At no point did I suggest removing challenge, i agree no challenge is no fun. Dont get drawn into reading "fun = the players get everytnig they want" , thats certainly not true..(so we agree on that)
The point i was making is the game should be fun. Without challenge there is no fun. However, for many groups , encounters like this will also not be fun.
Each groups stumoch for RAW is different, you need to judge that.
And that is where the original gm went wrong, they misjudged the groups reaction. It happens. Its not doing everything right if someone is so annoyed they leave the group (even if they do overreact, whoch seems to be the case here).
However its not a heinous crime either. Its an experience that should be learned from. Dismissing it as "i did nothing wrong" means you dont learn from the experience.
Remember , no XP = no level up in your GM class.
At the end of the day, though, its up to the people involved whether they want to grow or to stick to what they know. I know some GMs that still ref the way they did 30 years ago..and others who have grown and expanded their skills
Those who have expanded their skill can both run the same ol same ol, but also run other styles. So, theyre more flexible...but they have to open their minds to this sort of thing.
Its really down to individual preference...which kind of GM do you want to be in thirty years time ? And do you think the effort is worth it ?
(Shrug) thats down to the individual. I've learned and I'm now more flexible, and I'm happy with that. i've a good friend who still GMs the same way, thrity years later, and he's happy with that...pays your money, takes your choice.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
This. So very much this. This is far more important that what ANY rules say.The rules are really only GUIDELINES to help you have fun...not laws to prevent it.
At any time, you should be thinking as a GM, "does this add to the games fun". If it doesnt, you should try to think of another solution.
In this case, it does sound like you need to consider some of your core assumptions about your GMing style.
Maturity of the players certainly also sounds like an issue; their reaction seems excessive.
however, RPG is very much about "the social contract"... Finding out what sort of things people enjoy in a game, and then delivering it ...not necessarily goong by the rules , or what is written in a scenario (or even what is realistic). You've definitely done something they cant accept in their gaming.
See it as a learning experience : we all goof sometimes... Sit down and have a chat with the players, admit it was a bit harsh (although you felt you have reasons), and get some feedback.
Oh, and start practicing thinking to yourself "it doesnt matter what the rules say, what makes it fun for the players?" ...i promise you it'll improve your game immensely.
P.s hope this doesnt sound too arrogant. On the bright side, you're not the first to make the mistake, and you wont be the last... Its part of the learning process as a GM.
Pps. Think of it this way : you can break every "rule" in the "rulebook" and still have a terrific game...but if you run 100% RAW without the social contract , the game will never be fun.
You can actually run almost any roleplaying game without combat. The thing is it comes down to player expectations. In Cthulhu games everyone expects to have to run away, whereas in pathfinder everyone expects to fight.
You can wean players off the combat expectation, but the trick is to do it gradually, rather than all at once.
, i'm not a fan of indie/burning wheel game style interaction-duels. I've yet to find a game where its actually been *fun* in practice....and have frequently found it to be the opposite. Ymmv, of course.
Personally, I'm (yet another) big fan of Call of Cthulhu. Or of course you could go Cthulhu Dark, that has a great set of combat rules:-)
Maybe theres a serial kller who likes to murder Nobel Laureattes with lawnmowers.?
Dont get me started on that map. The stat given for the Uk is nonsense.
Leading the world in ignoring serious issues like our citizens starving , worrying instead about the size of custard cream biscuits ...that we certainly do.
Its funny, but a few years ago, man was supposed to be the only animal with language, but now we know differently. Who knows, maybe one day we'll discover pigs do understand evil.
Or..Evil may just be a human delusion, like the flat-earth and the existance of James Jacobs...
Back to jokes (apologies for the double post, but seemed sensible comsidering the change of subject).
Q: What do you call an Englishman who is in the World Cup finals ?
Q. Englishman to Scot : "If you take away your friendliness, your mountains, glens & lochs what have you got?"
Q. Why wasnt Jesus born in England
."An Englishmen is on the green of a golf course about to take a putt. Suddenly, a funeral procession passes. The Englishman raises his hat as the cortege passes as if in deep reflection
It must be said that until the twentieth century the French had a pretty decent military record. Not as good as "never really lost a war", but certainly respectable.
