How would you make a High Level Play Book (10-20) viable for Paizo?


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Shadow Lodge

mkenner wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.
That's always been the most dreaded result in our group.

7th level adventurers should be able to handle a closed portcullis. *headdesk*


TOZ wrote:
mkenner wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.
That's always been the most dreaded result in our group.
7th level adventurers should be able to handle a closed portcullis. *headdesk*

Did anyone suggest maybe lifting it?


Oh sure, the changling druid tried to make the Strength checks. Meanwhile the lizardfolk warlock and Savage Species eladrin were taking shots at the ogre guards.

I'll let you ponder those statements for a bit.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.

I hadn't realized you had played with my group!

;)


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This is exactly the kind of stuff i'd like to write about if I ever get a 3rd party publishing effort going.

There are so many things from a counter-tactician as well as a would-be cohesive storyteller's angle: mid to high level spells, 5 ft tall characters with more hp than godzilla, teenagers who have mastered the Dim Mak Mountain-Crusher technique by hitting level 16, murder hobo castes, societies in an entire filth-ridden, thatch cottage, feudal vacuum despite that their world has magic that can literally create worlds within worlds, used liberally for killing squatter monsters in abandoned wrecks of complex fortresses, but unspeakable for improving civic life. There is a canon planar scheme whereby the majority of the universe's mysteries have little speculation when a couple high level wizards pop some divinations and write a peer-reviewed publication on the topic.

My perspective is that these things aren't bad, just considerations of which to be mindful. And I know this will provoke some disagreement, but I believe a conscientious setting design (or alteration based on awareness of these little disbelief-suspension hiccups), will do the biggest part to rein those things in. I have some questions I ask in my campaigns.

1. What does this society look like culturally and technologically
(whether mundane or fantastic)? To an individual and to a civic planner? How do they handle magic, monsters, and threats the real medieval world never had?

2. What is the range of power of the world's population? If level 5 is rarely attained, then maybe the Bastille Plan square village cottage design with chamberpots out the window and a 12 foot stone wall might still yield some merit. If it's expected that there are several known entities that can break 10th level, and fire-breathing, blinking winged monsters are at all a common occurrence, how does society adapt as its go-to escalation?

3. How is a highly skilled entity conceptualized by the GM?

Mages are a little easier to conceptualize here. Let's take the non-casters. Is a level 15 fighter in your world highly skilled with lightning-fast physical and reflexive capability and athleticism that borders the edge of physical explanation? Or is this warrior outright infused with divine essence and energy? In the former case, 200 hp might be described as repeated tumbling, parries, blocks, and rolls away from the colliding source of damage(insert Mythic Evil Lincoln's Strain and Injury variant ftw). In the latter, that fighter might have no problem pulling the spearhead out of his abdomen, wringing it into a balloon animal, and giving it back to the mook attacker as a suppository. If they attain absurd levels of experience at a young age/short period of exposure, was some of this knowledge somehow supernaturally imparted? Reincarnation of heroic forefathers, imbued with memory by a deity, decapitates a Highlander and screams "There can be only 1!!!" In a lightning storm?

How did a character adventure to level 15 while still remaining an anonymous murder-hobo? Even a skulk-y, quiet, disguise-mongering assassin has curious investigators, clients and middle-men who pay the contracts, etc. To paraphrase Pericles, "Just because you do not take interest in politics, does not mean that politics takes no interest in you." This is especially true for people with the power to slay demons and cure a plague-riddled city. If your characters want to get that far with no influence on the setting, make them come up with a good reason that doesn't hurt your sense of...sense.

4. What have the villains/enemies already survived before the PCs took up the quest to fight them?

An elder red dragon for example might literally be a millennium old. Is your group really the first among dragon hunters to ever get the bright idea to scry him, teleport in, rain down cold and holy spells and strikes with energy resistances and damage reduction buffs aplenty, and go for broke with contingency teleports if it goes bad?

Probably not. Not to say this is Ole Klauth McSnaggletooth's every 3rd weekly annoyance, but he's probably got a few scars on his scales from the last fools who crashed his Sunday of crossword puzzles and gardening.

No matter what books or guides are out there, high level play in my opinion is not for the inexperienced or lethargic GM. Each of these issues requires some forethought to make the occasional surprise fit into a larger context. Every GM has to answer these irksome questions for themselves, hopefully before the double digit numbers of levels come knockin!

All that being said, I would -love- -love- -love- to see a book with some of this work already done for us! I may even take up a google doc project to address the matter in the meantime.

Scarab Sages

This is a very interesting thread to me because I have many of these issues upcoming very soon in my Kingmaker game. The party is 8-9th level so far and is currently embroiled in a large scale moving mass combat scenario. Even being somewhat prepared for such experiences, the party still manages to wreak an enormous amount of havok on even massed armies, and I don't mean by casting fireballs in a crowd.

