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***** Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden 11,934 posts (12,684 including aliases). 138 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 29 Organized Play characters. 5 aliases.


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Sovereign Court

I think "bottlenecking" is a term that frames the discussion rather heftily. How many feats do you need to be a viable archer ranger? 1-2.

The "bottleneck" I think is a push to actually make it harder for all archer rangers to be duplicates.

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Locotomo wrote:

P.27 Multiclassing:

Casting spells is an exception—when determining caster level, a character adds together his levels from different spellcasting classes (such as mystic and technomancer).

Well wadda ya know. That's pretty explicit.

This one definitely goes on the list of fundamental changes between Pathfinder and Starfinder that happened without any fanfare.

Of course, caster level doesn't matter nearly as much in Starfinder - spells rarely scale by level. It mostly matters for Spell Resistance and range, particularly close range spells. And I'm okay with those being a sum, it helps multiclasses casters stay relevant.

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scary harpy wrote:

I wanted to thank everyone who recommended Sandpoint. I bought it and found it an interesting read.

It's simpler if your definition of simple includes:

<snip>

I think you're mixing up the general setup of the campaign world ("Sandpoint is a remote village in a typical half-wilderness corner of the world full of things for adventurers to explore") with the content of subsequent adventures there ("all these crazy things that most people don't know about until they run into them").

You don't really need to know all of those things you mentioned to play in there, you'll find out about some of them during the adventures. You just have to have an idea of Sandpoint being about this big, has a relation to a couple of other towns, the climate is kinda like that, etc.

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Interesting. The big question is, do you want to go full on PF2 style, with class feats and all that, or do you just want to bolt a three action economy on for now?

I think you should not be too scared of making some abilities work differently, as long as they keep doing the essential same task.

I agree with most of your conversions. Also think some actions are no longer quite necessary.

CHARGE: no longer an action. With three action economy people can just Stride, Stride, Strike. It also gets rid of a lot of irritating things like what exactly constitutes a free path (can you jump during a charge?).

BLITZ-Charge Attack and SOLARIAN-Stellar Rush: these are now 2-action abilities with Stride Twice then Strike, like Sudden Charge in PF2.

COUP DE GRACE: making it a three action activity makes it harder than in SF/PF1, where you could 5ft step into position. Simple fix: make it include a Step. I don't think we want to make it a 2 action activity because we don't want people to Stride and then Coup de Grace. Note that PF2 doesn't even have Coup de Grace, you could also consider removing it from the game entirely.

FIGHT DEFENSIVELY: not sure about this one. It's notably missing in PF2 where it would probably clash with the tight AC math. On the other hand there are more abilities that just let you spend an action to gain a circumstance bonus to AC for having a shield or wielding two weapons or something.

TOTAL DEFENSE: I think importing the Take Cover action from PF2 makes sense, also for its use in enabling Stealth.

RUN: not really needed anymore IMO. It's 4x your speed for going in a straight line, compared to just Striding 3x, in any curvy way you want. Given how rarely I've been able to run in a straight line for significant distance, I think we may as well just eliminate this and make the system smaller.

WITHDRAW: also not required anymore. Just Step and then Stride a couple of times.

TRIPLE/QUAD ATTACK: question is if you want to keep the old effect of not being able to move. I would say yes - mobility belongs to Trick Attack and can be gained from Haste. So I'd say that this is a triple action with reduced MAP that does three, later four strikes. Kind of like a PF2 ranger's twin takedown with the MAP-reducing hunter's edge.

HASTE: I'd say this just gives you one extra action that can be used to Stride or Step.

TRICK ATTACK: I always hated how hard it was to draw a weapon and trick attack, that really hobbled concealed weapon builds, which you would expect operatives to be good at. So I'd say this is a 2-action activity with the Open trait that lets you Stride, then Stride, and increases MAP as if you had taken two attacks.

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I'm not really convinced that caster level isn't equal to "your class level in that caster class".

The first quote from page 330 comes from the middle of a section, but earlier in that section it says:

p.330 wrote:
Once you’ve chosen a spell to cast, take note of its spell level, and then determine the caster level at which you cast it. A spell’s spell level (also referred to as simply “a spell’s level”) defines at what class level you can cast the spell.

This brings in 'class level' again. I still think whatever experience you have as a mystic has no bearing on how well you cast technomancer spells. Your class level as a technomancer determines how good you are at technomancy.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

This scenario was written before the "advanced" CP scaling. Do the same as in 01,02,03 :)

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Divine Lance is built on the idea that fiends have a Weakness towards Good damage, and so forth for the other outsiders.

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WatersLethe wrote:
My experience as a Soldier 1/Solarian X has been hitting the floor and spending resolve to not die every other session, starting at my very first time...

Are you often going up against high-CR enemies or something? I'm finding the Dead Suns AP to be comfortably easy.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Doing a bit of "try before you buy" with the Core Rulebook is innocent enough. Using material from five different books without buying them is clearly not intended.

And yeah, the PDFs are very convenient, and fulfill the ownership requirement.

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Metaphysician wrote:
I think, in retrospect, Paizo should have been a *lot* more conservative with the poison/disease effects. Not only are the new rules much nastier than Pathfinder, but they are so qualitatively different that no one has the experience or instincts for how to handle it. Deadly combination.

