Kaerishiel Neirenar

Laithoron's page

Goblin Squad Member. Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber. 3,606 posts (12,326 including aliases). 4 reviews. 14 lists. No wishlists. 111 aliases.

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After some character generation and leveling exercises Monday and tonight, my group identified what we feel would be a HUGE time-saver when it comes to creating and leveling characters. It would also make UTEML a lot more intuitive.

Here's a visual example of what we're proposing:
Preview Image


  1. First, make the Training Modifier for Untrained equal "0".
    Reasoning: If you are Untrained in a skill, then that means you have *zero* investment in it. If the modifier for Untrained becomes "0" instead of "-2", then not only is that more intuitive, but a lot of fill-ins and potential mistakes have been instantly eliminated.
  2. Second, move the TEML labels into the circles and place the modifiers above them.
    Reasoning: We can now see the Training Modifier and know to add it. But what about the Proficiency Modifier box you ask?
  3. Third, relabel the Proficiency field as "Level".
    Reasoning: Now that the Training Modifier is visible, calculating the Proficiency Mod is no longer a necessary step.
  4. Lastly, it's usually pretty easy to remember what character level you are without having to rewrite it 30 times. What if we wrote the word "Level" in light-grey text inside our new Level field?
    Reasoning: Players who don't get the hint could still write their level in this box, but for the rest of us, it would save 30 erasures per level-up!

With these changes, we would go from this:

  • Erase Proficiency Modifiers 30x
  • Erase Skill/Attack/Whatever™ Modifiers 30x
  • Recalculate & rewrite Proficiency Modifiers 30x
  • Recalculate & rewrite Skill/Attack/Whatever™ Modifiers 30x

To this:

  • Erase Skill/Attack/Whatever™ Modifiers 30x
  • Recalculate & rewrite Skill/Attack/Whatever™ Modifiers 30x

That's a pretty significant savings in both time and erasers. Also, by eliminating fully half of the calculation steps, we've eliminated dozens of potential opportunities for mistakes and typos.

Furthermore, at those special times where we actually get to increase our level of training, it will be a lot easier to appreciate the change since we would no longer be rewriting a Proficiency Mod on that line the same as every other as we presently do. :)

Restating from the preview, here's what this formatting change would look like for the Acrobatics Skill: PNG Image

Even if Paizo doesn't want to tweak the math slightly by making Untrained "0" and bumping the others up by +2 each, the other suggestions can still be implemented without the use of houserules — they are merely formatting changes, after all, and wouldn't modify the rules or math one bit! In that event, we'd simply add a "U bubble" for Untrained and put "-2" above it. :)

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Just ran my group thru Session 0 last night (link), and our Rogue was very nearly brought to tears as well. It took them 4 hours to finish creating their character, and a good 2-3 hours for everyone else.

Mind you, the biggest issue we ran into was ability score generation. That ground everything to such a halt and was so incomprehensible that I'm flat-out shocked that your group enjoyed it! O_o;

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No, not in the book as we're not going to need it years down the road, and that page space could be better used elsewhere.

However, a PDF detailing just this would be a nice idea, and mention of it in the book's Forward would take no more than about 1-inch of column space.

For example: "Returning Players: For an overview of what's new since 1st edition, please check paizo.com/2ndedition. There you'll find a list of changes, as well as a conversion guide for existing games and legacy material."

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Add me to the list of people who are really upset to see that casters *still* have to prepare a single spell multiple times if they want to cast it more than once. I'm definitely one of those GMs who houserules that away at the very get go, and that was *before* P2 placed such drastic constraints on how many spells we get at each level!

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Phantasmist wrote:
the majority of ancestry feats should be upfront at level 1 instead of spread out over 20 levels, I like to think we all deep down inside know this, but for some reason the folks making the game had a moment and simply forgot that it would be sensible to do so.

Agreed, while I *like* that it makes alternate racial traits much more intuitive to implement than P1's method of swapping things in and out, it would be nice to have better continuity with accepted lore for such traditional fantasy mainstays like elves and dwarves. The only way to do this as the ancestry feats are written would necessitate allowing multiple picks at 1st level.

For instance, when I look at the elf, it feels like Keen Hearing is of similar flavor to Keen Senses, Unwavering Mien to the sleep portion of Elven Immunities, Forlorn to the enchantment portion of Elven Immunities, Otherworldly Magic to Elven Magic, and Weapon Familiarity to the 1E trait of the same name.

As another example, half-orcs having the option to suddenly develop the ability to see-in-the-dark at 5th level just feels... bizarre. To me, this strengthens my feeling that characters should have access to more than 1 ancestry feat at first level, and perhaps that some feats should only be available at 1st level (much like heritage feats).

Now I realize that many of the 2E versions seem to be more powerful than their 1E counterparts, but it still feels like it dilutes the uniqueness of each ancestry too much having to select only a single one of those instead of a suite. Were these the final rules rather than a playtest, I would probably houserule that players could select 3 or 4 at first level.

That said, it makes me wonder if the current approach is Paizo's answer to allowing GMs some authority over the basic power level of their game.

How so?

Well remember in 3.5 and P1 how the method of setting the game's power level revolved around how big of a point-buy players were allowed? What if the small number of Ancestry and Class feats granted at first level is actually the equivalent mechanism for P2?

For instance, instead of screwing up the underlying math that balances everything the way a 25 or higher point buy often did, perhaps the designers intend for the number of feat selections allowed at first level to govern this.


