I'm trying to adapt some things in the setting that I don't particularly like for my house campaigns. One of my players is a Varisian half-elf in AoA, plus I'm converting RotR, so this one must be addressed, if for no other reason (hint: there's plenty of other reasons).
I know JJ said Varisians don't just take after Romani but also Spanish, Goths and, at least where trade routes are concerned? pirates. They don't get a lot of verbiage in Lost Omens Character Guide, like most other human ethnicities. Afaik the most recent and exhaustive source about them is 1e Inner Sea Races, which describes them as... perfect Esmeraldas. You know, from Hunchback of Notre Dame. The most stereotypical collection of gypsy clichés you can think of.
Now, I don't care for Varisians being a mish-mash of inspirations, in theory or practice. I think representation is more important, and I want Varisians to be representative of Romani in my games, a people who has had all the worst luck where I live (Italy) and that is still systematically persecuted, more or less openly and directly. That means *a good, faithful and positive representation* is finally in order - not colorful wandering cartomancers playing a mean violin. At least, not *just that*.
Does anyone know more about actual living and breathing Romani cultures? Or about links I can go to in order to discover more on my own? I want to do Varisians right but I've googled around and no doubt also because of the traditional isolationism (often imposed upon them) of these ethnicities it's pretty hard to come up with interesting facts to incorporate in a house campaign while simultaneously actually represent the rl people we're talking about. Advice is also welcome, most of all if aimed at helping my player get a feeling for what Varisians would be if they actually were a good equivalent of Romani *and* at how to modify them in RotR, CotCT and other APs to make them less thieving dancing scoundrels and more, you know, Romani. And of course, if anyone reading this belongs to this beautiful ethnic group, please, *please* contact me, one way or another. I swear I wanna help.
In conclusion I will admit I *like* Varisians, but I take my passions seriously and considering what attracted me to PF was mainly the ethnic and sexual diversity of its people, I really don't understand why in some aspects, like the aforementioned sexual identity and orientation, the setting is decidedly progressive, while on a number of other fronts I feel like I'm still playing Gary Gygax's version of the game (or Tolkien's vision of high fantasy as for that). So while I could examine the problems critically and not do much more other than that, I'm determined to adjust at least my own Golarion to 2020 sensibilities. Paizo is to be praised for much of their stances regarding race, disability and sexuality, but it's my humble opinion that we still have a way to go (and the older material can sometimes be simply cringe-worthy).
Thank you all for bearing with me and my undying gratitude to all who will decide to help even just a tiny bit!
And of course
TL;DR - I NEED INFO ABOUT REAL LIFE ROMANI CULTURES THANKS
Hi guys, hope you're having great holidays full of epic quests in the Age of Lost Omens (or elsewhere).
TL;DR: some encounters are almost easy, some are very tough, and 1 boss is harder than a group of equal-budget, lower level creatures - feature or bug?
I'm running Age of Ashes and I'm not sure I get something in the encounter structure, so I'd like a hand to make heads or tails of this particular problem.
If you're playing AoA and you haven't finished part 2 yet, please stop reading, I don't want to spoil you. If you're *running* it, please *keep reading*. If you're running something else, same as above - I need as many points of view as possible to understand how this is working.
So, first off I come from D&D 5e, I ran Tyranny of Dragons and I found that most combats, even against bosses, were a bit on the easy side for my group, perhaps a peculiarity of the class composition, perhaps too generous with magic items, not important right now.
Now, with AoA and PF2, we're having a peculiar dynamic. Yesterday my 8th level group was exploring the Fortress of Sorrow in the Mwangi Jungle (Cult of Cinder), they handily killed the 2 dragonspawn with the same stats as Racharak (2 creatures at the same level as the party) and proceeded onwards.
Then they met Izzolith. The elite Nessian Warhound. They didn't really try to negotiate effectively, it sped past an opportunity attack from the fighter and an Opportune Backstab from the rogue and proceeded to vomit fire on our casters, hurting them quite badly. The druid tried to quench it with an Hydraulic Torrent but only did half damage, then proceeded to take cover behind the melees. Things started turning for the better and in the end, with some bad bites and burns to show for it, the party managed to kill the hellhound, but we noticed some quirks.
An elite Nessian Warhound is a 10th level (level+2) creature. It has AC30, which means an 8th level rogue is hard-pressed to hit it, and a fighter isn't all that better. Its saves allow it to easily take half damage from many spells and in general succeed against the party's magic and effects. It has 170 hp! Its attack is a +23, which means it can only miss the wizard on a 1 and even against the fighter it needs something like a 6 or 7 (correct me if I'm wrong, typical 8th level free hand fighter with +1 plate). Same math applies to the rogue.
We thought it was quite overpowered. They killed it alright, but, just to compare, the party later met a group of cultists, same difficulty (8 Moderate) and same xp budget (80), and it was almost a joke dispatching them.
Izzolith wasn't. At all. It was hard to hit, it hit often and hard... my druid was wondering also why casters don't have items adding bonuses to their spell attack and DCs, since melees do. Their spells aren't endless, and with such a being they're easily wasted, or at least only partially effective (earlier on, against the vrock at the strip mine, she had cast Searing Light 4 times without hitting once).
One thing I wanna know is if you're meeting similar dynamics in other campaigns and adventures, i.e., is it normal that some encounters are so tough? No one went unconscious... barely. In the end they were awesome and killed the beast, but we were all panicking. Is this kind of very difficult encounter an intended event to send adrenaline through your veins and make you sweat a bit once in a while? If so, why is it an 80xp budget encounter same as 3 crappy cultists that went down dealing more or less 20 hp against the whole party? That is weird... or is it?
As I jokingly put it to my friends, I wanna ask you if this nice dose of sadism is part and parcel of the rules or it it's something peculiar to, say, AoA. It's not the first tough monster we meet in the campaign - others were actually even tougher (but they were mostly intended as the only encounter in 1 day so the party was supposed to wail on them with everything... although the vrock was really really tough *and* part of a larger location full of nice people).
