Acid Breath: Undines whose outsider heritage can be traced to a water mephit can wield acid as a weapon. Such an undine has a breath weapon that is a 5-foot cone of acidic water usable once per day. The breath deals 1d8 points of acid damage per two character levels (maximum 5d8). A Reflex saving throw (DC 10 + 1/2 the undine's level + the undine's Constitution modifier) halves the damage. This racial trait replaces the spell-like ability racial trait.
Taken literally, a 1st-level undine character with this alternate trait has no breath weapon (or just sprays out a cone of non-acidic water - heh). Often effects that are based on a fraction of a level will state something like "minimum 1". I can't think of any effects that don't have that minimum so I'm wondering if this case is an oversight.
I love that Belkar doesn't understand. If he was just evil, he'd be one dimensional. It's the fact that he truly doesn't understand other people's motivations half the time that makes him so interesting.
Actually, I think Belkar is fully aware of the situation and is playing it this way for kicks and/or to reinforce his "I don't understand your guys' motivation" scheme. He's a clever guy.
At the beginning of the Silicon elemental fight, he hid because he didn't want to die. In the latest comic he charges first toward the evil, blood-sucking (and powerful) vampire. Either he has had an unlikely change of heart in the last couple of minutes or he knew that he wouldn't see any repurcussions due to his actions. Once the elemental fight was over, he saw Durkon, realized that he was 'back', and deduced that Durkon wouldn't fight back or, if he did, he'd heal any damage done to Belkar afterward. So he gets to stab Durkon and a vampire for free *and* make another joke about the confusing nature of the party's ethics/motivations. Afterall, it's to his benefit the more they underestimate him, so maintaining his reputation of ethical blindness is important.
That's a lot for his brain to process in a short time, I know, but I have faith in the little sadist. :o)
The example kingdom has a control DC of 60 (explained in the first block of text you quoted). In that second quote, they rolled exactly 60 for their Economy check. If they got any less, then they wouldn't have received any taxes at all.
I can understand the confusion, since they don't explicitly state that the Economy check succeeded. In fact, I think the first time I had to re-read those sections to understand that exact point.
I just purchased this PDF up today and look forward to devouring the rules. However, as I skim through it, I noticed that the Free Buildings section for Treetop City is a copy of that section for Cavern City (page 28). Are there free buildings for treetop cities? If so, do you mind listing them here?
Earlier today I had an idea about this issue, but I just realized that age could be an issue. Anyway, Belven Valdemar is a "handsome and quite available bachelor". I was thinking of having him woo the future target of the Skinsaw Man. It is most likely that this would happen after the target becomes a well-known hero, but isn't necessarily required (such as if the target is particularly attractive and/or of noble lineage). Since Belven is too much of a workaholic to pay attention to the ladies, I see two main options:
- A relative or friend of Belven tries to set him up with the PC. In my mind, I saw Ethram (Belven's father) asking for the PC's time but cunningly getting someone to send Belven to fetch him at the right moment. Ethram excuses himself while suggesting that Belven take his place or show the PC around. Ethram would like to see his son happy before he finally succumbs to his persistent lung infection, after all.
- Belven and the PC wind up at the same location for whatever reason (e.g., the PC is invited to the theatre and happens upon Belven during an intermission or after the play). For whatever reason, Belven is quite taken by the PCs beauty and/or personality and, for the first time in his life, decides to pursue a woman.
Of course, Belven may be ignoring the ladies all this time because he's not interested in ladies. In that case, the second option is still good as it is. For the first option above, Sir Jasper or Cyrdak could be the match-making friend (or some other close friend who knows/suspects Belven's interest in men).
During the time of the Skinsaw Murders in Sandpoint, Belven could be away in Magnimar on business. The fact that Belven is a noble and was/is interested in the PC may be just enough to distract the party from outright suspecting Aldern. Hopefully the PC is ready to be pursued this much, though :o)
Now, for that age thing I mentioned: Belven is the oldest son of the only original member of the Sandpoint Mercantile League who is still alive (Ethram). That could make him relatively old (40+). However, this can be adjusted. Without getting too ridiculous we can say that Ethram was a gifted young man who took over his family's affairs around the age of 20, and he didn't get around to pumping out offspring until his... 40s. That would make Ethram about 60 and Belven around 20. I think I would choose to make him 30, depending on the target PCs age.
