Ultimate Campaign: When I Was Growing Up...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In about a month, Ultimate Campaign will arrive in stores and your mailbox, helping both players and Game Masters add a wealth of new detail and exciting new rules to their game. Every week from now until launch, we will be previewing parts of this book to show you what it has in store!

Ultimate Campaign is divided up into four meaty chapters, each one focusing on a different part of your game. The first chapter is devoted to characters and their backstories, giving you a system for determining what happened to your character before the campaign got underway. With over 50 tables in this book, this system is designed so that you can roll randomly to determine your backstory if you prefer, based upon a number of simple character decisions, such as race and class. Alternatively, you can just pick the background that best suits your character.

The results of these tables determine what options you have in selecting your starting traits, which are greatly expanded in this chapter. In addition, some of the backgrounds might qualify you for an exciting new type of feat, the story feat. These special feats can only be taken if your character meets specific story prerequisites. While they give you a simple bonus at first, the feat itself improves if you accomplish an in-game goal. You can only have one such feat at a time, until you complete the goal of that feat, at which point you can select another one if you qualify. Take a look at this example.

Arisen (Story)

Escaping death strengthened your bond to life, but fills you with a need for answers.

Prerequisite: You must have been slain and brought back from the dead, or have the Left to Die or Cursed Birth background.
Benefit: You don’t die until your negative hit point total is equal to or greater than 4 + your Constitution score. Once per day as a standard action, you can force yourself to carry on by strength of will alone, gaining 1 temporary hit point per hit die. These temporary hit points last for 10 minutes.
Normal: You die when your negative hit point total is equal to or greater than your Constitution score.
Goal: You meet in person and hear the words of your deity or your deity’s chosen herald. If you worship a pantheon of deities, you must meet and hear a member of that pantheon—a herald does not suffice in this case. If you worship no specific deity, you must hear the words of an appropriate entity of the GM’s choice.
Completion Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus on saving throws against death effects and fear effects. In addition, the caster level of any conjuration (healing) spell that is cast on you increases by 1 for the purposes of its effects on you alone.

That about wraps up the first preview for Ultimate Campaign. Come back next week for a peek into what our iconics do between adventures!

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

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Tags: Pathfinder Roleplaying Game
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4 people marked this as a favorite.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:

I am still trying to figure out how that feat is "hack&slash". You could play an entire session with no combat at all, and it could still be used.

Also, it's a feat. Taking a feat, and not getting mechanics from it.. would make it a pointless feat. So, unless all of the hardcore storybook "role-players" forsake taking feats, then complaining about new feats is also pointless.

But then, maybe my 25+ years of gaming has also made me realize that taking games so seriously is the most pointless thing of the bunch. Maybe I am jaded by living 8 miles from Glacier National Park, and spending most of my time outdoors in the most beautiful place on the planet.

Maybe...

Or not, because I'm not elitist. (Just pointing out how pointless being elitist is. There is always someone else that thinks that what you are being elite about is nothing special.))

There's a point where you realize it's a fool's errand to try and act superior when everyone is essentially playing pretend in a make-believe world where you play as your imaginary friend, killing monsters and bad guys around a bunch of other grown adults ;)

Not making fun of our hobby, just putting things in perspective. :D


3 people marked this as a favorite.

Here's the great thing about any rule in any RPG ever...

If you don't like it... don't use it.

Unless you're playing in a sanctioned game it's all just words on a page you can or cannot follow.

Personally I love the idea of story feats, but can see where others don't, but as a DM you can disallow things, and as a player you can choose not to use them for your character.

More options is never bad when you can choose what options to use in any game.

Editor-in-Chief

j b 200 wrote:
yeah, I could seriously see this built into future APs. It really seems tailored to it.

Golarion in general has a lot of cool plots running through it. We're picking up a ton of those with Pathfinder Player Companion: Quests & Campaigns.

Half of that book is going to be new story feats and tying existing ones to the campaign setting. So if you dig these, check that out for even more!


3 people marked this as a favorite.
Bill Kirsch wrote:

Sigh.

Power gaming trumps role-playing once again.
Not everything needs to converted into bonuses.
The potential backgrounds might be interesting for those who can't be bothered to dream up their own origins.
This book's still looking like a pass.

Wow Mr. Kirsch.

Not everyone has the desire to create an in-depth back story. Some folks just aren't good at it.

I understand this book might not be your particular 'cup of tea', but there's no need for the disrespectful, elitist remarks.


It's my party and I'll cry if I want to!

"Damn, this thread is so fallacious, baby! Hot!"


Frankly, that story feat seems pretty lackluster. It's basically worse than Toughness (which isn't that great a feat to begin with), and you get a fairly puny bonus if you meet your deity face-to-face!

I think last time I commented on a lackluster sneak preview, the reaction was "don't worry -- the other stuff in the book is even better!" Maybe I'm confused, but shouldn't you be picking the most exciting stuff for sneak previews, in order to drum up interest?

