Varsovian
 member, 1362 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 17:44
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Why do I think that "one village" idea works only for beginner characters? Well, if you put high-level characters there, it'd just look strange - how come one small village has master warriors, experts mages etc.? Also, you'd need to explain how come these experienced people don't know anything about the world outside their village...

As for monsters, I don't think you could have a successful game with 1st level character fighting a powerful demon, or something? Unless it'd be a game of "how can we stop the threat of the demon without fighting the demon directly". I guess this could be interesting...
engine
 member, 299 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 17:53
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian:
how come one small village has master warriors, experts mages etc.?
Is it your position that there's no possible answer to that question?

There's also a range between "beginner characters" and "master warriors, expert mages."

Varsovian:
Also, you'd need to explain how come these experienced people don't know anything about the world outside their village...
I think you're too focused on extremes, and you're too focused on the players knowing what the characters know. Characters know much more than players, like magic, and non-existent languages. So, just because your game isn't doing much beyond one small area doesn't mean the characters don't know more.

"There needs to be an explanation" isn't a reason for not doing something. Come up with that explanation, ideally in collaboration with your players, or just assume there is one and move on.

Varsovian:
As for monsters, I don't think you could have a successful game with 1st level character fighting a powerful demon, or something? Unless it'd be a game of "how can we stop the threat of the demon without fighting the demon directly". I guess this could be interesting...
Exactly. The Fellowship of the Ring has no hope of fighting Sauron... but they don't have to. They just have to deal with threats that are closer to their level, so that they can deal with Sauron indirectly. Thorin's party can't hope to fight stone giants, but they can still survive an encounter with them.
Dgorjones
 member, 39 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 19:04
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
I think you're seriously overthinking things from a campaign setting perspective.  You truly don't have to develop a full cosmology to start a fantasy game with clerics.  You can do that if you want to, but you don't have to.  The alternative is to make it up as you go, possibly with player assistance.

I strongly recommend you read Dungeon World.  It has fantastic advice for how to run a game with virtually nothing planned before the first play session.

With respect to determining a campaign's tone, I again think you are overthinking it somewhat.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with telling your players after a couple encounters that you think goblins would be more interesting in this particular campaign if you change them up from how they were initially presented.  Let your players know you're new to running Pathfinder and you may adjust things as you go to make for a better game.  Solicit player opinion on the changes if you like.  Good players will not freak out at this.  You don't even have to have an in-game explanation for the change.  Just do it.  If you can't let go that much, decree that the first goblins they encountered were a different type of goblin from the new ones and that both exist in the campaign world (the party just won't be seeing the first type again).  Maybe the first goblins were under the influence of some magical effect that altered them.  Coming up with explanations is just a question of applying a little imagination, but I would encourage you not to put yourself through that effort.  The game won't implode if you just announce some things are being changed and move on.
engine
 member, 300 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 19:09
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian, what's a game that you consider not to be "scary" and why not? Why are you feeling the need to engage with Pathfinder, if it doesn't suit you and you are leery about customizing it?
W0LF0S
 member, 116 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 19:22
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
I want to chime in on a couple of things.

TL;DR  Pathfinder's cruch has advantages.  Attributes are a bit deeper than you may think, and Charisma totally makes sense for sorcerers when you go down that rabbit hole of thought.

First, while PF is very, very crunchy and has an overwhelming amount of content to track, there are definite advantages to having those conditions.  The biggest one is that any (and I mean ANY) player concept can be realized if you know how to pull the strings behind the system.  You want to run a martial artist that shoots magic out of his body?  You can do that (Qinggong Monk).  Want to run a half-undead cleric trying to get in touch with nature even while he's wasting away?  Playable (Oracle).  Or let's get weird, how about a sneaky assassin who specializes in a gigantic two-handed weapon and an acrobatic fighting style?  That's a thing you can do (Bladed Brush feat and the like combined with Unchained Rogue).  For me and a lot of others, one of the biggest selling points for Pathfinder is how well you are rewarded for increasing your system mastery.  Once you start getting a handle on things, you can start breaking away from standard stereotypes to do some seriously cool stuff.

