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I don't know if this has been asked and asnwered elsewhere, but will it actually be possible to run this AP with good characters? I wouldn't mind if it would be quite challenging this way as long as it isn't outright impossible.
Because if it is for evil PCs only, then I'm not interested at all.
edit: Oh well just found the answer myself.
If you advance the timeline after that odd, fragile moment, you close and resolve the questions. You make things... boring.
This is simply not true. Advancing the timeline doesn't have to mean that you close and resolve the questions. Like, for example, it doesn't have to mean that by advancing the timeline you solve the riddle of the Mournland's creation. In fact, WotCs decision not to advance Eberron's timeline for me was just another nail to the 4E coffin, because with the 4E version just being a rehash of the 3.5 one, I simply had no reason to buy 4E Eberron products.
But even if it closes and resolves a question, that doesn't have to mean things get boring. Let's just assume you remove diabolism and Asmodus from Cheliax, this could lead to a lot of highly interesting new situations. You just have to look at our real world's events to see a lot of countries where overthrowing a tyrannic regime made things worse instead of better. Fukuyama's End of History was just an illusion, and I guess that the Paizo authors wouldn't do something on this scale if they hadn't a plan for the time after. History wouldn't end there either.
And you can say a lot of things about Faerun, but even the 4E realms were the opposite of boring and held a lot of opportunities for adventure.
But I prefer another solution (mostly because it's MY OWN solution^^): I'm just stealing a lot of stuff for my homebrewed campaign setting (and not only from Paizo). It's a lot more work than just perusing the Paizo material, but on the other hand I like to tinker with worlds anyway, so why not doing it with my own.
There is SO much lore spread out over the space of Golarion that I really can't be an expert in it.
And why should you? I mean, I don't need to know anything about the Mwangi Expanse, Tian Xia or Vudra because I most probably will never run a campaign in one of these locations. So spreading any lore over these locations isn't attractive to me.
Doesn't mean that they shouldn't do it, because other people are attracted by those regions who deserve to get their stuff too.
Now one could get the impression that principally this argument holds for those fans wishing for time advancement as well. ;)
Well, as much as I long for an AoW-Hardcover, I'd rather (and more realistically) vote for Curse of The Crimson Throne. I still think it's the best AP written so far under the Pathfinder banner, second because it would get the PFRPG treatment this way, and thirdly because I'm still angry about the german translation team (which I was part of at that time) deciding against the publication of said AP and would love to put the german HC (which they then would be forced to publish :D) next to the english HC.
Normally I go with the "older than me in terms of gaming years" definition. But if I think about the grumbling part I sometimes that it suffices to have been here before the start of the Pathfinder RPG Open Beta to be a grognard myself. Because since then a lot has happened which makes me grumpy.
But in the end the term ha no meaning for me whatsoever. I like the red box as a vehicle to get my kids into roleplaying without overwhelming them with too much rules, but apart from that, I don't feel the need to play it again. I would absolutely love to play AD&D 2nd edition again, I don't think for one second that Pathfinder RPG is an improvement over 3E/3.5 (it was necessary for other reasons, but not because the rules sucked), don't intend to ever play 4E but could be easily convinced to play a 5E game.
So for me it's not "new" vs. "old" and not even "good" vs. "bad" (because I don't think that 4E is a bad system). To me it's just a matter of preferences and those can change over time.
Having some great Realms-shattering storyline happening and not working these NPCs into it was virtually enough to destroy suspension of disbelief.
That's what I like about the Paizo approach, that there adventures aren't realms shattering in nature. A part of their world may be heavily influenced by the outcome of an AP, but the world as a whole will continue as it was. We used to play the same way in the Realms, so there was no need to include the Big Ones.
But we were also content with the knowledge that our PCs weren't/aren't the settings big shots. So yeah, there was Elminster probably saving the multiverse from an unknown danger way above our paygrade, while we cared for somewhat more mundane matters.
May have to do with the way we came into roleplaying. In the world of The Dark Eye, PCs aren't supposed to be the setting's biggest forces, so when we transferred to D&D we also didn't strive to be that.
The two coolest, in my opinion, are Radovan and Jeggare
I do recall listening to Greenwood, Salvatore, and a couple of the developers (Baker, I believe was one of them) comment that because 4E was so drastically different mechanically, they needed to jump the Realms so the world would work mechanically with the system.
