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I changed bits of Book 1, as I also mixed parts of Shattered Star and configured the encounter to my PC's backgrounds.
One of the PC is a varisian witch that was in love with Tsuto years ago as a teenager, although Tsuto didn't love her.
Other PC is a tiefling oni-spawn samurai, which is a bodyguard of Ameiko.
So my changes:
Then they did stop the goblins, and after they found the Nualia's father grave desecratd, they followed the tracks. Killed Bruthasmuz there, rescuing a near-death Shaelelu in the process. I cut most of the "heroes of..." stuff because my players seemed to want to push forward the research about Nualia and it might feel anticlimatic.
I also made LONJIKU to be the father of Nualia's aborted monster baby. HE learned that Tsuto and Nualia were in true love, and blackmailed Nualia and forced her in the tunnels below the glasswork. That's what made Nualia become in contact with my version of Elyrium (which was a modified zebub, as I wanted to use the zebub ability to introduce images in your brain when he looks at your eyes, to tell my players things about Thassilonia).
They captured Tsuto in the tunnels (I made him run -he was a ninja with vanishing trick-, after ordering the goblins to throw Lonjiku into the glass furnaces. Players "had" to stop the goblins even if they hate Lonjiku, because Ameiko was there and she still doesn't want her father to die. Then I made a chase through the smuggler's tunnels, which ended with Tsuto and the party in a pair of boats). Then entered the Catacombs of wrath, where I modified a few things too (Koruvus was made a Goblin Alchemist, and he was experimenting with 8 glasswork workers, he infected them with an (hibbernated since Thasilonian era) Akata salivary. He had a bunch of extra akatas ready, which the PC killed too.
They researched the Lighthouse, and found some tunnel that went up to Chopper's island, where they found a few more pieces of the story (including a shrine to Shax, which they also found in Catacomb of Wrath), and put Das Korvut son's spirit to rest, using the Wayfinder's adventure.
Then they went to Thisteltop, but they asked for armed forces to help, so we did it a bit different. The PC entered by sea, in a boat, entering the lower levels, while there was a battle against the goblins out there (the "army" of militia cut the bridge and sieged the goblins while they cleaned the lower part). Nualia had the Shard of Wrath, which she took from the catacombs of wrath.
After that, they went to Magnimar and helped Natalya to flee from jail, and she told them about some "brotherhood of 7", about the shard of envy missing, and how the "Brotherhood of 7" was planning to get another shard, which is hidden in The Lady of Light"
They are now in a ship that sails to Korvosa, but will leave them in Lady's Light, or as near as possible
So far: Nualia is dead. Lonjiku is alive, and the PC hate him with passion. Natalya has fled. Tsuto is captured, but as Ironbriar is his father, don't expect this last long. Orik has gone to join the Black Arrows. Ameiko and Shaelelu are strong PC allies (and might be romance interest). Aldern Foxglove has the Envy's shard, and is becoming secretly mad. Sheyla Heidmarch is helping them, as long as they allow her to study the shards, and make the whole Sihedron if possible (which is going to be the end of the story, once they get Karzaug's last shard, and raise Xin's final threat).
Your players don't want to fight the goblins unarme and in casual clothes. I wouldn't try to force your players to do things they don't want to do, as those tend to end poorly.
Have an NPC come handy and give them weapons, or make one of the weapon smither shops to be open, or something like that, so they can take the weapons they feel they need, as others have suggested.
In any case, what do you mean by "they gear"? Weapons? Did not they carry a sword at least with them? If it's just armors, maybe make one of the town's wizards to appear and cast Mage Armor on the party's fighter.
We killed the guy in the spoiler tag without meleeing him that much. Used ranged weapons, and Summon Nature Ally->Stirges, then charged him to death, if I remember well.
We are doing it with a group of 3, a Goliath Druid, (archer) BeastMaster Ranger and Paladin (with Mount), and we are doing fine so far, but some of the fights are tough. Extra pets that tank a few hits help us, because we are only 3. The last dude in book 1 almost TPK'd us, because we pressed the fight when out of resources (no spells, lay on hands, etc). It was just the ranger conscious, with 2-3 hp left, trying to make the final killing shot.
As a suggestion: in later books, it might be useful to have players which can use large weapons. The Guide itself suggest titan maulers, goliath druids, titan fighters, etc. It's not needed at all, but it's helpful, and cool.
