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On sidenote, I'm kinda reminded of how some people's reaction to total war warhammer 3 Kislev trailer is "axe-guns and ice sleds are too fantastic/anachronistic" in fantasy setting where tanks and gyrocopters exist


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Sort of, that's more CHANGE BAD more than anything else. Historically, Kislev was an extremely grounded faction (Poland/Russia with a few extra bears and ice wizards tossed in by and large) and as things go, some people don't like things changing when the old way (tm) was obviously better. I'm sure that's an attitude everyone here has seen before.


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CorvusMask wrote:
On sidenote, I'm kinda reminded of how some people's reaction to total war warhammer 3 Kislev trailer is "axe-guns and ice sleds are too fantastic/anachronistic" in fantasy setting where tanks and gyrocopters exist

TBF, Warhammer is a setting made by a lot history nerds so there's a lot of historic authenticity, if not exactly realism.

And axe-muskets are the kind of weapon you would expect the dwarves to develop not the resident not-Russians.
It is kinda like if in the trailer of, say, Total War: Golarion, Alkenstar would be battling Geb with energy weapons. Yeah, it's possible to get energy weapons in Golarion and ship them anywhere, but it stop being authentic to the setting if you start doing that.

Humbly,
Yawar

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I mean historically irl Kislev was Empire with miniatures changed to have Russian themes plus ice witches and a bear <_<

Like, ignoring fact that axe-gun is actually real thing that apparently exists, why exactly it would be weirder for fantasy!Russians to have those compared to again straight up tanks and copters. Like its okay for Empire to have tanks because they are fantasy Germans?

You can debate about it yeah, but the comparing axe-guns to laser guns is just silly and it comes across as absurd to be like "no no no this is where I draw the line, this is the part where realistic warfare has become unrealistic".

(it seems to be simplification of lore of Streltsi being "they have halberd/bardiche they slam to ground to use as steadying platform for handgun and they use that in middle of combat" anyway.)


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To anyone that says realism and high fantasy do not mix. You are wrong. Most high fantasy settings have as basis reality and then they add in magic. Case in point: 90% of Superhero and Shonen media. Heck even things like wuxia is based on reality then take everything to level 20 and run with it.

Also there is no reason why the rules of the game players use would not be the same for NPCs. If the rules say NPCs can have different abilities, guess what? They are still following the rules.

Now if you want to make things totally separate that is your perogative and I accept that. But don't state it as fact.


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Temperans wrote:

To anyone that says realism and high fantasy do not mix. You are wrong. Most high fantasy settings have as basis reality and then they add in magic. Case in point: 90% of Superhero and Shonen media. Heck even things like wuxia is based on reality then take everything to level 20 and run with it.

Also there is no reason why the rules of the game players use would not be the same for NPCs. If the rules say NPCs can have different abilities, guess what? They are still following the rules.

Now if you want to make things totally separate that is your perogative and I accept that. But don't state it as fact.

I still think those things aren't really in the realm of realism, just as non interactive media you don't have the ability to look at the unrealistic bits. E.G superhero media, if a player was running superman they would quickly realize they could solve the energy problem for the entire world and that would be more efficient at fighting injustice.


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CorvusMask wrote:

I mean historically irl Kislev was Empire with miniatures changed to have Russian themes plus ice witches and a bear <_<

Like, ignoring fact that axe-gun is actually real thing that apparently exists, why exactly it would be weirder for fantasy!Russians to have those compared to again straight up tanks and copters. Like its okay for Empire to have tanks because they are fantasy Germans?

You can debate about it yeah, but the comparing axe-guns to laser guns is just silly and it comes across as absurd to be like "no no no this is where I draw the line, this is the part where realistic warfare has become unrealistic".

(it seems to be simplification of lore of Streltsi being "they have halberd/bardiche they slam to ground to use as steadying platform for handgun and they use that in middle of combat" anyway.)

Well the gyrocopters are easy because those are made by dwarfs who are the setting resident non-mad-science technology lads. People would probably get salty if any of the human factions just suddenly got them and it wasn't handwaved away as gifts from the local hold.