So far, the druid and his shapeshifting into elementals to spy on things has been a bigger problem for me than scrying. Luckily he also has a tendencies to push the risk barrier too far on a regular basis, and ends up careening back to the party with scorched tailfeathers (so to speak) or getting shot out of the sky in front of them more often than not.

It does require a lot of thinking ahead and knowing what spells and magic items the party is going to throw up against your challenges. This is not so you can block them all, but so 20 hrs of GM work and complex storyline isn't consistently undone with one spell and 10 minutes of game play. Sometimes this is okay, the party should have some victories, just not ALL the victories.

The biggest problem for us is that none of us have played any games much passed 10-11th level before, so everyone is learning the hard way about these abilities and spells. Even reading up on the rules a lot is no substitute for actually playing or GMing high level games. So I would definitely welcome a book like you all are discussing.


DeathQuaker wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.

I hadn't realized you had played with my group!

;)

Every group is just the same people with different faces.


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TOZ wrote:
mkenner wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.
That's always been the most dreaded result in our group.
7th level adventurers should be able to handle a closed portcullis. *headdesk*

Securely closed doors have been one of our group's most persistent and diabolical nemeses.


LazarX wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.

Well we could always follow CNN's lead and dumb down the game to the level of "Good Thing, Bad Thing."

It's quite a landmark watching Wolf Blitzer telling Michelle Bachmann that she's being too deeply analytical for the audience.

There is currently a forum thread going about the question of whether a high-level play book is a good thing or a bad thing.

Is this a Good Thing, or a Bad Thing?


137ben wrote:
LazarX wrote:
TOZ wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Not planning a solution at all is risky, but with good players it pays off. It can backfire, though.
Or the players could have five solutions and use none of them. For two hours.

Well we could always follow CNN's lead and dumb down the game to the level of "Good Thing, Bad Thing."

It's quite a landmark watching Wolf Blitzer telling Michelle Bachmann that she's being too deeply analytical for the audience.

There is currently a forum thread going about the question of whether a high-level play book is a good thing or a bad thing.

Is this a Good Thing, or a Bad Thing?

for my lot it's rivers, or even shallow fords. They've got the measure of it now, but the Tatzlwyrms in kingmaker still brings them out in a cold sweat.

Cheers
Mark

The Exchange

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

I'm really glad I started this thread. The ideas here are very useful and important. I hope eventually we give James enough ammo to go do the rest of the company and get an okay for a high level play book.


One issue I can see is that one can only expect to write a decent high-level book if one has played a lot of high-level PF. And as most campaigns start at low levels (notably 1) they don't spend much (or indeed, often any) time at 11+. So it may be that Paizo can't easily get enough experienced people together to do it justice. I think it's absolutely worthwhile (more so than Bestiary 5, for example) but also much more difficult.


I would imagine though a good chunk of the people at Paizo have been playing the game for awhile, including high level DnD. I have faith the developers could pull it off

Paizo Employee Chief Technical Officer

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Here are some of my thoughts regarding a high-level play book (presented in the order they came into my head, which should not be equated with significance):

We have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them. Given the choice between a book that will appeal to everyone and a book that will appeal to a subset of everyone, we're almost always going to go with the former.

In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

Now, I think it would be *great* if we could do a book that made high-level play *more* fun, but our supplementary rulebooks *augment* the core rules—they don't rewrite them. And I genuinely believe that in order to make high-level play more fun, we would have to change the existing rules—and probably pretty dramatically. Without changing the rules, I think Mythic comes pretty close to what we can achieve in making high-level play (of a sort, anyway) more fun.

Note that I'm speaking for myself here, and others have other views. Which is to say that my arguments against such a book here don't mean that we won't eventually do one.


Vic Wertz wrote:


In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

I find this a bit disappointing, because I find it most entertaining when a character does have tremendous power, and the adventurer doesnt feel like a small creature in a big world (if I wanted that, I'd be playing call of cthulu), rather becoming a real mover & shaker.

Then again, we all have different reasons for playing; I prefer the self-empowerment high levels give, and others prefer the mundane challenges of the lower levels. I'd be interested in knowing how high level becomes less fun, but that's another discussion altogether. (there's also the question of why high levels even exist if the game isnt made for them, but that even further from the point of this thread, and I dont want to start a flamewar)

But I do agree that this would only appeal to a subset of players; but I think that's mainly because there aren't the resources for high level play like there is for low-level play. It's a catch 22: nobody plays high level because there are few resources for it, and nobody want to develop new resources because nobody plays high level ( with the possible exception of red goblin games).


Vic Wertz wrote:


We have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them. Given the choice between a book that will appeal to everyone and a book that will appeal to a subset of everyone, we're almost always going to go with the former.

Perhaps a high-level play tips book in the Player Companion line would be a good way to test the waters, without committing to a larger or hardcover book? While it's not the GM book most players seem to want, it could be a step towards it by seeing how well it went down with the customers.


Maybe a Pair of books one in the Chronicles and one in the Companion lines. That way you could cover how they interact with the world and then present options for making it even remotely more interesting.


