I had one of my players read this aloud tonight after an extensive study montage in their capitol city's library. She read it as one of her character's bard followers (he leads an acting troupe) and really hammed it up. I had gotten about a paragraph into the Armag infodump from Blood For Blood, and remembered, wait, I can do better than this. It was especially fun due to the repetition of how Armag shall never die. The sorcerer has his own ambitions of immortality, and was all, "What's Pharasma's problem, anyway? Why's she gotta be so greedy over one little tenacious soul?" The alchemist considers this, and replies, "I believe it's a matter of precedent..."
Anyway, thanks for sharing. It took a fun story and made it even more engaging for my players.
If you can get your hands on a copy of Goblin Markets: The Glitter Trade I recall there being some awesometacular NPCs, creatures, and plot lines ripe for the borrowing, that fit rather well with this theme.
Stuff like this is fantastic. I now have visions of Neil Gaiman and Guillermo del Toro-esque locales dancing in my head, along with the Brian Froud/Tony DiTerlizzi ones suggested earlier. I've wanted a campaign with a strong fey focus almost literally since I started gaming, and the First World info in the last module just makes me love KM that much more.
I'll be dusting off my copy of Goblin Markets, and trying to dig up that one Dragon Magazine Wormfood article that had the fountain with waters that gave you a blessing and a curse.
If you are a female player, have you considered GMing, and if not, why not?
I first ran a game back in 2002, the year I moved out of my parents' house and got married. My husband and I had an apartment that always had people hanging out, crashing on the couch, etc, and one of our primary activities with the assembled masses was gaming. Inspired largely by some of the cool ideas in Dragon magazine, I decided to take a crack at it. There were several ongoing campaigns, so I became the master of the one-shot, when everyone couldn't make it, or an out of town friend was visiting, or whatever. I feel like in the first couple of years I ran D&D, my judgments and rules calls were questioned CONSTANTLY. Almost literally everything I said, ("Oh, that spell has a duration in rounds, not minutes" or "No, those bonuses don't stack" or whatever) was second-guessed, and the game had to come grinding to a halt as someone looked it up and determined that, yes, the rule actually worked how I thought it did. I'm not going to say I was right every time. I made a lot of mistakes. But I was right more often than not, and that fact didn't seem to sink in for a long time. It was especially frustrating because other DMs in our group didn't seem to have that kind of trouble. Players in their games might be grumpy if a rule didn't work the way they thought it did, but they didn't argue so extensively about it.
I bought practically every 3.x book WotC released, and over time I came to be regarded as one of the most knowledgeable in our group regarding useful multiclassing and feat choices. I had important page numbers memorized, and could open right through them without flipping through. I guess I was a little obsessed about proving myself. (But I did, and it felt awesome.)
Then we all started playing Pathfinder, and I just haven't had that same drive to memorize All The Things. And this is unfortunate, because recently I feel like, with all the splatbooks and supplements out now, there is just no way for me to keep up with my players' knowledge. They're like "I use x spell" and I'm like, "You have that spell on your list? That spell exists on a list? Save for what now?" and it makes me feel old and befuddled, but I don't know that this has anything to do with gender.
If you are a female GM, do you feel like you have been met with any additional challenges?
One thing I do feel a need to mention is the struggle to verbally assert myself at the game table. This is only my experience of it, of course, so YMMV. I have some players (male) in my current Kingmaker campaign, who like to TALK. Man, can they ever talk. We all can. We all had funny or frustrating things happen at work or running errands or whatever, and we want to talk about them. The trouble is, I realize that I and the female player in my game are more likely to get talked over or interrupted, whereas we are less likely to interrupt. I think this is because (at least in our particular cases) we are women who have been socialized and brought up to be polite and put others' feelings before our own. This can make getting game started difficult for me, when someone has "just one more" story. Sometimes one of the guys just starts up as though he is running it! I mean, sure, the game is started, but I can't help but feel a little miffed. There have been some extreme cases, where they seemed to flat-out not notice that I was speaking, or continue to argue even though I had already made a ruling and said we could revise it after game if we found more information to clarify that particular rule. There have even been instances of that old "comedy" cliche of one of the ladies making a suggestion that goes ignored, and, lo and behold, two minutes later, one of the guys has this amazing "new" idea, and we're like, gee, why didn't I think of that.
Now, I've read posts on these forums long enough to know that these are not problems that are uniquely faced by me, and one of the players at the table that gets talked over is also a man, so I suspect this phenomenon would rear its head from time to time regardless. The other female player (who runs a Shattered Star game that I also play in) and I have talked about it before, and we think these issues might still exist anyway, but gender dynamics certainly don't seem to be helping us out any. I've noticed that much of the time, one of the guys will get angry about something, and she'll step in as a peacemaker seeking a compromise, or placating the upset party, or even asking a question to make them feel knowledgeable. I am not saying this is a demand anyone has made of her, it is something she is doing on her own. I will say, though, the guys seem to care more about being declared "right" in an argument, whereas we care more about getting back to game and trying to get everyone to have fun. Something I do want to stress is that we're all really good friends, and I don't think any of these actions are intentionally malicious in any way. I'm just trying to address your question of "challenges" as accurately as possible.
As a player, what are your thoughts on female GMs? Have you had one? How was it?
