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Gibbering Mouther

Bruunwald's page

2,075 posts (2,161 including aliases). 2 reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 5 aliases.


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Werebat wrote:

And now I see 5th Edition D&D, just about ready to bite into. Simplified. Less optimization-y. A lot like Pathfinder was, once.

And a year from now...?

Fully bloated and dripping with cheese.

There's really no point to this, unless it is a roundabout means of flexing your inner Wizards fanboy. Or unless you are getting kickbacks for starting threads that act as thinly veiled commercials for the other team.

Basically, every major system will eventually have to continue releasing splat or setting in order to maintain sales over the course of an edition.

If, given Wizards' track record of bloat and - worse - of holding back essential basics just so they can cram them into PH 2 or PH 3 or DMG 4, or whatever, you can still come away thinking that jumping ship to D&D 5 is anything but a temporary bandaid on an ultimately doomed situation, well... I think there's really nothing to say to a person who doesn't already understand this. Or just refuses to acknowledge it.

Given the inevitability of your cycle of unhappiness, it might make more sense to come to peace with the idea that you don't have to include every bit of splat that comes out, into your games. Personal choice to simply avoid being miserable about things over which you have no control, but DO HAVE THE OPTION OF EXCLUDING, is probably the more mature and thoughtful alternative to starting another Edition War thread.

The matter of whether electricity spells are amplified or otherwise channeled by water (or metal armor for that matter) is as old as the game itself. As far as I've ever found, there has never been text in any of the spell descriptions (or anywhere else in the rules) that gives any kind of direction in this.

So it has always been a matter of houseruling.

However, from my own experience, and as was mentioned many times on many boards over the years, be careful allowing it. Once you open the door to real science in a fantasy game, you're going to find yourself inundated with requests to adjudicate all sorts of magic/science crossovers the game does not explicitly cover. And that can not only be cumbersome, it can also be a source of arguments at the table.

I, myself, had a troublesome player, playing a gnome wizard, who loved electricity, who either argued that it ought to be doing extra damage to his heavily armored foes (which is silly - if he wanted to go that route I argued the armor would attract more electricity, thus dealing LESS to the less-armoed foes), or at least griped about it, every single time he cast lightning bolt or chained lightning. Got old fast.

1. To my mind, it's easy enough to make the dragons themselves "holy" figures in the minds of their respective people. The fact that one is good and one is evil and both are godlike in the minds of their followers should give them enough philosophical impetus to fight.

2. Maybe the "reds" don't know one of the silvers is out of commission yet. The threat of full scale war might be enough of a deterrent at the moment. The thrust of the plot could revolve around keeping these sorts of things secret until the silver is healed or some other assistance can be gained or preparations can be made.

3. Perhaps this closely guarded secret is kept by the high priest of the "silvers," who has to keep up appearances and is slowly losing ground/losing control.

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I MAKE RPG systems. Then have my players test them for me, between PF campaigns. They are a group of open minded maniacs pretty much up for anything. I think this is because I am a very generous GM who works with them to tune characters just how they want them, even if they are a bit odd. Hard to dislike somebody who puts tons of effort into your enjoyment.

Happy players = players up for just about anything.

So what have we learned here?

1. Make up a system. Just for the kicks.
2. Be nice to your players and they probably will entertain you when you ask them to play something else.

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Umbral Reaver wrote:

I had accidentally created Akemi Homura...

...Has this kind of thing ever happened to you?

If you know your Anime history like an old time freak like myself does (I cut my teeth on Speed Racer from the time I could sit up and watch TV - around 1970), you probably have an understanding that some of the modern stuff from about 1993-on actually comes from the creators' tabletop roleplaying games. Which are BIG with the artists and writers in Japan.

So it is actually quite easy to create a character with some powers similar to an Anime character. Because a lot of Anime characters get their powers from RPGs, just as a lot of the settings you see in Anime are the setting those creators played in. Cyclically, RPGs nowadays often replicate the powers seen in Anime (amongst other forms of entertainment). Thus, it is becoming increasingly more and more difficult to escape what you are describing here.

Give you an example. One of my players is in love with Archer from Fate/Stay Night. He wanted the unlimited blade works. This was a few years back, in the last days of 3.5. On a whim, I looked in the Expanded Psionics Handbook, and you know what? With the right application of feats you can create a decent, lower-level replica of Archer with the soulknife class. Enough to make my player very happy, in any case.

Knowing this, when you think about it, it is highly likely there are people out there who are playing characters close to Archer and have no idea Fate/Stay Night even exists. So, does this happen? All the freakin' time.

"There is nothing new under the sun," somebody wrote at least, oh... 2,500 years ago. And there still isn't.

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Scythia wrote:

In a game that I DM, the player makes their cohort. I would no sooner make an npc and say "here, this is what you get" than I would insist that I choose what weapon they take weapon focus in, or what abilities they enchant into a sword with Craft Arms and Armor.

