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I'll be honest, I don't see why we couldn't have a "mythic" storyline within the normal rules. Mythic rules don't really add much than additional levels to the entire thing and just crank the numbers game higher. It's kind of like with a new World of Warcraft expansion, where suddenly all the stuff you did before is meaningless and there is a number explosion.
If Paizo would tighten the leveling pace for a more "powerful" storyline so that the last module goes from levels 17-20, then that would make for an extremely powerful finale all by its own, no need to add the mythic rules on top. IMO, a level 20 group would have no problem downing Tar-Baphon.
Well, I am someone who basically was (and is) in the position you are in. However, I think that the AP's still can use improvement in some sections, which is why I criticise aspects which I think need those improvements. The argument that "GM's an always make adjustments" is, IMO, not a valid one to not make improvements, since with this argument Paizo could as well forego any roleplaying aspects and just publish 50 pages of statblocks and flavor text for rooms every month.
Session of July 22nd 2014:
Five players in attendance. Pretty standard session today, picking up from the two week hiatus. Basically two big fights, against a.) the colloxus demon, four blackfire adepts and two scions of Baphomet and b.) afterwards against a greater thanadaemon and its summoned elder styx water elemental. The two fights and prior exertions burned enough resources that the party had to rest one hour (via recuperation) to feel confident enough to advance to the final fight against Xanthir Vang. Since I was concerned that the party might not be up to the fight against Vang in their current state, I dropped some Nectar of the Gods (six vials in total, so one per character) on them. In my game, that stuff is a minor artifact, so I am not anxious that they can produce their own. Vang already had retrieved two doses for himself prior, so I can boost him a bit up if needed.
In any case, so far the line-up for the final fight of module four looks like this: In the corner of the good guys, all six party members plus Arueshalae; in the corner of the bad guys, Xanthir Vang, four blackfire adepts, one glabrezu, two advanced retrievers, two apocalypse locusts, one shadow demon. I am not sure if I should add even more to Vangs line-up, since he had an additional hour to get ready. In any case, this will be getting seriously complicated to run, although I am pretty sure that the deck is going to get cleared fast of some of the more minion-like opponents.
My main concern is to get Vangs defences up early in the fight, so that he has his mythic Globe of Invulnerability + his mythic Wall of Force up in round one. Otherwise, I fear that he'll get an angry barbarian to the face and that would seriously cramp his style for the rest of the encounter. After that, he should be free to do stuff at will until he runs out of minions + summons.
Thanks, you guys. It went... well, I guess. Aside from the knowledge test of laws (something I never touched before studying for this), I think I did passingly well on all other topics.
We'll see if it is enough to be in the 10% of the over 2000 people who took the test in all of Germany and advance to the oral exam.
I am not stopping with this AP so far, I only had to put it on hiatus for two weeks, due to RL.
Speaking of that, I am off for the written examination for the foreign affairs department of Germany. Me and a thousand other people around Germany, so let's see if I do okay. I got the karmic advantage of it being my birthday, at least. :p
Well, I'd be up for such a group, if a good timeslot could be found. However, since I am just now urgently looking for a new job (and the next days also got a very important exam/job interview coming up on Monday and I will spend the next two days memorizing German history / German politics / International law / economics / trivia knowledge and dates as well as I can, after weeks of reading up on those topics), that date may be difficult to nail down. :p
Anyway, thanks to James for acknowledging our feedback. I think the most important part to take note of is really that the comparative damage output of PC's to durability of opponents is wildly off in favor of the PC's and there needs to be adjustments made on how tough opponents are in Mythic.
I personally think that players would react well to more frequent roleplaying scenarios and not so big dungeons.
As you say, players need to be able to trust the GM more that a roleplaying scenario won't necessarily be only a lead-in to some fight. On the same page, GM's need to get more such scenarios from AP's.
As I expounded upon in prior posts, there have been modules which included such scenarios, so it isn't as if the writers don't know how to do them. OTOH, the same module which had that excellent RP scenario also included one of the longest, most turgidly boring dungeons I've ever seen in an AP. ^^
Using the AP's as written, combat is about 75% of the time you spend in an AP. Since combat encounters take so long to set up and play out (even an encounter which is totally harmless to the PC's will take at least half an hour to draw up a map and then get through the entire thing), they constitute so much of the time spend playing Pathfinder. If that is your kind of game, I'm happy for you.
