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If you tone down the tier advancement I'd certainly run that by your table beforehand, your players might want to know the lay of the land before they start. That said, what you're hearing about a ramp in difficulty for a DM at book 3 and above is dead on the money.
Not scaling back at all has worked just fine at my table, it may or may not for yours. We start the last AP this weekend and with 5 players its been a fun run so far. Although it would seem my table is a bit "non traditional" I'm told. Keep an eye on the things and since it sounds like you know your group already you should be fine.
See that word you used there? Balanced. That's about rules not story. I'm a DM, I tell stories, I have since the first edition where they blatantly told us to toss any rules that got in the way of the story. That's where Pathfinder gets its foundation and its why I don't think many people will find an easy balanced answer. The base of this game is built around a DM reworking the rules for his table as he goes.
Of course, while its one of the strongest points its also one of the biggest weaknesses. In the hands of a good DM its a blessing. In the hands of bad DM, well, I'm sure we've all been there at one time or another.
As to what it adds, for me, I finally get to play the Child of Bhaal as he was meant to be played(Baldur's Gate video game adaptation we play at my table). It means seeing why Elminster isn't just some guy that got a lot of levels but is really a lot more. It means understanding what it was to be a Runelord. Finally realizing that some drunkard with a few levels didn't just stumble into godhood but had a lot more going for him beforehand. And if they can do it I'm sure I can figure something out for my own crew, especially with all the ideas mythic tosses my way. For my table it adds a lot, once again though, your mileage, as always, may vary. We're all people so we'll always perceive it differently.
And yes, they could've added all of the mythic on their own. I could still be playing 1st ed too. For me at least, I'm not so much interested in seeing what I can add, but seeing what others have added. Since I don't think exactly like them its usually something other than what I had in mind. Maybe you can think of it as a datamine? Theres a lot there.
Before I go, Wheazy, you just called me insulting then you ask me to challenge you. You can't have it both ways.
Anyway, I think this is going a bit offtopic so I'll be shutting up now. Besides, I think some damn kids are on my lawn, gotta go run 'em off. Pack a slackers.
Yes, its entirely possible I sound offensive. However, facts are facts. Not everyone should be DM'ing. That doesn't mean the mythic rules are perfect, and it certainly doesn't mean anyone who has trouble with them should get out of the DM seat.
I'll try to clarify what I'm saying. Adjusting things is the DM's job, and the higher the level the more adjustment you're going to need. Add in rules like mythic and you crank that up to a new level. Sure, there are some ways Paizo could patch things, but no amount of patching will ever make the DM's job a simple plug and play situation. If this isn't something you want to do that's completely understandable and its also why there are more players out there than DMs. On the other hand, if you really want to sit in the DM chair you're going to need to work for it, and with mythic you'll need to work for it even more. Not good, not bad, just how it is.
I just don't see them coming out with a cure-all that makes everyone happy for a game that has a history of high level "difficulties" to begin with. Lots of patch cures have been suggested, places to start so to speak. Still haven't seen anything that will make "all of the people happy all of the time" though.
What can I say? I like the mythic stuff. Its a great place to start, but if you really want to use it, you'll need to take it down the road a bit. Maybe I don't see that as being as big a deal as some since I do that with any published material. Or maybe I've just been DM'ing way too long. Stuck in my ways. Don't mind me, I'm gonna grab my cane and hobble over to the corner. Carry on.
Not a fallacy and not an insult, its just how it is. While its good that people try to fill the roll of DM, not everyone is created equal. You're going to have varying degrees of success or failure. Not everyone can DM, and while many try, not all of them are really good at it. Almost everyone reading this has either had a bad DM or a killer DM at one time. Not right, not wrong, that's just how it rolls. Unlike games, humanity has no "balance".
Who should Paizo target? Hardcore or casuals? The one AP per month they publish won't be a hit with both audiences so who should they ostracize? What sells at one table certainly won't sell at another. Hence middle of the road APs. The mythic ruleset added to those APs simply adds another layer of customization required by the DM. More work for me, and if I do it right, more fun for my table.
As a DM you're in charge. Its your job to lead your table to a night of fun. An AP or even a ruleset is nothing more than a tool in your arsenal, not a crutch. Your imagination is your real weapon. Use it or you will fall flat on your face and drag your table right down with you. Sorry if it sounds harsh, but that's really what it comes down to.
That said, are the Mythic rules perfect? Of course not. This game has never been perfect, 1st edition to present. Just part of the bigger picture. Make your adjustments and adlib from there. Worked for Gygax it'll do for me.