Those are bad comparisons. You are the world builder. Except for the PC themselves and any extension of them, such as a familiar or eidolon, YOU make the people who inhabit the world. The NPCs are your responsibility, and cohorts are NPCs.

Now, there are plenty of reasons why it should be this way. But here's just one that leaps right off the top of my head.

If you allow a player to create his own cohort, what is to stop him from creating a character so enamored with and dedicated to his PC that he jumps on every grenade that comes his way?

This is the same, age-old reason we don't let players play their own cohorts, henchmen, hangers-on, etc. Because since 1974 gamers have been proving over and over that, if given this opportunity, their PCs will never come to harm as an army of slavish devotees piles up ever higher, their oceans of blood overflowing the gore-stained tankards of the gods of slaughter and death while their laughter fills the groaning, suffering Multiverse.

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KahnyaGnorc wrote:

Here is my opinion:

-You don't have a right for other people to pay for your stuff.

(Also, Hobby Lobby covers most contraceptives, it is only a subset of those, like the morning after pill, that they objected to covering)

It is a common misconception that health benefits amount to "somebody else paying for your stuff." They don't. They are part of your salary. Part of your compensation for your work.

Hobby Lobby is basically telling their workers what they can or cannot do with their wages. And the Supreme Court handed them the right to do so.

That's just the tip of the iceberg of wrongness that this fiasco represents. But it's as good a place as any to start down the road of understanding what a mistake has been made here.

Jaxtile wrote:
Our 3rd level group has just received inconvertible proof a succubus wants us for... something...

Bragging again, huh?

Rynjin wrote:

Dead Island is big fun, mostly because of co-op.

Not sure I'd call it scary though.

Nothing takes the fear out of a zombie like jump kicking one 40 feet through the air to smash its head against a wall.

John Morgan was the best possible addition to Riptide they could have made.

I wouldn't call it scary, either, really. A few jumps here and there and some tension. But nowhere near the same ballpark as the first three SH. Those were genuinely frightening.

But, since it's horror survival (in its own way), and since I played it a lot last year, I figured it was worth mentioning.

Silent Hill
Silent Hill 2
Silent Hill 3

Close on the heels of those...

Silent Hill 4: The Room
Silent Hill: Origins
Silent Hill: Homecoming

Then there's...

Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
Silent Hill: Downpour

Also, I like some other scary games. Kind-of. Had a lot of fun with Dead Island last year. Played through a couple times.

And GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas. For the laughs when I don't feel like having the crap scared out of me.

Meh. The vast majority of us enjoyed Deities & Demigods (both 1st and 3.x versions) purely as a reference and a means to get real-world mythologies into the game. We read the gods' stats for fun and as a means of comparing them against one-another.

Nobody I personally ever gamed with thought to fight the gods other than jokingly. The closest I remember anybody coming to this, were those fringe players who claimed to have fought Arthur (from the 1st Ed book), killed him, then ran around slashing innocents with Excalibur.

And nobody EVER liked those guys or played with them more than once. And I personally never met the DM who was letting those fools get away with such idiocy.

To me, a Deities & Demigods for Pathfinder would be great fun and a good reference. Fun to have, fun to read, fun to look at, and a means of getting Thor or Quetzalcoatl or (my personal favorite) Athena into the game with all appropriate domains and background info. Because, guess what? I don't like or use D&D or Golarion gods. I still use my old Deities 3.0 book for reference because I prefer Thor and Athena in my games.

The fact that so many of you immediately jump to the conclusion that those of us who want such a book want it so we can fight the gods says a lot more about you than it does about the rest of us. I love Paizo, but if you guys are speaking for them on this - really, as much as you claim you are - then they've just dropped a couple points in my view. Because it means they ALSO think we're nothing but a bunch of hooligans with the mental and emotional capacities of 12-year-olds.

Sounds like a wargame. In fact, there is a faction in Dark Age (the Brom version), called C.O.R.E. that this almost perfectly describes.

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As a writer, it matters to me what I think the meaning is behind what I write. What matters in my writing might be different for somebody else, just as they may get something totally different from it than I do, or than I intended. And yet something different may appear for a more critical mind.

So it all matters. Somebody saying only one perspective counts is like saying other people aren't real people or don't matter, which is ridiculous. This is why critics, by and large, suck. Their job, in a rather roundabout way, is basically to imagine a hierarchy of importance for human beings and the things they like, with their own lame opinions at the very top.


eakratz wrote:
Ok, it's time for a quest to find the colossal chocolate elemental.

Here he is!!

Going back to the earliest days of my gaming career (1981), it was common for us to play any race or character based on any mythos/background and either gender with no problem. The fellows I first played-with had a long standing Aztec-based campaign, for instance. Quetzalcoatl and everything. And they occasionally played females, as well.