Napoleon was defeated twice by an alliance of countries, not just in Russia,,..but its noteworthy that it basically took an alliance of most of Europe just to defeat him. Thats a big gang against just one guy.
Most of their other french defeats were only temporary, although from the tudor age onwards the Brits tended to do reasonably well against them due to the fact that the french were great on land but poor at sea.
The French did, however, rather get their butts kicked in WWII , due to poor leadership (both military and political) but frankly anyone who thinks the french are cowards should read true life stories of the Resistance.
Besides, I dont think the French have a reputation for cowardice. Being unfriendly to non-francophones maybe, (but while I had some bad experiences with that twenty years ago, my more recent experiences suggests thats improved a great deal too).
One thing to remember as a new GM is that the game rules are, in effect, only SUGGESTIONS on how to run the game.
Unlike traditional board games its not you versus them , its all about telling a fun, adventurous story ...
...so the "rules" arent there asa "both sides get a fair game" balance; if you're playing a game with kids, the heroes should (usually) come out on top, albeit after hardship and struggle (and the occassional loss).
With adults its a bit different of course, its all about what kind of story you want (as agroup) to tell.
.... so while the rules will help you build that story, the GM can ignore them whenever he wants to if he/she thinks the players wont enjoy what happens according to the rules.
No one will send the rules police around !
If you think your children would fine some of the encounters too challenging, then by all means change stuff...for example, you could ignore the critical hit capacities of the monsters weapons. There's nothing to stop you giving the players extra hitpoints either :-)
Also,if you dont have the rules for a monster, then you should happily make them up!
Imagination and fun is the key. If you're sneaky you can even put in some education (like maths puzzles, or snippets of history or geography.)
Also, dont forget to plumb your favourite tv and movies for fun bits. The rolling ball from Raiders of the Lost Ark is often a favourite ., for example, or swinging across a pit ala star wars ., or getting slimed by a ghost ala ghostbusters...and so on..
Again, havent read the entire thread, only the first page but...
The effects system mastery have will vary greatly depending on the type of game your GM likes to play. Its all very well being super efficient in combat (as an example) but if the GM is setting encounters than, while challenging, are not the main focus of the campaign, then system mastery becomes far less of an issue. It can even become irrelevant in some rare games. The same goes for uber-skills
That is, admittedly, not how a majority of people play the game, and most PF games reward system mastery to some extent...but it doesnt have to play out that way.
There's far more of a problem with class imbalance at high levels imo. One way to compensate might be to get the inexperienced players play the classes than are stronger at higher levels and the system masters play warriors and rogues, etc....That does tend to mean beginners would likely be playing more the complex character classes I suppose, which has its own difficulties...but it might be one solution.
I agree it sounds illogical at this point.
However, it also strikes me that "a reason why" could be a great scenario hook...
Maybe their secret shame is they were once enslaved by an acid using race. Or perhaps the Apsu myth is involved... Perhaps it was their reward for some task or a reminder of a task left undone.... And so on.
Its the GMs fault.
Part of the role of the Gm is to provide a challenge to the players that doesnt overpower the,m.even if its a published adventure....or if it does overpower the,, there's a good story reason for it (or a good fun story that comes out of it like "captured by the ghoulies")
The only excuse really is if you're a starting GM, in which case you're likely to have a few problems while you get used to the system anyway.
In the UK there are apparently only one or two distributors of games (in general, not just pathfinder) that sell to virtually all the shops, so generally speaking everyone sells out of a popular product all at once.
It sucks. i had to wait 12 months for a reprint of Robinson Crusoe, for example.
It used to be worth buying from the US but ever since the airmail price hike, thats not really been practical. Sadly your best hope is that they get a restock in sometime soon - which with beginner box is fairly likely, I'd have thought, as its an obviously popular product from a big name.
I hated the 80s cartoon with a deep, deep loathing .
It discredited so many gamers amoungst their peers at the time and actually disuaded many of my friends from trying the game -not only that, but setting an image with my father that jt was "just for kids", an image that persists to this day, despite the fact I'm in my forties.
