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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Feb 02 2012 04:25 am Reply with quote Back to top

I know a handful of us play D&D or other tabletop games so I figure I can get at least one person's insight on an issue I've got with my PCs.

In my Ravenloft game (modified for Pathfinder), I have two 5th characters with fox familiars (one's a sorcerer and the other's a witch), yet they have done next to nothing with their foxes. They basically forget about them unless I ask about them in combat, to which both players will say "he's on me, keeping in my space." I've already decided the casterss are going to contract fleas (we'd keep good care of them!/you don't have a flea brush or animal care kit in your pack) from the constant contact as well as the familiars becoming resentful of not being able to contribute in a fight. Any ideas on how I can make them actually use their class feature?


"Life is a waste of time. Time is a waste of life. Get wasted all the time, and you'll have the time of your life!"
 
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nihilisticglee
Joined: Oct 12 2007
PostPosted: Feb 02 2012 05:50 am Reply with quote Back to top

1. Make sure they are leveling their familiars. They will always be kinda weak, but keeping track of all of that information is incentive to try to use the animals in combat.

2. Point out that the familiars can be used to deliver touch spells without actually getting close to their target.

3. Push them toward Improved Familiar, which has familiars that are actually pretty tough, though I am not sure if they are worth the feat.

4. Make them take a bigger familiar, or increase their fox's sizes. If they are small they can't share a space with medium sized pcs.

5. If you are using maps and grids, make them put a token down for their foxes. Easier to remember if they are tangible.

6. If you aren't using grids, use grids for combat and do suggestion 5.
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UsaSatsui
Title: The White Rabbit
Joined: May 25 2008
Location: Hiding
PostPosted: Feb 02 2012 06:41 am Reply with quote Back to top

I don't see the issue. Personally, I would never send a familiar into combat, and they're not really made for it. I also don't see why you want to punish players for not using a class feature - isn't the loss of the feature enough? Would you punish a wizard for not scribing scrolls or a barbarian for not raging?
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SoldierHawk
Moderator
Title: Warrior-Poet
Joined: Jan 15 2009
Location: San Diego, CA
PostPosted: Feb 02 2012 02:59 pm Reply with quote Back to top

UsaSatsui wrote:
I don't see the issue. Personally, I would never send a familiar into combat, and they're not really made for it. I also don't see why you want to punish players for not using a class feature - isn't the loss of the feature enough? Would you punish a wizard for not scribing scrolls or a barbarian for not raging?

I'm with Usa. Let them play their characters how they like. If that means ignoring their foxes, so be it.


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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Feb 03 2012 12:44 am Reply with quote Back to top

Sending a fox familiar into combat is essentially screaming "Hey, I want to lose a bunch of XP" at whoever you're fighting.

Familiars were never really intended as power boosts. They exist almost solely for flavor. Except for the old 3.0 toad which gave you a boost to your CON score, which is really the gift that keeps on giving.
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nihilisticglee
Joined: Oct 12 2007
PostPosted: Feb 03 2012 01:21 am Reply with quote Back to top

LeshLush wrote:
Sending a fox familiar into combat is essentially screaming "Hey, I want to lose a bunch of XP" at whoever you're fighting.


Assuming PF rules, you don't lose xp for familiar death.

Oh, 7) take over rping for the familiar, they do get voices in PF. At some point they will talk and converse, making it harder to forget about them.
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LeshLush
Joined: Oct 19 2009
Location: Nashville, TN
PostPosted: Feb 04 2012 07:54 pm Reply with quote Back to top

nihilisticglee wrote:
LeshLush wrote:
Sending a fox familiar into combat is essentially screaming "Hey, I want to lose a bunch of XP" at whoever you're fighting.


Assuming PF rules, you don't lose xp for familiar death.

Oh, 7) take over rping for the familiar, they do get voices in PF. At some point they will talk and converse, making it harder to forget about them.

I missed where he said this was a Pathfinder game, but even if I hadn't I've never played Pathfinder so my response would probably have been just as ignorant.

