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Ruzza's page

Organized Play Member. 1,115 posts (1,116 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 11 Organized Play characters. 1 alias.


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Strange question, the Crimson Acolytes's Thousand Ants Stance allows them to cause enemies they have successfully Tripped to become flat-footed until the start of their next turn. But prone already makes someone flat-footed. Is there an edge case that I'm missing here?

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GM Hmm wrote:
By the way, what is the name of your server, Ruzza?

Only if you promise not to laugh! It's called "Play By Post Massive," which really started off as a little tongue-in-cheek name, but we've got four GMs and around 20-some players now over six concurrent games, so we're getting there!

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Tyranius wrote:
What is your Discord ID so that I can get them in contact with you?

Certainly, I'm "Azzur#1059" Always pleased to learn more about this!

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Oh, excellent! This is fantastic information, thank you so much!

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HMM, so nice to get a response for an all-around fantastic poster. Thank you so much for the thoughtful response and for pointing more towards Johan Compton's post. I'm actually surprised that I could apply GM credit to the same character, but thinking about it, it certainly does make sense!

I'll just quietly scrap these plans for my Int-based Recall Knowledge Fighter (more to protect my own sanity than anything else, haha).

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Hello! I run a small, but growing Play-By-Post Discord server that's been gaining new players and GMs recently. As we explore new modes of play, the question has arisen of, "What do we need to run PFS in the Play-By-Post format here?"

I've done some digging around on these forums and got a few answers, but I still have more. If anyone knows the answers or can point me in the direction of where I can find them, that would be great! I have some experience as both a player and GM in organized play, but there's still several gaps in my knowledge.

I know that players must show proof (bring the book) that they have access to the options their character is using, but how required is that for something done at a virtual table?

This is something that I've wondered about ever since playing PFS online during Paizocon. I'm not certain how necessary the check has been in the past, as even when I played in person, it rarely came up. That said, I completely understand why the rules is in place. I just want to know if it is a hard rule, how I would go about enforcing it.

As a GM, how many games could I run simultaneously?

This question seems a bit reaching, I'll admit, and also only really arises in relation to Play-By-Post games. While I recognize that the rules prohibit a singular character playing multiple games at once -

Organized Play Guide wrote:
A character can only take part in one adventure at a time. From the time the character begins an adventure, to the time Chronicles are issued, that character cannot be involved in any other adventure. Characters engaged in play-by-post are considered busy and may not be used in another game while the play-by-post is running.

-it does seem that a GM could run multiple games while applying credit to separate characters. I just want to make sure that this is possible before I start opening games that may not be on the "up an up" so to speak.

Those are really my burning questions right now. I've spent a few weeks now making sure I've got all my ideas in order, though I can't help but feel as though I'm forgetting something. If you have any thoughts about something I should keep in mind, please let me know!

(And the server should be ready for PbP PFS games in about a month or so while we wait for other GMs to finish up their games for those potentially interested.)


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Val'bryn2 wrote:
Unfortunately not Australian, so probably not. My frustration is that, after trying to raise $50,000 for the project they managed to get over $500,000, and all we have to show for that is 4 pictures, and the longer this drags out, the more likely they are to throw up their hands and say "oh well, we tried", and leave us with nothing to show for it.

I'm not sure what exactly seems to be the problem? There have been delays in the middle of a global pandemic that no one could have predicted. James Jacobs and the team have been very transparent about, uh, everything however. Are you not seeing the same updates here that I'm seeing with the extensive amount of work done? I'm personally a big fan of the September update preview giving us a little taste of what's to come.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Yeah, it'd be cool to have a guide for each class, though. Maybe a few pointers on what to add, advice on how best to adapt it for different CRs/types of monsters, etc.

Would the Class Road Maps from the Gamemastery Guide help you in this regard?


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:

I don't know if this exists or not, so this may be a short-lived gripe, but I wish there were rules for giving monsters abilities as if they were PCs.

No, I don't mean building NPCs with class levels from scratch. I mean more, like, "templates", which I'm given to understand no longer exist. Like, being able to add on a template to a blink dog to give it a pre-set cleric feat and list of cleric spells. An "artificial" NPC-with-class-levels.

I don't know how this would work, but it would be a neat thing to work out how to homebrew. It could help restore some of that "the PCs are just ordinary badasses following the same rules as everyone else" vibe.

This feels already pretty easy to do by just adding in the ability and keeping numbers appropriate to the monster level. Action economy solves a lot of problems of "on use" abilities which covers most everything that spells and class feats would bring. Something passive like sneak attack would likely cause a bit of pause as a glut of them could just end up being math enhancers that make the math go wonky (I think you could toss a limited sneak attack, like 1d4, onto a creature without worrying too much about adjusting levels).


aobst128 wrote:
It's got one thing going for it at its base, it's the only monk stance I'm aware of that allows you to use your abilities with both melee and ranged strikes. They just have to be from guns. that's got some value I guess.

