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Zilvar2k11's page

293 posts. Alias of Christopher Fannin.


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Reverse wrote:


Aid another checks - everybody rolls Stealth to support the main Rogue. Those who succeed add nothing to the check, but gain the ability to use one main Stealth roll instead of their own Stealth. Those who fail actively hamper the Rogue, providing a -2 for each failed Aid.

I was thinking something similar, but wanted to reduce rolling overall. I figured to take the worst penalty and apply it, then add +2 for everyone else who was trained in stealth. Simple and hopefully quick.

Then I got to looking at the survival skill and though, oh, yeah...assess a penalty of -1 for each additional person because it makes sense.

It wouldn't, necessarily, be easy for a stealth focused character to get a bunch of people past a guard station (like you've probably seen in any number of action and fantasy movies/books), but it would be doable unlike now.


Devilkiller wrote:
In my opinion Stealth Synergy isn't very good. You're probably better off with Skill Focus (Stealth) in most cases, and expecting everybody to make a feat commitment to Stealth when the problem is that they won't even invest skill ranks in it seems like an odd assumption.

How many skill points do you expect a level 3 armored cleric to be able to devote to stealth? Or fighter? Or any other low skill class for whom stealth isn't a class skill?

I agree with you. Asking players to take a mediocre (IMO) feat at the levels when they're grabbing the 'essential' and 'easily reached' feats for whatever build or vision they hope to play is a hard sell.

Devilkiller wrote:
Anyhow, while helping your friends move more quietly sounds nice it could be tough to explain how you made the guy in full plate or the woolly mammoth really sneaky. There's also a bit of "something for nothing" which some DMs might not appreciate (players either if stealthy bad guys start sneaking Fire Giants into your camp)

Sooo...because skills are mundane, they shouldn't be allowed to do cool things? Nobody bats an eyelash at a group of ogre magi ambushing a sleeping party, but the sneaky guide showing his (less skillful) group the hidden path around the sentries so they can launch a surprise attack just really isn't doable without, apparently, quite a bit of investment all around.

Devilkiller wrote:
A mundane option which often gets overlooked is simply having the noisy folks follow the stealthy ones from a good distance back.

Typically only works outside or in wide open areas. Effective, until you flub the stealth roll and are dead before the party gets to respond, because splitting the party sucks. :) (Seriously, you've never had this happen? Some variation of it happens Every Single Time to groups I'm in.)


Jack of Dust wrote:
Stealth synergy is actually pretty good all things considering. In a four person party where everyone has stealth synergy you're essentially getting to roll your stealth four times and take the highest result. That's quite powerful for a feat. You might be falling into the unfortunately common misconception that teamwork feats are not worth bothering with just because they are teamwork feats. There are actually quite a few gems there if you take a good look.

From the first post, having 4 people roll and take the highest result is one of the things I'd actually like to avoid.

I'd also scoff at your notion of 'quite powerful', but that would be the power gamer in me holding it up against feats that are actually consistent game changers (some metamagic, power attack, etc). Extremely situational feats are always going to weigh poorly against that.

Jack of Dust wrote:
If in the unlikely scenario that absolutely no one can afford to spare one feat, have someone in the party with the Tactician ability take it and grant it to their allies.

How many classes grant that ability at a level that's low enough for skills to be an important focus of the game (given your point below)?

Jack of Dust wrote:
As for the other skills, climb, acrobatics and swim are incredibly easy to bypass with magic while survival usually only requires one person to have. Tracking and food providing (assuming you even have to keep track of food) can often be taken care of with just one person. Use Aid Another if you have to, you don't even need to be trained so you might as well.

With the general disdain expressed for skills on these boards, I do admit to being a little bit dismayed at how quickly a harebrained proposal to extend the useful timeline and application of skills (and limit me-too-metagaming) is dismissed as useless-because-of-magic.

As for survival, my experience has been that through level 3 or so, a single person with survival is insufficient to provide for the party plus mounts + companions. Also, survival is already written to support or encourage group-focused usage, with set DC's and effects that expand based on how much you exceed the DC by. In that sense, it's already an excellent prototype for the sort of game mechanic I proposed.


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I just looked up Stealth Synergy. Honestly, I'm dumbfounded. Your answer to 'groups avoid tropes because the skill system doesn't encourage avenues of play that are..less direct.' is a lame teamwork feat?

I'm sorry, but in my experience teamwork feats are a waste of ink. They've never seen the light of play because the cost doesn't justify the benefits.

Has your experience been sufficiently different that you could imagine players abandoning personal advancement feats so that they could pick up Stealth Synergy and any other hypothetical similar feats for other skills that could benefit (climb, acrobatics, survival, swim come to mind).


Stompy Rex wrote:


Some ideas:

You may could do something with Aid Another. Possibly, assume within a certain radius that AA is automatic because your group is assumed to cooperate. Clumping risks traps, etc. so they'll want to spread out some--but it definitely helps encourage working together and may prevent the "everyone pounce" metagame. If they pounce, the AA goes away and they're suddenly making their own rolls.

The "automatic AA" could help your less skilled PCs as well--a +4 is a nice bonus to any roll.

Another could be "the expert lead." Have an "expert" in an area grant less skillful PCs a...

Depending on the target numbers and situations, everyone making separate rolls is better for the metagame, especially with a commonly trained skill like perception (2 rolls with similar modifiers have twice the chance of reaching the target, for example) I think that would just change the metagame, and I'm thinking that assuming AA within a set radius is similar to the group roll idea I was suggesting, except that it requires people roll (or be good enough to make the 10 target). I was trying to streamline a little bit.

Dunno what Stealth Synergy is. That's not ringing a bell.

I think this is close to the expert leads idea, but just consolidates down to the expert rolls instead.

Part of the thought process is to increase options by allowing a single, skilled, roll to stand for the party, but also to reduce metagame thinking by forcing a single, skilled, roll to stand for the party in the cases where that would be appropriate.

I do think that my simple version is probably too simple, but I was more interested in conveying the idea for input without proposing a lot of excessive calculation to bog the idea down. :)


I had a thought today while deliriously bicycling in the heat. There are a number of times when, in my experience, groups avoid tropes because the skill system doesn't encourage avenues of play that are..less direct.

