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28 posts. Alias of AngrySpirit.


Happy Birthday James!

I have heard that one's life starts at 40. Does that mean you get to reroll one's character sheet?

also, noticed you guys are looking for software developer. Other than freelancers for writing, does Paizo use freelance programmers who can work remotely by chance? thanks

I was just reading the forward to AP 49# The Brinewall Legacy where you mention you played Ameiko as a character at one time. Are there any other Paizoian personal favorite characters in print? Who are they and are there any interesting stories about them you can share?

I always heard Ed Greenwood's personal gaming group was made into Forgotten Realms characters (Dove Falconhand for instance and I am not sure who all the original players were at his table) and Gary Gygax's Group had Bigby and Tenser were used by actual players.(correct me if I am wrong) I think Mordenkainen was originally Gary's character. I asked Margaret Weis if the original dragonlance characters were once a gaming group, she said no, they were all fictional characters by her and Tracy Hickman.

In the Inner Sea Guide, I notice names like Lord Gyr of House Gixx and have to ask. Was this a nod to Gary Gygax?

First of all, congratz on the ennies! You and all of Paizo deserve it. I was truely concerned when Paizo and Hasbro split, being a long time fan of Dungeon magazine and feeling the angst of the direction of D&D 4.0, which I felt clearly deviated completely off the core of what role playing games are. I was worried there was no future to my gaming hobby. Its nice to see the good guys win:) In a word... thanks!

Also, I know you dont like to travel, but was nice to meet you at Gen Con this year. It was cool to get to game with Tim Hitchcock and I saw Sean and Rob running tables during the weekend to promote the game.

Now on to my Question...
I run two regular games on my weekends with two very diffrent types of players. What I am noticing, is my older crowd(Sunday) loves to roleplay more and the adventure paths work well for them. My younger crowd(Saturday and green to gaming in general) is more of a kick in the door, chaotic types who like a lot of action and they sort of tune out when roleplaying occurs, in this case, the Pathfinder module line is a better choice. What I would like to see is a series of modules chained together in a specific setting (sort of like Falcon's Hollow line), centered on a nation perhaps. Is it possible in the future you guys would consider doing a run of modules from levels 1-10 (spanning 3 modules) or 1-20(in one book) similar to adventure path but more combat oriented. It seems to me, when younger gamers start RPGs, its the loot and combat that interests the players more and as they mature into veteran gamers, the roleplaying and soicalizing becomes more important to them. What I want to do ts to find a bridge to help newer players transition to actually playing a story instead of just kill and loot.
Your thoughts? Thanks in advance.

James Jacobs wrote:

At this point in time, counting three categories of:

phone/tablet gamers
console (Xbox/PS3/Nintendo) gamers
PC gamers

I would actually suspect that the category of PC gamers is far and above the SMALLEST category.

The era of PC game dominance is behind us.


The days actually of using PCs or (desktops specifically) at all are numbered I believe ,with people going to more mobile technology. I like the fact I can work my Alienware laptop in the office and when I get home just plug it up using HDMI to my 52" screen for gaming. It also does not take up space in my house like a desk/PC station would.

Yet,I still have not found my "Paizo" tablet that I can use at the table while playing pathfinder. One to store all my PDFs, create a dice roller like program, some GM tools or Pathfinder interactive sheet. My Alienware does not work as well for an interactive table(especially when some people spill their drinks) but I am hopeful there will be a good Microsoft based OS tablet within the year.

I have worked with Iphone apps and wrote programs in objective-C and Cocoa but I am not an "Apple" fan. I can not deny the IPad2 is thin and looks good. I just do not like the code side of it.

For those of us who are unable to attend the con this year, we still would love to watch the seminars.

Please and thanks!

James Jacobs wrote:

Nope. The combat began with a ghoul priest using a wind fan on an altar covered with a layer of rot grubs that basically sprayed rot grubs over everyone in a 60 foot cone. Everyone in the cone had to make a DC 15 Reflex save to avoid letting any rot grubs dig in; they all made their saves.

