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Kirth Gersen's page

25,285 posts (26,170 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 13 aliases.


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Reading Lansdale motivated me to search the attic for all my old Andrew Vachss hardcovers. Very happily re-reading Blossom, with Down in the Zero next up.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TarSpartan wrote:
Isn't Shadowland the one that completely ripped off D&D's magic system, assigning levels to spells and such?

Not the one I read. Maybe another novel with a similar/identical title?

What, you mean this thing is more accurate than THIS one? Say it ain't so!

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Meanwhile, Gwl heads down the tunnel.

It's about 60 feet long and curves in a long arc. Parts of the floor have puddles of standing water. A live crocodile appears to be chained to the end of the tunnel; it runs forward quickly to eat you, but the chain jerks it short before it gets too far.

The others hear a chain rattling, out of sight down the tunnel that Gwl is exploring.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Is Uro following the others down? Or staying up top with the rope?

Have you looked at some of the artwork? A few of the weapons depicted appear to weigh upwards of 300 pounds. Apparently steel in Golarion (or stone, judging from the looks of some of the "swords" depicted) contains an antigravity element.

So, if the stats reflect the artwork weapons, rather than historical ones, the listed weights are probably too low!

Envall wrote:
Because while you can spice things up by making that mundane castle a magical castle from the shadow realm, you are still breaking into a castle. So they keep it as how it is.

Simply putting the castle on the Plane of Shadow is fine for 9th level PCs -- that's when plane shift comes on line so they can even reach the thing. Better still, put it on the Plane of Fire, because the PCs have access to protection from energy and so on as well. But, yeah, at 15th level, those scenarios are obsolete -- too low-level -- and we need to up the ante again. So instead of being imprisoned in a castle, or in a castle on another plane, our rescuee is in suspended animation in a pore 45 miles below the sea floor in the middle of the Abyss somewhere, and is warded against standard divinations so you don't even know where to start looking.

Take a look at what spells can do. Higher-level adventures should be based on them doing those things. By the time you have access to 9th level spells, the designer should be making up near-impossible scenarios and say, with no prior idea how they'll proceed, "figure it out."

Envall wrote:
Your generic king is a lvl 16 aristocrat.

Which is equivalent to an 8th level PC sorcerer, so that tells you that people with 10 levels in PC classes are already way beyond mere kings.

Simply adding a bunch of class levels to the mooks and leaving everything else the same leads to a situation where each "mook" is easily capable of conquering entire kingdoms single-handedly, and the players will quickly wonder why they aren't doing just that, instead of all of them passively performing grunt guard duty for no apparent reason.

Bear in mind that Corwin narrates the whole first 5 books, and that he is quickly established as an unreliable narrator. It seems likely that his truthfulness is not directly proportional to the book number, but rather remains a bit questionable throughout.

The only modern fantasy with a better use of narrator unreliability I can think of is Peter Straub's Shadowland,

in which the narrator himself is never sure what's real and what's illusion, and neither is the reader.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
Update: So, missed the 4-week tasting because I was sick, and the 5-week mark because I was on antibiotics (curses) and wasn't supposed to drink. So the official tasting date for my "Poor Man's Pappy" blend will be the full recommended 6 weeks.

Update2: Tried a sip and my taste buds were again immediately deadened by the concentrated-alcohol heat of the Weller's Antique. When I waited a bit and added some water, however, I had the privilege of tasting one of the nicest, most mellow bourbons I've ever encountered.

I'm not sure that the Weller's 12/Weller's OA/water mix is any better than just the straight Weller's 12, but it does seem a bit more complex and also allows one to double the lifespan of the limited Weller's 12 supply.

2 people marked this as a favorite.

I'd argue that no support is given for play at level 11+. If you look at From Hell's Heart, for example, most of it is a 3rd level adventure -- sneak into a mundane fort and assassinate the mundane bad guy. But they needed it to be for 13th level, so they added 10 PC class levels to all the mook guards and called it good. By that standard, Pathfinder works at 80th level -- just make every street urchin an Advanced commoner 1/monk 20/fighter 20/barbarian 20/ranger 20, instead of just a commoner 1.

