Oh yeah, absolutely no hard feelings towards the GM. Completely fair play to him. It just made the game a little more exciting than it should've been. :)
I unlocked a Ghoran boon, so I made a Verdant Sorcerer. I applied some GM credit to him and played him as a fresh level 2 character. Very first encounter was against a swarm of insects that dealt double damage against objects and plant creatures. I was the only one with AoE effects (Burning Hands). Guess who took 10 damage a round trying to blast that swarm?
GM reasoning was, why would the swarm be interested in eating dead stuff when there's a fresh plant in the room? That was an interesting game of tag, where Kyra spent all her actions healing me while I kept running away from the swarm (and luckily kept making my Fort saves against distraction). It was a tense situation, especially with my precious race boon on the line...
Maybe I'm asking too soon and the numbers haven't been crunched properly, but I'm theorycrafting some builds, and I'm wondering if I'm neglecting my Con score. So far I've left it at 10, and with the new HP system, that sort of seems fine. I've played some Starfinder Society, and there a Con of 10 seems perfectly fine (granted, I've not made a frontliner yet). My Pathfinder 1 characters always started with a Con score of 14, so dropping to 10 seems like a big jump. But considering ability scores at character creation seems less swingy (no dumping to get more point buy, for example), I'm not sure how to do that without completely neglecting my other stats.
So, especially for mid-level play (I intend to play some PF2 Society soon, which goes to level 11 I believe), how important does a decent Con score seem to you? Especially with most classes getting at least 8 HP each level, a Con of 12 means only one single HP extra per level. That doesn't seem much. My first draft of the character had a Con of 10, but then I realised I might've neglected HP and I might've overcorrected to 14. With a Strength of 18 and a Dexterity of 14, a Constitution of 14 only leaves me with a single +2 to a mental stat. Which, as a Ranger, goes to Wisdom. I'd like to get that Wis to 14, to more properly contribute in skills such as Nature and Survival. And that probably means taking a hit to my Con score, setting it at 12. Or maybe my Strength, if necessary.
Or maybe I'm asking the wrong thing. Am I overinvesting by putting my Strength to 18? If I leave it at 16, I'll be slightly less effective at levels 1 through 4, but catch up again once I put my level 5 stat bump in Strength. Sure, I won't be able to bump it to 20 at level 10, but I'm not sure if I want to do so in the first place. I see most of the pregenerated characters for Society have an 18 in their primary stat, so that seems like the go-to strategy...
From that small quote I can't properly diagnose, but living with several roommates with AD(H)D, it sounds familiar, but I'd need to see if it's structural enough to classify as AD(H)D. I mean, pretty much everyone can identify with that little chunk of text, but AD(H)D has many more components than just easily distracted or quickly changing interests.
Does anyone know why the reviews of this scenario aren't visible? The review page is empty, but I can find them if I know who wrote the review and look at their reviews page.
I don't want to suggest Paizo is censoring its content, but it only seems to happen to this particular (not very well-received) scenario.
GMed this again. Some things I've noticed:
Played this alongside Lau. I totally agree with him, though I feel slightly less harsh about it.
One important thing here, I think, is telegraphing. As written, the monster has a few disadvantages and exploits, while also having some things PCs NEED to know, otherwise they're dead. And the scenario doesn't give it. I think a GM should really telegraph HOW it enters and exits if a door is jammed. Our GM simply said, "it just appears in the room," without indicating it came through the vents or something. Big Hero 6 is a good example of how to do it well. Have it make a rattling noise as it crawls through vents, play up its particleness, and maybe give the PCs some leeway in hindering it. It should not be totally immune to everything the players throw at it, but it should at least slow it down. As for when it's slowed, explain how slowly it reacts to you all, as if in slow-motion. That already suggests it might not be able to take reactions. A proper horror villain is lumbering, but inevitable. Two-shotting a PC is technically that, but it is not fun. It leaves very little room for error. Especially when in Starfinder, HP healing is a lot less effective and a lot less common. I was glad we had a Healing Mystic at our table, otherwise I would've been putty.
