作者 主题: 第十章 掌控游戏(翻译中)  (阅读 2872 次)

副标题: (翻译中,未校对和润色)

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第十章 掌控游戏(翻译中)
« 于: 2019-08-15, 周四 17:59:17 »
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Re: 第十章 掌控游戏
« 回帖 #1 于: 2019-08-15, 周四 20:58:20 »
第10章:掌控游戏

作为GM,你带的每个Pathfinder团,都提供了玩家  和游戏世界之间的联系。设置与玩家角色战斗 的怪物场景,与其他人互动,探索世界都取决于你。

引用
当你扮演GM的角色时,这是一份充满回报的工作,为你的朋友们创造有趣的体验。你的职责包括…
 


 


 

•以令人信服和连贯的方式讲述团队的冒险故事。
•充实游戏发生的世界,强调幻想,同时将其充分融入现实世界,让人觉得可信。
•用新颖的概念娱乐玩家和您自己,用有趣的结果奖励创意。
•通过建立或研究冒险,创造人物和情节,为带团做准备。
•当玩家做意想不到的事情时,即兴发挥非玩家角色和世界上其他力量的反应。
•制定规则决策以确保公平,并保持游戏的顺利进行。
 

本章提供了承担这些责任所需的工具。以下各节将对活动的各个组成部分进行分解,讨论不同的游戏模式以及如何为PC尝试的任务设置DC,提供不同的奖励玩家角色的方法,并描述可能影响团队的环境遭遇。
 

策划一场战役

PF游戏通常被设计成一场战役——一个系列化的故事,聚焦于一个小队。
战役系列细分为多个冒险,  较小的故事涉及探索和  与非玩家角色的互动。单个冒险代表了一个  完整的故事,可能与一个大的战役系列相关联。玩冒险游戏的时间跨越一次或多次团- 需要花费团队在  几个小时的过程中游玩冒险游戏的一部分。
 战役系列为您的  Pathfinder游戏提供整体结构。当你为你的团做准备,你将建立其范围和主题,然后,你将在其中发生的冒险和场景中加强这一点。

战役长度

战役系列的长度可以从几次团  到多年不等。决定战役系列  长度的两个主要因素是:您需要多长时间来完成故事,  以及玩家想要投入多少时间。
如果你的团正在尝试PF或者想进行一次特别的短冒险,那么一次单独的团或者一次“短团”是很好的选择。这需要很少的时间,但要求GM以一种直接的方式呈现游戏事件,因为玩家在故事或设定中投入时间的机会较少。如果你想玩一个较长的战役,你将需要额外添加一些故事元素在你的游戏中的人物上,而不仅仅是冒险的主线事件。换句话说,除了团队要实现的总体目标之外,角色还应该有自己单独的目标。

边栏:游戏中的协作


作为GM,您对世界  和规则的运作方式以及非玩家角色的行为方式有最终决定权。  这条规则的目的是为了让游戏更加顺畅、确保一致性。但它不是打算让一个玩家扮演团队的独裁者。协作对于角色扮演游戏至关重要!
如何在游戏中实现协作取决于 您的玩家感兴趣的内容。在某些团队中,  玩家喜欢为世界和非玩家角色添加细节  。在其他人中,玩家希望感觉这个世界 不受他们的控制,他们做出的唯一决定就是为他们自己的角色作出决定。两者都是有趣且可接受的游戏方式。
我们鼓励你在开始之前从你的玩家那里收集信息,询问他们想参与怎样的故事,他们想在世界上的哪个地区冒险,他们想面对怎样的敌人,或者他们想玩的是哪个出版的模组。一个好的团包括在开始的时候来回了解,因为玩家知道他们想扮演什么角色,你知道要进行什么样的冒险。结果可以是从建立一个完全适合角色的冒险,到选择一个特定的出版模组,让玩家车他们的角色卡,然后适应冒险的开始,这样所有的玩家角色都有一个参与的理由。

当你玩的时候,合作的机会会一次又一次地出现。当玩家提出关于跑团活动的建议或具体游戏观点时,他们会告诉你他们想在游戏中看到什么。试着找到方法把他们的建议结合起来,但只要有足够的观念“纠缠”,每个团都会包含一些意想不到的东西。

边栏结束

您可以通过查看实际需要带团的时间量或希望角色将要升到等级来估计一个团将花费多长时间。带团通常需要三到四次团才能升级。因为有时你可能会咕咕咕,一年里一周跑一次,你团会升到14级,一年中每2周一次会升到8级,而每月跑一次会升5级。如果你一个月只跑一次,你可以考虑延长跑团时间,使用快速升级(第509页)。


带一个无限长的团是完全可以的。许多团经历一次冒险,然后决定下一次冒险。但是,如果你进行了一个不确定长度的活动,避免在下一次冒险之后接近尾声,你还不能满意地结束正在进行的阴谋。如果你引入一个非常强大的反派,他对故事至关重要,但直到玩家角色达到15级才能打败他,那么在第8级结束这场战役会让人觉得虎头蛇尾。

在估计你的带团时间长度和跨度时可以保守一点。用复杂的、相互交织的情节来进行一场20级的史诗般的战役总是很有诱惑力的,但是如果你的pc一个月只能玩一次,而且玩家还有其他的责任要负,那么这种团远远没有到结团到时候就会分崩离析【咕咕咕】。


  预计持续时间Expected Duration.


