So, I got about the first hour and a half of the Know Direction interview with John, Tonya, and Thursty. There was a lot in there, but if anyone caught the rest, I'd love to hear about it.
Here's what I got, made as readable as possible. But I tried to jot down everything I learned. Still, take everything with a grain of salt, I'm definitely paraphrasing.
The Starfinder Society was formed to study the mystery around the Gap and eventually expanded into general exploration. They were inspired in-world by the fragmentary records of the Pathfinder Society from before the Gap. They use the term "Venture Captain" from the Pathfinders like America pulls "Senator" from Ancient Rome, which I thought was a cool touch.
There will be an arc to each season, with the first season's arc into the second season already planned in broad strokes.
The galaxy is a big place. SFS can make up whole worlds. And if they're cool, they can go back with changes based on the reporting from last scenario. Much more freedom with this than PFS has, because space is a lot bigger than Golarion, so expect more "Living" content. Tonya specifically teased doing some contests in addition to the checkbox tracking.
GenCon will launch with five SFS things: a quest pack, a pregen special, and three scenarios. One of those scenarios will be evergreen. After that, one scenario a month.
Plan is for the AP issues to be sanctioned as each one comes out, rather than waiting for the end. The first issue will ideally be sanctioned around GenCon. John's writing the second one, so that should help some too.
The "one scenario a month" is ready to go up if the numbers show there's demand.
GenCon... looks really cool. Thursday morning has ticketed quest tables, where you can sit down with a pregen (1st level iconics) and go through all the quests, each touching on a new or changed system. Thursday night they start the pregen special (4th level iconics) to get people into the setting a bit more. Then, starting Friday, the evergreen will introduce people to the Society proper and I think factions. So, basically, you'll be able to hit a few games, buy your book on Thursday, make your character that night, and hit the ground running.
They're working on getting GenCon GMs and other launch GMs materials to prep the game. It's complicated, though, so no word yet.
Boons are getting some rework to cut down complexity/papershuffling, but still giving that character history.
There might be more to this, but they mostly talked about how boon bonuses are now slotted. After the briefing, you get the chance to slot boons of different types. The types that came up were Starship, Faction, and Ally boons.
So, for example, with Ally boons you choose which person is following you around. Thursty specifically called out that they'll be working to make sure the briefings go into enough detail to make informed boon decisions.
These slots will apparently have some default options available for new characters, but obviously you get cooler stuff from completing scenarios.
The society has several standard hulls, which it seems will be offered at the outset of the mission that requires a spaceship. In some cases there may be a choice between multiple hulls (small and fast or space tank with missiles?).
Starship boons (see the slots above) can modify the ship with stuff like hotter lasers or improved target lock. They can also possibly add new ship hulls to the list of options. Which just sounds awesome.
You can work for any number of factions, but can only use one boon during each scenario (see above). This represents the faction that you're endorsing or is sponsoring you during the scenario. The boons level up through this process, but it wasn't revealed what exactly is needed to advance them.
The factions are direct extensions of the Starfinder Society, have different visions for the society, and are tied into the metaplot. At least one directly rises because of the events leading into Season 1.
No factions announced while I was listening, although I heard one was revealed later.
In general, the Starfinder Society is a little more careful about alignment than its predecessor. They tend more towards good and allowing their agents to perform evil actions could harm their position in the galaxy.
So, no evil characters. No "we're sort of evil, but not really" faction. And apparently less "what if I only cut him five times?" play.
There won't be ratings on the scenarios, but they hope to have information about specific problematic content types. So hopefully nobody gets surprised by interesting boxed text with a family at the table.
Reception at GAMA was very positive.
Regional support will absolutely extend to SFS.
Also retail support (I may not have the name right, here).
GM Credit remains largely the same.
Replay will continue be tweaked, but isn't going to be opened up completely or anything.*
Cantina feel will hopefully be alive and well with races.*
Soft level cap is still probably around 12, but new tiers can be added easily.
Level 7-8 is a sweet spot for the metaplot towards the end of Season 1.
Equipment may appear on sheets that isn't in the Core Rulebook at all.
New material will still be approved in Additional Resources.
Everyone from PFS is probably dead (and still being used in PFS), so don't expect any Futurama heads in jars.
Or the SS Drandle Dreng or the Osprey Cannon. SFS will have its own cast that'll develop over time.
Campaign mode for AP is undecided.*
They're currently working on the guide to organized play.*
* = "Ask more at PaizoCon."
Overall, really informative interview. If I didn't quite explain something clearly, let me know and I'll try to recollect.
So, we just finished a two-year Rise of the Runelords game and the players want to jump right in to Shattered Star.
