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It's over.

Done. Just... done.

It's been two weeks since we played. We were an every-Saturday gaming group. But the 2ed playtest has destroyed that. Vague excuses have been the hallmark of this playtest, including last weekend's "I have to be out of town next weekend. I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier but I'll be out of town. I know it's really short notice but I can't be there that day. Sorry."

I have been open about my problems with this system. I have been open with my players about these problems. I have not pretended they'll be fixed because I have not seen major fixes thus far, only vague tweaks of broken rules and the vague sense that it might get better if only I let psychology convince me I'm here because I enjoy it.

Maybe my players only put up with it because I'm GM and therefore they feel I have an element of power over how bad the rules are. I do take notes about their complaints to condense into posts here. There has been the hope that their input means something.

I had Arianna's player talk to my other players. She told them nothing more or less than what I've been saying: we don't have to do this, I know the rules suck, it hasn't been fun for anyone, we have options that aren't this.

That broke the dam. This playtest is over. It's not fun. Fimbly's player isn't even convinced 2ed is a game at all. I know it's an incomplete game but that's not an excuse. If a car frame has square wheels I don't need to see the finished car to realize it's not going to drive anywhere.

To be honest, this playtest has strained the trust my players have in me as a GM. That's why after 9 years as a forever-GM I'm stepping down. I'll finally get the chance to play a character. That is, if my gaming group hasn't permanently shattered because of this experience.

I plan to look at PF2 when it comes out, in that I plan to go to my FLGS and look at the book before looking at other more interesting things. If I'm feeling charitable I might pick up the book and open it to see how little they've listened to their playtesters before putting the book back on the shelf.

We're sticking with 1st edition Pathfinder. If that means no new content then we're fine with that.

I'm not even annoyed that we spent money on this playtest. I'm too burnt out to be annoyed.

Doomsday Noon is over.

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Suggestions for Things That Are Called Feats But Shouldn't Be:

Ancestry Trait

A trait is something an organism inherits from its ancestors. It's not even a new concept for most adults since this is the high school biology definition of "trait". No new learning required for most, mild danger of high school flashbacks.

Skill Talent

When one is good at a skill we call them talented. That person is so skilled with the piano, they must be very talented. Again, not a new concept for most adults or most English speakers at all given we already use words in that way. Shallow learning curve.

Combat Tricks

The guy sucker-punched me! What a dirty trick! Yes, I admit I reached a bit for an example sentence. But hear me out. The combat feats as they are right now don't tend to be an "always on" thing, not anymore. They're more of a "if this, then that". They're if-then statements. If guy moves past then attack of opportunity. If two weapons then slice. If one weapon then parry. If punched then shield. If angry then intimidate. This one has a steeper learning curve (5% grade ahead, reduce speed to 55 mph) in that a wheelchair ramp is steeper than a flat sidewalk.

General Feats should stay Feats. Otherwise there will be a riot at the Paizo offices over the lack of "feats".

Even Class Feats might be able to stay the same.

But! But but but but!!!! The most important thing Paizo needs to remember is:

A word only works if the players know what you mean.

If you use "feat" for five different things DO NOT ACT SURPRISED when people assume they're the same thing! You used the same word! You caused this!

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To be fair, the 2ed Bestiary has a lot of Nice Things going for it.

I like Weaknesses and feel they were a welcome addition to the constant DR issues I've had in my games since 2003. "But a Vrock is CR9, you're all 9th level, you should have a holy weapon by now, the fact that you don't is your own fault, I guess you're all f$*#ed now then huh?" has never sat well with me.

The little visual tags showing how many actions a Thing takes are nice and fit well with the rest of the 2ed ruleset.

The Bestiary has a nice broad selection of monsters to choose from. I don't feel anything was left behind.

I just wish I had the chance to use some of them. My PCs have a really hard time navigating the playtest book and that means entire sessions have to be dedicated to building characters, characters that shouldn't take more than an hour or two to create.

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I counter with a quote from the book. Yes page 128 says

page 128 wrote:
Each time you get a spell slot from Table 3–20, you add a spell to your spell repertoire of the same level.

But the very next line gives the details of how that works.

the very next line wrote:
So when you reach 2nd level, you select another 1st-level spell; at 3rd level, you select two 2nd-level spells, and at 4th level you select a 2nd-level spell.

Which unfortunately feels vague to someone who expects very literal written instructions to make sense. An easier way to say it, one that might make sense, is to say instead "So when you reach 2nd level, you know 3 1st level spells; at third level you add two 2nd level spells to your spells known, and at 4th level you know 3 1st level spells and 3 2nd level spells."

It took an actual epiphany, the kind of mystical "Oh S#!t, so THAT'S how it works" moment for the line as-written to make sense. That the spells known equal the spells per day. Why not say that? In words? Alternatively, a chart can pull double duty. Since Spells Known and Spells Per Day are the same number, why not SAY SO?

Pathfinder 2ed should not be more complicated than US tax law. Given what I do for a living that is not hyperbole.

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I find the Ease of Use to be quite low as well. At least, my players have. This past weekend I "ran" a session for the playtest. I say "ran" because they spent the entire session trying to make characters.

4th level characters

A 4th level character should not take 4-6 hours to make.

