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Acererak

Killer_GM's page

412 posts. Alias of Allen Stewart.


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GreyWolfLord wrote:
Gancanagh wrote:
I'm really into a new Asian AP because of all mythologies most not-done-yet monsters from real mythology come from Japanese mythology.
I'd be big time into another Asian AP, especially one that was completely an Asian themed one as opposed to the sort of 1/2 and 1/2 of Jade Regent.

I strongly agree. And as "Japan" was featured in Jade Regent, then why dont' we give "China" a turn for ALL SIX chapters on a future AP. As I said before, have any game designer who would potentially be doing a Chinese flavored AP adventure read Barry Hughart's three Master Li books, which tell of "An ancient China that never was, but should have been..." Those three books are the prototype of all things Chinoiserie. To merely write a standard adventure and put names and illustrations that are 'Chinese-like' completely misses the point.


In the next chapter/adventure in the 2014 campaign, I've opted to scrap "Hour of the Knife" in favor of another Ravenloft adventure from 2nd edition, "Touch of Death." The PCs will be 6th level for this adventure. I will be making some plot overhauls to "Touch of Death", and "Scooby-Doo-a-fying" the adventure to a certain extent. As to why I'm making these changes, I should probably give a little backdrop of the campaign thus far and why the player characters 'find themselves where they are.'

The backdrop for the campaign is that the player characters are themselves basically crooks & con-men. They (the PCs) were previously working for a criminal organization, known as "SCUM" (Serious Criminals and Unscrupulous Mercenaries). SCUM had previously stolen a large hoard of gold bullion from the local monarch, King Stephen. During the course of their work for SCUM, the PCs had succumbed to temptation and made off with a decent portion of the already stolen gold bullion. The result of this was having both agents from King Stephen looking for them, as well as bounty hunters from SCUM looking to rub them out and recover the gold also.

The PCs had hidden the stolen gold of King Stephen in a warehouse, in the port city of Anchorside, and were nearby, seeking to buy passage on a foreign freighter to sail off into the sunset with their stolen gold. The bounty hunters from SCUM and their minions arrived to thwart the perfect getaway by the PCs. The PCs had to flee on the small boat they were on while attempting to buy passage, leaving behind their hidden gold in the warehouse. The PCs sailed south in haste, seeking to escape death or capture, before returning to try and re-claim their stolen gold. The PCs arrived at the jungles to the south, and had the adventure in the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. The (barely) surviving PCs then sailed back to their original port, after the bounty hunters (all except one) were dispatched by demonic pygmies in the jungles near the pyramid of Tamoachan.

Upon arrival, the PCs discover that their stolen gold has vanished from the warehouse where they had hidden it. They learn immediately that a large wagon was parked just outside their warehouse, loaded, and left immediately thereafter. The PCs will now give chase, as the agents of SCUM, who have re-stolen the gold from the PCs seek to vanish with the gold.

Enter "Touch of Death." The two chief agents of SCUM (known respectively as "Avarice" and "Menace") have previously been instructed to first take the gold through a magic gateway/portal into a Pocket Dimension (or a Fading Land for those of you Greyhawk fans), which is Har A'Kir, (from the Ravenloft campaign setting), in order to throw off any pursuit. Avarice has traveled ahead with the gold into Har A'Kir. Menace was the lead bounty hunter that had followed the PCs to Tamoachan, and was disguised as "Tamoachan" as he began greasing the player characters during the previous adventure. Upon arrival back at the port city of Anchorside, the Menace separates from the PCs, as the PCs go to the warehouse, hoping to find their gold there, and Menace, who already knows the gold has been moved, travels to rejoin Avarice in Har A'Kir.

The PCs at length will be able to track the wagon into Har A'Kir. Then follows the adventure "Touch of Death."
The basic plot to this adventure is that the wagon of gold travels through the village of Muhar and onto Pharaoh's Rest. At Pharaoh's rest, some (not all) of the gold is hidden in one of the tombs there, while Avarice and the rest of the gold continues on past Pharaoh's Rest and into another portal/gateway taking the wagon and travelers back to the Prime Material Plane/physical world. Upon learning that the PCs have arrived in Har A'Kir, Menace tarries behind, to thwart the PCs efforts to find the hidden gold in Har A'Kir or continue pursuit out of Har A'Kir after the rest of the stolen gold.

The listed plot elements in the "Touch of Death" adventure have been altered. Senmet the Greater Mummy is not a part of this adventure. Ankhtepot, the ruler of Har A'Kir does not enter into this adventure either, unless the PCs go find him and cause trouble (in which case I'll annihilate all of them for their trouble). A third agent of SCUM, a rogue named "Scoundris" has secretly been searching the tombs of Har A'Kir (Pharaoh's Rest) for gold and valuables, which are secretly being carted out of Har A'Kir to another hiding place, to help fund SCUM's operations. This grave robbing & removal of gold from Har A'Kir is totally at odds with Har A'Kir's laws, and Scoundris would be severely punished if he were caught. He is however aided and abeted by Isu Rehkotep, the Cleric of Mudar. Isu was already falling from grace due to her desire to gain greater power over undead to improve her power and influence over others. The charismatic Scoundris, and his promises of great wealth, and a life away from the veritable wasteland Dump, that is Har A'Kir proved too much for Isu to resist. So when a few villagers from Mudar observed that a mysterious wagon traveled through the village of Mudar in the middle of the night without stopping and went straight on to Pharoah's Rest, those villagers had to be silenced. That provides the backdrop for the murders that are occurring at the time the PCs arrive in Har A'Kir. When the PCs are being attacked by the desert zombies (as in the adventure text) it is instead Isu, rather than Senmet the mummy, who is controlling the zombies. Menace will effectively fill the role of Senmet the mummy, as he will don funeral wrappings (to look like a mummy from a distance) and then proceed to stalk the PCs over the course of the adventure.

If the PCs are fortunate and survive the adventure, they will manage to pull a "Scooby-Doo" and solve the case, and Scoundris (if he even survives) will then get to lament "those meddling kids" as he's dragged off to prison or worse. Upon return to the Prime Material Plane/regular campaign world, the PCs are contacted by representatives of King Stephen, and given the opportunity to surrender the gold and themselves. Assuming the PCs agree, they will meet with the King, and after hearing the PCs story of stealing the gold from "Devious" (the mysterious leader of SCUM), King Stephen will scold them for working for crooks, and being stupid enough to steal from Devious. The King will then offer the PCs the chance to avoid ending up in his prison in exchange for recovering the Soul Gem for him from the Ghost Tower of Inverness, as a means to clear their slate with him if they can recover the Soul Gem for the king.

