Not actually an encounter - but the overall map. It would be great if you could (a) resolve it with respect to the rest of the world (b) orient it so that north is "up" and (c) include a little more of the borderlands so that players have a much better idea as to where they are with respect to Brevoy, Mivon and Pitax. This last in particular as the stolen lands map actually overlaps Mivon when you orient it onto a regional map.
Many people worked on this problem in the past decade. My solution is here and you are free to use it, whole or in part. That would be sufficient for adventures in the Stolen Lands
A larger, regional map might look something like this. In our campaign, I added an extra book (Book 5.5?) in the area to the east as the PCs explored a lost Taldan colony with a sinister secret. It also gave the PCs an interestting alternative to trading west - trading east to Casmaron! And you can see how a larger map works and helps out the GM by quantifying the landscape. It would also be useful for narrating a Brevic civil war or trips to Iobaria.
Yeah, we have a similar decision to make. Our campaign has been running for 7 years in PF. Moreover, I had a 1e campaign (which actually started as a basic D&D campaign) that I converted to 3e. With that older campaign I eventually gave up on hard conversions and did it more by "feel". Yeah, an 18 strength might equal a 23, but the feats, etc... made the character feel completely different.
My solution to this problem was to try to pare down each character to it's 'concept' - i.e. what was he/she really known for. Then try and replicate that in the new system and see what was left over. It didn't always work, but it usually came pretty close. It was a bunch of work, but about the same as trying to convert it using a formula.
The question is, as always, is it worth the effort? Like many people I have a ton invested in 1e and it's now "complete". I can rest, knowing that there won't be anything official added to it going forward. It's still a bloated, unintuitive system. Is it worth changing?
My feeling is that we'll migrate as a group if 2e is fun. And since we are only in book 1 of Tyrant's Grasp, we have a while to defer that decision. We're thinking of running a few short sessions of 2e in between books to see how it plays. As said before - fingers crossed it's good.
As I read the guide the overwhelming message I get is that 2e is a completely new game from 1e, sharing only some superficial nomenclature with the older edition. And for me, that's fine. 1e was increasingly becoming an unwieldy beast.
It reminds me of trying to covert from 1e (or 2e) to 3e in DnD. You could hand-wave it, but a mathematical conversion was nigh impossible.
Here's hoping to the success of this new game :)
The number of repetitive complaints about the ending is bordering on trolling at this point. We get it. Some people don't like the ending. You know what? It's an RPG you can change it. No one is going to come to your house in the middle of the night and change it back.
I imagine these people knocking on Tolkien's door in the 1960s demanding that Isildur destroy the ring because otherwise the whole story is stupid.
So in my game where the PCs are mythic as well, the cost to saving their souls is to trap some of their essence in the kumaru tree. That costs them at least one mythic tier to do so - permanently reducing their tier as well as their potential maximum tier.
With the WT, I'm going to have it work the same way.. if he survives, he will lose at least one and probably several mythic tiers. As such, he will have to lay low for quite some time before threatening the world so directly. That is, once he reforms, which itself could take a considerable amount of time due to the nature of the damage.
Tyrant's Grasp is the Rogue One AP for pathfinder. Jyn and Cassian are on death missions, and neither of them knows it until the end. Moreover, the PCs death isn't meaningless, nor a time-out that only gives the world a brief respite. The feedback loop at the end destroys the Radiant Fire as a usable weapon by Tar Baphon
'Unlike the Whispering Tyrant, whose death marks his failure and loss of the greatest weapon he’s ever known..."
Want the PCs to survive? that's perfectly acceptable. Your party comes up with an imaginative way to escape. Adventure Paths are frameworks around which to construct a campaign. While you can run them *exactly* as intended, likely your experience would be much improved by modifying, adding to and increasing the depth of the story.
So I thought it might be useful for people to see how I'm running my non-vanilla iteration of TG. Who should read this? GMs interested in running this AP. Who should absolutely not read this? Anyone thinking of playing in this AP. You have been warned. Also, let me know if this thread is inappropriate to this forum.
As a reminder, I'm running a 25 pt, mythic version of it where most of the players are not from Lastwall. If it's ok with everyone, I'll post a wrap-up of where we are after each session. If there are questions, I'll try to answer them as best as I can. To give a sense of how fast we proceed, we play weekly for 3-4 hour sessions. We are a pretty heavy RP group.
The party: We have a party of 5, with a 6th joining in the fall. They are:
We started our campaign in the kingdom of Veridia (this kingdom was created at the close of the Kingmaker campaign we ran from 2012-2018). I ran a short adventure beforehand, heavily adapting the Night March of Kalkamedes and ending with the party coming into possession of the amulet called the "Grace of the Last Azlanti". The reasons for that and the GM plan for the AP can be found in this thread. The short adventure took 3 sessions and was very light hearted. But it solved the initial problem of getting the party working cohesively and gave them a reason and macguffin to travel to Lastwall. They also had a meeting with a withered old crone (Arazni). At the end, I let them level up to Level 2, which means they started the AP at level 2. Having seen what was coming up, I thought that a 25 pt buy and level 2 were appropriate.