In general though, for the same xp budget, 1 creature is a holy scourge, while 2 or more become much easier to put down. Isn't it weird? Maybe the math here is wrong and needs to be erratad, by any chance? Maybe it's a situational, quirky result of bad rolls, green players and little chance of crafting magic items? Has it happened to you? I've heard Fall of Plaguestone isn't exactly a walk in the park either.
So is this working as intended, feature not bug... or perhaps this adventure isn't perfectly balanced? Should I ask a dev? Perhaps Mark Seifter still answers questions? What's your impression?
And thank you everyone for reading this far, btw ;)
So I came back from our weekly game of AoA some hours ago, it was awesome, except for some details of a situation that happened at the end.
So there's an unmoving 10' pillar, right? With hardness, hit points, BT, the works. The players need to destroy it. So they place a black powder keg as near it as possible, go back as far as possible, and toss fireballs.
Okay, so... fireball requires a basic Ref save. Which, even if it's a 12m explosion, okay, whatever, abstraction, maybe you stop drop and roll or whatever, maybe you leap away but it was too many rules. Not the topic.
The topic is that a friggin' pillar made Ref save after Ref save against these explosions happening all around it.
Okay, it's a magic pillar. It has magical powers. Fine.
None of its powers says it can dodge stuff, though. And even if, say, a caster aims their fireball wrong, what can happen? Instead of the thing being wrapped in flames on all sides for 6m, maybe it will be 8m of fire to the left, 4 to the right. It still doesn't ameliorate its situation - it. Can't. Move.
I understand PF is a gamist-influenced system, sure. But a little verisimilitude wouldn't hurt. My players were starting to mutiny after a while, and I was like, "Why the f--- did the devs come up with Ref saves for friggin' items??! WHAT DO I DO?".
So we decided something was wrong. And lo, from the pinnacle of my GM wisdom, I pronounced "Thou who art a stationary target uncapable of dodging, wilt forevermore be denied a Reflex save, automatically fumbling the roll and thus taking double damage, and so shall it ever be".
And thus the game ends and an hour later I go to bed and can't get almost no sleep and think about it and think it's a fair house rule.
... And then it hits me.
You know plate armor? The one with the "bulwark" trait? The trait that if you have less than +3 from Dex to your Ref save allows you to ignore that and just add +3 from the sheer toughness of the layers of steel you're encased in?
... Holy sh**. Is it possible that Ref saves include toughness? At least for unmoving items if nothing else?
But that's surely a stretch, isn't it? A fireball engulfs a stone and wood pillar, but since it's tough (already reflected in its Hardness and HPs) it can make a Ref save.
It. Doesn't. Move.
But the Ref save is always low for these stationary thingies, perhaps it's because it's *only* their toughness to the rescue, even if they cannot move at all.
Maybe... its magic does help?
... holy sheep.
So... First off I'd really love if a dev descended from on high to impart their wisdom and explain the actual reason why non-moving objects have Ref saves - they shouldn't, or it's toughness, or it's something else, or us humans can comprehend the infallibility, whatevs.
Secondly, you guys, you players and GMs and goblin mascots - what do you think? Is it normal that pillars dodge? Is the save a reflection of only their (already abudantly detailed in other mechanics) toughness? Is it the blessed intervention of Brigh or Torag or Yuelral who will crafted items to somehow give the middle finger to whomever tries to smash them to bits? Do you know the truth, and will you share it with the world?
There, /rant and /questions.
I'd really like to fathom why the game works like this. If you have any hint, please for the love of the afore-mentioned deities, drop a line, and thank you.
I'm building a character with a very clear concept in my head, an investigator for the playtest.
She's got the Alkenstar Tinker background from LOWG but she needs to have Alchemical Sciences methodology. Both give Alchemical Crafting. I really hope I could change the background skill feat to something else because otherwise it would be annoying to have a wasted feat, but I found no info on the net.
I think my GM will allow me to choose another skill feat but since I run games too I need to know what to do in cases like this.
SOOO we finally have the monster and hazard rules from the Gamemastery Guide, guys!! WOOT WOOT! (Thank you designers!! You're the best!)
Which means I have officially no more excuses not to convert old APs.
So, RotR initially doesn't require a lot of conversion - goblins, goblins, goblins... a goblin dog... we have the stats for all of these guys... BUT I really wanted to stat up one of my favorite characters ever, good old Ameiko.
It wasn't as straightforward as I expected - if you follow the roadmap very closely you lose a bit of the "rake" swordswoman flavor, and she has peculiar stats for a P2 bard of course... that said, I think this stat block could work. Use, modify or toss into the trash as you prefer. Also advice is always welcome!
I'm gonna give it a try tomorrow, deadly variant even, but I'm worried for my players - if they lose an eye or a hand, regenerate is a 7th level spell, and they're still 3rd level. Also Breachill isn't exactly swimming in high level healers.
I'm thinking I could allow any healing magic restoring enough hit points to cure a crippling wound like that.
Or else, if I wanna be mean, I could require a trip to the capital to get someone to cast regenerate?
Any advice? And what are you guys doing with your decks, how are you using them?
I'm prepping for my group's next session and I hit a snag.
The adventure features a soulbound doll, but while checking the Bestiary I noticed the mentioning of the soul focus gem embedded in it.
What if my players decide to target it?
Are there rules for something like this? I haven't found them, and AFAIK you need particular abilities to ever damage someone's gear (unless it's a shield used to block your attack).
So why did they specify the soul focus gem has Hardness 10? There are no other data BTW... but I'm just now noticing that on p.577 of the CRB, where the stats of various materials are given, the Broken Threshold is always Hardness x2, and the total HPs are always BTx2... so in theory the gem has BT 20 and 40 HPs... and that's fine, but again - is there a way to target it? If not, why was this data included? And how do I handle my players trying to interact with it? Also, what does it do, if anything, when you pick it up - can you recycle it to craft a magic item, for instance? Sell it? Send the soul to its afterlife? I see there's mention of using an intact soul gem to create another soulbound construct, but you apparently need special knowledge for that (perhaps a later product?).
