Anthropomorphized Rabbit

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Goblin Squad Member. Organized Play Member. 72 posts. No reviews. 1 list. No wishlists. 4 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.



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I agree with the OP.

Though I feel like the inverse is also happening at the same time. With +level being applied to everything, the tightness of the math, and the +- 10 crit rules, characters at higher levels DO in fact appear godlike to lower level challenges (ala high fantasy).

For me it has felt like the purpose and spirit of many of the changes/rules have been at odds with each other.

While the spell nerfs, stronger monsters at level, and normalized/generic characters make you have that gritty type of Sword and Sorcery feel (which I actually have enjoyed during actual playtesting to some extent)...

You also have situations where high level characters cannot fail low level challenges, cannot be hurt by low level monsters, etc.

Maybe these two things CAN be gelled together coherently and it just requires more tweaking. But part of me believes they really need to choose a specific focus.


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I'm also curious about this as I prep for the Affair at Sombrefell Hall.

Specifically, level drain (Enervated x) does seem to be non cumulative just by a straight reading of the players handbook p319.

But this runs counter to all past iterations from 3rd edition and pf1. Also, it does seem a little weak and limiting for the monster as a previous poster noted.

I'm curious if this is the correct reading or it IS in fact supposed to stack cumulatively.


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TLDR:
Its a cool premise that I don't think meets its potential.

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I'm DM'ing a group that just finished the first book, though I've read through the 5th.

Personally, I think the main idea of the AP is sound and interesting. Enough that I was very excited to DM it when it was announced. However, I think it overall falls short of what it should or could be.

Some of that is personal preference. I would of preferred a lot more intrigue and deeper thought into the power struggles that would be taking place because of the Glorious Reclamation's successes (IE- The back of book 5 should not be a sidebar. An entire book or two could have been made with that stuff and the story would of been better for it.) However, a bulk of the material degenerates into fetch quests that stray quite far from the central conflict.

Areas that I think should have gotten way more time are at best glossed over or not covered at all. You never really connect with the Glorious Reclamation as a real enemy. There is no exploration of key antagonists like Archbaron Fex, Alexeara Cansellarion, even Abrogail. Their motivations and plans are left unexplored. And you're left with thinly veiled reasons to become Agents of Thrune (something that deserves a lot more focus and depth),

The entirety of book 5 (and much of books 3) is devoted to something that should take maybe 1/4 of the book. Generally, the PC's are doing uninteresting things in the scope of what is happening in the country. What about assassinating key political figures that could aid the GR? Leading armies to crush real cities like Senara and not just small towns? Subverting the nobility to further secure Abrogail's rule once the GR is eliminated?

(Tangent, how did the GR take both Castle Dinyar and Senara and not take Misarias?)

Why not more deeply explore the actual rebellion instead of outlandish rituals that solely serve to lead to mechanically interesting but contrived fights.

(Exception: The inferno gate ritual and premise was a totally cool idea. It was just the execution of the rest of that book and the fetch quests that were horrible)

Also, the AP continually reinforces the PC's as brute force thugs instead of exploring the idea of them as fully fledged big bads in their own right. They should be given opportunities to feel like THEY are the boss fight. The Glorious reclamation should need to come deal with them proactively. Its unbecoming of villains to be constantly chasing around their enemies like errand boys. Essentially, the PC's are kind of uncool, and receive little glory beyond being patted on the head by Abby.

There is a lot of interesting organizations that are intrinsically tied to Cheliax that would fit fantastically into the AP as either antagonists or allies. Whats going on with the Hell Knight Orders? Their completely glossed over and added in only a token fashion. Specifically, the order of the Gate if we're talking about book 3. What are the Queens Hands doing?: (Anya Jeggare and her Abby bound gang of super loyalists) Aren't they kind of important to go unmentioned through an entire rebellion where you intimately get to know the QUEEN.

Abby was statted up. Why not explore using the chaos of this conflict to depose her? Perhaps join with Fex and together back another Thrune to the throne. One who is interested in giving out some of those unused Duke titles perhaps. Why sell your soul to Abrogail for ... what? Gold? Pc's are hella rich without her. Can we get an information section that actually lists some counties or further expands our understanding of the nobility? Its kind of useful if your party has interest in upward social mobility.

idk. I'm ranting now. Suffice to say I'm making a lot of tweaks in our home game.


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A) First a short question: Is Visperthul the devils true name?

B) I'll admit I've only just got the book yesterday and haven't had time to fully read everything. However, during my initial perusal I came away with a pretty serious critique-

The module at its core is about Fex’s betrayal and yet the actual betrayal is done so poorly it begs the question of why even present it as a possible surprise?

There are so many clues, and specifically the way in which the final confrontation plays out at Fort Arego seems set up to make the PC’s assume Fex is against them.

Specifically, why are all the devils and guards in the fort being inherently hostile to the PC’s? Isn’t that a massive tell? The PC’s are forced to wade through a sea of Devil guards just to arrive at the Inferno Gate, a location Fex said he did not know, and see not only their benefactor but a massive Heresy devil waiting patiently for them. How did Fex get there? Why is this devil now friendly? Why were they not attacked? Etc etc.