My feeling on the cause /effect (of arodens death and the death of reliable prophecy)
Perhaps both the failing of prophesy and arodens death are not cause/effect, but both symptoms of another problem. Perhaps the power of prophecy is linked to the starstone, and the power of the Starstone is failing...
Doug's Workshop wrote:
I'd also add along those lines... in Fantasy , heroes go in expecting to be able to kill the monster.
One of the disadvantages of levelled/challenge rating game systems is that the players can often tell too much sbout the level of threat they face and are therefore not frightened .
Even in real life, sometimes the scariest thing is not "yes i can change things "/" no, i cant change things"...but " there will be a disaster if I dont do something quick, and I might be able to change things, but I'm not sure what to do...and if I make a mistake, people die and its all my fault"
Horror is doable in Pathfinder...but its more difficult than in systems that dont have character levels. Even d20 Coc struggled a bit in that regard.
Worst experience was in an RPGA competiton game at Gencon 1990.
Basically, the party encounters a band of stangers on the far side of a stream.
Suddenly , with no input from the players, not only were we on the other side of the river, but we were sitting around a fire sharing a drin k with the,m, while they were stealing our weapons and about to attack us.
Unfortunately, despite our bitter complaints about the appauling GM we got given, we were eliminated from the competition.
Worst experience in a game ever, and completely put me off playing "competitive" rpg games for life.
To answer the thread title : mistakes in pathfinder due to faulty ALL edition d&d assumptions.
The worst thing in 3.0 all the way through to 4th and Pathfinder are all basically cludge fixes for the mess that having character classes &, levels cause , in my opinion.
Classes = atereotypes. In order to make stereotypes more flexible, you either have more classes, kits, or feats. Which leads to balance problems and excessive complextiy.
Levels leads to an assumption that almost every encohpunter will be balanced ; when it isnt all sorts of fixes are attempted to"nerf" this, that or the other. Without the faulty assumption that encounters should be balanced, alot of those vanish too.
But then, you might argue that without that ,its not D&d/Pathfinder, and I'd find it difficult to disagree. But then, I dont think D&d /Pathfinder is the greatest system out there...jut the best playtested and most easily available (due to its huge number of players).
P.s. Thats not to put any hating on it- I think the system fits neatly into the "decent enough" bracket, and paizo have done some good stuff with/ for the game... But really, I'd prefer to see the game with professions rather than classes , and then those professions only used in character generation, not during gameplay...something like a BRP/Pathfinder or skyrim/pathfinder hybrid.
I always, always, always stretch the rules in order to make a better story...or rather, adjust the story to the improve the enjoyment of the players around the table ( different players being greater or lesser rules lawyers mea s I adapt this to their personality).
Reason: to me point of roleplaying to to tell a mutually enjoyable story within a mutual agreed framework...not to defeat the GM in a rules-defined intellectual duel
On one forum, my signature is "'rules are GUIDELINES" (i.e. only suggestions on good practice, but ones that should be ignored with a clear conscience when the situation warrants) ...which sums my GMing style up
Some people play roleplaying games as an intellectual duel -personally I think they're missing the best parts of the hobby, ...., but (shrug) different strokes for different folks.
Much like with sex, if everyone involved is having a good time, then (while I may not be interested in doing it that way myself), I say "go to it".
The Truth Of The Starstone.
And have that "truth" be genuinely a real surprise that puts a whole new twist on Golarion, (but one that of course wont change the lives of the ignorant)..one that other people would never believe. The big lie.
Monty Cook did that to great effect with the nature of the world of Ptolus , and then theres John Carpenters They Live...something similarly revelationary for Golarion would be great.
P.s. bonus no-prize to those who get the joke hidden in there.
...its not just a masterwork ninja-to...its the sword that was forged by the great kami smith Kamiko Torinaga for her lover Ohaiyo Gozaimasu Betonamu who went on to found the fox ninja clan. With this very blade, he slew the undead Daimyo Namata - if you look closely, you can still see the nick where the Liches amulet phylactery tried to resist the blow. It is said any bearer of the blade is destined to face his greatest fears three times, and if victorious, will be honoured throughout the land..but if they reject or discard their blade, tradegy will strike not just them but all they hold dear...
