As a player, I find it disappointing when members of my party drop in and out.
As it is *now* she is no longer a regular player, don't forget you're allowed to make a decision now and change it at a later date. As a GM you are governing for the group as a whole and making decisions that will give them the best GAME EXPERIENCE.
I'm going to keep it simple, Pathfinder is a game filled with hundreds of rules.
My problem with the new classes is how they tend to break the rules that have already been established or create weird caveats/conditions to situations. From a GM point of view I find it annoying that for every class, there's about two dozen extra rules I need to learn so I can properly adjudicate a session.
I write my own personal story into my scenarios, generally not hugely indepth but always with reason for dead bodies or item placement.
Small stories that keep myself entertained but on the occasional when players figure things out it's a mind explosion~
I'm curious how other games run with resting? Does your GM make it an interesting/difficult/special. Do you enjoy/disagree with how it's managed?
In my first game, resting was handled as a non event (you've rested-on with story). Unfortunately my first game as GM, I handled it the same way and began to notice the problems with hand waved sleeping.
In my current game as GM I've made it point to make resting rather involved, with players thinking about who's on watch, deciding on whether to wear armour, consider whether to light a fire and think about carefully about location. I like to make it a point that players really need to think about whether they need to really rest or not.
At this point in time I'm thinking about maybe a situational bonus for those who invest in comfortable sleeping equipment. Or possibly a roll to replicate getting a good night's rest.
Anyway curious how it's handled in other gaming groups!
The more I think about it, the more I like Summon Instrument because it forces me to think outside the box and be creative.
*Eavesdrop through a hole in wall or door with a horn in your ear
I'm sure there's more, but these and the ones I've created so far :)
If you're running on experience, drop the experience speed down one level (so if you're on fast go to medium, medium go to slow). One of the things resting often breaks is proper CR, because you're supposed to encounter 3 to 4 appropriate CR encounters before resting.
The other thing it allows is for you to rank up the difficulties of individual fights without the run away train effect (too much extra exp)
DMing is somewhat for the selfless, if you're the kind of person who gets joy out of seeing others having fun, then certainly consider DMing.
For myself, DMing is an outlet for a mix of creative skills and an interest in human behaviour.
I love predicting how my players will act or inserting my players into scenarios and seeing how they act.
Seeing or having my friends say they had fun is the best thing though.
I keep a notepad in my car, my work bag and ones all around the house. Every time I have an idea (especially for game scenarios) I write it down, you'll be surprised at how productive you can be in those small moments stuck in traffic, waiting at the doctors or any space moment.
Over time it's easy to just collect all my thoughts together and build a good game. Little bits at a time, you don't have to commit to everything on paper but commit to writing any and every thought you have.
First tip: Avoid more than one "random attack" encounter. Nothing drags the speed down or makes a journey seem longer than fights. Even if you want to do more than one, make them possible to avoid through diplomacy/intimidate. MAJOR POINTS if you can fill the journey with events that DON'T require combat. Players fight all the time, so filling the journey other things makes it feel special.
Second tip: Vary things up a bit, there are a hundred different events you could throw into the game to make it interesting. Just a few suggestions below...
*One of the merchants/passengers has had something stolen and it's possible for your party to investigate and find the culprit/item.
*A penniless bard wishes to travel with the group but has nothing to offer. He doesn't actually offer any thing if you pay for his ticket/allow him to join but does write a song about the group.
*A large storm has come and winds buffet the group. Continuing through causes the players to come down with cold and risk losing items to wind. It's especially interesting if they're travelling with a caravan and can offer assistance to protect their belongings
*A farmer is standing underneath a tree and is confused by his poor donkey who is stuck in the crook of the tree 5 feet above ground.
*A mother's child has fallen ill and is in need of medical assistance
*A travelling merchant selling (unusually) cheap goods, apparently he's trying to sell them cheap to avoid taxes but they're actually fake/stolen.
*A travelling caravan selling exotic food/wares.
*A stubborn group of cows blocks the path and refuses to move
*A bridge is broken and is in need of repairs to pass
I personally would aim for around 4 maybe 5 encounters, ideally the most of them aren't too involved as your group's ultimate purpose is to reach a destination and continue their quest, not get sidetracked on other story lines. I am personally of the mindset, that time invested into side stories, detracts from main story line too much.
I have a journal of similar design, which I use as my "happy thoughts" journal. While I love the thing, my biggest problem is the catch is bulky and really gets in the way when trying to write in the book (probably not a problem for righties?).
Indeed this does kinda boil over into the homebrew/advice questions section but I was hoping there was something in the rules that might help.
