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It's very easy, with that mindset, to see how that oath is irrelevant because - in her mind - she's being asked to do something under her oath to man's law that contradicts what God's law instructs and prohibits. In such a circumstance, coming from that position, breaking man's law is the only correct answer.
It's interesting to me that breaking her own oath/vow/word is not considered at all immoral, as long as it can be conveniently rationalized with a post-hoc interpretation of what "God's will" currently is. Maybe that's why I can never fathom the religious mindset.
The figures they give are a nice baseline for theoretical modelling, but likely will not be seen in real life due to the massive chemical composition changes that Earth's waters have suffered in the past couple of centuries. If scientists are relying on centuries-old data on how water works, they need to consider that the current conditions of most waterways did not exist centuries ago and go back to basics on this issue.
If you really, honestly believe that most water is now fundamentally chemically dissimilar from water, and does not actually behave in any way like water, because of some kind of undefined "massive chemical composition changes" that you pointedly don't identify, then I have no idea what to tell you.
Selected waterways like the Port of Houston Industrial Canal? I'll concede that there's probably as much benzene as there is water in sections of that. No argument there. But that canal doesn't dictate climate, or have much of an effect on climate, compared to the Gulf of Mexico it eventually empties into. Claiming that understanding of how water actually works is irrelevant when studying water just isn't "real life," sorry.
But don't listen to me. I'm only a hydrogeologist for my day job. I don't know anything about water, or anything like that.
I've posted before about the guy I played with whose character's prized possession was his flaming sword. The first time the group encountered a troll, he said, "I drop my sword and draw my dagger."
There definitely comes a point at which the efforts of the "metagame police" are self-defeating. In this instance, the poor player was so traumatized by previous DMs that he resorted to blatant metagaming in order to avoid the appearance of metagaming.
Whilst things have changed, it is historical fact that America was founded on Christian principles
Your "historical facts" are at odds with history.
First off, the United States was, uniquely at the time, founded on the principle that the power of the state stems directly from the consent of the governed, and not from divine right. Jefferson, the author of the Declaration you try to cite below, was a Deist who famously took a pair of scissors to the Bible.
Madison, the Father of the Constitution, said this:
James Madison wrote:
Nothwithstanding the general progress made within the two last centuries in favour of this branch of liberty, & the full establishment of it, in some parts of our Country, there remains in others a strong bias towards the old error, that without some sort of alliance or coalition between Gov' & Religion neither can be duly supported: Such indeed is the tendency to such a coalition, and such its corrupting influence on both the parties, that the danger cannot be too carefully guarded agst.. And in a Gov' of opinion, like ours, the only effectual guard must be found in the soundness and stability of the general opinion on the subject. Every new & successful example therefore of a perfect separation between ecclesiastical and civil matters, is of importance. And I have no doubt that every new example, will succeed, as every past one has done, in shewing that religion & Gov will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together.
(Letter to Edward Livingston, July 10, 1822).
...one of which was the proposition that all men are created equal.
Yes, that's why slavery is endorsed in the Bible.
But then I also I do think the American pledge is due for a revision as I do not think the current American public generally holds the notion that America should be a "nation under God".
You are aware that the words "under God" were added to the pledge in the 1950s, are you not? Appealing to them as some kind of historical norm is grotesque.
Wrath is more more less correct on that specific point. Water's high heat capacity is a well-known physical property, not some sort of cutting-edge research, so you'd need to go back centuries to find "papers" on that.Here's a short, layperson-oriented piece about water's heat capacity, from the United States Geological Survey.
See also here (scroll down to "Heat capacity and heats of vaporization and fusion").
And if you look at the beginning of the Three Musketeers, that's exactly what Dumas does - he tells (and shows) us who D'Artagnan is. Where he's from, a bit of his background and personality and then immediately how he reacts to situations. Which is, admittedly, usually by challenging someone to a duel. But by that point, you understand why.
Which is exactly why you need to see the player play his character, and see how he RPs and how he reacts to situations -- and not just look at the numbers on the character sheet up front and say "dirty powergamer!" before you get a chance to see that other stuff.
