Exactly this. Most modules are written assuming nothing more than basic competence, with a little extra padding tossed in so the PCs can survive a bit of bad luck. Generally it's much easier for a veteran GM with veteran players to tune up the encounters than it is for a new GM with new players to tone them down.
And really, a "normal" CR encounter is supposed to be pretty easy for most minimally competent parties, since the game system is designed for the PCs to win battles so there won't be campaign-ending TPKs every other battle.
That's why an evenly matched battle against an equal number of PC-classed opponents with PC-level wealth is a CR+4 encounter (AKA off the CR scale).
I have to disagree. A coup is an inherently unlawful act, both in terms of legality and in terms of alignment. Overthrowing a government or leadership structure is not an act of order.
Depends on the government that's getting couped. If you're replacing a Chaotic Evil ruler with a Lawful Good one, I'd be hard-pressed to call that a non-Lawful act. Likewise for tossing out the evil usurper to restore the rightful ruler.
Bill Dunn wrote:
And more importantly, pre 3e the "Big Six" wasn't a thing because those items and stats in general worked in a substantially different way from how they work in 3e.
Yeah, that's why whenever I GMed I let people shift the Big Six items into different slots. I don't mind doing a vest of resistance instead of a cloak if it means they'll take a fun and flavorful item for the shoulder slot.
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Well even with standard treasure rules, I've had players carry around goofy items presuming it was crowbarred out of someone's cold dead hands or a dungeon (I personally stuffed a barrel that makes stuff pleasantly cold into a bag of holding for most of a campaign). Really I find it that people are more likely to carry around silly items that have virtually no real resale value while silly and expensive items tend to get hocked for useful things in short order.
I'd say this hits on one of the bigger issues with silly flavor items. People like keeping them around as long they don't feel like they're giving up something useful to get it. So, the best move is to make sure that there's no trade-off involved.
Also, generally speaking the way to make PCs feel like magic items are cool and unique is to make cool and unique items for them. It's hard to muster much of a sense for wonder for a generic +1 sword.
Yeah, it's rather sad that Shield Brace is one of lesser offenders in this category. After all, it's only two feats with fairly low pre-requisites, little in the way of arbitrary restrictions (1 level of fighter or +3 BAB), and the first feat (Shield Focus) is actually thematically linked to the second and mechanically useful once you have it. I mean, I'd probably just take Shield Brace without Shield Focus if I could, but an extra point of AC isn't the worst thing.
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Pretty sure the Shield Brace feat also addresses that issue.
There's a big difference between the weapons Pathfinder classes as a spear and most of what's being discussed. Like I said earlier, there's a ton of arguing over what counts as a spear that's muddling the issue. If you want to call any polearm with a sharp tip a spear, the term's so general that it's hard to have a discussion.
The pikes of the pike-and-shot era were obviously not suited to the scale of Pathfinder. They're just too large and unwieldy.
If you want to talk about other polearms, Pathfinder has no shortage of options, many of which are doing just fine mechanically. The classic simple spear might not be quite as good as the halberd, glaive, or fauchard, but one could argue that there's a reason those weapons largely supplanted the shortspear and longspear as portrayed in Pathfinder.
In any case, the rules for it do a pretty good of showing why it's a very niche weapon for a lone adventurer between the cumbersomeness and the large deadzone.
Just going to second this. Polearms were always far always far more effective in large and tightly packed formations than in single combat. It's why Pathfinder doesn't have the option of equipping your PC with a 20 foot long pike: the weapon's not something a lone adventurer would get any good use out of.
As an aside, there's clearly some "define your terms" issues going on with spears in this thread.
I think the viability of decoy tactics also depends a lot on stuff like party composition. If the group has a dedicated archer, a couple decoy CR 1/3 guys in the back row just means that his first couple arrows kill them instead of knocking some HP off one of the frontliners. Even worse if the group has someone like an evoker who'll just AoE damage everyone regardless of shenanigans.
By the same token, there are definitely times when the tradeoff for decoy tactics is pretty small. If someone's running a monk, having the guy wear robes and a wizard hat instead of monk robes isn't exactly a huge problem.
I think the bigger issue wasn't the GM's call so much as the fact that the players didn't think the rules worked that way and wanted to walk their action back once they found out about the house rule, with the GM not allowing it.
I know as a GM I've made bad rules calls in the past. Nobody's perfect. However, if the player picked their actions based on how they understood the rules, they shouldn't be held to those actions if they find out the rules don't work the way they thought. Pathfinder as a game tends to have lots of problems when people can't agree on how the rules work, which is why it's so important to make sure everyone's on the same page.
Being banned in PFS isn't really an indicator that it's too powerful. PFS dislikes certain playstyles, particularly Dex based one and defensive styles. Most things are banned for either flavor reasons (see: Vivisectionist) or in the interest of keeping build variety within manageable bounds.
