Harles's page

249 posts. Alias of Harles the DimWitted.


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I'm a little fuzzy on the appropriate rate of distributing Hero Points. After giving each character 1 point to start each session, I had been awarding them to one character per hour of play. I've had a couple different groups say this is stingy, and the correct amount is 1 point to ALL characters per hour.
Which is the correct assumed amount?
Given I typically run 2-hour sessions (due to our schedule limitations), it seems way over the top.

I can't find a specific reason why the PCs can't take an 8 hour rest, but I feel it would upset the intended balance of the encounters. The adventure we're specifically playing is Trailblazer's Bounty - which involves a wilderness trek that spans days.

Well, this is been discouraging. After setting up, preparing, and promoting the PFS event at the local game store, I've yet to host a table with more than 3 players. For our last session, not a single person showed up (I waited 45 minutes).
I'm left wondering if people aren't ready to game in-person yet, if they don't have interest in this system, or what other factors may be in play.
I'm so discouraged that I plan to finish out this month and then see what else I can do down the road.
Thanks everyone for the advice and assistance.

NielsenE wrote:
Leveling Up in in Player Basic's for PFS2.

Thanks for that. The strange thing is, I can find it with your link, but I can't "reverse engineer" where you found that. Looking under Player Basics, etc., this information just isn't on there.

I know this should be an easy answer, and I swear I've looked at the Guide, FAQ, this forum, and Google.
How much XP from Society games to level up?
(I thought I remembered 12 from somewhere - but I'm not sure.)

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Well, reading the Extinction Curse obituaries on the AP section of this forum, I am very worried about the lethality of the first adventure. Seems like a lot of deaths occur there - a good number of TPKs as well.
And I know many will paraphrase Ivan Drago "if they die - they die" but I have to consider that my group spent over two hours making 1st level characters at our Session 0 last night - and two players didn't even finish. If we take that kind of time every few sessions, it will seem like we're playing "Character Building: The RPG" instead of an actual game.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:

I'd advise leaving it as is. Extinction Curse is not as hard as Age of Ashes.

I've run three new players through the first three modules without adjustment and they've only had a couple harrowing encounters and 1 PC death. If you've got a group of four or more, I can't imagine them doing poorly.

Were they people you found on the internet or existing friends? I feel like even for newbies there is a big difference between people who play PF2 because their GM friend will run it and people who specifically seek out PF2. The former doesn't really care what the system is, and the latter is more likely to engage in optimization and tactics.

Well, in my case it's a group of people I know from in-person (though we're now playing online for convenience). I've been encouraging them to try new systems (much to the chagrin of a few of the players - who just want to stay with what they know).

We started with 5e, went to an OSR system, back to 5e, to Warhammer 4e, and now to Pathfinder 2.
Their comfort level is 5e, but we've sort of exhausted what they want to play in official content (and it's not well supported on Foundry). Warhammer 4e proved to be too deadly and complicated to run for my liking. Pathfinder 2 seems to be better supported on Foundry than 5e while having a lot of options for character creation and better tactical play. (I guess I don't need to sell any of you on these boards for why I recommended PF2. Haha.)
As far as how they'll engage with it, I think I'll get one player who will be very tactically optimized, another focused more on character and setting, the other two are mostly along for the ride.

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aobst128 wrote:
You know, if there was an app that had a character builder and you could purchase the books with it, I'd pay for that in a heartbeat. More convenient errata would be the cherry on top but not that important.

Sounds like DND Beyond?

As long as we're making wishes, I'd like a more robust character creator integration with Foundry.
And also maybe something that I could use in Pathfinder Society to link up with other players, report, track my characters, etc.

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We've already played through the Beginner Box as a trial run. To their credit, they did defeat the notoriously challenging end boss (albeit barely). They are now eager to do an Adventure Path - but the Abomination Vaults held no interest for them.
Even though they made it to Level 2 in the Beginner Box, they were using the pre-gens and want the opportunity to design their own characters mechanically and thematically. I can understand that.
I do think that making a new character, trying to learn a relatively new system, and jumping in with that character at 2nd level is a bit much for the players.
I will throw out the suggestion to them that starting at Level 2 might be easier. Or I can write my own sample encounters for them to "test drive" the characters to get them to Level 2 before Extinction Curse. I did warn them that it has a reputation of being more challenging than later APs (specifically Strength of Thousands), but they were turned off from that AP due to the archetypes (and I think there's a strong favoritism in the group's style for martials over casters.)