Stopped at a Carl's Jr. on the way back from the airport. I'd never been to one for lunch, and wanted to check it out. At noon, the place was nearly empty; apparently everyone was at the Smashburger down the street. Surprisingly, the burger itself was better than Smashburger's, and cheaper, too. Go figure!
Brust's Agyar and The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars are kind of urban, or at least modern, fantasy. Kind of Charles DeLinty.
Yeah, Agyar for sure -- after Bram Stoker, the only vampire book I ever liked! (Unless you count King's Wolves of the Calla, that is.) Interestingly, The Sun, The Moon, and the Stars (1987) was intentionally part of a "modern re-imagining of fairy tales" series spearheaded by De Lint with Jack, The Giant-Killer.
Cowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grill (1990), though it's clearly a set-in-the-future sci fi novel, nevertheless has a pretty strong current-day urban feel. As a point of interest, it's also got a nice bit of homage to Piers Anthony's Macroscope (1970), using a trope later made famous by Palahniuk in Fight Club (1996).
The Incrementalists (2013), which I very much enjoyed, takes place in modern-day Las Vegas and is very much a fantasy novel, too.
The multiclassing approach he's talking about was more of a 3.5 thing, since PF boosted the base classes, but in some cases it's still real.
You don't think that's maybe a reflection on how weak the martial classes are, in terms of options, as opposed to a reflection on how nefarious these players must be? As has been pointed out repeatedly, if someone just want the most powerful possible character, wizard, cleric, and druid are all right there in the core rulebook. Witch is dandy, too. Sure, they can cobble together a rogue/barbarian/fighter, but by 9th level or so they'll still be far less useful than the full casters. Someone who was intent on "building" the "most powerful possible character" would surely be aware of this?
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
The food is quite good, by Jym's standards -- plenty of side dishes, garnishes, marmalades, syrups, and other sweet glop. To Gwlybwr, it looks like what gets washed up on the beach after a squall. Uro is skeptical of the portion sizes: the meat dishes seem to consist of some small bits, covered in a sauce in some sort of artistic pattern in the midst of a giant, mostly-empty plate. Korynne, aware of costs, realizes that this place will put a dent in what's left of the heavy currency Lady Vanderboren has given you so far -- but that said, the mimosas do look quite good!
Can Undead Anatomy spell be used to assume the form of creatures with undead template (zombie, skeleton, ...) ?
"Polymorph spells cannot be used to assume the form of a creature with a template or an advanced version of a creature."
Yeah, the examples of skeleton and zombie were poorly phrased; I think they mean something more like "You can assume the form of a basic skeleton or zombie as statted in the Bestiary, but you're not allowed to become a skeletal champion, apocalypse zombie, zombie lord, 19th level Advanced wraith sorcerer, or whatever other nonsense shenanigans you're thinking about."
Oh, yeah, about books. I put a bunch of nonfiction on my wish list, but until I get my hands on it, I'm still on a fiction jag.
I abandoned Dresden Files #2 about a third of the way in. The writing was, if anything, a lot worse than in the first one, and it's about werewolves, which is pretty hokey, and apparently there's a hawt chick werewolf, which is super-hokey, and I just couldn't take it.
Switched back to Andre Norton for a bit. Her prose is even worse than Butcher's, but at least some of her ideas were pretty cool, so last night I started The Jargoon Pard (1974), in honor of that critter appearing in the Bestiary 4 (2013).
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
the very D&D-named Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia
One of my colleagues and I took the schoolkids on a field trip there once. I don't recall it being particularly dismal, though. And maybe it was a dry day, but the section we were in wasn't too swampy, either. (Picture.)Here's the blurb: "Despite its grim title, the Great Dismal Swamp is an exciting wildlife refuge, home to 112,000 acres of forest, a 6,300-acre marsh and hundreds of species of plants and animals. It is common to encounter the white tailed deer along the trails of the forest; less commonly seen residents include the bobcat, river otter, black bear, southern flying squirrel and ground hog. Whether you want to bird watch, fish, hike the trails or drive the auto tour route, the swamp provides a beautiful outdoor experience for the whole family. Admission is free. Rentals and tours separate."
Minor quibble: Legally, there is no such thing as "having the right of way." The traffic regulations only spell out who is required to yield, not who "gets" it.