Again, Monastic Archer Stance does this and it's hard to overstate just how valuable it is to have a character operate well in both the melee and ranged space like these playstyles do. While Brawling Focus may seem out of place from the ranged portion, it still functions well for the melee side of things. A fighter or even gunslinger who takes Bullet Dancer may want to have access to the critical specialization without additional hoops.

I'm not sure what the problem seems to be? If it's thematics, it's something you should see in play as gunplay ends up being an option rather than your singular focus. If it's optimization, you should take into account other classes gaining access to the dedication.


One of the benefits of monk builds that enable other weapons to interact with their monk abilities is the ability to easily switch-hit. While I don't have a Bullet Dancer, I do have a monastic archer in my games who frequently drops out of stance to crack off some flurries in melee (as the flat bonus to damage tends to be better) before dancing away and falling back into their stance.

Brawling Focus, as a monk class feat already, instead gives incentive for other classes to step into this playstyle.


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burnout02 wrote:
I'm certainly not trying to make a political or social statement, too.

Take a look at the people coming out to support what you're asking for and then say these words again out loud. Also, you really missed the point of slavery not just being evil for the owner or slaver, but literally the entire system of people that it allow it to happen, even without their direct involvement. Not only that, but this isn't the fun "orc in a 10 by 10 room" villain so much as it is an existing horror for many people.

This is the same line of thought as, "Why don't we have our wedding at a plantation? It doesn't bother me. It's in the past! Why are you upset?"


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Not to engage with the guy with two posts who has never had a presence on the forums until this very thread, but...

No one is forcing anything. Quite the opposite? Literally Erik Mona has come out and said, "Wow, yes, this is bad and we're doing away with it," and suddenly it should be kept because...?

It gets so exhausting to hear, "Ah, yes, but you play games with killing in them, but you don't want slavery in them?" as if the general population (in western cultures) isn't still dealing with the fallout of slavery and the systems left in place that marginalized large swaths of people. You should also catch up with many of the evils that you have brought up are also not in print material anymore because of it's ties with real world issues that players contend with.

Fiction is fiction, but not everyone signs up to suddenly get thrown into a nightmare because they wanted to play the make-believe storytelling game with their friends.


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burnout02 wrote:
Please don’t take away the stuff that makes your game interesting for fear of ‘giving offense’ where none is taken.

I also just have to note here that this isn't an issue where one freelancer has spoken out, but rather something that has come up again and again. That you don't take offense doesn't mean that it isn't offensive. That's just such an unbelievably narrow viewpoint that boggles the mind.


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Long time fan here as well and not moving forward with slavery existing in Golarion is not just fine by me, but a welcome change. Slavery isn't a "bad thing" that happens. It isn't even death. It's a horrible generation destroying abuse that commodifies life and should never be treated as anything other than a nightmarish thoughtless tragedy; repugnant fails to grasp the magnitude. It isn't "a tool of the baddies," when they are taking slaves to sell to someone. Markets exist for them, and when you start breaking down every person involved from slaver to merchant to town officials sanctioning it to buyers to even citizens at the market giving tacit approval through their inaction... it becomes a lot harder to say, "Well, it's only to demonstrate how evil the bad guys really are."

Don't let me or anyone else stop you from putting whatever you want in your games. But at the same time, there's a very strong reason why slavery is going the way of the chainmail bikini and damsels in distress.

EDIT: I mean, there are a million and a half ways to demonstrate that someone is evil! If you need "owns another person" to be that defining character trait, than that's laziness - especially when the issue was how wide-spread and accepted slavery has been throughout the setting.


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Errant Mercenary wrote:

I posted a question to the Strength of Thousands AP which has gotten no response (I miss the days of a more engaged AP forum discussion..I think we lost something transitioning -disclaimer I am in love with PF2).

"I am wondering how people's groups are holding up after going through:
7 Brutes, 4 Jailers, 1 Priest, 1 Warden, 1 cyclop bbeg, 1 golgopo, 1 great cyclops, 3 cyclop brutes, and a gogieth, in a single connected dungeon."

Not to sidetrack this conversation, but this getting a slow response might be due in part to that particular portion being a bit deeper into the AP. I know that I started running SoT when the second book came out and we're still on chapter two of the first book.


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I try not to make these sorts of posts often, but I would like to gush about how AV has treated my group and I so far. For background, my group is an interesting mix of players - one who has played with me since the playtest, a former 5e player, and two complete newcomers (one of which who seems deadset on breaking the system by making the worst choices possible for a character - scythe wielding evoker with summoner dedication and using spell slots only on spells that I specifically didn't recommend). It's been a treat.

