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Chris Mortika's page

RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16. Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 9,831 posts (12,649 including aliases). 18 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 10 Organized Play characters. 12 aliases.


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The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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(I'm afraid my protests have simply made them boulder.)

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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...
(the new strip cannot come fast enough)
...

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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How is this a PFS question, you ask?

Well, in a home campaign, if someone is using a rule, or a feat, or a spell, from the wrong edition of a game, you stop the game, back up, fix the problem, and move on. You're all friends, and everything's good to go.

In PFS, you can be halfway through the second combat before someone realizes that their whole schtick is based on a game element not appearing in this edition. (The same thing keeps happening in a Core Campaign game, right?) (And yeah, I had people accidentally playing with the Pathfinder beta rules during Season 1.) I haven't had that many players confuse Pathfinder with D&D versions of the rules, but I'm sure it happens, too. You'd think that it's only low-level characters, but I have sad news to report.

Compared to a home session, getting game systems mixed up is a much more serious problem in PFS, because (1) we're under tight time constraints and (2) there isn't the same level of trust and friendship built up at a convention game. Everybody at the table wants everybody else to have a fun experience, but we also want the games to be legal.

We don't have time to audit a character in the middle of a game. My inclination is to immediately swap in the closest tier-legal iconic I can and promise that (a) their PC will still get all the gold and experience, and (b) we'll check things over carefully after the game.

The Exchange

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Three comments, in decreasing order of seriousness:

I play characters different than myself to broaden my horizons and experiences.

I find it difficult to believe that, of all the character elements of my ifrt oracle/ ranger-- bound by a curse to receive the powers from a prince of Hell -- hired killer, abandoned by her bandit clan, explorer of ancient fortresses, wielder of both magic and the bow .. out of all that, someone would call out my playing a woman as the unrealistic part.

A reminder that, in Pathfinder Society, you are free to change your PC's gender between every adventure.

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Marik Whiterose wrote:
Observation: It's been five years since the Snap, what is Ned still doing in high school?

Presumably, he got snapped, too.

Pity the passengers of the plane that crashed, having lost their pilots. Pity, too, those lost souls brought back, both pilots and passengers, five years after their plane left that airspace.

--

Upon reflection, Bruce used the gauntlet to bring people back, to save lives. Tony used the gauntlet unnecessarily. He could have flown off with it, turned Thanos into a big pile of cubes, and sent the entire army into a decaying orbit 25,000 miles from the sun.

He died because he was expeditious, rather than cautious.

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I blame it all on the Year of the Shadow Lodge interactive adventure.

In that adventure, the villain uses the Cage of Soul-echoes, stored on the grounds of the Society headquarters, to duplicate himself a hundred-fold, with some duplicates more powerful than others. (This way, each table of characters gets to fight him.)

The machine doesn't last out the adventure, but who's to say that it hasn't had permanent repercussions?

This is my explanation when someone is playing an iconic. Seoni was one of the Pathfinder agents too close to the machine, and she's been duplicated hundreds of times, at 1st, 4th, and 7th level.

And it's been my explanation for the gamist elements of item purchase. "Remember the Cage of Soul-echoes? That explosion was right below the commissary."

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Phillip Gastone wrote:
There is also he MAD magazine parody SHAZOOM! (Dollar sign on chest)

Strength!

Health!
Aptitude!
Zest!
Ox, strength of!
Ox, strength of another!
Money!

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Am I alone in suspecting that Goose is influencing Fury's attitudes towards it?

It seems grossly out-of-character from a dyed-in-the-wool SHIELD professional to get all caught up with a cuddly cat during a life-or-death mission in enemy territory, or to keep the flerken in his office, uncaged, after he knows how dangerous it is and how it contains the glowing cube thing.

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Albatoonoe wrote:
Besides the iconography of the Pathfinder goblin, it also firmly sets in people minds that "Evil races aren't always evil" which is a convention that Paizo has been trying to get away from the whole time.

With respect, Albatoone, which "whole time"?

