Shane Gifford of Fidelis's page

223 posts. Alias of Shane Gifford.

Goblin Squad Member

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Here it is. Good to see the new faces in the vlogs! (And I double-checked my name bolding this time. ;) )

War of Towers Vlog Transcription:
Mark: Hey, I'm Mark, I'm the CTO of Goblinworks.

Lee: I'm Lee Hammock, I'm the lead game designer, and today we're going to be talking about the War of Towers.

Mark: We were always a little concerned that our MVP plan were good - they had a good game cycle where you could fight monsters, and get gear, and do some crafting, and level up, and do a lot of the basic cycle for an MMO - but it didn't have enough of a focus on PvP and territory that really makes up Pathfinder Online.

Lee: So we've spent the last few weeks trying to figure out: how can we put a simplified version of settlement warfare [into the game] that we can get done in the time allotted, that will be fun for everybody and get the core of the system up and running, but not overly impact everything else we're trying to do?

Mark: But still, it reflects the core gameplay of Pathfinder Online. It has the territory control aspect, it has leveling up and making your settlement better and more effective for training and everything else, and it gives the players the immediate ability to do this basic PvP system.

Lee: So out of all this came the thing we're calling the War of the Towers. Day 1 of Early Enrollment there are going to be a number of towers spread out across the Early Enrollment game area. In a little bit we'll be showing you a map, and the map will be going up with the blog, so you'll be able to start strategizing immediately as to how this is going to work.

So now we're going to talk about some of the map, and the mechanics for the War of the Towers. Joining me in this is Tork Shaw, one of our designers. So first off, we've got the map, which anyone involved in the land rush will be very familiar with at this point. We've got the symbols for each of the different settlements that are claimed as of now, plus the overlay for their territory. You'll notice a lot of these black tower icons that have been added to the map. They surround the six hexes around every settlement, plus they are scattered amongst other hexes in what at first glance might look like a random pattern, but is not random.

Your tower territory does not have to be contiguous. If you're this settlement, and you want to capture that tower [on the opposite side of the map], knock yourself out, but defending that tower is going to be a little hard because that's a long way to go if somebody starts trouble up there.

Tork: So towers are actually held by companies rather than settlements. To capture a tower, a company has to go down to that location and spend a certain amount of time there in that area within the tower structure. The people who already own it can defend it by sending people into that and cutting people down or by holding people in that area themselves. Multiple companies can attack the same tower at once, but with the way the system works, the more people you have in the capture area for a longer period of time, the more points you score, and you end up with the tower at the end of that section.

Anything else?

Lee: What do towers do for settlements?

Tork: Once you've captured your towers, you use them to effectively upgrade your settlement. When you're building a settlement, or when you place your settlement, you select from a list of prebuilt settlements which will cover certain classes, or certain craft skills, or particular aspects of the game. They'll do it up to a certain level of training. Then when you capture a tower, or a company which captured a tower allies itself with you, that increases the level of training available in that settlement by a certain amount. So you'll need to capture enough towers to keep the training in your settlement at a level appropriate to the characters in your settlement.

Lee: There are going to be choices and tradeoffs. There's not a lot of the management you'll see in the final settlement system of, "We're going to upgrade this building, then upgrade this building, then upgrade this building." There's no resources involved, it's just tower control, but you do have the choice of what kind of settlement you want to have, and as you upgrade it'll get better at those things you selected.

Tork: Every tower and every settlement has a PvP window. Once a tower is affiliated with a settlement, it shares the PvP window with that settlement. A settlement's PvP window starts at nil, but for each tower your PvP window is opened slightly greater. So the more territory you own, the more vulnerable all of your territory is. But again, it is defended individually by the companies that run those particular towers, so the settlement members are not necessarily responsible for looking after all those towers at once during the entire PvP window.

When the PvP window is open, that tower can be taken again. It also means that when PvP happens in that hex it will be Reputation and consequence free, so you can kill anyone you like in that hex for the duration of the PvP window.

Goblin Squad Member

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Nice lengthy blog. Enjoy!

More Info on the Crafting System Vlog transcription:
Ryan: Hi, I'm Ryan, I'm the CEO of Goblinworks.

Stephen: And I'm Stephen, I'm a game designer at Goblinworks.

Ryan: Okay, so, today we're going to talk about the crafting system, which is one of the major system's we're adding just before we go into alpha test. I'm going to ask Steve two questions and he's going to try and explain how the system works. So, why don't you give us a quick overview of how the crafting system works.

Stephen: Okay, so it's changed a little bit since the last time we've had a blog post about it, but essentially we have three stages of crafting: we have the raw materials, the refining stuff, and the final crafted item that you can use. So each of these is sort of represented by a different group of skills. The harvesting/gathering system provides you the raw materials - you also get some from creature drops, and you'll get them from a few other places, but mostly they come in through gathering skills and your knowledge skills which let you get better loot from creatures when you're opening creature chests. Then once you've got these raw items, you can't really do anything with them until you've refined them into things like ingots, or planks, or what have you. Those are used in the final crafting system which takes those and turns them into a crafted item that you can attach to your character and do things with.

