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Kirth Gersen's page

22,167 posts (22,862 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 12 aliases.


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Arrius wrote:
I have kept the bonus as counting the points in Favored Class as your ranger level to adjudicate the bonuses.

Sorry; your meaning isn't clear to me here.

Arrius wrote:
The bonus cannot exceed 1 + Class level (rounded up).

Favored terrain bonus cap is spelled out clearly in the Ranger document and elsewhere as 2 + half your character level; it's unclear to me why you're throwing that out and inventing a new one -- can you explain your logic here?

Vincenzo Tuveri, aka Twitch wrote:
I've only seen the first two episodes, but I suppose so.

The show hit me pretty hard, having spent a lot of time working in Lake Charles, LA.

Stick with it -- Episode 4 is a real doozie
and will cure you of any inclination to ever go to Beaumont, TX (I can second that notion as well).

Anyway, the point of my comment is that the writer, Nic Pizzolatto, grew up in Lake Charles, so he knows exactly the kind of twisted s#+# goes on there -- very, very close to what you were saying, although I have no idea what or where your own hometown may be.

Vincenzo Tuveri, aka Twitch wrote:
I'd like the potential for it to turn open-ended and if they have the natural reaction of wanting to burn the whole place to the ground then that does limit things.

Yeah, I get that a lot, too, with some players. If it's a small town, you can always have the same kinds of creepy stuff going on in a lot of the neighboring towns, so all is not lost. If it's a major city, well, that makes it that much harder to burn down, so that's something.

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But, being so awesome, wouldn't any reason you do it for be, almost by definition, an awesome reason?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

BTW, I forgot Caspian's inspiration for Wyvurn and Miralda. Bad, DM, bad! Sadly, adding it in post facto doesn't change the outcome in either case.

Jaegr, you're at the top of the ladder, with your feet on solid ground. The two would-be sappers stop their activities and brace themselves to meet your attack.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Cricket: 5-ft. step; immediate action Aid Another to Wolvie; one quarterstaff attack: 1d20 + 6 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 6 + 2 + 2 = 241d8 + 1 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 1 + 2 = 8

Wolvie: 5-ft. step the other way; immediate action Aid Another to Cricket; one bite attack: 1d20 + 6 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 6 + 2 + 2 = 221d6 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 + 2 = 10

Cricket clocks the bandit with his quarterstaff, provoking a grunt of pain. At the same moment, Wolvie lunges at him, gettting a big mouthful. Wasting no time, Wolvie savages the hill dwarf to the ground, shaking him like a rag, and then he pauses for air it looks like the bandit is unconscious and bleeding.

JoeJ wrote:
Third, almost to fourth.

Bingo! Goes right back to what I was saying, which RA echoed: E6 does "low magic" a lot better than 20-level Core.

Ssalarn wrote:
WoW's been spelling it that way forever now.

That explains why I had no idea...

JoeJ wrote:

The campaign was cut short by r/l, unfortunately, when a couple of the players moved. But while it lasted everybody seemed to be having fun, and I would love to do something like that again some day.

And what level were the PCs when the campaign ended?

Ashiel wrote:
Latest 'Lock Revision.

Forgive me if this has already been addressed, but what's with the missing "l" in "Fell"? Is it like when people add a "k" to "magic" or something?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

The miners continue work with their picks; a few cobbles fall into the water below, forcing Miralda to duck aside; Kelgan trusts his helm and hard head to protect him, for now.

The remaining guard swipes at Wolvie with his pick:
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 181d8 + 6 ⇒ (4) + 6 = 10

The "running" bandit scurries around the corner of the nearest building.

The four hypnotize dbandits begin blinking, and might be able to act next round.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

1d20 + 9 ⇒ (1) + 9 = 101d6 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5

Wyvurn's victim struggles feebly in his grasp; he barely has the strength to breathe. It's amazing to you that he is still conscious; maybe hill dwarves are tougher than you gave them credit for.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

At first, Kelgan thinks he missed, and prepares to curse and hurl his steelbow to the floor in disgust. Then you realize the bolt, continuing past its intented target, falls to the ground only a few paces further along. As if in slow motion, the bandit falls to his knees, one empty eyesocket staring blindly at you... then pitches face-forward to the ground. The back of his head appears to be missing.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Jaegr, undaunted, climbs back up the rungs. The two bandits on guard duty, frustrated at him immediately returning, foolishly make attacks of opportunity against him as he reaches the top, instead of simply pushing him back down: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 51d8 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 71d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 211d8 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11

