Gary Bush wrote:
Yes. We managed to talk them down too, before the Tholians could complete their Web.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
Most of my group doesn't normally care for Starship combat, but when I got a boon that allowed me to mount Nukes of the ship, we couldn't resist. We took every opportunity we could get to Nuke Jinsils into radioactive space dust.
I almost considered adding Death By Metagaming.
In one session the PCs were up against some Wraiths and a Morhg. The paladin took on the Morhg while the rest of the players dealt with the Wraiths. The tactics for the Morhg said that it would attack a single target until it was dead so that it could could create a Fast Zombie spawn. The Morhg paralyzed the paladin on the first round of combat. The player's said, 'It's okay. The tactics will have it move on to another target now that it has paralyzed the Paladin. Two rounds later it had beat the Paladin down to unconscious. The player's said, "It's okay. The tactics will surely say he moves on to a different target after it has knocked the Paladin unconscious." The next round Morhg killed the Paladin. I let him roll the attacks for the Fast Zombie.
I think you are asking the wrong question. I think the real question should be, 'Is there an truly valid reason your character needs to engage in cannibalism?'
Given that I can't think of any PFS scenarios that would require you to engage in cannibalism for survival reasons, the only reason I can think for a PC to do this is for role-play flavor. In this regards, it is kind of like your character owning a slave in PFS. While it is logical your character may own one given the prevalence of slavery in PFS, is it necessary to potentially offend/disturb other players at the table simply for the sake of your own RP? "I'm just playing my character," is not a valid justification for inconsiderate play.
I just wanted to make a special shout out to Mike Bramnik for his extraordinary GMing of Starfinder Adventures at GenCon.
I had recommended my oldest daughter play Star, Sugar, Heartlove! at GenCon as I had played it and knew she would love it. I had just hoped she would get a half-way decent GM that wouldn’t ruin it for her. She didn’t get that. She got a fabulous GM who made it one of her most memorable GenCon experiences ever. Mike had gone the extra mile and made a 3D stage with lights and accurate minis for the final encounter and did a fabulous job with the role-playing, as well. He had my daughter in tears for most of the adventure for all the right reasons. Heck, just hearing her gush about how great an experience it was had my eyes tearing up, and I wasn’t even there.
Based on her comments, we specifically asked for Mike to GM us for “The Scoured Stars Invasion” and got him. Again, Mike came through with some special minis, props and aids that made the experience better and more visual. The Special, BTW, clearly benefited from 10 years of Paizo experience and was one of the best Specials they have ever released. Normally, most of my group doesn’t enjoy Starship combat in Starfinder as it tends to drag, and it was great that the Special makes it optional for players as they get a variety of missions to choose from that have tags, so your group can avoid types of missions your group doesn’t enjoy. But I had just acquired a Starship Boon earlier in the Con that let me mount Nukes on our Tier 4 Spaceship and let me just say that everything is better with Nukes! Mike ran the spaceship combats smoothly and everyone in our group enjoyed them for once. Mike also seemed to have a ball and that is a much a testament to his GMing as anything.
So, once again, thank you Mike Bramnik for helping to make our GenCon 2018 experience so memorable.
Getting close on mine, as well.
Big 'B' - Is a Solarian who wears a large 'B' on the front of his outfit. He is a professional Slapdancer (see below), and his Solarian weapon manifests as a large hand that he uses to slap people with, as well as, use in his performances.
Slapdancing: A traditional Skittermander rhythmic dance that relies heavily on hand movements and can include rhythmic slaps, claps, and snaps, as well as, various small finger-worn percussion instruments. Streamers are also sometimes used to accentuate the movements. Slapdancing has recently seen a resurgence in popularity due to several recent performer's modernization of it to a more Pop/Hip-hop form, that is sometimes referred to as 'Slap-Hop."
I started keeping track of my kills after my kill rate seemed kind of high, so I could determine why. Here are the stats I came up with though I know I am missing a few kills.
