Neolandis Kalepopolis

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318 posts. Alias of The Good Brother.


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I had a similar question on reading; here's my take:

Scouting Lore could be either military or civil work, and the lore part pertains to all the work that goes into formalizing and monetizing the scouting. Think of the surveyors, scouts, and assayers of the American and Australian frontiers (both military and civilian) who made money exploring, surveying, and mapping territory.

Survival is a necessary skill to live in the wilderness. Scouting lore pertains to drawing up maps, logging claims, preparing reports, etc. In a military context, it's about drawing up military maps, surveying permanent fortifications, etc. Used in downtime, scouting lore represents the hard but tedious work of hauling survey equipment and doing paperwork.

The problem with a 7-player group is that - if you are trying to make sure everyone gets face time - it can actually be much slower because so many people will want to get in actions. If it's a bachelor party setting, people are probably going to want to aim more on the side of "fun and casual" than "intense and brooding."

I would consider picking a set-piece scenario from an AP or Module and running something more freewheeling. Less RP, more exploration and combat. Since you've got seven people, and most published modules are for 4, the party's gonna have a lot more momentum so it could push on faster than a regular group. This is the kind of thing where an open dungeon module would be a lot of fun. Some suggestions:

(1) The Battle Market from Legacy of Fire 1: Set everyone at 2nd or 3rd level and let them fight their way through the market. This is particularly a lot of fun if you have a big map and everyone can move about in a running battle.

(2) A level of the Emerald Spire. Many of these levels can be run as a good solo one-shot for PCs of appropriate level. I can recommend Splinterden (Lv. 3) or the Tomb of Yarrix (Lv. 11) as good for standalones.

(3) The Lost City from Shore to Sea. Just plop them on the shores of the City and see how their explorations go.

(4) If you want to dig real deep, the Seven Swords of Sin was meant to be a tournament module and is goofy, lethal, and chaotic. Could be the right fit for your group.

(5) Rappan Athuk. Have them bring back-up characters. And then some back-up back-up characters.

Having the Stalker report the Saw Mill is a good way to point the players in the right direction. Hinting at Nualia (mentioning "a transforming priest of Lamashtu" or "a fallen angel" or what not) will probably get their attention.

The Stalker could know of the Clock, but Xanesha is pretty secretive; I think you could justify it either not knowing or simply knowing the neighborhood.

This kind of development is a lot of fun for the PCs - think of it as a good way for them to make the adventure their own.

First, make a simple list of the things Roaghaz knows. It doesn't have to be exhaustive, but should hit the main beats of what the Kobolds were doing and what motivated them. This includes the fact that a being named Aeteperax is back and active (as opposed to just a name and historical information).

Then, if the PCs interrogate well/smart, they can learn pieces of this new information.

This is a good chance for the PCs to learn new information or confirm old information they've heard. Both are useful: Learning new information is a reward for their choices and confirming old information makes the adventure feel robust.

Second note that the adventure doesn't require Roaghaz to be dead. Lady Origena may be very pleased that the party brought back a Kobold for her to question once the PCs have finished their interrogation. She can still dispatch them to investigate the manor, and will consider this Aeteperax issue further based on conversations with the Kobold. The adventure can continue as written.

If the PCs want to sneak off to look for Aetepaerax, that's fine too! They'll probably die if they confront the dragon at this point, but they might get a sense it's active in the woods.

Each level challenges different parties in different ways. That being said, Level 7 can be pretty "easy."

Level 6 Spoiler:

Part of it is Level 6 is the culmination of the previous levels talking about Klarkosh and his clockwork abominations. So the party's just overcome their first "boss" fight, and the next level is a big thematic swing.

My experience was that my party (consisting of cleric, wizard, barbarian, and druid) tore through it. But they had fun doing it - the traps nature of the level made them feel "strong" for the first time in the game. And it provided a lead in for the next level, which worked a number on them.

Level 7 Spoiler:

The last fight was going so badly for Sartoss that the only enemy threatening my party - the dark naga - escaped up the spire. She ambushed them on the surface as they were retreating back to Fort Inevitable after a brutal slog on Level 8, and nearly got them.

Considering how challenging some levels can be, let the party have their big moments!

I think "construct parts" would have interest to an number of arcane magic users around Thornkeep or Fort Inevitable. Abernard Royst, in particular, would probably like it.

Off the cuff, I'd say CR x 100 for the value of the parts to the right person.

