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FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht 1,261 posts (2,303 including aliases). 90 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 25 Organized Play characters. 9 aliases.


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I usually go with, "what's your fighting style, and how did you learn it?" The guy with the greatsword that says he just hits people over the head because he feels like it is probably a Barbarian, the person with a vast array of weapons who says he's trained his whole life to fight is probably a Fighter, the person who says, "I dunno, I just throw spells at them" is a Sorcerer, and the guy who scoffs at the thought of combat and prefers to read instead is 100% a Wizard.


I always thought that IQ was INT times 10, but I suddenly realised that doesn't work on animals. There are certainly animals that are smarter than others (dolphins and pigs are supposed to be very intelligent), but all animals have an INT score of 1 or 2. That might just be a case of overgeneralisation, but it does show that it's not a perfect system. I'd still go with INTx10, until you get above a modifier of 2, maybe 3.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

thorin001 wrote:
Lau Bannenberg wrote:
@BNW: both as a GM and a player, skill challenges become a lot less exciting when you realize you'll consistently succeed at them because they're too easy.
That is because the specialist do not want exciting, they want to succeed. That is why they invested so heavily in that area.

That's why one of the possible improvements I suggested was an even wider range of skills. If one guy wants to be the absolute best in Craft: Balloon Animals, and it never comes up, that also feels like a waste. Specialists can still do their thing, while dabblers also get a chance at succeeding.

During the last few specials, specialists literally couldn't fail, or only if they rolled a 1 or 2. Yeah, they're specialists, that's what they do, but I feel like specialists should still have a chance to fail. Just spewing random numbers here, but let's say a specialist needs to roll a 7+, while a dabbler needs 14+ or something. Luck of the dice is still a thing, so you don't want it to be too hard, but if you choose your skills carefully, pretty much everyone can roll. Statistically, out of a group of 4 players, someone is bound to roll a 15+. And if not, well, it's a Hard check after all, you're not supposed to succeed at hard checks all the time.

EDIT: Also, I like the idea of making X out of Y checks. I've mentioned it before, but that really alleviates that kind of problem. High numbers are hard to hit, but if you just need a majority, that evens out. You need to balance the number of checks against the allotted time, but I think an increase in that number would be nice, IMHO.


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First off, a quick shoutout to removing extra kinds of AC. As Pramxnim said, it basically feels vestigial (in the sense that it's no longer functionally needed). Flat-footed is a derivation of the regular AC, Touch AC is its own category still. While I understand the concept of it, removing it wouldn't make that much of a difference, and having just one AC stat would be much cleaner. I'm all in favour.

Now, to the meat of my post: removing saving throws. I've been GMing a lot of 13th Age lately, and it does one very interesting thing (among others): Physical Defense and Mental Defense. The way they calculate it isn't important, Pathfinder 2 can do its own take on it, but it basically boils down to everything having three stats: AC, PD, MD. Mental Defense is basically the equivalent of a static Will score the enemy needs to beat, and Physical Defense is a combination of a Reflex stat, Fortitude stat, and CMD. If an enemy has a poison-type attack, it tries to overcome the PC's PD. Same for knocking them back, throwing a Fireball at them, and so on. This system does several things.
First of all, it still allows for different kinds of "armour class," so you don't have a single stat to target, preventing combat from going stale. But the new stats are different enough that they don't just feel like a derivation of each other, like Touch or Flat-footed AC does.
But the more important part is, it speeds up gameplay a lot. You roll far fewer dice and make fewer checks. If an enemy throws a Fireball, all players must roll to see if they succeed or fail. Picking up their dice, rolling, calculating the result, and individually checking in with the GM. It's not that time-consuming, but over the course of an evening, that can add up. In this system, I roll a die, know the result, and just have to say, "raise your hand if DC 17 vs PD is enough." I can do that in 10 seconds. Individually rolling and checking in with the GM can take 30 seconds, maybe more (okay, I could say the DC out loud, but I'd like to keep some mystery intact). Combats go considerably faster, as I shave off 20 seconds on each individual turn of combat.
This works on the player's turn as well. If a player wants to throw a Fireball, he rolls the d20 once. I don't have to look at my notes, roll six d20s, and assign them to each of my NPCs. I just have a static number I need to check. A single AoE spell can literally save half a minute, if not more, on each and every turn.
A third, relatively minor thing ties in with the second: you don't roll outside your turn anymore (unless someone provokes an AoO). A player doesn't suddenly have to react to what's happening, find and roll his d20, and check the result. During your turn, you know what you want to do and have the relevant numbers at hand. Outside your turn, you don't have to do calculations and have the time to space out a bit, if necessary. I've had so many games where people were slightly distracted, looking up rules, sitting too far back in their chair, or otherwise not paying full attention to what's happening that gathering their thoughts took a few seconds. When it's your turn, you pay attention to your character, but outside of your turn, all you need to know is AC, PD, MD. Everything goes much faster because you're not juggling several things at once anymore.

All of this is basically to say, Saving Throws, while iconic, aren't necessary. There's enough ways around that, like Pramxnim described. It seems weird to say, but the fewer dice I have to roll, the happier I am.

EDIT: wow, I apparently took nearly an hour to type all of this. But while I do agree with the loss of agency, it's more efficient. There's a balance to be made between the two, and that can vary from person to person. I don't know which option Paizo will go for, but I do know which outcome I'm rooting for.


When I used it in PFS, my GMs ruled it as such, yeah. If someone resists (or upon casting), it immediately hops from target to target until someone fails. It's frighteningly efficient, yeah. Do note that once people save, they're immune, so it can't hop back and forth. In my experience, it'll only affect one or two people before combat it over, because either people have a good Will save, or there aren't enough enemies to reliably make use of it.

I'm not sure what happens when you're dead. I've always thought it immediately jumps to a new target, as the previous target isn't a valid target anymore. but I'm not sure. But, even worse is when an enemy is unconscious. They automatically fail their save, meaning your mote might be stuck on the first target it lands on until duration runs out. While it certainly helps, it feels a bit sucky to have wasted a fourth-level spell on.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

The "make X out of Y checks" is indeed a good one, and one I like. Even better would be if a player can only do one check, to incentivise other people to chip in as well. That works best for social encounters, but would maybe make less sense for other skill challenges. Then again, the "limited timespan" Lau suggested also helps: "Player A is busy making a raft, and it doesn't seem like there's much time afterwards. What are you going to do in the meantime?"

Raising the DC after each failed check seems counterintuitive, as that encourages only having specialists do the checks even more.

The main problem I see, and this is even worse at higher levels, is that Pathfinder rewards specialisation. If you're only moderately good at something, you might as well not have put effort into it at all. A Fighter is never going to make that DC 30 Knowledge check reliably until at least level 10 or so, while a Wizard can do that around level 5. At level 1 and 2, making a DC 18 Diplomacy check is still pretty tough for everyone, even Bards, but everyone can theoretically make it. Once the DCs go above 20, the chances of non-specialists making those checks go way down, as there's no way a Sorcerer is going to make a DC 23 Sense Motive, for instance. It's not a class skill, and it's not important for their class, so putting points in it is nearly pointless when the Inquisitor can do it without effort. Trying to cater to both of these characters at once is futile.