My friend who runs the Shattered Star game was extremely hesitant to GM a game, because she has been gaming a drastically shorter time than the rest of us, and she didn't think she would have the skills or knowledge necessary. After playing in my game for a while, though, and noticing that even though other players were doing the same tired dance of second-guessing her knowledge of her own character's abilities, she was usually right, and had gotten pretty good at putting together a character. (I was so excited when she texted to tell me she had an intimidation barbarian build she just had to try out in a game sometime, because she had previously thought she would never build a character just for the fun of it.) I will say she is flat-out one of the most prepared and accommodating GMs I have ever encountered. She's great at getting into character and jumping from persona to persona, which I already knew from my game, but she's also got maps, handouts, sketches she made of NPCs without a picture in the module... The only "complaint" I could even possibly voice is that she's almost too invested in us succeeding, to the extent that I have felt on multiple occasions that she will be more upset if my character dies than I would be. I'm like, "It's cool, I've got this idea for an inquisitor I could slap together pretty quickly," and she's like, ":sad eyes: I didn't mean for this fight to be so hard. Uh, maybe the bad guys take you captive...?" I'm not going to say too much, because I can't say I haven't felt guilty the few times in my GMing career that I have killed a PC.
Other than a kender-obsessed DM at a local gaming convention some years ago, I believe my friend is the only female GM I have ever encountered. I have been to LARPS where men and women worked together to tell the story and manage a large group of players, though, and those seemed to run smoothly enough, save for the loads of drama that for some reason seem inevitable regarding LARPS. (At least in my personal experience.) I don't think female GMs are some mythical beast, but most of the people I game with are male, and most of my female friends are less interested in gaming, so that hasn't resulted in me encountering many.
Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us! I usually pass by the threads about "female gamers" without comment, but I remembered that feeling of growing confidence in my knowledge that you mentioned, and wanted to share a few observations of my own. There are real challenges from time to time, but I admire your attitude and proficiency, and I bet you'll get even more awesome as time goes on. Here's to hoping the worst problem you ever have is weeding out which players you don't want at your table, because there are just too many people who want in on your games. :)
"...assuming it's a sufficiently handsome crowd..."
So much love. Rodrick baby, don't ever change. I mean, aside from learning heartwarming lessons about love and friendship and whatnot here and there, since that's kind of what greedy, self-centered rogues do at some point if they're not the villain of the piece. But, like, don't overdo it.
@Liane, I hear you. I was all, "I shall read this 'Liar's Blade' for but a few moments before I retire for the evening. What a restful pursuit!" And then, suddenly, it was three in the morning.
GregH, that sounds like fun! Feel free to PM me if you want to chat about it, whenever you do run that game. AoW is probably the most memorable campaign my group has ever played, and I still love hearing about the events and characters.
wordelo, I am still slightly surprised that one of the more power-hungry characters in our game didn't make a grab for the Hand, though he was a bit cowardly, and I suppose he knew the bulk of the party would not be okay with him possessing such an artifact. It's cool they went for it in your game, though!
"Rodrick is cunning, but that doesn't make him wise." I *have* noticed a goodly number of NPCs wandering about Golarion with Wisdom as their obvious dump stat. I suppose there's something to be said about the cross-section between low-wisdom characters and a thirst for adventure...
I agree, this art of Rodrick and Hrym is extra-nifty. I think a mini of him (them?) would be one that could really get a lot of mileage at the game table.
I am well on my way to being a full-on Tim Pratt fangirl. His characters and dialogue consistently make me grin. ^_^
All right, I have a handful of questions and scenarios to pick your brains about. Impart your wisdom to me once more, O Wise Ones, and please forgive the huuuuuge blocks of text. I'm covering quite a few sessions here, but they all kinda piled up on me...
Okay, first scenario involves a couple random encounters turning into a major campaign event. The PCs rescued Ka-Kekt from the boggard village, and after returning him home and seeing how few of his people remained, they regretted sparing the boggards (some party members said they should go back and finish them off, while others insisted it was important to keep their word), and vowed to help protect Tok-Nikrat as best they could. As it so happened, I rolled a random encounter of six(!) chuuls in that hex, so I decided they saw the bog striders and their delicious eggs as an easy target. The battle was sort of a glimpse of mass combats to come, as the PCs had to not just defeat the chuuls, but defend the bog strider village as well. They were controlling the water to make it hard for the chuuls to swim, the uber-crafter alchemist was helping the bog strider weavers repair structural damage mid-combat...one player enthusiastically described it as, "Seven Samurai, but with bug people!" and that really sums up the awesomeness of it. Anyway, they decided that some of their number would stay in the region for a while, exploring and keeping watch over the village, should more monsters return. The ranger, grateful to take a break from being the "sheriff" back home, remained with a sizable group of cohorts and followers.
It was just him, a few kobold scouts, and the sorcerer's fairy dragon cohort, however, that were out exploring, when they chanced upon a random encounter: Adult Black Dragon. THREE adult black dragons. I decided they were in the area looking for Ilthuliak's old lair. The dragons rolled amazingly well on their Perception check, and heard the heroes approaching from over 200 feet away. The dragons proceeded to toy with them, chat genially, offer to spar, and just generally make it clear that no one was going anywhere. They wanted to know what the ranger, Tev, could offer in exchange for his life. Tev offered the following: a magic crown crafted by the duchy's finest smith, the location of a lair unclaimed by anything bigger than a will-o-wisp (Candlemere), monthly tribute, and the location of the boggard village, where the dragons could dine as they pleased (he had wanted to wipe them off the map from the very beginning) . He even gave them one of his most treasured weapons, Davik Nettles' glaive, to hold onto until he could make good on his other promises.
