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Ezren

Haladir's page

RPG Superstar 2014 Star Voter, 2015 Star Voter. Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 2,949 posts (4,092 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 22 aliases.


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Okay...

1) Let's use the dice roller on the site, like in just about every other PbP. I'll roll for monsters/NPCs behind a Spoiler tag.

2) Instead of formal Hero Points, I may just occasionally overrule a dice roll if things would go very badly for the party.

3) For personal time management reasons, I don't think I'll build a new campaign site. I'll just link externally as needed.

4) Excellent! I have a couple of side-quests in mind that I hope you'll enjoy!

On Haladir's GM Style

To me, the magic of a role-playing game is the collective storytelling aspect. As a GM, I strive to spin a fun, engaging story where the players take on the roles of the protagonists. As a collective experience, I very much encourage players to add to the story. Go ahead and build references to your own (or other PCs'!) backstories in your posts. Make up minor NPCs to interact with. Take the story down an unexpected path.

I'm not a fan of pointless PC death. It's one thing to make a heroic sacrifice to defeat the Big Bad, or to hold the pass to let innocents escape. It's quite another to get decapitated by an owlbear in a random forest encounter, or to get your throat cut during a fight with Thug#3 who happened to score a two critical hits and roll max damage both times. Consequently, my philosophy is not to let a bad die roll derail the plot. (Complicate the plot? Certainly. Derail? No.)

I'm not a huge stickler for rules-as-written, and try to live by rules-as-intended. (This is why I'd make a lousy GM in PFS.) I have no problem with ruling "No. Because that's dumb." Usually, I'm pretty liberal with interpretations, unless it leads to absurdity. None of the PCs in this game use bizzare combinations of corner-case rules, so that's probably not going to be a big deal.

It's less a thing with PbPs, but in the case of rules questions, I like to make a table ruling to keep the encounter moving, and then figure out the real rule between sessions. Since PbP is asynchronous, that's less an issue.

On alignment: To me, alignment is descriptive not prescriptive. Your alignment does not impose upon or limit your actions; your character's personality (of which alignment is a component) should guide your role-playing decisions. Alignment paints with a broad brush, and there are many interpretations. Alignments can shift with character development; indeed, I encourage that as part of character growth. If I think you've been consistently playing a character that's not in accordance with the alignment written on the character sheet, I'll let you know out-of-band.

That's probably about it for now. As soon as the folks at Paizo hand me the reins of this campaign, I'll get new maps and campaign info up on the tabs. Once that's done, we'll be able to continue the fight in the Glassworks!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Only about 50 votes in so far, but the quality defintely seems up this year!

I'm really impressed with the creativity I've seen. Not everyone nailed the mechanics, but even most of the items I've had to downvote showed a great degree of creativity!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Trick question! Both the bloodied condition and displacer beasts are only found in D&D, so you will never see either in PFS!

Would you rather play in a D&D 5e game set in Golarion, or a PFRPG game set in the Forgotten Realms?

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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I've played PFS exactly three times (all with pregens) and really had a lousy time each time. And in the third game, I decided to walk away from the table after two hours.

It wasn't so much the PFS system, it was the PFS players/GMs that I've played with that really soured me on organized play. I just did not have any fun playing with them. If those are the kinds of gamers who go to PFS (at least in my area), then I'll stick with home games.

I've been playing in / running home games exclusively ever since.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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I would say that you could use the suggestion to compel the subject not to do or say anything about what he just saw, but you'd need the modify memory spell to make the subject actually forget it.

I just combined the two effects in a trap for a dungeon I designed. It's triggered by stepping into the tomb of a lost wizard-king. If you fail your saving throw, you get hit with a suggestion to turn around and walk back out the door, combined with a modify memory that the door had opened into a small closet that had nothing in it.

I'm planning to actually change the map if the PCs trigger it.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Rynjin wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Rynjin wrote:

problem comes in when there are several rules mechanics that go "Nah, it's no subjective, these things are unequivocally Evil/Good/Blooper because I said so".

Best to just terminate those with extreme prejudice.

I'm talking about PC alignment.

