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Mark Stratton wrote:
The Sword wrote:

5. Having to buy the hardback version of information that has already been reprinted many times and is in some cases obsolete is just a step too far. Or rather, having to buy the pdf as well as the hardback is a step too far.

I mean, I love Kingmaker, but there is a limit.

And so, one does just what you have decided: you buy only what you want/need, and nothing further. I don't see why that's a problem.

Yes of course. It maybe this products unusual circumstances of being a reprint and having a 5e alternative. But for me buying 5 different versions of a product (6 if you include the CRPG) isn’t normal.

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Aaron Shanks wrote:
keftiu wrote:
The Sword wrote:
Cori Marie wrote:
This is a special situation to other books of this sort. This was crowdfunded and there are specific rules that cause them not to be able to offer that.

Can you clarify why that is the case? As has been said elsewhere, plenty of rpg kickstarters still offer pdf and book combined when it comes to post pledge orders.

I’d be very interested to know what rules you are referring to?

Presumably something to do with this not wholly being a Paizo product? Legendary Games was involved. It could also be a term of the crowdfunding platform that was used.
To clarify, I don’t see this as a crowdfunding rule, it is a choice we’ve made in gratitude to our backers.

I see. So effectively inclusive pdf’s have been made a backer reward so you don’t want to undermine that by also offering them with the post pledge sales.

I understand that. I think it will annoy and put off a lot of future purchasers. I will just buy the pdf for instance and miss out on the hardback, because the pdf is essential but the book is nice to have - but I’m not going to buy the an AP five times.

1. I already have the 1e version when it came out.

2. The pdf of the anniversary edition is essential for me for practical reasons.

3. The roll20 module for the maps and the tokens for online play when it is released.

4. I’ll need the 5e book of conversions of the monsters and NPC stats that are already in the main book, because there isn’t a 5e version of the main path.

5. Having to buy the hardback version of information that has already been reprinted many times and is in some cases obsolete is just a step too far. Or rather, having to buy the pdf as well as the hardback is a step too far.

I mean, I love Kingmaker, but there is a limit.

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Cori Marie wrote:
This is a special situation to other books of this sort. This was crowdfunded and there are specific rules that cause them not to be able to offer that.

Can you clarify why that is the case? As has been said elsewhere, plenty of rpg kickstarters still offer pdf and book combined when it comes to post pledge orders.

I’d be very interested to know what rules you are referring to?

Apologies for the thread necro everyone. Age of Worms is the gift that just keeps on giving.

I’ve made some adjustments and I was hoping for some feedback. For reference I’m running this in the Forgotten Realms.

So looking back at the Three Faces of Evil chapter of Age of Worms I have a read a lot of the criticism. Firstly the campaign doesnt make sense - there are many inconsistencies of motivation of the three factions of the cult of the Ebon Triad and other NPCs like Balabar Smenk. Secondly the adventure is pretty much a railroad. Three areas tackled one at a time from the same area and the adventure finale happens when the third one is complete. The cult lairs dont really relate to the town above and feel like a missed opportunity.

With that in mind I've made some alterations to the structure of the adventure and the hooks. I'd be really interested people feedback on the changes and whether they make sense. For reference the campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms with Daggerford standing in for Diamond Lake I have a party of four. A dwarf paladin of Tyr; a human rogue who is a member of the local garrison; a dwarf transmuter; and a human cleric of Helm. The Whispering Cairn chapter went well. The PCs killed Filge and Burnt down the observatory recovering the worm sample and the letter to Smenk. They also successfully explored the cairn and have returned to Daggerford with a fair amount of treasure. The party have formed the strongest relationship with the local wizard Allustan, to whom they sold a baby owlbear. I had already planted a few seeds on a previous visit to Daggerford.

- The local wizard Allustan was concerned about break ins as two passing wizards have been robbed. (The rogue arranged for some soldiers from the garrison to earn some extra gold guarding his house)

- The local temple of Ilmater was broken into and several items were stored from their vault. They have been very quiet about what was taken.

I changed the three temples in town. Heironious to Helm (to match the PC priest), St Cuthbert to Ilmater; and Wee Jas to Kelemvor. Other than that Daggerford is Diamond Lake as written just with a town wall and a river instead of a lake.

There are several rumours circulating town when the PCs return at the start of the chapter

- The guards the rogue arranged to watch Allustan's house were pulled back to the garrison due to a number of desertions.

- Almost a dozen guards have deserted over the last ten days or so from the garrison. Mostly they are a bad bunch and responsible for two thirds of the garrisons disciplinary cases. No one at the gates saw them leave.

- Farms surrounding the town are abandoned, no sign of the inhabitants.

- The previous high priest of Helm, Father Keoghtom, was cast out of the Temple as a heretic by the orders of the Church Heirarchy in Waterdeep. His replacement Father Theldrick conducted the inquiry and cast the old priest out. He then disappeared. Theldrick informed the temple that Father Keoghtom had gone senile following his excomunication and wandered off into the hills. (Keoghtom was the PC priests mentor).

- Tidwoad the jeweller is desperate for gems to sell. In particularly, jet and carnelion. He has most other gems.

When the priest PC reports to Theldrick about the disappearances at the Garrison, Theldrick berates the PC for involving himseff and the church with grave robbing, murder and arson. He states that he has been having them watched (appropriate for Helm but not in the spirit of the god of protection). He points out that Necromancy is not illegal in Daggerford and that several council members want to see them punished for their crimes. Theldrick asks for the PCs oath to Helm not to leave Daggerford until the council has made its decision.