James Krolak wrote:
That door was so crap. We were waiting several rounds for it to open, twiddling our thumbs, while our last party member was kiting around the monster, without even knowing if it was effective. Worst of all, she was one of the two people good at Computers, so having her run around meant that our only so-so other Computers guy had to operate that door all on his own.That crawlspace was a trap. Yes, it technically loops around, but not everyone can go through it. If things go badly, people will end up backed into a corner and die.
As said, a two-shotting inescapable death monster is no fun to fight. I've had risky fights with strong opponents before, but there were tactics to mitigate it (Fossi comes to mind). Yeah, it takes away some of the scare factor if it's less powerful, but the fact that we can't kill it is still scary enough. Now it's just all bad stuff piled on top of each other: strong, inescapable, no weak points. Pick two out of three. At least give the players hope.
And yeah, loot is easily missable, yet mission-critical for either prestige points or money. Now, Society play keeps in mind you don't get full rewards all the time, but this piled on top of everything else is just really feel-bad. You could've survived by the skin of your teeth and still haven't earned anything. That's just a downer.
Say I throw a Rage spell on an ally, and that ally falls unconscious, does that ally continue raging (and thus, keep their CON boost? This happened last week, and I'd like some clarification. I see two lines of thinking:
Option 2 goes against the logic of the normal rage rules (only raging while conscious), and the spell says it "otherwise identical with a barbarian's rage." But on the other hand, the spell also says "each affected creature," which implies the affected creatures don't get a choice in it: you rage until you shut it off. But that would also mean you can rage while sleeping and such. Is that just the side-effect of the spell, or am I just wishful thinking?
Reason I'm asking is, last week I threw this on a party member and he knocked himself unconscious by damaging himself (effect from a fumble card), which meant he'd lose his rage HP, putting him over his CON threshold. This question came up and the GM ruled in our favour, as it was just bad luck anyway, but now I'm curious what the "proper" ruling is.
I can imagine big parties make buffs more interesting to apply. First and foremost not everyone will have spells, so there'll be more people wanting to receive those buffs than people/spell slots available to cast them. But secondly, all the spells that hit 1 person per level get interesting in a group of 8+ people. Haste is a famous example. Hits only a character per level, so by the time you get it, it usually hits everyone at once. But now you need to a) figure out which people want which buff and b) have them stand close to each other to get them within range of your 30 feet bubble. People standing in buff formation also stand in Fireball formation...
As said, it's a delaying tactic. It's also useful for regrouping or a fighting retreat. Cast the spell and disappear into the mist. Enemies can't find you right away and you have time to do some emergency healing or applying buffs.
The advantage here is that you can communicate ahead of time what to do in case of mist, so you have a tactical advantage. You confuse the enemy and possibly shape the battlefield to your benefit. Yes, you can't see out, but enemies can't see in, so you can set up an ambush. You can scatter to lose the enemy in the mist, or simply block ranged attacks.
It's a great tactical tool, but the situation needs to present itself. It's not always useful, but when it does, you're happy you have it.
Played this today.
I decided that killing Torch would make him a martyr, and be a generally nonconstructive way of dealing with the situation. A party member suggested he'd come back at the Society as an instructor and pay off his debt to the Society by instructing new Pathfinders. We even dubbed him the Master of Intrigue (like Master of Scrolls, Spells and Blades). This way, we have him where we can keep an eye on him, and he can share all his knowledge to the Pathfinders he loves so much. The best way to protect them is to instruct them as best as possible, right?
Fair point. I personally thought the letter pulled in different directions at once. It namedrops the Shadow Plane right from the start, setting up the fact you're going to there later on. But to the mission at hand, it's completely irrelevant. The whole handout feels like "top secret information, why am I even telling you this, blah blah blah, oh, here's your actual mission." I thought mentioning Dreng was in the Shadow Plane made sense once it's clear you're actually going there. The stolen items one by one point towards the bigger plot, rather than putting it upfront and you just verifying that yes, there is indeed a bigger plot going on.
I did try to make it clear you're not simply there to take the blame, but to double-check these accusations. Apparently I failed in that approach. My apologies.
Ran this last night, some observations:
The inventory identification went okay-ish. They missed some stuff, but overall got most of them right. They wanted to interview Nigel and I didn't see a reason why not. Nigel had to admit there was no real proof for indicating all of the missing items were the fault of the Pathfinders, so that may have soured them against him a bit.