Then, on each PC turn that followed, they'd have to make a NEW DC 15 Reflex save each round or the grubs would get on them and start doing their thing. "Fortunately" for the party, Jason's character went first in the round and managed to first make his Reflex save and then threw a fireball that killed all the grubs. Also did a fair amount of damage to the PCs, but they lived. Tim's character came close to dying, but that was more because he was surrounded by ghoul rogues; had he been in the fireball radius (he was outside of the whole rot grub fireball area) he would have died.
Later, though, Jason's character not only waded through Styx water (and took 10 points of Wisdom damage), but also ate some green slime (taking 2 Con damage before he cast burning hands on his face to kill the slime).
Good times.

I almost spewed my drink on my laptop reading this. Too funny! But now you have me thinking... I know rot grubs are too powerful for the summon swarm spell, but if you were to create a hypothetical greater summon swarm spell for lets say rot gubs, stirges or even dire rats, what spell level would you make that? maybe 4?

James Jacobs wrote:

One thing that I think archetypes do VERY well is allow for two base classes to feel very different.

If we get to a point where you can have an entire party of adventurers all composed of the same class, but everyone in the party feels like a different character while STILL all feeling like fighters or rogues or witches or whatever, that's the best place to be.

Personally, no, I do not feel the class "market" is oversaturated. Diversity is the spice of life, or the game. I prefer the archetypes over prestige classes. Prestige classes seem more suitable for NPCs than PCs.

That being said, I will say I have had make adjustments if a group roles are not covered. Roles defined as being some sort of damage taker type, a damage dealer type, a healer, and a utility type person(skill based). Of course, many pathfinder classes cover a mix of these roles but as I look at an assembled group of players, if one of these roles is missing, the adventure becomes increasingly more difficult.

I would also suggest posting a survey at some time to find out what people play the most. You should also think about keeping character sheets online at some point as a service. You could then data mine a character database whenever you want and see player trends and would help making business decisions. If you already have this, I have not seen it.

Also, I just wanted to mention, I saw that you used gust of wind/rot grub swarm combo against Jason...awesome! Did anyone die?

I have always wanted to read H.P. Lovecraft and recently bought the leatherbound classic edition for $20 from Barnes and Noble(which I recommend to anyone who likes to "keep" books). I am a programmer by trade so my library is mostly technical.

Considering the size of the tome(large) and the time I have to read for fun(small), which story would you suggest one start reading for optimal Lovecraftian expierience?

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I was rereading my Hook Mountian Massacre AP and couldnt help noticing the similarities of the Black Arrows in the Module and the Night's Watch from "A Game of Thrones". Fort Rannick is similar to Castle Black, well, without a wall of ice but both were meant to keep out the wild things beyond the border. Both of them have men who have been given a second chance on life, to let go of their pasts and focus on public service. Both are isolationists.

It occured to me, if and when my players clear Fort Rannick, they may want to reinstate the Black Arrows there instead of ruling and I thought, to bring new rangers into the fold, an oath could be used in roleplaying.

For the Night's watch, they swear the following...

Night gathers, and now my watch begins.
It shall not end until my death.
I shall take no wife, hold no lands, father no children.
I shall wear no crowns and win no glory.
I shall live and die at my post.
I am the sword in the darkness.
I am the watcher on the walls.
I am the fire that burns against the cold, the light that brings the dawn, the horn that wakes the sleepers, the shield that guards the realms of men.
I pledge my life and honor to the Night's Watch, for this night and all the nights to come.

Any suggestions on a good Black Arrow oath?

Vic Wertz wrote:
I would just note that on these very boards, you can find many threads where folks ask us if we'd consider launching another campaign setting, to which we generally reply that segmenting the audience like that requires you to publish more support books, while ensuring that you'll sell fewer copies of each—and that's a classic mistake that we won't be making.

I have to admire the fact Paizo has the freedom to make good choices without worrying about making their stock prices rise every year for investors. You guys also have done a great job creating a campaign world where you can get a multitude of style and flavor without dividing your customers. Essentially eleminating the need for separate product lines. One rule set, many choices.

Vic Wertz wrote:

Given that, would purchasing a dozen already established campaign settings sound like a wise choice for us?

No, but the name does carry weight and someone will likely pick it up. I wonder if 5th edition will harken back more toward its roots on the coat-tails of your success.

back@James, Noticed the pregen characters were taken out of the latest AP, would you consider adding them to the AP players guide line for us in the future? Seems more appropriate there anyway.