Concrete example, a party with a fighter or cleric or other armored character will often (IME) avoid stealth-based resolutions to problems because there's realistically no chance that all of the characters can pull it off and common logic is that splitting a 4-man party is tantamount to suicide.

But what if your skilled character could make a single check for the entire group? What would be the ramifications in play of something like (and this is probably the simplest workable version) a rogue making a stealth check at -2 for each additional untrained person and letting that count as the group's roll?

That's basically what happens now when the bard steps up and charms the pants off the princess, or the wizard teleports the party across the world. Heck, it's basically what happens when the rogue climbs a wall and drops a knotted rope down so that Anemic Wizard can climb or be pulled up safely.

You could do the same thing for perception rolls too, to cut down on the 'Jack, roll perception'...and then having every pounce over to where Jack was standing so they get a chance to roll too. One check for the group. Less metagaming maybe :)

Does it sound workable?


Ashiel wrote:
Aratrok wrote:
The current plan is that the standard recovery method for any "daily" resources is that a character can recover any of those resources they haven't used in the last 8 hours by resting/studying/meditating/practicing/whatevering for an hour.

Yeah, this is actually one of my favorite things because we're standardizing the way classes with daily resources recover them.

Some classes may have other resources though. One thing I'm looking into developing at the behest of my brother is a class that revs up with combat, similar to warriors from WoW. As in the class begins at 0 and each action generates more whupass power to be expended for liberal smackdowns and/or heroic action.

I look forward to working on it. :)

That could be difficult to balance. If you base the gain of whoopass on time spent in combat, you end up with insufficient WA points in short or less important fights (which there are typically more of). If you base it on damage taken, you end up with someone who rides the line of 'kill me so I can kill you better' and 'I'm dead/I'm a healing sponge'. If you base it on damage done, you encourage one-dimensional character advancement.

I wonder...maybe something like a swift-action ability that gives a whoopass point and increases the WA counter so that the next use gives an additional point (up to a cap of, oh, 1/4 level). Activation of most skills is a single point, but can scale up in effectiveness with more points spent.


Jiggy wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
No, instantly fatal to that PC. "Fatal" is just a description of whether or not the damage killed the creature, because that's what "fatal" means. An attack that deals 20 damage might be fatal to one character but not another, all while being an identical amount of damage.

It seems to me that you're changing your story now. You started with ' the two injuries are equal by definition', and now you're saying they aren't.

Please explain you position more fully, because I feel like you're conflating the concepts 'injury' and 'damage amount' in a confusing fashion, or I have -completely- missed the point.

I included a bit of additional description later in the same post; does that help? If not, let me know.

Not really.

The primary problem I have proposed is unanswered. From 14 damage onward, using your interpretation, any described injury MUST be one that can instantly kill a 1st level PC. No bleedout. No lingering death. DEAD-in-one-hit-do-not-pass-Go-D.E.A.D. . Because that is, as far as I can determine, the minimum amount of damage that is required to reduce a heroic PC from full hit points to dead in a single strike. Whatever that 14hp injury is, as you've said, is the same (or equivalent, I suppose) for every person, because you have stated that the injuries are equal by definition.

That sounds like nonsense to me, and that's why I'm asking for a more complete explanation.


Jiggy wrote:
No, instantly fatal to that PC. "Fatal" is just a description of whether or not the damage killed the creature, because that's what "fatal" means. An attack that deals 20 damage might be fatal to one character but not another, all while being an identical amount of damage.

It seems to me that you're changing your story now. You started with ' the two injuries are equal by definition', and now you're saying they aren't.

Please explain you position more fully, because I feel like you're conflating the concepts 'injury' and 'damage amount' in a confusing fashion, or I have -completely- missed the point.


alexd1976 wrote:
Any conversation about what hitpoints are and how damage is represented (when described other than as '5 points') is of great interest to me.

I remember thinking, when looking over the rules in the pathfinder player's handbook, that the rules for hit points had been shortchanged a bit in the interest of making things either different enough from 3.5 to not get into trouble, or generic enough that people could do whatever they wanted to with them.

Thusly, I defer to the 3.5 (3.0? don't remember which book) commentary which essentially described hit points in one or two paragraphs. It said that hit points were a measure of physical toughness, luck, divine grace, and all of the other things that keep you alive. It also went on to describe the proportional damage explanation that I mentioned a few posts ago. I don't have the exact line handy, but I vaguely recall that it described a fighter and wizard at two different levels (1st and 10th?) as being equally hurt after losing different amounts of hit points. I don't think that the world proportional is ever used, but the intent seemed clear enough to me.

We also know, because corner cases are still valid, that every single hit point is, at least in part, representative of real damage, because a character with 1, 10, or 10000000000000 of them is forced to make a saving throw every time they get bit by something that does 1 point of damage + save vs poison.


Aaron Whitley wrote:
kyrt-ryder wrote:

Yeah, that is an odd bit.

In my own houserules I've tweaked the cure line into being a single Cure spell with limitations on how many 'hit dice' it can heal relative to the spell level it is cast from, and different classes heal different amounts.

It works in my houserules because I've destroyed the purpose of multiclassing and therefore felt no shame in banning it. A character chooses to either be a Hero [warrior/assassin style archetype] a Dabbler [Bard/Inquisitor/Alchemist style archetype] or a Mage [Wizard/Cleric style archetype] and everybody gets enough feats and flexible character options to pursue any theme they could want that their Archetype can support.

Yeah, that was the direction I was heading in as well except I realized I didn't want to rewrite a whole bunch of the system and just went with the number rolled representing the number of days of natural healing you receive.

That feels like a huge buff to the spells. Why not just have 'cure light' be a day of natural healing and scale up from there?


Jiggy wrote:

We're not "assuming" anything; rather, the two injuries are equal by definition. A greater or lesser amount of injury is represented by a higher or lower damage value. Five points of damage is the same as five points of damage because that's what "the same" means.

.....

Why not? It sounds like your issue is not with the actual HP and damage rules Pathfinder uses, but rather with the "injury based on percentage of HP remaining" houserule that you forced upon yourself. You've decided that every character has exactly 100 points of actual health/injury, and you're...

