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Kirth Gersen's page

22,065 posts (22,756 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 12 aliases.


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M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

I'll be off-line next Tuesday through Friday -- I'm hoping we can clear up at least two loose ends and leave off on a cliffhanger before then, which we should be able to do in a couple more posts.

  • Coffins?
  • Little girl?

  • thejeff wrote:
    "Blossoming"? It's been going on for decades.

    I don't think we've seen anything yet, compared to where it seems to be headed. I'm pessimistically envisioning a future in which 50% of the population is on some kind of registry list for life, and I think our current 1% of the adult population actually being in prison at any given time will peak at closer to 10% before suffient political leverage to apply the brakes can be found.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    The blossoming "war on child pornography" looks like it will make the "war on drugs" seem positively reasonable, sane, and useful in comparison.

    I'm infamous for house rules... 650 pages of them, in fact.

    But I've never had a problem with them, because in our home game I always followed this procedure in implementing them:

    1. I propose a rule and distribute the text in writing.
    2. Any player can call for a discussion, during which the rule may be amended.
    3. Any player can call for a vote on the new rule; I abstain except in the case of a tie. If it's voted down, it's gone.

    Simbaa, you missed the boat by a couple of months.
    That said, if I get to it at some point I'll break from my policy of "DONE WITH MAILING!" and send you a copy.

    Josh M. wrote:
    Didn't 3.5 have a feat that did that too? I think it was Practiced Spellcaster or something, added +__ caster levels to your lowest level casting class if you possessed more than one class, but your total caster level could not exceed your HD.

    Yeah, but it sucked, because it only increased CL for purposes of damage dice, range, etc. -- it didn't give you access to higher-level spells.

    3rd edition tried to patch the failure of the multiclassing system by adding prestige classes (eldritch knight, mystic theurge, sacred fist, and so on and so forth). The typical problem there was that, by the time you qualified, you were so gimped that your teammates had traded you in for someone useful. As soon as you straight-up admit that "A wizard/cleric is pretty much a lost cause, so here's a work-around, kinda," you've admitted that multiclassing doesn't work, from the very start.

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    I'm not a fan of increasing crits through Vital Strike.

    I am pretty much sold on having things like Blinding Critical activate on a crit OR on a Vital Strike, though. That way a high-level fighter can be a mobile debuffer instead of a guy who just stands around full-attacking.

    Status effects are far more interesting and versatile than more damage.

    Firstbourne wrote:
    Is there a write up for Horticulture? (And the uses / perks of having it)?

    Sadly, there is not. It should largely be self-explanatory (you can raise plants; set DC based on frailty/conditions/how exotic the plant is); the only perks are the ones spelled out for the Plant domain and so on (which offer it as a bonus skill anyway, so you're not spending skill points on anything that would otherwise be useless).

    Remember, the professions written up are examples, not a comprehensive list of every profession in the universe. The only real restriction is that, if you're making stuff, it's a Craft skill instead; if it primarily involves a large body of knowledge, it's a Knowledge skill. (There is no profession: chef, because preparing meals involves making stuff -- i.e., is a Craft).

    The Penetrating Strike line of feats was meant for exactly this. Sadly, the prerequisites (12th/16th level fighter -- lolwut!) make it unusable by anyone who actually needs it, and the fact that it's two separate feats is even worse.

    MagusJanus wrote:
    "Boston marriage" was a term for a lesbian relationship.

    That was much later -- late 1800s to early 1900s. And, although it often implied a romantic relationship, it applied for any adult women who shared a household for whatever reason.

    I'm just interested in how this thread zeroed in from "Government Folly" to "Cops Hate Dogs (and Sometimes the Mentally Handicapped)."

    LazarX wrote:
    With those kind of rules, why would anyone stay single class?

    Because a wizard 17 is still infinitely more powerful and more versatile than a fighter 10/wizard 7.