Kudaku's your suggestions above sound pretty good actually because ideally I'd like taking multiple knowledges useful (instead of boosting the already powerful Knowledge: Local/religion/arcana).
The other alternative I guess is simply using pure 20+int mod to work for players to identify things but that's no where near a elegant as having skills.
So with monsters there's nearly a dozen knowledge skills to help identify who they are and what they are capable of.
While I can imagine perception is a good way to identify what a person is equipped with, it would not tell you their skills.
Help and suggestions would be appreciated!
Based on the other examples of previous campaigns you've experienced quite a number of dick manoeuvres from this GM. It would almost seem like he's been targeting you (based on your recounts).
My 2 cents is that GMs will often target Clerics because they readily break the challenges GMs have setup in their prepared story points.
I've had my holy symbol stolen before, which was an obvious move to clip my wings. It was annoying but I went along with it, which unfortunately ended up with one of my party members getting killed because no one else could heal.
Note that a wizard who tires of their familiar can just dismiss it and find another but if this is a role playing scenario done as a player, it should not be a real problem. Remember the benefits should outweigh the downsides.
If this is a situation where a GM is controlling one of the player's characters, it ranks as extremely not cool.
I'm of the mindset that the how the players interact with the game is most important.
Personally I'm planning an encounter where my players are fighting the BBEG on a frozen river, where their battle starts tearing the ice apart. So the players end up standing on ice cubes inside a glass tray and as the ice melts it causes them to drift in random directions. So my players (who are mostly melee/dex dumped) will have to paddle their ice cube towards the BBEG before they can attack!
Another thing I love to do is build my puzzles that have to be solved with real world ingenuity. Finding torn notes piece by piece, that players have to piece together to read, codes to break, hidden text and so on.
While this may not be universally true, my greatest respect lies in GMs who are able to run games without using battle maps, pictures, figurines and physical tools. There are GMs who run games with only their words, voice acting and improvisation.
For myself my biggest "ah ha!" came from listening to how Matt Mercer describes situations in his campaigns and voices his characters 30min video > youtube.com/watch?v=yLEMb_RIZ3o
Another big revelation has been awesome encounter design, this channel has some really sweet ideas on intriguing puzzles> youtube.com/playlist?list=PLJlxgWpsI4afqC8UOWFz9p6EkI-1sO-Zi
Syrinscape seems pretty awesome too.
I must admit your setup looks amazing.
Trying to force a campaign concept on someone else will only lead to disappointment for both you and the gm. Honestly it's unlikely the gm will play the concept in a way you'll like or hold true to the way you imagined it.
Every gm starts out as a player, so maybe consider doing a dual gm role or having another more experienced player as a referee gm.
*If you dual gm you can tag in and out of the campaign as each arc closes and play both roles as player/gm.
*Being a gm with another more experienced player as backup gm means you can create the story you want, while having another gm help with rulings. GMing isn't that hard and once you realise how much fun you can give to other players, quite fun.
A way you could have done things better: You probably shouldn't have let them kill 12 Gnolls, because anything you can kill 12 of in one battle is a weak enemy.
Now I don't agree in TPKs but certainly don't put on the "kiddy gloves" when you've pre-warned your players (or "pull back" on a death blow).
How I would have run the gnolls, is maybe let them fight three really tough ones (CR+2ish). Then while they're gasping midway through the fight, let them roll perception and see an army of 20 gnolls in full armour running towards them. Have them realise that the gnolls they're fighting are probably farmers/ordinary folk...
One of the more annoying, yet funny, yet unintentional ways we derailed our GM's game was killing an NPC we were supposed to rescue.
For background we had to go into this portal and a side quest was to search out the previous team and bring any survivors back. After much gruelling dungeon crawling we eventually ran into the only surviving person from the previous adventuring group.
This monk was ripping us apart and there was little motivation for us to wait for our full BAB to roll a natural 19 to non lethally take out the monk.
Combat isn't really that interesting past a certain point and if you make an entire session combat heavy it really drags. Think less fighting tournament and maybe more Olympic games and you'll be able to think of lots of funny games.
Here's a few suggestions, give players limited tokens which they can trade in for different events.
Simple events are
More interesting events can be
Dodgeball: Each round everyone rolls a stealth roll, then on their turn they roll perception to try and spot other people in the area. Once they notice someone they can attempt a ranged attack with a ball vs flat foot ac. One shot out.
General rule: One contest for every ability (str, dex, con, int, etc) or give each player a chance to shine.
Tell your players you're not happy about how long each round is taking and want to speed things up.
Institute 3-5 mins per turn, use a timer and it if it goes off before you finish your turn then you lose the rest of your actions. Druid will learn to shape up quickly and concentrate on summoning less crap.
