I've utilized most of the common methods of stat generation, and for the most part determining what works and what doesn't comes down to player fantasy and choice. My group has fun when they are in combat and contribute, or are allowed to show-off what their character is good at. In that way, my group heavily prefers to have high stats, through either a 20 point buy or instead 4d6 seven times, drop the lowest and reroll scores below 8. Usually my group is pretty happy with that.
In regards to the problems with high-stats, this again depends on your group. My group has had some very high stat rolls. They also don't really matter in the games I run or play since the players are not masterminds with untold eons of game knowledge and book memorization. The stat allocation methods we use should reflect upon the table of players that you play with.
Running a Pathfinder campaign with starting assignments such as Rank F quests is perfectly acceptable. It depends on what world you wish to play in as well, but even in the base setting of Golarion we have the Pathfinder Society and other organizations that request the services of adventurers. To answer your question with some examples (keeping in mind to make it worthy of adventurers to do in the first place);
An initiation rank quest; The party are told that at the end of cave marked out for them by the Adventurers Guild lies a large metal vase, which is inscribed with the tenants that guide the Adventurers Guild's actions. Relies more on the party circumventing obstacles and clever thinking, meant as a reminder of the game system rules and also the preparedness needed for good adventurers.
The party chooses a bounty for the mite Grunstil, who has been interfering with mining efforts in the Copper Mine. While not a dangerous adversary, the faye pest has been making work more difficult then it needs to be, and as such the party is instructed to take care of it.
Enlisting the aid of the adventurers guild, a man listed as Marty is in need of assistance investigating a robbery. His home had been broken into. However the culprit did not steal gold or any food, but instead a collection of books. However Marty wants one book in particular titled The Tiefling Maid . He is willing to pay a unusual amount of money in order for the book to be retrieved. (Turns out the book is actually a spell-book, but the culprit doesn't know that)
As long as you factor party level, most low level Rank F quests should be lighthearted, but still require some challenge with skill checks or brief combat
The Sideromancer wrote:
I remember when I was going to have a dragon strafe the party. The first damage it took was 3d6 falling after getting it's wings glued by a tanglefoot bag.
I have to assume that this is due to the dragon having utterly failed it's reflex check to remain flying, and was for some reason within easy reach of the 10 foot throw increment of the tanglefoot bag?
Here's my personal advice on creating a powerful Dragon; Just play a smart dragon. That's it.
Dragons are your apex predator. They don't really need a lot of boosts in power because Dragons will destroy you and everything you possess if you get them mad enough. If you play a Dragon logically, a party that is at the equivalent for their APL will be in for the fight of their lives. If your party is in an open field, they are dead. If the Dragon has had time to prepare it's special abilities properly, they are going to be easily routed and dead. Keep in mind that this is for an Ancient Dragon. You want to use a great wyrm? They are already dead. If you play as a dragon would, all you have to do is fly around, breath weapon the party for up to 20d8 of their corresponding breath weapon damage, then fly around until it recharges in 1d4 rounds and do it all over again. If someone casts fly, congratulations, the dragon nukes them first. If it's the fighter, you better hope they have that fly skill at a high level. If it's the wizard, the dragon will bite their head off and the parties biggest asset just got wasted.
You bring anything like a dragon into a game (pit fiend, balor, kaiju, archon, etc)? If played like the intelligent, ungodly powerful beings that they are, the party is going to hate you, but they will rightfully fear those monsters as they should.
This is both fun and something I can look forward too. Oddly enough, I think snare crafting has been my favorite aspect of this blog post.
In Pathfinder 1st Edition crafting was time consuming and complex, and traps just never seemed like a great investment. It made sense for my Ranger to bring a couple of bear traps along with him to catch prey or litter the battlefield, but I am far happier than I thought I would be that I get to make snares like a hunter/ranger would instead of buying bear traps in bulk, and going full Rambo in the jungle. Very pleased.
I won't say this is what should be done, but suggest that Potions should be the only item that does not require any resource to use aside from gold. Then in the description of potions "Potions, either due to their magic or alchemical potency, are intended for limited consumption. Characters that drink a potion must wait 1 minute before consuming another potion."
Hopefully curtails the potion guzzling and also eliminates the need to track resonance for a character to drink a potion. What negative effect that occurs would then be up to balancing. Maybe an alchemical explosion, who knows. Otherwise I would never use a potion for the entire adventure, I'm not risking having to use a coin flip to determine whether my character will live or die drinking a potion if I don't have a large stockpile of resonance to utilize them.
I've been doing minor changes for the most part, my big changes are ones that involve events far later into the game. For now, however;
I made sure to reduce the number of able bodied guards in the town after the goblin attack, having only six or so men and woman that weren't injured. Also made sure to make them relatively distinct so they don't become faceless NPC's for the party to avoid or what have you. This gave higher emphasis on Hemlock justifying the trip to Magnimar, as written correspondence would take far longer and his presence wouldn't change the fact that the town was woefully understaffed.
I hade the groundskeeper for the cemetery look for the party instead of Belor Hemlock, as he would be more likely to find the disturbance of the gravesite. I also had the party roll perception when passing some of the houses to find the dog barking at the goblin before it went mad and murdered the father in the house.
The glassworks had the most changes. Lonjiku was encased from the waist down, and while he would most likely pass on to the next world, he nevertheless wouldn't die so that he can pass information onto the party if they don't get it in time from other sources. Since the party didn't chase after the goblins right away, Tsuto strategized and set-up an ambush downstairs. This was to also demonstrate some combat actions for the players to be aware of before I utilized it later in the campaign, and also for them to think about different strategies. Tsuto was not captured, but instead escaped. Ameiko was not taken with him as most of the goblins were dead and he couldn't carry her and retreat.
