Anlerran's page

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Arnwyn wrote:
Anlerran wrote:
I didn't realise any critique or disagreement would be met by Paizo's equivalent of loudmouth '4Evengers', shouting down any dissenting voices.
You haven't been here long enough, then.

Yeah, that's what I figured.

Pretty sick of people being jerks here, same old story.

If they want fanboys in an echo chamber, fine. Plenty of other products and stuff out there.

Gorbacz wrote:
Hey Anlerran, how about you go write a couple of award-winning adventures and then lecture the T-rex on how to do his job?

Because I assumed we were having a civil discussion brought up by the fact that a previous poster said they disliked S&S.

I didn't realise any critique or disagreement would be met by Paizo's equivalent of loudmouth '4Evengers', shouting down any dissenting voices.

Some players didn't like S&S. I felt it was full of basic errors, from execution to plot to artwork.

James Jacobs wrote:
** spoiler omitted **

It would be very welcome if there was some actual interaction with the PCs, rather than just having them as foes to be butchered for XP.

I'm kinda hoping the AP has some role-playing elements with rivals, factions, etc to counterbalance the dungeon-heavy aspect of things.

James Jacobs wrote:
And I don't see how that's a bad thing. Since it's what lets you play a game with four or so players in a party.

Sorry James, that sounds lazy.

There could have been other options to get the players involved, but you chose not to do them.

That's fine, that's your choice, but some people are not going to enjoy that kind of heavy-handedness. Particularly when you've gone out of your way to say, 'ooh, if you don't like the PFS, you don't have to use it in Shattered Star!'

And I don't see how that's a bad thing either.

Chris Kenney wrote:
Some people just have really bad memories of "That one time the GM did something that could have been cool but just sucked." And others don't like the idea of anything bad happening to their character without any control over it, ever. Both buttons are likely to be pressed by having characters start out press-ganged (or otherwise taken prisoner and stripped of equipment.)

It just wouldn't fly with my players. I'm going to use some of the situations or encounters when I do a pirate-hunting game I have planned (the players have an inkling to play Chelaxian privateers), and the generic seaborne encounters could fit anywhere.

But it sounds like Shattered Star can be run for any group right out of the box, substituting the PFS for whatever employers the PCs prefer. In fact, they have gone out of their way to say this ever since the AP was announced.

I don't think the press-ganged aspect adds anything to the adventure, aside from taking away PC choices for their first four levels. It wouldn't have been hard to come up with alternative options, but they wanted to railroad it.

And there were some horrible mis-steps like the Isabela character - they put her on the cover for God's sake, then refuse to let the players interact with her. As written, all you can do is kill her. And S&S is full of this kind of railroading. You can change things, but you're actively fighting the material.

Drogon wrote:
I only have one reservation: Skulls and Shackles was beyond terrible. The writing was bad, the railroad nature of the hook was the worst I've ever seen, and I had a hard time finding any set piece in that AP that was at all interesting enough to pluck out and use somewhere else.

Yeah, I really disliked it. Horrible forced railroad beginning and linear progression from there. And I hated the whole 'evil AP' thing. I got some use out of some of the encounters and NPCs but there's no way I could run it as written.

Though one bad AP is hopefully just a one-off. After something like that, I think a return to the basics of Shattered Star is probably a good idea.

Maybe that was kinda snarky, but this seems REALLY stereotyped...

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David Haller wrote:

Whenever I'm tempted to dump-stat charisma, I remember the perfect film example of a 7 charisma: the Stapler Guy from "Office Space". While that might be fun sometime, it's not how I view most of my heroic characters...


My biggest RPG hate is players who dump Chr, then insist that their character is cool or impressive or 'beautiful' (Penny Arcade, I'm looking at you...)

By all means take a substitute feat or archetype if it's in the rules, but insisting the GM handwave things like Intimidate is pure munchkinism...

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I dumped Strength but I think my character should be really good at hitting and damaging things. Because he's um, tough.

Can I use my Con to get hit and damage bonuses?

I wrote a really good backstory too!

DrDeth wrote:
Speaking of even more experience- ;-) redcelt32 is absolutely correct.

Been GMing 30+ years with many, many groups.

I can count the number of well-played evil characters on one hand and still have fingers to spare.

Evil PC is absolute poison for any group. There's a reason the D&D/PF PHB says not to do it.

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Charisma is nothing to do with looks, it's force of personality and magnetism.

Choose another stat to dump next time.

Adam Daigle wrote:
And from what I’ve read so far, it’s not some boring mook-fight-from-room-to-room-until-the-boss dungeon crawls—seriously, there’s some cool plots and twists

Thanks Adam - that's what I'd hoped!