The biggest thing to remember is that three players lack the extra actions of a fourth player - this may be the biggest detriment in various encounters.

Overall, I find most modules are just as "fun" and easily run if the PCs are one level higher than the published recommendation. If you start the PCs off at second level, you'll probably find the module runs smoothly. If you run the module with the levels as printed, be prepared for the party to need to adjust, retreat, or approach fights in careful fashion.

Crucible of Chaos may be what you are looking for. Though for the 3.5 line, most of the monsters are now in the Pathfinder "canon" so it's easy to convert on the fly and it's loads of fun.

I agree that the way the module/equipment is written, a battery is insufficient to recharge armor.

My party used mobile hoteliers to great effect; I let them hack one into recharging their armor, but I figured the same supplies that let the hotelier work would recharge the armor systems.

CR 4 against 3 Lv. 1 PCs can be a challenging fight. I've run similar fights and it's usually a hard slog for PCs, albeit not impossible. I'd certainly expect a casualty. And I'm usually playing with more experienced Pathfinder players.

The real problem you'll run into here is that Mimics are indeed HP-banks, and a first level party will have a hard time dishing out the damage necessary to kill it without taking some serious casualties. But I don't think you need to ditch the encounter. In addition to your "it was already wounded" idea, here's a few more things to consider:

- Give the PCs some ample warning something is wrong - bones around the mimic, signs of struggle, etc. If they're on their guard, they may be more prepared.

- Don't be afraid to let the PCs run. A lot of this game is knowing when not to engage - don't have the Mimic hunt them mercilessly throughout the dungeon. It's an ambush predator, and won't work hard for a meal.

- Don't be afraid to kill one PC. Sometimes dungeons are dangerous. If the Mimic does kill a PC, it may slink away with the body to eat it, letting the others escape.

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Dracomicron wrote:
thistledown wrote:
Any we put up the ship's forcefield so now it's trapped in with us.
"I'm not trapped in here with you... you're all trapped in here with ME!"

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that.

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(1) The relationship is not expressly spelled out. Given that Nor is accepting a Corpse Fleet double agent (as identified in Book 5), that the Corpse Fleet tries to kill this double agent at the end of Book 1, and that Nor assists the party in contacting the anti-corpse fleet agency in Book 3, I am portraying him as a staunch loyalist to the Pact Worlds. If you want to do it a different way you can.

(2) Destroying the gate is probably beyond the power of the PCs. Not sure if this is "Starfinder Canon," but in most Pathfinder games if a pocket dimension is destroyed whatever is in it is ejected back into the "main dimension." So destroying the gate could free the Degenerator.

The PCs could leave the gate in the care of the AI, but the arrival of the Corpse Fleet as set out in Book 6 would hopefully hammer home that if they do not deal with the Degenerator itself, the Corpse Fleet will find a way to activate the gate.

I don't see anything wrong with that. As others have pointed out, the PCs are appearing as representatives of a well-known quasi-governmental organization, have a relevant set of skills, and are interacting with law enforcement. It's very reasonable to think that the PCs might want to be deputized and ask about it.

Deputization happens even in the modern day. In the United States, there was a time it was very common for a short-staffed law enforcement department.

Also, the writing is just fine. Mr. Compton crammed a lot of detail into this book, and should be commended for it.

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Onathrin wrote:

My players got to the jubsnuth tonight and that encounter did not go at all like I anticipated.

It emerged into the clearing. I described it's slathering, it's gnashing teeth in both mouths.

Then before I could call for initiative to be rolled, the xenoseeker mystic in the party declared she was casting charm monster on it....

and of course, it failed the saving throw, even with the threatened bonus.

She befriended it, made some amazing rolls on Survival to communicate with it and got it to follow her.

She named it Jubjub.

I had it lick her friendly like... so they lead it into the next encounter with the atrocite.

The atrocite centered his opening spell (cosmic eddy) on the jubsnuth. it failed it's save and so i had it panic and trample in a random direction... which ended up running right over the poor mystic. While the rest of the party engaged the atrocite, the mystic attempted to calm the jubsnuth down and did so successfully. She then tried to coax it to attack the atrocite by luring it towards the strocite by casting Wisp Ally... and that succeeded as well.

Needless to say, that poor atrocite became a meal of the Jubsnuth thanks to swallow whole.

We were laughing pretty hard at that.

That's a great story! I love emergent play like that.

