I'm quite sure that most of this is the result of too little slumber time and too much allergy medicine. But since I still can't sleep, you get to share my thoughts. Huzzah!
A] What is the rules legal biggest animal companion you can get? I just love the thought of some little tiny pixie or something riding around hiding in the neck spines on top of this hugantic dire linorm or whatever (it will of course have to have a greater dire collar). Then storing it in 'hosteling' armor to pull out for some fight inside the formal-stuffy parliament building.
B] Why do some players constantly try to have their PC be good at what they made them to be bad at? Know a guy that made an evocation focused wizard. Not my favorite type of PC, but ok they are decent. He is constantly engaging the enemy with his rapier. And then getting upset when he almost dies. WTF?!?
C] Does the feat intimidating prowess seem stupid to you like it does to me? I think that without any significant effort, a big ferociously powerful ettin should be loads more intimidating than a scrawny little halfling.
D] I also think shields should be loads more effective vs. ranged attacks. In real life large shields were supposedly more effective than even plate armor against arrows and bolts.
E] Why do players so enjoy completely derailing the GM's entire campaign? I mean heck, I'm one of those players and I still don't know why it's so much fun to wreck all his work. Once we so totally demolished a storyline that the GM had to take a break for a couple of weeks to try and figure out what to do next. (I felt bad for that one.)
F] Also I really dislike it when Real Life gets in the way of my game life. Not so much scheduling (though some of that) but attitude. If I've had a really suck-ish week of work, I usually find I can't role play my PC correctly. Then I get irritated that I'm playing him 'wrong.' Now my suck-ish week is ruining my game. Grr...
G] Does the whole trope of most adventures seem off to you? The baron puts up a flier in a bar trying to hire random heroes to fix his piddly little problems and willing to pay more than the entire town is worth for it. Seriously? I've never seen a posting for a government job in any bar I have visited. I don't think I would classify any of the patrons (including me) as heroes either.
H] Is anyone else bothered by the fact that some really basic standard troop tactics take things like 5 levels worth of feats and/or specific special class archetypes to perform even halfway decently? Shield walls, phalanx formations, or even just an infantry guy to carry a shield and protect an archer.
I] Why would a wizard ever make someone a +1 sword? I would make him a wand that could be activated by anyone that knows the magic word. Then he can use it on his sword, bow, or lance. Plus he has to come back and buy another when it runs out.
J] It really seems like there should be some way to make a kool-fun-effective PC that uses the spiked chain, but I've never been able to come up with one I liked.
K] To prove how borked the system is, I once had my high level wizard kill a rhino with his fists. No magic other than healing wands. Now how does that make any sense?
L] Was thinking about a PC that pretty much only used things like hour/level buffs and maybe a few extended 10 minute/level buffs as pretty much his only spell casting. Then he would just use weapons like any other martial. Eldritch knight, cleric, and druid all seem like they might have some possibilities toward this. Have you tried it?
Well, I think I'm going to take another stab at getting some shut eye time. If I still can't sleep, I will probably be back later with some more wierd ideas. Feel free to leave your responses or your own disconnected thoughts.
A. Huge I think.
B. Because some people want to do everything, or maybe, they are trying to prove they can do everything, but keep failing.
C. yes and no. It should be a choice. Imagine that scawny halfing, sitting in a mob bosses chair with scary looking goon around him. That can be just as intimidating. ones presence, their ability to put on an air of intimidation, is the thought.
D. I think shields should be more effective in general. with heavy shields having a base +3 ac at min. So, yes.
E. not all players do, just ones that like to cause trouble for people. Some do it unintentionally just because they were curious about one thing.
F. no comment. Just have fun.
G. different world. Back in the realistic time period that the game takes as a base, mercenaries were often hired for a lot of things. War included.
H. Yes, its why I use elephant in the room feat tax, and give everyone a bonus feat at level 1.
I. The same reason companies today don't do things like that, because another wizard WOULD just enchant the weapon, so the customer does not need to return. Thus, leaving you with nothing.
J. Strength based Ninja, its fun, and effective.
K. Unlikely, as your fists would deal non-lethal damage (unless you took a feat) and its a fantasy world where people get stronger than normal. A high level commoner could do that as well. (besides, you had a system of healing that even our best medical teams only dream of in your pocket.)
L. Its great. However don't get caught with your pants down, or with anti-magic stuff.
A. Huge I think....
Which 'Huge' animal companion would you think give the most impression of great size?
...K. Unlikely, as your fists would deal non-lethal damage (unless you took a feat) and its a fantasy world where people get stronger than normal. A high level commoner could do that as well. (besides, you had a system of healing that even our best medical teams only dream of in your pocket.)
Non-lethal or lethal makes no difference since once it is unconcious you can just keep pounding until it kills it anyway. My point, during that demo, was that a scrawny cerebral sort shouldn't even hardly be able to get a rhino's attention with his fists. Yes, I high level commoner could do the same. Being really good at reading books or being the best in the world a growing rutabagas shouldn't make you able to beat a rhino to death with your bare hands. It was during an argument about how realistic he thought the system was.
...L. Its great. However don't get caught with your pants down, or with anti-magic stuff.
Ha! I didn't think about that. A powerful dispel would be markedly disconcerting.
