I think you've made a very good case why the system needs a DM. The rules to cover such corner cases are so specific as to not be worth the time.
Short of time-travel, nothing will. ;)
As long as the local militia can't kill a dragon, it sounds great. Otherwise, why bother hiring adventurers?
Kirth Gersen wrote:
What I find even more humourous is that the truly powerful spells, like say hold monster, are actually more realistically modelled in a warrior type. How hard would it be for a master swordsman to intentionally paralyze his opponent? The problem becomes when can he do it, and how do you keep it from breaking the game world or from complicating combat even further?
3.5 Loyalist wrote:
Sounds like a fun game!
Aaron Bitman wrote:
You are correct about the fate of Robilar in that adventure.
About the 1e:2e, I don't speak for Kirth but I feel it's more to do with the presence of the products. During 1e, Greyhawk was at its height. During 2e, the Realms became the darling child and Greyhawk started a long slow slide into generic obscurity.
My personal tribute to Greyhawk is that my own campaign world has basically evolved the same way, a hodge-podge of locales and nations from many adventures and campaigns. And I still use the Greyhawk pantheon as the main one in any games I run, with the exception of one Kingmaker game. Even my home Pathfinder games use old favorites, and I still refer to a lot of spells by their Greyhawk names, even the ones purged in 3rd Edition.
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I'd swear I had suggested that a few posts ago (of course we agree!), and was roundly ignored. >sigh<
The choice (destiny) of Hobbits coming into possession of the Ring is the hidden cycle of good (the ring is the cycle of evil). The original encounter with the ring was so scarring to the progenitor River Folk, that the hobbits developed a strong tradition of reverse-gifting, and thus a limited attachment to possessions. For this reason, the ring could have little hold on them as an object of power; the ring itself had caused objects to become valueless (the other half of its power - worldly power - has little effect on the hobbits for a similar reason: the hobbits have no need for power to begin with, this is the sense you mention above).
My absolute favorite moment (I may have mentioned this on the boards before) came in my friend's Ravenloft game (this was actually shortly after 3rd Edition, but my friend still used a lot of old school rules like Backstab.
We were playing a band of evil adventures: a thief (myself), a monk (my brother), and a sorcerer (my friend's brother). After being misted to Ravenloft (a homebrew domain), we eventually came into the service of a wizard who promised he could free us from the realm if we assisted him in defeating his nemesis.
Being the DM's NPC, the wizard was quite adept at showing us up, making demands of the party, not delivering on his promises, and generally making us feel inconsequential at every possible opportunity. Eventually, we came to decide as a group that the wizard was not going to follow-through on his big promise (or at least, it wasn't worth the trouble).
His final request to us was to make our way up a haunted tower, replete with traps and undead. It was a slog (though my rogue had fun using his immovable rods to rig pulley mechanisms to open doors), but we finally made it to the top of the tower. All that was left was to open the door to the final room.
My character turned to the rest of the party:
Sure enough there stood the wizard. A few lightning bolts later and we were offered quarter. The sorcerer: "Screw that, let's go down swinging."
The DM: "Okay, the campaign's over then."
So bittersweet, it was the height of roleplaying.
Evil Lincoln wrote:
So many good suggestions for in-game solutions.
Another good one is the "X will happen in Y days". This applies more to story campaigns than hex or dungeon crawls. As a player, I've had very satisfying TPKs where the party knew 100% that doing that last encounter would probably cost us our lives, but we did it anyway because we weren't sure how much time we had left before the BBEG's scheme came to fruition. Being a hero is hard, otherwise we would call them commoners.
And the funny thing about the second instance is that it can easily be the first instance if the DM chooses.
Which was sort of my point - it doesn't matter what skill system you use when the DM controls the outcome. It's not an indictment of either system...
It really is about group expectations and keeping everyone on the same page. I'm still trying to find my style on skill checks. I don't use the social skills as often as I should, and worry that the players who invest in them feel cheated.
