So, I'm going to start an AP (converted from 1e) with 3 players. None of them are particularly keen to play a cleric. As it stands now, we will likely have one martial, one caster (could be a bard) and one rogue.
The AP will be Kingmaker (I know.. it's coming out in a year for 2e anyways. we're impatient lol)
What do you all see as some of the challenges to this set-up? What are the things I ought to look for? Suggestions on class choices/builds?
So I'm going to start a Kingmaker campaign under PF2 rules this October. (I know.. but the Anniversary Edition doesn't come out till late next year and my group wants to try out the new ruleset earlier). It'll be an entirely meatspace group with 3-5 players. I plan on making some fairly substantial changes to the AP (having played the AP and the CRPG). The biggest of which is I plan to excise most of Nyrissa from the plot. The overarching plot will be the exploration of why House Rogarvia disappeared. (It has to do with House Surtova and a tremendously complex magical ritual).
Right off the bat, I'd like to ask the forum if this is the proper place. I find it a tad confusing - its a PF2 ruleset, but the real knowledge about the AP resides in this group. So I'd like to keep my thread here.
Beyond that, I hope to keep one step ahead of the players. We won't get through book 1 until at least the start of 2020 - at which point the new GMG will be out. Working with a much reduced bestiary means that I'll have to reskin several encounters - for example the mites will become goblins.
Note - I'll be using my own map of the Stolen Lands area I developed a couple years ago. I plan on printing it out 24x36-ish and laminating it so that we can roll it out onto the table and write on it.
I do plan on going into a fair amount of Brevic politics, as I think my group is into that sort of thing. Moreover, they'll have the freedom to make their kingdom to be as good or morally ambiguous as they'd like.
Oh, and any other suggestions would be appreciated, especially pertaining to the new ruleset.
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.
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?).
Unless my google-fu has failed me, I cannot find anything canonical on it. I imagine it would be a mix of Iomedae's tenets and Abadar's, Shelyn's and Pharasma's beliefs. I think it would be something like: (note: cribbed from across the internet. Some are directly lifted from other gods who Aroden admired or vice/versa)
-- I see beauty in others. As a rough stone hides a diamond, a drab face may hide the heart of a saint. I will work with others to bring their inner beauty out.
-- I will learn the weight of my sword. Without my heart to guide it, it is worthless—my strength is not in my sword, but in my heart. If I lose my sword, I have lost a tool. If I betray my heart, I have died.
-- Lives are never to be thrown away. But if I must sacrifice my life to save the people, it is a worthy sacrifice.
-- Gods can die, but humanity will live on. True strength lies within the people, not the gods.
-- Mend what is broken, and heal what is wounded. Do this through either labor or magic.
-- All civilized life should be saved and protected, but the human spirit of ingenuity and drive must be preserved and passed on.
-- Corruption in the greatest threat to civilization. I will root out corruption wherever I find it, and if a system is fundamentally flawed, I will work to reform or replace it.
What would you change or add?
I know that they aren't all listed in what we have in the AP so far, but are they listed anywhere else? So far I have...
Watcher Lord --- Ulthun II
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?
I'm putting together a module with Aroden as the background and I need a mid-high level CR to serve as a former representative of Aroden. It could have at one point been a herald of Aroden, but just as likely an outsider. I know Aroden was LN and dwelt on Axis for a time, and we all know about his two heralds but anything more specific seems not to be forthcoming.
So does anyone have suggestions for a servitor / representative for Aroden? Thanks in advance!
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.
So I'd like to be able to filter out all of the prepainted minis so that I only see minis under X dollars. I'd like to get in the habit of adding a few singles or unpainted minis to each month's shipment to fill in my mini gaps. But there's two problems with this.
1. There does not seem to be an intuitive way to see all the singles paizo has in stock. If I could see that, I could sort by price. I can see all the singles per set, but not all the sets together.
2. The filter, for me, is utterly useless. I can neither filter by price nor can I filter by the company making it.
Yes, I can go set by set and painstakingly note the current price for each of them and decide. But I'm obviously not going to do that. And that is keeping me from doing business with Paizo.