Still, it goes down to aesthetics and change at the end of the day. People would get annoyed at the !Eastern Europeans getting tanks because they never had tanks, they were always the winged lancers/ice witches dudes. The !Germans get a pass because they always had those tanks. It's kinda like if they went and gave Bretonnia gunpowder units. Like yeah, it could happen even in setting (since firearms aren't explicitly banned for use by the local unwashed peasants being recentish inventions) but I guarantee you'd have riots because it violates the aesthetic of !French-Arthurian knights people like and its CHANGE and as said, change = bad.


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Regarding that weird weapon debate.

1) Golarion is close to a living world and things do change. Its always been part of the setting.

2) Axe, Sword, and Punch guns are real life weapons. They are not dwarven inventions or mystical. But fantasy does tend to make them much better than IRL. The Punch gun only has a single shot.

3) Chances of Alkenstar having energy weapons is low. Unless they somehow managed to get their hands on a Numerian power generator and reverse engineer it. Either way, Geb is a literal land of undead creatures. Its better to spend that energy on things other than weapons.

* P.S. Hope that they fixed firearms to not be dumb. The way they were in the playtest was severely underwhelming and outclassed by literal a plain old longbow.

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On sidenote, I do agree that idea that high fantasy can't have realistic aspect isn't true. The part I find silly is where people put the line of "This is too fantastical for fantasy"

Like, realism in fantasy tends to be less about "being like reality" and more "people act believable and consequences feel natural". Like something in fantasy is "unrealistic" when its "so far from reality that no person would act like this out of extremely unreasonable examples" or when cause and effect doesn't make sense.

Something like "combining melee weapon and ranged weapon is too silly", "that muscle person shouldn't be able to lift sword of that size" and "hey those weapons weren't used by this real life culture or didn't exist together in same time period" feel pretty weird lines especially in settings that run on "This is cool" and have other example of similar things that differ from reality. Sure yeah internal consistency is important, in setting where all humans are similar to real life base humans one of them without magical or divine blessing just punching mountain is weird after ten years of stories being told like that, but again I don't buy the example from earlier being much weirder than other stuff in that setting.


Temperans wrote:

To anyone that says realism and high fantasy do not mix. You are wrong. Most high fantasy settings have as basis reality and then they add in magic. Case in point: 90% of Superhero and Shonen media. Heck even things like wuxia is based on reality then take everything to level 20 and run with it.

Also there is no reason why the rules of the game players use would not be the same for NPCs. If the rules say NPCs can have different abilities, guess what? They are still following the rules.

Now if you want to make things totally separate that is your perogative and I accept that. But don't state it as fact.

Every shounen has characters with no particular invulnerabilities who can still get thrown 50 mph against a brick wall and stand up with a grimace right after these shows are not based in reality


In the end narratively there are two outcomes to the godzilla question, either the military (who are massively lower level) can stop godzilla with the right tactics and tools or they can't.

Neither are wrong and Godzilla stories have explored both, both can lead to good drama. If you have gone for option 2 then you need other kaju (high level characters) to fight godzilla or you need to find a way to resolve conflict with godzilla that doesn't involved violence.

That would tend to be communication or hiding which Godzilla's massive levels make almost impossible. Which means if tactics and tools can't let you survive a kaju (high level threat) then you live in a world were only kaju (high level characters matter).

This again isn't a problem because unlike like 3.5 and 5e pathfinder 2e can never be a game about heroes beating gods, only a game of men vs men and heroes vs monsters. Hierarchies are absolute, inefibale and level above all things.


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siegfriedliner wrote:

In the end narratively there are two outcomes to the godzilla question, either the military (who are massively lower level) can stop godzilla with the right tactics and tools or they can't.

Neither are wrong and Godzilla stories have explored both, both can lead to good drama. If you have gone for option 2 then you need other kaju (high level characters) to fight godzilla or you need to find a way to resolve conflict with godzilla that doesn't involved violence.

That would tend to be communication or hiding which Godzilla's massive levels make almost impossible. Which means if tactics and tools can't let you survive a kaju (high level threat) then you live in a world were only kaju (high level characters matter).

