Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide (OGL)

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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: GameMastery Guide (OGL)
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Rule Your World!

Players may be the heroes of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, but whole worlds rest on the Game Master's shoulders. Fortunately for GMs, the Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide is here to back you up. Packed with invaluable hints and information, this book contains everything you need to take your game to the next level, from advice on the nuts and bolts of running a session to the greater mysteries of crafting engaging worlds and storylines. Whether you've run one game or a thousand, this book has page after page of secrets to make you sharper, faster, and more creative, while always staying one step ahead of your players.

The 320-page Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide is a must-have companion volume to the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook. This imaginative tabletop game builds upon more than 10 years of system development and an Open Playtest featuring more than 50,000 gamers to create a cutting-edge RPG experience that brings the all-time best-selling set of fantasy rules into the new millennium.

The Pathfinder RPG GameMastery Guide includes:

  • Tips and tricks for preparing and running a better game, suitable for beginning GMs and battle-hardened veterans.
  • Step-by-step walkthroughs for creating campaign worlds, cities, cosmologies, feudal systems, and alternate dimensions.
  • Difficult player types, and how to handle them gracefully.
  • New rules for subsystems like hauntings, chase scenes, fortune-telling, gambling games, mysteries, and insanity.
  • Charts to help you generate everything from interesting NPCs and fantastic treasures to instant encounters in any terrain.
  • Advanced topics such as PC death, game-breaking rules, overpowered parties, solo campaigns, and derailed storylines.
  • Sample NPC statistics for dozens of common adventuring situations, such as cultists, guardsmen, barmaids, and pirates.
  • ... and much, much more!

ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-217-3

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Last Updated - 1/22/2014

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Essential for New GMs, Handy for Veterans

5/5

Published back in 2009, the GameMastery Guide was one of the early hardcover books released for Pathfinder. I think it's an overlooked gem, as I crack it open before and during sessions as often as any book other than the Core Rulebook. Weighing in at a hefty 320 pages, the GameMastery Guide has advice on the usual topics that new GMs need help with, but it also contains so much more, like little new rules subsystems, a gallery of pre-made NPCs, all sorts of random tables, tracking sheets, etc. It's a very handy compilation of material specifically designed for Pathfinder, and I'd recommend it as an early purchase for any GM getting into the game.

We have to start with a shout-out to that awesome cover, featuring Runelord Karzoug seated on his throne. I'm partial, since I'm running a certain AP at the moment, but artist Wayne Reynolds knocked it out of the park there. There's no way the interior artwork could be as good, and it's true that many of the interstitial drawings are recycled from other products or are forgettable placeholders. However, the artwork accompanying the NPC gallery is solid and fits the feel of Golarion. If I were using letter ratings, the cover art would get an A+ and the interior art and layout would get a C+.

The book is divided into 9 chapters, with multiple appendices and indices.

Chapter 1, "Getting Started", is stuff that experienced GMs will have seen a thousand times before, but that new GMs will appreciate. It covers stuff like a gaming glossary, how to deal with sensitive topics, how to find players and set aside a place to play, developing house rules, etc. It's standard advice, and if I had to quibble with anything it's that the section is so focussed on catering to players' desires that it leaves out a crucial consideration: the GM needs to have fun too! I did like the idea of creating a custom player's guide before each new campaign, and that's something I'll probably do in the future.

Chapter 2, "Running the Game", talks about preparation, presentation (music, handouts, lighting, etc.), building encounters and adventures, and how to handle in-game problems (PCs missing a clue, getting too much treasure, etc.). Again, it's all solid advice (though I don't agree with customising encounters for PC abilities, as that holds the risk of undermining the very advantages they've worked to gain). I think the best bit in the chapter is the "Game Changers" section, with talks about how to handle problems specific to Pathfinder: spells involving invisibility, teleportation, lie/evil detection, flying, auguries, and more. These spells can dramatically change the game and wreck certain types of plots if a GM isn't careful. The section ends with some good tables: fifty different adventure plots, twenty plot twists, and a bunch of macguffins. Good material if you're creating your own adventures and get stuck in the brainstorming.

Chapter 3, "Player Characters," talks about handling metagaming, introducing new players into the game, handling treasure and character death, whether to allow evil PCs, and different types of common players like the "One-Trick Pony" and the "Rules Lawyer". It's a good and useful discussion, as experienced GMs will encounter these various player types sooner or later and knowing what to look out for and handle them is important if groups are going to persist in the long-run. I think what the chapter is missing is the frank advice that some players just aren't right for some groups, some groups are dysfunctional and need to disband, and that the GM (unfortunately) often has to make the hard calls. It's a responsibility that goes beyond preparing and running adventures, since real people, real relationships, and real emotions can be involved. I'd rank the chapter as average.

Chapter 4, "Nonplayer Characters," goes into the basics of giving NPCs personalities and roles in the game. I especially liked the section on traps a GM needs to avoid when running NPCs (such as making them too intrusive, too decisive, too good at combat, etc.). The section introduces a new concept of "NPC Boons," which are special little plot or mechanical advantages that NPCs of different types can give to PCs. We'll see this concept more in the NPC Gallery at the end of the book, but the idea would be that, for example, befriending a local tracker would give the PCs a +2 on Survival checks in the area for one month, or that buying a drink for a down-on-his-luck nobleman could result in a primer on local politics and a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nobility) in the city. Etc. It's a nice way to quantify and reward PCs for good role-playing and encourage those players who are only in it for the bottom line to have more patience with what may at first seem like irrelevant asides. After some fairly mundane advice on villains, the chapter concludes with a great collection of tables: NPC backgrounds, goals, physical characteristics, personality characteristics (some of these are hilarious and memorable, and I wish players were as creative!), occupations, secrets and rewards, and even the surely-delightful "Random Adventuring Party Name Generator". If you want to be cool, join the "Reputable Pearly Kraken Monster-Slayers in the Shadow of Angels"!

