Our group sees a lot of elves with caster types and humans because of the bonus feats and skills.
Now a buddy in our gaming group always plays really odd races with tweaked classes and specializations. I think he enjoys playing characters that the other player characters are unfamiliar with and there is a bit of power gaming to it as well.
Another friend in the same group tends to play all humans for reasons already mentioned. I usually think of personality types first and then work backwards into what their race, class and other details would be based on the behavior I'd enjoy emulating. I find when I build a character around what they can do, they become flavorless and boring to me. I enjoy the role playing more than the roll playing. I realize, especially in Pathfinder, that this is not normal.
Least played races in our group are: Halflings, Orcs and Dwarves in that order, with Halflings the clear number one because some Orcish or Dwarf shows up now and again. Our group hates hobbits. Current group consists of Elven Wizard, Human Paladin, Fairy Dragon Psionic, Half Elf Warrior, Human Cleric, Half Dragon Sorcerer and Half Elf Ranger.
Previous campaign was 4 humans, 1 dwarf, 1 elf.
We don't meet and play very often so we aren't bored of the class-race combinations that some of you probably are so with many there is a need for fresh options, I think.
Our group ignores encumbrance rules. We don't play fantasy games so we can make weight calculations and bang our head against the wall about if picking up this small statue is going result in a move and attack penalty. That isn't fun. We get around it with bags of holding and generally not strictly tracking it.
I think there are a lot of ways you can reign in dump stats. For strength you can have swimming and climbing parts of the game. Or you can deal more strictly with encumbrance if there are ability draining affects hitting the party. But in general if you're focusing too much on just being able to get around you can bore your group.
And really, we all know what would really happen if someone couldn't carry these things; They'd be unloading them all on the barbarian.
I would like to know the circumstances surrounding the change of heart and how guilty he feels. We are running a campaign right now where a summoner started out as NE and had a horrifying experience watching his actions result in the death of a child and others' heroism to save her and he "hit rock bottom" and became a LG almost pacifist (even becoming vegetarian). There are no rules that a character has to gradually shift or that what you shift to has to be within a step of your previous alignment.
If there's one area that is pretty weak in Pathfinder, it is the skill system. And I blame it on the Gygaxian evolution of the game where skills didn't really come into play until they were an optional mechanic (non-weapon proficiencies) in AD&D 2nd Ed. The problem is they are too nebulous as is. The other problem is the emphasis of Pathfinder and D&D seems to be more combat heavy, with a heavy portion of its fans being into just dungeon crawling. Regardless, they are too broad:
Perform = Sing, Dance, play any instrument, give a speech, give an acting performance and possibly some kind of juggling or athletic display depending on your GM.
Acrobatics = ANYTHING athletic. Doesn't matter if you've trained as a gymnast or not. Your roll is the same as the sprinter.
Perception = Anything you see, hear, touch, sense, search. A forensics expert analyzing a crime scene is the same as a ranger looking for pray or an astronomer gazing at the stars.
I'd like to see Paizo go to what they're flirting with in the tracking skill; Basically it's somewhat similar to a White Wolf model or Star Wars D6 model where you have a list of skills that are highly specialized and those are relatively easy to raise at each level, but become more expensive to raise as the skill improves (this is also somewhat realistic). Those skills are all linked to a list of the broad parent abilities (let's call them talents) which are partly attribute based, and are much more expensive and difficult increase but increasing one positively impacts all the other smaller skills linked to it.
If they can do it for Track linked to Survival, they can do it for everything else. And making a player pay the current level of the skill in skill points to raise it would solve the problem of DC inflation where once your character is in the teens, the die roll becomes almost arbitrary. It would allow the DM to keep the DC checks relatively the same through the progression of a campaign since a +6 is pretty expensive to get.
Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
I'm not sure that creating a special mechanic is a good idea - especially when it's not in the rules. The player is going to feel like you're at best being their nanny, and at worst, forcing them into your idea of how they need to play. And it's ultimately unnecessary since The rules are already in place:
The OP needs to sit down and decide what either believes is truly an evil act and what this paladin's code actually is. You don't fall because you weren't "good enough" or didn't accrue enough good acts for that day. You fall when you "willingly commit an evil act."
I really think Paladins are over-analyzed. That said, these actions could be two things.
1.) He's not a "kind" person, but strictly speaking, still a righteous one. I think you can play a Paladin that is kind of a jerk and still be Good and Just. A Paladin might keep other's money that he won because he knows the idiots are just going to gamble it away and at least he's %100 on the good cause. Now it will be put to literally good use.