This again isn't a problem because unlike like 3.5 and 5e pathfinder 2e can never be a game about heroes beating gods, only a game of men vs men and heroes vs monsters. Hierarchies are absolute, inefibale and level above all things.

It's worth noting that level can be fluid and you can coordinate to fight easier challenges or create stronger allies. A single city guard member is level 1, a large group of city guards are collectively a City Guard Squadron level 5. A barrister is level -1 in a fist fight but level 4 in a legal battle. The rules support using different levels to represent a challenge in different contexts, playing around with this can adjust the tone to give a chance of besting a mechanically better monster at something it is not geared to be great at. Subsystems also help, you can use Influence, Infiltration, Chase, etc rules to create challenges that incorporate high-level creatures as threats without necessarily needing those threats to be the same level as the creature.


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Temperans wrote:
Hey everyone get back on track. No need to debate guns in this thread.

Amen, I was hoping the amount of discussion in this thread meant that people were debating and speculating the idea of how an in-universe character might be able to measure the relative power difference between events going on in their world, not rehashing the definition of realism in fantasy or arguing about gun mechanics.

Because like... to a commoner a troll is a terrify deadly menace to meet in the forest. A dread wraith is a terrifyingly deadly menace. An adult dragon is a terrifyingly deadly menace. A balor is a terrifyingly deadly menace... but not all of these things are equal to a seasoned adventurer.

Most reasonably experienced adventurers and monster hunters would see a troll as a threat that can be easily taken down with help, while all other creatures on the list are run-on-sight. Certain exceptionally skilled and talented warriors could easily fight a troll on their own (with a little fire) but see the dread wraith as viable challenge, and so on.

At a certain point there's a question of recognition. At what point does an elite warrior in the 11-15 range, or legendary hero take stock and recognise that there is some kind of 'power hierarchy' in their universe, and that there's 'dangerous' monsters and then there's dangerous monsters and that they're a little bit stronger than the latter category but still weaker than things of legendary renown?

In times like these I almost want to refer back to a Monster Hunter-style ranking system. Of course a dread wraith is a monster capable of sucking the life force out of foes who even so much as stand near it, but it's still only a 4-star quest; it may be an unholy terror of darkness but you bring a rank-6 barbarian adventurer in there and she might scream at the wraith so loud that it literally flees in terror for its tortured undead existence before she molly-whops it around the churchyard.

And I think that's cool and fun and perhaps worthy of commentary, especially when you eventually get to the point in high-level play where you are telling the players what legendary monster which villagers only whisper about for fear of drawing its fell attention... but which is a warm-up encounter to them now.


Hmm, I think that in theory Recall Knowledge would had allowed for character to recognize when the enemy was too strong. But the way it was made prevents it from happening as spending multiple actions in combat to try and figure out "yes this is too difficult" is problematic.

I do agree that by the very fact somethings are stronger people will see them as a threat. However, I disagree on when that happens.

I can see commoners fearing any stranger regardless of their look. This is due to how much tales and rumors spread, specially in small communities. Adventurers would be even worse off as they would know that there really are some horrible people and creatures in the world. Not to mention that some things look weaker but are actually incredibly dangerous.

So yes there is an absolute power hierarchy. But pinning it down for most creatures is very difficult.

Easy cases: Vampires, True Dragons, Zombies/Skeletons (you can usually see when one is more dangerous), etc.


Temperans wrote:

Hmm, I think that in theory Recall Knowledge would had allowed for character to recognize when the enemy was too strong. But the way it was made prevents it from happening as spending multiple actions in combat to try and figure out "yes this is too difficult" is problematic.

Although ideally as a GM if you are presenting an enemy to your players that is too powerful for them to actually face, initially doing so out of combat is a good idea.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Because of the difference in power due to level, it can be as easy as the big bad facing the party without treating them as a threat. I've done it once now. Since the party couldn't hit them, or dispell their defenses, or anything really, they just stood by and slow clapped, then offered them an ultimatum.


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WatersLethe wrote:
Because of the difference in power due to level, it can be as easy as the big bad facing the party without treating them as a threat. I've done it once now. Since the party couldn't hit them, or dispell their defenses, or anything really, they just stood by and slow clapped, then offered them an ultimatum.

