Irnk, Dead-Eye's Prodigal wrote:
I was thinking it more likely that the PCs, on finding they've drawn the Sanctum, would seek out the SH to arrange the trade, rather than the other way around.
There's no real reason the PCs would even know the SH leader is evil, and no real reason they'd particularly care, either - this AP seems ideally suited to a pretty mercenary bunch.
So, yeah, I'm figuring it would be about a 50/50 chance my group would at least consider making that trade.
The PCs get the cash and swap sites. They explore their "new" site and discover a secret passage. They arrive inside the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye in time to find the chamber missing the item the scorched hand is after. Moments later the scorched hand arrives and accuses the PCs of backstabbing them by taking the items after taking their gold and a fight ensues.
Excellent idea. Thanks!
Reading through "The Half-dead City", a probably issue leapt to mind:
The locales for investigation are assigned by lottery, but there's no indication that teams can't arrange a swap. Meanwhile, the Scorched Hand really want to investigate the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye, while there's no real reason the PCs should particularly care one way or the other.
So... what's to stop the PCs for arranging with the SH to sell them their claim - say as a trade for their own claim plus a suitable sum of money?
Any suggestions on how to handle this - other than "no, you can't do that."?
In the description of the Hand of the Inheritor, I was particularly impressed with the line:
He enjoys battle hymns and marching music, though his voice is more suited for harmonizing with a true performer than leading a song.
It seems such a trivial throwaway detail, and yet I found it said a great deal about the character of the Hand very concisely. It's exactly this sort of flourish that makes me very happy to remain a subscriber.
Scott Betts wrote:
Either way 1-roll death at 1st-level is a pretty terrible feature. The guy playing D&D for the first time with his 4 hit point Wizard coming up against the party's first baddie of the night - an orc with an axe - stands a chance of having his night ruined before he even gets a chance to roll a die.
Nitpick: it requires at least 3 rolls: initiative, attack roll and damage.
I also have to question what sort of an encounter setup is in place such that 1) the Orc is within charging distance of the Wizard and 2) the party Fighter isn't in the way. In a wilderness setting, encounters typically start at a much greater range, while in a dungeon setting it is usually the Fighter who kicks down the door, restricting the Orc's ability to target the Wizard.
In other words, this example of how 3e is so horribly horribly broken is at best extremely rare, and at worst grossly exaggerated.
All that said, it's still not great. Some sort of boost to hit points for first level characters (especially with inexperienced players) is a good thing.
Not sure if this is the right place for this, since it's not necessarily a Customer Service issue.
I bought my copy of the "Pathfinder Campaign Setting" at my FLGS some time ago, and have been gradually reading through it. It's a quality product all around, but today I noticed that pages 193 - 208 and pages 209 - 224 have been reversed in the book.
My question, before I take it back to my FLGS for a replacement, is this: is this a widespread error, or something that has only hit my copy? After all, if it is the same in every copy, I'll not bother heading back for a replacement.
I don't mean to be a spoilsport, but how many people on these forums, or who are among the 15,000 downloads of Pathfinder Alpha 2 so far, plan on buying the release product?
I downloaded Alpha 1, but not 2 or 3, and I probably won't get the Beta (since I really don't have time to play it just now).
However, I will be buying the Pathfinder rulebook when it is released, sight-unseen. I'm willing to take it on trust that the guys at Paizo know what they're doing. (And anyway, I'll be wanting to use it to run the later Pathfinder adventure paths, rather than attempting a conversion...)
Seriously, when I read through that section in the DMG about playing a game without a DM, I immediately imagined a product very much like this one.
Sure, it will never be a substitute for a real game run by a real DM, but in a pinch, something like this could be ideal. I would certainly buy a (non-collectible) set of cards for this purpose.
I would go one of two ways, depending on how kind I wanted to be:
Option 1: The range penalty cannot be reduced below -1. Therefore, these two do not stack in any fashion.
Option 2: Combining the two gives a range penalty of -0.5. Work out the total range penalty for the distance fired, and then drop the extra 0.5. So, when fired from a longbow (range 100), the penalty is 0, -1, -1, -2, -2, -3, -3, -4, -4, -5.
