Amulet of Desna

Naomi Hiddenleaf's page

181 posts. Organized Play character for DarkLightHitomi.

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Some touch spells, such as Chill Touch, give you multiple charges to attack with, but these charges can be discharged even on accident or by the action of someone other than the caster, but what happens if the contact is continuous such as when grabbling or when holding on to someone, then how quickly can the spell charges discharge?

Such spells can discharge without an attack so it can't be by attacks made.

If we look at the maximum number of possible touches without continuous contact, you get around a dozen maximum (the number of touch attacks the caster makes, touches from attacks of opportunity which would be one or possibly two, and then the number of touches from the target touching the caster from their attacks. So, with 4-6 attacks per round at high level by the caster and target, plus one aoo from the target and you get 9-13 touches.)

Of course, spells expecting multiple touches is 6 per round, but that assumes the caster is going from one person to the next multiple times which is about once per second, and also assumes all the touches occur on the caster's turn, both limits do not apply to chill touch (or similar) in a grapple.

I'm trying to put together a game on Monday afternoons at SciFi Factory on Beach St north side of FT Worth. (must end by 8pm, but can start when players are ready as early as 3pm, or start later if needed)

I'm willing to run pf1 even PFS but I'd prefer to try out some heavy houserules I've been working on for the past few years (they can be applied to either pf1 or 3.x). I'm open to any campaign concepts including any strange or unusual ones, though I have the first three books of Hell's Rebels or I can run another AP if someone wants to buy it (I'm not ready to drop 70 bucks on fun just yet). I also have a variety of homebrew settings from magic based science to pokemon-meets-d&d.

I'm a narrative gm, not a boardgame gm, so immersive thinking more than meta thinking. Enemies have in-world motivations and act accordingly.

I don't do social media, in fact I rarely touch forums really, and do so only for gaming in general. Therefore, I'm not sure about where or how to recruit people for an in-person game. Is there a a good place for that?

I've got a few alterations, thoeretically for any d20-based system. Initially, I'm writing enough to be usable, but additional expected detail may be added later.

The first bit can be used separate from the others and is nice at the table, but not so much on pbp. It is changing the dice. Instead of rolling one die and adding flat modifiers, roll dice based on stats. A new stat Tier (represents a character's agency in life. A trap is 0, sentient creatures start at 4, elites and heroes can be 5 or 6.) is the base die to roll anywhere you normally roll a d20, then ability modifiers and skill ranks each add dice (bab and similar take the place of skills). The ability score modifiers need adjustment (basically, [score-1]/4=modifier, truncate. This gives no negative modifiers) but otherwise things can be used as is.

The size of the die is twice the stat that gave it, so a 2 is a d4, a 3 is a d6. This makes finding the average roll fairly easy.

Optionally, advantage works well here, roll an extra die then remove one (lowest for bonuses, highest for penalties).

This one was short and easy.

Next, I have an alternate health system, a new way of using the existing magic spells that makes it a bit more dynamic and balanced without limiting casting perday, and the big change is how advancement works (allowing growth in versatility separately from raw power, yet power can be scaled completely on it's own, and yet can use most content as is or in new but obvious ways without a bunch of conversion work).

I'll post these in individual posts, you guys can tell me which you're most interested in.

I recently found a solution to the forums being too wide and clipping off the side of the of the screen, but now I see a mostly transparent image in front of everything on the site, though I can click on things (touch really, since I'm on a phone) behind the image.

Width Solution (I'll post this on my thread for the width issue)
Android seems to have a "zoom everything" setting on the settings page where you can change the system font and font size. My phone was set to about 20% zoom by default (I neber found the setting before so it couldn't have been me). Zooming out as far as possible and shrinking font a bit as well as changing the font and now I see the full width of the forum pages except when typing. Note; this solution is not perfect, as when I'm typing a new post the right side cuts off, and typing a new thread, both sides cut off. In neither case is enough lost to inhibit anything, but it still is page sides being cut off. In the case of making a new thread the title bars didn't go all the way to the right, almost like titlebars had shifted to left off screen more than the amount of right edge that is off screen.

The Image
The image is mostly transparent and stuck to the bottom right of the screen, not the page.

The image shows a cliff on the right and a couple characters (the rogue and wizard) climbing a ladder with a sword being held in a hand in the foreground, all in Paizo's visual cartoony style.

This is not about what alignment currently is, but rather this is about making a new definition for alignment and the related terms.

The goal for these new definitions is to,
A) respect and provide sensible reasoning for alignment restrictions (such as paladins, monks, demons vs devils, etc)
B) allow cultural differences about details without undermining the alignment concept

So firstly, the purpose of having a concept of morality, regardless of the details of that concept, is to allow a group to function cohesively. Individual predators value themselves alone and therefore take all they can get while minimizing the cost to themselves. Groups however, seek greater long term benefit by sharing both benefit and cost, which means that in a group, individuals must give up some of what they want and accept some of the costs.

There are three aspects here, what kind of values are held as important, the focus of actions according to gains benefit/cost, and lastly, proactive vs reactive.

Values all involve one of five concepts, which come in two categories. Avoidance of harm, Fairness, Authority, In-group vs others, and Purity. Avoidance of harm and Fairness tend to be bound together, as are the other three. I therefore call these two groups, Justice (fairness and avoidance of harm) and Structure (Authority, purity, and in vs out grouping) (which I'll capitalize when I reference them later).

What does this mean for alignment? Well, four aspects are in play, Aspect Alpha, nearly everyone values Justice, even if they disagree about the details of what is or is not just, but not everyone values the stability gained from Structure or at least do not believe it is worth the cost.

The second aspect Beta, would be the focus of one's values. When one considers the consequences of their actions, do they judge the consequences mainly on what it means for themself or for people in general? That is their focus.

The third aspect Delta, is proactive or reactive. This isn't so much about whether one might plan ahead, but rather about if one ponders deeply and technically about the foundational things of their life and whether they act to control their life or let life happen to them.

The fourth aspect Gamma, is behavior vs result. Basically, does one focus on behaving in a particular way (measured according to their values) or focus on the result (measured by their values) and shift behavior according to the situation. Someone focused on results will be more likely to break their own rules, if they even have any.

Now, Lawfulness the alignment trait is all about one who is proactive, considerate of behavior and thus supportive of Structure. The dedication that comes from a deep thoughtfulness of how one behaves and a strict adherence to that chosen way of behaving is the core of the Lawful alignment.

The Chaotic alignment is naturally the polar opposite, being one focused more one results and reacting to circumstances as they come, the classic "go with the flow" mentality.

Good is focused on the group at the expense of the individual. Group being in the more abstract sense. Thus, one of Good alignment does whatever is needed for the betterment of a higher cause. These are the most self-sacrificial people.

Evil is however the difficult one, as since Evil generally includes people that are truly despicable, killing for joy or pleasure for example, yet also includes those simply focused on themselves. Thus, Evil is defined here as the rejection of either the need for morality and thus acts purely for one's own benefit, or the rejection of the group concept and one acts not just for themselves but against the whole world, treating all other things as having value only to the the individual's whims.

Thus, from this, it should make perfect sense why paladins need to be Lawful Good, because the entire concept of a paladin is defined by being an individual that well and truly serves a higher goal whatever the cost may be to themselves. This fits the definitions above of Lawful and Good. Any other alignment would be in conflict with the concept of a paladin.

Similar case for monk, as the dedication required to master oneself like that requires absolute adherence to a particular way of living and truly putting all of themselves into what they do. It can really only be achieved by those who have traits defined as being lawful.

As you can see, these definitions are not at all about what is good or bad, but more about the character's take on the entire concept of how they judge and value things to ascribe good and bad to things

So what do you guys out there think? Is this a good way to define alignment? Does it make sense? Does it fit alignment restrictions? Any other opinions on it's validity or how you expended/adjust it?

I'm curious if it has been figured out why mobile users can't see the whole page. If so, what is the problem? I already figure it's slated to be fixed during the upcoming downtime, if you figured out the problem. I'm curious about the bug itself.

I'm also curious why I have to select "Get Desktop version" every single page, though I suspect that is either a browser issue, or stems from how cookies are handled.

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I think I figured out how to describe my problem with the philosophy of pf2.

You could break roleplay into two basic types, "light roleplay" and "heavy roleplay."

The difference is not in the types of encounters, but in how and when the rules are applied and used.

In light roleplay, the rules are the central part of a player's decision-making process. The player is, metaphorically, playing chess while gushing about the paint jobs of the other player's pieces and painting their own pieces, yet never letting the looks of the pieces impact the fundemental game of chess. These players think first and foremost about the system, then fill in the gaps with roleplay.

A good example is when I play a tiefling, yet I feel like I'm playing a human. This happens because neither the players nor the gm treat my character like a tiefling. They act the exact same as if I was playing a human, because according to the system, a few minor mechanics might be different but tactically/strategically, being a tiefling is a cosmetic thing.

Another example was me having the task of aquiring a certain document and destroying it. I came up with a plan and even did the prep work for it, but when I tried to enact my plan, I got ignored "because the book doesn't say how to handle that."

Another example is having a dark shape stand up and the response of players be to attack and kill it before it even acts, because they as players expect a combat encounter because of metagame reasons. They ignore what their characters would see and know. The characters don't know that initiative was rolled. The characters don't know that this a game and not a living breathing world.

Now, heavy roleplay is the reverse. In heavy roleplay, the decision-making process is inversed. Players think first and foremost about the narrative world milieu (NWM) and the mechanics are secondary, being used as support.

The mechanics are just guidelines imperfectly attempting to mimic the narrative world, for which the narrative world milieu is the main metric for choosing action.

For example, there is no mechanic in the rules for flipping a table over to get cover. There doesn't need to be for deep roleplay, cause it makes sense in the narrative world milieu that a character can do so.

Thus, when deep roleplaying, the narrative world milieu has a larger impact on the course of events than the system mechanics do.

Another example, player plays a tiefling. Uneducated goblins think the character is an actual demon, yell about it, scream about, and act accordingly, whether it be aggressive, "kill the demon! focus on the demon!" or it be submissive "We'll do whatever you want oh great demon lord!"

In deep roleplay, narrative and world milieu is the primary consideration above and beyond mere mechanics.

Thus, light roleplay is to play a boardgame and dress it up with some rp. Heavy roleplay is to rp, and use mechanics to support the play (mainly by easing communication, adding tension via uncertainty, and avoiding unpleasantness by reducing the gm's role in determining success and failure).

Additionally, it heavily impacts player agency and expectations.

In chess, you have some agency, but it is well-defined and limited and while your opponant may surprise you with their strategy, they will never take an action that exceeds your expectations.

In heavy rp, you can do anything that makes sense in the NWM.This gives infinitely more agency than can be found in chess, and can indeed have actions be taken that exceed expectations that you never thought of despite seeing the logic in retrospect.

While both these style can generally use the same rules, the rules can benefit one style more than the other.

My biggest issue with pf2 is that focuses so strongly on "light roleplay" that it is harder (though not impossible) to use for heavy roleplay, and it is visible throughout the design that the designers expect and desire "light roleplay" but not heavy roleplay.

And the unpleasant fact, for all the folks that claim to be in the middle, nearly all are strongly on one side or the other.

This is important because most modern rpgs are either focusing on light rp or they reduce mechanics (I think this is because many players want heavy rp but don't feel right using heftier mechanics in any fashion other than light rp. They constrained by the rules for some reason.).