The exploration of the first floor went well enough, with the players mostly treating the mites as harmless distractions and promising to work with them to take out the morlock threat below. After a failed expedition into the river drake's lair, the party had a new threat that they lived in fear of. I turned it into a "random encounter" that stalked the swamps, so they made trips back to town infrequently for fear of the thing. They had two skirmishes with it, with them retreating from one, and it retreating from the other. It was a real threat.

After fighting off the vampiric mist, saving Otari from the risen dead, and reclaiming the old fishery (I'm tossing some Trouble in Otari bits in here, and giving them a home base seemed useful), the group had a discussion. They knew that Nhimbaloth worried them - despite knowing very little about her - and that the idea of going deeper into the dungeon terrified them after a foray into Volluk's old laboratory (and a subsequent screaming escape from the bloodsiphon). However, Brelda Venkervale's arrival at their half-cleaned base prompted them to explore further. In the words of the wizard, "How much bigger could it be?" What followed was a fantastic session.

First, the party was ambushed by the drake once more as they crossed the swamps. Now, level 2, however, they made short work of their hated rival, which gave them the confidence boost they needed. Without bogging this post down with all the little things, they met with the morlocks peacefully, utterly planning to double-cross them, vowed to stop the Cult of the Canker before doubling back and instead avoiding the morlock tribe as they carefully mapped out the second floor. I mean it, they were drawing out maps at the table and carefully noting everything - just like the old days! Our session ended with the group discovering the purple worm and Gauntlight's power source, which was a major moment for the players realizing that things were so much bigger than they assumed and that they were likely getting in over their heads.

Fantastic game so far and there is so much material to pull from to make everything really come to life!


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I'm with Squiggit here in that I always introduce AoA as the "classic" AP in terms of traveling the world, collecting artifacts, defending communities from harm, all while delving through dungeons and fighting dragons.

I'm not sure what the OP is looking for in an AP. Everything is going to have the Golarion touch which has added a lot of depth to my games. Even pre-Golarion, Paizo APs would be considered fairly "out there" with the old Dungeon magazines.

Also, a note on using "exotic" as a word to be "different from my expected norm" and why people may not be reacting to it well. You seem to have a very definied norm, which is fine. However, there's been a push not only in games, but in general, to amplify marginalized voices and put a spotlight on cultures that aren't centered on the western image that is everywhere in pop culture. We've gotten to see a lot of this in the newer APs, so I can see how your word choice can be drawing you some ire.


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thejeff wrote:
Golurkcanfly wrote:
Errant Mercenary wrote:

Slighty tangential to Pathfinder 2:

They should have made the Wrath of the Righetous computer game in Pathfinder 2 rues. A waste to not have a bunch of players learn the system through crpgs (as many might have done with dnd/Baldurs Gate/NWN). Hope the next is.

While I agree that a 2e CRPG would have been most preferable, it is a bit awkward to use WOTR for it because there's no basis for how Mythic is supposed to work in PF2e. Would it be improved Hero Point options + Mythic Archetypes (my homebrew solution), fast XP gain + epic levels, a secondary level track that increases numbers alongside the main level track, or something else entirely?

Also Owlcat seems dead set on RTwP gameplay, which might be a little awkward for 2e. Not sure why they choose to prioritize it, but that's how it is.

It's also using basically the engine that that they'd made for Kingmaker, right? Probably would have been a good deal more work to change for the new rules set.

It's pretty much this. They had an engine in PF1 and they also began work on WotR before PF2 was announced. It would have been a huge setback to their development time and would have been no doubt costly to switch gears so suddenly (and I believe WotR was close to completion by the time PF2 released). I also wouldn't be surprised if we saw a third entry in the series just to get the most out of the engine.


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It's been brought up before, but multiclassing was the first thing I recoiled at when I got my playtest book. I think I mentally vowed not to touch it until maybe midway through the playtest period and fell in love. We're two years on now and plenty of dedications now fill in that niche of "I want to be a fighter, but one who does this," but multiclassing still holds up.

I came in expecting PF1 level dips and optimized frustration and left with the ability to create my own personal mark on the character. During the playtest I made a Red Mantis out of fighter with rogue and cleric dedications, a "ninja" with monk and rogue, and my mini-theurge with wizard and cleric. I'm now firmly in GMing territory, but I had fun exploring the options.


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Kobold Catgirl wrote:
If a game system requires a third-party any app to run smoothly, that's a design flaw. :P

As someone who recommends Pathbuilder to players who aren't grokking the ABC character creation, "requires" is doing a lot of heavy lifting in this sentence. I think much like visual learners differ from more hands-on learners, Pathbuilder serves people well who need all of that information placed in front of them.

I think I'm the only member of my table group who doesn't use it because it makes the entire process more tedious for me. Again, probably with how people process information differently.


