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Jester David wrote:
9000 years with no art or music under the rule the theocratic rule of a sadist god's clergy...
Graphic descriptions of nastiness.
Art is the blemishes, scars, burn marks and bruises on the skins of the flayed sacrifices.
Or the performances given by the spasms and death throes of the victims of slow, week-long, ritual mutilations.
Music is the screams of the tortured, with properly timed punctures to the lungs and throath to obtain some nasty, otherworly sounds.
It's not YOUR art, but kuthonites like it. Sometimes a bit too much.
Stay away, or you may become art.
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
There's an awesome article on the matter in an old issue of Dragon Magazine (3.5 run), with some limitations to apply - resurrection possible on certain places/holidays/phases of the moon/etc - and some really nasty side-effects (you open the door to the other side, but you're not so sure that only the desired soul goes through the passage) which scale up with the character level, so the more powerful he is, the worst things happen.
Once you have a resurrection on a disputed holy ground on the eve of an astronomical convergence trying not to allow angry spirits of the unquiet dead to follow up your fallen companion... well, it's nice the first time, but afterwards your players will consider their lost characters as gone for good.
15 minutes adventuring day never happened.
Healers are sought after with a passion.
No magic shop/WBL/magic item wishlists. And the game works fine.
Alignment/paladin stuff. There are times when things get strange, but the group as a whole discusses the matter, and positively expects the DM to be the final arbiter of the thing at hand.
No class tiers. There are those who are good at fighting, those who are good at buffing, at stealth, at defence/healing, at arcane magic (both in the blasting and utility spells variants). A group that does not cover as many niches as possible is in trouble, both in the short and long run.
Archetypes, racial class bonus, traits have been ditched as the common consensus was "they botch the game".
Smurf infestation. None, ever.
Rolling stats and hit die? It's not fun or interesting. You either have a godlike character that dumps on everything, or one so weak you might as well do better things with your life. I seriously left my last 3 games because of it then the GMs wasted my time asking why. *sigh* I just want to play the game without being completely crippled by stupid, arbitrary rules from a bi-gone era that force me to either waste my time completely or leave, still having wasted time on it in the first place. The worst part is when the game isn't advertised as such so I show up with no idea it's going to be bad.
Sometimes it's fun to have a character that's so full of stat points he doesn't even know where to start. Paladin? Easy. Monk? Don't be silly. Three way multiclass? Hmmm, lemme think.And strange as it may sound, often it makes a challenge all in itself, living up to be the legend that the statbloc promises.
Sometimes it's fun to have a character whose statbloc makes him incredibly impaired compared to the average of his companions - but he succeeds and survives nonetheless, with a little help.
Sometimes it's fun to have a character with a stabloc that includes good values and abismal ones - I know my half-orc grappler monk is one of them.
Having a balanced character (math/point wise, that is) surely eliminates some nasty problems and some annoying stuff, but does not always equate to more fun or more useful in the party balance - including those with low stats.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Uhm... if you go over the speed limits for no other reason than going fast... well no, it's not going to help. It shouldn't.If you had reasonable motives, the police officer might listen. Maybe fine you nonetheless, but also help you get there faster.
But if the debate is about a principle that exists in a void without situations that might or might not apply and influence it, we're done: subjectively altering random dice results is bad.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I honestly don't get this dichotomy between "no fudging: death always on" and "fudging: no death ever".
If a player "gets in over his head", death for his character is absolutely fine. Stupid tactic? Sorry, fantasy life is harsh. A fight that ends poorly just for that last roll, despite being head to head for all the time? That makes stuff for an epic dirge. A failed save that means a spell will stop a character dead on his tracks, while the battle is raging (and his companions will have to spend hard won resources to bring him back to the living)? Fine, too.
If a player's character risks death for another player being dumb and putting other PCs in mortal danger for his foolishness... well not so much fun (nor sense, narratively speaking). And I've seen this scene once too much.
I don't ask the GM to have PCs "barely win" every fight (or when I'm the GM I won't do that), it's just that having them survive - when the overall story balance and the choices made by the players grant this privilege - maybe fleeing the encounter with a sense of dread and impending doom, doesn't feel like cheating at all.
A GM adjusts encounters when designing adventures to make them more challenging and fun for the PCs, taking away stuff too dangerous or too easy.