As an old 1e grognard, I think the disconnect is this:
Back in the day, there weren't any actual rules for most of the stuff the characters did -- or at least not any consistent ones (unarmed combat charts in the DMG, anyone? Swimming rules in the A4 module of all places?). So, for the most part, they made up a character with a very limited set of defined abilities, and you spitballed the rest.
There's a lot of freedom in that approach, because the only limit on what you could do was the player's ability to sell the DM on it. To many people, though, this damaged verisimilitude, and made the whole process seem adversarial, because it generally meant the whole game was a frustrating, protracted session of "Mother May I." Everyone wanted to be the DM so they could tell everyone else what they could and couldn't do.
In 3e/PF, there are rules dictating what you can and can't do (sadly, the rules dictating what martial characters can't do seem to have gotten out of hand, but that's another story). This means that the player can't just say, "Before I go into the ball I put a flower in my lapel -- maybe it will give me a bonus to Diplomacy" -- because they know it won't. However, Paizo, seeing this, has probably released a convoluted trait, archetype, or feat chain somewhere that DOES let you do that. So that's where the 15 secondary rulebook references come in.
TL;DR: In a system like Pathfinder, with actual rules for everything, you have to expect that people will make use of them. If you want a system in which you just declare stuff and ask the DM if it works, something like Amber Diceless is ideal for that.
Since I really, truly am this boring...
To me, it's fascinating, not boring. I hope you'll post more!
Mrs Gersen is from South Carolina. When we were dating, I began to suspect that she was only dimply aware that the Korean War and Vietnam Conflict weren't part of WWII (for example). I said, "OK, I understand you were born after Vietnam, so you don't remember it, but didn't they at least teach this stuff in high school?"
She replied that her year-long high school U.S. History class started sometime in the mid 1800s and ended sometime before the end of the Civil War -- i.e., a year-long class bemoaning the "War of Northern Aggression," and pointedly not even mentioning the fact that the South actually lost.
Apparently her Biology class was even worse.
Teacher: "Who in here believes in evolution?"
(Mrs Gersen raised her hand.)
"And who believes that God created mankind?"
(Everyone else raised their hands.)
Teacher: "Well, that settles it, then!"
Then they will ALL seem pretty good at role playing to the newbe while everyone is starting at square one with zero roll playing experience in the new system. I suspect when people get older and they lose that fire to optimize the 10th new system, they can still pull out decades of skill at role playing and wow the table even if they are not slaughtering their opponents anymore.
To some extent that's true... but again, only to an extent. My brother plays the piano, the drums, the bass, the cello, the guitar. I play nothing. We once found a flute-like recorder somewhere -- an instrument neither of us was familiar with. He could play it, after a fashion, after about a minute. I was totally unable to get it to produce recognizable sounds.
On the other hand, I've played 1e, 2e, Basic, 3.0, 3.5, and 5e D&D; plus Gamma World, Boot Hill, Top Secret, Traveller, James Bond 007, Amber Diceless, and a number of other systems. Houstonderek at one point wanted to start a Shadowrun game, and he lent me the rules. I had never played or read them before, but after skimming them once, it was pretty clear to me what combinations would work and which ones would totally gimp my character -- and that's without consciously trying to figure that out. Someone with less experience with different systems would probably not know what to even look for.
Freehold DM wrote:
It's funny- this whole "pull your weight!" stuff never comes up in my game or any game I have been in. Usually characters that suck on their own merits die on their own merits.
Most average-difficulty campaigns can accommodate one or two weak links -- the other PCs cover for them, or else they get weeded out, as you've alluded to. But some of the real deadly meat-grinder campaigns (like the aforementioned Age of Worms) aren't that forgiving. Unless the weaker character is a 5th party member and the DM is running the modules as written (for a party of 4, and ignoring the adjustments for larger parties), the whole campaign will end in maybe the 3rd adventure at the latest when the whole party gets wiped out because the one guy dropped the ball and there's no room at all for error. Hell, we lost two moderately well-optimized parties to Spire of Long Shadows.
Brother Fen wrote:
I don't mind if people want to powergame, but I do mind when they want to powergame my character for me. Play your PC your way and I'll do mine my way.