Aside from aligned outsiders [which are objectively aligned, by definition], what are you talking about?

-Undead are always evil. Making undead is always evil. Because.

-Drinking blood for some benefit is always evil, no exceptions. You're a Dhampir who bites Evil McEvilton and gets some Temp HP to stave off imminent death? Evil.

-Casting Aligned spells changes your alignment. Because.

Just a few examples.

Defiling a corpse by using dark magic to make it walk and do your bidding? Um, seems pretty darned evil to me!

Drinking the blood of a humanoid is cannibalism. Um, seems pretty darned evil to me!

Summoning dark powers via unspeakable eldritch rituals and incantations? Um, seems pretty darned evil to me!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Rynjin wrote:

problem comes in when there are several rules mechanics that go "Nah, it's no subjective, these things are unequivocally Evil/Good/Blooper because I said so".

Best to just terminate those with extreme prejudice.

I'm talking about PC alignment.

Aside from aligned outsiders [which are objectively aligned, by definition], what are you talking about?

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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I've never pulled the mask off the monster revealing it to be Old Man Henderson, who was trying to scare away the tourists.

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I've never been in a Mexican standoff.

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I've never successfully swung from a chandelier.

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I've never played a Pathfinder conversion of a classic AD&D module.

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I use alignment, pretty much as-written in the rules.

Alignment is descriptive of character action/motivation, and is a useful shorthand for a character's morality/ethics. It's not a straightjacket or a constraint to roleplaying. They're guidelines, not hard-and-fast rules.

As a GM, I subjectively determine what a PC's alignment is, based on the overall actions of the character. This is almost always what the player has written on the sheet, but not always.

The inherent subjectivity of the alignment system is a feature, not a bug. I've been using alignment for 30 years, and have no intention of changing it.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Don't split the party!

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I've never really understood why there's so much debate about infernal healing. The spell invokes the powers of Hell to briefly imbue the recipient with a small fraction of a devil's infernal powers. By any standard, using the powers of Hell is an evil act.

In my home game, I've replaced the text of the spell description with the following, to draw a slightly heavier line about what the spell is actually doing...

You anoint a wounded creature with unholy water or devil’s blood, imbuing it with a devil’s fast healing 1 for the spell’s duration. This spell cannot heal damage caused by silver weapons, good-aligned weapons, or spells with the good descriptor. While the spell is in effect, the target gains an evil aura as if it were an evil-aligned creature of the same level (see detect evil for details). The target can also feel the evil of the spell as it works on his or her body, as tempting images of greed, lust, envy, wrath, etc. fill the subject’s mind. Occasional use of this spell does not necessarily have long-term effects on the target’s alignment.

In my game, the spell temporarily imbues the subject with a fragment of a devi's soul. That's what causes the fast healing, and also the alignment aura. It's also why the spell can't heal the same kinds of damage a devil can't heal. Both casting and acceptance of this spell is an evil act. A minor act of evil, but it's still evil.

If a character receives the spell, I'll actually describe one of the images-- usually it's of the PC succumbing to temptation in a way that's according to that character's personality. (e.g. "You have a vision of yourself at the marketplace. The merchant turns away from you for a moment, and you nonchalantly pick up an expensive bauble and slip it in your pocket and casually walk away. You smile to yourself in satisfaction that it was so easy to rob this idiot. You think to yourself, 'If he can't keep his merchandise safe, it's his own fault if he's robbed!'")

Asmodeus released this spell into the world to make people think that he's not such a bad guy after all-- and to make them willingly fall into his clutches. The fact that this spell causes so much debate on the boards about whether it's really evil just makes the Prince of Darkness smile.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Vincent Takeda wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
Vincent Takeda wrote:
I remember reading an article somewhere that 'Sometimes having more choices isnt a good thing.'
"As the number of options increases, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase. The level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases." Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice
Thats the one. Good find!

I have no problem restricting player options right out of the gate. Just make sure that everyone's on the same page at the outset.