Another issue I see is assigning meaning to the numbers. What should an "easy" check entail? Assuming a 10 in all stats for commoners, is an Easy check a check that they can possibly fail (e.g. DC 5), or can take 10 on? Or similarly, is an Average check supposed to mean moderately challenging, or do I have to put in any kind of effort at all? The difference being, in the first example taking 10, essentially half-assing it, means I still make it, while in the second example I still need to roll above a 10. And is a Hard check only possible to be made by specialists, or can anyone who has moderately invested into that skill accomplish it? From what I can tell from the skill check table from the special, Paizo seems to think an Easy check is taking 10, Average is slightly more, Hard is rolling a 15 on the d20, all taking non-specialists into account. I don't necessarily need a reworking of this system, but some clarification would give me insight into the developer's mind of what he/she intended.

Let me repeat that last bit: all taking non-specialists into account. Developers seem to think that, and this is reflected in the spoiler tag in my first post, a hard check is hard for someone with only a smattering of effort put into that skill. This is an incredibly small sample size, but after having seen every special with the easy/moderate/hard system at least once, I've never seen people be screwed over by this. Again, I can understand Paizo wanting specials to be easy-access and guarantee to be able to make the checks, even with unfortunate table arrangements, but I find the current system lacking teeth. There's no excitement anymore. Veterans know by now that they'll be able to make the checks almost no matter what, and even the newbies at my latest table were catching on halfway through. Specials aren't just special because there's multiple people in the room playing the same adventure, but because I want to see cool things happening. Beating impossible odds, and so on. I've seen people be down on the Year of the Shadow Lodge special, but my favourite moment was beating that DC 50 door. That felt cool. I know it goes into the face of design policy, but I want specialisation to be rewarded. If a non-specialist can beat a Hard check without problems, things are going wrong. Sometimes people need to fail. That makes victory all the sweeter.

One possible solution to that last bit is to either make an extra tier of difficulty, or maybe include an "if people beat the DC by X or more..." text. That way, excellence (or sheer luck) is rewarded, and a GM can say, "because of your incredible efforts, you manage to squeeze out a bit extra," which always feels good.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

First off, I love the fact that there's now a simple table for skill checks and saves. Makes it much easier to reference.

I just ran the Hao Jin Cataclysm special, and once again I was suprised by how easy the skill checks are. I am going to have to spoil the DCs of these checks by necessity to be able to talk about them, but I will give ample warning so people can go in blind if they don't want to be spoiled.

My main concern is that all these skill DCs seem way too low, removing all challenge from the game. I didn't tell what the DCs were, but I knew from the start that whoever was attempting the check had a 90% chance of making that check, even the Hard check DCs. I know for specials you can't be guaranteed to have a specialist in certain skills at every table, and you want the game to keep moving at a certain pace due to limited time, but if players catch on to the fact that the skills are only pretty much mandatory obligations in order to proceed, it removes all excitement. My players literally made all of the checks except for two, which were social checks because people wanted to take part in the conversation, as someone else was doing all of the other checks on his own. Ideally, I'd like to see more difficult checks, but with even more leniency to which skills apply, in order to increase the chance of multiple people trying to succeed. I'll come back to that once I've crunched the numbers below.

Skill check DCs and breakdown:

I ran tier 5-6, so I'll mainly focus on that. However, all the other tiers scale pretty evenly, so this applies to all other tiers as well.
The Easy DC is 16, Moderate is 20, Hard is 24.
Now, assuming a level 5 character has put a rank into the tested skill at every level, he's already rocking a +8 (+5 from ranks, +3 from it being a class skill).
Probably at least a 10 in the relevant stat, at max 20 (from headband/belt), maybe 22 if you really cheesed it. So that's at least a +0, at max a +6. Let's be conservative and say +2.
And maybe a +2 from miscellaneous things such as traits/feats, active spells or magical gear boosting the skill.
This person is rocking a +12, before aid anothers are even factored in. That means that for this person, succeeding at a Hard DC means rolling a 12. And that person, assuming he's pretty good at this skill, only has a +2 in that stat. Casters can easily have a +5 instead, so that Knowledge or Diplomacy check can be made while taking 10. That doesn't sound like it's Hard, right? Yeah, it'll be Hard for people who aren't specialised in that specific stat, or haven't put ranks in that skill every level, but that's where this system becomes weird. To make it a challenge for the specialised people means making it virtually impossible for the average character. That DC 24 Diplomacy check is very difficult to make if you have a Charisma of 10 or didn't spend a skill point at each level, for instance. How can we make this fair?

I have some ideas how this problem can be balanced. None of them are perfect, I have to admit, but maybe we can collectively suggest some cool things. First is the problem of balancing skill DCs between non-specialists and specialists. If we simply up the skill DC so even specialists have trouble with it, it'll become impossible for non-specialists to make those checks. The combination of skill ranks and stat bonuses increase the disparity disproportionally. A smart character will obviously invest more in INT-based skill checks than non-smart people. In this regard, I kinda like PF2's system of skills, where those disparities are much smaller, but that's beside the point. One possible solution is, aside from setting a skill DC, setting a stat DC. Say for instance a DC 30 skill check is needed to succeed, or a DC 17 in the relevant stat. A person who hasn't invested much in that skill can't possibly make that skill DC, but could possibly make that stat check, if he's lucky and didn't totally dump that stat (assuming a stat of 10, that's a 20% chance of him making it, which seems like a proper Hard check).
A different idea is to allow automatic assisting, like some scenarios do in the more recent chase variants. Everyone rolls, everyone who gets a 10 automatically assists the highest roll. This means that a person with an average skill modifier who rolled well can still beat a specialist who rolled poorly. I've seen so many times where people assisted the best modifier to boost him even more, only for him to roll a natural 1, while a second person who rolled alone for the hell of it would've succeeded if they'd assisted him. This also makes the special more accessible and fast-paced, as there's no bickering about who is assisting whom. Also, this allows the skill DCs to increase even more, as there's more chance that people can try the check and roll well. It feels really cool to beat that DC 30 through teamwork, rather than one person making the DC 22 just because he's the only one trained in it (one person out of one needs to roll a 13+ to succeed, versus one person out of five needing to roll an 18+, for instance. Mathematically it's more likely the latter's going to happen, for instance).
A third option I see is to up the DC, but allow even more skills to apply. This won't work all the time, as it might not always make sense in the fiction, but it allows more skills to apply. A social encounter might specifically need Diplomacy to pass, but maybe a Sense Motive to intuit what the person wants to hear, or a relevant Knowledge check to bring up cold hard facts could work as well. Most social encounters already do this, but really open it up. Or explicitly let people come up with things on their own. If you need to cross a river and the party needs to make an X amount of checks, the scenario suggest building a raft using Craft, Profession, or Survival, but maybe just leave it at "you need to cross a river." If a player comes up with building a raft, other people can build on that, offering to go find wood, find the best place to enter the water, and so on. The same skills essentially apply, but it allows players to think outside the box and really be creative. If the Rogue has maxed Sleight of Hand, let him tie the knots, for instance. It doesn't matter which skill is rolled, just that the check is made. Now people can actually roleplay and add to the story.

So, basically these are my grievances with the last few specials. The specials themselves have been great, don't get me wrong. I just feel like not as much thought has been given to the skills as the story and the combats, I mean.


I've been playing 13th Age a lot lately, and their use of healing charges, much like D&D 4 did, is very appealing. Some spells allow you to heal without spending healing charges, but obviously they cost spell slots (and there's no such things as scrolls in that game), and healing potions use a healing charge plus a boost of their own. I have a few games under my belt right now, and I think my players like it. It allows everyone to heal, even mid-combat, but limiting the amount of healing they receive to a static amount works pretty well, I feel.

