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Kyrademon's Transnational PBP -- Discussion, Description, and Preparation


Play-by-Post Discussion

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Hi, all! As those of you in this game arrive, please answer the following questions –

1) What race and character class would you like to play?

(If you have no strong feelings about it yet, please feel free to post a few possible ideas. If you are relatively new to Pathfinder and do not know enough to venture a suggestion, e-mail me with a vague idea of the kind of character you might like to play in a Dungeons and Dragons type setting and I will suggest some possibilities and discuss them with you. Pathfinder is very flexible in terms of potential character builds.)

2) Would you like to play in “We Be Goblins!” before we begin Jade Regent?

(Playing in We Be Goblins is not a requirement for playing in Jade Regent when it starts.)


1) Human sorcerer with orc bloodline

2) Heck yes!


As a reminder, here are the allowed sources for character creation and development:

1) Any core content from the Core Rulebook, the Advanced Players Guide, Ultimate Magic, and Ultimate Combat are explicitly allowed
2) The Words of Power alternate spell system from Ultimate Magic is allowed
3) Anything from the Adventure Path being used is explicitly allowed
4) Most things from racial supplements (Orcs of Golarion, Gnomes of Golarion, etc.) will be allowed, but ask and get permission first
5) Nothing from other Adventure Paths, Regional Supplements, or Campaign Settings is allowed
6) Nothing Non-Paizo, Non-Pathfinder, or third-party is allowed
7) Anything not listed above needs to be explicitly asked about


1) I'm quite flexible, and happy to shore up any grave deficiencies in the party. Left to my own devices, I might build myself a Zen Archer or a Magus.

2) It feels a bit anticlimactic, but hey, I'm sure it's better than waiting for the books to come out.

Can we build our own goblin characters?


For Gavin:

1) Leaning towards Magus, probably human :)


UPDATE:

I have been informed that it is possible to legally get the first PDF for Jade Regent (and Ultimate Combat) about a week before the official release -- so, somewhere around July 28th, the middle of next week. That makes me MUCH less inclined to run We Be Goblins, as we could start our actual game much sooner than I had thought.

I would much rather go right into Jade Regent as soon as we can. I was only suggesting We Be Goblins because some people were eager to get started.


Kyrademon wrote:
I was only suggesting We Be Goblins because some people were eager to get started.

Guilty as charged! :)

OK, if there's gonna be a Magus anyway, I will tend more towards the Zen Archer. Or maybe a Half-Orc Summoner. Or maybe an Oracle. Or...


Iaurinn o-Lossaeglir wrote:
OK, if there's gonna be a Magus anyway, I will tend more towards the Zen Archer. Or maybe a Half-Orc Summoner. Or maybe an Oracle. Or...

Speaking of Summoners: That might be a bad idea if we're already 10 players on the map. I know you said we shouldn't worry about the number of players, but... how exactly are you planning to handle this? Should we plan for being in a 5- or 10-player party? I'd imagine the group dynamics would be quite different.


Iaurinn o-Lossaeglir wrote:
I know you said we shouldn't worry about the number of players, but... how exactly are you planning to handle this?

SERIOUSLY don't worry about it. Please.

I don't want anyone deciding to drop out simply because they think we have too many players already.

I have several planned possible ways of handling things depending on whether everyone from the e-mail list is in the eventual game or whether there is attrition between there and here.


Character creation:

1) 20-point build

2) All core races are allowed (dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, half-orcs, halflings, humans), including alternate racial builds from the APG etc.

3) I *may* allow goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs, or tengu as PCs. This is *not* guaranteed, but you can inquire if you are interested.

4) Alignments explicitly allowed are Lawful Good, Chaotic Good, Neutral Good, Lawful Neutral, and True Neutral. I *might* allow Chaotic Neutral and Lawful Evil if you can explain to me why you will be an asset to the party and fun to adventure with rather than a horrible bastard everyone else will want to kill. I am leaning against allowing Neutral Evil or Chaotic Evil, but if you think you can convince me that Your Character Will Be Different, I'm willing to at least listen.

5) Two traits – one from the AP (obviously, this will have to wait until we have the AP), and one from an acceptable source (see sources, above) or a nonregional feat from this page: List of Traits. The trait "Rich Parents", however, is not allowed. I am probably also disallowing the trait "Heirloom Weapon" (yes, even after the errata changes to it.)

6) Indications are that the AP will start in the town of Sandpoint on the western coast of the country of Varisia. Many of you may be familiar with Sandpoint or Varisia already from other adventures in the region, with other characters.

If you are not familiar with it, Varisia is a large, loosely-governed country with a few good-sized cities on coast, and vast regions of unexplored wilderness that are dotted with the ruined structures of an ancient empire. This makes it a popular area for treasure hunters and adventurers seeking their fortune. Sandpoint is a growing coastal town with a population of around 1,600. The closest good-sized city to it is Magnimar, with a population of about 16,000, about 50 miles away. You will know more if:

a) Your character grew up in the area or has lived in Sandpoint for more than a year or so
b) You put a rank into Knowledge Local, Knowledge History, or Knowledge Geography

So let me know if either of the above are true. Some of the information will have to wait until I get the adventure path sometime in the next week, but I can give general knowledge about Varisia or Sandpoint before then if your character would have it, or if you need it to create your character properly (e.g., your character is from the area and you want to know what the local culture is like and what languages you would probably speak.)

If your character comes from elsewhere, I can also get you information about your country of origin should you need it.


Oh, and I forgot:

7) Hit points – max hit points at first level. For every even character level thereafter, take half the maximum possible die roll as your roll (e.g., for a d10, take 5). For every odd character level thereafter, take half the maximum die roll plus one as your roll (e.g., for a d10, take 6).

