Gamemastery Guide is the best book evar!!!


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion

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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:
Mark Seifter wrote:
DomHeroEllis wrote:
Gortle wrote:
Dave2 wrote:
I definitely like this better than the PF1 Game Mastery Guide. The character progression without magic item variant and the relic item system were worth the price of admission alone for me. Throw in monster creation and chase rules and we have a great book. Well done!

The alternative point buy/progression rules, dual class PCs, proficiency without level are all interesting to me. My 50th book on gamemaster basics less so. I'll get to it eventually.

I just wish the cost of postage didn't double the cost of subscription for me.....

Some of the "basics" stuff is actually fairly insightful even for more experienced GMs, I think.
You are right about that, the chapter is not even close to being about the basics (if anything, the opposite title of "Advanced Gamemastering" would be more appropriate, though neither is quite right). The chapter title is a misnomer that cropped up late in the book's process somehow. It's about 50 pages full of useful things like a giant table for if you want to treasure by encounter, advanced encounter design, recipes to design adventures of every subgenre, ways to mod the rarity system to create wildly different settings, detailed suggestions and tables for downtime "special events" that are only touched on in the CRB and left to the GM, and more. The actual gamemastering basics are in the Core Rulebook, not here.

Hey Mark, if you wouldn't mind me directing a question at you about the book-

What rule variants if any would you want to treat as on in your personal default when GMing or (assuming it was up to you) play?

I ask because I can say I'm eyeing the free archetype thing as an always on variant when the APG drops and we get more archetypes.

Probably none by default because as the Design Manager, I like to play and GM with our core assumptions so I have a good sense of how new options play in a standard...

I... actually really appreciate the fact that's a consideration, speaking as a char op player who loves the care put into the character building metagame.

If you weren't designer tomorrow (gods forbid, your work is fantastic) and had the freedom to completely distort your table from the core assumptions, do you have a favorite?

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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The-Magic-Sword wrote:


I... actually really appreciate the fact that's a consideration, speaking as a char op player who loves the care put into the character building metagame.

If you weren't designer tomorrow (gods forbid, your work is fantastic) and had the freedom to completely distort your table from the core assumptions, do you have a favorite?

Hmmm, I might use a variant of the ability score variant that perhaps doesn't split Dexterity into Agility and Dexterity and makes a few other small tweaks to what the scores do, but then requires major changes to the way ability scores are calculated and advanced since it winds up with 5 stats instead of 6 (because it still combined Str and Con). We didn't have space to include that, but I like it better than either the set of ability scores we are now using or the one I pitched for GMG.


I know Arcanist/5E style prep-casting had more than few proponents that were looking forward to a variant along those lines making an appearance here. Did it?


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Tectorman wrote:
I know Arcanist/5E style prep-casting had more than few proponents that were looking forward to a variant along those lines making an appearance here. Did it?

Didn't make it, sorry. It's probably too focused of a variant for the GMG, which houses more system variants. If something like that were to come along, I imagine it would be in a book not unlike "Ultimate Magic" was in 1e.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Mark Seifter wrote:
The-Magic-Sword wrote:


I... actually really appreciate the fact that's a consideration, speaking as a char op player who loves the care put into the character building metagame.

If you weren't designer tomorrow (gods forbid, your work is fantastic) and had the freedom to completely distort your table from the core assumptions, do you have a favorite?

Hmmm, I might use a variant of the ability score variant that perhaps doesn't split Dexterity into Agility and Dexterity and makes a few other small tweaks to what the scores do, but then requires major changes to the way ability scores are calculated and advanced since it winds up with 5 stats instead of 6 (because it still combined Str and Con). We didn't have space to include that, but I like it better than either the set of ability scores we are now using or the one I pitched for GMG.

Now I really want to see what this other variant looks like!


I’m loving the GMG so far... one question, with dual classed characters, how do you pick the stat boost that comes from your class? Do you take both? Do you take one?


Something i noticed passing under everyone's radar is that in the NPC part of the book are present an antipaladin with some of the rules of the class as a sneak peak. This is pretty neat, expecially considering that there are also other NPCs sporting weird and never seen class abilities. Could this all be a easter egg preview of the upcoming APG?


On p198 optional rules for bounded accuracy♥♥♥
thanx Paizo


For ABP why does item bonus to AC remain? I am not sure I fully understand


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Lanathar wrote:
For ABP why does item bonus to AC remain? I am not sure I fully understand

It's because the bonus to AC that nonmagical armor gives is still an item bonus.