Still though, I don't see the problem with allowing players full access to healing items. Yeah, it's a bit lame to be fully healed up for every fight, but it allows for some tougher fights players don't walk into already half-dead.


I've built my character as level 4, but I can easily downgrade to 3. I'll do that tomorrow.


I usually convert to point-buy values. A minimum of PB 15 is required for a decent character, but don't let that be the final arbiter. A character who rolled all 13s technically has a point-buy of 18, but is crap at everything. I'd like to see at least two or three 14 or higher so you have some stats to work with. And yeah, like Magus Black said, either too many low modifiers or not high enough total modifiers is also a good indication.


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I found it very weird how my level 1 Cleric wasn't proficient in Athletics, despite having Assurance in it, purely because of the Farmhand background. I guess specific trumps general, but it's still weird. At least being able to mark it as trained makes sense.

I also like Fuzzypaws's idea of keying a skill to the background apart from Lore. Lore doesn't seem to be as useful as other skills. There are exceptions of course, but how often is Circus Lore going to come up? And yeah, I'd like to see backgrounds expanded a bit more. Giving a clear advantage for choosing one background over another (doesn't have to be monetary, but at least RP-wise) would be nice. Such as Farmhand giving a minor boost to Constitution checks, or Street Urchin granting some criminal contacts or such. This way, you combine Traits into backgrounds, shaping your character much more and giving them more relevancy.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Quick report from me:
I'm relatively new to Starfinder. I have a level 2 Envoy with 3 scenarios below his belt. Made more for support than actual damage. There were 6 players, two of whom were brand new level 1s. The others were level 3 or 4, and we needed them for the sniper fight. Only two of our characters were proficient with snipers, but none of them carried one. It was an absolute slog to get to the top of that thing. Two Technomancers quickly realised they were useless as they only had close-combat magic, I had no options at all (apart from a 30 ft pistol and a DEX of 12). One character fell prone on turn one and decided to pray for nat 20s while he full attacked every turn (he did, twice, during 10 rounds of combat). We were lucky we had the level 3s with us, as they managed to tank most of the shorts while we sprinted out in the open.
In the end, we managed to defeat them, but it was an absolute slog. Two of us effectively did absolutely nothing, two just drew fire away from the rest, and two did actual damage. None of us were really happy with the combat, including the GM.

I appreciate the fact that you want a different kind of combats and emphasise different aspects, but I think it could've been done in a better way. The problem with sniper battles is that they pull in two different directions. On the first hand, you want to make snipers feel useful and relevant, but on the other hand, it makes getting to them a pain. We literally had no agency in the fight. There were no interesting choices to make. It was just a matter of surviving. I don't mean to come across as if I know better than professional scenario writers, but one way to potentially improve this fight is if the player could take advantage of the terrain, rather than just running in an open field. Make an obstacle course where you have to dash from cover to cover, rather than being in the open for multiple rounds on end. Or have a fight in a semi-open environment, where positioning actually mattered. Say there were a few melee people waiting for us at the start of that combat, while a sniper keeps firing at the party at, say, 200 feet away. Those melee dudes are just there to prevent the party from getting to the snipers. Now the party has to make an interesting choice: how do we take care of this fight? People have to strategically move around the map, shielding themselves from sniper fire while being harassed by those melee guys. Does the party take care of the melees first, or try to get the sniper fist (either through sniping back, or running past the melee grunts). The fight wouldn't have lasted 10 rounds or so, but still get the message across equally well.

All that said, I don't think it's a bad fight. I just think it could have been improved a lot.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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Last week: we're playing a module, pretty low-level. We find a Bead of Force. My eyes light up. Everyone else is mainly confused about what it does. We look it up. Everyone is amazed. Five minutes later, we encounter a troop of Orcs, with their leader. In-universe, Orcs are pretty scary. Someone manages to glue the leader to the floor. The Orcs line up perfectly, and someone suggests using the Bead on them. The blastwave is enough to kill the troops (they turn out to be just regular Orcs), but since the leader is glued to the floor, he can't reflex away. He's stuck in there for 10 minutes with his dead teammates until the time runs out.
The mental image of a pile of dead Orcs stuck in a giant hamster ball was just too funny.


I'll assume a budget of roughly 1000 gp then, seems reasonably in line with what the rest has. I'll probably just buy some starting gear, nothing fancy.


Question: what's the amount of gear/wealth you're carrying with you? Woran offered me an amount of gold to start with, but I'm not entirely comfortable with cherry-picking stuff while you have to make do with what you've found.


I'll be joining an established play by post group soon, and they need a frontliner/trap guy. I thought of making a Slayer, but since I've already made 3 so far (dirty trick specialist, sword and board TWF, trip specialist), I'd like to make him a little more interesting beyond "I hit it." The conventional builds I've tried don't really enthuse me, so if anyone knows any weird build, I'd be interested in trying it out.

I start at level 3 or 4, 20 point buy, amount of gold unknown.
Requirements:
- Core race.
- Needs Trapfinding at level 2 or 4.
- Needs an interesting "thing." Don't know what yet. Don't want a feinting build, but maybe some social skills would be nice. Or some spellcasting maybe.
- Preferably not multiclassed. Or at the very least at least 2 levels Slayer so I can get Trapfinding.
- I'm assuming PFS-legal feats and archetypes.

Thanks a lot!


I've sent Woran a mail with most of my character details. Wanted to go fancy with demoralising and such, but meh. Now I've built a weird switch-hitter. Maybe a bit bland, but I can get fancy later on. The foundation is done, now I can go wherever I need.


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As for the reused art, I think it's mainly to spice up the book. I also found some pictures a little jarring and not matching the page they're on (see page 151, for example), but imagine if they weren't there at all. There'd just be a wall of text without a place for your eyes to take a rest. With a picture every now and then, even if they're reused, you increase the reading experience.


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What I dislike is how arbitrary the proficiencies are. More specifically, how they're named and how they interact with their bonuses. A rather extreme example, but still: A level 7 Bard with 14 Charisma is a Master in Diplomacy. A level 6 Sorcerer with 18 Charisma is only an Expert in it, despite having more Charisma and is equally good at it.

---

I feel your proficiency shouldn't be determined semi-arbitrarily. Slapping a "you must be this tall to ride" on skills is unnatural. Also, coupling rank and bonus together is weird. "I am better at this skill because I'm better at this skill than you." It's a bit more text, but something like "once you've reached a static bonus (without magic items or buffs, only innate powers) of +X, you're a Master at this skill," would be much more natural. Yeah, there'd be the possibility of players min-maxing their builds to get it ASAP (in PF1 there's enough traits and racial traits to boost certain skills way more than intended, but if you think of this beforehand, you can nip it in the bud). The only problem is people reaching certain proficiencies earlier than intended, and getting those proficiency boosts as well. I'll come back to that.