For example, my current campaign is:

Core Races only.
Core Classes plus the Alchemist, Cavalier, Inquisitor, Magus, and Witch.
No alternate race or class features.
Archetypes considered on a case-by-case basis. Check with GM before proceeding. You may not take an archetype if it's the first time you've played that class in a regular campaign.
Feats from Core Rules plus Advanced Players Guide only.
Only spells from the Core Rules, plus any spells specifically on a class spell list in the class description from the book.
2 Traits, one must be a Campaign Trait.
No Drawbacks.
We are using Hero Points.
Other rules from Paizo sources will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
3PP sources will not be considered, nor will rules from any Paizo source that the GM does not own.
GM's ruling is final.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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I like the Mrs. Renfro's ghost pepper salsa because it actually has a really good flavor-- it's got a nice smokiness to it along with the searing heat.

A few years ago, I walked into a hot sauce store called Pepper Palace in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. They had samples of all of their sauces, with many baskets of tortilla chips. I tried a few, and my favorite was their Ghost in the Darkness. It had the perfect balance of heat and flavor-- it was pretty much exactly at the edge of my heat tolerance, and it also had an excellent flavor.

And then I tried The Hottest Sauce in the Universe- 2nd Dimension

Oh. My. God.

This stuff is liquid pain.

The bottle comes with a medicine dropper. I picked up about four chips and put one drop of this stuff on them, then ate them all at once. It took a moment to have its full effect, but DAMN!!! As the owner of the shop laughed at me, I ate an entire bowl of chips to try to cut the spice. I handed a bottle of Ghost in the Darkness to my wife and gasped, "Buy this one," and went across the street to a coffee shop. There, I bought an ice coffee, and proceeded to dump a lot of half-and-half into it. (Capsascin is more soluable in alcohol and oils than water.) After finishing that in about five minutes, I ordered another. Seriously-- I could still feel the burn in my mouth for about three hours. From ONE DROP. And I eat ghost pepper salsa regularly.

Spicy food is about the only thing I'm macho about. That one beat me.

(And we're not going to talk about the time I went out for drinks at a Tex-Mex place with co-workers after the busiest week of the year, and after my third margarita-on-the-rocks, I got talked into drinking a half-ounce of habanero hot sauce from a shot glass. That was not on the "Smartest Things Hal Has Ever Done" list.)

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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When I was younger, I used to be way too heavy-handed. I hung on to the old-school AD&D "GM vs. players" mindset for too long.

For example, if the PCs came up with a way to do something that I hadn't thought of, I'd often contrive a way for it not to work, forcing the players to do it the "right" way. In other words, I used to stifle player creativity.

I've gotten better.

Now, I see the game as a collective storytelling process. I love it when the PCs come up with things I haven't thought of-- it forces me to be creative and adapt the story accordingly. And sometimes they come up with an idea about what's going on that's so much cooler than what I had planned that they're right!

And it makes the players feel so clever when they "figure it out." Of course, I don't want to tell them that I've adapted the story because their suspicions were just so perfect they had to be right. I have to keep some level of mystique!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Misroi wrote:
How super-spicy are we talking, Haladir? Serranos? Habeneros? Ghost peppers?

My go-to is Mrs. Renfro's Ghost Pepper Salsa.

That stuff means it, but it's SO delicious!

I've tried salsas that were even hotter, but they were too hot even for me.

I'm the kind of guy who goes through a 17oz. bottle of Sriracha in about six weeks.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Chyrone wrote:
Mannequins stalking the party.

And speaking of mannequins, I acutally ran this encounter last night...

(The encounter was inspired by a similar encounter from Shards of Sin, plus my running across this image on the iterwebz...) [might possibly be construed as NSFW by the extremely prudish]

In an otherwise empty room of the dungeon they're exploring, they found a battered brass mannequin lying on the floor in the corner. It was female in form, and had fully articulated joints. They saw wires and cables running through openings in the brass body plates of the mannequin, near the joints. They also noticed that it had a keyhole in its side, about 12 inches below its right armpit. Not knowing what it was, and realizing that it weighed about 250 lbs, they decided to leave it there.