2.) The player is just playing himself as a paladin. This happens a lot - especially when people use RPG's as a way to act out as themselves in a fantasy environment. They do all the things they would do if they literally were that person. Their name and class are just a way to let them escape. We had a guy we used to play with who'd always do this. He was short, so his characters were always huge and would kill and have sex with everything (sometimes both.)
I actually don't have a problem with this (the playing yourself as every character part) but if others are expecting more characterization in their role playing, it can come across as a lazy.
At the end of the day, evil isn't just an absence of good. And many times there are several good choices. Just because a paladin doesn't do the most good thing the DM thinks should be done, that doesn't mean he deserves to fall.
As a player, I'd prefer something that felt like the interruption was a natural way for things to happen. As was mentioned earlier, dungeons should have patrols and creatures moving about. Being interrupted in a dungeon is completely believable. Adding time elements also helps. If they need to resolve the situation within a few hours, resting for 8 isn't an option.
But be careful about forcing the situation. If the players have a rope trick or some other camping spell with an 8 hour duration, let them have it. If you keep lighting the inn on fire or raiding their camp, they'll feel like they're being coerced. I am a pretty willing player. If I can tell the DM wants me to explore a dungeon or talk to an NPC, I do so. But if I feel the DM is forcing me to play my character the way he wants me to, I stop having fun.
It's ok if you have tendencies as a GM. Every now and again, use those against the players. Maybe set up that it's another monster and then reveal it's actually the princess as an evil summoner, for example.
And as for favored enemy, our group doesn't let you take one unless you have a story explaining why you like hunting those specific creatures. I have a female half-elf ranger who hunts poachers - so human favored enemy works with her back story.
I think you're moving the goal posts, TON. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this. I don't consider a villain and obstacles to be the same thing. And I suspect a lot of players would be confused if you used those terms inter-changeably.
I think our not seeing eye to eye goes back to my original point: Have good communication with your players and make sure you know what they want to do.
Taku Ooka Nin wrote:
Not in a sandbox game and not in my gaming experience. If a group needs a primary villain, they aren't looking for a sandbox game. And all you need to do is make a list of some of the players and notes about what they are doing and how and when it crosses paths with the players. It's worked MANY times for my group.
In fact I could argue that to have a good gaming session you don't need a villain at all. You just need obstacles for the players to overcome.
There's not any "one way" to make a good adventure. However one thing I'd say is a good adventure is always about how well the players enjoyed it. I see a lot of DM's make the mistake of thinking a good adventure is about them and how smart or clever they are. It isn't.
As a lazy DM I like to make the players come up with stuff. I find they enjoy it more.
1. Talk to your players before. Make sure you know the players and know what they like to do. Ask them where they would like to see their characters progress. It's ok to derail this if it's fun or interesting or at the very least, fair. But involve them early on. Do they have back stories? If they don't, make them come up with one and use it to seed adventures building toward their destiny. When you start drawing from things related to their characters, it makes them more involved - and you got them to write it for you!
As an aside, this also gives you early warning if someone is going to be a problem at your table. When you talk to them, if they tell you they just want to kill stuff and be a jerk, you can anticipate their planned douchiness.
2. Allow the players actions to re-write what you have planned. If they do something off-script, but it's cool and they love it, let them have that moment even if it "ruins" the story you planned. If you need time to regroup and re-plan, take a break while you jot down the new directions. We had a BBEG that was 20-20 killed on a crazy arrow shot in the first adventure when he was only there to be introduced as the villain. DM let it ride and the new villain was introduced to avenge the first one's death. It made the character a legend.
3. Realize that all story lines have been done before. You don't have to come up something completely original. It just has to be original to that group in those circumstances - and their actions in that story will make it unique.
I think there may need to be some discussion about what the players can expect from a sandbox game. For our group, (and in other media as well) a Sandbox game is driven ENITRELY by the players actions and it's only the DM's job to set up exciting and appropriate reactions to those players' actions. The DM doesn't push content, he manages it as the players interact with it.
I can tell not everyone shares this view based on what I'm reading, though. And that may cause some issues. For example Taku Ooka Nin's advice is pretty much the opposite of what I do when I run a sandbox game. I think Sandbox games often DON'T have to have a main antagonist, and most of the time they should not. I think the DM absolutely should NOT force the players into any storyline - I mean if you do that it's not even sandbox anymore. You're basically funneling them along your created storyline.
