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RPG Superstar 2015

Tips, Tricks, and Rules-hacks for High-level (13th+) Play


Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew


5 people marked this as a favorite.

I'm having a little mini-con at my house, as I do each year.

This year is special, because we are closing out my 4-year run on Rise of the Runelords (heh, just in time for the compilation *shakes fist*)

I know this isn't the case for everyone, but at 13th level (and 16th by the end) Pathfinder RPG is beginning to strain. Turns are taking forever, sometimes merely to calculate damage, sometimes due to the abundance of choices, sometimes due to complex monster stats... it's all a bit overwhelming. The prospect of adding three extra PCs to an already slow game has me worried.

The typical recommendations you get when you complain publicly about this are things like: "Have players pre-roll damage before their turn..." and "Make certain that the players know their characters' abilities." That Player Discipline Advice (PDA, heh) is still welcome here, if you'd like to repeat it.

What I'm really looking for are unique, sometimes rule-bending hacks and workarounds that keep the game moving fast. I'm especially interested in hacks that "change" the rules while keeping the outcome ~relatively~ in tact. I chose 13th+ only because that's what I'm up against right now.

For examples:

  • Trailblazer's Iterative attack rule (closed content, but basically iterative attacks are collapsed down into two attack rolls that have the same damage output on average over many rolls).

  • My own Abstract Duration houserule, a work in progress.

  • Maybe something along the lines of "a pre-recorded average damage roll is used if you do not roll damage and report it fast enough".

  • I was always impressed with the collapsing of two rolls (touch attack and grapple) into CMB/CMD, since the numbers came out approximately the same. Likewise how channeling got simplified from Turn Undead. That kinda bizz.

  • Drawn out trap-wary exploration can be handled with a kind of standard "exploration round"... an old version of my attempt at this here.

Not just combat, but everything needs streamlining. The way buffs get assigned, and the endless discussions of who needs what buff, could be simplified by perhaps keeping card of available buffs and letting each player pick from the deck.

Heck, even weird ideas like choosing your leveling options in advance, because we intend to level up to three times before the mini-con is over.

So please, submit your best ideas and techniques, and hopefully this can serve as fodder for other GMs who would streamline high level play. If you don't think any changes need be made, or you want to repeat the "classic" conservative advice above, please keep it constructive, and go into details about what makes your game work.

Anyone caught picking apart others' posts without contributing will be politely asked to leave.

Thanks in advance, awesome people!


.

Sczarni

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

  • Buff cards. 3x5 index cards, laid out on the table, with relevant #s and effects spelled out.
  • No take-backs. If you accidentally roast a pc wig a spell, oops, stuff happens in battle. Likewise, if you forget an attack or bonus, you don't get to add it back up after.
  • Preroll attacks/damage, especially for archers. Reading off..."lowest is a 30, how many hit" is a LOT easier than tallying up individual attacks.
  • Dice rollers for spellcasters & multi-attack folks. Disintegrate does lots is d6s, pushing a key on your tablet/phone is tons faster than counting each pup like normal. If you have to roll dice, count up in groups of ten, and split the task.
  • Cohorts/Companions go on your init. If you forget, too bad.
  • Call out action types. Swift "Lay on Hands", Move "Draw Bow", Standard "Use Divine Bond," Done! Easy peasey.


  • Spell Cards. Oh my god, SPELL CARDS.


    Group initiative - everyone rolls normally to start things off but I always do all of the enemies together and once they have gone it simply cycles back and forth between the party and the enemies with the party going as a group without regard for the order in which they rolled initiative. That way you simply go with whoever is ready and keep the game moving.

    Laptops - I enjoy rolling dice but the dicebot's ability to roll and add a bunch of numbers from a macro is really nice at high levels. Over time I've gotten used to using it and if you have internet access you can look things up fast as well. Also, while I prefer to look things up in my books you can open and run a search of a pdf faster to easily look things up if you need to.

