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Kirth Gersen's page

24,063 posts (24,868 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 13 aliases.


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M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

"Shefton. So, ah, Jym, rumor has it youse guys is looking for Vanthus. It might be that I know a little somethin' about that, but, you know, I have this memory condition. 5 gp might clear that right up, though."

There's a guy named Ben Wootten (sp?) who did some phenomenal stuff for Savage Tide; not sure if he contributed on AoW as well.
EDIT: Is it the same guy who worked on the LotR movies?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Uro Taraka wrote:
Oops, I just realized that I didn't actually pass! Are we calling it "close enough"?

I'm giving you a +2 Aid Another from Jym's > 15 check. In that respect, within 2 pips of the actual target DC is, in fact, close enough!

LazarX wrote:
This webcomic shows a good example of what a trans person has to deal with in the troublesome issue of gender identity.

First off, let me hasten to say that a lot of the difficulties are horrifyingly real and disturbingly common.

That said, some (very few, but still some) of the perceived difficulties can attributed to language rather than discrimination. For example, a {pre-op trans biological male/identifies as female person} may declare "I AM female!" and become angry if anyone seems to question that statement. But if I identify as a god (to choose an absurd example), rather than as a mortal, and I declare "I AM a god!" -- no one will support me on that statement, even if I dress up like Osiris. Because, as a matter of communication, it's currently understood that a statement of physical/biological fact is handled differently from a statement of inner identity. So I could say, "I identify as a god," and it's all clear -- people may react in different ways, but no one gets to call me a liar. And if I undergo an apotheosis and biologically become a god, then I would "be" one at that point, and could say so without any linguistic gymnastics.

Yes, the rules of language change over time, but at the present, we still typically separate a statement of physical/biological fact from a statement of inner identity, except in the case of trans people -- and suddenly changing the definition of "am" like that can throw people who are otherwise 100% supportive (people then quibble with the grammar, rather than the identity itself).

On topic, I'm cis, and I've been referred to as such, but I've never heard "cis scum" before clicking on this thread. So that kind of says something right there.

Anyway, back on topic, the DM in question seems not to understand that full plate armor ALREADY prevents slashing damage. Specifically, it eliminates all slashing damage roughly 45% of the time. We model that in the game by assigning it a +9 armor bonus to AC.

Otherwhere wrote:

The garotte often broke the victim's neck if it didn't end up (as Isonaroc mentions) decapitating them when they were made from wire. It didn't kill via choking off the airways, though that happens as well.

Since Pathfinder is a game, however, such insta-gib attacks we can do in RL would make things too lethal, un-heroic, and therefore un-fun.

Yeah, and a rapier would pierce your heart and kill you instantly that way -- you don't even have to wait a few seconds, or laboriously saw through someone's neck. But instead we call it 1d6/18-20, for exactly the same reason. ALL lethal weapons would get "insta-gib" attacks; that's the whole point of them.

So, statements like "realistically, a garrote would instantly kill everyone immediately on the first round" are exactly the same as "realistically, a rapier would kill everyone immediately instantly." But for some reason no one makes these kind of statements about anything except katanas and garrotes.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

The guy, seeing that he's been spotted, drops his casual pose and walks over to you, nodding a little to Uro.

"Been wondering how long it would be before you spotted me. I was afraid I'd have to tail you all over the city before you wised up."

Sampled the so-called 1835 Texas Bourbon (slogan "Come and Take It!"), which was on sale for $20. For such an unabashedly gimmick-y product, it was surprisingly smooth and drinkable -- especially for a 90-proof whiskey with no age statement to be found.

What bugs me, as it does a lot of people, is that this "Woo-hoo, Texas independence! Texas pride!" whiskey isn't distilled in Texas; it's a blend of anonymous "whatever" bourbons from elsewhere, that just happens to be bottled and branded here.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
DC 24 Perception:

There's a guy leaning on a doorframe nearby; he seems to be smirking to himself. More accurately, he seems to be smirking to himself at you.

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
This is precisely the sort of thing that should occur in Pathfinder. Well, not exactly, but you get the idea...

Total derail, but I can't watch that without wanting to put my own eyes out. Don't know how you can stand it.