EDIT: Also, there's some dungeoneering, yes, but not all the AP is that. The second most used skill (after perception) for my druid is Diplomacy I think.
That's because players get more high level magic. It's teleport and raise dead and contact with other plane and planar ally what make the game more impredictable, not improved critical and greater weapon focus
I'm terribly happy to have gone Goliath as my archetype right now.
I'm not sure this is a great idea, and I don't have experience with gestalts. Probably others will help you more, although they'll probably need some extra info, like which class are you and which class is your team mate. But you should aim to something with a Pet, viability in hand to hand combat, posibility to heal out of combat with wands at the very least, and some magic ability to reinforce it. Druids, Rangers, Clerics, Oracle, Summoners can help, that would be my first instinct.
But I'd not go Gestalt unless everybody in the game is Gestalt, and I would ask the GM to have an open and friendly debate about how the game is going to be played. If he's not reducing the difficulty level for 2 players, then he should *really* suggest the other player to get a gestalt himself too. Other options include to level up the players much more than normal, reduce the CR (but it requires extensive preparation time in some cases, as some enemies will have to be rebuilt from scratch), find another player, or use NPC cohorts to fill up spots.
I'm the GM in a 3 player game in a RotRL/Shattered Star combo AP, and so far they have done well. They have 25 point builds, and have used some NPC help in some different scenarios, specially Ameiko and Shalelu have helped in different encounters.
GMPCs are a big no-no in my book.
Too much bad experiences with egomaniacal GMs who used GMPCs and Mary Sues back in my youth. If the team is short, add a couple NPCs that the group know, and help them sometimes. Let the players play them in combat, and use different ones so you don't become attached to it. For example, in my current RoRL campaign, we have 3 players, so Shaelelu and Ameiko have both appeared in different portions of the game, but only when the players asked them for help, and never "played" by me.
I was thinking more about the alerting whole Moria stuff, but fair enough. Again: let those who want to play Pippin have fun with it, and let those who want to be Legolas have fun with it.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
Nah. It's not a strawman to disagree with my "tactics", whatever you mean with it. It's a strawman to say that I tried to include you in my sentence about the OP rubbing people.
Did the OP rub people? Or didn't he? Is my use of "people" wrong? Or did some people in this thread felt rubbed, even if it doesn't include you?
I see how some people would love that, because I've known a few of them. It's ok, there's nothing wrong. They can play Pippen if they want, as long as they also understand that some people preffer to play Legolas.
There's no badwrongfun. There's people who insist that the rest of the group play like they like, and those are the problem. It doesn't matter if it's people asking everybody else to power up, or to power down. It's just, in my opinion, a wrong thing from ethical point of view, to assume that you are enlightened with the Only Truth, and try to force feed everybody else with your own opinion.
Let Pippin be Pippin, and let Legolas be Legolas. They'll both have fun
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
It doesn't rub me the wrong way. Please understand I do not accept being included in your attempted ploy of using the inclusive "people" as if there are many, lined up, all rubbed the wrong way
Maybe it's a problem of language barrier, as English is not my first language.
As far as I understand, "people" doesn't mean "everybody". It just mean that there are more than few, a group with indefinite numbers. In this very thread, alone, some people got rubbed in the wrong way. Quite a few. I could go back and mention the names of the posters that answered the OP in a negative way not because of his opinion about DPR, but because of the way he talks.
So either I'm wrong with the meaning of people, which could be the case, or your argument is a strawman. I never said (unless my English is betraying me) that my sentence included you, specifically, or even a majority. Only that people get rubbed in the wrong way when other people use confrontational words like the OP, or like your own "attempted ploy" sentence.
It can't hurt you. If anything less than maximum DPR offends and infuriates you, maybe this isn't the thread for you. :)
That's quite arrogant, once again. And if you don't understand why this style of writing rub people in the wrong way, maybe you should refrain yourself of doing topics like this, because you are unwillingly posting flame baits.
That said, let's keep with the discussion. Wanting to be competent isn't the same than wanting to max DPR. Some PCs are optimized at helping others (there's a character somewhere in the forum that gives +14 AC to all his party at 7th level, with a combination of halfling feats, magic items and cavalier features), or providing support ("God" wizard style of spellcaster even advide against doing damage), or healing (the Oradin builds for example). There are also characters optimized for out of combat duty, including several ways to increase your ability to be the party face, or find traps, or help with knowledges.