Details are over in Doomsday Noon if you want a breakdown of where everything broke down. But the TL;DR version: the book layout is horrendous and apparently 2ed requires so much concentration that a single X-Wing tournament early in the day will destroy your player's ability to play.

Finity, half-orc sorcerer. Played by Arianna, elven cleric

She had the issue of Worked Night Shift Friday Then Woke Up Early Saturday For X-Wing Tournament. Meaning she was exhausted by the time we finally got to Pathfinder. This was a major handicap as apparently Pathfinder 2ed requires one's FULL ATTENTION otherwise nothing makes sense.

Also, she's pissed that sorcerers don't get a Spells Known chart. The wall-of-text example was really hard to follow. Maybe it was her exhausted state, maybe the fact that she works with numbers all day caused her to expect stuff to make logical sense. This would be easily fixed with a 20 line chart next to the Spells Per Day chart. Or on the next page? Or somewhere, anywhere?

We seriously discussed her dipping into the Paladin Archetype like that one thread over there solely to gain weapon and armor proficiency. I would allow it simply because I'm curious how horribly game-breaking it really is or if this is just a case of people being mad at sorcerers having Nice Things for once. Oh no, the sorcerer has a competitive AC, how horrible?

She got to see just how bad the spell list really is. Spoilers: it's bad. There's no description in the initial list, just a name and a level. Not even a one line description of the spell. Also, spells are significantly worse in 2ed than they were in 1ed: they do less and cost more. She took a representative sampling of spells, standard quality-control procedures, and compared them to their 1ed counterparts. The spells sampled did less and cost a larger percentage of one's per-day resources.

Temesheck, human paladin of Sarenrae. Played by Bookworm, goblin alchemist

Cookies distracted him for a bit so he didn't get started until a little before 8pm. He declined a burrito break and was essentially finished with character creation by 930. He took the Cavalier archetype and went for a camel mount. I agreed there will be rules for camel spit, dammit, even if they're not in 2ed yet. Camels spit. It's gross. I've experienced it.

Relevant quote out of him was "I spent 20 minutes reading everything in the paladin thing trying to find f*%king 'lay on hands'." As you might imagine, it was an issue of the book layout. Again. It's laid out by someone who owns stock in Post-It. Has to be.

Equipment was also an issue here in that there really isn't any good 2nd or 3rd level equipment that isn't just one-use junk. Also, while the idea of equipment having levels makes sense, players shouldn't have access to that information. Previously, when I gave a 7th level party their first bag of holding it would be a reward. Now that the bag of holding is a 4th level item those same 7th level characters will be liable to consider it a punishment. Why did I hold back? Why did I keep this from them instead of giving it to them at 4th level like the book says?

Equipment levels makes things less complicated mathematically but more complicated in actual game play with actual psychology involved. Dammit, I'm the GM, it's my prerogative to make my players covet that first bag of holding or to unbalance the game if I so wish with a vorpal sword. The players shouldn't expect treasure just because a book says they deserve it per their level.

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Siff, half elf ranger. Played by Fimbly, elven paladin

Fimbly took 3rd at the X-Wing tournament and cannot believe Admiral Sloane. Also he had to find a parking spot after dropping everyone else off so he didn't get started on character creation until just after 8pm. He spent one hour on actual character building, finishing the bulk of it by 9pm when we broke for burritos. He was on equipment by 930pm, gave up around 10pm, then picked at his sheet for another half hour.

The quote I got out of him was "NERD RAAAAGE!"

He DOES NOT LIKE the character sheet. Not one bit. Also he's still underwhelmed. He does not approve of the move on Untrained, making it worth a -4 instead of a -2. It doesn't fix the problem he had with the TEML system, which was the complete meaningless-ness of Legendary's +3

We did come up with a fix though, while waiting for Sirtir to @&#^ing finish already. TEML currently represents a 0/+1/+2/+3 spread. A more whelming spread might be 0/+1/+3/+6. It still keeps Trained and Expert close together but it allows Master and Legendary to mean something.

Overall, he is highly frustrated with the system and the playtest. However, he stays because he respects and appreciates the community involvement Paizo has and invites. He just wishes Pathfinder 2ed felt anything at all like Pathfinder 1ed.

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[not yet named character], gnome druid. Played by Sirtir, elven druid.

Yes there's a pattern there. I expect it to continue and here's why.

He showed up for game at 6pm. That gave me and him an extra hour and a half while everyone else finished up the X-Wing tournament across town. Discussion of the playtest, of the the possibility of switching to the Star Wars FFG RPG, of the cookies I was baking to bribe people into showing up, of characters and character concepts. Everyone else got here around 730 so Sirtir had a hour and a half head start on character creation thoughts.

When we broke at 1130 he was not yet finished with his character.

He started wanting to play a monk. But by 8pm he admitted the monk class chapter makes no sense and is unusable. Spent time looking at fighter. Gave up by the time we all broke for burritos around 9pm. Finally decided on playing a druid again because it was at least vaguely familiar.

By 1130 he'd done everything except buy equipment.

Problems I noticed were mumblings of "there's no good skill feats for Nature" and the declaration "Let it be known I picked all my cantrips sight unseen."

Also, let it be known I wrote down his exact words as he said them because that level of can-no-longer-care is important to know.

