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Manacles do not make you helpless, and neither does being wrapped up in rope.
What makes you helpless is when you are bound in a way that doesn't just hinder the way in which you move (forcing small steps because your ankles are chained together, or requiring that you roll around to get anywhere because your basically cocooned in rop), it makes it absolutely impossible for you to move meaningfully - such as being strapped down to a bed, chained to a wall, or wrapped up in rope and anchored in place.
Example 3. A Paladar roams a town of common folk killing the statistical 1/3rd of the population that is evil.
That issue has been solved - normal people (meaning not of a divine class and not undead) that happen to be evil don't have an aura at all unless they are at least 5th level, which "common folk" certainly aren't.
That's not what the rules say.
The rules state that it takes 8 hours of work per 1,000 gp in the item's base price.
Then, a statement is made that the process can be accelerated to 4 hours per 1,000 gp with a +5 DC.
A comment that a maximum of 8 hours can be spent working on an item is made, and then the final statement relevant to this discussion is made.
"If the caster is out adventuring, he can devote 4 hours each day to item creation, although he nets only 2 hours' worth of work"
Those might be able to combine into working 4 hours and getting the benefit of 4 hours work (500 gp per day), but you definitely cannot work only 4 hours in a day and get the benefit of 8 (1,000 gp per day).
There really isn't a lot of mysticism in the core monk.
Basically every one of the monk's class features is explained in-setting as physical discipline brought into the realm of the supernatural through spiritualism, despite most of them being Extraordinary rather than Supernatural abilities (thanks, most likely, to the stupid choice of having supernatural abilities subject to anti-magic).
While some things might make sense from a purely "I trained very hard for very long," angle, there are class features like Still Mind, Slow Fall, High Jump, Purity of Body, Wholeness of Body, Diamond Body, Abundant Step, Diamond Soul, Quivering Palm, Timeless Body, Tongue of the Sun and Moon, Empty Body, and Perfect Self that require further explanation.
Over 50% of the class features of a core Monk require "mysticism". I don't see how you can say that isn't a lot.
The reasoning behind crafting taking as much time as it does is something that goes back to the "emulating the inspirational materials" thing - the fantasy stories at the appropriate time to be inspiration for the design of the game (D&D in this case) that involved crafting powerful magical items had the creation of those items take considerable amounts of time.
Old-school D&D handled that time by requiring (GM defined) time consuming processes of devising how to craft the item, gathering ingredients, and then performing the taxing process of ritualistically enchanting the item - often while also crafting the item from raw materials.
Then, the 3rd edition design team decided to quantify the costs and time taken while abstracting what exactly the character does during the crafting time... which carried through to 3.5, and Pathfinder beyond.
Detection spells are only blocked by what they say they are blocked by - which is 1 inch of metal, 1 foot of stone, or 3 feet of wood or dirt.
Also, the paladin can use the standard detect evil spell, not just the move action single-target quick study - and saying that he could detect the presence of evil while using the normal version (while not focusing on the illusion) but would "loose the signal" by focusing on the illusion-veiled glabrezu is pretty much the jankiest idea I have heard lately.
"Back in the day" there was no reason to celebrate finding magical stuff - Gary Gygax put loads and loads of magic gear into all of his adventures... and often the items were of significant power, not just "little +1s"
...and I have no idea what weapon materials and "golf bag" game-play has to do with the topic.
There are a number of things to keep in mind
1) You can speed up the crafting time to 4 hours per 1,000 gp by adding 5 to the crafting DC, meaning quickly crafting things while you have downtime.
2) You can craft when it is convenient by spending 4 hours time, through breaks for meals and rest, while adventuring, though this counts as only 2 hours work - meaning 8 adventuring days for each day normally needed.
3) Your times for making weapons are a bit imprecise - you can make the +1 weapon in 2 days, upgrade that same weapon to +2 in another 6 days, and upgrade the same weapon again to +3 in another 10 days.
and all of that is the game's rules as written, so no need to house-rule anything to get crafting to happen within the time scale of a normal campaign.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Undermountain happens to be the name of the "super dungeon" that lies beneath the city of Waterdeep in the Forgotten Realms.
They're hard to read (very poor paint jobs wore off very quickly--also makes them kind of ugly)
Rub a cheap crayon onto them until the number grooves are full of wax, rub the excess off with a paper towel.
It's a bit messy, but your hard to read dice will turn into dice you can read from across the table so long as you choose a color with appropriate contrast (white or black tend to be the best, though some die colors do manage to have a bit of flair for a different color - my green glow and blue opal sets actually look quite stunning with maroon crayon)
It was 4th grade that my teacher (in a mixed class of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students) that really sparked my interest in mythology by teaching a brief bit of Greek myth, and also sparking a profound deepening of my love of learning and reading in general by having a program where the three students with the most pages read each week got taken to Dairy Queen for their choice of $1 or less treat - the program quickly became the four highest page count readers each week because the teacher would rather spend an extra dollar than let the rest of the class have such a reason to resent me.
...and it was the summer after 5th grade (also spent in that teacher's mixed class) that I got myself into AD&D.
All said, if I were to pick the one single thing that lead to my interest in RPGs in general (the first of which I ever experienced was AD&D) it would have to be watching Conan the Barbarian with my dad - which lead to me reading Conan stories, and being hooked forever.
