Why do the PCs have to do it?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

51 to 82 of 82 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>

People keep bringing up this "high level" thing.

They're NPCs. They're not adventurers. They do not advance under the adventurer rules. They can HAVE high-end magic without being these combat badasses. They can be priests with lots of spells without having weapon and armor proficiencies and an Iron Man suite of magical equipment and a couple hundred hit points.

Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.


Omnius wrote:

People keep bringing up this "high level" thing.

They're NPCs. They're not adventurers. They do not advance under the adventurer rules. They can HAVE high-end magic without being these combat badasses. They can be priests with lots of spells without having weapon and armor proficiencies and an Iron Man suite of magical equipment and a couple hundred hit points.

Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.

That method solves Mark Hoover's original question: why isn't the high-level spellcaster in town getting involved? However, why isn't the town guard getting involved? Why isn't the king and his army getting involved? Why aren't the heroes of yesteryear getting involved? Some classes specialize in combat, including Warrior and Aristocrat.


Aristocrat is questionable. One can be nobility without being a combatant, the class be damned. And on the same vein, NPCs don't necessarily even have classes, combat or otherwise.

But professional militarries are far easier to explain.

Heroes are needed when times are tough and tensions are high. The guard is needed for just that; to guard. Whatever the threat is, they have enough people to defend against it, maybe scout it out, but not to go out into the wild and wage wars.

Heroes operate outside the bounds of jurisdiction, politics, and personal liability. If there are bandits in disputed wilds or an enemy country, it's hard to get away with sending your army in to route them.

Heroes operate because they're paid to operate. Not necessarily because there is reliable intelligence proving that a nation must spend its money and mobilize its assets against a threat.

Heroes are not necessarily without some manner of legitimate standing. They're not just murder hobos birthed from some hole in the ground. They have some sort of place in the world. And if you have a good session zero, whatever authorities the party members hold are in some way compatible. The heroes could well be the authorities of the land mobilizing their resources. If the threat proves sufficient to mobilize an army at the climax, fine. That's a setting, not a five hundred unit encounter. The party is still fighting a standard encounter, while nameless mooks on both sides clash, and both sides of the battle periodically make saves against artillery barrages, or small units of soldiers randomly come into your personal skirmish on either side.

Heroes are outsiders, uninformed of circumstance and therefore easier to manipulate.

Heroes are expendable. And if they don't come back, you don't have to pay them.

Silver Crusade

Omnius wrote:


Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.

I also like to create my worlds that way. I have lots of NPCs with some PC like abilities but not at all combat capable in general

But that is NOT Golarion and it is NOT Pathfinder. As written, those NPCs DO have PC classes, hundreds of hitpoints, lots of magic items, etc.

Just look at the NPC Codexes if you don't believe me.

I'm not at all sure that the best answer to the question is, essentially, house rule NPCs so that you're no longer playing Pathfinder.

Also, its easy to go too far the OTHER direction. If the PCs are the only ones capable of fighting that clan of giants outside of town then why the heck didn't that clan of giants take over the town LAST week (or year) when the PCs weren't around (or were too low level)?

If the environment has threats enough around to threaten high level PCs then there MUST be defences around sufficient to defend against those threats BEFORE the PCs get high level.

One reason why many campaigns involve lots of travel :-)


pauljathome wrote:
Omnius wrote:


Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.

I also like to create my worlds that way. I have lots of NPCs with some PC like abilities but not at all combat capable in general

But that is NOT Golarion and it is NOT Pathfinder. As written, those NPCs DO have PC classes, hundreds of hitpoints, lots of magic items, etc.

Just look at the NPC Codexes if you don't believe me.

I'm not at all sure that the best answer to the question is, essentially, house rule NPCs so that you're no longer playing Pathfinder.

Also, its easy to go too far the OTHER direction. If the PCs are the only ones capable of fighting that clan of giants outside of town then why the heck didn't that clan of giants take over the town LAST week (or year) when the PCs weren't around (or were too low level)?