Are wrote:

I stand corrected. Either way is not bad though.

I have GMed for most of my life, almost 32 years now and never had a table react the way it did last Saturday night. I enjoy creating an atmosphere or scene to make the expierience surreal for my players,acting out my NPCs and using strong narrative as I read text from the book as an actor on stage would do. I employ cut-scenes if you will for the players to get a full perspective of the story, mostly after things have transpired to curtail metagaming. Hook Mountain Massacre uses more macabe, gore and grotesque evil than a standard dungeon crawl.

What I have come to realize after my last session, even if an encounter is equal CR or less than the PCs, the paranoia, terror, and fear factor instilled in the players mind by roleplaying may cause your players to react very diffrently than expected...running for their very lives...leaving the dungeon, even going so far as to hide in the inn, waaaaaaay back at Turtleback ferry.

I am not sure if the mental picture was just so vivid in the players mind but I had one player downright refuse to investigate the Graul farmstead and stayed at the game table the whole evening saying "nope, I'm fine, you guys go ahead". Both of my female players were obviously ill with the descriptions of the rooms contents and one decidedly stopped eating at the table. I had a conversation with another player yesterday who asked me if the rest of the AP was this going to continue through the rest of the game.

Impressive. There are times I wish I could find time to do things like this for my game.

You are right on the second count. The hole in the jail cell floor goes down into the tunnel below.

I am currently GMing Rise of the Runelords and one of my players bought a burned residence in Sandpoint after the goblin raid and fixed it up (sometimes you hit a chord in a players real life without knowing it. This player had lost a home to fire.)

Anyway, the point is I intend on the PCs settling there at the end of the adventure and would like have them thrive there so the PCs children, brothers, sisters or sisters-uncles-cousin-once-removed can play in the upcoming Jade Regent AP.

Considering the shift to Asian style of game, is this a good idea or should I have them role up characters using some of the more Asian classes and have them kin to Amekio helping her run the glassworks when the adventure begins. I could then use their families as background in that case.

James Jacobs wrote:

I prefer to run games with strong storylines in which the player characters are the KEY element of that story—they have plotlines as important as the plotlines of the campaign itself. As a result, I find PC death (or otherwise loosing a PC) to be disruptive, annoying, and frustrating. To combat this, I use hero point-type mechanics in games I run to help give the PCs a bit of control over the fickle hand of fate—a PC who dies due to a monster's lucky critical hit is lame.

Once PCs can cast spells like raise dead or breath of life, then that's certainly a help... but still—having your character die sucks. It means that you can't play the game until your character is brought back to life, and NOTHING you can do in game can really speed that process along.

Any GM who thinks that death isn't a worry or isn't something that players are worried about needs to try playing the game from the player side of things. For a long time, I only ran games, and I kind of had the same feeling about PC death—it's no good if no PCs die, because then the players think you're soft. That's not true. It's not the death that causes stress and tension—it's the possibility of it. Once I played a few campaigns as a player, I really got a new appreciation for GMs who play fair AND who periodically fudge things or make things work periodically in the player's favor. Games where the GM don't do this I find to be too frustrating, and I often lose interest in those games.

As for spellbooks and familiars... why have them? For flavor. That wizards use spellbooks and sorcerers don't is cool—it's compelling and interesting flavor. And it does put a bit more responsibility on the PCs' side to take care of the book or familiar... but a GM who sets out to specifically destroy these thing is a jerk in the same way he'd be a jerk if, say, he knew a ranger took "Favored Enemy (dragon)" and then adjusted every adventure so that there'd never be a dragon in the game.

A GM's MOST IMPORTANT job is to make sure the players have fun, because if they don't have fun, they go away and then the game doesn't happen at all. A GM who is a jerk and enjoys crippling characters by killing them or taking their things away doesn't deserve to play the game.

I roll all my dice in front of my players. I dont fudge and it does sometimes bites me in the... The main villian fumbles his smite good, or a player takes a nasty crit that brings them below negative 10 on an attack of opportunity as they were getting into flanking position, but my players DO have fun and they know and trust I am being honest with them. I have never had a player tell me I was unfair to them.

