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Kirth Gersen's page

22,552 posts (23,270 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 12 aliases.

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1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pan wrote:
How can you not like IPA?

Overly-glib answer: I'm not a trendy hipster.

But, no, seriously, I don't mind the style as it used to be -- Yard's IPA is a great example of one I actually enjoy. It's got a lot of hops, but it would still be a very good beer if you took them away. What I despise is the more recent trend of "hop blasting" to the point where there's no attempt at balance and the hop-water "beer" just tastes like some over-eager kid brewer is trying to win a bet.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ugh. As our group always said, "Real life: it happens." In the three years since the last few posts, I've rewritten the entire game, moved to a new state, found new friends, succeeded at a new job, and fathered a daughter. My memory of the most of the rest of these stories is getting pretty foggy, but for Derek's sake I'll try and see what I can do.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
houstonderek wrote:
I guess the wizard brought the IPA?

Probably he was hoping to undermine our credibility. Intentionally serving IPA to discerning guests is only a step below ordering PBR at bars. When I end up with some in a variety pack, I end up saving it for Mrs Gersen's younger cousins.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
LazarX wrote:
The fact that we even have to have threads like this is the sign of our moral and ethical decay.

Yeah, that's what they said about Socrates, too.

While I totally agree that politeness and consideration are of great importance, I totally disagree that their lack is in any new thing; indeed, I find that people are, on the whole, more polite today than I remember them being when I was a kid.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

An adolescent wood elf -- turtle clan, you're judging, although he lacks the turtle tattoo he'd have on his chest as an adult -- opens the door for you. Seeing your Tuelvi shamanistic trappings, his eyes open wide. Seeing the small gnome you're prodding ahead of you, he struggles to hide a giggle.

Aside from his mirror and a pathetically small dagger, Gleed is free of contraband.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
F High Elf Ranger 1/Wizard 4

Miralda shrugs. "He's no use to me, then."

She thinks a second, then adds, "But don't wood elves go for burning people at the stake or making them run the gauntlet or some other suitably barbarous spectacle?"

1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Liranys wrote:
But I agree. why bother distinguishing between male and female stats when gender isn't the only thing that affects them. Size, shape, natural talent, making realistic system would be crazy complex and not fun.

That was exactly my point.

thejeff wrote:

I agree. As does Kirth, who proposed that breakdown

Kirth wrote:
Once you get started down that path, there's no stopping. It's a lot better to hand-wave the gender differences in the interst of a better game.

Exactly: I posted all that crap to illustrate how absurd and unproductive it is to even go there.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Liranys wrote:
Why do men get a +2 int?

See above. Look at the % of top scientists, mathematicians, and chess players who are male, vs. female. Since we're told to ignore cultural reasons and just look at what's obviously "realistic"...

P.S. Needless to say, I don't think they should.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Technically, you can totally recline as far as the seat will go. In some planes that means whacking the person behind you in the face; that's how they cram you in nowadays. So it is not expected, but is usually extremely welcome, for you to ask the person behind you -- in a lot of cases they'll love you for reclining more instead of hating you for reclining less.

Personally, I don't recline my seat unless I absolutely have to. Yeah, no one has ever actually thanked me, but I know how much it sucks when the person in front of you is lying in your lap, and I don't feel like I'm really giving up a lot to spare them that. Then again, in light of other recent threads, other people here will tell you with a straight face that you should recline as far as you daggone well please, breaking the seat to recline further if you can get away with it, because you'll probably never see those people again anyway.

Ultimately, it's up to you.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
But when it comes to simple RAW STRENGTH, a guy will always have the edge no matter what.

So, break down your proposed "realistic" adjustments for us. I mentioned above the -2 Str, +2 Dex, +2 Con for females, and +2 Int, -2 Wis, and +2 Cha for males; I assume their inclusion all meets your approval, for the reasons I listed. What other ones would you add?

In Norse mythology, seidr (magic) was considered very unmanly; a male who did it was scorned as such. So we should probably include some sort of modifiers making it much harder for males to be wizards or sorcerers. On the other hand, the Catholic Church doesn't allow female priests, and we have to assume there's some reason for that, so let's assign some modifiers making it much harder for females to be clerics...

4 people marked this as a favorite.

One thing that always.. bugs me a little is how for most races, males and females are mechanically identacle. That makes no sense. For instance, a female cannot get a strong as a male with equal amounts of effort. If you take a female power lifter, she will near always lift less than an equally skilled male power lifter.

There is a reason why the title strongest human on earth always go to males. Their physiology is specifically designed to be big and strong.