Chapter 5, "Rewards," contains an insightful discussion of why rewards manner and the different ways they can be conceptualised and allocated. It goes through the difference between steady small rewards versus occasional big ones, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, and how different players value different things (e.g., is it all about the gold, or is getting on a first-name basis with the barmaid better?). It even gets into little details, such as exactly when XP can be awarded (I forget that some groups do it after every single encounter, while others only do it during true in-game downtime). There's some good advice on how to handle spell research and magic item crafting that makes it clear the whole process needs to be treated more as an art than a mechanical formula. This chapter has a *lot* of random item and random magic item tables, which is really useful when you need to see what a little shop in a small town happens to have in stock, or what that NPC wizard you weren't expecting the PCs to rob from has in his satchel.

Chapter 6, "Creating a World," is for GMs who do something I've never really done in Pathfinder (though I have in science fiction settings): create a brand new campaign setting. It has a nice process of answering a set list of questions to gradually firm up the details of the new world and to simplify (to some degree) the difficulty of conceptualising everything all at once. The geography advice is probably over-ambitious, but the concepts are explained really well. The chapter goes through different types of societies and different technological levels. It's not a chapter I'll use, but it's very good for homebrew GMs.

Chapter 7, "Adventures," has tips for running stories in different environments (dungeons, the wilderness, etc.). It has particularly good advice on dungeons, with a useful key to map symbols that I should use more often. Again, there's a ton of great tables to stimulate creativity, including random tables on where dungeons can be found, what type they are, what's in different rooms, and several random monster encounter tables (which I wouldn't actually roll on, as they have the common problem of spreading CRs from as low as 1 to as high as 13 in the same table!). The chapter has a section on planes and planar traits, which is an important reference for later products that make specific use of the mechanics presented here. Similarly, it has a section on stat blocks for settlements (used in most Pathfinder products) that is quite important in determining what's for sale in a community, the highest-level of spellcaster available, etc. I use the settlement rules a lot, and although I think they're sometimes a bit cumbersome in play, they're important in making sure that a hamlet "acts" differently than a metropolis. This chapter is packed with a lot of other material, including a two-page rules-set for ship combat (it seems worth trying), lots of random tables for ships and sailors, and, one of my favourite things, random tables for tavern names and unique traits. There's a lot here that I'm going to photocopy and keep with my GM screen to help me quickly come up with more flavourful interludes when I'm running games.

Chapter 8, "Advanced Topics," introduces several new little rules sub-systems: chases (elegant, but not completely satisfying), natural disasters, drugs and addiction (happens too quickly and needs a slower progression of effects), fortune-telling (too general), gambling (done well), haunts (one of the best innovations of Pathfinder, great for story-telling), hazards (mostly supernatural ones, but very clever), and sanity/madness (too simplistic, but not bad for just 2 pages). Some of these sub-systems, like chases and haunts, are seen in a lot of other Paizo products, so having the rules on how to run them is really useful. Other topics touched on in this chapter have been developed in far more detail elsewhere, and may be of more limited usefulness. Still, there's enough of enduring value to make the material here worth reading.

Chapter 9, "NPC Gallery", is one of those things every Pathfinder GM needs: full stats (and even pictures and descriptions) for NPCs encountered on short notice: bandits to spice up overland travel, city guards for when the "Chaotic Stupid" PC gets too obnoxious, the bard intended purely as tavern-dressing that the PCs are surprisingly interested in, the shopkeep they want to try to bluff for a discount, etc. There are dozens and dozens of great NPCs here, both low-level "townsfolk" and high-level threats, and all are fully fleshed out with gear and boons (from Chapter 4). In addition, there's really good advice on how to swap out a feat here or a weapon there to create different variations on the stock NPC. I've used this chapter a lot (as have many PFS scenarios). The later publication of the NPC Codex and Villain Codex makes this section slightly less crucial, but I still get a lot of use out of it.

Apart from indices and an appendix (on recommend reading and films), the book ends with a miscellany of tracking sheets--a Campaign Sheet, a Settlement Sheet (something I should actually use, now that I think of it), an NPC Sheet, and a Basic Rules Cheat Sheet (that I'm going to start handing out to new players to ease their transition into the game).

From the chapter summaries above, you can tell the book is just chock-full of useful advice and resources for running the game. Although essential for new GMs, even experienced ones will still find a lot here to make the book worth buying and reading.


Right Next To The Core Rulebook On My Shelf!

5/5

This product was amazing. I was blown away by the advice given to create a world and how to deal with several issues that have come up in recent gaming sessions. The crunchy side of the book was OK, but I really haven't had any need to pull out those rules and use them in my games. I overall really enjoyed this product, and can't wait to see what comes next!


The Essential Tome of GM'ing

5/5

This pearl of GM manuals should be found from every already practising or aspiring-to-be GM's collection. Yes, it's that great, even for folks who don't run Pathfinder. Well written, easy to understand, beautiful to look at... not to mention a well of inspiration it also achieves to be. It's a near perfect package of knowledge how to run smooth, richer, better RPG campaign. Sure, there are chunks of system specific stuff inside, but the most important bits of knowledge of how to run your game are universal and will fit in any system and game table. For juniors, it is essential. For the vets, well, if you're already good at what you're doing, you can always be better, and perhaps you're not perfect and can learn at least one useful new trick out of it.


