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Murdock Mudeater wrote:
(unless the animal has been secretly looking for any excuse to turn on it's friends...).
And lets fact it, if the companion is a cat, it just KNOWS that you haven't been giving it enough attention, you barely feed it, you've been ignoring it for weeks now.
Yes, I live with cats. How can you tell?
Just a Mort wrote:
I built my witch with the Slumber Hex, planning on only using it when absolutely necessary.
Unfortunately, there were just too many times when I thought it was absolutely necessary when it really wasn't.
Many GMs (myself included) consider a great encounter the encounter where the players THINK they're going to lose but manage to pull out a victory anyway. It is very, very easy to think you're in much more trouble than you really are since there is a very human tendency to concentrate on the negatives (Can't hit him, he just did something nasty as a free action, etc etc etc) without noticing that things aren't really THAT bad (we're not dead yet!)
I found that as soon as the encounter seemed deadly, I used the Slumber Hex. I eventually trained it out so as to avoid temptation.
Obviously, YMMV. Just giving one persons perspective here, NOT trying to denigrate others who take a different position on optimization.
I prefer the masterpieces that allow you to do things that a spell can't do. My favorite is the mass freedom of movement. Stupid helpful to the party as a whole.
I love that masterpiece. But it isn't going to be affected by this ruling, regardless of what the ruling is, due to the fact that it takes 1 round to activate.
I'm not claiming that witches are overpowered when compared to other full casting classes. I have exactly the same reservations with a Kitsune enchanter, well built control wizard, etc etc etc.
Basically, I think highly optimized full casters are too powerful for PFS play.
I also think that it is generally more fun for everybody around the table for the Witch to be helping the fighting sorts by Evil Eye, Misfortune etc rather than either taking out a bad guy OR wasting their turn pointlessly.
You have a choice to make as a witch.
By far the most powerful option is to take save or totally suck hexes (sleep, Icy Tomb, etc). These are, IMO, TOO powerful for PFS. Especially when combined with the usual shenaningans to make saves all but impossible for most characters. They basically shut down a bad guy as soon as your turn comes up. PFS just does not need that level of power (and yes, before you ask, I speak from experience).
The other choice is to take the gazillion flavourful and useful hexes. Flight, Prehensile Hair, Misfortune, etc etc.
When doing the latter, I found that my witch almost completely used just hexes in the normal fights. He kept his spells to either buff the party or as big guns when the situation warranted it. Which made for a character that contributed greatly to success but did NOT over shadow the rest of the party.
Not only the US media. She apparently controls the media in (at least) Britain (I read the BBC on a regular basis) and up here in Canada too.
I mean, they all report the same things as the US media does.
Heck, even Fox News mostly reports the same things :-)
John, thank you for commenting on this.
I admit that you're all probably right, its just one of those things that I should ignore.
But maybe an item on a chronicle sheet. A practice weapon (limit 1 or 2). With the note that it isn't meant for real combat and so breaks after 1 scenario ?
Also probably not worth the bother if I'm honest.
Ok, I'll shut up now :-). Thank you for listening to me vent :-)
Oh, I understand the game balance reasons.
But every now and then the fact that paizo sometimes REALLY seems to dislike their own rules just irks me.
They seem to constantly go "We want to do <something>. Oh, the rules don't let us do that. Lets just ignore the rules and do it anyway. Makes for a better story".
Sometimes its amusing but sometimes it really, really makes me think
Right now, non lethal practice weapons are pretty firmly established to exist in Golarion and be quite common. It just breaks my willing suspension of disbelief that PCs aren't allowed to buy them but NPCs can.
I've played 2 PFS scenarios this week that have practice weapons in them (there are quite a few, but 2 in less than a week finally made me crack).
Practice weapons, of course, do non lethal damage.
Could we please get some way to buy these? At the least, put them on the chronicle sheet? They're obviously VERY common in world
Eric Ives wrote:
It is extremely probable that Chrysalis Black escaped. Being one of our most twisted villains, I would love to know what he, and his mother, have been up to.