    Group leveling - Have everyone level together after the game is over for the night, they can check each other and gab about the game and their plans for the next day without slowing down the game or being distracting. You can also do a similar thing during lunch or dinner if you know everyone should have the xp to level.

    Relax - Don't worry or let yourself get wound up if things seem to be taking longer then you planned. No matter how much you plan and prepare there are never any guarantees and getting stressed will probably only slow things down more. As long as everyone having fun go with the flow and enjoy yourself.

    Plan shortcuts if needed - if you really want a group to be able to finish an adventure before the mini con is over look at things ahead of time and think about what you can cut if you need to. For example drop a random encounter or make the creatures in a room easier so the group will blow through them and get on to the more important encounters so they can reach the end.

    Be ready to add content - the reverse of the above is also possible if the group is using their not inconsiderable resources well or making unexpected choices and bypassing things you thought they'd do, essentially "skipping to the end". I find this to be pretty rare but I've seen it happen before so having something such as a couple wanderings in you pocket just in case can be a good idea.

    Don't hide armor class, DC's, and other such checks - I don't tell a player a creatures armor class until they attack it but once they commit to an action I'll tell them what they need to succeed, it's easier and faster then having them ask repeatedly if an attack hit or not.

    ****

    Hope everything goes well, it's been far to long since I've had the opportunity to do something like a mini con but they're usually fun.

    Star Voter 2015

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
    Serisan wrote:

    Spell Cards. Oh my god, SPELL CARDS.

    Those are great. There is a player in my group who will love these.


    The Mighty James Jacobs wrote:

    I've played lots of high level games... and without a doubt, the ones that run the smoothest are the ones that are organic. The ones where you get to high level as a result of playing from 1st level. By the time you get to high level, the GM knows the players and their characters, and the players know each other's characters. They've learned their characters and the rules incrementally, and are able to work together. They don't get confused by sudden rules changes as much.

    A group that just sits down and starts playing at high level will ALWAYS run less smoothly.

    General tips that I've seen folks use:'

    1) Roll damage and attack dice simultaneously.
    2) Precalculate all your buffs and bonuses on cards.
    3) When it's not your turn, think about what you're going to do so that when your turn comes along, you're not hemming and hawing.
    4) When you roll lots of dice, either just take average rolls, use a dice-rolling program, or roll before it's your turn so that you don't hold things up counting up your dice.
    5) Keep the side chatter to a minimum, and respect your fellow players by not chattering all the time when it's not your turn.
    6) Pay attention. There's lots going on at high level, and if you make the GM repeat descriptions, or if you don't pay attention to what the monsters and your fellow PCs are doing, you'll make things clunky on your turn when you keep having to revise your actions.
    7) If you're the GM and you're running a big fight... and you know the monster has only a couple hit points left, and then someone hits it with an attack that would kill the monster even with minimum damage, don't wait for the player to calculate his damage. Just announce the monster was defeated and move on.
    8) Remember that only saves and attacks auto-fail on a natural 1. Skills do not. If a person in your group has a skill that, even if they roll a 1, they'll still make the check... don't bother having the PC roll the skill check. This works particularly well for things like Acrobatics, Climb, Swim, and other skill checks that often pop up in combat.
    9) Minimize die rolls. It's fun rolling dice... but each time someone rolls dice, they have to do math, and that becomes progressively harder as you gain levels. If you see a way to minimize die rolls, go for it. EXAMPLE: You could simply do away with iterative attacks and say everyone auto-gains the Vital Strike feat chain as they level up as bonus feats.
    10) Don't be afraid to now and then give the players easy fights that they burn through fast. These not only help to keep things exciting, but it feels good for a player to put down a monster that was previously a super tough fight with just one shot.
    11) MOST IMPORTANTLY: Don't be impatient. Accept the fact that at higher level, you'll likely progress more slowly. Do away with the "We must finish this adventure in a set, predetermined number of game sessions" if you can.