并非所有的团都在同一时点结束。有些战役一直持续到20级,在玩家角色达到力量的巅峰并直面任何凡人能面对的最大威胁后结束。而其他团则是在一个较低的级别上结团,在这个团消灭了一个故事主要的反派或者解决了一个关键的难题之后、当玩家无法参加或决定停止游戏的时机时,跑团也会结束。
当你开团时,你应该有一个目标。不过,你必须灵活,因为你和其他玩家一起讲述这个故事,而且你最初对跑团的期望可能被证明是错误的。当你认为你正朝着一个令人满意的结局前进时,和其他玩家联系是很有用的。你可能会说,“我想我们还有两次团,这对每个人都OK吗?你还有什么未完成的事情要处理吗?“这可以让您思考您的假设是否与参团的其他成员匹配,并进行任何必要的调整。

主题THEMES
 

您为带团选择的主题是它与其他团的区别的关键。它们包括你故事中的主要问题,以及对某些环境或生物的重复使用,它们还可以包括超越传统的高度幻想的风格。您为带团选择的主题还暗示您可能使用的故事情节元素。
故事情节的主题通常与玩家角色和反派的背景、动机和缺陷有关。例如,如果你选择了复仇作为你游戏的主题之一,你可能会介绍一个反派,他的复仇将他的生命撕裂,并对周围的人造成悲惨的伤害。如果一个玩家角色是喜爱自由和奔放的混乱善良信徒,你可以通过让团队对抗奴隶主来吸引这个角色。或者,你可以选择一个爱情的主题,导致NPC卷入注定的爱情,寻求重获他们失去的情人,或者追求玩家角色。

使用相似的地点和相关的生物可以帮助你在不同的冒险之间建立联系。玩家们觉得他们的角色正在成为与巨人谈判、航道航行、与恶魔战斗、探索位面或处理任何重复出现的元素的专家。例如,你可能让玩家在早期探索冰冻的苔原,然后再去一个充满了更困难挑战的冰上位面,这些挑战可以通过使用他们先前开发的知识来克服。同样地,大地精可能是低级别团的强敌,但是随着PC达到更高级别,大地精变成了另一种生物的奴仆,玩家会感觉到故事在推进。
PF是一款奇幻冒险游戏,但您可以将您的战役系列转移到其他虚构的元素中。  你可能希望用一种恐怖感来注入你的游戏,减少魔法的数量并使用慢速升级(第509页)使其成为剑和魔法的故事,或者将魔法转化为蒸汽朋克环境的设定。

一个欢迎的环境A WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT
GM的职责是确保你和其他玩家在游戏中有一个有回报、有趣的时光。游戏可能处理棘手的困难和面对充满压力的时刻,但从根本上说,探路者是一种休闲活动。只有玩家遵守社会契约,互相尊重,才能保持这种状态。
身体或精神残疾的PC可能会发现自己比健全的pc面对更多的挑战。你需要与玩家合作,确保他们拥有所需的资源和支持。另外,要注意不适当的行为,不管是有意的还是无意的,在比赛中要注意pc的肢体语言。如果你发现一个pc变得不舒服,你有权暂停游戏,调整事态的发展方向,在游戏期间或之后私下与你的玩家联系,或者采取你认为合适的任何其他行动。
如果玩家告诉你他们对游戏中的某些东西感到不舒服,无论是你作为gm或其他玩家或pc的行为表现出来的内容,都要仔细倾听该玩家,并采取措施确保他们在游戏中再次获得乐趣。如果你准备的是预先写好的材料,而你发现某个角色或某个情况不合适,你完全有权根据自己的意愿修改任何细节。如果他们所做的是不可接受的或让别人感到不舒服,你也有权力(和责任)要求pc改变他们的行为,甚至踢出团,让不舒服的人负责解决问题是不合适的。发生错误没关系,重要的是你如何回应和前进。
游戏是为每个人准备的。不要让那些恶意的人破坏你的游戏或者排斥其他玩家。您的努力是使游戏和游戏文化受到所有人欢迎的的一部分。通过合作,我们可以建立一个所有身份和经历的玩家都感到舒适的社群。
 
反感内容o bjEctionablE c ontEnt
在一个团开始之前,与你的玩家坐下来-作为一个小组讨论或私下进行都可以,了解他们希望在游戏中允许哪些类型的内容,以及他们希望避免哪些内容。因为故事是实时展开的,所以在游戏开始前讨论这些主题很重要。这些讨论旨在保护玩家的舒适感,因此不可以问为什么有人想要禁止某种类型的内容。如果有人想要禁止它,那就禁止它,不要问任何问题。它可以帮助你从一个分级开始,比如电影或电子游戏的分级。pf通常包括暴力和残虐。对这些想象的画面描述有什么限制?玩家能在桌子上发誓吗?有人害怕他们不想出现在游戏中,比如蜘蛛或者身体恐怖(body horror)吗?在您确定了对令人反感的内容的限制之后,您有四个重要任务:
•将这些限制清楚地传达给其他参与者。
•确保您和玩家遵守这些边界。
•如果有人在跑团期间对内容感到不舒服,即使之前的讨论中没有禁止内容,也应立即采取行动。在问题解决后,继续跑团。
•如果任何玩家故意突破这些界限,试图寻找漏洞,尝试重新协商限制,或因为对这些反感内容有不同的容忍度而轻视其他玩家,则需要解决。
 

Pf的底线the  pathfinder baseline
你可能会发现你的玩家对于令人反感的内容没有太多的发言,只是假设要符合公序良俗。这并不总是足够的,因为这种方法不够具体。以下是一组适用于许多团的基本底线,您可以根据自己和其他玩家的偏好进行修改。
•可能会描述流血、受伤甚至肢解。然而,应该避免对血腥和残忍的过度描述。
•游戏中可能会发生浪漫和性关系,但玩家应避免过度暗示。粉红总是在“屏幕外”发生。因为尝试在玩家角色之间建立关系可能与一个玩家挑逗另一个玩家非常相似,所以通常应避免这种情况(与陌生人一起玩时完全不合适)。
•避免过于粗俗下流的描述。
以下行为不应由玩家角色来做:
•酷刑
•强奸、非感官性接触或性威胁
•伤害儿童,包括性虐待
•拥有奴隶或从奴隶交易中获利
•应受到谴责的对精神控制魔法的使用
反派可能会参与这样的行为,但他们不会“在屏幕上”发生,也不会被详细描述。许多团选择不让反派参与这些活动,完全不去想这些应受谴责的行为。

对路人的伤害 S ocial S plaSh d amage
尽管在团中照顾好自己和其他pc很重要,但要注意你的团对周围其他人的影响。如果你在一个不是你私人空间的地方玩,尊重这里的主人。如果你在公共场合玩,考虑一下周围人的舒适度,而不仅仅是你的团队所能接受就行。我们很容易被全身心投入一场游戏,因为我们投入了一个想象的微观世界,但不要忽视你周围的真实世界。当你制造太多的噪音,留下一地狼藉,用暴力的画面描述让路人受到惊吓,或者甚至只是对第一次目击RPG的好奇的观众冷言相待都要引起你的重视。