8) Please have no more than, at most, one physical stat and one mental stat lower than 10. (Having only one stat or no stats below 10 is of course fine.) Putting a stat lower than 8 requires permission from me. This doesn't necessarily mean it's not allowed, but please do check.


Been reading more about Jade Regent and I am *excited*.

If you haven't posted an idea here yet, by the way, please do so, even if only to say "I have no ideas." At present, a lot of people are deciding among a couple of options, so don't go too crazy trying to fit yourself into party balance, it may fluctuate for a little while yet.

Here, incidentally, is my current understanding where the party so far stands:

HAVE POSTED CHARACTER CONCEPT(S) HERE:

Mana - Human Sorcerer (Orc Bloodline)
Christian - Leaning towards Zen Archer, Magus, Half-Orc Summoner, or Oracle; can choose based on rest of party

HAVE CONTACTED ME PRIVATELY WITH CHARACTER CONCEPT(S) BY E-MAIL:

Eric - Leaning towards Human Monk
Jeff - Leaning towards either: Human or Halfling Swashbuckler Combat type, or Elf or Half-Elf Divination School Wizard

THEY OR SOMEONE ELSE HAS MENTIONED ON THEIR BEHALF AT SOME POINT AT LEAST VAGUELY THAT THEY MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN PLAYING THIS KIND OF CHARACTER MAYBE:

Gavin - Currently leaning towards Human Ranger (Magus has also been mentioned as possibility)
Daryn - Possibly a Magus or Sorcerer
Justin - Possibly a Cleric
Mario - Leaning towards ninja

HAVEN'T REALLY HEARD ANYTHING FROM:

Randall
Kevin
Doug


I am still interested, and have sent an e-mail with some nouns for hopeful conversion into character type.


I am interested, but unsure about time commitment issues. I will have little/limited internet from 7/28 - 8/9. So Ry, we shall have to talk about whether it makes sense for me to try playing anyway (with option for dramatic death if it doesn't work), not to play at all, or join the party later in the adventure, or what...

Briefly looking at possible classes/races left me with a couple ideas:
Monk (haven't decided race), Half-elven(?) bard, Human Dragon-blood sorcerer (maybe w the relevant prestige class eventually)BUT someone else already really wants to play a sorcerer so probably not that one... Might be easier not to play a spell caster the first time I play this system, and the monk is an intriguing class (different from other fantasy role playing classes I've played in the past) that seems like it ought to fit well into the milieu. So Monk is my top interest so far.

Randall
(now you've heard from me)


Dear fellows,companions,comrades

All hail !

"Kunoichi no-kamai Kōga" or shortly "Kōga"
will inform you about herself and her path as "Shinobi" (Ninja) soon.

Kōga


Looks like we have two Monks in the pipeline already, so I'll shuffle the Zen Archer back a bit. I'm favoring the concept of a Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle right now, but that can change quickly.


Male Human

There looks to be a lot of magic users in the offing, so I may lean more towards my swashbuckler idea. But I haven't fully given up on the Diviner angle.

Jeff


OK, have a buncha thoughts, so ... LONG GM POST!

1) I don’t necessarily object to having two monks in the party (although, yeah, 3-4 monks would probably be a bit much.) But a couple of monks is appropriate to both the initial setting, which has a well-known monastery, and where the game will end up – as long as they are significantly different flavors of monk. A Zen Archer is reasonably different from a Drunken Master, for example, and Ultimate Combat is going to introduce no fewer than 7(!) new flavor of Monk. And that may work out well because ...

2) R. Drake and Kevin Hogan have indicated to me that, due to business or vacation travel, they may be incommunicado for a few weeks. By coincidence, while they are both longtime roleplaying hands, they are also the two players least familiar with D&D and Pathfinder. What I would suggest is that everyone else create their characters and, most likely, start the game (see below), and when they are more available I will work closely with them to create characters that are both what they want and different from the other party members, and then they will join the game slightly later.

So, I am confident that with NINETEEN varieties of monk R. Drake can choose from at that point, we can build something different from a monk already in the party if there is one.

3) Cyberias, have you downloaded the free Ultimate Combat Playtest PDF yet? If not, please do so, and use those rules to build your first level ninja. We can adjust it as needed when the canonical version comes out, but I don’t expect to have to make too many tweaks at first level, so that’ll give you something to work with rather than having to throw your character together at the last minute.

4) I would suggest the following timeline:

OVER THE WEEKEND –
I) Character choices get nailed down, except for R. Drake and Kevin Hogan.
II) I post the “fog of war” PBP rules. Players complain about how terrible they are. I nod sagely.

EARLY TO MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK –
III) Characters are statted out. I help anyone who needs it. Aliases for the characters are created to play with, and character sheets are posted to the profiles and reviewed by the GM.

MIDDLE OF NEXT WEEK –
IV) I download Jade Regent when it becomes available and read it late into the night until my eyes bleed.

LATE NEXT WEEK –
V) Play begins

WHEN R. DRAKE AND KEVIN HOGAN BECOME AVAILABLE –
VI) I work with them to create characters that balance with the group, and introduce them into the ongoing game in a suave yet organic manner.

5) Regarding current party balance ...