Honestly, for the life of me I cannot figure out why this remains a problem (and it's been going on for as long as I've been a customer here). It's 2019, not 1994. Note: I experience these issues regardless of OS or web browser.
I'd like to see the changes or the supposed changes compiled into a list somewhere (possibly in this thread?) to give us a nice point of reference. Even if our knowledge is incomplete about a topic, it would be very useful in decision making ahead of time.
Alternatively if such a list has been compiled, a link to that list would be excellent.
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.
Quick question, actually 2..
1. I know shipping is weird, but my shipping for 7579741 is in several parcels. It's a weird order combining minis and singles. Could you double check on that before it goes out?
2. I have an AP pending as well (7657979). I'm going to guess that that order isn't taken into account with the previous order. Might be cheaper to combine the two orders? I genuinely don't know.
Regardless, thanks for your attention. I know you just got back from the holidays / inventory and you're likely backed up.
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.
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.
I'm going to cut to the chase here - there's concern at our end that the changes required to make 2e a worthy successor to 1e are extensive enough that there won't be sufficient time to implement them, vet them and playtest them before the final rulebook needs to be written, edited, printed and published.
We have inexhaustible faith that, given enough time, Paizo will put out another superior product. We trust and believe in you! We're simply worried about the ambitious time frame. Our uneducated guess is that you need to be wrapping up design decisions either at or shortly after the new year in order to make deadlines on the rulebook, bestiary, APs and PFS modules. But if there's major systems revisions, then maybe those decisions need to come even earlier (Thanksgiving?) so that an extra AP (or two) and PFS year can get written under the 1e ruleset.
What we're saying is that, if push comes to shove, we'd rather see 2.0 around xmas or summer 2020 than a product that doesn't completely live up to Paizo's high standards.
I feel confident that our little group isn't alone in this feeling. And while it may seem courageous and scary to push back the release date, I think I echo the sentiments of the larger community when I say that we would back that decision both morally and financially. I guess what we're looking for is some assurance or acknowledgement at your end that the release date won't be the determining factor of the playtest.
Our sincerest hopes,
So this marks the second week in a row that we found the new rules to be tedious and generally not fun. I would like to say right off the bat that though this will be an overall negative review of the ruleset and encounter design, we still like Paizo, the devs and Golarion. We are long-time players of PF1 and it's because of this that this review is so blunt.
As before, I'm skipping right to the encounter at the end (with the brain collector). One can assume that everything prior to this was acceptable if not better.
The final encounter pitted two paladins and a cleric against the brain collection (who was minionless). We had a few no-shows at the last moment - two additional clerics couldn't make it - and as a result our GM appropriately removed minions from the encounter to make it CL appropriate.
Like the previous session with the elementals, this encounter was a pointless, yo-yoing slog. Encounters with large HP enemies or difficult enemies is fine, of course. But encounters where the PCs spend 9 rounds doing the same thing over and over and over again because that is literally the best thing they can do is absolutely horrible. As a result, our group consensus is that PF2 in its current state is unsupportable. Which is the reason for the playtest feedback - to provide data so that the devs can make this into a fun game. Because right now this game isn't fun. At all.
The brain collector arrived invisible and attacked our cleric. It also had previously cast mirror image on itself. It had one action left when it reached the cleric and hit for 20 damage. My paladin took three attacks on it and hit it once, removing a mirror image. The cleric cast a heal spell on himself and missed with one attack. The other paladin attacked 3 times.. and hit twice, removing the other two mirror images.
After one round, the hits v misses were 1/1 for the BC and 3/7 for us.
Round two was all melee attacks: the party was 0/5 and the BC was 0/2
Round 3 had the BC re-cast mirror image on itself, providing itself with 3 more duplicates. then it hit with its one attack on the cleric. both paladins missed with their retributive strikes. At this point, I was able to convince my GM that by dropping the chandelier onto the brain collector I would be able to knock out all its mirror images (cause the chandelier was so large). Which i proceeded to do, also causing 18 damage on it. This, btw, was the first damage actually done to the BC. The cleric healed himself and the other pally hit on 1/3 attacks.
After three rounds, the hits v misses were 2/4 for BC and we were 4/18, of which 3 were negated by mirror image.
