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HolmesandWatson's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 856 posts (1,714 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 1 Pathfinder Society character. 4 aliases.


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Was reading the Conan RPG rules (1st Edition) and came across this:

The first and most important rule of Conan the Roleplaying Game is that if you do not like it, change it. Games Masters and players should work together to create involving, exciting and, above all, fun stories. As such, you do not have to memorise every rule in this book in order to enjoy playing Conan the Roleplaying Game.

BTW, if you're a Conan fan (and I think REH is still the best fantasy author we've seen yet), Mongoose's Conan (both editions), which uses the d20 OGL, is fantastic reading.

Digitalelf wrote:
I'm a stickler for the rules myself. And in general, I tend to dislike seeing things like what Frog God Games did in the example above.

This aspect of rules discussion is more GM-oriented. I'll swing it the other way and mention that the very first of Gygax' Steps to Role Playing Mastery is to Know the Rules (as a player). The following is from one of the very first posts in this thread:

1 Study the rules of your chosen role-playing game. Being intimately familiar with the rules structure is essential to understanding what you are doing, and understanding is the foundation of mastery.

He makes the point that simply memorizing a bunch of passages is not sufficient. Memorizing does not mean understanding (I like that phrase). It is not enough to know what is in the rules, but how the components all work together with each other. He discusses the problems faced by the rules writers, such as taking the make believe of dragons and spaceships and making them seem real. Quantification and mechanics must translate into an experience that brings to life the game environment.

As a player, whether the rules are inadequate or overwhelming, you must understand both the rules and the spirit of the game (Step #3). It is this accepted combination that leads to such exasperation with rules lawyers who focus solely on Step 1 and have no use for Step 3.

An adept GM can help overcome player shortcomings in the area of rules knowledge. But if the player consistently makes mistakes with movement or feats during combat rounds, the gameplay will be impacted negatively. Likewise, forgetting that a paladin has smite evil available can be the difference between success and failure. Two players understanding the rules for flanking is going to be much more effective than if only one does. Hard to flank by yourself!

There's certainly some merit in a point of view that says, 'If I take the effort as a player to learn the rules and how to make them work in the game, the GM shouldn't be changing them at a whim!'

Elf - I'm guessing that, because the module was written for 3rd Edition, then updated for Pathfinder, they kept the half-races in for S&W out of ease of conversion.

I'm mostly a 'follow the rules' for the foundation, but as with most things, there's middle ground. If I change the flying rules mid-game, that's probably not fair to the player. But if I decide that I need an Elven Cleric for something, I'll go with it.

Tim Kask, who was (I think) the second person hired by Gary Gygax (after Rob Kuntz) at TSR and one of the first players and contributors to D&D, says the following in the introduction to the S&W Complete Rules:

For thirty-five years, I have been telling role-playing gamers to ignore rules that they do not like. The essence of RPGing is in the story, not the accomplishment of arbitrary goals and benchmarks. We all take part in creating the story; the GM writes an outline, tots up a list of “plot elements,” and then sets the players loose to fill in the details. This has never changed.

What you hold in your hand are guidelines; this is one set of “rules” that has an internal integrity that makes it work. Is it the only way to
play? Certainly not; from the very beginning of role-playing GMs have
been encouraged to extrapolate and interpret, to make the game their
own. If a given rule does not seem “right” to you, then ignore it!

Or, better still, change it! Make your game or campaign your own. All
GMs need to worry about is keeping a “logical reality” active in their
campaigns; the players rely on that logic to find their way through the
perils and puzzles of the adventure.

The truest test of whether or not you are doing it right has always been
two-fold: are you having fun, and do your players keep showing up every
session? If you can answer yes to either, you’re on the right path. If you can answer in the affirmative to both, you have the “right” of it. From the very conception of RPGing, the whole idea was to have fun. We showed the world a new way to do it, but we never said there was only one way.

I don't go as far as Tim (it's too loosey-goosey for me), but it's certainly very much out of the Dave Arneson/Dave Hargrave approach to the game. And that's pretty much at the roots.