Session 4 was spent travelling from the River Kingdoms to Lastwall and getting some immersion into its culture. The party had a chance to spend their reward from the little adventure and get some nice new shiny objects. They spent a lot of time on this. We ended in Roslar's Coffer where the party met up with Deci's extended family (who owned the inn). Everyone else in the party made friends in town. Then the town got nuked.
Session 5 everyone woke up in the Boneyard. They had none of their equipment. I honestly felt it was more appropriate to the feeling of detachment for that to happen - also it explains a certain encounter in book 2 better. They only cleared the initial room and the next room. They were very resourceful in using whatever they had as improvised weapons.
Session 6 saw the party cutting through the lower part of Roslar's Tomb rather quickly. The paladin with power attack was very effective even with less than ideal weapons. They got all the way up to the mites in the room with the animated hair. I should point out that I amended the treasure here to have loot that the party could use as weapons and armor- for example, craftsman's hammers that could double as light hammers. Daggers. A few first level scrolls that could be used for cleaning and moving things. Things that a clever party could use to their advantage. And they also had the advantage of being 2nd level. All in all, they did very well getting to this point.
So I made my first character using these sheets. Specifically, I used the "printer-friendly" b/w ones. Two thumbs up on the layout. Two thumbs down on the stark contrast. What I write (in pencil) gets lost in the sea of black ink on the form. Writing it in blue ink doesn't help much. Green ink shows up a little better. I'm considering red or orange.. but honestly, I shouldn't have to.
I would recommend releasing a greyscale pdf with the black at 50% darkness to make it easier to pick out handwriting.
looking at the color one printed in greyscale, it looks better but could still use a whole bunch of improvement with respect to color.
Added: I toned down the black significantly via photoshop. Obviously, this is a matter of taste. Regardless, here's the alternative. . PM me if this breaks some sort of rule and I'll take it down.
The first 'nuke' in RC. Prior to the AP, the PCs find an artifact called the Grace of the Last Azlanti, which I think has some cool synergy with the obols.
Anyway, I write about it (ad nauseam) in this thread.
As mentioned elsewhere, I'm running my campaign with a twist, so YMMV.
I wasn't happy with a lot of the hand-waving that occurs throughout the AP. In this respect, it is a lot like Kingmaker. But that's also a good thing because it allows the GM to customize the AP to their party's liking.
My campaign quirks:
The biggest problem I had was with the PCs getting a positive benefit out of the obols while everyone else is TPK'ed at the start of book 1. I found that to be heavily contrived. So I incorporated the use of an artifact found on p 68 of Last Watch - the Grace of the Last Azlanti. This item was on Gen'l Arnisant's person when he slew the WT and absorbed some of the shattered shield. I ran a short module before the start of the AP where the PCs find this and are charged with bringing it back to Vigil. The PCs have it in their possession when they stop for the night in Roslar's Coffer. The interaction with the artifact and the Radiant Fire is what separates the PCs from everyone else, and also gives them something to research to better understand what happened to them. In my campaign, I'm also going to give them a mythic level every time they are exposed to the RF... basically all that energy is building up inside them. It makes - imho - a better explanation for the final battle and makes the PCs less squishy overall.
Isn't it though? The main problem being that if his phylactery was in Gallowspire, then it had to be very deep in Gallowspire to avoid the Radiant Fire blast above it. And even then, it would be problematic.. would you, as a lich, risk your phylactery?
Regardless, you now know *exactly* where the phylactery is - moreover, the WT is relatively defenseless. The goal at that point is to not capture or subdue the WT, it's to destroy the rest of Gallowspire before the WT can reform.
The alternative is that the phylactery can be moved away from Gallowspire, in which case, the original question is relevant. Why didn't he physically move it beforehand and avoid all the trouble?
Honestly, I see an ending where the PCs tweak the obols in their bodies so that one PC could be at Gallowspire and have that place go up a second time. The average party is going to realize that if the phylactery is still intact, then this is all for naught. A really good party will likely deduce where said phylactery ought to be.
(Edited to add below)
I took a long walk and thought about how to resolve this. the simplest solution is that the seal acted to prevent physical, magical and planar movement outside of its influence. At least that's my impression from the "Dungeons of Golarion" book.
The phylactery would likely be stored deep in that area. And with the detonation of the Radiant Fire, the phylactery could at last be moved. It would need to as even though the radiant fire didn't destroy the phylactery, it would have likely weakened the structural integrity of all the dungeons, making collapse and burial a distinct possibility. So the WT would have wanted to move his phylactery ASAP afterwards.
Weird thought. Can the PCs buy supplies in the Boneyard version of Roslar's Coffer? I'm kind of leaning towards "yes". The town wouldn't have anything exciting.. as a mock up, it would have generic versions of everything.
But if you wanted to get anything off the basic list of items (rope, spikes, backpack, bedrolls, etc..) I'd allow it unless someone has a good reason not to. Indeed, it could be part of how they realize they are dead (Where is that potion of healing? It was on the shelf yesterday. Come to think of it, why is my ledger empty?).