Round 4 had the BC recasting mirror image (AGAIN) and hitting with his remaining action. My pally missed again with retributive strike. The cleric, by this point was slowed to 2 actions, and missed with both of them. I, on the other hand hit twice out of three attacks for a fair amount of damage (I missed all the mirror images twice and hit the BC). The paladin hit twice of three times, knocking out two mirror images.
Round 5 had the BC attacking twice again, hitting both times, while the party was 2/8 in their retributive strikes / attacks. My paladin had started to burn weapon surge before every attack because it was pretty obvious by the this point that we weren't hitting reliably with anything except our first attack
After 5 rounds, the hits v misses were 5/7 for the BC and 10/35 for the party.
Round 6 had the BC attacking (and nearly killing) me. By this point I was slowed as well. BC hit with both attacks and we missed with all 5 of ours (including a retributive strike).
By Round 7 the party was in tatters, but the BC was also low on HP. It attacked the cleric twice more and the other pally actually hit it with a retributive strike. (Keep in mind that by this point we were all enfeebled and enervated to varying degrees - so we had less of a shot to score a hit. I managed a final hit (out of the 6 attacks our party could muster) and did just enough damage to bring it to zero.
Final hits v misses were 9/11 for the brain collector (81%) and 12/46 (26%) for the party.
So lets talk about this math. The brain collector had a +19 to hit. Our armor classes were all within 1 or two points of 25. The BC needed a 6 or better to hit us. Meanwhile our to hits were +13, +11, +11. The Brain Collector's AC was 25. So we needed a 12 or better *at the start of combat* to hit. As we became more poisoned and level drained, our ability to hit decreased. Moreover, 8 of our hits struck mirror images. Take that away and we hit 8.6% of the time.
The numbers literally were against us. We were lucky that the BC didn't crit us, or this would have been a TPK. Otoh, only a nat 20 would have allowed us to TPK the BC.
So where does the problem lie? Well, for starters, the BC was able to cast spells in the middle of melee combat because none of us had AoOs. This was a problem throughout this adventure. Our GM frequently ran wraiths and ghasts past us because it's allowed. This is completely asinine. We used the analogy of a running back in a football game. Imagine if you could only attempt to tackle the running back "on your turn". Meanwhile the back can run 20-30 feet per action on his turn. Every play is a first down because the defenders had no zone of control. Much the same happened here. Rather than being "more strategic", we wound up locking all the people in a storage room and physically blocking the door with PC bodies because occupying a space is the only way to control it.
AoOs need to come back - for everybody. With an AoO we have a chance of holding a line or disrupting a spell.
One might argue that the GM played the BC too unfairly. Hogwash. The BC is an intelligent creature (heck it harvests brains). If it saw a strategy working, it would keep at it. Mirror Image is more powerful in 2e than 1e. (In 1e, if you barely missed with your to-hit, you'd still take out an image). So that (although much more minor) needs to be looked at.
The other thing that was important was the yo-yoing of PC HP. When I got knocked down to 4 HP, our cleric was able to heal me halfway up. If this had been a straight HP fight, this would have been a cakewalk for the PCs because we had more healing on our side. The special abilities (drain, poison) were what tipped it away from us. Regardless, you see the design problem. We spend a two rounds knocking out mirror images, the BC recasts. The BC knocks one of our characters down to almost 0 HP, we cast heal on him. The limiting factor in either case is whether we run out of daily use / resonance before we become too poisoned / enfeebeld.
and with respect to spell points - I used all my SP in that combat, all except one of them to cast weapon surge - and later on when I did cast weapon surge it was to partially offset the negatives.
Returning to the initial thought. 7 rounds of spamming the attack button and watching the BC burn through its spells was not fun. Moreover, I would add that the high AC of the BC probably meant that we weren't particularly likely to hit it with an AoO anyway.
All in all, a badly designed encounter which highlights major shortcomings of the ruleset.
Just like the title says. We've gone through two parts, so I think we have a good handle on at least the low level stuff now. So what three things are you most excited about and what three things do you dread the most? (and maybe some kind soul will then collate all these answers into a list).