Good point about roleplaying the familiars.
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aeonic
Title: Sporadic Poster
Joined: Nov 19 2009
Location: Kissimmee, FL
PostPosted: Feb 26 2012 06:54 am Reply with quote Back to top

Necro!

I've never played a wizard with a familiar. I mean, honestly, I can understand the witch one, since it's holding all of their spells; in that case, they should really be a lot more attentive to it. As for the Sorcerer, did they take a feat to get it? Otherwise, they shouldn't have one, as they now get bloodlines instead. Even with the every other level feats that PF does, that's a pretty significant investiture for a character, so you'd think they'd do more with it. Also, if it's on them at all times, shouldn't it be subject to things like missile fire or area attacks requiring a Reflex save?


Who likes role-playing games? Me. Way too goddamn much.
 
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Feb 26 2012 07:23 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Yes, the sorcerer took the Obtain Familiar feat from Complete Arcane.
And yes, I've had the occasional attack come up on the familiars when it was warranted.


"Life is a waste of time. Time is a waste of life. Get wasted all the time, and you'll have the time of your life!"
 
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aeonic
Title: Sporadic Poster
Joined: Nov 19 2009
Location: Kissimmee, FL
PostPosted: Feb 26 2012 08:30 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Eh, as long as they realize that their familiars can die, which would seriously disadvantage the witch, I agree with Usa in terms of them already losing a class ability. Honestly, they're just cheating themselves of some good rp options too.


Who likes role-playing games? Me. Way too goddamn much.
 
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Feb 27 2012 10:43 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Okay, so the sorcerer's player raised an interesting point that the alchemist's player might be intentionally trolling my game.

The players were tasked with relieving a 13 year old boy of the burden of wielding it (the trident, Riptide, has an ego of over 20 and the boy was a 13 year old human--no chance at making the Will save), at the request of his brother (himself being guided by a CG-aligned magic harp, Riverbend, designed to protect people). When the party met with the boy and found out he was dominating people (Riverbend's only spell-like power other than circle dance) and telling them to head toward an immensely high tower; the highest structure on the island to be precise, one of the CG party members (William, a Fighter 5/Barbarian 1) asked if he could wield her.

I should mention that the LG sorcerer's hand passed right through the harp and that the alchemist (neutral) was scalded upon trying to touch it. Anyway, as William holds Riverbend, she speaks through him and tells the PCs that Riptide is her magical sibling. Furthermore, while she can only be wielded by one "whose goodness knows no limits;" her brother will accept anyone as a vessel for his truly evil purposes of destroying all humanoid beings. The boy is being guided by Riverbend to usher the villagers of three small populated areas to the tower for safety, as Riptide is quite capable of causing a flood.

Anyway, the players are told that the only indication of the brother and Riptide's presence is that they are underwater. Through some magical hand waving, Riverbend is able to send the party underwater, actually teleporting them into an underwater force bubble that also contains the trident-possessed boy (imagine some of the milder mutations from RE; Revelations, the thing has a sea motif afterall) for a big boss showdown. All they had to do was disarm the kid or knock him unconscious. However, after the alchemist hit with her flintlock for 10 damage, the fighter/rogue scored a triple crit with a greataxe for a total of 54 damage...the kid was dead at -14 hit points. After the carnage, the alchemist used her grappling hook, intending to bring Riverbend with them when they returned to the surface. When they returned, the rogue/fighter was still enlarged and carrying the axe he'd felled the controlled child with (not even having bothered to wipe it clean yet) and Riverbend's wielder fainted from the sight (a 13-foot humanoid with leathery, withered skin wielding a massive greataxe covered in gore). I ended the game there because it had passed midnight and some of my players have to drive a good distance.

Anywho, the entire reason I'm posting about this is that despite the alchemist's Intelligence of 21 and Wisdom of 16; in these days between that session and the next, his player says he wants to try wielding Riptide, fully aware that it's an evil item that could likely control him. Now granted, the character has failed two of Ravenloft's powers checks for doing evil deeds (torture on both accounts), so she's had a pain devil psychically urging her to cause more suffering. I'm worried he may see this as a convenient out to troll the party and give them a considerable fight (that's another reason why I ended the session where it was).