Honest answer: because the fictional pantheon of different gods serves a precise function in the game of recreating an equally fictional setting, contributing in making it a plausible fantasy world (as much as an oxymoron as it may sound) and helping player immersion and identification in their characters.
Personal answer: why should I force my personal beliefs onto other players in a fantasy roleplaying game by having the setting mirror my personal idea of what is or is not a deity?
Big Lemon wrote:
A GM directly controlling what a character may or may not do is wrong, I think we can all agree:
Big Lemon wrote:
"No, you can't take that side-strret", "No, you cannot visit the witch first and the dungeon second", etc. Many also feel that "excessive restrictions" on character options also makes a bad GM, i.e. "You cannot play a dwarf wizard because I decided dwarves can't be wizards", and the countless myriad of variations.
OK, none of these examples look bad, per se. Situational, probably. But not inherently wrong.
Big Lemon wrote:
My question, though, is: Is it acceptable for a GM to veto a decision based on the in-character reasons the player has come up with?
Only if what the player has come up with is blatantly against the world, campaign, play style, agreed rules, or else the GM and the other players have previously agreed upon.Aka: a player has no right to wreck a game, because "that's his thing".
Big Lemon wrote:
Not unfair as long as it's common knowledge at the table.Mostly yes. Usually a few blank spots are left floating about for the GM and the player to expand and work on as needed. If the new stuff doesn't contradict previously agreed material, no problem (Aka: a GM has no right to wreck a character because "that's his campaign").
I think that my examples would only lead to a rather long winded discussion on what's an edition issue, a GMing issue and which one of them stems from the other.It's best to paraphrase one of my regular players: "It feels like I'm playing the game just to level up time and time again: I have to plan a character instead of letting the adventures shape him, or having him survive the adventures despite shortcomings in his abilities.
And even not considering the combat encounters and that mountain of modifiers, with all this planning, skill grades, feats, prerequisites, class stuff and equipment, I feel more like an accountant on behalf of my character rather than a player".
BTW, we stuck to 3.X/PFRPG for a bit more than a decade, we came there from AD&D2e, CoC and Kult 1st ed (shudder), and we're now playing Blade of the Iron Throne and Thousand Suns. Pretty much all systems with an hefty load of things to take in consideration - OK, CoC and TS less than the others.
And all of this rant leads to the (maybe) unexpected result: the characters are mechanically built to be heroes. They're not just fledgling adventurers with some tricks upon their sleeves (the feeling you got with earlier editions).
And with published adventures we're still there, superheroes with no superproblems. Published adventures which I take are the baseline from the game publishers on how the system works (adventures may be good, bad, or else in any system).
Farael the Fallen wrote:
I believe the recent extreme weather conditions in the Northwest are being caused by manmade global warming. Agree or disagree?
I believe that's caused by Cthugha's influence, with Fomalhaut being more visible in the northern emisphere during autumn.Or maybe it's just Fthaggua and those pesky Fire Vampires. Blasted critters.
Please bear with my rusty English, as it's not my primary language, and trying to express kinda vague, personal concepts is a bit hard.
The last day of september, a friend of mine passed away from cancer. The illness developed mostly without symptoms, and by the time the first ones showed up, it was too late for any attempt of cure or therapy. In a short three months he wore out, leaving a sense of loss that I know no human words can properly describe.
A couple weeks later I found myself in possession of one manuscript he wrote about 20 years ago, a typewrited 100-pages long adventure. It's a murder mistery based investigation for Call of Cthulhu (our RPG of choice back in the days), that in the text frequently addresses me directly as the GM (Keeper, in the game) to make adjustements or to cover blank elements, as I'd deem most appropriate. Very few cosmic horrors, and a lot of old fashioned hardboiled detective action, Philip Marlowe style; maybe even more akin to the older Fu Manchu novels.
It's the only thing I can imagine that could give a semblance of... logic, maybe, to what has happened. Again, words fail me.
So, now I find myself re-writing the text (I will NOT allow an OCR software lay its soulless gaze on it), making annotations, checking rules and resources, changing bits and adjusting where necessary - the least possible. The prospect of changing too much, or deviating from his original concept is absolutely terrifying to me.
Being one of the original... patrons (before being a backer became commonplace) of Sinister Adventures timeframe, and having not folded my pledge, I can't praise enough Louis, Nick, Rich, all the awesome guys who contributed to the effort, and the fine people at Frog God games that made this possible.
