We've used a whiteboard before. You just have to be cool with measuring/eyeballing movement distances, flanking positions, etc. a little bit. We usually fudge things a bit anyway in the direction of what would be more fun/dramatic so it worked fine for us.
We're using an adaptation of the Awesome Points in Old School Hack. Players or the GM can reward a player with one anytime that player does anything the giver deems "awesome". Each one allows a re-roll of any roll but you must take the new result (but you can keep re-rolling as long as you have APs to spend.)
Hmm, I'd make a great wizard, due to good INT/memory and loving books and learning. But I love to play clerics and in a weird new world it would be good to have a church at your back. Problem with going cleric is that I'm not really keen on the selection of deities in Golarion. My personality fits Iomedae, Sarenrae, or Pharasma depending on my mood and with the latter two I could do the Merciful Healer archetype. For race, it would be either aasimar or elf.
In my game Orak was tried and convicted for allowing criminal activities via his bathhouse and exiled from the Cauldron region. The bathhouse was confiscated by the city and later the party bought it. Then they found the decanter where Orak had hidden it just before being taken to jail. The party then hired some of the unemployed town guards who had lost their jobs because of the new half-orcs coming in.
So the bathhouse is turning into a profitable business, the area below it is cleaned out with new iron gates installed to control access from the outside tunnels, and they are heroes amongst the other unemployed guards. However, there's still the problem of the overflow water from the bathhouse going down to the lake--and one of the PCs is a cleric of Gozreh and thus not happy with the polluted lake situation at all.
I like designing characters and want to post up the results for everyone to use. But I'm not sure what levels are most in need. Do people need more 1st-2nd level starting characters for new games, or something higher level? There are so many ways to design a character (Pathfinder FTW!) that I'd at least like to be able to narrow down what levels are most useful for people.
Well, the reason I thought about using the paper clips specifically is that you can leave them stuck in place on the sheet from one session to another. Plus, I know that my gaming table is always super cluttered with stuff and so I'm really big on avoiding clutter. Or you could use the chips or coins at the table, since there could be a lot of losing/gaining of HP during a session, and then use the paper clips to record the remaining HP when going home at the end of the session. Kind of a quick idea on my part, could use some refining.
Well, first off see if you can get character sheets and quick reference sheets printed out on a braille printer for him. I think the printers themselves are expensive, but if he's blind there should be some way to hook up with a charity or other resource who can help print stuff for him. You may have to do up a simple text-only character sheet rather than a nice sheet with boxes, graphics, etc.
Tracking hit points lost etc. may take some improvising, like maybe paper clips on the edge of the sheet: big = 10 hp, small = 1 hp. As points are lost you move the clips from the "healthy" edge to another edge.
Dice are trickier but you could improvise with braille playing cards to randomize numbers (just take out the jack, queen, and king). Like for a d4 roll he just keeps drawing until he gets a number in the 1-4 range. There are some braille d6 out there as well which might be fun for him so he gets to have some actual dice of his own for the game--would make a nice birthday present.
For the playing "mat" you could try a braille chess board--and use the chess pieces as "figures". Or maybe you can find something at the hardware or craft store to lay flat which will make a grid you can feel; miniatures themselves should be easy to discriminate in a tactile way. Perhaps you can glue craft sticks down onto a board in a grid or something. But then you need something to indicate terrain. Again, the craft store should have bags of cheap stuff you can use for a tactile representation of stuff, like pom-poms for bushes and trees.
I found that since I was just taking the XP per encounter and dividing it by the number of PCs in the party, everyone was pretty much leveling at the same time anyway. Thus I might as well just keep track of the total myself and just tell everyone when the group levels. On the other hand, the players love getting their XP candy so going to a non-XP model might be disappointing for them.
An alternative would be the Awesome Point (AP) model used in Old School Hack (www.oldschoolhack.net), where the players award each other single APs (taken from a per session pool) for doing something fun/awesome/clever. The APs can be spent to add to rolls, etc. and when everyone has spent 12 APs then the entire group levels together.