Granted, that destroys any semblance of a coherent campaign setting, and it adamantly refuses to even glance at what makes high-level play different from low-level play, but that seems to be what they expect you to do.

When we start seeing 13th level adventures be scenarios that CANNOT be run at a lower level, then we can think about 20th level.

Arrius wrote:
For example--if the spell deals more than 25% hit points of the target in one hit, they are grappled by the ice, and need to make a Str check (DC = half damage taken) as a move action to break out.

There's a metamagic feat to impose the entangled condition (or grappled, for a higher cost). No reason you couldn't to apply it to a [cold] spell and claim the condition is a result of the cold. What I do NOT want to do, though, is start adding all kinds of automatic effects to spells that don't have a metamagic cost and don't increase spell level.

Arrius wrote:
sacrificing damage points to impose an effect

That's what the Reduce Spell feat, and reduced metamagic costs when stacking, are already doing.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Elebrin Thel wrote:
We beat Miami two days straight around here with record breaking heat? Not anything egregious (86 F) but still way warm for the NW this time of year.[/ooc]

For most of the year in Houston, 86oF is considered an "Arctic Blast."

Lord Snow wrote:
Cautionary advice with these novels - read the first two, then stop. I enjoyed those first two adventures quite a bit, and the dropoff in quality for the third one is nothing short of alarming.

Unfortunately, the library only had two of the later ones: Devil Red and Honky Tonk Samurai. The former started off really, really good... and had an ending so spectacularly stupid that I couldn't believe it was the same author. I'm still going to read Hony Tonk Samurai, though, if nothing else for the title.

Now reading two of Joe Lansdale's "Hap and Leonard" novels. Imagine if Robert B Parker's Spenser and Hawk were poor folks from East Texas, and if Hawk were gay, and you have a pretty good idea of H&L. I'm hoping to eventually see the TV show they're making, because Michael Kenneth Williams (AKA Omar, AKA Chalky White) plays Leonard.

On my end, I blew through Rude Tales and Glorious, a bawdy retelling of the Arthurian cycle in which Merlin is a mountebank and pimp, and Percival's straight, strong lance of unusual size is not a weapon used to joust with other knights, if you get my meaning. And everyone is aware that everyone else is a charlatan and a cheat except the pretentious, stuck-up, blowhard nobles. It's not a huge surprise that the author, "Nicolas Seare," was another of Trevanian's pen names.

Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Five Hundred Years of Utopia

Still blows me away that a book called Utopia was written by a guy who seriously thought the best way to maintain a good society was to burn "heretics" at the stake.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Sorry for the delay -- been dealing with flooding of my own. Finally back at work (been stuck since Sunday night due to road closures).
Andostre, how are things down by you?

Grrr. "Hap and Leonard" is behind a paywall, which irks me because Amazon Prime already has a membership fee. Meh.

Finished S1 of "Black Sails" (and, again, am miffed that the other seasons are behind their own paywalls) and S3 of "Boardwalk Empire" (and ditto for S4-5, with respect to still more paywalls). So the only thing I'm watching that's already paid for is "Better Call Saul," with 1 episode left in Season 1. It looks like Season 2 is unavailable on Netflix and will doubtless be relegated to a "purchase episodes" deal on Amazon Prime when they finally release it, which will force me to scream.

I guess I need to start a thread for "Shows You're Actually Allowed To Watch One Netflix or Amazon Prime Without Having to Pay Extra."

Marvin Ghey wrote:
So ready for a new Bond actor, though.

