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Kirth Gersen's page

24,986 posts (25,849 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 13 aliases.

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WormysQueue wrote:
Both spells grant basically automatic success to what you say is the rangers' primary function. So what this means is that you take part of the challenge out of playing a ranger.

If by "challenge" you mean "cannot do this at all except by DM fiat," then sure. If I want to find a lost city, by the RAW, the ranger cannot find it except by the DM saying "Well, I'm tired of you guys trekking across every square mile of every continent in the world, so you found it." The ranger actually has no class feature that gives him any more chance of finding it than a commoner. The cleric can do it automatically, though.

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WormysQueue wrote:
To take Kirth's example Find the path and discern location may really come in handy if you have no ranger in the party. On the other handy, and that's my take on this, if you have a ranger in the party, the wizard player probably shouldn't write those spells into his spellbook.

Then, using the core rules, no one would be able do those things at all. Because the core ranger can't. That's my gripe -- the ranger's primary function exists only as cleric and wizard spells that rangers never get access to. That doesn't bother anyone else at all? Even a little bit?

In PF, if you want the party to do what rangers supposedly do best, you fire the ranger and hire another full caster instead. That makes absolutely no sense to me. Other examples abound as well (don't get me started on rogues!).

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knightnday wrote:
Are the martials able to be played still? Of course. But at some point you pull back the curtain and wonder why on various bits and pieces, like Arachnofiend above. After that you wonder if things could be better.

BTW, I LOVE this post. Bravo.

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baja1000 wrote:
Does it really have to matter which one can do it better?

It doesn't. But that's not the situation we have. Rather, one of them can't do it at all unless the other one holds his hand.

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Bigger Club wrote:
If you really want to see, go ahead and post a full fighter build and see what druid can do in comparison.

I can guess from experience how that will come out:

1. For everything the druid does, we get "You shouldn't do that!" or "The DM shouldn't allow that!"
2. You respond, "Let's just look at what the rules actually say."
3. He answers, "A DM who doesn't use common sense is a bad DM!" and then goes into accusations about MMORPGs.
4. If you somehow divert that, you're still "not a team player" because you use the casters' potential instead of gentlemanly using them solely to boost the martial guys' fragile egos and try to make them look good.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

How can the same person keep both ferrets and rats? Ferrets were domesticated specifically to kill rats!

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captain yesterday wrote:
I say the same thing about Texas.

That's a totally legit approach to the Lone Star Universe I inhabit.

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Years ago, I tried to take my ferret, Inga, for a walk. I carefully put the ferret harness on her, and tightened it in all the right spots, and made sure there were no twists or snags or slack. Then I tugged on the leash. Inga jumped into the air, convulsed in about ten directions at once, and landed on the floor, totally free of the harness. I gave up.

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Steve Geddes wrote:
I've never done any editing, although I've done a reasonable amount of proofreading. It seems to me that, no matter how many passes you do, whatever remains will contain some error you can't believe you missed.

Greater skill at technical writing generally produces a draft with clearer meaning and reduced verbiage. This is typically followed by proofreading by someone who was not involved in the writing/design process, to check for inconsistencies, errors, and ambiguity creeping in. That gets you a pretty good Alpha product. Following that with destructive playtesting or the equivalent by yet another independent party (i.e., actively trying to find exploitable loopholes), and further editing in response, is the necessary next step to get to where a technical report (or game) generally needs to be. If you skip any of those things, the final copy suffers.

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Dire Elf wrote:
I realize my wizard has spent most of her life learning magic, but couldn't she have picked up a few other things along the way?

You realize that the wizard has 2 + Int bonus skill points/level, right? And that wizards can't cast spells unless their Int is high enough? So, at the end of the day, they end up with more skill points than rogues? And that you don't need to spend skill points on Concentration anymore, because in PF you get it for free?

Dire Elf wrote:
What has my elf been doing for all those years if all she can cast are 1st-level spells, and she doesn't know how to ride a horse or treat a wound?