...which is where we kind of agree. It should always be about consistency and fairness within the groups expectations.
I like allowing players to use the social skills to haggle with merchants - almost every group ends up buying and selling, so it makes sense to allow the player with Diplomacy and Sense Motive to put them to use to help the whole party regularly.
By the way, I hope it doesn't seem like I'm always harping on you TOZ - I just find your points interesting and good for generating discussion!
Love me some 2nd Edition; I was late to roleplaying, but it's what I started with!
The difference I see, is that with the skill system the player can actually make choices to affect the outcome.
I would still argue it's the illusion of choice. The DM still has control of the environment, so you have to trust them.
There is no practical difference between:
DM: You stand at the edge of a river, you hear the faint sound of a waterfall off in the distance but there are no rapids. You cannot see the bottom of the river. Your quarry has made it to the other side.
DM: You stand at the edge of a river. *Rolls Spot and Listen in secret, player fails because they don't have any ranks* You hear the faint sound of roaring water from downstream, but see no sign of your quarry. Perhaps they crossed here, but you can't be sure. You cannot see the bottom of the river.
DM: You stand at the edge of a river. *Rolls Spot and Listen in secret, player fails but the DM fudges the roll to keep things moving* You hear the faint sound of roaring water from downstream, and can see signs your quarry has already crossed. You cannot see the bottom of the river.
Illusion of control. Notice how the 2e version was faster (and there was nothing stopping the DM from having an eel fight there as well, and just calling for a Str check to fight while in the river).
The less there is codified, the more chance the DM has to create a world without obscure corner-cases. Like a dolphin needing an arbitrary +8 bonus to Swim checks just to act like a normal specimen. So much wasted space just to say "dolphins can do jumping flips out of the water".
Let's pretend I have a fragance allergy, and all of my friends are aware of this fact. One day, one of them suddenly decides he MUST start wearing a strongly-scented cologne at all times. I would feel betrayed if several of them insisted I was being "unreasonable" in telling him to stop wearing the product.
The same attitude is evident in this gaming group. It's not a question of whose roleplay is stronger, it's the fact that this player feels (rightly so) betrayed by his group. That's a wound that will not heal without an open discussion, and even then it may not.
Pretending this is not a problem is only going to make things worse. The player needs to stick up for themselves, but in a mature, non-aggressive, way. If the end result is the loss of a gaming group, that may be the price of dignity.
Table manners come first, RP issues come second. Worry more about your relations with real people, and less about pretend problems in a pretend world.
I would argue that the other players were the ones being rude. The cleric was there first, and by all accounts was being treated fairly by the party up until the mount arrived.
I agree with TOZ that the simplest solution may be to just move on, but perhaps you could talk to your DM and voice your concerns - but don't approach it in character; your concern is that the other players are ganging up on you, disrespecting your character, and this is making the game less enjoyable.
My general policy as a DM is to resolve intra-party complaints immediately. Things like this can fester and result in the loss of gaming groups.
By the way, this thread should be titled "Beating a Dead Horse"
P.S. My main point is that Harrison Ford was not particularly exceptional as an actor in Star Wars. The role of Hans Solo was exceptional. Star Wars was exceptional. Harrison Ford pulled it off, but I believe many other actors could have done the same with that role. And it could have been those other actors that would have gone on to do Indiana Jones, Blade Runner or play Jack Ryan. Harrison Ford was IMHO more lucky than good. I would say that after Star Wars, Harrison Ford did become a much better actor with more versatile roles than Hans Solo.
First, I don't think Kitsch was bad in JC (I'm a pretty ardent supporter of the movie), I just think he could have been better.
Second, I really think you're understating Ford's performance in Star Wars. It's pure charisma. It's not that Han Solo is cool, it's that Ford makes him cool. A lesser actor would have turned Solo into a laughably poor attempt at machismo.
