I'm working on the next chapter of my home game, the players are going to be traveling through a war torn region. (Basically there is a warlord that is conquering/unifying the local tribal groups of the area) While the war is a background world event, not related to their quest, several of the PCs have vested interested in the factions that are fighting and I am expecting they will want to join in (against the warlord).
The players are level 9, so they should be able to have some significant impact upon a battle, but not able to take on armies by themselves. The warlord herself is basically a world boss, and an impossible challenge for them, they will not be able to fight her.
I thought about doing some mass combat, but the players wouldn't be in control of any of the units so that's not very interesting. So I'm looking for ideas on how to write encounters to let players be part of a larger battle and have some impact on it. I thought about using troops, but I hate their auto-hit swarm style damage. I think there's some potential for some cool scenes, but I'm also dreading that it could be extremely challenging for me to run and could easily bog down with too many combatants.
Yes, but. Here's my take on it:
Taking 20 on a stealth check is a great way to simulate something like a hunter blind. The hunter took a long time setting up this hiding place, camouflaging it, and so on. Nobody was around while they were setting it up, so there's no penalty for failure.
If you are hiding while someone is down the hall potentially in earshot, then they heard you moving about in there, since you are assumed to have failed before you succeeded. Doesn't stop you from taking 20 as long as you have the time, but the people you're hiding from might take a bit more time looking for you, since they were alerted to your presence while you were hiding.
You obviously can't take 20 to actively sneak past someone. It would only be possible to hide before someone came looking for you. You'd also be stuck in that spot, as soon as you move, that's a new stealth check.
Bards can be a lot of fun, but they can also fall into that rut of might as well be an npc buffbot. So being aware of that trap, you can make a character that won't fall in it. A bard can be so many things, but a generic bard is mediocre at everything. You could be an archer, a melee warrior, a spellcaster, a scout, a healer, you name it. The great thing about the bard is that your buffing requires 0 investment of resources. Every bard can buff. So you are free to pick anything you want to be good at and invest in it.
It is a benefit that system mastery now occurs in play and not at character creation.
I used to be a big tabletop miniature gamer. I recall sitting down for a game with a friend, and he started to complain about some new models he just got. They had too many parts and took so long to put together. He went on to complain about having to paint everything for the upcoming tournament. I stared at him dumbfounded. None of the kits came in enough separate parts. I wanted them to be 10 times as complex to facilitate personalizing every model. I spent countless hours carefully cutting, sculpting details out of green stuff, and painting. To me that was the absolute best part of the hobby. Playing the actual game was a secondary enjoyment. I couldn't understand why you would be a miniature gamer if you didn't love miniatures.
Different people do the same thing for different reasons, they enjoy different aspects, one man's trash is another man's treasure and all that. These sorts of things don't have a right way and wrong way about them. What you consider a benefit, others consider removing one of the most enjoyable aspects of the hobby.
Thank you for this.
This is exactly the same thing that turned me off of 5e when it came out and all the players who switched over started bad mouthing pathfinder. My reaction was to look for what was wrong with the new game and defend the old one. I now hate 5e because of that, I can't play that game without seeing all the glaring flaws in it. I don't want to ruin pf2 for myself in the same fashion.
Swarms never functioned on common sense. A swarm can run through a wall of fire and somehow not all die. A swarm can attack someone with a fire shield spell going and... well by RAW it's arguable that they even take any damage as the spell requires you to be struck and the swarms just do auto damage without striking.
According to national geographic, the giant anteater can flick its tongue at a rate of 150 times per minute and eat 35,000 ants and termites per day.
The best thing to summon to fight ants is... more ants! Summon your own swarm, drop it on the enemy swarm, and watch the miniature battle.
I dislike the chance of pf2 very much. Everyone just tosses the dice and someone rolls high so you succeed. Not because someone was good at the thing you were attempting, not because you came up with a good plan, but by sheer dumb luck. The random toss of the die is the most significant influence on the outcome of any situation. It is my biggest gripe with the new rules.
