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Ashiel's page

RPG Superstar 2015 Star Voter. 10,101 posts (10,104 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 alias.

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:

Dear Ashiel....

So... What's in the box?


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What's in the box? wrote:

I understand CR ratings being a measure of difficulty but like a level 1 ranger could be faced with a wall that stops him from getting into a CR1 Hell vs a CR1 guild vault.

Is this just a measure of: what you want to be doing?

It's mostly about what the characters are capable of doing. Earlier, you mentioned that characters have more clout in the world at higher levels (and they do). If you look at what exists, "Hell" would be a very bad place for a CR 1 ranger (even if they had favored enemy [evil outsider]) because most of hell's inhabitants are super-villains, but fighting an Imp with their whole party might be A-OK. It's mostly a matter of understanding that there is in fact a bigger fish.


Because it seems like most players I have come across end up playing gods at level 1: "Yeah, he is a deposed prince who worships Zon-Kuthon and seeks to reclaim his rightful place at the throne of the Plane of Shadow"

Umm... this campaign only goes to level 6... so like... None of that is going to come into play. We are in Varisia... And there is a mean wizard who wants to use runes to make Demon minion...

Pre-communication is the best thing I've found for this sort of thing. If you can give a general overview of what the campaign will entail and/or what sort of vibe you're going for, you can generally work together to come up with something that everyone's pretty happy with. One thing my groups usually do is, I give them a quick overview of the beginning of the campaign and/or discuss some hooks for their characters and we frequently make PCs together. It helps a lot to get everything fitting well.


Sorry... I don't think I was clear- the above is a "for instance."

As a GM how do you explain the scope of a campaign? Maybe that is better.

There's a lot of ways one can go about it. If you're going for a specific sort of theme, you might compare the campaign to existing media that the players either know of or can easily experience as a reference. For example, I have an idea for campaign I'd like to run in the future that basically involves PCs literally being super heroes. I would pitch the campaign like this:

Me: "So adventuring, especially mid-high level adventuring isn't really an urban thing in most settings because vigilantism is frowned upon, right? How about a campaign where the PCs are these extraordinary individuals like rangers, paladins, sorcerers, etc, and they don various disguises and aliases and adventure outside the typical law. Anonymous heroes as it were. Like fantasy superheroes".

Meanwhile, in a campaign I started a few months back and run sessions of periodically (the group alternates between my main campaign and that one), I explained that the game was going to be on the slow-XP track and that treasure was going to be an afterthought (but introduced some mechanics for creating magic items and such in downtime anyway) with some elements of investigation, dark fantasy, and themes such as things like werewolves, the undead, Frankenstein's monster, forbidden knowledge, and critters that go bump in the night and that the campaign is actually intended to give PCs a chance to become monsters themselves and having a "dark secret" of some sort is encouraged.

What I got as PCs were a formerly tortured cannibal, a warrior with an evil birthmark that is a source of unknown power, and a magician who is now carrying on the heretical research of his grandfather. Some details about them in below.

The Cannibal:
One of the PCs was abducted by an insane apothecary along with her mother in what would probably seem to fit naturally into a Grim Tale or Sin City or something. The insane doctor would frequently torture his victims and then eat them. Inside his hideout, he had bound the young girl up and was feeding her portions of his previous victims against her protests. He also had her mother strapped to a table where he was abusing her in front of the PC. In a fit of desperation and unbridled rage, the young girl wished to whatever powers that be that she could do to him what he had been doing to others, to have the ability to hurt him like he hurt her.

Then something happened. She snapped and a strange curse befell her and she was no longer quite human. All the flesh that he had fed her began to fill her with a dark power and she became a monster. In a blind rage she broke free, overpowered and ate him while he was still alive, and then devoured everything else in the place before collapsing. Nobody knows exactly what happened and to this day she has fearfully kept her secret from everyone, but her greatest fear is the flashbacks and the fact she's uncertain if her mother had already died from the tortures on the mad doctor's table or if was a victim of her madness like the doctor was.

She was using race that she found on D&Dwiki, with modifications for the campaign. The writeup for the race for my campaign is spoilered here. The name is to my knowledge unrelated to caribs, the bird, or caribs, the people. Honestly, I'd probably have changed the name to ghoulborn or something but I just did the conversion for her.

+2 Constitution: Carib bodies are hearty with powerful immune systems.
Humanoid (Human, Carib, Evil): The carib are infused with evil due to their curse.
Medium: As a Medium creature, a carib has no special bonuses or penalties due to its size.
Carib base land speed is 30 feet.

Predator (Ex): A carib has low-light vision and scent.

Tainted (Ex): Carib have the evil subtype due to their inborn curse. Creatures with the evil subtype are treated as evil in addition to their actual alignment and their natural and manufactured weapon attacks are considered evil-aligned.

Devour (Ex): A carib can consume the flesh of sentient (or once-sentient) humanioids, monstrous humanoids, or their corpses. A carib can begin consuming the flesh of a corpse or helpless creature as a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity. Each round spent feeding is treated as a coup de grace attack against a living victim. A round of feeding grants a carib a morale bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks (see below). A carib may consume the entirety of a medium or smaller creature or corpse in 1 minute (each size category larger doubles the required time, so large requires 2 minutes, huge 4 minutes, and so on).

Once a carib has fed, the carib gains a +1 morale bonus to attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks for 1 hour per minute spent consuming the corpse (minimum 1 hour). This bonus increases by +1 at 6th, 12th, and 18th level for a total of +4. If the carib consumes an entire corpse, the bonus increases by 50% (minimum +1). If a corpse is not consumed, the carib can feed on it a number of times equal to the number of rounds it would take to have consumed it. When pacing themselves like this, the carib only gains their normal bonuses for eating flesh (not the +50% for consuming the whole corpse at once).

Affliction Resistance (Ex): A carib's body is highly resistant to disease. While they have no trouble harboring and spreading diseases, a carib reduces any ability score damage suffered by diseases or poisons by 4 (to a minimum of 0). This also negates any secondary effects (such as fatigue from bubonic plague) if the disease or poison inflicts no ability damage to them. A carib can spread any diseases they have through their bite attack (the disease uses the disease's saving throw or 10 + 1/2 the carib's HD + the carib's Constitution modifier, whichever is higher). You must choose one disease to inflict per bite.

Ferocious Bite (Ex): A carib has a primary natural bite attack that deals 1d6 damage. Creature's damaged by a carib's bite are subject to any diseases currently afflicting the carib. A carib that hits with it's bite attack can strip flesh from its victims, which counts as feeding for the purposes of staving off their hunger (see below) but doesn't grant the morale bonuses that devouring does (see above).

Carib Hunger (Ex): While a carib can survive on a human diet (with a notable preference for raw and rare meats), they really wish to consume the flesh of sentient humanoids and monstrous humanoids. If a carib goes more than a week without partaking in at least 1 meal worth of sentient flesh, they take a -1 morale penalty to attack rolls, skill checks, and saving throws. This penalty is cumulative, to a maximum of -5 after 5 weeks. Eating reduces the penalty by 1 (minimum 0). If the carib eats in excess (such as consuming an entire medium sized corpse) they can survive an additional 1d3 weeks before the hunger kicks in again, and/or reduces the penalty by 1d3 points.

Carib are creatures cursed by a divine ghoul patron and are twisted into ravenous predators.
Carib have low-light vision, scent, affliction resistance, carib hunger, tainted, and devour special features.

Carib ingest many horrible things over the course of their lives. Even the most civilized or pacifistic carib will eventually come to consume some sort of unprepared flesh, some of rotten, unclean, or contaminated by diseases. The most common disease that a carib will encounter is Filth Fever which is commonly caused by uncleanliness and spoiled food.

==== CARIB FEATS ====
Carib Savagry (Racial, Combat)
Your hunger is a weapon.
Prerequisites: Carib subtype
Benefit: Your threat range with your bite attack increases to 19-20. When using your bite attack as a secondary natural attack, you take a -2 penalty instead of -5 and receive your full strength bonus (not 1.5 or 0.5) on the damage roll. You apply your devour morale bonus to your bite attack as an enhancement bonus to attack and damage rolls. Dealing damage with your bite now counts as feeding with your Devour ability and granting the associated morale bonus as if you had spent 1 round feeding. You may substitute any iterative attack from a high base attack bonus with a bite attack that deals your full strength bonus (not 1.5 or 0.5) as if wielding a one-handed weapon.

When your base attack bonus (BAB) reaches +8, the damage of your bite increases to 1d8 and the threat range to 18-20. At BAB +16, you always apply 1.5 your Strength modifier to damage rolls with your bite attack no matter how you use it. Additionally, once per round when you score a critical hit (with a manufactured weapon or a bite) you may immediately make an additional bite attack at your highest attack bonus.

Carib Contagion (Racial)
Your cursed body is a temple of ruin.
Prerequisites: Carib subtype
Benefit: Your Affliction Resistance now reduces ability score damage by 6 instead of 4. When you infect something with a disease through your bite attack, you may have the disease skip its incubation period and take effect immediately. At 8th level, you may spread two diseases per bite. At 16th level, you may spread three diseases per bite. The fortitude save to resist the diseases is made once and checked against the highest DC of the diseases.

Indiscriminate Gluttony (Racial)
Your gluttonous curse knows no bounds.
Prerequisites: Carib subtype
Benefit: You are no longer limited to humanoids and monstrous humanoids and their corpses when using your Devour ability. Any corporeal living creature or corpse of a living creature will suffice, including corporeal undead, and constructs described as being composed of living or formerly living tissue (such as flesh golems). Devouring a nonsentient creature (such as an animal, plant, or mindless undead) provides only half the usual morale bonus (minimum +1) but sates hunger just the same.

The Heretic:
One of the PCs was a young scholar and librarian who was denied higher study of magic in the school he was apprenticed at because of the shame brought upon his family by his grandfather. His grandfather, who had secretly been studying the forbidden necromantic arts had been stripped of his rank, social standing, and eventually executed for his perceived crimes against nature. The stigma that loomed over his family from his grandfather's shame held the young magician back and resulted in him being little more than an unglorified librarian at the academy where his grandfather once taught magic.

However, as chance would have it, the young apprentice discovered some of his grandfather's research notes in some of the more old and forgotten books in the grand library (which he only found because he was organizing the books as part of his librarian duties). Intrigued by what he found, he decided that his grandfather was not a madman but that his grandfather's genius was too early for the religiously intolerant and ignorant masses to comprehend or accept. As a result, he took a hiatus from the school as he wouldn't be missed anyway and decided to follow up on some of the notes his grandfather had left including the name of one of his colleagues who had been collaborating with him but was never discovered by authorities.

This led him to seek the grandson of his grandfather's friend to see if he could find out more about his grandfather's work and perhaps continue it. His search led him to the village where the campaign began, where he met a young alchemist fitting the description. To his surprise, he learned that the alchemist was in fact not the grandson of his grandfather's colleague but in fact the granddaughter living as a man (mostly as a way of throwing the locals off as to her identity should she have to make a quick exodus). The talented and skilled young woman had been searching for her own grandfather's research notes which were buried with his ex-wife in an old graveyard just outside the village somewhere. Each night she would go out and do a bit of gravedigging (a practice extremely frowned upon), and when she found the wrong grave would exhume some bones and such that would be used in her experiments.

Her ultimate goal, being the goal of her alchemist grandfather, was to find a method to cure death itself. Seeing their goals were strongly aligned, the two became friends rather quickly, each trusting the other initially because each had damning evidence against the other that would mean neither would want to risk outing the other to the authorities. The quest for human perfection began...