I did my best to foreshadow Shattered Star during Rise and will be carrying forward events from our run of Rise. I'll try to call out ripples like that as they come up.
I'd like to keep my players able to read this thread, so please leave it spoiler-free beyond the spoilers in these reports.
The Last Generation
Four heroes were responsible for the overthrow of Karzoug:
Grimmer Pallgreves, a dwarven rogue aiding the adventurers who recovered his family's lost crown
Kriger the Wanderer, a cleric of Desna and Pathfinder scholar
Tobar Smithson, a paladin of Torag and guardsman in Sandpoint, hoping to get back in one piece and marry Shayliss Vinder
Shalelu Andosonna, hunter of goblins and giants
During their struggles, they worked closely with Sheila Heidmarch, the young Pathfinder Venture Captain in Magnimar, and Broderick Quint (Brodert Quink), an elderly sage in Sandpoint. As a result, these two are considered the foremost experts on Thassilon in Varisia.
They left a few loose ends on their quest, such as stationing Bakrakhani refugees from the Runeforge at Fort Rannick and leaving a small army of animate trees roaming through Sanos Forest. Overall, though, much of Varisia went through their lives never knowing how close they came to the rise of the runelords.
Following their defeat of Karzoug, the four heroes largely went their separate ways. Grimmer returned to Janderhoff with his mountain of treasure. Kriger began wandering the world and beyond. Tobar settled back in Sandpoint to marry and raise a small army of children. And Shalelu passed over the Crown of the World with her lover Ameiko Kaijitsu.
Tobar's eldest daughter, Alara'hai, was raised on his stories of the battle against Karzoug and the tutelage of the aging Broderick Quint. She has long been troubled by the question "sure dad defeated one runelord, but what about the other six?"
Alianne, searching for her uncle Kriger and looking for a reason to leave the Land of the Linnorm Kings, made her way to Sandpoint. Meeting with Alara, the two of them decided to head to Magnimar and apply for membership with the Pathfinder Society.
Korva Ursian is using her city guard training as a stepping stone to greater things. Long inspired by the tales of Shalelu and Tobar, calming the great storm over Varisia and solving the Skinsaw Murders, she sees great opportunity in joining with their descendants.
Alara shares in her parents' appearance and glowing personalities, making her a difficult person to hate or even disagree with. She heard the call of Shelyn, an event Tobar accepted with aplomb... after all, he was called by Torag and that's far weirder.
She fights with a glaive given to her by her father, a trophy modeled after Karzoug's weapon. Although she does have some limited healing, she expects to solve many problems with her glaive or her silver tongue.
Human Rogue 1
Alianne is short, stealthy, and inclined towards the arcane arts... roughly the worst Ulfen ever. Tired of being constantly overshadowed by her sister, Alianne made her way to Sandpoint after meeting Shalelu and Ameiko on their way north.
Alianne fights with a rapier, relying on her finesse to carry the day. But her real passion is the study of magic, even if that hasn't borne fruit in the form of spellcasting yet.
Human Slayer 1
Korva only recently finished her training with the Magnimar city watch, the first step in her journey to become a legend like Shalelu and Tobar. Even if her martial skills weren't enough to gain her admittance into the Pathfinders, her knowledge of Magnimar and its surroundings are encyclopedic.
She's not quite the terror with the bow Shalelu was yet, but might be even more dangerous in the end.
One of my normal players (Lyz Liddell) did some editing on Emerald Spire and fell absolutely in love with it. Normally, I’d run it for everyone, but she knows far too much after editing. So she’s running it and I’m playing for the first first time since… Ptolus came out back in 2006, I guess.
We have a lot of players that are interested, from old timers like me to complete newbies, but everyone’s schedules are insane.
So Lyz has created a group of characters for the group to share. Whoever shows up each time will get a character sheet. Which one? Who knows? Time to spin the wheel!
Lyz’ll be maintaining the characters and leveling them up, largely so they don’t get too complicated.
Since Lyz is maintaining the characters, the complexity she's worried about is mostly at the table. So archetypes, alternate racial traits, and wacky build options are all free game.
But, since we can’t depend on any individual character being there, each character needs to cover as many roles as possible.
It was decided early that all the casters were going to be spontaneous. This lets the more experienced players use the whole spell list on the fly, but also lets newer players stick with “defaults."
This created an interesting puzzle. Here are the builds we ended up with:
Dwarf Fighter (Armor Master) - Can’t really go wrong with fighter. Armor Master lets us trade Bravery for something precalculated on the character sheet. Big check in the melee box.
Ratfolk Gunslinger - Ranged character and trap finder. Probably the most complicated character, just due to firearms and deeds.
