Last I checked, the only thing to get someone through a weekend full of work is a handle of rum. Admittedly, the law is designed to be worked while drunk, while publishing doesn't do so well. You'll do fine, don't worry. Good luck all!
So, once the PCs get to Irrisen, they have to make saves against the cold every ten minutes, yes? And they travel for more than a day. So that's at least 144 fort saves, less 60 for about 10 hours in camp. How is it possible to survive that without endure elements or cold resistance? You're almost guaranteed to roll a few 1s, even if you have a good fort save and cold-weather gear. Plus, the DC goes up for every previous save. So, long story short, how does this not just kill everyone except the Boreal Sorcerer in one day?
So, this order has been lost in the UPS/USPS somewhere. The customer service people over at the UPS told me to talk to you guys about it. They said you could file a claim on the lost package.
So I suppose the real question is where do we go from here? I'm the rare internet user who hasn't had stuff lost in the mail, so I'm not sure what the next step is.
James Jacobs wrote:
I note that very few of Erik's most interested nations have a lot of support outside of the campaign setting. Is this because he spends more time doing the kind of logistic work that being the Publisher requires, and can't spend as much time on the campaign setting end? Makes me a little sad, because some of those countries (I'm looking at you, Nex and Geb) really intrigue me, and I haven't seen a whole lot about them in the last five years.
You can always go with the old way of doing things: They just don't have the resources to handle the problem. Given the magnitude of the vamps hanging about in Caliphas a 12th level cleric and a 6th level inquisitor won't exactly be enough to handle the threat. Chances are they've sent agents to investigate and harry the vamps before, but I imagine the casualties were pretty hefty.
So now, the remaining priests concentrate on their more mundane duties, and try to avoid poking the hornets nest. Getting everyone killed doesn't exactly help the faithful into the Lady's grace after all. They may push and prod the nobility for more resources, but in such a political city that would be completely futile. In the meantime they can work on keeping ghouls out of the cemeteries, and trying to break the back of any more overt undead threat to the city.
Regarding the murders, chances are that the church is embarrassed. Previously they could claim ignorance of the true extent of the vampires working in the city. Now it looks far more widespread, and people will be asking questions of the church. Of course, nothing stops them from implying that they are actually behind the "murders." Of course, such a red herring has a chance to derail the investigation into the real issues. It might also anger the vamps if they think that the church is telling the truth (in whispers, to confidants).
Deidre Tiriel wrote:
I think I handwaved it. But the details are a little lost, it's been like a year since we played.
This dude also went above and beyond for my Kingmaker campaign. Fully textured hexes of the whole first map, into which we could stick little flags for control. Thing of beauty. I've seen pretty cool player handouts before, but Varthanna takes the cake.
Holy crap Windspirit, this is fantastic. I've just been winging it as dramatic tension needs. Wet and soggy in Ravengro, first snow as they approach Schloss Caromarc, heavy snow in the Shudderwood, and mud and damp in the Furrows. But this, this is amazing.
You mentioned over in the "A possible change" thread that the magazine business is heavily affected by organized crime and corruption. This immediately provoked a mental image of the Yakuza and Russian Mob beginning a gang war over the distribution rights to Newsweek. In short, I have no idea what direct effect the mob has in the magazine trade.
Could you elaborate further on crime's role in the magazine business? Assuming it doesn't put you at risk of sleeping with the fishes of course.
One of my PCs had the same issue. I had his superiors summon a Salikotal (from PF26) to ambush him on the way to the Shloss. They didn't directly witness, but after the fight he came around a bend in the trail and found them. Good enough.
Note that I chose the Salikotal over the same CR (and much cooler) Levaloch from Book of the Damned 1, mostly because the party will already have to fight a bunch of constructs, and Carrion Crown is a little light on the rouge/stealth monsters.
I would just like to second (or third, or whatever) the responses which suggest stretching out an adventuring day. I've found that my PCs respond fairly poorly to equally buffed baddies, which tends to create an arms race that always ends in a TPK, because with enough buffs, eventually somebody rolls a 1 and the house of cards falls down.
