SheepishEidolon's page

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I GM on VTTs since 2016, and never spent a dime. The platform would deserve some money actually. But the subscription model really puts me off. I would constantly feel obligated to a) use the time as best as I can and b) reconsider whether it's still worth it. It's not really rational, but it drives my decision.

Further, I don't find most token packs or maps an attractive offer. The art commissioned by Paizo looks better IMO, so I rather go through the lengthy process of adapting PDF content to VTT.

The only thing that tempts me so far is high-quality and exclusive content like well-made spell effects.

Yeah, static initiative is an option. The +10 doesn't change the order, but given that you do the math only on few ocassions, it doesn't matter much.

breithauptclan wrote:
I honestly can think of no viable workaround to play PF2 without rolling dice and bookkeeping.

I did some research lately:

Static initiative (as above).
Draw cards - either generic or custom with (N)SC images.
Alternate between all SC and all NSC.
Alternate between single SC and single NSC.
Let the current creature decide who's next (popcorn initiative).
Let them decide who's next but it must be a creature of the other side.

These options change balance and feeling somewhat, of course. It can be partially compensated: Give creatures with high initiative a second card (they act on the first drawn) or do one roll per side to determine who's first etc..

I am not too happy with "roll initiative". A battle is about to begin, excitement rises - and the game grinds to a halt, for rolling dice and bookkeeping, excitement cools down. Yes, there are workarounds, but an approach that is faster or more interesting by default would be welcome. Even if it's just mentioned in a sidebar.

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I'd offer them a new alternate capstone every level beyond 20, instead of new class abilities (they still progress at the steady stuff). Choosing one seems to be a meaningful decision, even at that character level. This will lose steam after a few levels, though, after the more interesting capstones are taken.

Personally, I'd rather worry how to challenge them before the final fight. There are not so many CR 21+ creatures in the books, and they are usually supposed to be unique. Improving CR 20- creatures comes at the risk of the players' question "Can't we fight something epic?". And building level 21+ NPCs can be quite exhausting, unless you excel in efficient preparation (library of NPCs, building blocks, reskinning, skipping unnecessary details etc.).

Also be careful with the duration of your campaign. Every month comes at the risk of losing a player, so playing year after year might result in a campaign cancelled before the end. If you want to go beyond 20, consider leveling quickly - unless your players are diehards with unwavering motivation, solid health and neverchanging private situation.

My group almost finished battling Crimson Throne's plague, some twists came up:

Since the gnome bard is into saving animals (and other creatures), Devargo had to be parted from his pseudodragon. Unfortunately, he sold the little fellow some moments ago, and allowed the frightening buyer to visit the lower part of the ship. When the heroes insisted to follow, combat ensued, with Devargo ending up dead. In the belly of the ship the party encountered Rolth with some zombie pseudodragons - and the wizard didn't get away, despite multiple tricks. Ugh. At least he just turned unconscious, so they brought him to the Guard citadel, not being sure about his identity. When they moved on, some Grey Maidens took Rolth to the castle and it was publicly announced that they caught someone responsible for blood veil. Soon enough, the party will encounter Rolth again.

The party witch cured a friendly gnome's blood veil. In return, he wanted the NPC to play a joke on the gnome bard PC. I still have to come up with something funny, hopefully an Internet search will provide enough inspiration.

The raging barbarian killed Ausio Carowyn in his manor because the noble held a knife in his shaking hands. The players spent more time on dealing with this murder than on cleaning the manor. Jolistina had a few strikes at them, but they rather found her odd than terrifying (sigh). Either way, after handing Ausio's corpse over to the temple of Sarenrae they were overly cautious when they found the hospital. They knew something was off, but nobody was willing to start a fight with official authorities. So they tried multiple other things, up to (down to) searching for a sewer entrance to the building, meeting some moderately friendly wererats on the way. At the end they were quite frustrated that they "didn't make progress" - I expect them to play more aggressively next session.

