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Ideal party composition:
Someone who can sufficiently compromise with others so as to handle phoning in a pizza delivery and getting all the toppings correct.
Someone who is willing to be the mapper.
Someone with sufficient playing space to host the event.
Someone who enjoys being detail oriented to be the party record keeper.
An original thinker who can imagine novel solutions to seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
I think that about covers it.. no matter what character classes they play, the party is primed for success.
I don't want to devalue Jeff Merola's comment above (because I agree with it), but I'm going offer a divergent substantive opinion.
What I see in the sentiment behind the OP is itself a problem. What do I see? The "RAW IS LAW!" stereotype.
The problem with that "RAW IS LAW!" view is the one expressing it sometimes:
1: Doesn't acknowledge that there are sometimes several ways to define "RAW".
2: Doesn't acknowledge the possibility that their cognitive understanding of the rules in question could be flawed.
Now, I'll stress that I'm not accusing the OP of EITHER of these failings. The problem is when you go down the "I'm right and you're wrong!" road you subject yourself to suspicion of failing one or both of those.
What the "RAW IS LAW!" stereotype virtually always is guilty of, however, is this:
Despite PFS being a single campaign with a single (but large and diasporic) leadership, it's still a roleplaying game. It's not what video gamers imagine when they hear "roleplaying game". The distinction is a discussion worthy of another thread (if not forum) but I'll stress for the purpose of this discussion is that roleplaying games, even PFS, are collaborative. You're never "right" when you insist "My way is the only right way!"
So, specifically with regards to the scenario of the OP, there is really one realistic outcome. Accept table variation. If the OP wants to allow Detect Magic to locate subjects of invisibility spells, great. Just don't insist that your understanding of RAW as superimposing another GM's understanding of RAI. Your table, your rules. His table, his rules. Accept it.
Kelsey Arwen MacAilbert wrote:
Actually, it doesn't. The CRB provides races that are more or less balanced against each other. PCs are equal, but they are equally exceptional.
The default assumption for Pathfinder is that humans dominate the setting. Normally that assumption is based upon some idea that humans are noteworthy among all the sentient races at being so flexible- they can adapt to anything and generally drive innovation. This is the reason for the stereotypes that
If a setting takes the focus off humans (i.e. quits defining everything by how they compare to humans) it'd be a neat idea for a fresh look at racial abilities. But so long as humans are the literal center of the game/setting, and that center is based on being adaptable/ambitious, humans' racial abilities giving them the most flexibility is pretty appropo. It's just my own opinion that humans should dominate a party- that's completely separate from whether or not humans should dominate a setting. (they just usually DO)
if humans don't dominate the campaign, then the bonus feat isn't good enough.
If the campaign is supposed to be distinctive in that humans are not the (far and away) dominant race of the world, then that begs all kinds of interesting discussions. But your standard world where the norm is human and every demihuman place is special for not being human, it doesn't make sense for demihuman racial advantages to overtake human ones.
On the players' side of the GM screen, I don't have any fun at all when combats are a DPR contest between players rather than a true test of survival between the players and the NPCs. Rape is a harsh word to throw out there, but it does have an accepted definition as:
Looking at rape in that usage, I don't have fun (on either side of the GM screen) when the players rape the combat encounters. Or to take that potentially triggering word out of the discussion, I don't have fun (even as a player) when the players roflstomp the opposition.
The players don't have to feel a mortal threat for their PCs in EVERY encounter, sure. But neither should, IMO, any combat last less than 3 rounds. Especially BBEG fights. When you're creaming the opposition in 1 or 2 rounds, what fun is being had besides showing off one's skill at munchkining? Being a munchkin is one kind of fun, and PFS GMs aren't there to judge one kind of fun as being more valid than others. But the problem with munchkins is their fun necessarily impacts other kinds of fun in a negative way.
When the entire party subscribes to the munchkin mindset, then that's fine and dandy for the GM to provide monsters to do nothing more than get torn apart like so much wet tissue paper. But how often is that really the case? I know it's never the case when I'm on the players' side of the GM screen. I cannot be convinced that PFS GMs do not have a duty to look out for the non-munchkins who want to do something other than roflstomp every encounter.
Actually, that's not what that means.
What that means is you can't go into combat without an initiative roll.
That's a fairly important distinction, since you appear to be saying combat can't happen until after initiative rolls happen.
That's demonstrably not the case. Example:
Party A and Party B are fighting. Party C is in the next room attempting to gain access into the room in which parties A and B are fighting. All Party C is doing at this point is attempting to open a door.
