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Kirth Gersen's page

25,809 posts (26,781 including aliases). 8 reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist. 14 aliases.

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Finally saw this one, adapted from the novel by Joe Lansdale (Hap & Leonard, Bubba Ho-Tep). It suckers you by starting off like any stereotypical psychological thriller: family dad shoots and kills a burglar in the house, finds out the burglar's dad has just been released from prison, burglar's dad threatens protagonist's son in revenge, etc. But...

as soon as the cops arrest criminal Sr., there's a massive genre shift and the whole movie becomes an action-buddy-comedy movie

It's set in the '80s, so it was a very nice move on the casting director's part to put Don Johnson, who defined "cool" in the 80s, in the role of Lansdale's coolest cat character, Jim-Bob Luke, complete with steer horns on his "Red B&&%#" car. Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff) does a great job as the senior criminal, and apparently the mild-mannered house-dad is the same guys who plays the title character "Dexter."

I'm looking at heart of the metal (ACG), and it looks a lot like versatile weapon (APG), except that it affects 1 weapon/level instead of just 1 weapon, and it can make the weapons penetrate DR/adamantine (rather than DR/bludgeoning, slashing, piercing) -- but if you do make them adamantine, they also bypass hardness </= 20. Duration is the same.

Is it really intended that these spells should be the same level (sor/wiz 3rd)? Or am I missing something?

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Seems like everyone has one of these threads, so I'm jumping on the bandwagon!

The only thing I ask is that questions pertaining to my house rules go in that thread instead.

I reserve the right to exaggerate, sin by omission, or outright not answer, but I won't lie.

Looking at the "Television" forum and seeing thread after thread about comic book heroes I've never heard of has really got me down, for some reason. So this is a thread for talking about any shows that are NOT adapted from comic books (P.S. "Graphic novels" are totally comic books, as far as I'm concerned).

If there are no shows currently on television except comic book adaptations, we can talk about older shows instead. ("My Name is Earl" was a particular favorite of mine!)

I was a Charter Subscriber to the Pathfinder Adventure Path line. I have the first 12 adventure paths (Issues #1-72), unused, in mint condition, that I'd like to offer within the community before I try a more general approach. (I use PDFs when I'm running a game, so the dead tree copies just take up space that I need for other stuff now!)

Ideally, I'd like to sell all of them as a package deal, but if need be I suppose I could break them up.

So, if anyone didn't get in on their purchase when they were available, make me an offer! My thought is that, once an agreement is reached, we could transact through something like Ebay (open to other suggestions).


My favorite movie as a kid, that I used to watch on "Kung Fu Theatre" on Sundays, involved a guy who fought with a 3-section staff. He belonged to some evil group of kung fu guys, but quit when they killed some chick. He ended up teaming up with her husband (who fought with a pair of knives) to take out the evil group.

I haven't seen this in like 35 years and I totally want to see it again, but I don't even know the title. Can anyone help?

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

Ready to start! I'll spoiler everyone's opening.

Can anyone tell me what this does? It's listed in the PRD for all the Great Old Ones, but there's no link or description for it.

M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

This is the discussion thread for the invitational Kirthfinder "Savage Tide" PBP game. As noted in the recruitment thread, with 4 PCs, it's a challenging campaign, although not the meat-grinder that Age of Worms was. Play starts in the tropical port city of Sasserine; the player's guide has some background and flavor info about it, but the purchase of this $0.50 PDF is entirely optional: you probably won't be staying there too long, so don't get too attached to the place!

As someone asked, there are pirate-themed elements, but based on your choices, you can minimize their impact, or play them up for all they're worth, or anything in between. That said, this is a Paizo AP, and some portions of it are railroad-y as hell, to the point where it's trivially easy to derail the campaign by making logical choices (when I ran this before, at one point we had to retroactively ban a magic item that was the most obvious choice for everyone to pitch in for). So we may end up breaking the 4th wall a few times.

I'm debating starting a Savage Tide PBP game, using the "Kirthfinder" variant Pathfinder houserules rather than 3.5. The pace would necessarily be a lot slower than the current Aviona PBP, because of the extra conversion work.

This would be largely invitational for people I've actually played with in person: JAM412, TriOmegaZero, houstonderek, Andostre, Mundane would have first refusal rights over anyone I don't know IRL. If less than four of them reply, other potentially-interested parties can submit ideas and questions here.

(P.S. If enough former Aviona homegame people were interested, I'd almost prefer to continue that campaign instead of starting this new one, though -- JAM, we could level up your guy a bit and be good to go.)

I'm open to other thoughts/suggestions.

Any interest?

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

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Got back from looking at Little Gersen. Heart: beating. Skull: not misshapen. Limbs: 4. Oh, and it's a girl. Name will be Cora Juliet.

I want to nominate Gone in 60 Seconds (Bruckheimer, 2000) as an egregious, $100M insult to all things car-related.

This weekend, with great glee, I received the complete H.B. Hallicki collection, showcased by the original (1974) Gone in 60 Seconds -- an indie masterpiece written, produced, directed, and distributed by Hallicki, who starred and did all his own stunt driving. The original is almost existentially stripped-down, with Hallicki ad-libbing his lines as car thief Maindrian Pace, who has to steal a series of cars under a ludicrously tight deadline

He spends the first half of the movie re-stealing ones he's already stolen, when the first ones have to be returned or destroyed for a variety of semi-plausible reasons.

