This forum topic is super timely for me, because I want to run a "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" type campaign and I'm looking at PFRPG. Some great ideas here.
One of the reasons the "lightly armored hero" is tough to pull off is that AC and hit points represent similar things: dodging, parrying, near misses, etc. So your lightly armored hero in the movies/fiction is having his AC "hit" all the time, he's just losing small amounts of hit points when he dodges, parries, etc.
I doubt it's possible to have the high-AC lightly armored hero exist side-by-side with the high-AC heavily armored hero without there being some weird system effects such as the ones mentioned up-thread.
However, one thing you might try is to make armor add hit points. That creates a system where what you want is high dexterity, but if you don't have it, you might as well wear armor. It would then be possible to create some interesting trade-offs: armor that adds significant hit points, but reduces your max Dex bonus. You might also be able to have small "bits" of armor and other protection that add small amounts of hit points, to model the bracers, arm bands, kidney belts and other paraphernalia that heroes tend to wear in fiction.
If you run a game with a lot of reasons to want good movement or frequent use of skills like acrobatics, etc, suddenly light armor looks a lot better, especially if heavy armor doesn't actually stop you from getting "hit".
Then again, I haven't run the numbers or playtested this idea, so it might totally suck. :) But it has less handling time than DR.
Jal Dorak wrote:
Wait, does he go from saying "Pathfinder will lose money" to "Pathfinder will do fine"?
That's how I read it. The problem with comparing the other systems he mentions to Pathfinder is that those systems had to start a new fan base, which is a lot harder than capitalizing on an existing fan base.
Sometimes I feel like I'm a weird minority when I read the so-called "edition wars" threads that are all over gaming sites. Doesn't anyone plan on playing 3.5e sometimes, Pathfinder sometimes, 4e sometimes... Traveler, Spaceship Zero, Call of Cthulhu... am I the only one who doesn't have a one-size-fits-all game?
I'd like to cut down on die rolling and add more mobility to cr0mbat. That's my intent with removing iterative attacks.
I'd give the high-level fighter a bonus to hit and bonus damage dice commensurate with their iterative attacks. Flavor-wise, the attack roll is a whole bunch of Ho, Haha, Guard, Turn, Parry, Dodge, Spin, Ha, Thrust anyway...
TWF fighters sacrifice a bonus to hit for an extra damage die.
You lose the ability to hit two adjacent foes in a single round, but I'd argue it's worth it for the speedup in play and more dynamic cr0mbat. Those 5' steps are dead boring.
I'm at work, so somebody with math can sort out the exact bonuses...
Another possibility would be to create feats that let you sacrifice attack bonuses to double or triple your damage dice (2 and 3 iterative attacks). High-level fighters get them for free at the appropriate levels. TWF is the gimped, no prereq version.
There's a game called Savage Worlds that has an elegant way of handling "backstory" skills. They have a skill called Common Knowledge that covers anything your character would reasonably know how to do, based on his background, or anything your character would reasonably know about but isn't deep enough to require a Knowledge Local type roll (things like "who is the King").
The relevant ability is the one that makes the most sense, given the context. If you were a shepherd and you're trying to I dunno, herd some sheep, use Dex or Wis, depending on whether you're running around or tricking them into going the way you want. If you were a sailor and you need to tie a particular knot, use Dex. Etc.
I'm starting a sandbox-style game based on Ben Robbin's West Marches and would like to give the Pathfinder rules a go. Here are my goals:
1. Danger. Mistakes can kill 1st level PCs. They can also kill higher-level guys, if they pick the wrong part of the map to wander in.
5. Bards. One of my favorite players made a HI-larious Half-Orc Bard who plays the cymbals, and has a fully painted mini of this nutcase. That alone pretty much eliminated 4e as a possibility. When will Pathfinder have a Bard?
I understand exactly the intent behind having a group of racial traits that are set in stone, and a set of cultural traits that can be swapped to make Sea Dwarves, Jungle Dwarves, etc (not that I don't appreciate a good washing machine metaphor!).
But go back to my stonecunning example. How do you decide where to put that ability? Tarren says strip out anything that can't be explained by physiology... sure, but who decides what can or can't be explained?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for Jungle Dwarves. I just don't see that this racial/cultural thing gets us much, and it'll limit some people.
Freakin' forum ate my beautiful post, but here's the gist.
Isn't the racial/cultural divide arbitrary? Take stonecunning. Is it due to the nature of dwarves and their bond with the earth? Or is it due to a cultural obsession with mining and craft?
If you designate certain traits racial, you're effectively telling GMs that in this game, Dwarves are traits A, B and C, but not D, E and F. But that line of what makes a Dwarf a Dwarf is different for different gamers.
For me, Dwarves are: bearded, greedy, goblin-hating craftsmen with axes and an uncanny connection to stone and earth. But for another gamer, Dwarves might just be short, stocky, gruff dudes (cf Dark Sun).
I hope you see my point--I really dig race-related traits, I just think the racial/cultural divide is a bit of extra book-keeping that doesn't get us very much.
Love the changes to the races. The +2 across the board isn't an arms race imo, it's a way of accentuating the differences between races.
I really, really like the mechanical changes that reinforce what was previously flavor text. Elves are uncannily beautiful, huh? Yeah, so beautiful that people are awed by it. Well, except for haters.
(I'm a fan of elves that are supernatural and weird though, so the 3e "nature lovers" never sat well with me. They were basically skinny humans who were *really* into trees.)
The half-orc wisdom bonus makes sense to me. Orcs are cunning buggers and wisdom is the hunting, ambushing and wariness stat.
I love the idea of racial feats. It lets the player decide if he wants to play a fighter who is a dwarf, or a DWARVEN fighter, and there are trade-offs.