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You're looking for the first edition rules forum. Someone here may know the answer, though.


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I think this is a very big and broad question, with numerous answers. When reflavoring (anything), I feel like it helps to think in terms of categories. Like...

Theme: Like you mentioned with a "warrior of the sea," having thematic equipment. Your spear was an old harpoon. A nomadic warrior has collapsible for ease of travel. The fur-lined armor of people in colder climes.

History: Your equipment speaks to your history. You use a walking staff that has the height chart of your family members. Your belt was woven when you first left home from the local forest. You still wear your mother's sun-shaped shield strapped at your hip, even as a wizard.

Organization: You wear the gear of your organization, even if you're no longer a member. An ex-signifier who keeps the cowl, but not the mask of their armor. An Iomeadean with their sword shaped like their goddess's. Or even a hardened mercenary who dares to paint their armor red and foolishly call themselves a Red Mantis.


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Paizo forums, why does it only take a poorly worded "poll" from an in-and-out poster to turn you into this again? There's a reason this exact thing got laughed off Reddit and the OP pulled everything and ran. Why is it that this forum is ao easy to bait into a flame war?


pauljathome wrote:
Ascalaphus wrote:

I think PF2 did a smashing job of making L1 fun among all classes.

There are a LOT of characters who really only become viable at level 2 or even level 3 (eg, a wizard who wants to wade into melee).

*laughs in orcish staff nexus transmuter*

Edit: To expound on that, a Hold-Scarred Orc with 16 Str, 16 Con would be sitting pretty with 21 HP and Diehard along with Orc Ferocity. Sure, we have 12/14 Int, but we're fight-zards! Even lacking in proficiency, we can grab splint mail to bump our AC up to 16 (if we've got 12 Dex). Keep jump in the ol' d8 staff (not as useful at level 1, moreso later on) and magic weapon ready to roll. Now we've got two encounters with a 2d8+3 swing (thank you arcane bond for the recharge) and we can hurl ourselves bodily out of combat (or into flanking) if things get dicey with our stored jump. Not to mention we have physical boost up in every combat to drop a hand and get to Tripping and Grabbing opponents.

I dunno, sounds fun to me!


Personally, all characters feel fun from level one, but my caveat is that it comes down to how you use the character.

While a monk may dance between Athletics actions and stance strikes, they've also got the action economy to let them set up flanking or even just dart away from enemies. Wizards may not look exciting at the outset, but an evoker who tosses out a Force Bolt before Jumping away and Recalling Knowledge has an interesting turn as well. Rogues who are constantly Distracting, Hiding, and Sneak Attacking also make for interesting level one characters.

As for me, I'm currently playing a character that interests me, though it may be familiar for many posters here. As a battle-ready orc battle oracle, I have a number of action available to me on any given turn, which lets me approach each combat differently. I can take to the front-lines with my bastard sword and shield, playing as a martial (even buffing up with a bless if need be) or drop the shield to switch to a more aggressive two-handed style (or just use the free hand for Athletics maneuvers). I've also go the zeal domain power to get more aggressive and let my moderate curse keep me from getting too beat up. I've also got Intimidating Glare at level one from the heritage, so I can do my own share of non-magical debuffing for both myself and my team. And if need be, my Charisma is high enough to Feint an opponent for a quick hit.


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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
I made a comment, I did not ask a question. There is a difference between the two types of sentences.

My bad, being pedantic and generally feigning ignorance about their posts is seen as charming and quaint.


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aobst128 wrote:
Guntermench wrote:
They aren't going to get master in anything martial without cutting back casting significantly, and that's not going to come from a doctrine.
Could come from a wave casting class archetype that's tied to this specific doctrine.

That seems like a bigger overhaul than a class archetype can handle. If it's going to be a wave casting dedication, it's more likely to go to a class that already has wave casting, I feel. A magus that gets a class archetype for divine casting, for instance, though that's a bad idea on its face for the lack of spell attack spells that divine brings to the table.

If the ask is master weapon proficiency and expert spell casting, divine is a really tricky spell list to put that on, and wave casting may be the answer (limit the number of spell slots that just work off of your main schtick). However, I feel like if we're going to see that, it'll be in a new class like the inquisitior (personally, I hope not, as I'd like to see the inquisitior get divested from spellcasting like the ranger and champion have; but I may be in the minority there).

EDIT: I, personally, like the warpriest's current niche. That's not to say that everyone does. But I don't think the fix is to "patch" it with errata or even an archetype, and certainly not a doctrine that's just "warpriest but fightier." I think what would give the doctrine more oomph is some class feats specific to the doctrine. Right now, there are plenty of shield-focused feats, but that neglects so many other builds and playstyles. If another divine book makes its way down the pipeline, I feel like this would be a great way to add in a few more feats to give warpriest some presents.


