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please delete this account, please!

I don't think it's objectively bad.

Just not for us. Just an opinion.

There were already a bunch of things that we were still considering, trying to make the game work for us, considering so may in my group had a really bad 3.5 experience. This is pretty much the deciding factor that it's not really what we were looking for.

Thanks to Kalindlara and everyone else who helped me with my queries anyway.

This seems a terrible concept, but I guess it was only a matter of time. Role-playing in general seems to be so jaded and amoral these days, it was clear Paizo was going to cater for this eventually.

I've felt for a few years than in the light of the popularity of things like Game of Thrones and Lamentations of the Flame Princess, that the FATAL game, widely reviled in its time, would be popular today if it was better-written and had slicker art.

I might give it a look, see if it can be reskinned. We've had evil-aligned PCs fighting for good causes before, just being extremely ruthless and brutal to the bad guys.

That all sounds ideal. I'm trying to encourage strong ties between race and class, so the player wants a scarf magus or hallow sorcerer. These sound ideal.

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That's great - I appreciate your help, both of you!

Hi, can anyone please advise whether any of the existing APs or one-off adventures deals with interacting with the Shoanti or Varisian traveller cultures? Two of the players are considering taking these ethnicities and wanted to know if there’s any official adventures that involve contact with that culture.

Thanks in advance

Thank you Kalindlara, I will definitely look into that.

That's helpful Bob, thanks.

Kolokotroni wrote:

Doesnt have to be a whole tribe. But they could have a pair of legendary hero brothers who are higher level. And maybe they dont get involved in every conflict in the area, but when they heard about the pcs slaughtering their bretheren they come to town. Like I said, I still have throwaway encounters, but I also allow for challenging encounters on occassion from unexpected sources.

Yes, that sounds exactly what I was thinking of, absolutely. The beauty of NPC races is that they can have character levels, and you can't tell a normal goblin from a high level NPC just by looking.

Kolokotroni wrote:

The point of Ex is to say, yes your progression is curbed, but I know precisely where the numbers top out, and where you are, and can plan my adventure accordingly using the tools the game gives me. If you cut out magic items but keep progressing to higher levels, you can no longer use the in game tools.

This is a good point. I don't think the players will accept it alas, but I'll certainly argue the case.

Kolokotroni wrote:

The example I always give is the succubus. A succubus should (in lore) be able to enthral people. But save or lose mental spells can be a real pain in game because when used against the party, they basically say, roll a die and if you fail, stop playing the game with us. Pathfinder kept with the potentially harsh game wise, but well connected to world lore way. 4E chose to make such abilities far less potent (allowing effectively a 50-50 save against it every round in definately. The problem is, that means a succubus could barely enthral a commoner for a few minutes, let alone a pc.

Yes, very much agree. I'm a big fan of creatures doing what they are supposed to do in the ecosystem, rather than just being level-appropriate challenges. And I'm fine with giants, dragons etc needing a better plan than 'a head-on attack in the belief that it's level-appropriate so we just fight it'.

Kolokotroni wrote:

Effectively in 3.x and pathfinder you are playing 3 games. Levels 1-8ish are lord of the rings/game of thrones. Levels 9-14ish are lesser super heroes like certain xmen or spiderman. Levels 15ish-20 are justice league dc or the avengers. The level you play at should affect the scope and challenge of your story.

Having played early editions of D&D, I can't really agree with that, but I see where you're coming from. Even Justice League and the Avengers still have Batman or Black Widow, don't they? Batman can still be 20th level without super-strength or being bulletproof.

But yes, I see what you're saying and appreciate the response.

Dave Justus wrote:

A good chunck of what you are talking about, roleplaying, dialog, building relationships is outside the mechanics of the system. You can do them, but by their very nature they are free flowing and require investment and effort beyond the mechanical game rules.

Very true.

Dave Justus wrote:

There are also numerous ways out there that replace the big 6 static bonus magical items, including some in the new unchained book. These things can help you get to more of the low magic feel you want.

Problem is, that only simulates a no-magic world, not a low-magic one. You can play Conan that way, but not Bilbo, because he gets Sting, Thorin gets Orcrist, and the other dwarves don't get anything.

Dave Justus wrote:

Obvious though, the more you change the more work it is if you want to use an AP. With E6 you will probably have to make major changes to the stat blocks of the last 3 books, but the plot and storyline should still be pretty doable.

I think on balance the APs I have read through are pretty cinematic and have a lot of opportunity for good roleplay beyond just the numbers, but you and...

Yes, I think that's true. I mean, I could just convert the entire thing to Amber Diceless or Savage Worlds or something and keep generally the same plot.