So the rest of the party was relieved that their friends were alive, but furious or dismayed that such a bargain had been struck. The dragons flew to M'botuu, terrorized the populace, drastically weakened them, and forced the cowardly Sepoko to worship them, thereby losing his divine powers. Then, they saw Fort Drelev across the water. I decided the Tiger Lords were still in the area, wrapping up their "negotiations," and actually ended up helping drive away the creatures. The dragons could have easily decimated the place, but they had been promised a much easier life elsewhere, no risk of bodily harm involved. I decided to use the dragon attack as "proof" that Fort Drelev needed help from Pitax, and that is the reason Irovetti would cite for sending in giants to supplement his mercenaries.
Meanwhile, the dragons set up shop on the spooky Candlemere island, made friends with the wisps, much to the party's displeasure, and have been forcing Stability checks and bleeding the kingdom of BP (in the form of repairs made to property, aid given to families who have lost a provider or their farms, etc.) for a couple months now. 1 the first month (in addition to their magic crown and some cows), 4 the second, and it will ramp up to 8 in the third month as they grow more bold in their attacks. The party has been pulling money out of the treasury, trying to equip themselves to fight these monsters, and is hoping that the gift of only one crown will exacerbate already existing dissension in the "ranks" of the dragons.
So now I get to the actual questions. The party is level 10, 20-point buy, and each party member has a combat-capable cohort, built with 15 or 20 points. What is this fight going to look like? The players are experienced and intelligent, and have spent the past couple in-game months specifically gearing up for this fight. However, any one of those dragons would be a match for them, CR-wise. The PCs used Sending to contact a silver dragon they befriended in VV, but he was out of the area on dragon-y business of his own (trying to hunt down the dragon that killed his onetime paramour, the silver dragon slain by Ilthuliak). I figure if things are looking crazy-bad for the party, he can come swooping in and take one of the dragons off their hands, at least for a little while. One of the dragons has been listening to the whisperings of dark Things beneath Candlemere, which means that he can manifest a new, creepy power or two if things are going too smoothly, or dive off into the dark waters below at the urging of his new patrons. So in general I feel like I can modify this combat to be challenging, but not a TPK. Does it seem like this is the case?
Some of the PCs are planning a Sending to one of the dragons, hoping to lure it away from the rest of the trio. They're spending a long time to try to word it just right, so I don't want to crush their hopes and dreams, but I don't know that a dragon would be so stupid as to fall into an obvious trap like that. Thoughts?
Good grief, that took far longer than I anticipated. Again, sorry for rambling on forever. I will post more information and questions again soon. Please let me know if you have any questions of your own, and thanks in advance for looking this over for me.
My copy finally arrived in the mail today! City Of The Fallen Sky has been one of my favorite PF novels to date, so I've been anticipating Liar's Blade for quite some time now. I'm only a hundred or so pages in, but already I've been laughing delightedly at the characterization, banter, and turns of phrase that made me fall in love with City.
I find Rodrick to be an excellent specimen of a particular character archetype that I enjoy, though if you find that type of character annoying or bothersome, it's unlikely you will enjoy this novel. You may still be able to if you can take some pleasure in the myriad atrocities that are inevitably visited upon a fictional protagonist, though. That is one of the joys of an utter rake of a character, imho. When he's winning, you can vicariously enjoy his cleverness/charisma/miscellaneous awesome, and when he's losing it's okay because he's quite awful and probably deserves it.
The fact that the adventure is set in the River Kingdoms is a pleasant surprise. The lore junkie in me has been delighting in the setting since Prince of Wolves, which really gave me a lot to soak up. "Ooh, they read Harrow cards *that* way?" and "Oh, cool, so that's what that particular celebration looks like?" and so forth. I've been running a Kingmaker campaign for a couple years now, so it's really neat to see a journey through these familiar locales. I will be eagerly learning more about these locations of which I've become quite fond, and keeping my eyes peeled for more interesting details to work into our game.
In terms of sympathetic protagonists, I'm all on board with the Elyana supporters. Plague of Shadows *is* my favorite PF novel, largely due to the complex relationships and deep feelings the characters have for each other. Elyana does right by her friend and lover, even though it breaks her heart to do so. I think she definitely counts as one of the Good Guys. And Luma from Blood Of The City was a complete breath of fresh air, because we got a relate-able female protagonist that gets a really classic revenge story without it being burdened by the standard female revenge tropes of rape or threatened children. Also we got pretty much the best closing line of a novel ever, though I suppose that's neither here nor there in relation to this discussion. In any case, her primary motivation may be personal, but she's out to stop bad people from doing bad things.
I think this is a definite case of "Your Mileage May Vary." I don't think most of these characters are all that bad, though I can certainly appreciate the argument that they're not all that Good, either. I have found every PF Tale to be well-written and a perfectly fine novel, but whether I stick with it or not depends more on my personal preferences. I love me some heroic derring-do, but for a long time I read nothing but books with squeaky-clean heroes doing Good for the sake of Good all over the place. I *like* heroes. It's inspiring to read about characters defending the defenseless, diving recklessly into battle to save an innocent, with no thought of their own safety. I seriously dig that. But it's fun to take a break and see how "the other half" lives, so to speak, for a while. Not every AP is going to appeal to every group, and I think it's the same for the fiction. Don't like pirates? Maybe don't play the pirate campaign.