The idea that damage has a static value or representation is pretty thinly supported by any form of rules. For that to work, any damage value of..what, 14 or more (8 CON, d6 hd, level 1) has to automatically describe a wound that is instantly fatal. Not potentially fatal. Not 'might die in a few seconds to bleed out', but instantly fatal to any PC. And now you've got to make up stories about how your uber hero shrugged off having a sword stuck through his heart or had his head removed, because that's what the same means, isn't it?

I don't think that the game works in the fashion in which you are describing, but Pathfinder itself is pretty vague on the subject, isn't it?

The proportional damage model is lifted pretty much straight out of the 3.0 (3.5?) players handbook which included a paragraph describing how a wizard who had lost half his hit points was about as hurt as a fighter who had lost half of his. 'Damage', for 3.x-based games, has pretty much always been defined as proportional to
the overall health of the target.


Zardnaar wrote:
1. Disparity of 6 points between a good and bad save.

Unessential to the enjoyment of pathfinder or any similar game.

Zardnaar wrote:
2. Sacking spell DCs with the level of the spell and then adding the spellcaster modifier to the DC (when you require XYZ amount of ability score to cast the spell in the 1st place).

Meh. Take it or leave it. Tying the power of a spell to the power of the caster is essential for the trope, but tying it into the primary casting stat (the one that determines if you can cast, and the one that determines how often you can cast) overloads a single stat.

Zardnaar wrote:
3. Being able to easily buy magical items.

Essential for the game as it is designed, but so far removed from any fantasy trope that isn't directly related to 3.x as to be laughable.

Fantasy heroes don't adventure for the money to buy Excaliber. They find Excaliber. Money is just a way to keep score. The reliance on custom purchased or designed magic items and the (oft-perceived) requirement to spend all of your money on upgrades actively pushes the average player away from common fantasy story tropes of growing into power, taking on students, becoming NAMES and LEGENDS outside of the question of 'What Did I Kill Today?' Someone's going to argue that it's the GM's job to write those stories, and maybe it is for a lot of people, but I want a game where my players are encouraged to exercise the narrative and change the world in meaningful ways.

Zardnaar wrote:
4. Wands of Cure Ligth Wounds and similar wands existing enabling very cheap healing.

Don't like it as wands, but I want cheap, out-of-combat healing to be available. I don't want to be the guy that has to play a healing battery (even though the discussions I've been having with my current GM about whether my Soulthief Vitalist is evil for draining hit points from enemies the sap adept rogue has knocked unconscious and healing his party with that energy have been amusing).

Zardnaar wrote:
5. Multiple attacks decreasing in accuracy eg. +16/+11/+6/+1

Meh. Multiple attacks are so attractive from a player's perspective that people jump through amazing hoops to find ways to throw buckets of dice and scream 'Yeah Baby!'. I am not a huge fan. I want to roll a few meaningful dice and streamline fights.

Zardnaar wrote:
6. The natural spell feat existing.

Honestly don't even understand why you included this. I don't think anything else you listed was purely class specific. You must have had some bad experiences with druids, and that's a shame.

Zardnaar wrote:
7. Disparity of +/- 6 skill points between the classes eg 2 for fighters, 8 for rogues.

Not a fan. I wasn't really a fan of 4E's skills either, but I liked that every character could be expected to be at least minimally awesome in every skill (obviously, in practice, that didn't work. But I don't like players to feel useless at a table)

Zardnaar wrote:
8. Auto scaling buff spells you can stack together eg divine power, divine favor, righteous might etc.

More things should be scalable. Too many things stack.

Zardnaar wrote:
9. Feats existing full stop. Would you play a 3.x/d20 game with no feats?

No I wouldn't. But I'm not a fan of a lot of the low-hanging fruit.

Zardnaar wrote:
10. Ability scores scaling up as you level and uncapped limits on ability scores.

Ability scores scaling is a plus if they're going to exist. I like several of the systems that have been posted on these forums to remove enhancement bonus items and bake those bonuses in.

In the end, I think your list of things you consider sacred cows is a bit strange.

I start asking the questions with:
1) 3-18 stats. Why? All that matters is the plus. -5 to +5 to start with.
2) Vancian casting. Magic based off a power-point system is inherently more balanced (no auto scaling of spells), and provides a lot of room for the classes themselves to have interesting abilities that don't come from the spells (reference, for example, the aforementioned soulthief vitalist).
3) Classes. I like them. I want to keep them. It's still a sacred cow whose existence can be examined. At this point, there are So Many classes available and multiclassing is So Easy that we're 2/3 of the way to a point based system anyway.

There might be others, but I've been distracted by life and my thoughts are utterly and completely scattered. :)


There's a lot of interesting ideas being tossed around in here. Some of them I can get behind, and some I might state as differently.

1) I agree that spells need to be toned back. In practice they're not all that limited a resource unless you're in a surprise encounter marathon. The design decisions to make individual spells be weighed heavily based on the expected number of encounters and number of uses per day seems to yield questionable results in practice.

2) Not a fan of stat scaling and the hunt for static bonuses. Scale back all of the maths such that it is never assumed that you will need bonuses of +X to +Y in order to succeed or be meaningful. The end result appears to yield situations where what you roll is largely meaningless. If rolling is part of the fun (and I think it is) then the effects of rolling should matter.

3) More meaningful feats. +1 and +2 feats to a specialized activity, feat taxes, and other such things are not as FUN as feats that alter or grant new abilities (such as metamagic feats).

4) Currently the system rewards specialization by requiring (sometimes extensive) investment in feats, spells, class abilities, stats, and/or magic items in order to be able to perform a given task reliably. If a person feels like there is a good chance that they will waste their turn because they're trying to do something Cool or Flashy, they probably won't.

5) I'd like to see the Cure line of spells changed to actually reflect the severity of the wound healed. Cure Light Wounds heads 1d8+X. Even at minimum, it can bring an average commoner from 0 to 2 hit points. Half his hit points isn't a light wound. CLW might barely touch the hit point total of a high level barbarian. Again, not a light wound. I realize this is a nomenclature thing, but the Cure line of spells is one of only two places in the rules that really screw with hit points as a coherent cinematic system.

6) Environmental hazard damage is stat damage (not falling though, because heroes standing up from long falls is cinematic).


Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Azure Bonds...

My introduction to FR. Drizzt came second. Aahh... I miss that book. Unfortunately when my old man moved out, he took Azure Bonds with him.

Still think Alias is one hot red head.

My teenage me responds, 'Alias...hubbahubba...' :)


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Tels wrote:
My initial exposure to the Forgotten Realms was via Neverwinter Nights. I spent 2 months staying with my best friend over the summer and I got to play his Neverwrinter game and I had a blast. Then, I went home and later that year, I found a book in my collection that mentioned Menzoberanzzen and Drow and I thought, "This is totally stealing from Neverwrinter Nights!"

That's funny. At least you got a good introduction to the world with NWN. My first experience with FR was Darkwalker on Moonshae, and I was pretty convinced after reading that that the Forgotten Realms was going to be another Ravenloft grimdark POS setting. :)

It wasn't until Azure Bonds (and the gold box D&D games) that I changed my mind, but that book still colors my perceptions of the world.


pH unbalanced wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

Although, I have a new question that involves this FAQ and requiring a running start.

Imagine two 10ft pits, with a 10ft space of flat ground between them.

You get your running start and clear the first pit.

Do you have enough space to get a running start to clear the second pit?

Yes, I believe you do.

By all rights you should. I'll maintain a grid-based movement scheme because it's natural for me and descriptively works.

OOOOOOOOOPPOOPP

Open and Pit

As I described before, after having my faculties rebooted by a boot to the head moment, movement is spent on entering a square. If you start on the left and get your 10' running start, jump the first pit, your first move into the open blocks in between is 5' of normal movement. Another 5' is spent moving into the second square (and now you've satisfied the requirement), and you jump again to cross the obstacle.

Makes sense to me at least.


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Manwolf wrote:
Can I try a third camp of explanation? Totally abstract, just looking at the movement.

aahh I failed my will save!

You know, I was pretty solidly with Nefreet until you posited this explanation, and it reminded me that we 'pay' for each square of movement when we enter that square, not when we leave it. We pay with whatever currency the square requires.

In your example, you pay 5' of movement to enter the clear squares. You pay to enter the pit with a DC ## acrobatics check (and 5' of movement each) and move through both squares, then you pay 5' of movement to move into the clear space at the end of the pit.

With that thought process in mind, I am now convinced that the ## above should be 10.


Foghammer wrote:

There are a few considerations here, the primary concern being that unless metal in your setting is a heavily-regulated commodity with a strict government, metal will be very plentiful.

Another consideration is whether allomancy is very prevalent. If it is, then your answer to the previous question should be influenced by this. The more prevalent allomancy is, the more work will be done to keep metal supply regulated.

I had another one but I forgot.

As for implementation, I would make an Allomancy (steel) skill for "pushing," Allomancy (iron) for "pulling," and so on... This can allow for a range of target DCs for slow burning or "flaring." Any DCs I would provide would be arbitrary, but if you want to use skills as a stand in, I would recommend working them out for how you want them used. (Obviously, easier DCs will make for more frequent usage.)

Using metals as what will basically amount to spell components, refilling them on a regular basis might be a solution? This really depends on the setting.

Hope that my thinking was of some use to you! Good luck and happy gaming!

At the moment, I'm just considering iron and steel for a sort of iconic 'bad guy' thing and thinking about using telekinesis as an at-will, or nearly at-will (maybe a specific power point reserve that could be recharged 'easily') power, along with blindsight.

I hadn't wanted to consider it as a general purpose thing, because then it would be worth it to consider a different ruleset. More a one-off for a very memorable encounter.


ryric wrote:
Fair enough, I can see how what I wrote can be interpreted that way. Let me rephrase: "I'm not going to give you actual + bonus magic items, instead you'll get innate bonuses that duplicate those items in every way just to make the math work." I'd still rather fix the math. Otherwise you're still "getting" those "boring" items, you've just reflavored it, with the slight power-up that the items can't be taken away...

OK. Fair enough. It isn't a powerup if you use my idea (since you still need a magic weapon).

Now, so we're talking about fixing the math...what's the effective difference between having a +25 (including a +5 sword, or +5 enhancement bonus from other sources) vs a 50 AC, or having a +20 vs an AC 45.

Since fixing the math requires a lot more work, I'll tend to stick with easy solutions that yield the same results. But I'm lazy like that.


wraithstrike wrote:
The idea is for the "Plus-One-More-Than-Before! Bane Spleensmasher" to never exist. Otherwise it defeats the point of the original one, and it being unique.

Well, of course. That's why I said it can be done in the current rules, just poorly very poorly. A player will eventually find a weapon that's plus-one-better-than-before until they reach the enhancement cap.

Making magical a generic thing that provides a scaling bonus is one way to work around that. Then the Brutal Spleensmasher can have a little bit of a unique writeup and history and maybe does more than just rerollings 1's and 2's.


kyrt-ryder wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
What's wrong with 'You find a magical Brutal Spleensmasher', and because it's magical you automatically get +bab/4 to hit and damage, and hey, Brutal does YYY.
Nothing exactly, but I'd much rather you automatically get +BAB/4 to hit and damage with anything/everything you wield [right down to your forehead if you attack with it], and finding the magical Brutal Spleensmasher means you can use it to do Brutal Spleensmashing with whatever special effects that is.

That's a viable alternative, and usually thrown out as the first attempt at a solution. I was specifically addressing my idea toward ryric's desire for 'magic' to also mean 'more accurate/hits harder'.

If I wanted both things, where magical meant more, and fighters were just that awesome, I'd just extend weapon training to all weapons, so your average fighter gets to double dip.


ryric wrote:
I guess I'm not a fan of "I'm not going to give you actual magic items, instead you'll get innate bonuses that duplicate those items in every way just to make the math work." I'd rather fix the math.

Isn't that sort of a strawman? Skimming through this thread, I'm seeing 'I want magic items to be meaningful' and 'I like christmas trees' on either side of the aisle, and nowhere do I see 'I'm not going to give you actual magic items..'.

What I am seeing is a lot of commentary that magic items should be something unique or special or awesome and not Just Another Plus 1. That's a lot of things, but it's not special, and it's not awesome and it doesn't do much for your character's personal narrative when he feels like he's gotta give up SpleenSmasher The Magnificent in order to make room in his WBL to collect the orc chieftan's rather bland and unnamed plus-one-higher-generic-magical-spleensmasher.

What's wrong with 'You find a magical Brutal Spleensmasher', and because it's magical you automatically get +bab/4 to hit and damage, and hey, Brutal does YYY.

Or 'You find The Spleeninator, long lost spleensmasher of the Hill Dworks of OverThereThataway', and it is (insert game terms here).

Sure, you CAN do that today, but 3 rooms later when the miniboss drops a Plus-One-More-Than-Before! Bane Spleensmasher, you're just going to throw away that other one because this one is just much better. If it was just a choice between 'Bane' or 'Flaming' or 'Holy' or whatever, the decision becomes a little more organic and, maybe, meaningful.


Some good thoughts there, though I think that the number of charges might be on the low side (for example, a mistborn couldn't even hold a standard mix without being superhuman). It also doesn't account for some abilities having an apparently different use cost, such as a Lurcher burning iron at a low rate to see sources of iron in the area.

Using your ideas, you'd want the person to use a feat in order to use things like the reflexive dodging we see Coinpushes and Lurchers do on a regular basis?


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Ashiel wrote:
Now you've got me curious. :P

It's a trap! :)


Yes, Mistborn. I knew about the mistborn rpg, but was hoping someone had done some conversion work. I'd rather not have to learn a new system to just to play with pieces of that world, if you know what I mean.


I have never grown out of my childlike desire to be able to do all of the things that my favorite fictional characters can do. Fortunately for me, I get the privilege of GM'ing for a group of fantastic players on occasion :)

In that vein, I'm contemplating pieces and parts of a new campaign run and I have been considering throwing someone with Coinshot-like powers into the mix throughout the game, using at will telekinesis as the basis for the power and granting use of TK during immediate actions in order to mimic how I envision the power.

Has anyone else experimented with something like this? I'd rather not reinvent the wheel if someone has had good (or bad) luck with it.


Evil Overlord: But of course I will agree to setting up a wonderfully accessible inva...TRADE ROUTE between our great cities!

(insert long time period of trade/spying)
(insert tailored assassination/invasion group for circle defenses)

Evil Overlord: (to new city) But of course I will agree to setting up a wonderfully accessible inva...TRADE ROUTE between our great cities!

I dunno. Seems like a TERRIBLE idea. At least you have a chance to see ships coming in before they get there and kill all of the royal family or drop a Locate City bomb on the capital (wait..does that work anymore?) :)


ryric wrote:
Well, the stated in-game assumptions of 1e were a bit different than things stand now. There is a place in the DMG where a 6th level character is referred to as "unimaginably high level." At that scale of play, having class abilities be gated behind supremacy contests doesn't affect worldbuilding much at all - who cares if the top 10 monks in the world have to duke it out to see who's best to unlock their full potential when the vast, vast majority never get that high. It's easy to have a hermit master up on the mountain when being a "Master" required only level 6 or 7 and the contests didn't begin until 8.

Yeah, I agree that the stated assumptions didn't work out all that much in actual play, in my experience at least. Not when a single bought adventure could carry you halfway to unimaginably high power, and the many of the others would carry you halfway to OMGGodhood (the entire Giants run). Imagine having to tell Lloth to hold on a year or so while you plane shifted back home to train. :)

Quote:
Going back to ability scores - yes in 1e you needed 15s or 16s to get bonuses. I think the intention really was to use a meat-grinder approach to sort yourself into good stats - make a character, it dies, make another, it dies, oh hey this one lived!. Just read the examples of play from back then - like half the party dies in two encounters.

I just want to say 'ick'. :) (also, yes, quite probably true, and why not skip the agonizing death part and make survivable characters from the get-go?)


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Morzadian wrote:
Joe Hex wrote:

It's been a very long time, and I was pretty young, but from what I remember from 2nd, was that Charisma was basically a throwaway stat, as far as class features and prerequisites went.

I remember when 3rd came out, and the Sorcerer was introduced, thinking they finally made charisma important for a class.

I think the randomness was the interesting part of early versions of D&D. If you were lucky enough to roll a Str 18/00 you loved that character (because he was so rare).

Rare enough that nobody would believe it happened without cheating :)

RandomJunk: 3d6 ⇒ (1, 5, 3) = 93d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 3) = 83d6 ⇒ (6, 3, 2) = 113d6 ⇒ (3, 3, 5) = 113d6 ⇒ (4, 2, 3) = 93d6 ⇒ (1, 5, 3) = 9

(edit: holy carp those rolls sucked)

As I write this I have no idea what those dice rolls will be, but knowing my luck, the only thing I'll qualify for is a clumsy human thief or anemic fighter :) I'm not the one that finds that sort of randomness appealing.

Quote:
Going slightly off-topic I do miss the 'trial by combat' parts of the Druid and Monk class.

Interesting, because I see these as very similar in intent as the house rules people have proposed/implied about using raw Charisma comparisons to determine starting attitudes of random NPCs. It strikes me as an attempt to force mechanics to enforce flavor to the world.

What's stopping you from dropping monk schools into your game and requiring in-world monks to show up for a big tournament every year on an island, and the winners get to be the Grandmaster of Flowers? Heck, maybe you swipe a page from pop culture and make the whole thing a secret story to save the world...the winner has to fight a demon's champion in order to prevent all out war. :)

Thing is, it's story or fluff or something like that. Locking class progression to it eliminates avenues of play. If you have to have monk schools and grand masters and fight them to progress, then you can't have the self-taught hermit on a hill, or the wandering grand master school-destroyer, or whatever. When mechanics enforce storyline, all you do is limit player options.

I just don't see that as a grand idea.


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My current favorite game system (Edge of the Empire, FFG) has a built in mechanic where someone can talk/rant/demoralize one or more targets out of a fight. I think this is awesome. :)


Jacob Saltband wrote:

Ok you win!

New always means better.

Sorry being an ass again.

Nah, no apology necessary here, I think.

