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My advice to the OP is that it's a great idea but keep an eye on them in case some sort of "Lord of the Flies" attitude develops. Ultimately, immersive role-play is unfettered; it doesn't matter that it's going on in their imaginations, people (adults and children) can so let go of themselves that if you're not careful you can get some real personality issues developing.
Of course, that's what makes the game so wonderful as well, but with kids you've got to watch them a little bit in case things get ugly.
Congratulations, BTW, on picking up the 100th copy (well, download) of this adventure :-)
Hope you enjoy them both.
All the best
Am I right in saying, though, that unlike Perception, Spellcraft is not reactive?
Perception specifically says that it is, so you, or the GM, can roll Perception (for you, if it's the GM) in response to circumstances.
If I'm right and Spellcraft isn't, then you couldn't use Spellcraft to, for example, get a roll to identify that one of those seagulls is casting a spell, unless you specifically asked for it.
Is that right?
This is the interesting clause of WildShape:
You substitute various noises and gestures for the normal verbal and somatic components of a spell.
If you're a seagull, you're only going to be able to do what seagulls do; question is, will it look like a seagull doing what seagulls do, or will it look like a seagull that's gone a bit mad?
It happened in my game yesterday with a vampire druid turned into a bat. It could have been a small bat, not necessarily a Dire one. So what's a little bat going to do that's going to look so odd?
It's a funny one.
Excuse me sort of necroing this but I think the salient sentence in the description of the buckler is the third one.
"Buckler: This small metal shield is worn strapped to your forearm. You can use a bow or crossbow without penalty while carrying it. You can also use your shield arm to wield a weapon ..."
Since when is a bow not a weapon?
Well, it would seem to be the case that it isn't within the context of this paragraph, otherwise the text would say something like "You can also use your shield arm to wield any other weapon ...".
IMO that suggests that all subsequent text relating to weapons does not relate to bows.
In particular, this one: "In any case, if you use a weapon in your off hand, you lose the buckler's AC bonus until your next turn." does not apply to using a bow.
I have no idea about firearms...
Trying to understand Alchemists better.
It takes a standard round to drink the extract, which last 1 round, however because of the funny way the first (or last) round works with Pathfinder the effect of the extract runs out at the beginning of your next turn. Hence, you don't get another standard action to throw a bomb.
Heavy shields are incompatible with characters that switch between making melee attacks and casting spells, such as Clerics.
With a light shield, a Cleric can temporarily hold his weapon in his shield hand while he casts a spell with Somantic components or Channels Energy by presenting his holy symbol. With a heavy shield, the shield hand is useless, so the Cleric must either sheath his weapon or drop it.
It isn't a hat shaped like a bucket.
It's one of these:
Believe it or not *that* is called a Bucket Hat.
One rules related bit of advice - don't forget that reach weapons use the cover rules for ranged weapons.
One general piece of advice - ask your players whether they're enjoying the campaign or whether they'd like it to be more challenging, and if the latter get some consensus about how this should be done.
I mirror what's been written a few times in the past. Drow feel to me like they should be LE rather than CE - evil schemers of the underworld rather than psychotic killers.
But even if they are predominantly demonic rather than devilish, would you be happy to encounter such a thing in an adventure or would you feel that it was just *wrong*?
Jack Vance is one of my favourite authors. A real wordsmith, with a wicked sense of humour.
He only died last year, BTW.
AFAIK, the Vancian magic system appears in the Lyonesse trilogy (of which books I and III are the best), and the Dying Earth books (a short story collection of the same name + Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga and Rhialto the Marvellous).
I've read all of these books at least twice. The Lyonesses ones are quite epic - if you want a short introduction then either the Dying Earth short stories or The Eyes of the Overworld novel are the place to go.
I love them.
The point of the hat though is that it triggers automatically since you're hardly going to be able to speak a command word when you're being put to sleep. The other uses of the hat that you mention don't *require* that, however adding the ability to use a command word to make it work is certainly an idea.
The name "bucket hat" is a play on words, it isn't just a hat that's a bucket, it's also an actual bucket hat (i.e. one of these: http://headstarthats.co.uk/images/Beige-and-White-Bucket-Hat.jpg ). I must admit, I didn't know that these hats were known as bucket hats until I did a bit of research.
If you want to see the actual item it's here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qkn9&page=6?2014-Critique-my-Wondrous-Item -thread#283
A very kind person sent me a copy - thought I'd lost it forever!
The hat is comfortable to wear, and fits well under a suit of armor, however should the wearer go to sleep then the hat will dump two gallons of water on their heads every round until they wake up.
The hat works equally well if placed on the head of someone already asleep.
Although the action of the hat and the effect on the wearer is immediate this does not prevent a wearer dropping prone if they fall asleep while standing.
People generally take it off before going to bed.
I'd wear it :-)
Well, I made the Bucket Hat, somewhat at the last minute whilst embroiled in this particular thread:
It got past the cull. Shame it didn't get any further. I'd have loved all those giants and demons to have had to wonder around with one of these stuck on their heads:
- just in case there was some nasty Witch hiding in the bushes.
- especially if they'd also had it embroidered it with some cute little picture or writing on the side.
