The acceptance of forced genre shifts. You cannot play published D&D content and stay gritty, nor can you play action hero stuff without slogging through grit.
I don't see how you can play the same game at 20th level that you are playing at 1st. A 20th level fighter can fall off a cliff, walk across lava, or fight an army of 10,000 orcs and survive. You can't do that with a 1st level character and that doesn't even take into account the reality shattering possibilities of a 20th level wizard compared to a 1st level wizard.
The game changes as your characters level and I can't see how you get away from that. Sure, things can be difficult, challenging, and life-threatening at level 20, just like level 1, but you're characters aren't facing the same challenges and difficulties that you were facing at level 1.
Care to explain? Especially about what you find toxic?
This is my biggest problem with trying to stat up characters from books in D&D/Pathfinder, the whole class system doesn't always work well or fit.
For Rand al'Thor I would honestly just use the D&D 3.0 Wheel of Time book to create his character. It definitely needs some fleshing out with regards to weaves and powers but I like the overall approach.
Aaron Bitman wrote:
No worries. I lucked out and happened to be working from home on a slow day with the books nearby.
I find it depends on the mood of the players and whether or not they have a character in mind. When players don't have anything particular in mind, rolling for stats in order can be a good way to get the creative juices flowing and provide them with inspiration for a character.
If you have a specific character in mind then I think point buy is the way to go.
Which had the added benefit of removing its ability to turn someone to stone. So at that point the basilisk is essentially a giant venomous snake.
I don't know if DCs changed much between 3.5 and Pathfinder but in 3rd edition I think the DCs were designed with the assumption that skill ranks would be spread around to multiple skills instead of maxed out. In 3.0/3.5 a commoner would have 8 ranks at first level which they could spread around to be proficient in lots of things but not hyper-focused (which matches up with most people in real life). A 1st level commoner with a single rank in Craft would need high quality tools, assistants, and high quality materials to be able to get enough bonuses to routinely make masterwork items. Which makes sense when you think about history and reality. Most craftsmen had apprentices and assistants to help with their work. For the commoner who focused in just one or two skills they would be really good at that one thing but not be able to do anything else.
The DCs would start to get wonky and not make sense if you go the Pathfinder route and assume everyone is super focused in a smaller number of skills.
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings is a perfect example of what happens when you take low level characters and give them artifacts and/or powerful magic items. There are artifact rings (Bilbo/Frodo/Sam and Gandalf), magic/artifact swords (pretty much all of them except Legolas and Gimli), magic/legendary armor, magic cloaks, vials of magic, and lots of other stuff.
I think people over-simplify the encounter and treat it like a straight up fight between Aragorn and the wraiths. I'm sure the Ring Wraiths original plan was to walk up, kill them all, and take the ring. However, there was a lot about the situation they hadn't planned on or anticipated. First, the group was prepared for them with a rather large bonfire and remember, the wraiths are weaker in light than in the dark, hence the reason Sauron later sends great clouds to cover the world. Second, all of the hobbits were armed with essentially minor to major artifact weapons. The barrow weapons being specifically made to fight the Witch King and his armies. Third, the wraiths were not at full power at this point and were intentionally trying to keep a low profile because Sauron wasn't ready to start his war. Fourth, both Frodo and Aragorn speak, essentially words of warding/power at the wraiths. As Aragorn says, the name of Elbereth was probably the most powerful counter-measure they employed as it inflicts pain on them to hear the name spoken. Lastly, once they stab Frodo with the dagger, why stick around to fight when you don't have to? Now, if this was an encounter between just Aragorn and the fully powered Ring Wraiths and Witch King from the end of the book, then they would have mopped the floor with him. Even fully powered Gandalf was barely a match for the Witch King.
As for Merry and Eowyn, keep in mind that Merry is wielding a magical dagger specifically designed to kill the Witch King. They state that his stabbing the Witch King in the leg with a Dagger of Westernesse broke the spells of protection surrounding the Witch King.
Essentially, killing the big bad uber powerful undead is possible for low level characters when you have the specific McGuffin needed to kill them.
Isn't that what the skill Spellcraft is for? To be able to look at the different ingredients and figure out what is being cast?
Cerberus Seven wrote:
Nope, they are completely different. The 3.0 rules are much clearer and simpler to apply.
EDIT: removed the actual rules list since the formatting was terrible. Check here for the rule instead (under Combat Modifiers).