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As everyone knows, bolding is incredibly rude. However, asking the same question over and over after it's been answered multiple times is seen as charming and quaint.


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Terevalis Unctio of House Mysti wrote:
kc, I am assuming your good intent, but please, don't bold responses, it is rude.

????


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Ascalaphus wrote:

So what exactly do you want to do with your divine magic?

- Attack enemies? Because then you can't really downgrade casting proficiency

- Heal? Then you don't want to give up Divine Font

- Heal conditions? Then again you want to keep casting proficiency high for those counteract checks.

- Buff? That could work, you can afford to take a lot less casting proficiency if you know most spells are going to be inward-focused.

When asking about how much design space there is, you need to look at what you can afford to give up to make room. And that depends on what exactly you want to do.

This is pretty much how I feel. Like if the goal is a martial with divine casting (i.e. Master weapon proficiency/armor proficiency), I think you'd be hard-pressed to compare the divine spell list to the arcane spell list in terms of requiring spellcasting proficiency. We've already got warpriests dropping Wisdom and Oracles dropping Charisma because the DCs matter so little for some of the best divine spells for martials.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be a divine martial, but I think that the divine spell list is trickier than it looks.


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CrimsonKnight wrote:

Let's try looking at it another way. Instead of a more melee warpreast, a Devine magus or a holy barbarian.

They rage I mean enter a spiritual trance give them alignment or positive/negative bonus damage Instead of a dragon barbarian element damage. Instead of turning into a dragon they gain attributes and eventually shape of an appropriate being.
Please pardon the pun. The get possessed by a holy spirit.

Is this not battle-mystery oracle?


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keftiu wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

As a reminder: report, screenshot, and email.

Let's try and keep these forums from turning into a place for hatred.

The best antidote to this is banning those who give voice to hatred.

It would go a long way to getting people back to these forums, especially newer players who have recently discovered PF2. I can definitely say that most of my player group refuse to interact with the forums because of what they have become. A real shame given the errata, ruling advice, and occasional good interaction.


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As a reminder: report, screenshot, and email.

Let's try and keep these forums from turning into a place for hatred.


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I have a warpriest player now and played one for the early few levels of AV and the complaints about them always seem to come from a theoretical space. They definitely require a different build and playstyle than a cloistered cleric, but it's one that works, especially if you're in a group that requires another frontliner as well as a touch of support.

That's not to say I wouldn't like to see more cleric doctrines, but I don't think that warpriest is a good rationale for needing one.


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Zilvar2k11 wrote:

Before the thread got derailed with yet-another 'why was that a severe encounter' rant, the actual request from the op was to be aware of the bounded save ranges and not put stuff in that players need to roll 19's just to pass.

'So please take these new ranges into account when coming up with DCs.'

That's not a system complaint. That's an editorial complaint.

Well, the "coming up with DCs" is a system complaint. And I addressed this earlier. I don't think it's strange to respond to the thread chronologically. The topic has shifted to "what could be done about this," to which the answers are abundant.


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First off, elitism is not telling people to know their group. It's good advice for anyone in any game group - whether it be Pathfinder, 5e, or even a game of poker. Secondly, there are a tremendous amount of resources for new GMs, even if they only have the Core book to pull from, that tell you what you can do with limited time to prep and if players are struggling. If asking the person running the game to read the rulebook is too much, then I don't know what you want.

Beyond that, there's the Gamemastery Guide, Beginners Box/Trouble In Otari, not to mention countless and countless number of general GM guides out there. None of what SuperBidi has mentioned is particular to PF2.

I agree that PF2 is just a game, but it's one that does require knowledge of the rules to play (as many games do). Not super high-level knowledge, not read every book cover to cover knowledge, but at least the part where the GM understands that they're cooperating with the group to have a good time. Like the craziest thing about all of this is, I don't necessarily disagree that authors should take care with their encounters. Recent evidence has shown that encounters have been dialed back quite significantly from AoA and EC. I just disagree that this is a system problem.


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I don't know what to tell you? I'm sure we would all love for each module to get 10+ devoted groups of varying playstyles, party comps, and desires to playtest them, but it really isn't feasible with the turnover that APs have. Even if Paizo moved to once a year APs with books coming out every other month, that's a lot of work.

APs are, by and large, easier to run out of the box for many people. Modules like The Slithering or Malevolence, I would argue, are even easier as they don't presume a long running game with all the bits and bobs that a group picks up along the way. But Paizo writers don't know your group. The encounter building guidelines work, they really do. If a writer wants to include a difficult fight, then a single level + 2 enemy will be that fight. The problem arose in the first few APs (I honestly think it was better by the time of AoE, but people tend to disagree) when we had an over abundance of Severe fights. Some groups are into that, but by and large the advice has become "modify the early APs," even slightly.