My last character is a druid that is built as a primal big game hunter. It's optimized to do that: hunting, so it's a druid 6/trophy hunter ranger 1, that has very big survival bonus. I took a lvl in another class that gave me a bonus to track, and I spend a spell every day to increase my surivival and be able to track. I could have exactly the same character concept (a primal shapeshifting predator that hunts big prey), without taking certain archetypes, magic items, or spells, and I'd be exactly the same concept, just mechanically weaker in the survival skill. I fail to see how failing to track more often will help my character concept to feel better as an apex big game hunter. Roleplaying wise, I'm able to do the same things with both an optimized and unoptimized tracking ability. It would be the same personality, the same character, the same motivations. Just lower survival skill.
I'm kinda railroading myself as a GM. I like what I call "railroaded sandboxes", where the PC have options, but the history drive or force them to take said options.I wasn't making a direct comparison between railroad vs sandbox, or optimize vs unoptimized. I was answering to the poster who told us he had to "stop" their PC actions so he could describe what's going on. Maybe it feel different at the table, but here, reading it as he told us, it sounded to me it was a style of GMing that I'm not personally very fond of, the "GM tell us a story and we just happen to be there". That can be done in both optimized and unoptimized parties, and while it's more common in railroads, it can happen in sandboxes too (have seen it in Kingmaker).
In my game ethos, it's not just the GM story. It's everybody's story, and the comunal storytelling matters. But, again, that's me. I'd never tell other groups how to play. At best, I'd tell the GM that made the post that he should talk to his players. If several players are complaining about his style, then maybe he should at least think about it. It's not that it's wrong, but it might not be the best suited for his group.
DM Under The Bridge wrote:
I'm going to bet that Paizo is hoping this doesn't become a trend. It's really bad for the business of selling books if said books aren't going to be used :P
That's also a matter of taste. As a GM, I'm not very fond of the "I'm going to tell a story, and you just happen to be there" idea, but that's me. If it works for you and your group, great. However, as a suggestion, if several of your players aren't finding it fun, for whatever reasons, maybe you should talk to them, openly, and with an open mind. Be willing to try to convince AND to try to be convinced. Either that, or find a group that shares your point of view about the game.
EDIT: About that creature rising from the deep, I guess I'd have give it the prone condition. Last day I gm'd I put an encountr with several goblins opening cages in the floor with void zombies, while other goblins with reach weapons poked them toward the heroes. The zombies were prone 1 round. There was also an alchemist goblin there, and a blue dog with tentacles (an akata) in a cage, seemingly tortured. That gave the group an interesting encounter, where they could find themselves being "heroes" because they were fighting a bunch of zombies and goblins at the same time. It also gave the party several things to interact with, and several options: Go against the goblins who open the doors, to stop it? fight the zombies while proned, to gain adventage of the situation? kill the poking goblins, so the zombies also attack the goblins? Someone want to risk opening the cage with the akata?. That's what I like, because it gives the players the ability to choose, and make their decision matter. It doesn't really matter that much if the creatures are prone an extra round or not. It can even be leveraged for a more interesting fight, in my opinion. YMMV, and if your group had fun, everything is OK
I think it's why many people prefer Thor, Captain America, Ms Marvel and many others to say, Superman, because Superman's close to perfect and perfect is boring.
While I suppose this is true, the opposite is true too. Lot of people is fan of Supes, and it's not a random thing that it has been one of the longer duration comics, a huge best seller for a large period of time, and one of the heroes more often carried to the movies.
The problem here is that we all have the tendency to assume that our tastes are universal. Some people want to be Tyrion, and have limitations that they can overcome with cunning and guile, while some people want to be Daenerys and be inmune to fire, have 3 dragon animal companions, a huge charisma bonus, lead armies, and be powerful by birthright. Hey, some people even LIKE TO BE BOTH, and sometimes play one and sometimes play the other.
I'm not sure anyone has provided a proof that being willing to roleplay a competent character is less rewarding or less roleplaying than being willing to roleplay a less competent one.
In the OP opinion, Indiana Jones is more interesting than Nathan Drake. That's just that, his opinion. Plenty of people find interesting to roleplay Samwise , ho is a pretty limited character from an optimized point of view, and overcome those limitations with guile and bravery and GM help (like using a GM magic item that will save you when the ogre spider is going to eat you alive because you can't kill her by yourself).
PLENTY of other people, however, like to roleplay Legolas, and be the elven archer that kill orcs by hundreds, do acrobatics in the back of a Mumakil, see things 2 miles away, and is a general badass.