I never kept the entry - hadn't realised it was going to disappear into the ether, actually. But for those who didn't see it, it used Create Water to pour 2 gallons of water per round onto your head if you fell asleep with it on.
It does include any changes to the other books. I asked this on the Psionics Augmented forum.
richard develyn wrote:
Jeremy Smith wrote:
I have Unleashed and Expanded.
As far as game content is concerned, is this the book I need to get to get me to the equivalent position of owning Ultimate?
I know you've answered a question almost the same as this! I'm just wanting to make sure I pick up any changes to Unleashed and Expanded that might have made their way into Ultimate, as well as the extra content.
What's the plan for Augmented Vol II, BTW?
NPCs with character classes represent about 5% of the population.
PCs are superior to NPCs with character classes because they have superior stats and a couple of traits.
PCs are governed by the same rules as NPCs - i.e. the inhabit the same "world", have the same concerns, advantages, barriers, hangups, etc.
That's it - everything else is down to the player.
My definition of heroism is similar to my definition of bravery, honesty, integrity and so on. It's something that you earn by your actions, not a label you can just pin on yourself whenever you want to.
You have to declare that you're using Guidance before making the roll.
We've been getting this rule wrong for more years than I can remember.
P.S. If as a GM you ask your player to make a DC 20 Fort save, for example, then by RAW you have (rather unfairly) prevented him from using his Improved Great Fortitude re-roll.
Hey, we're cool. :)
Indeed, even if it's just you and me now that are interested in carrying on with this discussion :-)
But given the things as currently printed, based on standard things the rules present us, we have a strong knowledge of the probability of such events.
I don't agree with that. I think we have a bit of an idea about the probability of these events, and an idea of what we might consider reasonable and believable, but not anything approaching strong knowledge.
That isn't about minutiae either.
To my mind a good way of measuring reasonableness is to imagine you're reading the events in a book set in Golarion.
I wouldn't have a problem reading "The Giant stormed into the village, caused a lot of havoc, killed a few villagers then disappeared into the surrounding countryside before the local militia could mobilise."
Or "...the local militia were unable to get sufficiently clear shots on it in all the mayhem and the few who did found their arrows and sling shots bouncing off the giant's tough hide."
Or "...the local militia were inexperienced in dealing with such threats and were too frightened to react to it effectively."
Or "...the giant caught the scent of the local brewery and was distracted enough while he broke open a few barrels to allow the militia to get into position and kill it."
Or "...the village witch, hearing the mayhem, calmly moved into a room in one of the houses on a road she knew the giant would traverse on his way out and magically slept him as he retreated. The few guards who were chasing him out managed to cut his throat as he lay sleeping."
Or "...but the spell failed and he ran out."
I would have difficulty with:
"The Giant spent the next hour trashing every building and killing every villager."
Or "The Giant found itself alone in the village square surrounded by thirty guards on high battlements all armed with bows and crossbows."
Or "The Giant was blasted out of existence by the resident high level wizard."
As a result of a bit of logical thinking we form a grey cloud with some possibilities inside of it and some out.
If you're telling a particular story then GM fiat can allow you to pick any of the ones inside.
When you're just thinking about world building you think in terms of the clouds, because you're not considering particular events you're just trying to get an idea about how the world hangs together.
We can envisage a giant attacking and getting away with it, sure, but if you run numbers only by rules, then the giant is on the losing in in too many cases to calculate.
I don't think that the discussions we've been having here are anything like scientific enough to be able to draw that sort of conclusion.
Maybe it's my age, but you know when I was in my 20s and 30s I used to think I could find an answer to everything; now that I've hit 50 I think the exact opposite.
I remember once somebody telling me (not directly) the saying "if you're so clever how come you're not rich?"
It's a good question, don't you think, for our own world? After all, what's more important now than brains? If you ran this world using numbers only rules then there should be a strong correlation between INT and GP. As it is I think it's mostly down to luck.
But I'm mixing two points here - the complexity of situations and world dynamics and the complexity of people. The former, really, is what is influencing the giant vs villagers thing for me. I haven't heard any compelling argument about this scenario outside of what I initially proposed about villages having witches. If every village had a good chance of having a witch in it then Giants would be unlikely to attack, which is why I started this thread. It's quite a weapon, and it has low cost. Everything else I have heard is *good* but not overwhelming. IMVHO.
Since the rules do not force a setting to occur in a particular way, there must be an authoritative decision for each setting and each campaign. Otherwise you're left with no setting, only rules.
No, not at all. You need to make an authoritative decision when you want an event to take place, not when you're building either a setting or a campaign. In the latter cases you should keep your logic fuzzy.
I'm saying the rules don't break the world and you're saying the rules don't create the world. I think you've just proved that the opposite of true *isn't* false ;-)
Much like the rarity of witches, there is no rule that demands you make witches rare, but the intent was there in the creation of the class and its fluff.
I'm not very keen on the idea that PCs should have options available to them that NPCs don't. I don't mind PCs being *better*, in fact I expect them to have that sort of advantage, but I find the idea that PCs can just point-blank live in the fantasy world by different rules a bit objectionable.
