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Orville Redenbacher wrote:
What ive gathered so far is that Players and GMs should communicate about what they want out of their games and meet in the middle. Unless of course the player shows up with a drow noble, in which case, you promptly tell them to GTFO.
I just grease said character in brutal fashion. Said player then leaves on his own.
I have no problem with the term special snowflake. I can't remember having a snowflake character in one of my groups for a long time. Special snowflake characters tend to get negative attention from me (the GM), and as I don't pull punches, when said snowflake character buys the farm, I strongly encourage the player to apply their creative juices in a more "conventional" direction when creating replacement characters. Usually, the player takes the hint.
I am expecting to start Strange Aeons in January 2017 with my existing group. We play only monthly, so my journal may quickly fall behind those of other posters who are running the same campaign. My regrets. Currently my players' characters are all 5th level, and are at present grabbing their ankles in the old Judges Guild adventure Tegel Manor (adapted for Pathfinder rules system). The group was expecting to move on to play in Ravenloft's Hour of the Knife, and then onto Return to the Tomb of Horrors. I have not yet informed my players of my hopes of dropping them back to 1st level to begin Strange Aeons, and I expect some resistance from one or more players. I don't know exactly how it will resolve, though I don't want to start them in Chapter 2 of the AP. If we reach an impasse on starting the characters back at character level 1, I will probably have the group start chapter 1 at a higher level and just up the difficulty.
This is the first adventure path I have run since Age of Worms in 2006-07. I have wanted to run another AP for a long time, but I always find things about each AP that I don't like enought to put me off of GM'ing it. Second Darkness, Serpent's Skull and Mummy's Mask each almost made the cut, but I always came up with enough reasons I didn't like the path to where I didn't follow through and run it. I was about to go with a Pathfinder version of 1st Editions's Against the Giants to Vault of the Drow, but the work load of coming up with stat blocks for all of the drow in D1 & D3 put me off of that at least for the time being. But with an AP based on Call of Cthulhu, I have no reasons not to run this gem, and been waiting for a long time in hopes of a Lovecraft-based AP. One of the players has stated that he wants to play a character all the way to level 20, and as Strange Aeons ends at 16th, I'll run a "Sequel" to Age of Worms from 17th-20th if the group hasn't fired me as DM before then...
I don't know what to tell you to expect regarding a character casualty count. In years past, Turin the Mad has advised me to get in touch with my more 'benevolent' GM side, at least to outward appearances. In this AP though, I don't expect a pleasant run for the characters, as the Call of Cthulhu theme of the AP suggests character death and insanity throughout. Either way, this is Pathfinder meets Call of Cthulhu folks, so I will "benevolently" inform my players to bring reams of paper for new character sheets, because they're gonna need 'em. I look forward to corrosponding with many of you I've had the pleasure of chatting with in years past on these threads. Regards, KGM
For the curious, the GM of my "Horror on the Orient express" campaign, posted his write up on the campaign journals on these (paizo) message boards. Have a look and a laugh, and read what an actual CoC game is like. The GM (Turin the Mad) took no prisoners during the entire campaign, and we died in droves. It was a blast.
My consern is that the group has no real way to heal up when they get wounded (the paladin's archetype only lets him heal himself). I know I could just add more cure potions around, but I feel like that takes away from the overall dread of the AP, especially the first book. I was thinking that the wounds and vigor system might help, but I'm not sure. Dose anyone have any advice?
Advice, yeah, wipe the characters out. The players will quickly learn to select a character class that can glue their tails back together again, rather than choosing the useless oddball character class that doesn't lend itself to character survival. Strange Aeons is supposed to be Pathfinder meets Call of Cthulhu. This should mean that characters are getting greased or going insane on a regular basis. If you're already planning how to bail your players out for poor class selection, then you can expect more of the same, and your not grasping the spirit of the actual CoC game, which is that characters don't survive very long, and often go insane at inopportune moments. -KGM
I may be GM'ing this campaign quite soon, and if I am, I'm probably going to use the actual rules for sanity from the actual Call of Cthulhu game system itself. If that equates to my players characters going insane in spectacular fashion, then all the better. This is supposed to be Pathfinder meets Call of Cthulhu. This campaign shouldn't be for the weak of heart.