In my games redirecting an active spell/animal requires a move action anyway.
My solution for perception is that every player's PASSIVE detection is their perception skill + 10.
So if a player has +5 in perception they'll automatically see anything requiring a roll of 15 and under. If an enemy is lying in wake then they'll be using their stealth skill +10 to keep things fair.
However should a player ASK to search an area, then they'll get to roll.
Something else I do is keep a running sheet of my player's Perception/Sense Motive/Disable Device skills and have each player roll x5 d20s pregame. Then I'll flip a coin (keeping result a secret) to decide whether I use rolls from left to right or vice versa.
Also good for secret Fort saves when a player spends way too much time with a cheap hooker...
We were on our way to another city which involved months of travel on a ship to find a quest McGuffin. The GM (whether by story or over eagerness to include encounters), gave us non stop grief in the form of side quests.
First it was the Aspis consortium commanding our boat in their war effort (captain being a member), next it was Elves saying they wouldn't allow us onto their sacred land (this arc took months to resolve), then it was some sort of river troll attack, then it was a druid who didn't like us and wrecked the boat, then we needed to hunt monsters for their hearts to power the boat, then the Aspis came back and commanded our boat to ferry slaves.
The whole party was getting sick of all the forced deviations from our intended destination and decided to confront the captain.
*Smokesticks are invaluable for shutting down ranged enemies
Trigger Loaded wrote:
This was quite a few years ago on my phone and I've definitely lost it since then.
Long story short, his recollection of fights was quite imaginative. He went on at length to describe being pivotal in fights and how we wouldn't survive without him, claiming we didn't understand damage reduction and forgetting how the rest of us had to save him multiple times, from his own recklessness.
One of the things that our GM did was target the damage dealers, which played out as enemies targeting the biggest "threat". Funnily enough because his character never did enough damage to warrant a threat, it was rare that his character got attacked, so he saw this as some sort of immunity/testament to his builds. So while we were dropping into unconscious, he was occasionally doing 1d8+0, wonderfully he never took precise shot as a feat either.
Another fight had us against something almost immune piercing but he managed to score a critical hit with his bow. The gm bluntly told him that after DR he did 2 damage but he remembered that fight for his "amazing crit build".
One battle had us fighting a Dhamphir thieves guild which went very badly for us. Everyone was dropped into unconscious except for my character. Trying to avoid a narrow TPK, my character had to tank all the damage while healing everyone back into the fight (including his). My character later took the aggro of three intimidate checks with a natural 20 on one, with a ridiculous +20(?) skill modifier and mandatory fear effect. My character was forced to flee for many rounds.
Man there was so much WTF, but those were some of the highlights.
Usually I start off by closing my eyes and pressing some random keys on my keyboard. From there I drop those letters into random name generators and keep generating names until something "sounds right".
I always make sure that any name I choose can be shortened, as inevitably other players will drop syllables until it's only one or two.
I'm thankful to have a simple story.
Due to attrition my Pathfinder group lost two members, which left us with only two players. By luck I noticed an acquaintance (I knew from volunteering) posted in the local Pathfinder Society: Facebook group. I sent him through a few messages to ascertain his knowledge, as our game wasn't suitable for beginner players.
The guy seemed pretty knowledgeable so I invited him to join our game. Now we were able to find two new people to fill our gaps, but this guy made us all think we were better off as a team of 3.
Firstly while he seemed to be knowledgeable, there was a complete disconnect between what he knew and his application. His builds were reasonably good, until he started to play them... Firstly he loved investing in obscure feats and abilities he had no idea how to use OR did not use.
Secondly he was perplexing in his battle tactics, he never helped us focus fire down dangerous enemies and instead chased down full health minions (and in one game spent his turns shooting civilians/bystanders). One session had him spamming a wand of sleep vs undead, which the GM did flat out tell him that they were immune to. One character was a ranger that had access to cantrips and he spent the session spamming a DC11 flare. Furthermore he also spent half his wealth on weapons he would never use. So his ranger would have a 12k bow but would only ever swing a masterwork longsword...
The gm being incredibly patient allowed him to reroll his characters to fix them but instead this guy decided to rebuild his characters every single session (including changing names/sex). Every character was suffering from feats, skills and weapons he would never use. I would even spend hours to help him build characters but every time we finished building something playable, he next session he would rock up with a completely different character.
He never paid attention during other player's turns or when the gm was talking, always asking questions that had been already been answered. He was ALWAYS unprepared for his turn, after asking for options he would always ignore any advice and attack something random.