The only lawful character, a member of the Korvosan Guard, got arrested by the Grey Maidens for "loitering" (they monitored the hospital during night). He obediently walked with them, until close to the castle. Then the player panicked and started a fight. The four maidens were barely able to scratch him (high AC), one went down but didn't die. They retreated, but now I have to make up... consequences.

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The Kickstarter is online. For those who are curious about Owlcat's stance: They actually advertised BKOM's campaign in their latest update.

Since personal code came up a few times, here is an official take on it:

Champions of Balance wrote:
To qualify as lawful, a personal code must be more than a set of consistent emotional responses to certain situations-especially if the code licenses you to break society's rules. It must be rigid, be reasonably detailed (at least for your character; there is no need to roleplay all the minute lifestyle details at all times), and include your own obligations as well as precepts you expect others to follow. Crucially, you must be committed to honoring these obligations even at cost to yourself.
Champions of Balance, again wrote:
A code of personal honor is entirely compatible with a chaotic alignment, provided this code is simple, serves to limit the constraints on yourself (and possibly others), and springs from a fierce internal conviction. Your sense of obligation is personal, not imposed by rules and structure; indeed, determined ly self-sufficient souls often feel their obligations more keenly than others around them.

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Ezekieru wrote:
I had fears that BKOM, a mobile/indie video game company might try and be too ambitious with doing their games for Pathfinder. But seeing them keeping it simple with an ARPG is kinda nice.

Same here. Better a Pathfinder ARPG at least some players enjoy than a RPG that never gets released. Or worse, released in horrible shape, with no hope to ever become polished...

TxSam88 wrote:
Most of the AP's are written with Good PC's in mind, since the objective is some variation of save the world, rescue the princess, defeat the evil god, etc.

Hrm, the goals usually encourage good PCs indeed, but the player's guides show a mixed picture:

Carrion Crown Player's Guide wrote:
Characters of all alignments, religions, and homelands can play a vital role in this campaign
Iron Gods Player's Guide wrote:
The plot of Iron Gods makes no assumption about PC alignment.
Ironfang Invasion Player's Guide wrote:
Even evil adventurers (with Game Master permission) might enjoy that same fame and fortune, or see every reason to take revenge against monsters who wrong them personally or destroy their property.
Kingmaker Player's Guide wrote:
Characters of all alignments, religions, and nations of origin have a place in Brevoy and the River Kingdoms
Return of the Runelords Player's Guide wrote:
Even evil characters can, in theory, function in Return of the Runelords, although as is always the case with evil PCs, you’ll want to work with your GM and the other players to ensure that such a character isn’t disruptive to the group’s cohesion.
Serpent's Skull Player's Guide wrote:
Characters of all alignments, religions, and homelands can play a vital role in this campaign
Tyrant's Grasp Player's Guide wrote:
Almost everyone, whether good, evil, or purely self-motivated, stands to lose considerable freedom and safety under the rule of Tar-Baphon and legions of the dead, and so alignment isn’t necessarily limited by morality or ethos for Tyrant’s Grasp so long as characters can agree that the Whispering Tyrant and the Whispering Way must be stopped.

That's not counting Hell's Vengeance as well as Skull and Shackles.

Melkiador wrote:
Evil and good characters working together just doesn't work well in a game. There's a reason the rules themselves tell you it's a bad idea.

I guess it usually doesn't work when players simply start playing their idea of evil.

But Paizo published a few good books on playing evil in a functional way, like Agents of Evil, Champions of Corruption and the Hell's Vengeance Player's Guide:

Players are remembered that evil PCs still have allies, a sense of self-preservation and no obligation to act evil all the time.

Evil party members can solve problems in their own, efficient ways, without burdening the precious soul of their comrades - a quick poison neutralizes an annoying bureaucrat, not necessarily killing them.

They can result in unusual enemies which can be interesting to interact with - ever tried to talk an archon out of exacting justice?

