And the effort to recreate goblins (which has already detrimentally dominated two Pathfinder Scenarios) continues. I've never considered that the entire goblin race should be evil, but making them a core race is a dramatic and unneeded change. I see this as taking a very interesting chaotic / insane / generally evil race and trying to shove them into a design space that is already full with gnomes and halflings. To me this is another disappointing choice Paizo is making in the development of PF2.
Prior to the playtest, we averaged about 14-20 people, normally playing PFS (occasionally SFS) at our game store. Once our VO started running the playtest, we generally had about 10-12, counting those at the playtest table. A big part of this was the difficulty of finding a scenario that everyone could play, which on several occasions forced us to go back to repeatables. Once the group finished the playtest and we've started offering two scenarios most weeks, our attendance has climbed back slightly.
Part of this is also that with the end of PF1, several GMs want to focus more on playing their characters rather than running games.
As far as PF2 is concerned, a lot of our players (like myself) tried it once and found elements that they seriously disliked. Some of these elements have been changed in the updates to the playtest, but the numerous updates, each in a separate document, meant that understanding the changing rules required devoting more time than these players (or I) were willing to spend.
Personally, when I run a scenario, I only use the scenario. Therefore, I would prefer that either all of the stat blocks were in the text or that all of the stat blocks were in the appendix. Splitting them between two locations based upon whether or not they are also in another book (that I may or may not own) and which I am not using adds to the difficulty of running the scenario.
I agree with Tamago that organizing the appendix by tier would be far more useful than by encounter area. I have found myself making life more difficult than it should be for a party purely by looking at the wrong stat block for a creature when both stat blocks are adjacent.
I believe that the Roleplaying Guild Guide currently tries to do too much in a single document. This could be addressed if it were set up as a Wiki to make it easy to find specific information, but unfortunately the Guide is often needed at conventions and game stores, at both of which I have often experienced problems with internet access. Therefore, I think that it needs to be a downloadable document purely because of access issues.
There needs to be a short Quick Start Guide is focused on how to play PFS:
There needs to be comprehensive guide to playing characters, which would include the information from the Quick Start Guide, factions, after game activities, character rebuilds, etc., and the related FAQ.
There needs to be a guide on organizing and GMing games. Most players have no need to deal with this in trying to understand how to create and play characters.
Additional Resources and the PFS Clarifications are (for PF1) extremely long documents, and I have no idea why they are separate -- making us search two documents. These could be combined into a single Wiki-style document with a separate page for each Paizo book -- players who use an item, spell, or feat from a book could just bring a copy of that one page, establishing that the item, etc. is available and whether the rules have changed from what is printed.
I'm not excited about a Quest of the Month. We tend to cram each current quest series into a single 4-hour slot, which can be difficult at times with a five part quest. I'd prefer if Paizo continued to do these as quest series, but perhaps as a 4 part series. That will make it easier to complete in a standard 4-hour slot, and will facilitate playing these over a two or more shorter sessions.
Tiers are to group together characters with similar levels of ability, and therefore need to recognize where there are major increases in character abilities. In PF2, with character level added to determine success with many actions, going from level 1 to level 2 is a major change. Other major changes are when characters receives the four ability boosts and when characters receive new levels of spells. It seems that a tier of three levels, with an adjustment similar to that suggested by Pirate Rob, would be the best way to enable all participating characters to have similar power levels and to adjust the scenario to compensate for different power levels.
If low level wands were the problem (which is a point in dispute), it is partially a function of the price. Why were wand charges only 30% of the cost of an equivalent potion? Raising the cost of healing wands will encourage players to focus more on defense and finding options other than pure melee.
The "wand issue" could also have been solved through adjusting the amount of hit points and the damage done. One of the results of the increase in hit points from older D&D to PF1 was that if a character lost 90% of his/her hit points, that character needed more healing. However, the effectiveness of healing spells were not increased, so this translated into needing more spells, encouraging CLW wands spam or shorter adventuring days. Proportionately slowing the growth of hit points and damage done will decrease the need for CLW wands, as would increasing the effectiveness of healing spells.
Resonance seems to be an overly broad "solution" with numerous side effects. In my opinion, it inhibits smart playing. If a party finds out information about a future opponent and his/her defenses, through scrying, diplomacy, intimidation, or other methods, I think that party should be able to find ways to improve their odds. One of the ways of doing this is through purchasing one shot or limited use magic items chosen specifically because of each layer of the defense or for the opponent himself/herself. Resonance makes this much more difficult.
