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New scenarios too difficult?


Pathfinder Society® General Discussion

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Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

When you talk to NPCs and role play to convince them of something, usually you have to end that role play with some sort of skill roll.

Shadow Lodge ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

Kyle Baird wrote:
JohnF wrote:
Perhaps there should be some sort of "Second Steps" series that teaches a player about the additional challenges they will face once they venture beyond the safety of a tier 1-5 scenario.
I'm intrigued by this.

Thanks. I've only just been struck by the idea, so I'll be kicking it around some more before coming up with anything too specific. But, as an example: almost every list I've seen has things like overcoming damage resistance and fighting flying opponents fairly near the top of the list. A scenario where the BBEG chose to escape, rather than staying to kill off the party, could point out weaknesses in the characters (at a cost of failing to earn the PP for mission completion, and possibly a 'negative boon' on the chronicle sheet). In fact there is something somewhat along those lines - the Free RPG Day module "Dawn of the Scarlet Sun" teaches those lessons (although the character learning the lesson doesn't always live to pass on the information).

The other tricky thing is that the information needs to be obtained at a time when the player can make good use of it - it's no good knowing you're best served by taking a certain feat, or throwing points into a particular skill, if it's going to be another couple of levels before you can do that.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Todd Morgan wrote:
When you talk to NPCs and role play to convince them of something, usually you have to end that role play with some sort of skill roll.

...Which is entirely separate from what I'm talking about. If the only time you interact with NPCs is to get them to do something (which my earlier post said NOTHING about - you inserted that yourself), then you're not the type of player I was replying to Tamago about. Sometimes people like talking to NPCs they need nothing from - like proselytizing the rescued peasants, or chatting up the guy at the bar while you wait for your contact to arrive, and so forth. That's roleplaying for its own sake, which is what it sounded like Tamago was talking about (he didn't say "be good at social skills instead of combat", he said "roleplaying with NPCs"). And that is in no way interfered with by being a capable combatant. And on a side note, you don't have to have 7 CHA to be an awesome fighter, either. ;)

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I think this could even be done with a single scenario. The VC addresses the PCs in a way explaining that they're "moving" on to a big-boy mission and spends a chunk of time explaining the differences and perhaps even provides some resources to use in the scenario.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Todd Morgan wrote:
When you talk to NPCs and role play to convince them of something, usually you have to end that role play with some sort of skill roll.

Only if you are trying to convince them to do something, or fool them about something.

But if those who say they don’t want things to be hard, and just want to roleplay, are basically talking about only creating face characters, and then try to do a scenario with nothing but Face characters, then yeah, they are going to have a hard time with the new scenarios combat encounters.

And that’s as it should be. An unbalanced party should have it more difficult.

But if those who are talking about only wanting to roleplay, and not have difficult encounters, are talking about just sitting around gabbing at NPCs while the GM creates a funny voice, then this campaign is probably not the right one for you.

This is a campaign about relic hunting. If you can’t add something to that endeavor, then you’ve created the wrong character for this campaign.

Andoran *****

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Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber
Jiggy wrote:
I wasn't talking about trying to get them to do something, I was talking about being able to roleplay interactions with them. Making a diplomacy check is not roleplaying. An in-character demonstration of what your net -1 diplomacy check sounded like is great roleplaying - moreso than a less-thoroughly acted out high-CHA check.

I have had more fun roleplaying my Chr 5 Tiefling then I ever had roleplaying my Chr 22 Bard.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Dragnmoon wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
I wasn't talking about trying to get them to do something, I was talking about being able to roleplay interactions with them. Making a diplomacy check is not roleplaying. An in-character demonstration of what your net -1 diplomacy check sounded like is great roleplaying - moreso than a less-thoroughly acted out high-CHA check.
I have had more fun roleplaying my Chr 5 Tiefling then I ever had roleplaying my Chr 22 Bard.

I find that I roleplay characters that reflect my own personality better and have more fun with them, than characters I can't really see myself in.

*****

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Andrew Christian wrote:
Dragnmoon wrote:
I have had more fun roleplaying my Chr 5 Tiefling then I ever had roleplaying my Chr 22 Bard.
I find that I roleplay characters that reflect my own personality better and have more fun with them, than characters I can't really see myself in.

I see what you did there Andrew. Well done.

Andoran *****

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

Was I just Burned?....

Taldor ***

Kyle Baird wrote:
I think this could even be done with a single scenario. The VC addresses the PCs in a way explaining that they're "moving" on to a big-boy mission and spends a chunk of time explaining the differences and perhaps even provides some resources to use in the scenario.

The field guide details some of this and I have been telling players to be prepared for tough fights in the high tiers for awhile. Your comical character that provides nothing to combat will only make it so far.

Shadow Lodge ** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Silicon Valley aka JohnF

Andrew Christian wrote:
But I keep hearing arguments that those who want to just roleplay should be catered to.

I think you're the one supplying the word "just" in those arguments. Most of the time, equating "role play" with "poorly built character" is part of a straw man argument being put forth by those who seem to think that anything other than DPR in combat is pretty much a waste of time.