    LazarX wrote:
    I hear that repeated often. About the only time I've seen someone offer up a solution was the Multi-Class Archetype, which parallels pretty closely what Paizo is doing with the Advance Class guide hybrid classes. Do you have a third way?

    Trailblazer simply treats spellcasting and so on more like BAB, so that a fighter 10/wizard 10 not only has BAB +15, but also has caster level 15th (or whatever, I don't have it in front of me). That's a third way.

    3.5 had a lot of multiclass feats like Devoted Tracker and so on. That's a fourth way.

    Similarly, my houserules provide a lot of class synergy features that you can choose when multiclassing, to make almost any class combination viable without gimping the PC. They're broader in scope than the 3.5 patches but more costly, as they're talents rather than feats. That's a fifth way.

    I'm sure there are others as well.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Noticing the others' interest in the coffins, the little girl (or, more accurately, her ghost) calls, "The draculas that live in those boxes just sleep all day. At night they go out, but they always come back and whine that nobody lets them in their houses, and they're hungry. My daddy hates whiners."

    Turning back to cricket, she says, "No, silly, it was a fake pretty egg. Like a present. Not a chocolate one. It was real hard to eat, because you can't chew them. I thought I was going to choke to death. But I didn't want the skinny man to know I had it. I didn't want to get in trouble."

    She looks down at her corpse, and adds, quietly, "But I'm in trouble anyway, aren't I? Can you help?"

    After your second question, she says, "Of course I know Cousin Miralda. Daddy says she's too dainty and flighty, but I like her." She starts crying. "I want my mommy!" she says.

    Little Girl Ego (Cha check): 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (16) + 0 = 16
    Cricket will need to beat that with a Diplomacy check (or Bluff, if you're somehow threatening her) to prevent a potentially catastrophic temper tantrum.

    Alzrius wrote:
    For an example of this, look at the difference between the feats Skill Focus and Alertness.

    That's a really excellent example, and I agree completely: at home I actually replaced all those +2/+2 feats with a single "Skill Synergy" feat ("Choose any two skills other than Perception..."). Note that I still included a caveat, because without it the new, more flexible rules are practically begging people to boost Perception through the roof, and that's not the intent. Granted, that's a problem with Perception being too good, not with the feat -- but Perception as a super-skill, in turn, is too big a problem for that kind of simple fix.

    Another issue I have (and I suspect you share) is how the multiclassing rules do not work -- at all -- and how Paizo is attempting to patch that by adding whole books full of hybrid classes, instead of addressing the root issue.

    In any event, I appreciate the illustration of your point and your correction of my misunderstanding.

    Since no further releases are planned, I'd call it a patch.

    Alzrius wrote:
    No matter how large a set of rules you make, you can't take adjudication out of the picture if you're going to allow the "anything can be attempted" nature of a role-playing game.

    It's a spectrum, not a pair of endpoints. You can increase or decrease the amount of ad hoc adjudication that's needed, by tightening or loosening the rules set. Technically-speaking, you cannot remove all the toxins in a water supply, either, but you can decrease them drastically.

    Alzrius wrote:
    I'm not sure what you mean about "tightening a very loose system."

    The system you're advocating -- very rules-lite, no real written rules for character creation, just make something up and ask the DM if it's OK -- is what I'm calling a "very loose system." The rules element is very small compared to the Magical Story Hour element. To tighten that system, as you very correctly point out, "requires more rules to deal with unexpected interactions between the existing rules, which in turn requires more rules to deal with those interactions, etc." Most players/DMs are not equipped with the system mastery and insight to successfully do that.

    So, for groups that want a tight rules system (minimal fiat), they can't use a looser system, at all.

    In contrast, if you start with a rules-heavy system and simply remove/overrule/suspend rules as needed, you can still play the kind of game you're advocating. It's a LOT easier to ignore unwanted rules than to competently add them. Therefore, to make the system appeal to the broadest base possible, Paizo kept a very rules-heavy approach, then emphasized Rule 0 and the ability to ignore rules at will -- "These are guidelines, not rules, and the DM can allow anything he/she wants."

