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Alurad Sorizan

magnuskn's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 6,663 posts (6,665 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.


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Tels wrote:
[What do you consider buffs? Would defensive spells like Mage Armor or Resist Energy count? What about something that only buffs skills?

Energy resistances, Freedom of Movement, Haste, Blessing of Fervor, Heroism/Good Hope, Death Ward and so on. There are a lot more than I can think off the top of my head, but they are there and they were getting used. My players themselves agreed to the buff limit because they themselves were unhappy about easily they destroyed the Jade Regent and his entourage.

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NobodysHome wrote:
Interestingly, we never had a problem with "excessive buffage" in any of the other APs we played. Even in RotRL the bard combined Good Hope with Inspire Courage for a mere +5 to hit/+5 damage, which wasn't game-changing.

In Jade Regent, my guys went into the final important fights with about 10-15 buffs on them. Per character.

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Tangent101 wrote:

@magnuskn: I beg to differ. There is no winning or losing with RPGs. There is having fun. I've had encounters where few of the allies are hit or harmed... and yet the players said they felt challenged because they used up a lot of resources in fighting their foes. Just because I didn't reduce anyone to single hit points or the like doesn't mean the fight wasn't a tough one. And so long as the party feels challenged, then it can still be a good game.

That said, it sounds like partway into Book 3, the challenge left WotR and never returned. And that's a damn shame. Half the problem lies with Mythic Adventures... and seeing I doubt Paizo is going to give the rules the massive rewrite it needs, I suspect outside of the occasional Mythic foe, we're never going to see these rules used for players again.

Yeah, but as the GM you are almost always playing the losing side in battles, so there is definitely "losing in RPG's", at least when it comes to the individual battles. And part of your job as a GM it is to lose gracefully, which sometimes is more difficult when the opponents you built up to be a threat get stomped easily.

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I am kinda thinking about doing such a combat balance campaign journal as this one for RotRL, my next campaign, due to a houserule we are going to use, which in this campaign could not be properly tested: You only get the benefit of three buffs at the same time, although class abilities from PC's don't count (so Inspire Courage would not count as such a buff, for example) and casters can buff themselves up as much as their spell list allows.

We've had a problem with the party going into the latter part of the campaign always buffed to the gills during the campaigns before WotR and this is a solution the Pathfinder developers were thinking about during the time of the alpha, but never implemented. It'd be interesting to record how this affects a normal campaign, together with some other optional rules (magic item crafting 25% over WBL from Ultimate Campaign and hero points, which have helped a ton in the RotRL campaign I am currently being a player in).

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One of the most important parts of being a GM is to be able to lose with grace.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
I wasn't defending it, I was pointing out that WotR wasn't the pushover many say it is if the GM actually buffed the enemies (at least like many GM's buff enemies in non-mythic PF, which is granting enemies the ability to have the same powers as the PCs in many instances).

Yes, and what I've been trying to do is point out that it is a horrible idea, because it will lead to TPK's, like in the case of your campaign. And TPK's means in most cases that the campaign ends, which is a bad thing to do as a GM.

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Mark Seifter wrote:
Thanks for the feedback on Mythic, magnuskn. Obviously, Mythic and WotR were written long before I got here, but it's still useful to me moving forward. Interestingly, your review, particularly with respect to the Mythic martial buffs causing the most havoc at lower levels, also provides an extremely good counterpoint to calls to give non-Mythic access to such abilities to martials. We have the playtest data now from people playing WotR about what that would do, and it sounds like it ain't pretty!

Well, as long as you guys don't take that as an excuse to not give dex-to-damage to martials for an appropiate cost in feats... :p

The martial buffs did not only cause havoc at the lower levels, though ... they just started to do so earlier than the ones for the casters (although you can be sure that the Sorcerer player appreciated the heightened flexibility granted to him via Wild Arcana).

The martials were extremely effective during the entire mythic part of the AP, up until the final fight, where our Ranger made a sieve out of Areelu Vorlesh and Khoramzadeh reborn was one-shot by the Samurai.

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It works because of this "wonderful" spell from Mythic Origins:

Borrowed Time

School transmutation; Level alchemist 6, bard 6, magus 6, sorcerer/wizard 6
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range personal Target you
Duration 1 round/level (D)

This spell allows you to reach ahead in time and draw alacrity from the future at the expense of your own health. For the duration of this spell, you gain an extra swift action you can use only during your turn. You can't use this swift action to take a second immediate action between turns, but you can use it to take a swift action the turn after you've taken an immediate action. Each time you take an extra swift action in this fashion you take 1 point of Constitution damage. If you're immune to ability damage, you take 5 points of hit point damage instead.

When the spell ends, you are staggered for 1d4+1 rounds from the temporal backlash.

Mythic: If you expend one use of mythic power, instead of taking an extra swift action, you can take either an extra move or an extra swift action each round. You can use this extra swift action to take two immediate actions between your turns; this consumes your extra swift action in your next round. Each extra action you take still deals damage to you as described above.

