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A post on another thread got me wondering: assuming a wizard took all the summon monster I spells, at what point would he be able to summon a creature that could provide the following non-wizardly abilities?

Cure light wounds
Lesser restoration
Neutralize poison

In short, what creatures on the official summons list can pinch-hit for the healer?

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Consider the feat Mutual Hatred (Monster Codex p. 164) and then the class features Studied Combat (ARG p. 34) and Studied Target (ARG p. 53). If one considers the general mechanic of the feat (a bonus to hit those who have a bonus to hit you), it should probably apply. On the other hand, if the word 'hate' has to appear in the fluff text, those new abilities probably don't allow use of the feat.

Do these new abilities fulfill the conditions of the Mutual Hatred feat or not?

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There's a general consensus that designing encounters in Pathfinder requires some real attention to 'action economy' - that is, that the total number of actions each side gets is a major contributor to the threat they can pose. An 8th-level enemy is formidable, but can be overwhelmed, while four 4th-level characters (theoretically the same challenge level) are able to flank, combine spells or attacks, heal downed allies and otherwise present a tougher fight. Solo high-level NPCs are, with a few exceptions, only good for brutally slaughtering one PC and then getting mobbed. There are ways around it, but they all seem fairly complicated next to "keep a few buddies around."

But I've noticed a tendency in the APs I own for the PCs to fight suicidal solo NPCs. It doesn't seem like it presents quite the same challenge, and it certainly doesn't make a lot of sense from the NPC's perspective.

Am I wrong in noticing this pattern? And what do you think Paizo's reason is? Reducing the number of stat blocks? Giving the PCs a "fair chance"? I know that occasionally it's a story requirement - if there's one sarcophagus in a room, there's only likely to be one mummy in it - but do you think such occasions come up too often?

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An oracle with clouded vision sees "as if using" darkvision, which goes up to 60' at level 5. Is it legal to take the Deepsight feet for that character to gain 120' of darkvision? Or does the phrase "as if using" mean that the character doesn't meet the prerequisite?

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Player-types: Shoo! This would be a very boring discussion to you!

I plan to run this AP soon from parts 2-?, and I think in order to maintain player interest I need to create more of an overarching theme. So tell me which of these ideas strikes you as the best overall option.

1. At the start of part 2, have M'deggog already manipulating events. Alter his motivations: he's lost, trying to find his way back to Ilmurea, and to his frustration nobody knows where Saventh-Yhi is. So he's behind one (or more) of the factions and, up until the city is discovered by his faction, might even be supporting the PCs' efforts to get there. Throughout Part 3 he's hoping one of the factions will find the door back below. Once Juliver turns up, he'll use the Maka-Yika to try to abduct her so he can learn the route from her. Here the theme would be devourers vs. serpentfolk with the devourers continuing to play an important role in Part 6.

2. Alter Vyr-Azul's motivations. Until early in Part 3 he has no clue how to re-unite his deity's parts; but when the PCs activate a Spear, he senses it. With their old scrying lens broken he's reduced to sending serpentfolk up top by magic; they plant evidence that leads the PCs to accumulate discoveries that he can use in completing the ritual. Once he realizes the PCs might inadvertently destroy Ilmurea the race is on. In this case the theme is that of a race that the PCs only slowly realize they're engaged in.

3. The Coils introduced in Part 6 take on a role much earlier - from Kalabuto on, all the factions are joined by 'helpful native guides' whose actual intent is to encourage a widespread slaughter of the various surface tribes. Once the PCs enter Part 4, any 'helpers' in their faction would do what they could to sabotage efforts to breach the Vaults, and probably attack all the expedition camps "under false colors" to pit the surface factions against each other. Here the main theme would be determining who's behind all the sabotage.

I like a lot of the flavor of the AP, but obviously I feel like the villain needs more reason to be the villain, and the heroes need to be more "on the spot". I'm not a big fan of "rescue Eando" as a motivation, because my players tend not to care about NPCs they've never met, however famous they may be in-world.

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Inspired by the recently re-ignited debate about whether elves wait 100 years to adventure because they're physically immature or because they're just not ready to commit to the hack-and-sack lifestyle, we now give you 101 problems that elven adolescents have:

1. Over the decades, you wear out about a hundred couches while you're talking on the phone.

2. You can't go outside for about 80 years, or people will see your acne.

3. You have to find a prom date over and over.

4. You're willowy and stick-thin and they still make you play dodgeball.

5. History class is even more boring, because you were around when it happened. Why are they telling you this stuff?!

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From another thread...