If the environment has threats enough around to threaten high level PCs then there MUST be defences around sufficient to defend against those threats BEFORE the PCs get high level.

One reason why many campaigns involve lots of travel :-)

Yeah, that's a lot of it. There don't have to be random threats wandering around the whole world that constantly need high level PCs to deal with. Generally by the time we're high level, we're hunting down some major threat. And quite possibly trying to get support from the major players or convince them the threat is real.

But we do tend to run a game with less high level NPCs around than Golarion usually has.


pauljathome wrote:
Omnius wrote:


Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.

I also like to create my worlds that way. I have lots of NPCs with some PC like abilities but not at all combat capable in general

But that is NOT Golarion and it is NOT Pathfinder. As written, those NPCs DO have PC classes, hundreds of hitpoints, lots of magic items, etc.

Just look at the NPC Codexes if you don't believe me.

I'm not at all sure that the best answer to the question is, essentially, house rule NPCs so that you're no longer playing Pathfinder.

Also, its easy to go too far the OTHER direction. If the PCs are the only ones capable of fighting that clan of giants outside of town then why the heck didn't that clan of giants take over the town LAST week (or year) when the PCs weren't around (or were too low level)?

If the environment has threats enough around to threaten high level PCs then there MUST be defences around sufficient to defend against those threats BEFORE the PCs get high level.

One reason why many campaigns involve lots of travel :-)

Because even a clan of giants can fall to 1st-level commoners in sufficient numbers. Alternately, the giants were lazy and hadn't run out of food yet or were too busy sacking the four previous towns who weren't fortunate enough to have heroes wandering through.

I'm obligated to take a little umbrage at the notion that a world in which most NPCs don't reach much in the way of levels and/or have lots of magic items is "NOT Pathfinder". It may not be Golarion, but Pathfinder campaign settings are many and varied, and cries of "badwrongfun" tend to be frowned upon here. Even in Golarion, plenty of published modules feature areas where nontrivial magic items and even mid-level NPCs simply aren't present.

Regarding classless NPCs: It's true that the default rules have at least a level of NPC class for creatures without racial hit dice, but that hardly matters--the difference between a human commoner 1 and a classless human with a single racial hit die is minimal. Alternately, who's to say that the dominant species of NPC for a given campaign setting isn't something with racial hit dice? No classes needed for most villagers in a village of Bestiary 1 lizardfolk.


blahpers wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Omnius wrote:


Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.

I also like to create my worlds that way. I have lots of NPCs with some PC like abilities but not at all combat capable in general

But that is NOT Golarion and it is NOT Pathfinder. As written, those NPCs DO have PC classes, hundreds of hitpoints, lots of magic items, etc.

Just look at the NPC Codexes if you don't believe me.

I'm not at all sure that the best answer to the question is, essentially, house rule NPCs so that you're no longer playing Pathfinder.

Also, its easy to go too far the OTHER direction. If the PCs are the only ones capable of fighting that clan of giants outside of town then why the heck didn't that clan of giants take over the town LAST week (or year) when the PCs weren't around (or were too low level)?

If the environment has threats enough around to threaten high level PCs then there MUST be defences around sufficient to defend against those threats BEFORE the PCs get high level.

One reason why many campaigns involve lots of travel :-)

Because even a clan of giants can fall to 1st-level commoners in sufficient numbers. Alternately, the giants were lazy and hadn't run out of food yet or were too busy sacking the four previous towns who weren't fortunate enough to have heroes wandering through.

I'm obligated to take a little umbrage at the notion that a world in which most NPCs don't reach much in the way of levels and/or have lots of magic items is "NOT Pathfinder". It may not be Golarion, but Pathfinder campaign settings are many and varied, and cries of "badwrongfun" tend to be frowned upon here. Even in Golarion, plenty of published modules feature areas where nontrivial magic items and even mid-level NPCs simply aren't present.