They can be a wildcard when enemies are only prepared to fight good adventurers - they don't care about blasphemy, circle against good etc., and might simply take control of enemy undead.

Evil characters can be subject to redemption. They can be (LE) minions by nature, readily accepting orders, even though they will relucantly remember their masters that there are... other options.

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Alignment restrictions have a chance to make players explore something else than their usual behavior pattern. Appearantly many players start their roleplaying careers with an alignment close to their real life attitudes, and some seem to pretty much stick with it for decades. If a class they desire forces them to play something else, they can grow on it.

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Luckily not every martial character relies on picking a two-handed weapon and Power Attack. It's a valid playstyle (and makes PF more accessible due to its simplicity), but personally I appreciate the variety Pathfinder offers, from sword and spell to natural attacks.

At least one AP has creatures that were affected by charm person for a while - and developed enough rapport to voluntarily stay with the caster afterwards.

Falling in love after a while is possible in real life, but in my experience it's never as intense as love on first sight. Which is not necessarily bad, due to lower expectations, healthier lifestyle etc..

Finally I'd differentiate between love (wishing the other creature the best) and being in love (feeling attracted to them). The item seems to cover only the latter, but of course either feeling can support the other one.

At some point, I thought it would be an interesting twist to have a rod of lignification, based on a wood oracle's lignification revelation. Think flesh to wood, once a day, only some rounds. But you probably guess it already: It ended a boss fight very quickly.

Since then I disallowed / nerfed such effects, and wouldn't use them as a player.

Instant Enemy doesn't work against targets that are already your favored enemies. And usually you will pick common or dangerous foes as favored enemies, reducing the potential of the spell.

Nevertheless, when it works, it's pretty good.

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Just because he asks for a solo campaign, you are not obligated to do exactly that. You could offer him to watch a session of your usual players, with the chance to control a pet or summon sometimes.

Just a warning: A casual interest like "oh, I watched this movie, and now would like to try it" often results in "ok, not my cup of tea". Especially if they invested little time and effort to make it happen. Don't make it too comfy for them, let them read up some stuff on their own, and let them make their own decisions (even if they are quirky or mechanically ineffective).

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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I'm pretty sure there's recruitment boards on other parts of these forums.

Yeah, there are some PF1 APs in the recruitment section, with a varifying degree of modification.

I am running Curse of the Crimson Throne right now, after a homebrew campaign. Ironically, it doesn't really reduce my prep time, because I spend a lot of time at getting familiar with story details and sometimes mechanics I wouldn't use otherwise.

I will be back to homebrew afterwards, using APs only for inspiration. PF2 APs usually don't appeal to me, only Abomination Vaults piques my interest.

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Mica Merryvale wrote:
Now, if it were more polished than Owlcat's games

Owlcat had a dedicated crew and they really struggled to port a good share of the ruleset to a computer game. I remember Kingmaker's bug infested start. Many studios would have given up on fixing such a mountain of issues.

If I were at BKOM, I'd try to motivate everyone to learn as much as possible from the past. A light-hearted approach will succeed only on a natural 20, unless the scope of the game is really reduced.

pinvendor wrote:
I'd love to know more about what exactly is required for learning the secret handshake.

At least their wiki can be read by everyone.

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I start at level 1, but I don't throw very deadly foes at my players at this level. Together with Pathfinder's safety belt (don't die before -Con score) they are safe to explore their new characters.

Wizards and sorcers might struggle, but I'd tell such a player: You don't have to do two-digit damage at level 1. The martial PC might dish out such amounts, but then the player sacrificed a lot of utility in favor of damage. And a good share of it will be wasted, most of the time - a standard goblin has 6 HP. A Knowledge check can also contribute to combat, as well as identifying enemy spells or demoralizing a foe.

Finally, starting at 1 means we have more time before Pathfinder gets into higher level play - a stage where the game IMO becomes less fun: Weaker class balance, more bookkeeping, fewer possible noncombat challenges, longer combat duration.