人物创造CHARACTER CREATION
在新的战役开始时,玩家将创造新的玩家角色。这一过程的一部分涉及到介绍团的内容和最适合的角色类型。与玩家一起确定哪些规则选项可用。最安全的选项是探路者核心规则手册中的常见选择。如果玩家想使用其他书籍中的常见选择或不常见或罕见的选择,请在游戏中审视这些,以发现它们是否与您心目中的团风相冲突,或者是否会在游戏中带来奇怪的惊喜。通常最好允许新的选择,但你没有义务这样做。请在你舒适的区域内敞开心扉。
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带团

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游戏模式Running Modes of Play
Pathfinder sessions are divided into three different modes of play: encounters, exploration,
and downtime. Each mode represents different kinds of situations, with specific stakes
and time scales, and characters can use different sorts of actions and reactions in each.
Encounters take place in real time or slower, and they
involve direct engagement between players and enemies,
potential allies, or each other. Combat and direct social
interaction usually take place in encounter mode.
Exploration is the connective tissue of an adventure,
and it is used whenever characters are exploring a place
where there’s danger or uncertainty, such as an unfamiliar
city or a dungeon. In exploration mode, characters
aren’t in immediate peril, but they must still be on
their toes. Exploration and encounters are collectively
called adventuring.
When the party isn’t adventuring, the characters are in
downtime. This mode covers most of a normal person’s
life, such as mundane, day-to-day tasks and working
toward long-term goals.
Encounters
Encounter mode is the most structured mode of play,
and you’ll mostly be following the rules presented in
Chapter 9 to run this mode. Because you usually call for
initiative during exploration before transitioning into
an encounter, guidelines for initiative order appear on
page 498 in the discussion of exploration mode. Rules
for building combat encounters appear on page 488.
Stakes: Moderate to high. Encounters always have
significant stakes, and they are played in a step-by-step
time frame to reflect that.
Time Scale: Encounter mode is highly structured and
proceeds in combat rounds for combat encounters,
while other sorts of encounters can have rounds
of any length. In combat, 1 minute consists of 10
rounds, where each combat round is 6 seconds long,
but you might decide a verbal confrontation proceeds
in minute-long or longer rounds to give each speaker
enough time to make a solid point.
Actions and Reactions: In combat encounters, each
participant’s turn is broken into discrete actions, and
participants can use reactions when their triggers occur.
Reactions can occur in social situations, though their
triggers are usually more descriptive and less tactical.
CHOOSING ADVERSARIES’ ACTIONS
Players often coordinate and plan to be as efficient as
possible, but their adversaries might not. As the GM,
you’re roleplaying these foes, and you decide their tactics.
Most creatures have a basic grasp of simple tactics like
flanking or focusing on a single target. But you should
remember that they also react based on emotions and
make mistakes—perhaps even more than the player
characters do.
When selecting targets or choosing which abilities to
use, rely on the adversaries’ knowledge of the situation,
not your own. You might know that the cleric has a high
Will save modifier, but a monster might still try to use a
fear ability on her. That doesn’t mean you should play
adversaries as complete fools; they can learn from their
mistakes, make sound plans, and even research the player
characters in advance.
Adversaries usually don’t attack a character who’s
knocked out. Even if a creature knows a fallen character
might come back into the fight, only the most vicious
creatures focus on helpless foes rather than the more
immediate threats around them.
Running adversaries is a mix of being true to the
creature and doing what’s best for the drama of the
game. Think of your encounter like a fight scene in a
movie or novel. If the fighter taunts a fire giant to draw
its attention away from the fragile wizard, the tactically
sound decision is for the giant to keep pummeling the
wizard. But is that the best choice for the scene? Perhaps
everyone will have more fun if the giant redirects its ire to
the infuriating fighter.
BYPASSED ENCOUNTERS
What happens if you’ve planned a fight or challenge
and the PCs find a way to avoid it entirely? This could
leave them behind in XP or cause them to miss important
information or treasure.
In the case of XP, the guidelines are simple: If the
player characters avoided the challenge through smart
tactical play, a savvy diplomatic exchange, clever use of
magic, or another approach that required ingenuity and
planning, award them the normal XP for the encounter.
If they did something that took only moderate effort
or was a lucky break, like finding a secret passage and
using it to avoid a fight, award them XP for a minor or
moderate accomplishment. In an adventure that’s more
free-form, like a sprawling dungeon with multiple paths,
there might be no reward for bypassing an encounter,
because doing so was trivial.
You’ll have to think on your feet if information or items
get skipped when players bypass encounters. First, look
for another reasonable place in the adventure to place the
information or item. If it makes sense, move the original
encounter to another part of the adventure and give the
PCs a major advantage for bypassing the encounter in
the first place.
ENDING ENCOUNTERS
A combat encounter typically ends when all the creatures
on one side are killed or knocked unconscious. Once
this happens, you can stop acting in initiative order.
The surviving side then has ample time to ensure that
everyone taken out stays down. However, you might need
to keep using combat rounds if any player characters are
near death, clinging to a cliff, or in some other situation
where every moment matters for their survival.
You can decide a fight is over if there’s no challenge
left, and the player characters are just cleaning up the last
few weak enemies. However, avoid doing this if any of
the players still have inventive and interesting things they
want to try or spells they’re concentrating on—ending
an encounter early is a tool to avoid boredom, not to
deny someone their fun. You can end a fight early in
several ways: the foes can surrender, an adversary can die
before its Hit Points actually run out, or you can simply
say the battle’s over and that the PCs easily dispatch
their remaining foes. In this last case, you might ask, “Is
everyone okay if we call the fight?” to make sure your
players are on board.
One side might surrender when almost all its
members are defeated or if spells or skills thoroughly
demoralize them. Once there’s a surrender, come out
of initiative order and enter into a short negotiation.
These conversations are really about whether the
winners will show mercy to the losers or just kill
or otherwise get rid of them. The surrendering side
usually doesn’t have much leverage in these cases, so
avoid long back-and-forth discussions.
f lEEing E nEmiES
Fleeing enemies can be a problem. Player characters
often want to pursue foes that flee because they think an
enemy might return as a threat later on. Avoid playing
this out move by move, as it can easily bog down the
game. If every adversary is fleeing, forgo initiative
order and give each PC the option to pursue any one
fleeing foe. Each PC can declare one action, spell, or
other ability to use to try to keep up. Then, compare the
PC’s Speed to that of the target, assess how much the