I think it would be a sad day if I couldn't play alongside Will's gnome bard, or Clifford's monk, or David's witch, or any one of a dozen other memorable characters, just because they're only 80% as effective as some other far less interesting character. The question is where to draw the line - if 80% is OK, how about 75%? 60%? 50%?

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

Yiroep wrote:
Will Johnson wrote:
I play bards.
Are you insinuating that bards can't extremely effective in combat?

Not at all. I don't want to spoiler things, but let's just say the scenarios in question were made simple. I retired my archer bard with Storval Stairs. There's nothing quite so rewarding as going out lighting up bad guys with a holy bow and bane arrows under the effects of haste, good hope, and inspire courage +3. I was firing at +19 (x2) / +19 / + 19 / +14 (1d8+4d6+22/19-20 x3).

I love bards. What makes them great is their ability to adapt to the needs of their team and the weird situations they find themselves in.

Late season 3 and early season 4 are throwing encounters at us where "hit harder" or "heal faster" aren't necessarily the best tactic. Flexibility and resourcefulness are the way to go.

*****

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

42.94%

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Jiggy wrote:
...Which is entirely separate from what I'm talking about. If the only time you interact with NPCs is to get them to do something (which my earlier post said NOTHING about - you inserted that yourself), then you're not the type of player I was replying to Tamago about. Sometimes people like talking to NPCs they need nothing from - like proselytizing the rescued peasants, or chatting up the guy at the bar while you wait for your contact to arrive, and so forth. That's roleplaying for its own sake, which is what it sounded like Tamago was talking about (he didn't say "be good at social skills instead of combat", he said "roleplaying with NPCs"). And that is in no way interfered with by being a capable combatant. And on a side note, you don't have to have 7 CHA to be an awesome fighter, either. ;)

Proselytizing the rescued peasants or chatting up a guy at a bar would still result in some sort of Cha-based check to either convince them to follow your god or to improve the mood of the guy your chatting up. That is what creates a fun dynamic. A 7 Cha dwarf goes up to talk to a guy at a bar, the player and the GM role play back and forth and the GM asks for a Diplomacy role at the end to see where the guy ends up on the attitude scale. The dwarf ends up rolling poorly and the guy goes from indifferent to unfriendly. Or it could go the opposite way, and the PC ends up making a new friend. Them's the consequences of roleplay.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

OUTSIDER'S PERSPECTIVE:

This sort of riffs on what Andrew Christensen was saying.

When I play, I don't often mind that the "character" surfaces for a couple levels (just to be clear, from starting from 1st). This is true for campaign play to PFS. One shot characters at conventions might as well be me with magic powers (and better looking).

I can start a character with an intention of what they will be like, but I'm often surprised.

Also, the game is a team activity. Usually we don't have the time (or its not appropriate) to talk about a characters personal life. So what we see of their personality is their work relationship and social interaction with others. Almost as if your character is not who you say they are, but rather how they act with your Pathfinder team.

As a tangentially related side note, I don't put a lot of stock in PC alignments for a couple levels too. But you can't chuck them in PFS, and in my home games I keep them in because I still want to use certain mechanics. But I definitely view a PC alignment differently than an NPC alignment.

I won't speak to how anybody should play, but if I was able to do PFS regularly I would start with a pretty functional character to start, and then start customizing them with roleplaying based choices after a couple of levels.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Dragnmoon wrote:
Was I just Burned?....

I dunno, do you feel burned?

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

JohnF wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:
But I keep hearing arguments that those who want to just roleplay should be catered to.

I think you're the one supplying the word "just" in those arguments. Most of the time, equating "role play" with "poorly built character" is part of a straw man argument being put forth by those who seem to think that anything other than DPR in combat is pretty much a waste of time.

I think it would be a sad day if I couldn't play alongside Will's gnome bard, or Clifford's monk, or David's witch, or any one of a dozen other memorable characters, just because they're only 80% as effective as some other far less interesting character. The question is where to draw the line - if 80% is OK, how about 75%? 60%? 50%?

Actually sir, it is you who are putting words in my mouth.

I have a very versatile, combat effective Rage Prophet, who I roleplay quite effectively. I'd say he makes a darned good Pathfinder.

But his DPR is decent, but nowhere on par with even an optimized or uber-optimized combat monkey.

I am certainly NOT putting RP character and DPR character on opposite ends of the spectrum. As Jiggy said, you can have a great RP character, and still be very effective in many situations.

I'm equating someone who just wants to roleplay and doesn't want difficult combats, and builds their character to be just a roleplay character, to be a character that is not suited to this campaign. They actually build their character to not be effective as a Pathfinder. Those people who purposefully build their character to be ineffective, in the name of roleplay, are the ones who don't really have a right to complain about the scenarios being too difficult. They put themselves, purposefully, in that position.

*

Andrew Christian wrote:


I am certainly NOT putting RP character and DPR character on opposite ends of the spectrum. As Jiggy said, you can have a great RP character, and still be very effective in many situations.