As for Mythic Time Stop... we both agreed to not use it, because it is one of those "who goes first, wins" mutually assured destruction spells.

So, yeah, taking the nukes off the table nerfed the opposition somewhat, but so did it nerf the PC's. In fact, the Sorcerer did not even take Mythic Improved Initiative for that very reason, so it wasn't as if he couldn't have optimized himself to always going first and being the one to cast Mythic Time Stop if he would have put his mind to it, if we both would have went all-out.

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Look, you can't really defend against the mythic stuff PC's can do. At least not with options available within the written rules. Giving the same options as PC's have to the opposition just makes the entire game "who rolls initiative first". This way, the campaign just ends the first time you have opponents who go first or you force your players into optimizing initiative to always go first. Which they can achieve, if they put their minds to it.

So, since rocket tag ain't the solution, it would have to be the opposite, which is nerfing mythic options so that they would fall under less insane parameters than the now fall under.

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Sissyl wrote:
Rocket tag is a consequence of inadequate possible defenses, just sayin.

Yeah, well. If the developers allow single attacks by player characters which do something along of 500-1500 damage and their best opponent of the entire campaign has not even 800 HP, I think the problem may be on the development side.

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Actually, my players jumped at the opportunity to enter the tournament. I mean, which players would not want to become the biggest bad-asses in the biggest martial arts tournament of the continent?

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Yeah, but rocket tag is bad. The problem is, the rules gave mythic rocket tag to the PC's, but not the opponents. Even Scorpion, who gave some sick stuff to the opposition, did not do this. Because... rocket tag is bad.

Which is why I denounced it in my review and I personally wouldn't even want to give rocket tag abilities to the opposition. TPK'ing the party is not the goal a GM should have, after all.

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I'm pretty sure that if you are the type of GM who can turn ten NPC's, half of which have no distinguishing personality traits, into interesting characters, while at the same time modding the AP like hell, while at the same time maintaining the insane pace the campaign puts before you (there were stretches were the player characters were leveling each session, be it levels or tiers), then this campaign will be wholly another experience.

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A "who goes first, wins" game is already existant at the highest levels of the normal game. In gamer terms, it's called "rocket tag". Mythic has this, too, but mostly for player characters. The opposition, as buffed by Scorpion, had also excellent offense, just not to the level of the PC's.

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You can look up the stat blocks of the opposition in Sc8rpi8on_mjd's Wrath of the Righteous statblocks document thread.

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Tangent101 wrote:

I would like to add as an aside to this review: Wrath of the Righteous may be salvageable as an AP without significant reworking by not giving the players Mythic power. At most, you could provide players with regenerating Hero Points to improve survivability. Mind you, I have NOT run this AP (as my two groups are in Runelords and Reign of Winter)... and one problem that has been brought up several times is that encounters are underpowered for non-Mythic characters, let alone Mythic. Still, if you enjoy the story of WotR, then not letting the players use Mythic would likely provide a challenging encounter for the first third of the AP, and with a little work can still be challenging for the rest of it.

That said? Mythic is broken beyond the 2nd Tier, and even at Tier 2 it can be overbalanced. The Mythic rules will need some significant modifications to be usable.

I am also pretty certain that not giving the player characters mythic power (outside of maybe some of the "base powers" they get at every tier) and instead easily renewable hero points would probably make the campaign entirely playable as intended. There still would be a need to bring up some of the lesser encounters up to par, though.

The very enhanced loot output this campaign gives to players would also do its part to give player characters an edge. Totally forgot to put this into the review proper!

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NobodysHome wrote:

What surprises me the most about this overall review is my near-absolute-agreement with you on the storyline in Books 1-4 (where my players are now).

Book 1 had my players hanging on the edge of their seats, and they were forcing me to run 2-3 sessions a week just to keep the story going. Their momentum kept them excited through Book 2, but by the time they reached the Drezen dungeons they were asking, "Seriously? Are we going to be facing anything challenging down here? Is there any story?"
And yes, I had a nightmare managing all those NPCs as well.

I hugely played up Arushelae in Book 3, as that was really the book's only redeeming feature (story-wise). Otherwise it was "Kingmaker Book 1" without the promise of kingdom-building.

And now in Book 4, my players are willingly skipping weeks at a time in favor of Jade Regent. They're just not invested in the story any more, because it's become, "Killed that, what's next?" Even the next-weakest AP I've played through or run (Carrion Crown) didn't have such a weak story line. They FINALLY reached Alushinyrra, and they're really excited about exploring it, but the notion that they have to get into fights or otherwise gain notoriety to progress the story really rankles them; they just want to see what a demon-run city is LIKE. ("Can you please just run the city for us for 2-3 sessions without any of the AP stuff? It sounds really fun!")

The story is epic in scope, but pales in the telling.

We're just running into the "one-hit wonder" encounter style, but our group is much more concerned about storytelling and NPC interactions. Give them a new city to explore over a fight any day of the week. Just don't have the NPC join their party!