Makes the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons (hand-drawn as quickly and as cheaply as possible, and steeped in absurd melodramatics) look like state-of the-art computer animation of Shakespeare plays.

Otherwhere wrote:
In RL, a garotte would basically coup-de-gras in 1 round.

Only in the movies. In "RL," it takes a lot longer than 6 seconds to strangle someone to death.

1st edition Fiend Folio wrote:
A githyanki fighter of 7th level and above will usually (60%) carry a +2 or +3 longsword, while a knight of 7th level and above will have (100%) a silver sword - a +3 two-handed sword which, if used astrally, has a 20% chance per melee round of cutting the silver cord (this does not affect mind barred victims). A supreme leader will wield a special silver sword which is +5, fully vorpal and affects mind barred victims. The silver swords are non-aligned, though they have intelligence of 8 or more and appropriate powers. Githyanki will go to almost any lengths to prevent any of these silver swords from falling into human hands and the loss of a special silver sword will promote the immediate formation of a very powerful raiding party of githyanki whose task is to recover the sword - failure to do so means instant death.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
1st edition Fiend Folio wrote:

If a lair is found it will house 21-30 githyanki with typical distribution as follows:

1 supreme leader: 11th level fighter or 7th/8th level fighter/magic-user
2 captains: 8th level fighter and 7th/6th level fighter/magic-user
1 knight: 8th level anti-paladin
2 warlocks: magic-users of 4th-7th level
3 sergeants: fighters of 4th-7th level
2 'gish': fighter/magic-users of 4th/4th level
10-19 lower levels: evenly distributed between the three possible classes and with experience levels 1st-3rd.

There you have it, straight from 1981.

P.S. Don't tell houstonderek I had to look it up. He still has that passage memorized.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Streetwise: Jym is able to find hundreds of beggars without hardly breaking a sweat. If he needs at least 1,000 more, he can probably find them. The question is whether your funds (or your lifespans) will last that long.

Diplomacy: "Yar, a sneak slip [pickpocket] she be. Rumor had it she was working on the Rat Feces' turf without payin' the dues..."
"Nar, ye addlepated sap! The Rogue Vipers has got her on their crew..."
"Bah, ye fools, I heard it last month -- she'd joined the Lotus Dragons. Last month? Two months ago? How long since anyone seen her?"
"I heard she'd gone straight and become an artist..."
"Aye, and I'm Pope o' the Azure Cathedral!"

Knowledge (lore): Drawing a blank here.

Stealth: Eventually, when the voices of the rabble (and their demands for coins) get too overwhelming, you're able to slip away and escape.

Bluff: You're pretty sure most of the beggars have no idea why you were asking about her. You're also pretty sure most of the beggars won't remember anything past an hour or so. Many of them don't remember their own names.

20+ years ago, my brother kept raving about Hudson Hawk, so I sat down and watched it.

Me: "WTF? That movie sucked!"
Him: "Obviously you didn't drink nearly enough, then. Try it again, correctly this time!"
Me (2 weeks later): "Dude, that movie was awesome!"

So, yeah, it's both terrible and excellent, depending on your BAC. (Not sure it would still work, but in the early '90s it was on cable every week, so it was an easy experiment to make.)

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Lord Snow wrote:
he made the choice to call our race "Man" (with a capital M) during the entire duration of the story

I don't know how old you are, but when I was growing up, that's what it was called. "One small step for a man, one giant leap for Mankind," and so on. It wasn't that he "made a choice" to call it that; it's that that's what it was called. Is the language itself crypto-sexist? Sure, that's why no one uses it now, and why it grates on your ear so much. But even 40 years ago, if you said "Equality for all Men," the listener heard "all humanity," and left it at that -- very few people would even think to read any kind of misogynistic agenda into it.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3


M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Not terrible, but also not good enough to have noticed that clue to be able to remember it now :(
The name vaguely rings a bell, but Jym can't quite place it.

Lord Snow wrote:
I know it is unfair to judge a book of almost 70 years with today's standards, and I don't really, but I learned something important reading this - there was a time when women really were being silenced and marginalized in SF literature.

They undeniably were, but there were nevertheless some big strides towards equality being made at the time of Childhood's End.