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I agree, that this book could be covered in much fewer pages than a hardcover release.


I think if it did get a Hardcover it would be on par with the Strategy Guide they have announced.


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Vic Wertz wrote:

Here are some of my thoughts regarding a high-level play book (presented in the order they came into my head, which should not be equated with significance):

We have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them. Given the choice between a book that will appeal to everyone and a book that will appeal to a subset of everyone, we're almost always going to go with the former.

In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

Now, I think it would be *great* if we could do a book that made high-level play *more* fun, but our supplementary rulebooks *augment* the core rules—they don't rewrite them. And I genuinely believe that in order to make high-level play more fun, we would have to change the existing rules—and probably pretty dramatically. Without changing the rules, I think Mythic comes pretty close to what we can achieve in making high-level play (of a sort, anyway) more fun.

Note that I'm speaking for myself here, and others have other views. Which is to say that my arguments against such a book here don't mean that we won't eventually do one.

Keeping in mind that you are only talking about your personal opinion and not the official one of Paizo, your company does publish at least six books a year (AP modules 4-6 of the two AP's published per year) which give play groups high-level play and are supposed to be played to complete those campaigns, so I think Paizo owes it to those groups to not treat high-level play as an afterthought.

I'm one of those people who tries to run campaigns to completion (and has done so in now three cases for AP's and seven cases for entire campaigns) and have encountered all those problems enumerated by the people who have posted in this thread. I don't think Paizo can put off dealing with its own games high level problems until a new edition of Pathfinder has been made, since you are constantly selling books for that area of the game. It's a large part of the Pathfinder rulesset and you shouldn't let it slide on the grounds of "being less fun". Help people out in making it more fun by explaining the tools available to them (and the counters for the GM's).

And after all you managed to get the "book allotment" free for starter play with the Strategy Guide, so maybe 2015 could be the year for the "Advanced Strategy Guide".

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm pretty sure that what James Jacobs thinks when he says "high level play advice" and what magnuskn (and others) think when he says "high level play advice" are two entirely different and barely related things.

Eg., Chapter on Rogues:

1. So this is how Rogues looks in high level play. Your combat options are varied and ...

2. Lolwut, u playing Rogue? Srsly?


Could we do it ourselves? Clearly, a hardcover book would be a challenge, but there are some great handbooks in the advice thread, maybe we could team up to add one more?

Have to start somewhere...


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
Gorbacz wrote:

I'm pretty sure that what James Jacobs thinks when he says "high level play advice" and what magnuskn (and others) think when he says "high level play advice" are two entirely different and barely related things.

Eg., Chapter on Rogues:

1. So this is how Rogues looks in high level play. Your combat options are varied and ...

2. Lolwut, u playing Rogue? Srsly?

This is why I think the Strategy Guide that's coming out is a bad idea. I can already hear the wave of "LOL PAIZO IS SO OUTTA TOUCH FROM THEIR GAME" comments.


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Mechanics that reward the player for making simpler choices may just be the cure for the high level game.

I don't think I've ever seen it tried.


Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Mechanics that reward the player for making simpler choices may just be the cure for the high level game.

Crazy talk.


Mudfoot wrote:
One issue I can see is that one can only expect to write a decent high-level book if one has played a lot of high-level PF. And as most campaigns start at low levels (notably 1) they don't spend much (or indeed, often any) time at 11+. So it may be that Paizo can't easily get enough experienced people together to do it justice. I think it's absolutely worthwhile (more so than Bestiary 5, for example) but also much more difficult.

Most of the staff appear to have run/played in several AP's which often go to 17th .

But you do make a good point. Not much playing is actually done at the highest levels- by anyone. Of course this also means the "THE WIZURD IS DA BROKENEST CLASS EBAR!" posters are maybe talking theorycraft as opposed to actual table-top experience.


DrDeth wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:
One issue I can see is that one can only expect to write a decent high-level book if one has played a lot of high-level PF. And as most campaigns start at low levels (notably 1) they don't spend much (or indeed, often any) time at 11+. So it may be that Paizo can't easily get enough experienced people together to do it justice. I think it's absolutely worthwhile (more so than Bestiary 5, for example) but also much more difficult.

Most of the staff appear to have run/played in several AP's which often go to 17th .

But you do make a good point. Not much playing is actually done at the highest levels- by anyone. Of course this also means the "THE WIZURD IS DA BROKENEST CLASS EBAR!" posters are maybe talking theorycraft as opposed to actual table-top experience.

I'd love to hear how the staff dealt with the usual high-level problems, then. Because maybe they know stuff I don't know and I've run seven campaigns to completion by now.


James Jacobs has weighed in on "scry & fry"= "doesn't work", for example.

To me a lot of the problem is players pushing nonsensical rules interpreations and also combining wierd things from every supplement out there.