Masterwork ninja-to, non-magical steel with interwoven silver pattern, ignores DR when combating undead (only) ; gives wielder a 25% chance of bing recognised in any town with a strong ninja clan or thieves guild presence ; +2 morale bonus to intimidation and diplomacy checks if the blade is recognised due to its prestige. +2 morale bonus vs fear effects if the user is a ninja aware of its history. Sentient undead will treat the wielder as particularly dangerous foe.
My favourite AP is a bit tricky...but I'd probably vote for either Rise of the Runelords or Crimson Throne
(Disclaimer.: my collection does mot include Jade regent or later)
Admittedly I'm not a fan of "sins of the savoirs"... but generally I thought they were overall better than the APs that followed Crimson Throne.
Some specifics :
Second darkness had some great ideas but had too many sections I felt were weak (although the dramatic turning of a certain imprtant character was really excellent).
Legacy of fire: not too much wrong with it but not outstanding either.
Council of thieves tried to be experimental ; I dont mind that per se, but those experiments failed too often for my liking. The whole Opera part just failed to work *at all* for me (no significant player choice for a long section of the game) and the rest of the series I could take or leave. ..the villains felt uninteresting to me as a GM.
Kingsmaker had good points, but lacked the kind of narrative cohesion I'd have liked to have seen, it felt far too "bitty" and disconnected.
Serpents skull : had alot of promise in sections, and liked the ideas of factions..but found the factions themselves a bit dull and some of the adventures felt a bit flat. A decent AP but felt it could have done so much *more* with the extremely promising core concept.
Carrion Crown : some individual adventures were good, but others less so. The one with vampires was particularly uninspired (Not bad, just..meh; the plot was far too familiar) but it was not the only offender.
Dont get me wrong, I think that as a rule the APs are creditable productions....
(As a comparison, I'd rarely rate any adventure from 2e or 3e D&D above a 3 stars. I dont think I can think of any Pf/D20 product I'd rate at 5 stars, but from other systems "Masks of Nyarlathotep" , "Eternal Lies" and "Beyond the Mountains of Madness" fall into that category.)
And seeing someone (james? i think ) mentioned feedback: overall I'd rate the paizo pathfinder line as 4 stars out of 5. A line of consistently good ( not totally outstanding but certainly well above average) quality products , worth buying, correctly priced. Sometimes I feel they work too far within a "proven product" zone, particularly with adventures, but this makes sound financial sense for them, so cant really fault them for that.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
I've often been pondering this question. I have a player who boasts that he "never gets scared" and regards creepy things with a resounding "meh." No matter how hard I try to set up the ambiance, atmosphere and mood, it doesn't get a rise out of him. Part of that may simply be the limitations of play-by-post. It's hard to be scary and surprising when your only means of communicating it are through text. Part of it may be the fact that he's ex-military, and fear is something that's drilled out of you in boot camp. But when coming across horror trappings in-game he doesn't even bat an eyelash. He enjoys playing Clint-Eastwood sorts of characters, taciturn men who ride into town, cooly and casually deliver a beatdown to anyone fool enough to try and attack them, and treat setbacks and life-threatening situations as a temporary annoyance they can recover from and implacably march back into town to repay the favor in kind before riding out into the desert again as mysterious as they were when they arrived...How the heck do I scare a character like that?!
It is very tricky.
Part of the problem is that players like that dont usually want to invest in a game where they might actually be scared. I note you say he likes to ride off into the sunset..so, no lasting emotional investment in npcs.
Scaring folks ( as opposed to startling them, a technique Mark Kermode calls "cattle prod horror") requires them to be worried about the loss of something they are emotionally invested in (example: a sympathetic character in a horror movie).
I've run up against this problem with a similar style player ....and the moment they are asked to invest emotionally in a game, they immediately withdraw a distance - and much like in horror movies, its extremely dofficult to scare an audience uninvested in the characters...
At the end of the day a GM has to run games his players wants to play... And, well, like the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water...
Personally I think Rise of the Runelords and Curse of the Crimson Throne are the two best paths.
