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Bwang's page

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber. 1,336 posts. 1 review. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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I ran this for years based on the controller, what he would prefer. None of my BBEGs would casually kill unless called for, though an Evil BBEG would be more likely.

A raving CE mastermind beat the 'party' several times, but never went for the kill. They eventually cornered him and he begged for mercy/got away. Not so the next time.

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I let them pick, but use a scale for NPCs. I tend to use it to gauge player types of gamers. Max ht/Min wt? Probably a power hungry player?
Short player with a big character with ...issues.

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The only way I could see a LG Elder would be one so fanatical as to be nigh LE. The essence of the Elders is their very antithesis to our existence.

A very deranged friend of mine had a 3.0 divine... er, patron that was so lawful that NO transgressions were allowed and so 'good' that everyone had to slave away towards the 'common good'. Lawful Good Jackarse was our term. Unfortunately, I was not able to make many of the games, losing out on the whole 'anyone can go too far' theme. In the end, he judged all to fail in their devotion and 'left' the world behind.

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I love the sidebars for the races. Quick and tight! I did bits like them ages ago, but much more abbreviated and less helpful. Think of an index card for each race. I particularly like the 'how others see you' aspect, something I missed.

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I'm currently running RotRL with a slew of undead. You can switch up the monsters, the Fluff, Descriptions and whatnot with a bit of work. I have run the ancient Jerimond's Orb a total of 5 times with some of the same players. I quit after someone said it was vaguely familiar. I switched them to zombies for the kids one 4th of July, very rules light.

Perhaps the Golem will host a contest to update some of the old stuff as a cheap way to update pdf files for download. Some of the critters from the later Bestiaries would be worthy of appearing in some of the early APs.

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Doh! Was not meta-thinking on Bonus stacking. As if my players wouldn't have exploited it some way...

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Are they effectively 'Wizard only feats'?

Milo v3: Thanks for the quote, I was thinking it had to be a bonus feat only.

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Running on way too little sleep, but I gotta toss up a question: Is there any difference between a stock wizard feat and an arcane discovery. I have a strange idea that there is no difference and want validation, clarification or derision.

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I tried an Origami style caster class last year, also based on Summoner. They sacrificed the Eidolon for the ability to cast spells via 'scrolls' created 'on demand'. Well, kinda, they had to consult their Book and inscribe the needed bits of the spell before using it. The playtester was ex-theater and really got into the sloppy mess I was working with. A Charm type spell we were testing became a valentine, a Hold Monster was a cage with the foe scribbled into the drawing.

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Michael Gentry wrote:
Snorb wrote:

So let's talk about the moon!

...50 times over.

Sounds reasonable! You just have to believe everyone as horridly nearsighted as me!

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

The Paladin is an imperfect cross between Cleric and Fighter, but even more dependent on multiple Ability Scores (Str, Con, Wis, Cha) than a Fighter (Str, Con) or Cleric (Con, Wis, Cha). Adding a fourth score to be nursed along all but neuters what you should be doing. With one or two more scores, that are virtually required, adding Dex is not really as beneficial to that role. I deeply boned both my 3.+ Pallys on both Dex and Int, never regretted it.

Before I get too far afield, one of those games allowed 'called' armor and hammer (but not shield) to the Paladins as replacement class features. I remember losing cure disease and something else for that.

A different play style can alter the basics, as claudekennilol noted a bow focused Paladin really needs Dex, relying on Class levels to get by. A mobility or sea game would make master_marshmallow the man to follow. Buy or GM a pizza and figure out which way the game is going. Oddly, most of my suggestions to player with GM problems start with buying them a pizza...

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"...I like to tell a story." Write a vague outline of what you want to see, but leave space for players to contribute. Do not get too dedicated to one storyline, the players can often (too often) pull together better storylines than you can, just adopt them as your own. One of the best campaigns I ran was where I let go of the reins and tossed encounters out. 35 yrs later, the players still think i scripted a tight storyline!

"...the DM is somewhat reduced to be a rule- and story-manager." True to point, but that's the beauty of a well crafted game. Under 3.0, I got home from work, told the players I needed a shower (bad) and set up the first encounter, cliffhangered from the previous session. By the time I get semi-human again, they're nearing the end of the fight. Several told me it was extremely tough, but I wasn't expecting it to be more than a piddling -2 CR fight. The player running the critters ran them far meaner than I usually do!

"How do you improve your DMing..." The creative process is in direct conflict with bookkeeping details. Being severely ADHD, its worse for me. Solution? Delegate! Tommy was Rules Referee, let him pick his replacement! Sally handled the adventure log last and Da-Bill spent the last game whining over her sloppy job. Guess who she dumps the job on?

Keep an adventure log! that way you can remember what who said to when! Confusing? Not compared to some messes I've been in. A friend blogs his ater another adventure or so, adding 'sidebar text of things the players missed or that happened off stage. One example was that while our party was several days in a dungeon below a ruined ward of a town, the orc horde had descended upon the town and was storming the walls each night. We pop up battered and exhausted within spitting distance of the tent of one of the orc bosses! Raw, smoking chaos ensued. Its good to be a Fighter in Full Plate!