I mean, look at the debate over vestigial arms, many players wanted to double their attacks with a low level power. It was clear to me and most everyone else it didn't work that way, but not only did they argue strongly and repeatedly, they keep arguing after an official FAQ. ("But how about if I put the claws on my hair and grow it long, huh, huh!???!")


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DrDeth wrote:
Not much playing is actually done at the highest levels- by anyone.

[citation needed]


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DrDeth wrote:


To me a lot of the problem is players pushing nonsensical rules interpreations and also combining weird things from every supplement out there.

Oh, this. For starters, it's the job of the GM to preserve game balance. Ultimately, that's in the interest of the players as well, because an unbalanced game is less fun. So, arguing that the balance be tipped in your favor is only good in the short run.

Of course, this requires that the GM be familiar with all options. How could you judge something you haven't seen in play? And is that really a realistic option? How can we ever get new high-level GMs, if you need experience to do it?

Well, there are ways. But we need to separate character from player, and get a very clear sense of expectations before we proceed.

It's explained well here: link


So, if the people involved have different expectations about how the game is supposed to go, it's just going to cause problems.

The solution is to actually stop playing for a bit, and talk about what your expectations are. Along with the instrument, I've found these to be helpful guideposts.

1) How powerful are the players, compared to the world? Are they like Hercules/James Bond, clearly better than those around them, or are they more like Private Ryan, surrounded by a mix of more and less talented people.

2) How plentiful is talent, in the world? Is the king a 4th level aristocrat, or is he a fighter 2/cavalier 2/aristocrat 12 with a ring of mind-shielding and a double used for dangerous circumstances? Can you do anything at all with 50,000 gold coins?

Ex: Take a look at Game of Thrones. The Lannisters have money, but there's very little to buy with that amount of cash. So, they lend money to the King to gain influence at court, because no one in Westeros has anything to sell for 50,000. Sure, you could a 5gp item 10,000 times, but how many pounds of salt do you need?

3) How important is death? At 12th level, death is no more of a problem than blindness is at 6th level. It's inconvenient and keeps you from adventuring, but can be cured with the right spell.

Many people feel that this doesn't 'feel' right, but my response is: What are you going to do about it? Will you limit it, or not. If you do, what are the limits, and under what conditions can you come back to life?

Next post: The Social Contract


Well my of those are:

On Power level:

The PCs are sort of like a mix between the 2 in that most unnamed NPCs are the Heracles/James Bond type but the Named will be more Private Ryan/Leonidas Type.

On Talent:

I typically to make the higher Power Levels being the elites. So the leader of a National Thieves Guild might be level 15 and the rest of his group made of lower level Rogues and Experts, whereas, the leader of the Mercenary Band the BBEG hired might be a Level 18 Cavalier with his 2nd might be a Level 14 Fighter and all his troops being Level 8-12 Warriors with some Barbarian/Cavalier/Fighter Elites.

On the Death Part:

A GM should make it to where, after awhile, the PCs must bargain with the God of Death for the Setting, e.g. Pharasma, to get the soul back. Such as adding a quest for the person coming back to life. An example I have done is my Cavalier Character who died having to hunt down a Necromancer sealing souls for intelligent undead.


As for the Social Contract, you need an agreement about what's ok, and what's not ok. And this has to include options that are legal. That's right, deciding not to use options that are in a book somewhere.

First stage is the game world. Does your setting really need to have every race, class, etc open at all times? Too many options causes it's own problems, just like too few options.

If you're going with Golarion, is it necessary to involve the whole planet, or can a story be told with a more limited range of options? When I ran council of thieves, I knew I wanted the major villains to be thieves and devils. I had to edit out a few foes because more was not better, more was just a confusing muddle.

To get a feel of a corrupt city, I had to veto certain character concepts that wouldn't fit.
P,ayers might have been disappointed for a minute, but I've yet to find the player who told me "Huh, that was my last idea for a character, and now I'm all out. Guess I'll take up bowling"

See also Batman Returns, which had three villains and two heroes. Was it six times better? Not really.

When you as the GM know the themes of a campaign, you have grounds to include or not include things and it's easier for players to grasp that then "no, cause I don't like YOUR FACE"


Second stage is the list of things that make the game more/less fun.

Our group has voted in favor of the critical hit deck.

I've been in groups that voted against grappling, by anyone. It's better in Pathfinder than in 3.5, but if the group has decided that grappling isn't fun, and I ignore them and make them do something they don't enjoy anyway, then what kind of player am I?

The jerky kind.

Usually, the fun stuff will rise to the top, enthusiasm is obvious.

That's why it's important to talk about the no fun list. What's your group have there?

Tetori monks? Rust monsters?. Assassins that target PCs? Encumbrance?

And if you don't know, that's a problem.