pursuer’s chosen spell or ability would help, and factor
in any abilities the quarry has that would aid escape.
If you determine that the pursuer catches up, go back
into combat with the original initiative order. If not, the
quarry escapes for now.
If the PCs decide to flee, it’s usually best to let them do
so. Pick a particular location and allow them to escape
once they all reach it. However, if they’re encumbered
or otherwise slowed down, or if enemies have higher
Speeds and a strong motive to pursue, you might impose
consequences upon PCs who flee.
SOCIAL ENCOUNTERS
Most conversations play best as free-form roleplaying,
with maybe one or two checks for social skills involved.
Sometimes, though, a tense situation or crucial parlay
requires a social encounter that uses initiative, much like
a combat encounter. As with any other encounter, the
stakes of a social encounter need to be high! A failed social
encounter could mean a character is imprisoned or put to
death, a major rival becomes a political powerhouse, or a
key ally is disgraced and ostracized.
Using the structure of an encounter is helpful because
it makes the timing clearer than in free-form play, and
each character feels like they’re contributing. When
running a social encounter, establish the stakes up
front, so the players know the consequences of success
or failure and the circumstances that will cause the
encounter to end.
You have much more flexibility in how you run a
social encounter than in a combat encounter. Extending
the length of rounds beyond 6 seconds, allowing more
improvisation, and focusing less on special attacks and
spells all differentiate a social encounter from a combat
one. In most cases, you don’t need to worry about
character’s movements, nor do you need a map. Some
examples of social encounters include:
• Proving someone’s innocence in front of a judge.
• Convincing a neighboring monarch to help defend
against an invasion.
• Besting a rival bard in a battle of wits.
• Exposing a villain’s deception before a noble court.
i nitiativE and a ctionS
Initiative in a social encounter typically has characters
rolling Society or a Charisma-based skill, such as Diplomacy or Deception. As with other encounters, a
character’s approach to the conflict determines which
skill they’ll roll. On a character’s turn, they typically get
to attempt one roll, usually by using a skill action. Let
the player roleplay what their character says and does,
then determine what they’ll roll. Allow them to use any
abilities or spells that might help them make their case,
though keep in mind that when most people see the visual
signs of a spell being cast, they think someone is using
magic to try to influence or harm them, and they have a
negative reaction.
Good social encounters include an opposition.
This can be direct, such as a rival who argues against
the characters’ case, or passive, such as a mob that
automatically becomes more unruly as each round
passes. Give the opposition one or more positions in the
initiative order so you can convey what it is doing. You
can create game statistics for the opposition, especially if
it’s an individual, but in situations like that of the unruly
mob, you might need nothing more than establish a set
of increasingly difficult DCs.
m EaSuring S uccESS and p rogrESS
You’ll need to decide how to measure the characters’
success in social encounters, because there’s no AC
to target or HP to whittle down. Chapter 4 includes
guidance on setting DCs for social skill actions, often
using a target’s Will DC. If you need a DC for people who
don’t have stats, such as a crowd or an NPC for whom
you haven’t already generated statistics, use the guidelines
on setting DCs, found on page 503. You can either pick a
simple DC or use a level-based DC, estimating a level for
the subject or how challenging it should be to sway them.
The attitude conditions—hostile, unfriendly, indifferent,
friendly, and helpful—provide a useful way to track the
progress of a social encounter. Use these to represent
the attitude of an authority, a crowd, a jury, or the like.
A typical goal for a social encounter is to change the
attitude of a person or group to helpful so they assist you,
or calming a hostile group or person to defuse a situation.
Try to give the players a clear idea of how much they’ve
progressed as the encounter proceeds.
Another option is to track the number of successes
or failures the characters accrue. For instance, you
might need to trick four guards into leaving their posts,
and count each successful attempt to Lie or Create a
Diversion toward a total of four necessary successes.
You can combine these two methods; if the PCs need a
group of important nobles to vote their way, the goal of
the encounter might be to ensure that a majority of the
nobles have a better attitude toward the PCs than they
have of a rival—all within a limited time frame.c onSEquEncES
When you set stakes at the start of a social encounter,
give an idea of the consequences. Beyond whatever
narrative benefits player characters might gain, a social
encounter usually includes an XP award. Because these are
encounters along the same lines as combat encounters, they
grant a sizable amount of XP, typically that of a moderate
accomplishment, or even a major accomplishment if the
encounter was the culmination of long-term plans or a
significant adversary got their comeuppance.
The outcome of a social encounter should direct
the story of the game. Look for repercussions. Which
NPCs might view the PCs more favorably now? Which
might hold a grudge or formulate a new plan? A social
encounter can seal the fate of an NPC and end their story,
but this isn’t true for player characters. Even if something
looks truly dire for them, such as a death sentence, the
social encounter isn’t the end—there’s still time for
desperate heroics or a twist in the story.
Exploration
Exploration mode is intentionally less regimented than
encounters. As a result, during exploration you’ll be making
judgment calls on just about everything that happens.
Fundamentally, exploration is all about rewarding the
PCs for learning about their surroundings. To facilitate
this, it’s especially important to have and convey a clear
mental picture of the group’s surroundings. You’ll be
better able to keep track of where the players are and
describe the sights, sounds, and other sensations of their
adventuring locales. Encourage the players to have their
characters truly explore, and reward their curiosity. The
things they try to do in exploration mode show you what
they’re interested in and what they consider important.
As you play, you’ll get a good feel for the aspects of
exploration that intrigue certain players, and you can add
more of those things to your adventures or emphasize
these points in published adventures.
Stakes: Low to moderate. Exploration mode should be
used when there’s some amount of risk, but no immediate
danger. The PCs might be in an environment where they’re
likely to face monsters or hazards, but they usually stay
in exploration mode until they enter a fight or engage in
some other direct interaction.
Time Scale: When the PCs are in exploration mode,
time in the game world passes much faster than
real-world time at the table, so it’s rarely measured out
to the second or the minute. You can speed up or slow
down how quickly things are happening as needed. If it’s
