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Kirth Gersen's page

23,572 posts (24,338 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 13 aliases.


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The way I see it, it's like kids with toys. The little kid playing the fighter gets a toy sword. The little kid playing the rogue gets a black cape. The little kid playing the ranger gets a stuffed dog. The little kid playing the wizard gets a robe and a toy staff -- and a closet full of other costumes and stuffed animals, and a toy gun, and a grappling hook, and a set of toy trains, and a Big Wheel, and a Lego set and an Erector set and a chemistry set and a working GPS device and a cell phone.

The solution is not to take away all the toys except toy swords and then just hand those out. The solution is not to say, "Well, a toy sword can still be fun!" Sure it can, but when you're playing legos, the toy sword sucks.

One real solution is to hand out different toys to different kids, rather than giving all of them to one kid. Take the chemistry and erector sets away from the kid playing the wizard, and only let the kid playing the alchemist have them both. Take the GPS and Big Wheel away from the kid playing the wizard and give them to the kid playing the ranger, who needs them a lot more than the wizard does. Give the toy gun and army of Legos to the fighter kid. Give the costumes and grappling hook to the rogue kid. The wizard kid still has a robe and a staff and stuffed animals and toy trains and a cell phone -- isn't that enough?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

The smell of blood -- and the still-settling dust, fur, and feathers in the air -- are making Uro's efforts futile. It's clear to him that the critters need some time to settle down before he'll be able to influence them any further.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

What's with the dumb spelling in the title? Was this movie made by a rap group?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Uro sees what Korynne did:

There is a large wicker cage, suitable to hold the bug-thing; the door to this cage sags ajar with a broken latch. There are dozens of other, smaller cages in the hold -- some with frightened, shrieking wildlife, some broken open and containing the remnants of their former contents, evidently torn apart by the bug's palps and jaws.

There's also the remnants of a dead thug, minus one arm of course.

Actual reply, when I request a book not be destroyed:

"What do you care -- you've already read it!"

(Sad headshake)

2 people marked this as a favorite.

The only kids that tend to bug me are the teenaged ones. There was a multiplex near our former apartment and it would be mobbed with them at all times, wandering in and out of movies at random, talking on phones, filming movies with their phones, taking selfies in front of the screen with their phones, throwing popcorn at each other, yelling and giggling, etc. The first time, we thought it was an aberration and complained; on subsequent visits, we realized it was just how that place was. We pretty much gave up on seeing movies out after that, until we discovered that blessed oasis that is the Alamo Drafthouse.

Crying babies? Yeah, they might cry for a limited period of time, but it seems like mostly they just sleep through movies. And they haven't yet developed cell phone addictions. So they don't bother me much. Obnoxious teenagers spend all their time in school sleeping in class, so they're up all night making movie-going miserable for everyone else -- and they can't go 15 seconds without playing with their goldang i-phones.

I learned the hard way * never * to lend books to Mrs Gersen or her father. The first thing they do is open the book so that the front cover and back cover meet and the spine cracks apart. They claim it makes the book easier to hold or something, but it also makes all the pages fall out. They also tend to use paperbacks as coasters, so the books end up all soggy and wrinkled and bedraggled.

A lot of my paperbacks are relics, long out of print, so I feel like I'm justified in not loaning them. Is that wrong of me?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Vark sputters and chokes a bit, but Uro hit him pretty hard, and you're thinking it make take a couple minutes longer before he regains full consciousness.

You're on a ship, so there's rope all over the place. Tombrose cautions you not to cut off any rope that seems to be attached to sails or anchors or whatever, but aside from that there are coils of rope just sitting on the deck. A lot of them are coated in tar -- for reasons that to Tombrose are second nature, and that to Jym are inscrutable.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Cyrad wrote:
As former Paizo designer Sean K Reynolds said in an article, precise class balance is neither possible nor totally necessary.

With all due respect to SKR, he inhabits a world in which all people play Magical Tea Party anyway, and can't really think outside of that box.

There are a number of methods of balancing classes, of which he seems to be aware of only one or two.

1. Make all classes roughly the same, then change the names of stuff. 4e went in this direction, but it's not the only way of doing things, and in my opinion it's not really the best way of doing them, either.