Monster with a huge DPR: 9
Note that several years ago I took a poll with my players to see if they prefer GMs that roll their dice behind a screen and possibly fudge the rolls (for good or ill), or if they prefered the dice rolled out in the open and let the dice fall where they may. They chose rolling out in the open and there was a coinciding increase in kills, especially at low levels.
The issue with balanced class isn't the actual power issue. 4E went out of its way to try to make all the classes balanced. The problem is, the only true way to do that is to have all the classes function the same way. But when all the classes are the same, what difference does it really make? You end up losing all the flavor for each class that truly makes it if feel unique, and unique is what people really want.
The problem here is that the more options you add, the more difficult it becomes to avoid unintended power combos. Eventually, it becomes effectively impossible.
How does that effect power creep caused by the addition of new options? If Weapon A works better in conjunction with Feat B than any other weapon, the fact that Weapon A has multiple tiering that requires you to purchase a new weapon every several levels doesn't change the fact that it still works better with Feat B than any other weapon.
Just for the record, that won't actually stop power creep, it will only slow it down:
1) Every new element you add to the game increases versatility and versatility is power.
2) Every new element you add to the game has the potential of combining with another element to create a gestalt that is greater than the sum of its parts. Most over-powered options I have seen aren't a single over-powered option, but rather an over-powered combo.
Looking back at the Starship combats I have enjoyed, these mostly revolved around the GM having a different mindset for Starship combat than from normal combat. In normal SFS & PFS combat, GMs tend to focus on making the combat challenging the letting the challenge be a large amount of the fun. There are ways of making them more fun and sometimes the authors can include things that just make them more fun, but for the most part, it is a straight forward run.
When it comes to Starship combat, however, this style creates the typical combat drag we have been experiencing. The Starship combats I have enjoyed the most were where the GM focused more on other elements of entertainment than simply beating the challenge.
Cries from the Drift:
The GM we played this under is tactically smart and we initially were playing this out normally, with both ships jockeying around and avoiding the explosive asteroids. When we reached the point where the combat was starting to drag, the opposing captain made a 'tactical error' and placed himself too closed to several asteroids. We took advantage of that and fired multiple weapons arcs to detonate as many asteroids as we could, crippling the enemy ship in a classic movie style.
The above example points out one of the issues with Starship combat compared to regular combat. In regular combat, individual character powers, equipment and tactics usually have a wide variety of ways of changing the course of the combat, and thus allowing each individual to shine in their own way, keeping the experience enjoyable. But in Starship combat, individual options are limited to small subset based on your crew position with you character build only effecting the possibility of success with those limited options. You cannot build a character that, for example, has more or different choices of options. It’s like playing an RPG with only 5 character classes, with no options choices in a class when leveling up, i.e. with the exception of stats, every character of a given class has exactly the same abilities and equipment.
You can earn 1 XP for your character by playing an SFS Adventure with that character.
I really want Starship Combat to work, but our groups is having problems with it too. One of the big issues is that it can take twice as long as a normal combat. Part of this has to do with typical RPG power structure. Because TTRPGs are supposed to be about group enjoyment and group participation, most groups do not have a true 'party leader' that calls all the shots and everyone just does their job. What this results in in Starship Combat is several of the party members having long discussions on where the ship should be maneuvered to and how to get it there, rather then the Captain barking out, 'Get us into it's rear' and the Pilot doing its best to follow that order. The best Starship Combat I have seen was one where everyone took the rolls and did what their rolls would do in a real starship situation, i.e. doing their best to follow the Captain's orders, rather than trying to run the combat as a group consensus.
Another thing I think might help is to have a more graded success system. With the exception of the Science Officer's Scanning, all of the checks are a Yes or No situation. Things like how good the Engineer gets determines how much shields he repairs could go a long way to making individual rolls feel more important.
Ship Combat also suffers from the typical Starfinder situation of a PC's chance to hit with an attack can frequently be less than 50%. This is okay when the whole party is attacking the monster. But when you only have 1 party member making 1 or 2 attacks a round, Starship Combat can take forever.