I quite liked him in some ways as a villain. Even if his alignment is in the running for the single silliest thing that Paizo has EVER said when describing a NPC.
Thomas Hutchins wrote:
Unless you get a comment from the PTB, I strongly suspect that the answer is "Expect table variation".
I think what you are seeing is a symptom of the fact that there are quite a few people who currently do not fully trust the system to react to things in a timely or reasonable fashion.
I'm far down the food chain but I strongly get the impression that there is a (perceived or real) lack of communication and responsiveness between the top and the grunts.
Pavel is a NG level 2 Human Moon Circle Druid who is Compassionate, Passionate, and Curious. The son of a town wisewoman he has taken after her and is now a healer. He is unusual in that he takes on some of the personality of animals that he wild shapes into and sometimes his emotions cause him to wild shape when his reason would have him stay human.
Note - If you think Moon Circle is too powerful at the lower levels I'd readily change to Land Circle
How I created character:
Variant Human (+1 to Wis and Con), Feat (Healer), extra skill (Survival)
Pavel Human L2 Druid
Pavel was born into a local sheep owning family, a little better off than some but by no means wealthy. His mother was a local wisewoman, helping to heal those who could not afford to purchase healing magics.
Almost as soon as he could talk it was obvious that Pavel was going to take after his mother. He was fascinated by nature in all its manifestations and had a true touch with animals along with a green thumb. He quickly learned almost everything that his mother could teach.
Seeing his potential, his mother put him in touch with a druidic circle nearby. Also impressed by the boy, they accepted him as a student.
Since then he has mastered the rudiments of Druidic lore. He never left the village, his mentor coming to him in the evening in the form of an eagle
When he adopts the form of an animal his personality shifts a little towards that of the animal. In general, this is fine with him. However, sometimes when completely in the throes of some passion he finds himself inadvertently changing shape into an animal. Once, the sight of a travelling merchant beating his sick donkey to death enraged him and he found himself turning into a Brown Bear and attacking the merchant. It was only by the barest trace that he managed to control himself before killing the merchant, fleeing into the woods to calm down.
Pavel is generally a quiet, modest young man who clearly shows an intense fascination with nature. His caring and compassionate nature is quite obvious on even the shortest acquaintance.
Beneath that calm surface however there is a passionate soul waiting to escape. Sometimes it is seen in the joy that he can take in the simplest things, sometimes it is seen in the sadness that illness or death can bring, sometimes it is seen in a rage bordering on that of a berserk.
Pavel is absolutely fascinated by animals and seeks to learn more about them. One of his favourite activities is to cast speak with animals and animal friendship and to then turn into the form of an an animal. Together with his new friends he can discover what it truly means to be a cat, a deer, etc.
In general he is a follower and not a leader, a healer and not a warrior. Except when his passions become inflamed. Although it has been close, he has never yet let his passions completely override his moral instinct but it has been close. His greatest fear is that sometime he will step over the line. He is reluctant to turn into forms like the Bear, doing so only in greatest need.
As Pavel speaks, his voice starts out quiet and calm but towards the end he gets more and more impassioned.
"I have to agree with Holly, it is better to reclaim the keep than to build walls around our town. The keep can far more easily be defended, from there a handful of warriors can hold off hundreds.
Who wants to have to go through a gate every morning to get to ones fields? Who wants their neighbours to know every time they go in and out of town? Who wants their freedom restricted?
And there is another side to it. To build the walls would require us to fell a great many trees. But the forest is good to us. It provides us with food, especially in winter and spring. It keeps the winds off us. It yields up herbs to save lives, spices to make our food tasty. It shelters the animals.
And it is defended. If we cut down trees for no good reason we risk angering its guardians. Far better to keep them as potential allies."
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
Normally I'd agree with you but some decisions are so egregiously bad that public shaming seems appropriate and even necessary.
IF (a fairly large caveat) the situation is as described then this really is something that should be made public.
I have a character concept in mind but I'm new enough to 5th edition that I thought I'd better ask some questions.