Darkmoon250 wrote:
I'd like to build a character that can really fit the region of Varisia, and could maybe have a few more RP opportunities in the campaign.

Since Varisia is more wilderness than civilization, I'd recommend the class that is the most likely to be a freelancer: Oracle.

Both elves and aasimars will meet one of their kind in book 1, although in very different ways. Otherwise human seems like a stronger connection to the campaign, given the mostly human starter town and the secrets you will discover later.

The town has a priest of Desna, so worshipping the same deity would offer some chance to build a bond to a NPC. That's not much, but with Ashava you'd get nothing.

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Sparrowhawk_92 wrote:
gdotbat wrote:
What about the 3 action economy system? This is what Starfinder really needs.
Integrating 3AE into SF is not something that would be easy to do for a number of reasons.

Pathfinder Unchained managed this relatively well for PF 1E, within 8 pages. Since Starfinder uses the same clunky "standard action, move action etc." system as PF 1E, Unchained's "Revised Action Economy" is probably a good starting point for any Starfinder GM who wants the 3 acts system.

If you know languages beside English, you might find a localized physical copy at a reasonable price.

The "Digital content" / "My downloads" section of the page could use... vast improvement. There have been a few statements suggesting it's work in progress, during the last few years, but appearantly there was no major change.

Maybe a complete overhaul is simply too much of a project. In this case, splitting it into small improvements would help incredibly. User's life could be easier even with just a consistent order of "File Per Chapter" and "Single File", by stripping repeated "Paizo Adventure Path" entries in each line or by starting downloads automatically, after watermarking.

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A good package. Minor issues: "Troubles in Otari" uses the flip-mat image for the adventure. "Flip-Mat Classics: Anceint Dungeons" has a typo.

Some mysteries offer an improved version of mage armor as a revelation. It scales with level, has some special effect later on and can be used in 1-hour increments (hence it's basically "all day" after a few levels).

Given that you basically want to play a sorcerer with healing capabilities, I wonder whether unicorn or phoenix bloodline might be a better fit for you...

Breakdown for campaigns I GM(d):

Giantslayer, abandoned at level 9
Homebrew, finished at 21
Homebrew, put on hold at 5
Curse of the Crimson Throne, ongoing at 4

So, in a strict sense it's only 25%.

Breakdown of campaigned I played:

Homebrew, ongoing since 2013, level 8
Curse of the Crimson Throne, joined and left at 8, but I guess the GM finished the campaign at 17 (lost contact though)
Kingmaker, joined at 1, campaign imploded at 2
Rise of the Runelords, joined at 4, campaign fell asleep at same level

In a strict sense it's 0 of 3 (ignoring second one due to uncertainty), respective 0%.

Maps of Casmaron are scarce. Would it work to move the action to another desert?

You could also pick a random RPG desert map. Since there is (appearantly) no official material, nothing contradicts your take.

Finally, you can paint something on your own. Tools like Wonderdraft vastly simplify the creation of RPG maps.

As far as I remember, they publicly considered the special treatment of undead (and constructs) overly complicated, so they turned everything into Con based. Should be true for PCs also, but you can ask at the PF2 rules section to be sure.

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kyrt-ryder wrote:
would be a shame to lose PF1, but if they don't want to fight that battle that's their call to make

Let's start with a disclaimer: I don't endorse piracy. Good books should be rewarded with buying them.

But in such a scenario Paizo could find unusual allies among pirates. While illegal copies are currently undesired, they would become a boon once the books are no longer allowed to be sold legally. They still have the chance to spark interest in buying legal books (such as PF2), and they would undermine Hasbro's lawful evil policy. All Paizo would have to do is to stop fighting piracy of PF1 books, once the scenario becomes reality.

JiradTheRake wrote:
However, the bigger issue is whether they need to sleep or not.
CRB, page 220 wrote:
A sorcerer or bard needs 8 hours of rest (just like a wizard), after which she spends 15 minutes concentrating.