Perhaps a little devil's advocate, but I sure would be angry if my GM saved classes for special snowflake NPCs and denied them to his PCs. The players are supposed to be the heroes, not the supporting cast.
While I absolutely agree, I also feel compelled to say that they're the heroes because of what they do, not (only) because of what they are.Important NPCs must be special as much as the playing characters, even exotic or exceedingly rare, and even moreso due to their limited playing time in a show focused on the PCs.
Players requesting to have "all the options" to perform as protagonists is not a valid argument - at least in my book.
Seen it. Once, then they learned.
Short story, the group charged into melee, crashing headlong into an orc multi-tribal horde.
The rest of the party went through a lot of hurt, while trying to get their comrades back to safety, harassed by lowly troops and slowed by the occasional elite enemy (orc warchiefs, ogres, an handful of giants), and ran for their lives as soon as possible.
Back at their base camp, they also suffered the indignity of an army officer berating them for risking their lives of most capable warriors and spellcasters just for a few dozen orcs.
tl;dr: split the party. Wreck their strategy.
As far as user interfaces are involved, unifying the desktop and mobile environment is simply stupid. I'm not using my CAD the same way I'm fiddling with my tablet, get over it once and for all.
And this is true for a hundred other professional softwares.
Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Sorry but my brain kinda crashed into a brick wall and refused to read further after this.
You dig a 10 ft. deep (about 3 metres) trench every time you camp around a defensive area. Every time. 10 ft. deep.
Even with a gross approximation, how long is this trench? Do you accomplish this herculean feat alone? Do you have some kind of magic assistance in doing this?
Yet another vote for Call of Cthulhu - the d100 version.
More recent systems, The One Ring (set 5 years after the Battle of Five Armies) which deals a lot with travelling and social interactions with the people of the Middle Earth; and A song of Ice and Fire RPG, which has a robust social interaction system and an equally developed domain management part.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 3rd Ed. (with the Lure of Power supplement) can be easily used for a political/social campaign in which physical combat is the least frequent option.
Also, Thousand Suns is a good sci-fi game that has combat not in the forefront, and I seem to recall that Rogue Trader features an interesting commercial focus, with a great concept of managing your own space vessel and its crew.
A lot of Cortex based games, like Leverage, also do not have combat as the main element of the game.
I'd like to see bigger tiles, like the ones produced by Rakham for its Cadwallon/Confrontation lines (they were called something like "reversible hybrid tiles"), massive 12" x 12" laminated card tiles.
But they would also heavily interfere with flip mats and map packs, which I understand is not a good idea.
I like my dinosaur way: evolution slow and steady, maybe with a couple too much dead branches, but sparking inspiration even at wrong turns.These new social mammalians mutate too fast, even discarding choices before having effectively perused them.
Best 35 $ placed in a preorder - ever!!
(and many thanks to Lou and everyone else involved in the project too, obviously)
Given how much I've enjoyed WotW, I'm more than willing to give Gary an undisclosed amount of slack.
I play with only core rulebook and (most part of the) advanced players guide allowed. None of the latest hardcovers have survived the vetoing process - neither the companions.
I play in what I call Golarion 1.0, the one from the old harcover, with paladins of Asmodeus, conflicting references, a lot less deities, and what the developers have called "the rough edges". I like the pulp-era style it has compared the the sterilized feel of the new HC.
I prefer the 3.5 era AP compared to the PFRPG ones. Reading the latter gave me the feeling of a sanitized version of the originals, without the blood stains, the gritty scenes, and... the real danger. The one that does not only kill your PC, but it scares the living $#!£ out the player too.
I think that the WBL tables are seriously messed up and should be scrapped altogether.
The book has just showed up at my door (the other side of the pond).
As one of the original pre-orderers (?) all the way back to Sinister times, I'd like to thank Lou, Bill, Greg, Tim, Richard, Adam, Frank and everyone involved in bringing this bloodthirsty tome back from the depths of the ocean.
It will now stand proudly beside other glorious hardcovers, such as Ptolus, The Shackled City, Rise of the Runelords, and Trouble at Durbenford.