It might have been better to put in some showcase encounters with them, with the book actually taking a few paragraphs to brief the GM on "pay attention to this, this might be new to you or your players". Don't make it a random side ability of the monster, make it the main topic of that encounter.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Dustin Knight wrote:

How are people doing the discovery checks? Are you just asking the PCs what to do, or kinda guiding them on if they get stuck? "You could ford the river to make it easier to cross. Would you like to try?"

It looks like it'll be a healthy mix of both depending on how stuck or how creative my players are being, especially with some discoveries being the kind of thing no one (other than an experienced mountaineer) would "think to look out for" (like looking for potential meltwater hazards you can only see from a high vantage point). The characters should be far more capable mountaineers than my players! (Like it says in the scenario.)

I think the neatest way of doing this is to start out by offering one or two of the things they can do, especially if they are already sort of talking in that direction. Or if they mention something close to a stated goal say "well, you could..."

I would offer all of the options eventually, because it can be hard for a player to read the writer's mind :P But if you can pace it so that a lot of the time you're responding to the players' ideas and have to help them only a little, it's even nicer.

When I ran it I put a cup in the middle of the table and put in a bead every time they earned a discovery point, showing them making progress. That isn't something I'd do in every adventure with a points mechanic, but in this one I think the PCs should have a clear feeling that they're achieving stuff.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Ward Davis wrote:

How have others handled characters with the Forager feat? I'm trying to decide how to incorporate it at my table.

I'm really excited to run this, thank you Tineke!

It didn't come up when I ran it, but I would have probably given a +2 circumstance bonus to the Survival checks for travel between areas.

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Ray of Frost has a lot more range.

Produce Flame is a bit odd, but being able to set fires has utility value and critters like mummies are hilariously vulnerable to it. It feels like they were trying to do something clever with the melee attack but I'm not seeing it. Maybe the idea was that the melee attack would auto-hit?

Acid Splash is splash damage, so efficient against swarms. But I have to say that swarms are not as horrible anymore anyway because they can also be hurt with the other cantrips.

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WatersLethe wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
(...)

All true, but there's also the aspect of opportunity costs to consider. Like, you can spend a feat for the ability to spend a resolve point to do something, or you could spend a feat for a bonus that's always there, and you get to still have all your resolve available to not die.

When comparing options that you haven't done the math on, it's pretty easy to justify ignoring non-health Resolve abilities when you know for sure that using them directly correlates with your likelihood of death, and at some point you're going to be locked out of using the Resolve ability based on whatever dire straits your resolve pool is in.

Maybe it's illogical, or mathematically inferior, to ignore lots of resolve abilities, but having a nice big resolve buffer is a nice psychological boon.

For what it's worth, there are quite a few Resolve abilities that are good and useful to me, they just are primarily about not dying. If there was a big push to make more non-health related Resolve abilities, it would largely be irrelevant to me and my group. I just think Resolve is best suited for health management, and things like Focus are better utility pools.

Yeah, but try seeing it from the other side. My Soldier 1/Solarian 10 has a strength of 22 so he has 11 resolve. He also has a ton of stamina, good armor, deals fire and electricity damage to any enemies that hit him and has DR 11/- as well as resistance 5 or 10 against most elements. I generally go 2 fights before I'm halfway through my stamina and decide to play safe and spend a point of resolve to fill it up again. So to really make me nervous about resolve it would have to have about 16 encounters. That's more than a full level worth of encounters.

So I'd be pretty comfortable spending some resolve on this and that.

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Considering how much easier it is for a caster to also use weapons properly, and for a martial to also get some spells, I'd call this the gish edition.

And if you see how many options elves have to get spells, "I remember when elf was a class" doesn't sound so ancient anymore.

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I'm picking my way through LOCG and I'm quite blown away. The artwork is gorgeous, and what's also great, it's well-labelled. Almost every heritage or ethnicity has artwork.

Elves, dwarves, gnomes, halflings, all get interesting ethnicities and heritages instead of the usual "well humans are really diverse, other races are super homogeneous" that we're used to in nearly all RPGs.

I haven't gotten to the organizations part of the book yet, but so far I'm seriously impressed.

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Zero the Nothing wrote:

I'm looking forward to an Unchained Solarian in a few years(wishful thinking, I know), maybe plug something into those dead levels. No arbitrary "balance" aspect with the whole Photon/Graviton stuff. More options for damage type other than fire?

WatersLethe wrote:

Resolve as anything but a health management mechanic was a total flop for my group. We all actively avoid options with a Resolve cost unless it directly relates to HP or avoiding death.

That's another reason I'd love to get a PF2 addon for Starfinder conversion.

Same here, I hate Resolve fueled class options and feats. I'm not trying to use my "Can I make it through the day alive?" pool to do cool tricks. Hard to be frivolous with those points when you didn't max out your Charisma and you're constantly being dropped in combat from being the only person not behind cover the entire time.

I think this is a problem with the Solarian being MAD and their resolve stat not doing enough for them apart from resolve.

Operatives, soldiers, mystics.. plenty of resolve. Their resolve stat is the same stat they use to attack, the stat you want to max. Max Dex, Dex/Str or Wis. So a level 1 soldier, mystic or operative can expect to have 4-5 resolve while a solarian has 1-3. By level 10 the difference has flattened a bit though, say 11-12 vs. 9-11.

