Fair enough, what would you suggest if I were to try to wash off the effects of 6-01 and 6-02?
Honestly, anything else from Season 6. Here's the summary of reviews from Season 6 through the end of 2014.
Scenario: average rating (out of 5 stars)
I've played most of the above and some of them are among my favorite scenarios of all time. Even though I'm no fan of tech, for me Season 6 is shaping up to be a pretty awesome Season. (It sounds like tech isn't an issue to you--if you want some scenarios that don't need optimized parties, I would especially recommend 6-08 or 6-10.)
Just to chime in here:
As a few have mentioned already, PFS (as with tabletop RPGs in general) tends to be a relatively expensive hobby, especially for GMs. I'm hesitant to lend support for raising price-points such that less affluent members of the community get squeezed out, either by choice or necessity. This can be mitigated with careful effort by local players/GMs, but that effort isn't free or automatic.
As far as I see it (and John/Paizo would have a much better handle on this, obviously) there are two ways to increase revenue for more content:
1. Raise the price of content.
#1 is not guaranteed to increase revenue, as it may drive away potential customers (I have no data to say this would be true or not). For #2, if Paizo sells (to take a random number), 10000 copies of each scenario as opposed to 5000, revenue increases. But again, John/Paizo would actually have a sense of whether this is happening or not. My impression is that it is, if gradually.
I'm not saying a price-raise from $4 to $5 per scenario is a bad idea, but I do want to note that for some people it is NOT a negligible difference.
A number of posters are remarking on the 'several grey area' rulings on this tactic, which I want to spell out for those catching up. (For the purposes of this post I'm ignoring whether it ever should be used, and also ignoring the flagrant meta-gaming.)
1. The use of limited wish to cast simulacrum. Limited wish can, among other things, "duplicate any sorcerer/wizard spell of 6th level or lower" or "duplicate any non-sorcerer/wizard spell of 5th level or lower." Simulacrum is a 7th level sorcerer/wizard spell, but also appears on the summoner list as a 5th level spell--thus the argument that limited wish can be used to duplicate simulacrum. However, there are two problems with that. First, simulacrum is not a "non-sorcerer/wizard spell" because it is a sorcerer/wizard spell of 7th level. (As an aside, I might be willing to accept the use of a spell that appears on the, say, cleric spell list at lower level than the sorcerer/wizard spell list on account of the fact that a divine spell is fundamentally different from an arcane spell in a way that a magus spell is not different from a sorcerer/wizard spell.) Second, limited wish also specifies that it can "produce any other effect whose power level is in line with the above effects" (emphasis added), meaning that there is a RAI ceiling on the power level of limited wish, which simulacrum obviously breaks. To me, at least, this makes the tactic illegal all by itself.
2. The reduction of simulacrum's 12-hour casting time to a single standard action. Limited wish states that it "duplicates any [spell]..." but it does not state that it "duplicates the effects of any [spell]..." which makes the reduction to a standard action a little dubious. Furthermore, limited wish calls out which elements of the duplicated spell change: "A duplicated spell allows saving throws and spell resistance as normal, but the save DC is for a 7th-level spell." It says nothing about altering the casting time. There are other, lengthy threads on the legality of this so I'll just stop there.
3. The elimination of the material component. Limited wish has a material component of a diamond worth 1,500 gp, which Kurshu doesn't need because it's cast as a spell-like ability rather than simply cast as a spell. So good so far. However, limited wish states that "when a limited wish spell duplicates a spell with a material component that costs more than 1,000 gp, you must provide that component (in addition to the 1,500 gp diamond component for this spell)," meaning the 10,000 gp of powdered rubies required for a magicbane bandersnatch must ordinarily be provided as part of the limited wish. Remember, limited wish duplicates the spell, not the effects of the spell, so this also becomes a bit of a stretch. Out of all the stretches in this, though, this is the one I'm most willing to buy.
4. That Kurshu even knows of magicbane bandersnatches. This is plain and simple a Knowledge (Arcana) check. However, the Core Rulebook states that for "particularly rare" creatures, "the DC of this check equals 15 + the monster's CR, or more" (emphasis added). Since normal bandersnatches are "rare in the extreme," thus requiring the higher DC check to have knowledge of them, knowledge of a variant bandersnatch should be even more rare. If I was the GM, this check would be DC 20 + CR, or DC 40 in the case of a magicbane bandersnatch. This DC is outside of Kurshu's take 10, which, as Walter has pointed out, she cannot do anyway. A roll would therefore be required, a roll at which Kurshu would fail more often than not.