Brother Randolph a perambulating priest of Helm that supports the farmsteads and villages in the area has returned to town after searching the hills. He is convinced Keoghtom is true to Helm and searches the hills for him. He has seen the abandoned farmsteads. He intends to travel to Waterdeep and petition the Temple Heirarchy to understand Keoghtom's heresy.

The Garrison Sergeant that authorised the rogue's leave of absence to explore the Whispering Cairn needs her back. He agrees to keep her return quiet for a few days so she can explore the defections but she should keep a low profile.

At the end of the PCs first night in town the bells start ringing all across town. The Govenor Mayor Lanod Neff (Allustan's Brother has been killed in the night) Guards arround the house saw nothing but it was a new moon and the house was dark.

The monthly council meeting is called forward to elect a new Mayor. The PCs are expected to attend to consider their case. Allustan asks them to accompany him as he was made an councillor-adjunct by his brother with a seat on the council, he just rarely attended. At the council several matters are discussed that the PCs were partly aware of. Disappearances, defections, the murder of Neff, and the PCs burning of the observatory. Balabar Smenk wants them arrested and convicted. Theldrick is not much help. The PCs get the chance to make their case. They can either convince the council on their merits or at worst case Allustan will lie and say his brother appointed him to deal with magical threats to the town and that the PCs were acting on his direct orders. Smenk's connection to Filge is revealed either by the PCs letter or following questioning. Theldrick demands the garrison reduce patrols in the countryside to properly guard the town gates and prevent further defections. Most of the watch is also directed to the gates as the only way in and out. Only Theldrick knows that he has his own ways of getting in and out of the city.

The council ends with the selection of a Mayor. Smenk is the richest mine owner. Ragnolin Dourstone supports him reluctantly (blackmailed). Zalandra from the Emporium supports him (largest customer). Sheriff Cubin supports him (Bribed). Suprisingly Theldrick supports him on the pretense that he is the most successful mine owner and the town needs stability (Really just part of a bargain Smenk made with the cult). The churches of Daggerford always vote as a block so the priest of Ilmater supports Smenk too.

However the priest of Kelemvor refuses to vote with the others in a break from tradition due to Smenks association with a necromancer. The four other mine owners refuse to support him. The garrison commander Trask abstains as is his policy not to intefere with interna town matters. Finally Allustan refuses to support him. All but commander Trask all vote for Luzanne Parrin. Brought to a tie, Smenk tries to claim that Allustan isnt a council member because he was appointed as special advisor and asks the council to have him removed. Allustan would not be able to vote in such a motion. However Allustan points out that only a major can appoint or remove a sepcial councillor. Tilgast as the oldest member confirms that this is the case and in the case of a draw the council defers the decision by one week. Smenk leaves enraged, as does Theldrick. The aim at this point is for Theldrick to be an absolute S.O.B but not to do anything to make them think he is evil, per se. Just corrupt.

After the meeting the Garrison Commander summons the rogue. He appoints her as a special liason between the Garrison and the town, citing the unusual occurances. Allustan has requested urgent assistance after investigating the worm they found at the observatory. The commander also wants the PCs to investigate the farm disapperances - barefoot humanoid tracks leading back to town. He also has found a copy of a chapbook called the Way of the Ebon Triad in one of their rooms. The commander thinks something untoward is linking the defections. The PCs also know something is amiss in the Dourstone Mine.

If they aquit themselves well. After the council meeting the Church of Ilmater will be more accessible. The high priest will confide her reluctance to support Smenk, but that Theldrick has promised extra guards following the break in. Several items were stolen, relics of three churches Bane, Myrkul and Bhaal that the church has secured in their vault. The church suffered the prensence of their evil in their temple for that is the way of Ilmater, to suffer that which others cannot.

If amenable, Smenk may reach out the PCs to try and find Merrovin Bask who the PCs separated from Kullen's gang and beat up to find the location of the bodies in Whispering Cairn. Merrovin has gone missing and Smenk wants him back. Smenk will approach the PCs and say that he thinks someone his targeting his peope. He will be very cagey but will mention the old mine outside of town. After the two temples are defeated. Smenk comes to the PCs with brusies on his neck and throws a strangler on the table sent by the Faceless one. He will explain about the cult but in such a way as to make him a victim. He will explain that the Faceless one paid him for the shipment in amethysts. Giving them away as if they were nothing.

The three temples are not connected to the temple with locked doors, but instead with two way portals - a brazier into which powdered dust is flung. Jet for the Arena of Bane. Carnellion for the caverns of Bhaal. The laboratory of Myrkul is hidden behind a cunningly hidden door. The brazier there is not magical and nothing they throw in the brazier will work. There are two deserters (now cult guards) guarding the catherdral. If interogate they can reveal information about the arena of Bane.

The temple of Bane is actually beneath the temple of Helm. Theldrick is really a priest of Bane who has been enticing recruits from disaffected soldiers and town unworthies. They stay in the arena of Bane's barracks and receive supplies sent down the elevator to the cathedral by Dourstone and Smenk. They form the bulk of the cult and are their human agents when needed. I have replaced the boar with a max hp Basalisk because its more fun. Also added a series of portcullises that corral the basalisk to the arena. These are controlled at several points, including the platform above. The following links lead to the Temple of Bane. If confronted Theldrick will try to escape.
- The cultists in the dourstone mine if interrogated could lead to the temple
- Becoming suspicious of Theldrick and searching the temple of Helm could reveal the entrance to the Arena
- The shortage of jet Tidwoad mentioned is a clue to opperating the brazier of Bane.
- Mad Grallak Kur can offer crytic clues to location of the temple of Bane - "The Black Fist Wears a Steel Gauntlet."
- Randolph will return after 10 days with an escort of Helm soldiers to arrest Theldrick as a liar and an apostate.