Waay too late in the game, I've finally figured out what bugs me with the proficiency system. It's the auto-levelling. And not that it exists, I get why that is. As an arcane caster, I auto place points in spellcraft, etc..
Its that at some point I frequently decide that I no longer want to keep doing that. I may say (for one reason or another) that I don't want to throw any more points at skill A. It happens in real life. When I started college I was huge into american history. I threw a ton of skill points into "Knowledge: American History". Then I became a geologist. My Knowledge of American History didn't go away (ignoring for a moment the decay over time), but I threw points into Geology. Indeed, I may have respeced some points out of AH and into Geology. That's what the system is (as i understand it) missing. And it's not a small thing.
Ron Lundeen wrote:
Which is entirely coincidental and in no way is representative of the Whispering Tyrant's attitude towards the rest of the world. He is a kind and benevolent ruler who only seeks to remove the pain and suffering commonly associated with the disability called "life". :P
Yeah, add me to the group of people who is moderately annoyed by this. In particular because we ARE playing TG right now, and I've asked the party to avoid possible spoilers because there is just so much going on in that AP. So they know to stay away from the obvious places on the message boards, etc.
This, however, was front page of the website. Not cool. Particularly because you could have done this in another order, saving the TG spoilers until just before August 1.
I suppose it's *good* that our group was very underwhelmed by the playtest and has, at best, a passing interest in PF 2.0.
Now I'm wondering if this AP is going to be PF's foray into "the PCs fail". Which would be twice as awful for those of us who went into GMming this without knowing ahead of time what we were getting into. It would be like releasing "Hell's Vengeance" without telling us that it was evil-aligned.
And yeah, I know we can do things differently in our home-brew. But when there's huge changes from an AP baked into the canon, it becomes just another headache for the GM and makes him/her less likely to purchase additional products.
One of my PCs will be a Lastwall crusader by trade. But at first level, he's obviously not going to be a "knight" unless knight is the catch-all term for soldiers. I can see from other sources that there are already some positions which have titles The ruler is the Watcher-Lord, individual garrison commanders are called "Captains". The latter almost suggests a military ranking system to officials (which I would expect).
I'd suggest that the rank-and-file (the G.Is) would be called 'Crusaders'. And above them would be sergeants and lieutenants, etc up to Captains who command forts or middle-sized units. then a couple of names (Colonels, commanders?) up to the rank of General. Then above General would be the Precentors and then the Watcher Lord.
Does anyone have a better org structure for this?
The old Mystara campaigner in me cringes a little at "Broken Lands" (the region of Brun home to humanoid tribes) and the similarity of "Eye of Dread" to the X1 Adventure the "Isle of Dread".
I am hoping that there will be a little more of the surrounding world added in to give a sense of place in the larger world. It's been more than a decade, after all. Someone has to have walked east and returned...
Also, the new map style is nice.
Marc Waschle wrote:
Backed at the $80 level I can eat $10 if they have really good ruler rewards.
Yeah, this is my plan too. I backed the PFO blindly at higher levels, but then I was single without any large purchases coming up. Now I have a family and a house to buy. Priorities.
I haven't backed yet because I want to see what' the other stretch goals will be, and so far there isn't incentive to back early. The one reason to back early has no details on it other than the promise of wonderful things if a lot of other people back it. And while I'm likely (and hope to be wrong) I don't see this going much higher than $200K, if that.
I'm of mixed feelings about this. First off, I'm likely to buy it because I like Golarion's lore more than either the 1e or 2e ruleset. But I do empathize with all the people (myself included) who were very vocal over the past several years in pleading for a 1e Kingmaker hardback. We were told time and again there was no way for this to happen (much like we were told time and again there were no ways other things would happen which eventually came to pass). To not have a 1e option, frankly, it hurts. And after all, wasn't it Jason who said waaay back in the beginning that it would be so easy to convert from 1e to 2e?
And I do get Paizo's current mantra that the forum represents only a small portion of the overall community and that they can't make business decisions based on the boards. (Though that begs the question "Why even have the boards and interact with us if we are so meaningless?". Personally, my time on the boards has been considerably less after that 2e revelation). And I do understand that they are small potatoes compared to WotC. (Although Savage Worlds is apparently the #3 RPG out there and they are small potatoes compared to Paizo. But they seem to be doing ok, coming out with a new ruleset, without the angst oozing through the Paizo community).
All this leaves me very confused and conflicted. In a way this is good, because I feel that I've been freed from the Paizo shackles - when 1e was their focus I bought their products exclusively - coming up on ten years now. Now our group is rethinking Paizo in general (maybe we play Savage Worlds) and we haven't played 1e since the playtest. We've played a half dozen other games and we've considerably broadened our horizons. If that's Paizo's goal - woot! But I suspect it is not. I kinda think they want us to keep buying their products, after all.
We're wavering at this end. 1e was great, but after the shock and the numbness have worn off, we're still interested in 2e, but it's not an automatic go-to like 1e was. I think showing us the rules and new things we can do with 2e is a much better use of space and time than 1e. If you're going to do a "kingdom building" AP for 2e, make it somewhere else - do something NEW. Don't rehash 1e to try to twist peoples' arms into 2e. It never works and only further fractures your fanbase.