As for "frivolous" tricks or survival, compare that to Pathfinder (1) clerics: should they reserve all their spells for healing, or use some spells to win fights faster and give monsters less time to deal damage?

So yeah, a resolve ability does need to be good enough to be worth it, but as a player you have to weigh risks instead of categorically avoiding them.

Sovereign Court

Interesting, hadn't seen that argument before.

Some quick math adds support to your theory. Let's say that our barbarian gets smashed to pulp but survives. And we have a low-wisdom goblin rogue surgeon. *looks at draft PFS character pile*

At level 6 our barbarian has Con 16 and 8+(6*15)=98 HP
Our doctor can do Expert DC healing with Assurance and Continual Recovery for an average 19 HP per 10 minutes. It takes a bit over 50 minutes to heal the barbarian.

After that the rate drops, because the next step up in DC is 10 more and with Legendary+Assurance we won't get there until level 13. Until then it just keeps taking almost 10 minutes more per barbarian level to fully heal this way. At level 12 the barbarian has Con 18 and 8+(12*16)= 200hp, which takes more than 10 Treat Wounds actions to heal.

At level 13 the rogue gets Legendary medicine and he can do the DC 30 on Assurance, so now he's healing 39hp per 10 minutes against the barbarian's 216HP so we need only 6 rounds of Treat Wounds.

---

Now, part of this is due to Assurance, it blocks off using Wisdom and getting item bonuses, so we're rather slow getting to the tipping points for using higher DCs.

I think most of the time you can count on one round of Treat Wounds after a battle (while people regain focus, repair shields, and identify loot), and maybe 1-2x extra. But 6-11x treat wounds per battle is unlikely. Of course, PCs aren't supposed to burn through their entire health each combat either.

But getting some other supplementary healing is definitely going to be needed.

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SuperBidi wrote:
Treat Wounds is not supposed to be able to put everyone to top between fights. It's just there to reduce the use of resources on healing.

I'm not convinced this is a categorical truth. It's a pretty big statement of opinion that there is one particular way you're supposed to let players use Treat Wounds as a GM.

I think rather that the idea is that in PF2 time between encounters is supposed to be a dial that GMs can twist to increase or decrease pressure. Note how there are a bunch of frequent 10 minute post-combat activities: repairing shields, recovering focus, identify magic items, and treat wounds. Several of these may take more than one try.

By giving or taking away opportunities to spend one or more 10 minute phases between encounters, GMs can increase tension or give a respite. You can do some easy encounters with no respite between them (making the total series harder) or give a longer respite before or after a big fight.

Players can also do things to increase their time, like laying false trails or finding hiding spots that give them more time to recover. The amount of respite could be the result of a skill challenge.

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As a GM, I think the key books are:
- Core Rulebook
- Alien Archive 1 (monsters, and how to build monsters and NPCs)
- Pact Worlds (setting)

As a player the key books are:
- Core Rulebook
- Armory (lots of crunch)
- Pact Worlds (setting)

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Christian Dragos wrote:
I really hope they do playtesting for new classes and races the way they did for Occult Adventures: Playtest a new class and depending on how many scenarios you played you got a special boon and got to continue playing it - updating the PC to how the class was presented in the book.

I'm hoping for something markedly different: more like the way it was done in Starfinder for SCOM. As in, you can bring playtest characters in as a sort of self-built pregens for just one session. This allows people to try out more of the higher level content, so that generates a bigger spectrum of data. It also lowers the stakes for getting your character creation choices right. You can try different builds for the same new class every time too.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

logsig wrote:
Simon Kort wrote:

Alright! I can use some opinions on this. I am hard at work coding in more robust reporting tools.

[...] Opinions? Suggestions?

Suggestion: show which char received the credit for GMing (could be none, if re-running).

Yeah, when you have a lot of characters it can get harder to remember if the GM credit for that particular adventure is on this particular character. (It's usually easier to remember you played something with that character, than that you assigned the GM credit to the character.)

Considering how many different modes of replay there are (and Paizo's likelihood of adding even more subtly different ways), I'd say go light on the technological enforcement of replay rules. Being able to keep notes is probably more useful than trying to cover all the odd cases.

Adding character numbers (-701 etc) instead of only naames might also be useful to schedulers. Many players have odd names for their characters, numbers are a bit less ambiguous.

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LuisCarlos17Fe wrote:
How should be the XPs reward when high-tech allow a easier or harder fight? What if you can drive a heavy truck to run over a horde of zombies. A goblin with an axe and a shield is cannon fodder but that monster with the same stats but with a sniper rifle from the top of a tree, or a window in a building can be too dangerous for PCs without ranged attacks.

If you look at actual Starfinder adventures, you notice that high tech just about makes it doable to fight on-level enemies, it's the baseline. If you had to do it with medieval weaponry that would actually make the encounters harder than normal.

However, sometimes (quite rarely) you can deploy ship weapons against what was scripted as a regular combat encounter. One time we figured out where the monster's lair was and we only wanted it dead, from a safe distance. We didn't expect it to have any important loot or information. So we nuked the entire lair from orbit.

Now how do you do that with XP? Well, if it's a rare thing, don't sweat it, just give XP. But you can also take a step back and wonder "why am I giving XP for killing monsters anyway?"