CaptainMarvelous wrote:
I thought this thread was going to be about the stereotypes other races have of humans, like how dwarves are seen as greedy.

Well, what are those stereotypes? Pick your favorite race and give us a point-of-view account. The essay question is, "What do humans mean to you?"

G'tath, Lizardfolk Warrior 2: Humans are covered with horrible little fibers that make them look like a bird's nest. They're practically helpless in the water and super-picky about their food, and they wobble when they walk because they don't have tails. There are millions and millions of them out in the Dry Places, and believe me, you don't want to know how they're hatched! They're edible, but they get pretty huffy if you eat one of them.

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We all know 'em. Here, I'll lead off with a few - but please, try to keep them good-natured. Plenty of other threads where the claws come out.

1. "Your argument has convinced me. I see now that the position I took during my first post was in error. Although I am of course reluctant to seem weak by allowing your argument to change my opinions, your superior grasp of the rules - to say nothing of your courtesy and your masterful skill at debate - have swayed me. Thank you for helping me understand!"

2. "Since all situations regarding paladins require a fairly complete knowledge of your GM, your group, the in-game situation and even how late in the session the incident occurred, it would be presumptuous of me to apply general truisms to your particular situation."

4. "I'm worried that my anti-paladin has done too many lawful and good things. Please analyze the following situation..."

5. "Is it morally wrong to loot the dead? Because we're now sixth level, and I can't help noticing that I'm still using my starting gear."

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In the baseline Pathfinder rules, your ability to execute dirty tricks is directly correlated to your ability to hit for damage. And as has been observed many times, every "attack" you use for a clever trick could have been used to try to kill the enemy instead.

This reasoning is valid as things stand. But not if certain classes were more skilled at targeting CMD than they are at attacking AC. Consider the monk and the rogue. If any class should shine at outsmarting rather than out-damaging, it's those two. Yet the barbarian, a class which I love but which I do not associate with subtlety or strategy, is easily their superior at these sorts of trickery...

So. Suppose one creates a distinct progression for Combat Maneuvers, not linked to Base Attack Bonus (but using the same sort of advancement tracks). Equal to level for fighters, monks, and rogues; 3/4 or 1/2 level for the rest. Couple this, perhaps, with class benefits that emulate the "rapid combat maneuver" feats from Ultimate Combat, to avoid feat taxes.

Give me your opinion. Foresee the difficulties. Make me cry!

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I haven't been able to find any rules citing whether a ship (or any vehicle, really) should be considered a (Colossal) object or a (mobile) location. It makes a major difference for spell purposes.

If a ship is an object that happens to occupy a location, spells that specifically target, require or affect a location run into trouble (you couldn't hallow a ship or use it as a viable teleport destination - unless you knew its exact location.)

If a ship is a location that tends to wander about, spells that affect objects (with no weight/size limit) somehow wouldn't work.

Or is it possible to use a "wavicle" solution? Are there any spells that would react strangely to something that is both an object and a location? Any hugely abusive spell combos that would result?

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One of the difficulties when a new technology is integrated into society is that we have no rules of etiquette to cover the situation. I've recently discovered to my chagrin that portable devices are resulting in players who are never more than partially "in the game".

It's one thing if players get distracted because the game is a bit tedious at the moment (although I'll swallow a whole live hedgehog before I stipulate that GMs have some kind of obligation to be "more entertaining than anything I could be doing right now on the Internet"). My complaint is about a more serious problem: when there's an intense scene and the GM and any pen-and-paper players are utterly committed, the guy who insisted on "keeping track of my character on my laptop/pad/device" is, at best, mildly interested... with a good chance of being totally distracted at any given moment.

Tell me your own sob-story of players who have to be yanked away from Minecraft or Facebook and reminded that their beloved characters are in a fight to the death... every round. Better yet, tell me what you think accepted gamer protocol should be - or what rules your own table has already adopted. While I concede that "no devices" is far too heavy-handed, I think we need some kind of mutual social convention stating that, regardless of the fascination of the shiny box in your hand, it is not polite to sit at a table with four or five gaming buddies and act like you're alone in the room. What are the limits? How much additional weight needs to be borne by the other, more attentive players? Keeping focus has to have some priority, doesn't it?

