Andreas Skye's page

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Hey, I would like to slot in... I am considering a magus or bard.

Where do I find the feat tax variant?

Just a query, #33, what do you mean by "Core Book(s)"?? I noticed the "s"!!!! Obivously the PF Core Rulebook and just races and classes in it (no APG). Traits (except campaign traits, one per PC) are in the APG. What about minor things (as opposed to the whole array of new classes and races) like feats, spells and so on?? You mean no stuff at all from PF Players' Companion?? I am ok with any choice, but using stuff from "Pirates of the Shackles" seems pretty appropriate...

the advantage of Hollow's Last Hope and Crypt of the Everflame (both 1st level starters) is that they have sequels which can produce a mini AP of sorts... I have more engagement with APs, but as I said I'm flexible... Only thing is that modules tend to require more "fleshing out" on the side of characters, backgrounds and backstories, whereas with APs Player's Guides and other resources give lots of ideas for a novice GM.

Regardless, I'm open to anything. I tend to play arcane characters, either bards of wizards. If there advanced options, i tend to go with magi.

been gaming for damn long number of years, but now on hiatus (work and life). I'd love to be in a game; my particular choice would be to play through a PF Adventure Path. I am also ok with most Old School (not really much into 4e, as recently i've been bound to PbP and it's hard to play that without careful usage of counters/minis). I am the kind of player who enjoys character- and story- narrative development and interaction over the "rules gamer" approach and i try being sympathetic and collaborative with a GM trying to run us through something.

I'm in the Europe side of things and I have a pretty unpredictable job, so I'm personally bound to PbP, but besides that i'm pretty open to anything else.

if there are still any slots, i'd be delighted!!!!

Party just finished Brinewall:

1/2 Elf Female Gunslinger 2 / Rogue 2, Ameiko's little half-sister who spend her teens as a runaway in Garund.
Human (Varisian) Female Paladin of Shelyn 4. Local of Sandpoint with a crush on Ameiko, wannabe dancer inspired into heroics by a wandering Taldor knight. She had a childhood crush on Ameiko.
Human (Kellid) Female Witch (Winter Witch) 4. An girl kidnapped by Irrisen witches who managed to run away and made her way to Varisia. Adopted by Koya.
Human (Chelish) Male Magus 3 / Bard 1. A wandering scholar from Egorian, forgetting some disturbing personal affair and living off as a mercenary. Rescued from goblins by Shalelu.

A Summoner in the party calling Lantern Archons was the only thing which put down a Shadow Demon which was reducing our party to a pulp in a certain Paizo AP. It is a good creature to summon against certain menaces, but definitely it would be too powerful to have it around as a permanent (familiar) fixture at lvl 7.

Sheharan wrote:

It's the same for me. We played (and finished) SCAP with D&D3.5 and now I like to start AoW with Pathfinder rules in the Forgotten Realms. The conversion to the Realms is clear for me but I cannot estimate the conversion of the NSC and combat stats to Pathfinder.

To keep it simple I'm planning to let the PC be one level less than the suggested level of the adventures and therefore keep the enemy stats unchanged. Do you think that will work? Are there any experiences or are there conversions to Pathfinder anywhere?

Personally I would increase enemies' power instead of reducing PC levels. Why? Well, your approach would work in the first levels of play, but as adventures move into the mid- and high level tiers, the ability to cast some spells seems to be assumed (things like Teleport, Word of Recall, Break Enchantment, later on Mind Blank, etc) or at least implied to keep difficulty on the right settings. A party without those is going to be at a gross disadvantage at certain encounters and situations, so 8th Lvl PF PCs would be worse off than 9th lvl 3.5 ones, even if they are of the same power overall.

I took that same route when running Rise of the Runelords with PF rules... In the first 3 adventures (levels 1-9 as per 3.5 advancement) it went fine, but the fourth adventure had the party pretty overwhelmed!

For balance without major tinkering, you can consider applying some simple templates, like Advanced Creature, to "bosses", and increasing the number of creatures for rank-and-file enemies. I just did that with SC for Pathfinder and the power level seems to be flowing right (all the way to City of Broken Idols, we are in a hyatus right now).

I would also be interested in the continuation of this thread, especially regarding adjustment of AoW to Golarion... I've been considering some ideas, but it is quite hard to make a nice fit, as there is quite a bit of world-hopping involved. My preliminary notes are:

1) Diamond Lake: I was considering a small community in the Island of Kortos, close to Absalom. I would have to alter a bit the geography, but Absalom sounds good as the Great City, especially with the vast underground network somehow connected to the Siege Castles.

2) For a more twisted vision, Egorian would work fine... just making the gladiatorial games a bit grimmer.

3) River Kingdoms are the perfect match for the later stages, as others have said.

4) Ebon Triad: hard to come up with... I was wondering if Zon-Kuthon, Urgathoa and Rovagug would work, or perhaps Zon-Kuthon, Norgober and Rovagug... I would definitely leave Asmodeus out of it, he does not "fit right"... Probably he would take over any cult of that kind...

W E Ray wrote:

Keep in mind the OP guys: "potential problem."

It was just the first fight with a new PC with a Class that, though we had browsed the APG, hadn't seen. And it was like, "Whoa, stop the press."

I hate crunch so when I forsee a "potential" problem I come here and let my crunch Paizonians help.

And you've been a big help; I'm convinced now that it won't be broken.

Besides the crunch factor, already covered, don't forget the campaign factor... it is easy to assume that many enemies of a certain intelligence (including e.g. goblinoids), especially superstitious ones, can be wary of witches or prospective witches and their "mind tricks"... so, it is fair that the Witch PC in your party becomes the target of choice for many monsters, especially once she puts to sleep, for instance, a couple goblins... if others notice, the next encounter will probably start peppering him/her with arrows/stones/whatever from a distance, or rush her, etc etc...

