James Jacobs wrote:
Awesome - this was the knowledge we needed. Our GM is brand new, and myself and our other GM want this module to go well for him. He's been reading through the books, but I don't think he knows exactly what to look for to answer my question. He's stated bluntly that he'll happily add more time to the adventure for us to be able to keep our characters geared to our levels - we appreciate his willingness to aid us, but we don't want him to favor us. At the same time, I don't want to walk into the last fight with my sword still at +1. Honestly, I'm just satisfied knowing that you guys thought ahead. I've played too many modules that didn't seem to get that D&D is a 'game' and that 'games' are meant to be 'fun' - not a dredge fest in an effort to prove how awesomely difficult they can make their fights with surprise attacks by half-celestial half-demon vampiric half-dragons wielding PC-bane weapons.
Thanks to everyone else for the insights as well. I'm going to recommend our GM check out the board and post questions that he can't ask of us regarding the upcoming books.
I'm going to be playing in a RotL campaign this summer, and I'm strongly considering taking some item creation feats (as is the rest of the party). However, I'm curious - does the module allow for sufficient downtime in order to make proper use of these feats? I'd hate to take them and only get to use them once or twice throughout the entire campaign series. Our GM is still reading over the books, and it is his first time trying to run a game, so I don't want to bug him for extraneous details on items he doesn't have a lot of experience with yet.
As a secondary question - how does the campaign (and Paizo in general) manage magic items? Don't list them or anything - I'm currently hoping to do an elven fighter with a curve blade, but I keep staring at that 'rare' adjective in its description and worrying I'll never see a magical version of it. Does Paizo generally have an 'insert party's favored equipment' magical item option, or does it stick with the 'man I hope you like magical morningstars, cause that's all we're getting' concept?
Ah, Sovereign - my most awesome D&D character of all time. He's been remade with each new edition (though only played once, but often appears as an NPC in my games or my friends' games).
Originally in 3rd ed, he was a half-celestial, half-human, half-dragon. He'd explain this with an utterly straight face. The build was simple - Human with the half-celestial template, a single level of sorc, 7 levels of paladin, and 10 levels of gold dragon disciple (later versions went beyond 18th level, but this was the original). What he lacked in spellcasting and subtlety he made up for in brute strength and kindness. By 'brute strength' I mean '50' - not quite a min/max, as the rest of the group matched this level of 'seriously?' By 'kindness' I mean 'he was the nicest person you've ever met.' His power level called for greater smiting of greater threats - random evil people really never deserved a smiting. He did try and sing the 'let's all be good to each other' song using a lute to a couple of low-level thieves he caught. I think it worked - they promised to stop being evil.
Of course, if you were a devil or demon, he would cleave into you with his pair of holy greatswords. Eventually we started recording his damage as 'BPM' - 'Balors per minute.' Twas good fun. He's actually the inspiration for my friend's current campaign world as the god of the sun (and paladins). His paladins tend to match his level of... kindness, I guess is the best way to put it. Silver-age superhero banter is NOT uncommon from a paladin of sovereign. The head paladin is currently an epic level goblin named Beez.
Anytime any paladin meets him, it goes something like this:
Beez: "Greetings, fellow paladin. I am the head paladin, Beez."
My group has had a few doozies over the past 9+ years of playing. Hell, some of those people might visit these boards, so I'll watch my tongue a bit...
...well, except for a couple people whom I will never speak to again. Let's see what I can recall.
My first game with this group ended up being the first time I had played ANY RPG in almost 7 years. Needless to say, my skills were rusty (especially since my previous experience was simply being 12 and thinking that all 18s in my stats was 'awesome'). I ended up playing a monk from the GM's 3rd ed homebrew world who could use lightning - pretty fun. The monk class itself was known to be fairly on the LE end and were vehement mage hunters. I didn't want to be evil, and a majority of the group was leaning towards neutral, so I decided to play LN. In addition, after hearing about my monk order's goal, I decided my character had 'left to find himself.' Anyway, the 7 of us get tossed together on an adventure to hunt down some bandits who attacked a caravan. Together, we were a CG bard, a CN psychic warrior, a CG rogue, a CG ranger, my LN monk, a LN cleric, and... a LN paladin.
Let me try and explain that last one using the following conversation between the GM and the player:
Player: "I want to be a dashing knight."
Eventually the GM made the decision (later known as the 'biggest mistake of my GMing career') and let him do a LN "paladin-like" class from a nation of nobles and a~%&+~#s. Coincidentally, the same nation my character was from, along with the CG rogue. Off we go towards adventure! We pick up an NPC spellcaster (who can cast a series of dimension doors to get us to the last known location of the caravan) and begin moving.
