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Showing posts from November, 2013

The Things I Don't and Do Hate about Pathfinder

Iron Tavern has some thought provoking articles now and then, and I was inspired by the article I saw today:  The Thing I Hate about Pathfinder.  It turns out the pet peeve in question pointed out by Iron is the rules bloat that comes with feats.  Every feat rewrites the rules slightly.

Underlying this problem, I think ultimately in Pathfinder, is a bigger problem that comes with the stack of legacy underneath the Pathfinder rules.  In many cases, folks GMing Pathfinder haven't really played it.  They played D&D 3 or 3.5 and have transplanted themselves into Pathfinder thinking its just the same.  And quite frankly, the problem is that you can't GM Pathfinder well if you haven't played it a lot.

Feats are a good example of that.  Certain combinations of feats work really well with classes and other things to basically rewrite the rules for characters.  Knowing the feats, when they are useful, and how they are used is a big challenge for a player.  For example, I am cur…

Rise of the Runelords: Sessions 12 and 13

Ranier reports in after a couple of very long adventures:

Well, into the next room we went, and there were some baddies, including old Aldern himself.  He was wearing some sort of strange mask.  It was a touch fight, but in the end, we slaughtered all the unspeakable creatures in there, even some sort of fungal residue of one of the older Foxgloves that was trying to bring him back.  Aldern is dead, and Iesha is layed to rest, her spirit no longer seeking revenge on Aldern.  I wish this was the end, but the trails leads farther on to Magnamar.

So we said our goodbyes and hit the road.  Shadowmist (the horse we saved from the goblins at Thistletop) is doing better now and took easily to the trail.  Jericho took his own path there, looking up his family.  We grabbed a room at Trent Towers and then headed over to visit Pug, the guy who made the cages for Aldern's little laboratory animals.  Getting information out of Pug is like squeezing blood from a stone.  Sooner or later we head …

I am not Strange *sigh*

Though I am a big fan of Monte Cooke, I decided not to participate in the Strange Kickstarter.  Quite frankly, this year has been a really good year for gaming with Numenera, 13th Age, and DnD Next all coming to fruition.  It is sad to say, but I have too many other good RPGs to play.  Oh, and I am moving, which doesn't exactly make for the most opportune time to get involved in new kickstarters.

I guess I have other reasons too.  Kickstarters that offer non-exclusive content make it hard for me to feel special as a backer.  For Numenera, my book came in after GenCon, and while I was there, I saw lots of other folks buying up Numenera stuff without taking the risk of the kickstarter.  So how was being part of the kickstarter worth the risk?  Because my name was in the book?  Did I get a big discount?  Its hard to tell on RPG books and certainly what risk is their with receiving PDFs?  I remember at the end of Numenera, there was an email about Amazon underselling the kickstarter p…

GM Tip: Changing the Effective Font Size in Roll20

I've seen this complaint a few times in roll 20:  can't adjust the font in the chat window.  Unfortunately, they haven't added controls for this yet, at least not at the level of account I have.  For me the font is just too big, but I know for a lot of people it is too small.

I am using chrome to do this, but I am sure it will work in other browsers.

The method basically allows to increase/decrease the size of the font/controls by about a factor of 2 easily.

To increase the effective font size, zoom in with the browser (ctrl-plus), and reduce the zoom on the map, until it is back to the size you want.

To decrease the effective font size, zoom out with the browser (ctrl-minus), and increase the zoom on the map until its back to the size you want.

The main limit of this is the limited range of the map zoom, which really limited me to fonts doubling to halving in size.

Default size with chat font
Decrease browser zoom and increase map zoom to reduce font effective size

Friday Night Pathfinder Horror on Roll20: Session 1

The first session for any campaign can be a bit daunting for any GM.  A new group of people, a new group of characters that no one knows, a new setting, maybe even some new rules and new tech -- it all adds up to a lot to learn, keep track of, and keep moving.  The first online Friday night Pathfinder horror game lived up to all of that.

In the first session of using a tool like Roll20, I knew our focus had to be about tech, first and foremost.  If the players can't talk, roll dice, interact with me and the other players in meaningful ways, the game is going to be a failure.  As expected from pre-session testing, the audio on Roll20 was flakey on a couple people's laptops -- namely in that they could only hear a few of the audio sources, not all.  Some players couldn't hear other players.  That is a non-starter.  Luckily in the background, I had already set up a teamspeak3 server.  I gave the IP, password, and download location and we were up and running with good audio in…

Anticpating the Advanced Class Guide

So take a moment and read this overview of what we know so far about the Advanced Class Guide from Paizo.  It is interesting too, that I got an email that said that a beta version will be available for download and testing (Tuesday November 19th), and that it will immediately become legal for Pathfinder Society, even though the release isn't until next August.  They seem to be very serious about playtesting this new content before the release.  That is very good.