    Some great suggestions so far.

    As to rolling damage, I'm wondering if it might be possible to limit the number of dice rolled to 2. For example, if a character ends up rolling 7d6+15, you would roll only 2d6, and the other dice would just become 17.5 (17, rounded), so 2d6+32.

    In general, the more dice you roll, the less likely extremely high or low rolls become, right? Most weapons have either one or two dice, so you'll be rolling as many dice as earlier in the game, and the damage over many turns will be the same, but there is much less basic math.

    My people all have great basic math skills, but adding 8 numbers is more time consuming than adding three. And over the hundreds and hundreds of damage rolls we've had, surely we have lost time on that.

    Sort of a halfway between "roll damage!" and "take average damage."

    Sczarni

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I'm not sure how you handle stat blocks & the like during gameplay, but if you use a laptop/tablet to run the monsters as well as rules, check out Turin the Mad's recent Campaign Journal.

    Here's an example HIGH level statblock (Kingmaker Spoilers)

    Note the attack/eye beam lines: BaseDamagexMultiplier. Roll less dice, let the multiplier take care of the higher numbers.

    An example might be: Disintegrate (10d6x3) or something like that...really evens out the math & still keeps the randomization involved.

  • The single most important thing to having smooth high level games run is to ensure the players are engaged & paying attention. Sure, each turn may take a minute or two to resolve, but if everyone is paying attention & prepping their next set of actions, there's no disconnect between players and much less "wait, what's happening now?" that simply KILLS momentum.

  • Another tip is to have pre-drawn maps (if using minis & gamemats), revealing them as the party explores. Heck, if they have a super stealth scout (or floating eyeballs, or scrying, or the like) just lay out the bare map for all to see. Then, as the encounters happen, use the time you take describing it to also draw the details in, place monsters/npc's, and go.

  • Take initiative last. Always have the last thing you do in any combat be to take initiative from the group. This way, the NEXT encounter starts like this: "You open the door, and see a scary monster. Rogue, you go first, what do you do?" rather than "You open the door, and see a scary monster." Roll initiative everyone. Ok, Rogue, what did you get, Wizard, etc...(taking up time & killing the momentum of the encounter). It seems counterintuitive, but it works great!


  • Evil Lincoln wrote:

    Some great suggestions so far.

    As to rolling damage, I'm wondering if it might be possible to limit the number of dice rolled to 2. For example, if a character ends up rolling 7d6+15, you would roll only 2d6, and the other dice would just become 17.5 (17, rounded), so 2d6+32. [...]

    Sort of a halfway between "roll damage!" and "take average damage."

    I would probably use 3 or 4 dice. With 2 dice, you don't get much of a bell curve (more of a tent, really); 3 dice begins to bring the bell curve into play.

    RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Dedicated Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

    Have spellcasters WRITE DOWN the details of their spells. Maybe on 3 x 5 cards. But by WRITING them down, the players will learn the details.

    Ditto for complex magic items, complicated feats, class features, etc.

    EDIT:

    Also, try to get PCs to squeeze their character sheet onto a single sheet of paper. Don't flip through multiple pages just to see if you have a piece of rope or low-light vision, etc. I use a normal sheet of loose leaf, and can get most PC info on a single sheet, usually all PC info on the front, and equipment, XP, and gold on the back. Usually in 3 or 4 columns (feats on the left, skills on the right, and class and race features in the middle). I use a 3x5 card for prepared spells.

    Of course, the exception to this is PCs that summon a lot, have a familiar or animal companion, etc. Each should have its own character sheet.

    Liberty's Edge

    Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

    * Group multiple dice damage rolls (fireball, disintegrate) etc into values equaling ten points. Have your rogue/ninja buy 10d6 and have it ready to roll for sneak attack.