I was looking through Frog God Games' 'The Lost City of Barakus,' as I hold out hope that the Swords & Wizardry group will want to roam around that mini-campaign after the current adventure wraps up. The following was in a sidebar:

Frog Gods, why can’t you stick to the rules?

Yes, we break the rules (again) in this book. We are assuming (and you know what that does) that you are using the Swords & Wizardry Complete ruleset with this product. Now, there are certainly other OSR rules that can be used to enjoy this adventure, but we like the think we have a pretty good set to take care of your needs.

However, with that said, we break the rules as set down in the Complete rulebook. In this adventure, you will find half-drow, half-orcs, halfling monks, etc. We are strong proponents that story should trump rules. As long as it makes sense! So, we play a little fast and loose with racial restrictions.

If this causes a problem for the Referee, simply use a similar
race to emulate the NPCs found within this adventure.

Now, the S&W rules set is theirs. And Barakus (which was a 3rd Edition classic from Necromancer Games) is theirs. So, they can do anything they want with it, willy-nilly. But I think they approach it exactly the right way.

'Story should trump rules. As long as it makes sense!' Yes. And they offer a simple, self-contained solution for the GM if they don't want to step outside the rules.

It's a little thing, but I think it's deftly done.

For coverage of actual early games and sheer amount of information (including some speculation), Kent David Kelly's 'Hawk and Moor' series is tough to beat. Five lengthy volumes, plus another book on the Steam Tunnel incident.

These books deserve more attention than they've received.

Designers & Dragons is a great reference.

In another Creighton Broadhust post I liked so much I'm going to do a Black Gate post around it, he talked about what 'old school' meant to him. I think he's got a pretty solid approach in wanting to run games with that story-telling, early style of play, with the plethora of customer characterization options and deep combat mechanics of Pathfinder. That hybrid, that merging, is an approach that works to incorporate what some people think is the best of both gaming systems.

"The rules in Old School games are often much lighter and play is quicker than later editions. For me, I like the rich depth and complexity of systems such as 3.5 and Pathfinder.

I like the customisability of players’ characters (and their enemies) and the tactical options available for combat. I don’t necessarily see this as incompatible with an Old School style of play – it’s just a challenge to marry the two"

Now, if you think options and rules bloat is out of control in Pathfinder (I've commented on that throughout the life of this thread), you aren't necessarily viewing it the same way he is. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Most of us have acknowledged there are merits in both approaches. They can be manipulated (I think it's easier to run a Pathfinder game with old school principles than the other way around).

Because I do like to interject Gygax' own thoughts as often as I can (seeing as how that's the point of the thread...). MendedWall's comments reminded me of something I read just recently in 'the other book,' Master of the Game:

However, when these things are added to the equation, we begin to reduce playability as we increase the amount of realism. As previously noted, too complex or complicated a system of any sort will raise the simulation level toward realism but reduce play­ ability.

It will dispel the suspension of disbelief because of the time and detail demanded, and will likely detract from all other aspects of the game as an entertainment vehicle. The correct balance between realism and playability is very much a matter of group taste, but there is a median level beyond which the vast majority of enthusiasts lose all desire to participate.

Master GMs must be able to discern the proper level of realism and complexity for both their milieu and their players.

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Haven't had a chance to digest the most recent posts, but welcome to Quark Blast.

And stuff like "magical tea time" and "story stick" is kinda snippy. We've maintained a positive tone, even while disagreeing. Let's keep it that way, please.

This morning's weekly post over at is RPGing is Storytelling. Which I think in line with Gygax and Arneson's approach.

kyrt-ryder wrote:

More options DOES give you more options, but only when the system makes it clear that these are extras not limitations.

When the game then goes on to have feats made for such mundane things as tying your shoes... You lose that.

Welcome Kyrt. Nicely said. Which would lead me to assert that it's a case of educating the player and the GM. Which would certainly tie back to Gygax' Role Playing Mastery points. Though I don't have the opportunity to cite anything at the moment.

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I'm in a discussion thread here with some grognard with a scary name...