Another good example of how the actor makes the character would be Mifune in Yojimbo. Incredibly iconic, but not easily replicated. Eastwood did it in 'Dollars'. Willis (arguably a bigger name than Mifune or Eastwood at the respective time of the films) did not.
A great actor can make a bad role memorable (Forrest Gump, anyone?)
Kirth Gersen wrote:
First off, I agree with you 100% that charisma makes the actor (and charisma + role can make a career). In the case of Superman Returns Routh didn't really elevate the film, but he was not in a good film to begin with.
Also, in regards to John Carter specifically it does seem to be a wasted opportunity - an actor with "it" would have sold that movie. But you have to admit, as unimpressive as his performance was it was miles ahead of his work in Wolverine (which isn't saying much).
I did this with my second group - it significantly added to the tension, especially in the early books. Another plus to doing so is that if it comes to war with Restov, their major city isn't right on the border!
1) I think starting off, I wouldn't make the PCs the center of attention. They'd be hirelings for a more notable petty-noble who was setting off to conquer the Stolen Lands.
I also did this with my second group, and it provided a solid base to explain where the PCs got supplies and rewards, what the other expeditions might look like (though they never met, see below), and also increases the conflict with Restov when things go south.
2) Before the PCs leave Restov, I'd have a party or something where they'd meet Meager Varn, Drelev and the Iron Wraiths. They just knew too little about their neighbors until it was action time. I'd want them to know what's going on and have relationships (good or bad) with these folks from the beginning. It's would make later events more meaningful.
I wish I had done that, but it does add a bit to the mystery if they don't know the exact competition. But the advantages outweigh that - having them meet means the PCs want to enter Varnhold/Fort Drelev without being prompted, and like you said makes certain scenes more dramatic.
3) Pretty soon after establishing their kingdom, say the end of Ch 2 or after exploring the west side of the mountain in Ch 3, maybe level 6 or 7, I might have the players create 2nd characters. It just seems odd to me that the duke/duchess is running around doing odd jobs like gathering eels and roc eggs. Not very dignified. Also, my players obviously want to be at the center of all the action, but would a real ruler really be out there fighting and exploring like that?
I kind of like the idea of a warrior-king, it's worked well in my game. However, I do agree that the nature of the campaign makes PC death rather traumatic, so eventually I encouraged every player to take Leadership to have an easy substitute and backup. I also played up the NPCs that the party befriended, so they wouldn't feel stupid turning over the kingdom to them. If a player is not available, an NPC takes their place to keep things moving.
4) Find ways to elongate the timeline, especially in the beginning. They've risen in levels in 2 or 3 years. I'd like to see them age a bit more before they become rules of a huge kingdom.
This is something I never got around to doing. I suppose the easiest way would be to do kingdom building bi-annually or annually. But that might discourage some players.
5) Work in more hints about the final BBG earlier. I tacked on the Fellnight Queen module between Ch 2 and 3, and I think that kept the fey theme going a bit more. Actually both of my groups used the Fellnight Queen's scrying mirror to survey the surrounding lands and discovered the surprise in Ch 3! They had to hightail it over there.
Ugh. I agree. Worst example of a tacked-on ending in any AP series. My first group is enjoying the encounters, but even they were a bit confused when things started happening (and they dealt with it swiftly and spared the kingdom). I can only imagine the frustration a group would feel if the blooms started wiping out their kingdom and there is no way to see it coming.
6) I'd like to lower the magic level quite a bit. Moving Restov helps with that a little (limiting access to purchasable magic items), as would limiting or eliminating Craft Magic Stuff feats. I'd be hesitant to completely ban them, but maybe require unique components they'd have to side-trek to acquire. Jack up the cost of special materials like adamantite and mithril. Replace the Magic Item Economy in kingdom building with some other means of generating regular BP. Consider limiting travel magic like teleport, or making it a ritual that takes hours to prepare or something. Be a lot stricter on scrolls they can find for purchase.