  • Low Fantasy = 1 Ancestry Feat & 1 Class Feat @ 1st
  • High Fantasy = 2 Ancestry, 2 Class @ 1st
  • Epic Fantasy = 3 Ancestry, 3 Class @ 1st
  • Superheroes = 4 Ancestry, 4 Class @ 1st level

Near as I can tell, this wouldn't throw as much of a wrench into the inner-workings of the math the same as elevated ability modifiers. Instead, it would simply increase the complexity of the game since GMs and players would have to manage characters with more tools at their disposal.

IMO, this might be a viable way of letting some groups enjoy a simpler, more 5E-like experience, while letting others enjoy the "fantasy superhero" experience we've become accustomed to in P1... All without making the stats of NPCs and monsters in APs and Bestiaries as meaningless as they've often felt [to me] when using 25+ point buy PCs in a published adventure.


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McMaverick wrote:
By including this subsection in such an early chapter of the rulebook, all players who create a human are asked to at least consider, if not choose, their character's ethnicity during character creation. At least to me, this tactic seems counterintuitive to the stated goal of this new edition: "to make the game easier to learn and simpler to play, while maintaining the depth of character and adventure options that has always defined Pathfinder."

Agree 100%!

My understanding of the renaming of races to ancestries and the overall character creation process was that it should mirror the start of the alphabet like so:


To me, ethnicities would fall more naturally into Details. It would also help because I'm certain that in a world with many races that there are ethnic groups comprised of people of different species, etc. It would also fit well with the half-human concepts of children that are raised in a society that isn't the same as one of their parents, or for orphans/adopted children.

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Appreciate the effort, but why didn't you rotate it into landscape first before doing all that work? :o

If it helps for a subsequent revision, I performed the rotation of the original sheet in Acrobat Pro and removed the parchment background to save ink & toner:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/t4c6ps5nskuj278/Character%20Sheet%2C%20Paper.pdf? dl=0

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John Lynch 106 wrote:
OntosChalmer (and everyone else who wants 3.x multiclassing): Can you demonstrate what character you can't recreate with the current VMC-esque multiclassing?

OK, this is gonna be it I think. While it gives me a warm feeling recollecting all of this, it takes forever to recap! Hopefully these two examples help to illustrate where some of us are coming from. :)

Alis Kirmoon
Female Half-Elf
Cleric 1, Rogue 1, Sorcerer 1, Monk 5, Bard 9
Setting: Homebrew

Been playing Alis in different incarnations for about 25 years. Some early ones (D&D 2E) were straight bard, others were Gestalts. However, the one that rings the truest to my vision for her is as follows...

Twin sisters of elven and human royalty, Alis and Alexis were often mistaken as identical twins. However, where Alexis was ever the diligent and serious student of the arcane, Alis was more inclined towards curiosity and seeing what made people tick.

Initially, her parents thought to have her schooled in the wizardly arts alongside Alexis, but it soon became apparent that he magical talents were essentially improvised (sorcerer 1).

While the sisters' parents were across the Boundless Ocean establishing a new colony where even half-breeds like their daughters might know acceptance, they were left in the case of their elven uncle, a closet bigot and a secret invoker of diabolic arts. While the uncle deemed Alexis might make a compliant puppet someday, Alis' force of personality and meddling nature made her a liability. He sent her away to a temple for the controversial goddess of passion (think Calistria) in the hopes of making her into a useful bride for a political marriage that might remove a wrench from his machinations.

While Alis did learn a great many skills at the temple, she was resentful of the order that was foisted upon her and constantly found ways to follow her own path (rogue 1). Even still, by the time her parents returned and she was reclaimed by her mortified father, she had at least managed to retain a good measure of the priestess' ways, including their self-defense teachings (cleric 1, monk 1).

While her father was well-meaning in his indignation towards Alis' evil uncle. The shame she felt over his reaction to what she had been taught stayed with Alis for many years, and she kept such talents secret even from Alexis.

With only questionable skill in magic, the girls' mother suggested Alis focus instead on other talents. She was perceptive (particularly where people's emotions were concerned), athletic, and had a lovely singing voice. The path of a diplomat, or a role in the opera, were both plausible (bard 1).

[Note: That we used a form of multiclass casting (possibly from 3.5 Arcana Unearthed) that allowed her bard levels to improve her Sorcerer casting.]

It was no long after that tragedy struck. The girls' parents were seemingly lost at sea, and their uncle made his play to usurp their birthright. He staged a kidnapping to get Alis out of the way while receiving financial enrichment from a powerful crime lord who fancied a royal concubine. Thankfully, the unarmed training she had received years before now served Alis well. She fought her way to freedom in a foreign port (monk 2) only to end up press-ganged onto a pirate ship!

For some time, she was forced to keep her heritage secret as she built up alliances and esteem amongst her crew mates (bard 3), until she finally led a successful mutiny to seize command as Captain Wardove. With the help of her crew and allies sent by Alexis to search for her, Alis and company severely disrupted pirate operations in the area, acting as self-appointed privateers. They ultimately foiled not only her uncle's diabolic plans, but also the ambitions of the crime lord to which she had originally been promised. (bard 5)

Upon her return to civilization, the sisters organized a mission across the ocean to look for their parents. In the process, they uncovered many strange truths about the nature of their world, of magic, and of the gods themselves. (bard 7)

While the sisters' mission proved successful, upon their return home, they found their kingdom in ruins. A great red wyrm had laid waste to the elven capital, the king was dead, and their royal elven cousins were doing their best to hold the country together against diabolic forces their uncle had set in motion year before in his own bid to seize the crown. Fixing that took some work, but at least there was a time of peace afterwards. (bard 9)

Years later, a crisis developed in a state under the elven kingdom's protection. During civil unrest, the elven governor was brutally assassinated, and it seemed that civil war could erupt there at any time. Known by now for her competence, Alis was dispatched, yet echoes of her late uncle's allies were afoot. She and her retinue were forced to travel by circuitous means to avoid detection, only to be shipwrecked without supplies or gear on a lost island with an occult legacy. Once again, she had to rely upon her priestly training to persevere (monk 4).

