A group I 'coach' is made up of teenagers in nearby blocks and about a third female. Most are 'artsey' types (band, theater, choral, etc.) They decided to make up full body art for each of their characters, notebook sized, to serve as visual references for other players (These are placed in front of the player).
Last night, after their all day game (ah, the good old days!), the girl who is the most artistic dropped my 'Second Darkness' AP off and I got to see these 'cards' for the first time. All four female characters would easily grace the pages of Playboy! Only the human male Sorcerer/Bard would grade as better than 'meh', with the rest overly muscled escapees for bodybuilder mags (including the 7 Str Wizard!). I casually mentioned this only to find that 2 of the female characters were played by males and the actress in the group was playing the S/B. Granted, the oldest is 19 (?), but I thot it odd that her description of roles put every female character into a non-melee role. One of the guys specifically chose to be the Oracle to avoid melee! And party face was the budding actress (but then, she has more personality drive than the rest).
Even in a group that can transcend gender in their characters, there exists a heavy spicing of sexism.
As long as I know the rules beforehand and don't have to deal with the ref constantly changing them, I'm OK.
When running, I abuse the Rules Lawyer by tapping him (odd, always 'him') for rule interpretations and rulings. I pawn off record keeping, initiative and every other task I can on players. Keeps 'em too busy to spot my screw-ups.
The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad wrote:
You played nice. The kobolds could have been using flasks of alchemist's fire, which could have melted parts of the glacier ;)
Thought about something like that, but having already established that the Dragon took extra damage from fire, it was a no go. Had to make do with snow covered crevices.
I stock run a Kobold tribe with 1/10 Fighters and Rogues, trap making etc. Then I leaven the dough with a like number of Sorcerers and about 1 Cleric per 20-30.
When I ran the last 'Dragon' encounter with guardian Kobolds, it was in a glacier filled with crevasses. Mass waves of grappling Kobolds was the order of the day. Only when the party was up to their eyes in screaming Kobolds did the Dragon appear. They can be quite deadly if the party depends too much on Dex and dodge. And half way through the BBEG fight, the Dragon retreats onto a shelf of ice where the Kobold cleric pops a couple of healing spells on her. Back over 50%, while the party was still grappled and couldn't heal themselves, it was a dirty trick.
I treated the kobold army as a separate monster for exp. Only when the dust settled did the party find they had just beaten equivalent of two CR 15 encounters.
I like this! * rolls of 4d6 each, dropping the extremes would probably work.
As for no high/no low scores, use averaging dice, if you can find them.
I just finished a highly suspect test, but the problem David Haller points out (no point value below 7) is kicking my results. Continuing the downward progression (6 sets of best 3 of 4) comes to 18.73 or 20.94, subject to my crappy math. I went with increasing the points for the low stat by 1 on even, 2 on the odd down to 3 (a 1/1296 chance, btw). Then, I cheated and used a previous '3 keep 4' posting results I had stashed, so my results might be skewed. Heck, they are, two differing results from the same math?
Prep lets me know the world better. I tend to run loose in an actual game, but I KNOW the world and what fits and what doesn't. I know why their are no half-Orcs, yet Orc-blooded Humans exist. I know why their are about a half-dozen 'cat' races that don't resemble each other but superficially. I know scads of other things, too. But some I leave to players to create during play. I know the 'whys' of the 15 point buy I use and granting a character 'ability' point per level rather than a +1 to a stat every 4 levels. Mostly, I deal in the mechanics or crunch, leaving the flavor and fluff to the players.
My players have fleshed in a lot, from Elvish maternal traditions, legalities and cultural taboos to why Goblins have so many sub-races (23 and counting). I do my best to stay out of their way, as they are normally more logical than I. I never would have thought to put the rendering yard down hill from the butcher's shop and barber shop.
Do not fill in everything, let your players into the creation process and they will surprise you with their ingenuity! I was banning oriental weapons and armor in my game until a player coughed up a reasonable explanation for the existence of heavy, yet non=metallic, armors. Another worked out a Portal system for the game that allowed certain story elements to go forward without creating the 'poof and we're there' get over. My spell point system is based on the HypertextD20 system, but with a BS session or four of refinement. A player came up with why we have to have spell components and Sorcerers count as magical beings. My players wanted a Ranger with MORE spell power and less Base Attack Bonus, a Class these boards helped to generate.
I see GMing as tossing problems to the players to overcome in inspiring ways. Their job is to keep me so entertained that I can't wait to run next time. My job is to keep the world in a state where they can both immerse themselves and tap inner creativity to flesh out the world, solve mysteries, accomplish goals and "defeat the defeatless"!
I know I'm going to get raked for this, but its worked for 37 years.
Captain Emberwrath wrote:
-2 Int, +2 Dex, +2 Wis (While quick on their feet and seeking their place with the divine the Fetch lacks understanding of a great many things.)
now I play the jackass.
Maybe its just me, but I see Wisdom as the stat linked to understanding.
"the Fetch generally lives it's life in solitude once it's human parents pass on." Are the gregarious party animals till the folks pass?
