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Erik Keith wrote:
Erik has sorted this all out for me. Once again, they Paizo's customer service team prove themselves to be the best.
My least-liked rule on the other thread was Encumbrance, so here's where I defend it:
Encumbrance rules can be very helpful if you're running a tight survival-style game: you're marooned in the desert, or stuck in a huge dungeon, and you won't be able to resupply very easily.
In that case, it's very important to keep track of ever little piece of equipment, how much it weighs you down, and how fast you can travel.
As much as I dislike fiddling with it, I'd probably use encumbrance rules if I were running Souls for Smuggler's Shiv or a long-distance traveling adventure. Or at least I'd consider running a simplified version. :)
The whole campaign is under the ocean. An ancient underwater empire has returned through a 10,000 year time rift, after they fled a catalysm into the future. You're a ragtag group from the current aquatic races. Deal with the consequences of a complete civilization suddenly appearing from nowhere into the existing ecosystem and political order of your oceanic home.
Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
Criminals of the Inner Sea: An examination of thieves guilds throughout the Avistan and Golarion, covering methodology and psychology of groups like the Sczarni, the Outlaw Council of the River Kingdoms, Westcrown's Council of Thieves, and Korvosa's Cerulean Society. It'd be a great way to give your rogues more flavor.
Yes, yes, yes. But PLEASE not until I have a chance to earn myself a spot on the contributor list for this book. All of my best organization ideas are illegal groups in some manner or another.
The biggest problem I have with Magus is that shocking grasp is so obviously the best choice for spellstriking, pretty much every Magus uses it exclusively. The only possible competition is from frostbite and frigid touch for the debuffs. It turns out that there just aren't that many low-level touch spells. Paizo could really stand to write some new ones and open up some more unusual Magus builds.
About linearity and "railroading":
Ask yourself exactly what is bothering you about the game. Is it the feeling that your PCs don't have any important decisions to make? Is it a feeling that the adventure is only one encounter after another, like a long hallway with monsters lined up in it? :) That's what you should talk to your GM about. There are very good ways to avoid those feelings even in a very linear campaign.
Experienced GMs will tell you that "railroading" isn't actually a problem of adventure design. Nearly all adventures are going to be linear to some extent. They have to be, if they're going to present a coherent story.
"Railroading" is actually a mindset of player perception, caused by clumsy GM behavior. It's the players feeling like they don't have meaningful choices. A good GM can make sure the players never feel this way, no matter how rigorously he structures the plot.
The best way to solve it, of course, is to actually give the players meaningful choices that affect the plot. But sometimes, honestly, this just isn't possible. This is especially true when you're using a published adventure designed by someone else, and it's only going to work if the PCs follow the main plot and do what they're supposed to do.
In that situation, the important thing is to give them choices that *seem* meaningful: choices that affect their experience of the plot, even if they don't actually affect the course of the plot.
For example, the GM could present the PCs with a variety of tasks to pursue in any order they choose. But the order doesn't really matter much; the main plot doesn't move on until they accomplish all the tasks. This can defuse the feeling of "railroading" without messing up a linear plot. Or they can choose between different ways to solve a problem: negotiate with an NPC, sneak into his base and assassinate him, frontally assault it, trick him into coming out, whatever. But no matter what they choose, so long as they neutralize him somehow, the plot can move forward afterward.
A third technique, also very important, is to present the plot in ways that specifically appeal to the characters. Give them motivations to pursue the line of the plot that fit with their characters. Then they'll be happy to pursue the linear plot, since it fits with their role-playing. I like captain yesterday's example, of having siblings trying to rescue their sister.
As a player, you can help your GM out by developing a character with interesting motivations that he can use to hook you in. You can also look for ways to personalize your experience without messing up the expectations of the linear plot. Look for ways to solve problems creatively, but respect the fact that you are going to have to achieve certain specific objectives to move the plot forward.
Hope this helps, and you can start enjoying this (in my opinion) wonderful AP!
My initial impression is that this looks like a very fun class. However, it also seems like another blatant trampling on the poor ol' Rogue. I would take this class over Rogue even if it didn't have extracts. With extracts included, it's no contest. And hey, look, we even get a strong Will save, which the Rogue ought to have always had. Overall, I can't imagine playing a Rogue instead of an Investigator, unless I was going for a Sneak Attack-heavy combat build -- in which case I'd go ahead and play a Ninja instead.