I also began gaming with at least one girl, as many as three, at the table as early as 1983. By 1988 girls were common at my games. They also played cross-gender a good amount of the time.

For me, the shocker came when I started playing with some old high school buddies around 1995. I knew them from high school but had not gamed with them back then. It surprised me that neither had ever gamed with a female. Neither had ever played a female character. All of their characters had always been white European-style. One of them was okay with new stuff as we worked it into our new games, but the other was a tough nut to crack. He argued for hours about what it meant when I played a female character. Conversations about whether I was a closet homosexual (or whether I might one day become gay) were frequent occurrences (and by "conversations" I mean that he would rant and tease and generally be an a-hole while the rest of us sat there and tolerated it). He remained stubborn even after real females (imagine the horror!!!) began to join our games. But now, years later, he is finally okay with just about anything we throw at him.

Thankfully, I can say that he was an exception in all my gaming years. Most of the time, I have encountered tolerant players with little issue about what anybody played, so long as it fit in somehow and wasn't too silly or ridiculous.

Nefreet wrote:
I read it as "The Cleric", not "The Character", so it would only be referring to the Cleric prepared spells.


This comes up from time-to-time, either in this form (cleric/wizard) or similar class abilities that a player hopes would be transferable from class-to-class, but alas, like this one, are definitely not.

The general reason: I don't think this is debatable or "interpretable," or in any way vague. When a class ability is a class ability, it applies only to the relevant ability of the class. If the class ability indicates it is affected by overall character level, or in some other way affects the character, then it is transferable or usable between a single character's classes. This is what feats are for, though even they often state that they apply only to a specific school, class ability or specific spell or attack form.

That's the normal language of the rules.

So, no, you cannot use the cleric's class ability regarding cleric spells to try to affect the spells the character gains from another spellcasting class.

The specific example: do your levels in cleric count toward casting your wizard spells? Nope. So why would any other non-neutral, non-feat spellcasting feature of either class lend itself to the other? The cleric is not spontaneously channeling the power of his god when he recalls spells from his wizard spellbook.

This is all.

I'm not sure that I agree that too much consolidation is in order. In fact, that would work opposite of what I feel is at issue with skills. To me, if you consolidate too much, you grant more bang for the buck for the ranks available. And right now, there are too many skill points going around for some classes and monster types, not enough for others, and just not enough skills to spread them out amongst for the former, to present any meaningful challenge to them.

A rogue or bard or outsider runs out of places to put their skill points too quickly, and thus is going to pretty much succeed every single time they roll the dice for a check. A fighter is going to fail at everything except his class skills, which, again, he is going to succeed in every single time he rolls the dice.

Too many points, DCs all too low. That's my complaint.

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I don't play in Society. But in general, you did the right thing. The top two reasons that come leaping and screaming from my head are as follows:

1. Playing Torch as so confident that a threat against him of this magnitude simply causes him to decide you might be fun to have around/be able to handle a job for him, is a good narrative device that makes him a bigger bad ass. In short, confidence is sexy.

2. You don't exist to punish the players for not going along on the rails of a module they can't predict. They don't know how this is "supposed" to go. They're just doing the best they can with what they are presented. It IS your job to keep things entertaining, running along, and when necessary, to think on your toes to accomplish this.

PC death will come when it does. No need to force it.

Good job!

beej67 wrote:
It's at least 4.5 times more fun than mowing your lawn.

Plus, 60% of the time it works... every time.

Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

I played through the original Tomb of Horrors, and saw the module afterward. The main corridor was so full of traps that even the people who made them couldn't survive walking down their own corridor. The preponderance of traps seemed so stupid. If they really didn't want you to go there, just brick it up!

It was bricked up, so-to-speak.

scenario spoiler:
Each of the entrances, including the two false entrances, was filled with sand that had to be dug and/or crawled-through.

As to why so many traps, there is an in-game reason, as well as a metagame reason.

The metagame reason is that sometimes people just like trying to shove their way through meat grinders. That's a style of play. No sense getting upset by it.

The in-game reason is that Acererak is a freakin' sadist and enjoys messing with people to the point of death.

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These guys have a good sized player base, are forum-centric, and have a zero-tolerance for what they call "########" posting, and encourage reporting of same to the mods. I can't say from what I've read, that they monitor the site super-closely, but again, they do encourage the users to report bad behavior, and they seem to remove it quickly.

EDIT: Whilst testing the link, just noticed a "user" online who has zero posts and zero friends and calls himself "ifap2-handed." So... might want to put off using the site, or maybe the first thing you do when you create an account is report that dude.


I have a boss at one of my jobs who I just can't stand. It would be nice to send him home once-in-a-while. He drinks too many Redbulls anyway. Needs more sleep.

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For a lot of us who played 1st and 2nd from the beginning, the rules were much more of a guideline than set in stone. I think looking at this backward from a 3.X perspective... it probably isn't discussed much in this way because it's like the proverbial comparing of apples to oranges.