Note it's "concentrating", not "preparing". Only prepared casters prepare.

Also keep in mind that Melkiador replied spending his free time, in a quite patient way during his first two postings.

Malik Gyan Daumantas wrote:
Keep in mind this is assuming the cleric in question is good aligned, because i know the whole bad touch concept is a thing, but not only would i not know where to start, i want to make it a non lethal bad touch build and i dont know if i can do that while good aligned

Every CG deity offers the Chaos domain, with its bad touch available at level 1. Your PC will have to be CG himself.

Beyond that, you can always prepare inflict spells and combine them with metamagic. Merciful Spell is obvious if you want it to be nonlethal, you can add conditions with Sickening Spell or Fearsome Spell and at some point you might want Quicken Spell. The Magical Lineage (inflict light wounds) trait should be helpful. You won't win the powergaming prize 2023 with that, but it might be good enough for a given campaign.

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I wonder about the motivation of such a move (if it's true). Sure, it might put a lot of pressure on competition and even drive some of them out of business. But WotC barely has the ressources to rehash old stuff - do they really think they can keep all these players interested in the hobby? Do they hope to completely dominate a very small market instead of being the biggest fish in a small one?

And as a third-party producer, I'd avoid working with such a company in any way. If they pull such a move once, they might do again.

EDIT: Finally, if only half the affected companies allies to challenge WotC, both on business and legal level, I wouldn't bet on WotC.

It seems like it can be addressed with encounter design, too.

1) If encounters are split among the entire day, mage armor loses a lot of value. Maybe something harasses the group again and again, maybe you have to dig for hours to progress within the dungeon, maybe it's just a random encounter.

2) If enemies target touch AC or CMD, mage armor loses value, too. Maybe a ray attack gets combined with sneak attack, maybe adventurers get bull rushed into a pit, maybe it's a class ability to target touch AC (bolt aces can pull it at level 1).

Of course a GM shouldn't overdo it. If regular AC remains as an important defensive value, players have something to flock towards to. Reducing the importance of regular AC too much means further encouraging the already dominant paradigm "kill it before it kills you".

Why send the paladin and not someone else?
If it must be the paladin, why it has to be Bluff instead of another solution?

But ok, let's roll with it. A paladin could lie (no matter the codex) and afterwards ask for atonement. Because he sincerly blames himself for not being able to come up with a better solution, and he will strive to improve.

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As GMs, we trust ourselves to play all alignments in a proper way, even as we spend only little time on fleshing out some of our characters. So IMO we should trust players to be able to properly play a single evil character. At least some of them.

Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Sheepish, you would strongly dislike my current tables lol! One of my players has a PC in both of my games and he helps direct PCs towards the following pattern in both

Sounds like a healthy injection of chaos is in order (pun intended).

It's a complex pattern and relies on a lot of things, so it's rather fragile. What if no plot hook comes up and players are supposed to find their own goals? What if no sources for investigation are available - maybe they are stranded alone in the middle of nowhere? What if being fast is actually detrimental - perhaps they have to wait until full moon anyway? What if the situation changes heavily after their scrying etc.?

If they have to improvise, they might notice it works out and is more fun also (well, for some people, at least).

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I banned scrying spells since such a cautious playstyle is not what I consider adventuring. They might be back at next campaign, though, to allow players that playstyle if they really desire it.

Beyond that, I changed effects that neutralize opponents (anything beyond staggered / slowed) to allow a new save at the end of each round. By now I saw this in action for some sessions and IMO it works well, although a crafty player already figured out command isn't handicapped at all. Nevertheless, this houserule avoided a ban on such effects.

I am thankful that most of my players don't feel the need to gravitate towards (IMO) problematic material. They seem happy as long as they feel the challenges are fair and they get to shine (which can require me making a fool of my NPCs, but that's part of the job).