One misses entirely; the other strikes a powerful blow, only to have it stopped cold by Jaegr's ceramic armor.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Whooping frightfully, the goblin attacks! Normally, a Tuelvi brave issuing a proper war-whoop can paralyze an opponent with fear. In this case, unfotunately, it's ignored, as the bandit spends his efforts fending off Wolvie's teeth. He is successful, but his inattention allows cricket to lat his staff alongside the bandit's shoulder. Again, to your annoyance, he seems hardly to notice (2 points damage -1 DR = 1 point).

I differ with many people in the thread; I think you can have awesome, awesome games that are "low magic" compared to Core. That said, you're best advised not to try and do it and also try to play levels 1-20 out of Core; that's a recipe for failure, as noted by others.

Instead, you do it by playing E6.

Wyntr wrote:
The biggest change I think would be that most psionics are fixed in their powers known , so it might be harder for psionics to focus on spells to defend against both psionics and magic, or to clear both psionic and magic conditions.

I'd thought of that and decided it was a net "plus." If psionics are less common (and they would be), then they gain an advantage in that fewer people are prepped to shut them down. This would be a balancing factor, in many cases forcing them to choose between countering their own kind or countering magic.

Here's a question that I have asked the wisest sages, and all of them declared themselves baffled and told me to come ask Gruuumash.

We know of air elementals, and fire elementals and earth elementals and water elementals. Some Eastern philosophies have five elements instead, including wood of all things. The modern periodic table boasts something like 118 elements.

The question is this: Is there an element of awesome? If so, can you summon awesome elementals?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

You're pretty sure it will take the would-be sappers more than one round to accomplish anything that way. Then again, you're not sure how long your hypnotism spell will last. Meanwhile, the guy on guard duty kicks his companion that Miralda had put to sleep, waking him up. The abashed slumberer wipses his eyes, pulls out a pick of his own, and stands with his buddy.

Assuming Caspian sees no pressing need to intervene, Cricket's up, then Jaegr can climb up again.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
I'm pretty sure that is the general 'you', since I never have to do any of that. :P

More accurately, take that "you" to mean "me." ;P

TriOmegaZero wrote:
As for things the party can't dispel, use supernatural abilities.

You know me -- as DM, I always play within the same set of rules the players are using. If there's no way in the rules we're all playing by that gives that ability that'll work in the way I want to use it, I don't do it.

wraithstrike wrote:
One question however is what will you do with knowledge(psionics)?

I hadn't thought about it yet -- that's one thing I was hoping to gather a bunch of anecdotes about, so I'd have some context to work with.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
If I ever get to play with 8th level spells, I'll let you know.

Even before that point, you're hiding stuff from locate object by using spells, and then the party goes in and uses detect magic specifically to find the spells that are hiding the object, so they can find the object, so then you use magic aura to hide the spell that's hiding the object... part of me thinks it would be nice to have another avenue of approach, is all.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Meh. Detect/dispel magic can't solve everything.

It might help to mention that I'm an oddball, because I'm coming out of a game background in which we eventually were researching protection against discern location spells and overcoming them with penetrate protection from discern location spells (I'm not making this up). I was once involved in a game in which we were blackmailing one of the bad guys using documents that no longer existed -- it was the only way to keep him from locating them -- and bluffing him that we still had them.

LazarX wrote:
Lets get to the meat of the matter then... what do you want opaque?

I think I already posted the two examples of where it might be handy to have opacity.

Kirth Gersen wrote:

Obviously, from a story standpoint, it's cool to be able to include stuff like "You're not sure how Bob is being controlled. Your detect magic isn't pinging, but your Sense Motive check tells you for sure his mind has been clouded." That's a way to re-introduce mysteries into a game that usually doesn't allow them past a certain point.

Getting Bob loose of his psionic fog might be interesting, too, if they can't just chuck a dispel magic on they guy. Maybe they need to put him in protective custody in a jail cell until he eventually makes the save? Or maybe they need to find another psion to remove the effect?