3.X is pretty rules-obsessed. It's more of an attempt to codify as much as possible so as to remove any doubt about how every little thing ought to work, precisely as a response to the lack of such codification in previous editions. I think this was meant to alleviate arguments at the table, but in my experience it has done the opposite. Particularly online, where having a rule for everything just inspires a myriad of interpretations for each rule, provoking more arguing. In previous editions, vague or missing areas in the rules were solved in a sort of weird, game-drifting cultural experiment. When a burgeoning DM played under another DM, he learned various house rules for working out the vague areas, and generally adopted them, and over time legions of players ended up resolving similar issues the same way. It was very organic.

That is not to say that I didn't know a very few people who read every word of every book as if it were gospel and who kept to that gospel jealously. There have always been rules lawyers. But the thing to remember is that for the vast majority of us, there might be whole areas of the books that we simply ignored. It was a much more casual game for a lot of people. 3.X changed the entire mindset for how to approach these things.

So this thread is really sort of a loaded question. There were issues... there are always issues... but it's not the same sort of thing it has become with Pathfinder. Pathfinder/3.X encourages mechanics analysis and... well, it encourages players to be more critical, to be honest. We were critical of 2nd Edition, to an extent. But we didn't obsess over it like we do now with Pathfinder.

That said, I always had issues with the 2nd Ed proficiencies and skills... I forgot what we called them then. It seems like it should have been easy in hindsight, but it always seemed half-thought-out and confusing in practice. I think we ignored them most of the time and just did a lot of ability checks.

Firstly, she's hawt.

Second, there isn't anything about that suit that is any different from a superhero costume or the suits we see all the time in Sci-Fi and Fantasy... and those people go adventuring all the time.

More importantly, she's hawt.

Thirdly, there are plenty of Sci-Fi stories, anime, movies (and RPGs) that feature tight suits whose tightness has something to do with their protective properties, blah, blah, blah... it's all convenient enough to get somebody hawt into tight clothes, but really -- WHO CARES?! Who ARE you people? Do you really anguish this much over such silliness?

Which brings us to the most important thing of all... that being that she's most definitely hawt.


Despite all the variances, tieflings in general still come down to one general description in both games: humanoid with a touch - whether heavy or light - of the fiendish.

That description is going to create a rather narrow window for illustration. That tielflings should look similar in both editions is therefore pretty much a no-brainer.

You may as well ask why Pathfinder goats look so much like 4th Edition goats. Well... because a goat IS as a goat LOOKS.

As to Pathfinder existing as a pox on 4th Ed... everybody else here was too nice to you for saying that. NOBODY spends this much time and effort on something just to poke somebody else. Paizo stated that they thought 3.x was too good to throw away and that its time was not yet up. The simplest explanation is that they meant what they said. You have provided no evidence to the contrary.

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I would argue that people of color have always been in fantasy. For instance, the Conan stories were full of people of all sorts of shades from analogs from all places around the world. Though they could be quite brutish and roguish at times, many were rather smart and clever. R. E. Howard was an interesting fellow for his time. Some authors writing around the same time period did not always treat darker skinned people well, or intelligently.

In the world of gaming, people of all races have been represented in D&D and its variants since 1st Edition. Deities & Demigods is chock full of mythology from all around the world, and the adventure modules being published at the time featured jungles, islands, pyramids, savannahs, and everything from Aztec temples to the Far East.

So... dark skinned people have always been available to you for gaming.

That said, I have a long-time player who, though he is very open-minded now, did once balk at any intrusion into his Medieval European fantasy world by anybody with a tan. Even though the rest of us could point to historical precedent for at least some visitors from other lands, he just was a very hard nut to crack. One of those guys who was not good with change. He's more than okay now. I think my wife helped with that. She joined the game in 2000, with a Japanese-style character. After awhile, he just sort of stopped complaining, and in time, characters and settings of all types became okay with him.

They say that a person well-traveled around the world tends to lose his prejudices as he sees firsthand that people of other races mean him no harm and are people, like him. I think he sort of learned the same thing gamewise, by traveling in-game.

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BigDTBone wrote:
Andrew R wrote:
Want to make schooling more affordable, make it about actual education instead of a bloated bureaucracy, filled with professors that teach useless crap, push politics over learning and fixat on sports stars rather than turning out actually educated people

The cost of university is not related to teaching liberal arts or having sports teams. Athletic departments generate revenue for universities, they don't consume it. Liberal arts programs are self-sustained by a fraction of the tuition charged.

The real money pit in universities today is the money sink involved in being a "tier one research institution." Aka letting scientists play with toys. Which also props up the egos of that bureaucracy.

I will caveat this, being somebody who worked in financials at a major university for many years.