I've posted on this before, with the question, "where does it end?" I mean, say we give females a -2 Str modifier. In my experience, women tend to be better marksmen on average than males, so do we give them a +2 Dex modifier? But women also endure childbirth and live longer than men, so let's give them +2 to Con as well. But most top scientists are male, so let's give males a +2 Int. Oh, but more men fail to complete college because they're too busy playing video games and going to parties; that makes a -2 Wis. However, they're more assertive than women on average; +2 Cha...

Once you get started down that path, there's no stopping. It's a lot better to hand-wave the gender differences in the interst of a better game.

Or, more succinctly... "dragons, realism."

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Dingo, all those operations you cited have the goal of rounding up mango thieves and exiling them to a noncontiguous string. You should be thankful for them!

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Aranna wrote:
The issue I do frequently have is tall men sitting in front of me.

Being vertically-challenged myself, this is often an issue for me as well. But I take solace in the fact that the '80s are over, so I don't need to worry about women with gigantic hair sitting in front of me anymore. You couldn't even see past them if you leaned to the side!

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Simon Legrande wrote:
Keen? No. I think they're crazy. But I believe that you're not free unless you're free to be wrong.

You're still dodging, though. You and I agree they're free to be wrong for themselves. Where you disagree with me (and everyone else except the JWs and some other assorted cults) is in saying that they should be free to inflict that on defenseless children as well.

Simon Legrande wrote:
I also believe that people who are determined to commit suicide should be allowed to do so regardless of the circumstances.

Again, I'm mostly with you there. But I strongly disagree that people who are determined to commit homicide should be allowed to do so, under just about any circumstances.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Treppa wrote:
The Doors of His Face, The Lamps of His Mouth is an excellent Zelazny short story collection, including the lovely A Rose for Ecclesiastes.

And "This Moment of the Storm," which is sort of the prototype for Isle of the Dead.

"Divine Madness," also in that collection, is one of my very favorites.
It makes me cry every time I read it.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

His face breaks from its habitual frown into a wide grin. "Why wouldn't you?"

Alternate response:

"I've got an invisible dragon -- in my PANTS!"

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Lord of Light is a masterpiece.
I'm very fond of Isle of the Dead as well, and Doorways in the Sand.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I really like the characters in the original series -- Corwin, Bleys & Fiona, Random, and Benedict are all long-time favorites.

I liked Luke and Mandor OK in the second series, but Merlin is a Mary Sue whore. And, overall, the second pentalogy is nowhere near as cool as the first one; I'd avoid it except that there's some really cool Chaos stuff in there.

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Wiggz wrote:
How... magical.

It's exactly as magical as the player chooses to make it, as opposed to the DM deciding for him that it's "supposed" to be magical and then trying to convince the player (at best) or punish him until he likes it (at worst).

Granted, that's really what a lot of this thread is: some DMs hate their players and think of them as bratty, spoiled children who have to be punished and controlled (makes you wonder why they all hang out together). I maybe go too far in the "player empowerment" direction, but at least I admit it, and it comes from generally DMing for groups of players who are all experienced DMs in their own right when not at my table.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Long ago I had a GM rule that teleport wouldn't take you through any other objects more solid than standard cloth. It resolved a lot of crap. Teleport was still incredibly useful to take you somewhere fast, but you had to arrive outside. He also had something for scrying, but I don't remember what it was.
Kirth Gersen wrote:


Spells (and abilities duplicating the effects of spells) with the [scrying] or [teleportation] descriptor cannot penetrate to an area that is entirely enclosed by more than 1 ft. of solid stone, 3 ft. of earth, an inch of metal, and/or a thin coating of lead. This guideline, adapted from the Dunegonomicon (Frank and “K,” The Gaming Den), not only curtails “scry-and-fry” tactics, but also provides a rationale for both castles and dungeons.
Kings live in stone castles, not for defensibility from armies, but for secrecy; if a need to teleport or use divination magic comes up, they can go to an outside room and open a leaded-glass window, but while inside an inner room with stone walls and a lead-lined door, their councils are protected from eavesdropping and teleporting assassins. Many wizards likewise live in stone towers with designated divining and transportation rooms open to the outside. Tombs and cultist headquarters are typically found in dungeons underground.
Divination and dimension door effects within a dungeon or building itself are normally not affected, as the doorways, rooms, and corridors provide “open” lines of effect within the complex itself. However, rooms with stone walls and thick stone or metal doors (such as all of the Tomb of Horrors beyond the Chapel of Evil and Stone Gate) would fall under these guidelines.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
Going to the opposite silly extreme does not invalidate someone's preference of something somewhere in the middle.

