Magic: The Actual Problems


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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So it seems after all,the answer to the OP's question is probably that Magic has no "Actual problem",just a perceived one.
Pathfinder has taken the "kitchen sink" approach to game design...Giving players everything they need to do almost any kind of game they want.
There's a kind of beauty in that level of convolution...like chess games,almost no two are the same.
Or complex literature which causes the reader to notice different things upon re-reading it.
It's like that with the problems in PF.
It's beyond right or wrong,not broken,but likely "unfixable" :)
At least to group consensus :P


Orfamay Quest wrote:
Kain Darkwind wrote:

Negative levels is a great example of the asymmetrical nature of magic vs martial combat.

A creature that has been reduced in hit points, but not brought below 0 fights exactly as fiercely (barring self preservation instinct) as one at full hit points.

Agreed, but I think that that's actually a good thing against the background of the rest of the rules. Otherwise the barbarian, who is taking hit point damage on a fairly regular basis, would be fighting at 2/3 of his already low-level of effectiveness all the time, while the wizard, who goes out of his way to treasure both of his hit points, will still be slinging spells.

Yes, the lack of HP damage death spirals is a good thing.

The presence of ability damage/drain and negative energy death spirals is a bad thing for all the same reasons.

If you really value the fun of not having death spirals you should remove all self-stacking debuffs and apply the buff stacking limitations to debuffs.


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Larkspire wrote:
So it seems after all, the answer to the OP's question is probably that Magic has no "Actual problem", just a perceived one.

I'd say it's an actual problem that exists in some people's games and not in others, due to different playing styles.


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Wizards aren't nearly as weak at low levels anymore...the bigger HD and FCB go a long way,all of the school and bloodline abilities make them useful for a much larger part of the adventuring day,due to being able to save spells.
I like the improvements myself...and while martials do alot of DMG,Wizards aren't wimps anymore.


Atarlost wrote:


Yes, the lack of HP damage death spirals is a good thing.

The presence of ability damage/drain and negative energy death spirals is a bad thing for all the same reasons.

Fortunately, there generally aren't ability damage or negative energy death spirals, because monsters that do those are rare enough the spiral doesn't occur. Unless you're in the Maze of Endless Lamias, the ability damage you take in the first encounter won't be built upon in the second and subsequent encounters.


Knowledge ruins everything. I used to enjoy the heck out of some Star Trek until I learned all the ways the science was terrible. Coincidentally, build advice forums that let you know various character designs and concepts, like the rogue, are just underpowered or overshadowed tends to ruin a lot of GoodRightFun.

Anyways, I don't THINK I need to run down the list of how support caster + martial beats 2 Doom Casters in the Race for the Magic Wool; so I'll just point out that the party barbarian who collects trophies still seems to be having fun with his highest kill count.


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Kthulhu wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
I also think you have the wrong end of the stick -- the solution to martials being weaker than casters should not be to weaken casters but to strengthen martials.

I disagree. I think mid-to-high level spellcasters have gotten so ridiculously overpowered that they NEED nerfing, regardless of how substantial a boost you give martials. Some of the mid-to-high level powers that spellcasters get don't just make them much more powerful than martial characters, they actually tend to make adventures both hard to design, and much more boring.

A large part of my solution would be to bring back some of the inherent weaknesses of spellcasting that the 3rd edition develops threw away when they decided to make it the Caster Edition.

More or less what I am doing in homebrew. Some of the AD&D restrictions are coming back along with AD&D magic item creation rules.


Giving martials a boost up with easier move and full attack and looser FAQ ruling might be good thing. Do we want high level combats to be all rocket tag? This can be fun and is more so if all have rockets.

In the grand scheme of things I do not really think that martials need much help in a tactical sense. They need access to divination and transport and conjuration. I am not say these need to be magic but something that grants them narrative options.

On a different not I would love to see not using magic be rewarded. A high level fighter with no buff spells and no item can just laugh at puny magic that comes his way. Things that target HP work normally.

Maybe a bonus to saves or SR that is quite high but reduces by 1 per spell and item that you have. This bonus is reduced also by the level of your highest level spell slot.


SoDs tend to be very effective in the games that I run when a PC builds around it. Often Mooks need a 17+ to save and BBEG need a 12+.

What if your highest level spells took a 1 round cast time and the next level down was full round casts? Normal after that.