I'd prefer more roleplaying scenarios, like at the start of book four of Jade Regent. That were four and a half pages of RP scenario and this was enough to fill two evenings of gaming. Since AP modules often spend a page to explain to GM's who the villain for a certain fight is (and those explanations will never be known to the players, for whom s/he is just "that weird thing we fight now") and single stat blocks can also eat most of a page, I think exchanging fights for roleplaying scenarios would work out quite well.
But overall I have become disenchanted with many of the published AP's because of just the reason of combat > story in AP's and other things related to storytelling, like lack of plot coherency, lack of recurring and evolving characters and so on, so maybe I am simply wanting to move into another direction with my storytelling as a GM.
It has not been? That's a crime, it really is the best AP module I've ever seen your company publish (followed by The Dead Heart of Xin, Tide of Honor and Seven Days to the Grave, by the way).
Anyway, I hope Brandon can write another AP module soon, he is very, very good at it, actively listens to constructive criticism and proceeds to use it to write better for his next work.
James Jacobs wrote:
It'd only increase your chances if you somehow managed to pick the AP that I've already hired 6 authors to start writing on. AKA: The AP is chosen, and can't be changed now! :-)
Well, at the very least I can say what I'd like to see after that.
Oh, and hire Brandon Hodge again. Guy writes the best module you've ever published and then drops from the face of the earth, as far as AP modules go. Not really fair.
If I would start over from the beginning, I would go down the route of ripping out mythic rules completely (almost) for the player characters and giving them an level for every two mythic tiers they get. I would probably keep surges, mythic power and some of the base mythic abilities, but not the attribute increases and mythic feats and path abilities.
I'd keep the enemies mostly the same as they are in the books, although depending on my groups composition and number of players, I would sometimes still use Scorpions upgrades.
Water under the bridge for me, since we are using mythic rules 75% intact in my campaign, but that is what I would do if running this campaign again for another group.
captain yesterday wrote:
if you picked this AP as your first, or are judging all other APs by this one then good riddance to you, don't need you around to be honest:)
Honestly, man, that was totally uncalled for. Paizo ain't your momma, you don't need to defend their honor by insulting people who are dissatisfied with the way they handle their new rules.
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
Could you elaborate a little bit on why exactly you think that the class is not as powerful as some are making it out to be?
Session of July 1st 2014:
Five players in attendance. This was 90% the fight against Jerribeth (Scorpions version), who really gave the party a hell of a battle. Her AC was boosted to 44, a number which was legitimately difficult to hit for the group and she had eight mirror images up. It took the party three rounds to get her images to zero and she took something like 26 damage throughout that period. The only Greater Dispel Magic which went off dispelled her Barkskin and Divine Power, so after the first round she was a little bit less effective, but still had a hell of a punch. After her defenses were stripped down to the Shield of Faith she had going, she went down pretty fast, finished off by a massive critical hit from the smiting Paladin, who combined a Litany of Righteousness with a Foe-Biter attack to deliver something like 300-400 points of damage on her already low-on-HP behind. We didn't roll all the dice, because it was clear that she was a goner.
On her part, she didn't kill anyone, but it really took a lot of good luck and strategy on part of the party to prevent it. I went with the Mythic Power Attack + Mythic Vital Strike combo Scorpion recommended and dished out about close to 100 damage per hit. Even with her dual initiative the party managed to keep the Samurai barely alive for 1 1/2 rounds, which is when the Sorcerer cast Deathless on him. Her Corrupting Whispers failed to dominate the Barbarian, but did work on the Samurai, even with about four rerolls due to resolve and different Samurai/Code abilities. The Samurai challenged the Paladin and managed to hit him... zero times, rolling extremely low. Then again, the party had rolled low on their tries to get rid of the Mirror Images, too, so it was pretty even.
Jerribeth then switched to the Barbarian, doling out AoO's along the way where she could with her reach attacks (critting Arueshalae for 100 damage. Ouch!). But since the Cleric had cast a Heal with Abundant Casting, he managed to keep the Barbarian alive long enough for the party to turn the fight around.
Even with no dead PC's, I think Jerribeth really scared the crap out of them and now they are quite low on resources. I gave them back two mythic power, so that they could push forward. However, they are also low on high-levels spells and are not planning to rest (rightfully fearing that Xanthir would seek them out or retreat with his resources), so I think I will put most of the restant encounters together, with Xanthir pulling his troops back to the giant cave which were added on Thanurels map. I'll leave the Coloxus and the Thanadaemon in their chambers and maybe have the restant Scions of Baphomet as a roadblock, so in about two weeks we'll be done with the Sanctum.
