Oh, a race around the globe! Getting to pick a track with a bunch of set encounters set around and some "roaming encounters". Could be set up sandbox style similar to Kingmaker but with much larger "hexes" to which encounters would be encountered. As they gain levels, they get magic or better traveling technology. Including perhaps steampunky zeppelins (airships) and things like that. This could be super fun.
Deriven Firelion wrote:
Similar to Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny, where each character's name was indicative of their signature weapon.
At some point though, you have to put the onus on how this plays out on the GMs and Players. Regardless how many unique sub-systems they create or campaign rules they choose to use for this AP, if players and GM's see certain problematic behaviors as "no big deal", that's what they are going to do. And even if they choose to use the most restrictive rule in the sidebar, you are going to have players making characters designed to do massive amounts of non-lethal damage that (at least in 1st edition) are still capable of killing fairly easily.
And yes I do assume, or rather hope a 21st century mindset and morals is the default. I don't want to play with any more "that's just how it was back then".
And therein lies the social contract you make with the groups you choose to associate with. You get to choose what sort of people you want to game with.
But first, I do want to apologize when I speak of 21st century morality, I was not referring to horrible treatment of women, LGBTQIA+, or various ethnicities. I was quite glad to see the 2nd edition Lost Omens go more towards slavery just being evil to be defeated rather than something that exists in polite company.
What I meant by 21st century morality, is more the argument about trying to apply due process and 21st century law and order to what is essentially a collection of feudal societies in various states of authoritarianism, plutocracy, and fledgling democracy. And that may not be what you meant when you say 21st century morality.
I prefer though, to say that the fantasy dressing of the 18th Century France/French Revolution Galt, Pulp/Steampunk/Monster Ustalav, etc. overcomes much of the subjugation and punching down morality in our real history. In a fantasy world, women get to be heroes, leaders, etc. Much like what we see in Once Upon A Time (Regina, Snow, Emma, etc.), Red Sonja, Star Wars (Leia, Rey), etc. I don't consider that 21st century morality. I consider that one of the positive fantasy tropes that gets overlayed on the period and genre settings.
Sorry for the confusion.
Players may not know exactly what those moralities were. But they certainly know the world was not 21st century morality. That's the main takeaway. Trying to pidgeonhole 21st century morality into period settings tends to cause more argument than not at the table, in my experience. YMMV.
Golarion most certainly is a period-specific setting. Or rather, various different regions are different period-specific areas. This is not like its an analog of 21st century earth with fantasy trope dressing. The fact that Galt is the analog for the French Revolution, then it reasonably follows both the 18th Century France morality and French Revolution sub-genre morality along with fantasy trope dressings genre morality and Galt-specific sub-genre morality would be the default. Not 21st century morality. Andoran would be more akin to post-Revolution through Antebellum period US. Ustalav would be akin to pulp-style, 1930's-1950's monster genre, and maybe some steampunk (Verne-esque, Gas Light England/Victorian period, Dr Frankenstein/Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hide style) tropes. Which is certainly not 21st century morality. I'd be hard put to find the 21st century morality analog anywhere within the varying different genres that Golarion presents.
Dangerous to the verisimilitude of the game you are playing. Anytime I'm playing in a game and the GM or players demand that I apply 21st century morals to the fantasy, period-specific setting, I usually end up opting out of the group. Because If I wanted to roleplay with 1st century morality, I'd play a game which was set in the late 20th to early 21st century and in an earth or near-earth setting. When you start overlaying an inanalogous morality onto a game that is set in the analog of a time period or genre, you threaten to bring your players out of that setting and offer chances for there to be more arguments about alignment and morality than just everyone agreeing on the setting you are playing in. If your play group defaults to 21st century, great. But please don't assume this should be, or is the default for what I'm assuming will be a vast majority of roleplayers.
I know you and I agree on a lot, but this is not one of those things. I do recall in years past we've had quite a few arguments on this specific topic. I think its dangerous to overlay 21st century morality on a period-specific genre-specific setting. Morality germane to the setting should be more akin to the period-specific and genre-specific settings as you correlate them to a similar time-period in the real world. In this case, somewhere between 2,000 B.C. and the Renaissance.