B. In my experience, some people detest being told what to do, even by a game system. And there does seem to be this werid desire to catch the DM off balance (i.e. "beat" them).
C. Yes. Along with a lot of other things.
You'd assume that trolls, ettins, zombie hordes and giant scorpions would all be innately scarier than some guy. A dragon has a frightful presence after all. But the fear most monsters seem to invoke is the passive kind that people experience when faced with a danger beyond their means to deal with.
E. Because players are jerks? Again, there seems to be a "win/lose menality; the DM is "supposed" to be ready for anything, so when the players trip up th DM, there's a sense of victory.
It's not something I tolerate at my table; if you've got a valid reason for your character to do something random or nonsensical,fine. Show me. But if you're just trying to spike my wheel so you can laugh and feel superior, get out.
G. Yes. That sort of mercenary setup can work, but it needs to be handled with care. For the most part, I use other, stronger and more flexible tropes. I almost never have a player deviate from the path I predicted they'd take, because I keep their character in mind when presenting the choices before them.
J. The spiked chain used to be one of, if not the best weapon out there. I made quit a few characters who used it effectively.
K. (1) If you were a high enough level that a rhinoceros posed so little threat to you, I wouldn't have bothered running m actual combat.
(2) Why didn't the rhio run away? It's an animal.
(3) I'd be curious to meet someone who'd willingly be gored and trampled by a huge animal when there were several significantly less painful options available.
L. I've been shifting most spell durations to either 24 hours, one scene or rounds/level. But yes, it is effective.
A. For a mammoth rider, Huge, or Gargantuan with a dire collar or animal growth, provided that gigantic steed changes the creature's base size rather than counting as a size-changing effect. (ETV on that one.) Woolly mammoth, mastodon, or one of the bigger dinosaur options would probably "feel" like the largest.
B. I was going to say that (a) sometimes trying suboptimal things can be fun even when failing and (b) sometimes it's fun sometimes to recreate the "wizard finishes off the last enemy by clobbering it with her spellbook" trope, but if the player's getting upset at failure then that's probably not the case for him.
C. Intimidate in general is poorly implemented and requires a ton of GM-decided circumstantial modifiers to be at all realistic. The feat is a symptom of the larger disease.
D. Armor is heavily abstracted. One could make the same argument about particular kinds of weapons working better or worse against particular kinds of armor outside of the AC system. IIRC, AD&D had some (optional?) rules for this. They were a pain in the pork butt. If it makes the game more fun for your table, feel free to houserule something for arrows-versus-shields. But don't be surprised if someone says "well what about <some other reasonable but unmodeled interaction>" and before you know it it takes five minutes to figure out how a single attack roll plays out.
E. Because it's not "the GM's campaign". It belongs to everybody at the table, at least for as long as everybody at the table is still willing to play. Player agency is a strength of the medium. If you want to constrain it, make sure everybody agrees on the degree of constraint before starting. Otherwise, don't blame them when they decide to go hunting dragons in the wilderness instead of attending the baron's masquerade.
That said, have pity on your poor GM! They put a lot of work into what they do, and while you may be technically able to do whatever you want, it's not much fun if you have to end the session so the GM can toss out a bunch of stuff and come up with a bunch more. If possible, try to save any party curveballs for the end of a session. "We want to do this next session" is a lot more palatable than "Yeah, we know we said we were going to storm the keep, but nevermind lol".
F. Agreed. Adulting is tabletop gaming's greatest enemy. Heck, just getting everybody to the same table every couple of weeks is like herding cats.
G. Not really. I rarely run "Ye Olde Jobbe Poftings Borde" scenarios, but the concept of bounties goes back to Roman times, so the idea of a centralized location for posting them seems like an obvious thing. In modern governments, government contracts are probably the most common analogue, but even now we still have Most Wanted posters and the like. I remember several bars/cafes near my university had notice boards with requests for help or job postings mixed in with the local band or theatre advertisements; that's a decent enough example of private "adventure hooks." Fact is, most Pathfinder players don't live in very adventurous areas--hence why we play Pathfinder. : )
H. Not really (I sound like a depressed parrot). PCs aren't generally expected to use troop tactics as they adventure in small parties. Troops use either the troop template or the mass combat rules, and those largely abstract away individual tactics. As much as people say "PATHFINDER IS A WARGAME!1", it really isn't.
I. (Commercial) Because people are willing to buy them over the wizard-next-door's slow wand rental service. (Survival) Because the wizard is making it for the party fighter and they all live or die together.
J. Never saw the appeal to the spiked chain, but de gustibus non est disputandum. Anyway, lots of weapons are suboptimal. They can still be fun, though.
An ages-old challenge for game designers is giving the player lots of options without (a) a few of them being the obvious winners and the others "traps"; or (b) all of the options are essentially the same, making the choice meaningless. The more options one has, the harder it becomes to avoid falling into one of those pits. Weapon diversity in Pathfinder RPG has some of (a) and some of (b), so I try to just pick the weapon I think fits the character without worrying too much about the numbers.
K. Sounds fun to me. You should show that build to the guy from Item B. : )
L. Druid is excellent for this. They have lots of all-day or almost-all-day buffs, can be built like tanks, and can turn into whatever animal form is most appropriate for the job and stay that way for hours. All the other spells are icing on the cake.