While Party C is attempting to gain access, some of Party A decides to go on overwatch and thump whoever is coming in through the door. This is completely within the rules, and combat doesn't "reset" just because party C has joined the combat. Party C is just rolled into the preexisting combat.
Some appear to be arguing that characters in Party A cannot have overwatch going on while party C is attempting to open the door unless Party B is also there fighting them. That's obviously ridiculous.
So, if one is going to stick literally to the rule that readied actions cannot happen "outside of combat", then what is "combat" must include a very broad definition that is more akin to "crisis situation". And that's not opinion, that's really a Must.
I ran Paths We Choose for a party that was all 7th levels, with one 3rd level Magus who was an (ex) Scarnzi.
The poor 3rd level magus was thrust into the Exchange's faction quest geared to challenge the 7th levels. Not only did he survive, he shone.
Being the only player who's character was in that faction(s), the other players took the opportunity to zone out and let him struggle through the puzzle to find Gueril.
Once they did locate the ambush, he won initiative and was the first to escape the rowboat and get aboard the shipwreck to join Gueril's side. The devilfish went next, and stymied the rest of the party from immediately joining him.
Thanks to the programmed tactics, the NPCs ignored the level 3 and focused on Gueril, eventually dropping him. But by then the rest of the team began to get aboard, and proved much more dangerous than the magus and drew attention.
It still took the magus' player to coordinate the team (focus on the $%^& damn caster, people!) to turn the tide, all while he kept reviving Guaril and subsequently peeling assassins back to re-knock the scarnzi faction head below zero HP.. and staying close enough to prevent cheapshot coup-de-grace's (or rolling him overboard into the water to drown)
The magus even kill-stole the doomspeaker with a chintzy ranged hit (after the 2 zen-archer monks did the heavy lifting) and then bravely provoked an AoO from the last assassin in a futile attempt to grapple him and prevent an apparently coming suicide CDG. But eating the AoO allowed Guaril (who was delaying at that point, prone, weaponless, and staggered at 0 HP) to snatch back up his dagger and do an attack from the ground while benefitting from flank from the magus' position after surviving his brave grapple attempt.
TL;DR: Level 3 magus not only survived the high tier Exchange encounter in Paths We Choose, he was an MVP. And I wasn't even pulling punches on him, either.
Necromancy is the magic involving life and death.
That's pretty much a slam dunk case for healing being necromancy. "White" necromancy as opposed to EEEvil Black Necromancy, to be sure. But still necromancy.
It's bizarre that PF has cure spells as conjuration. One might even accuse Pazio's developers of having made a mistake.
"I'm gonnna play a Drow Noble!" sounds to most of us just like "I'm gonna play a Cyber-Vampire-Ninja-WereTiger with an Adamantine Katana!"
I don't mean to break out name calling, but Munchkin alarms go off at mere mention of "Drow Noble".
it was suggested upthread that Drow Nobles would be best appropriate as an ALL Drow Noble party. If maturely done, a Menzoberranzan-like campaign would be awesome.
FAQ Request: Can I use a standard action to perform actions that are faster then normal standard actions (like Swift and immediate actions)?.
Action classes in order of least restrictive to most restrictive:
Full Round, Standard, Move, Swift, Free, Immediate.
It makes little sense to say that an available action to the left of the action type normally required can't be expended in place of an action to the right is ignoring common sense and is embodying the worst stereotypes of the rules lawyer.
Why do scenarios 'railroad' players into specific actions or situations with no alternatives?
The legitimacy of the presumption in the OP is debated upthread.
Rather than adding to that train of thought, I'll add another one entirely: PFS doesn't allow for modifying (much less outright creating) encounters.
PFS scenarios, even the sandbox-y ones, are inherently railroad-y because it's PFS. The GM can't just go making up encounters to deal with out of the box solutions players might come up with. A GM can delete encounters due to clever actions that would bypass those encounters, but there's no allowance for creating encounters to permit players to pursue a path not covered by the scenario.
By RAW, a GM can't even provide a window for players break through to bypass a door they can't unlock/break down. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is a discussion worthy of another thread, but for this thread just know that's how RAW goes, and quite a few PFS people insist RAW trumps common sense in all ways at all times and have correspondingly little tolerance for 'creative solutions' from a meta perspective.
Unless/until that changes (not that I'm arguing it should, mind you), every PFS scenario is necessarily a railroad because you're simply not allowed to not railroad. Consider it an unavoidable downside of the nature of organized play.