If you define "random encounter" as an encounter against opponents determined by a die roll on a chart once another die roll indicated that there would be an encounter - then no, I do not use them. Never have, and never will because I feel they take away more than they add (such as by having severely wounded characters on the retreat encounter impressively powerful opposition that will likely completely decimate them in their current state) if you don't also include "fudging" in your arsenal of GM tools... and then decide not to roll this time or that, or that a different encounter result than the on your rolled happens, or even fudging during the encounter to sway the outcome.
I have never liked to fudge, so I avoid things that would "force" me into fudging like randomly rolled encounters.
If you define "random encounter" as an encounter the party did not expect and that doesn't necessarily have a direct involvement in the overall plot-line but occurs because it makes sense for that sort of encounter to happen in the sort of situation the party is in - then I use those all the time, plan them as deliberately as I do any plot-related encounter, and constantly use them as hooks to side-adventures or other story-lines all together because I run sandbox games exclusively, even when using an AP.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition - with the black covers.
...and I had never even heard of a table-top role-playing game before I convinced my grandmother to buy me the books, and taught myself (and then everyone I've ever known that would let me) how to play.
I have always believed that players cheat because GM's cheat, and GM's cheat because most RPGs had writers that wrote "go ahead and cheat, it isn't really cheating because you are allowed to for being the GM" or worse in my opinion "go ahead and cheat if you think it makes the game more fun".
Naturally, with the game outright saying that cheating is fine if done for the "right reason" players at the table on either side of the screen are going to start listening to the game and cheating when they feel it is the "right reason" to do so - with the definition of "right reason" ranging from making sure a character that the player is invested in that has a very central position in the plot-line doesn't die until some arbitrary "good death" comes along to making sure nothing doesn't go in your character's favor.
Me, I don't have cheaters at my table - I believe it to be because I never cheat, even when a game tells me I "should", and I make sure that all my players know that... except when we play Munchkin.
I can only think of Dragonlance and Kalamar otherwise.
Kalamar was never WotC's, and was actually the first campaign setting released for 4e.
As for D&D settings that WotC has the rights to that don't have a current incarnation:
Ravenloft (though it has been partially absorbed into the Nentir Vale setting)
...and I can't recall any that others that existed.
Does ANYBODY like how Tasha Yar died in TNG?
Introduction of a character you've barely known for half an episode who then dies does next to nothing to show how dangerous a situation is and how the crew can, and will, be affected by the death of a comrade - so it was nice that someone other than a "red shirt" died.
As for the exact method of the death - it was a lot more dramatic than her being disintegrated by a phaser, and made perfect sense in the context that the world of Star Trek is full of weapons that can kill you in a glancing shot (or completely obliterate your whole body if turned up).
...and then there is my opinion of what her character added to the show... which wasn't much at all until that one episode where time/dimension travel resulted in her being alive, know that she is "supposed" to be dead, and then to make a choice as to what to do about it.
Haladir, it took me a while to read past your post because you said "Elvira" and "barred necromancy" in the same sentence and my brain couldn't process that... then I realized that Elvira might just be a name that came to mind, not a reference to the Mistress of the Dark.
Aranna, mixed levels of optimization within a party is not actually all that big of a problem in my experience so long as you don't attempt to balance fights - you build the encounters to be challenging for the characters that aren't highly optimized and let the highly optimized character do what he does.
I say that because then you are either letting Mr. Optimal get a little bored because he isn't challenged, realizing that the difference between 20 damage and 30 damage is that 30 damage hindered his other areas because 20 damage kills the monsters in one shot just like 30 does, but didn't cost so many resources to get, or to finally get what he has always wanted from optimizing the character by finally getting to lay waste to his enemies without effort rather than always being pushed to his limits.
I say that with complete confidence - 6 years ago I joined a gaming group of 14 high-optimizers and 2 "I just built what sounded cool" players and quickly took over as main GM, and today I am still main GM, have the same number of players (though 3 were kicked out over being terrible people that might end up getting you arrested if you hang around them, and replaced with 3 people that aren't), and not one of them is still a high-optimizer because it they were only doing it "to survive the challenges of the campaign" in the first place.
Jody Johnson wrote:
Each new edition has too much baggage it needs to bring along to appeal to the long-time players.
Except for the "little guys" that realize you don't have to do that if you don't want to.
My favorite "edition" of a D&D like game is 480 pages - but that includes the entire game (player, GM, and monster materials), a pair of adventures, tons of art (including an 8 or 10 page cover art gallery), and about 10 pages of advertisement material for that games 3PP materials.
though you do have a point about a "modern" sense that big books are better.
I have to confess that the other RPG I am looking to buy into is going to be something near to 1,300 pages between the three core books when finished... and has a chance of occasional 400 page monster books being added on top of that all - but the quality of those books is just irresistible.
It's not up to you to decide how useful someone's character needs to be.
Sure it is.
The GM should decide how useful the character needs to be because he desires the game to continue fruitfully - which is difficult if the characters are not useful for the challenges presented to them and are having too much trouble succeeding... which could lead the group to believe the GM is "bad" and no wishing to play anymore.
