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Yeah, not really. Paizo writers sadly have a tendency to put single opponents against a four member party.
This is thematically good, since having a single tough guy be a credible threat to four players is something we'd see in movies (only that the shoe normally is then on the other foot, i.e. the heroe is able to outfight four attackers, not the villain).
However, mechanically, the D20 system has no good way to cope with the huge advantage four characters have in the action economy. A single opponent will almost always lose to a party of four, since he has only one full round action per round and they have four. The exceptions to that are if he outclasses them to a ridiculous degree or gets in an alpha strike which takes out two or more of the party (i.e. Prismatic Spray or the like).
A sub-set of the action economy problem is initiative. Since acting first can be so incredibly important in how a fight develops, very many players choose to emphasize having a high initiative. Since Paizo writers don't do that in many cases, the single opponent basically loses after the first five D20 have been thrown.
Single boss encounters should not happen in Pathfinder. Either put some minions in-between the PC's and the boss or obstacles which emulate the blocking factor minions would have.
I hail from the old days of Usenet, too (RACMX, alt.tv.buffy-v-slayer). Back then, when somebody was behaving like an ass, we got to tell him that to his face, not have moderators jump on our heads when we did that.
Eh, I was on board with this until I saw that the dude took out the best line in the entire prequel trilogy, "So, this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause".
@ baron, man I wish I was old enough to play D6 Star Wars. But nobody wanted to play it when I was starting my gaming days. And then, finally we got our hands on some rulebooks and were going to play, and my friend's car caught fire (we suspect arson to this day, he was pretty unpopular with some, well not so nice people), and the books were in the car.
I'm kinda tempted to give the spiel Palpatine gave Anakin in that opera in RotS. ^^
*edit* Oh, I see there *is* a light-side solution. :p
Let's just say that "Snoke" didn't seem to me to be a good choice of name for the leader of the bad guys.
Supreme Leader New Coke.
DM Beckett wrote:
Yeah, I really dislike the character, too. He seems more like a petulant child in permanent rage mode than a real threat. His colleagues didn't seem too impressed either with his constant failures and anger attacks, but had to defer to the huge douchenozzle because he was inflicted upon them by their supreme leader.
Which doesn't mean that he doesn't have power, but I am pretty sure that even Darth Vader would have gone "Oy vey, what a douche..." with a double facepalm.
Well, the Barbarian in our already finished RotRL campaign had three levels of Alchemist and sported a very decent AC throughout the entire campaign.
But I know what you are saying, in the other RotRL campaign which is running right now, we got two Barbarian with AC for crap. Both were already down multiple times due to getting hit too often, with one death so far (he came back with a Raise Dead).
The "offense > defense> paradigm only holds if you can kill them before they get a chance to hit back, which giants are quite resistant too, with their decent AC and high hitpoint pools.
I just purchased Bestiary 5, and I found out a lot of the monsters in it depend on Occult Adventures psionics. Remember that if you purchase it.
Yes, that is quite annoying for me, too, especially since I don't know all the new spells. :-/
Well, I'll be playing Shadowrun 4thEd in a few months, as a ki adept, focused on social skills and unarmed combat. I'm looking forward to it, although I also dread it a bit, given that I am not that big a fan of the setting as the other players and the GM are. It hits a bit too close to home (obviously not on the magic side, but in the terms of technology and politics), and a good part of the reason why I play RPG's is for the escapism.
Good explanations, thank you. I still got my annoyances with
Spoiler:but this helps a lot with Kylo Ren and his motivations.
the ultra-hyper-mega-deathstar and the impossible physics
Alright, just returned an hour ago from my first viewing of the movie.
I got this bad habit of posting the bad things last and so my reviews seem more negative than I intend them to. So, here the bad stuff goes first:
- The physics of this movie are more screwed than usual for Star Wars. How exactly could the people on the planet where Rey, Finn, Han and Chewie were staying even see the five planets exploding from the Megadeathstars death rays of doom? Are they in the same system? Shouldn't that have meant that they'd be dead in a few minutes, too, given how the Hyperdeathstar should have sucked up the sun of that system? Does JJ Abrams understand anything at all about physics and the speed of light or did he just want a cool looking scene for the Ultradeathstar?
- Darth Douchy McWhiny was really, really annoying to me and felt sorely undermotivated. Also, inconsistent powerlevels. Stops blaster bolts in mid-air, can't lightsaber fight for s%$%. Guess he's a Jedi Consular. ^^
- Captain Phasma was underutilized.
- The politics of the setting seem screwed up or completely underdeveloped. Why is there a Resistance movement when the Republic still exists? How did the First Order rise? What systems do they control. Did we really have to make the Nazi analogy so obvious this time around?
- Han! Noooooo!
- Contrary to many others, I liked the highly mobile and stylish lightsaber battles. So the return of hacky-slash fighting was kinda a downer for me. I hope, as the characters gain more experience, their fighting will improve.
Now, for the positives:
- Great character work from the new and old actors.