...and quickly stop when we discover the large number of hill giants. Wait, no... THESE are the bandits. Apparently this is what we get for not tipping the rumor monger who told us about the quest. Oops.
So a tough fight, but nothing we can't handle. My poor monk (who, to this day, still has the WORST ABILITY SCORES EVER) spends most of his time doing what he does best: missing. Still, I had fun. And we managed to survive and make it into the giant's cave. This cave happened to have a dungeon in the back of it (woo!). We explore, blunder into a few traps, etc. The group has been bickering quite a bit - mostly out of game stuff. As the new guy, I feel like I'm intruding on a big group of friends. Mostly because I was. Anyway, the dungeon culminates into a big mausoleum. There we discover gravesites for about a dozen ancient heroes, along with a big mural telling some story about 12 heroes who escape differences in religion and alignment to come together to fight some big evil.
*tear in his eye* It was beautiful.
...until the paladin spoke up.
"Wow, I'll bet all of their equipment was buried with them!" *rushes over to open a tomb*
Sure enough, glittering armor and weapons lit the room. More people started opening more tombs, and soon we were greeted with the full magical gear of a dozen ancient heroes. Trying to lean my character as far away from LE as I could, I restrained myself and vowed not to take anything. The psychic warrior, ranger, and rogue agreed. The paladin, however, declared that 'in the name of his god - the god of nobles - that everything here belongs to him.'
He then declared that since the rogue and I were followers of the same god, we had to agree with him. Unfortunately, by the tenets of the religion, the little bastard was right. Within 3 minutes, the group was clearly divided, and a duel to first blood was called for. Hindsight 20/20, I could see the scene as it was setup. The GM was a MASTER at foresight - he could predict peoples' actions without prodding them at all. The ranger and the cleric (of war, I should point out) had a quick duel (which the ranger won), and before anyone could say anything, the GM hauled out a series of typed notes to each of us.
I forgot exactly what mine said, but the gist of it was this: we all watch the first drop of blood fall - almost in slow motion - as the room begins to vanish and we are greeted by the image of one of the heroes we most resembled (the monk, for me - natch). The image chides us for our behavior, then demands we seek out atonement. Next thing we know, we're standing in a forest. A few screams echo from beyond a clearing, as a helpless person runs towards us, screaming "hydra, run!" He wasn't lying.
We *did* manage to defeat the hydra though, and follow the man back to his village. We're given food and are allowed to explain our story. And by 'allowed' I mean 'we are instantly teleported elsewhere.' This time a small caravan is under attack by some perytons (flying... antler... things). We fend them off, and are immediately teleported again. Each time, we teleport into a 'hopeless' situation in order to save some poor individual from some terrible threat.
Yep - we were cursed.
This goes on for several game sessions - I forget how many. We lost the ranger and the rogue along the way (the first to some sort of falling out amongst friends, the second to a 2 month backpacking trip across Europe). Eventually, we teleport into a field near a forest. Not far from us, two little girls (8 and 9, it looked like) are fleeing. Not far behind them, a dozen heavily armed men. I manage to roll high for initiative for once, and leap into action - putting myself between the girls and the men. Alas, I am not able to stop them from firing ARROWS at the CHILDREN (emphasis mine). They hit one in the leg, causing her to fall. Her sister, of course, stops to try and help. The psi-warrior begins lumbering over (heavy armor, alas). The paladin?
"Probably a couple of filthy thieves - they get whatever they deserve."
So, anyway, the GM decides he's had enough and has the "paladin" fall for that comment. Not that the paladin knows it, yet.
The CG bard? Agrees with the paladin (dubble-ya-tee-EFF??)
The LN cleric? He notices the men all carry his god's holy symbol and hails them.
Our NPC spellcaster (who is QUITE agitated by this) turns invisible and runs off someplace.
Things go downhill from here...
Anyway, it was pretty much a done deal from this point on. Without his abilities, the paladin is a poor man's fighter. The cleric ends up having to make a choice between listening to the 100+ followers of his god who are in the area, or freeing the village they have enslaved for their war effort. He chooses the latter, but does so by forsaking his god, and ends up also loosing his abilities. Both are slain in the climactic battle to free all of the town's children from a nearby cavern. I fall to -9, but still manage to survive. As does the stupid bard (stupid STUPID bard), the psi-warrior, and the NPC. Then we get teleported... again...
A high-level mage saves us this time before we reach our intended destination (instead sending a few of his servants to save the hopeless souls). We get some respite and healing, along with some new magic items (it had been a while...). We get a little more info on our curse, and are then sent on our way. We meet up with the two new PCs - a halfling wizard and a human sorceress (the paladin's new character). Their group of 5 adventurers was horribly defeated by a group of goblins, and are the only two left. We port in and render a rescue. With the death of the last goblin, we turn to our new potential allies and begin to speak.