The Players should decide how useful the character needs to be because they desire the game to continue fruitfully - which is difficult if there is a member of the group that has a character that isn't really all that beneficial for them to keep around... which could lead to some bad feelings if the players aren't able to say "please play a different character," to alleviate those feelings. It could even lead to some group members resenting the other player who always "gets away with" their character ideas that don't really fit.
The characters should even decide how useful someone needs to be - no one, anywhere in the world, that puts their life on the line for their "job" or "hobby" does so willingly with a teammate they do not trust to be able to keep them alive. Adventurers should be no different, and should tell the not-so-useful character to stay home (or if the character is somehow plot necessary, to follow orders and keep their head down - to "stay out of the way").
The idea that it is only up to the person making the character how useful that character should be is well... kind of ridiculous. Letting each player play whatever character they desire, regardless of whether that character "works" for the campaign at hand leads in one of two directions in my experience: 1) A very short campaign because wrangling that many cats is beyond the patience level of the people involved, or 2) A campaign that makes next to zero narrative sense because no one ever addresses the massive disparity within the party's moral codes, motivations, and ability to function as a team.
I'm not saying that a group can't enjoy a game in which one of the characters is, for example, a little brother with next to no abilities beyond being likeable and thirsting for adventure that just won't listen to his brother and older friends and stay home - I'm saying that no one should be able to decide they are going to play that little brother character without also getting the go-ahead from the rest of his play group.
Usefulness is purely subjective because all characters can so something. No character is completely and utterly useless.
I will grant that no character is inherently useless (at least not unless you throw out all of the character creation rules and play a 6 year old quadriplegic commoner with a crappy attitude).
That, however, does not mean that a character cannot be completely and utterly useless within the scope of a particular campaign. The enchanter mention above, for one, could be extremely useful in the right campaign... but in another campaign, such as one where every adversary is immune to every spell he knows and there are no NPCs around that aren't for him to get creative upon (let's call the campaign "Assault on the Land of the Dead") he is basically useless.
Robilar was a Chaotic Good human Fighter, actually. He had zero spells in the book with his name on them... and he "soloed" a dungeon built by a mad archmage.
A note on AD&D orc ranged weapon usage: Spear, which could be thrown at a range of 1/2/3, showed up 30% of orcs (33% of which had no other weapon, and none of which were listed as having multiple or not) and the ones that had bows had ranges of at least 5/10/15 while crossbows had at least 6/12/18.
My point on the matter is that the PC characters could, simply by having bows, out-range all but 20% of a typical orc force.
...and in pathfinder, every orc is assumed to have javelins which are less extremely out-ranged by bows or crossbows since their maximum range is no longer roughly half the first range increment of the long range weapons.
And a note on attacks: I was saying that the relative benefit of monsters receiving more attacks than the party is less by comparison, not that there wasn't still a benefit.
30 attacks that need a 15 to hit you is no where near as bad as 30 attacks that need an 11 to hit you - especially when some of those attacks that only need an 11 to hit also have the chance of doing twice as much damage.
And AD&D fighter types actually do get "iterative" attacks (their attack rate going from 1/1 round at 1st through 6th-7th level, up to 3/2 rounds, and then later to 2/1 round) - and they don't have any to-hit penalty to them either, so they actually matter regardless of the opponent being fought.
Take an AD&D fighter with completely average stats according to the standard creation method (scores of 9 through 12 in every ability score, your choice within that range as to what is what) and give him gear that could easily be available to him by 7th level (where he actually happens to have 3 attacks every 2 rounds) and have him fight AD&D orcs in droves, over and over and over, keep track of how many he can kill before he dies each time.
Then take a 7th level Pathfinder fighter with completely average scores according to the standard creation method (scores of 10 or 11 if I remember the math right) and equip him as expected for 7th level, and have him face off against Pathfinder orcs until he dies. Repeat until you can't stand it any more...
Then, compare the totals. My experience has shown me that the AD&D guy is likely to have a much higher average kill count - perhaps with some more samples added to mine, I might be shown my mistake.
Could you explain why you believe this? It is completely different than anything I've heard of or experienced.
Characters had less HP, yes. Monsters also did less damage because not every one of them had a strength score included in their damage dealing.
Monsters also had less HP in general because they had no constitution scores.
Hitting your target was all around a little bit more difficult, which meant the advantage of monsters getting more attacks wasn't as potent as it is now - and there was no critical hit rule boosting the damage coming at either side.
AD&D Orcs can be expected for 1 in 5 to have a bow or crossbow instead of just melee weapons, Pathfinder Orcs can be expected to carry 4 javelins, meaning that a party in AD&D has a better chance at being able to use superior range to sway the odds.
...and despite another poster's view that only thieves had any chance to be sneaky, it seemed more common to me that a good description of how you were creeping past something with intent to avoid it was all that it took to get past most things - assuming your description covered all of its methods of noticing you - and the thief skills were for doing things that normal people couldn't even try, like being completely invisible just by standing in a shadow.
Anecdotal evidence: Robilar went into Castle Greyhawk alone (with Gary Gygax behind the screen) and stomped the crap out of the dungeon - a surprising feat with AD&D, and one that is beyond improbable in Pathfinder.