Great addition

4/5

Read the book cover to cover. Although most of it is repetition for old-time gm's I like the style, flavour and content of the book. It's pure inspiration and also a few goodies that are easily put to work: chases, hazards, haunts - now tried out with success in my current campaign.

A bit to many references to the Core Rulebook annoys a bit.


As a veteran GM thus book left me pining for alot more

3/5

Honestly this book is not at all needed if you have any GM experience at all. Has some good world creation tips but otherwise feels overly simplistic. My opinion would change greatly on this book if I was new to gaming however.


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Oh my god!, Karzoug is Mr.Burns!!!

Scarab Sages

I love that the book aims at complementing my existing bookshelf rather than obsoleting it. I hope the focus of the line remains the same for as long as possible.

Go Paizo!

Liberty's Edge

This is just a quicky post - it came to my mind as I was heading out the door, sorry, I didn't check to see if it was already posted.

It might be useful for this Guide to have a discussion on prepping TOO much. Like detailing a campaign but the players just utterly go left, or you prepare for a session and the prep doesn't see play because the players did something else.

How much is too much, and what can a GM do to keep his campaign, and sessions, more flexible? What are some good techniques to respond to players going left? What elements of campaign design lend themselves better to flexibility?

Ok, I'm out.


I would love to see some trade rules. I know that many players hate the idea of doing something as boring as trade, but I really like, for example, the trade rules of Traveller. We don't use them a lot, but it is nice to have them there.


Well I don't want to rain on all the fun but I'm taking a wait and see position on this product. Maybe its because I'm a 'relative' Old Timer when it comes to RPG's (not just DnD), or that after 15 years I'm now looking for a new carrer have to be more careful with my money; but this product seems like it could be Paizo's first mis-step. Sorry I don't see the need for a DMG 2 already, and it screams out "Hey a PG and DMG in one book just couldn't be done". I don't need another worldbuilding 'this is how air flows around the globe" book, though I'm sure Paizo would do a better job of this then the few books I do have.

Moreover from what I've read on this tread (Mind you I've skimmed not read every word so please correct me if I'm wrong)the think I'm most intreasted in is missing, that being a Conversion Guide. With all the stuff that has been published under the OGL I know any conversion guide wouldn't be able to cover even a tip of the iceburg, but it'd be nice to get some ideas on how to say, bring a class from book X up to Pathfinder standards, such as saying something like:

Martial classses such as the Fighter tended to get a class feature every other level, now its every level, first off if a class in question has a class feature that could resonably increase by one more often then.........

Before eveyone starts screaming at me let me first address some of the protest to this.

1. No I don't expect this to be an all inclusive Conversion, but at a least a table or two for for what has been changed and therefor needs to be covered.

2. And No, I don't think this should be its own book mainly because one cannot possibly cover every thing, but a single chapter for tips on how to do it would be very nice.

And for the love of all that is good in the world please don't put in alternative class features, just make a new class or give us a 'hey this is what a Rager is like without spells'. Alternative class features are just a pine in the but for a GM unless they are structured very tightly, and I mean so tightly that you decide level one, and you cannot go back to standard options once you do so, in effect a new class. Like Racial Class features or Class Features only for Class X that comes from Kingdom/City of Y. Example "in Dwarf society the Sorceres gain X instead of Y at levels 1,4,8, by a long standing tradtion". I saw some of this in the Setting book, and while a little too vague for my taste at lest left it up to the GM to simply say 'no'. The reason is really simple, too easy for players to say "Yeah I can do that, and this because I too Feature C, E, F, and G, the first two was in a Pathfinder book, that other one from some other publisher, and well I just made up the last and its balanced. Tell him now, well that game session just went down to updating/fixing the character, with all the crap about "it's in the book!" and "how do you know its not balaced unless you play tested it, the 10d10x10 damage only comes into effect after 4th level" Thank you no.

Having said all this I'll prob. get the book in the end, but it's not high on my get it right away list. I think the RPG line should have fewer books per year then the other lines (Paizo always said that the RPG was going to support the Adv. lines and settings, not the other way around)and something more like Savage Spices/Beast Builder, or OA, or Beastey II, or Epic Play, or even that idea of the Great Big Book of mid-14th level gaming, which I'm not sure about but at lest sounds useful for players.

Sorry for the rant, wasn't my intention, but I guess I need to let the steam out.

TTFN DRE

Scarab Sages

Andre Caceres wrote:
Well I don't want to rain on all the fun but I'm taking a wait and see position on this product. Maybe its because I'm a 'relative' Old Timer when it comes to RPG's (not just DnD), or that after 15 years I'm now looking for a new carrer have to be more careful with my money;

I have been playing for a long time too (19 years, shoot), and not only do I value my money but my time, which is not as plentiful as it used to be when I started playing. That is why I welcome quality products that help me save time. this book sounds like it might help in that regard.

Andre Caceres wrote:
Sorry I don't see the need for a DMG 2 already, and it screams out "Hey a PG and DMG in one book just couldn't be done".

576 is a larger page count than the combined PHB and DMG of Both 3.0 and 4e, so I think it is possible.

Andre Caceres wrote:


Moreover from what I've read on this tread (Mind you I've skimmed not read every word so please correct me if I'm wrong)the think I'm most intreasted in is missing, that being a Conversion Guide.