On killing downed foes: At various times and places in history, it was common practice in war to go around after the fight and kill all the wounded people. Medical practices what they were, most of these injured would just suffer and die anyway, so killing them was considered the merciful thing to do.
In game setting, here's some tenets taken from the Sarenite paladin code. "I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword." another one " I will fight fairly when the fight is fair, and I will strike quickly and without mercy when it is not." These people are considered good, could murder you, and point to their code of moral guidelines to justify it.
Also threatening to kill someone because you think they are morally wrong in killing someone else is hilariously hypocritical.
This is a pathfinder AP. It assumes you will rack up the murder count by the dozens, and not feel guilty about it. Just like Star Wars.
Ruins of Azlant kind of assumes you'll all be normal above water races and hands out underwater items like candy. By the time you actually get to the underwater parts of the adventure, we had like a dozen items to breath underwater, give you a swim speed, and the like. Play whatever you want, the game won't punish you for it.
There is a pestilence bloodline for sorceress from the council of thieves AP: Link
Magic in pathfinder is very much geared towards murder and mayhem. There's very little that would be useful to daily life. I wrote up a maid npc (an arcane caster) for a home game, and had a hard time finding spells that weren't for combat, especially of higher level.
Michael Talley 759 wrote:
Ice Tomb, 3d8 Cold Damage [Not all Undead are immune to cold] but more importantly It seals the target undead in Ice Hardness 0 but 20 HP's worth. Sadly it can be used on the target regardless only once every 24 Hours
Undead are immune to paralysis and can't be knocked unconscious, so all ice tomb does is 3d8 cold. Useless at the level you can get it.
While I like the idea that light matters, my experience in practice is that trying to implement that only leads to pain.
I recall numerous 1e games where enemies would drop darkness at low levels where it wasn't possible to have counters for it yet. These were not fun games. They all resulted in disgruntled and frustrated players. There was a certain dungeon in an early AP where the PCs just gave up and left the dungeon because of a darkness spamming boss. Removing players' sight is extremely debilitating. I would strongly recommend against anything that reduces players sight as you are very likely to piss your players off.
I would offer a different take on the three systems listed:
D&D 5e. This game is designed for the masses. It is tabletop roleplaying for casuals. Designed to be easy to get into, and not require much investment from the players. RPG lite. If you get hardcore into roleplaying games, you will quickly find yourself bored/frustrated by the game's limitations. That said, it is what I would recommend as a starter game, especially for kids, or those with only a passing interest in gaming. A game of 5e can function fine if only the game master knows the rules.
PF1. This is a complex game, built on a foundation developed over 20 years ago. This is hardcore RPG, where you can spend hours pouring over rules to assemble powerful characters. It requires more investment, and rewards you for investing in it. This game is designed from a previous era, with different sensibilities than other more modern games. Those who prefer the modern style may find the rules get in the way of the imagination at times. It expects everyone playing to be into it enough to read the rules for themselves. The other two systems still work ok if you have casual players who aren't willing to invest the time to learn how to play, pf1 not so much.
PF2. This new game differentiates itself greatly from the previous edition. It is a product of modern times, with different focus on importance. It lands somewhere between pf1 and 5e in complexity of rules, and is similarly designed to be easy to get into like 5e. While the game does reward some amount of investment, you will quickly find the ceiling. It does have more variety than 5e, less limitations, and so takes longer to get bored with. PF2 players need to know the basics to get started, but don't have to have read the whole rulebook.
Depends on the game you play in. If it's a Monty Haul then you would never take the feat because you can get it for free because you're playing in a too much money game. If you're beggars in rags then you take the feat because you'll want to spend you precious coppers on straight +s. In a game where you are close to the suggested wealth by level, I would take the feat over keen. Your money is better spent elsewhere (and straight +s are better).
I think as Pathfinder and Paizo evolved, they decided they wanted to move away from the moral absolutes of the alignment system they inherited from D&D and to make things more nuanced.
Just look at the goblins in question. They went from psychotic monsters to be exterminated on sight in their first AP to player characters in their new game.
inner sea gods, pg 11 wrote:
Variant Spellcasting: Because of their patron god’s specialized interests, priests of a given deity are able to prepare certain spells that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to, or at lower levels than normal.