I like having mechanical support, but for supporting heavy rp. I like supportive mechanics, but I don't like mechanics being the central focus.

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First, I want to help make the game work, but that is me challenging myself as a designer. It is a challenge because this game is clearly not something I will ever play after the playtest. Why? Well, that is revealed with my first point of feedback.

What is roleplay and what is a roleplaying game?
These fundamentally integral concepts are discussed on pages 5 and 10.

The term "Roleplaying Game" has been used far outside it's logical and original meaning.

The issue I have here, is the rulebook implies that what Pathfinder does is roleplay (which is certainly debatable and any argument for it being an rpg would rely entirely on the definition of rpg expanding based on the more recent usage of the word), the truth of which is beside the point, because the way the book presents the concepts isn't about Pathfinder but is laying a claim to what all rpgs are, and that is the bad part that I feel really needs changed.

Paizo has a certain thing they are going for, a certain kind of play. Nothing wrong with that, but claiming that all roleplaying is the same as what Paizo is going for is bad because Paizo is going for a tiny slice of a massive pie, and telling new people out there that the entire pie is is just like Paizo's targeted slice is doing a disservice to the industry. Not to mention establishing expectations that players will hold when looking at other games claiming to be rpgs.

In fact, the book actually specifies swords and sorcery adventurers as part of what makes an rpg an rpg, which is something Pathfinder does, but not what an rpg does. Rpgs not only can be any genre, but do not even need to be epic nor heroic. Having a bunch of normal contemporary college students trying to survive being hunted by a homicidal maniac is as valid a concept for an rpg as anything Paizo puts out.

I know the book is obviously and rightly focused on what Pathfinder is, but it really should describe itself as a type of rpg with a specific focus on heroic swords and sorcery themes. That would not only be more accurate, but then the writers can either do a better job of describing rpgs in general, or they can leave that to be researched by curious newbies on their own and instead focus on what Pathfinder is, instead of confusing newbies over what an rpg is.

What is an rpg? A tangent for the curious.:

The term Roleplaying game has two words.

Roleplaying is to play a role, or said another way, is to pretend to be someone else.

A game, as the term is generally used, is a fun activity centered around making choices. (hence game theory becoming the study of decision making)

Thus, a roleplaying game, is a game all about making choices from the perspective of a portrayed character.

This is actually the original style of play, though it didn't take long for the poorly named "new school" players to completely subvert this intention, as evidenced by Gygax complaining about people "playing the rules" instead of playing the actual game.

The term "roleplaying game" has expanded in use to the point of being almost pointless, and about as broad in scope as "board game." Almost any game with a character progression system and a story is labeled an rpg these days, though some undefined element seems to come into play, leading to arguments over what does or does not count as an rpg, thus leading to Call of Duty being labeled as "not an rpg" while WTOR "is an rpg" even though both are combat games with set stories that you progress through by succeeding in sessions of combat.

Railroading is thus antithetical to the logical meaning of the term, as railroading is denying meaningful choice to the players, yet is perfectly acceptable to the expanded use of the term.

Personally, I hold that a true rpg is one that fits really close to the actual term and thus focuses on players having lots of agency and are focused on making choices from the perspective of their characters.

I would then consider other games as nominally rpgs when the players create their own characters and get to reflect and show some traits of their characters but are denied significant agency (such as when a pfs scenario dictates that once finished with plot point A, players go to plot point B. Keep in mind, this is about agency not tactics. Choosing what tactics to use is not agency.

Political Correctness
Do we really need a whole section on being politically correct and non-offensive?

Such a section sounds more like a disclaimer to avoid being sued. A valid concern by a company I guess, since it is expensive even when the charges are so ridiculous that a judge overturns them quickly. But really, that stuff needs to be in the fine print at the front.

Telling players to not do stuff that is entirely unrelated to the game is not only insulting to anyone who reads it, but also pointless as those inclined to behave in such a way are going to do so regardless of what you write. So don't waste the space on political correctness. Spend on the game itself.

Minor wording confusion
On page 5, it is mentioned that reaching 1000 xp means gaining a new level.

That is an odd spot for such a specific. Much better to phrase it as "once enough xp is acquired," that way it doesn't give any false impressions and it won't need changed if you alter xp and leveling.

Also, as it is a major change for those familiar with earlier editions, it stands out and draws attention to itself leading one to wonder if it a mistake, which is made worse by the fact that it doesn't go into detail and doesn't even mention where one can confirm whether xp changed or if it was just incorrect.

Formatting discussion
I love that the formatting, the conventions, and the reasoning were all explicitly addressed in their own section. Could do with a bit better presentation and more depth, but even as it is, it is wonderful to see.

Much better descriptions than previous editions. I applaud this. It isn't perfect, but way better.

Perception seems to fail to distinguish two important things, alertness and attention to detail. You can have someone be very good at noticing details that go unnoticed by others and yet be less generally alert than others.

Further, i can speak from personal experience, that who notices whom first does not always react first. One guy who crashed into me admits that he saw me but froze up, and didn't even think, he simply watched it all happen. Meanwhile, I noticed him much later, but reacted quickly and turned things from a flat crash to a side scrape. Noticing first does not equal acting first.

Therefore, I find it an odd default for initiative.

I do like how you make a distinction between precise and imprecise senses. I totally thought I had a lock on that concept. :p

I'm running an android 7.0 samsung galaxy j3 with firefox browser.

The site now loads with the right edge cut off (it goes off screen).

It looks fine if I load the desktop version.

I'll be running a playtest of PF2.

Work has limited my original plans so the only table I'll run will be live over Discord. I'm not planning on using other tabletop simulator programs.

Group gets to vote whether to play my Test of the Starstone or Hell's Rebels (I have only the first three books, but I'd be surprised if it lasted that long). I'm not adverse to running a different AP or module if someone buys it, and importantly, the group wants to.

I do want to note that I am non-standard in gming style. This is not a minitures combat game. This is a player agency game that sometimes just happens to include combat. There is no need to cover all roles, nor focus on combat only stats.

Therefore, I want characters that aren't described as race/class combos.

Additionally, you can expect the world to be more responsive to you (no shagging in the king's throneroom unless you want the royal guard to toss you in jail), and I will not be leading you by the nose.

Any questions can be asked here.

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There are many who see "rules" and immediately think of rules like they see in a board game or legal laws, rules set forth by authority figures, and in rare cases, laws of physics sort of rules of the universe. In all these cases rules are a strict thing intended to be followed exactly, and if an alteration is needed, the rule itself should be altered to accommodate.

There is a thing called "selective enforcement" however, in which there are rules that are expected to have a blind eye turned towards the activity unless a problem occurs, or in other cases is supposed to be followed unless "common sense" would dictate breaking the rules. I.E. such as speeding when you are trying to get a person to the hospital in time to save their life. The law doesn't explicitly say you are allowed, but rather expects police and judges to utilize good judgement and simply not enforce the speed limits in such a case.

Then we get RPGs. RPGs have rules, and while it can be fun to play a game treating the rules like a board game, or as I call 4e, a miniatures combat game with story, there is also a way of playing in which the rules are expected to have selective enforcement or even no enforcement at all.

Most of the time, players tell me that if I don't want to follow the rules of a game like D20, that I should go play freeform. Problem is, I see value in D20's rules for something other than being "rules."

To describe this other value to be found, I'll lead you there via a thought experiment, so perhaps it makes better sense why I like to have D20-ish rules without the enforcement expected of "rules."

To start, imagine playing freeform. Now, as players make choices in-game, players need more information than an author would give in a story or movie.

I.E. we do not know the full list of spells known by Harry Potter, we only know which ones he uses. His rationale for using those particular spells is hidden from us as it is not needed for us to enjoy the story.

But, as players who make decisions, as we are the ones who are choosing what spells to use or what strategies to utilize, we need far more information than is given in a simple story.

More importantly, that information needs more accuracy. A book can tell us a character is "very strong," and each reader will have different ideas about what that means.

But when a players describes themselves as "very strong," we need to know whether they mean The Hulk kind of strong, Body builder strong, or simply above average soldier kind of strong.

The easiest way to achieve this is to put together a table of terms, each defining how strong a character is when described with that term, whether it be a word or a number. In this way, every player can look at the table and use those terms so everyone is on the same page of understanding how strong everyone is.

Such a table can also include information telling how common or rare it is to find individuals of a particular level of strength, which tells us a fair bit of the world milieu.

Do this with a number of traits and you get what looks like a book of rules, but really is just a language to make communication about the world and characters easier, more accurate, and most importantly, concise. As this is a game, we want to talk and understand in a way that the talking is unnoticed (much like talking in our natively language goes unnoticed. We don't think about the language we are using, we think only about what we are trying to communicate and the language handles itself without much thought).

Thus we have stats, and character sheets, and a reference book.

Then we also find that players are getting irritated as the GM seems rather biased, the GM had player C fail the last three times C tried anything. The GM will almost always seem biased, no matter how unbiased they actually are.

The solution here is to outsource the success and failure decision to something other than a person, at least for cases when there is disagreement over what the result should be or when the game would benefit from it.

But simply flipping a coin feels arbitrary and disconnected from the world. Why should the barbarian have the same chance of pummeling the orc as the fumbling healer?

It really is beneficial, making the choice feel connected to the world when your not-human decision maker accounts for character capability and task difficulty. And guess what, we already have stats, so just use those as your measure of character ability by making the terms apply to the decision making system.

Then simply include someway for task difficulty to also apply and viola, you have a full fledged RPG, with zero expectation of rules being something that must be absolutely followed like they would be in Chess or some other board game.

In fact, from this point of view, things should only apply or be used when it enhances the game. For example, taking penalties for fighting on a boat should only apply when such a fight is uncommon, when those penalties are a part of what makes that fight stand out from the others. In a campaign where nearly every fight is on a boat, those penalties should simply be ignored as they are not adding anything at that point.

It also makes sense at this to simply use whatever rules represent the narrative milieu best, regardless of what those rules were created for, or even to make new rules on the spot for handling something even if those rules never get used again (otherwise known as a GM ruling).

Hopefully this helps some folks understand a radically different way of using the same mechanics. Perhaps when playing this way, we should call the rules something else, perhaps descriptive guidelines?

Using mechanics in this way is not playing rules, but using them as a language to communicate about the world and the characters.

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Playstyles is a far more complex subject than "Intrigue vs Combat," which is basically just the tip of the visible portion of the iceberg that is playstyles.

So why is this important? Because of communication among players, and so GMs can more readily tailor their games to the players they have.

To paraphrase something Shamus Young said "There is a reason we don't use the word 'mechanic' to mean anybody who works on automobiles, HVAC, aerospace, civil engineering, and the myriad of other 'similar' jobs. If you ask for a mechanic, do you need your car fixed, or your air conditioner?"

If everyone understood the differences of playstyles and had good terminology for it, we could more easily find groups of a particular style we enjoy, and even when we couldn't we could still agree on a particular style for a game and thus enjoy it more with less friction among players.

Part of the problem though, is that players in general do not simply use one phrase "Role-Playing Game" to mean a wide swath of game types, but that most players think of that wide swath of game types as being a small and narrow selection of games.

Many of the differences between types are subtle and not superficial, making them hard to understand without the right experience, much like how people think of combat sports as being anything related to actual combat, when the truth is, a warrior that has fought real battles will see a grand canyon of difference in something an inexperienced person would say looks the same.