The basic concept is a mild mannered healer who loves animals and nature. He is a circle of the moon druid, using wild shape largely as a means of understanding animals. I am planning on having my personality mildly change when I wild shape (flavour, not mechanical.) Only when really necessary or really angry will he change shape into something like a bear
I'm going to want to interact well with wild animals. Is that handle animal? If it is, would I use wisdom or charisma?
The moon druid wild shape ability, at first blush, seems VERY powerful at low level. Is it in fact overpowered and I should instead play a Land druid?
Jared Thaler wrote:
Low Tier scenarios should NOT rely on players having very good tactical sense. New players play low tier scenarios a lot and they're still trying to differentiate their D12 from their D20 :-) :-).
Season 6 was known as the "Year of the Adamantine Weapon" for a reason. Some low tier scenarios almost RELIED on there being a 2 handed power attacking sort in the group.
This is where I guess we agree to disagree. Wild Empathy is one way, not the only way. Saying it is the only way seems about as wrong to me as claiming that only characters with an animal companion or familiar can have a combat pet.
Wild empathy is useful and valuable in that it is "free", far less subject to table variation and has good support. I'd never expect to be able to build Flutter with just speak with animals and diplomacy/handle animal. But its not the only game in town
There are mechanical options over and above charm person that allow a character the opportunity to try and convince a henchman to turn on their boss. Subject to wild Table Variation but sometimes intimidate, bluff, diplomacy can work. Sometimes even in combat.
Why shouldn't there be mechanical options to do the same with henchcritters?
You say that I can get a bird to tell me where the orcs are. But surely there should be a roll of some kind for that. By RAW it is NOT diplomacy and NOT handle animal.
As always, circumstances matter a LOT. I'd never let somebody handle animal a druids animal companion to attack the druid. I MIGHT allow it to get the animal to stand down (ESPECIALLY if I was desperately trying to avoid killing characters and the player tried this as a Hail Mary. Much less likely to if the player did this as a regular thing).
And overriding some random guard who doesn't even have handle animal in his stat block ordering around a guard dog that he bought? Yeah, I'd give that a chance
An animal or other critter needs to like you before it's going to listen to you.
Not always true. A trained dog or horse will follow orders from somebody other than its master. Heck, a strong argument can be made that animals are more responsive to somebody they FEAR than somebody they LIKE (I strongly suspect that you hate the way some animals are trained as much as I do but that doesn't mean the methods are ineffective)
The various terms (power gaming, optimization, munchkin, twink, etc etc etc) are all very ill defined and vary from group to group and individual to individual.
I think that there is little to be gained by arguing about terminology.
It doesn't help that we almost ALL think of OURSELVES as reasonable and middle of the road with maybe a small leaning towards/away from optimization, scoffing at both those Twinked out Monstrosities on one side and those absurdly badly built characters on the other.
Absolutely agreed, with one caveat.
Sometimes the GM DOES find that something that had seemed acceptable at the time has turned out to be more powerful/disrupting/un fun than it was originally thought to be. GMs make mistakes :-)
At that point, sometimes the best solution IS to approach the player and get them to change/dial back aspects of their character.
But that should be done very openly and, to the extent possible, with player participation and buy in. Two mature adults coming to some kind of compromise position is always the ideal (and much more common in practice than the intertubes would make one think). But, on very rare occassions, the GM does have to unilaterally reverse a previous decision for the good of the game.
The GM sonetimes bans things not because they're "too powerful" but because they interfere with the stories they want to tell.
Super speed (especially if the character can bring others along) interferes with stories where the fun is getting from A to B, interacting with the locals, etc.
So, sometines the GMs opinion IS very real and substantial.
What about characters using speak with animals? Do they automatically fail?
I think the animal rules are VERY open to table variation, largely because they have so many gaping holes in them. Dogs DO sit when commanded to by people other than their master. Especially if told to by somebody they know and like.
Mechanically, there are lots of character types that need SOME way to interact and influence animals that isn't wild empathy. Witches with feral speech, clerics with the animal domain, animal speaker bards, etc.