Finally I sent Orik and Lyrie into the town of Sandpoint to do some investigation on the party. Lyrie instructed Orik to pass some distinct items to them so that she could later locate object on them if they began to interfere in their plans further or head to Thistletop. The only player who has any idea that they were collaborating is deaf (Oracle Curse) so she has no idea what they discussed. Thought this was acceptable since the parties deeds have been spoken of frequently, and the goblins that survived relayed information to Nualia. Tsuto and the few surviving goblins will likewise do the same thing.
Most everything else is pretty minor, and all centered around making the game enjoyable.
Since it only one spell really has the biggest issues with regards to Wands and the costs associated with it, it's possible to work around that in regards to resonance. Perhaps like this?
Wand of Healing Item 2+
Invested, Magical, Necromancy, Wand
Method of Use held, 1 hand; Bulk 1
Activation: Empower Wand (1 RP)
Made of ivory, white wood or milk quartz, this wand nevertheless functions as a wand of healing. When you empower the wand, you may cast the spell heal a number of times equal to the maximum charges for the wand. The level of the heal spell is equal to the maximum level that the user can cast when the user empowers the wand. If the character cannot cast heal when empowering the wand of healing, the wand casts all charges at the lowest spell level. Higher level wands can carry more charges.
Type minor; Level 2; Price 100gp; Maximum Charges 3
Roughly speaking, tie the number of charges to the price instead of the level of the spell, incentivizing players to buy higher level wands so their healer can empower the wand with high level healing and also cast more charges of it. That or know a high level caster that will empower a wand for GP for parties in need of healing without access to high level heal spells.
This could help with all wand types as well, where the investment of RP starts to outweigh the healing provided unless they access higher heal spells or increase the charges of the wand so they can heal more reliably. May be some problems but just a thought on possible balancing ideas.
Since the majority of actions have been simplified, I expected resonance to follow that pattern. However I have to agree that, at first glance, I'm very confused about RP cost, what actions do what, and how the items is supposed to work when reading the statistics blocks. I'm hoping to see more clarification and having information be easily understood in regards to what items and actions do what. However right now the problems I am worried about and experiencing are as follows:
1. Martial characters prioritizing Charisma over any of their other stats to have an abundance of Resonance for their magical arms and armor, which won't compensate for casters being able to still cast magic and emulate these items without resonance.
2. The possibility of starting at Level 1 with 0 resonance if you have a Charisma modifier in the negatives, having to wait for magic items due to low resonance, and the inability to utilize activation items instead of invest items. I'm going to assume that the Resonance entry would state "character level plus your Charisma Modifier (Minimum of 1)" to compensate, but that's a hefty price to pay if you have to put a negative to any of your other stats for fear of having low resonance.
3. Tying resonance to consumables. I don't want my Barbarian to die because they are out of resonance using a weapon ability, and can't drink a potion without participating in a 50/50 dice roll. I only mention that possibility because of the paragraphs highlighting consumables such as scrolls, potions and trinkets as costing resonance.
In general I'm having major reservations regarding the resonance system as depicted in this blog post, but will leave additional comments for the Playtest.
On a different note, Rise of the Runelords is a campaign that assumes the player characters are willing to be heroes. Either that, or to at least play the part of heroes. I can say that my group has had problems because two of my players made characters that had expressed a lack of desire to be heroes. They weren't evil, and their stories and mannerisms are great, but they were having difficulty finding a reason to stay and follow the path set out for them. They had, by accident, made characters that are more difficult to play in this type of scenario rather then a game such as Curse of the Crimson Throne or Skull's and Shackles. Though I can't say it'll be a problem for your group, I recommend at least verbalizing or keeping in mind that your character should have a reason to stay in the region for an extended period.
I am hoping to join a PFS game at my local game shop. As far as I know I'm building the characters correctly as a Pathfinder Society Character (150 GP, 20 Point Buy, Non-Evil, Etc.) However my question is not builds per say, but any advice on what to look for, what to expect, and what should become important for me to know as I progress through a PFS game, as I believe there are some differences from normal play. Also if I have missed any other aspects of character creation please let me know.
This is a fantastic look into monk, and what's more important for me is making Monk's less MAD and instead being able to focus more on one play style. I'll be very intrigued to see if Strength monks have additional abilities which play more on their strength stat; perhaps monk feats that are far better with a strength bonus, or perhaps can be only taken with strength feat, such as the 6-inch punch or something of the like.
Overall I continue to be excited.
If I were a betting man, and assuming that quickened and slowed interact with each-other, I would assume that your quickened actions would be removed first before your base actions. Since we don't know if slowed would have a description where it discusses what actions it prioritizes, it would make sense to how haste and slow worked in Pathfinder 1st Edition, that being that they cancelled each-other out.
You guys could really make a killing off of condition tokens that you can flip or move to show how high or low the conditional modifier is, since it would probably make a great reminder for players instead of erasing everything or having to remember if you had a -1 hamper or -2 hamper.
I like the direction that the conditions are going, since it helps to simplify where it can but not lose the complexity and depth that made Pathfinder 1st Edition a great game system, most notably with the frightened condition. Since ability damage was mentioned, would ability drain work the same way? Such as Ability Drain versus Ability Drain?
The archetype of "thief, fighter, cleric, wizard" is great with new players since it's easy to dive into a predetermined and established role without worrying about whether what your playing is a good idea or not. But for a group of players with some experience, there are so many alternate classes and hybrids that it would be pretty easy to play a game without needing every archetype available. That being said balance in my mind is far better then hoping that your group of all fighters are going to survive without skill monkeys, a source of divine magic or a source of arcane magic.
Have to admit that this was mostly lucky happenstance, acting and a fair bit of buildup, but it's one of my fondest memories.