As always, in your personal circle of friends and/or gaming group, you all tacitly sign a social contract to adhere to a common morality, and if that group wants to overlay 21st century morality over Golarion, then you are not wrong to do so. But claiming that is the demonstrable default is kinda a disingenuous supposition.
On the non-lethal rules. As a GM, I like for things to make sense. And just changing all damage to non-lethal doesn't make sense. However, I do like the idea that the police would be required to use non-lethal force.
So the idea is, that all character training and backgrounds leading up to being in the city watch, would come from police academy training. I'm not up on 2nd edition, so not sure if these are things (yet?) But options could be strongly encouraging choosing weapons that don't take penalties to do non-lethal (blunt weapons) or offering a feat or trait that allows them to do non-lethal without penalty. Or perhaps non-lethal is the default and they take a -2 to do lethal damage. Because its all about how they are being trained. You could even switch up the weapon categories, where any weapon that traditionally does lethal damage becomes exotic and requires an exotic weapon proficiency feat to use. Its all about the training and how the character was trained.
Furthermore, all spells are modified to do non-lethal damage. That's how the spells are created and work. And you can even come up with different names for them. Like heat ball instead of fireball. And if they find a badguy wizard's spellbook, they might be able to learn fireball, with the understanding that using it could get the fired from the watch and executed for breaking the code. Perhaps because its nonlethal, the reason why heatball is still a 3rd level spell is because it does 1d8/cl instead of 1d6 or whatever.
Sure, that causes a fair amount of extra work by the GM, but it allows the non-lethal damage from the PCs to make sense within both the verisimilitude of the story, and the meta of the game rules themselves.
Finally, badguys don't have this restriction, because this isn't about the rules simply saying, "everything is non-lethal" but rather, "all watch are specifically trained as non-lethal combatants, so that's the default player characters start with."
This is true. I was still in the mindset of a regular group of physical players that you play with all the time, rather than a situation in which you play with an assortment of motley friends based on what you are running. My preference is to have a regular group of several friends that play everything together all the time. And we come to a consensus on what to play. As a friend group, we do our best to not get too "evil" or "inappropriate" or "blue" if one of the members is particular uncomfortable with that, or if the spouse/children of the host house would be uncomfortable/inappropriate for that.
So I still think that, of course how you said depending on how you formulate your playing group, you go with the highest morality common denominator in what sort of game you want to play, soas not to force one of your good friends to either be uncomfortable or to not associate with you for the months or years that you are playing that game.
I know I wouldn't want to subject my 20+year gaming group to something they don't want to play, and I'm not going to try to force it on them or just not play, because then my friendship hangouts (the game is just something we do when we do hang out with one another, rather than hanging out because we are gaming) would be excluding a very good friend. And that's not something I'm willing to accept.
Its quite simple really. As the GM you tell the players that you will be playing the most restrictive version of this based on player request, where the minority (even one) gets to choose.
Frankly, that's how gaming groups who actually give two figs about their friends should be playing their games anyways, instead of making the one or two people with more sensitivities to play uncomfortably.
My opinion, is just like its difficult for parents to cook two meals based on child food wants (no, NUGGETS!), its nearly impossible to run two different campaigns based on different player sensitivities, and when you try to allow for all attitudes to play in the same game, that's when you wind up with inter-player conflict when players get made at one another because the Paladin won't allow the Rogue to torture a hobgoblin for information.
Ed Reppert wrote:
Oh, certainly, I've seen many different multi-axis political charts like this before. And many of the ideas and thoughts are intersectional as well. Lots of ven diagrams.
That's not actually what centrism is.
In politics, centrism is a political outlook or specific position that involves acceptance or support of a balance of a degree of social equality and a degree of social hierarchy, while opposing political changes which would result in a significant shift of society strongly to either the left or the right.
That sounds a lot like me to, "keep things as they are."
And when discussing centrism in regards to the spectrum of left/right, you are talking about the median of voters, policies, and politicians. In other words, today's centrism is roughly Reagan-level conservatism and policy, where centrism during Reagan's time was more along Elizabeth Warren's actual policies (not what she tried to sign onto with all the socialist democracy stuff).
The point is, calling yourself a centrist doesn't mean, in common political parlance, what you are saying it means.