"...because the popularity of RPGs multiply due to DMs, not players." Unfortunately, this is too often true, but you shouldn't think, much less say, such things for fear of creating a self fulfilling prophecy. That, and players get snarky if the truth gets out. You should encourage them to contribute and not be shy about it. The more work you off load on them, er you let them do, the more the game becomes theirs and they will bust butts to keep it going!

"So, there clearly has to be a way, to make DMing more fun and less a chore..." Shove anything that interferes with your being their conduit to the game world off on them. Rules, initiative, heck, I pawn combat off on idle players if I can! And take advice and input from players! A new girl (I'm 60, I get to call a 23 yr old 'girl) has decided she wants a tragic backstory that involves her dislike for Elves and hatred of all my forms of Goblin. I looked at and saw incredible RP potential! It will make a great thread for the Undead oriented RotRL campaign her parents are playing in. And she wrapped it up in a neat outline skeleton for me to hang ornaments and meat on!

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148 An enormous collection of cheap and trashy romance novels in a variety of forms and languages. The only real connection one can extract is that each involves a magic using character in a main role.

Upon actual reading of several of the books will their real purpose be realized: Each book is a tutorial on how to learn a particular spell! One must read the misspelled words, substituted for very similar words, and follow components in accompanying text. learning the spell this way is effectively taking a 20.

The size of the library is up to the GM, but my players found over 200 books in at least ten languages, several no longer in use, with a quantity of overlapping spells. For example, these involved several languages with differing version of prestidigitation or its earlier spells from previous editions. This included a Rube Goldberg kitchen set up to fry an egg, provided by a player to flesh out the list. See the opening titles of Elementary for a current example. Another player included a book with a number of Dwarven Crafting Chanties that yield +2 bonus to non-magical folk using all three components for each skill.

My 'clue'? the first book they examine was titled: 'A Spell Learnt' by one Procter Joneth, Instructor of the Primary Foundations of Science and Learning (a mythical teacher, surely all these books are fakes!). All it really dealt with was how to clear one's mind and focus on drawing control of magical energies into your control, even if you have no talent for magic (You rely on all three components to gain access to magic).

I hadn't planned it, but the players a few dozen additions at the next game, including a booby trapped version of invisibility, with the victim learning a version that acted as an Undead summoning beacon. That was fun!

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We house ruled 15 years ago that Tumble was the only way to occupy the same square as a swarm and avoid damage. This wound up becoming negated by various forms of DR. The current form deals damage once in their round (some games modify by how long you're in the swarm) and any time you pass through the swarm (again, by how long you're in the swarm). I think, remembering the Ogres that lived in a cave full of rabid bats, NA and certain spells affect this as well.

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Kalindlara wrote:
Bwang wrote:
On the Other Hand wrote:
Let's put it in prospective. the CR 1 template Advanced gives +2 to Natural Armor and gives a +4 to all stats. So when compared to that, I find the Azlanti is kind of mild, especially when most people want Azlanti as a backdoor option for getting Advanced on a human.
Might I inquire as to where that template appears? I think that it is way too powerful at first blush, but rely on new ideas to further my education and enlightenment.
The Advanced template appears in the appendix of the Bestiary - I think it's in all of them. ^_^

...sending me into a frenzied search!

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Gaekub wrote:

I would love a copy when you have a moment.

** spoiler omitted **


same here! My old copy is WAAAAY out of date.

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There have been a number of snide and not so snide remarks about the Advanced Race Guide. What in particular chaffs you butt and what thoights do you have to fix that problem. Feel free to comment on mine and others' posts.

I start with my half finished fix of racial 'valuation' of races after the official point costs are calculated. Stealing from an old Umbral Reaver post, a race that costs more than the Core pays a point or more based on just how much it costs in points to build, plus a penalty point or so to clear out the min-max crowd and instill a sense of rarity in the race.

Please note that all my races have tweaks to bring them in line with the ongoing campaign. As an example, my Elves are a significantly more powerful race, with PCs being the 'runts', leaving the fold to prove themselves by gaining experiences and opening themselves to new ideas.