This was my first thought too.

After all, there's a LOT of dungeon crawls out there. Most of us buy APs to have a ready-made epic story and an adventure worthy of the name.

This does seem a bit underwhelming - NPC tells PCs to go down dungeons looking for the Magic Football. All it's missing is a bar scene to kick things off. So far, so 4E.

But - I think after Skull & Shackles (which I personally disliked) it's a good time to have a more 'traditional D&D' AP that gets back to basics. There's a been a fair few linear APs of late (even though I loved Jade Regent).

Also, let's give Paizo their due - there's room even on a dungeon-bash to have interesting encounters and meaningful NPCs. I don't think they will disappoint.

Finally, James has stated that the PFS is only a maguffin really, and you can make Shiela H in charge of anything you want, from a thieves guild to a temple. He says you can take the PFS out entirely if you wish.

That said, I'm glad the Society actually has a role to play in an AP for once.

James Jacobs wrote:
Reign of Winter got its outline finalized a month or more ago, so we do indeed know who the iconics are. And no, now's not the time to reveal that. Be excited about Shattered Star for now! :-)

So, it we're to get excited about it... can you tell us who the AP cover stars are going to be, apart from the lovely Shiela H?

James, any plans to have some art of the iconics wearing something different? Say, Valeros in a tux, Kyra in a dress, or Seoni in something more gypsy-like? Seems odd they only have one change of clothes, considering they have to walk around town at times without armour and stuff. Not to mention the picture of Alahazra swabbing the decks in her oracle gown!

I was kind of hoping Skull & Shackles might have, say, pirate versions of the well-known characters...

Before Skull & Shackles (which I hated, in concept and execution) I'd have likely baulked at a no-frills, plot-free, no-big-bad old-skool dungeon crawl.

But the more I think about it, this seems a good time for something like this. Get back to the basics, something with a retro feel - adventuring, Varisia, the Pathfinder Society, those things that are core to the game.

It feels like most people should be able to use this 'straight out of the box', instead of having to chop and change things as I've had to do with the more linear APs.

Torture is NOT good.

End of argument; this shouldn't even be up for debate.

It doesn't matter if you do it against undead or evil people.

If they harmed you, you can still be Neutral and out for revenge.

If they did nothing to you, you're evil, period.

The 'Dexter' character is still evil. He's just bound by his code to only take his evil out on other evil people.

3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Mm, which is why when the monsters have banded together, developed tech, agriculture, cities and complex stratification, I put them more in the lawful camp.

Of course, the LG lizardmen do not get along with the already existing lawful (which stretches from good to evil) human empire. So it becomes meritocratic monster city states, using the more violent and simple monsters as mercs, against some of the humans which have the dominant religion on their side.

The druids sit back and laugh, trying to keep the old places and reclaim what they can. The evil druidic "wing" ruthlessly kills trespassers and over civs representing less major alignments carve out what they can and try to keep their way of life moving. The players started deep in CG territory, they have moved into the lawful monastery lands above the holy empire, and are now journeying to a hidden underground city dedicated to the cult of death (N).

Anyway, that is how I do it.

That all makes sense; a complex interplay of alignments.

I'd also agree NG is the 'most good', if anything is.

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The most two common 'alignment problems' I've seen are these:

- people who think LG is some kind of 'extra-special good'. Law and chaos are just a means of doing things. LG is not 'more good' than NG or CG (arguably, it might be less good than NG!) LG is probably harder to play, because you have to pretty much always take the moral high ground, and can't use the enemy's tactics against them. Which is why it's a balance to the paladin's powers, and why non-LG paladins almost always suck.

- people who think 'neutral' is 'evil-lite', and think it's fine to steal, injure or even kill others just because they're not as depraved as the ogres in Hook Mountain. If you do bad stuff to people who've done nothing to you, you're evil. A school bully who threatens other boys for their lunch money is CE. The 'popular' girl who uses her looks, wealth and status to hurt 'lesser' girls just because she can, is LE. You don't have to be Hannibal Lecter to qualify for 'evil'. You can just be a selfish jerk.

cnetarian wrote:
You won't find alliances of devils and demons in a campaign I design, devils require civilization and seek to expand it while demons can only work with the uncivilized and seek to destroy civilization.


But the whole point of the Blood War was the nature of Evil. It has little to do with law or chaos. LG and CG outsiders work together. LN and CN outsiders mostly avoid each other. It was LE and CE outsiders that decided that the solution to their differences in philosophy was an endless, genocidal war. Which ironically cripples Evil; had they worked together, the rest of the planes may have been in danger.