While the game is still going on, this event happened roughly six months ago as my party was proceeding down river in the Out of the Abyss campaign for Dungeons and Dragons 5E. For this particular game, I decided to play a somewhat mischievous and lecherous Bard character whose given name to the party was Fus Ro the Dragonborn. Aside from the fact that the characters real name to this day is a mystery, I was also a obvious ladies man, with every flaw and desire involving seduction and wooing. However I was unavailable for the game session due to prior commitments.
About two hours into the game, I returned home earlier then expected. I started to tuck into bed when I got a text over group chat from the players; they were laughing as at that very moment they were meeting with some witches. Each one was more gorgeous then the last, and currently my character was missing out on this event, in canon asleep with the rest of the characters bringing his sleeping body along with. So what did I do?
I didn't text back, or reply in any manner. Instead, with the DM's place roughly a block away, I got my stuff and started sprinting down the street. I didn't stop to slow down as I sprinted up the driveway. I ran up the steps to the entrance, opened the door wide and yelling out to the entire table of players as the door was flung open;
"I show them my Rod of Enlarge Spell!"
The table collapsed. Everyone began heaving in laughter. And I will never forget the joy of demonstrating how far Fus Ro would go to meet hot women.
If your worried about this issue, your playing with very spiteful DM's. Anathema's, like codes of conduct, shouldn't be a problem for anyone who plays with any semblance of respect for you and your character. Instead it should be broken when you, the player, are fairly challenged and you decide to forfeit the challenge of your choosing. It would be the same to worry that a GM would forcefully change your alignment as a Monk or Druid so you don't qualify for the class; the only reason it would happen is because they didn't want to play fairly at the table to begin with. Just my take on it at least.
Personally find that this is a fantastic melding of previous concepts to create an optimal Barbarian experience. Moving forward with Rage also helps, since it'll be nice for players less experienced in Rage Cycling to have something that works similar without the need for juggling Rage mechanics and rounds. Finally surprised but not shocked that the alignment requirements are removed, of all the alignment restricted classes from PF1 this was probably the most justified. If it's Druids and Monks that also lose it on the other hand...
I'm not sure what 5E game your playing, but I've found that spell casting has broken combat in the adventure were currently running so badly that it has trivialized almost every encounter. Casters were certainly not nerfed in Dungeons and Dragons based on my experience. However I also know that my experience doesn't suddenly invalidate the possibility that martials are far stronger in 5E that I have seen.
On the topic of skill feats I love them and cannot wait to test them out when the Playtest releases.
Marco Polaris wrote:
Not only is this story great, but it reminds me of a scenario I experienced where, as the DM of a Dark Heresy campaign, a player brought to my table a Psyker with a casting stat of 77. Basically pumped everything into Willpower, and began to trivialize everything. Due to the rules of Dark Heresy, he auto-succeeded most psychic checks which included a psychic ability to be untraceable by enemies. It weaned me off Dark Heresy after that, though now with so much time having passed I may try again with some supplements or house-rules.
Would love to have an Adventure Path where the enemies are not ancient dragons, runelords, demons, aliens or outer gods. No, what I would enjoy is seeing a group having to save a region from a group of adventurers that were once part of the Pathfinder Society. However this group has killed every creature in their path, treated the region like their personal playground, and only care about gold and killing things. As such, the plot is the Pathfinder Society sending a party of adventurers to slay another party of adventurers for making them all look bad.
Since falling damage as well as object damage has never been particularly prevalent in games I have led or played in, I personally don't see problems with the damage scaling. In particular there are aspects of any game which will stretch realism for the purposes of challenge and fair play. If I were to hazard a guess on why fall damage in most instances is a greater threat then falling objects, I would assume it is because in the framework of Pathfinder adventurers should be more cautious that their character will fall from a great height and prepare for this then what amounts to a normal attack against them (ie falling objects hitting them). Since resources are available so that players can mitigate or remove the threat (Feather Fall or Acrobatics to negate the first 10 feet) of dying from falling, they intended falling to have graver consequences then objects falling from great heights. Also I assume many other factors that have already been listed, but that is just my perspective on the design decision.
Worst I ever had was the stereotypical 'Me v. party' GM that felt if he wasn't trying to kill us all at every encounter, he wasn't doing something right.
Even with the best intentions this is by far the easiest thing for GM's to overshoot. The balance between challenging but fair always pops its ugly little head out during games. Granted I assume the GM was less on challenge and more on killing you with broken encounters for your level. Like four Ogres at Level 1.
Decimus Drake wrote:
I never went through with the plan in game. The point of telling the DM of the plan was for him to understand that I wouldn't turn things ugly out of game; I simply had the means and capabilities to do so in game and destroy the campaign as the only real spell-caster.
Luckily the game closed shortly afterward due to the open and somewhat monotonous aspects of Shackles starting to wear away at the DM's sanity. Once he talked to the players and we were able to go further into discussion with an intermediary it turned out okay, and at points it even became somewhat fun again, but it still ended. From what I heard afterwards, and briefly playing another adventure path but with a majority of different group members, a lot of the players chilled out on the interparty conflicts and communicated a lot better from that point forward. I see it as a learning experience, and it certainly helped when I ran a game with players that were somewhat similar.
I feel that I've been lucky in the sense that I have a group of friends that love gaming and can play together without much difficulty and we have been able to play a grand assortment of games over the past ten years and have a fantastic time. Anytime I've attempted to expand outside of these groups is when I've had horrendous issues. By far the worst was an attempt to go through the Skulls and Shackles Adventure Path at a local game store with relative strangers, almost everyone being older gamers.