important to know exactly how much time is passing,
you can usually estimate time spent in exploration mode
to 10-minute increments.
Actions and Reactions: Though exploration isn’t
broken into rounds, exploration activities assume the
PCs are spending part of their time using actions, such as
Seeking or Interacting. If they have specific actions they
want to use, they should ask; you can decide whether the
actions apply and whether to switch to encounter mode
for greater detail. PCs can use any relevant reactions that
come up during exploration mode.
EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES
In exploration mode, each player who wants to do
something beyond just traveling chooses an exploration
activity for their character. The most common activities
are Avoid Notice, Detect Magic, Hustle, and Search,
though there are many options available. While players
usually hew close to these default activities, there’s no
need for them to memorize the exploration activities and
use them exactly. Instead, allow each player to describe
what their character is doing. Then, as the GM, you can
determine which activity applies. This also means you
determine how an activity works if the character’s actions
differ from those on the list.
The following sections discuss exploration activities that
require adjudication from you beyond the guidelines for
players detailed on pages 479–480 of Chapter 9.
d EtEct m agic
This activity doesn’t enable characters to automatically
find every single magical aura or object during travel.
Hazards that require a minimum proficiency can’t be
found with detect magic, nor can illusions of equal or
higher level than the spell.
When characters find something magical using this
activity, let them know and give them the option to stop
and explore further or continue on. Stopping brings
you into a more roleplay-heavy scene in which players
can search through an area, assess different items, or
otherwise try to figure out the source of the magic and
what it does. Continuing on might cause the group to
miss out on beneficial magic items or trigger a magic trap.
f ollow thE E xpErt
A skilled character can help out less skilled allies who
choose to Follow the Expert. This is a good way to help a
character with a low Stealth modifier sneak around, get a
character with poor Athletics up a steep cliff, and so on.
Usually, a character who is Following the Expert can’t
perform other exploration activities or follow more than
one person at a time.
i nvEStigatE
As with Searching or Detecting Magic, the initial result
of Investigating is usually enough to give the investigator
a clue that leads into a more thorough examination, but
it rarely gives all possible information. For instance, a
character might note that the walls of a dungeon are
covered with Abyssal writing, but they would need
to stop to read the text or determine that it’s written
in blood.S Earch
With a successful Perception check while Searching, a
character notices the presence or absence of something
unusual in the area, but it doesn’t provide a comprehensive
catalog of everything there. Instead, it gives a jumping-off
point for closer inspection or an encounter. For instance,
if an area has both a DC 30 secret door and a DC 25 trap,
and a Searching character got a 28 on their Perception
check, you would tell the player that their character
noticed a trap in the area, and you’d give a rough idea
of the trap’s location and nature. The party needs to
examine the area more to learn specifics about the trap,
and someone would need to Search again to get another
chance to find the secret door.
If an area contains many objects or something that will
take a while to search (such as a cabinet full of papers),
Searching would reveal the cabinet, but the PCs would have
to examine it more thoroughly to check the papers. This
usually requires the party to stop for a complete search.
You roll a secret Perception check for a Searching
character to detect any secrets they pass that’s in a
place that stands out (such as near a door or a turn in
a corridor), but not one that’s in a more inconspicuous
place (like a random point in a long hallway) unless they
are searching particularly slowly and meticulously.
SETTING A PARTY ORDER
In exploration mode, it often matters which characters
are in the front or back of the party formation. Let the
players decide among themselves where in the group their
characters are while exploring. This order can determine
who gets attacked first when enemies or traps threaten
from various directions. It’s up to you to determine the
specifics of who gets targeted based on the situation.
When you come out of exploration mode, the group
usually remains in the same general formation. Decide
the PCs’ exact positions, with their input, if you’re
moving to a grid (as usually happens at the start of a
combat encounter). If they come out of exploration mode
on their own terms, they can move around as they see fit.
For example, if they detect a trap and the rogue starts
attempting to disarm it, the other characters can move to
whatever locations they think are safe.
ADVERSE TERRAIN AND WEATHER
Exploration gets slower when the party faces dense
jungles, deep snow, sandstorms, extreme heat, or similar
difficult conditions. You decide how much these factors
impact the characters’ progress. The specific effects of
certain types of terrain and weather are described starting
on page 512.Difficult terrain such as thick undergrowth usually
slows down progress. Unless it’s important how far the
group gets in a particular time frame, this can be covered
with a quick description of chopping through the vines or
trudging through a bog. If the characters are on a deadline,
adjust their progress on Table 9–2: Travel Speed (page 479),
typically cutting it in half if almost all of the land is difficult
terrain or to one-third for greater difficult terrain.
Hazardous terrain, such as the caldera of an active
volcano, might physically harm the player characters.
The group might have the option to travel directly
through or go around by spending more time. You can
transition into a more detailed scene while the characters
move through hazardous terrain and attempt to mitigate
the damage with spells or skill checks. If they endure
hazardous terrain, consider giving the PCs a minor or
moderate XP reward at the end of their exploration, with
slightly more XP if they took smart precautions to avoid
taking damage.
Dangerous crevasses, swampy bogs, quicksand, and
similar dangers are environmental hazards, which are
described beginning on page 512.
HAZARDS
Exploration can get broken up by traps and other hazards
(see Hazards on page 520). Simple hazards pose a threat
to the PCs only once and can be dealt with in exploration
mode. Complex hazards require jumping into encounter
mode until the hazard is dealt with. Disabling a trap or
overcoming a hazard usually takes place in encounter
mode. PCs have a better chance to detect hazards while
exploring if they’re using the Search activity (and the
Detect Magic activity, in the case of some magic traps).
ROLLING INITIATIVE
Transitioning from exploration to an encounter usually
involves rolling for initiative. Call for initiative once a
trap is triggered, as soon as two opposing groups come
into contact, or when a creature on one side decides to
take action against the other. For example:
