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Cordelia's Pathfinder Campaign!

Discussion in 'The Lobby' started by Cordelia, May 27, 2016.

  1. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Unfortunately, not an invitation thread, sorry.

    Players: @RedNeK, @Ji'Ju, @MabFaerie, @SeanuReaves,

    This thread serves two purposes: Adding a second area for the current players to keep up with campaign-relevant notes (hopefully) with notifications (if the notification system plays nice), and the second reason requires a little extra note.

    This is my first time GM'ing a game, and we're going to record it. That's right, we're going to record my first foray into Game Mastering with Pathfinder, and upload the recordings to YouTube. Most of the players in this game are not only forum members, but people who live with or near me. Those who live with or near me will be physically present during the games, which means we can record actual people sitting around an actual table to play. All the game action will take place on Roll20, an online browser-based app that allows people to participate in the same game without having to be in the same room. This screen will also be recorded, so you can see everything the players see.

    Thus, the second purpose of this thread is for the people interested in following the game to know what's going on behind the scenes, and when to expect videos to be uploaded.

    I have a module selected, which should keep the players invested for several sessions, but we're also still in the character development stage of preparation. The first few posts here will be about character creation and any changes that need to be noted by the players.

    Players and non-players should feel free to interact with this thread to ask questions, make comments, and get involved.


    TABLE OF CONTENTS

     
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  2. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    CHANGES: CHECK FIRST

    5/27/16 Attack Macros: This one has pictures, so it's just easier to direct you to the Campaign thread. The directions are very clear, and pictures are provided to guide you. Please follow the steps carefully. Please respond on that thread to let me know you've seen it.


    Point Buy Reduction: Due to the constraints of the adventure module chosen, all characters must use a 20-point buy to adjust ability levels. Only your ability scores and the scores adjusted by abilities should be affected by this change, but it means the difference between you enjoying the module I found, and me rewriting the module to account for your ungodly abilities I was a mega-dummy to allow.

    You may alternately choose to roll for your abilities. 4d6 per ability. Drop the lowest result and add the highest three. Reroll 1's.

    Use whichever set of scores you prefer. However, if you roll, you cannot reallocate points. You can, however, assign the results to the scores of your choice.


    Player Numbers: Vultaire and Gidian have volunteered to drop out of this game to reduce player numbers, which will make this game infinitely easier for me to run. I still have to make some power adjustments for the enemies, but fewer than I would for nearly double the original party size suggested by the module.

    Thank you eight million, guys. This means a lot to me.
     
  3. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Adventure, Restrictions, and Player Choices

    I've chosen the adventure we'll be running, and I anticipate it being an investment. I'm currently still reading through the material, but it has more than enough content in the first part to be several sessions long, especially if we get invested in the RP elements.

    Having that direction, now, though, I'm enforcing some restrictions. I know it's late enough in character development that it could feel game breaking for you, and I apologize for that (I'm mostly looking at Anna :p), but I think this module calls for more focus than free rein.

    The module is built for four characters. I can scale with different enemy types to increase difficulty for more players, but we're also building stronger characters, overall, so that is pushing the balance, as well. If anyone would like to volunteer to drop out of the game, they will get priority inclusion in the next story, a unique adventure created entirely from scratch by Josh (Broham; Borgrym; Table Lamp), and a front-row seat to the game, itself, while its being played. I'm not limiting the party to the recommended number of players, but I don't feel comfortable increasing it by more than two, and currently we have double the recommended players. I'm going to have to scale treasure, exp., enemies, and encounters because we're playing some hardcore characters up in here, but I'd like to reduce the amount of scaling required to make this a challenging-enough-to-be-fun game without it being either babysville-easy, or I-THOUGHT-ONLY-ANNA-TRIED-TO-TPK!

    Also, anyone who is not participating in this game will still be invited to the table to experience it live (while everyone else will have to watch it pre-recorded and uploaded to YouTube).

    On to restrictions!

    I know, after a major bummer announcement like party-size limits, the last thing you want is character restrictions, but this is also for the game balance. Most of the players have been sticking to Core classes, but I need to actually enforce that for the sake of not overpowering everything the module has to throw at you.

    So, the first major restriction is class selection:

    YOU MAY ONLY SELECT A CLASS FROM THE CORE AND BASE PATHFINDER CLASSES.

    This does not mean you cannot stack classes to reach a Core Prestige Class, and it doesn't mean you can't multiclass with something outside of Core or Base classes, but your main class -- the class in which you take the most levels -- must be either Core or Base.

    The second major restriction is race. I'm ruling beast races out. (Sorry, Ian.) Your character must have a humanoid aspect. This means they must have a form they can maintain which looks more human than anything else. For instance, a Changeling looks like the father's race, and the father is always humanoid, whether it's Drow, Human, Giant, or Dwarf. A Changeling is not actually human, but has the aspect, or appearance, of being humanoid, rather than beast-like.