I equally don't like the idea or RAI of fluff text being used to counter what a reasonable NPC might choose to do given their powers and abilities, particularly when that restriction isn't applied to PCs as well.
I would be quite happy to accept that witches are chosen by their patrons who then govern their abilities if the PCs had to roll for their patron who then limited their abilities as well. I dislike the idea of RAI telling us that witches are rare. It would be like reading that "Fireball" is rare because magical colleges are very reluctant to give it out but, by the way, your PC can have it whenever he wants.
I already think that PCs are a bit of a crazy anomaly in the world anyway, giving them PC-only options or powers moves us towards a super-hero game rather than an FRPG, and that's a line I would rather not cross.
The point is, even those that aren't ambitious will do what it takes to survive. If the option is there, they will take it until other options fade out. Otherwise, you will have an entire world full of very unambitious people which... doesn't fit in with many published stories. There are plenty of published ambitious NPCs, which only functions if the world itself does not permit free-choice of class.
But what does it take to survive? PCs, like I said, are an anomaly because the player doesn't get killed when his character does. If we assume that the world consists of NPCs who, although they have all the options that PCs have, *are* actually worried about their survival, what would they actually do?
IMO, not many of them would adventure, which means that most of them would be stuck at 1st level. In fact, if you allowed commoners, say, to gain experience, albeit slowly, just by being a commoner, then that would probably be the most popular choice.
And those that did pursue one of the more powerful professions would have to contend with the distrust of common people and then envy of the rich (who, like I said earlier, get there more by luck than ability (IMVHO)).
It isn't at all clear to me what would happen.
As for published stories - surely they're teeming with unambitious people. It is only the protagonists which rise above the rest - frequently to their detriment.
But when you publish (as you are doing) you are supposed to publish to the RAI as much as you can, because that will be the one most people will find the most useful.
Well, you don't, and I'm not sure that people do. I think Paizo are the ones who should stick to their own fluff text and RAI, and they do enough of that sort of publishing themselves. I think 3PPs should exist much more on the fringes of RAI and push the boundaries. Otherwise, who's going to?
RAI, witches are rare.
Well - they shouldn't be. I don't think RAI has any business making statements like that and I think it's dangerous that they do. The rarety or commonality of any given class/race/options/whatever should be driven by its utility using mechanisms and options which are as available to NPCs as they are to PCs. Creating some over-powering character which is freely available to players but rare in the rest of the world will create a game where players make a nonsense of the world around them, blasting opponents with powers which the population around them can only wonder at and turning the whole experience into something devoid of any real meaning or world engagement. It doesn't appeal to me and maybe we have to accept that the RPG community is spit between players / GMs who want a world where PCs have some measurable advantage over NPCs but are otherwise in the same boat and those who want to be superior to NPCs in very many ways (like a super-hero game).
IF, on the other hand, we presume that anyone can be a witch at any time, then we have to weigh their options. There are so many other options that a witch might want that there is no guarantee that they'd choose Slumber. Certain witches would certainly, but not all. And with that, we know that slumber is more rare.
Because PCs can choose their options, I prefer NPCs to be able to do the same. We cannot conclude that slumber is rare just because there are many options. We have to weigh up their relative utility, which is what we've been doing in this thread. I haven't seen anything to conclude that slumber is rare at all. Maybe 2nd or 3rd choice.
THUS the idea that creatures would change themselves around the Slumber hex is... weak at best, as it only functions in a world that is not intended, not implied, and not consistent with the vast majority of cases that pure numbers generate.
Not Intended and Not Implied: maybe so, but I've given you my feelings about not having PCs and NPCs having different options.
Not Consistent with the numbers: I think that pure numbers support my case with slumber hex but not without. However, this is a not a mathematical model, and there has been enough debate on this thread about the numbers for me to think that we cannot make any firm conclusions.
And as soon as you walk away from pure numbers and say, "Yes, but the situation is..." you're applying fiat (a judgement call) to create a situation. That's not a bad thing, but in this case it's only one situation.
You must be a mathematician :-)
I can only repeat my point that I don't believe that pure numbers are conclusive. They take us in the right direction but then we're left with lots of possibilities. Fiat resolves a given event, in whatever way the narrative demands it, but keeping yourself in a fiat-less cloud lets you measure general rather than specific behaviour.
Does that sound about right? Similar, but nuanced in their differences.
We're possibly looking at slightly different situations. But I think we're not too far away from each other.
P.S. It has taken me 2 1/2 hours to produce this reply. I cannot afford this sort of time every day so I ask you to be patient if it takes me a few days to reply to your next post!
I'm not sure whether we agree or not, we seem to be both trying to get to the same place but using slightly different tactics.
(Oh and I like talking a lot too :-) )
I think what it comes down to is this statement you make here:
"Unless applied carefully and with forethought the rules can generate nonsensical results."
My take on this is different:
"We can none of us ever know categorically what results the rules will generate because a simulated world is much too complicated to model inside our heads."
In my mind, there should never be a need for GM fiat, because the rules are never totally prescriptive about how a world will hang together. There's always enough uncertainty for us to be able to envisage that maybe the giant does regularly attack the village and gets away with it or maybe giants no longer attack the villages because of their fear of witches.