Color spray would be almost impossible to use with a 1 round casting time but I can see a fighter carrying a wizard to the right spot to cast the spell from. Buffing would still be great but that really favors martials since they get the most from a buff most times.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 16, 2012 Top 32

When I read the name of this thread, I was hoping Magic: The Actual Problems would be a spin-off version of Magic: The Gathering that uses nothing but reprints of cards that are known to be broken.


Devil's Advocate wrote:
When I read the name of this thread, I was hoping Magic: The Actual Problems would be a spin-off version of Magic: The Gathering that uses nothing but reprints of cards that are known to be broken.

Who is this guy?


Devil's Advocate wrote:
When I read the name of this thread, I was hoping Magic: The Actual Problems would be a spin-off version of Magic: The Gathering that uses nothing but reprints of cards that are known to be broken.

That would be ugly. They'd have to make moxes and the lotus common because there would be no lands, but the 4 like non-land cards rule would still make decks catastrophically luck dependent.

Paizo Glitterati Robot

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Removed some posts. Personal insults and edition war baiting isn't OK here. Also, flouncing out of a thread is a great way to stir drama, so let's not do that. Be cool to each other, please.


I apologize for anything I might have contributed! Sorry! :(


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On the thread's general level of behavior.:
I understand that personal attacks are always bad. If you have to result to personal insults, it demonstrates a possible inability in your argument to stand on it's own. It's also just rude.

I don't know that much of it is edition baiting. Some is, but many are talking about the changes between editions that allowed certain play styles (or in some cases certain styles of game) to more accurately be emulated. You have to actually be able to discuss those differences to discuss possible changes in home games.

That said, I'm with Chris. No matter my natural behavioral inclination as a person, I try to ascribe to the Bill and Ted Philosopy of "Be Excellent to one another and Party On."

On changes to make to better fit certain types of games...:
All these are quick and dirty without a lot of thought... I'd consider one thing or another, but not more than one thing at a time. (And, yes, I've borrowed these ideas from other places more often than not. I cite my sources when I can remember, but I usually can't.)

Home brew things to nerf casters:

  • (Leave everything the same but) Institute sanity and ability damage for higher level spells like in Call of Cthulhu. (Someone already mentioned this.) or...
  • (Leave everything the same but) Institute a spell failure chance for all spells at 5% per level of the spell. 5% for a 1st level to 45% for a 9th level. Reduce this by 1% per rank in spellcraft. So since you've practiced casting spells, it gets a little harder to fail. (This kind of simulates the unpredictability of magic, with a possible wild magic event on a 1% roll. 1 out of 100 isn't bad, right? What's a wild magic event? Refer to the rod of wonder or look any other of a bajillion home brew tables...) or...
  • (Leaving the class chassis alone) Nerf or remove individual spells. (Not my favorite, but I've done it occasionally.) or...
  • Give spells mundane weaknesses. For example, maybe thematically Hold Person actually pins your shadow in place so that you cannot move. Have a strength check to remove the physical object pinning your shadow to the ground or a buddy uses a bright enough light source to move your shadow. Maybe throwing salt over your shoulder negates minor curse effects, like Misfortune. Maybe water grounds out most normal applications of magic, like in the Dresden Files. Create a theme and go with it. Just understand that many players will still look for ways to use the system to their advantage. We are the species who invented lawyers after all...

    These I would consider more than one, possibly all at once...

    Home brew things to boost martials:

  • A mechanic that lets them attack as they move allowing striking many opponents throughout a movement.
  • Make combat maneuvers only provoke an AoO if you miss. (Evil Lincoln suggestion.)
  • Iterative attacks only take the penalty once. A 20th level fighter, for example would be +20/+15/+15/+15. (3.5 Rebuild Compendium)
  • Just give fighters a good will save and mettle, probably around 3rd level. (To emulate the better saves of AD&D.)
  • Give martials better debuffs. Make poisons cheaper. Make more poisons with sickened or shaken or fatigue. Give everybody the ability to acquire special strikes like hamstringing for a hefty penalty on movement, or crippling strike for strength damage, much earlier.

    Then again, I'm all for...

  • Scaling feats.
  • Skills that do more.
  • Giving everyone that's not an Int based class at least four skill points per level.
  • Psionics.

    Which makes me want to tangentalize a bit.

    Using spell points, you could take away free scaling and make a caster pay for more powerful effects. Wizards would still "prepare" spells in that they would allocate spell points at the beginning of the day and determine how many they would invest in a single effect. You could also remove metamagic entirely and make them components of spellcasting, because you've got a cap now on how much magical energy they can channel (no more than caster level number of points in an effect, like psionics.)

