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GM Breakdown, episode 35 - 36

It's been a while since last, and I have several thoughts to share regarding the last few episodes. A lot has happened, so let's get into the nitty-gritty of episode 35 and 36.

Episode 35 - Spies in Disguise

It might just be because I'm such an airhead and didn't see it coming, but the trap on the door leading into the room with the coil spies is genius dungeon design! It makes so much sense in-world as well. Of course intelligent creatures that deal poison damage would make sure that anyone that enters their hiding place will take more damage from their poison, especially sneaky rogue-type spies.

And I might be alone in the following opinion, but I absolutely hate enemies that run away. First of all, chases are unfair, more on that in the next section, but there's also the feeling of unfulfillment. The decision you have to make to either chase and leave whatever situation you're currently in or stay and let them get away. And then if they do escape comes the looming feeling that they are lurking around every corner, ready to strike at you when you are at your weakest. This is of course a singularly metagaming perspective, since of course anyone with half a brain knows when their chances are trashed and they should cut their losses and run, but game-wise it just isn't fun for me. This isn't isolated to pathfinder either, I remember playing Diablo 2 as a kid and any weapon that had a fear effect on it went right in the trash, no matter how good it was. Having enemies run off as you were hitting them was far beyond annoying.

Episode 36 - A Chase Across Campus

Alright, chases. There are things that work with this subsystem, but let's take a look at the math here. Every obstacle takes 4 chase points to overcome, and the person being chased proceeds through each obstacle automatically at a rate of one obstacle per turn. This means just to stay in position every single PC has to succeed at all obstacles every single turn. Dylan very generously set the DC to 17, which is an easy DC at our level. My highest skill bonus was +11 at this point (expert +4, level +4 and wisdom +3). I could have had +12 or even +13 with a higher main stat and maybe an item bonus, but at +13 this still gives me a 15 percent chance to fail, with 5 of those percentage points being a fumble, and a 35 percent chance to critically succeed. This might seem like cake, but keep in mind a 13 is the absolute most a skill could have at this point, and that would be one skill out of sixteen that had that bonus. And, as I said, most of us had +11, someone might have had +12.

In order to catch someone that is starting at obstacle two, which is the case for most chases (to avoid a lucky catch with a great first turn at obstacle one) the average turn would have to be three successes and a crit. For every fail, you would need one extra crit, and for every fumble you would need two extra crit successes per turn.

Don't get me wrong, I am the biggest hypocrite there is and I used 5 chase points per obstacle against my five PC party in my edgewatch campaign just a few weeks ago, all I'm saying is that success in this kind of chase is unlikely as a PC.

That was a whole lot of ranting from me, but to quote my favorite chicken-soup movie, The Princess Bride: "Wait 'til I get going!"



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