GMs, the serious ones anyway, should understand these differences so they can see what the different players in their group are and can adjust the game to best suit the mix of styles their players are, or even select players to get a group of similar styles, both of which would vastly improve the play experience of all involved.


Now I see there being three axi of aspects that affect playstyle, basically giving us a cube of a playstyle spectrum that everyone is in somewhere.

The three axi are meta vs world, narrative vs events, serious vs social.

The meta vs world axis about what viewpoint you have in thinking about the game. Meta is thinking about the game from "outside" the game. For example, someone who considers a course of action because it might build up character growth (in a literary sense) is thinking from a viewpoint outside their character. They are basically thinking as an entity outside the narrative looking in. The opposite end of this is someone who thinks from the viewpoint of being in the world, what is the character seeing and thinking, and acting on that regardless of any external factors.

Narrative vs events is about focusing on narrative aspects, like character growth and the narrative milieu, or on events like swinging on a chandelier and saying cheesy one-liners.

Serious vs Social is a simple one. Some people get into their games, and while fun, they want to take it seriously. Pro gamers, who go to world tournaments and such, enjoy what they are doing but are still being serious about it in a way that more casual players never will be. Going even further away from serious are the players who are not even invested in the game at all, but are there just for the social experience of doing something with their friends regardless of what that something is. For these players, the game could be tiddlywinks and that would be fine.

This gives us roughly six extremes, the "pure roleplayer," the Gamer, the Author, the Seeker, and the Socialite.

The Author (meta * narrative) is a player who wants to take part in crafting the story. They want to do things in such a way they would be enjoyable to read after the fact. They want to not only control a character but to fill in details about the world, craft wondrously written conversation with NPCs and other players, and take part in crafting the outcomes and events so their character can be seen going through character growth and things that make a good story.

The Seeker (world * events) is a player all about getting the emotional highs from doing cool, cheesy, or cliched jokes. They would rather swing on a chandelier because it is cool, than to do the tactically smart but less cool option. They are about the Thrills and Spills (an awesome video of this title exists btw, though equestrian in nature) of the game.

The Gamer (Meta * Events) is a player that plays the game like a board game. That is not to say they discount the story, but when there is an obstacle to be overcome, they like handling it in a mechanical way. They like having and using system mastery. Such players are the ones who always want game balance, because a lack of game balance makes system mastery less interesting and feel more like cheating rather than feeling like a master tactician. These players enjoy the part of play where they can show how mechanically awesome their characters are. It is how they get to feel good about playing. These players are also the ones most likely to become angry, depressed, or sad about "failing" on rolls, and GMs of this style are the least likely to utilize "Always fail forward" techniques to keep the story momentum regardless of rolls, because to them, failing a roll is supposed to be a failure, not a success with complication.

The "Pure Roleplayer" (world * narrative) is the player who wants to feel like they actually are their characters. Such players don't want any more control over the story or world than their characters possess. They don't want to know things their characters don't. These players want to explore the world and story as if they themselves were the protagonists rather than simply players playing a game. This style is both the hardest and yet easiest style because it is the most basic form of play every kid knows first, but is also so completely at odds with every other structured game in existence.

I have noticed that many folks who start out "roleplaying" with either a group of Gamers or of "Pure Roleplayers" tend to become stuck the most in their way of playing and have the most difficulties with each other. Gamer style and "pure roleplayer" style are complete opposites even when using the exact same rules, mostly because they are looking at very different things in their games.

The Gamers tend to develop their strategies by looking at the rules and mechanics, while "pure roleplayers" look at the narrative world instead, and each of those will result in different possibilities and limitations. A Gamer tends to see the rules as absolute and that the world should reflect the rules, while the "pure roleplayer" sees the narrative as absolute and that the rules should bend or even break to reflect the narrative milieu.


The troubles here come from everybody having a "box." You know the one, the box everybody is told to think outside of. This box is made of a person's experiences and what they focus on. So a player who is used to, and experienced in, board games (or video games which are the same thing in terms of this discussion) will encounter an RPG for the first time and build their understanding of it in terms they are familiar with, which means seeing the game like a board game.

However, kids who are still playing pretend when introduced to RPGs will think in terms of playing pretend and that means they will develop strategies built in a completely different way than a board gamer precisely because they lack any experience with board games.

For each side, this builds their box. It sets the establishment of how they think, understand, and strategize in the game.

When one player flips the table to make cover, the others boggle at having not thought of it themselves, but the entire reason they didn't think of it was because they have their box built around seeing the game as a board game. They can do the things one can do in a board game, which is move around and activate abilities listed on their sheet. The player who flipped the table, thinks of flipping the table precisely because their character sheet and rules are purely ancillary to how they develop strategies. They think like they are playing pretend, which means they thinks in terms of real world objects and rooms and physics, and the rules are just a language to help discuss such things.

I've found that in teaching new players, showing them both sides of this, Gamer and "pure roleplayer" opens them up to enjoying many different ways to play and keeps them from getting locked into a small box built on one style of thinking about the game.

So I advocate teaching different styles as early as possible, just like you don't show people only anime movies you show them anime, animated, and live action, the same should apply to RPGs, we should show the different styles and build terminology allowing us to discuss and communicate about the different styles. It would allow us to broaden our experiences in playing and allow us to avoid a lot of negativity stemming from being mind-boggled at the inexplicable seemingly stupid weirdness of others.

I am going to run a playtest game. If I can find the players, I want to run it on discord voice chat on saturdays 20:00-05:00 central time of the US.

Thus, I'd like to run voice chat before then to figure out how to work it, overcome any unforseen issues in the format, etc.

Even if I don't get the voice chat players, I still want to get a playtest group together beforehand, so the group can iron out the wrinkles and learn how I intend to run the the game.

My goal for the playtest is to test the system's flexibility by running a group in the "play the story" playstyle. The game will be Test of the Starstone, hence "playing the story" is vital to the game, not only because that will really test the flexibility, but because it is a campaign that expects the players to lose (winning is possible, just not likely), not to mention that passing the test will not depend on surpassing mechanical challanges.

This makes getting the right group together for it very important. It is also why I want to run it in voice chat, since I'm much better running live games than pbp.

I'll be taking on 9 people cause I expect to lose some, but even if I don't, it won't be beyond my capacity.

So any questions? Any interest?

I use almost exclusively my mobile android phone for reading, but paizo pdfs always have image problems (and only paizo. Only once did I have a non-paizo pdf give me a problem).

Some images, not all, just a few, usually one or two per page, turn black and get placed on top of the text.

Normally this is a minor issue, because it is usually artwork, but a recent one I downloaded I can't read at all because the images that turned black were all the page background images.

For reference, I use Pocketbook on android (previously 4.1, 4.4,) 7.

So, what I wanted tk know was if you, the tech folks or a paizo somebody, test the pdfs for viewing on android phones, and if so, do you use a free reader program, if so, which one?

I have some critiques, but I figure others could post theirs here as well and discuss.

Note, thus far I've only been around the forums. I don't have money, so I don't go wandering the shopping area.

- Responsive.
The site now feels like a responsive site, which is, to me, a big negative. Responsive sites is one of the most irritating things. Yea, it solves a legit problem (needing two sites, one mobile, the other desktop), but it is just a horrible solution. What I have good eyes and want the site to show more than 3 words across? Well, no options available for doing that.

- loss of the sidebar.
Paizo was one of the few sites that had a sidebar I actually liked, though I felt it was underutilized as instead of showing options I might use regularly, it just showed other things.

- Focus highlighting.
When using the focus list, it used to be easy to see which threads had new posts as the titles woukd be bolded compared to the threads without new posts. That has been removed making all threads look the same and forces me to scan slower and more carefully to find a small, tiny, itsy bitsy, "(# new)" thing which always moves (from the different names of people, the line has variable width) and is not always there. So yeah, there is an indicator, but it has poor readibility.

- look and colors.
A good thing here. I've always liked the clean look of paizo, and they actually managed to improve on that. The new color scheme is an improvement, though having a dark theme would still be better, at as an option.

-main page pictures.
The main page (straight up is a stavk of images with text in front. It loads poorly and the text does not stand out from the images making it hard to read. The pic are pretty, but I've seen that set up plenty of times, and not once has it been readable and easy to navigate. Prettyness is not enough to make a good homepage.

So those are some of my thoughts. I ran out of time so I didn't go into great detail. Anyway, thoughts or opinions anyone?

I'm always trying some altered rules, but I've found that trying to work with players on establishing the rules to be played with always fails. So, this time, I'm presenting the rules I want to try. So unless there is some big glaring obvious problem, or everybody says they want a specific alteration (like that'll ever happen [unless to say "no alterations."]), these'll be what is played with. I haven't used them before, so an unforeseen problem may occur. If it does, we'll fix it and move on.

I'll be running a gritty level world with lots of low powered magic in a homebrew world (cause I really don't know or care about any published settings).

Creative and proactive players will have the best time as my style is to have the world react to the players. I don't have railroad tracks. I may use material from a few modules, but it'll be more like pieces laid down and I'll let you do what you want with it.

The world has no real name yet IC, as none of the groups have been here very long, only a few generations, all taken from their homes elsewhere and brought here by something unknown. And so they've made a living while exploring.

The players are expected to all be part of the same group already and to have been traveling together, though this may simply have been a matter of convenience (all traveling the same way at the same time) so you all know each other at least a little. Well, you found something, and you are the ones who suddenly found yourselves in a big white room after someone decided to touch a stone rune.

The important details,
This uses Spheres of Power plus the following alterations,

System adjustments:

4 alterations
HP, Classless, leveling, action economy, and will use Spheres of Power.

### Health ###

Hit points are non-lethal damage.

HP is equal to Con score plus level.

Hit Dice are based on creature type (not sure if PF kept this, but creature type hit dice are available for 3.x), HD size generally won't matter however.

Non-lethal damage weapons deal damage to HP as normal damage, but crits simply apply extra damage.

Once a creature has 0 or fewer HP, it is staggered. If a strenuous action is taken, the creature must succeed at a fort save DC equal to total damage taken, or fall unconscious.

If a creature's hp falls below an amount equal to negative it's con score, it falls unconscious.

For each multiple of it's negative con score (not modified by con damage) a creature's HP falls, it takes one Con damage. I.E. a creature with a normal con score of 10 (and no other con damage), dies when it hits -100 hp (it can bleed out for around 10 minutes before it dies)(Tip, the negative value at which a character dies from HP loss is their normal Con score squared, negative of course).

When a critical hit is rolled, or when you take more damage than the your con score, then you gain an injury.

An injury is a semi-permanent condition. Each injury affects a random hit location and has a severity.

The effects of an injury match those listed for called shots. Here-after, the listing for a called shot is a minor injury, the critical called shot is a major injury, and the debilitating blow is a critical injury.

Effects that normally apply for a duration (such as a -2 for 1d4 rounds) or ability score damage, instead last till the injury is healed. This does not apply to effects like stun or staggered.

Determine severity by rolling a d20 and adding,
-a bonus for any armor on that location (helmets really do matter! Oh, and general armor bonuses, such as from magic or natural armor apply to all locations) equal to the armor bonus, +2 more for head, torso, and vitals.
-a penalty for damage type piercing/sonic -6, slashing/electricity -3, bludgeoning/cold/fire/acid -0
-a penalty for the attacker's applicable strength bonus (what would be added to the damage).
-the penalty from ranged weapons are reduced by 1 per range increment, if any.
-Crossbows and guns add their weapon damage die to this, but subtract 2 per range increment (includes the normal range penalty), up to a maximum of the armor bonus (basically, at maximum this penalty negates the bonus from armor).