I'd disagree about the civilisation thing though. Tribals and 'primitives' can have very complex, ordered societies.

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Black_Lantern wrote:
Depends on the persons perspective of reality.

Absolutely not, not ever.

Alignment is universal.

An awful lot of evil people (especially LE) think what they are doing is right and for the best.

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Good/Evil alignment is simples.

For a start, it it universal, and has nothing to do with perception. Hitler was still evil, no matter if he thought he was doing it for the best reasons.

Good: 'I put the well-being of others before my own'.

Neutral: 'I treat others as they treat me'.

Evil: 'I don't mind harming others to get what I want.'

Good people aren't always heroes, just nice guys.

Evil people aren't always rapists or murderers, just jerks.

Not everyone is a paragon of their alignment.

I don't think Lawful means 'obeying the law', because you could have a LN or LE thieves guild which adheres to its own rules.

I've always felt Lawful means organised, traditional, group-orientated.

And Chaotic means maverick, individualist, mercurial.

And Conan is pretty much Neutral/unaligned; he's no hero. He's out for himself, but he doesn't harm anyone who hasn't harmed him.

Batman is LG, even if he works outside the law (and he actually works WITH the police). He has his own codes about guns and killing, for instance, and no problem working with groups like the JLA or Outsiders.

The most insane discrepancy is in the other group I run:

Sheela H the Mary-Sue Martial Artist

Str 16, Int 16, Wis 16, Dex 18, Con 16, Chr 17 (dual talent)

Chuffy the would-be Goblin Pathfinder

Str 7, Int 5, Wis 5, Dex 15, Con 6, Chr 3

Both players love their characters. Both do mannerisms, accents, and role-play their stats perfectly. The Chuffster is pretty damn useless at everything he does, but that's part of his charm.

Different strokes for different folks. And a good reason why I'll never use point buy.

Trinite wrote:
Even lawful good is theoretically possible. But it would probably turn the whole campaign into just one long exercise in trying to accommodate that alignment, so it's more trouble than it's worth.

Trinite, I liked the logistics of your all-paladin party.

But it didn't really address the issue of how they'd need to act when the AP assumes they will do evil deeds. Attacking innocent merchant ships and stuff, not helping innocent people who are being attacked.

I think you could do it, but you'd have to skip the whole pirate stuff like the Regatta and have the pirates simply as foes. Diplomacy might be possible, as not all the pirates are infatuated with their lifestyle, and might well come over to the other side in exchange for pardons, etc.

But I just don't see how it would work as written.

vikingson wrote:
Why exactly is wiping out goblins "better" than robbing the merchants ?

Because in the context of most games - say, Rise of the Runelords - the goblins are attacking or just attacked the helpless villagers.

If PCs just waded in and slaughtered a bunch of peaceful goblins (assuming such things might exist) , then that too would be evil.

Smuggling is merely chaotic, because it's a victimless crime against the law. Unless you kill or hurt innocent people in the process of it.

Robbing someone at knife-point - or attacking a merchant ship or caravan - is evil.

Neutral is 'do unto others', not 'evil-lite'.

Question for you Vikingson - how would good characters react when the AP pretty much forces them to do evil deeds? Yes, you can play non-evil, good-natured scoundrels... but you'd have to rework the AP to account for it, or handwave a LOT of what it presumes.

It feels like an 'evil AP', with it's Infamy rules and everything.

Attacking people who aren't attacking you goes beyond mere neutral. Neutral is 'do unto others'. I can't see how you could play S&S straight without an all-evil party.

We're playing Jade Regent now, but I've half a mind to completely rip the whole thing to shreds, respec it as the PCs as privateers and pirate-killers. Or Chelaxian agents supporting the lesser of two evils.

As Story Archer says, you could probably cut the whole pirate theme with some effort, and just run the maritime encounters.

Story Archer wrote:

My problem has always been two-fold...

The first is the presumption on all sides that you have to drape yourself in ever-escalating layers of magic to even participate in the game effectively... and the second is that magic is so rare and wonderous that it can be bought, sold and traded like baseball cards.
Personally I'd rather see characters created and developed where magic items are - at best - enhancements to them rather than the definition of them. Its almost as if players simply become platforms for magic items rained down on them by the Gods (or purchased en masse from ye Olde Magic Mart on the corner) and its the items themselves that are victorious in encounters rather than those privileged enough to wield them.


I'm not saying this is necessarily a PF thing, but I have seen versions of D&D where the magic items are the heroes and the characters just ciphers to carry them around.