Yes, Athletic departments DO generate revenue. But they also burn through it quickly and they also come with high overhead and maintenance, and believe me, they do not hesitate to supplement their budget from the general fund. Even a slightly out-of-control Athletics division can drain a university's coffers quickly, playing politics and diverting money from other departments because bringing in fame and revenue "entitles them to a bigger slice of the pie."

An honest "tier one research institution" probably has money coming in from Federal sources, which is an entirely different fish to fry and comes with its own problems. Not as much of the general fund goes to these departments as one might think, in most cases. A good chunk of the money comes from corporations and firms that are interested-in, and want a chunk of the rights to the research. Those departments are always scrambling to justify the purchase of their "toys." That's actually a big part of what I did. Justifications.

The real money sink is twofold:

1. Administration and the Overhead that Comes with it. It requires an army of competent people to do all the administrative work of vetting, pricing, buying, calendaring, phone calls, service, janitorial (often Union), etc., etc., and a good sized school can be the size of a small city. That's a city of managers, directors, assistant directors, assistant managers, grunts, mid-levels, high-levels, low-levels, etc., who have to be paid. And even though you might not know they are there (they often work behind-the-scenes or off campus if the school is big enough), they are there.

2. The Big Wigs. The guys at the top are often overpaid. By a lot. Believe me. They are smart guys, no doubt, but like any CEO, rarely worth what they are being paid.

Pan wrote:
algaenymph wrote:

Each specific job requires its own degree, making changing jobs extremely difficult.

Picking the right major is impossible since what’s booming now could bust by graduation.

I'd contend these two points. I work for a major corporation and really any degree will get your foot in the door. Hell even ceramics will get you past an interview as long as you can swing it. Which ultimately comes down to how you sell yourself and less about the degree itself. There are exceptions to the rule but really the degree is a skill set not an entitlement to a career.

True. In my experience, a guy with a degree in chemistry is going to get the financials job before a guy without a degree, even if the guy without has been working in finance for 12 years and has more practical experience and knowledge than the guy with the degree.

(True story.)

They want to see the piece of paper. They rarely care what's on it, unless it is very, very specific. Like being a surgeon, or something.

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:

1. If you are just throwing them out without telling anyone you are not playing the same game and didn't tell the players you are playing a different game.

2. What I'm saying is that many of what I have seen for horror that is attempted by adding something "with no mechanical explanation" does not often engender any horror with many of us players....

3. A mechanic has been added that flat contradicts the currently accepted mechanics. (Must target hinges with your attacks. But the current rules say you can't target a specific point and it wouldn't have any in game effect if you did.)

4. A creature weakness with zero forshadowing, clues, or information of any kind. And the weakness is so bizzare that there is no way to 'think' of it without metagaming information from a book you likely haven't read.

1. I'm not talking about throwing mechanics out. I'm talking about elements that are not directly dependent upon them.

2. Missing the point. You don't add something with no mechanic resolution for the hell of it. You add some frightening element that is made all the more frightening because it does not have an immediate, convenient resolution.

3. I am not talking about this at all. An obsession with each and every tiny detail of every mechanic is one type of playing style. Some people like it. That style is not conducive to good horror campaigns in my extensive experience.

4. Who said there was zero foreshadowing, clues or information? Horror is mystery. The whole point is to involve yourself in the resources available to you and solve that mystery.

I get that you've had bad GMs. Horror is hard, so it's worth stating that a bad GM is going to mess horror up even more than whatever else it is he's running. Kydeem, it is also clear you want to win an argument here. But my advice is good - it's worked for me outstandingly, and it's worked for others I've helped with this sort of thing. I'll try one more time to illustrate what I am getting at, for anybody who still wants advice on this.

Flatliners... Anybody remember this movie?

Movie plot spoiler:
Some PhD candidate geniuses decide to clinically kill themselves then be resuscitated in a experiment to see what is on the "other side" of death. Long story short, the Keifer Sutherland character comes back from death haunted by a specter who likes to beat the crap out of him physically. The beatings continue despite Kiefer's medical expertise and power with a scalpel. In Pathfinder terms, there is something at play in the story that is beyond his class abilities.

Does this mean he cannot ever use his class abilities? Is he nerfed? No. He is still a surgeon. He can still use what he knows to help him solve the mystery. What he cannot do is simply wave a magic wand and make it go away. If he could, if he could simply destroy the recurring, dreaded, always-lurking danger that he knows is bound to visit him again tonight, it would NOT BE HORROR. It would be CONVENIENCE. And convenience is just not frightening.

The solution, as in a lot of horror, is quite simple. He must own up to the fact of what he has done. He must find peace with his past.

Now, the solution in a game might be as varied as there are horror stories out there. And just because you have to do something extraordinary and outside dice rolls and spell lists does not mean you do not use all your normal resources in the process of finding things out -- you do. And I would argue that this sort of balance between story, clues and mechanic has been a point of the game since its inception - it certainly has been the way I've played it for 33 years now.

