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grymrayne's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Society Member. 21 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


Goblin Squad Member

any word on how to get the mouse/look inverted?

just need a way to invert y axis for mouse, but so far no luck.

driving backwards and upside down sucks, and this is (i should think) a relatively simple issue for a developer to get sorted...

any news would be appreciated!


Goblin Squad Member

Couple of things:

with the stated goals of developing (allowing players to develop) a robust intrigue game (spying and the like), how will this affect these measures? as the following points of 'information' have been discussed, how will the 'ardent defender' determine:

alignment: you've already said that in-game mechanics must be used. the relatively cheap and long-duration 'undetectable alignment' spell is already in PFTT, how will it be implemented here? (it's a 2nd level divine spell IIRC). will there be 'shades of evil' and 'shades of law'? it seems like alignment will be on a permanently shifting slider based on your actions... how will 'detect good' fare against neutral characters? and how far away from neutral on the good axis will you have to be to be considered by the spells detection mechanics? obviously this works for all other axes of alignment and all detect spells.

Death Curse: this, i can actually see as being deus ex machina. after all, the gods, and particularly (referenced) Pharasma have a hand in the affairs of Golarion. There's no getting around this one, so if the killed defender chooses this option, takes the personal hit on reputation (generalized reputation? faction rep? alignment? is placing a death-curse on anyone, even a 'griefer' any different than ganking someone in the first place? will it negatively affect your alignment to both evil and chaos? i hope so! or at least evil... if it's the stated law of the gods that Death Curses can be levelled in certain circumstances.) we can be certain that the 'curse' is placed on the correct individual.

Faction: how will the defender know who the attacker 'works for'? what about disguise? some other factions's tabard? magical disguise? i hope there's a mechanic for 'spotting' disguises (seeing through them) that can scale with level, just as i hope there's a mechanic for making/donning ever more convincing disguises that scales, whether it includes magic or not. again, referencing the tabletop game, Assassin (prestige class) has a pre-requisite for disguise (for a very sensible reason... Blaeringr i'm sure will agree).

this was brought up before, but as i've just alluded to assassination, what about 1-hit kills? how (if even possible in game?) will this be handled? If the defender literally doesn't see/sense the attacker coming, and doesn't get a 'move' in before crumpling in a bloody, dead heap (or incinerated, or whatever), what will their 'detection' options be? is the Death Curse the only recourse for that encounter?

is there any other 'information' that a defender could glean from an attacker that will A: make sense in the game and B: be used as a mechanic to mitigate abuse/griefing (which is the supposed intent here, if i'm not wrong?) and also C: will there be 'counter' mechanics to use/skill up/exploit? so far the only referenced mechanics have been alignment, reputation and alliance...

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yes, curious for updates!

Goblin Squad Member

good fast cheap (quality, time/deadline and expenses) is the holy trinity of the real world, regardless of field. i happen to be in engineering (i build light rail trains for commuters), and it hold here as everywhere else.

otoh, my personal favorite holy trinity (and the one i'm currently wrestling with) is:

beautiful, single, sane.

pick 2.

so far, i seem to gravitate towards the first 2.


on-topic: i would prefer a greater choice of races, though classes i'm ambivalent about. alchemists and witches seem (with nothing but a passing glance at them) to be sub-archetypes, or... whatchacallum, alt-arch's?
whatever. given what we know about archetypes in PFO, not sure that those classifications are that important, as long as the skill sets they represent are implemented (even gradually, or as expansions, etc.)

race, and appearance, however, are cornerstones of character development. they are the base model to which we apply all other characteristics (including aptitudes, formerly known as attributes, or stats). so the greater variety (and personally within lore, though i do appreciate the melting-pot reference made earlier, especially given our starting locale in the River Kingdoms) the more happy more people will be. this, then, simply boils down to dev time (meaning launch date) and money (which means you should all pitch in more if you want more! especially if you want it 'on time'!)


Goblin Squad Member

sounds good.

might be an idea to have an agenda roughly mapped out, so that we don't end up being 50 voices just asking who's who and then...


or just jibber jabber about whatever most-recent post inflamed us highly.

anyhow, hope to be there


Goblin Squad Member


one: i get a genuine giggle out of the 'chaotic good' "organizations". ha ha, good one! what are you called, "Anarchy United!"???

2: my guess is that LE will be the dominant 'evil' alignment. anyone who creates a fiefdom will set up their own rules and become, in effect, a tyrant. NE PCs will play large and important rules within such organizations (as will LN).

3: with the gated-release structure of PFO, i'm of the belief that the griefers that so many here seem so afraid of will be fairly rigidly controlled by both sides. perhaps i'm just naive, or simply don't have enough exposure to open pvp-mmo's (i played conan online... meh). but it seems that with 1: a predominantly good aligned player base (as we seem to be developing, at least in the open), and 2: a slowly-ramping-up player base catering to genuinely interested players (i know i'm in the first 2000, how 'bout you?) willing to take a gamble on such an audacious and ground-breaking game, that grief-monkeys will be hard-pressed to make an impact with such rigorous internal policing.