Dreng's sting went okay. The way I read it, there wasn't really a chance of them sneaking up on the intermediaries, because why would the party start sneaking all of a sudden? So they blundered into the transaction, and the intermediaries were pretty fidgety. Luckily, the party consisted of mostly completely unarmed people (a Brawler, pregen Mesmerist, Monk/Paladin, and Arcane Trickster that attacked mostly with rays), so they didn't seem immediately threatening. Maybe I was too lenient on them, but they managed to bluff their way out of the situation, so it's fine.
The Soul Stalls were a bit iffy. Valryss confessed what her plan was with the golem, and they had her sign a confession that it wasn't the Pathfinders' fault it got missing. While the mission was to retrieve the objects, I counted this at least as definitive proof, and let it slide. I kinda forgot about the part where she wanted to sell it on, so that's on me. The party argued that the golem had come to life and deserved his own life, rather than being a guard for the Blackros forever.
Wightir House went as planned. I personally have some issues with Sarnia's whole "well, I have to throw minions at you otherwise it won't seem like you've earned it," thing. On the one hand, it's a cheeky acknowledgement of the situation, but on the other hand, why throw minions at the party when you know you'll lose anyway?
The choice whether to stay involved with the Blakros and the Alliance was maybe interpreted a bit wrong by my party. I think they construed it as "do you want to keep involved with the Blakros, period?" but the party was so put off by the whole Blakros incompetence that they decided to keep out altogether. Even a totally new guy (first PFS scenario), who had never heard of the whole Blakros history, agreed to stay the hell away from them.
Home game, not PFS, but still share-worthy: Fighter is at 1 HP, fumbles. We use crit/fumble cards. "Deal damage to yourself." Rolls enough to be exactly at negative CON. GM ruled we could save him, because this is the s$@*tiest way to die.
Also, today: a player has a Leshy, with plant speech. They're going into a forest fire (and camping, too). They had to cry themself to sleep (gender-neutral), as they kept hearing trees yelling in pain.
Final question: there's a boon for the Liberty's Edge faction to summon something. But a Summon Monster II seems pretty small, considering my players were all level 7+. It uses similar wording as for example Breath of the Dragonskull, which also uses Summon Monster II. The Dire Badger seems like a decent option at that level. The wording of the Liberty's Edge boon (Freedom for All!) specifies no actual creature you can summon. I guess an at-will Summon Monster II is pretty okay, but it still feels... lacking? The way the boon is worded, you can summon either a squid or an octopus, both CR1 creatures. Was this supposed to unlock a specific creature available as a summon?
The "same XP total is same challenge" logic for building encounters tends to break down around 3 lower CR enemies, and definitely by CR 4 lower their power tends to be diluted to the point where at least in published scenarios, the encounter becomes pointless.
This, so much. Even some CR-2 creatures are just a walkover. For instance, a giant crab is CR2. Several of them would make a decent challenge. But for a level 3 party, their +4 to hit is ineffectual against most frontliners. Sure, they'll grab a Rogue in light armour perhaps, but most of the time, they should miss. And especially if the party is level 4, with second-level buffs and spells, these things shouldn't become an issue at all anymore. They'll have superior defenses, HP to tank what goes through, and overpower the beasties. A full-BAB character with Power Attack will probably halve their HP in one hit, if not one-shot it. Mooks should at least be able to survive a round if they're supposed to be a challenge.
The CR system is very, very flawed. It's a nice guideline, but upon closer inspection, it falls apart. I got very frustrated by my home game of Wrath of the Righteous where the level 12 party got to fight several groups of CR 9 mooks. Those mooks don't stand a chance and and is just a waste of time for both sides of the screen.
Played two scenarios back-to-back that had Nagaji in them, with my Nagaji Cleric (first was intended, second wasn't). At first I was like, "okay, I'm one of them, let me speak to them," but then they didn't understand me. Apparently, Nagaji NPCs speak Common (or Tien, in this case), and Nagaji, while my Cleric only had Common and Draconic. I felt so baffled and frustrated I couldn't speak with my own kind.
Apparently, I built my character with the Advanced Race Guide, which states my starting languages are Common and Draconic, but sometime later that got changed. Inner Sea Races gives Common and Nagaji, for example.
But still, a race that can't speak with its own kin is pretty funny.