C2 GHOST TOWER OF INVERNESS: The PCs will be 7th level for this adventure. While in the Ghost Tower, the PCs will be contacted by a representative of Devious (leader of SCUM) who has learned of the PCs deal with King Stephen. Devious’ representative tells the PCs that if the PCs give Devious the Soul Gem, they will have half the gold returned to them as a reward, and then keep their lives (no more bounty hunters will be sent after them).
If the PCs successfully recover the Soul Gem, they will then have two choices. If the PCs bring back the gem to King Stephen, he tells them to seek Devious in the plains to the Southwest, telling them they can keep half of the gold if they can get it. The King also charges the PCs to stop Devious before he can build an army and start a war, which the king believes Devious intends to do.
If the PCs hand the gem over to Devious; Devious’ main assassin (Menace) then attempts to rub the PCs out ANYWAY, and (if any PCs survive) they subsequently learn that Devious is attempting to marshal an army to start a war. The PCs would then go after Devious to settle the score.


The E-Z Burger Bar. Sounds like the SR version of the 'Green Dragon' Tavern (in Greyhawk), where PCs & NPCs gather to get info and go off to the next adventure... Likewise, I've masked old material that the players avoided or didn't choose, and passed it off as something new. Good way to cut down on your work load as GM.


meomwt wrote:


How cruel can be football. Liverpool lead 3-0 with minutes to go and end up lucky to claim a point at 3-3. The Blue half of Manchester play this evening, and a draw will see them atop the table for the final game. We will see what Sunday brings.

Last time I played Shadowrun, my players elected to enter the local sewer system in the hunt for a missing mage and the Mud Elemental he accidentally summoned. There are three on the ground, there is a fourth sustaining buffs on the Physical Adept and other Shaman, and sitting sweating in a van.

The three intrepid sewer rats have already spotted a force of Orks (actually Mages with Illusion spells up) who they left alone, and have now found a bunch of mega-Corp goons, locked and loaded, also after mage and elemental. The rats are out-gunned 2:1 but look up for the fight. Given how lethal SR2 can be, I'm expecting blood on the carpet before long.

Odds may be evened if I can persuade Mrs meomwt to rejoin the fray, her Hacker/ Rigger might be able to even the odds somewhat (even if only by running interference on the opposing drones). We'll see.

Sadly, the blue half of Manchester won. That said, I'd prefer the blue half of Manchester to the Red half. Alas... I will be glued to the tele from June 12 to July 13 in an addictive stupor known as the World Cup.

Good to see you doing something with Shadowrun. I'm glad Mrs. Meomwt is favorably disposed to your hobby activities. Mrs. Killer GM is far less favorably inclined...
Regards, KGM


I regret the end of the game. Are you still running Shattered Star, or something for Ineptus and the 'former Savage Tide group 1?' or are you totally without any game/group anymore?


Did you guys play prior to May 10 (which is tomorrow), or did the game literally croak prior to the finale?


...sighs... Most unfortunate.


Yeah, that's about the size of it. Lenny the Dwarf is hosed, having gotten greased at 6th level after having already used his "Cheat Death" at 6th level, and a replacement character is reportedly in the works. I'm personally hoping for a return of Meathead the Paladin, but who knows.


meomwt wrote:

Yup. English and proud. And busy harassing PC's in a game of Shadowrun this evening, hopefully if they come up against a nasty I've whipped up from scratch (a Mud Elemental, no less!), I might be able to toast a couple of them.

Good place to be from. I trust your Shadowrun group wished you were elsewhere by the time you were finished with them...?

Had the pleasure yesterday of watching your 'Reds' from Liverpool handle Norwich. If the Reds can win two of the next (final) three and draw the other, they're due the EPL title for the first time in the last 24 years. About bloody time...


Still hoping for:
- A "Tomb of Horrorish" deathtrap/character grinder AP.
- Tian Xia (please repeatedly consult the Master Li/Number Ten Ox books by Barry Hughart, if you do this).
- Vikings
- A Traditional fantasy AP: ala slay the dragon, rescue the princess, armored knights go on quests sort of thing.


In yesterday’s… I think its the 6th session, of the 2014 campaign we’re on, there were Three (3) Player Character fatalities. All Five characters present were 6th level, and have above average ability scores and Hit Points. The characters are in the final room (#54) of the 1st Ed module C1 The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan (using the Pathfinder rule system). They were gathering up all the loot from the altar they could make off with, as quickly as they could, as they were being chased by a bounty hunter (Advanced Human Fighter 4/Anti-Paladin2) who used a potion of Alter Self to appear as “Tamoachan.” Lenny the Dwarf had been gutted by “Tamoachan” at the end of last session. Lenny used his “Cheat Death” ability to return to life, and I awarded him 1/3 of his total HP to boot. Lenny #2 began to make his way toward room 54. Back in room 54, not only did the morons, (player characters) gather up all the loot, but the player of Medic #4 the cleric (apparently not feeling any need for haste) opted to start healing up Red Shirt the Fighter, casting cure moderate wounds on him. Medic was preparing to cast yet another Cure moderate wounds when “Tamoachan” entered the room, moving his thirty feet, and making an attack on Red Shirt #3 the Fighter. I opted to power attack/smite, rolled a Natural 20 to hit, but failed to Verify the critical hit. Red Shirt never the less took about 30 HP of damage. Initiatives were rolled. Bates #2 the Skulk Rogue went first and bravely hid with a 43 Hide check. Tamoachan couldn’t find him successfully. I went next, and finished off Red Shirt the Fighter with another Power Attack [Casualty #1]. Tamoachan then nailed Medic the Cleric with a Power Attack for around 30 HP to conclude his action. The remaining three characters present (Bates the Skulk Rogue, Squiggy the Wizard, and Medic the Cleric) all opted to run like hell. The players wanted to use a full move/retreat, but the terrain and the need to climb through holes in the wall in order to get out of the pyramid, prevented this option. As a result, I got an attack of opportunity when the PCs attempted to flee, and Tamoachan slammed Medic the Cleric again, and dropped him [Casualty #2]. Bates and Squiggy were out of the pyramid when Lenny ran into the room, and Tamoachan then crushed Lenny, AGAIN, [Casualty #3]. Tamoachan then climbed out of a hole in the wall and began to descend the pyramid, albeit on a different side than the two surviving PCs.
The two remaining PCs Bates & Squiggy then ran through the jungle (past all the other dead bounty hunters outside the pyramid) towards their boat. Upon arriving at their boat, they found hordes of demonic pygmies sacking their boat. The captain of their boat was hiding in the nearby jungle scrub, looking like a Quivering Mound of Flesh, when they spotted him. The PCs then moved to where the captain was, and the captain suggested to the perplexed PCs that they requisition the Bounty Hunters ship, which the demonic pygmies had already ransacked and abandoned. The PCs also managed to find one wounded crewman from their ship and hauled him quietly onto the bounty hunters boat along with their ship captain. The four then proceeded to set sail. Before casting off, they were joined by one of their comrades (Red Shirt the Fighter) who had used “cheat death” to return to life, and by the apparent lone surviving crewman of the bounty hunter’s boat, who came running out of the jungle underbrush at the last minute. The players, (morons the lot of ‘em), gladly had their characters extend a hand to help the sailor into the boat, happy to have another NPC proficient at sailing on board to help pilot the craft. And so the journey back to civilization began. And our friend, “Tamoachan,” now appearing as a sailor on board the boat with the PCs, quietly smiled as the ship sailed off into the sunset…
The players spent the rest of the time talking about things they wanted to buy upon arrival at port. We’ll play again next Thursday… :D