I'm glad to know that there are impending Tales that will feature more traditionally Good protagonists, because I think it's important to present a broad range of characters and stories, so many different people can get involved in a narrative that appeals to them. This is useful to me because I want to read many, many more PF Tales, so people need to keep buying books, and also because I want to know other people are grinning broadly at their favorite character archetype saying the thing that he or she would totally say in that situation.
Our DM used Quethos to great effect in our AoW game. Long after the villain fled our party, abandoning his poor, devoted Krekie, our characters had split up to run some side adventures (fighting some local monsters we'd heard about when visiting Sasserine, helping the poor of Alhaster, etc.). My character was celebrating a job well done at a tavern when suddenly someone offered to buy her next glass of wine, and when she turned around, out of the blue, there was Darl Quethos. The following scene of him politely chatting with my character over a drink, with the implied threat that he could instantly kill everyone in the tavern with little more than a thought, was one of the absolute creepiest I've ever been in.
Basically he was offering to aid our party in some way, to rid the world of those ridiculous Ebon Triad "heretics," though it was unclear what he might expect in return. Barring that, he hoped for a non-aggression pact with our group. Saying she couldn't speak for the group, my character agreed to meet him in a day's time at a specified location.
The heroes went into the meeting thinking it was a very obvious trap, and ultimately, who's to say it wasn't? Quethos was unarmed, "to set our minds at ease," though a powerful cleric with an evil artifact for an appendage brings little in the way of peace of mind. He had no hidden allies, only the most basic of protective spells. And he tore the group apart anyway. The only way I can really approach the way the DM ran this scene is to reference the character of Ben from LOST, and the subtle half-truths and manipulations he would use. The party started arguing about what should be done with Quethos, arguments turned into heated words, and when some party members tried to kill Quethos and some tried to stop the others, a HUGE fight broke out. (IC, that is. OOC, we pretty much agreed that scene was awesome.)
Quethos died that day, but he died laughing, because he had gotten this big group of extremely accomplished and generally noble heroes to turn on each other, not just physically, but giving voice to a campaign's worth of irritations, misgivings, and bad blood. All without lifting a finger, even in his own defense. Quethos lost the Hand of Vecna, but he was arrogant enough to believe he could easily get it back, and certain enough of his plans that death was nothing to him. He just had his followers return him to life with their own priestly powers. Conversely, the damage he did to our party and their trust in one another, darkened all our interactions for the rest of the campaign.
Sorry for the long anecdote. To sum it up, remember that Darl Quethos is an incredibly insightful foe, and that there are more ways than direct combat to hurt the PCs. There are innocents to threaten, dirty secrets to learn through divination, friends and family members to menace while the heroes are away. Really, directly attacking the PCs is about the *least* threatening thing he could do to them.
Hah, yes, I can speak to this matter. Every single PC in my game took Leadership. Here's what I did, feel free to pick and choose as suits your needs.
I allowed my players to use 20-point buy (like they got to use for their PCs) if they were taking a cohort/follower that already existed in the game as an NPC, and 15-point buy if they were creating a character from scratch. I've played in too many games where it's like, "Suddenly this (exotic race/class combination) arrives on a boat or something and pledges his/her/its fealty to PC X for no discernible reason." (Although arguably there's more room for that in KM than in other games...) So I wanted to incentivize preservation of the narrative, and reward people who had been investing effort/emotion in NPCs, while not taking away that element of fun from players who derive a lot of their enjoyment from putting together their own build.
To that end, though, I basically let the players "rebuild" the NPCs as they saw fit, as long as it was within the parameters of the character's feel. Cohorts that were created from scratch were done so (grudgingly ^_^;; ) with my input, so they would have a connection to the storyline in some way.
I've also declared that taking an NPC as a cohort or follower is basically prioritizing his or her loyalties towards the PC in question. The NPC will still act in their own self-interest, but it's pretty much a convenient way of determining who the PCs can really count on, show that a former bad guy is really trying to stay on the straight and narrow, etc. There has been some interesting political maneuvering, as several players have been snatching up members of the ruling council as cohorts and followers, and I make sure that those PCs receive relevant information first. Nothing major, but enough to make them feel like they have a contact.
As far as CRs go, I would recommend having a printout of the 6-player conversion on hand, or at least a rough idea of how you might modify a likely encounter. My group has lately been swapping out which cohorts, followers, and even PCs, are venturing out to complete any given quest, so you may not need to do anything to boost the CR. When they encounter a dramatically lower CR creature, they've taken to fighting it one on one, or even just getting into a grapple with it. (Watching a STR 8 alchemist wrestle a blood caiman is not a sight to be missed...) When a full party of PCs and cohorts is brought to bear, though, know that it is a POTENT force of destruction. I advise adding at least some window-dressing grunt foes, so everyone feels like they're contributing.
Finally, I will say, remind your players to be nice. Don't make cohorts that intrude into a PC's niche, don't poach NPCs that clearly "belong" to another player, etc. Probably your group will be just fine. My group is generally quite courteous, but we all have our moments.
Kingmaker is a fabulous campaign to make use of Leadership, and I hope it works out well for you guys!
Lee Hanna wrote:
If you can't kill someone dramatically, you may as well kill them hilariously.
Lee Hanna wrote:
She critted, confirmed, while power-attacking with a greataxe-- All the way to negative Con.