Yeah, on the one hand, it's supposed to be an "oh, crap" fight, but 6 Ghouls on a level 4 party is almost trivial. Especially considering players have the resources now to overpower them. And it's not a matter of us being overpowered (well, maybe a little). All of Justin's buffs are Core Rulebook, so a buff-happy Wizard could've done this as well, way back when.
In the end, maybe I let them go on the roof a little too easily, but even if they'd alerted one group, they were quick enough to get on top, so Jirandiel and Phlegos wouldn't have been much better off. The rest would have been pretty much the same.
I'm not sure. Since its Organisation line suggests they can roam around in multiple swarms, it might've been intended for them to stack on top of each other. First swarm nauseates, second swarm consumes. But IMHO that's such a dick move, I wouldn't allow it. That's 9d6 in one turn from 2 CR5 creatures.
Also, one more question about Flak'ak: his whip is listed as dealing 1d6 cold damage. Where does that come from? My only guess is that the Frost property is already added to it, but it's not spelled out in his tactics. His Water Blessing gives him 1d4 if he's used it, but again, tactics don't specify.
Prepping this for tomorrow. Looking forward to it. I love Vayn and I know I have an Aquatic Elf at my table.
Important thing I noticed while prepping: Flak'ak is supposed to use Sacred Armor on himself, but in both tiers that won't help. Magic Vestment gives the same kind of bonus (enhancement), and is equal on both tiers. Magic Vestment is a +1 per 4 caster levels (+1 on low tier, +2 on high tier), Sacred Armor is a +1 at 7 and goes up by one every 3 levels (+2 at 11). I'll remove that from his buff routine, but I won't add in anything else. His Trickery domain blessing is nasty enough. Luckily he's only using Mirror Image, not Greater Invis.
Similarly, Sacred Weapon "only" buffs his whip with a +1, as it's already a +1, so the +2 doesn't stack with it.
Also, thanks for explicitly stating the squid only constricts once per round, that really helps with the catch-and-release nonsense.
Random question: any reason the squid has the Primordial template? You needed to up its CR? The DR and bigger dice on the bite are nice, but the spell-likes seem a bit weird, and generally a bit out of place here. Not a complaint, just wondering.
Anyway, I have three Monks at my table, so everyone will get pounded into dust, I fear. :P
Can you full attack with both melee and ranged, and if so, what about unique ranged attacks of monsters?
Usually, a creature will have all its attacks listed in its offense writeup. If it can perform ranged actions as part of its melee full attack, it will usually say so. Since the Manticore lists it as two different attacks, they can't be combined.
Usually, enemies can use one attack per offensive limb (wolves have multiple limbs, but only its head is capable of offense). That's either a natural attack, or a weapon attack, if they're wielding weapons. An Ettin has has a flail in each hand, and a backup javelin. He has the following attacks:
Melee 2 flails +12/+7 (2d6+6)
Two arms, two attacks (and iteratives), just like a PC would if they had Two-Weapon Fighting (except the Ettin has a special ability, that's not relevant here). If the Ettin has a flail in one hand, and a javelin in the other, it could theoretically attack like this:
My players just fed a bunch of laxatives to a giant frilled lizard because it ate a MacGuffin and they didn't want to kill it.
GM: "So there's a giant heap of dung, with the thing somewhere inside."
Also, a player dipped a level into Oracle and got a permanent negative level, so their caster level was 0. Most of her spells were useless. Aforementioned Create Water created 0 gallons of water, Comprehend Languages had a duration of 0 minutes, Cure Light cured 1d8 hit points, and so on.
I really like the Bramble Brewer Alchemist. Half-Elf only. The Dendrite Mutagen swaps the AC and stat bonuses (+4 to AC, +2 to a stat), making you incredibly tanky, and gives fast healing in bright light. I mean, it's not much, but it's very cool, and eliminates the need for healing out of combat (as long as you're outside, of course).
Dustin Knight wrote:
That sounds like nonsense. Sure, you might lose the opportunity to socialise with a lot of people, but there's plenty of checks to be made by just looking around. As you said, lots of things will still be lying around afterwards. And if you manage to get them to evacuate that quickly, as a GM, I would say it still takes time, so you'd have few days to get more info.