    Yes, I understand you don't like having all those icky rules there that you have to override. But it's still easier to do that than to start with very few rules and try to make new ones up that won't create serious conflicts or unplayability down the road.

    Alternatively, assign the Splash Spell feat a +0 metamagic cost if adjacent only; the flask you described would be exactly the same, and the lesser flask (using Reduice Spell to make it 0-level, for a 1d6 damage cap on hit, +1 splash damage) would cost 25 gp -- it would be equal in effect, and comparable in cost with the alchemist's fire listed in the core rules.

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Thomas Long 175 wrote:
    Those numbers might be useful at low level, but by the time you hit 11 BAB an extra 14 damage average won't mean much, you'll still just do everything you can to full attack at any point. 21 extra damage at 16 BAB will mean even less.

    Just looking at the numbers, I agree. But what if we sweetened the pot:

    BAB +6: +2d6 damage (or whatever).
    BAB +11: +4d6, and can activate one effect (feat, item property) that normally triggers only on a crit.
    BAB +16: +6d6, and can activate two effects that normally trigger only on a crit.



    Any system that relies on the DM to work against it in order to make it work is really only part system, and partly a game of "mother-may-I." The more DM fiat is needed, the less of a system it is, and the more of a story hour. But then we have Rule Zero. Starting with a very restrictive system, the DM can loosen it at will, with very little effort -- so if the group really trusts the DM, they tell him to go for it; if not, they simply ask him to stick to the RAW. Starting with a very loose, permissive system means that tightening it up requires careful consideration of rules interactions and unintended consequences -- it's a lot harder to do in that direction. If the group trusts the DM, they can let him try; if not, the game cannot possibly work, at all, and never gets off the ground.

    I'd posit that Paizo wanted to reach the largest possible audience with Pathfinder, so they tried for a reasonably tight system that could be loosened to taste usiong Rule Zero. Granted, a lot of people, myself included, feel that they failed to achieve a reasonable "defensive design" -- some so-called "options" are so constrained as to be pointless or even counterproductive, and others are so open-ended as to be infinitely useful and essentially unconstrained. But the failure to achieve that design doesn't mean that the effort, in itself, was done without consideration.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Ssalarn wrote:
    the fact that the current Vital Strike doesn't deal precision damage is probably one of the only things I like about it.

    Really, the only difference is that it wouldn't affect oozes and elementals, and how often are you doing that in cases when Vital Strike is making a noticeable difference? To me, the convenience of having a 1-word tag that spares me from having to spell out "does not multiply on a crit" ad nauseum would be worth almost any price.

    havoc xiii wrote:
    Unless you like it for flavor. I'd use it for no reason other than it looks cool.

    Not everyone has between 16,000 and 72,000 gp to throw away on pure flavor.

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Overall, I still feel the biggest issue with Vital Strike is how it works, not when it works. Making the bonus damage a flat bonus (or, better yet, one that scales with # of iterative attacks), as opposed to one based on damage dice, would move it from obscure niche feat into something more people might actually take.

    Allowing it to work on a charge, or when spring attacking, would be great, but mostly just gravy. Collapsing the chain into a single feat would be logical, but that's true of almost all combat feat chains (TWF, I'm looking at you). But fixing Vital Strike so that a guy with a glaive or a short sword can use it and not feel like a shmoo -- so that a fighter or rogue gets as much out of it as a druid -- that would be the very first thing I'd do.

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    1. Its current niche is to make giant dinosaurs (or druids wildshaped into them) scarier, because (a) it's based on damage dice, and (b) it doesn't work with anything else.
    2. Wild shape and strong jaw.
    3. None of them would.

    My suggestions: During any round in which you make only a single melee attack, for whatever reason, Vital Strike deals an additional 2d6 precision damage (does not multiply on a crit). If your BAB is +11 or higher, the bonus damage increases to 4d6, and to 6d6 if your BAB is +16 or higher.