I have also found resonance to reduce fun by adding one more set of resources to track. To me the game already has too much accounting, especially for PFS. If resonance were merely a substitute for slots -- for example being able to wear/use your character level worth of permanent item levels -- I believe it would simplify the game and allow players more choice in designing their characters.
I do like the idea of having a mechanical benefit from my character having a history / background. I just don't want to be put in a position of having to decide which of several pre-designed boxes best fit my character concept. I want to pick the abilities (traits, racial traits, feats or whatever) that fit my mental picture of him/her. I have a half-elf with the mismatched racial trait and gave him the third eye trait purely as a cool combination. How could I fit that into one of Paizo's backgrounds? I feel that we will lose a lot of cool characters with this approach to backgrounds.
My personal opinions:
The GREAT --
The HORRIBLE --
I'm enthused about the new presentation of information for deities as well as the new information about edicts and anathema. This will help a lot in making deities, and their clerics, more distinctive.
Still not feeling impressed of that PF2 will be an improvement. Trimming the spells available will address some of the caster/martial power discrepancy, but unlimited "cantrips" that increase in effectiveness as you increase levels makes up for a lot of that. Trimming spells also seems like it will negatively impact the ability to prepare spells that have only an outside chance of being useful.
Mark Seifter wrote:
I appreciate the response and hope that this gets shown to work in the playtest.
I've been looking forward to blogs that actually address what I see as the principal issues with the current Pathfinder game, the caster/martial power discrepancy and the way that the turns of some classes with companions can take twice as long as many other classes. I'm happy to see this post give some initial ideas on magic, but I don't see it (or any of the other posts so far) actually address the power discrepancy. The heightening of spells described in this, including the heightening of cantrips, seems to actual increase the power of caster, potentially increasing the discrepancy. The new system also seems to add considerably to the complexity of the game system. I'd like to hear more about what Paizo staff thought were the biggest problems with the existing system and their plans for fixing those problems. Instead, we've heard a lot about fixing things that aren't broken (again in my opinion), such as changing races and racial traits to ancestries and ancestry feats.
Assuming that race boons will be offered by the Society in PFS, some way of trading in PF1 race boons for PF2 race boons would be nice. It basically gives players who have already labored to benefit PFS an alternative way to earn the boons that can also be earned by GMing at Cons or through the regional support program.
I believe that it would be good to have a way to use other boons to provide one-time support to anyone at the table (each one can provide +1 to a d20 roll, +1 damage, or -1 to damage taken). Generally only one boon could be used to affect one roll, but unlimited boons can be used to reduce damage that would otherwise kill a character.
Stars directly show the commitment that individuals have made in making PFS games available for others. It makes sense to me to recognize this by making it easier for them to return to the same level in the new campaign, i.e., Option 2. This does appear to leave one star GMs with no notice or reward, so it seems appropriate to also include some token that applies to GMs with any number of stars, such as one free fancy Wayfinder.
Bret Indrelee wrote:
My Rant: Actually, for those of us who don't have an opportunity to play that often, every game that we GM is about giving to the community. Between work and family, I've had the opportunity to participate in less than 150 PFS games, but I've given up a quarter of my limited opportunities in order to GM and provide games to others. I recognize that our 4 and 5 star GMs have given a lot more time and effort to building PFS, but it would be appreciated if the conversion to 2.0 recognized and rewarded the effort and sacrifice put in by everyone who has contributed to the growth of PFS.
I do like the idea of the principal factions being the Swords/Spells/whatever, and that these are the source of vanities that you can purchase with fame. This would include things like the current discount on Raise Dead, body recovery, as well as specific benefits more directly tied to the character's focus.
I also like the idea of earning reputation with multiple regional groups (e.g., Lantern Lodge, Taldor, etc.). Perhaps instead of players needing to track boons from each of these groups, a scenario could provide a specific benefit when played by characters with a given reputation level with an appropriate faction. For example, when you play a scenario related to the armies of exploration, having a reputation of 5 or higher with Taldor gives you a bonus on certain knowledge or diplomacy checks. Players would just need to track reputation and there would be no searching through boons at any point. Boons would also be limited (designed not to break the scenario) and specifically related to the scenario.