2. Enforce niche protection. 1st edition had a lot of this. Traps killed whole parties, in some cases with no save. Only rogues could disable traps. Ergo, you needed a rogue. Hp loss killed fighters. Only clerics (and to a much lesser extent, druids and paladins) could heal hp. Ergo, you needed a cleric. Etc. One way to do this in 3e would be to remove a lot of spells and hand them out to the people whose niches they're stealing -- for example, remove find the path, locate person, discern location, etc. as spells and make them ranger class features instead, so that now you need a ranger to track and find stuff. Remove spider climb and invisibility as spells, and instead make them things that a rogue can do using the Climb and Stealth skills. Etc. This kind of interdependence can be good, but it also potentially leaves you in a situation in which you get a TPK every week that Bob can't make it, so that's not a good deal.

3. Establish benchmarks. Figure out what challenges you want present at what levels, then design classes with those goalposts in mind. If you decide that 9th level is when they start ignoring long journeys, then wizards can get overland flight at that level, fighters can tame griffons or pegasi at that level, and rogues can activate flying carpets at that level. If you decide armies are obsolete at X level, then wizards get widened fireballs at that level, barbarians can rage and kill whole armies, and bards can inspire enough people to fight as an army for them. The idea is not to make them the same, but to make sure they're competent in the face of the benchmark challenges, albeit in their own different ways.

4. Give up. This is the "solution" that SKR is advocating, because (1) is boring, (2) feels like a step backwards, and (3) takes a lot of work, so people throw up their hands and yell sour grapes.

Zoogs aren't stand-up fighters. If you make them line up and trade swings, they're CR 0. After all, they get wiped out by house cats in the source material, IIRC.

What they should really do is try to trick you into drinking moon wine, and then kill your familiar, or lure in more powerful nasties, etc. Unfortunately, Paizo neglected to give them any Bluff or Stealth skill, so you can't really use them that way, which is really a shame. The only thing left is to mob the party with like a dozen of them - at which point you're better off just using goblins.

Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:
More Fun with Love and Stuff

I'm probably the last being on earth that anyone wants to take girl advice from, but for what it's worth:

Run, do not walk.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

It died stillborn when I moved, and somehow got resurrected.
If you guys wanted to continue the other PBP game, I'd totally be up for that, too - let me know.

An easy one, that's been stuck in my head for 2 days:
"It's Max. My name is Max. That's my name."

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Uro Taraka wrote:
Can Uro "Take a breather" or is that just in combat? [/ooc]

Yes, he can, but only once until the next combat.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
SmiloDan wrote:
I personally prefer Steven K.Z. Brust's Phoenix Guard series for verbosity.

No fair -- he was intentionally trying to sound like Dumas (and largely succeeding).

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Vark and the remaining thug are now unconscious, thanks to Uro.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

A bedraggled-looking tropical bird flies out as Korynne peeks down into the hold, startling her. As her eyes adjust to the dim light, it's clear the need for stealth is past. There is a large wicker cage, suitable to hold the bug-thing; the door to this cage sags ajar with a broken latch. There are dozens of other, smaller cages in the hold -- some with frightened, shrieking wildlife, some broken open and containing the remnants of their former contents, evidently torn apart by the bug's palps and jaws.

Treppa wrote:
Nobody can Hardy like Hardy. Nobody.

I find it amusing that his modern-day namesake was given a total of maybe 6 words to say in the latest Mad Max movie...

"Your name is Thomas Hardy? Really?" (tears up script) "You don't get to talk, okay?"

Alayern wrote:
1. There's a drifter! Let's go kill him.

(Motions to back of van) "Guess what we're hauling?"

"You said we're hauling ass!"

That exchange always reminds me of this one (during a high-speed pursuit):

"So! whatcha haulin' there, Slim?"
"Rocket fuel!"

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Uro strolls over to the prone would-be sniper and clobbers him upside the head with the flat of his axe. The thug sags into unconsciousness.

Meanwhile, the last of Vark's gang, still prone in the grease, attempts to slide on his belly, penguin-like to the railing, with the obvious intent of jumping overboard.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Vark save: 1d20 + 2 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 - 2 = 10
Vark clutches his head, and his speech trails off into a choking, drooling noise.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Where's the "unlike" button?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Vark carefully steps out of the grease, positioning himself so he can charge next round. He shows a smug flash of teeth. "I know a thing or two about you wizard-types," he sneers, "And once you've blown your load, you can't use the spell again for another day!"

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

There's Vark and two prone followers still. The prone guys are terrified of Uro; they fumble to reload their crossbows, hoping to shoot him before he comes back and kills them both:

1d20 + 0 - 2 ⇒ (19) + 0 - 2 = 171d6 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 81d20 + 0 - 2 ⇒ (2) + 0 - 2 = 01d6 + 3 ⇒ (5) + 3 = 8

He's hit! 8 damage

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

There's Vark and two prone followers still.