Well, as someone who actually played the original edition of D&D I probably qualify as a seasoned veteran. First off, the older editions were not good games, the the earlier the edition the worse the rules. I ditched D&D after just a few sessions (back around 1978). Secondly, I'd say if you want old school feel, then grab one of the retro-clones already out there (mostly free) or buy AD&D itself (new or used). But my real advice is to avoid trying to reinvent the square wheel--play Pathfinder. The old school games sucked and we're in the 21st Century now. Chariots are quaint and old-timey, but you wouldn't want to rely on one to get around every day, especially if had square wheels.
I bought Cerulean Seas and was very impressed. A lot of games set in unusual environments don't work too well, but this was excellent. Recently I also got the Indigo Ice supplement. I'm not done reading that one, but so far it's great as well.
For crits I go old school in that a natural 20 is an automatic hit and a critical, and all crits are times 2. Then, I want a critical hit to do critical damage. Simply multiplying can result in very low damage: doubling a damage roll of 1 is a mere 2 points of damage. Instead I give a full regular damage result plus a regular roll on top of that. For instance if the normal damage would be a 1d8+2, critical damage would be 10 + (1d8+2), or 13-20 points of damage. That's serious critical damage for sure.
For me it's:
- Something culminating in a mega-dungeon run into the Gallowspire, my absolute favorite in Dungeons of Golarion.
- World Wound, possibly including some Darklands
On the question of how harsh it is to kill the Tower Girls if they're just petty thieves and minor troublemakers, in many ancient and medieval societies the legal penalty for thievery was death. So it would depend on how killing by the adventurers compared with their sentence if convicted in a local court. If the local court would impose a few dozen lashes, then killing is very harsh by local standards. If they would be hung anyway then not so much.
Well this is a very political post, what with "capitalism and Randian utopia". But anyway, as for Bachuan, it's clearly based on historical China (with bits of North Vietnam and North Korea mixed in). They've bundled Chairman Mao (peasant) together with Sun Yatsen (philosopher) to create peasant-philosopher Grandfather Pei, who also has a few of the attributes of Ho Chi Min and Kim Il Sung. Even the country's banner has a sun on it like the Republic of China's white sun on a blue background. Also following the historical Chinese theme, under the leadership of Grandfather Pei (Chairman Mao) the brutally oppressed peasants and workers overthrow the greedy and corrupt ruling class and all end up better off than before. Then, just as in communist China, religion is suppressed and some people sent to re-education camps ("Re-education Through Labor"!). Even the mention of the politically-scheming 6th wife Pei Yae Men is modeled on Chairman Mao's 4th wife, Jiang Qing, who tried to take over the government after Mao died. So, sadly, Bachuan is just another country in Golarion which is basically a rip-off of a historical country. Just like Galt is a direct rip-off of France during its revolutionary period.
Cleric is the core class which most interests me, but what puts me off is the miserable spell-slot system which D&D/Pathfinder is saddled with. Messing around with picking spells (even if you have a default list to run with) is what makes clerics, druids, and wizards suck to play. Also, a lot of people are still under the impression that clerics are just healbots. I got around spell-slot hell in my most recent game by switching over to an oracle. I may never go back to the cleric. I would love to see Paizo re-do all the non-spontaneous classes as spontaneous casting types. I think it would be viable and make playing them a lot more fun.
My favorite "other" rules, and ones which could use some game development love are Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM) and Albedo. The BESM play rules are very simple and easy, but other than that it's one of those point-buy "tool kit" games. I tried running a fantasy game with it but had to stop due to the need to design every single monster and magic item from scratch. Albedo is a very overlooked Sci-Fi game with good "hard science" types rules. However, it's optimized for just one setting--not surprising seeing that it's meant to model the comic book it's based on. I'd like to see a more setting-neutral version of the rules for it.
My first thought is that perhaps a newbie player's first campaign shouldn't be one described as "lethal". They are likely to die, and quickly, and the more they like their shiny new character the more bummed out they will be when the end comes. The high stats from a 30-point buy may thus provide almost a false sense of confidence. But obviously you're already in a game, so the point is moot.
That said, the build sounds pretty good, but for me the key thing is always the "cool factor" of the entire character package. If you're really into your character then you're more likely to be engaged during play. And with a newbie (particularly your fiancé) you want them to really get into the game. Another important thing is how that character fits into the overall party composition. If they end up stuck with a party role they don't like (tank, face, healer, skill monkey, etc.) then they may not enjoy playing.