This isn't GM fiat, this is working within the boundaries of possibility once we've decided roughly speaking where those boundaries should lie.
It is the difference between thinking that we have to use GM fiat and be careful with the rules because they can break the world and thinking that the rules only break the world if you take a very narrow view about how you read them.
For example, let's say we accept that NPCs are as free to take PC classes as NPC ones. I can imagine a lot of NPCs wanting to be commoners as a way of saying "I'm no threat to you, leave me alone."
It's the appeasement / avoidance strategy we discussed earlier.
I have met many people in my life who are totally unambitious. I think if the world was quite brutal, it would discourage any but the strongest to draw any sort of attention to themselves.
But that's just my theory based on a smidgeon of understanding of psychology and sociology. It's a theory which can sit in that big grey cloud I talked about earlier alongside the one which says actually no, they'd all want to be fighters.
The rules don't dictate that either of these things has to be true, so for me there's no need for GM fiat to "fix" something, the rules were never prescriptive enough that anything was broken.
(BTW: It may be that my grey clouds and your GM fiat are the same thing. I'm not sure :-) )
Link to post by Kta (#501)
I did answer - two posts later, and then the discussion continued from Kta half way down that page, I then replied at 1.31 pm on Monday next page, and then I think TacticsLion picked up the thread.
I don't think I missed his points .... it's complicated :-)
You can not cover every possible player tactic or question that comes up in a setting. You are one person.
This, I think, is behind a lot of what I think has been going on in this thread, sort of behind the scenes, and it is I think a big and important point which is worthy of discussion.
This, however, is going to be a long post.
You *can* cover every possible player tactic.
If I write that a bear lives in a cave, describe the bear, its habits, the cave and its environment, I have provided the GM with everything he needs to run the encounter no matter what the players choose to do.
If I write that a bear lives in a cave and then explain what will happen if the PCs do one or two particular things, then all I've provided the GM with is information on how to run the encounter *only if* the players behave as expected.
These two admittedly trivialised examples illustrate to me the difference between a setting based encounter and a narrative based one.
Now just to cover one point before moving on - I know that GMs can change everything if they want to, however just because a GM can make a narrative module out of a setting one or vice versa doesn't mean that writers are free of responsibility about what happens at the gaming table.
And I think there has been a trend for quite some time now in modules moving from being setting based to narrative based.
And it seems to me from a lot of the comments I've read here that a reason for this may well be the fact that people don't think it's possible to write a setting based module any more.
Perhaps because the rules are too complicated, crazy or inconsistent.
Now I just happen to be running Wake of the Watcher at the moment, which is a heavily narrative based module (particularly so because it's based on a book), and although the story it tells is great if the players do what they're supposed to do it breaks down completely if they don't "follow the script".
(If anyone wants to challenge the example I can post up spoilers if you like).
I'm not so fond of this sort of module, I must admit, and I think it would be a real shame if this sort of thing became the norm and we started to see an end to the settings based ones.
Settings based modules, which were prevalent in the early days of D&D, were great fun because you really felt as a player you could do whatever you wanted. There was never any real danger that you were going to somehow or another break the module or embarrass the GM by not doing what you were supposed to do.
(this wasn't completely true, I have to say, but it was primarily true)
The first Ravenloft module, for example, has no narrative as such. There are a few things which the writers imagined would take place, but they were not obligatory. In fact, it really wasn't seen as the writer's job to steer the story in any way. This was something that was entirely up to the players and GM.
I think we may well be seeing a demise of player narrative choice as the cost to the massive increase we've had in choice when it comes to character creation and crafting and encounter resolution (which, incidentally, I think are wonderful developments in the game).
And that has resulted in modules which are basically strings of encounters which, although hugely rich and enjoyable in themselves, are then linked together with a narrative thread which allows for little variation within an encompassing world setting which is sometimes just seen as window dressing.
I know that some people are happy with that and that's fine however I think for others there is a danger that we're going to lose something from the game which is actually quite precious.
And the crazy thing is that I am far from convinced that we need to lose it at all.
Although the rules have got much more complicated I don't believe that they are game-world breaking. They certainly pose challenges here and there, but a little bit of imagination and open-mindedness, rather than believing that one can categorically conclude what must happen under any set of rules and circumstances, can allow settings based modules to exist.
Humility and open-mindedness are the key to this.
The sorts of discussions that we've had on here about giants and villages and witches and so on are partly logic partly judgement. None of us can categorically know what would happen - we can debate what we think is reasonable and then accept that what's left is a big grey cloud of possibilities.
You can build fantasy worlds using big grey clouds.
You can only build fantasy worlds out of solid bricks of certainty if those bricks fit seamlessly together. And that's a very tall order.
I started this thread heaven knows how long ago because I believe that Slumber Hex has moved those clouds around a bit. I don't think it has broken anything (how do you break a cloud, anyway), just changed the balance of power. Or possibly not - it's a cloud, it's just that I'm favouring the parts of the cloud that say it has :-)
Th whole sub-thread that's emerged about "why bother anyway, the world doesn't work" isn't something that I agree with. Indeed even if there are parts which pose challenges (like Create Water did until I realised (or was this a change) that the water disappears unless consumed within one day) I think it's worth trying to work with the rules to show how they can be made to work together to build the world rather than showing how they can break the world apart.
