Ocule's page

Organized Play Member. 82 posts. 3 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 4 Organized Play characters.

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You can always suggest they grow the f+#* up :)

Anevia being transexual is i think a major part of her character. My suggestion is just you dont need to play it up or anything for the most part other than being aware that they are homosexual its really not much of an issue in the game other than they are willing to do anything for each other and prefer not to be separated. If they try to "convert" them it would probably impact their opinion of the party possibly even bring their disposition to unfriendly and they would lose the benefits of having them as friends. Im not entirely sure if my party is even aware that Anevia is transexual. So yeah just leave the characters as written and if they choose not to associate with them because of it or make them on terrible terms... So be it.

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So was thinking about mass combat in pathfinder the other day and was thinking about which way was the best way to do it. We are running wrath of the righteous right now second mod implemented it i don't expect to see it again beyond this one it did get me thinking about mass combat with pathfinder. There are a couple options that i can think of like ultimate campaign mass combat rules, heroes of battle, warhammer, warpath or a custom system so here are my thoughts.

First option, would be ultimate campaign mass combat definitely deserves a mention here since it is paizo published. And on a rundown maybe it plays differently but i do like how it keeps everything abstract so it doesnt take a lot of time out of the game allows for quickly resolving battles to get back to roleplaying on a micro scale once again. Unfortunately it feels wanting in a lot of areas that it seems like and a bit unwieldy for something that will take up so little time at the actual table. It is set up for armies as a whole, but doesnt take into account the smaller units that make up the army that would vary, such as archers, infantry cavalry and spellcasting but are based off of a single until multiplied 100x or by some other factor and it is suggested to run diverse armies as multiple armies. Perhaps if it took into account army composition or at least army diversity. Like adding an archery component to it adds 100 units and gives the ranged attack ability or increases the ranged attack from say javelins to bows. Adding a contingent of spellcasters would give that army spellcasting ability. Keeping the same rules but allowing variation within each army. Anyway just my take, i could be wrong i havnt tried it out yet.

Warhammer was mentionable here, kind of duct tape and string way to do it but to just use an actual wargame to simulate your mass combats, but it would require your players having access to and learning wargaming rules not everyone might be down for that.

Warpath- I dont know saw it in the paizo store as a 3rd party product dont really know much beyond that it was a more complicated take on armies and kingdom building id love to know more about it before considering buying it.

I was considering putting together my own system using mechanics already in pathfinder but on a larger scale drawing inspiration from total war and kingdom under fire and doing something along the lines of, changing the scaling on the battlemap and each miniature represents a unit composed of X amounts of soldiers, keeping relatively the same mechanics as are normally found in pathfinder only with special stat blocks geared towards a group of people instead. Spellcasters would function as support or artillery and there would be no 5' adjust only a disengage maneuver that is difficult to pull off. This would allow for a more realistic representation of commanding a battlefield and some rather unique units like a single powerful caster with a squad of bodyguards or magical beasts. Wouldnt be much more complicated that controlling a bunch of summoned creatures. I kind of want to create this system and see what it turns out like i have most of the rules in my head for it.

Finally there is heroes of battle's approach to it which they might actually be right. Their approach was we are playing an rpg, not a wargame. Wars are dull and take a lot of time so rather than commanding an army have them take part in a battle doing commando style missions as opposed to controlling massive amounts of troops. Have the battle occuring around them and plenty of baddies to kill maybe take out some siege engines or disrupt supply lines. As they said, Think big but play small.

So id like to hear some feedback about experiences dealing with mass combat/warfare at the gametable, what do you guys think is the best approach to handling large battles.

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When i GM i have my players run their characters by me before the game and really just check to see if their sheet matches their character. So 7 in a stat wont really break the game but i have in the past made 8 the minimum. But the best way for characters with low stats is to make sure that it IS an issue for them in game. It adds to roleplaying and brings out the character flaws as well and if they did it just to min/max it can be seen as a punishment. For example take charisma, a character who dumped his down to 7 (or 5 post racials) makes a really compelling speech to sway the mind of a potential employer I would ask for a diplomacy check (DCs of these checks depend on how compelling the arguement or statement) now his dump charisma becomes a serious problem. I also dont allow metagaming on conversations so they cant just tell the other person in the group "Hey ask him this" while standing in front of them.

Alternative Solutions to dump stat players as a GM:
Physical stats show with exception of dex,

Strength: Enforce carrying capacities/NPCs may comment or pass over a pc for a task because they look weak.

Dexterity: Require them to make dex based checks that are auto successes for other players/Comments on how they have no coordination (they pay for this one with their reflex save anyway)

Constitution: Between their con score and HP, this one doesnt need further punishment/ NPCs may comment on them looking sickly or meek passing them up on jobs they dont think they will survive.

Mental Stats dont show as much but become obvious:

Intelligence: Not so bad mechanically their lack of skills will suffer, but be more inclined to make them roll to identify monsters or recall information. "Hey i dont remember what did NPC Jack say" me: "make me an int check". Set at an easy DC or so./NPCs may ridicule the player for being stupid. Intelligent NPCs may not care to speak to him. Overall not terribly bad on the RP side. Also consider making 7 int illiterate trait if you want to. He cant read or write.