This week our party defeated nice Itombu... Definitely that verged on a TPK! I wonder how other parties went around that encounter, well, those not having a Paladin.
Definitely a tough encounter for 5th level PCs, especially with the dearth of magical and special gear in the campaign. We just got lucky and managed to hold it at melee while wizard used a Wand of Magic Missile and the Summoner invoked a series of Lantern Archons... it was pretty unelegant, but finally brought the demon down!!!

Any other parties had difficulties there?

In our game, the faction issue is ready to become a full-blown soap opera:

1) basically they have joined the Pathfinders, as they liked Gellik (especially our gnome Oracle) and they sounded competent for uncovering lost civilizations.
2) One party member has developed a romance with Sasha... she spilled the beans on the expedition early after a pub crawl. Sasha was the NPC rescued from the Freemen's Revolt and the Mantis could be friendly, but I am having the Mantis leader have love interests in Sasha too, thus making the Mantis a secondary adversary for personal reasons, at the very least.
3) The Aspis is our primary enemy, though Ishirou feels divided; he spent most of the first adventure scared or shaken by the Shiv, so he feels that the PCs uncovered his shame, but he is also grateful to them, he could help them at a critical point or become a total bastard.
4) the party rogue is a born Sargavan firebrand returned home, her family pounded her for info on the expedition, then tried to have her settle and marry an idiot Sargavan noble. This put the government into the scene, but our PC, to take some revenge and vindicate herself, finally threw her lot with the Pathfinders. Now, the rogue's "fiance attempt" is a lieutenant in the Sargavan expedition (a disastrous fop), but also sold off to the Aspis in order to have them sabotage the Pathfinders to "shame and tame" his rebellious betrothed. Jask feels more loyal to the party than to the Sargavans.
5) The Free Captains are some sort of friendly competitor. The party liked Aerys a lot and our ranger (former Jennivere crew) had some inconclusive flirting with her. I think I will play them as a bit of "comic relief", loud, ineffective, rum-loving pirates; the first to get slaughtered or to need rescue. Quite a bit of contrast to Aerys' epic poetry writing!

My party made it with no deaths, though the final battle with the serpent woman put a couple PCs on negative HPs and dispelled the summoner's eidolon easily. All the NPCs were kidnapped by cannibals while PCs where returning from dealing with the fungal spore and talking to the dryad, but they staged a pretty desperate rescue. The cannibal chief also downed the melee PCs, but having a Life Mystery Oracle is the ultimate life saver!

Andrew Betts wrote:
ZappoHisbane wrote:
gnomewizard wrote:
I have a third level Gnome Necromancy. He wants to become vampire/ undead, but I don't want to play him as Evil. How do I do that?
Work with your DM, and the rest of your group. There's actually nothing in the beastiary that states that vampires must be evil. However, if your PC becomes one they suddenly gain a bunch of powers that put them well ahead of the curve of everyone else. Not to mention some serious weaknesses that the others in your group may not like having to deal with. D&D is a collaborative game. Time to collarborate.
Well under "Creating a Vampire" it does say "Alignment: Any Evil"

Fluff-wise, find a good story element to keep your alignment and personality after being vamped...

Mechanics-wise, you may treat the CR modifier as an ECL modifier. You would have to "pay" for those levels implied by the vampire benefits before gaining class levels again.
Also, think of knocking off some abilities which might be improper (like the capacity of creating spawn)... You would be overpowered for a few levels, before the other PCs catch up with you, if I were your DM I would make sure that you got extra trouble as an individual (like your vampiric sire trying to destroy you or seduce you finally to the side of evil; vampire hunters going after you, etc)
If you have access to Heroes of Horror, I would also give you some Corruption and apply Corruption rules to you... staying away from the dark while being a monster should not be easy after all...

remoh wrote:
Jason Lillis wrote:
Anyone have creative ideas for advancing the SfSS NPCs to the appropriate level in RtR? I know how I usually do things, and I'm looking for something different. Thanks!

Taking on the info from RtR, I would suggest this update:

Aerys, Fighter 2 -> Fighter 2/Rogue 2
Gelik, Bard 2 -> Bard 4 (with a focus to get Pathfinder Savant Prestige Class)

Jask, Cleric 2 -> Cleric 4
Ishirou, Rogue 2 -> Rogue 2/Free Hand Fighter 2
Sasha, Ranger 2 -> Ranger 4 (maybe take Boon Companion at 5th if she got her Dimorphodon)

Just some suggestions

That makes really good sense to me. I'd just be careful with Sasha. If she does get more involved with Red Mantis in the future, certainly a couple levels of Rogue would be fitting, but advancing her to Rgr 4 to get her Dimorphodon as companion is certainly good thinking.

James Jacobs wrote:
Andreas Skye wrote:
Jason Lillis wrote:
Anyone have creative ideas for advancing the SfSS NPCs to the appropriate level in RtR? I know how I usually do things, and I'm looking for something different. Thanks!
Are they going to get a lot of screen time? IIRC, some of the designers said that the third AP installment is going to give info for the rival factions, including faction leaders and associated NPCs from Souls for Smuggler's Shiv. I'll personally save the effort until I've seen AP39.
There'll be info on the rival factions in the third AP, but we aren't going to manually level up the castaways from the first adventure ever. We'll periodically mention stuff about what they could be up to, but the development and fates of those NPCs is very much intended to be something that each campaign develops on its own.

So no small notes on the order of "Sasha (CN Rgr 3 / Rog 4)"? I was not thinking of full stat blocks, but likely class and lvl notes for those times they might show up.

Jason Lillis wrote:
Anyone have creative ideas for advancing the SfSS NPCs to the appropriate level in RtR? I know how I usually do things, and I'm looking for something different. Thanks!

Are they going to get a lot of screen time? IIRC, some of the designers said that the third AP installment is going to give info for the rival factions, including faction leaders and associated NPCs from Souls for Smuggler's Shiv. I'll personally save the effort until I've seen AP39.