This is really common in literature as well because it makes the big bad villain a lot more interesting because it reintroduces choice into a conflict that might otherwise feel determined. Even if the players end up dying, it can at least be because they made a choice to die instead of do something the see as terrible.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think there is a bit of irony in complaining that level = power, when level is essentially an short form way of saying “power level.” I concur with mathmuse that the only place in the game where this may look counter intuitive is at level-1 and 0. The developers have explained why this is the case. Less HP and decent attacks make for more interesting encounters than more HP and less attack. This was arrived at through playtesting. Low level monsters just don’t do anything except attack.

I don’t know that I would call level an “absolute” determination of power, but it is accurate and effective, and because of that, useful in encounter design.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

I think the disconnect people are having with the world is that PCs gain power in specific and predictable ways. NPCs have ways of following rules and formulas to determine power level, but they can also be arbitrarily set as needed for the world.

For example, what is power level in the context of a queen of a nation? Has this queen “won the right” to have enough GP and bonuses to be a level 14 combat challenge? That is a false question. In PF2 the question becomes “what level do the NPCs need to be for the sake of the story?


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Unicore wrote:

I think the disconnect people are having with the world is that PCs gain power in specific and predictable ways. NPCs have ways of following rules and formulas to determine power level, but they can also be arbitrarily set as needed for the world.

For example, what is power level in the context of a queen of a nation? Has this queen “won the right” to have enough GP and bonuses to be a level 14 combat challenge? That is a false question. In PF2 the question becomes “what level do the NPCs need to be for the sake of the story?

What if the campaign is a sandbox?

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I have removed an off topic discussion. It's something that could be discussed in its own thread, but doesn't belong in this one. Let's try to keep threads on topic.


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Unicore wrote:
I think the disconnect people are having with the world is that PCs gain power in specific and predictable ways. NPCs have ways of following rules and formulas to determine power level, but they can also be arbitrarily set as needed for the world.

Honestly one of the things that's been a bit of a hangup for me in setting my world to its PF2 era is how differently PCs and NPCs gain power. It's not like PF1 where I can make a PC and then just throw them into the game as an NPC. Since PCs and NPCs gain power differently I need to explain how they gain power differently and not just why the PCs gain power so much more quickly than the NPCs.


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Planpanther wrote:
Unicore wrote:

I think the disconnect people are having with the world is that PCs gain power in specific and predictable ways. NPCs have ways of following rules and formulas to determine power level, but they can also be arbitrarily set as needed for the world.

For example, what is power level in the context of a queen of a nation? Has this queen “won the right” to have enough GP and bonuses to be a level 14 combat challenge? That is a false question. In PF2 the question becomes “what level do the NPCs need to be for the sake of the story?

What if the campaign is a sandbox?

The question is the same. What level does the Queen need to be to satisfy her role within the sandbox.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
HyperMissingno wrote:
It's not like PF1 where I can make a PC and then just throw them into the game as an NPC.

You absolutely can.


WatersLethe wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
It's not like PF1 where I can make a PC and then just throw them into the game as an NPC.
You absolutely can.

Yeah. IIRC the core rulebook even suggests doing this if time permits, and you haven't got access to the GMG, which wasn't out at the time.


It's probably even better to do that for major NPCs that are going to be relevant on a variety of fronts.

GMG-style NPCs trade versatility for higher numbers in a specific setting. Combat NPCs can't do as much skill-wise due to lacking skill feat versatility, and skill-based NPCs can't fight in combat particularly well. So if you need one that'll be able to handle both, building them as a PC is handy, but will take a lot more time.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
HyperMissingno wrote:
Since PCs and NPCs gain power differently I need to explain how they gain power differently and not just why the PCs gain power so much more quickly than the NPCs.

Why do you need to explain this? Does the mechanical difference between an NPC statblock, a PC sheet, and a monster statblock need an in world explanation? The difference between the three is their utility in play either to the player or to the GM - and doesn't serve an explicitly narrative function that would need explaining.