Good to see you again Mr. Meomwt. It should be interesting. We missed yesterday's game, but play again next Thursday the 17th. We'll see how many more sheep buy the farm courtesy of "Tamoachan." Never gets old...:) Are you from the UK?


Turin the Mad wrote:

Ugh.

With the stepping out of KGM that put the group at 3 adult players. When any one of the four of us miss, the game is canned for the entire month.

This happens again, campaign is probably pooched.

My regrets. I wish it were otherwise.

Why are the chuckleheads not able to make/work their schedule around a once per month game?!?


Turin the Mad wrote:

I've gotten horrible about doing these, and for that I do apologise. The Heroes Three have concluded Chapter Four by way of a combination of pulling rabbits out of orifices with GM improvisation.

Chapter 5 will be pretty short as I find most of its contents "meh" in the aftermath of unexpected water damage to the hardcopy. *sighs*

The Heroes Three tackle Chapter 5 on 5th April.

My lousy luck. I had to bail just before the GM's hardcopy suffers water damage, and I would have caught a break when the GM cuts out a lot of PC suffering on account of it being partially/largely unreadable, had I been able to stick around...


‘Cheat Death’ is an idea that Turin the Mad came up with, and listed it as a house rule for the brief and ill-fated Carrion Crown campaign that Haru, the Resident Artist, Agent J, one other player and myself participated in. It’s a good idea, and I’m going to print it verbatim from what Turin wrote. The PCs can Cheat Death once per character level. Regards to Turin for the idea.

‘Cheating Death’ must result in the character having outright died despite the abilities and efforts of the rest of the PCs (such as receiving a breath of life spell that did not bring your character to a low enough number of negative hit points to otherwise survive). Doing so still results in being ‘dead for the fight’, the precise consequences will vary. If you ‘cheat death’ in a lava flow, you’re going to be looking like Darth Vader before he got the fancy cybernetics. If you ‘cheat death’ after getting hacked into chunky salsa by a big ass sword, something got lopped off. And so on. There are game mechanical penalties of course. How severe depends on how far past “dead” you went. If you only went a little bit past dead, maybe you had a finger or toe lopped off. If you took an arrow, crossbow bolt or bullet to the brain, you lost an eye and maybe some cognitive function (Int and/or Cha penalties) depending on how far past ‘dead’ your character went. If you were killed by a big ass sword, your disemboweling leaves you permanently weakened but alive (Con penalty), or you lost a hand, an arm or a leg. If you did the Darth Vader Dive into a lava pit, you are missing both of your legs, an arm, a hand and are sucking on some serious internal organ damage – but you survived! The “darth vader dive” assumes that your character’s immersion in lava is what killed him.


In the Fifth session of the 2014 campaign, there was One (1) PC Fatality. The PCs are in the 1Ed module C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. The five player characters present were all 6th level for this adventure. All PCs have way-above-average ability scores. Following the events of the last game session, the group used their “Cheat Death” ability (which I’ll describe below), to allow their deceased characters (four of them) to ‘return to life.’ The five player characters then all healed up, to full HP. The group then went upstairs to the upper level in the pyramid complex, and ended up fighting the Gibbering Mouther. As the PCs were now all 6th level, I advanced the CR 5 Mouther to a CR 6 via the advanced monster template. Bates the Skulk Rogue began searching the room, while Red Shirt the Fighter was standing in the doorway. At some point, Bates, who rolled a Nat’ 1 on his Search check noticed several ‘eyes’ looking up at him from the floor. Bates and Red Shirt were surprised, as were the other player characters who were just outside the doorway.
The Gibbering Mouther plastered Bates and Red Shirt, and started chewing on Bates. Then after Initiatives were rolled, the Mouther started Gibbering. Four out of five PCs failed their WILL saves, and went bonkers for the remainder of that round. Squiggy the PC wizard (now insane for 1 round) attacked Red Shirt #3, via a magic missile. Medic #4 (I think he’s on 4 now) (who was also insane for 1 round) smashed Lenny #2 with his mace and scored a critical threat, but didn’t verify. At that point, the players present all jointly decided that this was an opponent of legendary status, and bravely ran away. Back out in the large room that connects to the Mouther’s room, they were poking around, and at length figured out (with some help from me…) that there was a tunnel inside the decorations of the room (“the hill”) that led out of the room to another place. The Players debated whether or not to take the tunnel, when their old pal “Tamoachan” (Advanced Human Ftr4/Anti-paladin2) caught up with them again. As one of the players had already started into the tunnel at this time, the rest decided against fighting “Tamoachan” and started down into the tunnel also. “Tamoachan” (who had healed up with a wand of Cure Light wounds, silently followed them. The group hurried through the Five-foot wide tunnel, but Lenny the Dwarf #2, who moves only 20’, and was last, was slower. The four PCs in front got to the ladder up, and managed to get up out of the tunnel. Lenny #2 got to the base of the tunnel to end his turn when “Tamoachan” caught up to him. Faced with eating an attack of opportunity if he tried to climb up, Lenny #2 had a “come at me bro” moment, and opted to be brave and face off against “Tamoachan” down in the tunnel, and buy his pals another round or two to try to get the hell out of dodge. Lenny #2 took two swings at “Tamoachan” and connected on one of the two (power attacking) and did 23 HP damage. “Tamoachan” (on his next action) Power attacked, I rolled a ‘Nat 20 on the first swing, verified, and annihilated Lenny #2 in one incredible shot [Casualty #1]. “Tamoachan” then silently continued up the ladder in pursuit of the other four meatheads (PCs) who were running from him.
The PCs entered the final alter room (area 54) when we finished. They were picking up all the gold and loot from the altar when we stopped. They were too happy to be scribbling down treasure to do much else, and we stopped. When we resume next time, “Tamoachan” will catch up to the gold-happy PCs and resume the butt kicking routine. ~KGM