Following their escape from the island, one of Alis' closest friends was able to help heal her heart over the shame of her religious training. She began to embrace it, and trained daily with her priestesses from the temple in the protectorate city that now served as the seat of her governorship. (monk 5) In fact, as the true demonic source of the unrest civil made itself manifest, she and her companions were even ordained by the goddess of passion herself to serve as her chosen in the coming battle for the fate of the world! (mythic dual-path archmage/trickster 1)

Aaand that brings us to the present!

(Oh, and yes... for those who are observant, the character I posted earlier, Sindariel, is Alis' spymaster.)

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Secret Wizard wrote:
If you still want to do it, houserule it away. But no reason why new adopters should be burdened with the extra pages to describe a very subpar mechanic that will cripple their characters unless they have a way to exploit the class budgets.

Well that comes across as a very rude and condescending suggestion. We're here trying to help make the next edition the best it can be and you just want to shut discussion down by being dismissive and telling people to houserule?

To be clear, for some of us, the single most important gateway for an RPG is whether or not it allows us to accurately represent the character we have in mind. If it can't do that, then it won't matter whether or not the combat mechanics are perfect or the magical system sublime.

In my case, the whole reason I stuck with Paizo instead of switching to 4E way-back-when, and why I chafe at having to roll-up a 5E character is because their character creation options sacrifice too much of the story aspects of a character in favor of the game aspects. That's all well and good for people who like that, but people have a pretty big range of reasons for wanting to play RPGs (rather than write novels), and the story vs game spectrum has players and GMs all over it.

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Errant: Ah ok, thanks for the clarification!

John Lynch 106 wrote:
OntosChalmer (and everyone else who wants 3.x multiclassing): Can you demonstrate what character you can't recreate with the current VMC-esque multiclassing?

Quite a time-consuming request, but fair I suppose. Not sure if I have time to write-up more than 1 or 2 of these though...

Sindariel Lammontari
Female Wood Elf
Unchained Rogue 3, Occultist (Secret Broker) 10
Setting: Waterdeep, Forgotten Realms
Full Pre-Game Backstory: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8gzjfq2w8sg0sv2/Background%20-%20GM%20only.docx?d l=0

Synopsis: Young elf girl from a noble wood elf family is intelligent and good at lots of things but has no real passions. She's not good with animals, has little interest in woodsy pursuits, but likes high fashion and is intrigued by arcane magic. Since wood elves disdain the arcane, they try hard to dissuade her. (rogue 1, lots of physical skills)

Ultimately, father decides maybe immersing daughter dearest in city-life will break her fascination. She's enrolled at the arcane university "Lady's College" in Silverymoon, where she soon discovered she doesn't have the same knacks as everyone else and becomes discouraged. (secret broker occultist 1)

When the Time of Troubles hits and magic goes wonky, she began to better appreciate her own unique abilities, and takes a position as a clerk at the school so she has better access to secrets and relics. (secret broker occultist 2, and lots of background skills)

After some traumatic family events wherein she gets disowned, she makes her way to Waterdeep and tries to make a living for herself as a government clerk, often aiding as a police sketch artist for the guard. In her free time, she frequents "The Drag 'n Queen Tavern" where she befriends many of the drag queen performers and loves that she has an audience for her fashion creations. It's also comforting being around others who value the ability to keep secrets. (secret broker occultist 3, adds a couple more skills)

Self-confidence and ambition growing, she befriends a scribe from work (inquisitor) and one of the minstrels from the tavern (bard). Since there are lots of odd jobs around Waterdeep, and city rent is expensive, they decide to team up as a party to sleuth out secrets, solve mysteries, etc. When they realize that they all perform different instruments, it occurs to them that being a band would be a great cover for their activities. (secret broker 4)

Over the course of their adventures, the unlikely composition of their small team means that each member has to fulfill some of the roles of a more standard party composition. For her part, Sin still has a knack for getting into places where she ought not to from her adolescence. (unchained rogue 2)

From there out, Sindariel does about 1 rogue level for every 3 occultist levels. In time, after each has gone their separate way, she finds herself in an elven colony far from Waterdeep where she sets up shop as a fashion designer while secretly serving as spymaster to the colony's governor.

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Colette Brunel wrote:
The distributions are totally arbitrary anyway, leading to weird situations like fabulous bards being unable to clean their clothing with Prestidigitation, or druids being unable to get minor nature spirits to lift an object while clerics handle the job just fine.

I actually visited the boards for the first time in ages to say just this. How is it that my elegant bard can't touch-up her make-up or clear away the mud from her suede boots using Tidy? Cleaning up was one of the main reasons I always gave this spell to my bards!

As if that isn't bad enough, then we add insult to injury by allowing those dirty hippy druids to use Tidy? Ya know there's a reason they don't teach anyone else their language and it's because there are no words for hygiene; it's embarrassing.

And my poor cleric friends. Their deities want nice shiny tabernacles and spotless altars, but do they even think to help those who are helping them? Maybe give a priest some more mystical elbow grease to tidy up after a messy sacrifice? You know, the one where they got you-know-what in their eye... What a sadistic bunch of hopped-up outsiders those deities are!


*knocks over all the tables (every last one) on the way out

Let the wizard clean it up!

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Right now, out of all the rules I've seen, my biggest apprehension is multiclassing. I tend to multiclass... a LOT, but the current archetype-based multiclassing rules just leave me scratching my head.