    I really ought to just go through the homebrew boards, collect all the fixes I like and iron that into one cohesive whole. I'd steal kirthfinder in it's entirety, but the most recent incarnation I've found online is a few years old and according to the Kirthfinder thread, they've got several updates they only seem to share among themselves... :'(

    I wonder what kind of bribe it would take to talk TOZ into updating it?


  • Te'Shen wrote:

    I'd steal kirthfinder in it's entirety, but the most recent incarnation I've found online is a few years old and according to the Kirthfinder thread, they've got several updates they only seem to share among themselves... :'(

    I wonder what kind of bribe it would take to talk TOZ into updating it?

    Spoiler your email addy (or PM it to me) and I'll send you a copy of the latest. TOZ isn't posting updates because he and I are leary of giving the appearance of any kind of ongoing copyright challenges to any of the source material.


    Charender wrote:

    The bigger point is that a level 4 spell Dimensional Anchor is capable of defeating level 5 or higher spells like teleport.

    By RAW, you can easily stop players from using scry and fry with just Unhallow, Dimensional Anchor and lead sheeting

    Which is useful. But it's "this stops them porting into the castle" useful. It's not "this stops them teleporting past the desert" territory.


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    Zalman wrote:
    If your players expect Scrye to bypass all by-the-book limitations, or in general expect than any power available to them has a "reasonable chance of success" in every -- or even most -- cases ... I don't even know what to say about that, other than it's a perfect example of the new school of thought that I see as a social phenomenon. It also makes me shudder a bit, personally, which is a matter of taste, of course.

    This is you taking something someone said and extrapolating it to an extreme they didn't. There is a significant difference between "I learned the scry spell and I expect it to solve all problems" and "I learned the scry spell and I expect it to be a useful addition to our toolset, somewhat proportionate with the cost and opportunity cost of acquiring it".

    Scry doesn't have to work all the time. Nothing does! But if it's never any use because the GM hates scry, then they shouldn't have left the spell in in the first place.

    Charender wrote:

    The problem with that approach is when teleporting into Mordor is either A. not possible by the rules or B. a really bad idea because that is exactly was the villain is expecting.

    If you are dealing with a smart opponent, then you have to assume that they have through of the easy and obvious things, and try the things they may not think of, like say sneaking into Mordor the back way through a deathtrap guarded by a giant demon spider.

    As an aside, painting Sauron as a "smart opponent" is pretty dubious. Sauron isn't, by that war at least. He's just got an effectively infinite horde of orcs.

    Beyond that, this seems like you taking something and extrapolating it to an unwarranted extreme.

    It's reasonable to assume that Mordor has security features to make teleporting in difficult. You could expect fortresses to be warded from teleportation and scrying. You can expect mount doom itself to be warded and surrounded by fortresses. You can expect there to be lots of orcs and security protocols that will make moving around difficult. Yay, fun times. Of course Mordor has defences - it must do! Otherwise there is no game!

    It's somewhat less reasonable to say that the entire country of Mordor has been permanently teleport locked. Is that feasible for Sauron? And if it is, given game mechanics, is it possible for Sauron to have that much power AND be a smart opponent without just annihilating the PCs? But still, some people would roll with it.

    It's not reasonable to say that the teleport-lock extends as far north as Rivendell, and as far west as the sea. If this campaign is about getting a ring to Mordor, and at no point will teleport be allowed to work, then don't let the wizard take teleport. Just make it clear from the off that it isn't part of the game or planning. Don't let them buy a thing you already know can never be used in any way without warning them.

    Assuming you leave it in and allow it to do something in game, maybe the PCs can't teleport to Mordor. But that doesn't make walking all the way there the smart option. They could teleport to Gondor, and see what you they do from there. In character, it's exactly the same as walking, but it saved them a whole lot of time and was a lot less dangerous, which in character makes it a better option. And since they're going into friendly territory, there shouldn't be any trap issues. Or maybe they could teleport somewhere the other side of Mordor, see if they can't sneak in through the other borders that might be less guarded.


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    Charender wrote:
    B. I have already pointed out multiples ways to stop scry and fry by RAW. Apparently having a evil wizard with superhuman intelligence actually act like a person with superhuman intelligence is somehow trying to screw the players.

    I think the problem here is that the original question was "why would they go on a long desert trek full of danger when they could just teleport past it?" Note that "just teleport past the desert" is not the same as "scry and fry the final boss". They might teleport past the desert and then have to get into the bosses base using other methods.