The only problem mythic rules has is the same problem any high level adventure will have, you can't write anything at that level that will appropriately challenge "your" party. "Your" party is going to be different from anyone else's so the DM has to "improvise, adapt, and overcome" as the saying goes. Honestly guys, this should be done in any AP. Publishers will quite often lose with the high level stuff because the module is perceived overkill(couple encounters from Savage Tides got that treatment as I recall) and people complain, or too easy and people complain. Lose/lose situation, glad I don't do that for a living.... End result? Middle of the road APs that require some doctoring.
An adventure path is the bare bones, as the DM you breath life into it, if you don't you aren't doing your job. I'm not trying to say this in a bad way at all, but I see people shaking their heads over Wrath and I utterly fail to see how a DM couldn't help but slaughter the playerbase wholesale.......with a little DM addition here and there of course.
Think of yourselves as chefs, something like Wrath is the turkey. Now spice it up, cook it, and serve it to your players. If you don't, all it is, is a dead bird, and no one wants to eat that.
And before you ask, no, I'm not going to tell you what I'd do because what I'd do is for my table not yours. Works for me sure, for you though, maybe not so well eh? Customization is key.
As to the OP's question, I hope they write another. This last one was pretty fun. That is, me and mine had a good time anyway.
It really all depends doesn't it? Are you and your table playing the game, or the system?
If you're all interested in the story than of course it can work. The old Baldur's Gate video games are a perfect example of a story along those lines. One mythic character surrounded by a party of regular Joes. Although the gameplay wasn't anywhere near what we have with mythic the storyline certainly was.
If you're worried about balance and adhering to the module as written, well, you're hosed. No, its not gonna work. Most likely the other players are going to wonder why they don't have those shiny godlike powers long before the many other problems of "balance" crop up.
First want to thank Paizo for letting me know about this product, it really looks great. That said, you guys lost a sale since you had no hard copy to go with it. I went to the Adventure site and bought from there. Why? I like hardcopy and really didn't want to pay 50bucks for simple data.
Sales for stuff like this is obviously good for both of you. Maybe Paizo can offer a hardback combo deal as well? If you had I'd have bought here and not over there. Just sayin'.
Bought this last night, only paged through the pdf so far but it looks like it has promise. As always, diceless isn't for everyone but this seems to be making a good run for that type of system. Lots of potential to take the stairway environment in a lot of different directions as well. Good luck with this guys.
Some good advice in this thread so far not just for the OP but really any new DM, take it to heart. That said I'll limit own advice.
First off, 'i bet these clerics don't have combat reflexes, so...., isn't a case of metagaming, its combat savvy that comes from playing, you should congratulate them on this. Guys a cleric, he's wise but not dexterous, probably, good bet to do just what your player did there. Now if the player starts quoting stats like he's read the module, yeah theres your metagaming.
Second, and this is freakn huge, keep your frustrations to a minimum and don't turn the game into a DM Vs. PCs match. You will always win, until you become known as a killer DM, after which you will always be alone.
Honestly, this probably isn't the best series for a first timer with a group of powergamers. Possibly not even a good group for you to be DM'ing at all since you seem to be worried about telling the story rather than simply rolling empty dice, although your sorc sounds like she has the right idea, maybe not the best mechanics though. That's a good thing to have on your part as a DM, story first, mechanics later. Keep following that and you'll come out fine. This is after all a roleplaying game.
Oh, and uh, +6 on demons eh? Uh-huh. You trust this guy do you? I see. I'd probably give that one a good look. Stuff like that is just gonna get worse later on....
The thing is, I've subbed since back in Shattered Star. Never had a problem until Wrath. Every book so far has been delayed with this AP though. Meanwhile some people seem to get it on time regardless of having a sidecart full or empty. Its like they have two lists, those we take care of, and those we....well.....the other people.
Seems like they have an expanding infrastructure and those two goblins they keep chained up in the warehouse just aren't keeping up anymore. Time to expand guys. Or at least buy those two a sammich or sumthin.
Fall-From-Grace from the old Planescape Torment game is the first and as far as I know the only demon to ever change her stripes. Back in 1st/2nd edition anyway. Her origin was an extremely good reason to have her do so. With Arue you actually have divine intervention.
I don't see Nocticula being a former empyreal as a problem, but I'd be a tad skeptical as to her actually seeking redemption. Goddess of outcasts, artists, and the glories of midnight? Seriously? She wants to be the Goth's new goddess does she? Sounds fishy to me, or worse, like some kind of Twilight thing. When you add to all this the fact she has a known brother who makes regular visits to his "loving" sister things become even more unclear. Is he in on the redemption gig too? Who else, the maid, the gardener, Shamira?