In a later encounter, they found a strange crystal key. Returning to the mannequin, they found that the key fit, and they could turn it, as if winding the mainspring of a clock. What ensued was a 90-minute discussion of whether or not to wind up the automaton-- half the players assumed it would attack and advised against winding it; and the other half just really wanted to see what it would do, for good or ill.

After they turned it as far as it would go and removed the key, they heard a distinct ticking from the mannequin. Its eyes glowed with a faint blue light, and it shuddered to life, standing up. Seeing the person with the key, it then spoke words in a strange language using a halting, mechanical-souding, but distinctly female voice.

One of the PCs (not the one holding the key) spoke the language and translated: "Greetings, master. I apologize for letting myself wind down. What task shall I perform?"

The mannequin is a variant intelligent clockwork servant that serves whoever last wound it up.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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This was back in 2nd Ed AD&D...

Relatively low-level PCs were playing cat-and-mouse with a vampire. I
The vampire was winning. At one point the crossbow-specialist successfully makes a called shot to the vampire's heart-- staking him. The vampire falls dead.

Before the rest of the party can stop him the player says, "Awesome! I take the quarrel as a souvenir!"

The vampire then wakes up and attacks.

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I absolutely love it when the PCs piece together clues about what's going on... and come to a conclusion that's COOLER than what I'd planned.

I usually then change the story to match what the players came up with.

It happens rather frequently. I have awesome players.

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Liranys wrote:
Magical Item: Necro-Gnome Icon - A small Gnome figurine dressed in sorcerer's clothing. With the command word "Jinkies" 5 HD worth of Zombies will be summoned. However, these Zombies are uncontrollable unless a Control Undead spell is used after they are summoned. If Item is used and no Control Undead spell is cast, roll percentiles. On a 1-45, Zombies attack the party, on a 46-89, Zombies attack the nearest non-party member. On a 90 or above, Zombies ignore everyone else around them and tear each other to shreds.

You should specify that they're size Small zomibies... necro-gnomes, if you will!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Alignment is descriptive of a character's motivations and actions, not prescriptive of what a character's motivations and actions should be.

So many people seem to get this backwards.

To me:

Law represents a deep-held belief that everything has its proper place; that there's a "right way" and a "wrong way" to do things; that legitimate authorites must be respected; a sense of duty to abstract causes; a tendency toward personal organization (making one's bed in the morning, keeping a tidy desk, organizing one's filing cabinet); a preference for routine and predictablilty; belief that society as a whole is more important than individual members of that society.

Guiding principle: "Let's do this the right way."

Chaos represents a belief that all things are constantly in flux; that everyone has their own best way to do things; that authority should be respected if it's worthy of respect; alliances are personal; a tendency to just keep stuff in piles; a preference for always keeping options open; a hesitation to being pinned down to obligations; a belief that individuals are more important than society at large.

Guiding principle: "Let's do this and see what happens."

Good represents a belief that others are more important than oneself; that the weak should be protected from the strong; an innate desire to share what one has with others; a willingnes to sacrifice one's resources to benefit others; a desire to make the world a better place for everyone-- not just oneself and one's friends.

Guiding principle: "How can I help?"

Evil represents a belief that oneself is more important than anyone else; that the strong have a right to take what they want; a desire to keep what one has and to always be getting more; a willingness to sacrifice others' resources to get what one wants; a desire to make a better place for oneself and one's friends regardless of what it costs others.

Guiding principle: "What's in it for me?"

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Since 3.5 was released, I've played exactly one character that made it to 14th level. (A sword & shield fighter that only used feats from the 3.5 Players Handbook. He was easily the most combat-effective character in the party.)

I've never played or run a Pathfinder game that went over 11th level. Even campaigns that I intended to go higher fizzled out around level 9-10.

I think level 4-9 is the sweet spot, both as a GM and as a player.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Haladir wrote:
I think this is turning into a game of "Cards Against Humanity."

...a big, black dragon.

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I think this is turning into a game of "Cards Against Humanity."

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I think the thing non-New Yorkers don't get about that video is that on the streets of Manhattan, nobody talks to our makes eye contact with strangers normally. It's part of the social contract of living in close proximity to three million other people.