Absolutely agreed on every point.

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James Jacobs wrote:
Thanks for the detailed feedback, magnuskn! There's certainly a lot for us to think about in looking over how Mythic Rules interacts with the game, particularly at high level play. I don't really have much more public to say at this time, but I did want to thank you for the review and impressions you had of the campaign and of the Mythic Rules.

Thank you for reading and leaving a reply. I want to say that I really appreciate the work you and the rest of the Paizo staff are doing for us. I understand that not everything works out as intended and that you guys are always sorely pressed for time.

However, you guys really got to do better on testing out how new rules affect gameplay. The reputation of Paizo depends very much on the quality of your work and when it becomes clear that said work doesn't really function as intended, that reputation takes attrition damage, which is accumulating dangerously over the last years.

Since it apparently isn't possible to fix those problems afterwards in a satisfactory fashion (for the explained reasons of not wanting to change page orders in published books and, again, lack of time), getting it right on the first is very important. IMO, you need to invest more time into playtesting new systems before publishing them and that includes also taking more feedback from the mathematical theorycrafting types, who sadly have a problem expressing themselves amicably when they find errors.

And, yeah, when I get passionate I sometimes am less than perfectly polite, too. I am sorry about that. I try to do better than my "first draft", too. For example, I rewrote some parts of this review to be way less sarcastic than my first take before putting it up on the web.

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And, yes, I think using some mythic monsters as a GM can spice things up. Thing is, mythic monster are way less scary than mythic PC's.

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NobodysHome wrote:

While you're wrapping up, I'm curious: Many people are talking about the "great story line" of WotR as (at least somewhat) making up for the broken mythic rules.

My experience so far is the exact opposite: While the overarching scope of the story is epic ("Close the Worldwound! Kill demon lords!"), the gameplay itself is less-than-satisfying as every book is barely more than a series of dungeon crawls, punctuated by the addition of silly rulesets that don't work well at all (army combat? Performance combat? Bah!).

My Jade Regent group is LOVING exploring the world, finding new cities, discovering the plots therein, and otherwise doing things OTHER than, "Killed that, what's next?"

My WotR group was about ready to abandon the AP before I introduced them to Alushinyrra, breathing some desperately-needed life into the campaign as they get to explore an Abyssal city.

What was your experience vis a vis "Killed that, what's next?" vs. "Let's explore this new and interesting area, and use Diplomacy and cleverness instead of just walking up and killing things?"

Pretty much the same from my side, although apparently my players had a bit less problems with this aspect than I did. Of course they are the people who can blow up enemies with one attack, so that's that.

But, yes, three of them said that the AP is too heavy on fights and that those fights don't even really matter later on, when mythic really gets ridiculous.

And, btw, Jade Regent is so far my favorite AP, because of the setting and the way you can interact with the world. Book three excepted, which was a dreary slog. I did a review of the AP here, if you are interested.

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No, he didn't cast those spells during the multiple Time Stops. He used that time to buff himself up, then readied an action when he came out to use a swift action to cast another spell (Greater Dispel Magic + Moment of Greatness) then the standard action to cast another Time Stop. When he finally was done with that, he cast the Mythic Augmented Maximised Empowered Elemental Disintegrate.

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Let’s open with a disclaimer: This a review with some anger in it. If that hurts your feelings so much that you can’t stand to read it and think that no constructive feedback can ever be taken from words written with some passion behind them, then you can stop reading now. And probably should never aspire to be someone who publishes a written work, because getting negative feedback and learning from it are an important part of being a writer.

That being said, welcome to my review of Wrath of the Righteous and the applicable parts of Mythic Adventures. Why review these two together, you ask? Because, as it applies to this AP as written, they are inextricably linked. Wrath of the Righteous was conceived to be used with this new set of rules and as such, when looking critically at the adventure path, one needs to look at the rules behind the roleplaying to see why this adventure path so disastrously fails.

And, yes, this AP is a failure on a truly epic scale. Or, I guess, a mythic scale. It doesn’t fail because of its story, which is pretty rote to the standards AP’s aspire to, only scaled up in the degree of severity if the party somehow manages to fail at their task. No, it fails because Mythic Adventures is, simply put, broken. Broken mechanically in a way which makes a joke of opponents which should make your players characters shiver with dread, but instead makes those opponents into walking loot piñatas.

Now, rambling aimlessly is pretty fun, but it makes for a poor review. Hence I’ll put some structure to this, before you all wander off bored. Spoilers, of course, abound after this paragraph, so read further at your own risk.

The AP and its story

The story of Wrath of the Righteous is quite standard. Bad guys want to take over the world, you stop them. Contrary to some AP’s, you get to know a lot of the bad guys up close during the first module, although they don’t leave much of a personal impression. Which, given how at that point they could reduce your low-level player characters to ash with a glance, is probably somewhat of a good thing. Not that there is much to them as personalities. Beyond evil gloating and evil ranting, that is. I think the villains with the most personality in the AP are an ally who betrays you (Nurah Dendivar) and that one female Glabrezu who talks with you during part three. You could add Nocticula here, too, but she is actually an ally with more likeability to her than Iomedae herself.