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I guess I could write my own encounters for 1st level before starting the AP. I don't want to start them at 2nd level. They are barely confident in character creation, much less starting with two levels, a magic item shopping spree, presenting more decisions.
As the GM, the burden of presenting fair challenges is 100% on me.

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The group was so intimidated about the archetypes that it swayed the campaign vote from Strength of Thousands to Extinction Curse, so I guess I'll avoid that solution.
We're doing our session zero tomorrow night, so I still have some time to plan what to do when we actually get around to playing the adventure - I'm sure I can base that around what the party's abilities are and what the players tell me their style is.
(Though if I know them, they'll say, "we want to do it at regular difficulty mode - and then get frustrated when their characters die.)
Do you think that it would be in bad form to have an NPC coming along who can do some fighting and healing (like a Champion) that can also demonstrate good tactics (like I'm going to trip, demoralize, etc. instead of taking a 3rd attack)? Or do you think that would look like a GM trying to take center stage?

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I'm preparing to run Extinction Curse (voted on by my group), but I thought my question was general enough to post here than in that specific AP forum.
With other groups, I was running Age of Ashes and Abomination Vaults, and both of those had "by the skin of our teeth" encounters - mostly those labelled Severe (but even a few moderate ones).
This group is mostly casual gamers, new to PF2, and mostly new to TTRPGs in general.
Is there a good rule of thumb to make encounters easier? I've heard the suggestion to start the characters a level higher than the adventure assumes, but I don't want to start new players with 2nd level characters.
Do you think putting the Weak template on enemies in Severe encounters would be appropriate? Would that be enough/too much?
Any other ideas?

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I have a few of the Season 1 PFS scenarios from a Humble Bundle. Are those still legal to play? Are there especially good (or bad) adventures I should be aware of?

Origins has been one of my favorite cons. It's a good size - big enough to have a lot of vendors and games, but small enough to not feel completely overwhelming (like GenCon).
I hope everyone has a good time.

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roll4initiative wrote:

Do you need to play at your local FLGS? I have had to run games at gamer friendly bars/pubs & coffeeshops, public libraries, and even at players' homes.

(Bonus if the game is on the backyard patio on a beautiful summer day).

If you do manage to organize PFS games on a regular basis, be sure to get in touch with your Regional Venture Captain about you becoming a Venture Agent.

Best of luck in your endeavors!

Thanks for the best wishes!

My community is pretty unique that we don't have any gamer friendly bars or pubs. Like most businesses, our coffeeshops likewise have very limited space and hours. Players homes - well, we don't really have the gaming community to do that, and I figure that a public space would be a good way to get foot traffic that I wouldn't have coming into my house on a regular basis. ;)

The public library ... well, I'm in a weird situation because I'm a manager at our town's only public library, and if I were to host an event it would become a "library event" and would be under additional scrutiny and institutional control.

The positive news is that the FLGS is expanding hours and gaming space soon, so we're going to be able to do a 4-5 hour weekly game on the weekend starting in June. (Meaning I should be able to run regular PFS scenarios.) I hope it goes well.

So I'm trying to get my FLGS on board for letting me run some games there - since there has been no RPG opportunities since COVID. We're debating D&D vs PF2 (and Adventurers League vs PFS). I know these boards will have a strong preference for PF2 (and I would also prefer running that system), but I have some considerations maybe you can help me talk through...

1) Likely we won't be able to have 4-5 hour sessions due to the hours of operation of the shop. Most of the content available for PFS would be too long for me to run there. (I know there are Bounties/Quests, but I would run out of those in a couple months.)

2) Would it be preferable to try to run "drop in" AP campaigns like Abomination Vaults as opposed to PFS scenarios - considering I probably wouldn't be able to complete them in the allotted time?