For example, my understanding is that Clarke deliberately chose to make the last (and smartest, and most adventurous) human, Jan, a black man. Only four years later, Philip K Dick would confront American racism head-on in Eye in the Sky, and stand unflinchingly for equality. Was he emboldened to make that step by Clarke, or just by methamphetamine? I don't know, but I think the ball was definitely rolling, so by the time we hit the '60s, we're not really shocked when Andre Norton ditches the male protagonist after the first couple of Witch World novels in order to focus on his daughter, a more interesting character overall.

Yeah, I know Jirel of Joiry predates the Witch World by like 30 years, but unlike Moore, Norton ended up being an award-winning, near-mainstream SF author.

Quorlox wrote:
If one were to house rule that the caster could control the ooze, would allowing up to 4 HD per caster level (similar to the Animate Dead spell) be reasonable?

In my opinion, HD per level is always a very bad control cap. Would you rather have two 5 HD wraiths or ten 2 HD zombies? Yeah, I'll also take wraiths, no contest. Same total HD, but a pair of wraiths is a CR 7 threat, whereas ten zombies are maybe CR 5 -- meaning that the wraiths are literally twice as dangerous.

That's why I advocate using CR for control caps -- and I'd retroactively apply that limit to animate dead, planar binding, simulacrum, etc.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Jym: Perception DC 20, click if successful:

You remember seeing an awful painting hanging in someone's bathroom somewhere -- you can't quite place whose house it was, you go to so many! Even though you can't paint yourself, you're a fair judge of art (Knowledge: Lore), and this piece struck you as being somewhat amateurish -- but there was undeniably a kind of emo authenticity to it, so you checked the signature: "Brissa Santos."

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Found Magic Judy Henske's comeback CD, "Loose in the World," during the move, and am now listening to it on repeat. For those who missed the Queen of the Beatniks during her heyday in the '60s (or who weren't alive yet then), be sure to check her out.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Freyr is totally my favorite god. If I had a patron deity, he'd be it.
Sits on Odin's throne without permission, then trades his sword for a chick he sees there, who doesn't even particularly like him -- knowing full well he'll get cut down at Ragnarok without it. In the meantime, kills the giant Beli with an antler.

Psychologically, I also find it amusing that the swordless god has the ridiculously giant penis -- what with swords being such phallic symbols and all.

We should probably start a separate thread for Norse mythology...

2 people marked this as a favorite.
GreyWolfLord wrote:
I have stated many times that Asians are the most discriminated in the US.

And you were incorrect then, as you are now. (Scroll down and check the results.)

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Aniuś the Talewise wrote:
Odin, yes, the Odin, the Allfather, practices seiðr, an effeminate threadspinning magic. He studies seiðr from Freyja. When practicing seiðr, he wears women's clothes. If this isn't common knowledge about Norse mythology, it should be.

Yeah, Loki rags on him for it, until Odin reminds him that Loki himself got knocked up by a horse and have birth to Sleipnir.

We won't talk about frost giants, whose race was born when one of a bigger giant's legs had sex with the other leg while he was asleep.

kyrt-ryder wrote:
1/2 caster level is better than stat bonus, it keeps it standardized relative to the caster and fits right in with my other houserules that minimize the impact of stats in character power.

Do you do the same thing with weapon damage (e.g., die + character level, rather than die + Str modifier)? What about weapon attacks? Does a fighter get 1d20 + BAB + 1/2 level (= BAB + 1.5x level)?

We could go back to 1st edition style, and just make the save DC for all spells be 17. Regardless of spell level, caster level, casting stat, or anything else.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Wait, are you claiming that neither logic nor communications fall under the larger heading of philosophy? No wonder you think it's useless. Here, let me do the same thing:

"Science is useless. The scientific method is not science, nor are biology, geology, chemistry, physics, etc. So what have you got left? That's right, nothing. Burn!"

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

The beggar bites the gold coin -- he's never been handed anything but copper before. Eyes widening, he says, "Ol' Ben be yer man, then." Spotting Gwlybwr, he coughs and adds, "But it looks like ye got some other'n me helpin' as well, aye?"

"Anyway, I'd be seen this man ye call Vanthus, a mean cuss -- kicked me fer no reason when I was sleepin' off a drunk, he did, so I'll be thankin' ye to show him some manners."