From the product description: "tips for using and adapting published products to your personal campaign". I Don't know how comprehensive it will be, but it can't be more than a guideline with a few examples, I am mostly interested in suggestions for adapting monsters on the fly, which should be pretty easy. Like you said there is too much stuff out there but I think this covers what seems like your biggest need.


DragonBelow wrote:


Andre Caceres wrote:


Moreover from what I've read on this tread (Mind you I've skimmed not read every word so please correct me if I'm wrong)the think I'm most intreasted in is missing, that being a Conversion Guide.

From the product description: "tips for using and adapting published products to your personal campaign". I Don't know how comprehensive it will be, but it can't be more than a guideline with a few examples, I am mostly interested in suggestions for adapting monsters on the fly, which should be pretty easy. Like you said there is too much stuff out there but I think this covers what seems like your biggest need.

Ahhh I stand corrected. Okay, now this book has my attention depending on 'how comperhensive'. As to monsters I think they'll be the easier of the problems in terms of updating older stuff. Power creep did not happen as much or as fast in 3pp material as it did in WoC stuff. Monsters give or take will work as is (ie I don't think hit die will change much, nor powers persay and even if they did as a 3pp 'monster' their powers will be differnt anyways) The real question remains the classes and to a much lesser extent the races. If we could get a fairly close formula about class power in comparison to 3.5 then CR can be adjusted accordingly. Example, for be was the Beholder, in Beta test we adjusted down three normaly, but for some reasons most outsiders went down two in CR, at lest that was the collective conclusion. However previews and my gut thinks more and more that a collective 2 reduction in CR will be the norm, beyond that little is needed. However for classes well no 'empty'levels means that most 3pp classes will have to be updated. In my play test only the WoWC Tinker held his own unchanged.

P.S. after looking a bit more carefully I see that a few posters have already linked to som E-books that might be of some help, though I'd like to see something along these lines for Pathfinder as appose to 3.5

TTFN DRE

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

memorax wrote:
My only compliant why no new products for four months after release? I figured they want to get at least one more book for Chrismas at least.

I would guess because they don't want to rush the contributors more than normal on the information in the book :) All their efforts have been for those items we knew about and getting the main rules and bestiary done ... now that they have a moment to gasp, they can look at what comes next :)

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Andre Caceres wrote:
I think the RPG line should have fewer books per year then the other lines (Paizo always said that the RPG was going to support the Adv. lines and settings, not the other way around)

I'm pretty sure it was said somewhere (maybe in the Future of Paizo video?) that Paizo is planning on releasing 3-4 Pathfinder RPG books each year. That's considerably less than the other product lines Paizo have going.

Dark Archive

A specific breakdown of high-level game play, with the usual suspects breaking the game for most people (teleport, buffs and how to practically handle them, mord's disjunction, find the path and similar low-level plot killers, etc.), as well as ways to handle them, explaining how the game play itself changes from low-level games, will go a LONG way towards tailoring DMs expectations and confidence, and thus preventing most of the issues people were complaining about with 3.5 high-level games.

Please include this in there. The DMG was sorely lacking in this department.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber

I do remember this book being talked about when Ultimate DM Toolbox came out. Everyone sort of hinted about it. Hoot! There it is!


What I'd like to see more detail on is game economics. I know the DMG2 has rules for running a business, but I'm interested in more coherent concrete rules for shipping, trading, and the like. My PCs are always wanting to start businesses and I find the DMG2 rules to be a bit overbearing, overwhelming, and clunky.

And it would be nice to use a system of values such that for a region or setting, you could just publish modifiers to these basic values in Golarion setting books (for example).

Thanks for your consideration.

Dark Archive

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

If I hadn't signed up for the Pathfinder RPG subscription, this is one book I'd have preordered immediately. Even with more than a decade's experience as a GM, this is one title I'm very excited about. Sure, I can make up chase rules or rules about (in)sanity on the fly but it sounds like this book will give me those tools and more and I can just focus on roleplaying. Add in the 100 ready-to-use NPC stat blocks (give or take a few) and all the other great stuff and we have a winner!


I've found a number of the articles written on DM techniques and design over at The Alexandrian to be invaluable resources for a new/inexperienced DM. I'd love to see similar articles included in the PFRPG Gamemastery Guide.

Dark Archive

Wonder if they are going to get Monte to write it? It just doesn't seem like a GM guide without a few words from Dr. Cook. At least an intro?

I also would like to see some Beta to any new rules before the book is released... I know I ask a lot :)


Well, last night in PF Chat, I asked good ole' Jimmy J. about Traps & Haunts. He replied that Traps stayed about the same page space as the DMG 3.5. While I'd like to see more on Traps, I'd really like to see more on Haunts. This is a great new envisioning of the Trap mechanic from RotRL #2: The Skinsaw Murders, that definately needs to be fleshed out some more.

He said that it would be more in line for the PF GameMastery Guide. So here be my official request. MORE ON HAUNTS! Please.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

That's the art from the treasury- is it placeholder art or is the the final cover art. I ask because I reeeeeaaaaalllllly like that piece. It is why I bought the treasury in the first place.

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

Reckless wrote:
That's the art from the treasury- is it placeholder art or is the the final cover art. I ask because I reeeeeaaaaalllllly like that piece. It is why I bought the treasury in the first place.

Placeholder. You won't see the finished art for a few months yet.

Dark Archive

Quick question: What's in the PfRPG Gamemastery Guide that's sufficiently different -- and desirable -- to entice us if we already have the 3.x DMG?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

joela wrote:
Quick question: What's in the PfRPG Gamemastery Guide that's sufficiently different -- and desirable -- to entice us if we already have the 3.x DMG?