I would not allow these two to totally negate the range penalty. It simply doesn't make sense that a character can fire his longbow 1,000 feet without any penalty.
I'm leaning towards option 1, but that's mostly because I tend towards a conservative interpretation when adjudicating the rules - it helps keep a tight rein on power gaming.
Expanded Psionics Handbook
... and I guess two of the Fiend Folio/Monster Manual X series. Probably MMIV and MMV - I find the pre-statted 'advanced' monsters very useful.
To be honest, I think the game works better with very few (or perhaps even no) supplements, so restricting to eight is no great hardship.
I am undecided whether to switch to 4e or not. Regardless of which way I go, if Pathfinder goes the other, then I reluctantly drop my subscription. That said...
Erik Mona wrote:
Let's say we decide to go with a different edition than the one you intend to play. If your subscription came with a downloadable "conversion guide" file for your preferred system, with all of the correct stat blocks and rules for the adventure, would that convince you to keep up your subscription?
How many people out there actually stuck to only those deities that appeared in the PHB 3.x?
Several times, when I was wanting to run a 'quick' game but couldn't be bothered working up all the details of a setting, I just used the default pantheon from the PHB. While those deities were all from Greyhawk, this worked really well. However, drop just one FR deity in there, and I can't do that - my FR-phile player will insist on commenting, the admixture becomes jarring, and the whole thing becomes a distraction to the game. Therefore, it forces me to homebrew.
I don't like this change - I would have preferred them to adopt the FR deities en masse rather than do this.
Still, it's a pretty minor issue.
At any time when the PCs are in their 'normal' state (that is, they haven't just been robbed blind, or won second place in a beauty contest), they should be reasonably close to the Wealth per Level table (assuming the DM even uses that guideline, of course).
So, if the PCs invest their money for a steady 7.5% profit, then the DM no longer has to give them out quite as much treasure going forward. Conversely, if a PC blows all his money on bribes to try to get into high office, the Dm should gradually award more treasure to make up the difference.
Note that the Wealth by Level guidelines exist for balancing purposes. As such, they apply only to the character's 'active' money. So, that stronghold the Paladin has pain-stakingly built doesn't count - he can't take it on adventures with him (usually). Similarly, if a character has 1,000,000 gold pieces sitting in a cave somewhere, those gold pieces 'don't count' as far as the guideline in concerned. (That's not to say that the DM should then give the latter character more treasure to make up the 'shortfall' - unless the circumstances of the campaign somehow prevent the PC from simply using that money to buy gear that suits him. There is no guideline for how best to handle a character with lots of 'dead' money. Good luck with that.)
One trick I found useful for treasure: at the start of the campaign, give the players lots of valuable but hard to shift artworks, statuettes, and jewellery. Give them access to a merchant/fence who they can reasonably trust, and who can shift the items for them (and procure appropriate magic items for them in turn), but who will take time in doing so. Then, at opportune moments, have said contact contact them saying he has shifted some item or other, and present them with the money. Voila - no more need to worry about giving out 'correct' amounts of treasure!
I'm not really angry at either.
I do think the end of the printed magazines will turn out to be a monumental blunder.
I suspect the DI may well fail, and might take D&D as a whole down with it.
But, while I don't like a number of the proposed changes for 4e, I remain hopeful that the whole might be an improvement.
Again, like I said earlier, no one in their right mind will short concentration because failing a skill roll is too critical. Losing a spell (probably one of your few highest level spells), the action, and taking an AoO all at once...
Again, if you blow the Concentration roll to cast defensively, you only lose the spell. You do not suffer and Attack of Opportunity as well.
The main problem with concentration is that the price of failure is too high. If you flub the check, you lose the spell and the action and provoke an attack of opportunity. As a result, no caster wans to take that risk.
Actually, IIRC, they just lose the spell. They don't suffer and AoO, regardless of the result of the Concentration check.
Personally, I would advocate a opposed roll for the spellcraft check. Similar to using a feint in combat. Caster rolls d20 + spellcraft - spell level, vs attackers d20 + spellcraft + BAB.