We didn't see much trouble with the Void Death. My group has an operative who doubles as a medic and - by sheer happenstance - brought a number of medical aid items along.

Much like real life, it looks like if you quickly treat the disease chances for survival are good, but if you let it fester, they can get bad fast.

Neat! And timing is great - my party's about to enter the Library.

Any recommendations on using it other than just hitting play?

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The rules for a Solarian's Weapon Crystal state that the crystal is discharged if the mote is ever "deactivated."

The Solarian's rules do not address when or how motes are "deactivated," however. The weapons and armor created from the mote can be "dismissed," but it's apparent from the text the mote does not cease to be in such instances. It also seems unusual that the Solarian would then have to pick up the crystal and reinsert it after every fight if they wanted it at the ready.

Are deactivated and dismissed supposed to be the same? Or are there potential rare effects which would deactivate the mote?

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For those wondering about the Ambassador's package, Empire of Bones gives some additional information.


The officer is a double agent from the Corpse Fleet. Motivation and true loyalties are not specified, but given the Ambassador's loyalty to the Pact Worlds, it's likely an informant against the Corpse Fleet.

pavaan wrote:

My party had a hard time with the akata, and from the way they interpreted the logs on the ship, they think the drift rock might have over 100 akatas on it. So they thought of calling backup. now as it was hard to deny them that, i did the best i could in the moment. letting them contact who hired them Eox’s ambassador and had him tell them back up was on its way but will take some time to get there, and to go down to the drift rock and if things get too bad down there to get on the ship and wait for backup to arrive. thus making me skip the part where the ship leaves them stranded.

players have seen enough scifi horror to know not to explore more when they can call for back up.

It sounds like you handled it well. And even with backup, the Ambassador can ask to PCs to explore the "constructed" sections once others have secured the other portions of the asteroid. If the PCs completely chicken out, others can find the strange language and get the glory, and the Starfinder society can impart to the PCs that it would be good for their reputation to follow-up on Castrovel.

Combat is lethal if you fight like a fighter with a shield. Get behind cover and stay behind cover.

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As a general rule, I don't think it's problematic for the PCs to try to gain information from the corpse. Speak with Dead is probably the most likely spell to get information, as I doubt Depora would willingly be raised from the dead. A lot of GM's fear Speak with Dead, but should not. Here's a good article on its general uses: peak-with-dead-mysteries

If they use that or a similar method to gain information from her, use her journal as a baseline.

If they turn her into an undead minion, she'd be mindless. And probably a liability once they get to the Devil's Elbow.

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Calybos1 wrote:
Algarik wrote:
Calybos1 wrote:
The fact that no weapons can harm it is a pretty big hurdle at such a low level.
That is straight up false, i don't know where you got that info. He's even weak to electric damage.
He's incorporeal, immune to flame/laser/plasma weapons, and can drain life. That's pretty nasty for level 2 characters. It was sheer luck that one of our party had happened to buy a shock pistol and that we had a technomancer to cast Magic Missile at him. Everybody else was helpless.

It sounds like your GM ran the creature incorrectly. Have you looked at its stats? It only has radiation immunity, not flame immunity. It's not incorporeal, it can phase through solid things on its turn. Both that phase through and its life drain use up resolve points.

Regular weapons work on the creature, not just force weapons and electricity.

The Crucible of Chaos predates Golarion as we know it (it's under the Gamemastery line!), so I believe elements of it were intentionally generic. That being said, I'd note the following:

(1) As presented in CoC, the Shory were a nomadic race with cosmopolitan views and contact with a wide number of other races and planar beings. Their "ethnicity" is likely shaped by that contact, so that they are not homogeneous.

(2) The Shory had access to immense magical abilities, and may have altered their appearances accordingly.

(3) It is implied various tribes and groups allied with the Shory, so Shory cities are populated by a number of different creatures (winged apes, Djinn, etc.).

In short, I believe you can make the Shory out to be whatever you want. I'd emphasize that they are not an analogue of any Earth culture, but rather an example of a highly magical, highly-eclectic civilization.

Calybos1 wrote:
How to deal with this? Encourage it.

I'm with you here. The player has found an in-game, in-character approach to problems. It's not something that they need to be "taught a lesson" about or killed. Let players come up with creative solutions to problems, instead of approaching things in preset ways.

That being said, there's no reason some vents can't have difficulties or countermeasures. The strategy doesn't have to work all the time. Of the suggestions already made, I love the idea of small gelatinous cubes or anti-vermin foam causing the player trouble.