The idea of "evil races aren't always evil" filled D&D 3rd Edition, from Eberron, where evil gods weren't always evil, and alignment was kept in the background, to products like "Ghostwalk" and "Savage Species" that allowed players to run all sorts of wicked monsters as party members.

Paizo reset the bar on evil races. Undead in Golarion were always evil. Drow were always evil. Chromatic dragons, hill giants, and, yes, goblins. Evil. Perverse. Nasty. "We be goblins; you be dead."

There are plenty of campaign worlds out there with shades of moral gray, where paladins can get away with breaking their vows and vampires are sometimes good guys. Where morally pure characters have to think twice when ogres and a manticore raid their supply train -- maybe the monsters are just defending their own territory, and isn't the term "monster" a little prejudicial, to be honest?

I appreciated that Golarion was a little simpler.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I've run the first level of Thornkeep over a dozen times, and I think it's a blast. I've also watched it run in Pathfinder Society by other GMs, and their decisions can make or break the adventure.

My suggestions:

(1) Use the town. It has resources in it that the party can use, and hints about the puzzles, and back-story that helps the players put the dungeon in context. I understand that PFS GMs can't use the encounters in the town, but a lot of GMs start their players at the mouth of Level 1, Room 1, with maybe a sentence about the town on the surface.

Thornkeep is in many ways Paizo's contribution to the tradition begun with the village of Hommlet and Shadowdale.

(2) Take your time. I've seen people power-run the dungeon - because if you can get five levels done in one day, your 2nd-level PC levels all the way up to 7th! I've seen people try to get through Level 1 in 3 -4 hours. That's doable, I guess, like power-walking through a museum, but I think it deprives the dungeon of its power, its mystery, and much of its enjoyment. There's a door. It's a mystery and a puzzle. Relative to, say, the World of Greyhawk, Golarion doesn't have many of those. Relish it.

(3) Yep, there's a couple of very powerful encounters there. For the wight, remember that it starts the encounter lying down, and needs to take an action to stand up before it advances. The party should always have an opportunity to act. But the PCs have also just encountered some skeletons and met some big-ol' warnings about undead, so they should be prepared.

The shadow is another really tough fight, particularly if the party encounters it in flight from the wight.

The bugs are a strong fight, but a party that meets them fresh and has good tactics should be okay; I'm pretty generous here about the things being territorial and not pursuing if the party retreats.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Maybe I've told you how I started collecting Marvel comics.

In 1974, I was 12, and I'd been reading Harvey comics (Caspar, Richie Rich, etc.) and then Archie comics for years, but I'd considered superhero comics to be a bit too adult for my tastes.

That Halowe'en, my brother and sister and I were trick-or-treating through our subdivision, and I found out that the man who lived two streets down from us, in the house on the corner with the big driveway, had the job of filling the comic book vending machines at the supermarkets. And so, that year, I got Sr. Strange #6 (Englehart and Colon, the beginning of a four-part story about Dormammu and Umar) and my brother John got Master of Kung-fu #25 (Moench and Gulacy). And John was not all that interested, so I stole it from him in due course.

Last year, I saw the Marvel "Epic Collection" reprint telephone book of Master of Kung-fu, and picked up the copy. It included all the stories that featured that character, Shang Chi, son of the "devil-doctor" Fu Manchu, that Marvel published between late 1972 and 1975.

Well, let's just say that, in hind-sight, John was very lucky.

Overall, the writing for the series was painful to read, clunky even by the standards of the time. As might go without saying, by 21st-Century standards, every issue was impossibly racist. The arrangement Marvel had with the Sax Rohmer estate let them publish books featuring Fu Manchu, but not actually impact the character, so the plots were all: Shang Chi or his father attack each other, and both of them survive the encounter. Rinse, repeat. The comic used the conceit that all the narration was Shang Chi's thoughts, but they were pedestrian rather than philosophical. "The shaft curves below me, becoming a chute. Light intrudes upon the shadows and I burst out thru another grating, rolling as I have learned to absorb the impact of my fall."