As a rule of thumb, when I know someone has run, read, or played the scenario I tell them, in front of the rest of the players, that they are banned from making or suggesting decisions. Those are my terms to play at my table if you have prior knowledge of the scenario.. your character goes along with whatever the majority of the rest of the table wants to do. When I (and the plot-spoiled players) know something dicey is up and potentially can be broken in-combat by their knowledge (that encounter you're talking about, but also others like the BBEG fight in Master of the Fallen Fortress and so on) I force them to ask the table about what they want that character to do.
So, in a case like the one described in the OP, I make the plot-spoiled player ask the remaining unspoiled table what they want his character to do. If it's to do something that the spoiled players know is a bad idea, then so be it.
Hangman Henry IX wrote:
I guess I'm not done, long enough just to point this out.
Just pointing out that reasoning is a logical fallacy. Specifically the False Choice.
There is indeed at least one choice you're ignoring: that players and Gms stop insisting that their own personal view of what the code allows applies to anyone else's paladin.
And for seriously. Now I'm out.
Well, to be honest it sounds like your problems you've observed have been through overly-narrow interpretations of what is and what is not a code violation for a Paladin.
Once you (or the problem GMs you've observed) get past the notion that a paladin's code of conduct does not prohibit things like chicanery and subterfuge and cooperation with unpleasant allies, I think the problem resolves itself.
Hangman Henry IX wrote:
if they accept infernal healing, help from evil summoned creatures, help from animated undead, help from worshipers of evil gods, in instances where such help is not in service to any particular "greater good" they break their code. seeing as how "greater good" is entirely subjective and open to GM/player interpretation, this potentially leads to more conflicts. as a gm, reading that the society is a neutral organization i would assume most of the time the missions they are sent on are not for any sort of "greater good".
Actually that's not true.
Casting a spell with the evil descriptor is not an evil act, so benefitting from it certainly can't be.
A paladin won't fall from getting an infernal healing, either. He "should" roleplay not wanting it/feeling dirty for having received it, but mechanically there is no consequence.
With apologies to AC/DC, this is the song I'm having the bard singing to kick off the siege:
Thunder, thunder, thunder, thunder
That song can sound pretty impressive on a stringed intstument :D
someone might want an apocalyptic dieoff in order to remove easy labor to facilitate greater acceptance of magic without being a necromancer, too.
I could see a Nethysian, fanatical wizard believing that engineering a massive die-off is a means to a Good* end.
*= Where 'Good' is completely debatable, and much more like a Huxley-ian "Brave New Arcane World"
*beginning evil mastermind logic*
In the end, greater use of magic by everyone would make for a utopia for everyone left alive! Those who'd have to be removed from the picture to make it happen surely wouldn't begrudge the better lives those who survive them will get to enjoy!
I disagree with a fundamental tenet in the thinking of the original post... that it is fundamentally "lawful" to stick to a code of honor.
Chaotic people can and do have their own codes of honor; the chaos is more that they don't care what other people think of their personal codes of honor than not sticking to one.
A rugged mountain man or pioneer, for example, may certainly have all sorts of rules for behavior in something akin to the Wild Wild West. But if his code of honor/conduct emphasizes individualism (aka, the needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many) then he's more chaotic than lawful.
With regards specifically to a samurai culture, I'd suggest at least a cursory look at AEG's Legend of the Five Rings setting. Specifically the Scorpion Clan. Those guys are steeped in honor, yet if it were D&D/Pathfinder they'd be all sorts of Chaotic.
When a paladin wants to tell the party rogue that she doesn't look fat in her new leather armor when she does indeed look like an overstuffed sausage, a bluff check is necessary and would not impinge on his alignment or class.
But with more seriousness, deception isn't necessarily the same thing as lying. Nor is deception always incompatible with exemplary Lawful Goodness. Subterfuge and deception are essential tenets of warfare, whether on the battlefield or in the king's court.
Michael Eshleman wrote:
Just jumping in to say that I agree with Andrew Christian. And yes, that means ranged weapons do half damage before applying hardness. I recommend the purchase of some durable adamantine ammunition.
Personally, I'd agree 100%. However, in whatever passes for wisdom on behalf of the rules team, they've
It's not in the FAQ yet, but I've talked to James Jacob and in his eyes that's The Law.
It's unfortunate, because the bestiaries don't define what the defensive ability "hardness" is. Apparently it's not the same thing as object hardness in the CRB, since ranged weapon damage isn't halved.
Since creature hardness != the rules as described in the CRB, I don't know why energy damages are halved to creatures with hardness. I'm not saying they shouldn't be.. I'm just saying the rules team made a big mistake by not making the ALL the object hardness rules apply to creatures with hardness.