Andrew R wrote:
Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
All the research I've seen is that pot is comparable to alcohol in terms of effect. My drinking certainly doesn't interfere with my responsibilities, so I could see the argument that one can be a pot smoker and still be a productive member of society.
True so they cannot even ride the "poor me blame addiction" excuse as they demand free stuff from the pockets of others

You're a Trooper Andrew.

Amazing how many negative outcomes people can avoid if they make the right choices. Amazing how much many are willing to spend to bail out those who make bad choices, and deem the rest of us clueless and heartless for telling them not to make the unpleasant choices in the first place.


Thymus Vulgaris wrote:

I should stay away from here for my own sanity... Andrew R, I already outlined why taxation isn't theft. You are contributing nothing but spite by constantly throwing around that same poisonous excuse for an argument.

Denmark:
Maximum income tax around 60%
Free (read: tax-funded) healthcare for all citizens
Free (tax-funded) education with very few exceptions
American Dreamliness (bringing this up again because why not?)
Happiest country in the world
Several
Times
Over

We call it welfare. Because people fare well.

Why do you hate happiness?

Thymus my friend. You've typed the answer to your own question. You call if FREE HEALTHCARE. It's not free. Right above it you typed that you pay income taxes of upwards of 60 FRIGGIN PERCENT! That is what is paying for your healthcare. Can you not see that?!?!?!? SIXTY PERCENT INCOME TAX RATES! Good God man. And one of the reasons that your country has money to pay for their national healthcare, is that you literally pay almost Nothing for national defense. That's because the USA literally pays to defend and safeguard Europe, leaving your country to bilk you for 60% to pay for everyone's healthcare.

As for Denmark being the happiest place in the world to live, that is debatable, but having an abundance of beautiful blond women with big (certain anatomical features) probably is a good portion of that. Your government is not why people are happy.


meatrace wrote:


As for the last bit, we are absolutely living in economically prosperous times...for the 1%.

As for capital gains tax being a double tax, my solution is to not tax the original income that an individual invests, but tax the capital gains at a progressive rate identical to that of regular income. Capital gains tax rates are at the lowest point since WWII if not earlier. It only seems to serve to make the rich gratuitously richer.

Come on Meat. In order to invest, you're putting in money you already have, and have already paid taxes on once. How would you 'not tax' that original income. It's already been taxed before you invest it. As you point out, capital gains are at low rates. I can live with 15%. It is the corporate rate that needs to come down. The president wants to raise Capital Gains to 30%. And what do you think the result will be on business if he succeeds? Less business.


meatrace wrote:


I'm not even sure what you're referring to. The vast, vast majority of the healthcare being provided by medicare and medicare is for elderly retirees, who aren't likely to go back to work any time soon. Are you saying you think they ought to?

If NO employer is required or even needs to provide insurance as a benefit to employees it's an immediate positive supply shock to those companies who previously were. It adds immeasurably to the liquidity of labor and would cut down significantly on frictional unemployment. It would also prevent employees from feeling trapped in a job due to the need for medical care, such as for chronic conditions....

I am referring to those who report looking for a job in a previous month, who stop looking for a job in the following month. I am not referring to those who are retiring, but there is undoubtedly some overlap.

Employers who chose not to offer healthcare coverage are at a disadvantage in their efforts to hire or retain quality employees, with those employers who do offer coverage. Not having/retaining productive personnel is directly related to a company's viability and survival. If you can't keep good employees, you won't survive in business. Therefore, companies are rewarded by offering healthcare coverage because it allows them to have a better workforce than other companies that don't offer coverage. And that, without a single ounce of involvement from the inefficient leviathan beauracracy that is our federal government.

It's 12:20 AM gents. I'll hope to continue this stimulating discussion again soon. Davick, just go Google it, you'll find it easily.


Meatrace, while much is often said about what Personal income tax rates "should be," I don't think there's a solid argument against low corporate and capital gains tax rates (the latter is absolutely a double tax). Given that we have the highest corporate tax rates in the world, you simply DON'T know what "they" would or wouldn't do, because it costs SO much to do business here, that "they" aren't stupid enough to do so. They go abroad. Try lowering the corporate rates, and see what happens, before you try and tell me (unsuccessfully) that it won't work. The current strategy of having the highest corporate rate in the world clearly is having disastrous results. Or are you suggesting that we live in economically prosperous times?


Davick, the 3-to-1 rate of those leaving the job market to those who find a job has been all over the news for several years. I'm not going to put up links, but you can readily find it if you want to.

The reason companies go abroad is due in part to the fact that the USA has the HIGHEST corporate tax rate of any country in the world. Add to that any company here in this country has to pay wages as high as almost anywhere in the world, and benefits, including health care. In short, it is hard to turn a respectable profit when you're operating a company in this country and competing against other countries who pay a fraction of what we pay here to keep their operation going, and they sell here and compete with our domestic companies. The wealthy from here and abroad park money off shore. We can't tax that money, because it is deposited in another country. If you want that money in this country, you're going to have to provide an incentive to bring it back voluntarily. If our Democrat friends would do that, they would more than make up the difference that the "tax cut" would cost. They don't do it, because in their core values, (here I go generalizing) liberals don't believe in tax cuts, even when everyone would stand to gain from it.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

here's a thought...