Never bought this argument, because most of the changes didn't have anything to do with the rules at all. They wanted a setting reset because of some mistaken impression that that was what most players wanted. Well, suffice to say quite some of those players came over to Pathfinder instead. ^^
Still there was never any need to get those high-level-NPC more involved in your campaign than the high-level NPCs from the Golarion setting. While they had a lot of exposition through the novel line that hadn't to mean anything for one's own campaign (And if you needed a reason why they didn't interfere in one's campaign, well it was the novels which gave it to you - they simply were busy elsewhere).
Some people here in this very thread have argued that they had problems with the realms because of new published material antagonizing what they had developed in their own campaign. That's something I never really understood. Why should I let myself get stifled by anything an author writes? One the other hand, why should the authors of a campaign setting let themselves get stifled in their creativity, because some readers could take offense with it? Because that's exactly why they thought they had to destroy the Realms and create a new version.
So, to go back to Golarion: As long as the developers don't want to advance the timeline because they feel that they still have to tell a lot of stories without the need to do so? I'm absolutely fine with that, even if I preferred otherwise.
But if they don't do it because they think it would be a bad decision businesswise (and James Jacobs hinted at that) that would really be a shame.
They would construct character stories from stuff they'd learned in past campaigns, to which I would tell them repeatedly, "No, no, see that's changed because of such-and-such who wrote a book about it." It aggravated them a great deal.
Hm, that's what I never did. As in Golarion, OUR Realms canon was defined by what happened in our games not by what was written in any book about it. So when some contradicting information was published in the official material, I had to adapt it to fit in our canon or to ignore it, if I didn't like it. That's basically the same thing that I'm doing with new Golarion publications, so there's no difference in this respect.
Also, most of the new material was about regions we never even played in, so it didn't antagonize what was established in our campaign. What it did for us though was to show us that the world moved even without our direct input, because other things were happening everywhere. So it didn't matter if we moved through time because the world moved with us.
In Golarion, I'm basically doing the same thing you do, in that RotRL started in 4708 and while playing I used snippets from CotCT to foreshadow the events of our next campaign, which would start in 4710. And as said before, I use the material I do not use for actual play to rearrange it to my likings and thereby showing my players what happens elsewhere in the world.
So it's not that I need Paizo to do this for me. Problem being that there's no historical development of the setting apart from that we create in our game or that I invent by myself.. So we are still moving, but the world is basically standing still except in those regions we're playing in. That's where official material would come in handy.
captain yesterday wrote:
It has and maybe will again, just not as much sweeping change as you want, which is a little odd considering you said that was the problem Forgotten Realms had...
Let me clarify: What I see as problems with the Realms approach is the Advancement of the Timeline through the novels on the one hand (because players had no active part in it, which was especially bad because of all those world shaking events), and through the destruction of the continuity via the 100-year time leap.
But before that, I'm with Samy in that the time progression from first to second and third edition didn't really cause problems for anyone because even with the often critizised Time of Trouble, the Realms developed without changing too much.
Now I can do the same in Golarion as long as I stay in 4708 AR, because all those APs happen at the same time (let's not think too hard about if this is even realistic). But as soon as I let time progress in my version of Golarion, I've no information whatsoever about the state of things in let's say 4710. As I said before, I can rearrange the material as I like, but then it's me who's breaking the canon. No real problem because that's what I did with every setting I've run 'til today.
But what angers me a tiny little bit in this discussion is that it's obviously totally ok for most of the participants if I am forced to do this because of the approach Paizo takes, but if others would be forced to do modifcations because of another possible approach, then it would suddenly und supposedly "hurt" the product.
Mind you, in SS it is assumed that RotRL has happened and someone was successful in stopping Karzoug. They do this when it makes sense for a later AP.
Well, and did you hear any cry-outs from those fans in whose campaigns Karzoug had won? I surely didn't though that may have to do with the fact that this didn't happen very often (and when it happened was much rather viewed as a loss for the PCs than as a probable gain for the setting).
I'm not arrogant enough to think that Paizo should rather do nothing instead of doing something which negates the outcome of my campaigns. Because that could easily happen even within the frame of their actual setting policy.
Let's just assume that in my CoT campaign, events had developed so that House Thrune had been actually overthrown and Cheliax had been freed from the devilish influence. Should I now cry foul because in Hell's Rebells House Thrune is still alive and flourishing? Obviously not because I cannot expect Paizo to consider the individual development of my home campaign.