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Just to bring you up to speed, scientists recently "discovered" the olinguito, a little nocturnal tree-dweller native to South America. I put quotes in because it turns out they had one in captivity for years back in the 70s, but they mistook it for a different species. (They were wondering for years why she wouldn't mate with the male olingos they were putting her in with. They thought she was just choosy.)

New species are discovered all the time, but they're usually cheese mites or flesh-eating barnacles or something similarly unappealing. Whereas the olinguito is cute, and therefore newsworthy. ;)

So now we're just a stat-block away from a new familiar option for your wizard, witch or whoever. What do you think the bonus to its master should be - +3 to Climb? +3 to Stealth? Or should we celebrate its long undiscovery by providing a +3 to Disguise checks made to disguise yourself as another species? ;)

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All right, some comments regarding the Sling have me thinking that altering the weapon stats wouldn't hurt my game any...

Sling: Martial ranged weapon; Small damage d4, Medium damage d6; Range increment 40'; Weight -; Cost 1 sp; SQ: ranged maneuver option

I upgraded it to martial after becoming convinced that throwing a knife or shooting a crossbow accurately... although both have their little difficulties... are both easier than hurting someone (other than yourself) with a sling. Won't matter much, since most folks with 'all simple weapon proficiencies' already ignore the sling.

'Ranged Maneuver Option' is based on the fact that the bolas from the CRB allow a Trip attack at range; essentially it'd allow a sling user fond of trick shots to take certain improved maneuver feats (Improved Dirty Trick springs to mind) and then (only then) apply them to sling attacks. Yes, I know it has some potential for abuse, but it gives slings a 'niche' - they aren't champions of range or damage, and this will give folks who have a fondness for the weapon something to shoot for. (Get it?)

Tell me what you hate!

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One thing that bugged me about 3rd Edition, and that I felt 4th Edition did well, was to reduce the proportion of creatures in the cosmos that had greater-than-human visual senses.

Far as I can tell, there are only three species in all the infinite universes of Pathfinder that don't have special vision. To paraphrase The Incredibles, when everybody (and everything!) has super-vision, nobody does. The human, halfling, and lizardfolk actually have a hidden "racial disadvantage" instead.

So I'm just sounding out the notion of removing low-light from critters and downgrading darkvision in some cases to low-light. Where would you draw the line? Some of my first thoughts:

1) Darklands/Underdark creatures pretty much have to keep their darkvision. It's a little too fundamental there.
2) Goblinoids, for the most part, I'd downgrade to low-light vision. Gnolls and other largely-surface-raiding monsters I'd probably remove all special vision from. The same goes for giants - with the probable exception of stone giants.
3) Diurnal animals would no longer get low-light vision. Nocturnal ones keep it.
4) Outsiders, again, would have to be on a plane-by-plane basis. Plane of Shadow and Negative Energy Plane? They keep it. Inhabitants of the Plane of Fire & Positive Energy Plane should feel lucky to have even human-level vision...

Further thoughts?

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A bit in the GMG about rewarding scrying got me thinking about all the other things a villain could be caught doing whenever the PCs happen to gaze into their crystal ball or act like peeping toms in some other way. To avoid having the thread locked, I suggest that nobody post suggestions that would cause the MPAA to impose a PG-13 on the movie of the campaign; and if you're going to suggest a goofy possibility, put a more serious possiblity in so that anybody who steals the thread for a percentile table can choose drama or comedy.

01. Eavesdropping at a door.
02. Putting on shoes or boots (comic version: Buying new ones.)
03. Brooding on a parapet (comic version: hanging laundry out to dry.)
04. In the middle of killing some other, luckless band of heroes. Note: An excellent chance to observe the villain's combat tactics!
05. Surveying a map. (comic version: Or a menu.)

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Some GMs have a play style that encourages players to be thoughtful and cautious. Others have a style that encourages players to be brave and decisive. Each style has a disadvantage: 'killer GMs' who encourage caution sometimes result in dull sessions, while 'lenient GMs' who encourage bravery sometimes result in players taking dumb risks.

Which style of play does your GM encourage? Which style do you prefer in campaigns when you're a player?

The Exchange

It seems like every campaign, sooner or later, introduces a band of soldiers-for-hire. Sometimes they're the villain's brute-squad; sometimes they're muscle the heroes hire so they can lead a heroic charge (which always looks goofy if you do it with four people, especially since the wizard always refuses to join in); sometimes they're background color and sometimes they're central to the adventure.