If you want to ride a horse, take the Ride skill. If you want to treat a wound, take the Heal skill. Cross-class ranks don't even cost double anymore, so there's very little advantage to having something as a class skill. Pathfinder is pretty much set up so that wizards are more skilled at more things than anyone else. Also, starting at middle-aged in order to cheese extra Int is considered poor form, and most DMs with half a brain will nix it.

Dire Elf wrote:
Even the kids in Harry Potter learned a bit about the world they live in

At 1st level, assuming Int 17, you have 5 skills. Take Ride and Heal. Take Spellcraft if you want. Take Fly in case you find a magic broom. And you still have one left over. Harry Potter would be envious.

And all that ignores the fact that PF wizards would be fine with no skills at all, because that their low-level spells are, for the most part, 1,000x better than any skill (hint: compare Climb and spider climb).

And, despite all that, you still want MORE skill points for them?????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
They resolved the issue peacefully and gracefully...not like how these boards ...

As does everyone I've ever come across, so I'm not sure what people we're actually railing against?

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Arachnofiend wrote:
I really like this idea, but aren't the dice numbers too high? 5d6 Cha has the potential to insta-gib a lot of martials even on a successful save (15 charisma is a lot to have unless you're a Paladin or someone else with specific reason to invest in the stat).

Sure, but spells are harder to get off safely in our houserules, and martials have incentive to boost Cha. You'd have to tone it down for a standard PF game. Also, the odds of rolling 5 sixes are pretty low -- more often it's doing 7 Cha damage on a save, which inconveniences no one except the Hulksmash half-orc.

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Cole Deschain wrote:
A bunch of Nina Simone and Lead Belly for today...

Ha! Was listening to a lot of Leadbelly last night, and some Woody Guthrie.

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Personally, I think it does way too much for a 2nd level spell. I prefer casters to be higher level before they start opening their own demi-planes on a daily basis. In fact, I'd almost want to make rope trick 4th level, and move secure shelter down to 2nd, so that mundane rest-shelters come online before extraplanar ones.

I also find it curious that scrying doesn't specify whether it can be used across planar boundaries -- if not, rope trick at 2nd level is better than private sanctum at 5th, but if so, we've got a 4th level spell with plane-spanning power that makes it even more problematic.

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Guru-Meditation wrote:
important rooms lead-sheeted.

This one always ruins my sense of verisimilitude. Not because lead shouldn't do that -- it totally should -- but because it's the only substance that does so, and yet it's cheaper than adamantine, instead of 1,000x more costly. If lead were the only thing keeping scry-and-fry out, nations would regularly go to war over the control of a low-yield lead mine. Instead, we pretend that it's still dirt cheap. This is an area in which the game rules don't support the game world we're playing in.

On the other hand, if X thickness of common stone/mortar/dirt would also block scrying and teleportation, then it would make sense to have castles and dungeons all over the place. The rules would be supporting the game world we want, instead of working at odds with it.

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In other words, "There are no problems in the rules because the DM should fix all the problems with the rules." Oberoni writ large.

Oh, dear Loki, no, don't fix problematic spells in the rules to make them less problematic; then beginning DMs would still be able to run a working game, and we just can't have that! There goes the neighborhood! Only a seasoned DM's so-called "common sense" can know exactly how to ameliorate problems in a consistent and predictable manner, and it's very important not to share any of that insight in the rulebook, or -- heaven help us -- incorporate it directly into the spell descriptions.

Also, we mustn't let the PCs ever learn how things work in the game world. That would ruin the funhouse-on-acid atmosphere we're trying so hard to maintain, in which there really is no cause-and-effect to anything.

...Please excuse me while I recover from a coughing fit.

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Hama wrote:
Yeah but if you stab a person, they will most probably die.

Which means that you can't apply any real-world "realism" to D&D/PF, a game in which you can be stabbed repeatedly through the face and guts and still be just fine, as long as you have at least 1 hp left.

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thejeff wrote:
I'd also say, even if it seems obvious, make sure the guy playing the halfling's okay with your elf sneering at his character. Sure, it can be great arc as the elf comes to appreciate his little buddy over time if everyone's on board for it, but it can be frustrating for the other player if he doesn't want to deal with that in character.