Don't get me wrong: I'm totally fine with that. On the other hand that's exactly the argument I get to hear by other players why they shouldn't advance the timeline: Because they had to consider the development of the player's home campaigns. Kind of hypocritical, isn't it?
Other reasons James told me I can get behind. And naturally it's Paizo's prerogative how to develop their setting. At least I get a lot of quality material no matter what, and can do with it what I want.
The rest is a matter of taste: I'd actually love to run an AP about what happened after Karzoug's victory, after the closure of the Worldwound or after the Fall of House Thrune. Hell's Rebels also sound promising, but yeah, I'd be more excited about such an "What if"-AP.
Because if I have to write it myself, it won't be nearly as good as if written by the Paizo gang.
James Jacobs wrote:
If everything we published built on itself and added to the world's timeline,...
While I agree with this, this isn't exactly what I talked about. The first three APs have nothing to do with each other (apart from all three detailing a different part of Varisia. And they don't need to. But why should someone suddenly assume the contrary just because you would add dates to the APs (i.e. RotRL takes place in 4708, CotC in 4709 and SD in 4710? Even if you had added some nods to former APs in the later ones, it would be easy enough to just ignore them if you wanted to rearrange the APs and run them in a different order.
Also it wouldn't increase the (real or implied) buy-in. You'd still needn't to know about the Runelords, just to understand what happens in Korvosa and/or Riddleport.
What it would do for me though, is create the feeling that the world progresses in time and that my and my players actions have consequences in the world, while in a static world they haven't (because at the end, we'll just return in time and start somewhere else from anew). At the moment, it doesn't matter one bit if my group beat Karzoug or not, because the setting won't change a bit.
Now I can advance the timeline easily enough by myself, so I've no problem to accept if you don't want to. And if you reread my first post regarding this topic, I surely didn't insist on it. It's just that i firmly believe that cautiously advancing the timeline wouldn't hurt the product one bit and I don't see any evidence to assume otherwise.
But then I'm from Germany and the most successful Campaign Setting here has probably more Metaplot than all D&D Settings combined. :D
James Jacobs wrote:
Not advancing the timeline does NOT prevent us from doing this type of product. In fact, we DID just this, with Shattered Star, an AP that assumes Rise of the Runelords, Crimson Throne, and Second Darkness have all taken place. If we wanted to do a sequel to Wrath of the Righteous that explored the world after the closure of the Worldwound, we absolutely could do this without hard-coding a timeline advancement into every product.
To be honest, that's enough for me. Because that's what I call advancing the timeline already. More of that, please ^^
Though I don't quite get what's the big difference between assuming an outcome of WotR to advance the timeline and assuming the same outcome to create a sequel to WotR. I was told by Tangent101 that a lot of people would be upset in the first case. If this is true, they would also be upset by you publishing said sequel. If not more because in the first case, they would probably only have to ignore a sentence in a setting product, but in the second case, they would have to ignore a whole AP.
In the meantime, we've got a LOT of other stories we want to tell that don't require timeline advancement at all.
Oh, that I'm sure about. And as said before, the more stories you tell the more stuff I have to build my own continuity.
But I still don't buy the argument that it was the continuous advancement of the timeline which hurt other settings. That had much more to do with creating new versions of a given setting via stupid world-shaking events and thereby creating a rift between the fans of said setting. Greyhawk suffered as much from the Greyhawk Wars than the Realms suffered from the Spellplague combined with a one-hundred-year time leap. On the other hand, the 3e Realms is a perfect example, how you can advance the timeline without alienating the fans.
And as the "writers" for Golarion, that is their right to go that route.
I don't think that I denied them anything by just expressing my wishes. Neither did I insist on anything. I just expressed which kind of change in Paizo's setting policy would make their material much more valuable to me.
Because as it stands, I already peruse their adventures in other settings meaning that the setting material is not as interesting to me as it would be if I actually played in Golarion. Which already cost them part of my money-
However, ultimately does NOT advancing the timeline actually hurt the product?
Probably. You're right that there's still much to do and to explore. On the other hand, it will get harder and harder to start a new AP in Varisia. And how many Rebel APs can they start in Cheliax without eventually removing House Thrune and the devils from the political landscape?