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W E Ray wrote:
To me, honestly, a +2, +2, +1, +1, +0, -1 just sounds like a peasant farmer who doesn't wear shoes. Or rather, since that is exaggerating for effect, it sounds like an NPC village guard or town merchant. It does not sound like a hero or champion.

IMO, heroism and championship are more about attitude and deeds than capabilities. At least heroism is way more convincing if there is an actual challenge - superhuman stats actually undermine that. To use an extreme example: Superman stopping a mundane bank robber is not heroic, it's something he does without any risk. At least for himself, he still has to care a little bit for innocent persons involved.

Sure, with more power the scope of heroic deeds increases. A high-powered PC can save the multiverse, while a low-powered one might struggle to drive off a bunch of goblins. IMO both can be equally heroic.

Taja the Barbarian wrote:
Weapon Quality / Resizing Source Giant Hunter's Handbook

Hrm. So if someone wants to annoy you with an antimagic field, you simply throw a net with this property. The property gets suppressed, and the weapon turns back into the Colossal sized weapon it originally was, hitting the antimagic field caster with 96 pounds. Yeah, that's a nice mental image.

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It's appearantly rather a guideline Paizo used internally. See rogue, ninja, alchemist (visectionist), vigilante (stalker), slayer + VMC rogue and probably more. Accomplished Sneak Attacker's text made it somewhat public.

At high levels monster HP scale quickly and there are increasingly powerful other ways (than HP damage) to neutralize them. So it's no biggie if the guideline is broken with a 2nd or 3rd boon.

I don't think encumbrance is a good way to counter Str dumping. Players will be affected mostly at lowest level, when their Str dumped wizards are (relatively) weak anyway. They know that after a few levels things will get better, so they might accept the issue for now and dump Str anyway. And since their GM didn't pull punches when it came to encumbrance, why should they when they have medium and high level spells at their fingertips?

Personally I'd rather modify point-buy: A 7 nets only 3 points, meaning only 1 point more than an 8. Suddenly the decision between both scores becomes more interesting. And having some score below 10 makes a character more interesting IMO.

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I appreciate the lowered prices for accessories (maps, pawns, cards etc.).

But personally I think the digital store here rather has a convenience problem than a pricing problem: Downloading multiple PDFs could be much more convenient. An outline how it could be:

1) You don't have to login again just to access your digital content.
2) There is a well-sorted gallery of your assets, fitting to the structure on the rest of paizo.com.
3) Names are shortened to the relevant part. Nobody needs 20 lines starting with "Pathfinder Adventure Path" in a row.
4) There are images of the book covers.
5) All these versions of a book (one chapter per file, lite etc.) are presented
6) You only have to click an asset once to mark it for download. If Paizo wants to stick with watermarks, they can be added silently before the user actually downloads (see 7)).
7) Once you are finished with selecting books, you click "Download selected" once. The result could be a ZIP with 0% compression, they are created pretty fast.
8) The files are named consistently and user-centric. My preference: When I buy the Advanced Player's Guide, I don't want PZOabcd.pdf, I want Advanced Player's Guide.pdf.

Sorry I wasn't entirely constructive, but the download section annoys me every time I have to deal with it.

Paizo could have introduced many character options based on Arcane Strike, but then they would have been gated behind the feat. Hence players would complain that they have to take (and activate) Arcane Strike first. See discussions about Combat Expertise and follow-up combat maneuver feats.

Further, as long as you have to pay the swift action (yeah, yeah, ACG feat), it competes with Arcane Armor Training and Quicken Spell. Boosting Arcane Strike means (relatively) weaker alternatives, so the new options not necessarily make the game more interesting, even if they are interesting by themselves.

Diego Rossi wrote:
I see we have very different opinions. For me "ammunition" and "encumbrance" aren't trifle matters. When presented with a wizard that can't transport his spellbook I want to know who has them, when an archer fires 6 arrows each turn, I what to know how many he has brought with him.