In general, adding extra rolls to combat is a bad idea - each roll slows the game down. And you've added at least two rolls here, one Spellcraft roll from each opposing combatant, plus a potential AoO from each opponent. That could really drag the game.
Additionally, Spellcraft cannot be used untrained, so you'd need to make an exception to that as well, which is a bit messy.
AS for psionics, I would spilt the activate when distracted ability into psicraft, and the enter psionic focus ability into autohypnosis.
Actually, for Psionics I go in the opposite direction again:
Autohypnosis should be rolled into Concentration.
Knowledge(psionics) should be rolled into Knowledge(arcana), which may then need to be renamed. File this under the Magic/Psionics transparency.
Psicraft should be rolled into Spellcraft. Both of these should then be rolled into Knowledge(arcana), as I advocated above. And, again, file this under the Magic/Psionics transparency.
Use Psionic Device should be rolled into Use Magic Device. Again, Magic/Psionics transparency.
Frankly, I'm at a loss as to why these last three were called out as separate skills at all. They absolutely should not have been.
Sorry, I don't like that combination at all. To my mind, Concentration and Spellcraft do two fundamentally different things: Spellcraft reflects a character's theoretical knowledge of the elements of magic, while Concentration represents his ability to focus his attention to use magic in a pinch.
There is a skill merge I would do, but it's not that one. Instead, I would retire Spellcraft in favour of Knowledge(arcana).
Since I was very critical of the previous installment, I would just like to say that I thought the Wizards Three article in the final Dragon was excellent. There seemed to be a bit more of the banter between the Wizards than has recently been the case, it was good to see Dalamar back (even if he said very little), and it all just seemed a nice way to close out the series.
I'm not sure whether to write:
The final issues of Dragon and Dungeon arrived in Falkirk this morning, huzzah!
The final issues of Dragon and Dungeon arrived in Falkirk this morning. Sob!
Either way, I now have them, and am therefore up-to-date. Thanks to everyone involved in resolving this matter.
Unfortunately, it's much easier to not allow this stuff in the first place than it is to later remove it. Which, of course, is no help at all in this situation.
1) How reasonable are the players in question? If you speak to them quietly and ask them to tone down the characters, would they go with that, or would they throw a tantrum?
2) Do the players own the books they're using, or are they borrowing copies? Further, did any of them buy the books they're using because of this campaign? If the answer to these is "yes", then the players have a reasonable expectation that they'll be allowed to continue.
Assuming the players are reasonable sorts, but that they have bought their own books for this campaign.
1) Don't wrap up the campaign, and don't ban the books from your game. There's plenty of good material in there (and this will become especially apparent at higher levels when your Fighter needs the feats from PHB2).
2) Speak to the players in question. Explain the situation to them, and ask them to tone down the characters. Point out to them that the game will be more fun for all involved if the characters are toned down some.
3) Working with the players, identify a small number of key issues with the characters. Does one class work with a particular feat too well? Would the player perhaps drop the feat and choose another? Does the character's prestige class cause problems? If so, could the character be rebuilt to use a less favourable route to that class, so as to redress the balance?
And so on. Do try to get the final balance right - you really don't want to have to do this a second time in the campaign. Further, as the campaign progresses, keep an eye on what the players are doing - there may be new combinations coming up that you also need to guide them away from... and again, better to not allow something than to have to take it away again.
I use firearms rules in some campaigns but not in others, depending entirely on the flavour I'm trying to maintain. I have found that simpler rules for firearms work better than more complex ones, and that therefore virtually every version of the rules I have seen are too complex (for me).
My campaign has a variety of types of firearms, ranging from Simple to Exotic.
The Simple weapons are the Light Pistol and the Musket. To get a Light Pistol, take the stats of the Light Crossbow, and change the damage to 2d4. Leave everything else (range, crit, reload time) the same. They can be fired one-handed without penalty, but require two hands to load. To get the Musket, take the Heavy Crossbow, and change the damage to 2d6 (I think - I would need to check when I got home to be sure). Again, everything else stays the same; Muskets usually require two hands to fire effectively, but can be fired one handed with penalties, as with the Heavy Crossbow.