All of this is of course my opinion, but, did anyone else notice the only thing said about this from the esteemed Mr. Jacobs wasn't exactly a confession praising our powers of observation? Never underestimate the DM's ability to point you in the wrong direction with a few words that neither confirm nor deny your own speculations.
Either way, it'd be nice if this was part of a "continuing the adventure" shtick for the end of the series. Yep, probably still time to toss that in there if you haven't already. Just sayin.....
Actually I can think of a non evil human lich from the Forgotten Realms, Ioulaum.
That said, he's probably the most powerful caster that world has ever seen, unless you count Karsus' spell that took out Mystryl making him the most powerful. Of course he couldn't control that power and died screaming so I don't really think it counted.
At any rate, lorewise there are precedents for neutral and good versions of the lich, just not really that common. Although as always, if its good with your DM and works with your group, roll with it. Might want to watch out for random parties of peasants wielding pitchforks and torches though, I could see a lot of those in your immediate future...
XPs. Hmm, those are those little things that always fall off and you step on 'em and....hmmm, no. Oh yeah! They're the things that roll around and...and....hmmm, no. Nope, haven't used those in years. But if you really need some I think I've got a case or two in the attic. More than welcome to 'em if you can find them in amongst the other junk.
It really all comes down to what you play as far as rolling goes. If you're going to do a 1st/2nd edition run put that point buy stuff out of your head now. Stats never increased back then without serious magic, books/wishes/etc. You didn't get a freebie handout to your scores every few levels. Worse for some classes, if you didn't have an 18 your casting abilities were limited to say the least.
All that aside I still use 4d6 drop the lowest reroll 1s. What can I say, old habits die hard. Since I'm the DM I really don't care what your stats are like, I'm pretty sure I can come up with something you'll find challenging.
I guess a better question would be how similar are stats from a 15 point buy by level 20 Vs. 4d6 drop the lowest but never getting any stat increases via leveling?
Consider this book sold. Do I need it? Nope, sure don't. The thing is, what books like this offer is really invaluable. They offer a different take on the game. No matter how close you look at something you'll never see it from someone else's perspective, that's where the stuff you missed is usually at. And you always miss something....
I like the idea behind this. The DM never rolls dice, well, almost never. That takes away some of the adversarial elements that can spring up between DM and players, leaving a more story oriented atmosphere. And as Papa above pointed out, if you really don't like something you have no control over you can always spend an XP to avoid it.
Basically, a rules-lite system with a very interesting background. If you have a good DM it could be a great game to play. Of course if you have a bad DM it doesn't matter what system you use, you're doomed anyway....
Either way, its definitely worth a look.
Actually, this would be doable. Maybe the crystals have abilities that can be broadcast to underlings, upping their power levels by a substantial amount, making them a challenge for level 20 characters. Maybe they aren't all that rare, putting a few into the hands of "lieutenants" and such. Perhaps being close/in range negatively affects how magic works, well, mortal magic anyway, causing teleports, divinations, and such to falter. Yeah, doing this wouldn't be all that hard really, bit of work on the boosts and you're in there.
As to loot, well, you're hosed. They need to forget about the loot carrot, after all, they're already level 20. At this point they aren't thinking about the next score, they need to put their eyes on the real game.
Wait. You guys are DM'ing and you're telling me you don't fudge rolls behind that huge DM screen? I..... You......
What was it Khan said? "You can't even break a rule. How can you be expected to break bone?"
I'm sorry, I don't mean any of this in a bad way, its just kind of shocking to see how far things have changed. No wonder you see all this "optimized" stuff. I bet you guys run your Paths without customizing them to your group too.
See, I've always put story and party enjoyment over random rolls, no module can ever cover your group with the options they need. Your group is always unique and if you want to bring the story out you're going to have to customize here and there. And if you see some little twist of luck wipe your party out because the bad guys got a string of good rolls, that's got nothing to do with a good story. Used to be a good DM would fudge things. I dunno, maybe I'm showing my mileage, but my players always have a good time, so I suppose it all works out. Different strokes and what not....
I'd be completely against gods being unassailable by the players, yet at the same time I don't think putting gods into a beastiary like Dieties & Demigods is a good thing either. Back in the day that book was taken too often for a Monster Manual 2, rather than a reference and background guide.
Mostly I look at it like what Raistlin did in the dragonlance Legends series. Run around on the god's home plane screaming your head off killing her minions(after a suitably epic journey just to get to that point), then lure her away from her point of power where she's vulnerable. Once there, spring the trap, whack the god, viola. Well, ok, maybe a little more complicated but you get the idea.
So, for my campaigns at least, deities are beyond mythic, most of the time. Until you catch them with their pants down around their legs, then they're no more mythic than anyone else, assuming you're prepared.
To answer the op's question, yes, yes you are the only one.