The story is competently written as AP’s go, with no immediate logical contradictions beyond the usual “Why don’t the villains stomp on the party when it is still not on their level of power”. But then again every AP seems to suffer from that problem, due to the level system of Pathfinder.

There are laudable efforts in the AP to present to the party options for the redemption of evil opponents but they are pretty bare bones. You mostly get a paragraph or two about it for some of the more important opponents or a sentence for the minor villains. Arueshalae, the risen succubus, gets several pages dedicated to her, but her redemption comes far too easy if you follow the options as written. Furthermore, while much is made of her desire to be good, not much is given to you about what actually prevents her from fulfilling that desire and how those problems may manifest. She already appears to be redeemed, as far as her presentation in the AP goes.

Another positive aspect which should be mentioned is that the AP presents you with a selection of NPC’s, who can even accompany you on your adventures. Where they will probably stand in the way and perish, due to their comically underpowered level and WBL, but the thought counts.
The NPC’s however also present you with a problem. There are too many of them. The AP starts out with throwing you together with four NPC’s, of which exactly one has a personality which goes beyond white-bread or stereotype. It then adds another five NPC’s to the party to those first four in the second module, at which point my players stopped caring, because the different NPC’s were blending into each other. It didn’t really help that most of them were pretty boring personalities, as presented by the AP.

I really would recommend concentrating on two or three really interesting NPC companions, if Paizo decides to continue to add permanent companions to their AP’s. I know it worked out pretty well in Jade Regent, where Ameiko and Shalelu made really interesting NPC’s whom enriched the campaign. However, too much is too much, especially if the many companions you get are difficult to distinguish from each other or have no defining personality traits associated with them.

The modules:

The Wardstone Legacy: WotR starts out pretty strong, with an epic scene which sets the tone for the AP. There is not much interactivity to it, but with some slight modifications it can make your players feel as if their characters are more involved.
The modules continues to present interesting options to your group and gives it all a slight sandbox feel. The final assault on the enemy stronghold is not as much of a fight as it could be, as the opposition feels way too weak for the dire predictions the writer makes about the necessity of multiple forays. The module ends in a suitably epic way and all around stands as the best part of the adventure path. The binding on this book (and Sword of Valor) was pretty weak, btw, with multiple people experiencing pages falling out. Which has never happened with any other AP module for me aside from this book and the next one.

Sword of Valor: This module starts with the group given command of a small army of Paladins. Which kind of presents a problem, as 100 level four Paladins would simply end the entire opposition as presented in this book. So the GM has to contrive why they cannot accompany you into the dungeons you are presented with during this module. If the best you can say to your players is “look, this is an abstract system, so let’s not think about it too much”, you got a problem.

Since this module happens below tier three, opponents still present a challenge. If your group is not careful in following up on leads that Nurah is a traitor, they can be in real trouble if they suddenly get assaulted from the front and the rear later in the module.

The module adds another four significant NPC’s to the five you are already traveling with after the first module and it gets really hard to keep some of them apart in terms of personality. If you want to keep all nine NPC’s relevant as personalities, you better come prepared to add significantly the descriptions given in the two first modules.

Demon’s Heresy: Aaand here is where things fall apart. The module itself is pretty okay, from a writing standpoint. However, mythic tier three (and getting more mythic feats) is the breakpoint where the ridiculous power issues crop up. Fleet Warrior and Mythic Improved Critical+Mythic Power Attack for martial characters, Arcane Metamastery for arcane casters and just a lot of other options which come together in really scary ways. Although you’ll probably see the immediate results of tier three from your martial characters. The casters just come together in combinations which are not just as obvious.

Unless you heavily modify the opposition in this module, they really don’t represent much of a threat. I used heavily beefed up encounters and still only managed to make half the modules opposition worth my players time.

Midnight Isles: This module makes a demon lord sympathetic. It introduces the Midnight Isles, the ruler of the realm, Nocticula and the capital of her realm, Alushinyrra. Aside from the future problem of presenting a city with an absurdly high gold pieces limit in what appears to be reasonably friendly terrain (a feature of the game world my players are sure to try to take advantage of in future AP’s), the story again is suitably good. In fact, I think meeting Nocticula may count as the most interesting moment the AP has to offer, since she doesn’t behave quite like you’d expect her to and there are even tantalizing hints at a redemption story.
The combat is, again, not a threat at all in the form it is presented in the module. You may lose a PC’s to a lucky critical hit, but at this point getting a PC back is a matter of will, not resources.

Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth: This module is something of a mess. The party goes into an environment where they have a set of goals, but no set way of getting there. Encounter areas are vague for the most part, ways to get from part A to B are also vague and the story itself is haphazard at best. Combat is an utter joke at this time, with the party being able to land single hits which wipe out everyone but the last optional encounter (Baphomet) in one hit.
Oh, also Iomedae, as written, is a douchenozzle.