1. Sisterhood of Nine Coins: (Alignment: N, Crest: blue-green field with nine silver circles. Focus: Commando work.) A veteran all-female cadre with a reputation for accepting dirty jobs in return for a substantial increase in pay. The co-leaders, Vertaine Cotter and Amlis Broane, accept only females into the corps; due to their open hiring policies the largely-human Sisterhood includes several half-elves, half-orcs, tieflings and the like.

2. Dragon's Horn Brigade: (Alignment: NE, Crest: Rust-colored field with a twisted white horn. Focus: Shock troops.) A disreputable group with a tendency to hire on with any villain who will pay. The Boss of the Brigade is Garku Clubhand, an ogrekin. The troop itself is a motley gang of rogue gnolls, unsavory tieflings, ogrekin and a few humans and hobgoblins. They generally insist on the right to capture prisoners in addition to their pay - people concerned about the reasons for this demand are probably better off not hiring the Brigade.

3. Company of the Broken Scourage: (Alignment: N, Crest: Red field with a yellow dragon's head, flaming, over three dotted black lines. Focus: Caravan duty.) This company was formed over seventy years ago with the intention of revenging themselves on the Hellknight Order of the Scourge (for sins the Order itself barely remembers) by hiring out to the Hellknights' enemies. Unfortunately, chaotic employers tend to have unreliable finances, and the Broken Scourge nowadays are a primarily-human mercenary group that protect travelers, mostly pilgrims and merchant caravans: they are exceptional only in welcoming lapsed Hellknights and escaped Cheliaxan slaves with open arms. The current chief, Baraclus Nerro, is a fussy little ex-scribe who is surprisingly effective with an axe: his insistence on spelling out precise terms and limits to the Company's responsibilities has profited the company's reputation but worked against its traditional purpose.

The Exchange

The odds that I'll be dropping an item of this power in my campaign anytime soon are non-existent, but I thought I'd seek counsel for eventual high-level play:

The 'bane' quality allows a weapon to function as if it were +2 higher than it actually is (in addition to the bonus damage dice). Let's say you encounter - oh, let's say an Aberration with DR 15/epic. Is your aberration-bane glaive +4 going to qualify to bypass DR?

The Exchange

Perusing recent threads on whether or not GMs use traits, and how the system would be different if feats were removed, it occurred to me that the trait/feat mechanic would be quite different if these benefits (aside from initial training) were awards just like XP and gold were: something equivalent to the 'unlockable' content of a video game.

GM: You have defeated the kobold king. You receive 625 XP, which I believe will put you all up to 3rd level: in addition to the magic armband and spear, and the pouch of citrines, you've gained the option of one of these four benefits: Tripwire-Wary, Tunnel Magician, Silent Approach or Horde-Hammer.

Rather than being a standing table based on BAB or waiting for level advancement, GMs would hand out access based on in-game accomplishments. Admittedly, it'd take a lot of work - and GMs would have to pace the rate and strength of 'unlockables' a lot more than they have to with the automatically-received schedule of feats. It'd also play havoc with character builds, and encourage optimizers to do some things that might not make sense in-game: "I'm going to hunt down and fight some gnolls, because that's the only way I can get Double Hatchet-Throw."

Thoughts? Difficulties?

The Exchange

I'm such a fan of the ring of counterspells, both as a PC and as a GM outfitting NPCs. It's a fun little guessing-game of sorts which always amuses me: "Which 1st- through 6th-level targetted spell does this character hate getting hit with the most? Which is he/she most likely to be hit with?"

I've loaded the ring to counteract hold person for one character, slay living for another: in one case I had an outsider carrying one with dismissal, although in retrospect I'm not sure that was a legal option for the ring.

So - bearing in mind the various save-or-suck effects: if your character had a ring of counterspells and an open ring slot to wear it in, which spell would you opt to ward yourself against?

The Exchange

I'm contemplating adding a house feat called something like "Esoteric Method" that would increase the Difficulty Class of Spellcraft checks made to identify the spell. Given that it'd be a feat of great but infrequent utility (claiming you're casting detect magic when you're actually throwing out charm monster, for example), how much of a DC boost to the Spellcraft check do you feel would justify expending a feat on it?

(Bear in mind this would be a feat geared toward bards, illusionists, enchanters, rogue/wizards and so forth: it wouldn't be much use when casting fireball.)

