I'm looking at something similar. Expeditious Retreat's Magical Medieval Society has some good reference material. The line I am taking is that a labourer can produce 1sp per day and is divided across various activities, such as crop maintenance, general maintenance, building, military and watch duties etc. It still uses the build it and they will come model but by using the Rooms system to determine building costs instead of BP it limits the building speed to the available building force.
Mr Bonkers 3 hints comment would be well heeded. A search for Alexandrian and rule of 3 will bring you to some excellent articles on the subject of puzzles, clues and encounter design.
Of particular importance is that the players may not be on the same wavelength as you. Even if they figure out the numbers, they might not get the coordinates idea and might go down a Dewey decimal type classification idea and try and group books by the symbols. You must be prepared to give some fairly broad hints and use skills and INT score to dole out clues. E.g you might say to the wizard player "The symbols could represent a classification system or they could represent a coordinate system or perhaps a reading order."
You have given the players a big clue on alternate approaches and you may have to reinforce that by saying things like "perhaps it's not a classification system after all".
Remember the player may not be as bright as their character so giving players clues to make up the difference isn't unreasonable.
I think a lot of this discussion comes down to playstyle.
As I've already stated I've houseruled a whole bunch of changes that make crafting low power one shot items quite possible but more powerful permanent items are mostly from a previous age. I also largely discourage mundane crafting by making it expensive in terms of skill points and do not provide the downtime for it.
At the same time I don't really care about WBL. There are no branches of the 'Ye Olde Magick Shoppe' department store chain to be found. The characters magic items are largely limited to what I hand out in treasure and if they want something specific they are going to have to
Edit: But not everybody's playstyle is the same. I like the politics and world building side of the game. Others just like the power-ups and endless combat encounters with GP being a high score.
I don't disallow crafting though I strongly discourage it through a number of mechanisms.
Ha ha. The deepest I've gone on a rapid descent is approx 50m in Truk lagoon and I started filling the BCD from about 40m to avoid crashing into the bottom. Looking at my logs, the rate of descent is remarkably consistent all the way down.
Most skydiving descents don't go beyond 25-30m but are pretty consistent whether in the English channel, Maldives, Red Sea or NZ waters.
FWIW when I'm doing the descents my right arm is bent with my fingers pinching my nose as I have to equalize near constantly, the left arm is in a similar position so I can read the dive computer on my wrist and hold the inflator valve and both knees are bent back because of the drag on the fins. So I guess there is a reasonable amount of drag from my head, torso, arms and upper legs being on a plane. Somebody sinking feet first might well go faster.
@Chell, the pressure resistance of the body/lungs is negligible (they are designed to expand and contract). At 10 metres, they will be squeezed to half their surface volume and a 1/3 at 20m.
My estimate for terminal velocity is based on my 'skydiving' down without inflating my buoyancy control device (the jacket/harness divers wear). My dive computer shows about 30m/min after the first few metres of descent where I'm basically neutrally buoyant at the surface.
Chell Raighn wrote:
Actually, as you sink you do become less buoyant as air spaces (eg lungs) and other compressible materials get crushed by the increasing pressure (1 atmosphere every 10m). From experience (~1000 dives) a terminal velocity of 30m/min - 10ft/rd is reasonable assuming the character is not swimming down.
EDIT Also, once you are dropping due to a lack of buoyancy faster than you can swim you are stuffed unless you can add to your buoyancy. I can't see how a DC20 check is relevant.
TBH (and as pointed out above) I don't think it would make a huge difference. Depending on the demographics of the society, the number of people capable of casting such spells would be very small. Just as in real life the number of people with outstanding charisma and/or exceptional social, psychological and social engineering/manipulation skills is small.
Depending on the motivations of the individual, their spell ability or social skills are likely to see them in a position of power and influence; which already happens.
Adding to what Mark Hoover said and fondly remembering early Gygax modules. Consider writing up a rumour table and having the players roleplay. This could be combined with gather information checks and other relevant skill checks. If they role high give the players a big clue rumour. Roll low and get a false rumour.
Diego Rossi wrote:
I've never said it's existence is tied to the earth or equivalent for other elementals. All I've said is how I visualise it's movement through said element. It's just imagination, nothing rule breaking.
I've run through the ToEE campaign several times over the decades and more than once the party has ended up on the elemental planes. I imagine roads in the plane of earth to be seams of ore and the like. Eg follow the iron ore seam until you hit the bauxite, then take a right along the bauxite until you reach the granite...again just imagination.
It wouldn't pop out of the ground but rather force the ground into an earth elemental (let's assume roughly humanoid) shape if it is traveling on the surface. Sort of like a hand running under a sheet, the hand shapes the sheet but can't pop out. Once the hand has passed the sheet resettled. I see the earth doing a similar thing after the elemental has passed.
