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Castle Caldwell was started specifically to see if a straight no house rule game would generate enough interest
That's a very valid reason to not have any houserules. :)
So, doesn't that just go to show that someone talking like there aren't any houserules might very well have a valid reason to do so, just like you do? Doesn't your own example prove that people talking about what the system allows are not necessarily speaking out of an adversarial mindset, and in fact might have very good reasons for their comments/decisions?
But that's just it, isn't it? It always seems to become an adversarial discussion, breaking it down to what the SYSTEM does or does not allow, as if to say, well sorry mister DM/Player (whoever you are trying to argue with) the system doesn't allow that so haha I win and you don't get your way.
It perplexes me that you would say that, given your own denial of houserules in your Castle Caldwell game. What you're saying now would seem to suggest that your own post where you veto'd a houserule I suggested should have been interpreted as "the system doesn't allow that so haha I win and you don't get your way". I know I certainly did NOT interpret that veto in such a negative way, and I'd wager a guess nobody else did either. You just had a preference to run things "by the book", and that was that. No biggie.
So why not assume the best of those discussing differences of rulesets, just as I assumed the best of my DM shooting down a request? Doesn't have to "become an adversarial discussion," as you put it. Folks can just talk. :)
Wow, that seems like kind of a "chip-on-shoulder"ish way to interpret discussions of what a system does and doesn't allow/enable. Merely describing the differences between rulesets does not constitute an attitude of coercion against the GM.
Stefan Hill wrote:
Yeah, I really like how high the "optimization floor" is. Unlike in Pathfinder, a person who simply reads the class and makes choices accordingly will end up with a reasonable character instead of a background NPC.
Mega Man 2 is pretty hard to beat; heck, if you Google/YouTube something like "Top 10 Old School Video Game Music" or some such thing, you'll see a lot of inclusion of MM2, especially Wily Castle stage.
For SNES, Super Mario RPG and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest both have a lot of amazing tracks.
I think I finally came up with something I don't like in 5E: your skill selections are basically set in stone at 1st level. Outside of some very specific class features (like becoming a Lore bard), you're going to hit 20th level and be proficient in exactly the same set of skills you were proficient in at 1st level.
If your game uses feats, then you can exchange one of your stat boosts for a handful of proficiencies, but then it has to be a whole batch of skills that you suddenly learn. What if you've been adventuring for five levels and you feel like it would make sense for your character to pick up such-and-such a skill? The system doesn't support it; you would need to ask the GM for a houserule in order to learn something new.
I'm going to offer my PbP campaign a new houserule whereby each time you level up you can make effort toward eventually learning a new skill (or tool) proficiency.
How about we just get this thread back on topic. Dice fudging is a never ending debate that will not be solved here.
Well, we weren't trying to decide whether fudging was okay, we were exploring whether its use as a GM tool was a default assumption or not.
How much cheating do you tolerate? What cheating do you tolerate?
I think it got established pretty early that most folks won't tolerate the things they call cheating, and the differences of opinion center on what actually counts as cheating. This led to the related subtopic of expectations and social contracts (after all, if you join a game with full knowledge that the GM will fudge, you can't really complain about fudging). That led to the current discussion about what's the "default state" that goes without saying, versus a houserule that it would be jerkish to not discuss ahead of time. Since that's tied in to expectations and therefore definitions of what constitutes cheating, it's entirely on-topic. :)
I definitely did not think to look under a heading of "rolling dice". Thanks for adding to the discussion. That definitely changes the picture a bit.
#1 is, I think, kind of system-dependent. I'm running a mapless 5E PbP, and people's actions have felt pretty organic, rather than tactically perfect. I think it's because 5E isn't as punitive of organic action as Pathfinder is, not because of whether it's F2F or PbP.
#2 is important. I try to predict when a decision point might suffer from WhatDoWeDoNow-itis, and put something at the bottom of my post saying, "What now? Do X? Do Y? Do Z? Something else?"
As for additional notes, pacing is very important. For instance, if you have a time of open-ended roleplay before leaving town, a F2F group that sort of stalls takes about 3 seconds for the GM to see if the party's ready to move on. In PbP, that could take days, and really kill the momentum of the game. Dealing with that is an entirely new skill the GM has to learn.
