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Zilvar2k11's page

280 posts. Alias of Christopher Fannin.


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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.


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. :)

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.

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) 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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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.

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?

alexd1976 wrote:

If everyone is treated like a sheet of paper with numbers on it, rather than as individual characters with personalities, something is lost.

Why must you continue to return to this tired fallacy? Nobody in this exchange is suggesting anything even remotely close to what you're describing. Pretty much the opposite, as far as I can see. A character is more than a collection of stats, and those stats are not the be-all and end-all of what defines a character. Why is it that you continue to throw this tired line out when I (and others) have repeatedly issued examples where we describe how a character's shortcomings can offer (in my opinion) greater RP value than those of perfection? I implore you, abandon this line of attack. It's not relevant, not correct, not supportable, and is entirely insulting.

alexd1976 wrote:

Would you rather have a barmaid come up to your character and proposition him with a line like "I see your codpiece is well-made, I finish at eight bells, what say you and I test the new mattress upstairs, bold adventurer?"


"The barmaid comes up to you and Diplomacy roll 18".

Why would she approach in the first place, from a rules perspective?

She wouldn't, from a rules perspective. That's not a rules situation. It's a story, a scene, and the decision of who to approach is one that should be made by the GM for reasons that make sense within the context of the story. Basing the decision on who to approach on skill or stat or Take 10 roll is just meaningless fluff and wouldn't happen at my table. :)

What would be more likely to happen at my table is a story hook. If a barmaid is to approach someone, it's going to be as a mark (she's a thief or a shill) or someone that she thinks she can sex-up (or get a discount from) and manipulate into helping with some problem or another. If I'm playing with a group for whom sex is a valid topic at the table, she might approach the guy with a reputation for being able to Perform exceptionally well. ;)

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alexd1976 wrote:

If a GM injects a little flavor into the game by having NPCs react to someones personality, personal magnetism or appearance, they are simply basing it off of a measurable, chosen stat...

This isn't a penalty.

It is if it's done at the expense of someone's character choices. If I spend those skill points to make my social skills good enough to overcome my bad social graces, hitting me up for some random, intangible stat check is a penalty.

alexd1976 wrote:

Diplomacy isn't used to make friends....

As I read it, diplomacy is the closest thing we have to a rule that discusses making friends with someone (short of Dominating them). You can influence someone's attitude for a short period of time (or longer at GM's discretion). 'Friendly' is even one of the attitudes. And GM's discretion allows for repeated uses to make the duration permanent if that's how you want toread it.

In the presence of an existing rule that covers the situation with a bare minimum of GM ass-pulling required, I'd like to posit that Diplomacy is/can/should be used to make friends.

Also, there's a key phrase in Diplomacy that sources the differences in our positions, in my opinion.

Diplomacy Blurb wrote:

You influence starting attitudes

The crowd that believes Charisma should be (more) meaningful seems to believe that starting attitudes are determined by a virtual Charisma check, where there is no DC and no roll required..just an intangible 'Jack's CHA is higher than Jake's so Jack gets all the attention and Jake gets thrown out of the club.'

The crowd that believes otherwise believes that starting attitudes are set by the GM based on conditions that are not related to player stats (player actions, world events, and the phase of the moon, maybe, but the fact you have an 18 Cha doesn't change the mood of the scene) and that those attitudes are affected as specified by the Diplomacy skill. If Hairy McSmellypants gets a higher roll than Mark SchlongisLong (and is successful), then Hairy manages to draw more attention in a positive way.

alexd1976 wrote:

I keep posting on here in the hopes of making people realize that choosing the lowest CHA score possible SHOULD result in ROLE-PLAYING penalties appropriate to your score. A CHA 20 human will likely get approached randomly/propositioned WAY more often than an average CHA 10-11 human... Conversely, a low CHA person would suffer social penalties appropriate to THEIR LOW SCORE, as is appropriate. Not mechanical penalties, role-playing penalties (or benefits, in the case of CHA 20).

And I keep asserting that's a fine house rule, except that by design, skill ranks outpace stat ranks in determining how good you are at doing things pretty quickly. By ignoring skill ranks and insisting that a raw stat check with no supportable framework to describe it is meaningful, you're strongly implying that you are ignoring design principles and player choices made during advancement, and I believe that creates an unfair playing field. Especially with social skills because it sounds like (ie, I infer) that you allow player agency to have a larger impact on the outcome of the roll than player decisions at creation/level up.

Finally, it strikes me as odd that your idea of good role playing seems to suggest that it's best to typecast people. An abrasive person who learns to deal with his issues (low Cha, increasing skills) sounds like it has a far more interesting character than someone who has it easy and just pumps the appropriate skills (high Cha, increasing skills).

alexd1976 wrote:

If my group decides to play our games in a fashion that involves treating low CHA characters as less charismatic than high CHA characters, that is our right.
It makes them SKILLED, it makes them good at performing certain tasks. They still have a natural inclination to be less likeable than others.