White Wolf, Shadowrun, Eclipse Phase all give more XP for achieving story objectives or character growth and just some points if "there was danger", without caring about how many enemies specifically you confronted. So it really isn't a universal law that you have to do XP for combats.

Milestone leveling is a popular alternative. Adventure Paths tend to have an entry in the beginning saying "the PCs should be level X before they enter Y", and as a GM instead of tracking XP you can just tell people they level to X when they get to Y.

Because with milestones your level progression isn't based on monsters fought but on how far you get in the story, it encourages players to play differently. There's no use in grinding dumb monsters without treasure, it's okay to evade tough risky fights if you don't actually need that particular creature dead. So scouting and sneaking become more important tactics.

This is a good example of how "universal" systems really aren't that universal. If your game rules say you must kill monsters to progress, players have a reason to hunt down every stupid mook in every room. If your rules say characters advance by achieving story goals, players will focus on those. And if your rules say characters grow if they have personal growth/RP moments, combat becomes even less important to the game.

So depending on the kind of game you want, pick an XP/leveling system that encourages the desired playstyle.

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RAW, there's nothing in the rules that makes mindless undead immune to flanking. If the mindless trait would make monsters immune to flat-footed or flannking, it would have said so in the Bestiary entry for Mindless (p. 347: spoiler: it doesn't).

IMO, mindless creatures being immune to feinting is wrongheaded thinking that persisted from PF1 and before. Anyone who's played console games against predictable computer opponents knows that mindless opponents can be tricked.

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Also, I'm sorry, but I'm not really inclined to go read anything on a site that I can't even read without disabling adblock.

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My key question for class balance is: would you rather have a party with all-casters, no casters at all, or a mix? If the marginal gain from adding a fourth fighter is lower than that from adding a wizard, then I think we're on to something.

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Why would you want to have a totally universal game system? Nearly always you can make each individual campaign better by picking a rule set that closely supports the particular kind of game you want to play.

IIRC, Eclipse Phase for example doesn't give XP for killing monsters, but it does give it for succeeding at missions.

An easy fix if you're worried about this is to just no longer do XP; just level people up after about three adventures or so.

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If Battle Medicine carries all the limitations of Treat Wounds, does it also have the benefit of removing the Wounded condition?

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Ravingdork wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.

This seems like a perfectly normal and plausible scenario to me.

I know I've done similar things before.

"Why did you just up and say the werewolf escaped? I had a real chance of recapturing him! Though he fled into the woods, that wouldn't have slowed me due to woodland stride."

"There were other factors in play that your character was unaware of. With your current abilities, it was impossible for you to keep up."

Sure feels like a loss of player agency. I couldn't even attempt something because of GM say so.

Well, that wasn't handled with maximum elegance by the GM. It sounds a bit to me like "as a GM I made up my mind it would go like this, but now the player pulls out an ability that might foil that".

Could be several possibilities here:
- The GM forgot about the player's ability. This is a good moment to say "hey you really surprised me with that, let me have five minutes to think about that". After that you can come back and say "okay, so you do have a chance, let's see if you succeed", or perhaps "well, yeah, you might succeed, but I really hadn't counted on that and I think the story would be more fun if you don't. So I'm going to just rule that you fail, but you do get a hero point as consolation for me blatantly blocking you here".

- The GM knows why the player's attempt wouldn't work. The more elegant thing here could be to perhaps do an abbreviated version of the scene, where the player still doesn't manage to catch the werewolf, but does gain some clue about why, which gives the players more insight into the adventure plot.

Basically, saying "offscreen you try and try but fail" is a bit too little effort. Saying "offscreen you try and try but fail, because of X" is better, especially if knowing about X is useful. You can still abbreviate a long scene that will just end in failure, which can help limit frustration.

---

On the other hand, if you're actually demanding to audit the GM's written records of all rolls made in secret, then there's been some catastrophic breakdown in trust around the table. In a healthy group the players should be able to trust that the GM has the players' fun as a main objective.

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We'll have to wait until the Lost Omens Character Guide to know for sure. However, if we look at the World Guide, none of the archetypes were written to only work for one class.

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Expectations:

- Patrons will be a big deal. Which patron you have will determine more about which powers you get than in PF1, kinda like a PF1 shaman maybe. Some of your hexes will depend on your choice of patron.

- Patrons are going to have anathemas, kinda like barbarian instincts also have anathemas. It's not just for divine casters anymore.

- Hexes are probably going to be a bit like compositions

- Cackling might work a bit like Dragon Roar in that you prevent enemies from ticking down a condition that normally ticks down every round.

- Use of the Incapacitation trait to avoid PF1 slumber/ice tomb situations where bosses get one-shot before they can do anything.

- Now that undead (and some other creature types) have far fewer immunities, there should be less of those annoying "yeah I know I've been boringly spamming the same hex all session, but the monsters are immune to everything else".

- Witches will probably use the "spooky" occult spell list as a main, but patrons let you dip a bit into the other lists, like a healing patron (some divine spells) or an elemental patron (primal).

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I think as a simple (and therefore not 100% correct, but generally usable) rule of thumb, Con 12 is the minimum to aim for in PF2 like Con 14 was a good minimum in PF1.