At the risk of repeating Abjurer's post, I started reading this thread on Monday and finished it yesterday, forsaking all other activities. I can now eat and sleep again :o)
Compliments on the excellent writing style, first of all. I appreciate the effort you put into sharing your campaign and group with us.
And speaking of the group - what a group! Role-playing for a full day without any combat? Jealous! Each player does an amazing job of portraying believable and lovable characters with wonderful examples of growing attachment and interpersonal conflict. Your exemplary role-playing, NobodysHome, is also obvious from what you've written here and the fact that your players have developed relationships (good and bad) with so many NPCs. Oh, and the time Halek chased off Aldern - pure comedy gold!
From a mechanical perspective, it has been very interesting for me to 'witness' your GMing style and how you make it work. As well, it's impressive to see how a good group of players can inherently reduce the challenge level of encounters with sound tactics and smooth execution.
I'd pay to be part of a group like this (assuming I was good enough myself to make the cut).
I'll just finish with a thank-you for sharing this and I'll definitely be following it to the end. You've inspired me to get my own campaign going and to try chronicling it like this.
I did play Neverwinter Nights on a hardcore PW Forgotten Realms role playing server for approximately 7 years. I also played World of Warcraft for a few years. So I'd say I come from a Persistent World, D&D, Roleplaying, MMORPG background. That's really why I'm glad I stumbled upon the Kickstarter page in the last couple days and why I chose to back it. So far it sounds like it has the potential to be an amazing game, and fits a niche of many in the NWN PW community looking for a way out of a dying game.
Interesting (and Welcome!). I've also been playing a NWN persistent world (Higher Ground), but only for the last two years. I'm still playing, and don't plan to stop, but I can see that it is slowly dying. However, the developers are still designing new areas and implementing new mechanics so I expect it will be around for years to come.
And that's the closest I've gotten to "Massively Multiplayer". My online gaming experiences with strangers have trended toward negative, so I'm generally wary of spending my limited time on such things. However, the community that I've seen here at the Paizo forums and the design elements that Goblin Works has chosen have eased my concern for PFO.
I'm probably going to add $115 for the print-pack add-on. I curse the fellow who mentioned the idea of going to the buddy level to double up the minis and other goodies - now I'm thinking about it!
Having not played MMORPGs before, the in-game add-ons don't resonate with me. My main motivation was Emerald Spire, but I entered at the Crowdforger Pioneer level to reserve an early entry into the game thinking I could just reduce my amount later if I changed my mind. I didn't, and now I look forward to trying it out.
I'm a backer of a number of Kickstarter projects - 13 in all. I've also watched a bunch of other projects go through the backing process, cheering them on (like the Gamers movie - not sure why I didn't back that one...). There is a common trend for most projects: lots of support comes in at the beginning; then the support plateaus for a while (I'd say the middle 80%); then there's a race at the end (a race to qualify for funding, in some cases, or a race to reach more stretch goals, in others). I say all this to lend credence to my assessment that I have no doubt that this Pathfinder Online project will reach its goal. Have no fear! My main concern is how big that dungeon gets! :o)
Of course there is a chance it won't make it, but I think it's highly unlikely at this point. A couple of those 13 projects I backed didn't look like they'd make it (the D&D Documentary and Shadowrun Online) - in fact, I was convinced they wouldn't. But they managed to pull out enough support in the dying hours to reach their goals.
I am tempted to go into the possible reasons for this general trend in crowd funding, but I think my post is long enough already ;)
Barry Armstrong wrote:
Can you help provide a rules reference for this? The only thing I found was:
You can make attacks with natural weapons in combination with attacks made with a melee weapon and unarmed strikes, so long as a different limb is used for each attack. For example, you cannot make a claw attack and also use that hand to make attacks with a longsword. When you make additional attacks in this way, all of your natural attacks are treated as secondary natural attacks, using your base attack bonus minus 5 and adding only 1/2 of your Strength modifier on damage rolls. Feats such as Two-Weapon Fighting and Multiattack can reduce these penalties.