About 5 (or 10, depending on the part of the book you're looking at) more years of experience and familiarity with the rules, for one—the authors are going to be that much more expert on the topics at hand.

There'll also likely be a lot more tips about the real-world aspects of playing the game, and a lot more world building advice.

And plenty of other neat little expansions and prizes.

Part of the goal with this book is to NOT just parrot the 3.X DMG, after all... especially since the majority of the 3.X DMG is already in the core rules of PFRPG anyway.

In any event, we're still too far out to be talking specifics about the book's actual contents... stay tuned for previews in several months!

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
joela wrote:
Quick question: What's in the PfRPG Gamemastery Guide that's sufficiently different -- and desirable -- to entice us if we already have the 3.x DMG?

About 5 (or 10, depending on the part of the book you're looking at) more years of experience and familiarity with the rules, for one—the authors are going to be that much more expert on the topics at hand.

There'll also likely be a lot more tips about the real-world aspects of playing the game, and a lot more world building advice.

And plenty of other neat little expansions and prizes.

Part of the goal with this book is to NOT just parrot the 3.X DMG, after all... especially since the majority of the 3.X DMG is already in the core rules of PFRPG anyway.

In any event, we're still too far out to be talking specifics about the book's actual contents... stay tuned for previews in several months!

Coolio.


I had me this weird thoughts- dunno if it's beyond the purview of this book, but might there be something offered (in terms of advice or even time saving programs and stuff) about doing stuff online, like in a play by post or a play by email?

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I Can Has FreeSwag wrote:
I had me this weird thoughts- dunno if it's beyond the purview of this book, but might there be something offered (in terms of advice or even time saving programs and stuff) about doing stuff online, like in a play by post or a play by email?

Probably.

Scarab Sages

Totally can't wait for this book! A few things I'd love to see covered, if not here then somewhere:

Advice on running low/high magic campaigns and info on how changing the magic level affects different character types and magic treasure availability. For example, does a high-magic campaign mean there are just more wizards running around everywhere, or are wizards somehow more powerful?

Info on running campaigns focused on different aspects of the game, such as a campaign focused on arcane magic or divine magic themes, or a campaign in a warrior society vs a social/political society.

Advice on adjudicating divination spells, particularly for handling mystery campaigns or methods used by NPCs and organizations to protect their secrets against magical prying eyes.

Edit: I'm also not a fan of magic shops, and would love to see info on buying and selling of magic treasure so isn't simply players treating the magic item list like they just won Wheel of Fortune by flipping through the book to spend their latest wad of cash.

Dark Archive

grrtigger wrote:
Edit: I'm also not a fan of magic shops, and would love to see info on buying and selling of magic treasure so isn't simply players treating the magic item list like they just won Wheel of Fortune by flipping through the book to spend their latest wad of cash.

Off Topic...

Spoiler:
This is pure fluff. My favourite example. The rules have no provision for changing a masterwork item into a magic one, or making a magic one more powerful. They do though have costs.

Ok, so I take the money I can sell the masterwork sword for, deduct it from the cost of a +1 sword of the same type, and that is the amount I have to pay to the Magesmith who takes my sword for a few days and gives it back to me as a more powerful item....

Where was that magic item shop again?


James Jacobs wrote:
I Can Has FreeSwag wrote:
I had me this weird thoughts- dunno if it's beyond the purview of this book, but might there be something offered (in terms of advice or even time saving programs and stuff) about doing stuff online, like in a play by post or a play by email?
Probably.

Sounds good to me.

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
I Can Has FreeSwag wrote:
I had me this weird thoughts- dunno if it's beyond the purview of this book, but might there be something offered (in terms of advice or even time saving programs and stuff) about doing stuff online, like in a play by post or a play by email?
Probably.

I'd prefer the book to concentrate on specifics of the game itself - and not on real life aspects like "finding a group" or "setting up online games".

Just the topics listed in the teaser text and some of the topics mentioned here (conversion of other material to PFRPG (4e included?! :-)), impacts of low/ high magic campaigns, treatment of problems in a rpg group, campaign development, game world development) should be more than enough to fill 320 pages, shouldn't it?

Cheers,
Günther

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Guennarr wrote:

I'd prefer the book to concentrate on specifics of the game itself - and not on real life aspects like "finding a group" or "setting up online games".

Just the topics listed in the teaser text and some of the topics mentioned here (conversion of other material to PFRPG (4e included?! :-)), impacts of low/ high magic campaigns, treatment of problems in a rpg group, campaign development, game world development) should be more than enough to fill 320 pages, shouldn't it?

We could fill 320 pages with discussion about the right and wrong way to use longswords in combat against foes who are taller than you and wield a trident and whip. It's not really the question about having enough topics to fill 320 (or however many) pages that's the trick, it's using the pages you have in the most efficient manner and covering the widest range of topics you need to cover.

The fact that a game can't happen at all unless you find a group or set up the gaming area (be that a table or a chat room or whatever) means that element of playing/running the game is as, if not more, important than playing the game itself.

One of this book's goals is to be inclusive of everything that can help a GM do his job, and that will include tips and advice on what to do during a game as well as before and after.

The book is still in outline mode, though, and it's far too early to set down specifics about what will or won't be in there anyway... teaser text notwithstanding.

Dark Archive

James Jacobs wrote:
I Can Has FreeSwag wrote:
I had me this weird thoughts- dunno if it's beyond the purview of this book, but might there be something offered (in terms of advice or even time saving programs and stuff) about doing stuff online, like in a play by post or a play by email?
Probably.