Most encounters on the first level of a dungeon, according to the 1e DMG will be the equivalent of a CR 3 or 4 Pathfinder encounter. Old school encounters were in general more difficult.
No they were not - at least not unless you insisted on every encounter being a straight on party vs. enemies brawl.
Sneaking past 30 orcs in AD&D is not any harder than sneaking past 30 orcs in Pathfinder.
The funny part though, winning a direct battle with 30 orcs in AD&D is actually easier than the same against 30 orcs in Pathfinder.
Old school encounters did involve higher counts of monsters, but that did not actually make them more difficult.
there's no problems with unoptimized characters, so long as its not to the detriment of the party, or the party has to carry your weight.If that makes sense.
An example: Everyone gets together for a campaign, it's been established that the campaign will involve an ancient and powerful dracolich and its undead army attempting to conquer the nation, and the PCs will be the "special weapon" called into service to stop this...
...and then the guy that wants to play a wizard decides to only learn enchantment spells, meaning the bulk of what he brings to the table is guaranteed to not be useful in the bulk of foreseeable campaign situations.
It's a great character, and he's got a great personality in mind for it and isn't optimized in any way - he also is about the worst character for the party to be "stuck" with for the campaign ahead.
I rarely have fights that are of a CR equal or less than the APL. I have a different playstyle than Pathfinder assumes as default. It's more akin to old school games.
I am sorry, I just... yeah... No.
You may be trying to say that you run your game with a particularly high level of challenge, which is fine - I do that too because the CR system is just... inaccurate at best.
Old school style has no such "always on the high end of challenging" aspect to it - you are just confused because that is how an old school game feels when you aren't guessing at the best strategy to use. For the record, an old-school encounter like a camp of 15 orcs and their 3 HD leader from which you have to rescue a few captives is absolutely "of a CR equal or less than the APL" if you are a full party of 1st level characters, as that scenario is a cake walk.
Don't let the lack of a CR system confuse you, old school had easy encounters too.
I don't like "I cast spell, my dead buddy is back" at all, whether it happens to cost the character some expensive materials or not.
Sure, it solves the problem of how you keep your players interested when the dice turn against them and the character they have spent many sessions getting emotionally invested in ends up dead... but it also creates problems that can be exaggerated to "Can't kill him, he's rich."
My alternative: The party can always, regardless of current level, find a way to get an ally back to life with no penalty - not even that of "missing" the XP earned in the mean time, because while the living party is working on getting their friend back, the dead character is benefiting from the experience of facing the afterlife - and the player doesn't sit out either, as he gets to portray his character in some "land of the dead" scenes, and is perfectly able to play a temporary character too... especially if the party finds a guide to help them retrieve their dead ally.
...and for TPKs, welcome to the hereafter - what do you do now?
I just think that "Oh no, I died... okay I am back, thanks cleric." is boring.
I do not believe that a DM can, or should if genuinely able, run a character of PC level impact alongside those of the other players.
I do believe that a group should add in characters that are/have an "equal share" to the PCs that can be run by comity, or characters that are "subordinate" to the PCs that are run by the DM for all interactive purposes, and by the player for all strategic purposes other than those the character would refuse his orders over.
I think that the term "DMPC" rather than "NPC" should be reserved for use describing that usually detrimental behavior some DMs have where they build a character that the party must contain, must follow the orders of, and will be punished if they don't - typically with the character in question being some orders of magnitude more potent than the rest of the party - that serves as the very thoroughly active locomotive to keep the campaign chugging along down the rail. I think that because the term is one that bears all that negative connotation with just about anyone who has ever witnessed the behavior, while NPC is still an "untainted" term.
If the mechanics are misleading, then that's a problem. To quote your OP "Your attack is at -1 because he is in melee with Player 2, and you'll have a 50/50 chance of hitting Player 2 if you miss." If that still leaves him only missing on a 1, then it's not a big deal, but that's information you left out. It makes it sound as if there's a good chance of hitting Player 2.
Here's some examples of when this has come up using the actual numbers:
Example 1) Archer rolls 1d20+1d3+1 to attack with his sling, and his opponents are hit if that roll totals 12 or higher (which the player knows because of mechanics to enhance rolls at personal expense that require such transparency).
If Archer attacks an enemy in melee with an ally of his, he is at a -1 penalty and has 50% chance that a missed attack is (sorry for leaving this out before, it is important and somehow slipped my mind when typing) re-rolled at the same modifiers against his ally's AC of 16.
The Archer has a 55% chance of hitting the ally-adjacent target, a 60% chance of hitting a free-standing target, and a whopping 7.875% (if I did sleepy math correctly) chance of hitting his ally.
So why is the character so worried about hitting his friend?
Example 2) Assassin rolls 1d20+3 to attack with his short bow, but happens to have gotten into position to utilize his class ability to Backstab an opponent in melee with his ally, granting him an extra +3 to hit and guaranteeing that a hit will be a critical hit (and his friend is not subject to that ability because he is facing the assassin). His enemies in the battle happen to have an AC of 14 while his ally has an AC of 19.
Assassin has a 60% chance to hit the ally-adjacent target, 65% chance to hit the free-standing target and will critical on either, and his chance of hitting his ally, which will not be critical unless a natural 20 is rolled, is a staggering (if I did my math correctly this time) 5%.