I was playing a Conjuration focused Wizard 5. While I tended to play NG with a mean streak, the rest of the party focused on CN or worse. The biggest problem was the players breaking the cardinal rule (which most of the players mentioned in this thread seemed to break) that you work as hard as possible to work with the party or if nothing else don't actively attack party members, IRL or otherwise. The player who broke that rule constantly was a catfolk ninja who would demand everyone follow her orders or die, sleep on corpses or get in petty arguments at every opportunity, and attempt to intimidate my character in taking needless tactical blunders to satisfy her bloodlust such as boarding an enemy ship or be flogged. As a ranged battlefield control spell-caster.
Needless to say, even at this point, I was frustrated in more ways then one, but hoped that by helping acquire more crew members to appease the captain (barely better then the catfolk ninja) and the vice-captain by helping to obtain crew members that, I don't know, the players wouldn't be such unbearable people and chill? So I investigated, and came back with my findings to ask if it was acceptable to obtain low-level clerics and wizards to make repairs or heal in times of crisis (Keeping in mind, the current party makeup was swashbuckler, shaman, ninja, ninja). Instead the vice captain threatened to kill me if I ever decided to make any decision that was not first cleared by the captain, and rejected it. At this point both the player and the character couldn't be convinced, and after talking about it IRL it didn't get better either. Naturally I did the sensible thing in that situation.
I plotted to kill the entire party.
Since I'm not evil IRL, I went to the DM first to discuss the problems. If it wasn't for the players, I would put this guy pretty high up regarding prep and effort as a DM, he just had a "let the players make the decisions" attitude which didn't always work well as obvious in this case. Regardless, I aired my grievances and outlined that, as I had not been listened to regarding the other players behaviors that the only option that seemed fair was for him to intervene, or I kill the party before I leave the game. He didn't take that very seriously at the time, and at a point basically stated "I mean, can you?"
I outlined my plan; gathering the players to discuss some important matters on the deck of the ship, already having cast Invisibility and Levitation to float above them, casting Mad Monkeys and Summoning Earth Elementals II and III alongside Stinking Cloud and more from scrolls, wands and my own spell list until I killed the party while never breaking invisibility or being seen due to never actually attacking them. With no casters aside from myself and a touch-spell focused shaman, they would die slowly and painfully, before I then took over the ship as Captain and started the game anew.
He talked to the players. They were surprisingly amicable after that.
Session 1, Part 2:
Goblins, it turns out, have a knack for theatrics. So when Father Zantus raised his hands for silence, only for a woman to scream in terror as the goblins began their attack, they did so with great joy and song. Of course the crowd began to scatter quickly, with Father Zantus hurrying Mayor Deverin and Cyrdak away from the chaos. Meanwhile, Belor Hemlock attempted to step off the platform towards the threat, but was caught in the midst of the ongoing crowd and momentarily stalled. This was as good a time as any for the party to show their combat prowess. It was not, however, a good day for Wolfgang Baron.
Before anyone else could act, Wolfgang charged forward, shield and sword in hand to fight off a group of goblins which occupied one of the food vendor carts. With a mighty swing, he missed completely, bashed his own head with his shield, dropped his sword and stayed stunned for the round. The very first attack of the session and a complete botch. Of course he was beset by the goblins, who began attacking or taunting him relentlessly because of his predicament, one even managing to bypass his armor to deal him a moderate wound. Meanwhile, Karan had not moved. As soon as combat started, he was overwhelmed by the screams of the towns people and the goblins attacking, and thus could not act for the time being (Natural 1 initiative).
The rest of the party quickly followed, however, and with Tatara utilizing her shocking grasp, Keshazha utilizing his acrobatics and blades, and one particularly foolhardy goblin attempting to lift the longshanks sword, only to lost his grip and cleave through his own head, they were able to quickly dispatch them. Only a lone goblin was able to quickly flee with an acrobatic dive and sprint off the cart.
The party only had a few moments to breathe, but already the town was in chaos. Goblins running off with babies in hand while being chased by the city guard, some fighting over chicken bones and copper pieces, others diving off rooftops only to snap their necks while splatting onto the hard ground. The entire town of Sandpoint was for the moment in disarray. Before the party could respond to these threats, however, flames shot out from a nearby fuel cart as goblins with torches, one carrying and roasting a chicken, laughed and looked ready to attack. Karan had other plans.
With cascading red flames flickering upon his arms, Karan approached the group of goblins and attempted to incinerate them with Burning Hands. Most were heavily damaged, though only one fried to a legitimate crisp. While most of the party were too far to do more then approach rapidly and heal any possible wounds, Karan started to realize that standing in front of a mass of charred goblins had downsides, and he quickly began to take attacks from torches and bows. Keshazha was able to pierce through a thoroughly dead and roasted chicken to penetrate the goblin behind it, and that one fell dead. Upon Karan's next turn, he channeled his fury through his focus (a vial attached to his neck filled with a dark red liquid which appeared to be flaking), and let forth a cascade of flames, incinerating the rest of the goblins, but leaving him with few spells left to cast.
Hemlock at this point was able to finally reach the party. His brow was gashed, but made do as he sliced a goblin which flew through the air in an attempt to slay the sheriff to no avail. Briefly assessing the party, along with the arrival of Father Zantus and one brief positive energy channel, Hemlock and the group were interrupted by the sounds of barking. As the party raced ahead (with Keshazha and Wolfgang in the lead), Hemlock found himself blocked off by a rolling barrel being pushed by goblins. However he quickly chased after them upon realizing the goblins had locked a child within it.
The party rounded the corner to see the goblins and their commando approaching a fidgeting man in noble vestments, having slain what appeared to be a large dog. They recognized that they were not immediately noticed and decided to act. While most of the party raced ahead to engage in the back-line (with Karan utilizing his fire magic and Orvah Inflicting Wounds) Keshazha moved towards the noble and attempted to lead him away from the battle. Granted, his plan was to tell the noble "Come with Keshazha if you want to live" but as Common is his second language instead grabbed the noble while looking at him with wide eyes and stating "Come with Keshazha or die!" The noble went with Keshazha.