4: can someone point me to threads/thoughts on alignment mechanics? i find it hard to swallow the idea that evil (NE/LE/CE) aligned PCs will be KOS without some kind of identifying mechanic. as well, there are certainly ways within Pathfinder to obscure alignment, intent, etc. to say nothing of appearance (race, gender, clothing etc.) As Ryan has pointed out that espionage will be alive and well in the game, i find it hard to picture the mechanical equivalent, in-game, of all the 'evil' PCs wearing black tabards. undoubtedly this is where the various ideas surrounding reputation will come in, but how/where does one start the discussion of "well, those goody-two-legions-of-veil don't like me, but that doesn't mean that i'm evil... so just where do i fit?!?"

5: taxes. and death. but mostly taxes. who will collect them on behalf of the organizations seeking to control hexes? how will that be administered? therein lies a great deal of potentially very evil game-play, that doesn't even have to venture beyond LN.

6: the most successful evil in the game will not be the ones running around in black, yelling "lolz-look a pally, let's go get'im!" as already intimated by those above: evil will find a foothold in the dark cracks that are, invariably, created by those bradishing light. That said, i agree that the truly powerful (read: hex-controlling, resource monopolizing, and typically organized) er... organizations will all take time to reach those lofty goals, regardless of alignment (again, referring to anything larger than guilds for at least the first year of open enrollment is basically out of the question, regardless of hopes, due to the nature of the economies required by the game mechanics to support such ventures. also commented upon by Ryan in a blog, somewhere). all i'm really getting at here is that the snowball of good is as unlikely as the omnipresent evil.

7: the 'typical' dark-fantasy stand by: the thieves' guild. how will they develop in this sandbox? information brokers, for sure. employing armies of beggars and pick-pockets: less likely (but certainly possible). simple bounty-hunters: of course. got a grief/beef: go see shady-slim-shank, and he'll find you a contract killer for hire. what other roles are to be expected? is b&e going to become a possibility once guild halls are created/built? general populace housing a target (if and when it happens)? grave-robbers for the necromancers? alchemists for the poisoners? does this mean that every herbalist shop and special spell-component procurer will be scrutinized based on their business transactions? how will 'hot' merchandise be dealt with?

so, far too much here to contemplate for a tuesday arvo, and i hate the number 7, so...

8: catch me if you can...


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@ Darth Grall (OP):

now, having read all your posts, I'm even more convinced of my first assessment:

You are DM'ing wonderfully.

You are adjudicating (the RAW) poorly (obviously not a concern if everyone in the group knows/expects this, thus my comments below reflect only the RAW).

Let's start with the good news: you've got a good, fun, long-term group, who apparently enjoy playing with each other. They know that running away is an option in your game (!) and that monsters/adversaries aren't just XP fountains. This is a great achievement, let me tell you. Congrats.

However: the bad news is that the mass-dominate effect on the townsfolk, the detect evil/outsider errata concerning the Synthesist and the hallowed->unhallowed site including mysteriously murdered priest (which I think is great set-up and flavor, especially as there are ways to achieve the exact effects you've described within the RAW), seem to be overstepping.

Dominate is a single-target spell. As you've described the scene, I'm having trouble figuring out when the Vampire had 2 minutes to dominate all 20 peasants. Also, how did he dominate the initial peasant (who was, by the sounds of it, inside the church and thus not visible to the vamp?) to let him in in the first place? I do agree that your use of him knocking and 'requesting permission' to enter was, again, great set-up. Bravo! Vamps are nasty but sophisticated (well, they can be slavering insane hunger-pangs, too, but not for BBEG's).

Slight digression here, but, it sounds like you play with your group at a table, with dice... here is a wonderful opportunity to add some flavor, suspense, and heroics to the scene without tipping the scales in either direction (changing the APL or CR of either party). There are 20 peasants, all who must make a will save vs. dominate. Chances are the DC for the dominate spell/su ability is beyond that of any 1st level commoner to make. BUT! If any one of them rolls a natural 20, they do, in fact, reject the domination effect (at least for that round: the vamp can try again with no penalty on subsequent rounds). Now, without getting all math-y, there is a chance that at least 1 of those 20 (1 in 20, get it?) will save the will save (ugh, sometimes i have to apologize for myself, apologies!). Roll this save for every peasant on the table, just like a player (not in secret). If even one of them saves, this sets up opportunities for:

heroic actions: "hey, i'm just a peasant, but I resisted a Vampire! Now let my brother GO!" this also helps tip the emotional odds and spur the party into acting like heroes (even though the party are supposed to be the role-models, not the npc peasants!)

future cohorts/followers for the party: "remember when I helped you save my friends and family...well, I want to help you more! I can carry stuff, and cook, and build camp..."

a back-up character for someone in the party who either doesn't fit-in or dies in this or any near-future encounter: "remember me, i'm the fearless peasant who wouldn't be told what to do by that nasty Vamp! What say I join you guys and help rid this land of evil, because I've been practising (class) etc. etc."