7ft - 8ft spears can be used easily and quite effectively one-handed with a shield (either overhand or underhand). That's how spears were primarily used throughout history. Granted an 8ft spear would not have been called a "longspear" but just a spear. A longspear would essentially be a pike which would absolutely be used two handed.
D&D/Pathfinder weapons are not terribly accurate from a historical perspective.
Do what you were going to do before and just see how it plays out. Talk to them about their characters and see what their plans are. Building a character from five different books doesn't mean they can't roleplay. It might mean that in Pathfinder, it required five books for them to create the particular character with the flavor and background they wanted.
Also, keep in mind that the characters are who they are while playing. Not just a pile of numbers on paper.
Anyway, back to the thread at hand!
I think Bill Dunn hits the sacred cows as I would see them.
Bill Dunn wrote:
Of this list about half of them I wouldn't mind if they change and for the rest I would want them to be the base option with other options available.
Wait, we watch TV shows for the theme songs?
Catchy theme songs off the top of my head:
I think a big difference with regards to TV shows is that the theme song is no longer needed to sell the show and is no longer needed to fill space while the opening credits run. It is also not needed as an auditory queue for when the show starts since people can just record the show and watch it when they want.
Nathanael Love wrote:
I thought the thread title was "Do you like this game (Pathfinder)"? I thought Jiggy answered no and explained why. Then a whole bunch of people tried to explain why he was wrong. Who's hijacking what now?
Nathanael Love wrote:
I actually think that you are kind of re-enforcing his point. If you have to go out and buy all of those 3rd party products and supplements and introduce all of those house rules to make the game work, then why bother buying the game? That's a lot of money and time to invest in a system just to get it to work when there is a really good chance that there is something else out there that will either work from the start or be a better starting point to use (and likely cheaper too).
The above also assumes that supplements and 3PP address the issues he has with the game. Tacking more things onto a base system that doesn't work for you doesn't guarantee that the base system is now going to work for you.
Also, house rules probably aren't the issue. Most of us have no problem creating those. It's how many house rules and changes do I have to make before I drop the system and start with something else? At what point does "fixing" Pathfinder for you table become more work than it is worth? For some of us, that point happened a long time ago.
No I do not. Not anymore.
I gave up on Pathfinder after purchasing the CRB. Not because of anything specific in Pathfinder (there are some things I liked and some I didn't) but mostly due to basic assumptions of the system based on D&D 3.5. While I love the basic system of d20 D&D, the layers and layers of needless complexity and mechanics are just a waste. There are just too many basic design assumptions of the game that I don't need or want.
So I figured instead of going through the effort to strip out everything to get the system I want, why not just go with something like Microlite, Castles & Crusades, or Legends & Labyrinths that does it for me.
Way to handle it! Good job! Also glad to see "Josh" was mature enough to recognize his mistakes and ask for feedback. That's awesome.
I don't know if we miss them per se but off the top of my head here are a few things I usually revert back to the way they were, in no particular order.
My first thoughts:
1. Simplify things a lot. Do we really need 20+ types of modifiers? How about we just cut the bulk of them down to Aracane or Divine and be done with it. Do we really need a dozen or more ways to trigger attacks of opportunity? Do we really need 5+ action types?
2. Skill system overhaul. Not that the current one is bad (I preferred 3.5 personally) but they need to look at the skill system and decide what it's actual purpose is. Does it encompass everything a character knows? Does it encompass only specialized knowledge/skills and ignores mundane stuff? Right now I feel like it is a mishmash of the two with no clear vision for what it is. Lastly, they need to come up with some high level use for skills. Characters with high level craft skills should be able to craft basic magic items (and not at levels 15+ but at levels 10+ or 7+). Characters with high level Perception or Stealth should be able to spot invisiible things or disappear while in plain sight. After level 10 most skills are useless so lets give them some real use and make them worth investing in.
4. Feats - my initial inclenation is to just get rid of them. Feats are one of the things I've come to dislike the most with the system since they are a complete crapshoot and balancing them is impossible. Most of the combat feats should be things martials are just capable of doing (like trying to disarm without an AoO) and the remainder just serve to make casters better. That said, I would probably just massively overhaul them and strip out the bulk of them. Lets give martials some trully interesting options as feats.
5. Scrap the ability scores and replace them with the modifiers. Why do we generate a number just so we can generate another number? Why not just generate the second number directly? In a system where you roll attributes and then never use them for anything other than generating a modifier they should just be gotten rid of.
6. Saving throws - replace the existing ones with attribute based saving throws. It puts too much emphasis on three attributes.