Digitalelf wrote:
Arturius Fischer wrote:
Having more options gives you more options, and having less takes them away.

I have to really disagree with this.

I'm sure your experience (or perception of the game) has led you to that conclusion, but it has been my experience that in a more rules heavy system, where there is a rule for everything, the players (on both sides of the screen) tend to look solely to the character sheets for available options, and thus if an option is not written or somehow listed on the character sheet, that option is simply not available to the character. With a system open to more interpretation, the options available to the players are limited only by the player's own imagination, and not constrained by some completely arbitrary number on a sheet of paper.

Welcome back Arturius!

I've pondered digging a bit more deeply into this debate, as I've been on both sides of it in the past year. I originally favored 'more options gives you more options,' but with my recent delve into an old school approach, has swung me more around to Elf's side, that basically, anything is in play in an open ended, less rules system. With the GM really being the determinant of what goes. If the GM disallows a lot of stuff, then they are reducing options. If they are pretty broad minded, then they are expanding them beyond the rule limitations.

I think both sides can validly establish their view. The Player's imagination and the GM's permissiveness are the core of the 'rules light' assertion.

Hi Steve - welcome!

I didn't mention the table for S&W minimums since it felt to me like it was just a mention of the Original Edition ones and the minimum for XP bonus was the only thing listed with the class descriptions.

But fair point.

3d6 in order - that's a tough one. Any rerolling or other way to replace a low score? Just curious.

Found another interesting post from Creighton Broadhust of Raging Swan Press (who I posted about a couple of days ago). This is one he did in which he used old school design principles to create Pathfinder characters.

I like the idea! As I said in my Black Gate post about choosing S&W over Pathfinder for my new game, I am still a huge Pathfinder fan and I like a lot about it. So working both approaches into character design appeals to me. (And I updated the post to talk about our first session. We added a complete RPG newbie into the mix).

S&W Complete Rules doesn't use Prerequisites/class minimums. I like Minimums. Of course, I'm the GM and I won't be the one who doesn't get to play the class of their choice if the rolls aren't good enough. But there's something that appeals to me about a class having minimum scores and trying to achieve them.

I probably would let the players move the score around, not roll them straight, which increases the chance of meeting the Minimums. But no point buys.

It was fun having the newly created party buying their supplies. They discussed lanterns vs. torches, how much rope, a 10' pole (they passed), holy water - I told them gear was important in S&W. The fighter originally bought plate. But by the time he got all the other gear he wanted, he had to drop down to chainmail.

Welcome TriOmega(I thought I posted this earlier but apparently it didn't take).

I like the idea of using the role playing to modify the die roll - whether it's a feat, skill check, attribute - whatever.

I did a bit of that in our first S&W session this past Monday.

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Digitalelf wrote:
DrDeth wrote:
Hah. Oddly I had a PC who could boost the party thru oratory and I gave part of that speech a couple of time!

What’s he that wishes so?

My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin.
If we are marked to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honor.

Seeing Kenneth Brannagh give that speech in Henry V made me a Shakespeare fan.

Welcome Drahliana.

Yeah, I remember running across a lot of ways to die in the stories of the early Gygax games in the Hawk and Moor books by Kent David Kelly.

We had our first session last night. The two players who rolled up characters ahead of time (with me) forgot to bring them! The host's wife, who has read fantasy but never RPGed, jumped in, and their 12 year old daughter came in to watch and "helped" her a bit. The daughter had the most common sense of the whole group.

It was an overland trek and the most marked characteristic was the Thief and the Ranger pushing the other one to lead, investigate, crawl in the burrow, etc. They are coworkers, so it was a social thing more than an RPGish one.

But without a doubt, the highlight was when the group, walking along a path beside a cliff wall, reached a wooden door, with vines sort of disguising it, tacked up to branches across the top and decided the best move was for the Ranger to knock on the door! This came after another "No, you go" between the Thief and Ranger. So, no sneaking in or looking for traps.

That rang the alarm bells in the vines, the Ogre and Bear that lived there charged out and the party was split, with two characters running "ahead" on the path and the other two running back the way they'd come (they'd hung back). The party was split.