But if you stretch out the adventuring day and/or put them on a clock, buffing takes up only so much of combat. The PCs have to weigh each buff, and determine if now is the right time to use that Blessing of Fervor. Stretch it out enough, and the min/level buffs are only lasting 2 combats at most. Chase scenes are pretty good at causing this effect. This situation also causes more buffing in combat, rather than before, as the PCs are never quite sure how much resources to spend until they make contact with the enemy and assess its strengths.
And of course you can't consider long duration buffs as buffs, more like class features. Anybody who is a wizard is always assumed to have mage armor. Just pretend that at about 5th level the wizard loses one 1st level spell a day, and gets a +4 armor bonus. It makes it much easier to worry less about overbuffing.
For a personal anecdote, I am running a Carrion Crown game right now, where the PCs are 7th level. One player is a bard, and she is probably the MVP, as she easily delivers a full +7 to the Paladin's to hit, with a corresponding DPR increase as a result (along with actual damage increases). She can also turn the cleric into a semi-competent fighter. The downside is, at some point, an enemy will outstrip the pally's AC, and drop him in a round. That's when the buffs will be necessary, and the combat will turn into something really tense, as the cleric and bard will be tasked with doing actual damage to a BBEG, and only buffs will prevent a TPK. Well, buffs and the witch's debuffs. I'm ready for that fight, and I think its kinda fun that we can't predict when it will come.
Abraham spalding wrote:
Hey, I'm not saying it's necessarily a good or successful tactic, just one which changes the rules of the game. The DM has to start preparing for scry n' fry just as much as his baddies do.
I've always used tactics similar to Gorbacz for my traits. With the added step of a campaign trait, and some pre-background info on what the campaign themes and hook will be. That way they get an appropriate campaign trait, and I pick something fitting for the other trait.
Of course, I suppose my more rules adept players could always put the heirloom weapon into a backstory, knowing that it would be the most appropriate pick for me, but that hasn't happened yet.
Honestly, it comes down to the type of player, and in my group even the most number-crunchy players will happily under-optimize for a roleplaying hook.
I support any and all interpretations of the rules that allow a character to act exactly like E. Honda. Now all we need is a way for a character to fling himself like a missile, in a straight line, for a headbutt using the top of the skull.
Thanks for the advice everyone. I think based on the suggestions here I'll take a look at the All Flesh/Buffy system, Cyberpunk/Interlock, and maybe finally bite the bullet and try to figure out how the hell GURPS works. Also take a look at Savage Worlds. We'll see how this works out.
I've had a quixotic desire to run a modern game for ages now, and I have been homebrewing my own personal campaign with elements of both Delta Green and Dark Matter (from the old Alternity game). As you might imagine, this game will be dark, full of intrigue, and loaded with ambiguous motives.
A real problem is giving this campaign a set of rules. Modern games don't really have a "default" to run with, and so I can't just default to Pathfinder. Further, I don't have a lot of experience with the settings I'm considering, so balance may be a problem. Especially when I need to add aliens and explosions into the mix. The options I've considered are below:
D20 Modern: Well, it's close to the default at least. But bluh, so generic. I'm playing the smart guy, and just like every other class I get extra feats, none of which are deeply interesting. The only thing I like about d20 modern is the wealth system, which is abstract enough to apply to the insanely complicated real life finances. I'm no accountant, and I don't want to need to know the difference in interest rates between a high yield mutual fund and a standard 401k. I have a hunch that whatever else I do, I'll graft the d20 wealth system onto the actual winning system like some hideous Frankenstein Monster.
BRP: The system used by Call of Cthulhu, and therefore Delta Green. It's advantage is its simplicity, as you just check to see if you rolled under your skill. The downside: it may be too simple. I've got the same chance of hitting with my gun, no matter if I'm shooting a train or a rat. Plus, the non-combat skills may accidentally create plotline bottlenecks. Like if the next clue requires a physics roll, but no-one can pass the skill check. This is generally managed in other systems, and I'm not sure I can graft those on to fix it.