"Squatting in between those on the side of reason and evidence and those worshipping superstition and myth is not a better place. It just means you’re halfway to crazy town." --P.Z. Myers

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Auxmaulous wrote:
One way (of many) around that magic shop design consideration would be for the players to seek out the specific items they need via actual adventuring.

That can totally work, but some groups are leery of anything too railroad-y, and that solution (while very good for players who want to be told where to go next) would not be optimal for some of the people I've DMed for. You really need to know your players.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Again, if you want items to be less common, just get rid of "slots" and let them combine properties. I posted the example above of the guy with magic plate armor of bull's strength, resistance, and flight, instead of having the armor, a belt, a cloak, and a carpet all as separate items. The thing is, if you let the players "buy" those proprties themselves up to a pre-selected limit (WBL or whatever), most of them get really into it and enjoy that process as much as leveling up. It's a win-win, because you don't have to sit around dreaming up stuff they'll like.

This is the solution I use; you get rid of the "Christmas tree syndrome" and magic-mart fluff, you don't break the underpinnings of the game, and you add player engagement besides.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
KenderKin wrote:
Like buying a used car, lots of places to look til you find exactly what you want.

Fluff-wise, sure, but not every group enjoys spending their weekend time pretending to go shopping; some people even hate it in real life. So the real question is whether you hand-wave all that and just say "OK, after 2 weeks of searching through the back alleys of Kambuchistan, you manage to secure a magic dagger of uncertain precendent"... or whether you force them to play out every conversation with everyone along the way.

4 people marked this as a favorite.

In D&D, money is only a means to an end. The way the rules are set up, you can't spend that loot on castles, or on hookers and blow, or whatever without hamstringing yourself as an adventurer. This is most especially true of martial guys, because in D&D Land, magic is really the only way to get a lot of things done, once you reach mid-level or so. That means, if you're not casting spells yourself, you need items just to keep up. And getting those items requires gp. That's just the way the game is set up. You can alter or mitigate that by a variety of means, but what you can't do is just ignore it and expect everything to work out.

Elric didn't want Stormbringer, but when the adventure involves destroying demons and even minor gods, he needed it, because there's no way for you to fight those kind of things with a normal blade.

When Luke is getting shot at by a dozen blasters, he needs that lightsaber to deflect them, or he ends up riddled in holes. So when he can, he constructs a new lightsaber with his (off-screen) loot from previous adventures.

Conan can get away with squandering all his wealth on debauchery, and Robin Hood can give his spoils to the poor, because those guys stay in an E6-type framework. They simply don't ever go up against things that require better armaments, and there's no expectation that they ever will.

7 people marked this as a favorite.
Wiggz wrote:
Thank goodness Luke Skywalker, Indiana Jones, Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, Robin Hood and pretty much every great character from fiction didn't feel that way, eh?

Yoda: "If all jedi lightsabers have, none special will feel, hmmm? A butter knife for you is good enough."

Museum: "Sorry, Dr. Jones. I know you believed this to be the Lost Ark of the Covenant, but then we'd need magic rocks or something for the next movie, and we simply can't have so many magic goodies floating around. So what you recovered is, in fact, a brass-covered box with some plain stone tablets in it. But it has a backstory!"

Gandalf: "Yes, there are legends of the Ring of Sauron, that makes men and hobbits invisible to all except His eye... but what you have there, what your uncle Bilbo recovered, is my aunt Mildred's engagement ring."

Sheriff of Nottingham: "Yes, of COURSE you can defeat all my schemes with a mundane bow... we're only 4th level, after all, and this is an E6 campign."

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Simon Legrande wrote:

Do whites practice racism? Absolutely.

Do blacks practice racism? Absolutely.
Do Hispanics practice racism? Absolutely.
Do I practice racism? Never.


Do whites have an entrenched advantage in the U.S. overall? Absolutely.
Do blacks have an entrenched advantage in the U.S.? Absolutely not.
Do hispanics have an entrenched advantage in the U.S.? Absolutely not.
Do I benefit from this power disparity? Often, even if I don't see it.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Grammar Nazi wrote:
You mean "never mind" or possibly "let alone".

You're muscling in on my territory.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:

I don't think of myself as European-American, much less any specific country. There would be at least 4 countries that I know of and they're all at least 4 generations back, some much farther.

Maybe it's a duration thing, then. Mrs. Gersen's relatives up here in Western PA are very aggressively "Croatian-Americans," with emphasis on the Croatian. I personally think of myself as much German as American... and after all my time in the Lone Star State I'm almost inclined to think my American half is more Texan than American!

