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Post Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:11 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:The Bestiary is the Pathfinder monster manual.


Meaning you need another book besides the core rules, or is their bestiary a "supplement"?

FormCritic wrote:Paizo is pumping out modules for the game...lots and lots.


Good. I like lots of options in this area.

FormCritic wrote:I have not read them all.  The ones I am familiar with are good to brilliant.  The Skinsaw Murders, which was the second Pathfinder Adventure Path module published, is the single best module I have read...both for its use of genuine horror themes in D&D and for the technical mastery of the writers.


Really?  Is this a general theme within Pathfinder?  Horror?
This would dovetail well with my interest in Lovecraft.

FormCritic wrote:It would be nice if Pathfinder stayed a compact and accessible RPG.  The reality is that Paizo must publish and sell or perish.  There is already a rules expansion hardback out and more are on the way.  The gamers at PaizoCon were buying everything in sight.  Like the expansions to other versions of D&D, you don't need them to play...but...you know this tune.


This is where gaming companies start to annoy me.
If there is a game that I am enthusiastic about, I want
to be able to show a prospective player one book
and say, "These are the rules.  Everything else is a dungeon
module."

Ironic, I guess, considering my favorite game and my whole
reason for being a member here revolve around proliferation
of rule books.


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:35 pm 
 

BTW, for any of you interested in
learning about Pathfinder, here's the link ....

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG

keith


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Post Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:19 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
Really? Is this a general theme within Pathfinder? Horror?
This would dovetail well with my interest in Lovecraft.


Rise of the Runelords Adventure Path has a lot of lovecraftian themes in it, such as Denizens of Leng in Spires of Xin-Shalast for example. It's Paizo's first AP after Dungeon magazine and Burnt Offerings is the most sought after book in it, selling for $100. It's definitely worth a read through.

  


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 1:22 am 
 

James Jacobs - the Creative Director - is a big fan of Lovecraft. I attended Paizocon last month, and one of the seminars was about the adventure paths (AP). The AP that starts with #43 (in Jan or Feb) and goes through to #48 will be called The Carrion Crown, and is set in Ustalav, which is the gothic horror realm.
When asked about the Lovecraft elements, he also said that he'd love to do a Lovecraftian-themed AP at some point.

As to the APs themselves, the plots/stories vary but they are aimed at the fans (mostly 20-40) so the adventures are more for adults than kids. As someone else said, the haunted house in The Skinsaw Murders is awesome!

If you like, I can ask a question there about which adventures have horror themes.

  

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Post Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 6:40 pm 
 

astenon wrote:James Jacobs - the Creative Director - is a big fan of Lovecraft. I attended Paizocon last month, and one of the seminars was about the adventure paths (AP). The AP that starts with #43 (in Jan or Feb) and goes through to #48 will be called The Carrion Crown, and is set in Ustalav, which is the gothic horror realm.
When asked about the Lovecraft elements, he also said that he'd love to do a Lovecraftian-themed AP at some point.

As to the APs themselves, the plots/stories vary but they are aimed at the fans (mostly 20-40) so the adventures are more for adults than kids. As someone else said, the haunted house in The Skinsaw Murders is awesome!

If you like, I can ask a question there about which adventures have horror themes.


I would definitely be curious which ones have horror elements.
PF continues to pique my interest.  Glad I asked about it.
Even if I never play an RPG, I still enjoy reading about them.
They're actually incredibly educational.
I saw on another post where someone said that
Gods, Demigods and Heroes was an influence in
his college major.


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Post Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 7:38 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:

Really?  Is this a general theme within Pathfinder?  Horror?
This would dovetail well with my interest in Lovecraft.


I don't know about all of Pathfinder.  There are a large number of publications out there now.

The Skinsaw Murders includes scenes that work well in a game mechanics sense that would be truly frightening in a horror movie.  

This is really the trick in using horror in Dungeons and Dragons.  The players are seldom frightened because they are heavily armed and evil has hit points.  (That is why gamers love the movie Army of Darkness...the most D&D movie ever made.  "Good?  Bad?  I'm the guy with the gun.")