Calybos1 wrote:
Yes, the garaggakal is unbeatable. Our GM ruled that it had a morale condition, so after it took a certain amount of damage or fought for X number of rounds, it ran away. That's the only reason we survived.

It's not unbeatable, but it's pretty tough. I think that's a smart solution on the part of your GM for a fight that can go bad.

Xiphose wrote:

Im going to be running this for a few friends over the course of this summer and I have a few questions.

Good choice! It's loads of fun.


1. How far away is the emerald spire from fort inevitable?

I set it a little under 6 miles from Ft. Inevitable, or over two hours hiking through the forests. This is in line with the Thornkeep expansion map. Per my house encounter rules, this meant there was a chance of a random encounter each time they went to and from the Spire. I'd recommend this too.


2. Good way to introduce the pcs to the resistance group found within fort inevitable?

See how the party reacts to the Hellknights first. If they are opposed to the Hellknights I would have some of the Seven Foxes reach out secretly and set up an anonymous meeting outside the town near the Kettlefoot Mill. Don't foist involvement on the PCs if they want to investigate other goings-on around town.

I played up the problem at Naldred's farm so that when my PCs finally investigated, they caught the attention of the Seven Foxes (My PCs, however, had no interest in getting caught up in a resistance movement, and instead settled themselves into being smugglers).


3. How strict is too strict when it comes to the hellknights (dont want the party to feel helpless if the hellknights are constantly in their way)

The Hellknights are not Lawful Stupid, and shouldn't be needlessly evil. THey should be strict and unforgiving, but I would not play them as overly cruel or capricious to the PCs. Make the PCs understand that they need the proper paperwork from the Castellan to adventure, and that they need to pay taxes. But if they do those things, and keep the peace in town, the Hellknights shouldn't harass them too far beyond that. The PCs may even engage with a few of the Hellknights, make friends, etc.

If the PCs befriend the high priest of Abadar, she can be a good go-between for the Hellknights as well.

You can show the Hellknights being oppressive through interactions with NPCs (slave sales and hangings for modest infractions, etc.) and not impede the PC's adventures. Of course, if the PCs do pick fights, get involved with the Seven Foxes, etc., they will run afoul of the Hellknights. But that's a reasonable reaction to PC choices, and not unfair.


4. are the map packs worth the cost? Or should I just draw the maps out.

Depends on your group and your appetite for the cost. The map packs are a great way to impart the "theme" of each level and are really pretty. But you have to do a lot of work to cover up areas the PCs haven't seen yet. I ended up using them for lower levels, but started off drawing out the levels and doing some fights "in the theater of the mind." Both worked for me.

I don't think you lose anything by not playing with the Maps.

If you can, I'd also pick up the Thornkeep expansion. It gives more backstory on the Echo Woods and Thornkeep can be a place for PCs to take refuge if they happen to have run afoul of the Hellknights.

SirShua wrote:

So my party is on splintered worlds, and helped the bonetrooper at the flats, then went directly to the marrowblight hut. Trampleram killed two players, and totaled their dune buggy, the rest then booked it. I let them take a longer route to and from the hut with the buggy and skip the gorge because they thought it was a trap.

How should I adjust the adventure for them getting away and bypassing the gorge ambush? Have Zeera Vash try and murder them in the splice? Sneak onto the ship?

If the trap in the gorge was avoided, I think that Vash would come for them in a different location. Her goal is to eliminate the PCs and -if they're still hurting and fleeing - she would capitalize on that to track them down and ambush them in the next few hours. She may be brazen about it, but I could see breaking into the party's ship to finish them off there.

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Nintendogeek01 wrote:

Hi, I'm getting ready to run the AP and my preparations for the first book are finished so I'm just getting started on reading the second book.

I wanted to know if the supplies the PC's can get from Turhalu Point were available to them for free or not? I can see why it might be free but it seems to me that an outpost would still need funds to stay supplied when they're far from civilization.

The resources are supposed to be free. The outpost is funded by various entities, including Qabarat University. The University, in turn, is willing to fund the rescue party to save Dr. Solstarni - unless your party has cut ties with the university. The outpost's basic resources are a stop-gap if your party didn't buy their own gear before heading out.

Wolverine690 wrote:
In anycase it does seem as though the Starfinder Adventure thus far is much tougher than it should be?