Regarding the gear of the characters and the experience of their players: does the NG priest of death have scrolls? perhaps really useful ones like "magic circle vs. evil"? Even though a caster level check would be required to cast the scroll, it would take stupendously bad luck for that roll to fail. barring that, did neither the pally nor the priest have prot. vs. evil memorized? This is the instant and reliable way to counter or immunize 1 character per casting against the dominate effect of vampires. In a land besieged with undead, all casters capable of using protection from evil should have it available in their spell load daily, if not for that specific use, then for the myriad of other excellent effects it grants, especially for a 1st level spell! in a well geared party, potions of the same should be widespread for such endeavours.

This calls into question the party's motivation for entering the land that is known to be besieged by undead. Were they after fame and glory (or perhaps glorious deaths)? were they hoping to become saviours of the land? Was the party foul-ly duped by the Magus or Wizard (also a dhampir?) into going there so he/they could learn the secrets of becoming a Lich? These motivations can (and should) be taken into account when designing future encounters for them (something i'm confident you are already employing). My point is, they knowingly went to an undead-fest, shacked up with some innocent survivors, and didn't (seemingly) use any of their knowledge or resources to prepare themselves for what they might face. This is before we consider the plethora of holy water and symbols available to them in the bloody church! Perhaps your players aren't as experienced as I once thought...

All the more reason to introduce them to Ravenloft (/evil dm chuckle).

Now, for further ideas regarding the outcome of last game, might i humbly suggest the following:

The Vampire Synthesist has a sister. Her name is Hatty. Hatty the Night Hag. He calls her up on his sending, and cajoles, bribes or trades for a favor from her: haunt this party with her nightmares. She (doesn't matter if it's really his sister or not, just another evil denizen he knows of, and is willing to bargain with) begins doing just that, but it turns out that your entire party is either Lawful or neutral...

Except that pesky Samurai!

There's his come-uppance: he is the only target of her nightmares, and thus is the conduit for some of the haunting other posters have put forth (all good ideas).

Also, in order for this not to be too centered and debilitating for the Samurai (for whom i have the most sympathy, given the circumstances OOC), you could reasonably think about shifting the wizard, magus and/or rogue's alignment(s) one-step to chaotic instead of evil. While they had the good of the whole in mind, their (random? crazy?) impulse and thought-process that lead them to mass immolation is what is really worth playing off of here (from a moralistic and story-telling perspective). This gives that Night Hag a way to visit each chaotic member in the party (spreading out the pain they are receiving and/or having to recuperate), and introduces another, though further-away villain for you to plague them with...

layers upon layers. Good DM'ing (in my books).

This also touches on the redemption of the pally (which is a great story arc). It was suggested that the atonement be the destruction of the Vamp (agreed) and the freeing of the lands from undead (way way too much, unless this Vamp is the cause of the entire land's troubles with undead). You've mentioned that the Vamp is the BBEG, so I would expect a confrontation with him to be a longer-term goal, but I think that freeing the land is too grandiose and difficult to achieve, and would take too long for the pally's redemption. You've also stated that you like the idea of stripping some of the pally's abilities, not just cleaning her out of all her toys. Well, how about this: She loses 1 ability immediately as punishment, and knows/is told by the agents of her god that until she sees to the demise of the Vamp, that her abilities will continue to erode over time. This gives you the option of taking away an ability at a time, as you see fit, if they dawdle or suffer more (moral) setbacks during the pursuit of the Vamp. It also gives you the chance of rewarding her with lost abilities as she gets closer to her goal: scratch another of the Vamp's generals (like the graveknight): get back your (spellcasting, or divine grace, or whatever). I think there's a lot of roleplaying opportunity within this structure without turning your pally into a feat-less fighter.

I don't know enough about Golarion and Pharasma to give much insight here, but surely the N Goddess of Death has a part to play in the town (church of Pharasma), the undead plaguing the lands, and the NG cleric/worshipper involved in this debacle. Perhaps (not knowing specifics) if she was the one to suggest 'passing-on' the townsfolk en-mass, then her alignment would be the one to go a shade... darker =]. she is the one that can most afford it (in the party), becoming a true N cleric who still channels positive energy... She might, however, be without casting/channelling abilities until she fashions a new holy symbol that recognizes her (slight) change in emphasis of faith (and she should be told that this is what would be required, either by her goddess or by agents of such).

As for the monk... hmmm. well, as this post is well long-enough already, i'll leave it for a bit to ponder. The difficulty lies in not turning the monk against character type (LN) and not de-lawfulizing (yikes, oh well, it's on the internet now, must be a word!) him out of the class, but still subjecting him to some unpleasantness for his complicity. Perhaps agents of a (rival/evil) monastery hear about the atrocity and seek to recruit him...