TriOmegaZero wrote:
So transparency in only the things you want transparent? :)

Yes, exactly! But remember, I did open up the thread with a question as to whether transparency had to be a totally binary proposition.

wraithstrike wrote:
You do realize that all you are doing is writing in the transparency rules back into the game on a line by line basis. :)

That thought did just occur to me, yes. But the things we're writing back in are things that don't destroy the one argument (and, honestly, it's the only argument I can think of against using full transparency): lack of transparency in terms of detection/dispelling can open up the avenues to include some mysteries that are not able to be instantaneously solved by any pary worth the name.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
A Will save you need to buff with psionics AND magic.

I don't think a +5 resistance bonus gets negatied by all psionics. It applies directly to the Will save, which in turn applies against both. The only exceptions would be oddball ones like dwarves' and elves' +2, and Superstition, and maybe one or two other corner cases.

wraithstrike wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Without transparency, monsters and characters that rely on SR or saving throw bonuses vs magic or spells ....
That is what I thought you meant, but it was not written that way. :)

Thanks!! Now I get it; it sure took me long enough. OK, so we're worried specifically about:

1. Dwarves and their "+2 against spells and spell-like abilities"
2. The Superstition rage power
3. The spell immunity spell
4. Elves' bonus to saves against enchanment spells.

Any others?

It seems to me we could expand the wording judiciously: "Elves get a +2 bonus to saves against enchantment spells and other charm- and compusion-like effects." Same ability, now applies. Same with superstition.

TriOmegaZero wrote:

Kirth, think about it this way.

What would you do if I told your fighter 'no, this guy targets your psionic AC, and you need to buy a whole new set of psionic armor over your regular armor to protect yourself against his attacks'?

I'm not seeing the analogy: a Will save is a Will save.

wraithstrike wrote:
Some spells such as mink blank specifically call out divination magic. I know that is a high level spell so just to be clear the spell level was not the point. The point was the focus on "magic". So if you use psionic divination you could by pass it. A few spells call out "magic" or "spells", so the psionic counterpart would not be impeded.

AHa! Thanks, I knew it was a good idea to start this thread. Given time, I'll make a list of these and look at it, item by item, and see where it takes me.

Thanks again.

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wraithstrike wrote:

1. So the psion was getting past SR with ease and

2. nobody could identify his powers.

Thanks for the specific examples!

For (1), I could see a simple rule that "SR applies against spells and psionics and so one and so forth," as being a very simple, non-invasive compromise area. Again, though, I've never seen players have too much trouble overcoming SR, so I almost suspect this would be a relative non-issue.

For (2), that's the sort of thing I'm especially curious about. Obviously, from a story standpoint, it's cool to be able to include stuff like "You're not sure how Bob is being controlled. Your detect magic isn't pinging, but your Sense Motive check tells you for sure his mind has been clouded." That's a way to re-introduce mysteries into a game that usually doesn't allow them past a certain point.

Getting Bob loose of his psionic fog might be interesting, too, if they can't just chuck a dispel magic on they guy. Maybe they need to put him in protective custody in a jail cell until he eventually makes the save? Or maybe they need to find another psion to remove the effect?

That said, I can live without the obvious story potentialif it introduces a trojan horse into the game that I'm not seeing.

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LazarX wrote:
Saving throws apply to psionics only if transparency is in place.

Huh? Why do all psionic powers become "save: no" without transparency?

LazarX wrote:
Without transparency there are no magical defenses against psionics or vice versa.

Again, what defenses are we talking about? Amulets of spell resistance? No one wants those anyway because they prevent your friends from buffing you.

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necromental wrote:
It would end up being frustrating, IMO. I see creating detect psionics, dispel psionics and anti-psionic sphere spells, while the psion crafts equivalent powers.

I'd see that, too, but still can't quite see why it would automatically be bad for the game. I'm definitely open to being convinced, though.

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LazarX wrote:
Here's the problem: without transparency, defenses against psionics become non existent. But I'm sure you realize that.

I guess I don't realize that, or at least not fully. As far as defenses against spells, we have saving throws; regardless of transparency, they apply to both spells and psionics, so they still exist. Likewise for disruption of concentration with held attacks or ongoing damage; it's equally a thing for both magic and psionics, again regardless of transparency. Those are the main two defenses I usually deal with.

I could sort of understand SR being an issue for DMs, but in my experience it's never been hard for spellcasters to overcome anyway -- put that one down as "transparency might apply here."