He scratches his head, thinking, then offers: "He was tomcattin' with a hussy we street folks know -- height Brissa Santos; she be all woman, aye, but watch yer' gold if ye talk with the likes o' her, or no more gold ye'll have when yer done!" His cackling laugh ends in a series of hacking coughs, and he turns to stumble off.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Uro Taraka wrote:
Is Lavinia with us?

No; she's got important stuff to do, like paying the back taxes on her estate. In general, unless you guys specifically ask her to come with you somewhere (or she asks you to come with her), I'll assume she's not with you.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Jam412 wrote:
Hey, any of you fine folks interested in 5ed?

Been looking at it. Can't decide if the good outweighs the bad yet.


  • In a lot of ways, it's like an intentional step backwards to 1e/2e, so it gets nostalgia points for that.
  • I like that they finally fixed the math, with regards to bonus sizes vs. the RNG. Yay!
  • Simplified flanking. Amen. "If you have at least one ally within 5 ft. of the target" is all you need.


  • Unfortunately, spells like planar binding are still as gorked as ever, and martial guys, at high levels, still function largely by DM fiat.
  • Monsters are still built by just randomly making s@!% up and throwing a CR at the resulting mess, based on a couple of tables that reference offensive/defensive numbers but ignore spells and so on.
  • Forgotten Realms seems to be the default setting. Ugh.

  • Okryn wrote:
    Spells DC = 10 + 1/2 Caster level + Spell level

    So, the purpose of this is to... save casters money on headbands? I'm failing to see any other rationale.

    Sure, it makes them slightly weaker at very low levels, but when you reach higher levels, the DCs will be the same as they are without this rule, except without the need to buy a stat-boosting item to keep up.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Meanwhile, the shopkeeper shakes his head at Uro.
    "Everyone in Sasserine has heard of the Vanderborens," he says, "But the name Vanthus doesn't ring a bell. I seem to recall they threw out a son -- is that him, maybe?"

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Jym's ear is always to the ground. He's heard of the Lotus Dragons, as well as about a half-dozen other would-be thieves' guilds or greater or lesser stature. The only thing that stands out in his mind are that the Lotus Dragon guild seem to be a fairly new one, and -- judging from the fact that you never hear about them engaging in pointless brawls, and members don't seem overly eager to roll over on each other when one of them does get caught at something -- they seem to be better-organized than most. But that's all he knows without scouring the city and talking to his less-reputable sources.

    Samnell wrote:
    Howe himself is possibly overfond of John Quincy Adams.

    Sounds like I'd best not read him, as he'd simply reinforce my existing opinion of JQA. ;)

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    I might have one or two minor house rules...

    People have been begging Paizo to errata the simulacrum spell since Pathfinder was still in the playtesting stage -- even some of the most rabid fanboys have started threads specifically for that purpose. Paizo has consistently refused to do so.

    You can also go backwards, starting with a halfling (reflavored to be a talking monkey -- they're both Small size, agile, etc.) wizard or cleric or oracle or whatever. Then, at 7th level, grab Leadership for a staff-wielding rogue cohort. This might better represent the "wise mentor" flavor.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    He looks around in a panic, making frantic motions for you to keep your voice down. Inviting you into the back of the shop, thick with caged parrots and bird dander, he says, "The Lotus Dragons are a thieves' guild, I think. I have no dealings with them that I know of -- it's probably best not even to speak of them. I don't want any trouble at my shop."

    One of the parrots squawks, "Dragons!" The shopkeeper looks as if he's about to have a stroke, and hurriedly throws a sheet over its cage.

    You suspect it'll take a lot of legwork and some serious Streetwise checks to learn more than that without getting knocked off.

    There's a "grimalkin" in the 3.0 Monster Manual II, I think.
    It's an empathic housecat that can polymorph into more dangerous animals.

    Hint 1: I use the "Kullen" avatar to indulge in rampant unchecked sarcasm.
    Hint 2: You generally do get to pick your race.

    Although that's pretty contentious, given some previous threads on the topic, which I'm spoofing here.

    I'm not seeing this as a +1 template.

  • At low HD/CR, you're getting as much mileage out of the Toughness feat, and probably a lot more out of simply using the Advanced template.
  • At higher HD/CR, hp attrition is the least reliable way of killing things anyway, so you're not getting much out of it there, either.