So for me, I like the class's design -- it just makes me sad that we can't travel back in time and rebuild the Rogue to use these mechanics. I guess this new class is the only way to "fix" the Rogue. :(
More specific comment: I would think that Underworld Inspiration would also grant free Inspiration for Bluff. Is there a reason why there are currently no Talents that make Bluff a freebie?
EDIT: Also, if the book contains an archetype that removes the Extract ability entirely and substitutes in something else nice, then it will definitely obsolete the Rogue in my book. Though honestly, I would love to see and play that archetype.
Aberrant Templar wrote:
That's a great idea. It helps answer the fundamental question, "Why the heck would anyone ever go to Nidal?" They don't commence the floggin's the second you step off the boat. And most people aren't walking around with open wounds or anything.
I could see Nidal as being an extremely polite society. , with the horrible stuff hidden underneath. And there's the added wrinkle that a lot of the "criminals" are actually just good people trying to survive in an oppressive culture.
Maybe another good real-world influence would be Soviet culture. Everyone officially tows the party line, even if only a few people really buy into it. But if you ever show signs of disbelief, you'll find yourself getting "reeducated"...
The present American system is basically a mess because it has been haphazardly kludged together into what we think of as a "modern democracy" out of a system that was never intended to be such.
Wall of text time...
The most important issue that affected the design of the Constitution actually went away a long time ago. The Constitution was primarily designed to deal with the tension between the existing strong state governments and the desire for a strong unifying central government. That issue was pretty much resolved by the Civil War, with the federal government winning. So now the main issue that the Constitution was designed around is not nearly as significant anymore (though it hasn't gone away entirely).
There have also been a number of significant changes to the Constitutional system that have combined into the extremely messy system that we have now:
So you could say that there are so many "house rules" in the American government that it doesn't really bear any resemblance to the "rules-as-written" anymore. Maybe we're due for an edition change to clear up the bloat. :)
In my real life game, I GM because I'm the only one who really studies the rules -- or really thinks about the game when we're not actually playing (which is once a month at best). My problems aren't with martial-caster disparity, or monks, or whatever -- they're with cell phones at the table, teenagers who forget how attack rolls work between turns, and trying to keep our Skype player connected.
So yeah, I enjoy a little theorycrafting now and then -- specifically because it bears very little resemblance to my real life game. :)
I've got a player who's a Ranger with a little animal companion -- he really wanted a ferret, so I statted up one based on the weasel animal stats, adjusted to approximate the standard small animal companions.
The problem, is, he almost never actually uses the little guy. The party is level 6, meaning the ferret only has 3 HD (for a whopping 16 hp), and he's too afraid that the little sucker will get killed. It doesn't really do much damage, either -- bite +6 for 1d4, big whoop. But the ranger really *likes* the ferret, and wants to use him more often.
So the obvious idea is that he needs to use him for more non-combat stuff. Here's where I need some advice: what are some things that I could suggest for him to do? Scouting seems good; the Ranger can prep speak with animals and send the little guy off to scout. Are there any other things that could be cool?
Part of the problem with this discussion is the very idea that we can "punish" Assad for using chemical weapons. This supposes that limited American strikes will actually harm him in some way, either by weakening him militarily or else by reducing his ability to use chemical weapons again soon.
Neither of those is likely. All we'd really be doing is striking to prove that the President wasn't lying when he called chemical weapons a "red line" way back when. It would merely be a transparent face-saving measure for the President. But who would care? Not Assad. He just cares about winning the war. And the kind of action being promoted by the executive branch right now would have virtually no effect on the larger war.
It's preposterous to think that we can just make some limited strikes and expect them to actually change anything. That means we're just setting ourselves up for much deeper intervention down the road. What do we do when it becomes obvious that our strikes have done nothing? What does that do for our "national reputation"? Or worse, what do we do when Hezbollah responds by attacking some of our embassies or ships? What do we do when Assad orders another chemical weapons strike next month? This is how escalation happens.
Strikes now mean a very good chance of boots on the ground sometime in the next 1-2 years. The congressional vote now might be our last chance to stop another Iraq situation.
And that was a very good move on Neska's part. Accusing people of treason is the perfect pretext for civil war within a feudal society.
If you want a fun simulation of this kind of stuff, I recommend the game Crusader Kings 2. It'll teach you about how building a strong dynasty and court through marriage is *at least* as important as actually controlling lands, and how tough it can be to keep all your vassals both loyal to you and not at war with each other.