I actually like that by adventure 3 or 4 the PCs find exploration trivial. It changes the focus of the game, and makes them feel like they have achieved something meaningful. Both groups noticed the grind of exploration at about the time teleport became available. Plus, many of the encounters are unforgiving, lowering the magic has the potential for a TPK and a ruined campaign.
As for other changes I would do or have done?
1) Run the Rushlight tournament every year (I'm starting this in my second game, but its already been over 2 years).
2) Increase the number of events involving Pitax.
GM Wulfson wrote:
The point of Cap in the last battle was not so much of him being a Super-soldier and kicking butt, in which case he was totally outclassed by Thor, Iron man, and the Hulk, but his grasp of tactics and strategy. You go here, you there, you there. Fall back and form a perimeter, move the civilians out through the subway, and Hulk, Smash! That is where Captain America really shines through.
I got that quite readily, I just don't think it makes good cinema (at least in the context of a superhero movie). Dramatically, it doesn't matter what CA does because in the context of the action on screen the bad guys are seemingly limitless, omnipresent, and without a cohesive strategy themselves. Why couldn't Cap be a great leader AND contribute physically? I'm sure Whedon could have devised some sort of maguffin of which Cap could take tactical advantage...
Captain America is also the moral counter-weight to Tony Stark. He also proves to be the "team leader the group can follow" whereas Nick Fury is the "leader everyone is wary of trusting." As the series progresses, Cap will be less of a "man out of his time" and should start to be the glue that holds a group of powerful personalities together.
There were scenes that showed this to good effect. Cap is always the first to act, to take up the fight. Nice work there. I would have liked for Cap to do something no-one else would consider, for the others to rally behind. For example
while Tony's sacrifice at the end was a huge character moment, it's the type of thing that Cap should be doing
I think that is what Whedon was trying to accomplish, but in my view he failed because
Captain America is not essential to the final battle. They would have been fine without him. Yes, he saves some civilians which is core to his character, but so did everyone else (indirectly). The one moment that he was absolutely suited for - jumping on a high-speed glider, flying through the city while fighting, and then taking out the doomsday device - was given to Black Widow (draw your own conclusions why, but see my next point). Plus, given all his "lost a soldier" comments earlier, it would have been more dramatic for him to have to possibly kill Tony.
Apostle of Gygax wrote:
My problem with BW, as mentioned above, was that she was as much of a Super Soldier as Captain America (except maybe the first Hulk scene). I bought her duping a crooked arms dealer and taking out his cadre of thugs while tied up. I didn't buy the final battle. I also didn't buy
that she was able to dupe Loki - the GOD OF MISCHIEF - into revealing his plans. The problem with that scene is the dialogue. There is no reason for the conversation to go that way. Even if Loki was furious, arrogant, and desperate, his response to her final comment is a total non sequitur to artifically make BW look awesome and useful. And BW's lead-up to it only makes sense if she already suspects his plan, in which case she doesn't need to wait for the response (except for dramatic tension).
I know it seems like I'm hard on BW here, but it's not her fault, it's Whedon's.
Slightly off-topic - all through the last battle I was thinking "how cool would it be if Marvel owned all of their movie rights?" I mean, we could have seen Punisher blasting away alongside Captain America, or Spider-Man swinging in to save Iron Man at the last minute.
I've always viewed alignment as:
Good/Evil - Morality - there is a definable position regardless of intention that cannot be broken and is set by forces far more powerful than human intention.
Lawful/Chaotic - Ethics - do your actions benefit the majority or the minority (possibly even a minority of self).
In that sense, I agree with your definition of Good/Evil, but disagree that Law/Chaos simply defines long-term behavior. For example, a LG character would likely defy orders, possibly even rebel, if they discovered their lord has always been a succubus (remains dedicated to justice). By your definition, such a character would continue to follow orders until ordered to perform something evil (consistency trumps moral position, as the "immediate" action is not part of the characters normal behavior). Or am I missing something?