Alternity: I spent a lot of the nineties playing this particular sci-fi proto-d20 system, and I have a great fondness for it. It operates much like d20, except that modifiers are addressed in the form of extra dice. So a +1 is a +1d4. Also, it has three tiers of success for every action. 4 tiers if it is the kind of core clue that must be revealed. Plus, the gun combat is pretty deadly, as it should be. The downsides: it is unbalanced. Dex and Int are the only abilities that matter, and every little thing is based off of skills, most of which are Dex and Int based. Oh, did I mention that skill points are only determined by Int? I'm not sure that I've got the design skills to fix the balance flaws in the system. As a secondary consideration, the game is long out of print, and didn't make a big splash, so I'm not sure I'd be able to find even pdfs for my players to use. (I haven't checked, my hard copies are still alive after all).
Gumshoe: The cinematic mystery system. Most of the game's mechanical energy is expended on the finding and understanding of clues. The "action scenes" have an almost non-existent "roll 1d6" method of adjudication. I love (love love) how the investigation works, but I don't think I'd want to be so bare bones on the action, especially in modern day where the PCs can get very high powered weapons very easily. I also don't think I can graft the investigation rules onto one of the other systems here. They tend to be based in very different requirements.
I dunno. What would you, the wonderful folks of the boards, do in this situation? Is there another system I haven't considered?
Not unlike Varthanna up there (you horrible old man), I also played my first PFS and had a good time with it. He just beat me to the punch in looking up Gabi's for a game. I may or may not be able to attend, but I'm certainly interested. It's on the 25th, right? I'm just sorry that I'll have to bring a level 1, and possibly disrupt everyone else. (Kind of a structural flaw there)
I just picked up a pdf of The Armitage Files, for Pelgrane's Trail of Cthulhu system. It's essentially a pile of sequential handouts (which are really well done), a concept, a big pile of characters (each of which can be sinister, normal, or helpful), and no overarching plot. The whole thing is supposed to be improvised. In a mystery game. Awesome idea, or kind of a cheat so they don't have to think up how the world ends?
(Although the boards on yog-sothoth.com have plenty of good ideas for an overarching plot.)
Hello. I just got my copy of Racing to Ruin in the mail, but 16 of the pages in the middle are printed upside down and backwards, and also with the color test strip on some of the pages. Is there anything I could do to get a normal copy?
Try being a little less literal with your conversion. Trim his stench down to match a troglodyte and just mess around with Marcel's stats until he gets fairly close to whatever CR you want, using the tables in the back of the bestiary. If he ends up CR 3 with 3 zombies backing him up he should be a good capstone encounter. Be wary though, if you leave in a ju ju zombie the PCs will be toast, and they might be anyway depending on how much resources they burn getting to him.
BTW, that was the very first D&D book I ever purchased, from an old game shop which is long dead. I lost it years ago in a move or something, but could probably run it from memory at this point. Love it. Have fun.
The light of the moon shining over the dead shall gutter and fail turning all to red.
I snagged an idea from the guide to Katapesh, after rolling a 00 on the random encounter chart. A red dragon (adult I think. Too hardcore to be fought effectively) swoops down on the PCs. He offers a deal: take care of a problem for him, and he wont kill and eat them all. Some pugwumpis stole a small piece of his hoard, then took refuge in a very small cavern the dragon couldn't get to. Kill them all and get back the treasure.
When the PCs get into the hole the Pugs are terrified and pathetic. I really played on the heartstrings of the mostly good aligned party. In the end they really had to murder the lot to save themselves from destruction by the dragon. I thought it was pretty neat.
I am trying to make some 3D hexes, but for the life of me I am baffled by the rivers and lakes on the map. Which rivers run INTO the lakes, and which ones run OUT of the lakes? I sit thoroughly confused unless water travels uphill in the River Kingdoms
The Shrike, Thorn, Skunk, and Gudrin all flow down into the Tuskwater. The Murque and the Tuskwater flow into the Candlemere. The Candlemere empties into the Shrike, which meets the Little Sellen and continues flowing south.