Regarding our recent discussions of balance, a party of first level characters ran into an Ogre and a Bear. Having already defeated three 1st level bandits earlier on the trek. Old school involved multi-level challenges.

Surprisingly, in a quick read-through of Gygax' 'Master of the Game,' I didn't find anything related to character creation: which I figured would be somewhat related to our discussion of dice rolling vs. role playing.

There was in interesting piece on skill changes affecting the entire system (and gameplay), but I'll save that for a separate post.

Gygax does get into game design and systems balancing, which I never thought about. He provides some interesting info.

There is definitely enough interesting info in his Game Mastery book to do a thread similar to this one. He's even got a couple "lists" I could work from, as we did here.

And just a reminder that my point in bringing all this up wasn't to say old school is better than modern gaming. I've played a lot of Pathfinder but am only starting up my first retro game.

Just discussing the differences between the two. And trying to keep it in relationship with Gygax' Role Playing Mastery Book somewhat.

There's zero role playing in the PF Adventure Card Game, but it's my favorite board game (though I am absolutely stuck on a scenario in the app). And I don't role play a lick in Age of Conan. Just looking at the concept in terms of pen and paper.

I found a bit from Gygax' GM book (Master of the Game) I'll try to copy into the thread.

Jeff - I don't like metagaming (which we talked about waaaay back in the thread), so that's a drawback to old school gaming. Though, if you're using a mix of role playing and dice rolls, you can mitigate that somewhat.

If it's not game critical, wonder if you can modify/remove the trap, and make up for it somewhere else? Or is that not playing fair?

Welcome Quark Blast.

That does seem kind of dumb to take all context for the trap out of the game and play it that way. To poor effect!

Welcome MadScientistWorking.

I agree with Elf that more modern systems lean towards relying heavily (or entirely) on the dice roll mechanic. Which takes out the story telling/role playing aspect. I plan on using a reasonable combo of the two, with the story telling providing good or bad effects on the dice roll (when the latter is needed).

GreyWolfLord wrote:
My opinion is that you can play almost any D&D (or pathfinder) with that mindset.

Welcome to the thread, GreyWolfLord.

You mention something we've touched on but not explored in real depth on this thread. The GM has the ability to "shape" the game in almost any fashion, depending upon how they run it.

Except that in a rules/options heavy system, the player expects to be able to do anything in the rules/on the character sheet. So it's a skill check to Find a Trap or Bluff someone successfully. And it's incumbent upon the GM to convince them to do it in an old school type of way.

Not saying it's impossible, but the system is set up that way in those types of games/editions. Similar to how some players seem to get upset when the GM doesn't allow certain character creation options.

This type of thing generally happens less often in a 'rules-light' type of system.

I don't recall if Gygax talked about this in the book(s).

As Tim Klask, then Matt Finch said, "Rulings, not rules."

thejeff wrote:

Meant to say earlier, I'm kind of surprised none of them went multiclass. It was always a common solution to the "but I can't do anything at 1st level" problem. It may just not be how they think about multiclassing.

M-U/thieves were always my go-to, back in the day.

I suggested an elven Fighter/Magic User to the WoWer, but she didn't bite.

Also, making the Thief an Elf or Half Elf to gain the 1-4 secret door roll, but the PC Gamer didn't go for it either. They just went with basic race and class options. Which could be lack of pen and paper experience.

Whereas, I took the dwarven fighter/cleric (which isn't a player option in the rules, but mentioned for NPCs).

We'll see if they change anything before we start Monday night.

thejeff wrote:
Yeah, that's a pretty useless spell list. Kind of odd too. OD&D, which S&W supposedly emulates, didn't have a Druid (or a Ranger for that matter). If it's bringing the Druid in from AD&D, I would have expected more of the Druid's spell list to make it in. The main Druid go to spell was always entangle. Shillelagh was a decent back up to get you pretty good magic weapon.