3) Can you "shorten" scenarios to fit in your allotted time?

4) Would it be better to just not use any type of Organized Play if I can't do it "properly?" (For instance, a few years ago when I attempted PFS games there with PF1, I don't think anyone registered their characters. They just wanted to play a game.)

5) In general, have any of you had similar experiences and suggestions?

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Ravingdork wrote:
Can't wait until they get Agents of Edgewatch and Extinction Curse set up.

Those are both freely available on PDF to Foundry. While it may not be as pretty as what's coming out officially, they are all perfectly serviceable and well done (not to mention, free if you already own a PDF of the adventures).

You don't need to wait to start playing Pathfinder on Foundry.

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Captain Morgan wrote:
Maliloki wrote:

While I think this is awesome in general, I'm just about done with the second book for AV so this is just shy of a complete waste of money for me which disappoints me immensely because of the amount of time that goes into setting up each floor.

Is there ANY way that the AV Foundry module can get split up so it'll be a little cheaper for the people currently running it?

In the case of AV, is there any indication we can't use pdf importer still for the non-collected versions? There won't be new content added, but my impression was all the old content would still be available.

And it doesn't take that long to set up maps with the importer. The only thing I've noticed is they do a bad job concealing secret doors, so I have to tweak those. But walls, lightning, enemy placement... All that is taken care of automatically. (Actually I can't remember if lighting is set up, but that barely matters compared to walls.) Actually if you want to go extra you can sink some time into lootable treasure caches, but that's definitely not necessary. (I hope it is included in the paid version, though!)

Yes. We can absolutely continue using the PDF to Foundry Importer. No need to rush out and buy anything. Finish what you've been running the way you've been running it - that's what I plan to do.

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Monks ... almost universal in every edition they are played by people who want to run ahead of the rest of the party to try to claim the spotlight, draining more than their share of resources in healing, until they are first character to be squished.
Sorry, but i don't think I've seen one played successfully since 3.x.
But at least they're not an alchemist. That's one I've never seen work.

Adam Jung wrote:
Are PFS/SFS, more bounty, etc adventures on the backlog, or primarily longer adventures?

I think most (if not all) of these are on PDF to Foundry. So feel free to use that until they are officially released.

Adam Jung wrote:
To qualify for the Abomination Vaults discount, do I need to buy the hardcover, or will all the softcovers suffice>

I'm definitely not an official source, but in my research today, I think I read that the content is coming from the new hardcover compilation, so that's the version you should get to have the Foundry discount.

But again, this is just hearsay.
For me, as long as it's still available and functional, I'll stick with my PDFs of the original AV softcovers on FryGuy's PDF to Foundry.
(EDIT: To clarify, I'm referring to the PDF copy of the compilation.)

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BooleanBear wrote:
Harles wrote:

I cannot understand why anyone is celebrating this news. My PDF Importer on Foundry was working great. This is why Foundry was the best way to play PF2. Now I'll have to buy everything again. There's going to be limitations placed on content that we'll be able to use, because you'll have to wait on Paizo conversions and buy everything again.

This is terrible news. I'm debating stopping the Beginner Box adventure I was running. What's the point of trying to get new players on board with this system now? Future adventures, bestiaries, and APs won't be available.
Are they coming after Archives of Nethys next so we have to buy everything on Nexus? Taking down Pathbuilder?
PF2 was better than D&D for VTT because we didn't have to go through sites like DND Beyond (which I think is terrible).
And I know you will say "you can still use PDF Importer for what you've already got." Yeah, for now. Once it's not compatible with the next forced update of Foundry, all that content is gone.

I would advise reading the responses in this thread and the FAQ on Foundry’s website before complaining about things that have already been addressed. The PDF Importer was maintained by one person who had already decided to stop supporting it. Due to the precautions he took to make sure it was compliant with both Paizo and Foundry’s rules, he can’t open source it, so it can’t be maintained by someone else (and it really shouldn’t fall on one person to manually create full adventures for everyone else’s benefit anyways). Short of you or someone else deciding to make a new importer from scratch and manually supporting every new adventure, this partnership is the only way we will have pre-built Foundry content without doing it ourselves (which again, anyone is still free to do). Purchasing a module through this partnership gives you a free PDF, and you get a discount on it if you already have the PDF, so you don’t need to buy anything twice.