Erik Freund wrote:

Thanks Andreas.

I missed the "Kalabuto is a Mwangi city that the Chex conquered" whereas "Eleder is a Chex city from the ground up" angle. That really helps.

So, I have to wonder, do these two cities trade with each other at all? If so, how? There are references to "dangerous trade routes" between the two cities that are apparently super-dangerous even for the PCs. I guess I'm wondering why the party decided that trudging through an abandoned salt mine is a great idea. Why not take the road that the guy-that-delivers-the-fur-hats takes?

QUOTE="Erik Freund"] Thanks Andreas.

I missed the "Kalabuto is a Mwangi city that the Chex conquered" whereas "Eleder is a Chex city from the ground up" angle. That really helps.

So, I have to wonder, do these two cities trade with each other at all? If so, how? There are references to "dangerous trade routes" between the two cities that are apparently super-dangerous even for the PCs. I guess I'm wondering why the party decided that trudging through an abandoned salt mine is a great idea. Why not take the road that the guy-that-delivers-the-fur-hats takes?

PCs take the road through the mines (actually it's their choice) because it's a shortcut, and they are on a race to find Tazion before the rival factions.

For what Heart of the Jungle. Sargava the Lost Colony and the PF Campaign hardcover say, there's of course a degree of trade between Eleder and Kalabuto, with some important elements:

1) decades ago, Kalabuto was something like 100% dependent on Eleder to get out import and exports (sea trade). Now, the situation is changing and Kalabuto is getting more integrated in land trade routes.

2) Sargava is far from "civilized". Trade caravans are probably more numerous than a PC party (also, the sources say that "caravan guard" is one of the staple professions for adventurers, so routes are all but tame).

3) Another recent factor, as per the campaign setting's timeline is the resurgence of Mzali as a pretty xenophobic and anti-outsider power. That the party runs into the tree with hung natives a bit before Kalabuto and is ambushed by Mzali rangers almost in the outskirts of the city indicates a recent factor for that insecurity.

4) Sargavan (colonial) economic distress due to the tribute to the Free Captains has probably had an impact in the government's capacity of keeping a good patrol system and other perks, so most security in the trade routes would be private investment by the different merchant companies.

It helps to think that Sargava is not a colonial empire, like the English Raj in Asia, but a small colonial state whose metropolis is hostile. They exert power and authority over the territory, but not as much as expected from a full-blown imperial outpost. Probably a sizeable trade organization (like the Aspis Consortium) has more resources available in the zone. Then, they are not interested in developing the nation, only in furthering their trade interests.

It is useful to compare rebellious Sargava with "Faithful Korvosa", a Chelish colony with whole Thrune support. If you check CotCT and the Guide to Korvosa, you see that their resources and authority in the area are far bigger, and that most conflict comes from inner Chelish division (the Magnimar split).

Erik Freund wrote:

When I was re-reading through RtR I noticed something strange:

In their respective statblocks, Eleder is listed as a "small city" and Kibuto is listed as a "large city."

From reading the fluff, I got the impression that Kibuto was no larger than a "large town" and barely holding on to existence. And that Eleder was the teeming capital of Sargava.

So I'm confused: am I just misled by the fluff, or did the statblocks get switched? If the former, could someone help me put into perspective why the seaside port is smaller than the inland border-city?

The book says explicitly that Kalabuto is bigger than Eleder (no page number right here). Eleder is the "capital" for other reasons, mainly sea access and harboring facilities for ocean-going ships. Though Kalabuto's export activity is increasing, Eleder is the source for most imports, especially the luxury kind of stuff high classes demand. More than a "teeming capital", Eleder is a struggling colonial capital, but with a strategic location. Also, it boasts to have most of the colonial aristocracy in residence, and we know Sargavan colonials are a traditional, elitist bunch, to say the least. Kalabuto is the big resource provider, more "mass but no class", from a colonial POV.

If I got it right, Kalabuto was already an established Mwangi urban center before the coming of the Chelaxians, who just took over. Colonial economic activity has just made it grow faster. On the other hand, Eleder began from scratch as a colonial settlement. Also, except for the pineapple fields and smelting, most of Eleder's economic activity seems to be ocean-bound. Kalabuto will probably attract a larger proportion of permanent or semi-permanent residents.
Also, given the threat of Mzali, it makes sense that peoples from the area (closer to Mzali) do move to the security offered by a large settlement, producing a recent growth of Kalabuto from population in surrounding smaller settlements.

Black Moria wrote:

I need a plausible reason for the various factions to find out that the party knows clues about the whereabouts of Saventh-Yhi.

We are in the same situation with my party; other castaways stayed at the cannibal camp and started to fix the lighthouse while party explored the ruins.

The solution I am preparing is to expand the chapter in Eleder with a bit of intrigue and personal interaction. I don't know in your campaign, but in mine some PCs got quite close to the NPCs (especially after they discovered that helpful castaways granted boons!). This can result in good conversation on a general level (for instance, Ishirou looking for some "business" after the treasure hunt). PCs might let something slip on their own.

Second option, have your PCs need more info to pinpoint Tazion. They'll have to visit the library archives, where faction members may start piecing things together out of the info they request. Oh, and remember the notes in Aklo, they might need a translator too, more people on the knows...

Three: Sargavan government is out for cash, given its desperate financial situation. PCs trying to sell treasures from the Shiv (which look definitely ancient and valuable) may end up being officially interrogated (remember current dislike for adventurers in Eleder). The Sargavans can send a small group of officers to research the Shiv's ruins... and once the government knows about it, other factions are sure to find out too, via spies, infiltrated agents or corrupt or big-mouthed officers.

Four: as a variant of the above, if a PC is a native Eleder colonial, his or her family can play the "pushy act". Divided loyalties are a good role-playing element.