That's what I have off the top of my head.
Don't expect a whole lot of reality/historicity from D&D/Pathfinder weapons and armor. Their pretty bad.
You know what never existed historically (as far as we know): studded leather and banded mail.
You know what weapon sucked against most forms of armor (including padded armor): swords.
I don't like it either and I personally have looked at changing the value to something more reasonable but it is what it is.
...Am I the only one that likes the fact that a lvl 1 orc can't really threaten a lvl 20 adventurer? I presume that by level 20 I'm pretty much a battle demi-god so I should be plowing through regular ole normal level 1s by the dozen...
I think the problem isn't that people don't like it, it's that the progression from normal to demi-god (and the speed in which it can happen) isn't obvious or explained. For some players, the transition is jarring. If you want to play Conan or Knights it gets really hard above level 6 but if you have certain anime in mind than the first 6 levels don't really meet your needs.
Once you understand the scale and progression of the game it definitely gives you more latitude in creating the type of game you want.
I just wish it was better explained in the CRB. I would like to see them be more upfront and clear about it and provide guidance on how to tailor your game to your particular play style.
I think its the other way around. The spell description overrides the polymorph spell descriptor so you go with what the spell indicates. Otherwise spells don't really make sense. The school descriptor is the base for the spell and the spell description sits on top of it.
I'm largely ambivalent to the whole thing. While I don't think you should force someone to play something they aren't interested in, there are times when they have no idea what they want to play and a suggestion or two can get the fires going.
Knowing about the other player characters gives them the opportunity to tie their character to one of the other PCs and build a little story. I can't tell you how many siblings, cousins, child-hood friends, lord/servant combinations my players have come up with. It makes it a lot easier to start a game when the players have already figured out how all of the characters know each other.
I would much rather my players make their characters up together than do it separately. Saves me from having to deal with the pre-made character with three pages of back story that either has nothing to do with the current campaign or may not get used. Back story for a character is nice, but there is no guarantee that I will incorporate it into the game, and I would like to focus on the story the players make together than the one someone comes up with on their own.
First, they need to decide what the actual purpose of the skills are and why they are there. Are skills there to indicate the areas of specialized knowledge that characters have? Are they there to model everything a character knows? Are they things characters have been trained in or gained experience in?
Right now we have a huge mish mash with no clear purpose that creates a situation where you have some really specific skills and some really generic ones and they seem to have been picked at random.
The second thing they need is high level uses of the skills. Most skills really aren't useful past the mid-levels which really hurts skill-focused characters. If high skill point alchemists could make basic potions and high skilled weapon smiths could make basic magic weapons that would make skills much cooler. Characters would have an incentive to invest in skills beyond the basics.
Third, they need to expand class skill lists drastically and/or provide a generic class skill for each type of class. Right now there really isn't a good way to model the random collection of things martials or rogues would know unlike clerics and wizards who have spellcraft and knowledge:religion/knowledge:arcana. Where is the combatcraft skill?
Personally speaking, I would un-consolidate the skills and give out more skill points. As it is there is way too much emphasis on Perception due to the consolidation.
For Diplomacy I would use the rules proposed over at The Alexandrian. His changes actually make it easier to adjucate the skill in game and provides much better guidelines on how to use it, how long it lasts, and what kind of bonuses there are. I believe he riffs off of and improves the diplomacy rules proposed by Rich Burlew. I would also use his variation on Tumble since it works way better.
I'll second this. Making a decision early on about what kind of world you want will help guide a lot of the decisions you make and types of encounters you have at high levels.
If you decide that the highest level NPC is 12th level, then you know you need to come up with a good explanation as to where the high level monsters or bad guys come from and what their context is. Perhaps they were locked away in prisons by the previous mighty empire and are now being freed due to the collapse of the empire and the lack of maintenance on the wards that imprisoned them. Maybe the world has never had high level monsters and now, all of a sudden, monsters are invading from other dimensions or planes and the players have to fight them off.
On the other hand, if you decide that the world is like Forgotten Realms, with lots of high level NPCs, then you'll need to figure out (or at least have an explanation for or idea about) what they are doing while the PCs are gaining in power and how they will react to them.
The nice thing about this, especially if you start at level 1, is that you don't necessarily have to figure this out all at once. You just need to make a decision on the kind of world you want and can build as you go. It just occurred to me that having a basic outline of the kind of world you want and some of the basic details could be really useful to start with and give you something to refer to and build the campaign from.