• A group of PCs are exploring a cavern. They enter
a narrow passage patrolled by a group of kobold
warriors. Now that the two groups are in the same
area, it’s time to roll initiative.
• Amiri and a kobold champion agree to have
a friendly wrestling match. They square off
on a patch of dirt, and you call for initiative
using Athletics.
• Merisiel and Kyra are negotiating with the kobold
king. Things aren’t going well, so Merisiel decides
to launch a surprise attack. As soon as she says
this is her plan, you call for initiative.
• Harsk and Ezren are trying to Balance across a
narrow beam to reach an isolated kobold treasure
trove. When they get halfway across, a red dragon
who was hiding behind the mountain flies around
to attack! As soon as the dragon makes its
appearance, you call for an initiative roll.
i nitiativE aftEr r EactionS
In some cases, a trap or a foe has a reaction that tells
you to roll initiative. For instance, a complex trap that’s
triggered might make an attack with its reaction before
the initiative order begins. In these cases, resolve all the
results of the reaction before calling for initiative rolls.
c hooSing thE t ypE of r oll
When choosing what type of roll to use for initiative,
lean toward the most obvious choice. The most common
roll is Perception; this is what the kobolds would use in
the first example, as would Kyra and the kobold king
in the third example. The next most common skills to
use are Stealth (for sneaking up, like the dragon in the
last example) and Deception (for tricking opponents,
like Merisiel in the third example). For social contests,
it’s common to use Deception, Diplomacy, Intimidation,
Performance, or Society.
If you’re unsure what roll to call for, use Perception.
If a different type of roll could make sense for a character,you should usually offer the choice of that roll or
Perception and let the player decide. Don’t do this if it’s
absolutely clear another kind of check matters more sense
than Perception, such as when the character is sneaking
up on enemies and should definitely use Stealth.
You can allow a player to make a case that they should
use a different skill than Perception, but only if they
base it on something they’ve established beforehand. For
example, if in the prelude to the attack, Merisiel’s player
had said, “I’m going to dangle down off the chandelier to
get the drop on them,” you could let them use Acrobatics
for their initiative roll. If they just said, “Hey, I want to
attack these guys. Can I use Acrobatics?” without having
established a reason beforehand, you probably shouldn’t
allow it.
c haractEr p lacEmEnt
When calling for initiative for a combat encounter, you’ll
need to decide where the participants in the encounter
go on the battle map. Use the party’s order, described on
page 497, as a base. You can move forward characters
who are using Stealth to get into position, putting them
in a place they could reasonably have moved up to before
having a chance to be detected. Consult with each player
to make sure their position makes sense to both of you.
RESTING
Characters require 8 hours of sleep each day. Though
resting typically happens at night, a group gains the
same benefits for resting during the day. Either way,
they can gain the benefits of resting only once every 24
hours. A character who rests for 8 hours recovers in the
following ways:
• The character regains Hit Points equal to their
Constitution modifier (minimum 1) multiplied
by their level. If they rest without any shelter or
comfort, you might reduce this healing by half (to a
minimum of 1 HP).
• The character loses the fatigued condition.
• The character reduces the severity of the doomed
and drained conditions by 1.
• Most spellcasters need to rest before they regain
their spells for the day.
A group in exploration mode can attempt to rest, but
they aren’t entirely safe from danger, and their rest might
be interrupted. The 8 hours of rest do not need to be
consecutive, however, and after an interruption, characters
can go back to sleep.
Sleeping in armor results in poor rest and causes a
character to wake up fatigued. If a character would have
recovered from fatigue, sleeping in armor prevents it.
If a character goes more than 16 hours without going
to sleep, they become fatigued.
Taking long-term rest for faster recovery is part of
downtime and can’t be done during exploration. See
page 502 for these rules.
w atchES and S urpriSE a ttackS
Adventuring parties usually put a few people on guard to
watch out for danger while the others rest. Spending time
on watch also interrupts sleep, so a night’s schedule needs
to account for everyone’s time on guard duty. Table 10–3:
Watches and Rest on the next page indicates how long the
group needs to set aside for rest, assuming everyone gets a
rotating watch assignment of equal length.
If a surprise encounter would occur during rest, you
can roll a die to randomly determine which character is
on watch at the time. All characters roll initiative; sleeping
characters typically roll Perception with a –4 status penaltyfor being unconscious. They don’t automatically wake up
when rolling initiative, but they might roll a Perception
check to wake up at the start of their turn due to noise. If a
savvy enemy waits for a particularly vulnerable character to
take watch before attacking, the attack can happen on that
character’s watch automatically. However, you might have
the ambusher attempt a Stealth check against the Perception
DCs of all characters to see if anyone noticed its approach.
TABLE 10–3: WATCHES AND REST
Group  Total  Duration of
Size  Time  Each Watch
2  16 hours  8 hours
3  12 hours  4 hours
4  10 hours, 40 minutes  2 hours, 40 minutes
5  10 hours  2 hours
6  9 hours, 36 minutes  1 hour, 36 minutes
DAILY PREPARATIONS
Just before setting out to explore, or after a night’s rest,
the PCs spend time to prepare for the adventuring day.
This typically happens over the span of 30 minutes to an
hour in the morning, but only after 8 full hours of rest.
Daily preparations include the following.
• Spellcasters who prepare spells choose which spells
they’ll have available that day.
• Focus Points and other abilities that reset during
daily preparations refresh. This includes abilities that
can be used only a certain number of times per day.
• Each character equips their gear. This includes
donning their armor and strapping on their weapons.
• Characters invest up to 10 worn magic items to gain
their benefits for the day (page 531).
STARVATION AND THIRST
Typically characters eat and drink enough to survive
comfortably. When they can’t, they’re fatigued until
they do. After 1 day + a creature’s Constitution modifier
without water, it takes 1d4 damage each hour that can’t
be healed until it quenches its thirst. After the same
amount of time without food, it takes 1 damage each day
that can’t be healed until it sates its hunger.
Downtime
In downtime, you can sum up the important events of
a whole day with just one roll. Use this mode when the
characters return home or otherwise aren’t adventuring.
Usually, downtime is a few minutes at the start of a
session or a break between major chapters of an adventure.
As with exploration, you might punctuate downtime with
roleplaying or encounters when it’s natural to do so.
This section describes ways to handle downtime and
details several activities and considerations specific to