You just don't want to admit that "the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules" is the trump phrase in that entire paragraph, when relevance is distilled.
Or maybe you're not really reading carefully, because your pre-biased filters are so thick that you can't take the paragraph for what it is? Honestly, how can you read an entire paragraph all saying the same general message of "everybody work together to mold the rules for maximum fun" and say that a single clause "trumps" that entire message rather than thinking maybe it means something within that paragraph?
I think you're starting with what you believe, finding a phrase that can support it, and bending everything around into compliance; instead of starting with "What does this say?", reading for the "big idea", and interpreting any given phrase within the context of the sentence and paragraph in which it appears.
Quit being a jerk; I made no such accusation. Anyone who's ever followed me on the rules forums knows I ask for references so I can learn more. If you can't read "I can't find that line" without assuming I'm accusing you of lying, that's on you, not me.
I believe you that it exists on that page. Perhaps you'll also believe me that it doesn't come up in searches of the PRD, and therefore understand why I asked.
Yes, that paragraph does suggest more authority on the part of the GM. Added to what else we've read, it does change the net result. That's why I was interested in finding it: to see and understand what information you were working with, not to accuse you of making it up. I'm trying to end up learning something here.
Thanks for providing the whole quote this time; it's interesting that in the very same paragraph as the "his word is the law" part it also says that the GM "should be impartial, fair, and consistent in his administration of the rules". I'm very curious how the type of fudging you're talking about fits into "impartial, fair, and consistent", as well as your interpretation of the "big picture" painted by a paragraph whose general description of the role of the GM includes both "his word is law" and "impartial, fair, and consistent".
Nope. Look again:
"Remember that these rules are yours. You can change them to fit your needs
For one thing, you seem to be implying that this quote is addressing the GM. It's not. This passage is from the Core Rulebook, and is addressing everyone.
So you could say "Remember that these rules are the players'. The players can change them to fit their needs.", and it would be just as true as what you're claiming on behalf of the GM.
So no, that does not "override" what I was saying earlier.
... Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules ... "
Well, Mr. AccuseMeOfCherryPickingQuotes, at least I didn't cut any sentences in half. Here's the full line:
The full version of what you sculpted down for your purposes wrote:
Although the Game Master is the final arbiter of the rules, the Pathfinder RPG is a shared experience, and all of the players should contribute their thoughts when the rules are in doubt.
This line is explaining how to handle unclear or disputed rules, and sets the GM as the "arbiter" (i.e., the judge, or the person who would arbitrate a dispute between parties) within the context of everyone at the table having a discussion.
So, this ALSO does not "override" what I was saying earlier that the default assumption is that any houserules (such as not following the d20 mechanics, aka fudging) need to be discussed up front, and anything not discussed up front would be naturally assumed to be as written.
Look real hard at what you did: you took a quote saying that the rules belong equally to everyone and a quote that lets the GM arbitrate table-wide discussions, and you tried to make them look like the opposite.
Oh, and ... here's another: "The Game Master must be the arbiter of everything that occurs in the game. All rule books, including this one, are his tools, but his word is the law."
Where are you getting that quote? I can't find it anywhere, despite multiple searches of the entire PRD.
I'd actually say that the above is the default, and that players who want it differently would have to negotiate to change that.
I'm gonna type my way through a train of thought that I haven't figured out the end of yet:
The norm for games in general is that "the default" is whatever is written in that game's rules. Deviations are houserules, and can't be assumed to of anyone who hasn't agreed to them. When you say "Let's play game X", by definition you're agreeing to go by the printed rules of that game.
So, what rules are printed for Pathfinder?
Well, one rule that's printed for Pathfinder is how saves work: roll a d20, add a specific modifier, and the result has to equal or exceed the DC in order to save.
So if that's what's printed, then that's "the default", right?
Now lemme dig out a quote that I don't remember very clearly... ah, here it is:
The Pathfinder rules also wrote:
Most Game Masters have a number of “house rules” that they use in their games. The Game Master and players should always discuss any rules changes to make sure that everyone understands how the game will be played.