Gnome Oracle of Life - Spontaneous caster that’s a great healer and can also melee.
Halfling Paladin (Iroran Paladin) - This was actually going to be a monk, but Iroran Paladin ended up being less complex and allowing some healing later. Personal challenge is also less demanding than smite evil.
Kobold Sorcerer - A ranged character with some spell support and scouting ability. Pretty weak to start, but will catch up fairly quickly.
Tiefling (Demonblooded) Bard (Archeologist) - Spontaneous caster that fits a healing role, can handle melee, and can disarm traps. Archeologist trades in Bardic Performance for their Archeologist’s Luck, which is easier on everyone.
I’ll be posting our play reports starting this weekend, some about the approach we’re trying, but mostly about Emerald Spire.
There will assuredly be spoilers, but I’m also just a player, so try not to give me too many spoilers.
What on Earth is this?
There's been some conversation recently about wanting more male love interests for APs. And, frankly, even if there were enough, different players and PCs need different things out of their romances.
As GMs, we add NPCs all the time. Nameless faces in the crowd become important parts of the plot, even in APs.
But adding a romantic interest takes a different sort of finesse, especially if the GM isn't part of the target audience.
So, I propose we start gathering some examples of ones that we've used that have worked. That way, even those of us who find the idea of being attracted to men faintly confusing, can drop them in like any other NPC.
Build a Beefcake?
Okay, maybe "beefcake" isn't exactly right here. Some people love their beefcake (generally defined as large-muscled dudes who can't keep their shirts on). Others are looking for pretty boys, cute boys, battle-scarred rogues, or older men.
You can't go wrong with the name, though. Thanks to Ashiel for the name :)
Keep in mind when you're showing off your creativity that these are for APs. Have a great romantic rival pirate captain you added for Skull and Shackles that inevitably led to romance? Did your PCs pair off with ambassadors from neighboring kingdoms in Kingmaker? Does your party keep inexplicably falling in love with shopkeepers?
We've started a new Rise of the Runelords game using the Anniversary Edition. I'm going to be trying to diary it in more-or-less realtime, so we'll see how that goes.
So far, we've had our character creation session and everyone's gotten their handouts. The first actual game should be tonight.
Our Heroes Are:
Kriger the Wanderer – Ulfen Cleric of Desna. Trained under Father Zanthus.
Tobar (aka Toby) – Chelish/Varisian Fighter. Native of Sandpoint who joined the guard following the Late Unpleasantness. Big enough and fair-haired enough that people joke he and Kriger are brothers.
Fijit – Gnome Bard. A devout follower of Cayden Cailean who is in Sandpoint looking for a party and, you know, adventure. Staying at the Iron Dragon.
Mechanically, Kriger is focusing on channeling and Tobar is your traditional giant weapon Power Attack/Cleave death machine. Fijit isn't what you'd call... focused, being a bard, but she will have plenty of chance to shine with bardic knowledge. And the party could probably use a generalist anyway.
Attributes were generated by everyone rolling up an array of scores (4d6, drop the lowest), then each player choosing which array they wanted (allowing duplicates). In practice this meant Fijit kept the scores she rolled, but Tobar and Kriger are both based on Kriger's rolls.
I also put some houserules up for a vote.
What we'll be using:
Max HP – PCs will have max HP at each level rather than rolling for HP.
I don't really like rolling for HP and this seems like a nice way to help give the party a boost to make up for the small size.
Criticals Always Confirmed – Any critical threat is automatically confirmed.
Failing to confirm crits is just depressing, as is confirming it, then rolling really badly and barely doing above normal damage. This will make combat swingier (another reason for max HP), but everyone thinks it'll be more fun.
Advantage/Disadvantage – We'll be using Advantage/Disadvantage from 5th Edition rather than a lot of situational modifiers. If you have Advantage, roll two d20s and take the higher. If you have Disadvantage, roll two d20s and take the lower.
This is probably the biggest house rule, but I've found it cleans up a lot of situational modifiers I don't want to bother keeping track of. It also rewards innovation and description more than a +2 circumstance bonus, which I think is a plus.
Two players in my current game have put a fair amount of focus on intimidate. Both are half-orcs with maxed ranks and the Intimidating Prowess feat. But they both feel that, even were success guaranteed and affecting multiple targets with Dazzling Display, investing actions or powers into making foes shaken isn't really wortwhile.
I'd rather not add Antagonize into the game, both because it doesn't feel like "intimidate" to me and because I'd rather feats make the skill better rather than providing its basic functions.