1. Suspension of beleif, and not worrying too much about rules when writing. If the players insist on the NPC's working like PC's built to survive then the fantasy world died long ago, and there is no campaign setting.
Well, I don't agree with the last point of yours, but anyway this whole thing about ignoring the rules I think is dangerous.
The rules provide the logical underpinning to the setting. This logical foundation then gives the PCs the freedom to interact with the setting in *their own* way, rather that in the ways that might have been envisaged by either the writer or the GM.
There is a limit, I know, but I believe that building logical sandboxes provides a more satisfying RPG experience than writing narratives where the players have a very limited choice about what they do.
I don't really think the writer should be telling his story, I think the players should be telling theirs.
You can, of course, push the job of papering over the cracks in your setting logic onto the GM, but I don't think that's very GM friendly, especially as he's likely to have to do it on the spur of the moment in the middle of a game session.
Equally I try very hard not to put a GM in the position where he's more or less forced to say: "sorry - this adventure doesn't cater for that; this isn't a perfect simulation of fantasy reality, please do something else."
And although I know you can't keep everybody happy about where logicality lies, it's a worthy aim, and as such it's worth canvassing general opinion before you put pen to paper.
PS: It seems you did not reply to post explaining why a direct attack is a bad idea. Another poster had a great writeup on it. :)
I didn't deliberately ignore it. Keeping up with this thread has been quite a task over the last few days (weeks) and I just missed it. Please point it out again.
If I've understood you correctly, and I did read all of your last post twice (apart from Feiya's story which I only read once!), then what I think you're saying is this.
The population of the world is split into three:
1) PCs, created using PC metagame knowledge (or not)
I believe that your argument is that the choices which govern (1) and (2) are not applicable to (3). This latter group are completely true to trope - whatever that might be. As soon as you want to break the mould with anyone in (3), they become a (2).
Is that right?
I also think your saying that if you start applying the freedoms of (2) to your (3) en-masse the world breaks.
Have I got that right too?
There's not really that much fiat needed. I actually broke down how money works in a fairly believable way in a blog article of mine, and it was based entirely on the mechanics of the game, and is a method I use to get an idea of how much a community is worth in terms of moving cash and how much financial clout a ruler of his community has. Yet money is one of those things that is widely considered eternally and unabashedly broken.
I tried to figure out economics once on the basis that it should be directly proportional to CR, the idea being that the more dangerous you are the more money you're worth to kill.
Economics is indeed one of those things that I struggle with in the fantasy world, so if you want to post up a link to your blog entry please do.
I'm not entirely sure I understand your point.
Are you saying that the game world must somehow accommodate an "elite" group of people caused by metagaming?
That's OOTS style, surely.
Perhaps you're not saying that - I don't know.
To my mind we have to explain metagaming in game world terms, maybe as luck, acumen, what have you. There's no reason why an NPC shouldn't be created using the same metagming techniques as PCs.
Some people in the world just seem to have all their pegs lined up in a row - others don't.
Apart from PC witches.
First of all, like I said before, I don't really like giving PCs any more advantages than they already have. The world is easy enough for PCs as it is without adding some crippling factor to the NPC population forcing them down non-optimal career paths.
Secondly, taking your point, we can still apply a bit of "survival of the fittest" / "supply and demand" to the set up (similar to what I think Diego just said above). If 20 patrons all choose their witch every few weeks, some of those witches will rise to prominence, others will fade to obscurity. In extreme cases the patron that forces their witch down some useless route will eventually become irrelevant. The witches that end up being dominant in the world will be the ones that were fortuitously steered down the right path. Even if they didn't make the choice themselves, the effect on the world will be the same.
In terms of PC optimisation, my view of the world is that PCs, for all their careful optimising and planning, only reproduce what NPCs do naturally within the game world anyway. In fact, they probably do it worse, because a lot of the time mini-maxers get caught out by their own mathematical tunnel vision. Again in my view of the world, PCs die an awful lot more than NPCs do, so I don't see them in any way as more successful.
Sorry you didn't like my quotes, but I think they are entirely helpful and what's wrong with a bit of humour anyway.
We are about to move on to an alignment debate if we're not careful, but I completely reject the notion that my life would be improved if such-and-such "good" entity took over everything regardless of what they sacrificed. Either in this world or the RPG one. Additionally, one only has to look at the religions of our own world to see plenty of examples of omnipotent "good" powers that for some reason or another choose not to interfere.
Who knows what motivates these hyper-intelligent hyper-powerful beings in the RPG world. I think we should assume that a creature with an intelligence of 20+ is not going to be fully described by a bestiary entry or fully governed by some trivial reading of its alignment.
Well, touché I suppose, though it isn't that difficult to explain. Maybe NPC classes are just easier, or less in need of expensive tuition. All I'm wanting to do is introduce something that was there in the original version of the game anyway, which is that PC classes are too difficult for the majority to pursue.
That's where your problem runs. You're focusing on fiat that reinforces your "everything is bad" interpretation instead of fiat that reinforces the "this will work out" interpretation. Switch fiats. Neither requires that much effort and mostly works with RAW. It'll go easier on you. :)
Erm. Am I? Everything is bad?! I'm lost.