As for rules content such as Bestiaries, all of that is...

Yeah, I guess I should be thanking FryGuy for the work to put the content on there in the first place.

Foundry really is the Wild West of VTTs. You never know when something is going to stop being supported (like Pathbuilder doesn't work now).

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I cannot understand why anyone is celebrating this news. My PDF Importer on Foundry was working great. This is why Foundry was the best way to play PF2. Now I'll have to buy everything again. There's going to be limitations placed on content that we'll be able to use, because you'll have to wait on Paizo conversions and buy everything again.
This is terrible news. I'm debating stopping the Beginner Box adventure I was running. What's the point of trying to get new players on board with this system now? Future adventures, bestiaries, and APs won't be available.
Are they coming after Archives of Nethys next so we have to buy everything on Nexus? Taking down Pathbuilder?
PF2 was better than D&D for VTT because we didn't have to go through sites like DND Beyond (which I think is terrible).
And I know you will say "you can still use PDF Importer for what you've already got." Yeah, for now. Once it's not compatible with the next forced update of Foundry, all that content is gone.

I've heard several people on messageboards and YouTube say that the "earlier" 2e APs didn't have the challenge levels right and had design issues as the writers were still getting used to the new edition. Having run the first part of Age of Ashes, I agree with this sentiment.
First, is it "better" now?
If it is better, at what point would you say Paizo hit its stride with 2e APs? Extinction Curse, Agents of Edgewatch, Abomination Vaults, etc.?
I don't want to risk another TPK-fest like Age of Ashes and drive away another group of potential 2e fans?

Would you go to the Trouble in Otari adventure collection, Abomination Vaults, or mix both?
We're getting ready to start the Beginner Box in two weeks, so I'd like to seed it with other adventure ideas to preparare.

cavernshark wrote:
Harles wrote:
Group 2 - Abomination Vaults - the group got bored with no personal stakes in the dungeon and most of the encounters seemed the upper limit of what they could handle (if they could handle it at all).
A bit of a shame because the AP is really well done overall. If you can get them enjoying the Beginner's Box I'd recommend trying this one again (maybe even starting them at a higher level out of the BBox) since they should have more of a relationship with Otari.

Yeah, AV might be a hit with another group (as its popularity with other players shows). I'm sure I could run it better than I did before, knowing the pitfalls I ran into.

Certainly, incorporating more adventures in Otari would change up the pace.

NECR0G1ANT wrote:
I suggest handing out Hero Points to everyone once per hour, not just to one player.

Because our games usually run at just two hours online or so due to our schedules, would you still give them out at that rate?

Malk_Content wrote:
Harles wrote:
I'm likely going to be trying PF2 again. I've had two games with other groups that didn't go great. This time we're doing Beginner Box on Foundry. Any tips to do a better game this time around?
What went wrong the other two times?

Keeping in mind these were other groups of players.

Group 1 - Age of Ashes - kept killing off the characters. I think it was a combination of me (as the GM) not understanding the rules completely and the expectations of play; a difficult AP; and the players being used to systems that reward everyone going for their own glory instead of using teamwork.
Group 2 - Abomination Vaults - the group got bored with no personal stakes in the dungeon and most of the encounters seemed the upper limit of what they could handle (if they could handle it at all).
I think in both cases I got overwhelmed with how the keywords interacted with each other - for example, having to remember that incapacitation effects function as one degree of success lower if they target an opponent twice the level of the creature using the incapacitation ability. Or when to apply the multi-attack penalty.

I'm likely going to be trying PF2 again. I've had two games with other groups that didn't go great. This time we're doing Beginner Box on Foundry. Any tips to do a better game this time around?

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Deriven Firelion wrote:

Maybe wait for Blood Lords or the Kingmaker 2E update.

Blood Lords sounds fricking awesome. Read the synopsis on that one. Sounds great.

And Kingmaker is a legendary AP. Most fun adventure I've ever run. My players loved it. They want to do it again and can't wait for the 2E conversion to come out. Supposed to come out in September.

