Archpaladin Zousha wrote:
One thing that sort of confuses me about lifepaths. Can a character GAIN a lifepath due to in game events? Say a character starts as a commoner, but does a valorous act and earns a boon from his king, and he asks to be knighted. Do they gain a new lifepath for this event? Or is it once a miller always a miller, and if you want to become a prince or an Etharch at some point in the game, you have to HAVE those lifepaths before you start adventuring? How does the game handle a person becoming king by his own hand?
As I understand the system, lifepaths are purely used in character generation. Once you actually start playing the game, you gain all further skills and traits, etc. through tests and Artha (i.e. gaining experience). The idea is that lifepaths describe what happened to your character before the story; once the story starts, you decide what happens by playing it out.
I suppose you could conceivably add on additional lifepaths later on as a way of indicating "downtime", like for instance if there were a several-year gap between adventures, but that's not what they're designed to do.
Archivist archetype. The Bard is an elderly academic who's adventuring because he lost his tenure position (Why? Did he cheat? Does he have enemies? Plot hooks!). He's got tons of Knowledge skills and diplomacy, but not much else. Super high charisma for his spell save DCs, and his specialty is Perform (Oratory) and the Lamentable Belaborment bardic performance.
My wife got all the Burning Wheel books a few months ago. She's REALLY looking forward to running it sometime soon. I'm excited, too -- especially to have someone else run something! :)
I agree with you about the rules, though; it's *not* a rules-light system, even though it's a narrative-driven system. I'm really enjoying studying the system, but it's going to take us quite a while to really get it down, I think.
Especially, the "Fight!" system seems like a really fun way to run duels -- but golly if I can get my head around it! :)
There is a wiki that has helped me quite a bit:
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!
Specific recommendations based on the thread so far:
1. Poison use should be moved into an archetype, and replaced with something else in the standard class.
2. I recommend leaving Sneak Attack as it is. This class doesn't need any nerfing.
3. *If* you do decide to reduce Sneak Attack, please replace it with some additional ability that will enhance the class's combat ability.
4. As I mentioned earlier, there should be a way to get freebie Inspiration on Bluff. I don't think that such an ability would trample on the Bard's niche of interpersonal skills.
5. Please make archetypes that swap out Extracts for other things. Some players don't like having to keep lists of spells/extracts and worry about a whole bunch of per-day resources. Some especially hate preparing spells/extracts, since they worry about making bad choices that waste their resources for that day. I suggest the following archetypes:
6. General observation: this seems like a very expensive class to play. Especially at early levels, the Investigator is going to be spending a lot on disposable items to be combat effective. Some players really hate using disposable items. Later on, they are also going to want fancy gear like a Rogue, and will also need money to expand their formula book. Could they perhaps get a free crafting feat to help them out?
7. Very specific observation: why doesn't the Alchemist Discovery Talent allow Cognatogen? It seems like the most obvious and flavorful choice for an Investigator that I can imagine.
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.
Wow, this was not the choice I was expecting for the second card game AP! But now that I see it, I think it's an AWESOME choice. Actually, Skull & Shackles was the AP that I started subscribing to Pathfinder for, and I think it's a great path (even though my group never played past Book 1).
We're happy to help out new players, Shivian! Welcome! :)
I'm going to focus on your Sorcerer.
1. He seems to have made some pretty suboptimal choices for his spells known. Especially Unseen Servant: not a combat choice at all. And Charm Person can be good, but only against humanoids.
I would recommend letting him re-select his spells known. And to increase his combat effectiveness, he should pick either Grease, Sleep, or Color Spray as one of them.
He needs to keep in mind that he's not a wizard. His Spells Known slots are very precious. If he wants to be a utility caster, he should use wands, scrolls, and potions to make that happen. His Spells Known should be for his real workhorses that he expects to use many times every day.
If he wants to have good low-level utility spells later on when he's higher level, he can swap them out at even levels.
Also, generally speaking, since he only has a 14 on Charisma, his main casting stat, the Save DCs on his spells are going to be relatively low. He might want to focus more on spells that use attack rolls rather than spells that use Saves.
2. He doesn't seem to be taking advantage of his Elven weapon proficiencies. He would be better off with a longbow instead of a crossbow since he won't have to use move actions to reload -- or even a shortbow, even with the lower damage. He should also pick up a longsword or a rapier just in case someone gets up in his business when he's out of spells (though he does have those dragon claws too, I guess, but they don't do much damage).
3. He should think about buying some cheap consumable magic items to help him with combat. I would especially recommend Mage Armor to help out his AC in combat, on some scrolls or a wand (he'll get it as a freebie bloodline spell at 3rd level, so he might not need a fully-charged wand). And if he really likes using Unseen Servant, he can get that as a wand, too.