I would rule that closing ones eyes should be implemented in the same way as Power Attack or similar use-activated abilities: you must choose to do so at the start of your turn, and carry the penalties for an entire round.
I imagine a wizard's rogue companion would be very thankful you closed your eyes to ignore mirror image.
James Martin wrote:
Memorax: I don't think anyone seriously thinks 5e is doomed. However, for a lot of people the inclusion of Monte Cook was an olive branch to those of us who felt slighted by the marketing of 4th edition. I think what you're seeing is a lot of people who have been burned by Wizards before saying 'I was interested while they had Monte Cook on board, because I like his past work; now what interest I had is gone.' Plus, before Pathfinder came out, we had the benefit of an actual open playtest to base opinion upon. Until we can see this open playtest of Wizards, the opinion of 5e on these boards (where a lot of us took shelter after the horrid 4e marketing campaign) will be less than exciting. Wizards spent all of the goodwill it had with me; if it wants any back, it's going to have to mount some truly Herculean efforts to win back my dollar.
Exactly, it's sort of like if when Nixon went to China he suddenly said "Oh, by the way, Kissinger quit yesterday. Not sure why, but don't worry it will be fine!"
If I were going to use guns, I think I would agree that the result would be something like pre-industrial Japan.
The reason I bring up China is because it is a vastly different cultural and political entity from medieval Europe. If your campaign world is entirely Euro-centric, you are basically beginning with the notion that gunpowder was discovered in Europe, and not some far-off mysterious nation.
More specifically, such a campaign world is more likely to apply the time frame of Europe in developing military applications of gunpowder, rather than the historical global perspective of China-Europe, which was almost a millenia.
EDIT: Oh, I forgot. On the subject of fireballs/trench warfare - magic as built in checks (dispel and counterspell) that would eliminate the need for that somewhat (but not entirely). Of course, any army using trench warfare against a mage is just begging for a cloudkill!
I'd politely tell the player that it is extreme meta-gaming. If he wants his character to have an encyclopedic knowledge of monsters, he should start by writing his own about each monster he encounters. If he wants to add monsters from research, he can find out about 1 monster with 1 day of research (in an appropriate library or setting) and a Knowledge check (bonus for using materials, same DC) to see if he understands or even finds the information.
I've actually done this as a player, and it's very rewarding. Once I'm done, my character will attempt to publish his work or sell it to the PFS.
Josh M. wrote:
My concern for 5e is how they are going to deliver the feel of it; are they going to continue to use abstract gamey language like 4e, or return to vague and breakable real-world language like previous editions?
Depends on what your definitions of "abstract" and "vague" are.
I'd argue that saying something is 10 feet away is as far from vague as you can be without using scientific units. Saying something is 2 squares away means NOTHING to anyone except the players of the game. It takes one extra step of reasoning for the player to immerse themselves into their character.
Here's the thing: 3rd Edition and 4th Edition fundamentally altered the mindset. If a player asks "Wait, how many orcs did I actually get with that fireball?" it doesn't really matter whether the DM picks a random number, determines one in the best interests of pacing/story, rolls a pre-determined die, or carefully measures out the radius/obstacles/distances. The common element is that the DM is making the decisions. If the DM measures and the fireball kills every orc, he can just add more! If the DM decides arbitrarily that the fireball killed no orcs, that is the same result. The point is that as long as a DM is being fair and consistent, you can gleefully ignore any rule you want. How many groups simply ignore encumbrance because it is too time-consuming? How many of those DMs kill the party because their combined weight collapses a bridge?
Basically, 3rd/4th Edition taught players to distrust DMs who didn't play by the rules, and DMs that the rules were a straight-jacket when they really weren't. I think this is really what they are trying to correct with 5e.
David Fryer wrote:
They're all good. The first one was a straight-up monster movie. The later ones were tongue-in-cheek, which is the best way to go with sequels in a series like that.
Gotta love Burt Gummer.