Classes: fighters are boring; don't even know why bards are in the game; don't understand what rangers are (wierd cross-breed class); avoid wizards, clerics, and druids (because I hate the spell-slot system); never barbarians.
Weapons: I think polearms are cool, but awkward to carry and use in the game; same goes for most two-handed weapons.
For me there are two main reasons to go with Point-Buy:
- Nobody gets stuck with a set of crappy rolls
- Nobody has to put up with having that one useless character in the group who got stuck with a set of crappy rolls.
Besides which even with the 4d6-drop-lowest system you still get people placing the best rolls to min-max, picking a dump stat, etc. Random rolling is more fun and can provide a challenging character to play, but if I have a specific character in mind (and no, I'm not a min-maxer type) then point-buy lets me craft that character. As a DM I prefer to have all my players start with a level playing field, plus it keeps the PCs more on the same power level which makes it easier to build encounters.
Wow, lots of interesting responses. My two cents:
Dragonriders, or at least involving riding cool magical flying mounts. First the players have to earn their mounts and bond, then the main adventure begins. The players play their PC and get to play one of the *other* PC's mounts--that will produce lots of RP interaction.
Something set on one of the other worlds of Golarion's solar system. Preferably just on one planet so the AP gets to really explore the culture and conditions on that planet.
Fey themed anything.
I must say that I have always been very pleased and impressed with the way Paizo has taken care with the mix of it's iconics and other characters. I think that the focus in the past, D&D being a major offender, was on all the "heroes" being either white males (of whatever fantasy race) or a cheesecake-type female. Both types were meant to appeal to the (perhaps stereotypical) customer demographic, but had the side effect of generally alienating those not in that demographic.
What insult? As far as I know otaku = a fan of something. As in the Otakon convention held in Baltimore for fans of anime, manga, etc. I consider myself an otaku/fan of anime and manga.
I've been looking around more and more for interesting RPG related blogs to follow, particularly with an eye to finding ones related to Pathfinder, but finding almost nothing. The vast majority seem to fall into three main categories:
- Diehard D&D 4E fandom
So where are all the Pathfinder blogs? From what I've been reading Pathfinder is neck-and-neck with 4E (if not slightly in the lead) for sales. Logically, then, there should be roughly as many Pathfinder oriented blogs out there as 4E blogs. Granted the 4E community probably feels somewhat embattled, caught in a crossfire from the Pathfinder fans one the one side and the OSR otaku on the other. Thus they may feel more of a need to grab the 4E banner and wave it from the ramparts to keep up morale. And the OSR fanboys/fangirls are fired up by the thrill of particpating in a semi-undergound movement to overthrow the entrenched power that be. But I would expect that the huge wave of enthusiasm for Pathfinder would produce another set of blogsters eager to share their joys and ideas with the world. Granted, the message boards here at Paizo are a fantastic, but is there really nothing else out there--am I somehow totally missing something? I'd be grateful if anyone can put up a list of Pathfinder-oriented (or at least Pathfinder-heavy) blogs available?
The map art is excellent, and the overall location interesting. Personally, I don't care that this was made into three encounters rather than the one called for, but it really could have been just the last one in the basement. I agree with most of the judges' comments above, but overall, this is my favorite entry so far.
I love the whole idea of the Gloomspires--it's immediately the sort of place you want to go explore. There's an entire Campaign Setting book right there waiting to be written. The map is excellent: clear, well-annotated, and color-coded. Other than that it's a rather simple combat encounter.
Hmm, this scenario is an awful lot like the board game "Atlantis - Escape from the Sinking Island" or its earlier incarnation "Survive" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escape_from_Atlantis). That said, it is very refreshing to see an encounter that isn't just tactical map of a room with some monsters deployed in it. The map itself is very well done.
I then provide each player with several pages of maps and/or setting information tailored to their character's starting ranks in Knowledge skills. The more ranks in Knowledge skills your character possesses upon character creation, the more you get to know about the campaign setting at the start of the campaign.
I love the idea of tailoring the starting information packet to the background/skills of each player's character. I could see someone with no knowledge skills (because they're "useless") getting half a page of text and a simple "stick figure" type map of the world.