Apparently so is Daniel Craig, who's been known to remark that he'd rather slash hist wrists than make another Bond film.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Gwl notices nothing else of consequence.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

They're not on high alert anymore, so any sentries would get only passive checks. And those are not nearly good enough to match Gwyl's stealth in this case. He's puzzled, though, at the absence of obvious observation ports. There is one thick pipe that, barring some complicated series of mirrors and lights, looks to be useless to actually see anything through -- he's instead assuming it connects to a valve which, when opened, pours in water from the bay. In the south wall are a few narrow slits that look as if someone could shoot arrows through them, but no one seems to be watching through them just now.

DC 17 Intuition save, please!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Finally saw Spectre. The first half was very promising, despite the CGI collapsing buildings that apparently spew enormous clouds of CGI dust that Craig inhales without coughing, and CGI masonry that falls on his head only to vanish at the last second without his noticing it was there.

I'm willing to overlook that because of the awesome car chase in Rome.

I can't forgive the entire second half of the film for being nothing but pure unadulterated hokey cliches without a break. Typecasting Andrew Scott as the creepy bad guy from "Sherlock" -- bad call. Blofeld's backstory -- stoooooooooooopid crap I'd expect from "Days of Our Lives." Dark Knight ripoff house of horrors hastily assembled for no purpose other than to post dumb pictures of people for Bond to see as some kind of "deep psychological taunt" or whatever?

Oh, and as an excuse to collapse another CGI building for no reason, of course.
Sad, stupid, pointless.
And the kicker:
Let the bad guy go because we finally got the rights the character back and don't want to waste them?

Probably the single most insulting hour of cinema I've ever sat through.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

At the bottom of the well is a circular cave that mostly consists of a pool of brackish water, its surface greasy with filth and rotting seaweed. Dripping lead pipes protrude from the walls, making the 20-ft. climb down into the cave that much easier. To the west and south is a five-foot-wide "beach" of gravel. A narrow tunnel leads up and out of sight to the west.

Within the cave, the pool of water is 10 feet deep, providing ample concealment for one able to hold his breath -- once you reach it.

Stealth check to avoid notice, please.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Content-wise, it seems awkward to wait until 12th level to swap out a spell that you get at 4th or 5th.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

You also need to pick a name and stick with it. Is the proposed archetype called the Margrave or the Marcher?

5 people marked this as a favorite.

Fails to fix 99.9% of the problem.
For the most part, the archetypes don't really provide you with any narrative abilities -- with any ability at all to do anything outside of swing and/or shoot a stick. That inability is the fighter's main problem.

Update: So, missed the 4-week tasting because I was sick, and the 5-week mark because I was on antibiotics (curses) and wasn't supposed to drink. So the official tasting date for my "Poor Man's Pappy" blend will be the full recommended 6 weeks.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3


Also remember that non-masterwork mundane gear costs no numen but still might save your lives. For Gwl, this includes a cloak with a big hood, gloves, etc. For the party, light sources, water, rope, maybe some way of checking for traps, some way of navigating a maze, etc. might be good to have.

Jym's magic pastry pants have the food angle mostly covered, and Uro and Elebrin have extra rations. A waterskin holds 1 day's worth, so someone with create water would be handy, or else some extra waterskins.

Uro has a crowbar and 50 ft. of rope.
Elebrin has a blanket in case you need to sleep, and a whistle to sound an alarm.

The alternative is to plan on returning to town repeatedly, if a quick check of the headquarters takes more than a couple of hours.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Gronka wrote:
To me, the game should really be all about telling a story. That's why it kind of bugs me that 3rd ed has reduced so much to dice rolls.

Then just ignore them. If all you want to do is tell a story, just tell a story. Make up any "rules" you need on the spot, as long as they serve the story.

Conversely, people who want to also play a game, actually want to do so. Unless it's Calvinball, a game involves actual consistent rules that are expected to be followed by the participants.

The great thing about RPGs is that you can, in theory, have both. People who advocate for comprehensive rules want to follow them, and then add the story based on what happens according to the results. People like you can just ignore what the results are and declare that your story trumps the one that the dice are trying to tell.