I think Ustalav, along with Brevoy and Taldor, is one of the best places in the setting for political games. A good political game needs a higher amount of "realism" in its economic and governmental structures than other game types, so that the players can see believable results of their political actions. I'd say Ustalav has a pretty good setup for this, with the fun added horror wrinkle.
I know I'd very much enjoy playing or running a political intrigue campaign set in Ustalav.
James Jacobs wrote:
Thanks for the advice, James! Simulacrum is pretty kooky which I guess is why I love it so. :) Since there's so much room for interpretation on it, I really appreciate your expert advice on using it flavorfully. Here's a followup or two...
1. How might I go about building a 13 HD Wyrm blue dragon? Would it only lose the additions to its HP, feats, skill ranks, BAB, saves, and ability score increases, and everything else would stay the same?
2. Specifically, would you have it keep its spellcasting ability as CL 15 with 7th level spells, or would you recommend reducing that?
3. Is there any possible way I could figure out a reasonable CR for this sucker? It's gonna have really weird ratios in places. Like having crazy AC but really low saves, and having a 22d8 breath weapon with a very low Reflex save for half...
4. So for creating a simulacrum of a creature, you'd say that it could have completely different feat and skill selections from the original, depending on the creator's choice? Would that also go for class levels? Could you create a simulacrum of a 20th-level wizard and have it be a 10th-level fighter?
Let's just set aside the question of whether you could find a buyer, or whether 10,000 gp really would be the sale price.
Even if you could get 10,000 gp for it, you're not just selling 50 years' worth of production. You're selling your children's and grandchildren's and great granchildren's livelihood, security, and social status.
So you've got 10,000 gp. If you can't find a way to ensure that your 10,000 gp will keep your family fed, clothed, and out of slavery for three generations, you've made a bad deal.
I don't know if someone has quite mentioned this yet:
Having separate attack rolls and damage rolls.
I could totally see an alternative system where you just make one roll for how well you hit, and that translates into how much damage you do. All AC is damage reduction, so if you don't get past a certain threshold you don't deal any damage.
Weapons and class abilities could add bonuses to this roll; for example, maybe a fighter gets +1 per level, and having a longsword adds an extra d8. So you roll 1d20+1d8+x, and that's how well you smack the dude. If he's got 10 AC, you're hoping to roll more than 10 total.
I'm planning to run a Dwarven religious ceremony in Highhelm for an upcoming game, so I was reading up on Torag. Apparently, he is not supposed to be on good terms with Sarenrae for some reason. Supposedly, the Dwarves don't understand sun worship.
Now, I get that Paizo likes to make divine relationships more interesting than "Team Good vs. Team Evil," and that's coo. But it seems to me that the Dwarves, with their Quest for Sky, ought to be more appreciative of, you know, *cool things in the sky*.
So in my ceremony, on the anniversary of the End of the Quest for Sky, the high priest of Torag gives jewels to priests of Desna and Sarenrae: a yellow topaz "to brighten the sun" and a white diamond "to make another star". Then the priests give these jewels back to the Dwarven King, to add to the royal treasury. This symbolizes that the Dwarves are Torag's gift to the surface world, and that the beauty of the sky is Torag's gift to the Dwarves.
I think this helps the Dwarves be more interesting than the standard xenophobic cave-dwelling smiths that they are in every other fantasy setting.
Michael Kortes, I would presume...
My first experience with RPGs was sitting in while my brother played a D&D session with his friends. If I hadn't been allowed to do that, I might never have been able to get into the hobby. Now, granted, I was there specifically because I was interested in the game and wanted to see how it was played. That's not the same as someone who was just there to socialize. Plus I happily kept my mouth shut the whole time and made sure not to bother anyone.
I have had the girlfriend of one of my players hang out around us while we play. She's also a quiet type, and hasn't cause any problems.
It depends a lot on the personality type of the visitor. Some folks, even generally nice and decent ones, just can't sit there for several hours while everybody does something they aren't involved in. If they're gracious, they realize this and go do something else. If they aren't, they cause problems. Some other people are just fine sitting around doing their own thing, or quietly listening in.
I can understand the blanket no-visitors rule, since gaming groups and sessions can be such fragile things. But keep in mind that a rule like that might mean that potential gamers never get exposed to the hobby.