Then again, there are are pretty good reasons why random Peewee Little League players aren't drafted by the Yankees.
If you're playing an Everyone Wins Happy Funtime Game, in which "scary" encounters are at a CR below your level, then non-optimized characters are the order of the day. If some dirty "powergamer" shows up and starts actually using the rules to his or her advantage, he'll curbstomp the opposition, upstage the rest of the party, and generally ruin the game. That's why Michael Jordan spent the late 80s playing for the NBA, rather than trying to pass as a schoolkid and playing at the local YMCA. So, yeah, you definitely SHOULD mind if someone wants to "powergame," in that context.
On the opposite end of things, imagine all the other players all want to play Age of Worms -- an AP in which only a highly-optimized hunter-seeker team has any chance of survival. A purely "role-play" character with no abilities outside of basket weaving takes up a membership slot that is desperately needed to carry its full weight and then some. Refusing to allow anyone to help you "powergame" your basket weaver is, in that context, nothing more than a drama-queen move designed to destroy the game.
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Opposed check:1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Indicating a set of 4 flasks, she says, "The goddess has purified these waters of well, river, lake, and spring to such an extent that they will heal wounds," she says. "The Church of Cuthbert demands an exorbitant sum for their less-effective substitute -- 50 gold each flask, if you can believe it! -- but the goddess Geshtai has no interest in gilded candlesticks and mitres. If you would be willing to make a single lump-sum donation to our poor shrine, perhaps even 150 gp, I'm sure the goddess would approve of you taking along these waters to ensure the well-being of her new servant and his companions..."
The reason I think people think of them as opposites is because people tend to focus more on the side of the game they like more. So a guy who loves optimizing is going to spend more time developing his Roll play skill and less time on his Role play skill, or vice versa for the Fluff guy.
That makes logical sense, but the overall time that people spend on the game varies wildly. In general, what I see is that some people devote a lot of time to the hobby -- when they're not playing, they read rulebooks, and they make up a bunch of characters that they may never play, and maybe they draw sketches and work up backgrounds, etc. The proportions might differ slightly, but in general, the total amount of time they devote to the hobby is large, and they therefore develop both skills a lot.
Other people are far more casual -- the ones who are in it just to hang out or whatever. They devote comparatively little time to developing either skill, and therefore tend to be lackluster at both.
Say a group of 4 players spends 8 hours/week playing together (assume half and half "role" and "roll"). But Player A also spends another 4 hours at home on rulebooks and another 12 on characters. Maybe Player B has no life; he spends 12 hours on rulebooks and 8 on characters. And maybe Players C and D spend 0 hours outside of the game.
Player A might have developed his "role-playing" more than anyone (16 hrs/wk), but his rules-savvy is also quite good (8 hrs/wk). Player B is way ahead on "roll-playing" (16 hrs/wk), but really isn't too far behind on "role-playing" (12 hrs/wk) either! And they're both far, far better at BOTH aspects than either of the other players who spend very time on either skill (4 hrs/wk).
If you expand skills so that you can do really cool stuff with them -- if and only if you have "x" number of ranks as a class skill, then class skills mean a whole lot more than just +3 to the check. You can then tailor the class skill lists based on which cool abilities you want each class to have access to.
The spider climb spell could then be rewritten as follows: "For the duration of the spell, the target treats Climb as if it were a class skill. If it is already a class skill, the subject treats it as if he/she had an additional 3 ranks," or something like that. Same with invisibility vis-a-vis Stealth, and freedom of movement for Escape Artist, and charm person for Diplomacy, and doom, cause fear, scare, fear, etc. for Intimidate, and so on.
1. One cohort of CR up to the Leader's CR -3; any number (subject to total Leadership potential) of CR up to the leader's CR -5.
2. I have no problem with cascading leadership, for players or for NPCs. The thing is to keep track of which followers belong to which leader, which can be important if some sort of conflict between the big boss and the cohort can be engineered.
I'll find a way for her (and maybe a couple other NPCs) to be helpful in specific missions, and give them some character development WITHOUT getting in the way of making the PCs important?