Please get Aubrey to write this. He is the PbP GOD.

Dark Archive

Werecorpse wrote:


I would really love some sort of economics info other than magic items- ie trade, costs of a slave, cost of a poor/average/fine/luxurious dwelling in a town/city/metropolis, cost of living like a king etc.

I am happy to have rough and ready guidelines ie

to live like a wealthy merchant in a city costs 100gp per week. You must be in a city to get access to all the benefitsThis means you get fine food, decent wine with your meals, access to a manservant for running errands, a private room.
to live live a prince costs 500gp per week you get all of the above, sevearl fine sets of clothes, a couple of bodyguard warriors of 1/2 you level, you can have a lavish dinner party 3 times a week with up to a dozen guests...etc

The problems I want this info to solve is when my players say
a) that they have just returned from a brutal adventure and they want to have a lavish meal and live it up for a couple of weeks in a big city-(like the Grey Mouser or Conan would)
b) I tell a Cayden Cailean worshipper someone is enslaved in a city where it is legal and they ask how much it is to buy her out
c) The party is about to travel to a distant land and someone with some profession merchant skills says they want to know what sort of trade goods they can sell there-- and then when we get there how much profit they make
d) someone has a bit of cash and wants to buy or build a big house in Sandpoint

these are all mundane sorts of things but I find they invest the players in the world.

These would also really help....yeah ! THUMBS UP for this !

For me I never had a magic shop (except may be shops holding some specific items like potions and minor scrolls) and would love to have a realistic way to sell and buy magic items.
The idea above about a wizard upgrading weapons for a fee is quite cool and I will take it if you don't mind !

Also how to deal with low magic and high magic campaigns as mentionned above

Also how to add a bit of technological things .

HELL YEAAAAH !


How to handle action scenes, and maybe some charts that give a good formulaic breakdown of dcs and dmg per level for random acts or stunts that make doing crazy epicly adventurous things worthwhile. If Full attack does more damage than swing on the chandelier and kick them in the head and is more reliable no one will do it. I want people to do crazy stuff. So some advice or something would be great. Thats pretty much my wants other than advice for running 1 or 2 players...


Chewbacca wrote:
Werecorpse wrote:


I would really love some sort of economics info other than magic items- ie trade, costs of a slave, cost of a poor/average/fine/luxurious dwelling in a town/city/metropolis, cost of living like a king etc.

I am happy to have rough and ready guidelines ie

to live like a wealthy merchant in a city costs 100gp per week. You must be in a city to get access to all the benefitsThis means you get fine food, decent wine with your meals, access to a manservant for running errands, a private room.
to live live a prince costs 500gp per week you get all of the above, sevearl fine sets of clothes, a couple of bodyguard warriors of 1/2 you level, you can have a lavish dinner party 3 times a week with up to a dozen guests...etc

The problems I want this info to solve is when my players say
a) that they have just returned from a brutal adventure and they want to have a lavish meal and live it up for a couple of weeks in a big city-(like the Grey Mouser or Conan would)
b) I tell a Cayden Cailean worshipper someone is enslaved in a city where it is legal and they ask how much it is to buy her out
c) The party is about to travel to a distant land and someone with some profession merchant skills says they want to know what sort of trade goods they can sell there-- and then when we get there how much profit they make
d) someone has a bit of cash and wants to buy or build a big house in Sandpoint

these are all mundane sorts of things but I find they invest the players in the world.

These would also really help....yeah ! THUMBS UP for this !

For me I never had a magic shop (except may be shops holding some specific items like potions and minor scrolls) and would love to have a realistic way to sell and buy magic items.
The idea above about a wizard upgrading weapons for a fee is quite cool and I will take it if you don't mind !

Also how to deal with low magic and high magic campaigns as mentionned above

Also how to add a bit of technological things .

HELL YEAAAAH...

This stuff isn't all that hard, you can often reference real life equivalents. The important factor is consistency.

Like how to realistically sell magic items. Store fronts, auction houses, private sales all work just as well as they always do. Pricing? Thats what the GP values in the item descriptions are for. When selling to a "retail" equivalent venue you get 1/5 to 1/3 of its retail value. You take the time to market it yourself you can get full retail, but that effort can take months.

Still, since most people don't know about these things guide lines would definitely be a big help. I only know things as well as I do from my 8 years buying and selling gemstones, cutting and cabbing them, carving and casting custom designed jewelry pieces and like. So I personally feel very confident at working such things out for myself.

Now what I would like more guidelines on is for building your own buildings, such as manors, keeps, huge castles, roads, etc... I have plenty of other RPG books that I use for it, but if I were to play PF it would be nice for that to be in my PF books.

Dark Archive

Can I add to the courus of Haunts, and the the chase mechanic from Pathfinder. Yes it's reprints of material I already have....It's also much easier to find at the table! (Even with file searches and grep)

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:


We could fill 320 pages with discussion about the right and wrong way to use longswords in combat against foes who are taller than you and wield a trident and whip. It's not really the question about having enough topics to fill 320 (or however many) pages that's the trick, it's using the pages you have in the most efficient manner and covering the widest range of topics you need to cover.

The fact that a game can't happen at all unless you find a group or set up the gaming area (be that a table or a chat room or whatever) means that element of playing/running the game is as, if not more, important than playing the game itself.

One of this book's goals is to be inclusive of everything that can help a GM do his job, and that will include tips and advice on what to do during a game as well as before and after.