The Marked:
The third PC was born under an unusual sign and has carried a strange and frightening looking mark on her hand since birth. Her mark serves as an inspiration for her strange martial-magics and she hexes enemies with strange curses that wither and wilt the spirit as quickly as her blade hews the flesh. Her unusual gifts have proven useful and landed her a spot in the Silver Guard for her prowess, but the strange mark leads to stranger dreams, and in recent years it seems to be spreading the more she makes use of it...

To help set the mood and pacing for this campaign, I wrote up some little handouts (because the pace and style of the campaign is very different from the Pathfinder default).
Old Newspaper with the Cannibal, Recent Newspaper for Session #1.

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Man, you can tell I was in a hurry when I wrote that. A few clarifications.

  • Time, power, resources. Moreso, if you can't do it right now, given some time, you can. It's not impossible, it just requires a bit of prep.
  • When I said "either find a way around it" I didn't give an or. I meant to say you can either find a way around it OR you can find a way through it anyway (possibly with a little time).

Perhaps I can convey this through visual art.

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What's in the box? wrote:

That pizza is delicious (though a little dangerous).

Can you elaborate more on the expectations of PCs based on level brackets. I can remember my first DM (when we played 3.5) talking about it and saying basically at level 10ish you started to effect large scale problems, @ level 15ish you were dealing with world-wide consequences and at level 20 you were drawing the attention/power of the Gods. I noticed that fifth edition is doing something similar to this with their class design (which I am VERY infatuated with 5ths class design and would LOVE to explore it more- nobody/materials to play with yet lol).

You spoke of axioms you have as expectations for PCs. I would LOVE to hear more on that.

It's basically time, power, and resources. As levels rise, so do these three things as well. As much as it might upset people (due to martial/caster complaints), I generally consider every 2 levels* past 1st to be a new tier in what the party is capable of overall (because that's the rate you tend to get new spell levels), though it's not solely due to spell levels. It's ultimately about the sort of challenges that you can face and how much clout you have in the world.

Let's take a Ranger for example.
At 1st level, the Ranger might look like this: 12 HP, 18~20 AC, Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +2, swings at +6 for 1d8+4~6. The Ranger is quite heroic but still within the realm of pretty normal human being (falling 20 ft is going to hurt, many mundane traps and challenges are difficult, and he can reasonably be defeated by a few trained soldiers if outnumbered), and might have to squeeze a bit to buy a potion or something for emergencies. If he invested in Acrobatics he can probably jump 10-28 ft. before armor check penalties.

Meanwhile, at 5th level, he might look more like this: 42 Hp, AC 20~23, Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5, swings at +10 for 1d8+5~9 (or +8 for +11~15), has a powerful beast that serves him, and has 1st level spells (which can do things like make him move swiftly, make him immune to poison, or even prevent him from running out of arrows), and the ranger has enough wealth that he can carry around a few utility scrolls, may have additional bonuses (particularly to saves), and if he really needs to can probably go pay a spellcaster to cast things like remove disease or remove curse.

At this level, the Ranger could probably take out a team of himself from 1st level. The ranger could trounce a bunch of normal soldiers (1HD warriors) to the point that he he could very easily be considered a unit unto himself should his presence be made on a battlefield. If he's invested in Acrobatics, he can probably jump 13-32 ft. before armor check penalties.

Meanwhile still at 10th level, he might look more like this: 109 Hp, 28~33 AC, Fort +14, Ref +14, Will +11, swings at +17/+12 for 1d8+7~13 (or +14/+9 for 1d8+16~22), his warbeast can ravage entire units of normal soldiers, his Stealth skill is so high that no normal person can find him if he gains concealment (making him more a monster than a man), and rides his warbeast with its horseshoes of the zypher (or equivalent item, which he crafted himself) while delivering death from the skies with his bow. His strength and presence is great enough that he has long since left any semblance of skill and ability that could ever be achieved in our own reality. He could have whipped both the 300 spartans AND the persian army they were holding at bay and ask Hercules why he was such a pussy having trouble with that hydra -- because he's got three hydras mounted in his library.

* The way creatures scale in Pathfinder, according to XP/treasure/CR, is every +2 CR should generally make you worth about 2 of yourself in terms of usefulness/presence. Casters actually fit this pretty well (since they progressively gain both more power and more longevity with each new tier of casting) and some martial characters do this pretty well (barbarians, rangers, and paladins have abilities that scale strongly with their level while also gaining more longevity and new powers to use when the chips are down).

At a certain point, you can just assume that a party of PCs will have access to certain things barring pure GM fiat. Even a party of 4 FIGHTERS (poor party D:) will still be able to teleport around the planet at 10th level because they can pool their pocket change and guy buy the spellcasting service to do so. >_>

If there's a wall of force blocking someone's path, your options at high levels are so plentiful that you can either find a way to go around it (anything from your martial beating the stone walls around it down with her fists, or buying a scroll of disintegrate to remove the wall, even if your sorcerer doesn't actually know disintegrate).

If you look at things in the context they are presented (looking at things like falling damage, object hardness/HP, natural disasters, etc) you begin to realize just how powerful PCs become in this game. A lightning bolt in a thunderstorm deals between 4d8-10d8 damage. A 10th level character could eat a natural bolt of lightning repeatedly before it would become a problem. Hell, the monsters they were fighting back at 7th level are throwing lighting-bolt equivalent destructive powers at them every round on the round (an erinyes' unholy blight SLA deals 6d8 damage - the damage of an average lightning bolt - every time in an AoE).

High level characters are not Aragorn and Gemli, they're ****ing Goku and Vegeta. (O_O)

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Specifically, the only training I qualify for that can give me a chance to get my feet under me and have an actual semblance of a future that doesn't involve being a hobo. Security guard! Though knowing my luck I'm likely to get shot in the ass, I'd take a bullet in my rectum if it means bringing home enough bacon for my fiance an I (soon as I can afford a home).

A friend of mine is a security guard. He likes it and says it's a good job.

That's what I get for being a social wallflower. I might be mostly antisocial, but considering couch-hopping and going through 3 phones I lost contact with pretty much everybody. Add in the fact I've a hard time befriending new people.

It might sound really odd but one of my best bits of advice is smile a lot and try to be active with people such as greeting them. "Good morning/afternoon/evening!", "Have a great day/fun". Politeness helps too: "Yes sir/ma'am", "Thank you", "No sir/ma'am", etc.

Even if it takes practice, try to exude good vibes. People pick up on it and if you act happy (which can be difficult when you've little reason to be) it's contagious and makes other people feel happy, which in turn will make them appreciate your presence. A person who acts happy, is polite, and smiles a lot stands out from the legions of other employable-sorts.

Plus, smiling actually causes your body to produce more feel-good chemicals for your body chemistry which can build up a wonderful feedback loop where you start feeling better because you're smiling which makes you smile more easily and more often which makes you feel even better, etc.

I used to be a wallflower too but it took conscious effort to break out of my shell. That conscious effort has done more for me in terms of job opportunities than anything I've done academically.

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I agree with Aratrok 100%. Even with the 3.5 Tome of Battle, I ended up ultimately nerfing and/or revising all of the skill vs non-skill checks because it's effortlessly easy to push into the "always succeed" territory.

I personally have some problems with this as well:

Skill check maneuvers offer a good chance of auto success on something you're investing permanent (or near permanent) resources into and I'm OK with that. A skill check counter lets you pass a save, but how many of those are you going to have readied at a time? As a DM you can build around those effects if you want to pretty easily. Use multiple saves, use multiple enemies, use flying enemies to avoid being tripped or Oozes and centipedes galore, and when your player burns their auto-win counter on a breath weapon, then hit them with a Hold Person, because you know they don't have a second auto-win button readied.

Just pointing this out but you don't even have to invest permanent resources into it. Merely having a +2 headband keyed to the associated skill means you can reset your investment every 24 hours so you don't even need to invest real skill points into it.

And 5% of WBL is not a significant and permanent investment. It's actually less than you're expected to expend in consumables in a given level (about 15%).

If you want an auto-succeed on a save, just do it. It's more honest. Honestly, I'd rather stuff that let you re-roll saves with a bonus or something (kind of like the barbarian's eater of magic). Don't make it sloppy like this. But this skill check vs save DCs, ACs, etc? It's just nasty.

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Mathius wrote:
I like it so far. You write very well. I know that you have not done it yet but I am guessing that Seliax will know protection from/resist fire.

And much more. :3

It drives me crazy when I say a main plot line encounter take on road in an 11th level adventure. Or spellcasters without dispel magic. Or timelines the assume the PCs take a week to go 150 miles. Or solos with no ranged ability.

Amen to that. I think it comes from a misunderstanding of the fundamental truths about the levels of play and what PCs are expected to be capable of. The 3.x DMG touched lightly on this subject but the short version of it's short summary was "take off the gloves". You should never have an adventure that assumes that a group of near-godlike PCs should be doing something like guarding a caravan (unless perhaps it's something crazy-amazing like escorting a caravan of refugees through multiple planes of existence or something, which might be suitable if you're doing something involving lots of outsiders like djinn).

Unfortunately I've ran into a lot of this stuff in a lot of places and it always produces very lackluster results. When a GM uses these sorts of plots you're essentially engineering the game/story to go off the rails because the PCs left those rails like 6 levels ago. This sort of bad design also leads to fearful GMs who become more tyrannical in their fiat to prevent PCs from using their abilities so that the GM can still use the module.

Generally speaking, anything I do past a particular level range assumes certain things are true. Even if you don't have a PC who can cast teleport for example, you can head over to a big city/metropolis and pay someone to take you (paying twice for round trip).


On a different note I have never understood why my most adventures do not react to an alarm. If the BBEG is a caster he should spend 5 10 15 rounds buffing up then go an hunt down them intruders.

Adding in a thing the BBEG must do can prevent his hunting but still puts in a nice time pressure.

Oh you'll probably have some fun with this one when it's finished then. :P

AFK a while. Gotta run pickup some delicious spicy honey sirracha pizza from the Hut. :3

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Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
It's probably true that I'm not cut out to be a staff member for "real RPG writers". :P

I'd hire you in a second.... Of course, I'd also hire the likes of Raving Dork, so....

Probably a good thing I'm not officially designing games.... For profit anyway.

Honestly, I'm going to hunt down Ravingdork when my RPG system is ready for playtesting and insist he bring a blowtorch, a jackhammer, and a chainsaw to the party. Ravingdork seems to love playing spellcasters and knows how to break the s$@# out of them (which is good for stress testing).

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Ashiel Cultist wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Also wow on 432 post in this thread.
Yeah, no kidding. When my friend suggested I make this, I didn't expect it to get 2 pages. I'm pretty blown away.
I had thought that a certain thread that managed to reach 20 pages and over 950 posts would prove how much we love our Divine Lord Ashiel the Magnificient!

Yeah that one still blows my mind (and my ego)! It was a few pages in before I even found out about the thread (someone PM'd me about it :o). It's a lot of fun to read the first few pages when I was absent as it's very insightful. :3

EDIT: Now that you got me going back down memory lane (by re-reading the thread), I came across this... :P





Books full of Glowing stealth rocks, Genie Simulacrums, Diplomacy replacing charisma.....HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Whooo...Good one!

Why not hire me for public relations while we are at it!


And for some strange reason the very first thing that popped into my head was...Craft Contingent Spell (my mind works in odd ways, I'll admit).

Craft Contingent Spell was an "Item Creation Feat" of sorts in Complete Arcane (or was it Mage? I'm 86.25% sure it's arcane) where you essentially pay an exceedingly small amount of resources to equip yourself or others with contingency spells, except there's no reasonable limit to them (as opposed to contingency the spell which allows only 1 active at a time), and if I recall, you could do it with spells higher than 6th level, and there was a sidebar explaining that vague contingencies are cool.