With the noble rescued, and the party quickly dispatching with most of the goblins in a flurry of flames and blades, the commando made a hasty retreat. However he was stopped by Hemlock's judicious use of his blade to the commando's neck. As the noise of battle died down, and as the party breathed heavily from the effort, townsfolk began to gather in a circle looking at the visitors who had just successfully repelled the goblin threat. One figure pushed through the crowd to stand before the adventurers, and raised her voice.
"I don't know why you came here, but even though the festivities have been ruined...you saved something far more important. The people of Sandpoint owe you a great debt. To the heroes of Sandpoint!"
With this proclamation the crowd cheered as they began to chant "The heroes of Sandpoint!" much to the chagrin of some members of the party. The session ended at this time with three pieces of information; That the innkeeper of the Rusty Dragon, Ameiko, was allowing the party to stay for a week free of charge, that Sheriff Hemlock was to award the party gold and any supplies of worth taken from the slain goblins, and that the nobleman who had been rescued professed his admiration for the party while giving them his name, Aldern Foxglove.
This was the end of Session 1
Backgrounds, Introductions and Session 1(05/16/2018)
Well... this has been quite the week! After three sessions, it looks like there will be plenty to discuss regarding the adventures and missteps of the heroes of Sandpoint.
I had mentioned before the backgrounds for these characters were incoming. Many of the players worked on their backstories by mixing together Ultimate Campaign material alongside personal feedback and collaboration with myself and the other players. When I told them that a campaign journal was being made of our exploits, they allowed me to help write a more comprehensive backstory for their characters which could be utilized for the journal. We've been communicating for the past week to discuss each persons background; I would send a draft expanding and elaborating on what they had already discussed with me, and in turn I would make changes as instructed or approved. Expect these stories and backgrounds to be uploaded upon completion. That out of the way, a quick introduction! As the game sessions continue, hopefully their personalities shine through and you get an idea of how the party plays.
Keshazha Miazz: Catfolk Ninja (Worshipper of Desna)
Tatara: Half-Orc Shaman (Worshipper of Gozreh)
Orvah Khajir: Half-Orc Oracle (Life, Worshipper of Sarenrae)
Karan: Kitsune Sorcerer (Infernal bloodline)
Wolfgang Baron: Human Fighter (Viking, Worshipper of Gorum)
Introductions out of the way, and pizza in the oven, the game had finally begun as the group spread out around the table. And we rolled initiative. (As other campaign journals have done, PC names will be bolded for easy searching and convenience)
Karan was engulfed by the sounds of war. A blood red sun hung in the sky as bodies were laid bare on the ground. He was surrounded in death and the stench of copper and fear. He closed his eyes, and awoke in a cold sweat inside The White Deer. He sighed, and began to put all of his items in order and ready for the day's festivities. One by one the other's awoke.
Keshazha awoke in a dingy bed inside the Fatman's Feedbag, where he had been staying on the cheap. Tatara awoke with her joints aching, but glad that the bed supported her back and that she was no longer on the high seas. Still, however, it took some time for her to move herself out of bed and to awaken her traveling partner, whom she gently nudged. Orvah was not surprised when she felt herself being softly jostled awake, and both her and Tatara moved to the downstairs where the innkeeper by the name of Ameiko greeted them warmly as the owner of the Rusty Dragon Inn. Finally Wolfgang woke as well, his armor and arms sitting against the corner in neat order. Though dented or scuffed in places, he still donned his belongings and headed downstairs as well. While he noticed a man also coming downstairs, with bright eyes but a dirty and unremarkable face, they both said nothing to each-other.
From there the party continued onward towards the festival grounds. It was morning, but the town was buzzing with excitement. Children played alongside the streets, running and leaping around with toy swords or looking to catch butterflies. The people were discussing town gossip and the beauty of the new shrine. And the entire area smelled wonderful, with scents of fresh breads, candied apples and grilled meats. For the party this was a chance to relax and enjoy the festivities, though most had other matters to attend to. Karan headed towards the new shrine, stopping along the way to perform for some children which looked at the stranger. He performed admirably (using his Prestidigitation alongside a Perform of 11) for the children, who were enamored by the sparks and small paper toys he made. Wolfgang was non-communicative, and headed straight for the shrine, though he would be waiting for some time before the speeches were held. Orvah and Tatara, meanwhile, decided to enjoy of the festival games available to them. While Tatara distracted some children by holding her familiar in her arms (a compsognathus which shimmered with sparks and light), Orvah decided to play a game of ring toss. Instead of bottles or loops, however, it was a collection of dead fish which were stood straight up and were of a variety of species. The owner, Belven Valdemar, manned the stand as his sons prepared fresh catch for the town.
"Greetings! Care to try your luck in obtaining a great catch? Well, you will simply need to use these rings and test your luck! These fish are of varying quality, but I gurantee that they are all fresh!"
As this was being told Orvah (in-game and to the DM) stared intently at every word being said. When she was done, she took out a collection of papers and wrote in them, before handing them to Belven. They read "I will go for the freshest and most expensive fish you have!"
GM note: I had Belven role a Sense Motive at this point, more to not misconstrue the situation then anything else, and (with a 18) pulled his ear briefly while pointing to Orvah. She nodded, pointing to her ears and then her parchment. Belven, understanding, pointed to the fish near the back, roughly ten feet behind him and gave her three rings.