I respect Paizo's right to manage its products however it wants, but I'm with those who are disappointed with this move. I also agree that Pathfinder can certainly be improved, but the richness of the current options has a lot of value to me. I've got numerous character concepts that I still want to try, and existing characters that I want to play with and develop more fully. Now I'm told that the richness of the existing rules will go away. Further, at least for organized play characters, they have little more than a year to "live" before my time, and my emotional investment, gets wiped out. Meanwhile, I'm not purchasing any new Paizo products that will have such a short useful life.
I would look at the Lich Corruption from Horror Adventures. You and he could jointly work out a method for him to remove the corruption while still retaining undead abilities, such as creating a phylactery that contains the evil of the corruption. The party can work together on the quest to obtain the materials necessary for the phylactery and convincing a high level spellcaster to aid in the process.
1 & 2: The FAQ on Dragon Disciple says "Yes, dragon disciple's blood of dragons ability should also increase draconic bloodragers’ bloodline powers." RAW is that both get advanced. My opinion of RAI is that you pick one class.
3. Bloodline Development reads "If the arcanist already has a bloodline (or gains one later), taking this exploit instead allows her arcanist levels to stack with the levels of the class that granted her access to the bloodline when determining the powers and abilities of her bloodline." Note the use of the term "the class that granted her access to the bloodline." RAW it would not apply to multiple classes which grant bloodlines, which suggests the player would need to pick one.
4. Bloodline Development also reads "The arcanist must select an ordinary bloodline with this ability, not one altered by an archetype." Crossblooded is an archetype, therefore Bloodline Development would advance either bloodline.
I'm going to join the chorus that RAW the Aid Another rule does not have, or imply, a penalty for failure. Further, that RAI it was intended to encourage dog-piling to keep players vested in the game. After all, the first section of the Aid Another rule reads: "You can help someone achieve success on a skill check ..." It doesn't say that you can help someone achieve success OR FAIL on a skill check ..." (emphasis added)
Rysky -- normally I find your comments very well thought out and convincing, and I would even agree with you that there should be negative consequences of excessively failing the Aid Another (at least under some circumstances), but this time I think the lanaguage is clear.
As a side note, I will sometimes use very poor Aid Another rolls to aid in description -- the NPC may clearly snub the character with the poor roll and focus on the lead diplomat.
Emerald City Comic Con Information from nwpfs.org
We will be running Honors Echo quest line and the Pathfinder adventure card game as walk ins like we normally do but for this con as well we will be running WE be goblins one and two, Reaping what we sow and ACG Season of Plundered Tombs games. The schedule for these events is as follows:
First - your game = your rules.
More generally, my thought is that the Society is mainly concerned with individuals passing themselves off as Pathfinders, either explicitly or implicitly, by displaying a wayfinder. If your PCs carry wayfinders secretly, the Society won't know and there won't be an issue. Of course, if your PCs are aware that wayfinders are normally insignia of the Pathfinders and choose to use them to disguise themselves as Pathfinders for some reason, then there is a chance that the Society would be upset and seek to recover the wayfinders -- giving you a chance to make life more difficult for them.
I'd agree with BigNorseWolf. Magic Vestment talks about imbuing a suit of armor or shield with an enhancement bonus. Armor of Bones describes the effect as conjuring armor, apparently meeting the requirement for Magic Vestment. Cloak of Darkness does not describe the effect as either armor or a shield, although it does grant an armor bonus, so it appears to me to not meet the requirements of the Magic Vestment spell.
Revenge is always a great goal -- with the previous addiction to shopping, you could be searching for revenge against all of the stores discriminating against orks. Think of the fun of finding new ways to wreck or sabotage stores (and maybe steal a few of the latest and greatest fashions) and fitting them into your ongoing shadow missions.
Human Witch who was raised by Halflings, taking Adopted and the Helpful Halfling racial trait. Scatter skill points so you can often aid another for a +4. For feats take Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard with a longspear, giving a decent chance of adding +4 to the AC of adjacent PCs (using attacks of opportunity) while you stand behind then being protected. Add in Fortune or Misfortune (with Cackle at 2nd level). Spells can be focused on buffs. You can even take one level of Mesmerist so that you can stare at someone before you hit them with the Misfortune hex.