So, this is a little tricky since all of you are trying to prevent too much duplication, and some possible players have not weighed in. Since I’ll be working with R. Drake and Kevin Hogan on balance and they’ll be joining later, I won’t be counting them in the mix right now. Here’s what things look like:

FIRM
Combat Arcane Spellcaster (chavamana, sorcerer)
Stealthy Rogue (cyberias, ninja)

POTENTIAL
Front-Line Fighter, Combat Rogue, or Utility Arcane Spellcaster (Geo3gh, combat class swashbuckler, rogue swashbuckler, or diviner wizard)
Combat Arcane Spellcaster, Combat Support Arcane Spellcaster, Combat/Healing Divine Spellcaster, or Ranged Fighter (Iaurinn, magus, summoner, oracle of battle, or zen archer)

VAGUE
Front-Line Fighter or Ranged Fighter (Gavin, Ranger)
Utility Fighter (Eric, Monk)
Combat Arcane Spellcaster (Daryn, magus)
Healing Divine Spellcaster (Justin, Cleric)

COMPLETELY UNKNOWN
(Doug)

My thoughts –
- This is looking like a decent mix.
- Iaurinn, I think your Oracle would fit in well whatever choices the rest of the group makes, so it’s a good one to go with if you want to stop waiting on others. But if you’re in no rush, the other possibilities might still work, depending.
- I think I’d prefer to have at most two arcane spellcasters. So Geo3gh and Iaurinn, if Daryn comes in with strong feelings about a magus, I’d prefer you pick one of your nonarcane choices. But he hasn’t weighed in here yet officially (and I have only heard he might want a magus secondhand to being with), which means they are still on the table.
- I don’t mind people trying not to duplicate in order to create a unique character, but please don’t worry about “holes” that need to be filled. If the group ends up with, say, no front-line fighters or healers, I’ll run things so that isn’t a problem. Such holes might also be filled by the later joiners.


As it is now Saturday everywhere the game is being played, I'm declaring that it's time to begin the process of nailing down concepts and players.

Everyone but R. Drake and Kevin Hogan should have a definite character concept, including some background, by midnight Sunday Hawaii time (noon Monday Germany time).

I'm also going to assume at that point that anyone who has made no posts on this thread is not planning on being in the game. So, Gavin, Eric, Daryn, Justin, and Doug, please join in this weekend if you're planning to be in.

If you've already got a firm character concept, please do post some background for your character (use a spoiler tag if you don't want other players to read it.) If you're really gung ho, you can stat out the character, too, although you don't have to until early next week if you don't want to do that yet. To stat out a character:

1) Create an alias with your character's name (if the name is already taken, you can add a little to make it unique, e.g. "Biff the Fighter".) Choose the picture you think best resembles your character.

2) Post your character's information, as completely as possible, in the profile of that alias. You can use the fill-in stat blocks the profiles come with automatically for some of it if you like, or just post a full character sheet to the "About" section without using them. Use bold tags to make your character sheet more readable. If you like, you can use spoiler tags in your character profile to conceal any and all information you like from other players.

Here is an example of a character sheet from a crazy high-powered non-RAW game, just as a sample of one way to do it (obviously your 1st-level character sheet will be much simpler.)


Couple of quick comments:

1) Some of you have been sending me questions about character build, etc., over e-mail. I actually would prefer handling that here at the boards, if possible. Mainly because being the only one posting here makes me feel lonely and scared.

If it's something you don't want other people to see, feel free to put it in a spoiler tag addressed to the GM.

Anyone who wants can read this:
Like this, only saying "GM" instead of "Anyone who wants can read this".

2) Some people have asked if it's possible to get automatic updates when new posts appear. The answer is, in a way. You can set threads up as an RSS feed using the square orange button near the top right. RSS readers like Sharpreader can be downloaded for free, so you could use that to monitor threads for activity if you want; you can set it to check the thread at regular intervals, and also refresh by hand, without needing to go to the page itself.

I just bookmark the pages and check them, but I have a VERY BORING JOB, so this is easy for me. If you haven't used RSS before, it's very simple and easy, even for someone as installing-yet-another-new-program-phobic as me.


Female Quarter-Orc Sorcerer

For those of us who slightly further along in character creation, what kind of starting cash are we looking at?

Oh, and can we hold off on picking traits until the Jade Regent player's guide gets released?


1) Take the average starting cash for your class, plus one free outfit worth 10 gp or less.

2) As for traits, if the Players' Guide comes out enough later than the AP itself to make this necessary, if you pick your one non-AP trait now, I would let you switch it out for something else when the Players' Guide comes out with no penalty if you wanted to for some reason. (You could also simply wait to pick any traits if you wanted to, I suppose.)

This is also true of feats picked before Ultimate Combat comes out; if you decide you want to switch your first level feats around when it becomes available, I would allow that.

This applies only to the Players' Guide and Ultimate Combat, not to any later rulebooks that might become available.


Male Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle 10

Meet my Oracle of Battle, Hrunndalf Jarlsson:

http://paizo.com/people/HrunndalfJarlsson

These forums have a serious shortage of nordic-looking avatars that are not also frothing raging dwarves. I'd have a lot more choices if my character were an ape, for gods' sakes. ;o) I guess I'll just have to draw an Order of the Stick style stick figure, then.

So Heirloom Weapon is off the table...? :\

By the way, DM, are you open to the concept of subtle feat retraining? For instance, if I get Weapon Focus and the like with a bec de corbin now, could I retrain that if I decide to pick up exotic weapon proficiency for a fauchard or so? I might suddenly find myself interested in trip weapons once I get the Maneuver Mastery revelation. I figure the differences between polearms are rather minor anyway.

For the DM only:

I'm thinking of putting both my 1st level feat and my human bonus feat into Extra Revelation, to get a total of three revelations at 1st level. That would be a horrible waste for most Oracles, since I generally find revelations to be very weak, but the Battle Mystery just has so many goodies...!

I'll start with Skill at Arms, Weapon Mastery (a polearm, probably a bec de corbin or a guisarme if you don't allow retraining), and Battlefield Clarity (as much for fluff as for crunch). Planning to get War Sight at 3rd, Maneuver Mastery: Trip and Combat Healer at 7th (another Extra Revelation), Surprising Charge at 9th (guess how...), and Iron Skin at 11th.


Female Quarter-Orc Sorcerer

Mechanically, good to go. Now I just need to remember how to write.

Melinda Sorn


Hrunndalf Jarlsson wrote:
So Heirloom Weapon is off the table...?