Oh, one last thing: Temptation! It is in temptation that you can most easily, eerily, and engagingly bring about the 'downfall' of your party. I'm not advocating killing them, or anything near it... By downfall, i simply mean continuing to pose moral problems to the party. Tempt them with power gained through making unwise choices: the magus and wizard can both be tempted by gaining spells (either from the Night Hag or other evil outsiders/casters), the rogue can be told of riches to pursue (not that those riches are cursed!), and so forth. You know your players and their motivations, so play off those and lead them (by the nose!) down the garden path...

just don't point out the assassin vines ;)

@ Orthos: Thanks!

Yours in DM scheming

edit: @Rynjin: also thanks!

@ Rynjin: I too, know not how to copy/paste the multiquote/previous posters comments in the pretty shades into my pithy posts. Please enlighten. (I always end up with 1.) You don't know how copy and paste/multiquoting works.)

Thank you

Goblin Squad Member

@ DLH: thanks for the explanation. it is, in fact, an attitude (or playstyle/DM style) that i apply in my TT games...

to a degree.

if the raging barbarian blows the Strength check to open the door, well then, that's too bad. door remains closed. If, however, the raging barbarian enlists the "aid" of his companions, and they (combined) miss the str check of the door by a small margin, then yes, said door opens and then a penalty applies for a short while (or simply an amusing anecdote is rendered where the entire party trying to open the door collapse on each other in a fully-armored orgy of limbs, curses, and bafoonery, once the stubborn door finally bursts open and they land in a heap in the next room).

This is harder to achieve, i think, in a video-game, where the mechanical rules are literally hard-coded. there is no DM caveat.

We already know that there are hard boundaries that will be implemented in PFO: vis. naming conventions (not picking on you, i quite like the name/idea of mindiana, except that she's a halfling, and i loathe halflings... /sigh). Granted, naming conventions are a less mechanical 'ruleset' than capstones, but they illustrate the point that we should expect that there will be things in the game that carry consequences for our characters, and that those consequences may (will likely) be far-reaching and non-reversible (you won't change your name back after being slapped for non-conformity).

To further illustrate how non-lenient/not-fail-forward a video game can (and should) be, consider: the party has reduced the BBEG to 1% health on a 'raid' or whatever passes for it. The healer is out of juice, the damage dealers have broken weapons, are fleeing in terror, or dead, and the sole-remaining hero is finally brought-low by the BBEG. The raid wipes. Bummer. They try again (going back to their hopefully instanced dungeon to collect their husks, gear, etc.). And Wipe. And Wipe. And Wipe. At what point, even at <1% of the BBEG's health, does the programming apply 'fail-forward' to this encounter and simply pass the party through to the hero's loot stage/dead BBEG?

Finally, I would state a personal preference that I prefer the immersion generated by our actions, choices, and the outcomes of them having real, long-term consequences (and having at least some of them be non-reversible). It makes the game 'more real' for me. I might also point out that I'm not playing the game to 'simulate' anything... it's a fantasy game and reality can bite my behind for all that (something that, honestly, irks me about this thread regarding the 'real-life-analogues' arguments for and against capstone abilities). I'm not 100% sure that I think capstones should function that way (be an all-or-nothing/once or never choice), but I do support the paradigm that includes these kinds of developmental decisions (both for our characters and for the game in general).


edit: rofl. so sorry, this is definitely a cross-posted thought process of mine, must be very tired. just realized this was the character thread, not the capstone thread... you derailed me! ha ha, apologies.


scanning through this thread has been interesting and confounding, occasionally enlightening, and sometimes creative.


i'm not sure that the crux of the matter has been adequately dealt with: the dominate power of the vampire/synthesist. it is more of a 1-way telepathic ability, and the experiences (specifically the knowledge of the key, hearing it's whereabouts, learning how it's kept, whatever) is not available to the vampire in question: see the dominate spell for clarification.

also, nowhere in the synthesist class is there any mention of the alteration of the dominate ability, so unless this is something that's been cooked up by the (in my view interesting, engaging and creative) dm, or in a template that i've missed, unless the vampire was specifically concentrating on whichever hapless townsfolk learned the secret of the key at the time it was learned, he would be unaware of it.

even if the timing was perfect, and he was concentrating on that particular (or any of them i guess... surely they had a reason to immolate the entire lot of 20?!?) peasant, he'd perhaps only get the mental equivalent of a light-bulb going off over said hapless peasant's head, as though it had just learned something interesting or enlightening.

even if the vampire had the "mastermind" variant ability to actually establish a true telepathic (both ways) bond with *one* of the peasants, he'd be in the catatonic state to learn what it was learning at that moment... surely they'd have noticed if, while he was wandering away laughing and gloating, that he'd keeled over catatonic for a few moments while the secrets of the key were being discussed?

anyhow, despite how the mechanics of the rules (and the characters' knowledge of vampire powers) played out, i feel there have been numerous excellent suggestions as to how to handle the repercussions of this.