Somewhat relatedly, when you want to smash a wall do you only roll damage or do you have to hit an AC? Because I can't find examples of the latter. What if you want to cut a rope with an arrow, for instance?
Sorry for the wall of questions, but I couldn't find threads about all of this for P2... y yo no hablo P1.
Today I was wondering (read: navel-gazing) about how the level mechanics would translate in-world, or in the shared narrative of the game.
Mainly I was considering how in all APs, most homebrew campaigns, and many adventures, the PCs start at 1st level, then in a matter of months or a few years, they generally advance at least 10-15 levels. After that, it is my experience that the rhythm of growth can and often does slow down even dramatically, but in 2e APs this won't necessarily be true, since the AP will carry you up to 20th level and have you keep playing at least for a while.
So, a pc starts exceptional, yes, but not an expert (every class is at best trained at everything they do, with the exception of fighters, who start out indeed as experts with simple and martial weapons, possibly even with one - or more? - advanced weapon). Their hps are 1st level hps, the skills they know are at trained, their spells are few and 1st level only with some cantrips thrown in. It appears to me they're very much the archetype (not in a game sense) of the gifted prodigy - very high scores, inherently capable of becoming experts and masters in a few months of hands-on practice, but still untested, unbloodied, inexperienced.
In the meantime, maybe there's someone in town with less hyperbolic stats, and generally less able to fight their way out of a problem, but with 1 or even 2 skills at expert (or perhaps even master!), having trained and constantly used those skills in their more or less normal life well into their 20s, 30s, 40s or more.
What I'm wondering is - what kind of 1st level characters do you create? Are they always young and inexperienced? Are they older but lazy? Are they older and you feel 1st level is already representing someone with better skills/higher experience than the norm? Do you feel some classes better represent someone who has trained quite a bit in their field at 1st level? Do you just go with whatever age you feel better fits the character you have in mind and to hell with ludonarrative dissonance? Maybe they were experts or even masters, perhaps equivalent to a higher level pc, but they've become rusty after a while of not practicing their trade?
TL;DR: what age are the majority of your 1st level characters, and how does that fit with their (presumed?) lack of practical experience?
(Oh and before someone mentions it - no I don't want different leveling mechanics, I'm totally fine with how they work. Thanks!).
It has come up in another thread that some of us think having male dryads, harpies and so on would be very cool. It has also come up that others don't feel the same way.
I personally think limiting a species of monster to all female specimens tends to problematic. Why can't dryads - forest fey - be both male and female (and actually, intersex too, since that's a thing that does happen?). What about harpies? We're already seeing a tendency in Paizo material to include rappresentations of both conventional sexes in monsters - why not extend the treatment to nymphs, satyrs, banshees, scyllae and so on?
If we limit species of monsters to only one sex we're tacitly saying something, I feel. Harpies are caricatures of savage women with enchanted singing. Because we need more parodies of savage people, and men singing can't be enchanting. Ask boy bands and their fans about it.
Dryads are your typical beautiful female forest spirit, as if a forest or any other kind of geographical feature could only have female spirits - nature is feminine, or at least its beauty is. Nymphs are all about beauty - and all about feminine beauty. Why not have terribly beautiful male nymphs as well? It's like us women don't really have a weight in the discussion of what is considered beautiful - all beautiful/charming/pretty monsters are females. If we're seduced by a supernatural creature... maybe it could be an outsider of some sort. Or we must be homo/bi-sexual and fall for the female nymph. A heterosexual cisgender man can form a couple with a dryad... a hetero cis woman has a satyr to fall back on. What if I want a love story with a beautiful male forest spirit, or a man wants a fun romp with a pipe-playing goat-lady?
I do understand that traditionally harpies are females, satyrs are males, sirens and hags and Scylla and the Hellenic sphinx are female. But those were myths and folklore produced by a patriarchal society whose heroes were all manly male men. Homosexual men had no place in most of those cultures (explicitly, that is - even Odin, being a sorcerer, was derided in the Lokasenna, because in the Norse world only women could practice magic and being a homosexual man was the archetypal shameful secret. Bad, as it were).
Then we have hags... a whole type of monsters who are caricatures of ugly old ladies practicing magic, i.e. everything men always hated in a convenient package to shame similar women in human society. I'm not gonna advocate for male hags... because I honestly can't imagine them. But if someone somewhere manages to disassociate the archetype from femininity I'd be very happy to give it a whirl.
Succubi. Now, originally succubi and incubi were shapeshifters who could change sex at will, and did. Strangely enough an example from Christianity, no less, that was less problematic than the artificial division happening from Gygax onwards between succubi and incubi. Now we have rapist incubi and abusive succubi, which again brings its own big can of worms with it. Again, I'm not sure I want this fixed, not because I can't imagine sex-changing lust demons (5e did it, and did it well), but more because with Nocticula's ascension to the Lost Omen pantheon we're gonna either need a significant retcon or some very ingenious bit of writing. I could accept succubi as they are right now, but I would like more incubi at the forefront too, and their vileness to be more notorious and hated by everyone - a lot of products focus on succubi and all the myriad ways you can present an abusive woman, a real "femme fatale" (which is a trope many of us women ardently dislike for various reasons), but the demonic side of male sexuality is almost never explored.
Another idea - let's use orcs to explore toxic masculinity. Not that it isn't being done already, just that highlighting how the patriarchal, aggressive, machistic sides of Avistani orcs hurt themselves, their women, and other cultures, well, could be interesting.
So why using mythic/folklore monsters who are a single sex in the source material and changing them so they can be something else, other than that? Hell, also b/c we can. We have elves who aren't actual Tolkien/Norse/celtic/Santa Claus elves, we have gnomes and goblins and halflings who aren't earth elementals or mischievous fey or hobbits straight from Hobbiton, we need to make the ancestries and creatures and ideas of Golarion more uniquely Golarian, why not having male harpies and dryads - will the Homer police come arrest anyone?