And by 'speak' I mean 'watch as the sorceress starts tearing through the dead bodies of her previous companions taking all of their magic items.' Completely ignored us - just started ripping - LITERALLY ripping the bodies apart in order to get stuff. The halfling begins digging graves for his fallen friends, and decides to remove the wedding ring from one of them. The sorceress immediately yells 'no, that's MINE!' and shoves him out of the way, snaps the finger off, and pockets the ring.
This character didn't last that long, either. A few games later, we wound up again in the home of the powerful wizard who aided us earlier. Very end of the game, we got our XP and leveled. The player then announces that his character is taking the first level of Dragon Disciple.
For BLUE DRAGONS.
You know, the EVIL ones. No, you didn't HAVE to be evil to take the class, but under original 3rd ed rules, once you hit 10th, you gained the full template, and the template called for chromatic half-dragons to be evil. As such, this would cause an alignment shift (per GM's ruling - and this is something he has stated in the past he WOULD DO if anyone took this class or gained a template). Anyway, he chose blue because *drumroll* he liked the color scheme.
Did I mention this was a powerful archmage's tower? With a bunch of wards and everything? Wards that were designed to keep out undesirable things? Like, for example... EVIL BLUE DRAGONS? Apparently the wards don't distinguish between 'actual evil blue dragon' and 'sorceror taking first level of DD.'
Sad... so sad...
My full review, for the curious:
$2 for a base class is an interesting cost. On one hand, you're not quite sure what you're going to get - especially from an unofficial source. On the other, you gain the ability to pick-and-choose what you like and don't like from a list of published classes. The idea behind micropayments has been kicked around for a while, and I understand a lot of people grumble at the idea. Personally, I don't feel I'm being nickeled and dimed to death - though SGG may consider doing a "package" of these classes to offer all of them at a discount (if someone would like to purchase them all).
That being said, here's my review of the actual product.
I'm a dragon fan. A big one. I play D&D because dragons exist. I judge a product based on how they treat dragons. (Hint: I hate 4th ed. Try and guess why!). A few times over my many years of play, I've attempted to play a dragon rider - heck, I once even played the strider (I refused to be called a 'steed'). A few prestige classes exist on this. They're all pretty bad - some treat the poor dragon like a flying horse. Here's a hint: if you ever have to 'spur' a dragon, you're going to get bitten. Painfully. I tried doing the Paladin + dragon companion option. This worked out alright, except my little gold wyrmling ran into issues when it was time for him to move up an age category, and was no longer safe to deal with the CR 18+ threats we were facing. I've been interested in how Pathfinder might tackle this, as it takes into the account that HD compared to higher levels become a poor indicator of power level. Super Genius Games dives right in with a base class.
Oh, let me get this out of the way: the art isn't top notch. While the artists used in the book clearly have talent, it is really not expressed in this book. However, not liking the art is a poor reason to knock a star off a work, so I'm going to just ignore it.
Pathfinder has really moved away from prestige classing and onto the idea of new base classes. While WotC's attempts at new base classes drifted from "oh lord, why would anyone play this" to "oh lord, why wouldn't anyone play this." Pathfinder, however, complete rewrote the rules on base classing, and really tempts a player to stick with a single class throughout his (hopefully long, unless you're evil) career. The advantage of this is obvious: With 20 levels to play around with, you have full control over what you'd like accomplish.
The dragonrider, then, is very well accomplished. Compared to other base classes, the class seems a little sparse - you gain a few cool abilities, but none that compare to "I am awesome with weapons" or "I have the bloodline of a demon." Simply a lot of abilities, coupled with a good attack bonus and good saves. And some minor spellcasting. Actually, the spellcasting is one thing I'd modify - the spell list is simply the standard arcane list. Dragonriders do not get their own 1st-4th spell list. This is good if you don't like to poke through existing books and add new spells to lists. This is bad in the sense that 1st-4th level arcane spell lists don't often contain enough oomph to really aid a pair rider and strider. While I'm not expecting a 3rd level meteor swarm (and if you ever do, shame on you), it would be nice to see some of the random dragon spells of 5th or 6th level brought down to a castable range for this class. Still, SGG only has the Pathfinder book to work with, and really can't start pointing to the Spellnomicon for its lists.