    * Ask for standard buff arrays, have players provide you with "buff suites" in nominations of day long, 10 minute/lvl, 1 min/lvl. When they say we cast 10 min buffs, you'll know what spells they are casting. Also, have them have multiple situation/environment buff suites (for example, a wilderness suite vs. an urban suite.

    * Roll attack and damage dice together with coded colors (black is my highest, green is iterative attack, yellow hasted extra, etc.) On occasion, a player may wish to have redirected an attack to a different target, even though they already rolled the attack. I'm OK with this in general to speed play, unless it was a tactical blunder...

    Star Voter 2014

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
    SmiloDan wrote:

    Have spellcasters WRITE DOWN the details of their spells. Maybe on 3 x 5 cards. But by WRITING them down, the players will learn the details.

    Ditto for complex magic items, complicated feats, class features, etc.

    This one is huge.

    In addition, try to get the players to include a book & page reference while they're at it.
    Here's an example off one of my character sheets:
    Flaming Sphere (CRB pp.283-4): evocation [fire]; V,S,V; Medium; Ref negates; SR; 5-ft sphere exists for 1 round/level; moves 30 ft./round as move action; 3d6 damage to creature if it hits. Use Alchemist's Fire as additional material component to set creatures damaged on fire.

    It's not the full spell writeup, but it has the essentials, and it tells you exactly where to go if you need more detail.

    I do the same for anything I feel that either I, or someone taking over the character for a session, isn't guaranteed to know. For something like Power Attack, I'll include the current values as well, not just the formula. (And I'll probably have a distinct attack line for it as well.)


    If you're playing online or allow computers at the table, having PCs link their spells to an SRD site saves a ton of time.

    Does anyone have any advice on treasure dispensation, buff assignments, or spell prep? Non-combat elements can definitely slow things down. Also, remember, I'm okay with breaking the RAW if a "patch" rule can speed things up and preserve the fun.

    For example: does anyone abstract treasure into GP values to skip the "trade in" step? Or allow the transferrance of magic abilities from item to item?


    Evil Lincoln wrote:

    If you're playing online or allow computers at the table, having PCs link their spells to an SRD site saves a ton of time.

    Does anyone have any advice on treasure dispensation, buff assignments, or spell prep? Non-combat elements can definitely slow things down. Also, remember, I'm okay with breaking the RAW if a "patch" rule can speed things up and preserve the fun.

    For example: does anyone abstract treasure into GP values to skip the "trade in" step? Or allow the transferrance of magic abilities from item to item?

    We do treasure as WBL. Each level you're allowed your WBL in gear, if you decided on taking any gear over the coarse of the last level you pay for it at 1/2 the normal rate.

    Example: At lvl 10 I had 62k, when I level up I get 20k to buy new items(8k for a ring of protection +2), upgrade my current items(my cloak of resistance improves from +2 to +3 for 5k), and I'm keeping that Cloak of Arachnida from the drow cleric we killed(market value 14k, only counts as 7k cause it was a found item).


    For my group, we've dispensed entirely with "looting" bodies. Enemies come with magic gear, but you don't pick it up. Then, when you level, you get to bring yourself back up to WBL from whatever gear you want.

    We use group leveling and dispense with XP also. We just level after each adventure. Each level lasts one adventure, and one adventure lasts about a month or so. When the quest is done, we all level and we get to go shopping for the things we need for the next level.

    It's a little "ye olde magick shoppe", but by level 19 (where we just arrived), it almost needs to be that way. We give some down time in-game between quests so new gear can be requisitioned and fabricated, if necessary.

    Since we don't do loot drops, we don't have to worry about the GM cherry picking treasure so that appropriate gear is available, or worrying about the long haggling process players often want to go through when selling off old gear.

    Just keep your gear below WBL (and keep it roughly along the percentage guidelines) and have your sheet ready for the next week.

    Another thing we did was get the GameMastery initiative tracker. It works great. We also write down all the group buffs on there and what turn they end on. It helps us.