City of Locusts: At the point I am writing this review, I am one encounter away from ending the AP, where I combined three encounters as written (with vastly beefed up opponents) to present at least a little bit of a challenge. Combat is mostly meaningless, since the party can only really lose if everyone gets killed. Even the most mighty opponents can be brought down with two critical hits (or just two characters regularly hitting one opponent with a full attack). The story aspect has mostly fallen to the wayside, given how the last module didn’t present much of a story and this module also only offers the slightest excuse for one. With the last opponents vanquished and their objective met, the party will have done a great service to Golarion and walk as living demi-gods over its surface. But what does it matter, if they didn’t really have to struggle to get here during the last months? Mythic Adventures was as like typing in cheat codes in a computer game for them.

*edit* Aaand Deskari was easily exterminated. No big surprise.

The mechanical side and how it destroys the AP

As you likely have surmised by now, I am not happy with how this AP has developed. Much of this is due to how Mythic Adventures was designed and I am putting the clear blame on the developers for that.

Some small disclaimers before I go on.
- My group already nerfed the normal rules of Mythic Adventures, by limiting mythic power regeneration to 1d4 points per day, then effectively getting only half its daily uses (3+1 point per tier) and also forfeiting the additional attribute points each second tier.
- The monster stats were beefed up considerably throughout the entire AP, with help of the stat blocks provided by Sc8rpi8n_mjd. Thanks, mate!
- However, the party consisted of six players, with characters built at a 20 point buy. Encounters were almost always adjusted to reflect this.

Given all of this, the mechanical side of the game completely collapsed somewhere in book four. Legendary weapons, full attacks after moving and vastly enhanced critical hits pumped up the martials to a ridiculous degree. Casters were a bit slower to follow in the overpowered department, but boy did they catch up by this current point.

At the point this review is written (level 20 and tier 10, although this cropped up around level 15 and tier 8), when a martial character hits, how the game proceeds depends on if he rolled a critical threat. If he does, he autoconfirms the critical hit for something like 400-800 damage, normally taking out whatever he has hit on that strike. With casters, it depends on how much mythic power they want to invest in that round. With enough opponents around and the right spells, they can put out thousands of points of damage, with no resistances or immunities allowed.

This makes normal gameplay utterly irrelevant. Only by anticipating the player characters and putting in specific defenses there is even a modicum of challenge. Or by having defensive abilities which simply negate attacks, something which the opposition, as presented by Paizo, does not possess.

So, what went wrong? At my best guess, nobody of the developers thought to test high level combat under mythic conditions. At all. Otherwise they simply could not have missed that the monsters and opponents they thought up simply couldn’t match in HP the damage output player character could provide with single critical hit. If there was one single high-level game playtest at Paizo of Mythic Adventures, I would be incredibly surprised (unless they did it after publishing it or with martial characters which took the “flavor options” over the obvious ones).

Be that because of time constraints or lack of care, we are left with a broken product. Anyone who wants to experience the story, I recommend that you don’t use Mythic Adventures to tell it or at least a very heavily nerfed version of it. Very heavily nerfed. Way harder than I did.

I managed to finish the campaign because I hate the idea of abandoning a campaign once started. Many other GM’s who posted on this AP’s sub-board, people who were as excited or more than me about this AP, dropped it midway through. I personally would counsel against playing this AP, because of its corrosive way of undermining trust in Paizos developers and also raising expectations that the game will always be so broken even without the use of Mythic Adventures.

May the developers learn something and stop rushing out products. I understand the time constraints of having a constant output of published work, but the stellar reputation Paizo has among many gamers also depends on them publishing polished and well-written supplements. I have noticed that the care the writers seemed to have earlier in the lifecycle of this edition seems to have vanished ever more with the addition of new splatbooks. How Mythic Adventures destroyed Wrath of the Righteous is so far the greatest example of the tendency of Paizo developers to not think their new rules through to the end and publish new sub-systems without a proper playtest in-house. If I can give any advice to the writers, it is “stop adding new sub-systems to AP’s, they make the experience almost always worse”.

Finally, I asked each of my players to give a very short review of the AP. Here is what they said:

Samurai: The setting was good, although there were too many fights. It felt too much like a tabletop and the rules were too complicated.

Cleric: <sarcastic> One-turn offense rules. Yeeeeah. Yippeeee.

Ranger: I had a lot of fun, although I did not get a lot of the rules. But I loved being super effective throughout the entire campaign!

Barbarian: The AP had a nice story, although it was very fight-centric. The mythic rules are way too broken, though.

Sorcerer: The story was nice. Although Mythic Augmented Maximised Empowered Meteor Swarm at DC 81… are you kidding?

Paladin: The setting was super. Mythic is much too powerful. It is a nice idea and has a lot of style, but it is simply too broken.