I'm not a SW expert. But there's a White Box edition, which seems to be just the core part of Original D&D. The Complete Rules, which I'm using, incorporates stuff up to 1st Edition. And it's got a few other 'non-authentic' additions to smooth out the game.

Entangle (which I used a ton in Neverwinter Nights) would certainly be helpful.

Regarding another point you made: For me, the retro/OSR angle for this upcoming game is because I want the two new players to have a more story-telling approach to pen and paper RPGing. And a rules-light retro is the way to achieve that. Something far away from the MMO/PC experience. Which Pathfinder would more resemble.

Elf - Most of my rules memory starts with AD&D, so going through S&W is really pulling stuff out of the memory vault!

We didn't find much help with the spell list. And the +1 to hit for Faerie Fire is at the GM's discretion.

Level 1
Detect Magic
Detect Snares & Pits
Faerie Fire
Locate Animals
Predict Weather
Purify Water

Though there are a couple useful ones at second level.

The player mentioned that in WoW, the Druid is recommended as a good hybrid - helpful with either melee or spells.

But in S&W, the spells don't do much early. Shape changing doesn't occur for several levels and at 1d4 HP and leather, they probably won't last long in melee.

So, while maybe a good choice because leveling occurs so quickly in a PC game, it's going to be a tough hall in S&W. A Ranger seems like a more powerful outdoor-oriented character. But I'm letting them play anything they want within the rules. Fun is the goal.

Mended - I don't remember a lot of the old rules. I was surprised to see zero spells for a 1st level Cleric (without the wisdom bonus). Ouch! And especially since the Druid's 1st level spells are useless. We laughed about 'Predict Weather.'

I've given the group (which is now three players) the option of 2 characters each, or one each and I'll run an NPC. So, we might lose the dwarven Cleric. I hardly knew him...

First session will be Monday night, which will give them the opportunity to roll new characters for the group dynamic if they want.

I've started writing down elements that show the difference between a PC background and a pen and paper one.

And I'm not just belittling PC gaming (which some people do). I played Adventure on my Atari 2600 and have video gamed almost all of my life. But I become more and more convinced there is a distinction.

Interestingly, the fourth member of our gaming group declined to play Swords & Wizardry. He prefers lots of combat and not much role play, with some more optimization.

We have such a hard time getting together, I'll just go with three players (and a number of characters to be determined).

I thought he'd try it. I'm viewing this as a gaming experiment. Already collecting data!

Mended - Frog God reposted my Black Gate Swords & Wizardry essay and the first comment was similar to yours about getting your kids to leave all those Pathfinder options behind.

What can you say that would get Pathfinder players to try S&W?

And I came up with a reply:

'In the ‘Role Playing Mastery’ thread I link to in the post, a guy is having the same dilemma, wanting to move his sons’ game to 5th edition, but they love the plethora of Pathfinder options too much to switch.

It’s a tough obstacle to overcome because all those options are right there, written down, available for your character to use. And there are a LOT. But maybe one way is to try and sell them on the idea that in a rules lite system, you actually can do more.

You’re not limited to attempting just those feats and skills written down on the character sheet. It’s more like a movie, where the player gets to explain what they want to do in a scene. And anything is allowable. They can try to swing from a chandelier or pull a Matrix kind of move. What they attempt is limited only by their imagination – not the character sheet.

I know my response is a bit thin - it's a really tough sell. Most players seem to love the plethora of options (which I call 'options bloat'). And I get it: I'm a big Pathfinder fan myself. But looking at it from behind the GM screen, it's kind of like, "Get your head out of your cell phone and look around." Don't be tied to your character sheet. Look up and tell me what your character wants to do and maybe we'll try it.'

The impetus for starting this awesome thread up again was a post I decided to write on why I picked Swords & Wizardry over Pathfinder for a game I'm going to run. And that was really a discussion of old school vs. modern gaming style.

And the heart of that was Matt Finch's A Quick Primer to Old School Gaming.

The post went live this morning. I think it's got some pretty good stuff that reflects a lot of what we've been talking about over the life of this thread.