But my point is that GMs should always be adjusting their games for the enjoyment of everyone at the table. And this gets repeated over and over again because it is sort of our job to run the game in an enjoyable fashion. If you have a group that enjoys a tough fight, you scale things up. If you have a group who won't compromise their roleplaying for what might be a stronger tactical choice, a GM should reward that (Hero Points even give you a tool to do this). So, yeah, absolutely GMs should adjust APs as they play just as they should adjust their games constantly because they know their players better than any Paizo writer ever will.

EDIT: Again, this isn't something onerous being put upon GMs. This is written in the rules how to adjust encounters, how to prep pre-written adventures, and how to run the game for your group. It's something that goes along with playing the game.


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Verdyn wrote:
Paizo has opened a can of worms with how they chose to give us firearms and their lore justification for why they reload as swiftly as they do. It seems only logical that a highly intelligent inventor could take them to their real-world extremes.

Fun story, I had a player in my RotR game who knew enough about guns to carefully explain to me that his character would make a machine gun. In fairness, he had a very intelligent character with plenty of points in (and I kid you not, he wrote in on his sheet) Craft: Gun.

This isn't an unusual question and it's one that I feel every GM gets at some point in their career: "X items and Y items exist in this universe, so why can't I use them to make Z?" And the answer to that will likely vary from GM to GM. That's why you're not going to get a singular answer to this question. Some GMs might work with their player to homebrew something. Others might call that strict metagaming and tell the player that it's not going to happen. Others will give full creative control over to the player.

Me? I think this question isn't new and that this should really be moved over to homebrew or advice.


Zilvar2k11 wrote:
Ruzza wrote:


Core Rulebook pg 486 wrote:
Changing the details of an adventure to suit your group isn’t just acceptable, it’s preferred! Use the backstories and predilections of the player characters to inform how you change the adventure. This can mean altering adversaries so they’re linked to the player characters, changing the setting to a place some of the player characters are from, or excising particular scenes if you know they won’t appeal to your players.
I'm not saying that APs require more work, as they clearly require less than building everything from scratch. But the assumption that you don't prep or tailor these games to your group is one that is thrown entirely out the window. I would argue that GMs not altering the game in any way are those looking to challenge their players as a form of "module purity," which is really down to GM playstyle, but not one that APs are written for.

None of the changes that you listed from that quote are mechanical. One and all they are narrative. Perhaps you have another quote that isn't rule0 that says something about being wary of published adventures because they lean on 'cram as much XP into as small a package as possible to save on page count' and you might have to tweak things after your party starts looking at you funny when you still hit on a 1?

(/sarcasm)

I'm convinced now that no one is using sarcasm correctly. That said, you can have a bleak outlook about modules and page count, but it has always come down to your group. Always. If your group feels numbers are too high, that's up to the GM to adjudicate. The issue is that the OP had everything go... right? By the book, everything happened as it should have. It was a severe encounter, one that was difficult, but had no deaths. I'm not saying it wasn't frustrating, but that's a player-facing issue ("I don't enjoy playing in a way that requires this level of awareness.") and not a problem with monster math or the encounter math.

Boy, and as always, not every system is for everyone. Plenty of us enjoy the crunchy bits of PF2. PF1 hasn't gone anywhere and I would be staggered if anyone has actually gotten through the backlog of APs. I can fully say that if my group wasn't keen on PF2, I would either adjust the numbers myself or run a different system. I say this as a GM who ended up running 4e for 2+ years for a group that hated 3.5/PF1 for its crunch.


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VampByDay wrote:
Also, not for nothing, but no, we DID NOT decide that it was not the fault of the CR system and it was all dice and the tactics. YOU did. Several people have agreed that many monsters don’t scale well, especially at low level where PCs have very limited resources. At level 4 a caster PC is expected to have 6 spells (8 for a sorcerer) plus their cantrips, and martials should have a +1 striking weapon. At level 2? 3 spells and no striking weapon, that is literally half the resources, damage potential, and, ALMOST half the hit points (racial hit points being the reason for almost, so I guess roughly around 3/5ths the HP depending on race/class?). Heck, for casters that is MORE than half the resources because a level 2 spell is more powerful than a level 1 spell.

I never said that the fault was dice and tactics. You had the exact outcome of a severe outcome. Again (and I know I'm doing this a lot, but I prefer to have solid examples to point to) the Core Rulebook states this outright.

Core Rulebook pg 488 wrote:
Severe-threat encounters are the hardest encounters most groups of characters can consistently defeat. These encounters are most appropriate for important moments in your story, such as confronting a final boss. Bad luck, poor tactics, or a lack of resources due to prior encounters can easily turn a severe-threat encounter against the characters, and a wise group keeps the option to disengage open.

