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Question for you. If the king of a nation doesn't have the Leadership feat, does that mean he can't even command his own royal guard, much less his armies?
It means they're no more loyal than their pay and their own self-interest imply, and no more.
Speaking of armies, if a king's Leadership feat does limit that nation's army, then how do you deal with the fact that a decently optimized mid-level party with decent tactics can essentially completely overthrow the entire military might of any conceivable nation?
That happens regardless of army sizes, unless you do stupid stuff like declaring the average soldier is a 10th level magus or something, which I think is lame.
If a party invades Hell with the express purpose of killing an archdevil, does only that archdevil's personal summons get to engage the party?
If you are the king of a nation, a being of vast power in the multiverse, or even the head of government for a decent-sized city, you have "followers" that don't depend on your (possibly non-existent) Leadership feat, and you should basically ignore WBL.
In terms of gp? Sure, you gotta pay the troops. In terms of gear? Still strictly within limits.
What would constitute GM cheating, pray tell?
When I'm the DM, I hold myself to very strict standards. The bad guys are meticulously built, proper stats, exact skill points, correct hp, WBL, no more followers than their Leadership allows. Their abilities are strictly according to their race, class levels, feats, and items. They act according to their intelligence and situation. I roll in the open, and I don't fudge the dice (PCs have a limited supply of hero points to ameliorate fate, but again, that's subject to clear limits and is right out in the open).
I understand that some or even most people very, very strongly insist that the DM is entitled to do whatever he/she feels like, whenever, and are a lot looser about all that. That's fine for them, and as long as the players are both aware of it and are also OK with it, then it works for them. But it's not a ground state of existence -- people play differently, and just because the DM is God for Tables A and B, doesn't mean that every DM is god at every table everywhere. I, personally, feel like that style of DMing would be a cop-out on my part, and I'm very glad I left it behind in previous editions.
At the start of the second session I was following a character that was supposed to be my mother down an ally. Suddenly she cast hold person on me, while a team of archers use a readied action to fill me full of arrows. Each shot twice and was able to hit me rather easily; downing me after the first volley. The surprise round over, my "mom" pulls out a dagger and slits my throat. To me this seemed... excessive.
NOT FAIR:In this scenario, the DM is ignoring, glossing over, and outright breaking the game rules willy-nilly.
DM: So, you meet your mom, and she asks you to follow her down the alley.
You: Uh, OK!
DM: She casts a spell! Roll a Will save!
DM: You are paralyzed. A bunch of archers start shooting at you (rolls dice).
A guy at work asked me, "Hey, you're
And I had to tell him, yes, I'm a fan of the first two (not so much the third one), and that, yeah, this one is every bit as good -- a little slicker and less gritty because the budget was more than $10, but visually far more of a spectacle than Miller would have dreamed was possible in 1980. And with better acting.
(Sorry, purists, but Tom Hardy is every bit as good as Mel Gibson for the role. I don't really care for either one of them off-screen, but on-screen I'm very happy to see either of them as Max Rockatansky.)
Just got back from Cinemark. Thunder Road actually lived up to the hype, and then some. Tom Hardy was instantly recognizable as Mad Max, and was every bit as good as Gibson was. Charlize Theron was great. That was one bad-ass vehicular action film.
Baby Gersen slept through most of it, woke up for the final action sequence, and instead of screaming in fear amidst the explosions and spring-pole guys and killing, she giggled and cheered! Sadly, Mrs Gersen had to take her out because her enthusiasm for the mayhem got louder than the electric guitar guy. She caught the end, though, and we all came home feeling like we got our money's worth.
With a DM rolling behind a screen, there's no reason to even know if he's fudging dice rolls
Unless any of the players are also poker players... I can pretty well guarantee that within a couple of sessions, I'd be able to tell with 90% accuracy when you were fudging and when you weren't.
Most people live around "white lies" as a matter of course: someone says, "Oh, I'd love to make it!" and then doesn't show up -- that sort of thing -- trying not to hurt anyone's feelings or whatever. Some very few of us, though, were lied to as children and were marked by it; we grow up mistrustful, and view nothing as more deadly an insult than lying to our faces as if we won't know it -- the lie itself triggers mistrust, and the assumption that we're too blind to see it triggers anger, because it comes across as incredibly condescending. So if a player asks you point-blank not to fudge the dice, maybe it's because they enjoy the added risk, maybe they hate being lied to, and maybe both. It might not be a super-bad idea to clear that up in advance.