Five, a heavy-handed variation of 1: if a PC is friendly with one of the castaways, they can have a good old fashioned night out. Engaged in friendly conversation, have the PC make Will saves as he or she gets intoxicated to avoid spilling the beans... Actually, somebody like Sasha could think the PCs have some "secret" from their explorations and try to add some "truth drug" to a tankard or two. This works especially well with players interested in getting inside one of the NPCs pants!

For a twist, if your PCs have been enforcing secrecy cuz the ruins are "their baby", it could be funny to submit a few (or all) of them to one of these scenarios without the other players' knowing. Then, when the secret is out, there's going to be good argument among them about who spilt the beans! (and a laugh it will be if each one did).

Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Sir_Wulf wrote:
Xpltvdeleted wrote:
Indeed it is. What makes it even more unsettling is that, while this isn't an official position that religion takes, it is how alot of people seem to treat faith and religion.
That isn't unique to religion. Once most people make up their mind about something, it becomes much more difficult to sway them with additional information.
It is unique to religion in that people are willing to kill and die for that faith.

Not quite, people are willing to die and kill for their country, political persuasion, their "leader", family values and traditions, their mafia family, money, honor, and a list of things which usually is not considered religion.

Conclusion, "religion" is not a valid anthropological category. It is based on a perception of Western religious thinkers which equate "religion" with their monotheistic biases, or at least with some sort of belief in imaginary friends.

If you observe coldly, there's no difference between religion and other manifestations of ritualized social superstructure, unless you count the imaginary friends. And there are so-called "religions" without them too, if you dig enough in Asia and in aboriginal cultures.

Compatibility is also nice for people running campaigns in other publishers' 3.5 settings which have a series of "iconic" materials which will never see an official PF release. We do run an occasional Dragonlance campaign, have moved to PF, but compatibility is quite manageable for things like prestige classes, which are a landmark of the setting.
In our group, it is true that we have boxed most of the 3.5 splatbooks (problematic they were, indeed) and stick to PF and APG except for those materials which are setting-connected, like the aforementioned DL, the rules additions to War of the Burning Sky, and, the few times we keep playing, FR.

I am flexible, but could do with an academic bard, got into some serious trouble in Korvosa and wisely exiled himself to the bustle of Riddleport, where now he tries to etch a living by following less scholarly pursuits...

You make really good points. On the other hand, having the Mythos pop up in a setting like Golarion feels like a sort of refreshing "cameo" of sorts... In other words, we do all learned to love to hate Shoggots and similar aberration from playing CoC, or to get scared through them by reading Mountains... but it is an interesting experiment to think, "well, could my 10th lvl Ranger, who beat a young dragon and some yetis, do something against a creature which should not exist?". So, it's some sort of cross-genre experimentation. I also think it works pretty well on a metagaming level. Men of Leng showing up on Earth and also having a space in Golarion gives a strange "multiverse" touch.
And, finally, you can really blend fantasy and cosmic horror pretty well... Lovecraft did not, besides some fantasy feel to his dream cycles, but some of his fellow mythos writers were quite apt at it... C.A.Smith is the first name which comes into my head, his Hyperborea stories (or the Zothique ones, though not obvious Mythos links there) do instill a good measure of the Lovecraftian cosmic horror, but they are also pretty "standard fantasy" settings. Similar things could be said of Howard. His Conan stories do have a Mythos dimension in his treatment of the supernatural and things from beyond (plus the ambiguity of deities). Certainly the feeling of impotence is reduced, but other elements of mythos, like alienness and mystery may be played upon...

Has anybody condemned the initiative because burning books is bad? Destruction of knowledge and expression of it is a crime, even if the book in question is not an object of veneration or the Word of anybody's favorite imaginary friend, but just an interesting piece of early medieval/late antiquity literature. Today the Qur'an, tomorrow Darwin, next day Marx, Foucault, Milo Manara, whomever. Book burners do not like to stop one they have started.

Fraco wrote:

QUe tal? como estan? este post es para tener una cuenta de los lectores del sitio en español y compartir ideas, historias, juegos, pensamientos, idioteces en general, ya que a pesar de que leo la pagina ocasionalmente me gustaria encontrar gente que hable español.

y pues pendients. y si hay otro de estos en español me avisan.

Uno por aquí...

Now finishing Chapter 3, close to lvl 3 and no intentions of multiclassing for now:

Rasadhlon Nirenal, NG Elven Ranger; after his community in NW Varisia was razed by undead summoned by an ogre wizard, took upon himself to travel to honor Desna. He enlisted as crew in the Jenivere, usually worked in the crow's nest (that saved him from drowning)

Trig, CG Gnome Oracle of Life. She is obsesses with finding a remedy for the bleaching, which has taken a hold of her father. Wandering around the Inner Sea, she joined the Wonderseekers and has followed some spirit voices calling to Mwangi for a "great discovery"

Carmela Baradin, CG Human Rogue. The cousin of a local Sargavan hero recently missing (she is a paladin in my Golarion-set STAP), she decided to come back to become a hero of her own and honor her cousin's memory. Despite her rakish ways, she is a convinced Arodenite.

Anya Nefersedjau. CN Human Summoner. From a good Osiriani family, her dabbling with her uncle's sorcerous library had her bound to a giant metallic snake, Apep. She was forced to leave and worked in the shackles as a peddler of magical relics, though "events" made her flee in a hurry.

Andreas Skie. N Human Wizard (Universalist). A well-to-do Egorian scholar, he has set off to explore the Mwangi expanse in an effort to get a quick source of income for his parent's faltering alchemical business.

PlungingForward wrote:
Andreas Skye wrote:

But sacrifice for sacrifice's sake is normally a directed attitude by an ideological dominant power (like a church in this case). Sorry, but I personally find that your childhood and teen years attitude was far more genuine and unbiased by ideology.

Let's be careful with proposals of self-renouncing and self-denial, they tend to be mechanisms of control.
To consider it "sacrifice for sacrifice's sake" is to miss the point. And I think that's what Chris was trying to say he learned.