- Excellent action.
- I really liked the new characters and the old ones. Except Kylo Ren, because he seems like a spoiled brat who listens to Linking Park all the time and feels sorry about himself. But the rest of them, excellent.
- Great chemistry between the new main three, especially Rey and Finn and Finn and Poe. Doesn't seem like they'll be going for a love triangle, which is good.
All in all, a positive experience, but the mentioned negatives kinda spoil it. Although I went in expecting a typical JJ Abrams script and that is what I got.
Well, it was kinda predictable that an AP focused on one specific enemy type would have player characters who can deal with that type of enemy more easily. Weapons with the Bane (Humanoids:Giants) ability will probably abound between martial player characters. Hell, Hold/Charm/Dominate Person also probably will be super-effective for the casters.
James Jacobs wrote:
None of the Adventure Paths we do are on timers—they can take as long as the GM wants in-world. I think the fact that each part comes out so quickly over the course of six months gives the wrong impression that the game play is supposed to only last six months. That's certainly not the intent.
Well, the end of a lot of modules certainly give the appearance that immediate action needs to be taken to prevent a great evil from happening. If you want AP's to have a better illusion of a long campaign duration, you need to integrate more alternatives in the modules themselves on how to take out those frequent "you need to go to place X to prevent Y nownownow!" situations, like the siege of Sandpoint and many others like it.
I don't understand the last statement. We play this game for fun, to have a good time and get away from the real world problems for a while. Our characters murder, rob, steal, and some even torture in support of some fictional good idea or kingdom or sociecty. When that changes to be in support of some fictional evil idea or kingdom or society then people start having a 'moral' issue with it.
Yeah, well. The characters in my campaigns are not allowed to be evil. I'd also say that they don't murder, rob and steal and especially don't torture (unless they want the wrath of the GM to come over them and the players know that), but I'm pretty sure that I'll get semantic games from you and others if I would state that as a truth.
If you are fine with having evil characters do terrible things in your campaigns in the name of "fun and a good time", then that is your choice on how to have fun. But in my campaigns I can't abide this behaviour on moral grounds and people are still having fun and respect my choices as a GM (even if a few players whine about it come time to choose the next campaign).
Hence, I'll skip the "Evil AP". Voting with my wallet is the best way to prevent a second one in the future.
I just can't understand why anyone who isn't currently DMing an AP would want to subscribe to the AP line though. Maybe it's just a difference in personality, but I don't feel like my leanings are unusual. Personally, I have witnessed DMs subscribe to an AP when they start DMing and then cancel the subscription when it gets too far ahead of the campaign.
Well, I am a GM, so I'll leave the first part of your statement alone. As for the second part, I like to have options when choosing my next campaign. After I finish RotRL AE in some months (still at the end of module three at the moment), I and my group will have to choose between Shattered Star, Reign of Winter, Giantslayer and Hell's Rebels. That's a good run of diverse AP's with different styles to choose from.
That being said, I'll unsuscribe for the next AP, because I don't support evil campaigns on moral grounds. I'll pick my suscription up again afterwards, though.
I'd rather say they are too short, mostly by three to four levels, i.e. book seven.
I still hope that someday the developers take up the idea of publishing an "after the campaign" module, which bridges the last levels until level 20 and picks up some of the ideas from the "after the campaign" section of the sixth AP book.
For some reason I never finished the Mistborn trilogy, although I tried to read through it twice. I always only got to the half of the second book and then my motivation failed me completely. And it's strange, I really liked Vin and Sazed as characters. It's only the others which are beyond boring and the plot got really dreary.
I finished the game today with the best ship and the best weapons. So I feel like I can give out some information.
Ship combat is more naval than the typical three dimensional experience space games normally give. In total, I didn't mind that, because many space combat sims seem to boil down to both parties flying big loops and whoever manages to get the better angle of attack wins.
With the two-dimensional combat, things like facing become much more important. Since you have literal broadside weapons, you normally want to maneuver your ship to face sideways to an enemy.
There are more than twenty different ships to choose from, with your starting ship being a corvette and the best ship being a dreadnought.
Your main motivation will be to get cooler bigger ships with bigger weapons to be able to shoot up all those other bigger ships with cooler weapons than yours. To achieve that you can trade (not recommended, the economy side is not done very well), do missions for the good guys (militia, citizens) or be a pirate and do missions for them.
There is a fully voiced story, but it is mostly talking heads and really perfunctory.
One thing which really got on my nerves after awhile is that, when traveling through a system to get to a mission or jumpgate, you get pulled out of fast travel (warp) constantly, due to being intercepted by pirates or just running into one of the myriad asteroid fields which litter all the systems.
The combat felt very engaging to me and it being fun was one of the main factors why I felt compelled to get all those upgrades and bigger ships, to do more fun combat.
The soundtrack of the game is fantastic. It (and the game setting, basically Wild West in Space) tries to evoke a Firefly/Serenity feel, which it manages to do very well with its rock western music.