Its literally sitting in the exact median of the Far Left and Far Right, and that line shifts over the years and decades. Right now, the Centrist seat sits rather closer to GOP conservatism of Reagan than it did during the Reagan years. Because the GOP and conservative politics has really, drastically, gone far right, where many of the current GOP ideals and platform would have been considered freakishly right-wing in the 1980's.
Have you actually been paying attention? And not just to Fox News? There was a violin vigil done in a park that the police used pepper spray on. That's hardly rioting.
People were getting arrested for not moving away from certain areas fast enough when they were marching or protesting. The charge was disorderly conduct. So they weren't technically arrested for protesting, as you say, that isn't a thing. But they weren't doing anything else but protesting, peacefully, and got arrested under some trumped up charge, simply because they were protesting the police.
Not to mention, actually doing some research into what "defunding the police" actually means and the programs that will replace it. If all you are doing is hearing, "defund the police," and immediately assume, "that means there will be vast swaths of anarchy and lawlessness," then you are doing yourself and everyone you communicate with a vast disservice.
Probably. But I would argue that there is a lot going on Theme-Wise in Galt that could be played with that would make the "rebellion" or "court intrigue" theme fresh. Brevoy probably not.
That works for me. But not my players. Especially when they take archetypes that have abilities like, "if you move 10' you get sneak attack." Sure, I could say, "Yes, you can move there and get your sneak attack." But I really think they prefer the grid. They tend to really enjoy the war-gaminess that Pathfinder can become.
James Jacobs wrote:
I think when people say, "Galt" or "Brevoy" as a theme, they are referring to the central archetype regional theme they represent. Galt being the French Revolution and Brevoy being a War of the Roses theme. And if you set an AP in countries that have a strong "us vs. them" war going on, then you could do all of the above in that AP.
Start with the how the war affects a local village, move to some sort of infiltration/spy in another book, and then movers and shakers deciding how the war will turn out, and by book 5 and 6, its the aftermath, post-apocalyptic of the fallout of the war.
But mainly, the theme of "Galt" or "Brevoy" would be a war-centric theme where the PCs get to decide which faction to back and perhaps at some point becoming a faction of their own. And then add all the elements that could be involved in a war-torn region with court intrigue, spying/infiltration, etc. The earlier suggested Heist themed AP could have elements within the overarching "Galt" or "Brevoy" themed AP.
My group has famously used the Pythagorean Theorem to figure distances when doing 3D combat. And you treat Up/Down movement the same as lateral movement as far as squares go as long as you figure every small/medium creature takes up a 5' cube and large takes up 10' cube, etc.
3D Combat also works like crap for tabletop. And underwater is worse than flying when you also have a down as well as an up.
I apologize for misgendering.
Obligation? No. But when you admit to a particular, problematic style of mistake that leads to problematic content decisions, then it obviously leads to the question.
How are you planning to deal with that concern in the future?
They don't need to lay out an entire itinerary and such. But at least some sort of reaction or response ensuring they are working on steps to help would be nice.
I think he was using "fairytale" ubiquitously as folklore tale.
I guess this essay by one of few black people in the gaming industry, Mike Pondsmith from R Talsorian game, the author of worryingly current Cyberpunk RPG, could open a white eyelid or two.
I've been reading a lot of accounts like this from BIPOC people, some of whom I know personally and are friends of mine. Maybe an account like this from a well-respected gamer community icon will enlighten gamers who are still clinging to the "old way." I've also read the account he linked to before; the one from the ex-corrupt cop.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Let us also consider that guilt by association is a valid thing in the eye of perception. It might not get you landed behind bars, or legally be wrong (unless its directly assisting a crime), unless of course your association is with a demographic that is systemically policed against.
In this case, there is a solidarity among most police officers, that they remain silent. Its a culture of "no snitching". So if you see an associate doing something wrong, or even dangerous, and you don't speak up or stop it, aren't you complicit in that action? In this case, the idea that there are only a few bad cops and the majority are good... If the "good" cops aren't ousting the bad cops from their ranks (or at least doing their best to rehabilitate), then aren't they tacitly approving of the poor actions? And if they are tacitly approving of the bad cops, doesn't that in turn make them bad cops?