Yep....my uber-optimized combat monkey Barbarian will gladly sell your character a nice dinner jacket or vest. I think I have some black dragon scale and a nice piece of remorahz hide in the back of my Big and Tall shop. I am of course assuming that you an appropriately size raging crazy like my self. If not....the little midget gnome down the street is said to make....decent clothing.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Lab_Rat wrote:
Andrew Christian wrote:


I am certainly NOT putting RP character and DPR character on opposite ends of the spectrum. As Jiggy said, you can have a great RP character, and still be very effective in many situations.
Yep....my uber-optimized combat monkey Barbarian will gladly sell your character a nice dinner jacket or vest. I think I have some black dragon scale and a nice piece of remorahz hide in the back of my Big and Tall shop. I am of course assuming that you an appropriately size raging crazy like my self. If not....the little midget gnome down the street is said to make....decent clothing.

hehe... exactly!

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, California—Fresno aka Sarta

With regard to new players and lethality, I think the key is education. It is happening. How many brand new fighters are told they should purchase a wand of cure light wounds with prestige, for example.

I know that locally, we suggest many useful items once a character has a game under their belt: holy water, alchemist's fire, potions of cure light wounds, smokesticks, and potions of bless weapon.

We point players to Painlord and Mergy's great articles.

I play many sub-optimal characters and try to role play as much as possible. I've retired a gnome oracle of battle, I have a swamp domain tempest Druid, a "priest of Razmir" who is nearly useless personally against non-humanoids, a wayang illusionist, and several other characters that would make a min-maxer groan.

However, these characters have all undergone training to be pathfinders. They have learned how to be prepared and how to help their teammates. They don't have problems adapting to unusual situations. None are completely one-trick ponies.

Roleplay to the hilt! Make sub-optimal characters! Just understand the paradigm and play your character according to that paradigm. This means gearing up literally and figuratively to handle whatever is thrown at you as a pathfinder.

If you want to be Aquaman on the Justice League, more power to you. Just understand that your job is to save the earth against all attacks and you may have to get really creative figuring out how to do so with fish.

**

Jiggy wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:


Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth. Spending your time roleplaying and exploring is 100% independent of your stats. The uber combat monkey is not less equipped to spend time roleplaying than anyone else.

This is actually incorrect. Fighter builds that have burned charisma and not invested in any 'roleplay' skills suck as Intimidate or Diplomacy will be next to useless at talking to NPCs.
I wasn't talking about trying to get them to do something, I was talking about being able to roleplay interactions with them. Making a diplomacy check is not roleplaying. An in-character demonstration of what your net -1 diplomacy check sounded like is great roleplaying - moreso than a less-thoroughly acted out high-CHA check.

Yeah I have a witch with cha 7 who mced into oracle with the wasting curse. That is a -2 effective charisma. I rarely shut up when I play her and people remember her.

Socially I act clueless and somewhat crazy, but I do provide circumstance modifiers commonly to intimidate checks. I find holding up the heads of my foes with my hair like a apple tree tends to help those more able to speak appropriately.

I also am extremely effective in combat and have never missed a mission.

Andoran ***** Venture-Lieutenant, Minnesota—Anoka

Will Johnson wrote:

With regard to new players and lethality, I think the key is education. It is happening. How many brand new fighters are told they should purchase a wand of cure light wounds with prestige, for example.

I know that locally, we suggest many useful items once a character has a game under their belt: holy water, alchemist's fire, potions of cure light wounds, smokesticks, and potions of bless weapon.

We point players to Painlord and Mergy's great articles.

I play many sub-optimal characters and try to role play as much as possible. I've retired a gnome oracle of battle, I have a swamp domain tempest Druid, a "priest of Razmir" who is nearly useless personally against non-humanoids, a wayang illusionist, and several other characters that would make a min-maxer groan.

However, these characters have all undergone training to be pathfinders. They have learned how to be prepared and how to help their teammates. They don't have problems adapting to unusual situations. None are completely one-trick ponies.

Roleplay to the hilt! Make sub-optimal characters! Just understand the paradigm and play your character according to that paradigm. This means gearing up literally and figuratively to handle whatever is thrown at you as a pathfinder.

If you want to be Aquaman on the Justice League, more power to you. Just understand that your job is to save the earth against all attacks and you may have to get really creative figuring out how to do so with fish.

absolutely agree with this.

I'm not trying to say that building a sub-optimal character is badwrongfun. If you enjoy it, by all means, do so. But then don't complain when your sub-optimal pathfinder (the character could be optimal for a different kind of campaign) can't hack the difficulty, especially when teamed up with a bunch of other characters as such.

Not saying you complain Will, as I have never heard you do so, actually the opposite I think. Just speaking in figurative "you's"

Grand Lodge *

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Maps Subscriber
Kyle Baird wrote:
Hard mode and Easy mode only exist during combat encounters (my assumption/opinion). That's only a portion of the PFS experience. My estimate is that combat encounters are about 40% of the experience at my table. The rest is made up of story telling, role playing, player interactions, non-game talk, visual components, food, atmosphere and a bunch of other stuff. If I magically walk the line between both styles (hard and easy), then both of these mythical players end up losing 20% of their overall experience. That would mean I could still make them 80% happy with their overall experience.