On the streets on NYC, anyone who says things to you when you walk past either knows you personally ("Hi, Hal!") or wants something from you ("Hey! DVDs! $5!")

NOBODY just says "hello" to you on the street unless they know you personally or want something. That's just how it is in New York.

So, the random person who says, "Hi, Beautiful!" To a random stranger on the street is declaring, "I noticed you. I want something from you. That something is attention and/or sex." It is very much NOT a compliment. It's a threat. "Pay me some attention or I might do something." He probably won't, but he might be the 1 in 100 who stalks you for a few blocks, or the 1 in 1000 who'll try to grab your purse, or the 1 in 5000 who'll try to cop a feel, our the 1 in 10,000 will try to pull you into an alley and rape you.

My wife tells me that the only good thing about turning 45 and going gray has been a huge decline in the number of catcalls she gets. As an older woman, she's feels safer walking alone.

Oh, she also said that no one ever catcalls when she's walking with a man. So men don't see it. It's a phenomenon only experienced by women walking by themselves.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Christopher Dudley wrote:
My wife said "The Blackscale Knives... I bet their leader is a black dragon." Uh... yeah... yeah he is... now.

There have been many times where I've changed things in reaction to player speculation. Sometimes because they guessed the plot twist I was planning (requiring me to either play it straight or put a twist to the twist). Other times because what they speculated was better than what I'd planned!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Liranys wrote:

So, after having a lot of fun writing a module using the 7 Deadly Sins, I started thinking (Dangerous, I know): "What am I going to do to top this module next year?" and I came up with this idea: Classical Books.

The first one I'm going to tackle: Alice in Wonderland

Gary Gygax beat you to it...

...and he also did an adaptaion of Through The Looking-Glass.

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I was on the receiving end of this one...

We were playing a modern-day urban fantasy game, using GURPS. My character was a technomage, and one of his quirks was "Star Trek fanboy". He was also the only magic-using character in the group.

One of the major plotlines was the search for this ancient Egyptian magical artifact that can do all kinds of weird stuff with dreams. We're having an epic boss battle with the bad guy that has the artifact, and my character successfully uses magic to wrest it away from her. He then uses the powers of the artifact against her. There's a brilliant flash of light, when we all hear hear the voice of one of our NPC allies (the owner of a Wiccan supply shop) come out of nowhere.

"Captain needed on the bridge."

One of the other players said, "Freeze program" and the entire fight scene with the bad guys stopeed as if the "pause" button had been pushed. Except for the other PCs.

One of the other players turned to me and said, "Captain, should we all head up?" The third other player said, "That was lousy timing. Computer. Save program. Exit." The GM described everything disappearing, and that the four of us were standing in a square room, walls and floor painted black, with yellow gridlines painted across all six sides, all about one yard apart. Metal doors appeared in one wall and slid open with an audible "Woosh."

That's when all of the other players took out their character sheets for the Star Trek: The Next Generation role-playing game. And the GM handed one to me for my character. It said, "Captain [PC's name]" The GM then put the GURPS rulebook away and took out his ST:TNG RPG book.

I looked around dumbfounded, and the players and GM all burst out laughing. The GM had clued in the other players that if I got my hands on the artifact and used it, we all fell into a a Star Trek reality where our regular GURPS game was a holonovel we liked to play on our down-time. Only my character thought that the game was the real world-- the other characters thought that the Star Trek world was real.

We ended up playing three sessions in Star Trek before my character was able to figure out what had happened (the artifact pulled my character's mind into a fantasy world), and then return to the real world.

(That session also turned out to be a "back door pilot" to a Star Trek: TNG campaign that the GM was thinking of running. Like many back-door pilots, that one didn't pan out.)

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Weirdness Magnet is a great disadvantage. It allows both the GM and the player to be extremely creative. In the right campaign, it's pure gold.

The example in the rulebook is amazing: "If the only talking dog in the world needed someone to complain to, he'd choose you."

Somewhat off-topic:
I was GMing a GURPS:X-Files game back in the late 1990s. One of the characters had "Weirdness Magnet," and I decided to do a long-game set up for a non-sequitur disturbing scene that had no bearing on the plot.