downtime, such as cost of living, buying and selling goods,
long-term rest, and retraining. Most other downtime
activities are skill actions; a number of these common
downtime activities and their associated skills are listed
below. See the relevant skills in Chapter 4 for details.
• Craft (Crafting)
• Earn Income (Crafting, Lore, Performance)
• Treat Disease (Medicine)
• Create Forgery (Society)
• Subsist (Society, Survival)
Stakes: None to low. Downtime is the counterpart to
adventuring and covers low-risk activities.
Time Scale: Downtime can last days, weeks, months,
or years in the game world in a few minutes of real time.
Actions and Reactions: If you need to use actions and
reactions, switch to exploration or encounter mode.
A creature that can’t act is unable to perform most
downtime activities, but it can take long-term rest.
PLAYING OUT A DOWNTIME DAY
At the start of a given day of downtime, have all the players
declare what their characters are trying to accomplish that
day. You can then resolve one character’s efforts at a time
(or group some characters together, if they are cooperating
on a single project). Some activities, such as Earning
Income, require only a simple roll and some embellishment
from you and the player. Other activities are more involved,
incorporating encounters or exploration. You can call on
the players to play out their downtime activities in any
order, though it’s often best to do the simplest ones first.
Players who aren’t part of a more involved activity might
have time to take a break from the table while the more
complex activities are played out.
Characters can undertake their daily preparations if
they want, just as they would on a day of exploration.
Ask players to establish a standard set of preparations,
and you can assume the characters go through the same
routine every day unless their players say otherwise.
c oopEration
Multiple characters can cooperate on the same downtime
task. If it’s a simple task that requires just one check, such
as a party Subsisting as they await rescue on a desert
island, one character rolls the necessary check while
everyone else Aids that character. If it’s a complex task,
assume all of them are working on different parts of it at
one time, so all their efforts count toward its completion.
For example, a party might collaborate to build a theater,
with one character drawing up architectural plans, one
doing manual labor, and one talking to local politicians
and guilds.
c hEckS
Some downtime activities require rolls, typically skill
checks. Because these rolls represent the culmination
of a series of tasks over a long period, players can’t use
most abilities or spells that manipulate die rolls, such as activating a magic item to gain a bonus or casting a fortune
spell to roll twice. Constant benefits still apply, though,
so someone might invest a magic item that gives them
a bonus without requiring activation. You might make
specific exceptions to this rule. If something could apply
constantly, or so often that it might as well be constant, it’s
more likely to be used for downtime checks.
LONGER PERIODS OF DOWNTIME
Running downtime during a long time off—like several
weeks, months, or even years—can be more challenging.
However, it’s also an opportunity for the characters to
progress toward long-term plans rather than worrying
about day-to-day activities. Because so much time is
involved, characters don’t roll a check for each day.
Instead, they deal with a few special events, average out
the rest of the downtime, and pay for their cost of living.
E vEntS
After the characters state what they want to achieve in their
downtime, select a few standout events for each of them—
usually one event for a period of a week or a month, or
four events for a year or longer. These events should be
tailored to each character and their goals, and they can
serve as hooks for adventures or plot development.
Though the following examples of downtime events
all involve Earning Income, you can use them to spark
ideas for other activities. A character using Perform to
Earn Income could produce a commanding performance
of a new play for visiting nobility. Someone using Crafting
might get a lucrative commission to craft a special item.
A character with Lore might have to research a difficult
problem that needs a quick response.
PCs who want to do things that don’t correspond to a
specific downtime activity should still experience downtime
events; you just choose the relevant skill and DC. For
example, if a character intends to build their own library
to house their books on magic, you might decide setting the
foundation and organizing the library once construction
is finished are major events. The first could be a Crafting
check, and the second an Arcana or Library Lore check.
a vEragE p rogrESS
For long periods of downtime, you might not want to
roll for every week, or even every month. Instead, set the
level for one task using the lowest level the character can
reliably find in the place where they spend their downtime
(see Difficulty Classes on page 503 for more on setting task
levels). If the character fails this check, you might allow
them to try again after a week (or a month, if you’re dealing
with years of downtime). Don’t allow them to roll again if
they succeeded but want to try for a critical success, unless
they do something in the story of the game that you think
makes it reasonable to allow a new roll.
The events you include during a long stretch of
downtime should typically feature higher-level tasks than
GAME MASTERING
501
10
Introduction
Ancestries &
Backgrounds
Classes
Skills
Feats
Equipment
Spells
The Age of
Lost OMENS
Playing the
Game
Game
mastering
Crafting
& Treasure
Appendix
the baseline. For instance, a character Earning Income
with Sailing Lore for 4 months might work at a port
doing 1st-level tasks most of the time, but have 1 week
of 3rd-level tasks to account for busy periods. You’ll
normally have the player roll once for the time they spent
at 1st-level tasks and once for the week of 3rd-level tasks.
COST OF LIVING
For short periods of downtime, characters are usually just
passing through a settlement or spending a bit of time
there. They can use the prices for inn stays and meals
found on page 294. For long stretches of downtime, use
the values on Table 6–16: Cost of Living on the same
page. Deduct these costs from a character’s funds after
they gain any money from their other downtime activities.
A character can live off the land instead, but each day
they do, they typically use the Subsist activity (page 240) to
the exclusion of any other downtime activity.
BUYING AND SELLING
After an adventure yields a windfall, the characters might
have a number of items they want to sell. Likewise, when
they’re flush with currency, they might want to stock up
on gear. It usually takes 1 day of downtime to sell off a
few goods or shop around to buy a couple items. It can
take longer to sell off a large number of goods, expensive
items, or items that aren’t in high demand.
This assumes the characters are at a settlement of
decent size during their downtime. In some cases, they
might spend time traveling for days to reach bigger cities.
As always, you have final say over what sort of shops and
items are available.
An item can usually be purchased at its full Price and
sold for half its Price. Supply and demand adjusts these