What I think I'm trying to do is reduce "fiat" of any sort. As much as possible, that is.
I don't think we (piratedevon included, and others) are far apart in our views, however we're not entirely in agreement :-)
I'm happy with the plus fiat, as long as we try to minimise this as much as is reasonably possible. I prefer to look for explanations that fit everybody's world rather than let the GM and players paper over the cracks.
NPC classes derived originally from the old D&D concept of 0th level characters.
About 95% of NPCs were 0th level. That meant that, not only were they low powered but, importantly, they had no potential for increasing in level.
In fact, back in those days, I believe I'm right in saying that you could be level drained down to 0 and then exist at 0th level - unable to gain levels by yourself until magically brought up to 1st level again.
3rd edition changed this by making this 95% contingent of the game world a bit more interesting with NPC classes, however I personally haven't lost the concept that they cannot actually progress in any other class.
It's a bit like the people in our own world who, for whatever reason, never get a college or university education, or the equivalent for non intelligence based disciplines.
As for the idea that Solars would rule the world, or whatever you might wish to conclude, like I said before we can advance our theories but we really don't know.
I'm reminded of an obscure Doctor Who quote where the Doctor replies to another BBEG talking about taking over the universe:
douglas adams wrote:
Now I disagree with you here as well.
I spend quite a bit of time optimising my PCs, but considerably more time optimising my real life :-)
Whether a C is a PC or NPC, we can assume that figuring out the best career path for themselves occupies far more time that we, as Players, allocate to it within the rest of our lives. In fact you could argue, and I have frequently heard the argument made the other way, that NPCs are unfairly much better versed in the rules governing their own world than PCs can ever be.
I will reiterate that it is hard to predict, and all we can possibly do is reach some sort of consensus.
In a way, it's the one thing that saves the Pathfinder world from becoming nonsensical and in need of lots and lots of fiat. It doesn't take very much imagination to find explanations about why people (in their various monstrous guises) don't follow the optimal path. That doesn't mean we throw logic to the four winds, it just means we have to act as philosphers - discussing the issues without ever reaching firm conclusions.
When I got started on my career back in the late 80s as a programmer, programming was seen as a great to earn a living (a bit, like, the Slumber Hex could be seen as advantageous in a fantasy world). Lots of people became programmers, and an awful lot of them were not very good at it. Not everybody did, for I dare say many different reasons. The rise of programming as a career back then certainly did change the world, but not absolutely. It "affected" it rather than revolutionised it - and then we got a lot of rubbish software written and programming lost its charm and the world changed again.
I see Slumber Hex in a similar way. It's not going to flip the world on its head, but it's going to make a difference.
I understand where the discussions are funneling down to and I do understand where you guys are coming from.
However I have difficulty, I must admit, abandoning the premise that the fantasy world should be a natural repercussion of the rules.
Paying attention to logic means we can have the sorts of discussions we've been having in this thread even during the game. As long as we, as players, and GMs, believe that the setting makes reasonable sense, then we can start interacting with it in terms of its own logic, rather than in terms of the rules.
I know there is a limit to this, but it's a limit I'm quite careful about pushing. And when I write material for other GMs to use, I worry quite a lot about setting-logic.
I'm also not terribly keen on the idea that PCs should have options available to them which the NPCs don't.
To my mind the game is the most fun when not only does the world feel real but also the PCs only have *some* measured / controlled advantage.
In D&D/Pathfinder PC advantage comes down to superior stats and access to PC classes in a world where only 5% of the remainder of the population is good enough to do the same. That's enough of an advantage for me - I don't really need the odds to be further tilted in my favour by being, for example, the only witch that can choose her patron.
I can accept the fact that every character in this fantasy world whose skin I inhabit is one of the superior ones. We none of us want to role-play farmers. However once I'm part of the PC-classed elite, I'm happy for all of us, PCs and NPCs, to be in the same boat.
If the world loses too much of its logic or I start to become too *special* within it then, within reason, which I know is woolly and subjective and all the rest of it, I start to disengage from it.
Finally I would like to say that whilst I think that these discussions we've been having are fascinating, lead to further appreciation and understanding, I do not believe that they can ever be conclusive.
I posted earlier about how nice it would be to be able to simulate the Pathfinder world using a supercomputer and see how things turn up after a century or so. Not only do we not have such a thing, I honestly do not believe that anyone on this earth could possibly predict how it would turn out. It's far too complicated.
We all have our opinions and it's great to share them and argue over them but I don't think anyone can ever imagine that they can actually work out the answer. What I hope is that we roughly speaking converge or something we think is likely - i.e. sufficiently logical that we can think about what advice we might give to, say, some village leaders when they hear giants have moved in the area. Go find yourself a witch? Build up your defenses? Send an emissary? Etc.
(Also, Richard, we started talking about a Frost Giant, but somewhere in this thread, I'm pretty sure you mentioned a Hill Giant instead as a more reasonable CR and others agreed with it as a more reasonable point of discussion.)
I guess Frost Giants attack chilly villages and Hill Giants more temperate ones.