Also, your Worldwound argument has another side: The Worldwound has probably been closed at the end of the WotR-AP by quite some adventure groups. What use would they have for any kind of new "Worldwound AP"?
So with not advancing the timeline they limit their possibilities with every new AP they crank out. May be a long time 'til this hurts the product (I certainly hope so), but eventually it will. Though I trust that Paizo will act accordingly should this time come.
I think that part of the problem (which could easily be omitted by Paizo) with the realms was that a lot of the advancing came via novels instead of actual rpg products. I also think that with things like the golarion wiki, that it would be much easier to keep up with the change than it was for the realms writers who had to spent a lot of time sifting through the various sources.
But I also can accept to be the One-Man-Minority regarding this topic. It's just that I fear that as with other settings, that Golarion will eventually start to feel a bit stale without some fresh air breathed into it. And I would hate Paizo trying to pull the same stunt the wizards did with the realms (or even worse, just republish the same stuff for a new edition).
James Jacobs wrote:
It's nightmare fuel to require each new freelancer to keep up with a constant flow of continuity that comes out at the pace we put it out...
I have to admit that I'm a strong proponent for an ongoing continuity in a campaign setting as it has been done with the Realms (before the 100-year-time-leap at least). Reason being that in my opinion,for a campaign world to feel dynamic, there has to be change in those regions not visited by the players as well. And as I have not the time to write it all by myself, i kinda depend on the designers to do it for me.
The pace you put material out obviously helps to alleviate the problem I have with the Paizo approach. I can't use all the material at the game table anyways so I have a lot of stuff to use for creating an ongoing continuity by myself.
Still I don't think that creating settings with an ongoing continuity is the same as bulding a "different, competing" setting which forces customers to chose between. I'd guess that at this time a newcomer would rather start with the Giantslayer AP, not with RotRL (or better, CotCT for which there's no Hardcover available), so it doesn't matter too much for him which outcome you define for those events in an updated Campaign Setting product. And (that goes for new and old players alike) if he wants to run older material he can easily decide if he wants to run the AP in the time for which it was written or if he wants to slightly change the setting canon to allow the events to run its course at the settings present.
I know that a lot of realms fans (myself included) consider the 4E version of the realms as a different setting compared to the pre-4E version. But that's because the one-hundred year time leap broke the continuity and forced the players to decide at which time they wanted to play (with the spellplague cataclysm adding to the contionuity breach).
But I don't think that the former realms approach (advancing the setting time for two years in around five years real time) was to hard to stomach for the realms fans and wouldn't be too hard to stomach for Golarion fans either. So I would at least suggest to think about advancing the continuity when you'll sometime decide to publish Pathfinder 2nd edition
James Jacobs wrote:
In fact... the interlinks in Hell's Rebels are some of the most complex I've yet attempted. The first four adventures in particular should weave together in a LOT more ways other than "Find a note at the end of Adventure 1, use that note to start Adventure 2."
Will this be kinda like between "Burnt Offerings" and "Skinsaw Murders"? I really liked how one could seemlessly move between those two adventures and still am a bit disappointed that this hasn't been repeated more often (though I guess it's really hard to do when different authors write the adventures).
Alex G St-Amand wrote:
I think I get where you come from. Every author has a certain style and certain preferences and develops certain patterns. So it's quite possible that a problem you have with a specific work can also arise in other works of the same author.
And it's certainly due to "Paizo" authors like James and Erik, Pett, Vaughn and Logue (to name but a few) which made me into a fan of all things Paizo and till today their name on a product's cover is enough to pique my interest.
So certainly this could go in the other direction as well. Luckily I don't think that I had this problem with any of the authors working for Paizo so far, but there are authors out there whose work I've got problems with.
havoc xiii wrote:
But they are Greyhawk in origin. And the promoted setting for organized play was Living Greyhawk. And while nearly every rule book contained greyhawk references, you wouldn't normally find any Realms references.
All the complaints that I hear about 3.5./PF were fixed to some degree or another in 4E. Yet the same people who complained about the problems in 3.5/PF then complained that they actually fixed the flaws of 3.5./PF.
Not quite true (apart from some people). Most people (like me) never complained about fixed flaws. We complained about those fixes we had never asked for because they solved problems we never had, never perceived as problems or even considered as assets instead.
Now one player's bug may be another player's feature. Solve both "problems" and chances are that you alienate both players.
And that's what happened. The designers changed so much that it was nearly inevitable that some of those changes would be disliked by any given player (who happened to like the older version). And even if you had no problems with the system at all, you probably disliked their handling of the settings (especially the new realms, but also the general setting publication policy), or their new licensing policy.
I admit that I never cared much for the 4e system. But what I cared for was the OGL and the pre-4e Forgotten Realms. And what made me eventually convert to Pathfinder was that I simply prefer paizo products over WOTC products.
Forever Slayer wrote:
Maybe, but at the moment I doubt it.
Main reason being that I try to get my kids into RPGs, and while Pathfinder has a German localization, I don't think that D&D Next will get one.
Apart from that: from the little I've seen so far, it feels like real D&D to me (contrary to the former edition which I had some problems with getting into), so it's definitely something I would play. If I would run it depends on what I find in the 3 Core Books, namely if it feels different enough from Pathfinder to be used as an alternative system.
Marc Radle wrote:
Soccer is slowly becoming a pretty big deal here! :)
I've actually wondered why this didn't happen a long time ago, especially since most immigrants to the U.S. came/come from countries where soccer is a pretty big deal.
Does anyone have an idea about this?
I can't get into soccer. I don't understand why people go nuts when people are able to kick something the size of a soccer ball into a huge 24 foot by 8 foot opening.
Because this sounds much easier than it is in reality (especially if there are any opponents on the field).
Personally I think it's because of its inherent randomness. David winning against Goliath seems like an impossibility in most other sports, but in soccer it happens all the time (Costa Rica being the most recent example).
I tend to compare it to roleplaying games. It's much more exciting if you can't be sure you'll be victorious and if character death is an actual possibility.
Doesn't naturally change the fact that Germany will win the Cup this time, though being one of the favourites from Day 1. :D
Well I still like the fiction (which is the only thing I actually have read in a lot of Pathfinder issues so far). It can and often does add a lot of atmosphere to an adventure locality,which is something the other parts of the AP often fail to convey due to space reasons. I had to skip the last AP and the fiction was what I missed most. So I guess it's safe to say that the APs would lose at least some of their value for me if they came without fiction.
Another thing to consider is, that it may be only a problem for those players who can afford to play through all those APs. At the moment, I'm "only" reading the APs because I don't have a group, but when I think of my old group we probably would have needed at least 2 years to go through a single AP so this theme wouldn't happen at the game table as often as it is in the books. So assuming that I didn't read the AP I don't run I probably wasn't even aware of this coincidence.
Apart from that, I think that Lord Snow is right on the money. Most players aren't used to "lose" anymore and tend to consider it as unfair if it happens. So it would be a real stunt to involve them in events they can't (or arent't supposed to) win for story reasons. On the other hand most AP adventures are all about stopping threats so to have one or two bad things happening in their absence serve to remind them that they simply can't be everywhere.
I understand the criticism, though. It can be hard when such a catastrophe is the reward for you following the plotline aka doing what you are supposed to do by the author. Especially if you don't even have a choice or possibilty to do something against it. Personally, what I would like to see is to have the PC make the choice between different threats. And while they stop one threat letting the other events run their course. I'm not sure though that this is doable within the frame of an AP-format adventure because you would have to use space to describe events the PCs eventually won't have a part in. And it could be equally depressive for the players to know beforehand that there will happen bad things they can't stop (If we stop the assassination attempt on the king, noone will be there to stop the orc invasion).
Also: Final Fantasy games, Marvel and DC comics, a whole host of rpgs (TORG, Rifts, Amazing Engine, Shadowrun
The thing is: I love all those things, but that doesn't mean that I have to mix them with my usual D&D (and as an Extension of it: Pathfinder) stuff, which, for me, is pure Fantasy without any sci-fi influences.
We'll see what it means for the Numeria-AP. I guess, in the end, that it will contain a lot of things for me to mine of, but I doubt that I ever will want to play it as it is; but then, if other players love this, then that's all the reason I need not to be too adverse to this idea.
Your preference is a low power game, which is fine, but it is not something that this game was created to have in mind.
I'm well aware of this and actually admitted that in my first post to which you answered: "You don't balance for suck". The Rest was me explaining why what you consider to suck I actually consider worth playing.
I guess I'm just a bit sad that I really would have liked to like Pathfinder (RPG) especially when D&D 4E already went in another direction.