On the subject of selling a high level book to the PTB I think the best option would be to not go with a hardcover rulebook but either add it to the companion line or start a new one based on sales. As was suggested you could do a companion book with tips for high level players incorporating new feats and prestige classes specifically geared towards adventures above level 10. I'd focus initially on some of the new options presented in Ultimate Campaign, I know my brother was really excited about making his own kingdom, a war lord prestige class would be neat too. You could then pair it with a setting book that covers tips for DMs on running high level adventures. I agree that spells need to be covered, some of the ones thrown around I think people forget the cost of (True Seeing is 250gp a pop) including the bringing back of the dead which lists a single diamond as the component. Which also brings up how do you get your cleric back if you have to go to the local church and the entire world is populated by NPCs of no level high enough to cast Raise Dead?
I've been running the same game for about 10 years now, my players are at 22 level. We've gone through two system changes and multiple character tweaks as new rules are added. I allow every book from Pathfinder, as well as having Star Wars, 3.X, d20 Modern, Wheel of Time, and BESM all interwoven which makes for an insanely large pool of character options. It also gives me those same options to use against them but it can be confusing and not just for me. I also have 8 players which means combat especially can get tedious. I think quickly on the fly, in fact most game sessions I only loosely plan for because I can never plan on my players following a set course. In general I'll make up the challenges (monsters, & puzzles usually) then drop them in where apropriate. The important part has been that I have my world fleshed out and know what's going on where ever they decide to drop themselves.
Tips like this would be good to have, so would tables. There were alot of other good suggestions for helping DMs in this thread too. I think a line like the player companion but for GMs with tips on working in the new rules and how to build a better game would definitely be worth looking into. I recently helped a new GM and I had forgotten the way you have to change your whole mindset when you run a game rather than just play.


My issue with a book for the companion line is that I think a major motivation for this thread was help for a GM. Anything in the companion line isn't going to have space for lots of GM advice, especially if players complain about it's inclusion.

Probably the best option now I am thinking is some sort of advanced Gamemastery guide, but it's starting to look like I will have to wait for a 3pp to do that :(


MMCJawa wrote:

My issue with a book for the companion line is that I think a major motivation for this thread was help for a GM. Anything in the companion line isn't going to have space for lots of GM advice, especially if players complain about it's inclusion.

Probably the best option now I am thinking is some sort of advanced Gamemastery guide, but it's starting to look like I will have to wait for a 3pp to do that :(

Maybe instead of a book, a series of articles?


Vic Wertz wrote:

In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

Now, I think it would be *great* if we could do a book that made high-level play *more* fun, but our supplementary rulebooks *augment* the core rules—they don't rewrite them. And I genuinely believe that in order to make high-level play more fun, we would have to change the existing rules—and probably pretty dramatically. Without changing the rules, I think Mythic comes pretty close to what we can achieve in making high-level play (of a sort, anyway) more fun.

I'm rather curious what you think would need to be outright rewritten to make high level play work better.

The closest thing that comes to mind off the top of my head is how scaling causes high AC to change from "you might not hit me" to "your first attack will definitely hit me, but the third probably won't." That ones always struck me as more of a feature than a bug though.

There's also, I suppose, the general standing issue of complexity creep, but again, that can definitely be addressed without changing things with charts and advice and the various other things mentioned in this thread.


DrDeth wrote:
MMCJawa wrote:

My issue with a book for the companion line is that I think a major motivation for this thread was help for a GM. Anything in the companion line isn't going to have space for lots of GM advice, especially if players complain about it's inclusion.

Probably the best option now I am thinking is some sort of advanced Gamemastery guide, but it's starting to look like I will have to wait for a 3pp to do that :(

Maybe instead of a book, a series of articles?

Where though?

Those articles really don't fit into any existing series that Paizo produces. Maybe if Dragon existed...but it doesn't.


Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Well my of those are:

** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **

I like that last part. I recently had a player death and I required a sacrifice in order for reincarnate to work. Sure, spell doesn't say it, but why else aren't old kings being reincarnated?

I've also described the process of a player's character becoming a Petitioner after his death, after the party didn't rez him (they secretly hated his character).

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

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Vic Wertz wrote:

Here are some of my thoughts regarding a high-level play book (presented in the order they came into my head, which should not be equated with significance):

We have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them. Given the choice between a book that will appeal to everyone and a book that will appeal to a subset of everyone, we're almost always going to go with the former.

In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

Now, I think it would be *great* if we could do a book that made high-level play *more* fun, but our supplementary rulebooks *augment* the core rules—they don't rewrite them. And I genuinely believe that in order to make high-level play more fun, we would have to change the existing rules—and probably pretty dramatically. Without changing the rules, I think Mythic comes pretty close to what we can achieve in making high-level play (of a sort, anyway) more fun.

Note that I'm speaking for myself here, and others have other views. Which is to say that my arguments against such a book here don't mean that we won't eventually do one.

Wow. Understanding it's merely personal opinion, it's both surprising and disappointing to see a Paizo staff member show so very little confidence in one of its most important products. Saying, well we made a game but part of it isn't fun to me is basically an admission of failure.