For example, how am I supposed to multiclass a character with a bard or monk? How can I start with 1 or 2 levels in Rogue before fully switching to Cleric or Monk for that character's remaining progression? Mind you, I'm not just pulling hypotheticals out of thin air; these are all examples from characters I played in 3.5 & P1. I'm genuinely confused as to how I'd recreate them via the P2 rules.

To be clear, I'm happy for those for whom the archetype rules will work well. Having multiclass spellcasters who aren't left behind is a worthy goal! Yet given the dichotomy of people's responses, I'm clearly not the only one needing more robust options.

What we've been given for multiclassing so far reminds me of the difference between how we might quickly apply a monster template vs. having the tools and info needed to perform a rebuild. I wouldn't begrudge someone being happy with the quick n' easy method, but that's no reason to discount those of us hoping for a more organic approach.

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One thing I'm wondering is... Why was Summon Monster the preselected spell for the Polymath muse? It seems to me that Charm compliments the theme of Versatile Performance much more closely.

The only thing I can think of as to why monster summoning would be relevant to using one's skill at performance to influence others would be if we're going for some sort of Disney-princess-who-sings-to-animals shtick. :-\

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I've gotten 4 of the same from that same account. Perhaps we should have a "report" option on the private messaging screens.

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Pan wrote:
Can someone TL;DR that?

Scroll down 2 posts and read Rynjin's.

At any rate, sounds mostly like the OP is having issues with the GM and other players not having similarly calibrated expectations. Given a few of the examples, it sounds like the OP wants more immersive RP while the others may prefer a more videogame-like experience.

As for optimization, that's going to happen no matter what the system, although the extent of power differential between un/optimized PCs is dependent upon the system itself.

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Didn't see any other posts mentioning this article, so I figured I'd share. Certainly a much more positive spin than the last one I read (which seemed focused recounting the old demon-worship hysteria more than anything else).


40 years later, 'Dungeons & Dragons' still inspiring gamers

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90. Zuzu's petals.
91. A dwarf with a sense of humor hands their much taller elven friend a drink that is far more potent than expected. Throat and mouth aflame, the elf spews a fine mist of dwarven whiskey into the eyes of someone passing by. Hilarity ensues...
92. After things settle down, the dwarf is helping the woozy elf back to their room when someone just coming downstairs remarks, "Hey, you know that's an elf and not a woman, right?" Thus beginneth round 2.
93. It's karaoke night, and your friend is up after the next singer... who has just started singing the Weird Al version of the song they'd picked.
94. A high roller strolls in buying rounds for everyone and boasting of their good fortune. As they sit and gamble with their new-found buddies, someone notices that his coins are fake.

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Assuming that they aren't purposefully causing problems, then yes the goal should be for everyone to have an enjoyable time, yourself included.

carmachu wrote:
They need Mentor or DMPC to help them make decisions.

A lot of folks on these boards frequently cry foul over such characters, but in this case, the players are so new that they probably could use a persistent in-game point-of-contact with some semblance of a clue. Here's my thoughts on how you could pull this off...

Right now you have 3 plot hooks: princess, genie, and dragon. Perhaps the princess has already escaped (thanks to Sir Gallant the Decisive), but she's now alone in the wilderness after her savior ran afoul of a poisoned arrow. As luck has it, the princess spots the PCs' campfire at the crossroads at about the same time the enemy's scouts are catching up on her...

You have now brought the action TO the party, and it's in the form of an immediate scenario with an obvious course of action — save the lone girl from the guys in evil-looking armor. (And if that doesn't work, then have the baddies shout out that they must leave no witnesses alive and concentrate on the PCs.)

At this point, you now have someone with the party who can offer in-world lore via knowledge checks or better yet who can ask party members for input by triggering their various skills. "Sir Ranger, what chance do we have of losing our pursuit in the dark forest?" "Brother Cleric, is there any chance Sir Gallant could survive that poison if we go back for him?" etc. (In fact, when the whole party is stumped, you can simply call for everyone to make their best knowledge checks and then volunteer info their characters might think to act upon.)

From here, you can have the princess solicit the party as her advisors with her ultimately breaking any ties that might come up. Perhaps that means going back for the knight, perhaps heading straight back to inform the king of a genie that might avail them against the dragon. The NPC can help to break-the-ice on the roleplaying front too, and might choose to advance in level according to the suggestions of party members she grows to trust. "How would you suggest I learn to protect myself?"

Mind you, this will work better if you can get the PCs to care about the princess rather than seeing her as a nuisance. You'll want to use her to shine the spotlight on others and bring out their strengths rather than casting her as the lead character. Remember, the quest-giver and patron may have the purse-strings, but they need the heroes to accomplish their goals, not the other way around.

Anyway, let us know what you decide and how it pans out. Good luck!

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GreyWolfLord: If only there was some way your poor, disenfranchised players could stand up for themselves. Yet alas, one would actually have to be LINKED to this thread in order to read for themselves. Clearly that is too heavy a burden for you to lay upon their sagging shoulders when you can simply tell them what you think others are saying.

So brave, so selfless...

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Are those of you having issues making certain to pre-fold the front and back covers along the creases near the spine before you start reading/using them? If not, I'd advise starting to do so as this dramatically reduces the strain on the spine. During the time I've been doing so, I have yet to lose a single page out of several dozen modules and AP issues.

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EntrerisShadow wrote:
Not really player-specific, but here's one for when you waste half a session on shopping.

Waste?! Man, in my games the declaration of Intent to Shop™ immediately puts the game at Defcon 1. APL+3 encounters are frequently less deadly!

EDIT: This about sums up the gravitas of these scenarios.

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Shadowborn wrote:
Now if, rather than calling me "DM" or "GM," a player insisted on calling me the "monster generator," then we might have a problem.

What if they skip straight to shooting the food?