5. That a simulacrum rendering of a magicbane bandersnatch retains the antimagic field aura of an ordinary magicbane bandersnatch. Simulacrum states that the created creature "appears to be the same as the original, but it has only half of the real creature's levels or HD (and the appropriate hit points, feats, skill ranks, and special abilities for a creature of that level or HD)." There are several considerations that, to me, clearly indicate that the replica magicbane bandersnatch would not have the antimagic field aura of a normal magicbane bandersnatch. First, if everything is cut strictly in half, the normal aura of 20ft should be cut to 10ft, substantially changing the tactical situation during that particular encounter. Second, antimagic field is, at its lowest, a 6th level spell with a radius of 10ft, and having a constant effect over a larger area is rather out of line for an 11 HD creature. Third, the magicbane aura is what grants the bandersnatch a higher CR--thus this should be one of the first special abilities lost when the creature's overall efficacy is cut in half by the simulacrum spell.
And there you have it. I think it's pretty clear that this was not legal.
Seth Gipson wrote:
IMO, a ratings system for adventures is a fantastic idea. All kinds of categories could be included, so any person could find potentially anything they find offensive/unwanted, and completely avoided. This is definitely something that should be done...by the player community, not by Paizo.
That's exactly what I'm trying to do HERE! Please add to it and let me know what you think could be improved!
So... I made this. It's pretty make-shift at the moment and I've only populated it with stuff I've run/played (and with a semi-fuzzy memory), but anyone can view and edit. Individuals who are concerned about a particular trigger going off unexpectedly can simply check the list in advance, GMs can consider their audience before choosing a scenario, and I really don't think that there's any story-spoiling information on there.
I'd like to see whether it works as a tool before I build something more permanent/official-looking, so please:
- Populate the sheet!
A solution that hasn't been mentioned yet here (at least, I don't think so, it's a long thread and I did some skimming) is for us as consumers to generate our own open-access/editable list of scenarios with potential triggers, and put it up somewhere for easy access (like the GM Shared Prep). For example, there could be a 'category,' if you will, of scenarios that involve themes of suicide.
GMs could check the list if they know their audience; players could check the list for their particular triggers before signing up/sitting down for a specific scenario. For example, if I am triggered by themes of suicide, I simply check to see if the scenario I'm signed up for is in that 'category.' If so, I switch tables/ask to change the scenario.
This can happen whatever regardless of Paizo decides to do (thanks for being attentive to this though, John). I will start building something along these lines over the weekend if someone else hasn't already.
(As a side note, the X-Card is a great tool and I will start using this in my games, especially when I don't know the players personally. Thanks.)
Things You Absolutely Must Have:
Things It's Hard to Go Without:
Things It's Nice to Have:
I'm sure I'm forgetting something really obvious but this might help start you off.
This isn't directly addressed at the OP's question, but as far as taking names from Golarion canon there are several which I actually think would be quite appropriate:
Names of gods (Aroden, Ketephys, Calistria, etc.), or derivations therein, are names that real people take in real life all the time (Jesus, Christopos, Ahmed, etc.). It would only make sense that Golarion is awash in these sorts of names as well.
Names of famous people (Durvin, Nex, Aroden, etc.) within Golarion also strike me as conceivably very common.
Of course, these would be PCs named after individuals in Golarion canon, not claim to be those individuals themselves...
A friend of mine has a gnomish barbarian who goes by the name of Thighbite. Exploring a room in
Spoiler:the cleric of Desna grabbed the item we were looking for, prompting two sea hags to burst out of hiding and attack us.
Thighbite happened to be the focus of attack, and somehow failed one of the Fort saves against Evil Eye, leaving him staggered.
Someone took out one hag before retreating; the cleric dimension door'd out of the room while the rest of us (figuring that we had what we needed) retreated back through the door--shouting to Thighbite to (OOC) to use his one action to move and follow us so that we could trap the hag in the room.
Without a word, Thighbite activated rage as a free action and rolled his dice, crit the hag for some 60-odd damage, killing it instantly and ending the combat.