If this severity check is less than 0, the injury is a critical injury (using the debilitating blow effects), if less than 10, the injury is major, if less than 20, it is minor, if above 20, the injury is minor and heals after 1d4 nights of rest.

Hit location determined via d% roll,
Arms 1-30,
Legs 31-60,
Chest 61-70,
Hand 71-78,
Vitals 79-86,
Head 87-92,
Neck 93-95,
Ears 96-97,
Eyes 98-99,
roll again, +1 severity level, 00

Dying and Death
If a character gains a critical injury or more major injuries than their con modifier, they become disabled.

The disabled mechanics work as normal except: they only become disabled as mentioned above, some standard actions may be deemed non-strenuous, the character loses 1 hit point every round until stabilized (which stops the the loss of 1 hp every round), the character does not become dying (that condition is replaced by these modifications), any strenuous actions taken require a fort save DC 10 + damage taken + 2 for each major or critical injury or fall unconscious.

Cure magic work as normal on HP, but do not affect injuries.

Injuries are healed by 1 level (critical -> major -> minor -> fully healed) for each casting of Greater Restore. Restore must be cast enough times to negate all of an injuries effects to heal it.

### Classless ###
Instead of gaining classes, each level grants 3 feats to spend. At each level, one feat may be traded for 6 skill points.

BAB is removed, instead each weapon group (as per fighter's weapon groups) is a skill. The ranks in said skill is treated as BAB for that weapon group.

Saves are altered, they simply add two ab modifiers to the d20 plus 1/5 character level. Reflex is Wis and Dex, Fort is Str and Con, and Will is Wis and Cha.

Hit dice size likely doesn't matter, but if it ever does, use according to creature type (3.x mm has a table for this).

Anytime level affects damage output, such as sneak attack, treat level as 1+1/5 for determining damage.

Many class abilities can be bought with 1-3 feats, will adjudicate this on a case by case basis where not covered by the generic classes section of the 3.x Unearthed Arcana.

### Magic ###
Use Spheres of Power except as noted below.

All magic traditions must include the Skilled Magic drawback and use a Profession skill purely for casting Such as Witchcraft, Wizardry, or similar. This skill is split by each sphere (much like knowledge is split).

Exception is the Monastic tradition which can use unarmed strike (likely renamed to some martial art style name) skill, but is otherwise the same as the book plus the skilled magic drawback.

SoP spell DCs add the casting modifier twice to determine the spell's DC.

If not proficient with worn armor, always apply the spell failure chance. If proficient with worn armor, spell failure does not apply.

Duration for all limited duration magic effects is concentration without spending at least 2 spellpoints specifically to make it last caster level * 1 minute per spellpoint spent on duration. As a 5 minute ritual,the spell can be cast with caster level * 10 minutes duration per spell point, or the normal duration if longer. Any effect with duration can no longer be directed by the caster except for conjurations, though a simple pattern or reaction/trigger can be established.

Caster level is equal to character level for general use (such as meeting CL requirements), but for specific effects is equal to the ranks in the skill used for that sphere. When CL affects damage, it caps out at a CL of 1 +1/5 character level (think of it as the max amount of raw power a character can channel at once).

Note: I will apply common sense quite heavily. I.E. a sonic damage spell will be very loud and if it deals damage, is loud enough to be heard for at least a mile if outside.

### Action Economy ###

Gain AP equal to half dex score.
1 AP = swift action.
2 AP = move
3 AP = standard

Can take half your dex score in AP each turn. May spend half that on a reasonable concurrent action (such as to move while shooting). Many actions can be taken while "walking," but some take penalties, and greater penalties for hustling or running. Combo maneuver rules take precedence. For example, moving and attacking counts as a charge anytime the charge rules could have been used instead.

### Leveling ###

Most of it has been handled where applied in the above sections.

Skills, No +3 for class skills (there are no class skills). Skill rank cap is 1/2 Int score. Start with 6 skill points. Spend a feat for 3 skill points.

You still get an extra feat according to the character level table, and get an ability score boost every 4 levels.

XP will be handed out fairly fast however, as the changes above should focus leveling on versatility, allowing a character to reach around level 20 or so while still remaining around natural human ability rather than demigod status.

### Magic Items ###

Magic items will be controlled. The book is not open for shopping.

That said, the basics will be readily available, such as consumable healing items, a variety of common low level items such as ioun torches (or similar).
Magical arms and armor are not common, and most are in the hands of military and nobility who will not share with just anybody.

Character Generation:

You can make 1 attempt at 4d6 drop lowest, or 15 point buy.
200 gp starting gold.

humans, elves, drow, (shared heritage)
dwarves, orcs, (shared heritage)
halflings, gnomes, goblins, (shared heritage)

Minotaurs (shared heritage with dwarves and orcs) and snake-folk (like Kin from the Goblins comic) exist but I don't have good stats for them at the moment. This is mostly so you know they exist as part of society.

Please note, these races generally come from a few shared societies culturally, the Umbral Empire mostly. Race does not equal culture.

Paizo and dnd 3.x official stuff (paizo over 3.x where there is conflict). Beyond that, I'll go case by case.

I'm here for the roleplay. There will be dice, but you have to earn your rolls, and by that I mean "A trap! I roll X to disable it." Is not going to work. Don't look to the rules for what you can or can't do. The rules are only for how things work and do not limit what is possible. You won't find "traps," you'll find pressure plates, trip wires, hidden catches, etc, but never "You found a trap!" and I expect the same in return, never just a dice result, but an action (which need not even require the bog standard skill to work).

So who's interested?

I know a few folks will go "this has been done, strength applies to melee touch attacks by raw."

Not in dispute. But I would say that while I've seen one good reason to use strength for melee touch attacks, it was only one reason, and I've found a problem with that reasoning.

The idea is that strength is what lets you make your attacks quickly enough to hit before your target can dodge. Sounds reasonable, except Improved Unarmed Strike.

Take two identically statted wizards (Aya and Bella), but one (Aya) has Imp Unarmed Strike.

Well, to punch an opponant, Bella has a -4 and incurs an aoo compared to Aya.

But, for a mere touch attack, both are equal.

So, if Aya has an improved ability to strike an opponent, why does her ability to merely touch an opponent not imorove?

Additionally, why does Bella suffer from inability to physically attack an opponant by being so incompentant as to incur an aoo, but to do the exact same thing with a palm and she is suddenly not dropping her guard as much?

While raw obviously overlooks these oddities, I'm not.

So, I think the resolution kn the conceptual side of things, is to mot look at touch attacks as requiring physical contact.

For example, in Naruto (pre shippuden for those who know), Hinata attacks with chi such that she does not need to make physical contact to harm, but certainly does need to be in melee range.

So the idea here is that magical melee touch attacks are not strictly a physical contact affair merely a melee range one, then it would makes sense both that a penalty to unarmed attacks would not affect magic melee touch and also that improving unarmed skill would not impact magic melee touch attacks, both of which are true results of raw.

But this then negates the idea that strength should apply to melee touch attacks (at least for magic anyway, probably not so much for merely incorporeal punches).

On a side note, this also leads to another issue, ac. Armor is not actually a passive defense, but it is mechanically represented as such. Real armor is used to block and parry and you can take a hit where protected to get inside an opponent's guard with armor, and therefore, defending purely by dodging uses vastly different movement styles than defending by using armor to parry and block. As this is an active choice of defense style, it is something not represented in the mechanics, or perhaps the rules assume one always knows which to use against each attack unless flat footed, but yet also assumes one is unable to gain greater skill in dodging except via class bonuses (the monk).

Anyway, what would you folks use for attack bonus for this type of magical melee-range-but-not-physical-contact type of touch attacks?

Any thoughts or critiques you'd like to share?

P.S. the post that started me thinking about this. fier-to-touch-spells

I have played a handful of scenerios for PFS, but they have largely felt more like prototypes for video game quests, including a lack foresight for any out-of-the-box, or even inside the box thinking.

Just found out in one module I'm playing in, that the module has the pcs recover a docking certificate from the harbormaster's office. The pcs are going to the office anyway, on official business on behalf of someone with pretty strong pull there. Yet we are denied the option of tricking, diplomancing, or spell-charming the npc to hand over the file, which is easily argued as related to the pc's investigation.

I found this out because I tried to do some slieght of hand with silent image but the gm denied it because it the module required us to search for the file.

No, we are not allowed any of those options, not even the lvl 1 spell. The modules assumes that the players wait till they are alone and search the files, and gives no other way to handle the problem.

Sure, a gm could bend things to account for any conceivable plan the pcs come up with, but there are two problems with this. A) many gms are unwilling to stray from what is written, and B) it is very bad design.

In fact, why are the scenerio writers making assumtions at all about how the pcs solve the various problems, or assuming the course of action the pcs will take?

They treat these things like we are playing video games via text, but the major advantage of pnp with a gm is the lack of restrictions that are imposed by a computer's limitations.

Does no one else see this as a problem? Has the community just joyously accepted this pattern of playing like a video game on paper?

I'm always trying new stuff, but I'd like to see what the community thinks about some of the mechanics ideas I have.

1) No ability score penalties. The idea here is to have bonuses equal 1/3 the (score-1). Thus 1-3 = 0, 4-6 = +1, 7-9 = +2, 10-12 = +3, 13-15 = +4, 16-18 = +5, etc.

The point behind keeping the score, is both the other score based mechanics, such as carry capacity, but also because it allows advancement to be faster gained than the major benefit.

2) Classless. My biggest complaint about d20 has always been classes. The versatile multiclassing being the only thing making it bearable to play, but I still run into issues of having a concept that can't be done in a single class yet needing to start at lvl 1.

The basic idea is that at each level 3 points are gained which can be spent on feats, skills, and abilities (class abilities becoming feat trees, abilities, etc, in some cases attached with balancing penalties).

Bab, base saves, etc are handled by #3.

3) Split level into tier and level.
Tier being more about agency and power level (as in gritty/mundane vs superhero/demigod), while level is about advancing skill and versatility. So gaining levels gives more abilities and feats and skills, while tier is the basis of how powerful those abilities, feats, and are or can be.

Bab, base saves, max skill ranks, caster level, etc are based on tier.

Thus you can have plenty of advancement while keeping a gritty level of play, but you can also play superheroes who are just starting to learn how to useband control their massive innate power (by starting low level at high tier).

4) Starting skill ranks. In 3.x you have 4 times the skills ranks at level one. Pathfinder did away with that but because they did, you can't dabble in a wide variety of skills like you could in 3.x.

Of course, if you use this with the normal rules with classes, you also have the problem of different classes giving a very large difference in the number of skill ranks at first level, so the idea here is to give bonus starting ranks, either a flat amount, say 24, or twice the int score and without the plus 3 to class skills. Instead, class skills have lvl+3 to the max ranks, while cross-class skills are lvl+1.

5) Magic part 1
As tier and level are split, spellcasters have an issue. Do they get higher spell levels based on level or tier?

The idea to solve this is to consider a spell in terms of the skill it requires and the power it requires separately. Then spells require level and/or tier based on that. I.E. a spell with high skill but low power can be learned by high level casters at low tier.

6) Magic part 2, skillful magic
The idea here is to use skill checks to cast magic. Thus split target, range, duration, etc from spells, then these add to difficulty to cast.