The Exchange

Starting on the 31st, I'll be hosting a Pathfinder campaign alternate Saturdays at Rivals Games on 3rd St. We'll run from 6 pm til the store closes (around 9), and new players are not merely welcomed but encouraged. Aside from using the old Greyhawk setting it's straightforward Pathfinder: you can bring in a Level 1 character with 15-point build (Core rulebook & APG only), but I'll have pre-fab characters for those who prefer them (or who are new to the system.) As a game store game it's going to be deliberately all-comers - but I hope to have a friendly, welcoming and relatively fresh-smelling table regardless. ;) Contact me at lbhills@hotmail.com if you have questions.

Projected sessions: 3/31, 4/14, and 4/28 - after that we'll see. -LH

The Exchange

I scrolled through an old thread lamenting the old, old problem of what good-aligned PCs are supposed to do with the elderly, pregnant, blind and half-grown members of all those evil tribes. I'm not going to try to resolve that question - it's been argued to death - but I wanted to point out its potential to entertain your players. All you have to do is change the PCs' roles in the story...

It would begin with Simon the Fairly Pure, The Mighty Garglewash IV and Endalion Happycampfiresong (powerful NPC heroes all!) dropping in on the low-level PCs with about forty snotty, bloodstained, filthy goblin females and pups.

Simon: What ho, fellow champions of good! Listen, we only have a few minutes - we're off to battle the Three-Headed Dragon of Zarvool! We, er, cleansed the world of a couple hundred goblin warriors yesterday and discovered that we'd produced a bunch of widows and orphans...
Endalion: So we're pushing the problem off on you! We'll give you 50 gold pieces for every one of these foul-smelling vermin that you can integrate into polite society.

Well, I'm sure all you GMs are already considering the various possibilities here. While writing the adventure, don't forget to watch lots of old cartoons in which the main character has to baby-sit...

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Who doesn't love that big green rascal, the Hulk? A shining example to growing boys everywhere, the Hulk is an ideal role model. He doesn't have to eat vegetables, he doesn't have to go to bed until he wants to, and nobody dares to comment when he wanders around in his boxers. Pearls of wisdom such as "Hulk is strongest one there is!" have kept this beloved comic book character around for longer than most of us have been alive. And yet, in all those years, there are many, many things that you've just never heard the Hulk say!

For example:

1. "Hulk wait patiently in line!"

2. "Hulk enjoy ballet."

3. "Hulk mildly disappointed. But Hulk deal with it."

The Exchange

Strictly a theoretical line of thought, not something that I've ever seen come up in a campaign, but let's consider it.

Suppose your Fighter 8 dies while you folks are on the Elemental Plane of Earth and, in an unexpected move, you decide to let the party druid use that most despised of life-saving spells, reincarnate. Check the spell description: it looks to me as if your new body (whatever form it may take) is 'native' to the plane on which you were raised. Yes? No?

The Exchange

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As I have nothing to add to the things which are being said on the other threads, which have contents to which I do not care to add anything at this time, it occurs to me that this is a good time to consider the wisdom of Mojo Jojo! For his wisdom is unlike a koan, which focuses on brevity and thus consists of few words! No! The wisdom of Mojo Jojo! is not that wisdom, but another kind entirely - one that is not the same. It relies on repetition and reiteration, so that no doubt can remain as to his meaning! So let us all now remember the greatest sayings of Mojo Jojo!, which are things that he has said which ought to be recalled!

MOJO: Hey, you kids! Get out of my moat! It is not made to be played in!
KIDS: Wheee! Ha ha ha! (continue splashing in the Volcano Observatory's moat)
MOJO (stalking off): I must remember to destroy those kids after my breakfast has been eaten.

The Exchange

My most recent home-brewed world had a rather unusual baseline assumption that I heartily recommend to GMs who want a change of pace:

The genetic incompatibility of different species shall be respected.

I don't know exactly how it happened (maybe Planescape's to blame, or maybe the 3.0 Monster Manual was the real kickoff point), but the 'default assumption' has somehow become that the only thing keeping cyclops/vegepygmy babies from happening are a few minor cultural taboos. If you as a GM are designing a setting, I heartily recommend 'enforcing' a more realistic (not totally realistic, duh) sort of genetics on your world. Let's face it - if humans could hybridize as widely as the PF baselines assume they do, pureblooded humans would be extinct after this many centuries - nothing left but a bunch of half-(every other monster in the Bestiaries).