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Some people have different values, find different things interesting, or take things differently. Sometimes they can't care less where the numbers come from and sometimes they find the story better if big things like power scaling have a defined reason.


WatersLethe wrote:
HyperMissingno wrote:
It's not like PF1 where I can make a PC and then just throw them into the game as an NPC.
You absolutely can.

Agreed. I've done this for a major recurring antagonist, a rival party of adventurers the group has fought and will fight again, ally adventuring groups and one off companions that join the group for a time then leave. It works really well.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

I've found it easier in PF2 to drop in PC built NPCs tbh. Characters build as PCs in PF1 tend to be too glass-cannon compared to monsters designed as monsters, which creates a lot of really anticlimactic or otherwise problematic fights.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
HyperMissingno wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I think the disconnect people are having with the world is that PCs gain power in specific and predictable ways. NPCs have ways of following rules and formulas to determine power level, but they can also be arbitrarily set as needed for the world.
Honestly one of the things that's been a bit of a hangup for me in setting my world to its PF2 era is how differently PCs and NPCs gain power. It's not like PF1 where I can make a PC and then just throw them into the game as an NPC. Since PCs and NPCs gain power differently I need to explain how they gain power differently and not just why the PCs gain power so much more quickly than the NPCs.

I think this is much more of a conceptualization issue than a mechanical game issue though. In Golarion there have always been NPCs that have been the level they need to be without having slain dragons or earned the even more rediculous amounts of XP necessary to level up. If anything, since PF2 loosens the way that xp is awarded NPCs would really only need to keep surviving to level up much more quickly than would make sense in PF1's exponential xp

Silver Crusade

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Verdyn wrote:
Fluff is the easiest thing in the world to write

Dismissing it twice in the same breath (“fluff” “easiest”) shows how completely wrong you are.

Creating a life and background and mindset for every single npc would take obscenely longer than their stat blocks.

Not to diminish stat and dungeon building, but to claim something is not important and also super easy to come up and be what you want apparently is not only at odds but is completely out of touch with building an adventure.


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Rysky wrote:
Verdyn wrote:
Fluff is the easiest thing in the world to write

Dismissing it twice in the same breath (“fluff” “easiest”) shows how completely wrong you are.

Creating a life and background and mindset for every single npc would take obscenely longer than their stat blocks.

It would if that was a thing that any published adventure actually did, but seeing as they often only devote less than a page to even important NPCs that's what I'll compare things to. Making an NPC that has nine to twenty sentences of backstory is something I can bang out faster than I can design a custom encounter with a well-planned arena.

Plus, not every NPC needs to start out fully realized. My usual technique is to give every side NPC a name, a race, a specialty, a quirk or two, and a relationship to one other NPC. With techniques like this, or borrowing a backstory generator from somewhere or other, you can often fake a lot of detail that isn't actually there. If that NPC proves popular with the group then you can spend more time developing them as a true character and not simply set dressing.

I've found that DM's who fancy themselves writers often overstate how much their players actually care about their story and can be some of the worst railroaders out there. This might not be a flaw you have but it's common enough to be worth mentioning.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber
Verdyn wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Verdyn wrote:
Fluff is the easiest thing in the world to write

Dismissing it twice in the same breath (“fluff” “easiest”) shows how completely wrong you are.

Creating a life and background and mindset for every single npc would take obscenely longer than their stat blocks.

It would if that was a thing that any published adventure actually did, but seeing as they often only devote less than a page to even important NPCs that's what I'll compare things to. Making an NPC that has nine to twenty sentences of backstory is something I can bang out faster than I can design a custom encounter with a well-planned arena.

Plus, not every NPC needs to start out fully realized. My usual technique is to give every side NPC a name, a race, a specialty, a quirk or two, and a relationship to one other NPC. With techniques like this, or borrowing a backstory generator from somewhere or other, you can often fake a lot of detail that isn't actually there. If that NPC proves popular with the group then you can spend more time developing them as a true character and not simply set dressing.

I've found that DM's who fancy themselves writers often overstate how much their players actually care about their story and can be some of the worst railroaders out there. This might not be a flaw you have but it's common enough to be worth mentioning.