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Naruto Uzumaki wrote:

Great, that druid guy told the gm about the thread and he just called me, i got kicked from the group.

Seriously, he better not show up on school tomorrow. Im totally pissed now.

Guess you better hope the cops don't think to check your browser history after they get called for you beating someone up after school. Oh that's right, the other players can fill them in since they've all read this thread.

Sure is a shame that you can't hide behind an anonymous Internet avatar in RealLife™. I've read news articles about schools taking disciplinary action towards students for even the appearance of cyber-bullying. Might not be a bad idea to rethink your vendetta before it causes you 10× the pain you hope to inflict.

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Manimal wrote:
But why can't "toon" be part of the appropriate terminology? Why "murderhobo," but not "toon"?
Dr Deth wrote:
I don;t accept "murderhobo" either...

In addition to Dr Deth's reasons, I'd also point out that "murderhobo" is frequently used either as a joke or a derision of how someone else plays their character. Unless it's a comical or satirical campaign, most folks wouldn't refer to their own characters as murderhobos, and probably wouldn't appreciate other people making that implication either.

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Back when I was in high school, I'd have been hard-pressed to keep some of my more... "protective" friends from ambushing someone like the OP after school. Of course, people didn't call cops and lawyers when a couple of teens got in a fist fight back then either...

Kinda hoping the druid reads this thread again, sees the OP boasting about the GM not doing anything, and then points this whole thread out to the GM and the entire party. Be fitting if such a mean-spirited person ended up with no one to play with but themselves. Hard lessons are often the best teachers.

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Manimal wrote:
Think about it—the only difference between a PC and a "toon" [...] is that one is computer animated, the other is not.

Actually, that assessment would be ignoring the tendency for many MMO players to treat their toon as an avatar of themselves rather than how many tabletop players tend to treat their PC as a separate personality from their own. It's for that reason that I find "toon" objectionable and view it as a red flag.

Thankfully I've only had 1 friend who used the term (in regards to their PC), but they did indeed tend to roleplay their PCs' personalities much less fully than my non-MMO-playing friends.

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Snorri Nosebiter wrote:
people who claim reverse isms don't exist annoy me almost as much as those that claim male rape victims don't exist.

Your annoyance might be lessened if you understood why reverse discrimination and reverse racism are not the same thing, and why one of those can exist without the other. Hint: It boils down to where economic and legal power have been traditionally, and overwhelmingly consolidated.

See also: Glass Ceiling, Good Ol' Boys Club, Marriage Equality, Women's Sufferage, etc.

In essence, while it's totally possible for minorities to discriminate against members of a majority, in terms of a useful academic definition, that discrimination does not become an -ism until it is institutionalized and backed by overwhelming power. A good example would be the current struggle for marriage equality for the LGBT community. A gay man might hypothetically discriminate against straight people, but in many areas of the USA, the law itself is aligned against the gay man enjoying the same rights as his straight counterpart. That's the "institutionalized" aspect that forms the academic distinction between what is and isn't an -ism.

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I would have no issue with the game being set at a particular "power level" and staying in that zone. From my understanding, that's sort of the premise behind the E6 rules, right?

That said, while I might be OK with remaining, say, level 6 for a prolonged period, I would still like to see character growth realized in respect to the game world somehow. Whether that be bonus feats, extra skill points, or Something Else™, the better part of most stories is the growth of the characters.

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For a new GM, I would recommend sticking with either stat arrays or a fairly standard point buy. If you want to err on the high side, 20 points for SAD classes (single attribute dependent) and 25 for MAD classes (multiple attribute dependent) generally work out to versatile, slightly powerful, and enjoyable PCs. I'd also recommend sticking with a published adventure like Crypt of the Everflame or some such.

The reason I suggest this (as opposed to anything goes) is you'll be able to spend more time focusing on how to run the game and tell the story rather than making more work for yourself bumping up the difficulty of each encounter. Furthermore, I'd also start the PCs at a fairly low level (i.e. 1st or 2nd) because it's easier to ramp-up your skills at dealing with versatile PCs if you're able to follow along as they improve over time.

As for the published adventure? Often times, if you can work thru the steps of how someone who is knowledgeable does something, you can pick up on their good habits and get a feel for why they have made the choices they have. In addition, with your players knowing you are running published material, that will give you some backup on them understanding that you aren't just making stuff up to grief them. You also won't feel as much temptation to keep a Cool Bad Guy™ that you created alive. (Yes, learning that the GM must "lose" most every fight for the PCs' story to continue is part of the learning process.) Oh, and don't worry, there will still be plenty of opportunities to learn how to improvise encounters that aren't in-the-book. ;)

Once your experience as a GM has grown and you have the basics down pat (i.e. combat runs smoothly, you're able to improvise encounters, there's no players-vs-GM attitudes festering), then that would be a good time to branch out. At that point, you might try creating your own adventure, allowing them to redo their point buys with a larger pool, etc.

This is the same approach that I took when one of my own players decided to try his hand at GMing and it worked pretty well.

As for when rules disagreements come up? Common cases for us were when someone would try to use a combat maneuver or skill that the new GM didn't yet know how to adjudicate. While many groups will simply use "GM fiat" and then look it up later, we took the tack of saying, "Well it's a learning experience right? Let's learn!" So we'd pause the game for a bit, look-it-up, and ensure everyone understood how that action would be adjudicated. If that meant a "good plan" suddenly had a giant, gaping pitfall revealed it it then no biggie — with everyone fully informed we'd just let them reconsider and declare a new action.

The important thing is for both the players and GM to know that the others are acting in good faith.

Anyway, just my 2¢...