If you pick up Kingmaker and your group doesn't love that, they'll never like anything in PF. Kingmaker was pretty universally seen as an amazing AP.

I ran the first half of Kingmaker back in 1e, and it was pretty solid. Not sure when we'll actually see the 2e Kingmaker in publication, though. It's been delayed indefinitely, right?

I am excited to see the Geb AP though. Just hoping it's not undead PCs.

PossibleCabbage wrote:

I mean, the Magaambya and the Ruby Phoenix are things that people from literally every corner of Golarion will travel to because of their prestige and fame. So as long as you keep in mind that people are people, no matter where they are from or what color their skin is, you're going to be fine.

Plus it's not like Strength of Thousands stays in one place for very long- the Fifth Book takes place on an entirely different planet!

Thanks. That helps. I just don't think I could make up "on the fly" stuff that would be authentic and good.

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keftiu wrote:
I’m… really struggling to read your comment as anything other than “I don’t have it in me to not roleplay racist stereotypes,” if I’m being honest.

I'm sorry that's your interpretation of my comment and how I am coming across to you.

I hope that being nervous about trying to depict a culture (based on real cultures) very different than my own doesn't make me racist.

keftiu wrote:

I think any group worth playing in should be capable of having an adult conversation about not straying into stereotypes, personally. Both APs give you plenty of material to characterize the characters and locales appropriately - things aren’t going to get offensive unless someone decides to. Acting like diverse stories are only for people who look like the folks between the covers isn’t doing anyone any good.

Strength of Thousands is well worth a read, IMO!

So my history with Pathfinder has basically been I got into 1e to keep playing a version of 3.5, but I dropped out after a couple years for other systems. 2e brought me in as a curiosity, but I'm still in a "wait and see" to get a game together that really connects with me.

I've had almost no exposure to Golarion. In general, I'm not especially great at conveying large, detailed settings whether they're Faerun, Golarion, or Dark Sun. I just don't have a mind for it - I almost instantly forget every historical detail and proper name. Therefore, much of the setting I present in APs is painted with a very broad brush. When that happens, well, that's when you run the risk of getting stereotypes. And I don't want to be that guy.
I know the writers, artists, and Paizo have gone to great lengths to do right by the inspirational cultures. I'm afraid that I won't have it in me to do the same.

It's strange, but I don't feel comfortable running APs like "Fists of the Ruby Phoenix" or "Strength of Thousands" because of the locales. I don't think I would be able to depict these people modelled on real world cultures in a respectful way, and I fear the game would devolve into harmful stereotypes amongst the players.
Does anyone else feel this way?
I just scoot away from these and think "this isn't intended for me" or the audience of my group.
So I'm still waiting for that AP that fits the bill for us.

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keftiu wrote:
I’m sorry you had negative experiences with the game! I hope your group is happier since then.

One group (the longer-lived one) disbanded after Age of Ashes. It was a combination of the adventure/system being poorly suited, the impact of the pandemic, and some player personality dynamics. But it showed them that they didn't like my GMing style being so ... brutal?

The second group has moved over to more narrative-based games, not based on the d20 system - kind of the farthest departure from Pathfinder one can find. I don't know if it killed that style of play for them, but they definitely wanted a break from it.

I would like to love Pathfinder and its APs. There's certainly a lot to enjoy there, and I think that's why I criticize it so much. It's just so close to being a great system for my style of game, but things don't work out, and I try to understand why.

Maybe I just need to see a good game in action? All the videos I find are in-depth rules/tactics discussions and apologists who explain why it's a good system. I'd like to see it be a good system, if that makes sense. I'd like to have a great time rolling dice, exploring the worlds, with exciting and dynamic characters. I just haven't had that experience yet.

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keftiu wrote:
I will say; if you’re upset about a preponderance of fights and a lack of RP opportunities, a megadungeon was pretty much always going to be a mismatch. Strength of Thousands is an AP that puts a heavy focus on diplomacy and non-combat solutions for encounters, along with a lot of study and exploration - it may be a better fit.

I appreciate the recommendation. Perhaps one of these days.