    You're talking about warding the bosses base like it's reasonable, and it is. But teleporting past the desert rather than taking a long, potentially dangerous, and really itchy journey is also reasonable. If the boss can't teleport-trap an area the size of the desert then teleport is till a better idea than walking. And if the boss is smart and can teleport-trap an area the size of the desert, then there's no reasonable plan for the PCs - they're going to lose and there's no point even trying to take that boss down.

    Basically, if you have teleport and long range scrying the "long desert journey" campaign is pretty much out. And as long as everyone knows that it doesn't have to be a problem. But if the GM is like "oh no, I statted out this entire desert because it had not occurred to me that you would bypass it with teleport! Now that you have decided to use the spell that is part of your class mechanics and hence something I tacitly approved when you chose the spell, I will punish you!" well, that's bad.


    Lucy_Valentine wrote:
    Charender wrote:

    The bigger point is that a level 4 spell Dimensional Anchor is capable of defeating level 5 or higher spells like teleport.

    By RAW, you can easily stop players from using scry and fry with just Unhallow, Dimensional Anchor and lead sheeting

    Which is useful. But it's "this stops them porting into the castle" useful. It's not "this stops them teleporting past the desert" territory.

    Yep.

    Modern story analogy: The Incredible Journey/Road Trip story doesn't happen if the modern-day bounty-hunter-adventurer character can buy a plane ticket. If your reason for not allowing a plane ticket/airplane theft is too convoluted, you're probably doing it wrong.

    But there are other considerations, for example the scry-and-fry doesn't work in the first place because even at level 9, chances are your party will f-in' lose when you teleport to the Black Sovereign's Citadel of Sorrow. And if you do so for a sneak'n'peek you'll still end up on his radar. The party WANTS to take the itchy desert trek because there's XP piñatas in them thar dunes.

    Honestly, I never take scry or expect it to be useful because I almost never know who the actual target is until said target is either big'n'scary enough to follow the scry back to me or right in my face because we finally found him by walking into his slightly-telegraphed but still unavoidable trap. Or most likely of all, I can't learn anything useful because there's nothing useful to be learned about the target. I mean, most adventure paths are written with a certain "murderhobo meander" to them. You find the plot by either getting a big-ass hook in your face or tripping and falling over the successive speed bumps.

    But I'm not sure what our original point was now, where were we?


    here are the list of problem abilities i have seen, whether they are spells or passive abilities or whatever, spells offer access more reliably to more people

    1. Teleportation and its derivatives, essentially why the fast travel option ruined Skyrim and Viki Suikoden. while Viki is my favorite Suikoden character, being able to ignore multiple weeks of travel is a potent ability that can kill plots

    2. Flight and most other special movement modes, the majority of these kill any sense of ability for martials to contribute, usually taking them down to easily deniable readied actions or using a weapon they are ill fit to utilize

    3. incorporeality/ethereality, being able to phase through walls like Catherine Pride is a power that again, denies martial characters the ability to contribute, because most of the time, this is often combined with spring attacking undead that kill you while ignoring your HP and targeting a much lower resource, like your level or charisma score

    4. truesight, darkvision, blindsight and most other special senses. effectively, humans have to waste a hand holding a torch underground while nobody else does, and combat always requires the use of both hands, guess you can take a feat or two to use the torch as an off hand weapon. if humans are the baseline, why is everybody armed with some special sense, these things are handed out like candy

    5. scrying, far sight, clairvoyance, telepathy and most divination related things, effectively, you can milk information from the dungeon master before you adventure. which gives a huge bonus in preparing for what you are about to face, knowledge and preperation IS the entire battle

    6. conditions that bypass hit points and take the character out of the fight, like charming a character to surrender, using fear on the enemy warrior, or even, using ability damage or negative levels to wound a foe, these things all give significant tactical advantage to those that afflict these conditions

    7. attacks that target touch AC, effectively ignoring ninety percent of the martial defenses and disallowing saving throws, hitting a monk's touch AC requires a roll of 2 from a wizard with a dexterity penalty to his touch attacks because touch attacks are a joke

    8. abilities that add extra combatants, like most summons. extra actions wreck fights

    9. abilities that add additional chances for enemy chances to miss, or force stuff like roll twice and take the lower or whatever.