I just try to continue to work the story. Sometimes good roleplaying can come from a death, somtimes you can develop other quests from it. Most of the time, the party has some way to deal with any problem and and be recovered at the end of combat. Even in a total party wipe (extreamly rare at my table), it is still recoverable ( Bad guys ransom the PCs to the king creating a jail break senario, Pharisma refuses to take their souls due to a kindness owed to another God), possibilities are endless.

I agree the threat of death is a thrill and death or loss hurts, but if a game has the posibility of having "no deaths", does this not invalidate the game in some way?

What are some good ways to balance life and death if you do not want to fudge rolls or hide behind a GM screen?

Anewor7 wrote:
I wasn't referring to Xanesha as the CR 11 - I meant the advanced giant dread ghoul frog god you threw at us - there's also always that time with the Balor :P

Advanced giant dread ghoul frog - CR6... The Balor on the other hand was released by your companion, at a time of his choosing, I cant help it if he did not say the command word to put the balor(genie) back into the bottle once he was done killing his enemy.

James Jacobs wrote:
Nope. My schedule at Gen Con is pretty brutal—up at 8:00 to get ready to work the booth until 6:00, then a quick dinner followed by that evening's weird big event (such as the Ennies or whatever), followed by me staggering back to my hotel room to sleep. (Remember, Gen Con's 3 hours ahead of my time zone, so waking up at 8:00 is more like waking up at 5:00 am... which is pretty brutal since I already have a hard time waking up at 8:00 am on Pacific time as it is!).

Sleep? I thought you didnt sleep? Isnt that a requirement for being a game developer?

James Jacobs wrote:

So... yeah. Gen Con for me isn't play. It's work. I suppose I might have a weird skewed perception of it since I've ONLY ever been to Gen Con to work and not as a gamer... but my mindset at Gen Con does not allow for gaming opportunities, generally.That all said, though, thanks for the invite! Sorry I can't attend!

No problem guy. You should schedule in a slice of time for enjoying the con though, even if its just to view the barely clothed cos-play attendees roaming the event. Life is too short. If you don't belive me... just ask my players.

Will you or do get a chance to GM or play any games while at GEN CON this year? I was wondering if you guys at Paizo have to mostly work during the event, sign deals, check out what else is out there(competion wise), or do you get some down time during the event to enjoy a session or two.

If you get some time, would you like join in my game? I have to admit, it would be interesting if a rules question arose during the session and somewhat nice to not need to bring books to the table for clarification :)

Lyrax wrote:

-It is a beacon to any creature that has lifesight (undead). They can see you from far away and can feel your presence when you use it.

- It doesn't actually "heal" anything, but rather stores wounds. The wounds still have to be healed later. If the stone is forced to hold more than X HP (perhaps 100, or even more), then it explodes and deals all the damage it holds to its wearer.
- The Gods regulate its use.
- The Gods require service of its user.
- Servants of the God of Death recognize it on sight and hate its bearer with an incredible, fiery passion.You get the idea.

Great ideas! I do like my powerful items balanced but in this case, I dont think even with a horrible side effect the item would be reasonable. When players need healing, its not generally good to throw in catches. Especially one the party would need to depend on a lot. That being said,the thought of a servitude item of Asmodeus for healing benefits makes me smile.

Eric Tillemans wrote:

On this table "Table: Estimating Magic Item Gold Piece Values", there's a footnote for increasing magic item costs based on spell duration. The factor for a spell whose duration is rounds/level is x4, but nothing is listed for an instantaneous effect.

Given this, I would go with the listing under 'Special' - 'Charges per day' and assume the base price at 5 uses per day. The example from the chart for this method is the Boots of Teleportation which seems to fit for an instantaneous spell such as a healing spell.
So 2nd level spell, 3rd caster level, command word activated, and using up a body slot would cost: 2*3*1800 = 10,800gp and could be used 5 times per day.
I wouldn't allow a healing item to be used an unlimited amount of times per day (and no such item exists in the current rules). I think this is a pretty good compromise and seems to follow the magic item creation rules.

I am really getting the impression I am not in the wrong for thinking the unlimited item is out of balance. Eric,this is really balanced and I may just go with this as a ruling. Well done sir! Thank you for your effort.

Anewor7 wrote:

Hi, devious player here :P

What?!? How did you get in here? Yes, Anewor is my player in question. He is not devious or should I say overly devious, but he does push the rules at times. Well, at least this keeps me from using in-game time to talk about the ruling on this item.