So here we have a printed acknowledgement of the possibility of houserules, with a printed expectation that any such houserules are discussed in advance.
So, "the default" for Pathfinder is that the rules are followed as printed except in such ways as the group discusses in advance. Since this is "the default", then this is what is reasonable to assume a player will be expecting.
Therefore, that whole "the GM is entitled to do whatever" sentiment that you said was "the default" is, well, not. That is, unless the GM discusses that notion with the group in advance.
So, a reasonable expectation is that a player comes to your game with the knowledge that you might have some houserules, and also that anything not discussed will be assumed to be done "by the book".
So if we're talking about "the default", the GM has a social responsibility to openly discuss his/her desire to run a game in which he or she can alter/fudge the game's mechanics. If you fail to mention it, players have a right to be surprised and upset when they later find out, because it wasn't reasonable to assume they'd be expecting that.
As I said before, a happy medium where wants/desires from both sides of the screen are communicated and respected is best.
Agreed; I said so myself, in fact.
But humans will be humans, and despite the best of intentions it periodically breaks down.
In those cases where you can't maintain communication and respect, there are two options. Players laying down the law, or the GM.
No.In those cases where you can't maintain communication and respect, someone needs to grow up and learn to be a better person than they currently are. And the person who needs to do so is most likely the person who thinks there could ever be a situation in a (non-professional) game where the it's truly necessary for someone to "lay down the law".
A group of people who, when getting together to play a game, actually manages to come to a point of one or more parties wanting to lay down the law, is a socially dysfunctional group that has bigger things to fix than GM/player role expectations.
I think the GM avenue is better for the same reasons that chains of command in emergency response/military organizations aren't committees.
See above. The need for one gamer to tell another gamer "submit or leave" is a sign of problems, not a necessary or fundamental element of gaming dynamics.
How do you structure the game, either as a player or as the GM, so that short rests make sense?
In my PbP, it's been alright so far.
At first level, my PCs needed to go looking for a missing librarian whose services they required. He was expected to have been attacked by bandits near the road out of town.
Thus, the first encounter was against bandits, just off the road.
Once the bandits were defeated, there wouldn't really be any threat by the road, so they could have just chilled out there for a while if needed.
Then they went to the bandits' hideout and fought a bandit and a surprising conspirator.
Now they have the hideout they can rest in if they like, and since they're a good distance from town and all known inhabitants of the hideout have been defeated, there's no reason anyone would show up within an hour.
Then, on the way back to town with the librarian, they meet more of the conspirators (who had learned of the PCs' expedition and intended to intercept them, but were a couple of hours behind them). This was the final fight for the day.
At 2nd level, they were traveling and saw a girl being chased by goblins. First encounter was those goblins.
Then they learned that the girl had run from her village that was currently under attack, meaning the party had to choose between resting or responding to urgency. (This is where a cleric can "cheat the math" to solve that dilemma, thereby making a very relevant contribution.)
They encounter a group of goblins guarding the road outside the village. Encounter #2.
They got to the village just as the main force of goblins was driven off. Then they got to choose between resting, pursuing, preparing for a second attack, etc. They chose to rest and prepare for a second attack.
Currently, they've completed encounter #3 (the second goblin attack), have expended most of their HD, and the cleric is (I think) all out of spell slots. They're currently deciding whether to bed down for the night (it's already evening) or try to do some relevant exploration.
So! No true "dungeon crawls" yet, but as long as I'm conscious of the healing/rest paradigm when planning encounters, it's been pretty doable so far.
A terrible GM is one that allows the players to run the table.
That's not mutually exclusive with what I said, you know. There's a whole lot of fun to be had in the ENORMOUS space in between "GM is god" and "players run the table". That's where the good GMs are. The terrible ones populate the two situations you and I have now identified (and probably some other spaces as well).
And yes, GM's are the gods at their tables. What they say goes, period.
Unless of course the GM is a healthy, high-functioning adult. In that case, the GM makes adjudications where needed but listens to complaints/rebuttals and is willing to accommodate reasonable requests.