So now that we've decoupled proficiency level from actual level, we can think about rewards. Paizo wants to lock certain abilities behind proficiency level. That's okay. An ordinary locksmith shouldn't be able to design a mythical vault. Makes sense that you can only do really awesome stuff once you're good enough at it. That's just your reward for reaching a certain level of proficiency. The idea of "if I reach a certain level of proficiency, I'm better at it" is circular logic. One option I see is simply implementing a class feature for everyone that states you get to choose a skill you get better at. Like Starfinder's level 3 Weapon Specialisation, give players an option to just increase their bonus at a skill by an X amount. If that sounds suspiciously like the skill rank system, that's because it basically is. But this way we have more control. A proficiency level might have a cap. Just like real life, you can't improve more without seeking more help. High school can make you only as smart as the curriculum allows. After that, you go to university, and so on. At certain levels, you can improve your proficiency level to the next level, allowing you to reach a higher cap. And because you only get a predetermined amount of cap increases, reaching a certain cap actually means something. Now, using that stupid example from the start of my post is relevant again. That level 6 Sorcerer and level 7 Bard might actually achieve the same result, but that Sorcerer will forever be stuck at that level, while the Bard will eventually surpass him, even with his dinky Charisma.

As for the part I told you I'd get back to: you can probably guess that by now. A character might be able to reach Master earlier, but since he has to wait for his level to allow him to progress again, he'll be stuck there. And the next proficiency level might have text saying "you can only take this at level X," meaning you stop improving at some point. Yeah, he got a head start, but he'll stagnate and not spend points into that skill, forcing him to spend his resources on other skills. This also evens out his lopsided (and neglected) other skills, preventing him from becoming too much of a one-trick pony.

TL;DR: I basically combined the skill rank system with the proficiency system. While I kept the "you reach proficiency level X at level Y" in, I just capped their maximum. There is no level requirement for Master, but once you reach it, you stop improving until the system allows you to continue. See it as a progress bar that only unlocks at certain levels. It's still somewhat gated, but it feels better to me. You're looking forward to reaching that level, because it allows you to improve more, rather than just giving a measly bonus.


Oh, found another cool twist to do things. The Oracle archetype Seeker gets pseudo-Trapfinding. On the plus side, I'll be equally decent at it as a Slayer would be, plus I get some divine goodness. On the downside, I'll be slightly more squishy and slightly less accurate (3/4 BAB vs full BAB). I think I'd rather go that route than Slayer, I think, but what do you think?

EDIT: I won't fully go into face skills or have a very high Charisma, but I'll have the bare minimum. I'll focus more on trapfinding and damage dealing than divine support, but I'll obviousy have some Cure spells.


I'm already playing such a character in a different Adventure Path, I'd rather do something I haven't done before, mechanically speaking. I'm now thinking of an intimidate-based build, but I could go other routes if necessary. I personally don't think feinting is all that useful (better for Rogues with better sneak attack dice), but I could go that way as well, among other things.


Heavy armour is certainly an option, but it sort of conflicts with trap disabling. Heavy armour promotes low Dexterity, while Disable Device keys off it, and is subject to armour check penalty. I mean, it might be doable, but I'd have to jump through a lot of hoops, and it might impact the effectiveness of my frontlining abilities. Or, at least, I'll have to spread my stats/feats around more than I'd like.
EDIT: Also, Slayers aren't naturally proficient with heavy armour. I'd either have to multiclass (I'd rather not), or spend a feat on it.


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Hey all, I was stalking some post histories and I found this. I contacted Woran (I know her in real life, don't worry), and asked if I could join. She said yes, but feel free to say no if you don't want me.

Anyway, I saw you need a frontliner/trap disabler, and I'd like to make a Slayer, if possible. Requirements I see right now are:
- Frontline (melee damage or high AC? Can't do both, I think)
- Trap spotter/disabler

Are there any other requests for my character, or niches I could fill? I don't have a concept yet, but I usually shape character and backstory around my build, not the other way around.


Melkiador wrote:
Not sure why Fahrenheit would be confusing. But it might be better to use no metrics. Just have super cold, cold, cool, comfortable, warm, hot, super hot. The game shouldn’t need much more than that.

This, so much. I know Pathfinder likes its exact numbers, but just dividing into several broad categories is a lot easier than assigning arbitrary numbers. Gives GMs also a lot more leeway for determining how hot they want it to be for certain things.


I use the metric system, but I think at least feet are useful for easy calculations. Multiply the amount of squares with 5, that's your distance. If we want to keep the same general distance, a square would be roughly 1.5 metres. An easier way would be to redefine what a "square" would be to 2 metres for easier calculations.

Maybe it's just a matter of habituation, but I vastly prefer the nice and round numbers of feet over metres. "My movement speed is 30 foot" or "my movement speed is 12 metres" just reads a lot nicer. Also, longer distances are easier calculated this way, especially if you're at a slower speed. Say you have 20 feet/8 metres of movement. 140 feet = 7 movements, easy. 56 metres is not as easily calculated. Dividing by 8 is weird. On the other hand, if you reduce the average movement speed to 5 squares, that's 10 metres exactly. That's even easier to calculate. I'm not sure which would ruffle more feathers, changing to metric, or changing movement speed to 5 squares. 3 of the 6 races now (in 2E) have 5 squares of movement, but armour and medium load obviously change that.


Yes, I said I admitted that in my original post, but why the semi-arbitrary amount of HP, instead of just "at level 1, playable characters start with 8 extra HP" or something? As I said, it's very inconsequential, but if it is, why not give everyone the same boost? Say I want to make an Elven Fighter, as opposed to the Dwarven Fighter. I can reach the same stats at level 1, but still be 4 HP short. Apart from flavour reasons, why would I want to play the Elf, if the Dwarf is better in HP? The argument of "Dwarves are tougher than Elves" is already reflected in their CON modifier, penalising their HP as well feels like a double insult to Elves.


I didn't like this much in Starfinder, and I'm not sure why they included it here. I don't actively hate it, but I am bothered by the fact that you can leave it away and pretty much nothing will change, apart from a minor boost to HP. I understand some races are more "tough" than others, but that's already reflected in their racial stats.

It's only a very minor thing, and in the grand scale of things it doesn't really matter when you're high-level, but why not give everyone an extra 8 HP at level 1 and be done with it? Seems like you're unnecessarily penalised (albeit very minor) for choosing a Halfling instead of a Human, even if you end up with the same stats.

I'm not advocating to abandon it, I just want to understand why it's a thing. Looks to me like it's creating unnecessary divides where there shouldn't be.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

I'm at 130+ tables GMed, I can recall only two player deaths. There might be one or two more, but that's about it.

First was a first-level Cleric that kept getting missed by an enlarged Duergar with an Earth Breaker. He was getting cocky, and then I crit him. He was pulp.
Second one was a character getting caught in a Darkness and then getting a TWF sneak attack from a Dark Stalker.

Outside of PFS, an archer with favored enemy rolled a crit. Bye-bye character.

I like how exciting crits are, but they're too much of a power explosion, for both players and GMs. A tough fight can suddenly become trivial, or a mook can suddenly turn the tide by himself. Personally, I'd just do away with crits and fumbles (or at least, let them auto-hit or auto-miss, not be a force multiplier). They're ingrained in the system, but I just don't like 'em.

As for player deaths: I've played 200+ scenarios by now, I've had several character deaths. I can't even count how many (mainly because I didn't keep track). Several of them were definitely my fault, some were just dumb luck. I'm not sad they happened, but I'm wondering how people can have so few character deaths. Death is part and parcel of RPGs, and either you're incredibly lucky, or play vastly different from me. Which, to be fair, is pretty well possible, I tend to be rather reckless.

