concept that is challenging to find a niche for in the campaign, not so much problems with "weak" characters.
I'm curious, james.... how much unreported play and run time do you have to provide you with more than theoretical assertions? I'm presuming it's a non-zero amount because you're speaking with a fair degree of surety and I've seen you posting this theory about turning the campaign design on its head for a while...
Edit: typed the wrong name....
james maissen wrote:
Wrong. I'm using pure CRB mechanical assessment of level appropriate challenges. Earlier seasons did not contain sufficient CR to award 1/3 of a level's XP per session with 6 players on the table. That is the metric I am using and the only one I find relevant.
'james maissen' wrote:
Yes, we can - that's where OrgPlay excels. One size fits all is "one size fits most" in all real world applications, and PFS certainly seems to be aimed firmly at the 'one size fits most' PFRPG campaign in the default PFRPG setting.
I think the campaign should be designed according to the CRB recommended challenge ratings (CR) per level, especially with the extra abstraction we've loaded on of 1/3 level per adventure.
james maissen wrote:
I'm not expecting the campaign to favor me. I am expecting the campaign to design and be run according to the core mechanics as published. You're asking for it to be run farther from the core mechanics as published.
james maissen wrote:
It could, but only if it violated the core mechanics farther, rather than moving closer to them.
james maissen wrote:
I believe that this will cause even more inappropriate and complaint-causing table mustering than we already can see with the current tiering system, and that it would be a net detriment to the campaign as characters over or under estimate their effectiveness and ruin tables by domination or get killed by facing CR-appropriate challenges (because the CR system would still be the governing mechanics for how you construct encounters on the writing side...). With no arbiter of what 'effectiveness' means (like, say.... character level), you would have no way to manage this possibility before player misbehavior made it obvious that there was a problem.... rather than being able to prevent the problems at muster time by having hard limits on what can and cannot enter a given scenario.
james maissen wrote:
You keep asserting that I'm talking about what's right for me. I'm after what keeps the campaign in line with the core mechanics as published, which is a stated goal of the campaign staff. (The fact that my preference is that the core mechanics of PFRPG be followed could be argued to make this about me, but I think that's misstating the case badly).
I'm using absolute measurements which are actually absolute. You're trying to abandon them because you think they're bad measurements. We're just not going to see eye to eye on goals, here.... though it's clear we see eye to eye on wanting PFS to be the best campaign that it can be, we have different definitions of 'best'.
james maissen wrote:
The campaign should not violate the core mechanics in an effort to cater to more players - it should showcase the core mechanics of the game it is a marketing effort for, including using CR appropriate encounters. More should be done to ensure that the 4-player scaling is sufficient to ensure the encounters are appropriate to the 4-player versions of scenarios (some of them have lacked scaling I felt was appropriate....)
Season 4's big change was twofold.
First, letting the writers have the newer content past CRB/Bestiary 1 without burning wordcount. This has increased their flexibility in encounter design a lot and introduced a lot of crunchier bad guys.
Second, the default CR was increased to reflect the average reported size of parties. The earlier seasons' scenarios prior to about 3-10 WERE too easy every time you sat down with more than 4 players.
It is my firm belief that we are now at the difficulty the campaign should have been aiming for all along.
Heck, a scroll of disintegrate is well within reason for tier 8-9.
Or even 5-6. It's only 1700 gold.... fort save 19 or 22d6 damage, if you die, need a Resurrection, is power creep at that tier.
At tier 7-11 it's... something a PC might carry because they fear forcecage.
At tier 12 it's something you BETTER carry or you'll cry in the forcecage + cloudkill box.
Stefan Hill wrote:
Depends entirely on what the tactics of the encounter call for.
If the bad guys think they can win, or live, by being brutal? Expect brutality.
If the bad guys think they might be able to live, but lose, if they threaten a down character unless you throw down weapons and let them leave? Well, if you take a hostile action, you'd better be prepared for an unhappily dead PC...
Roleplay doesn't stop in combat.
You are cordially invited to check your attitude at the door, but play on one of my tables.
If you bring an attitude like that with you, you are equally cordially invited not to ruin the atmosphere of my tables.
But, out of curiosity, what adventure was it that soured you so on PFS?
Depends whether YOU think that GM wants that, or that's what the GM is doing. There's a lot of terrain between "runs the tactics at the monsters' abilities" and "goes out of their way to be lethal".
Yes. Heroes work for it.
And here you lost my agreement entirely. Have a good day, Vix.
GMs are, yes, there to run the punching bags that are there to die in front of the PCs.
They are also supposed to run each of those NPCs according to their motivations and tactics. Sometimes that means they WILL be supposed to think tactically and rip your precious snowflake of a character to shreds. Repeatedly.
Adventuring is not a safe profession. EXPECT DEATH. It'll happen, and unless you're level 1-5 , you're very likely going to get over it, at least once, maybe more with help from your fellow (Cooperate!) Pathfinder Agents.
Chris Mortika wrote:
I'm more particularly concerned where there are templating changes, like the crit/sneak immunity changes between editions. 3.5 monster CR for creatures with that were based on their possession of immunity to sneak attack, for example, and were intended to pressure the fighters with dialable power attack and the wizards to have to deal with those opponents. Other examples exist.
Yes, it gets REALLY weird when there's significant differences in level 1 spells, like entangle and grease. The line of RAW here is kinda treacherous and weird.
A level 6 cleric in PFRPG is CR 5. It would be CR6 in 3.5. You cannot 'make up' the difference by making it a PFRPG cleric 7, and their CRs are not equal, so by the rules we have, you're required to run them as a 3.5 cleric. THe same would be true of any other combination of race and class due to the different ECL => CR mapping that is used in 3.5.
I understand the weirdness this provides, chris, and treat it as "for this adventure you're fighting things that are a little different than what you're used to". THe difficulty shifts are a little scattershot, but as long as they are clearly stated when they diverge, it seems to be the rule we are faced with.
1. A PF cleric vs a 3.5 cleric will have a different CR so you cannot substitute them.
2. The CR of an undead, elemental, plant, construct, etc in 3.5 includes their various 'undead traits' items. If you change the package of traits they have without converting entirely (because they have a new CR with PFRPG traits), you have changed the creature from its strength relative to its CR.
Jack R Brown wrote:
I disagree - this makes the scenario easier than designed in nearly all cases.
And they're already pretty nerfed easy.
Busy week at work. no time last night to do my drawings, and this weekend is a little packed. I'll see what I can put together and whether the aura interaction model (which has the advantage of being EASY to implement as code, which means it's got a clear path from question to answer) does anything funky.
I like teaching lessons that lead to the player understanding how to do something in the rules. That doesn't include "I don't think that's right so I'm going to punish you for trying" but sometimes includes "That's not how that works, this is what actually happens when you're doing that.... is that still something that you want to try?" The difference between the two approaches is very important.
Heck, I just tripped over a spot where I didn't understand it correctly (I had the blind activate reactivation bonus attached to the activate a wand use of UMD. So many paths through that skill!) and now I'm going to be explaining that to some of my local players.
Personally, I run shadows as always wanting to finish people they've tagged to spawn, barring specific tactics otherwise.
james maissen wrote:
Unrealistically low expectation of challenge was the bug. The bug is currently fairly 'fixed' in that it reflects CRs appropriate to the common table sizes reported to campaign leadership.
I hear your view. I understand your view. I am not ignoring your view. I think your view is wrong for PFRPG in the long run.
Fortunately, MJM get to decide how to apply either of our viewpoints to the campaign, not either of us, eh?