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Kirth Gersen's page

23,281 posts (24,038 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 13 aliases.

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2 people marked this as a favorite.

Prior to his Hollywood career, actor/director Woody Allen served in the Pacific during WWII, where he amassed the largest number of single-handed Japanese fatalities -- using only a knife.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Aberzombie wrote:
Tracy Marrow (aka Ice-T) served in the U.S. Army Rangers (1979-1981).

Sorry -- he was in the 25th, not the 75th. The only thing of note he was able to accomplish as to go AWOL after stealing a rug and receive an NJP.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Back in Houston!

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Arrius wrote:
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.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I seem to recall a much older article of Dragon telling me it was "ick-ZITS-a-chitl," so I'll stick with that.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
MMCJawa wrote:
I suspect the reason why devs largely haven't really fixed or commented much on these types of issues, is because they are mostly theoretical.

I disagree -- a vast number of monsters have SLAs, and the game could only been improved by having clear guidelines for them. Likewise, magic minions like undead and planar bindings and simulacra and summoned monsters are near-ubiquitous, and the game could only benefit by setting rational limits on those, too. And I did both of those things in one post, so it's not like it would be a lot of effort: they could just clean up the wording and be done with ALL of these issues, all at once.

Granted, a lot of monsters with random SLAs all over the place would then need to be corrected, but they could publish those corrections as a $5 PDF and make a mint off of it.

Finally, I'll re-submit that when DrDeth and I actually agree on something game-related, that something can probably be taken as gospel.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I would really like to see SLAs standardized.

1. Every critter with SLAs gets one per 2 CR (round up), of ascending spell level: a 1st level for a CR 1 critter, a 1st and a 2nd level for a CR 3 critter, and so on. Yes, that means efreet need to be CR 17 to grant wishes. I'm okay with omnipotent genies -- they work fine in Aladdin.

2. If CR = 4x level of SLA, it's usable 3/day instead of 1/day. If CR = 6x level of SLA, it's usable at will.

Done. Now SLAs are always level-appropriate and are standardized in terms of uses per day and so on, instead of just being totally random. If you make a CR 8 simulacrum of a CR 16 critter, it gets only the following SLAs:

1/day--3rd, 4th
At will--1st

And it loses the base creature's 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th level SLAs.

On that note, I would also like to see CR- (not HD-) based limits on magic minions, much like the ones that exist for the Leadership feat.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Best one-liner that made everyone at the table laugh?
Andostre had at least 1-2 every session, as I recall...

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Coming from a 1e background, in which some monsters had, essentially, "DR infinity/+3," I much prefer PF damage reduction.

DR as reduction rather than immunity is good, because otherwise everyone has to spend all their money on weapon enhancements to avoid every adventure sooner or later leading directly to TPK Town.

Higher bonuses bypassing metals types is good, because it makes a +5 sword actually worth every penny of the 50K gp sale price.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

In the center of a ring of fallen enemies.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I also feel pretty strongly that, with the description of condition tracks and attack actions and so on, that Combat merits a separate chapter. To follow the Core rules, I'd make it Chapter 7, and then Spells would be Chapter 8. A table of contents might look like this:


Types of Actions
- Free Actions (define)
- Immediate Actions (incl. swift)
- Partial Actions (list; move, attack each get a "see below")
Aid Another
Attack Actions
- Iterative Attacks
- Secondary Attacks
- Additional Primary Attacks
Attacks of Opportunity
Move Actions
Preemptive Actions
Spellcasting in Combat
Swift Actions

Battle Fatigue
Combat Etiquette
Defensive Fighting
Precision Damage
Taking a Breather


Forcing Maneuvers
Tricky Maneuvers
Weapon Maneuvers
Wrestling Maneuvers
Nonstandard Maneuvers

Converting Monsters
Monsters and Expectations

Condition Severity
Inflicting Conditions

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Yuugasa wrote:
I was wondering if you guys had any recommendations for books featuring a secretive and/or conspiracy based villainous organization that scores high on the coolness factor scale I could read for inspiration for my game. It could be any genre, cold war based set-in-the-real-world fiction, fantasy lets-uncover-the-cult fiction etc.
  • Lee Child, The Enemy
  • Ludlum, Robert, The Bourne Identity (has little if anything to do with the movies)
  • John D. MacDonald, Pale Gray for Guilt, Bright Orange for the Shroud, et al.
  • Alastair MacLean, Puppet on a Chain

  • 3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Jaelithe wrote:
    Heh. Heard that one years ago.

    Yeah, in the '80s, I always hated Emo Philips' stage persona, but his jokes were usually good. A couple others:

    Emo Philips wrote:

    When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bike.