    Also, bear in mind that killing things by hp attrition is most martial characters' ONLY method of solving problems, and if they can't even do that, monsters stop being combat threats and becomes puzzes/obstacles that grossly favor other classes.

  • Oceanshieldwolf wrote:
    Reminds me of Tim Connors Skincrawler Dragon.

    That's the one! I knew I'd seen something almost identical somewhere else.

    Yeah, I'll probably end up doing that. Thanks for the interest -- I appreciate the reply.

    Sub-Creator wrote:
    Arcwin wrote:
    As for players walking away from something, I've heard several references, where a GM described how they had spent a lot of time preparing a whole big story arc for their campaign based on things the players asked for... and then when he was ready to start it they all suddenly decided to go for something different. If it were me, I'd just work the new idea they wanted into the rest of the plans, let them start with the new thing and have it feed into the planned events.
    This is exactly how I created an entire campaign in my last real campaign in the Realms. I built the story, but let the players go and do whatever they would, installing story elements wherever they went. Eventually, they got hooked into the story and decided to follow where it led. Worked incredibly well, and all of them felt very much as though they drove the story forward, not me.

    I've seen this work really well, and also very poorly, in the past. It takes some degree patience and finesse to work the stuff you wrote in seamlessly, without it seeming tacked-on or railroad-y.

    Crimeo wrote:
    But since it's still faster than properly using the vanilla system in full, this isn't a drawback in comparison.

    Yeah, the existing system is pretty bad, so I'm always looking for workable alternatives -- the main reason I clicked here, in fact.

    Crimeo wrote:
    Maybe it would be a good idea to have a couple of tiers of system. Make up a DC is fastest, "Slapdash still more realistic but fast" system, then full system? Depending on the importance of the situation?

    I think that sounds like a winner. In my game, if it's just a matter of avoiding surprise or something, I assume everyone is always Taking 10 unless they ask for a roll. That way I can just compare to the notice DC or ambusher's Stealth results and have a determination. It loses a lot of granularity that way, but it sure speeds things up. The only time I worry about the rest of it is when they're intentionally trying to notice something else.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    You take a pleasant tour of the Azure district -- it has stopped raining and even the overcast has mostly burned away, leaving you with a warm, clear day. It would probably be too hot, but the sea breeze blowing off the harbor cools you down, and carries the smell of the salt waves.

    A water-taxi drops you off on the southwest side, furthest from the remarkable Azure Cathedral; on the way, you passed two small islands that are also part of the district -- the western one dominated by fishing interests, and also holding the residence of the District Representative; and the eastern one laid out around a huge tavern called the Empty Grave (located next door to that is the manor of the Kellanis, who are nouveaux riche in the manner of the Vanderborens, but a lot less well-liked).

    In the south end of the main district proper are the famous shops of the East Market, overlooked by the Azure Garrison headquarters. Uro knows these well, and of course Jym has been there many times; Korynne may have bought books or jewelry there in the past. You see any numner of "legitimate" exotic animals for sale there -- leopards, monkeys, birds, snakes, and even a small dinosaur. Uro is easily able to unload his animals, although for less money than is usually the case.

    "Rumor has it the Lotus Dragon gang is heavy into dealing in real exotics -- illegal stuff -- and that's making people bored with the legitimate stuff," one of the shopkeepers confides, as he hands over a few coins in embarrassment at the small amount.

    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    Do we have anything better than good enough for our current purposes? A higher standard that makes sense?

    I don't -- but then again, I'm a scientist, not a philosopher!

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    BigNorseWolf wrote:
    I'm arguing that at some point you consider a fact settled and move on. You have to.

    I'd still quibble with that. At some point you consider a tentative fact good enough for your current purposes and move on.

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    I love your color coding and formatting. The page is a thing of beauty.
    That said, any house rule that entails a six-step process involving at least two tables, in the midst of game play, is what I call a "cell phone rule," because while one person is using it, everyone else gets bored and starts Facebooking or something.

    Pathfinder is chock full of stuff that makes no sense at all. But one thing I learned from Galloway's (well-intentioned but utterly unplayable) Fantasy Wargaming is that the goal of greater realism should always be subordinate to the goal of minimizing calculations and consultations of tables during play.

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