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Am I the only one who finds that heavy use of the Take 10 mechanic, resulting in frequent autosuccesses, is kind of boring?

I do think there are some things that are just so easy that they should automatically succeed. You don't need to make a check to jump across a three foot puddle for example (OK, maybe halflings, gnomes and feeble characters do). But in those cases, no roll should even be made and it should just be described narratively.

I also have no problem with the Take 20 rule, as use of that is not applicable to many skills and is dependent on having time to concentrate on the task.

I'm talking about the times when a character doesn't have enough skill points to succeed automatically by rolling the dice, but by using the Take 10 mechanic can eliminate any chance of failure.

I kind of think that the possibility of losing or failure is an essential part of any game, and adds spice. The Take 10 mechanic, particularly combined with known DCs, in my mind, makes it less of a game and more of a math/character building exercise.

Just curious if anyone else feels the same way.

One of the things occurring to me as I mused about the way my favorite hobby has changed over the years is that the process of "building" a character has become much more important. Frankly, back in the old days character cration was pretty simple. Now character building has become much, much more complex, with all the skills and feats to choose from. Point Buy introduced another dramatic change, giving players near complete control of their primary stats. Easy magic item creation and the assumption of Magic Mart provide even more options for players, who can now control their equipment far more than ever before. Optimization, while always present to some extent, has really taken off in 3.0 and its successors.

Which led me to think if the "game within the game" of character building, something that some players do with considerably more skill (or are at least willing to put considerably more time into it) than others, was starting to overwhelm the other aspects of the game. To wonder if success in adventures was now being determined more by a player's choices in character building than by the decisions they make during game play.

I actually don't believe this to be true. At least it is not in my game. No matter how much my players optimize, it isn't that difficult for me to optimize their encounters by the same amount to provide the same level of challenge. Success is still determined by how well they play, and, of course, by the luck of the dice that night.

I've gotten the impression, though, that many other games aren't that way, and that some players expect to be rewarded for their character building skills by having an easier time of it during adventures, and seem almost to feel like they can, by the skill of their builds, almost guarantee success and eliminate the randomness of the dice. for those groups and people, the character building "game" may indeed have become important than what happens in the adventure.

I'm curious what other people's opinions are on this.

Seems like every time I open a Kingmaker thread there is somebody talking about the evil kingdom their players are starting. Sometimes it seems like at least half the kingdoms out there are evil. While there are rules for evil kingdoms, Kingmaker, like most APs, assumes that the PCs will have at least some benificent motives for undertaking alot of the quests and missions. Evil groups would either need to develop their own motivation or just ignore those missions to do their own thing.

As far as kingdom building goes, I'm also struggling a bit with why evil characters would want to create a kingdom, unless it is to live out certain tyrannical fantasies, and if that's the case, why anyone would willingly move there to submit to their rule.

I must admit my own bias. I never play evil characters except in occasional one-off adventures. When I am GM, as I am now for Kingmaker, I don't allow evil characters, for a wide variety of reasons. I admit to being puzzled as to why so many people like to play villains.

So educate me on why y'all like to play evil characters, and particularly in Kingmaker, how this is impacting your campaign.

Reading through various threads, I was struck by what seems to me to be a basic disconnect that I think might be arising from varying expectations. Lots of people bandy about terms like "viable", "successful", "gimped", "overpowered", etc,, but I'm not convinced we are understanding what each of us means by the terms. So I ask, breaking it down into basic game math, what makes a character "viable" or "successful".

For a martial character, is it being able to hit a level appropriate opponent 25% of the time? 50%? 75%? 90%? Almost always?

For a skill monkey, succeeding at the appropriate skill (Stealth, Diplomacy, Search, etc.), same percentages

For a caster, spell success (the effect you wanted, be it failed SoS save, successful battlefield control or buff, blasting enemies to chunky little bits of XPs, etc.), same percentages

For the party as a whole, defeating level-appropriate encounters.

For me, I think I'd find my character viable if I'm succeeding at least half the time and pretty successful if I'm succeeding 75% of the time. The bar is higher for the group as a whole - there I expect the group to probably succeed in an encounter at least 90% of the time to feel successful (and be able to retreat, raise our dead/recruit replacements, lick our wounds and come back for payback the other 10%). Implicit in that is the idea that the group functions as a unit, covering for each other's weaknesses, so that not everybody shines (or even contributes much) in every encounter and that's OK.

I suspect, however, that others have set the bar higher, and don't feel successful unless they almost always succeed. But I could be wrong (happens to me several times every day). Educate me.

I've recently introduced a plot thread into my Kingmaker Campaign involving Baron Varn expressing romantic interest in the Baroness of the newly founded Barony of the Elk. To me this makes sense to Varn, both because linking the two kingdoms would potentially double the size of his nascent kingdom, and because the Baroness in our campaign is a 19-year old sorceress with a Charisma of 21, self-described by her player (my teenage daughter) as "extremely attractive". Of course this romance is being carried out long-distance, through diplomatic channels, and it will never come to fruition. However, he has already sent gifts and is proposing visits. My thought is that this will give the players even more of a hook and increase the shock factor when we move on from RRR to VV.

I'm just curious if anyone else has done the same sort of thing and how it worked out.

I decided to start this thread after reading a lot of posts stating or implying (by the actions described) that the character of the player writing it was evil through and through, or at least decidedly non-heroic. Given as most written adventure paths and material tend to assume benificent motivations on behalf of most players, it seems a lot of people reject that convention and choose the path of the villain.