Due to their lighter weight and build, they might be more vulnerable to bull rushes, etc.
Are they Human swapped only? I note this as we had a really good GM ages ago that only had the cool things happen to the humans, primarily due to his fixation on real world mythology. With two dozen playable races in my game, I have to table rule things like this all the time. (My Fey, being projections of the real Fey still in that realm, are impossible to kill on this plane, one grigg chasing the party whose Druid defeated him until the Grigg won, then gifting the Druid with the item they had been searching for.)
I really would prefer rolling, not entirely because I roll like the Blessed of the Luck Gods. My basis is 'that's the way we did it back in the day', a lousy reason. My current 'rolled' character has 18, 18, 16, 15, 14 and 13 rolls. In a seven person party, no one else has two stats above 16 (although one has 3 16s). I never get credit for roll playing, its always 'yeah, with those stats...'.
When I played Marvel SH 'BitD', I rolled a Human Torch, jr. Our group consisted of Thor's nephew (this guy was awesome!), a mech/tech type and two (2) Jimmy Olsens. Guess who did all the real fighting.
Point buy is fairer, but I can't argue against Array buys, our even pick your own Array systems.
One game I played in had stoning as a lower level spell, transforming victims into grotesque, Gargoyle-like blobs. Gargoyles rest in much the same form. Imagine my surprise when I tried to dispel a victim (we were looking for a lost princess) and the game's first Gargoyle slapped me silly!
Octopoid eyes could work, though the whole rectangular pupil thing is freaky. I'll try to draw something up after work. I did find a pic (I think it was from plascape in fact) that showed a tieling that wasnt too "goat/dog-ish", so I might start with that.
A local player has goat eyes for his Tiefling.
I guess my big gripe, now that I've had time to stew a bit, is that the players of rare/unusual races want so desperately to have that Toon treated as common and everyday. Its like lusting after and finally buying that bright red Lamborghini and expecting to never be pulled over! Maybe some of you live in nirvana, but around here the police would ticket you just 'cuz! Heck, at DragonCon, the Atlanta police threatened to bust a crew from 551 for carrying movie prop blasters! Ack! Just think of how the TSA would freak if you came through with REAL horns and claws?
Must stop now, I just teed off some gamers on how legit super powers would work out socially in the real world...
Alas, the disparity between player skill levels, interests and more are a part of the session. I try and assign mentors for newer players from the absolutely most dominant and aggressive players. I let the Bossy Britches know that THEIR exp will come from their apprentice's progression as a player. This does work...irregularly. The last game's most dominant player had never played anything prior, but was the head b***h queen for driving the plotline along by the end. Even her early mentor, a dyed in the wool rules lawyer was intimidated!
The other edge is when you as a player are too rules savvy for a weak, or worse, incompetent DM. My group includes a <self-censored> jerk that fears someone might get something over on him. He always rules against anyone he sees as threatening his imagined authority. His 'legendary' game was back under 3.0 and was renowned for rules on the fly that always changed in his favor. Currently, he's nearby creating a Fire Goblin Sorcerer that will have all the 'fire' spells. As opposed to his previous dozen or so Sorcerers of differing races. He likes them because they're 'easy to play'!
Depends on your game world and the themes you want to put forth in it. I consider it a bigger problem if the assumption is that everybody in the game world is a racist.
Hmmm, a world specific, valid POV. But, you have noticed that the 'assumed' default settings of virtually every fantasy game system has certain races as the predominate bad guys and certain races as the predominate good guys (elves/orcs)? Besides, the whole point of playing a 'bad boy' race is the whole 'outsider' angle. How can you be the 'outlaw biker' type and no one notice?
The biggest problem I've seen is that players expect no negative consequences for playing an 'undesirable' race, a problem common to Half-orc players as well. This is an integral part of the 'role play' when taking an odd ball race. Now, I have seen several players really crawl into the character of the race, not just pull the stereotype or fake an angst ridden knockoff. It really rocks when a player hits the perfect spot.
Christina Stiles wrote:
Depression is the monkey on the back for a lot of creative types. I see it as coming in waves, primarily when the 'juices' go dry. I'm on meds now, but the best treatment I've found is a small dog that has no time for you to be 'down'.
Speaking of which, I must now go let him water the neighbor's grass.
I have 4 allowed as PCs:
1) Standard Catfolk: as per the MM. Really a mix of several races that have been brought in.
2) Centan, also other names: Not quite the book half-orc. May have to steal Umbral Reaver's idea, perhaps Bite instead of Improved Initiative?
3) Abasti: puma-based followers of Bast, keyed to fighting undead.
4) Aki: a Small race, cheated with a Halfling knock-off a friend created. Think Puss-in-Boots.
Painful memories! Strange how the NPCs all knew the rulings and how the rulings changed to their benefit at odd times.
The Quite-big-but-not-BIG Bad wrote:
Thing is, wizards and sorcerers can do the exact same thing as druids. It's basically the spell Beast Shape. They just have to ahem... 'finish' within 1 minute per level.
Well, a Wizard would at have at least 5 turns, a Sorcerer 6, a...