E6 doesn't appeal to the players, alas. They want to play Conan or Grey Mouser or whatever. It's the reliance on armfuls of gear they don't want. And yes, the ones playing fighters or rogues are absolutely fine with how the mages are going to be much more powerful than them without gear.

I think it's doable, it just needs me to change the stat blocks, and be able to modify them on the fly if necessary. Hard work, as you say but if that's what they want.

>And it doesn't give false impressions about what characters ought to be capable of.

Yes, but in previous editions it was perfectly possible to play a no-magic world or character. Conan or the Grey Mouser could still be high level, they just didn't have armfuls of gear like a videogame character.

A 20th level fighter, say, is still pretty decent in battle, even without the +5 sword, ring, armour, cloak and everything the game assumes he'll have.

If anything, the standard load-out is what gives 'false impressions' surely, because all foes such a character faces will have their stats artificially inflated to balance these +5 items out. Earlier editions didn't assume gear, and thus ettins or giants or whatever weren't as drastically different from orcs or ogres.

I see your point, and it may just be that you can't do that kind of thing in 3.5, unless you rewrite every combat encounter, which is obviously a lot of work.

The End Boss doesn't have to have the exact stats in the printed module, he just needs to be a suitable challenge for whatever Pcs he's facing. Which is probably best done in a nother game, maybe.

Thanks for responding.

Kolokotroni wrote:
For money, I use a homebrew alternate system that replaces the vast majority of magic items with innate bonuses. Magic items are rare, and are effectively priceless. There are no +x items, and each item is unique.

Problem is, that works in a no-magic world like Conan, but not in a LotR style world where there are _some_ magic items that do boost your fighting skills. Even if not everyone gets them.

Kolokotroni wrote:
All of this removes the grindiness of xp and gold. Gold becomes more of a flavor item, as it doesnt relate directly to personal power as it does when magic items are for sale. It might have indirect effects (bribing people, highering spies etc) but the paladin who doesn't want to loot the dead isn't punished for it.

That's fair comment, agreed.

Kolokotroni wrote:

The answer is...sort of. It doesnt have to be. You can have throwaway encounters that are a synch for the players as they get stronger to make them feel more powerful. Sometimes I even just let everyone narrate how they beat the tar out of the backroom thugs they run into in town when they are higher levels. And luckily, normal enemies dont have to disappear. You can add levels to a goblin to make it a threat at any level. And I especially like the relatively new monster codex for this. It provides some great options for lots of classic monster races. Its a great tool to keep those classic monsters coming back later on.

Having a whole tribe of 20th level goblins might break immersion though. Maybe some of them could be a challenge, yes. And as you say, if everything simply levels up around you, what's the point in levelling up? If every 20th level fighter goes to market and haggles with a 20th level merchant, gets his pocket picked by a 20t level urchin and in a bar brawl with 20th level thugs.

Kolokotroni wrote:

That is pretty much the only way you can accomplish what you want. As it stands your current plan simply wont work after a while, probably around 10th level, with problems arising between 6th and 8th level.

I was certainly looking to tweak the numbers, and get rid of things like DR, unless it's part of the plot they have to find magic to kill a particular creature that's resistant. But I don't mind if creatures like giants or dragons give even heroes pause, and cause people to be wary of attacking them without a plan.

Kolokotroni wrote:

Like I said, look into E6. One dm in my group has had a game going for almost 4 years now running through numerous adventures using the E6 rules. The normal system simply cant support what you are looking for.

I'm likely missing something, but wouldn't a PC who tops out at level 6 be in a worse place than a 20th level one with minimal items? Apologies if I'm missing something obvious.

Kolokotroni wrote:

Keep in mind that in a game like pathfinder, deliberate de-optimization (IE choosing things that are not very effective, but cool) is as much a problem as overoptimization. For instance it may be cool to give your witch the hex that lets them locate children by smell, but that is a character resource spent on something that wont help the party. Which means you will be able to contribute less then a witch that picked a useful hex. There are flavorful but useless options in the game. And while choosing a few usually isnt a problem. If you dont keep an eye on it, it can become a real problem.

Genuine question: if so many of these options exist that are not useful, why are these included in splatbooks by Paizo? If these are simply 'trap' choices that weaken the character through not choosing the correct option, why is this done? Is the game really intended to be a 'puzzle' of sorts where people taking a general feat are punished? Why even include something that was not ever intended to be an option?

Kolokotroni wrote:

I think my biggest piece of advice if you go through with your plan is dont plan to be able to use CR at all. Be aware of what the numbers your players have, to hit bonuses, armor class, saves, skill bonuses etc. Plan your encounters directly against that. The CR system will effectively be useless to you very quickly. Whenever you want an encounter to be challenging, you will have to look directly at the numbers your players have, and choose/design your enemies and challenges accordingly

Yes, that seems about right. I was kind of intending to use the plots and situations but ignore the official stats, depending on what battles were meant to be challenging and which were not. Some fights were clearly intended to be 'boss fights' at whatever level, but goblins and minions shouldn't be.