It is noted, that dual class is perfect for groups with fewer players. But I wonder if a two dual class pc-group is strong enough to handle a full module or AP and if not, what can I do that they can handle one?


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Tarock wrote:
It is noted, that dual class is perfect for groups with fewer players. But I wonder if a two dual class pc-group is strong enough to handle a full module or AP and if not, what can I do that they can handle one?

Adding or removing levels from enemies is pretty straight-forward. You might be able to tweak the encounters for them that way.

Another is to give them more actions, since larger groups are better not just because of versatility but also (and largely) due to action economy.

That would be harder to do within the rules framework, though.


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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path Subscriber
Stephan Taylor wrote:
I’m loving the GMG so far... one question, with dual classed characters, how do you pick the stat boost that comes from your class? Do you take both? Do you take one?

+1 on this. I wasn't sure what to do about my key ability score when theory crafting a duel-classed character.

I was initially skeptical about the GMG saying that the power creep wouldn't be nearly as strong as you might think with a dual-classed character*, so I decided to test it out on my current Age of Ashes character, a Barbarian with the Alchemist dedication**, and see how the build would compare if he was simply dual classed instead.

For this experiment, I answered the key ability score question by just assuming I kept the Barbarian one and ended up with the same ability scores. I also leveled the character up to 5 (the character's real current level) to see how it compared.

The results were really surprising to me. Almost the entire front page of the standard Paizo character sheet was untouched by this change. The only exception being that all three of my saves are now at expert proficiency instead of two.

The Barbarian part of my build was basically untouched, except for that new class feat slot I could use instead of the Alchemist dedication feat I took at level 2 before, but I'm not sure that was much of a power boost at that level. What really changed was the Alchemist part, where I now had full Alchemist class features. This certainly made me a far stronger Alchemist, and when I do throw a bomb, that bomb is both going to be stronger and have a couple neat features associated with it like more controlled splash damage, but that's where I think we get into what the GMG was talking about when it says it's less power creep, and instead more versatility.

I have a very strong theory that at the table in actual play, because I still only have three actions per turn, and I generally am using 2 actions to do things that the Barbarian part of the build is the one contributing, my opportunity to use those bombs and general Alchemist options hasn't increased. The major change is that I have more effective options to choose from, not really very heavily more OP options.

This is absolutely fascinating to me, and I can't wait to see how this potentially plays out at more tables as time goes on.

* Well, short of a super synergizing combo like Barbarian/Fighter, which, side note: I'm really looking forward to seeing a much more extensive list of the more OP dual class combos shake out over time. Perhaps even a full ranking.....oh no there might be a new math thing I get sucked into if I think of a few very clear number-crunchy ways to measure that...BUT ANYWAY

** Per the previous point about the more OP combos, Barbarians in general seem to immediately add a lot, but since this character's base class was Barbarian anyway, I figured it'd still be a valid experiment for the more baseline potential power creep.


WatersLethe wrote:
Tarock wrote:
It is noted, that dual class is perfect for groups with fewer players. But I wonder if a two dual class pc-group is strong enough to handle a full module or AP and if not, what can I do that they can handle one?

Adding or removing levels from enemies is pretty straight-forward. You might be able to tweak the encounters for them that way.

Another is to give them more actions, since larger groups are better not just because of versatility but also (and largely) due to action economy.

That would be harder to do within the rules framework, though.

If only I had the right group to test out two dual classed players with four actions a turn. It sounds... interesting.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
VestOfHolding wrote:

I was initially skeptical about the GMG saying that the power creep wouldn't be nearly as strong as you might think with a dual-classed character*, so I decided to test it out on my current Age of Ashes character, a Barbarian with the Alchemist dedication**, and see how the build would compare if he was simply dual classed instead.

For this experiment, I answered the key ability score question by just assuming I kept the Barbarian one and ended up with the same ability scores. I also leveled the character up to 5 (the character's real current level) to see how it compared.

The results were really surprising to me. Almost the entire front page of the standard Paizo character sheet was untouched by this change. The only exception being that all three of my saves are now at expert proficiency instead of two.