The fifth scenario in runelords is a bit iffy , but the rest is pretty good.
Crimson Throne has a good mix of RP and action, and has some really stand out moments, both in and out of combat.
She was probably the hardest struggle the main group i run have had in the first three adventures. They were very confused as they didnt know what they were facing, and her invisibrlity (and the sinspawn from the well) caused them alot of tactical issues.
Very difficult encounter, imo...possibly even more difficult (albeit possibly less deadly) than the original version of Xanesha ...
Exactly. I dont think we actually are that far apart in our views;
..bringing people together is the good aspect of tribalism... We should always strive to promote that aspect, while rejecting the us-vs-them.
Like many things nationalism is a tool, and can be used for both good and bad things...it is up to us to make the world better by using it for postive things, not negative.
(Incidentally, i dont think my view is particularly to do with my nationality..most of my friends think i'm very cynical about the human condition too !. )
I certainly agree that an us versus them attitude can fostered by nationalism - and indeed any sort of tribalism ( not just race, nationality or class... look at soccer hooligans for instance)
Sadly, i think its party of our nature to be tribal. It was, after all, how we evolved...I think the best we can do is recognise it and try to use its good aspects , and overcome its bad aspects when we can.
1) knees creak
2) arrogant kids who think they invented everything when we came up with it twenty years before then (and our parent 20 years before that), and almost certainly better.p
3) when i was young, it was the mothers of women i wanted to date who liked me, never the daughters. Now I'm old, its the daughters who are into me, not the mothers. I seem to have bypassed any sort of sweet spot in the middle,..
Klaus van der Kroft wrote:
Considering Nationalism is a surprisngly new concept, I'm not sure the argument hold alot of water..for 99% of mankinds existznce we didnt have it.Youre quite right we need social structures, of course, but nationalism is fairly "new".
Thats not me arguing against nationalism, (or for it, either)...
As for democracy...well, I'm rather with Winston Churchill on that subject.
There certainly a significant minority in the UK rather disenchanted with their democratic choices right now ; the main parties are too similar. That said, most Brits are too lazy to really do anything about it either...not an ideal situation. "You get the government you deserve"...
Thats totally understandable.http://youtu.be/1vh-wEXvdW8
More seriously : we have a reasonable standard of living, low crime rates, the much maligned NHS is actually a bloody good thing (despite what gets said in the US) although certainly not perfect, our racial issues are less than most countries (but still present), and you can get a decent cup of tea here (unlike america).
On the down side , we have high tax rates, are paid crap, could do with some decent political leaders - right now our three main parties are all clones (with one looking like he's about to say "more cheese gromit?" At any second)- and somehow our coffee culture has been corrupted by the god-awful megachain coffee ... But overall,its not too bad.
Plus,like we swapped out Piers Morgan to the US and the US gave us Jennifer Connolly in return....so I'd say we arent doing too badly :-p
Never forgetthe psychology either. it sounds like increasing the EL is necessary..as an additional thought if the players are getting a bit jaded or casual its time to scare them
One thing you can do is make the encounters SOUND more dangerous. Describing people being thrown across the room by impacts (etc) can really help the players feel theres more of a challenge.
Also, maybr introduce an npc badass who they know is tougher than they are. Then have them turn up killed(in fact ,easily stomped i/wiped in a spectacularly grisly way) by an encounter that they know they have to face next. That should give them something to worry about.
Check out some horror rpgs for ideas based around this. One of the reason Call of acthulhu is scary is not JUST that the monsters are tough, its also that the setup of theadventures makes players/characters are scared of them...and that really spices things up.
It cam really work well with practice; My RotR players are still terrified of bugbears, and we're just about to start Fortress, so they're waaaay above the level where bulk standard bugbears are usually dangerous...
Sadly, fear of the different or new can snowball into viriol online. People just dont like change, and of course what is change to one person is "the same as the version i like" to another.
Adamantine Dragon wrote:
Overtime?I havent had a job that paid overtime since 1987. Note thats EIGHTY seven. So thats no overtime available for twenty six years. It certainly would have made me richer to be paid it.