4. It looks like he took Scribe Scroll as his first level feat. I'm not saying that this is a bad choice -- but it's much better for wizards than it is for sorcerers, because you can only create scrolls of the spells that you know (wizards can use their spellbooks for this). If you think about this for a sorcerer, since you're a spontaneous caster, this means that scrolls are just additional spells-per-day that you have to pay money for. You don't get a lot of utility out of that choice, since you're only making scrolls out of spells that you could already cast.
If he does want to stick with Scribe Scroll, he doesn't need skill points in Profession (Scribe) to use it. Spellcraft works just fine by itself.
That's all I can think of for right now. Happy gaming, Shivian! And I hope this advice helps!
Molthune is sort of a "late empire" place, basically a smallish power trying to punch above its weight to make up for its relatively late start on accumulating geopolitical strength. Post-unification Imperial Germany is definitely a good example, but so is Imperial Japan from 1868 until WWII. Here are some overviews:
Basically, Japan looked around and saw that all the big boys already had huge empires, and figured that if they didn't want to get subjugated, they'd need an empire of their own. So they militarized and industrialized very rapidly, made some nice headway by beating Russia in a war and annexing Korea, fought on the winning side during World War I, and then pretty much threw it all away by overreaching in China and then picking the wrong allies in World War II.
Possible applications to Molthune:
James Sutter wrote:
Ha ha! My wife and I I tried to do the same thing to her character about a year ago -- but then she had to go ahead and pass up some perfectly good chances to get engulfed by a gelatinous cube or get shot by kobolds, and had to resort to very foolishly running into a sauna room full of shocker lizards. It's wasn't quite as climactic as yours, to say the least.
Sorry for a double post, but I just found a good article that presents a big way that the American system of congressional representation has gotten completely messed up compared to how it was originally designed:
In a nutshell, when the Constitution was being devised, there were two competing ideas of what representation was supposed to accomplish, and what particular form we should use in our Congress. We've brilliantly managed to combine the worst qualities of both and get the benefits of neither.
(Note: The site this comes from, The American Conservative, is "conservative" in the classical sense, not in the modern Tea Party/Imperial sense.)
It's not a module, but Castles of the Inner Sea has a big entry for Highhelm, the Dwarven capitol. It's a stronghold the size of a city, and still very much chock full o' dwarves.
I'll bet you could find some really good hooks in there to make up your own modules.
Welp, looks like the party's over. And how about that! The Tea Party got nothing. Kinda like what was obviously going to happen from the very beginning. Less than nothing, actually, because if it hadn't happened, Obamacare's popularity would be lower than it is.
What a colossal waste of time and money.
EDIT: As Ross Douthat, the conservative commentator at the New York Times wrote yesterday:
This means that the still-ongoing intra-conservative debate over the shutdown’s wisdom is not, I’m sorry, the kind of case where reasonable people can differ on the merits and have good-faith arguments and ultimately agree to disagree. There was no argument for the shutdown itself that a person unblindered by political fantasies should be obliged to respect, no plausible alternative world in which it could have led to any outcome besides self-inflicted political damage followed by legislative defeat, and no epitaph that should be written for its instigators’ planning and execution except: “These guys deserved to lose.”
Well said. Let's fire this "conservative" party and get a new one.
Exactly. As I mentioned, instead of amending things, we now just fight in the Supreme Court to get them to torture the text into the meanings that we desire.
The recent fight in the Supreme Court over local gun control regulations is a good example. Though personally I'm rather opposed to gun control, it's pretty preposterous that the Court basically redefined the rights granted by the 2nd Amendment to include things that were assumed not to be rights for a really long time.
The wrangling over the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was similarly casuistic. The Court found that the Individual Mandate was not constitutional under the Interstate Commerce Clause (which is fairly unusual, since they usually use that as a free pass for everything), but that it WAS constitutional under Congress's power to levy taxes -- even though the government's official position was the the mandate was explicitly NOT a tax.
Now, personally, I liked the first decision, and didn't like the second one -- but if I'm honest, that's only because of my political opinions on those issues, being against gun control and against the ACA (not against national healthcare, BTW; I just think the ACA is a terrible system that will make things even worse than they are now). If I held the opposite opinions, I'd probably be booing the first one and cheering the second -- all with very little regard for whatever the Constitution actually meant.
Decisions of constitutionality were supposed to be about limiting what the federal government is allowed to do. But now it's mostly just become a stick people can use to beat their political opponents with.
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"...