Sandbox style, to me is about letting the PC's drive their story through their choices and personal goals. A lot of D&D is "go here and do this." Sandbox tends to be "I'm this person and I want to do this in this world. Let's set about doing that."
To make this work, you need to be setting up a lot of NPC's and events, write down what those NPC's and groups are going to do be doing regardless of the player's interactions, and then letting the player's choices affect their outcome as they happen into them. Then as the players cause change, you can tweak to add drama or created conflict to make it more interesting and challenging - but there shouldn't be a single goal aside from what the player characters have created for themselves. Let them make enemies, don't force feed them. Let them build their allies. Let them drive everything.
I think there's different levels of control afforded to the players and there needs to be a discussion between you and the group to come to an understanding of expectations. Do they actually want a true sandbox style experiece when they sit down, or are they looking at something more free-form than a dungeon crawl, but still with an overarching narrative and given objectives the way Taku Ooka is describing? Once you know what they want, you can manage expectations and plan accordingly. But don't be afraid of some early awkwardness. If they aren't used to being in control of what happens it may take some time to get used to it.
Our Sandbox games are not usually done in D&D and Pathfinder. We usually do them in White Wolf or other games where "questing" and "levels" are less a theme. But they can be very rewarding when done correctly.
I imagine a lot of these are "you had to be there" moments, but I'll share mine just the same because I enjoyed some of "alls y'alls."
As a GM: A very short game with two players. One was a troll who lived under a bridge (yes), and the other was a Forgotten Realms Dwarven Gutbuster with a ring of regeneration. There was an adventure planned... but they spent the entire two hours trying to kill each other in incredibly creative and hilarious ways. It was disgusting and awesome.
As a player: The other was this game with a large group. We had a gladiator in our group and an uppity elf. We encountered some Goblins. The Elf suggested we not attack them and "Must use diplomacy!" The Gladiator decided to attack them himself - and killed them all himself in three rounds. He then turned to the Elf and said "Gladiator - 1. Diplomacy - 0."
Also facing an epic Giant Dragon (like HUGE - see Dragonlance during age of mortals) and then seeing said Dragon fail it's save by rolling a 2 on the first round of combat (needing a 3 or better) and be destroyed. That was pretty awesome, if anticlimactic.
If the GM and a player start an argument (about anything) in the middle of a play session, that thar is a disastrous mix.
It depends on if argument means a heated fight or a verbal disagreement with each side pleading their case. Argument = debate to me. GM's are wrong sometimes. And sometimes players weren't clearly told and a discussion needs to be had. Now if they are FIGHTING, like getting in their face and being rude, then yes; That sucks for all.
TriOmegaZero's link nailed how we do it. There's a lot of ways to play a Paladin and all are true to the spirit of what he represents. He can be more Knight/Sheriff and maintain the law of the land. He could also be a crusader type were he's in opposing territory - or even a land with no laws and leans more heavily on his personal code and that trumps all else. A great example is an area where the laws are corrupt because of an evil ruler. A good Paladin wouldn't go along with evil laws.
If something is really questionable, we warn them before or let them know they'll need to atone if they go through. Then it makes for an immediate adventure seed for next session. His friends will usually want to help him stay a paladin so they can come.
It is odd that in the middle of the game session you would argue about the games themselves, but I am not shocked. My group gets distracted by things - and yes, sometimes we argue. It can be about a particular set of circumstances, how the rules are being interpreted, or how and NPC is behaving (ah the old "so-and-so wouldn't say/do that. I've read the books!). It happens, though. The key is trying to be respectful of everyone's time and getting back on track.
We're not allowed to system bash on this forum, so I'll close by saying I'm still posting on a Paizo forum and giving them my money. Wizards does not get my money lately. Carry on!
I think that is an odd view considering the large amounts of literature that depict Elves as anything but a bunch of prancing pixies. Novels, movies and video games featuring elves usually depict them as, at worst, capable, and more frequently good at a variety of things. I wonder where thy got that from...
You can finesse it for sure. And maybe there is enough demand for someone to release level progressions beyond 20. But it takes some adjusting and there's a lot of math. As was mentioned, your bonuses make the die rolls hilariously insignificant. You typically want to keep combat to once a game session to reduce length and because the locales and circumstances you would encounter challenging enough enemies should be pretty rare for most worlds.