My final verdict:

The story aspect (story, characters, setting) gets a 7/10 from me. It is epic, true, but the storytelling is standard. Other AP’s have done this better and have a better follow-through on story aspects.

The mechanical aspect (Mythic Adventures, opponents, extra rules) gets a 2/10 from me, due to the positive experience of the first two modules. If it were Mythic Adventures alone, it’d be a 0/10, because this system destroys campaigns.

Thank you for your time and have a nice day. For me, it's on to Rise of the Runelords, which at least is an AP which I know is well crafted and which doesn't fudge around with barely tested new rules.

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Session of December 16th 2014. Final Session.

Aaand we are done. Finally. Six players in attendance, which is good for the end of a campaign.

The session began with the party confronting Deskari, Khoramzadeh reborn, Areelu Vorlesh and her familiar Grimkrak in the roots of Threshhold. I was thinking about adding some balors as trash mobs, but ultimately decided against it, because of time constraints.

The session started with a few harsh words between Deskari and the party and then initiative. The entire opposition used Mythic Improved Initiative, with the Paladin still going first, because he rolled a natural 20 and also had the whole initiative stuff.

Since the party was 200 feet away from everybody (they phased out of the ceiling, with the opponents in three corners of the room), he only cast a buff and tried to get nearer to Khoramzadeh.

Deskari took his turn and used his swarm ability to damage the party. Half of them made the fortitude save of DC 44 to avoid being nauseated. He also cast an area Greater Dispel Magic to debuff the party a bit and then his turn was done. His potential should have been more in melee range (or at least 100 feet range). Areelu got her turn and cast a Horrid Wilting. Sadly all the memorized quickened spells had too short a range. Grimkrak went mythic invisible and started for the Paladin.

And then the Sorcerer got his turn, which pretty much ended the encounter. Using several extended Time Stop spells, he buffed himself to the gills and then cast the following combination (with legal mythic methods, as far as I know):

Greater Dispel Magic + Moment of Greatness to do a targeted dispel on Deskari, dispelling the Greater Spell Immunity, Freedom of Movement and Unholy Aura on Deskari.

Limited Wish to give Deskari a -7 to one save.

Mythic Augmented Maximised Empowered Elemental Disintegrate (2 rays), with Elemental Body and Fiery Body on the Sorcerer, for 2x360 damage + 224 in rolled damage against a DC of 40-something. Rolled high on the first save (the one with a -7 to save, though, so failed that one) and a two on the second save.

Ouch. Deskari had his Demonic Aura still on, reflecting 290 damage (which didn't even came close to killing the Sorcerer), but he fell when the Ranger got her turn and critted him twice with her bow, for 233 damage each, plus a gazillion normal arrows. She even almost killed Areelu with her remaining attacks, including a third critical hit.

The rest was the mop-up, although Khoramzadeh almost managed to filet the Ranger with his one and only full attack.

So, yeah, the campaign ended on a whimper, just as predicted. I'm posting my review thread in a bit, I just need to write down into readable form the short comments my players made when I asked them to do so.

My final words (although I'll happily reply to comments): I wish I never had started this campaign. As far as roleplaying campaigns go, this has been my absolute worst experience as a gamer and I feel like I wasted my time as a GM entirely. I'm not going to do the "I want my last year of game time back!" bit, but I will say that the only good thing I can take from this campaign is that I won't be fooled in the future in running it, because of ignorance.

What I do hope is that people who read this campaign journal will take the correct lesson from all these posts: Don't play Wrath of the Righteous, unless you plan to exclude the mythic rules completely or modify them so heavily that they are unrecognizable.

Peace out.

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Freehold DM wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Finished the game today after 107 hours. My verdict: Lots of tedious filler with a decent main plot but a weak main villain. The companions (always the defining and most important element in a BioWare game) were okay (half) to mediocre to outright despicable. The best companion was about as exciting as Jimmy Vega from Mass Effect 3. The romance I got was pretty bland, too.

Otherwise, a solidly constructed game, but not a very exciting one.

7,5 out of 10.

harsh rating from the Russian judge?

A solid game with some obvious flaws. I am not a game magazine where an 85% is already considered a bad rating by fanboys. Given how many other better games I've played in the past, giving overenthusiastic ratings seems like making a bad precedent to me.

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Finished the game today after 107 hours. My verdict: Lots of tedious filler with a decent main plot but a weak main villain. The companions (always the defining and most important element in a BioWare game) were okay (half) to mediocre to outright despicable. The best companion was about as exciting as Jimmy Vega from Mass Effect 3. The romance I got was pretty bland, too.

Otherwise, a solidly constructed game, but not a very exciting one.

7,5 out of 10.

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The problem is that, by introducing grim dark into the setting, the editorial changed the setting and made it deal with the repercussions of the NJO until the entire series was ended by Disney's acquisition of the franchise.

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I'll have to look it up over the weekend. :)

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I found that going after the shards leads to exploring the map further, which makes you find other important locations.