The entrance to the Grimlock caverns is in an abandoned mine that Smenk once used to dump bodies and for storage. The grimlocks broke through into the mines from their caves following Gralluk Kur's visions. It is their main route into and out of town without anyone knowing. The grimlock caverns are linked to the Cathedral by a brazier that uses powdered Carnelion. The following clues lead to the Grimlock caverns
- Footprints lead towards the town but also towards the mine. These can be tracked with difficulty (DC 15) all the way to the mine.
- Investigating Lanod Neff's house following the murder reveals muddy footprints, it is iron rich slag runoff.
- Small amounts of red gem powder can be found on the ground next to the brazier in the cathedral.
- Tidwoad can confirm a shortage of carnelion gems... though he gets a shipment in the next day.
- If the PCs get too close to the cult activities Grallak Kur sends Grimlock Rangers to take them, either to the temple of the bane if subdued or to his own caves if not. If killed the Grimlocks also have the iron slag runoff on their feet.

The entrance to the Faceless One's laboratory is behind a secret door though there is a normal brazier in front of it to maintain the illusion. There are three Kenku spell thieves inside the maze. I will ask the players to call out distractions using the whisper function. The maze will be used as a single encounter with sliding walls to isolate the PCs. This will be very effective with a VTT and line of sight I think. Should be a very creepy combat. Particularly for the wizard and rogue. Inside the lab is the Faceless one and Keoghtom who was taken by Theldrick. The faceless one is testing the process of worm embedding on the old priest using a potion of slow disease (a concotion of his own unique creation). The priest is conscious but very exhausted and near death. The worm can be seen moving under the old man's skin. After the Faceless one is defeated the old man tells the party that the worm imeddding can't be cured by normal means once the worm deep in the tissue. He has an ointment in his chambers that might help, it is potent against all diseases. Lesser restoration and paladin lay on hands won't cure the corruption at 4th level. (Only a lesser restoration boosted to 4th level or 25 points of lay on hands healing can cure the worms), or of course a dose of Keoghtom's ointment. The lab only has one more potion remaining enough to keep Koeghtom alive for six more hours. Keoghtom has a pot of his ointment in a book in his old office (Now Theldrick's). He will urge the PCs to save it for themselves and says that they will need it in the future. Including the potion. Clues to the Faceless One's Laboratory is as follows.
- Grallak Kur says that "The Faceless One Lies Behind Deception" a clue to the fact that the Faceless One's lair is behind a hidden door, not the brazier.
- The party may hear a grinding noise if they are in the temple when the Kenku enter or leave
- Theldrick's journal states that he was told the Faceless One's brazier uses amethyst powder. There is no sign of amethyst powder in the alcove. There is also no shortage of Amethyst powder.
- The Kenku Rogues will be sent to try and kill the party if they defeat the first two temples and haven't found the Faceless One's lair.
- A dead body of a Kenku won't have amethyst's or any gems.
- A captured Kenku will reveal the secret if persuaded.
If the party have a barbed strangler and travel through one of the portals then it will messilly explode as the animating magic reacts with the creature. Suggesting the Faceless one's servants dont use portals.
The Faceless One's death triggers the birth of the Ebon Aspect that now blocks their escape from the Cathedral.

As a final denoument. Unless the PCs made friends with Smenk. When the PCs reach the temple of Helm to find the ointment Smenk has sent the rest of Kullen's gang to get revenge on the party. At this point they should be easy to defeat.

The Adventure ends with the repeat Council Meeting. Without Theldrick the Smenk has 2 votes. Zalandra and Dourstone (1 if Dourstone is implicated in the cult). However the PCs can sway things the other way if they want. Their influence can persuade Allustan, the temples and even the Garrison commander which will be enough to swing the council to whomever they want. I wan the PCs to have an investment in the town... all the more rewarding when Ilthane returns to destroy it in chapter 6.

Anyway lots of thoughts there. Apologies for the excessively long post! Any feedback is much appreciated!!!

So with the exception of a few bugs that have largely been patched, Owlcat’s game is a pretty darn good conversion of the tabletop Kingmaker campaign. The computer game resolves a lot of the inconsistency with the original storyline with far stronger attention to Nyrissa and Pitax and adds some really great side quests and characters.

Any thoughts to adapting some of these ideas to the tabletop AP? In particular the changes to Hargulka’s kingdom, the season of the bloom, adding barbarians to the nomen heights, the defaced sisters etc?

Has anyone done this already?

graeme mcdougall wrote:
The Sword wrote:

I hate to break it to you they really aren’t. Pathfinder is to D&D as the Yorkshire Terrier is to the Scottish highland terrier. They are almost identical and only dog experts can tell any different.

Both games are rules heavy and share 90% of the same names, classes and product identity. The suggestion that Pathfinder is fundamentally different is crazy. The fact that Pathfinder is a bit more rules heavy is not going to attract new players unless they are rpg afficionados. Pathfinder will have to dine out on 5e’s hand me downs.

I hate to break it you but probably 90% of RPG sessions ever played are D&D or some varient.

To a first approximation, RPGs are D&D. To a 2nd approximation RPGs are D&D & Pathfinder.
Commercially & Culturally the differences between variants of D&D are much more significant than the differences between them & all the other RPGs that few people play.
To use your analogy, 90% of the playbase are dog experts.