Ryan: So how do I convert the raw materials into the intermediate crafted stage?

Stephen: You're going to take them to a facility (which is what we're currently referring to the crafting or refining buildings [as]) which will be in your settlement, you can build them, you can upgrade them. There will be a few of them in the starting towns, like Thornkeep, that will probably max out into their efficiency and what things you can do there. So long term you're going to want to build them in your settlement for maximum speed and for the maximum number of recipes you can make.

Ryan: So a couple of times in blogs, we have talked about the idea that we are dividing items into these Tiers: Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3. Could you talk about what a Tier is and what the mechanics of a Tier are?

Stephen: The central feature of a Tier is a comparison of attack bonus to defense bonus. A Tier 1 character is going to have the lowest possible range of attack bonuses, the Tier 2 character is going to have the middle range, and the Tier 3 character is going to have the upper range. We've adjusted pretty much every other stat to match that. What this does is essentially divide your play into 3 distinct periods. When you're a newbie, up to about level 8, in the first month, you'll be Tier 1, you'll be using Tier 1 things. Then you'll start graduating into Tier 2 about the time you hit level 8. That [Tier 2] will take you through level 14, at which point you start using Tier 3 things, but Tier 3 things are going to be extremely expensive, so you may find yourself going back down to Tier 2, which is sort of your mid-line for everybody, and you'll only go up to Tier 3 when you have the money to risk stuff or something very important to risk it on.

Ryan: Am I going to be able to craft all three Tiers in the NPC settlements?

Stephen: Probably not. The Tier 1 stuff you will definitely be able to craft anywhere, including NPC areas. For the near future, Tier 2 [will be craftable in NPC areas], but we may start gradually weaning that away. Tier 3 you'll never be able to craft in NPC settlements. The goal is to move you into settlement crafting once you have the opportunity.

Ryan: When I'm crafting something, what is it that I do that determines if something is a Tier 1, Tier 2, or Tier 3 item?

Stephen: It comes down to materials. There are Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 materials; Tier 1 materials are incredibly common, Tier 2 materials are less common, and Tier 3 materials are extremely rare. Also for a lot of Tier 3 materials you have to go to very dangerous locations to get them, or fight very dangerous monsters to take them as salvage. Our numbers right now are that a Tier 3 item is about 1/250 as common as a Tier 1 item, so you're not just going to be slinging these around the auction house for slightly more than a Tier 1 item. So when you're crafting we've also worked to make sure Tier 1 items are always useful all the way up. So when you refine items, even at Tier 2 or Tier 3, you might need some lower Tier materials to flesh out the refined item.

Ryan: What's a refined item?

Stephen: A refined item is the middle step of crafting. This is when you've taken some raw materials and put them into a job to turn them into something that has a + value on it. You'll essentially take a bunch of iron ore and a bunch of charcoal and turn it into a steel ingot of value +0 to +5. The refining step is where you determine what that + value is, which is an important thing because when you go to the crafting system those + values translate directly into power.

Ryan: What do I do that affects the + value?

Stephen: You have to add more stuff and you have to have special recipes. When you first learn a refining [recipe], each recipe you get will be at the +0 value. So you make it at +0, if you're lucky and your skill is high enough you might occasionally get a +1 or +2 out of it, but you cannot make +3 or better with that recipe. You've got to go out into the world and you've got to find better recipes that can make the higher + value version of that item.

Ryan: Where do I get them [recipes] from?

Stephen: Creature drops initially. We might put them on various quests and stuff. We can basically put them anywhere as loot. Essentially, once you have a +3 version of an item, it is more expensive to make, it requires more materials to be used up in the crafting of it, and there's the rarity of the recipe itself, but that's the only way you can get +3 to +5 items, is by having the better recipes.

Ryan: And the + values of the intermediate materials, that's what affects the Tier of the final outcome?

Stephen: That's what affects the final upgrade value of the item. So if you want to make a longsword, just a basic steel longsword, you'll need a certain number of steel ingots, and maybe a certain number of leather strips, that you combine together to make your longsword. We'd average the + value of all these components together, so if you used a bunch of +3 ingots, it comes out as a +3 longsword. That's still a Tier 1 longsword, but it has 3 extra keywords over the +0 longsword.

Ryan: And those keywords, I would pick during the time that I'm crafting?

Stephen: Right. All of the keywords will come from a standard progression of +0 to +3, and in the long-term +4 or +5 would give you some selection options, but generally the keywords go up in a fixed progression that mirrors what the attacks that use them go up in.

Ryan: And the same applies to defense, so there's keywords for defense that affect the armor you wear.