...though it sounds like your PCs managed to do both...
death has been my gift
Nice. "The GM lives in the action of death, the blood cry, the penetrating wound. He is destruction..." ;)
blargney the second wrote:
Catalyst: Random encounter
blargney the second wrote:
The Gory Details: Another random encounter.
Those things should come with a warning label on 'em or something. And I hear you on the, "Why would X number of creatures be hanging out together?" front. In Blood For Blood, I rolled an adult black dragon encounter. A THREE adult black dragon encounter...
My group had an awesome time in Alhaster. Well...the *players* did. The characters, maybe not so much. :) We cooked a feast and played it out in real time, too. Even recruited some extra friends and acquaintances to join in the fun.
We played that game for something like 4 years, and I have some wonderful memories of it. It's fun to see people are still playing the AoW AP. Thanks for sharing your story! ^_^
My group is much farther along in the AP (4th module), so I don't want to spoil any of the truly amazing encounters you still have in store. I will say that the mite lair encounter was a serious, desperate battle for my PCs, too, and still one of the closest times they've ever come to a TPK. I let them level up mid-fight (they had accumulated plenty of experience, they just hadn't rested yet) and the small boost to their character sheets and morale carried them through to victory. The sorcerer was still in the negs, so he took Toughness to get back on his feet. He still complains about that feat to this very day. Another player will remind him, "But it saved your life!" And he'll say, "Yeah, I know, I'm certainly not complaining about it, but [complains some more]." :) The poor little halfling archer was trying to pull a, "You go, I'll hold them off!" but the rest of the group wasn't having any of that. Tickleback took much more than the recommended blood donation from the alchemist, the oracle (who has a phobia of many-legged bugs, particularly the larger ones) was seconds away from a major freak-out, and when the huge centipede appeared, the group was like, "FML."
I'm glad your group is having a good time with the AP so far. Be sure to let us know when you're further along, so we can compare more notes of awesomeness. As Orthos mentioned, Stag Lord fights seem to be some of the most memorable...
Meleni - N human female magus 3/ranger 1 - Dropped out of the Acadamae and worked as a small-time merc until joining up with the Tower Girls, only to leave that life behind, too, to join the Pathfinders. Tends to be very direct, both conversationally and in her approach to problem-solving. Is fairly quiet and succinct, except when discussing an ancient civilization or rare spell, in which case she tends to geek out and talk rapidly and excitedly.
Evander - N human male archaeologist bard 4 - Former Taldan street-rat who wears his unrestricted facial hair with a pride and gusto confusing to anyone unfamiliar with Taldan customs. Has a lucky streak a mile wide (though when he doesn't, he reeeally doesn't), and has been happily using his new-found adventuring wealth to slowly get his possessions out of hock.
Arrol - LG aasimar male cleric 3 (Sarenrae)/paladin 1 - The final word in shining, compassionate do-gooders. An aasimar who doesn't know he's an aasimar, Arrol hopes investigating certain Magnimarian current events may help him repair the significant holes in his own memories. Unwavering in his faith and ready to lay down his life at a moment's notice for a worthy cause, Arrol would be almost terrifying in his intensity, if he wasn't also such a genuinely nice guy.
I would love to see something from Jonathan L. Howard or Brent Weeks. I think their wit, world-building, and appealing "dark" protagonists would fit right in with the Pathfinder aesthetic.
I'll rise to the defense of my beloved FR authors, while openly acknowledging they might not be everyone's cup of tea, and cast another vote for giving Kevin Andrew Murphy more to work on.
Your temporary filler text cracks me up. "Awesome Capstone - Is awesome" and so forth.
I love Slayers and Pathfinder, so this is a big win for me. My first 3.0 character was a sorcerer sooo transparently based on Lina Inverse. My only saving grace was that no one else in my gaming group was into anime at that time. ^_^;
You've generated a fair amount of content here. Well done! I haven't familiarized myself with it sufficiently to offer feedback that is super-helpful, but I will definitely say I look forward to reading more of what you come up with.
Update: We talked for a couple of hours(!) before game one night, discussing the various options available to us. (My group's motto should be, to paraphrase Treebeard, "Anything worth discussing, is worth discussing in excruciating detail." Heh.) I reasoned that whatever strategy I chose would make -somebody- unhappy, so I put it to the group to decide. I presented the numerous ideas put forth in this very forum, but offered that we could do something else if we all agreed on it. Somehow, over the course of the discussion, we went from a split table, where some people were shrugging and saying "do what you have to do" while others were warily wondering why we needed to shake up the status quo, to the whole table enthusiastically deciding to forgo experience all together. I was quite stunned by this development, to say the least, but if that's what they want, I am happy to deliver. We decided that hero points could be awarded every so often to give that feeling of progression.
Again, thanks so much for the valuable advice. I really felt like I had a lot of options to offer my players, and I think the demonstration that I cared about their feelings and also "did the research" went a long way towards fostering good will.
Side note, Vordakai's additional minion in VV was absolutely necessary. Big V would've been curb-stomped without some extra muscle, but instead we had a tense and interesting fight, that felt all the more glorious when the PCs finally triumphed. :)
I haven't played it, but a couple in my gaming group is really excited about the game. Apparently there's a good RP server, and they keep trying to entice me to join.
There's apparently a segment in the start of the game where you answer questions and develop your character's back-story. That sounds incredibly awesome to me. Also you can customize the character's town clothing and adventuring gear right away, using colors you like. It was cool to see screenshots of their characters dressed in the national colors of their country in our Kingmaker game. ^_^ Also, players are able to swap abilities from one set of armor or equipment onto the physical appearance of another. I know this has already been done in Aion and other MMOs, I just like it, is all. Customization can make a game feel so much more immersive, imho.