But the bottom can never be "too good".
That's where I disagree, because it depends on which kind of fantasy you wanna play. And my problem with modern D&D/PF is that basically you already start out as hero at level 1 while in former editions you could start from zero (or at least it was easier to pretend so).
When the Pathinder thing started the advice on converting 3.5 adventures was to simply assume that PFRPG characters were a level higher than their PF counterparts. That was kind of the moment I became aware that in Pathfinder the bottom already is too good for my tastes.
This is true whether you call it explicit memory vs implicit memory, conscious vs subconscious, mind vs soul.
I'm no expert on this topic so please allow me a question: Do you think that Modify Memory only erases explicit memory and if so, why do you believe that? I took a look at the spell and it seems to say that it erases "ALL" memory which in my mind could easily include implicit memories as well.
As I've stated repeatedly in the TF2 Pyro forums, you don't balance for suck, you balance towards the middle.
I don't think the fighter sucks. He's fine as he is. It's just that I think that Ryan Dancey was right about his 4 quartiles of play within D&D:
Levels 1-5: Gritty fantasy
Problem being that I'm not interested the least in the last two quartiles (they are what suck as far as I am concerned), so I'd rather prefer them being thrown out of the game, instead of changing the fighter into something I'm not interested either.
What you propose was what WotC tried to do with 4E. From what I've heard and seen, they may have been successful to a degree, but that only resulted in me not wanting to play the game at all (because their level 1 characters were way to powerful for my tastes).
Why does the 16 year old, mostly uneducated rage machine, get more than the 18 year old, highly trained soldier?
Well I'm sure that when we kicked the Romans' asses 2000 years ago they asked themselves the same question ;)
The thing is that a fighter can be build as a highly trained soldier. But the fighter class can also be used to build an uneducated brawler from the street, an uncivilized barbarian or even a ranger (as a general concept). So to me, a fighter is just a template for "someone who fights".
Now I'm not arguing your specific points (in my mind, a fighter SHOULD HAVE Perception as a class skill and he surely should have more skill points than a barbarian).
But still you can do those multi-functional fighters and I don't care one bit if they are comparable to what you can do with other classes (especially as I think that most of the other classes are way too strong and should be nerfed heavily; but that's aside the point). And from a roleplaying perspective, it may make more sense to build a concept with the fighter than with say, a barbarian. Because historically speaking, not every barbarian in world history had the rage powers adscribed to the norse berserkers.
Yes, a Fighter can put points into Diplomacy. So can a Barbarian, or Bard. So that has nothing to do with being a Fighter, does it? A Commoner can put points into Diplomacy as well.
Well you could argue that the fighter, having much more feats than any other class, can use those feats to increase his Out-of-Combat abilities without sacrificing too much combat-wise. That's something other classes cannot and it's something which is class-inherent.
But the main point being made is that you can build such a fighter at all. So claims that the fighter is totally useless out of combat (a claim you didn't make in this threat but that can be seen all the time here or elsewhere) are simply wrong.
It's something, but you'd still need a very compelling reason to go with the fighter if you wanted UMD and diplomacy. I, for one, can't think of such a reason.
Well, in our games, I tend to be the one responsible for social skills simply because the other players don't care too much about it. And while I enjoy playing bards, it's still good to know that I can cover this area with other classes as well. Quite frankly, that reason's good enough for me.
Rules lawyers getting flack on an internet forum is a fairly interesting form of hypocrisy.
Well, in my eyes it's a natural reaction to some rule lawyers' arrogance to tell us that we're doing it wrong if we're not doing it according to the rules.
Though to be honest, I could live without both kind of arguments.
Well I really love the "Monster revisited" books. Great background for those critters and as they already existed in the game, they contain not much needing conversion (and probably will directly fit into your own game world.
Then the City books. You mentioned Magnimar, but the books for Korvosa Absalom and Kaer Maga also contain lots and lots of ideas to mine from.
Well, and if you already haven't a place for the Darkmoon Vale, you should really try to find it.
Its important to distinguish between special to the PCs and special to the players. Its very easy to make spell casters seem special to the characters. The DM just says "spell casters are rare in the world."
That's a good point, by the way. Magic doesn't necessarily needs to be rare to feel special. Even when running a game in the Forgotten Realms it's not as if there's an archmage or a mythal to find at every street corner. So for a lot of people, the party wizard may well be the first wizard they've ever seen in their whole life. It's their reactions what will make the wizard feel special not the behaviour of the other player characters.