But my point remains. Horror is not horror if you can simply wave a magic wand and make something go away. The elements of horror MUST be persistent, they must invoke dread of their reappearance (or in some cases, new appearance), and they must somehow be balanced beyond the strict game mechanic, and not solvable with simply kicking down a door or casting a spell, or the thing is not scary.

That's it. Take it as you will. If you're ever in the SF Bay Area, look me up and I'll let you sit in on our upcoming Silent Hill campaign and you can see it in action.

Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Bruunwald wrote:
... Going back to your favorite published adventures, how many of the best elements were simply things the author wrote in, that had no mechanical explanation? They were situational. You couldn't just dispel them or teleport around them. You had to DEAL WITH THEM ...

Depending upon what you mean by this, very few of them.

Usually when the author has just written in something that "had no mechanical explanation" it did not feel like horror. It felt like "ah, ok this is one of those things where I have no influence, I'm just watching the author's story unfold again." it is so random and silly that it completely throws me out of the story and all I can think about is "well that doesn't make any sense it doesn't have anything to do with anything," or it is ridiculous that the author/GM expected the characters to come up with the 'only' solution.

** spoiler omitted **...

I don't think you understood what I meant (you probably stopped at that part and did not read the rest). I'm talking about a story element which you must involve yourself to solve a mystery.

Just because you cannot dispel it with dispel magic, does not mean you cannot interact with it, and resolve it through character action and interaction.

You are limiting yourself.

The simplest example I can give of this is that you might have to find a certain key to get through a door. A more complex example might be that you have to investigate the history of a house in order to resolve some issue for a ghost after you find that no amount of fighting or exorcising it otherwise works (it eventually comes back). These elements may go beyond what the Bestiary says about the creature in particular, or what the rulebook says about a particular spell. But that is the point of the thread, isn't it? The OP asked how terror and horror work. Well, they are not dependent on what spell you can cast at X level. They are independent of that. They are more bound in story, which is why you should be able to use any system and make a good horror game.

As I said.

And many, many successful modules since the 1970s bare this out. Story trumps rules. Sorry guys. It just does. At least where horror is concerned.

Seems like the thread can't help but to devolve into its base element: a debate on whether casters dominate rather than whether groups with casters have martials/what they do with them.

Personally, I've never experienced an issue where casters dominate in any meaningful way. Irritate, yes.

If in the hands of the wrong sort of personality, it's not long before a wizard begins teleporting around every trap, or riddle, or whatever else the GM has in place to challenge the actual brains of the party. Which quickly becomes boring, not only for the GM, but oftentimes for the other players, as well.

I think, similarly to this, a caster can occasionally drop a bomb that takes care of what might have been an otherwise interesting encounter. I think that when the caster is lucky enough that this happens - and it does NOT always happen - it "confirms" for certain players something they wish were true, but is not true; that being that casters ALWAYS dominate.

Confirmation bias is a b~+#$. Gamers seem to fall for it just as much as any other group.

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People keep harping on the system as a detriment to, or prohibitive of, horror. Hogwash. The system you are playing has little bearing on the level of horror you bring to the game. The d20 variant of Call of Cthulhu was every bit as capable a means of framing a horror game as was the original by Chaosium. Pathfinder can be as useful a system for horror as Gumshoe or its variants.

Horror is in the balance of what is controllable and what is not. You don't need to measure every aspect of every game by a mechanic touchable by the players. There is a mindset that too many gamers have, that each and every element of the game must be based on a nameable spell, power, trait, ability score, whatever. But this is no more true in your horror games than it is in your straight-ahead fantasy games. Going back to your favorite published adventures, how many of the best elements were simply things the author wrote in, that had no mechanical explanation? They were situational. You couldn't just dispel them or teleport around them. You had to DEAL WITH THEM.

Those elements can exist outside the mechanic in ANY system, including Pathfinder. It is not the game that is limited or too bound by rules to be horrific. It is the mind of the player.

Now that my rant is over, let's get back to what is controllable and what is not. I have run many, many successful horror campaigns in d20 Modern, d20 CoC, homebrew systems, and others. Horror is my thing, you might say. My mother raised me on horror flicks and novels. There are many tried and true tropes that go into creating atmosphere -- atmospheric music, low lighting and suspending levity for the real world elements; describing noises, smells, blood, oddly placed body parts and sudden jumps and whatnot in the game...

But in a tabletop RPG, the elements that are most going to create tension are going to be recurring things beyond the players' control. I have run many modern campaigns based on the Silent Hill world. (Some here may be sick of me bringing this up.) But there are many recurring elements in those video games that illustrate what I am saying quite well. Here's just one:

In a couple of the games, there is a recurring red light or mist, which kills and must be fled from. You cannot fight it. You must figure out what it represents. Only by figuring it out can you defeat it. In the meantime, you must run from it. You cannot fight it. The dread of this thing reappearing is palpable. You cannot be 100% sure of when it will reappear. But the more you go on, the more sure you are that it is coming. Sometimes, just when you think you've ditched it, it catches up.