Elf Racial Traits

Ability Score Racial Traits: Elves are nimble, but frail. Their life-long disciplines grant them strong advantages. -2 Str, +2 Dex, –2 Con, +2 Int, +2 Wis, +2 Cha.
Type: Elves are Humanoids of the Elf sub-type.
Size: Elves are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
Base Speed: Elves have a base speed of 30 feet.
Languages: Native-High Elven and Elven (this at casting level); 3-local Human. 2-Intelligence bonus of: Celestial, Coastal, Curvann, Draconic, Dwarf, Elyrian, Fey, Giant, Gnome, Imperial, Sylvan. Casters may bump the appropriate language to caster level.
Defense Racial Traits
Fearless: Elves gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws against fear effects. This bonus adds 1/4 the Elf's Level.
Native Defense: Even common Elves gain a +2 racial bonus on their AC in their terrain, provided they gain advantage of cover. This bonus adds 1/4 the Elf's Level. This may be negated if the Elf loses the benefit of Dodge.
Slight: The slender physique of Elves lets them function in many ways as if they were one size category smaller. Whenever they are subject to a size modifier or special size modifier for an opposed check (such as Hide), they are treated as one size smaller if doing so is advantageous for them. They are also considered to be one size smaller when "squeezing" through a restrictive space. They can also use weapons designed for a creature one size smaller without penalty. However, the space and reach remains the same for those of a creature of their actual size.
Deathless Spirit: Elves have Resistance 5 against negative energy damage. They do not lose hit points when they gain a negative level, and they gain a +2 racial bonus on saving throws against death effects, energy drain, negative energy, and spells or spell-like abilities of the necromancy school.
Elven Immunities: The standard Elvish 'immunity' to magic sleep effects is replaced by a +10 racial bonus to such and also to non-magical diseases and get a +2 racial saving throw bonus against enchantment spells and effects and poison. The second bonus is at a minimum of 1/4 the Elf's Level.
Elven-Aging (Ex): All Elves gain resistance to aging effects, adding 1/2 their character level to such saves. They get a save even if normally not allowed one.
Light Sleepers: Elves can operate with only 4 hours of sleep a night (though they still require 8 hours of rest to recover expended spells and abilities). They also only suffer -5 to Perception checks while sleeping, rather than -10. Nights spent with 4 hours of sleep count for fatigue after their Con modifier nights, minimum of 1 night free.
Feat and Skill Racial Traits
Civilized: Elves are incapable of becoming Barbarians and take −2 penalty on Diplomacy checks against them.
Magical Racial Traits
Elven Magic: Elves receive a +1 racial bonus to the DC of all spells cast and also adds +2 to caster-level checks to overcome spell resistance (SR). In addition, all Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Spellcraft skill checks made to identify the properties of magic items. All three of these bonuses add 1/4 the Elf's Magic Level.
Elven/Fey Magic: An Elf has a default pool of spell points equal to Character Level + either the total of all their mental modifiers or twice Cha modifier.
Arcane Spell-like Abilities: Any Elf with either Int/Cha score greater than 10 selects a number of cantrips chosen from the Sorcerer/Wizard spell list to a total of the higher modifier. Each spell can be cast as a Sorcerer of half the Elf's Level (or full Magic level). Once selected, these spells cannot be changed. Elves with levels in any Arcane Class receive their modifier of additional cantrips, as if with the Spell Mastery feat, instead.
Natural Spell-like Abilities: Any Elf with a Wisdom score greater than 10 selects a number of orisons chosen from the Druid spell list, to a total of the Wisdom modifier +1. Each spell can be cast once per day at half the Elf's Magic Level (or full Magic level). Once selected, these spells cannot be changed. Elves with levels in any 'Nature' casting Class receive their Wis modifier of additional cantrips instead.
Offense Racial Traits
Weapon Familiarity: All Elves receive Proficiency in the Weapon Class (simple weapons), shortspear, Elf bow and Elvish Blades (Elven Blade and Elven long knife) unless noted. Only Cavalier, Fighter, Holy Warrior and Rogue classes may take further weapon proficiencies at creation. Cavaliers and Fighters receive 2 additional weapon groups, the Holy Warrior gets 1, while Rogues receive the Rogue Weapon Class. This replaces the silly Core racial trait.
Archer (Ex): Elves prefer to shoot from cover, and gain a +2 to hit when firing from cover or any condition that impairs the opponent from a clear line to the Elf.
Movement Racial Traits
Terrain Affinity (Ex): An Elf learns to cover her tracks, remain hidden, and conceal her presence. The DC to track an Elf using the Survival skill increases by +1 for every four full character levels. In addition, her training gives her a similar insight bonus on opposed Stealth checks whenever she is stationary and does not take any action for at least 1 round. The Elf may choose to leave a trail if so desired and is not hindered by natural plants or light cover. This does not apply in unnatural or magical terrain, nor to other skills. The Elf receives a +2 racial bonus on Knowledge (nature), Perception and Survival checks in the chosen environment. While Elves know the deep secrets of the wild like no others, this is especially so with forests, where the DC and increase are set at +1 per three levels. Elves with forest terrain use the bonus to any save to avoid entanglements in forest terrain.
Senses Racial Traits
Superior Low-Light Vision: Elves can see three times as far as humans in conditions of dim light.
Keen Senses: Elves receive a +2 racial bonus on Perception skill checks. This bonus also adds 1/4 the Elf's Level.
Weakness Racial Traits
Elven Weakness: All Elves are sensitive to both ‘Cold Iron’ and Adamantium. Either of these may subject the Elf to the effects of Fear (DC10 + bonus), and damage taken from either of these is 1 + 1 per die (A 2D6 weapon would cause an additional 3 damage, for example.). They will not and can not carry or wear items made of either material. Doing so imparts a loss of 1 negative level per day (This can not be removed until the item is dropped, the levels returning at 1 per week.). They are considered vulnerable to this metal type and damage from this metal also bypasses any DR they might possess. Elves do not like being around such weapons or armors and will not work it.
Other Racial Traits
Efficient Metabolism (EX): Elves have remarkably efficient metabolisms and can go long periods without food or water without ill effect. Elves require half the food or water of other medium sized creatures. In addition, they receive a +8 racial bonus on FORT saves made to resist thirst, dehydration or starvation.