Arueshalae is really pretty useless so far, since she lacks even Precise Shot, she keeps missing most of her attacks. :-/ Her spell-like abilities are mostly worthless in combat, so she doesn't contribute very much.
The party then cleared the Neth-Talgus out (basically I threw that encounter, to keep thing moving. Not that they had any chance, anyway...), then looted everything that they had killed before.
Oh, and they took the Necklace of Strangulation, not recognizing it for what it was. Since the Wizard left the party, high Spellcraft DC's have become a bit of a problem. I am not sure if I should let one of them get killed by it, since it is such an unfair item. Where would they get Limited Wish/Wish/Miracle spells at this level.
Playing a LE Hellknight in a party with a Paladin? Yeah, it's doable.
Playing a CE Antipaladin in a party with a Paladin? Nope. There is literally no reason why he shouldn't smite you on sight, given how the code of the Antipaladin is to kill and destroy everything he gets near and only refrain from it for the reason of doing it more efficiently a little bit later. You are literally building a character designed for PvP griefing.
I share your fears magnuskn but how sure are you that Paizo is unwilling, instead of unable, to invest the time and resources to coordinate the authors better?
Because James said so, although not in those exact words. We had a discussion about story, recurring characters and the general coherence of AP's, and the topic came to conference calls or chats between the editors and authors. Apparently it just is too hard to coordinate seven (or a few more) people once every month or two, because a lot of them are freelancers and live in different time zones. I was and am not really convinced by this argument, given how about most companies manage to do just that.
Look, I understand that Paizo seems to be always rushing to a deadline, but given how AP's are their bread and butter, I'd hope that getting a better story into them would have more priority. I already have gotten disenchanted by them mostly consisting of combats and more combats, strung together by some plot, but given the roots of Pathfinder, that is not so surprising. However, I think that too short shrift is given to adding roleplaying scenarios, recurring NPC's who have an evolving story outside of the module in which they were introduced and a bit more novel-like plot.
Jade Regent was extremely good in many regards. The recurring NPC's stood out (although they were not given anything to do beyond module one), but one thing which stood out to me was a section at the beginning of book four, which consisted of pure roleplaying. It took only two and a half pages in the adventure, but it was some of the best time my group had in the entire AP. If we got more of that, instead of just another section of weak monsters between bosses, padded out with flavor text how this particular dungeon room is decorated, then I'd be much more happy with how AP's are going. But it seems that actual detailed roleplaying scenarios are more the aberration than the rule.
Anyway, I'm off to bed, work tomorrow and I need to get up early.
Well, a 12 part AP would certainly be interesting from the standpoint that it could allow campaigns where you don't spend 75% of your time fighting. But given the history of how AP's are written on a technical level (six different authors writing the modules, often at the same time) and Paizo's unwillingness to invest the time and resources to coordinate those authors better, I fear that I am highly skeptical that such an endeavour would actually produce a more coherent story than previous AP's. And a more coherent story is what would be what is needed to fill the additional space with something else than just "more fights".
Session of June 24th 2014:
All six players in attendance.
The party arrived at the Ivory Sanctum and after bypassing the illusory wall, was attacked by the Brass Bull (monster supplied by Scorpion) while raising the portcullis. The gorgon really didn't do much, aside form eating two mythic power, due to necessary surges to avoid being petrified. Since it wasn't immune to mind-affecting effects, an Overwhelming Grief was enough to take it out of the action long enough to bring it down.
Entering the Sanctum itself, the party was immediately accosted by four Scions of Baphomet (again provided kindly by Scorpion), who did some impressive damage. They were joined by two advanced Kalavakus from farther back in the Sanctum, but overall that combat also didn't last for more than three rounds. Even with the high mobility of the Scions, they couldn't stand up to the damage output from the three melee characters and the Ranger archer.
Notable moments of the fight:
- One Scion dies to massive damage after getting critted for 90 points of damage and rolling a one on his massive damage save.
- One Scion is exploderized by a critical hit from the Samurai, doubled with the foe-biter legendary weapon ability, for some 200+ damage.
- The Sorcerer is far enough along in his Arcane Metamastery development that he now can use it for maximised spells. A well-placed maximised empowered fireball took 80 points each out of the two Kalavaku's.