That does sound like something a "Killer GM" would say. :)
I imagine it does.I have played in real call of cthulhu games. I probably averaged at least 1 character demise as a player, every 2 game sessions. In some sessions I actually died more than once in the same day. It is a great game, and seeing how long your character can stay alive and sane becomes the goal. During the finale of "Horror on the Orient express", I had 10 (that's right, TEN) character demises that day alone. The CoC game allows you to improve your character's skills, but you remain at low HP, and you're always a "Keepers 01 roll" away from an unpleasant (but often humorous) character squish. The Pathfinder system doesn't remotely translate to the CoC rules system, which admittedly makes it a lot easier for Pathfinder characters to survive in Strange Aeons. A GM who wants to capture the spirit of the actual CoC game, during Strange Aeons for the Pathfinder system, will need to play heavy handed, and ideally inform the players what they're getting into from the get-go.
This AP is based on the Call of cthulhu game, in which it's understood that your character is going to die or go insane (or both). It's a question of When, not if.
I didn't realize that some posters were being banned from posting. I don't follow the messageboards closely enough to note the absence of some of the more "confrontational" posters. I have noticed the absence of a certain "Mr. Betts" over the last few months, which struck me as odd, given the political happenings in the USA. Has he run afoul with the powers that be, or just found other things to occupy his time?
Freehold DM wrote:
I work in psychology and am not state licensed. I have gamed with people who have had diagnoses running from depression to schizophrenia, and gaming has helped all but one of them deal with their issues in some way.
Nice to see someone else from the MH field on the message boards. Regards.
I work in psychology and am state licensed. Over the years I have observed (to be clear, NOT officially diagnosed) many players I've played with who demonstrate various mental health symptoms which may or may not meet clinical criteria for a MH diagnosis. As a practicing clinician, I've had a few clients over the years, who at some point stated that they were into RPGs.
It is my observation that quite a few gamers have had varying degrees of social deficits or other personality quarks that probably don't reach the level of a clinical mental health diagnosis.
As far as players with bonna fide mental health issues, I have GM'd a number of players who have previously been in treatment for clinical depression (Dysthymic disorder, major depression) and bipolar disorder (they have stated to me).
I think that the most common MH condition that gamers who I've known have had, is attention deficit disorder (ADHD). A large number of players I've known previously have told me that they have ADHD. I don't know if I'd go so far as to venture that 'gamers' are 'more likely' to have mental health issues than non-gamers, but my personal opinion is that this may be the case.
And if you have mental health issues, stay in treatment as needed and take your medications as prescribed. And live healthy and happy :)
Turin the mad was hoping to continue our Cthulhu campaign using that adventure, but for reasons I don't recall, we ended up going to the 1-session Carrion Crown, where we had 2 TPKs in the first session. Might as well have been a Call of Cthulhu game, given the casualty count.
I would as ever enjoy playing with Turin the mad, who I've gamed with since 1982, and Pheonixhawk, who I've gamed with since 2000.
Add to that:
And awesome fellow posters on my Age of Worms, Return to the Tomb of Horrors, Campaign Classics and other campaign journals: You guys rule!
Legendarius, are you still out in Loudoun county?
As I was re-reading this thread, (specifically the fight against the skeleton champion), I thought of the old Golden Axe video games, where those skeletons just hammer your character repeatedly, no matter what you do. Fun stuff. Turin, I may use your skeletal brute in some future game. He's priceless. Al
P.H. Dungeon wrote:
PH, this is a tragic development. Though I couldn't have helped with a system other than 3.5 or Pathfinder, I nevertheless feel that the rest of us in the GM community let you down, if your players skated through Kyuss and Dragotha without even one PC buying the farm...
I agree with you.
It would appear that the majority of the American people believe my 'wild accusations.' Your party nominated a hopelessly flawed candidate with a known history of corruption. You pay the price.