Stephen: Those vary a little bit more. There's two different classes of keywords that straddle the line between medium and heavy armor, and light and medium armor, and cloth and light armor. So some light armor will have the lower set of keywords and some will have the heavier set of keywords, and certain [roles]' armor feats will want the lighter or heavier ones. So a ranger, which is good in light or medium armor, may want the light or medium keywords, so a ranger is actually good in certain sets of light, medium, or heavy armor, but they might not be as good in a set of light armor that's designed for a lighter class.

Ryan: How long is it going to take to craft an item?

Stephen: An item is sort of an overnight job for a lot of them. Potions and other consumables may come out really quickly, and once your skill goes up really high and your facility goes up really high that speeds up your crafting speed, but things like suits of armor usually take a day or two to be created, which will also come down as your skill goes up. If you're making something that's at the bleeding edge of your skill it can take several days for it to come out. You don't have to be online for this time, it sort of filters away in the background, but once you've queued up a days' worth of stuff you can't queue up anything else. If you queue up a suit of armor that's going to take 3 days you have to wait for it to fall under a day before you can start something else.

Ryan: So the basic process is, I assemble all the ingredients I need, and a recipe that I've got from somewhere in the world, and I go to a building in a settlement, and I start a crafting job.

Stephenb: Right, so you bring up this big window, which will have on the left a list of recipes which you can craft, in the middle it'll show you, if you pick that one what you'll need and what it's going to do. You'll click the various options on the screen, and it'll says "this needs X number of steel ingots" or "this needs Y number of pieces of leather". You click it and it'll give you a list of all those you have access to.

Ryan: So at the end, when a crafting job completes, what happens?

Stephen: In the end, when the timer runs out, it [the item] pops out into your storage location where you originally got the stuff from. Short term, it'll likely just go directly into your inventory, long term if you're crafting with the company's stuff it may go straight to the company bank, wherever it was scheduled to go to it'll pop out there. Then you'll have a finished item that someone can equip and start attacking people with.

Ryan: So when we start, because with all things in Pathfinder Online we're going to start with the minimal viable option, it'll probably go to your inventory, but over time there will be plenty of options as to where the job can deliver.

Stephen: That can be especially interesting because if you are working in several different towns, your crafting job over here is going to come out over here [same place], it's not going to show up at the safe area where you wanted to sell it. You'll have to be careful about, if I craft it here, I might not be able to get it to market, because there's not a good market in this town.

Ryan: So there could be a different value for crafting in different settlements because of the risk of transporting the goods from crafting location to settlement location.

Goblin Squad Member

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Woohoo, powered right through a second one today, which catches us up:

Gimme the Prize Vlog Transcription:
Lee: Hi, I'm lee Hammock, I'm the lead game designer on Pathfinder Online.

Bob: I'm Bob Settles, I'm the PvE designer.

Lee: So, the question we've got for this week is from Pax Shane Gifford, though several people have asked the same question: "What varieties of escalation are currently planned for early enrollment? What varieties do you want to do beyond that?"

So, quick review for folks who aren't up to date. Our world is divided up into hexes,, of which there eventually will be thousands. There will initially be dozens, then scores, then hundreds, but we'll eventually be up to thousands. A small percentage of these are referred to as monster hexes. These hexes can never be claimed by a settlement, and they hold particularly valuable resources. These hexes occasionally get infected by monsters, so a monster group will spawn up in the hex. It'll grow over time in that hex, and once it hits a certain threshold, it'll start spreading to all the other hexes. The escalation has a numerical strength in each hex it affects; that strength goes up over time based on how many hexes around it are infected. So, if you're trying to deal with an escalation cycle, you can't just go to one hex and deal with it, then go to the next hex and deal with it; you have to deal with it more holistically, because if you just try to deal with them [the hexes] one at a time you won't be able to face the whole weight of the problem.

Bob: Yes, the stronger it gets the tougher the monsters are that appear in that hex, the faster it can spread to neighboring territories. And the tougher the neighboring territories get, the more they feed back into that central territory as well.

Lee: And if you deal with the escalation cycle - if you fight it, if you beat it into submission - you can basically cause a boss to spawn in the escalation cycle who will give you huge rewards if you can go kill it. So, our monster population is dynamic across the world; if you go somewhere, there's not always going to be goblins, or bandits, or undead, depending on what escalation cycle is taking control of the area, if any.

So, the first batch of escalation cycle stuff is mainly stuff that we've pulled form the Thornkeep book.

Bob: So yeah, we've got the Ripping Chains goblin tribes, they're coming out to rebuild the Kingdom of Zog. We've got the Bonedancer goblin tribe, they're coming out to build an undead army and take over the area. The Skullbasher ogres are out to do one of their "bone boils". We've also got some bandits that are based on one of the novels that's coming out to support the Thornkeep area, so they're coming out and just robbing, pillaging the area. And we've got an undead uprising, where skeletons are coming up and over time they build up in strength, so you get stronger and stronger undead filling the area and spreading out.