Combat encounters are only 40% of the game? I generally find that they occupy about 75% and in "Module Name Omitted", a single combat encounter (encounter 2) composed over 90% of the slot.

Cheliax ***

If your efficient about moving the party along during combat by having people take turns in a timely manner etc, you will find that it wont tend to take much more than 40% of the scenario to handle all the combats leaving alot more time for the roleplaying.

I pride myself as a player in always knowing exactly what im going to do on my turn in combat, and taking by far the least amount of time, this is even when im flying with 0 ranks in the fly skill (so I have to build dice towers to show my movement to the GM to explain why im not making a fly check this round but that I am provoking AOO's). If your mostly interested in the RP side of the game why wouldnt you act quickly during combat and move things along as fast as you can.

I have had 1 long combat which took around 2hrs but in our defence the it was a 6 player table and we had 24 rounds of combat (meaning each player averaged under 1 minute per combat round). In your single combat encounter how many rounds was it? how much time did it take? how many players were there? whats the average time per round for the players + GM? if its higher than 1 minute per player your table is probably taking too long to decide what to do in combat. 90% of a mod is 3.5hrs (at least), so with 7 players and a GM at 1 minute each your looking at 27 rounds of combat which is a fairly epic battle.

In the end its down to the players to decide if they want combat to be long and drawn out (if you take ages on your turns and there is a decent number of rounds per battle you will take ages to complete the battle).

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Todd Morgan wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
...Which is entirely separate from what I'm talking about. If the only time you interact with NPCs is to get them to do something (which my earlier post said NOTHING about - you inserted that yourself), then you're not the type of player I was replying to Tamago about. Sometimes people like talking to NPCs they need nothing from - like proselytizing the rescued peasants, or chatting up the guy at the bar while you wait for your contact to arrive, and so forth. That's roleplaying for its own sake, which is what it sounded like Tamago was talking about (he didn't say "be good at social skills instead of combat", he said "roleplaying with NPCs"). And that is in no way interfered with by being a capable combatant. And on a side note, you don't have to have 7 CHA to be an awesome fighter, either. ;)
Proselytizing the rescued peasants or chatting up a guy at a bar would still result in some sort of Cha-based check to either convince them to follow your god or to improve the mood of the guy your chatting up. That is what creates a fun dynamic. A 7 Cha dwarf goes up to talk to a guy at a bar, the player and the GM role play back and forth and the GM asks for a Diplomacy role at the end to see where the guy ends up on the attitude scale. The dwarf ends up rolling poorly and the guy goes from indifferent to unfriendly. Or it could go the opposite way, and the PC ends up making a new friend. Them's the consequences of roleplay.

Wait, so I can't have fun roleplaying without a mechanical check involved? You and I have very different ideas of what makes roleplaying fun. But regardless, you keep trying to paint me as making a different point than I was. However you might define "roleplaying", I took the person I was responding to (which, I'll note, was not you and therefore might have different definitions of roleplaying) to mean "interacting with NPCs, regardless of the presence or absence of a check". If he'd said people were less optimized for combat "because they'd rather be invested in social skills", I'd have had a very different response than I did. But he didn't say that, and I didn't reply to that. He said people were less optimized for combat because they prefer to "talk with NPCs".

"Talking with NPCs" does not inherently involve a check (you only make a diplomacy check if you're trying to improve their attitude, make a request of them, or gather information). "Talking with NPCs" can be done by any character. "Talking with NPCs" can be fun with any character. And "talking with NPCs" does not inherently require the sacrifice of other potential competencies. "Making successful skill checks" does, but "talking with NPCs" does not. Ever.

Please don't try to argue with me about something I neither said nor implied.

Grand Lodge ***** Venture-Captain, Illinois—Decatur aka TwilightKnight

sieylianna wrote:
Combat encounters are only 40% of the game? I generally find that they occupy about 75% and in "Module Name Omitted", a single combat encounter (encounter 2) composed over 90% of the slot.

In my experience, combat is a bit higher than Kyle's 40%, but it varies greatly. For every scenario I have had that turned into 90% combat, I've had one that was less than 10%. In fact, I recall three separate scenarios, all with 4+ scripted combat encounters, that we managed to resolve with no more than one violent combat, and one where we never rolled initiative the entire session. It was just as satisfying to role-play as it is to roll-play. It's all in how your GM and the players approach encounters. Sure some have no role-play alternative based on RAW, but many do. More often than not in fact.

Explore! Report! Cooperate!

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Jiggy wrote:

Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth. Spending your time roleplaying and exploring is 100% independent of your stats. The uber combat monkey is not less equipped to spend time roleplaying than anyone else.

There is no such thing as "I'm less effective in combat because I'm more interested in roleplaying". The only reason someone is less effective in combat is either because they don't know better (newbie) or they chose to be. It has nothing to do with a higher prioritization of roleplaying.