The art was blocky. Most of the artists working on the series -- Gil Kane, Al Milgrom, John Buscema -- didn't have any feel for what kung-fu was supposed to look like, and the page layouts were graceless and busy. The ink work was slipshod. Nobody knew how to draw Asian feautures. This was definitely a B-side book and was getting B-side talent.

But Issue #25 stands out. The story is a stand-alone one-shot: the insidious Fu Manchu doesn't appear at all; the villain has used his helicopter to escape the jungles of South America, leaving Shang Chi and his allies to wait for their own transportation. While they do so, Shang Chi hears the cry of a human child in the jungle, and slips away to rescue it from a jaguar and then from a tribe of superstitious Jivaro natives. The narrative voice is suddenly somber and contemplative, appropriate the the character and the story. The choices of what to show us, and what not to show us, are artistic and confident. (For example, one of Shang Chi's father's assassins has a role to play. They fight near the end of the story, and Moench just zooms out from the assassin drawing a blade to the precipice where the fight takes place, with the assassin falling to his death a panel later.)

And the art is amazing. Paul Gulacy had been on a few other issues, but the artists putting the finishing touches over his work had been ham-fisted and blocky. Here, in the jungle, the art opens up. There are a couple of fight scenes: martial arts against claws and fangs, or against waves of hunters and warriors, that are just amazing. The panel lay-outs, the positions of bodies filling space: they give us the impression of Shang Chi always being a man at peace within himself, exerting his will, his spirit, on those around him.

And that's the second Marvel comic I read.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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An easy-to-remember pass phrase, to be sure.

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I admit, I check Chronicle sheets when I GM at conventions. You don't have your character up to date? There's the pre-gens on that table by the door. Grab one and come on back.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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(raises hand) It is an amazingly bad idea, that the GM signing a Chronicle Sheet would not be the GM who ran the adventure (and filled out the tracking information on Paizo.com).

Simple, hypothetical:

On March 31st, Player Paul plays an adventure and his Character Charlene the Cavalier earns her 5th Chronicle Sheet. Let's say that Paul leaves without completing the sheet, and without a GM signature.

Let's say that GM forgets to record the information about that session in a timely manner. Paul has no record of that GM's number or name.

On April 2nd, Paul GMs scenario 10-20 and earns a Chronicle Sheet. If he assigns the sheet to Charlene, does he need to complete the inter-game purchases, finish the 5th Chronicle Sheet and fill it out before he adds the 6th Chronicle Sheet? Or can he have several incomplete sheets, that the next GM would complete and sign?

When Victor the Venture Officer audits Charlene's sheet, is there going to be any way to tell that Paul can still play 10-20 for credit?

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At this point, I have five thoughts:

1) I was surprised we *didn't* see Adam Warlock in this movie, perhaps as a mid-credits scene.

2) I prefer the comics' motivation for Thanos -- killing half the galaxy as a tribute to appease the personification of death. This "overpopulation of every planet" motivation is weaker. Ra's al ghul has done that schtick.

3) The Red Skull is my new go-to example of gratuitous cameos. And his transformation into the Soul Gem's guardian raises more questions, which will never be answered.

4) I agree with most posters here, vaping characters like Spider-man and the Black Panther was a mistake. Up until that point, I was ready to accept the deaths of characters as permanent.

5) The after-credits scene is weird. In a movie where there are 20 major good guys, do we need to see Nick Fury calling in a brand new one? (And tails, she's dead anyway.)

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If you want to make a reputation for your character, choose Adril Hestram.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Oozemorph seems like a race being presented as a class.

"Okay folks. Level up before you leave town." I take my first level in my new class. Blorp.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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In the middle ages, Catholic scholars would frequently debate matters of doctrine or discipline, and then, once they had reached a conclusion, they would recite a phrase indicating that, however they might argue, they held themselves bound to the instruction of the Mother Church.

I get the feeling that we're doing the same thing here.

"We should follow the Campaign Clarifications."

"Indeed we should."

"So, what about Slashing Grace when a character is simply denied use of one hand, by happenstance or maybe an oracle's curse..."

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With respect to all concerned:

There is a clear and persuasive argument that Dervish Dance works.