    Then I realised, the Lord doesn't work that way.
    So I just stole one and asked Him to forgive me ... and I got it!

    And one for the LDS among us:

    Emo Philips wrote:

    A Mormon told me that they don't drink coffee.

    I said, "A cup of coffee every day gives you wonderful benefits."
    He said, "Like what?"
    I said, "Well, it keeps you from being Mormon ..."

    5 people marked this as a favorite.
    Jaelithe wrote:
    A damaging fissure in the famed friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien occurred when Lewis converted to Christianity, but joined the Protestant Church of England rather than the Roman Catholic Church, the latter of which Tolkien was an eminent member.
    Emo Philips wrote:

    Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?"

    He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?"

    He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"

    Northern Conservative†Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Fergurg wrote:
    But you know what Rosa Parks didn't do? She didn't yell, "Burn this b~*$* down!"

    What she did say was, "It was not pre-arranged. It just happened that the driver made a demand and I just didn't feel like obeying his demand."

    So what she did was more along the lines of not getting out of the street while holding some cheap cigars...

    Oh, wait.

    I guess the bus driver should have shot her, right?

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Myth Lord wrote:
    I just can't imag[ine] something that moves so fast being killed or being beaten.

    Again, CR is a measure only in terms of game mechanics. It has nothing to do with how you personally imagine it. The game rules model "fast" in terms of a bonus to AC, initiative, and Reflex saves (for Dex) and/or in terms of a greater number of squares moved on the critter's turn. In the case of the quickling, they decided he was so fast he'd also get a modest miss chance, evasion, and uncanny dodge, like a 4th level rogue (CR 3) has. These bonuses are all quantifiable. The rules do not model fast as "not being beaten."

    If you want to talk stuff other than rules, and what you imagine in terms of flavor, that's fine, but don't mix CR into that discussion, because the two are noncompatible. That's like me saying "The Eiffel Tower is 324 meters tall," and you reply "Well, I can't imagine that it's less than 384 million. It would be cooler/awesomer/more realistic if it went all the way to the moon!" Maybe it would be, but that's not what 324 meters actually means, numerically-speaking.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Looking at Bestiaries 2-4, I admit I'm left kind of feeling unhappy about what seems like pointless inflation or "ramping up" of HD/CR for what are otherwise very basic, low-level monsters.

    For example, the swan maiden (B4) is a woman with some minor SLAs who can turn into a swan. We could easily fulfill that concept at CR 2, and then use sorcerer class levels (for example) to get a more powerful one with better magic. Instead, the "baseline" swan maiden was pegged at CR 6 and 10 HD, making it unusable until much later in the campaign, because you can't just subtract levels from the one statted.

    Likewise, the adlet (B3) is, in essence, an anthropomorphic winter wolf. That concept works just fine at CR 5 and 6 HD or so, but doesn't really have enough going for it to warrant the need for CR 10 and 15 HD. (We could start with a basic CR 5 one and add the Advanced simple template and some HD to make a more powerful one, if needed, but the reverse is not true.)

    In contrast, the adaro (B3) is a shark-man with poison and rage. It's a simple concept, and it's a simple monster. They have it CR 3 and 4 HD, which seems just about right for that package. Again, if we want a more powerful shark-man, we can simply add HD/templates/class levels and we're good to go.


    So, is there like a quota on CR or something, and if there aren't enough higher CR monsters in a given Bestiary, low-CR ones are simply given bigger numbers (in terms of AC, hp, and attacks) until they seem higher?

    5 people marked this as a favorite.
    Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

    Last night, we laid all our cards on the table and came really, really close to exchanging "I love you"s.

    If Charles Manson and Doodlebug Anklebiter can do it, so can you!

    Wait... you and Charles Manson came close to exchanging "I love you"s?

    Like, with each other?

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
    Andostre wrote:
    Are we waiting on anyone to start?

    TOZ is still missing a background, but I suppose that means I can just make one up for him.... (evil DM face)

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Fergurg wrote:
    I do agree that there is a high number motivated by racism. I just don't believe that racism is the default answer to shootings, and many people do, even after proof is shown otherwise.

    OK, next question: granted that it is less than 100%, what percentage of police shootings motivated by racism is acceptable to you? I think that's what the source of strife is here -- most people would answer "zero" rather than merely "any is okay because we know it's not 100%."

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I would also move AWAY from weapon specialization, instead of towards it. Rather than seeing earlier and more powerful specialization, I'd like to see more general benefits that extend to ANY weapon the fighter uses.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    David M Mallon wrote:
    The place was a boomtown up until the Romans sacked Carthage.