If someone (who isn't a newbie) wants easier scenarios needs to build a better PC - and then keep right on roleplaying like they always have. Thinking they have to choose between the two is simply incorrect.

I think you are absolutely right that it is entirely possible to have a *very* combat-effective character who also happens to have a great personality and even be good at the social skills. And even if the character is terrible at social skills, that doesn't mean they can't be memorable and fun to play. So if someone wants to make a character to have fun with roleplay as well as tear up combats, it's not really that hard to do.

That said, I know several players who just aren't really interested in optimizing their characters. To pull a random example out of thin air, maybe the Fighter who just leveled up after playing "Murder on the Throaty Mermaid" decides to take Sea Legs rather than Weapon Specialization. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not an effective fighter, but the player is more interested in who the character is and how he acts than what his stats are and how much damage he can do in a round. There are also some players I know who aren't interested in or "good at" the "math-y bits", and therefore end up with characters who are built to be fun to play, rather than effective in combat.

Now, when the character becomes incapable of meaningfully contributing to the group, then there's no point trying to integrate them into the Society because they will just fail. But there are a number of players out there playing non-optimized characters who could do just fine in, say, a Season 2 scenario and have fun, and have a challenge. But with the newer, harder scenarios, people are being pushed towards considering the combat-effectiveness implications of every character choice. For some people, that's a turn-off.

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Jiggy wrote:
Todd Morgan wrote:
When you talk to NPCs and role play to convince them of something, usually you have to end that role play with some sort of skill roll.
...Which is entirely separate from what I'm talking about. If the only time you interact with NPCs is to get them to do something (which my earlier post said NOTHING about - you inserted that yourself), then you're not the type of player I was replying to Tamago about. Sometimes people like talking to NPCs they need nothing from - like proselytizing the rescued peasants, or chatting up the guy at the bar while you wait for your contact to arrive, and so forth. That's roleplaying for its own sake, which is what it sounded like Tamago was talking about (he didn't say "be good at social skills instead of combat", he said "roleplaying with NPCs"). And that is in no way interfered with by being a capable combatant. And on a side note, you don't have to have 7 CHA to be an awesome fighter, either. ;)

I think Jiggy is right here (or at least he seems to get what I'm trying to say). Even if you do end up with a dice roll at the end, what's interesting is the conversation with the guy at the bar. Who cares what you end up rolling -- maybe your CHA 7 guy ends up getting punched in the face -- but it was at least interesting and memorable.

And yes, it is possible to do that and still be awesome at combat. But what I'm getting at is the amount of effort the *player* is putting into tweaking the character's stats, not whether it is possible to build an effective fighter who can also roleplay (because if you can build an effective fighter, you *can* have a great roleplay springboard -- no additional stats required!).

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Will Johnson wrote:
If you want to be Aquaman on the Justice League, more power to you. Just understand that your job is to save the earth against all attacks and you may have to get really creative figuring out how to do so with fish.

Well said :-)

Silver Crusade ****

Jiggy wrote:

[

Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth. Spending your time roleplaying and exploring is 100% independent of your stats.

That is only partially true. Roleplaying often involves diplomacy or other rolls. Exploring often involves perception or other rolls.

One thing that I very often do when the PCs start to interact with the NPCs is to have the players roll the appropriate skill as the conversation gets going (when it is obvious where the character is going). I'll then use the result to guide my roleplaying the NPC. So, if a PC gets a 5 on a diplomacy check the conversation is obviously going to go badly. Hopefully in an entertaining way :)

And sometimes, for roleplaying reasons, I choose somewhat suboptimal combat techniques. For example, finesse fighters are pretty much mechanically inferior to Str fighters, 2 weapon fighters inferior to 2 handed fighters. But they can be more fun to play and the difference (assuming a good build) isn't crippling

Taldor ***

Something worth noting here...

The combats in late Season 3 and early Season 4 have been noticeably tougher than before, but there appear to be no reduction in the number of them per module.

This time-extension has meant that our local session times have been expanding to encompass six-plus hours of play, because of all the extra time spent on dealing with combat.

It would be nice to maintain the trend of challenging combats, ones where wands of cure light wounds don't cut it as a sole source of healing and where arcane ability is important, but also to have fewer of them, so that we have the option of running five-hour sessions again.

-Matt


Tamago wrote:


That said, I know several players who just aren't really interested in optimizing their characters. To pull a random example out of thin air, maybe the Fighter who just leveled up after playing "Murder on the Throaty Mermaid" decides to take Sea Legs rather than Weapon Specialization. That doesn't necessarily mean he's not an effective fighter, but the player is more interested in who the character is and how he acts than what his stats are and how much damage he can do in a round. There are also some players I know who aren't interested in or "good at" the "math-y bits", and therefore end up with...

Forgive me, but how is taking Sea Legs rather than Weapon Specialization not an example of caring more about the characters stats? All the feat seems to do is add a static +2 Modifier to Acrobatics, Climb and Swim Checks while Weapon Specialization gives you a static +2 bonus to your damage. A static bonus regardless of the name of the feat or utility of the static bonus is taken because you want to be better at what the static bonus gives you.