My friends really seem to enjoy the world events, though I remember those being a thing in Runes of Magic and personally being largely underwhelmed. Maybe these are more dynamic or appealing, though? I am only working on second-hand information.
The character appearance customization seems pretty basic, unfortunately, but I'm going over to my friend's house tomorrow to play with it anyway. I swear, if more games released the character generation portion of their games for free or at minimal cost, I would easily wind up buying twice as many games...
DM Alexander Kilcoyne wrote:
4 players, and that sounds like a great idea for keeping things balanced. Thanks!
Heh, it's rough sometimes, not gonna lie. It's like, "I said 'let's go with this ruling for tonight,' not 'engage me now in a splendid battle of wills and wits.'" But that is another tale for another time.
Generally, my group has a fine time together at the table, and I just want to do my best to let them do the things they want their characters to do (like growing famous and popular enough to attract cohorts and followers), but also to keep the game balance in check so we can continue having fun for a longer time. I know theoretically any one feat is equivalent to another, but since we don't live in that theoretical, perfect world, I appreciate everyone's help in maintaining both excitement and equilibrium. Paizo forumites, you da greatest!
I was strongly considering this option, actually. Only downside is one of my players is quite knowledgeable of how much experience is provided by certain monsters, and is likely to notice if the group faces six enemies and only receives XP for four. I suppose in some cases I can just tell them the XP total for a night's encounters in one lump sum, though, and it will be a little harder to pick apart. I don't want to come across as being super-sneaky, though; just trying to maintain game balance with minimal fuss.
Anyway, thanks for the suggestions! As it turned out, we spent so much time introducing new cohorts and getting back into the post-Gen Con/post-vacation swing of things, we didn't get into even one combat last night, so the conversion remains untested for my party. But I have high hopes. :)
Thanks for all your amazing work on this,folks. Midway through VV, my PCs hit level 9, and now EVERYBODY in the group has a cohort, plus one improved familiar. Nervous as hell about maintaining the balance of this game that has worked fairly smoothly thus far, so I'm grateful for at least having a starting point to address this massive power shift. If things don't work out so well, I'll ask a couple of them to trade in their feats for something different, but they're all really excited and I hope I can keep the game fun for all of us.
My main concern is that I don't want to put them too far ahead of the curve XP-wise; they got ahead back in Stolen Lands due to an extreme number of random encounters, and are just now returning to their appropriate level. Since they're not actually a 6-person party, any advice on keeping their XP from skyrocketing? I do feel a bump in CR will be necessary, because my experienced and savvy players were already giving me a run for my money, and I have had to use clever tactics and maxed HP to challenge my group even up until now, with only one cohort and an improved familiar in the group.
No, but most people thought of us as little boys, so it balanced out.
There are GMs out there who genuinely do enjoy being dicks. They're rare, but they happen. Not saying this is the case here, but I'm not saying it's beyond the realm of possibility.
Definitely. GMs (and players) that take pride in how unfun they can make a game session seem to have missed the memo on what the point of playing actually is, and I (mostly) politely avoid those folks whenever I recognize them for what they are. I was just suggesting that if you're friends with someone, and have willingly chosen to associate with them, presumably they possess some redeeming features and needn't be tossed on the scrap heap as the absolute first option to resolving a conflict.
Of course your example is a possibility, and you should never feel obligated to hang out with someone who conducts himself in an abusive way. I know I sometimes feel more protective of others than of myself, and it's possible the OP overlooked some bad tendencies the GM had for a long time, but was unwilling to continue ignoring them once his daughter got involved.
I understand the visceral reaction to the situation, for sure. When someone makes one of my younger siblings cry, I don't just want to hurt that person, I want to UNMAKE them. That is how it makes me feel, and I can only imagine how much more that would be amplified by the parent-child bond. However, as a GM, a player, a friend, and a person, I would like to think that when I make a mistake, even one that badly hurts someone's feelings, the baseline assumption is not that I did it because I was specifically trying to slight, humiliate, or harm someone. I don't think any of us would intentionally sit down at the table with someone we knew to be 100% cruel, capricious, and utterly indifferent to the suffering and pain of others, even those closest to them. I don't want to sit here making excuses for this person I've never met and never will, but I'll throw my support to the group that suggests talking to the GM. Real, open communication is surprisingly difficult to achieve, because half the time we don't even realize why we're doing something until we closely examine our actions and their motivations. The GM may have hostilities he's not even aware of, and be as surprised to realize them as anyone else.
I can see how the OP would want to choose carefully in this situation, because not only is he trying to resolve the problem at hand, he is at least somewhat setting the tone for the rest of his daughter's RP experiences, and certainly setting a standard in conflict resolution. When someone does something that you find hurtful, what do you do? Quietly take the abuse? Resolve it diplomatically? Take your ball and go home? Deck the guy?
I am slightly bemused by the number of people referring to the daughter as a "little girl." I started gaming when I was 14, and certainly didn't think of myself as a little girl. Did you guys think of yourselves as "little boys" at 14? Maybe I'm the oddball here... OP Dad is obviously excused from from this because a daughter is always going to be "his little girl" in her father's eyes. :)
That being said, there is some very obvious situated power going in to even the most egalitarian of gaming groups, and that is magnified when we have the added factors of an older dude and a younger lady. Keeping the exploitation of this power in check is absolutely reasonable and just. So many times I hear someone complain, "Why can't we get more young people/females/whatever to game?" And I'm like, "Ummm...we have some of those playing now, but you keep on doing your level best to make them deeply regret that choice..."