I think the reason this popped up in my head is because I've never seen this particular mechanic particularly lambasted, yet djinn simulacrums pale so hard in comparison that they're not even on the same field. This one feat is basically the "GG" for a competent wizard, because you can load up and have a counter for virtually anything you can think of any you don't even need to be aware of and/or expend actions.

In a similar vein, aroden's spellbane is insanity. (o_o);

It's probably true that I'm not cut out to be a staff member for "real RPG writers". :P

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Mathius wrote:
So I was wondering how the adventure with the white dragon is coming.

Very slowly as I've been logging a lot of hours at work. Though I've got most of the adventure planned out in my head, little of it has been "penned" yet. However, if you're curious, here's a link to the extraordinarily unfinished document.

Also wow on 432 post in this thread.

Yeah, no kidding. When my friend suggested I make this, I didn't expect it to get 2 pages. I'm pretty blown away.

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Tels wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Tels wrote:
How do you handle the souls of slain children in your campaign setting?
You mean like where they go in the afterlife?
Yeah. Just curious as for different peoples' takes on if children are judged or not, or if they're deemed capable of deciding on who they worship etc.

Well the afterlife is something I'm still getting completely nailed down in my campaign setting, but generally speaking most are probably reincarnated or adopted by outsiders wandering the plane of dreams.

Alvena's cosmology (which again, is under construction) is a bit different from your typical D&D cosmology. For example, there is only Hell (not the abyss), which is where both Demons and Devils hail from (though they are usually in conflict with one-another due to difference in ideologies). Meanwhile, there is an additional transitive plane of dreams which is where ones consciousness goes when you dream, and is also where most of the gods reside, with each one having a sort of demiplane bubble domain within the infinite expanse of the plane itself.

Those who aren't drawn to any particular ideology or afterlife are often reborn into mortal bodies. Generally speaking, reincarnating typically wipes the memory of the soul's previous life, though some may remember bits and pieces or have memories when they dream. This is actually a plot point in my current campaign where one of the PCs is actually a demon general that was trying to get into the material plane. The demons saw how souls could re-enter the plane through reincarnation and concocted a plan to have the demon general incarnate into the material plane into the body of a tiefling. However, the plan backfired as the demon was subject to the same effects that cleanse a soul of past experiences and was born with no memory of its life as a demon or any knowledge of the plan. Instead, it just got to live as a little girl (albeit a little tiefling girl) and became one of the citizens of the world.

Fast forward to the current time in the campaign and her past and demonic power have awakened and she is now in the process of fighting against the machinations of the demons she was once aligned with to save her new homeworld.

Artemis Moonstar wrote:
Oh, ash... Know where I can contact one of the forum mods? Got a question but I can't seem to find any of them in the threads I frequent.. It's unusual... Usually the threads I like reading wind up with at least one mod firing the cannon.

IIRC, the last time it came up for me, a mod suggested using their customer service e-mail:

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I cannot favorite Aratrok's posts enough. These skill checks vs non-skill checks need to die in a fire. A hot fire. Preferably dragon's fire. In hell.

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_Ozy_ wrote:
Tectorman wrote:
So why do Generic Outsiders get to completely ignore their alignment subtypes while the casting of an Evil subtype spell does carry weight?

If they were able to 'completely ignore' their alignment subtypes, then most of them would not be aligned with their plane of existence. Only ~1/9th of them would happen to be so aligned, with the rest randomly distributed among the other alignments.

Obviously, that's not even remotely true. The vast majority of outsiders are aligned with their plane, just not every last single one of them. So the rules describe what happens when you find one of those unique outsiders with a different alignment. Trying to use the existence of these rules as evidence that plane alignment is the exception rather than the rule is kind weird.

So basically like orcs. Gotcha.

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Sandslice wrote:

Think of it like a Jedi using force lightning. Are there non-evil applications for force lightning? Absolutely. But force lightning is steeped in the power of the Dark Side, and it will slowly corrupt you as you keep doing it.

In the same way, an [Evil] spell is steeped in evil power. Are there non-evil uses for it? You betcha. But using it will slowly corrupt you.

I just gotta chime in here and say that Jedi Master Plo Kloon has historically used force lighting (later calling it "Electric Judgment") which made his fellow Jedi Masters nervous. He reflected on it and decided he did not think it a dark side power as he was not acting within the dark side and decided it a non-dark side technique.

In Jedi Knight Academy, you're taught that there is no innately light/darkside powers (which makes pretty good sense actually since Sith Sorcery is actually very good at healing for example) and the force traditionally seems to care about things like anger, rage, fear, and other powerful emotional instincts.

Naturally a force power like lightning that is offensive and inflicts great pain when used on someone is very likely to come with dark-side influences. Using it as a force-taser on the other hand, not so much.

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Tels wrote:
The only issue I see is on the metagame side. I foresee people creating charts for how many attacks per attack bonus is optimum for DPR. Not unlike Power Attack in 3rd edition.

Do you mean like this one? I don't think it'll be much of an issue because it mostly comes down to being similar to deciding whether or not to use TWF or not.

The other issue, I think, is that it kind of hoses some of the 3/4 BAB classes. They're already at an attack penalty as it is, and the further penalties will really hurt them.

Keep in mind, we're talking about "naked" characters without any buffs or features. Just the base values. Traditionally speaking, 3/4 characters (at least the well designed ones) have abilities that push them up into the pseudo-martial territory as expendable abilities (such as a Bard's Inspire Courage + haste, a Cleric's divine power giving +6/+6, or a druid turning into a big fuzzy monster).

Current projection is that it won't hurt them at all. At low levels where their BAB are most similar to martials, there won't be much difference between your dual-wielding cleric and dual-wielding fighter (their BAB difference isn't very big). The gap starts to rev up around mid levels (at 8th level the Fighter's got +2 BAB on you and +2d6 damage on those attacks) but you'll have spells that will help you close the gap when it's go-time.


For example, purely hypothetical, a 3/4 BAB at 10th level has +7 to hit and two attacks, with Haste for a third potential attack. This gives him a +8/+3/+8 attack (Haste +1) in the current system. In your system, if he made 3 attacks, he'd be at +3/+3/+3 or +4/+4/+4 assuming Haste still gave a +1 to hit. Oddly enough, this makes Haste a 'bad' spell in the game as the 3/4 BAB is better off not using it than he is using it as he'd have +7/+2 in the current system, or +5/+5 in your system.

A full BAB, meanwhile has +10/+5/+10 or +6/+6/+6. So if the Martial in Pathfinder is capable of making his second attack land reliably, then in your system, he has a good chance of landing three attacks per around as opposed to only two.

It is certainly an interesting idea though. I think it would require a more complete set of rules to really suss out any pros or cons of the system. Especially as it pertains to the armor class of opponents. I must think on it more. Now, questions!

Very perceptive. :)

I must note that the strength of individual classes and/or combinations will play heavily upon what sorts of resources they have to devote to things. For example, by default a 20th level cleric and 20th level Warrior in Pathfinder look like the Warrior is winning hand over foot as he has +20/+15/+10/+5 vs +15/+10/+5. That poor cleric!

Except then the cleric casts divine power + righteous might and is now standing at +21/+21/+16/+11. Uh-oh... (O.O);

However, if you compare that to a Ranger who's sitting at the same spot as Warriors except he then suddenly pops instant enemy for another +10, now he's out-pacing the cleric. Similarly, barbarians rage, paladins buff, bards inspire, etc. :)

I'll be honest though. This is strait up intended to be dissuading for non-martials from getting lots of extra attacks. That's not to say that 3/4 characters or hybrid characters (like eldritch knight sorts) won't be have some abilities that help them keep up, but it's intended to ensure that if you want to, you'll need to invest more resources into it than martials will. That's part of the tradeoff for being able to do things like throw lighting bolts at people, turn invisible, and summon celestial superbeings. :3

Would a feat like 'Multiattack' be available to PCs and Monsters or just Monsters?

Multiattack would be available to anyone that had natural attacks (because that's what it's for) so yay for PCs with claws & stuff. Similar abilities may exist as class talents but such things would be far less broad in their usage than Multiattack because getting additional attacks is a bigger deal here.

Do you think this will change the attack/damage ratio? That is, every +1 to hit is roughly worth +2 to damage?

It depends on what sort of style you're using. If you're vital-striking (which is quite viable here), you're only going to be making a single very-strong attack at your highest bonus, so you could shed some accuracy in exchange for pushing more static damage.

If you're going the flurrying route, then to-hit all the way, because you're probably seeking to capitalize on the extra damage from being a high-level martial and pushing your accuracy higher and higher so you can make more extra attacks reliably will be your bread and butter.

I will say your system of scaling penalties for more attacks is a lot easier to grasp from a narrative standpoint. It really pays homage to the idea of 'attacking wildly' in which they make lots of attacks that are easily blocked, or focusing their blows, attacking slower but more accurately. It also brings to mind many of the dragon books I've read, in which a dragon would do as you said, "bite/claw/claw/wing/wing/asscheek-slap/kitchen-sink" against the king's army, but against another dragon or a hero? Then it's more bite/claw/claw/ maybe a tail slap on occasion but the dragons in the books almost exclusively use either claws and bite, and hardly anything else against the truly dangerous foes.

I try hard to ensure that the mechanics I write will be fun and help people emulate what they would visualize for their fantasies. :)

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One thing I've been wrestling with for some time is the full-attack and how to deal with it. I've evaluated a lot, and I mean a lot of different methods for revising it, but none of them really stand out as something that I can really appreciate in its entirety. A lot of revisions for full-attacks likewise mean re-evaluating the already strange nature of natural attacks vs normal attacks. I'm not sure I like the idea of a hydra being able to move up and make all of its attacks as a standard action at their full BAB for example. >_>

I think I've come up with a fresher, more clean solution that works for both natural attacks and for normal characters and this is the protype for you guys to chew on for a bit. At the moment, I'm really quite fond of it.

  • Characters get 1 attack. There are no iterative attacks.
  • Options may allow you to make additional attacks. When you make an additional attack it is always at your highest bonus but each extra attack applies a penalty to hit to all of your attacks (such as a -2). Generally speaking, multiple effects that allow you extra attacks stack at a progressively worse penalty.
  • Characters with better bonuses to hit will benefit more from this as they will be able to make progressively more attacks without as many misses.
  • Natural attacks follow a similar rule. There's no hard limit on the number of natural attacks a creature can make in a round (beyond how many they have) but each additional attack they make imposes a -2 penalty to hit on their attacks for the round.
  • The multiattack feat halves this penalty.

So for example, an +8 BAB Fighter may opt to use an ability that grants an extra attack and make two attacks at +6/+6, while the +6 BAB cleric could use the same ability but would be swinging at +4/+4. A +4 BAB wizard would only be swinging at +2/+2. If they combined abilities that allowed them to get extra attacks, the martial character's additional to-hit bonuses allow them to push it further without killing their chances to hit.

Meanwhile, a 5-headed hydra with +10 to hit could attack with one head at +10, or all 10 heads at +0. If it took the multiattack feat (which it should), it could instead attack with all of its heads at +5.

This means if you're fighting a beast with lots of extra attacks due to natural weapons (which includes dragons, most animals, wyverns, etc), having a solid AC wrecks their attack routines if they're spamming attacks, which may cause them to fall back to making single potent attacks instead to avoid accuracy loss (possibly making use of Vital Strike options).

To quote a conversation I was having with Aratrok...