I only add my voice to those who agree that the pally should fall. She failed to TRY... let alone DO good. In fact, she stood by while associates of hers clearly did evil. in front of her. to a mass of innocent peasants. FALL.

The cleric should, equally, be stripped of notice by her deity. Duty has cost.

The samurai: meh. internal code, ronin, OOC actions requiring his 'absence', at least some of this ameliorates his actions. that he charged into a graveknight and dealt a fantastic blow against a strong and clearly evil foe is a mark in his favor for this as well...

However, personally, I love the idea put forth about a little visit to Barovia. Let that pally really understand (and the cleric) how bad unchecked evil can be, and show them why they MUST stand up and fight the good (even if losing) fight.

I should mention that i'm particularly harsh on paladins in my games, to the point of basically ruling them out (i've changed them to be a prestige class for starters), and i absolutely love watching them fall. I'm not a dice-rules-all DM, but i don't pull punches against pallys (and make this painfully clear during character creation and all subsequent sessions... pallys have a very tough life in my world). So take my view as you will...

but the rules/mechanics warrant another review, and i'd appreciate anyone showing me where my (DM'ing) logic fails


Goblin Squad Member

Capstones are a known inclusion: they will be there. You cannot access them until 20th level or whatever we're calling it this week. So points 1 and 3 are covered. There have been numerous postings related to capstone-defaults ie: you will be told in no-uncertain-terms that if you proceed in gaining a merit badge that will disqualify you from attaining capstone, there will be no reversal (the design implementation and decision behind making this non reversible is still open for discussion and interpretation, let alone implementation), but you will be amply notified and allowed at that point to re-think your decision.

Valkenr, I appreciate and understand that you are a number-cruncher, with no interest in RP. If we take one extreme, and say that capstones are only going to provide a vanity-effect (big purple hat), then we know that this is one aspect of the game that you will have no interest in pursuing. You will know it's there, and know that it will not affect your enjoyment, because it is not what you're after. Then it matters not-a-wit what the actual 'purple hat' is, simply that it is there for others to enjoy.

OTOH, If we take the other extreme, and design capstone abilities (and their subsequent limited and non-reversible methods of achievement) to have significant game mechanics effects, then by all means, I'd want to know what those effects were before I structured a character to pursue them (or not). This definitely reinforces your style of play, and, I expect, that of the 'hordes'. This is, after all, the paradigm put out by every single other game on the market (in this genre and many others).

PFO should have many shades of grey in between most (all) extremes of play style. I fully expect something very close to my second example, if for no other reason than the bulk of the gaming community expects the top-tier ability to carry some (mechanical) weight, perhaps only to counter the prevalence of multi-spec'ing, but also to reinforce the 'roles' of PF that Dancey et. al. are trying to achieve.

What I'm hoping for is that this discussion continue, as Ryan and the developers are obviously taking note of our wishes. Personally, I think it's worth pursuing as an idea (capstones being 'hidden') as long as they are not mechanically significant (vanity/titles, mounts, minor effects etc.).

Please continue to debate and put forth ideas: we know they're being heard and acted upon (thanks for making that obvious with this post, Ryan!).

Finally, to me, there are only a few real discussions to be had at this point regarding capstones:
1: will they be mechanically significant (personally I hope not)?
2: how will they be attained/can more than 1 be attained/will those decisions be reversible (again, I hope not)


Goblin Squad Member

grymrayne wrote:
... add 2 years to this round-and-round discussion! yay!
I think a lot of players will want to know what the Capstone is before they make the decision of whether or not to pursue it...

Granted, that's why I prefaced my discussion with the acknowledgement that it's very unlikely for us to see this in action.

However, if the decision is made to give capstone 'abilities' only fluff/flavor characteristics or even minor mechanical benefits, then the decision to pursue one would be moot: do I want a purple hat of awesome? do I want a blue hat of awesome?

It seems to me that the only interest in capstones is whether they will provide significant benefit in-game to a character or not.

If they do not, your power-gaming/munchkin/min-maxing crowd will not pursue them. No big loss (in PFO, where that crowd seems to be less catered-to). There are other avenues to sheer 'power'.

If they do, then that same crowd will endlessly debate whether to pursue them or not, based on their perceived worth/value vs. multi-spec'ing.

With just one design decision, all this debate could be laid to rest. On one side of that decision you could enhance game-play and immersion as well as bolstering achievement satisfaction, while on the other side you could cater to the overwhelming population of mmo players who have been bathed in the juices of previous (and divergent from this paradigm) iterations of the mmo genre. You provide the spreadsheet warriors (and not those as described by Ryan in his LFG blog) with more of what they've always had, always known: math rules all.