He'd still rather be playing 5th edition. At least, I assume that given he said so often enough. He's insistent the Pathfinder playtest would have worked much better if Paizo hadn't printed a book and instead rereleased an edited pdf with each round of errata instead of their current thing where I have to police people's reading of the book to make sure their reading of the rules is current.

Change of plans. Minor changes. We did not gain the new player.

Also we did not play today. We spent the entire session making characters for part 2 due to 3 of my 4 players spending all day at an X-Wing tournament.

Notes on the 4 new characters follows.

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Planning on part 2 this Saturday, finally. We'll gain a player, someone who's never played an RPG ever but was really amused/intrigued/interested in the game shenanigans her husband went on about while he was a player in my Serpent's Skull campaign.

Just in case anyone's wondering where this thread went.

Also, the 'never played in her life' might be a useful perspective.

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I see this as a symptom of a problem, not a problem in and of itself.

Might sorcerers dipping in order to gain armor and weapon proficiencies be a comment on the sorcerer's lack of armor and weapon options?

Mage armor used to have the stats of a basic chain shirt, +4 AC. Now it gets that only once heightened. It's no longer a true 1st level spell since the sorcerer has to heighten it kind of a lot in order to keep at least some relevance with the other PCs. And even then with the '+(num) to AC and +(num-1) to saves" it has the same stat-feel as a suit of leather armor with a level appropriate rune. Why wouldn't a sorcerer use their mandatory 18 charisma to dip into paladin for a level to get access to a suit of halfplate or chainmail? This is why spell failure existed, to prevent this kind of basic logic. It was a cost-benefit analysis in 1E whereas now it's simply a benefit, the cost is missing.

Then there's weapons. As a sorcerer you don't become an expert in your own magic until level 12. That's a long time to wait for a measly +1. And you never get anything other than 'trained in simple weapons' so once you're out of spells you can't even hit anything with your backup crossbow. You just, what, sit in the back? Contribute to the 10 minute adventuring day problem? The ability to be trained in a cool weapon is worth a feat for many sorcerers, I had one in a 1E game who burned a feat on Exotic Weapon Proficiency (bastard sword) for the look and feel of it. If that same sorcerer realizes he could get armor out of it too with no extra cost then why wouldn't he take the opportunity?

Alignment as a prerequisite would be a start. Maybe giving paladins actual consequences for falling would be a start. Maybe making the sorcerers feel less like fresh numerical butts would be a start.

But a blanket ban to cure the symptom without addressing the underlying problem is not a start.

Now then, the one thing the playtest isn't testing but my players expect:

A story. My players want a story. They expect a story. They watch me toss in random bits of story and make me pull entire narratives out of my butt all the time.

Use these details as you see fit. They're free to a good home.

The Magnamarian chapter of the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye is more of a social club than anything. After all, Runelords are (as of yet) a rumor out of history. The Irespan has been quiet for decades. The Skinsaw Cult hasn't popped up in years. So I added some internal politicking.

Arianna already has a Patron, someone sponsoring her entry into the Esoteric Order. So when the PCs all find the Notes on the Last Theorem and Keleri offers to sponsor them all this creates a problem. Patrons take credit for their Acolytes' discoveries. So Arianna has to choose. Does she stay with these PCs and damn the consequences? Or does she stay with her Patron, Keleri takes full credit and Arianna loses access to her own work? Arianna chose to stay with the PCs. This means conflict! Her old Patron will demand some recompense from Keleri for stealing Arianna's discovery and all future discoveries she might have made. This might mean a duel as things go on. Not sure yet.

Bookworm is a goblin, wtf? But he found the other alchemists in the Order and they'll shield him. He unknowingly went through their initiation ritual without prompting, a BYOA (bring your own antidote) affair involving cherry liqueur as a cyanide source. Downed the whole glass then followed it with an antidote chaser when he made the Medicine check. Then with a successful Fort save he joined the society within the society and will have access to better alchemical formulae as time goes on.

Fimbly schmoozed his way around. Very standard.

Sirtir found the visiting members from Ustalav and got into a conversation about undead hunting. The Ustalavians were all quite impressed that Sirtir had ever faced down undead at all, so many of these Magnamarians were too soft and fat and drunk to pick up a weapon. They offered their assistance should Magnamar ever grow too complacent in their navel-gazing.

And this makes for a nice segway into the next two adventures as it is the Ustalavian Esoteric Order that brings in the next two batches of PCs and ends up finding the horrible truth.

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Arianna, elven cleric of Calistria

How long to create the character? under 2 hours, a new record!
How many times did the character hit 0 HP? 0
How many times did the character hit 0 Resonance? still 0
How many times did the character critically fail while overspending Resonance? again, 0
What about spell slots? close! Actually used all true spell slots and all but one channel energy. And all of it on healing.
Spell points? no
I know you spent Hero Points, right? No because she thinks they're dumb. Points for showing up? For bribing the GM? For making the GM roleplay for you? This is encouraging the "GM's Girlfriend" problem.

Arianna, elven cleric of Calistria, gleefully used the 'heal from a distance' tactic of adding actions to one's spell in order to keep people from ending up All Dead. That's kind of... most of what she did. The vast most. This does not assuage my concern over the now-mandatory clerical support.

The player gives the overall system a rating of This Isn't Pathfinder, It Has Some Good Ideas But This Isn't Pathfinder.