Yeah I definitely think it's a very relative thing. The circumstance and motive of the person doing an act is of much more interest to me than the outcome. I am not saying what Detect Magic suggested people do; Absolve evil acts due to ignorance. But it's not a continuum, not a category. A person who fights and kills enemy soldiers for their country is less evil (or even not at all, many would say) than someone raised to believe sacrificing someone to their god would make it and their whole community happy. And they are less evil than someone who kills for pleasure or personal gain.
By the same token, someone who donates money to a police force to hide their drug cartel business "in plain site" isn't a good person even if their act is good. I feel the same way about people who do good deeds so they can brag about it. I obviously prefer that to no help at all, but I think motives and consequences have to be looked at independently as well as together.
We don't play with alignments much of the time. And all the world's we play in didn't develop with a Judeo-Christian ethic. As a result it IS often relative and that's part of the fun of it, I think.
A CG Druid fights encroaching human development and part of the fallout is a poacher who wouldn't desist was killed. A LG Paladin goes to arrest the druid because the poacher is part of a group who bought the land from the lord and it is "theirs" now by human law. The law says the Druid is a trespasser, brigand and potentially guilty of manslaughter or even murder.
People want everything black and white, and the way they see things. I like setting firm moral and ethical lines for myself, but how can anyone reasonably expect everyone else around them, many with totally different life experiences and wold views, to possibly agree across the board on what is good and bad? This is especially true in a game with truly different races and completely variable deities.
If doing so is more fun and makes sense, of course.
And I don't think Darkwarrior was trying to be rude. When I read what you were going for "Legend Lore" was the first thing in my head too.
I agree with everything Spook said. If you want Epic level content for combat reasons, you are probably going to be disappointed. Most players don't play above level 10, and even fewer want to play above 20. Pathfinder has attempted to balance everything from 1-20 and that includes monsters and whatnot.
If you begin making the game more about story lines and role playing and less about battles, you will be able to play a bit further on.
That's a common problem. If someone is a good DM they get stuck with it and don't get to play. Sometimes passive-aggressive players intentionally DM poorly so they can say "no one likes when I DM." Our group has a round robin thing. If a DM wants to manage a certain world completely, on another person's turn we play a different campaign or even different game completely.
There are some good points brought up in this thread. Whether the OP's intent was to whine or not, the arguments are valid. It's unrealistic to expect a Player Character to have to carry every variation of damage reduction around to be ready. However wanting monsters' special defenses to be part of the challenge of encountering them, and also the flavor of the world is a valid argument.
I think it comes down to the type of game you run. If a GM instituted that rule and then had really random encounters that didn't really connect with one-another during an adventure or a dungeon crawl - or even odd mixes that make no sense why they'd be cooperating in the same encounter - like a DR 10/Good, DR 10/Evil, and DR 15/Cold iron enemy all united in killing you and your group, that seems like the DM is just being intentionally mean (although, if your group is very effective, maybe this is necessary to increase the challenge).
However if you have an adventure around a particular type of monster with DR, and want their strengths and weaknesses to be part of the thrill and identity of the monster, I can see the value. I would say just make sure the flavor aspect is played out. Like make the adventure about the Lycanthropes and their abilities. Maybe finding the weaponry to deal with them is part of the adventure itself. So early on they struggle royally buy as they find the resources and tools to deal with them they get to go in guns blazing. Then you marry that weakness with a sense of hard work and accomplishment so they don't feel like you cheated them out of an advantage just to be mean.
I think how the campaign allows this rule to play out will determine its value.
I don't believe optimization and good characters are mutually exclusive. Sure, someone is going to "power game" where their entire build is going to be centered around "cool things" their character can do. And I do tend to see that more frequently than a really strong character whose entire concept has nothing to do with combat.
However in my group the emphasis is on good characters and role playing. The fun characters get more "screen time" in game, and that doesn't mean the loudest or funniest. It's the most interesting. And we often have sessions where we don't have combat at all but have some cool conversations between characters and NPC's. And of course out-of-game comments and jokes.
But that's our table. There's a synergy between what the players do and what the GM creates and why everyone is there. I am sure there are tables that are really combat, hack n' slash heavy that want to focus on numbers and how many things you can kill. They're heavier on the board game side and the GM's are spending most of their time preparing strong encounters. I tend to think Pathfinder and D&D have always been more about combat.
Short answer to OP: Yes, but it depends on the group you play with.
Most of what works above ground can be changed so that it fits below ground.