1) Legacy of Fire (Positives: liberating the village, genies, and a Spawn of Rovagug. Negatives: Getting trapped in two planes twice in a row is a little sketchy.)
Aren't you lucky! A pathfinderized version of the Death Knight can be found in the newest Pathfinder volume (The Sixfold Trial). Good and nasty too. Called the Graveknight.
I would be interested in a modern Pathfinder too. Fitting into the B section of things. Although anything I buy would need to be compatible with the old Dark Matter setting. Given Paizo's friendship with Wolfgang Baur and Monte Cook, that probably won't be a problem. My other concern is that gunshots should be damn serious. d20 Modern had D&D standard hit points, which really doesn't work when even the wimpy tech guy can get shot 4 or 5 times before going to the hospital. If Pathfinder can find a way to fix that problem, I'm all over it.
Don't forget, as you level up, there is one first level spell that will always be handy. Ray of Enfeeblement. It's remarkable how much weaker an enemy tank is with -4 to hit and -8 on damage. Plus it effectively removes Power Attack from their abilities.
Really, it is only a little weaker than Enervation, a fourth level spell. And it's a touch spell, something fighters have issues dealing with at all. Just remember that multiple shots do not stack.
Thanks for the help everyone! Unfortunately (or fortunately) my PC made his leprosy save and was able to rejoin the group. I was more than ready to accelerate the story, so I skipped the side quest entirely. Still, good ideas all around.
At the moment I am trying to bang out a quick sidequest for Shadow in the Sky. The PCs could use a little more XP, and I need a little more in-game time because the barbarian caught leprosy and hasn't been hanging around the casino as such. Of course, the next planned event is the raid.
My idea was this: A mad priest of Groetus (as if there was any other kind), plagued with visions since the arrival of the blot has found a way to tap the void through the meteor summoning magic. He plans on bringing to Golarion a creature of the void, and has actually succeeded. Now he needs to feed it sacrifices. There is more detail here, in that he hires some people to kidnap victims, and some other to cover it with murders in the style of the Rotgut Ripper, and the real Ripper gets involved, and accidentally gives clues.
The problem I have here is finding a suitable creature of the void for the PCs to fight at the end. (I like Shadow in the Sky, but I feel the need for some nonhuman bad guys). At the moment I have penciled in a vasthaunt from MMIII, but it seems a little off. So, what sort of voidy monsters would you include here? Preferably between CR 2 and 4.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Actually, I have Night Below. It's pretty spicy, but it has a lot of flaws that I saw in pre-paizo adventure paths. Admittedly, it was one of the first full campaigns in a box. I would just like to see a treatment from the best writers in the biz.
I would love to see a campaign (or adventure) based around a carnival like that in Ravenloft's carnival product.
I would love an mcguffin that must be cast into the false sun of a continent sized vault in Orv.
I would love a campaign based around Hermea.
I would love a trip to the ruins of Kho.
I would love a sudden surge by the Spawn of Rovagug, and adventures set around the feet of such beasts. Think Cloverfield.
I would love chokers with polearms
I would love to see many many more aboleth.
I would love to have more time and gaming groups to run all the Paizo material I already have.
So we are not allowed to use the Polymorph spell, nor any magic item that gives polymorph. This is all fine and dandy. The question then, is do druids still get to wild shape? It's the most problematic and powerful class ability in the standard PHB. Do druids go down to clerics with different spells, less armor and an animal companion?
If Wild Shape is kosher, I assume we can only WS into something from the MM. Would that be correct?
I for one would be quite willing to play. I've been looking for a good game. Only problem is my schedule. I'm a law student that currently lives in Salem. We should see who else volunteers and then see if my schedule meshes with theirs. Oh, and I do have a second person I can bring into the game too.