What does it mean that one person is less charismatic than another? Or less likable? It sounds like you'd still want to (further) penalize a character who tried to offset a poor charisma with skills and/or feats and/or magic because he's naturally 'less likable' (whatever that means...however you implement it).

If that's the case, why would he have any incentive to try to improve? Where's the incentive to take points in diplomacy so you learn to deal with people better if you know that you're never going to get a fair shake?

Mechanically, there's no difference between the Cha 18 guy rolling a 22 on a diplomacy check as a Cha 4 guy, assuming it's possible. Both parties have, through whatever means, achieved the same result and the same level of success. If that's the result of a Take 10 roll for both, then both are EQUALLY diplomatic, and should be EQUALLY capable of approaching a situation and using diplomacy to resolve it. C4 has, through whatever means, covered his bases and improved himself so that he can do this thing just as well as C18 (and possibly JUST this thing. C18 possibly still has an edge on lying and scaring folks, and probably resists charms a lot better).

If that's not the case, then I contend that the game being played isn't fair. Could still be fun, but that's a whole different basket.

alexd1976 wrote:

Zilvar2k11, rolling the dice for every single interaction is an option, but not an option everyone will take...

Of course not. :) That's what Take 10 is for.


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alexd1976 wrote:
If you want to roll dice to determine how much people like you, go ahead. That's a valid approach, but sometimes just actually acting out how your character IS can be more fun.

In the interest of fairness, you have to roll those dice. I've seen a lot of GM's who want to know how and what you're going to say to the (insert other party), and who will try to provide an adhoc bonus or penalty based on that. But there's good and bad to that. More potentially bad than good (from the standpoint of fairness).

Some players cannot respond quickly in that situation.

Some players are improvisational geniuses.

Some players are sleeping with the GM.

Some players brought the pizza.

Potentially none of them have the same Cha as the character. As a GM, you're potentially providing circumstantial bonuses because you really like that bacon wrapped, cheese-and-mushroom-stuffed hamburger that was made specially for you.

It can be good if the players are flagging keywords that you wanted them to catch, because it might show that they're engaged in the story and are following along and GET IT. It can be used to drop OOC clues and hints.

But you still have to roll the dice, regardless of whether you're a thespian genius with an inside line or can't talk without stuttering. Otherwise the game isn't fair.

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alexd1976 wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:
If you don't like people being mean to your CHA 7 murderhobo, then do something to raise your CHA. Shopkeepers charging more has a mechanical effect, and should not happen without cause...
Generally a very poor idea.

Please note that I didn't say they should be charged more.

I don't play with a group of murderhobo types... crappy CHA actually means something in a RP group... Not so much with the people using Pathfinder as just a combat simulator.

Why is it that arguments for and against low stats almost always go back to the Stormwind Fallacy?

How does attacking the other side of the discussion elevate your position?

How is this response reasonable?

How does it require less acumen to roleplay a character who is socially inept or unattractive or fundamentally aggressive (Cha penalties) than it is to play one with a likable, attractive, or magnetic personality (Cha bonuses)?

Aren't our FLAWS what define us (and the heroes that we strive to emulate in our games) just as important as the strengths?

Why is it that when players take the social caterpillar and apply character resources to overcome those penalties (Skill points, feats, stat boosts, etc), it isn't good enough?

Grouchy McDiplomapants will never be as good at talking down a majordomo as Flirty McHotPants, but everyone agrees with that. The core of this whole fight seems to be that some people believe that Grouchy shouldn't even get a fair chance to talk, despite having put his resources that way, because he decided to dump his social stat. The argument of the raw attribute check, or the 'hey, you've got a 7 Cha, nobody wants to pay attention to you because you're a putz', isn't grounded in rules (or, IMO, common sense).

Arrius wrote:

Does knowledge represent things you must have reasonably been exposed to, or is knowledge an abstract cloud of information one could draw upon?
The rules do not add a restrictive clause--so it's the option number 2. Adding one is GM fiat.

I answer 1, otherwise 'what did the BBEG write in his diary this morning' is a reasonable DC 30 check by your interpretation.

If you disagree with this, you'll have to expand on why because I am not seeing how it differs in any significant fashion from 'I know how mirrors work so I should be able to make an awesome laser'

Arrius wrote:
Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Second, it's all GM fiat. If it's GM fiat, it is (by definition) not covered (sufficiently, perhaps) in the rules, so anyone arguing for RAW is being possibly being dishonest (other possibilities exist, I suppose, but this is what I'm inferring).

How you understood that from my post is beyond me. If you want to say that there is no 'research DC', I'll argue that that might not even be how research works. Ask questions and pass the DC, and you know.

Shouldn't be beyond you, but I guess I failed to adequately explain. If the GM has to impose structure to the check ('no, you can't make a dc 30 check on knowing about lasers without having to made 859 other checks first'), then you agree that the rules are insufficient to cover the situation. I don't believe you can argue 'this is RAW' if you're saying 'your GM has to wing it' in the same post.

Arrius wrote:
"The check represents what you know," means nothing by itself until after the check is made. It is thus inherently useless for a position in this argument.