Metamagic also simply adds to spell dc, with most metamagic simply an option available to all, with metamagic feats making them easier.

Each type of magic has it's own skill, making specialist vs generalist an emergent effect that exists but yet is customizable. Types would likely be similar to Spheres of Power rather than school.

7) Magic part 3, powering magic
The idea here is to have magic consume power exponentially and dependant on power. At low power, a caster can cast cantrips freely, but as power increases, higher spells can be cast freely, but also, the cost of spells goes down, meaning that as a caster uses their magic, it becomes more taxing to cast magic.

8) Removing HP
The idea here us to have a save against damage. Armor gives a bonus tk this save. Failing the save means gaining an injury similar to called shot effects, but that take longer to heal as well as refucing the condition of armor. Succeeding at a save means simply taking a minor penalty to future saves.

Precision strikes, such as sneak attacks, simply bypass armor.

I have others but figured I'd start with these. So what do you guys think of these? Do you like/hate them? Why?

4 people marked this as a favorite.

Probably won't end alignment arguments, but I figure this quote describes good and evil well enough to be a good fit for everyone, make evil playable, and do so without changing the alignment mechanics.

This is a quote from the Goblins comic,


The good will be quick to help others in need. They do this without hesitation, without first requiring proof that the need is genuine, but before they condemn the accused, before they bring harm to others, no matter how justified it may seem, they hesitate. They demand proof.

Evil will often believe they're fighting for good, but when others are in need, they'll become reluctant, withholding compassion until they see proof of that need. And yet, evil is quick to condemn, vilify, and attack others. For evil, proof isn't needed to bring harm, only a mantra that they fight for peace and righteousness.

I think it works quite well,

Good, quick to help without proof of need, requires proof of guilt to hurt.

Evil, requires proof of need to help, but will hurt without proof, or based on non-proofs (I.E. it's a goblin, of course it deserves to die! That's all the proof required.).

My Announcements

It has been a few years since you and everyone else suddenly woke up in this strange place. There was plenty of infighting at first, as several unfamiliar sentient species had awoken nearby as well, and blaming each other was common, but in the intervening years, groups started settling in for the long term.

Most groups were still independent of each other, but a few have formed alliances or at least agreements. Some individuals even settled within other species settlements after infighting forced or inspired them to leave the group they arrived with.

The groups arrived from your homeworld, Ithera, came mostly from the empire and have handled the transition the best, and been the least prone to infighting and discrimination.

The groups that arrived, of both sentient beings as well as plant and animal species appeared in small groups with about a mile between each group and spread across about 100 square miles into a large grouping, with other similar large groupings a few hundred miles apart.

Dirt is rather uncommon, only what came with the plants can be found, but sand is common enough, as is water.

Additionally, from your homeworld a hometree was brought. A large tree often revered as they are rare and filled with powerful magic. Some say the trees will speak to certain individuals, but that seems to be taken on faith rather than evidence.

The tree that was brought here though, named Kithuinen, has been moved to a large arena-sized "room" cut from the stone ground, called the Treepit of all things (it started as a joke but seems to have stuck), and around which your village has grown.

As you sit on the rim of the Treepit, a small kobald scurries up the ropeladder and starts heading in your direction. She is from one of three families of kobalds to join your group early on, she is quite excitable yet helpful and tends to be sent on errands a lot. Today though, you can tell she heading for you.

My Announcements

Here be discussions about rules and the game, not to mention feedback, comments, etc. This is a solo game, but others are welcome to give feedback and critique on the rules.

I will be presenting the rules piecemeal to better teach them.

To start, I'll need the PC's background and concept. There are no classes in this game, so don't worry about trying to fit into standard archetypes.

Of course, a little setting info may be required so here it is,

The local name for the world is Darktunnel. Not very creative, but also, the sentient races have been for a few years. There is a long and vastly with cavern, with a ribbon of sun-like flame passing through regularly along a leyline in the middle of the cavern. The cavern is enormous, about 1.5 AU (yes astronomical units, 1AU is from Earth to Sun).

The walls of this cavern are pockmarked with holes. The holes are regular and shaped along a hexagonal grid which tend to be connected to further rooms under the surface in a very dungeon-like pattern, save that there are no regular flat levels, and the rooms seem to connect in a weirdly 3d web of rooms.

A few years ago, everyone here fell asleep in the middle of their day and then awoke on the "floor" of this cavern. Around them were regular patterns of plant and animal life seemingly transported here along with all the people.

The air is breathable, but it does seem dusty and stale compared to their previous homes.

Various groups have gone their own ways and created several small towns in the area. Storms do pass through on occasion, and there are seas that can be seen, though nearby water consists of a large river.

Oddly, the holes and rooms seem to avoid the river, cited as evidence by some that the holes are created by intelligent beings.

Many groups explore "The Underground" as it is known, for many reasons, not least of which is for useful space, knowing and watching how enemies might sneak into town etc.

Most have taken to simply occupying the rooms near the surface instead of building structures. The rooms come a wide variety of sizes, from stadium sized to closet sized. There are no doors normally, unless people add them. But many creatures have fled into the underground after awaking, so they can be found down there.

Many criminals hide out down there as well, to avoid capture.

Technologically speaking, the Zyphers and Reaplings come from a fairly advanced space exploring society, though they only have what they were wearing when taken, so tech is understood by them but rare, for the moment.

The sentient races are

  • Kobalds,
  • Humans (hardly dominant, but not a minority either),
  • Dwarves (neanderthals really, but more evolved, hence the hair and stockiness),
  • Halflings (which are technically human-dwarf crossbreeds, though they can breed true, and are about 20% taller and heavier than in DnD),
  • Zyphers (tigars with wings and horns, and inherently magical),
  • Reaplings (semi-artificial life. They can be created by putting a skeleton and some of their magically activated blood into a vat. The resulting individual takes a form based on the skeleton. They generally have an elven like look to them when humanoid. They also have scales in greyscale color.)
  • Dragons (non-playable and only about a dozen were brought here)

  • I've recently seen a couple of GMs have threads like this and it seems like a really great idea, so I'll use this thread to post about things non-specific to particular games.

    To start things off, we are missing two people at work at the moment. Pulled 19 hours yesterday, and will pulling 16s till Friday.

    Generally will still be posting (since I get 5 minutes here and there to check up on things), but I tend to forget about threads that don't pop up with new posts when I'm busy, so feel free to give me the occasional poke if you feel forgotten.

    My Announcements

    A smallboy cautiously runs into the warm and spacious room within which several pathfinders are hanging about, relaxing, talking, and otherwise spending time. Finding several less-than-busy pathfinders, the boy walks up to each to hand them a note.

    The note seems to be from the Venture Captian Drandle Dreng reads,
    To those pathfinders currently between missions, please meet me at the corner of Wending Wyre Way and Branchingsford Street. The boy will guide you here if you need him to.
    VC Dreng

    My Announcements

    Starts Friday. Will everyone check in please.

    I will be running Wound Wisp for Gameday VI which will start Aug 25.

    This is my first time running a game for pfs much less a gameday, though I have gm'd home games before.

    On Aug 18 I will make final selection of players, not only so players and characters can get proper introductions prior to the actual start, but also so those who are not selected have time to search for another table (if any are looking for last minute fill-ins), drop out of the running if they get selected elsewhere, but also as a last opportunity for those unselected elsewhere.

    I'll be selecting interesting characters, not interesting builds, just fyi. I know, it's a short time frame, and pfs is more mechanical in nature, but still, the characters are what make the story and keep the game fun.

    I've tried getting players to test out houserules by recruiting for modules or based on a unique setting to explore, but without success, so this time, I am just recruiting for players who are willing to seriously step outside the norm. Details such as module or not, unique setting or generic fantasy, try all the new rules at once or just a few at a time, etc will be a group decision. Though most of these aim for commonplace magic yet gritty feel (as in most people have magic but don't expect even pcs to be demigods).

    An overview of the types of rules changes (which modify pf/d20),

    # - Replacing hp with a save-vs-dmg and gain injury conditions (like injured leg which reduces speed, etc).

    # - Splitting levels into tier and rank (the most complicated section, but it allows you to gain versatility without raw numerical power. You could, in thoery as an extreme case, end up at level 100 and still be at tier 5 with only 5 hit dice +5 to hit, etc).

    # - Magic is redone to require a skill check with different skills for different schools/groupings-of-spells, metamagic affects the dc, caster level is based on margins of success, and magic becomes a bit more limited in some ways, particularly dmg and healing.

    # - d20 replaced by 2d10 for some weighting of average values but not as strongly as 3d6 and easier to implement.

    As just a sample of the strangeness I'm looking to testplay.

    All rules will be dicussed in greater detail and with player feedback before starting.

    Is anyone interested? If not, what turns you away?

    I will soon be looking to start a campaign.

    I will run the season 6 pfs scenerios, however, I know very little of Golarion and so it will be set in a homebrew world with the PCs being a new squad of Imperial Operatives (working for the government rather than a private organization).

    There 4 major houserules, plus an optional one (voted for by the final group).

    1) Health/HP
    Instead of counting down HP, there is a Soak roll (fort save plus armor bonus [ties into another houserule]). The DC for the soak roll is the dmg dealt by the attack.

    If the soak roll succeeds, you gain a wound point wjich penalizes further soak rolls. Wound points are minor dmg such as bruising, scratches, etc. Cure spells and the like heal these.

    If the soak roll fails, you gain an injury, using effects from the called shot tables, or potentially worse (fitting to weapon and scenerio). Injuries take time to heal, or a restoration type spell.

    2) Skilled Magic
    Spellcraft has subskills, one for each school plus one for racial SLAs and one for other SLAs and similar features.

    Casting a spell requires the appropriate spellcraft check, DC 4 + (4* spell level [or equivelent]). Metamagic simply increases the DC. The margin of success is the caster level of the spell/effect.

    Save DC is the dice roll plus your casting stat modifier.

    Range for any ranged spell, always starts at close, and adds +2 to the spellcraft DC to increase to medium range, and +4 (+6 total) for long range. For non-ray spells, like Fireball, medium and long range castings can drift as well as be indirect-fire, like throwing weapons can be.

    3) Daunts
    I have a Duants system for handling non-combat encounters that shouldn't be single skill checks.

    4) Advancement/Leveling: Splitting level into tier and level
    This is the big one. Basically, this allows lots of advancement while remaining normal people. It splits raw power gain from versatility.

    Each character has a Tier. These tiers roughly map to the power levels of equal character level in the standard rules, i.e. 1-5 is gritty people of real world power levels, while 15-20 are demi-gods.

    However, you can now gain all 20 levels of options in a class, to become that versatile (Except spell level and certain features, such as dmg progressions like sneak attack).

    Players spend xp on each class separately on the fast xp track, though each additional class costs one extra level of xp, thus a 2nd lvl wizard can spend 3300 xp to become a 3rd level wizard, or 1300 xp to gain first level in a second class. A wizard2/fighter2 would spend 3300 to gain first level in a third class.

    Skill ranks are purchased similarly. You get 6+int at first level. Afterward, you can spend 1300 xp for 6+int more skill points. Then 3300 xp for 6+int more, etc.

    The cap on skill points is Tier+3, plus 1 more for class skills. There is no longer a +3 for class skills.

    Feats are likewise purchased via xp on their own progression, i.e. the second feat is 1300 xp, then 3300 xp, etc.