Ashiel wrote:

Which might work pretty well since it means monsters like dragons would just roflstomp low-AC foes but would have more luck against level-appropriate foes by trying to catch them in a single powerful bite attack or somesuch.

It would actually mean that your tactics might change up as well. For example, while a dragon might attempt to flurry a low-AC foe with bite/claw/claw/wing/wing/asscheek-slap/kitchen-sink, it might instead try to vital strike with its bite against a more formidable foe (or being a cool dragon, might have abilities allowing it to vital-strike with multiple attacks as long as they each targeted a different enemy, so they might bite a guy while tossing another with their tail).

"Roflstomp" is the technical term. :)

It's important to note that some of the math changes in the system as well. Ultimately this will end up being a pretty sweet change for martial-oriented characters.

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Sandslice wrote:
I'm still not sure it's right for a paladin *casting* the spell. I can see, perhaps, a good sorcerer casting it without the moral problem, but not a paladin who shouldn't be considering [Evil] means to good ends. Even in PF where they can - with serious caution-points attached - associate with evil characters.

A chaotic evil cleric can atone a Paladin's and restore their powers. Let that one sink in for a bit.

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If anyone is interested in some of the pre-alpha stuff (it's pretty dirty) that I've actually gotten written down rather than in the bouncy expanse between my ears, here's some (unfinished) pdf documents that have some stuff that's intended to be part of the core.

D20 Legends Folder.

It's currently really ugly and unrefined but you can probably notice some major adjustments from the Getting Started and Equipment sections. Skills is pretty similar to the normal mechanics except when you can take 10 is now defined. Specifically you can't take 10 if you're being threatened (in the somebody has you in their reach and wants to pwn you threatened).

The combat chapter hasn't been officially started upon (nor have the feats and such) but a summary of major changes to the system are as follows:

  • All 6 ability scores may be applied to 2 saves apiece. You don't need to feel like you're gimping your saves because you wanted more Charisma or something (yes, Int adds to Initiative but God will be different now :P). Generally speaking this makes it easier to pad your saving throws as you get the better of two mods on each.
  • Saves are now defenses like Armor Class.
  • Spells go from 0-10th level in core (this is primarily me being OCD). This is a buff to most casters (please remember that this does not assume a Paizo-based metagame).
  • Weapons no longer fall into simple/martial/exotic. Crit-% with those weapons is based on your level of proficiency with them (simple, military, master).
  • Weapon damage scales with your BAB. A full-BAB character will reach +5d6 weapon damage by 20th level (+1d6 at 4 BAB and every 4 BAB thereafter). This damage is multiplied by Vital Strike-style feats and effects. The biggest game-changer in this is that if you want to use Single-shot weaponry like crossbows or muskets you can actually not be a gimp. Instead you'll tend to make one big shot that punches hard.
  • Critical hits aren't as burst-y. When you get a critical hit, you automatically roll maximum damage. This means that if you're swinging at 1d8+2d6 damage, you crit for 20 damage plus mods. Some abilities can give bonus crit damage. This also makes crits smoother as you go up in levels and makes critical hits less auto-death at low levels (an orc wielding a 2-hander that deals 2d6+3 damage will crit for 15 damage, not 4d6+6 or 6d6+9).
  • Mechanics for weapons of different sizes adjusted (Bilbo and Frodo can now use Sting without eating a -2 penalty).
  • Weapon Finesse is built into light weapons.
  • Psionics are core. <(@-@)>
  • The game is played on a hex-grid instead of a square grid (f*** you diagonal movement!)
  • Sacred and Profane bonuses merged into Divine bonus which is associated with effects that draw upon planar powers or soul-juice.
  • Attacks of opportunity are renamed opportunity attacks (more intuitive and saves writing time/space).
  • Different results for failing or succeeding by a greater value than was necessary will be more common on abilities, allowing for partial successes and/or failures. For example, a Lich's fear aura will not have a HD limit anymore. Instead it shakens creatures affected by it, or frightens them if it exceeds their Will defense by 10 points. Similarly, failing vs a flesh to stone spell might cause you to become staggered until you can receive the appropriate remedy, but you won't instantly be a lawn ornament unless it hit you particularly hard.

Some additional design goals that are less about the core system but more about how characters and such are built.

  • Chopping down feat trees with a +5 tree-slaying axe. If it doesn't have anything to do with the effects of an existing feat, it will not be a prerequisite. So you might have a feat that lets you do a cool thing, and a higher feat that lets you do that cool thing to multiple targets, but you won't find stuff like "This feat makes you harder to hit" as a requirement for "You disarm gud".
  • Improving multiclass functionality.
  • Murdering favored class bonuses (sorry guys). Class-feature specific FCB (such as rage rounds, spells known, inspire courage rounds, etc) may make it back in as class-specific options.
  • Skill ranks of 4, 6, or 8 / level. Death to the 2 Ranks.
  • Shaving some classes. Sorry guys but some classes are probably going to be cannibalized by other classes. >_>
  • Make cheeseburgers. Some sacred cows will definitely be hurt in the making of this system.

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If you absolutely must have skill-association with maneuvers (which is a bad idea with the game's current skill metagame), perhaps consider something more reserved such as basing it off the number of RANKS in a skill, since that can't go higher than someone's BAB (but could make it attractive for non full-BAB classes who have maxed a skill such as Acrobatics). Alternatively giving a passive benefit based on a % (such as 1/2 or full) ranks in a skill to certain maneuvers might be okay.

But for the love, please stop with anything that involves "make a skill check" that's going to be opposed by any other mechanic in this game. It's sloppy and doesn't work.

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Chengar Qordath wrote:
Gullyble Dwarf - Lvl 7 DM wrote:
In general I'd say raw physical beauty is NOT a factor in those things and when it is it's often in regards to specific genders, sexual persuasions, or cultures than across the board and can have negative effects with a good portion of the populace as well.
Also a good point; in a place as diverse as your typical fantasy game beauty is going to be very much in the eye of the beholder. It's certainly possible to have, say, a half-orc character who's ugly by human standards, but quite the looker by orc ones.

Given the willingness of non-human races to bang humans as a general rule, it would appear that human standards are pretty universal standards. >_>

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Economy between kobolds is a given. They're intelligent creatures that live in their own societies, have magicians that pop up in their ranks, presumably have clerics (and probably adepts and such). Are noted as at least being of the tech level to mine for ore and make elaborate traps and tunnels that won't collapse on them.

The idea that they wouldn't have an economy because they are phobic of outside races is about as insane as arguing that humans can't have an economy or develop culture without elves and dwarfs. (o_o)

They also traditionally have the backings of dragons which are generally smart and worldly enough to educate a few kobolds on things that would better allow the kobolds to serve said dragon. :|

This whole "economy" thing is just weird to me.

That said, the only thing that makes me wonder about kobold economics is actually how much time is spent above-ground or if they have massive caverns of farmed animals and such that they use for resources such as leather, or subterranean trees that they get the wood for those spears from.

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Tels wrote:
Overtime, I've seen yourself, and several others, reference how Star Wars did something way better than the 3rd edition (3e, 3.5, Pathfinder) set of rules did. I've seen people mention saving throws as more of an armor class than a bonus on d20, crafting systems, multiclass/prestige class etc.

Well there's actually 3 different star wars games using a d20 base. Star Wars D20 and Star Wars d20 Revised (the one I played most) and Star Wars Saga edition (which I have little to no experience with).

What do you consider the best elements of the Star Wars rules?

SWd20 and SWD20-R had scaling weapon damage which was something I've always liked. For example, a lightsaber deals 2d8 damage in SWd20-R. A 20th level Jedi Guardian deals 6d8 damage with that same lightsaber. I always liked his mechanic a lot. In fact, I've implemented a similar mechanic in the damage rules for my d20 revision where your base weapon damage scales with your BAB (along with some revisions to the way critical hits and stuff works).

SWd20-R also had scaling class defense bonuses and armor as damage reduction which is something a lot of people really liked, but it consistently had some issues that would need to be worked out.

The Crafting system was much better overall and I wrote up something similar to it for a campaign I was intending to run a while back. It's similar enough to traditional d20 crafting that you can pick it up quickly but there are several major differences.

  • The progress you make is always by the day and its based on your skill rather than the DC. In d20, your check result is multiplied by the DC of the item you're making, which means you actually make harder items faster than easier items. Thus if you have an martial weapon that costs 10 gp and a simple weapon that costs 10 gp, you'll finish the martial weapon faster. In SWd20-R, the multiplier is your d20+mods result x your modifier in the skill (So if you have a +5 [mod] and roll a 15 [result] you get 5*15=75 credits worth of progress each day. Which wasn't bad since common items tended to be less than 3000 credits).

    I however prefer result^ as a formula (result*result) which gives a very smooth scaling regardless of how you're getting your modifiers (so having masterwork tools or a magic anvil or something will noticeably increase your efficiency).

  • In SWd20-R, the DC is based on the complexity of the item, ranging from DC 5 (for crafting something super simple) to DC 30 or so (for making space ship parts and stuff). You also generally need appropriate tools for the job (and it gives prices for each) but higher ranking tools can be used for lower ranking jobs, which gives a pretty cool tech-level thing going on (remember, in Star Wars, it's not all lightsabers and droids, a lot of places in Star Wars are about as low tech as nomadic tribesmen living in tents).

It should be pointed out that SWd20-R isn't all rainbows and unicorns. The system was plagued by problems. Off the top of my head...

  • Classes were really poorly designed in most cases with many of them being just blatantly superior to one-another. There was rarely any reason to be a Tech Specialist for example, unless your idea of fun was to never do anything worthwhile beyond make items for your friends. You could make up to a +3 item...oooh...ahhh...meh.

  • It was trivially easy to stun-lock anything into helplessness. In fact, stun weapons were grossly overpowered. To give an example, if you set a heavy blaster (a one-handed gun) to stun mode, each time you shoot a foe you don't deal damage but they must make a DC 18 save or be knocked out for a long time (I think it's an hour, going by memory) and hitting them at all stuns them for 1 round. It's probably not necessary to explain to anyone who frequents this thread why that's nutty. You could even opt to lower your weapon's normal damage by -3 and add +3 to the DC of the stun effect. One of my Jedis actually used a blaster as her primary weapon while using her lightsaber purely for defense and anyone who got in her face (which admittedly was a fun style).

    Stun grenades are actually a lot worse too. Essentially they're an AoE stun-gun and you can't actually escape the 1 round stunning effect (and you still have to make a save vs being knocked out). This means that if you're fighting enemies with stun grenades it's effectively GG, since one of them can toss a stun grenade into your general area and the other can light you up. In fact, every major character and monster in SWd20-R can be devastated by this tactic from Boba Fett to Krayt Dragons. About the only hope you have of defending against it is by being a force-using character with the Move Object force skill and ready an action to move the grenade when it's thrown (so you can prevent it from getting to you and stuff it back in face of the guy that threw it). However, this only works against 1 grenade attack (because you've only got 1 readied action) which means if you're fighting multiple foes you're still boned.

  • Scaling defenses often interacted strangely with multiclassing which the system encourages (but that could be fixed pretty easy with a standardized progression system I think).

  • Armor as DR had its issues as well (it tended to cap your max Dex pretty rapidly which meant you got hit more frequently which was often bad since eating 3d8-6 damage lots of times was usually less attractive than eating 3d8 damage sometimes and that's assuming heavy armor).

  • Its skill system had all the usual problems of pre-Pathfinder skills (having to keep track of which skills were class skills on the level you leveled up, more complex rank caps, paying twice as much for cross-class ranks for half the benefit, etc) and had a lot more skills. Not only did you have your usual d20 skills but you had new ones like Computer Use, Pilot, Astrogate, etc. Plus, every force power in the game that you could learn was also a skill for which you had different modifiers, ranks, and even different key ability scores. (o_o);

Should I try and find a copy of the rules to peruse on my own?