I think folks will enjoy it and I'd love to see some comments here in this thread. I quoted Gygax early in the post.

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Creighton Broadhurst runs Raging Swan Press over in the UK. They've put out a TON of stuff for Pathfinder, and have expanded to 5th Edition and some OSR stuff.

I've got a couple dozen items, from his campaign setting to modules to GM aids. Consistently high quality. 'Retribution' is one of the best first level adventures I've ever seen and 'Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands' is a great homage to ToEE's The Moat House.

Creighton has his own blog and he writes some pretty cool old school commentary. Such as this one about Timeless Advice from the Keep on the Borderlands.

Another was Two Reasons I Love Resource Management

And The Concept of CR-Appropriate Challenges is Too Ingrained in our Minds.

He plays Pathfinder, but he's got old school sensibilities (he was a Greyhawk writer).

I get his posts through Raging Swan Press on FB, but most are from his website, He reprints blog posts, which brings lots of neat stuff up.

This almost hour-long interview with one of the founding fathers, Tim Kask, is well worth listening to. And I'm thinking about a separate thread to discuss a few points.

But go to about the 38:45 spot and listen for a few minutes. He talks about the idea that a DM is out to get the players and if that were true, why in the world would someone to play in such a game? He specifically mentions trust at the end of this segment.

His suggestion that a GM would benefit by reading books on Appendix N is interesting. And he gives three 'at the table' tips to be a good GM.

His points about D&D as a mechanism for social interaction is certainly worthy investigating.

Really, just a good interview.

This site also has a neat interview with Rob Kuntz.

Funny you mention the specific rules thing. That is at the heart of the distinction between old school and modern games in Matt Finch's Quick Primer to Old School Gaming. Summed up with "rulings not rules." Rules and character sheets are sublimated to player skill.

I picked Swords &Wizardry for my upcoming game because I wanted a less weighty rules set and to let these PC gamers role play. We have added two players with pen and paper experience. So, I should see a couple different playing styles at the table.

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This is from Gygax' book on Game Mastering. His first listed reason why campaigns fail is 'Disaffection with the Game Mastering. And among the reasons for that is the following:

There is also the "GM as adversary" problem. Some Game Masters place themselves in such a role, seeing the campaign as a GM-versus-players situation. This remnant from other game forms is highly destructive to player interest. If the GM contrives to be an opponent of the players and their characters, then the characters are short-lived, they have no ongoing relationship to the milieu, no prospect of betterment, and the players have no fun.

After all, the GM in the multiple roles as Arbiter, Moving Force, and Referee has all the power necessary to effortlessly "defeat" the players of a game. However, the Game Master thus assures his or her own demise too, for the group just melts away, leaving the "killer GM" alone with his brief moment of triumph. One of the things a Master GM must never be is a direct and personal adversary.

Which goes with Alzrius' assertion.

Welcome back, Alzrius.

Gygax talks about the GM-player relationship more in his other book, Master of the Game, but he does address it a bit in Role Playing Mastery. He doesn't believe there should be a hostile, antagonistic relationship between the GM and player:

Players and GMs alike, take heed: Despite misguided perceptions
to the contrary, the game master is not the enemy of the
player characters! At least, he shouldn’t be. Those unenlightened
or unscrupulous would-be GMs who take this stance of hostility
toward PCs (or worse yet, toward players) won’t be around long
anyway, for their players will desert them in short order.

Who then opposes the players’ game personas? The GM does indeed have
the duty of effecting opposition and posing problems-but not on
a person-versus-person or person-versus-character basis. He does
this by playing the parts of the various beings who are adversarial
to the PCs engaged in the challenge posed by the session-on a
character-versus-character basis, to distinguish it from the other
forms of interaction just named.

In addition to being the architect of the world in which the PCs’ adventures take place, the game master is also the representative of all the opposing creatures, forces, and phenomena that strive to keep the PCs from achieving their desired ends. This opposition must be personified in such a way as to present the maximum challenge for PCs and their players while not being so overwhelmingly powerful that any PC
who dares to resist or combat the opposition is smeared flat when
he makes his first move.