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Saldiven wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

It's two-fold.

First, it lets the player feel like it's their own role, assuming they care about such things.

Second, it provides evidence of the roll used for the check in case a player ever feels like you fudged the die roll one way or the other.

Has that ever occurred? Has anyone who's as a GM asked people "roll 10d20 and write down the results for me to use on secret checks" ever been made to give an accounting on how those rolls were then used? Because how would you even do that? How could you as a player say "you didn't correctly use my good roll on check #8" and the GM not just go "yeah I used #9 because your good roll for #8 was used on a save that you passed so nothing happened".

Do you really audit your GMs that way? If you've got that little trust, who are you playing with?

To me it seems like a lot of effort to set up a system that could and would never be enforced so it seems like just a lot of pointless ritual.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

Ideally the bar is set so that it's still within reach of people who only play, but noticeably more in reach for people who also GM, and makes it attractive to GM at cons.

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WatersLethe wrote:

Resolve as anything but a health management mechanic was a total flop for my group. We all actively avoid options with a Resolve cost unless it directly relates to HP or avoiding death.

That's another reason I'd love to get a PF2 addon for Starfinder conversion.

I dunno, as you get higher level and have like 11 resolve lying around, and don't need to spend more than a point every two fights or so to regain stamina, you start looking for other things to spend it on.

I kinda like the thrill of "well I might need this to survive later, but I want to use it now to defeat enemies faster..."

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SuperBidi wrote:
Disrupt Prey has so many limitations: Only against prey, not against ranged attacks. If it's only advantage over Attack of Opportunity is that you get it 2 levels earlier and that it disrupts movements, it's not worth taking.

The advantage is that you don't have to multiclass for it. So it's at least one feat cheaper than dipping fighter for it, and it doesn't clog up your opportunities to multiclass into something else.

But if you really think it should be a free action, can you explain how rangers are supposed to use Snap Shot?

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How is having people preroll d20s instead of you rolling them not really just a sop to superstition?

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Wow. This blew up while I was at work.

Dragonstriker wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
I really don't understand what you're talking about here. Are you saying the GM takes away the player's agency by respecting the player's choice to ask a question that turns out to be a poor one?

(...)

Why are you trying to rip off your players? Why are you devaluing their choices in building characters and choosing how to spend resources? THAT’S why it’s removing player agency.

Talk about putting words in my mouth.

I don't see a huge difference between PF1 and PF2 knowledge checks. In both cases, a success earns the player some useful knowledge.

It's long been customary in PF1 to let people ask questions because the idea is that players know best what sort of information would be useful to them. This isn't necessarily a correct belief - I've seen a lot of people ask for vulnerabilities in PF1 while in PF1 monsters with vulnerabilities are quite rare. And some things people never think to ask about, such as "does it have a gaze attack that will mess us up if we come within 30ft?"

Interestingly, PF1 doesn't really codify in the rules that players can pose questions, it's just a service the GM provides to help ensure "useful information". It would be perfectly acceptable by PF1 RAW for the GM to decide by himself what information to give. It would be a breach of the rules though if he gave useless information.

PF2 isn't all that different. The cost of attempting Recall Knowledge has gone up a bit; it takes an action, and there's a chance of misinformation, and success doesn't yield as much pieces of information as a dedicated lore character could get in PF1. So it does seem fair that the GM be extra diligent in ensuring any information really is useful.

Still, we have this habit of saying "so what kind of information would be useful to you?". If a player has a burning question ("will my favorite spell work on it") then there's nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, the rules don't stop the GM from supplying different information if he thinks it would be more useful. "You don't know if your spell will work, but it has a nasty gaze attack."

Here you basically get an inter-agency squabble:
- The first agency was the player choosing to spend an action on Recall Knowledge to learn something useful. The GM can fulfill this choice to the best by deciding what information to give.
- The other agency in having your choice of question honored, even if it was not actually (20/20) the best question to ask.

That's a very theoretical issue and I don't think it's that relevant. Because the accusation here seems to be that the GM maliciously answers your bad question (fulfilling one of your agencies) while using that to withhold other more useful information (frustrating your other agency). If the GM is actually being malicious though, and hiding behind technicalities, your problem isn't some esoteric agency-theoretic problem, but that the person across the table from you is not being a good friend to play with.

Sovereign Court

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I think a lot of the "too comedy" comes from players playing kitchen sink characters. If you look at the actual scenarios, they range from pretty dark to pretty lighthearted.

So basically, you want to sit your friends down on a couch and ask "hey guys, what kind of campaign do we want to play, cuz we can take it in many directions. But it's on all of us to make it work."

Sovereign Court

SuperBidi wrote:

Hi everyone,

I'm curious about the trigger "leaves a square during a move action". I've seen rules to avoid triggering multiple actions with the same trigger, but no rules to avoid triggering multiple triggers with the same action. So, with actions like Disrupt Prey, am I right to assume that this trigger will be triggered at each square, leading to a potentially crazy number of attacks?

I think disrupt prey is supposed to be a reaction, and that they printed the wrong symbol. It would be the only feat of this kind to be a free action instead of a reaction. Also, other ranger feats like Snap Shot imply that the ranger should have a reaction ability to work with.