Clearly flutter should excel. But others should be able to play the same game in a different way. It shouldn't be wild empathy or nothing.
"Wise Old Man" wrote:
Like I've said, my friend, everyone has the right to sit at any table.
Nonsense. Nobody has a "right" to sit at my table. Whether that is the physical table in my house or the table at the local game store where I run PFS or a virtual table on the internet there is not some "right" to sit at it.
In a home game I'll exclude players for any number of reasons. My house, my choice.
In PFS I'll accept anybody who follows the PFS rules but even there I'll reject people who cheat or who refuse to play nice or who are too disruptive etc.
As for optimization, different groups have different standards and have the right (and arguably responsibility) to correct and/or reject people not meeting those standards.
Just as in other matters of playstyle. Groups have levels of in character action that are acceptable, moral standards characters must meet, etc etc etc.
GM Arkwright wrote:
a bit of both. I'd accompany the family to the fort, make sure they're settled in. Then go roam. If there is a church to Iomedae would go there, if not would go to temple of good god, if not to kawful neutral god
GM Hmm wrote:
So, when are you running the all Kitsune group? :-).
Pete Winz wrote:
Can you even make a Handle Animal check on a hostile animal? If so, what is the purpose of Wild Empathy?
Expect massive table variation.
The rules for animals are very unclear and very obviously don't cover everything/
For example, as written, if you can speak to an animal (via magic, presumably) you can use NEITHER handle animal NOR diplomacy to get it to cooperate.
I've yet to meet a GM who wouldn't let me use one or the other but I've had GMs use Handle Animal, GMs want diplomacy, and GMs who will let you use the better of the two.
I think John Compton said it very well in the thread that likely prompted this thread resurrection.
"The campaign presents a common ground that facilitates 70,000+ players worldwide playing pick-up games with complete strangers but walking away as friends".
That and kick ass PBP games where one gets to play in a Murder Of Crows solving a murder at a carnival :-) :-) :-)
What always puzzles me about these rules is that cold resistance doesn't protect against cold weather as the exposure causes non-lethal damage. Ditto for fire resistance and hot weather.
As far as I'm concerned it does. Even in PFS.
There are times when one just has to say that the rules are SO stupid that they should be ignored :-)
If everybody isn't understanding you it is conceivable that the problem isn't our poor reading comprehension but rather your ability to explain yourself.
My willingness to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you were genuinely seeking help and advice as opposed to deliberately trolling us is rapidly running out.
At this point I think at least one of the following is true
Because there already IS an absurdly large amount of freedom in PFS. And you seem determined to not take advantage of that freedom. PFS absolutely allows skill monkeys, diplomancers, combat machines, control mages, enchantment mages, etc etc etc etc to sit at the same table and have fun.
DM Beckett wrote:
The people who are arguing against it presumably do not see the RAW and RAI that way.
Personally, I think that before Slashing Grace it was the case that one could not use a buckler with Dervish Dance. Not crystal clear but clear enough.
After Slashing Grace the gyrations of logic to disallow using a buckler just become too much for me and I'd allow the buckler with Dervish Dance. But I can still see the counter argument that the FAQ only does what it says it does, no more.
In almost all scenarios not all combat can be avoided but some can. In a very small number of scenarios almost no combat can be avoided.
In PFS, building a character who can at least contribute to combat is strongly encouraged.
No, the advice has been to build a character who can contribute to combat. That contribution can come in many forms and most definitely is NOT restricted to dealing damage (which I'm guessing is what you mean by "warrior character"
I'm not sure what you're saying here. There has been an increase in flexible characters, yes. Partly because the "do one thing" classes were already there, partly because many people WANT that flexibility. How is choice a bad thing?
Different people have different ideas of fun. The game isn't about pleasing one player.
But as somebody who loves to play talky skill monkey characters you can certainly build one, still contribute to combat, AND have a good time most of the time.
Hmm, a few months ago I was a rollplayer, now Im trying to roleplay and people are actually trying to talk me out of it. I would laugh at the irony, but its just frustrating.
You are being very unclear as to what the problem is.