I think that there are a lot of layers to the question of the importance of high-stats in 1ed vs 3.x.

For example, if you played the game as the rules are laid out in 1st, you roll stats, choose race, and then pick class from whatever you have available. I seem to recall trying that once or twice and being left with thief or fighter or something similar.

That's not how a teenager wants to play the game :) At least, I didn't. I wanted to start with my class. I wanted to be a ranger or a paladin or a monk. Those were cool and iconic and trusting my fate to the whim of 3 (or 4 if you used Method V) little dice that hated me was not going to work out well.

nope. :)

Especially when you really needed that 16, like Ashiel said, for any bonuses to really start rolling in. My memory of 1st edition character creation is that it was an exercise in finding ways to creatively cheat so that I could have a character that wasn't gimped. Because the other side of the stat roller coaster involved penalties that started much closer to the statistical average (7's seem to be common to start seeing -'s on the stat tables) than the numerical bonuses do. Heck, a thief with average stats suffered penalties to his rolls that didn't go away until you hit a stat of 13.

It should come as no surprise that my faded and jaded memories of 1st edition leave me with the impression of a game where early stat generation would make or break a character before the first monster was seen.

:)


Jacob Saltband wrote:
Interesting opinion...did you play any pre-3.x editions?

I did, but it has been ages since I've looked at or owned the books. I remembered that the stat-to-spell-level-available limit existed and believed it to be similar in design to the current.

A quick google search reveals that I was wrong on the stats required, but there were plenty of other reasons to want that casting stat higher. I do concede that I'd misremembered the requirements pretty strongly.

(late edit) Assuming 3d6 stats (fairly stupid assumption in my experience, even in old d&d days), it's still far more likely that a wizard will be stat limited out of his highest level spells without getting stat boosting tomes or decks of many things or rings of wishes or luck blades. It's not as bad as I'd remembered, but it's still bad enough that I have little doubt that many players did everything in their power to make sure they had what they needed.

So, yeah. I believe that high stats were more necessary in 1st and 2nd edition than in 3.x era games, but were harder to legitimately achieve.


Ashiel wrote:

Gygax opens Gatekeeper and sets all stats to 25.

"They must never know..."

To be fair, high stats were far more of a necessity in 1st and 2nd edition. There were far too many gates that didn't open for characters unless your stats were high.

With very little short of a probably-perverted Wish giving you stat boosts, NOT having a 16+ in a primary stat was a bit of a downer. For a caster it could be even worse with the stat->spell level restrictions.

3.x devalued stats pretty heavily in comparison. I think that's a pretty good thing.


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Ashiel wrote:
Morzadian wrote:
Mordenkainen is like a demi god with Str 10, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 18, Wis 15 Char 18. That's a 67 point buy!

Even crazier when you consider the stat generation method at the time was 3d6 in order, which means that that the chance his total of equaling 95 (which they do) is only 0.00008277933065%. The odds are actually significantly worse when you consider that to achieve those near-perfect scores for his class, each of them has to be rolled in order or you have to start over (because you didn't pick where your stats went).

This leads me to conclude that Mordenkainen and his creator are cheating bastards. :P

lol. GM PC of the highest order :)


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Jacob Saltband wrote:
What I should have said was that characters with these drawbacks would never be as good as someone with no noticeable drawback

This much is self-evidently true and supported by the mechanics. All else being equal, a higher stat will provide additional bonuses that a lower stat will not (or cannot, feat prerequisites) get.

Jacob Saltband wrote:
and though would mostly likely not progress further since no one would higher them over someone obviously better.

This part, however, is not supported by rules, mechanics, any sort of logic or sense I can think of, and throws characters into typecast roles that limit roleplay and narrative opportunities.

Do you feel that is good for the game?

Jacob Saltband wrote:
See I believe that the game should have some grounding in reality.

I'll spare you a million lols. I'd probably get banned.

Spells, monsters, and fantasy races aside, with skills alone it is possible to:

Confidently walk up a >45 degree angle wet board in an earthquake (DC 27, somewhere around 8th level for a rogue I think depend on stat boosters or buffs).
Run a full speed across a rope over a chasm (DC 25, about the same level)
Convince an average commoner gnome that you (male human) are his wife. (Disguise, DC 24 effectively)
Perform your music so well that you gain the attention of a jealous demon (DC 30, over time, 10th level maybe?)
Reliably turn a hostile commoner into a very helpful person in a minute just by talking with them. (dc 25 diplomacy)...it was ALWAYS just a misunderstanding.
Hear someone walking 50' away behind a 1' thick wall (dc 25).
If they're just on the other side of the wall, you could hear a whispered conversation.

This is summer-action-movie levels of awesome. And I think most of it is available by level 8 with some level of investment. Reality can take a back seat, man. This isn't Kansas anymore.

Jacob Saltband wrote:

Its my impression from post I've read in the past, on this thread a others, that some people like a feel good super special snowflack game.

At least again this is the impression I get.

And this...exactly what do you hope to accomplish by actively trying to be offensive?


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thejeff wrote:
I think the larger question is whether some stats have any effect at all outside of the skill bonuses (or spells or other specific effects). Ability checks are a common thing in some editions. Do the existing skills cover all uses? Or are there gaps where the raw stat matters?

Not in an ideal game. In an ideal game, the GM and the players are working together to weave the narrative, and part of that [is/can/should/might] be working with the players to use or allow use of skills in a way that fits that story but might not be strictly within the limits of what's written. If that is true then a player never necessarily need to be forced to revert to a raw skill unless that's what they want to happen.

(that isn't Pathfinder, RAW, of course, but there's nothing stopping it from being that game)

Jacob Saltband wrote:

I dont care how much passion you have for your art, if you're a spastic clutz with no manual dexterity you will never be very good with any instruments or at dance.

Also without a good strength and dexterity you'll never be very good at crafting armor and weapons. A 3 dex, 3 str person with a couple ranks craft armor would suck at it.
At least is my opinion.

I apologize if this question comes across as hostile, but I can't think of a better way to word it.

Why? By what logically constructed train of thought does the range of (normal) human ability (-2 to +5) overwhelm the bonuses available to skills (a default +4 at level 1 just from a single skill point to a trained class skill). That level of training rivals all but the most specialized specimens of humanity. Two levels of experience in any class and the stat bonus cannot ever again catch up if you don't want it to.