The last 40 minutes is one extended car chase in a '73 Mustang (billed as the star of the movie in the opening credits). Hallicki demolishes something like 100 cars and manages a 128-foot jump that resulted in 10 compressed vertebrae and a chase climax that hasn't been equaled since. (Hallicki died making a sequel.)

Contrast the 2000 Nicolas Cage remake, in which the car jump is exceptionally lame CGI, the chases are filmed in cut-cut-cut sequence so they amount to little more than the same shot of Cage's face, a gear shift, and maybe 100 feet of road total. The remake adds a bunch of motivation and dialogue (Hallicki's original didn't have an actual script) which come across as cliched and trite, and it beings in Robert Duvall, Angelina Jolie, and Vinnie Jones whose cameo roles seem forced and don't really add anything.

Bruckheimer tragically failed to understand that people who watch movies about classic muscle cars in big chase scenes actually want to see classic muscle cars in big chase scenes, not a bunch of poor cut-paste and CGI. For all its mind-killing banal dialogue, Tarantino's Death Proof (2007) actually delivers the goods.

For people into this stuff, other classics include: Bullitt (1968), Vanishing Point (1971), Two Lane Blacktop (1971), The French Connection (1971), The Seven Ups (1973), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), Dirty Larry, Crazy Mary (1974), To Live and Die in L.A. (1985), Ronin (1998).

It never fails: every week, there's another thread in which a well-meaning DM housrules egregious penalties for various social stuff for characters with low Cha scores, even if they have high social skill bonuses. And I'm totally sympathetic to their desire to do so, because, let's face it, for anyone other than Cha-based casters and paladins, Charisma doesn't really do a whole lot. You never see a thread bemoaning all the people who use Dex as a dump stat, because no one really wants to tank their initiative and ranged attacks and AC and Reflex saves all at once. But Charisma? Why not dump Charisma, mechanically-speaking?

So I propose trying an experiment. Let's re-define Wisdom as how well "in touch" with things you are, including your willpower (being in touch with your own convictions). And eliminate Charisma entirely.

Social skills remain skills; they become Wis-based instead of Cha-based. Bards rely on Wisdom because it dictates them being in touch with their music and performance and how they affect the audience; Paladins use WIsdom because it indicates how in touch with the spirit of righteousness and their spiritual oaths they are; Sorcerers use Wisdom because it indicates them being in touch with their Inner Dragon or whatever; clerics base channeling on Wisdom because it means they're in touch with the groovy Univeral Healing Vibe.

What this does is stops people from dumping Charisma. That's a problem you would never have to deal with, ever again.

But it also has pretty serious repercussions in terms of martial classes, because it removes the one "dump stat" that fighters, rogues, monks, etc. could usually count on for extra points they sorely need elsewhere. So the solution would be to give half-casters (paladin, etc.) an extra "X" number of points for point-buy, or an extra rolled stat (if rolling). Non-casters would get 2X extra points or two extra rolls.

Yeah, I know, these threads are a dime a dozen, but fixing the game's most maligned class doesn't need to be too difficult. In fact, we already have the models of how to do it, in the existing rules.

This has been done before by any number of people, but to summarize, I propose two types of monks: one a primary melee combatant; one a secondary combatant with more "Weaboo" or whatever it is.

1. Model this monk after the Paladin or Ranger: both of them reasonably useful, well-designed classes. He gets full BAB. Replace his ki pool and random mishmash of abilities with spontaneous half-casting: slow fall gets replaced by feather fall, fast movement by expeditious retreat, etc.

2. Model this monk after the Magus: again, a popular combat class, but with more magic. 3/4 BAB, 2/3 casting, so he gets higher-level "ki powers" and ends up looking a lot like the old Psychic Warrior.

Again, I know people have proposed these before; I just always wonder what happens to the ideas. Felt like they needed to be brought up again.

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At higher levels, a common situation is to have "binary" saves. Classes with the good save progression are generally also ones that get good advantage from having a high stat that governs that save (e.g., Wis for clerics and Will saves). As a result, you end up with situations in which, if the cleric has any chance at all of failing a Will save, the fighter, rogue, etc. all automatically fail -- even if they took Iron Will and didn't dump Wisdom. They just can't keep up, because the discrepancy, even not considering attribute bonuses, is nearly a third of the range of the random number generator itself.

I wonder at the effect of giving everyone a flat progression in all saves: +1/2 levels. The difference in attribute scores will still provide a meaningful difference in the range of bonuses. I'd then recommend merging Iron Will with Improved Iron Will (for example), so that the single feat provides both a numerical bonus and a reroll chance.

The end result is that the cleric and monk will still have the best Will saves, but anyone else who invests the resources will be able to at least come close.


I would prefer that it remain a verb.
One can build a character, yes... but people are always talking about building a "build." I find this to be a gratuitous mangling of the various parts of speech.

Next thing you know, people will forget what adverbs are, and then where will we be?

I'm totally NOT running this, but apparently there's a demand. Any takers?

OK, so my brother convinced me to give this a try, and the first 3 episodes sucked, because I don't like that mini-Frankenstein guy who plays Clay, and because there wasn't really anything about motorcycles. Episode 4 hooked me in, and by the time Season 1 ended, I was totally addicted.