I saw someone mention GM's and cheating, so I figured I'd add my $0.02. A GM can not cheat. GM's are the god at your table and they can do what they want. I almost always roll behind the screen and if I think a miss would have been a hit, it will be. Especially if I need to knock a player off of their high horse. To me this is no different that adding the advanced template to creatures.
This whole quote is a perfect example of terrible GMing, and the part I bolded is a good illustration of the level of blindness required to not see it.
When I first read the rules for this mechanic, I wasn't sure what opinion to form; my response was mostly "Oh, that's interesting..."
Since then, I've run a PbP game up through almost 3rd level, and I have to say I think I like it.
Now, I will say that—like a great many of 5E's mechanics—the healing system will burn you if you fail to look at 5E as its own system and just barge in with your existing mindsets/habits and expect the game to accommodate you.
In older editions (as I understand it), healing was measured in potions and cleric spell slots. That meant that as soon as the cleric ran out of healing spells, the day was over. By contrast, Pathfinder assumes pretty easy access to wands of CLW, making HP into a per-encounter resource rather than a daily resource.
As a result, older clerics were pressured to be healbots, since casting other spells meant a smaller HP pool for the day, and therefore getting less done. Meanwhile, PF clerics need only be ready for an emergency heal in certain combat situations, but otherwise needn't really be "healers".
In 5E, it's somewhere in between. The "daily pool of HP" certainly exists as a concept, since you only have so much healing you can do in a short rest. However, rather than requiring a healer to be part of that daily HP pool, the "healer" is a role that is optional, whose method of contribution is to extend (rather than be wholly responsible for) that HP pool.
In effect, a healer has an ability to expend resources to "modify the math" of the adventuring day as they and their party see fit.
Unlike in Pathfinder, the "healer" role truly exists as a meaningful way to contribute. Unlike in older editions, it's not a burden to shackle the cleric player with. Thus, it looks to me like 5E could support either playstyle.
As I understand it, ability score improvements are tied to class level, not character level. Doesn't that make multiclassing rather unattractive in a lot of cases?
Yes. It's something you really have to consider carefully.
It's also interesting to note that (assuming an even split between your classes) by 8th level you'll have the same two stat boosts as a single-classes character, you just will have gotten the first one much later. That is, you might be looking at getting your stat boosts at 7th and 8th instead of 4th and 8th. So if you were to start a character at or near 8th level, multiclassing would get a lot more appealing.
I'm playing an archer Ranger in a PbP, and I'm considering multiclassing into Druid after that for the spells. I just don't see much to interest me past level 5 in the Ranger.
Get ready for a lot of homework on multiclass spellcasting, then. :/
What are you suggesting? That communication is central to healthy relationships? That conflicts can be resolved through clear communication rather than needing to teach the other person a lesson or abandoning the relationship? Nonsense!
What's in the box? wrote:
The adjustment to the "prepared" spell casting system is SO much better (which is similar to the Arcanist method of spell casting recently released for PF) than the old 3.5 method. SO. MUCH. BETTER.
There's sooooo much that I like about spellcasting in 5E. What you mentioned is one part of that.
Another part is the combat viability of cantrips. A sorcerer shooting a fire bolt cantrip has the same chance of hitting and only slightly lower average damage than a fighter swinging a sword. No longer do casters say "Oh crap, I'm down to just cantrips!". Instead, cantrips are the default, the caster's bread and butter. Since you know your cantrips are "good enough", you don't feel like all your spell slots have to be devoted to combat power; there's room for utility stuff too.
And speaking of utility stuff, ritual casting is awesome. Instead of 4E's total division of spells and rituals or Pathfinder's dilemma of needing to spend spell slots on boring and situational spells, 5E has things like identify as normal spells which also have the "ritual" tag. Such a spell can be cast "for free" by a ritual-capable class by simply adding 10 minutes to the casting time.
I could go on; maybe I'll come back to this. :)
So, sounds like you're saying you've heard from people who feared that the ability to do significant self-healing in an hour steps on the cleric's toes by making a healer less necessary. Is that what you mean?
As I talked about before, it's as simple as this: whatever the group agreed (explicitly or not) was going to be happening is "fair", while any deviation from that is "cheating".