The Skinsaw Murders utilizes the best facets of the 3rd Edition game.  The flexibility of the 3rd Edition rules gives a technically proficient writer the ability to keep the party guessing...which is frightening.  Madness, disease, curses, grim murder scenes, horrifying deeds...it is tough to make an adventure as good as The Skinsaw Murders.

I suspect that Pathfinder isn't perfect.  D&D 3.5 breaks down somewhere around 12th-15th level.  (Better than AD&D, which broke at 9th-11th level...or at 7th level after the publication of Unearthed Arcana.)  Since Pathfinder is essentially 3.5 done slightly better, I suspect the breakdown must be roughly around 15th level.  WOTC promised that 4th Edition won't break down at all...I wouldn't know about that.  I doubt it.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 12:23 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Keith the Thief wrote:
The Skinsaw Murders includes scenes that work well in a game mechanics sense that would be truly frightening in a horror movie.  

This is really the trick in using horror in Dungeons and Dragons.  The players are seldom frightened because they are heavily armed and evil has hit points.  (That is why gamers love the movie Army of Darkness...the most D&D movie ever made.  "Good?  Bad?  I'm the guy with the gun.")


Excellent.  Continues to intrigue me.
I never had success with horror in a D&D game.
In fact, that's part of the reason I never bothered with
Ravenloft, which everyone seems to love.

FormCritic wrote:I suspect that Pathfinder isn't perfect.  D&D 3.5 breaks down somewhere around 12th-15th level.  (Better than AD&D, which broke at 9th-11th level...or at 7th level after the publication of Unearthed Arcana.)  Since Pathfinder is essentially 3.5 done slightly better, I suspect the breakdown must be roughly around 15th level.  WOTC promised that 4th Edition won't break down at all...I wouldn't know about that.  I doubt it.


Would you mind elaborating?  This is very interesting.
We played AD&D up until about 8th or 9th level and then would
usually cycle back to lower levels with different characters.
What happens in D&D, or any RPG, that causes it to break down?


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:56 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:
Would you mind elaborating?  This is very interesting.
We played AD&D up until about 8th or 9th level and then would
usually cycle back to lower levels with different characters.
What happens in D&D, or any RPG, that causes it to break down?


"Breakdown":  When the power level of the player-characters rises above the logic level of any sort of realistic campaign.

Breakdown happens when the party is no longer afraid of just about anything in the book, and they must be confronted with increasingly elaborate and over-powered monsters in large numbers to even feel challenged.

How many fire giants can there be in this part of the world?  A campaign based upon a recognizable, believable medieval setting has limits on how many perils can live in...say...Norfolk and Suffolk.

"Orcus?  Oh, yeah.  We killed him.  I've got his wand."

"Ancient huge red dragon?  Yawn."

Naturally, this can be heavily influenced by factors in the DM's control, but it does occur even in campaigns with low character statistics and sharp limitations on magic.

Unearthed Arcana lowered the breakdown level in AD&D to 7th. That is the level where fighters have double weapon specialization and two swings per round.  (It was already bad enough when fighter types with weapon specialization got multiple swings at first level.)  The damage delivered alters the logical assumptions of game balance.  Monsters must get more powerful to make up for this imbalance, forcing thin-skins (magic users, thieves, etc) to face opponents of overwhelming lethality.  

Unearthed Arcana also added spells that made magic-users too powerful...with results that wrecked campaign logic.

You stated it yourself...you used to run characters to about 9th level and then start over.

The modules G1-3 and D1-3 were presented for characters of 7th-9th levels, with Q1 intended as a graduation exercise.  After killing all the giants in the region, up-ending the drow and slaying Lolth, what would be left for the party to accomplish?  Nothing.  Start over.

When WOTC was first presenting 4th Edition, they talked about extending the "sweet spot" in D&D all the way up to 20th level.  I have no idea how they managed to accomplish this.  I suspect they didn't.