Heirloom Weapon has just been HEAVILY errata'd, and can no longer be used to gain a proficiency with an exotic weapon anyway, which is what I suspect you had in mind. So you're not really losing out, if so.

If you knew that, however, and what you wanted was the +2 maneuver (trip) bonus that can be gotten from the new version, which seems to be what you're after anyway, I would probably allow it -- my objection to heirloom weapon was the proficiency part, not any other part of the rewritten trait. See under the Spoiler (and Hrunndalf, I suggest you do read the Spoiler to the end, it does end up giving you what I think you want in a useful manner, if you plan it right.)

Anyone can read this who might be interested in the Heirloom Weapon trait, it's just long so I wanted to make it so that people who didn't care didn't have to wade through the text:
The trait, after errata, now reads as follows:

HEIRLOOM WEAPON: You carry a non-masterwork simple or martial weapon that has been passed down from generation to generation in your family. When you select this trait, choose one of the following benefits:
proficiency with that specific weapon
a +1 trait bonus on attacks of opportunity with that specific weapon
a +2 trait bonus on one kind of combat maneuver when using that specific weapon.
Note: You pay the standard gp cost for the weapon.

What I really wanted to ban is the first of the three choices, for balance reasons. So, since the rest of it is fine with me, consider the trait to be allowed, but with the words "proficiency with that specific weapon" struck out.

Some comments on the implications:
- This bonus applies ONLY to the heirloom weapon itself, not other weapons of the same kind, so bear in mind that, as with the previous version of Heirloom weapon, if this specific weapon is sundered or lost you lose use of the trait until it is repaired or recovered.
- There is a spell in Ultimate Magic called Masterwork Transformation (2nd level Oracle, among other classes that can use it) which turns regular weapons into masterwork weapons for the masterwork item price ... meaning that this trait does not necessarily become useless at higher levels; you can eventually make your heirloom masterwork and then have it enchanted in the usual ways.

So, if you want to have a +2 insight trip bonus with your father's old bec de corbin, which you can eventually make masterwork and then magic as you go up levels, go to town.

Hrunndalf Jarlsson wrote:
By the way, DM, are you open to the concept of subtle feat retraining?

Since feat retraining is a special fighter ability, I think allowing this for other classes would diminish the comparative utility of the fighter. So I'm going to rule no, sorry.

Eventually, btw, the posted character sheet in your profile should include under description all special abilities (with some description), skills, equipment, weapon attack and damage, spells typically prepared, etc., etc. You probably already knew this, and of course you're well ahead of the game, here (the deadline for that will probably be around end-of-day Tuesday), but I just wanted to make a note so that everyone knew this was necessary. Any part you don't want others to see can be hidden behind spoiler tags.

Your background is great, but I'd like to discuss with you the specific reason that you ended up in Sandpoint, per se.

For Hrunndalf only:
Nice plan with the Revelations. I like it. :)

Incidentally, I'm getting 22 rather than 20 from your point buy -- did I miss something?


female human classy

hi Ry (et. al.)

i'd like to play an urban druid. elf.

-jessica-


Male Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle 10
Kyrademon wrote:


If you knew that, however, and what you wanted was the +2 maneuver (trip) bonus that can be gotten from the new version,

Oh, I was indeed not aware of the new nerf. No fauchard for me then. :P

I might indeed go for the +2 trip version, then. It will have to be a guisarme rather than a bec de corbin, since for some reason you can't use just any hooked polearm to trip someone. ;)

Yes, the background is very sketchy. I just figured the first trading vessel he stepped on happened to be bound for Sandpoint and he would decide where to go next from there.

Better stat block coming up.

For DM only:

Quote:


Incidentally, I'm getting 22 rather than 20 from your point buy -- did I miss something?

I'm getting 20:

Str 18 = 16 + 2 (10) racial bonus
Dex 12 ( 2)
Con 14 ( 5)
Int 8 (-2)
Wis 10 ( 0)
Cha 14 ( 5)


For Hrunndalf only:
Your wisdom is currently listed as 12 rather than 10 in your profile. Just correct it and we're all good!


Male Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle 10

For DM only:

D'oh! Got it. I was going to ask permission to lower Int to 7 and raise Wis to 12, but in the end I couldn't let go of that skillpoint.


Male Half-Orc Monk

Hey! I am in! For some reason, this website was crashing for me all of yesterday. I will write more later today. But for now:

I am doing a human monk. He will be of the punchy-kicky variety as opposed to any more subtle build. Still need to read up to be more specific.


For Morgan only:
Glad you managed to get on! Let me know if you need any help creating the character.

Incidentally, right now you've got a 22 point-buy build rather than a 20-point; it's not a straight one-for-one cost ... don't know if you already knew that and those are placeholder stats. Again, just let me know if you need the details on that or anything else.


So, we are currently at --

FIRM CHOICE, WITH POSTED BACKGROUND:
- Hrunndalf Jarlson, Human Oracle (Battle)

FIRM CHOICE, NO BACKGROUND YET:
- Melinda Sorn, Human Sorcerer (Orc)
- Morgan Ironwolf, Human Monk (Unsubtle Punchy-Kicky)
- (jsrose), Elven Druid (Urban)

PRETTY FIRM CHOICE:
- (Geo3gh), Human or halfing swashbuckler type, or elf or half-elf wizard (Diviner); I’d say at this point go with whichever you like; I think either will work well with the group
- (cyberias), Unknown race ninja
- (Gavin), Human Ranger - though he has not posted, I've been informed that this is a fairly firm choice and he's been unable to post because he's been feeling ill, so he's been granted an extension

VAGUE HINTS THAT WE MAY HAVE A:
- Magus and/or Cleric


Update:

http://paizo.com/people/KunoichiNoKamaiKGa

@GM: Please let me know if the history should be modified :)


Male Half-Orc Monk

Kyra:
Wait, I thought 20 just meant that I could start at 10 and then add twenty points. I have played systems where points 15-16 in an ability cost 2 points and points 17-18 cost three, but I saw no mention of this in the rules. What are the rules? I should probably lower my int and raise my wisdom in any case.