Regarding classless NPCs: It's true that the default rules have at least a level of NPC class for creatures without racial hit dice,...

Interestingly, commoner levels do less than Humanoid Racial HD.


Just because the books give a guideline for how to create NPC’s does not mean that every NPC has to follow these. Those rules should be used to create advisories, rivals and occasionally the allies of the characters. This is why they are often built similar, but slightly less powerful than the player characters. They are what the players are going to interact with so they are usually fully stated up. Everything else is the types of characters that the players will have limited interaction with. This includes most of the spell casters for higher. You don’t need to fully stat up these NPC’s. About all you need is class and level and if they know the specific spells you need.

The rules for creating NPC’s are basically for the first type. The average person is supposed to have 10 down the board, but even the basic NPC array is slightly better than this. The heroic NPC array is actually quite a bit better than the average. Many of the third type of NPC’s could have significantly worse stats than the PC’s or other NPC’s.

Even if they are using the same stat arrays as other NPC’s not all of them will be good for combat. The 9th level caster will need a decent score for his casting stat. Assume we are talking about a wizard so the highest stat goes into INT. Since is focus is more dealing with people it would make sense for him to have a good CHA and WIS. So an array of STR 8, DEX, 12, CON 10, INT 15(17 after racial), WIS 13, CHA 14 seems reasonable. Since the wizard was not an adventurer old age seems appropriate. That puts the wizard’s stats to STR 5, DEX 9, CON 7, INT 19, WIS 15, and CHA 16. He also only has 16 HP and the following saves Fort +1, Ref +2 and Will +8. His wealth is 10,050 GP which may not be spent on the same gear an adventuring wizard would have. He may want magic items that boost non-combat abilities instead of the normal big six. Even if he wanted the big six he cannot afford the same gear as the players.

The reason this wizard does not try and handle the CR 6 threat is honestly he cannot. Sure if he gets off his spell he may take out the BBEG. But with a -1 on the initiative and two bad saves there is a good chance he will die in the first round.


The Sideromancer wrote:
blahpers wrote:
pauljathome wrote:
Omnius wrote:


Not everyone who is good at doing things is also good at murder. It's just the rules for creating adventurers are skewed toward murder.

I also like to create my worlds that way. I have lots of NPCs with some PC like abilities but not at all combat capable in general

But that is NOT Golarion and it is NOT Pathfinder. As written, those NPCs DO have PC classes, hundreds of hitpoints, lots of magic items, etc.

Just look at the NPC Codexes if you don't believe me.

I'm not at all sure that the best answer to the question is, essentially, house rule NPCs so that you're no longer playing Pathfinder.

Also, its easy to go too far the OTHER direction. If the PCs are the only ones capable of fighting that clan of giants outside of town then why the heck didn't that clan of giants take over the town LAST week (or year) when the PCs weren't around (or were too low level)?

If the environment has threats enough around to threaten high level PCs then there MUST be defences around sufficient to defend against those threats BEFORE the PCs get high level.

One reason why many campaigns involve lots of travel :-)

Because even a clan of giants can fall to 1st-level commoners in sufficient numbers. Alternately, the giants were lazy and hadn't run out of food yet or were too busy sacking the four previous towns who weren't fortunate enough to have heroes wandering through.

I'm obligated to take a little umbrage at the notion that a world in which most NPCs don't reach much in the way of levels and/or have lots of magic items is "NOT Pathfinder". It may not be Golarion, but Pathfinder campaign settings are many and varied, and cries of "badwrongfun" tend to be frowned upon here. Even in Golarion, plenty of published modules feature areas where nontrivial magic items and even mid-level NPCs simply aren't present.

Regarding classless NPCs: It's true that the default rules have at least a level of NPC class for

...

Its a hard life but someone has to farm that dirt 22 hours a day.