I'm curious how we balance shields at the high end. Like incredibly magical shields which are worthy of legend, so should not be very disposable. I mean, some shields somewhere are liable to be artifacts, so those won't be destroyed no matter how long the Balor wails on them (unless that's the specific condition for its destruction). I have to imagine there's some sort of "turns off" condition to keep an artifact shield from just giving you hardness?
Like the Shield of Aroden? ;P
But yeah, I get your point... at the upper end of the magic item / artifact scale a shield should be like the one in that early 1980s film, Dragonslayer.
While listening to a podcast about RPGs, it popped into my head that (if it's not already baked into the system) it would be a great idea if you could save one (or more) of your three actions during your round to use as an AoO.
Losing the AoO for most people was, I thought, a rather large problem for tactical strategy. But also having too many AoOs was ridiculous too (slicing at the whole marathon as they sped by you, as it were). Reserving that third attack (perhaps at a less than -10 modifier) to slow the progress of the person going past you (maybe they are considered flat footed or flanked if they aren't trying to dodge) seems a good trade off. You are betting an action that someone might try to slip by you. If they don't, you've wasted it.
Mark Seifter wrote:
Neat. Gives me the same feeling I had with a "headband of intelligence" - you had x skills that improved as you did regardless of what you put into it.
Captain Morgan wrote:
I've been fighting with the complexity vs fun aspect of PF1 ever since the playtest came out (and we coincidentally started a high level AD&D (1e) game). A few things I've noted...
1. The older games, if you haven't played them in awhile, you should play them again. In many cases they weren't as simple as you might be remembering.
2. Play-balancing to the extreme isn't always a virtue. There's always going to be some combination of criteria that are going to put you at a disadvantage or an advantage. That swashbuckler / brawler? It probably shines in the correct situation. You make your choices and realize you can't be all things at all times.
3. What I think pushed PF1 into PF2 is it's own success. Too many options, too much rules-bloat. Five years ago I said that you needed Hero Lab to keep up with the Pathfinder options. Today, you can't do it even with Hero Lab.
4. I have a lot of issues with what PF2 might be. I still love the three action economy. OMG, that was genius.
4a. My love-hate relationship with what PF2 might be took a huge turn for the better the moment I made peace with the fact that it's fundamentally a different system. Once I stopped trying to shoehorn PF1 into PF2 in my head I was able to start appreciating it for its own merits. And I was qutie the vocal critic of the playtest. (I may still be a vocal critic of the final system, though).
5. If i play an AP in PF1, I don't want my character to die strictly because of how long it takes to roll up a new 1st level character. As a GM I don't want to kill a PC because of the same. That becomes a problem.
6. My son won't be playing PF1. The curve is too steep and there's too much else to do. He might try PF1 if he gets into PF2 and likes it, but if someone who has been playing RPGs since basic and AD&D can't get his kid interested, that's indicative of a larger problem for the game. It's time to wipe the slate and start anew.
(Will save vs incoming science ahead!)
Ron Lundeen wrote:
That's a fine way to explain it, and what we were going for without using the phrase "magical nuclear weapons." Conversationally around here, we've been referring to the pieces of the Shattered Shield of Arnisant that the Whispering Tyrant can use to trigger the Radiant Fire as his "loose nukes."
Awesome! Okay, that's great. Also because it doesn't behave like most nuclear blasts. The closest you can come to is a neutron bomb, but even a 1 kt bomb would flatten the town (note, the town map on p6 doesn't have a scale bar, but appears to be ~700 feet across the short axis). A 1 kt bomb (according to Wikipeida) is enough to flatten non-reinforced structures up to 500m (1500 feet) away. So clearly, we're not getting that kind of pressure from our blast. But it should also be noted that half the pressure would ruin the buildings as well as throw anyone outside like a rag doll, likely inflicting lethal bludgeoning damage as they hit walls, etc.
Also, when reading the entry for the Positive Energy Plane in the wiki, its the sheer life energy that is its most striking feature. Clerics use an infinitesimal amount of that energy to accelerate healing. Absorbing all that either (a) causes your body to combust (b) causes huge mutations (think instantaneous runaway cancer) (c) both. From the description we know that at least some parts of the town are heavily charred - the likeliest explanation is those parts of the town closest to ground zero. Moreover, based on the "nuclear silhouettes" left behind, PCs are going to be able to determine which direction the blast comes from - and I'll bet 99% of the time they'll try and figure that out.
So you're going to need to know where ground zero is and describe the town with respect to that. Let's say its in the town center. As you move from the outskirts to the center you'll see increasing levels of destruction from moderate damage to completely ruined to ruined + charred buildings. If you'd like, the building at ground zero could be completely leveled / disintegrated, with the silhouette of the windows on the wrecks of the adjoining buildings.
People will die all throughout the town (unless protected by lead, thick stone, etc...). On the outside, any corpses not reanimated will be horribly mutated with tumors, vestigial limbs, deformed body parts, flesh eaten away, etc.. Individuals caught outside might have pieces of buildings embedded in them. The trauma of rending the soul from the body would be such that they might rise of their own accord as mindless undead (and this is also what creates the loci). Similar things would happen to the plants and animals, again, worse as you approach ground zero.
