Ok, the bat's gone off to the rules forum marked as a faq candidate, and I'll hold back asking any related questions until I know what the answer to that is.
Thank you for your help so far, though.
I have just one other rules-related question that I would like to ask:
If a PC falls (or jumps) into a 10' square pit with a tiger inside, how should I handle combat between opponents that are *forced* to share the same space?
James Jacobs wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Unfortunately dire bats don't have darkvision.
So do vampires lose their darkvision when they turn into dire bats and do they thus have to rely purely on their low-light vision?
James Jacobs wrote:
Honestly, my preference from a module writer stand is to go with the interpretation that makes for the best story.
Although I'd like to, I think that the expectation of the Pathfinder community is that GMs stick to the rules and, since module writers provide material for GMs, it is incumbent upon module writers to do the same.
IMVHO of course.
Diego: I don't know what you mean by "sustain" darkvision. I don't think dire bats have darkvision at all.
James Jacobs wrote:
My role, funnily enough, is module-writer rather than player or even GM.
If I'm going to include something which can polymorph then I need to decide on an interpretation of this rule which most players and GMs would be happy to accept as reasonable.
So I'll start with the very specific case of a vampire which turns into a bat.
According to the rules, this works like beast shape II, which doesn't include blindsense.
So if a vampire loses darkvision when it changes shape into a dire bat then, as far as I can see, it's not going to be able to see very well at night.
Which means that old vampire up in his castle isn't going to be making very many night-time sorties in the local woods because he'll keep bumping into all the trees.
Would you agree with that?
James Jacobs wrote:
Could I ask you your opinion on some specific cases, though?
I have trouble with the following clause in the polymorph rules:
"While under the effects of a polymorph spell, you lose all extraordinary and supernatural abilities that depend on your original form (such as keen senses, scent, and darkvision)"
If form means "physical makeup" then I would have thought that all Ex abilities were based on form and all Su weren't, just from my understanding of what Ex and Su means. We don't generally get *explanations* for abilities so I'm not entirely sure how to go beyond this simple classification.
What's your view?
James Jacobs wrote:
I would just like to say that module writers need to throw some of those curve balls too. I was a bit disappointed on running
Ascanor Lodge in Broken Moon
to discover that Detect Evil pretty much solved the investigation.
Thanks for your answers so far.
One more question about alignment.
If you were in a room full of murder suspects (all of at least 5th level) and you cast "Know Alignment" or even just "Detect Evil", would you expect that spell to "give the game away"?
Is that the purpose of these spells?
Or would you expect the spell to give you more of a clue - perhaps indicate to you the most likely 50% - because of the way alignment works (i.e. frequently the evil guy wont be the murderer, or you will find there's actually quite a lot of evil guys in that room because it's not that uncommon)
Do you believe that the core Paizo products should stick to the line that the PCs adversaries should always be, if not necessarily monsters, monstrous? In other words, possibly in order to ensure that the game can never be seen as somehow encouraging homicide, that the things that PCs kill should never be recognisable as human beings, or able to be sympathised with as human beings.
And do you believe, therefore, that any variation on this particular line, however large or small, has to come down to the 3pps?
Thank you once again.
One further question regarding alignment - I notice that certain classes with an alignment pre-requisite are quite specific about what happens should you change alignment. In others, e.g. Crimson Assassin, nothing is said.
What is the default effect of changing to an incompatible alignment w.r.t. classes that have an alignment pre-requisite?
James Jacobs wrote:
I beg your pardon - I should have RTFMd!
Does the guideline apply to templates too? For example, although I imagine you have to be evil to become a vampire, you could change alignment to good after that and not stop being a vampire?
Further to JJ's comment here:
w.r.t. the saves rather than whether gibbering should be sonic, could we please have the DC changes made in the faq.
It is a pretty big difference to the challenge difficulty of a Gibbering Mouther.
Don't forget that the extra things you know about it are all based on the base knowledge to know what it is, so getting that base DC right is quite important.
I would always set the base as the lowest CR of the creature which qualifies (not including the "young" template). So, for example, a DC 11 knowledge planes check identifies that the creature is a fire elemental, whatever size it happens to be, and identifying any abilities which *all* fire elementals have is derived from this base score. If you then want to know something which is specific to, say, a large fire elemental, like its specific burn damage or DC, then you would take it from a base DC of 15.