Definitely not missing the point, but assessing it from an ideological pov. I mean "sacrifice for sacrifice's" sake in the sense that Catholicism (among other religions) sees virtue in denial when there is no practical reason to do so (e.g. fasting once a year in the "World Fast Day" to be aware of people in need, where you don't give the food you save to hungry people, the important thing is just the experience of denial or deprivation). In other words, a ritualized approach to sacririce and denial, which, unlike some other belief systems, is incidental, as it is based, e.g., in calendar dates such as Lent, as opposed to a personal path of self-denial, like the one to be found in certain Asian systems, which I won't bring into the discussion, because I find inaccurate and Western-centric to call them "religions".

To think that renouncing something on a voluntary basis and in a ritual community setting can make one connect with people who are deprived daily because of life situations is really preposterous. It would be more productive to focus resources and energies in helping them (if they want to be helped) instead of "communing with their feelings". I do not doubt the genuine good feelings of many practitioners of such procedures, ie, Chris and other posters, but I am wary of its implementation by Church hierarchy at large; ritualized denial is a good way of washing away our conscience from misery in the world without really trying to change anything.

Chris Mortika wrote:

Speaking as a Catholic, I wondered as a child and a teen-ager about this whole "giving something up for Lent" thing. How was abstaining from chocolate, or TV, or anything else, supposed to help me, or benefit the world. I could see "avoiding chocolate and then donating the savings to charity", but how would abstaining itself help anyone.

Then, one year, I chose to abstain from time-wasting hobbies (Solitaire, Sudoku, that sort of thing), and spend that time with the Rosary instead. And it was suddenly, ridiculously hard. And I understood that I was in training. From then on, I know that, if it ever does come down to a question of getting up and doing God's will or, say, working a crossword puzzle first, I know that I can live without the puzzle, because I have gone for 40 days without it, and it didn't kill me.

I suspect, honestly, that this coming Lent, I'll be giving up

Catholicism and other modern religions seem to have a penchant for instilling sacrifice as a good thing amongst their members. It is hard not to see that tendency as a continuation of time-honored traditions of self-mortification and renouncement of the self in order to favor the group, a typical mechanism of repression and control of the masses. Sacrifice is definitely necessary at times, to renounce coffee to have a better blood pressure, to renounce devoting so much time to writing the novel of my dreams in order to prepare my classes better and do a good job at teaching, all of that reflects maturity, for sure. But sacrifice for sacrifice's sake is normally a directed attitude by an ideological dominant power (like a church in this case).

Sorry, but I personally find that your childhood and teen years attitude was far more genuine and unbiased by ideology.
Let's be careful with proposals of self-renouncing and self-denial, they tend to be mechanisms of control.

I just happened to recall a strip of KotDT on an Invisible Helmet against Gaze Attacks... LOL

You can always go for Andoran. Definitely, it's pretty heroic in the traditional sense (except for the fact that it's a republic, no kings and princesses, but you do have knights). Andorani ideals of freedom are exported, that is, Knights of Andoran, and other citizens, see a mission in fighting oppression across Avistan and they have support of the authorities and of divine proxies in doing so...

As already said, Varisia is also pretty good, as are some of the northern kingdoms. The series of modules which begins with Crypt of the Everflame is a nice sample of prospectively good pcs given a quest by a good organization (and Nimratas is a CG nation) to oppose the classic evil organization (Church of Razmir).

I personally can live happily without a line of epic products...
That said, an article on epic play could do wonders. I remember the "epic rules" for the 3.0 Forgotten Realms campaign setting. They took around a page and allowed a DM to create characters some levels beyond 20th with little effort.
Paizo could that as additional material for an AP. Whispering Tyrant coming next semester anyone??
So, yes, a few rules for seeing what happens after level 20 would be fine in the way FR did it (that is, epic levels working like an advanced template, that was what the FR rules did).
On the other hand, the proliferation of "epic feats" can really kill the game...

As for epic monsters, with very few exceptions epic bestiaries feel quite ridiculous... It is easier to use some guidelines as above to create epic level adversaries, or to advance powerful monsters to produce mythic creatures (epic aboleth sorcerer would do marvels...)

So, please, guidelines for epic play would round up the rules... an epic line of products could spoil them.

Rezdave wrote:
On the Kami idea

Without disturbing the Kami, if you're really devious you can write your spellbook on a living being's skin and then save a few clippings you may Clone.... Disgusting but effective. And yes, it's lvl 8, though Simulacrum would probably work. Raise Dead or Resurrection would, again "heal" away the writing, IMO.

I'd go further: casting Make Whole on the pages of a book would leave the book blank! Writing can be considered an alteration or deterioration of the paper or parchment on the pages, as you etch and stain with your pen. I'd let make whole work fine with binding, tears, etc, but not with the writing. And if a player tried targeting the ink, well Making Whole the ink would probably leave you with a condensed sphere of all the ink in the book which would promptly fall on the ground (the pristine state of the ink was together as a fluid, not stretched out and meshed with paper particles).
Quite hardcore interpretations, but that spell should not be a plot-killer... and it's more fun having the PCs end up with a silly face (and a blank book) than just say they can't do it.

I also apply my theory to things like etchings and engravings. If they try to restore a whole relief, when the adventure just calls for a couple clues in the fragments, well, the guys just fixed the stone door, now it's a smooth slab...

olshanski wrote:

Why would a game be less fulfilling if I place it in my homebrew world with homebrewed demons and gods? What if four years ago in a different campaign the players found themselves getting screwed over by a spider trickster god named Anansi... and now in the Second Darkness AP it turns out that Anansi was leaking secrets to Alevrah?
I find it more rewarding to expand on the adventure path my homebrew material rather than the published material.