To bring us back to the conversation about why this seems to be such a hot-button topic:
Anything that through our common modern media has been romanticized, tends not to be a hot button topic. Pirates, medieval, sword & sorcery, etc. has been romanticized in literature and film for far longer than the Pirates of the Caribbean have been a thing. Its why those movies have been able to be popular. Sure, pirates were, by-and-large, horrible people. And medieval times were pretty awful to live in as far as quality of life (at least as far as we consider what is comfortable living.)
The reason why a police-centric theme is a hot-button topic, and a hard one to swallow, is because of how demonized police are in our society right now. Because its happening RIGHT NOW. Its also a situation in which our society hasn't figured out how exactly to deal with it yet. We are all kinda on this edge of a precipice wondering what our police force is going to look like in 10 years and whether its going to get cleaned up in how it treats BIPOC. And its affecting everyone, so its not something we can easily ignore and stick to the romanticized buddy cop and cop drama tropes we are all so familiar with from film and TV shows.
If we were in a world where piracy was a primary concern, playing a pirate centered game might not be real appealing.
So yes, a large reason why this particular AP's theme is unappealing to many, is because its a right now social issue with man, many nuanced variables that most of us are not equipped to parse, let alone do justice to portray positively without in some way being offensive.
If I am going to be the GM, I always consult with my players on A) what they want to play and B) whether I have buy-in from them on the central conceit of a particular story (i.e. Kingmaker being kingdom building & resource management similar to Age of Empires--that's how I sold it to them, and they bought in). Buy-in from the players is hugely important. This means you will get characters build towards the story that's going to be told, rather than the typical hodge-podge of characters that often don't fit the stories or eachother at a PFS table or even an open world campaign.
If I am going to be the player, I consult with the GM on what they are expecting and what the other players intentions are. That what I can build my character to fit into the story/theme/central conceit of the AP and I can build a complimentary character to the rest of the group.
More central to your original question, there are a couple APs that are a little more ambiguous on the morality expected.
First, Skulls & Shackles, could go any which way from straight up evil and despicable pirates to do-gooder merchant's learning to live in pirate infested waters and becoming pirate lords in order to protect both their merchantry and various settlements they have brought under their protection. This is probably my weakest example of ambiguous morality, because the theme is extremely strongly pirate, and that caries a tone of connotation for expectations of theme and morality.
Second, Kingmaker, literally can go any way you want it to. Morality of the "kings" and Kingdom is totally, 100% up to the player characters. Because all the foils, stumbling blocks, obstacles, enemies, BBEG, etc. are outside forces aimed at their Kingdom, and the players can handle it in any way they see fit. They still ostensibly are protectors, yes. But its protecting their own interests as much as their citizens. And the theme is more meta, grand-scale, world-building than you usually see in a story.
Largely, however, you are correct that the PCs are expected to be the (anti)heroes of the story.
I believe that the popularity of Kingmaker is just for this ambiguity, but I do think that the heroic stories need to be told too.
Ellias Aubec wrote:
You could also default to the Pathfinder Unchained rules for gaining all the various enhancement (armor/weapon/ability), resistance and deflection bonuses in the automatic bonus progression chart. And couple that with the idea of relics or "growing" items, then those family heirlooms you start the game with gain their special powers as you grow into them.
That's a lot of specialized information for an AP, but the automatic bonus progression, relic and growing rules could be put into the free player's guide to the AP.
To follow up on this:
I don't recall the books, but I believe it was either Mythic Origins, Mythic Realms, or Mythic Adventures where there are locations of power that grant mythic ranks.
Rise of the Runelords Book 5:
Book 5 of Rise of the Runelords has a magical pool in which you can recharge consumable items and can enchant your weapons or armor in certain ways.
Reign of Winter:
I believe it was book 4 where an interdimensional merchant can sell you magic items.
But having locations of magical power that allow you to charge up or enchant your items in region/location specific ways would be both thematic to returning sacred artifacts to special dungeons or organizations and an interesting way to kit up.
There are also some tropes that could be built into the adventure at strategic points that allows players to build toward unique iconic characters. Who hasn't read the Riftwar Saga and wanted to be Tomas wearing his Dragon Armor?