Lee: We've also got, for less of a local group, we have an escalation cycle set up for Razmiran cultists who are coming to "spread the good word" of their god Razmir, and try and convert new locals to their faith.

Bob: The first batch of escalation cycles are all basically ones that, they're coming in and they're trying to spread out, and you need to bash them down before they get out of hand. Later we want to have more complicated ones where some of them are more like you're actually helping the escalation cycle, or different factions may choose to help or hinder the escalation as it advances.

Lee: One of the ones I've always wanted to try and do was have one where the escalation cycle is plague victims or refugees, where you can't beat them - if you beat them into submission, that's really evil, but you can feed them into submission, and you beat the escalation cycle by giving them food. So we're hoping long-term that our technology will allow us to do a lot of different things, as opposed to just beating the crap out of each other. Not that beating the crap out of other people is bad.

So, the second question we're doing, from Xaer: "Will you expand the starting races to ones that will use the same model/base race?"

Yes! That's low hanging fruit, and we love low hanging fruit. Making a dark elf, once you have an elf, is much easier than, say, making an aasimar or something like that that's a completely different model. Every time we do a new race that has a different body, we have to do a whole new set of animations, we have to readjust all the armor to fit on the body, so doing something that is a drastically different shape from another race is a lot of work. Doing something that is painting them a different color, maybe changing their facial features and putting some different hair on, is so much easier.

So yes, we will be doing all different flavors of elves... If there's a different flavor of a race available, we'll probably look into doing it at some point. How these come into the game, we haven't gotten that far down the line of the specifics of it, but we definitely want to do a bunch of these because, like I said, it's a very easy way for us to add a lot of variety to the game, and we love low-hanging fruit like that.

Goblin Squad Member

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Wow, I'm lazy. Better late then never, I suppose. The good news is that there isn't really any transcribing to be done on the map blog, so I can maybe catch up. :) Anyways, here it is:

The Warrior's Code Vlog Transcription:
Lee: Hi, I'm Lee Hammock, and I'm the lead game designer for Pathfinder Online.

Stephen: And I'm Stephen Cheney, also a game designer on Pathfinder Online.

Lee: "What base classes will be available in early enrollment? Are there going to be any archetypes in early enrollment? When will further classes, including prestige classes, be added? Is there a development roadmap for any of this juicy class-related goodness?"

So, for the first part, what base classes will be available for early enrollment. We're going to have the fighter, rogue, wizard, and cleric. Shortly thereafter we're going to get the aristocrat, commoner, and expert online. Well, the aristocrat's probably going to be a little later, because the aristocrat is very settlement-focused, and until we have the settlement stuff up and running the aristocrat isn't going to have a whole lot to do. The commoner is focused on professions and harvesting, and the refining of resources, and the expert is our crafter-focused class.

Then, once we get to some time in early enrollment, and those classes we're pretty happy with, then we're going to start looking at adding more of the core. Barbarian, paladin, sorcerer, and bard (to a lesser extent) are the easiest ones for us to add, so those will probably be first, and this is a place where we'll probably do some crowdforging, because for a lot of these, the difficulty in [implementing] these different classes is not that great, so we'll probably be asking the players, "Which of these do you all want us to do?" There will of course be tradeoffs and priorities that have to be set, and things of that nature, but those four classes are sort of like the next tier of classes.

Then, sometime most likely after early enrollment, once we get to open enrollment, we're going to look at bringing in the ranger, druid, and monk. Those are last because they have a lot of technical or artistic concerns that make them much more work intensive than other classes. For example, animal companions: there's a lot of AI tech. and other stuff that has to go into making animal companions work, and monks will need like a billion custom animations to make their attacks and weapons and everything look cool. So that's the plan through early enrollment, into the beginning of open enrollment.

So, second question: are there going to be any archetypes in early enrollment, which I'm going to hand to Stephen.

Stephen: So, not necessarily in the sense that you're asking. We're mining the archetypes for inspiration across the role as a whole. Each role right now has three armor feats. An armor feat is the feat you slot to take advantage of the keywords on your armor. As we pointed out before, most gear has keywords on it, as opposed to a straight power increase. You're not going to be able to put on a suit of Tier 3 armor as a low level character and get the full benefit out of it. It's going to work very similar to any armor you can wear of your own level, because you don't have the armor feat that activates the keywords.

So we've basically focused the roles in three different methods; some of the role options are fairly similar, and some of them widely diverge. For example, the fighter's choices right now for armor are Unbreakable, Dragoon, and Archer, which are inspired by the fighter archetypes. So Unbreakable is your heavy armor fighter, the Dragoon is a more mobile heavy weapon fighter, and the archer is obviously an archer.

Lee: Day 1 of early enrollment is going to be fairly limited. For example, wizards are [only] going to have Evocation and a smattering of other spells.

Stephen: Blasty stuff is very easy to do.