When Donna got shot, it was all I could do not to cry like a little girl.

I blew off my chores last weekend to blow through Season 2, which was awesome because how often do you see no fewer than seven different groups of mutually-antagonistic people trying to outmaneuver each other?

Can't wait to start watching Season 3, given a free moment. But I still wish they'd spend more time talking about motorcycles.

Anyone else in the same boat?

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Unless you're a dirty minmaxing munchin DPR Schroedinger roll-player, playing a Commoner is just fine. My commoner always contributes to the party. He carries extra supplies from 1st level through 20th level, and he can do it all day long. When there are monsters to kill, he has barbarians and fighters and wizards in the party to do that. When there are other situations to handle, he has casters to deal with those, too. Because it's a TEAM game.

All these threads about "fixing the Commoner" are making me angry, because the Commoner is just fine, and those people are all theorycrafting or else just playing wrong. Their GM should fix whatever "problems" they claim to be experiencing, because I don't see them. And we all know that tinkering with the rules to try and fix them will inevitably bring about 4e.

9 people marked this as a favorite.

Instead of the usual higher attack bonus, blah, blah -- all of which is worth discussing, but it's been done in several other threads -- I'd like to focus on giving the rogue things he can do that other people can't. You know, like, an actual niche.

Rogue talents are piddly things not really worth writing down, for the most part, and skills aren't all they're cracked up to be. And for some reason no one will tolerate a spellcasting rogue (maybe because that would kind of make you a bard). See below, and you can tell where I'm headed: the rogue becomes a rascal who can't be captured, paralyzed, charmed, or whatever, and who can sabotage his/her enemies' spells, items, and defenses.

Slippery Mind (Ex): At 2nd level, you are immune to charm effects. Starting at 8th level, you are immune to compulsions.

Rogue's Luck (Ex): Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Starting at 4th level, once per day you can force a reroll of any d20 roll that occurs within 10 ft. per class level of you (including one of yours). You must declare the use of this ability after the roll is made, but before the results are announced. This does not require an action on your part. For every 4 class levels you attain, you gain another daily use of this ability.

Shady Character (Ex): At 6th level, you are difficult to spy on, even with magical means. You are constantly under the effects of nondetection, with an effective caster level equal to your class level.

Slippery (Ex): Starting at 8th level, you are continuously under the effects of freedom of movement. This is a consequence of your extremely honed ability to slip free of restraints and cannot be dispelled.

Network of Contacts (Ex): By 10th level, you are assumed to be a notorious underworld figure, with contacts and “friends of friends” all over the world. Whenever you are in any settlement, town, or city, once per week you may call in favor from someone you know, or who knows someone you know. The maximum CR of this NPC is equal to half your rogue level. The NPC will try to accomplish any task that is not suicidal, doesn’t seriously affect his or her resources, and takes up to one day. Exact details on how calling in the favor works, who the NPC is, etc., are subject to player and referee agreement.
If you have the Leadership feat, your contacts are partly in response to you being a major crime lord, Guildmaster of Thieves, etc. Your followers permit illegal activities to occur close to your home base only with your approval; you are entitled to “wet your beak” and collect a 10% “tax” (which is sufficient to pay for the housing and upkeep of your followers, and for gifts to visiting crime bosses from elsewhere). This puts considerable narrative power into your hands (as opposed to the referee’s), insofar as you can declare what illegal activities are undertaken in your area, and how they are run.

Sabotage Item (Ex): Starting at 12th level, you can use the Disable Device skill to cause a magic item to malfunction, either on its next use (DC 10 + caster level), for a short period (up to 1 round per class level; DC 15 + caster level), or until repaired (DC 20 + caster level). By adding 5 to the DC, you can cause the item to backfire on the user (if applicable) rather than simply not working. By adding 10 to the DC, you can cause the item to work normally for you, in addition to not functioning (or backfiring) for others. This takes 1 round for an unattended object. You can perform this task on an object in someone's possession, but this requires a successful Sleight of Hand check on your part and provokes an attack of opportunity.

Master of Deception(Ex): Starting at 14th level, when you attempt a Bluff check, your target cannot attempt an opposed check to see through your lies until 1 round after your skill check. For that round, he or she automatically believes your deception. Targets who succeed at the check are not affected by this talent from you for the rest of the day: they are now on guard against you and suspect of everything you say. You can still trick them, but they no longer delay their counterchecks.
If you use this ability to feint, you always get at least one attack against your opponent with their active defense denied: they automatically believe your feint long enough for you to make that attack. You only gain the benefit of this ability once per opponent per encounter, but may feint normally against them (without this benefit) as often as you like through the rest of the encounter.

Bypass Spells (Ex): Starting at 16th level, you can use the Disable Device skill on active spell effects as if they were magical traps. For example, if trapped in a telekinetic sphere, you might spend a full-round action determining how to bypass it, thus freeing yourself. Alternatively, you might spend a full-round action figuring out how to attack an opponent guarded by a prismatic sphere without being affected by it. The DC is 10 + the caster level of the spell + the level of the spell.

Unfettered (Ex): At 18th level, you are immune to mind-affecting effects. In addition, you are immune to any form of imprisonment; by succeeding at an Escape Artist check (DC 20 + caster level) as a full-round action, you can step out of a forcecage, walk through a wall up to 1/2 foot thick per class level, break a binding or imprisonment effect, etc. You can use this ability even if the effect normally renders you unable to act. If an attempt fails, you must wait 1 day before trying again.