If the return of sacred artifacts in turn allowed the organization receiving the returned artifacts to reward the PCs with stuff. Or in the process of seeking out the secret, hidden Tomb of Branthenal to return his Gauntlets of Blasting to his corpse to stop a curse from sweeping over the countryside, the PCs save a mysterious nature spirit disguised as a merchant in distress, who rewards them with things. Or they manage to stumble across another ancient tomb and repository of power and after showing due deference to that tomb the ancience spirit of Bahamut's spokesperson grants each character an item from the hord.
These are ways where you can grant players "kits" of gear that turn them into the Dragon Paladin/Cavalier that Tomas became or the White Gold Ring that turned Thomas Covenant into the White Gold Wielder. A truly epic adventure that allows players to mold their characters into and around and become the story, rather than just being a conglomeration of the best stats and items that disjointedly shoehorns into the adventure.
I'd gobble this up like Mint Chocolate Chip!
Sure, but as I don't play PFS anymore (haven't really since the end of 2016), it would be home groups that I'd come across. And it sounded a lot like several posters were promoting the right of groups of players to play in whatever style they want to play. I know that we try our best to be inclusive and not say "badwrongfun". But I'm gonna say it.
Just like tabletop RPGs can help socially awkward people, shy, and people on the spectrum or with high levels of anxiety incorporate into a group of people in a positive manner, so to can such groups perpetuate hatred, bigotry, and negativity. If a group of people get together to roleplay in an echo chamber of misogyny, hatred, etc., how is that really any different than a club of people who think like that getting together to think like that?
Wow, I honestly hope I never run into a group that's okay with acting out a rape fantasy. That really breaths life into the whole neckbeard negative stereotype of gamer dudes.
Certainly I do. But if you are going to proselytize being better, then it becomes hollow sentiment if you don't practice what you preach.
Sure, however the comment, "Can we gloat now?" Is extremely tone deaf from someone who stands on their soapbox quite often in regards these issues. Like they cared more about winning the argument, than the issues the argument was over. That's called performative allyship, and isn't a good look.
First, it would be helpful if you indicated whether you are going with 1st or 2nd edition. I'm assuming you mean 1st edition, as the language you are using feels more like 1st edition terminology and usage.
Second, I've flagged this for a different forum, as this would be a rules question, and not for the general AP page. If this applies to a specific AP, you might also try on the GM forum for that specific AP and ask the question about the specific encounter you are referring to.
Now to the rules:
1) animate dead says in the second paragraph, "Regardless of the type of undead you create with this spell, you can't create more HD of undead than twice your caster level with a single casting of animate dead. The desecrate spell" doubles this limit." and then in the third paragraph, 2nd sentence, No matter how many times you use this spell, however, you can control only 4 HD worth of undead creatures per caster level."
2) Agent of the Grave ability Inspired Necromancy says, "When determining the maximum number of Hit Dice of undead he can control with spells like animate dead, a character counts his agent of the grave levels twice. This ability does not factor into how many undead he can create with a single casting of a spell. Thus, a cleric 7/agent of the grave 3 would be able to control 52 Hit Dice worth of undead with animate dead."
When you add +1 level of existing class, it ONLY applies to spells per level, and per the prestige class, "He does not, however, gain other benefits a character of that class would have gained, except for additional spells per day, spells known (if he is a spontaneous spellcaster), and an increased effective level of spellcasting." This is pretty typical language for prestige classes that offer extra levels of spells.
The example in Agent of the Grave equals 7 cleric levels x 4HD = 28 per level and 6 (double 3rd level) x 4HD = 24 per level for a total of 52 HD of undead. If you use that equation exactly for your example, you would be able to control 7x4HD + 10x4HD of undead for 68HD. Because this is a specific example, then I think this breaks the general rule for adding effective spellcasting level that prestige classes generally add. Like a level 5 Wizard + a prestige class that adds 5 more levels of effective spellcasting, would cast a fireball at 10d6, not 5d6. So realistically, the way its written should be 11x4HD + 10x4HD for 84HD. But because there is a very specific example of how to apply this specific spell to your Agent of the Grave, the 68HD would be correct.
But you did engage, in a dismissive way, by responding at all. If you truly find the comment that repulsive and don't want to engage, then don't. But posting up dismissive comments without any followup language does not help all the rest of us who are following the conversation. If you have a different viewpoint, then state it, so the rest of us can make an informed decision on who we feel best represents what's real and true. But when you just say, "No." You aren't just shutting down conversation with that person, you are making it exceedingly difficult for anyone else to engage and have a meaningful conversation.