Anyways, this is just an idea. I know Paizo is moving towards more diverse representation in their lines, and they were already quite good since the beginning, so I'm very trusting of the developments for 2e and I think even if everything's not perfect for me I'll still be a huge fan of Golarion b/c among other things you simply don't find all this inclusiveness very easily in rpgs, fantasy ones most of all (Rivethun culture, seriously). I just hope that those of you who would prefer their satyrs male and their harpies female will tolerate this kind of content and keep playing PF (or simply assign your favorite genders and sexualities to the npcs you'll run at your table - it's not like you're bad people for wanting to stick to the old archetypes in a fantasy rpg as long as you don't take it as edutainment and you try to be a little critical of your choices).
So, it appears that quite soon after the release of the first mandatory products (core rulebook, 1st installment of Age of Ashes, Bestiary, Lost Omens, probably Druma etc) Paizo will release a book containing 1) a wealth of optional rules for 2e and 2) how most/the major game mechanics work and how each of us can design new ways to modify them ourselves. Essentially an equivalent of Unchained, but much sooner than in 1e, perhaps as soon as they can.
With that said, it would be interesting to know what each of us particularly anticipates using this material for: which alternatives we would like to have some support to implement, which rules we would like to change given the chance, which optional rules we'd like to see already spelled out if that's actually something we'll get (I think the most popular options will be delineated without the need to homebrew anything, but I could be wrong and the book could be fodder for designing your own alternatives and addictions in its entirety, not 100% sure on this).
It might also help the staff at Paizo and particularly Mark & the gang to introduce rules and content that just barely didn't make it into the core rules: they've had all the feedback from the playtest and at this point know quite well what most vocal minorities would have opted for even if in the end they chose to go with the majority's preferences for core, but there might still be outliers, and anyways it would hopefully still be a way to make your voice heard.
Of course we don't yet know everything about 2e, so we can only propose alternatives to what we know or suspect we'll find in the core rules, but I still think this could be a fruitful exercise.
At the very least, think of it this way: by discussing different views you might come upon some neat ideas! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Point me towards the scariest, most horrifying, chilling and enjoyable horror adventure you've ever played, for any system. Real world or thereabouts, not different settings (Cthulhu is fine, Starfinder isn't).
Actually, Cthulhu would be a plus for at least one of my players, but she loves all manners of horror, as long as it's really damn scary.
If you've ever seen Into the Mouth of Madness that's the kind of nightmarish experience I'd like to give my players. Not torture porn, not Human Centipede, not slasher flicks. Mulholland Drive also gets some of that kind of horror right. Babadook and It (2017) too.
I know, it's a lot of factors to take into consideration, so I'm gonna check whatever you suggest anyways - you never know.
So, some months ago I started running Wrath of the Righteous for a friend, using another system (because I've never felt smart enough for PF 1e) and employing the various npcs to help him out instead of other players' pcs (we hoped a friend would join in as well but till now he just hasn't been able/interested).
Turned out to be a really good experience. We had lots of fun, his character is amazing, I managed to convert the material quite well... I used Mutants and Masterminds and, well, it wasn't too difficult.
We've finished the 1st adventure.
And now I feel the need for actual Pathfinder. 2e.
But it comes out in August.
In the meantime M&M has sort of disappointed me - a lot of bookkeeping and sometimes you can't even replicate how some powers and abilities work very well (you don't wanna know how much a cleric with the idealist archetype would pay to channel their deity's realm... plus I'm still wondering how one would build "swallow whole". Oh and areas of effect are all HUGE).
I don't feel like running this campaign with M&M anymore. Ideally I'd use PF 2e, but that would mean waiting until we get 2e mythic rules, which could be never. I've checked various other systems - Fate, Cortex, Savage Worlds... but nothing really grabs me.
Alternately we could play something else in the meantime, but it probably shouldn't involve learning a lot of rules and setting lore, because I'm just so dying to run PF 2e. Also, it would be nice to have an AP or at least a long adventure, or a series thereof. August is after all still quite far away.
Another possibility is just not playing until August. Maybe I should buy myself some ps4 game with a lot of replayability, or a very long one, I don't know.
So, yeah, either I find some alternative to M&M and we keep playing WotR, or I find something else to play that doesn't require a huge emotional/intellectual investiture b/c honestly I have trouble thinking of anything not PF-related. Or I go into standby mode for some months.
Have you ever felt like this in your life? Like you're wishing your life away for something that can't arrive too soon, and in the meantime you're at an impasse?
Do you have any suggestions? How would you pass the time in my shoes? Is there a way to avoid suspending this campaign? Or another game we could try? Some other way to kill time?
And thanks for listening to my whinings (mustn't be pretty...).
Lately I've been thinking a lot about one of the core assumption of the game:
The healer cleric.
I can get behind clerical magic from domains - if you have a lot of faith in a god, or if the god blesses you, or if you study the traditional scriptures of that deity, etc, you start to channel some of the essence of the deity themselves. It works for me.
What I don't think I've ever seen is an in-setting explanation of why goodly clerics can heal wounds and assorted health problems, and relatedly, why they can use their channel energy to harm undead (and why eeevil clerics can hurt you and... heal undead? Doesn't make sense to me).
Of course the cleric is mechanically the healer and undead-turner, traditionally, and that's because, well, it's always been so (and many archetypes help you emphasize or downplay these and other aspects, good, fine).
But from a *setting* point of view, I'm not sure I get it.
Take Desna, for instance. Her domains are the stars, dreams, luck and journeys. Any spell related to these domains would fit perfectly with her, but... healing people? Protect sleeping people, sure, freeing people from tyranny, okay, lead people to safety, bring good luck, even unmake curses, it's all in the job description. But healing you? Where exactly does that come from? And turning undead? Desna doesn't give a crap about undead. She'd probably be more interested in turning demons and other fiends, if anything, and night and dream hags, and probably alien aberrations. Now *Pharasma* would certainly have undead-turning clerics, and Sarenrae healing clerics, without a doubt. But what do Asmodeus, Shelyn, Nethys and company have to do with healing spells and with undead?