Try to keep your answers as concise as possible. I'm trying to see trends in thinking right now, so running through a wall of text isn't going to help get your message across :)
1. Three action system. Its simple, it works.
1. Extra dice of damage attached to weapons. Move that extra damage to proficiencies.
Rather than go encounter by encounter through Part 2, I thought it would be a great idea to highlight two encounters as examples of what was great and awful about Part 2.
Our party consisted of a halfling ranger and animal companion, an elf barbarian, a dwarf druid, a dwarf alchemist and a gnome sorcerer. Because our fifth player was a last minute addition, I didn't have time to adjust up the encounter difficulty appropriately. So it should me mentioned that all encounters should have been appreciably easier for the party to complete.
The good - The Manticore fight
The dead gnolls telegraphed the manticore fight quite well. Although the party knew that the manticore would be the enemy OOC, neither the druid nor the ranger were able to roll high enough to match the DC to identify the quills. Regardless, they were able to tell from the tracks that something flying had attacked the gnolls. Their preparedness allowed them to see the manticore farther away and not be 'surprised' by the initial attack. The manticore kept to the skies and shot spikes at the party, while the party tried various methods to engage it at range.
The turning point of the battle was when the elven barbarian scaled the side of the cliff and lept from the cliff onto the manticore's back, attacking it. This constituted four actions, but since the barbarian had 3 hero points, she spent them all on an extra action. This nearly knocked the manticore out of the sky, and the manticore became obsessed with getting the 'rider' off it's back, while the rest of the party continued to attack it.
The manticore did land three hits on the barbarian in one round near the end - one being a crit. These hits nearly "one shot" the barbarian. but fortunately her rage kept her going.
Overall, this combat was a lot of fun. The barbarian was able to use "raging athlete" to great effect and come up with an innovative way to bring down the manticore. On the down side, the rest of the party found hitting the manticore a difficult roll. The ranger was frustrated with double slice not hitting, while the alchemist found his bombs to be mostly ineffective (although the persistent damage was nice). As a GM I found adjudicating a mount trying to throw off it's rider to not be well supported by the rules. additionally, near the end I tried to throw the barb off the manticore by smashing the manticore into the walls of the cliff. In both cases, we solved these with acrobatics and athletics checks, but I, at least, found those rules to be a poor fit.
The bad - the water / earth elemental fight.
The party reached the tomb with most of their daily rations of spells, powers, etc.. intact and at full health. The first room they encoutnered was the water / earth elemental room. The party's initial reaction was to ignore the room as a distraction. However, they investigated too far into the room and triggered initiative.
The water elemental's attack was quite effective, if unispiring. The water elemental routinely hit on between 2-3 actions each round. Moreover, the earth elemental glided to the rear of the party and attacked the rear. The earth elemental's attacks were annoynaces for the party. The water elemental attack, on the other hand, was quite deadly for the party. The +13 to hit modifier combined with an AC/TAC of 20 meant that the WE hit with approximately 2/3rds of its attacks while the party missed with approximately 2/3rds of their attacks. Moreover, the WE's damage output was at least 2x the party's damage output (the WE did something like 40 hp of damage to the barbarian in one round). As GM I had to metagame somewhat and spread out the WE's attacks or we would have had a TPK for certain.
The fight lasted for six rounds before the party was able to kill the WE. By the end it had become a tedious, repetitive fight. The party felt like they were forced by character design into certain tactics based on the WE's high AC, immunity to crits and high HP. Moreover, they missed most of their hits by 1-2 points, indicating that had they optimized their characters a little more they might have made easy work of the water elemental. I mention this because PF2 has repeated to us the mantra that they wanted to get away from forcing us down a particular path of feats and character choice selection.
By the end of the fight, the party only succeeded by expending nearly all of their spells and healing just to keep party members alive. We were running low on time, and so I handwaved most of the rest of the playtest module. It was agreed that, following this, the party would likely have had to rest to regain spells and healing, using up another day. This was ok from the countdown perspective as the party had three days to give before triggering the final encounter.