There is a clear and persuasive argument that it does not.

(And there's the argument that it only sort of works, but we shouldn't care, because Dex-to-Damage is a lightweight effect.)

Nobody seems to be changing their position. So, nobody else is being convincing.

May I suggest that we do indeed have a serious case of "table variation" and that this should indeed be a Campaign Clarification?

(Where "table variation" means a legitimate difference in the way table GMs are interpreting an important, ambiguous rule, rather than "I'm going to ignore the campaign clarification, whatever it is, anyway.")

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Chris Mortika wrote:
So, I come to the table with the 7th level Druid iconic, which I picked up off the table over there near the PFS room entrance.
Pirate Rob wrote:
When I was VC I dodged this issue by not including Lini in the available pregens of conventions I organized.

Sure. But in my experience, Lini is one of the most popular pre-gens, particularly among pre-teen girls.

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Theconiel wrote:

It occurs to me that if you wanted to play a one-handed character in a home game, you could impose the following restrictions.

* Retrieving an item is a standard action.
* The only shield you can use is a buckler.
* You cannot cast spells with somatic components while holding a weapon.

And this is exactly the problem. There is honestly no difference between "My character is unable to walk and uses a wheelchair" and "I'm playing a character who pretends that he's unable to walk." Accept those restrictions, but there's no rule that says you have to do so, or that you can't decide, in extremis, to forego the restrictions.

And that will, at some tables, land you into an awkward situation.

(cue harp glissandos: everything loses focus and when they resolve, we're in the middle of a hypothetical combat against a punk band of minotaur children...)

Kyle's druid is unconscious, one round from dying. His tiger animal companion is providing most of the fighting power for the party right now. Your character is 30 feet away, with a cure light wounds wand sheathed in your belt. Your character is under the effects of haste. All the other PCs are unconscious and stable. Your character acts before Kyle's.

So, you should be able to move to the druid, drawing the wand as part of the move action, and heal the druid before the PC dies.

Except that you've decided, for flavor, that you can't draw a weapon or wand as part of a move action, as the wheelchair requires both hands. So, Kyle's character dies, because you could have saved him if you'd wanted to -- there's no rule that says your PC can't just stop pretending and run over to him -- but decided to keep up the facade. Kyle's druid dies, the tiger stops being an animal companion and runs off, pretty soon your PC goes down, and the GM rules that retrieving the PCs in this situation isn't viable.

(more harp glissandos. And we're back.)

Some players are okay with that. Others will grouse.

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Core Rulebook rule.

I'm not finding it on d20pfsrd tonight. I did find something related:

"A creature that successfully saves against a spell that has no obvious physical effects feels a hostile force or a tingle, but cannot deduce the exact nature of the attack." (Under Magic.)

In PFS, it's more important, because there *is* a common mechanic that allows virtually every character to re-roll a failed saving throw or other d20 roll once per game session. Obviously, the player needs to know (a) that such a roll was made, and (b) the numerical result of the roll, but not whether it was high enough to succeed.

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Even if a character is not aware of an effect, he is aware of any time he makes a saving throw. There are no secret saves. (I was running Pathfinder Society and using a mechanic for hidden saves, and a player pointed this rule out to me.)

Some times, you *do* realize your disguise attempt is rubbish, or your stealth attempt isn't very good.

Moreover, there are a lot of mechanics in the game that allow a player to re-roll a skill attempt, a saving throw, etc, under certain conditions. The Witch's Fortune Hex, for example. The player needs to know the number rolled, in order to make use of those mechanics.

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The Society does get to meet the Harbingers of Fate, of course, for a notable encounter.

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I've been comparing Fantasy AGE to Blue Rose for a week now, looking to see (a) if the AGE system works for the campaign I want to run, and (b) which version works better.

I like the arcana of Blue Rose better than the magic system in Dragon AGE / Fantasy AGE, but that's certainly a matter of taste.

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Black Dougal wrote:


Luke's arc was the best part of the movie. There is still a lot of potential quibbles about the direction-why did Luke leave a map if he wanted to be left alone?