The Barbarian part of my build was basically untouched, except for that new class feat slot I could use instead of the Alchemist dedication feat I took at level 2 before, but I'm not sure that was much of a power boost at that level. What really changed was the Alchemist part, where I now had full Alchemist class features. This certainly made me a far stronger Alchemist, and when I do throw a bomb, that bomb is both going to be stronger and have a couple neat features associated with it like more controlled splash damage, but that's where I think we get into what the GMG was talking about when it says it's less power creep, and instead more versatility.

I have a very strong theory that at the table in actual play, because I still only have three actions per turn, and I generally am using 2 actions to do things that the Barbarian part of the build is the one contributing, my opportunity to use those bombs and general Alchemist options hasn't increased. The major change is that I have more effective options to choose from, not really very heavily more OP options.

As someone who has played gestalt characters in 3.x, this is absolutely true: You have more options, but without more actions to use them with per turn, the main difference is that you can usually handle a longer adventuring day. (A witch has a certain number of spell slots; a ranger/witch still has something to contribute when her spell slots are expended.) You're not actually taking the place of two PCs.

I am planning on running Agents of Edgewatch for a three-player party, and I'll need to decide if I'm giving a free archetype (depends on if there's a good "cop" one, I guess), using dual-class characters, giving the PCs 4 actions instead of 3 in a round, or some combination of the above....

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As always, remember to review the book if you like it :)


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Gorbacz wrote:
As always, remember to review the book if you like it :)

Don't tell me what to do, you miserable bag of devouring weasels.

:)

Edit: Side note, I originally used the same bag of devouring avatar when I joined the forums like a decade ago, but had to change it a couple years back because every time I saw my own posts in a thread I thought it was you.


Salamileg wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
For ABP why does item bonus to AC remain? I am not sure I fully understand
It's because the bonus to AC that nonmagical armor gives is still an item bonus.

A follow-up to this, since it was mentioned in a Discord server I was in, how can the Alchemist work at all within the ABP rules? All of the alchemical items grant item bonuses, so if all item bonuses aside from armor AC are gone... there's next to nothing the Alchemist can do.


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Ezekieru wrote:
Salamileg wrote:
Lanathar wrote:
For ABP why does item bonus to AC remain? I am not sure I fully understand
It's because the bonus to AC that nonmagical armor gives is still an item bonus.
A follow-up to this, since it was mentioned in a Discord server I was in, how can the Alchemist work at all within the ABP rules? All of the alchemical items grant item bonuses, so if all item bonuses aside from armor AC are gone... there's next to nothing the Alchemist can do.

Looking at the ABP rules, it seems to always be specifying magic items, and never mentions alchemical items.

"This variant removes the item bonus to rolls and DCs usually provided by magic items..."

The reference in the second paragraph under "Adjusting Items and Treasure" is a bit more vague, but still seems to be focusing on magic items.


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

Alchemical items are consumables, and the ABP rules are intended to replace permanent items.


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ABP are potency bonus, you’re good to go!


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
SteelGuts wrote:
ABP are potency bonus, you’re good to go!

Yeah, RAW the ABP provides a nice stealth buff to alchemists.

In the core game the Alchemist item bonuses are +1 ahead of the item bonus that level-appropriate magic items can give you. So they provide at least a small bonus, but don’t stack with magic item bonuses.

But if you use the ABP, you get automatic *potency* bonuses, which will stack with the item bonuses from alchemical items. So alchemical items become a lot more exciting!


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I just finished the GMG.

Great book, money well spent.

Thanks Paizo!


This book is efficient.
Somehow managing to be a GM Guide plus Unchained plus Campaign Guide all rolled into one...
Weighing in at a lean 250 pages!

...

As a "game within a game" nut combined with a "we need as robust a system for skills as for combat" advocate, my favorite chapter is Sub-Systems, and more specifically, the unifying concept of Victory Points.

I would, for example, buy a box of Poker Chips with Pathfinder Art that said "Edge Point" or "Research Point" or "Chase Point" etc...


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Probably the only thing I would've done differently would be to have a couple of the topics in a player book. Deep backgrounds, dual class, and free archetype could've definitely been in APG or something. With a note at the front saying "with GM permission" or something.
But those are small gripes. Nothing major. I'm still in the middle of reading it.


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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
The Weave05 wrote:
So excited for this book! I happen to have a session coming up where the PCs will be engaging in naval combat - does there happen to be any section that addresses rules on how to best handle that?