Lee: Blasty stuff is very easy to do. We are limited in the amount of buffs and debuffs (as those require a lot more tech) that we can do. So basically wizards are going to start out very blasty, and clerics will start out very healy, but as we go on those will get more diverse. We obviously want to have a cool width and breadth of spells, but the technical and artistic requirements of these limit us to what we can do right off the bat.

The crafting system; we're actually working on it right now. Characters are going to be running around and gathering resources; they're going to be able to refine those resources and turn those resources into items.

Stephen: The crafting classes will come in with special abilities that make you the best at crafting in the game, or the best at gathering in the game, but they're not going to preclude getting the skills unless you do those at the normal level.

Lee: So, just like a fighter can go whack on a mineral node and get resources out of it, and expert can pick up a sword and go stab people, so it's all a matter of where you want to put your points and spend your time.

Goblin Squad Member

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So, I realized today that people on the forums really like to quote the blogs, and that isn't as easy to do when the blog is a video, so I'm going to start transcribing the video blogs for easier reference; maybe somebody will find a use for this. I'm doing a little editing and a tiny bit of paraphrasing, but I'm trying to stick very closely to the original wording. Starting with the first vlog, Thunderstrike:

Thunderstrike! Vlog transcription:
Lee: Hi, my name is Lee Hammock, I'm the lead game designer at Goblinworks.

Stephen: I'm Stephen Cheney, I'm a game designer at Goblinworks.

Lee: Welcome to the first of our Goblinworks video blog "Q&A" videos. As you've probably seen on the forums, We did a post last week asking people for questions about Pathfinder Online and we're going to be answering a few of them every other week with our video blogs. So, for this week, we've chosen a question, it was actually the first question that was posed to us, posted by Sepherum, who said:

"I don't think I'm alone in wanting some more details about divine magic and abilities."

So, in our system, we have... well, in MMO's in general, equipment is often limited by slots. For example, you have a chest slot. Pathfinder tabletop does the same thing: you have armor slots, ring slots, etc. We have expanded that idea so that you have a limited number of slots for skills and abilities at a given time.

We really wanted it to be a real choice of, "What am I going to now, I've got to get my gear matched up with the abilities I have slotted (because there's interactions between those) and make sure I'm as effective as possible in the role I am shooting for."

We can start with this: do clerics have orisons?

Stephen: Yes, clerics have orisons. They use what we are currently calling a phylactery (Paizo didn't like the term so we're looking for a better one) which will essentially work similarly to a mage's wand. You will have a charge-based item that you put attacks on and you can slot it as you want. Based on things you've learned. Some of them may have a lot of restrictions, some may not.

Lee: This will effectively function as a cleric version of a weapon. If you have a longsword, you slot longsword attacks into it, if you have a rapier you slot rapier attacks into it, if you have a phylactery (name to be changed) you would slot maybe Holy Light or weak Cures and stuff like that into it.

They [orisons] cost stamina, so that means you can use them multiple times during a given fight, and you would generally be throwing them around a lot.

Stephen: But like wands and staves they use charges.

Lee: They do use charges, so you have to be careful; you can't throw them around unlimited.

Stephen: The holy symbol for clerics is equivalent to the spellbook for wizards and the trophy charm for fighters; it is their implement. So all cleric spells that are not orisons (which go on the phylactery) go into the holy symbol. There's where you'll get your Cures, and any cleric spell from tabletop that we're able to come up with an analog for goes in there if it's not super low level.

Lee: For more domain focused abilities, or things like Channel Positive/Negative Energy, those will go in other slots we have, which are either Situational slots or Utility slots. Utility slots are typically things that you will be able to use several times per fight. They consume stamina, whereas Situationals are things you'll normally use a certain number of times over a longer period because they consume power. So Channel Positive/Negative Energy are things that consume power, but they don't take up slots in your holy symbol directly.

Now Sepherum said, "I don't think I'm alone in wanting some more details about divine magic and abilities." So, talking more in a general sense about what divine magic is going to do... We need to talk really quick about another system which we haven't really talked about in public yet. We figured it's a good time to go over it because it ties into the cleric. As we discussed previously, we don't have critical hits in the way that Pathfinder tabletop does, because unpredictable damage spikes are not fun in PvP. Going from okay to dead with no choices made on your part, you didn't know anything was coming, you couldn't do anything about it, the randomness of "suddenly this guy does 3 to 4 times as much damage" isn't fun. So we didn't want to do critical hits in the same way. But we wanted to keep the concept. So the system we're working on right now is a system we call the Injury system. Every time you get a critical hit on someone, they start building up this pool of injury points. If their total number of Injury points ever becomes higher than their current hit point total they start suffering a lot of penalties.