The big "oomph" for the class comes from the dragon itself. SGG does a really nice job of explaining why any dragon would be willing to undergo this process (and give up some of its own power in doing so). They also solve some of the issues normal dragon riders and striders have (namely, what happens in 4 years when it is time for a new size category). The only serious problem I have throughout the entire book is the 'focus' requirement. In order to justify why someone would choose a white dragon over a red, the idea of a mental focus was created - the dragon "thinks" so fast that it often has to wait for its rider. The rider can focus with the dragon to allow the dragon to act normally. This action is dependent on character level and dragon type. Full-round, standard, move, or free. I irked when I first saw this, as the explanation is iffy, and the reasoning isn't really given - sure a dragon is much more powerful than a warhorse, but it is the character's "thing." Imagine a fighter having to focus before swinging his sword. Dragonriders, as a class, don't have many abilities - the dragon *is* their cool thing. Then what really got me is the fact that you have to do this *every* round you want your dragon to act. Sure, this is no biggie if you have a free action dragon, but a first level silver or gold rider basically has to decide if he wants to act, or if his dragon gets to act. Even if separated - my dreams of a pincer attack with my giant golden companion are dashed. I mean, if this was a once-per-encounter action, I'd be satisfied. I can deal with having to link with my bud as combat starts. But every round? Yeesh...
Still, that's an easy fix for a GM. But if you're the player and you want to approach your GM with this? Good luck.
Aside from the two issues I mentioned, I would have liked to have seen some unique feats for the class. Or just some new feats the class can take advantage of. Regardless, well worth the money. I look forward to SGG's stuff in the future. And maybe a fix for the issues that bugged me :)
I've been pouring over the new book (I'm going have to change my monk... AGAIN). I'm looking at the new vital strike series - I like them! I originally avoided them for my monk because I felt they would be "silly powerful." Now? They're pretty cool.
So, my question...
Most of the new feats for attacks mention they use a standard action (cleave, gorgon's fist, etc.). Vital strike does not - it's "part of an attack action." A single attack for extra damage (woot!). The rules for charging (which are oddly placed for such a major action, btw) mention you get an attack, and seem to imply that it works like the normal attack action. As such, I am of the opinion that you can vital strike as part of a charge.
Does that seem correct or incorrect to anyone else? Anyone else want to weigh in with an opinion?
Call me a powergamer, but wow these things are useless as... well, anything. I'm not even sure why they're exotic, save for the fact that they're special monk weapons. Darts do more damage and have better range for 2.5x the cost. Hell, the stupid new "starknife" crap they added is better. Daggers even! Frikkin daggers! I'm not asking for some super awesome weapon, but it seems mean to the monk to give them a really cruddy weapon to use.
Actually, looking over everything, the monk is really getting shortsticked in the beta. I'm hoping to see more in the final version. Call me bitter for seeing the rogue get upped to d8 hit die while the monk gets... ki pool? Cool and all, but since sneak attacks now hit 99% of the D&D universe, the monk is no longer and awesome secondary fighter.
Ack! Sorry - derailed. Back to shuriken.
So I did like the 3rd ed 'multi-throw.' I will admit, the powergaming 'oh cool I make magic shuriken of super death' ruined this, but it at least gave reason for having the little things. I say at LEAST give them a secondary ability like sai and nunchaku - bleeding damage on a crit maybe? Repeated hits result in more damage? Maybe allow a proficient person throw several at once for a +1 competence bonus to strike, but only count damage for one +1 for each extra thrown? I dunno - something cooler than it is now.
So my friends and I are starting up a new D&D campaign, and we've decided to give Pathfinder a go. Everyone is excited about finally playing 20 levels worth of the base classes without feeling like a doof.
I'm playing a monk! =D
So, my 10th level monk has decided to snag Medusa's Wrath - my companion will be a nice little wizard girl who will probably toss around a few status effects on my enemies, so being able to take advantage of that option seems good to me. My GM likes the feat too, but we had a question for the higher ups: Can the monk's ki pool ability to add an additional attack stack with the extra two attacks from Medusa's Wrath?
Mechanically, I don't see a reason why it wouldn't. But the wording is muddled between everything (and also if you take MW at face value, it's useless to a monk with flurry of blows anyway). Right now, we're leaning towards a 'no' just to keep my monk from making more unarmed strikes than a room full of taichi practitioners.
Thoughts from the experts? Appreciation in advance!
...over the sound of how awesome this setting is. I'm GIDDY. GIDDY I tell you. 155 pages of crunchy goodness on countries! 30 pages on religion! A bloody PLANAR DESIGN! Oh my goodness gosh I couldn't be HAPPIER to see a planar design! I am HOPPING right now. Lord, it's going to take forever to go through all of this, and I WELCOME it. I haven't been this happy since the day I thought that Eberron was a decent system. Except I don't think this one will disappoint me once my players reach level 12. I'll have a few dozen questions for the experienced people in the know (once I let this all sink in a bit more).
But for now... anyone find a reference for the cost of reloading firearms? They mention the expense of gunpowder, but no real numbers are listed. Another book, perhaps?