I picked Frost Giant initially because I was looking to illustrate the point with an extreme case.
Slumber vs Village
Note that my thread is a question, not a statement. I'm canvasing opinion.
Looking at your analysis, however, I would like to offer some counter points.
The likelyhood of the Witch NPC vs monster situation taking place in the world is, I believe, very much driven by the likelyhood of its success, almost as if to say that it depends on the outcome of this discussion!
In other words, if we decided between us that it was a superior tactic then we can assume that it's use in the world would increase leading to greater instances of witches in settlements which, as has been pointed out, would then lead to the giants changing their tactics and so on.
The point is, if it is a superior tactic, the world changes.
If we conclude that it isn't, because of other equally good tactics or preferable hexes, then the world doesn't change.
In other words, likelyhood of use is driven from superiority as tactic. That's the driving factor here (IMO).
So, for me, it's your points (1) and (3) that drive the argument, not (2).
Now when I first picked my example, I made the first level as an extreme case to prove a point. I think in this instance I would like to suggest 2nd level because that makes a massive difference to the likelyhood of the tactic working.
The giant has no idea that any of the villagers around him are witches, and slumber hex cannot be spotted. The witch has to get within 30' (which I think is quite a distance) and give the hex a go. If the giant fails, she can call out "get him!" and everyone gets one double move plus one coup-de-gras. I would have thought that giant, hill or frost, was in serious trouble.
The debate continues. We none of us *know* of course, we just have our opinions, but I don't think I've heard anything to suggest there's a superior tactic at 1st or 2nd level.
Three other points have emerged in this thread to counter the example:
A) appeasement is preferable
(A) and (C) are matters of opinion and I'm not sure where I stand on this. (B) I guess is only available to some marauders.
Balor vs Balor
If you look at Return of the King, battle of Pelennor Fields (I think I said Gladden fields before, by mistake), you will see how I'm envisaging these sorts of huge battles take place. Well - sort of, because in this instance the big guys are only in one side, but imagine two evil armies fighting complete with Trolls, Oliphaunts and even Nazgul on Wyverns, what I see is low-level battles and high-level battles mixed together.
Now if each army had a Balor, I would have thought (intuitively) that they would go for each other, crushing the armies below them every now and then in much the same way that the head Nazgul causes chaos when it lands to kill Theoden. Prior to Slumber Hex, the Balors had nothing to fear from the footsoldiers. Not even a 1 in 400 chance of a critical getting through their DR.
Slumber Hex changes that.
Of course, getting all those stars properly aligned for a foot soldier to slumber a Balor successfully (so that the other Balor can coup-de-gras) is rare. But these battles take a long time; wars, in fact, can rage on for days, weeks, months even years. Because of this, the difference between no chance and a very small chance becomes significant. The Balors, therefore, have to change their behaviour.
But again, you know, this Balor vs Balor example is just there to illustrate a point. If a 1st level Witch can decide the combat between two fully functioning Balors, even under very unusual circumstances, something has gone a little strange. I can't think of anything else that could do this at 1st level.
Archery village defense options ...
I'm not sure how effective this is unless you can get the Giant in the open not in melee.
Otherwise the Hill Giant is AC 21 + 4 possible cover + 4 in melee = 29 = needing a natural 20 to hit.
As you point out, the giant could always throw some rocks back.
(I'm not sure at what point we moved from Frost Giant to Hill Giant, BTW :-), but anyway a Hill Giant has a will save of only +3)
Using Hexes is not a Fair Fight
Interesting idea :-)
Against raiding orcs, or goblins, hobgoblins, or other 1HD monsters, a sleep spell can take out up to 4 orcs (yes, the witch can keep casting slumber hex every round at a different orc, but action economy matters too). Color spray can also affect multiple creatures.
A Witch has to prepare her spells, and at 1st level she only gets two per day. I think it's unlikely in day-to-day living that she's going to choose two Sleep or Colour Sprays, in fact she might not even choose one. Furthermore, unlike a wizard, she can't leave slots open. And even if she *does* prepare sleep, that's only one or two casts and it's done.
Going up to 2nd level spells, I'd consider summoning a couple of celestial eagles with summon monster II. Summon swarm will be pretty devastating since such monsters aren't likely to have anything useful against swarms.
Summoned monsters only last 3 rounds and you have no control over a summoned swarm (and it occupies you completely if you want to keep it going).
Again we have the issue of having the right spell in mind, and the fact you're not going to be able to do it that much. Calm Animals uses Will save just like slumber and only really buys you time while you position all your archers for that one bow shot before the spell breaks. On average you'll only affect 6 or 7 HD at 1st or 2nd level, so that *might* get you your tiger (6HD), not many dinosaurs and three wolves. So, I guess for the wolves, for the one spell cast - but I think I would still prefer the witch overall with its endless slumbers and wolves only having +1 Will.
Can't argue with that :-)
So, no, I don't think Slumber Hex massively changes the village vs monsters situation as a whole.
I'm not convinced :-)
I guess if your stealth predator was sufficiently sure of his skills that he didn't think he was going to be spotted then it wouldn't matter what the offensive capabilities of the village were, be it archers, slumber-hexing witches or crazy dictators with thermonuclear devices.