Second, I want to address the Strength/Charisma questions and expand them a bit.

There's a good bit of misconception about what the six attributes have to say about a character.  Strength does reflect the brute strength of a character to a degree (in the total ability score, this is definitely true), and it also shows how good a character is at bringing about success through that ability's use (this is shown with the ability modifier).  So let's put that in perspective with the math.  In Pathfinder, most basic checks have a Difficult Class (DC) of around 15 and most commoners have a high ability score of perhaps 13 or 15 with modifiers of +1 and +2 respectively.  You may checks by rolling a d20 and adding your modifier to the roll.  If you meet or beat the DC, you succeed.  So, the average joe who is doing something that they're physically capable of doing (judging by ability score and modifier) needs to roll a 14 or 13 (or higher) on the d20 to succeed at something for which they have no training.  That's about 40% odds of success.  Not awful, but not amazing.  But Pathfinder also shows that training matters through the Skills system.  Each Skill Rank increases your odds by 5%, and if it's a skill your naturally disposed to learning, you get an additional +15% (one time bonus) as soon as you invest a Skill Rank.  So a first level commoner with a Skill Rank in something that they're naturally disposed to doing ends up with something more like 60% odds of success or better.  And then the commoner can even get additional modifiers by using certain bits of equipment (+1 to +5 boon), getting help from someone (+2 to +4), or by specializing in a particular skill with a feat (+2 to +6).  Then the odds go way up to being basically a guaranteed success.  Taken together, that all makes realistic, mathematical sense, and now to circle back to the point.  The attributes are meant to merely reflect a person's natural potential for accomplishing different types of tasks.  Training, investment, aid, and equipment are necessary to unlock that potential, and Pathfinder does a good job of reflecting that.

A good visual might be to envision different sorts of folks trying to climb a rock wall with varying physiques, training, help, and equipment.  From the bare-knuckle natural without a rope or helpful friend to the seasoned, muscular veteran with good gear and a buddy on the safety line; there's a big range in between those extremes.

I say all that first to help give the frame of mind for how I look at the six attributes.  At their core, ability scores a reflection of a character's inner potential to do a thing.  Strength shows not only how physically strong or athletic a person is, but how well he is able to bring that strength to bear.  That doesn't necessarily make him good with a weapon though.  Training does that (weapon proficiency) and experience fuels his development (BAB, feats, class features).  Dexterity is a reflection of a person's coordination, reflexes, and agility.  With training, it's possible to use that natural ability to hit folks with a weapon (Weapon Finesse), but untrained folks lack the understanding and experience to accomplish such a thing.  You could say that Strength is how good a person is busting down a door while Dexterity shows good you are at picking the lock.  Another common dichotomy exists between Intelligence and Wisdom.  My favorite way to show the difference is this: "Intelligence is knowing what side of the street a car drives; Wisdom is knowing to look both ways before crossing one."

But lets get to Charisma specifically.  The common perception is that Charisma is a reflection of attractiveness, personality, and leadership.  Those all ring true for me as well, but I also view it as the "brightness of a person's soul" so to speak or at least in that they appear that way to others.  A person with a higher Charisma is more noticeable, influential.  They are highly capable of expressing themselves in meaningful, powerful ways.  In other words, Charisma is a measure of how much ability a person has to change the world around themselves through their own innate power.  Looking at Paladins, they are mostly a martial based class that relies on their Strength and training to deal with most situations, but they can also dial it to eleven when the circumstances are right with their ability to Smite as well as bolstering those that stand with them just through their presence with their Aura.  Moving on to Sorcerers, Charisma makes a good bit of sense with their flavor.  Their power is literally in their blood; it's a part of them indivisible from their bodies.  If Charisma is a measure of effectual expression of inner potential, then this makes quite a bit of sense as a spellcasting attribute for them.  A Sorcerer is literally using the power within their bodies to effect the world around them.  At least within the Pathfinder context, I think that this makes total sense.