    One of my best friends is from Carthage. It's the only place I know of where a murder defendant had to be tried out of town because none of his peers would convict him.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    1. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    2. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
    3. Taking Care of Business (1990)
    4. Caddyshack (1980)
    5. Debbie Does Dallas (1978)
    6. The Naked Gun (1988)
    7. A Shot in the Dark (1964)
    8. Airplane! (1980)
    9. Red Riding trilogy (2009)
    10. Gone In 60 Seconds (1974)

    List subject to change depending on my mood at the time.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Ever been up around Phoenecia, NY? I stopped for coffee at a place called "Diner." It was next to a building marked "Post Office;" they were the only two public buildings in sight.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Terquem wrote:
    Reese's Pieces?

    And cops behaving badly!

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Freehold DM wrote:


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    Bladesinger wrote:
    I was actually less worried about the crossguard than how "unrefined" the blade looked. It looked like it was using an unstable crystal or something.

    My guess is, since the Sith are supposedly extinct at the end of Episode VI, that this new lightsaber was constructed by some self-trained dark jedi wannabe in his mom's basement or something, like a neo-Nazi trying to equip himself in Third Reich gear. Maybe all he could get was a substandard crystal from the local pawn shop?

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Charlie D. wrote:
    I am done arguing with faceless people on the internet. Many of you deal too much in emotion and not enough in concrete fact. I will leave you to it.

    A few things to consider:

  • Contradictory statements =/= concrete facts.
  • Lack of emotion other than relief when regarding unarmed youths being shot down could be construed not as laudable dispassion, but rather as sociopathy.
  • "I'm losing this argument so I refuse to continue" is unlikely to win over undecided bystanders to your viewpoint.

  • 2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Snorter wrote:
    I've had to wait a further 5 years to see the changes I would have expected to see in 2009 being used for the Investigator.

    At the rist of derailing, wow -- I just looked at the Investigator

    which is what the rogue should probably have been right off the bat. Yes, its version of sneak attack affects a given creature only 1/day, but it's easier to set up (spend a move action; no feint or flanking needed) and more importantly, more reliable due to the +1/2 level to attack rolls. Plus they get skills boosts, plus talents, plus trap sense, plus bard spellcasting in the form of extracts.

    In short, why anyone would play a rogue when this class is available is beyond me entirely -- it would be like playing a warrior instead of a fighter.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Senko wrote:
    Any major emplacement is made with basilisk blood so teleporting into or out of it turns the person trying it stone.

    I'm OK with these sorts of sledgehammer solutions if the game world is logically made to reflect them. In this example, every major city should have whole breeding centers and hatcheries for basilisks, all of them carefully blinded at birth, so as to ensure a continuous supply of something that, according to the rule outlined, is essential to the functioning of society.

    I even take it a step further, and notice that the landscape is strewn with castles and dungeons, none of which serve any purpose whatsoever (and are in fact an impediment to your health, given the existence of the earthquake spell). Solution 1: eliminate castles and dungeons. Solution 2: give them a function (in my case, X thickness of stone blocks teleportation and scrying effects).

    If you can tie in the mechanics you need with the game world you're looking for, you end up with a better-integrated setting than if you add mechanics with little attention to how they would really influence the setting.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    I get too easily side-tracked on movie/book discussions, which is really bad because I'm usually the DM.

    I tend to focus too much attention on players who are visibly excited about the game, potentially leading players who are quieter/more low-key to feel underrepresented.

    I tend to drink a lot of beer while DMing (see my avatar). Not enough to inhibit my ability to run the game, but some people are hypersensitive about alcohol and frown on it. I always provide it for the players as well, so those teetotallers among them probably feel doubly annoyed.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Skills are easily trumped by spells, even from cheap wands. Why have Climb ranks when you can spider climb? Why does invisibility provide a +20 bonus to Stealth, rendering all but an extreme number of ranks in that skill superfluous? And when it comes to magic traps, Preception is trumped by a cantrip. Therefore, "skill monkey" was very intentionally designed to be inferior in all respects to "spellcasting," whether in or out of combat.

    Also, bard gets skills (more than the rogue, when you include Versatile Performace) AND spells, making them indisputably better than the rogue in that role.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    1. It's not true that most harcore optimizers are too focused on DPR to roleplay. In fact, in my experience, the exact opposite is true. People who are really into the game roleplay the most, but they also spend the most time playing and reading rulebooks, which makes them better at optimizing. People with only a cursory interest are generally not invested enough to roleplay, and also don't know enough to optimize, either.