I want to be able to wrap my head around why various people like to play evil characters. I confess to not really understanding it that well myself, as I have almost never played evil characters, and want to know what it is that draws other players to them. I think there are some misconceptions out there as to why people enjoy it, and would like to give those players a chance to explain their reasons.

I also warn that I am utterly uninteresting in amateur psychoanalyzing of those who do choose the dark path in their gaming life, or in any other criticisms of their choice. There are other threads where people have debated evil characters and their impact on the game at length, and that's not what I'm after here.

What I want are the thoughts of those who like to play evil characters. My question to all of you is "In your opinion, why is it Good to be Bad?

I was musing about this recently after reading several threads here in which people throw around terms like "good player" or "competent player" as if there is an accepted definition. Now I'm curious as to how various people do define a good player. Is it someone who can build a powerful and successful character? Is it someone who makes sharp tactical and strategic decisions in game? Is it someone adept at solving the riddles and mysteries in a game? Is it someone who can roleplay well enough to deserve an Oscar nod? Is it someone who is a good teammate and/or contributes to the success of the party's mission? Is it someone who is fun to have around on game nights regardless of any of the above?

Part of what got me musing was remembering my days in the old RPGA, when players were given rankings and earned points for "winning" tournaments. You won by getting the other players to vote for you as the best roleplayer at the table, moving you to the next round until you reached the finals. Definitely the RPGA's definition of the best player back then seemed very much to be all about the acting skills. I played in a few of those tournaments, and even won a couple back in the day, but distinctly remember thinking that all this was measuring was one facet of being a good player, and that some of the highest ranked Grandmaster level players were guys (and gals) that I wouldn't necessarily want playing in my regular games, as they tended to be hammy spotlight hogs. Not all of them, by any stretch, but definitely some of them.

My own personal definition at the moment is that a good player is someone I look forward to gaming with every week because they make the experience better for everyone, although the reason they do so could be different for each good player I know.

One of the consistent themes running through these boards is the assumed (in some minds at least) superiority of the full casting classes, particularly at higher levels, and particularly in those games where optimization is vital and/or combat dominates the game play.

Now, while I personally take the base assumption with a very large grain of salt, for the sake of this thread, I'm going to pretend I accept it at face value.

My challenge is, without breaking the core rules, how do you either bring the casters down to balance with the rest of the classes or raise the other classes?

Specifically, I'm thinking of new monsters, new magic items, new feats, new spells (I know that sounds counterintuitive, but if they are buffs that work primarily for other classes it works).

Just to throw out a few general examples:

-- Monsters that reflect spells
-- Much higher SR
-- Spells or items to buff SR
-- Monsters that radiate permanent anti-magic fields
-- Monsters that radiate permanent wild magic fields
-- Monsters with more spell immunities
-- Monsters with natural freedom of movement
-- A feat to make interrupting spells easier, or to allow one character to interrupt multiple spells in a round
-- Items that grant immunity to enchantments
-- Items that reflect or absorb ranged touch spells
-- Feats that permit non-casters to defeat battlefield control spells

Some of this stuff already exists, but my point would be that, if casters truly do rule the world, they would become more common in reaction to that.

Anyway, I'm interested in seeing what the creative minds on these boards can come up with. Who knows, maybe some of them will find their way into print eventually, or at least into people's home campaigns if the casters start getting uppity.

In my experience, there are a wide variety of opinions regarding what levels are the most fun to play D&D/PF at. Some folks love the low-powered early levels, when orcs are nothing to laugh about. Others like the super-powered high levels (or even epic levels) when characters have near demi-god status and can challenge the powers of the universe, and there are many who like the stuff in between. Me, personally, I've always liked what I call the mid-levels, 5-10 or thereabouts, when the characters begin to have some serious power and many different options, but when there are still a lot of things out there that outclass them.

My question, solely for my own interest, is to find out where others in the PF community fall on this, and whether it is different in PF than it was in the various previous editions of D&D. One massive change, of course, is that in 3.X/PF, you can advance in levels much, much more quickly than in 1st and 2nd editions. Indeed, it as rare to get a character much beyond 12th level, even with years of play, in 1st edition. That change, however, really came about with 3.0. Has PF changed the dynamic much?

What I am getting at is whether you feel combat dominates/is the most important aspect of PF by far or whether you feel there is more of a balance with other aspects like roleplaying social interactions, puzzles and traps, exploration, etc.

Personally, I thought that I ran a pretty combat-heavy campaign, but after reading through these boards I'm changing my view of my own game. I would rate our game about like this:
Combat 40%
Roleplaying 25%
Traps and Puzzles 10%
Exploration 25%

Part of why I am curious is reaction to many of the arguments I've seen posted here about what classes are stronger/weaker, or what builds are stronger/weaker. These arguments almost always are only in relation to a character's performance in combat, and completely ignore the rest of the game, in my opinion.

I've also noted that it seems to be an assumption that every character should excel in combat, or they aren't carrying their weight and/or players aren't happy with them. To me that seems odd and different from older editions, where no one expected the cleric or rogue or monk or bard to be a combat god, because their contributions were in other areas.

I'm not interested in passing judgment on anyone's game, just interested in hearing people's opinions about combat in PF in general and in their campaigns specifically.