Liberty's Edge

I do think this will help my players who hated making a background as well. They loathed it to the point offering bonus xp did not work to induce them to make one. They would not even make one as they played.

I borrowed my mom's Central Casting book and used the tables in it to roll them random backgrounds. Since then two of my players went out and hunted up their own copies. Apparently my players love the random aspect of using something like present in this book.

It grants a lot of things including military service, slavery and just about all we can think of. Now they still won't make it into a story, but that is a different battle. They even use the portion of the book that selects your various personality traits.

From experience with this backgrounds take 30min to upwards of 2 hours depending on how your dice roll. You can wind up with a very complex character with extensive time in the military and as a slave. The more you get the longer it takes, but they adore it.

Given how overpowered it can makes things I do disallow the stat bumps and skill ranks. Just to keep things fair mainly and they don't get upset. They do choose to add a couple to their character and work it up to show their interest in that skill.

So most likely this section alone would make me purchase this book. The fact I can rule in or out a story feat is even better as I can also use those to reward players who write their own or turn the background into a story for me.

I admit this is my experience with my current group.

Silver Crusade

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

And here I was wondering when some resident gamist will come along and say "this feat is failcrap. How about you showcase some of that awesome Tome of Battlesque stuff you surely put there because how long are we to wait for some *real* power boosts eh Paizo?".

Hi Hogarth!


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber
F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
j b 200 wrote:
yeah, I could seriously see this built into future APs. It really seems tailored to it.

Golarion in general has a lot of cool plots running through it. We're picking up a ton of those with Pathfinder Player Companion: Quests & Campaigns.

Half of that book is going to be new story feats and tying existing ones to the campaign setting. So if you dig these, check that out for even more!

Damn it! Why do you make me wait so long! Please take my money NOW!!

Grand Lodge

5 people marked this as a favorite.

It's not a real background generator unless you can die during character creation.

SM


2 people marked this as a favorite.
StarMartyr365 wrote:

It's not a real background generator unless you can die during character creation.

SM

Your character? Or you?


Does a PC's story feat take up a feat slot? It would be a shame to force a PC to choose between something related to their background and, say, Power Attack.

-Matt


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mead Gregorisson wrote:
StarMartyr365 wrote:

It's not a real background generator unless you can die during character creation.

SM

Your character? Or you?

Both!

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mattastrophic wrote:

Does a PC's story feat take up a feat slot? It would be a shame to force a PC to choose between something related to their background and, say, Power Attack.

-Matt

At a guess, I'd say the default would be yes, with an option to the GM to give a bonus story feat at character creation

Shadow Lodge

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I really dig these ideas for feats. I have absolutly no problem with some mechanics that change based on the growth of the character.

Hell, there's a good chance that I'll let my PCs ech take one for free if the feats are all around this level of power.

Paizo Employee Developer

Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:

Does a PC's story feat take up a feat slot? It would be a shame to force a PC to choose between something related to their background and, say, Power Attack.

-Matt

At a guess, I'd say the default would be yes, with an option to the GM to give a bonus story feat at character creation

As an alternative, GMs could opt for a story feat to take up a feat slot but then grant Power Attack as a bonus feat. We wouldn't want to paint GMs into a corner by saying it's got to be handled just one way.

Dark Archive

I too feel that for a feat, this is pretty lackluster. That being said, offering this as a bonus 1st level feat is PERFECT because it won't bump the characters power much. I love this mechanic and cannot wait to see more. Looking forward to the rest of this book too! I hope next week is kingdom builder rules preview...or some other variant rule.


Mark Moreland wrote:
As an alternative, GMs could opt for a story feat to take up a feat slot but then grant Power Attack as a bonus feat. We wouldn't want to paint GMs into a corner by saying it's got to be handled just one way.

Umm...

So which one is it? Does the story feat take up a feat slot, or doesn't it? What's the RAW?

-Matt


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

As an individual who sadly enough doesn't have much time to play the game, I enjoy the storytelling abilities of Paizo greatly. I purchase all of the APs in order to read how the story unfolds, creating characters who don't just fit the story class-wise but also fit the story on the characters own level.(yes I make fanfic of the APs). I see this book on a storytelling end as a greatly useful supplement in order to translate the game play statistics of the character into a story-form character without having to go too far on a limb in order to build a backstory.(if one is not already provided). on the DMs side it can allow for players who developed complicated back stories in their characters to be able to actually have some useful game rules to use them with.

Plus, I'm actually one of those people who doesn't like when the backstory of a character isn't developed enough, as I feel such a foundations is important to understand how a character should act in certain situations. also when you put enough into your character, you're not just making a pawn to play thru, but a real living being! (In a literary sort of way.)

As I would say Role Playing is one of the great mediums of storytelling, and this book only adds to that aspect of the game.