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    Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:

    here are the list of problem abilities i have seen, whether they are spells or passive abilities or whatever, spells offer access more reliably to more people

    1. Teleportation and its derivatives, essentially why the fast travel option ruined Skyrim and Viki Suikoden. while Viki is my favorite Suikoden character, being able to ignore multiple weeks of travel is a potent ability that can kill plots

    2. Flight and most other special movement modes, the majority of these kill any sense of ability for martials to contribute, usually taking them down to easily deniable readied actions or using a weapon they are ill fit to utilize

    3. incorporeality/ethereality, being able to phase through walls like Catherine Pride is a power that again, denies martial characters the ability to contribute, because most of the time, this is often combined with spring attacking undead that kill you while ignoring your HP and targeting a much lower resource, like your level or charisma score

    4. truesight, darkvision, blindsight and most other special senses. effectively, humans have to waste a hand holding a torch underground while nobody else does, and combat always requires the use of both hands, guess you can take a feat or two to use the torch as an off hand weapon. if humans are the baseline, why is everybody armed with some special sense, these things are handed out like candy

    5. scrying, far sight, clairvoyance, telepathy and most divination related things, effectively, you can milk information from the dungeon master before you adventure. which gives a huge bonus in preparing for what you are about to face, knowledge and preperation IS the entire battle

    6. conditions that bypass hit points and take the character out of the fight, like charming a character to surrender, using fear on the enemy warrior, or even, using ability damage or negative levels to wound a foe, these things all give significant tactical advantage to those that afflict these conditions

    7. attacks that target touch AC, effectively ignoring...

    Creation/summon effects as well, for at least some builds. It's difficult to deprive a sorcerer of the vast majority of her power, and any Bat-wizard will have the ability to fabricate almost anything he needs. If you want to run some sort of you're-imprisoned-and-need-to-find-equipment or you're-shipwrecked-and-have-only-what-you-rescued-from-the-ship, these plots rather fail.

    That said, I don't think that these are "problems" as much as "level-inappropriate plots." Teleport isn't a problem, but expecting to run The Incredible Road Trip in the face of teleportation magic is.


    There are many popular plots that require the absence of long range teleportation. There are no popular plots that require its presence. That tells me that we'd be better off without it at any level.


    Atarlost wrote:
    There are many popular plots that require the absence of long range teleportation. There are no popular plots that require its presence. That tells me that we'd be better off without it at any level.

    There are many popular encounters that are messed up by the fireball spell. Have you seen what it does to a horde of goblins?

    There are no popular encounters that require fireball's presence.

    That tells me that we'd be better off without it at any level.

    And so on for 90% of the content in the game...


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    Atarlost wrote:
    There are many popular plots that require the absence of long range teleportation. There are no popular plots that require its presence. That tells me that we'd be better off without it at any level.

    The same could be said of airplanes. Should we ban airplanes from fiction as well?


    I think a big part of the problem is the world most fantasy games are set in. Galorian is a good example of this and the APs reinforce it.

    Boots of teleportation can be made by a 5th level expert and money. You can buy 5 ships for the price. 2.5 if you only pay the craft cost. 1.25 using magical capital and little more then half with focus overseer to buy capital at 1/4 instead of 1/2.

    Using other magic to boost carrying capacity and this method of shipping is far far better then a ship. Yet the AP assumes enough merchant shipping for their to be a whole nation or pirates. Why ever would shippers who can easily afford teleport shipping and have no problems finding someone who can make it ever use a ship.

    Passengers and exploration still need ships but why do they not fly?
    A 5th level adept can craft a construct. Another can provide the CL. What level is need to get a CL 11. 8 is just a trait and feat.

    Several solutions exist but published material does not even try an talk about them. It should.

    Throwing out a few ideas that would make difference.
    1. Make ships faster. 48 miles/day is well below historic ships. Columbus did 150.
    2. Make ships carry more. I think that the devs based cargo on the Caravel instead of the carrack. These ships carried 5 times as much.
    3. Have magic effect ships. An ant haul effect would go far here.
    Permanent gust of wind tied to the ship. Extra dimensional holds.

    The problem is that at some point it no longer feels like a tall ship with magic but a modern or futuristic cargo ship. Once we reach that point we need to stop or make cheaper to build and run more ships then to make one carry more.

    Once we know what that point is me need to change the rules of magic so it can not out do a ship. Just some thoughts. Use any and all.

    1. Teleport is 10 miles per CL instead of 100.
    2. Teleport can only lift 100 pounds per CL
    3. CL is a hard limit on magic items.
    4. Make magic capital hard to stockpile.
    5. Teleported raw materials and foodstuffs do not teleport well.
    6. Require HD to equal CL to use a magic item.
    7. ED spaces do not teleport well.