I think there's two things at work that make this adventure tough if you come from Pathfinder (as my group did):

(1) Combat looks the same as Pathfinder, but plays quite differently. My group formed "battle lines" and fought as their Pathfinder characters did, and got beaten down a lot. Taking cover and using "in-game" strategies matter a great deal more.

(2) Monsters scale differently than Pathfinder, and hit harder and more often. If you have an expectation of how long HP will last based on Pathfinder, you'll be caught off-guard in Starfinder.

No doubt, the Garaggakal is a tough customer with a lot of special abilities. My party ended it fast with a Solarian wailing on it while an Operative distracted it, but I can see how it'd be a brutal fight for other groups.

Qui Gan Dalf wrote:

I have gone back and forth with doing this as well. Part of me really enjoys tying a campaign to something that feels familiar and well-developed to the players, supported with on-going supplement development and so on. I don't have much time anymore for full-scale world / galaxy building, however, so assimilating and cobbling together bits and pieces from the great work of others gives me a mix of creativity and efficiency.

I hear you there. I'm running Dead Suns because (1) I wanted to see how the designers develop adventures, but mostly (2) because I don't have the time to do full campaign prep anymore.

Our game is mostly in the vein of Firefly with a bit of Guardians of the Galaxy. It's focused on the core group of misfits, with snippets of the larger world filtering in while relevant. We've found a dose of humor and lack of realism have gone a long way to making the game fun.

So when Starfinder had been announced but before it came out, I misread a spoiler/summary about the timeline of the game. I thought that the Drift Drive was almost a "brand new" device in the hands of Pact Worlds and - as such - there was a kind of a land rush on to find new worlds with the Drift Drive. I found this to be a compelling basis for the story, and fitting in with trying to find information to fill in the Gap.

That isn't the official timeline, of course. But I've been pushing that kind of setting back and forth in my head, and I was thinking about this article from The Alexandrian. ewind-your-timeline-how-to-use-published-sourcebooks

I like the idea of the Drift having opened up only three years prior, and now the Pact Worlds have gotten a whole lot smaller. Absalom Station's beacon is bringing all sorts of crazy things in from the far reaches of space. There's a huge number of worlds to explore (including many of the snippets on worlds in published materials).

Alternatively, you could wind back individual locations in the Drift being discovered, and have the players be part of a new wave of explorers.

You'd have to tweak a few things, to be sure. Perhaps Vesk are showing up even though the Veskarium hasn't invaded. The Shirren may be unwitting harbingers of the Swarm. But it would create an atmosphere of exploration and "go forth" nature that would make a really interesting basis for a campaign.

Without any sort of concerted effort, every game I've run or played in the last five years has had one character with "Profession: Cook." More recent games have used Background Skills, but even without that it's an appealing option.

For role-playing, we've had many scenes where the party sits about the fire eating a meal prepared with whatever the druid/barbarian/ranger dragged in. Eating is communal in real life, so it's a nice analogue for communal moments in the game.

Mechanically, and especially in a hex-crawl game I ran or similar travelogue moments, I do try to find small ways to reward players who take the in-game time to prepare a nice meal. It's nothing huge, but usually something equivalent to making that night's rest count for double, relieving exhaustion or fatigue, or maybe mitigating a status ailment.

I like the idea of potential benefits for eating more fantastical fare.

gustavo iglesias wrote:
But at the cost of losing any further clue.

I get the impression that this thread is more a warning to GMs rather than an argument the party found a way to bypass important stuff in an adventure.

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Shaudius wrote:

My counterpoint to this is why have the pit at all if you don't have the wizard in your party, if taking 10 completely eliminates the threat of something how is it fun or good story telling to include it in the first place.

GM: You are standing in a giant chasm, there is a 10 foot pit between you and the other side.
Player: I jump over it taking 10 and that means I automatically succeed.
GM: Well there went all the dramatic tension of that thing, why did I put the pit there in the first place.

The situation I am specifically thinking of isn't a pit, its a SFS scenario where the DC for success is 16. Anyone with a class skill and 16 in a stat can get a 16 with a take 10. The secondary success condition of the scenario is tied to this 16 roll, if the GM allows the party to take 10 they basically auto succeed at this part of the scenario how is that fun or meaningful?

I see what you are saying; here's how I'd answer your questions:

With regard to the pit example: You are correct that putting an easily traversed pit in a room with no other purpose is bad design. But such a pit can have other effects, a few examples of which are below:

(1) Said pit could also be a tunnel to a different area. Players may jump over it easily, and later climb down it.