You have a very challenging encounter, which is the encounter system working as intended. As for me not deciding that encounter building is perfect, I agree! That said, many of us here play multiple games - some more crunchy than PF2, some more freeform. But among the crunchiest titles I play, I would be hard-pressed to find an encounter building system that works better than PF2. Very much a personal opinion, but I think it's one that's fairly well embraced. I could be wrong.

VampByDay wrote:
If, IF we had been level 4, bard could have cast Inner radiance torrent from outside the barn for 8d4 x1.5 damage against the swarm and it would have been all over. But we didn’t have that option because we didn’t have access to those resources because we were broke and level 2. Some monsters don’t scale well at low levels, and I don’t see why that is so hard to accept.

I'm going to need you define the word "scale" here because it feels like you're applying it very broadly or in a very strange way. Yes, a level 4 team versus a level 4 creature would have an easy, almost trivial encounter. I think what you mean to say is that your group had a bad match-up against the swarm. A cleric tossing out a harm, a wizard who can retreat and prepare burning hands, or even just an alchemist makes the fight easier - difficult, but still easy. I enjoy when my groups' parties get challenged in ways that they have to think about and adapt to, so I like when modules introduce elements that I don't traditionally think to use. I believe this is because modules are written with a variety of party compositions in mind, not just the one that happens to be popular or easiest. Swarms (especially at low levels) are scary for many classes, but as you can clearly see yourself, even unprepared and with an adversarial GM (from the sounds of things) they aren't impossible.

It's just a severely difficult challenge.


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PrismaticPandaBear wrote:
Ruzza wrote:
I don't think that there really is any TTRPG where I'd recommend running it straight from the page with no deviation. That's sort of rule zero in every game. That said, for new GMs, the Beginner Box and the Trouble in Otari module are fantastic introductions to GMing as well as being very hand-holding for learners.

I'm gunna have to disagree here. Paizo chooses to produce their APs in such a way that makes play testing them difficult at best. But that is not the only way that it's done.

My personal expectation, that I have brought from playing almost 2 decades of 3.5, is that official modules ought to be playable right out of the box. I think it's reasonable for DMs to familiarize themselves with the module, but I don't think it's reasonable for them to figure out if it's balanced or will play well.

I mean, this isn't just a "my opinion" thing, it's in the Core Rulebook.

Core Rulebook pg 486 wrote:
Changing the details of an adventure to suit your group isn’t just acceptable, it’s preferred! Use the backstories and predilections of the player characters to inform how you change the adventure. This can mean altering adversaries so they’re linked to the player characters, changing the setting to a place some of the player characters are from, or excising particular scenes if you know they won’t appeal to your players.

I'm not saying that APs require more work, as they clearly require less than building everything from scratch. But the assumption that you don't prep or tailor these games to your group is one that is thrown entirely out the window. I would argue that GMs not altering the game in any way are those looking to challenge their players as a form of "module purity," which is really down to GM playstyle, but not one that APs are written for.

Also, come on, man. No need to list years playing over various systems. This is the Paizo forums, most of us here have been playing for a very long time. We are not the young, hip forums. We are the old grognards.


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dmerceless wrote:
Garulo wrote:
Correct, this game assumes you have a well-versed GM at all times. APs should not be viewed as an "out of the box" adventure that beginning GMs run. They are story ideas and nothing more. That is the problem with Society play since it assumes that all scenarios and APs are out of the box ready
I mean, if APs aren't meant to be out of the box things new GMs can run, then what should fill that role? Homebrew adventures? It's hard to come up with one when you barely know what you're doing. Mind, I don't disagree that this is the current situation. It is. But I don't think it should be. It's like if BMX bikes had training wheels but kids bikes didn't.

I don't think that there really is any TTRPG where I'd recommend running it straight from the page with no deviation. That's sort of rule zero in every game. That said, for new GMs, the Beginner Box and the Trouble in Otari module are fantastic introductions to GMing as well as being very hand-holding for learners.

Edit: The things that many posters are noting here aren't "secret advanced GM tricks" that are discussed in back alleys. You can find this sort of advice in the Core Rulebook. While I don't advocate for everyone to read every page of the rules, I would hope that GMs would at least read the Gamemastery chapter.


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Garulo wrote:
And thus it has been spoken - There are no problems with AP design or the CR system, there is only astronomically bad die rolls or horrendous tactics. Of course while there has been ample discussion that many monsters have cliff scalability (relatively normal challenge at level but become virtual tpk machines at lvl+2 due to abilities), it is expected that all GMs will know this and immediately compensate for it (it is part of the game assumptions after all)

Unironically, yes? Early APs had rough edges (which has been discussed to death), and encounter building is very spot on. Level + 2 monsters tend to be quite powerful because a single one represents a "moderate or severe threat boss" with early levels edging towards severe just because of the lack of options available to those characters. Something the Core Rulebook outright states is...