I was wondering that, and dug around some.

Luke didn't leave a map. At one point, Han mentions that everyone believes Luke left to find the first Jedi temple. Great; where's that? Not too many people knew. What's missing from this map -- likely, missing from the old Imperial records -- is the last piece. However the Empire got this map, one section of it was lost/damaged/never scouted/etc. That is the thing that was found at the start of the movie and that everyone else needs to find Luke.

Lor Sen Takka was an old anthropologist, and had access to the partial map to Ach-to. (According to Star Wars: The Visual Encyclopedia, Lor San Tekka was given a portion of the map by Skywalker, but yeah, that seems unlikely.) "The Force Awakens" begins with Kylo Ren confronting Tekka about the map. Tekka dies, and the map is hidden inside BB-8.

R2-D2 woke up when it heard someone mention the map fragment and it realized it had the rest in its data banks, maybe from when it plugged into the Death Star.

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BigNorseWolf wrote:
I'm trying to remember the timing on that, but wasn't she saying final goodbyes to Leia before the life boats starting getting blown up? That would strong imply she was going to do the ram before the ships started blowing up.

I think her plan was to keep piloting the cruiser until it ran out of gas and then wait for it to be blowed up. "A captain goes down with her ship" sort of deal.

Why they couldn't stick C-3P0 with that job, I don't know. Or an engineer who has nothing better to do than stun people trying to escape.

But yes, the plan was to sacrifice a Vice Admiral. Or maybe let her be captured and interrogated by Snoke.

EDIT: Yeah.

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Knight who says Meh wrote:


So tell your secret plan to the person holding you at gun point? Doesn’t sound very brave commanderish.

(laugh) At that point, the shuttles were ready to be launched. They were a couple minutes away from everybody needing to know, because everyone would have been boarding.

Telling Poe at that point might not have been "brave", but it would have been prudent. Once Poe understood the plan, he liked it. And Holdo likes him, and presumably likes his brash mutiny.

As people point out, both Holdo and Poe throw the Idiot Ball around.

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To those who say that Holdo's plan was "need to know": once Poe pulled a blaster on the senior command, "Cloaked shuttles go to that old base" take as many syllables as "I hope you know what you're doing."

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So, I'd like to spend a minute discussing genre. Genre is about setting and tech-level, of course, but it's also about themes, and about what kind of stories you can tell.

"Little House on the Prairie" is set in the American West during the 19th Century, but it's not a "Western". It's a different type of book, and its genre is properly "Girl's Fiction."

One of the ways that genre is useful is that it tells us what kind of decisions are right. In a Western, individuals fight their individual battles. In Girl's Fiction, the correct choice is always to work with your friends / family / support network; going off alone never works.

So, what are the genre conventions of a Star Wars story? One of them has been, consistently, that it's more important to do what's right, than what's smart. Yoda tells Luke that going to Bespin before his training is complete is a terrible choice and will get his friends killed. Luke goes anyway, and that's the correct choice.

One movie later, Luke walks up and gets himself arrested, despite what everybody else thinks is smart, and that's the correct choice, too.

It's easy to see Poe's decision at the beginning of the film in that light. Leia is telling him that the assault would be a bad idea, and he does the dangerous thing, anyway. But the genre conventions don't say "dangerous is better than safe". They say "right is better than smart." Poe isn't attacking the Dreadnought because it's morally right, because he's trying to save people he cares about. He's doing so because he thinks its militarily smart.

The unspoken framework of the movie makes it feel like the same kind of decision, but it's not. My opinion is (a) I think Johnson made a mistake by making it seem as parallel to Star Wars heroics as it does, because it carries the viewer along with Poe's bad decision, and (b) that's the reason this movie seems 'off' in a lot of cases.

The genre of these movies relies on a character making a Moral Choice. Han comes back to help fight the Death Star. Luke travels to Bespin to save his friends. Vader saves his son.

And throughout the movie, we keep seeing the results of heroic decisions, without seeing the decisions themselves. Rose's decision to save Finn from the cornucopia of doom was a correct moral choice, but we never see her make it. Luke's decision to project to Leia's location, and then outside, was likewise an essential turn of the character.