The book is still in outline mode, though, and it's far too early to set down specifics about what will or won't be in there anyway... teaser text notwithstanding.

Hi James,

thanks for your reply!

I wouldn't consider fighting techniques for longswords to be an appropriate topic for a _dungeon_mastering_ book, either. ;-)

But I get the meaning of your point. I am looking forward to the final book and hope that it will be as much encompassing as you make it sound. There is certainly a lot of topics affecting dungeon mastering which are worth a closer examination and in which you have plenty of experience to share with your fellow readers.

Just please make this a real dungeon master's book.
There will be certainly enough other rule books for adding new rules to the game.

Cheers,
Günther

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Nevynxxx wrote:
Can I add to the courus of Haunts, and the the chase mechanic from Pathfinder. Yes it's reprints of material I already have....It's also much easier to find at the table! (Even with file searches and grep)

I'm pretty sure haunts will be in the book. I'll be championing for them to be in there, at least!


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

Please, let me add my vote to… Mass combat rules!!!

Thanks


Robert Miller 55 wrote:
Like how to realistically sell magic items. Store fronts, auction houses, private sales all work just as well as they always do.

Robert, I appreciate what you're trying to say here. But the first sentence in this paragraph assumes the would-be GM is comfortable with how economics are depicted in the first place.

And I'm concerned that this thread could degenerate into:

"Hey Editors, we don't need what those guys want.. we need this instead!"

All we can do is suggest stuff we'd like to see and let them make the decision on what they feel is most important.

And if demonstrating a more realistic and cool way to handle how magic items are bought, sold, and traded just don't make the cut.. then so be it. I will have made the suggestion and the Editorial Team prioritized something else over it. And life will go on.

But let's not step on each other.

Robert Miller 55 wrote:
Pricing? Thats what the GP values in the item descriptions are for. When selling to a "retail" equivalent venue you get 1/5 to 1/3 of its retail value. You take the time to market it yourself you can get full retail, but that effort can take months.

And again, pricing isn't the issue or the concern that myself and others have tried to suggest we could use some embellishment or elaboration on economics (in the case specifically, magic items).

You're right.. When a player says, "I want to buy a +1 Greataxe", I could say "Alright, erase 4320 gps off of your character sheet and it's yours!" Hell.. I do that now. And I hate it. It's part of the game that I think sucks. Along with how PCs sell handfuls of +1 crap that they don't want. Like there is some enchanted recycling scrap metal center in every major town with an economy above 200 gps. And really, they have to in order to gear themselves properly.

No offense Robert, telling me that there are GP descriptions in the book doesn't help me. It doesn't tell me how to tell a better and richer story, or make the world of Golarion seem that much cooler.

Maybe I lack imagination, but that's why I'm asking for help with the topic. If Paizo doesn't want to address the topic, then I'll carry on as best I can. Life *will* go on. But respectfully, that is their decision, not the respondents of this thread.

Robert Miller 55 wrote:
Still, since most people don't know about these things guide lines would definitely be a big help. I only know things as well as I do from my 8 years buying and selling gemstones, cutting and cabbing them, carving and casting custom designed jewelry pieces and like. So I personally feel very confident at working such things out for myself.

Well.. in any case.. If I sound harsh, I don't mean any ill will towards you. I just get touchy when I feel my ideas are dismissed as unnecessary, because they don't represent a challenge for someone else.

I do hope you get some information about construction for PF RPG.


Hey Robert...

I got a little too excited. I meant what I said, but the intensity didn't need to be there. I didn't mean to come down like a ton of bricks. My regrets.


Watcher wrote:

Hey Robert...

I got a little too excited. I meant what I said, but the intensity didn't need to be there. I didn't mean to come down like a ton of bricks. My regrets.

NP.

In fact in the last paragraph of mine which you quote I am transitioning to seeing that such guidelines would be a good idea, because if you don't have familiarity, or even no clue what so ever, guide lines would be a huge help in being fair, consistent, and to have coherency.

I have 8 years of experience buying rough and cut gem grade stones, then cutting or cabbing them, carving and throwing molds, casting, setting, and marketing and selling. So for me its almost second nature based on hundreds (thousands?) of transactions. Back before all of that I would probably feel pretty lost.

As for construction I am familiar with that too, working for my uncles when I was a teenager, however I still wouldn't feel comfortable making such decisions as a DM, so would like guidelines for that as well.

So to sum up, by the end of my post I was actually agreeing with the need for such guidelines for everything, including what I would feel comfortable with judging on my own.


Game Mastery Guide Teaser wrote:
    * Advanced GM techniques such as fixing a "broken" game, using accessories, converting content from other systems, using props and handouts, when to "cheat," and how to prep a game from scratch in 15 minutes

I really hope the book doesn't go any farther than presenting "cheating" as one option for GMs, without outright recommending it in any situation. Personally it's an option that I hate. If it makes the game fun for some people, fine, but I would be annoyed to see the anti-cheating point of view marginalized or overlooked. Sure, I could ignore the advice, but it would be annoying to have to do so. A balanced discussion that respectfully presents multiple points of view would be welcome.

Dark Archive

minkscooter wrote:
Game Mastery Guide Teaser wrote:
    * Advanced GM techniques such as fixing a "broken" game, using accessories, converting content from other systems, using props and handouts, when to "cheat," and how to prep a game from scratch in 15 minutes
I really hope the book doesn't go any farther than presenting "cheating" as one option for GMs, without outright recommending it in any situation. Personally it's an option that I hate. If it makes the game fun for some people, fine, but I would be annoyed to see the anti-cheating point of view marginalized or overlooked. Sure, I could ignore the advice, but it would be annoying to have to do so. A balanced discussion that respectfully presents multiple points of view would be welcome.

