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Every GM knows the situation: Suddenly you have another player or two. Or maybe one of the player leaves, leaving your group understaffed. Or one of the players of your four player group has built a truly optimized character and suddenly the other three players feel useless.
How do you best adjust the adventure path or your homebrewn adventure with those and many of the other common problems cropping up? Some GM's are able to do this on the fly (and are not shy about pointing that out on this forum). Others struggle mightily and their campaigns suffer.
Some days ago, James Jacobs posted the following:
James Jacobs wrote:
Frankly, a "how to adapt adventures" product is a good idea. A product that helps GMs adjust adventures for more players or to account for new character build options is something I've wanted to do for a LONG LONG LONG time. It'd double down with a "How do you build adventures" handbook and perhaps even a book to help GMs run higher level content, with tips and suggestions for how to keep a game running smoothly at those levels. Unfortunately, I've had no luck (obviously) convincing management that such a book would be a wise idea to put on the schedule, and they are probably right, since a book like this would most likely sell a LOT less than another book filled with character options.
I would like to see this product published. I am quite an experienced gamemaster by now after 15 years of doing the job, but I still struggle to adapt pre-existing material to my six-player group. I feel high-level content has its constant problems and I'd love to see what Paizo's take on the issue is. I still think I can learn from others and get better at what I've been doing for years.
I also hope that a book like this will get more people into GM'ing and, hence, more people into Pathfinder. I think it is way more necessary than Paizo management thinks, because I still remember how many of my past campaigns smashed into hard obstacles because I didn't have good advice back then how to adjust for unusual circumstances of the many varieties we encounter in our job as gamemasters. Getting good advice on how to GM in unusual circumstances is a crucial part of getting through some of the harder parts of GM'ing. How many new gamemasters abandon their job because they did not know how to deal with these very common problems? How many new players left the game because their groups disbanded because of inexperienced gamemasters?
So, if you support the idea of this book getting published, voice your support and get managements attention.
If you don't want this book or think it is unnecessary, please refrain from threadcrapping. There are more than enough books for player options getting published each month, so one book of GM advice can't be such a detriment to your enjoyment, even if you think you already know better about everything that is going to be in this book or just personally never GM.
There are quite a few spells which are basically "too good" and most of them come from Ultimate Magic, like Ear-Piercing Scream.
But it's not the d6 which makes Ear-Piercing Scream so good but the secondary effect of dazing your target.
Most of those "too good" spells from UM either have a really good secondary effect or still screw over the target if it makes it save, like Terrible Remorse, Icy Prison or Prediction of Failure.
James Jacobs wrote:
Thanks for the info. It was a bit wonky and also difficult to explain why just seeing certain monsters was a sanity crushing experience while others are the usual "Oh, look, the next XP piñata". ;)
James Jacobs wrote:
It has nothing to do with "realistic' and everything to do with being out of character and ridiculous for her to wear. She's still perky and all that but that has nothing to do with inappropriate armor.
Well, differing opinions and all that. For me personally her look helped me define how I presented her to the players. Although, looking back at it, I think the facial expression on that drawing had more to do with that than the armor. Oh, well, nostalgia and all that. CotCT is, after all, still my favorite AP.
Looking forward this. I hope that later in the AP any sanity mechanic will have Will saves appropiate to the level of the characters. That was kind of a problem in Wake of the Watcher, where the Will saves seemed way to low for the character level and I had to raise them substantially to even threaten the player characters with some sanity issues.
John Compton wrote:
Sadly, this is really true. I have received complaints in person, on the messageboards, and through product reviews that it is (to only lightly paraphrase) "cheating for NPCs to use the same tricks that PCs do." As a developer, I have to look at some encounters and say, "yes, this would be very effective, but it would also KO 1-2 characters per round. Is that going to be fun for the typical group?"
As a long-time GM, I feel that the opposition in AP's seems mostly to fight with nerf bats against the very real weapons the player characters wield.
Also, Pathfinder fights at high level last only 2-3 rounds, but the fight can take hours in real life. If during those fights the opposition cannot credibly challenge the player characters, I personally feel that everybodies time was wasted.
Hence, bring on the more effective opposition tactics. I think players would rise to the challenge.
Also, if a tactics block of an opponent at high levels reads more or less "Opponent X first casts buff X then spends the next round summoning Y", then you're doing it wrong. He'll be dead (or near dead) at the end of round two. This still happens far too often in AP's.
BTW, isn't "oriental" now more of a racist term, at least in the USA? It's still in academic use in Germany (we have a whole branch called "Oriental Studies"), but I've lately heard quite a lot that the word is considered to be racist in American circles.
Anyway, I'll add my vote for a new Tian Xia AP. Of course I'd love for it to be centered on Minkai, but with the inevitable howls of "But what about my continuity!?!?", I know it won't be. As such, my vote would be for a Dtang Ma, Shokuro, Tianjing or Xa Hoi AP, as those nations appear to me to be the most interesting (grantedly, Shokuro mostly because they also have Samurai in spades). Amanander would also be very interesting, but would probably miss the point of a Tian Xia AP.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Casual Viking wrote:
And apparently I am unable to read and never saw that the cost rises. So, six points for a sixth level summon? Ouch. I probably never would have even considered the Occultist, but, yeah, that makes the Consume Magic errata pretty much a gravestone for that archetype.
Pixie, the Leng Queen wrote:
Yeah, sorry. Apparently I read right over those words the gazillion times I looked at the archetype before. I assumed that you were whining needlessly, but I think I would have downrated the archetype massively even before the nerf if I'd read the pertinent paragraphs correctly.