So, in my game I'm going to have my party all in the same room in the inn sleeping when it happens. Having the PCs in a common room in an inn is, i think, a great idea. It doesn't have to be for long, just the one round necessary for the boom. That building is going to be nothing but dust, but the PCs corpses and gear will be intact, adding to the confusion on Quietus' part.
I imagine that subsequent blasts will be larger in scale and devastation as the WT refines his control.
So, having read through the module, I get the very distinct feeling that the "Radiant Fire" is Golarion's version of nuclear weapons, meaning that Roslar's Coffer... got nuked. There's the people who have been incinerated, the ones who are just charred impressions on walls and the obvious mutations from radiation.
Am I correct in thinking that I should be describing the town scene with vaguely post-nuclear apocalyptic terms? If not, how should I be describing it?
I'm seriously hoping that PF2 will be fewer products spaced out more, with an emphasis on telling the story of Golarion in depth. One of the main problems with PF1 was that there was just.. so.. much. Too many options, feats, etc... from character classes. Extra spells and magic items were always ok because those you could either pick and choose more easily (and there were no "spell trees" like "feat trees").
The Campaign splatbooks were IMHO the best resource piazo put out, in particular, when they took it a nation at a time (much like Basic D&D did with Mystara). Tying them in to APs was also great. The trouble is that a lot of the Inner Sea has been fleshed out and while updates are always welcome, unless its substantial or considerably better organized then I'm hesitant to re-buy the same material.
One nice thing would be to standardize the Campaign books. That is to say have the same basic things in each book. A section on demographics, military, geography, history, ecology and a proper hex or gridded map which fits with all the surrounding nations (I'd ask for a spherically accurate map, but I'll settle for maps that match up). Please, no more Stolen Lands mess! Then have the bits that are unique to each nation or region.
A couple welcome deviations to this would be a book on golarion's astronomy - in particular as to how it relates to Starfinder and a book on Golarion's history (perhaps a historical atlas?). I've poked at both of these topics in the past. There's also the possibility of doing a softbound or pdf "annual" at the end of each calendar year addressing the events of the previous year. Again D&D did this with Mystara and their short "Poor Wizard's Almanac" series.
P2 is a great opportunity to start with a fresh, organized set of books that the well rounded GM would want to complete their reference regardless of the edition they are running. Good luck!
"We moved here from 'Lichmoot'. I'm not saying 'Plaguestone' is a safe town... just safer."
David knott 242 wrote:
:) you know how pretty Ranier looks? Mt. St. Helens looked every bit as pretty before 1980. Boom. When Ranier goes, Seattle is going to be in a world of hurt. All our shipments will be delayed that month :P (possibly for forever). That is an empowered, maximized volcano with a CL of a sideways eight.
In all seriousness, when you ask vulcanologists which volcano worries them the most in North America.. they answer with Yellowstone. But that's a supervolcano and a whole other league. So if you ask them what's #2, it's Rainier, as this website shows.
James Jacobs wrote:
Actually, I have this partially completed. :P but using the NPCs from all the campaign settings. In part because the APs are artifically skewed towards higher levels (high level characters have to occupy 3 of the 6 books just to be CR appropriate). I've also ignored characters below 6th level because they are simply too numerous and unimportant.
Right now I've got in excess of 300 entries in the spreadsheet and a fairl nice declining exponential curve. Something like 1 in 1000 people who are 6th level make it to 18th. More data will obviously refine that. (Higher than 18th is hard because there's so little data).
Clearly.. I don't have enough to do! lol.
Seriously, though. I've always been fascinated by the night sky and I've been underwhelmed by what has been offered from official sources. So, rather than complain, I decided to do something about it. I spend far too long looking at the night sky from other systems in the Milky Way and finally found one that I think might serve as a near analogue for Golarion. (Note, I haven't checked everything, but it'll all work out - a lot of our constellations are head-scratchers, after all.)
Anyway, I'm starting a series of blog posts on the topic, beginning with the top of the sky - the Stair of Stars and Cynosure. Enjoy! And feel free to leave feedback. While this is mostly for my own campaign, I'm happy to share!
I'm up to a reasonably sized collection (~400 minis, with Kingmaker arriving this week) and my collection is at the point where I think I need to invest in some serious organization and storage.
Right now I have my collection organized in a google drive set of spreadsheets, by set, with a summary page. But I'm thinking of developing a relational database, using MS Access or some such, so that i can filter and sort by criteria.
Of course, there are websites that come to mind (miniature trading for example) that keeps online DBs and I'm on there as well. But I find the UI to be more than a little clunky.
At the same time, I'm interested in storage solutions. I'm keeping them in marked plastic containers (stackable storage) with the largest minis in a rolling set of plastic drawers. What do others do? Always interested in hearing other ideas.
Near the end of our kingmaker campaign, my character began doing small acts of kindness for the community surrounding his tower. This got out of hand and, in our setting, became the non-denominational holiday centered around the winter solstice. Here, for your enjoyment, I present the festival of Mishkalmas - a Golarion "Christmas".