My experience with a variety of pain, as well as that of family members and friends, is that the solution to pain is often individual. My mother had fibromyalgia with horrible pain across her head, neck and shoulders. What kept that surpressed for her was originally massage. Later, it got worse after she had a stroke, we found that accupuncture actually helped (and we doubt it was a placebo effect as she had very poor understanding of what was happening at that point). Another friend was hobbled with major joint pain that was resolved after he was determined to be gluten intolerant -- he cut out gluten and had an amazing recovery. Personally I had a long fight with sciatica and finally resolved it through attention to body position (a kneeling chair, new mattress, and an assortment of body pillows to sleep without stress on my back) together with massage and stretching in the hot tub.
While none of these examples may be your solution, I just want to encourage you to continue trying different things especially, attention to body position as well as things like massage and Tai Chi to improve flexibility.
One trick I've used is having opponents react. The fun part is that I'll do an occasional handout of rumors, and include mentions of the party and their use of tactic "X", e.g., they brought in a famed bandit gang in the form of a collection of stone statues. The party enjoys the fame of being mentioned in the rumors, but then it becomes reasonable for groups that might oppose them to also be familiar with those rumors.
Rules vs. flavor:
Powerful and flavorful builds:
Evil parties vs. noble parties vs. slightly sketchy parties
"Sandbox" (open route, open destination) vs. "railroad" (set route, set destination) vs. "freeway" (open route, set destination)
Silly vs. serious
Personally I would consider accepting a surrender from the orc (by asking it questions and receiving information) and then killing it, apparently without considering alternatives, as an evil act -- not enough to change alignment, but enough to get a warning. At times killing a surrendered opponent is the only reasonable choice, at other times the party could offer the surrendered character an opportunity to change sides. Here, the CG player did not appear to consider killing an opponent who surrendered as even potentially questionable.
I would probably run it as telling the CG player "That evening, as you are drinking your beer, its taste goes bad in your mouth as the following thought crosses your mind -- while killing a surrendered opponent can be the best choice under some circumstances, it is not consistent with Cayden's ideals and perhaps next time I should look harder for alternatives."
I'm having a great deal of fun with a Halfling Bloodrager with plans to take a detour into Dragon Disciple for levels 6-10. Starting strength is only 14 (18 when raging), but at level 10 he will be strength 20 (counting the bonuses at levels 4 & 8) plus 4 from rage, plus the bonuses from whatever Belt of Strength he has.
Another possibility is the Swashbuckler with the Mouser Archetype / Unchained Rogue. The Mouser has the ability (if missed by someone larger) to step into its square and flank with anyone adjacent.
Under the circumstance described by the OP, a saving throw might be appropriate immediately, unlike if the enemy just came upon the image. A PC and the enemy were fighting in the doorway when suddenly a wall appeared next to the enemy -- was there a light outside that is still increasing the light level in the room; is there noise outside that would be blocked by a real wall, but not by an illusion; is there a wind blowing through, does the enemy have scent (which is not blocked by a visual illusion)? Factors like these could justify an immediate save. Absent such special circumstances, you default to "usually do not receive saving throws ... until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion."
I agree with the OP's ruling.
RAW: "If some but not all of the combatants are aware of their opponents, a surprise round happens." As described, everyone is aware of their opponents, although not all of their opponents. Both parties can be expected to be looking in the direction of the other and it does not appear that they would have a surprise round. I would certainly have the Rogue start in stealth.
Check donning armor in the Core Rulebook. Readying (strapping on) a shield takes a move action. There is no provision for it being done as part of a move action, unlike the special rules for drawing weapons.
Also note the language about strapping on a shield. Both shields and bucklers are worn on the arm. Shields also require the use of the hand, unlike bucklers which leave that hand free for other purposes. There does not appear to be any way to wear both a shield and a buckler on the same arm.
For most of us, the objective of playing this game is to have fun, which at least for me does not include a TPK. From the viewpoint of the characters, their probable focus is on not dying. To me that means a decision on behavior between honoring a character concept and doing what is best for the party depends on two factors: (1) how dangerous is the party's situation and (2) how sub-optimal is the character concept in the specific situation. Blasting fireballs against a demon with SR and fire resistance is ridiculously suboptimal compared with casting haste. If a party is facing a golem and only one character has adamantine weapons, it makes sense to buff that character, even if the one doing the buffing is a melee oriented character. But personally, this only makes a difference to me when my character's life is on the line. When it is a tight battle and everyone's life is on the line, I think that a reasonable character is going to want to go with what is the most likely option to succeed, and that the player should consider this rather than being slavishly tied to a specific concept.