For example, if I were in a game with TOZ, he'd be respectful enough say point-blank at the start, "I will occasionally fudge the dice, and if you call me on it I'll admit it." I can respect that approach far more than the people who fudge the dice and then pretend like they don't. Hell, I've run games for players who preferred the DM to fudge rolls; I roll in the open, but I'd occasionally say, "Screw that 20! I'm rerolling it, unless anyone objects!"
I'm also more accepting of it in the first four or five levels than the next ten. Once we get out of "lucky crit instagibs a PC" territory, I'd prefer to play the dice straight.
I was hesitant to ask at all, given some of the threads on the topic a few years ago, but now I'm glad I did. I don't remember ever seeing someone express this opinion, and I find it adds an interesting new dimension to the conversation. Thanks!
DM fudging is integral to a fun game otherwise we can end up with 1 round boss fights or TPK's. This is not to say no one dies in our game--plenty of PC death is enjoyed by all--it just prevents complications due to the DM either under or over estimating what he's put us up against.
Thanks, b_o_f. I think you described your opinion as a player (and your reasons for it) very clearly. If I can follow up, though, can I also ask another question -- when you say "integral to a fun game," does that imply that the DM should override the other players (if they're like houstonderek and me) and fudge dice even if they ask him not to?
EDIT: I remember TOZ suggesting a "death flag" for each player -- you put it up when you feel like your PC dying might be suitably cool to tolerate, and lower it if you don't want to die by random roll. Basically, having it lowered tells the DM he can fudge dice, but when you raise it, it tells him to let them fall where they may. I liked that idea because it allows the same DM to accommodate both types of players, in the same game.
So, flipping it around, as a player do you tolerate DM cheating? The most common example is, of course, rolls getting fudged so that the party always "just barely" wins every major fight. And, yes, it's controversial, but I maintain that the DM is not by definition "immune" to accusations of cheating. Sorry, but as DM, I don't do it. And as a player, I always ask the DM not to do it, especially in a sandbox-style game. I don't like being railroaded, and, similarly, I want my PC to die if I get in over my head. I know that houstonderek shares that view when he's playing -- it's one of the things that convinced us we'd be a good pairing for a long-term game.
EDIT: Let me add that, for an occasional less-serious game showcasing goofy characters and over-the-top scenarios, I'd heartily approve of any amount of fudging, if it sets the atmosphere. I just intensely dislike it when we're supposedly playing a more serious game in which death actually exists.
I'm pretty diligent about screening my players. I tend not to invite people I don't really like, or see eye to eye with, so honestly, I don't worry all that much about players cheating.
As DM, though, I'm usually very careful not to. The BBEG always has rules-legal abilities, strict WBL, and mooks allowable under his Leadership score, for example. NPCs' skill points and other stats are carefully derived. Dice are rolled in the open, no fudging from me. Etc. My rationale is that the DM already has enormously wide areas of creative control; he/she shouldn't need to cheat with the rules on top of that.
Celestial Healer wrote:
Don't forget, I'm the guy who got a $250 ticket for going 55 in a 55 mph zone (quote: "I'm tellin' you it's FORTY-five now, boy.")
Has he renounced his U.S. citizenship to go play king?
Has he left Virginia to go live in his desert kingdom?
Is the area permanently uninhabited, or do people move through there? If the latter, do they recognize his sovereignty? If not, he can either subdue them and enforce his borders, or accept that his claim is meaningless.
Finally, Daily Kos is, as usual, behind the times; this story broke a year ago: link
disclosure: Living in the S.F. Bay Area and having to deal with pedestrians, especially in Berkeley and S.F., can make you very VERY bitter.
Fair warning: As an avid pedestrian, I've been struck and knocked down by speeding bicyclists who insisted on riding on the sidewalk instead of the street, and I finally swore to kill the next one who did so, and throw his bicycle into oncoming traffic.
Just off the top of my head, I can think of 2 published where the ultimate BBEG has divinations, predictions, auguries, whatever that clearly indicate the PC’s are a threat to his very survival. So confident in the truth of that, he sends assassins to kill them across the nation or world on multiple occasions. Yet for some reason he only sends very weak, inexperienced, and small numbers of assassins after them. Yet at the end of the thing you find out BBEG has literally hundreds of agents more powerful than what he sent and dozens that are much more powerful than what he sent.