numbers, but only occasionally.
LONG-TERM REST
Each full 24-hour period a character spends resting
during downtime allows them to recover double what
they would for an 8-hour rest (as listed on page 499).
They must spend this time resting in a comfortable and
secure location, typically in bed.
If they spend significantly longer in bed rest—usually
from a few days to a week of downtime—they recover
from all damage and most nonpermanent conditions.
Characters affected by diseases, long-lasting poisons,
or similar afflictions might need to continue attempting
saves during downtime. Some curses, permanent injuries,
and other situations that require magic or special care
to remove don’t end automatically during long-term rest.
RETRAINING
The retraining rules on page 481 allow a player to change
some character choices, but they rely on you to decide
whether the retraining requires a teacher, how long it
takes, if it has any associated costs, and if the ability can
be retrained at all. It’s reasonable for a character to retrain
most choices, and you should allow them. Only choices that
are truly intrinsic to the character, like a sorcerer’s bloodline,
should be off limits without extraordinary circumstances.
Try to make retraining into a story. Use NPCs the
character already knows as teachers, have a character
undertake intense research in a mysterious old library, or
ground the retraining in the game’s narrative by making
it the consequence of something that happened to the
character in a previous session.
t imE
Retraining a feat or skill increase typically takes a
week. Class features that require a choice can also be
retrained but take longer: at least a month, and possibly
more. Retraining might take even longer if it would be
especially physically demanding or require travel, lengthy
experimentation, or in-depth research, but usually you
won’t want to require more than a month for a feat or
skill, or 4 months for a class feature.
A character might need to retrain several options at
once. For instance, retraining a skill increase might
mean they have skill feats they can no longer use, and
so they’ll need to retrain those as well. You can add all
this retraining time together, then reduce the total a bit to
represent the cohesive nature of the retraining.
i nStruction and c oStS
The rules abstract the process of learning new things as
you level up—you’re learning on the job—but retraining
suggests that the character works with a teacher or
undergoes specific practice to retrain. If you want, you
can entirely ignore this aspect of retraining, but it does
give an opportunity to introduce (or reintroduce) NPCs
and further the game’s story. You can even have one
player character mentor another, particularly when it
comes to retraining skills.
Any costs to retraining should be pretty minor—about
as much as a PC could gain by Earning Income over
the same period of time. The costs are mostly there to
make the training feel appropriate within the context
of the story, not to consume significant amounts of the
character’s earnings. A teacher might volunteer to work
without pay as a reward for something the character has
already done, or simply ask for a favor in return.
d iSallowEd o ptionS
While some character options can’t normally be retrained,
you can invent ways for a character to retrain even these—
special rituals, incredible quests, or the perfect tutor. For
example, ability scores can’t normally be retrained, as that
can unbalance the game. But not all players necessarily
want to exploit the system—maybe a player simply
wants to swap an ability boost between two low stats. In
situations like this, you could let them spend a few months
working out or studying to reassign an ability boost.
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DC
、As the Game Master, it’s up to you to set the difficulty classes (DCs) for checks that don’t
use a predefined DC. The following sections offer advice on how to set appropriate DCs
and tweak them as needed to feel natural for your story. Picking a simple DC and using a
level-based DC each work well in certain circumstances, and you can adjust both types of
DC using the advice on adjusting difficulty.Simple DCs
Sometimes you need to quickly set a Difficulty Class. The
easiest method is to select a simple DC from Table 10–4
by estimating which proficiency rank best matches the task
(that rank is usually not required to succeed at the task).
If it’s something pretty much anyone would have a decent
chance at, use the untrained DC. If it would require a degree
of training, use the DC listed for trained, expert, master, or
legendary proficiency, as appropriate to the complexity of the
task. For example, say a PC was trying to uncover the true
history behind a fable. You determine this requires a check
to Recall Knowledge, and that only someone with master
proficiency in Folktale Lore would know the information,
so you’d set the DC at 30—the simple master DC.
Simple DCs work well when you need a DC on the fly
and there’s no level associated with the task. They’re most
useful for skill checks. Because there isn’t much gradation
between the simple DCs, they don’t work as well for
hazards or combatants, where the PCs’ lives are on the line;
you’re better off using level-based DCs for such challenges.
TABLE 10–4: SIMPLE DCS
Proficiency Rank  DC
Untrained  10
Trained  15
Expert 20
Master  30
Legendary  40
Level-Based DCs
When you’re determining a skill DC based on something
that has a level, use Table 10–5 to set the DC. Find the
level of the subject, and assign the corresponding DC. Since
spells use a 1–10 scale, use the Spell Level column for them.
Use these DCs when a PC needs to Identify a Spell or
Recall Knowledge about a creature, attempts to Earn
Income by performing a task of a certain level, and so
on. You can also use the level-based DCs for obstacles
instead of assigning a simple DC. For example, you
might determine that a wall in a high-level dungeon was
constructed of smooth metal and is hard to climb. You
could simply say only someone with master proficiency
could climb it, and use the simple DC of 30. Or you
might decide that the 15th-level villain who created the
dungeon crafted the wall, and use the 15th-level DC of
34. Either approach is reasonable!
Note that PCs who invest in a skill become more likely
to succeed at a DC of their level as they increase in level,
and the listed DCs eventually become very easy for them.
TABLE 10–5: DCS BY LEVEL
Level  DC  Level  DC
0  14  13  31
1  15  14  32
2  16  15  34
3  18  16  35
4  19  17  36
5  20  18  38
6  22  19  39
7  23  20  40
8  24  21  42
9  26  22  44
10  27  23  46
11  28  24  48
12  30  25  50
Spell Level*  DC
1st  15
2nd  18
3rd  20
4th  23
5th  26
6th  28
7th  31
8th  34
9th  36
10th  39
* If a spell is uncommon or rare, its difficulty should be
adjusted accordingly.
Adjusting Difficulty
You might decide a DC should differ from the baseline,
whether to account for PCs’ areas of expertise or to
represent the rarity of spells or items. A DC adjustment
represents an essential difference in the difficulty of a task
and applies to anyone attempting a specific check for it.
Adjustments happen most often with tasks whose DCs
are based on their level. Adjustments use a scale of –10
to +10, from incredibly easy checks to incredibly hard
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