Hello. Got another question of the reconciling text and maps sort. The module says that when Depora is harried enough she runs away and climbs the Cyphergate in order to steal a boat. The problem is that the caverns lead directly to the Gold Goblin, so she would escape in the middle of town, with a full harbor of boats to steal between her and the cyphergate. As a matter of fact, the Goblin is about 500 feet north of the cyphergate, but by traveling underground its only half that. There's a physics issue too, because there is a hole that lets in seawater, but the cavern goes under the harbor to get to the Cyphergate. There's a non-airtight opening to the gold goblin, so the whole place would fill to the level of the sea wouldn't it?
Was the location of her lair changed from one part of the draft to the next? The actual distance between the scale of the city map and the underground map doesn't really matter. And if the battle with Rowyn Kellani is any indication, Depora won't even begin to get away when I run this without a gaseous form potion. And really, the PCs gotta be observant to catch the sea level issue. But still, is there a better place to put the caverns so the Cyphergate showdown can actually happen?
DM Jeff wrote:
Huh. Must have missed the bit about more feats. Still thought they were every third level.
I used the bonus hit points to start, even the crusader needed it. I still used the condensed skills, generally if a part of the condensed skill was a class skill, it was here too. Martial lore did not condense with anything. It was very smooth all told.
I've put in a rule that non-pathfinder classes will not have their hit die change to match their BAB. Duskblades still get a d8, for example. It worked out very well altogether.
This weekend I was able to meet with my group (with whom I had planned an internet campaign) and we kicked off CotCT in grand fashion. Of course, we also wanted to give a good playtest for the alpha rules in the meantime. So, first I will first give a quick overview of the characters, give a bit of narrative focusing on the rules changes, and then give a final report at the end, including a few suggestions that we think might work.
Spoiled to keep your screen from bleeding.
My PCs included a CG human rogue, a LN human cleric, a LN human Crusader (Book of 9 Swords), a LE elf Transmuter (planning on taking ultimate magus), and a CN gnome Beguiler (also planning on Ultimate Magus, the elf player was pretty annoyed). Some will be annoyed with my allowing non-pathfinder classes in the playtest, I do this for three reasons. 1, I want to see how the new rules affect the old classes, 2, I don’t really want to devalue all these other books that we have bought, and 3, Bo9S characters and beguilers are just plain fun. The Bo9S characters may be getting the banhammer in the future due to their power, but I’ve played them before too, and they are very fun. The only real alternative for a beatstick is to take fighter, see discussion at the end. The more likely alternative is another cleric or a psychic warrior, or some other class that has a lower BAB, but is just as good if not better at kicking ass.
For the purposes of this playtest, none of the NPCs or monsters have been altered under the rules. Next session everyone will have levels and feats in the Pathfinder style.
The PCs stormed the fishery with theme music playing and very little resistance. This I believe was an intentional design, as it’s good to give a PC a cakewalk for their first encounter. However, the extra hit points (we used the racial bonus) did come in handy. Giggles hurt the wizard enough that without the extra hp he would have been out, ditto the rogue. The cleric later healed them with a turn attempt, but I personally feel that more staying power at first level is a good thing.
The henchmonkeys above disposed of; the PCs started looking to get down. The shark sure made them nervous. Interestingly, gnomes are no longer restricted to burrowing animals to talk to, so they made a deal and distracted the shark with Hookshanks’ body. Once the party had made their way to the underpier the shark promptly forgot the deal, but no one fell in the water after that.
The fight with ol’ Gaedren Lamm was complicated by poor PC tactics. The wizard enlarged the crusader outside the door, on the underpier itself. It fell through and cut the spellcasters out of the fight, neither one wanted to jump the hole with strengths of 8 and no ranks. The command spell ended a hostage situation, but most interestingly, the crusader got in a fight with Gobblegut in the meantime. The gator got max damage, which would have knocked him out without the bonus hp. If you’re keeping score at home, that’s 3 saves due to the extra hp. This also got to be our first experience with grappling in Pathfinder.