At the end of the say, I was kind of wondering aloud if 3.5 allowed you to run a game that felt like a novel or movie rather than a session of Diablo. The answer to that question might just be 'no', I appreciate that. It might just be easier to convert everything to 1st or 2nd edition D&D, or even 5th, where these elements matter less, and just preserve the plots.

Fair comment, but a cloud giant is what, 20 foot tall and 5000lbs? I think even Conan might think twice about attacking one, let alone two.

Of course, that assumes the PC sees it as 20 feet tall and 5000lbs and not a level-appropriate set of stats to fight, but that was kind of what I was hoping to aim at - that someone might think to sneak around, bargain with or trick something like that.

But yes, point taken at having to look at the numbers for saves and things.

Does the same apply for monsters?

If you were running a 20th level party through an AP, say, we'd be okay up to about 8th level and then have to adjust the difficulty downwards?

Several of you were good enough to help me out on a few issues a month or two back, so I’m asking for a bit more input from Kalindlara and other helpful forum types.

We have bought a fair bit of PF stuff and I’ve been canvassing the players as to what they want to play. A few have some issues with 3.5 and its derivatives. Nothing I think I can’t handle, but I wanted to ask the experts.

This involves both mechanical and narrative elements. Narratively, they want something that is less like a videogame and more like a book or TV series. Less ‘looting’ and grinding fights for XP, more story and character and that kind of thing. A lot of this is up to the players and GM obviously – people like Evil Lincoln have advised me that the ‘grindier’ aspects of the Adventure Paths can be cut and XP awarded for other things. Essentially, it boils down to ‘if this was a TV series or a book, would I show this?’ They want fights, but they want emphasis on other things too. As a GM, I want to encourage negotiation, or even running away as legitimate options, rather than just fighting everything out. Table-time is important, and I don’t want to waste it having to explore every last corner of a dungeon so as to get every last scrap of XP.

There’s also the matter of scaling things, as PF is very balanced with its specific challenges for every level and exact amount of magic item bonuses, etc. Obviously, PF is a very stats-driven game and this appeals to most of its players. But –narratively – characters shouldn’t really know their experience level? Do goblins just disappear from the game world when they are no longer a level-appropriate threat for the PCs? If a 20th level character gets into a bar-room brawl, are all his opponents a level-appropriate challenge? Do only 20th level pickpockets try to steal from him when he goes to the market?

One thing that D&D5 tried to do is flatten that curve a little, with its lack of Wealth By level and ‘bounded accuracy’. I was looking to run a very low-magic game, where items appear about as frequently as in most fantasy novels, rather than a Diablo-type game where the defeat of any NPCs gives the players a big sack of level-appropriate magic items. Magic items will exist, but they will be rare and valuable – even the humble +1/+2 items will give you a bonus you won’t get anywhere else.

There won’t be any stat-boosting items and I was going to keep statistic raises topped out at 20, to encourage more organic-looking characters.

So I guess my question is really about adjusting encounter levels for the PCs, yes? PF assumes you will have the correct booster items at each level, choose the ‘right’ feats and abilities, max your main stat and put your stat raises in that one. Whereas we’ll be looking at characters that resemble earlier editions of D&D like Dragonlance or something.

As there’s no protective magic items and only basic armour, that should keep ogres and things a threat even at slightly higher levels, I assume. Some damage is going to get through, even on high HP characters?

Narratively, the adventure paths are basically a channel into which you put a 1st level character and it comes out the other end as a 17th level one, at which point you retire it and do it all again with another AP. I wanted to keep some of the characters between the various stories, even if that means they are higher level, if possible.

For example, running the initial AP for Runelords for higher-level characters is going to be overly easy, even with few magic items and non-optimised characters. To a degree, I think this is okay; they will expect to thrash the goblins, although these same goblins are dangerous to the townsfolk... And throwing around high-level magic is liable to endanger the townsfolk even more. I can obviously increase the power of Nuala and the other notable NPCs so that they at least present a challenge – I think the book even suggests that. I will keep magic items that are appropriate to the story, such as if the adventure revolves around the recovery of a magic sword or whatever. But not items that just give the correct mechanical bonuses that the NPCs are supposed to have.

With regard to running things like Skull & Shackles as a second AP, I think I’d best just treat the whole thing as a sandbox. If they kill Harrigan and most of the other pirates straight away, take the ship and skip most of the first module, so be it. Likewise, if they take out the Hurricane King and other Shackles NPCs early, they still have to contend with the Chelish invasion and everything. They’ll just do it all out of order, what would be a ‘New Game Plus’ equivalent in a videogame.