I think something to not overlook is that it is important for the GM to have fun playing the game, too. Some campaigns can last years, and if you're the only GM, that is a long time to go without creating a character. I used to have a fairly negative view of GMPCs ("Oh, he used his special unique power to thrash the bad guys again while we twitched helplessly on the floor? Neat. And, oh, he's got mysterious vampire abilities? Of COURSE he does..."), but eventually I realized the portrayal and use of said characters can drastically change how annoying or welcome they feel in a game.
A recurring theme in my group's games is that the party will latch on to a couple NPCs that were written into the module, and the GM will adopt one or more of those characters as a "voice" in the game, and adventure with the party in that way. The GM for our AoW game used Filge as his GMPC, and the enjoyment he got out of that character would have been worthwhile on its own, but his presence gave an opportunity for different opinions and perspectives to be voiced, many RP opportunities, and even in a knowledgeable party, some of the DCs in that game are incredibly steep, and it was good to have somebody else who knew what in the world was going on. He would frequently nat 20 such checks, leading us to believe he was quite the fanboy of evil extraplanar entities...
Filge started out quite weak, taking lazy pot-shots with his crossbow every other round or so, but eventually developed rather potent magical abilities. He focused on debuffs and force spells. In retrospect, I wonder if he was a sneaky tactic of the GM to use up our insanely powerful party's resources, since that guy was ALWAYS getting dropped into the negs, and my character would always come running to heal him... Anyway, that game lasted four years, and I'm fairly certain it wouldn't have lasted half as long if Filge wasn't there snarking his way through it on the GM's behalf.
One of the players in our AoW game started running Savage Tide, and wanted to create a "Filge" of his own. He created a wizard/cleric of Nerull going for mystic theurge. I was a bit miffed by him putting this character in at the outset, because I like discovering what NPCs an adventure has to offer, rather than having one foisted upon me as a matter of course. The GM is an incredibly busy guy, though, and when I saw how excited he was thinking about how his character was going to level up, I realized that having a character of his own kept him invested in the game despite his chaotic schedule. The character was a bit of a show-stealer, and did cause some party conflict, but we mostly resolved that through in-character roleplay. Overall, this wasn't the ideal situation, but the game was fun, and it made me happy to see the GM enjoying it, too.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the GM for RotRL had anticipated Shalelu being the GMPC in our gestalted party of two. After several disastrous outings wherein Shalelu seemed to miss nearly every attack, critically miss on an alarmingly regular basis, fail every save, and generally endanger herself and others, we had to talk ooc: "We're worried about Shalelu..." XD And the GM was like, "Yeahhh...she kinda sucks, huh?" Our characters didn't actually think she sucked; they just reasoned she was more cut out for patrolling the woodlands than for the rigors of dedicated adventuring. The GM didn't want to upstage us, but was unsure how to adequately up her power level without unbalancing the game, so he had her stay behind in Sandpoint as we set out into the world.
In my ongoing Kingmaker game, I don't have a GMPC, but have developed a great number of NPCs, some written into the AP, some of my own making, and it is always interesting to me to see which ones the players latch on to. GMing this game has shown me what wildly varied reactions different people will have to the same set of NPCs. Some players like the NPCs so much that I devised an entourage system for the NPCs to grant bonuses for their presence without actively participating in combat. As it turned out, one of the players was vehemently against the NPCs accompanying the party, but didn't say anything until I asked specifically, and then it turned into a Whole Big Thing. Other players, meanwhile, have had their characters take NPCs as cohorts. Their classes? Knowledgey support bard/rogue and shield-using ally-defending cavalier. ^_^ We have since resolved our differences, though to a large extent differences in preferred play style cannot be reconciled, and it's mostly a matter of being polite and respecting your fellow gamers' feelings.
To synthesize all these experiences:
If your players are skeptical of your decision to include a GMPC, talk to them about why it's important to you. Letting them know "This is how I stay invested week after week," or "I've read about a lot of TPKs in this module, and I don't want you guys to lose your long-running characters to a handful of bad die rolls." Your players might suggest some solutions of their own, and may express some concerns they have that you haven't thought of. A GMPC isn't right for every game, but if you talk openly and patiently with your group, you can find out if it's right for yours.
Oh man, I like that! I thought the art for the ghostly guards was cool, but didn't think it was an exact fit either. Was probably going to make them more clearly echoes of a bygone time than true ghosts. But I like your idea better. :3 That movie wasn't like genre-redefining or anything magnificent, but it did have some stunning visuals (Chris Hemsworth most definitely included. ;) ) that would be at home in this AP.
Questions about these glass guys:
- How does their reflective nature interact with a touch attack like an alchemist's bomb?
- How do force effects, uh, affect them?
I'm already imagining my party facing off against these dudes, Sound Bursting left and right, blasting chunks off the architecture to drop on them, maybe even using Dirty Trick to blind them with their own reflective surfaces... I'm still in the third module with my group, but I want to do First World stuff sooo baaaad...