Silver Crusade

blahpers wrote:


I'm obligated to take a little umbrage at the notion that a world in which most NPCs don't reach much in the way of levels and/or have lots of magic items is "NOT Pathfinder". It may not be Golarion, but Pathfinder campaign settings are many and varied, and cries of "badwrongfun"

I most certainly did NOT mean to imply that this is badwrongfun. In fact, I explicitly pointed out that it is something that I do myself.

E6 or variations, worlds where PCs are VERY special, etc are all great games. But they ARE a significant deviation from the way that the Pathfinder rules expect a world to be by default (as indicated in the rules for settlements, the NPC Codexes, etc). All that I meant to say is that I don't think advice that amounts to "Significantly change the way the world is assumed, by default, to work" is necessarily the best solution to the OP.

There ARE solutions that still fit within the default paradigm that has high level NPCs with normal PC classes all over the place.


2 people marked this as a favorite.
Mysterious Stranger wrote:
The reason this wizard does not try and handle the CR 6 threat is honestly he cannot. Sure if he gets off his spell he may take out the BBEG. But with a -1 on the initiative and two bad saves there is a good chance he will die in the first round.

You can have a frail level 9 caster who would die in one round to a hill giant in a one-v-one battle.

But the question isn't usually "Why doesn't the town spellcasting services provider solve the problem on his own?" It's "Why doesn't the town spellcasting services provider help the PCs directly?"

It's hard to imagine one who couldn't at least be incredibly useful as part of a team. Send in the lower level PCs as a defensive front line (he buffs them in advance), then stand back and blind or paralyse the enemy if it fails a saving throw, or hit it with fireballs, or whatever. Teleport home if things are going badly. Same with a level 9 cleric - even if he can't fight and has a terrible spell selection, he can channel 5d6 healing every round.

To me, the most plausible reason isn't "he can't help because he's not built for combat," it's "the adventuring life is horrifying to any normal person".


Keeping magic rare and high level casters hard to reach helps, I know you lot keep mentioning Wizards and Clerics but what is stopping a higher level veteran fighter from accompanying the PCs? Even the best fighters need minions to keep the fluff away while he 1v1s the half-giant.

Heck, that can make for some near encounters where the PCs have to keep away from the truly dangerous foes while preventing their fighter from being overrun


As far as I can tell, it's entirely possible there are no veteran fighters in town, unless the GM sees the need for one.

We'd say the same thing about casters, except that there always seem to be crafters and spellcasting services available.


Maybe all of that 5th level casting is being done by a 16th level adept?


A 16th level Adept would be able to cast Heal, Baleful Polymorph, and 10d6 Lightning Bolts. He would have plenty of hit points, and the BAB of an eighth level Fighter. Not exactly a useless combat ally.

And he wouldn't be able to provide much in the way of spellcasting services, due to the limited spell list.


NPCs are not touched by the gods. They don't heal fast. They're not used to combat. There is something special about players characters. They are pawns of the gods and while an occasional NPC character might be similar to a PC, the majority of townsfolk are not. When they look down from Mount Celestia, the gods try to keep the pieces in play. They are not interested in people who don't want to adventure.
I actually threaten to enforce this, PCs who do mundane things for any length of time lose their status (healing potions don't work the same, for example) because the gods forget about them. Though once they start adventuring again, they catch attention...


Matthew Downie wrote:

A 16th level Adept would be able to cast Heal, Baleful Polymorph, and 10d6 Lightning Bolts. He would have plenty of hit points, and the BAB of an eighth level Fighter. Not exactly a useless combat ally.

And he wouldn't be able to provide much in the way of spellcasting services, due to the limited spell list.

I was being slightly facetious.

But I think people tend to overlook the ability to use the NPC classes to fill out their cities and towns instead of PC classes.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

This might be a good candidate for one of those threads. "101 Reasons the PCs Have To Do It".

...

...On second thought, a thread with that title is begging to end up locked.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
pauljathome wrote:
blahpers wrote:


I'm obligated to take a little umbrage at the notion that a world in which most NPCs don't reach much in the way of levels and/or have lots of magic items is "NOT Pathfinder". It may not be Golarion, but Pathfinder campaign settings are many and varied, and cries of "badwrongfun"

I most certainly did NOT mean to imply that this is badwrongfun. In fact, I explicitly pointed out that it is something that I do myself.