NOT saying this is the case in PF, but I've seen it elsewhere.

Mike J wrote:
Oh, and the chain of Adventurer's Magic Marts(TM) in every hamlet, thorp, and strip mall will suddenly face severe economic headwinds and be forced to go out of business.

4E was worse.

As 4E characters are completely disconnected from every part of their world and NPCs, it suggested you had Magical Merchants (on dinosaurs!) show up at every nameless hamlet or thorp in the middle of the night.

Who needs immersion anyway? This ain't your parent's D&D...

Evil Lincoln wrote:

It's funny, but there's not a lot of reason the system can't be designed with no magic as a baseline, instead of the baseline we've got. In fact, in systems that did that, but still supported adding magic up to high magic using more or less the same tools we've got now, magic would sure as hell feel a lot more magical, wouldn't it?

There are some sacred cows we'll never see slaughtered, I suppose. But imagine how much less work it would be to manage NPC gear if these bonuses were in the background?

This, x 100

As I understand it, this is how the new D&D game is being built. No magic is baseline, handing out gear makes things easier to beat the opponents.

Crucially, it takes the choice of items away from the PCs, with all these 'buy it at half price' creation feats. In 4E, items were just extentions of the character, and were in the Player's handbook.

Winston Colt wrote:

Im not a number cruncher but is there some way that we can limit monsters as the CR raises to negate the Big 6 in low magic games?

For example
CR 1-4 all monsters as in the book
CR 4-8 monsters get a -1 to attack, damage, ac and spell DC's
CR 9-12 monsters get a -2 to attack, damage, ac and spell DC's
PC's need the pluses to attack to over come monsters increased AC's but if we lower those stats shown in book periodically wont it all work out in the end somehow?

This is what I did in 4E. Just 'unbaked' the bonuses out of the monsters. That way, I could still give out +1 items and they felt special, a bonus you couldn't get any other way.

Haven't done it in PF yet, or even seen if it's possible. But I'd expect it is, reverse-engineering the WBL rules.

And oh, I'm very much looking forward to the new Iconics/NPC book to see it they have cool items, or the ones with the dull little necessary bonuses.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Let me also add that I have no intention of "winning" this discussion or making anyone else look foolish.

Of course. I very much appreciate your willingness to debate. The Pathfinder Boards seem by and large, a very constructive and sensible forum. Unlike some other boards I could mention.

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Thanks for the new thread, Evil Abe. Appreciate it so we're not diverting the other thread.

While I like 3rd edition, I think allowing PCs to choose their own magic items is a big mistake. 4E made it worse too. Sure I was indulging in hyperbole, but it annoys me no end that these bonuses are baked into the maths and pretty much force you to have certain items at certain levels to keep up with the maths.

This means:

a) it's hard to run a low magic or no magic game
b) magic becomes mundane, and it's not special any more
c) Xmas tree effect, where the characters simply have too many items

I prefer my games to feel like fantasy novels or movies, not videogames where you get sacks of vendor trash in every session. I like Diablo, but I don't want its economy in my D&D, thanks.

I've never seen a solution that works properly. And I wonder if this kind of book shouldn't make some sort of attempt to do just that.

My worry was that the new magic item book will have loads of stuff nobody ever uses because they just want the items with the dull little bonuses that help you keep up with the math.

The new 'D&D Next' or whatever it will be called has specified it will not do this, that magic items will always give you a benefit over what is 'expected'. And that's the ONE thing that might lure me away from PF.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
WBL is a guideline for GMs, not a hard cap on distribution.

No, what I meant was that magic items are hardwired into the 3rd edition progression rules.

This book could have loads of neat amulets, cloaks, rings, belts etc that nobody is ever going to use because NOT taking the 'Big Six' apparently gimps your character into complete unplayability...

Don't want to be a downer, but doesn't the absolute tyranny of the Wealth By Level rules completely negate any value of a book like this?

Any new magic items that share spaces with the 'Big Six' are never going to get used?

Not only do I want it...

...I want a Dejah Thoris expy on the front.

Illustrated by Wayne Reynolds.

A Distant Worlds AP would be awesome. I mostly ran Dark Sun that way back in the day.

hellacious huni wrote:
Anlerran wrote:

The way I DM/GM is similar to the A B C's you presented but I have a D and E:

d) Sometimes life gives you lemons.
To mix metaphors, do the players make cancerade? That's up to them. We all like a little, "whoops" in our D&D.
e) Sometimes you eat the dog, and sometimes the dog eats you.
Stupidity isn't the only thing that kills my players; mistakes can be made based on intelligent decisions that just didn't work out. Plans fall through. Even Indiana Jones can tell you he's lost a lot of friends.
That's all.