Sometimes for a character concept, the mechanics of class "A" are a perfect fit, even if the "fluff" text seems to contradict it. I'm looking to start a thread for fun and/or interesting examples.

I'll start: My character Seth was obsessively devoted to honor, chivalry, and the protection of king and country. He was highly-disciplined, trained in a style of swordsmanship in which the practitioner fell into a meditative "battle-trance" that enabled him to temporarily ignore wounds and strike more powerful blows. Seth wore a hat with a big feather in it, and light armor, and he rode a warhorse that I devoted a lot of time to naming and statting out. Finally, he had a few other abilities bestowed by the gods to enable him to fulfill his sworn duty.

Under "class" I wrote "barbarian." His battle-trance is the rage ability. Light armor and a martial weapon? Check. Skill ranks in Ride and Diplomacy. "Rage powers" become minor divine gifts.

Others? (I'm hoping TOZ will talk about his street urchin/circus acrobat).

I had the misfortune of seeing this yesterday, drawn by the appearance of Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman.

I should have stayed home.

Better Title: "Die Hard in the White House" wanna-be, written by a 10-year-old.

The absurd lack of any connection whatsoever with modern technology or security or politics, plus bizarre continuity gaps, and other assorted crap make this movie one of the worst of the genre. Compound this by putting Gerard "Wooden Personality" Butler in the lead role. Then add a bunch of very long close-ups of the American flag, and a speech every 3 seconds stressing "God Bless The United States of America!!!" as a means of appealing to patriotism, as if they knew full well it doesn't stand on its own as an actual movie.

Next to this one, "Under Siege II" is Shakespearian in awesomeness.

3 people marked this as a favorite.

We had a good thread not long ago in which a number of women shared reasons they felt excluded from gaming, and a common theme was that at cons, in public gaming areas, etc., they didn't want to be subjected to what one woman called "creeper behavior."

I have no interest in devolving into the BS arguments and tantrums that led to the locking of that thread. I actually have an on-topic question that I'd like help with. Preferrably from women, and maybe from a few men with actual suggestions or comments that actually help the discussion. And without men telling me there's no problem. And, equally, without men telling me that I'm a problem.

OK, we all agree, I think, that going around groping women is taboo. It's legally so -- a case of sexual assault -- and can be treated as such; I'm going to go with the approach that getting rid of it implies actually prosecuting the perps. So that's not what I'm after here.

It's the statement that general "creeper behavior" is pervasive, and needs to be eliminated. Because, as near as I can tell, "creeper behavior" is defined as "being hit on by some guy whom I think is a creep." (Again, please correct this definition as needed; it needs a lot of polishing.)

The confusion I have is that the things a hetero woman typically finds "creepy" are (a) lower levels of testosterone-induced pheromones; (b) dressing and/or grooming in a sloppy manner (unless it's pointedly sloppy -- i.e., hipster); and (c) simple lack of height. (One can split hairs and/or add or subtract from the list, but I'm talking physiology, not philosophy.) Confusing things still further, in some cases (although not all by a long shot), a man with one, two, or all three of these things, can instead be considered a creep for NOT showing an interest.

So here's my question: does eliminating "creeper" behavior mean that all gaming areas/activities should be pointedly sexless? Or that unattractive guys be omitted? Or that women should make advances to guys they find attractive but never worry about reciprocation, or what?

Disclaimer: I don't hit on women anyway, as I'm very happily married, so this isn't about me. It's about the other people who aren't sure what to do. And I'm not trying to be obnoxious here; I'm actually curious. Does opening the hobby to women more mean that it's important to maintain a rigid "no chatting up" rule? Or a "no gender-related issues can ever come up in game" rule? Or some permutation? Or something else entirely?

Is there a card for a drunken avatar whose user should really not post while drunk?

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Whenever a thread entitled "Is X An Evil Act?" appears, I invite everyone in the community to simply provide a link to this thread, rather than going through the pointless and time-consuming routine of actually responding.

And remember, kids, starting a thread entitled "Is X an Evil Act?" is, in and of itself, an evil act on the part of the person starting the thread.

Just saw the Hollywood version last night, which I was going to see with great trepidation -- the Swedish movie was quite good, I thought, so there seemed little point in a remake.

What a pleasant surprise! The Hollywood film was every bit as good as the Swedish version -- and better in some respects. Salander was a lot closer to the character in the book, for example (although I like the Swedish guy for Bloomquist better than Daniel Craig). Cinematography was top-notch, and they somehow managed to get the entire book to fit into the movie, through the use of only slightly cheesy 80s-style montages.

Wondering if there are English-speaking or (better yet) bilingual players in Vittel.

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Nazi Racial Ideology was Religious, Creationist, and Opposed to Darwinism.

Drop me a line HERE if you're interested!

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November is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. I'm participating in "Movember," in which I solicit friends and acquaintances to sponsor me to grow a mustache (a silly gimmick, but any gimmick will do).

For information:

My personal link is here:

As an added plus, you can learn my alter ego (real identity) and see my picture as well.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:
Kirth Gersen wrote:
I don't really like ice cream. Sad, I know, but there you have it.
Apparently you did not read the title. It says CIVIL Ice Cream Discussion. Please take your trolling elsewhere.