Again, I understand creating a personal spell list for each deity would be too much. Mechanically it makes sense that clerics have their thing, and since PF comes from 3.5 that thing is healing people and harming undead (or vice versa if you're evil). What I don't get is the explanation for this in the lore (or, hell, why they do share the same spell list, with only the domain spells and powers differentiating them. I think a cleric of Iomedae and one of Rovagug should have absolutely nothing in common barring the fact that they're channeling divine essence).
So, yeah, I'm really quite at a loss here. Have you ever read a good motivation about why it is so? In a PF product, in a PF novel perhaps, or directly from a developer maybe. Or maybe there's an archetype that changes all of this. I'm just trying to wrap my head around this and it just makes little sense to me. Shamans I can understand, witches too, druids, bards... it seems more like wizards should have come up with healing magic at this point, too. But *all* clerics healing the sick and injured and blowing up undead?
Not really sure how that fits with the "deity's champion" concept.
This doesn't have to be noticed by Paizo and introduced into their design process - it doesn't even matter whether anyone looks at it or not. I just want to get it off my chest.
I was in favor of 2nd edition. I thought it was gonna simplify PF, similarly to how 5e simplified D&D, but without making it so bland and devoid of deep customization and strategy. A better system, improving on 5e's still great design.
I read the book. Then I ran a little of the playtest, for 2 parties.
It didn't go far.
* There are good ideas. Spell-less paladins and rangers. Sorcerers with different spell lists according to bloodline. Gated 10th level spells. Class feats customization. More concise monster stat blocks, more to the point. More crits and fumbles.
* Armor still doesn't make any sense. Nor do many weapons, or why monks are allowed to use some of them in such an arbitrary way. Choosing gear and recording bulk when creating characters is a total chore. Touch AC could just as easily have been Reflex save, or, damn it, normal AC.
* Casters use their primary ability only for their spells' DCs. To hit with a spell you need Dexterity. This is quite absurd - now all direct damage casters need Dex, not just their normal core stat.
* Rules for everything. Everything encoded in its own little paragraph to know how to do it right. To swim you do this, to jump you do that, to speak over a strong wind... (hyperbole... but not by much).
* The player of a 1st level caster doesn't need to read all their spells. That of a 4th level wizard has to look at their entire list's first 2-3 levels and then write down a lot of them, even stuff they don't really give a crap about. Even 1st level characters can be quite complex to stat down, but the process becomes a real chore soon.
* I still don't think bards were perfectly captured by the rules and flavor, but that, like much of what I'm writing, is just me.
* Some magic items are more trouble to write down than usefulness or flavor to have. Low level trinkets are ugly and underwhelming.
* Having level add to skills, attacks etc gives us nightmare fuel like that monstrous table telling us what DC to assign a task from level 0 to over 20 and from trivial to "please desist for the sake of all that's holy and decent". Tens and tens of DCs, no possibility to learn them all by rote unless you're some kind of savant. Anti-intuitive par excellence, with DCs going up or down by 1 or 2 points according to cryptic factors only designers and character optimizers have discerned. So many times I would've had to look a DC up in the table and I just made one up for brevity and game flow. Not to mention some DCs in the playtest that looked patently absurd.
* The backlash of people who were okay with PF 1st edition. Paizo could have doubled down on the Unchained concept: optional rules to fix some balance and, for instance, streamline prep and gameplay. Now, instead of new material telling us about new concepts, new lands, new beings, we'll get a rehash of everything that's been published these last 10 years with different rules. Not too bad, I've never managed to read my whole collection and I still have dozens APs to run, I'll marry and have children first. Still.
* Still gamism first, simulation second. And I don't mean slavish simulation of reality - I would've liked a better simulation of many classic and not-so-classic fantasy tales. Wounds that actually hinder you, for instance, or the possibility of deadly attacks killing "minions/mooks/cannon-fodder" in one go. No such luck.
There were a lot of interesting concepts, honestly. I still think it's all too laborious for a game, even a strategy game, and certainly a narrative-based game. I love Golarion, but my group and I aren't using PF, 1st or 2nd edition. Not after a week of work and worries. Neither will many younger players who could just get into 5e. This is a pity because Paizo is a great company ethically speaking, with great people and great workplace practices, and they deservedly ascended to the heavens of some of the best rpg publishers around ever. Golarion is a beautiful setting that more people might do well to know more deeply instead of thinking it's just racist pulp (it's not).
But I personally don't see 2e doing the trick. Still, hope springs eternal.
Guys, we're doing things backwards and we need a little help...
My players have a party we converted to PF and we're really fond of them, they would love to use them for an AP. I love PF's APs but I'm really not sure which one would be the best, thematically speaking, for such a diverse group.
The party includes:
1) a genius, polymath tinkerer alchemist from Alkenstar
2) a very spiritual, possibly Sangpotshi-following wyvaran monk from the Shattered Range in Garund (Nex-Geb-Mwangi Expanse)
3) an exile snowcaster elf magus/witch interested only in accumulating more power and damn the consequences
4) a Garundi catfolk barbarian looking for glorious battle and enough experience to become the next chieftain of his tribe after his father was killed
5) a Tian-Min trickster unsworn shaman/rogue with a fire elemental spirit wolf (her mercenary brother killed 4)'s father)
So, they come from all over the map - Garund, Tian Xia, Crown of the World. I think I remember the party for Serpent's Skull all boarded a ship travelling from North to South and touching down in a lot of ports in the whole Inner Sea, but am not sure about how fitting these characters would be for that AP. And I don't remember all of them very well, so I couldn't say which would be the best for such a disparate group of misfits. Any suggestions?
The main themes for this party are: lost knowledge and technology, power at all costs, nature, and defeating old patrons. I know, no real consistency... hence my current problem and request for help.
Hi guys, my players and I have some characters from an old 4e game that we'd like to translate to Golarion, can you help a little, please?
1) First there's a human artificer, we think she would be great as a tinkerer alchemist from Alkenstar, although she would have Ulfen blood b/c of her red hair and light skin, instead of Garundi or Keleshite as typical for the area. She also has rose-colored irises, originally because her mother is a chaos sorceress, we think here she could be something similar, a spellcaster tied to the Mana Wastes' weird magic. Or she could have a little fey blood I guess, it seems not to be uncommon in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings?