There's no narrative, no story, no logical construct that allows me to follow that thought process. It makes absolutely no sense to me.


RDM42 wrote:

.. Only in the specific areas those skills cover ...

Alternatively, in the broad areas those skills cover. There appears to be a tremendous amount of table variance in how much people want skills to be meaningful.


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RDM42 wrote:
It's just examples, but it's both acknowledging the deficient stat and allowing a competent participant in the particular arena. Meanwhile you seem to have somewhat of a problem with situations coming up tat highlight a character's deficiencies. It's done for strength dex and con through saves and other such I see no reason that the mental stats should be immune from being tested.

Considering the side I'm arguing I suppose that's a fair assumption to make, but I don't recall posting or suggesting character traits associated with one stat or another in this thread.

What I've attempted to do is point out that there's zero rules or common sense grounding for a GM imposing additional raw stat checks on any player for a low (mental) stat. The penalties associated with those stats are well-grounded in and already have consequences if you're using the rules.

Tanking Charisma already has an effect (being unable to, without additional effort, make requests of (buy from) an indifferent, strong-willed shopkeep for example). Tanking Int has effects. Tanking Wisdom has effects.

Some of those effects can be mitigated through skills, and that seems to offend the holy handgrenades right out of some people. Frankly, I don't get that, AT ALL. We have a forum that insists that skills are useless past a certain level in one thread, and refuses to accept (what appears to me to be) proper use of them in another. Plus, it just sounds unfair and seems to encourage strong typecasting of character types (which could lead to minmax play) to house rule in some additional, unfounded penalties because you think stat dumping is a terrible thing.

(edit) fixed unfriendly. meant indifferent.


RDM42 wrote:

A person of average intelligence who is a little more rounded is a perfectly acceptable interpretation of a fourteen intelligence so why would I have a problem with that'? "Acknowledging the stat in some way" - a person of average intelligence raised by a scholar or librarian who picked up a much broader range of knowledge than the average person and learned how to learn because of that association" would be perfectly acceptable. Just like for an eight or so a normal intelligence person with a specific learning disability would be acceptable the other way.

Incidentally, over all I would call the equivalent of real world intelligence to be a gestalt of wisdom and intelligence and the real world social skill to be a gestalt of charisma and wisdom. A high wisdom low charisma person would have some trouble...

Was the list intended to be exclusive? You used a very definitive verbiage in the post (namely, 'is'). Are you suggesting that you know the One True Path to understanding widely disparate mental characteristics?


thejeff wrote:
Because you did exactly the same for me. Snipping down to one sentence and replying to that out of context of what I'd said. I attempted to follow the original argument I was making.

Is that what it was? I snipped 2 lines of a post and totally didn't get that from the original post. If that was offensive, sorry. (There was also not a question to ignore, so I really don't see how I did exactly the same thing.)

thejeff wrote:
Yes. Skills matter. Arguably more than stats. What I'm countering is that stats don't matter at all - except in how they influence skills.

Except...that's not true? I'd say it's far more true with Charisma than I'd like to be true, and since that's been the focus of this bruhahah, I'll give it to you. But it's pretty demonstrably untrue of ANY of the physical stats, and I'd have to argue that Wis and Int at least have solid mechanical benefit/penalties outside of non-casters.

How do you think it would affect common stat spreads if Will saves were linked to Charisma instead of Wisdom?


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thejeff wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
It's just the skills.

What's wrong with the skills getting a bigger shake than the stats? I don't understand the POINT of insisting otherwise.

When you look to perform any given task that you're trained in, odds are really high that the SKILL portion of that math is a lot more significant than the STAT portion. Why is this a problem?

And yet it's still pretty easy to distinguish between someone who's smart, but not informed on a topic, and someone who's dumb but still knows something about it.

The idea that in the PF world "Stupid" doesn't really exist, it drops straight to animal from your basic normal guy, just doesn't make sense to me.

OK. So this conversation has wandered a lot.

You pretty much ignored the question I asked by responding to a point I didn't make. That's basically par for this course, but it's worth pointing out.

Now, with that out of the way, I suppose I'll go ahead and respond to the point you are on about. Ashiel is on file in multiple threads as having said that stats are not a straitjacket to roleplay. Not every Int (single-digit-number) is equal to every other Int (single-digit-number), and do not necessarily fall prey to the same considerations.

Within the bounds of the rules, Int (whatever) is defined with certain abilities, and as long as you can tell a believable story and remain within the limits of the stat, you're playing it right. Bonus points if you can convince the rest of your friends that you're doing it right too.

For some reason, that's being viewed as being unable or unwilling to role play. I can't quite figure out why.


thejeff wrote:
It's just the skills.

What's wrong with the skills getting a bigger shake than the stats? I don't understand the POINT of insisting otherwise.

When you look to perform any given task that you're trained in, odds are really high that the SKILL portion of that math is a lot more significant than the STAT portion. Why is this a problem?


thejeff wrote:

You also apparently can't tell unless he's actually making skill rolls. After all it's a mental stat and you can't tell unless it's actively being used to make rolls. (or Take 10s.)

Even then it's only the skills. If he's got a Know(Local) of 10 and an Int of 3, there's no way to tell he's dumb as long as you're on his topic.

In a Turing Test situation, that might be true. But those are fairly narrow simulation parameters.


thejeff wrote:

Think of it more this way: Same barmaid. Same interest in potential encounter with exotic wealthy stranger. 4 PCs walk in. All apparently exotic, wealthy and strange. Before they make any attempt to seduce her, how do you determine which of them she'll consider approaching? (Assume for the moment we leave meta-reasons out)

Is it based on which has the highest Diplomacy? Even though they haven't used it yet.
That's a place a lot of people consider using bare Charisma.

Multiple answers to the question :)

The most likely PC is the one that will raise the most laughs at the table if the scene doesn't matter.

If the scene matters, then it matters for a reason. That reason should dictate which PC is approached (I believe I described my thoughts on this in a previous post).


thejeff wrote:

"Doesn't require" diplomacy is true. Sort of. It might if the seller is hostile (or unfriendly?).