We all know a good DM can fix problems, but sometimes the rules themselves cry out for improvement. I wanted to start a thread for people who actually see ways in which the mechanical game rules could be tweaked for the better. Because most often, whenever such a topic appears, throngs of people quoting Rule 0 or some variant thereof drown out any constructive tinkering ("A good DM would fix that!" "It's fine!" "It's not a problem in my game," etc.).

Basically, if you accept that the designers are fairly good but not perfect, and would like to discuss improvements in some aspect of the mechanical rules with like-minded people, I want this to be your haven. A place where you don't need to spend all your time explaining to fanboys why some aspect of the game is NOT really "fine."

Possible topics include, but are in no way limited to:

  • How to fix the martial-caster disparity and move away from Pathfinder Ars Magica;
  • How to make it so that every single wizard is not automatically a specialist;
  • How to make Charisma something other than an auto-dump stat;
  • Why monks still suck fat wax candles, and how to fix them;
  • How to alter combat maneuvers so that they can actually get some use;
  • Why the mystic theurge punishes his teammates, and how to lighten their burden;
  • How to make exotic weapon proficiencies actually worth a feat;
  • etc.

    Anyone want to start?

  • OK, this is something that I know TOZ is working on independently (I've intentionally held off looking at his gaele eladrin writeup until I could independently get my own thoughts straight, but I plan to review it this weekend).

    Put simply, I would like for every class level to get at least a d4 hit die and at least 2 skill points.

    For something like a half-farspawn template (+4 LA in 3.5 edition), I'd spread those abilities over four "levels" of the Farspawn class. Each level is treated as 1 racial HD of Aberration for hp, skill points, and saves.
    Yeah, you get a lot of benefits, but a 5th level character with (+0 BAB, 1 HD and 1st level saves) dies instantly in every encounter. Providing 3/4 BAB, 4d8 HD, and slightly better Will saves would keep him viable at 5th level, without making him totally unbalanced.

    For something like a half-fiend, Outsider HD are so good to begin with (d10 hp, full BAB, all good saves) that I'd maybe spread the +4 LA benefits over 6 or 8 racial HD, rather than 4.

    Thoughts/comments/people that have done something like this before?

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    Here it is! To get us started, I'll do individual spoilers.


    You were drunk again, so the details are hazy, but the fact that you wake up in a crappy inn on the far Estren frontier means that your memory isn't playing tricks on you. You know you're in Estren because the sky, visible from the window, isn't that horrid indigo color of the Elflands, but rather a pale, honest blue. You've been told to look for a "mountain dwarf" -- as opposed to a "hill dwarf" -- you remember this point being repeated many times -- but you have little idea how to tell one from the other. The Estren Frontier, you're led to believe, is overrun with the latter. Finding one of the former would seem to be the first order of business, but alas, a loud, violent altercation outside the inn intereferes.


    After a refreshing voyage, the taste of freedom in your mouth is sweeter than Aunt Trudi's hotcakes. Unfortunately, the ship was not travelling all the way to Hylore (the capital city of the elves), but rather stopped in a port (with some unpronouncable Elven name) in the Duchy of Autrisch. Your friend the captain told everyone at the port that you were part of his crew -- a porter and general servant -- and that should have gotten you passage on the next ship to Hylore. However, being a halfling is never without trouble -- instead of setting back out to sea and heading west, the new ship (a much smaller one) began sailing upriver, to the Lake of Fallen Stars. Not wanting to press matters too greatly lest you be deported back to Aramni, you go along -- and it doesn't hurt that the other halflings on the ship teach you to play the most entertaining games of gambling. Eventually, you end up in a frontier inn, where you're supposed to catch a caravan West into Balvora. One of the ship's maps shows you the basic geography from east to west: Aramni... Autrisch (to the south) and the Estren Frontier north of there (where you now are)... Balvora... and finally Aviona, your destination! After having to do only minor chores (sweep the kitchen and entertain the guests as you see fit), you're given a warm spot in the stable to sleep in, with plenty of hay, and all the leftovers from the kitchen. The next fine morning, the caravan arrives... but trouble comes with it. There is screaming and clashing of weapons as you wipe the sleep from your eyes.


    You’ve been tracking the raiders for a day now… bandits from the highlands, intent on robbery of the caravan. They set upon it at dawn, riding in from the east against the rising sun to hinder the caravan guards’ aim, just as it reaches a small frontier inn. There are too many to handle alone (you count at a dozen), but with the caravan guards and some luck and skill, you might be able to intervene


    The caravan annoyed you greatly – foolish humans, passing by the edge of the forest where your people dwell, starting fires and making noise, and killing rabbits for food without thanks to the gods of the hunt and the spirits of the fields. Worse, they meant that humans were becoming less wary of the forest, to pass so close to it, which could not bode well. Perhaps Ungo Usconi, the shaman of the distant Wolf Clan to the north, would change his pacifist stance and vote for war during the next council. Until then, you would keep watch.

