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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3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Now this is a cool mechanic! The two-tiered benefit mechanism makes it more appealing than achievement feats, and the predetermined goal helps GMs and players establish a connection to an on-going story. These could make good bonus feats to hand out at the start of a campaign.

Thanks for the preview! Looking forward to the next one.


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

yeah, I could seriously see this built into future APs. It really seems tailored to it.

Sovereign Court

Agnelcow stole my comment.

This looks good. I am curious what PFS will gut from it though. I doubt we'll get the new Story Feats but am excited to see new traits!


I want this book......... I want it so bad


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wow it's like Paizo knows that I have lazy players who couldn't come up with a backstory even if they were held at gunpoint. Bravo!

....seriously guys, I need this book like yesterday.

Scarab Sages

2 people marked this as a favorite.

This portion of the book may become required at my table. :D

Silver Crusade

Looking forward to this book. Was sad when it didn't make the April date. This will help me with my AP idea.


I'm already in love with this mechanic.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

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.

Liberty's Edge

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I don't know Bill. The fact you chose it grants you something nice. If you have the background its nice, but otherwise they have to die and be raised. Which costs money the party might not be willing to put out at a low-level.

Plus in order to get the better benefit will require roleplay as this one show you have to meet and basically speak with your deity or their herald. I think that would encourage roleplay as that means they have to quest to get that and you as the GM can make them earn it.

Like many I might allow it as a bonus feat at first level to help some of my players who never have a clear idea or goal for their characters. This could provide that goal.

Sovereign Court

More emphasis on character goals. Interesting.


Will it be pathfinder society friendly?

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Backgrounds that have mechanical bonuses? Great, finally a way to motivate the players to actually come up with some!


2 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.

Power-gaming trumps roleplaying? Do you honestly beleive that someone will let his character die to pick a feat that will only be truely worthy in the unlikely ocasion of meating a deity's herald?

Have you ever heard of Complcent Gaming Sindrome? Random backgrounds are also a good way to break monotony.

Yawar


Nice. I always like random background generators. If nothing else, they're a good way to spark an idea, if not outright create a whole backstory.

And that Feat thingy looks neat. My current character has sort of a "left to die" kinda backstory and would like to meet either of his deities.

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

8 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.

Holy matrimony Batman! A feat that kicks in when you're losing badly (i.e., already dying), but that has the potential to *gasp* give you a bonus on fear saves and death effects and a little extra healing.

Dude, that is some serious degenerate and broken powergaming.


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.

I see it more as crunch married to fluff so that one can role play and have some mechanical bonuses. Crunch and fluff combined to make playing the game better for everyone? Yes please!


I think that is damn cool. Tommy likey.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I have to agree with Bill to some degree.

Although the book is probably going to be a great source of inspiration (especially due to the random tables),this kind of ruleset is only going to further complicate an, in my opinion, already far too complicated character creation process.
We have racial features,
We have alternative racial features,
We have favored class bonuses,
We have feats, racial feats, class features, class archtypes with alternative class features... skill points and skill selection.

Who in the world even wants to consider background bonuses and feats, when we have all the above. And don't forget there's always something called 'homebrew' or 'GM's discretion'. If your GM was a nice guy, he'd given you a skill bonus just to reward you for the effort of coming up with a background story.

It only becomes harder and harder to make a particular fun character concept worthwhile because there will always be some other player who goes:
"But if you had chosen this and that background, and would vow to do this and that in your roleplaying, then you would have been a more ideal character with this and that bonus."
Which is only going to dishearten the player that was enjoying his self-made character concept, albeit being a suboptimal one. But that player wouldn't care because he wouldn't know. This kind of ruleset destroys that sense of power through storytelling and imagination.
There are also players who want to develop their roleplaying during play, as in, they don't have a particular idea of what their player characters are like before they start playing them.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2008 Top 6, Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Story feats can be taken after character creation as well, so that should be fine.


I just don't see the need for it. My players don't need a mechanics bribe to come up with interesting backgrounds, motivations, goals, desires, or character development . They do it for the love of role-playing.
Maybe I'm fortunate that way.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bill Kirsch wrote:

I just don't see the need for it. My players don't need a mechanics bribe to come up with interesting backgrounds, motivations, goals, desires, or character development . They do it for the love of role-playing.

Maybe I'm fortunate that way.

Now take off the elitist shades and look at this for what it is: A neat little (completely optional) extra for those who do it anyway.


4 people marked this as a favorite.