Now the sorcerer and witch's players plan to Cooperatively Cast lightning bolt on the trident as soon as the next session starts, but it's a minor artifact and that won't do anything. Getting back to the familiars before, I'm considering just having everyone roll initiative and hopefully one of the familiars will go ahead of the alchemist; at which point I plan on having it grip the trident in its mouth and chuck the trident off the tower roof (where they were at the end of the session, the water level had receded back when they'd killed the boy).

Any ideas on how to handle this from both the character issues and the player's?
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aeonic
Title: Sporadic Poster
Joined: Nov 19 2009
Location: Kissimmee, FL
PostPosted: Feb 28 2012 12:26 am Reply with quote Back to top

Honestly, if they're on their second powers check and headed towards a third... well, let's start from this point. Are they playing the effects of the failed powers checks with the appropriate gravitas/horror, or are they just using it as a 'means for kewl powerz?'. Honestly, the easiest thing to do would be to say, "The trident's possessed you, I'll need your sheet as I'll be running your character as an NPC until the possession fades." If that didn't take the shine off of things real quick, I don't know what would, but it's perfectly reasonable to do so, especially since they're about two powers checks away from turning their PC over to you anyhow.


Who likes role-playing games? Me. Way too goddamn much.
 
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Feb 28 2012 01:26 am Reply with quote Back to top

aeonic wrote:
Honestly, if they're on their second powers check and headed towards a third... well, let's start from this point. Are they playing the effects of the failed powers checks with the appropriate gravitas/horror, or are they just using it as a 'means for kewl powerz?'. Honestly, the easiest thing to do would be to say, "The trident's possessed you, I'll need your sheet as I'll be running your character as an NPC until the possession fades." If that didn't take the shine off of things real quick, I don't know what would, but it's perfectly reasonable to do so, especially since they're about two powers checks away from turning their PC over to you anyhow.

To clarify, this specific character is being exposed to the Transposition path of failures. Stage 3 adds the fiendish template, Stage 4 changes it to half-fiend and stage 5 is when they're doomed and the fiend is now in her place. This cuts off from the normal path as there's actually a Stage 6 (Darklorddom).

My one annoyane with the pain devil (Fiendish Codex II) is that there isn't any artwork given for it.

Stage 1. The first failure turned her entire skin an ashen gray and her eyes turned blood red, the boon for this was that she can now see perfectly in darkness, be it natural or magical, just like any devil. She dresses very conservatively and fully so it wasn't much of an issue.

Stage 2. The second failure turned her entire face black and craggy like a crusted over scab, with bone spurs manifesting at various points around her face. Her body is in enough constant pain to impose a -1 penalty on all d20 rolls. The boon for this step was gaining Torturer's Eye (spend a move action to ignore the DR of any single creature for 1 round) and Sadism (For every 10 damage dealt in a round, she gains a cumulative +1 luck bonus to d20 rolls on the following round). She's gotten around the face issues by first purchasing a black veil and then commissioning a blacksmith to forge her a trio of masks (sort of a cross between Hexadecimal and Doctor Doom, her name is even Victoria for Ezra's sake).

Now, they've come across a hat of disguise from a ghoul lord they've slain and she's using it to pass like normal. I realize this ameliorates a lot of issues with her appearance (I think I said her Outcast Rating would be 5 or 6 if she revealed her true form) so I'm planning on upping the devilish urgings as well as having the hat stolen at some point.
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aeonic
Title: Sporadic Poster
Joined: Nov 19 2009
Location: Kissimmee, FL
PostPosted: Feb 28 2012 01:57 am Reply with quote Back to top

I'm familiar with Transposition. Even, or especially, in a Ravenloft game, I'd still really consider pulling the character at Stage 4, considering their continual evil impulses, as well as a huge stat jump that'd create a major disparity between her and the rest of the group (+4 to three stats, +2 to three stats, wings, the whole shebang; I still use ECL as based off of CR, and in that case, there's like a three level disparity). I mean, especially if the party's got a righteous paladin or the like, they're not going to want this PC around very much longer, and it stands the risk of really throwing off the whole game if you're having players Pkill one another.


Who likes role-playing games? Me. Way too goddamn much.
 