Finally, he had the most annoying way of rolling dice. Take into account we're level 7, multiple attacks and multiple damage dice. He would always pick up one dice in one hand, hold it for a second, pass it to the next hand, hold it for another second, then roll it. He also did this strange body body bobbing thing depending which hand the dice was in. Then he would stare at the dice for an excessive amount of time calculating. He would roll every single dice individually, making his turn alone take longer than the whole table combined.
You know it could have worked had he role played at all, had story reasons to back up his odd decisions but in the end we had enough and I was asked to get rid of him. I told him quite politely online that his gaming style wasn't a fit and he blew up in the most amazing rant. At first I was taken back by how rude it was but then re-reading it a few days later, it genuinely blew my mind how deluded he was. It was almost like he had been in another world playing Pathfinder with a different group and somehow was the hero of the story.
So he returned to the Pathfinder Society and I really felt sorry for all those poor people that had to deal with him.
I did a quick search of the PFS group and it seems like he has been banned. Sorry but that brings a smile to my face.
This is a part rant but also a call to attention about Pathfinder's HORRENDOUS naming system. Too many times I've encountered names in various APs are impossible/clumsy/ridiculous to read let alone pronounce.
Either Pathfinder needs to try harder to make names pronounceable OR start including pronunciation breakdowns for all their names.
For me I bear a special hate for the following:
These are ones close at hand but I remember so many over the years that make me stop and scratch my head.
I would suggest loot wise get rid of the breastplate, googles of night and circlet of persuasion. They are way too good for low level players. Worst case scenario (and optimally) you have to imagine the possibility of players selling that gear and gaining +8000gp to a level 2 player's stash is EXTREME.
Replace one of the drops with a wand of cure light wounds with 20ish charges, maybe a few alchemical drops like sun rods, tangle foot bags and alchemist bombs. Scrolls of xyz spells. Basically expendable objects that can really turn the tides of battles but generally considerably expensive for low level players to buy.
Right now I'm designing a large scale attack on a town with a variable/random set of encounters. The feeling I want to create is an organic, randomised chaos but with tailored encounters.
The way it plays out is like those "pick a path" stories.
Then I will shuffle the cards, deal 6 of them face down in front of my players.
This way I can create a randomised set of encounters that is interesting, compressed (rarely need to draw maps) and exciting. Using this model I'm sure you can create a maze players are traversing without actually having to draw or create any of it :P
Encounters could be:
You can easily create your own battle map by printing out 1 inch grid onto a board as big/small as you want, then getting it laminated. The pros of this is that's possible to get it done at every generic print shop (sometimes it even costs less).
Another tip is to look at each map and understand the purpose of each room. 100% of the time I redraw every map to exclude pointless details on graph paper (there's only so many empty warddrobes/storerooms I can be bothered describing).
GMing for people more experienced than you can go one of two ways, they can be either a painful handful or easy going crowd.
If you're starting out, you will make many mistakes. Some of these mistakes might even cause crippling problems that will plague your game later on. (Compounding this is if you have problem players).
Realistically I don't think you'll be able to finish an adventure path, more than likely you'll be able to run for a few years before thing peeters out of steam naturally (usually life steals away players). Or problems may even destroy your game.
With the cynical preamble out of the way, you're better off picking a few modules and after a few you'll most likely start modifying them to suit your group or writing your own. Have a short "what do you want/expect" with your prospective players and choose an adventure based on that.
Even better is to open with a throw away set of modules/short campaign like the awesome "We Be Goblins" and you'll get an understanding of your players and be able reset and tailor your experience for them.
GMing is really awesome fun though!
What kind of glass cannons do you have?
If you really want to be mean, use Seugathi...
Wild Rager sounds pretty close to what we need actually.
What I'm currently thinking is to tweak the conditions of Wild Rager so it works better for the party. On 1 rolls the ranger immediately enters his shape shift (regardless of uses left) and gets confused, 25% of attacking nearest random target/hurting himself/doing nothing/attacking normally.
I see this as a useful double edge sword, a gamble that is 2 points useful and 1 point dangerous.
Either way it's going to go to party vote, my players can decide if it's kosher or not.
I like the puzzle but it's still a few clues away from being "good".
Any puzzle that requires guessing/trial error sits on bad/poorly designed, so this puzzle to me reads like it needs additional clues for it to truly work.
Maybe a few knowledge checks so players can further narrow options.
Hi guys, I have a player who's building a Ranger Shapeshifter with the idea of building a Werewolf who's losing control or has a chance to lose control.
There's plenty of side effects so I'm looking for advice how to GM and balance this idea. What are some of the problems I might run into and how can I run this under pathfinder rules?