That's all it says. (assuming your GM lets you use these rules) It's just a thing that you get as a priest.
I guess the boards haven't been sustaining the requisite level of falling paladin threads. Has already been said, but goblin babies would not detect as evil unless they're really badass 5HD babies.
This is an old debate and it basically breaks down into two sides:
Side one says look, they have evil printed in their stat block. Pathfinder is a simplistic black and white world, so no problem, kill away. It's designed that way for guilt free fun (Just like Starwars).
Side two says the absolute morality of the alignment system is just a game mechanic conceit which we try to ignore and add shades of grey into the setting. So it comes down to which camp does your GM sit in.
Demoralize: With a sudden shout, a well-timed taunt, or a cutting put-down, you can shake an enemy’s resolve. Choose a creature within 30 feet of you who you’re aware of. Attempt an Intimidation check against that target’s Will DC. If the target does not understand the language you are speaking, you’re not speaking a language, or they can’t hear you, you take a –4 circumstance penalty to the check. Regardless of your result, the target is temporarily immune to your attempts to Demoralize it for 10 minutes.
Demoralize has the Auditory, Concentrate, Emotion, and Mental traits.
Nothing in there requires a language. In fact it specifically states if "you’re not speaking a language,' you can still do it, just with a -4 penalty. So no, it is not language based, but language does improve its effectiveness.
I think it makes perfect sense that bears lack any intimidation skill. When a bear rears up and roars, yes it is trying to scare you away, but there's really no skill behind it. The scare part is the simple fact that it's a bear, it's bigger and stronger than you, so you back off. The stand up and roaring is really just to make sure you see it. Yes, I'm here, I'm a bear, go away. The bear roaring thing is an attempt to avoid a fight. It's the discussion that happens before a fight breaks out.
To me this is not at all the same as demoralizing someone which is done during a combat as an attempt to undermine the opponents will to fight. I see demoralizing as a people thing, not really something that animals would normally do.
Game terms wise however, I think it is crummy to have a special ability for characters with a built in hidden penalty. In this case the intimidation for animal companions. The -4 penalty makes it a "trap" option.
In pf2 charisma is defined as "your character’s personal magnetism and strength of personality." Intimidation is a charisma skill, it takes no modifiers for size (unlike pf1), only a penalty for lack of ability to communicate. Note that it also takes no penalty if they can't see you. Your physical appearance is irrelevant to demoralizing an opponent.
So taking these facts into consideration, PF2 demoralize is not about physical threats or imposing looks, it is only about communication. While you can communicate simple concepts like threats through body language, it is more difficult than through language. Given this line of reasoning, the -4 makes sense.
Physical intimidation, like flexing your muscles, is quite simply not represented by the intimidate skill. Personally, my fix would be to make a skill feat that allows the use of the athletics skill to perform the demoralize action.
Hmm, wow yeah, the boomerang is a javelin that does bludgeoning damage instead of piercing. Apparently this is worth changing it from a simple to an exotic weapon.
I would chalk it up to bad editing. I have a few theories: 1- Someone accidentally put exotic instead of simple on it. 2- it says special: see text, but there's only a fluff description, no special rules. Maybe there was some special rules for it that didn't make it in to the final print. 3- They gave a monkey a typewriter to make up the rules for it.
Totally man, that's cause it's hang loose elfy magic.
Also, I've never been able to follow the logic of "PC's are special?"
Pathfinder is written with that assumption and it plays into all the rules of the game. It is a system intended to support larger than life heroics. You are intended to battle giants and dragons which somehow don't just squash you like an insect.
There are other rpg systems that don't take this assumption. Those types of games tend to be point based systems instead of level based as the whole levels mechanic is all about supporting how your characters are special and so much better than the normal folk.