And it's an admission of failure that I strongly disagree with. Even given that "fun" is different for everyone, I'm tempted even to declare it flat out wrong.

When the Pathfinder Core Rulebook first came out,the VERY first thing I did was convert the high level 3.5 game I was running to Pathfinder. The first thing I did as a Pathfinder GM was run it from level 15-19. And holy COW was it a f##$ing blast! Challenging? Absolutely. Could we use some support to help make it even more fun and less hard on GMs? I think so. Do we need to fundamentally rewrite core to make it work? That is the most ridiculous notion I've ever read on these boards, and I've read a lot of ridiculous notions on this board. God no. Sure, in the distant future when Pathfinder 2 comes to be, I hope that core does make things work even better at all its levels of play. But it does work now, and while sure, high level play isn't everyone's cup of tea, it is a lot of people's, and far more than I think you give credit for.

That you write off a whole chunk of the game as unfun and unsupportable is so so very sad, and shows so little faith in your own product. I hope you get the opportunity to play at high levels with a good GM and have someone change your mind.


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Necrovox wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Well my of those are:

** spoiler omitted **

I like that last part. I recently had a player death and I required a sacrifice in order for reincarnate to work. Sure, spell doesn't say it, but why else aren't old kings being reincarnated?

I've also described the process of a player's character becoming a Petitioner after his death, after the party didn't rez him (they secretly hated his character).

Oh yeah.

Players: “Hey Bob, we have to go on a quest for about 4 nites of gaming in order to raise you, so I guess you can just stay home or you can play my Mount.”

Bob: “yeah, sounds like real fun. Look, instead- here’s Knuckles the 87th , go ahead and loot Knuckles the 86th body. He's got some cool stuff."

The whole idea of “death should mean something” becomes meaningless when we all realize that D&D is a Game, Games should be Fun, and in order to have Fun you have to Play. Thereby, when a Player’s PC dies either you Raise him or he brings in another. Raising is preferable story-wise, and costs resources. Bringing in another costs continuity and actually increases party wealth. Not to mention, instead of an organic played-from-1st-PC we have a PC generated at that level, which can lead to some odd min/maxing.

The third alternative is “Sorry Bob, Knuckles is dead. You’re out of the campaign, we’ll let you know when the next one is starting, should be in about a year or so.’ Really?


DeathQuaker wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Here are some of my thoughts regarding a high-level play book (presented in the order they came into my head, which should not be equated with significance):

We have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them. Given the choice between a book that will appeal to everyone and a book that will appeal to a subset of everyone, we're almost always going to go with the former.

In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

Now, I think it would be *great* if we could do a book that made high-level play *more* fun, but our supplementary rulebooks *augment* the core rules—they don't rewrite them. And I genuinely believe that in order to make high-level play more fun, we would have to change the existing rules—and probably pretty dramatically. Without changing the rules, I think Mythic comes pretty close to what we can achieve in making high-level play (of a sort, anyway) more fun.

Note that I'm speaking for myself here, and others have other views. Which is to say that my arguments against such a book here don't mean that we won't eventually do one.

Wow. hat you write off a whole chunk of the game as unfun and unsupportable is so so very sad, and shows so little faith in your own product.

DQ, he said nothing of the sort. He said high level play is the "least fun" not "unfun"- there's a huge difference . I agree with Vic, however- high level play has been the least fun of D&D since it's inception. Nothing new to PF. The talk is often about the "sweet spot" and altho everyones' idea of the best gaming levels varies, most think they are somewhere in the 5-13 range.

Nor did he write off it as unsupportable , he simply said "they have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them". That's simply good business sense.

You know, I love it when the devs and staff post here on the boards. But too many people get angry and twist their words into something they don't really mean. And, DQ, you're usually one of the voices of reason around here.

I'd like to see a GM's guide to high level play myself. But compared to say Ultimate Campaign or the Mythic books? They made the right choice.


DrDeth wrote:
Necrovox wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Well my of those are:

** spoiler omitted **

I like that last part. I recently had a player death and I required a sacrifice in order for reincarnate to work. Sure, spell doesn't say it, but why else aren't old kings being reincarnated?

I've also described the process of a player's character becoming a Petitioner after his death, after the party didn't rez him (they secretly hated his character).

Oh yeah.

Players: “Hey Bob, we have to go on a quest for about 4 nites of gaming in order to raise you, so I guess you can just stay home or you can play my Mount.”

Bob: “yeah, sounds like real fun. Look, instead- here’s Knuckles the 87th , go ahead and loot Knuckles the 86th body. He's got some cool stuff."

The whole idea of “death should mean something” becomes meaningless when we all realize that D&D is a Game, Games should be Fun, and in order to have Fun you have to Play. Thereby, when a Player’s PC dies either you Raise him or he brings in another. Raising is preferable story-wise, and costs resources. Bringing in another costs continuity and actually increases party wealth. Not to mention, instead of an organic played-from-1st-PC we have a PC generated at that level, which can lead to some odd min/maxing.