Disclaimer: I was one of the few DMs who could actually remember the grapple rules from memory. Running Age of Worms for a year will do that to you. Interestingly, the first victim of the flattened size rules was a PC, not a monster, but whatever. In short, the rules are much more simple, although it felt odd not doing opposed rolls. I really really like making grappled people have the grappled condition. I’m not sure about the flattened size modifiers. On the one hand it makes high level grappling less degenerate, but on the other hand, it costs certain monsters their biggest trump card. Whatever the case at high levels, here there is no real issue. The grapple only lasted one round, and an enlarged crusader is a force to be reckoned with.
The Transmuter had taken this as his first opportunity to choose Divination as a banned school, and is finding that it is a pain in the ass. Without Zellara’s Harrow Deck the PCs would never be able to identify stuff, as the Beguiler forgot to take appraise. Of course, he can take it next level, the new skill system encourages it. Still, it’s good to know that you don’t get a real advantage keeping yourself out of divination, even though it’s probably combat optimal.
The next actual combat occurred at All the World’s Meat. Unfortunately I have little data for you as everyone in the building was subdued by 2 color sprays and a sleep. Poor warriors and their negative will saves. However, the Raktavarna is even cooler under the new identify. Using the Harrow Deck over and over eventually revealed a 19, high enough that continued failures to identify mean a caster level of 24 on the thing. I was amused, and my PCs are keeping the knife.
Knifesies games provided more opportunities to play with CMB. One PC won initiative, and tossed the knife across the room. They then used the grapple rules to try to heave one another around. The crusader won handily again, so we don’t have too much to play with. Perhaps the static DC removes some of the drama that the opposed roll creates. At this point, maxing grapple may be even stronger than it was in normal 3.5. Still too early to see, and hard to test without building a dedicated grappler. The rogue lost initiative and ended up trying to disarm her opponent. He we find that the static DC speeds things up immensely, and we like the duct tape fix on how to make disarming a 2 handed weapon harder without making 2 handed weapons just plain better than (say) rapiers. All in all, a success.
We stopped just short of the shingles chase, so there will be more skill commentary next time. I will also start converting NPCs. Except Trinia I guess.
So: in short we like most of the new changes. The extra hp keep folks ticking when the DM rolls a fatal 20 at first level, which is absolutely a good thing in our campaign. Your mileage may vary. The CMB seems a little awkward for grappling, but I am one of the rare few who had a good grasp of the earlier grapple rules. The CMB is great for disarming. Cover looks like far too much work for a few minuses on the attack roll. I just eyeballed and gave the normal -4 or -2 to keep from slowing down too much.
There are just a few notable problems with the classes. It seems that one of the goals for a few class rewrites was to create incentives for those who choose to stick with a base class, rather than a prestige class. This is fine, but there may be more work to do. Sorcerers still lack a good reason to stay. The flavor is delicious, but the powers and feats gained are pretty minor. Indeed, for most bloodlines the PC can take the three best feats, and then bail on the class without any real problem.
The fighter was actually weakened by combat feats. The true advantage of a fighter is that they get a pile of feats, most of which are combat feats now. The problem is, you can only use 1 combat feat at a time. So you can’t spring attack, power attack, overhand chop, and dodge at the same time. Thus a fighter gets to use exactly as much as a rogue does. Sad. What if the fighter gets to use more combat feats in a round as a class feature? It would encourage more levels of fighter, which is always a good thing. Plus, there could be a few more combat feats that only work when combined with other combat feats in a round, creating a special “only fighters can do this” thing. I dunno, just a thought.
So far, the changes have been favorable. Next time out we will hit the Shingles, so there will certainly be a bit more skill commentary. At the moment we haven’t had much sign of the changes. Although one PC really digs the +3 thing.
So, this weekend I start running the Curse of the Crimson Throne. Technically, my question falls under the category of "Things that would be answered if I waited another three months," but I'm not really that patient. Besides, why wait to alpha playtest when the alpha period is almost over?