Well, yeah. I'm not sure I've every played with anyone that fragile, but it doesn't hurt to be sure.

Frank Drebin wrote:
I'm sure we can discuss this like calm, rational adults. Isn't that right, Mr. Poopy-Pants?

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feytharn wrote:
Racist is a fine concept to begin your character with (if everyone is on board) but easily becomes tedious if it remains a core concept of the character

I'd expand on this and posit that we don't need to list "X" number of examples of characters that don't work well, but rather a single rule: If your character is totally one-dimensional, and has one and only one defining characteristic, then that character will tend to be problematical in any role-playing game.

There's nothing wrong with your elf sneering at halflings, as long as he has enough other characteristics that he's not just "that guy who despises halflings." There's nothing wrong with your mute half-orc, as long as his actions describe a personality that extends beyond just "hulk smash." There's nothing wrong with your hedonist, as long as he's willing to hang up the opium pipe, toss the latest doxy out of bed, and go out adventuring. And so on.

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Old Guy GM wrote:
The people in these discussions who tend to think like Terquem and myself all tend to be older.

Another old grognard here, but one who totally disagrees with your approach. Winging results because there weren't any rules for a lot of stuff was, in my opinion, detrimental to the game, not advantageous to it. It meant that I, as DM, was being encouraged to subconsciously make my personal storyline come true, at the expense of the players' volition.

"Oh, he wants to do X? I never thought of that! Well, it probably won't work. Now he wants to do Y? Yeah, that's what I was expecting. OK, it works!"

Obviously no one would do this on purpose, but we have no way of assuring anyone that our subconscious minds didn't.

Having clear-cut rules, in the open, means that now I'm running an actual game instead of dictating a story hour. I vastly prefer that, both as a player and as a DM.

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GreyWolfLord wrote:
You'd be surprised at how NON-Team many people are. They complain about tiers of characters, how a lower tier drags them down...and all sorts of un-teamlike sportsmanship.

Been over this to the point of absurdity.

  • If everyone wants a casual beer 'n' pretzels game, yes, you're a dick if you bring on the powergaming. Not a team player.
  • If everyone wants a super-deadly tactical challenge, you're a dick if you play a character who doesn't pull his/her weight and then some. That is generally, but not always, a lower-tier class. That guy is not being a team player, either.

    Therefore, "complaining about tiers" doesn't automatically make someone a poor team player, but it does if the campaign itself is geared to allow people to ignore them. On the other hand, if the game requires powerful combinations, refusing to reference them might actually be a sign of someone not being a team player.

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    knightnday wrote:
    Well, it wasn't for a political jab although this certainly has a feeling of the same tired "must be doing things in X way" that I've come to class together with political correctness.

    That's exactly how it read to me as well, so it's not just KnD. I get tired and sad when the "enlightened" people constantly go out of their way to prove they're equally as authoritarian as the "reactionary" people.

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    Limeylongears wrote:
    Why, in your opinion, are Masters of the Universe plush weapons not available in Germany?

    Because He-Man having been played by Dolph Lundgren (a Swede) ruined it for them. If He-Man had been played by David Hasselhoff, rest assured that all of the toys and other paraphernalia would be available in every German store and household.

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    thejeff wrote:
    Characters who are racist against other PC races are still a potential problem.

    Meh. In the home game, I always felt it added verisimilitude not to have all PC races automatically love and trust each other, and treat each other as equals in all things. We have hill dwarves who resent the incursions into their territory, and turn to banditry in response; one PBP character was in fact a former bandit. We had houstonderek's high elf noble who was so caught up in his people's long life spans and arcane skills that he constantly referred to Jess Door's half-elf/halfling/whatever as his familiar. And we had Cadogan, a human kid who was laughing up his sleeve at the haughty elves all the way to the bank.

    As long as the players were willing to make the party work together somehow, I don't feel as if any of this destroyed the game or should make us pariahs from the community, if the characters initially had some trust issues.