Overall, the party felt discouraged by the playtest session. Primarily, they felt that critical hits were too influential and happened too frequently in both encounters and on both sides. Moreover, the barbarian had the party's only magic weapon, which was essential in slaying both the manticore and the water elemental. Remove that extra die of damage from the barbarian and the manticore battle becomes much deadlier and the water elemental battle ends up in a TPK. Again, we felt that this took the spotlight away from the characters and placed it on the weapon.
Lastly, the alchemist felt helpless for most of these combats, thanks to the high ACs and low damage done by bombs. The alchemist also went through all of his bombs and heals and all of his resonance to the point where he exhausted his ability to interact with magic. This happened at the height of the water elemental battle, effectively removing one character from play. So, basically one and a half encounters completely overwhelmed the alchemist class. We felt that this made the class unplayable for any extended adventuring day.
In conclusion, we found that the playtest still has much to recommend it, but that it needs some intensive rebalancing and refocusing so that the characters, not their items nor resonance shine. We decided to continue on with the playtest because (a) we feel that our feedback is valued and (b) there is the hope that the flaws within this part of the playtest were as much design decisions as new rules.
Thank you for listening.
*mild spoilers ahead*
Our party reached the gnoll camp at dusk (I'd been keeping annoyingly meticulous track of time - down to the hour in this last part of the trek up).
The party saw the gnolls from afar and decided to wait until nightfall to surprise them. They kept hidden across the river until after the gnolls turned it, successfully crossed the river (with me rolling secret sneak v perception rolls), and crept up to the gnolls tent. The alchemist, in particular, was going to open the tent flap and toss acid onto the (presumably) sleeping gnoll.
But something funny (as they say) happened on the way to the tent flap. The alchemist rolled a 3 on his sneak roll, the gnoll countered with a natural 20. Given the disparity in the rolls (the modifiers were effectively the same), I decided that this gnoll in particular wasn't asleep, either heard or smelled the PC, grabbed his weapon and readied an action to attack whatever came through the tent flap.
So when the alchemist opened the tent flap, he got a face full of gnoll.
Now, I've checked the rules, and RAW, I think I got everything at least reasonably right. So at that point I threw everyone into initiative because we couldn't decide which "readied action" should go off first. In the rules I didn't see anything about simultaneous actions (what happens when two people "ready" actions at the same time). Also, please note this was close to 1am local time and we were all tired and trying to wrap things up.
If this were first edition, I would have had the gnoll get one attack in first, then the alchemist throw his bombs, neither being flat footed, with damage happening simultaneously, followed by initiative. But that's tantamount to a surprise round, and PF2 afaik doesn't have surprise round rules. So, I guess what I'm saying is that there's a problem when an attack starts off combat in this ruleset because that circumstance is not explicitly covered. I'm fine with using common sense as I did at the start of the paragraph, but as this is a playtest, I felt it was worth reporting.
Btw in the end, due to initiative, the gnoll got to go first, whacked the alchemist hard, but the alchemist did a bunch of persistent damage (plus other damage) and then tanglefooted the gnoll letting the persistent damage do its work. The party actually had more trouble with the scorpion and we wound up with two party members poisoned and one badly wounded. However, although they lacked a cleric (it was a party of a barbarian, an alchemist, a druid and a ranger) they were able to heal up completely by morning.
So, after running the playtest once, I decided it was too much hassle to thumb through the pdfs repeatedly looking for the appropriate monsters. So I cut -> pasted those entries into their own pdfs. You can find them at the link here:
(additionally, there's a version of Talga's map for the PCs for the first part there.)
I did parts 1 and 2. I'll do the rest as time permits. I'll try to stay ahead of the curve.
Hope this helps!
Hi. This is my preliminary report on running the first half of The Lost Star the first time. I wanted to get this out while it was still fresh, as this group probably won’t get to finish TLS before this portion of the playtest closes.
So the group consisted of 4 PCs. three of them are experienced 1st Edition AD&D players who have never played Pathfinder or 3e. The fourth is my 12 year old son. They played the following characters:
Human Cleric of Gorum, Gnome alchemist, human fighter, human rogue. My son played the rogue. All of them had trouble making characters - specifically with the frequently addressed issue of cross referencing material spread throughout the book. There were occasional jokes about using the 1e AD&D rules as a spiritual “organizational guide” for this playtest. (If you’ve played AD&D, you’ll know what that means).