Also, as a GM, I tend to not overthink enemy tactics. I'm not playing enemies as dumb, but I'm sure they could've been more tactically efficient. I just don't like overthinking all that stuff. I also have a reputation for making scenarios easier, because somehow either my dice fail me at hilariously inappropriate times, or players have abilities that completely negate a fight. Be they either insanely high AC I simply can't get around, some kind of sense that disables surprise attacks, or whatever. I can't seem to make fights be appropriately challenging. A while ago I ran the first part of Eyes of the Ten, and some fights were barely even challenging. While when I played it, I was sweating my ass off.

Anyway, some amusing anecdotes as character deaths:
- Provoking an attack (or failing to tumble, can't remember) against someone with a Keen scimitar while at low HP.
- A level 3 character standing in the front line while playing up in a 4-5 tier. Bad idea.
- I got killed by a Protection from Evil. I lay bleeding out from an earlier attack, then an Alchemist threw a bomb at an adjacent party member. It hits, I would've survived the splash damage. Then the player remembers he has Protection from Evil on, bomb misses, lands straight in my square.
- I killed someone else. My character was out of commission, GM let me play the boss so I had something to do. Tactics explicitly state quickening Magic Missiles whenever possible. I threw a few Fireballs around, alongside a few Magic Missiles. Barbarian suddenly drops dead after a 10 damage Missile. Oops.
- One of my characters actually attracts bad luck. Don't know why, but whenever he's in a scenario, things go horribly wrong. In a surprise round, enemy wins initiative (and has Greater Invis on), throws a Lightning Bolt. I fail, take damage. Enemy's turn is again. Another Lightning Bolt. I drop unconscious. Someone with insanely high Perception spots the enemy, tells us where she is (ran into a corridor). Someone heals me, I wake up, I decide I do not want to be in Lightning Bolt formation anymore, and leave. Both in and out of character I hadn't heard the information about where she went. I decide to park myself right next to the invisible enemy (Carpet of Flying, so I don't have to waste actions getting up), and cast a Cure on myself. Which provokes, drops me past 0 again. Then the enemy is again, sees the guy who is able to see her, and wants to attack. Problem is, I'm lying in the way. GM looks at me looking for help. I look him straight in the eye. "Do it." "But, your character..." "It's what the enemy would do. Do it." Then he throws another Lightning Bolt. I fail, I get obliterated. Other guy has Evasion and takes no damage at all. So it goes.

There are many, many more, but these come to mind right now.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Not PFS, but my Wrath of the Righteous-campaign, but we've gathered enough funny things by now that I need to share. I'll remain spoiler-free.

Party finds a door, open it, see all sorts of junk inside. They don't even bother looking through it. They close it and move on. I comment on how there's an ooze inside, but it hides until they're close. We have a laugh and continue. Later on they capture an NPC and stuff her in the junk room, intending to come back when they've cleared the dungeon. They come back, NPC is not there anymore. The party, in-character, is convinced there's a vindictive NPC out there, planning their destruction. Out of character, we all know it's eaten by the ooze.

The party escorts an NPC back home. NPC thanks them and invites them to dinner. NPC is the wealthy aristocrat type, but all his servants have gone. He decides to make toasties, as that's the easiest food I could think of. I roll a Profession Chef check (he has no ranks, but whatever), and rolled a natural 20. Best toasties ever. He now supplies their army with toasties every day.

Somehow, I am cursed. I consistently roll terribly, except when it's in their favour, or ironically appropriate. Even my dice have sense of humour. An enemy has a spell-storing hammer, with Darkness cast into it. Enemy gets grappled, can't get out, panics. Decides to hit himself to cast Darkness on himself, hoping to escape in the confusion. I roll to see if he manages to hit himself. Natural 20. He nearly knocks himself out, but the Darkness is cast. They eventually subdue him and question him. I manage to not spoil too much of the plot by playing out his headache and self-inflicted amnesia.

---

In PFS terms, I once ran an adventure in a dreamscape. Someone mentioned how he wished he'd roll better, as he was rolling like crap. I rolled for it, wish granted. For two combats, he could add a d6 to all his d20s. Not entirely according to the rules, but hey, dreamscape. At some point later on, someone asks, "how much cheese do you want me to make?", referring to some rules loopholes. I rolled for it. Natural 20. It started raining cheese. No mechanical effect, just as a backdrop. Players still refer to that moment as "peak Kwinten."
I mean, hey, it's a dreamscape. Better watch your words.


UnArcaneElection wrote:
How much would it break things to have a hybrid of Slayer backcrossed to Rogue: Gains Sneak attack at every even level in exchange for gaining Slayer Talents only once every 3 levels (thus, inverted relative to the normal Slayer's progression of each)?

I like the idea, and it seems elegant enough, but there's still the problem of too many sneak attack dice with full BAB. I haven't done the math on this, but I'm pretty sure getting that extra attack (and getting it earlier) will really unbalance the damage output of a Rogue.

Derklord wrote:
@Quentin Coldwater. You touch a good point - Rogue lacks a daily recource, and that's seriously hurting the class.

Not 100% sure about that. The other classes that lack a limited use system per day (be they spells, rounds/day, or uses/day) are the Fighter and the Slayer (and Monk pre-ki). Fighter is a trouble case, but Slayer works perfectly fine without a resource pool. Not sure if adding an arbitrary number of uses per day powers will "fix" the Rogue.


I'm a bit hesitant about the bonus damage being applied on a crit. Smite and Challenge and such all have limited uses per day, while Rogues can basically get an unlimited amount of sneak attacks per day. If I were to work around that, it'd get needlessly complicated. For instance, I'm just spitballing here, maybe give an amount of rounds/day, similar to the Barbarian or the Bard, where the Rogue can Sneak Attack. But both of those have been eliminated in Pathfinder 2.0, as they were needlessly fiddly. In a class preview blog, they even admitted you run short on uses early game, and late game it doesn't even matter anymore. Long story short, balancing power versus user per day is complicated. There's a reason why precision damage doesn't scale.


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Also, please don't tie skill points to BAB. 2 skill points per level sucks anyway, even for INT-based classes. Even as a Wizard I'm constantly running short on skill points. I'd rather have a static amount of skill points across the board, and bonus/fewer points per level depending on INT, or acquire more with a feat or something (like Cunning does). This makes dumping INT less harsh, but also more rewarding. Maybe would make Wizards go a little overboard, though. >_>

Also, I've never understood why divine 9th-level casters get to be 3/4 BAB, as opposed to their arcane counterparts. Partially because the arcane spell list is considered "better," but other than that, no idea. If it's because they get their powers directly from a deity, rather than from training (thus sacrificing martial training), the Sorcerer doesn't make sense.


I really like the idea of static damage sneak attack. Investigators have something like that, and seems in line with Pathfinder 2.0's tendency to throw fewer dice. I know the idea of rolling lots of dice for sneak attack is fun, but it makes the math way easier and combats go faster. 1 damage per level seems a bit low to me, but that's compensated for by TWF. The flavour really works as well. Rogues can take a swipe at the opponent's vital spots, but only while the enemy is distracted. Fighters get better base damage and small increases with Weapon Training, but a Rogue's damage output grows way faster, but is more conditional, without going through a lot of hoops.


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Val'bryn2 wrote:

Dr Strange would probably be an occultist, he seems to draw more power from the items than his own castings.