I guess it probably won't say "You have to cheat" in those cases....

But may be more like "You can cheat if needed" in those cases...

I am a cheating DM when needed because i favour more the role-play than the rules (which none of us really know anyway) ;o). But sticking by the rules is OK also.


I just wanted to add another vote to the combined travel table, especially including more esoteric means of travel as well as mundane ones like wind walk. :)


Chewbacca wrote:

I guess it probably won't say "You have to cheat" in those cases....

But may be more like "You can cheat if needed" in those cases...

That's fine. What I don't want to see is "You should cheat if..." which is what the teaser seems to suggest it will be. Instead, I'd like to see, "These are some of the reasons you might cheat. If you're going to cheat, these are some tricks to make it work well. Alternatively, if you're not going to cheat, these are some tricks to make that style of play work well. These are some factors to consider when deciding which approach you will use."


What I'd like to see in the GM handbook.

1. Rules about PC "Constructions". A construction is any major place or thing owned by the PCs that plays a central role in an adventure. For example a fighters fortress may be a construction, so would an inn owned by one of the PCs, a flying ship, a trade caravan or trading house, a temple established by a PC cleric, a mercenary company, ect. See covenants in Atlas Games, Ars Magica for some idea about what I mean when I say a construction should be central to the story. Special attention should be payed to making sure that what ever player is the "title owner" of the construction does not dominate the game or become an indispensable person.

2. A sliding tech level scale with both technology and magic (possibly with a number of subsets). This is not saying that magic and technology should be mutually exclusive, simply that if you have enough magic your social structure looks like something out of a later time period then what the level of mundane technology would suggest.

For example: the average D&D game tends to be culturally around 1500 or 1600 but lacks firearms and has a generally underdeveloped technology, compensated for by relatively common NPC class magic users. That doesn't mean that you couldn't have a late stone age (or advanced Stone Age, such as precolumbian Native America civilizations) society that survived on heavy use of magic.

3. Rules for guns. At least up through flintlocks including rules for enchanted guns. Do muskets in game have the same accuracy problems as their real life counterparts. A treatment of the questions of 1. Will firearms have the same effect in a magical world as in the real world (if the walls of Constantinople needs to survive giants, dragons and spells do they still fall to turkish gunners). 2. Is carrying gunpowder a good idea in a world with common fire spells. 3. If guns are available in game, how to maintain class balance.

4. Basic rules for magic items that would surpress some class features in favor of alternate powers. For example a gem that would change a clerics domains to use the beta playtest rules.

5. Group magic items, magic items that interact with a group of adventurers instead of benefiting only one party member. See as example the various conceptions of Totem spirits in White Wolfs Werewolf games.

6. Mass combat rules, Ship Combat Rules, Vehicular Combat Rules (especially for War Chariots in early time settings).


Wolf Munroe wrote:


I like the rules (in 3.5e anyway) of upgrading magic weapons. When our party barbarian came into town and wanted to go a step beyond his +1 greatsword, he didn't go to Ye Olde Magic Shoppe and buy a +2 greatsword, he went to the local wizardress that does that kind of work and paid her to upgrade his +1 greatsword to a +2 greatsword. She also sells magical weapons, but I would assume she actually only keeps a small selection of masterwork weapons in stock and enchants them when someone buys one. ("Oh, you like that one, do you? What kind of magic were you wanting to get on it?" "Oh. Come back in a week and it will be ready.") If the character doesn't like the look of the weapons she has, or wants a weapon she doesn't carry, he would have to provide the masterwork item to be enchanted (and perhaps pay a small service fee).

Actually I see it as being more a broker system. You find a Short Sword +1 that you don't want. You go to whomever sells potions locally (i.e. caster level at least 3). They contact an associate in a nearby city where local lords son is about to turn 13 and needs a sword (don't laugh in D&D enough creatures have damage reduction, that giving the kid the sword makes him slightly less likely to get offed by a creature with damage reduction 5/magic).

Now that broker in the city contact a wizard friend of his in another city who has the ring of protection +1 you wanted. Broker 2 calls in a pre existing "debt" that wizard 1 owes him and at some point all parties use some kind of teleport spell to move the items around. Both brokers make a markup on the item sale and move gold to make up any difference in the price.

The bottom line to the player is that he sell the short sword +1 for 1/2 its retail price then picks up a ring of protection at full retail a day or so later.

Of course this system allows for some hideously complex series of trades, requiring adventures to go acquire a particular item or otherwise throwing out adventure ideas.

Liberty's Edge

Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Something I would love to see in this, Is advice and techniques for GMing at Conventions in time limited slots.


Didn't see this, so I apologize if someone's mentioned it already. How about some random dungeon tables like the old 1st ed DMG? Maybe expanded a bit with some new tables and the like?


I'd like to see:

  • I would love mass combat rules too. Especially for use with miniatures although that could merit another book.

  • Also, alternative rules for combat would be nice. The Core Rulebook implies that one can play without a battle grid but doesn't elaborate too much in how to do it. Rules for miniature play without a grid will also be nice, they were the standard ones in 3.0 and the use of the battle grid was covered in the DMG. Here, Paizo could do the opposite covering grid-less battles in the GameMastery Guide. I find those rules very convenient when playing with miniatures in outdoor environment.


Kevin Mack wrote:
Ah well time to sell a kidney.

Or a friends...

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