I don't see anything that says that you don't get your normal iterative attacks with a weapon if you combine it with a natural attack. So I'd assume that a 15th level catfolk monk could punch three times with the same fist, just like he could strike three times with a single weapon, in addition to striking out with his free hand for a claw attack (as a simple example).
I've been sifting through forum posts on the Holy Vindicator PrC and clerics of Gorum, since I'm making such a character right now, but I haven't seen this discussed. The first ability of the HV is the Vindicator's Shield - a bonus applied to your shield. However, the favoured weapon of Gorum is the greatsword, seeming to make flavourful clerics of Gorum and the HV slightly incompatible.
My GM has kindly said he'd allow me to apply the effect to my armour. As I tend to be a GM myself, I like to weigh the impacts of any rule change carefully. Does anyone see any problems with changing the effect in such a way?
I was wondering if such a bonus to AC was considered too much to give to a two-handed combatant (and/or a ranged combatant). Otherwise, I'm not seeing a problem. It is still dissipated upon being hit (and perhaps sooner, since the character will have a lower overall AC without the shield).
I appreciate any thoughts on the topic.
What a great thread! Lots of surprises - things I overlooked or assumed were the same as before, etc. I've played all versions of D&D (version 4 excluded) since I started at the age of 5, so perhaps that's my excuse :o)
I'm not sure if Telodzrum is still maintaining his copy, but the latest printing of the Core rules changed spellcraft. Specifically, this current entry in the list (emphasis mine):
Awesome thread's summary wrote:
4. Wizards learning new spells require time and a Spellcraft check. If the Spellcraft check fails, it cannot be tried again until the wizard gains a rank in Spellcraft. The wizard may Take 10 on the Spellcraft check.
is now changed by this (ditto):
If you fail to learn a spell from a spellbook or scroll, you must wait at least 1 week before you can try again.
I also have to repeat the mention of that particular rule regarding spell preparation. I never knew that a spell caster could keep slots empty and spend 15 minutes later filling them up again. Found that out for the first time on Sunday while reading Tark's Big Holy Book of Clerical Optimization. Blew me away :o) Yay for reducing Vancian magic limitations!
Your idea sounds great. When I GMed the adventure, I didn't give the treasure to my players because the went the diplomatic route. However, I gave them bonus XP (on top of the encounter XP). I did this in part because I like to encourage solutions that don't go the traditional "Kill'em all!" path but also because it was to offset the loss of treasure.
That's tricky, deltas. In your shoes, I'd be tempted to get those new people to play through the Black Fang dungeon themselves before the joint session. They could use the new NPCs you've selected (maybe Barbarian and Druid?) and get help from either NPCs controlled by you or two of your original players. This is how I plan to introduce many people to the Beginner Box - my fiancé is one of my first group who would like to join 2-4 other newbies going through Black Fang's dungeon.
Barring that, it is important to start the group session with some simple tasks that are clearly well-suited to the talents of the characters for the new players. Perhaps a door is stuck that can only be opened by the barbarian in a rage; or a Knowledge (Nature) check is required for some key info - unfortunately I'm not familiar with edowar's conversions so I'm not sure what works. Just like Black Fang introduces the whole party to some basic concepts in small chunks at the beginning, try to do that for your newbies somehow.
Thinking about an easy adventure to do, here's some brainstorming:
That might not be enough for one session - it depends on how much time is spent introducing the newbies to their characters and helping them play. You could prepare an exit encounter - something that would happen on the way home - and only use it if you feel time permits and it isn't too anticlimactic.
As for scaling up other adventures, I'd simply increase any established encounters by 50%. So three goblins instead of two, sort of thing. Single monster encounters could be left at 1 or doubled to 2 - a decision you can reserve until the party gets there (for instance, if they just got beaten badly in a previous encounter, you could go with one to give them an easier time).
I hope that helps.