Star Wars has done this before -- we don't see Han's moral choice in A New Hope -- but for dramatic reveal. Here, there's just scenes we don't see.

Incidentally, who replaced C-3P0's arm? Is that really such a high priority when bugging out? And I'm weirded out that droids can see Luke's projected image.

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Hi, kevin.

I've run the first two levels of Emerald Spire as a Pathfinder Society GM. There are no PFS rules against parties retreating, planning, and returning. Honest.

The GM in question might have been thinking about another dungeon, a challenge event where there are such rules.

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segue:

I've been a reader of Dr. Strange ever since 1973. He's been "my" character in the Marvel Universe. I've followed him through a lot of crappy eras -- eye patches and despair magic, the Strange entity -- but I'll be the right foot of a demon of Denakif I've ever seen such a sad state as the current series. From the "all magic has a price, and Stephen long ago lost the ability to eat food" to the Empirikul wiping magic from Earth, to the awful issues with the Eye and Dormammu, ... and then finally to this issue, where Strange attempts to dress down the Vishanti.

They were right to call him on his arrogance, his recklessness, his pettiness. Barring some hint that something has taken over his mind or friend his personality, I no longer recognize the character. And I am at a loss for why anyone would want to follow his adventures.

So, now he's got a runestaff from the World Tree, and he's off to fight Loki for the previously-destroyed Cloak of Levitation. I really don't see this ending anywhere near well for him.

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Hilary Moon Murphy wrote:

Actually, S.W.A.T. (a cop-themed group out of Minnesota) all chose halfling to be their secret language so that they can all communicate with one another without enemies knowing what they are saying!

Hmm

Since Halfling is a tonal language (like Chinese in the real world) that softens r's to w's and k's to g's, people speaking Halfling always sound Teddy Ruxpin adorable, even if they're barking out military orders.

That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

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Slim Jim wrote:
I see both players and GMs overlook (and sometimes argue against) the full-attack rules, which state: "You can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones."

That applies at my table unless you roll all the dice at once. I don't want players to roll first and then decide whether to continue attacking.

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A reminder: the text of this role-playing game is not intended to be parsed legalistically. If your reading of a rule depends on whether "animal companion" is italicized or not, you're probably reading the rules with a level of precision that the design team does not intend.

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People have pointed out the two problems with fumbles:

1) PCs sometimes fumble, which is out of their control, and punishes them for doing what they should be doing: attacking.

2) NPCs sometimes fumble, which feels like it cheapens the victory. (Anybody remember the "Saga of Biornn"?)

I use Fumbles, and my solution to these is the confirmation number for a fumble is the number of untreated wounds the character has sustained.

(I use the True20 system, where you track wounds, instead of hit points. In Pathfinder, count the number of hit points the character is down from his maximum, divided by 5.)

Unwounded characters can fight all day and never worry about a fumble. The only way you screw-up is to choose to continue fighting after being seriously injured.

1) PCs can avoid a fumble by getting healed during combat, which makes combat more dangerous for parties that only have access to out-of-combat healing.

2) NPCs who die because of fumbles do so because they are already wounded. It's still a victory for the party, which has worn down the opponents enough for their own fatigue and wounds to finish them.

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My favorite line was Odin's, in the psychic link with Thor.

Spoiler:
"What are you, the God of Hammers?"

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First of all, let's be clear about dead things: they are still around after the session ends, and can be brought to future sessions.

My witch has a familiar. It dies in a scenario. My witch can certainly cart around its corpse in future scenarios. "This was Fluffy. He was my conduit to my guiding spirit. I shall keep him always, as a reminder of the bond we enjoyed. Would you like to pet him?"

The suggestion that "dead" is a condition that must be cleared from an animal companion / familiar / whatever is not in the Campaign Guide.

--

I agree with Wraith235, about the difference between an instantaneous spell and a permanent one. (Handy note: your shambling mockery of a yak is perfectly fine in the Mana Wastes; dispel magic and anti-magic zones have no effect on undead.)