Not in PF2. That is the whole advantage of the NPC design in this system. It takes less time to make an NPCs stat blocks than it takes to write a couple of paragraphs, especially thoughtful ones that try to consider dungeon ecology. Grabbing a couple of monsters and put them in an interesting encounter is even easier.


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Unicore wrote:
Not in PF2. That is the whole advantage of the NPC design in this system. It takes less time to make an NPCs stat blocks than it takes to write a couple of paragraphs, especially thoughtful ones that try to consider dungeon ecology. Grabbing a couple of monsters and put them in an interesting encounter is even easier.

Nonsense. An interesting encounter is about more than just plunking down a few stat blocks that do a unique thing in combat. The choice of enemies, the terrain, any unique features or traps, etc. It all matters and, unless your group spends a majority of time in freeform RP, your players will spend more time in combat or exploring the playspace (dungeon, temple, fortress, etc.) than they will interacting with your 3-pages of notes about how the citizens of the starting hamlet interact with the local lord and the trade guilds.

Your players might not notice if your NPCs are just a couple of notes on a page but they will notice if your dungeons and combat encounters are phoned in and boring.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook Subscriber

There are lots of really great examples of NPCs that are written exactly this way in APs.

Abomination Vaults NPC Spoiler:
There are phenomenally fun NPCs in this AP that only have a paragraph or two of purpose text, but that have enough potential to do far more than I would ever be able to come up with off the top of my head.

Boss Skrawng leader of a mitflit band is secretly planning an invasion of a town by training maggots who will turn into flies, but is also willing to negotiate with the PCs to retake lost territory elsewhere in the dungeon.

Tangletop the Brownie is pretending to be a will-o-wisp and talk the party into recovering an item of treasure in exchange for some really useful information about a party killer boss later in the dungeon.

Mr. Beak is a soul bound doll that can also reveal a lot of useful information to a much larger story...or be killed and smashed and totally forgotten about. These are all just "filler" monsters on the first floor of the mega dungeon.

In my campaign, all 3 of these NPCs have become very important characters that the players love interacting with. Because the party has become friends with the mudlickers, I have ended up naming about 7 of the mitflits, and give them the personalities like you talked about before, but the flavor and lore of the dungeon and the main movers and shakers are what makes this so easy to do.

Silver Crusade

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Verdyn wrote:
I can bang out faster than I can design a custom encounter with a well-planned arena.
Yes, you can make a generic writeup for someone faster than you can churn out unique creatures and specialized fights scenes, which is a bit goal post moving there.
Verdyn wrote:
Plus, not every NPC needs to start out fully realized. My usual technique is to give every side NPC a name, a race, a specialty, a quirk or two, and a relationship to one other NPC. With techniques like this, or borrowing a backstory generator from somewhere or other, you can often fake a lot of detail that isn't actually there. If that NPC proves popular with the group then you can spend more time developing them as a true character and not simply set dressing.
You defeated your own argument with this, developing the NPCs around the PCs and how they interact works very fluidly and leads to better results.
Verdyn wrote:
I've found that DM's who fancy themselves writers often overstate how much their players actually care about their story and can be some of the worst railroaders out there. This might not be a flaw you have but it's common enough to be worth mentioning.

I don't consider myself a writer or even hinted as such, so no not really worth mentioning this complete non-sequitur.

Thinking up NPCs doesn't make you egotistical, it means you're a GM.

Verdyn wrote:
Your players might not notice if your NPCs are just a couple of notes on a page but they will notice if your dungeons and combat encounters are phoned in and boring.

You do realize your opponents in combat are NPCs too right? It's not an all or nothing thing.


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

“The NPC’s need to be thoroughly described.” “Each encounter should give guidance on how the entire dungeon reacts to the possible actions of the PC’s”

Just how many pages in length do you think an AP should be?


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Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
dirtypool wrote:

“The NPC’s need to be thoroughly described.” “Each encounter should give guidance on how the entire dungeon reacts to the possible actions of the PC’s”

Just how many pages in length do you think an AP should be?

Yeah, this is why I asked for existing examples in the other thread. I question whether cramming all this into a single publication is a practical choice and would like proof that it can be done.

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