You are not a measurably better Roleplayer for having either set of static bonus as neither bonus gives you special dialogue options with N.P.C.s like it might do if it were a computer game. Feats only do one of two things in pathfinder give you mechanical advantages (usually static bonuses of some sort), or open up entirely new abilities such as meta magic or the various craft item feats.

Taldor ***

Andrew Christian wrote:
Clorrup Finglefingers has adventured with the Lady, and she's good at more than just Taldan politics.

I appreciate the vote of confidence. Consider this Venture-Lieutenant's words as a testament to the effectiveness of an intelligent mind and a willingness to work with others. Too often have I encountered Pathfinders whose desire to parade their capacity for murder left them unable to cooperate effectively. If there were a mechanism to prevent such incompetence from endangering others, perhaps through a culture of teamwork and resource-sharing, I am certain that the aforementioned concerns would be alleviated.

-Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher

Qadira ** RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16, Contributor

I just want to point out that playing a 4 player table now versus playing a 4 player table in Season 2 is the same exact challenge. It's only the big groups that have a higher CR to deal with.

Shadow Lodge ****

Honestly while this discussion is intriguing

I think people are missing something very important

Season 0-3(1st half) were easy yes and season 3(2nd half)-4 are a Whole Heap more difficult as has been detailed

I believe this is more of a "Growing pains" situation

the Optimal situation IMHO would be an increasing difficulty level as the levels progress but in order to hit that mark the boundaries have to be examined and pushed to each direction ... I believe that this time around those boundaries lie on the Difficult Side of things ... where the previous couple seasons they have been on the Easy side of things

this is IMHO a good thing that is happening ... I however believe that the general populace of the Player base was just not ready for it to happen now or if at all ..

you also have to take into account the power creep associated with all the splat books coming out that the mod writers have to both deal with and take into account ..

people just have to realize its a balancing act and adjusting is not easy

Give it some some time ... Late Season 4 ... Season 5 .. or maybe as far out as season 6 for things to stabilize into their inevitable balance


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion Subscriber
Dennis Baker wrote:
I just want to point out that playing a 4 player table now versus playing a 4 player table in Season 2 is the same exact challenge. It's only the big groups that have a higher CR to deal with.

And this is really the crux of the problem, at least in my experience tables averaged 6 players in the previous seasons but the combats were balanced for 4 players. Generally if you had 3 people who knew what they were doing you could still complete the mod even if the other 3 players did little to nothing productive. I played in more than a handful of mods where half the team was carried by the other half which was frustrating but didn't make the mod impossible. In the two season 4 mods I have played I never found the fights unfair, I just found them more complex with more variables that players needed to counter which is an improvement unless half of your table, for whatever reason are unable to meaningfully contribute to combat.

The truth is even now you don't need hyper optimized characters to complete season 4 mods. In fact if you have such optimized characters you will still roll though the mods with little effort. All you need is players who understand how the Pathfinder system works and players who try to cover a few different common situations. If someone brings a Paladin/Druid/Wizard to a table with me I might raise an eyebrow but I won't dismiss the character out of hand there are ways to make almost any concept useful to the group without sacrificing the concept, though some might require more consumables than others. I also welcome new players the low level mods are still aren't insanely deadly and are good places to learn how to play Pathfinder. In combat I might help out by explaining what sort of options they have and what might happen with success or failure when attempting those things and then let them decide what they want to do.

The problem, at least in my opinion is that since season 0-3 mods were designed for 4 players there are a number of people who have high level characters who haven't had to carry their own weight because other players with effective characters carried them in 6 player tables. Now not only are their characters more likely to die in season 4 mods, that is also likely to lead to the deaths of other Pathfinders in their group. It really becomes a problem in situations like cons when you are often sat at a table where you may not know any of the other players. PaizoCon this year was the first con I have ever played PFS at and I was lucky to have amazing tables but I heard stories from friends who went with me about some less than great tables.

I love the raised difficulty of season 4 mods however I can see the difficulty causing problems in situations where you don't get to choose who you are playing with. For various reasons not every person who plays PFS is someone I would choose to game with but sometimes I get to game with them anyway and in those situations added difficulty will make a frustrating situation miserable.

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Nosforontu wrote:

Forgive me, but how is taking Sea Legs rather than Weapon Specialization not an example of caring more about the characters stats? All the feat seems to do is add a static +2 Modifier to Acrobatics, Climb and Swim Checks while Weapon Specialization gives you a static +2 bonus to your damage. A static bonus regardless of the name of the feat or utility of the static bonus is taken because you want to be better at what the static bonus gives you.

You are not a measurably better Roleplayer for having either set of static bonus as neither bonus gives you special dialogue options with N.P.C.s like it might do if it were a computer game. Feats only do one of two things in pathfinder give you mechanical advantages (usually static bonuses of some sort), or open up entirely new abilities such as meta magic or the various craft item feats.