I was helping a friend with some roll20 maps and realized I was making things too complicated. So I thought I'd add to this post a similar explanation, where you aren't worrying about the image size and just letting roll20 resize your picture to fit its 70x70px default squares:
Count the dimensions of your map in squares. (If your map has partial squares on the edges, then first crop the image down to full squares)
Drop your map onto the page and right click on it>advanced>set dimensions. In the set dimensions window change the dropdown from pixels to units. Type in the dimensions you just counted and click set.
Snap your map into alignment and the drawn squares should match up perfectly with the roll20 squares. If you want your map to fit perfectly onto the page, just edit your page settings and input the same dimensions into the page size.
The world of pf2 Golarion is designed on two levels. One is a set of rules to play a game. The other is an imagined fantasy setting that does not take the rules into consideration for how the setting functions.
For some people this is fine, the rules don't have to define the world. The rules just exist so we can play a game. For others, the game rules are like the laws of physics. They define the way the world works. For the second camp of thinkers, that's fine for our home games, but it isn't how Golarion was written. If you want to run your own version of Golarion that works this way, totally fine, but realize you'll have to rewrite a lot of stuff to make it make sense by the rules.
My experience is also with the original summoner. Everyone stopped playing them after the unchained nerf. The old one was nerfed for a reason.
Part of the pet differences comes from the classes they are acquired through. The animal companion for instance is stronger as a hunter as the class features buff the pet. The phantom when not manifested for fighting provides the spiritualist with additional abilities. Different classes have access to different spells which can buff their pets. There's also various feats and even alternate racial traits that can be used to buff certain pets. It's difficult to compare them alone.
I don't think its age thing, people in general don't like learning new systems, whether they are newbies or veterans :p
Maybe, but when I was a kid, I was playing all sorts of different games. We'd get excited when we discovered a new rpg and ditch the previous game to try out the shiny new one. Sticking to one game for a long time never happened until I was older.
Ryan Freire wrote:
For many of us adult players, with other responsibilities and not all the time we want to work on making awesome games, we tend to fall back on the system we already know instead of taking the time to learn a new one.
In my experience the choice of what game to play is entirely based on the group you play with. I currently play in three different gaming groups and we are all three groups playing pf1. I wouldn't say that was my decision to play only pf1. We've played other games in the past and I wouldn't even say pf1 is my favorite rpg, but it's the one I play the most because that's what we've been playing.
Something to keep in mind is that the APs draw their material from all the books that were current to their writing. So the newer the AP, the more rules it includes. Also because of this, the APs have an increase in combat difficulty from the oldest to newest.
I would caution against hells vengeance. An evil game as an introduction pathfinder gaming sounds like a terrible idea imo.
Some of your players have excessive bonus stats, she has npc stats. Not saying you can't have fun playing a sidekick, but that's the best she can hope to be. Your GM screwed you with awful house rule character creation. If you're not having fun with it, then this is a problem that needs to be solved out of game, not in.
I can't even tell you how many times I've had to argue with a GM when I said I take ten and they say so that takes you ten times as long as normal.
I think Giantslayer has the same problem as a lot of other "focused" APs, like Ruins of Azlant (the underwater AP) or Wrath of the Righteous (the demon AP). It is easy to specialize in pathfinder, so if you know that the majority of your opponents are going to be one thing, then it's easy to design a character to utterly destroy that one thing. Giantslayer is compounded however, by the fact that giants are notoriously susceptible to enchantments. I mean, there was whole empires that enslaved them in Golorion, and it's true in their rules too. So many parties end up with entourages of dominated giants in games that feature them.
Well, I wish I played with an utopian group like yours, but I don't. I play with normal people, who make mistakes, don't pay attention, get distracted, or fall asleep at their computers mid game. I play with GMs who don't know the rules that well and make unpopular calls leading to bickering. Don't get me wrong, most of the time it's great or I wouldn't keep coming back, but we're far from no disagreements.
Yeah I feel like they did that with PF2, and it is so hard to get through that crb and so uninspiring. Trying to read those rules sucks all the energy out of an rpg and leaves me with no desire to play the game. A rulebook for what is supposed to be a fun imaginative game needs to be the opposite of dry, technical, and boring.