This approach is valid and important even in the first stages of campaign creation; for instance, a GM who designs a world where the environment itself is fraught with naturally existing perils is asking for trouble. The point is to challenge the PCs, not kill them outright. The game tells what the nature of challenges

Presumably, you need to have that bedrock of trust to have the non-hostile relationship. And since so many early adventures were kill-fests, without that base of good feeling, game sessions could become emotionally ugly in a hurry.

Got my PDF. This thing looks GREAT!

The 8 page history of the area is excellent and lays more groundwork for the campaign guide.

Super source book for venturing in The Lost Lands.

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In light of Shifty's recent comments, I copied this from a new thread, 'I miss Dragon Magazine.'

"I have probably 80 to 85% of the hard copy issues they published, and I miss the monthly magazine I waited so eagerly for. And I particularly loved the 1e and 2e issues, because they not only included articles on mechanics but historical articles about different things, unlike the 3.x issues that dealt mainly with mechanics.

And the covers! Oh, the covers! Every cover told a story in the 1e and 2e editions."

Someone else commented they wish issues were available online...

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BTW - if someone is interested in getting some Pathfinder-related content published, Pathways, a free ezine, is up to issue 17 and has some interesting stuff. Quality varies by entry, but it's a useful vehicle for amateur contributions and probably a good entry point.

And good to see Deth back.


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Shifty - I get it. While I don't find Pegasus (from Judges Guild) worth going back to, I still peruse some Dragon articles once in awhile. There was pretty high quality stuff in it.

I'm not the biggest WotC fan, and they don't strike me as the kind of company to put back issues, or a lot of articles from said issues, online for free. So, unless you've still got your copies...

I do have a pdf (somewhere) of the Dragon Compendium Vol 1. That's got some neat stuff.

NenkotaMoon wrote:
Is videogaming and TTRPGs mutually exclusive from one another, or can I do both, I don't get it?

Hi Nenkota - welcome to the thread!

And no, they're not mutually exclusive.

The core of this thread is a look at Gary Gygax' thoughts on how to become a master role player, from a book he wrote. He had some interesting thoughts, and since he wrote the book in the eighties, some of it is quite different from what people think about RPGs today.

And the discussion has roamed into other thoughts on RPGs - now and then. One I've brought up is that there's a generation of gamers who did not play pen an paper RPGs. Or not until well after they'd been video (including PC) gamers.

And I think that, for the most part, video game RPGers view a lot of things differently than a pen and paper RPGer. Like death, leveling up, role playing interaction, whatever.

Not saying good or bad - just different. And something for discussion.

As I mentioned, I'm going to run two video/PC gamers through their first ever pen and paper RPG (we may be adding a third player, who is a D&D veteran of both pen and paper and PC). Thus, thoughts on what they view differently.

Your thoughts certainly welcome here.

Looking back at the 16th Step (Make Yourself Aware of the Gaming Community and Contribute To It):

I subscribed to Pegasus Magazine, and I read my friend's copy of Dragon. And occasionally he would buy White Dwarf, though that seemed like an odd magazine to me. Probably because it had a UK sensibility.

But it never occurred to me to send in an article to one of those back then. Of course, at the time I had no aspirations of being a writer, either.

As Shifty said, it's easy to contribute to the field today. And there is no shortage of RPG blogs, whatever style of gaming you prefer.

I mentioned that I participated in Kobold's Patron campaign for Dark Deeds in Freeport. And Rite Publishing was doing a similar thing at the time. But it seems like those 'community participation' methods have petered out - perhaps replaced by Kickstarters. Might be worth asking Wolfgang Bauer about the shift Kobold made from patron projects to Kickstarters.

Anywhoo...During Dark Deeds, the project leader simply dropped out and Christina Stiles stepped up to take it over. And she has gone on to an active RPG design career. So, she put herself into the process and took advantage of opportunities.

And AD&D had minimum ability scores for classes as well? I don't remember all the distinctions between versions.

I view the Prime Requisite as an alternative to minimum scores.