    Ability scores may be improved by spending xp. To improve an ability score, the cost is the new score as character level on the xp progression table. I.E. improving strength from 14 to 15 is 425,000 xp.

    Bab and base saves use tier instead, then add 2 to any good saves gained (only gain once per save).

    Optional) replace d20 with 2d10
    This is a midway option, favoring middle values but not as strongly as 3d6 and it also is implemented easier as the max value us still 20 and thus doesn't require changes to crit values or anything.

    I'm sure there will be questions, and the notes on splitting level into teir plus level are not perfect, but that will require some play to shakedown anyway, so worrying about every tiny detail is pointless right now.

    Me as a gm
    I am all about roleplay. I will not portray most enemies as fighting to the death just to rob some travellers. My style is also better suited to those seeking to explore and interact with the world and not so much for those who just want to jump through from one encounter to the next.

    XP is handed out for reaching goals (mostly those set by your characters), thus the peaceful route is just as xp rewarding as conquering your way through.

    I also tend to be responsive. Normally I do not include rails at all, but of course, with some modules, a small amount of railroading is needing, but even then it shoukd mostly be minor. I see the gm as destiny, and you know the saying, one often meets their destiny on the road to avoid it. I adapt to what the players do. You will still get story.

    However, this style does come with a weakness, namely, I tend to not push things forward, and then players wait on me without saying anything. If you feel things are ready to be pushed forward and not sure how to do so, poke me, and I'll get it moving (and no it won't be by chasing you around with a tribe of goblins :).

    I'm working to split character advancement into Tier and Level.

    Tier should be the overall power level. The numbers and just how earthshattering someone can be. For example, in the current scheme of things, a level 5 character is on par with Einstein and Newton and Tesla, capable of the greatest feats of human existance, in comparison to real world humans anyway. Higher levels are for the superheroes and demi-gods.

    However, this means that wanting to keep things in one realm of play is difficult for various reasons, not the least of which is limiting how often characters can level up, but also other issues can crop up as well. For example, creating characters of great raw power but that lack the training and skill to use it can't be done in the current system, and the reverse is also true, you can't make a character that has spent their life studying their craft and learned 100s of techniques and capabilities yet are still a natural human, fitting for the level of power found in the real world.

    Obviously, things like BaB, and base saves should go to Tier. Most martial stuff can go to levels, though some exceptions exist such as precision damage progressions.

    Magic is a mess, with some high level magic having reasonably low power (such as illusions) while others obviously are too much for lower tiers (such as direct damage spells).

    I've got a rougn sketch of how I'm going to do this, but I'd like some input on splitting things up, especially on spells and abilities that are more or less suitable for different tiers of play.

    For example, even high level illusions would fit just fine at low tiers if the caster is well practiced as raw power isn't a factor for having visual, thermal, auditory, and texture illusions at once, but gaining dice of damage definately is raw power.

    Removing Hit Points

    The fort save is probably already familiar to most, but here I present a different take on it. I have another radically different system to present later. The system below is a rough draft. Edit: I'm out of time, so I'll to come back and fill the gaps later. Let mo know what you think so far.

    simple alternative is to use hitdice plus con modifier instead of the fort save, in what is called a soak roll.

    Every time you take damage you gain a wound point (after the current soak roll results are resolved), roll your hitdice and add your con modifier and subtract wound points. If your soak roll is equal to or higher than the damage taken, you only gain the wound point.

    When you fail a soak roll, in addition to the wound point, you also gain an Injury condition (detailed below), but if you fail by 5 or more, you also gain the Dying condition (but may possibly still be concious, make a will save DC10 to remain concious), and if you fail by 10 or more, you are automatically unconcious and additionally must immediately make a fort save or die (DC 15+wound points).

    Nonlethal damage
    Non-lethal damage gains wound points normally, the difference is entirely in the soak roll and conditions gained from failing it, thus making a soak roll vs lethal damage ignores whether wound points came from lethal or non-lethal damage.

    If a soak roll vs non-lethal damage fails, a character is dazed for a round. If they fail by 5 or more, they becomed Staggered. If they fail by 10 or more, then they are also unconcious, but still Stable.
    Additional non-lethal damage accrues wound points normally, but failures of the soak roll treat it as lethal damage but with a +5 to the roll.

    For an uninterupted 8 hours of rest, a character loses 1d4 wound points per constitution bonus, minimum 1, and loses one Injury. Using the Heal skill to provide care doubles this rate of recovery.

    Cure spells recover wound points exactly like hit points normally would, however, a cure spell also heals one Injury per die that rolls 4 or higher.

    Restoration spells heal a number of Injuries equal to spell level and may also be spontaneously cast by a character that is given a special ability to spontaneously cast cure spells (I.E. a cleric can, but not a Bard).

    Fast healing works as normal but on wound points.

    Regeneration works on wound points. Once all wound points are removed, then injuries start being removed, taking as much time per injury as it takes to recover 15 wound points through this ability.

    Extra Hit Points
    Additional hit points such as from the Toughness feat or temporary hit points from a spell or effect instead are bonuses to the soak roll. Extra hit points from a high consititution are not added since constitution is already added to soak rolls.

    Damage reduction/Resistances
    These reduce incoming damage as normal. If the damage is reduced to zero or less, then no wound point is gained.

    Damaging Objects
    When damaging an object, treat it's hardness as DR, and it's hit points as the soak roll result. For substances with hit points-per-inch, taking that much damage chips the material one inch deep and damage over that amount goes into the next inch to potentially deepen the chipped area. Gaining wound points in this case implies dents, scratches, etc, a general degradation of the item. Injuries gained are actual breakage of the item. If the item would become Disabled or Dying the object is Broken instead. If the object would become Dead, it can't function in any capacity, and repairing it takes a adds +5 to the DC.

    Creatures with no constitution scores
    Makes no difference, they simply lack a bonus or penalty from constitution.

    Coup de Grace
    Assuming a character can discern a vital location (make a knowledge check for unfamiliar creature types that lack the normal obvious spots such as carotid arteries), and roll a straight d20, if the result is higher than their Constitution score, than they die, if the result is higher than their constitution modifier they are Dying and Disabled. If the result is less than their Constitution bonus, then they are alive but gain an Injury.

    There is no Massive Damage Threshold.

    New and altered conditions,
    An Injured character has Injuries. For each injury reduces their speed by 5'. The character also takes a penalty to physical ability scores and saves equal to the number of Injuries they have. If your constitution score drops to 0 or less due to having Injuries, you gain the Dying condition.

    A dead character is unconcious and all sustained feats, abilities, spells cast by the dead character, etc cease to function. If a dead body loses an injury or receives resusitative healing (a heal check vs DC 20 + the dead character's Injuries) and the character has fewer Injuries than their Constitution score, then the character can make a stabalization check, which if successful, they are no longer dead and instead are Dying. Without such healing, a dead body gains an Injury every round. Once a character has a number of injuries equal to their constitution score, the character can no longer be revived through simple magics or the heal skill and instead requires healing the body or a Raise Dead or similar spell (if such magics exist), however, Injuries can still be removed until the character has few enough to be revived. After a number of hours, the soul departs and after that point only a Raise Dead or similar spell can revive the character. The number of hours in which this occurs is determined by rolling 6d4 plus 1d4 per charisma bonus (or minus 1d4 for a charisma penalty). Any spell that works on the living also works on the dead prior to the soul's departure. Spells that turna dead body into undead don't work till the soul has left the body, unless it would normally work against the living.

    A Dying character is not automatically unconcious. A Dying character is also Disabled. Each round, a Dying character makes a check to lose this condition by succeeding on a Fort save vs DC 10 or they gain another Injury and remain Dying. If a Dying character gains a number of Injuries equal to twice their Constitution score, then they become dead. If the character ceases to be Dying, they become Stable.

    This works generally as normal, except the following,
    -when the character would lose a hit point such as taking a strenuous action, an injury is gained instead.
    -When making a daily constitution check to start healing, a failure gains an injury instead of losing a hit point and the penalty she takes is equal to her Injuries.
    -Whether a character is concious or unconcious has no effect regarding this condition save that actions may only be taken if awake (unless they could normally be taken while unconcious).
    -Additionally, a character may take a full-round or longer action by increasing the time to two rounds, or doubling the time taken to perform the action (whichever is longer) to do so carefully (subject to GM discretion, some actions may be deemed too strenuous to be performed carefully at all, I.E. making a strength check to bash down a door), but this action requires the character to "drop their guard" and thus automatically allows an attack of opportunity and the character counts as flat-footed.
    A character that is not Dying is Stable. A Stable character does not gain an injury every round. A stable character can be concious or unconcious, if unconcious, they can make a DC 10 Constitution check each hour to become concious. Alternatively, a perception check can be made to awaken to being slapped, splashed with cold water, etc, though a penalty is taken equal to Injuries. Smelling Salts or similar can awaken a character without a check if Injuries are less than their Constitution score. A character is normally Stable, unless Dying, thus, when unconcious from non-lethal damage, these rules still apply to waking the character.

    Asymmetrical Bell-curve Roll, or ABR for short.

    With ABR, you get a flat topped bell-curve. Basically, the middle half of possible values are each equally likely to occur, but the extreme low and extreme high values are reduced in likelihood.

    In ABR, you roll 1d12 and 2d4 instead of a d20. the range of values is 3 - 20, with the average roll hovering around 11.

    Because the upper limit of ABR is still 20, there is no need to alter crit ranges, though it might be prudent to add +1 or +2 to all crit ranges if you want critical hits to still happen nearly as often as normal.

    Anytime a rule mentions rolling a 1, assume rolling a 3 instead.

    Advantage and disadvantage.
    I never really liked the idea of advantage being to roll twice and take best result, so here is an alternative that lessens the impact of dis/advantage, allows stacking multiple dis/advantage, and yet remains simple and easy to implement.

    For each advantage roll an additional d4, then take the two best d4s.

    Disadvantage works the same but in reverse. Roll a extra d4 for each disadvantage and take the worst pair.

    If you have both advantages and disadvantages, have them cancel out one-for-one.

    Alternatively, keep all advantage and disadvantage, rolling an extra d4 for each, then for each advantage, discard the lowest d4, and for each disadvantage discard the highest d4. At the end you will have 2d4 remaining plus the d12.

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    This came up in another thread, but it is a topic that comes up often. I have yet to find a really good way to describe this but this is my latest attempt.

    Neurophage wrote:
    TheAlicornSage wrote:
    You say we different opinions on the game, but the truth is, we aren't talking about the same game. The fact that both of us are using the same rule set doesn't change the fact that we are playing two vastly diffeent and unrelated games.
    This is what I've been saying. If you understand that, then continuing this conversation would be pointless.

    This is not my point, this is merely something that is required to be understood in order to understand my point.

    Since it has been established that we can play vastly different games with the same rules, so how is that possible? Perspective.

    A change in perspective can literally change how useful and sensible a mechanic is, even if the mechanic does not change at all.

    For example, in a thread about dice mechanics, one person suggested a mechanic of rolling under attribute but over difficulty. Many responded saying that the mechanic didn't make sense and was confusing and overly complicated. Then the poster elaborated saying that it was a blackjack mechanic where the higher the better as long as you don't go over. Suddenly the mechanic was well received and said to be sensible and clear by many of those who at first had derided it as confusing.

    Thus, how you see and understand a mechanic literally affects it's usefulness, how much it makes sense, and how well it works for what you want.