    Then it's useful for almost any build, not just a druid, and it can be used with charges and spring attacks and so on, and it doesn't require a long feat chain.

    So, if your name is longer, you pretty much always get a higher score? Shouldn't it be maybe based on the mean value instead?

    Otherwise, people like Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt are the epitome of non-sexy, an assessment most females would strenuously disagree with. Meanwhile, an old fogey named Mortimer is racking up an impressive total.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Kelgan, there's no movement from the coffins; judging from the angle of the sun, you've still got a couple hours before their occupants, if any, wake up.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    The ghostly little girl, emboldened by Cricket's obvious knowledge (or merely his willingness to approach her) addresses him politely in Wood Elf:

    "I ate the Easter egg," she whispers to you, as if confiding a secret.
    Then, with a chiding look, "You shouldn't bite dead rats. That's gross."

    Arrius wrote:
    The grenadier talent allows for sneak attack damage with splash weapons. Doesn't this count as a splash weapon?

    Trying to stay consistent with existing rules; a fireball spell doesn't deal sneak attack damage, because there's no attack roll -- it's a big burst, not a single hit with a limited splash. Likewise any other effect we Shape as a burst (e.g., a sorcerer's sldritch blast). And, from a balance standpoint, a 10-ft. burst for full/half damage is sufficiently different from a 5-ft. splash for 1 point of damage that I'm not really crying, especially when one additional feat easily overcomes this limitation.

    Alternatively, one could invent a metamagic feat that provides 1 point of damage to adjacent targets; call it Splash Spell or something. That way you'd retain the attack roll and also better model the PF rules for acid flasks.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    With Caspian's dancing lights, everyone can now see what Wyvurn was looking at (open spoilers above).

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Alzrius wrote:
    You know that nobody's giving their money to Hasbro for the Basic game that just came out - what with it being completely free and all - right?

    Thanks for the link! I'd been curious, and from what they've shared, the new edition looks very, very good to me. It's been streamlined in a lot of places that needed it, the modifiers don't overwhelm the random number generator anymore, and options are built into each class.

    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    An acid flask with a 10'r. burst would be something like ray of frost + Versatile Evocation (cold to acid; +0 levels) + Shape Spell (ray to burst; +3 levels) + Widen Spell (20'r. to 5'r., -2 levels) = 1d6 acid/level (max 5d6), with a default of CL 1st as you noted.

    A knowledgeable alchemist would also add Vitreolic Evocation (1d6, +1 level) + Reduce Spell (-1 level), keeping the damage cap at 5d6 and the spell level at 1st.

  • For alchemist's fire, use Versatile Evocation (fire) and Burning Evocation instead.
  • For alchemist's frost, omit Versatile Evocation and use Numbing Cold Evocation.

    Technically, the above-referenced flasks would not be eligible for sneak attack damage (since they allows a Reflex save instead of requiring an attack roll), so a grenadier rogue would prefer to omit the Shape Spell feat and throw the flasks like an orb spell. A rogue with the Imbue Missile feat, however, could throw a burst flask and get the best of both worlds.

  • M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Wyvurn sees what was in the last spoiler:

    Most of the tunnels don't extend very far -- someone evidently quit digging them right after they were started. Three of these have coffins standing crudely upright in them. One tunnel is at least 20 feet long, however, and well-shored. At the end of it you can make out an altar; atop the altar is the body of a little girl, with what appears to be an obsidian dagger in her chest.
    A closer look shows him that
    the girl's body has a number of dead rats floating in the water around it. In addition, what looked like a black stain in the water around the base of the altar is in fact a large number of floating dead insects.

    With a quick backhand swipe, Wyvurn saves Kelgan's false teeth from the nasty sewer water. Although the stench of the water is interfering with the hobgoblin's usually keen smell, he still gets a whiff of something rotting or corpselike, coming from

    the coffins, and of course from the little girl's corpse

    Suddenly, Wyvurn's hair all stands on end, and he gets a sense of horrible dislocation. Dropping involuntarily into a crouch, he sees

    The little girl's corpse sit up, turn in his direction, and beckon him closer. With an overwhelming sense of dread, he notices that the corpse is still lying prone, and that it's an eerie, spectral double that's motioning to him.