Even without all the very strong clues littered throughout the module, just the staging of the final encounter should be enough to give the PC’s pause.

Two of the clues that lead toward Fex's betrayal are very heavy handed:

-Starting with the INT 15 thief guildmaster who happens to possess detect magic but didn't notice the massive aura on the pendent he's wearing nor did he consider looking into its value? And wait, not only that but he actually possesses all the information about the object in a language he can read. He still seems happy with treating it solely as a "pretty trinket" and parting with the 98k magic pendant for only 2k. Its also a little surprising that Fex kept notes of such a nature just laying about for any thief to snatch up or that a thief would grab such notes without having a specific interest in them.

-OR the more egregious clue. In which two errant devils attack clearly superior opponents BEFORE completing their intended mission of delivering apparently TWO copies of the same letter for their master. This is despite their ability to greater teleport and fulfill said task almost instantly...

Additionally, said letter happens to contain the names of both parties, why? Along with a string of information that doesn't even need to be said. The letter as written lacks any necessary or useful information for Fex (with perhaps an exception for the siege). It’s clear purpose though is to give the PC's the heads up. No thought required.

Now barring massive failures on the PC's part, the module intends for the PC's to have knowledge of Fex's betrayal going into the final encounter. This is fine. My issue is that we don't need to dumb down our enemies to accomplish this type of forwarning/forshadowing. INT 15 guildmasters should be played as such. INT 22 devils shouldn't be writing two copies of a letter that doesn't matter and use the principal parties names within. Fex as someone who has been planning this for some time should have been a good bit less obvious in his betrayal. Or if he’s going to be that obvious he should of been better prepared (summoned Erinyes should already be there #action-economy-matters.)

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Or am I wrong/ missing something?


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I'll chime in and agree with DeathQuakers sentiments. Restricting class building options is a poor choice. The diversity, possibilities, and crunch are all what make creating characters so much fun.

1/5

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trollbill wrote:

I keep seeing the "play the First Steps" recommendation a lot when starting deadliness for PFS adventures is brought up. While it is good advice it only works when people ask about such things. Problem is, most newbs aren't going to do the prerequisite research to find this out before they actually try PFS. So some new DM says "let's try PFS" downloads a current mod (i.e. one of the challenging year 4 mods) and promptly ends up with dead players with a bad taste in their mouth. This doesn't really encourage people to play more PFS.

I disagree with this general notion that character death irrevocably leads to a bad player experience. Especially when we're talking about low level characters that have little personal attachment to the players.

In fact, I always considered character death one of the great strengths of 1st and 2nd Edition DnD where it was more than common.

Death/struggle/skillful play are what make DnD/Pathfinder more then just storytelling time. Its what allows us to be playing an engaging and thought provoking GAME with choices that mean something.

Plenty of parties have defeated that specific encounter, even using all 1st level pregens. Is it challenging? Yes. But personally that only gets me more fired up about PFS and what challenges it can offer in the future.


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Dotted. Thanks cheapy :)


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I think creative team play should always be encouraged and I'd venture that Paizo agrees, given their inclusion of the Teamwork Feats in the APG which essentially require two players to build their Feats in sync.

1/5

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Andrew Christian wrote:


That's organized play folks. That's how it works.

GM's increasing the challenge arbitrarily is not the answer. All that does, long run, is ensure that each table plays a different scenario than the last, and that in the name of "fun" (for whom are we referring, the GM who wants to really challenge his players, or the players who want more of a challenge?) characters may die when they wouldn't have if run the way the scenario was written.

** spoiler omitted **...

All in the name of "fun". As if fun is a dirty word. Idk, I have a problem with this attitude towards organized play. Essentially, you're trying to enforce the rules as if this was COMPETITIVE play. So what if characters die in the scenario because of modifications? Does that really matter if they were having more fun doing it? We're not all racing to the top with our characters, if people want a harder/more fun experience I think DM's owe it to players to try and make that experience possible. Instead of just trying to stick to the rules as printed and be chronicle sheet factories.

At some point, you need to trust that your DM is doing the right thing for your table. Because honestly, even a DM that's "following the rules" can totally mess up a table and kill people were another DM wouldn't, even following the same encounter tables. DM's have so much power that its silly to believe that you can build a module that completely removes them from the equation and makes everything "fair/the same".

So, accepting that DM's have the power, it seems pointless (to me) to try and knee cap them when they try and come up with creative solutions to increase/decrease difficulty so that their players have a more enjoyable time. ESPECIALLY when they actually fully understand the capability of the players and have gamed with them before.

PFS needs to lighten up and accept that DM's are an important part of shaping whats printed. If you follow the print so stringently every time, you're robbing people of your personal creativity and possibly having a much more enjoyable experience.

(added: Sorry for 'attacking' what you wrote. It just struck a cord somewhere).