'Dining on D&D's hand-me-downs' (A grossly unfair charicature but whatever) has seen Pathfinder sustain the 2nd biggest player base in RPGs for nearly a decade.

That spot remains theirs to lose & nothing I've seen from Starfinder or the Playtest suggest they are keen to do so.

You’re not breaking anything to me. I’m well aware that Pathfinder in any incarnation is a variant of D&D in a very literal sense.

Let me clarify my hand me down comment. PF1s success came from Paizo inheriting a disgruntled 3rd ed player base who were charmed by age of worms etc.That no longer applies. The new wave of RPGers are generally people who give D&D a go (because of media link in, accessibility, brand name etc). They are not aficionado’s by any stretch of the definition. I’ve just finished the third session for a brand new group of players and their reference points are board games like Lords of Waterdeep or Arkham, computer games, TV, films and novels. Definitely not other RPGs. Incidentally this is the first new group in four years I have onboarded because trying to do so for Pathfinder last time was so traumatic I swore never again. Even with 5E’s ‘simplified’ system it took a good 30 mins per character to walk them though it. Hence prompting my original comment about 5e not being rules light.

PF2 has a really fine line to tread. Make it too different and they won’t inherit 5e players looking for something to migrate to. Too similar and they won’t feel the need to. For me Starfinder was a bitter disappointment with a lacklustre AP and with PCs that felt neutered without tech. The exact opposite of 5e at the time. The same
goes for ruins of Azlant, that felt so generic it could have been set anywhere (Compare it to Tomb of Annihilation). They need to get the same creativity and wonder that made PF1 PCs feel awesome and Adventure Path’s be so playable. A part of me wonders whether they can do this in light of the last three years products.

Mekkis wrote:

Pathfinder and 5e are very different. I would hazard a guess that Pathfinder is the leader of rules-heavy high-fantasy roleplaying systems.

If PF2 is too fanatical about simplification, it will throw this marketshare away completely, in exchange for trying to fight the behemoth that is WotC for the scraps.

I hate to break it to you they really aren’t. Pathfinder is to D&D as the Yorkshire Terrier is to the Scottish highland terrier. They are almost identical and only dog experts can tell any different.

Both games are rules heavy and share 90% of the same names, classes and product identity. The suggestion that Pathfinder is fundamentally different is crazy. The fact that Pathfinder is a bit more rules heavy is not going to attract new players unless they are rpg afficionados. Pathfinder will have to dine out on 5e’s hand me downs.

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Wait until you get to feats...

I believe the Open University are running a course on feat selection. It’s done over two years and the end examination involves soloing a Pathfinder society module.

The scary thing is if such a thing existed i’d take the course. I feel your pain.

I tend to prefer the game to steer the party towards variety.

Firstly everyone isn’t fighting over the same treasure.

Secondly as a DM I can pose a wider set of challenges

Thirdly as a player it’s not very nice to design a two weapon wielding ranger only to find out another player is also running a two weapon wielding ranger, and you the. Won’t get chance to shine when the tracking come up.

A conversation beforehand is the way to go, and this is encouraged by the system being designed around a balanced group.

That said parties should be able to overlap skills - no reason why a ranger couldn’t be 66% as good at trapfindimg as a rogue say. And a rogue be 66% as good as a fighter in combat.

What I am dead set against is the need for someone to have to provide dedicated healing for the party. P should change the healing mechanic like 5e to can the CLW wand problem and allow clerics to spend more time spreading the word of god Andy less time burning through cure spells.

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You are correct. However the belts of giant strength are pretty rare items and I guess you just wouldn’t add one to the party treasure unless it made sense. Legends are filled with stories of people getting immense strength or speed so i can see why they are in there. However they are far removed from the existing big six.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:

Not every combat is an assured thing, but you don't have to think no-name nobody goblins are going to kill you on a random encounter.


Unheroic is Lancelot riding into Camelot to rescue Guenivierre and being challenged by 3 squires and dying instead of rescuing her because he's that weak.

Unheroic is Han Solo dying in the attack on Maz Kanata's from two stormtroopers before he even has a chance to heroically face his son.

Unheroic is Darth Vader being killed outright in Rogue One because he cannot march right through and slaughter all...

Yeah it doesn't sound like you've played much 5e if this is how you describe the encounters. The goblin has a +4 to hit and deals 1d6+1 damage and has maybe 7 hp with AC 15.

The 11th level fighter PC has about 90 hp, can heal mid combat, attack three or four times at +8 or so, with AC 20 ish.

The squires/goblins/rebel troopers don't kill the PC but they may knock a couple of hit points off.

I don't think you understand the principal of bounded accuracy. It is about preventing auto success and auto fail. Preventing combat becoming trivial unless DMs are locked into combats with a narrow range of CRs. It prevents AC being meaningless because all monsters hit on +20 or more.

In 5e the low level PCs can take on the Red Dragon becasue it is physically possible for them to hit it but they need to do it in several stages with a cunning plan and a way to heal up otherwise they will get roasted. In existing pathfinder this is impossible, the lower level PCs can't scratch the thing.

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So much good stuff - a lot of which our group ported across into PF anyway.


Short rests - wow, these speed play up so much and make clerics less of a must have.

Inspiration - simple and rewards role playing

Legendary Monsters - the most awesome way to make end bosses feel strong without needed to have a horde of minions. Maybe create a legendary template.

Death saves - prevent point of death being a mathematical calculation and throw in some jeapardy.


Spells known - makes wizards flexible but not too flexible. They become manageable at all levels without having a degree in accounting

Scaling magic - magic that uses spell slot to scale rather than doing it automatically.