But I also agree with Pete: the PFS version of animate dead does not function the same way as its core game counterpart. The only way for a normal Pathfinder undead to cease being animated is for it to be destroyed. But that's not the same as a PFS animated dead skeleton. Those spell effects cease, not because the critter is destroyed, but because the campaign rules suggest it.

Look: there are unique items in the campaign, like intelligent swords and such. But you can assemble a party where every character has the exact same intelligent sword. Is that some power of the sword, to duplicate itself so freely? No, it's a consequence of the particular campaign rules.

I think that campaign leadership could come visit this issue and explain, in this campaign, what happens to your undead buddies. Are they destroyed? Or just dead?

(Awkward implication: a PC is killed, and the necromancer animates her corpse for the rest of the adventure. Is her corpse destroyed at the end of the adventure, and hence no longer available to be resurrected?)

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To the folks who are in favor of easy, any-time rebuilds:

Other organized play campaigns have tried this. And players would convert their human fighters into dwarf clerics for an adventure, and then back again, if that's what the party needed.

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I am of the opinion that there's a sweet spot in a role-playing system's development, where there are enough options (classes, feats, spells) but not too many. Different people have different ideas about where this is, but I'm guessing that 500 or so feats, 20 or so classes, maybe 2000 different magic spells, would make most people happy. For Pathfinder, that was somewhere around "Ultimate Magic".

A new edition doesn't get us there. A new edition resets back to the base classes, the base spells and feats. And then we get the rest of the stuff we want, slowly, anew. Maybe all that process fixes something here, or tweaks a rule there. But mostly, it just involves re-learning the game again.

Here's my honest recommendation. It requires work.

If you are someone who is honestly bothered by Pathfinder's size, and who wants to fix that, then you should build a well-defined subset of the rules that you like. Write it down. Like Witches and Brawlers? Keep 'em. Don't care much for Arcanists or Kineticists? Drop 'em. (Aim for about 20 classes. That's the base 11 classes, plus 9 more.)

Add in the class options that give you the archetypes you like. Then add in the feats you think all those classes need. (Aim for about 500.) Then spell lists.

Make yourself a promise that you won't add a new feat or spell or magic item to your game without removing another one.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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To some extent, this is not a new policy. Take a look at early Season 2. The scenarios included a (forgettable) witch, an (notable) summoner, a (forgettable) cavalier, and, oh, yes, a (frightening) magus. PFS got an early look at the chase mechanics (but with a restricted pool of experienced GMs) too.

GMs can't avoid a lot of the new class material, because non-Core GMs will be seeing it at their tables, and it might be a good idea to explore the material from the GM's side as soon as possible.

I'm honestly not sure of a good solution, other than restricting yourself to running Core and quests with pre-gens.

-- Chris, a semi-retired GM
who mostly restricts himself to running Core
and quests with pre-gens

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Wile E. Coyote got almost all of the way across before he noticed that his rocket-powered skateboard had gotten caught in Godsmarket.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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So, true story (that I made up just now):

A man was convicted of a crime and sentenced to be hanged. The judge said: "You will be hanged one day next week, Sunday through Saturday, but you will not know the day of your execution; it shall be a surprise."

Well, the man was no dummy, and as he thought about his fate, he realized with a gasp, "I cannot be executed on Saturday, for that is the last possible day of my execution, and if I am still alive Saturday morning, then I must be killed that day, and it would be no surprise. That's impossible, according to the sentence, so I cannot be executed on Saturday.

"But hold! If I am alive on Friday morning, then I would know that I would be killed on that day, since the only days remaining would be Friday and Saturday, and I have already ascertained that I cannot be killed on Saturday. So, I must be killed on Friday, but there being no other option, I should know that, and this the sentence prohibits. So I cannot be executed on Friday."

Likewise, he reasoned, he could not be executed on Thursday, since by Thursday morning, having not yet suffered the gallows, he would know that his death would rest on Thursday, or else on those latter days Friday or Saturday, which he had already shown to be impossible.