    Another thing we did was one of the guys fabricated some condition markers to place near or under the minis so that we don't have to remember what monsters had what conditions on them. With the GM screen outlining what pretty much all the conditions mean, it streamlined things for us.


    Cinematic fight mode - think in terms of number of hits to take down, not in hitpoints. In short - mooks die after first hit, tough guys after third and only big bads get to have full hitpoints.

    Quick fights need no battlemaps - though sometimes a sheet of paper with a quick sketch is needed. Reserve props for bigger battles.

    No talking on your turn - it's fewer than 6 seconds, so when it is player's turn to act they can ask only a single question, then they have to declare the action. All planning and consulting with other players must be done outside of their turn.

    Initiative tracker in plain sight - so that the next player is ready with their action.

    Regards,
    Ruemere


    Revel wrote:
    Group initiative - everyone rolls normally to start things off but I always do all of the enemies together and once they have gone it simply cycles back and forth between the party and the enemies with the party going as a group without regard for the order in which they rolled initiative. That way you simply go with whoever is ready and keep the game moving.

    I was very excited to try this method, but in practice I don't think it worked out for me. The players ended up discussing who should act first, and it became harder for me to track who had acted vs. who had not.

    Am I missing something that makes this technique work? Or is it just not for me?

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

    My spouse came up with this method, and I'm going to use it for all play.

    You have cards for everyone and your monsters and as you call initiative you lay them out in order. If someone delays you hand them their card and when they reinsert themselves in initiative you then put their card back in their new order.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber

    The other thing is get aids and shortcuts for the truly horrendous stuff.

    If the character uses Summon Monster/Nature get the Summoner app if you have an IOS or Android device. Or have the players make up premade cards. Wildshapers should also have premade cards for the types of shapes they're most likely to assume.

    The key thing is that there's a lot of stuff in high level play that can be streamlined with pre-session preparation.


    Some thoughts, I haven't actually used these...

    For changing how many dice you roll, every two dice average to the size of the die +1. So if you have 10d6, that would be 5(2d6)=5(7)=35. You may want to precalculate these values.

    I would look at reducing the variability in effects, part of the reason that spells take so long for me is that you have to read a paragraph to figure out what they do. IMO an easier way would be to come up with maybe 4-5 mechanical effects and then re-fluff them as appropriate.

    Duration effects can be changed into die rolls at the start of each round so you don't have to track turns. An easy way to do this is to select a die whose size is equal to the duration (in rounds) of the effect. At the start of the round you roll the die and on a "1" the effect ends.

    For initiative, if you group the players and monsters this can be a huge time savings (as mentioned earlier). If you are having a problem with the players going on and on about their order, just get rid of the option to hold your turn. I would still allow readying an action, but maybe only allow them to react to opponent/environment triggers.

    Set a turn timer, if you don't act in time then you go on full defense and take no other action. My group started doing this while boardgaming and it has made a huge difference on cutting down "analysis paralysis." Last night it was a 5 minute timer for Illuminati, it probably shaved 30-60 minutes off the play time.


    Evil Lincoln wrote:
    Revel wrote:
    Group initiative - everyone rolls normally to start things off but I always do all of the enemies together and once they have gone it simply cycles back and forth between the party and the enemies with the party going as a group without regard for the order in which they rolled initiative. That way you simply go with whoever is ready and keep the game moving.

    I was very excited to try this method, but in practice I don't think it worked out for me. The players ended up discussing who should act first, and it became harder for me to track who had acted vs. who had not.

    Am I missing something that makes this technique work? Or is it just not for me?

    I can see how it could be problematic if you and your group aren’t used to group initiative but I’ve found the solutions for those two particular problems, both are fairly simple and have worked well for me for many years.

    First, inform your group that you’ll be using group initiative and that they are welcome to collaborate and strategize with one another… However, and this is very important, when you ask “Who’s ready?” you expect someone to step up and take their turn. If no one does you can and will skip the players turn and they can try again during the next round.