All but the gnome alchemist were present for PnP - the alchemist attended virtually using a rather ingenious set up of my cell phone resting on the back of Icingdeath (a gargantuan D&D dragon mini) + facebook call. We used the flip mats and I had enough minis for everything except the centipedes. So, basically, it was the full PF experience (because I wanted to show off the lore / game as much as playtest).
Summary of encounters
This encounter could have gone really badly for the party, with a crippled fighter from the outset. But it didn’t and we moved into the first big room.
The 4 goblins.
4 dead goblin room.
Overall thoughts - Combat flowed pretty well. I screwed up on a few rules, mostly forgetting some things. That third action in a sequence was sometimes left hanging in space. The alchemist wanted to start a spell with that third action and then finish it on the next round. Which I didn’t allow, though I’m not sure there’s a rule specifically against that. I kept forgetting the sneak damage on my son’s rogue when flat footed because of flanking. But overall, it played smoothly at first level in a simple dungeon.
My players played this very much like a 1e AD&D module, with a heavy dose of paranoia and willing to leave rooms behind. For awhile I was worried that they'd miss almost all of the module. They had the advantage of a crudely drawn map by the one goblin at the start to help them, though I don't think they made as much use of it as they could. But everyone had a great time. The AD&Ders were particularly impressed with Golarion's lore and expansiveness (I spent several minutes describing Magnimar) and are looking forward to completing this portion of the playtest and moving on to the next part.
I’ll post the back half when we get to finish playing. I’ll post the feedback from my other, long running PF group after we play tonight!
And hey, if you've read this far, you've certainly earned the right to send me some feedback! I appreciate all feedback :)
I've been thinking about this for a week now. IMHO the system is still skewed, just differently. It's like trying to focus a microscope, it was too far out of focus in 1e, and now it's too far out of focus in the other direction in 2e.
My quick thoughts on how to dial that focus in.
1. Keep resonance. I can't stand it, but I understand why it's there.
2. Kick up spellcasters' # of spells a day so that they max out with 5 spells/day of 1-5th level, 4 of 6-7th level and 3 of 8-9th level.
3. Take the +1 die damage out of magical weapons and put it back into the proficiencies - so someone trained in the longsword does 1d8, someone expert does 2d8, master 3d8, legendary 4d8 (+ability bonuses get multiplied as well). Lancelot's sword isn't the hero, Lancelot is.
4. Double the raising shield bonus, but make it applicable to 1 attack per proficiency level. If the shield is equipped but not raised, you get the regular bonus (so raising it would be 3x in total).
That would get combat to feel more like a life or death struggle, I think. What we have isn't terrible, it's just very mundane. I'm a firm believer that our actions ought to be meaningful if we take the time to do them.
So I'm thinking about resonance all day and have come to the following conclusions. Hear me out.
1. Magic items spamming isn't the problem. It's a symptom of another problem which is simply that spell casters are gimped compared to our perceptions of them. At no point in Arthurian legends, Harry Potter, the Lord of the rings, etc. do we ever hear the main characters say "I'm sorry Hermione I wish I could help you but I'm just low on spell slots of that level."
2. Potions and other consumables don't really fit with our perceptions of them either. For example, in mythological stories potions can have long durations and are frequently created and then consumed. There always done on a by need basis – whether that need his immediate or some point down the line. Whether it's a potion that puts sleeping beauty to sleep or polymorphs someone back into their regular self you always go to the wizard and he creates it as a unique item.
3. The combination of one and two means that high-level parties value the spell slots that their spell-casters have. As a result they don't spend them frivolously when they know they can achieve the same effect for a small gold piece cost. This results in the spamming of low-level magic items at high levels which itself causes suspension of disbelief and breaking of immersion with these ridiculously over encumbered characters.
The simplest solution to all of this is to redesign wands and potions so that they cannot be spammed. Perhaps wands need to be attuned to a specific character ala Harry Potter. Perhaps potions need to be more like alchemists bombs or elixirs in that if they are not used they become inert after 24 hours.