YES, I absolutely did. Not on the site here, but in the book. I thought I had read something to the effect of "mustached aasimars are much sought after in art-crazed Pitax." I was like, huh, interesting, I wonder why that's the case. Are mustaches considered works of art in the River Kingdoms? Or just Pitax? Irovetti doesn't have a mustache...are mustaches considered an affront to art? Are those aasimars sought after for punishment?
...and then I reread the sentence, and facepalmed.
Cool! I hope to use some of the cyclops info for background in the KM game I'm running, and I'm especially looking forward to the next installment of "The Treasure of Far Thallai." The story and its characters really drew me in, and I feel sad that there are only going to be six chapters total.
Eventually I hope to have a chance at running or playing in S&S, but until then I'll enjoy the parts that I can!
LOL, exactly. He's a bit dim, I could see that misunderstanding occurring as well.
Hahaha, I know certain players in my group (self included) would probably play a karaoke mini-game in PF.
On another note, there's been a great deal of focus on Lyrie. She is, literally, front and center. Lyrie Schmyrie, let's focus on what's really important here: full body art of my bb Kaven. :D
So apparently meeting a tribe of centaurs equals an opportunity for my players/PCs to make endless equine-themed jokes and puns.
"Hold your horses!" "Quit horsing around." "Let's hoof it back to camp." And so many more. So very many more. :P
At least they are enthused about rescuing the rebellious daughter centaur...although they hope to fix her up with an NPC cavalier with a soft spot for horses and other animals. I'm sure that's just a match made in heaven... "I think she is very pretty and nice and thank you for introducing us but now I am confused whether I should kiss her or curry her and I do not think that is making her very happy."
The wanted poster for Lily's Quest has a Cloak of Protection +1 as a reward. Is that correct or should it be a cloak of resistance +1?
I went ahead and said it was just an unusual item, and let it stand as-is, but yeah, should probably have been a ring. I reasoned that if the cloak belonged to her father, maybe he was out adventuring in an earlier edition of D&D. ;)
This question has come up in my game as well, and 4500 gp just seems like way too low of a price tag for such an immense boost to the kingdom rolls, especially given that the system is pretty easy to "beat" anyway. If my players were struggling to eke out whatever tiny scrap of control they could find, sure, I'd give it to them, but I had to say "nay" to it in my game. One of the issues was that there's not really an equivalent item for other stats, and another, as I say, is that it's not exactly a needed bonus. I could see ruling either way on it, depending on what suits your game. (Such helpful advice, huh? ^_^; )
Kingmaker in Greyhawk? One of my favorite campaigns as a sequel to one of my other favorite campaigns? Yes, please! :D
Are you still going to be keeping the First World angle? Or dealing more with Lower-Planes kinda stuff?
I would have a hard time seeing Lashonna and Nyrissa working together, although Lashonna does have a great deal of experience with quietly handling the delusional and power-mad. Maybe some of the other forces the PCs come into conflict with aren't all working for the same goal, but fighting amongst themselves as well? Maybe there's some way the PCs can use these to their advantage?
It's been forever since I've talked Greyhawk with anyone...I'll have to dust off my Gazetteer and see if there's something that jumps out at me. Good luck! I think the River Kingdoms were at least moderately based on the Bandit Kingdoms, so this does seem a likely locale for crossover. I wish you well in your noble endeavor. :)
I played the demo, and I'm probably getting the game some time this weekend. The character creation was fun, and I was excited to see how many different body types there were. I made Filge, the first adventure necromancer from Age of Worms, my pawn. Since it was a demo, it stuck him with a greatsword by default, and I was cracking up watching his skinny, pale body gangling about the battlefield. My character looked great (the graphics are pretty fantastic), almost exactly as I imagined her, and it was like meeting her in person for the first time.
Can you really only have one main character per account, though? That's crummy. I love playing through games with different characters and play styles. I have 4 different Skyrim characters that I switch between. Grrr.
Anyway, I am excited to see what characters other people dream up. My XBL tag is GreyhawkGal. Feel free to add me, that our characters might quest jointly in one another's realms. My friend got all excited that someone had used her pawn (based on her character in my Kingmaker game) within the first hour she created it. ^_^ Thanks for the info, I think I will enjoy this game.
Okay, so I want two characters - one to be the freedom-loving, sleep-under-the-stars, pro-bono-work, awesome good guy hero. She'll buy a round for her pals at the tavern, she'll defend the defenseless, especially newbies, she'll man the defenses if the town comes under attack, she'll...I dunno, rescue kittens from trees. Help people gather resources, whatever work needs to be done. I want people to remember how I helped them, and to pay it forward and help other people when they need it. I want to make the PFO world a better place.
The second character, I want to be a bandit. Like soooo bad. I want to set up ambushes and taunt those wretched do-gooders and call them ridiculous things like "wretched do-gooders" because I will be an obvious villain and will revel in it. I'm not talking about griefing people, I'm talking about role-playing with people who are into it and giving them some smarmy jerk to revile and team up against. I want to RP the scheming and backstabbing that might go on in a villainous organization. I want to be someone's lackey, and then one day have lackeys of my own. I want to make the PFO world a more awesome place. :)
I'm playing in a two-player game of RotRL with gestalted characters and we've been doing fantastic. Skull & shackles is a different beast, though, so it's hard to say. I think a lot comes down to how smart they play it...you really have a significantly decreased range of acceptable error whenever one person falling into negatives can lead straight onto a TPK.
There are so many NPCs outlined in the first adventure that the party is specifically supposed to ally with, that it seems like Skull & Shackles might be one of the better APs for a small party, all told.