Just going to second this. PFS tends to demand simple, straightforward builds that work in the new-group-every-game format of PFS. Basically, anything with iffy flavor, complicate, or likely to cause table variance is likely to get the banhammer. Plus, as mentioned, defensive boosts tend to get targeted because they can mess with encounter design: that's why Crane Style got multiple nerfs.
Scott Wilhelm wrote:
Losing your shield bonus if you make an attack with that hand is only a rule for the buckler, not a general shield rule.
Granted, it might fall under the "Hands of Effort" FAQ, but that's a whole can of worms we don't want to open.
Only if the GM is bad at balancing loot, and gives all of it as pure cash and/or trash items that exist to be sold for GP. Most GMs will toss out at least some keepable items along with the pure cash, and having those drops favor the non-crafter can easily balance WBL.
Yeah, I'd see no issues with Paladin passing judgement and executing an evildoer if their crimes warranted such an action and putting said villain on public trial before a court of law would be impractical. After all, there's a Lawful Good Empyreal Lord of just executions.
I have heard stories about PCs "rolling too well" and having to deal with failure because of it, getting a crit and killing an enemy with a non lethal weapon or critting with a bow which made a spark that ignited fumes in a building and killed everyone in it. But all of those stories came down to really crazy house rules. The game as intended has no mechanism for penalizing players for beating the DC of a check no matter how well they do. It does come up in some other game systems but even then, beating the DC comes with advantages, i cant think of any that penalize you.
Killing with nonlethal damage isn't a house rule, though the rules make it pretty hard to accidentally kill with nonlethal damage. To wit:
If a creature’s nonlethal damage is equal to his total maximum hit points (not his current hit points), all further nonlethal damage is treated as lethal damage.
That exception aside, Pathfinder doesn't penalize you for exceeding DCs. The system's generally pretty binary when it comes to success and failure: you either meet or beat the target number and win, or don't meet it and fail.
Frankly, Joker's one of those supervillain's who's been escalated to the point where his continued survival is pretty ridiculous. Take all his various comic exploits in total and you've got one of the greatest mass murderers in world history, who's repeatedly gotten his hands on nuclear weapons and other WMDs.
That logic basically makes any form of self-preservation evil.
Attacked by baddie of the week? Well defending yourself is just selfish. Why aren't you letting those bandits rob and murder you? You just want to protect yourself and your selfish material possessions. How greedy and evil can you get?
Working to make a living? So it's all about yourself and your material desires again. Monster.
Dark Midian wrote:
Quoting upthread slightly, it's always bothered me when GMs are like "Nope, your metal weapons/armor cannot be reforged, completely impossible, they're 100% set once they're made." I swear, some people seem to not understand how metallurgy and blacksmithing work. Barring finding a facility that can work mithral and adamantine (According to the Golarion setting, those two are particularly hard to work with because of how hard they are) it's completely possible to melt down sword and axe blades for example to make something else. Swords to ploughshares and all that.
Indeed, though I would point out that reforging can pretty quickly lead to complications when you're dealing with different types of weapons. Frex, since Game of Thrones has already come up, the Starks' Valyrian greatsword getting melted down and remade as two longswords.
Just saying, I could easily imagine my players getting an adamantine sword and asking how many adamantine spearheads they could make out of it.
Benjamin Medrano wrote:
I've definitely seen similar issues when it comes to divvying up the loot, though I think it's at least partially a group and interpersonal dynamics issue. When you've got one or two guys who are very assertive about getting what they want versus a couple players who don't have the confidence to speak up and/or don't want to be seen as causing issues, it's easy to end up with one guy grabbing all the loot.
I do kind of wonder how much this divide reflects larger differences in gaming style. I suspect the sandboxy, heroes for hire, episodic, main focus is on character goals like "found kingdom" or "start wizard school" types lean one way, while the more plot oriented, epic quest types lean the other, but I'm not sure.
Yeah, availability and value of downtime seems to be one of the big sticking points in the discussion. One of the main arguments in favor of charging above material cost is that the crafter's time is valuable and making stuff for the party means they can't do other things.
How valuable their time is depends rather heavily on what else they could do with their time and how much of it they have. If their downtime is limited to the point where crafting for a party member means not crafting for themselves, that's a big tradeoff. Same deal if crafting for the party means missing out on founding a magic academy or some other cool downtime activity.
However, if downtime is pretty much just the characters killing time until the next adventure hook shows up, and they've got nothing better to do with their time than craft ... well that's a different matter.
Tarik Blackhands wrote:
I will point out that Tywin Lannister rather famously offered outrageous sums of gold to several impoverished houses that had Valyrian Steel weapons.
If it has value, someone will be willing to pay for it.
Yeah, Mithral and Adamantine see such heavy use because they provide bonuses that will stay consistently useful and no drawbacks beyond added cost. Compare that to giving you a small bonus against one specific creature type, a small skill bonus, and something slightly useful but with a big downside.