Rather than the prohibitively expensive if not outright impossible job of squeezing the money out of the people living it up in the lap of luxury with bargain basement doctors, bulk food purchases, and cockroach infested apartments you get the money from the millionaires paying a lower % of taxes than you are by hiding the money off shore and outright bribing lawmakers to KEEP their tax rates that low.

While that may have merit, that is another matter that is not directly one-and-the-same as paying for other people's healthcare. Wealthy people don't park that money offshore for no reason. Reduce the capital gains tax and corporate tax rates, and people will likely bring that money, and many jobs back to this country and negate the need to "go after them."


meatrace wrote:


If, in aggregate, paying for the healthcare for citizens so they can get back to being productive inputs in the economy is CHEAPER for an individual than offsetting the price increase, isn't it a good idea to do so? Purely economically speaking, which is to say nothing of the moral imperative to see the sick healed.

We're paying for the healthcare for a lot of citizens. They are LEAVING the workforce in record droves. Two or three times the number of people drop out of the work force (Unemployed, but Quit Looking for Work) per month, than those who find a job (now days, typically a part time job that doesn't offer employer benefits). As those numbers aren't counted in the unemployment statistics, it gives the appearance of an economic recovery. Point is, Medicaid is given to more than 50 million Americans. If getting healthcare is supposed to help you "get back to work" and be productive, why are people instead not going back to work?


BigNorseWolf wrote:


And the conservatives won't fix that either, because their entire rage machine is built around having those people there taking a pittance for you to be angry at so that you don't notice the people taking in the real money.

They won't impose a sensible, graduated system either, because that would cost a LOT of money and they want to keep theirs.

It's still April 1. Don't know about any rage machine. I'm not angry at anyone. I think that pretty much everyone wants to keep their money. That's why wealthy liberals hire the same tax lawyers and find the same tax loopholes that conservatives do. I do know what direction our healthcare, and my work as a healthcare professional is headed under the current administration. I don't think it's in anyone's best interest to continue where we're headed, save those who pay nothing for it. At some point, you've got to reward those who work hard, play by the rules, and pay into the system. A system that increasingly shakes down the average working Joe to perennially pay for the non-working guy, simply doesn't cut it.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
IIRC, Killer GM, Matt is from the United Kingdom, so he doesn't pay for 50 million Americans on Medicaid, just the, um, I don't know how many millions enrolled in the NHS. Spirit of '47 and all that.

More than sixty or seventy million (in the UK) I think. The Manchester United fans probably shouldn't be counted though... I was merely using Matt's comments as a Segway into my soapbox... No offense Matt.


Doug's Workshop wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:


No one is denying that the free market is great for people that have 20 grand in cash just lying around.

People go into debt for new cookware. Do you think they won't take on debt for medical procedures?

Doug, props to you and Andrew R for preaching sanity, sensibility and accountability on the boards today.


Matt Thomason wrote:


And yes, I'm actually with you on that to a degree. If people are purposely not contributing to society when they have the ability to, they should forfeit any benefits from said society. The issue is when there's a blanket policy that also prevents the legitimately sick and injured getting treatment by having a system that tries its best to re-categorize them into the latter groups.

Many people suffer hardships. Helping those individuals & families has to be TEMPORARY in nature. It cannot be a way of life. However little in the current administration's policies or in Obamacare push people to work towards becoming self sufficient. The subsidies actively discourage it. Make $2 dollars more per year, and you lose thousands in subsidies to pay for your healthcare plan. SSDI has reported that more than half of the 10 MILLION people who are on 'Government Disability' shouldn't be on it. I've seen Disability applications for "depression" and "sleep apnea." OVER 50 million Americans are on Medicaid, which means that they pay NOTHING for their own healthcare. You and I pay for it, in addition to our own. At some point, we've all got a responsibility to see to our own welfare. I believe in charity and looking after others, but there are obvious limits to that, and there are too many who are leeching off of others and the system, and will continue to do so, unless actively prevented. The liberals in Washington aren't going to do that, because the assistance they give out continually helps win them re-election.


Krensky wrote:


Oh, and Heritage? They proposed Obamacare.

Writing a theoretical paper on the subject (in defense of the Romney Massachusetts plan?) and actually proposing and supporting its adoption and implementation are two vastly different things.


Krensky wrote:


Brookings is, at best, centrist. It's really small c conservative since it's focused on maintaining the status quo of society.

No way they're centrist. They swing left on most every issue. Heritage swings consistently right.


Krensky wrote:


Although I suppose they might be better said to just fly their flag higher than GOP TV does.

They probably do.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Killer_GM wrote:
As for whether the Sunday morning shows lean left, compare them with anything on Fox, and what other conclusion can you come to?
That anything compared to Fox leans left?

Undoubtedly correct, unless we're talking about militia groups. That said, I used to work on Capitol Hill. Let's be real. The Sunday Morning shows are to the left. Merely consider the perspectives given, the stories chosen to be covered, and the stories chosen to be avoided.


thejeff wrote:
Killer_GM wrote:
meatrace wrote:


I agree. People And of course if you're sick and can't work, then hope you've got the money saved up. Good luck buying insurance on the private market when you've got an expensive medical condition.

Before Obamacare at least.

You make it sound like no one has gotten sick and either had insurance or survived without government help. If you have an expensive medical condition, you usually get a job that offers employer based insurance, which because you're in a large size group plan, has to accept your pre-existing conditions. I work in public mental health in addition to private practice for precisely that reason. I want the employer provided insurance. So I work for it. Millions of people do the same for the same reason.


thejeff wrote:


The bolded part though... BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Pull the other one, chuckles.

Well, if by "lean left", you mean "aren't full on crazy right", then they do. It's all a matter of perspective.

From my perspective, the entire mainstream political discourse of this country leans right.

Your perspective is your perspective. If you're that far to the left, then you would view things as you state. As for whether the Sunday morning shows lean left, compare them with anything on Fox, and what other conclusion can you come to?


thejeff wrote:

If that's an "absolute fact", I assume you can back it up with solid sources? Not pundits or bloggers, but actual data.

I've heard a "4.7 million received cancellation letters" story, but most of them move to a similar plan even without going through the exchanges. Many of the high profile cases that hit the media were able to get cheaper better plans than they'd had.