"Well good luck, it'll be quite difficult and I'm sure that--"
Before he had even finished, Orvah had already thrown a perfect (critical) toss and landed it squarely on the marbled tuna near the back, the one Belven had pointed to her. Before he could even stammer a response, Belven watched as Orvah threw another near perfect throw (19 alongside her Dex for a 21) and landed the next one on the same fish. Belven grinned while widening his eyes in fear, but was luckily saved the embarrassment of having all of his fish taken from him when she tossed one more time and in her excitement judged the distance too far. Belven continued to grin and passed her a deboned pair of tuna fillets, and bid her a grand day as she skipped merrily back to Tatara, while behind her Belven's sons comforted their father, his head in his hands. Orvah did not see this event, nor did she see one of the sons move the tuna another five feet further from the toss area.
While the events of our other heroes transpired, Keshazha had continued down the street, staying out of the crowds and not a fan of the noise. In an attempt to figure out where he would need to go, and to get a better view of the town, he decided to climb up the side of a building and head towards the roof. As Keshazha effortlessly began his climb (seriously, I don't think he has rolled below a 25 so far while climbing), he heard a voice cry out.
"Excuse me, what exactly are you doing?"
In response Keshazha cried out, his voice quite frightened.
"Keshazha did nothing wrong!"
The man below, who was quite clearly a guard simply sighed. Keshazha did eventually climb down to talk to the guard of Sandpoint.
GM note; the player for Keshazha is quite good at staying in character and following through with his actions based upon his characters backstory. It also happens to be "I promise officer, you don't need to arrest me, I am innocent of all charges, the rumors in town are false and I don't want to talk anymore." when not necessarily asking about crimes committed. Thank god the guards sense motive at the time was low, but this will probably bite him at some point.
With the guard briefly placated, Keshazha made a quick exit, and eventually made his way to the festival grounds. At this point, the party had made it all within the same area. From there, most of the next few minutes were spent with Mayor Deverin acknowledging the great shrine dedicated to the primary gods and goddesses worshipped in Sandpoint, Belor Hemlock bringing down the mood with talks of the Late Unpleasantness, Lonjiku's lack of appearance and Cyrdrak Drokkus's lack of subtlety. The only actions of note by the party was Orvah clapping at inopportune times as loudly as she could, unaware of the mood around her. This was good time for some villains to appear on the scene.
And also a good time for another post. Check in later for Part 2 of Session 1!
Well in this case it's a simple carryover from Pathfinder 1st Edition, as the rules for counterspell also require you to have the spell prepared on your spell list to counter the effect. To copy paste from the magic section of Core Rulebook
"To complete the action, you must then cast an appropriate spell. As a general rule, a spell can only counter itself. If you are able to cast the same spell and you have it prepared (or have a slot of the appropriate level available), you cast it, creating a counterspell effect. If the target is within range, both spells automatically negate each other with no other results.
In preparation for Pathfinder 2nd Edition, I decided to run my long-time gaming group through Rise of the Runelords. We had done it all; Dark Heresy, Call of Cthulhu, Dungeons and Dragons 5E, 13th Age, Dresden Files, Game of Thrones, Homebrew and (most importantly) Pathfinder. Yet we also have never truly run through an Adventure Path.
I strived for this game to be a celebration of something that we've all played for so long together, and as such invested heavily in getting everyone to collaborate on backstories and character investment. In some part, however, this was also my opportunity to hone myself further as a DM, and to showcase the lessons I've learned. I worked hard to invest my players in the game through discussion, game prep and pointing them in the right direction regarding backgrounds and resources to help flesh those aspects of their character more fully. That out of the way, some game background before discussing the first session:
- I did not inform any of my players at the time (aside from the one player whose run the first half of Part 1) that we were running an Adventure Path. This was more for the surprise factor then anything else; the group has already had experience with me as a DM, and as such I wanted to keep the players guessing in regards to the direction that this game would go. The reception was quite positive for the reveal, so I'm glad I made that call early on. I also helped navigate point-buy with my players, who were able to build some character strengths and backstory by stats alone. I was very proud.
- The game would have a couple of house-rules which would establish the world, and help with balancing without needing to change the game as extensively. They are as follows:
1. Pathfinder Second Edition introduced armor and certain spells that raised both AC and Touch AC. I jumped at the chance to incorporate that immediately, especially with three spell-casters in the party. In this case, magic armor (and any spell which give bonuses to AC such as mage armor), certain magic items that give armor bonuses and a majority of mundane metal/heavy armor would increase Touch AC.
2. Incremental negatives for Intimidate and Diplomacy rolls for player characters when attempting these actions against higher level enemies. This has been done for quite some time in my games, and works great for early balancing while proving negligible at higher levels as intended.
3. Finally I introduced the different human ethnic groups found in Varisia, due to the emphasis placed in ROTRL on actually knowing where people come from in this campaign. So I expanded the languages that characters could learn to include Shoanti, Varisian and Tian. I also made it a point to name-drop these groups during the campaign.
- Lastly I decided to give each player (once I had their character name, background and a check on their character sheet by the DM) a personal item which could be used 1/day based on their backstory. One of these would prove quite useful within the first session.
With all that out of the way, I'm excited to begin the tale of my adventurers as we travel to Sandpoint and experience the wonders of lunacy and festivities. I will be making another post due to the length of this one which will detail the characters and backgrounds before I move forward with the session recap. If anyone has questions in the interim between posts, I'll do my best to answer them!
Usually not one to comment on game mechanic threads, but this seems like a great balance of mechanics and story/encounter consideration.
Positives is practically everything. Having wild beasts and animals with specific bonuses and patterns of attack is great to see. If these creatures also qualify for Animal Companions, it'll be great to see those differences in tactics as well instead of Druids and Rangers looking for Companions with Pounce.
