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Posts Tagged ‘organized play’

Occult Adventures Playtest Review – Day 1

November 10, 2014 6 comments

Paizo is at it again! They have released a new set of playtest classes based on a theme not of the arcane or divine but of the occult. At first glance some of these classes are either overwhelming with lots of elements or very underwhelming with a lack of perceived spell power. Grab your free Playtest Document (Hurry! It ends November 25th) and every day this week we will delve into a different playtest class. First up is the Kineticist, so let’s start digging!

Kineticist Description: “Kineticists are living channels for elemental matter and energy, allowing them to manipulate the world around them by drawing upon inner reserves from their own bodies. Kineticists often awaken to their kinesis during a violent or traumatic experience, releasing their power involuntarily. As kinetic power is seldom simply passed from parent to child, kineticists are rarely able to find a mentor figure to help focus this raw power, so they must delve into the mystery on their own to learn to control their gifts.” – Occult Adventures Playtest

First Glance: Have you ever wanted to create a bender or martial artist from your favorite cartoon series? Well, here’s your chance!

Delving Deeper: By using your internal reserves of energy and accepting ‘burn’ (nonlethal damage), you can do some really spectacular things with your kinetic blasts. You can use wild talents to change your blasts into blades, cones or even clouds. They can also be shaped into defenses or allow you to fly. At higher levels you can focus squarely on your original element to make it more powerful or you can pick up a second element to combine the effects of those two to get entirely different results.

There are a couple of items you should definitely pay attention to; spell resistance and ranged attacks. Since kinetic blasts are spell-like abilities, they are subject to spell resistance, but some blasts have effects that specifically state that spell resistance does not apply. When choosing wild talents and infusions for your blasts, look at how you are to deliver that blast. There is a huge difference in your capability to hit when it is a ranged attack or a ranged touch attack. By carefully choosing feats, such as Point Blank Shot and Weapon Focus, you can offset some of the medium progression BAB and more effectively.

Since this class is so different and slightly more complex (12 pages long) than a normal class, it can be a bit overwhelming, but by carefully reading through the material you will find an interesting class. Also check out the Playtest Messageboard for the Kineticist. You will find clarifications on rules and even ideas on what you can do with this class.

Character Suggestions: Since the majority of Pathfinder is fantasy-based, we need a few ideas for those types of characters. A dwarven terrakineticist would be an outstanding character, especially since dwarves are closely attuned to the earth and the main ability score for kineticists is Constitution. A sylph aerokineticist could be very graceful and then use combinations of air for controlling the battlefield then electricity for damage-dealing. A human telekineticist is the perfect opportunity to play a true ‘psionic’ telekinetic, able to use their ‘powers of the mind’ for fine manipulation and also outright destruction.

4 out of 5 Rating: Power versatility and options give this class a high score, but complexity and lack of high BAB and skills may make this class a one-trick pony.

RPG Blog Carnival – Things to Love, Things to Hate about Organized Play

February 6, 2012 1 comment

Courtesy of Nevermeet Press

This month’s theme for the RPG Blog Carnival is Things to Love, Things to Hate. It seems like a fairly broad topic, as nerd devotion/rage towards RPGs knows no bounds. The host this month, Jonathan Jacobs of Nevermet Press, suggested we focus on game system or adventures that we love or hate and why.

We’re going to take a little different angle and talk about what we love/hate about organized play. This is mostly going to be about Pathfinder Society, as that has been the majority of my organized play experience. I met the other guys that make up Skyland Games through the D&D Encounters program. I’ve had a little Living Forgotten Realms play, and I know some of the other Skyland guys have extensive Living Greyhawk experience. If they want to chime in, all the better.

First let’s talk broad generalizations about organized play, and things that are pretty common occurrences regardless of system. I really enjoy meeting other players, and observing a lot of different play styles and picking up tips. One of our more popular articles about tracking initiative and speeding up combat was something I observed the guys doing at a D&D encounters game. It’s great to get to know other gamers in the community and talk about RPGs.