The guy playing Kublai Khan has great charisma and screen presence, but it's not enough to carry the lame scripts, bad directing, massive historical inaccuracies, and all the other stuff Ryuko already mentioned.

Also, it's ostensibly about Mongolia, but the only Mongolian actor in the entire show (Baljinnyamyn Amarsaikhan) gets killed a few episodes in. Pretty much everyone else in the cast seems to be Chinese, American/English/Australian, or both. Well, at least they got an Italian guy to play Marco Polo, so I guess that's something.

Jerry Coyne's Faith vs. Fact turned out to be a huge disappointment, so I'm back to fiction for a while. Reading a collection of Jack Vance's very early short stories, and Wolfe's Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test is waiting for me when I finish those (having read and enjoyed Thompson's Fear and Loathing, Kerouac's On The Road, Castenada's Don Juan, and assorted Terence McKenna, it seems like missing EKAAT is a big gap in my reading).

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Tombrose wrote:
Tombrose tries to push Vark either towards the grease (prefered) or towards the giant bug (second choice) with a well aimed toppling wave(hydraulic push) spell.

All of Vark's careful movement around the grease is for naught; he's met with a blast of water, like a massive fire hose, that drives him directly back into it.

1d20 + 5 - 2 ⇒ (17) + 5 - 2 = 20

He's somehow able to keep his footing -- possibly the gushing water washed away a lot of the grease -- but he's ten feet further away from you now than he was.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Jym Withawye wrote:

Has Jym heard of anything like this related to the noble houses in Sasserine?

Natural 20!

Confirm:1d20 + 10 ⇒ (15) + 10 = 25

Hero point for Jym!

The importation of potentially dangerous monsters is strictly forbidden among the nobility of Sasserine -- for good reason, as no one wants them ravaging through the city, devouring innocent passersby and otherwise making a nuisance of themselves. That said, there's a thriving black market trade in exotic wildlife, as Uro can attest.

The only noble family that might break that taboo are the Kellanis. The old matroness, Heldrath, bought her title using vast wealth acquired as an adventurer when she was younger. Rumor has it her adventuring activities were not wholly reputable, and that she is both ruthless and without scruples. She is old and ailing now, though, and will probably hand over control of her estate to her daughter Rowyn soon.

Their manor is in the Azure District, on the east side of the city; it's in the center of a little island in the harbor. Rowyn is a very nice-looking redhead (if your tastes run to humans, that is). She's supposedly pretty wild.

Jym wrote:
Has Jym heard of anything like this happening elsewhere in the city?

As noted, there's a very large black market trade in exotic monsters -- supposedly there's a whole secret guild devoted to capturing and selling them. Every so often, one of them gets loose and has to be killed, and there are rumors of small populations in various hidden spots (like modern urban myths about alligators in the sewers). You aren't aware of any credible rumors regarding giant bugs or spiders, however.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

With the battle-madness on him, Uro is more like a ravaging tempest than a humanoid being. With hardly a pause in his deadly tempo, he wrenches his axe from his latest victim, steps rapidly to the side -- avoiding the edge of the grease with a nimbleness that belies his huge size -- and then takes a massive stride forward, swinging the axe in a cleaving arc.

Critical Damage: 4d8 + 22 ⇒ (4, 4, 7, 2) + 22 = 39

The scything blade shears through the monster's carapace as if it were a candy shell rather than exoskeletal armor; the bug's soft innards spray in all directions as the force of the blow flattens its body and nearly cleaves the thorax in half. One leg feebly twitches, but it's apparent that the thing is quite dead.

60 points of damage in one blow at 1st level! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new world record!

3 people marked this as a favorite.
alexd1976 wrote:
thejeff wrote:
I still say that most of the confusion is from focusing on the two top level divisions (Sci-fi vs fantasy) and ignoring all the subgenres that exist precisely for this reason. "Science fantasy" and "sword and planet" were both coined for a reason.
I'm old school. Not familiar with either of these terms.

You were born before 1912? Because "sword and planet" was coined to cover stuff like ERB's Barsoom stories. And "science fantasy" has been in general use since 1950 or so.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Uro can find a clear path easily enough, although he can negotiate it and still attack only by making a 20-ft. half-move (15 ft. and then attack while 5 ft. away), not with a charge (which would intersect the grease).