This always bugged me, too, until I opted for a more indeterminate future/T2 cosmology. The BBEG knows someone will eventually be a threat, but won't know it's the PCs until they get up there in level. Until then, there's a better than even chance that any given adventurer or group of adventurers will die or get side-tracked onto other stuff before becoming a threat. This means abandoning the AP-as-railroad paradigm, and it means not minding too much if PCs die, or change their mission, or whatever. It works out better, then -- you (the DM) have no idea if this particular low-level party will ever be a threat to the BBEG, so neither do the gods, and therefore, neither does the BBEG.
I still have no idea how the heck a multiple DM game operates when you're running a campaign with complexity that goes beyond a site based adventure. I don't mean this as a snide take down, I genuinely don't see how it operates when you have like..NPCs independantly plotting in the background, secrets to be discovered, or the like.
Kind of like how a good jazz combo can just improv for an hour or so without it ever getting stale or falling apart; instead, it keeps getting more and more nuanced and complex as they continue to riff off each other. These are generally guys who have played a lot together, and there's a level of trust that's needed, but it's hard to beat when it comes together.
Half the fun is when your co-DM accidently steps on your toes in some way, and you have to integrate his/her new development into the ruins of what you had previously planned, and still make it all come together so that the other players can't tell which parts are yours and which parts are the other DM's, and keep a seamless, internally-consistent storyline going. It's a challenge to your creativity and logic both, forcing you to use both sides of your brain.
Or, the two DMs could just, you know, talk to each other beforehand.
My major problem with high-level play is that most people can't write high-level adventures that make any damned sense at all. They tend not to take into account the PCs' (and villains') godlike abilities, and end up like low-level adventures with bigger numbers. And, as noted, it quickly becomes absurd when all the town guards "just happen" to be 15th level fighters, when last year they were only 1st level warriors.
One adventure to get it right was "Diplomacy" (Dungeon #144), IIRC, in which an 18th level party is trying to outmaneuver various other bidders for a demi-plane full of diamonds or something. It provides a reason for high-level enemies to be in one place, minimizes mindless combat and endless slog-fests, and assumes that everyone is actually using the abilities they have (you're pretty much assumed to have a diplomancer bard backed by major arcane and divine support).
When people say there are automotive stunts not done with CGI, it warms my heart and instantly changes my opinion 180 degrees.
My favorite movies are classic '70s fare like Vanishing Point, Gone in 60 Seconds (the original, not the execrable remake), The Junkman, The French Connection, The Seven-Ups, The Driver, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry, Electra Glide in Blue, Le Mans, Two Lane Blacktop, and so on; Carey Loftin and Bill Hickman are my idols. To Live and Die in LA was a classic for the 80s. But then some idiot invented CGI and the whole genre turned to s&&%.
When Tarantino's Death Proof came out 20 years later, it was like a ray of hope for me.
I hope this one gives me reason for that optimism.
P.S. I hope the "Fury Road" subtitle is a homage to Thunder Road (1958), but that might be too much to hope for.
A perfect example of what can be done with enough ranks in Craft:
Then the Æsir made another fetter twice as strong, which they called Drómi, and bade the wolf test himself again against that fetter, saying that he would become very famous for strength if such a strong chain would not hold him. The wolf, however, was thinking htat, although the fetter was very strong, he had grown in might since he had broken Loeðing; it also occurred to him that he would have to expose himself to danger in order to become famous, so he let the fetter be put on him. When the Æsir said they were ready, he shook himself, knocking the fetter against the ground, and struggled against it, digging his feet in so hard that the fetter broke into pieces which flew far and wide; so he got himself out of Drómi. It has since become a proverb when anything is extraordinarily difficult that one gets loose from Loeðing or battles out of Drómi.