At the time I started running it, Abomination Vaults was considered the strongest AP of what was available.

Unfortunately, my groups' experiences with Age of Ashes being a meatgrinder and Abomination Vaults being a purposeless slog, both have basically tainted my players' perspectives of the entire system.

If we'd gotten something akin to Rise of the Runelords at the start of this edition - or even the Beginner Box - maybe it wouldn't have soured all my players.

So I'm afraid my experience with PF2 from now on will be in convention play one-shots for now. I don't see a campaign starting anytime soon.

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Rysky wrote:

1) then the ap wasn’t for y’all. “My [level 1 friends] would you go investigate this accursed place I’ve had bad dreams about” is a rather strong setup, and it’s near-immediately apparent upon exploring that something is up.

3) they’d still be limited to what they can put on a page, all dungeons have this constraint.

6) moving goalposts, lots of fights are fight to the death. You said there was no RP opportunities.

I’d say that a lot of people liking it makes it a good megadungeon.

“That's why it's essential for every adventure to have a time clock,”

This isn’t true in the slightest.

1) It's fair to say the AP wasn't for us. It's disappointing that it's supposedly the best Paizo has to offer and it also failed to connect with us. I doubt I'll find any AP I like.

3) Sure, there are physical limitations in a book. But there are options. First, you can not try to map out every 5-foot square and have Exploration Activities link different areas. Maybe you use something like Adventure Recipes or a subsystem like a Hexcrawl to add varied challenges as you cross the winding corridors. But to have different groups of monsters within 20 ft. of each other with no knowledge and no relationship of each other is not good.

6) Most encounters are fights. I remember like 1 encounter in the entirety of Book 1 that wasn't a fight (a ghost). There was another with a devil that they ended up roleplaying through. But no one had any useful information about the adventure. They were just sort of on their own.

Just to keep in mind, just because a lot of people like something doesn't mean that it's the best example of its genre. "Fifty Shades of Grey" was the best-selling book of the entire decade of the 2010s.

By not recognizing potential trouble spots in the APs we've run, we're doing a disservice to other GMs who will try to run them later and the writers who design future adventures. Everything can be improved. Abomination Vaults isn't a bad adventure, but it's not perfect, and we can make a better dungeoncrawl.

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Grumpus wrote:
Zaister wrote:
Point 3 simply isn't true. The levels are mostly much larger than any flip-mat.
Yep, I wondered if they were thinking of Emerald Spire, which specifically had 16 flip mat sized dungeons.

No, I had never seen Emerald Spire. Apparently it came out after I was already done with Pathfinder 1e.

I suppose my error was in the size of Flip Mats. If the dungeon wasn't designed to fit on Flip Mats, then there was actually no reason to make the levels as physically small as they were. The monsters basically live in closets too small to move around, too close together to be logically different factions (they'd either be working together or killing each other, etc.)

The dungeon levels should've been much larger with a lot more empty space, more room for exploration, etc.

We had something like 3 TPKs in 5 sessions when I ran Age of Ashes. Granted this is considered a very difficult AP, and the players didn't have access to all the tactical knowledge that has been discovered over the past couple years (i.e. not taking the 3rd attack, using Demoralize, etc.)

We'd play, have a TPK. Create new characters, beat the encounter that killed the previous party, maybe have one more successful encounter, then die again - rinse and repeat the cycle.

The best thing to do is to use the guidelines in the Core Rulebook (and actually follow them, because they mostly work), and then write your own adventure. In my opinion, the APs haven't been the best, and I think any GM should be able to write something better for their table.

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Rysky wrote:

1) ... you got asked to go by a friend?

3) What published adventure has a dungeon with each level taking up multiple flip mats?

6) False

1) Which is a weak motivation. A friend has a vague idea that "something is wrong" because a light came on. Meanwhile, there is no threat to Otari, no stakes for the adventurers. Risking life and limb for a friend's vague "feeling" was not enough for my group.

3) Maybe the size restraints of the Flip Mat format is not appropriate for a mega-dungeon? Maybe use Flip Mats for special climactic battles and interesting areas, but have the rest stuff you can draw on blank maps or use tiles? As it is, I think it hamstrings the adventure, pushes everything together so closely and densely that you can't reasonably/realistically explore the dungeon without there being a monster in every room.