Now here's the important thing: for people who want a game, the rules have to work towards that end. Some degree of balance is pretty much needed for that. And, no, GURPS is not balanced, and, no, 4e is not the only possible endpoint. For the people like you who just want a story, it doesn't matter if the rules are balanced, because they can always ignore them anyway.

So, in essence, your argument boils down to "I get what I want either way, so I'm going to vociferously advocate that half of the other participants not get what they want." If there is some motivation there other than pure spite or a misguided sense of a need for consensus ("WE MUST ALL DO THINGS THE SAME WAY I DO!!!" -- I have yet to hear it.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Yes -- you are entitled to spend your numen as you see fit, assuming some semi-halfway attempt to fit the story. So, Jym can declare the river priestess was so concerned for Gwl she pitched in, or that his good eatin' sweet cakes are even better than he thought, or whatever.

As long as you're carrying around potions or other consumables, the numen is tied up in that form. Once consumed, the numen is freed up and you can spend it on something else later on. Alternatively, given sufficient numen, you can "buy" essentially infinite potions using the command-activated pricing: 1st level cure light wounds x CL 1st x 900 (command-activated) = 900 numen and you've got essentially unlimited potions of CLW in some form or another.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3
Jym Withawye wrote:
Maintaining equipment/shopping is my least favorite part of the game.

Me, too. Why do you think I fob it off on the players?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

For shopping, at the table in a home game I'd normally play it out, and invent voices and personalities for the shopkeepers, and so on, but in the interest of keeping the PBP moving, please just tell me what you buy and deduct the correct amount of gold and/or mojo.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
wraithstrike wrote:
Does Kirthfinder cover martials having more attacks while moving? If so what chapter/doc is it in?

Yes; that's one of the first things we did.

In linked playtest versions, it's right up front in the Introduction chapter.
I'm currently working on a Combat chapter that will go into more detail.

I do something like that too.
(Open Chapter 6, then scroll down to "Magic Items and Wealth.")

1 person marked this as a favorite.
TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ask and ye shall receive.

This compilation is somewhat more recent; Toz's links are to the Beta playtest version.

5 people marked this as a favorite.

I better just stay out of this thread...

2 people marked this as a favorite.
chopswil wrote: ontinually-point-out-typos-are-jerks

"Being nice is how a man pays his way into the party if he hasn't the guts to be tough or the class to be brilliant."


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also enjoying Big Bird as Ice Cube.

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Don Juan de Cornelius wrote:
This Mashup Video of the Muppets Rapping Warren G and Nate Dogg's "Regulate" Is Amazing

THIS has long been my very favorite rap video.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Ssyvan wrote:
I leave the decision of whether or not to do that up to the players.

(snip) I find that, the more I DM, the more I enjoy it when I do exactly that.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

What time do you want it to be? Since you're on the offensive now, you have the luxury of specifying when you want to go there -- if the timing is off, you can just rest half a day or whatever. I also wonder as to whether anyone wants to stock up on basic adventurers' supplies first (Korynne's not around to cast light any more, for example), and whether you're letting anyone know where you're going (for example, your employer). Oh, and yeah, I'll also kind of need to know what you're doing when you get there!

11 people marked this as a favorite.

I've often 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."
Everyone at the table stared blankly at him.
I said, "You ALWAYS use your sword! You yell 'flame on!' every time we meet a monster! And now all of the sudden you don't want to?"
Player (proudly): "Well, my character wouldn't know that fire hurts trolls! I'm not metagaming!"
Me: (headdesk)

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.

I'd rather let the players know stuff, and have us all know that we all know it, and then let the game proceed based on how the character would act.

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Tacticslion wrote:

One final thought: sometimes it's worth engaging a person, even when they argue in bad faith and there is no method by which reasonable communication can be achieved, if only because their arguments can seem reasonable and lead others to either emulate those (causing more problems than it solves) or simply to the wrong conclusion.