The Martial weapons are the Heavy Pistol, the Rifle, and the Blunderbuss. The Heavy Pistol is much the same as the Light Pistol, but does 2d8 damage, and has a better range (I think). Likewise, the Rifle is much the same as the Musket, but does 2d10 damage (again, I think - it's two steps better than the Musket). I forget exactly what I did with the Blunderbuss, but it does lots of damage, has a big critical modifier, and a short range.
The Exotic Weapons include things like the doubled pistol (two barrels side-by-side, with two firing mechanisms, and so forth), the Blunderbuss Pistol, and a few other things.
I don't use any 'funnies' with firearms - there is no chance of misfire (I leave that as flavour, as with any other miss), there is no 'exploding damage', and no armour penetration. Basically, they are just weapons like any other.
The reload times I use for firearms are admittedly unrealistic. There are two reasons for this. To justify a longer reload time, and remain balanced, I would have to increase the damage, or the critical modifier, both of which would make firearms far too powerful for weapons of their class - the Martial firearms in particular are already at the edge of acceptable.
The other reason is that in practice it doesn't actually matter. I have found that the only real use to which firearms are used is as a fire-once solution at the start of combat. That done, the party will then discard their guns and rush in to melee. So, it doesn't matter if the reload time is a Move action, a Full-round action, or six Full-round actions. (Actually, the Sharpe novels are forever going on about "three shots a minute in any weather", which suggests two Full-round actions. Of course, those were professional riflemen, which may or may not imply the Rapid Reload feat.)
Then it occurred to us: "Well, if that's the case, why don't mighty composite bows have longer ranges than regular composite bows? They must have a stronger pull since they increase the damage of the weapon! They should increase the range as well!"
Sounds reasonable. Do you adjust the range for Small and Large missile weapons as well?
Leafar the Lost wrote:
I will purchase D&D 4th edition, but my campaign will keep the 3.5 edition feel that we have worked hard to achieve. We will keep the Game going no matter what happens, even if we have to hide hand written copies of the Game in our basements...
Suddenly, I'm inspired to run a d20 Modern campaign with just that premise... :)
Yes, my bad for allowing someone new to the game to try and actualize the idea they had for what they thought would be a cool character. ;)
No, that was a good move. I think I would have advocated Sorcerer, though. Although the class is signficantly weaker than the Warmage, it's also much easier to run on a round-by-round basis (only a handful of spells available, instead of dozens).
Regardless, I don't believe that the experience of the player in question invalidates my assertion that there are other ways of building a magic system that are potentially more intuitive.
Absolutely. Counterspelling doesn't work right, metamagic could use some overhaul, the buffs are a problem, dispel magic is a major book-keeping problem, and I'm sure there are some other things I've missed. Also, horror of horrors, a mana-pool system or fatigue system would probably be more intuitive to new players.
I don't disagree that there are problems with the system. It just struck me as odd that the system was being blamed for a new player having problems with a complex character.
They just seem like pointless time-wasting. If everyone on both sides of a conflict zaps themselves with Bull's Strength, every single time, then what's the point? You may as well remove Bull's Strength from the game because it all comes out the same anyway. Instead of having STR, you have STR+Standard Buff. Buffs become less like magic spells and more like essential equipment with an annoying timer. Things like Bull's Strength are only ever used in combat encounters so you may as well decide to save time just by giving everyone Gauntlets of Ogre Power. And then they'll still cast Bull's Strength on themselves.
Bull's Strength wasn't a particularly well chosen example, precisely because most melee characters will immediately acquire a Belt of Giant's Strength as soon as possible, and thus render the spell moot.
Still, the thing about buff spells is that they are not an infinite resource. Unless the party is able to ensure they will only have one encounter in the day (unlikely), then they will have to decide how much of their magical power to expend on buffs for each encounter. Do you use Bull's Strength now, or do you hold it back for later, and for an encounter when you might really need it?