In the newly created kingdom in the Stolen Lands a most curious holiday has taken hold. This holiday, called Mishkalmas, began shortly after the kingdom’s independence from Brevoy. At the time the kingdom was still quite poor and recovering from the events of the Nyrissa’s machinations as well as the Brevic civil war. It was precisely at this time that numerous reports surfaced of small acts of kindness performed or small gifts left anonymously around the winter solstice. As the story goes, many of these gifts were traced back to animals associated with the former court magister and hero, Zi Mishkal, who had recently withdrew into seclusion. Zi, a wizard by training, had taken a keen interest in the natural world and in the process attracted many exceptionally clever animals and creatures into his service. It is said that they acted as his eyes and ears throughout the kingdom and there was nothing which escaped his attention. And when he saw the people struggling he ordered the animals to help as best they could. Moreover, they say he could command many golems (perhaps hundreds) which he set to creating gifts for the people. From his hidden tower deep within the Tors of Levenies, he used his feathered subjects to ferry these gifts out to the countryside.
The people show their thanks for Zi Mishkal’s generosity by hanging bird feeders out in the days before Mishkalmas. On the morning after Mishkalmas children scrutinize these feeders closely. If tracks are present or the food is eaten, it means that the winged servants of Mishkal have been by and left a small present for them.
The Actual Story
Mishkalmas started as a single year. The wizard Zi Mishkal, in addition to his other duties, managed a successful inn called “The Towering Pint” (so called because his tower was located just behind the inn) along the east-west road. Thanks to the protection afforded by the tower, a small hamlet sprang up around the inn. That first winter of independence was particularly harsh, and throughout the winter Zi made frequent trips into the town and surrounding farms, solving problems and helping the people. On the winter solstice, he conjured up a Magnificent Mansion to feed and warm the townsfolk. Because of all this, no one died that winter.
The next winter was quite mild. However, over the course of the summer, word had spread into the surrounding communities about Zi’s generosity, and he found himself overwhelmed with requests. While he was able to accommodate many of them within the surrounding communities and was also able to throw and even grander feast with two Magnificent Mansions he found himself unable to keep up with the increasing amount of requests.
The following summer, realizing that the upcoming winter would be even worse, he sold the tower and relocated his home deep in the Tors of Levenies. It is true that he had awakened several normal animals and kept them as messengers and scouts for the kingdom. These animals increasingly spoke of the sadness in the communities he had vacated as the solstice approached and the harsh winter returned. Realizing that something would need to be done, he spent a considerable fortune to purchase basic necessities. In many cases it was food - perhaps a duck or some apples. But in other cases it was some other object - a plow for a farmer, perhaps, or some new needles for a weaver. To deliver these, he called upon the awakened animals to concentrate on the towns in and around the Towering Pint. For some of his closest friends he delivered these gifts in person, subtly suggesting that they continue the tradition amongst themselves.
In the years following, he would occasionally make appearances or have animals deliver presents, even though the populace took over most of the gift giving and feasting responsibilities themselves. Young children do not mark the difference between the rare occasion when a gift is delivered by an actual servant of Mishkal and when it is delivered by a friend or family member. Adults understand and keep the tradition alive. Most adults in the Stolen lands are likely to receive a gift directly from Zi Mishkal once in their lives, although recently it has become difficult to determine even that as anonymous gifts from admirers sometimes show up on Mishkalmas morning.
Well, I think we're just missing two reveals at this point. Kingmaker is my favorite AP by far, and I've done my best to collect the Kingmaker themed minis from other sets. I think it's partly because of that that I'm a little underwhelmed by this offering.
I think I'm more underwhelmed by the tie-in to the computer game. I understand why it was done, but I don't necessarily agree with the decision. Those are valuable mini slots that could be used for more AP-appropriate minis (we don't have a Beldamne, anyone from Varnhold, or a jabberwock yet - for example). I suppose it's good that they didn't throw more goblins at us because of the computer game. (A lack of goblins was one thing that endeared me to Kingmaker - the kobolds imho had much more RP options).
I'll still likely get a case once my bank account recovers a bit. Maybe around the holidays.
Will there be a second one available, so that we might place it beside this shrubbery, only slightly higher so you get a two layer effect with a little path running down the middle?
When people talk like that I get the feeling that the pendulum has swung completely the other way in favor of martials. Well, I guess in the end, they "won" for whatever it's worth.
So the changes are interesting.
Like - 10 invested items, no more, period. I can number a piece of paper 1-10 and fill in ten items.
Like - resonance gives you an extra boost - they're like magic hero points. Heck, you may as well fold them into hero points. Would be a great idea.
Dislike - mixing focus points in with spell points, power points, etc. I have to agree that there are too many pool points, but mixing these together is not the way to go about it. It's too apples - oranges.
Dislike - staves need focus points to work. Sorry - the idea of staves needing this extra rare resource that is already over-stretched as their primary way of casting stuff is a huge step back. I saw the arguments of "but you can cast spells spontaneously!" Yeah, at spell level +1. That's no bargain and will mean that the ability will lay unused.