In the ToEE there is a sword that always strikes last in the round but never misses.
If I were to allow such a weapon I would treat it as an AD&D 1e artifact (not non epic PC creatable) and include several drawbacks, such as not allowing the wielder (or possessor) to retreat from any enemy or to only strike opponents who have attacked (or more severely, wounded) the wielder.
I think the rule of thumb wrt to instantaneous fire should be along the lines of: If an object has hardness 0 wrt fire damage (and wood has hardness 5) and/or is noted as being particularly susceptible to fire (such as anything that could be ignited by a flint and steel) then it could be ignited by instantaneous flame.
I believe wood should have a hardness of 5 because it is possible to put a log into a fire (say to push other logs) and remove it before it catches light. But v.thin kindling burns up instantaneously.
This is only an issue because of the turn based mechanics. If one were instead to consider the simultaneous 6 seconds of activity a round represents the answer becomes obvious.
In the case of an individual walking into or through a stationary invisible opponent, the opponent would move out of the way to avoid a collision. The individual should get a perception check to detect (hear) the movement.
In the case of the two both moving then the invisible creature would stop short to avoid a collision. If their turn was first then they would move back one square, if their turn is second they would move forward one square.
I think using the UC Room Building rules might be better to construct their own ad hoc building(s).
I love it when the players are invested in the campaign world.
EDIT: Handwave the Spell costs, the party can either create the magic or it can't. Roleplay the influence cost. By the sounds of it they already have 'paid' that or at least most of it.
I'm slightly surprised at Mark Hoover's take. Given the problems he's had with his players overcoming his challenges I would have thought that he would have leapt at the chance to even up the battlefield by tracking collateral damage to objects, particularly flammable items, structural items or treasure.
For my own experience, I recall one of the early PFS adventures. The setup had the party hopelessly outnumbered attempting to rescue some prisoners taken from a merchant caravan who were tied up outside, whilst the raiders were in two large tents. A couple of mundane burning arrows fired at the tents did for most of the raiders.
If you start letting things catch fire and track the spreading fire, the battlefield can become a lot more interesting.
Let's say said 20th level fighter has sworn an oath to do the King's bidding. But the king orders the fighter to take their best shot at a helpless innocent. The fighter really doesn't want to kill the innocent but must also be convincing for the king, who is a highly skilled fighter himself.
If the fighter doesn't use their skills and techniques then they will be found to be an oath breaker, if they do they will likely kill the innocent. How would you rule a way out for the fighter?
It seems as though the discussion has become rather circular. From what I can read there are three different arguments which are all ignoring each other:
1. In a non-life threatening scenario, eg missile fire at a target, training a student etc, is it possible to deliberately miss or hit with minimal force.
I think the answer is it depends. Taking the Ranger example above, yes they can always miss on purpose. But if they are deliberately missing but trying to make it look like you tried to hit could be construed as a bluff attempt.
Alternatively, you could venture into houserule territory. Say make a called shot for somewhere close e.g between the legs or just past the ear and have a second roll to hit if the called shot failed.
Best case scenario: Paizo et al band together and go after Hasbro for punitive damages.
Hasbro appear to be using their comparative size and deep pockets to threaten the multitude of small companies in the market into accepting poorer terms than those already agreed. There should be severe consequences if those threats are not entirely above board.
To me the backpack and sacks having a capacity serve a dual purpose.
1. They limit how much a character can carry to realistic[ish] levels so the fighter isn't carrying 20000CP, 4 lifesize framed portraits and two carpets in treasure plus their weapons and adventuring gear.
2. They allow a character to quickly go from encumbered to unencumbered by dropping the backpack or sack. Related to this is it's easier to track what equipment the party loses when the raiding bugbears run off with the party's backpacks.
Detect Magic spam can be annoying, especially at lower level. But can be dealt with in game by having lead lining being near ubiquitous in high quality furniture, scabbards, pouches etc. Also counting the rounds and rolling for wandering monsters will dissuade the activity.
Prestidigician spam sounds more like adding flavour, or overstretch of its capability.
Matthew Morris wrote:
I don't agree with this take at all. Given the game has objective evil, if you are not evil enough to generate even a faint aura then you are not evil enough to ping a Detect Evil spell.
To rule otherwise ends in the nonsensical situation where you detect evil but do not see any auras
I think the large fire would attract attention.
A nasty thought I've just had: The collapsing floor is only triggered when a total mass of 300lbs is applied across the trapped area. That weight could be made of multiple characters or a PC plus the Huecuva. The collapsing floor dislodges a support beam and 2 rounds later the collapsing ceiling trap is triggered. The Allip, being incorporeal is immune. Of course, that has bumped up the CR a little but would make an interesting encounter (and demonstrates a good use of traps). In Gygaxian 1e days the treasure would be a ring of feather falling worn by the Huecuva.