It couldn't hurt. :)

Do you intend to use any of the Star Wars rules in the "Ashielfinder" system you mention wanting to build someday?

I haven't used any of the rules from it but I have drawn inspiration from some of the ideas.

What other systems do you see yourself drawing inspiration from or porting ideas over from?

I'm a big fan of d20 modern, especially from a class design perspective. In d20 modern, you had only 6 core classes, each of which was more or less keyed to a very generic theme and an associated ability score. For example you had the "Strong Hero", "Fast Hero", "Tough Hero", "Smart Hero", "Dedicated Hero", and "Charming Hero". The class progressions were extremely simple, alternating between talents and bonus feats. Multiclassing was encouraged for rounding out your character.

So if you wanted a character that's a street savvy detective, you might mix a bit of Fast Hero, Dedicated Hero, and Charming Hero.

D20 Modern went a long way towards making me understand that less-is-more when it comes to base classes. I'd rather have 6 classes that can pull off 3 concepts each than 18 classes that pull of 1 each (these are arbitrary numbers :P). It cuts down on bloat and makes it easier to dig in for newbies. This reflects boldly in any class I've designed in recent years I think as you'll notice all of them have a sort of talent system that allows you to choose your own features outside of what's required to simply make the class work). This also has the side effect of making adding additional content easier since instead of adding entirely new classes you can add new talent packages (in much the same way books add new barbarian talents).

Today, I think if it doesn't need a new mechanic it doesn't need a new class. For example, Barbarian's core mechanic is its rage, so instead of making new classes with Rage, I'll just add new talents. However, the mechanic behind a Wizard vs Psion is different enough that I'd want them as their own stand-alone classes. However, Ninja vs Rogue or Samurai vs Cavalier can die in a fire.

In my d20 build, when I start on classes, you can expect to see far fewer classes than Pathfinder has but each of those classes will be able to do far more in terms of filling ideas. I also intend to revise the way multiclassing works to remove the need for classes like Mystic Theurge and make classes play-nicely with each other better. One example is that a lot more abilities will scale with your character level, or scale with cross-classed levels at a reduced rate (with special options and such to hybridize them).

I have intention to even release a supplemental package of talents for classes that are intended for cross-classed characters that require features from multiple different classes to get (packages aimed at things like arcane-rogues, spell-swords, rage-riders, etc).

Do you restrict yourself to using only rules with OGL so there are no legal battles if you decide to publish it one day?

Yes I do. OGL + stuff I write is pretty much all I use or intend to use (I strongly believe in the OGL movement). :)

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Mikaze wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Artemis Moonstar wrote:

That said, question for Ashiel!

Well, not so much a question, really. Just a prodding... We all REALLY wanna see some huge update on adventure prep!

Noted. :)

Hopefully we won't be so short-handed at work soon and I can have more time off to work on writing. :P

Well, when one writes smut for (mostly) a living, one can't be too shy about things of such nature.

I must admit that when I was making my sarcastic rant about roleplaying in a recent thread...

My hatred of roleplaying and character drives runs so deeply that I most certainly never wrote a NSFW slashfic about on of my PCs and her psicrystal/mentor purely on the basis that the other players in the group were shipping them and wanted to read more about the characters and their hot +1 on +2 action (which if such a thing existed would require a PM since it would be in bad form to post Ashiel's of fifty shades of gay on the boards, because those +1s and +2s and morale bonuses probably shouldn't be read by anyone younger than puberty).
That I was mildly disappointed that I didn't actually get PMs from people inquiring about the slashfic (especially on this forum :P).
What if we ask publicly?



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What's in the box? wrote:
Can you tell us about Mr. Gritzelkin?

Grex "Jum Jum" Gritzelkin was a goblin sorcerer that the party encountered as part of a band of mercenaries consisting of humans, orcs, trolls, hobgoblins, and goblins. The mercenary group was basically hired to disrupt some stuff and put up a road block and ended up getting into a tussle with the PCs which didn't end very well form them (especially after two of the party members with mind-influencing powers charmed the trolls).

Grex surrendered, seeing that this was not going to end well for him. The party's rogue (using a rogue-rewrite the player had wanted to test out) decided to make Grex his minion. It was pretty much as matter-o'-fact as well as he referred to him as his loyal minion, and promptly forgot Grex's name and began calling him "Jum-Jum" instead since he figured that sounded goblin-y enough instead (that racist bastard >:P). "Jum-Jum" tended to give the rogue the stink-eye pretty regularly.

Grex quickly became the Kip to the rogue's Zap Brannigan. Kind of being the sidekick lacky out of enjoying having a heartbeat moreso than anything else. However, he became pretty loved by (most of) the party (the rest of the PCs tended to treat him much better, rather than the dismissive life-threats of the rogue :P).

"Jum Jum" had a lot of amusing anecdotes about growing up as a goblin and learning goblin magic. His magics often had some rather colorful visuals and/or gestures associated with them, such as flinging flaming burger-balls at badguys and so forth. At one point he was trying to recall a spell he learned a while back to impress a girl in highschool, which involved conjuring a magical rainbow-colored unicorn. However she dumped him for a jock and he forgot about the spell (after having the unicorn trampled the both of them in a bout of nerd-rage which only resulted in minor breaks and bruising assuredly). He did manage to re-invent the spell a bit but could only seem to manage a rainbow-colored ass (which occasionally talked when nobody was paying attention).

Jum-Jum was pretty sweet on the ladies though. Despite being a gross Shrek-ian sorcerer, put a pretty lady in front of him and he polished up like he was he was in a Luchador wrestling match with Mr. Clean. He used his prestidigitation magics to freshen up, clean the gunk out of his hair, and polish his teeth to sparkling, and sometimes put a little breeze through his silky green locks. Kind of like a little goblin Fabio! He was actually quite the charmer and to the rogue's lamentation was doing quite a good job of hitting on some of the priestesses while they were visiting the Templar on business, as he sat upon his rainbow ass with pride. :D

He was actually a bit of a softy though. At one point during the game he got drunk and went on a crying binge because the little loli-vampire girl (a PC) didn't like him 'cause she thought he was gross, and he used his goblin magics to create a pretty scene of flowers and unicorns (it's not necessarily his fault that it was made with goblin farts and pixie dust) to cheer her up when she was sad. He realized she was unamused when she nearly lobotomized him with her sword in a manner that was morbidly similar to someone's reaction upon realizing a cockroach was crawling on their arm. By "nearly lobotomized him" I mean that she did kind of stick her sword in his head...but he got better. (^~^);

When she finally felt kinda - almost - bad about what she had done since he was so distraught over it, she manned up and gave him a skin-crawling hug and tried to say she was sorry. Which admittedly she was having an incredibly hard time of doing since his tears and boogers were gushing into her dress as he cried on her. It was all she could do to try to remain in her happy place and not snap the little goblin's neck like an angry child popping the head off a Pez dispenser.

After the party's rogue left the party, Jum-Jum actually remained for a bit (of his own free will) and then stayed in the capital city to pursue a relationship with the priestess he was shmoozing earlier in the campaign. That's okay, because he still had Buckshot with him to keep him company.

Buckshot being an orc barbarian/HoA-Gunslinger pit fighter who tends to beat the ever-loving-crap out of people with guns. Literally. When the party first met him, he pulled a pair of pistols in a pit fight, and the other guy was like "Hey, that's illegal! You can't use guns!" to which he said, "Oh, I'm not going to shoot you with them," and then proceeded to turn him into a pinata by pistol-whipping him into the dirt.

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chaoseffect wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
Mark Hoover wrote:
So, what if intelligent monsters acted like PCs? What if they formed well-balanced parties, complemented one another's strengths and weaknesses, strove to improve their powers, skills and equipment, and generally used EVERY advantage they could to defend themselves? Is that cheating? Am I a bad/wrong/evil/killer GM for considering this?
Wait...they don't!? D:
They used to until I realized that it took like 4 hours to lovingly craft dudes that were going to die in 5 or less rounds anyway... god, it was a gestalt game too >_<

Well you don't have to get super deep with it. The CR system in Pathfinder is really pro-team friendly. :)

Gestalt...ehhhh.... :s

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Mark Hoover wrote:
No what I'm saying is what if you generated encounters thinking like a group of players. Put together monsters that can complement each others' roles and then have them utilize everything at their disposal.

That's actually not only a good idea but it's pretty expected. Pathfinder sorts monsters into different roles just like PCs.

An NPC of any race (though I have been using kobolds a lot) that takes a level in Warriror is ostensibly trained in ALL martial weapons. Why then if they had a massive strength penalty would they grab a sling or javelin? If another creature were slow in speed why would they load up on heavy armor?

They shouldn't. If they're trained as soldiers by golly they should have an idea as to what sort of tactics work for them.

Some have told me: kobolds don't have anywhere to buy weapons. How do they manufacture traps and not make weapons; why don't their warriors learn how to use captured weapons; why don't kobolds have an economy?

Some are kinda dumb. :P

Others have said: orcs are already so overpowered with ferocity why give them armor? Yes the "standard" orc loves battle but don't they want to prolong the fight even longer by wearing armor; isn't there a tactical advantage they're missing?

Orcs in armor is totally a thing. I typically have roving bands of orcs wearing light armors (studded leather usually) and more stationary bands (such as those guarding outposts, lairs, or front-liners in an orc horde) wearing heavier fare. Mostly a speed/convenience thing.

Bottom line is you're right TOZmanian Devil: if we arm our villains with the kind of skills, tactics and gear the heroes employ, we'll kill our PCs. I know its the GMs job to lose fights and feed monsters into the grist mill that is the leveling of the PCs, but I feel like that's what the real MONSTERS are for. Your chokers and dire wolves and wyverns and such.

I've been told by some posters that that from my posts they consider the game to progress in difficulty like: easy->normal->hard->Ashiel.

Despite this, I virtually never have a TPK and it's unusual if a PC snuffs it. Have faith in your players. They'll learn to rise to the occasion. (^_^)

But don't forget to actually let them make use of their skills, abilities, and not starve them for treasure and stuff. :P


Maybe I'm just becoming jaded. A few sessions ago I used some stock-standard mites and vermin to make up a lair, then let the players loose. The PCs were only 2nd level at the time, properly equipped using WBL and they were nearly full strength. Inside of 16 rounds, 1 minute and 36 seconds, they had completely CLEANSED foiur rooms, securing one entire section of dungeon for themselves. These were with AVERAGE rolls hovering between 9's and 12's, with the CR 3's and 4's coming from numbers of monsters versus their individual strengths.

Not only did it not take that much time in the game but it only took a couple hours of a 5 hour session. This was probably the impetus for me looking back over my monsters and thinking, "why wouldn't the mites wear better armor, create improved cover, drink a potion to buff themselves," etc.


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Mark Hoover wrote:
So, what if intelligent monsters acted like PCs? What if they formed well-balanced parties, complemented one another's strengths and weaknesses, strove to improve their powers, skills and equipment, and generally used EVERY advantage they could to defend themselves? Is that cheating? Am I a bad/wrong/evil/killer GM for considering this?

Wait...they don't!? D:

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Tels wrote:
What's the most ridiculous thing one of your characters has ever done?

  • Had a human ranger in a 3.5 Forgotten Realms game which worshipped Eilistraee who danced naked in the woods with her sword. Most folks would consider this pretty ridiculous, especially for an adventurer.