Honestly, we know what sort of conversation to expect from different people when we've engaged with them long enough. You and I are no exception. And if we choose not to engage with that person, that's fine. That's an incredibly valid choice. We have to take care of our own mental health before we start worrying about what some nitwit on the internet said. But engaging in a negative and dismissive way is not helpful.
While I typically haven't agreed with zimmerwald1915's narrative lately, and the rhetoric is quite inflammatory, outright dismissing what they are saying, instead of engaging with what the reasons might be for why they feel that way, certainly does not help the general positive forwarding discourse on why #Blacklivesmatter needs to be a thing.
I don't think that its Paizo's responsibility to put into every AP the repercussions of players choosing to play their characters as murder-hobo's. That should be solely at the discretion of the GM. And a good GM would be able to come up with something on the fly for what to do if the players choose to murder first and ask questions later. There is an entire circus of potential witnesses to such a crime.
Or perhaps, the GM knowing the players and how they choose to act, shouldn't run this AP (or at the very least not complain about it if they choose to.)
Going in with the intent to bring a law-breaker and heinous mass-murderer, alive, but given the right to defend yourself, lethally if need be, is the exact opposite of justifying premeditated killing.
The nuance here, though, is whether the group of players use that as an excuse to just kill. Which, frankly, is often the case from my experience.
That is not the fault of the AP though, that is the fault of players who choose to be bloodthirsty hooligans instead of the upstanding citizens the AP assumes they are.
Again, I think you are misrepresenting, for some reason, what's actually written in the text of the AP. And you just actively ignored the part where the Sheriff wants this person brought in alive.
Sounds like Windjammer's experience was A) someone with either an agenda or who didn't read or didn't read for comprehension telling him about it, B) playing under a GM who did their own creative modification, or was part of A above, or C) has their own agenda willing to spout mistruths to accomplish it or didn't read for comprehension.
I'm going to wager it was A or B, and that they are not actually using their own first-hand knowledge of the AP. Which is, in and of itself, a problematic way of inserting one's self into an argument.
I don't know if you are of the BIPOC community or not, so please take what I'm about to say in that context.
What you are saying is exactly what most white privileged people say, who are from predominantly white privileged neighborhoods. White people don't often view police in the same way as BIPOC people do, because our experiences are drastically and fundamentally different. This is food for thought.
As a GM, and a player group, you have the luxury of sitting back, looking over the AP as written, and doing your best to handle things differently than indiscriminately killing, beating, or otherwise being corrupt. Without seeing how its written, or what the encounters entail, we don't know what the AP assumes should be the solution. So I don't know how much extra work the GM would have to do to modify it accordingly.
But, as people, we CAN make those choices.
That being said, the AP dealing with cops coming out right now will appear to be tone deaf, for sure.
I imagine the Heist AP could be written a couple ways:
1) Robin Hood-esque: Where the PCs are stealing from the rich to give to the poor. Probably starting in a small city district or hamlet (or fiefdom where they are doing mostly heists of transport carriages and perhaps the Lord Knight's Mott and Bailey keep. And eventually merge into needing to do the heists of the BBEG's domain to steal the powerful artifact he's going to use to own the world.
2) Morally Ambiguous: Where they are a group of morally questionable people doing heists for their own ambitions, and during one heist happen across something really nefarious and evil. Probably after shrugging about it, they keep heisting, but the evil knowing the PCs are a loose end, the BBEG commands his henchmen to take out the meddling rogues. So for self-preservation, the PCs have to continue conning and heisting their way to learning where, who, and what the BBEG really is, and then figuring out how to take him out in a really cool, well-staged heist/con.
I imagine you start them at a small level.
Good Guy Patron needs some low level flunkies to help suss out some information downstream. He has a suspicion something nefarious is going on, but he has no proof, and jumping in feet first with all power would potentially reveal his hand. So he gets the 1st level team of PCs together to go spy on a miller or a blacksmith in some small hamlet and figure out what he's up to.
When they are successful with that, and remaining uncompromised, they are tasked with following the connections from the miller to the next level upstream. Eventually as they continue following the leads upstream, they gain more outward seeming influence in various parts of the capital city/country and remain spies at the highest levels by the time the AP ends.