The section on vehicles is a minimalist solution - basically a pared-down and simplified version of the PF1 vehicle rules, meant to span the gamut of vehicles from chariots to warships to alchemically-powered juggernaughts. As such, you will find no accounting for wind speed, tactics in naval combat or individual crew-based skill checks where the whole party can contribute to success.

There are several very good solutions for naval combat amongst PF1 third-party publishers. Their only drawback is going too far into minutiae, IMHO.

So for any naval combat you're going to plan, you have three options:
- keep it highly abstract
- have all "naval combat" situations resolved via boarding actions
- invent your own system to fill in the blanks.


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Wheldrake wrote:
The Weave05 wrote:
So excited for this book! I happen to have a session coming up where the PCs will be engaging in naval combat - does there happen to be any section that addresses rules on how to best handle that?

The section on vehicles is a minimalist solution - basically a pared-down and simplified version of the PF1 vehicle rules, meant to span the gamut of vehicles from chariots to warships to alchemically-powered juggernaughts. As such, you will find no accounting for wind speed, tactics in naval combat or individual crew-based skill checks where the whole party can contribute to success.

There are several very good solutions for naval combat amongst PF1 third-party publishers. Their only drawback is going too far into minutiae, IMHO.

So for any naval combat you're going to plan, you have three options:
- keep it highly abstract
- have all "naval combat" situations resolved via boarding actions
- invent your own system to fill in the blanks.

For the last option, the victory points system might be able to cover some?

Sovereign Court

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Wheldrake wrote:
The Weave05 wrote:
So excited for this book! I happen to have a session coming up where the PCs will be engaging in naval combat - does there happen to be any section that addresses rules on how to best handle that?

The section on vehicles is a minimalist solution - basically a pared-down and simplified version of the PF1 vehicle rules, meant to span the gamut of vehicles from chariots to warships to alchemically-powered juggernaughts. As such, you will find no accounting for wind speed, tactics in naval combat or individual crew-based skill checks where the whole party can contribute to success.

There are several very good solutions for naval combat amongst PF1 third-party publishers. Their only drawback is going too far into minutiae, IMHO.

So for any naval combat you're going to plan, you have three options:
- keep it highly abstract
- have all "naval combat" situations resolved via boarding actions
- invent your own system to fill in the blanks.

I think the simplicity of the vehicle rules is one of it's big selling points. Most vehicle rules are so complex and intimidating that you just never have encounters with vehicles in them.


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Ascalaphus wrote:
I think the simplicity of the vehicle rules is one of it's big selling points. Most vehicle rules are so complex and intimidating that you just never have encounters with vehicles in them.

Combat? While I'm happy to see more objects with hp and hardness, I'm just happy I can buy a cart now: No more do I have to worry about bulk... "A draft horse or similar creature can usually pull around 100 Bulk of goods consistently throughout the day, so pulled vehicles can typically hold 100 Bulk per Large creature pulling."

CART VEHICLE 0, LARGE, Price 3 gp
Space 10 feet long, 5 feet wide, 4 feet high
Crew 1 pilot; Passengers 1
Piloting Check Driving Lore (DC 14) or Nature (DC 16 to DC 24, depending on pulling creature)
Speed the Speed of the pulling creature (pulled by 1 Large creature)

Pack animal, 2 gp

= +100 bulk

Not having to worry about bulk... priceless.

Silver Crusade

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

*scratches the "Graystone brings up his issues with Bulk" off the thread bingo*


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Gorbacz wrote:
*scratches the "Graystone brings up his issues with Bulk" off the thread bingo*

I said something good related to bulk, so it doesn't count. ;)


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Appletree wrote:
Wheldrake wrote:
The Weave05 wrote:
So excited for this book! I happen to have a session coming up where the PCs will be engaging in naval combat - does there happen to be any section that addresses rules on how to best handle that?

The section on vehicles is a minimalist solution - basically a pared-down and simplified version of the PF1 vehicle rules, meant to span the gamut of vehicles from chariots to warships to alchemically-powered juggernaughts. As such, you will find no accounting for wind speed, tactics in naval combat or individual crew-based skill checks where the whole party can contribute to success.

There are several very good solutions for naval combat amongst PF1 third-party publishers. Their only drawback is going too far into minutiae, IMHO.

So for any naval combat you're going to plan, you have three options:
- keep it highly abstract
- have all "naval combat" situations resolved via boarding actions
- invent your own system to fill in the blanks.