Despite what we were all telling him to do, Thighbite made the *right* choice.
From a game a few months ago: the bard opened a door to find a man holding a bloody mace and two dire lions inside. Naturally, we rolled for initiative immediately, which the bard won. Standing in the doorway, he cast confusion on all three, and all three failed their saves.
Cleric: "So, what do we do now? Do we go in?"
Bard: "Nope, we shut the door and wait."
Great guide as always, Pain.
I've got two things to add and a open question.
1. Be a PbP Player before a PbP GM. I feel that this should really be a commandment as well. Getting at least a game or two under your belt as a player helps acclimatize you to the needs and volume of PbP GMing.
2. Pushing by Passing the Buck (more advice for players than GMs). Something that annoys me a bit as the GM is when players 'push' by passing the buck, i.e. making a post that depends on other players making the party decision.
Brunn takes a seat on the nearby rock and pulls an apple out of his satchel. "Well folks, what should we do? We've burned down the Bubble Factory, but there's still the Soap Dam to blow up and the Loofah Mill to sabotage."
In my mind, all this does is force the decision onto someone else. It's still a 'push' post in that it definitely provides something for the other players to respond to, but it doesn't really push the story. A better post:
Brunn takes a seat on the nearby rock and pulls an apple out of his satchel. "Well folks, we've burned down the Bubble Factory, but there's still the Soap Dam to blow up and the Loofah Mill to sabotage. I say we take the Mill next."
Others can still move the story in a different direction, but there's something for the GM to use in the absence of disagreement. There is an exception here, which is if one player is driving the campaign too much, that player should offer up the decision-making to the rest of the party.
Q. (Mostly PFS Specific) Chronicle Sheets. Chronicle Sheets have been almost the biggest pain in the whole PbP process for me; I tried several different methods before I found one I liked. If I have access to a printer/scanner, I print and scan them and put them up on a Google Drive folder for players to access. If not, I work some file conversion magic to get them into a word process, then save as a .pdf and put them up on Drive. This process is still rather annoying, so I'm interested to know what others do.
A note for the OP: in the vein of another thread ("You are your race and class"), sometimes players have pre-conceived notions of what a character is and what their motivations are based simply on class -- hence not being able to see why such a character might join the Society.
But a class is really just a set of features. A character is only a barbarian because they use anger to do incredible things. But that doesn't stop my barbarian from having a terrific curiosity about the world and history and artifacts and knowledge, and joining the Society to pursue those interests.
But from everything that I have read in this thread, age/maturity didn't really seem to play any role in what happened.
I don't think this has all that much to do with age, but based on the second player's description of how the first bit of exploration went, it sounds to me like the GM just wanted to get to the combat as quickly as possible and smack the PCs around. And that's just not good GM'ing.
Not grounds to reverse the TPK but definitely something to talk with the GM about.
Oh, I wouldn't recommend Rescue for complete newbies, but I don't think Bloodcove at level 1 and Rescue at level 2 or 3 would be so bad. Besides...
Rescue at Azlant Ridge (major spoilers):
Sure, the ghouls are awful. And that guy with the lance is obnoxious. But the opportunity (as GM) to ask for a player's character sheet, witness the panicked look on their face, and then hand them the statblock for a CR 14 cold iron behemoth and say "you are now in control of this" was just way too delicious. Even without that battle of titans the ending would have been awesome, but that was the finishing touch.
An example I have is my Cleric of Sarenrae I played up to nearly level 3. But then I ran in a scenario where our party was attacked while on an investigation to find this woman. We managed to force him to surrender and the inquisitor/gunslinger then proceeded to attempt to torture and maim the attacker in front of my Cleric who objected. Later on in the session they inquisitor pulled away from the combat to conduct the same activity on a fallen foe while my Cleric and half the party were still engaged with another enemy.
In that case, the problem wasn't your cleric. It was the inquisitor. Or, more precisely, the player playing the inquisitor. Ze was breaking the "don't be a jerk" rule as well as the "do not commit wantonly or intentionally evil acts" rule. If the GM didn't step in, ze should have.
Hangman, I don't think anybody is asking you to personally solve this with all of the problem players and problem GMs you've encountered. Just when it comes up in the future.
