David Bowles wrote:
Alright then, out of curiosity, what is your proposal for the situation?
I've thought about it, I'm a problem solver by trade. I haven't given a solution because I haven't come up with a satisfactory one as of yet. Anything I could think of would require a massive overhaul to how PFS is structured and I don't believe that's desirable.
I've thought about adjustable difficulty considerably, part of my issue with it is the additional work a GM would need to prepare (since they won't know if they players are doing hard mode or not). Having to consider more information and additional rules only increases the chances a GM will make an error, and I've seen grievous ones that have killed players (such as a GM applying DR 10/magic against fire damage). Yes, GM's should know the rules, but even the best GM is fallible and can forget a seldom used mechanic.
I suppose a good question to ask would be; How would you go about making the combat more challenging?
Each of these will increase the challenge, but poses more work for the GM and generally inflated combat durations. And while longer durations means more chances for everyone to contribute, it also means you're likely to start pushing your time constraints for the scenario. And all of these still put the sub-par optimized party members at greater risk, and the power builds might not always be able to adequately protect them. It's not a clear solution.
Honestly, I've found that smarter enemies using better tactics is almost always a more satisfying challenge then inflated numbers whether that's the # of enemies, their hp, their stats or their CR. A group of lowly kobolds or goblins with a favorable environment can wreck havoc on a party of optimized players.
And maybe that's the solution, some encounters written with enemies employing smarter more deadly tactics, using their environment to great effect. I'd also give the players the ability to avoid these deadly situation with cleverness and/or silver tongues. And if not completely avoidable, more favorable if they're clever enough leading up to the encounter.
I've actually seen this already employed in several modules, one where we got to the BBEG before their scout got back to warn them, leaving them unprepared for us. Had they been prepared we'd have had a much more difficult fight on our hands and likely would have lost a party member or two.
My experience has been that in general, the event is not markedly more difficult, they're just longer and more involved. This does add some difficulty as you'll need to manage resources to make sure they last you through the event.
Party tactics is usually the key, as well as your ability to avoid entire encounters through stealth, wit and social grace.
But without details on the specific event, it's hard to say really.
james maissen wrote:
If you mandate that they all must be the same level, then you are correct. If you let a lower level optimizer play alongside a higher level 'casual' then they could be roughly the same level of power.
They've already said they do not want players playing out of tier, and have already shown they dislike players playing up. Why would they then go and implement a system that caters to that, or even needs playing up to even out?
David Bowles wrote:
Not true. The players can discuss amongst themselves and determine the best difficulty.
Players already strong arm weaker ones into playing up for the greater wealth, how would this be any different? If you're not optimized, or even sub-par your survivability is diminished already, deadly combat only makes this more apparent. Like I said before, if you're adjusting difficulty to challenge stronger builds, the weaker ones at the table will feel less able to contribute, while also being in great danger of losing their character. Even if the power builds can "protect" the weaker ones, how fun do you think that is for all involved? All this does is give us a new set of problems to consider while also managing to fail to address the issue at hand.
And if they did implement a hard mode, would most players do it if there wasn't a greater reward for the extra challenge? My guess is no.
Hard Modes and adjustable difficulties; maybe someone can use them as part of some greater scheme to balance things out, but as they stand on their own, just aren't the answer.
How does adjusting the difficulty of a given encounter solve the problem stated? If you make it harder you'll better challenge your optimizers, however, in the same stroke your weaker players will be less able to contribute and be at serious risk of losing a character. The problem doesn't go away, it really gets worse if anything.
Having adjustable difficulty levels, aka a "hard mode", would only help the situation if you could guarantee the players sitting at the table were all of the same level of optimization and ability. And that seems highly improbable.
Yes, Selective Channeling applies to any source of Channel Energy you have, regardless of when you get the feat and when you acquire a source of Channel Energy. This is true for all feats, including Extra Channel, which gives you 2 additional uses of channel energy from any source. This doesn't add 2 to each source, but rather gives you a pool of 2 channels per day.