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On the Other Hand wrote:
Let's put it in prospective. the CR 1 template Advanced gives +2 to Natural Armor and gives a +4 to all stats. So when compared to that, I find the Azlanti is kind of mild, especially when most people want Azlanti as a backdoor option for getting Advanced on a human.

Might I inquire as to where that template appears? I think that it is way too powerful at first blush, but rely on new ideas to further my education and enlightenment.

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Ascalaphus wrote:
Hmm, terrain generator program. That's not such a strange or bad idea. Lemme think about that...

If you decide to Kickstarter this, lemme know. This would be great for several weak GMs I know to enliven tactical maps. I fave seen the Clearing become the default in several games, not just forest, but waterfalls, creeks, cave entrances and such, where the combatants move the fight to a convenient open arena devoid of anything more than grass. We had a rock throwing Hobbit, er...make that Halfling, told there were no rocks to pick up and throw in a rocky hill area!

I look at the irregular footing common to the old 'fencing movies' (Errol Flynn's Robin Hood, any Musketeer movie, Princess Bride, etc.) as a great example to shoot for. The most fondly remembered melee in my early campaign was fought in a boarding action against a crashing airship fouled with wreckage and moving ruins of rigging. No one at the table had anything left to give when we crawled away that night. 35 years later, I ran into a player who enthusiastically extolled the scene to her husband when we met by incident at a store. Her elf was weaving across the shifting deck, fighting crewmen and cutting things loose that needed to be tied down. Until that gleeful outburst, I had not realized how much she had enjoyed wrecking the ship.

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A simple fix, if not total, for Fighters is to allow them some reshuffling of Fighter Bonus feats when they pick up a new Fighter Bonus feat. At my table, Human Fighters can do this every Level.

If it matters, when we instituted this rule some 4-5 years ago, we suddenly had players choosing more than a 'dip' Level of Fighter. Now that I'm shifting to PF, rather than a 3.5 with PF add ons, and running an Undead RotRL, I have two Fighters in a pool of 6-10 players. That's as many as I had after 3.5 came out!

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Monks: I didn't like them when they first stained the game and only see them as viable in a Far East game. Unfortunately, some modified archetypes are valid in the world. Dang it.

Gunslingers: I could see them working with hand crossbows, but the very notion of guns requires such a rework of the rules that I would waste too much of my limited free time. Want to shoot guns? Play Boot Hill.

Summoner; Master and Synthesist: Too many negative opinions and posts.

Any Class or archetype that allows a players to have more than a single 'extra' character. Every time I have seen this happen, the player winds up crippling the flow of the game. A recent game of friends (3.0) was choked by a character (player) with a pack of attack dogs. As I heard it, the first fight took some 2 1/2 hours! Working 50+ hours a week eats too much of my time to waste on someone hogging the limelight, whether they mean to or not.

I guess this last would apply to any Class that serves to cripple a game, with all but the first having been suggested or insisted upon by players and/or GMs I trust the judgement of.

To Aralicia: Love your layout!

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Had a player with one in a store game last year (?, or the year before?) and was less than impressed. Somehow the character was a clone from ancient Az DNA found in a previous game. She basically spent 12 of her 20 points just being an Az, leaving just 8 for working out her stats. I think she switched to an Elf after a few games.

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Redo combat so it lasts longer and is less first side wins. In another group, every character has Imp Initiative. Tactics and skill matter less than raw firepower. Lethality is such that I can't have the 'escapee who shows up several games later' or the 'guy who survived the massacre that comes back for vengeance'. I guess my years of Champions super hero gaming has warped me.

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Silly nit pick: What Type are they? I presume Human due to the floating bonus to one ability score. I guess the campaign will primarily on the island, these would be out of place out of the Archipelago.

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This is part of a several pronged problem I have seen in GMs that have gotten good enough to actually 'plan' based on the players, but have forgotten we're all here to have fun. It also happens when an insecure GM feels overwhelmed at the table and retreats into his 'two year old NO' existence. He must beat back the horde with tactics he would object to as a player.

As I see it, this has three variations.

1) This thread was founded on the GM not using certain spells due to resistances, so it gets to be #1.