  • Had a Star Wars d20 character who once pulled a tie-fighter out of the sky when she was supremely pissed off, which was pretty ridiculous (and awesome). The party was speeding along on speederbikes and a tie-fighter was flying overhead and hadn't realized that the party was there yet, but then one of the players (who was known for making less than great choices) fired his blaster pistol at the tie-fighter.

    To put this into perspective for non-Star Wars fans, this was kind of like trying to shoot a tank with a shotgun and expecting that do do something other than alert the drivers that someone is shooting at them.

    The tie-fighter returned fire on our speeder bikes (which dealt something like 8d10 damage or something like that) which blew our bikes up and threw us down a hill, nearly killing most of the party. My Jedi Consular who's specced as a force user managed to crawl up from the wreckage as the fighter was coming back around. She looked at the other party members who were downed, she was wounded, and everything was pretty screwed up. At that point she got the initiative and I declared my action. I was using Move Object and I was going to spend a Force point to tap into the dark side of the force (which gave more bonus D6s at low levels where we were but mars your character with a permanent darkside point which slowly corrupts your character).

    One d20 result later and my padawan Jedi gets pissed and rips the Tie-Fighter out of the air and slams it into the nearby cliff-face before collapsing to her knees and then trying to save the lives of her comrads. We joked that our soldier lost blaster privileges. :P

  • My psionic witch had an a love affair with her psicrystal, who was also her teacher, her aunt, and her dark mentor that intended to manipulate and use her to exact her revenge on her mentor's enemies. She kind of mellowed out later though as she came down with a chronic case of conscience (the psicrystal, the PC was pretty caring by nature).

  • A tiefling of mine had an incredibly distorted view of good and evil because of racial prejudices. She grew up believing that good/evil were just things you kind of just were, and despite being an incredibly altruistic and open-minded individual was 100% certain that she was an evil abomination of sin and was going to hell (where she belonged), which led to some interesting dialog where one of the other PCs (an elven wizard) was trying to explain to her that isn't how it works. :P

  • Had a young weretiger a long time ago who was a wild-child who was orphaned and grew up in the wild. She eventually decided she wanted to be a gladiator, so she went to go sign up to be a gladiator (she was like maybe 13 or something) and the guy at the counter thought she was funny hefting her axe and stuff. He tried to dissuade her, and then told her that you needed to be smart to be a gladiator (again, just trying to dissuade her) and gave her a rubics cube to solve. To her frustration she fiddled with the thing for an hour before finally getting pissed and smashing into tiny bits in a tantrum. XD

  • I had a Paladin who was wisdom drained really hard (down to sub-human Wisdom) after a nasty encounter involving multiple Wis-damaging traps and a Lamia's wisdom-draining attacks. I roleplayed it as her partially losing her mind and/or having weird bouts of catatonic dazes mixed with the occasional bursts of apparent normalcy.

    Since the party wasn't entirely sure how far down the rabbit hole she fell, they decided they needed to keep her on a leash so she didn't wander off in the dungeon and get into trouble or something. At one point when they climbed down a ladder, she paused, tugged on the collar she was wearing and mused "This would be pretty demeaning if I wasn't insane", causing the party's hellknight to double-take and be like "wait, what?", at which point she said something super-random like "I like waffles". Hysteria ensued.

    It was all the more amusing that the Hellknight and her had a budding romance building, and there was an amusing comment made about keeping the leash around after restoration was had. :P

    Same Paladin once had a fist-fight with a demon and after knocking it unconscious, flopped back on a nearby rock, took a drink from her waterskin, and then commented that she'd had about enough for one day and was ready for a good drink and a better ****. It caused the bard player to break the 4th wall and ask "What kind of Paladin are you!?" when she had said nothing about being a Paladin thus far. XD

  • Had a vampire character get fragged by a orc and buried by a few Paladins who didn't realize she was dead. They had a cute funeral for her and went on. Later she crawled up out of the ground and was like "Damnit, not again..." *grumbles*

Might be more, but these stand out in memory (mostly 'cause most of them are recent). I also didn't do a lot of gaming from the PC-side of the screen throughout most of my years as I was GMing almost everything I was involved in. :|

Now if it's NPCs...oh boy, I could probably fill a post with just the antics of some minor characters like the goblin sorcerer Grex "Jum Jum" Gritzelkin.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
What's in the box? wrote:
I will say I am not thrilled that it is the ONLY class without a Capstone ability...
Cleric begs to disagree.

Indeed. Honestly, 9th level casting tends to be a pretty major capstone as well but it's not truly a capstone, being at 17th level and all that (but honestly, being able to gate in a solar and have it obey you kind of laughs at most capstones :P).

Personally I'm less fond of capstones and more fond of features that just keep getting better. This could be due to the fact I think multiclassing and such is a strength of the system and shouldn't be punished, and because I don't mind going post-20th level and so capstones aren't the end-all from my perspective.

In my class design, I will usually include capstones, but the real power usually comes from the fact that many of your scaling class features are also going to hit their pinnacle at 20th level as well (which means it's going to be a subtle but noticeable bump to your overall effectiveness).

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TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean, but it makes me laugh none the less. XD
I enjoy smut (as attested by my extensive collection of visual novels) and usually prefer original characters rather than the established characters that some doujin mangas use.

Ditto. :D

But reading the work of someone I am acquainted with just feels weird.

Hahah, yeah, I totally get that. Imagine the confused horror my brother had to endure when I read it out loud to him! XD

My poor GM was pretty torn over it too 'cause he was like "It's really good, but it's weird reading about the sexual exploits of the player characters in my game! XD" (but he has urged others to read it too. :3).

The player who petitioned for the slashfic loved it though, so I was happy about that. I'm still trying to get another friend of mine to make it through, but she says she can't get more than half-way through it before she feels too tingly to continue. The lightweight (it's not that intense IMHO). >:|

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What's in the box? wrote:

What do you think about the witch class? (if you hate it be gentle... it's my favorite class)

-I will say I am not thrilled that it is the ONLY class without a Capstone ability... like... ANOTHER hex is NOT the same as being able to perpetually MAKE gold.

I'm personally not a big fan, mostly because I find the spell list generally too limited in spells that make help keep enemies from making you dead. I also don't really like the familiar as a spellbook mechanic as it basically turns into a familiar that you can't actually use and it's a lot harder to carry around a spare familiar than it is a spare spellbook (honestly scribing a few generally useful spells into a few spares is not very costly), which means that it's tragically easy for you to just sit around twiddling your thumbs after someone launches a fireball or something in your direction and it nukes Mr. Scruffles. :P

I know during our Reign of Winter game, our GM ultimately ended up rebuilding every enemy Witch NPC as a wizard instead so that the encounters would be more interesting. Unfortunate, really.

I really like their Hex mechanics and I think I'd have liked to have seen their hexes change their gameplay style a little more. They've got a handful of good/useful hexes but little way to improve those hexes as levels rise. I'd really have liked to seen options for things like spreading hexes out, quickening hexes, etc.

Ultimately I feel like they have too much in common with the wizard to really make them unique enough to stand out, and not enough in common with the wizard to give them similar usefulness, while having some pretty harsh drawbacks. It's a class I want to love but feel has problems.

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

Yeah, pretty much stuff I've come to notice about a lot of the folks around here. You can definitely pick up one the personality of some of the folks around here, or their respective niches, as you've noticed.

I had a longer reply, but I don't want to steal Ashiel's thunder. This is his thread.

There's plenty of thunder to go around. (^_^)


I'll ask him a question again, instead of another "look at me!"

On a 1-10 scale, how do you like your rules complexity, with zero being no dice rolls for anything, and I think you're smart enough to get the jist of this without laying out what 10 is?

Probably about a 6-8, depending on the details of what complexity means in this case. Generally speaking, I believe that rules should be generally consistent, as intuitive as possible, and be able to be "processed" quickly. I recently had a conversation with Artemis where rule complexity came up. Here's an excerpt from that conversation.

Complex vs Intuitive:

Ashiel wrote:

a grand total of 6 different resources to track which have similar purposes and a loooot of conversions. And that's just to determine what happens when the orc swings his sword at you. (o_o);

I'm often tempted to do these sorts of things when I'm writing as well, but I always have to step back and remember that I'm not coding a computer algorithm that is going to run in an instant with every attack but instead writing a script with a lot of variables that's going to have to be processed by a human mind at the speed of reading and resolved with dice real-time. Given the medium, less is often more.

Example: In games like World of Warcraft, a single attack goes through a gauntlet of modifiers and/or checks before it resolves. It compares your weapon skill vs your target's defense skill, applies modifiers for expertise vs defense rating, checks for any resistances, makes a separate % check to see if the attack was dodged, blocked, or parried, then calculates damage based on your weapon's damage and attack power vs your enemy's armor value and block value (if the attack was blocked) and finally returns damage.

Due to it being a computer, this entire process occurs in less than a tenth of a second and can be resolved for lots of attackers at the same time (this sort of calculation may happen tons of times per second if you've got an angry mob of gamers all busting each other up in a fight pit :P).

However, if I tried to implement a similar system into tabletop, the game would be near unplayable before I even got to things like mana, limited-use abilities, and/or class-based resource systems.

However, if you mean complexity in the sense that there's just a rule for almost everything, then it'll rank much higher on my scale, because I really appreciate that d20 has things like the Environment chapter. There's virtually no other RPG that I've seen that covers as much about the world itself (such as storms, snowfall, avalanches, cave ins, aquatic environments, etc, etc, etc). I surely never noticed anything so supportive of the world itself in other RPGs I've played like Deadlands, Legend of the Five Rings, Shadowrun, etc. Having had this sort of complexity in d20 has made it hard to shake it as my favored system.

Do you think increased rules complexity is necessary to reflect increased realism (within whatever paradigm of realism is defined by the setting)?

I'm not certain if it's absolutely necessary but I think it certainly does help.

Do you think decreased rules allows required for easier immersion into the game world?

Continuing this thought from the previous paragraph, I actually think the opposite is true. In game systems that are less robust I often find it more difficult to become immersed because there are often no standard "laws of the universe" to ground myself in which can be very jarring as more and more stuff requires sudden ad-hoc adjustments. In d20 for example, you generally know what can be done and you only have to ask about corner cases (and if the system is consistent and your GM is familiar with it, those corner cases will often be resolved by a mechanic that feels like it fits).

One great example is Hardness. An oft-overlooked and under-appreciated mechanic, Hardness alone was one of the biggest things that set 3.x apart as being strait up better for RPing than 4E (my opinion, I make no apologies about this one). In 4E there is no hardness. Your wizard can punch his way through an adamantine vault door 1d4 damage at a time (it's only a matter of time, and generally speaking it'll take less than five minutes). Now someone could ad-hoc to not allow it but the rules explicitly allow you to attack objects and even gives the door HP, while giving functionally no difference between adamantine and wood beyond how many HPs each have. Even if you do ad-hoc it, you'll find yourself having to ad-hoc it in virtually every case. Okay, maybe your puny wizard cannot punch through the wall, but what about his magic missile? What if a dragon falls on the wall? What if the dragon breathes fire at the wall...?

Meanwhile, the simple mechanic of hardness (combined with various standards of damage) allow you innately understand certain truths about the world. Just as an example, I have on these very boards once written as to the sheer epic marvel of how powerful and hot the breath of an ancient wyrm red dragon was, and we couldn't have done that effectively without the simple hardness & HP rules for objects.

To reiterate that comment, an ancient red's dragon average damage when halved (energy damage vs object hardness), hardness applied, and damage dealt, is enough to completely destroy a suit of mundane full plate armor in a single breath weapon attack. Because the dragon bellows this breath weapon as a standard action, it takes no longer than half of the 6 second round (we'll say 3 seconds).