In 3.0 or 3.5 D&D, it is also true that Charisma was the spellcasting statistic at that time.  However, the flavor was much, much different.  In that system, the sorcerer's power came from spirits with whom the sorcerer communed to gain power.  Even in that context, the Charisma choice makes sense because the sorcerer would need to effectually influence other beings in order to gain and use their powers.
swordchucks
 member, 1381 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 19:26
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Dgorjones:
You truly don't have to develop a full cosmology to start a fantasy game with clerics.

In my home Pathfinder game, we're eight sessions in to the current game and the paladin still hasn't bothered figuring out which god he worships (and it's standard Golarion, so figuring it out would take ten minutes on a wiki).  That kind of stuff can enhance the game, but it's not required by any means.
Gaffer
 member, 1458 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 20:14
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
About the goblins.

I don't see why all goblins have to be the same. Not all Native Americans are/were the same, even among the same cultural/language group.

Maybe the first group was less warlike or more 'civilized'or more worn down. Then the next group is a wilder bunch, more vengeful toward humans or just have come under the sway of a more warlike leader.

And who knows what the next bunch will be like?
W0LF0S
 member, 117 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 20:22
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Or that one Goblin learns the secrets of Necromancy and everyone has to deal with the Goblin problem twice from now on.  Once while they're alive, and a second time when they are raised up.

^Actual storyline from a game I ran years ago.  The players also thought the Goblins were cute until they came back to raid the village a second time with far fewer shenanigans and cowardice to hold them back.
engine
 member, 303 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 20:54
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
W0LF0S:
But lets get to Charisma specifically.  The common perception is that Charisma is a reflection of attractiveness, personality, and leadership.  Those all ring true for me as well, but I also view it as the "brightness of a person's soul" so to speak or at least in that they appear that way to others.
I've always had trouble with Charisma, but believe it or not I arrived at almost the same realization just a few days ago. I now think of Charisma as an actual objective quality or quantity about a person, sort of like a radiation they give off: it can warm or it can burn. At the extreme godlike end, it can be overpowering for everyone around, even one's allies. All will love them, and despair.

All that said, that interpretation obviously doesn't affect the rules, or give them a logical basis, it just helps us imagine it. There's no particular reason Varsiovian will accept it as reasonable, but I hope they'll see it as way players can justify the rules to themselves.
Varsovian
 member, 1363 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 21:24
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Thanks for all the comments and advice, folks!

I keep reading the core rulebook. I made it up to the combat chapter. So far, so good... I actually do understand everything, more or less. I'll see how combat works and whether it's complicated...

One note: rules for spells *are* intimidating. For instance, clerics have normal spells, orizons, domain spells, domain powers... I feel like a player might need a flipchart to organize all this.

@Engine: why do you think PF isn't suited for me? I don't feel that way. Although I do agree that GURPS is closer to my idea of my idea of RPing - but who says I can run only one system?

As for games that aren't "scary": NWoD is easy, for once. I also haven't had any problems with M&M 2E or Call of Cthulhu. Numenera and The Strange I did consider scary (system-wise), but I managed to wrap my head around them and now I quite appreciate their simple (if weird) rules...
engine
 member, 305 posts
Fri 21 Apr 2017
at 22:00
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian:
@Engine: why do you think PF isn't suited for me? I don't feel that way.
I don't either, I just thought you thought that way. Apparently not.
Gaffer
 member, 1459 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 13:07
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian:
I also haven't had any problems... Call of Cthulhu.

You know that Chaosium also has their GURPS-like Basic Roleplaying system that can be used in any type of role play setting. And they have recently re-acquired and re-booted RuneQuest, which I understand was more or less the foundation for Call of Cthulhu's mechanics.

Neither are (obviously) as well-known as Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons, but they might be worth a look.