6. The adventurers accidentally find their way into a ruined city of a former Dwarven tribe considered lost centuries ago. A searching of the ruin turns up a few monsters/encounters but it is mostly desolate. Strangely, the abandoned buildings all appear as though the people just weren't there the next day. Nothing was cleaned out or packed away and there is no sign of an invasion or other event. Even stranger, there are no remains of any bodies to be found anywhere, except one; A lone skeleton of a priest in the temple, who with a jagged knife the bony hand is still clutching, carved a single word into the altar.
People don't actually "level" when they get good at something. Levels are a way to record progress and help make good challenge ratings. I always felt like you were slowly growing toward that level as you acquired experience and the leveling was just a benchmark for where you are at that point in time.
I could see some value in a trainer if you wanted to improve skills outside of experience. I might also consider something like this for certain feats, like magic item crafting for example - especially if the player's background or class made a certain feat selection illogical or strange. But learning to take a hit, developing skills, and learning to use your own talents better are generally things that are acquired through life experience. I think having to trek to some dude so he can "ding" you is silly.
Great thread. A lot of you use some of the stuff we do. Stat rolling. HP system.
Generally we accept a lot if we like the character and the concept first. If your concept is to "do X amount of damage" and they are otherwise personality-less, our group makes you go back and try again. That's not to say you can't make a good character concept that is also good a killing things.
One thing that helps with power creep is to adopt the 2E model where after level ten you just get a fixed number of HP every level, usually on the small end.
We also brought back the concentration skill because we use it for a lot of things. Archers, mages, monk's being able to glean some extra oomf from their meditations, etc.
I'm bumping this because I didn't want to start a new thread. There is an excellent thread going about home-brew rules. One rule suggested was that a character has to be the same gender as the player. This kind of reasoning baffled me.
Our group is all men, and while we tend to play more men, about 30% of our characters are women. I like to think we do them justice, too. They aren't all healers, sluts or b****es. We don't do their voices absurdly falsetto. That's not to say we haven't had sexist moments before (In middle school playing AD&D 2E we had our share of gratuitous nymph encounters and hot Elf women with their "dirty pillows" hanging out and what have you.) But we generally tried to play them pretty realistically.
I think it's important to try to put a good mix of characters and NPC's in a game. It adds flavor, for one. The entire dynamic of an all male adventuring group changes when a woman is involved. I think when the case is made that those of one sex cannot play the other because they cannot totally understand what it would like to be the other sex, I would argue that no one will ever be able to understand what it is like be a Red-robed wizard in the world of Dragonlance or whatever because it doesn't even exist.
So if you want to play a different gender, try it. One great trick is at character creation, flesh out your character. Put in all the skills and feats and everything. Then ask yourself, if this character was a different sex, would I change some things? Would those changes I'd want to make be my own personal biases, or would there be some degree of logic to them? It's fun way to evaluate your world view and a great opportunity to try some different types of characters.
A lot of the debate on this board is based on theory and in practice things don't go like people believe they will.
I played a monk all the way up to 20 in a 3.5 campaign many moons ago. It was a combat support with mage-killing abilities. The mage killing thing never panned out because the wizards at my level were better at hiding from me, so I was more a hard-for-mage-to-kill-than-others character, but I was surprisingly effective as a support combat person. The movement advantage was very helpful. I should mention this was a group of six players, which meant encounters framed similarly around a group that big.That's a lot of pieces on a grid. Having another, more mobile piece on the board that has good range was very helpful. There are some cool feats to boost your attacks of opportunity which make you a battlefield nuisance.
No, I wasn't "the most powerful" character. It hate that people on this board use that as the primary criterion for if a character is broken or not. I was never the star, but I didn't build the character that way. He was the wise eastern visitor who would approach problems differently than "westerners" and could more than hold his own in a fight. It helped we played them up to 20 and then retired them and only two people died in the campaign. It was quite fun.
I think I "got my money's worth" out of my character and it went exactly as advertised, outside of the mage-killing thing that never really showed up.
It depends on how you play. I personally don't believe Good and Evil have to be based around the Judeo-Christian ethic. I think good and evil are what the gods of your campaign say it is. I can even see scenarios where two good players are pitted against each other.
for example a lawful good paladin has to protect the workers on a new church, but it's being built in a sacred forest that a druid who is chaotic good and who has been commanded by his good to drive off.
My gaming group enjoys a lot of gray area. There is nothing that character did in the OP that that is evil in my opinion.