Is there anything else I need to be aware of, running this style of game? I should add that everyone is just picking character stuff based on what seems ‘cool’, so there won’t be any optimising of stats, feats, class abilities etc.

Yes, you could say that we won’t really be playing PF at all, and that we may as well play an earlier game system anyway. But we’ve liked the feel of the game, the adventures and the plots, and I think it’s worth a try to amend a few things to our tastes.

Finally... I understand HeroLab is helpful in adjusting encounter levels of existing APs?

A question from a purely mathematical point of view: what would be the right level of encounters for – say – a 20th level fighter with no magic items? I read a thread recently about a PC being surprised while bathing and how long he would last.

Let’s say he (and his party) has standard non-magical weapons, maybe standard non-magical armour, decent stats but not maxed out, broad feats rather than total mastery of one weapon. Is he the equivalent of a tooled-up, optimised 15th level character? A 10th level one? How much does the items, feat selection and the like affect the challenge rating?

Don't know if this has been asked, but is there anything in Unchained that gives you the 'big 6' progression but still allows for some low-level magic items?

I was thinking of making the 'necessary maths' be untyped bonuses and to allow some low-level +1 or +2 signature weapons to give the players an edge.

I wanted a LotR feel where magic is rare, rather than a Conan style one where magic was non-existent, or the default which has bags of trash items like a videogame.

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I'll second that; 3.5's tactical minis are a real-turn off for me.

Really ironic 5th edition D&D returned to Theatre-of-the-mind play as default, yet spend more effort on their minis game than the RPG!

Steve Geddes wrote:

I find 3.5 to be very "non-D&Dish" - one of the reasons I prefer 5E (and preferred 4E-post essentials) is that it felt more like what I grew up with - a kind of hodge-podge of 0E and 1st edition AD&D.

I think it's all dependant on what core things you consider to constitute "being D&D". Character customisation over random determination feels much more to me like GURPS than D&D to me. Similarly with the rewarding of hyper-specialisation.
3.5's emphasis on objective rules subsystems and de-emphasis of DM fiat is another stumbling block for me when I play it.

Agree absolutely, Steve.

D&D 5th feels like D&D to me, unlike many previous editions.


... they released stuff for other editions.

Which is why I'm here. PF/3.5 is far from perfect for me. But it's still alive.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

Fair enough (I did pay cold, hard cash for the printed copy). I guess I don't really see what's missing out of it - granted there's no classes (or new paths) this time around, but that doesn't seem to have been ruled out as such, going forward.

I appreciate the perspective anyhow - as I said, I'm not trying to persuade anyone, just understand. It sounds to me like pathfinder is the best choice for you and I'm personally glad that the two systems are serving different markets in that way.

Fair enough Steve, it’s good to see we can debate without arguing.

For me, it’s just disappointing, after the release of a new system. It really was play-tested well and feels like everything 4E should have been. But if they are not bothering to support it, why should I?

I was happy with the initial concept of ‘one adventure plus a player’s book every 6 months’. Now we’re seeing cancelled books and staff cutbacks, six months into the new edition. What would I want to see? The ‘Elemental’ concept should be huge from a player’s perspective, with new classes and archetypes. There’s a massive wealth of legacy content from the previous editions. That we’re seeing nothing is just incredibly frustrating, and I don’t want to support that attitude. I supported 4E, even if it wasn’t always to my tastes. At least they were trying.

Listening to that WotC bean-counter giving his marketing spiel just made my blood boil. I may not agree with James Jacobs or whoever, but at least they are gamers who care about games and understand the concepts.

Pathfinder will require a LOT more effort on our behalf to make it what we want (I’m going to do what I can to adopt some kind of ‘advantage/disadvantage’ rule, as well as try reduced magic and some attempt a kind of ‘bounded accuracy’) but the sheer wealth of product (probably too much stuff, but that’s another story) makes it feel healthy.

Steve Geddes wrote:

by the way, I'm not trying to change your mind, but can I ask why you consider this to have been "tossed aside"?
It seems to me that the elemental evil players guide is exactly what you were looking for (or willing to accept, anyhow). Granted this, specific book doesn't have new classes/paths but it does have new feats, races and spells.
As I said, I'm not arguing with you, but I don't quite understand the pessimism from people in general that the OP's article has provoked. I'd appreciate hearing why this doesn't fit the bill in terms of expansion of mechanical options.

Sorry Steve, I can see where you're coming from, but that 'free PDF' felt like a slap in the face to me, it felt like something they scrawled on the back of a cigarette packet during a smoking break. I want something I'd be happy to pay real hard cash for. I want classes and updates from previous editions. I want Sha'irs and Elementalists from an elemental book. There's enough poor adventures on the market already.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot not to like about the fiddly PF/3.5 rules, and I think the 5th edition rules are the best D&D system to date. But I've been playing since AD&D in 1979, and this edition has finally done for me what even 4E failed to do, and drive me away from D&D. YYMV, but all I can do is vote with my wallet.

