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Kydeem de'Morcaine's page

Pathfinder Society Member. 3,706 posts (7,430 including aliases). No reviews. No lists. No wishlists. 6 Pathfinder Society characters. 12 aliases.

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Well, I’m not real good at the esoteric things. But I do have examples of learning concrete real world skills.

Some years back, both of my boys were having trouble in school. Though they are both reasonably intelligent, they were at the bottom of their respective classes in reading, spelling, and mathematics. One has an actual learning disability that makes reading very difficult and slow. The other just really didn’t try. I think because he was reading as well as his older brother who obviously wasn’t getting in trouble for it.
I got them interested in Magic The Gathering card game (including a computer version that let them play against the AI all they wanted). Well, to play that game you have to read and understand the card then add and subtract all those numbers. Then decide what will well work together in a deck.
In one game there is more reading and basic math than in any 2 school lessons that we would have to fight all night to get them to complete. Yes, eventually they would get the cards memorized. But that is also a good skill. Didn’t bother me at all. Every so often I’d get them a new booster back that they would have to understand then figure out how to incorporate in their decks.
After a couple months when they had that well in hand. I introduced them to DnD 3.0 books I still had lying around (I wasn’t in a gaming group at that time). They loved it. There’s tons more crap to read, understand, consider, add, subtract, multiply, divide, etc… than in any card game.
“Dad, my ranger’s got a bunch of gold but not enough for a better bow. What can he buy to be better at shooting and stuff? Well, maybe look at a wand of a ranger spell that will help like Cat’s Grace. They can really use that? What’s that do? How much does it cost? I don’t remember exactly off the top of my head, go look it up in the players handbook.”
(Of course I did remember, but I wanted him to check it.) Sure I had to help him with a bunch of words and some math, but for the next couple of hours he worked over the ranger spell list, what the spells did, how it might help him, and how much it cost. Found he couldn’t afford what he wanted. I suggested a partially charged wand might be found and more affordable. Then more time was spent figuring how much he could afford and if he wanted to spend all that.
It was quite literally almost an entire evening of general studying for his 3 most difficult classes. He didn’t realize it and loved every minute of it.
A couple months later their teachers asked us what we had done with the boys. In less than a semester they had gone from the very bottom of the class (with my wife and I pulling out our hair in frustration) to the top fourth of the class. I said “I got them interested in a fun game that has a heavy dictionary’s worth of rules.” They were shocked. They were afraid my wife and I had them in some sort of facist style boot camp studying all night every night. I answered, “Nope they got themselves studying all night every night and they don’t even know it.”

Their vocabulary is a bit skewed shall we say. But all through college they had instructors that would be surprised at some of the words they knew and used correctly in normal conversation. Adults don't expect a 4th grader to use words and phrase like pantheon, exclusion, area of affect, rebuke, dimension, non-combatant, ragnarok, etc... Especially not to use them correctly.
They were quicker and more accurate on their basic math than a math major. You know the same math you use to figure out whether this can of peanut butter on sale is a better buy than the two-pack.
At an age were most of their class mates were reading comic books they started reading the hobbit. Because I said it was written kinda like a long DnD adventure. Then we got in a big hours long discussion of how it wasn't really like a DnD adventure because X. Sounds to me like a comparative literary evaluation of a several hundred page novel when their class mates were doing 1/2 page book reports on a 50 page kids book.

It is one of my parenting decision that I am most proud of. And I almost didn’t do it because I was initially afraid if they really liked MtG, they would do that instead of studying. I finally agreed to it as a reward for something I don't now remember. Probably for passing a spelling test or something like that.

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Triphoppenskip wrote:
Vincent Takeda wrote:

As a GM I'm firmly against restricting player agency even at character creation.

I just cant say I see the appeal of some of their choices...
Thats the beauty of it though. If all my players were just another me it would probably be less interesting.
I'm kinda the same way. I do have a few races on a "bad list" due to the fact they don't really fit my vision of the world but I've told my players that is you have an interesting back story that justifies why he has come so far from his homeland or has turned his back on his people then by all means play him.

Most of my house rules are actually allowing things that PF doesn't rather than restrictions.

