Troll Guard

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Robert Gooding wrote:
So are you pro or con?

More confused than anything else, really. Probably shading towards con, but looking for a different perspective. Starfinder is different from what I was expecting, which was something hewing closer to the Pathfinder and Saga branches of the D&D tree. While I expected some 4E shifts with respect to class resource allocation (hell, Saga has been praised/accused for straddling the 3.5/4 gap in some of its design decisions), the calculated, mathematical arch of the weapon damage table wasn't something I expected.

As I understand it, Owen K.C. Stephens was involved in the design work for the Star Wars Saga Edition ruleset. One of the design decisions in that system is that attack damage (and AC!) scales by character level, in addition to damage provided by the weapon and any other feats or talents. This design choice, I have heard it argued, is setting-appropriate because Star Wars has never been about min-maxing equipment. Characters in the setting are typically seen going about their business without fussing over min-maxing weaponry or equipment. Han doesn't "upgrade" his blaster pistol over the course of the series. Hell, most of the characters don't even wear armor.

In Pathfinder, as well, a longsword is a longsword (not a "rusty longsword" or an "azimuth longsword") and the gear race involves accruing magical versions of the longsword or other pieces of equipment that let you accomplish things beyond the limits of mundane equipment, ie something other than just straight damage. This is also, arguably, setting appropriate. Magic stuff is powerful. Magic stuff is not easily manufactured. Some of it comes from a distant age of legends and can't even be made anymore. Magic stuff is worth fighting over and spending outrageous sums of money for.

Have there ever been any design or setting reasons advanced for why Starfinder has structured its weapon tiering system the way it is? Why does the highest tier laser pistol do more than 8 times the damage of the first tier pistol? Why are these items so rare that finding them is tied to your character level and not to the settlement level in which you are searching?

What is it about the Starfinder setting that makes this design choice appropriate? Are there other d20 rpg systems that tie weapon damage so tightly to the tier level of the weapon, as opposed to the various feats and traits picked up over levels?

I think I understand the mechanical reasons underpinning the design choice, in the same way I can understand why Mass Effect 1 had me grind through progressive tiers of what was functionally the same weapon in an effort to balance encounters and give me something to spend my otherwise worthless money on. I guess I just feel less inclined to ignore the world-building ramifications of such a design choice in an P&P RPG than in a video game...

So, knighthood in Taldor is a little weird because Taldor is not really a classically feudal "nation". Its more like an empire akin to the East Roman Empire of real world history. Knighthood will probably mean different things depending on which side (feudal or imperial) you decide to shade Taldor towards.

If feudal, than the bestowing of knighthood would mean that the person is elevated to the class of noble-warriors. I would say this is enough to qualify as bearded for Taldor purposes. Nobles are generally jealous of their perogatives, however, and are unlikely to mint new knights without receiving something in return, typically an oath of fealty from the person to be knighted. Most new knights would not object to such an oath, since the new lord would also be obligated to provide the vassal knight with protection and material support, especially if the vassal knight did not own land himself.

Note that the feudal system was very tied up to land ownership. A grant of land was the means by which a knight supported himself and his family and a knight without land would generally be dependent on a lord to provide him with the necessary resources to maintain himself in a manner fitting his noble status in society. In Pathfinder, wealth (for PCs, anyway) is generally gained by going on grand adventures and murder-robbing the various monsters and brigands encountered. As such, I'm not sure a traditional feudal view really works with the Pathfinder set-up, at least as it pertains to PCs.

If Taldor is more imperial, knighthood is more likely an honorary title that would accord the holder more respect in Taldan society. It could possibly bestow bearded status, but that would depend on how important you think being bearded is in Taldan society. In feudal society, knighthood under an oath of fealty had a set of rights ascribed to it that were generally pretty beneficial. Such rights were not casually bestowed. In imperial Taldor, however, bearded may just be a checkbox that opens up access to certain public offices, rather than a title with any inherent rights ascribed to it. If this is the case, than the bearded condition might be more freely given.

I think you could go two ways with this. As described, the Taldan Horse sounds a whole heck of a lot like the Roman equites, even down to having Taldan knights leading units of Taldan Phalanx, as equites served as the senior officers of the Roman legions.

While the original equites were probably exclusively members of the Roman patrician class (and thus almost certainly bearded by Taldan standards), the pressing need for more heavy cavalry resulted in wealthy property owners joining while the "true" equites made up an increasingly small percentage of the Roman cavalry, especially since they also had to serve as the senior officers of a growing number of legions. Whether these wealthy property owners that bulked up the cavalry would be considered bearded by Taldan standards is uncertain.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Taldan knights are comprised of a mixture of bearded and unbearded, with the senior officer corps of both the Horse and Phalanx being almost exclusively bearded. A wealthy unbearded would join the Horse to hopefully gain glory or recognition and be elevated to the ranks of the bearded. A young bearded would probably join the Horse as a matter of course, sort of paying his dues before going on to bigger and better things as an officer or politician.

Of course, this whole Roman military structure clashes with the term "knight" and all the feudal vassalage baggage that comes with it. If you lean more towards a feudal Taldor than an Imperial Taldor, a knight is probably not a noble (bearded) until he owns some amount of land, even if only as a vassal. If he is knighted but doesn't own land, I would be more inclined to view him as unbearded.