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Agreed, Billy Goat, I was simply responding to the OP before diving into the rest of the thread. Anyway, the reason I prefer using a d% and a regular d10 and adding them is there are fewer WTF moments. When you roll the d%, you always know that your result is at least that amount and you don't suddenly have an expected low-roll turning into a chart-topper.

Additionally, when it comes to the practical applications of d100 rolls (chiefly treasure tables and miss chances), I find it more expedient.

Example: Miss Chance wrote:

Scenario: We need to roll a 20% miss chance.


  • The d100 dice are composed of a d% (00-90) and a standard d10 (1-10).
  • The GM and group have decided that the results of the two dice will be added at face value: a d% of 00 = 0, a d10 result of 10 = 10.
  • This is Pathfinder, so high rolls lead to successes, low rolls to failures.
  • This is Pathfinder, so when resolving directly-targeted attacks it is the attacker who rolls to beat a set defensive value (as compared to systems or exceptions where defenders make rolls to dodge or parry)). This means that the attacker should roll the miss chance, and they should endeavor to roll high.

    So, with a miss chance of 20%, the player goes to roll d100 using their two dice and the GM knows that they only need to look at the result of the d%.


    Because the minimal result on the d10 is a 1 and not a 0. Thus the minimal d100 sum for a d% result of 20 is 21 which beats the target value of 20. Likewise, a d% result of 00 or 10 is always a failure because the maximal result of the d10 cannot result in a sum that beats that target value.

  • Similarly, with treasure tables, I can tell just by the d% whether I should be looking at the start or end of the table rather than potentially having to skip between the start or end.

    Long story short, I find adding at face value faster and more consistent because the d% always indicates a contiguous range rather than having conditional values associated with it (as per the example of the Ace card).

    IMO consistency and expediency are the deciding factors when it comes to keeping the game humming along.

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    LazarX wrote:
    Yes, virginia, there are normal roleplayers. But a gaming messageboard is not a place to come find them.


    OP: Remember, most messageboard populations are composed of only a small and particularly... enthusiastic subset of any given fandom. Perhaps someone else has the relevant moderator posts fav'd, but I recall Paizo saying that forum participation only accounts for only a small percentage of their total fans/sales.

    In otherwords, judging all of a community by its most outspoken members may lead to disillusionment.

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    The chief consideration for the 3-people who are all in the same room is that they aren't going to want to hear each other thru the conference call, and each of their voices should be transmitted only once. Rather than using individual mics and headsets for each person, you'll be better served with a speaker and mic that does not pick up that speaker. At my workplace, we use Polycom conference call units for this purpose, but that's probably overkill here.

    Option 1: A more affordable solution would be something like one of these Logitech mobile speakerphones at each end. Dividing the price between several people would yield a cost comparable to each person buying a hard-cover rulebook.

    Option 2: You could probably find an even less-expensive solution if you simply look for omni-directional microphones with noise and echo cancellation, and then simply attach a pair of powered computer speakers to whomever's laptop is running Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever. With either of those solutions, just make certain people put something soft on the table so that the mic doesn't pick up the dice rolling too much.

    Option 3: Lastly, there's the more involved solution my GF and I use when we both play video games with mutual friends online. Each of us has our own mic, and we each listen to game sounds from our own speakers. However, we output the music and voice from only one computer's speakers. To facilitate this, I host a Murmur server, and all of us (GF, remote friends, myself), connect using our individual Mumble clients. Those who are in the same room as other people will each mute all sound output from their mumble client while leaving their input turned on. Then, whomever is playing back the Mumble output for their room will leave sound output on while manually muting everyone else in the same room as them. In this way, everyone in the same physical room can hear each other's live voices just fine without being repeated thru the speakers.

    Mind you, that final method will still require each person to have a good-quality mic that will not pick-up other people sitting near them. Additionally, each person will also need their own laptop to connect to voice-comm unless you use a mixing board... at which point you'll have been better off using option 2. The only time option 3 is the ideal solution is if there is a high amount of background noise such a video games, and/or you already own sufficient hardware. If you're doing this from scratch, keep the design simple and buy the least amount of tech necessary to do the job. For a tabletop game though, I'd go with option 1 or 2.

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    Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

    Rulebook: Advanced Excel Guide
    Adventure Path: Rise of the Slide Rules
    AP Volume: Bastards of Abacus
    Free Module: We Be Base Two

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    Oh man... I'm at once pained and relieved that I didn't see the Artisan Dice Kickstarter while it was still going. There's not a set of dice there that isn't gorgeous!

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    From what I've heard, foam gets pretty hot and it is also rather fragile. I myself used leather for my Skyrim Nightingale armor. It's not too heavy, and since the back is merely a couple of straps crossing from shoulder to opposite hip (something that's hidden by the cape), it's fairly well ventilated (important during August in Atlanta). While my example is clearly supposed to look like leather, I've seen more than a few folks at ren faires who have treated their leather so that it's appearance is virtually indistinguishable from metal — well, up until someone is invading your personal space anyway. ;)

    Have you tried checking Alley Cat Scratch and DeviantArt for tutorials? From my understanding polystyrene is what a lot of the Halo, Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Iron Man cosplays are made from. Come to think of it, you could probably take some color cues from characters in Dragon Age, and other fantasy genre games...

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    6) They had the courage to stick to their guns in the face of a market-leader pulling the rug out from under the entire industry (i.e. GSL vs OGL).

    7) Excellent customer service on orders. The few times I've had damaged shipments they've been replaced quickly and easily.

    8) Prompt product feedback. More than a couple times I've raised issues on FlipMats and other products and it's generally not long before Vic or someone from CS explains what's going on — not simply "we'll look into it", but an actual explanation.