I want an RPG, I simply don't want a 'holy book' that is perfect and unchangeable forever. It doesn't feel healthy at all to see such little emphasis on the RPG. Say what you like about PF, but Paizo don't put the cart before the horse.

As someone here said, this 'edition' is like Essentials, just a placeholder to keep the intellectual property alive and cross-sell minis and vidya. They have absolutely zero interest in the RPG.

That sounds good, thanks Kalindlara.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
a. I think there's an unarmored warpriest archetype

Thank you

Kalindlara wrote:
Also, note that refluffing can serve you well. This guy? He's wearing leather armor. The iconic barbarian in the Core Rulebook is wearing hide armor. That's not even light armor. So sometimes, the stats can reflect one thing... while the image reflects another. :)

I dunno really, Kalindlara. The iconics seem to be drawn for 'rule of cool'. Amiri seems to be wearing patchwork armour on legs and arms, and other iconics like the Oracle are depicted wearing robes when there's no reason that their class wouldn't be wearing armour. Likewise Seltiel and the gunslinger character are wearing clothes, not armour.

It looks cool and the art is beautiful but it's clearly not intended to depict the armour described in the Core rules.

I didn't really ask for that, thanks. Thanks for the response but it doesn't really help.

I'm sorry if I didn't explain myself well-enough and muddied the waters by using specific examples.

I asked:

a) are there any unarmoured archetypes I may have missed, and

b) is there anything in the vast amount of PF rules that allow for swapping out ability score improvements?

I don't have a complete knowledge of all the variant options in dozens and dozens of PF books so I was hoping those people who did could tell me if I'd missed anything.

I haven't really read the Mythic rules yet so for all I know there might be something in there.

Sorry, I just don't see the musketeers and Jack Sparrow are wearing 20 pounds of studded leather. It's an image thing. I'd sooner just give out Bracers. And the only armoured gunfighter I can recall is Ned Kelly.

And thanks, Kalindlara, your help was instrumental in converting the group to PF. We've bought lots of hardbacks and are considering subscriptions.

Ah, I dimly remember the UA rules - thank you, Wraithstrike.

I was thinking more in terms of existing PF archetypes that allow unarmoured characters, as it seems weird that a Dumas-style musketeer gunslinger or swashbuckler would be wearing armour.

I'm not at all bothered about WBL - I'll give them all Bracers if I have to. I just wanted to see if there was some kind of a system fit. Savage Barbarian has Conan or Red Sonja covered, I guess.

I suppose Ecclesitheurge has the Final Fantasy White Mage covered too.

Anything else I've missed?

So, we've decided to embrace Pathfinder instead of D&D5 for the next few years - thanks in part to the replies I got from you guys a few months ago. Much house-ruling lies ahead, but we're all happy with what we have so far.

So, just a few questions if anyone can help.

1) Quite a few players want to play a Conan/Jack Sparrow/Wyatt Earp character without armour. I could just give out Bracers AC2 to everyone at first level, but I'm exploring alternatives. What archetypes offer unarmoured potential? I can see there's Savage Barbarian, Geisha Bard, Kensai Magus, there's an elf Magus that's unarmoured I think, the Eccleistheurge Cleric... Does anyone know of any other ones? Monk, Wizard, Sorcerer obviously, but I'm thinking of combat roles.

2) Is there any option anywhere for trading out the standard Ability Score increases for any other benefit as D&D5 does?

Many thanks if you can help.

Fair enough, Steve. I see your points and can agree with some of them.

But while I prefer D&D5's streamlined system over Pathfinder's fiddly, combat-heavy 3.5 aesthetic, I want new content and a wide variety of options.

I've been playing D&D since 1979, finding something good in every system. And 5th edition has finally done what even 4E couldn't manage, and driven me away from my very first RPG.

There is much I dislike about Paizo's approach and model, but they will now get my money until we see what 6th edition is about.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

I think they're targetting the bloat-fatigued rather than the option-hungry. (Although that article does anticipate more options down the track - it's just not their focus).

I see the lack of upcoming splatbooks as a strength.

That just seems ironic considering you have several monthly subscriptions to Pathfinder. Presemably you want at least some of their monthly content then? Would you really be happy if Paizo didn't release new content outside the Core book?

Why can't D&D players want new content? Why can't we play psions or celestial mages or whatever?

Why is there no middle ground between a deluge of new stuff every month, and absolutely nothing new being released?

Everyone who argues that a total lack of content is such a good thing seems to be ignoring the Paizo model. And as far as I can see, they seem to be doing quite well.