The party then continued in the direction of Jerribeth, killing the two Scions posted before her room on the way. They finished talking to Jerribeth, but even with her reasonable offers (from her perspective), they have determined that she cannot be left alive. Next session it'll be that fight to start. I kinda fear that the Samurai is going to spend the last mythic power of his legendary sword to touch attack foe-bite her, which probably will either kill her or get her near death. It'll cost him the chance to use that later, but it still would be a pretty pathetic way for her to go. I'll have to talk with Scorpion about what the best counterstrategy would be. :)
I can't see how the Paladin does so much more than an Inquisitor, aside from a few rounds of nova with Litany of Righteousness. And I have no idea how a Barbarian at lvl 13 can get 6 attacks (aside from someone please telling me what CAGM is, you can't assume that everybody knows every acronym).
Matt Thomason wrote:
Oh, believe me, I'm not the only one in my circle of friends who is unhappy with how Paizo is bungling a lot of their new rules. I am, however, the only one of 10 people who goes online to talk about it.
I think you are discounting the opportunity cost Clerics suffer of having to pre-buff for every fight. The Cleric player in my campaign complains constantly that his idea of a front-line Cleric is not working in comparison to the other martials, because fights are over too quickly and he can't even compare to the others without his buffs. The Warpriest circumvents this problem with his better action economy for self-buffing.
I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I'm just saying that people claiming that players are optimizing when they take those feats (which are most of the principal damage heighteners of Mythic Adventures) are discounting the fact that those are the logical things to take if you need as a prerequisite the basic feat.
captain yesterday wrote:
No problem and thanks for the clarifications. I strongly agree with your last statement. Recognizing that certain very standard options work strong on their own and even better together is just simple math and has nothing to do with optimizing.
Furthermore, some of the best mythic feats are upgrades for some of the most common feats taken by characters. Since you need the basic version to even get the mythic one, they tend to constitute the most logical combinations to get.
In fact, players seem to need to take the outlier path abilities and mythic feats to avoid becoming the kind of massive damage dealers many people are complaining about. They need to optimize their ineffectiveness. ^^
Really? That's your answer? "We can't hold Paizo responsible for bad game design, because we can change it if we need to"?
Sprain Ogre wrote:
Paizo puts out good quality stuff that needs only de minimis tinkering on my part to run the way I want it to. They give me options I wouldn't have thought of myself and I find their world setting fun. Also, trying to compare what you see as failings in their products to cars and appliances not working is laughable. It's comparing apples to bricks. I don't think it's helping your arguments any...
It's not an exact analogy to be sure. But nonetheless, for some reason when it gets to creative work we are supposed to accept that faulty products can and will be sold to us. And when we complain, we are told to write our own, if we want to complain. That is an insane standard to have and I used the car analogy to point out how ridiculous it is.
No, you just always seem intent to slam and complain about things that aren't exactly the way you personally wanted them to be. You could just create your own subset of rules that fit your campaign better than Mythic, instead of grudgingly using them anyway and grumbling about how bad it is.
Yeah, as it happens when there is something I don't like, I criticise it. In the case of mythic rules, I am far from the only one.
And in case you haven't noticed, this AP is supposed to be played with the rules from Mythic Adventures. Since the rules are pretty bad and horribly balanced overall, this has caused large issues with many groups, getting to the point where good GM's like Aldarionn and Seannoss have abandoned their campaigns, because they did not want to deal with the problems anymore. Since this AP plus Mythic Adventures cost me more than 200 dollars in total, I think that entitles me to also voice criticism of how it was handled. If you don't like that, I recommend you turn your eyes elsewhere.
Yeah, that is the same fallacy which is applied to movie critics or anybody else whose opinion one does not like. I can criticise that a car is badly manufactured without anyone sane rolling out this ridiculous canard, but as soon as something in the industry of entertainment is criticised, suddenly it's okay to demand that only professional writers can do that.
Yet the AP was written by professional RPG designers.
The storyline was never fleshed out or expanded upon. Perhaps Tymora had desires for Tyr? Perhaps she was lonely? Perhaps there was mlre at work than either deity knows about? The point is, no one really knows why the Courtship between Tyr and Tymora came about. So I think it's sorta strange to come to the conclusions that somehow Tymora was powerless in the situation we saw.
Okay, so the CG goddess of luck is married off to the LG god of justice in a brokered marriage (and, yes, that was specifically called out) by Sûne. There was exactly zero prior linkage between the two. Oh, yeah, let's not forget that Tyr and Helm (LN god, also of justice) duel to the death for Tymora. Tyr slays Helm.