Adventures like that really aren't sandboxes. A sandbox is where you have them in a location with lots of hooks floating around. They take the hook they want and you extrapolate from there.
With a sandbox you don't really have an overarching plot planned because the story and the plot is what the players make of it. That said, it does require your players to be proactive in some degree or at least have an interest in something in the setting/world.
The (mostly)off/on game I am running now is a sandbox and has the PCs in a coastal town of a new colony. There are bounties out for goblins and orcs, the local alchemist is looking for new sources of supplies and rare ingredients, something is stealing livestock from local farmers every week or so, the duke is looking for people to explore and survey the surrounding country side, the duke's wizard wants to collect/catalog any article or item belonging to the previous kingdom that was in the area, the latest shipment of supplies is late and the church wants to know why, and many other things. The players can effectively pick and choose what they want. Some of the things they can do in conjunction (like scouting/surveying and killing goblins/orcs) and others require focus (investigating what is killing/stealing livestock).
Those options don't even include more political ones involving different factions or groups in town.
I would look around on the internet. There are a lot of blogs that provide good details and information on how to run a sandbox campaign and how it makes the DMs life so much easier and puts the onus for adventure back into the hands of the players (where it belongs).
Yeah, I'm with meatrace on this one. I shouldn't have to pet your dog or tell it to sit and I shouldn't have to shrug off your kid. Keep your animals and kids under control.
If it was a mob of unarmored peasants, then yeah, one or two arrows would do it and I would agree that they would spread out their shots. But in a world where ogres, giants, wizards, and all sorts of more powerful things exist, and faced with a group of well armed and armored opponents, I would think they would be able to distinguish between peasants and more powerful foes.
Personally, I think Paladins are redundant. We already have holy warriors: they're called Clerics.
In 3.5 I rolled all of the paladin abilities into the cleric domains and did away with the class.
While paladins are mechanically more interesting in Pathfinder I still think the class is redundant thematically and story wise.
Less mechanics and more what they should be doing folks!
Things I think higher level martials should be able to do:
I forget who described it as such, but the framework that I keep in mind when thinking of 3E and Pathfinder is levels 1 - 5 are gritty fantasy (LoTR, Conan, etc), 6 - 10 are Wuxia/Real-World Myths, 11 - 15 are super hero, and 16+ are demi-god. So I feel at levels 6+ fighters should start doing fantastic stuff.
When you have Wizards flying around shooting lightning bolts, summoning angels/demons, teleporting across continents, dominating people, transforming peasants into frogs, polymorphing, and a sundry of other things, what's so strange about a 10th level fighter leaping around the battle field or running across treetops? When a druid can turn into a living tempest or become an incarnate of flame while clerics can call down pillars of fire and literally raise the dead, why can't the fighter trip 3 guys at once and sap the strength of the ogre by cutting his arm or knocking the wind out of him?
Lets see, here are the basic ones I use for pretty much any 3.X or Pathfinder game.
1) Every character gets one feat and two skills as background for their character at first level. They do not gain additional skills when leveling so these are essentially just extras at first level.
Started in 3.0. It was a great way to provide character background and extra options.
2) Shields confer different levels of cover (I use the 3.0 rules for cover) and characters can spend an action to hunker behind their shield and increase the cover by a quarter. Bucklers & Light shields = 1/4 cover, Large Shields = 1/2 cover, and Tower Shields = 3/4 cover. Bucklers you cannot hunker behind but you can bash with the shield and not lose your AC bonus.
I was tired of shields sucking.
3) Critical hits do not mean auto-hit. Fumbles do not mean auto-miss. Rolling a 20 counts as 30 and rolling a 1 counts as -10.
I hated the whole 1 in 20 auto hit and auto miss thing. Now an army of kobolds cannot kill a great wyrm dragon in one round.
4) Clerics do not spontaneously cast cure or harm spells. They spontaneously cast domain spells.
It instantly makes clerics of different gods unique. You want to heal? Take the healing domain or memorize healing spells.
5) The War Domain grants proficiency in all martial weapons. That's it.
None of this single weapon with weapon focus thing. Proficiency with all martial weapons is not that big of an advantage.
6) Exotic weapons do not exist. The whole list is removed from the game. Monks in return receive proficiency with all simple weapons and can use their abilities with any weapon with which they are proficient. If that means monks can flurry with a long sword because they spent a feat to become proficient in long swords, that's fine with me.