Hit points come back every fight; we didn't want hit points to be a thing where you're constantly going back to town to heal hit points, because in an MMO having to stop and use very rare resources to heal yourself continually is not a lot of fun. But we still wanted to have an impetus that drives you back to town and forces you to make choices about if you can take this fight or not. So we've basically built up the injury system as this: over time, your injuries will build up as you get more and more critical hits, to the point that you really should get a cleric to heal you (which we'll get to in a minute) or you should get back to town and get rid of them [the injuries] in another fashion, such as hanging out in a tavern or doing something else.

Stephen: And when we previously talked about injuries, we'd conceived of them more as modular effects that came off of critical hits, sort of like other games have done, like bashed head, torn ligament, or whatever. What we realized when we were talking about that in more detail was that:

A, it was a lot of long term debuff for programming to have to track that be this huge overhead on the system, and you'd have all these debuffs stacking up in your bar that you'd have to keep track of.

B: It would be impossible for you to parse it in the heat of the moment in combat. You'd see all these injuries, you've got to mouse over them to see what they are, and it's really hard to have a lot of injuries and have each one be meaningful.

So what we're doing instead is sort of this very approachable, gameable meter so that goes up that somebody can just glance at your hit points and go, "He's about to drop below injuries, maybe as the healer I should do something about it."

Lee: Cleric really has the power to remove injury points from a character. So in the middle of a fight, the cleric has to make the tactical choice of, "If I heal that guy, I may get his hit points above his injuries and remove them [the debuffs] that way, or I can just get rid of his injuries," and after fights clerics prolong the ability for groups to stay in the field and not have to go to town to heal and stuff, because they're basically able to increase their long-term effectiveness.

We did want to make clerics so that they weren't just people who stood in the back and watched bars go up and down, because that's not really fun. Our clerics are very much like Pathfinder, they're medium armor wearers, they can probably play as a shield and mace cleric to go in and beat people up in melee combat. They're not going to be doing as much damage as the melee fighter but you can still whip spells at people, you can still heal people. The clerics job is not to stand in the back and watch bars go up and down, he's supposed to get in and mix it up, heal people as he can and also deal with injuries when they become problematic.

Stephen: And importantly, as in tabletop, most of your heals are touch-based, so you're going to have to be in danger to heal somebody.

Lee: Right, so there is no standing in the back with the mages and healing, you have to run to the front, put yourself in harm's way, wear some good armor, and get in there to actually help your team out.

Goblin Squad Member

I was thinking today about company organization, and it occurred to me that a company might benefit from splitting itself into multiple smaller companies. However, I'm not very well versed in the implications such an action would have, so I thought I'd start a discussion about it.

What would the consequences be of dividing a company up (e.g. take a group of 60 people into 3 groups of 20)?

One consequence I see is that people feuding them would have difficulty attacking the group as a whole, but the smaller groups couldn't defend each other during that situation with sanctioned PvP (as they aren't part of the feud).

Goblin Squad Member

I was thinking today about company organization, and it occured to me that a company might benefit from splitting itself into multiple smaller companies. However, I'm not very well versed in the implications such an action would have, so I thought I'd start a discussion about it.

What would the consequences be of dividing a company up (e.g. take a gorup of 60 peoploe into 3 groups of 20)?

One consequence I see is that people feuding them would have difficulty attacking the group as a whole, but the smaller groups couldn't defend each other during that situation with sanctioned PvP (as they aren't aprt of the feud).

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Male Half-dork 5 Nerd (universalist)

Dawn breaks across the horizon, letting a soft glow fall across the city of Eleder. Already many of the citizens are up and getting ready for work, firing up furnaces, starting up spinning wheels for sewing and pottery, and dressing in uniforms to begin their training for the day. The skies are clear, and a crisp, pleasant breeze wafts through the city. All over Eleder, comments are made regarding the pleasant weather, and many people say "Today is going to be a good day."

The merchants start up early today, hawking wares to any passersby in the city's Market Square. Yet despite the pleasant attitude in the air, a very observant citizen of Eleder might notice that there isn't as much being sold in the market as last month, a few of the merchants' stalls having closed down permanently without being replaced. And someone in the know might gossip about the increased demands the Free Captains just sent in; demands that will, inevitably, lead to higher taxes for these merchants, no matter how much the Baron does to lower their prices. Those looking for the signs see a city breaking under financial strain; too few guards, too many unkempt buildings falling to disrepair, too many people and not enough resources.

Yet for most of the citizens, life is as it always was. Living in Sargava is not the easiest life, but it's not the hardest either. And out there, for those willing to risk everything, lies adventure and legend in abundance. So our story begins...

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Male Half-dork 5 Nerd (universalist)

Welcome! This is the discussion thread for Shane Gifford's Legends of Sargava Play-by-post campaign. This campaign is on an invite basis only; please do not apply to play unless you have been asked to. In this thread we are going to post with our initial character aliases, sort out any issues regarding character build, background, or other concerns, and discuss any out-of-character topics during the game. For anyone on the boards who is not playing but would like to comment or offer advice on the game, this is the place to do it.