The flip-side of this is meeting a problem player. Problem players can manifest in many forms, but most commonly those who excessively arguing with the GM, excessive rules-lawyering, trying to find some rules loophole to make a “broken” character, selfish players that act in ways that may be “in character” but their character is a bastard to the party, hogging the spotlight, random egregiously evil acts, the list could go on and on. In a home game there are several ways to deal with problem players: taking them aside and talking to them, calling them out in game, and finally if all else fails just not telling them when your group gets together. A public game is a bit different. People may not know each other very well or may feel uncomfortable calling out somebody who is causing a problem for everybody. In extreme cases, one of our FLGS has a list of banned players who are not allowed to game in store. Its a shame when it comes to that, but can be a relief to the rest of the organized players.

Another potential pitfall is a problem GM. This tends to happen less frequently, but can happen quite a bit at larger conventions when perks are given to GMs, and they are unprepared, unfocused, or “phone it in.” This can also be a problem at regular organized events if the GM is just doing it for perks given by publishers for running organized games. This is an even more difficult situation to deal with because it maybe very difficult to approach an organizer and say, “Hey, your GM sucks,” without bruising some egos. The best alternative is to probably start your own thing, at either another game store, or playing a different system. If you’re motivated enough, get your own group going. Enthusiasm is contagious, and before you know it, you can have a big group of eager gamers coming back week after week.

I’m not a big fan of Living Forgotten Realms. I’ve played a few modules with friends and I think “hate” is probably too strong a word but there are aspects I dislike. For one, story lines that link some modules together can be several levels apart. Oh, did you like the first part of this story line on level one? Hope you can remember all these NPCs and what the crap was going on when you reach level 7 and play part two! Boo. Also, at the end of every adventure, the loot can endlessly replicate. Did the big bad guy have a Raven Cloak that lets you reroll a save once a day and give you resist 5 cold and necrotic? Super! Now everyone in the party has one! With #DnDnext LFG is a long forgotten after thought, but it never was very well supported in the WotC community pages, and the official LFR WotC pages themselves. I think I can figure out why.

I’m a bit of an evangelist for Pathfinder Society. Most of my feelings for PFS are going to fall squarely in the love category. Paizo seems to have this pretty well figured out. Modules that have multi-parts can be played in order, and have multiple level tiers. Once you’ve played that module you have access to the treasure from it, but must by it with the ample gold awarded at the end of each session. If you don’t have enough for the item you want, save up after a few more modules and by it later. The more modules you play, the larger your inventory of available gear. Experience is also brilliantly easy. Completed three modules? Level up. Want to let your friends catch up to your character so you can play the same modules? Take the slow-track advancement at your next level, and only gain a level after 6 modules. The faction missions and prestige points add some awesome roleplaying opportunities, as well as a mechanical way to express your characters growing renown in the world of Golarion. You can earn prestige points by completing faction missions, which are different for each faction on each adventure. Turn in prestige points to call in favors from your faction for magic healing, or items. It’s awesome! If there isn’t a game around you at your FLGS or bookstore, look in to starting one. Its been the best organized experience I’ve ever been a part of.

We’re all going to have things that we love and hate about organized play. In the end, it can be a great way to grow the hobby and meet some fun people. Let us know some of your best/worst organized experiences in the comments!

Notes From Golarion – Superstar and Society

January 31, 2012 Comments off

A couple of things to note for you Pathfinder fans out there. Voting begins tonight for RPG Superstar! Sadly our submissions didn’t make the round of 32, but there are some really interesting items that did. Vote for your favorite designer and follow the brackets to see who comes out on top this year! Voting begins at 5pm EST.

In other Paizo news, the Guide to Pathfinder Society Organized play has been updated to version 4.1. There are a few major changes and a few minor ones. Most notably, playing a pre-gen character of any level gets you the chronicle sheet for that scenario that can be applied to a newly created 1st level character. At first read it would appear that you could “power-level” a character by applying an upper-level chronicle sheet to a lower level character, but I’m sure they’ll work out the kinks.

Another major change is the addition of an entire chapter devoted to sanctioned modules. Apparently you can play a regular non-society Pathfinder module and get society credit. Chronicle sheets have been added for the 15 modules that are currently sanctioned. Furthermore, a retired 12-level character can level up beyond 12th by playing through the sanctioned modules.

The local lodge here in Asheville is really picking up steam! We’re still trying out several venues to find a more permanent home in light of Blitzkrieg closing, but despite that there are new faces each event, and proving to be the best organized play experience many of us have ever experienced. If you haven’t found a lodge near you, why not start one on the message boards and get something started? Our lodge is only a few months old, and players are coming out from all over. Meet your fellow gamers and help grow the hobby!