The way I homerule my crits is that you crit on a natural 20 (none of this "confirm" nonsense), then you get full damage plus a second damage roll. So critting with a longsword with +2 in damage bonuses, would get you 10 + 1d8+2 in damage on a crit. That guarantees properly serious damage on a crit with simple rules.
Hmm, well I do my criticals old school: a natural 20 is automatically a crit. (I think this whole "confirm" thing is just a way go gyp players out of crits). But then you do a full die of damage (plus any mods) and another regular damage roll on top of that. I redid the damage this way because rolling for damage could result in just rolling a 1, which wouldn't generate a very "critical" hit even if tripled. So with my damage system, with a longsword you crit on a natural 20, then do 8 + 1d8 damage (plus any bonuses being added to both "rolls").
It would be easy to make the roll be an exploding die. However I generally use the same rules for the bad guys as for the PCs, so this could be deadly. I rarely kill any PCs, but they usually have one to three down unconscious at the end of most combats. I would worry that I'd have more kills with an exploding dice mechanic. Still, it's an intriguing idea.
I've never liked the "Vancian" spell-slot system. It's the one thing that disappoints me about Pathfinder--although I realize it's there because Pathfinder is a much-upgraded version of 3E. I'd really prefer a system where all casters burn "mana points" to cast spells. I have been playing around with the Words of Power rules in Ultimate Magic, but is there a spell-point type system out there which I can simply swap into Pathfinder and go? I don't care if it's a commercial set or home-brew as long as it fits the bill.
Since the conversion math is very simple, they should simply have a game options setting where each player can decide which measurement system he/she wants the information to be in. The programming behind that would be very simple. With an options setting then all players are happy with their display: win-win.
For a good historical group of women fighters there are the "amazons" who were the 4,000-strong elite bodyguard of the king of Dahomey in the 1700s and 1800s. There's a great book I read on it called "Amazons of Black Sparta : The Women Warriors of Dahomey" by Stanley B. Alpern. In full scale battle they served as feared shock troops who often led the assault. By all accounts they were disciplined, courageous, and effective in battle.
For me, as a player it's just more work. In our current high-level (lvls 19-20) campaign, the GM pretty much forced a lot of us to have a cohort. For instance, my high-level cleric has a lower-level acolyte to "mentor" for the good of the church. However this means that our 7-player group has about 13 characters in it. Combat really drags with all the extra turns. Also it means that I have to pick spells for two characters rather than one, and with the crappy "Vancian" spell-slot system that's a lot of work which I really don't want to have to do.
Also it makes the party unwieldy. With a dozen people it's a small army. You can't stealth into anywhere. You can't slip into town unobtrusively. You need a big inn to house everyone for the night, etc.
I think the problem here is not with paladins being Lawful Good. The problem here is with GMs and players who are chaotics in real life and can't grasp the essence of being lawful. It just doesn't make sense to them and rubs them the wrong way at every turn. This is why they call it "Lawful Stupid". For instance, Montana says above: "I think that good should be more important than law". That's sounds like classic chaotic philosophy. A lot of the other comments above are in that vein. As a basically lawful-aligned person in real life I frequently say similar things about chaotic behaviors because they make little or no sense to me. This is why I have to work very hard when I play a chaotically-aligned PC. There's nothing inherently good or bad (or evil) about chaotic or lawful behavior, but it does frequently lead to this kind of social friction for obvious reasons.
I don't aim to kill any players, but rather aim for every combat encounter to be a close-run thing with plenty of tension. Most of the encounters I set up result in one or two players going into negatives with a lot of heavy wounds all around. So we've had only one absolutely final death in several years of play.
Hmm, that's interesting because in the 3.5 game I play in nobody's ever even asked about 3PP. Same for the Pathfinder game I run. Of course with Pathfinder I have the APG and the two Ultimate books for my players so there's already quite a lot of variety available. I'm really not sure why nobody asks to add anything 3PP because I know they buy some (I know I do). As a DM I'm open to using additional material. I think I'd only turn it down if it clashed with my campaign world in a major way or if it seemed noticeably overpowered/unbalanced. Otherwise, sure, why not?