    A songbird, flitting through the glade, sings of the second group of men, and you immediately realize they must have been following the first. By dusk, you find a deer who explains that her son, a proud buck, has been slain by the second group and skinned – they are inside the forest! Worse, they chopped down a sacred grove for wood – and one of those trees contained a dryad, although the men were deaf to her screams. At dawn, they depart on horses, chasing the first group, and with vengeance burning in your heart, you decide to chase them. The dryad had been a playmate of yours since you were young and first learning the lore of the druids. The bandits decamp during the night –- all the better for you, as men cannot see as well as you in the starlight, and you follow them easily across the meadow to a human inn, where they attack the caravan after the sun has come up over the Estren Forests behind you. Smiling grimly, you set a ceramic bullet to your sling, and make sure your flint knife is loose in its sheath. Snort, always ready for a fight and happy to be getting some action, charges from the trees!


    After weeks, you are finally starting to get used to being above-ground, although attacks of vertigo still happen now and again, and the constant, terrifying agoraphobia requires all of the steel in your dwarven nerves just to keep at bay. When the first group of sheepskin-clad, kilted Maahiset came upon you, they jeered and threw rocks; annoyed at this lack of courtesy (which would be punishable by law beneath the mountains), you thrash them soundly with a spare pickaxe handle. These creatures can hardly be credited with the term “dwarves,” you think, although their ale proves palatable and their information is good. The priest Rim Carintracker had been here, and had moved on to the west, away from the great Elder Mountains, towards the lands of men and elves. The Maahiset explain that the trip is a long one, but there is an inn along the way, and they cared little what race you were there as long as you caused no trouble and could pay.

    Travelling at night to avoid the terrible glare of the sun, you arrive at the site of the inn near dawn and improvise a bed among a small pile of boulders, intending to wait until evening to enter, to allay suspicion concerning your time of arrival. You have enough food left for a day, in any event. Your rest is short, however; not long after you fall asleep, a caravan of wagons arrives… and with it, a group of a dozen or so horsemen who scream and attack the men in the wagons!

    (Yes, the title should read "Playtest.") I've resisted for years, but I'm thinking about DMing a play-by-post game, if sufficient interest exists. I have only two pre-existing conditions:

    1. The purpose of this exercise is to provide additional playtesting of the version 2.0 house rules posted HERE, ones that I refer to as the Superior Hybrid Interactive Tabletop game (better known by its acronym), and which others have dubbed "Kirthfinder." These rules are similar to pure Pathfinder, but classes (especially martial ones) and feats have been rewritten, and combat rules are a bit different (half-move and full attack are compatible, for example, and spellcasting in melee is more difficult).

    2. If you're going to lose interest and stop playing, that's OK, but have the decency to let me know in advance. Anyone who just randomly drops out of the game with no explanation will incur my lasting animosity. So please do not offhandedly say "Why not?" on a lark, unless you're genuinely intent on going through with it. I'd rather have 0 interested players (and know it in advance) and cancel up front, than to have a dozen people who never show up after their first post.

    Other idiosyncrasies: I don't use battlemats. If you want to be in a certain place vis-a-vis others, and you can reasonably move there, you can do so. Also, play is open-ended in that players can assume that reasonable surroundings exist. If you're in a tavern and want to assume there's a wagon-wheel chandelier overhead (and I haven't said otherwise), then it is so. Likewise, if you want to flee an encounter and go back to town to look for reinforcements or oil or whatever (and the group agrees), then that's legitimate if a means of escape exist.

    M Goblin Beer Snob 1/Freethinker 3

    I've resisted for years, but I'm thinking about DMing a play-by-post game, if sufficient interest exists. I have only two pre-existing conditions:

    1. I'd like to use the house rules posted HERE, ones that I refer to as the Superior Hybrid Interactive Tabletop game (better known by its acronym), and which others have dubbed "Kirthfinder." These rules are similar to pure Pathfinder, but classes (especially marial ones) and feats have been rewritten, and combat rules are a bit different (half-move and full attack are compatible, for example, and spellcasting in melee is more difficult).

    2. If you're going to lose interest and stop playing, that's OK, but have the decency to let me know in advance. Anyone who just randomly drops out of the game with no explanation will incur my lasting animosity. So please do not offhandedly say "Why not?" on a lark, unless you're genuinely intent on going through with it. I'd rather have 0 interested players (and know it in advance) and cancel up front, than to have a dozen people who never show up after their first post.

    Other idiosyncrasies: I don't use battlemats. If you want to be in a certain place vis-a-vis others, and you can reasonably move there, you can do so. Also, play is open-ended in that players can assume that reasonable surroundings exist. If you're in a tavern and want to assume there's a wagon-wheel chandelier overhead (and I haven't said otherwise), then it is so. Likewise, if you want to flee an encounter and go back to town to look for reinforcements or oil or whatever (and the group agrees), then that's legitimate if a means of escape exist.

    That's "multiple ability dependency," not a crush.

    See, to be a viable warrior character, you need high Dex (for AC, Reflex saves, and especially initiative), high Str (for sheer damage output), and high Con (so you don't drop after the first hit). To be a viable wizard, you need high Int, and that's pretty much it, because if you're getting into melee where the other stats matter, you're already not playing a wizard.

    This means that point-buy stats are seriously geared in favor of casters. Also, the stat boost items in PF are overly caster-friendly and melee-putative as well. Rather than try and fix both of those, what if we fettered the casters a bit by inflicting a dose of MAD on them, too?

    For example: What if wizards, clerics, and druids used Cha instead of Int to determine spell save DCs? Int/Wis would still be for bonus spells, etc. Fluff-wise, your force of personality, in this case, is resulting in harder-to-resist spells.