Cantrips - scaling base attacks so wizards don’t need to fire crossbows!

Stat based saving thrones - makes working out saves so much more intuitive and adds a new dimension to matching spells against defenses.

More hp for monsters - 1 hit kills are much less of a thing.

Remove feat chains - it means reducing the power of some feats but so much more elegant.


Bounded accuracy - AC now means something rather than being a waste of time, auto fail and auto success are less of a thing (in 5e you just don’t roll for trivial difficulties) encounter balance is much much much easier, and everyone in the party can contribute. Fighters feel good because they get multiple attacks not because they’re better than a rogue with a dagger.

Concentration - the single most elegant way of speeding up combat, preventing one encounter days and curbing the nonsense of some wizards over level 5. But I accept that it is anethama to the proponents of the god-wizard.

Magic Items - they feel special, they add choices, rather than increasing the stats of existing choices. Love the reduced book keeping.

Fitnesse weapons - they make all PCs awesome in combat and the fighter is differentiated in other ways. The fighter is now awesome by the way and one of our most popular classes.

Tie stat increases to class - allow but discourage excessive multiclassjng by making stat increases a class ability at key levels. Flex these levels to balance classes.


In summary a lot of people are saying 5e is dumbed down, which it isnt. To any outsider it is still a game with complexity, with hundreds of choices, hundreds of spells, dozens of feats etc etc. in comparison to Pathfinder with 10 years bloat there are less options but not when you compare it to 3.0 when it came out.

In 5e when you want to be a specialist in Varisian artifacts you take proficiency history and write it in your background, you tell your GM and when Varisian artifacts are in the game he gives you advantage.. In Pathfinder 1e you want a trait that gives you +1 on history checks dealing with varisian artifacts. A feat that allows you to decipher the uses with a DC 25 know(arcana) check and gives +1 to spell level when using the spells cast from varies Ian artifacts etc etc etc. The problem is the mechanical differences for Pathfinder in most games are either trivial or incredibly good depending on the campaign. Whereas the potential for RP and fun is still there in 5e there just isn’t a specific feat or trait for that choice.

5e is simpler but it isn’t simple. Instead it’s more intuitive and arguably more powerful because you can do more with the rule set as a player and DM because the space to invent has been built into the system. Rather than requiring specific permissions and exemptions to do anything.

Paizo should make intuitive and clear rules a key part of its design structure.

My impression of the Gnome kings highway is that it is broad and stable enough to use carts... evidenced by the fact that they have a cart on it. Vothys is a different kettle of fish. A typical large pack lizard (monitor) with Str 17 could Carry 500lbs as a medium load which would allow for a single block of marble 1’ x 1’ x 3’.

I imagine this would be made up of small bricks that that are carried in packs. That drow would use magic to shape smooth. So a 10 pack lizards would carry enough marble for just over 3 cubic feet of marble. Not a lot to be fair. That leaves the choice of either multiple trips, larger caravans, or magical means (bags of holding, transmuting).

In my campaign the gnomes will do most of their trade by cart allowing much more practical weight carrying. Up to that point the tribute to Vothys has been relatively small - mainly for repair and decoration work so 10 pack lizards would suffice. Once fastervalt is added to the empire the PCs will have to come up with their own approach - the dark road being the most practical - maybe altering it enough to allow small carts.

On a separate note I would make it clear that trade in the underdark is usually made up of portable expensive items. Otherwise you use what you have nearby. Weapons, cloth, magic, exotic foodstuffs, wood - all rare and expensive.

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I always describe special effects like these with a few seconds of extra detail. You feel ‘waves of heat radiating down your arm from the bite’, or ‘the wound burns like ice’. You can then ask for the save and describe the effect.

If it’s an effect you don’t want them to know about - an assassin has poisoned their meal with a slow acting toxin - then find a way to get their save bonuses and abilities in advance. For instance by having an unimportant save vs poison somewhere else in the adventure and ask what their modifier are.

I think if you want to keep mechanical knowledge from players it’s better to put that extra bit of prep - rather than the players feel they’re being jerked around on a string.

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What suprises me about this thread is just how many people think that casters and martial are balanced. That is a substantial proportion of votes. Particularly considering house rules and long encounter days weren’t very popular.

Clearly it isn’t as big a problem across the board as some would believe.

What about Avariel - winged elves? Or if you’re concerned about alignment and want something wicked go with Fey’ri - the half elf, half demon hybrids. Both simple to convert.

Except Game stores can sell through amazon as well. So they don’t need to take the risk either in the same way. A game store becomes a display portal for stock and a method of recruiting new players.

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Hmm, here are three good reasons...

Firstly wizards don’t have access to a PFSRD. Half the spells and items described above wouldn’t even be known to most wizards because they’re scattered across the universe. You can search something out to buy, learn or invent if you do know/can’t imagine what it is. Therefore not all wizards have access to demiplanes, simulacrum, clones or even lantern archon spam.

Secondly wizards aren’t carbon copy cutouts learning the same dozen Uber spells. They specialise, have their own fields of academic study and interest and limited resources not least of which is time. The descriptions above rely on the - prepared for anything - schrodingers wizard. For the reasons already given those wizards don’t exist outside players heads.

Thirdly, where there are wizard tyrants bending people to their rule, there are adventuring bands/crusades making sure they don’t get to do it for long. A wizard is still only one man/woman but a group of individuals will always have an advantage in action economy if nothing else. Also once your wizard has used their lantern archon spam their multitudinous enemies know how to counter that ability.