Andrew Hoskins wrote:
Well, this one I played with my 4th level Daredevil Ace Pilot Operative but you still did it:
Save the Renkrodas:
When you can use your Uncanny Pilot ability to drive your vehicle up next to Vossi, then use your high acrobatics check and Uncanny Mobility to safely jump on her back and help subdue her, then use your high Survival skill to ride her into battle where she promptly eats the lead ecoterrorist...yeah...the mod seems written for you.
Special thanks to Andrew for realizing that having a poisonous swarm in the first encounter has a decent chance of taking a character out for the entire rest of the adventure and putting in solutions for that.
I had a similar idea for a Barathu Mystic. I would put points in WS and ST. I would get proficiency with Advanced Melee Weapons to give me access to a Pike so I could fly 10-feet above the battlefield and threaten a 15' diameter area and extend that with Early Stage Adaptation occasionally to 20' when needed. This would be great with Coordinated Shot. I decided to go with a Life Mystic so I could channel heal myself as a move action in combat and help out others as needed. But then I ran the numbers. The first problem I discovered was that with only Light Armor Proficiency and an 8 Dex, I was way too easy a target even hovering 10' above everyone with a reach weapon. So Heavy Armor Proficiency was a must. This meant I needed a minimum of 3 feats, Advanced Melee Weapon Proficiency, Advanced Melee Weapon Specialization and Heavy Armor Proficiency (4 if I want Coordinated Shot). In other words, the build wouldn’t jell until 5th or 7th level. So, I sucked it up and decided to start with a first level of Soldier. Blitz Soldier only helped my initiative as I don’t have a ground speed. Armor Storm and Bombard looked interesting, but neither of them scaled as I was only taking 1 level of Soldier. So, I went with Arcane Assailant.
Theme-wise I chose Bioengineer mostly for RP reasons. He’s supposed to be a doctor, but with only an 11 IN he got his diploma from the cheapest online medical school he could find. He mostly fakes his doctor skills with various forms of Mystic healing. Which doesn’t mean he isn’t a good healer. He just isn’t quite the doctor he claims to be.
Sebastian Hirsch wrote:
Actually, that first AP was a local wakeup call - sickened is not fun at low levels with a weapon that only does a d4 - and now almost all character upgrade from a small arm ASAP (except operatives) which is a real change.
If it is a wakeup call that even those who don't start with better than Small Arms Proficiency need to immediately upgrade to something better, then it is a wakeup call that any class that doesn't start with better than Small Arms Proficiency isn't balanced in the system.
Some things I have noticed regarding balance:
I suspect the powers that be decided to ere on the side of caution for the beginning of the campaign. Better to have to ramp things up than down. Especially when no one, even the authors, were experience with the rules. And while most of my experiences agree with you I can vouch for the fact that On the Trail of History played with 3 5s & a 4 is brutal. Which is part of the problem. It is difficult to make a mod that is challenging at Tier 5-6 for 6 6th-level players without making it deadly to a party that barely qualifies to play it at that tier.
Sorry you missed the opportunity, but the second book of the Dead Suns AP was, hands down, the mod you were looking for.
GM: There are several bodies in the field here. They've been torn apart.
Ah, okay. No, I am not trying to say it is okay to treat them worse. What I am trying to say is there is a greater need to hold on to both people even when they have a problem working together and not take the easy way out by simply getting rid of one of them. Now, from appearances, this desire may have been handled poorly, but again, we are only hearing one side.
I am glad you didn't see that as a justification, as I had clearly stated I wasn't trying to justify anything. But, then again, you decided to edit that part out of your response.
What I was trying to do was explain why things in a volunteer situation don't necessarily work like they do in a normal employment position. So comparisons between the two are not 100% accurate. And just because I sympathize with a desire does not mean I agree with a decision.