More importantly, if we want to cut off the problem at the base that we need to address the Vancian caster problem without resorting to a 15 minute work day. The simplest way to do this is to increase the number of spells at third level or below that spell casters get at each level. Obviously spit-balling here, but the final total could be double 1st to 3rd level spells for a caster? Maybe more? Maybe less? One thing that's always confused me is how a wizard who has been casting magic missile for 20 levels still manages to forget it every day.
Ideally, for flexibility sake – the wizard and sorcerer class should both be abandoned in favor of the Arcanist class. The Arcanist is an excellent design of flexibility and utility and would serve as a great baseline for a Pathfinder 2.0 nine level arcane spell class.
Now I know this is going to be divisive but consider this all within the scope of the reduced damage potential that spells do in 2.0. And keep in mind that your average wizard by 20th level will have access to some kind of ring of wizardry which doubles his spells anyway (for a certain level).
If Paizo is looking to return magic back to the characters and away from the items then they have to do something to pick up the shortfall. There are three possibilities:
1. Reduce the daily load to a 15 minute work day. No one wants this because it oversimplifies the game and everyone uses their nova spells for every combat.
2. Dumb down all the monster abilities. Again no one wants this because it oversimplifies the game and in particular kills a lot of the uncertainty in combat.
3. Give casters the tools that they need to do their jobs. No caster needs more than two or three ninth level spells a day and no one needs "wish". But what they do need is the ability to do those low-level utility spells pretty much at will once they hit level 15 or higher. This is not to say they should have them at will, but with the exception of the long, end boss dungeons they shouldn't be going into their first combat jealously guarding their limited resources or doing so little damage that doesn't matter. We've seen now that fighters will be doing extra dice of damage for each numerical bonus on a weapon and we know that they will get extra attacks that will reasonably hit. I don't think it's unreasonable to see a 15th level fighter doing 8d6 of damage each round. Whereas the wizard won't be able to match that due to the lack of spell slots.(Ignoring for the moment the fact that the wizard spells can be saved for half and fighters melee attacks can't).
So yeah, resonance (as we understand it) needs to be taken back to task. It doesn't solve the problem, because the problem is trying to solve isn't a problem – it's a symptom of another problem. Solve that problem and resonance becomes unnecessary.
thanks for listening.
So I'm in the process of redoing the regional hex map for Kingmaker. Which do you think would people prefer? Keeping the original AP orientation (NE by about 20 degrees) or reorienting it to due north (so it's in line with the rest of the Inner Sea. I would, of course, replot all the encounter areas in the AP on the new map.
The advantage of reorienting it to true north is that it is then easier to attach other nations (i.e. Brevoy, Mivon, etc.)
Also, I plan on extending the map out to New Stetven. So, it will be a fairly large chunk of land.
Anything else you'd like to see in this map? It'll be a hex map done in the style of the old Mystara maps.
I have a question about the archetype - from the following passage:
SRD said wrote:
"A star watcher’s horoscope is always keyed to a specific creature that must be willing and present when the star watcher prepares the horoscope. Only the creature to which a horoscope is keyed can activate it and be affected by it. A horoscope is “cast” by reading it as a standard action, though a star watcher can draw and read a horoscope as a single standard action."
So, does that mean that I don't write up my horoscopes at the start of the day, can write it for someone in the middle of combat if it's something in my formulae book, and then hand it to them and they read it, which makes the formula take effect?Follow up question: What happens when I hand it to them and they hold onto it for a couple of hours and then cast it on themselves? Is that possible?
So I've been trying to line up the constellation maps in People of the Stars and I believe there's a problem with them.
The southern hemisphere's divisions are backwards.
In other words, the months and right ascension numbers (the roman numerals) should be going in the opposite direction.
Everything else is fine - that's the only error, I believe.
(Btw it doesn't have to be the southern hemisphere that is in error- it could be the northern hemisphere. But to fix this one hemisphere needs to be reversed or the constellations are printed backwards on the diagram. Since it's less likely that the constellations are backwards, I'm chalking it up to some low level Taldane sage's error. Damn interns.)
So, on my Christmas wish list...