So, for example, suppose the players build their characters under the impression that encounters will be CR-appropriate, or X level of challenge, or whatever. Maybe they lowball their optimization because they want a gritty meatgrinder that forces them to think tactically, or maybe they optimize highly because they want a fun roflstomp of carnage-joy, or maybe they go somewhere in between with an understanding of a sandbox world where they'll be constantly gauging their own power against that of potential obstacles.
If the GM then goes outside that group agreement by providing encounters that are different enough as to provide a different play experience (such as turning the meatgrinder into something easier, or the roflstomp into something harder, or the open sandbox into "everything is a level-appropriate encounter no matter where you are"), then the GM has betrayed the other people at the table. Maybe you use the word "cheating" or maybe not, but either way, the GM's being a selfish jerk.
Emmit Svenson wrote:
Related to players cheatin’ with dice: Can anyone recommend a source for polyhedral dice that are both fair and exceptionally readable cross-table? I’m thinking oversized, high-contrast dice with simple numerals and no distracting detailing.
Have everyone use that giant red d20 that has flashing LEDs when it rolls a 20. ;)
For myself, I generally use Chessex dice, such as those which come in a little plastic rectangle with one of each type of die (d4 through d20). As long as I pick a set whose color scheme offers good contrast, I find they're readable from across the table fairly easily, despite not being oversized.
As for being "fair", what's your criteria?
I think this has less to do with role play definitions and more to do with not being a rude ahole in public games.
Well, when some people's trigger to "be a rude ahole in public games" is seeing someone violate their roleplay definitions...
Well, anyway, enough with the downer derail. I'm currently having lots of fun with some 5E PbP, and that's what counts. :)
quiet riot wrote:
Another player thinks they both count as a single weapon that attacks twice, since feats like "improved natural attack" would improve both claws, not just one.
I haven't delved into the larger question, but the quoted part at least is definitely wrong. After all, we already know that using a manufactured weapon with a given limb prevents using a natural attack with the same limb in the same full-attack (and vice-versa). As such, someone with two claw attacks could use a sword in one hand and a claw attack with the other. This would not be possible under the above-quoted interpretation.
Hrm. I thought it was implied that the reason having other people not like my roleplaying could impact my fun was that they would, you know, take some sort of action about it, but perhaps that wasn't so clear.
Sorry for the confusion.
It would appear that the healing rules are a flashpoint for many groups.
Really? What kinds of complaints have you heard? My PbP players are almost to 3rd level and haven't really had an issue, and my F2F group has been fine with the healing rules as well. I'd be very interested in different opinions (I have an interest in game design, so hearing all the angles is important to me).
Oh, also, I was meaning to ask: where's this thread's companion, the thread for "5th Edition in Practice: Things that worked better than you expected"? I assume that you'd have made such a thread if you're looking to get a picture of what 5E is actually like to play, but I haven't been able to find it. Do you have a link?
Two things:1) No, that second quote (about the GM ruling on roleplaying) was not "supporting thejeff's argument that it didn't matter whether others thought people were role playing or not", it was a reply to you and you alone. That's why, in the post you pulled that quote from, I had included a quote directly from you about the GM ruling on roleplay. How in the world did you interpret a direct quote-reply to your post was somehow related to someone else's post?
2) Questioning whether roleplay is something the GM needs to make rulings about is NOT the "opposite" of having had an experience where some of my tablemates would publicly berate anyone whose roleplaying they didn't like. They're two very different things. How did you manage to come to the conclusion that one post about GMs making rulings and another post about social shaming could be so related to each other as to be contradictory?
As it happens, how much fun I had would sometimes depend in part on whether or not tablemates within a certain demographic thought I (or my other tablemates, for that matter) was roleplaying. Thus, the two notions are not as entirely independent as you make them out to be.
Part of the reason I'm not playing PFS anymore is that the folks who believe in how the game was meant to be played were gaining both presence and influence in the campaign, both globally and in my local area.
"Who cares?" and "Did you have fun?" ended up being kinda connected. :/
I did not accuse you of that. I accused you of lumping "makes sense for that character but not for modern me" in with "doesn't make sense for that character".
I was saying that what's strategically optimal given the circumstances isn't optimal given the needs of the game.