(2) The area with the pit may become the scene of a battle. I rarely design scenarios where combat will only occur in the room envisioned; my players tend to have running battles. So while the pit in the room may not matter on the first crossing, when they're under fire and trying to escape the Death Troopers, it matters very much.

(3) Related, if there are random encounters in the area where the PCs are, a battle might occur in that room even if it isn't scripted.

(4) It might be part of a larger design. There may be several pits that are easily traversed, and several which aren't. Making players roll for all pits turns the challenge from "cross the large ones" to a "roll to fail" scenario where PCs are likely going to fail one roll because they are rolling so many times.

With regard to "meaningful results:" Generally speaking I think it comes down to what you find meaningful in these games. For me, it is meaningful that I designed a character who can do something relevant to the plot and do it well. Even if the character didn't roll, my character got to use the skills I selected, which validates my choice.

To use a Pathfinder example, I've run games where my carefully laid plans or bruising villains were undone by a party caster having the perfect spell for that moment. This was a validation of that player's choice, and I can tell you that those players considered that a very meaningful result of their choice even though there wasn't a chance of failure.

I can understand the sentiment that rolling to see if you succeed leads to a meaningful sentiment. I would consider the alternative: Is the failure on the check also meaningful? Or will it result in the player saying "OK, I do it again" with no other consequence. If it's the latter, I do not see the harm in taking 10, even though the check is relevant to the plot.

I haven't reviewed the scenario in question, but I have noticed in the Dead Suns AP many of the skill checks involved are much lower than my PCs are regularly hitting. I suspect that early Starfinder material designers were not sure how high DCs needed to be, given that they were developing material as the rules were finalized.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

Slippery slope is a logical fallacy. Not a decision making model.

RavingDork isn't arguing with the logical fallacy of slippery slope; he's describing a situation I've seen some neophyte GMs fall into as a trap. Here's another pernicious problem that this rule encourages:

- PCs leave their base in the town of Nottingshanks. PCs come across a 10' chasm while exploring the dungeon. Each takes 10' and jumps across.
- They go back and forth across the same chasm multiple times in exploring. Each time they take 10 and jump across.
- The players learn that, while they were in the dungeon, Notthingshanks is under attack. Their presence is crucial to the effect. The GM rules that - because whether they can get across the pit is now crucial to the plot - they must roll to jump across.

Mechanically, nothing has changed. In-world, nothing has changed. The chasm that was easily traversed minutes earlier is now suddenly more treacherous and the characters have no idea why. The only thing that has changed is the GM's perception of "plot."

I've run plenty of games where challenges such as pits and walls are overcome by non-agile characters by taking 10, and it's never diminished the fun.


Your options are not take 10 or a night of a thousand rolls. That is not how that works. It is not a valid argument to present only two options to support the idea of take 10 when there are many other options.

Again, RavingDork posits a great example. Taking 10 also works when it's used to cut down on a character rolling five times in a row on the same check until they succeed only because the GM thinks that roll is "important."

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There's a lot of room to insert Astral Extractions into the campaign; Black Dow made some great handouts to use too.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

So what if you built a character to take 10 in stressful situations? Are you cheated by DM fiat because the DM won't let you do that?

Again, you misunderstand the question. We are not arguing a character should be able to take 10 in a situation where there is something causing stress or distraction.


Take 10 is more clearly and more explicitly not the win button it was in pathfinder as the take 10 advocates wanted it to be ruled. If you want to be able to flawlessly and perfectly make a dc 20 without ever messing up you can be an opperative or you can get +19 to your skill.

You seem to think I am arguing a character should be able to take 10 whenever they want. That's not what's been said.


So you admit your argument is bad? Because you're trying to make it seem like you're basing your desire to take 10 on something more than your desire to take 10. You should be able to do the thing is not an argument that you should be able to do the thing.

Again, go back and read what I actually wrote.


No. Black and white clear as crystal plot relevant checks are not subject to take 10. The answer is clearly no per the rules.

And it's a bad rule. If the only reason a character shouldn't be able to take 10 is because the check is "relevant to the plot," it makes no sense.

Every check is relevant to the plot, because the characters are the ones driving the story and determining where it goes.

If you're saying that a character can't take 10 on checks which are relevant to the GM's preconceived notions of what the plot should be, we get back to my original second point: Character's shouldn't be punished because the GM thinks "this part should be harder."