Sovereign Court

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thenobledrake wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:
Agency doesn't mean all your choices will be good ones, just that you have real choices.
The choice between getting a die roll that provides useful information if successful and getting a die roll that will not provide you useful information no matter how it goes is not a real choice.

I really don't understand what you're talking about here. Are you saying the GM takes away the player's agency by respecting the player's choice to ask a question that turns out to be a poor one?

Sovereign Court

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thenobledrake wrote:

Categorical questions can still be bad questions to ask because if the GM answers them you've not gained useful information about the creature.

And "you can spend an action, succeed at a skill roll, and still get nothing" - which is what happens if a player asks a bad question and it gets answered - is pretty much the definition of reducing player agency.

How do you define agency? The base rules have agency only in deciding whether or not to Recall Knowledge. The GM tries to offer the player more agency by letting the player choose what kind of knowledge he might recall. The player exercised their agency by making a poor choice - but that's still agency. Agency doesn't mean all your choices will be good ones, just that you have real choices. The player could have also said "no I don't want to ask a specific question, just tell me what you think would be useful". The player chose not to do that, and that happened to be a poor choice. But it was a real choice.

Sovereign Court

SuperBidi wrote:
Fumarole wrote:
One nice thing about using the system this way is that I can make a secret roll against one of their skills without their knowledge that a check is even happening, such as when they approach a hazard, so that they are not tipped off that something may be about to happen.

How do you handle conditional and temporal bonuses (and penalties)?

It's always what annoys me (as a player) with secret checks. I have to remind the GM all bonuses and penalties I have. And if he does them completely secretly, I'm certainly screwed of a part of them.

It seems there aren't as many of these. I rather hope it stays that way, but probably writers can't resist the urge to fill books with circumstantial crunch.

Sovereign Court

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I consider the whole "roll me dice that I'll then secretly interpret for you", either with prerolling or with some kind of obfuscated dice tower, to be verging on superstition. I'm not a fan.

Just say "I want to recall knowledge on the shambling corpse" and I'll look up your skill on your initiative card, roll, and tell you what you think you know.

Sovereign Court

Gaterie wrote:
tivadar27 wrote:
Gaterie wrote:
In Golarion, casting Magic missile on your subordinate because you don't like their answer isn't evil. This is an established fact.
Umm, wut?

This is what Iomedae does in Wrath of the Righteous.

(iomedae is a Good goddess: i'm not talking about a random non-evil NPC or an evil character with warped view. I'm talking about one of the few character whose actions define what "Good" means.)

You can't have your objective morality and then say that it's one writer's rather disliked take on Iomedae midway in one AP that defines it. That's rather, well, subjective.

Also, what happens in first edition stays in first edition. Otherwise we might as well grab random D&D editions and quote incompatible alignment rules at each other :P

In Pathfinder 2, BBEG who uses Magic Missile on a subordinate because he doesn't like an answer isn't casting a spell with the [Evil] trait, but the act itself could still be evil:

CRB p. 29 wrote:
Your character has an evil alignment if they’re willing to victimize others for their own selfish gain, and even more so if they enjoy inflicting harm.

Bonus points for any other evil overlord list offenses.

Sovereign Court

BellyBeard wrote:
Eoni wrote:


What I kind of wish overall is that wands were destroyed due to overclocking, just broken. That way it wouldn't hurt so much to attempt the flat check since you'd be able to repair it later.
The intention is "I need to cast this a second time or we might die, so I'm gonna risk it". The intention is not giving you 2-4 casts depending on how lucky you are. If you could just repair wands it would lend towards the latter use. Just think of them as 1/day,and 1 extra if you really, really need it.

Indeed.

In fact, even if you lowered the chance of a wand going kaput to 10%, people would still be wringing their hands over it.

But by the time you can buy low-level wands by the bucketload, you can afford to chance some of them.

Sovereign Court

Belabras wrote:
Both augments are natural weapons that the receiver is proficient in, but they do not automatically get Specialization for, they must spend a feat at or after 3rd level.

I'm not sure why you want to call them natural weapons. They're manufactured, so they're not natural. They just happen to be implanted. Since they're manufactured, you can add fusions and that's actually a good reason why you'd want them. You can scale the damage dice to be in line with other (one-handed) melee weapons, and call them Basic or Advanced as appropriate.

I'm not sure about your "must buy a feat" idea. There are a few uncategorized weapons, mostly shuriken, but natural attacks are basic melee weapons, right at the top of the chart. So without a feat, all classes would just get the 1x weapon specialization (or 0.5x, since it's operative).

Belabras wrote:
I wrote the retractable claws to be 1/2 level to damage, but I can double check for clarity.

You could even split them into two variants: small discreet operative claws and big brutal berserker claws. Because if you're not a Dex-based fighter, you probably don't want the operative trait since it halves your weapon specialization.

Belabras wrote:
Natural weapons don’t seem to have a weapon category.

Natural weapons are a bit weird (see Ring of Fangs debate), but basically, they're a variant of unarmed strike that ignores most of the downsides of unarmed strikes. So they're basic melee weapons, you can't enchant them, they have 1d3 damage but accelerated weapon specialization. I don' think you should be able to keep the accelerated weapon specialization if you get rid of the downsides (no fusion, small die, even with Improved Unarmed Strike).