The game only has a cost of 20 dollars and you can get it DRM free on www.gog.com .
So, maybe that convinced you to get the game, maybe it convinced you to stay away from it. I hope I could help you out make your decision.
Mark Hoover wrote:
My personal assessment though is that our GM was either being kind or forgetting a lot of what the demon prince could do.
It's just that the published demon lords are sad jokes against a group of lvl 20/mythic rank 10 characters. Except Nocticula. And even she would go "splat" against even one hit of the about 1500 damage your character seems to inflict per hit.
Yeah, this doesn't surprise me much, given that I was one of the GM's who managed to get through the entirety of Wrath of the Righteous.
I don't like to talk about that experience much anymore. Both because it seriously impaired my fun of Pathfinder for a while and because it seems me being vociferously angry about that seems to have at least one developer be always somewhat snippy when I post something even mildly critical about any AP.
Don't take this the wrong way, magnus, but I'm not sure you and your group are "most folks."
Maybe it really is tunnel vision on my part, but I seriously don't think that my guys are the superhuman powergamers some people apparently think that they are. Some of them know how to build good characters, some of them don't. I can count on at least one of them to come up with a character who is only 50% as capable as the rest of them (usually by playing a Rogue).
Hell, I almost killed two characters last Saturday and actually did kill another one this Tuesday in RotRL. Given my experience with the AP as a player, I think there's a very good chance that module five might get a few others.
As for how others play the game, there are all kinds of groups. From what I've seen other people write on the boards during the last seven years, I think my group(s) are only in the upper middle in terms of playing power.
Well, aside from RotRL, which went to 18th (after your defeat of the big bad of that campaign).
I actually don't have many problems running high-level campaigns, I've been doing it for close to 15 years now. My usual problem is that I tend to think that the Paizo devs err too much on the side of caution in their encounter design (with some notable exceptions in about every AP).
Anyway, many thanks for the info, James!
Since I see this a strong contender for my next AP to GM, I am already taking a closer look at the set-up for the entire AP. One thing which caused my brow to furrow a bit is the campaign outline presented in module one, specifically the last module.
To explain my stance, I also GM'ed Curse of the Crimson Throne and my least favorite aspect of that excellent AP is when the players are taken out of the city of Korvosa for two entire modules. Hell's Rebels avoids this problem, until the last module it seems. At least the second half of the last module seems to be the PC's "invading hell" and while that is pretty cool it also is pretty standard and just when the endgame of the AP arrives takes the party away from the place they cared for and liberated throughout the entire AP.
Yes, you invade hell to complete the liberation of Kintargo, but I really hope that the last module mostly plays in the city proper and not mostly away from it.
Some Other Guy wrote:
An overall nerf to player effectiveness and a boost to monster/opponent effectiveness is exactly what I'd want from this certain sub-system.
James Jacobs wrote:
Since I see this as a strong contender to be my next AP I GM, after we finish RotRL AE in about half a year or more, it is not unlikely that you'll get your wish, even if it is a bit late. Of course I am probably going to chance around even the optional rules a bit, I was quite unhappy how the special properties for weapons and armors were handled with the automatic bonus progression.
I enjoy Bendis writing and I enjoy StarLord and Kitty Pryde as characters. As for Ultimate End, the last issue hasn't come out yet. The concept is pretty interesting and while it so far hasn't made a contribution to the overall arc of Secret Wars, I liked the character moments.
As for the main Secret Wars book, it's pretty good. The incoherent mess are the gazillion tie-in books which are mostly about showing some four-issue alternate scenario which will never be mentioned again after the event, same as the characters introduced there. It's the epitomy of time-eating meaningless dross. And, yes, that includes StarLord and Kitty Pryde and Ultimate End, only that they are better written than the rest.
He has plans for up to three trilogies in the series, depending on how well the first of those trilogies sells.
That being said, the last two books have been a turgid slog and failed to advance the plot more than a few yards. I hope the next book is a little more energetically paced.
Seconded. Several plots went literally nowhere and only ate up hundreds of pages. How he plans on resolving all the other plots he left hanging is a mystery to me, unless he goes "rocks fall, everyone dies" (which the Others invasion might just turn out to be).
I finished The Aeronauts Windlass last week, the first novel in the Cinderspire universe by Jim Butcher. Really a solid book, my first steampunk novel to boot. Really something different for me.
The novel itself is a more of a mystery/action book, with much set-up (since it tries to launch a new universe and has to explain a lot of concepts). The characters are rock-solid, a lot of the concepts were quite novel to me and it only has one case of way too obvious exposition dumping I noticed. It gets my recommendation for any fan of Jim Butcher, fantasy and steampunk.
I could get into a "if even mythic monsters get popped like zits, what makes them mythic to begin with?" rant, but it would be a derail and also I really try to not talk about mythic anymore.
Although that rant also applies to player characters overdeveloped damage capabilities and the monsters lack of ability to take said damage outside of mythic gameplay and so surely has been brought up in other threads already.