Neutral about - how wands interact. The first cast is free, but afterwards they cost 1 focus point and then you can soak up as many charges as you want. That's a focus point tax, pure and simple. It's another band-aid on what it probably an inherently flawed system.
TBH wands probably need to go away completely and staves need to be some combination of what wands and staves currently are. Or if you want to keep some wands free, move metamagic from rods to wands. Maybe even make them have charges - you blow through a charge for each spell level it goes up. This would make wands more about the caster than the spell cast.
I like a lot of what is done here. It's like you're halfway there. The idea of focus points giving that extra oomph is great. The idea of a straight number of magic items is also great. I do like staves and wands allowing casters to cast spells, but you need to come at this from a different angle now. Maybe brainstorm some of the fantasy mythos to see how casters interact with their staves. Are they like advanced arcane bonds? Do casters invest some of themselves in them - is it resonance on steroids? The overwhelming idea in the mythos is that when a mage has a staff and you separate the two, you weaken the mage tremendously. Maybe that's the angle to focus on.
Great intermediate step!
I'm actually glad that you're enjoying it. As I've said before we all stand to lose if PF2 flops in epic fashion. I could have said that all the people I've run the playtest for (round about a dozen so far) have all felt the same - it wasn't for them and didn't feel like Pathfinder. But that's such a small, anecdotal sample size, I didn't bother.
The really discouraging thing is that these feelings became stronger as we leveled up. The cleric felt less like a cleric, the wizard less like a wizard and the fighter less like a fighter as we increased in level. In our last playtest, one player was a cleric multiclassed into a fighter multiclassed into a wizard. Why not? In PF1 that would have been an instant gimping of the rules. In PF2, it didn't seem to matter. We all contributed equally (with all of the problems others have mentioned about PCs v monsters) in every fight. Again, on the one hand that's an incredible balance achievement. On the other hand, why bother to take a deep interest in your character when their chance to excel in their specific field is so limited.
There are games that are built on homogeneity and they work. And there are games that are built on heterogeneity and they work. Neither perspective is superior. But when you've built your fan base on the one and you appear to switch to the other, there's going to be a certain percentage of your base that don't want to go in that direction. How large that percentage is... I don't know.
If I might quote from one of the first Paizo blogs regarding the playtest:
First Look at the Pathfinder Playtest blog entry wrote:
That was March 6, 2018. It's the oldest blog entry with the "pathfinder playtest" tag. The blog states that "feel" is the first goal of PF2e. It has to feel like 1e.
It does not feel like 1E to me or a lot of other people.
This kind of reminds me of the break that happened when Civ V was released. Civ V might be a good turn based 4x computer game, but the fundamental changes in that game destroyed the feel of "Civ". One can argue the same thing about 4e, or the reboots for any number of TV / movie franchises.
Feel is hard to impossible to quantify. One way to do it is with sales. If the new version sells, then yaay - success! As a test, you probably want some kind of indicator beforehand.
Maybe - maybe Paizo thinks they can get enough people to replace those lost to attrition. Maybe, maybe the final game will pull back enough to 1e or be a hybrid of the two that is really great. And maybe the people who are dissatisfied are only the people who post on the forums and maybe our voice exceeds our numbers by orders of magnitude.
I don't have the answers to any of these maybes. We'll find out when 2e comes out. I always thought changing less was better than changing more and change for change's sake was a terrible idea. Find the parts of the game that needed fixing and fix those. Leave the rest as intact as possible. From my limited end and observation the conclusion I'm drawing is that there was a conscious attempt to redesign the game from the ground up to make it very balanced. Possibly to cater to PFS, possibly to churn out modules more evenly. But the feel right now is that the game is cookie-cutter. And that is exactly what the original Pathfinder supporters fled from in droves. So this backlash should not only have been unsurprising, it should have been expected.
you could also have some higher level creatures be unaffected by weapons below a certain plus value. 1e AD&D did that a lot. I think 3e got rid of it.
But yeah, aside from that, properties. We already have different materials (which was the original source of the pluses). We, in effect, have a redundant system. There's nothing wrong with a flaming adamant sword and it breaks immersion less.
I believe the solution to this problem (or at least a solution) has been stated in several places - tie increased damage to weapon proficiency. You can also tie weapon traits / tricks / etc. to the same. This allows everyone to specialize to some degree and fighters to specialize in a bunch of different weapons and unlock damages / powers / tricks / etc.. that other classes couldn't reach.
Moreover, it pulls all that away from feats. Imagine if fighters had a trick / proficiency table much like spellcasters have a spells known / spells per day table.
I think I'll actually reply to this one.
Yes, I've filled out the surveys. I was also the person who organized and tablulated the 3 likes / 3 hates thread that appeared a couple of weeks ago. And I brought to light the mirror image issue in Somberfell Hall with the final boss battle - that was the thread wherein I provided enough data that the devs were able to reconstruct the battle and draw meaningful results from it. And going back to earlier posts, I've had the privilege of having devs respond constructively to questions and comments I've raised. We've been good playtesters.
