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Member Since 30 Jul 2014
Offline Last Active Oct 18 2017 03:20 PM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: [New Audio] Kingmaker, a Pathfinder Adventure Path

17 October 2017 - 06:27 PM

Episodes 40 and 41 now uploaded.

Synopsis:

Spoiler

In Topic: [New Audio] The World's Most Wondrous Year, a Savage Worlds Pulp Adventure

17 October 2017 - 06:23 PM

Episode 44 now uploaded.

The Strange Expedition in... The Lost World (Part 6).
Synopsis:

Spoiler

In Topic: [New Audio] The World's Most Wondrous Year, a Savage Worlds Pulp Adventure

12 October 2017 - 04:50 PM

Episode 43 now uploaded.

The Strange Expedition in... The Lost World (Part 5).
Synopsis:

Spoiler

In Topic: [New Audio] Kingmaker, a Pathfinder Adventure Path

09 October 2017 - 03:34 PM

Episode 39 uploaded.

Synopsis:

Spoiler

In Topic: [New Audio] Kingmaker, a Pathfinder Adventure Path

03 October 2017 - 09:03 PM

I'm uncertain exactly what format we'll take. I do like the concept of keeping it simple with two characters, one protagonist for the player and an NPC companion. There are some thoughts to try and just have one of each instead of an NPC roster, provided the two are still reasonably balanced (the combo being thrown about is an Occultist and Gunslinger, the occultist being just extraordinarily flexible in its spells and the Gunslinger being a good assist for combat and ranged attacking). With a roster, I'm worried I will be overly generous in allowing more than one NPC to join on quests if requested or in character. But obviously a certain amount of meta comes towards fixing that. 
 
I'm somewhat making a "Heroic" template for the Protagonist so that they'll be extra buffered and capable. 30-Pathfinder Point Buy and a bonus to HP equal to Con score. Though i intend the NPCs to be of regular squishiness so retreat actions will depend upon the Hero calling things if their friends are in danger. 
 
If I didn't think it might overwhelm and over complicate characters, I might look into gestalt rules, but Heather is still fairly new in the mechanics of D&D and I don't want to overwhelm and make the grindy bits too heavy and the game unfun for her.

 
My first thought was Gestalt, too, and alas, Helen rejected it for the exact same reason - too many mechanics to keep track of running two classes simultaneously. We found the killer problems for a solo AP were:

  • Action economy. Having less actions that the bad guys can be a real problem. Simple spells like Hold Person and Hideous Laughter go from being an inconvenience to the party to a murderous TPK-to-be, because they suddenly remove 50% of your available resource (we learned this, memorably, fighting an "easy" encounter against some ghouls). Dominate Person abruptly ends encounters.
  • Options loss. No matter how well-build your character is, there's a lot of normal options you don't have on the table. If your character doesn't have Sense Motive in a regular party, no big deal. If they don't in a solo game, suddenly nobody can make the Sense Motive check. Or see the Invisible person. Or be proficient with that amazing +3 Keen Falchion found in the treasure. Or cast Dispel Magic. If you're a skill-monkey, there's no meatshield. If you're a meatshield, there's no healing. If you're a wizard, you don't have a longbow when you need one. Even with a swappable full party, there's always the moment of "Dammit, if only we'd bought the Rogue!". In a game with only a single companion, I think it'd be worse.

Through trial and error through Jade Regent, we ended up with the Extraordinary Heroes rule. In our set-up:

  • Extraordinary Heroes receive 1 extra HP and 1 extra skill point per level, which helps round them out a lot.
  • Extraordinary Heroes are allowed saves every round against party killing effects like Dominate (and because it's a rule applied to the PC, the story still works when the Succubus needs to Dominate the NPC king).
  • Extraordinary Heroes receive extra assistance in the form of special bonus abilities as the game goes on. The Kami spirits of the Amatatsu seal gave our Jade Regent protagonists a list of special abilities they could have (Helen's druid recieved the ability to cast her line of Cure spells spontaneously, Ameiko got the Healing domain added to her bardic spellcasting, Shalelu got a kami-infused bow that dealt extra damage, etc). The fun part of this is that it doesn't have to be terribly mechanically complex to start with, as the extra mechanics get added in as you go on. On top of that, the main PC got relationship abilities based on their relationship points with the other GMPCs (the druid could be inspired by Bardic Music without having Amieko with her for X rounds per day, gained a free once daily reroll based off Koya's fortune telling, etc). You'll see the same system applied to Kaylen in Kingmaker, starting with the fact that his Knight of Thorns prestige class is something I'd consider a touch OP for a regular party game.

You seem to be doing some not insignificant prep, changes, and foreshadowing in kingmaker, and I'm trying to fully prepare whatever we choose as an AP to really tie all six books into something special though sometimes I can take too much time there.

 
Foreshadowing is what we do best! I don't consider the game a success unless I get that moment at some point when all the players slap their heads, curse, and agree they should have seen this coming - in retrospect, the clues were all right there. That's the best part of being the GM. As for prep for Kingmaker... not significantly, really? There was a moderate amount at the start, writing the GMPCs into the adventure (but that's the fun bit, like building a character is), and several chunks borrowed from the Paizo forums, but I barely do a thing in terms of individual session prep. The AP is so heavily based around what your players do - your kingdom is forged by the personalities on the Council, whom the GM has no control over - that I often feel more reactive than proactive GMing this particular one.
 

Regarding the Hero points, do you have any cap for unused points? 4 per level is quite generous.

Ah, I think I'm not quite clear - you refresh back up to 4 at each level, not gain an additional 4 each level. If a player earned one in play, had 5, and leveled, they'd recieve none. If they had 1 left, they'd receive 3. It's incentive to spend them. We started by using 2 a level in Jade Regent, the Kami spirits gifted Helen an extra one, and adjusting to taste we defaulted to 4 for the main protagonist in Kingmaker, 3 for the support GMPCs.

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