Anewor7 wrote:

So a few more details about the particular situation, we're a 5th level party, we have around 11th level character wealth (but we do go up against CR 11 encounters at 5th lvl, (2d6+6 stats - re-roll 1's, half or better hp, +6 hp at first lvl),

Xanesha, in Skinsaw Murders was CR10, not 11, and besides... you had Justice Ironbriar backing you up.What else could you have asked for?

Anewor7 wrote:

The party's main fighter already has a ring of vampirisim that returns half the damage she deals as hp so their never hurting for hp, (has some drawbacks though, our GM loves items with drawbacks - similar to a certain healing staff that existed in the party before we had the healer that corrupted us when we used it :P )

She, the barbarian fighter is a really green player (maybe 4 months of expierience) and her ring of vampiric regen affords her some slack and lets her learn the game. You were not complaining about the rings existance during the Xanesha fight :)The drawback of her item makes her appear "detect" as an undead. There are other roleplaying advantages, she senses what a vampire senses. She is a twilight fan and I thought it would help her understand the game easier.

Anewor7 wrote:

We've got as large of a party as 10 (plus DM) if everyone were to show up at once, (which hasn't happened yet (8's been max so far)), but we more typically have about 4 at a time. A witch with the healing hex and cure light wounds is the only source of healing spells from the party.

Yep, I agree. You guys need more healing. Unlimited charged items are not the answer though.

chavamana wrote:

Well, assuming you use the general magic rules -

2 * 3 * 1,800 * 2 = 21,600 gp
2 level spell * 3rd level caster * command word * no space limitation

The players in the end decided to give it a slot "amulet" to save costs.

chavamana wrote:

Then I would add the caveat that you need to have the stone in your possession for 24-hr (or 1 week like ring of sustenance) so that they would need one for each person.

That would definately keep the item from being used by more than one person at a time. But what if the item is cast on their friends while they wear it?

chavamana wrote:

Which means that by the character wealth by level, the earliest a character should have such a gem is 9th level (for a PC).

Wealth level doesnt bother me as much.The players do not use there characters in others games so I am loose on those rules of wealth.

chavamana wrote:

I don't know if I would allow it, but it's not horrible. (For reference, it puts it around a pearly white ioun stone - which regenerates 1 hp per 10 minutes). So you might what to bump it up to 25,000 gp - probably not more than that because it does require you to use an action.

Interesting, but 1hp per 10 min vs AVG(2D8+3 or 10pts per round) 10*6(action takes 6 seconds)*10(actions per minute)*10 = on average 6000Hp in that same 10 minute interval.

Mojorat wrote:
You could Price out a Gem shaped Staff item though that only has 1 spell and follows the staff rules otherwise.

Interesting you mention that. Originally, I wrote in a staff of healing at the beginning of the adventure(Rise of the Runelords), called a Bloodstaff(clear crystal staff with blood in the center that would rise and fall like a thermometer as charges were used) connected with seven rune rings(1 for each sin and would limit the healing in the party to 7 people) the healing was a cure light wounds for 1 charge but it allowed the group to go cleric free. Recharging the staff required a the staff be dipped into an active runewell. As more healers joined the group, the staff was removed for being obsolete. The runes were unknown at the time and i wanted to give a stronger tie to the Thassalonian mystery in the beginning module.

Recently in my regular game, I lost a player who was the group healer. Usually, I like to add accommodations to compensate for this so no one has to feel they "have to" play a healer to support other players.

One of my players decided he wanted to create a gem with a command word, which casts Cure moderate wounds with unlimited charges. Looking at the rules, I don't see where an item could not be made on the cheap but my GM "spidy-sense" is going off. It doesn't seem balanced.

It would translate into a instant heal the entire group item at downtimes (when the PCs are not in combat)and a dam good 2d8+3 healing for standard action while in combat. If i let them create one, they will create one for each person in the group (command word activated).

So, am I looking at this wrong or should I make a judgment call like

"any item with a Duration: "instantaneous" effect is not eligible for unlimited charge items."

thanks in advance!