My thoughts are similar to Secret Wizard. If the "villain" can send dreams to the party so that he appears to be a helpless prisoner, they could be manipulated into freeing him. After he thanks them and disappears, they start hearing of him in connection with atrocities -- he may be paying back the truly innocent descendants of those who put him in the prison, possibly even killing friends or allies of the party. They may not exactly hate him, but they will be motivated to deal with him.
Back when I had a regular group to run with, I used to have a world that kept on running in the background. The party had a lot of freedom of where to go, although the farther into the wilderness they went, the more deadly the encounters became. Initially there would be a bit of railroading to get things started, i.e., the party is hired to do "X", but thereafter things would become more of a sandbox. Every month or so of game time I would provide a sheet of rumors. Some of these rumors gave information on the overall world, some were optional plot hooks, and some were information that party members had been seeking (e.g., paying off a traveling bard to send information if he hears about "X") that related to player back stories or goals. When the party got back to town, I would ask the players what their characters were interested in investigating, giving me some guidance regarding what to prepare next.
I live north of Seattle (Bothell / Mill Creek) and would be interested in a regular game. My wife and my 14 year old daughter (who has been playing Pathfinder Society fairly regularly lately) would also be interested. A regular game every other, or every third, weekend would work best for us, from mid-day into the evening.
Most importantly, talk with your players about what would be fun for you and them -- is everyone agreeable to excluding full casters or to limit levels in full casters (e.g., no more than 2/3rds of levels can add to your caster level), or maybe full casters have fewer HP or worse saves than in Pathfinder (and thus lower survivability), or do they want other ways to restrict magic. You also should get their agreement on whether there NPC full casters.
A 10 point buy tends to lead to very one dimensional characters. It also tends to make the partial casters more difficult to design and play and actually would encourage players to look for pure casters. With a low point buy, you may want to also place a limit on maximum stats (e.g., maximum 14 before racial adjustments).
In my experience, the low magic feel tends to come from restricting the availability of magic spells and items, e.g., learning new spells requires actually finding someone with the spell and paying for it, while magic items (beyond +1) require the party to obtain rare components. Alternatively, you can add expensive components to troublesome spells.
One technique that groups I've been in (as player or GM) have used with games that are less frequent than once a week is to do the prep work via email in advance. Assuming that the party is not camped out in the middle of a dungeon, or elsewhere with limited options, the GM sends out an email with rumors around town and asks what the party wants to investigate and otherwise wants to do to prepare. The GM then has a chance to roll what the party learns and provide them with the general information (and also to roll if anyone else learns what the party is choosing to investigate). Key roll playing encounters can occur at the beginning of the session. Players that want to prepare can then come to the session with a list of stuff that they are buying, last minute spells that they are casting, and spells that they are prepping, without using a lot of valuable in-game time to prepare.
General feel -- In reading about shamans, there is a lot about spirits and entering the Spirit World, as well as a focus on healing and divination. In view of this, and to make the class fell more "witchy", it would be interesting to make this class focus more on the Elemental and Outer Planes (while the Cleric is focused on the positive and negative material planes and the Druid is more focused on the natural world). (Perhaps limiting the Spirits to the 4 elements, Nature, Ancestors and Lore -- giving the Spirit Magic and Spirit Abilities.) I agree with those that suggest making the hexes more witch-like, with a single list of hexes to choose from. Also along these lines, the hexes can be more powerful while BAB goes to 1/2.
Familiars -- I like the idea of an animal interface between the shaman and the spirit world, but the idea of a spirit animal sounds great -- perhaps what is effectively an animal possessed by some spirit. If the animal body dies, access to the Spirit Magic and Hexes should be lost until another animal is possessed by the spirit (through an appropriately priced ceremony), but not access to the base spell list.
Spells -- While the mixture of Druid and selected cleric spells was a definite improvement for this class, a lot of the druid spells feel wrong. I agree with those that are arguing for a separate spell list for the class, that turns the focus from the Shaman from buffing himself for combat (the Warpriest role) to group buffs and, preferably, ways of directly attacking the opposing casters (combatting their spirits / sources of power).