Back in 2011 I kicked off a discussion along these lines:
because I felt that if a GM is just supposed to mindlessly deliver a core experience then why on earth would anyone want to do it?
In all the years I've been playing and GMing, the appeal of being a GM has been that it was "your" game, that you weren't totally constrained in what you could do and that you could, therefore, be creative.
So, sure, Pathfinder is a co-operative experience, but part of that co-operation has to include enough in it for the GM to agree to put in all the time and effort to want to do it in the first place.
Or you can decided that GMing is a no-fun part of the game and have everyone takes turns.
Richard: I bought a half dozen of the Four Dollar Adventures a few years ago, and they are some of the best one off adventures I've ever read. They're creative, with a ton of detail, and have that specific flair of managing to present situations that the PCs need to deal with or solve without necessarily laying out a railroad they're expected to follow. You've done excellent work, and while I know that indie publishers get very little feedback or response, I just wanted to let you know that your work was extraordinarily appreciated.
Thank you very much - I'm pleased you enjoyed them, and I very much appreciate the feedback.
I'd love you to share any favourite moments, if you have any. You're right that indie publishers are always feedback-starved, so even if you can't think of any thank you very much just for putting up your message.
All the best
Four more years have passed and Horn of Geryon has passed the 300 sales mark.
(and my daughter, who's 26 going on 27, still doesn't go anywhere without her rabbit!)
I stopped writing these adventures some time ago but obviously I still keep track of the sales. They've more or less trickled to a close now, except every now and then I get a surprise such as when someone bought all 10 a couple of months back.
They're still pretty good value, let's face it, even if you just use them to cannibalise ideas.
As PF1 comes to an end and PF2 rises from the ashes, I'm pleased that my most popular adventure has crossed the 300 sales mark, before sales of the line disappear completely.
So many thanks to the 300 purchasers and to everyone else who bought Four Dollar Dungeons.
All the best
I guess there’s still no real answer to this.
I remember asking this about PF1 years ago where we had someone fall into a 10’sq pit holding a tiger (a large animal).
What’s supposed to happen? I asked.
Don’t let it happen - seemed to be the answer.
That cannot be an answer. It is, IMO, fundamental to an RPG that anything that we can sensibly imagine happening in our fantasy world should be allowed to happen in that fantasy world. This open-endedness is what separates an RPG from a board game.
Not allowing two creatures to occupy the same space is a convenience for combat, in much the same way that lack of facing is a convenience for combat, but neither of these things should be allowed to subvert the open-ended nature of adventuring in the fantasy world. If two unarmoured characters want to have a cuddle in the middle of combat they should be allowed to do so. If someone wants to wait until someone’s back is turned before they do something then they should be allowed to do so. These are reasonable things for PCs to ask to do in an open-ended game. It would be nice if PF2 had something to say on these two things rather than leave it to house rules.
Well, I've just started getting aquainted with PF2, and I didn't do the playtest, but so far I'm encouraged.
What I'm looking for in the new system is a consistent set of meta-rules.
Meta-rules are the axioms of the world. They determine things like roughly how powerful should a nth level spell or ability be, or what can you expect from a feat. It underpins the world with a sanity which maintains suspension of disbelief (IMVHO).
This should stop min-maxing and other sorts of exploitations, and future proof the game as long as the axioms are never broken.
Looking at the way everything is so carefully "typed", it encourages me to think that a lot of time and effort has been put into these axioms. Going forwards, I hope the editorial team will be dilligent in ensuring that future rules of any sort stick to them.
OMG, that's so obvious now you've said it!
I know firsthand how effective Misfortune is because the witch in my group shuts down every monster I throw at them with it. :(
I have the same problem - it's a killer. I just wanted to point out just how much of a killer it is.
Most of the encounters my PCs face will be hitting them on about a 15. Misfortune effectively reduces their hit rate by 7 in 10, and criticals disappear completely.
Ok, so I've just done a bit more maths (actually, I did it the long way, so I'm not sure how the actual maths works), but I get that:
If your change of hitting is x %, then your effectiveness changes by 100 - x %, better if you roll twice and take the highest, worse if you roll twice and take the lowest.
So, if you need an 11, so you are 50% likely to hit, your effectiveness changes by 50% (of the 50%), so you are now 25% on the poor effect, 75% on the high effect.
If you need a 15, with a 30% chance to hit, your effectiveness changes by 70%, i.e. now 9% on lower and 51% on higher.
It you need a 1, then it makes no difference.