For those (like me) who don't follow the aforementioned optimization threads (for any game, not just PFTT), who aren't concerned with 'end-goals' or 'end-game builds' (especially considering there aren't any), for whom adventuring is a process of discovery (all aspects: new areas, new monsters, new abilities, new friends, new enemies, new markets etc.) the capstone conundrum is really an opportunity for PFO to further distinguish itself from the competition. It is also an opportunity to further express our continued commitment and trust and support of this game and its' developers: something we've already done by pledging $300k+ to have it built! We trust GW to turn out a great product (and we're helping shape that product), is it so hard to trust them in this? As we won't know a darn thing about balance in any aspect of the game until the initial 4500 players jump in, is there any value in discussing all the potential places where that balance might go askew? Or can we take balance out of the equation, and cater to the marginalized subset of players who play the game for play, for enjoyment, for discovery, for role playing immersion, etc.?

humbly yours

Goblin Squad Member

While I know it will never play-out this way, I do think it would add to the immersion factor.
Ryan has been vague in whether capstones will actually add any mechanical advantage (he's been campaigning against it from the sounds...), but it also sounds like they will be visible/obvious (whether a title, special glowing halo, a very very nice hat, etc.) As there will be NPCs in PFO, it would be awesome to see if any of those were capstoned (class/archetype). And, further, if there were no 20th level (capstoned) NPCs wandering around to be discovered/inspected/dueled, etc. then why should we know what a capstone is/looks like?

why not let the capstone be part of the discovery process?

this has a few advantages:
longer developmental lead time: add 2 years to this round-and-round discussion! yay!
the granting of something never-before-seen in the game has huge cool-factor (and thus merit)
gives time to balance whatever 'feels' wrong between the classes (see above as well).
provides a barrier to power-gamers/munchkins/min-maxers whatever.
enhances role-play as opposed to roll-play.

as 1v1 class balance has been only of minimal importance (well, i seem to remember reading that in one of the blogs, or maybe just a Dancey-Post *tm?) this can be used to either shore-up perceived weaknesses (something that Ryan has railed against) or to (marginally) level the playing field.

personally, though, i'd rather see the no-mechanical-benefit capstones. they are vanity things. couple of ideas (and i know there's another post about this...)

Paladin: yes, you finally get to ride a Griffon. your summonable mount is a glowing beacon of "aren't I awesome!" This, of course, begs the question: will this truly be a 3D environment, given the multitude of ways fantasy characters can simulate flight? this, then, for another post.

Wizard: your familiar reflects your school specialization (or if a generalist, then the school from which you cast the most spells over your career). Abjurationist: armadillo. Evocator: alignment dependent: maybe an imp/quasit, maybe a phoenix. Illusionist: pick a skin, any skin (from the allowable UBER familiar list!).

Anyhow, don't want to diverge too far, here, so:
Capstones: don't release them! make them a 'hidden' feature that only those who persevere through the ranks discover.


Goblin Squad Member

@Mindy aka DLH:

since this thread is now entering capstone territory:

not sure what you're getting at regarding fail forward, but i do like your breaking down the motivational types... seems very appropriate.

that said, the short answer to your final question, and one i think you'll find this game and community will support, is "you can!"

You can explore your way to mastery. I'd be very surprised if there weren't merit badges for exploration (first to explore a hex, first to explore 10 hexes, "Master Explorer" for all hexes, etc.), crafting, and social endeavours...

You can achieve your way to mastery (this has a lot of overlap, especially within the mmo paradigm, with the dominator)

You can achieve your way to Social Standing (found a guild, society, etc. gain ranks in such, recruit x numbers of 'followers' or raise a horde to smash the puny humans! ahem*).

As I see it, capstone abilities can be achieved by anyone who: 1 plays long enough (2.5 yrs to start), and 2: gains enough merit badges to progress their archetype skills to the 20th level (or whatever they're going to end up calling it). dedicated players will have the merit badges earlier than the timeline for skill training would otherwise be ready for, and will be among the first to achieve capstone abilities. more casual players will have all the skill ranks accumulated (due to time in-game), but might not (yet) have the merit badges required to advance into the capstone ability. But I have yet to see anywhere, categorically, that says you will be locked out of achieving capstone abilities [as long as you don't deviate from your archetype's skill set]. Even then, I believe this idea is up for discussion, as seen on this [] and other threads.

Yes, I wholeheartedly agree that the gameplay is the point. My point, if you will. Gameplay is the raison d'etre for creating a character: not only your gameplay, but in the sandbox milieu for everyone else's gameplay as well. Gameplay here has no relation to stats, classes, capstone abilities, archetypes, skills or any other number-crunching, mind-numbing (to me, and i excel at math...) frippery. Gameplay is what you and your character "bring to the table"... or in this case sandbox.

@CaptnB: recruited! >=]

as a side-note, most of the posts i've read here conform to the 'good' spectrum of alignment, whether they are character ideas, guild/company proposals, etc. Is there nobody here who wants to explore the fringes of 'civilized society' and prey on the weak, unprepared, or foolishly overzealous? Frankly, i'm surprised there aren't 30 thieve's guilds in the works...