The third alternative is “Sorry Bob, Knuckles is dead. You’re out of the campaign, we’ll let you know when the next one is starting, should be in about a year or so.’ Really?

Or you can introduce temporary replacement characters that the player can run until their PC is revived. Or you can run a side story about the afterlife. Or you can let a PC run a cohort for a while. Or it can take only a single session to resolve.

There are far more options here for than you'd like to present to support your argument.

That said, there are a number of approaches to death in Pathfinder - choose the one that best fits your game. In my campaign death is a serious thing. The afterlife is not something that is an afterthought. Several characters are on record as saying they do not wish to be resurrected if they are slain. The campaign's two longest running characters were killed under unique circumstances that required a year of OOC time to resolve (during this time replacement PCs were used). If you'd prefer a game in which death is a revolving door, feel free to use that. It isn't wrong by any means.

At the same time I'd rather not see people adopt a particular style then complain about the problems it causes them.


Peter Stewart wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Necrovox wrote:
Azaelas Fayth wrote:

Well my of those are:

** spoiler omitted **

I like that last part. I recently had a player death and I required a sacrifice in order for reincarnate to work. Sure, spell doesn't say it, but why else aren't old kings being reincarnated?

I've also described the process of a player's character becoming a Petitioner after his death, after the party didn't rez him (they secretly hated his character).

Oh yeah.

Players: “Hey Bob, we have to go on a quest for about 4 nites of gaming in order to raise you, so I guess you can just stay home or you can play my Mount.”

Bob: “yeah, sounds like real fun. Look, instead- here’s Knuckles the 87th , go ahead and loot Knuckles the 86th body. He's got some cool stuff."

The whole idea of “death should mean something” becomes meaningless when we all realize that D&D is a Game, Games should be Fun, and in order to have Fun you have to Play. Thereby, when a Player’s PC dies either you Raise him or he brings in another. Raising is preferable story-wise, and costs resources. Bringing in another costs continuity and actually increases party wealth. Not to mention, instead of an organic played-from-1st-PC we have a PC generated at that level, which can lead to some odd min/maxing.

The third alternative is “Sorry Bob, Knuckles is dead. You’re out of the campaign, we’ll let you know when the next one is starting, should be in about a year or so.’ Really?

Or you can introduce temporary replacement characters that the player can run until their PC is revived. Or you can run a side story about the afterlife. Or you can let a PC run a cohort for a while. Or it can take only a single session to resolve.

There are far more options here for than you'd like to present to support your argument.

That said, there are a number of approaches to death in Pathfinder - choose the one that best fits your game. In my campaign death is a serious thing. The afterlife is not something that...

I did present those. I did say Mount as opposed to cohort, but honestly neither is much fun for me. Too much "you wouldnt do that" or "My cohort doesn;t act liek that" or even accidentally killing off someones beloved cohort.

Single session isnt as bad as four sessions, sure, but it's still a nite where he's not playing.

And you should know that running Pre-gen characters is generally recognized as "not much fun".

So, none of your "options' are much fun for me. Would they be fun for you?


I'm not sure what you want from me DrDeth.

I've explained there are options outside of those you presented - cohorts (your own or your allies), NPC allies, replacement PCs, events in the afterlife, and rapid resolution. You addressed two flippantly. There is a huge difference between playing a cohort and playing an animal. One is capable of interacting in almost every scene and capable of speech. Another is not.

Replacement PCs are not pre-gens. They are characters you can create and introduce in the game. At higher levels this can be done in any number of ways. When I lost a long running PC I had four or five different ways to introduce a character until the PC was restored - allies from organizations she was part of, locals, prisoners of enemies, and so forth. These characters could have each also been build with a trap-door to leave when she was restored to life (as was the case).

As for sitting out a session - or the rest of the session - that is rarely an ideal option, but it is something that comes up even without death. Numerous non-death spells exist that can result in players sitting out a session or most of one. Even more than that, getting knocked out of a single combat can sometimes mean sitting out most of a session. Honestly my preference is to usually keep NPCs around in one form or another that a PC can run to stay involved in the game.

I conceded that there are other options beyond meaningful death and mentioned I saw nothing wrong with those options if you and your group prefer them. The key is finding something that works for your game. If a revolving door of resurrection is something that bothers you there are ways to remove it. If it doesnt then don't touch it.

As for much fun - I played a replacement character for a year when my longest running PC (5 years) drew a void card from a deck of many things. I would have preferred my original PC during that time, but I was able to enjoy the alternative. During that time the GM ran some PBP so I could play out the character's experiences. On the whole it was turned into a good experience that allowed for some dynamic character growth, the introduction of an interesting character that then became an NPC, and and what was overall a good experience made out of a bad.

That experience allowed for the creation of two entirely new campaign arcs and the introduction of a new major villain for the PCs to oppose.


@DrDeth: What I was meaning was something like the Deadlands Quest in... Well I can't remember the game...