6) The specific phrase "fights to the death" appears 8 times in the first book. It is implied many other times. Like the character who offers to let the party surrender as long as they agree to be captured and eaten alive as sacrifices to the evil god. (Yeah, I wonder how many players have been tempted by that choice? It's a tough decision, with a lot of pros and cons that any group will likely debate.)

Just because it's the best mega-dungeon for PF2 does not make it a good mega-dungeon.

I would argue that because PF2 focuses on encounter-based resource management more than daily resource tracking, it's actually a poor system to run traditional dungeon crawls, which in practice will turn into strings of encounters that might be individually interesting but can't really carry a lasting cost.

The only resource that gets permanently spent in PF2 is time. That's why it's essential for every adventure to have a time clock, some reason that you can't just take infinite time. It's the only pressure in the game that stretches beyond the encounter tier.

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I haven't liked either of the two APs I've started for PF2.

"Age of Ashes" suffered because it was the first written and the first we ran. Likely my group would've preferred starting with something like the Beginner Box, but it sadly wasn't available when we started. Our inability to figure out sound tactics led to many TPKs and poisoned the well of PF2 for that group of players. Likely, they'll never return to the system. Additionally, it pretty much spelled the end of our gaming group that had been playing together since the early 2010s.

"Abomination Vaults" gets high praise here, and I'm not sure if it's warranted. I think there is a very strong desire for content like AV (straightforward, dungeon-based adventures, without overarching metaplots). However, we had some major issues.
1) There was no reason to go on the adventure. You just go to the site and explore.
2) There is no time limit. You just crawl, room-by-room, full-healing or going back to town whenever you want with no consequence.
3) The dungeon is too small. Each level fits on one Flip-Mat and completely breaks verisimilitude with how packed it is with different factions.
4) It doesn't telegraph what's going on. For example, maybe having an entire level full of ghouls would suggest blood splatters, body parts, etc.
5) The surface level and first dungeon levels make no sense in their layout (because all of these descriptions and maps were cut - as you can read on these forums).
6) There is almost zero roleplaying opportunities or methods of getting information about what's going on (at least in Book 1). Most intelligent creatures "fight to the death" as specifically called out in the book.

That group also quit PF2. I'm not sure if the players would want to go back - I have a feeling not.
I pretty much gave up on the system at that point. None of the APs have appealed to me as much as Abomination Vaults, and I was let down by the adventures and the system as a result.
If I ever go back to PF2, I'll write my own.

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Yeah, I can agree with the OP. There's too much info, not presented in a way that's easily accessible during a game, laid out in a confusing manner (splitting up important pieces of content).
I'd be fine with bullet points to describe an NPC in general terms. Or even bolding the most important information to the story.

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I had Fantasy Grounds for close to 5 years and never got proficient enough to run a game with it. With Roll20, I was up and running in a couple hours. Also, Fantasy Grounds ended up being a no-go because it required installation of software, and some of my players didn't have computers that could handle it, whereas Roll20 is browser-based.

Of the three candidates mentioned (Fantasy Grounds, Roll20, and Foundry), Roll20 has the fewer features and less automation, which also (IMO) make it easier to use. Foundry has the PDF importer (which I think works great), but I'm hesitant to use it because you need to create your own server (and I'm not techie enough to do that), pick which features you want and download community-created patches. That said, I'm still planning to at least try it once I wrap up the current book of the AP I'm running on Roll20.

So if I were going to introduce new players to PF2, where should I start? I'm thinking not an AP. Needs to be on Roll20 (because that's what we use.) I'm not sold on the Beginner Box because it's not the actual rules, and if we were going to be sticking with the system, I'd be fighting against those rules changes for the future of the game.

AlastarOG wrote:

Also we have to discussed system but if you're running virtual TTRPG, roll20 is not very good..

Foundry VTT has the best support by far for pf2e, with every condition being easily applicable, trackable and consistently stackable (or not).