Same goes for magic items. The +1 longsword you get after slaying the Dungeon's end boss may well feel special to you if it's the first or the only +1 longsword you encounter. It will feel a lot less special if every opponent you encounter seems to wear one.
See, in a setting like that the only class I would be able to will myself to play is a Wizard or MAYBE a Sorcerer if they didn't get screwed too much by 'not getting a proper education.'
You just have to be aware that the DSA wizard isn't nearly as powerful as his D&D equivalent. While there are no level limitations, the Manapool heavily restricts your ability to cast spells. The example wizard from the 4E PHB has 37 mana points. Each point of damage she causes with the Ignifaxius spell costs 1 mana point, so as a level 1 wizard, she probably can't cast this spell more than 4 or 5 times before she runs out of mana points.
That is if she successfully casts the spell. Because for each spell, she has to successfully pass a little skill challenge (basically she has to make three attribute checks in related attributes and may in sum not fail those checks for more than the number of talent points she has invested in the respective spell. And if she fails, she loses mana points as well), so the success isn't a given thing.
It's quite complicated (that's the reason I prefer D&D/PF over DSA though I really like the DSA setting), but it makes sure that the other classes have plenty of opportunities to shine even at high levels,while magic still has this little extra which makes it special enough to be attractive.
Real people don't do stuff on purpose to weaken themselves.
They don't do it on purpose. They do it all the time nonetheless (Cause nobody is perfect, right?). And even if told that they're making a mistake, they chose not to believe it (I guess all parents know what I'm talking about).
So roleplaying a real person means roleplaying a character who will sometimes make a non-optimal decision. That may even happen if the player behind the character knows that it is not an optimal decision.
I don't know if Power Gamers necessarily call this "a stupid idea" when confronted with this style of roleplaying. I know that jerks do.
Which, ironically, just means that the GM was obligated to hand out more magical treasure.
No he wasn't. In fact, the GM had much more control about how magical his world should be than he has nowadays. But then, the industry thought it would be a great idea to take this control out of the hands of the GM for pure economical reasons (if the players also can use the books, we'll sell more of them). I can't really blame them for wanting to sell their products but in my opinion that kind of thinking is responsible for much of the changes of the game which rub me the wrong way (Power creep being one of them).
To be honest, I don't buy your premise that magic in D&D never was special because of the existence of the M-U and the Cleric. Because then, you didn't need a high magic world to challenge the party, so the party's M-U could well be the exception than the rule (like Gandalf is part of a tiny group of wizards in LotR). Which also meant that the M-U didn't need to be able "to call fire and lightning down from the sky every gosh darn day" to feel special. And even if he eventually could, it could take years of gameplay to come so far (today, it takes mere months), so there was a long,long way to go.
The good thing being that the d20 system (which Pathfinder still is part of in all but name) is flexible enough to allow you the necessary modifications to play in low-magic worlds as well.
why was excalibur special? (aside from the sheath which is a completely different magic item discussion all together) it was just more powerful than other swords, it didnt light things on fire, it wasnt exceptionally powerful against one type of foe, it was just better than regular swords were and that made it special
I guess that's a great point, but it is also the reason some of us view +x weapons boring.
Magic items don't need to be exceptional to be special. Excalibur has a name and a legend attached to it and, as you put it, was just better than regular swords were. In other words, it was a unique weapon, even if, in game terms, it may not have been more than a masterwork weapon.
Now the +X weapon of today's D&D/PF is neither unique nor has it a legend or at least a name attached to it. In this respect, it doesn't really feel more special, than say, said masterwork weapon. I don't say that it is a fault per se, especially in a generic rule system where the designers cannot make any assumptions about your game world. But when I think back at the old Bazaar of the Bizarre entries (especially those written by Ed Grenwood) I don't remember the powers of the suggested items. What I do remember is their names and the stories delivered with them. And that's something I really miss in more modern products (including PF).
Which is why I try to add such stories to the items the PCs can find in a magic item shop even if it's just a lousy +1 dagger. Because even if there are a thousand daggers +1, there may only be one Chopper's Carving Knife.
Damon Griffin wrote:
Can you give me an example of how reading the fiction contributes to the DM's understanding of or preparation for the story the players will be playing out?