You have to take into consideration:

1) not all people's homebrews are the same. Say you want to expand the adventure and adapt it to your setting, but you've never needed to develop a pantheon of Drow gods. In that situation the article would be a great help. Of course, if your campaign has a 12-page detailed Drow pantheon, the article won't be useful, but, on the other hand, some other AP support material may be great for you, like the whole info on dealing with plagues in a fantasy setting in AP8, the "shipwreck and other castaway" survival rules in the latest AP37. Maybe other people have worked on those materials extensively and they will not even skim through those pages when running their campaigns. The only thing Paizo may do is to offer a good selection of different articles, so you may find some useful.

2) many people do play on Golarion; for expanding the adventures, the support materials are great.

3) another case: the support material is useful for people who are not going to run the AP (perhaps right now) but to scavenge the book for materials they can use in their own homebrew. "I want to drop in a freakish pantheon of Demon Lords" or "I'm not playing Golarion but I think the First World is a neat idea to put my PCs into plane-hopping".

Finally, probably you're a savy DM with lots of experience, but some people are not. Fiction, for instance, is a great vehicle for giving the DM a fresh and not purely "dry gazetteer description" feel for the atmosphere of an area or setting. Want to show the DM what kind of ambiance he should convey for Egorian, Varisia, the River Kingdoms? Set a story in them.
If you take care to read it, the AP fiction does wonders to flesh out the adventure locales:

AP1-12: Varisia, Eastern and Western.
AP13-18: Underdark.
AP19-24: Katapesh.
AP25-30: Cheliax
AP31-36: River Kingdoms

I found the fiction for AP#5 particularly useful when trying to immerse my players in living in an "evil" country as their campaign homeland. I have 20+ years of DMing but I still find the fiction quite great for getting my narrator's skills jumpstarted for the campaign locations.

So I really find the AP structure as it is forms a very coherent product which can be easily adapted to different usages and settings. You must contemplate not only your interests, but also the likely usages other players can give to it.

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
Andreas Skye wrote:

In turn, Basic D&D was quite the hit, it grew and actually it became more complicated, even including the Immortal rules and more detailed options in some aspects than AD&D (like Weapon Mastery from the Master Rules, and the huge number of variant and new class options from the late 80s and early 90s supplements of the Known World.) Essentials can go this way or the other... I can see Wizards taking the option according to sales, if Essentials is a hit as Basic D&D was, probably they will expand the line while the surge lasts. If it does stay like a season or mere introductory product in the eyes of gamers, probably its support won't overshadow the continued development of "hardcore" 4e books.
I think the idea that it'll form its own sub game to be pretty improbable. Essentially this is because WitC has repeatedly said that they felt that it was TSRs splitting of their product lines that, eventually, hurt them. TSR supported the split because, in the short run, each different product seemed to sell well. Over the long run it hurt the sales of all the products because the customer base fractured. WotC won't allow that to happen because they clearly believe that this was a major mistake on TSRs part and the short term gain in profit is not worth the long term loss. Anything they make for the Essentials line will be able to seamlessly fit into regular 4E - they might go on and on about how good a product it is for new players but you can pretty much bet money that they'll finish every sentence that started with 'great for new players...' with '...and the rest of the D&D audience should drop whatever they are doing and run out and buy this product too because...'

I think that "splitting lines hurting sales for TSR" applied more clearly to the many AD&D 2nd ed settings (FR, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Maztica, Al-Qadim, Dark Sun, Spelljammer, Planescape, etc) and it hit in the late 80s-early 90s. The Basic vs. Advanced is way earlier (late 70s) and definitely did not hurt sales, as those were the "golden years" of TSR. What I was thinking of is how an "introductory" product line took a life of its own.

The previews seem to indicate that Essentials is not only making the game easier for newbies, but also producing a sort of gaming experience which may be more palatable for different gaming styles, not quite, but close to more "classic" D&D (e.g., set abilities per level instead of complex power choices, pre-defined feat trees, etc). In one of the interviews available at EnWorld, Essentials is described in terms of moving away from the "power management" that defines "pure" 4e. That gaming style can have appeal for veteran gamers (me at least). Maybe I am misguided, but it feels improbable that, if that gaming style sells better than expected and proves interesting for non-introductory gamers, Wizards will give up on it as just a closed introductory set of products. Even if Essentials becomes embedded options and builds within future 4e manuals in the next years.

ikarinokami wrote:

Stephanie Budin, PhD wrote:

No longer seeing sacred prostitution as an historical reality, it now becomes feasible to study supposed references to this institution in a different light, dealing with issues of symbolic language rather than historical accuracy. In my paper, I discuss two of the earliest perceived references to sacred prostitution in the Classical corpus -- Herodotos 1.199 and Pindar frag. 122. The former relates how all Babylonian women, once in their lives, must have sex with a foreigner in honour of the goddess Mylitta. The latter describes the “donation” of a group of prostitutes to the goddess Aphrodite. A dominant theme in both passages is the conflation of religion and rape, how the manipulation of women’s sexuality in the name of a deity is used to express defeat on the part of the feminine or effeminized characters, divinization on the part of the masculine.

In the end, I argue that, contrary to many modern perceptions, sacred prostitution does not extol sexuality or fertility as expressions of religious devotion. Rather, the religio-sexual subjugation of the “prostitutes” serves as a metaphor for human hubris at best and tragedy at worst.

Obviously, this realistic view

OK, fact is that the problem of sacred prostitution is thorny for the scholar of antiquity. You find quite a large number of opinions and there are no "primary texts" as such, as our sources are quite ambiguous and since ancient influenced by ideologies (such as parlance of supposed sacred prostitution in the Old Testament to deride non Yahweh cults; or the references to prostitution in New Testament and Patristic literature). Many scholars make the mistake of trying to find a "global" explanation to the prospective phenomenon, according to their area of expertise: Classicists will export conclusions from Greece to Ancient Mesopotamia; Assyriologists will assume that the situation in Syria and the Aegean was a mirror image of the Sumerian servants of Inanna, etc.