Hi Mark Hoover 330, To answer your questions:
Q: Do I think difficult terrain should increase the CR of an encounter? No, unless it becomes a trap in its own right (eg fighting on a narrow ledge requiring an acrobatics roll to avoid falling). Ideally, every encounter should take place in terrain and that terrain should normally benefit the native defender to a degree. My two examples in my post above have frogs in a swamp and twigjacks in a dense forest.
The way the encounter is setup, the PCs should only face one creature at a time (though the Huecuva is buffing the other two) unless they charge in. A careful party could fight the Allip at the entrance to the church, carefully advance towards the Huecuva and despatch it with many missiles and discover the collapsing floor and safely trigger it, allowing them to kill the skeleton in the cellar below. At the other extreme, two party members deal with the Allip whilst two go for the Huecuva. One of the huecuva two triggers the trap and faces the skeleton. A far more dangerous encounter, but only because of poor PC tactics.
The Church encounter maybe slightly to high a CR but is still nicely constructed. I wouldn't add 1 to the CR for the environment, a creature is meant to be encountered in its native environment and a desecrated church is the archetypal undead territory. Maybe drop one of the collapsing floor traps and the skeleton if necessary.
Personally, I think the combination of pews to channel the PCs movement, or create difficult terrain whilst the Allip can fly over the top is great. I would have the Huecuva behind the lectern, which provides cover.
I would also only have the one collapsing floor, at the gap in front of the pews before the lectern area. This gives the Allip somewhere to retreat to if reduced to half HP. I would then add in a collapsing ceiling trap, triggered by hitting one of the pillars. Let the Allip use the pillar as cover and when hit drops a small amount of masonry that causes 1d6 damage in the target square and 1hp of 'splash' damage to the surrounding squares.
If both the Allip and Huecuva are below 1/2 HP have them retreat to the sanctuary for the final stand.
I've played and continue to play heavy politicised campaigns. In these campaigns the factions of good are often as dangerous as the factions of evil. During one campaign the party's actions split the ideologies of the good factions (ToEE and the State of Verbobonc came against the church of St Cuthbert over Gnomish rights) and one of them (the church of St Cuthbert, which legally had the delegated authority) called for the arrest and detention of the party.
The party (levels 3-4) were surrounded by 35 crossbowmen and surrendered. The party tried but haplessly failed to escape the cells and were saved by being found by the state to be not guilty. But only by beating the DC on a Zone of Truth spell during the trial.
Giant Frogs - Can jump and swim in a swamp where the party's maneuverability is seriously compromised. They have a ranged touch attack to grab their prey and can swallow small creatures whole.
For extra fun and to reduce the lethality have the frogs' tongues latch onto the characters' backpacks, shields etc and then break them away from the character to swallow whole.
Slightly higher level
For extra fun, try and entice the party to climb into the trees before teleporting away.
Pure Evil - Ghouls hiding in a muddy pool of water.
What I believe Mudfoot is referring to is; in the original premise of (A)D&D the PCs were the heroes and even at level 1 stood out from the general population. In Voodooist Monk's Pathfinder it seems as though a character would need to be at least level 6 to progress past being the Baker's wife's whipping boy, which is hardly heroic.
Where most people seem to have landed is that most background NPCs are levels 1-5. Personally, I think that feels about right for skills but wrong for fighting ability, which should remain at level 1.
There are potentially two different answers here.
The defined DC 0 case is to hear words in a conversation. The agreed too extreme is sounds of a battle at a DC of -10.
The verbal component of a spell seems to be agreed to be louder than a conversation and so applying the -2 favourable condition modifier seems reasonable.
Not having to pick out the words in a conversation also seems favourable so a -2 condition modifier would apply there too.
The answer to 1 above, would be a DC -4 check as both favourable condition modifiers apply. The answer to 2 would be a DC-2 check as only the first modifier applies.
I think you misread Claxon's comment with your reply. He's used the phrase 'unless the[y] put in special effort to locate the enemy' and you then counter with an example of special effort of using wildshape to scout ahead and find the enemy.
I think you both agree that if the PCs don't put in special effort to detect an enemy ahead that the party wouldn't have time to cast 3 buffs and to wildshape at the start of a typical encounter.
I think you're right that the Leopard stats might be wrong.
Not sure about your wiggle room re: animal tricks and atavism, the spell is very clear the only trick the Druid can use is Attack, everything else is a Push, requiring a move action. The only debate is whether an AC with two Attack tricks can attack undead etc. I would be pro-player in my ruling and say that they can.
I roll separately for each missile. I also roll separately for each person hit by a fireball/lightning bolt etc even though it is the same thing dealing damage to multiple opponents.