So again, why is the character so worried?
And since you called that the more mechanically sound option, it seems like you agree.
More mechanically sound, yes, but that does not mean that the less sound option is actually unsound - it is a difference of "likely to work" and "option most likely to work", not one of "likely to work" to "unlikely to work."
Why does it make you sad when the highly skilled archer bases his actions on what's likely to be effective, which he should know since he's highly skilled, rather than the player's first impulse?
Because the player's first impulse was not only likely to be effective, but also had reasons beyond pure efficiency.
...and the players from both the above examples have, many times since, show that they have no actual problem with firing into melee even when it results in hitting an ally "Oh right, I forgot about that rule... sorry man," and yet never fail to change their declared target if someone actually reminds them of that rule before they roll their attack.
They seem not to be actually weighing what is effective, or judging their chances of success in any way other than "that action isn't the easiest to succeed at? I'll do the easiest action to succeed at instead."
Player: "I throw my axe under-handed at the pin securing the rope that holds the chandelier up, trying to drop the chandelier upon our enemies."
...and then what? I sigh and move on because I don't have the energy to try and convince someone to do their own awesome plan that is likely to succeed, and it isn't fair to the other players at the table for me to spend the time doing so right in the middle of a session... and on top of all that, I feel stupid for not just saying "Sweet! Roll that attack," and adjusting for difficult on my end without ever invoking The Word Which Changes All Plans.
Is that really the "more mechanically sound thing" or is it "Oh right, I really don't want to hit the other PC", which is more of an in character thing.
That depends on whether they are playing a character with all the archery prowess of Legolas, or playing a character who is much more of a novice with a bow.
I'm talking about Legolas-level archers deciding not to fire upon the lizard most offensive to their sensibilities, but instead the one furthest from their companions... and that makes me sad.
Some idea of what to expect when you try something is good.
I agree with that to a point - It is fine to know that you generally have better chances in melee than at range (or vice versa), which is why a player can record their attack roll modifiers on their character sheet. Beyond that simple level of knowledge, I think that the information is too tempting to be used to make choices for the wrong reason.
Wormys, you have a good point in that we should not hold "how it has always been" up as some measure of how it should be now.
The topic of sci-fi in fantasy usually comes down to the detractors not saying "I don't like it," or "I prefer my fantasy without science elements," which are statements of subject nature - but saying "Has no place in fantasy," which is an objective statement... an objective statement that is objective proven false with the evidence that fantasy and sci-fi used to be one and the same, and that not only does the originally quoted inspirational material include things classified as sci-fi, but the original designers of the game saw fit to actually include those elements in the game itself.
Basically, one side can be seen saying the equivalent of "thieves have no place in heroic fantasy" and the other side is saying "um... Grey Mouser?" rather than "you must use them and like it because they are in one of the little brown books from the 70s!"
I am with you for the most part though... I started with AD&D 2nd edition, and even then at age 12 there were parts of the GM advice section that just struck me as crap advice of an amazing degree.
Roberta Yang wrote:
In all fairness to myself, a pair of counter points:
1) Wizard spells that "do what [other class] can do" as their chief effect are the most boring, poorly thought out half of the magic system... which itself is somewhere on my list of dislikes.
I discount wizard's having a whole slew of prep-slots or scrolls dedicated to "I cast rogue" as quickly as I discount prestige classes... which is to say, no one I have ever met and gamed with even bothers with them.
2) I desire a system in which skill-related things are not one of the "balancing factors" between classes beyond that everyone has equal opportunity for a wide variety of them, and those classes that are supposed to be "especially skill heavy" get the skills they are expected to have on top of what everyone gets...
example being that any character has roughly equal chance to have been a locksmith and has equal chance at competence in the related skills... but a rogue happens to also get to be skilled at picking locks even if he was a farmer, rather than a locksmith.
Full disclosure: I rarely actually play Pathfinder these days, and instead favor a game where character classes have much more parity with each other because they are held equal in most regards like feats (there are none), skills (background occupation + some "freebies" depending on your class), and then are each given their own "thing" that sets them apart... and it is just that one "thing" from each class that needs to feel is balanced against other class options.
Warriors can perform any sort of maneuver or stunt while still devastating their opponents, Thieves are rewarded with guaranteed critical hits if they use stealth and planning, Clerics channel the powers granted them by their god all day every day (for any quantity of "day" that does not involve angering their god with abuse or misuse of power), and Wizards deal in dark, unpredictable magic that doesn't include any 'I cast Rogue' type spells.
As such, I frequently forget that others reading my posts will not necessarily know how things work in that game and therefor will not inherently be able to fill in the gaps between me saying what I don't like and what it is that I do like.
Good, because it isn't - you must have missed the part of my post where I said I'd been hating on how skills worked "pretty much forever."
I meant pretty much forever - as in since there were such a thing as "skills" in fantasy RPGs.
I realize now that I forgot the absolute most disliked rule that I have been hating on since pretty much forever:
Your ability in a skill is more influenced by your choice of class than it is by your investment in the skill and natural ability.