I've been considering two additional abilities for intimidate:
As a standard action, you can startle an character in melee range, causing them to drop their guard against your allies. If you succeed in an Intimidate check against the target, they provoke an attack of opportunity from every enemy that can reach them other than you.
If you fail, the target can make an attack of opportunity against you.
Choked by Fear
When a fearful opponent provokes an attack of opportunity from you with movement or an action, you can make an intimidate check in place of the attack. If it succeeds they hesitate with fear, losing the action.
If they provoked you by casting a spell, the spell is lost as though they failed a concentration check. If they provoked you by moving, they stop in the threatened square. If they provoked you by using a ranged weapon, they flinch, fouling the shot.
Any enemy with the shaken, frightened, or panicked condition is considered fearful. Other enemies can be considered fearful at the DM's discretion.
The other half of the problem is figuring out Intimidate DCs constantly, which will only get worse if I make them want to use the skill. I'd love to be able to roll it into another number that actually appears in the standard stat block.
Here's what I've been thinking so far:
Instead of a set DC, it's rolled opposed to a Will save. This allows shaken to help other Intimidate uses and lets fighter's bravery oppose Intimidate.
Instead of a set DC, make an opposed intimidate check. This is just there for the awesome visual, really. Would probably be an option in the vein of "Will save or intimidate check."
As one of the above, but 10 + the modifier like Feint. So 10 + will save modifier or 10 + intimidate modifier. Would make resolving dazzling display faster, but rolled saves are good enough for fireballs.
Instead of a separate DC, it's just rolled against CMD. This neatly handles the size issue and makes it more comparable with other combat actions.
So that's what I'm thinking so far. Spook would be a new combat maneuver, so it'd have a little feat tree in the same vein as Feint.
Any feedback would be appreciated. I'm just kicking around ideas at this point.
For reference the intimidators in the party are a barbarian 3/cleric 1/fighter 1 and a monk 4/rogue 1. The other party member is a ranger 4/sorcerer 1 heading for arcane archer, so spook wouldn't get terribly out of hand.
I placed this order (1494432) a while ago, received the email stating it was shipped on the 11th and haven't received the book. I was wondering if there was any tracking information you could take a look at or even if I could just be downgraded to the PDF if it vanished into the ether.
Thanks in advance! By the way, I just started my first Pathfinder game up and am having a ball, you rule :)
So, I'll be starting a new Pathfinder game shortly and the beginning enemies will be competing tribes of orcs and gnolls. I love the gnoll fluff from Classic Monsters Revisited, but it doesn't work out well in the situation.
Basically, I'm looking for gnolls that are a bit lower CR (so they can outnumber the party at first level) and more flavorful. I want to make sure that they're not totally out of balance and, of course, steal any other interesting ideas along the way :)
I decided to write it up as a race which I could then slot NPC or PC class levels into. Here's what I ended up with:
+2 Constitution, +2 Dexterity, -2 Charisma
Hyena's Gait (Ex) – Gnolls can drop to all fours as a free action, dropping any items held in their hands. While on all fours, they gain access to the Run feat. Standing back up is a swift action.
Iron Stomach – Gnolls are immune to mundane ingested diseases and toxins. They also receive a +2 racial bonus to survival.
Bite – Gnolls can bite for 1d6 as a natural weapon. When added as a secondary attack, it is -5 to hit and only applies half strength bonus to damage. When used as a sole attack, it applies one and a half times the Strength bonus to damage.
The stat modifiers are good, but not out of line with, say, hobgoblins. Hyena's gait is mostly flavor, but encourages them to rely on thrown weapons and other weapons they won't miss. Iron Stomach is basically flavor too.
The bite concerns me a bit. I want them to have a bite and if it's not too overpowered, having it as a secondary attack would be cool. If it's too much, I'd probably have it just when on all fours.
So here's the final product for their first big fight:
Blood Crest Warrior (CR 1/3)
NE Medium humanoid (gnoll)
Init +2; Senses Darkvision (60'), Perception +1
AC 14 (+2 armor, +2 Dexterity), touch 12, flatfooted 12
HP 10 (1d10+5)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Wil +0
Immune Mundane ingested diseases and toxins
Speed 30 ft. (Run 150 ft.)
Melee +1 Throwing Axe (1d6) and -4 Bite (1d6)
Ranged +3 Throwing Axe (1d6)
Str 10, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 6
Base Attack +1; CMB +1; CMD 14
Skills Survival +3; Racial Modifiers +2 Survival
Aside from the very good chance I messed something up, I'm a bit concerned by how it's not that much worse than the CR 1 standard gnoll. If I throw a pack of these guys at a group of first level PCs (who will start from a position of advantage), should I expect a massacre?