I ran this yesterday and I misinterpreted the part where you can only make one check per person per day (I read it, and promptly forgot about it), and I was wondering why there was all this fuss about with time pressure, while I basically gave my players a tour of everything and they made the checks. I sort of guessed most checks would take 5 minutes, maybe some 15-30.
Also, the checks are ridiculously low. Okay, I had two INT-based characters and a Sage familiar who literally couldn't fail the checks. DC 19 is laughably low. I get that you want everyone to be able to make some checks, but making some trained-only shuts that down for a lot of people already. But even without that problem, you're still in an awkward situation: you want as many people to be able to participate, but make it a challenge anyway. So anyone with 2 skill points per level barely has anything useful to contribute anyway.
On a more constructive note, a question: How are you supposed to divide the tasks? Let players pick a district first, then tell them the choices in each district, or put everything "on the table" straight away and tell them you'll need skills A, B and C in district 1, D, E and F in district 2, and so on? Since the scenario specifically states travelling from district to district barely takes any time, I guess players can go sightsee everything and basically cherry-pick until they've found a skill they're good at and try that.
I asked a similar question a while ago (for Pathfinder), but didn't get a conclusive answer, either. Since it's not directly Starfinder-related (and thus action economy might be different), I'll put it in spoilers so people can ignore it if they want.
My question was about the Slayer's Studied Target. It starts out as a move action, but turns into a swift later on. The Lenses of Predator's Gaze up your Slayer level by 5. Say I'm level 4. Using the item makes me level 9. Does that allow me to use it faster? There were two trains of thought in that topic:
- Yes, because you declare the action, then see what that falls under (standard, move, swift). In this case, "I use Studied Target with my Lenses, which would be a move action, but my Lenses make it a swift."
- No, because you have to spend the action first to get the effect. In this case, "I use my move action to Study Target."
- And a subtrain of that, which said your action is "refunded": "I use my move action to Study Target, which becomes a swift instead."
Anyway, that whole deal never got anywhere, and I didn't get an official answer. The only useful reply was, "varies per GM."
I personally believe the more negative interpretation works for the player. In this case, declare actions beforehand. "I want to do A, B, and C. I'll use my swift for A, move for B, standard for C," and then the magic actually happens. But I certainly see the opposite being true.
Usually, unless declared otherwise by the powers that be, the least favourable interpretation is true.
I guess the fact that demons are ugly and celestials are pretty (or at least, not-ugly) is due to how we see good and evil. We associate demons with ugliness and angels with beauty and grace. And that probably filters through in the art description. I'm sure a theoretically ugly celestial could exist, but wouldn't appeal as much as a pretty one would.
In a module:
GM: "So the orrery is spinning wildly while you're fighting, and suddenly Akiton crashes into <player's> location..." *Makes an attack roll.* Nat 1. Akiton crashes into the location, but <player> manages to avoid it, and Akiton keeps spinning on."
So yeah, Akiton attacked a player and missed. I tried making a Mars Attacks joke, but couldn't come up with one.
I mean, we have a ratings system for movies and games (PEGI, ESRB), with individual icons/descriptions for each piece of media. Adopting that would help, at least.
As for "where to draw the line," yeah, that's a tricky one. As you said, we can't make everyone happy, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. The system isn't perfect, and cases like your friend getting scared by something "spidery enough, but technically not a spider" might happen. But with user-input, that will (hopefully) only happen once, as the system is self-correcting: users will go online and tag those scenarios, so future surprises won't happen again. That is, if everyone does the same, of course.
Sara Marie made a good point that can in theory be reverse-engineered. Her suggestion deals mainly with inclusivity of people, but could technically go for phobias as well: if people are really dedicated to avoiding such themes, if such a thing were such a deal-breaker, if a scenario pings on such a tag, people can avoid those scenarios as well. In that case, the tag would basically have the effect of a filter. That might need to be considered.
As Thurston said, I'm not qualified to make decisions about this, I just hope to be able to facilitate the debate.
Thurston Hillman wrote:
As with a lot of community initiated ideas, I think this has a lot of positive impact. I just see it being taxing on resources that are already notably taxed in several different ways.
I understand, Thurston. It not perfect system. At the very least, thank you for taking your time reading (and considering) this! <3
GM Woran wrote:
I have to up my game, I see. I'll inform James.