Meanwhile increases in health care spending have slowed and the percentage of uninsured has dropped.

Jeff, I could if I was willing to dedicate the time to the search. I am not. If you deem my statement in error, feel free to do the search yourself and prove me wrong. I respectfully disagree with the statement that increases in healthcare spending have slowed. The percentage of uninsured hasn't dropped? What in the last week-perhaps. 3 million signed up (some of those are for Medicaid, and not for the ACA. Others aren't paying into it,) while 4.7 million (your number) or 6 million (my number) have lost their coverage. Either way, it's a net loss by any definition of the word.


Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
It's possible, I suppose, that the Insuranceplutocrats, GoldmanSachs, Liz Fowler, etc. were all wrong and that Obamacare isn't going to make them even more filthy rich, and that Barry has been sneaking one past all of us and is going to revive the Spirit of '47, but, uh, I doubt it.

Barry has snuck one past them. Whether or not the top dogs lose money is another question yet to be seen. Probably depends on who they give campaign contributions to.

The average working Joe was told very clearly, "you will save on average $2500 per year." The truth is now known. The average working Joe will on average PAY $2500 MORE per year.


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meatrace wrote:


I agree. People born with a heart condition should take personal responsibility for their moral failings which cause such birth defects.

/boggle

I think that when you don't have a decent rebuttal to make, you resort to attempting to marginalize someone's statement with character assassination (non-game-related of course:). Did I equate anyone's birth defects with moral failings? No. It's not a question of what causes personal challenges and difficulties. We all have them. The question is, what are you as an individual willing to do to answer those personal challenges, be they mental or physical, or whatever. If your answer is to hold out your hands for a freebie for the next 40 or 50 years, then you are at the mercy of the ability or willingness of someone else to take care of you. The Brookings Institute (a liberal think tank by all accounts) points out that if you: #1 Graduate from High School, #2 Get a full time job, and #3 Avoid getting pregnant/getting someone else pregnant before you get married: you will almost UNIFORMLY AVOID living in Poverty. People can and do take care of themselves and their families without government support or intervention. As I work in health care, I require payment to provide care. If you're not paying, then I'm working for less money or free altogether. If you want insurance or service, then work for it and pay for it.


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Kelsey MacAilbert wrote:
Sorry, but I'd rather be interreliant with my neighbors and partially responsible for my whole community than play lone wolf. Last I've checked, Earth hasn't really had any lasting strong societies based off of self reliance.

I think that self reliance was what this country was built on, and what has helped the USA fund every struggling socialist country and banana republic across the globe for the last 100 years. Your responsibility is to take care of your family and dependents. My responsibility is to do likewise. I assist above and beyond that if/when I have the means to do so. That is how we take care of our communities, by taking care of our own. It is unethical for me to saddle you with the eternal responsibility to provide for my dependents.


Andrew R wrote:
Yes we have pretty much the same options as ever. Except, of course, the option to not get insurance and pay out of pocket if they chose. so much for affordable care, except for the ones let dip into taxpayer money via subsidies it is no cheaper. Even then there are still copays and deductibles.

Actually Andrew, you don't have the same options as ever. The ACA has made many of those past options "Illegal and Invalid." those former plans do not meet the President's definition of "acceptable coverage." This means, it does not bleed you, the worker, of enough of your money, that is then used to subsidize others who are getting part of their cost covered by yours. That's why there are only 4 options offered on Healthcare.gov. Others that cost less and covered less, are no longer allowed to be "choices," that you were once free to make and pay for.


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bugleyman wrote:


It also utterly screwed people with pre-existing conditions.

I really wish we'd just bit the bullet and go national health care, like Canada. But since that's actually Socialist, heads would explode...

It did if you ultimately believe that it is your job to eternally pay for someone else's pre-existing condition. Ultimately, where is the concept of personal responsibility and self reliance in the ACA and those who champion it.

While some reforms on that subject are merited, unchecked admission of all pre-existing conditions basically negates the feasibility of insurance. Just pay the fines until you need the coverage due to a condition, and then the insurance companies are now compelled to offer you coverage, even though you have not paid into their system before. There is no way insurance companies will survive. And that is what I ultimately contend is the real purpose of the law. It will effectively bankrupt insurance companies, and take the country to single payer, via the back door route. Not my idea of fair and honest government. If the US population wants single payer, then they would have voted for it, and poll after poll shows that we do not want single payer.

Why would you want national health care? Are you willing to settle for low quality care, while paying more for it? (assuming of course that you are paying for it). The numbers just don't lend themselves to long term quality care. Supply and demand dictates the cost of healthcare, and when you arbitrarily open up demand, without any increase (and likely a decrease) in supply, the system is going to fail. Now everyone can get healthcare with/or without the means to pay for it. Are there 1 more doctor to care for the 40 million newly insured that the current administration wants to cover. No. And when providers like me refuse to accept Medicaid, and the piss poor reimbursement rates and money grubbing audits that come with it, what will the administration do? Force providers to accept less reimbursement rates, or face penalties, or the like... we'll see...


Orfamay Quest wrote:
on the whole rewarded those who could/would pay into it.

Do you have evidence that a single sentence of the screed above is actually true?

Because this thread has sure created a lot of anti-Obamacare screeds that are entirely inaccurate.

Fair Question. The above mentioned facts have been in the news a lot. While there are differing takes on their significance, the 6 Million Plus who have lost their insurance coverage is absolutely fact. Even the Sunday morning talk shows (which lean left) had to concede that. They just don't talk about it, and chalk up those who do to be Fox News disciples, even though it is accurate.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

And now of course with Obamacare, there's even more regressive taxation going on to keep the burden of healthcare costs on the lower and middle classes, only because its paid to a corporation is not considered a tax.

Bob, Alice, Janet, and Phil are all young and relatively healthy and working.

Sam has some very expensive cancer to treat

Oliver is out of work.

Addie is old and requires a lot of medical care.

Insurecorp overcharges Bob, Alice, Janet, and Phil for their healthcare, and puts it towards sam, and Addie. Taxes pay insure corp for Oliver, but over charge the government so they can pay for sam and addie (and blame oliver)

So the cost to the average person isn't going anywhere. The entire system is designed to keep corporate and upper income taxes low.