For the last option, the victory points system might be able to cover some?

I think the victory point system can cover about 90% of the awkward places left in the game for me mechanically. I just wish the book had more examples and stat blocks for handling some of them. Even just another page or two for each of the VP subsystems focused on examples would really help me get a sense of how to balance them. I am really really hoping that we get some user generated content on these forums like we have for NPCs and class guides. I am still struggling to figure out how to put together a stat block for the influence subsystem for example.


ograx wrote:
Is there something in the GMG covering surprise situations and ambushes and stuff?

Since the game doesn't actually have a surprise round anymore, our GM has been allowing one of us initiate a fight, most of the time is our Wizard doing the opening shot. It's been working out well. We won't be instakilling enemies before they act, but we still get rewarded by having preemptive knowledge of the encounter. When that happens our Wizard rolls Arcana for Initiative and everyone else rolls Stealth (or whatever skill we're doing before combat starts) it's been working out just fine so far. No trouble figuring out starting skills for Initiative.

It's not the same as before, but it is a reasonable solution. I just thought to mention what we do, in case your group isn't already doing something similar.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

One of the things I was hoping for in the GMG was a discussion on a "Troop", (a group of low level monsters). There is mention of using large groups of low level troops in one the adventure recipes "High Adventure" but no really direction on how to do that effectively.

I am assuming I do not really want 30 hobgoblins on the table but a several "troops" of hobgoblins? How would I go about doing that?


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Slamy Mcbiteo wrote:

One of the things I was hoping for in the GMG was a discussion on a "Troop", (a group of low level monsters). There is mention of using large groups of low level troops in one the adventure recipes "High Adventure" but no really direction on how to do that effectively.

I am assuming I do not really want 30 hobgoblins on the table but a several "troops" of hobgoblins? How would I go about doing that?

Oh, this is a good point. I was hoping Troop rules would be in the GMG, too, especially since as they were designed in 1e they are such a good fit for the 3-action system.

I can think of a few different ways they could be done, but it would be nice to have the official Paizo answer. Which I'm pretty sure we will before too long; Troops are a very popular thing from 1e, so I'm sure they will make a return.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Personally, I think you can create Troops using the GMG rules without much trouble. The only real thing is that there isn't a dedicated trait for them, but I'd just use the Swarm trait as a basis. I'd just not use the immunity to precision damage or the resistances.

...come to think of it, I'm creating a monster a day for the entire month, so I might just see how well that works out later today.

Edit: Spelling

Horizon Hunters

Cydeth wrote:

Personally, I think you can create Troops using the GMG rules without much trouble. The only real thing is taht there isn't a dedicated trait for them, but I'd just use the Swarm trait as a basis. I'd just not use the immunity to precision damage or the resistances.

...come to think of it, I'm creating a monster a day for the entire month, so I might just see how well that works out later today.

Excited to see what you come up with!

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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DomHeroEllis wrote:
Excited to see what you come up with!

In that case, I'll post it here. I'll warn it is only my second monster for PF2, so probably will be a bit rough around the edges. Or a lot rough around the edges.


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Cydeth wrote:

Personally, I think you can create Troops using the GMG rules without much trouble. The only real thing is that there isn't a dedicated trait for them, but I'd just use the Swarm trait as a basis. I'd just not use the immunity to precision damage or the resistances.

...come to think of it, I'm creating a monster a day for the entire month, so I might just see how well that works out later today.

Edit: Spelling

I am starting to wrap my head around the reality that much of the PF2 GMG is essentially a framework of great ideas that can be used to do a lot of cool stuff, but it is not doing much of the the work to implement those ideas.

I guess our best bet is to get as vocal as possible about the parts of it we want fleshed out more fully as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, it also feels like the large chunk of NPCs at the end of the book was a direct response to requests for this information, so it is likely that we will continue to get the bits of this that we want more fleshed out stretched out over future books.

I have mixed feelings about this approach. I really do appreciate the attention to the community and the desire to give us what we want, but it feels unfortunate for the vocal community resulting in the information getting released in what feels like a hodgepodge manner.
If it all ends up on an internet database then it won't matter because the information will reorganize itself. But in book form it is going to get unwieldy.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Here's the thing... the GMG doesn't claim that all of the traits you need are there. Here's what it says.

GMG Trait Abilities wrote:
Creatures with certain traits tend to have similar abilities to one another. Many of them appear here, to help you make your creatures match the theme of the trait when you build your own creatures.