A lot of people aren't fully familiar with the rules on page 218 of the CRB. Even now, with ACG published, the wizard is still the king of flexibility in preparing arcane spells. Granted, given the opportunity to take a 15 minute break is there... But when it is the Wizard's prepared spells can be picked on the fly. A wizard can tailor his prepared spells to meet his exact needs and he can do it at any point of the day.
The Arcanist doesn't need that peace and quiet, sure, but he's still limited to the # of spells he can prepare on the chart on page 14 of the ACG.
I think we can probably agree to disagree right here about what "Lawful" and what "Chaotic" means, but just to air varying viewpoints I'm going along with it...
Having a code of conduct and strictly sticking to it is possible for anyone of any alignment.*
Furthermore, Batman/Bruce Wayne looks at what he sees as a corrupt/bloated/incompetent legal system and has decided that because of his own virtues, he is qualified to ignore it all and act on everyone else's behalf. That's as chaotic as chaotic comes.
As for the Good axis, yes Batman wants to do good and even sees himself as a good person. For what its worth, most of humanity (in Pathfinder) is Neutral, but would self-identify as "good". However, his methods include torture, intimidation, murder, etc. Yes, these means are to a "good end", however doing Evil on behalf of Good is, in other words, a pretty damn swell way to describe "Neutral".
Hence, Batman = Chaotic Neutral. By my own understanding of the Axes of Alignment, of course ;)
*= an in-rules example sprang to mind. Consider a Chaotic Good/Neutral/Evil Cavalier of the Order of the Sword, especially the 2nd level ability:
Order of the Sword wrote:
Note there's no requirement for Lawfulness. If you pick a code of honor that you chaotic alignment satisfies, (for the sake of argument, like one identical to Batman's), you stick to it and you not only keep your Order of the Sword ability, you're not required to change alignments in doing so because you're Chaotic and rigidly sticking to a code of honor.
I can see there being an unemotional and unempathetic paladin who still follows his deities' teachings to the letter and steadfastly opposes evil.
See, that's more Lawful Neutral than Lawful Good. Good is far more than the merely the opposition of Evil.
But, that's my view. And as I said before, this thread is basically begging to become another discussion about what the alignments mean.
What is "lawful" and what is "good" has less consensus as to what is a sociopath.
The question of whether all three can be combined into one persona is destined to be derailed about defining the traits, particularly the first two.
But for opinion polling purposes, my understanding of Lawful boils down to "The Many are More Important than the One" and that alone precludes what I understand sociopathy to be, even before Good enters the question. In my mind, Lawful Evil can't be sociopaths, either. They're too in tune with the norms.
I'm not making up that the PRD calls a charge an action and not an attack. It was quoted upthread, but hey posts are free so why not quote it again.
Definition of charge, per the PRD:
Charging is a special full-round action that allows you to move up to twice your speed and attack during the action. Charging, however, carries tight restrictions on how you can move.
Bolded for emphasis.
The rules for Charging say that Charging is an action. Any mention elsewhere that charging is always considered an attack is in conflict with the rules that specifically govern how charges work.
Rules on attacking as part of a charge:
Including an attack in a charge action is specifically called out as being optional/not mandatory by the use of the word "may". This rule, combined with the definition of what a charge is, says that a charge is a special full round action that combines movement with the option to attack.
Because having the horse following thru with an attack after concluding the charge movement constitutes an 'attack', which is not covered under the actionless ride skill and requires usage of an animal handling check (attack trick) instead.
For most riders, that costs a move action, and ruins the full round action for the rider.
So, in the case of non-reach charging, per the FAQ, a rider can still charge but must forfeit his mount's attack on the charge turn unless he can handle animal AND perform a full round action in the same turn.
This isn't at all the same doom and gloom as insisting that a charge movement not being followed by an attack also must be covered by the handle animal skill, thus (by this reading) rendering any charging at all impossible by the rider unless he can handle animal and still perform a full round action.
I'm guessing the nerf to mounted combat change in question is this faq entry?
I must be missing something because I don't understand what makes spirited charges unworkable. You don't need to perform animal handling checks to make a mount (animal companion or otherwise) perform a charge*.. it's a ride check instead and if the mount is combat trained, it doesn't even eat an action.
*= after posting I suspect I see the problem.. you're assuming you want the mount to attack the target as well via attack trick. Well, if you're using a lance a standard mount won't get the attack anyway b/c it doesn't have reach. Just move the horse, it gains the charging condition because it must when the rider is charging, via the faq, and bam you skewer something with a lance. If you spirited charge with a non-reach weapon, take your x2 damage with a non-lance and consider the nerf just saying the horse may not also attack. It's still a win.