One can definitely create effective characters in PFS who try to defuse hostile encounters and who often succeed. That is part of what they bring to the table and is generally valued by most players
What you can NOT do (nor should you be able to) is to play a character who can defuse ALL hostile encounters. The vast majority of scenarios are set up so at least some of the combats are essentially unavoidable. This is a GOOD thing as a lot of players WANT to have combat.
Creating a character who refuses to participate in a combat for <reasons> is a bad idea in PFS. That means that there are significant parts of the game where you aren't contributing. In some relatively rare scenarios/modules you'll be doing next to nothing the entire scenario
As to roleplay, that is largely orthogonal to what your character does. Oh, the talky diplomat gets to speak in character more often but all players get to roleplay if they want to.
I think the basic argument is
1) Prior to the slashing grace/etc ruling it was pretty clear that the intent (including non binding commentary) was that one could NOT use Dervish Dance and Buckler. RAW still unclear but most people came down on the side of "not allowed"
2) After the Slashing Grace argument there are two points of view
So, bottom line, in PFS expect table variation. I suspect that this is an area where local geographies will come to a shared understanding so you're probably ok if your local Venture Officers or Coordinators or Rules Mavens say its ok
Depends on the scenario, but some GMs (like me) would be a "bit" mean and nasty if the character showed up nude.
Blakros Matrimony, Hellknights Feast, etc etc etc.
I'm pretty sure that you also need a spell component pouch, holy symbol AND loin cloth :-)
Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:
I've got several high level characters who virtually never do any damage. My bard sometimes uses Blistering Invective but almost completely because its amusing as heck to me. My wizard (currently L13 going through Eyes of Ten) has, I believe, NEVER cast a directly damaging spell and only occassionally uses a wand of magic missile or stone call.
I assure you, they all contribute greatly even to the nearly pure combat scenarios. And, despite the OPs experience, there are a great many scenarios that are far more than combat. My social characters probably AVERAGE avoiding at least one encounter per scenario.
The only objection the OP has that bears any weight is that PFS is oriented to the low to upper middle tiers. Although the same can be said for a great many campaigns.
At higher levels (I'd argue the problem becomes quite noticeable at level 8 or so) the disparity in capability in different groups becomes so vast that it is nearly impossible for Paizo to create scenarios that are challenging to all when they have to be Run As Written. It just can't be done.
1) I agree that games you ran since the boon came out should count. So hopefully my next point is totally irrelevant
2) If you've GM'ed 6 games in 3 weeks it is hardly likely to matter that much :-). Unless there was a Con or something that made this unusual you'll be filling out the entire Narrative fairly quickly anyway. So, worst case, you wait a week before taking your replay.
What seasons have you been playing? Some seasons the scenarios get a little harder and there are always outliers but, in general, PFS shouldn't be that difficult.
It is definitely important in PFS to have a character who can contribute to combat. But you most certainly don't need to be a "beat stick" to do that. I've played quite a few bards and they contribute just fine to combat while being well rounded enough to contribute to many other parts of the game as well.
Without seeing your characters one can't know but it is possible that you're making characters that are a little too unfocused and general. This is particularly easy to do with a bard. While the class itself is insanely versatile and a bard can be built to fit just about any role in the party (including beat stick) any one character is MUCH less flexible and needs to have a focus or two. The Jack of All Trades is, in Pathfinder, truly the Master of None.
As others have stated, I think the biggest problem by far is that there is just way too much material to get through. Maybe it works at Gencon with 5 hour+ slots and, by definition, nearly everybody being very dedicated gamers but at smaller cons with shorter time frames there is just too much happening.
Locally, we often just decide ahead of time what things to cut. But with all the overhead we still go over time :-(.
The other issue at local cons is the extreme variation in player ability one gets. The high tier tables have experienced players, the low tier tables often have complete newbies. Makes coordinating things difficult.
Prep time for the more recent scenarios can get quite extreme. Which is going to translate into significant differences in how prepped the GM actually is at any specific table.
So, my suggestions would boil down to: