Sometimes you start something that turns out to take a bit longer than you expect. Redrawing the whole of Castle Scarwall is that!
The map is adjusted in a few places to make the layout a bit more realistic - plus to have 5ft thick walls. But it still corresponds to the book descriptions (almost) 100%.
Here's a link to the files.
I've been hoping Paizo would encourage a service similar to this, seeing how useful it can be for players. However paying again for 'books' is a big problem with dndbeyond, and will be even more of a problem with Pathfinder since it has a lot more books (and a lot fewer players). I supect Nexus might fail if it tries to copy that part of the dndbeyond business model. The 'discount on books you already own' doesn't work for me or others that buy our books from a local game store or supplier, which I do.
I'd suggest going with a monthly subscription only, whilst providing all book content (in a digital form) to subscribers for no extra charge. Or have a 2-tier subscription price where the higher tier includes all book content in that price.
As a user of plenty of digital tools, I already own all the physical books and a fair few pds too. I would pay a subscription for Nexus but there's absolutely no way I'm paying again for those books. It's just not going to happen. Asking me to do so will drive me away from a service I'd otherwise happily pay for. Looking at other community responses here and elsewhere, it's clear I'm not the only person who feels that way.
I'm sure there are ways to make up some revenue even without paying for the 'books' a second time. Extra digital content such as very-high-rez maps for VTTs can persuade people to pay a bit more.
At some point a gun stops being a fantasy gun and becomes a sci-fi gun. Where that crossover point is is subjective. But most people would agree a blunderbuss is fantasy and a laser gun is sci fi. The crossover happens somewhere between the two.
As for flavours of sci-fi, I'm attempting to use the two big bucket definitions of 'steampunk' (low-tech sci fi, clockwork, breach loading guns), and 'high-tech sci fi' (Starfinder, laser guns, spaces ships, etc). That appears to be the approximate categorisation Paizo works to, hence Guns & Gears not having Numenera equipment in it.
Anyway the point I'm attempting to make is in reference to the original comment above:
Preview image on the AP page shows a MUCH more sci-fi airship than I expected. Has Akiton always had high tech stuff?
It's an aesthetic point - namely how the airship looks. To me (and clearly to keftiue) it looks surprisingly high-tech. Personally it reminds me of something out of Star Wars on Tatooine. Or Starfinder art with Pathfinder iconics in it. That came as a surprise. Again for the sake of clarity: this is a highly subjective judgement, as all aesthetic judgements are.
Yes. That can be done equally with magic, it doesn't necessarily imply sci-fi. As has been done in other Paizo content in the past.
Totally. This is just a response to the new art, which looks pretty 'sci fi'. The text description (airship) could be done guns & gears steampunk feel, or more high sci fi like the feel of the art.
I'm just referring to how Paizo have kept high-tech in specific places (such as Numeria) so that groups who don't want sci-fi mixed into their fantasy can easily do so. It's a great feature of the setting that it can be adapted to different 'fantasy sub-genres' based on including or excluding a few elements. Elements that have been made to be added and removed easily. Guns is similar - they're 'optional' for the setting.
I was just surprised by having sci-fi in this particular AP. I guess from a positioning point of view I'd put it in the 'Amazing new Mwangi setting meets magic school' box, and didn't expect sci-fi to be added over the top of that. I'd made an assumption and built some expectations based on that incorrect assumption.
To be clear, I'm not saying it's wrong. Lots of players like the sci fi. I'm just personally surprised and hoping that there might be a way to still play the AP without having to have any high-tech sci-fi flavour in it, without needing to do a major re-write. But if it's a whole book set on a high-tech planet, then the answer is 'probably not'.
Preview image on the AP page shows a MUCH more sci-fi airship than I expected. Has Akiton always had high tech stuff?
Personally I'm very much hoping not. I was really looking forward to this AP, but not if it becomes a sci-fi + fantasy hybrid AP. Up until now Paizo have done a great job of ringfencing 'high tech' in their setting for those of us who like our fantasy without sci-fi mixed in. I'm assuming that separation will continue. If including sci-fi in the setting becomes a mandatory part of the AP we won't be playing it unfortunately. If there's ways to work around that then no problem.
This has been the case since RotRL - exhibit A: Malfeshnekor.
However 2nd edition has made the potential cost of the GM not noticing it's a very tough encounter higher.
Most helpful to me personally is to make sure that, if the encounter is extra tough, to have the text clearly signpost this multiple times! Then I won't miss it in a hurry, and can mitigate as needed with situational adaptations. So extra-clear signposting of these tough encounters is my suggestion. Put a red warning icon in the margin or something. Perhaps with a suggestion of how to soften up the encounter a bit if the GM wants to.
Other than that, based on James detailed feedback, it seems Paizo have things well in hand when it comes to fine tuning their encounter design. Thanks for the details James!
High fantasy and realism do not co-exist.
If you want gritty realism it's considerably easier to achieve that with a non-'heroic-fantasy' system and setting. Pathfinder is about playing heroes that become (fantasy) super heroes.
A way to try thinking about this is: all games are 'story simulators' not 'reality simulators'. The rules follow the rules of stories, not of 'reality'. What kind of story do you want to tell?
Warped Savant wrote:
The Thiefmaker takes in orphans and trains them to be thieves (which is Oliver Twist - Dickens).
The parallels are all over. For example there's a character in the book called Vencarlo Barsavi!
They also cut the bridges to part of the city that has a plague outbreak, to quarantine it. The area is called 'The Narrows'.
My guess is you've had no responses because your plot direction is extremely divergent from the campaign as written - so almost everyone would have no idea how to respond.
If you run the AP as written, the near universal attitude of Korvosans towards the Shoanti is negative. So they'd never tolerate a Shoanti as their Seneschal.
Also the AP expects the party to be enemies of the Queen not good friends, which complicates the request a bit too. Plus Ileosa already has a new Seneschal lined up: the bloodmage Togomor. There's nothing in the book about her wanting to improve the relations between Korvosa and the Shoanti either.
None of which is to say you shouldn't make the changes you want to. Go for it! But you're pretty much on your own in terms of any official material and almost all unofficial material when it comes to suggesting Shoanti NPCs for the Seneschal.
My thought based on your question would be to have this as a red herring: that Ileosa has zero intention of having a shoanti as a Seneschal and is asking the PCs to follow this trail to put them off the scent of her misdeeds. She may even be gearing them up to try to find out more about 'midnights teeth' for her surreptitiously, so she can unlock more of their power for herself. Just a thought.
I can't quite tell but are you using the original Scarwall layout or the remastered layout as your model for the compression?
It's a compressed version, but very similar to the original. In play you won't notice any difference. I did it in order to be able to print it out on a smaller and more practical set of print outs (although still a lot!). For online play it makes no difference, but I like to print out and play with minis (when we're not socially distancing).
I'm also working on very high rez maps for Scarwall. I've compactified it a bit in order to use less table space and printer paper, whilst retaining all the room descriptions and flow.
I might consider having the 'Spring of gozreh' be a metaphor for the magical protections placed on Kazavon's Fangs inside the Grand Mastaba.
Initially the PC could be looking for 'the Spring'. Then they start to uncover clues that the 'spring' is really some kind of ward, perhaps via conversations with Thousand Bones.
Then this is confirmed by Neolandus to the PC at the start of book 4. Add the references to the Seneschal's clues.
Follow this up by having Amarund (p254 anniversary edition) be a follower of Gozreh. Then have the PC pick up the task that Amarund had: namely to safely conceal Kazavon's Fangs.
Just an idea, but it blends the PCs ambition into being a central motivation to follow the campaign.
I made Sheriff Feldane the 'Ward Captain of East Shore', reporting directly to Kroft. With secondary duties to keep an eye on Thief Camp and the area outside the city gates near the Theumanexus college.
Then when my players were sent to work for Kroft, I had Kroft be apprehensive but Feldane give a good recommendation to the Commander.
Later on, Feldane ends up being forced to join the Grey Maidens. My PCs haven't encountered her yet, but when they do it should be an interesting dilemma, since they like her.
I added a courtroom scene in the Longacre building, having the PCs give their evidence about the Montchellos. I used that to introduces Zenobia Zenderholm, as well as some of the byzantine laws of the city.
The Warehouse I put in Thief Camp, outside the city gates, opposite West Dock. The Manor I put in East Shore: I essentially kept the whole module within East Shore and outside the city gate there where the Carnival was set up.
It could work well, I've not seen any conversions but it's a great AP and worth converting.
Book one prefigures an important enemy NPC: Rolth Lamm. I'd suggest finding a way to do that. Maybe you can work the Dead Warrens into your campaign.
I added Carrion Hill and The House on Hook street to my CotCT Throne campaign, they might fit your needs too.
Wow, thread hijack. How about starting your own thread instead of derailing someone elses?
I too love Pathfinder 2e for the 4 degrees of freedom and what that brings to story and role play. Rather than the binary pass / fail of 1e, you get a much more nuanced result. I also lean into 'success at a cost', which feels more natural in this context too.
The OP "REALLY dislikes the divine spell list" so I don't think an Oracle will keep them happy for a campaign.
It's just lame that players will insist there's a healer whilst refusing to play one. That's bad behaviour. If someone firmly believes a certain class needs to be in the party they should play it. It's not ok to pressure others to play a certain class. The OP should play whatever they want, and if one of the party who think a healer is essential really thinks that, they can play the healer.
I advise you not to feel pressured into playing 'the healer'. You really don't need one, and picking a class you don't want to play for a multi-year campaign is a bad idea imho.
If someone in your group feels passionately that there needs to be a 'healer' in the party, then let them play it. I suggest you choose whichever class you most want to play out of the complete list available (that your GM has ok'd).
You could borrow a tried and tested technique from European medieval history. It's quite simple. Tie her up and throw her in a lake. If she sinks and drown she's good aligned. If she floats you know she's an evil witch. In that case: burn her at the stake.
Ahh clerics declaring others evil with no way to really tell. Not like that has ever gone wrong. Now where's a good stake and some firewood...
Harrowed Wizard wrote:
Since mirror images can be bypassed by being blind (re: last paragraph of the spell description), I've always ruled that blindsight ignores mirror images (just close your eyes...). So since Spirit Sense is 'just as if it had blindsight' I'd have Spirit Sense ignore mirror image.
Mirror image is only a level 2 illusion spell. Expecting it to fool a CR 14 BBEG that can precisely detect all living and undead within 100ft is rather optimistic.
Right, it's only noticeable by its absence. ie: not very. I only discovered because when I got the game I asked myself 'I wonder what they did with sunder?' (because I've always personally viewed sunder as problematic in 1e).
It does seem that this omission is deliberate: that attacking (attended) equipment and items seems to have been intentionally removed. In which case, GMs should be cautious inserting it back in. I would be curious to hear the reasons why that design decision was made, right now I only have personal assumptions.
but it seems like literally the only way to actually know how things are going to work in advance is by talking out all the details you can think of with your GM.
There's no way to predict everything that's going to come up ahead of time. The same way that there's no way to predict every situation is going to come up in game.
Do you try to predict every situation and write a huge number of complex rules? I'm not sure what criteria you would use to say 'ok that's enough specific rules'. It seems like someone here can always say 'but no, I need a specific rule for X situation, you didn't cover it'. And so on, and more specific rules, and so on. Infinite rules being the ideal.
Or at some point do you say: that leads to too crunchy a game? Let's instead provide various options to GMs, each abstracting gameplay in some way, so the GM can manage almost all situations in a consistent and balanced way? Like role playing games always have done anyway. Let's just be a bit more mindful and open, and dare I say, modern about it.
The latter means you have to expect each GM to apply their judgement in many situations. Shockingly that means players cannot show up to the table and know exactly what to expect ahead of time. But it does not mean 'no rules' and it does not mean 'anything goes'.
Completely agree. No one is arguing for 'no rules'. Although I notice others here keep misunderstanding 'narrative gaming' and think it means 'no rules'.
The question is: how much room should the GM have to choose which rules to use in a given situation?
Simulation gaming says 'there is a single rule for this, you must always follow it.
Narrative gaming says 'pick one from several rules options, based on how you want to play it'.
The latter allows for much more flexibility and hence aids storytelling. However it does require trust and collaboration between the players and the GM. I admit I feel sorry for all the folks here who think they need rules to control badly behaving GMs. If your GM is behaving badly your game is in real trouble and no rules can save it, imho. That kind of problem is dealt with by having face to face conversations outside of the game to get people on the same side.
So, by all means debate. But if anyone here is misrepresenting narrative gaming and my statements by saying it means 'no rules' then you've misunderstood completely.
Yes you clearly don't get the argument :) You appear truly stuck in the simulation way of thinking, not seeing the other possibilities.
Try considering this:
A lot of players demand to know the exact rule that the GM is using, where is it in the book, and so on. In this situation the PC is taking power away from the GM who may have decided to run that situation in a unique way. Or simply to 'make a call' to keep the game flowing smoothly and keep things immersive - as opposed to stopping play for 5 minutes to look up rules.
If the GM says 'I'm saying its a DC25 acrobatics check, just roll' and the PC starts to go 'But i think it should be a reflex save'... then you have that kind of problem.
If the GM goes 'this door cannot be damaged by your sword' and he player grabs the book and goes 'tell me what hardness it has' ... then you have that kind of problem.
If the GM says 'I'll let you move 10 feet only because of the wind and debris' and the player goes 'But difficult terrain means i should move 15 feet' ... then you have that kind of problem.
These happen a lot for some groups. And they find it gets in the way of how much fun they have. Most people do not enjoy debating rules in the middle of a game.
I guess you do not have that problem in your game. But many others do.
I have to admit that I hate it. I hate it simply because I don't know "how the world works" until I actually try.
You mean you don't like your GM having the power! But it's very clear that Paizo wanted to give GMs back that power in 2nd edition. They have said publicly the regretted GMs losing that power over the course of 1st edition. Players waving rule books about and saying 'it has to work this way' is not what they wanted any more. I'm very glad of that! It sounds like you really are not.
That's a bit of a false dichotomy. There is a world of options between 'no rules' and 'literal simulation rules'. There are many degrees of difference, it's not a binary 'yes' or 'no' thing.
PF2 says 'use one of the many rules system we make available to you'. Such as a check with a DC - which itself has clear rules, 4 degrees of success, bonuses and how they work etc. Or use an attack roll and AC. Or maybe a saving throw? Or a subsystem. Or just say 'sure you blow up the chairs' if its the obvious thing that should happen - if a level 20 draconic sorcerer wants to fireball a furniture store, we can probably agree the furniture is no longer fit for sale without having to roll a mountain of d6s.
I don't see anyone arguing for 'freedom from rules' here? I'm certainly not. Narrative-emphasis gaming does not mean 'ignore the rules'. That's a misrepresentation that I think a lot of people get wrong and then argue against, pointlessly (since it's a misrepresentation).
My perception is that the surfeit of rules in 1st edition led to a culture of simulation-style gaming with players too often acting as rules lawyers, restricting the GMs ability to create the stories they want to tell. Paizo appears to have stepped away from that in 2nd edition, looking to encourage more narrative gaming. For players that are used to simulation style rules, narrative is really weird and can feel like 'no rules'. But it's very far from no rules. It's just using rules in a different way. A really different way.
Blame all the players including many new ones) who prefer role play and epic drama over mathfinder and spreadsheets. I do think Paizo could have said a bit more about this in the core books, a lot of it comes through in the design decisions but is't explicitly called out and explored. But then... page count!
The GMG goes a lot further in this direction, especially with subsystems. They abstract the specific mechanics entirely and say (paraphrasing) 'use this universal framework to manage the pacing of a challenge' rather than creating specific unique rules to simulate what the challenge is about. It's why you can use the same rules for a Chase as you can for doing Research, or for gaining Influence.
These are great examples for showing why a single (hard) rule is a problem, and giving the GM flexbility to pick from a range of tools (to help tell the story best) is desirable. Each situation you describe is very different:
- Gimli attempts to destroy the One Ring.
- Edmund sunders the White Witch's wand of petrification.
- Jack cuts down the bean stalk before the giant can finish climbing down.
- Any number of heroes shooting, cutting, or breaking ropes and chains to rescue soon-to-be-executed allies, free pisoners, or to raise/lower a gate.
This is not the place to explain narrative gaming as compared to simulation. But it's extremely not what you said.
If you want to add extra 'hard rules' yes. But follow that logic and you'll need hundreds more 'hard rules'. Which is bad. So no, the "real argument" Is:
'Is adding (many) more 'hard rules' to the game for unusual situations a good thing? Or is it better to have simpler rules and let the GM decide'?
Not everyone believes more hard rules is better. I don't.
Rolling against AC isn't just to see if an attack connects, but to see if it connects well enough to do any damage.
Yes in theory. And 'hit points' don't actually equal physical injury, the also represent 'grit, luck, fatigue etc'. But in practice the 'roll to hit' has become what it is.
From the CRB, p278, right where combat rules start (in the Equipment > weapons section, probably the wrong place for it.)
It's unavoidable for historical reasons, whether we like it or not. It's a minor thing compared to spell level versus other level at least. DNA carries flaws as well as strengths.
I like DCs to deal with objects personally. Especially now checks have 4 degrees of success and failure.
A recorded session? I saw a what appeared to be a CD somewhere that could be that. But i have no use for CDs :) If a streamed or other digital version of it exists i'd love to listen to it.
FYI I made the drug trade in shiver a bigger element of my campaign. I used it to link the Monchellos to Gaedren. Then to Devargo Bavarsi. Then added a modified version of The House on Hook Street to extend it further, working it into chapter 2 of the AP.
Rolling 'to hit the AC' of a door always seemed a bit ridiculous to me. You aren't going to miss a door. Much more important, for example, would be what you hit the door with. An axe is going to work, a dagger is not, for example.
Personally I've wholeheartedly switched to the succeed at a cost approach to skill rolls, at least the ones where failure is a plot-barrier. So if the PCs have to get through the door because that's where the sessions' content is, then they will automatically do so. The roll (if i ask them to make one)is to see whether it goes smoothly or not. For example, if they succeed then they break the door down quickly. If they fail, it takes a while, makes noise and perhaps attracts the attention of some monsters, or blunts the weapon used, or splinters and injures someone. etc. If there's no interesting failure state then I don't ask for a roll.
This is incredibly not simulation style rolling, and very much narrative style. The roll is not simulating 'breaking the door' from a physics point of view, but from a story one.
Matthew Downie wrote:
It's also not particularly unreasonable to ask a GM to call it as they see it at the time, based on the spirit of the already 600pp rulebook.
It's even more absurd to keep claiming 'I need rules for that', adding more and more crunch and cruft to an already 600pp rulebook, creating more and more overhead and serving only an increasingly diminishing group of rules lawyers whilst alienating everyone else. I just heartily disagree with you.
I decided that I didn't want everyone focussed on Gaedren. He (probably) dies so early on it feels unecessary. In the end one PC chose a backstory with a huge reason to want revenge on Gaedren, and one other PC had a small connection. But the other two PCs had other backstories that connected to other parts of the AP, and that's worked out well.
In Murder's Mark I had the PC that wants revenge on Gaedren see him. But she saw him rowing across the river, so could not chase him. It was pure prefiguring :) But she was reminded he was around.
I did use the harrow cards. But just sent one card only to the PC that wants revenge on Gaedren. I had all the PCs start as friends at the start of the AP, so the others were happy to go with her.
I think this part of the AP is quite flexible. The really important element overall is that the PCs find the Queen's brooch and take it to her, so they can be sent to work for Kroft.
The situation you describe is when the GM and players are trying to tell different stories: when the GM and players are working against each other. Certainly in those situations there's a problem. Narrative gaming relies strongly on positive collaboration and a GM that wants the PCs to be heros. If the GM is being an ass and not letting the smart players capture the NPC, then it's probably because the GM is trying to railroad the players (bad) and shut down their ideas because they do not agree with his (also bad).
You're describing bad GMing in other words, not narrative gaming.
Then you've had bad experiences. If you feel like 'the story's passenger' then the GM is not running the game right. That has little to do with rules and mostly to do with bad GMing.
I understood you. You don't understand me however..
From a simulation point of view yes: you want to be able to predict with the same rules exactly how the chair interaction will go. Because a chair is always a chair.
Tactician players like precise physics-type rules so they can plan in detail ahead of time, and then execute their plan. As Robin Laws put it: 'an anti climax is a good thing'... because the fight went exactly as they predicted. But for storytellers this is a bad thing, and very boring.
So from a narrative point of view you don't expect this. The narrative view says 'deal with things in terms of their importance to the story'. So if on one day the chair is not important, it gets a different treatment than if it is important.
It's a really different way to play :)
But it can be. And it is. Because the game mechanics are chosen reflect the gameplay, and we expect the game play to be different.