Every time that PC was in a bar, the same TV repairman and part-time inventor would chat up that PC and talk about his latest crazy invention: a device that can see into alternate dimensions. I played the scene four or five times, each time totally for laughs. Every time, he asked the PC for help securing a weird piece of techno-babble.

The last time he saw the inventor was decidedly not for laughs.

As that PC was staking out at building where the (completely unrelated) bad guys were, he sees the same crazy TV repairman/inventor running up the street toward him, screaming.

"It worked, but it's all wrong! Monsters! I saw monsters! And they saw me! Help! They're... GAAAAAARGHHH!" I described a black tentacle suddenly appearing out of thin air, wrapping around the inventor's arm. Seven more tentacles likewise appeared, wrapping them around the inventor, pulling him into... nowhere! As his head disappeared, his scream suddenly cut out as if he wasn't there any more. The inventor's flailing limbs appeared and disappeared into nothing, as if pulled into and through folds between the three dimensions of space, loops of tentacles roiling out and back into the folds. His face, covered in blood, briefly appeared and his scream abruptly sounded and disappeared, and finally a torrent of red blood shot out of nowhere, arced through thin air, and disappeared before splattering on the pavement. And then... silence. As if nothing had happened.

That scene totally freaked out the players.

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A while ago, I was playing in a modern-day GURPS:Espionage game. (The game was set present-day, which at the time was 1997.)

The PCs were agents undercover at a swanky Christmas party in New York. My character had the Advantage "Enhanced Perception", and heard suppressed automatic weapons fire in the next room. Unfortunately, he also had the Disadvantage "Weirdness Magnet."

With his hand inside his dinner jacket on the handle of his machine pistol, my agent turned to move into the next room.

And was blocked by a mime.

The mime had been milling around the party as entertainment, but he started the "stuck behind a glass wall" routine, and wouldn't let my character pass.

I declared, "I pull out my gun and crack him across the face with it."

The GM said, "Wait. What?"

Me: "I pistol-whip the mime."

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Last session, the party was fighting a dire ape. The sorcerer cast shocking grasp on the ape.

While the player of the sorcerer was gathering 5 six-siders, one of the other players tapped on his iPhone, and started playing "Shock the Monkey" by Peter Gabriel.

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I play RPGs in general for the collective storytelling experience, including playing the roles of other characters and solving problems within the confines of the game-world in-character.

To me, game mechanics are completely secondary to the collective storytelling experience. The rules provide the framework on which the creative part of the game hangs. As such, I tend to downplay game mechanics at my table.

I play Pathfinder primarily because I find the Golarion campaign world to be extremely compelling, and the Adventure Paths to be so consistently well-written. It's a whole lot less work converting the game stats to another system. Also, my players are most familiar with the D&D family of games, so PFRPG isn't that much of a stretch.

Honestely, if I had my druthers, we'd be using more free-form, rules-light game system like FATE.

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scootalol wrote:

My one and only personal ghost experience has been like one John Kretzer experienced; the phantom cat.

I would climb into bed, and a few minutes later, there would be the sensation of a cat jumping from the floor onto the mattress, walking over my leg. It would then knead the blanket between my knees, and then curl up to sleep. Sometimes it would purr...

I sometimes have the opposite effect. I'm sitting in a chair and suddenly realize that there's a cat in my lap and I'm petting him/her. I have no memory of the cat actually jumping into my lap.

The only conclusion one can reasonably draw is remarkably simple...

Cats can teleport.

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Flumphs.

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"I...DRINK...YOUR...MILKSHAKE!!!"

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My favorite 1st ed AD&D character from my high school days was named "Haladir..."

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Hmmm...

Jaelithe wrote:
1. Occasionally fudging die rolls, and reserving the right to roll behind a screen while requiring players to roll openly

Guilty. And unashamedly so. I've gone on record numerous times to say that I won't let a bad die roll derail a perfectly good plot. I use Hero Points in my game, so the same goes for the PCs, to a lesser extent.