Yep, my GM and a few fellow players are also like this. And for a gritty campaign I see the point. But personally I want to spend my very limited gaming time on more fantastic elements. Mundane elements can lead to interesting situations, but IMO fantastic elements have a better chance to achieve this.

I could see a campaign or adventure arc with an emphasis on exact measurement of time. Maybe agents of order try to establish clocks everywhere, some creatures resist, and the conflict escalates. Maybe a campaign uses a setting where Medieval and Steam Age areas coexist, and pocket watches are one element that helps to show the differences. Maybe a big clock appears out of nowhere, and increasingly worse things happen when it hits a certain time of the day.

VoodistMonk wrote:
Does anybody actually care it's 12:34am? Or is it simply night time?

For me, a vague "night time" or "early afternoon" always was precise enough for the story.

If a player came up with an interest in more precise measurement of time, I'd try to add according elements. But I wouldn't be too happy about it, since to me exact time feels as much of a trifle as "ammunition" and "encumbrance".

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
What's wrong with using the SRD?

My personal example:

d20pfsrd.com wrote:

Weapon Expertise (Ex)

At 3rd level, a samurai gains an unparalleled expertise with his chosen weapons.
Finally, his samurai levels count as fighter levels and stack.
Ultimate Combat wrote:

Weapon Expertise (Ex)

At 3rd level, a samurai gains an unparalleled expertise with his chosen weapons.
Finally, his samurai levels count as fighter levels and stack with any fighter levels he possesses for the purposes of meeting the prerequisites for feats that specifically select his chosen weapon, such as Weapon Specialization.

Became quite relevant when a samurai among my players had access to Critical Mastery, forcing targets to do two saves against save-or-suck instead of one.

I actually checked older versions of Ultimate Combat, but it never was the generous / sloppy version d20PFSRD uses. And according to archive.org d20PFSRD had it right back in 2014.

I will write them and see what happens.

My second example would have been reincarnate: They used a random table while implying it was the table. To be fair, by now they mention the CRB table first, then the previous table as an unofficial one.

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Umm, personally I'd flip through the "Revisited" books ("Classic Horrors Revisited" to "Undead Revisited"). Any of them describes 10 races and how they can be used for the campaign. Even if a creature was already used extensively in campaigns, the books can add new facets.

Random examples:

Ghouls (Classic Horrors Revisited) sometimes create entire societies below ground.

Minotaurs (Class Monsters Revisited) build elaborate mazes and are cunning enough to lure people into them.

Troglodytes (Darklands Revisited) make unreliable allies or mercenaries.

Nabasus (Demons Revisited) can grow with the party.

Ropers (Dungeon Denizens Revisited) catch adventurers to start philosophical discussions with them. While they eat them, limb by limb.

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Still playing in my first campaign since 9 years, and we made it to level 8 recently. When sessions are scheduled in a slow, erratic pace, and the GM actually prefers lowest-level play, such things happen. By now I suspect it's rather escalation of commitment that makes me stay...

When I GM, in average we play once a month. My personal favourite would be a rhythm of 3 weeks (session, recover 1 week, collect ideas 1 week, implement 1 week), but since I try to have every player in every session, that's not realistic.

Given that players don't expect such game elements and probably are not that familar with them, I'd start slowly:

1) An ordinary quest to escort goods from city A to B. Include some roleplay with the trader (or whoever manages the caravan), to make trade more important in the players' minds.

2) In city B, offer them a subcontract: The trader has limited time, but knows of a solid opportunity in C. So the players may buy some goods from him, to sell them in C. Make it worth it for the players - no 20% higher price in C, make it 100%.

3) In C, the local trader is happy and allows them to choose from three jobs, obvious trade-offs between income, travel time and danger.

Expand from there depending on players' tastes. Keep it simple and clear.

Between cities (and within them) there are the usual encounters. When monsters threaten goods, the latter become more important in players' minds. But avoid frustrating events like "the goblins steal all goods in the night".

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