Tacticslion already made a most excellent post about it, so I'll just add another example. Between the events of Pathfinder #2 and 3, the party has quite a bit of travelling to make. I found the Pathfinder Journal in #2 invaluable in fleshing out the voyage (which was totally ignored in the adventure itself) between Magnimar and Turtleback Ferry.
I could probably cite other examples, where AP-fiction material directly found its way into my game; the truth, though, is, that I enjoy fiction mostly for it's own sake. And given that I'm one of those people who seldom get the opportunity to run or play in an adventure path, I mostly use the APs just for the enjoyment of reading. Which the fiction is a big part of.
Now it's true that in the meantime, there are other opportunities to get my reading fix. I obviously read the novels and the comics, but on the other hand, I've never come to read the Web Fiction nor the Pathfinder Chroniclers stuff. While I can't exactly say why that is, those outlets doesn't seem to be a good replacement for the AP fiction (which I read regularly), as far as I am concerned.
Meaning that I'd rather have the fiction stay where it is, especially as I'm not too exited about the idea of expanding the bestiary and other already existing AP features and adding new features (like the Set Pieces which I immensely liked) doesn't seem an option from what James said before.
Well, I'm not quite sure what to think about those changes. Apart from the adventure paths, I'd rather have short Dungeon Mag-Style adventures (the PFS scenarios kinda fill this niche, though I don't have much use for the Pathfinder Society Background). In this respect, the 32-page adventures already were too long for my taste so to explode the format to 64 pages probably is probably even more problematic when it comes to include it in my games.
On the other hand, the Red Hand of Doom - minicampaign was awesome and if the new format allows the authors to explore stories and plots too small for APs but to big for 32-pagers, this may get even better than what I get out of the APs.
Regarding point 2, I'm not sure if I would want to see too much additional material in the books. If it should shorten the adventure too much, then I'd probably not have any use for it anymore. Location backdrops in the vein of the AP #1's Sandpoint article would probably be fine, as would be other fluff. I could do without any additional crunch (if this is necessary for the adventure, it should be included there instead).
I'll surely give it a try though.
I think I'll bring up something I've pointed out before, but I think bears repeating. Volume 3 of the original D&D boxed set mentions Robots, Androids and Cyborgs as potential monsters. So, Sci-Fi elements have been in D&D since day one. So while anyone is perfectly justified in disliking Sci-Fi elements in D&D, as a matter of precedence such things are well established.
This is true, but on the other hand, not all of todays' players were there from the beginning. I started with AD&D 2nd (Realms mainly) and played nearly a decade long before becoming even aware of such influences in D&D. And even then, it wasn't in the form of any material I wanted to use but it was in form of references made by the Dragon/Dungeon staff.
And for people like me, the argument that it was there from the beginning doesn't necessarily hold much water. I have nothing but respect for the inventors of this great game, but reading through the old Dragon issues (and the old rulebooks as well) there are tons of thoughts (from Gary Gygax and other designers) I heavily disagree with. So I don't think that "it was there from the start" should be reason alone to let something stay as it was.
But then, that there are still many people enyoing this is a very good reason. Good enough for me, at least.
I guess I don't get why there seems to be some very vocal bias against it at all in any fantasy settings.
I guess that depends on which sources define the term "fantasy" for you. For me it was Michael Ende, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis (I'm talking Narnia, not Perelandra^^) and while I learned to know about Howards & co. soon thereafter, in my mind Science Fiction and Fantasy are two totally different things since then.
Now I don't mind a healthy dose of Science-Fiction options in fantasy RPGs for those who like it but generally I tend to avoid such materials. I won't go out of my way to remove it from material I use (I wouldn't rewrite "Children of the Void", for example) but on the other hand, in fantasy settings I tend to simply ignore those regions heavily influenced by science fiction (Numeria and such).
That doesn't mean that I wouldn't play Steampunk settings or something like Star Wars. It's just that if I'm playing fantasy I don't want to explore sci-fi-based stuff.
And I can easily imagine that it breaks the suspension of disbelief for other people so I guess that's where the bias stems from.
I'm talking about when a compromise can't be agreed upon or am I always supposed to agree on a compromise?
No you aren't. Not always. Probably not even in the specific scenario you presented in this thread.
I wonder, though, if compromise generally is part of your arsenal as a GM or if you think that the players are the only ones who should compromise at all?