Not entirely sure about that. I only know the movie version, but for instance he could already do magic before he got his cape. His cape was literally his graduation ceremony gift, and it chose him more than he chose it. Then again, Harry Dresden doesn't fit this description 100% either, but I feel more than Dr. Strange, as Dresden literally powers up from his implements. Strip him away of his items, and he's still got a lot of magic power, but very much crippled. Dr. Strange can still bend space and time without his Cloak.

I like the description of "Slayers could win in a fair fight, but choose not to." It perfectly encapsulates the idea of a trained fighter who isn't afraid to play dirty. As for actual depictions of them, I think bounty hunters would fit the bill the best. Deadpool would be a great example, minus the super powers. Highly trained and lacking in morality, allowing him to do stuff other heroes wouldn't.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

BigNorseWolf wrote:
The rules snafu and the thing that cause the loss of prestige seem almost unrelated.

Yeah, that's what bothers me about it as well. It's pretty much completely unrelated. And I'm bothered by the fact that it bothers me. I really wanna say I'm not bothered by the loss of prestige, but I am. Not because I feel wronged somehow, at least not consciously, but maybe subconsciously.

Anyway, all I wanted to say is, I somehow feel wronged by the scenario, even though I shouldn't be. I just wanted to know if that's rational of me. I just hope that the author's mistake somehow reflects in the solution of the problem he just created. If that makes sense.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Last night I played a game where the author made a wrong assumption, and technically voided his own "during combat" tactics. Our GM said this was the case and he used his own tactics from then on. But eventually, morale conditions kicked in and the creature fled, costing us our secondary prestige.

I am not disputing the call the GM made, but I am kinda sour about the interaction between the "during combat" and "morale" condition. Now, there's no direct connection between the one and the other, but IMHO, if the author made a mistake, the players shouldn't be punished for it. I'll be more specific in spoiler tags below.

2-14: Chasm of Screams:
The final boss has written tactics to cast Etherealness and spam the battlefield with spells. Problem is, Etherealness doesn't allow you to cast through different planes. So, she had no real way of attacking us, other than generally being a jerk and fleeing. Then, morale kicked in (thanks to Force Bombs and Magic Missile), and she fled the scene while ethereal.

I just feel that if an author basically voided his own tactics into uselessness, the GM is free to ignore those tactics, and possible morale conditions as well. Technically the morale conditions didn't change because of its incorrect combat tactics, so that's the only point I can bring against my own argument (and it's a weak argument to begin with), but it just felt a bit anticlimactic. I said I'm not necessarily disputing the GM call, and technically the Prestige lost doesn't really matter, but it just feels like a waste.

I've copy-pasted the tactics and morale here, I only formatted for readability:
Before Combat As soon as she detects intruders, the hag turns invisible, then darts about the caverns making subtle scratching noises in order to lure them towards Eya, using her as bait to distract them so she can gain surprise.
During Combat Once the PCs become occupied with Eya, she strikes from behind, biting the nearest opponent, and then unleashes her cold blast special ability. Next, she turns ethereal, uses her sleet storm ability, and if possible, grabs Eya and drags her about the caverns, taunting the PCs and trying to get them to split up in order to attack them individually, alternating between her at-will powers and physical attacks. As she wears down, she eventually drops Eya in another location and then begins stalking the PCs.
Morale If reduced below 20 hit points, the hag turns ethereal (or invisible if she’s lost her heartstone) and attempts to flee.

In the secondary prestige document, it clearly states killing her is the secondary prestige requirement.

Any thoughts on the matter?

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Ascalaphus, it says nowhere that Merciful weapons still do lethal against creatures immune to nonlethal. You have to turn it off before you can actually do damage. I've played with a Merciful weapon, I found out the hard way. >_>


As I was ninja'd by Derklord, an edit:

Matthew Downie wrote:
Slim Jim wrote:
When the cha-7 full-BAB meatwall blows his Diplomacy check and an unnecessary fight versus treasureless opponents breaks out that ends up costing the party several grand worth of wasted consumables, the crickets will .wav all day long before anyone complains that tanks don't pull their weight.
That seems like a rare situation. It depends on (a) the enemy being intelligent and speaking your language, (b) the enemy being hostile and brave enough that they'll attack you if you fail a Diplomacy test, (c) the enemy being not so hostile that they'll attack you no matter what, (d) the enemy not being an actual enemy you need to defeat for plot reasons, (e) the enemy not having any treasure or needing any decent gear to fight that you can loot after, (f) the enemy being enough of a threat that you can't fight them without using vast amounts of consumables, and (g) the Cha-7 martial (such as a Rogue or Fighter) attempting to act as the party face in this critical situation.

Eh, in an urban setting it's common enough. Not having loot at all seems a bit odd, but maybe run of the mill guard patrols or such can pop up at any level. At a certain point, those masterwork items won't even be worth noting down as loot.

But anyway, I've seen enough instances where the Fighter runs his mouth, or the Bard isn't available at the moment, or whatever, and suddenly the CHA 7 guy suddenly has to the talking. There's enough moments where people ask a question to a specific person and doesn't want others to jump in.


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ShroudedInLight wrote:
If you gave the Rogue and the Ninja a good Will Save and the ability, "Rogues use their Level as their BAB when attacking targets that qualify for their sneak attack" would that really be so bad?

Not sure about tacking on an extra save (but yeah, every class should have two good saves and one bad, I feel), but I really like the idea of pseudo-full-BAB against sneak attackable creatures. That's in line with Unchained Monk and really fits the flavour.

---

Another thing that bothers me is most Rogues going TWF, on an already hampered chassis. You're lagging a few points behind on the Fighter, and then you lose another 2 because you're going TWF. People have explained to me often why they do so, so I don't need any convincing, but I still feel it's odd.


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Meirril wrote:
Derklord wrote:


Meirril wrote:
Now, this is thinking outside of the box, but maybe Rogues aren't full BAB and d10 HP because they are suppose to be tricky, back stabbing, cunning, brains not brawn types?

Their main class feature, and their main source of damage, does "precision damage". Yet the class can't make precise attacks. You don't see a problem with that? "not brawns" only means they aren't strength based. "Brains over brawn" characters should be better at striking exactly where they can inflict damage. Your very own arguments supports Rogues having higher attack rolls than "dumb muscle" melee types. It wouldn't actually need to be full BAB, but then Rogue should add Int to attack rolls or something. As it is, Rogue is strictly physical based.

Also, you literally can't backstab someone in Pathfinder.

From a game design view, a pure melee with medium BAB, no attack roll bonuses, no good defensive ability, and the worst possible saves is simply a pure failure. It shames me that the writer of unRogue didn't have the balls to fix that.

Once again, think outside of the box. What you insist on is giving the stats to the rogue to make it a front line fighter that doesn't need to think and just wades into any situation depending on a full BAB and HP to get things done. What your envisioning is a fighter that gives up the bonus feats and armor for sneak attack and skills.

That isn't what a rogue is suppose to be. The image is the guy sneaking around, comes out of nowhere with a knife (or a club) strikes and slinks away.

I'm not necessarily saying your image of the Rogue is wrong, but I do want to stress it's your image of the Rogue, that might differ from mine or anyone else's image. This is just a disclaimer to justify what I'm trying to say isn't an attack on you, personally, but on the Rogue as a class, as I see it.