Cyberias -- Background looks good. Couple of comments:

(1) Given what I know of the AP, your background would probably work best if you had reason to hate, despise, and loathe the current ruler of Minkai.

(2) The human monk you were sent to find was probably Sabyl Sorn, who runs the House of Blue Stones, a monastery in Sandpoint dedicated to Irori. You have probably been studying with her.

Incidentally, you can start posting here under that alias now that you've created it, once you find a picture you like for the character.

Morgan, depending on your background, you have also most likely been studying with Sabyl Sorn. And Melinda Sorn is, of course, Sabyl Sorn's niece. (It all comes together!)

Morgan:
Sorry about that; no, the point buy system isn't one-for-one. The details can be found on this page, in the table labeled "ability score costs". As you can see, raising a score to 14 costs 5 points, and raising it to 16 costs 10 points.

As a human, you also get a free +2 to one ability score of your choice (that's a rule from the description of humans, here.) It is usually most cost effective to use it for whatever ability score you want to be the highest.

So a 20-point build could look like
Str 14 (cost: 5 pts)
Dex 14 (cost: 5 pts)
Con 14 (cost: 5 pts)
Wis 16 (cost: 5 pts with free +2)
Int 10 (cost: 0 pts)
Cha 10 (cost: 0 pts)

Or wisdom could be raised to 18 at the cost of dexterity and/or constitution, etc.

If you want some assistance building the character, I'd be happy to find time to work with you on it. Or I could just double check your build for minor errors like this one, whichever you'd prefer.


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SUPER IMPORTANT SERIES OF RULES-RELATED POSTS

The next few posts will explain the special “Fog of War” rules that I am using to adapt Pathfinder to a PBP game. Individual sections are click-to-see just for ease of reading purposes and to keep, as much as possible, from cluttering the thread to the point of unreadability.

The Reasons for the Rules:
One of the most persistent and vexing problems with PBP games are pacing issues. A turn-based game runs the risk of slowing to a crawl as players have a back-and-forth with the GM about their actions in a single turn that can extend over the course of days. In other games, frequent-posting players can race ahead, leaving people who work or are otherwise busy checking in to discover that the module has been finished and the plot resolved while they went out for coffee.

The goal of the “Fog of War” rules is to hit a happy medium where things proceed at a reasonable pace, frequent posters do not feel overly constrained, and less frequent posters do not feel overrun. Perfection in this will probably never be achieved, but the closer we will get the more fun the game will be all around.

Whatever rules are instituted, a PBP game will generally tend to move more slowly than a tabletop game that meets weekly. My overall goal is to move ahead enough each day that we get through the modules at roughly the same overall pace as a group that meets once every two weeks, so that it is possible to get through the individual modules and maintain a sense of forward plot momentum. I would very much like to get through this entire AP!

The Concepts Behind the Rules:
In creating these rules, my goal was to create a system that was based on principles that made sense, easy to understand, and relatively simple for both the players and the GM. Although there are a lot of “rules” listed, they are all fairly simple and work together in (hopefully) coherent ways.

The basic notion is that, in a combat situation where you only have a few seconds to act, it is possible to modify a planned action in response to events in a number of well-defined, common sense ways – but that it is not possible to change to a different kind of action entirely. In other words, if you were about to fire a lightning bolt and the fighter steps in front of you, it is reasonable under these rules to switch to firing the lightning at a different target ... but you would not have enough reaction time to decide to drink a potion instead.

To be perfectly frank – this means that your combat actions in this game WILL SOMETIMES GET SCREWED OVER in ways they would not in a tabletop game where you are allowed to modify your actions at will in any way whenever your turn comes. After much thought on the issue, I believe this is a necessary sacrifice to maintain both speed and simplicity. And bear in mind that this will ALSO apply to your opponents due to the way it is structured.

Questions are welcome and tweaks may be made during gameplay if there are problems or unexpected situations, but please do not suggest an alternate rules system or modifications which you believe would solve the above problem; it is a deliberate choice on the part of the GM and this is what we’re going with.


GENERAL RULES

1. The Rule of Free Speech:
At any time, in any situation (including combat), any amount of in-character speech is considered an immediate action that effectively takes no time. We are using the “comic book rule” in which a character can break out in a seven paragraph soliloquy in the time between throwing a punch and the punch connecting.

In all non-combat situations, this rule also applies to all actions which would not require a dice roll or check – in a tavern, for example, a player might feel free to get up, order a beer, wander around ogling the barmaids, have a conversation, and so on, without needing to wait for action resolution on the part of the GM or response from other players.

This rule also applies to GM-run NPCs.

The purpose of this is to allow frequent posters to have high roleplaying participation if they want.

2. The Rule of Daily Resolution:
Either once every 24 hours, or when all involved PC’s have declared actions (whichever comes first), the GM will declare all NPC actions, and then resolve all player and NPC actions that require a dice roll or check.

If you do not post an action in a given 24 hour period, you are considered to have taken no action. If you are in combat, you will go on full defensive. If outside of combat, you will follow everyone else around wherever they are going with a vague look on your face. If you are the sole possessor of a plot-relevant item or a magic item that has been designated for all-party-use, it can be used on your behalf if you make no response during a given 24-hour period.

The characters of players who announce in advance that they are taking a vacation on the discussion thread will be considered “safe” from adverse effects until the player returns to the game.

The purpose of this is to allow everyone time to respond to in-game situations, with a reasonable time limit to prevent too much waiting.