However, expecting that same girl who is casually into playing D&D with her friends because she gets to “be” a pixie warmage to know that at her level lightning bolt is really the only viable spell she can use for what she’s got in mind… that’s a whole different level of complexity.
To be fair, I don't think it's really a flaw in the game system if an inexperienced player running a very complex character takes a while to work out what she wants to do. (And, yes, a Pixie Warmage is a very complex character - non-standard race with all sorts of strange powers, and an arcane caster class that has more available spells in any given round than any PHB caster class.)
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
This defeats the whole point of spell casters. Spell casters bring a diverse tool set to the table which can be utilized to overcome a wide range of obstacles. There are no cookie cutter threats. You can't just design a list to deal with Undead
Most of the buffs apply entirely to the PCs, and apply to things that don't change according to the opposition. It doesn't matter if you're fighting a dragon, a skeleton, or a balor, Bull's Strength is Bull's Strength - most of the time, the party will want it.
There will be some changes, such as the choice of energy to apply Resist Energy to, and whether to use that Negative Plane Protection, and so on, but those changes are actually fairly minor.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I can see no way of creating a master buff list that allows the players to deal with the reality at the table unless my encounters where simplified
Step 1: Write down the list of all the buffs the casters have available.Step 2: Sort these according to duration - longest duration first.
Step 3: Pick a common type of opposition.
Step 4: Determine which of the buffs are actually desirable against this opponent. Eliminate all the others.
Step 5: Remove further buffs, depending on the ability of the casters to actually prepare all these spells, their willingness to expend the resources, stacking, and so on and so forth.
This has created "Buff Plan A". Repeat steps 3 - 5 for other common opposition types, to create "Buff Plan B", "C", "D" and "E". This should cover most eventualities.
When dealing with another set of circumstances, it is likely one of the existing plans will remain 90% effective, but need some small modifications. So, apply the modifications, and record the change as "Buff Plan F", and so on.
It should be noted that because circumstances change, it is important with each "Buff Plan" to record the individual modifiers for each step in the plan, not just the end result. Otherwise, if the Cleric has had to burn his Bull's Strength for healing, the whole plan must be recalcuated, rather than just not applying the appropriate step.
The target here should not be to develop a "one size fits all" approach to buffs. The goal is to create a couple of tools to quickly speed up what is known to be a rather slow aspect of the game.
I still agree, though, that buffs need some work, specifically in the areas of standardising durations and reducing stacking.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
My players eventually cast 13 buff spells but in choosing them, making sure that they stacked and arranging them in the correct order so that short duration buffs went last,
Oh yeah, this is a huge one.
There are two things I am hoping 4e will do about this (and if I don't switch, which I will be doing with House Rules at some point):
1) Standardise the buff durations somehow. Either switch everything to a duration of five minutes (and thus being good for essentially one encounter), or provide some sort of option for casters to place buffs in a suite, such that they must be cast together, but then apply together and expire together. I'm thinking the first option is probably the best.
2) Reduce stacking. Simply by reducing the number of named benefits (seven distinct names sounds good), the complexity of the buff spells reduces dramatically, especially if you also get rid of unnamed bonuses and the stacking exception for Dodge bonuses.
But the big chunk of my time was taken up when trying to prepare the Cleric Spells for the day. There are just so many that its so hard to remember half of them and what they do.
I recommend Googling Emass Web, and downloading spell sheets from there. You should be able to get a sheet listing all the Cleric spells from all the (D&D, not d20/OGL) books that you use, with a quick summary of each. This should help you to prepare your spells more quickly.
Also note that you don't have to redo the list every day - most of the time you'll want to use the same few spells, maybe swapping one or two out. Alternatively, you could spend a bit of time working up a couple of 'standard kits' of spells - the spells for general adventuring, the spells for fighting undead, and so on.
That should help save you a bit of time.
This seems to be the opinion held by quite a few people, and it surprises me.
It's certainly true that there are several areas where 3.5e is weak. Grapple is a big one, as is the prevalence of buffs and particularly de-buffing spells such as Dispel Magic and Disjunction. Polymorph has always been a big mess, and the recent errata do nothing to fix the issue properly. Multiclass spellcasters are too weak, and the patches that have been applied aren't a real solution. Oh, and Level Adjustment is crippled.