You want to be good at picking locks? Better be a rogue - then 1 rank gets you a +4 (or 4 ranks gets you a +4), while just about every other class gets a +1 for 1 rank (or a +2 for 4 ranks).
I think that if two characters have the same relevant Ability score and invest the same amount of their resources, they should have the same competence.
Sure, Rogues are supposed to have "good at skills" as the benefit of their class... but I think that more skill points than anyone else is enough a benefit and "oh, and also they don't have to spend as many points to get to a useful level of competence as everyone else does."
Yes, I completely hate class skills... I even hated it when it was non-weapon proficiencies with weighted costs so that a Warrior type would have less versatile options if he were to take a Rogue type proficiency - but at least back then you at least were as good at that proficiency as a Rogue would have been given that both had the same relevant Ability score.
Science Fiction and Fantasy are the same thing - or at least, they were until someone decided to start sub-dividing the perfectly fine genre of "fantasy" into smaller, more restrictive things like "science fantasy" and "historical fantasy" and so on...
and then some crazy person decided to change that to "science fiction", which then confused a lot of people into thinking that the following two things aren't perfectly identical:
1) a story detailing a man, his travels on Mars, and the alien races and strange devices he encounters there.
2) a story detailing a man, his travels through an unknown wasteland, and the inhuman races and magical artifacts he encounters there.
All it takes to change a story from "science fiction" to "fantasy" is to change the proper nouns - which is not really a change at all.
..as a player, I would hate to play in a game where the GM told me that "magical" cold doesn't freeze things.
That is markedly not what I said.
I said that cold damage does not freeze things, not that magic that makes things cold (which might cause, but is not itself cold damage) cannot freeze things.
A spell that says as part of its effect that it alters the temperature of the area for a long enough duration will cause things to freeze as a response to their new environmental condition.
A spell that says as part of its effect that it freezes anything in the are capable of freezing would do exactly that.
A spell that says it deals cold damage, but does not also say it freezes things, will never freeze things because cold damage is a different thing than being cold.
Aaron... that seems like a debilitating condition. Women are half the population and most of us wear perfume. Do you avoid leaving your house?
I do not avoid leaving my house, but I do avoid crowds. I shop only at 24 hour stores, and only at around 2 to 4 am except in cases of immediate need.
How do you go on dates?
I don't anymore, I've settled down. In the past when I did date, I would only date girls that I had found myself attracted to which precluded those prone to wearing scents I could not bear, given the difficult one has feeling attracted to anything that is also making them nauseous.
Are you truly this sensitive or are you exaggerating to gain sympathy?
I am not exaggerating, though I would not fault you for not believing me when I say that. Perhaps one day we will chance to meet in a grocery store, near the detergent aisle, by way of you being the stranger upon whose kindness I rely in order to get the soaps needed to keep my house clean without breaking a sweat from the strain of holding myself together long enough to walk down the aisle myself.
Still if you bought me a bottle of watermelon or citrus perfume I would happily wear it on game night.
I have yet to meet someone angered by a gift, properly given, of perfume so that does not surprise me.
And if you are going to ambush someone (even privately) by telling them they smell bad then please for their sake be more helpful than simply saying "Hey you smell bad." That is the worst thing you could do. Instead offer advice and information. Tell them they smell like they haven't showered or that their deodorant is bothering you. Offer to delay the game so they can run home. You know helpful not hurtful.
Absolutely. Where I not intent upon providing aid to find and relieve the cause, but simply willing to state the effect, I would not waste my time to take the person aside.
Of course, what you are getting at is exactly what I was meaning when I said that you should talk politely about the issue.
So, point is, IF you are the type of GM that likes to sometimes put situations where the characters should...
That is my point though - I had never even considered that a player would actually think "it's there, so I'm supposed to fight it," because before 3rd edition the suggestions laid out for how to build encounters were much less specific.
In 2nd Edition you could build an encounter with 30 orcs, some of which are toughened up leader types, and an encounter with half a dozen goblins - and both fell within the definition of "1st level encounters" because you determined the "dungeon level" appropriate for a creature to show up by its XP value (15 in the case of both orcs and goblins) and by its rarity (with monster outside the XP range for the current "level" being usable still by treating them as rarer than normal... such as a level 2 XP range commonly occurring monster being in a 1st level dungeon as a rarely occurring monster).
In 3rd Edition you get told 1 monster of CR = to average party level = what 50% of encounters should be.
You even get told that 4 character is a normal sized party, where before 3rd edition there was no such thing (though 6-9 characters was a number commonly suggested by printed adventures).
My favorite type of player in a nutshell: An imaginative person who understands the process of playing a table-top RPG (you have a character you portray, you choose what the character does, dice are rolled to decide success in some situations) but has never even cracked the rule book
I'd rather have to remind a player every session what die they roll to do things than have a player that knows the actual rules of the game and how they apply to the action they want to take.
I find that the more a player knows (and especially the more they care) about their chance of succeeding on a particular die roll, the more they choose their actions based only on their mechanical strengths rather than just doing what seems cool to them.
...and I hate rules that jump out and "gotcha" that type of player (like the combat maneuver feats - nothing stops a player from just doing what seems cool faster than "ooh, I try to take his sword away! What do you mean he attacks me, I thought it was my turn?" other than just telling them "no, you don't.")