IMO, paladin codes occasionally present a challenge to be solved through creativity and gameplay, just like pretty much everything else in PFS. I've seen it play out in really bizarre and interesting ways that made the game more fun, not less fun. I don't buy the argument that we should just ban the challenge instead of facing it. We are supposed to be heroes, after all.
Disk Elemental wrote:
I'm having trouble imagining a situation in which a lawful good entity will have an unresolvable problem with the principles of Explore, Report, Cooperate. But maybe I missed something.
I wouldn't say that your experience has been atypical, hence this thread. There are a few that I can think of off the top of my head where the archaeology theme is much more pronounced, if not the primary objective:
And hopefully more! As a more general note, though, I would say that almost all scenarios I've played or GM'd have involved some level of exploration, the acquisition of knowledge, the acquisition of an artifact, or something else that facilitated one or more of those things. While not 'archaeology' per se, the broader theme is still there, humming in the background.
After all, they're not walking around with brushes and making rubbings - they're kicking in doors and killing stuff.
Maybe you're not, or at least not yet (your investigator sounds interesting!). But I know plenty of PCs who do, and I always try to reward that sort of thing in my games.
Remember, almost everybody who is a Pathfinder went through basic training, including those supposed-others "the archaeologists." Field commissions are supposed to be relatively rare. Granted, everyone has their specialty and the adventures we run tend to be with the troubleshooter specialists, but that's not where our jobs end. We're still archaeologists too.
To quote the Field Guide, p.2: "the Pathfinder Society [is] a loose-knit group of explorers, scholars, and adventurers who span the globe and band together in search of lost knowledge and ancient treasures."
And even the Society's martial arm's primary purpose isn't all that martial. To quote the Seeker of Secrets, p.10: "Marcos understands that his job as Master of Swords is not to turn Pathfinders into warriors, but rather to keep them alive while they do their true work of discovering and recording." Combat skills lie in service of exploration skills, not the other way around.
In short, it's 'Explore, Report, Cooperate,' not 'Maim, Murder, Kill.'
Several points to make:
1. Are Pathfinder Society field agents supposed to be good at killing things? Definitely, yes. Regardless of the rules structure (I happen to think that fewer rules works better on the "soft" stuff than more rules), the Field Guide is literally teeming with advice on how to kill things. However...
2. It is more accurate to say that the Field Guide is full of advice on how to Not Get Killed, and this usually involves killing the other guy before he kills you. Rarely does the Society go completely out of its way looking for things to murder. The Society is NOT an army, even if field agents are its martial arm. There is always some ulterior motive for fighting -- obtaining a lost artifact, evading customs agents, promoting peace on the Inner Sea to facilitate exploration, etc. Even participation in the 5th Mendevian crusade was motivated by the possibility of exploring Jormurdun. If there weren't ulterior motives and the Society ran around killing (mostly) evil things just because, then the Silver Crusade faction wouldn't exist. So...
3. Are field agents supposed to be explorer-archaeologists? Definitely, yes. The purpose of field agents is to acquire knowledge that is difficult to acquire, and that can mean A LOT of different things.
4. Netopalis is absolutely right that a major inspiration for the Society is the historical Geographic Societies of various European powers during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Go read Tournament of Shadows and you'll see exactly what I mean. (Fair warning: to someone like me with a modicum of historiographical training, it's a terrible work.) Another inspiration (in my mind, at least) is Indiana Jones, who has killed A LOT of Nazis in his day but is primarily an explorer and adventurer.
5. The Society has plenty of other employees, yes, but the division of labor is not THAT specific. Field agents aren't soldiers, otherwise we'd spend way more time on guard duty at various lodges. Boy, wouldn't that be fun? Field agents are supposed to be versatile, supposed to be talented survivalists, and yes, supposed to be explorers, archaeologists, diplomats, adventurers. Pigeon-holing = bad.
6. In my book, yes please more archaeology.
Paizo Blog 12th Aug 2013 wrote:
To reflect the efforts of Pathfinders of all ten factions active during the Year of the Risen Rune, all characters who earned 6 or more Prestige Points between August 16, 2012 and August 15, 2013 may apply the following Chronicle sheet to their records. The Chronicle sheet includes ten boons, one for each faction, which provide a special bonus to characters who forwarded their faction's goals during the course of the year. Expect a similar reward at the end of the Year of the Demon.