    Then when it’s the parties turn give them a brief moment (how brief is entirely up to you) and then ask who’s going. If no one steps up to go simply say the following: “Well, if no one’s ready I’m going to go ahead and go again, anyone?” I don’t think I have ever needed to skip the players’ turn to get them moving and once a group gets used to it you only have to ask that question once in a while to get things moving. Usually, if you do, it’s because things are not going well and they’re uncertain how to salvage a bad situation. If your feeling generous, give them a little extra time to strategize otherwise repeat the statement mentioned above.

    As for tracking who’s gone… don’t. If you know everyone’s gone great start the creatures turn. But if you aren’t 100% simply ask “Is that everyone?” If your group says yes, or if no one responds, go ahead and go. It isn’t your responsibility to ensure that they have gone it’s theirs and if they aren’t paying attention and haven’t gone they lose out.

    To sum it up, you are giving the players the opportunity to work together and strategize but in return you expect them to be prompt and take responsibility for whether or not they have gone. I’ve been using this for many years and never had any real problems. Once in a while I have to give a warning that I’m going to go if someone doesn’t step up and start their turn but so far I’ve never had to actually had to actually skip the whole group. That said, I have on rare occasion skipped a player that was to busy talking or otherwise not paying attention when I asked if that was everyone was done. But they know that’s their responsibility and I’ve never had any arguments from my players about it, at most they look sheepish and that doesn’t generally happen again for quite some time.

    Anyway, hopefully that helps, if not perhaps it’s not for you. Though if you haven’t tried the things I mentioned above I’d give it another try before deciding, expect it to take a session or two for everyone to get used to it, but probably no longer then that, good luck.

    edit: added the quote I was replying to xP


    Another way to speed things up is to share NPC's AC with the players, this is one less piece of information that has to go back and forth between you and the players.

    *****
    I was looking at combining the "to hit" and "to wound" rolls into one roll. Here goes:

    Attack Power Bonus = [Attack Bonus]*[Average Damage] + [Crit Range]*[Crit Multiplier]*20

    Hit Pool = [Armor Class]*[Hit Points]

    Whenever you attack someone you subtract your attack power bonus from their hit pool until they die. For attacks that do not target AC (i.e. saves) I would just specify if a monster is "weak" or "strong" in that area and apply double or half damage as appropriate.

    I am sure you will want a die roll, I'm still working on what a good spread would be. Basically you can divide both numbers by whatever you want and then subtract the average of whatever dice you want to roll from the Attack Power Bonus. Then when you go to do damage you roll some dice and subtract those from the hit pool (along with the modified attack power bonus). I would also tie critical based effects to the value of this die roll, again I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    I think this keeps people alive for a similar amount of time to the current rules, with things dying somewhat faster at lower levels. Feel free to check if this feels right, basically things of equal CR should die in about 3.5 attacks.


    slacks wrote:
    Another way to speed things up is to share NPC's AC with the players, this is one less piece of information that has to go back and forth between you and the players.

    I do that as well, though I never give the information until after a player has committed to attacking them. My players sometimes ask questions like, "I'll attack the golem with my longsword, what's it's AC?" I find it's easier to let them know then to have to figure out which attacks hit and which don't by asking me each time.


    Not so much as a rules change as just an idea:

    By 13th level your group should have a fairly good handle on what buffs it regularly uses.

    Get some note cards and have the PC's write 'em all down, as applicable to their own character.

    That way no one is sitting there asking "what does bless do again"
    "hey does haste add to all saves or just one" and all that jazz.

    Melee characters could also have a sheet (typed works best, imo) of all the buff combinations and what they do to their full attacks

    for example:
    Attack routine with:
    haste
    bless
    bless+haste
    bard buff
    bard buff + bless
    bard buff+ bless +haste

    This *greatly* minimizes the time taken for alot of the attacks.
    Andif someone gets a new AOE buff spell a playe can just add it to the list.
    it also makes undoing the spells easier too.
    "bad guy dispelled haste and bless but not the bard buff or heroism" and stuff like that.