Unless I get feedback from this forum, the above is pretty much my current final draft. It's been brewing in Textpad since our last session a week ago. I'm thinking of printing it out in index card format, and for each player putting their appropriate skill check next to the skills mentioned. *Or*, I was also thinking of printing out index cards for everyone with just their skills on them - I find that some are still having trouble knowing what I mean when I say, "Make a perception skill check.".
When I get feedback from my players, I'll report back here.
I've noticed that my new players are missing a lot of the things I take for granted. Perception checks, looking for traps, etc. One player in particular (the rogue/Merisiel) is brand new to gaming of any sort and I'm afraid that she may get frustrated if she thinks she's not contributing much to the party.
I'm toying with the idea of giving the players a rough check list of possible things to do in certain situations. I don't want to come across as telling them what to do, but I hope that this would actually make them more autonomous (i.e., less spoon feeding).
Please let me know what you think and/or if you have any suggested additions/changes. Thanks.
Starting the Adventure
After the Adventure
In case it helps at all, this is what I sent to my players:
Just so you know what you got experience points for, I'll spell it out below. However, in total, you all got 4600 XP, which will be 1150 each. Your characters need 2000 XP to reach second level.
Experience for Black Fang's Dungeon
From another discussion: "read the paragraph labelled Experience Points on page 15 of the Game Master's Guide. It explains how to add up XP and distribute it. However, it says to go to page 64 of the Hero's Handbook; that's supposed to be page 63, where there's a table that shows you how much XP a character needs for each level."
I find that it's best to figure out XP after the session is over. I usually send the details to my players via email (or use the campaign wiki). It also allows me time to fudge the numbers a bit, such as adding an extra 50 XP each to get them to the next level.
Congrats on the successful session, and congrats to your boys for the successful Diplomacy check to get your wife involved! ;o)
I think making characters, even with the BB simplified rules, is a pretty significant investment of time and energy. My group of adults (two of whom have no RPG experience) are having a lot of fun with the pre-gens and don't want to make their own.
However, I also find making new characters to be a fun experience in itself (not only the number crunching but developing character personality and background). So it depends on what you want them to get out of it.
If you know the kids well, then you can safely judge what will be fun for them. In your position, I'd probably plan to stick with the pre-gens but be flexible enough to switch it up if the kids so desired.
As for the time, those 1h45m slots must be pretty organized and focused to even make it through Black Fang without character creation thrown in. Goofing around can be an important part of gaming, though, especially for youth, so I'd be hesitant to crack down on it myself.
My two coppers ;o)
I felt a bit bad about cheating the players of their kill, but I was already working on a follow up story with Black Fang so I needed him alive :(. I wasn't intending in killing the players either, I was going to make Black Fang fly away if he killed 2 people. Is this practice frowned upon? :(.
I'm in agreement with the others. As the GM, your ultimate goal is to entertain everyone (including yourself). I often think of GMs as movie directors. If a scene isn't working right, they will go off-script and do what needs to be done to make it entertaining. So, the game rules and the published adventure are secondary to that consideration. As GMs gain experience in their craft, they'll have a better idea when to follow the script and when to jump off it. Likewise, as GMs get to know their players, they'll better recognize what works for their particular players, leading to more on-the-fly changes. Some of my best sessions were GMed by improvising.
So, in short, don't feel bad at all. It sounds like you did a great job ;o)
The reason I ask is that the average for 3d6 is going to be 11. Given 6 stats that means the average points are going to be 6. So of course it is better to take the 15 points. Say the roll is 4d6 drop the lowest. Well, based a lot of math I did when I was younger that averages to 14. So for 6 stats that would be a 30 point buy. In that case it is better to take the roll over the points.
Actually, here are more precise statistics for those two rolling methods:
3d6*: Average of 10.5 per ability; average of 3 total points**
* This ignores the safety nets within the BECMI rules, including a complete re-roll under some circumstances and the option to sacrifice some points in a stat to increase another.
Edit: Sorry, took too long for my monster post and got ninja'd on the above correction. Just one thing to add:
You have to look at every possible point total and determine the probability (for instance, there is a 13.3% chance of getting 13 - or 3 points - for a single ability). It turns out your estimation is correct for 3d6 but 4d6 comes out much differently as I listed above.