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Well, with the asides that he still quite often does incredibly brave things (although he denounces himself about most of them as a coward in what is his own secret memoir) and that he is, as mentioned by Amberley Vail, one of the greatest swordsmen the Imperium has known.

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Dale McCoy Jr wrote:
You know, if memory serves, dimension door is a verbal only spell and and can be cast when grappled with no penalties or checks.

Unless I am mistaken, you still need to make a concentration check. There is no provision which frees you from that by having the spell being verbal component only.

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Anyway, I'll have to find a way around this, because it'd be a bit anticlimactic if the fight turns out to be "wait for the Sorcerer to get his turn, end fight." ^^

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I was totalling damage, not just adding the three fireballs together.

Although if he was really going for it, with Channel Power and Intensify Spell + getting more caster levels, I wouldn't put it beyond the realm of possibility that fireballs for 500+ points of damage would be possible.

Anyway, he used maximised spell and empowered spell with spell perfection and other mythic stuff to get his results. He didn't take Channel Power on purpose, because he thinks it makes damage insanely preposterous.

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Session of December 9th 2014

Four players in attendance. Hopefully next week it'll be all six, since it will be the last session of the campaign.

The party entered Threshhold and I basically handwaved every combat encounter other than the one I had prepared. It's a bit of a shame about the three Raspers and three ancient black dragons, but I want to get this over with.

Half the session was looking through Threshholds different rooms, casting dimensional locks and collecting information and treasure. The combat encounter was the party against Diurgez Broodlord, a veteran Devastator, the Echo of Deskari and some Fallen Angel which had been prepared by Scorpion.

Aaand that fight was pretty anticlimactic. The Sorcerer cast three mythic augmented fireballs in one round (there is some mythic spell from one of the additional books which gives you more swift actions for ability damage) and put out somelike like 1800 damage to three of the four enemies. Diurgez died, the Echo of Deskari died and the Devastator was pretty damaged. Before the round was over, they died, too.

In return, the party ate a lot of damage from Diurgez retributive abilities and the Fallen Angel critted the Sorcerer and then beat the snot out of the Samurai.

The group then proceeded to clear out the rest of Threshhold and is now facing, as a cliffhanger, Areelu Vorlesh, Grimkrak, Korramzadeh reborn and Deskari himself in the roots of Threshhold room. We'll pick up from there next week. I hope to write my review over the weekend and be ready to post it on Tuesday.

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Yeah, they managed to make me totally apathetic to the book series. that it took them about ten years to do so probably speaks to how much of a Star Wars fanboy I am, but still.

I hope the movies bring back my enthusiasm.

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Oh, hell, no. There's no comparison between the light climbing sessions you get to do here, compared to the insane, ten to twenty minutes, one-wrong-jump-start-over, can't-even-find-them-most-of-the-time, datacrons.

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So, what's it gonna be, a lich cat or a mythic agile goat? :p

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I don't know, there aren't that many places where you really need to platform (although it helps to get to places you are not supposed to go yet, sometimes). The shards are almost always reachable by running around and trying to get to them from a better spot, i.e. there is normally some sort of path to them, if you come from the right direction.

What drives me crazy is the sloooow climbing of ladders and the Hissing Wastes, which are way too big and empty.

Also, too big zones with not enough content. Collection quests don't really count, I can do MMO's for that. Currently, I am level 20 already and still have at least two entire zones to do before I go into the endgame. Haven't even finished Hissing Wastes yet and still got to kill a lot of dragons.

I hope Witcher 3 fills its world a bit better, with more story content.

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The effects of additional WBL on a party are one of underestimated factors in balancing the game, I can tell you that. :p

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Now I wonder which of those four authors is Mikaze. :p

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No, the problem is that party damage vastly outpaces monster HP, to the factor that one critical hit will do something like 500-600 damage from a martial character and casters can generate something like 500-1200 damage, depending on the spell. Slowing XP progression won't solve that. The math behind the entire system is atrocious and it is a prime example of bad design.

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That's why I put a permanent dimensional lock on the entire room. :p

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Deadmanwalking wrote:

Additionally, what you make true in your game world (or other fiction) sends a message. For example, one could easily make a world in which one gender of most of the civilized races (say, women) were objectively inferior in intellect and other areas, and primarily kept solely for breeding. In the world, this is objectively true, and trying to get them equal treatment is crazy talk...but you've just made a world where women's rights are a bad idea.

That potentially sends a very unpleasant message about your real world beliefs (or makes you seem amazingly insensitive) and creates a profound sense of moral dissonance between that world and the real world which can be very unpleasant for some players.

Making genocide of a sapient race with things like children a good thing has exactly the same set of problems. You can do it, certainly, but I'd argue you almost certainly shouldn't.

That about sums it up.

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thejeff wrote:

The vast majority of the time, it's not a philosophy. It's a design assumption - generally a simple one, intended to remove philosophical complexity: In this game, these are the bad guys. It's OK to kill them because they're the bad guys.