I. Never. Disagreed. With. That.
Heck, I never even mentioned "strategically optimal" (or even "strategic" or "optimal" by themselves). You inserted that all on your own. What post were you reading?
I think it's great roleplaying to go ahead and do things that you know are bad but appropriate to the game/genre.
I agree with this.I'm just saying that there are some things which, though they often show up in a given genre, are still stupid and/or don't match the established characterization of the character performing the action.
It's not "what I would do in that situation", but it's what the character in that genre would do. Wanting what you want from a game isn't bad. I want it too sometimes.. but because we have different opinions I indulge in those wants in a wargame rather than in a roleplaying game.
Acting in accordance with your character is something you go to a wargame for? Because that's what you just said.
If you can't hear about a divergent opinion without taking it as a personal attack, then I suppose I should go ahead and be done trying to talk with you. You seem to only want to be talked at so you can argue.
If you ever decide to read one of my posts start to finish and reply to what I actually wrote instead of replying to a party line that you're assuming I represent, then I'd be happy to have a discussion with you. But yeah, if you make s@+% up about how when I say "do what makes sense for the character" I somehow meant "do what's strategically optimal even if it's contrary to the character", then I guess I'm gonna keep looking argumentative.
Just to clear something up here:I misread one of your statements as saying you can't T10 on "Perception checks or surprise rounds" rather than "Perception checks for surprise rounds".
So I thought you were listing two whole categories of things you can't T10 on: all Perception checks, and all situations in a surprise round.
The reason I truncated your post was because I only took issue with the Perception half of what I thought you had written; I was specifically NOT wanting to contradict your assertion about surprise rounds.
So although I am of the general belief that rules interpretation is better left to heads than guts, my response to you in particular was based on a misreading of your post where I thought you were against taking 10 on any Perception check ever.
My bad. :/
Not at all what I'm talking about.
Character motivations, such as a samurai's honor, are part of the "logic" that I want in a good story. Or to use the slasher horror example from earlier: if the guy who ventures out alone to investigate a noise while he knows there's a killer looking for him has already been identified in the story as a stupid person, then we're all good.
No, I'm talking about genuine nonsense.
What's the cultural explanation for why Voldemort (the movie version) wasn't spamming the killing curse in his fight against Dumbledore?* I mean, he's confirmed to know the spell, has no qualms about killing, knows Dumbledore is a threat, etc. So why, when Dumbledore fights him, does he not just spam that unblockable, instant-death spell? Now, we have a good reason why Dumbledore doesn't do that; it's well-established that nice people don't use that spell. But Voldemort uses it willy-nilly elsewhere, so why not here?
Because exploding glass and a giant fire snake look really cool in a climactic movie showdown.
When a character is already established as being ready, willing and able to do X at the drop of a hat, and they encounter a situation where X is the obvious thing to do, failing to do so is NOT the kind of cross-cultural roleplaying experience that you're talking about.
Either you're blind to think the "not what I would do" moments are all culturally appropriate with no genuine nonsense, or you're deliberately being dishonest by lumping cultural differences and genuine nonsense together in order to make me look anti-roleplaying.
Either way, stop it. There's no culture that produces BBEGs whose HP might or might not spontaneously double depending on how fast they're losing a fight.
In the book, Voldemort actually does spam the killing curse at Dumbledore, which got me pretty excited to see a villain acting in congruence with their own established character.
These statements are contradictory.
A story that leaves you wondering why in the world a character would do X instead of Y is not a good story. The fact that such situations have shown up in a lot of stories does not make them any less terrible.
Hiding from a known homicidal psychopath but then leaving your hiding place alone just because you heard footsteps, doesn't stop making for a stupid story just because it's been done a lot.
Just because something is common enough to be a familiar trope does NOT mean it's an ingredient to a good story.
Charon's Little Helper wrote:
Whoops, good catch.
Anyway, I too usually dump the vast majority of my wealth on the big six.
I generally buy whichever item/upgrade is cheapest of what's left.
So, first I get masterwork weapons/armor.
And so forth.
Certain key consumables will be in there too, usually before 3rd level.
Does that help?