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Bookworm, goblin alchemist

How long to create the character? a little over 2 hours
How many times did the character hit 0 HP? never!
How many times did the character hit 0 Resonance? none
How many times did the character critically fail while overspending Resonance? again, none
What about spell slots? nope
Spell points? still no...
I know you spent Hero Points, right? No, should he have?

Bookworm, goblin alchemist, perhaps played the alchemist as Paizo wanted people to given the absurd Resonance tax the alchemist suffers:

Bookworm never mixed a single alchemical thing in combat. He did it all offscreen, before the adventure technically began, making ordinary things that one could sell. Like alchemist's fire and antidotes. I think he used one single Resonance point the entire dungeon. Otherwise he stood in the back with a crossbow the whole time.

So... with Resonance as it current stands... the most effective alchemist is a talentless rogue?

The player gives the overall system a rating of Let's See Where This Goes.

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Fumbly Fimbly, elven paladin of Torag

How long to create the character? 2 and a half hours
How many times did the character hit 0 HP? twice, both times in area A7
How many times did the character hit 0 Resonance? none
How many times did the character critically fail while overspending Resonance? still none
What about spell slots? do paladins even have spells at 1st level?
Spell points? no but he did use spell points, that's an improvement over the druid?
I know you spent Hero Points, right? Once. It kept him from being dead and then he got put right back down.

Fimbly, elven paladin of Torag, earned his name of Fumbly for all his really bad rolls. Seriously, his dice hate this character. He brought out a half dozen d20s, test rolled them all (a lot of 16s), and then proceeded to cycle through them all as they refused to roll higher than a 4. Out of character, bring out the 13s, the 15s, the decent numbers. In character, no successes for you. He ended up near 0 HP for a third time just from quasit venom.

The player gives the overall system of Underwhelming. I'm Not Asking Much, Maybe Just 'Whelmed'? I Could Go For 'Whelmed'.

The whole +3 difference between a wizard Trained with a Stick and a fighter Legendary with the O Mighty-Holy Badarse Longsword is what's causing a great deal of his 'Underwhelmed'.

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Sirtir, elven druid

How long to create the character? Over 3 hours.
How many times did the character hit 0 HP? 3 times, all against Drakus. To be fair, this kept Drakus busy.
How many times did the character hit 0 Resonance? none
How many times did the character critically fail while overspending Resonance? still none
What about spell slots? never. The player blames the layout of the spell chapter; a more comprehensible layout would have allowed him to cast spells at all.
Spell points? Again, incomprehensible chapter leads to a fat pool of unspent points.
I know you spent Hero Points, right? Yes, once. 1 whole point.

Sirtir, elven druid, eventually came to shine as Commander of Duzumid, the wolf companion that did all the work and completed all the flanks and critted all the quasits. Not high praise for the druid as a class. Again, if the spell chapter made more sense, specifically if the spell lists in the beginning of the chapter had a one-line general description of each spell instead of having to read and memorize every spell you have...

The player gives the overall system a rating of Not Fun, I'd Rather Play 5e.

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We finished part 1. Finally. It took 2 sessions due to scheduling issues.

So! The official GM questions:

How long did it take to play this part of Doomsday Dawn not counting prep and character creation?

5 and a half hours. Almost 2 of them were roleplaying encounters tacked onto beginning and end to make it a game and not just a set of encounters. So, as-written it took just over 3 and a half hours.

How long did it take to prepare this part of the adventure? (reading, gathering materials, etc)

2 hours to bake cookies, 2 full readthroughs of the main rulebook (4-5 hours each, what you thought I was kidding?), hour and a half to familiarize myself with the adventure, half an hour to realize what they'd done to the Bestiary, 5 minutes to look at my shelves to see I already own the minis. The number you're looking for is "2 hours". The amount of time actually spent was "day and a half spread over two weeks".

How many sessions did it take for you to play through this part of the adventure?

2 sessions. For 5 and a half hours of gameplay. We created characters the first session so that ate a lot of time.

How many hero points (in total) did you give out during this part of the adventure?

Gonna be honest with you, I never used them before now. Not going to use them after this, either. I gave out the mandatory "one for showing up" twice, thus I gave out 8.

How many times was a player character reduced to 0 HP during this part of the adventure?

5 times. Twice before I got the errataed death mechanics, 3 times after. That twice happened to the paladin, that 3 times happened to the druid.

How many PCs were killed during this part of the adventure?

Surprisingly, none. It was close a few times and there were many comments around the table. Many clutch heals by the cleric. 2 hero points spent, they kept the PCs from death but kept them out of the combat as the monster would just attack them again and put them right back down.

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This is my own personal experience with the game at the moment so take it with a salt shaker full of salt. But!

Thus far these rules are all about the ROLL play. And they're not very good at it. Too much arguing. Too much frustration. Too much "I wasted 20 minutes trying to find the stupid rule in this poorly laid out book and now I find it tucked away in the Introduction in the middle of a wall-of-text paragraph instead of in the RULES section where it needs to be". Too much "the only reason I have players right now is I bribed them with cookies, wait I made 5 dozen cookies how did 4 people eat ALL of them?!" And right now, too much "Is this 'suddenly got called in to work on a Saturday' real or was it an excuse to not have to playtest these rules?"

ROLE play is entirely possible. If one closes the rule book and sits on it. Hours can be wasted in role play that way wherein dice are mostly used to stack into towers instead of rolled for poorly-weighted Diplomacy checks.