Did this happen and I missed it somehow? Or is this forthcoming, perhaps? Just curious.
Remember: contingent action's casting time is 1 minute. So pulling out a scroll of contingent action would be pretty silly.
Granted, one could do this right before a combat, subject to the spell's relatively short duration, but that only grants a SINGLE additional action -- at which point the spell is discharged. I don't really think it's all that overpowered as such. Many equivalent scrolls, such as a scroll of flaming sphere, grant similar or greater damage output.
Will contingent action allow a cleric to get out a scroll, move to an ally, and use the Breath of Life scroll on them?
Yes, if the contingent action is to pull out the scroll when somebody dies and you happen to be within a move of the body.
I mostly agree, but I generally find that for scenarios that actually are overpowered against the PCs (rather than an unlucky roll, etc.) the topic of mass PC death comes up more than once or twice. Then I do pay attention. =)
This data is really interesting (and valuable), many thanks to Kyle and everybody who helped to assemble it.
IMO, some of the polarization comes from differing opinions on how to review, i.e. differing opinions on what four stars means versus two stars. This is also why I also read the reviews rather than look at the raw numbers, if I have time when trying to decide what to run.
A few examples:
For almost every scenario, I find that there's usually at least one person who died/suffered a TPK and decided to blame the scenario rather than themselves/their party, and at least one person who blew through the scenario with no problems and wanted more of a challenge. That discrepancy is inevitable because dice (to say nothing of variable party makeup/optimization). So I discount those.
There are also folks who will give one star for any scenario involving a chase scene or some other mechanic they don't like, usually with no other comments other than that they hate chase scenes. Which tells me very little about the scenario and its quality, except that it has a chase scene. I generally discount these too.
Oftentimes there's also a positive individual(s) who give a five star review with a number complaints, though these are usually "workable" complaints.
On the other hand, there are plenty of reviews that say "I had a blast, but..." and give a whopping two stars.
To me, a "yes" answer to "did I have good fun?" nets a minimum of three stars. A "no" nets a maximum of two stars. Compression in either direction (towards zero or five) doesn't make much sense to me. I'm looking for a scenario that will provide a fun experience for me and my players. If a scenario does that, then whatever problems it has can be worked around.
(Of course, I have never actually submitted a review, but that's another issue...)
And only because it's related and discussed in the other thread:
Scars of the Third Crusade:
I had good fun with this scenario. Was it the best scenario ever? No. It had plenty of problems (railroading, plot gaps, being needlessly complicated for the GM with the tracks, etc.). But all of these problems were manageable. In fact, without them, I probably never would have visited the GM Discussion on the topic, from which I garnered a wealth of awesome ideas. Yes, the railroading could have been reduced by just saying "these events should occur roughly in this order at a time that feels right for the GM/party." And yes, it could have provided all of the missing information, but I'm actually kinda glad it didn't because it offered GMs a chance to improvise a little and create a semi-unique experience, completely legally within PFS. So, all in all, folks had fun with a neat scenario that needed a few tweaks on the part of the GM. I'll take it.
Seems to me that just about everybody agrees with the "specific trumps general" rule, but it also seems to me that there are two ways to read that:
You could argue (as the majority here have) that the AR rule is general for ACG, and the Guide provides the specific for the class feature dependent ability change for the Warpriest only.
However, you could also argue that the Guide provides the general rule for how to handle rule changes as a result of playtests, errata, etc., and the AR provides the specific on how to do that with the ACG.
A ruling from the PFS team would definitely be helpful (once they've had a chance to recover); I absolutely agree that the primary goal here is "have fun" but I would like to know what to tell a player asking for advice.
Last time I looked at the edit function, it didn't give me the option. Now it does. Go figure.
If you go to your "My Account" page and then hit "Edit" under the PFS section, it will take you to character pages where you can change your faction. (This will change the electronic reporting auto-fill that should reflect your chronicle hardcopy where you make the switch.)
The other place to edit is from the "Aliases" page to your character page, which does not give the option for you to change your faction.
Either way, as others have said, I believe that a "change" like Andoran --> Liberty's Edge isn't actually a change, and the symbols on the site will change themselves sometime soon.