Then, specifically under Swarm.

GMG Swarm Entry wrote:

SWARM

Traits size based on the entire mass, usually Large or bigger
HP typically low; Immunities precision, swarm mind; Weaknesses area damage, splash damage; Resistances physical, usually with one physical type having lower or no resistance

The entire point of the GMG trait section is as guidelines to help people come up with ideas. I could totally see someone choosing to use the swarm trait for a troop, though it'd feel a little odd. Honestly, the trait probably doesn't matter unless there's a specific spell that only affects swarms/troops.

The current system looks really elegant to me, as a whole, because I feel like I could build an animated M1 Abrams tank using the GMG as easily as I could build a dragon. It has a lot of solid guidelines that I think, at first glance, work very well.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Cydeth wrote:
DomHeroEllis wrote:
Excited to see what you come up with!
In that case, I'll post it here. I'll warn it is only my second monster for PF2, so probably will be a bit rough around the edges. Or a lot rough around the edges.

Okay, here's my troop, the Blue Eagle Regulars. They're from an adventure I was writing for Pathfinder 1st Edition, but which I gave up on due to the difficulty of creating some of the opponents (ironic, isn't it?). In this case, the Blue Eagles are a mercenary company that's likely allies of the PCs.

Blue Eagle Regulars:
Blue Eagle Regulars Level 8
Uncommon, LN, Huge, Human, Troop
Perception +16
Languages Common
Skills Athletics +18, Intimidation +12, Survival +14
Str +6, Dex +1, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +3, Cha +1
Items 16 longswords, 16 crossbows, 16 steel shields, 16 breastplates, 160 crossbow bolts, 16 minor elixirs of life
AC 26; Fort +19, Ref +13, Will +16
HP 135; Immunities swarm mind; Weaknesses area damage 10, splash damage 5
Speed 25 feet
Sword Flurry [one-action] Each enemy in the space of or adjacent to the blue eagle regulars takes 4d6 slashing damage with a DC 23 basic Reflex save.
Crossbow Volley (60 foot range) [two-actions] The soldiers unleash a volley of crossbow bolts at a chosen location. All creatures in a 10-foot burst take 3d8 piercing damage with a DC 23 basic Reflex save.
Potions! [two-actions] (interact) The blue eagle regulars drink their elixirs of life. They regain 8d6+24 hit points. This ability may only be used once, and requires the troop to replace their minor elixirs of life to use it again.
Shield Wall [one-action] The blue eagle regulars raise their shields in tandem to protect one another. They gain a +2 circumstance bonus to AC and resistance 10 to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage until the beginning of their next turn.

This group of soldiers marches with practiced coordination, each of them wielding longswords and shields while they cover each other’s backs.

A couple of notes on the design. I chose to use the resistance via Shield Wall to help offset somewhat lower hit points, plus using the idea of multiple soldiers blocking the same attacks. I did consider trying to give it a maximum amount of damage it could block in total, but decided to keep it simpler... besides, the troop probably wouldn't survive long enough for that to matter.

Generally, I followed the guidelines in the GMG quite closely, but it doesn't have a lot of specific advice for swarms, either. I took a look at the existing swarms and used what I saw, which was generally Low spell DCs and using unlimited AOE damage 1 level lower than the troop's level.

Not sure if this will work for anyone else, but it would for me! This took me a bit over half an hour to create.

Edit: Typo *sighs*


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Ah shoot, I was supposed to post my own troop work, wasn't I? I forgot about that. Cydeth's example looks prettier than my own do, anyway, but I might go ahead and update my playtest troops to second edition.

My only changes to Cydeth's example would be:

1) Raise the DCs of the attacks to 26-- most swarms seem to use the "high" spell DC, not the moderate DC used here.
2) Add about 40 more hit points. This is suggested in the GMG (about 4 times the weakness value) and I will attest that this is a good idea from my experience in the playtest. Troop HP goes quick with those weaknesses and no swarm resistances.

I hadn't thought of halving splash damage compared to AoE. That's clever and makes sense. One of the reasons my troops got blown away was because my players had a lot of bombs and just unloaded them.