I too 'wasted' a replay under the impression that the replays would refresh the first day of every Gen Con. Had I known at the time that my replay wouldn't refresh, I wouldn't have spent it. I'd have rather played at that table for no credit and save the replay for a special boon or chronicle item for a character that could really make great use of it.
I suppose it's better to use a replay than never use it because you save it forever.. but mark me down as one of those who think it SHOULD refresh every year.
Just a curiosity, but why do so many people swear by the Point-Buy system? I understand that it is THE system used in Pathfinder Society, but why would anyone use it outside of organized play?
I'll see your complaint about min-maxing with a complaint about 'lucky' stats.. and raise you a complaint about intrinsic power level-disparity between characters of wildly different stat values.
We're just hell bent to disagree on everything each other says, it would seem.
Oath Against Fiends' wrote:
Bold text=emphasis mine.Banish what you cannot kill is 'clearly' RAI to be more accurately: Banish fiends that you can banish, but cannot kill.
For both in- and out- of game reasons, the PFS paladin MAY not kill the familiar. Important difference from CAN not. I stand by my assessment because either way destroying the imp is 'not within the paladin's power'. He can attempt to persuade the spellcaster from using the imp for the duration of the paladin's presence. He can opt to have nothing to do with the spellcaster. (Passive-aggressive 'PvP' IS still technically legal. "I can't hurt you or your imp, but neither do I have to heal either of you...")
If the paladin can't come to a happy place where he feels he's still in-character while still not trying to kill the imp, he shouldn't be playing the archetype. Perhaps, as you say, thats a 'trap' a new player might fall into. But, the perspective of the OP is 'am I being a jerk by having an Imp familiar'. No, he's not.
Here's another thought, before someone accuses me of wistfully missing the heady days of GMing Paranoia (because it's true ;)
Ruby Phoenix Tournament:
I played this yesterday in a 5 table, all day gala event. My table included 2 ranged characters that were each able to output 90-100 or more damage per round. 2 melee characters who could do almost as much. A tank with AC approaching 40, and getting 2 AoOs per missed attack on him. All of it PFS-legal.
Arrayed against us were numerous combat challenges. Pretty much exclusively, actually.
Now the important part of my example comes next.
Another player, at another table, told me how they all nagged their GM until he doubled the opposition they faced. Once he finally relented, they began being challenged. They even had a ton of fun. They still had an easy enough time of it however, that they had time to 'waste' actions gallavanting and playing up to the crowd in the scenario's performance combat.
Let's go back to my table. Our Gm ran strictly as written, as PFS dictates. I wish to hell we thought of convincing him to just double our oppposition like the other table did.. but we didn't. We quickly realized that if we wanted to earn any scenario specific victory points from performance combat, we'd only have 1 or 2 combat rounds to do so. We weren't competing with the opposition (because there WAS no competition).. we were competing with each other to see who can defeat the most NPCs the fastest. I mean.. tons of ranged DPR.. and none of the monks have deflect arrows? It was a turkey shoot.
Not only that, teamwork was disincentivized. The 'fun' aspects of playing up to the crowd was pretty much out of the question, since you didn't have any time for it.
So, to sum up (and to make a spoiler-friendly recap for those who don't want to be spoiled):
I spent 10 hours playing the adventure under a GM who ran-as-written, as PFS says you should. Had some intrinsic fun, sure, but it was a pretty dissapointing experience. While on the other hand, players at the table where the GM scaled the opposition to be more appropriate, they had a blast.
Ran as written: 10 hours of ho hum.
Just sayin'. Deviations aren't always improperly done and aren't always a detriment to PFS experience.
Some ideas for School on Wheels themed boons:
Volunteer Tutor: Spent time in-between pathfinder assignments tutoring the underprivileged. Pick one Knowledge Skill to become a class skill.
Little Brother/Little Sister: Your reputation for sponsoring the less fortunate preceeds you. Once per session, you may call upon a youngster in the local town to assist on a knowledge/local or gather information check.
Jason S wrote:
I'm pretty unapologetically on the side of "GMs can/should 'tweak' PFS scenarios."
Not only will the notion of restraining oneself not appeal to a sizeable portion of players.. that PFS has the opportunity to play up tiers means there's very real and tangible benefit to making optimized characters as ruthlessly efficient as possible.
In other words.. finding a happy medium in the arms race between optimized characters and written scenarios is not likely to work by putting the onus on players playing reasonable characters.