The point is that a +2 on Acrobatics, Climb, and Swim checks probably won't do much to increase your combat effectiveness, whereas +2 damage will be useful in pretty much every encounter. Neither one is a "wrong" choice. But someone who doesn't care as much about maximizing their character's combat effectiveness might go for the more "flavorful" feat, rather than the one which would be more useful in terms of hack & slash combat.

What I'm trying to say is that both of these should be valid options. But if the scenario difficulty is high enough that people are "punished" for making flavorful (yet still valid) choices rather than always thinking about their combat stats, I do think that is a bad thing.

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Jiggy wrote:


Wait, so I can't have fun roleplaying without a mechanical check involved?

Now who's putting words into the other person's mouth?

It is a way to create a fun dynamic, but by no means is it the ONLY way to create a fun dynamic.

We play a RPG that has a dice component. Players like rolling dice. The skill checks are THERE to modify dice rolls for non-combat encounters, just like the weapon and armor stats are there for the combat encounter dice rolls.

Take a person placing a PC with a low Charisma stat (and little to no investment in Cha skills) that role plays REALLY well compared to a person who is a bit more anti-social in real life that is playing a Bard that HAS invested in those skills and that ability.

They both walk up to a bar and start chatting up the bartender in-character. No reason other than to role play. The better role player may have some great in-game speech about the toughness of travel, fighting monsters, etc whereas the person who is a bit more anti-social may not be so eloquent at the table. By NOT requiring some sort of skill check after said role playing (even if it's meaningless to the overall outcome of the scenario) you reward out of game personal abilities instead of the skills and abilities of the PC. In essence, you break the 4th wall.

Now before you jump all over me, I'm not saying you have to require a dice roll each and every time otherwise you risk mass catastrophe and breaking 4th, 5th and 6th walls, but most of the time I do require a roll of some sort after role playing a scene, and I use GM fiat to give a bonus to the roll depending on how the scene went.

I have GM'd all over the country and doing this has enhanced play at my tables and has always been extremely well received by the players. Like I said, players like rolling their dice, and they like the tension of having a random roll after putting themselves out there.

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Well now are we talking about "stats versus roleplaying" (a dichotomy which doesn't exist), or "combat stats versus noncombat stats" (a dichotomy which does exist)? Nothing wrong with investing in some skills instead of a little more damage. Heck, swim can save your life - my most-used trait among my PCs is River Rat!

I've seen (and built!) some very effective PCs that aren't lazer-focused. Versatility can be very strong in PFS, and I always make sure to recommend it to new players who think they need to identify a "primary stat" and put a 20 into it. My most recent PC had pre-racial stats of 14/14/13/13/12/12 and he's rock-solid.

So again, what are we actually talking about here, Tamago? Is it "I want to be good at something besides strictly combat"? Or is it "I think that being too competent hinders roleplaying"? I've been responding to one, but if it's the other, then that's a whole different discussion. :)

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

@Todd - You must be awfully interested in arguing. Shall I pretend to disagree with you so you can let it all out? Or would you care to read my posts and actually absorb the distinctions I've made between what you seem to think I believe and what I've actually said?

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Jiggy wrote:


Here's the thing: things like "exploring, talking with NPCs", etc don't require much investment of stat points, gear, skill ranks, and so forth.

These are your words. They are incorrect. I don't like to argue, I just call people out when they are wrong.

Exploring:
Perception (Wis)
Climb (Str)
Swim (Str)
Survival (Wis)
Fly (Dex)
Knowledge (Int)

Climbers Kit
Thieves Tools

Skill Focus (Perception)

Talking with NPCs:
Bluff (Cha)
Diplomacy (Cha)
Intimidate (Cha)
Sense Motive (Wis)

Circlet of Persuasion
Headband of Charisma
Helm of Comprehend Languages

Grand Lodge ** RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Todd - Those are my words, but you took them to mean a bunch of things that I spent several posts explaining they don't mean.

I said that talking with NPCs doesn't require investment. I made no claims that they'd respond well to him, I just said he could talk with them. I said the PC could talk.

I did not say he could be persuasive or intimidating when he talked, just that he could talk.

The thing you seem to think I said (that social skills require no investment) is indeed incorrect. What I actually said (that talking itself takes no investment) is completely correct.

Now, I could understand you reading my original statement (the one you just quoted) and assuming I meant something else. But after I spent several posts clarifying that none of the things you protested against were actually part of my message, you have no excuse to continue on like that.

TLDR - My words were not incorrect. The extra things you read into them were. And if you'd read any further after that one sentence, you'd already know that.

Paizo Employee ***** Global Organized Play Coordinator

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Ok, enough with the pettiness back and forth. Take it off the message boards and to PMs If you want to continue. Otherwise, this thread will be locked.

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Jiggy wrote:
So again, what are we actually talking about here, Tamago? Is it "I want to be good at something besides strictly combat"? Or is it "I think that being too competent hinders roleplaying"? I've been responding to one, but if it's the other, then that's a whole different discussion. :)

I think the two of us are on pretty close to the same page about this aspect. My point is that some players prefer an interesting character who is versatile and has some resources (skills, feats, equipment, ability scores, etc.) dedicated to "fluff" (read: characterization) rather than "crunch" (read: optimization).