I've already written off my (admittedly modest) investment as a loss. If it comes out, I will be pleasantly surprised. If it doesn't...well, that's the nature of Kickstarter.

ShadowcatX wrote:

Owen, I'm pleased with the design as well. (I'm pleased with most everything you've designed to be honest.) But you can't please all the people all the time.

Question, if you're so good at design, prove it. Do your own design work, make your own company, and sell your own products. Let the world see how much better you are than everyone else.

And as a side note, if you build a character and are so concerned with min-maxing that you're unwilling to put skill points in skills simply because they aren't class skills, well then I don't think I want any of your products.

Whoa, easy there Shadowcat. I think Question was just questioning in a querying manner, rather than asking quite questionable questions questing for trouble. Rather than quashing his queries, or quailing at his quips, or quizzing him on his queer quirks, or quitting in a pique, we should quest to quell this disqcomfort lest we look like quacking ducks.

So I was interested in the Mystic Knave, but am really unsure as to the balance of the class as compared to the Rogue.

As far as I can tell, the only thing the Rogue gives up is trapfinding and trap sense, with an additional penalty as a result of the Oracle's curse that he takes on. He also "loses" 5 rogue talents.

In exchange, he gets another good save, more class skills, a free rogue talent (minor magic), access to revelations, and a capstone that is the same as the rogue's, only better. Further, the 5 rogue talents he gives up aren't really lost, just replaced by spells. The oracle's curse that he receives is also not as severe as it would be for a real Oracle.

I don't play Pathfinder often, and do not consider myself even a journeyman when it comes to system mastery, but it seems to me that the Mystic Knave is picking up a lot for dropping some trap-oriented class features and picking up an Oracle Curse Lite. Or am I missing something?

Abandoned Arts wrote:

Hey, folks. Just an FYI: the Compendium (along with every other Abandoned Arts product) is available at $25% discount as a part of the GM's Day Sale. This being our only product with a price tag greater than a dollar, I thought it significant!

This week only, you can grab the compendium and nab all 38 Class Acts products for about $0.69 each with one mouse-click. Enjoy, Humanoids - and happy GM's Day. : )

Daron Woodson
Abandoned Arts

Is this on sale at Drivethru?

Has failed in one interpretation?

How many interpretations must one fail before Pharasma judges you as unworthy?
Does a Paladin, by virtue of being a Paladin, foreclose all other routes of service to his god?
Can a Paladin change his mind, after prayerful reconsideration, and determine that there are other ways he can best serve his god?
Would not a god wish his servants to serve in the manner that best fits their talents?

I haven't purchased the pdf, but the preview presentation of the street samurai offered more confusion than guidance.


While you are here, could you tell me if the Gladiator is supposed to have damage reduction? His table lists it but the ability is absent from the class write-up. Thanks!

Is there a list of Paizo/Pathfinder books in order of publication date floating around anywhere? I did a quick google search with no success.

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I normally wait for sales before buying pdfs but am sorely tempted to just buy this one right now, if only to support similar projects that expand on 3pp work.

I went ahead and bought the Cerulean Seas bundle on Drivethru. Though I doubt I will be running an underwater campaign anytime soon, I have thus far enjoyed my purchase. The picture in Indigo Ice of the walrus-man in armor brought a grin to my face and I could immediately envision a campaign involving squabbling walrus knight-lords being forced to unite against an incursion of the dreaded penguin hordes. Good stuff!

Shop on Paizo for the spirited discussion and reviews, buy on Drivethru to consolidate my purchase list.

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Questioner, I don't have a dog in this fight, but if you want me to actually read your reviews and derive some value from them in the future, you might want to stop sounding like a ponce.

Any "supremely objective" review of an expressive work will involve an inherent subjective element. Since I don't know who you are (much less your credentials as an "Objective RPG Supplement Reviewer"), your reviews will affect my purchasing decisions only so far as you are able to persuade me that you will judge the product in a fashion that broadly comports with my own subjective views on the subject of RPG supplements.

As the reader, I'm going to develop an opinion on your opinions by: a) critically evaluating your argumentation and logic; and b) continuing to read your reviews to develop a better sense of where you stand vis-a-vis my own subjective thoughts on RPGs.

What really gets in the way of (a), and makes me much less inclined to try (b), is if you deploy excessive adverbiage and speculation only tangentially related to the topic at hand. Musing on the motivations of other reviewers, upbraiding the collective 3PP market for presentation failures, and opining on the dire consequences of allowing shoddy products to enter the market creates so much static that I am less inclined to wade through the next time.

Of course, if you just want to write the RPG equivalent of Op-Eds, carry on. :)

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I assume that this book will become largely irrelevant once the Ultimate Equipment book comes out?

And Sean, I appreciate your patience and restraint with respect to forum communications. Keep up the good work!

If you were to make a random class table (ala Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying 2nd) including the core classes and base classes from the APG, what would it look like? I'm interested in generating characters based on the frequency with which each class can be found within the Pathfinder setting.

Obviously, such ratios are highly subjective in nature.