3. The Rule of Proaction:
Any time you believe your character might have to make a dice roll or check, simply do so. Do *not* wait for the GM to confirm that you need to make a roll or a check. If you’re looking around, make a perception roll. If you want something from someone, make a diplomacy or intimidation check. Want to know if you know something? Make a knowledge check. And so on and so forth. If you think that you *might* need to make a roll if a certain thing that could happen occurs, make the roll just in case. If you’re not sure what kind of roll to make, just roll a d20 and let the GM figure it out.

This concept will be further elaborated regarding how it specifically works in combat situations in “4. The Rule of Combat.”

The purpose of this rule is to eliminate needless back and forth, at the cost of occasional unnecessary rolls.


FOG OF WAR COMBAT RULES

4. The Rule of Combat:
In general, a combat turn will work as follows. Under a spoiler tag –
1) Declare the action that you intend to take.
2) Make ALL ROLLS RELEVANT TO THAT ACTION AS IF IT SUCCEEDS PERFECTLY. This includes appropriate to hit rolls, damage rolls, duration of effects, tumbling checks, etc. On the first combat turn, it includes an initiative roll. And so on.
3) Also include in the post any other relevant information, such as save DC’s of any spells or abilities you employ, and any special modifiers.
4) Make rolls to confirm any potential criticals or fumbles in an immediate second follow-up post.

How actions should be declared will be covered over the course of the next few rules.

Your opponents will be subject to the same rules; they will declare their actions and make their rolls *before* I have looked at the actions of any of the characters.

NOTE: Although it will be under a spoiler tag, any descriptive or evocative text you use to describe your action will be incorporated into the action-resolving post. I wish to encourage descriptive text rather than “I hit it with a sword again”, as that is part of the great fun of a PBP, so it WILL BE SEEN by the other players if you write it.

The purpose of this rule is to eliminate needless back and forth.

5. The Rule of Declared Movement:
Movement during a combat turn can be declared either specifically or generally. For example, you could either declare “I move 30’ North” or “I head towards the monster” or “I move up and flank if possible”. Do NOT, however, give multiple options; if you find yourself needing words like “either/or”, “if/then”, “depending on whether”, or “otherwise”, this is most likely incorrect.

The purpose of this rule is to allow some flexibility in declared movement while maintaining simplicity.

6. The Rule of Declared Targeting:
Targeting during a combat turn can be declared either specifically or generally. For example, you could either declare “I center the effect 30’ west of my character” or “I stab the troll” or “I attack whichever monster looks weakest” or “I catch as many monsters as I can in the spell”. Do NOT, however, give multiple options; if you find yourself needing words like “either/or”, “if/then”, “depending on whether”, or “otherwise”, this is most likely incorrect.

The purpose of this rule is to allow some flexibility in declared targeting while maintaining simplicity.

7. The Rule of Declared Action:
Any action made during a combat round must be declared specifically. This could include:
- Attacking with a particular weapon
- Casting a particular spell
- Using a particular skill
- Activating a particular magic item
- Employing a particular combat maneuver
And so on.

If you are capable of making multiple actions of different types in a single round, you can declare whatever your character is capable of, but each action must be specific. Once again, do not give multiple options; if you find yourself needing words like “either/or”, “if/then”, “depending on whether”, or “otherwise”, this is most likely incorrect.

The purpose of this rule is to maintain simplicity.

8. The Rule of Most Advantageous Substitution:
There may be situations when, after other people have acted, the scenario has changed in such a way that the specifics of your action no longer makes sense or are no longer possible – for example, your chosen target is already dead, or has moved, or is inaccessible. In such situations the GM will modify your action based on a set of guidelines called Most Advantageous Substitution. These can be either of benefit or loss to you, but will always be what is judged the Most Advantageous version of your declared action possible.

For example, a move and attack action could change to a full attack action, or vice versa. A spell effect could encompass more or fewer opponents depending on how they have moved.

Full attack, move and attack, and charge may all be substituted for each other depending on which is most advantageous to the character’s stated intent for the round. Movement and targeting may be changed depending on what is most advantageous to the character’s stated intent for the round.

If any form of your declared action simply becomes completely impossible, or completely unnecessary (e.g. all targets already dead), your character will go on full defensive for the round.

The purpose of this rule is to maintain speed while still being reasonable in terms of common sense.

9. The Rule of Safety:
Unless you specify otherwise, the following assumptions will be made with regard to any action you take and any Most Advantageous Substitutions made for it:
1) You will not perform an action that will definitely provoke an attack of opportunity.
2) You will not perform an action that damages or otherwise adversely affects another PC.
3) You will not move into a spell effect or other danger that was not present when you declared your action.

If your declared action would result in any of these dangers, then if at all possible a Most Advantageous Substitution will be done to allow you to complete your declared action – such as taking a 5’ step, casting defensively, moving via a different route, tumbling if you have the skill at an appropriate level, or changing targets, whichever is most advantageous.

If there is no possible way to complete your action without causing danger to yourself or others, then your character will go on full defensive instead – UNLESS you state in advance during your declaration that you are performing your action “Heedless of any danger”, “Heedless of any risk to others”, or both. If you make such a declaration, your character will take the action despite any potential risks.

The purpose of this rule is to maintain speed while still being reasonable in terms of common sense.


ADDITIONAL RULES

10. The Rule of Reverse Saves:
Whenever a character or NPC performs an action that requires a saving throw on the part of another, the PERSON CASTING THE SPELL OR ENACTING THE EFFECT WILL ROLL THE SAVING THROW ON BEHALF OF THE TARGET. THE TARGET WILL NOT ROLL THE SAVE.

Purists may grimace at this rule, but it is for the benefit of the characters. If you must wait until your action to roll a saving throw, other characters may declare their own action without yet realizing that you have fallen unconscious, died, been charmed, exploded, etc. Allowing the GM to roll your save when a foe performs an effect immediately allows all involved to determine if you need assistance.