I'd say that between Carrion Hill, Wake of the Watcher, Into the Nightmare Rift, and the stuff in Distant Worlds, Varisia, and the Darklands, there's plenty of published material to help a GM create an excellent 100% Lovecraftian AP for themselves.
Though I'm sure it would be chock full of stuff I'd like, I'd rather not see a purely Lovecraftian full AP. It would run the risk of consigning all that type of stuff into a single easily-marginalizable box. I like the current technique of mixing mythos/cosmic horror elements into other things much better.
173. Larenzetti Investment Company Ledger: This large, cheap paper ledger contains nothing but columns of numbers in red and black ink, apparently indicating the deposits and withdrawals from a bank account. However, it radiates feint conjuration magic.
If any number is written in the book in common black ink, an equal amount of GP will disappear from the pockets or bags of the person who writes it. This gold becomes stored in the book. If the writer does not have sufficient gold on their person, the ink immediately fades away from the page. Similarly, if any number is written in the book in common red ink, that amount of GP will appear in the writer's pocket, so long as there is sufficient gold stored in the book. Otherwise, the ink fades away.
A DC 10 Intelligence check can establish that there is currently 641 GP stored within the book.
Jeff Erwin wrote:
Not really a question, but I'll add a second recommendation for Gormenghast. I have no opinion of the BBC series, but I don't see how one could possibly do the books justice without using hand-drawn animation.
They read like a combination of Edgar Allen Poe's mood and Charles Dickens' grotesque characters and sense of humor, but far more surreal.
I agree that your work on Ustalav makes me think that you would appreciate them.
Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:
Well, the only problem with that plan is that before you get to take it...
The First Generation users have developed psychosis and tried to blow up the world.
The Second Generation users have developed psychopathy and become unstoppable serial killers. Fortunately, they killed the First Generation users first.
The Third Generation users have developed sociopathy and taken over the world.
The Fourth Generation users have developed paranoia and ruined all of the Third Generation users' plans. But they destroyed civilization in the process.
The Fifth Generation users have developed delusions. They rebuilt civilization, but made everything look like coconuts and giraffes.
The Sixth Generation users have developed narcissism. They took all the attractive people on earth, and manipulated them into co-dependent relationships.
The Seventh Generation users have developed borderline personality disorder. They discovered the perfect ways to make their Sixth Generation partners miserable -- and everybody else, too.
The Eighth Generation users have developed monomania. They figured out the perfect optimal strategies for all games. You can never play anything without an Eighth Generation user telling you you're doing it wrong.
The Ninth Generation users have developed wisdom. They realized that the world would be a better place if nobody else could ever take the drug. They erased it from human knowledge.
I can sympathize, Sincubus -- but I can understand why Paizo wouldn't want to do so, for the purpose of preserving their relationships with 3rd party publishers.
If a 3rd party publishes their own version of a Paizo beastie, it's not going to hurt Bestiary sales too much. If Paizo publishes their own version of some 3rd party beastie, it could kill the 3rd party publisher completely.
That said, I agree that real-world mythological creatures ought to be fair game in a way that original monster concepts aren't. But sometimes it can be hard to tell the boundaries between those two things, too.
Dinklage has a realy god point, but I'm not sure it applies strongly to halflings in Golarion.
The concept of fantasy races is deeply rooted in folklore and mythology, and has a lot of complex elements going on in its expression.
Non-human races play off of traditional tropes associated with magical beings (gnomes, especially), and such beings are often traditionally portrayed as differing from humans in some striking physical manner. Sometimes this manner is in being strikingly smaller than most humans. Or resembling human children, or some such.
In Pathfinder, Gnomes are a lot more overtly magical beings, with their strange appearance and fey connection. They hew very close to the classical folklore style. To my mind, that makes them unproblematic. They're not "little people," they're weird creatures.
Halflings, being based on Tolkien's basically non-magical Hobbits, are a more interesting case. I can understand why one might apply Dinklage's criticism to them. On the other hand, maybe they're exactly an illustration of the opposite of what Dinklage is criticizing: they really *are* just normal people, except smaller. Maybe such things as "Halfling luck" or their unusual propensity for optimism are a bit problematic, though.
What would be interesting to me, perhaps, would be to build an actual human character with dwarfism in a setting that also has halflings, gnomes and dwarves, and explore the implications of people assuming that he's not a human based on his appearance.