The image of the Rogue is what the designer wants it to be, not the player. The player just has to contend with whatever the designer does to the class. With all the archetypes, you can flavour the character any way you want, but there's still a mechanical core. The core of d10 classes is usually pure training (Paladin, Fighter, Ranger), or just extreme savagery (Barbarian). All the d8 classes have traded away some of that training for magical abilities, except the Rogue. And I can understand that, if the Rogue gets something in return. The Unchained Rogue does that perfectly, I think. The Rogue suddenly becomes a sort of combat-sapper. Usually sappers are associated with engineering (and the Archetype supports that), but you could stretch the analogy to melee combat as well. Sappers can literally sap enemy defenses, just like Debilitating Injury does. A few hits from an Un-Rogue and the enemy is nearly harmless.

Personally, my vision of a Rogue isn't a damage dealer, but an underminer, a debuffer. Let the d10 classes be the damage dealers and the d8 classes the supporters. That's not to say they can't or shouldn't be powerful, but it's sort of in line with what most of the classes are based on: Cleric and Bard smooth things out (I'm limiting myself to the Core classes here, because the point becomes muddier and muddier the more books I include), Wizard and Sorcerer give back-row support by either buffing or blowing stuff up. The Monk is a weird exception that operates on a high-risk-righ-reward system (no proficiencies in armour, but really good offensive capabilities), and the Druid is a weird thing in that it's powered down because you're playing two characters at once, but each individually can become a powerhouse if you focus on it. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, since the Rogue lacks both spell power and physical power, I'd love to see it fill a more unique role in a party, apart from just "the trapfinder," and incidental damage dealer if he gets his Sneak Attack off. The only real debuff-based class is the Mesmerist, and that class came like 8 years after the CRB. I'd like a more physical-based version of that, and the Rogue could fit that perfectly.

I'm not saying the Rogue necessarily needs to be reflavoured as a combat engineer, as a staple image of the Rogue is the "street urchin," which wouldn't fit the affinity for mechanical devices or the militaristic background, but as I said, a reworking of the Debilitating Injury could really help improve the Rogue's status.

---

Anyway, that all said, I've played a lot of RPGs that do not have a proficiency or BAB system, and while it's what makes Pathfinder unique, I think it's also its downfall. I personally find it needlessly fiddly. Yeah, the systems I referred to (Dungeon World and 13th Age, specifically) are less realistic and more improvisational, so maybe it's not a fair comparison, but I honestly think divorcing classes from combat ability is a great idea. Everyone is equally awesome, regardless of class. That frees up design space for other things, allowing classes to excel in different areas. So yeah, the Rogue is as likely to hit an enemy as the Fighter, but how he does so, and what happens after it is what makes it interesting.


Okay, I'm not sure how overpowered a full-BAB Rogue (Chained version) would be compared to a Fighter, but I see the merit in making it full-BAB. Yeah, the Rogue has more skills per level, and if he gets his iteratives off, his Sneak Attacks will be insane, but there are tradeoffs. A Fighter gets a lot more feats, and armour and weapon training, inherently making him a better combatant. Again, not sure if that's a fair tradeoff with the bunch of skills and class abilities the Rogue gets, but still.

If I were to design a D10 Rogue, I'd propose to start with the base Rogue class from the CRB, with the following changes:
- Slightly fewer skill points per level.
- If you get your sneak attack off across multiple attacks in one round, you get diminished returns. This fixes the full-BAB TWF Sneak Attack damage explosion. Say, a static -2 sneak attack dice on each subsequent hit (or make it scale to level somehow, not really thought about that). Fighters get inherent damage increases from Weapon Training and Weapon Specialisation, Rogues get this. Maybe looking at it, it doesn't really scale equally, but this is just a thing I made up on the spot. Playtesting needs to be done, obviously. Maybe also decrease the damage dice of Sneak Attack as well.

Anyway, there needs to be a tradeoff between Sneak Attack and full-BAB. Maybe start with 1d6 at level one, and then the same progression as the Slayer. Or something else, I don't know, I'm just spitballing here.

I like what they did with the Rogue in Pathfinder 2, where only certain weapons can cause Sneak Attack to happen. It makes sense, too. you can shove a dagger in someone's kidney, but whacking them with a greatsword wouldn't be as effective. Maybe let them pick up martial weapon proficiency (or proficiency in one or two certain weapons) as a Rogue trick with the same rider, so they can grab a longsword and start slashing away if Sneak Attack isn't an option.


I've been playing 13th Age a lot lately, and it's very rules-light. It also doesn't have any kind of rules associated with armour. I know Pathfinder goes for a more "realistic" approach, but I haven't missed worrying about encumbrance a single bit. It always seemed like an obligatory inclusion to me. It's a rule that's simply not fun to enforce, it's just bookkeeping. Moreover, it unnecessarily penalises armour even more.

Yeah, I understand that having a higher AC should come with a drawback, but there are already several. First is the price. Second is movement rate impediment. And third, pretty much all physical skills take a huge hit. The current (PF1) Fighter gets piss-poor skill points and class skills. For some reason, they're not trained in Acrobatics. If Billy the Fighter (or Cleric, or Paladin...) wants to jump across a gap, he first takes penalties for being slowed (slower movement rate = -4 on Acrobatics), then he also takes penalties for the armour being in the way. I mean, penalising one seems appropriate, but both at the same time means Billy is never going to make it across that 10 foot gap.
Armour is supposed to be a compensation for character creation choices. Many classes don't prioritise Dexterity, because they either need to juggle several important stats (casting stats), or not totally suck in other departments (dumping Intelligence is also sub-optimal). Yeah, you won't excel at Dex-based skills, but passable is good enough (see that 10 foot gap above). Armour is there to fix that low AC. And it's a resource drain: you could've spent the money you used boosting your AC to shore up other weaknesses, or buying something else. To me, Dexterity is the perfect replaceable stat. No other stat can be replaced with simply throwing money at it (except stat-boosting items, of course). But no, now you're actively penalised for your character creation choices. And if they're not class skills and/or don't have the skill points to spend in the first place, you're never going to excel at them anyways. So many times a Stealth section went wrong because the Paladin rolled crap, or the Fighter fell down a pit, or the Cleric drowned in a small creek. Personally, I feel ACP is unnecessarily harsh and can be done away with, or replicated with another subsystem.

Hell, even D&D 5e has done away with it, mostly. The only trace of ACP is the fact that Stealth rolls get disadvantage, which seems fair. Acrobatics, Athletics, and Sleight of Hand are all armour-agnostic. Seems a bit weird to me to specifically call out Stealth in relation to armour, but other than that, it really smoothes gamplay. No weird corner-case rules to remember or modifiers you need to add/subtract. I really do hope Paizo will try to do something similar to that in second edition.


Thanks JohnHawkins! I'm already running a slightly updated version of some monsters, and they indeed melt away like snow against mythic tier 2 PCs. On the one hand I want to see this ridiculousness in full action, but on the other hand, a continuous power trip for the PCs might get wearisome for me.

I recommended Trevor to look at the Shaman, that seems both buffy enough for his liking and proactive at the same time. Not sure which spirit would suit him the most, but that's for him to figure out. :P


Ohh, I just had an idea: what about a combination of my previous ideas? Let the party fight a level 12-appropriate final bossfight, make it epic, boss goes down. Party thinks they've won, they go on vacation, but after a while they notice BBEG's plan is still in motion. They do some research and they find out he's been resurrected (or something), making him even stronger (slap a nasty template on him or something, or maybe several). Then they have to defeat his final form. It's a bit of a DBZ "this isn't even my final form!" cheese, but I think it could work.