Wisdom: Low will saves, perception checks and sense motive. also must make perception checks more frequently maybe leave something out of a description until he rolls./ He will likely come off as witless to other npcs unable to perceive their social ques. No common sense or a special needs character.

Charisma: Everyones favorite dump. Force diplomacy, bluff, and intimidate more frequently than for characters that do not dump. Do not allow metagame conversations./NPCs may react to this character with extreme disgust and generally find his presence annoying. Even if he says something great his personality (expression, tone of voice) might cause him to be ignored. He may have to roll diplomacy just to get people to talk to him for extended periods.

*a higher charisma with a lower intelligence or wisdom can counter this RP social aspects in most cases. Think dizzy blonde who can talk her way into or out of social scenarios.

I think with guidelines kind of like these ones it will allow characters with lower rolls but have them know that it will come up in the game at some point where low stats will be an issue. It could be fun to roleplay a character who is challenged in some way but generally it will encourage a more even distribution of stats.

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My group is almost through with this module and i thought id give my 2 cents on what ive learned through running it and things i wish i could have done differently. They have not yet finished harrowstone dungeon but anyways

The actual prison of harrowstone is filled with haunts, which in my honest opinion are mechanically lame. They drag on forever without a cleric they are obnoxious and they feel more like a trap that you need a cleric to disarm instead of a rogue. What should have been done or what you need to do as a GM is have a blanket DC for fear effects kind of like in ravenloft 3.5 setting

Ravenloft Fear System:
Will save, dc=8+1/2 HD of trigger+charisma modifier of the cause or EL+8= Fear dc and failing the dc by 1-5 means you are shaken, by 6-10 means you are frightened and 11-15 means you are panicked, 16+ you make a horror check and are panicked and this effect lasted for 5d6 rounds)

Horror: For those of you that dont have access to the horror system, a horror check was also a will save (example: DC 15 was a scene of torture or terrible agony, DC 20 was a scene of evil, cruelty and madness like "dismembered bodies turned into marrionettes) and this dc is modified by certain conditions like environment or relationship to the victem. Horror was similar to madness with either a mild, moderate or severe horror effect that usually had long term effects on your character with the exception of the mild ones usually were temporary.

On the first floor of harrowstone, just focus on creepyness and the overall atmosphere. Describe the dungeon to the best of your ability, keep it dark and grim. Ask for perception checks occassionally, and on obvious success let them hear things. Talking, panicking, seeing shadow people and if necessary ask for [bold]Fear[/bold] checks unless they are doing a great job roleplaying them.

Second floor of harrowstone: here add a bit more let the haunts do more than just be creepy. Keep the combat encounters up here but i would also keep the same with the first floor's environment this should be their first real taste of what the haunts can do.

Dungeon level: Here is where you pull out all the stops because it is the most dangerous part of the dungeon. This is where the meat of it happens where they will actually be confronted with the five prisoners and find the badge. Here let the haunts do things that could seriously hurt them, give them visions of them burning alive and such.

*A note on haunts as written: i dont like them because they are stationary haunts that function too much like incorporeal traps. Let the haunts be more atmospheric for most of it, letting them be organic and fluid throughout the prison. Assign some of them to certain rooms but usually taking up the entire room that they occupy unless there is a reason not to do it. Remember most ghosts should not pose a direct threat just scare the pants off your party. The real threats should be the undead. If needed add a few more undead to the dungeon to make up for lost experience for what would have been the actual haunts. Oh and dont feel obligated to activate a haunt every time a party member enters a room or delay it a bit for the haunts you do use. That way you cant have someone be the meatbag who takes all the hits. Maybe they dont manifest until shortly after entering a room or if they linger there for too long.

Example of Haunts:
DM: "The dimly lit hallway is littered from the rubble leftover from the fire. You can see the fire from your torch reflected in the charred wood. Make me a perception check"

Player: *rolls perception* "34!"

DM: "You can hear whimpering from behind the door"

Player: "Im going to go check it out" *he opens the door*

DM: "Here in this room is the feint smell of burning flesh. Several branding irons are scattered on the floor and an empty brazier lies in the corner of the room"

Player 2: "Creepy, I pick up the branding iron"

DM: "Okay" *rolls behind the GM screen* "You see the iron glow red hot and take 8 points of fire damage and you drop the branding iron on the floor, it looks as if it had not been used in some time. You look at your hand and you see the mark of the prison, branded into your hand where you gripped the iron."

This is my example of how i would run it, maybe i would leave out the stench in the room but the way this scene is written in the module, the branding irons fly around the room and attack the pcs as animated object encounter. Which 1) at level 1 is a phenomenal pain in the ass, and 2) just isnt very scary.

Example 2, would be if a player walks into a room by himself the door slams shut behind him him as if the slamming portal haunt were active, and the room erupts in flames and he gets to live the fire in the prison for bit. Here would be a great time for a fear check.

Example 3, seeing the professor walking around as a zombie could possibly warrant a horror check.