    Lastly, we may not be able to play Sunday evenings. Josh may have a huge scheduling conflict with work (it's not yet clear if it will go through or not), which means we would be playing late Saturday nights, instead. From 10pm PST onward; 9:00 or 9:30 at the earliest. If this is a major conflict for you, you may consider being one of the players to drop from the game to reduce the player/character number to something I can more easily manage for a more well balanced, and enjoyable experience.

    I'm sorry this is mostly crap news. I hope you guys understand, though.
     
  4. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Alignments: Allowed, Encouraged, and Untouchable

    Encouraged Alignments: Neutral, Neutral Good, Neutral Evil

    Allowed Alignments: Chaotic Good, Chaotic Evil, Lawful Neutral

    Untouchable Alignments: Lawful Good/Evil

    Lawful Good or Evil characters will be assigned a new alignment of the GM's choosing, and you will have to adjust your character accordingly.
     
  5. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Backgrounds and Occupations

    One of the obvious benefits of taking a Background is a skill stat boost. It's usually nothing major -- "this is now a class skill" or +1 competency bonus to the skill of your choice if already a class skill --, but those bonuses can stack very well if you've built your character well.

    Skills are the bread and butter of the role playing aspect of tabletop gaming. This is everything that happens between combat scenarios. Skills allow you to hear conversations in other rooms, spot movement in the distance, notice when a thief has picked your pocket, perform a profession either for extra coin or in pursuit of a mechanic goal which requires regular practice of the profession to achieve, and even something as basic as having a conversation with an NPC. Skills are everything.

    And as important as that fact is, the boost from a Background is only half of the Background's value.

    A Background can really give you backstory fodder that helps you define the history and nature of your character. This is especially helpful if you haven't yet decided who your character really is, where they came from, or what they want to do with themselves. A Background can help you find direction for yourself.

    I'm not making it a requirement to build your character, but I am encouraging you for mechanics and creative reasons. Give the list of Backgrounds and Occupations a look and see if there isn't something you could use as a bonus for your skills and inspiration.
     
  6. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Traits and Drawbacks

    The optional Trait feature is another way to get some quick and dirty bonuses to stack on your skills, but where Background applies almost exclusively to skills, Traits have many bonuses that actually affect combat, or which may be class exclusive.

    From the PFSRD site:

    There are five types of character traits to choose from:
    1. Basic Basic traits are broken down into four categories: Combat, Faith, Magic, and Social. Combat traits focus on martial and physical aspects of your character’s background. Faith traits focus on his religious and philosophical leanings. Magic traits focus on any magical events or training he may have had in his past. And Social traits focus on your character’s social class or upbringing.
    2. Campaign Campaign traits are specifically tailored to give new characters an instant hook into a new campaign. Campaign traits tailored to a specific Pathfinder Adventure Path can always be found in that Adventure Path’s Player’s Guide, available at Paizo.com.
    3. Race Race traits are keyed to specific races or ethnicities, which your character must belong to in order to select the trait. If your race or ethnicity changes at some later point (perhaps as a result of polymorph magic or a reincarnation spell), the benefits gained by your race trait persist—only if your mind and memories change as well do you lose the benefits of a race trait.
    4. Regional Regional traits are keyed to specific regions, be they large (such as a nation or geographic region) or small (such as a city or a specific mountain). In order to select a regional trait, your PC must have spent at least a year living in that region. At 1st level, you can only select one regional trait (typically the one tied to your character’s place of birth or homeland), despite the number of regions you might wish to write into your character’s background.
    5. Religion Religion traits indicate that your character has an established faith in a specific deity; you need not be a member of a class that can wield divine magic to pick a religion trait, but you do have to have a patron deity and have some amount of religion in your background to justify this trait. Unlike the other categories of traits, religion traits can go away if you abandon your religion, as detailed below under Restrictions on Trait Selection.
    Trait selection is part of character creation. As such, you do not earn more Traits as the game progresses; what you choose at creation is the total number of Traits you have for the duration of your character within these campaigns.

    You get two Traits for free. You can buy an additional Trait by taking a Drawback. A third party list of additional Drawbacks can be found here, as well.

    From the PSFRD:

    Drawbacks are traits in reverse. Instead of granting you a boon, they grant you a negative effect, typically in particular circumstances.

    The idea may seem daunting or iffy at first, but a lot of Drawbacks actually contribute to creating a character of real depth. A Drawback is a trait you have to actually consider and use. For instance, the Drawback of Pride says "You can’t abide challenges to your dignity, authority, or honor.
    Effect: When someone threatens, accuses, or challenges you, you take a –2 penalty on Diplomacy checks and Sense Motivechecks involving that creature until the creature apologizes to you." There are mechanics you have to take into account, but there's also a world of scenarios that open up -- opportunities to initiate a brawl or battle, obstacles that add color to your character and the adventure by giving you a reason to act, or not act, or refuse to act, or refuse to NOT act backed up by mechanics.