This is especially relevant if we compare it to the other classes which are solely Paizo's design, i.e. everything forward from the APG. About every one of those classes has a focus on limited use abilities, meaning that parties aren't expected to have something else than the 15 minute adventuring day anymore. Hence new classes should be all designed around that paradigm, not how they perform better after everybody else has run out of their limited resources.
That is not a commentary on the effectiveness of the Kineticist, since I haven't really looked at its numbers yet, but rather that the "class X operates better when there are a lot of encounters that day" argument has been killed by Paizo's conscious class design years ago.
Reading it: Very dense, legalistic. Forget seeing forest for the trees the writing has you concentrating on bark and you have to pan out from there to see how the classes work and get a reasonable picture of what it does.
Yes, thank you, that encapsulates perfectly the feeling I got when trying to make sense of the Kineticist. Hell, I haven't even looked at the other classes yet, several days later.
Alright, I think I got the basics of the class, although I'll have to read all the different talents in detail to see what I would want to play (although no danger of that, I am currently GM'ing two groups with many a month to go for both campaigns).
I'll say that putting nine very long and complex descriptions of class abilities (and some shorter ones) before you even get to see what all those wild talents and infusions and thingamajigs can do, made it definitely a chore to read through the class. It's doable, but it definitely is the most complex D20 class I ever read through and I've never had this problem with any other Paizo class before.
I guess that's a sign of its versatility, but, man. I'll be looking at the other classes throughout the next days, I hope they are less complicated. I hope that the Occultist really is the "Harry Dresden" type of class, which I remember a developer saying during the playtest.
captain yesterday wrote:
Oh, hell yeah. Brandon did supremely good work on Shattered Star 6 and Reign of Winter 5. I'd wish he would write more adventure path modules. But I guess after writing the best single module Paizo has ever published, he wanted to go out on a high note. ;)
If mythic is used sparingly in a homebrewn campaign by the GM, it does exactly what Gorbacz said and is indeed a good tool to spice up encounters.
Mythic as used in Wrath of the Righteous is a disaster and not only for groups which optimize. The system would need significant nerfs to become playable.
Anyway, the good AP's:
Rise of the Runelords (revised) is, IMO, the best AP. It has a very decent mix of roleplaying and combat, an interesting story and keeps the party motivated throughout the entire AP.
Curse of the Crimson Throne is also an excellent AP, keeping the party in a single city throughout 2/3's of the AP. The trip outside the city could have been better and shorter, but it still works quite well.
Jade Regent is an excellent AP. It starts in Avistan and then progresses to Tian Xia. The middle modules are a bit weak, in that the third module is an interminable trip over the north pole (a feeling which seems to be intentional by the writer) and the fourth module has an excellent start, but the second half is a way too long dungeon with underpowered opposition (which can be remedied by replacing it with the Ruby Phoenix Tournament adventure, which many have done), but the last two modules make up for it. I would be very interested to see what Paizo would do with an AP all set in Tian Xia.
While I haven't run Shattered Star yet, I am very much looking forward to it, since the entire AP looks to be excellently done from my reading.
And, as I said before, Carrion Crown is a very competently written AP, brought down only by a too combat heavy last module and also that the main villain is a non-entity until the very last fight (which can be remedied by introducing him much earlier. I personally had him appear in the very first module and constantly mentioned him during the entire AP, although he only revealed himself as the bad guy at the end of module five).
People also say good things about Legacy of Fire, although you'd have to ask others about details.
I'll be honest, when I got the PDF yesterday evening, my eyes glazed over when trying to make sense of the Kineticist and after that I only skimmed through the book for the artwork and to read the list of spells (which look singularily useless for the non-psychic classes). I guess I'll take a new look later today, maybe have some actual opinions. But the new classes look waaaaay more complicated than what we got before, needlessly so.
Yes, of course, ignore the advice of people who actually have experienced the problems those untested sub-systems caused in their campaigns, because "whining". Great idea. You ignore traffic rules, too, because other people "whined" that running a red light is a bad idea?
Carrion Crown is a solid AP, with an uninspired ending. The first five modules have a mix of investigation and combat, while the sixth module is combat from start to finish.
Reign of Winter is a travel AP where you visit ever increasingly exotic locations. Its modules therefore are pretty much disconnected from each other and modules three and four were not my cup of tea when I read them. Module six also is not that super interesting. Module five, however, is the single best AP module published by Paizo.
Shattered Star is a very solid dungeon-heavy AP, which tried to show that dungeons can also have things like diplomacy and roleplaying. It's on my list of AP's I want to GM one day.
I can't talk about Giantslayer, since I've only skimmed through the artwork, but apparently it also doesn't have any additional new mechanics.
I believe your expectations may be unrealistic. Making a large rules book is a very error prone process. And I really doubt that your playing experience has been affected by many non-ACG errata.
In small ways, it has over the years. Situations like "No, you can't do this anymore, they erratae'd it" have come up multiple times.
And I know that it is better to errata than not, but it still makes me feel like I misinvested money in getting the first printings and now being stuck with them.
Actually, being someone who always buys first printings and feeling like an extended playtester after one or more rounds of errata is a problem I also have and have heard mentioned around my two tables, too. It's coming to the point where I seriously think about just purchasing the PDF, printing it out and having it bound into a hardcover, until at least a second printing is available. I am not made out of money and I find it quite frustrating that about every hardcover I own is partially invalidated by now.