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    Hama wrote:
    Yeah I've heard that most of your bread contains sugar.

    That also is regrettably true. And it's very hard to find bread with any real texture other than "soft mush."

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    Jiggy wrote:
    Kullen wrote:

    So, wait, I'm trying to understand something.

    How does one square the "racist characters bad!" sentiment in this thread -- that goes far beyond the article the OP cited -- with "Ooh! A goblin tribe! Let's slaughter them and steal their stuff!"?

    Those of us who don't do the latter have no need to square it with the former.

    Or has the International Tribune of the One Right and True Way to Game...
    Says the guy who presents the slaughter of goblins as something so universal to the gaming experience that surely he's now caught all these anti-racists red-handed in their hypocrisy?

    I'm well aware that adventures like "Against the Giants" and so on are no longer universal; I just hadn't realized that they're no longer even permissible.

    I'm trying to point out that, if slaughtering goblins has been abandoned in favor of some kind of Carebear kumbayah in which we're all best friends, we should be cognizant that we've left the game's foundations totally behind.

    Let me be clear that there's nothing wrong with abandoning old stuff -- I sure as hell don't miss the "weapon vs. armor type" tables, either, and I'm fine with "elf" not being a class.

    But as someone who grew up with The Keep on the Borderlands, it's hard to accept that not only is there no place for modules of that type anymore, but that I'm now considered to be an objectively bad person to have ever enjoyed playing it.

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    Cole Deschain wrote:
    Should I make one of these threads, or continue in my U-Boat-esque "surface, launch torpedo, run away" approach to most of the forum?

    In general, sniping is far more fun than engaging in pointless sieges. Just ask TOZ, thread-sniper extraordinaire!

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Hama wrote:
    I never ate peanut butter nor maple syrup.

    Peanut butter is a vile substance. Imagine Nutella, except a lot worse. Only a nation of people who think that Bud Lite is beer would willingly ingest something like that.

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    Yeah, when the introduced that rule in whatever movie, my reaction was "Or else what?"

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    Just this morning I was thinking about how brilliant it was for Herbert to introduce the Butlerian Jihad into Dune. Of all the tech that's hard to predict that far into the future, computers have got to be #1. Hell, computers today actually do way more than what a lot of SciFi authors in the '80s anticipated them doing centuries from now! The Jihad wipes out that concern in one stroke, and seamlessly fits into the quasi-religious cultures he's presenting. Bloody genius.

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    Bonzer had recently gotten into the habit of plaguing me in the morning when I would get up and be stumbling around trying to make coffee -- getting underfoot so that I would trip over him, pulling down my sweat pants in hopes of getting me to stop and pay attention to him, and, if all else failed, biting me on the hand until I pet him, and if I tried to stop.

    Thankfully, I have temporarily outsmarted him. The last week or so, I've been getting up and then pulling the blankets down to cover him up to his chin. It's so warm and comfy he goes back to sleep for an extra 15 minutes, allowing me to get the coffee on before he realizes I'm up. I hope this trick will last.

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    That would be lame, IMHO. It's too cute. I'd prefer it if Snoop Snoke were really one of the jedi who survived the purge at the end of Episode III, turned to the dark side while hiding out from the Emperor and Vader and lamenting his fate, and is just now coming out of hiding.

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    Saldiven wrote:
    Being a long time player of role-playing games is not the equivalent of being a good role-player.

    I agree -- point conceded.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Arrius wrote:
    Creating and detailing monster 'classes' based off creature type and quantifying/standardizing universal monster abilities would help in making standard monster rules.

    That's pretty much what I spent my (minimal) free time in 2015 doing.

    Arrius wrote:
    I previously proposed that spell failure be unified and tied to ACP (5% spell failure per point), with some classes gaining reductions to existing Spell Failure--such as clerics (who would gain 25% reduction if the spell is divine, allowing them to use armors with up to -4 ACP, or +5 armor, usually medium armor).