Like I said before, to understand this style you have to let go of the idea that the game is a simulation of a physical world. Which is why i said Henro's original point, that 2e is moving away from the 3.5 physics simulator' was so insightful.
If you keep trying to make the game a physics simulator you'll be disappointed. It's not that: it's an adventure story simulator. It turns out that in adventure stories, what happens when you fireball a chair depends very much on what that means for the story.
Again, only if you are a simulation-style gamer. Which you and your group clearly are. The group starts to worry about accurately simulating a burning chair and doing so consistently with the rest of the simulation they are running. You end up in a huge detailed rules conversation.
If on the other hand the group is more interested in the story, then the opposite is true. Obscure rules about furniture burning just add crunch without improving narrative, so they are defacto bad. The detailed rules conversation is boring, ridiculous and immersion breaking. What matters to them is: 'does burning the chair matter as part of the story?' If yes, spend time on it. If not, don't. How it matters to the story determines what rules are used.
If the chair is not important then the GM can go 'sure, the chair is burned and destroyed'.
If the chair is important and success / failure to destroy it matters, then the GM can go 'ok, make a magic proficiency check, against DC 25'.
Do what works for the story. Since the needs of the story will be different for each group, how the GM handles it can differ.
I get the distinct impression you don't understand this point, or at least can't see it. It's clear from your posts. But that's cliché for simulation-oriented gamers, so you are in good company. It's a very different mindset to be narrative-first. If you refuse to step out of the 'I need rules to describe how everything works in an objective way' then you'll by definition not grok the narrative style. It took me a lot of effort to understand it myself originally, coming from the oldschool d20 background it was a new way of thinking and playing for me. The hardest thing about switching mindset is being willing to let go of the idea that 'there has to be an unambiguous rule for that specific thing'.
Anyway, I'm glad Paizo is writing 2nd edition and not you ;) As a fan of increased narrative emphasis in role playing games, I think they're really going in a good direction.
Sort of, but that changed very fast as books came out. I played a lot starting with AD&D 1st edition, it felt very simulation with books like Wilderness Survival Guide (see the many tables on lighting campfires!). The main Gygaxian element I'm referring to is the DNA being tabletop wargames, and the complete lack of focus on narrative. But yes, 3rd edition went next level in terms of simulation.
Not necessarily, it depends which philosophy you prefer. Which is my point.
More rules only make for a better game if you are running a simulation. Otherwise they just junk up and slow down gameplay.
Arguing for more simulation emphasis in 2nd edition rules is a lost cause imho. Paizo and most of the ttrpg world are heading towards increased flexibility, more homebrewing and houseruling, and an increasing emphasis on narrative over simulation. I'm very happy about this personally, I think it's a great design decision as well as making the game more accessible to more players who will have more fun with it as a result. Even if it means the simulationists don't get their hyper-detailed rules about burning furniture.
Compared to the 3.5 tradition, the rules are no longer an attempt to simulate the in-world physics.
Biggest insight in this thread. And why it's divisive.
For many this is a huge improvement since the rules are there to help us tell the stories we want to tell, with the narrative taking precedence over the mechanics. This is the overall trend RPGs are going in, and one I personally love. Along with the majority of gamers it appears (anecdotally). It's favoured by the method actors, story tellers and fans of drama.
But others are looking for a simulator where the rules describe everything that can happen. Rules come first, and the story is an outcome. This is how d20 started, and could be labelled 'old school'. Gygaxian. It's favoured by the power gamers, tacticians and rules lawyers.
I notice there's a small group of the same people posting in every thread complaining about this trend in different forms. However that ship has sailed to fairer, less rules-heavy shores. Complaining about the lack of specific rules for fireballing chairs is futile given most of us think that's a good thing.
We started our campaign with this. It worked great: I just moved the carnival to the field near Thief Camp outside the city gates. And had the Monchello's based there.
One of the party had staked out the Monchello warehouse and witnessed Gaedren talking to Robella before rowing across the river to the West Dock. The connection was that Gaedren supplied shiver to them, but it could be anything. Shiver was a major added subplot to our campaign, so it fitted for us.
Personally I don't generally like starting with the characters not knowing each other, so they were already friends (via a shared backstory creation session) at the start of the AP.
I used a stage show at the carnival to provide some backstory about the city and the king, which was a fun way to seed information. It was inspired by the theatre troop in GoT in Braavos.