    Therefore, understanding more perspectives on a mechanic makes that mechanic more useful.

    So if a mechanic is designed for game A, but you want to use it for game B, then understanding the perspective of playing game A is important on using those rules for any game really, but especially if you want to use the rules for a game other than the originally intended game.


    How can a game be balanced? Well balance comes from a set of options nominally of equal value.

    However, equal value can only be judged from a single perspective. Changing perspective changes the value of an option.

    For example, I've used Silent Image to simulate a fire, thus all the enemies coming to the PCs were all taken by surprise and in individual penny packets, and they were all unprepared for combating enemies.

    Does that sound like a first level spell ability, to seriously debuff an entire group of enemies?

    The problem with trying to balance RPGs, is a matter of perspective. In order for all options to be rendered of equal value, you have to eliminate any unexpected possibilities, to eliminate alternate perspectives. You need to make all options closed ended.

    A problem with that is Creativity. For example, a measure of creativity is to find out how many uses one can figure out for a newspaper in 60 seconds. One child we heard about in psych class gave over 50 uses for newspaper, none of which were to read it. I don't know many that could give 50 uses for newspaper given an hour much less a minute.

    How can you balance something where one person sees 3 uses for a single mechanic and the other person sees a dozen, or even just 5? The answer is to remove extraneous uses for a mechanic. That means allowing only explicitly allowed options. That means you have to exclude plenty of plausible options. It also limits the ways creativity can express itself (doesn't eliminate creativity only certain methods of expressing it).

    This removes any association of the mechanics. To quote The Alexandrian about a One-Handed catch ability usable once a day,


    To take our One-Handed Catch ability, for example, we could easily say: The player activates his gravitic force gloves (which have a limited number of charges per day) to pull the ball to his hand. Or he shouts a prayer to the God of Football who’s willing to help him a limited number of times per day. Or he activates one of the arcane tattoos he had a voodoo doctor inscribe on his palms.

    These all sound pretty awesome, but each of them carries unique consequences. If it’s gravitic force gloves, can they be stolen or the gravitic field canceled? Can he shout a prayer to the God of Football if someone drops a silence spell on him? If he’s using an arcane tattoo, does that mean that the opposing team’s linebacker can use a dispel magic spell to disrupt the catch?

    (This is getting to be a weird football game.)

    Whatever explanation you come up with will have a meaningful impact on how the ability is used in the game.

    So an associated mechanic has to account for fluff. Fluff is inescapable.

    A dissociated mechanic is bad because it basically says you can't do something that would otherwise makes sense to be possible, such as being allowed to making only a single one-handed catch per football game.

    If I have made an entirely nonmagical character because I didn't want to play a mage, what the rules allow me to do to interact with the world are "fight things" and "roll skill checks." The other guy, who wanted to play a mage, can do both of those things while also walking through walls, disappearing, and flying. He's going to be able to explore places my character can never go on his own power and discover things that will never, ever enter my character's sphere of influence.

    First, read above, then consider that DnD was built on a system that wasn't made for roleplaying at all, and also built for meeting vastly different goals, including being merely a toolbox for every gm to adapt and tweak to their own campaign*. And considering the events of the first dungeon ever played, I think I can safely say that this,

    pointless experience for everyone involved that left all the characters eaten by wolves because they did not succeed at anything at any point in their journey

    is entirely false. To recap, only one player made it out alive.

    * The books for d20 are constantly encouraging, and giving advice for,changing everything.

    Take a look at the Darksun setting. Lots of great story reasons to be a mere mundane fighter, despite having less power than a spellcaster.

    As a toolkit, I agree that a magical fighter class should exist for settings where magic is easy to get into. In fact I think it to be quite stupid to claim that a mundane fighter could ever be as good as one who casts spells, and while I might not allow pure fighters in such a magical game, I'd still leave those mundane fighters in the book just for gms like me, or at least those running Darksun and similar settings.


    Four people sitting down to play a game together as equals only for the game world to decide one of them is the main character and everyone else is a sidekick because "life isn't fair."

    Um, toolbox. The entire core books (at least the original dnd that pathfinder is based off of anyway) practically screams for the gm to adjust the rules to better suit the campaign. Thus, if the campaign is supposed to have four people be actual equals in power yet with only one caster, then obviously the gm needs to adjust things to the campaign.

    And I don't see that as bad, because frankly, using a set of rules adapted specifically for a particular group and particular campaign will always be better than a set of rules developed for entire audiences of players, given an identical gm.

    If you want a game where stats, classes, CR, individual player abilities, and the like are all irrelevant, I have to ask, have you heard of freeform? Because then you CAN just chuck all that stuff in a bin and focus 100% on the story. The way you describe the game as you'd like it to be played, I really think you'd be having a much better time if you just put away the dice entirely. They're just getting in the way at that point.

    On the contrary, I find a simulationist set of rules good for a lot of things aside from balance and gameplay. First of all, numbers as descriptions. Everyone probably has a different idea of what "above average strength" means, but if there is a detailed method for describing strength everyone can reference, then it helps everyone communicate and sync expectations. The same can apply to dice results if you stop looking at them as success vs failure. Rolling 30 to 40 in dnd is basically a masterwork result that means only the very best (compared to real world humans, though obviously not compared to demi-gods) could achieve such a result.

    Additionally, dice add tension, but they only really work when they account for the capability of the character taking an action and the difficulty of the action. Results are desirable to make sense and have some amount of consistency (which is why I prefer bell curve rolls).

    These are just major points, but they can not be achieved in freeform.

    Further, you think that only the story matters to me, but that is false. What matters to me, is details. Being told I'm not allowed to do something because of arbitrary limits, that should be allowed within the setting milieu breaks the game for me. A drama vs details issue. For details oriented folks, the rules lay a great foundation, if they support the setting milieu rather than game balance.

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    D20 ranges from gritty to superheroic.

    Progression is awesome, but becoming a superhero when gritty is desired can be problematic. Going long periods without progression can also be lacking.

    So, the idea is to gain progress by improving versatility, but not raw power.

    I also worked in a couple other things, such as save based health replacing hit points, less reliable magic (though ni longer limited by slots), etc.

    Feats are gained by reaching set amounts of total xp.

    Class levels are purchased with xp, with learning a new class being cheaper (to a point, the cost increases with more classes, making it expensive to have too many).

    Characters have a Tier which sets things like bab, saves, hit dice, skill rank cap, etc.

    Magic is slotless, less reliable, less powerful, and no longer limited by a static amount of use per day.


    When a character takes damage, they make a soak roll.

    A soak roll is made by rolling their hit dice and adding their fort save. If they rolled higher than the damage, they shrug it off gaining a wound point.

    Wound points apply a -1 stacking penalty to further soak rolls.

    If the soak roll fails, they take two wound points and gain an injury.

    If the soak roll fails by 5+, then the character is also disabled.

    If the soak fails by 10+, the character is dying.

    Disabled characters do not fall unconcious nor become dying from taking a standard action, unless particularly strenuous (such as making a charge maneuver, or running). If the character does perform a particularly strenuous action, they become dying but not unconcious.

    A dying character can make a will save each round (dc 15) to remain concious. A dying character is also disabled.

    An injury is a result from a table. Various crit tables, or drawing from a critical hit deck, are excellent alternatives for the table below.

    The injury table, roll a d10,
    1, injured foot, halve base speed
    2, -5 checks affected by armor check penalty,
    3, count as one encumbrance level higher
    4-6, gain 2 ability damage to str(4), dex(5), con(6)
    7, -1 attack rolls and double range penalties
    8, -4 penalty on mental stats
    9, blinded/deafened (d2 to pick one)
    10, crippled limb, roll a d4 to determine which one. The limb is unusable (severed or simply hanging limp is choice, or d2) until healed with a restoration spell.

    Critical hits cause an injury in addition to the result of the soak roll (damage rolled normally).

    Skill Points:

    A character starts with 6 skill points.
    They also gain 2+int mod skill points per tier (u.e. a level 3 gains 6+3*int mod skill points).

    The skill rank cap is tier+3.

    Class skills do not grant +3 when trained.

    Favored class bonus does grant extra skill points (nor hit points obviously, see health spoiler). Instead, trained skills that are class skills rom favored class get a +1 bonus.

    New Feat
    Skill Training
    No requirements.
    Gain 2 skill points.
    This feat may be taken three times per tier.

    Young characters can be represented as having less than 1000 xp, and thus not yet have a class. They get 1 skill point at 100 xp, and gain another skill point every 150 xp until they have earned 1000 xp.

    Hit Dice:

    A character starts with a d4 hit dice size. At all times, a character has a number of hit dice equal to their tier.

    The folowing feat improves one hit die at a time.

    New Feat
    Hard to Kill
    No requirements.
    Improve the size of your hit dice according to this progression-> (d4->d6->d8->d10->d12)
    Hit die may only be improved three times.
    May be taken multiple times.
    Special, barbarians may improve hit die four times as long as they have a number of levels equal to, or greater than, their tier. Barbarians are thus the only ones able to achieve d12 hit dice. (classes that normally get d12 hit dice count as barbarians for this feat).

    Will post more soon.

    When I got into rpgs, I had an amazing gm, but sadly, very few since have ever been even what I'd call great.

    In fact, many gms I see running games don't seem to really understand what it means to be a gm, nor what a great gm actually does.

    Several become a gm either because there is no one else, or for a bad reason. I can't tell you how many I've come across that became a gm to tell a story they wrote.

    Problem is, gming is not about telling a story, it is about crafting an experience. In telling a story, the experience gets neglected.

    Most don't catch on to that because the experience is like air, it is invisible and often goes unnoticed, with problems being attributed to other things (much like when getting smothered with a pillow. It is easy to name the pillow as killer, but it isn't the pillow that kills, but rather the lack of air.)

    Therefore, this year I want to start a youtube channel about being a better gamemaster, with advice on everything from running games to handling problem players. With respect to the various playstyles and how they impact things.

    I am posting this thread to ask for all kinds of advice, resources, and materials to aid in making this the best it can be and to discuss it's creation and potential content.

    Oh, and feedback would be nice as well.

    I like creating various magic systems, but keeping it simple can be challanging.

    The idea I have is for exponential power costs for spells that can take days to recover from using high level spells yet allow nearly limitless use of cantrips and such.

    Basically, run on spellpoints and treat the spell level as the exponent for how much mana it takes to cast the spell. So sl 0 costs 1 point, sl 1 costs 10 points, sl 2 costs 100 points,... sl 9 costs 1 billion points.

    I like what the concept represents, but using it directly like this would be quite ridiculous and painful to track.

    One of the aspects here though is to allow the lowest level spells to be used freely without worry about the cost, but as the sl goes up, it becomes an increasing problem. I also want low to mid spells to be recovered from quickly to perhaps a day, but have higher spells take days to a week to recover from, and the closer to empty the caster runs, the more difficult it becomes to cast any spell.

    Of course, getting multiple casters together to cast a spell to spread the cost among them should be viable but this also raises how powerful of a spell that can be cast.

    And of course, I want the difficulty of casting to be separate from the mana cost. (will be using some form of casting check to determine the effectiveness of the spell)

    So I'm hoping some of you can help me figure out a way to represent this without trying to keep track of millions of spell points.

    Okay, I've never run modules before, thus far my gming experience has been exclusively on-the-fly improv.

    But I got all of season 6 in the humble bundle a while back so I thought I might try my hand at running them.