However, no one likes to sit around feeling that everything is in someone else’s hands while they sit around and watch. Therefore, fair’s fair, you get to roll the saves on behalf of the monsters. Since you are unlikely to know the monster’s bonus, simply roll a D20 and the GM will add the appropriate amount during resolution.

The purpose of this rule is to maintain speed without screwing over the characters.

11. The Rule of GM Rolls:
Whenever the GM sees fit, in order to save time, the GM may make certain specific types of rolls on behalf of your character. The GM will never use this rule to “puppet” a character and make them perform any actions without the player’s consent; such rolls will either be purely reactive, or a necessary part of an action a character had already declared. For example, such rolls may potentially include:

- Rolls you did not know you needed to make (e.g., a first roll to overcome spell resistance.)
- Perception rolls to determine whether you can act in a surprise round

Again, the GM may elect not to make such rolls; it is not compulsory, and will only be used to prevent excessive delay.

The purpose of this rule is to save time when judged necessary.

12. The Rule of Fumbles:
Whenever a character rolls a natural 1 on a to hit roll, immediately roll an additional attack roll in a follow-up post. If this second attack roll would have been a miss, your character has fumbled, and a randomly determined negative effect will occur.

A fumble does not interrupt the remainder of an iterative attack unless the randomly determined effect would do so.

Effects or abilities that add a bonus to rolls to confirm criticals will also add that bonus to rolls to avoid fumbles. Effects or abilities that allow automatic critical confirmation can also be used to automatically avoid a fumble.

The purpose of this rule is to introduce a fumble mechanic.

13. The Rule of Assistance:
Whenever more than one character is simultaneously performing a skill check that could reasonably be performed as an multiple-character assisted action, all characters should make the roll as under the Rule of Proaction. Whichever character ends up having the highest check on the turn will be considered to be the main undertaker of the action; other characters will be considered to be assisting. This rule does not apply to the “aid another” action in combat.

The purpose of this rule is to maintain speed and simplicity.

14. The Rule of Cohorts:
The PCs will control the actions of any cohorts, followers, animal companions, mounts, familiars, or summoned creatures associated with their character during combat. The GM will control the actions of these creatures during noncombat and roleplay.

The purpose of this rule is because that’s the way I like it.


EXAMPLE OF A COMBAT TURN

In this set-up, initiative order has already been rolled on a previous turn, and the order is an unnamed fighter, an Umber Hulk, and Thrudd the Barbarian.

Thrudd the Barbarian’s sample combat action:
Thrudd the Barbarian cannily waits until the fighter springs into action, then rushes towards the Umber Hulk, frothing at the mouth and screaming while waving his axe!

Thrudd delays action until the fighter goes, then rages, charges the Umber Hulk and makes an attack with his greataxe. I will use my Stun special ability that is made up for the purpose of this example, save DC 37.
To hit roll: 1d20 + 57 ⇒ (20) + 57 = 77
Damage: 1d12 + 193 ⇒ (4) + 193 = 197
Monster’s save against Stun: 1d20 ⇒ 4

Monster’s declared action:
The Umber Hulk moves to Thrudd and attacks.
Umber Hulk’s to hit: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
Damage if that connects: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5

GM’s sample resolution:
... and after the fighter leaps off the cliff in terror, the Umber Hulk strides towards Thrudd and takes a swipe at him, missing pathetically. The Umber Hulk is now next to Thrudd. Thrudd, who was cannily waiting until the fighter sprang into action and off the ledge, froths at the mouth and screams at the Umber Hulk while waving his axe! Thrudd’s first blow cuts deeply into the beast, stunning him. But then Thrudd realizes that he is able to make a full attack, getting off one more blow than he expected.
Thrudd’s second attack roll: 1d20 + 50 ⇒ (20) + 50 = 70
Thrudd’s damage if that hits: 1d12 + 193 ⇒ (4) + 193 = 197


Female Quarter-Orc Sorcerer

I has a newbie question. I know that there is a nifty ['dice'] tag that gives those fun green rolls. Can you only have a single expression inside the bbc codes, or can you do multiple at once?


Male Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle 10

Posted my statblock in my profile. I picked Bless as one of my spells now, but if that other Cleric in the group intends to use that, I'll change it to Divine Favor.


Female Quarter-Orc Sorcerer

Background fully posted :). Stat block spoiler-ed only for spacing, not for any sinister reasons.


Melinda --

I know you can do multiple types of dice within a single tag, e.g.:
1d20 + 1d6 + 1d8 - 4 ⇒ (13) + (1) + (1) - 4 = 11

I'm not sure whether you can do multiple rolls in a single tag. I'ma gonna try it!
100d20 ⇒ (2, 15, 15, 1, 18, 17, 1, 15, 16, 7, 12, 17, 12, 5, 12, 1, 19, 10, 10, 11, 2, 19, 5, 14, 1, 3, 16, 4, 15, 10, 15, 2, 18, 12, 15, 19, 8, 5, 9, 12, 5, 8, 19, 18, 13, 5, 18, 1, 10, 4, 4, 7, 15, 16, 1, 1, 9, 16, 2, 4, 11, 17, 10, 7, 9, 5, 16, 20, 17, 4, 7, 10, 9, 6, 1, 15, 9, 9, 19, 16, 18, 17, 17, 10, 6, 1, 2, 10, 18, 16, 8, 10, 1, 10, 18, 15, 14, 14, 12, 7) = 1037

Edited to add: since that was an attempt to roll 3d20 individually with the rolls separated by commas, the answer is no, the system can't handle it. However, you could do multiple rolls in a single tag by ignoring how they're added together at the end, since it shows the progression; for example, if you wanted to roll 1d20+8 and 1d10+3 you could do:
1d20 + 8 + 1d10 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 8 + (9) + 3 = 21
and take out the parts you need, but it's probably clearer to just roll them separately.