The ACA/Obamacare will do precisely the same, only even better. Now, the ACA is invalidating people's existing insurance plans, effectively forcing them into Obamacare and it's higher premiums. So (in your example), Bob, Alice, Janet & Phil will have already lost their existing plans (which they were told they could keep) if they are self employed; or may lose them if/when the delays in the employer mandate ever go into effect (probably about 3 days after the next election). They will then be forced (under penalty of fines and no coverage) into the exchanges to pay higher premiums to float the government program that does exactly what you lament the insurance companies and corporate America are now doing. What's changed? And all this after the American people were told they would on Average save $2,500 per year in health care costs under the new ACA. Last I heard, it will cost $2,500 more. That's a $5,000 difference per individual/family. Somehow that got left out of the talking points in favor of the ACA.


Obamacare has already resulted in over 6 million policy holders LOSING their existing health care coverage. These six million individuals/families did NOT receive their policies through their employer. The 6 million lost their policies because the new laws which make up Obamacare declared their existing policies illegal and invalid. So thus far, between 2 and 3 million have signed up for 'Obamacare' and 6 million have lost their existing insurance because of it. Some of those who have signed up for Obamacare, are of the 6 million who previously lost their insurance. They are now in all likelihood paying more for their new plan under Obamacare. Significantly more. And that is how the system has to have it. More people have to pay in to the system, for services they don't need, or can't qualify for, in order to pay for others who pay little/nothing who also participate in the system. The 'Old System' certainly had flaws, but on the whole rewarded those who could/would pay into it.


The main topic of this thread is far too broad to speak to in its entirety, so I won't try. I work as a healthcare professional. I suspect that with the recent changes to the laws governing healthcare, insurance companies may eventually become a thing of the past before too long. When you force companies to accept all applicants, ignore any/all pre-existing conditions, and then force the average working citizen to not only pay for their own healthcare costs, but shoulder that of others who don't pay into the system, at some point, it's all going under. Simple mathematics. The original stated goal was to help insure the "15%" who couldn't get health insurance. What is actually happening is turning things upside down on the other 85% who already did have it.

I see clients everyday who "no longer qualify" for services/therapies that they previously received, (specifically from Medicaid). Even though the government wants everyone on their insurance plans, once people start signing up, there comes the problem of paying for things, and then the government starts tightening criteria, and denying people the services/treatments that they need. Your insurance effectively becomes insurance in name only, which doesn't allow the treatment you need, and you are paying more for it (unless of course someone else is paying for yours).


In Thursdays forth session of the 2014 campaign, there were FOUR (4) player character fatalities. When we left off from last week, the PCs had finished the encounter with the Were-Jackal in Room 30 of the Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Today, the group chose the door to the south-east, and ended up in room 36. There was no encounter there, and the group quickly moved onto Room 39. Here in this large chamber was fresh air, and the group was finally away from the poisonous gas that had annoyed them during the previous parts of the pyramid/dungeon. The room was dark, but the group could feel the breeze from outside. As the player characters moved into the room, they were attacked by two CR 4 Degenerate Serpentfolk (EL 6). The combat was largely unremarkable, save that Lenny the Dwarf was critically hit by one of the Serpent Folk who was wielding a battle axe, and took over 30 HP of damage for the critical. Red Shirt #2 critically hit both Serpentfolk with his heavy flail, doing over 40 HP of damage on each critical, and Red Shirt #2 was instrumental in polishing off the Degenerate Serpentfolk. The characters healed up, removing most of their damage, save that Lenny and Squiggy were still modestly damaged. The characters then began to search the huge chamber, when things really got interesting.
None of the characters heard a one-word phrase being uttered, which activated a Wand of Fireballs. The characters were hit by a Fireball, discharged by a very tall, green-skinned monstrosity (which is depicted on the cover of the C1 Module), none other than Tamoachan himself. This of course was NOT the real Tamoachan, who died centuries ago (according to the module). I opted not to use the scripted Doppelganger, and instead inserted an Advanced 4th level Fighter/2nd level Anti Paladin, who was using a Potion of Alter Self to appear as the ancient Tamoachan. This encounter was sort of a replacement for the 7th and 8th level monks that I opted not to use previously. This guy was the leader of the bounty hunters who had been pursuing the player characters when they fled into the Shrine of Tamoachan. An advanced 4th level fighter/2nd level Anti Paladin, with basically NPC value gear (his wand had only 1 charge in it) versus Five 5th level characters seemed like a tough but fair encounter. "Tamoachan" successfully used his Use Magic Device skill (maxed out) to successfully use the wand. "Tamoachan" also had prepared Bulls Strengh and Bear's Endurance" while the PCs were tangling with the Serpentfolk.
Saving Throws were rolled, and all players present successfully saved, except for Lenny who has a +2 Reflex save. All characters took 12 HP of damage, except Lenny who took 24; and ALL characters took an additional 17 HP of damage from a cave in (module stipulates this occurs whenever anyone uses a Fireball spell). This put Lenny the Dwarf at Negative (-1) HP, and he fell over. Initiatives were rolled. The player characters all went first, and I ended up going last. The Skulk Rogue hid and moved around (stealth of 44!). Squiggy the wizard on her action cast a Fireball, and baked "Tamoachan" (he made his saving throw and took only 6 HP of damage, but also ate 21 additional HP damage from the cave in, following the fireball. Red Shirt #2 the Fighter moved in and nailed "Tamoachan" for 22 HP damage with his heavy flail. On my action, "Tamoachan" returned the favor, and nailed Red Shirt #2 with my Great Axe, two times, and killed him outright [Casualty #1].
Squiggy the wizard blasted "Tamoachan" with a lightning bolt. I made the saving throw and took half damage. At that point, "Tamoachan" had taken 60 HP of damage. The player of Bates the Skulk Rogue (given that there are five characters and only four players) was playing Medic #3 the cleric. Medic #3 used selective channeling to heal all the player characters of some damage. This put Lenny the Dwarf at Positive HP, and although Lenny was prone, there were now a total of four remaining player characters, and "Tamoachan"s situation was starting to look very bad. Things got worse when Bates the Skulk Rogue moved in, and rolled a 'Nat 19' to hit and a Nat' 19 to verify the critical hit/sneak attack. Bates did 22 HP, leaving "Tamoachan" with only 5 HP left plus the extra HP from his Bear's Endurance spell, which go away after the spell would later wear off. I thought I was screwed, but the tide miraculously changed. "Tamoachan" took a five foot step, and Successfully scored a Critical Hit on Bates the Skulk Rogue on his first swing, with his Great Axe. I did 65 HP of damage and Destroyed Bates the Rogue in one hit [Casualty #2]. Bates was at Full HP minus the remaining Cave in damage at the time. That allowed me to put my second attack into the prone (but at positive HP) Lenny the Dwarf. I hit Lenny, who only had 13 HP, and finished him off [Casualty #3]. At that point, there was just Medic #3 the cleric and Squiggy the wizard left. I used "Tamoachan"s free action to yell "Leave my room Now!" Squiggy the Wizard (played by the wife of Bates the Player), who didn't have a single 3rd level spell left, made a full movement and ran like hell. Bates the player, who was annoyed at just having lost his Skulk rogue to "Tamoachan," opted to try to get even with the monster. He had Medic #3 cast Hold Person, and try to deliver the touch attack. I chose not to mention that Medic's casting of the Hold Person provoked an attack of opportunity (being right next to Tamoachan), just to see if he could pull it off. Medic #3 hit "Tamoachan," and I successfully saved against the Hold Person spell. I then used both of my attacks to Demolish Medic #3 for a total of 40 or 50 HP of damage, and ended his unhappy existence [Casualty #4]. With the wizard Squiggy nowhere to be seen, I had Tamoachan drink the now deceased cleric character's Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds and ended the encounter. This was where we left off for the evening.