Maybe as errata comes out and starts shifting the focus of some of those rules I won't have to sit on the book to keep the game fun.

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I'd pick and choose a few things out of 2e and then port them into 1st. And then play 1st. There are APs for years out there.

I might even look at 2e APs because the Golarion story is strong enough for me. Then I'd convert them to 1st for my purposes.

As-is, 2e is not my game. It has some good ideas. But that's not enough to entice me to play.

Maybe a superficial patina? Not all iron golems need to be oiled and pretty, some might look really cool instead.

One problem that I didn't have but that all four of my players had was the inclusion of powers into the spells chapter.

The paladin had problems finding 'Lay on Hands', kept looking in the Paladin section of the classes chapter like one logically would. Slowed down the game considerably because we were in the middle of combat and he didn't want to end up on the floor with a 'dying' score again.

The druid despised that aspect of the layout on principle. Spells should be where spells go, either give powers their own section or put powers back into their class descriptions.

The cleric agrees with the druid. Spells should be where spells go. Make a powers chapter. Feats get their own chapter, why not powers?

The alchemist also suggested alchemical items be split away from magic items better. Right now there's the issue of "wait, is this really alchemical?" Which isn't 'powers in the spells chapter' but it is symptomatic of the same problem. Consolidation for consolidation's sake doesn't help anyone. Please split things up so they make sense.

A powers chapter.

An alchemical items section.

An introduction that's just an introduction. No rules in the intro. Rules go in the rules section. Speaking of...

Put ALL the necessary rules in the rules section. No more hiding things in the introduction.

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The Gameplay

Sirtir and Fimbly know each other. Fimbly likes to rub shoulders with nobility and has insinuated himself among the Deverin family as a curiosity: an elven paladin of a dwarven god. (Torag has some good ideas, Fimbly says with a shrug.) Sirtir breeds hunting dogs outside of Magnimar, she has a giant hound as her animal companion. They both get a summons by the Deverin family for some favor or whatever.

Arianna gets a missive telling her to show up for a job. The Deverin family knows Arianna's patron, Arianna's been trying to get into the Esoteric Order of the Palatine Eye for a few years and finally found a half-interested patron to introduce her. Also, as a cleric she might have useful skills against the 'vampire'.

Bookworm has some known connections to the Mudchewer tribe. He pays them as junk-finders. Or he used to before they got a new leader. Now he's had to find his own junk. He's got things to do, brewing things. Distilling things. Blowing things up.

The players certainly enjoy these characters out of combat and ridiculous rolls. While things are kept abstract and social the game goes excellently. Much antics between Bookworm and Sirtir's dog. Talk of putting fake wolf ears on the dog to make it look proper. The PCs eat all of the appetizers and drink all the wine Keleri Deverin offers as snacks before shoving the PCs down her cellar floor. None of this is in the book, I am aware. And all of this happens because I have excellent roleplayers in my group.

The written adventure begins where the dungeon starts and things start to bog down.

The first combat went decently. Some clunkiness with learning the initiative system and turn sequences, which is to be expected. Bookworm is the only one in the room when the sewer ooze decides to let loose its Filth Wave, the goblin succeeds at the save and we all get a laugh at how he RPs. He's a goblin, a little filth is only proper.

The second combat takes more effort, as is to be expected. It is a more difficult combat. Goblin warriors with their 5 hp all go down in one hit each. The shrooms in the side passage are pondered at, how can we harvest and sell these, let's come back later. Criminal Lore is used to determine how mob bosses might use these spores for interrogations and brainwashing.

Nobody could roll high enough on Perception to figure out the fountain's blighted nature. Nor did they notice the alarmed door. Thus the goblins in area A7 were all of the prepared.

Fimbly the paladin charges in there with an alchemist's fire and takes falling rocks to the face. The goblin pyro casts Grease on the passage into the room before anyone else can come in. And then the combat... bogs.

The issue with Proficiency Modifier comes to its big gross head here. Fimbly the paladin gets critted by a goblin commando and goes down like a sack of potatoes, though he gets better later. The death rules get looked at. I hear there's already errata on them though I haven't seen it yet. Nobody can roll higher than an 8 on anything and the whole combat becomes a futility bowl.

Until Arianna crits the commando after, and I kept track, 25 minutes of nobody hitting anything. Then it's over.

Respect for crits has been instilled.

And that was the game today because we only had 6 hours to play. Character creation took a full half of that time. I expect we'll finish the rest of the dungeon next time.

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The Skills

Why did so many things get folded into Society? Is this where Knowledge Local went? Say I'm building a rogue and I don't feel I need the skills for high society, why should I be forced to take this skill? Just because it's where Knowledge Local went? And Forgery? Why not some sort of Underworld Society? Or maybe just split Knowledge Local out of it? The knowledge skill is rather solidly separate from everything else shoehorned in here. If you feel like you need a catch-all skill to hold all the Rogue stuff then maybe you've consolidated too much. Rogues get skills every single level, they can afford to spend some of those skill points on rogueish things.

These crafting rules seem so familiar. They look like the house rules I've used for the past 6 years. I approve of this change. Maybe now more games will experience Tyrannosaur Hide Armor, parrot-feather cloaks, weapons made out of random native metals, Wings of Flying made of a freshly slain dragon, and the lute of Phil Orc.