Pantshandshake wrote:

Firstly, nobody is role playing an Olympic athlete. Unless, when you’re playing the game, your character is in the gym training, or on the field practicing all day every day, and then going home for a healthy dinner and 8 hours of sleep while the rest of the group is out adventuring.

Pathfinder and Starfinder characters represent extraordinarily fit and capable persons who - in the real world - would absolutely be on par with Olympic athletes when they reached 3rd level. This is heroic roleplaying; but I know plenty of characters who in their downtime do such things because it is in character.


And while I appreciate the player agency aspect, no matter how good you are at something, there’s always a chance of failure.

Do you crash a car one in twenty times you drive? Do you burn your food one in ten times you eat? I suspect not - and that's because the chance for failure is minimal.

But let's get bigger: Do fighter pilots crash their planes one in twenty times they land? Do astronauts die in one in twenty space walks? No. And even though those activities are some of the most dangerous known to humans, skilled professionals are able to minimize the risks so greatly that - when it does happen - it is newsworthy.

That's what taking 10 represents.


We roll dice, because dice are the arbiter of the actions we take.

We roll dice because the system is designed to randomize those events whose results are uncertain. Following your statement to it's logical conclusion, you reach the absurd games where players have to "roll to see if you stand up" and "roll to see if you walk to the door without falling."

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Nuking it from orbit is the only way to be sure.

BigNorseWolf wrote:

How is this true? What you say after this does not in any way shape or form relate to punishing the player or character.

A character that has invested in a skill at a certain bonus is able to succeed on certain DCs X percent of the time. That percentage is increased with each skill investment.

If anything take 10 punishes characters who go completely gonzo for a skill. If a DC doesn't get much past 20 the guy with +19 is wasting his life if +10 will cut it.

If I made a character with the intent to be good enough to regularly succeed at DC 20 checks (outside of stressful situations) by taking a 10, and was then told that I could not take a 10 solely because the check in question was "important to the plot," I would absolutely feel cheated. I built a character to do something specific, and the GM took that away by fiat.


All you are saying here is that the character should be able to take 10.

That is correct.


A locked door shouldn't USUALLY be a dramatic roll. When you're escpaing the zombie hoards or busting into the hostage room might be exceptions.

. . .

-Zombies get closer (braaaaiiiiiins)

-Hostage taker gets another perception check and either bolsters their defenses or well..

-The water rises higher

-The jacob marley door knocker taunts you a second time.

In most of these instances, you've now changed the circumstances. Taking a 10 isn't allowed where there are tangible penalties for failure or other circumstances that add pressure. With the exception of the door knocker, I think all of these would create a scenario where taking a 10 is not possible under the rules.

The original question was whether a GM should allow a player to take 10 on a "crucial" check to the story; absent other circumstances the answer is "yes."

BretI wrote:
As you allude to, the whole point of the GM rolling is so that you don't know the result of the roll, if you take 10 you know the result of the roll, hence defeating the whole purpose of having the GM roll in the first place, I'm not sure how this could be the intended behavior. I also don't buy the argument that you don't know the true result because others can aid and you don't know if they successfully aided, especially since at a certain level aids become automatic.

Your position assumes that the PC knows the difficulty check for the roll they are making, and so the only unknown would be the PC's result.

Using the disguise example: A PC trained in disguise can take a 10 and know the character sat down in front of a mirror, pulled out the make-up kit, put on a wig, and affected the right walk, and put on the right clothes. They look a lot like the noble Princess who They can know that it'll probably fool any passersby who aren't really looking. They can know it might get past a city guard who stops them. They have no idea if it will fool the keen eyes of Archduchess Thirmbald. The reason is that the Player does not know what the Guards who stop them will roll on their checks, and has no idea if the Archduchess has a high perception and/or will roll well.

Very much appreciate the write-up and notes as I'm preparing my game. Thanks!

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Magabeus wrote:
My problem with this system is you need to do a whole bunch of checks, bookkeep it, a d in the end it will not matter. I'd rather have a system with a single (more difficult?) roll for the day

The comment about book-keeping is fair. I've been running the section as a travelogue, and so the hour-by-hour check has been more to remind them that they need to rest. The book-keeping is broken up by events and descriptions.

You could probably boil it down to a higher DC check with a higher damage penalty once per day, if you're looking to get through this section more quickly. If the PCs are cautious about travel times, take regular breaks, etc. you can reduce the DC and the damage.