    Grand Lodge

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    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:
    h4. truesight, darkvision, blindsight and most other special senses. effectively, humans have to waste a hand holding a torch underground while nobody else does, and combat always requires the use of both hands, guess you can take a feat or two to use the torch as an off hand weapon. if humans are the baseline, why is everybody armed with some special sense, these things are handed out like candy

    When it comes to dungeons, elves, haflings, and anyone else who has only low-light vision is in the exact same boat. Not everyone runs parties composed solely of tieflings, dwarves, and aasimar.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Mathius wrote:

    I think a big part of the problem is the world most fantasy games are set in. Galorian is a good example of this and the APs reinforce it.

    Boots of teleportation can be made by a 5th level expert and money.

    True... by a fifth level expert created by a rules crunching munchkin, and given money that most NPC's of that level never see. The D20 ruleset was created to run wargames, not simulate economies.


    Mathius wrote:
    Why ever would shippers who can easily afford teleport shipping and have no problems finding someone who can make it ever use a ship.

    If we decouple gold from magic items, a lot of this problem vanishes. Maybe a person can only use his WBL worth of items, or else they don't function for him because he doesn't have enough personal "mojo" to get them to work. Now you've only got a handful of people who can even use long-distance teleportation magic, so it's for sure not going to be in use for routine shipping.


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    LazarX wrote:
    The D20 ruleset was created to run wargames, not simulate economies.

    This. A thousand times this. You don't even need to look at minimaxing casters to see how the economic system fails.

    It's basically impossible to be "poor" in Pathfinder. If you do them maths, any measurable level of any useful skill gives you an "average" lifestyle. The standard trope of starving sons of toil buried under tons of soil? Doesn't hold up if you crunch the numbers.

    The problems with mundane (or alchemical) crafting are well-established.

    Et cetera, et cetera. If you want a realistic economy, you need to throw out the D20 system altogether. Or you need to handwave away the fact that Golarion itself was broken before the first caster even appeared. In neither case is your problem with the caster.

    Grand Lodge

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    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Orfamay Quest wrote:
    LazarX wrote:
    The D20 ruleset was created to run wargames, not simulate economies.

    This. A thousand times this. You don't even need to look at minimaxing casters to see how the economic system fails.

    It's basically impossible to be "poor" in Pathfinder. If you do them maths, any measurable level of any useful skill gives you an "average" lifestyle. The standard trope of starving sons of toil buried under tons of soil? Doesn't hold up if you crunch the numbers.

    The problems with mundane (or alchemical) crafting are well-established.

    Et cetera, et cetera. If you want a realistic economy, you need to throw out the D20 system altogether. Or you need to handwave away the fact that Golarion itself was broken before the first caster even appeared. In neither case is your problem with the caster.

    The problem is the player trying to play Papers and Paychecks, or Peasants and Plowshares, instead of Dungeons and Dragons, or Pathfinder. The world is designed as a stage for adventure and story, if you want to play Economics 101, there ARE better games for that.

    One really has to ask, does it matter? One can just accept that the world DOES run the way it does with needs for shipping and caravans and not try to analyze the death of why the world isn't run as MunchkinLand.


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    LazarX wrote:
    One really has to ask, does it matter? One can just accept that the world DOES run the way it does with needs for shipping and caravans and not try to analyze the death of why the world isn't run as MunchkinLand.

    Depends on the player/group. My favorite games are ones in which an inconsistency is a clue, and clues enable you to figure out what's going on enough to develop a strategy to keep yourself alive. In games like that, the fact that teleportation is cheap, but everyone ignores it in favor of ships, is an inconsistency. Ideally, it would be a clue -- maybe teleports are being redirected, but there's a cover-up. Maybe if we figured out where and why, we'd have a big leg up on the BBEG.

    Yeah, a lot of groups don't care -- they just want to follow the railroad and kill some monsters. That's all good for them.

    But when the game mechanics force you to use a certain playstyle for them to work at all, that suggests to me that something isn't right.


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    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    LazarX wrote:
    One really has to ask, does it matter? One can just accept that the world DOES run the way it does with needs for shipping and caravans and not try to analyze the death of why the world isn't run as MunchkinLand.

    Depends on the player/group. My favorite games are ones in which an inconsistency is a clue, and clues enable you to figure out what's going on enough to develop a strategy to keep yourself alive. In games like that, the fact that teleportation is cheap, but everyone ignores it in favor of ships, is an inconsistency. Ideally, it would be a clue -- maybe teleports are being redirected, but there's a cover-up. Maybe if we figured out where and why, we'd have a big leg up on the BBEG.