When I began my preparations to run CotCT I got hooked on the Hellknights almost immediately. I can understand why they don't really feature in Seven Days, after all, even a hardcore enforcer can't fight the plague with a sword. But today I read my Escape from Old Korvosa and find that the Lictor has pulled them out of the city entirely. Do they ever come back?
Chekov once said "if you put a gun on the stage in the first act, it will be fired by the third." If my PCs will never have a real opportunity to get crunched by badasses in platemail, then I shouldn't hype them in the first adventure. I did have a few cool scenes thought up, with three Hellknights facing a mob of fifty and winning, but if they don't show again, this would be a bad play.
So what's the verdict? Just drop the hellknights as much as I can? Or use them?
Think about it this way: On the page before the Soulknife we have the Psychic Warrior, a class that is basically a Soulknife with more powers. If you wanted to, without even taking the old Soulknife prestige class, you can build a Soulknife and still have powers and feats left over. And Psychic Warriors, while strong, particularly with only one combat per day, are not at the top of the curve even among the various Gish options available. That doesn't even count non-Gish comparisons.
Further, soulknifes don't have any non-combat abilities to make their combat weakness worthwhile. Rogues and bards for example are also a little weak in combat, but have special non-combat mechanics to make up for it.
Sad little soulknife. Poor little soulknife.
Some friends of mine, worried about the weakness of the soulknife, decided to incentiveize it a little so that a cool character concept could survive next to us power gamers. The solution: add a tiny few Book of 9 Swords maneuvers. I wasn't playing the soulknife or DMing, but for the first couple levels he got one, maybe two maneuvers a day, and all were Setting Sun, although I don't know what he had to choose from.
Alas, my data vanishes after a few levels, as the PC was butchered due to terrible combat tactics during a dangerous game of cat, mouse, and paladin on psionic land-speeder. Seemed like a good idea though.
But the guide to Korvosa lists the penalty for both murder and treason as torture, death. Bear in mind the lesser penalty is listed first. Also, torture shows up at the high end for lesser crimes too. It seems that Korvosa has kept death above torture as a higher penalty. I'm not feeling particularly squeemish, so in my game there will be an assembly of hooks and rat boxen and red hot metal things before Blackjack makes his appearance. But still, mixed signals.
So... My fiancee and I are working on our wedding registry, and we need a place to put our gaming needs on the internet. (We are registering at the FLGS, but not everyone is in town). I couldn't find a registry or wishlist here. Did I miss it, or do you guys not have the capacity?
Put me in the camp for calculating skills based on class level, not character level.
Back to the OP: I am strongly against the idea of forced skills. In my game at the moment we have a cleric with no ranks in knowledge religion, (and an Intelligence of 7), and that provides a great roleplaying hook. Especially when the other PCs ask him about his faith. I wouldn't want to lose things like that due to a mandatory skill taking.
(Although I still have never seen a wizard without spellcraft)
In 3E an energy drain attack only gives a -1 to everything and reduced spellcasting. The PC only loses a level if they fail a Fort save a day later. Generally they only get messed up if they have a lot of negative levels. I have never had a big balance issue with the few undead that give negative levels. (Then again, age of worms excluded, I seldom focus a campaign around undead)
Take energy drain away from some monsters and they go away. What's a wight without energy drain? A ghoul. What's a wraith without energy drain? A shadow.
I think energy drain is important in the same way black puddings are important, PCs fear reduction of abilities (or gear) more than hit points. Energy drain makes PCs respect their foes, something that is rare in a lot of (non-horror) games. That is something I am willing to risk on bad fortitude saves.
I like the power attack fix, that feat has dominated campaigns inmy world. now I'm concerned that it may be too swingy, like giving NPCs a x4 crit weapon. A 1st level half orc barbarian will do 1d12+17 (or more) damage on a hit, or totally miss. Usually this works out to a single PC getting slaughtered, and the others being unharmed. I'm less certain about it at high levels, where a dragon (or what have you) has a higher str bonus than BAB. Might still be swingy, but a little less so.