From the product view: "RuneQuest took the young world of roleplaying games by storm [in 1978]; it cast aside many of the approaches most other games took. It had no character classes, no experience points, no levels, and far fewer restrictions on how weapons, armor, and spells could be used. Instead of a D20 it uses a percentile 01-100 system. It also has the built-in fantasy world of Glorantha."

I have never played it, but it certainly sounds less crunchy.

This message was last edited by the user at 13:11, Sat 22 Apr.

pdboddy
 member, 526 posts
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 16:45
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
If Pathfinder is scary, wait til Starfinder comes out. :3
Spade_Marlowe
 member, 1 post
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 19:23
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Start small.  For any system,  if it's your first time GMing, it's always best to start with a published module.  Explain this to your players, and they should understand.  From this you can start building your setting.

Only develop what you need - if you don't have any clerics or druids, you probably don't need a cosmology or pantheon (or just go with the ones in the Core Rulebook).  Actually, I'm a cleric in another game, and my GM had me come up with my own deity, and it was kind of fun, so don't hesitate getting your players involved.
Varsovian
 member, 1364 posts
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 20:57
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Okay, guys, question!

Prestige classes: how do they work, exactly? Let's say we have a character who is Fighter / Wizard and decides to take Eldritch Knight as a prestige class. Does he become Fighter / Wizard / Eldritch Knight and can progress in any of these classes, or does he just become and Eldritch Knight and cannot take any more classes of Wizard or Fighter?
pdboddy
 member, 527 posts
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 22:23
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
In reply to Varsovian (msg # 40):

They become a Fighter/Wizard/Eldritch Knight, and can progress in any of the classes.

The only difference between a prestige class and normal classes, besides power and abilities, is that a prestige class has a high bar to get over in order to take it.  They're something to work towards.
Varsovian
 member, 1365 posts
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 22:37
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
I see, thanks!

Another question: is it mandatory to RP Pathfinder combat on a square grid? I don't like squares...
drewalt
 member, 68 posts
Sat 22 Apr 2017
at 23:07
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Varsovian:
I see, thanks!

Another question: is it mandatory to RP Pathfinder combat on a square grid? I don't like squares...


I know people have done hex versions of it before (see the Hex Grid rule variant on the d20srd site for 3.5 edition), but I'm far too lazy for that because all the facings/reach rules assume squares and I don't want to convert everything.  Also a lot of adventures assume structures which I feel are better with squares (though I should note PF itself uses hexes for overland adventuring territories).

By RAW, every other diagonal square of movement counts as two (i.e. 10 feet), which seems to solve the common problem with squares.
Ronning
 member, 66 posts
Sun 23 Apr 2017
at 17:44
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
I've sworn off PF for all things 5e and couldn't be happier. PF is ludicrous. It was my first love and I could do nothing but watch as the thing swelled and swelled and swelled. Like, damn girl, stop eating. GO for a run or something. But nope.. She just got bigger and bigger.

I left her for 5e. She may be a bit dumb but damn her body is fine.
Varsovian
 member, 1366 posts
Sun 23 Apr 2017
at 21:04
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
drewalt:
I know people have done hex versions of it before (see the Hex Grid rule variant on the d20srd site for 3.5 edition), but I'm far too lazy for that because all the facings/reach rules assume squares and I don't want to convert everything.


I was thinking more of discarding the grid altogether and just measuring distances. That's the way I ran combat in M&M and it worked out fine...
GreyGriffin
 member, 77 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Sun 23 Apr 2017
at 21:12
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
Gonna lift this from another thread, thought it could be useful here....

While getting everyone on the same page for optimization is a good general practice, a system that essentially requires you to calculate your DPR in order to meaningfully participate seems like a failure of design...

5e is simple and playable, and designed to keep the math from spiralling too far out of control with tottering towers of multipliers and bonuses.  Sure there are the edge case warlock stacking builds, but you don't have to k'nex together a Rube Goldberg machine of feats to stay relevant in a given party.