Delbert Collins II wrote:
Del, I have been debating whether to respond to this publicly because I really don't want to add to the drama that has been on these boards lately, but then it occurred to me that maybe that is exactly why I should, as this goes very much to the heart of volunteer morale, and morale is a public issue, not a private one. Also, while I have likely met you in my long history of organized play, I apologize if I do not specifically recall ever working with you.
But to the heart of this post. I made a post indicating my area was struggling. I would have expected a reply from my RVC to be helpful, either directly offering some assistance, offering suggestions/advice, or, at the very least, offering words of encouragement. Instead, what I got was a casual dismissal of my problems with a response that came across as, “Well, that sucks for you, but since other areas are doing well, I don’t really care.” To say the least, I was very disappointed at your response. And if this is a typical response to issues in your area, I am beginning to understand why there appears to be a morale problem amongst the volunteers. I am hoping your response to this will dispel both my own apprehension and those of others reading it. Thank you ahead of time for your response.
I am not going to attempt any form of justification for any actions involved, partly because I don't want to promote this type of activity, but mostly because I am not going to weigh in on a one sided argument, which is exactly what this post is. What I will say is that the fact that this is a volunteer job and not a paid one is very much part of the problem. Unlike a paid job, there are not a hoard of job seekers who will happily replace anyone Paizo dismisses from the position. Volunteers, especially those with actual authority, are hard to come by and because of that, I can sympathize with the RVC's desire to keep you both on board and hope you can work together.
Bear in mind the following:
1) Unlimited replay appeals more to the casual and new player than the invested player. Invested players try to get as much out of each gaming experience as they can, and many feel that unlimited replay cheapens this. This is actually somewhat paradoxical since invested players are the ones who play the most and would logically get the most benefit out of unlimited re-play.
2) D&D 5E is a simpler system than Pathfinder. Simpler systems also appeal more to the casual and new player than the invested player.
In other words, just because Unlimited Replay may work for AL does not mean it will work for PFS because they don't have the exact same fan base.
Yes. This was a major pain for the PCs when running part 2 of Dead Suns. Poison in Starfinder seems exceptionally harsh against PC, especially considering the rest of the system isn't. One of the bigger problems is the high Attack bonuses most monsters have. In most SF battles, the high PC HP/SP and the high monster attack bonuses tend to wash. But not when it comes to poison. Especially considering the party doesn't have easy access to Remove Affliction until level 7. Poison doesn't just lay low PCs for a few encounters. It can lay them low for days. Quite frankly I am hoping they errata the Curing an Affliction section of the rules for poisons and drugs.
To add to my previous statements. I did not see a huge number of people quitting LFR solely because of their unlimited replay rule, but I did see plenty that listed that as one of the factors. Now what I also saw was a lot of dedicated LG players that simply refused to play LFR because of the unlimited replay rules. Now I can't say how much of that was bluster, or how many may have eventually relented and played anyway, but I can think of at least a dozen people I new in LG who either stuck to their guns and never played it because of that stated reason, or who tried it and didn't like it enough to compensate for the fact that it offered unlimited replays (which they didn't like). Most of these people were generally of the opinion that replays ruin the experience for everyone at the table. I partially agree though I would use the word 'lessen' rather than 'ruin.' Regardless, most of these people pretty much went to PFS as soon as it came out.
I am running the Dead Suns AP with a large table (6-7 players). In order to compensate for the AP being designed for 4 people, I have upped the DCs on most skill checks and increased the number of monsters where appropriate. The biggest problem is that increasing the number of monsters isn't always appropriate. I have looked at the Templates in Alien Archives to make solo monsters tougher, but all of the templates seems to change the basic nature of the monster. There just does not seem to be an Advanced Template like in Pathfinder. So unless I missed this, what do you recommend for making solo monsters tougher?