Only legitimate evidence is acceptable.
Those weren't imaginary millions donated to the Clinton Foundation by a Cossack.
The Norv wrote:
Those investigations were inadequate, and continually hampered by Clinton and her cronies who didn't play ball, and an Obama DOJ who didn't even attempt to seriously investigate her. If Trump wants to go after her, the evidence will be found. Hell, 20% of US uranium is now going to Russia, and investors donated millions to the Clinton foundation. That example alone (out of many) ought to do it.
This election has been slanting Trump's way for some time, even before the email-gate re-investigations and then cessations. The polls ALWAYS slant Democrat. The final results are always closer. The polls never tell you what the real outcome is going to be, as they always make it seem like the Democrat candidate is doing better than they actually are.
I'm suggesting that a Secretary of State who has sold/peddled influence to numerous foreign entities and governments for contributions to the Clinton Foundation, which the FBI is currently investigating (unlike the emails) is deserving of incarceration if her guilt can be proven, which I believe it will be.
Guy Humual wrote:
Guy, single payer is a nightmare. I have family that lives in Norway and Sweden. I never cease to be amazed at the misguided romanticism with this lousy system. Norway expropriates/nationalizes industries, and hits its citizens up with a 60% federal income tax, plus a 20% value added tax, and they can barely pay the bills. And in 20 years from now, when the immigrant population in their country doubles or triples, they won't be able to do that. There is Zero chance that their system will work here in the USA. And are you ready to pay 60% of your income to the feds to have their crappy health care system, plus a 20 VAT on anything you buy? I think not. And as a healthcare provider, I'm not willing to take the paltry reimbursement rates that that type of a system gives to its healthcare providers.
Guy Humual wrote:
That's correct. Obama has spent more than 1 trillion dollars per year than the feds took in in income taxes. That money was borrowed, and has been added to the debt, which now stands at close to 20 trillion.
Bush took the debt from 6 trillion to 10 trillion. Totally unacceptable, and the Republicans who went along with it are also to blame.
Clinton had a surplus because of the dot.com boom on Wallstreet that masked the financial debacle he created. That debacle arrived the last year of his presidency and continued through the early years of the Bush 43 first presidency, which didn't change course.
What cost Reducing are you talking about? Arizona premiums are going up over 100 % in 2017. Everyone's premiums are going thru the roof. Insurance companies are pulling out of Obamacare faster than a 3rd world banana republic, because they're losing hundreds of millions of dollars per year. It is unsustainable, without bleeding everyone who pays into the system to subsidize everyone who doesn't. I'm a healthcare professional. I see this every day.
Freehold DM wrote:
Bush is cut from the same cloth as the Clintons. They wasted 2 trillion on wars that achieved little. I'm not defending Bush 41 or 43.
The debt went from 10 trillion to almost 20 trillion under Obama. Who are you kidding. That's the debt of all prior presidential administrations combined.
Spare me the fiction. My family plan went up $9,000.00 last year. Many other families who actually pay for their own insurance are being bled dry by the insane increases in premiums. Even Bill Clinton admitted it. Its not even debatable.
Turin the Mad wrote:
Please educate a fellow washed up GM. Other than oozes, constructs and elementals, what other types of critters ignore sneak attacks?
KILLER GM’s 2016 Campaign ‘Styes 3, Hour of the Knife, Feast of Dust and Maure Castle / Legacy of Worms’ Campaign
I have been a total slacker on posting since the initial post above. The group has played twice. In the first game session there were TWO (2) character fatalities. The characters started the campaign trying to help their town/village which is on the frontier on the brink of a goblin/dwarf war. An important caravan with supplies for the character’s town was waylaid by goblin invaders, and the PCs opted to go after them. The PCs arrived at the layer of local menace where they found their caravan wagons outside being ransacked by a dozen goblins. The PCs wasted all of the goblins without incident. The group then went into the lair of Louie, the Troll Chef Magnifique and his ogre henchman Frankie. The PCs dispatched some more goblins and then got to the Troll’s lair. Long story short for the sake of time and simplicity, the PCs played smart, but the PC meat shield Bob the Fighter got critically hit and dispatched by Frankie the Ogre Henchman (casualty #1), before finally beating Louie the Troll Chef into tomato paste. Frankie opted to surrender, and the PCs strangely accepted and let Frankie go. The PCs then took on the goblin leader Smitty and his mystery friend (who happened to be a greater barghest). The PCs made short work of Captain Smitty, the goblin leader, but Mr. Barghest greased Bob the Fighter #2 (casualty #2) before fighting the PCs to a stand still. I thought I’d save the Barghest for later instead of finishing the fight to the bitter end there, and Barghest Dimension Door’d out. The PCs then went back to town and did their usual thing.