That's JUST a matter of taste. If you want to roleplay Samwise, or Pippin, and be the clunky idiot who throws an orc head in a well and call every orc in Moria, do it. If somebody else want to be the awesome elf that dodge attacks, never miss a shot, and jump in the shoulders of the troll, balancing there until he crits while using a feat to shoot in close quarter fights, let him too.
The player who is playing Samwise, or Pippin, will be happy with their roleplaying option. The player with Legolas will be happy too. And the group will survive the orc ambush with a troll, thanks to Legolas, and everybody will be happy that they can see the rest of the adventure, and throw the ring in Mordor, which is cool, because the story would be awful if the whole group dies in Moria because of Pippin.
Kyrt-ryder gave a good advice, that also fits well with my experience. The GMs that gave us the advice to "not optimize much" are/were the kind of GM that "need to feel" they could had won the fight, or that "didn't enjoy" the fight if the NPC got butchered.
It's a movie, or a novel, or a comic book. Most the time, NPCs get butchered in the films. Stormtroopers die by dozens. Orcs die so much, that the grumpy dwarf and the gracile elven archer bet who is going to kill more, and count the casualties loud, arguing if killing a ladder with 20 of them should count as 1.
My advice is: build your character, however you like, the way you enjoy more the game. Let other people do the same. Don't try to ruin the fun of anyone, either by stealing all the spotlight, or by telling others how they should play. If you are the GM, learn that the game is buil so the PCs win. The deck is stacked for the players, as it should, so don't feel frustrated if the wizard kills 10 trolls with a single fireball or the fighter can walk among enmies being hit only with 20s. It's not a competition, yo don't need to "almost win" to make it fun. You are the GM, the fun comes from telling a good story, involving everyone, and inmersing th group in a comunal narrative.
Again, this is what works for me. YMMV, so apply whatever makes you happier with the game, and let others do the same
So far the character is lvl 7.
I'm a Goliath Druid 6/Trophy Hunter Ranger 1. I took Shapeshifting Focus, so I have a full level Giant Favored enemy, which is cool.
I use regularly a two headed troll form, and I'm liking the char a lot. It's not as versatile as a regular druid (which has much better scouting forms, for example), but it's a good melee combatant, and I have a decent amount of skills to play out of combat too. We are using the Unchained Background skills, which gives you 2 not-so-great skills, but it's really good for druids because you can put one of those to Handle Animal. With the Skilled half-orc racial trait, I have 5 skills +2 background skills, which is a lot.
I have STR 23 DEX 12 CON 14 INT 10 WIS 16 CHA 10 including the wildshape form and belt/headband. Attacks go with +11/+11/+11/+11 for 1d6+7+1d6, against vanilla targets, but against giants (the bread and butter of Giantslayer), it goes up to +16/+16/+16/+16 for 1d6+13+1d6. I also carry a Lucern hammer to have 20' reach, and a Cold Iron+Bludgeoning weapon, which often is used when the enemy approach (while I buff myself) and the dropped to fight with natural weapons.
I have AC 28 not counting spells, with a +2 dragonscale full plate, +1 ring of protection, +3 Nat Armor (includes half orc favored bonus), +2 luck from jingasa and +1 insight from dusty rose ioun stone.
AC can go as high as 31 with Barksin for 1 hour, or 32 with Ironskin for a couple minutes. (that's 33 and 35 vs Giants, by the way). I only have 53 hp, which is too few probably, but a high AC helps there.
My saves are FOR 13 REF 8 WILL 12, and CMB and CMD are respectable too: +17 and 31, +1 with and versus grapple. With Lockjaw spell and resinous skin, that's +24 CMD when grappling. At lvl 7, that's a lockdown for almost anything in my CR.
I have half decent party face skills, as Diplomacy is a class skill for Goliaths (?), I have +10 Diplo, +21 Perception (including the +8 bonus from scent), I'm a huge tracker (+18, and scent to ignore terrain DC),plus a bit of everything in other skills and enough Spellcraft to craft stuff for myself with CWI. Probably lack in Knowledges, though.