Thus, a given scenario will tend to be more difficult for the "fluffy" character than the "crunchy" one. Of course, how much this is true depends on just how un-optimized the character is. Right now, scenarios are swinging more toward the harder end, which is starting to make things difficult for the folks with unoptimized characters. If this trend continues, it will make it harder for those folks to have fun with the game.

I don't think the situation is impossible, even now. But the point of this thread is that I wanted to raise a flag and say, "excuse me, not everyone is happier the harder PFS scenarios are." I think it is possible to strike a balance; we just need to be aware of the various factors in play.

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

Tamago wrote:
Jiggy wrote:
So again, what are we actually talking about here, Tamago? Is it "I want to be good at something besides strictly combat"? Or is it "I think that being too competent hinders roleplaying"? I've been responding to one, but if it's the other, then that's a whole different discussion. :)

I think the two of us are on pretty close to the same page about this aspect. My point is that some players prefer an interesting character who is versatile and has some resources (skills, feats, equipment, ability scores, etc.) dedicated to "fluff" (read: characterization) rather than "crunch" (read: optimization).

Thus, a given scenario will tend to be more difficult for the "fluffy" character than the "crunchy" one. Of course, how much this is true depends on just how un-optimized the character is. Right now, scenarios are swinging more toward the harder end, which is starting to make things difficult for the folks with unoptimized characters. If this trend continues, it will make it harder for those folks to have fun with the game.

I don't think the situation is impossible, even now. But the point of this thread is that I wanted to raise a flag and say, "excuse me, not everyone is happier the harder PFS scenarios are." I think it is possible to strike a balance; we just need to be aware of the various factors in play.

Do you think that a 'fluffy' character is less able to contribute to the party in these difficult scenarios?

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Michael Brock wrote:
Ok, enough with the pettiness back and forth. Take it off the message boards and to PMs If you want to continue. Otherwise, this thread will be locked.

Sorry, Mike, I did not intend to stir up a hornet's nest! I really am trying to approach this diplomatically.

I do think that everyone here is raising good points. No one is having badwrongfun; there are just different styles of gaming for different personalities. I hope we can reach an equilibrium where everyone will be happy!

Sczarni *** RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16

Todd Morgan wrote:
Do you think that a 'fluffy' character is less able to contribute to the party in these difficult scenarios?

Yes, I do. Now, how *much* less is certainly up for debate, and depends a great deal on the player and the build in question. It might be insignificant, or it might be to the point of the proverbial wizard who won't cast spells. The latter is almost certainly not going to work in PFS, no matter how you slice it. But some of the "underpowered" but still effective builds can still have fun and contribute meaningfully, if not to the level of a "crunchy" combat-optimized character.

Cheliax ***** Venture-Captain, Nebraska—Omaha

I would like to think I'm a 'middle-of-the-road' kind of role player where I build characters with a mixture of both 'fluff' and 'crunch'. A lot of my characters (I have 25 in total) don't have higher than a 16 after racial boosts and have a lot of points spent in various skills.

I hope that gives a basic gist to the type of player that I am. When I sit down at a table, a lot of times there will be at least one player who is quite optimized for their 'job' and another player who is more 'fluffy' to use your term. Taking all three of us into account, we are a 'balanced' table. A second definition of party balance.

I have yet to GM a table at a convention with a table full of 'fluff' or a table full of 'crunch'. There have been players that sit down that have been playing together for a long time (and thus have an easier time of it), but I wouldn't call their characters really that optimized. I think in most cases, you will have this type of table 'balance', where there are some min-maxers, some 'fluff' and a lot of 'half/half'.

What I have do as a GM a lot of the time is over-emphasize the contributions of the 'fluff' and I sometimes ignore the contributions of the 'crunch', so that by the end of the scenario, everyone FEELS like they contributed equally. That is yet a third type of table 'balance'.

Basically, what I'm getting at in a roundabout way is that a GM has a huge role in addition to prepping the scenario, running the combats, improvising role plays. They have to 'balance' the contributions of the party so that everyone feels equal, even IF their characters are not.

In terms of the new season's scenarios, I would hope that by season's end in June that a lot of the 'fluff' feel they can still contribute meaningfully while a lot of the 'crunch' feel adequately challenged. I think a large part of this will be on the GM's shoulders.

Lantern Lodge ***

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
David Bowles wrote:

I wasn't trying to be insulting. I was just making a statement based off observations.

PFS scenarios don't throw such challenging encounters than one can't both be a concept character and be effective. It might be more difficult in the homebrews I play. We have very difficult encounters as a staple.

That statement needs to be qualified a bit. The new scenarios definitely exclude concept characters that rely heavily on being carried through by their companions. Concepts that can't pull their weight are going to become very obvious in Season 4, which does seem to be a response to the growing amount of power gaming in PFS proper.

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