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Feb 28 2012 02:19 am Reply with quote Back to top

Party build is as follows:
LG sorcerer. Just being around the alchemist has taken a toll on his moral fiber and I'm thinking he may slowly ebb into NG if it continues.

NG witch, focused on healing hexes.

CG fighter 5/barbarian 1. This character was finding himself attracted to the alchemist despite her appearance, though he hasn't seen her face proper, only aware that her body is an ashen gray.

CG caliban rogue 3/fighter 3. He's only been around for one session, but until the player corrected the languages he knew, the alchemist was the only character with a common language. Because of this, the caliban obviously trusts the alchemist.

N alchemist. Originally she was LN, but torturing someone repeatedly and against the common law of the area, even if the nobles have a different sense of justice was enough to knock any lawfulness out. This character is dangerously close to shifting into NE alignment, after first leashing the only gnoll that surrendered to them, handing it an axe and telling it to chop a path through what portions of the forest the party didn't burn down on threat of death if it refuses, only to turn around and tell the caliban to decapitate it after it had chopped through enough trees to leave the forest (7 hours). Even if it was a gnoll, and thus an evil monster, it's not something to be proud of.
Another wrinkle about her player, he seems to interpret alignment as subjective, which everyone else had to hammer into him isn't how D&D's alignment system works. His definition of chaotic good, more often than not falls into CN/CE territory.
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aeonic
Title: Sporadic Poster
Joined: Nov 19 2009
Location: Kissimmee, FL
PostPosted: Feb 28 2012 02:55 am Reply with quote Back to top

Yeah, telling someone to lop a surrendered opponent's head off after driving them through slave labor is pretty god-damned heinous. That the caliban didn't say, "Go fuck yourself" probably indicates they may well do a little slippage as well. Something tells me if this person ends up continuing with what they're doing, they're going to end up becoming combative about things, just a feeling I get from your description of them. I've been wrong before, of course, lots of times. I mean, the multiple tortures alone warrant a few powers checks, and the behavior with the gnoll is just disturbing. I mean, they realize that it's a Ravenloft game, right? Evil gets simultaneously rewarded and punished, and it just seems like they're itching for it. Also, don't ask me why I feel it, but I've never seen a man play a woman accurately in an RPG; I guess I'm lucky I usually have an equal amount, if not more female PCs played by women, than men.


Who likes role-playing games? Me. Way too goddamn much.
 
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lordsathien
Title: Head of Lexian R&D
Joined: Oct 15 2005
Location: Metro area, Georgia
PostPosted: Mar 01 2012 01:32 pm Reply with quote Back to top

Looking over my last session, it dawned on me that Victoria (the alchemist) invoked a powers check I forgot to roll for (Major Betrayal with the gnoll, Extortion doesn't call for checks against evil NPCs). I foresee her downfall quite soon as Riptide has an ego of 37, and even bearing/using an evil magic item calls for checks. Though, should I still call for checks if Riptide is making her perform the acts?
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aeonic
Title: Sporadic Poster
Joined: Nov 19 2009
Location: Kissimmee, FL
PostPosted: Mar 01 2012 02:36 pm Reply with quote Back to top

lordsathien wrote:
Looking over my last session, it dawned on me that Victoria (the alchemist) invoked a powers check I forgot to roll for (Major Betrayal with the gnoll, Extortion doesn't call for checks against evil NPCs). I foresee her downfall quite soon as Riptide has an ego of 37, and even bearing/using an evil magic item calls for checks. Though, should I still call for checks if Riptide is making her perform the acts?


I guess that the question is, did the character (not just the player) take it up willingly? Given that the good artifact (Riverbend?) used it's wielder as a mouthpiece to warn them of it's twin's evil intentions, I'd say yes, absolutely. Wielding the trident was done willfully, in full prepossession of knowledge that it was a corrupting and destructive tool of evil, so they should certainly feel the repercussions for doing so. Honestly, why they didn't just bury it somewhere far from people or otherwise displace it, I can't say. Maybe they thought they could tame it somehow?


Who likes role-playing games? Me. Way too goddamn much.
 
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