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Uro, then Korynne, then Tombrose, then Jym.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

The last scalawag, not wanting to face Uro, open the hatch to flee belowdecks, following the first guy who fled there. As he opens the hatch, a hideous, man-sized bug bursts forth, still holding a man's arm in its mandibles! Initiative 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (14) + 1 = 15
With a quick pounce, it attacks the fleeing scalawag.
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 151d8 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14

With a quick bite, the thing renders the man unconscious; it grabs the body with a pair of pdeipalps and begins noisily sucking fluids from it.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

So, down to four (two of whom are prone), plus Vark. The prone thugs struggle to get up before Uro can walk over and cut them down where they lay: 1d20 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (4) + 1 - 2 = 31d20 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (10) + 1 - 2 = 9

Both of the slip in the grease and fall prone again.

The two on their feet, facing Uro, decide that discretion is the better part of valor. One grabs the ship's rope and attempts to swing like Tarzan down from the elevated deck to the main deck where Tombrose is just coming to. Acrobatics: 1d20 + 1 - 2 ⇒ (1) + 1 - 2 = 0 He, too, falls prone.

Vark drops his heavy crossbow and pulls a cutlass as he moves forward carefully, avoiding the grease.

The stars lead down to a maze of corridors, with a lot of doors -- every one of which the party ignores -- and a lot of right-angle turns in the corridors, seemingly designed to further confuse directions.

At one point they meet a guard patrol of four Amazons: seriously ferocious-looking women in light armor. Two crouch and hold up tower shields, blocking the hall, while the other two throw javelins from behind them. Skjorn and Jak immediately charge, the former cleaving apart a shield with his adamantine sword, the latter jumping over the other shield to attack the spear thrower. In short order, the four Amazons have been disposed of, and the party reluctantly opens a nearby door; rather than containing a deathtrap of some kind, it opens to an office. The party enters the office quickly and slays a clerk within, along with another of the "White-Hands" zombies. Then they drag the Amazons' bodies in, close the door and jam it shut, and continue exploring.

Soon thereafter, they find another stairway leading down, and waste no time descending -- this time checking the stairs for traps.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
True facts. If you ain't willing to drive an hour, you ain't Texan.

Says the guy who makes an 8-hour round trip for a 4-hour game... Not that I didn't appreciate it, mind you!

houstonderek wrote:
That's at 80mph, mind you.

Ha! I was gonna say, Google Maps says it's 45 minutes if you somehow can keep it at 60 the whole way. Last Saturday we took Cora to Discovery Green and it took over an hour, because we were lucky to average 30 mph.

"15 minutes" sounds like the way my friend from East Texas reckons travel times:
"How far is your house from the office?" "Five minutes."
"How far from Houston to Nacogdoches?" "Five minutes."
"How far from your bedroom to the bathroom?" "Five minutes."
Dude's like freaking Rain Man when it comes to numbers!

Tell you what, man, I would like to get down there at some point, if nothing else just to grab some beers and catch up.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

To follow up on this thread, I just asked Mrs Gersen if she remembered John Carter. She said, "I vaguely remember that everything and everyone in it was pretty unremarkable. Wait -- is that the one with the doggie? I liked the doggie."

So, three years later, Kitsch's role has been eclipsed by a CGI dog.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Round 1:
19 - Uro kills one pirate;
14 - Tombrose greases the deck;
9 - Jym inspires courage;
9 - Thugs shoot down Tombrose, fail to hit the others.

Round 2:
19 - Uro kills another pirate;
19 - Korynne heals Tombrose;
14 - Tombrose regains consciousness;
9 - Jym messages Uro not to kill Vark;
9 - Thugs haven't acted yet.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
knightnday wrote:
The existence of the Gate spell doesn't mean that you can just have whatever you want wander into the game and the GM/other players just have to shrug helplessly and let it in.

I have to agree here. If I think it would be really cool to play R2D2 (I don't, for the record, but just pretend), and the other players gave me that look and all said, "Dude, that's totally lame," it's my responsibility to suck it up and think of something else. And it's the DM's responsibility to say "You heard 'em, Kirth, it's 4-to-1 against."

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Just a Guess wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
A DM doesn't need any other reason than "I don't want them to."
In my experience the person with that attitude is more accurately an ex-DM, because the players bail for a game with someone who actually respects them as friends/fellow humans, and is willing to run the sort of game they want to play.
This was the post I was refering to.

Notice the plural "they" (bolded). When you have a group of 5 people, all five people -- the group as whole -- should have some input into deciding what they want to play. Not any one player, not any one DM. Each individual person can either submit to the group consensus, or bow out. So if we have 4 people interested in one thing, and one person who refuses (per Saldiven's quote I was replying to), the problem is with that one person. Even if that person has declared himself the DM. Because (again, in my experience, there may be conflicting cases) he will soon end up an ex-DM, because he's making it clear that he's running a game for himself alone, and not for any of the other 4 people.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
I've said again and again that compromise is good on both sides.