P.S. in reference to the person who said there is too much in character creation, I feel you are more of the Gamer type who would rather play the game then focus on the character. while i do agree that playing the game is important, I feel that all you put in the character creation will have benefits as it allows you to better play the role then before due to the development of a unique backstory instead of "A hero walks into a tavern..." backstory.

Dark Archive

A little on a tangent, but I saw a lot of feats in 4e that weren't optimal but were really cool flavor wise. Mostly did living stuff, but if it was a home game I was thinking of letting players take two of the more flavory ones instead of the boring +hit type thing...

I also thought that feats would work with something like "feat points" hthst ranged from 1 to 5 maybe, where we can acknowledge that all feats aren't mechanically equal and so make some cheaper and get more use from them. Book keeping headache maybe ;)


This feat is actually pretty nice for Barbarians to hopefully survive being knocked out while enraged, at least in earlier levels.


Can my character be Upper Middle Class? I really liked Upper Middle Class.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

Mark Moreland wrote:
Enlight_Bystand wrote:
Mattastrophic wrote:

Does a PC's story feat take up a feat slot? It would be a shame to force a PC to choose between something related to their background and, say, Power Attack.

-Matt

At a guess, I'd say the default would be yes, with an option to the GM to give a bonus story feat at character creation
As an alternative, GMs could opt for a story feat to take up a feat slot but then grant Power Attack as a bonus feat. We wouldn't want to paint GMs into a corner by saying it's got to be handled just one way.

I don't know about bonus feats, but I'd definitely allow PCs in my campaign to trade two traits for one story feat.


Mattastrophic wrote:
Mark Moreland wrote:
As an alternative, GMs could opt for a story feat to take up a feat slot but then grant Power Attack as a bonus feat. We wouldn't want to paint GMs into a corner by saying it's got to be handled just one way.

Umm...

So which one is it? Does the story feat take up a feat slot, or doesn't it? What's the RAW?

-Matt

...

RAW, a feat takes up a feat slot. All he's saying is that GMs are free, and have always been free, to grant additional bonus feat slots at character creation.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Now all we need is for this thread to devolve into a debate over Bacon & Katanas.

If you don't like the book, then don't buy it. Otherwise, please go about your business & let the people still interested in it act like the fanboys/girls we are & anticipate its release.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I want a story feat that lets my character learn, over the course of his adventuring career, to forge katanas out of bacon.


Bacon-wrapped katanas can cut through even the strongest tanks!


Katanas forged from alchemically treated bacon fried harder than diamond!


Thanks for the preview. I have been waiting for news about this book and it is living up to my expectations. I'll be eager to read a bit about the story feat mechanics and I do worry that they could possibly fall by the wayside like other flavorful feats like Fleet (based on my experience with my own players). But I do appreciate the injection of this very flavorful mechanic into the game as I believe that the flavor is perhaps the most important thing in this game of ours.

Contributor, RPG Superstar 2010 Top 4

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I could easily see giving out story feats, like this one, as a bonus feat to a PC. You know, as an alternate reward to treasure.

Not to replace standard rewards, but to supplement them or add variety.

People have pointed out that the benefit is somewhat modest compared to some "old tried and true standbys", which make it all that much more suitable for alternative reward.

A single bonus feat in the course of a character's career is not going to spin your game out of control, and could add tons of flavor and coolness.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Eh.

This story feat thingy is what campaign traits are for.

Here's how I did it: (incidentally, for RotRL)

1. Every player got a campaign trait. You could pick from a list. No two players too the same trait, which was nice.
2. One of the (very few) ways you can earn a hero point is to write up a backstory.

One character took 'Monster Hunter', which gives a small combat bonus against a bunch of creature types. They wrote their backstory so the trait bonus came from a mysterious scroll from when they were a foundling. Well and good. Hero point awarded.

If this game gets into the library, then that scroll is going to summon the hounds of Tindalos unless the PCs figure out to ask the librarian to write the scroll. If they mange that in time (or the hounds don't destroy the librarian, because it's the focal point of the temporal paradox), then the librarian turns to the PC and asks, 'Would you like me to transcribe volume 2?'

Dun dun duuuuunn...

Another player is an escaped slave, and took the bonus vs. ingested poison and disease trait. She won the hagfish challenge, but then balked on carving her name onto the rafter, instead going with her initials.

Dun dun duuuuunnn...

Now granted, these story feats could make an excellent jump-off point for new campaign traits, and that's how I would treat them. I only gave my PCs one good trait (the campaign one), and they got two somewhat crummy traits for reading the player's guide I hacked together.

in other words, YMMV. Why am I even saying this?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I obviously haven't seen the final product yet, but I commend Paizo for doing something like this instead of just releasing more classes.

More stuff like this would be great and tap into more of the RP aspect and not just the mechanics side.

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