"Sweet spot":  The set of player-character levels in which the party experiences the best peril to fun ratio.  In AD&D it was 4th-7th.  

At PaizoCon, all three of the events I played in called for PC's of 6th or 7th level.  There was a reason for that.  Experienced DM's know where the sweet spot is.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:07 pm 
 

ALL of the above, of course, is based on the assumption that the only fun in the game comes from Killing Things or being physically threatened (or Stealing/Looting, the direct corollary).

Such a shame that more people don't transcend that point to reach the potential that the FRPG has to offer (without devolving into mechanic-free storyteller pastimes/interactions, which are not really games imho). :/

F

  


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:08 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:
"Breakdown":  When the power level of the player-characters rises above the logic level of any sort of realistic campaign.

...snip...

When WOTC was first presenting 4th Edition, they talked about extending the "sweet spot" in D&D all the way up to 20th level.  I have no idea how they managed to accomplish this.  I suspect they didn't.


I don't think WotC views "sweet spot" in the same way you do. I think they view it from purely mechanical combat-only terms. Their sweet spot is where combat is always interesting and not as "swingy" in the higher levels based upon their belief that high-level combat essentially boiled down to who fails a save first loses.

I don't think worldbuilding concerns enter much in 4e design. It's a very "world adapts to PC level" gaming viewpoint as opposed to "player explores a world that exists regardless PC level" viewpoint.

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 2:47 pm 
 

ExTSR wrote:ALL of the above, of course, is based on the assumption that the only fun in the game comes from Killing Things or being physically threatened (or Stealing/Looting, the direct corollary).

Such a shame that more people don't transcend that point to reach the potential that the FRPG has to offer (without devolving into mechanic-free storyteller pastimes/interactions, which are not really games imho). :/

F


Not all of it, Frank.  Remember that what we are talking about here is game mechancs.

You can still role-play and have fun in any system.  The personalities and level of buy-in from DM and players has a strong impact on a campaign.

The game mechanics exercise a certain level of tyrany over how stories get told.  The balance of a Shadowrun campaign, for instance, is nothing like D&D.  It works from a different sort of logic.  This is why a pirate campaign might work well with the Shadowrun engine, but does not generally work well in D&D once the party has any levels.

Differences in style of play can strongly influence one's experience.  That's why I love the G series of modules and do not care for the A series.

My own emphasis is focused on world-building....creating a fantasy environment that is interesting and fun, but also realistic.

One anecdote that Greg Stafford shared from running Pendragon was an incident in which the player-character knights talked smack to their feudal lord.  Stafford was miffed at this role-playing gaffe...which was created by game balance.  He introduced a rules mechanic to force players to play in the spirit of the setting...an artificial dice roll to allow a player to act contrary to his chosen knightly path.  Later, at a convention, Stafford himself was annoyed when he had to make this dice roll for his own character.

Role-playing games work best when the game mechanics themselves create the desired situations.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:11 pm 
 

Sweet spot is relative to your characters.  The highest party I've ever run (still running to some extent) are in the 10-12th range. The only failing with the game at this point is that when facing foes with no magic (no matter how powerful) the inevitability is that the party will triumph, it's just a matter of how many resources they will use.  Other than that, there is no sign of breakdown.  Then again, powerful magic items in my campaign are often unique and scare, spell selection is very limited, and the scope is larger. So far I haven't seen any breakdown, and I'm curious to find out exactly when this might happen for this particular party (maybe 15th level?)

I know Frank is fond of saying that in his high level games, death is just another obstacle to be overcome (I'm paraphrasing, correct me if I'm wrong Frank).  I really don't think it's that difficult to make it work, but the DM has to expend a bit of effort (high level adventures require more than just a random collection of hallways and rooms with critters guarding the treasure).  Once again, I find that the most intriguing thing about high level play (for my groups, at least) is resource management. A DM that properly adjucates this can challenge a party of any level.

A good example of this is the D-series prohibition of the spell Teleport. Forced to forgo an easy trip back and forth from the surface, traveling through the underdark turns from a walk in the park to a struggle for survival (especially if the DM does his job).  Properly played, a party of 9-12 levels can run into a lot of problems in this sort of enviornment.  