Fair comment, HH!

You sound like a decent and fun GM!

Selgard wrote:

So you do kill 'em for doin stuff that's stupid.

That goes counter to your original post- which is what he was replying to.

Well, my original post was that it was 'unlikely' a plot-central character would die in my games.

Because while I'm happy to kill characters who do stupid things, I'm fortunate not to have to play with stupid players any more.

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Lord Fyre wrote:
hellacious huni wrote:
The party, while screwing

An AP where the party advances the quests and gais experience by sexual (not violent) means ...

(i.e., Book of Erotic Fantasy as an adventure path.)

I've ran 'Isle of Dread' that way!

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hellacious huni wrote:
With all due respect, if PC's don't think they can die they get spoiled. Please don't take that to mean that I think you're DMing is "wrong" because if you're having fun and they're having fun, you're doing it "right."

And with all due respect, as a GM of 30+ years, I think I know my style by now.

I've had a handful of PCs die over the years, but it's made sense to the story.

They normally die if:

a) they do something stupid

b) they do something evil and karma gets them

c) the player goes out in a blaze of glory or something else that's appropriate.

For the last decade or so, I've been lucky enough to have a group of players that doesn't do stupid or evil things, leaving only (c) as cause of death.

Throwing disposable characters into a meat grinder simply isn't my idea of D&D, especially on an adventure path. Hell, I even had the idea of Jade Regent being narrated by an older Ameiko as a tale from her youth. Some of the best stories I've told have been 'framed narratives'.

hellacious huni wrote:
I have night terrors about one of my *important* PC's dying though!

It would be an exceptionally unusual occurence for a PC to die in any game I run, unless it was cinematically appropriate.

Tem wrote:
Imagine Jade Regent where one of the *players* was Ameiko. That would be awesome.

Just started our JR campaign as this. One of the players wanted to play a female 'heir to the throne' and I convinced them to take on a 1st level Ameiko. So far it has indeed been awesome.

James, can I ask if there are any plans to have more Wayne Reynolds art on Paizo products? Perhaps Adventure Path covers or something? I think the last one was Jade Empire...

Strife2002 wrote:

When UC came out, Samurai and Ninja got their own layouts similar to all the other classes.

They have their own iconics and everything too.

(except the antipaladin, which I don't think was really intended as a PC class anyway)

magnuskn wrote:
I'd really like to see more of the common races being played ( other than humans, which always seem like the "to-go" race with many. Strange that. ^^ ).

Too many adventuring groups these days resemble the Tattooine Cantina at chucking-out time...

The ARG wasn't the cheese-fest I feared it would be, but it still feels like 'Pathfinder: Furries Edition!'...

And still nothing to replace Multi-Talented for a single-class half-elf (unless he's an arcane caster)?

1) BECMI and Mystara, in all their incarnations. Chateau D'Amberville was an amazing role-playing experienced, really taught me a lot about GMing (and French accents!) Wrath of the Immortals and Hollow World adventures were outstanding. Mystara has never been bettered as a setting IMO.

2) The second wave of AD&D - Ravenloft, Dragonlance, Saltmarsh, Desert of Desolation. This actually saved D&D for me - I started a few years earlier but gave up because I detested all the plotless Greyhawk garbage like Slavers/Giants/ToEE. None of that captured the epic feel I wanted... until the second wave came along.

3) Pathfinder. It seems pretty much everything I wanted 3rd edition to be, but wasn't.

I'm about to run this one, and the players actually want to run some of the pregens (amended a bit to be first level). I loved the way all the Traits tie into one another.

I think the 'rebellious secret princess' is a classic trope more than a Mary Sue to be honest.

Anyway, looks like the players decided Ameiko and Shaelu each have a huge-but-unrevealed crush on each other, so it should be an interesting game!

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R_Chance wrote:
You rolled 3d6 in order (Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, Dexterity, Charisma -- different order back then).

An I the only one who still puts them in this order?

In thirty years of gaming, I've used point buy exactly ONCE.

Aranna wrote:

Savage Species is a good counter point... but the LA system used was very punitive. This is probably the real reason monster characters weren't widespread. At least in my opinion. It doesn't sound like the new race book will be punitive at all.

That was kinda my fear... Mechanically, who would play a human over these cheesy four-armed things?

I'm not saying 'the sky is falling!'. Just concerned about power-creep, in a game that so far seems to balance power and choices.

As Aranna said, the 3.5 debacle didn't happen overnight.

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