We cannot assume the phenomenon was monolythic in time and space. What Budin (a really fine scholar, though we do disagree in this issue) presents as valid for Greece could be the result of social transformation, she may be examining a "degraded" form of cultic prostitution and projecting it to earlier periods. It is true that some scholars have idealized the idea of the Mother Earth-Matriarchy-Sacred Prostitution to the point of absurdity, but the sources also do indicate that female goddesses, females priestesses and female cultists supposedly prostitutes in ancient Mesopotamia appear more strongly in earlier sources, and are progressively displaced by male-dominated pantheons and cults. So we should be cautious either to defend or deny historicity. What is seems visible in the sources is that sexuality was conceived in a quite different way than our post-Judaeo-Christian morals, and that the social role of prostitutes still needs more contextualization. In RPG parlance, a medieval peasant character would probably be more exploited than a cultic prostitute of some ancient cultures. In fact, a peasant could not become an adventurer (and carry weapons) without being rendered an outlaw in most kingdoms and fiefs! Actually, espousing a vision of sex workers in a fantasy game which presents women as empowered and resourceful (even if it is not a 100% accurate historical reflection) is a considerable source of inspiration and reflection on the miseries of the real world.

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Andrew Turner wrote:
DrowVampyre wrote:
4. Maxentius defeats Constantine the Great at Milvian Bridge...the Roman Empire never adopts Christianity as a religion, thus it never becomes the dominant religion of Europe.

Half the world would probably be Muslim; Roman polytheism would still be common.

Unlikely, as Byzantine Christianity was a great influx for the birth and development of Islam... There would probably be some other Middle Eastern big movement, perhaps connected to pre-Islamic Persian religion...

Another one: Anthony won over Octavius 30 BCE and developed an Egyptian-Roman Empire, merging Eastern and Western Mediterranean culture, instead of the Western-centric Augustean one.

And yet another: Hannibal does raze Rome after Cannae. Carthage becomes the Rome of the Western Mediterranean

Besides mechanics issues, which will be still somehow conjectural till the box hits the shelves, I think I've notice a bit of a Freudian slip: the present image for Essentials box is just a reprint of Larry Elmore's illustration for the Basic D&D "Red Box" of 1983!

4e has been released in the AD&D Format: accumulative rulesbooks which form a complete, detailed and expanding system, still keeping the "canonical" names... PHB, DMG, MM.

Then, after the AD&D manuals, we got a "introductory game", easier, faster and more friendly to newbies... that was the BXCM series of D&D! Part of TSR's reason for marketing D&D was to give new (and younger) players a good platform to jump into AD&D...

Essentials sounds kinda like Basic, and the admitted strategy is similar. Of course, AD&D and basic D&D were different games (as explained in the Basic Box) and not so compatible (it required a bit of conversion work). WotC will aim at compatibility to avoid self-competence (big error of TSR in the past), but the philosophy is there.

In turn, Basic D&D was quite the hit, it grew and actually it became more complicated, even including the Immortal rules and more detailed options in some aspects than AD&D (like Weapon Mastery from the Master Rules, and the huge number of variant and new class options from the late 80s and early 90s supplements of the Known World.) Essentials can go this way or the other... I can see Wizards taking the option according to sales, if Essentials is a hit as Basic D&D was, probably they will expand the line while the surge lasts. If it does stay like a season or mere introductory product in the eyes of gamers, probably its support won't overshadow the continued development of "hardcore" 4e books.

I find Essentials good news, I won't say it's 4.5 ed (as AD&D 2nd ed was AD&D revised), but the spirit of the product commented by Wizards people and the sneak peeks provided do look a lot like "Basic 4e". I always had a soft spot for the Basic boxes, over the labyrinth of AD&D manuals, maybe Wizards will do the cool trick again.

yellowdingo wrote:
Mairkurion {tm} wrote:
The original of Genesis was in Hebrew. Only later OT books were in Aramaic (like the Book of Daniel).
Actually it was in Babylonian...

No, man, Bible Genesis is Hebrew. There are older Babylonian creation myths indeed, and some of them may have influenced the creation narratives in Genesis 1-2 (Enuma Elish, the Babylonian Epic of Creation), but they are definitely different works of literature...

Pre 3e, the spell was cleric probably because it was conceived as "spark of life" animating the objects, quite a bit in the divine area of action. It's also possible that Gygax and co. mined from some mythological source, which I cannot piece out right now. That's the origin of many Wizard vs. Cleric divides. e.g., Sticks to Snakes is a Divine spell because Moses performed that miracle in the book of Exodus. In those lines, many of the Divine spells in 1st and 2nd ed are biblical and biblical tradition recorded miracles (Create Water, Create Food, Insect Plague, Flame Strike...) There is a good tradition of medieval Christian miracles where items (or foodstuffs) animate in response to a prayer and similar stuff. Also, the whole original Golem tradition is crearly divine, as animation of objects (clay statue) is done by the application of the divine name by a rabbi.

Bards, well, in 2e bards just went along with the wizard list. In 3e it seems that their list got to include spells connected to performance, image and sound control (besides their access to healing). So, along with Silence, Animate Object makes sense from the pov of a theme-specialized spellcaster.

Cultural perceptions and power relationships are as important as mere alignment. An imperial power, for instance, can be pretty Lawful, but his officers, authorities, military and intellectuals (including clergy) can be very disrespectful towards the laws of a nation they have conquered, especially if they see that nation as "inferior" in the scale of civilisation.

Pretty common situation in RW history especially when an "old" and a "new" empire did clash and the result was foreign (normally Western) rule over a place.

Berik wrote:

Was it incredibly unlikely? Sure! But stranger things have happened and if the guy was curious I don't see what's so bad about asking.

At the drop of a hat, I can think of Middle Eastern Studies professors who are also RPG designers; fantasy cult novel writers who have a metal band; gamebook writers (remember those?) who worked professionally in the music studio world; more RPG designers who edit a journal on shamanism studies...

on the other side, do not forget the mystery of the multiple Steve Jacksons...