Also, why the hate on opposed attack roles? I mean, I get that they add one more roll to combat, but, oh god, 5 whole seconds, what a gamebreaker. I suppose I stole the idea from a system that doesn't use damage rolls, so combat was sped up somewhat compared to standard PF combat, but that secondary randomness being added into the mix sounds enjoyable enough for me to deal with an extra roll.
The problem doesn't come from the opposed roll (as in the time it takes to roll the dice), but rather it stems from the time it takes to compute all the necessary modifiers to the opposed rolls themselves.
Opposed checks without the whole "system mastery" (spell buff, piece of equipment, feat, situational modifier, class feature, racial ability, etc.) math apparatus of the d20 system is great.
I strongly support more articulated defensive maneuvers, but the current AC+HP concepts and d20 roll+pile of modifiers does not help at all implementing anything different from a roll vs a static number - and that comes before class based, leveled defense bonus and armor as DR plus a Vitality/Wounds system.
EDIT: and yes, what Kolokotroni said above.
I find the idea of a 20th level fighter (or any class character, for that matter) being dealt damage by a commoner with a pointy stick being excellent, if not positively desirable.
The idea of a 20th level fighter (or any combat oriented class) being hit by a commoner with a pointy stick is another matter.
However the HPs value is a catch-it all number that defines stamina, phisical wounds, determination, will to survive, fatigue and other stuff - at least for PCs: for adversaries it's just the sustainable damage amount. Sucks to be them.
Game balance and playability moreover desires that attack succeeds a little bit better than defence, and that a combat exchange goes as fast and smooth as possible. Other game systems have a way more complex and slow procedure, as in "I choose my combat stance, my opponent does the same, them I roll for attack with modifiers for conflicting stances, my opponent rolls for defense with different modifiers for the same two conflicting stances of before, then I roll for damage, subtract the armor soaking value, change my opponent vitality points and add yet another modifier to combat due to sustained damage, stress and fatigue. OK, roll again for initiative, you're facing the third goblin now".
So, unless you rework from the ground up the whole system, lots of HPs, high attack vs not so high defense, roll vs static number, they all stay right there.
Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
Alchemist, Magus, Oracle and Cavalier - I like. Fantasy traditions since a very long time.
Inquisitor, Witch and Summoner - not my cup of tea, but I can't really find anything completely wrong in them (Summoners are really advanced classes though, with a lot of pitfalls). Sometimes they overshine other classes, sometimes they don't.
Samurai, Ninja and Gunslinger - not at my table. Unless I've developed a campaign that makes them fitting.
Right now, too many racial options, archetypes, feats, traits (I've come to despise them with the strenght of a thousand fiery suns), silly races and spells, the option bloat already seen in the 3.X era. And the inevitable race to combos and bonus stacking.
But I'm still the DM and my veto is strong as ever, so the hassle is listing what's good and what's not. "I don't care, there are no dwarf-adopted feline humanoid gunslingers in my fantasy world. And there will never be".
This deserves an explanation. Mind that's a very personal explanation, so take it with a grain of salt and all the rest.
I come from an early era of RPGs, both PnP and CRPGs. Feats, skill points, retraining was something done only with command line cheats or third party "trainer" softwares (for videogames) or not at all (for tabletop RPGs).
Moreover, I developed a simultaneous interest in tabletop wargames. The ones with a hex map full of symbols and two or three colors (not the fancy hand painted maps or high-definition renders), and small cardboard counters - games that actively tried to fry your brain, like Breakout Normandy.
Choosing a feat (or devoting a bunch of skill points for Use Rope) is choosing a strategy. You may make mistakes. You survive and live with your mistakes. These are things that define your character as much (or sometimes, more) as your optimal choices.
You don't retrain your past. Not at my table.
Wilbur Whateley wrote:
This is actually a quote I can use in my PF games.
I'm running a Darkmoon Vale campaign for a large group (8 players) and I had to figure out some fill-ins for extra XP. Some of them are from older 3.X stuff, but really easy to convert, even on the fly.
- Hollow (Tales of the Old Margreve); to bring the party upward in XP count.
I also plannes some different "roads" based on PCs choice; you can substitute Revenge of the Kobold King and Hungry are the Dead with Tower of the Last Baron and Treasure of Chimera Cove. Moreover it's possible to substitute Wingclipper's Revenge and Challenge of the Fang with The Automatic Hound (Dungeon Magazine #148) and Carnival of Fear.