The player has to work with me to develop a way to bring that into being.

{{ Except the whole drunken monk thing. That just really torques me off for some reason and I just can't stand it. So I don't allow it when I am GM. }}

Occasionally I will take something out for story reason.

Like one time elves, guns, alchemists, and mystic theurges were not allowed because most of the mega plot revolved around finding out why there were none of the legendary X in the world.

Another time magic didn't work the way the older races remembered. Summoning and travel spells were 2 levels higher or just didn't work. It was a things the gods had done to keep the mortals in line.


Original topic:
Another thing brought up by Teatime42's comments on communication.
I have gotten no better at this over the last several decades and by this point I probably won't.

I am not a real empathic person. I will virtually never be able to tell that someone is not having as much fun as they say they are or would like something to be different if they won't tell me. Making real subtle hints does NOT work.
If you tell me you are having fun and the campaign is going great...
I WILL BELIEVE YOU and give you more of the same. If you don't like something you have to actually say it.

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Never heard of something like that in the US. Not sure if I'd like it or not. Guess I would probably be willing to try it and see what the folks I met were like.

Closest we have is the Game Shops that sell the rpg's tend to have same tables that are usually free to use. You reserve a spot on the calendar and invite folks to join you.

The shop does it on the assumption that if you are having fun, you will probably buy some game stuff. Since that is where you are gaming it is also most likely where you will buy your stuff.

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Yeah, necro. But I feel like responding to part of it since I never saw this first time around.

Tarrintino wrote:


The first is a player that makes no attempt to create a unique persona for a character when sitting down to play. It gets to me when I ask, “Tell me about your character” and get told, “Dwarf Fighter.” Every human being on this planet has a life story (even if they don’t share it with everybody they meet). They all have interesting character traits and flaws. They have success stories and personal regrets. They have goals they want to achieve, and inner demons they have to face. When a player doesn’t have an idea of who the character is beyond their stats (even if they just rolled the character up), this really gets to me.

I understand what you are saying, but it doesn’t work like that for me. When I first start a character I personally have no history with or for him. I don’t know what his personality is like so I don’t know what shaped his personality.

If I try to come up with something before I’ve played a PC at all it is almost always very generic, boring and cliché. “He’s an orphan that came into his magical power late and feels like he should be helping others.” This seems to upset GM’s more than having nothing

But when I start to play him…
You know, I’m only using my summon and buff spells not my attack spells. I guess this guy finds it amusing to let other do all the fighting for him while he stays safely invisible. He’ll say he is helping them to reach their potential, but really he’s just kinda lazy and a bit cowardly. He’s a younger son from a moderately wealthy family and never really had to work hard. But he wished it was an even wealthier family so he didn’t have to work at all.
Hmm… I’m being a real jack-hole to all the nobles we meet, I wonder why that is. Ok, a group of nobles scapegoated me so they wouldn’t get thrown out of the academe. So I hate them all for getting me thrown out.
Yeah those first couple of fights against the supposedly ‘scary’ undead were dirt easy. He even took them out himself without bothering to summon or buff anyone. So he’s had a few more easy encounters with undead. He doesn’t understand how they got such a towering reputation or why people are so afraid of them. It’s not like they’re really dangerous. He’s is vastly arrogant and overconfident about his capability to deal with undead.

If the GM insists on something before play starts, it will almost always be boring and generic. Then my mind is kinda stuck on that and it doesn’t change much. If the GM will let me work on it over the first couple of levels or at least several sessions, it will be much better. Sorry, it is just the way my mind works.

Every once in a while I create a PC that has a full blown personality and history by the time I’m done creating him. For some reason, everything just clicked and I know how I want to run him and what made him the way he is. But for me, that is very rare.

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I agree a paladin will give you what you were asking about.


Jiggy wrote:
Krell, can I ask how you came to the conclusion that they should get a "healer"? Can I also ask specifically what you mean by "healer"?


I've been playing and GM'ing a fair amount of PFS. I would say a healer is rarely needed (though it can be useful).

I believe every character (especially in PFS) should buy a Wand of Cure Light Wounds or Wand of Infernal Healing (free with either their first or second 2 prestige points).