2) Then there's an ice elf, who was a noble and a warlock/swordsman, typical deal with otherworldly entities for more power, you know the drill (originally to fight his own father, an archfey). I'm thinking snowcaster, although I don't think noble houses are a big deal in their culture, and elves don't have ties with fey in Golarion afaik, so his dad would just be a really powerful elf I suppose. His concept is that he'd make a deal with anything to become more powerful - originally it was Hell and the Shadow Plane, in Golarion... maybe a demon, like the drow? And how would you keep his nature as a magus who received his magic not through study but from a deal with something?
3) is Tor, who was a sort of lion-man barbarian. We're opting for a catfolk from Garund. He was also the king of his little kingdom, but it seems to me catfolks aren't too keen on the idea of monarchy. What could he actually be? Chieftain? Son of the chieftain? Do they have those?
4) Kat was a shaman and a trickster figure. We're inclined to make her a Tian-Min from near the Forest of Spirits. Originally her brother had killed Tor's father in a skirmish, but Garund and Tian Xia are a world away, and if she's from a Tian colony in Garund then she doesn't have any kami to chat with... although shamans must talk to something even outside Tian Xia, we just haven't figured out what manner of spirits they deal with (I guess a mix of fey, elementals, outsiders, empyreals?...).
5) and finally Shamash, who was a sort of big powerful dragon-man monk with a guan dao. For the race we think wyvaran should work pretty well, even though he'd be more reflexive and intelligent than your typical specimen. For his background... from what order could he come from? Something a little like Buddhism perhaps, maybe follows Irori, or Sangpotshi, but we don't know of an order of monks who practices that. His background also involves growing dissatisfied with his initial loyalties (which turned out to be ethically questionable), becoming a sort of thug for a syndicate, and eventually leaving to seek enlightenment via wandering the world.
That's the 5 of them. Any advice on any bit of adaptation for these guys would be very welcome, we're not exactly experts of Golarion lore and we'd like to keep some aspects of these characters as close as possible, otherwise they might change too much and that'd be a pity.
So, I'll run the campaign, my friend will play the only pc (we've been deserted!), the npcs will sort of act as the missing rest of the party. Should work, right? They're always around...
So my player will end up playing whatever tickles his fancy the most at the moment, but if I were to give him some advice about a race/class/archetype combo that would really shine in this campaign, and not necessarily from the mechanical point of view, but from the thematic and narrative ones - the perfect protagonist for this story - what would it be in your mind?
Sort of like, Luke was a great protagonist for SW because Darth Vader was actually his dad (SPOILER ALERT!!!). Also it was all about the Force, and he became a better and better Jedi with time. And he was allied to the rebels. And the brother of Leia, the chief of the rebels. See what I mean?
To carry the analogy further, Ameiko is Leia, Sandru is Han, Shalelu and Koya are... Chewbie? Hey, it's been a long time! Anyways - who could be the Luke Skywalker of this story? Something that ties in with the themes, scenarios, npcs, monsters, situations presented... of course do propose more than one idea if you have them.
C'mon guys & gals, gimme some help. I'm running so many APs I almost don't have time to read the modules ;)
Guys... guys... I don't know if you noticed, but we have a big problem here.
Okay, we have many problems. Sure. Unless you perfectly like the way PF is right now and don't want it to change ever again, although considering it's still in flux you might have a problem too.
No, it's something else that I wanted to draw your attention on:
We have a skill DCs table of 120 items.
Seriously... 120. Because, of course, at every level the goalpost moves.
This, coincidentally, means you can never pull a DC out your ass. Never. Because you'll never remember them all (again, except for the few of us blessed with an eidetic memory, natch!).
I'll name that-which-must-not-be-named to expand upon my argument. Yes, I need to. I know the heavens-wolf will swallow the sun and evil spirits will roam the skies, but it's for the betterment of all humanity. Wear your amulets and ask your shamans to chant their blessings.
IN D&D 5E
... still alive, everyone? Are you alright? Drink a healing potion, it's on me.
As I was saying, in... that other game, I had to remember 3 DCs.
Easy is 10. Challenging is 15. Hard is 20.
Done. Never needed to consult a huge table and make a cheat sheet out of it only to decide not to check it because it would have slowed down play. I always knew what the target number was to try anything my players wanted to try. Because if easy is 10, then very easy is 5. And if hard is 20, then very hard is 25 and almost impossible is 30. If you unfortunately possess a vile copy of... the other game, go check it out. Then burn it, burn it with fire! But check it out first.
Why am I bringing this up, though?
Well as I was saying a table of 120 completely unrelated DCs is impossible to remember for me. There's no method to the madness. Level 1 medium DC is 13, but level 5 is not 17 (level+12), it's 18. So you can't just get to the right number via simple math, there's no formula. You can't win. You need to have a look at the table. And my cheat sheets are already full of conditions, skill uses, combat actions... not that adding 1 table will make it too much of course, but instead of adding unnecessary complexity, why not trimming the fat?
So this doesn't help a fast task resolution, first. It also gives some... "interesting" situations.
Don't read this if you're a player in Doomsday Dawn!
Doomsday Dawn, Red Flags, p. 82: N13, Dangerous Second Steps. Here... we have some flat-topped pillars you need to jump onto, but they're covered with both crustaceans and seaweed (and are constantly splashed by the waves from beneath).
Read with me: "The various rocks can be leaped upon, but because the surfaces feature a mixture of rough and slick textures, a PC must succeed at a DC 31 ACROBATICS CHECK TO LAND UPON ONE OR GRAB AN EDGE".
DC 28 if you haven't erratad it yet. And then every other round you need an Athletics DC 29 (it was 22 before) to avoid being knocked off by the waves.
So... this is a task... no normal person can pass. Furthermore, a lot of "low level" adventurers will fail as well. 31 is a medium DC at 14th level. Due to how skill bonuses are inflated with level, that means it's almost impossible for a 9th level adventurer.