After that the Æsir feared that they would never be able to get the wolf bound. Then All-father sent one called Skírnir, Frey's messenger, down to the World-of-dark-elves to some dwarfs, and had made the fetter called Gleipnir. This was made from six things: the noise a cat makes when it moves, the beard of a woman, the roots of a mountain, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird. The fetter was as smooth and soft as a ribbon of silk, but as trusty and strong as you are now going to hear. When the fetter was brought to the Æsir they thanked the messenger very much for carrying out his mission. Then the Æsir, calling to the wolf to go with them, went out on to an island called Lyngvi in a lake called Ámsvartnir. They showed him the silken band and bade him break it. They said it was a bit stronger than it appeared to be from its thickness and passed it from one to the other, testing its strength with their hands, and it did not break. They said, however, that the wolf would be able to snap it. The wolf's answer was: "This ribbon looks to me as if I could gain no renown from breaking it--it is so slight a cord; but if it has been made by guile and cunning, slender though it looks, it is not going to come on my legs." Then the gods said that he would soon snap so slight a ribbon of silk, when he had broken great fetters of iron before, "and if you don't succeed in snapping this cord you need not be afraid of the gods; we will set you free again." The wolf said: "If you bind me so that I can't get free, then you will sneak away so that it will be a long time before I get any help from you. I don't want to have that ribbon put on me. But rather than be accused of cowardice by you, let one of you place his hand in my mouth as a pledge that this is done in good faith." Each of the gods looked at the other then and thought that they were in a fix, and not one of them would stretch forth his hand, until Týr put out his right hand and laid it in the wolf's mouth. Now when the wolf began to struggle against it, the band tightened, and the more fiercely he struggled the firmer it got. They all laughed except Týr; he lost his hand.
I've used them on a temporary basis, and find it generally makes me feel queasy, so I generally try to get out of it ASAP. Some examples:
Even easier, make one scaling bonus that applies to everything. Call it the "war master's edge" or something. It would be a competence bonus that applies to all weapon attack rolls, weapon damage, CMB/CMD, AC with armor, reducing ACP, DR/- when wearing armor, saving throws, ability and skill checks, leadership score, and effective caster level of potions consumed. It could start at +1 at 3rd level and increase every 4 levels thereafter (+5 at 19th level), and would be the fighter's primary class feature.
I'm going to get a lot of flack for this, but as DM, I let the player decide when/if his paladin falls. I've had one player ease into it, getting closer and closer to the edge, and then finally dive full gonzo into it by sacrificing a person to his new demon-god. I've had another player whose paladin never looked twice in that direction, and stayed lily-white the whole campaign. And I've seen just about everything in between.
The upshot is that people aren't afraid to play paladins, and aren't afraid of exploring the moral elements of the class -- because they know that I'm not going to arbitrarily kick them out of the game because of it.
And it's important to note that I have NEVER had a player claim to be remaining LG while he/she commits evil acts, so all this stuff about "But you have to punish the players if they abuse their powers!" is nonsense, in my experience, assuming you don't play with 4-year-olds.
This thread is evidence that the riots ARE accomplishing something. Without them, it would be business as usual; another African American youth murdered by police, no notice at all by anyone except his immediate family/associates. After the riots, the whole country knows what happened yet again, especially following so soon after the unrest in Ferguson, for the same reason. Get enough of these riots back-to-back, in different cities, and at some point it will penetrate even the thickest of skulls that there is a real problem somewhere.
UNREASONABLY high self esteem. At least, that is the image they do all they can to project. When that gets questioned, it becomes an existential threat.
I've (recently and personally) had more a problem interacting with people who have unreasonably low self-esteem. They are so convinced they're worthless that any suggestion or offer of assistance in anything -- no matter how minor or well-intended -- is immediately seen as an affirmation of that suspicion, and gets warped into some kind of deadly threat to their personhood -- whereupon they counterattack far out of proportion to the supposed "offense."
Because developers are infallible, a perfect system is possible, and it is only their laziness that leads to player conflict or problems in the game.
That's called "letting perfect be the enemy of good."
No one expects an infallibly perfect game. However, that does not in any way imply that the existing game could not be improved, or that none of the problems can possibly be addressed.
Ugh. My house rule is to make clearly-defined "levels" or steps of illumination; light and darkness spells simply apply +/- "x" number of steps, depending on their spell level, to a max/min also depending on their spell level. Low-light vision lets you treat all levels as 1 step higher, to a max of normal light. Darkvision lets you to see as if 2 steps higher, but within its range only.
There are no Timmy cards in Pathfinder, sure the Crossbow archetype is not as powerful as other archetypes or classes for that matter. But it doesn't make it a 'trap' that promotes system mastery.