    Talonhawke wrote:
    How exactly does the wild Mage/sorcerers disintegrate damage work from the eldritch just want to know how it affects things like objects and such and if I'm missing it the rules just tell me where.

    Good question, especially because there's no energy type of "disintegration" that people get resistance to. I'd provisionally treat it as negative energy damage, with the caveat that people killed (or objects detroyed) get turned to dust.

    Arrius wrote:
    Why not throw Augmented Alchemy, the Grenadier talent and mundane items like Alchemist’s Fire/Frost/Acid out the window and imbue potions into becoming explosives by magic?

    Exactly so, and that sort of thing is where I was headed when I intentionally blurred the lines between magic and Craft in the enhancement bonus rules in Chapter 6. An acid flask with a 10'r. burst would be something like ray of frost + Versatile Evocation (cold to acid; +0 levels) + Shape Spell (ray to burst; +3 levels) + Widen Spell (20'r. to 5'r., -2 levels) = 1d6 acid/level (max 5d6), with a default of CL 1st as you noted. The cost would be the same as for any other 1st level potion (50 gp). And, yes, you'd use Craft (alchemy) in place of Spellcraft.

    Arrius wrote:

    Why not integrate existing spell ranges into mundane weapon ranges?

    I seem to remember posting a few pages ago that I'd wanted to do that, but ran out of steam. Ideally, there wouldn't even be "feet" increments, just Adjacent/Close/Medium/Long/Extreme, allowing people to dispense with battlemats entirely. Weapon and spell ranges and Perception penalties and so on would fit on a cute little 5-line table.

    The problem I ran into was with tactical movement, and 20 ft. speed vs. 30 ft., for example. Do you just let the 20 ft. guys move from "close" to "adjacent," whereas the 30 ft. guys can go from "medium" to "adjacent"? That ups 30 ft. speed, tactically, to more like 100 ft., which I dislike.

    Firstbourne wrote:

    Several of the Sorcerer Bloodlines have an ability called "Prepare Spell" that allows them to "prepare a spell as a wizard". What is the advantage of this? Why is a prepared spell better than a spontaneous one?

    Because your sorcerer can now keep a spellbook and swap out the prepared spell every day, instead of being stuck with it forever. This is a MAJOR benefit, included to provide a rules rationale for the Arcane bloodline to be the default one.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Is anyone maintaining a watch up above?

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

    I bid him adieu and wished him good luck in taking over the United States. He then wished me good luck in taking over the United States. Lowell's awesome.

    "You meet the damnedest people in Hell." --Roger Zelazny

    I had a game with a friend of mine once, and we both drank a LOT (like Fafhrd & Gray Mouser quantities), and it ended up being fun as hell. On the flip side, I've played with teetotallers (TOZ, I'm looking at you!) and kept my total game consumption down to a couple of beers, and we all had a nice time. My current game with JAM412 and our Kuwaiti arsonist friend (when he's not on a boat) is somewhere in between, and I also enjoy it.

    I've also been in games in which everyone is (mostly) sober, except one drunken stooge is too thick-headed to play. They were noticeably less fun for anyone else.

    So, anecdotally, I feel very confident in saying it's not the amount of alcohol that ruins a game. It's the amount relative to the amount the other players are having.

    Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
    I might be feeling warm and fuzzy because I am stoned.

    Lucky bastard.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    The agile hobgoblin doesn't even hesitate; while Kelgan is fussing with the rope, Wyvurn leaps past him through the opening. He seems to barely touch the ladder on the way down, landing lightly in hip-deep water, poised for action. A rat swims away, then everything is still.