There's a bit more info on natural weapons in the Universal Monster Rules for Alien Archive 3.

Belabras wrote:

No fusions unless a mechanic for adding fusions to natural weapons becomes available.

Because they are natural weapons no action is required to ‘draw’ them.

Like I said, they're not natural, so I don't think they should be natural weapons. And that's an advantage. If you added for example big honking berserker claws, as a vesk you could consider getting those instead of your natural ones, so that you can enchant them with some of the good fusions (Opportunistic, Holy, Ghostkiller).

I'm not sure they should be free to draw. Bone Blades are a swift action to extend, meaning you can't extend them and Trick Attack in the same round. Getting past that limitation means that you can go from not showing any weapons to making a trick attack in the first round of combat, which is currently almost impossible. That's worth a serious price.

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Likewise, for elemental flesh - since you're not stuck at 1d3 damage dice, you shouldn't be getting 1.5x weapon specialization. I do like the idea of them though, although Vanguard is probably going to make the acid one look rather bad soon..

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Keep working at this, the core idea is good, it just needs a bit more polish to be totally in sync with the logic of the official rules.

Sovereign Court 4/5 Venture-Lieutenant, Netherlands—Leiden aka Ascalaphus

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Evilgm wrote:
Philippe Lam wrote:
The damage dealt to early AL by unlimited replay was telling, and even opening a permanent limited amount would be harmful for PFS.
As I haven't been around for the 10+ years of previous debate and don't really have a strong opinion one way or another, can I ask what was the damage done by unlimited replays in AL?

That's a fair question.

There are a bunch of different reasons, and from the stories not just in AL but previously also in Living Greyhawk. The reasons that stand out to me are:

Most adventures don't stay fresh when replayed.
A whodunnit is never quite as exciting the second time around when you already know who dun it. Likewise with an adventure that tries to put you in an interesting and surprising story/combats.

Most of the evergreen scenarios that Paizo's written try to combat this with having multiple enemies that the GM can choose from or alternate story elements. The ones I've enjoyed most were relatively light on story, but had a lot of possible different combat (Tome of Righteous Repose, Beyond the Halflight Path, and the Wounded Wisp also has a bit of this flexibility but does have actual story). It turns out these scenarios are a LOT of work to produce though. On that note, PFS2 does feature an unusually high number of them in the planned first season, to help keep people going while building up the catalog.

Being the new player among replayers can be terrible
Sure, some people are good sports and won't spoil things. Unfortunately, not everyone is good at that. And Paizo puts quite a lot of stress on avoiding spoiling things for others if you're replaying, which I think is easier because people are "on notice" that replay is not a common thing.

The worst stories come down to a table of people all replaying it except for one player who hasn't played it before. The old players are telling the GM to hurry through the story blah blah that they've all heard before, or telling the newbie that "don't do that, we already know what the optimal tactic is, you should..."

It's only a bit better if they're all trying to avoid spoilers. Then you have four people all keeping tight-lipped and acting dumb while the new player is trying to do the RP encounters and making choices. Adventures are meant to be collaborative, not four people keeping mum while watching the last one being in the spotlight.

It crowds new players out of signups
Usually, you have a handful of people willing to GM, and a lot of people looking to play. The regular players generally know best how the signup process works, when new offerings go up and all that. So if they can replay everything all the time, they tend to be in the front of the queue for signups. This leaves new players to sign up for whatever is left - sometimes nothing, or that table with with the GM or powergamer everyone else is trying to avoid.

Scheduling games is hard, I know. We had a tough time of it in our lodge and one of our guys made this tool to help find scenarios that a specific group of people can all play freshly.

It can turn playing into a chore
I mean, people are split all over on whether they like playing low level stuff. Some people prefer high level stuff. Some people just think that characters aren't properly coming unto their build until [insert number here]. With unlimited replay, it's easy to slip into a mindset where you're not showing up to the game session to have a good time, but just to get a piece of paper with XP on it that will hopefully let you have a good time in a different scenario.

Likewise, there's less pressure on GMs to offer new scenarios. Some GMs enjoy running a scenario many times. That's quite okay if it's for new audiences - if there's a story you enjoy telling, get really good at telling it. But it can also cause stagnation - when GMs don't prep new stuff because they can easily fall back on stuff they've already got lying around. And you show up to game day and end up going home thinking "well, I didn't actually play any scenario I wanted to play today, but at least I have XP". That's sounding more like going to work.

When people can't replay all that much, schedulers are pushed not to schedule the same thing too much.

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Limited Replay Is Not Evil
I've sketched a lot of things that can happen when replay is too plentiful. That doesn't mean all replay is bad. I've used enough of it over the years. It can be fun as a player to replay a good scenario and watch other people have the thrill of discovery for the first time. Or to go into a scenario that's particularly fun with this special new character you have. Or to cross swords with that notoriously hard boss again. Or because you want to play something with a select group of people who only rarely meet up.

The key with these things is moderation. Too much replay is awful, especially when you get a lot of replayers all at the same time. But when Paizo gives you only a handful of precious replays, you have to choose carefully what you want to spend them on because it would be really fun. And it means GMs and organizers can't just dictate what's on offer without thinking about their audience.

Sovereign Court

@Gaterie: it's an old discussion, but a new game. Let me see how alignment works nowadays.