Goblin Squad Member

my guess is that Mindiana Jones would be flagged as immersion breaking, and thus (perhaps not initially, but eventually) put on Ryan's strict policy for naming conventions (I forget the blog article, but it's in there somewhere... have a thorough read-through).

And remember, even "Indy" had sidekicks (some more fortunate than others, to be sure), and recruited a small adventuring party for his more famous exploits.

Then again, Belloch recruited armies (of pygmies and Nazis both!). And while Belloch lost the war, he won an awful lot of battles in the mean-time, and, within our analogy, provided "Indy" with a lot of gameplay...


Goblin Squad Member

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as one of the most intriguing threads on the board ("what are you going to play?"), this has sure branched-out and gone all over the place!
we have discussions on classes vs. archetypes
we have discussions on carrying capacity and mechanics
leading to thoughts on item degradation, consumables, spell components (must be in the game imho)
thoughts on 'epic' feel, mostly related to individual achievements/powers/spells
and finally we're back, sorta, on-track with:
"what are you going to play?"

Unfortunately, most of what I've seen (barring just a few examples) has been in the realm of game/character mechanics. ie. from examples like "a guy with a sword" to "lich deathknight antipaladin with the graveborne template because I can't play a deathmage".

As a long-time DM, player, and grudging convert to the online world of mmorpgs (another discussion, for another thread), when I hear "what do you want to play?" I immediately think of my role in society/the world at large. When given the opportunity to start a level 1 character, I have a humble, and potentially ambitious beginning to a personality. I have a set of goals, ideals, or challenges that I confront myself with.

I have more respect for the "guy with a sword" answer than the templated arch-gibbledy-gok replies. The GWAS has a humble beginning. He has some goals in mind. He will seek out some things that interest him, and pursue them until complete or uninteresting. This, already, is a more 'alive' character than the stat-block-from-epic-hell.

I think, having read through much of the site, the blogs, and the TT Pathfinder material (let alone playing in the best, simplest and most-directly-engaging, Mark-I Sandbox: yes, the lowly tabletop experience), that given the systems that PFO will incorporate (mass combat, trade/economics, society/structure building, etc.), and noting the mandate that group-interaction in their sandbox will be the dominant theme and paradigm, that the designers, developers, and (hopefully) players (who will presumably stay-on long-term with the game) would be more interested in this thread if some real thought were put into our posts.

To wit: "What do you want to play?"

Newly arrived in the River Kindoms, I've noted that there's a great bloody river and some folks squabbling over a bunch of land around it. I'm planning on leading an expeditionary force to chart new settlement areas, with the goal of subduing local wild life and charging the homesteading/pioneering/settlement building (aka city-folk) for my services. I'm not a 1-man-army, so I will gather a group of like-minded folks to help me with this (near and long-term) goal.

Now, obviously, the above could suit a variety of archetypes. In fact, nearly any of the core 11 could accomplish such goals. And this is where the beauty of the sandbox really comes forth: it doesn't (much) matter whether I'd play a ranger, druid, thief, cleric, fighter, barbarian, etc. etc. for the above situation. This game is all about choice: the intricacies of your 'stat block' are your (the player's) choice, but the goals, and pursuit of them are your character's... and who knows, the pursuit of these (basic) goals could lead you into conflict or cahoots with a variety of others (players and npcs alike). This is the real power of the sandbox. Your choices will spin-off countless others, and will generate play for others, just as their choices will generate play for you.

So: tell me this. How much variety and choice and play will you bring to the table (sandbox, apologies), if you're just a max-level-achieving/number-crunching/templated arch whosi-whatsi?

And how much more variety and choice and game play will you bring and generate as a GWAS (or whatever societal role you choose to espouse from here on out)?

Personally, I'm intent on playing a thieving scumbag dirtrat who would shank his own mother (in law) to score a few more glubs of grog on a school-night. I'm gonna play a bandit and recruit a bandit army, and prey on all those cardboard-cutout soloists out wandering around looking for exotic spell components and resources and whatnot. because no matter what else happens, I'll be as epic as they are, in the same time-frame, and (hopefully) we'll both have a great time playing what we want.


having learned to read using the first-edition box-set of D&D, i feel for your situation. opinions expressed on these boards have been appropriately dealt with in previous posts, so i'll keep it to a short list of must-reads, some or many of which i hope you're already familiar with:

Dune; Frank Herbert

most anything by Guy Gavriel Kay, but especially "Sailing to Sarantium" and "Lord of Emperors". "Lions of Al-Rassan" can be read in place of the previous two.

Ishmael; Daniel Quinn. contemporary fiction with a fantastical twist, and mom-friendly.