I simply cannot see how a revamped D&D having nothing new for the RPG for the first year can be considered a 'strength'.

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I understand those who feel Pathfinder has too much 'bloat'.

But as I see it, there's a huge TON of content, and you can use what you want - I think few GMs are going to use _everything_.

But D&D is sticking by its choice not to offer ANY new classes, archetypes, etc.

I originally was okay with the concept of two adventures per year with each coupled with a player's book with 5th edition versions of races, classes, archetypes, etc. That way, we would eventually see Eberron, Psionics, etc.

Now that's been completely tossed aside, and I find it bizarre.

It's completely baffling to me that they are refusing to give D&D any further content. No new classes, etc.

That's the main reason we've decided to return to Pathfinder. 5th edition D&D is a great rules set, but we want regular new content.

Paizo gets one thing right - the RPG drives the other things, the minis, card games, etc.

In D&D, the MMO and minis are all-important and the RPG is a dim and distant third.

Bizarre and disappointing way to run a system, and simply not for us.

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Thanks to everyone who offerend advice - Kalindlara in particular. I really appreciate the effort you put into that!

I get the feeling that I could make some of these work.

And the information you've provided will help me make a good case to the others, thank you.

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Thanks for all the replies. Sorry I've not responded but I had to go into hospital at short notice and only just came out.

Anyway, it's interesting that there are so many replies and they are so varied; some think 'sure, you can role-play if you like' and others stress it's a combat-heavy stats-driven optimizing game and you'll be disappointed if you don't play it that way.

So it's quite possible that you can play it how you want at either extreme, or maybe somewhere in the middle.

We got Ultimate Campaign and that seems interesting.

Whether we take the plunge will probably depend on what's in 'Unchained', but there's plenty of food for thought here and I'm grateful for your advice. Thank you, pathfinder people!

Milo v3 wrote:
MAJT69 wrote:
b) the perception that all 3.5 is stats grind with no role-playing.
If you thought that with 3.5, then your going to think that with PF.

I don't know.

That's why I'm here , to find out if that perception is true or not.

Gambit wrote:
Actually, I would say Curse of the Crimson Throne would be even more of a perfect match for you. Sadly it is 3.5, out of print, and not available in nice pretty updated hardback compilation form like Runelords is.

Rise of the Runelords comes in a nice collected edition as you say, so I was leaning towards that one. I like what I hear about Sandpoint as a base town. But I hear it's pretty grindy, and far more importantly, that it's heavy on the 'enemies always attack and fight to the death' thing. I read some reviews here and someone pointed out the NPCs tend to be 'dungeon crawl fodder dressed up in fancy verbiage'. This is high on the list of things likely to disappoint.

I should also note that certain things that might bother other people may not be an issue for us - the complaints I've had seem to be very specific.

Thanks for all the advice, it's welcome.

I think we'll be putting fantasy on hold for a month or two, which will give me time to read an AP and wait for the Unchained book to come out, see how (and if!) that book shakes things up.

What I think I'll do is buy ONE adventure path and really read through it, rate it for our purposes and use that to present my case to them.

I guess I won't rate it on player choice (if the APs are by definition intended to be somewhat railroad) or on mechanical things like stats or balance, because that's not an issue.

I guess I'll be looking at general things like story and atmosphere, but also things like opportunities for role-playing, enemies that might talk or don't fight to the death, etc.

I think I'd best not use Kingmaker, because it seems so different from all the others.

So which of the others would offer the best role-playing experience? Or is in general the most combat-light? I'll give it a week or so then make some purchases based on your suggestions.

memorax wrote:

With 5E I do hope that were going to get some standalone material. Not limited to being released only in adventures. If that's their new way of selling new material. Then Wotc have truly lost me as a fan. I'm all for making money and moving new material. Bundling it in adventures seems kind of shady to me. I can always use new material. I don't need more adventures. I have enough APs and similar material to last me a lifetime.

Yes, this is where we are. Even given that the Eberron stuff just released for D&D is a playtest, it's shockingly poor. Folding Artficer into Wizard? It was a completely different class with weapons and everything in 3.5 and 4E. Looks like Psionics and the like will just be a subclass of existing classes; everything is getting mashed into existing classes.

WotC is putting the cart before the horse. The D&D brand will primarily consist of the MMO, a minis game and boardgames, with occasional adventures, which may or may not have a bit of character stuff.

At least Paizo focus on their RPG and everything else stems from this.

Roll on 5.5 then, and maybe someone who actually cares can take over for 6th edition.

thejeff wrote:
Edit: I suspect that's "Fighter with a decent charisma because I picture him as likable", not "Fighter with a decent charisma because I want this bonus to diplomacy".