James Sutter wrote:
Sadly, we haven't really said much about Kyonin elves culturally, so I don't want to make up/suggest new canon on the boards. But at a general level, I'm betting they're a bit haughty and arrogant toward their kin who went back to "backwater" Golarion instead of staying in the "homeland"... while at the same time probably having a bit of a chip on their shoulder, since Golarion elves went back in order to fight demons, and thus could easily accuse those who didn't of cowardice. Tensions abound!
Thanks, James! I find the fact that the elves have similar civilizations on two very different planets to be a pretty fascinating idea. I'd love to read more about it sometime!
(and seriously, Distant Worlds is just awesome)
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. :)
Scott Betts wrote:
Yes, I'm pretty sure they're going to be the only real game in town in another ten or fifteen years.
Not that they're really much better than the Republicans -- actually, right now they are, but only because the Republicans have become so incredibly, uniquely bad.
Eisenhower for President, 2016.
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. :)
Yes. Better to laugh than to cry. Think about how us non-crazy fiscal conservatives are feeling. Does anyone know of another conservative political party that might be available for us to use? This one seems to be defective. I'm gonna check Craigslist...
Hi James, I just asked Jacobs this question, and he said it's more up your alley:
My PCs are headed into Kyonin, and they're very likely to "accidentally" end up in Sovyrian thanks to a messed-up teleportation artifact they're carrying.
What might you suggest could be some interesting twists I could put on the elves of Sovyrian, to distinguish them from their kin in Kyonin? I'd like there to be some notable cultural differences, so that it doesn't just seem like "Elfland 1" and "Elfland 2".
One idea I have is to make them less secretive and suspicious of the PC outsiders. The idea is that in Kyonin, these are just some boring old dwarves and humans, but in Sovyrian, these are some very interesting aliens.
Anything else that you can think of?
Thank for the answers, James. Guess I'll be rollin' my own!
What might you suggest could be some interesting twists I could put on the elves of Sovyrian, to distinguish them from their kin in Kyonin? My PCs are probably going to spend some time in Kyonin and then go to Sovyrian, and I'd like there to be some striking cultural differences. I don't want it to just be "Elfland 1" and "Elfland 2".
Okay, finished with the dragon questions, time for some elf questions!
1. Have there been any named NPCs from the elves of Sovyrian published yet? If so, where might I find them (they're aren't any in Distant Worlds)?
2. More specifically, do you know who the ruler of the Sovyrian elves is?
3. Would Sovyrian elves have the same naming conventions as Golarion elves? Would they have the same appearance, or would they look different due to the different environment on Castrovel?
4. Would it be fair to say that the only people in Kyonin who know what and where Sovyrian is are the queen and whoever the official keepers of the gate are?
Yeah, that's pretty much the idea. They're basically the same as real-world climates. Keep in mind, though, that much like Europe in real life, Avistan's climate is actually a fair bit warmer than you might expect from its latitude. Presumably there's something like the North Atlantic Current in the Azlanti Ocean. :)
I'm just about to take my players from Kyonin to Sovyrian, so I've been looking up everything I can find about it to see what I can work in. However, I haven't yet seen anything about who the king or queen might be in El, or anything else about their government or famous personages. So, question time:
1. Does anyone know if the ruler of El has ever been published?
2. Does anyone know of any other named Elven NPCs anywhere in Sovyrian?
Snowjade: I have two Library Science classes to teach. Good times.
Granted! Your Zen Archer runs afoul of a cleric of Mammon, and ends up transported to Erebus, the Third Level of Hell. Hope you can make a whole lot of luck...
I wish I didn't have three hours of work, a wedding, and a house party to go to on Saturday.
Me, I'd say that a Bone Sage has a massive ship in orbit around the planet, and he starts dropping stuff from it that the PCs run into. It's undead, but unlike anything else they've ever encountered. That introduces the mood of "alien horrors." Eventually, the PCs figure out that these things are coming from space. Then they have to figure out that they're coming from an orbiting ship. Then they have to figure out a way to get to that ship (that could be quite an adventure), then they have to go up there and fight their way through the ship as a high-level dungeon.
That's how I would structure such a campaign.
Generally speaking, I use books and paper at the table and all-digital for my prep work. I can sit at work and bash together monster and NPC stat blocks, study up on the spells and abilities I'll need to know about for next session, and pull art out of the PDFs to show to my players at the table.
Then I print everything off (except for the pictures -- I have a tablet just for them) and take it to the game.
For my players, two of them use online tools at the table (fantastic for full spellcasters), and all the rest use plain ol' paper. I bring all my books if they need to look something up.
If there was no OGL, there would be no d20pfsrd.com, and thus my prep work would be WAY harder.