This combination of a thing that can only be defeated by the discovery-of and resolution-of, some foul secret, and that may reappear at any time, is a tension builder of high caliber.

The breaking of convention is also always effective. Be imaginative. Stumbling upon the scene of a grisly murder, for instance, is always disturbing. But when there is an element of the unexplainable, and it occurs at a most unexpected time, it's many times more effective. Imagine a group of friends laughing during a night out, opening the door to the pizza place, and everybody inside is sitting upright, at the tables, their hands on beer mugs, forks, holding slices, but each and every person's head has been sliced cleanly off, and they are all missing. It is this sort of combination of the macabre and the bizarre that makes a film like Kubrik's Shining so frightening.

This reminds me of John Oliver's take on Climate Change. About opinions and beliefs versus facts. Essentially this:

“You don’t need people’s opinion on a fact. You might as well have a poll asking: ‘Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?’ or ‘Do owls exist?’ or ‘Are there hats?’”

Solution: Get rid of the grid. Use a ruler or tape measure. 1-inch = 5-feet. Same distance every time, regardless of the angle.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

I don't think every bad DM is bad for the same reasons. However, there are some who are bad because of the reasons in the OP: they are bullies who use the medium of RPGs to bully, stroke their own ego at the expense of the players, and want total control of the story to facilitate this so ignore rules on a whim/kill or injure by fiat, etc.

Right. There are SOME who are like that. Just like there are people in every vocation, hobby, whatever, who are bullies, who use the medium they inhabit to bully, stroke their own ego at the expense of others, and want control of whatever situation to facilitate this, and will therefore abuse whatever position they find themselves in.

Thus, disproving the OP's flame bait post. Because there simply are douchebags everywhere and for all occasions, just as there are people who don't mean to be, but come off as same, and people who weren't at all, but some other jerk just thought they were. In short (too late), all sorts of complicated people who are what they are and do what they do for all sorts of complicated reasons.

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ngc7293 wrote:
What I recall about the games is that they have gotten more complex and more vague.

That seems like a contradiction to me. Games get more complex specifically because they become less vague with the introduction of more and more rules to govern every little thing. I agree the biggest games have become more complex (driving a rush by the smaller publishers to create more and more games with simplified rules, such as Gumshoe). But "vague" belonged to the old systems. Vague was the ocean in which a DM in the early 'eighties swam in perfect bliss, houseruling every little (and some major) thing not covered by the rules (which was a lot of things).

I began playing in 1981. I was only 11. I played one character from the Basic Set, who died in the first round of his first combat, being bitten by a spider (save or die can make a game interesting, but sometimes it just ends the game for you). My next character came from the Players' Handbook. I named him after the first guy, who was named after the Testor's paint that I painted the mini with. Testor, and Testorsson - LOL.

I had no idea what primer was, and as a consequence, the paint quickly rubbed off.

Funniest moment from the early days? Hmmm... I don't know how funny this is, but one standout came when my buddy's older brother was running us through White Plume Mountain. We got to the part with the giant crab in the bubble, and it quickly became apparent that the bubble was delicate and that damaging it would let in scalding hot water that would kill our characters. My buddy, Bob, not getting it, seemed determine to cast spells and throw crap around to put us in ever greater danger. Fed up, I told the DM:

"I shoot an arrow into Bob's a@# and leave."

And Testorsson did just that.

Prestige Classes lie one step below Satan on the "likeability" chart.

Ipslore the Red wrote:

I ask because of the paper-bound abomination known as Inner Sea Gods and the monstrosity known as Evangelist...

As far as I've ever been able to tell, Inner Sea stuff is campaign-setting related, not general Pathfinder.

Which means really the only people worried about it causing bloat in their games are the ones who actually set their campaigns in Golarion. Which is probably a much smaller number when compared to gamers overall, than you think. Making this sort of like accusing WoTC of rules bloat for publishing Eberron or Forgotten Realms.

Certainly doesn't rock my boat. I don't set my games in published settings.

As to bloat in general, no, I don't see an issue. As you get older, you will become wiser, and getting worked up over whether an RPG has too many rules and feeling as if you are forced to buy/study/use them in your game or you cannot allow yourself any happiness will sink lower and lower on your list of priorities.

And as to Prestige Classes, since when is Pathfinder an echo of 3.5 on that issue? Pathfinder is wonderfully, blessedly, spectacularly low on Prestige Classes, whereas 3.5 was stinkingly, awfully, disgustingly chock full to the wisdom teeth with the crappy things.