While I appreciate rewarding system mastery, I feel Pathfinder leans waaaay to far towards rewarding and punishing decisions made during character generation and advancement.  Actions, strategies, and intelligent decisions made during play will never compensate for your colorful and characterful but behind-the-curve build.</quote>
willvr
 member, 1046 posts
Mon 24 Apr 2017
at 02:57
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
-sigh-

Both have advantages. Let's not go edition wars take 5.
GreyGriffin
 member, 79 posts
 Portal Expat
 Game System Polyglot
Mon 24 Apr 2017
at 05:34
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
In reply to willvr (msg # 47):

Oh yeah, I'll totally concede that Pathfinder has some points for it.  It has much more open character generation options, and a huge amount of material and legacy support.  You can go to the moon and back at chargen with just first party material, to say nothing of the vast number of modules that have been printed to strip for parts.  Plus, there's some satisfaction to be found in mechanically intricate characters, encounters, and interactions.

On top of that, I much prefer Golarion to the Forgotten Realms, as well, as a default setting.

I just felt that the case for 5e's advantages hadn't really been articulated.  It's too easy to correlate "simple" with "poorly conceived" or "limited."
willvr
 member, 1047 posts
Mon 24 Apr 2017
at 10:24
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
In reply to GreyGriffin (msg # 48):

The only problem I have with 5E is I think their modules are poorly written. If you're going to the modules due to lack of time to write your own, they make you do far too much work to make the module flow.

However, I quite enjoy playing it. I play it offline; whilst the only PF I can do is online, as none of my regular playing group want to run it.

To be honest, for me, what is important if I'm running something is good module support; whilst if I'm playing it all comes down to the playing group. 5E doesn't do well with a group of rules lawyers for example; but can do quite well with people with whom the main aim is character development (as in history/personality not stats).
Krul
 member, 27 posts
Sun 30 Apr 2017
at 10:32
Re: Pathfinder is scary...
So thoughts on creating your own pantheon;

First, it is not completely necessary, I've considered running a setting without any active deities, with non of the divine casters except for druids, hunters, oracles and rangers, going on the idea that they draw their powers from nature itself, different aspects in the case of oracles and pure nature in the case of druids.  This doesn't mean mortals can't believe in deities, or that they don't exist, but that no deity actually answers prayers with magic, this creates a world where mortals have a lot more say over their world, since they have no deities interfering with them.

Second, chose a paradigm; decide if you want a singular all powerful deity(possibly with different aspects), or a group of deities, since we're talking pantheon will assume the latter, though if you like, I can discuss a few ideas of the former with you.

Pathfinder goes on an interesting path, you have to look a little close to notice it, but twos, threes and sevens are hit a lot in their primary setting deities.  They have seven good aligned deities, and a deity for each of the seven sins, though lust is a chaotic neutral rather then a evil one.  Each alignment has 2 deities, except for Lawful Good, which has 3, and each of them give a different take on what that alignment means, and producing a total of nineteen major deities.  There are a number of lesser deities as well, but the primary are those nineteen.

There are a few other settings which have different layouts for their major deities, Scarred Lands has one major deity for each alignment, though the purely neutral one is the titan of nature.  The paradigm is completely different from the main pathfinder world, all major gods are descended from the titans, whose cruelty drove them to rebel against their parents.  This created a completely different world setting wise, especially since the titans still struggle against their imprisonment, and it is only been a few centuries since the great war.

Meanwhile, Dragonlance had seven deities for each alignment, at least until recently, and it seriously colored their world due to how active those deities were.  Of course, the dragons who served the gods of evil and those who served the gods of good had a lot of effect on the world as well.  The history of dragonlance is the history of deities interfering with mortals, most so then most settings.

Generally, if your going for a pantheon, first decide how active you want them to be, do they only act though their servants, or do they act directly upon the world.  Next, decide how many of them you have; in my opinion, for a pantheon, the smallest you should consider is four(4 elemental deities), and while there is no limit to the largest, I've seen a setting were they had 100 deities after all.  However, I would not suggest 100 deities for someone starting on their own setting.  Technically 2 and 3 is possible, but generally I see these as more a variation on the singular deity idea.