Imagine the intensity of that flame. It shames the most brilliant of blast furnaces in reality for it can slag a suit of steel plate so thoroughly that it isn't even armor anymore in three seconds flat. It's like fighting a magical godlike being that spits the surface of the sun at you! XD

Classed or classless?

I'm actually pretty indifferent about this one but I lean towards the latter because I find it's easier to get newbies into. I've played a number of classless systems (including classless d20 games) and I think both have some pretty strong pros and cons.

Classless systems tend to give the most control over the creation of a character. For example, in Shadowrun, you might be an expert marksman with a 9MM handgun, but you don't know the business end of a rifle from the stock, merely because you invested 6 points into handguns and 0 points into rifles or whatever. Character creation can be very detailed and involved as you fine tune the character.

One downside of the classless paradigm is that all the problems of balance in a class-based system are tenfold in a classless system. It can be trivially easy to accidentally gimp a character before they're out of the gate (the reverse can be true in some classless systems as well). If you didn't understand how important it was to put points in your dodge skill, your really cool character just gets insta-gibbed by a mook in the first encounter. Oops! It can also be weird if the party isn't advancing their general combat statistics at similar rates, as it can quickly lead to "high level" characters where half of them feel like high level characters and the other half are only high level insofar as they're both great computer hackers and great chefs. :P

I've also found (from a brief foray into playing Mutants and Masterminds) that classless systems tend to try to compensate for balance issues by pricing individual abilities in ways that make it prohibitively difficult to make certain types of characters (even if they wouldn't be OP). For example, I had this idea for a bard I wanted to play in Pathfinder and a friend of mine who was enamored with the most recent edition of Mutants & Masterminds insisted that I make her using M&M because it was better than Pathfinder and stuff.

I couldn't do it. By the system, just covering her basic bardness was impossible for the effective level of points that it should have been, merely because bards are well rounded generalists and the system just couldn't handle what they're capable of doing at 1st level just with their class features and 1st level spellcasting, especially not if I actually wanted to use my sword. >_>

Also: One aspect to a lot of classless systems which could be a pro or a con is they tend to have a sort of E6 mindset built into them from the get-go. Due to balance concerns, a lot of these games have hard limits in advancement that are actually pretty low. When I played shadowrun, humans could start out with 6 dice towards a thing, but could only go up to like 9 dice overall. Generally speaking this means that you'll end up leveling out instead of leveling up (as you start dumping character points into other off-theme stuff). This could be a pro or a con depending on your view.

Classed systems take a lot of the option paralysis out of it and make it harder to thoroughly screw up a character. It also tends to make creation faster as you just take a package and run with it with a few adjustments. Generally speaking you're typically given the basic stuff for someone with your skill set (so even if you're superior with handguns you probably at least know how to fire a rifle properly), and even if your character specializes in non-combat problem-solving you will still have a few base statistics keeping you in the realm of play that your team is in (such as your advancing HD and saves).

The major downside to classed systems is they tend to be rigid and/or lack the customization that is inherent in most classless systems. You may get some unneeded or unwanted abilities, features, or restrictions. For example, if you want a pet wolf from 1st level, Druid might be your best bet, but that doesn't mean you want to be a spellcasting dude who can't wear metal armor. :o

In old classed games like pre-3E D&D, there was rarely any difference between characters mechanically that were really meaningful and instead were based on the most minor or pointless of things (what weapon you used, what ability score you rolled, what race you chose). Everybody tended to just be the same fighter with a longsword. :(

Hybrid Systems
D20 I feel like made great steps towards marrying the two over the years with advancements in multiclassing and systems for interchanging class features and a more free skill system. Design influences such as interchangeable talent systems (which you can find some examples of in Pathfinder, especially with certain archetypes or advanced classes), talent systems in general (which you can find in d20 modern classes, as well as classes such as barbarians, rogues, and alchemists in Pathfinder), feats (which are kind of like generic features not bound to a class), and cross-class skill systems (we can finally have Paladins who are also investigators or acrobats).

Ultimately I feel this hybridizes the best features of both systems. It's rare that I feel there's a character concept that is out of reach (especially with refluffing and such) and it's pretty easy to create new characters and teach people how to play the game and make their own characters.

One thing I want to do with my own d20 system I'm working on currently is to provide more support for multiclassing and hybridizing existing classes where you won't need things like mystic theurge classes or special advanced hybrid classes, which will include things for scaling class features between two (or more) classes as an innate part of multiclassing.

If you could eliminate five dead horse subjects on the boards magically with a wave of your hand, what would they be?

Hard to say. If "eliminate" includes "solving", I'd like to eliminate:

1. Crappy class threads (fighters, monks, rogues).
2. Stormwind threads (Roleplaying vs Gameplay).
3. Alignment threads ("using a goblin baby as a dragon-dildo is totally both Lawful and Good, because in medieval times in our own world, particularly in England between the year XX82 and XX83...").

I'll need to think about it more for 4-5.

Oddly, if these threads were to die out, I'd have little left to post in. :P

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Tacticslion wrote:

I'm rollin' up a vampire character for my friend's Carrion Crown game, and I figured she's going to be a follower of the positive aspects of Urgathoa. However, I just read in the PG that Pharasmites are like ants around here so that'll be interesting.

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AngryNerdRageDemon wrote:

Priestess of Urgathoa: "Why are you looking at me like that? You told me to turn undead!"

Paladin of Pharasma: "I meant turn undead, not turn undead!"
Priestess of Urgathoa: "Oh...well, this is awkward,"

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thegreenteagamer wrote:

It's not as if I was chomping at the bit to become the next Paizo celebrity, but I was a bit curious as to if anyone around here recognized me, how I do some others after a couple years.

Tels, if it makes you feel better, I remember you.

Mostly because I follow Siefter's thread, and I think you post there more than he does!

But I did recognize you. Er, your name, and, you know, words that is.

I think you're pretty cool. ^_^

Ashiel Cultist #496 wrote:
Hail Ashiel!

Hugs all around! Or better yet...

Do the dance! *boogies*

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Tels wrote:

It's not the quantity of posts that matter, it's the quality. Ashiel has a large presence around him. If I were to stat up Ashiel, he'd have a high Charisma. People naturally flock to what he has to say, both for and against it, because he points out holes in stuff people tend to not want to acknowledge. His input is also extremely valuable with tons of experience weighted behind it, experienced seeped in finding out how the system works and how to make it work for you.

He's a wealth of information on this game and his experiences in life has given him a deluge of wisdom to draw upon. It's natural for people to talk about Ashiel because he's a truly interesting person.

I have nearly 7,000 posts as it is, but, to my knowledge, I'm not really referenced in other threads. I may make some good posts here and there, but usually nothing that's groundbreaking or sparks big debates about how things work. Though I do tend to have some witty one-liners every now and then :P

Anyone can have a large number of posts, that will come with time if nothing else. But what those posts say determines how people will think of you and your presence on the boards. It just so happens, that people pay attention to what Ashiel has to say; whether they like it or not, however, is another story.


Thank you! (QvQ)

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Couldn't you have picked one of the iconics whose not so statistically bad that I would feel guilty handing him out as a pregen?

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Tarinia Faynrik wrote:
I'm not very good at quoting and cutting things off while still quoting. So i wont really try. Thanks for the advice tho like a lot of advice easier said then done.

Few things worthwhile are, unfortunately. :(


Over the past well months ive done a lot of self reflecting. Ive accepted a lot of what i was running from. Before tho i always admitting to being it i never accepted it. I always thought well i'm this for now but i will be normal soon. I will be like everyone else and be what everyone has been pushing and saying i could be.

For awhile that was my shield my strength and when i accepted it i made myself vulnerable. I was hurting myself by not accepting it but by accepting it i made myself easier to hurt. I depend on others but have no one really who is dependable. I can accept that but as you get older and relize you cant do things by yourself. You get scared when the few people youve come to depend on have now let you down at every turn. You dont have anyone else and cant seem to meet anyone else willing to help and accept you.


The goverment wont help without stressing you to the point of committing things(mostly suicide). Ive been alot of things but never bitter. I always cared about people things even when they have wronged me. Ive always been kind to a fault but by accepting something and making myself vulnerable. I feel like other things about myself could change due to all the pressure and pain that keeps getting inflicted on me. All the disapointment and being let down. Feeling your future is bleak and pointless. Like no matter what you do due to how you are. Needing to depend on others makes you less of a person. Feeling ignored all the time cause it seems everyone else is more worthy of a persons time.

Well I think you're worth time. :)

Sorry if this seems like dumping its probably better for pm but well at this point i just dont care who sees. Most people ignore others anyways. Also i'm starting to hate the marketing phrase. "There when you need them most." Yeah right then why do you work so hard not to help. The denial letter said a variation of that phrase on it.

Don't worry. Being "dumped on" is one of the many services I provide (along with sarcasm, snark, and hysteria). :P

Do you ever think at times that curling up and dieing would be better for everyone... Then wonder why you think that when its obvious that no one really will miss you anways. You disapear for months and not a single hey i haven't seen you are you okay. Now i feel like i'm ranting so i'm going to shut up.

That I can indeed relate to. Something I've rarely told people is that for a large portion of my life I had a death wish. Like, as early as the age of 11-12, I wanted to die. Through my teenage years, I had a lot of family problems, lived most days with a sense of hopelessness, and had a mixture of apathy and self-loathing that blinded me to a lot of things. I often, frequently, contemplated suicide and in many cases. I was close enough a few times that I had the knife in hand and pressed down, but something just kept holding me back from it (and at the time, I felt like it must have been weakness).

Sometime later I had a bit of an epiphany and slowly turned my life around. I emphasize slowly, and it took willful conscious effort in some parts, but then a lot of the extra stuff just kind of settles into place on its own. I say now, please don't give up, because there's something better waiting on the other side of the tunnel.

Today, I'm not afraid of dying, but I don't want to anymore. I have too much to live for, though they aren't grand goals or anything. My outlook has changed and I've grown as a person. I stress that it can take time, day by day in some cases, but it gets easier and it gets better. I wasn't trying to be sappy when I said love was a powerful thing. Also hugs. Hugs are powerful things too. :)

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thegreenteagamer wrote:
How many posts do you think I'll have to hit before I'm well known enough where I'm referenced in threads I haven't even participated in and/or have enough followers where an AMA thread will not fail miserably at a post count so low as to be shameful?

You know, I'm not sure. :o

Honestly, I never even expected this thread to reach 50 posts, but a friend of mine (who amusingly doesn't even frequent the boards except to occasionally read what I post about our campaigns) suggested that I make this thread. The fact it's made it this far is both highly amusing and mind-boggling. :P

More importantly, do you think I have the patience to achieve such a feat of participation endurance to where it would even be a relevant possibly?

I dunno. How patient are you? :)

I guess I'm wondering if I'm known around these parts yet. Is it weird I'm wondering that? I think so, given we're all a mere set of anonymous text blocks. Sorry - personal mental derail. I know it doesn't matter in the slightest, but I am sometimes curious, even if the result won't make a lick of difference.

Well I recognize you when you post. (^_^)

I don't think that's weird. I'm not really even sure if it's fame or infamy in my case (perhaps a bit of both). Perceptions of me and my ideals/intents vary widely and it's a constant struggle to not become the bitter jaded grognard type well before my time (I have oft-likened the Paizo forums to Mos Eisley for a few reasons), and instead try to keep up my optimism that spurs me to engage in jolly discussion and write random stuff for people, rather than just being a grumpy person. :P

Maybe just be active and put yourself out there. I know TOZ is pretty much universally loved on the forums (he's just so darn loveable :P), and if Lilith is the queen of the forums, Mikaze is the prince(ss) for sure. :P

What else do you recommend to do with aimless time and a horrible disdain for useful productivity? (For some awful reason - I can focus, it seems, on the most useless stuff, but if anything has a practical application the dreaded ADHD rises from the depths and takes over.)