So let's take a look at where we're at and where we're going with this new content.  Core Pathfinder has 11 classes, Advanced Players Guide adds 6 more, Ultimate Magic adds Magus, and there are 3 more in Ultimate Combat.  That is 20 base classes folks.  Add archetypes, and you have plethora of base class options.

So Advanced Class Guide is going to increase this by 50%, including adding archetypes for these new base classes.  I have a hard enough time as a GM keeping track of all of the details of the existing…

Setup for a Roll20-based Online Pathfinder Horror Campaign

So we've been getting things set up for the new campaign.  I helped set up character sheets in Roll20 for everyone.  We even did some testing tonight.  Audio was a bit iffy, so I decided to set up a teamspeak3 server as a backup, just in case.

Some observations:

Roll20 doesn't always give a good indication of what the players will see to the GM.  To get around this, I often end up running one pane as a user and one pane as the GM.Managing a large number of pages in Roll20 seems painful.  I am always scrolling around.  It also seems like the page scroller should disappear automatically sometimes but doesn't.It seems like I am setting page settings over and over again for things like distance in Pathfinder/3.5 units.Modern maps seems ill-supported on Roll20.Getting players to generate characters in advance is difficult.PCGen is a resource hog.  I don't know how they can possibly keep moving it up in version without addressing the resource usage.  1 character sheet load to…

Rise of the Runelords: Session 11

Ranier reports in:

We're searching the Misgivings, House of the Foxglove Family.  It isn't good.  Upstairs we found a room with a pictoral representation of powerful necromancy that seems to indicate that the progenitor of this family here in Sandpoint was trying to become immortal by becoming a lich and generating a phlactery.  It isn't a good thing.  I sat the rest of the group down to explain the danger we face.  They took it well, though Jericho still can't pronounce phlactery.  My magical background is known now.

The whole place is haunted by the things that have happened here.  We found paintings that seem to give us a view of the family and perhaps what their outcome was:

Tall middle age man in blue, VorillBurnette woman with graying hair in blue, Vorill's wife CassandraTrevor, who apparently got his throat cutSerial, Trevor's wife, whose wife turned black, burned?Sindelli and Ziva, their daughters, frostedAldern, turning undead, likely into the ghast we …

Friday Night Pathfiner Returns: Pathfinder Horror on Roll20

It has been a long time coming, but my Friday night Pathfinder game is restarting.  This time, because I know the move is coming up, I am starting a game online in Roll20.  I am running a Pathfinder horror game.

I was lucky to get a solid party of 4 with another joining in the next month or so.

I am trying out a lot of things at once on this game, so it is going to be a big learning experience.  Here are some of the new stuff in the mix: is new, which I have used slightly before, but has gotten a lot better.  It has really been a breeze to use it to set things up so for.  I even got a subscription so I could get dynamic lighting and help support them.DCC-style level "0" characters are a new concept for me.  In my case, I had everyone make two level 1 characters, but nerfed them just slightly by requiring a drawback for every trait and by requiring two skill points to be spent on a profession.  15 point build too, to keep things weak.  I have guaranteed my players t…

A Character with Some Courage in It

I am a big fan of Joss Whedon for a lot of reasons, with The Avengers only be a small recent reason.  This video delves into the question Joss gets asked over and over again:  So, Joss, why do you always write these strong women characters?  I can identify.

In gaming, playing a strong woman character, I've been asked the similar question:  why are you playing woman character?  Joss gives all the right answers in this video.

For me, the biggest woman character I play and explore in my fiction is Crayla.  Crayla is strong, slightly defiant, and has a complete psychological profile that I have worked on, pieced my way through, and tried to figure out.  In some ways, I never quite figure her out all the way, and that too, is part of the enjoyment.  There comes a unique perspective in playing a woman character that you just don't get with playing a male character, as either a man or a woman.  Joss explains that too.

It is cool too, since all the gaming systems have pretty much st…

Bestiary 4

I received my copy of Bestiary 4, and it is a really good read, as are all of the Paizo bestiaries.  This one has a good collection of Lovecraftian horrors, including big, green and tentacley himself.  I would definitely recommend picking up a copy if you are a GM for Pathfinder and use that sort of thing.

Cthulu Comes Home

Just picked this up at my FLGS:

Armor History

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