I'd love to see a pathfidner miniatures database where the customer (i.e. me) could enter the minis I own and then cross-reference them to see which modules I have all the miniatures needed to play that module. Additionally, I'd love a list of miniatures missing and miniatures that aren't yet available.
It would be a great help in getting me to prioritize my purchases :)
(note.. i'm fully aware of the work involved in this - which is why I'm asking Santa. But seriously, if the DB is put together, the community could come up with the lists for each module.)
So, in the last campaign I played an arcanist and when we hit 20th level, there was the opportunity to craft / get a Staff of the Magi (for the final boss encounter). While a Staff of the Magi is really cool, etc... I thought that it might be more thematically appropriate to have a staff specifically for the arcanist hybrid class - one that had better synergy with the arcanist. So, without further delay, I present my attempt at a Staff of the Arcanist.
Staff of the Arcanist
The following powers do not use charges:
The following powers drain 1 charge per usage:
These powers drain 2 charges per usage:
After one complete day in the possession of a new user, a staff of the Arcanist becomes sympathetic to that user and additional powers are unlocked. The staff imparts Spell Resistance of 10 + the number of points currently in the arcanist's pool while in the user's possession. The staff can also be used to absorb arcane spell energy directed at its wielder, as a rod of absorption does. To absorb arcane spell energy, the wielder must first successfully resist the spell or spell-like effect with the staff’s SR. Once resisted, the wielder immediately knows the number of charges the effect will add to the staff and may instantly choose to add them to the total.
Once a day as a full-round-action an arcanist may concentrate and choose to convert charges from the staff to arcanist points at the ratio of two charges to a point (to the arcanist’s maximum allowed). Once a day, as a full-round-action an arcanist may concentrate and choose to add charges to the staff by expending arcanist points at the ratio of two points to a charge, though this method cannot cause the staff to explode in a retributive strike. Excess points are not transferred.
Should the staff be parted from the arcanist’s possession for more than a month, the sympathetic vibrations between user and staff fade. A full day must again be spent before the staff can be attuned to the arcanist.
If the staff absorbs enough spell levels to exceed its limit of 30 charges, it explodes as if a retributive strike had been performed (see below). The wielder has no idea how many spell levels are within the staff, for the staff does not communicate this knowledge as a rod of absorption does. (Thus, absorbing energy can be risky.)
Correct me if I'm wrong.. but Golarion's axial tilt is the same as earth's, right? I seem to recall that with respect to the way the planet was made up, its orbit and et cetera, it's a perfect analogue for earth.
I'm trying to do a little math on it, and before I get too deep, I want to make certain my assumptions are correct :)
So in keeping with our group's 'continuity' to run everything as a sequel to our original Kingmaker AP in the Stolen Lands, I'm going to prep this AP as being a colony of our new kingdom. It's not that much of a stretch, financially... the expedition will be funded by one of the original PCs (now an NPC) who is quite wealthy.
The two caveats I'm going to make are 1. There's a small, hidden port in Varisia that will be the "base" from the Inner Sea to Azlant. It'll be a heretefore unknown town along the coast. I figure there's a bunch of these along the coast that just haven't been fleshed out. And 2. One of the 'quirks' surrounding the shattered continent is that it messes with teleportation spells, meaning that you have to sail a ways away from the continent before you can teleport out.
Depending on how the AP works out, I may decide to have some Taldane encounters in the later APs... as our little nation is encroaching on "their" claim. (this could also lead into War of the Crown) But earth's colonial history is replete with countries you've never heard of setting up (and usually subsequently losing) said colonies to other countries. It'll be fun to see how magic affects this. (And how magic can affect building a colony from scratch).
Any other thoughts about how this might unfold or other problems/interesting evenst this premise might cause?
So I'm retiring a long running and complicated character (L20 alchemist / Mythic 4) whose sheet has become quite extensive. He resides in Hero Lab right now, but I'd like to have a permanent, paper copy of him for posterity.
What, in your opinion, would be the best way to do this? I looked at Paizo's Character Folio and it didn't quite have the right "feel" to it. (For example, he's an alchemist with an extensive list of spells and the spell page just won't cover that).
If I have to, I'll make up my own sheet, but I would be totally open to something that was pre-made.