Take a moment to picture it.
A 7th level rogue with Legendary Acrobatics & Dexterity 19... +14... needs a 17 or better to avoid falling or grabbing an edge.
Oh, and yeah, all this because the pillar tops present A MIXTURE OF ROUGH AND SLICK TEXTURES.
So... that's an example of how things get completely illogical with artificially pumped DCs. I can understand walls of mithril and magic traps, but when something so relatively banal is all at once a challenge for 14th level characters... heh. I dunno, guys.
And all of this stems from a root problem: the fact that level is added to your skills. This one fact inflates them to unreasonable, unrealistic heights that make no sense, regardless of actual proficiency (Trained-Expert-Master...). Actual proficiency, actually, contributes VERY LITTLE to the final bonus. Expert is +1. Master is +2. Legendary is +3. Sure, that counts for crits too and also gates some cool and important feats... but the key here isn't, "I've become Legendary at X", it's "I've reached 15th level"!
Which means always new and weird obstacles need to be put in your way or the game won't be enough of a challenge, just because you're so superheroically better than the average commoner at doing something.
And I love superheroes, and I imagine a high-level adventurer is similar in many ways, but if you artificially inflate their skills with no reason, even if your intentions are good, it will always end up with "DC30 rivers" and "DC40 mountains". That, or the real world will lag behind the adventurers so damn much that almost everything and everyone will stop being any kind of challenge to them, slowly but surely. Not even an easy one.
I know some of you want an army of orcs to be powerless before the might of a 10th level party. More power to you! I'd suggest, though, that the objective is reached as naturally and realistically as possible.
With a DC scale of
5 - very easy
10 - easy
15 - average
20 - hard
25 - very hard
30 - really damn hard
- which you can remember by heart, btw - you needn't worry about DC30 rivers.
What I think would be a better solution is if the degrees of proficiency had a greater impact on your skill and attack bonus (I'm still getting used to the mental gymnastics required to thinking of wearing armor as a skill, so I won't elaborate further upon that, here).
Let's say untrained doesn't give you any bonus. If you only have an average ability in the related skill, you'll need a 10+ for a very easy task, and a 15+ for an average one. If you have a +4 it's all 20% easier.
Let's further stipulate trained gives you a +3. In this case, if you're playing against type and have no bonus, you'll still need a 12+ for an average task, but if you have a +3 ability mod you'll only need a 9, and with a +4 an 8. That said, the hard check will be a 13 if you have a +4. Possible, just slightly unlikely.
Now, an expert with a +5 from their ability bonus and another +1 from expert tools. With a 9+ they can already clear a DC15, and they need a 14+ for a DC20 (hard). Let's give them a +5 proficiency bonus and they'll pass a DC15 with a roll of just a 4+, and a DC20 with a 10+. The very hard task, at DC 25, will still be unlikely, necessitating a 15+, but can be done.
A master should fail only on a fumble at the very easy, easy and average tasks: let's say +5 from ability, +2 from master tools, +7 from proficiency. Only a nat 1 will see them fail a DC15, and a DC20 will only need a 6+, while a DC 25 (very hard), an 11+ (exactly 50%).
Now... legendary. Let's say +6 from ability. Maybe a +10 from proficiency. So, +16 - on a 14+ they can clear the nearly impossible DC30, without any kind of buff. With the right tools for the job and a little magic, and/or the right feat...
Now the proficiency bonuses have more substance, while your level will only dictate when you can bring a skill to master and then trained. No artificial inflation. A clear set of universal DCs from which to derive ACs for monsters, difficulty of individual traps and obstacles, and so on, easily memorized. No changing all the numbers on your character sheet at every level.
And it's not like now I'm attached to these numbers I came up with. I don't give a rat's arse, honestly - I'm just saying, let's drop the level component from the skill equations and let's not have absurd numbers for DCs (and most of all NOT 120 DCs). It can be done, we don't need a full BAB to all skills. It's unwieldy, silly, and creates problems like mundane obstacles with DCs no normal person or low-level adventurer could clear without a natural 20.
I was re-reading some old books yesterday when I came across an unexpected concept: dwarven cavaliers.
(If you're curious it's on p. 24 of Varisia, Birthplace of Legends).
I'm trying to find anything about traditional dwarven mounts (if such a thing exists) - the rules let you choose from horse, camel or zebra if you're medium-sized, but none of these really strike me as very dwarven. Dwarves of Golarion doesn't talk about possible mounts AFAIK. Torag's sacred animal is the badger but the biggest I could find was the medium-sized dire badger - I think these and their normal-sized variants would make great animal companions for dwarves (Harsk is sometimes depicted with one) - but mounts are a different story.
So I'm asking you - have you ever read about any traditional/typical mounts for Golarion (Janderhoff/5 Kings Mountains) dwarves?
Okay guys, today it's self-evident I don't have much to do, because I'm apparently trying to single-handedly conquer the forums.
With that out of the way, please help me translate a party of characters from D&D 4e to Pathfinder, would you?
Essentially, back when I was just out of school and looking for a job, I still had quite a bit of spare time, and not a lot of contact with my boyz and grrrlz. So I decided to play 4e on my own while writing a novel about the campaign.
Yes, it is incredibly pathetic. I would also do it all again in a heartbeat if I found a good system/setting combo (which maybe I'm close to with PF2). I'm really that much of a geek.
So anyways, the characters were:
My homonym, an artificer, who would be an Ulfen alchemist from Alkenstar here. Perhaps multiclassing as ranger for 1-2 levels to shoot real well, because she really had a killer aim, but with the right feats I might forgo that.
Her ex-boyfriend, a very bishounen eladrin swordmage from the Winter Court. He was very haughty and aloof and thought himself superior to mortals by virtue of being an eladrin noble. Also had some Oedipal nonsense going on. Imagine Prince Nuada from Hellboy 2 or Sephiroth from FF7. He also was very power-thirsty and didn't care one bit from where that power came from, so he wielded a demonic sword, and the kind of flavor more commonly seen on warlocks would be right at home with him. What could he be in PF? I thought snowcaster elf but they're more inclined towards ranger than, say, magus. He was nobility, "and don't you forget it". I think I could also see him as a dhampir, though. From Ustalav perhaps, like, very clichéd, hell yeah?