After Xanesha's demise, Justice Ironbriar has been slowly restablishing the cult, carefully assisting the PCs in handling PR for the destruction of the bell tower(known now as the "Night of Bells") which aroused all the hellnights within a 3 miles radius. Claiming to the Lord Mayor these individuals found and resolved the city of the skinsaw cult and their vicious leader, Xanesha. It was quite easy to avoid lie detection spells, and the justice has a certain gift in deflecting accusations.

Ironbriar's existence has however caused a new problem. The witch has attended social gatherings with the justice, enjoyed service and servants amid a host of the Justice's estates and all seemed well for the most part... until the witch made a minor mistake in demanding Ironbriar swear off the cult, his faith and going legitimate.

Since then, a new unpleasantness has transpired, Lord Mayor Haaldmeer Grobaras has been assasinated, a carved sigil in his chest, he was last seen speaking with the PCs. Justice Ironbriar quickly warned the PCs the Red Mantis may be behind the murder and made arrangments to safely escort them past the gates and outside the city.

Justice Ironbriar~ "You must leave, and leave now. The Red Mantis may think you are involved with the Lord Mayor and word is they are seeking you now."
Witch~ "Why cant we stay hidden with you. Where will we go?"
Justice Ironbriar~ "It is not safe here. They have seen you with me at gatherings, who hasn't. At this very moment, Hellknights are interrogating my servants trying to reach you first and you dont want to know how persuasive they can be.

Yes, you must go. To the east and a little North you must make your way to Turtleback Ferry and then to a little known hold named, Fort Rannick. It is at the farthest reach of the city and should be a safe place until the assasins are caught or have given up."
Witch~ "When do we come back?"
Justice Ironbriar ~ "I will send message by raven. The Black Arrows, a group of rangers reside there. They are isolationists and will not know current news of Magnimar. It has been some time since we had heard from them. I have made arrangements with my most trusted, gathered your belongings and will promise to see you when all is right, when all is safe. My raven will reach you there. Then and only then should you feel safe in the city."

As the PCs scurried out onto the open road, the lights of Magnamar's city walls far off in the distance. Justice Ironbriar contemplates the nights events knowing his love, Xanesha's greatest wish, the death of the Lord mayor had been granted by his own hand. His most beloved, the witch now seen to safety while he cleaned his hands of this matter. Norgorber's favor being restored and a city's future changed forever. It is a new era for Magnimar.

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So, on my usual Saturday night game, I am running the skinsaw murders and my players finally enter the lumbermill at night during a ritualistic killing. They sucessfully stop the ritual at a critical point, I go into my theatrical entrance of Justice Ironbriar ( with the mask on) to signal the boss encounter, when the witch player of my group decides to use her "beguiling gift" spell and hands the Justice a love potion...

I look at his stats and see he has a +7(+2 vs enchantment) for a will save and think, no problem. I roll the dice and *poof* natural "1".
The players laugh, my dice have failed me and what was to be a challenging encounter, turned into something entirely diffrent.
The rest of the skinsaw cult is put down quickly and I take a minute away from the table to think about how this changes things.

After the combat, Justice ironbriar removes his mask in gentlemanly fashion, grasps the witch's hand, bows and says..

"My lady, your beauty besieges my heart, but alas it is already a prisoner to another."

The witch-"You will leave her, and are mine now, and forever."
Justice Ironbriar-"My mistress will not at all be happy. What shall I do? Must my heart be broken asunder? Perhaps I can love you both."
The Witch-"Take me to this harlot!"
Justice Ironbriar-"of course my dear. She is this way, under the irespan in a tower, the very top, where angels watch over us, my angel."

It was quiet interesting as Justice Ironbriar watching the two women he loved more than anything fight to the last breath atop of the shadow clock. Xanesha was powerful but he could not deny her. His cult had changed greatly since his involvement with her. But he knew, as a priest of Norgorber, that one of these ladies must be murdered, why else would his followers would have been slain. Norgorber was not pleased and only through death of something he cherished would he regain his favor, it had to be, Father Skinsaw's plan. Love can be quite painful at times.

I was talking to a friend about looking into publishing a pdf online he wanted to include art for his gaming product. Quite honestly, I have not the first clue how to go about figureing out how much he should buget for such things.

Does anyone know any guidelines? Best practices? Where to start?

Thanks in advance.