E6 or variations, worlds where PCs are VERY special, etc are all great games. But they ARE a significant deviation from the way that the Pathfinder rules expect a world to be by default (as indicated in the rules for settlements, the NPC Codexes, etc). All that I meant to say is that I don't think advice that amounts to "Significantly change the way the world is assumed, by default, to work" is necessarily the best solution to the OP.

There ARE solutions that still fit within the default paradigm that has high level NPCs with normal PC classes all over the place.

Agreed, and my apologies for reading too much into the quoted text. *hoof bump* Solutions for the OP should take into account the OP's campaign setting rather than requiring alteration of said setting to solve the problem. Unless the OP is fine with that, of course.


In my games, there are no NPCs higher than 5th level, and 99% have NPC Classes. The head of the wizard guild of a major city, yeah he is level 4. The average town guard is a warrior 1. 80% of people are commoner 1. The king is aristocrat 3.

Sczarni

I don't think there really is a good answer to this question. But that's okay, because IME the players don't typically ask this question unless they're deliberately being smartasses.

They know damn well that they're doing it because they're The Heroes, and that they Have To Do It because It only exists for them to Do. They may joke about why Father Cornelius isn't saving the town himself if he's high-enough level to cast Resurrection, but they don't actually WANT him to save the town himself. That's why they're the ones who do it: because they volunteer.

It's the same way in the real world. People step up and do heroic things in times of crisis, because they're the ones who chose to try and do it instead of hoping someone else would.

Scarab Sages

There was a 7-11 PFS scenario that requested the players 'volunteer' for the mission presented. A player asked if he could decline the mission. I told him he could, and was free to go explore the Merch room (it was a convention). He choose to volunteer. When player's question the set-up, the best response is to cheekily let them 'pass' on the gold, loot, and XP. Even better if you are enforcing cost of living.

The fact is, when the question comes up, go ahead and have Father Cornelius find anther group. If the players don't get the hint, they eventually can't find work, because word got around that they don't want any.

IN general, the best route is to establish from the get go that the Father is either unsuited to adventuring, or that he is busier with other, more direct or more dire threats.


I run Society games, and my impression is that it is normally one of these three reasons:

  • The higher ups have too much on their plate and are delegating.
  • The higher ups are being generous and think this mission will be a good boost to your career / reputation.
  • The higher ups think this is a suicide mission and are not going anywhere near it.

Of course the reasons are only rarely explicidly spelled out on why the PCs are the ones doing it, but that has been my take away.


burkoJames wrote:

There was a 7-11 PFS scenario that requested the players 'volunteer' for the mission presented. A player asked if he could decline the mission. I told him he could, and was free to go explore the Merch room (it was a convention). He choose to volunteer. When player's question the set-up, the best response is to cheekily let them 'pass' on the gold, loot, and XP. Even better if you are enforcing cost of living.

The fact is, when the question comes up, go ahead and have Father Cornelius find anther group. If the players don't get the hint, they eventually can't find work, because word got around that they don't want any.

IN general, the best route is to establish from the get go that the Father is either unsuited to adventuring, or that he is busier with other, more direct or more dire threats.

In my current home campaign the PCs, who are masters of false identities, decided to learn the bad guy's evil plans by working for him. They had crafting skills that he needed. The unfortunate side effect was that their labor advanced his schedule by months.

The players enjoyed the crafting challenges I gave them, but experience point progression slowed down to a crawl. So I threw in a combat encounter: a dragon harassed their worksite. The party was savvy enough that they were not caught by surprise and retreated before combat. They reported this to their boss, who expected them to fight off the dragon. They asked whether they would be paid extra. He said no. The PCs refused to fight the dragon.