I guess that's a house rule.
I have a very simple question:
Should the DC for the Gibbering Mouther's Gibbering and Spittle be 19?
Or should it be 13 and 19 with the Gibbering based on Charisma rather than Con?
It's been pointed out before that this would be in keeping with the general rules (10 + 1/2 HD + Stat bonus), but for some reason it never gets updated on any book or web site, and I'm beginning to wonder why.
And should Gibbering be a sonic attack?
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
You're probably thinking of the pre-3E market research by Wizards of the Coast, which revealed that most campaigns only last 6 months or so.
I'm sure you're right. I wonder what the reasons for this are and what's happening now.
@Vic: Please excuse me posting one more time on this discussion Scott and I have been having but I'll keep it brief.
@Scott: My perception of the risk of adventuring is different to yours. I know the game is played a bit differently now but I think that an adventuring group that thinks, plans, invests in healing and defence and, most importantly, knows when to run away, has a pretty good survival rate. Furthermore, the rewards in terms of ensuring future survivability (money and levels) makes the risk worthwhile, whereas forsaking this by going up levels of commoner or expert could well, in the long term, be a more risky strategy for longevity. Only my opinion, of course, and I'm sure we can agree to differ.
The most sensible comparison would be with life around 700 years ago, when we had real live knights.
I would rather be a knight in the D&D world that this one back then. I would certainly risk my life fr 1000gp because of what 1000gp can buy - particularly against disease.
And I'm more than happy to open up a debate about magic, like resurrection spells and the like. I'm not goading - I find it interesting, and I don't think people ever think this through beyond the first hurdle.
For example, it's been said that investigative scenarios cannot happen any more because of Speak with Dead, but anyone committing murder would first of all magically disguise themselves so the dead man's testimony would be worthless.
Resurrecting a dead king wouldn't work either, because a king without high-level supporters would never get his crown back no matter how legitimate his claim (same as the real world). Some high-powered individuals would claim he was an impostor, execute him for treason and then bury him under tons of rock.
I still don't get how changing a module would insult your world-reality?
It depends why you're doing it, obviously. If you're doing it to make the world more believable then fair enough. Tailoring a module to suit the players is dangerous because it can look suspiciously like there's a bit of deus ex machina going on. For example, if you always found suitable magic items in treasure hoards, you'd start to lose belief in the fantasy world - "oh, that's handy: +1 bolas, fancy finding that in the wight's cairn. Must have been a gaucho wight." ;-)
"Wait, the four of you are going to purge the catacombs of undead by yourselves just so you can get to the treasure map that might be in one of the crypts?" That's ridiculously self-destructive behavior.
Ridiculously self-destructive adventurers die. The ones that go in are the ones that reckon they'll survive the experience, or at least have enough money available to patch themselves up / raise themselves afterwards.
I am actually quite protective of my characters. Lower levels are the most dangerous, of course, but I don't actually think I've had a character permanently blitzed for quite a few years.
In fact, if Remove Disease cures cancer, then I reckon I would have a better chance of a long life in the D&D world as an adventurer (with, admittedly, better than population-average stats, opportunities and eduction) than I have in the real world.
And as for suicidal behaviour, I think what goes on in the real world takes some beating!
Replying to Scott and John w.r.t. World-reality:
To some people, all FRPGs are is "mechanics with fluff".
To others, myself included, it's about transposing yourself into the body of a fantasy character living in a fantasy world. It's about getting into a fantasy book where "reality" is as important as it is in a book.
I am no more a psychotically suicidal killer-for pay in the game than I am in real life (you'll be pleased to hear). All my characters are fully rounded individuals with unique personalities which are just as important, if nor more important, than their kill-monsters-take-treasure ability. Although I am happy to suspend disbelief a bit to allow for the fact that I am somewhat more gifted and fortunate than the average person in this world (I don't want *gritty* realism), I still want to be presented with a fantasy world that I can believe in when I interact with it.
That, to me, the fun of the game happens outside of the mechanics.
John Kretzer wrote:
The one example you given of this is fighting in a fog spell...there is already atleast a dozen options in core that can reduce the diffitculty of this....what is one more?
I think there's lots more - however, I am happy to concede the point that isn't as much of an issue as I might have thought.