In 10 years, I have never had a player want to invest the feat required to use an exotic weapon and I see no reason to penalize the monk by limiting their options. Also, I have never had a player in 10 years want to play a monk. So they are essentially an NPC class anyway.
Now, all that said. I don't know if most of this should actually be a book. A lot of this information could be really valuable to just have as weekly or bi-weekly blog posts.
Besides that, I was thinking that just as there is an Advanced Players Guide, why not an Advanced Game Masters Guide? Here's all of the tips, tricks, and treats of running high level games. Here's how to reduce the level of magic in the game without unbalancing things. Here's how to ramp up the magic without unbalancing things. Here's how to simplify and streamline high level combat. Here are the spells that drastically alter the game as characters level. Here's how you deal with them and here's the ramifications for altering or removing them.
The more I think about the game, the more I begin to think why bother with the system if I don't know these things in advance. The game is already complicated enough, why should we make the DM's job harder by not giving them this information up front. I almost feel like Paizo shouldn't bother printing levels 10 - 20 if they don't provide some of this information.
Like MEL said, why should we force everyone to learn by trial and error instead of just giving them the info up front? Otherwise you are going to have DMs like me who say screw it, why do I want to fight with the system, I'll just stick to Pathfinder Basic or some other system.
I actually think much of this information should be in the core rule book or game masters guide. This information should be upfront. This is one of the most important aspects for the long term health of the game and campaigns.
One of the biggest problems I see with AD&D, 3.X, and Pathfinder is the lack of clarity around how the game changes as characters level and the types of challenges and adventures the characters should face. The types of adventures characters have at 1st level cannot be the same kind you have at 15th. The characters change too much to make that sustainable. GMs need to understand how the scale in power relates to the default assumptions of the game and what the impact is on different types of stories and play. I think being upfront with DMs and letting them know what to expect gives them the ability to make decisions early and tailor their games to the style of play they want. Discussing styles of play and how they relate to the power scale would help as well.
In B/X and earlier versions of D&D, while it was not explicitly stated, the rules and the books dictated the move from dungeon exploration, to wilderness exploration, to the eventual creation of a small kingdom. I think this needs to be explicitly spelled out and given some clarification and guidelines. I think so much of the frustration with 3.X and Pathfinder is that many DMs and groups don't realize they need to transition to a different style of play at higher levels and they don't understand where those transitions are. Lets help with that!
Lets also give them options and ideas on how to expand upon the area of play they enjoy the most. Lets promote the idea of E6.
One thing I will give 4E credit for is at least introducing the idea of tiers back into the game and trying to do something with the idea. Now, I don't think we need to go that structured and we should expand it beyond what kind of monsters you can expect to fight at each tier, but the basic idea has merit. Even Monte Cook (IIRC) was the one who described 3.X as four distinct power levels.
I've had this happen once or twice while playing in high school. The one time it happened even though the campaign was derailed it ended up turning into something even better then I could have planned.
It went something like this (note we were playing 2E AD&D at the time). The three PCs (a wizard, a psionicist, and a rogue) and an NPC (fighter) were investigating a bar/tavern, the last known location of a lycanthrope cultist who was wanted for murder, when things went a little haywire. The wizard decided that he had had enough of the occupants of the bar who were being very uncooperative so when one of the bar occupants (secretly a cultist) threatens to knife him he states that he is going to lightning bolt the room. The other two players (the psionicist and the rogue) both tell him no, he can't do that, it would be wrong, and that they would try to stop him. He decides to do it anyway. Needless to say he wins initiative and manages to lightning bolt the room destroying a third of the ground floor, setting the building on fire and killing over a dozen random people. The other two players decide that they are going to capture him and hand him over to the police. The rogue tries to knock him out with a club but misses as he was trying to only subdue him. The psionicist on the other hand doesn't hesitate and attacks scoring a critical. Since he declared that he was trying to cut off the wizards hand I decided that cutting off his hand was the result of the critical.
Needless to say the player of the wizard is a little miffed and annoyed. As the remaining occupants of the bar now try to rush him and people start shouting for the town guards he dives out the window and makes a run for it. Thus begins what became three sessions worth of playing with two of the characters trying to hunt down the third character who, as a 4th level wizard, is doing a spectacular job hiding and escaping even though he is missing a hand.
We ended up having a blast with the whole thing but that lightning bolt definitely ended that campaign. I was amazed at how well my players did at not meta-gaming even though they were all sitting at the same table and how immersed they were with their characters.
Woot! Now here is a thread to get excited about. Some of my favorites:
Guiness (my standard)