In the second game session, there were Zero character demises (please accept my apologies). The group was sent to the ruins of Brookmere to disrupt a meeting wherein a representative of the goblin king was trying to bribe a tribe of gnolls and another tribe of goblin-like ogres, called "maugres," to join his war effort against the dwarven lands. The PCs first fought with an advanced Mimic (CR 5). The mimic at one point had three characters glued to him, and it appeared that a TPK might be possible, but the last character dropped the mimic to two hit points, at which time he surrendered. The PCs gained the mimic as a guard dog for their yet-to-be-found or built headquarters. The PCs then missed an advanced Owlbear that I had hopes would carve them up, and eventually stumbled on the main threat of the day, an advanced ghoul (ghast) Rogue 6/Fighter 1. At one point, the ghast had three of the four characters present paralyzed. The characters played very smart, at times running around the room so that the ghast could only charge after them and get one attack out of its usual three (owing to his paralysis attacks). Eventually, I couldn’t get an ample opportunity to try to coup’ de gras any characters, and the group wore the ghast down. Full props to the players for their brains and good sense.
The third session is coming up later this month (July). The characters will be attempting to help fight against the goblin war effort by assisting in getting a peace treaty between the orcs and dwarves signed. The PCs will be sent to help safeguard the orc monarch and ensure that the treaty gets signed. The PCs will be protecting the orc prince against multiple assassins who are all gunning for him (the Von Trap Family Slashers, Moose & Rocco: the Hammer Brothers & others). When I imagined this scenario, it had the feel of the movie ‘Smoking Aces.’ I just wasn't sure where to set the adventure.
In a nod to 'Old School' gaming, I opted to set the adventure in a 'historic location.' While the intent of the dwarves & orcs was to hold the peace conference in a safe & secure castle or manor, the orcs, dwarves, assassins and PCs all show up/get misdirected to the wrong manor house. In this case, TEGEL MANOR to be exact :O
We'll start Tegel Manor some time later this month. Sorry for the delay in posts. I will attempt to get posts up sooner given the classic adventure that is Tegel Manor, and its potential for absolute repeated character annihilation. ~KGM
Though this thread is clearly dated, I have read some of the posts and have a few thoughts, as someone who has been called a Killer GM by some past players. A fair number of the examples of bad DM'ing listed in the posts above strike me as being perpetrated by DMs who frankly have personality problems, serious social skills deficits and/or other cognitive issues going on with them. Effective DM'ing requires good social wherewithal and people skills. Knowing the rules, making the game fun, and providing logical consequences are all a part of it.
While I have certainly greased my share of player characters, I do it according to the rules, and also conduct myself as a sensible, amicable person during the game. As far as the game mechanics go, I keep encounters to within 3 or 4 CR's/EL's of the average party level. When I read stories of traps greasing half of a party with no save or way to avoid it; or CR/EL 20 opponents being dropped onto a group of low level characters, that isn't a "Killer GM," rather, it's a moron and a social idiot who has little ability to engage in a game that requires mutual reciprocity of all participants, good impulse control, diplomacy and solid people skills.
In short, these types of Kooks, masquerading as Killer GM's are giving us real Killer GM's a bad name. These clowns shouldn't be running a game. They should be involved in group therapy and social skills training through a local mental health provider.
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