As I tend to run a lot of complicated fights, the final one of the last session involved 20-ish combatants and a burning ship, I tend to give the players about a minute if they need to ask a question or make a complicated move. And I will pull the plug, (well, bump a character back in the initiative order) if a player stalls. I will admit to shortening the time for more experienced players, but they often have the intricate things they want to accomplish.
In the above instance, a Spring Attack oriented Ftr ran onto the ship, burst through a wall of flame (burning sail), bull-rushed a foe to seize a fallen comrade and dive out a missing wall. This is followed by the Ranger shooting a rope arrow for the Ftr to be pulled to shore with, then things got complicated. Even with a minute, there was no way to do this fast. I felt bad for the newby Sorcerer that was using bull strength to 'land' the Ftr. "I pull Shawn to shore" round after round. Granted, she directly saved two lives (Shawn was -18 on his Swim skill), but...
A long easy talk is called for. Being in a separate location just increases your disconnect from the others, but I've had players pull the same 'talking behind the back' ruse in order to sabotage the game, so I'm likely too opposed to Bob from the outset. What you need is a common chat system that auto-flags everyone. I have always trusted one of the players to handle that and it mostly worked. Mostly...
I'm fine with the players having the books online or on the table. I pass off rulings to them, and they can get mean to each other. All know I torque my critters and several have provided their own alterations (I try to use these variations on the hapless soul that came up with it).
Some games (mine) track components for plot reasons. Specialists in their field and spontaneous casters don't require them, but other Wizards do. A PC finally realized she could ID a body's school by what components he DIDN'T have, allowing the party to see through a ruse. It gives another form of treasure, not too expensive and very popular. A campaign feat allowing a caster to craft his own got him out of a prison, roleplaying the accumulation of alternate sources. Another Wizard keeps a camouflaged patch under an arm with one use of a universal component. I like the working in of a few uses into a spellbook's binding, a part of the personalization. Lots of flavor with little backlash, so far.
My Trollkyn are very loosely based on Runequest (or rather, my weak and imperfect memories there of). Since I have a Troll Type in my game, this may not be really useful to you...
Trollkyn Racial Traits:
It costs 5 Ability points to play a Trollkyn.
1) Stench is a campaign thing, a modifier to Scent rolls and a measure of DC for things like Troglodytes.
2)There are several Troll feats that grant Str at the expense of Dex or a mental stat, plus Claws, etc, all turning the Character into a monster.
3)There are Troll feats that reduce the fractal to 1/2.
"Humanoid races have few or no supernatural or spell-like abilities, but most can speak and have well-developed societies."
"If a spell specifies humanoid it doesn't work on monstrous humanoids,..."
All the features of H/MH are not fixed and are often mutable. Even the darkvision granted to all MH can be removed and Dwarves get it to start with. All H get are the fluff of organized societies.
MH get a bigger HD, better BAB, two saves and better skills, all of which are lost if they are a 0 HD taking a Class.
This is the gist of what I'm asking. Is this/are these the only real differences or am I missing something?
Without getting into HD sizes and Darkvision, I believe the primary difference between H and MH is the way magic and other things affect them. Humanoids may have 'monstrous features' (Dwarves with Darkvision, ...), just as Monstrous Humanoids might only have one (giant size, ...). Both types have multiple exceptions, so the real difference is in the mechanics, or where am I wrong headed?
Rod Millard wrote:
On the GM(N)PC debate, I tend to use a bard...
Bards are great ways to patch gaps in a party, so long as you keep them from the spot light. I began using the last Bard-npc to drag players back over clues they had ignored.
There was an article I read an eon or so back that analyzed Shakespeare's minor character use. The upshot was that they should never be on stage for more than a few minutes. Macbeth's witches are important, but pass from the stage after their schtick, obviously NPCs. Puck keeps popping up, a PC and not a minor character.
I remember there being a 'What's New' with Phil and Dixie that dealt with this. What happens when the 'god' makes himself too common. is you lose the 'mystery'. We once had a 'Thors-day night poker game' with...wait of it...Thor! Well, Thor, Loki, Apollo and Agni as regulars, really got old after a short time.
Hero Games used to have 'flag' symbols to mark quirks in the rules: Stop signs for 'be careful', etc. I have, in the past, marked certain races and classes as 'RP' to let players know that I have very specific thoughts on how they are to be played. Of late, this has stopped a half-orc samurai, 2 elf barbarians and a dinosaur rider. Player input has resulted in my adding an 'Elf' class and a number of niche races that started as one-off encounters. My spell point system was horned in by one of my players. I have little problem with players are familiar with the world adding stuff, as they are invested and often have better ideas and even more unified visions than I do, I guess biggest gripe is with people who've never played my world insisting on something that just don't fit. I owe it to my legacy players to keep the game on an even keel.
I tailor clerics to specific deities: some getting better armor, others more spell ooomph, others...you get the idea. That being said, once a cleric hits about level 6, they can almost go unarmed. One of our Sorceresses made a point of going into the last three dungeons in a 'peasant dress'. Don't laugh, the only two blows she got hit by would have hit better than 10 AC higher.