2) The corollary is the GM who tracks the feats and other abilities of players. Never bum rush the guy with Combat Reflexes. Chaotic humanoids of low Int who surround the fighter in Full Defense with parade ground precision. The NPC that won't try to lie to EITHER the Paladin OR the Sorcerer, 'cuz both have 10 ranks in Bluff. At this point, let me say that in my mind, a PC should be able to figure out a Classed foe, and they can at my table. Note that real NPCs can too, commoners less so. That is what disguise is for. An Arcanist will have enough doo dads and wiz-bangs pinned to his lapels and sewn into his vest that a commoner might think him a Wizard, the castle guard might think him a specialist and an opposing Wizard or Sorcerer having a reasonable shot at Class level. But the first you know he has Quick Spell is a surprise if you don't know him from the bar.

3) This is a bad one. Fish out of water games can be great opportunities for RP, but it breeds discord with players who rarely have opportunities for another game. Where several games are available, most of these games start shedding players who prefer a more normal game. The GM tells everyone its going to be a wilderness campaign, hardly any social, politics or undead, then drops them in as mediators between the zombie king, a lich or three and a coven of vampires. When this happened to our crew, our Cleric was built to front rank, the Ranger FEs were goblins and animals and we had no Paladin. Great chance to roleplay? How can you when half the foes you meet are at least advantaged against you. His wife ran the same campaign for the local tweens and they built for what they expected and rocked. And she's a nastier GM than her husband.

All three of these are GM caused and something I have done too many times to recall, but they are all universally BAD. In the GM section of one of the Hero Games books, the suggestion is made to drop a building on a super who can shrug it off, so when he does he can make a presence attack. I saw how the Bricks puffed up afterwards AND how a PC quailed before one villain after she heaved a dump truck off her. I'm not saying to GIVE the PCs everything, but neither should you maliciously target valid player choices. Now if you warn they are going into the midst of war among the undead, and they build sailors, I have no simpathy for them.

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Lunched today with some GMs and this kinda came up. After negative action economy, DPR, size modifiers and such were well BSed, the unanimous consensus was that a few key Class levels were the best, followed by truly wicked templates.

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I haven't used color-coded dragons since May of '76, but I have used the same Stats and such, just without the convenient visual clues. The last such I ran as RAW was a Black, except for his Breath-Green Gas, and inflicted a TPK at even Apl/CR. I just used the Swim speed and Stealth skill unmercifully. And three levels of Rogue were more than enough.

Once they got well into the swamp, but I really just went into a swimming guerrilla warfare mode and alternated between general assaults with the gas breath and specific SAs with a bite until the party panicked and tried to escape. Devil takes the hindmost. Swooping attacks finished off all but the Barbarian. She had raged and died in good ol' 3.5 fashion.

Their real flaw in tactics was in not using time the dragon gave them while setting up her next attack to plan or prepare any countermeasures. She outlasted most of their buffs and did her best to keep them from getting full attacks on her. I think she only suffered one round of two getting in melee attacks on her.

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I have been running 'Murderer's Clubs" for 38 yrs now, where GMs gather to compare notes and improve weak GMs' technique. The premise is that every GM is different, but we can all serve as examples to others. For some bad GMs', it can resemble an intervention.

If you're interested, we try to arrange monthly meet ups at some restaurant to bounce ideas around that are never single game in nature. Our April feed was at a local Chinese place (I think it was supposed to be held in 2008, we too often let them slip.) with 7 GMs running some 12 different games intermittently or better. All but one were ancients (40+) with one having brought a teenage daughter who is involved with a local Masquerade bunch. She has Apps on her phone that track more stuff than I ever have!

I leave one morsel to the crows that feed on this thread: One thing I learned early on was that passing off all the make work of a session freed me up to focus on making a better game. I task Initiative to one player, mapping to a second, etc, with the last session's rules lawyer refereeing rules. Since my regular groups run minimum of 30 and (now) all college graduates, the rules job is not beloved. A few sessions back, I showed up and all the task slots were assigned and all were chomping at the bit to start. That night, I may not have rolled a single die.

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It was brutally common back in the flame wars of the '90s.

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Blake's Tiger wrote:
captain yesterday wrote:
Pretty sure if you do that campaign, the Stargate people are gonna want their cut:-D
If that meant that they'd start producing more Stargate anything episodes, I'd give it to them!

They didn't pay anything for ripping off Fringeworthy.

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...and nobody has posted the old saw:

A katana can cut through a TANK! It's true! I saw it on the internet!

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Just take the Dragonrider and find/replace in Wyvern. I used a similar ploy for a tribe of Orcs in 3.5 and they worked well. Under PF, modifying one of the Cavalier Orders should be easy.

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Does anyone else use either archetypes or PrCs as social, military, economic, or other groups? Several of them seem to cry out for a background beyond what is given, even provoking a local game to restrict them to membership in certain 'in-game' organizations. While I think this might be a tad extreme, the players are all for it.

So, I'm interested in any experience in this or ideas on how to integrate such into a game. I've spent an hour of 'lunch' surveying possibles and getting weird inspirations jotted down. Might post a few tomorrow if life cooperates.