Do I add my level to any of these things? "Proficiency modifier" is poorly defined. I can't even find rules on the unarmored proficiency at all. Does it even exist? If it follows the same proficiency rules, of which it took the five of us three hours of gameplay to find, does that mean a wizard with Mage Armor up is easier to hit than the same wizard naked? Why was it so hard to find the definition of 'Proficiency Modifier'? It's the MOST IMPORTANT STAT in the game, DEFINE THE DAMNED THING WHERE I CAN FIND IT! I don't just mean the glossary and then again somewhere in the front on a page I can never find, the 'Proficiency Modifier' section on page 290 doesn't mention adding level AT ALL. It says, and I quote, "As your character gains levels, your proficiency modifier can increase." I took that to mean the modifier going up solely through Trained/Expert/Master/Legendary and so did all my players. For three hours. Until one dude happened to look up another thing and suddenly the massive un-fun pointless slog of dungeon made sense.

If the whole Trained/Expert/Master/Legendary thing means as much as the book says then why is each step only worth a plus one? A 15th level wizard is trained with the staff, a 15th level fighter is legendary with his sword. Yet there's only a +3 difference between them. Why does the fighter matter again? Sure the fighter's spent all his feats on awesomeness with the sword and the wizard's feats all went into magic. But there's still only a +3 between their weapon proficiencies. As GM I can enforce meaning by saying certain actions require legendary ability but that is entirely contrived because said action doesn't require it. The +3 difference is too small to matter.

I have to roll WHAT to pick a lock?! An 'average' lock requires 3 rolls hitting a DC 20?! Are you kidding me? Has no one at Paizo ever picked a lock? It doesn't take a lot of skill to slam a screwdriver into a lock to slam the bolt open. I can see a DC 20 lock, sure, but 3 checks? Who makes these locks? Are 'average' locks made by Modrons on the plane of Law? Who makes 'expert' locks then? Does Asmodeus train 'expert' locksmiths himself? These rhetorical questions are no more hyperbolic than these check DCs. Even if a party has a rogue, how many doors are really going to be unlocked under these rules? Or are doors going to be smashed open by frustrated and annoyed PCs? How many doors will I GM-fiat away in order to ensure my players have basic fun? How many doors will I have to GM-fiat away before I storm away from the table in disgust? This is a playtest, we're playing a pile of different characters. If I present them with an insurmountable obstacle with characters they're not invested in there's no reason to continue. Why should they continue to play along? Why don't we just go back to 1st edition? Why not end the playtest then?

Player investment is important. Psychology is as necessary as math. That means rogue-required obstacles are a disservice to the game and its players. That doesn't mean going easy on anyone, absolutely not. It means options. Nobody goes into the Tomb of Horrors without knowing what they're getting into. I'm not going to force my players into that situation and I shouldn't be expected to.

Math check your stuff before you publish it. Unless you're specifically testing whether or not players will put up with pointless and ridiculous checks. At which point I can tell you: no, players won't. And neither will GMs.

Overall, the skills need work.

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The Character Sheet

Why is there no place to put the qualifier for the Lore skill? What if we ever get more than one Lore skill? Someone has Esoteric Lore, there's no space to write 'Esoteric'. To be fair, I like the Lore skill idea. It reminds me of knowledge skills from Shadowrun. A good inventive GM can come up with a lot of use for any Lore skill. I just think there should be space to write down what Lore a character has.

Where do I put stats for armor and shield? There's space for AC and Touch AC but that's not what I mean. I mean stats of the armor a PC's wearing. The shield they're carrying. Stats that change whether the shield is raised or not. Bulk and speed penalties and material and dents and such. Where does that go?

Speaking of, why is there no space for equipment? There's 8 lines of space for mundane items. 'Adventuring kit' has always been a house rule of mine and that helps but people still need space to write down 'thieves tools' or 'spell book' along with whatever else fun they want to buy. Or loot. It seems like this sheet was designed by someone who never had PCs who killed and skinned ankhegs to make armor from their carapaces.

The whole thing seems too busy. I can see how it was consolidated to try and make things easier to find but it didn't work. The T/E/M/L bubbles make everything seem bigger than they need to be, there's nowhere to put any details one might want to easily access, and the whole thing becomes counterintuitive.

I expect this problem to solve itself through the cunning use of 3rd party products. But it shouldn't have to be that way. And I know 3rd party stuff would likely be unwelcome in Pathfinder Society. PFS is hard enough for someone with my schedule to manage, do I really need a less-than-comprehensible character sheet to bar entry even more? If the character sheet is too busy to work with, how can one expect a new player to feel? A convention game is out of the question as of now.

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...because some of us work night shift and Noon is our Dawn.

Which is a real issue with availability since that means our group can only play weekends. Otherwise someone's always stuck at work. Thus we're getting started a month late. However! I finally managed to corral my gaming group into one room for some playtesting. It only took a month.

Meanwhile, I read the book cover to cover twice and came away unsure about the whole thing. Which is already a red flag, I'm used to being able to read a Pathfinder book ONCE and having an idea how the rules work.

But my players really wanted to do the playtest. Because playtesting means having a say in things and that's cool.

So... Character creation.