So I think I've earned my way to explain why we felt continuing the playtest wasn't going to provide any additional meaningful results on our part. If you feel that providing some respectful, final feedback on the forums is a form of grandstanding, that is certainly your prerogative. But you should probably do a little self-reflection why my critique of this game system upsets you so much that you feel the need to call me out for some hidden agenda.
To reiterate - we all genuinely hope 2e succeeds in whatever form it finally takes. Even if we don't like the final ruleset, we intend to continue to support the Golarion setting in some way or another. Although my personal interactions with the staff at Paizo are limited, I don't want to see anything bad happen to them or their company. Like many on these forums our concern is for Paizo's welfare above all else. It's kinda like when you're a parent and you see your teen about to do something risky and you tell him/her "are you SURE you know what you're doing?" and they reply "Yeah. I got this, dad". And you're still not convinced because you've spent so long with them, watching them grow. That's us.
of course, Imagine Paizo's predicament... having tens of thousands of "parents" all giving them conflicting advice and worrying themselves in the process. Yikes. lol.
TL;DR: After 4.5 parts of the Playtest our group has decided that the ruleset is not fun. It does not make our players feel heroic and combat is basically a neverending slog.
So, it is with regret that our little group will no longer be participating in the Playtest. We tried to stick it out until the end, but we feel that at this point we're repeating ourselves with respect to the game's flaws. Furthermore, as a group, we don't see ourselves supporting 2e in this current incarnation. 10 weeks of playtesting has shown us that. This post is more of an explanation to the devs than an invitation for another long back-and-forth over the same points about the playtest. We feel that, after putting so much work into the playtest, the devs are entitled to a more considered response than "this sucks." From our end, we started as a group of 5 players + GM (me) and whittled down to 3+GM. One left for work reasons (couldn't make sessions) and the other became too frustrated with the ruleset. Prior to the playtest our group was in the middle of Strange Aeons, and one interesting thing about the playtest is that it's made us long for PF1e more. So we're heading back to that AP. :)
I point out that the ruleset isn't (in our opinion) fun. To elaborate - our combats wind up being an attempt to find the most optimal attack -> damage routines and spam them. This, inevitably, winds up being a martial attack. In Heroes of Undarin, we had three PCs - a paladin, a monk and a cleric who had multiclassed into fighter and wizard (thanks to the 1.4 errata). All three wound up melee attacking every single round. Why? Because melee attacks have (by far) the best chance to hit as well as do high amounts of damage - particularly when magic weapons are involved. And melee attacks never run out. So it's the same attack sequence round after round after round. There's no maneuver because there's no AoOs to worry about, there's no spell casting, because it can no longer compete. Just endless melee attacking.
I point out that the ruleset does not make our players feel heroic. Each of our players are exquisitely balanced. Despite being three different classes (pally, monk and whatever you want to call the cleric-ftr-mage) our ACs were 30, 31, 32. Our damage output was about the same as well, because the majority of the damage came from the +3 of our +3 weapons. Our attack bonuses were all the same because attack bonuses were all all +1 because of level. One way to describe this is balance. Another way to describe this is meaningless choices. There's a lot of rules out there that come to the same answer and the effect that gives the player is that everyone is a clone. We agree this feels very 4th Edition and is the antithesis of what made PF1 so awesome. It's this 4th Edition feel that, ultimately, was a deal breaker for us.
I point out that the game was a never-ending slog. By this I mean that when you take into account my first two points and place it against the enemies in Heroes of Undarin, what you have are combats that are very long and drawn out. The treachery demon, for example, has over 300 HP. Doing around 30 damage per player(because only the first hit is really reliable), you're looking at 10 successful attacks to take it down. The HP bar barely moves in roll20. This is without the demon spamming Mirror Image (which it can do at will and should do). The demon can spawn Mirror Image and the PCs can keep healing which effectively leads to a standoff for several dozen rounds. I went back to 1e AD&D to see the 'original' Treachery Demon and learned the following things:
1. It had less than 100hp (martial PCs at 12th level had around 100 hp in 1e AD&D).
2. It's attacks (5 in total) did 8-35 damage, which was between a quarter and a third of the average martial's HP. You actually see the HP bar move.
3. The demon has some fun attacks. At will it can do the following: It can cast polymorph self. It can cast fear. It can cast darkness. It can use telekinesis (which would have been great for throwing bits of the church at players). And it has a percentage chance of summoning in other demons.
The PF 2e demon has a bunch of illusory and out-of-combat abilities that, frankly, are uninteresting and underwhelming.
So that's it. Ultimately, the well-balanced encounters, the mathiness, the tweaking is meaningless if it comes at the cost of the players feeling like what they do has impact. PF2 loses all the impact that PF1 has. Every one of our characters from the arcanist to the pre-unchained thief felt like it had some part to play in our 1e APs. Yes, they could not contribute equally to every challenge, but that was okay. If we wanted that kind of balance we could play checkers. So we wish Paizo luck and hope that they can make something playable out of the playtest. We'll still be playing 1e and if there's no more 1e product after next year, that's fine too. Thank you Paizo for making the playtest and giving us a chance to partake in it. We will, of course, check out the ruleset once it's released next year to see if the necessary changes have been made. But I'm not going to lie. As it stands now, this is not a product we can get behind.