Really glad to see an example of the new Resistance and Weakness mechanics and how it also simplifies their purpose for players. Even with longer term players there's always momentary confusion when juggling Resistance, SR and DR. Wholeheartedly agree with dealing extra damage against foes, and I will be interested in seeing what the flat bonus values are and any possible changes after playtest (Such as Weakness versus Heavy Weakness or Resistance versus Immunity)
Finally I'm glad that more complex enemies are being looked over for more diversity and unique abilities. Overall incredibly happy with this direction, and now interested in what will happen when I throw my party through the beginning of Rise of The Runelords against 2nd Edition Goblins. Will Goblins gain Improvised Fighting abilities? Who knows, but I can't wait to find out.
As a DM, you've already taken the first step by identifying what kind of players you have and what their weaknesses and strengths are in combat. At least a solution that hasn't been suggested yet is to put a physical display on the back of your DM screen (if you use one) or a stand-up whiteboard that shows turn order for everyone. Sometimes even with a timer you have players get distracted and not always know when their turn is up.
If after all these solutions you are still stuck with long combats, sit down and talk to your players about it. If it's specific players, talk to them separately and look for what can help them make faster combat decisions or ask what troubles they have in combat regarding decisions. If you can accommodate those players then your one step closer to breezing through combat encounters!
At first I felt the same way, but I kept seeing new players becoming disillusioned and eventually wanting to switch to another class when playing sorcerer. I look to what classes to introduce not just by how easy a class is to understand and play but also enjoyment. When I talked to these players universally they switched because they felt like a one-trick pony, and were getting bored with having limited choices for spell casting.
That's primarily why I like Wizards for new players. It may be book-keeping, but it also allows a player to try sub-optimal or intriguing spells because they wont feel as worried about their characters effectiveness in the long run. They also don't have to worry about bloodline powers and feats, which bloodline spells look cool and what 1-2 spells they want to cast all the time. They grab a book, pick what looks cool and if need be can switch or spend some gold to try out a new spell, which sorcerers can't really do. Overall I've found more success for new players personally in that regard, though every table is different.
If I were to stick with Core for a new player, any of the full martials except for Monk, and Wizard. Wizard is surprisingly light on what they get per level, after the first level decisions most of it is spells and an extra feat sporadically. You can help a player with those first level decisions and have them take a full caster for a whirl!
Looks to be the Divine Bond special ability for Paladins, except it comes earlier at 3rd level rather then 5th, and also can be used with your shield rather then a weapon or a holy steed. Mechanically it looks like Paladin's are getting a lot of their offensive power earlier (Reactive striking and earlier Divine Bond/Righteous Ally + Multiple Righteous Allies) then before.
It also looks like being a supportive Paladin will now require Feat investment, since mercies are now tied with the Paladin's class feats instead of their level. Finally Paladin's seem reaction heavy, since Divine Grace is now a reaction instead of a flat bonus to your saves. Not sure if I care for that or not.
Dread Moores wrote:
More of the lack of expectation. It's true that this was not clarified very well. It's less to do with a one-to-one comparison of video games and tabletop RPG's and instead an observation that players tend to have no issue with how the character they play in the game acts towards others or the world, so long as they go in knowing they have no say in the alignment or role of the character in the game. When given choice, however, that dynamic changes. Again, less of a in-depth discussion point and more of a humorous observation of how we approach gaming as a community.
To piggyback on HWalsh's post, and to restate my previous posts, this thread is more of a microcosm of the discussion between two ideological differences in game design and player choice rather than the Paladin itself.
One side wishes to diversify and remove aspects of established ruleset's to make way for these changes. No Alignments, All Alignments for All classes, removal of Paladin in place of Templar/Paragon, Clerics should be caster and martial, Monks should be all martial artists and all alignments, Barbarians all alignments and wear heavy armor, etc. The strengths to this approach is that individuals can feel liberated with the plethora of choices and utilize these templates to create something of their own making, and if the templates that are created are of a depth and nuance that the system can accommodate for someone's imagination, that system would be fantastic.
By comparison, you also have individuals who have a tendency to follow structured gameplay and established archetypes. Paladin's are Paladin's, Alignments are an established mechanic of the games, Barbarians are all chaotic, etc. The primary weakness to this is that you establish what something is, and that is all it is going to be. For players, this can sometimes give the feeling that their isn't enough freedom or player agenda for an individual to work with, and if done improperly can lead to stagnation and a limit on player choice. That can and has been a legitimate concern for games and game design.
But the key weakness for choice-heavy game design is that in an effort to diversify something specific, or to give as many options as possible, you broaden it out so thinly that it has no meaning. I feel that this weakness is far worse then for the latter perspective.
Language is important. Identity is important. People identify with something based upon a word or signifiers because that is how we associate words with the objects they represent. And diversifying something so it can be what you want it to be defeats the purpose of defining it. Establishing rules for a class, what it means in the world and what they do is instrumental to crafting stories and helping players understand what they are playing. If I tell the players that they need to find a Monk, I'm fairly certain that having a defined role and identifiers can help the party track a Monk, as opposed to finding a Martial Artist with the LN Template Monk. I am also fairly certain that Paladin is far easier to track then Templar with the LG template of Paladin.
Finally (since this could go on for eons) I find it odd that people treat alignment restrictions so unfairly in Roleplaying games, but don't really question or have a problem with it when playing a game as the heroes in a video game. Just an observation.
In part I feel that the critique of Paladin's has been lost in this thread and is instead morphed into a critique of class and alignment roles. If I could be frank, I feel those in the camp of "less binary, more choice" regarding alignment or class restrictions don't particularly want this play style of game, and would rather see every class be custom built by the players. It's a fantastic goal, and plenty of games (Valor, Mutants and Masterminds to name a few) have this system with those player sets in mind.