To that end, I mostly run games that my players are less familiar with (like Pathfinder, which most of them aren't sure what is different and what isn't from D&D 3.5, but especially Dungeon Crawl Classics and Shadowrun 3rd edition which none of them have ever actually read), look up anything they need to know for them rather than hand them the book, and handle all penalties to their actions on my end (raising the AC rather than telling them to subtract from their attack roll, for example) so that they aren't able to get "scared off" an action they just declared by the rules.
It's always a bummer for me to see a player go through this:
Player 1: "I fire an arrow at that stupid lizard-man that hit me with a rock!"
Just that moment when the player decides to do the more mechanically sound thing and throws all the character-driven plans they had out the window without a second thought... it makes my heart sink.
I also dont like the Cr system and I prefer not scaling enounters, it's completely possible for a party to meet a white dragon they can't handle and escape with their lives.
Related anecdote incoming:
I'd been running campaigns for all sorts of different players for about 6 years with AD&D 2nd edition, and had never run into the type of attitude I am about to describe.
I'd just moved to New Orleans a couple months prior, and was finally at the stage of adjusting to my new home where I had a circle of friends that wanted to regularly do things together - and I found out they played D&D. We got our first campaign together... which was kind of rough to start because they insisted we use the 3rd edition rules which I had never even read before.
The players get to a point in the dungeon that I was hastily cobbling together as I was still learning differences in rules where there is a big and nasty monster in its lair, sleeping soundly (a huge-sized dragon of a color I can't recall).
I expected that they would sneak past, or mark down a doodle of a dragon on their map as a dead-end marker and explore a different area.
Then one of the players says to the other "No, it's okay - that's got to be an illusion because we aren't high enough level to fight a dragon that size. We attack it and that counts as interaction so we get a saving throw against the illusion. I charge the 'dragon' and attack it with my sword."
...and he seriously believed that he was right and that I was running the game wrong because he slapped the sleeping dragon uselessly with his sword - which roused and angered it - and was quickly eaten before the dragon said to his companions "leave, unless your names are entree and desert."
Turns out he had read the part of the DMG where it mentions CR and what CR relative to APL was "fair" and thought that any encounter which fell outside those guidelines was actually impossible according to the rules.
It took me completely by surprise. Luckily I haven't see quite that thing since.
My advice: Magic is not physics, and physics does not apply to magic.
Or, to rephrase that to specifically apply to the questions at hand: No amount of Cold damage can cause water to change state from a liquid to a solid.
I used to use this exact rule, putting it to my players to vote before beginning each campaign and seeing them always vote it through... until they realized that it is a rule that comes up more often as an NPC/Monster instantly killing a PC than the other way around since the NPC/Monster side always ends up making more attack rolls than the PC side.
The "straw" that broke the triple-threat rule camel's back: A gnomish factotum (PC) happened to fail a save against a strange enchantment that caused him to attack his friend the human fighter... the fighter's player said "don't worry man, I've got a lot of hit points and we have plenty of healing potions." and then watched in shock and horror as his over 135 HP and his 30-ish AC on his character did exactly nothing to stop a 1d4+4 damage dealing rapier from flat out killing him despite max damage otherwise being completely insignificant compared to the healing available.
My comfort is not more important than the smelly dude's - nor is his more important than mine.
That is how we get to the solution of me having to do the "uncomfortable" thing of talking with him about the smell.
Me just sitting there and toughing it out is putting his comfort above mine, and me calling him out in a humiliating way (or chasing him away from the table) is putting my own comfort above his.
As for a situation where everyone but me happens to enjoy the smell that I am suffering from... I believe finding a scent that the others like that is less offensive to my sensitive olfactory is the best solution, as the alternative would usually come down to "No, we like this scent better than we like having you at the game," because it's not that I don't like some smells, it's that I will get dizzy, get a headache, and vomit because of some smells (and am not the type to sit around with a puke bucket just so I can keep dizzily playing an RPG).
Finally decided I have the time, and mental focus to get this list out:
-Hit Dice above 10th level: I don't like how PC HP never slow down like they used to pre-3rd edition.
-Saving Throws: AD&D 2nd edition had saves that would naturally get to the point of almost never failing at high level, yet 3rd and forward we have saves that either almost never fail or almost never succeed after a certain level.
-Attacks: Iterative attacks in larger numbers with lower accuracy is a big time waster.
-Uncapped AC: If AC had a maximum possible value, attack bonus could have a maximum possible value so that we could weigh the chances to hit of a fighter, a cleric, a wizard, and so on... and they all be capable of hitting that maximum with some amount of chance rather than high level stuff turning into the Full BAB classes have a real chance to hit and everyone else needing a natural 20.
-Combat Maneuvers, unarmed attacks, and opportunity attacks: A specific part of a believe I have that feats are limiters, rather than expanders, as written despite being touted as "expansion options."
Trying a maneuver or unarmed attack should be a bit trickier than just attacking with a weapon - it should not be a death sentence unless you use a feat like it is.
-Feats in general: any feat that creates a situation where its existence tells you "Can't try this action without this feat or a severe punitive measure levied against your character" is terrible in my opinion... feats should enhance the character that takes them, not dictate the way character's that do not take them function.