(Yes, this means no half-elves and no half-orcs.)

I like the emotional impact and bit of pathos this brings to interspecies romances. (Not that a temporary species change or limited wish might not be a work-around, but those are unusual circumstances.)

Discussion?

The Exchange

While surveying another thread I heard a side comment that cavaliers suffer because they have, well, horses. Seems a little odd that the APG didn't offer some more all-terrain critters when one looks at the options available to paladins, druids, etc. So I thought I'd kick around ideas about all-terrain mounts (and how much they should be "penalized" level-wise vs. horses.)

For instance, one of my parties once encountered an advanced (Large) dire badger in the cellars of a gladiatorial arena & the druid wasted no time "trading up", since the critter was already highly trained. That was a great animal companion (ferocious when wounded, utterly comfortable underground and with enough stubborn "personality" to make it more than just a piece of furniture.) Of course, if I were giving something like that to a cavalier (probably a Small cavalier for the regular dire badger), I'd want to put its 'animal companion' upgrades at least... what, maybe 2 levels behind that of a horse companion?

Other critters and suggested 'adjustment' penalties? Anybody?

The Exchange

Here's something I've done the last couple of times one of my players has wanted to run a cleric (and I'd do the same for a paladin, if any of my players chose to walk that Damoclean path:)

The TEN COMMANDMENTS!

No, not the Hebrew Ten Commandments. What I generally do is look closely at the deity's alignment, and consider which portions of those values the deity emphasizes (for instance, a CG deity's Chaotic tendencies may rule when it comes to dealing with enemies, while his/her Good tendencies might determine how to interact with captives). Then have a look at the particular deity's write-up and see what other rules (no matter how minor) one can infer from them - this can be as minor as a 'sacred beast' or as major as a jihad against a particular other faith or race. Once I have a list of at least 10, I prioritize 'em, chop off anything that came in at #11 or lower, and give them to the cleric as a small hand-out.

As I said - only done this a couple times, but it's a huge help to new players... and even veteran players seem to appreciate the GM showing exactly which things are no-nos. Mind you, these are presented as guidelines - you aren't going to lose your class features the first time you break one (well, OK, that depends on how thoroughly you break it) - but it really gives the player some meat to work with.

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I'm just wondering how many other Marx Brothers fans exist in the PF audience. I just saw somebody quote him, & figured "OK, apparently there are two - counting me." So - if you got a good Groucho quote, throw it at this thread. Here, I'll start:

CHICO plays four bars of a song on his piano.
CHICO plays the same four bars.
CHICO plays the same four bars a third time.
GROUCHO: Listen, if you get near a song, will you play it?
CHICO: I can't-a think of the end-a this song.
GROUCHO: That's funny: I can't think of anything else.

The Exchange

Perhaps PF 2.0 (may it not come until I've defrauded some widows or something and can afford it) should only run to, say, Level 15 and introduce its "epic rules" for those who want to achieve 16+ levels.

I don't use epic rules, but many other folks enjoy them. And from what I hear, it seems a lot of folks think that the PF engine starts to 'overheat' a lot earlier than 20th level. Seems like redefining where "Epic" begins might solve problems on both parts of the divide. I mean, it isn't like 'the range of levels starts at 1 and ends at 20' is an immutable fact.

The decision of which high-level class features to strip out and which to reassign to lower levels would require tons of playtesting, of course.

I think dropping 8th- and 9th-level spells from the basic rules (and using them as sample spells for 'epic magic') might remove some of the spells that GMs hate having to design adventures around. Similarly, the full-BAB types would 'cap out' just before gaining their final iterative attack at 16th level.

Well, go on, tell me this is a crazy idea and that I'm a bad person. (Don't forget to tell me that I didn't use the scientific method! I love hearing that!) ;)

The Exchange

The notion is pretty straightforward. You devise an Exotic Weapon Proficiency, but instead of using an odd (and usually highly impractical/unrealistic) exotic weapon, you use the feat as an 'upgrade' for a simple (or martial) weapon that you want a character to be able to show off with.

For example, when I devised EWP (quarterstaff), somebody who took the feat could use it as a trip weapon, and also as a thrown weapon with a 10' increment.

When I did EWP (spear), the spear could be used as a double weapon (the spear head losing a little efficiency as a 1d8 (crit x2) slashing weapon rather than a 1d8 (crit x3) piercing weapon, and the butt-end becoming essentially a quarterstaff end) and - as a full-attack action - used for a single lunge with 10' reach.