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Chatted on this last night with some old players and one proposed that each of the seven 3.0 races did a plus/minus (She only played 3.0) and was pounded by most everyone. I tossed in that she had a point and became the new pariah. While being pummeled by several present, I got one to pull up the races from my game and lay them out by stats. Once done, she pointed out that of the 30 plus I allowed in 3.5, there were 4-6 with bonuses to each ability score with a minus, to almost every other ability. Elves got multiple bonuses and a couple were net minuses, but I also had multiple 'duplicates'. I only missed 4 of a possible 30 combinations and those were in my 'working' file. As everyone there had played in my 3.0 and 3.5 games, with over a dozen races among them, the conversation turned to 'slot filling' while I was reloading at the dessert bar. Most settled into the view that there should be a basic race for each slot and a couple of mechanical and flavor variants. Sorry, I didn't get the list of slots. Heck, I disagree that several even exist outside deranged minds!

As we began losing people, I mulled the various 'Dragonic' races I allow and realized that each was a sliver of the 'Dragonic' concept. An armored race of semi-dwarves, magic lizard-gnomes, bat-kobolds, etc., I had most themes covered. I also saw that each of the really developed ones were enough different mechanically and in their fluffiness that none of my players had ever confused them.

My Elves, Humans, etc., all get their variables primarily from fluff and follow on abilities. Most sub-races are cultural rather than stat differentiated, and I torqued up a number feats into worthwhile background feats. A Great Forest Elf is almost mechanically the same as one from the Grey Vold, but the background feats give massive changes of options, from Ranger and Hunter abilities to summoning lists and Druid archetypes. I had 3 Elves from these two origins in the last group I ran, and they really got into a friendly competition (think Gimli any Legolus) that really contributed to the comraderie of the game. Heck, I missed several sneaky jabs and jokes amongst those players about cultural foibles and such that pumped Coke through noses, minute plus delays and people rolling on the floor. Great role play and I missed it!

The takeaway would be that you shouldn't have seventy different Elves with no real differences to speak of, nor races with the Star Trek habit of 'humans with different make up'. The table's consensus was that players want real differences in what they play, so that they CAN role play! I cry that of the people at the table, only three are even able to play in the coming campaign.

To Kazaan: I love your solution to the whole question!

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I've tried to post reviews before and am woefully inept at doing so. I currently have over 80 downloads from Paizo and another 20-30 from other places, any of which I would be thrilled to review and post. Alas, I am still working with stone knives and bearskins. Might this old fossil request a how-to or easy-key?

As for free stuff, only if you know I buy your stuff AND review it. Too many companies get stuff pirated for me to want to hit your bottom line. I would like to post reviews of some props and such that are out there. I have kickstartered several things and would love to recommend some here, but have no idea where or how, well, beyond starting a thread. Geek Chic, Dwarven Forge and others put out righteous (but non-specific) support for our, make that hobby!

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A friend still runs his 'fuzzy' game, with the 'CORE' races replaced by animal equivalents. I play a Dwarf/Badger, but there are Elf/Deer, half-Orc/Wolf and Halfling/Rabbits! This started when his then 8 year old wanted him to run a 'stuffed animal' game of D&D over a decade ago (she's in college now) and it kept growing. There are modifications to the regular races to fit the world (I have a 'dig' speed, Deer have antler attacks and Gnome/Moles get tremor sense.).

The original game was very story book; all simple, gooey problems with an emphasis on teamwork and massive happy-happy solutions (a bad guy cured by fresh donuts!). There is no significant problems from not having a 'human' based culture. And I still get to hate those Goblin/Rats!

Ooooo! Candy People! Awesome idea! LOL!

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This may or not be a solution: I 'scale' a number of teamwork feats. A simple ally gains X from a feat, while one that has the actual feat gains something more. E.G.: in my game, Elven Fighters use an ancient fighting style that emphasizes defensive moves and intimate knowledge of Elven fighting techniques. They even learn to recognize and use the clumsy actions of allied races to the advantage of both. A crude example (as I am away atm) might be the plus 2 flanking bonus with anyone, followed by being able to gain a flanking bonus if not perfectly arrayed against the foe, then giving the ally the same benefit, etc.

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First, I echo the need for fluff and flavor. I used to not care, but a friend swapped out two races in his game to disasterous results and I stand castigated. Even when the race's fluff is discarded, you usually get a good bit of an idea to bounce off. Most races would be lifeless without backstory, the core of role play. That said, I am grabbing a few of these to modify some of my own concepts.

To the three tiered pseudo-rating ARG system and the pathetic point system (does anyone not Paizo like it?), I just took it all with a pound of salt and followed a post from Umbral Reaver. I point out the system using my own points and then charge X attribute points to play the more powerful races, with an extra point of two for the rare ones to weed out the min-max types. Under 3.5, my 'OP' Elves cost 5 extra to play and I still had seven players of Elves.