CRB, p. 28-29 wrote:

Alignment

Your character’s alignment is an indicator of their morality and personality. There are nine possible alignments in Pathfinder, as shown on Table 1–2: The Nine Alignments. If your alignment has any components other than neutral, your character gains the traits of those alignment components. This might affect the way various spells, items, and creatures interact with your character.
Your character’s alignment is measured by two pairs of opposed values: the axis of good and evil and the axis of law and chaos. A character who isn’t committed strongly to either side is neutral on that axis. Keep in mind that alignment is a complicated subject, and even acts that might be considered good can be used for nefarious purposes, and vice versa. The GM is the arbiter of questions about how specific actions might affect your character’s alignment.
If you play a champion, your character’s alignment must be one allowed for their deity and cause (pages 437–440 and 106–107), and if you play a cleric, your character’s alignment must be one allowed for their deity (pages 437–440).

Good and Evil
Your character has a good alignment if they consider the happiness of others above their own and work selflessly to assist others, even those who aren’t friends and family. They are also good if they value protecting others from harm, even if doing so puts the character in danger. Your character has an evil alignment if they’re willing to victimize others for their own selfish gain, and even more so if they enjoy inflicting harm. If your character falls somewhere in the middle, they’re likely neutral on this axis.

Law and Chaos
Your character has a lawful alignment if they value consistency, stability, and predictability over flexibility. Lawful characters have a set system in life, whether it’s meticulously planning day-to-day activities, carefully following a set of official or unofficial laws, or strictly adhering to a code of honor. On the other hand, if your character values flexibility, creativity, and spontaneity over consistency, they have a chaotic alignment—though this doesn’t mean they make decisions by choosing randomly. Chaotic characters believe that lawful characters are too inflexible to judge each situation by its own merits or take advantage of opportunities, while lawful characters believe that chaotic characters are irresponsible and flighty.
Many characters are in the middle, obeying the law or following a code of conduct in many situations, but bending the rules when the situation requires it. If your character is in the middle, they are neutral on this axis.

It seems your alignment is to a large degree determined by what you think and feel, not what you do. You absolutely can be evil without actually doing any nasty deeds. Whether it's because you didn't have opportunity, were scared of the consequences or whatnot.

It's still the classic paladin's dilemma: what do you do with people who are evil but haven't commited crimes? Is it just and good to punish them anyway?

Sovereign Court

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Hmm wrote:
As much as I would like to unite the two systems, I would not adopt everything from PF2 into Starfinder. I like having a ton of quirky race options from the very beginning, and am still adapting to how PF2 handles ancestry feats. I don't think it would handle the truly weird Starfinder races very well.

I think it'd be doable enough to do weird races in StarPathfinder. I'm actually a little overwhelmed by just how many new races Starfinder has pushed (about 100 playable races so far). Many of them have about 1 page of fluff and a sidebar with crunch.

Pathfinder 2 seems to focus more on investing in depth on races; each ancestry is several pages of material, with the possibility of further extension with more ancestry feats down the line.

The modularity of Pathfinder 2 ancestries could actually work quite well for Starfinder as well, and the setup pushes writers not to try to just put in a short shallow sketch of a race.

So my dream would be maybe 30 playable races but each of them with three times the amount of content that a Starfinder race typically gets right now.

Hmm wrote:
Also, I would have liked to see PF2 adopt Starfinder's Stamina system. I am still scratching my head over the question of why they did not.

Well Stamina doesn't just come on its own. It brings with it:

- A split in which class heals damage and which one heals stamina. (I like this, but some others hate it.)
- Resolve points. I think they're great because they give every class a clock that ticks down to needing long rest, instead of only the spellcasters.
- Abilities powered by resolve (like Channel Energy); basically all forms of healing either cost Resolve, or can't be used until the next time you spend Resolve to regain stamina (Inspiring Boost).
- Building off that, other abilities that are "once in between rests".
- Other abilities that spend Resolve.
- (Also: batteries. Limited but rechargeable.)

Don't get me wrong, I think it's brilliant. It limits the amount of power you can spend in just one fight, while giving you power in multiple encounters. So it quite elegantly circumvents the PF1 tendency towards 15 minute adventuring days. Steady countdown instead of one nova from 100 to 0.

Pathfinder 2 achieves much of the same though:
- Treat Wounds means that hit points are a "per encounter" pool, not a "per day" pool.
- Focus Points give you per encounter powers, but with the ability to hotwire one ability more if you really need it; but it's hard to get back more than one per encounter.
- Cantrips that can be used all day. This slows down casters running out of juice.
- Hero Points are also somewhat tied to how much you do in a day. A day with many encounters probably takes several sessions and therefore involves hero point refills. Hero Points are decoupled from stats so no more agony for solarians and envoys who can't really afford a healthy-resolve-high charisma.
- Pathfinder 2 has a really extensive 10 minute economy. Lots of 10m stuff may be needed after a fight. Banging out shields, treating wounds, examining loot, thorough searching, item identification etc.

I think they're both valid solutions. I'd say Pathfinder 2 invests more in "time as an essential resource", where as a GM you can twist the screws by reducing how much time you can spend in between encounters. In Starfinder it's either nothing, 10m or long rest. On the other hand, Stamina is less bossy in what skills absolutely must be present in the party.

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