    2. A really hardcore optimizer will realize that direct-damage is a fool's ploy when it comes to the action economy at higher levels. They'll generally opt for a full caster instead who can use summons and/or pets as "free" martials. This can make trap dungeons a joke -- spammed summons and/or divinations and transportation spells negate that threat. Sure, you can optimize a martial character, but it takes a lot more savvy and the cap is lower; you end up with AM Barbarian on a dire bat, whom you can still roleplay, but eventually you end up rolling up a more interesting caster.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    "The numbers all go to eleven. Look, right across the board, eleven, eleven, eleven and..."
    "Oh, I see. And most amps go up to ten?"
    "Does that mean it's louder? Is it any louder?"
    "Well, it's one louder, isn't it? It's not ten. You see, most blokes, you know, will be playing at ten. You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? Where?"
    "I don't know."
    "Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?"
    "Put it up to eleven."
    "Eleven. Exactly. One louder."
    "Why don't you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder?"
    (Confused) "These go to eleven."

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Look, the current PotUS is a total clown, but he's not doing anything his predecessor (who, btw, was also re-elected) didn't also do. And both of them routinely get away with stuff that would have given Nixon wet dreams.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Exactly -- so examples should stay there, not pepper the other Bestiaries. The Dark Dancer in the Bestiary 4, for example, is in essence a dark folk bard. But although they have 2nd level bard abilies, kind of, and 2 HD, they also end up with sneak attack, but no spells (is there a bard archetype for that?). In any event, they are a prime candidate for a Monster Codex entry, except that someone got lazy and decided to use exception-based design instead of existing rules.

    Basically, if all the abilities of the "new" monster are nothing more than existing class features, then just use the class mechanics, and compile all those in a Monster Codex II. Don't kind of sloppily use one class' mechanics as a basis but then call it an "original" Bestiary monster.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Monsters that are, essentially, other monsters with templates and/or class levels, but which are statted out as if they were "unique" monsters anyway, with no reference to any class or template. Most of the "dark folk" variants would fit under this heading.

    In other words, if you want a goblin rogue, just stat it as a goblin with rogue levels, not as a "Darkstealth Goblinkin" that has the exact same abilities as a goblin rogue except with math that doesn't work.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    "Options" like the Crossbowman or slinger archetypes, which have a different "flavor" than some other option (e.g., archer in this case), but which, mechanically-speaking, do more or less the same thing except nowehere near as well.

    When Paizo says, "You can either have a boring sword that deals 1d8/18-20/x3 damage, or an awesome lightsaber that deals 1d6/20/x2 damage and makes cool laser sounds," the lightsaber is a Timmy card. You blatantly sacrifice utility for flavor. On the flip side, if your choice were "a boring sword that deals 1d8/18-20/x3, or a laser sword that deals 1d4/20/x2 and ignores armor," that would present a more meaningful choice -- neither is obviously better than the other in most cases.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Usual Suspect wrote:
    So the problem really comes down to this. There are combinations that warp the game system completely due to unintended interactions. How should Paizo deal with them?

    Step 1: Eliminate Timmy cards. That makes it a lot harder to accidently build a gimped character.

    Step 2: Fix remaining "broken" combinations by RAW as they are identified, not by Rule 0.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    John Woodford wrote:
    A competent player can still contribute relatively easily with a suboptimal character

    ...if and only if the campaign is structured to allow that. Some games/APs are balanced around a group of competent characters (e.g., Savage Tide), or even highly-optimized ones (e.g., Age of Worms).

    Which means, again, that everyone needs to be on the same page as to what kind of game is being played, and they all need to design their characters accordingly.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Few people intentionally make a gimped character, but in Pathfinder it's very, very, very easy to inadvertently do so. Someone says "Ooh, I want to be an awesome crossbowman!" and they take the crossbowman fighter archetype, which is inferior in almost every way to an archer. (It can't really do anything more, and usually does a whole lot less.) Examples like that are legion.

    If "optimization" means "scouring tons of splatbooks for specific combinations that let you do certain things while avoiding all the Timmy cards," then "optimization" really does mean "not making a gimped character."

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Freehold DM wrote:
    *sob* Five..only FIVE! weeps openly

    Man, you just got played for a sucka. How you supposed to even know which kids are yours?

    You probably drive them to soccer practice in a minivan ;P

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Artanthos wrote:
    The Puritan colonies in 17th century New England would be a good example of a lawful good society.

    I suppose so. Especially if we gloss over the Salem witch trials and other assorted executions as an anomaly.

    EDIT: Ninjad by the Puritan jerk.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Gonna have to admit it... I put Season 1 of AoS on my Netflix queue, watched two episodes, and sent the disk back. Disk 2 will not be on my list.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Ever since Inglorious Basterds, I've taken to saying, "That's a bingo!"

    1 person marked this as a favorite.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    White Knight Doodlebug wrote:
    Vive le Madame Sissyl!

    La Madame. Gender agreement is a thing in French, no matter how postmodern and/or feminist one wishes to be!

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