The lawful evil boss acknowledged that that was not part of their job description. He instead sent his evil combat minions to kill the dragon, who succeeded frightenly quickly off scene. And, of course, the PCs did not get the XP.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber

So, the settlement stat block says there are 5th-level casting services available, and you (the GM) decided that a 9th-level wizard lives nearby. Why won't this NPC get involved with the plot?

Maybe the local wizard is of venerable age and in poor health.

Maybe she's evil, and wants the bad guy to win.

Maybe she's in the middle of a very delicate magical ritual that can't be interrupted.

Maybe she already offered her services to the mayor, for a price, who balked at her fee.

Maybe she learned all of her magic from books and research, has never once faced a monster in her life, and has no desire to do so now.

Maybe she has absolutely zero combat spells at her disposal.

Maybe she just teleported out of town to attend the Convocation of Conjurers in Absalom.

Maybe she figures this is squarely in the "not my problem" department.

...or any of a hundred other reasons!


Or the last time she listened to a bunch of farmers whining about goblins, she wasted three days in the pouring rain traipsing about in a muddy forest, ripping her best cloak and losing the gold brooch her late mother gave her before finally stumbling into an ambush where her favourite horse died. And she's not doing it again.

Or the last time she went off to hunt down a coven, the coven's spies were waiting for her to leave town so they could steal the McGuffin, torch the granary and abduct the Duchess.

Or she's 7 months pregnant.

Or she's Neutral and quite honestly doesn't care.

Or she sends a 5th level acolyte to help. Said acolyte is irritating and largely incompetent, achieving little beyond (barely) staying alive but still expecting most of the treasure and all the glory. After all, he's 5th level and the PCs are only 3rd.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Mudfoot wrote:
Or she's Neutral and quite honestly doesn't care.

That is not what neutral means.


MarcCCTx wrote:

NPCs are not touched by the gods. They don't heal fast. They're not used to combat. There is something special about players characters. They are pawns of the gods and while an occasional NPC character might be similar to a PC, the majority of townsfolk are not. When they look down from Mount Celestia, the gods try to keep the pieces in play. They are not interested in people who don't want to adventure.

I actually threaten to enforce this, PCs who do mundane things for any length of time lose their status (healing potions don't work the same, for example) because the gods forget about them. Though once they start adventuring again, they catch attention...

I can't decide if that concept is kinda cool, or really annoying.


Zhayne wrote:
MarcCCTx wrote:

NPCs are not touched by the gods. They don't heal fast. They're not used to combat. There is something special about players characters. They are pawns of the gods and while an occasional NPC character might be similar to a PC, the majority of townsfolk are not. When they look down from Mount Celestia, the gods try to keep the pieces in play. They are not interested in people who don't want to adventure.

I actually threaten to enforce this, PCs who do mundane things for any length of time lose their status (healing potions don't work the same, for example) because the gods forget about them. Though once they start adventuring again, they catch attention...
I can't decide if that concept is kinda cool, or really annoying.

I think that, as with any house rule, it's mostly a question of if the party buys into it, and knows ahead of time.

Having it sprung on you? Would be annoying as hell.

Knowing that it is the basis for the campaign and how things work? It can be kind of nifty.


Why do the PCs have to do it?

...'cause Stone Cold said so!


Omnius wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:
Or she's Neutral and quite honestly doesn't care.
That is not what neutral means.

Neutral means you aren't taking sides or showing favor of one thing or the other.

"I don't care about XYZ" is about as neutral as it gets.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Omnius wrote:
Mudfoot wrote:
Or she's Neutral and quite honestly doesn't care.
That is not what neutral means.

Neutral means you aren't taking sides or showing favor of one thing or the other.

"I don't care about XYZ" is about as neutral as it gets.

Well if you ask me, I have no strong feelings one way or the other.

51 to 82 of 82 << first < prev | 1 | 2 | next > last >>
Community / Forums / Pathfinder / Pathfinder First Edition / General Discussion / Why do the PCs have to do it? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.