Its all time in lieu , and you rarely get to take that either, and often lose it.
I do feel for the generation thats just coming out of University ..the jobs and opportunities just arent there for them.
Yeah. Still think it's worth noticing that this whole british empire idea isn't too terribly old. Of course, then you get into Spain and Portugal...
I used the British Empire and Germany as examples merely as they were the two that had been mentioned up to that point... Comments could have applied to the Spanish, the Portugese, the French, etc..etc..
Of course, I've no idea of the Mongol Empire had a flag....
(Now I have a vision of Eddie Izzard dressed as Ghengis Khan...."do you have a flag?")
Really, so you'd classify yourself as experienced ?
Once again, I encourage you to read your initial post about GMing. then read my initial post and then re-read your reaction to it. Then , ask yourself why I think you're inexperienced.
You're a random person on the internet. Take my advice.
I've tried to assist you in growing to be a better gamer, and got nothing for my troubles except insultts and attitutde, and frankly any goodwill I was willing to extend on this matter has expired.
I do the same on many other gaming forums, as I enjoy the hobby and I am pretty well respected amoungst many writers and forum members for this (It helps get me free playtest material if nothing else). So ask yourself this...if you're so reasonable, why are you the sole person in twenty years I have decided to give no further advice to?
...but like I say, no skin off my nose. I shall continue to advice those willling to listen, the only person who loses out is you . (Shrug)
If you dont mind a little theorising /philosophy:
Flag waving/respect is linked to nationalism - nationalism is a concept (and a relatively modern one too!) to try and get large groups of people to follow a group of leaders into battle -phyically, financially,philosophically - against other nations without much debate.
So, I'd theorise that leaders with an confrontational overseas policy (and both parties in the US have this) will promote patriotism and national identity: those who seek a more concilatory approach will de-emphasise it.
"Its us versus them" = flag waving nationalism
Thats not intended as a criticism of either policy,by the way. Just that flag waving is productive in some political approaches (the war on terror), counterproductive in others (federalising europe). American foreign policy is definitely in an era the last 70 years where it sees other countries as either "for or against" them , whereas Germany and the Uk tend to work on a more concillatory approach (fringe right-wing politics aside).
Going back a couple of hundred years when Germany and the UK had more confrontational foreign policies, "the flag" was seen differently. I dont think patriotism has waned per se, merely the way it is expresssed to outsiders , and by extention, the attitude to flags.
In the UK , probably some vague tut-tutting in the press, but noone would care, really.
The British are patriotic, but not too fussed as a rule about the flag, outside of a minority who eill either be right-wing or former military types. The flag is a symbol of the patriotism, certainly - but the flag is not generally seen as a avatar of that patriotism, unlike in the USA (Although , lets be honest, the union jack is a rather nice design, artisitically speakin) ....so disrespecting the flag isnt really seen as much of a problem.
If you suggest the British reduce the size of their custard cream biscuits or criticise roast beef dinners, and you'll be in a world of trouble, though !
Ah yes, "rules legal".
Thats another thing you may have to wean yourself away from. Just because something is "rules legal" doesnt make it necessarily acceptable in a game.
That doesnt make it not , either, of course...
But one thing you'll learn as you get more experienced (and I mean this in the nicest possible way , but you are clearly not an experienced gamer...perhaps no beginner but you've still got alot to learn. No offence) is that "rules legal" donesnt really mean bugger all when it comes to an enjoyable RPG, in the same way a political manifesto isnt going to be religiously stuck to after an election.
Saying "rules legal" is actually a red flag to many GMs - many see it as a tacit admission by a player that the character may either be overpowered or not fun for others to game with.
Stick to "its really cool" and "its fun" and proving its not overpowered. Thats what gets a concept accepted.
If its rules legal, great,...but leading with that argument is rather like telling a football fan "your team sucks" as an opening statement... their team may indeed suck, but you're not going to win any debate on football that way. And actually prejudice most folks against you.
So start with "this is why I think the group will love this concept" and "this will make the game really fun" and "look at all the cool storylines you can add" and "look at all the fun it'll give the other players"... For goodness sake dont start with "rules legal".