So the 4d6 method falls below 20 point buy, on average. But as people have repeatedly mentioned, one of the main problems is in the deviation. I have a spreadsheet where I can simulate various dice rolling methods and analyze 1023 results at a time (what can I say, I like numbers). Looking just at the highest and lowest results out of one set before me now, I have 3d6 giving 35 point-buy versus -32 point-buy and 4d6 giving 68 point-buy (with an 18 and three 17s) versus -19 point-buy. Those are, of course, the extremes in those sets, but even if you look at a chart of those results, you'll see that the majority of the rolls still vary by up to 25 points.
As much as I like to nerd out on numbers, especially ability score generation, this really doesn't do much for the overall question: What ability generation method is the most fun?
It comes down to personal preferences and expectations. I believe the the author of the original post knew his fellow players enough that he could spring a drastically different system on them without causing a split. And, unsurprisingly, it seems they are more than willing to try the experiment. What is fun for everyone needs to be defined through communication. Knowledge of each other's expectations can naturally happen as a group integrates over time but often requires direct discussion.
I am GMing a new group of role-players with relatively little (or no) role-playing experience. Stat-buy, at this point, would be too much number crunching for two of them. And another is so concerned with making the right choices (much like me) that point-buy is almost a tortuous affair. I know some (or all) would be fine with one person being more powerful than the rest and even if their own character is "not powerful". However, I know they would like some good stats and, for a couple of reasons, I personally like to have relatively even scores across the party.
As such, I've come up with an interesting system of randomly determining ability scores for everyone without too much variance and with very little decision making required on their parts. I plan to use it when they make their first characters (they are currently happy with the Beginner Box pre-gens).
In short (deep breath), everyone gets together and rolls 4d6 (drop lowest) seven times. Everyone's scores go into one pool. Then they choose or randomly determine who goes first. The scores are assigned to them, starting at the highest, in a 'snaking' order (e.g., 4th person gets the 4th and 5th highest scores). This leaves the 6 worst results for the dust bin. Finally, I analyze everyone's equivalent point values and anyone who is below the top gets to adjust a single result high enough to bring them close or equal (not higher).
Sounds convoluted because it is, but it satisfies what I see as the requirements for 'fun':
A final note, related to the OP: I started GMing with 3d6 when I was 6 years old. I often re-rolled until I got a result I liked ("That one didn't count") so I can't say I'm a 3d6 veteran. However, I sometimes revisit BECMI rules and do it right (I'm an adult now, after all) to experience some old-school gaming. It can be a lot of fun as long as your expectations match the game.
I want to echo that it's awesome that you've decided to take it upon yourself to be a GM for some future, lucky players. It was similar for me when I bought (my parents bought) the D&D Red Box when I was 6. I spent much of my childhood running myself through modules before trying them out on friends. That's just how I roll :o)
Since you sound brand-spanking-new to all this stuff, here are my recommendations:
1) Try out the one-person adventure in the beginning of the Hero's Handbook. Take your time with it and try to absorb the lessons of each encounter. The similar adventure in the Red Box was very handy for getting me on my way, and the HH one is just as important for being introduced to some important rules.
2) Do not make your own characters just yet. Save that for after you have a few adventures of GMing under your belt.
3) Read through the Blank Fang adventure before playing it. It's not meant to be a one-person adventure, so it may be more confusing to you if you play it that way.
4) If you are like me (meticulous and a bit obsessive :o) run all 4 pre-gen characters through Black Fang dungeon. If you aren't, then take one or two (pick Valeros first for his overall toughness, then maybe Kyra for the healing). Walk the character tokens through the adventure just as if you are playing a computer game. Only allow them to transition into another area/room together.
5) Come here frequently to ask questions! Please don't be afraid share your progress with us, too! I'm a bit jealous of you being able to experience all this just like I experience the Red Box :o)
I'll lend my support to the idea of taking it chunks at a time. I was introduced to role-playing (briefly) when I was 5, and begged for the D&D Red Box when I was 6. Being young and impatient, I only learned enough rules to get playing. Over the years, I would regularly re-read a rule and realize I had been using it wrong or not using it at all. But I still had fun!