Here's the full table:
need a 20: normal 005.00%, take lower 000.25% (-95%) take higher 009.75% (+95%)
And perhaps more interestingly:
need a 20, effective d20 addjustment +/- 0.95
The effects on criticals (critical threats) are even more pronounced.
Chances of a critical threat:
crit 20: normal 5%, take lower 0.25%, take higher 9.75%
Basically, a misfortuned person pretty much waves goodbye to any chance of criticalling.
My argument regarding this would be, enchantment also adds hardness and hit points to a weapon. If enchantment only applied to the head, then you would be able to sunder a magical spear like a normal spear by chopping at the haft. Which isn't the case.
So enchantment must apply to the whole weapon.
Turns out my formula was slightly wrong, it should be:
number-to-hit < 21 - ( average-damage / power-attack-extra-damage ) - power-attack-bab-multiplier
where the latter starts at 1, goes to 2 on bab 4, etc
Like I said, this doesn't take into account the 1s and 20s (I'll leave a better mathematician for that one).
Here's my workings:
DPA = max(0.05, min(0.95, (21 + atk - AC)/20)) * (1 + thr * (crit - 1)/20) * dmg
Remove the 1s and 20s bit, and let Z = (1 + thr * (crit - 1)/20)
DPA = ( (21 + atk - AC) / 20 ) * Z * dmg
Factor out the / 20:
DPA = (21 + atk - AC) * dmg * ( Z / 20 )
Power Attack has two components, a bab based one (1, 2 when BAB = 4, and so on), which we'll call B, and a component based on whether you are using a one or two handed weapon, i.e. either 2 or 3, which we'll call T.
So, when you power attack, your atk goes down by B and your damage goes up by BT, giving us:
DPA(pow) = (21 + atk - B - AC) * ( dmg + BT ) * ( Z / 20 )
We should power attack when this is better than not doing so, i.e. Power Attack when:
DPA(pow) > DPA, i.e.
(21 + atk - B - AC) * ( dmg + BT ) * ( Z / 20 ) > (21 + atk - AC) * dmg * ( Z / 20 )
Cancel the Z / 20 on both sides:
(21 + atk - B - AC) * ( dmg + BT ) > (21 + atk - AC) * dmg
Expand the left hand side a bit:
(21 + atk - AC) * ( dmg + BT ) - B * ( dmg + BT ) > (21 + atk - AC) * dmg
And a bit more:
(21 + atk - AC) * dmg + (21 + atk - AC) * BT - B * ( dmg + BT ) > (21 + atk - AC) * dmg
Subtract (21 + atk - AC ) * dmg from both sides:
(21 + atk - AC) * BT - B * ( dmg + BT ) > 0
Move the negative bit across to the other side:
(21 + atk - AC) * BT > B * ( dmg + BT )
Cancel out one B and divide by T
(21 + atk - AC) > ( dmg + BT ) / T
Divide the T on the right hand side into the brackets:
(21 + atk - AC) > ( dmg / T ) + B
Subtract each side from 21 (which reverses the inequality)
AC - atk < 21 - ( dmg / T ) - B
Which is basically my (now slightly corrected) formula.
With respect, your example is useless, as it doesn't exist in practice. Pathfinder mechanics don't really scale well past a certain point.
The decision to power attack as a means of achieving optimal damage is a mathematical one, not a game-rule one.
There's a straight formula at play here, and it's as relevant to creatures doing 1000 points of damage as it is to creatures doing 10.
But, you know, if you don't believe me, that's fine :-)
I know it feels counter-intuitive but the more damage you do the less you should power attack.
Consider an extreme example: a mega-titan that does 1000 points of damage on average.
Why would such a thing ever power attack?
I'll do a bit more maths if you like, let's assume that it hits on an 11, and ignore criticals. Assume we have a complete average set of 20 rounds in which every number of the dice is rolled once.
Without Power Attack, total damage is 10 hits times 1000 = 10,000
Let's do Power Attack -1 and +3. Now it only hits 9 times but doing 1003 hit points, for a total of 9027. Much less.
Power Attack -2 and +6, and we have 8 hits doing 1006 damage, or 8048.
And so on.
I've never seen this very satisfactorily explained anywhere, but from my maths, and without taking into account natural 1s and 20s, which I'm hoping will even out, you should power attack when:
number-to-hit < 21 - ( average-damage / power-attack-extra-damage )
So, for example, a 1st level barbarian with a two handed sword, +6 to hit and 2d6+6 damage: average damage is 13, power-attack-extra-damage is 3 (two handed), so
number-to-hit < 21 - (4 1/3)
which basically means anything of AC 22 or less.