Something that you enjoy. Also, Steam sales. :P

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Cinderfist wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
It's my experience that WBL is better used as a sort of minimum actually. It's far more detrimental for PCs to be under-geared rather than over-geared.
That makes more sense to me, though I don't see why you can't just avoid throwing creatures at the party that have too high an AC to hit, or insurmountable DR, etc.. against a party that is "under geared"

It basically requires you to custom-build everything, or keep using lots of low level monsters. Sometimes you want to fight something other than orcs. If you're rising in levels but are behind in WBL, it complicates things further since the sorts of challenges that you can face become very limited.

For example, if you're sticking with creatures with low attack and/or AC bonuses, etc, you're tying them down to low-CR enemies. Meanwhile, if they face anything that's roughly around their level that isn't as reliant upon gear (such as wizards, druids, sorcerers, or even bards and clerics), or creatures with supernatural abilities it starts getting really crazy.

It suddenly requires you to evaluate every single NPC to make sure that there's nothing that will bring suffering and ruin to your PCs, while knowing good and well that the PCs who are less shackled are going to bring much ruin to them.

CR, ECL, wealth by level tables, they all seem to be attempts to make encounters fit some sort of computerized formula, that just doesn't work the way it was intended.

Actually it's not computerized, it's standardized, and it actually does work as intended. As in, it's a standardization insofar as understanding scale. Having a good scale helps GMs quickly gauge stuff.

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RDM42 wrote:
Detoxifier wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

As a GM, I don't care if someone dumps CHA. They can describe their character as supermodel attractive, doesn't affect one darn thing. As soon as they want to interact with someone, it comes into play...

"But I didn't have my character say anything offensive, I picked the words very carefully!" they argue... to which I respond:

"You chose a CHA of 7, you said beautiful words, delivered as you said them, but SOMETHING about your character makes you less likeable. Welcome to the downside of a dump stat."

Players who argue that a stat of 7 shouldn't have penalties are silly.

We often use CHA as a guide to physical attractiveness, but RAW it isn't required, we just kinda houserule it...

It's rare to see CHA below 12 at our table, no one wants to be ugly (physically or otherwise).

Is this based on a diplomacy or other skill check, that a character who did not dump CHA would also need to roll? Because if not then you are just adding additional penalties to the system ad hoc. A 7 CHA renders a -2 modifier to their ability and skill checks, not an automatic failure. Much in the same way I wouldn't tell a Wizard who dumped STR that all his STR based checks auto fail or that he drowns everytime he is in water over his head I won't tell a character who dumped CHA that they autofail every social interaction.

If you are ad hocing penalties and bonuses into the game that can't be rolled for, then the players are playing you, not the game.

Meh. My rule of thumb is that if you buy up a skill, you spent time and effort developing coping mechanisms for the deficiency you have. You spent resources that could have been spent elsewhere making up for your deficiency so your combined skill + attribute is what it is.

As said. You will occasionally have situations where your deficiencies will come into play. Where you have to use those skills. You, not the party face. And not just with charisma. But the only place where things...

As a player I don't mind those things at all. My "witch" psion in my friend's Reign of Winter game had a 7 Cha and eventually ended up being the party's face. She began as somewhat introverted and chaffing towards others (she grew up in a hovel in the woods where the only human interaction she had was at the hands of her very irritable elder witch) but later became very good with people.

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Omigerd, I broke 10k posts. I new it was coming and I missed it. :P
This is post 10,050. :P

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JonathonWilder wrote:


Please don't twist my words, I do NOT think I own the game. Yet at the same time, especially if it is a custom campaign setting, a DM should be allowed to decide how certain aspects of the setting work.

I do agree with the ruling above, I never said otherwise. I do NOT think it is my game!

Charisma-???-Physical Beauty has nothing to do with the setting. It has everything to do with mechanics.

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Cinderfist wrote:

Do you all as DMs, really have this much trouble balancing encounters if you don't slave yourself to the wealth by level tables? I'm genuinely curious because i've never had this problem, or never to the extent that adding in an extra monster doesn't cure any balance issue.

If you insist on the existence of the big six as absolute must haves and a pc uses all of their wealth to acquire them... does your campaign really go all to crap if they get a pair of magic boots on top of it? or an adamantite dagger and a cache of potions?

I've seen a lot of posts about this, but I'm just not getting how it's such a dilemma for other Dms if they deviate from the WBL table.

It's my experience that WBL is better used as a sort of minimum actually. It's far more detrimental for PCs to be under-geared rather than over-geared.

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Tacticslion wrote:


They are the living embodiment of "Can't go to sleep dream, or else they'll get me."

Lawful good (tendency). Natural psions. Attractive, but odd. The ability to mind-link. They speak the language of dreams. And they fight (and kill) literal nightmares (not the fiery horse). Paranoid (justifiably), and prone to psychotic breaks. Beleaguered. Absolutely devoted to a new era of light and peace instead of their current era of darkness and pain. Firm believers that the new era can be achieved by enough enlightenment and peace (and occasionally dipping into violence... but that is not the preferred way of making war).

So daggum awesome. (Their mechanics aren't that powerful, but they're cool.)

Elans and Maenads are also really cool. I love the fluff history behind Synads, but their mechanics are a bit messy, and there is weird "in shadows they have three faces" bit going on... I kind of wish there was something mechanically between Elans and Kalashtar... but alas. Cool stuff, though.

My first Eberron PC was a Kalashtar, and she started dreaming (GM did it :P) which only made it all the more epic because Kalashtar don't dream so it was all the more shocking when she started having dreams.

They're really cool though. The Kalashtar and Inspired are among my favorite parts of Eberron, even though I think I might like Warforged & Changlings better as standalone races.

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Tels wrote:
Orthos wrote:
It's always a tough choice between Elan and Maenad for me.
Ah yes, the Maenad, the always angry race. :D

I should make a psychic monk maenad... :3

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boring7 wrote:
Another thing, if WBL is flat-out wrong when you pregen a character to be 10th level because your Paladin Fell (into a pit of lava), what IS the correct WBL that the new one should have when she shows up with all her gear? Apparently the paladin was supposed to have 62k gold, "some of which" would be potions and his wand of Heal Mount and "some of which" would be an evil sword he needed to sell. When the sorceress comes in, what percentage of her items need to be magical axes she can't use and has to sell at half price?

I think you might be missing the point. WBL is a little lower than the amount of wealth you will get playing the game because the designers assumed that you would not keep 100% of the wealth you acquired over the course of your career since some of it would have been invested into (used) consumables, some of it would have been sold for 1/2 value, etc.

Here's a quick example of what I mean.

Say you're level 1. You're supposed to amass around 1,000 gp by the time you reach 2nd level. On the standard speed and standard fantasy/loot levels, the following is true.

To go from Level 1 to Level 2 requires 2,000 XP
It takes 20 CR 1 encounters (400/4=100 XP/player) for a party to reach 2,000 XP
In 20 CR 1 encounters, you'll earn an average of 5,200 gp, and each member of the party's share will be 1300 gp.

However, from the course of 1st-2nd, a fair amount of that loot is expected to go towards consumables like acid flasks, alchemist fires, potions, oils, scrolls, partially charged wands, etc. It's also assumed that you might sell off the odd items that no one in the party wants. But you're given the benefit of the doubt that even if you spent a lot of your cash on stuff that you won't see tomorrow, you'll still have at least 1,000 gp at 2nd level.

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Jiggy wrote:
Arrius wrote:
Under this system, extraordinary weapons are extraordinary not because they have more plusses than other weapons, but because they have peripheral abilities that can not be replicated by existing items character abilities.

Fixed that for you. ;)

Remember: Pathfinder is about getting a +1 sword; this revamp is about becoming a +1 fighter.

Yep. I actually suggested this very thing in the ascetic character writeup I did for Mikaze way-back-when, and in that writeup (which basically is intended to be a vow of poverty that doesn't suck donkey-tails) there's a section about dispensing with gold and such entirely and just awarding ascetic points directly to PCs Final Fantasy style.

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Tarinia Faynrik wrote:
Ashiel you ever have one of those days.? Those days where you just feel bitter and empty? Like you just dont feel like caring about anything or anyone? Where when you think about things you stop thinking about it for love or cause you care or want to but more of a have to and survival.

I used to, sometimes. Admittedly it was a quite a while back.


For the first time in my life i feel bitter about life. Like i feel like i shouldn't care about anyone or anything. Where just words arent enough?

If someone tells you something you want proof. like a total binding thing that if they break it like something bad happens. Like you get half their money like in alot of marriages. Maybe they lose a left testical or something.

Not long ago, I told my brother that the true word of a liar is a gift, insofar as a person that is truthful to you even if they can lie like a devil displays that they're honest with you because they want to be, not because they have to be (which I think is precious).

My brother and I went through some rough times not long ago. He was doing a lot of things that were poor as far as decision making goes (he took up smoking, and for a time would steal money from me, etc). It was a rough period but we're cool now. I spurred his actions but kept myself from becoming enraged or vengeful for the acts of betrayal, because ultimately he is and always will be worth more to me than his broken promises or some missing money. Today, my brother's doing well and so am I. Looking back on it, I'm happy I didn't alienate him through those times. Though it would have been easier at the time to cast him out and hope it hurt him enough to stop, I think sticking with him and trying to help him get through it and understand that he already had my forgiveness ultimately led us to a better place.

On a side note, I generally try to avoid wishing maiming on anyone. I had a girlfriend once that expressed that she was confused because a guy she had liked for years prior to meeting me had suddenly confessed his feelings for her. As much as it hurt, I wouldn't have wanted her to lose an ovary or something. :P

I told her to take some time and figure it out, because I was more interested in her being happy than I was myself (I guess it was love, hm?). We continued being friends (albeit after a rocky period because I simultaneously loved hearing from her while also feeling great pain each time I did, which meant I rarely called but celebrated each time she did. People are weird like that).

If you want some sort of punishment (financial, physical, emotional) for wrongs against you (blatant or perceived), I'd recommend taking a breather and thinking about why you want that punishment. Not why you're angry about it or what was done to evoke that anger, but why the punishment? I think in many cases, we'll find that deep down we don't really want to hurt that person so much as we want to feel less hurt or validate ourselves by getting even. There's an old saying though: An eye for an eye creates a blind world.

Its strange i'm not used to feeling so bitter. So i wonder if youve ever felt bitter and what youd do?

Acceptance; forgiveness; and willingness to go forward, I've found are the greatest pieces of armor that contribute towards the fortitude of my heart. I've learned that people are not perfect and I've learned to accept things readily, just as I had to learn to accept that my brother was lying to me. Forgiveness is as much for yourself as it is for the one who wronged you, because when one cannot forgive they hold onto the still burning coals of that fire which smolder beneath the surface. Finally, learning not to live in the past where bad experiences inevitably end up and instead focus on the present and the future helps a lot. If you cannot leave the past, you will continue to be burned by the fires that have already died out.

Meditation and self reflection can help too. The thing we have the most control over in this world is us, and by shaping ourselves we can shape the world around us (and I mean that in a spiritual/mental sense, though it can extend to physical reformation such as if one decides to get physically healthier).

Finally love. Lots of love. It's probably the most powerful thing we have and we can spread it like the plague if we only choose to do so. :)

ps:sorry about typos or misspellings. Just dont feel like fixing things either.

S'cool. *pats*

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