After those, what other "defenses against psionics" are we looking for? I've never had anyone counterspell in a game, ever, so that's out. Likewise for any player actually antimagic field. Dispel magic for existing effects, sure, but why not have dispel psionics, too?

LazarX wrote:
As to putting in a partial version that becomes far more complicated than all on or all off, and adding complication when it doesn't make the game better for it is not something I do.

I don't see why it would automatically need to be complicated: "No transparency except SR," for example, isn't that complex. I personally probably wouldn't do that for the reasons cited above (never found SR to be all that important anyway), but it's an example to show you where I'm coming from.

Haladir wrote:
The GM later said that he wished he'd counted it all as "magic," as the bookkeeping got a little out of hand.

This is the sort of useful anectdote I was hoping for! Thanks.

Kryzbyn wrote:
I can see many story reasons to not have the transparency.

That's one of the things I'm looking at: if the location of a prisoner, for example, has been obscured by magic, it might be cool for a PC psion to be able to find him that way -- but not if that's going to implode the game later onin ways I'm not foreseeing.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Caspian bides his time, continuing to inspire his allies. If it looks like the dwarves have another trick up their sleeves, he can always intervene.

... And it looks like they might. The four bandits capable of acting look at each other and drop their crossbows. Three of them pull out picks; the fourth breaks off towards the tavern at a lumbering pace that only a dwarf could call "running." Two of the guys with picks start hammering at the edge of the manhole opening, trying to cave in the roof, while the third stands guard.

The bandit that Wyvurn is choking feebly scrabbles for purchase, trying to escape: 1d20 + 3 - 1 ⇒ (2) + 3 - 1 = 4

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OK, here's the thing: I understand that most people consider this to be integral to successfully using psionics in a game, and that if you don't use it, the game will implode. I'd like to explore this, though, with an eye towards (a) why it's necessary; (b) whether it needs to be on/off or if a partial version is possible; and (c) personal gaming anecdotes with/without, focusing on how it worked for you, what was good with it, what problems arose, etc.

Samnell wrote:
Now I think I'm back to a Lovecraft collection.

Me, too -- been working my way through his collected works, one at a time.

Samnell wrote:
A friend has been bugging me about an idle notion I had to run a Lovecraftian game based on my hometown, informed by the kind of vicious hatred and bleak realism that only a lifetime resident could possess.

In other words, you want to re-create True Detective?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Caspian, you can maintain your inspiration and still cast a spell, if you want.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Wyvurn's victim stuggles in his grasp; another six seconds or so of that kind of pressure will certainly make him pass out.

None of this rambling is official changes or anything -- just "what I wish I would have thought of earlier."

I think these are on the right track.

"Fragile" has definite potential.

I like "checked," and would like to see it worked in; then again, it overlaps a lot with "grappled," which in turn isn't exactly in the same league as "dazed" --and is more or less on a par with staggered and so on, so I'd like to keep it as a moderate, rather than serious, condition. Likewise, "helpless" isn't really a permanent thing, which is the whole point of attribute drain.

For a minor [mental] condition, I'm sort of leaning towards befuddled: A befuddled creature loses some of its ability to rationally position itself. If you are within reach, it uses one immediate action per round providing you with an aid another bonus in melee (i.e., flanking). If you are not within reach, it spends one immediate action per round deciding where to stand.

(I'm cribbing this from the unwitting ally spell in the APG).

Arrius wrote:
For example, [Charm Person] seems to push towards skill uses instead of the spell itself, as the condition [Charmed] does not translate into obedience, but simply taking a penalty to opposed Charisma to convince.

I sort of view that as a feature, rather than a bug. This way, magic and skills are mutually interdependent, instead of one simply trumping the other.

Arrius wrote:

[Restraint] Minor counts as: [Winded]: Acts like [Fatigued]. Does not escalate to [Exhausted].
[Affliction] Serious counts as: [Nauseated].
[Affliction] Moderate counts as: [Tired]: As Staggered, with bodily function failure rather than actual loss of dexterity.
[Mental]: Minor counts as [Fascinated].
[Mental]: Moderate counts as [Trauma]
[Trauma]: 50% chance to fail an action

Let's see... dazed, fascinated, nauseated, confused, and pinned are all pretty well equivalent, in a sense. They take you out of the fight, but don't leave you totally helpless. I would peg them all as [serious] conditions.