    9) The whole Online Campaigns section of the board has seen a lot of coding effort put into it over the past couple of years. While Gary & Co's feature request list is surely a mile long, I do appreciate hearing his responses on the many suggestions that get raised.

    10) Given the diverse gender orientations of those I GM for, I strongly appreciate their public stance on issues of diversity and inclusiveness. Considering the hell some of my friends have been put thru by those who are... less accepting, it means a lot to them too.

    11) They've really taken the presentation of information in their adventures to the next level. Irrespective of whatever the given plot is, I simply find it so much easier to find and reference the information I need in the current APs and modules than in older adventures from the Dragon and Dungeon magazine days.

    12) The subscription model and bundled PDFs are extremely handy.

    13) The sense of community that they've fostered here. While I can't say with certainty that I've ever met someone else from the boards, I had only to look thru my favorites and fav'd by others last night to realize the sense of kinship there.

    14) While I've never participated, RPG Superstar seems like a really awesome avenue for fans and contributors to bridge the gap between them... and make a few people's dreams come true in the process.

    I could go on, but it might be best if I get some work done here. ;)

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    This thread is asking for clarification to the moderation rules and whether or not they apply to the paizo staff or not.

    Trying to phrase such a question in a way that is not inflammatory or disrespectful is a pretty high Diplomacy DC. Assuming the OP was sincere and not trying to flamme people up, then they certainly phrased the thread title and their post in a way that seems counter-productive to that goal. Even the thread title itself comes across as accusatory and disrespectful.

    Such an approach to diplomacy isn't apt to succeed in-game, and I'd say it fares even worse on the Internet.

    Just my 2cp...

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    Cal: I've had a few sets of the "Precision" dice from GameScience and didn't care for them. What disappointed me is the fact that they don't clean up the point where the die is separated from the sprue. I never could get the excess shaved off properly, which always resulted in those sides not laying flat, and looking ugly. That has to impact the roll results which (IMO) runs counter to the point of the dice.

    Also the sharp edges don't feel good in the palm, and they tend to snag the felt surface on my dice trays.

    Now the Dwarven Metal dice... those are right up my alley. :)

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    Funny, I don't recall implying that Dr Deth would have any such clairvoyance. In fact, in re-reading my post I pretty much stated that users not only lacked such divinatory abilities, but should also flag or email about new threads that set off their Sense Motive BS-detector.

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    I'm not sure why people keep mistaking what Dr. Deth is talking about. Legitimate inquiries from newcomers, and "sock-puppets" starting controversial threads just to kindle angst are two very different things.

    While it might not be possible for site users to definitively distinguish the two, an admin with access to IP logs could identify some of the less tech-savvy ways one might do this. Hence ye olde mantra to flag it or email the webmaster.

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    Hmm, Indiana... GenCon... Jodi's talent for cosplay... yeeees, it all makes sense now! ;)

    Enjoy the peace and quiet. I'm sure you'll find that working remotely can be quite enjoyable. Hope to see you freelancing on future Paizo products! :)

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    Tacticslion wrote:
    Anyone who's read my post history or even my "About Tacticslion" page knows that I'm a right-wing nut-job. I'm pretty much everything the more liberal side of anything in the U.S. would loath, from my religion, to my politics, to my ethics, to my morals.

    But– but– How can this be? We've favorited each other's posts before! :P

    * Wanders off muttering in disbelief...

    Post moderation, liberals and conservatives living together... mass hysteria!

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    Jacob: I'm guessing I must have missed a controversial thread about skill-use and ability scores, because I've read [I think] three threads now in which it seems like you're trying to find some very specific answers about skills and ability scores — the precise purpose of which is eluding me. Are you looking for how-to advice, roleplaying ideas, clarification on terminology? Or are you trying to urge others to reflection on such matters?

    I've been tempted to reply a couple times, but after reading your responses to other posters, I'm just not sure what you're looking for. What seems to be the crux of the issue?

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    The only time thread necromancy particularly annoys me is when it's a thread where someone had asked for advice on an intrapersonal matter whilst expressing a desire for retribution. Yet looong after the OP has already acknowledged that "being the bigger person" and "talking it out" are better solutions, someone on a high horse will make it no further than the first post before charging in to admonish the OP for their barbaric ways. When others then reply without checking the timestamps of the preceding posts the long dead flamewar is rekindled to no purpose.

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    I keep a folder on DeviantArt with sample artwork from artists who work on a commission basis. You could try looking thru there for artists whose general style you like, and then approach them with the particulars of the piece you are looking for.

    Linkage: Commish Artists
    NOTE: Depending on your settings, DeviantArt may be NSFW, and many of the commish artist do produce pin-up/cheesecake art to pay their bills.

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    MagusJanus wrote:
    Do you ever have players who roleplay their roll? To where they let the dice determine how they're going to roleplay?

    I actually used to encourage my PbP players to do this. I'd ask them to preview their results so that it could help inform their narrative.

    For example, if at a gala, a character with great social skills flubbed their roll, then they might narrate their efforts as being caught off-guard, confusing an NPC's name, smiling with something stuck in their teeth etc. Because they were highly skilled (and many PCs had reroll abilities), the narration might also include an attempted recovery, etc.

    On the flip-side, if that same character aced their roll, they might instead author their post trying to play up their character's sense of flair, or describe their radiant charm. In either case, the roll results would still determine if their attempt passed or failed, but I felt that it gave the players some more creative freedom without shoehorning the narrative into an awkward place from having described a low result in glowing terms.

    Some players seemed to enjoy it, others were less comfortable with it. When done by those who 'got it' though, it did help to ease my work as GM because it gave me more input to work with. I haven't used the exact same approach with my local group, but I will allow players who are so inclined to narrate their successes or failures after revealing the basic outcome — the players seem to really enjoy such moments.