What do you mean by "moved away from individual experience?" What alternative do you use?

And welcome back!

MendedWall12 wrote:
Funny! When we roll up characters at my table I always use pick the best set from three sets of six from 4d6 drop the lowest number. This will create slightly bigger numbers for the attributes than a straight 3d6. I also, then, let them assign the numbers where they want. I was just reading about the Legend RPG the other day. You can download the full rulebook for free, which is quite nice.

I see that Legend seems to be the same as, or a revision to, Runequest II. Never checked out Runequest, though it's got a pretty admirable history of being an enduring RPG.

4d6 and drop one - totally forgot about that. I think that's actually my favorite method.

Regarding character creation, I came across something in the S&W Rule Book I'll talk about more for the thread soon.

There are no minimum ability scores for a class: i.e., 17 Charisma for a Paladin. Instead, there are 1-3 'minimum targets' for each class. For example, for the Druid, it's a 13 Charisma and a 13 Wisdom. If you meet your target minimum, you get a 5% XP bonus. And they stack, so the Druid could get a 10% bonus (I think the Assassin is the only one with three targets).

So, you can play any class, regardless of your rolls (of course, you still want to have high scores in the key abilities), but you can get an XP bonus based on your choice and your rolls.

I think that's worthy of discussion.

We rolled up our characters at lunch earlier this week. Here's an excerpt from the upcoming Black Gate post:

So, I had to choose a method for rolling up a character. I’ve done that many different ways over the years. I considered a couple and went with letting the player roll three sets of six 3D6. They picked which set they wanted to use, then assigned the scores to the six attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma).

This gave them some flexibility, but still put some constraints on them. The Baldur’s Gate player grumbled he just wanted to reroll until he got a set he wanted, which is how PC games work. Then, you can add and subtract from the rolls to get the attribute scores you want. Nope.

He also downloaded a dice rolling app on his phone, but I disallowed it. I told him there’s something to the sound of those dice bouncing on the table (or off the table onto the floor…).

Since this is their first game and I want them to enjoy the experience, after they picked which set to use, I let them reroll the lowest value. That helped one player (to no real effect), while the other player rolled the same number.

Each player will be running two characters, with me running an NPC. The Baldur’s Gate player took a Fighter and a Thief. For going through the Hall of Bones, that is a pretty good combo, as they could see traps, and as you’ll agree in the next paragraph, a tank is going to be huge.

The MMOer chose a Druid and a Magic User. I think those reflect their gaming background. In an MMO, those are classes that can become powerful quickly. Especially if the Druid is some kind of shaman class that can shapeshift.

But they will both have only one spell at first level; have 1d4 hit points; and the Magic User can’t wear armor, while the Druid can only wear leather. In a dungeon. To get that outdoors feel, a Ranger would probably have been a better choice. I see a lot of “I ready my sling” from that player.

I'm really going to be keeping an eye on how their videogame backgrounds color their play. As we've previously discussed in this thread, I think there's something to it. And that it's interesting.

I try to write gender neutral. But reading this, it's going to make more sense to use 'he' and 'she.' Need to fix that.

Elf - Pathfinder is the only system I've had even a casual acquaintance with in the last decade or so. I do like the mechanics; I like Golarion quite a bit and I like Paizo. So, I'm a fan.

But the options bloat has just become too much for me, on top of the game's complexity. About a year ago, I started reading Swords & Wizardry stuff at the suggestion of Howard Andrew Jones, a fantasy author (including some Pathfinder titles).

I like it: it's much better organized than Original D&D. And it's got quite the focus on storytelling and verbal play. So, I'm looking forward to running a game. And also seeing how non-pen and paper PC players like it.

Elf - that is right. I was thinking of Matt's Grimmsgate, which I considered. But we are doing Bones.

And we are using S&W complete.

Thanks Elf. I think that's the link I use in the upcoming Black Gate post. Matt Lynch provided some comments for the Frog God Games post I did. Nice guy. He wrote Hall of Bones, the S&W "intro" module I'm going to use to introduce my two gamer group friends to pen and paper RPGing.

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