Yes, he had 16 Str and 14/15 Chr because the concept was that of a gregarious, likeable would-be ladykiller. It would have been more optimal to go Str18/Chr10 or whatever but it was essential to the character concept.

And PF supports that; the iconics are not especially min/maxed. We once had a 3.0 game where one character had stats of 16+ in everything, and another guy had 11 Dex and everything else was 5 or less. And the player was fine with it, the character was great fun even though he was utterly incompetent.

That's not really an issue, the issue is whether it's possible to play the game without every chaacter having a cloak or protection and amulet of natural armour.

Mystic_Snowfang wrote:

Their female Iconics are just as badass as their male ones, and they've got enough mancandy to offset the rather insane outfits that the female spellcasters have.

As far as I can make out, it's Amiri who seems to be the fanservice girl, rather than Seoni, who doesn't actually show a lot of skin?

Kthulhu wrote:
memorax wrote:
If you don't like 3.5. You probably won't enjoy Pathfinder.


Pathfinder is just 3.5 with a bunch of house rules.

We have no issues with 3.5 beyond:

a) wealth by level

b) the perception that all 3.5 is stats grind with no role-playing.

We're fine with everything else.

I made this thread to see if it was possible to do 3.5 without the required laundry list of items. It's been years since we played it or looked at PF and I wondering if something inventive had been done in the meantime in this regard.

If Pathfinder Unchained is about unshackling the game from 3rd edition conventions, we may find that worth a look.

pennywit wrote:
If kingdom-building, player choices, and politics appeal to you and your group, check out Redcelt's Kingmaker mod

That does look nice. Is there a reason they never did anything like Kingmaker again, as it seems to crop up frequently when PF high points are mentioned?

Though I should say that pure sandbox isn't necessarily what we're after either. The complaints were very specific. Linear is acceptable as long as there are SOME opportunities for role-playing, meaningful choices or non-violent resolutions along the way. And if not, the Big End Boss had better actually be Orcus rather than his flunky.

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Okay, I had the chance to read through the PDF of Serpent Skull that some nice person bought me.

I'll be honest; I did so out of politeness to a kind deed, and my expectations weren't so much low as non-existent. From what I'd read, and what several of my group suggested, I expected the kind of soulless dungeon hack that even Gary Gygax might be ashamed to put his name to.

So to my extreme surprise, I enjoyed it a great deal.

The 'drugged and shipwrecked' part made me cringe, but I sort of see why they had to do that, and the rest of it improves immeasurably. The outdoor setting certainly helped and made it sandboxy. The atmosphere was excellent and very evocative throughout.

To my surprise, there were plenty of role-playing opportunities and wacky characters to interact with. The mephit and the tengu really stuck out; I found myself imagining what accents I could use in portraying them, what music I could have playing in the background of a game.

The other shipwrecked NPCs were a great touch; the players absolutely love all that stuff, trying to befriend people and work on improving their morale. Loved the bit where the dead pirate could only be defeated by using his lover's locket. Feels so very classic for a horror story.

I liked the 'end boss' being smart and having contingency plans, rather than just sitting around to get slaughtered. Nice that she could engage the PCs in some banter before fighting too. The whole encounter seemed to be a taste of things to come. The whole thing had a pulp/horror feel, and felt like the Big End Boss for the whole AP was likely to be something like Lovecraft's Yig. The players would love that.

So overall, I was very impressed. Now, it could just be that this one was especially good by the standards of others. But I actually decided I would love to run this, and I'm absolutely positive my players would love to play it. 'Serpent's Skull' seems to have a bit of a bad rep around here too, but this first instalment was excellent, I thought.

Again, this might be well above average in role-playing/exploration terms, but I'm a bit baffled that my players would think PF is such a dull grind with solid adventures like this one. This will certainly be 'Exhibit A' in my attempt to sway them. I can actually point to things in the text and say 'look, some of this is already here, do you trust me to do the rest?'

So thanks again for whomever sent me this - it was certainly an inspired choice.

Skeld wrote:

For that purpose, I prefer BECMI. If you're not familiar with Old School gaming, you should look into it as an alternative.


I grew up with BECMI (not that we called it that then!)

Mystara is still my first love. I think it always will be.

I was younger then; creativity was pouring out of me. I remember we did 'Isle of Dread' as a film-shoot for a cheesy 80's b-movie called 'Saga of the Slave Girls' :)

I could think up all that stuff then. I'm older now, brain's atrophied a bit. I need something to fire that spark, which is why I'm really enquiring about the Pathfinder stuff.

No, we actively hate the min-maxing elements and mostly just try to make cool characters. Fighters with decent Charisma and the like.

Maybe the way to go is to just give them their signature stuff early and not worry about the long list of support items. I know 3.5 well enough to balance or reduce the monsters. And I'm hoping we'll get to do things beyond fighting anyway.