    Things that help *me*:
    my entire witch class is printed out from the PRD and put into my character sheet folder, EVery spell he knows is also printed out and put into said folder. Every feat that needs a description is also in there.
    Why? So I never have to flip through a book.
    Everything to run my PC is in my character folder, all I have to do is flip a page or three.
    Forget whether that hex is will or fort? no prob.
    can't remember what X spell does on the fly? no problem. its in there too.
    No books required.

    It helps me alot- especially when I know exactly what I'm gonna do- and then the guy before me does something to screw it all up. (like kill the only guy in range of my hexes, or charge into the group i was going to drop an Aoe spell on, or something like that)

    -S

    Dedicated Voter 2013

    psionichamster wrote:

    I'm not sure how you handle stat blocks & the like during gameplay, but if you use a laptop/tablet to run the monsters as well as rules, check out Turin the Mad's recent Campaign Journal.

    Here's an example HIGH level statblock (Kingmaker Spoilers)

    Note the attack/eye beam lines: BaseDamagexMultiplier. Roll less dice, let the multiplier take care of the higher numbers.

    An example might be: Disintegrate (10d6x3) or something like that...really evens out the math & still keeps the randomization involved.

  • The single most important thing to having smooth high level games run is to ensure the players are engaged & paying attention. Sure, each turn may take a minute or two to resolve, but if everyone is paying attention & prepping their next set of actions, there's no disconnect between players and much less "wait, what's happening now?" that simply KILLS momentum.

  • Another tip is to have pre-drawn maps (if using minis & gamemats), revealing them as the party explores. Heck, if they have a super stealth scout (or floating eyeballs, or scrying, or the like) just lay out the bare map for all to see. Then, as the encounters happen, use the time you take describing it to also draw the details in, place monsters/npc's, and go.

  • Take initiative last. Always have the last thing you do in any combat be to take initiative from the group. This way, the NEXT encounter starts like this: "You open the door, and see a scary monster. Rogue, you go first, what do you do?" rather than "You open the door, and see a scary monster." Roll initiative everyone. Ok, Rogue, what did you get, Wizard, etc...(taking up time & killing the momentum of the encounter). It seems counterintuitive, but it works great!
  • The best "bell curve" type of rolling sets are done around sets of six dice if at all possible. 6d6x5 instead of 30d6, for example. On average, the math is identical, but it saves a LOT of time rolling and counting, not to mention it's far less prone to miscounting / bad arithmatic.

    Thanks for the plug, Sir Hamster! o7


    Turin the Mad wrote:
    The best "bell curve" type of rolling sets are done around sets of six dice if at all possible. 6d6x5 instead of 30d6, for example.

    I wonder; which would be closer to 30d6, 6d6x5 or 6d6+84? I may have to think on this.

    Dark Archive

    6d6+84 would be closer.

    The bigger the number of dice, the sharper the bell curve, and adding the average will also make it more likely you'll get the middle number. You are raising the minimum and lowering the maximum though, but you're more likely to get the same results more often. You could use anydice.com to compare for a visual.


    Darkholme wrote:

    6d6+84 would be closer.

    [...]

    You could use anydice.com to compare for a visual.

    Thanks for the web site! That saves me many hours of reinventing what they already have done.

    My intuition said 6d6+84 would be closer, but I've learned not to trust my intuition when it comes to probabilities.

    Dark Archive

    The site doesn't have ALL the features I've ever wanted for figuring things out, but it has most.

    Hope that helps.

    Paizo / Messageboards / Paizo Publishing / Pathfinder® / Pathfinder RPG / Suggestions/House Rules/Homebrew / Tips, Tricks, and Rules-hacks for High-level (13th+) Play All Messageboards

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