I'd make them useful for certain things when you stat them up, and let the party know they're available, but do NOT have them tag along on anything unless the players specifically decide to go get them and ask them along. It needs to be the PCs' decision when to ask for help, and from whom -- otherwise the PCs end up as the NPCs' sidekicks, instead it being the other way around.
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
There's a well in the center of the shrine, sort of where an altar would normally be. "The well is very deep," she says to the eerie fish-guy. "A shallow well yields only the brine of the sea, but if you dig past that, there is pure water below it."
She dips water out of it with a ladle, sprinkles it over Korynne's unconscious form, chanting all the while. As you watch, the water seems to wash the wounds away, as well as the blood. Eventually, the priestess seems satisfied with her efforts; taking another ladle of well water, she throws it into Korynne's face. Korynne opens her eyes, gasps, and sits up, heaving breaths. The priestess nods and turns to Jym and Uro.
"Her system had already rejected the poison, so there was little effort needed there. Her wounds were much more serious, though -- I don't think she would have bled to death, but it would be some time before she recovered, if she'd been left untreated.
"I require no payment for discharging this duty," she continues, "but there now exists an imbalance between you and the goddess, that needs to be righted. I would like to send my acolyte here with you, to observe that the obligation is discharged."
I've posted on this a few years back:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Hmm...I think I understand. You're saying to make her optional, yet the campaign will take a slightly different turn if they don't enlist her help? I think I can work that around...
More or less, with emphasis on the "optional." I'd make her an easy "win" button for one specific problem or scenario -- one which is NOT central to the campaign. Whatever that problem/scenario is, there should be other ways of dealing with it, but they're all a lot more difficult/dangerous.
What you want to avoid at all costs is a scenario in which "you must get this NPC's help or the entire campaign stops." In fact, I find that's pretty good general advice -- avoid insisting on there being only one solution to a given problem or obstacle.
I wanted to know how to get a character like her in the story without having the story rely on her...
I think that's exactly what you want to do -- make sure the PCs know that that character is there, and that they can beg her to consult with them for a very short period of time on one specific problem -- but there's nothing forcing them to do so.
That way, they're still the ones calling the shots, as far as the campaign goes. If they do decide to pull her in and it makes solving one problem easier, that's fine, they can then turn their attention to other matters, and she goes back to doing whatever she was doing. But the campaign shouldn't end or become derailed if they decide not to enlist her aid.
If the only solution to major campaign issues is "let this NPC handle it," then the PCs stop being the stars, which is what you want to avoid.
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Will save: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
She sticks her head into the shrine. "Please prepare a bed and bring clean water. There is the goddess' work to do!"
Stepping aside -- very warily, lest Uro slay her -- she timidly says, "Please bring her inside."
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
OK, Geshtai is the goddess of springs, rivers, wells, lakes, and anti-poison. If you want to make an appearance sooner rather than later, you could be a temporary disciple there; we'll assume you're inside the shrine.
Alternatively, you could have been chasing the murderers, followed a lead, and been lured into a set of sea caves -- where the party will likely end up next.
I'm happy to let you pick which entrance you like; both work well with the story as it's going.
Steve Geddes wrote:
Preferring a game where casters and martials are not equivalent doesn't mean preferring "a game in which "CR" is a completely meaningless term" though, it just means preferring a game in which a level 15 wizard is not CR15 (or a level 15 fighter isn't).
Yeah, I'd OK with things if "fighter" was specifically called out as an NPC class, so that a 15th level fighter with NPC gear is considered a CR 8 or so encounter, rather than a CR 14 one as is currently supposedly the case. (That leaves plenty of room for a martial PC class that actually is equal to the wizard, that could be used as an equally effective villain, and that people could actually play and feel like equal contributors to the party. If for some reason you want martials to always be inferior, you could just not use that new class.)
But pretending that a 15th level fighter and a 15th level wizard are either:
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
She says, "Through her priestesses, the Lady Geshtai brings forth water when there is drought; she purifies the wells when there is pestilence. She heals the carp with blighted gills, or the otter caught in a hunter's trap, or the duck with a broken wing. So, yes, she can heal -- but none of those include humans damaged in war."
Some thoughts, even though I'm banned!
The Main Thing