Auxmaulous wrote:

I gave up on PF after years of frustration and basically realizing that the work/effort to get the game I wanted out of that system was not paying off vs. the time and energy invested.
In my case - more money spent on the system was not a good investment.

Fair comment, and I appreciate your honesty. I think that's where my players seem to be.

It's been interesting for me to step in and see the 'state of the game', so to speak. Amazing how many ways we find to play our 'lets pretend' ! :)

'Volume' is what kind of attracted us to PF, yes. The concept of a cleaned-up and improved 3rd edition has it's appeal, but also the 3rd edition baggage (including the perception, true or not, that it's all about the stats and 'DPS' and 'builds' rather than role-playing).

It's nice that James Jacobs engages with the fans, but he always strikes me as an 'I'll defend my game to the death!!!' kind of guy, even if nobody is really attacking it. And that thread pretty much spells out that what PF fans want is a combat-heavy game, which is great for those who like it, but not what we were looking for.

Thanks to Kalindlara for providing examples; I feel that PF isn't really what we're after, which kinda disappoints me, but I volunteered to do some fact-finding so I will do what I can to present a case.

Also thanks to whatever kind person bought me the 1st part of Serpent Skull. I will definitely read through it thoroughly and see if it supports my argument to my players. The gesture is certainly appreciated.

Kalindlara wrote:

I don't mean to sound hostile, but Pathfinder does have those things. Every bullet point there is something easily within the scope of the Paths - explicitly present, in some cases. I was gearing up to present evidence and examples, but I needed a bit more time and a better understanding of what your players were looking for.

Sorry. I wish I'd been more helpful. :(

You've been very helpful.

It would be nice to have some examples, to save me reading all the APs (or even one-offs, doesn't have to be APs).

Something I can get back to them and point to, and say 'look, this does exist, now trust me to add in stuff like this in other areas'.

Some thing like... off the top of my head...

- a final battle where you fight Orcus rather than his chief henchmean

- a major encounter that can be resolved without fighting

- some kind of moral decision or a choice of the 'lesser of two evils', like an uneasy alliance between forme enemies or the chance to redeem a former foe

From what I can see, the APs do have nice little gazeteers on towns and gods and things, but they're not really connected to the adventures themselves. If I can offer them _something_ that bridges the gap, I think I can fill the other gaps myself.

Latrecis wrote:
If there is some published content of this nature out there that has these features a) why aren't you using it? and b) could you tell us about it because we'd really like to see it.

Off the top of my head... anything for One Ring or 13th Age, and that's only in the last year. I'm sure at least some D&D adventures had choices or branching paths, or encounters that could be resolved without combat. Even the Tiamat 5th edition D&D adventure has an end battle that depends on what allies you gathered during the game.

Even something as prosaic as videogames has these options, so it's a bit odd that an RPG published adventure can't. I've mentioned Dragon Age and Mass Effect, and even Baldurs' gate had a few choices, like whether to side with the thieves guild or the vampires.

Why aren't we playing those? As I said, the new D&D won't be supported to the degree we want, and were looking for a game that provided D&D style stats (classes, races, etc) with adventures that weren't simply combats.

Several of our players basically dared me to prove them wrong, that 3rd edition variants had nothing beyond:

- very linear adventures that were nothing beyond '12 fights, level up, repeat'
- no encounters that could be resolved through role-playing rather than combat
- no character choices or decision points
- thematically weak villains, you never fight the Big Bad, only his chief underling

From what you say, Pathfinder does the classic D&D dungeon crawl REALLY well and that's why it's so widely loved. But as you say, it doesn't seem what we're looking for, and that's fine. That completely collaborates what the players were saying, and I can now admit defeat while saying 'hey, I tried'.

Yes, of course any of these things could be rewritten by a GM and I understand that. I was looking for something that was there in writing I could use to convince the naysayers.

This isn't a moral judgement at all, I'm not 'attacking' the things you love and I'm delighted the game works well for you. I am surprised to find out I was wrong and they were right, but I hadn't seen any Pathfinder for 3-4 years and wondered if anything had changed in that time. Thank you for everyone who contributed and helped out.

Steve Geddes wrote:
I think the OP's impression (which I share) is that there are plans for only limited expansion/support for 5E, even over the long run.

Yes, WotC seem to be saying this will be the first edition of D&D without extra classes and expansions. So we're shelving it for a year or two and see if anything changes there down the line.

Pathfinder has loads of 'extras', but the players concerns are that any 3rd edition style game is literally unplayable unless the characters are completely optimised, that it's irredeemably broken unless it spends every last gp on the correct combat items for its wealth-by-level.

I wanted opinions on that from those who know the game best, and they seem to be mixed... :)

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