I'm not sure how I feel about running old modules with new rules. I still think it's safest to insist that only rules which are contemporary with the module should be used - but I'd probably let that one go for now until (or if) I ever get burnt.
John Kretzer wrote:
Or as I more often seen the players give the player a high five who does this. While it is ideal that all the PCs are going to be 'awesome'...sometimes due to too many variables to list here one player stands out at one encounter. Or one player just can't do anything. It happens. As long as it is not a consistent thing...there is really nothing you can..or should do.
"Should" is a bit of a strong word, especially in a forum like this one!
Being "awesome" is also extremely subjective. As a player I consider that I have been "awesome" maybe half a dozen times in the last 30 years of playing. That's where I like "awesomeness" to lie - more often than once a year or so and it would stop to have any meaning for me.
John Kretzer wrote:
Also...anytime I run any pre made adventure I change it to reflect the party going through it. I don't get why any GM won't do the same. Mind you you don't have to know what every option is in the game....just what your PCs can do.
Complicated rules will not be your friend though, if you like to do this sort of thing.
Personally, I would hate it if a GM adjusted the module to suit my PC, and I would never dream of doing it as a GM. I am not criticising your or your players - each group to their own - but it would not work for me for two main reasons. First, it would insult my sense of world-reality. Second, it would take away a very important part of the challenge of playing.
I'm sure there's a 500+ message thread to be had on this subject alone, though!
Well, I've certainly been in plenty of discussions over the last 40 years where players complained that they couldn't find a group.
And, AFAICS, all you need to form a group is a GM. One GM plus one player still works, any number of players without a GM doesn't.
I don't know what the trend has been in players being able to find groups or not. If it is getting harder, whatever the whys and wherefores, the trend will eventually hit a threshold where it will start to cause interest in the game to wane. This wont be the result of a sudden new factor that we all have to spend time trying to discover, it will be a gradual change over the years which suddenly becomes noticeable.
I do not think that the changes in GM/Player balance are reversible, and I don't actually have a problem with them, in the sense that this is a different game we're playing now it's but just as enjoyable in its own way as the old one. What I'm reporting from personal experience is that whereas in the past I was happy to just GM, now I want to do both. If this is typical then I think that the way forward for the game is to encourage more co-operative game ownership and round-robin GMing.
It's pointless asking me why I might expect a trend to change when neither of us have any idea what that trend has been.
The only survey-based fact that I have ever heard, and I can't remember where it was, was that most gaming groups only last 6 months or so.
Even then, I might be wrong, however if you know of any statistical analysis along these lines that we can all look at then please point in the right direction.
The reason that I am concerned about GM shortage is because I think over the last 10+ years or so GMing enjoyment has been sacrificed for the sake of player enjoyment.
I've been GMing since 1979, and I certainly feel that way from my own experience. I love all of Paizo's material, but I love it much more as a player than as a GM. I've changed from someone who used to be happy to GM constantly to someone who would rather play than GM, though I'm happy do my fair share of GMing both for the sake of the group and because I enjoy it as long as I'm not doing it all the time.
This is entirely on the basis of my own personal experience, which is all I am qualified to comment on, nothing to do with underlying logical factors or world-spanning charts or examples. If my experience is typical, then I *feel* that there is a danger that good GMs will start to become harder and harder to come by.
And if I'm in any way right, then I think that gaming companies, like Paizo, need to try to look ahead 5 or 10 years to see if there is a trend. And if there is, and there may well not be, and I might be completely wrong, but *if* there is, then I think that the game needs to start repositioning itself a little bit towards a more gestalt approach to players and GM, where GMs are seen more as the "keepers of secrets" for a given module rather than anything with any more power or accountability, and where it is expected that the role of GM will rotate between the members of the group.
Scott Betts wrote:
I don't think that the GM population is in any danger of abandoning Paizo due to a perception that not enough setting material is being produced. As we've noted, they're churning out more setting material than just about any other company right now. Even if the GMs did decide to jump ship (and they won't, because Paizo is meeting or exceeding their needs), they'd have no better option to turn to.
Well, you're speaking as *every* GM now, and I don't think you know any more than I.