Sure, you can say "You never know what happened before!", but it always stuck me very much as fiat writing, bad storytelling and a plain "WTF, WHY?" event. There had been no mention of Tyr having any interest in Tymora before, much less the reverse. It just was thrown in there for no reason whatsoever, aside from getting rid of Helm. Hence, horrible writing to get from point A to B. Not to mention objectification of a female deity. Done by the goddess of love, no less.
It'd be as if, out of nowhere, Shelyn marries off Desna to Erastil. No explanation as to why, aside from "they have to maintain cosmic balance something something". Could you imagine the reaction on this board to such an event?
And they were warned about this by the fans at that time. I know, because I was among the people who were shouting those warnings from the rooftops (or better said, the WotC Realms forum). But they chose to not listen.
So, yeah, count me as skeptical, to say the least, about their newest work.
I'm just binging on recent interviews with Jim Butcher (due to the release of Skin Game) and aside from affirming that this is one of the most affable human beings I've had the pleasure of listening to, I must say that he is doing great promotional work for Paizo. There always seems to come up at least once during a longer interview a moment where he tells the story of how he introduced his son to roleplaying and chose Pathfinder as the best system to do so.
Paizo should really hire him for a promotional tour or something.
On second thought, better not, or the next book comes out later. ^^
It's extremely unlikely that I'd shift. WotC would have to publish the combined revivification of Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed to make me forget what they did (against the explicit advice of the fans) to the Forgotten Realms. Not to mention that I vastly disliked 4E and that I am very skeptical of their new edition.
Session of June 4th 2014:
Six players in attendance.
Pretty standard session, although we got the Child of the Crusades background story done this time. All characters have advanced to tier four. Two fights, against two Bodaks (which died very fastly, but scared the players a bit, since they made the Wizard eat six negative levels) and then against the Nabasu Skulgrym and two Drocha swarms.
Skulgrym sadly didn't last very long, since he got perforated very pointedly by the Ranger and the others. His gaze attack did manage to inflict a staggering 15 permanent negative levels, which were spread around four characters, though. Sadly the link ability Scorpion_mjd gave him didn't go into effect, since he heard the party from two rooms away and was specifically trying to hit the Ranger with it. Since he delayed his turn after her, she critically wounded him and he was finished off by the Barbarian before she could get her turn again. Oh, well.
The party returned to Drezen, sold off their loot (Drezen has grown a pretty hefty Base Value and has lost its ruined status in my game) and got to buying some new stuff. The player of the Paladin is making some seriously scary calculations about how much damage he can put out with Litany of Righteousness and his now legendary Radiance.
The party then teleported to Nerosyan and bought some more items and then had 15 days of downtime. The Cleric of Himself is building a cathedral in Drezen. Since I felt that the Ranger got a bit short shrift in her backstory compared to him, I gave her a bonus feat, Celestial Companion, so that her animal companion gets a bit better.
Anyway, in the night of the 15th day Arueshalae contacted the Sorcerer (who is a follower of Saranrae and has a backstory which meshes well with hers. We'll have to see if he also will make a good romantic interest ^^) and the party has decided to seek her out in her redoubt and help her against the demonic onslaught.
Oh, and the player of the Wizard decided that he wants to play another character, because he feels the class is too complicated. Which is a bit strange, because he already played a Wizard a few years back, but it's his decision. I made him wait until next week, since the party was still out about in the Marshlands during this sessions, but we'll talk this weekend what his new class is going to be. So far he wants to play a simple two-handed weapon Fighter. I am trying to push him a bit to play something more interesting, like a Swashbuckler or Samurai. We'll see where it goes. :p
Jessica Price wrote:
I don't think their issue is exposed female skin per se -- I think their issue is whether Seoni's costume makes sense for Seoni's personality, and whether one of the female characters who gets the most visual airtime should be one of the characters with the most extreme outfits. I personally see arguments on both sides there (I'm personally fairly indifferent on that particular issue), but I don't think it's as simple as objecting to any exposed skin on a woman.
Well, I find both Seoni and Jirelle very good looking and they are basically polar opposites in terms of exposed skin.
In any case, I find it irksome when people try to take out the sexy for both genders, because such puritanical views are very 20th (and earlier) century to me.
But there seems to be a definite "cover up the females already!" tone to the complaints. Seltyiel is a male example of a character with lots of exposed skin and I don't see people lining up to complain about him.
Wrong. A system where everybody gets the same points to create their characters is inherently more fair than a random number system. That on top of the fair system is an entire other system which inherently favors some classes over the others is not the fault of the point buy mechanic.
Also, I don't appreciate you accusing me of lying.