Jaelithe wrote:

I think synergy and cooperation should come into play only after players have made their role-play choices. Otherwise, it's an unfair and unnecessary compromise.


Every-so-often we get another thread that reads as a manifesto of what everybody had better do in their games, in their homes, out of the thread-maker's sight, or else he will be very displeased and his own game might actually be ruined.

On the one hand, I think most people want to play what they want to play, so probably very few people are going to argue that, if they had their druthers, they'd follow your lead on this.

On the other hand, some people are more pliable than others. Some are more cooperative. Hell, some people actually LIKE being told what to do, and some just are there to be social and don't really care into what role they are cast. "Fair" is all in the interpretation.

There are as many styles of play as there are players. I find myself restating this fact rather often, really.

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Umbriere Moonwhisper wrote:

true, but my other problem with alignment...

See, this is the heart of all of these threads, and it also furnishes its own solution.

YOU have a problem with this particular game mechanic. YOU. It's YOUR problem. So deal with it YOUR WAY. In YOUR game.

Leave the rest of us to do as we please IN OUR GAMES. Where our own players LIKE HOW WE PLAY AND HAVE FOR YEARS AND YEARS.

Problem solved and no drama necessary.

Now please, people, move on from this mentality. No more repeating the same stupid experiment over and over and expecting a different result.

Are you touching your sword when you're wearing gloves? Yes, you are. Just like you're touching the ground when you're standing wearing boots.

You can still feel things through gloves and shoes, and you are still making contact with those things through those articles, despite not making flesh contact.

I don't see any reason to overthink or anguish so hard about this.

Sissyl wrote:
The thing is, it's a pissy thing to make criticism of important things illegal. Just as it is bad policy to make certain political parties illegal. It's something that must be very carefully monitored, and of course, it never is.

Of course it is. It's blasted across news channels, picked up by blogs, weighed by policymakers, argued in courts, debated on RPG forums, etc., etc.

The fact that you have given your opinion on it, so far removed from it as you and I are, means it is being very well monitored, indeed.

That's what a free press is for.

As to the case in point, well... Hitler, dude. Nazis. I am not for "thought crime" ordinarily, but I understand this. In the end, most of us lost relatives of only a generation or two distant, to immediate family, to those a-holes. Some of us happen to know who we lost, some remain blissfully ignorant, but believe me - we lost people. We still live with this evil to some extent. I think it makes some sense, that in Germany there be some safeguard to make sure this is not forgotten, or relegated to myth. I don't think this is the perfect way, but I get the intent. It's not to force you to buy some party line - quite the opposite: it's to make sure the party line never rules over rationality and truth - and never KILLS - again.

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Paladin of Baha-who? wrote:
Legolas, what do your elf eyes see?

England... France... Gimli's underpants.

2 Gnomes and a Baby

Just for future reference, I don't hate any of the Paizo classes. And since I am somebody, that means we don't ever have to have threads with the title "Why Does Everyone Hate _______?"

(Well, I have never been a fan of the general way prestige classes work, but that's not the same as hating them specifically.)

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"Toon" is what the inhabitants of Toontown in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" are called.

I am unsure how it came to be used as a gaming term, but I don't really care. I just want it to stop.

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Okay, your post was confusing for a moment, but then I realized (I think) that you mean to put the boots of teleportation ON the brachiosaur? Is that right?

Problem is, the brachiosaur can't activate them. That requires intelligence. You have to command them to work, and you have to know where you are going. Dinosaurs lack these qualities. And you cannot activate a wondrous item that is equipped on somebody or something else.

But as a general answer to your question as to why merchants don't always just use teleportation, you are free to create a high magic world where such methods are the norm. That is the difference between a high magic world and a low magic world. In a low magic world, merchants may simply not have enough wizards around to do the job, or they may be too superstitious to want to have anything to do with spellcasters.

That's just for starters. You can come up with about a hundred other reasons why teleport would not be the norm.

The Val' thing hit its peak in the States in 1982 with Frank and Moon Unit Zappa's song ("Valley Girl"), and the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High, followed a couple years later by the film Valley Girl, which happened to co-star a young Nick Cage.

Everything since has been just a joke of a joke of a joke.

Scott Wilhelm wrote:

You could make something up: you're the DM. You could just say that stone giants, oreads, goliaths, or something else are immune to petrification.

This. I am not a fan of the notion that every single aspect of what the GM puts into play MUST be governed by a rule just to make the players or some other uber-nerd-lawyer happy.

You could easily just say this guy was born with an immunity to petrification (maybe he had a medusa ancestor), and that he has exploited this immunity to indulge himself with a harem of medusae. It says badass, and needs no further explanation. It's hardly game-breaking.

I would prefer such a simple solution over making him blind. Seriously, what is the purpose of a harem if you cannot gaze upon it like a king on a throne?

Bad enough that visitors cannot bask in the glory of such an exotic menagerie without making its master blind, as well.

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