Participation is definitely down in Florida and specifically my region of the Space Coast. I have been coordinating/co-coordinating Organized Play in my area since as early as 2004, starting with Living Greyhawk. At our peak around 2008, we were running 2 slots every Saturday with an average number of tables exceeding 3 each slot and we ran mini-cons at local game stores that ran 5+ tables per slot for 5 slots over a weekend. In 2008 we switched over to Living Forgotten Realms as our primary offering. While we lost some people because of the system switch, we also got a lot of enthusiastic newcomers, so this initially evened out. However, as time wore on, we started seeing problems. The people we lost due to 4E were primarily invested players which made up the bulk of the organizers and GMs. LG’s limited replay options had encouraged even casual players to occasionally GM, but LFR’s unlimited replay had the opposite effect and the same people ended up GMing all of the time. These two factors, combined with how long we had been doing this, lead to a lot of GM/organizer burn out. Participation had dwindled to less than half it had been by 2011 and I was left as the sole local organizer. This, combined with my, by then, frustration with Wizards of the Coast (I was the Regional Writing Director for the Southeast), led me to start offering PFS in 2012. Initially we saw a resurgence with PFS and a new co-coordinator joined with me at this time. Although we never reached our 2008 heyday numbers, we were still averaging over 2 tables per slot. My co-coordinator had to bow out due to family/job issues in 2015 pretty much leaving me to do everything by myself. While I continued to slog on, I am sure fatigue was starting to wear on my enthusiasm, which may have exacerbated things. By 2017, we were mostly down to single tables slots and half of those didn’t make. The introduction of Starfinder did help some, but not much, and we mostly are only offering Starfinder adventures currently. Had it not been for the timely return of one of our regular GMs who had moved out of the state, I probably would have stopped coordinating locally entirely due to fatigue. Even then, our current PFS/SFS gamedays are running on life support.
I have had several talks with our FLGS owners and they have confirmed this is not simply a PFS problem. Attendance in all forms of Organized Play, including tabletop miniatures & CTGs is down, though tournament participation is still high. So I can’t even blame 5E as it too is struggling as far as organized play is concerned. But book sales are brisk, so there are definitely lots of home games in the area. Just no one seems interested in public organized play events.
Philippe Lam wrote:
While I get your point, we aren't talking about the BOD here, which would require over 50%. We are talking sales figures and I pretty sure Paizo will notice a sudden, significant regional sales drop long before it reaches 50%. But, yes, it is going to take more than a few stalwart boycotters.
That is something else I've noticed - whenever there's a pot-stirring drama thread, they always get posted at the beginning of a holiday weekend or a major convention when the people whose job it actually is to deal with these things will be publicly known to not be in the office. It's really starting to look like the timing is intentional on these things, and it's starting to color the intent of the threads themselves as well - it looks like these types of threads are specifically intended just to cause drama among the community, not to resolve an issue with the help of leadership.
I would suggest that it is logical that issues that revolve around Conventions would most likely rear their heads during the middle of Convention Season (which is mostly late Spring to early Fall). Which, of course, is the time of year that's PFS's Leadership is busiest and most likely traveling or out of office.
Charlotte Halcyon wrote:
If we are talking total Pathfinder Attendees, I am pretty sure we didn't have 250+ for this last Megacon, maybe not even 100+. As has been pointed out, participation in the Southeast has been diminishing for several years. If you are talking total attendees (both gamer and non-gamer) then there are easily a dozen Wargamer, Anime & SciFi Cons in Florida alone that qualify. The only problem with the latter is that a dedicated PFS convention would get less attention/support than a random convention that offered PFS. Of course, it also matters if we are talking unique attendees vs. turnstile attendees.
The Masked Ferret wrote:
Not sure of all the details as this happened to a friend of mine, not me directly. I do know they had some buff time, but I do not know how much. Regardless, this resulted in 2 Con organizers getting involved to see if it was actually legal.
You know you are in trouble when you, as the GM, just put a nasty dragon on the table that you are looking forward to challenging the party with and one of the players announces he has used shadow projection + beastshape II to turn himself into a shadow octopus that gets 8 touch attacks for 1d6 strength damage each.