Core Rulebook page 488 wrote:
These (Severe) encounters are most appropriate for important moments in your story, such as confronting a final boss. Bad luck, poor tactics, or a lack of resources due to prior encounters can easily turn a severe-threat encounter against the characters, and a wise group keeps the option to disengage open.

And I think it is very much a part of the game assumption for GMs to be the arbiter of the game, yes. So, yes, thank you for the good post that summed up the thread quite well!


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Ascalaphus wrote:
Totally Not Gorbacz wrote:
Tristan d'Ambrosius wrote:

Writer:

"Gee, I guess I better playtest that."

1st attempt
"Yep a moderate encounter"

2nd attempt
"Little more Severe than Moderate"

3rd attempt
"Wow they turned that into a cakewalk, maybe the wasp swarm is too weak"

4th attempt
"Yeesh, sorry about the TPK guys"

5th attempt
"Moderate again"

Paizo adventure writers don't playtest adventures. If they were to do so, more time, more money. You ready to pay/wait?
Yes. I've done enough playtesting (for my own and others) and seen the before/after to know that bad bad things would have gotten printed otherwise.

I believe that it's very much on record that APs don't get playtested, which makes sense given the monthly nature of their release and the time investment it takes to play them. I also believe that devs are on the side of "please modify these to suit your games," often pointing to the very robust rules for doing so.


aobst128 wrote:
Explode is very good for construct, but you would have to fall back on strikes with yourself and your construct once you run out of unstable uses. What else would you be doing?

How long do your combat encounters usually last? I find that 3 to 4 rounds seems to be the norm. A turn getting into position/setting up, a turn Exploding (likely triggering the unstable)... after that having Overdrive on hand, and still having a decent companion isn't bad, I feel. That said, I don't have an inventor in any of my games, but I don't think that unstable is the limiter it appears to be given how quick combats typically are.


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The Raven Black wrote:
Ruzza wrote:

I think that "authors should be more mindful with encounter design" is an easier ask than "monster math should be recalculated." That said, I believe that many modules and APs are handled by freelancers who may have different ideas of encounter difficulty and monster knowledge (it might not always be to the fore of everyone's mind that a will-o'-the-wisp could potentially be thrown up against a group who have very few ways to detect it, for example). On top of that, the newer modules seem to be handling this much better than the earlier ones. Strength of Thousands, for instance, seems to have hit that sweet spot for many of my players.

I also think that it's always going to be a bit difficult to fully catch every problematic encounter versus match-up. As always, a good GM skill to have is to be able to adjust and accomodate your games so that everyone has a good time, even if that means slapping a weak trait on a tough fight or even redesigning one that doesn't feel fair versus your group.

The GM here was making things unduly hard compared to how the encounter was written.

I just want to note that I don't disagree. A GM ruling against the players when the odds are already stacked against them can turn Severe encounters into Extreme ones, especially if players go in expecting the rules to function normally (like windows being able to be looked through). I disagree with the OP's general premise that this would require monster numbers to be rebalanced.


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Deriven Firelion wrote:
I think they have been getting better with encounter design. But as far as swarms go, I think players should be willing to run if they don't have the AoE to deal with it. Swarms can be nasty to the unprepared. You have to take off if you're not ready.

I agree that regroup and reassess should be in everyone's toolkit regardless of play experience. I know that not many people play with that in mind, but in a game with prepared casters and the ability to swap out relevant talismans, it should be more commonplace.


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I think that "authors should be more mindful with encounter design" is an easier ask than "monster math should be recalculated." That said, I believe that many modules and APs are handled by freelancers who may have different ideas of encounter difficulty and monster knowledge (it might not always be to the fore of everyone's mind that a will-o'-the-wisp could potentially be thrown up against a group who have very few ways to detect it, for example). On top of that, the newer modules seem to be handling this much better than the earlier ones. Strength of Thousands, for instance, seems to have hit that sweet spot for many of my players.

I also think that it's always going to be a bit difficult to fully catch every problematic encounter versus match-up. As always, a good GM skill to have is to be able to adjust and accomodate your games so that everyone has a good time, even if that means slapping a weak trait on a tough fight or even redesigning one that doesn't feel fair versus your group.


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Angel Hunter D wrote:
As for what GM would say that - any PFS GM, the vast majority of GMs I've played with.

PFS GM here (it really isn't the elite club people seem to make it out to be, just volunteer at your LGS), what are you talking about?

"I'd like to kick the ball."

"Yeah, okay."

No GM I have ever met would ever say you can't kick a ball, this includes PFS GMs. Do you think we get dragged out back and shot if we miss a rule or - most damning of all - not play by a rule that a player thinks should be enforced at our table? (I had a very long screed on these very forums about me in PF1 because I didn't let a summoner use a wand to cast enlarge person on his eidolon.)

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