I don't see how valuing role-playing is elitist.
I like a little hack and slash now and then, but after 25 years of gaming, you tend to evolve beyond it.
This particular book doesn't look useful to me. Do we have an open forum or are we just supposed to shill for Paizo?
There's no need for ad hominem attacks.
No one can please all the people all the time. I loved the NPC Codex. This one? Not so much. YMMV.


Here's an idea, you can use the background generator and just say that there's no mechanical bonuses. Even the best writers get writer's block and even RPers have dry spells deriving character backgrounds without relying on common tropes. Also, you don't even know what the other 3/4+ of the book has to offer. Seems knee-jerk to pass judgement at this point. To each his own.

Silver Crusade

6 people marked this as a favorite.

Hmmm....

Thinking about the possibilities GMs could come up with this formula.

Like maybe:

Goonie (Story)

Goonies never say die.

Prerequisite: You grew up in the boondocks or are close friends with those who did.
Benefit: You gain a +4 to saves against all fear effects as long as you don't take Troy's bucket.
Normal: Scary things in basements send you scrambling backwards as normal.
Goal: Save the boondocks.
Completion Benefit: You get an awesome NES game based very loosely on your adventures.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

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

I don't see how valuing role-playing is elitist.

I like a little hack and slash now and then, but after 25 years of gaming, you tend to evolve beyond it.

Actually, the idea of "you eventually evolve beyond of hack and slash" is elitist.

Playing a FPS videogame or a RTS videogame isn't worse or better than an RPG because an RPG has "roleplaying." Playing a hack and slash campaign isn't worse or better than a roleplaying-heavy campaign. Believing that people start with one type of game and "evolve" to different, superior type of game is elitist.

Like or dislike a product all you want, but recognize that saying your players would pick a background "for the love of roleplaying" and not for a "mechanics bribe" is elitist.


Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

Bill, I disagree with your premise. The implication of your first post is that anyone who uses this material is unimaginative. I consider myself a rather imaginative person, but I still appreciate being given plot hooks every once in a while. That's why I play a game that has character customization options other than "you can do what you want," and I run adventure paths. I enjoy a bit of prompting.

I enjoy reading books, playing games, watching movies, and reading PF source books and seeing how I can apply pieces of all of those to character concepts in my mind. Drawing upon another source for inspiration doesn't make me as a person less creative. It means I'm willing to augment my own imagination with the writer of the material I'm drawing from.


Sean, what are the other 3 sections of the book? I am pretty interested but I don't know enough about the rest yet.

Paizo Employee Lead Designer

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pendin Fust wrote:
Sean, what are the other 3 sections of the book? I am pretty interested but I don't know enough about the rest yet.

You will find out more..

Very soon.. like once per week :)

Jason Bulmahn
Lead Designer

(PS, play nice folks, this is a preview thread where we are trying to show off some of the fun things we are doing with the rules. They wont be for everyone.. and that is fine. Let everyone have the fun they want to have, no need to judge)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I find it interesting, that we now have a way for a player to clearly signal "Hey, I would like some of this in the future".

This is taking steps toward a better social contract between player and judge, and I'm all for it.

Sure, sure, some groups have already figured that out. But many have not, and anything that makes the game work better for new players is going to grow the hobby. Yay!


Looks good to me. Adds to character customization.

Silver Crusade

8 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Bill Kirsch wrote:

I don't see how valuing role-playing is elitist.

I like a little hack and slash now and then, but after 25 years of gaming, you tend to evolve beyond it.
This particular book doesn't look useful to me. Do we have an open forum or are we just supposed to shill for Paizo?
There's no need for ad hominem attacks.
No one can please all the people all the time. I loved the NPC Codex. This one? Not so much. YMMV.

If your refined gaming ensemble of thespians and storytellers has evolved beyond the primitive hack 'n' slash, then why are you still playing one of the most hack'n'slashy RPGs in existence? I mean, there are dozens of games that engage theatrical play and deep, nuanced storytelling better than D&D does. Heck, there are whole games that were written with the "this is not that primitive D&D crap" paradigm in mind.

Because if you are still with D&D 3e, which is cool, you should be aware that it's a game that at some level strives to have mechanics for everything. So riding a "my players are so intelligent and nuanced that they don't need those silly numbers I'm seeing here" high horse is pretty much akin to coming to a Vampire: the Masquerade forum and berating the game for being dark and gritty.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, maybe the fact that every other fantasy RPG has deep faults on its own helps us along to keep up with Pathfinder.

Although I really could do with less focus on combat in AP's. Best time I had in years was in Ordu-Aganhei in Jade Regent.


A more rules for Pathfinder, the consequent evolution of D&D 3x ruleplaying. In the next book Pathfinder Ultimate Provision you can find extended rules how to munch a hot dog. :)

Dark Archive

1 person marked this as a favorite.