You have indeed, any number of times -- but the only actual example of a DM compromise I recall you giving was to "invite" the player(s) to not participate. So I'm not entirely clear on your definition here.

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Just a Guess wrote:
And I learned that it is better to just ignore Anzyr. Because of that I don't care about his stance.

Yeah, that's where we differ all the way down the line. I do listen to the people I'm interacting with, rather than ignore them, and I do care about their stance.

Just a Guess wrote:
And I can't accept your stance that a gm has to agree to everything and that someone who has things he doesn't want at the table should stop DMing.

That's more Anzyr's stance, not mine. Please go back an re-read some of my posts.

My stance is that the group as a whole should have input into what things are "appropriate," not just the DM dictating them. I've always said that if one player then bucks the group consensus, then it's the DM's responsibility to NOT agree to that player's request.

There are also any number of other potential cases in which a player's request should be denied -- but that should be done on the basis of discussion, with actual reasons, not just "because I said so" or "because my setting purity!" (which is exactly another way of saying "because I said so"). For example, player wants stuff that violates the actual game rules -- that's a pretty clear case (unless of course the rest of the group says, "Hey, that rule is really stupid, can we waive it").

1 person marked this as a favorite.
thejeff wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
Just a Guess wrote:
Guy1: For next time we meat I can cook a meal for you. What I have to offer is...(names 10 meals)

OK, first off, if the "meal" is the PC, then the DM isn't cooking it. The player is. You're telling him not to.

If, on the other hand, the "meal" is the campaign, so far only myself and one (1) other person that I can recall has offered more than one alternative. So this "10 offerings" is an outright lie, if you're trying to represent the majority here. Because most people are in fact saying something a lot more like this: "This is the one meal I am offering. You are expected to being a side dish -- but not whatever you want; I have to approve it. If you don't like any of that, I don't want you here. None of the other guests have a say, either. In fact, the only reason I'm allowing you here at all is that I hate to eat alone."

If you are saying that you, personally, offer 10 different campaign options and only move forward with a game when there's agreement on them, then you and I are in no way arguing here -- we're on exactly the same side. It's the options and the agreement that I'm looking for, not whether every person gets everything they want.

The differences are pretty important, but again, of course people on the DM-is-God camp will, as always, gloss over that.

I don't have a lot of time, but I just have to say that's not at all what I'm saying. It might be what you're reading, but it's not what I'm writing.
thejeff wrote:
If a player doesn't like the game the GM has proposed, he can choose not to play.

Emphasis mine.

And also:
thjejeff wrote:
unless you ignored what I'd proposed for a campaign

See, you keep referring to "what you proposed" in the singular, nor is there any indication of player input there. If I'm misreading that, it's because you're miswriting it.

Hitdice wrote:
Random(ish) question relating to setting integrity and whatnot: Does anyone here play in a group where different people run games in the same campaign world? That is, with revolving GMs who detail the world? I haven't lately, but I have in the past.

I've done that, and I absolutely loved it.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Bandw2 wrote:
as long as all the people joining the party agreed to the theme.

I think this is the operative statement, and where the disagreement comes in. For my part, I consider "agreement" to include discussion, suggestions, and so on -- where everyone gets a chance to explain what they're looking for. Other people consider "agreement" to mean acceding to what the host has already decided.

Likewise, I think there's an awful lot of disagreement as to what constitutes being appropriate to the "theme." I felt that a desert paladin potentially had a lot to offer to a pirate-themed game, whereas thejeff felt that it was totally inappropriate.

Which again brings us back to what "agreement" means. For many people, the DM says "Not approved! Try again!" and "agreement" means that the player obeys. For others (such as myself), "agreement" means they sit down as a group and discuss the options -- Will the paladin be a disruption, or will he go along with shipboard raids? Are the other players all wanting to play evil black-hearted pirates who keel-haul innocent civilians, or are they just stealing from the really bad guys? Etc.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Korynne the Well Read wrote:
Immediate action: Is it too late to use my Bestow Luck power to negate the crit on Tombrose, or give him a re-roll?

If it's OK, for the sake of game flow I'm assuming your 19 initiative applies from when you stepped in, not retroactively.

Channel energy: 1d6 ⇒ 4

As the healing energy washes over him, Tombrose first stabilizes, then regains consciousness, and finally finds himself lying flat on his back on the deck, staring up at the mast.

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