I think the biggest danger to this game will come through a GM shortage crisis. I, personally, reached the decision after the last 6 years of solid GMing that GMing was half-work-half-fun and playing was all-fun, so I announced to my group that I was no longer prepared to do it all and we now have a round-robin system which more and more players are joining in with. In my opinion, this was the best decision I ever made, because now we share the responsibility for rules policing, interpretation, judgement, and for everyone having a good time around the table, as well as sharing the work. I believe that in time this will happen more and more. I honestly think that's the future of the game.
Of course I know there are plenty of people out there right now who will be prepared to GM full time forever, though not always for the right reasons, I have to say. However I think that there will be a gradual movement towards GM sharing which might even eventually reach the stage where if you're not prepared to take your turn as GM you will find it difficult finding a group that's prepared to carry you along as a player.
Just my opinion, though!
John Kretzer wrote:
Also...I am wondering about something. Your problem stems from a players using a options to bypass a challenge in a module. Who cares? If that is the 'worst' thing that happens during a game session you should consider yourself lucky. I have also seen this happen more often to dice rolls or PCs thinking outside of the box. In the end it is just going to happen...just congratulate the players and move on to the next encounter would be my advice.
Bypassing a challenge by thinking outside the box is laudable.
Bypassing because of die rolls is fortunate.
Bypassing it because it no longer makes sense in the light of new rules is embarrassing.
What's there to congratulate?
And I *do* care because that sort of thing can ruin everyone's enjoyment - players and GM.
I dare say it's not the 'worst' thing that can happen though your statement about considering myself lucky has intrigued me. What worse problems do you encounter during your sessions?
I hope so because that small segment of Paizo's customers, the GMs, whose purchasing power is less than 20% of the player segment, is still vital for the game to happen (unless all the player segment is interested in doing is rolling up characters without playing them).
My players tend to specialise in "offense". Nothing to do with rule-bloat as it happens, but it showed me quite clearly what can happen with specialisation when a party of 8th level characters complained about having to fight from a row-boat!
I mean, it's not fair is it! Having to get on a row-boat, when you're only 8th level! :-)
But anyway, my concerns as always are for the plight of the GM.
It times gone by module writers used to put up little guidelines like "party must include a cleric", and that was in 1st ed days when options were massively fewer. It doesn't really happen now, possibly because it's not necessary or maybe because it's just too complicated. I certainly don't think it's fair to expect a GM to evaluate a partty's abilities to see if they're suitable for any given adventure - unless it's reasonably obvious. That would be too difficult.
It may well be, as Scott is arguing, that there is no real risk of new rules breaking old modules. If that is the case, then I can only imagine that the folks at Paizo are thinking along these lines when they publish new rules, and long may it continue.
The alternative, which is something I'm tempted as a GM to do, for safety's sake, is to only allow extra rules to be used for an adventure if they were in print at the time that the adventure was published.
Well, let me ask this.
The more options you have, the more players can specialise their characters.
The flip side of this is that, as you lose genericity, the more likely it is that you're going to hit situations that you simply cannot handle. Situations which you *could* handle had you chosen your options differently.
Is it the GM's job (as I believe it seems to be saying in the Gamemastery Guide) to ensure that players are not presented with this sort of problem?
Or is it the player's job to ensure that their party covers, as much as possible, all the bases reasonable for their level of power?
Sure - maybe the difference is more marginal than I'm imagining.
In a funny sort of way I'm testing my own theory out in the campaign that I'm playing in - Council of Thieves - because it was written a long time ago and I'm playing a "utility" wizard (i.e. all my money goes on spells so that I might have the right spell for the right occasion, particularly via bonded object).
I'd missed Spider Climb, Communal, funnily enough, but it's certainly going in my spell book now.
Scott Betts wrote:
I'm not entirely sure you are right, though I certainly hope you are.
Let me pose another example to you - the spell "Spider Climb, Communal". This was introduced in Ultimate Combat and results, as far as I can tell (though I'm sure you'll correct me), in the new ability to send quite a sizeable force swarming over castle walls with a 3rd level spell (I don't know what the numerical limit is on "creatures touched" when it comes to spells like this). That's pretty world-changing as far as I can see.
(1) I disagree, actually. I think it was a major part of the encounter.
(2) Telling PCs "oh, by the way, you can craft lens of fogcutting now" just before the adventure is a bit of a give away. Not doing so means they didn't have the option to be prepared in this way.
(3) Fair enough :-)
(4) Sure, but whereas Gust of Wind was the only way to deal with this, the new rules have made "vision through fog" much more common.