Cyberias --

Having read a bit more about the adventure path, I'm afraid I'm going to blatantly contradict what I said about your background; it does need modification.

Apparently a big part of the adventure is a journey to unknown lands of which the characters have little knowledge, and must make alliances in strange circumstances. Therefore, I would request that you alter your background to have less knowledge of Minkai.

I would suggest that perhaps your mentor actually brought you to Avistan when you were still a small child. Perhaps your mentor was fleeing a danger back home. You might have been brought up with little actual knowledge of Minkai, save that your mentor nourished a deep hatred for its current ruler.

Then, your mentor sent you to Sandpoint to meet Sabyl Sorn, and your background progressed as stated from there.

Hrunndalf --

Since the adventure also passes through the Land of the Linnorn Kings, this may also apply to your character's background. Might I suggest you come from the Ulfen areas of northern Varisa (in which case your background could stay pretty much the same other than that), or perhaps Irrisen (which might require some adjustment), rather than specifically from the Land of the Linnorn Kings?

It's fine if you are familiar with Ulfen customs and ways, but I think I would rather you not be "returning home" to a land and people you grew up with for that part of the adventure path.

Character sheet looks good. A very minor point -- the language of the Ulfen is Skald, not Ulfen.


I have heard from our Cleric, who has been at Comic-con and is therefore getting an extension, but says he's still in. The Ranger, as you know, has an extension for illness. Haven't heard directly from the Magus yet, but I've heard second-hand he's had a lot of work hours, so I'll consider him in for now.

That puts us at:

FIRM CHOICE, WITH POSTED BACKGROUND:
- Hrunndalf Jarlson, Human Oracle (Battle Mystery)
- Melinda Sorn, Human Sorcerer (Orc Bloodline)
- Kunoichi no-kamai Kōga, Half-Elf Rogue (Ninja Alternate Class)

FIRM CHOICE:
- Morgan Ironwolf, Human Monk (Traditional Archetype)
- (jsrose), Elven Druid (Urban Archetype)
- (Justin), Human Cleric (Possibly of an Abstract Principle)
- (Gavin), Human Ranger (Unknown build)
- (Daryn), Human Magus (Unknown build)

KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN:
- (Geo3gh), Human or halfing swashbuckler type, or elf or half-elf wizard (Diviner)

(Geo3gh, looking at the lengthy list of humans and occasional elves above, I kind of feel like begging you to pick the halfling just to get a little variety in the group. But it's only a suggestion; take the build that speaks to you most.)

This is a largish group, but I am confident that it can be made to work. I gots Ideas and stuff. But I've posted enough already today so I'll deal with that later, I just wanted to reassure those who might be wondering.


Male Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle 10
Kyrademon wrote:


Since the adventure also passes through the Land of the Linnorn Kings,

Yay! :)

Quote:
Might I suggest you come from the Ulfen areas of northern Varisa (in which case your background could stay pretty much the same other than that)

Yeah, that fits well, and would also help justify why I'd end up in a tiny smudge on the map like Sandpoint.

I didn't know Varisia had Ulfen lands; I remember mostly Shoanti from the RotRL Player's Guide. Where would those be?


Female Quarter-Orc Sorcerer

I remember from Second Darkness there was a 'seventh' quah (never actually mention that to Shoanti or the group) of mixed shoanti and ulfen blood.

So north of Riddleport-ish.

-as chavamana, and completely able to be squashed by Kyra


Hrunndalf Jarlsson wrote:
I didn't know Varisia had Ulfen lands; I remember mostly Shoanti from the RotRL Player's Guide. Where would those be?

"The stony plains north of the Red Mountains in far north-eastern Varisia are known as the Nolands. For centuries the peoples of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings have been exiling their criminals and lawbreakers to this no-man's-land ... Descendants of these individuals eventually formed into bands and camps".

There's a population of Shoanti up there too. It's a war and feud prone area with plenty of pointless "petty squabbles" for your character to get fed up with. Bastard son of a lesser Jarl would work fine there, too. If you like/care, you can have any reason your ancestors ended up there, from being the noble losers of a doomed war to being murderous horse thieves, or what have you.


Male Human (Ulfen) Oracle of Battle 10
Kyrademon wrote:
This is a largish group, but I am confident that it can be made to work. I gots Ideas and stuff. But I've posted enough already today so I'll deal with that later, I just wanted to reassure those who might be wondering.

Cool, so we'll play in a single party?

I was about to be worried about our lack of full-BAB frontline characters, but in that case we can just use waves upon waves of squishies to simulate the effect of a tank. :)

With as many as nine characters and some possible summons on the field, Bless starts to look like a major force multiplier. I'll stick with that unless the atheist Cleric would rather have it. I was also looking at Command, but then noticed it's language-dependent. D'oh! :)

Speaking of languages, I thought of a way to produce the Terran dialog for Hrunndalf in a credible fashion (I'm a conlanger, I have my standards! ;). Here's a sample:

Huth wei pang loag ghush, hû gug shenokhum ylem!

DM, if you're up to it, I'll teach you the "language" and refrain from posting spoilered translations for Hrunndalf's speaking-in-tongues, so as not to tempt the others and provide a more authentic experience. ;)


(The "Eighth Quah", incidentally, refers to the Horselords of the Velashu uplands. They do have some Ulfen blood, but also Varisian and Shoanti, and your character sounds more pure Ulfen than that, so I'd go with the Nolands.)

I'm happy to read whatever you wish to send me on Terran, and feel free to post Terran text when you shout it out, but I'd prefer that you do still post the translation under a spoiler. We must trust our comrades. :)

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