Comments? Notions for other weapons' EWP 'upgrades'? Balance concerns?

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Recent threads about logic and philosophy reminded me: I think I've cracked the operating system for barbarians. Here it is:

10 START
20 Is there something in the room? If YES, go to 30: if NO, go to 400
30 Is it alive? If YES, go to 300: if NO, go to 40
40 Is it looking at you funny anyway? If YES, go to 300: if NO, go to 50
50 Is it valuable? If YES, go to 70: if NO, go to 60
60 Is it alcoholic? if YES, go to 70: if NO, go to 100
70 Is it small enough to carry? If YES, go to 200: if NO, go to 100

100 Say "Me smash!"
110 Execute SMASH
110 Are the pieces valuable? If YES, go to 70: if NO, go to 20

200 Say "Me take!"
210 Execute PLUNDER
220 Go to 20

300 Say "You die now!"
310 Execute KILL
320 Go to 20

400 Is there another room? If YES, continue to 410: if NO, go to 500
410 Execute LEAVE ROOM
420 Go to 20

500 Say "Me am win!"
510 END

*Please note that this is the SOLO BARBARIAN. Do not install this barbarian OS in a horde-member barbarian without the Horde Recognition and Horde Exemption patches, or it will kill, steal and/or break its teammates.

The Exchange

Although I'm enthusiastic about the people of the Middle East bringing down their own dictators (however gruesomely), I feel like America punched a tar baby by getting involved in the Middle East at all (anybody remember Brer Rabbit & the Tar Baby?) Try to interfere? You'll anger the locals. Try to avoid interfering? Ooo, that riled them even more.

It wouldn't be so bad if we had good intentions, humane methods or a brilliant master plan. I give us a C- for 'good intentions', but on the other two we've got nothing. (Unfortunately, due to government cutbacks, our most brilliant minds stopped working on international and economic policy, and are instead working for private businesses, trying to deduce how to sell more panty hose and IPods to a population that is now underemployed and has no discretionary income.)

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The Exchange

When I ran Haunting last month, I had a brainwave after the Piper haunt sucked the party monk dry and the PCs carried his corpse back to town. For the rest of that adventure, the monk's former companions kept getting little 'boosts' - essentially the same as if an Aid Another had been made. Since I'm presenting only the relevant facts, you've undoubtedly caught on a lot faster than they did: their monk companion's spirit had been caught in Harrowstone's web, but didn't have the strength to become a ghost (that would've been waaaay too much help!) + acted more like a mobile, beneficial haunt effect. Uncanny, but helpful. Came in real handy in the Lopper fight, especially.

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This thread is liable to get absurd, or at least wacky. Avert your eyes, Keepers of Canon Purity!

So you say, "The dragon's hoard also includes a tire iron," and all your players stop talking about last night's TV shows and are suddenly paying strict attention. Now admittedly you wouldn't want to see that sort of thing pop up in a straightforward high-drama epic campaign - but I can't help wondering what other GMs think of such a brain-jarring anachronism.

I'll acknowledge that it does hurt the suspension of disbelief. That said, the characters certainly aren't going to rest until they've discovered how such a strange object came to be where it was. Is the resultant "sense of wonder" worth it

A) if you have a rock-solid explanation (which may involve dimensional travel, lost high-tech ages or a "white hole" that keeps spitting people from Kansas into the dragon's lair, much to its delight)

B) if you as the GM put the tire iron there because you were up til 2am the previous night, struggling to complete the adventure, and suddenly realized you hadn't statted out the dragon's hoard

or

C) if one of the characters insists on taking EWP (tire iron)?

The Exchange

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To make a long story short, one of my groups was captured & wound up in the arena. One event became so popular that the PCs actually delayed their escape plans to get in one last round.

In the Races, the gladiators were furnished with vicious, stubborn riding birds as mounts. The race had four laps. Attacking other riders or other mounts was legal. Spells, except for area-of-effect spells or magic that accelerated the bird's speed in any way (including flight), were legal. Stealing other peoples' mounts was legal. Yelling and pulling hair was legal. Drunken spectators throwing things at the field was practically mandatory.

Mind you, half the fun was that the whole PC party had about 2 ranks of Ride and Handle Animal between 'em. Gladiators that were good at Ride just made themselves targets when they lapped those who were piled up in the melee near Goalpost 3.