Eh, here's an ugly statblock I did for a hobgoblin troop. It took less

Ridgeline Troop 6
Perception + 14; darkvision
Languages Common, Goblin
Skills +1; Athletics +15
Str +4, Dex +4, Con +4, Int +0, Wis +3, Cha –1
Items wooden shield (Hardness 3), longsword, shortbow with 10 arrows
AC 24 (26 with shield raised), Fort +17, Ref 14, Will +11
Weakness: AoE 9
HP 135
Reaction: Wall of Blades Trigger: When a creature enters the troop’s space. The creature must make a save against the Troop Strike ability.
Shield Block
Speed 20 feet
Troop Strike Each enemy in the swarm’s space takes 2d10 slashing damage with a DC 24 basic reflex save.
The hobgoblin troop can fire a volley of arrows as 2 actions. This attack takes the form of up to two lines with a range of 100 feet. These lines can each start from the corner of any square in the troop’s space. Each creature in any of these lines take 2d8 points of piercing damage (DC 24 basic Reflex).

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Captain Morgan wrote:

Ah shoot, I was supposed to post my own troop work, wasn't I? I forgot about that. Cydeth's example looks prettier than my own do, anyway, but I might go ahead and update my playtest troops to second edition.

My only changes to Cydeth's example would be:

1) Raise the DCs of the attacks to 26-- most swarms seem to use the "high" spell DC, not the moderate DC used here.
2) Add about 40 more hit points. This is suggested in the GMG (about 4 times the weakness value) and I will attest that this is a good idea from my experience in the playtest. Troop HP goes quick with those weaknesses and no swarm resistances.

I hadn't thought of halving splash damage compared to AoE. That's clever and makes sense. One of the reasons my troops got blown away was because my players had a lot of bombs and just unloaded them.

To be fair, I have an entire template set up in a document to make it super-easy for me to design monsters. I delete the sections I don't need, and adjust the rest as-needed. I did a year of a magic item/day, and learned efficiency where that was concerned.

Also, as to your suggestions, I didn't go looking at a bunch of swarms. I only looked at the spider swarm, which didn't use either of the suggestions. I probably should look at others further, and maybe adjust the numbers. As I said, I expected to have some rough edges!

I will say, it's interesting to see how other people approach the same idea! We came up with similar solutions, in all. I think the biggest difference is that I decided that entering the troop's space was generally clunky, so decided that they attack creatures in reach. I wouldn't allow the troop to occupy the same square of similarly-sized creatures.

Edit: Also, I examined the other swarms in the Bestiary, and I agree, I put the DCs too low. I apparently chose the one example with the worst DC, go figure. As for hit points, I think that with the healing ability, putting them at moderate (instead of low, where most swarms are) is reasonable.


Cydeth wrote:
Captain Morgan wrote:

Ah shoot, I was supposed to post my own troop work, wasn't I? I forgot about that. Cydeth's example looks prettier than my own do, anyway, but I might go ahead and update my playtest troops to second edition.

My only changes to Cydeth's example would be:

1) Raise the DCs of the attacks to 26-- most swarms seem to use the "high" spell DC, not the moderate DC used here.
2) Add about 40 more hit points. This is suggested in the GMG (about 4 times the weakness value) and I will attest that this is a good idea from my experience in the playtest. Troop HP goes quick with those weaknesses and no swarm resistances.

I hadn't thought of halving splash damage compared to AoE. That's clever and makes sense. One of the reasons my troops got blown away was because my players had a lot of bombs and just unloaded them.

To be fair, I have an entire template set up in a document to make it super-easy for me to design monsters. I delete the sections I don't need, and adjust the rest as-needed. I did a year of a magic item/day, and learned efficiency where that was concerned.

Also, as to your suggestions, I didn't go looking at a bunch of swarms. I only looked at the spider swarm, which didn't use either of the suggestions. I probably should look at others further, and maybe adjust the numbers. As I said, I expected to have some rough edges!

I will say, it's interesting to see how other people approach the same idea! We came up with similar solutions, in all. I think the biggest difference is that I decided that entering the troop's space was generally clunky, so decided that they attack creatures in reach. I wouldn't allow the troop to occupy the same square of similarly-sized creatures.

Edit: Also, I examined the other swarms in the Bestiary, and I agree, I put the DCs too low. I apparently chose the one example with the worst DC, go figure. As for hit points, I think that with the healing ability, putting them at moderate (instead of low, where most swarms are) is...

See, I'm not sure healing actions should massively affect hit points because they cost, well, actions. But I'd need to comb through the GMG a bit to confirm and I don't have my hard copy yet, so I can't be bothered at the moment.