That said, I think maybe a part of the problem you're having is a phrase you brought up, "moderately optimized". Stuff like that, and players who indulge in it(let alone go overboard with it) will kill a story pretty quick. An "optimized" party can make for a decent game, but rules like the Mythic ones can really end up like fire in a kid's hands. Not a pretty sight....
Maybe I'm lucky to have started playing when this was still a roleplaying game. I see things in terms of story, not damage per second. Maybe a less serious less "optimized" approach, with more of an emphasis on storytelling would work? I dunno, different strokes and all that I suppose. Good luck either way.
Page Count? The great nemesis of writers the worlds over. Interesting, I'd wondered how it was determined where the party ended up level'wise. The overall process makes a bit more sense now. I always modify modules I DM and kept wondering why no one just added a little extra spice here and there to up the levels by endgame. You've got 20, might as well use 'em.
Page Count. I hate that guy.
James Jacobs wrote:
In the words of the immortal Eric Cartman, "Sweeeeeeeeeeet!" Thanks for the heads up guys.
Well, heres to hoping the xp curve works out for a lvl 20 crew by the end. Sometimes I forget you guys have to go by the numbers when you design these and can't just wing it like a regular DM might. On the other hand, one of the reasons I buy these(aside from the excellent storylines), is to see how the people in charge handle tossing out encounters. Never easy writing premades for high level, let alone max level, looking forward to seeing how you lay it out.
The gods can't do everything even if they wanted to. The president of a large corporation runs the business, but he doesn't do every job. He can't. He delegates authority because he can't be in all places at all times doing all things.
Look at Aroden's first herald. He lets her watch the shop just once while he's overseas setting up new contacts and BANG! Dead herald. Now he's gotta go out and put an add in the paper advertising the open position, wade through endless reams of out of work loser wannabes trying to get in on the "godthing". He was lucky to get Iomedae, sure, girls got major issues but at least she's trainable. And of course theres the time effort and cost of training the newbie in the hopes they don't foul up like the last one.
No. Gods aren't just gonna jump in and start micro-managing everything. It doesn't work for mortals, it doesn't work for them. Besides, dying for a cause is something mortals do, not gods.
Dex based fighter.Sounds good to me. Roll with it. You guys need to stop meta gaming and just game for a bit. Enjoy yourself and your new toys rather than yelling about what you didn't get. Not aiming this at anyone in particular but if you start tearing something apart because it isn't perfectly balanced you'll end up with nothing. Its playable and its logical. Grass is always greener on the other side guys.....
Once you get to certain parts of the APs things move rather quickly from one book to the next. At higher levels having a mage to teleport the group around can fix some of the "need to be elsewhere right this second". At the early levels though your travel times will be rough. You'll be commuting from Riddleport to Sandspoint to Korvosa, hundreds of miles between each.
Aside from travel time theres also level considerations. Run through one AP to get to the next and you'll be starting that next AP over leveled. Now do that again two times for the last two APs.
Not saying you can't thread it all together somehow, but it sounds like a serious case of overcomplication if you do. An insanely large amount of work for the DM to juggle, backed up by a potentially bored group of players devastating most everything in there path from being over leveled. Or dying horribly because they're underleveled to keep them at pace for the next 3 APs.
Couple things here. It sounds like a lot of dying is going on and your crew feel like they have no hope of living, hence the desire to not get attatched to characters headed to the meatgrinder of your game. "Just roll up a new one, the DM is gonna kill us no matter what we do, at least this way we'll finally get some decent gear..." You may want to tone it down a touch. I'm not at the table so I can't say for sure but when the party stops caring about staying alive you're headed in the wrong direction.
The other point is maybe you shouldn't allow new characters at all. Go REAL old school. Someone dies, the party needs to get him back alive or move on without that player. Die this week, don't bother showing up next week....unless we can rez you.
James Jacobs wrote:
This right here is the kind of attitude that makes you a success. Keep this place run by gamers selling games rather than a megacorp pushing a "formula" and you'll do well.
If its really an issue make Attractive a feat, takeable to a maximum of 2 times. Each time you take it you get a bonus of +2 on social skill interactions with the opposite sex(if they swing that way). This is what they do in Mutants & Masterminds, also a d20 based system, and it works pretty well from what I've seen to describe the high end lookers.
Actually, Second Darkness gave out quite a few CRs for demon lords that the drow worship. They ranged from CR26 for the smallfry to CR32 for Orcus and his contemporaries, with Lamashtu as CR-(Deity). Nocticula at 32 is one of the demonlords supposedly on the brink of godhood so that may well be the top end. So yeah, with all the Baphon-buildup we've seen I could picture him as a CR 30/32.