That's exactly what it is, though. Being a Crossbowman makes you worse in every respect than a vanilla fighter with some ranged feats and a composite longbow -- very intentionally so, to "teach you a lesson" that crossbows aren't supposed to be as good as bows. The Slinger has a similar purpose (the developers have come straight out and compared using a sling to throwing water balloons).
+caster level and feats that ignore meta-magic limitations are just as bad, unbalancing the balance established in the CRB.
The CRB remains one of the most unbalanced RPG books ever published: casters >> everyone else at everything except direct-damage potential.
And Paizo has taken Ivory Tower design to a whole new level, with an abundance of blatant Timmy cards like the Crossbowman fighter archetype ("give up class features so that you can be a totally inferior archer!")
I have played roleplaying games for 30 years and I have seen what munchkin character choices does to the industry as a whole. It turns people off quickly.
Ah, so you advocate banning the wizard, sorcerer, cleric, druid, and summoner, for starters? I could go with that.
P.S. 30 years' gaming experience is fairly common among posters here, so citing it doesn't put you ahead at all. Hell, DrDeth has more like 40 years', IIRC, and I still disagree with him more than I agree.
That's how the game's always worked.
Up until the train, automobile, and plane, it took days or weeks or months to get anywhere. That's how it had always worked. Up until the first written laws, whoever hit you over the head first could do whatever he/she wanted. That's how it had always worked. Hell, up until 3e, we had no standardized d20 system.
We don't need to be slavishly bound to prior models. There are usually better ways of doing things. Refusing to look for them, on the basis of precedent, is a Luddite's trap.
As far as I know there isn't any sort of mandate that the game can only exist in some sort of RAW state in these discussions; games are as varied as the people posting on the boards.
Absolutely. However, there is a difference between saying "These optional rules fix the problems in core..." vs. "The core rules as written are perfect and should not be changed, because we use these optional rules to overrule them."
If a caster is being allowed to scope out an entire fortress with easily spotted scrying sensors, your GM is being very easy on you.
There's a LOT more to the school of divination than the [scrying] spells.
(Also, don't even need to rewrite spells. Private sanctum, forbiddance, and teleport trap, all say "hello," and I'm sure there's more.)
Which means every BBEG is a full caster, not a martial. Which kind of underlines the point, n'est-ce pas?
I've yet to see in about four decades of gaming, the astounding amount of caster dominance that people in this venue claim is prevalent as the Black Plague once was. Maybe it's the people I've gamed with, combined with my own gaming style when I myself run casters.
I think your explanation for not seeing it is right on the nose. In my experience, as long as everyone follows the railroad, and the casters play the way they're "supposed to" play, then everything is jake. It's when a caster player stops and actually looks at what his spells are capable of -- that's when disparity appears. And when a smart caster player shrugs off the shackles of "supposed to" and actually uses the tools at his/her disposal, then everything quickly goes off the rails, requiring massive DM fiat to re-balance.
Ideally, the game would be less easy to break, by writing the spells with most peoples' self-imposed limits already in mind -- i.e., by making those limits written into the game rules, rather than handled at the table on an ad hoc basis.
But that assumes the light rules are adjusted. As-is, they are clunky, contradictory, and tedious.
Yeah, I wanted to codify them somewhat, and started on a draft section, but never got it quite where I wanted it. The idea was to have clearly-defined levels of illumination or "steps":
- Blinding light (to all sighted critters)
Various spells/conditions would increase/decrease a set # of steps, usually with a built-in max/min. For example, outdoors on a clear midday is bright light; overcast or light forest reduces by 1 step, heavy canopy by 2 steps, etc., to a minimum of "dim light."
Any update on how the combat chapter is going?
Zero progress. (I fly out to Houston tomorrow to start my new RL job, so that's kind of been my focus right now, along with taking care of the new baby.)
However, I did manage to start with the Leopard stats in the Bestiary and independently derive the lion, tiger, dire lion, dire tiger, lynx, caterwaul, arctic cat, and swamplight lynx using existing templates and/or class levels. I was so pleased with the results that I went on to do bears, wolves, octopuses, squids, and a few others. It's incredible how much more satisfying it is to use existing rules to construct monsters, rather than just throwing some abilities together and ballparking some numbers on a general table (as in Pathfinder). If the combat chapter ever gets done, I'll for sure need to write a Chapter 9: Monsters.