    This topic was touched on in another thread, but I am interested in the various views here. One recent comment in particular really got me thinking:

    "The GM is telling you more than he needs to. He could tell you, "because I said so and if you don't like it, there's the door".

    Is this more or less standard approach to DMing? I ask because I believe in transarency in rulings (why I do things the way I do), and I also allow votes on new rules after discussion of them -- and as DM, I generally vote only to break a tie, in that case. That doesn't mean I'll interrupt a game in order to discuss things, but that I'm willing to lay out in any level of detail desired why a certain ruling was made, what the alternatives are, and whether people would prefer a different guideline, if it's one that's causing difficulty.

    I also wonder if the availability of players makes a difference on DMing style. In my case, I'm picky about who I play with, so it's very hard to get enough players together for a campaign, which means I need to try extra-hard to keep them.

    On the other hand, I'm led to believe there are some places where players are lined up in the street looking for anyone with a pulse to DM.

    This is to follow up on the "what Conservatives believe" and "what Progressives believe" threads. Sadly, I fall into neither of those two camps, so I'm forced to create my own list.

    1. All power should be limited in concentration. The central government should be sharply limited to the functions of national defense, regulating insterstate commerce, ensuring evenness of justice in the various states. Regulating commerce enables them in turn to limit the power of corporations. Gersenites believe that government and corporations should be intentionally set up in terms of mutual animosity -- when the government owns the corporations, then communism results and everyone suffers. When the corporations control the government, that state is indistinguishable from fascism, and everyone suffers. Likewise, strict separation of church and state, and separation of church and corporation, are desireable.

    2. Very, very few things should actually be illegal, and then only if they demonstratively cause direct harm to others. When in doubt, a "default" status of legal should be assumed unless the data show that direct harm is resulting to others (one has the right to harm oneself, however, if others are not directly impacted). Therefore murder, rape, assault, theft, deception would be illegal. Marijuana, topless sunbathing, and refusing to wear a seat belt would not.

    3. Whatever the offense, the sentence should as much as possible serve some purpose other than simple "punishment." Capital punishment in no way resurrects the victims, but it does eliminate any possibility of recivitism. In cases of theft, some sort of work detail (and confiscation of assets to cover the loss) would seem appropriate. Simply chucking criminals together in a cage would seem to have little to recommend it.

    4. In the pursuit of beliefs #1 and #2, a legitimate function of local government is to ensure that the liberty of local minorities is not trampled upon by their more numerous neighbors. A legitimate function of the state government is to ensure that the local government isn't simply being used by the local majority to push around the minoities. A legitimate function of the federal government is to ensure that the state governments are not simply favoring certain local governments to abridge the liberty of the citizenry.


    OK, we all know the bastard sword: it's a two-handed martial weapon or a one-handed exotic weapon. My question is: what if all weapons had variant uses/effects based on the proficiency level of the wielder?

    For example, a spear:

  • Simple: Two-handed melee weapon, 1d8/x3, can brace against charge.
  • Martial: Can be used one-handed; also gains thrown range increment.
  • Exotic: Inreased damage? Increased range?

    The idea is that all weapons would be better based on increasing proficiency. Then we could dispense with things like "this weapon is the same as weapon X but it requires an exotic proficiency and does more damage." Instead, we could just assign the greater damage to the exotic proficiency level.

    This would of course ensure that the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat became obsolete... UNLESS we changed things so that MWP gives the "martial" level of skill to a tight group of weapons, whereas the EWP feat applies only to a single weapon.

    Any interest in this idea?

  • Recently I upgraded my home computer... but imagine my chagrin when I realized that literally hundreds of hours of work put into converting 1e/2e adventures to 3.5 and Pathfinder hadn't been properly backed up, and are now gone. Yeah, I know it's my fault, but if any of the Paizo community to whom I've sent past conversions would be willing to send them back to me, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Specifically, I'm hoping that the people to whom I sent my...

  • Return to the Tomb of Horrors drafts (several section docs) and my
  • half-finished Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan conversion

    ...could send copies back, if you've still got them. Completed, play-ready Pathfinder conversions of Dwellers in the Forbidden City, Tamoachan, and others, I'll just have to learn to live without.

  • Something I've noticed over the last year or two is that no internet discussion, on any topic, on any set of boards, can possibly go more than six or eight posts without someone inevitably yelling "Strawman!" Now, by now we all know what the term is supposed to indicate -- demolishing a false position to make your own argument look superior.

    But most often it's used by people who either (a) have totally failed to grasp the true applicability of the rebuttal being made, and who therefore assume that it is a strawman instead, and/or (b) have absolutely no logical argument of their own, so they attempt to call into question a much stronger one by hurling this accusation.

    It's used so often, and overwhelmingly incorrectly, that when I see it now, I realize I needn't bother actually looking for any real straw men. Instead, I can pretty much assume that the person hurling this term has a much weaker argument than the person they're accusing.

    And it's become so common on some of the blogs I frequent that it's like a Godwin or something.

    If you think someone is actually making a straw man argument, point out in what way the argument they're demolishing is not representative of the other side's true thesis. Simply yelling "strawman!" (or, worse, using the annoyingly snotty "Strawman much?") just leads the reader to believe that you, yourself, have no meaningful input other than mindlessly repeating catch phrases whose definition you are only vaguely, if at all, aware of.