Which is going to be most things for a 1st level Barbarian
A Frost Giant, however, with a greataxe, +18/+13 for 3d6+13 damage: average damage 31, extra is 3 again so:
number-to-hit < 21 - (10 1/3)
which basically means anything of AC 28 / 23 or less (go for the average of 25).
Which for a CR 9 monster is going to be pretty rare.
Which makes sense, as anything which does a lot of damage is going to get a very marginal gain from power attack in exchange for losing the chance to do the lots of damage it's already doing.
Most of the time, giants shouldn't power attack.
I just want to check I've got a few things right:
1st level Gnome Sorcerer (crossblooded)
Alternative racial: Lava Gnome (Darkvision and Pyromaniac), Eternal Hope, Nosophobia
Bloodlines: Orc and Solar
1st level bloodline power: Sunsight
From all of this, I have low-light vision, darkvision 90' and although I have light sensitivity I'm immune to being dazzled so it doesn't bother me.
Feats: Point-Blank Shot
Burning hands does 3d4+6 damage. Disrupt Undead and Acid Splash both do +2 damage too (point-blank shot and orc bloodline).
I'm getting 2 skill points per level which I'm putting on Bluff and Diplomacy, and wearing very fashionable clothes :-)
Where I'm going next with this is down the fire route, with Precise Shot, Scorching Ray, Fireball, etc. First magic item will probably be an elemental meta-magic rod to turn the fire into electricity if I need to, or intensify to raise my burning hands some more.
Stats are: STR 5 DEX 14 CON 16 INT 7 WIS 14 CHA 19 and I'm putting my one class point into skills
FF is on the Mesmerist spell list, so you can get a psychic scroll made with that spell which you then cast using CHA as the stat.
I think that broadly speaking as long as you are buying the scroll yourself, you can probably always find a CHA based caster that can cast any spell.
Which is most optimal for UMD, since you're likely to have a reasonable CHA just to use the skill.
I *think* this is correct but I want to double check.
If I get myself a scroll of Faerie Fire, can I use it with UMD by pretending to be a Mesmerist, that has FF on its list, but thereby only needing to have a high Cha score rather than a high Wis score?
My understanding is that spells on scrolls do not have a particular class hard-coded into them.
Otherwise, presumably, I could buy a Mesmerist FF scroll.
Although there are some spells which are particularly called "ray", the term seems to have been used as flavour text in some places (e.g. Disintegration) leading me to believe that "ray" was never meant to be a game concept as such and that it is really just synonymous to ranged touch.
Am I right?
Or do you, for example, have to take Weapon Focus( Ray ) and Weapon Focus (ranged touch) separately?
1) Can a monk with a two handed weapon still deflect arrows when not on his turn, by using free actions to free one hand at the end of his turn and reapplying his hand to the two-handed weapon at the beginning of it?
It would presumably mean that AoOs would have to be with unarmed strikes.
2) Am I right that you need to have Shield Proficiency to use a quickdraw shield, so a monk that wants to use such a shield when it isn't his turn will need two feats: shield proficiency and quickdraw?
I think this is a rules rather than an interpretation question, but an incident came up at our game last night which illustrated that we hadn't (I think) being playing this right.
Dominate Person is very much geared on the concept of a "command". The dominated person is only controlled by the dominator to the degree that they obey that command to the exclusion of all else save their survival needs, and it takes a move action to change that command so this is nothing like a puppetteer subconsciously controlling his puppets.
So what happened:
An NPC bard dominated a PC fighter and told him, trying to be clever, to go and subdue one of his friends (2nd PC) because he's sure that 2nd PC has been possessed. The NPC was trying to make the request sound reasonable because someone had already been possessed earlier in the combat and suggesting subdual is in keeping with what the PC would do - so no need for another saving throw.
All fine and well.
Then the 2nd PC disappeared and the first PC did not know where, although in the light of what happens next one might even consider that this event is not actually necessary.
The first PC still saw the NPC bard that had dominated him as an enemy. There's no "charm" component in dominate. So the PC argued that his survival needs required that he defeat the enemy, which he promptly did before the NPC bard got a chance to use a move action to change his command.
So if all of this was reasonable, which I guess is my question, then any time you dominate someone your command to them has got to include "don't attack me and my friends but do this and that instead" or you could find your command ignored.
I quite like this because it suggests that world changing events happen at the rate of 2 a year, which is quite realistic imo. It also shows how incredibly rare PCs are.
I would like to suggest that Paizo thinks about producing something along the lines of The Poor Wizard's Almanac for Golarion.