However, many of your specific complaints aren't necessarily problems with the system, nor are they necessarily going to be fixed in 4e:
One of our recent games had a combat wherein the PCs were not outnumbered and the EL was appropriate, that lasted for 3 hours.
It's impossible to talk about this without knowing more. How many rounds did the combat go? Was the environment particularly complex, or did it allow greater than normal (and/or 3d) movement? Oh, and how many PCs do you have? Henchmen/Cohorts? Animal companions?
We have had player's turns that have taken greater than ten minutes. And this is not a rare occurance.
That sounds like unprepared or dithering players, neither of which are a system problem, or anything 4e can do anything about. To fix it, you need to do two things:
1) Tell your players that they have 10 seconds from the start of their turn to describe their first action of the round, or they lose their turn. This will require them to be decisive, as befits the situation in which their characters find themselves. Note that you cannot do the same for subsequent actions in the round - the situation may well change if they take an AoO, or kill their opponent. However, they can be reasonably expected to act efficiently.
2) Remind them that the DM is always busy during combat, dealing with something, but that the players are inactive for 75% of the time in a four person group. Therefore, if they want to do anything that might need looked up, they should look it up and have the book open and ready to hand to the DM to check if necessary before their turn starts. This includes grappling, sundering, disarm, casting any spell, using any psionic power, and a variety of other things.
I cannot think of a single game session that does not loose a significant chunk of time to referencing rules and clarifications.
That's a genuine problem. Much of it comes down to getting players to look things up in the free time while waiting for their turn. Reducing the number of supplements also makes a huge difference. However, a reference table, listing page and book references for frequently-checked issues, is also a big help.
Note that this will only be fixed temporarily by 4e - within a year we'll be back to having many books to reference again, not to mention signficant amounts of errata. Indeed, depending on what they do with the Digital Initiative, this may well be worse under the new edition.
I can think of a few spells and rules that are blatantly contradicted in different references or withing their core descriptions. (Dispel Magic anyone?)
What's wrong with Dispel Magic? It seems perfectly clear to me.
See my note above about dealing with multiple sources.
No, I don't think your group is unique. I also don't think 4e will serve as a magic bullet in this instance.
2- An uptight, censorious town alderman who beats his own children whenever they curse or violate his code of morals. Unwilling to ever consider extenuating circumstances, (they are excuses of the weak). the ultimate good must be considered at all times. He would try, sentence, and imprison the blackguard in question before he could hurt the village.
I have to disagree that this character is either Neutral or Good. The censorious nature of the character, his unwillingness to access extenuating circumstances, and his insistence on trial and sentencing all strongly indicate Lawfulness, not Neutrality.
I would have pegged the character as classical Lawful Neutral, except for the statement that he beats his own children. That's pretty much a clear indication of Evil right there.
So, it has to Lawful Evil for me.
Lisa Stevens wrote:
We had a problem with our order processing program. It seized up on Thursday and wouldn't let us ship any orders which hadn't already been picked for shipping... I wish we could have had them out last week, but Murphy's Law struck and there is really nothing we can do about it until Monday.
Ah. Figures that software problems would hit at just the wrong time. Thanks for the update.
Lisa Stevens wrote:
We had given Gary Teter Wednesday through today off because he had worked for three straight weekends and was in need of a break badly... I'm sure Gary will fix the problem on Monday morning and Vic and I have promised that we will stay all night if we have to... Trust me, if working this weekend would have gotten the orders shipped, we would have been in there working.
All the extra effort is very much appreciated. On occasion, I have been required to work very long hours and at weekends, and had my vacations postponed for months, so I know how much it sucks.
Again, thanks for your efforts in this matter.
I must say, I'm a little disappointed that the Pathfinder #1 PDFs are not yet available to European subscribers (or maybe it's just me). I know that there's an order in which these things are being sent out, and that the Paizo team are working hard on doing just that, but I would have thought, given the problems we've been having with the last few magazines, that we might be prioritised in this area.