Merisiel is getting ready to come out and tell Valeros, Ezren and Kyra and that there's nothing in the next room but some extremely dangerous traps that she was unable to disarm...
It's always dangerous to send the rogue in first.
For episodic adventures, I'd recommend that you check out some Pathfinder Society scenarios, since they're built to be short and mostly standalone, and built to be played by a slapdash party of random adventurers.
I had a really good time playing through The God's Market Gamble a few months back, and it seemed especially ripe for some RP hijinks. :)
You may need to dial back the combat difficulty a little for some PFS scenarios, though, including that one. But that's a pretty easy adjustment to make, I think.
My advice: don't punish them. What they've done can create a really interesting plot twist. This is the beauty of tabletop gaming. Run with it!
If I were running things, I'd have Peppery know exactly what she's supposed to know in the published adventure -- but since they are rescuing her several months early, maybe she doesn't know quite as many details.
So yes, now the PCs have a much more urgent mission to stop Harrigan's plan. They'll need to come up with a strategy for doing that. And like sabadoriaclark said, he should be fully tipped off that they're on to him. So maybe he flees to Cheliax to join the fleet. Or maybe he fortifies his base to resist the inevitable assault.
If the PCs simply tell Tessa and then expect her to just sort it out somehow, then you could use an old GM standby: she fails, disappearing without a trace. Now the PCs' patron is out of the picture, and they now know that things are *really* bad! (It was good enough for Tolkien!)
They will then probably be feeling too under-leveled to just go face Harrigan themselves -- that's good! That's your chance to get them back on the level progression that Chapter 5 expects them to have. If they're no longer interested in cleaning out their island, give them side quests to retrieve powerful weapons and equipment that they will need for the big showdown. Or you could encourage them to finish the island and throw the feast as planned -- what better venue for them to reveal to the Free Captains that invasion is upon them!
Merisiel uses her Stand Up rogue talent to immediately spring to her feet. This takes the Mirror Man in front of her by surprise. She deploys a concealed dagger from her spring-loaded wrist sheath, and hits for maximum damage thanks to her Underhanded talent. Boom, dagger through the mirror.
She also wins initiative. She draws two daggers with the Quick Draw feat and throws them at at Mirror Man #2, who is still flat-footed. Thanks to her Two-Weapon Fighting, they both hit for sneak attack damage. Down he goes.
Mirror Man 3 is still up. He charges at her, but she nimbly dodges his sword stroke. Then on Round 2, she uses a dirty trick combat maneuver to breathe in its mirrored face, clouding up the glass and temporarily blinding it long enough for her to disappear down a side street.
Here's a Campaign Setting product that I think would sell -- at least, I know I'd buy a copy. :)
I love maps. All kinds of maps. And Pathfinder has some great maps, that's for sure. And it's got a great world, too. But it seems to me that most of the maps of Golarion are pretty narrow in their focus. They've got cities and towns, labels for major geographic features like forests and mountain ranges, and places for adventures to happen. So far, so good; that's probably what adventurers care the most about.
But I'd love to see more varied maps of Golarion that convey more information about the world:
I'd like to see the road networks that connect cities and towns together, complete with mileage and normal travel time. How far is Westcrown from Augustana, by road, ship, and overland flight?
I'd like to see environmental maps, showing the differences in climate in different regions (fun fact: most of Cheliax has a Mediterranean climate. How many players know this?).
I'd like to see maps of trade routes and economic products. What are the endpoints to the Isger trade route? What does Andoran export? Where does all of Katapesh's Pesh go? How much merchant shipping goes through the Shackles?
How about an ethnic map? Where are the lines where you could expect to start seeing fewer Varisians and more Ulfens, then less Ulfens and more Kellids?
In short, what I'd love to see is a fairly complete Atlas of Golarion, or at least an Atlas of the Inner Sea: a variety of maps each showing different important features of the same region.
Oh, and one other thing: I'd love to see a real world-style political map, with colored countries to clearly indicate the national borders, and flags on each nation. Maybe that could also include alliances and enmities between countries, too.
Who else thinks this would be a really fun product to use?
James Sutter wrote:
Well, neat! I still think that a survey would be a good idea, though. Surely the ratio of opinions on this particular thread isn't an accurate representation of the entire AP subscriber base.
Heh, not *readily* transported, but I could imagine some enterprising demon lord thinking that there was a nice big untapped pool of potential worshippers out there, and hatching a plan...