I can’t comment on the state of play in America but certainly in the U.K, sites like Facebook, Meet/, Instagram etc have recruited far more players than game stores did, which are far and few between.

Regarding online sales, to put it simply, game stores have to deliver excellent customer experiences and people will patronize them. Maybe not those who live hand to mouth, but certainly gamers with disposable income can be influenced to spend that inhouse.

I wouldn’t dream of buying Games Workshop products online despite being cheaper because when I go into my local GW store I get good conversation, the manager takes care of me (puts a copy or two aside when something’s popular) and gives me the occasional cup of tea.

Make customers feel valued and impulse buying will take care of the rest. Or be smart, and retail online as well so your stock works twice as hard.

The main reason is surely that the 9th level NPC is only one person and can’t be everywhere at once. It doesn’t mean they don’t care, or won’t help if given the oppportunity. It just means they can’t take on responsibility for getting every problem fixed.

Use 9th level NPCs as patrons and mentors for PCs with extra rewards or help for dealing with that tricky problem. Give clues to the NPCs own aims and motivations it will expand the verisimilitude of the world and bring the NPc to life. Maybe the wizard is trying to research how to destroy a powerful evil item and is struggling to keep its power contained meaning they darent leave the item unattended.

If the threat is direct and immediate (dragon attack on the town for instance) then have the wizard taken out of the fight (dragons agents steal the wizards spellvook, or poison him etc).

Remember that situation at work where you’re juggling ten tasks and someone comes into you office and starts adding more problems onto your pile... at some point you say can’t you sort it out yourself.

Both the interviews are really interesting. However don’t underestimate the value of a huge brand name when competing with an endless cycle of lesser known and growing brands. Retailers are naturally going to favor products with lasting potential, and recognized quality over a punt on brand new and stand alone product.

5e is really setting some standards in quality and production values while cashing in on a huge nostalgia bank spanning 30 years. The combination of recognizable products and a much slower and deliberate release schedule means FLGS’s can order stock knowing it will take less shelf space and be supported and marketed centrally for longer. That has to be a win. Furthermore the Online presence of the 5e campaigns with writer led live play throughs, computer game tie ins, miniatures etc, is really high quality.

By broadening the appeal of their more specialist products (Curse of Strahd for example) rather than concentrating on distinct setting product lines, they are becoming less niche. My concern with Paizo’s stratagy is that it seems to becoming more and more niche with every release - as more generally applicable supplements have already been made.

I worry for Paizo but have no fear for d&d’s resilience. I suspect it is in good hands with the current exec.

Let's be honest the weight of argument is overwhelmingly in favor of ranged combat being one of the strongest styles. The opposite idea that it isn't even worth trying is clearly not supported despite a valiant effort by darksol.

Just to add a few more reasons why archery is so good.

- rapid fire penalties don't matter when To Hit outpaces AC

- the sheer quantity of attack rolls mean crits become ridiculously common.

- in most cases monsters are the threatening agent so need to come to you, as a result monsters rarely have the luxury of hiding behind cover.

- Also the vast majority of bestiary creatures don't have ranged attack options or if they do are hideously outclassed by ranged archers - staying back and taking cover is almost always pointless for enemies.

- The quantity of attacks a ranged character can throw into a fight even at relatively early levels is huge. Two weapon fighting and many shot doubles a 6th level fighting classes attacks compared to that greatsword who has to jump through all sorts of hoops to get free attacks from cleave.

- a ranged fighter doesn't need to be as tough, or as armoured, or even as fast. They are are able to specialize far easier.

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Castilliano wrote:

Good thoughts, Sword, I'll add some maybes:

If that such fashion comes to be then certain aliens would be excluded as well, unable to match trends due to anatomical/genetic differences. This may lead to an alien counterculture, i.e. Vesk grunge & Shirren beatniks, who start their own looks.

I expect that with an unlimited number of worlds part of the fun of world building will be deciding which cultures feel differently about all these things. Part of the joy of GMing in Starfinder for me are the ways I can make different worlds stand out as unique culturally, rather than just environmentally. I wont be using the majority of alien races as I plan on running Starfinder in the Dark Heresy, 40k universe.

Presumably it doesn't prevent natural aging, it just resets the clock to whatever form you take.

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Back to the original question which was about cultural implications living in a universe where you can appear however you want not about gender identity.

It's worth reading Pandora's Star by Peter F Hamilton. It details a world where you can undergo a rejuvenation process to appear at any age you desire, and undergo surgery to effectively appear however you want just like the serum. At the same time you can also be reborn into a body back to the last time you memories were downloaded into a server. They call that second life, or third life.

A couple of outcomes are described

- The population is split into the jaded middle class that can afford the procedures and the poorer classes for who it would represent a significant expenditure. Not dissimilar to modern society.

- Experience and novelty is far more important where people can all look classically beautiful. What a person does and how many times they've done it is more important than what they look like, doing it.

- Natural looks gain a value in and of themselves, as opposed to artificially created looks, even if the difference isn't obvious at first glance.

75 credits may represent a much larger proportion of a persons disposable income than the 1 credit per day figure would suggest. After all how much of your income goes on food as opposed to all the other things in your life you spend money on. I can definitely imagine cultures where it would be frowned upon to put your superficial appearance ahead of other spending priorities.

Just a few thoughts

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It is ironic that Pathfinder was designed to be backward compatible for people who weren't ready to give up on 3e but in reality isn't and people can't use their 3e materials. While at the same time becoming much worse than 3e in terms of bloat and complexity.

There's irony there.

