I added a couple of pages to the Adventure Log! Check them out!
I sent this message to Chad and Tony on Facebook, and I figure it’s important I post it here so that Justin and Amy get to read it, too. Or Amy and Justin. I do not list the names in any particular order!
Conversation started today
I just got off the phone with Chad, and I figure I gotta clear the air a little bit here.
There are two main things that I didn’t really consider at all this week, and they both have to do with everybody’s respective gaming histories.
First, I had to deal a LOT with players in my Athens group emailing me individually to complain about other players, and about the characters being too strong or too weak and what kind of special bonuses did I think I could give them and so on. At one point, right before I quit being their GM because I was just too fed up with the stress, they were a party of FIVE melee fighting specialists. It was really frustrating for me to deal with that.
You two didn’t really know that! So I got all pissy about “Oh FUCK not THIS again” and you both had no fucking idea what the problem was.
Secondly, you guys have had five years to get used to dealing with Josh, Dave, and now Jeremy not really playing worth a damn compared to you guys. This has led to a lack of synergy that you’ve had to compensate for and deal with for years, and so the idea of figuring out how to work together with the assumption that everybody else in the party is going to be at the top of their game.
Let’s assume that the four of you will all constantly be at the top of your game and know both your own and everyone else’s abilities. That’s not an assumption you’ve been able to work with for half a fucking decade now. So, holy shit!
Anyway, I’ve calmed down and had time to think and the conversation with Chad also really helped me to see this process from your viewpoint. What I want to do tomorrow is talk about the campaign and the party as a whole. What we’ve done so far is pretty much just talk about individual characters…nobody’s bothered asking me what kind of a campaign I even wanted to run. Just, it’s Pathfinder, and you’re used to dealing with parties that are 50% or more dead weight, so you just made the guys you wanted to make because you were excited to get a chance to do that.
That’s all, I guess. I’m not going to start apologizing and begging for forgiveness, but I do want to clear the air a bit and try to make it clearer where I was coming from and that I can understand where you guys were coming from, too.
We all fucked up! Let’s not fuck up again! Let’s make this fun and awesome like everyone involved knows it can be!
Okay, I guess I was asking for this when I said I’d be flexible and I invited you all to ask me questions.
BUILD A BALANCED PARTY.
TALK TO EACH OTHER.
Here’s what I’ve heard so far.
Chad was dead-set on playing a Shadowdancer. Okay, fine, I can live with that. That’s a stealthy melee specialist with a Rogue’s BAB.
Tony asks if he can play a Magus. Okay, another melee specialist with a Rogue’s BAB. That’s two.
Tony then tells me, “and amy is an inquisitor.” It’s not a question. It’s not an invitation for discussion. The decision has been made, and Amy isn’t willing to bother to talk to me about it. She’s just gonna do that, and what I think doesn’t matter.
I know that it does, and I know Tony wasn’t intentionally being that way about it, but that’s what was said. That was the language chosen.
An Inquisitor is also a melee specialist with a Rogue’s BAB. That’s three.
I make the sarcastic joke to Chad and Tony that now that the party has three Fighter hybrids (a Fighter/Rogue, a Fighter/Wizard, and a Fighter/Cleric), all they need now is a Fighter/Fighter. It goes over their heads and I’m told that Justin is being talked into playing a Barbarian by Chad.
FOUR. Four melee specialists.
Did you guys forget that I don’t even LIKE running combat as a GM? That the best moments in all of my campaigns came OUTSIDE of fighting? That Dominic and Ivillios were the scariest motherfuckers around and they outright sucked in a fight? What kind of adventures am I supposed to write for you guys? What story arcs are you going to be in? What obstacles can you overcome? Brawls and assassinations. That’s all I can think of without just railroading you along by throwing useful NPCs at you.
Again going back to Dominic and Ivillios, they weren’t even that powerful on their own. It was the fact that they teamed up that made them cool. A good party has synergy between members. It isn’t just about you; it’s about how your abilities and the abilities of your teammates can be combined. I know that everybody loves Batman and wants to be a cool badass like him, but I’ll give you guys a hint: the Master Spy is probably the single most powerful class in a campaign run by Mike. I enjoy writing NPCs and their lives and their relationships to each other and to party members; I don’t enjoy mapping out dungeons and calculating encounter CRs. We still gotta have combat, don’t get me wrong; sooner or later a motherfucker has to die for the world to be saved. But we don’t need four different guys all competing for top dog in the field of hittin’ a guy with a weapon for massive damage.
I want to discuss this when we all meet together. I’m flexible; a party of four melee specialists is not. If all you guys want are dungeon crawls and fighting where you run and dogpile onto the enemy, then I’m worried about the future of the campaign.
I know we’re still planning and figuring shit out, but so’s we can at least get an idea of what kinds of characters we might want to play, here are some rough guidelines:
You should start at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/basics-ability-scores/character-creation. It’s got some step-by-step instructions.
I’m up for nearly any race/class combination you can think of, so don’t sweat those. I’d like it if you played a good alignment, but the truth is, I don’t pay much attention to character alignments and I place NO alignment restrictions on your chosen race or class. In other words, if you want to play a Chaotic Neutral Cleric of Pelor, then I’ll let you. Or a Chaotic Good Paladin. Paladins are actually worth mentioning specifically: I threw out the Paladin code of conduct a long time ago. Rangers are allowed to take their own race as a favored enemy regardless of alignment, too.
You gotta use the point-buy system. You get 20 points for “High Fantasy.”
According to http://www.d20pfsrd.com/gamemastering#TOC-Table-Character-Wealth-by-Level, since you guys are starting at level 6, you get 16,000 gold at character creation.
Spend it or don’t spend it on whatever you want! I used to be really rigid about it, but now I just don’t care.
I know that Chad wants to play a Shadowdancer, but that’s the only one I know of so far. I’d really rather discuss characters in person than try to do it over the web, but BY ALL MEANS TALK TO ME IF YOU WANT TO.