Lost Star

Cast of Characters:
Sirtir, elven druid. Built with the point buy system. Took just over 3 hours to build.
Fimbly, elven paladin of Torag. Rolled for stats. Took 2.5 hours to build.
Bookworm, goblin alchemist. Rolled for stats. Took just over 2 hours to build.
Arianna, elven cleric of Calistria. Rolled for stats. Took just under 2 hours to build.
Myself the GM, who ended up with a migraine an hour and a half in. A migraine caused by 4 people demanding rules clarification on everything under the sun. Not a good start.

So first session we notice that building characters takes a long time and a lot more effort than Pathfinder 1st.

Begin the arguing.

Actual authority? None.

Acting authority? Sure. If none of the NPCs step up then you have every right to take charge and make them follow.

Inquisitorial authority? Well, in this case... it depends on what you can convince your GM of. I had an inquisitor of Calistra who stepped up and demanded to inspect the brothel; while she didn't technically have the authority she was able to diplomance, I mean, 'convince' Estovian that if he didn't let her do her inspection then she'd shut the place down by divesting him of his whores.

Order of the Maiden

There are smaller orders of Hellknights mentioned in the Inner Sea World Guide and in the srd entry of the Hellknight Commander prc. The lesser orders:

Order of the Pike, Order of the Scar, Order of the Coil

and two dead orders:

Order of the Crux (although three undead members remain) and Order of the Thorn (according to wiki, anyway)

So... To add another lesser order to the pile...

Order of the Maiden

The Order of the Maiden seeks to return legitimacy to the crown.

Creed: "Service beyond death."
Symbol: (this is a point of contention, nothing chosen as of yet)
Armor: shining fullplate with red accents, faceless helms, red plumes, red cloaks
Weapon: longsword
Reckoning: scarring the face with a silver dagger

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I've had some hardcore man-haters in a game. I didn't care that it was an all-female group, I still made them tone it down or face the ban-hammer.

One faced the ban-hammer. So she didn't get to play with us again.

Into the Nightmare Rift

Don't have to change a thing. I will need to make sure the PCs acquire an ioun stone before headed out to Guiltspur. They've been instead suffering the curse for a few days as they buy the stone after they find the shard.

So back to altering the flow of events.

Helanda, the Gray Maiden from the whipping post in L10 of Lady's Light. She's been adopted by the PCs. But she needs to be rehabilitated from her fall to CN, needs to be reintroduced to the benefits of law.

So the PCs have given her to the Hellknights for correction. The Inquisitor is planning to take her as a cohort. What I have to decide now...

How much Hellknight will this Gray Maiden become? My player wants to use the Hellknight Commander prestige class and I've already okayed it. My task is coming up with the flavor.

One way to play up the Halflight Path is to spin it almost as a tourist attraction, like a cute little thrill that's kept safe by the Duskwardens. Something "only very rarely ever goes wrong" and then...

I might do that, actually. Might be fun.

There's a reason why this thread hasn't been touched in two months.

Last session the PCs made it into the entrance chamber under the Lady's Light. There seems to be a pattern emerging: the PCs take out half of the adventure in one session and then spend months and months in a dungeon.

Anyway, they ignored the troglodytes completely. Stood outside the barricaded cave and shouted hails in draconic until they were chased away by flung alchemist's fire. They gave a resounding "oh hell no" to the pyrohydra and ended up allying with the boggards. They've managed to convince Mama Beballa that they're just going to slip off for a day or so to find their missing sisters and then they'll all lead the boggards into a glorious victory in battle against the trogs. Heh yeah, unlikely, the dungeon's too long. So when the PCs come back out (with any gray maidens they can bring with them) I'm going to have the boggards returning from their campaign. The troglodytes will not survive.

It depends on how far into RotRL you are. Are you just starting? Or have you figured out there's a BBEG yet?

Thus far... make sure everyone has a ranged weapon but they don't have to be good at it. It's a lot of dungeon but it's not all close-quarters dungeon.

Also, do not be afraid to use the twists and turns in the dungeons in your favor.

And, since this has been my biggest problem thus far, make your PCs rest from time to time. I swear, my 2 PC party decided to take out a floor and a half of one dungeon after they were out of spells. I had to throw one down to negs to get them to take a rest, dammit.

Finding secret doors is a Thing. Make sure someone has ranks in perception.

But the biggest thing...

Make sure you're playing a character you can stand to spend days and days with in a dungeon without having to go back for provisions or selling loot.

This might be a little specialized but... I don't let myself go to sleep at night unless I've written something.

It doesn't matter what it is or that I've never sold anything. If this is ever going to be anything more than a hobby I need to write. Every day. And if I don't, I'm not allowed to sleep that night.

Odraude wrote:
*sigh* here we go again. It's like we're never going to actually talk about Wrath of the Righteous.

You expected it to end? I expect to be having to ignore advance/don't-advance threads even after the AP's out.

I, personally, want to wait until this AP has been published at least to book 4 before deciding whether or not to run it. It sounds like it'll be awesome but I'm still wary.

Devilkiller wrote:

I don't think you can pull a Floating Disk with a rope like that. If you have a wand of Floating Disk then whoever used the wand could do the moving and have the Disk follow behind though. This is not an expensive investment, especially if you craft the wand yourself.