Meanwhile, birds that had lost their riders sometimes ran to a corner and hid, sometimes followed the nearest other bird and sometimes just ran amok kicking whoever looked vulnerable. We had at least one race won by a guy on foot because the riders still on their mounts were busy hitting each other.

It can be hard to get players to do something that their PCs aren't optimized for, but I thought I'd throw the idea of the Big Race out there for other GMs to contemplate. It would especially be great for cons or FLGS games, where you never know exactly who's going to show up each week. Ideas on how to get your PCs into the Races? Plotlines that the Races could lead to? Any other thoughts?

The Exchange

All the recent gab about necromancy, graveyards and negative energy puts me in mind of a neat idea that I feel other GMs might want to drop into their campaigns.

In my campaign, it was called 'The Gray Order.' Wherever plague, or war, or famine or other mass-deaths occurred hooded gray figures would begin to appear. They'd walk through the charnel fields digging mass graves, delivering those merely near death to temples for healing, and performing memorials. The Gray Order were not a religion - most were clerics, but they came from most alignments. Their whole raison d'etre was to prevent the rise of undead - and dedicating your time to that purpose was the only real requirement for entry. Under whatever name, this Keep Them Dead Brotherhood can provide all sorts of neat campaign hooks. They can be a red herring when the PCs first encounter them - who are these ghouls? are they behind the famine/flood/etc.? - and they can later provide other adventure seeds. Middlemen for messages from beyond. Finders of heirlooms/treasure maps/a corpse bearing the Royal Birthmark. Not to mention the likelihood that local necromancers will start trying to pick them off, requiring the hiring of professionals in the art of violence.

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Yes, I know there are no penalties/advantages to being left or right-handed, or even ambidextrous. But sometimes a minor detail of the campaign rests upon handedness. Found an old system that is quick, fun for players, works fairly well, and apparently comes close to the actual proportions.

Each player rolls 1d6 and 1d20. If the d20 roll is higher, the character is right-handed. If the d6 roll is higher, the character is left-handed. And if the rolls are equal, the character is ambidextrous.

The Exchange

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What could be more "General Discussion" than GMs sharing riddles they've used? - Inspired by a related thread on riddling. OK, here's one that I put on a runed door (which led into a bonus area - not central to the quest they were on:)

All offer me freely, but I am seldom taken:
Rarely sought when needed, rarely good when wanted.

(& the answer is: Advice. Although one of my players guessed, "A beating".)

The Exchange

I've just moved down to the Yucatan Coast, and giving up my former group was quite a wrench. Any Pathfinder fans down that way? (Those of you that are just coming to the Coast on vacation would be welcome to sit in, but - never thought I'd hear myself say this - playing RPGs should be the last thing on your mind.)

Experience not necessary - in fact, I like novice players. Just reply to this thread so I can set up e-mail for the details.

The Exchange

We don't have any local PFS events yet out in the west end of the Willamette Valley area. I've been showing up once every 2 weeks for a couple of months and so far, no dice. I'm posting for two reasons:

1. Letting any Society members in the Valley know that Rainy Day Games in Aloha is trying to get PF Society events started (and they'd love it if somebody could run twice a month on a GOOD evening, such as Friday or Saturday: all my work schedule allows is Wednesday, when it's harder to find players).

2. Seeking advice from other GMs. Is there anything we can do to prime the pump? Or are we essentially just hoping that the event coordinator and the Paizo liaison can think of something, possibly involving free food?

The Exchange

In a few weeks my current campaign (still using 3.0) will finally wrap up. We've already agreed to use the Pathfinder RPG engine for the next campaign. However, a couple of my regulars have informed me that they'll soon be IRregulars, so I'm on the lookout for one or two new players to keep the table full.

The campaign (at least, my current plans for it) will focus a lot on the action in and around one city. The emphasis will be on event-driven adventures, with recurring NPCs and pretty close attention to the motivations you give your character. I use Greyhawk, not out of a lack of imagination (I have some other sandboxes for that), but because I love the classic adventures, characters, and background fluff: I think every player deserves a chance to play through, say, "Against the Giants" at least once.

If you live in Beaverton or Hillsboro, let me know you're interested. I'll cajole my regulars into meeting once or twice at the nearest FLGS (Rivals) so we can see how things work out.

(Brand-new players are welcome.)