Environment themed modules, where the location plays a significant role, not just in the "Ok you're in a swamp, here's two encounters with swamp monsters, and... we're done, you arrived to the dungeon".
Also different themes. Intrigue more than combat. A dungeon made of logical puzzles and traps (remember the old Challenge of Champions adventures in Dungeon Magazine?). War, both large field battles and guerrilla style, against a capable enemy.
Areas left untouched by sourcebooks and APs, such as the Realm of the Mammoth Lords, Nirmathas, Druma, Geb...
Turin the Mad wrote:
Arctic explorer time - ship sails north, ice pack expands and engulfs the ship. let's see how the crew and characters do without beasts of burden crossing the North Pole ...
Charlie Bell wrote:
"Sure! A sailing ship costs 10,000 gp. Oh, you don't HAVE 10,000 gp? Well you probably wouldn't be able to afford to pay the crew and buy provisions, then, either..."
While these are really good advice and I'd actually stick with them, if you are not too hard pressed with time and prep resources, following the player's lead for a nautical voyage shoudn't be too difficult.
In Karlsgard, the PCs should recruit a captain and his ship instead of a landbound guide. Sandru should stick around nonetheless, as the merchant liaison once in Minkai (and even more being a close friend of Ameiko in such an NPC heavy campaign). It shouldn't pose too much of a challenge to fit this theme instead of the standard one of fitting a landlocked caravan.
Book 3 is more of an issue, but not too much. Remember they're travelling in the off season. Spoilers ahead.
Instead of following the Path of Aganhei, the ship would travel along the Route of (you name it).
Katiyana is a half-fiend nereid living in a forgotten Azlant northern outpost, and issuing forth blizzard and floating archipelagos of hull-smashing icebergs. She plays a secondary role, maybe only seen from the distance.
Iqaliat is a fishing village, and the relevant encounters are pretty much the same. The white dragon however is the one from Frost Giants of the Icy Heart, which become the harassing enemies shadowing the PC's ship all the way to the coast of Minkai, until they catch up and in a climatic showdown crash their iceberg and the merchant ship on the ice pack.
The PCs must go on by land, without proper equipment other than the one salvaged from the wreck (and with Sandru giving them a hefty headache for not having opted for the safer Path of Aganhei), persecuted by the last remnants of the frost giant pirates, until they're forced in the yeti's dungeon. Remove the ghost of Katyana and use another nasty frost monster.
More adjustements will be needed apart from this rough outlines. Most of all, you have to change a lot of the random and named encounters, adapting them for a sea voyage.
However this way you'll have a relatively satisfied player and a not overly changed AP segment. With all the troubles undergone for having chosen the sea path instead of the land path (possibily safer, who knows?), his future requests will fall on the unsimpathetic ears of the NPCs and maybe even of the other players.
Love the concept, eager to see the execution.
At low levels the 64 page format will allow for a greater scope (as in spanning multiple levels) and background/setting stuff, while at higher levels the extra pages are so much useful for the sorely needed extra informations about NPCs, creatures, tactics, custom magic items/spells and whatnots.
Also, supermodules hells yeah.
I'd want to run a campaign that deals with civil strife in Taldor (perhaps a bid by Princess Eutropia to take her father's throne after his assassination) leading Qadira to initiate hostilities again, causing chaos when the leadership of that nations branch of the church of Sarenae suddenly lose their powers and attempt to hide it by turning to someone or something... Else.
Did that, even though the campaign focused on other things and the political machination of Princess Eutropia and the social-religious strife of southern Taldor (and the heavy handed skirmishes along the Qadiran border) were limited to a "setting" role. Not really only scenographic elements, but surely not the primary engines of the campaign.The princess allowed a Qadiran mercenary force to cross the border, using political influence to remove key officers and troops from the army, to fuel a schism in the Lion Blades and have free action for her own undercover agents in a forthcoming popular uprising, engineered by the BBEG - whom the Princess knew was scheming against the whole nation. A double-layered betrayal to weaken opponents and gain further influence, without revealing her role.
I ran the campaign with the pre-Inner Sea Guide setting - which I call "Golarion untamed" - and pictured Taldor as a Victorian influenced Byzantium Empire. My players were not simpathetic at first, but the layered conflict (social, political, military, religious, and obviously the innumerable individual ambitions) grew on them.