As for the toning down of gaze attacks, the 0 level Medusae that have been used locally has worked quite well, according the rumor. One round 'stun' is the norm with a reduced DC. One game uses feats to eventually reach parity with the race while another scales by level. Neither is mine so I can't post them w/o permission.

Bandw2, on the 'OP' races, could I request a bit on what you see as over powering. On some I have my own ideas, but I've always found illumination in others' views. Each one you've 'OPed' I agree with, but would like your thinking on them, perhaps even your solution (s). I guess for that matter, what ideas you have to fix the weaker ones. Btw, I agree with your judgement of Core Halflings being on the weak side, any suggested improvements?

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Has anyone translated this to Pathfinder? They were the mechanical basis to a few rival groups of campaign mages for the past dozen years. I would like an updated version or even a few more to use in the next incarnation of my world.

In my game, there was a LG rip-off of the Green Lantern Corps, a research oriented N group, a necromantic cabal of BBEGs and an elven preservation society. The researchers were a crappy 20 level 'Class', the others being PrCs with slightly altered mechanics (the elves could use theirs as a radio). The necromancers were the sinister foes in the past game and I would like to use them in the RotRL reskin I am running for some old players. One of the players used the PrC as the basis for an ithylid based bunch of nasties in his drow game.

Anyone with ideas is welcome to weigh in, especially if you have Complete Arcane or even just access.

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gustavo iglesias wrote:

I think I found the right reskin of the giants, and it's not even needed to go that far.

In Lost Kingdoms, when talking about Thassilonian Empire, they talk about Inverted Giants.
Mokmurian as a dark sorcerer, with an army of inverted giants, should work perfectly.

Just read up on them, horrific! I could make them undead with little effort.

Memorial Day:

Ran Sandpoint with waves of skeletons and other low end undead as the bad guys. I salted in a few that fell apart, yet still fought (think 'the Mummy'). Two players actually mounted up and caught several of the skeleton between them on the street. The bowman got upset that he wasn't death on a string against them. He did cap the necromancer in charge. The Cleric tapped out on channeling and had to grab his mace and shield. Ended with a wall fight between the Rogue and Fighter against an undead champion. All enjoyed themselves.

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Yeah, she is the primary PF deity on this, so I guess I can slip a lesser deity under one of the Good ones. I have two players that were a Cleric and Pally under 3.5 and at least one will likely ask which G deity is the replacement (I have had such a paragon since I switched to 3.0). Maybe one of the second string jokers...

Easivra looks good...

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Wow! Wander off and the thread explodes!

Calistra: page 30 of Inner Sea Gods, Anti-Paladin Code

My life is my path. None shall sway me from it.
I devote myself to the pursuit of my passions.
I take what I desire, by trick or by force. If others resent my actions, they may attempt to take vengeance against me.
All slights against me will be repaid tenfold.
I am the instrument of my own justice, if I am wronged.
I will take vengeance with my own hands.

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Much better than the piece of crap I tried. My $.02:

Gaze: This is the big one. In order to get the powerful attack down to a reasonable level, I made it a Slow effect at first, with feats and level bumps to increase DC, effect, duration, range and such.

Snake hair: The snake bit you used is well written (better than mine), but I had tribes based on the snake hair. I only used cotton mouths and rattlers. Poison was limited to 3 plus Con modifier (min 1). This represented the poisonous snakes with remaining poison being blocked in the mass attacks. We also penalized the DC by one for each attack.

Looking over your work, I like were you're going. There was a 3.0 3rd party book on medusas that may be of use. If I remember when I get home tonite, I'll raid it for you. Unless I go to sleep. Unless I can't find the book. Unless I can't ...

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As I sit here in traffic without a book, etc., I have a question: Is there a specific Inner Sea Gods deity that focuses more on the anti-Undead schick? I absolutely cannot remember one but I'm not the best on memory.

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Makeitstop wrote:
Ooh, I like the idea of a Brigadoon inspired people. And trade offs are fun, though I usually avoid them myself because of hard it can be to make them work well. It all sounds quite interesting.

It got started when one of my players brought the book to a game for a telst the next day. He caught a lot of ribbing, but the eventual result was a bs session about having an encounter of that type. The next night I was in a party stuck in a displcer beast and blink dog fight. Something clicked.

The 1980ish version phased in over time, leaving the residents semi-incorporeal during the process and 'real' for a random time. Getting caught when outsiders phase out could 'infect' you, while villagers that failed to get back faded. The group I was running were heavily into Romance novels and actively worked the lost love angle and glitched into the tragedy of their sidekick from the village getting left behind and fading away. I make it sound incidental, but it really dug deep into player psyches and made for a memorable night.

As for the village, everyone has some magic and life integrates it at every level. Remember that these are magic using peasants of weak education, not PCs. With only a few hundred adults, and tethered by their phasing, they were a minor threat at best and I used them as a plot device.