Each level you add half a use to any domain/school ability that has 3 + caster stat mod uses per day. So it takes a total of 2 levels of investment to get an actual use. If you have more then one qualifying ability that offers 3 + Caster stat uses per day, you can choose which ability the favored class bonus applies to at each individual level.
At levels 1 through 4 you could apply the bonus to Bit of Luck, gaining a total of 2 more uses of that ability. Then levels 5 through 10 apply it to Agile Feet gaining 3 more uses per day for that domain power.
I have a couple of questions regarding Channel Energy and getting it from more then one source (class).
Quick Channel Feat:
I was playing around, trying to figure out how to build my Half-Orc rogue, and came up with the following crazy idea. I figured I'd share it and see what people thought of it.
Now, you might be thinking, why not a fighter, or a barbarian? Why choose rogue for this? Well 2 reasons, first off, I wanted to be able to fill the trap/skill monkey role. Secondly, Improved Surprise Follow-Through denies any follow-up targets of Cleave or Greater Cleave their dexterity bonus against you. That means, Sneak Attack damage fun times. Being enlarged or otherwise gaining greater reach is important to compensate for cleaves weaknesses. Lunge would be a decent choice to shove in there, not sure where though. I threw in Improved Feint, so that the first target could be sneak attacked too.
Assuming you're enlarged, power attacking and completely ignoring equipment (except that you're wielding a Falchion), you'll be doing a base of 2d6+16 +6d6 +2 Str damage 18-20/x2 to clusters of enemies. You're like a martial version of fireball.
As fun as this looks, I question how playable it would be due to the limitations of cleave. But it certainly looks fun on paper. I picture him/her screaming "SNEAK! CLEAVE! SNEAK! CLEAVE!" every round as enemies are mowed down.
Thank you all for the responses.
So from what I can gather by some of the conflicting answers; is that it's going to be a lot like any game, in that it will depend heavily on the individual behind the screen and the other players. Which can be a good or bad thing, depending on how well I mesh.
Hopefully the people in my area are a good fit.
All "what do you wish you knew" answers were enlightening too, good stuff to keep in mind while trying to figure out my character build!
Thanks again :)
On a side note, my example shenanigan was an actual game moment I had. Shoved the wizard into a dark hole after he made a crack about my dwarf being short. He managed to roll on his landing and took no damage. When I got down he asked me if I thought that was funny, I said "Yes!" And he replied with "Good, then you'll find this hilarious!" And he sparked the dust billowing around my feet, which caused a small explosion. No damage or anything, but I failed a sense motive check and ended up falling on my rear from being startled. And thus began our pranking war, and one hell of an in character friendship. Good times.
As the subject suggests, I'm new to PFS and I'm trying to get a feel for it as I start building my first character. Mainly, I'm curious about common gaming conventions in regards to modules/scenarios, how the DM/Player relationship works under the rules of society play, and general advice for someone starting out!
Couple of questions I have off the top of my head are:
Thanks for any help :)
These are just... amazing. Had a blast opening them and getting amazed with the detail in some of them.
My only complaint is that one of mine hadn't been well attached to it's base and had come off it. It was undamaged however, and is something some super glue will easily fix with minimal effort.
Now I have to figure out where to put all these! There are so many.
I've also been pondering what the best way to transport them would be. What is everyone else using? Any suggestions for good and inexpensive cases for these?
The first thing that made me think of was a secretly Evil mayor in a putatively Good town.
I hope the system ends up flexible enough to allow some interesting shenanigans, or can be manipulated by abilities/magic that hide/alter alignment to achieve similar results.
Shield Turtling The ultimate defense. Stops swords, arrows, and fireballs! Why use another tactic to stay alive when you can be an unkillable ball of steel! Train your squad today!
Over use of exclamation points to emphasize seriousness!
I've found that choices, even the illusion of choice, is generally a good part of what makes for satisfying game-play.
I get his concern there, though, depending on how alignments actually work, that sort of problem could sort itself out. People playing evil characters in a "Neutral" settlement that is really more of a good aligned one will find themselves at odds with the leadership.