    East of the elven lands, in the shadow of the forbidding Elder Mountains, is the Estren Frontier. Peopled by a collection of expatriate humans, exiled high elves, and native hill dwarves and wood elves, this place is a less-civilized counterpart to the court splendor and ancient traditions of Aviona to the west. Here, a quartet of unlikely adventurers receive a unique job offer:

  • Jazeed (played by Andostre), a male human cleric 1 of Norborger. Jazeed hails from the far eastern desert kingdom of Bailakash. What he's doing on the frontier is anyone's guess. He is by turns cringingly cowardly and recklessly brave; when he channels energy, it's positive or negative by turns, as the will of the gods (or the conflictedness of his personality) dicates.
  • Virac (played by Silverhair), a half-orc runecaster from the human northlands. Virac appears as a large, hulking, ugly human; his orc blood was an asset in his northern homeland, but something he carefully conceals from the elves in the south.
  • "Trog" (played by Jess Door), a stunted, malnourished half-elf monk 1. Trog is a beggar and street urchin, with an irrepressible curiosity and love of "shinies." She accompanies the others mostly based on promises of food and blankets.
  • Fiachra (played by houstonderek), a high elf wizard 1, crippled by polio, whose nobleman father refused to allow magical healing ("it builds character?"). Fiachra seeks magical power in old ruins, in order to one day oust his father and brother and assume rulership of their estates.

  • The camaign begins with Sheraviel, a young high elf from Sovalles, who has recently joined the King's Army as a means of advancing herself and her station. She is sent east to the Estren Frontier, to serve at the infamous Keep on the Borderlands under the command of the coldly amoral Count Fenrift, repelling goblins and routing bandits.

    One day a pair of dwarves appear at the keep. This would be nothing noteworthy; hill dwarves are the indiginous people of the Estren Highlands, and while most practice banditry as a protest against human and elven incursions, a great number of them are more peaceful. What is unusual about this pair is that they are mountain dwarves, which is another thing entirely. Mountain dwarves maintain an independent state beneath the Elder Mountains. They do not trade with other races; their only voluntary contact with other races is to kill goblinoids. They don't even acknowledge hill dwarves as their kin.

    Count Fenrift instantly sees the potential for political mischief. If these dwarves are emissaries from the Mountain King, then they must be escorted to the distant elven capital in great pomp and prestige, and protected with an army. If they are escaped criminals or dissidents, then sheltering them might spark an international incident. So the crafty Fenrift hedges his bets -- he assigns Sheraviel to escort them to the Elven King in Hylore, under protection of her life. If they are emissaries, he can demonstrate that he "forwarded" them to the appropriate authorities. If they are criminals, he can deny harboring them at the Keep on the Borderlands.

    As it turns out, they are neither. Agun Glengrim, frustrated at the slow progress in wizardry allowed him by the dwarven elders, has decided to seek other tutors. He therefore becomes the first of his race in centuries to voluntarily leave the halls under the mountains. Rim "The Glaive" is one of his friends, a devoted lesser priest of an obscure dwarven goddess whose faith is gradually being phased out. Rim wants to reverse this trend, and figures on a bit of heresy to do it -- he'll find hill dwarven converts.

    For your viewing pleasure:

    Tea protest signs.

    I love when people who can't speak English tell me to speak English.

    OK, pretend I have a dire bear (CR 7, 10 HD), and I want to advance it to CR 11. In 3.5, I could have added 12 HD (+3 CR for the "animal" type), and increased its size by 1 step (another +1 to CR), and made the appropriate adjustments.

    The Pathfinder Bestiary, however, tells me to apply size adjustments and additional HD to more or less fit the progression in an advancement table. Okay, I understand that. The problem is, THERE IS NO WAY to create anything even vaguely resembling the table's progression without arbitrarily tacking on AC and other improvements. +60 hp are easy to get. But increasing size doesn't come close to getting me the AC improvement I'm supposed to expect, and I need several size increases to get enough Str bonus to give me the damage increases I'm supposed to have.

    PLEASE HELP! One simple example of any animal or magical beast advanced by a few CR steps -- and how to avoid falling dratically behind in terms of both AC and damage after the first couple of steps -- would be appreciated.

    In the Pathfinder world, most untrained mercenaries and blacksmiths can easily defeat a full-grown gorilla in an arm-wrestling contest, without breaking a sweat. 15 Strength? For a gorilla?

    I can think of only two reasons to make such an egregious rules quirk, neither of which, in my opinion, justifies the ridiculousness of the change:

    1. To make the monster's threat match its CR.
    A: Increase the CR, rather than decreasing the Strength.

    2. To make ape animal companions weaker.
    A: Specifically set starting ape companion stats with a lower STR.
    There's ample precedent for this.


    I know that real-world logic doesn't apply to RPGs, but, come on. A RL chimpanzee is something like 5 times stronger than a full-grown man, and a gorilla is stronger still. In Pathfinder, scaling down, a child could outwrestle a chimp. There's something very wrong there.

  • "Build."
  • "[Insert person's name here] Fallacy."
  • "Sword and board."
  • "I can enchant my weapon." What, you're very attractive to swords of the opposite gender?
  • "Dual-wield" (especially obnoxious when the person doesn't understand about homophones and starts calling it "duel-wielding)."

    Add to the list! What's your pet peeve game jargon?

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