In 2002 (?), one of the old players wanted to play one as an innocent aboard and we hammered out the race. Gone was the Brigadoon background, for the most part, and reduced chance of phase death. I was trying to keep the racial adjustment down and bought Mythic Races about that time so I had a path to pretend to follow.

Now, they are on the race list for my game at 8 points extra.

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Well, I don't have them to hand at the moment, but they were victims of a spat between two high end mages. The village is unstable, shifting in and out of an accidental pocket dimension, think Brigadoon. Every one there is a born sorcerer(I need to craft just the right bloodline for this) and don't intreface to well with the 'real world'. I had a phasing in and out mechanic that never quite worked. They had to stay in the area of the village while young till they gained some control of the curse and boon of the effect. Able to concentrate, they could avoid critical confirmations, SA damage or Favored Enemy damage simply by phasing out a bit. Bonuses to saves and other Benefits were balanced by healing and negative HP problems, along with dissipating in our world. Feats for the race were designed to be a touch powerful, but carrying a nasty twist, ala witch's curses.

A Feat allowing walking on air also risked rapid disapation. Another allowed them to pierce other people's bodies for hth damage, but with the downside of both taking damage. One of my players came up with 'misting' a vampire like power, but with lots of disapation.

I didn't give them a bonus to Cha cuz that would be making them too powerful. No plus to a stat or skill point, they are country rustics after all.

The village is only a few hundred, but they age like elves and reproduce at half-ish the pace of humans. Those who wander pick up a lot of languages and most know several growing up. They are semi-literate, but love bards and travelers who visit the region were the effect is weaker.

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I was just made aware that I am often made to roll behind the screen. The original reason was 10 stirges nearly wiping a party of 5 level 4-5 characters, but last campaign one players claimed I was getting too many hits. After the next encounter, he was begging me to roll in secret (23 or 24 attacks of under 50 percent for 19 hits, 7 threats none better than 20 percent for 4 crits). Yeah, I was hot! Wish I could roll that way with my Cleric! Technically, it could be called cheating, but I hate TPKs.

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Being a math and detail impaired player and GM, I always let another player check and advise me on my character or have players check each other every few sessions. As for rules, I stick whoever griped the most last time. Initiative loot and player log all get passed out so I do NOT have to do it.

Having an above average IQ crew in my last two campaigns and another coming, my players often know the rules better than I and police each other. This caused a row a few years back, a Druid ability misunderstanding and stubbornness.

Beyond that, a GM can Fudge in order to advance the story, hand wave long actions that violate the 'fun' rule, etc. What he cannot do is play favorites or deny a player a chance to play their character. (There are more, but these are my current rants) I believe the story is the primary responsibility of the GM and he or she must see it that way. Second come lesser things like marking fire exits, peace bonding player weaponry (yes, we regularly play with more firearms than players with side orders of cutlery), polling players on house and table rules or running fights (usually run by players). I have racked my players on letting my screw up rules, etc. They have gotten to trolling for screw ups and keep me honest and on track with player oriented story lines. All are down with this and are very demanding of other players. They know that having me worry with details can derail a whole session, time none of us old farts has to waste on letting some idiot cheat.

Establishing an open character sheet and the frequent checking levels out cheaters while networking better characters. I am a much more effective 3.5 Cleric due to some of this a few years back. Heck, I raid these boards to all manner of ideas.

As for specific problems:
Hit Points should be standard for every one and thing
Abilities must be rolled in front of the GM and at least half the core players, but point buy is better. I don't mind, but I average better than a 35 point buy with best 3/4.
Dice are rolled in a clear fat glass in our games, or a dice tower (must face the GM). This became mandatory after dice scattered a vital melee. We have a female firefighter who can take any guy at the last table with no dissenting voices and that is her table rule.
Character sheets must be audited and red lined with errors (easy for a prior game, three teachers and a teaching professor). You'd be surprised how red marks upset 50 plus men!
Secret boons, aids, gimmes and such should be GM's eyes only and NEVER on a character sheet. I use index cards, numbered as I give them out and kept in a notebook no one gets to see. Yes, I give out false cards!
I try to talk to players between games, web being the best, primarily to get feedback but also to let problem players of all types have some guidance. An old school teleporting player (bouncing to the rear in every fight but at the front for the loot, but just outside the range of any trap, etc) is my most recent problem child.

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From Inner Sea Gods, Abadar (LN), Sarenrae (NG) and Shelyn (NG) are all non-LG deities with Paladins.

The Anti-paladin deities are Calistra(CG), Lamashtu (CE), Norgorber (NE), Rovagug (CE) and Urgathoa (NE).

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Just spotted this thread and will have to steal the ideas within.

In one of the local games, a giant incorporated them into murals in his lair, high enough that we runts could not reach them without effort. We never would have found them if I hadn't scaled the wall to search the 'chandelier' and set off a desperately needed CMW sigil !

A few rooms later, we found tapestries with similar enchantments and a levitation 'trap' carved into the bottom of a air shaft. Need to go back there and find where it goes.

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