The sad truth is that, for many African-Americans, their ancestors were forcibly brought over from any number of different cultures, records were not kept, and the only way to narrow down likelihoods is by DNA analysis. So most people can't fall back on the kind of knowledge that, say, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grew up with:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote:
My family was brought to America by a French planter named Alcindor, who came here from Trinidad in the 18th century. My people were Yoruba, and their culture survived slavery.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Kydeem de'Morcaine wrote:
The casters are so dependent their gear to function and survive that if you take away their gear they are unplayable.


"Flat, even surfaces are so hard to move over that if you take away the marathon runners' (unneeded) wheelchairs, they won't be able to walk or run on the paths."

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I love the appearance, and the content.
But for my purposes, the PRD is essentially non-functional. I can't use it at the table, and when I'm designing encounters it costs me more time than it saves me.

Say I just need to find out what a spell does. OK, I need to open the main link for each book, then navigate to the spell index, then hope to find the spell. I need to do this for every single book listed, so if it's in one of the later ones, I'm likely to give up first.

"Kirth, you fool!" people say. "Just use the SEARCH function!"

Heh. Try this: type the word "bard" into the search field, and see how long it takes you to find the link to the actual Bard class?

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Fabius Maximus wrote:
Do you consider The Onion a real news site, too?

Look at who the OP is, and then reconsider your question!

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:
You can't produce that level of awe when a PC finds a level-appropriate item, especially given that (unless you find it at the very end of the campaign) it's actually going to end up outclassed and replaced.

Not necessarily true, if you get rid of slots and cost increases for combining slots and all the rest of that. I encourage the PCs to "discover" new properties of items they already have, rather than tacking on more items. So a character in one of my campaigns might end up with, say, +1 full plate armor of bull's strength +4, resistance +2, and flying -- rather than having +1 full plate and a belt of giant strength and a cloak of resistance and a carpet of flying. He ends up more like Iron Man and less like a Christmas tree.

8 people marked this as a favorite.

I've done away with "gold = magic items." Instead, the characters gain their WBL equivalent directly as personal "mojo" and declare what items they are finding, and what their properties are, subject to that limit.

Say they've leveled (read: now have a higher mojo limit) and are in a crypt. I've described that there are iron torch-holders on the walls, etc. They kill some spectres or whatever, and it's time to look for loot. Mundane treasure is mundane treasure; they find what's there, and can spend it on hookers and blow or castles or horse food or whatever. But magic gear is special.

  • Rogue: "Using my awesome Appraise skill, I recognize that some of the jewelry is actually a necklace of fireballs. That still leaves me some extra mojo -- I'll think about it and get back to you, okay?"

  • Fighter: "Hmmm, I've got 6,000 mojo to burn. How about this: the essence of one of the spectres has infused my sword; it's now a +1 ghost touch sword instead of just being +1."

  • Cleric: "I've still got a huge pile of unspent mojo because I always forget to spend it. So here it is: I recognize one of the torch holders as my ancestor's mace of disruption, so this must have been a family crypt! I perform funerary rites over the spectres so their souls will rest easier, and I take the mace."

    This means that the PCs generally get the gear that they imagine themselves having, without me needing to include Ye Olde Magic Item Shoppe in every town, and without me needing to read their minds and specifically include this stuff as treasure.

    The catch is that the limits need to be enforced. If they loot the BBEG and take his magic items, and those items put them over their limit, then they don't have the personal mojo to actually hold onto and use the extra stuff, long-term. Maybe it just won't function for them. Maybe it gets destroyed by the next fireball. Maybe it manifests as a personality conflict with an intelligent item. Whatever.

  • 1 person marked this as a favorite.
    DrDeth wrote:
    when we're trying to do a scene from a drama, that sort of humor isnt appropriate.

    If I'm running a game with THAT GUY, I'm going to be sure the other participants in that particular Saturday game aren't trying to produce some high drama -- they'll be into "inappropriate" humor as well. All the staid old nannies can come to the Wednesday evening game instead (or whenever it is).

    And, yeah, sometimes a repetitive joke, with the same response replied to increasingly more outrageous starting points, can be quite funny.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    DrDeth wrote:
    It's rude and immature, and *IS* a problem... [snip] and it has to be squelched.

    For many people, sure. Maybe even for most people. Personally, I still think Porky's and Animal House are hilarious, so, as long as no one else at the table was offended, I'd be fine with THAT GUY -- especially if he's a friend of mine and we enjoy a cheap laugh and probably a few beers on the weekend or something.