Then there was this shifter ranger who actually was more like a barbarian in many ways. No armor, big muscles, sword and shield, and he might be a catfolk/amurr(r?)un considering he looked a lot like Leo from Red Earth or Digimon's Leomon. Which book has the straight dope about catfolks, Races of the Inner Sea perhaps? If so, what else? Do they come from Garund?
There was a druid, too, although she was also a rogue. She was a real trickster figure. I really liked her. She thought spirits were "cool" and talked to them like you would with your buddies. I'm wondering where could she come from, some kind of tribal culture - maybe Kellid, or Shoanti, or - is there someone who lives in very close proximity with the kami in Tian-Xia? She was a human with deva (aasimar) ancestry, but she could be... anything, more or less. But probably not too different from human. I mean, not a ratfolk from Akiton (although that would be fun).
Finally there was the one I'm having the most problems with, Shamash, a dragonborn avenger. Okay, he looks like Garr from Breath of Fire 3 - essentially a very big and powerful gargoyle/dragon-man in a gi, with rosary beads as well (my version had his god's holy symbol instead of rosary beads, but that's all ephemeral) - and a rather impressive guan dao. I'm thinking for class he could be a mostly strength-based monk, but the guan dao needs to stay - or at least a glaive. Can we have monks with big glaives? Who mercilessly destroy wave after wave of mooks and terrorize evil-doers with a single blood-chilling glance, like?
But it's his ancestry that I can't quite place. In theory wyvarans are the closest you get to dragonborn in PF, but my impression is that they have somewhat canine snouts, and that they're not big and ppwerful enough. I also checked nagaji, who are big strong reptiles, mostly, but am still not convinced. Then there are trox, who are really, really big... I'd have to try and raise his mental abilities in that case, though, and they honestly don't look anything like him except for the overall color and the fact they're... really damn big. And after that I don't have any other ideas.
I mean, PF has a lot of extremely cool ancestries/races/species but - if I were to try and import these guys, how could that work in your opinion?
And of course anticipated thanks even just for reading this whole delirious post, folks. Much appreciated.
Hey guys, I was re-reading an old adventure - Rasputin Must Die! (btw, all manners of awesome).
But something is bothering me.
You see, when you come face to face with the evil monk,
he casts on himself a lot of buffs - ectoplasmic armor oracle revelation, entropic shield, freedom of movement, levitate, moment of prescience and true seeing, all before he can see the pcs. When he does see them, he *also* casts antilife shell and spectral hand.
Granted, he's an 18th level oracle, but, for instance, there are also 3 nosferatu antipaladins of 11th level a little earlier, who before combat cast bull's strength, eagle's splendor, defile armor and protection from good, plus they use their fiendish boon to make their claws +1 unholy weapons. They're also enjoying the effects of a desecrate cast by an erodaemon.
I remember in the very first adventure in Rise of the Runelords the barghest also buffed himself with a lot of spells - less than the shopping lists exemplified above, sure, but still. Mokmurian was another example later on in the AP.
I like buff spells and think they're a great and fundamental part of the magical repertoire of most spellcasters, and make sense and are cool from a narrative perspective, but I think 3.5 and PF1 went decidedly overboard with the idea, honestly.
You know I come from 5e. There's the simplest rule there: most buffs are concentration, which means, you can only have one at a time. If you wanna cast another, you drop the old buff and concentrate on the new one. I think this is extremely elegant, and it avoids characters flying around shrouded in 3 different protective auras while intermittently phasing in and out of existence. I mean, I can't even see the villain, he's so blinging with magic!
First off, does anyone know if there will be some kind of limit to buffs in PF2? Any safety net to avoid excessive numbers of magical effects all working at the same time?
Secondarily, do you enjoy this level of tactical preparation? Doesn't the sheer amount of buffing seem excessive to you? If so, what measures have you implemented in your campaigns to rein it in, if any?
Or is it an absolutely integral part of the game that needs to stay, in your opinion?
(On the other hand, in 5e I've found BBEGs not lasting nearly enough to pose an actual threat to my group, and buff spells would have certainly helped them - but I still think... at least a single buff with several effects all rolled in, not a shopping list!).
I was wondering, did the devs say anything about the most powerful characters and monsters possible? For instance, do you cap at 20th level always, or are there ways to become more powerful than that, even without levels perhaps? What's the most powerful monster you know of? Can monsters also have classes?
Also, related, do we still have npc classes or perhaps they'll now be just low-level adventurers if anything? Or treated as monsters perhaps?
I ask because I'm looking at the low and high ends of some npcs in my campaigns. For instance, I'd need a good way to multiclass, too, plus something to represent commoners, obviously, something to stand in for experts and aristocrats of various levels, and as I hint at in the title, even something for almost-gods.
In Golarion, per se, I don't need godlike beings like right now, although having stats for the most powerful demons and angels will definitely be useful one day, but in Eberron I'll need to homebrew the Overlords of the First Age, and those kids are... well, almost gods. One, for instance, was a wizard 36/archmage 4 in 3.5.
I don't need to replicate concepts slavishly, I'm just wondering whether the buck stops at 20th level or anyone has heard anything about epic levels or similar stuff.
Hey folks, do you reckon it's gonna be very very hard to build new ancestries in PF2?
I ask because there are things I like about Golarion, but it's not my favorite setting, and the one that holds the title does have the standard ancestries, but also some more idiosyncratic species.
I figure that some things, like +2 to 2 stats and -2 to 1, are probably gonna be standardized and easy to implement, but racial feats might be tough. And level adjustment... will it still be a thing or will it all be feats now?
I'm also wondering how many years before Paizo publishes a product helping players and GMs in building their homebrew races, probably with a lot of now common PF races included... like, the homebrew part isn't probably their highest priority, but a lot of players will want to dust off and convert their 1e kitsune gunslingers and android vigilantes asap, right?