Overall, the char is doing well. He has a good mix of in and out of combat utility, has been useful exploring the wilderness, speaking with NPCs, finding hidden stuff, crafting magic items, and he's a decently tough defensive stalwart, that can also dish decent damage, with a few spells to help (faerie fire has been useful a couple of times, so was Warp Wood in a certain situation. Animal Messenger, Call Animal, purify food, create water, and some other spells have been useful too, in and out of combat)
Druids are awesome. Goliath are just a certain flavor of awesome
I have heard that several times with different GMs. A few times, following that advice leaded us to a TPK.
Everybody find fun in different things. I don't find it fun to visit often this
To each with its own. If you find it more enjoyable, you can try to lose. Whatever makes you happier.
That's a good solution, assuming the rest of the party want to have stronger characters, which is not always the case.
A "realistic" full plate should be near invulnerable to fangs, fists, whips, slashing light weapons like kukris, a lot of wooden monk weapons like the tonfa, and los of exotic weapons like bladed scarf, and drastically shift the power balance between "lots of small hits" vs "few big hits", thus reducing the number of viable melee builds.
Now ask yourself if reducing the number of viable options (animal companions, wildshaping options, monks, two weapon fighters, dagger rogues, etc) makes the game more fun.
If the answer is not, then you have to choose between fun, and simulation realism if weapons vs armors
In my game, Lonjiku
is the father of Nualia's stillbirn.
Nualia and Tsuto were in love back then. Lonjiku blackmailed Nualia threatening to tell it to Father Tobyas. It was him who brought Nualia to the smuggler corridor in glassworks, bringing her too close to demon influence and the catacomb if wrath
But then, again: why full plate gets this bonus, but an Iron Golem doesnt? Or a dragon? What about a chimaera? A Balor? A Stegosaur? A Dire Bear with Barkskin? A dire bear with Ironskin? A will o the wisp? A ghost? A ghost with full plate? What if the katana is vorpal? Or keen? Or adamantine? What if it's a +4 katana that hits DR as adamantine? What if it's greater magic weapon?
If katanas have low piercing power vs plate... What about claws? Or fangs? Shouldn't it be even líder? Should we punish druids and natural weapon rangers/barbarians/bloodragers/animal companions? Should we lower the CR if tigers and other animals/monsters with claws?
People keep trying to add realism to a Fantasy game. It doesn't work. Things are too diferent. Too much things to change, for a weak "benefit": slightly more realist sword to sword fight, in a game where mis level fighters drink cyanide and grapple rhinos with a hand tied to their back. Not worth it at all
Weapon vs armor modifiers are a bad idea.
Should the katana have a -1 vs dragon plate? What about a dragon? An iron golem? A wyvern? A dinosaur? Are we going to rate every monster?
If katanas (and scimitars and other slashing curved blades) get -1 to hit plate... Should they get extra damage vs unarmored targets? Where do you stop the realism madness?
1d8 18+ crit us right now what they are. It's fine, a "bastard scimitar". That's ok.
Nodachi con the other hand, really needs a nerf
So you are worried about the 20th lvl boss gight in a campaign you havent started yet?
I suggest you to focus in lvls 1-4 first. No need to freak out with a fight that might never happen, doing fake battles against fake groups with fake gear. You justo don't have a clue about how that parte will be.
I don't think the crafting rules are bad. Just the part that allow to build constant magic effects.
I think it's ok when you use the value given for enhancement bonus, etc. Do you want +4 to AC? It cost what the formula gives you. Ok and balanced. However, if you use the "guideline" that allow you to get a constant effect paying for caster lvl x spell level, a constant Shield spell would give you MUCH more than it should. Constant Shield costs CL x Spell Level x 2000 x 2 (because duration measured in minutes), so you can pay 4.000g for a magic item that gives you +4 shield bonus and inmunity to magic missiles. Compare to, say, a ring of force shield.
4.000g for boots that gives you permanent Enlarge would be cool too. Or +2 deflection bonus to AC, +2 resistance to saves, and inmunity to mind control (prot from evil) for 4.000, insead of paying 8.000 for a ring of protection +2 which gives you only +2 deflection bonus to AC.
And so on.
So yes, magic crafting rules can be used as a guideline. My opinion, though, is that the guideline that suggest you should be able to get constant magic effects paying a very cheap CL x SL x 2000 x modifier and get the full effect of the spell, should be deleted from the book, erased from memory, and dumped into a pit of radiactive hellfire protected by swarms of vampiric stirges. You have to pay for the effect, not the spell level. So if you get +1 to hit, +3 to perception, and improved critical, you should pay +1 to hit, +3 to a skill, and improved critical, not Aspect of the Falcon constant effect.