I disagree that it does not matter. I wouldn't eliminate the choice entirely, though. If the PCs ignore the dangers of heat and press on regardless, various encounters will go badly for them (as they would in real life). It makes sense to reward PCs for reacting to the environment and making smart choices, and to punish those who set off into the wilderness unprepared.

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As has been referenced above, most of original works regarding Great Old Ones indicated they operated in a manner of consciousness beyond anything humans could process. They were not evil in the sense that they wanted to kill humans, no more than a person casually stepping on an ant while out for a walk is evil. Nodens hunted the great old ones, at least in Derleth's working of the mythos. Nodens wasn't "good," per se, it just was a force working against those that would casually wipe out humanity.

Pathfinder rules generally require an alignment, and so I might look at the "neutral" great old ones as "the ones who aren't actively going to wipe out existence" and the "evil" ones as "antithetical to reality as we know it." They are labels projected on the Great Old Ones, but functional for the purposes of magic, etc.

I see two problems with preventing a character from taking a 10 on a roll simply because the results will have a big impact on the story:

(1) You're penalizing a character for having focused on the skill. Using the example of a locked door, if a character put the necessary skills into computer to be good enough to open the lock while taking a 10, that character should be rewarded for the choice. They passed up other opportunities to boost other skills, and if those choices pay off for this moment, great! If you don't allow that, you're retroactively punishing that character for skill/feat choices, and telling your players that their choices will always be second to the GM's intended story.

(2) The bigger problem is that the story requires that the locked door be challenging. The story shouldn't require the PCs to be stymied by a door until the right moment. The story should revolve around what's in the room beyond, so that if the PCs can hack the door, rappel through windows, teleport beyond, or crawl through Jefferies Tubes and reach it, the story advances. If they can't make one work, they try another.

For games with dramatic locked doors, you have to ask: What happens if they fail? If a PC has to roll and fails, does your story grind to a stop? What's the point in making them roll again and again?

I like the idea of setting things up as a "claim" system akin to the American and Austrialian settlers, but with a bit of a twist.

I'm sure the Pact Worlds have an overworked and underfunded department keeping track of claims to survey areas and various worlds. They also have a different department keeping track of inhabited worlds and stellar nations for diplomatic purposes. Nefarious corporations or people may try to claim ownership of planets regardless of indigenous populations as surveyed and staking claims. Starry-eyed Starfinders may try to get their new finds recognized as independent nations.

For all of them, of course, possession remains 9/10ths of the law. That creates a chaotic enough system that PCs can't claim and keep huge swathes of territory easily, but does allow enterprising and tenacious PCs to form their own (micro)nations.

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Zaister wrote:
Can't you just stock up on batteries and recharge your armor on the way? Or am I missing something here?

When we reviewed the rules it appeared that armor needed more than batteries to recharge; hence why Turhalu point has some to top the players off before they go.

When my group took a few minutes to research Ukulam I telegraphed that it was the hot season, full of wildlife, and prone to storms of various types. They took the hint and all purchased Mobile Hoteliers. I am glad to reward them for this kind of smart thinking. That being said, if they made the right checks I might let them jury rig the Hotelier to recharge their armor (based solely on scenes from The Martian).

Further, I have not made them make Fortitude Saves for travelling at night/early morning. This has limited the number of saves they have had to make and during the hot days - when they've failed a few saves-they pop into their tent and leave someone in armor to keep watch.

Overall, my goal is to not force them to the breaking point of stamina each day, but rather reward them for smart playing when dealing with environmental hazards.

Given the tech level available, I assume that even the basic armor has self-sealing and compartmentalization. Given how different races might interact differently with the vacuum, the armor and space suit tech has to be robust.

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I've run Expedition to Ravenloft for Pathfinder Characters with barely any conversion. You have some "underpowered" creatures, but in 3.5 Ravenloft was an absolutely brutal campaign. Where monsters could be switched for their from-the-book Pathfinder Equivalent I did that, and some NPCs got switched for NPCs from the various hardcover books, but aside from that I ran it from the book.

7th Level Pathinder characters can move through more encounters in more "interesting" fashion and actually explore the entire castle without getting beaten down time and time again. It may not be as challenging at points, but the story will shine through.

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(17) Will the rules support characters in Starfinder gaining XP for playing Pathfinder in their ships holo-recreation area?

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