So there are some here that think power gamers won't take backgrounds to get the best mechanical advantage? Oh boy...when I played LFR I'd say at least half the characters had the born under a bad sign background (let you use your highest stat for starting bonus hp rather than con).

I'm interested mind you, I just hope these things are balanced well I guess :)


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Reading that feat name and description makes me think someone at Paizo has been playing Dragon's Dogma...

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Or Dark Souls.


I just wanted to say "THANK YOU!!" Ilove the idea of weekly previews leading up to a product's release. If we play nice, could this become a regular thing? :D

I have never been so excited for a sourcebook as this one, and the previews will help ease the excrutiating wait. Thanks again for bringing a smile to my face! :)

As an aside, I like the ideas of the background feats giving both a story reward and a game reward. To Bill, always remember, as a DM, it's your game, your rules. :)

Already looking forward to next week! :D

The Pale :)


Gorbacz wrote:
Bill Kirsch wrote:

I don't see how valuing role-playing is elitist.

I like a little hack and slash now and then, but after 25 years of gaming, you tend to evolve beyond it.
This particular book doesn't look useful to me. Do we have an open forum or are we just supposed to shill for Paizo?
There's no need for ad hominem attacks.
No one can please all the people all the time. I loved the NPC Codex. This one? Not so much. YMMV.

If your refined gaming ensemble of thespians and storytellers has evolved beyond the primitive hack 'n' slash, then why are you still playing one of the most hack'n'slashy RPGs in existence? I mean, there are dozens of games that engage theatrical play and deep, nuanced storytelling better than D&D does. Heck, there are whole games that were written with the "this is not that primitive D&D crap" paradigm in mind.

Because if you are still with D&D 3e, which is cool, you should be aware that it's a game that at some level strives to have mechanics for everything. So riding a "my players are so intelligent and nuanced that they don't need those silly numbers I'm seeing here" high horse is pretty much akin to coming to a Vampire: the Masquerade forum and berating the game for being dark and gritty.

I am not against mechanics. Combat, for example, needs mechanics to flow smoothly.

I just don't think you need mechanics for everything.

I am well aware many people enjoy hack n slash, min/maxing, power-gaming, etc. I am a player in one of those types of games. It's just not the type of game I enjoy running.

How about we just agree to disagree?

Silver Crusade

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sure we can agree to disagree, but implying that your style of gaming is better than others is going way too far. Get off your high horse and we can talk.


Gorbacz wrote:
Sure we can agree to disagree, but implying that your style of gaming is better than others is going way too far. Get off your high horse and we can talk.

"evolved"

"elitist"
"high horse"

Preview post.

Edit post.

Scarab Sages

So getting this when it comes out!


Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber

I like the idea of character background generators. Admittedly, a powergamer will use any excuse to powergame (Pathfinder means pumping combat, in a more RP heavy system it just means pumping social stats). But, just because a tool can be abused doesn't mean that everyone will abuse it. I expect I would use the background generator to build a background and then build an interesting PC around it, not the other way around. Some players will always select the strongest option, and some players will play an evoker wizard with 9 con and hangups about blasting.

Sovereign Court

I wonder if the background generators will be useful for quickly generating (minor) NPC ideas? I occasionally get stuck in a rut when making "filler" NPCs, and it's hard to make them different from each other.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Maps, Rulebook Subscriber

Over 50 tables for Background!!

Curious, as to how long it will take to completely roll up a character this way?!

Hurry up and take my money!


Adding in yet another "I'm getting this one too" when it comes out. Though up until now I was almost certainly primarily getting it for the Kingdom Building rules; but 50+ tables for Background? That I've got to see just to satisfy my curiosity.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

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.))

Marketing Director

1 person marked this as a favorite.
The Pale Grin wrote:

I just wanted to say "THANK YOU!!" Ilove the idea of weekly previews leading up to a product's release. If we play nice, could this become a regular thing? :D

I have never been so excited for a sourcebook as this one, and the previews will help ease the excrutiating wait. Thanks again for bringing a smile to my face! :)

As an aside, I like the ideas of the background feats giving both a story reward and a game reward. To Bill, always remember, as a DM, it's your game, your rules. :)

Already looking forward to next week! :D

The Pale :)

Yes, when I can steal a bit of developer and designer time here and there I hope to have more preview blogs for upcoming releases. Work on the books always comes first. :)

Jason's next installment will be on Thursday, but look for an awesome Ultimate Campaign art preview on Tuesday!

Jenny


Pre-ordered this one Monday. Been looking forward to it for about six months now.

Sovereign Court

It's the retraining rules I'm most curious about.

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