Personally, I'm in favor of having a separate alignment selection for the leadership and populous. I picture the leadership being a more restricted, focused, range of alignments or singular alignment, with the population being more open, allowing for tolerance.
The difference would be most pronounced in democratically oriented communities where everyone has a vote. Anyone in the community who is not of the allowed leadership alignments would lose their vote. It would be less obvious in a dictatorship, since only the leader has power anyways.
This would require an heir/successor system.
Units are resistant to mind-altering spells because they have trained to think as a unit, not as individuals. They are resistant to AoE spells (if in a ranged-damage-resistant formation) because they provide mutual cover and protection. Since training as a monk grants magic resistance, even in the PnP rulebook, I don't see why training as a soldier can't.
You also have a point. You see, that all makes sense to me, coordinated actions to resist specific types of effects; using shields to provide cover from a fireball, or chanting a mantra to resist mind-effects, are sound ideas. I was interpreting it as some sort of general resistance to any and all magic. But I've come or at least am coming out of that frame of mind.
Though, monks to me aren't the best choice for a counter to my original argument, only because I've considered their spell resistance a fairly magic oriented ability gained through a balance of spiritual, mental and physical meditations and training not commonly found in military training. But it is still an example of gaining spell resistance through intense training, so it's a valid example.
You have a point, my fear is based on assumptions. My opinion of casters is colored by my experience DMing and as a player in the table top, and I'm pulling more from that then from other MMOs.
Perhaps I'm just taking his wording too literally, as in by saying "Units get magical resistance for being part of a cohesive unit" I should take it as "Individuals in a cohesive unit get a bonus to resist magic". My brain just railed against the idea of 20 guys standing in tight formation somehow becoming better at not dying to a circle of death or other AoE magical attack.
If an individual has some sort of magic resistance through a logical source in the game, it doesn't pose a problem to me. Generally that is an established racial trait, innate feature, spell, or magic item. If a fighter without the assistance of something to explain why they get magic resistance gets it by simply standing there and moving in coordination with someone, that's a problem, unless that coordination involves getting the hell out of the magics way.
And yes, a magic user of appropriate level can and will devastate an individual, non-magically supported character. A level 20 fighter with no magical items or magical abilities would have to work incredibly hard to achieve victory. At lower levels the gaps are much smaller since casters have such limited resources, but higher up? Non-casters need a lot of assistance, luck, and surprise.
edit: fixed quote
I like the idea of armies, squads and formations a lot for territory domination and control. Though I worry that the system will break down once in the hands of players, as we tend to break things. My main concern is about how magic and armies will be handled.
Mainly because a magic user is much the same as technology is for us, and the effect it has on military tactics. It's a game changer. If formations of units are simply "magic resistant" because they are a cohesive unit (assuming they perform well), I'm left with a feeling that can only be described as "Really? That's what you're going with?". A magic user of appropriate level should be a devastating force to a unit of, cohesive or otherwise, non-magically supported soldiers.
A level 1 wizard would be a kin to someone with a semi-automatic weapon. Dangerous but overall can't do enough damage before being overrun or running out of ammunition. A level 5 would be like a soldier with an automatic weapon, and an assortment of grenades (explosive, smokes, flash bangs). A level 20 would be like a stealth bomber, aircraft carrier, nuclear bomb, and a tank combined and had a baby hell spawn of mass destruction. The point is, magic is a major force and simple cohesion shouldn't be enough to significantly impact that force. At least not without assistance from magic itself, whether that be an allied wizard countering spells, casting protective magic, or magically enchanted items.
Without knowing the exact details on skills, mechanics and spells, it's very hard to understand how it will all mesh together. In the table top game, a caster is limited by his spells per day, as well as how effective those spells are due to caster or spell level. Casters can't necessarily win wars on their own, but their impact should be significant when employed. Any limitation or reduction in impact needs to come from a logical, lore based, source.
Tactics, strategy and preparation should thwart casters, not a mechanic born from the necessity to make a desired format of PvP viable. Regardless of my concerns, I really like the overall direction.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
@LazarX - Virtually nothing you've read in this thread represents the design direction of the game. Just pay attention to the blog, not the comments on this one. The discussion has gone down a rabbit hole and isn't real productive at the moment.