But any interaction with anyone makes some kind of impression on them. Which, I guess, is Diplomacy, even if you're not specifically using it? Or even talking?

Well, yes, but I did touch on that in the third paragraph. Technically, buying a drink from someone could be classified as a simple request from an indifferent audience. The base DC is 15+Mod, -5 for being a simple request. A GM might apply a circumstance bonus to the DC depending on circumstances, but for an average bartender, the DC to order something is 10. Since the average result of an average joe Taking 10 is 10, that works. Joe Blow can get a drink pretty much whenever he plops down his coins.

The process works, the game is internally consistent.

An orc bartender with a chip on his shoulder might start off with an unfriendly attitude toward elves, so Leg'o'lad can't get his attention in order to buy a drink, no matter how hard he tries. If he spends a bit of time talking HairyNavel up, he might manage to make a decent impression and get HairyNavel up to indifferent. Now he can buy a beer.

The process works, the story makes sense, the game is internally consistent.

In effect, any interaction with another person is a use of a social skill. Since nobody wants to roll that many dice, knowing what your take 10 result is seems kinda like a darn good idea, and it makes sense that a person (character/player) would have a good idea about how the world reacts to them on average (because, you know, we do).


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alexd1976 wrote:
More internally consistent than what? Do you force people to roll Diplomacy to order drinks?

Utilizing the diplomacy skill to mechanically describe the situation you presented (sharing drinks at a bar, casual conversation) is more internally consistent within the rules than trying to create an unwritten raw stat check and fill in the blanks required.

Once again, no rolling required. This is what Take 10 exists for. It's the average interaction between parties. At any given time, a player and GM can know, without any doubt, question, or -pulling, how likable they are. The GM can know, without any doubt, question, or -pulling, how to frame responses to a given character in a general situation because that's what the rules are for.

Buying a drink, btw, doesn't require diplomacy unless you're trying to do something out of the ordinary (get a discount, engage a hostile audience...something of that sort). Buying a drink is just a transaction, you put down your 8cp and get watery beer (or whatever). Rather an odd question on your part, since buying a drink wasn't the topic of conversation.

alexd1976 wrote:
Are you trying to convince me that you can gauge someones level of proficiency in a skill, but not determine the underlying natural talent (stat) associated with it?

Honestly? I'm trying to convince you that raw Charisma checks (ie, determining if someone is more worth talking to based on a raw charisma score) is badwrongfun without actually coming out and saying it. It's got no logical grounding in the rules. It's got no rules support. It actively ignores the existence and use of at least 1 skill. And if someone has invested character resources in that skill in order to make up for a lower charisma, it's extremely unfair and encourages typecast characters and min-max play. I don't see a single thing in a (+) column here.


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alexd1976 wrote:

A brief conversation with someone might reveal that they are educated, and employed in a certain field, but their level of proficiency would remain a mystery... however, during the course of that conversation, you might form an opinion of them as a person...

How easy was it to learn about their skills? Did they engage you and employ active listening? Did they make you want to talk to them more or did you want to end the conversation?

You weren't trying to get anything out of them, just making small talk. You weren't being hustled by them, they weren't trying to change your opinion of them, you were just sharing a drink at the bar with a stranger, a friendly stranger.

Turns out he had a high Charisma. Also, he makes boats. Maybe he's good at it.

It's more internally consistent to believe that he took 10 on his diplomacy check (that is, used his learned skills in dealing with people), with a circumstantial bonus of -2 to the DC because you were drinking, and influenced your attitude from indifferent to friendly. In a couple of hours, you won't care anymore, but next time you talk to him you'll remember he seemed like a friendly guy. :) No raw stat checks required. No dice rolling required. And internally consistent rules dialogue that exists within the framed story and doesn't require anything out of the ordinary and even makes sense within the bounds of our reality.


alexd1976 wrote:
zilvar2k11 wrote:
That pattern follows with every skill in the game. Why is it that OBVIOUS differences in character skills are more easily ignored than those in character stats?

Because I can look at a man and see if he is strong or weak, but I will never know how good he is at juggling without him showing me.

Not really, though. Or at least, not necessarily depending on your game world. This is too table-specific to be definitive.

Do short term buffs change your appearance?
Do buff items change your appearance?
Where does the cutoff lie? Is a 16 obviously strong? Is a 14? both are above average.

How do Con and Str and Dex interact to determine outward appearance, and even failing that, the point about Charisma being STRONGLY related to physical appearance has been pointed out as faulty so many times as to be laughable (Night Hag anyone? Racial preferences? Is a handsome orc attractive to a prissy elf? It's a -factor-, but it simply cannot be a strong one in a game or world that is internally consistent.)

I believe that your position creates more problems than it solves. :) I also believe that (for physical skills) there are obvious cues to watchers to indicate exceptional proficiency. Haven't you ever watched someone who practices Martial Arts, or dancing, or football, or gymnastics, just walk around? They all move differently, and distinct, and stand out.

At least, that's how I see it.


alexd1976 wrote:

Zilvar, you are seeing a conflict where there is none. You attack the wind, you have no opponent.

I agree with you.

Very well. If you could just answer the question I posed I think we might be able to do the impossible, and actually reach a congenial and fruitful conclusion to an internet message thread.

alexd1976 wrote:
Zilvar2k11, at no point have I disagreed with you.However, blindly ignoring differences (OBVIOUS differences) in characters stats takes something away from the enjoyment of the game.
zilvar2k11 wrote:

Why? At level 1, a character with Diplomacy as a class skill gets +4 to any roll to influence someone's opinion. (hey! A shoutout to the thread title!) Unless you've maximized your starting stats, that is probably as high or higher than you're going to get from your charisma. In non-game terms, your innate (stat) ability to interact with people and make them treat you like a better person is overwhelmed by the effort you've learned to put into it and the techniques you've learned and honed (skill).

That's level 1, out of the gate with a single skill point. If you're not a caster aiming to blow DC's into the skies or jonesing for more bonus spells, what you learned is much more important than who you are.

And the disparity just grows.

That pattern follows with every skill in the game. Why is it that OBVIOUS differences in character skills are more easily ignored than those in character stats?

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