    Most of the tunnels don't extend very far -- someone evidently quit digging them right after they were started. Three of these have coffins standing crudely upright in them. One tunnel is at least 20 feet long, however, and well-shored. At the end of it you can make out an altar; atop the altar is the body of a little girl, with what appears to be an obsidian dagger in her chest.

    Andrew R wrote:
    I swear cities are bad for the soul.

    I suspect that depends on the soul, and on the city. I always felt safer and happier in Houston TX or even Troy NY, for example, than out in the sticks. The only times I've run into problems with meth-heads, or been held up at gunpoint, have been out in the country.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Tempting! But too many people have played that one; every time I port in bits of it, players groan and throw stuff at me.

    Arrius wrote:
    Charm person, for example, does not do anything but lower the target’s charisma.

    Yep. Lowering the target's Charisma lowers his or her Will saves and opposed Bluff checks, making him easier to control (through Diplomacy or browbeating with Bluff, so a good enchanter will always invest in those skills). When Cha is reduced to 1, that person has the full [charmed] condition until some points are regained.

    Arrius wrote:
    I have been considering removing the trait altogether, but a player suggested that it would make a good arcane feat. I’d like to hear your thoughts.

    I don't use Pathfinder traits, so I pretty much have no idea what they do; I had to look that one up. I'm not able to find "Arcane Lineage," but I did turn up this one:

    PRD wrote:
    Magical Lineage: Pick one spell when you choose this trait. When you apply metamagic feats to this spell, treat its actual level as 1 lower for determining the spell's final adjusted level.

    For more than one metamagic feat, this is pretty much already subsumed in the "stacking metamagic" rules, without needing to pick a spell -- so I wouldn't allow it at all for that (Introduction, "Allowing New Material," step 1, IIRC).

    That said, I could see maybe making a feat that gives you -1 to the metamagic cost (minimum +1) when applying one metamagic feat only to that spell, if someone really wanted that, but I'm leary of handing out too much free metamagic. If you want that kind of thing, it's better to take levels in straight (generalist) wizard and use the free metamagic class feature that's built in.

    Comrade Anklebiter wrote:

    IIRC, and I may not, you were considering voting for Huntsman.

    Any particular insight into this creeping socialism in the Beehive State?

    I always favor the so-called "RINOs" -- in politics, the way to success is by infiltration, not confrontation!

    That said, Huntsman had me when he loosened alcohol restrictions (which I wish Corbett had been able to do here in PA). Then he went and said, "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy," and "The minute that the Republican Party becomes the anti-science party, we have a huge problem." It warms my heart!

    I don't know anything about Utah's homeless housing initiative, though -- I'll have to read up on it. Mrs Gersen was in SLC not long ago but didn't bother telling me about any of the urban wonders except how good the roads were and how drunk her sister was.

    I feel your pain. I'd like all options to be more or less equally good, so that I'm not gimping myself.

    To that end, I give my players' PCs "Secondary Skills:" 1 free rank per class level in any Knowledge, Profession, or Craft of their choice. That way you can sink a rank into Craft (pit-smoked barbecue) without having to give up Sense Motive for it.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    It's got a simple catch, no lock. There are metal rungs in the side of a mortar-walled shaft leading down. You can hear the faint sounds of water below, and those with darkvision can easily see the surface of the water about 20 feet down, in what appears to be a circular vault. Partially-dug tunnels extend from one side of it like spokes from the hub of a wheel.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Cricket is maybe getting something faint -- or maybe just static. He's aware from past uses that a thickness of earth tends to block his spirit sense, so if spirits are underground, you may need to be, too, to get a good read on them.

    Wolvie, sniffing around the pit, pauses every few feet to dig in the ground, once coming up with a small chisel that was apparently lost there during the work. Also, he stops and urinates every 10 feet or so; apparently it's "his" pit now. When he gets tired of that and goes over to the manhole cover, he seems uninterested at first, then, as he catches a faint whiff of something, his fur stands up a bit and he makes a soft noise between a whine, a growl, and a question mark. He looks at Cricket quizzically.

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