I'm curious as to what your design direction is, because to me, nailing the alignment mechanics is a major part in how well many of the important game pieces will work. Class features, nations, a whole bunch of things seem to be touched by alignment, and alignment is difficult to do right in my opinion.
Can you shed any light on it Ryan?
True Neutral can be someone who balances all things as you say, or it can be someone who simply has no conviction to uphold any specific ideal. And killing them on sight for something they might do, is in my book, a pretty CE action.
And I'd disagree on the Chaotic Neutral being the cheaters alignment. Currently playing a CN witch, who is very much a wild card, and as it's player I am often at odds with it. I have done what I consider to be very stupid things in order to stick to my CN alignment.
Now I've been thinking about Alignment a lot lately and I'm concerned that it is a big mistake as far as a sandbox MMO goes. It all depends on the mechanics behind how alignment shifts and changes.
If they system is repeatable, every time I do Y I get an X point shift in my alignment, it will be something that is farmed and players will grind it. Having an alignment will simply be a matter of how much time you spent repeating the most efficient way of farming the points needed to shift it to what you want. It'll leave alignments being pretty meaningless unless there is a good way to tell who follows their alignment and who manipulates it. Unfortunately, role players who legitimately shift alignments for character reasons will get caught in the cross fire.
How will alignment gains/losses affect a party of players? If one player in group does something evil does everyone get hit for it, or just the player responsible?
Part of what makes alignments work in tabletop gaming is that, a reasonable DM presented with a reasonable argument, can change their mind on a subject. An MMO is set, it cannot be flexible or reasoned with. I just see a major headache in the making that will be deeply imbedded in multiple systems of the game.
While it's true that fun is subjective, and the best you can hope for is to please the most people possible, the solution to achieving that is deceptively simple in its concept. It's the execution that proves problematic.
To make things fun, you need to find the proper balance between giving the players as many options as possible (to find their own fun), while also restricting those options to stop them from infringing on others (griefing).
In relation to war a variety of tactics should be available to players in order to achieve their goal, in this case conquering an enemy. The standard would be sieges and opposing armies clashing on the battlefield, but this shouldn't be the only option. Stealth, subterfuge, and other tactics need to be available to the players outfitted and interested in employing them. By offering a wide range ways for players to contribute and participate, you greatly increase the odds of people having fun.
For every new option you need to be sure there is a suitable counter or way to deal with it. No mechanic can be griefer proof, but you can certainly make it more difficult to grief with by giving the players sufficient and reasonable ways to deal with "problematic" individuals.
tl;dr More options available, the more likely you are to find fun.
Maybe I simple missed it, but I don't see any discussion about quality vs quantity. The entire process given in the blog entry seems to emphasize quantity only, but I could be mistaken.
While I like the ideas of camps of NPCs harvesting resources, another group refining them, and then crafter NPCs assembling them, with the players interacting in the process; the entire system seems to cater to mass producing items. There should be, and arguably needs to be, an alternate route; an option where the player takes more responsibility in the process of harvesting, crafting and/or manufacturing.
The simplest way to do this would be to implement a time = quality for all aspects of the crafting process. Want higher quality iron? You need to spend more time directly managing the process(es) of mining the ore and refining it into iron (or steel for that matter). The pinnacle of time spent would be to simply do the entire process yourself, no NPCs at all. Such a player would be an example of a dedicated artisan, and I imagine, a rarity as long as the ratio of time/quality is done properly.
The concept would apply to all parts of the economy too, allowing for a diversity in product qualities. Higher quality in each process, and thus more time spent by the player, could mean different things for the final product. For instance when crafting swords:
Spending less time would have the inverse effect. The end result is the player choosing how they want to be part of the economy; do you want to mass produce low quality items, offering low cost solutions, or would you rather take day(s) to make a single item at a high cost but of an exceptional (noteworthy) quality. Making it possible to be a Hattori Hanzo, a Sword-Mart or anything in between.
Hope that all makes sense hehe