Jaelithe wrote:
2. Employing prominent NPCs/GMPCs

Not exactly sure what you mean here. I don't like to add permanent NPCs to the party. If the party needs extra hands, I'll give out a free Leadership feat to the most responsible player and let them add a cohort. I will occasionally have an NPC join the party for an adventure if it's germaine to the plot. And NPCs should never overshadow the PCs-- that's just not fun!

Jaelithe wrote:
3. Disallowing (or even placing restrictions of any kind on) full casters

There is much talk on the boards about casters being overpowered with respect to martial characters. This has never been my experience in 30+ years of playing D&D and its derivatives, including PFRPG.

As for restrictions: One big one I use in my Pathfinder game is that only the spells from the Core Rulebook are generally known. Those are the only spells you can get "for free" at start or when you level up. That goes for divine casters too: clerics can only choose from the CRB at start. If you want a spell from a non-Core source, you have to either find it as treasure or research it yourself using the spell research rules.

Jaelithe wrote:
4. Enforcing alignment in clear and definitive fashion

Alignment is descriptive, not prescriptive. You play your character-- I'll decide what your alignment really is. If it mis-matches what's written on your character sheet, then you'll be surprised if you get caught in an alignment-dependent spell (e.g. unholy blight).

"What do you mean I take full damage?! I'm not evil!"

"Um, yes, you are."

Jaelithe wrote:
5. Imposing an objective morality on paladins, such as disallowing prevarication for selfish gain, torture, baby- (including baby monster) killing and casual sex as inherently evil and/or chaotic.

Not sure what you mean here. Paladins have to be lawful good, and have to live up to their code. At the same time, I love the paladin class, and encourage players to run one. I have never and will never trick a paladin into "falling." If a player has different ideas on what constitutes the paladin's code, we'll have an out-of-game discussion over it. A paladin losing her powers for making hard choices should be a satisfying role-playing occurance, not an arbitrary punishment.

Jaelithe wrote:
6. Not providing the "required"/desired magical paraphernalia on schedule

Guilty. Those things are boring, and there are creative ways around them. Like offering more interesting alternatives that use the "required" item slots.

Jaelithe wrote:
7. Believing the DM's role is benevolent autocrat rather than either gleeful tyrant or impotent fantasy tour guide

Unashamedly guilty. The GM's role is to provide a fun adventure that the players enjoy running through. Challenging the players is part of the fun; acting like a jerk on a power-trip isn't.

Jaelithe wrote:
8. Refusal to permit evil (or even chaotic neutral) PCs

Often guilty. At the start of a campaign, I usually give the players a choice of what sort of campaign they want to go on. If they want to go on a heroic adventure, then they need to be, um, heroes.

Jaelithe wrote:
9. Disallowing classes that violate the campaign's established and specific tone

Unashamedly guilty. If you want to play something weird, you have to convince me why it's a good idea, and to give me a compelling in-game reason why you're playing catfolk gunslinger/ninja in a game set in Nirmathas.

Jaelithe wrote:
10. Laying the smack down, hard, on abusive meta-gaming

Unashamedly guilty. Just because you, the player, may have memorized all the stats to all the monsters in Bestiaries 1-4 does not mean that your second-level fighter with no knowledge skills knows that proteans are immune to acid and polymorph effects. If you do that more than once, we're having an out-of-game chat.

Jaelithe wrote:
11. Requiring immersive role-play rather than simple recitation of mechanics

Guilty, though it's by example. I pretty much always GM NPCs first-person, and try to engage the PCs in a like manner. Most players just play right along.

Jaelithe wrote:
12. Taking control of PCs who refuse to role-play honestly when charmed, dominated, etc.

I will if I have to, but I prefer not to.

Jaelithe wrote:
Retaining control over magical weapons, cohorts, mounts, animal companions, eidolons, etc.

I will to a certain extent if the player is abusing them, but I usually have too many other things going on to police those.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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The West End Games version of Star Wars: The Role-playing Game.

A little game from the early 1980s called Psi World. The rules kind of sucked, but the art was by Bill Willimgham!

For a modern-day under-played game, I heartily recommend Fiasco!