Frankly if we are going to be so brutal on the Paladin, and ask that all alignments are considered or have it be removed, we might as well strike the Barbarian, Druid and Monk out of core and do the same with them, with all 9 alignments explored and each one given a different name for their alignments and play styles. Of course that would be silly, but that's the point. These classes are beyond binary, but they also don't need to be changed or lose their base identities for faux "diversity". Really it comes down to this; Do you want a game with solid, pre-defined class roles or a custom class builder? I think that's the question more people are discussing right now.
Wanted to reply to this while rummaging through the thread looking at the responses because this one stuck out, alongside your other responses, and I think is a good springboard for discussing Paladin's and alignment and if nothing else bring a perspective from someone who is firmly in LG only Paladins, but not due to upholding antiquity but rather mythology and language.
First, Gygax may have coined the Roleplaying iteration of the Paladin, but he didn't deviate too far from what we understand Paladins to represent from historical mythology. They are knights beyond merely good, but legendary in honor, altruism and goodness. They follow a code of conduct that demands great personal sacrifice and self-control to uphold. Through Charlemagne or King Arthurs Court, these figures are the basis and pinnacle of the class. After-all, they are based heavily on the Twelve Apostles of Christ, it's why the Round and Court have Twelve central figures and one betrayer (The first Anti-Paladins). They are not normal knights, and quite frankly they shouldn't be.
This is why many players find the Paladin so vexing. I have many players that do not care for the alignment restriction either because they want to play the Paladin in a manner they see fit, CN, NG or LE. They also want to play the chassis of the class without the alignment or codes that come with the traditional Paladin. Thing is, that's the point. And as an illustrator of that point, we go to the Anti-Paladin.
Anti-Paladins have the chassis of a Paladin, and are not Lawful Good. Yet I also find that no one talks about any sort of restriction on the Anti-Paladin, when they are just as restrictive. If you complete any good act, you lose all your powers. You have to be the CE alignment, and no other alignment can be chosen as an Anti-Paladin. They are anathema to the Paladin, yet are just as restricted as they are both in play-style and lack of alignment choice. This (and this is where I will put emphasis) is because both of these classes require commitment.
Just like the historical Paladins, legendary figures of goodness, playing a Paladin isn't a players opportunity to enjoy the play-style with none of the consequences. Paladins are a commitment because they have always been a commitment. Paladins are alignment restricted because they are the paragons of someone who strives to uphold law and goodness and the paragons of nothing else, and have been since their inception. By comparison, "Wizard" is a role. "Fighter" is a role. "Rogue" is a role. "Paladin" is a title earned at a great cost, and I think that is where the hang-up and subsequent pushback to the class is.
Of course my perspective comes from literature, mythology and language, but if nothing else I hope it can shed some light on that perspective. I also hope that this can also be useful in articulating why Druids are bound to being neutral, why Barbarians are Non-Lawful and why Monks are Lawful. Because much like a Paladin, when you choose those classes you have to make a commitment. Just got to ask yourself if your willing to take it.
To give positive feedback first, I am glad to see an emphasis not only on the codes of conduct, but also a tier of conduct which players may not recognize at first glance when playing a Paladin. That it happens to fall in line with my own perspective helps as well (That being good triumphs Law, if but for a moment, if Law would prevent saving the innocent or to accomplish good, but only in the right circumstances). Mechanically I'll be quite happy to test out the Paladin during the playtest, but will add my voice to what I don't think is necessary for the Paladin; Non-Lawful Good Paladins.
To be honest, I don't consider a Paladin a Paladin unless they are Lawful Good. You can still play with the idea of Lawful Good without diving into the LN or Non-Lawful Spectrum, as I feel this diminishes what makes a Paladin stand above other classes. A Paladin tasks the player not just in game but out of it to uphold a LG class and character without the ability to shirk that to play what amounts to a Warpriest or Anti-Paladin. I would also hesitate to expand too far with the available deities for Paladins, and believe that Paladins should, at their core, only follow LG deities. Granted by reading the post I can clearly see that a lot of thought and cautious exploration was placed on what constitutes a Paladin and what does not, and I applaud that. This is simply where I feel that this exploration should be praised and where it should be re-examined.
I decided to add the revised Monk scores and the Kineticist. For those who are keeping track, here are the remaining classes that need an archetype guide.
Second, I so far have 12 people that have requested access to the document and can comment on it. If I am just missing something and people wanted editing rights, then that is my bad, but I have not seen any comments on the document. Really just checking in to see what was going on.
Thirdly, once again thank you everyone for contributing! I am slowly working through the document, and I may delete some of the bloat for some of the archetypes, and also try to get the format consistent for all archetypes. I also saw the discussion for a Hall of Fame/Shame. Interesting, but I think that would almost be a different thread and purpose. Just my two cents though.
When rating a class from +2 to -2, this is based on the base class, not in comparison to different classes. So for the monk discussion, you are basing the rating on what is exchanged from the base monk to the archetype, and going from there. In other words, we should not compare the monks power and his archetypes with another classes as a way to gauge power.
For examples; Zen Archer. We can all agree that it adds a fair degree of power to the Monk class in comparison to the base monk abilities. We then look at whether the Monk also gains more or less versatility for that power.
As for the "+3/+3" arguments in regards to Mutation Warrior, Razmirian, Pre-Nerf Scarred, etc, I'll simply put the description I put down for Razmirian Priest, and leave it at that
(Note: One of the few Archetypes that must be discussed beyond the original post. This Archetype is considered worthy of going beyond the scale given in this document of +2/+2. However in keeping this in line with every other rating, the max score for this archetype will stay at the current max, even if it could be higher. If you are a DM, we encourage you to look at this archetype, and determine if it fits at your table or not.)
If there is an argument for putting Mutation or Scarred or Zen as a part of this category, then send me a message and present the evidence to do so. I'll post it anonymously as a post on this thread, and we can discuss it. If it is deemed that powerful, I will add the paragraph above in the archetype description.