I don't think that's a supportable position. I might agree with you if the line had been written in past tense (the check represents what you knew). I believe it's not only a better plain-english parse to assume that the line is explanatory (knowledge skills represent what you know), but it is also more in line with common sense.

Even if you disagree with that, where is the provision in the knowledge skill for experimentation and discovery? Time required? Costs? Dangers? Failure by more than 5?

If it was an intended application of the skill, shouldn't that be at least touched on? The more questions I think of, the more I feel like this belongs in a well-written house rules document.

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Arrius wrote:
Zilvar wrote:
Is that in any way good for the game as a whole, or your specific game? To devolve every form of game interaction to nothing more than a skill check with no context and no interaction required?
Zilvar wrote:
I guess some people will try to argue that's already what the game does.

Indeed. It is already what the game does.

That's why we have GMs who ask us 'what did you tell the guard when you rolled the bluff check?'. The rules are there to guide the game--not play it for us. Is rolling checks blindly good game design? No--but the game assumes a GM who is fleshing out the encounters and mindless dice-rolling.
It's good for a GM to impose 'stages of learning' with Knowledge checks. One must know about electricity before they learn about conductivity. One must know about X to learn...

I'm inferring a couple of things from this comment which may or may not be your intent.

First, the rules are neutral (at best) on non-spell-research. You've attached it to Knowledge because you feel it's a best fit.

Second, it's all GM fiat. If it's GM fiat, it is (by definition) not covered (sufficiently, perhaps) in the rules, so anyone arguing for RAW is being possibly being dishonest (other possibilities exist, I suppose, but this is what I'm inferring).

Third, you admit that it's not good for the game to be able to make a knowledge check and make a discovery or just KNOW something that is undiscovered or obscure (only one person might know it). If, as you argue, it's good for a GM to impose stages of learning or rational things, then there is an implicit agreement with 'The check represents what you know.' and everything beyond that appears to just be an attempt to convince everyone that 'what you know' can be permissively extended to 'what I can convince the GM is a logical extension of what I know'.

If that's good for your table, go for it. I don't believe that it would be good for mine.

Arrius wrote:
burkoJames wrote:
How about this: can I roll knowledge (Machavelli) to learn the Big Bad's plan? All i need is a DC and the knowledge magically falls in my lap right?
Maybe. If Knowledge (Machavelli) was approved by your DM, and you had a [Anticipate Plans] DC. The game's core skill mechanic is centered around passing DCs.

Is that in any way good for the game as a whole, or your specific game? To devolve every form of game interaction to nothing more than a skill check with no context and no interaction required?

I guess some people will try to argue that's already what the game does. If that's what's good for your table, so be it.

Seems to me that this is actually a place where it would be more beneficial to write a new skill into your house rules and come up with a cool, gamey mechanic to do it, because 'DC 30? The Bard autosucceeds the knowledge check and tells me how to make a super laser and I carve a smiley face into the moon' sounds pretty lame.

Also, 'DC 30? Sure, I autosucceed. What did the bbeg have for breakfast the past 365 days and what did he write down in his diary?' isn't any better and is in the same type of crazy.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
So Jason definitely didn't make the decision flippantly; of all four classes, the monk took him the longest (he thought it would be the summoner) and went through the most iterations.

I would like to say Thank You to the team for putting in the effort to put out the product. I'll be looking for it next time I roll by my FGLS.

I would be curious to know if it would be possible to see a few of the playtested monk statblocks in order to get an idea of how the team envisioned different build and approaches.

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Tels wrote:
Superman vs Goku?

I'd have to agree that the DB matchup seemed flawed. Even if you try to be neutral (or generous) and assume that two characters with rapidly escalating Power of Plot Necessity have roughly equivalent physical power, all but the most die hard fans should be able to admit that Supes is a really pathetic fighter...he doesn't have to be good at it because so few opponents can actually take one of his punches in his own universe. The off viewed World of Cardboard video pretty much sums up big blue in a fight.

Fighters in the DB universe actually, you know, Fight. Against opponents that are equal matches until Power of Plot kicks in.

Avh wrote:

You're right.

Without healing, the outcome are either you're dead or you quit.

With healing, and being high level enough (for HP), the outcome become "you succeed, but you used X charges of your wand(s)"

Even with healing, at a 90% failure rate when 'fall only on a 1' is true, even with healing failure is -probably- the only option. Or you eschew the use of the climb skill altogether because it's terrifically unheroic to fail in the manner that the proposed change dictates.

Quintain wrote:

You assume that there is nothing to find while climbing said cliff. It's just an obstacle that exists between you and your BBEG.

As a BBEG, the perfect place to hide my mcguffin is in a small cave half way up a 300' cliff.

You guys would never find it...because it is "too tedious" to get to if you actually had to roll dice.

I don't expect your players would find it either, since none of them would survive the climb with your proposed change.

Go ahead and find your favorite dice roller and make the climb. I just tried it and failed 4 out of 4 attempts. Your proposed change doesn't add challenge. It just makes failure a virtual certainty.

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