Likewise, I love the idea of human cultural feats. Much more interesting than the typical "humans are versatile" racial traits, which frankly is dead boring. Great for the setting and gives humans a little bump.
I don't think that the non-phb races need their own +2s and such. The phb races are the heroes. The rest have their own benefits and flavor.
To chime in on the positive side--WAR's artwork is one of the main reasons I got interested in the Pathfinder series, and I love the racial illustrations. The stylized ears are double plus good! But I'm the kind of guy who takes illustrations as inspiration, not blueprints. I also like anime, but I'm a grognard who's been playing since AD&D.
I much prefer these colorful, stylized characters than a realistic style. These characters are seething with energy and look ready to jump off the page (as soon as they find a weapon... and maybe an armored codpiece or something).
I can see why people want a more waifish elf... but in Paizo's defense, I think he looks extra buff because he's standing next to the female human. Next to the male human I think he'd look a little more wiry, if not exactly frail.
If the goal is to pull a Legolas and take out huge numbers of mooks with one arrow, there's a couple ways to do it. A mook rule would be the simplest, and wouldn't mess up backwards compatibility too much--just don't track HP for the mooks in a fight.
You could also do what I do in my games: anyone who isn't a hero has d6 hp (generally 4). So the average archer is going to be terrifying to the local militia (and so is the average heroic fighter), but the heroes and villains have a little more staying power. It also mimics what we know about real life arrows, knives and swords: they sure can kill you, and if they don't, they sure can hurt you, and if you're lucky, you just get a nasty wound.
You could also have archery feats that bump up the damage dice by one rank, so all those arrows Legolas was firing were doing 1d10, 1d12 or even 2d6 damage to your 1st level Orcs and Goblins.
I ran my group through Wizard's Amulet, Crucible of Freya and Tomb of Abyssthor a few years ago, and it was a BLAST. First off, WA and Crucible are just plain fun adventures. TA has a ton of 1e flavor, between the weirdo unique monsters, weirdo unique traps and weirdo unique rewards (I can't say any more without spoilers).
I nearly had a TPK twice (which is high praise). There is some weird adjudication that has to happen with some of the spells (Unhallow, in particular, caused some confusion for me when the PCs launched repeated assaults on a section of the dungeon whose defenders had access to that spell) and a few of the monsters weren't 100% converted to 3e (some outsiders, IIRC). Also, there's an unkillable monster that could chew through stubborn parties who don't figure out they should run--so I left it out. The Unhallow BBEG was one of the most memorable fights we've ever had, very cinematic and edge of your seat.
One of my players had his paladin go for the Justicar PrC, which was also lots of fun. For him, the module was personal. WA and CF had so much extra hooks and side-quests lying around that we'd stomped around the area for ages before TA, so that it really felt like our backyard--loads of NPCs, alliances, favors, enemies, etc. There's even a ruined fort that the PCs can take over, if they're into that kind of thing.
It's the kind of adventure where one minute, you'll be at the top of your game, and the next, you've been eaten by a giant insect. Or a routine expedition to clear some orphaned rooms ends up with the entire party running for their lives, suffering from ability and level drain. It can be a meatgrinder, but it can also be tons of fun.
Recommended, with caveats. WA and CF, on the other hand, were brilliant all the way around.
A dogslicer is a jagged piece of metal poorly attached to some kind of handle, right? So when the adventure text says "masterwork dogslicer", does that mean "dang, that's a fine looking shiv" or "its still a piece of junk, just a sturdy one, and we're using the game term masterwork... even though nobody in their right mind thinks this is an example of craftsmanship and skill".
Just having a hard time wrapping my head around a masterwork piece of junk.
If Wotc had a professional PR guy handling all the communication between R&D and the public, we'd be complaining about how they never tell us anything.
We've got the R&D guys blogging the development of a new edition. This is unprecedented. I admit, it's a real drag hearing them dis a beloved game, but these are game designers! They look at something they worked on five years and a dozen supplements ago and cringe, because they've learned so much in the meantime. I take it with a grain of salt. They don't mean "3e sucks". They mean "compared to what I know now, 3e sucks".
At least we're getting their opinions, warts and all.
And man, grappling does suck. So does tripping, disarming and every other special melee attack where you have to roll more than two dice. ::ducks::
I think an AP where low-level characters found something WAY out of their league in part 1 and had to spend the next few adventures defending it, researching it, and trying to figure out what to do with it would be fun. They might be overpowered in certain situations (and why not give them a few, just for fun - a staff that lays waste to whole tribes of goblins, for example) but at a terrible price (all the water withing 10 miles boils, injuring people, killing fish and ruining farms).
Sorry, I know it's OT, but thinking of my former game group (Nerd City All-Stars, if any of you are out there!) and a staff that blows away monsters AND boils people, fish and farms in a 10 mile radius... let's just say that destroying it would be the last thing on their todo list.
"Who remembers the way to Hommlet? It's payback time!"
LOL! Hit points are an abstraction--I've seen them described as fatigue, luck, narrow misses as well as actual wounds. She can definitely give herself a good scratch that has no effect on her ability to fight.
I've often thought that hit points are poorly named. A "hit" can be anything from a near miss, a blocked blow that wears down the character, a glancing blow, a solid bruise--all the way up to being run-through with a sword!
Next time you're watching boxing or ultimate fighting, keep in mind that all those blocked kicks and punches that don't rock the fighter are sucking up his hit points... right up until the one that takes him to zero and knocks him out!
p.s. You can't attack yourself! Otherwise we get into even weirder territory like "can you be flat-footed when you attack yourself?" Gah!