Admittedly, we can't yet do this with a straight forward wizard spell. The day we do, that element of the encounter will be gone completely.
Ultimately we may well disagree on the degree to which the new rules has changed this particular encounter. I made a general point. You asked for an example and I've given the best I can think of. I don't have an encyclopaedic knowledge of either modules or rules and I'm sure there are better examples out there, however the fact that new rules can change the nature of existing modules and encounters to *some* degree is a problem, and all I am saying is that this is something that you have to be careful about.
Scott Betts wrote:
I thought of one:
Although I've not read the Pathfinder version, the original encounter with Mokmurian in Fortress of The Stone Giants relied on the fact that Mokmurian had fog-cutting lenses and the PCs didn't.
Not only can the PCs get their own ones now they can additionally use a Goz Mask, the Gaze of Flames flame oracle mystery, the Water Sight waves oracle mystery, the cloud-gazer sylph feat (to a certain degree), the master-of-storms seasight or the winter-witch's blizzard sight to negate this.
To Scott's question:
That's quite a difficult question to answer, you know.
I remember that in 3.5 days we took the decision when we ran shackled city that it would be core books only because it had been written for core books only and we were nervous about rules bloat ruining the dungeon (and it's generally too late by the time you find out).
Scott Betts wrote:
Well, rather than hijack this thread onto some sort of rules discussion, you can have a look at this if you like:
and pick up that thread, as I still feel that vampires that change shape into bats at night are going to bump into things.
I would like to add a cautionary note or two against rule-bloat.
Being a simulationist style player, the rules and the gaming world for me are inextricably linked.
When a new rule comes out that enables a PC to do something new, unless there's a good reason not to that means that every suitable NPC in the world can also do it. Which then means that the world has to react and change in the light of this new ability that has now become available.
The rules are like the physical laws of the universe. They drive what the world looks like. The more rules you have, however, the harder it is to understand their repercussions, and if you don't understand their repercussions you are in danger of making parts of your world nonsensical.
Or at least in need of change if you want it to be, in its own way, believable.
Rules bloat can also make adventure writing more difficult. The last thing any of us would like to see is disclaimers on adventures along the lines of "at the time of writing, this module provided a suitable challenge for four characters of Nth level as long as they included someone with the ability to do X but *not* someone able to do Y!"
Just my 2 cents worth
I actually had tears in my eyes when I read that review. Thank you Thilo - it meant a lot. As for other work - none. I've been playing for over 30 years but Four Dollar Dungeons is my one and only sortie into the module writing world. I am currently working on module number 3. I hope I can keep up the standard!
All the best
Mechanically the rules make no definition whatsoever as to what is "form", so we're already house-ruling when we talk about what is and what isn't included.
For example, in order to stop our bat-shaped vampire from bumping into things, we've decided to let him keep his darkvision because he gets that due to "type" rather than form. This idea that "form" doesn't encompass "type" is our own - it isn't anywhere defined. Furthermore, dwarves and orcs also get darkvision by virtue of their "type", alebeit sub-type in this case, which would mean they would keep their darkvision too.
And this flies in the face of the polymorph rules which specifically state that darkvision is one of those things that you lose.
You're right in that we're beating a dead, if not vampiric, horse. Unfortunately when the rules say it's up to the GM they produce a quandary because these effects we've been discussing are too fundamental. The difference it makes to a vampire losing pretty much all of its defensive abilities is immense - no vampire in its right mind would ever polymorph.
As a module writer, I have to stay well away from this, which is frustrating.
I know I'm having this discussion in another thread but I just want to canvas opinion from the "vampire lobby" :-)
What abilities (i.e. those things described in its template) do you think a vampire loses when it changes shape into a wolf or a bat (according to the rules, any based on "form")?
(Note, BTW, that it doesn't get a bat's blindsense, so we have to assume that Darkvision (which is anyway based on type) is *not* lost).
It depends on whether an ability is due to "form" or "soul", IMVHO.
A vampire's lack of shadow or reflection must surely be "soul"?
Spider climb must be form.
Vulnerability to sunlight?
If it had DR/adamantine then I would have thought was "form", but DR/good I would have thought was "soul".
ER I guess is "form".
Fast Healing - don't know. Does a vampire in beast form not go gaseous when reduced to 0 hit points?
What do you think?