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    Somewhere between #2 and #3...

    One of the conceits of my world are that everyone gains XP over time, even if they never put down a single goblin their whole life. It's just that the rigors of combat and adventuring net XP at a much faster rate than turning out horseshoes, etc. I believe the rate I've used is 1 XP per day (ala the old adage "you learn something new every day"), which puts most humans at 2nd level by the time they'd be of the age of majority, and most elves at 5th. IMO, this explains/supports a number of fantasy tropes in a nice, organic manner while allowing the players to be able to see their characters progress and surpass NPCs.

    As for differences between PCs and NPC, much of it depends on the tone of the campaign and the roles said characters will play. Ability scores for most NPCs will fall somewhere in the 15-25 point-buy range, while for PCs it's usually 25. Class selection for NPCs is based upon whatever makes sense for their line of work. Since "Elsemar" is a rather secular, cosmopolitan world, and its inhabitants are no strangers to the presence of magic, I'm more apt to use wizard and cleric over adept. Likewise, due to the widespread influence of various martial arts systems, I'm more likely to use the fighter over the warrior unless I'm simply using premade stat blocks.

    With NPCs being fairly robust, the thing that sets the PCs apart is generally their destiny or ambition. Typically our campaigns focus on the movers and shakers of the world — characters whose story arcs revolve around being farmboys turned heroes are far less common than the PCs being agents of the crown or itinerant nobles.

    Ultimately then, I'd say the main things that set apart the PCs from NPCs in my campaigns are:
    1) Because they are adventuring, they gain XP rapidly. This makes them much more capable at an earlier age than is normal.
    2) Usually they have some degree of political privilege or wealth that puts them on more equal footing with the nobility — a realm in which strength of arms and treasure alone are less likely to resolve all their problems.

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    Tormsskull wrote:
    Laithoron wrote:
    Anyhoo, as far as my rather gender-mixed group goes, we just like to game and dine out with people who are fun to be around, and who don't cast dispersions.
    I agree with most of what you said, but I got a good chuckle at this part. Are you sure they cast dispersions? :)

    To quote Roy and Jen from IT Crowd, "Everybody's got their blind spot!"

    *goes back to edit said typo. ;)

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    Annabel wrote:
    But to take you example of "him her he she etc." These words aren't timeless inevitabilities foisted on humanity by the laws of the universe. Gendered pronouns came about through some sort of process that is larger than any individual action: but it does not follow that "him her he she etc" can't be undone or subverted somehow. I disagree that these things can't be changed.

    White, cis, hetero Gen-X'er here, but personally, my pronoun of choice, in both speech and writing, has been "they" since I was in high school. Writing "he/she" or "s/he" has always struck me as pedantic and unsightly, and picking the pronouns for just one gender (when speaking generally) has always seemed weird to me. I guess my line of reasoning as a progressive teenager was: "Why should men have to sacrifice their pronouns as being gender-neutral, and how would it be any better to do the same with women's pronoun?" (There might also have been some resentment over foreign language teachers insisting that inanimate objects should be referred to as masculine or feminine. ;)

    At any rate, while I know Paizo authors their class write-ups based upon the gender each iconic presents as, I've always thought it would have been more progressive to standardize on "they" instead.

    As far as MagusJanus' hypothesis that one risks alienating allies thru the use of certain jargon, it does feel weird to have words ending with "-ist" being directed in my direction, even if only in the general sense. It's not the sort of thing that would get me to abandon my QUILTBAG friends, or to stop petitioning politicians on matters of equality and diversity, but it is somewhat disheartening to be labeled [by default] in a way that seems very reminiscent to how I might describe racists or misogynists.

    While reading such dialog on a forum in a sort of 'academic' discussion might be enlightening, I'm inclined to agree with MJ that bandying about such terms in mixed/unknown company in RealLife™ might very well come across as unwelcoming and exclusionary. Although I don't think it would turn any sincere allies into enemies, there are some people whose unfriendly beliefs would only be galvanized by talk of "destabilizing the 'norm'". IME, people are much more receptive to the idea of sharing what they have than the concept of having what they enjoy disrupted because others can't enjoy it too. Remember, unlike competing for consumers' money or people's souls, equality is not a zero-sum game. By that I mean that I don't need to lose the right to someday marry a woman in order for my gay and lesbian friends to gain the right to marry someone of their same gender.

    Anyhoo, as far as my rather gender-mixed group goes, we just like to game and dine out with people who are fun to be around, and who don't cast aspersions*. Because we are friends, even those of us whose privilege might otherwise exempt us from such concerns are still affected to an extent. Why? Because what's bad for my friend is bad for me, and vice-versa.

    Thanks Tormsskull! :D

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    • Players who cannot fathom how to have their characters respond to NPCs/events that are not active combat threats. "OMG, I need to roleplay?! What should I say? What should I do?"
    • Players who miss pretty much everything because cannot pull themselves away from Facebook on their phone. Double-points if they interrupt the game to request troubleshooting when you block their MAC address on the WiFi.
    • When I'm trying to run the game, and someone spontaneously decides that it's time to talk about cats, video games, work, etc. We typically have dinner together before start so that everyone can catch-up and get all of that out of their systems before starting.
    • When it's time to start and someone decides they just need to take a quick run to the store for a snack. Why didn't they stop at the supermarket immediately following dinner?
    • Asking what die to roll every single time it's necessary to determine if an attack or action will succeed or fail, then announcing the die roll instead of actually applying the appropriate modifiers. Double-points if they are still doing this after years of playing.
    • Players who are gung-ho about joining a PbP, whose character demands about a month's worth of planning to work into the narrative, and who then disappear after a few posts leaving the GM with either another NPC or another loose end.

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