    Even if you don't buy a third Trait, you really might benefit (as a player) from taking a Drawback. Both, however, are completely optional.

    If you want a FOURTH Trait, you can take a second Minor Drawback.

    Additionally, there are Major Drawbacks. A Major Drawback is like a reverse feat, and it allows you to buy a bonus feat.

    However, you have choices to make about Drawback packages.

    You get two Traits for free at character creation regardless of anything else. On top of this, you can:

    Buy two additional Traits by taking two Minor Drawbacks (total 4 Traits, 2 Minor Drawbacks)

    OR

    Buy an extra feat by taking a Major Drawback (total 2 Traits, 1 Major Drawback, 1 bonus feat).

    Choose wisely ... >:D
     
  7. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Multiclassing and Shared Class Skills

    Frequently two classes that work well with each other will have shared skills between them. For our game, if you are multiclassing and you have shared class skills, you can take a +1 Competency Bonus on those skills as long as you have at least ONE RANK in that skill.
     
  8. Cordelia

    Cordelia Global Moderator
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    Starting Equipment

    The reason there are hard and fast mechanics governing the purchase of starting equipment is because players can't be trusted (on the whole) not to try and go absolutely fluffing nuts buying OP equipment.

    One of the goals of this campaign, in the long term, is to provide your characters with legendary arms and armor that are valued not just for their weight in gold, but for the effort it took to attain them, their attributes and benefits, and your character's investment in seeking them. Because of this, and because it's just common sense, you don't get to weasel in expensive OP equipment to start.

    For this campaign, you will have starting gold, AND you will have starting equipment. Starting at level 5, you can take the standard level package of 10,500 gp. You can also click here for a list of backgrounds and professions for an alternate starting gold package rolled to your level (but it's probably less than 10k). Regardless of which method you choose for gold, you should pick a background for extra skill bonuses.
    You DO have to spend your gold to get equipment.

    That said, the Common Sense guide to choosing equipment is: Your character has existed in the world long enough to have trained in several skills and their chosen form of combat. They have the arms and armor they need to pursue their daily goals. They are not aware of any upcoming adventures, or life-altering decisions ahead, and thus will not be equipped specifically to face them. You have what you need to pursue your goals the same as you would in reality. If your job requires you to drive to work, you come equipped with a car worth approximately $3,000-$5,000 -- it runs, it probably won't break down any time soon, but it ain't fancy. The same is true of your character. Assume they make enough with their profession (which you will have) to get by -- they have clothes, food, a roof over their head (maybe in the form of always sleeping at inns, or stables if they're saving up :p), the arms and armor they need to pursue adventuring goals if they have made a job or habit of adventuring.

    Just because they have the money to buy it doesn't mean they get to. Not every town or city will be equipped to provide the best items, so your character doesn't have access to everything by virtue of it existing in the resource material.

    That said, you may choose ONE ITEM in your inventory and equipment that may have special properties, subject to GM approval. This may be an item of armor, an enhanced weapon, a ring, wand, belt, circlet, or utility item. This represents your skill as an adventurer, either in terms of what you have managed to buy for yourself with your successes, found while exploring tombs and abandoned forts, inherited from some near or distant relative, or what you have hard-won in battle and brought back in victory.

    This will be your Personal Device, a symbol of your character. It may represent who they are, where they came from, the values they hold highest, or what they do in life.

    You do not get to make this an item of legendary nature.

    Once chosen, your Personal Device can never be sold, dropped, bartered, lent, or otherwise removed from your inventory or possession. This item is with your character from creation onward. Consider this "bind on pick up." All characters with a Personal Device suffer from the *Attached Drawback. If the Personal Device is ever removed from your inventory, whether by choice or by force (as in being captured and imprisoned, or a particularly adept thief removes it from your person), you will suffer a –1 penalty on Will saves and a –2 penalty on saves against fear effects. However, you will also be afforded the opportunity to regain the item. Your character can hand their Personal Device to someone, or set it down without suffering an Attachment penalty so long as your character knows it will be returned upon request and the item is not removed from their line of sight.

    Also keep your carrying capacity in mind while outfitting your character. Don't load up to just below capacity, either, as everything you pick up along the way will contribute to the weight you're already carrying. Clothing, armor, and weapons all have weight to consider.

    Be reasonable is the point. Don't make me intervene to make you reasonable, either, because I'll happily award you penalties if you make me reassign weapons and armor.

    And don't forget your travel supplies -- food rations, water, bedroll or tent, survival stuff as needed, odds and ends you feel are important. You never know what might save your life later.


    *Attached Drawback for Personal Device does not count toward buying additional Traits. You can still take the Attached Drawback for an additional item or person that is not your Personal Device and count that toward buying a third or fourth Trait (see Traits and Drawbacks thread).
     

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