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The best suggestion so far was to drop the pronoun entires and insist on names being used to identify the subject every time.

Tie their hands, gag their mouths, remove their spell components.

How many other ways do you want to screw with someone's fun? I mean any GM that adds a rust monster to every session is going to get a smack in the mouth.

Dark Heresy, will probably use the rogue trader campaign structure with an almost kingmaker style build a sector trade empire. They will be following in the footsteps of an ancient trader who has left behind a lot of dubious chaos tainted locations and artifacts (Harlock).

I'm really interested to see the quality of the adventures, particularly around maps, which I normally find are a really restricted resource.

Alien weapons that require unique biology or multiple arms to use, or particularly cumbersome humanoid weapons could make for interesting challenges.

If the enemy have a pintle mounted heavy gun for instance or are controlling a turret from a console.

Challenges arise around hacking, salvaging and generally creative use - maybe be PCs work together to fire a devastating weapon, or turn a defense turret on its previous operators.

Melkiador wrote:
The Sword wrote:

Mythic is again adding complexity and a whole new subsystem.

Just give them Con score instead of con modifier to HP at first level as a bonus. It makes a big difference to survivability at early levels.

Can also give them 2 bonus skill points per level and a feat at every level instead of alternate levels but that's you're call. It shouldn't be necessary.

Mythic barely adds any complexity. If you make the mythic choices for the players, then it would just be a couple new powers tacked onto what they already had.

Giving more hp and skills still doesn't do much to solve the biggest issue, which is action economy. Out of the main options, the only ones to help action economy are mythic or simply playing multiple characters. And playing an extra character is going to add a lot more complexity than mythic does.

Action economy can be balanced by reducing enemy action economy that PCs usually outpace enemies on every time. In fact too much PC action economy makes DMing encounters harder not easier.

The problem with playing with two is that one character dropping from an unlucky crit halves party strength. Survivability absolutely is the issue.

I second the point that second characters are not great for new players. Pathfinder PCs can be complex enough.

If you insist on adding more bodies consider giving each the druids animal companion ability. To reduce the awkwardness of roleplayimg to people.

Mythic is again adding complexity and a whole new subsystem.

Just give them Con score instead of con modifier to HP at first level as a bonus. It makes a big difference to survivability at early levels.

Can also give them 2 bonus skill points per level and a feat at every level instead of alternate levels but that's you're call. It shouldn't be necessary.

Hmm. It just seems odd. I mean if evil existed, I'm not sure why as a hero player character you would dedicate their life to serving something the rest of the party is fighting against. Unless the whole party is neutral, in which case good luck trying to get them to do anything. The whole appeasement thing sounds a bit odd to me in a Pantheonic system where there are alternatives. It sounds like a cool NPC lousy PC.

I mean, I think that players should design characters that can work in a group with others and play nice. Otherwise you're starting on the back foot, right out of the gate.

But each to their own.

Is there a desperate need to play such a character?

You are right, just not necessary with the examples of players you gave there. When players get their saves to the point when they only fail 5-10% of the time then the game becomes extremely tedious to DM. Invulnerability is not particularly heroic.

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The Winking Skeever!

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Of course, the energy drain may not be as traumatic as the Rogue scene in xmen. It could easily be seen as a lethargy to feeling of being run down. Perhaps their heads feel stuffed with cotton wall or forgetful.

It would be good to keep this thread going for ideas and suggestions as we go through though!

Tarik Blackhands wrote:
Fardragon wrote:
"Gritty" has more to do with the GM and players than the ruleset used. I could sit down with my players with a grim and gritty module in a grim and gritty universe, and it would soon turn into an episode of Red Dwarf.

Even still, the rules and general progression of the game (at least in 1.0, 2.0 is far more forgiving) highly reflect a game where you're an Inquisitor's mook, not anything resembling a high roller at least till you're deep in your career. You can see that in the fear and insanity rules, the general level of individual aptitude at lower levels, the rank progression charts (many classes don't get skills as ubiquitous as Dodge till rank 3), psychic powers are liable to explode your head, and you're generally expected to horde every Throne you find so you keep your guns loaded especially if you find something like a bolter where it's somewhere near 20 thrones per bolt.

You can run an ultra noblebright heroic DH just like you could no doubt do a grim n gritty PF game but it certainly doesn't play to either system's strengths if you ask me.

I think aptitude in Pathfimder/Starfinder depends entirely on what DCs and monsters the GM throws at the party; fear and madness could easily be ported across using will as a save stat; psychic powers exploding your head is not fun for GM, Psyker or other players and is better dealt with in roleplay and story terms; lastly our teams worked for the holy inquisition so equipment was never a problem.

I think that it will port across just fine. I intend to cut out the mixed magic/combat classes and replace the engineer classes companion with a servitor but aside from that it should be pretty straightforward.

My big concern is how the rules for automatic weapons can be adopted as I feel these should do more shots rather than just more damage. It will be interesting to see how it works.

I disagree that the Dark Heresy rules were good, they were massively imbalanced and had really odd progression.

Kileanna wrote:
thenovalord wrote:
The Sword wrote:
The Way of the Wicked deals with a lot of these criticisms of evil campaigns. By having a very strong patron and authority structure, severely limiting the chances of PCs betraying each other (using an interesting mechanic),
That all made it feel a bit Diet-Coke-Of-Evil for me TBH

It depends on what you find appealing from evil.

If you want to be evil for being a destroyer and running rampant WotW is not your game.

If you want evil scheming, subtle evil, WotW can be more fitting.

My players though being subtle weren't decaffeinated at all. They were monsters under the cover of respectability. I loved that.