We got 4 of those beauties in our PF conversion of STAP City of Broken Idols... I definitely let the Paladin make CL rolls to use Lay on Hands. It's not a spell-like ability, but it sounds irrational that fully healing-oriented powers connected to positive energy (like Lay on Hands and Channel Energy) are automatically ruled out whilst a paltry Cure Light Wounds has a chance to work.

Following the letter of the rules may lead to absurd situations and this would be one of them. Channel Energy should be a more "raw" form of energy, and hence more likely to bypass any kind of wound, cursed or not, than a spell.

TheChozyn wrote:
The Kingmaker in Westeros sounds a bit fitting lol

I got that Westeros vibe when reading the Players' Guide (especially with a Noble House having their "capital" on a mountain peak and those House mottos), but I also detect a distinct "Slavic" feeling, some sort of Dark Ages fantasy Russia, Ukraine, Poland, etc... broken into small factions and local nobles, unstable attempts at centralization, hordes of nomads and barbarians, breaking from attempts of imperialism (Taldor = Byzantium) and great expanses of untamed wildlands (with very Slavic-myth creatures, like fey witches and swamp bogeys... I would not mind seeing the Vodyanoi!)

Not more serious than a 3rd lvl cleric blasting a unit of skeletons into dust with Channel Energy, or a Sorcerer putting down to sleep 4 goblins or so with one Sleep!

Per day- limited powers should be pretty cool and powerful. What you need is not to minimize the effect of those powers, but to play on attrition. Have more encounters per day, so that characters with abilities without usage limit per day (Fighters' good melee skills and feats, Rogues sneak) have a chance to shine as the others get "powered out."

Specifically for Druids, it is useful to present non-combat challenges where using Wild Shape is useful. For instance, become a bird to go up or down a cliff and carry rope for the rest of the party, or become a swimming beast to retrieve items at the bottom of a deep body of water, or a snake to slither between the bars of a gate and activate the opening mechanism from the other side. Doing this reduces the number of times per day they can become a killing machine (so other members may enjoy combat) but they also remain an important contribution to party success.

Just dropped you a line with a short sketch of two possible concepts I would not mind playing.

Rhubarb wrote:
i think a few of you misunderstood what i meant, so i will clarify. i am not telling anyone how to run their game, i am pointing out an obvious fact that pathfinder is set up to be played with map and minis. this is true wether you like it or not. i suggested 1st edition because its rule system is much easier to run without minis and maps. and descriptive narration should be a part of your game with or without minis cuz " you hit it, roll your damage" just sucks the life out of the game.

I do not know if your logic applies. As already pointed out, 1st ed was quite designed for being played with minis and maps (it evolved from a wargame after all), as you may see in the "inches" for movement measures or in variable ranges between indoors and outdoors settings. Back in the day, it wasn't easy or intuitive to move into narrative combat, but people just did, probably for economic and space reasons, and because one of the pluses of the "new" RPGs was their extreme portability (you could play in school recess, in the train, etc).

Also, I was not talking of descriptive narration, but of a narrative combat system to replace the more "griddy" aspects of the game. Also already commented:

1) determine cover by interpretation of PCs and monsters narrative placement
2) define main areas of battle: e.g. group A of ogres, solitary ogre sniper; solitary ogre wizard; what areas you may cross into, which ones generate AOs, etc.
3) use those same areas to adjudicate area spells (and "friendly fire").

I agree with the posts which underscore the importance of description. Although I take notes on basic positioning (which monsters are in a group, which ones are scattered, etc), I have never used a map grid since I began with D&D back in the 80s. We have given it a try for 4e as a sort of experiment (and that makes our 4e games more infrequent than PF or other systems, as it adds to preparation time, whether you use a simple grid whiteboard or electronic board).

With the exception of of 4e and its many shift-push etc rules (which are intuitive on a board, but hard to implement in a non-board system), I find that other incarnations of the game do well with a narrative system:

1) describe the scene well (initial setting)
2) ask the players for more narrative feedback on how they attack.
3) give narrative feedback on monster responses

Things like feats and special abilities are a good indicator of what a character/creature may do/attempt doing instead of the math data for a grid. Maybe you'll lose a bit of accuracy, but if you're flexible with your players and somehow reward creative combat narrative, the thing works pretty well.

Of course, you have to know your players. If your table leans strongly to the rules lawyers side, this approach can be trouble and a grid could be the only way to go without having too many arguments. If your players are less prone to lawyering, you can give narrative combat a try. I've found quite a few players who prefer it, because, according to them, grids and tokens/figures interfere with their inner visual depiction of the scene.

Vic Wertz wrote:
sowhereaminow wrote:

I was thinking more of a shorter AP style path, possibly packaged as an over-sized module or series of modules.

The Adventure Paths are great, and we WILL finish one of them one day, but something that was a bit shorter in length, covering a smaller range of levels, would be good. Thanks again for the prompt reply.

Have you considered just running selected level-appropriate volumes of an AP?

Perhaps some players would appreciate some of those "Adventure Hooks" columns which were included in the Dungeon APs and gave GMs tips to use the installment as a one off (or 2-3 installments as linked one-off), with alternative party hooks and motivations to the "official" storyline of the campaign path.

I personally would not like losing AP content (which is already densely packed) for that kind of material (nor groups which primarily use the full AP, I can imagine), but definitely that sort of information would be great for a web enhancement/free download (in the style of the Player's Guides)

I concur with other comments above... Your key skill to avoid paladins becoming ultra-powerful is to mix your encounters, and include non-evil monsters (golems are a good choice for weakening your paladin). If you do that, it's ok that the paladin has a few choice adversaries to shine a bit.
Our party's paladin had Boots of Levitation, that gave her advantage against flies (but not as much as true flight). Otherwise, encounters with fliers, swimmers, etc are pretty balancing.
And remember, big bad monsters are usually good at grappling. A grappled paladin is in a hard spot, Smite or not.

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