I always think this is a fascinating subject so perhaps it should have it's own thread somewhere....!

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:28 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Role-playing games work best when the game mechanics themselves create the desired situations.

As I said. When character progress is contingent on destruction and looting, it takes a lot of work to deprioritize those objectives so that you can have fun with less (or none) of that.

Death is a speed bump, Mike; at higher level play it merely slows you down a bit.

  


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:55 pm 
 

I have played and DMed at a whole range of levels and while it is true that AD&D at high levels offers way more power and options to the characters - as they become more 'heroic' within their campaign - it also offers way more options to the DM to engage the characters. In my experience, high level play can be both challenging and exciting. The higher the players go, the more they have to lose - whether it is magic items, henchmen, status in the campaign etc...  Certainly it requires more work for the DM to challenge high level characters - as many of the more straightforward dungeon-bashes no longer pose a risk, but it can also be more fun and more engaging as well.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:57 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:I always think this is a fascinating subject so perhaps it should have it's own thread somewhere....!


Definitely.  :D


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:30 pm 
 

To clarify one thing, my campaigns didn't actually "breakdown" at levels 7-9.  

My players preferred 4-7th level.
Or maybe i should say that I was not savvy or patient enough as a DM (especially at 18 or 20 years old) to create 15th or 20th-level campaigns.

The term "breakdown" and the concept are not something I've given any meaningful thought to.

Although, it was obviously an issue way back.
Doesn't the intro to Eldricht Wizardry speak to campaigns becoming stale?  And that was the reason for artifacts and psionics, or am I confusing the two.


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:44 pm 
 

Back to Pathfinder:  

Does The Bestiary have good & unique monsters?


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 5:34 pm 
 

Keith the Thief wrote:Back to Pathfinder:  

Does The Bestiary have good & unique monsters?


That depends on what you consider to be "good & unique".  Useful, yes; unique, no.  The table of contents indicates that the standard D&D monsters are present.  No WotC property (beholders, mind flayers, etc) is in the Pathfinder Bestiary.



Reviews of the book on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive.  The reviews have enough details to give them more weight than fanboy praise:



. . . http://www.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Rolepl ... 276&sr=8-1

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 6:40 pm 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:
That depends on what you consider to be "good & unique".  Useful, yes; unique, no.  The table of contents indicates that the standard D&D monsters are present.  No WotC property (beholders, mind flayers, etc) is in the Pathfinder Bestiary.

Reviews of the book on Amazon are overwhelmingly positive.  The reviews have enough details to give them more weight than fanboy praise:

. . . http://www.amazon.com/Pathfinder-Rolepl ... 276&sr=8-1




Subjective, to be sure.

Hoping for more than "Aerial Servant to Zombie"

But std D&D monsters make sense for "3.75E".



Thanks for the link!


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:28 am 
 

Hi Keith,
I've asked around and come up with the following:
Horror adventures: Carnival of Tears, Carrion Hill, Hangman's  Noose, and Hungry Are The Dead (some of these are 3.5, but Carrion Hill is definitely PF RPG)
Part of AP book #3 (The Hook Mountain Massacre) was explicitly inspired (as related in the foreward) by movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Delivered, and the Hills have Eyes.
This is in addition to the haunted house in The Skinsaw Murders, and the entirety of the forthcoming Carrion Crown Adventure Path.
Of note also is Dungeon Magazine #106, which had an awesome horror adventure called Tammaraut's Fate. I actually ran this, and it worked really well. The only encounter I held back a bit on were the three harpies right at the start (because three sets of saves vs their singing were hard to beat for the entire party!); a bit of bad luck could end the adventure before it begins!

Regarding unique monsters, as said before the Bestiary has most of the "classic" monsters. The forthcoming Bestiary 2 will presumably have a few more. In any case, you can see what's in the Bestiary at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/  and some of the monsters from the modules and other books are also included under the "Custom Monsters" section.

  
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