Vaguely sentient: probably. Have I gone soft? See below.


For this minimally adept GM, 'tis more difficult that one might imagine... Thanks Turin.


Hrothdane wrote:


In my heart-of-hearts though, I want AP based around chivalric stories and tropes such as fey, dragons, King Arthur, the Song of Roland, but with the extra Pathfinder and Golarion flair and twist. I love all that stuff, and I know that Paizo could make it fresh while keeping the essence of what makes the stories work :D

I'm with Hrothdane on this. You'd think this would be the norm in the game, yet I can't recall any AP or even a significant adventure that involves the above listed themes. Paizo, Can we do something about that? Failing that, how about a Knock-off of the Tomb of Horrors, levels 1 through 16?


The game continued today for the 3rd session of the 2014 campaign. I arrived late and we only played for about 45 minutes today, but there was still One (1) PC fatality. The player characters (all are 5th level) moved on from where they last left off (in room 28) after defeating the Gelatinous cube (a CR 3) encounter. The group chose the correct hallway, mainly because they are going "North" whenever possible. Happily, Bates the Skulk Rogue botched his Reflex save, and fell into a pit and ate 14 HP of damage from the fall and some spikes. Little Creep...
The PCs thereafter entered room 30, and got to tangle with the Were-Jaguar. There are no stats for a Were Jaguar in Pathfinder terms, so I used the standard book Were-Tiger instead, which is a CR 4. Seemed easy enough. The encounter rather reminded me of the old SNES game Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure, with the fearsome jaguars that usually tear you apart, and yet you dare not use your powerful "magic blue rocks" as you need to save those for the final boss, and so you just get pummeled by the jaguars without recourse...
The Were Jaguar threw his spear and tagged the PC Wizard Squiggy for 14 HP of damage. Initiatives were rolled. Bates went first and moved into the room, hiding on a 42 Stealth Roll... Didn't matter as it turned out. The Were Jaguar moved towards the other characters, but away from the Skulk. The PC cleric Medic #2 was the only one besides the Skulk and Lenny the Dwarf that could see the hiding Were Jaguar.
Red Shirt #2 moved into the room, but couldn't spot the hiding Were Jaguar. Lenny made it only ten feet into the room with his paultry 20' move. On the PC cleric Medic #2's action, the player took a rather bold move, and (knowing where the Were Jaguar was) cast Hold Person, moved, and attempted a Touch Attack. Had the player managed to slap a Hold Person on the Were Jaguar, it could have been curtains for me straight out of the gate. Fortunately, the player's bravado didn't pan out when he rolled a Nat' 5 to Hit and missed me altogether. On Mr. WereJaguar's action, I proceeded to bite the crap out of the Medic #2, the cleric on a 'Nat 20, but did not verify, and I also hit on one of the claw attacks. As Medic #2 was already damaged before entering the room, he ended up at Negative HP, and proceeded to face plant in front of the Were Jaguar. The PC Wizard Squiggy kept whittling away on the Jaguar with Magic Missiles, but I couldn't go after the wizard, or I'd have ate attacks of opportunity from everyone else, even Lenny, who's 20' move was his biggest obstacle of the evening... He never managed to get in harms' way in time...
On the Jaguar's next action, I bit Medic#2 the cleric again, and put him below -10 HP, [Casualty #1 for the day], and then laid into Red Shirt #2 for 14 HP as well. On their next action, the rest of the PCs then managed to drop the werejaguar. We ended shortly thereafter. Next session, the PCs will meet "Tamoachan" (who I'm throwing at them in lieu of the 7th and 8th level monks in room 22 that probably would have beaten the group to a pulp.) I have the odd feeling that by the time were finished next week, the PCs would have preferred the monks instead...


CapnVan wrote:


Ahh, good chuckles, particularly after the fumble. I love dice.

"If the potion is drunk the taster will sleep for 5,000 years, or until the potion’s effects are neutralized"

I also love the Old School.

I'm assuming they lost 16 hp, as opposed to being at -16.

Re: Area 27, the original states: "To dodge the millstone a saving throw versus petrification must be made. If the characters react quickly, they may save at +2 by hugging the walls. Failure to save results in one of the following:
1-4: 1-8 points of damage
5: Backpack and contents are smashed and destroyed.
6: Pack and contents are torn away, but recoverable."

Oh, if only you had them roll a 5.

I share your appreciation for all things Old School. You are correct that they lost 16 HP, and were Not at negative 16. I see you've got your trusty copy of C1 also. I thought the 1d8 HP of damage was significantly underpowered for Pathfinder/3rd ed characters. I was of the opinion that if you got run over by a loadstone, you ought to take a decent amount of damage. Had I been thinking like you Cap'n, I'd have smashed the contents of their backpacks in addition to giving them the 16 HP of damage... Live and learn.

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