Honestly, the solution to mithral and adamantine being overused is to add in more types of special materials to fill other mechanical niches. Unfortunately, pretty much all we have for special materials other than those two are materials that are only good for beating material-based DRs, and a couple things Druids like since they can't wear metal.
Brain in a Jar wrote:
While technically true, classes without casting have to pay two feats and a stack of skill points to get a single heavily limited crafting feat, so it's not exactly a great move. Though limiting it to classes with spellcasting still leaves plenty of options.
As for the main topic, it seems like the one of the biggest points of contention is the availability and value of downtime for crafting and other activities. If downtime is heavily limited and/or the crafter has other things they'd like to do, then crafting for the party comes with an associated cost. It's fair for the crafter to ask for something in return if crafting for the party means they're missing out on something valuable.
Then, of course, there's the out-of-game versus in-game argument. Out-of-game, crafting for party members isn't a big effort. In-universe, it's 8 hours of work per 1000 gp of the item. I don't mind spending a couple hours helping a friend at no cost (or at worst asking them to spring for pizza once the work is done), but 8 hours a day for several days in a row isn't a favor for a friend, it's a job. Even when I liked my boss and got along well with them, I still expected my paycheck at the end of the day.
Of course, then you get into metagame concerns like WBL-imbalance...
Chess Pwn wrote:
that's unfortunate that it not working is considered working well enough.
It is disappointing, but I suppose I can understand why they might not want to touch the issue. Historically, Pathfinder has several of those third rail rules that don't quite work right, but any attempt to fix them seems to just break things even worse. I guess they'd rather do nothing than risk a repeat of their effort to fix mounted combat, which wound up making it even more confusing.
Plus, more cynically, there's no money in fixing things everyone's already paid for.
What Ozy and lemeres said.
Also, there's a reason I put the extra emphasis on AC, since it's the most heavily gear-dependent stat. Attack rolls scale up naturally by level, while your AC comes from gear (Half of the Big Six are AC boosters).
Sans magic, you'll start to run into trouble getting your AC past the low twenties without making serious tradeoffs like being a tower-shield user with combat expertise.
I think it really boils down to the one of the oft-repeated rules of RPGs: you can't solve out-of-character problems with in-character actions.
If someone's trying out a build that just doesn't work, the solution is to talk to the guy and work out a way where he can still have the character he wants while putting out the numbers the system needs.
Yeah, I think it's quite good-aligned for the party to tell the guy he's not cut out for adventuring and leave him somewhere safe before he gets himself killed. I'd say keeping the guy from getting himself killed is more good than encouraging him to follow a path where he will inevitably get himself and/or others killed.
Granted, in the OP's case this is no longer an issue since the problem player did a rebuild.
I'd say the most egregious foul by the GM isn't giving the character some crazy OP abilities, but that he opened the encounter by saying that if the party beat the pirate boss they'd get a ton of good items, then denied any rewards when they actually managed to win. To me at least, that's what really shifts the whole thing to looking like a GM temper tantrum.
Might be personal experience biasing me, but when I was in a game with a guy who insisted on de-optimizing his character, he did stuff like sell good gear to buy things that were "cool and unique" like the necklace of fireballs.
For what it's worth, Weapon Training will eventually make a huge difference, especially since you can toss him some Gloves of Dueling to stack up his Weapon Training bonus (+3 attack and damage by level 5 if you're feeling generous). Weapon feats also help a lot, and most Fighters pick 'em sooner or later unless they have some major plan for all those feats.
Considering how the problem player built his stats and refuses to buy armor or a ranged weapon, I'd be very surprised if he made smart magic item purchases.
I'd dispute the idea that dead shot is a boosted form of Vital Strike. It's exactly the same as vital strike, except it's a full-round action instead of standard and you have to make attack rolls to for each extra die of damage instead of getting them automatically. The only thing it has over Vital Strike is that it can crit on the extra dice (with an extra penalty to confirmation rolls).
Yeah, from what Halek's posted it seems like the guy is going out of his way to make his character as mechanically weak as possible, and doing so over the objections of everyone else at the table.
Honestly, the problem is that Ride By Attack wasn't written with the "When you charge your mount charges too" FAQ in mind, and quite possibly without considering the possibility that players would want their mount to attack. Whoever originally designed the feat in 3.0 was probably only thinking of people riding horses.
Milo v3 wrote:
"As an paizo board discussion grows longer, the probability of getting Bingo approaches 1"
B3, N1, G2, and O3 already filled in...
Might wanna check your rulebook again. "Prepare spell components to cast a spell" is listed as a free action.
Ryan Freire wrote:
Yeah, there's only two ways I can think of to get numbers better than that, and both of them have limits/require spending resources.
A ranger against a maxed favored enemy who's their quarry can hit +14 (+10 for favored enemy, +4 for Improved Quarry). But that requires either going up against your one big FE or spending a spell slot, and Quarry has lots of restrictions.
Barbarians have Strength Surge, which tops out at +20 since it's barb level to CMB. However, that's a 1/rage ability so you get limited use out of it until you can rage cycle.