    Yeah, a lot of groups don't care -- they just want to follow the railroad and kill some monsters. That's all good for them.

    But when the game mechanics force you to use a certain playstyle for them to work at all, that suggests to me that something isn't right.

    I think perhaps the problem lies with the game mechanics attempting to cater to a variety of gaming styles and requirements, and then the worlds try to shoehorn in these mechanics right out of the box. They do not adjust for excessive magic or teleporing removing the need for caravans and so forth.

    That is the reason for GMs and for players to work together to make the world make sense to them, for their needs. A box of nails and a hammer are tools just like game mechanics, and you can do a lot of things with them. The trick is to do the things you want with them and not the things you do not.


    Orfamy: You are correct but I think the rules should reflect why it is not easy for someone with a lot of money but only a few levels use magic to change to world.

    Or change the demographics section so that we know dang well that most towns do not have access to 3rd level spells.

    5th level characters are not that uncommon but 9th level ones are.

    If you had to be 9th level to use boots of teleportation then many of issues go away.


    Mathius wrote:
    If you had to be 9th level to use boots of teleportation then many of issues go away.

    More or less exactly what I was saying above.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    LazarX wrote:
    One really has to ask, does it matter? One can just accept that the world DOES run the way it does with needs for shipping and caravans and not try to analyze the death of why the world isn't run as MunchkinLand.

    Depends on the player/group. My favorite games are ones in which an inconsistency is a clue, and clues enable you to figure out what's going on enough to develop a strategy to keep yourself alive. In games like that, the fact that teleportation is cheap, but everyone ignores it in favor of ships, is an inconsistency. Ideally, it would be a clue -- maybe teleports are being redirected, but there's a cover-up. Maybe if we figured out where and why, we'd have a big leg up on the BBEG.

    Yeah, a lot of groups don't care -- they just want to follow the railroad and kill some monsters. That's all good for them.

    But when the game mechanics force you to use a certain playstyle for them to work at all, that suggests to me that something isn't right.

    Teleportation may be cheap but it is RISKY. Teleporting to a seacoast town 1000 miles away, and there's a chance that you and your good will wind up in the middle of the ocean. It's also something not simply available if you go by the classic lore that not every idiot can sign up to be a wizard.

    And it's never been cheap in the worlds I've run.


    LazarX wrote:
    Teleporting to a seacoast town 1000 miles away, and there's a chance that you and your good will wind up in the middle of the ocean.

    If the chance of losing a shipment to teleport mishap is less than the chance of losing a shipment to a sunken ship, that logic isn't really compelling. And if the chance of losing a ship is that small, presumably the world is a safe place with no need for adventurers.

    And, yes, you can jack up all magic item prices by 100x and reduce the listed availability by 90% -- but doing so is specifically nerfing magic, which is what we're talking about.

    Grand Lodge

    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
    knightnday wrote:
    I think perhaps the problem lies with the game mechanics attempting to cater to a variety of gaming styles and requirements, and then the worlds try to shoehorn in these mechanics right out of the box. They do not adjust for excessive magic or teleporing removing the need for caravans and so forth.

    That's only a problem if you insist on building your worlds with so much magic that it does become excessive. Golarion as written isn't one of those worlds. It may not be Greyhawk, but it certainly isn't the Forgotten Realms, where one out of every two taverns will have a drunken archmage passed out in it.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    LazarX wrote:
    Teleporting to a seacoast town 1000 miles away, and there's a chance that you and your good will wind up in the middle of the ocean.
    If the chance of losing a shipment to teleport mishap is less than the chance of losing a shipment to a sunken ship, that logic isn't really compelling. And if the chance of losing a ship is that small, presumably the world is a safe place with no need for adventurers.

    The chance of a catastrophic failure of teleportation indeed would be lower than the historically attested chance per voyage of losing a trading ship was in our real, kraken-free oceans.

    (going off VOC data, which I familiarized myself with a while ago for another one of these discussions).

    Trading ships do, however, have a number of other advantages compared to teleportation.


    Coriat: What advantages does it have that would account for their being a significant number of cargo ships sailing around?

    I do not mean this as snark, if teleport trade and cargo ships both exist in the world that is fine.


    Orfamay Quest wrote:

    It's basically impossible to be "poor" in Pathfinder. If you do them maths, any measurable level of any useful skill gives you an "average" lifestyle. The standard trope of starving sons of toil buried under tons of soil? Doesn't hold up if you crunch the numbers.