Not to mention some absolutely beautiful person created the pdf converter where if you port in your appropriately purchased paizo pdf through his mod, it'll autopopulate everything.

Every map will be extracted and walls input properly.
Every creature will be added to the actors directory with correct stats and mods (you do need to put in artwork)
Every image will be extracted.
Every DM note will be extracted and each room in a dungeon has an easily accessible gm note.

Plus no monthly subscription, you pay once.

I have Foundry and have imported the PDFs successfully. My primary issue is that I don't have confidence in teaching the UI or trusting my abilities to set up a server. Using a professional server is right back to paying subscriptions. Plus, I have all of the second book put into Roll20 already.

@HumbleGamer, I've definitely done a lot to prep this adventure, since it's not on the VTT to purchase. This means putting in every map and making sure it's gridded properly, manually drawing dynamic lighting barriers, creating custom monsters and NPCs. It's probably the most prep I've ever done for a game I've run in recent memory (with the exception of 3.5, which I was trying to write for publication).
The problem is that the structure of the AP means the party can easily go to numerous encounters, facing a wide variety of monsters, traps, etc. It's difficult to be ready for everything.

dirtypool wrote:
Harles wrote:
That's good advice. But I'm afraid that my "rule of cool" and on the fly rules adjuctations are too tough - I had three TPKs pretty close together. At least some of that was because I don't get the overall feel of the system.

If the issue is survivability in combat, particularly in Age of Ashes, I would recommend applying the “weak” adjustment to monsters for a bit.

You say that you feel more than proficient with PF1 and with 5e, so I have to ask - what specifically do you feel you aren’t grasping about PF2 beyond rules memorization?

Just to clarify, I'm no longer running Age of Ashes. That campaign ended around nine months ago.

The system proficiency is stuff like: saves vs certain effects are considered one step better if they are of lower level than the party, rogues can't be flanked except from creatures a certain level above them, haunts and traps have triggers/disables/routines that are all very unique, crafting, invisibility/hidden/undetected, some conditions last until saves while others go away after a round, automatically heightening spells, remembering different weapon traits, special maneuvers (Intimidation, Shove, Trip, Grapple, Feint), all the variety of spells (including different effects based on different numbers of actions/degrees of success), DCs for skill checks and the number of actions to perform them, identifying monsters and how much information to give, when to let characters use different skills to roll Initiative.

Then there's the actual completely different way of challenging the party. Largely the system allows for complete heals after each combat, so each combat feels like there's no weight to it. Use the highly effective cantrips and you can go all day, with character death being the only way to weaken the party.

@StoneKarma, I regularly watch Matt Colville. If I'm running 5e, OSR, Cthulhu, or even PF1, I consider myself not only proficient, but even an excellent GM. That's why I'm taking my lack of system mastery in PF2 so hard.

Fumarole wrote:

Pausing the game every fifteen minutes to look up a rule sounds frustrating. I suggest keeping Easy Library open, and use it frequently. When a player of mine does something I immediately look it up in Easy Tools, just so I have my own reference available in case there is any doubt about how it works. Do it often enough and you'll stop doing it for the most common actions/feats/spells.

Do you use a GM screen? Even if you play online, it is handy to have to hand as it contains many charts a GM needs during a game.

Yes, I use the GM screen and condition cards even when playing online. However, I did not know about Easy Tools - I'll check that out.

Temperans wrote:

As someone who just started GMing this year I can tell you. That for me it was hard adapting to being a GM, and the rules I remembered were not always correct. But what really helped me was asking my players every so often for their opinion on my GMing and for any tips. Without asking them I 100% believe I would be a much worse GM.

So I recommend you do the same. If you feel you are not doing good, ask your players what they think after the next session. See if they have any suggestions for improvements. Also, sometimes having a cheat sheet or system for searching things helps taking breaks.

Also, as stated multiple times. If you don't know the exact rule but want to keep the pace. Just make a ruling and search after the game. There is always rule 0 and the rule of cool to fall back on.

That's good advice. But I'm afraid that my "rule of cool" and on the fly rules adjuctations are too tough - I had three TPKs pretty close together. At least some of that was because I don't get the overall feel of the system.

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