    Maybe that makes me immature. Maybe it makes me a problem, in some sort of hypotehtical societal manner. But as long as THAT GUY isn't bothering anyone else at the table -- and that is most defintely an important "if," don't get me wrong -- then I'm not seeing him as some kind of horrible scourge that "has to be squelched."

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Avadriel wrote:
    I am actually curious, lets say you have your hypothetical level 1 character and level 20 character in the party. Can you describe an encounter you would give them that would challenge them both without just murdering the level 1 character?

    That's actually very easy to do, if you're playing Story Hour but have some PF stats on a piece of paper just for fun. If you're trying to also use the tactical mechanical aspects of PF it won't fly, of course, but everyone knows that would make you a "roll-player" instead of a "role-player," right?

    5 people marked this as a favorite.
    Matrix Dragon wrote:
    Combat Expertise is one of the worst feat taxes. Many people get the feat as a prerequisite and then never use it.

    That one bugs me because it isn't in any way integrated with the Fighting Defensively mechanic, which is, in essence, doing the exact same thing.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    BigDTBone wrote:
    How are you able to comment on NCLB if your teaching experience ended in 2001?

    The writing was on the wall long before the bill was passed. Virginia had had its own version in place for some time.

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Overall? Feat chains make me very sad, especially ones like Two-Weapon Fighting in which you're getting less and less out of each feat, incrementally, in the chain. The two-part combat maneuver feats really bug me. Etc.

    Also, any feat that does something like give you +1 to some situational roll is a kick in the teeth. Feats should actually do something.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    BigDTBone wrote:
    It's a factor of Meta-governmental thrift. Every $1 spent on getting children (general) to point "x" in content mastery saves 10,000 dollars in public welfare expenditures over that child's life time.

    Assuming these numbers are accurate, we'd then need to quantify the effect of $1 spent on advanced opportunities in science, technology, medicine, and so on, and see how those pay off as well. Then we can compare. For example, if $1 remedial = $10,000 saved, but $1 advanced = $20,000 growth in economy, it would be hard to justify the whole dollar always going to the former. On the other hand, if $1 advanced = economy grows by $10, then the remedial spending is a slam-dunk winner.

    I'm not saying either case is necessarily what we're facing; rather, I think we as a society have no idea, to be honest, because we haven't bothered to really look into it. I do feel that it's short-sighted to not even consider the options and go through the effort of making meaningful comparisons.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Driver 325 yards wrote:
    The GM is the writer.

    Then why are the players even there? Just to witness his greatness firsthand?

    No, thanks.

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    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    The gnome, terrified of the leering, shillelagh-swinging goblin and the savage, foaming-at-the-mouth wolf, incants again.

    1d4 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
    1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11

    There now appear to be four identical gnomes on the staircase, separated from you by a 5-ft. stretch of greased stairs, two unconscious bandits, and one stunned hobgoblin. Comically, as soon as they pop into being, all four gnomes slip as if on a banana peel, and all end up prone.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Tinkergoth wrote:
    Not only did this character completely destroy the mood, killing any interest I had in running the second half of the story (we'd ripped through the first half in the first session), but once I'd managed to kill him off, the player came back with a new character for the next scene who initially seemed more suitable...

    Please send this player to me forthwith, if you are no longer interested in having him at your table. He would be most welcome here!

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Uncle Taco wrote:
    Can anyone recommend any fantasy where the protagonist isn't a very special snowflake? I've been having trouble finding stuff that doesn't engage in Great Man fiction.
  • Leiber's "Fafhrd & Gray Mouser" stories are the pinnacle of what you're looking for - a northern barbarian and would-be skald and a southern thief team up for adventure, drinking, and wenching, and accomplish notable deeds along the way.
  • Vance's "Dying Earth" stories, especially Eyes of the Overworld and Cugel's Saga also fit the bill -- Cugel the Cunning is a rogue of no particular antecedents or competence, but his misadventures never cease to entertain.
  • If you want a protagonist who's more noble and less scoundrel, try Vance's "Lyonesse" trilogy instead -- Aillas is a shipwrecked minor noble from the back of nowhere, forced into a game between major powers; what he accomplishes is through daring and preseverence, not parentage or destiny.
  • On the sci-fi end, I've always been fond of Harrison's "Stainless Steel Rat" novels, in which Slippery Jim diGriz survives a variety of world-shaking adventures through pluck and wits.
  • And, to keep plugging Vance, the "Planet of Adventure" series is another great choice -- ordinary spaceman Adam Reith crash-lands on a planet ruled by four species of hostile aliens, and doesn't hesitate to take on all of them, if that's what it takes to get a ship and get back home.

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