Or like, he's a BBEG. He has contingencies. A once per day "get out of jail free card." (he teleports away to a different castle and is restored to full power or something) They either have to beat that trump card first, or fight him twice in the same day, but hopefully the party will have expended their most powerful spells. And the BBEG knows they're coming for him now, throwing more flunkies their way. That makes for an uphill battle, but a climactic one, I feel. Once they realise they can't wade through all those mooks in one day, they'll have to level up to be more efficient.


Bah, I read the spell description of Raise Dead and thought that was all, apparently I missed some text elsewhere. Thanks for the correction!

EDIT: Still though, the BBEG doesn't necessarily have to do it himself. He can obviously have a henchman Cleric in his following that can cast it for him. "Steve, Chaotic Neutral Cleric of Gorum" sounds a lot better than "Grothdarr, Chaotic Evil Destroyer of Worlds," even if you've never met Steve.


Hey, I'm the GM in question, I accidentally stumbled upon this post. I'll sort of talk to OP here with you, maybe this might've been better in person (or at least one-on-one, like mail or text messages), but eh. Maybe the Paizo hivemind will have something useful to say.

My main worry is that you're all very melee-oriented. With an Eidolon that's going the grapple --> Swallow Whole route, a trip build will become quite disruptive. I don't mind handing you the fights, but they're already on the easy side, I feel (and I've heard they get even more ridiculous at later levels). Now, a lot of enemies later on will become very large and/or hard to trip (flying still helps), so it's not that big of a deal, but still.

What exactly do you not like about being the buffer/caster? Maybe we can work something out that way. I remember your PFS Bard being very buff-centric, or is it the fact that you can't optimise completely (not meant as an insult or a jab at you, just an honest question)?

Will you be taking more levels in Fighter, or stick at the one level for extra proficiencies and the one feat?

As for the "less than super optimised" bit Trevor referred to at the start, I just wanted to say to my group that this isn't PFS, so being creative and weird is allowed and rewarded. Also, APs don't really tend to be that difficult (with an exception here and there), so you have some room to fart around. I was just a bit tired of PFS rules strictness and wanted to have a little sandbox to play around in and tell a cool story. If everyone's hyper-optimised and roflstomping through it, it loses the fun part for me as well.


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A Simulacrum is a good example, but kind of gives away what the final boss is, exactly. If he turns out to be a high level Wizard, they can anticipate and prepare for an even tougher fight. That's kind of an anticlimax.

What I like is Trevor's option: give him plot immunity due to a MacGuffin, like a Lich's phylactery or something. The BBEG knows he can't be harmed, and toys with them. Something like incredible fast healing, tough DR, or some kind of shield or whatever should convey to the players that they need to get around that.

I have a few more ideas:
- The BBEG might be interested in the PCs. He captures anyone he hasn't outright killed. He casts Raise Dead on the killed ones (they don't know who's raising them, so they probably assume it's their teammates), and throws them in jail. Now part of the storyline becomes escaping from that jail, living with those negative levels for a while, and planning a new attack. They have knowledge of how powerful he is, so they'll know how much more they'll need to train.
- Scare the bejesus out of them with debilitating, but not necessarily damaging effects. There's probably at least one person in your party that has a good Spellcraft. If the BBEG is a Wizard or something, throw a ninth-level spell at them. They'll identify it, see that it's way above their capabilities, and hopefully escape. Or let him wreak havoc in the background. Have the BBEG come out somewhere, level a city block with Meteor Swarm, and you basically have the same outcome.
- Have them fight a second-in-command, a pet, or whatever, that's obviously lower in rank than the BBEG, but still above their pay grade (like, 4 or 5 CR above their level or something). If they can barely handle that, how are they gonna defeat its boss?
- Or, maybe, just let them fight him. Not every campaign needs to end at level 20. If they wanna fight the end boss, and they feel like they deserved it, make the boss a few levels lower than expected. You can keep artificially throwing hoops at them to make them jump through, but if they want to fight the boss, why not? Sure, it might not have been the ending you wanted it to be, but if the players think it's time to end him, it's time to end him. Just make it seem plausible. Like you hyped up how his four mythic guardians need defeating, but suddenly his guardians are gone, for example.


I second the Shaman. They get good healing spells (although not spontaneous), cool utility in their Hexes, can be built in different ways, borrow some great spells from Arcane and Divine lists, and they get decent skills. And once you get a Wandering Spirit, you can diversify your portfolio daily. As-is, the Shaman is a great buffer and debuffer, but with certain spirits he can be great at whatever you want.

I'm not sure why the player dislikes Witches, so this might be a difficult sell, but I feel the Shaman is much more versatile than that. The fact that you can wear armour helps a lot, and the bigger hit die is also a plus. The only downside is that you don't get a Hex at level 1, that's an especially sucky level to be at.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

Chronology would be most useful, I think. Maybe after that, tier obviously, and how about metaplot orderings? As in, things that directly contribute to the plot of a season?

There was a thread that listed several "paths" from level 1 to 12 all involving a certain theme, such as never leaving Absalom, all the Aspis adventures, all adventures involving Drandle Dreng, and so on. That could be a fun one.

I'm not sure how much time you're willing to put into this, but how about some iconography on the right? I'm sure there's an actual word for it, but I'm blanking on it at the moment. You know, like Starfinder has, where you can immediately see which chapter you're on. If you give each ordering their own symbol/colour, you could put them on every page and immediately know which themes it contains. Downside is that it'll be a hassle to put icons on each and every page, of course.

**** Venture-Agent, Netherlands—Utrecht aka Quentin Coldwater

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This just happened last week:
I'm playing a Nagaji Cleric of Gorum. INT 5, dumb as a bag of rocks. Enemy gets surprise round (Greater Invis'd), throws a Lightning Bolt at me and the Ranger. He makes his save and has Evasion, he's fine. I fail. GM rolls nearly max damage. GM wins initiative, another Lightning Bolt. Same thing happens. I drop unconscious. Ranger has insane Perception and knows where he's fled to, and shouts that out (into a corridor). I get a good boost of healing, I get up, don't want to be in Bolt formation anymore and flee into the same corridor to heal myself (I hadn't heard the Ranger say where he was, as I was unconscious. Also, out of character I hadn't heard, either). I proceed to Cure Moderate myself, but apparently I was parked right next to the enemy. The GM cringed when I ran into that corridor, and cringed even more when I started casting right next to him. He attacks me, I drop unconscious again. Ranger follows and peppers enemy with arrows. Enemy has been dealt considerable damage by the Ranger and wants him dead. but, he can't get to him because I'm in the way. GM voices this problem. I look him right in the eye and say, "Do it." "But... Your character..." "No, just do it. It's what the enemy would do." And so, the GM threw a third Lightning Bolt at me, which I fail for the third time. Totally dead. Worst thing is, Ranger saves for the third time and is completely unharmed.

We were just looking at the situation in awe. This was the perfect ****storm that could only have happened with an INT 5 in the party. I wasn't even mad about the death, I totally deserved that one. Plus, I have a cool story now.

That character has had terrible luck anyway. I built him to be an absolute murderhobo only interested in killing things (STR 18, negative channeling, Channel Smite, the works. If I hit, I do a crapton of damage). Yet in most of the scenarios I've played him in, he's either relegated to be the support character, or keeps missing his attacks. I've had several scenarios where he didn't do a single point of damage. It's an absolutely fantastic bit of character development for him.

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