The way you're evaluating probabilities - it makes it sound as if you think the Witch will never get a chance to use its Hex - or maybe once in its career!
I think that if that had been the case then this thread wouldn't have got past about 10 posts.
You will always be able to argue that the chances of any given set of circumstances occurring is ridiculously low.
However you have to factor in all the other sets of circumstances that work plus the number of opportunities that there are for any of those situations to happen.
IMVHO - Slumber Hex opportunities, both in play and in world-setting, are quite common.
As for Charm Person, I don't think it's that strong. I don't do what my trusted friends tell me to do. I listen to them. I don't attack them. But if I think I know best I follow my own convictions. Charming a Hill Giant, assuming you can then talk to it, is probably just going to result in a pat on the back and an invitation to "dinner" afterwards.
This post is "world implications" only - not mechanical balance, which I don't feel qualified to judge ...
The point about whether it is better to appease or confront an aggressor was made before, and then I think somebody drew a parallel with The Magnificent Seven!
I accept that if you conclude it is better to appease an aggressor then Slumber Hex is not a good option.
If you are forced to defend yourself, then I still think it is.
Assuming, of course, that you are ever going to need to. At the moment the consensus seems to be that single intelligent marauders would never have attacked a settlement prior to the discovery of the Slumber Hex weapon.
If I'm following your argument, however, would it make sense for an intelligent marauder to attack with stealth at night rather than with terror during the day?
Would the development of the Slumber Hex weapon make a change to such a tactic? Maybe not from a 1st level Witch, but what about a 2nd level one who catches sight of you from her bedroom window?
And is that situation common enough for you to worry about ? - though taking your point that even a small chance of failure is unacceptable to a predator.
... subjective stuff ...
Totally agree. Like I said before, though, I write stuff which I publish, so I need to know what people in general feel is acceptably realistic.
As soon as the witch is deemed a threat then they will focus fire and kill her.
Actually, I realised fairly recently that they would never know who it was. At least, as far as I can tell, using an SU is imperceptible.
Why aren't you complaining that grease makes a joke of these guys, as it makes it nearly impossible to hold onto their weapon? Why aren't you complaining that charm person turns them into your minion?
I'm not complaining about anything, BTW.
However, whenever anyone comes up with alternates to Slumber Hex, Slumber Hex always comes up on top.
So far, anyway.
It comes down to:
1) Cast at 1st level
P.S. Charm Person = your minion? It makes them your friend, but having a Hill Giant friend in my opinion means he would tell you to stop complaining about killing the villagers and come back home with him for a drink with "roast villager" afterwards.
Hmmmm - well, it still costs more than slumber, but I take your point.
There I disagree. The whole point of this thread has not, for me, been about how the game plays out, it's been about the fantasy background against which the game is played out. It's been about scenario building.
I'm actually very happy with the conclusion that Slumber Hex doesn't change the world. I, personally, haven't concluded that yet, but the debate continues.
Let's look at your scenario from your linked post...
Well, the whole point, again for me, is about looking at this from the Giant's p.o.v.
Your opinion is that the giant would not be a village marauder but that if he was the slumber hex does not make a change to the likely outcome.
Ok - maybe you're right. It might depend on whether it was a commoner rather than a warrior that got the coup-de-gras in, if it was only him that did it, if villagers didn't carry sickles, and how well the witch was able to plan her slumber-hex-pot-shot. If the witch was 2nd level, it would give a lot more coup-de-gras opportunities, including presumably the local NPC with a fighter level.
A lot of people on this thread have said "obviously this" and "obviously that" but given that frequently this is the opposite of that then in my opinion it isn't obvious at all.
So this thorp we've been discussing probably *wouldn't* have witches. A hamlet could have up to two PC-classed characters. How likely is it that one of them was chosen by a mysterious otherworldly force to be granted strange eldritch magics?
Unless anyone gives me reason to think otherwise, I think one PC class is as likely as any other. They all need you to be *special* in some way.
Natural selection (to a degree) I think will favour witches that take the hexes which most benefit their community.
The point about which hexes that is has already been made - and I accept that Slumber might not be the best choice, though it probably would depend on the likelyhood of a marauder-threat.
By the time we get to a Village, there's a decent chance of their being a witch, and maybe even multiple witches. But I wouldn't expect lone raiders (at least of size and power any less than a Dragon) to attack settlements of this size, at least not in any way more sustained than grabbing cows from outlying farms--at that point, action economy is turning against the raiders to an increasingly massive degree. If enough creatures are attacking you, even if they can only hit on a natural 20, 5% can happen often enough to be lethal.
Maybe so, and this is what this thread was, I hoped, supposed to be all about. What constitutes sensible behaviour for your average giant, dragon, whatever, and has the Slumber Hex changed this. If you think it hasn't - then I'm happy to accept your opinion on this.
I take what you're saying about the Drow poison - the fact that it costs 75gp and so would not be very economic for a 1st level NPC (note) Witch is what makes me think it doesn't compare.
The rest of your post retreads old ground. This isn't about PCs vs monster. This isn't about what you call a "real game".
Here's one post about the circumstances:
And that's just the stuff I've put up - plenty of other people have had views on this.