-Level dips and multi-classing: beyond the bad BAB stacking and save bonus super-boost, we come to situations where someone could find a weapon they aren't proficient with and say "oh man, I want to use that," but instead of just taking a proficiency with that weapon and moving on... they can just dip into a class that has that proficiency to pick it and a number of other bonuses up. That bothers me.
What bother me more is when someone makes a multi-class character that has more than one class from each class "group" like a Barbarian/Ranger (both are warrior types) or a Rogue/Bard/Ninja or a Wizard/Sorcerer - to me that is just like taking the same class twice.
-Monsters built just like PCs: waste of time to build them, waste of space to have them written that way, and a waste of effort to actually use all of the details that they just don't need to have (namely feats - those that are important to them could just as easily be traits the monster simply possesses, and the rest are just filler).
-Challenge Rating: the entire system is just wacky, especially when trying to set up encounters like an orc raiding party attacking a village or a single dragon being hunted by the party... you set it up as an encounter the book suggests is "difficult" and it is something the party can steamroll, or you make it actually "difficult" and the book says the CR is something like 6 higher than the APL.
It's first mistake, in my opinion, is the idea that a single monster facing four characters is "normal" - I find it more likely that I have 6-10 players at my table and that the want to face monsters ranging from 1 extremely tough monster to dozens of monsters which are each a threat and even more so because of their numbers (rather than only a threat because of their numbers).
...there are others, along the same vein of the game being entirely too rigid because of all of its "options" actually locking characters down rather than building them up... but I've run out of time.
The dice do have a way of turning against the party at the strangest of moments - which is why I encourage my players to remember two things: 1) all combat is risk of serious injury o death, there is no such thing as an "easy fight," there are just ones that went well and ones that didn't. And 2) not everything that is trying to kill you were you stand cares to chase you down if you decide to retreat.
Digitalelf, I don't think the cause for the person's odor really plays into the matter at all - the fact is that they have an odor, whether it is from a lack of hygiene, a medical condition, or from a choice of over-doing the deodorant/cologne/perfume, or any other reason, and that the odor which they do have is making someone else uncomfortable.
Everyone is entitled to an equal shot at comfort, which unfortunately means that someone is going to have to give up some of their comfort to take the odoriferous individual to the side and - politely so as to minimize that person's loss of comfort - reveal that their odor is causing discomfort.
The point, in my opinion, is to take the action that risks the least amount of opportunities for jokes to be made at someone's expense and for blunt and rude comments to be levied - which is why I am so opposed to Aranna's idea that a scented cloth held to the face is more polite than taking the person aside and saying "I am sorry to call you out like this, but you have a strong odor about you that is bothering me."
Now for an example that involves my real life sensibilities: Were I to sit down to play at a table with Aranna, who I will assume regularly wears a perfume of any sort for purposes of this example, I would be forced to say as politely as possible that I can't handle most perfume scents because my nose is extremely sensitive to most smells, and then recommend/request that either no perfume at all be worn (oddly, even an obviously unwashed natural scent bothers me less than a perfume) or that a scent of vanilla, watermelon, or citrus be worn if at all possible.
To me, that seems much more polite and effective to reach my goal (not having to smell perfume that gives me intense headache and nausea) than say... holding a burrito up to my nose to block the smell I don't like with one that I do, which I imagine would cause a line of questioning that would lead to a pretty thoroughly rude and embarrassing situation.
My way of encouraging role-play over roll-play: I describe things out after they are rolled - the way the enemy closes in and attempts to smash your face, the way your attack affects the enemy, the way the merchant reacts to the ware you bring to sell him.
...and the players at the table, eventually, have always just joined in.
My experience with games that include rules where description of actions provides any kind of mechanical bonus: it makes the bonus-craving players focus on getting the bonuses, which means they are role-playing in a very forced manner that takes up more time than usual as they insist "oh, hang on... I've got something for this," instead of just accepting not getting the bonus this turn. In the meantime that extra time taken leaves the role-play-ready players feeling like it would be best if they just declare their action, throw some dice, and get things moving... so that the game can move on to a scene in which everyone can just role-play instead of "forcing it."
How I keep HP from driving everyone at the table insane:
If the source of damage brought you to an HP total above roughly half your HP, but below your maximum - you avoided the attack in some way that has left a little more worn down physical/mentally or was completely luck. Your armor deflected it, you just barely ducked out of the way, or you managed to land just right and spring to your feet thinking "I wish I knew how to do that on purpose."
If the damage brings you to roughly half your HP or less, but not as low as 0 - things are getting more serious. You get small cuts and bruises, scrapes, scratches, or some other visible sign that you aren't doing all that well even though you haven't been seriously injured yet.
Finally, if the damage takes you to or below 0 HP - you finally got stabbed, mauled, cracked, slit, split, gashed or broken. 0 HP exactly meaning that you are able to lay their bleeding and dramatically moan for help, less means you are going to die if you don't get help.
Well, mostly voila - the other part of this treatment: Jumping into full on roiling lava is not a damaging effect, it is a no-save instant death. Same for any fall that seems like abuse of the terminal velocity damage rules, and any other "Lol I have enough hit points to jokingly shoot myself in the face," sort of situation.