    I'm still thinking about this. If the math can be made to work out, cost-wise, I'd be tempted.

    Arrius wrote:
    Kirth, have you considered removing references to copyrighted subjects (or keeping them hinted and appealing to fair use) while starting a kickstarter for Kirthfinder as a third-party Pathfinder overhaul product?

    Considered and rejected. I have no time or patience for that. More importantly, I don't want money for what I'm doing. I have a job that I like, and don't want another one. I just wanted to say, "here's how you can make PF work for your home group -- if I can do it, anyone can!"

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    I can't believe "Ishtar" didn't make the list.

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    Neal Litherland wrote:
    The 5 RPG Characters We Should Stop Playing?

    Stop having fun wrong!

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Orfamay Quest wrote:
    What really doesn't make sense is trying to have it both ways -- if the gang members are scrubs, then scrub-level solutions are fine. If scrub-level solutions aren't fine, it's because the gang members shouldn't be scrubs.

    Purely a matter of taste, but there's almost no way I can accept gang members NOT be scrubs without the game veering into crazy-town. Make the lowliest gang member a 9th level character who can plane shift and raise the dead, and one begins to wonder why they stay in the gang instead of each going off to conquer their own worlds. And to keep them in line, you need to go full Forgotten Realms, where gang leaders are 18th level and the king is 30th.

    Yeah, you can totally do that, but IMHO the rules aren't really meant for that, and for me, it shows during play.


    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    HWalsh wrote:

    The trick any GM needs to learn is simple: "How could I stop this without breaking verisimilitude?"

    Never, ever, try to out power the GMs narrative. They will always win.

    This is great advice if you want to make sure that approximately no one I've ever played with will willingly come anywhere near your table.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.


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    houstonderek wrote:
    Yep, the core books used to be $12, $12, and $15 when I started playing. Now they're $50 a pop. ;-)

    Was just thinking about this, and finally got around to using the Inflation Calculator. According to this one, $15 in 1979 is worth $49.50 in 2015, so the prices look to have remained remarkably stable.

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    With most save-or-lose/save-or-die spells, I use ability damage, with the effect occurring at a score of 0. There's a system in place for determining ability damage vs. range, spell level, number of targets, and so on.

    Dominate person is a 5th level spell dealing 5d6 Cha damage at close range (save for half). At Cha 0, the target is effectively without personal volition and obeys your commands.

    Other SOL/SOD spells are similar; hold person is a 3rd level spell dealing 4d4 Dex damage at close range (paralyzed at Dex 0); a Will save applies each round to halve the remaining Dex damage. Finger of death is a 7th level spell dealing 7d4 Con damage at close range (Fort half; dead at 0). Etc.

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    For some years I didn't play much, because I reasoned that no game at all is better than a game with people you don't particularly like, and/or who don't really want to play. I feel vindicated in that reasoning.

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    Yes, anything but admit the fact that you're wrong. Stall! Stonewall! Demand sources! Then stall some more!

    Person 1: "No, elephants and mice are not the same size. Just look at them!"
    Answer: "Well, a month-old fetal elephant still in utero might be smaller than a full-grown mouse!"
    Person 2: "Look at mean adult size."
    Answer: "There is no definitive mean for elephant sizes! And looking at them doesn't count!"

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Irontruth wrote:
    Regardless, I don't see how this is relevant to the real world mechanics of increasing in size improving jumping ability.

    It's not. But you made a factual statement that was incorrect, and I corrected it. The fact that a handful of Olympic champions, under ideal conditions, can jump as far as 99.99% of kangaroos regularly hop throughout the day does not mean that "kangaroos have a similar horizontal jump distance to humans."

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    Lava is already insanely deadly. Guy falls in, takes 20d6 damage - that's a mean of 70 points. Almost everyone in the world is 5th level or below -- the healthiest NPC-classed person has, say (1d8+2)x5 = 32 hp and is QUITE dead in 1 round.

    The thing to take away isn't that lava "isn't deadly enough." The thing to take away is that humans with 150 hp aren't really human anymore; they're more akin to demigods.

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