Even though I'm more on the permissive side of this argument I'll have to say that crafting as you float along on a disk seems kind of problematic though. I guess maybe you could scribe scrolls. I'd expect many DMs to give you a lot of trouble beyond that. Honestly I just imagined the time on the disk being spent sleeping or resting quietly so that you're not fatigued after 8 hours of traveling. Presumably you could put a palanquin style enclosure on the disk and have your own little floating alcove with curtains or even a door if desired.

By the time you can manage all this you're probably at least getting close to just being able to Teleport someplace in a single round. At that point the argument stops being about the specifics of travel time and location security and starts being about whether you can craft at full speed on a day where you've done anything other than craft.

I figure scrolls, certain wondrous items, potions if you're careful. The three foot disk is only one inch deep so you'd be more worried about things getting knocked or blown off than toppling inward.

The spell says "It floats along horizontally within spell range and will accompany you at a rate of no more than your normal speed per round. If not otherwise directed, it maintains a constant interval of 5 feet between itself and you."

Direct it to let you sit on it. Tie rope to a harness attached to you. It accompanies you, buoying you at the spell's listed 3 feet off the ground. Just hope that the mule pulling it doesn't bolt or you'll go flying with the disk wizzing around behind trying to catch up eith you before it winks out from range difficulties.

Not ideal. But funny. And I use the Rule of Cool in my games when the RAW end up somewhat... lacking in directness. Like this situation.

I think a lot of the argument and point of this thread is thus: crafting while adventuring is never going to be ideal. It's very difficult to spend 8 hours a day crafting in addition to wandering around, killing monsters, sleeping, eating, and in general being distracted by wilderness, wind blowing your junk away, and obnoxious party members poking your stuff.

So... is floating disk crafting ideal? Fffft. Of course not. No crafting on the move is ever going to be ideal. You'll never get a full 8 hours in unless you charter a wagon or boat and just don't leave the hold.

To get back onto topic...

Sufficiently creative players can find ways to craft on the road. One method I've used as player and GM:

Cast floating disk. Command the disk to let you get on it. Set up crafting stuff around you. Tie a rope to the edge of the disk, hand rope to the guy with the mule. Occasionally look up while crafting to admire the scenery as you float by.

Floating disk gives you an hour per level. Assume you're spending one of those hours in setup/takedown, stretching, random encounters, shoving the rogue off because he's tired and wants to ride, etc. Even with one missing hour you still get a lot done.

Big Lemon wrote:
ANebulousMistress wrote:

I've walked out. I was the GM. I was tired, I was pissed, and I was sick of being used against my will as the narrator for one guy's sex escapades.

That moment of being fed up to the point of leaving doesn't just happen to players.

That would probably be the main reason I would want to get up and leave a game, although if I was the GM I would think I'd have more staying power to just say no, but I don't know what the specifics of the situation were. Maybe he just kept insisting even after you said you were uncomfortable running that?

He didn't insist or ask or discuss it. He just did it. Even after I told him to stop he kept doing it. A flat-out "no" wasn't enough. Ignoring him completely to talk to the other side of the table wasn't enough.

Leaving the table was almost enough. Not coming back is what cinched it, I think.

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I've walked out. I was the GM. I was tired, I was pissed, and I was sick of being used against my will as the narrator for one guy's sex escapades.

That moment of being fed up to the point of leaving doesn't just happen to players.

He actually lasted about a minute in my game. It looked it like was gonna be quick until he made the eidolon explode. Then he took to the air and began taking potshots.

It was not an easy battle. A lot of fun tho.

Blasphemy makes any church interesting. Go for it.

Cori Marie wrote:
Has anybody told Merisiel that? :P

Unless Merisiel is just being really really hopeful.

I'd fix my back. Some days (okay, most days) I get tired of dragging around a half-paralyzed leg. If I fix my back I can get the dead nerves replaced.

I don't know what this would require or entail but... would it be too much to ask to recognize myself in the mirror?


Knowledge is powerful, whatever that knowledge may be. But it can also be dangerous. For this reason the so-called 'civilized' cultures demand the destruction of this dangerous knowledge.

There is no greater sin than the destruction of knowledge. Every thing, every thought, every Word has power, has meaning, has worth. Knowledge must be preserved, must be kept safe, must be used so it is not forgotten. But it must be used with wisdom.

We have that wisdom. And so it is our divine duty to learn everything, to save it from destruction, to keep it safe, and in the end use it to destroy those who would destroy such Words...

Nothing is more important than knowledge. Than Words. Than power.

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Disease is necessary. All death is necessary but disease is not simply death. Disease is suffering, is the weakness that leads to new strength, is the scythe that culls the old and the weak from the herd.

Disease spreads through the herd, brought by one little human and spread to the rest of them. They have so many ways of propagating, so many different vectors. So many different kinds of death and suffering and new beautiful strengths to be bestowed to those who accept her gifts and grow strong because of it.

By testing the herd the strongest grow stronger. The weakest are culled, brought to the bosom of the Lady. And she has plans for them. Undeath, the continuation of a life too strong to die. Undeath to spread the diseases, to strengthen those worthy of her gifts. Those who are strong will grow stronger, will feed on those who are weak.

And thus... even weakness is necessary.

It is all necessary.

What is making best pickles? Eyes, toes, tongues, or ears?

At least it was funny?

Don't bring your fetishes to the table if they're not welcome. Especially if they're not welcome.

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