This campaign is going to take place in Sargava, The Lost Colony, originally a colony ruled by Cheliax. Nowadays Sargava is a nation that can barely hold itself together. Due to debts owed to other nations, constant attacks from the native Mwangi tribes, and a relatively low population, Sargava's government holds a very tenuous grasp on the regions it claims as its own. Because of this, several settlements have sprung up inside the Sargavan interior which operate autonomously, although none have yet declared independence from the Sargavan government. Most of these settlements pay the national government a relatively small yearly tax, and besides that have no further interaction with it. Talk abounds of the opportunities for hard-working leaders to set off into the ripe Sargavan interior themselves to settle their own areas and make a fortune and a legend. For more information on the setting, see the Pathfinder Wiki and the Campaign Info tab at the top of the thread.

As the player characters, you will have the opportunity to join with an existing settlement or create your own, staking your own claim to the land and potentially founding a new nation. This campaign will be very open-ended, with a large emphasis on players taking the initiative in deciding what happens. I will be the main GM, although anyone who wants to try a hand at GM'ing a portion of the adventure is encouraged to ask me about it. We will be using the downtime rules as well as the kingdom building rules from the Ultimate Campaign book; don't worry if you don't have access to this book. Most of the adventuring, exploration, and social encounters will take place on these boards, while combat will be handled off the boards in TTopRPG or another similar program.

Character Creation:
Characters should be built according to these guidelines:
  • Abilities will be either 15 point buy OR 4d6 drop lowest 6 times, with each ability rolled in order (first roll is STR, second roll is DEX, etc.). If a player rolls abilities they cannot go back to a point buy.
  • All Paizo published classes, with the exception of the samurai and the ninja, will be allowed. The Emerging Firearms rule from Ultimate Combat applies to this setting, which means gun related build are okay. Nearly all archetypes for available classes will be allowed; if you find a racial archetype that you feel would suit your character of a different race, ask me about it, and we may be able to work something out.
  • All core races are allowed. Other approved races include catfolk, fetchlings, goblins, hobgoblins, ifrits, kobolds, orcs, oreads, ratfolk, sylphs, tengus, tieflings, undines, changeling, gripplis, samsarans, and vanaras. If any other races are desired, ask me about it, and we may be able to work something out.
  • Characters will start at first level, with average starting wealth and 2 traits. Character hit dice past first level, and the hit dice of any companions, will be rolled.
  • At least a small amount of detail on character background and personality should be included. I don't need a 3-page story, but at least a short note on your character's origins and how they tend to handle situations should be given. Try to make your character a part of the world, not simply something tacked on. Don't be afraid to ask me or another player for help!

As a final note, I've probably missed something in here. The contents of this post will be copied over to the Campaign Info tab, which will be updated as needed. Therefore it is better to check that tab than this post when you have a question. If you can't find an answer there, then bring the question to this thread; I'll be more than happy to find an answer for you. Good luck to everyone, and I hope we have fun with this game!

Goblin Squad Member

What are your opinions on fast travel for PFO? Do you think it will be included, possibly to the 3 main NPC settlements? Why should/shouldn't it be included?

Personally, I'd like a "fast travel" system, though not like the standard MMO's. What I'm envisioning is caravans established which go from the NPC settlements to other settlements, though of course not to settlements at war with one another. If you want to travel from one settlement to another without having to run it yourself, you simply hop in the caravan. It'd be slower going than actually running it yourself, and much slower than one person on a mount (assuming there are mounts). However, it'll get you there whether you're logged in, logged out, or AFK.

I think this could also be linked with the economy to transport merchant's goods from one settlement to another. The caravan would need guards, to fend of random monsters or organized PvP attacks. However, I'd say any PC's in the caravan not acting as guards couldn't be killed or looted. After all, it would suck to log in dead, with all your stuff taken. Rather, I think a caravan raider could take merchant goods stored in the caravan (probably a small % for each raider, small enough so the merchant doesn't lose everything), as well as things from the guardsmen, and maybe some extra cash/loot which is the NPC merchant's goods (NPC merchants which are assumed to be present in every caravan).

The guardsmen could be NPC's and/or PC's. If they're NPC's, they'll be a certain minimum strength depending on where they're going, with the option for players to pay in order to bolster their caravan guard. If it's players, the merchant could simply set up an agreement for the person to follow with the caravan, negotiating their own payments.

This is my take on a "fast travel" system; feel free to comment or critique. Also, if you have another idea, post it.

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Male Half-dork 5 Nerd (universalist)

As you step out of the entryway and into the campus proper, you fill with a sense of awe at your surroundings. The place looks much different than what you expected; from the inside, the massive walls and large number of students going back and forth make the Academae seem a city all its own.The guide in front of you clears her voice in impatience; it's obvious that she'd rather be doing something else than leading a gaggle of fresh students around. She calls in a loud voice to the group you are part of, "Keep moving, keep moving, the buildings look much more impressive up close, I assure you." She leads you all like a flock of sheep to the front of each hall, calling it by name and giving a brief story about it.