That this would be abhorrent in the real world isn't relevant. It's not even relevant that groups in the real world have made similar claims about other groups. That's the way things are in that imaginary setting for whatever invented reason.

That said, I would expect GMs running such settings to present such creatures in a way consistent with that premise and not to present the characters with helpless babies and other similar scenarios. Because that's a level of moral complexity not proper for the premise.

It is of course relevant to the game world. We expect ourselves to play realistic characters (in the context of personal characterization, at least). That means that we should hold ourselves to the standards we should expect to adhere to in real life. Allowances must be made to adhere to the adventuring lifestyle, but those should not be extended towards child murder. Never.

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thejeff wrote:

It doesn't really matter what you reject. I reject the premise of creatures which aren't inherently evil, but somehow always wind up that way. I reject the premise of cultures that are so inherently evil that anyone raised in them becomes evil and the only solution is to slaughter every adult and probably the older children and adopt all the babies.

But it doesn't matter what I reject either. If I'm playing in a game and the GM is using a premise I reject, my options are to accept the premise for the sake of the game or leave the game.

Actually, by the action of walking away from such a game you make it matter what you reject. So, you are wrong on your premise.

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RJGrady wrote:
magnuskn wrote:

Well, I reject the premise of a sentient creature which is born to be evil. Even demons and devils have some redeemability, although it is miniscule.

Well, you want to make the argument that it would be evil to kill any sapient being, ever, you would not be alone in that argument.

Not what I've been saying and I got no idea how you made that correlation. People can fall on the scale between good and evil consequent to their actions. Babies don't have any actions to their names besides typical baby stuff, so they can't inherently be evil.

RJGrady wrote:
But if you don't, you still have to deal with consequentiality. And I don't think something shifts from being Evil just because it goes from being a 99% chance of a toddler being evil to, say 75% chance. The situation dictates what is practical, and practical solutions to tend to be, on the balance, neutral.

I disagree. A philosophy which assumes that people will turn out 100% (or even 75%) assuredly as evil is abhorrent. It may be excused in the case of beings which are not born but formed to be evil (again, outsiders and such), but should clearly be false in the case of beings who had a life cycle as sentient beings and were brought up from birth with an education.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
Don't ya just love the internet, and Paizo's OGL? Makes this kinda thing easy to look up. Check it out.

Alas, as I was typing my last response during my break at my workplace, I couldn't access the OGL sites, since they are filtered as gaming (and this messageboard isn't, go figure).

thegreenteagamer wrote:

According to this, half-fiends are native outsiders, not evil outsiders, BUT they're always evil, not mostly.

Tieflings, on the other hand, vary the gamut, but lean more to evil; still, there's more than just a handful of good tieflings, so it's a little more cut-and-dry than the average orc.

Well, I reject the premise of a sentient creature which is born to be evil. Even demons and devils have some redeemability, although it is miniscule. Creatures which are born without a fully formed mind (like real evil outsiders are) cannot be inherently evil, that makes no sense at all.

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I'm away from my rulebooks at the moment, so I have no way of checking if they got the evil sub-type. However, they fall under the "mostly evil" label and are born not evil, but rather raised that way in most cases (if they are raised at all). I guess they would have evil tendencies because of their close link to their fiendish relatives, but that doesn't mean that they cannot make the rational decision to be not evil.

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bugleyman wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Low magic. Looks like we need to burn feats on item creation feats. Yippie...
As opposed to never having a reason to select those feats, ever, 'cause Magic Mart? :P

Item creation feats totally have a place even if you, as the GM, allow the Magic Mart. They save money (my least favorite aspect of them as a GM) and they make customization of equipment way easier for the players.

As for my personal gripes?

- One player using the power options for his class when it is clear to everybody (including himself) that he is outclassing all the rest of the group.

- Badly playtested products (coughtMythicAdventurescough). Companies who then refuse to patch those products in a manner which doesn't require an archeological timescale. And then repeat the same pattern of bad behavior in future products, despite promising to do better.

That's enough for the moment. If I get more into it, I'll probably kill the good mood I'm currently in.

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PrinceRaven wrote:
I'm actually with Oly in the case that if creatures don't have the capacity to make their own moral decisions and will always end up brutal killing machines and an active threat to civilised races it wouldn't be an Evil act to exterminate them. What I disagree with is that Pathfinder orcs are anything like that.

What he and you are describing then are, in essence, creatures with the evil subtype, i.e. creatures "made out of evil". The vast majority of those are outsiders, which don't really have children, as far as I know.

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Champion_of_the_Blessed wrote:

PrinceRaven, again, you make parallels to real life. Pathfinder is not real life.

Also, most people are not evil by default. Orcs, by default, are.

What, you mean like the father of Irabeth Tirabade, a good aligned orc who raised her with his human wife, so that Irabeth became a Paladin of Iomedae?

Yeah, I can really see how they must all be evil.

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