In that case, it becomes not about the person who is incorrect, and it's certainly not about having the last word, but rather it's about clarifying the concepts for the sake of others - clarifying the path so that others can follow, as another poster put it succinctly, above.

I can vouch for the fact that this has worked in the past for me, when I've been an outside observer -- someone made a dishonest argument, another person made a seemingly pointlessly masochistic clarification -- and I saw the clarification, realized what was wrong with the argument being presented (which I had been agreeing with up until then), and changed my view accordingly.

Actually, this happened to me a lot during the Pathfinder Alpha/Beta playtesting, until the dissenting voices finally gave up and went away and there was no one left to debunk the dishonest arguments anymore. There were a lot of people whose tone I disagreed with, who nevertheless had far more awareness of their opponents' views, and far more logical arguments backing up their own, than I was willing to give them credit for until I saw them continuing to offer clarifications to people who weren't listening.

4 people marked this as a favorite.
Jiggy wrote:
In my experience, hiding mechanical information from the players actually hurts the narrative and the roleplaying, rather than protecting it. There can be exceptions, of course, but as a general trend, my games keep getting better and better as I hide less and less from the players.

Beautifully, beautifully put. And this exactly matches my experience as well.

Kirth Gersen wrote:
I also started an experiment that may or may not work out. I checked my dwindling stash of Weller's 12-year-old and found a third of a bottle, which was perfect for my purposes. To the contents I added half a bottle of Weller's Old Antique, closed the bottle, and set it in the top of the closet. 40/60 Weller's 12/OA is the formula I'd seen for so-called "Poor Man's Pappy" (per an article in Bourbonr) -- the rumor is that the result tastes a lot like the much-vaunted Pappy Van Winkle. My batch has been sitting for 10 days now; I'll let it alone until this weekend, then try a small taste, then probably let it sit another 2 weeks, etc. I'm told 6 weeks' time to fully blend is optimal. And I will of course report the results here. Best case, it works out as claimed; worst case, I wasted 1/3 bottle of precious Weller's 12.

Update: Tasted the blend after two weeks, and found that the high-alcohol heat from the WOA was masking the subtle excellence of the W12. So (with some reluctance) I added a bit more of the 12, and a very tiny dash of high-mineral-content spring water, and let it sit again. This weekend will mark 4 weeks since the initial blending; we'll see if it's improved.

Finally found enough fortitude to stay awake late enough to read a few pages a night, and finished Jared Diamond's Collapse, which overall struck me as a very limited gloss over a few bizarrely-chosen examples.

Still, it was depressing enough that I'm now reading Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, which includes a brief description of each of the 50 U.S. states and their cities and attractions ("Akron: Meeting Yesterday's Challenges Tomorrow"). After that there's a section with a few selected foreign countries, which includes helpful phrases in the local tongue that it might be useful to memorize (e.g., "Tuo fratello Raoul dormi con los pesces").

Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:

Daily Musical Interludes

Fats Waller and Ada Brown--"That Ain't Right"
A Tribe Called Quest--"Oh My God"
The Futureheads--"Decent Days and Nights"
Paul and Linda McCartney--"Monkberry Moon Delight"
--"Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey"
Lester Stirling--"Wiser Than Solomon"

Huge snaps for the Fats Waller love, but -1 for the McCartneys (shudder).

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Freddie Hubbard, "Born to Be Blue"

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Wyvurn takes a running leap (using Acrobatics to ignore the terrain) in an attempt to clear the first rank of ghouls and attack the second rank, channeling ki.
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (10) + 9 = 19
Jump: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8
Attack: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 161d8 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 52d6 ⇒ (6, 4) = 10

His starting run is good, but apparently the marshy floor is too squishy for jumping; he just ends up bouncing off Kelgan's armor.

Undone wrote:
The existence of this feat creates its metamagic rod and lets it be used for spell perfection. This is a terrible terrible mistake.

IMHO, the "terrible terrible mistake" was the creation of metamagic rods...

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