Now there are a few different ways to make sweet looking stat blocks out there, and I've found one I like. But this was done during the playtest, and I only needed it for internal use. So a lot of my troops were copy/pasted from their PF1 versions and then adjusted for stats. They still use PF1 language in places. I have a level 8 grenadier troop, a level 10 phalanx, and a level 11 Minotaur troop as well that aren't translated yet.

I'll be curious what the official troop template does about sharing spaces. You're right that it is clunky, but I think that the idea of lots of weaker soldiers overwhelming a stronger enemy really calls for surrounding them. I tend to think of them as amorphous anyway and don't wind up putting them on a map, so that reaction might be a little pointless unless someone is trying to charge through them to hit a Target on the other side or something.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Captain Morgan wrote:
See, I'm not sure healing actions should massively affect hit points because they cost, well, actions. But I'd need to comb through the GMG a bit to confirm and I don't have my hard copy yet, so I can't be bothered at the moment.

Oh, I entirely agree. The point I was trying to make was that I was following the rules guidelines pretty closely based on swarms when I gave it hit points, and I also viewed the healing ability as an additional mitigating factor.

Captain Morgan wrote:
Now there are a few different ways to make sweet looking stat blocks out there, and I've found one I like. But this was done during the playtest, and I only needed it for internal use. So a lot of my troops were copy/pasted from their PF1 versions and then adjusted for stats. They still use PF1 language in places. I have a level 8 grenadier troop, a level 10 phalanx, and a level 11 Minotaur troop as well that aren't translated yet.

Totally understand! I made my template myself yesterday.

Captain Morgan wrote:
I'll be curious what the official troop template does about sharing spaces. You're right that it is clunky, but I think that the idea of lots of weaker soldiers overwhelming a stronger enemy really calls for surrounding them. I tend to think of them as amorphous anyway and don't wind up putting them on a map, so that reaction might be a little pointless unless someone is trying to charge through them to hit a Target on the other side or something.

Yeah, I'd probably make it come in reach. My instinct where the spacing is concerned is that the troop has to maintain a certain number of contiguous spaces. As a huge creature, mine fills nine 5-foot squares, but I see no problem allowing it to be a line of 9 squares along a wall, or a 3x3 grid, or otherwise. I think I remember this being how swarms worked in the playtest, from a game at PaizoCon with an adventure writer, but I may be mistaken.

Anyway, we're getting off into the weeds a bit. I think that we've shown troops can be built pretty easily with the current rules, even if there are some bits that could be clarified.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Oh wow that's awesome. That totally does mechanically feel like a troop, with barely any new rules at all...

Love it! Probably will steal it if I need to introduce a troop in my own game. :)


Porridge wrote:


Yeah, RAW the ABP provides a nice stealth buff to alchemists.

That seems kind of problematic.

I mean, good for alchemists but as written it means ABP turns Mutagens from a minor bonus Alchemists can hand out into bar none the best buffs in the entire game.

You can argue they should be good buffs, given the downsides, but that's a pretty significant distortion of baseline balance, which I feel like these rules are supposed to be designed to minimize.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Squiggit wrote:
Porridge wrote:


Yeah, RAW the ABP provides a nice stealth buff to alchemists.

That seems kind of problematic.

I mean, good for alchemists but as written it means ABP turns Mutagens from a minor bonus Alchemists can hand out into bar none the best buffs in the entire game.

You can argue they should be good buffs, given the downsides, but that's a pretty significant distortion of baseline balance, which I feel like these rules are supposed to be designed to minimize.

"Items that normally grant an item bonus to statistics or damage dice no longer do." That's pretty unambiguous, and it does not, as I saw growingly reported on discord for some reason, say "magic items" there.


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Well that keeps the math intact, though it sort of creates the opposite problem that a bunch of alchemical items will now do extremely little or, in some cases, actually nothing - the first two tiers of Bravo's Brew do nothing but give an item bonus, so those are just gone with ABP, and a tier 1 Quicksilver Mutagen is a significantly worse version of a tier 1 Cheetah's Elixir.

Paizo Employee Design Manager

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Depending on whether you want to remove all bonus items when you use ABP, you either remove those bonus-based options (the standard for the variant, which assumes you want all those items gone) or you can change anything you'd like to keep to a potency bonus.

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