Entangled = move at half speed; that's pretty minor, and I'd leave it there.

50% to fail at an action sounds like a good one, like the 1e fumble spell. I really like that for the moderate [mental] condition.

I'd rather leave fatigued and exhausted as wound-related conditions that relate to hp rather than attribute loss, and likewise not have any more "it's just like this other thing, but not really" than we need, so I'm not sold on "winded" and "tired."


Good point re: guarded attributes, etc. If this is implemented, those would have to be looked at carefully.

One thing I like about this is that, potentially, I can see the wizard blasting the enemy with a cone of enfeeblement or something, slowing down or stopping enemy movement, and then the fighter runs in with Crippling Strikes and renders them helpless. The rogue can then mop them up with improved sneak attacks.

Caedwyr wrote:
The mental track shows some interesting design space for lesser mental penalties.

Indeed, and I'm hoping you guys can help with that!

This kind of setup represents a logical move away from binary save-or-die effects, towards a system in which penalties and escalated consequences accrue -- with the result of failed saves being a much more rapid rate of accrual, but with even successful saves not totally getting you off the hook. Instead of a fixed-price metamagic feat forcing everyone affected to save or be dazed (for example) and out of the fight, it forces them to save or take some penalty/damage to an attribute, and the metamagic cost scales with the magnitude of that damage. As of two years ago I was very hesitant to embrace this, but playtesting has led me to believe it's the way to go (we used slay living to deal Con damage in a mid-level adventure, and, more recently, treated a cockatrice's petrifaction as Dex drain, and I thought the results of both were very positive).

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:
The only way to make every possible character concept work is to use a system extremely light on crunch.

GURPS is very crunchy and also very flexible in terms of making different character concepts. (Kirthfinder is, too, for that matter, but in a different direction.) The issue is whether the crunch works towards enabling those concepts, or whether it actively impedes them. In 3.0/3.5/PF, it's the latter, but I don't see any reason why that needs to be the case, and, as I pointed out, there are counterexamples demonstrating that it doesn't.

In fact, in a lot of cases in PF, pure fluff gets packaged like crunch and so gets in its own way. Any time you need to spend a feat on simple flavor, your system mechanics are actively impeding your character concept. But there's no reason we couldn't have seventy zillion mechanical feats that actually do mechanical things facilitating concepts, without having them dictate whether or not you're allowed to have cool sunglasses or wear a red cape.

Ideally, all the conditions would fall on neat tracks, and all be triggered by attribute penalty/damage/drain. We could clean up a lot of [Strike] feats that way as well as a lot of metamagic. We might have to adjust the tracks and move stuff around a bit, but imagine the following:

  • If an attribute takes a sufficient penalty so that you receive no bonus from it (or any penalty at all, if the modifier is already less than +1), you gain the Minor condition associated with that attribute and track.
  • If the attribute is penalized so that it's below half normal, you gain the Moderate condition instead.
  • If the attribute is penalized so that it has a value of 1, you gain the Serious condition instead.
  • If the attribute is damaged to zero, you get the Critical condition.
  • If the attribute is drained to zero, you get a Permanent condition.

    Attribute [Condition Track] - Minor/Moderate/Serious/Critical/Permanent
    Str [Restraint] - Entangled/Grappled/Pinned/Helpless/ ?
    Dex [Interia] - Flat-footed/Staggered/Slowed/Paralyzed/Petrified
    Con [Affliction] - Sickened/ ? /Nauseated/Dead/Destroyed
    Int [Mental] - ? / ? /Dazed/Stunned/Feebleminded
    Wis [Sensory] - Dazzled/Blinded/Confused/Insensate/Insane
    Cha [Mind-Affecting] - Mind-Fogged/Charmed/Fascinated/Dominated/Enthralled

  • LazarX wrote:
    I see it perhaps expectations a bit unreasonable for what is essentially still a wargame with roleplaying bolted on.

    After 40 years of that state of affairs, including the last 14 of them under a radically different rules framework, you'd think we'd have a vague clue how to make multiclassing work by now, just to pick one obvious example. (Wizards tried to patch it with a glut of prestigle classes, and failed. Paizo started with archetypes, found they didn't cut the mustard for that, and appear to have the current goal of creating hundreds of different hybrid classes to try and fill every multi-classed combination.)

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