I can see the counter argument WRT fireball etc - it is one thing so it's damage is consistent and the save simulates the character"s response to protecting themselves from the worst of it. But I have always done it with individual rolls and after 40 years am not changing now.
FWIW, I seem to recall back in SKR's time that he suggested that the average NPC earned 2XP per day.
Using this and some houserules, notably adding profession to other related skills, I came up with what was primarily a crafting system but which could be easily used for other NPCs.
I also applied a different leveling system, each year an NPC would get a 50% chance to get a level point, once they had acquired as many level points as the sum of their levels, they would progress to the next level. I found that this gave a nice distribution of levels and was similar to the 2XP/day on average. I have toyed with the idea of say 5% chance per month instead of 50% per year to try and flatten the distribution and get some higher levels but have never progressed it.
This gave me a nice baseline for the average peasant (commoner) and tradesman or professional (expert). Most are cookie cutters of each other with the profession, craft and known knowledge skills changed to suit. If a module calls for an oddball [like the tailor in Hommlet], I can adjust things to suit. In his case, I moved his level up two, maxed the dexterity score and swapped one of the standard feats for weapon specialisation (heavy crossbow). As I said in my previous posting, I keep BAB, HP and saves fixed at level 1.
When it came to Warriors, I noted that the class skills are similar to a Commoner's and also reasoned that most militia would be drawn from the peasantry rather than the trades. So a Warrior 1/Commoner x can easily be a farmer/militia member or a member of the city watch, whilst a warrior x is a professional soldier. In my previous posting I'd stated I used levels 1-3 to cover regular, veteran and elite. There are also the officers, which referring back to the 3.5e Heroes of Battle are the equivalent of commanders ranging from level 1 to level 7, which would be 1-7 levels above the soldier level. So a Veteran Corporal (level 1 commander) would be level 3 and the corporal's of an elite unit would be level 4, whilst the General would be levels 8-10.
I think Deathless One has it right. Between the number of rounds required to apply the buffs (4 including the Druid's wild shape) and the need to push the animal because of atavism for anything other than a straightforward attack, the impact will be lessened significantly.
I wouldn't do any of your considered options. I think customising encounters to specifically nullify a perceived problem is poor form and penalises the players who develop a good strategy.
However, you may want to consider encounter variety. The Druid can only pull that trick a few times per day and has sacrificed a lot of other options to have it available. Introducing more encounters per day will mean the Druid will have run out of spells before the day is done. Do this 2 or 3 times and the Druid will be more circumspect about using their resources. Have an encounter against a creature that can take control of the Snow Leopard. That will terrify the party. Introduce encounters against flying creatures, the snow leopard is useless and the Druid is exposed, especially if their prepared spells are focused on buffing the snow leopard. An encounter in an enclosed space will make the snow leopard's size a liability.
In short, by introducing variety you will make the party and the druid consider a broader range of tactics and stop relying on the huge snow leopard. This in turn will mean that more of the spell slots are filled with things other than snow leopard buffs, which means that the snow leopard strategy becomes an occasional rather than regular occurrence.
I'm really not a fan of the NPC classes as presented. The idea of a 20th level expert, say the world's best artist, being able to out fight a seasoned mid-level adventurer who has had a career killing all sorts of monsters is absurd.
I houserule that commoners and experts go up in skill points and gain feats as they level up. But BAB, Hp and saves remain fixed. Apprentices are level 1-2 , journeymen levels 3-4 and masters from level 5 with legendary craftsmen being about level 10.
Warriors relate to guards and soldiery, with trained regular soldiers being level 1, veterans level 2, elite units level 3 and the ultra-elite and legendary units being slightly higher.
It is physically impossible for a trap to be undetectable. In order to trigger the trap's sensor must contact the victim. [By contact, this could be touch, or a broken light beam, radar reflection etc]. That contact requires that there is no obstacle blocking contact, which also means that the victim (with the appropriate sense for invisible, magic etc) has the potential to see the trap's sensor. It may be extremely difficult to notice the sensor, but not impossible.
Likewise, it should be impossible to spot a trap within a 10'square if the trap is blocked from view. E.g a poison needle trapped jewelery box hidden in a chest drawer. A pressure plate triggering a pit trap hidden under a rug. In the latter example, a perceptive character walking across the rug may notice a little extra give before pressing hard enough to trigger the trap.
I always roll a hidden perception check just before a trap is triggered and advise the player that they almost triggered a trap.
Ryze Kuja wrote:
I do this as well provided the PCs hold the field and have time to search the bodies. But if the PCs are forced to flee or are in a hurry then I track the negative HP and stabilisation checks.
Given Evil's limited access to healing, this usually means that there is a future encounter with a bunch of wounded guards and a barracks that resembles a hospital.