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You damn kids with your web-pods and your e-phones, and your rap-hop music... Get off my lawn!

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Auren "Rin" Cloudstrider wrote:

1. people who pick on mine and my boyfriend's lolitafied fey for...

2. people who claim to be "Otaku"...
4. People who hate "Weeaboos" because every "Weeaboo" they played with played a Generic Tsundere Catgirl Ninja...

I'm guessing that they're anime terminology, but what the heck do "lolitafied," "otaku," "weeaboo," and "tsundere" mean? I honestly have no idea whatsoever.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Skeld wrote:

I dislike anyone under the age of 60 that comes to gaming wearing a fedora.

-Skeld

I bought a fedora and wore it for three days until my wife told me that it made me look like an @SSh0le.

I gave it to my daughter-- she really rocks that look!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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Generally, in most areas, I say that items sized for creatures smaller than Small or larger than Medium are curiosities rather than useful equipment. They sell for one-quarter list price, unless the PCs take the time to find a specific buyer.

In places with a population of creatues of the appropriate size, they sell normally. (e.g. size Large equipment sells as normal in Kaer Maga or Urglin, with all the ogres and trolls; size Tiny equipment sells as normal in Gnome communities in or near the Sanos Forest, where Tiny fey show up to trade from time to time.)

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A child's nursery rhyme scrawled on a wall in blood.

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My beloved grandmother died suddenly in 1989 when I was 20. I was a sophomore in college at the time. About a month after the funeral, I found myself studying in my dorm room when the phone rang. I picked it up.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Hal. It's Nana."

We had a very typical conversation for a few minutes: My classes, things going on at home, politics... And then I asked a question...

"Um, Nana, aren't you dead?"

"Yes. I'm calling from Heaven."

"I didn't think Heaven actually existed."

"It does if you believe in it. When you die, you go where you think you'll go."

"Huh."

"I have to go now. I won't be able to call you again. I love you. Good-bye."

"I love you too."

-CLICK- Dial tone.

And then I woke up.

The conversation had been a very vivid dream. Did I have an actual conversation with my grandmother from beyond the grave? Our was this my subconscious trying to provide my conscious mind with some closure? Hard to say. All I know is that I found that dream very comforting, and I still think of it 25 years later.

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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There have been times when I have been awake in bed and have seen things. Ghostly things. Glowing eyes floating in the darkness, looking at me. Sometimes I would also hear things: Static, or wind rushing, or indecipherable whispering, or a voice speaking my name.

These were always frightening, especially because I would sometimes find myself unable to look away, or even move. And then I would snap out of it, bolt upright in bed, and the eyes and strange sounds would be gone.

I started seeing the eyes when I was about 12 years old. Not often-- maybe once every two or three months. But it was always frightening, and I was sure I was seeing a ghost. Or an alien. Or a demon.

I kept seeing these terrifying eyes occasionally throughout my adolescence, into my college years, and into adulthood. While I am very much a skeptic vis-a-vis the paranormal, these visions both vexed and frightened me. Especially because these apparitions we're personal: They would appear regardless of where I was, and no one who'd been sharing my bed when I had a haunting ever saw anything unusual.

In my 20s, I conducted a good amount of research into what the eyes could be. And in a tome about piercing the veil between sleep and wakefulness, I found the answer:

Spoiler:
Hypnogagic hallucinations.

They're a well-documented phenomenon in psychology literature. It's also pretty fairly common, particularly for people that are sleep-deprived. Eyes in the dark are one of the most commonly reported sights. Many psychologists have speculated that reports of aliens or ghosts are simply people experiencing this.

I still see the eyes from time to time, and they are still frightening, but at least now I know what they are... And I also know how to avoid them:

Spoiler:
Get at least 7 hours of sleep a night!

Star Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

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I don't award XP any more. I just tell the players when it's time to level up: Usually after they have achieved some goal in the game.

Rewards for good role-playing should be in-game and relevant to the role-playing in question: Acquiring allies, getting information like leads on plot points or rumors of lost treasure, bypassing enemies without combat, free NPC spellcasting, figurative "get out of jail free cards", or similar boons.

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