    It looks to me like it's still possible to be poor under Pathfinder rules.

    For example, let's say you have no ranks in any profession or craft skills (assumption: people do not choose what they get skill ranks in - these are chosen by GMs/players/gods/luck - any more than a peasant can choose to be an Alchemist instead of a Commoner).
    You have a family - children, elderly parents, etc. - who depend upon your income to survive.
    And at some point in the past, you had to borrow money - to buy your house, or pay someone to cast Remove Disease on your dying son, or to support yourself after you broke your leg - and now have interest payments to keep up with.
    Pretty sure the 'average lifestyle' is no longer available to you.
    And that's if you're not paying taxes, contributing protection money to the mob, trying to put money aside for emergencies...


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    Quote:

    Coriat: What advantages does it have that would account for their being a significant number of cargo ships sailing around?

    I do not mean this as snark, if teleport trade and cargo ships both exist in the world that is fine.

    There are a number of trade goods that are simply more amenable to shipping than to teleportation. Timber, for example.

    Any shipping business in which the journey represents part of the business rather than merely an obstacle is better handled by a transportation method that does not skip said journey. Think coastal trading vessels, or a Mississippi steamboat, making dozens of small stops in between Vicksburg and New Orleans and embarking and disembarking passengers and goods at each one. Teleportation can't do business en route, ships can. (As I wrote in that other thread: teleportation links points, trade links regions).

    Even with pirates, a ship's cargo is still much harder to steal than a bag of holding carried by some guy.

    In Pathfinder, ships are cheaper in terms of initial capital investment than magical transportation is.

    Some points to set against the (very real) advantages teleportation does have to offer.


    Matthew Downie wrote:
    Orfamay Quest wrote:

    It's basically impossible to be "poor" in Pathfinder. If you do them maths, any measurable level of any useful skill gives you an "average" lifestyle. The standard trope of starving sons of toil buried under tons of soil? Doesn't hold up if you crunch the numbers.

    It looks to me like it's still possible to be poor under Pathfinder rules.

    For example, let's say you have no ranks in any profession or craft skills (assumption: people do not choose what they get skill ranks in - these are chosen by GMs/players/gods/luck - any more than a peasant can choose to be an Alchemist instead of a Commoner).

    Well, I reject this assumption out of the box. You learn what you do -- whatever you do to get income, you will develop skill points in.

    Quote:


    You have a family - children, elderly parents, etc. - who depend upon your income to survive.

    And aren't doing any work themselves? That's not realistic. Children were doing farm chores (profession: farmer) from as soon as they could walk.

    Quote:


    Pretty sure the 'average lifestyle' is no longer available to you.
    And that's if you're not paying taxes, contributing protection money to the mob, trying to put money aside for emergencies...

    All of which is covered under the "average" lifestyle.


    Lucy_Valentine wrote:
    Zalman wrote:
    If your players expect Scrye to bypass all by-the-book limitations, or in general expect than any power available to them has a "reasonable chance of success" in every -- or even most -- cases ... I don't even know what to say about that, other than it's a perfect example of the new school of thought that I see as a social phenomenon. It also makes me shudder a bit, personally, which is a matter of taste, of course.

    This is you taking something someone said and extrapolating it to an extreme they didn't. There is a significant difference between "I learned the scry spell and I expect it to solve all problems" and "I learned the scry spell and I expect it to be a useful addition to our toolset, somewhat proportionate with the cost and opportunity cost of acquiring it".

    Scry doesn't have to work all the time. Nothing does! But if it's never any use because the GM hates scry, then they shouldn't have left the spell in in the first place.

    Nah, the unreasonable extrapolation is from "the GM includes by-the-book printed limitations to scrying, instead of allowing it to work in every case" to "the GM hates Scrye".

    Indeed, a BBEG who is threatened by high-level characters on a regular basis would hardly ever be subject to Scrye. Because they're Big, and Bad, and intelligent, and they take proper precautions against it. Just like your high-level PCs aren't subject to <insert any 5th-level magic that happens to be a big threat to them>. Because they've taken steps to actively defend against it. Likewise, PCs cannot reasonably expect a fireball to "sometimes" hurt a devil. It will literally never work. That doesn't mean fireball is useless, or that the GM hates it.

    That doesn't mean Scrye never works -- it just means that it's unlikely to work against the BBEG in his own lair. That doesn't make it useless by a long shot. It doesn't even mean the PC's can't use it to find the lair -- it just means that have to be creative about it.

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