First is the Hall of Whispers, which is said to house liches which softly speak unknowable secrets to those who would seek to learn necromancy. Next is the Hall of Charms, a delicate-looking and beautiful structure where those studying enchantment use their powers to bend the wills of others. After that comes the Hall of Shaping, a hodgepodge structure made of many materials and shapes which houses transmuters. The Hall of Lies is next along the row, a poorly-built and rickety shack, and home of the illusionists. The next hall looks positively mundane compared to the others, but the guide warns that no one should step near unwelcomed, as this is the abjurer's Hall of Wards. The next structure looks to deserve its name of The Cube, being a massive square structure made of dark-iron on three sides and welded iron on the front. That hall belongs to the Evokers. The next hall is described as Ornelos Hall, the first building erected in the Academae, which serves as an administrative building. The diviners' mysterious Hall of Seeing comes next, its doors a huge pair of Harrow cards. Finally, the Hall of Summoning, the enormous building which takes up most of the Academae.

After showing you all these structures, the woman prattles quickly, "Well, that's all of 'em. Classes start tomorrow, so make sure you go to Ornelos Hall and get your room numbers if you haven't already. Any questions?" She looks over the crowd impatiently, waiting for a reply.

Male Half-dork 5 Nerd (universalist)

Here's the discussion thread for my homebrew PbP, The Academae.

You guys should check the campaign info; I've changed the gold amounts in the scheduling section, and also added a bit to the "Changes to the Academae" that you should all be aware of.

As you enter the well lit building, a smiling man sitting behind a large mahogany desk greets you. After formalities, he gets right down to business, barraging you with questions. Do you own your own spell book? Is anyone related to you a wizard? Have you casted cantrips before? Can you demonstrate them now? However, the most important question, which he asks as he eyes the bag of coin in your hand, is: Are you ready to become a wizard? You visibly gulp, but nod your assent; he smiles as you place the bag on the desk. After he counts the coin, he nods to you and declares, "Welcome to the Academae."

This is the recruitment thread for my homebrew "adventure", The Academae. In it, you will play as a wizard-to-be, who joins the Academae as a new student. There will be magic, romance, action, and adventure, and the secrets of magic will open themselves up as you journey through your years of study. You will learn to cast spells, meet many new people, and uncover secrets buried in the walls of the university.

Rules for creating characters enclosed here:

Character Creation:
15 point buy, Standard races, class must be level 1 of wizard or witch (though witches are extremely scarce at the Academae). 2 traits. Allowed sources are any Paizo material on the d20PFSRD (as of 1/20; Future releases subject to DM approval). Spellcraft should be a must for characters, as it will determine your success at your classes.

Setting is the Academae in Korvosa, as well as Korvosa itself. Characters start as new entrants to the Academae, with their first semester's tuition paid and their whole future ahead of them. They should be around 12-15 years old if human, or an equivalent age for other races.

Your spellbook (or familiar, for witches) does not start with the normal number of spells. Instead, you have 4 cantrips (chosen by you) and 2 first level spells. Your character has likely managed to get down the cantrips by the time they start their classes, and is likely able to cast the first level spell with some difficulty. You are not yet a wizard (or witch), which is why you are at the Academae.

If you do not wish to select a school of magic to specialize in the beginning, that is fine. You can select your school at any time, though when the choice is made, it cannot be undone. All other class features of the wizard or witch work normally.

Starting equipment: Characters have 20 gold to spend on starting equipment. This starting allowance does not include your spellbook, school uniform, spell component pouch, and one set of normal clothes, which are free. The reason you start with so little is because during your training at the Academae, you will need to generate enough money to pay for their tuition, which allows for sidequesting outside of the Academae. Try to work it into your character's background that they barely had enough money to pay for the first semester's tuition, whether because their family is poor or simply falling on hard times. An alternative might be that someone who saw promise in your character is sponsoring their first semester at the Academae. Finally, remember when purchasing equipment, you are entering the Academae, not a dungeon!

Character concept: This game will focus very heavily on roleplay over combat, so your character should have a distinct personality which suits the rest of your concept. When developing your character's personality, some questions you should ask are:
-How do they feel about going to a school such as the Academae?
-Why are they down on their luck? (see starting equipment section)
-Which school of magic do they prefer, and how is this reflected in their personality (if at all)?

For Witches: the Academae's courses are designed with a wizard's spell list in mind, and many classes will give spells which are unavailable to you. This being said, there is a “club” for witches, where the few at the Academae trade secrets and spells. However, you are warned: your total number of spells gained throughout your semesters will be less than the wizard's, and you may not get the spells you were looking for.

This is my first time DM'ing a PbP, but I've been in several. I will pick 3-4 people to join, based on how many applicants I get.