And so it went. He could not be executed on Wednesday, nor Tuesday, nor Monday, nor even on Sunday. And so he relaxed, secure in the knowledge that there were no days on which he could be executed.

And so, when the hangman came for him on Wednesday, he was well and truly surprised.

THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: Don't be too sure about what fate rests on a roll of "1".

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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The game has illusions, and there might be some other reason the GM asked you to make a saving throw.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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And also: welcome. it's great to have you playing in the campaign. May your time in the Grand Lodge be pleasant, and may your travels always lead you safely back there, with fine stories to report.

Grand Lodge

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Hello. Lore Warden, and Aldori Swordlord here. I joined the Society to travel the world, sure, and protect the folks who really knew about ancient cultures and mysterious gateways to other worlds, sure.

But really, I joined because I've been wanting to learn how to fight, one-to-one, with a weapon in hand. And the Society is a fantastic place to find crazy Blackfire adepts, Aspis agents, traitorous Shadow Lodge magi, demonic blademasters... all of them different styles, with every sort of weapon you can imagine ... all of them challenges, each of them with something to teach.

So, you bet, when Master Farbellus suggested the Lore Warden path, I happily took to it, because fighting smart is always a good choice, and maneuvers give you more options in combat. And those levels of study gave me the background I needed to join the Aldori Swordlords.

So, sure, if the Lore Wardens are revising the curriculum, I'm all down with that, because balance is always important to a student of deadly arts. But I'm hoping I don't have to set aside my Swordlord levels, because the new Lore Warden curriculum doesn't advance people's talents the same way.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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One of my PCs is a classic Summoner. When Unchained came out, that character was grandfathered in. Another character is a Living Monolith. When a revision to that prestige class came out, that character was grandfathered in.

One of my PCs is a Hellknight. Another is a Magus / Lore Warden / Aldori Sword Lord. I'm expecting that both of them will be grandfathered in, in that I won't need to buy a new hardcover in order to play them.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I have played with PFS folks who believe that a paladin would need an atonement, simply for agreeing to participate in a scenario.

Spoiler:
"Sewer Dragons of Absalom," because the mission is to help the Society avoid paying lawful taxes on artifacts brought into the city

If the GM wants to rule like that, then I agree that the Society ought to spring for the atonement

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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Entire retool of a couple old campaign idea, using a modification of the Green Ronin True20 and Warriors & Warlocks systems.

Some elements:

1) System-wise: magic based on a character's "humours": most characters know some battlefield magic (bull's strength, healing, blur, ...) based on their nodes, and there are disciplines that develop those further: shamanism, mentalism, so on)

a) True20 doesn't use hit points.

2) Story-wise, the campaign begins in the analog of Greece, 500 years after the height of its Antiquity powers. (So, Byzantine Empire analog).

a) The capital cities have been conquered only last year by, essentially, Vishkanya using more refined magic than anyone has seen. They've announced a coup, and the campaign world is dealing with the ramifications.

b) I'm intending the campaign to cross the ocean after a dozen adventures, to the "prison island" (Australia) where the country puts dangerous, useful criminals. Beyond that lie the uncharted "Thousand Islands" (something like a Traveller campaign)

c) The campaign world was once part of a larger planet, but the local region was calved off into its own plane by a set of frightened gods an age ago. (No divine magic, no inter-dimensional travel, no teleportation or summoning.) Somewhere in the Thousand Islands is the reason why, and also the key to releasing the locks.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

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I appreciate Leg o' Lamb's experience.

I haven't run any of the Bonekeep adventures yet, because I want to play them first. I haven't played them because my only opportunities to do so have been to join ad-hoc parties playing at conventions, and I am aware of the kind of tom-foolery that Leg o' Lamb speaks about.

There are some solutions to the problem where some people are taking the delve more seriously than others, but the simplest solution to my mind is to find groups who want to go through the place as a team.

"A team of solid players, playing solid characters familiar with one another, will out-perform a collection of strangers playing over-clocked encounter-munchers." And, more importantly, they'll all have an idea about how seriously they want to take the delve.

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