But basically your character dies his faction resurrects him but in order to be allowed to by the god of death you have to complete the quest otherwise you retain a status effect making you weaker to non-undead.

Not a quest for the survivors but for the entire party. So they can immediately resurrect their party member but in exchange must agree to help a god or such.

And what I was thinking for the Player's Book is a selection of options that make those levels a bit more interesting and info to help Players learn what those levels mean from their perspective. While the GM Side helps with tips for higher level campaigns.


Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
DeathQuaker wrote:
Vic Wertz wrote:

Here are some of my thoughts regarding a high-level play book (presented in the order they came into my head, which should not be equated with significance):

We have a limited number of slots for rulebooks each year, so we have to be careful about how we fill them. Given the choice between a book that will appeal to everyone and a book that will appeal to a subset of everyone, we're almost always going to go with the former.

In my personal opinion, high-level play is the least fun part of the game. Publishing a book that focuses entirely on the least fun part of our game is not on the top of my to-do list.

Now, I think it would be *great* if we could do a book that made high-level play *more* fun, but our supplementary rulebooks *augment* the core rules—they don't rewrite them. And I genuinely believe that in order to make high-level play more fun, we would have to change the existing rules—and probably pretty dramatically. Without changing the rules, I think Mythic comes pretty close to what we can achieve in making high-level play (of a sort, anyway) more fun.

Note that I'm speaking for myself here, and others have other views. Which is to say that my arguments against such a book here don't mean that we won't eventually do one.

Wow. Understanding it's merely personal opinion, it's both surprising and disappointing to see a Paizo staff member show so very little confidence in one of its most important products. Saying, well we made a game but part of it isn't fun to me is basically an admission of failure.

And it's an admission of failure that I strongly disagree with. Even given that "fun" is different for everyone, I'm tempted even to declare it flat out wrong.

When the Pathfinder Core Rulebook first came out,the VERY first thing I did was convert the high level 3.5 game I was running to Pathfinder. The first thing I did as a Pathfinder GM was run it from level 15-19. And holy COW was it a f$*!ing blast! Challenging? Absolutely. Could we use some support to help make it even more fun and less hard on GMs? I think so. Do we need to fundamentally rewrite core to make it work? That is the most ridiculous notion I've ever read on these boards, and I've read a lot of ridiculous notions on this board. God no. Sure, in the distant future when Pathfinder 2 comes to be, I hope that core does make things work even better at all its levels of play. But it does work now, and while sure, high level play isn't everyone's cup of tea, it is a lot of people's, and far more than I think you give credit for.

That you write off a whole chunk of the game as unfun and unsupportable is so so very sad, and shows so little faith in your own product. I hope you get the opportunity to play at high levels with a good GM and have someone change your mind.

I dont think Vic's stated opinion was that high level play isn't fun, but merely that it isn't as much fun as low level pathfinder. You mention that your high level PF game was a blast, do you think that the lower levels are equally good? To turn it around - if someone happens to think that low level play isnt as much fun as high level games and would prefer more high level support products, I dont think that's equivalent to them saying "low level play is unfun and unsupportable".

.
Whilst I share Vic's opinion of high level Pathfinder being less fun than low level, I disagree that the best response to that is to not publish a high level book. I actually think a "How to run high level games" book is more desirable if high level play is deemed to be inherently less fun. I could use some tips to show me how to make it more fun that I dont really need for levels 1-5 (my preferred level range).

Of course, I'm not looking for changes or tweaks to the rules the way Vic seemed to assume would be required. I'm rather looking for guidance and advice on how to use the current rules appropriately - something akin to the upcoming Strategy Guide but specifically geared towards DMs transitioning their campaign to high level play.


@Steve Geddes:
My biggest problem is figuring out how to use the rules to make unique challenges for the players. Tips on that would be handy. So far one of mine involves an Anti-Magic field that weakens magic items and weakens spells combined with an encounter around the CR the Party is meant to encounter as a normal encounter made up of the enemies typically common to the lower levels.


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Pathfinder Maps, Starfinder Maps Subscriber
Azaelas Fayth wrote:
@Steve Geddes: My biggest problem is figuring out how to use the rules to make unique challenges for the players. Tips on that would be handy. So far one of mine involves an Anti-Magic field that weakens magic items and weakens spells combined with an encounter around the CR the Party is meant to encounter as a normal encounter made up of the enemies typically common to the lower levels.

For me, the main problem with high level play is speed (the underlying cause of which is complexity). We're most comfortable with old-school games where we get through half a dozen to a dozen fights in an evening, irrespective of level. As we get up to eighth level or so, counting up all our bonuses and making all our choices takes us noticably longer. We've also run into the situation of setting up a scenario only to find the PCs have some spell or strategy which defeats the whole premise in one, rather anticlimactic shot.

.
The first is probably not something a book can help (it's likely that high level modern games just arent our thing), but I have a feeling that advice on the second would at least help make the slower combats worthwhile.

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