    My gming style does tend to be reactive, so if you're expecting to be pushed through the story, or worse, led by the nose, then I'm not the gm for you.

    The two twists will be, firstly, a custom setting, though this will really come into play only for those who dig further into what is happening and of course, character creation. Rather than Pathfinders, you belong to the Seekers, the fieldwork branch of the Ministry of Education and Information, generally finding historical items, travelling with expeditions to record events, acting as spies, recovering items or data for research, etc.

    Second twist, there will a few rule mods that players can vote for. The most picked one will be applied for a scenerio. Afterwards, players can report on what they liked/disliked about it and vote to keep or discard that mod for the next scenerio. Each scenerio will have at least one rule mod.

    Rule mods will be things like, replacing hp with a save and injuries health system, or a slotless magic casting system, etc. Each will be made to fit into the d20 model minimizing effects elsewhere in the rules.

    I prefer larger groups for pbp, as I find such groups play longer and pbp makes it easier to handle more players.

    The pacing will be moderate, a minimum if one post per two days (though aiming for a post every day). I will be able to post much more on weekends at nighttime in the US.

    This here is mostly just an interest check to see if should develop things further. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

    Okay, so my gm style hasn't worked very well overall for normal games on pbp, so I thought I'd try running something entirely different.

    The idea here is to mix Starcraft kind of strategy, a bit of Fallout Shelter, and d20-like combat into a strategy game.

    I call it The God's Game.

    The premise is that the gods choose people and toss them into this game.

    Each player controls a faction. Each faction has a leader and some followers. If the leader dies, that faction is defeated, but more followers can be gained by the leader going up in level, which requires the leader to take part in encounters. There is a set number of followers gained and dead followers are not replaced, so keeping your guys alive is an important part of the game.

    In addition to having people, the action takes place in a nearly endless dungeon. Exploring is important for finding supplies, like food and water, as well as resources, like leather and iron (generally found as existing items like armor, clothes, and weapons), and for utility rooms, like a forge or workshop.

    The system is heavily modified d20. A lot of d20 resources will be usable, but the core is altered yo be classless, level-based, as well as changing how things like saves work to simplify char-sheets.

    Part of the goal though is leave environment and weapon choice as important (slightly altered do simply greater damage is not always better).

    Does this sound interesting to anyone? Should I develop the idea further?

    The Mythical creature template from tomb of horrers say to increase HD by 50% then double that amount. As that is equivalent to simply tripling HD, and as at least a full HD is required, I am wondering why this seemingly overly complicated wording was chosen.

    While I'm far from running such a game at the moment, I'm looking to see if anyone likes the idea and has anything to suggest for it, and whether I should develop it further.

    The setting concept is that a wizard made a wish, a wish that the world was like what was written in the book he was holding.

    The result is a world where folks earn xp, take classes, and level up, from their own point of view. Similar to the goblins comic, where the goblins specifically chose their own class, and gained the powers from what they chose.

    In this world, anyone who hasn't made a choice of class is lvl 0, but any intelligent being can earn xp and take class levels. Only, the catch is, this new set of rules for the world just happened, and when it did, everyone got set to lvl 0, including all those who used to be heroes and masters. So obviously, this is a time of great chaos, as many struggle to regain what they once were, or gain more than they ever dreamed of having. Power plays, politics, coups, people everywhere are living in chaos as they adjust to the new world.

    Some good did come of it though, previously evil only being now have free will regarding alignment, anyone can gain power from willing followers, etc.

    Unlike d20, xp is earned by overcoming challanges of any sort, whether combat or not. The more difficult the challange, the more xp earned. Many militaries and similar groups have established training grounds, to challange the soldiers so they can gain xp.

    Unknown to most though, is that all the old ruins and more new dungeons, have all been created/revamped, to be challanges to those folks who dare tread inside, plus rewards at the end.

    In a way, this setting brings certain meta elements into the world itself, but it is also about how those things might radically change how the world works, (ie. soldiers who used to rely on swords, now must consider, are swordmages the superior way to fight battles? Who wins, pure fighter or fighter/wizard?).

    I would like to change some things from d20. No spellslots for example, spellpoints instead, or a will save vs fatigue type deal. Same with health.

    Do what does everyone think of this? Would this be an awesome campaign to play?

    Pathfinder has four basic tiers, natural people (what real world people can do), enhanced/supernatural (real people can make supertech to do this like powersuits. Also covers weaker stories of vampires or lycanthropes), Mythical (not quite godly, but still able to achieve very powerful results), And Demigods (the larval form of deities and generally worthy of worship).

    However these tiers are implicit rather than explicit sadly.

    Many however like to stay within a single tier. However, each tier only spans 5 levels, and character growth is no less enjoyable for wanting to stay in a tier.

    So I had the idea of basically splitting each level into 4 and the core numbers grow at a reduced rate, so that plenty of character growth can be achieved via versatility, yet the raw power slows down so that you can gain around 20 levels and still be within a single tier.

    I'll post more details later, but what are your thoughts?

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I am just doing an interest check for this sort of game and maybe hammer out a few details. It'll be a little over a week before I can start.

    I have two concepts, the first is Fallout Equestria as a party of Spec Ops from the MoA near the end of the great war.

    The second concept is more in line with the show jn terms of tech level, but the party is a group of explorers trapped in an ancient underground complex filled with traps and deadly monsters, and long forgotten secrets.

    Now to start, it'll be a while before I can do serious work on this this as I'm in the midst of a heavy workload, however I am still looking for feedback, suggestions, and possibly help in the meantime.

    The idea here is to modify the core d20 rule set to get rid of classes primarily, but also to change magic to make it less reliable, but also less restrictive, and for it to not be balanced by limited use per day, but rather balance it via other methods.

    I figure I should start with determining what major factors will change and what shall stay the same.

    The goals I truly want at the core,
    -be classless, ptu style "classes" are somewhat acceptable
    -more explicit and unified power tiers (and ability to remain within a tier)
    -magic more skillful, fluid, and flexible
    -remain close enough the spells, feats, equipment, other d20 material is easily usable

    A few minor things I'd like to see, but not as important,
    -growth more about versatility than number enlarging
    -useable for my magetech setting
    --tech rules
    --ships, for sea, air, and space
    --mass combat
    -different health system (fort save, or modified wounds/vigor, or something else)
    -DCs fixed in line with everything else
    -better use of various materials and not just the special ones
    -more interesting crafting
    -better match together various subsystems

    So thoughts on these or suggestions for other goals?

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I looked at recent threads and didn't see any addressing this issue, so if I am repeating some old thread, I'm sorry but a reminder is needed.

    I have found the PM (private messages) system to be inadequate when trying to look up old messages.

    First issue is the system treats each message individually,then separates between sent and received. This makes it very difficult to follow a back and forth conversation, especially if other PMs were sent or received during the same time period. Following an old conversation currently requires checking and comparing dates and times while flipping between two webpages with the list pages being reset every single time.

    Potential Solution, connect a PM reply to the PM it was a reply too into a chain which can be viewed like a thread.

    Issue 2, looking at a page of PMs, if you select one far down, you then have to scroll up to see it, then be careful to hit the back link and not the browser back button, then hit the page number (most of the time but not always) then scroll down again.

    Solution, for single PMs, open right in the list, or for PM chains open in new tab or a new column, or just improve the code to return view to the right spot on the lost. In any case, make each page of PMs an actual web page like with threads, so the browser navigation works as expected.

    A better solution all around is to revamp the PM subsystem to functon similarly to threads. Thread titles would include the participants and each response would simply add to the chain. I'm not sure about all the backend stuff as web is not my field, but I imagine the PM threads could be done "lighter."

    Being able to organize the PMs would be nice, but that probably requires more work than is worth it.

    Also, "prev" and "next" buttons to jump from one PM vhain to the next would be nice. Not as the primary way to navigate perhaps, but useful still.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I noticed that there were no special materials for non-metal, non-wood armors and weapons. (of course, I'm not totally up on the bazillion different supplements.)

    So I decided to create one.

    I call it Ironweave Silk. Made from spider silk and created in a thick, tough, and redundant weave (kinda like denim in thickness, flexibility, and yet tougher because of being silk and the redundant weave). The material itself takes time to create, thus driving the expense and rarity of the material (not to mention the difficulty of getting enough silk to begin with). It is lighter than leather, more flexible, and just as tough.

    It thus is like mithral, save for what items can be made from it. It can be used to make padded, leather, studded leather, hide, and other non-metal armors. It can also be used to make net, chain, rope, and similar weapons. Because the material is a cloth, it costs half as much to disguise the armor as a particularly nice set of normal clothes or to decorate with patterns and designs. Embroidery is commonly found on items made from this material.

    Other things can be made from the material to take advantage of the light weight and toughness, such as hammocks and tents. The material is waterproof, so bags and packs are often made from it to keep contents dry.

    However, it does not count as silver for bypassing armor.

    At first, I figured on simply copying the mithral mechanics for new items, save for the silver dr bypass, but I'm thinking something unique would be really nice to add to it, perhaps cheaper enchanting or mild thermal protection, perhaps cold resistance.

    Thoughts, suggestions, feedback?

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Being a soldier in real life and having done a lot of looking at how magic would change a world, I find the idea of soldiers in a world of learnable magic that don't cast magic to be downright ridiculous. Certainly, even a full blown wizard doesn't have the magical endurance to last through an army on army battle casting spells left and right, (not even a lvl 20 can last 10 minutes) but an army of soldiers casting the right spells at the right times will flatten an army that merely seeds the occasional wizard in various places.

    Also, any attempts I've seen thus far of a sword and spell mixture class has very poor selection of abilities, usually focused entirely on damage output. A soldier that uses no magic is either stupid, incompetent, religiously anti-magic, or incapable of learning magic. Or a conscript (aka untrained cannon fodder, though not exactly PC material).

    What I want to do is make a class more representative of what a soldier would actually be like in a world of learnable magic. Such a soldier would use weapons and armor (they last the battle), but also strategically cast spells, mostly long lasting enhancments, maneuvering, defenses, defense bypassing, etc, with only a few blasting spells (what good is a sword if you spell everything to death, what good is wasting all your spells on short bursts of damage when you have other attack options and need your damage output to last long term). They would also have a few spells for establishing, and breaking into, fortifications and a few convience field spells like for hygiene and putting up tents quickly (cause the commanders would demand it at least).

    Spells like enlarge person, teleport, greater invisibility (for the commandos), spider climb, dispel, mount, shield, are all the sorts of spells a soldier would use.

    What do you think of this concept? Any suggestions or comments?

    My Announcements

    Hanging around the Silly Scalpel Outfitters, a group of folks, either brave or stupid depending on who you ask, prepares to venture into the depths of the most dangerous dungeon known.

    Across the street, the old geezers make bets over who lives long enough to return frightened out of their wits, or who will not return before the next moon.

    My Announcements

    The wearisome explorers huddle around the campfire, talking about anything but the terrifying mobs of monsters wandering the very halls they now rest in.


    I have started a blog. Not all of it is games and I only have a few posts up so far. Some of it is serious and some of it is me talking alot about something I know very little about.

    But I also want to write a fair bit about games including RPGs.

    I have my own system I'll be writing about, but I'd also like some ideas from you guys about topics, particularly topics that don't get written about very often, or perhaps analysis of things, just whatever ideas you guys would like to propose.

    Feedback about the blog would be nice too of course. :)

    Here is the link,

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