Hmm, maybe the adult me should listen more to the child me - I often get so concerned with using the rules right these days that it's stressful for me. :o)
To help your son a bit, you can give Ezren the masterwork staff he should have (Arcane Bond). This will give him +1 to hit in melee and with Hand of the Apprentice.
Congrats on a great first session!
Perhaps you could have Valeros wake them up to start the next session, having just dragged them both to safety. "I saw you coming here, and thought you'd need some help." Then they'd have an appropriate meat shield ;o)
I would increase the difficulty marginally for some encounters. The first encounter could have three goblins instead of two. They are pretty easy, as is. King Fatface(?) could have one or two more goblins added to his entourage. You could try two spiders - your call. I'd also judge whether or not to add a second reefclaw depending on how many characters swim to the island. Only half of my group of 4 felt comfortable swimming, so the encounter was somewhat challenging for them (plus the wizard was stingy with his magic missiles). Add one more skeleton if the party is doing okay once they get to the top of the cliff. As for the finale, if they have the sword and are using it, then perhaps add 10 hit points to Black Fang. But you don't have to do that officially, just fudge his hit points as the fight goes on.
That's my take, given the one time I played the session my players had almost no trouble at all with any encounters.
Hah! Now I think you're playing with me :o)
I also prefer randomness but also see the appeal of the natural balancing of point-buy. At one point, my solution was to give players points to spend on their abilities, with an added bit of randomness applied to their abilities once they were done. For example, randomly select two abilities (with d6) and add 0-3 points (d4-1) to them. That way the players get what they want, plus they may find that their Fighter isn't such a ugly idiot after all.
That said, I do still prefer 2d6+6 rolling. It gives a low-end of 8, and still has an average roll of 15 (despite the average of 17 you'd calculate; I see 14s and 15s more than anything)
Average is 13, actually. I agree with you that this method still can produce significant variety between PCs.
Assuming you meant my new idea, I'm thinking the same. I just put it to a spreadsheet to model it a bit (for a 4-person party), and it works really well. Since there is an even number of abilities, the player that chooses first (and possibly gets that single 18) will also choose last (and get that ugly low roll).
If you want to reduce the occurrences of sub-10 scores, you can add one or two extra rolls per person. For example, everyone rolls seven times and adds the results to the pool - then the lowest 4 rolls will be ignored.
I see two problems with this method, one medium and one minor. The minor issue is that there's a lot of number management in one sitting - 24+ numbers for a group of 4. You can use a spreadsheet on a laptop (I'd put it up on my projector) or the GM can just jot each down on paper as they are rolled, and then sort them manually when done.
The other issue is that you have to decide what to do when you have someone new join the group, or if someone's PC dies and they have to make a new character, or if you are a GM playing with only one or two players. However, I think there are acceptable resolutions, such as having everyone in the group join in the dice-rolling again to artificially fill the pool. The new player selects results from the pool in the same sequence they would if the other players were also selecting them (e.g., if the new player picks first, they would get the 1st, 8th, 9th, 16th, 17th, and 24th rolls).
In general terms, this is a method of evening out the die rolls to avoid vast discrepancies between PCs, the problem identified by Foghammer and many others. I'm going to try using it for my next campaign, actually. Thanks for starting the discussion thread that helped me finally figure out a rolling system I like!
P.S.: If you want to play around with it, too, I uploaded my spreadsheet to Google Docs. It assumes 4 people, with each rolling 7 times. After re-rolling a bunch of times, a common result is for player #1 to have the only 18 or 17 and also the only sub-10 roll, with everyone else ranging from 10 to 16/17.
To get a new set of "rolls", click on top-left cell with 1 (green square), press delete (this should zero all rolls), press 1, press enter - I couldn't figure how to do it more simply in Google Docs...
Have fun, Lazareth Link! I've been thinking about this myself for over a year now, but much more so recently. I'd like to make a game that takes the best parts (in my opinion) of Neverwinter Nights and the old SSI Gold Boxes (e.g., Pool of Radiance) while being 100% true to the Pathfinder rules. It's not intended to be a commercial product - it's just an itch I feel the need to scratch. Now I only need to pick a programming language...