Absolutely, they do some pretty monstrous things in that campaign. For me playing a good evil character is more about Cersai and less about Jofrey. The Jofreys of the campaign can still exist but they are as likely to be your enemy as your ally.

The best evil characters have strong motivations. The ends justify the means and the means are pretty horrendous.

I'm about to start running Way of the Wicked for the second time, it was that good. There is a reason it's been in the top ten selling 3pp products since it came out (despite the author now being a pariah)

In terms of the appropriateness of the table. We use the PG/13 method suggested in the series. Terrible stuff happens and the players make terrible stuff happen but we don't revel in blow by blow descriptions of it. There is a lot of 'cut-to-scene' and the outcome described. We'd use this whenever there was torture, looting of a city, etc.

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The Way of the Wicked deals with a lot of these criticisms of evil campaigns. By having a very strong patron and authority structure, severely limiting the chances of PCs betraying each other (using an interesting mechanic), had a very story and task driven adventure structure and uses good antagonists that exemplify everything you love to hate about goodness.

To be honest if a DM can enjoy role playing the villains of a campaign I don't see why players couldn't enjoy it too?

Incidentally on the specific point spell like abilities don't match spell description casting times unless the spell like ability specifically mentions that. This is clear under the rules for spell like ability. The Summon ability is 'like' the summon spells but isn't exactly the same. It uses a standard action by default. If it was a full round action the summon universal monster rule would give us this exception.

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Technically the author can write any ability they like. If they create an adversary that can do something as a standard action then that's what it can do.

I'm not really sure what the problem is.

1 (curse of the crimson throne) out of about 9 played. We normally get to somewhere on book 4 or 5 but we play monthly so s full AP can take up to 2 year. My personal feel is that they are too long and a year suits better.

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The difficulty is, by developing the idea further and using it for your story you become complicit in the original story. It also tacitly condones such behaviour and reminds the PCs that they did something heinous.

Lets be clear, there is no 'good punishment' that you can dish out to your players that will make things balanced and yet still leave your players satisfied. Unless they enjoy doing terrible acts and then being punished for it (lets not even go there.)

I wouldn't flip the monopoly board, I just wouldn't want to develop a fundamentally flawed storyline and would prefer a clean slate. Honestly the situation of adults fighting against their will is pretty horrific and brutal, using children was really just clumsy.

However, if you are determined to plow ahead. Is there any way this Dark Stranger can have been toying with the party and the 'children' were polymorphed adults wearing faces the party knew (if they indeed are people the party knew.) Perhaps the party members can glimse a figure in the crowd that looks like someone the party killed - the player doesn't know if they are having flashbacks or being fooled. The stranger actually has the people the PCs fought captured and is using their hair/nails/blood etc to grow dopplegangers etc they can use?

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I don't really care about the legal ramifications of what the age of majority was in a faux analogue of Victorian England. The law can be whatever you want it to be as the DM of that world.

However I will say, players being forced to role play fighting children, or willingly killing children is pretty sick whichever way you square it. People can justify it by saying oh, back they would have been adults... but the point is you and your players live now and do understand how bad it is.

To be honest, if that happened in our game, knowing my players, the campaign would probably end. Everything I tried would be to walk back from that and undo the damage. Let's be honest this is a role play game and I'm surprised that's how some people get their kicks.

Firstly I would say that the setting is entitely in your control. Sure companies produce books and supplements to provide suggestions for adventure locations and characters but you aren't bound them. If you decide that the river kingdoms are part of Brevoy, that House Thrune has been deposed or that the Red Wizards are Good, then that's your prerogative. Players who use their knowledge of the setting to develop their own characters and backgrounds should let you know in advance, ideally by email, so you can take it into consideration and try and make it work. After all that is a great source of motivations and ideas for you.

Regarding rules lawyering, you acknowledge that you don't know the system as well which is good to know. The good news is that the more you play and the more he "advises" you, the better your knowledge will be. Have a word with him and see if you can both make sure the corrections aren't confrontational.

Unfortunately in Pathfinder it's a lot harder to decide tactics and then look at the rules, because so many choices - like combat maneuvers - stand no chance of working unless you have the right combinations of feats, stats, skills and equipment. You have to decide the tactics in advance then tailor the NPCs or creatures to the tactics. It's one of the main reasons as a DM I prefer 5th ed, where most options are available from the get go. As a DM it is far more liberating.

Is there a particular reason you want to stop things running away? Does your DM repeatedly make things run away with loot or was it a one off.

RPGs also have unique checks and balances built into their structure that work to maintain balance unlike a board game or computer game.

- There is a DM who is technically not a player but part of whose role is to monitor and ensure players are having fun.
- There is the social contract between players that says 'this is a voluntary game that I can't play by myself, so I need to ensure other players also have fun"
- There are errata and FAQs clarifying or amending exiting rules
- This is the release of new materials which can fill gaps in balance.
- Events and organized play like PFS have organizers and officers who can moderate and arbitrate in some case removing options all together.

These methods all run alongside the rules just as the organs of state run alongside legislation.

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Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay had a few issues but the first edition was for me the most fun to DM and play. The career system was really interesting and represented a wholy different style of profression, magic used MPs to limit usage and the critical hit tables were brutally hilarious. Combined with this the first three modules of the enemy within campaign are seen as being some of the best in the industry, particularly for their time.

It's well worth taking a look.

I also agree that 5e is probably the best system on the market at the moment. It has the balance of simplicity while having a robust stystem and the maths works really welll for me. Very satisfying.