Book of the New Sun series by Gene Wolfe. amazing world, amazing writing, a credit to the fantasy genre.

a brief nod to others that have been mentioned that might have been lost in this thread: Pullman's Dark Materials, William Gibson's cyberpunk trilogy (he's the guy who coined the term cyberspace) that also happens to have very strong central female characters..., which will lead you to Bruce Sterling. David Brin's uplift wars etc. and Earth.

for vampires and contemporary world-magic, try the translations of Sergei Lukyanenko; "Night Watch", "Twilight Watch", "Day Watch". stay away from the movies of these, though.

i'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Robin Hobb's work, though i'd start with the Mad Ship series... previous books of hers were definitely early-attempts. again, female writer, strong female leads.

Curse of Chalion; Louis McMaster Bujold. holy cow. terrific writing, storytelling and characters (good and bad all fleshed out), marvelous twists and a triumph of accessible, mom-friendly, adult fiction. must recommend this one strongly.

Neil Stephenson, another cyber-punk/historical fiction writer. he has a loyal following, and i think an equally loyal, if not fervent group of haters. try Snowcrash for starters, or his eco-terrorist/activist book "Ecology" before getting into the Baroque Cycle etc.

HP Lovecraft anyone? alien horror twisted by macabre writing. genre defining.

finally, for more adult literature, and less fantasy, try any of the 'place' books by Edward Rutherford. Sarum, London and Russka stand out, but he tackles the history of these locations using fictional (barely) characters to portray events through the ages... a great look at how societies develop along with the people who make them up.

this is more than enough to get you started, and i hope you enjoy the journey...

sorry to x-post this, just doubling my chances of your seeing it pronto =]

just wondering if players new to this discussion/board are allowed to join. have read through the previous posts, so i've a good idea what to expect... also want to clarify whether the entire srd is valid for use (specifically psionics) or not. i'm a firm believer in upholding the core books only (not picky about the srd really, just curious) ruling.

also, was looking through spartacus's stats, and you're doing yourself an injustice, vissigoth: ride checks are not affected by armor check penalties. from phb 3.5 pg 122: "... penalty applies to balance, climb, escape artist, hide, jump, move silently, sleight of hand, and tumble..." of course this would not be the case if you weren't proficient with the armor/shield you were wearing (not the case for spartacus), in which case you'd take that armor check penalty to all dex and str based skills and checks as well as all attack rolls.

oh, and can someone point me in the direction of the avatars... i'll need one for myself as well as my 'toons. thanks in advance

and see you in the Pit!

oh, one last thing: which team needs another player? likely i'll create a 'toon for each team anyhow, just cuz i like making them, but i'll work with whomever needs help first.

just wondering if players new to this discussion/board are allowed to join. have read through the previous posts, so i've a good idea what to expect... also want to clarify whether the entire srd is valid for use (specifically psionics) or not. i'm a firm believer in upholding the core books only (not picky about the srd really, just curious) ruling.

also, was looking through spartacus's stats, and you're doing yourself an injustice, vissigoth: ride checks are not affected by armor check penalties. from phb 3.5 pg 122: "... penalty applies to balance, climb, escape artist, hide, jump, move silently, sleight of hand, and tumble..." of course this would not be the case if you weren't proficient with the armor/shield you were wearing (not the case for spartacus), in which case you'd take that armor check penalty to all dex and str based skills and checks as well as all attack rolls.

oh, and can someone point me in the direction of the avatars... i'll need one for myself as well as my 'toon. thanks in advance

and see you in the Pit!

oh, one last thing: which team needs another player? likely i'll create a 'toon for each team anyhow, just cuz i like making them, but i'll work with whomever needs help first.

Did anyone else have to deal with this? What does everyone recommend?

I'm guessing the DC is 15 (Soft Ground) + 7 (a week has passed) -1 (4 creatures being tracked) + 5 (assuming Rastophan the evil ranger hides their tracks) for a grand total of 26. I don't see any reason why our party's ranger can't take 20, and with 5 ranks in Survival and a decent wisdom score he's going to make this. Am I totally off on this? I'm surprised there was no mention of this in the module.

well, as for taking 20 on a survival check... hope that ranger is 3rd level (or has the endurance feat already), as it will take 20 hours to achieve that result... this is definitely one of the things i'm trying to discipline my group with: there are times to take 20, take 10, and others when it's just the luck o' the dice. this is definitely not a 'brute-force-able' solution, and as others have pointed out, it will quickly lead to diamond lake's other areas (which are more heavily trafficked).


Aceospades wrote:

I play a 12 level cleric of St Cuthbert with spell storing on my morning star. Whats the best spell to put on my weapon?

i like hold person (makes for easy hostages) or inflict serious (for a nasty touch)... but both of these allow a save. spell storing only allows 3rd level spells, so...

if you have a mage in the party, buy him/her a scroll of vampiric touch (if not already in the book of said caster) and have them cast it on your weapon. at 12th level it's a no-save extra 6d6, which then re-fuels your hp in return.

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