After that the PC's can alternate for other condition removal consumable items. One buys a Wand of Lesser Restoration, another gets a Potion of Remove Blindness, the third purchases a Potion of Remove Disease, Scroll of Restoration, Scroll of Neutralize Poison, etc...

That and some saved prestige points will cover about any eventualities.

Even a martial character with a crappy charisma could take skill focus UMD and a few skill points to fairly reliably use the wands on everyone as needed.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Ed Reppert wrote:

So what? If you're having fun in Golarion-as-is, that's really all that matters. If you're not, if you can't get past the inconsistencies, you can try to modify the system, although it takes an awful lot of work to do that without introducing even more inconsistencies.

But that's what most of us who oppose "low magic Pathfinder" have been saying, and what (by my reading) most of the proponents have been ignoring.

A lot of people are suggesting simplistic and ill-thought out changes that will end up playing havoc with game balance if straightforwardly implemented. For example, "no magic shops" actually makes PCs more powerful, because everyone takes crafing feats and makes their own, so you need some way to prevent this, which unexpectedly nerfs martials because they can't get the toys they need, and so on. All of which is well-discussed upthread.

It's a real problem, and the more the people proposing low-magic handwave this issue a way, the more I realize that they have, as Ragnarok Aeon put it, "a bad sense of balance,".... to the point where I consider wanting "low-magic D&D" to be an indicator of having a bad sense of balance.

That is starting to sound really rather needlessly insulting.

Some of us have thought about it quite a bit. I have not hand waved away any problems. I thought carefully about them and discussed them with my players. Then we tried it to see what would happen.

Some things worked some didn't. We kept what did and changed what didn't. A few things were issues that were not expected and we had to add in something to deal with them. Generally speaking we did not find the need to make nearly the sweeping changes that I have repeatedly been told HAVE to be made or it will fail. There was no havoc with game balance. The game isn't really balanced now and it didn't seem that much worse with our modifications.

We have had very successful games that have not had all the problems that the gloomers assure us will happen. I have had several players request me to run another low magic campaign (unfortunately I had to move for work).

I do not inflict it on anyone that doesn't want it. My current group is not at all interested in a low magic campaign, so I won't try to run one. If I end up in another group that is interested, I probably will.

I will not claim to be a great GM. But I am far from the worst I have encountered. I have only had one campaign crash and burn, but that was due to out of game issues between several of the players.

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Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:


Let's get back to useful info about low-magic games?

Here's one: can any of you describe a low-magic campaign attempt that went totally of the rails due to the changes to rule assumptions? What happened? Go into detail!

Oh yes, I've seen it done badly a few times.

1) The GM set up was there was almost no creatures with any Su or SLA abilites (which leads to almost no magic items). But there were NO limits or modifications placed on the PC's. One of the players made a focused enchantment caster. Almost nothing had a decent will save or any any kind of resistance to enchantment spells. The campaign was just everyone else guarding the enchanter while he enspelled everyone. Army of bandits - charm the leader. They won't give you any info - charm them. Etc... Very easy, very boring, very quickly.

2) Another time the GM set-up didn't allow the PC's to have any casters. If a hybrid class, they had to take other stuff to trade away spell casting. But then the GM was running high magic modules as written. It actually played out fine. The party just made sure their gear defended them from magic and provided the needed utility/recovery effects. But the storyline suffered.
"Wait so any kind of casting is so rare that we can't be, hire, have known, or probably even have heard of real magic users. Ok got that. But there are still all these magic items readily available and every other being we have to fight is a caster?!?"
It just didn't make sense and we couldn't get into the story (or really even figure out what it was supposed to be).

3) The last wasn't really a rules problem as it was a clever player vs. slow to react GM.
Had been some war/cataclysm caused by and between casters. No casters are fanatically hunted and lynched before they can become a danger. Every kingdom has special dedicated teams of 'caster hunters' that go after and put down any casters that the locals have a problem with.
Our arcane trickster realized the best way to deal with any opposition was to set the mob after them. Magic aura, bestow spell casting abilities, planting a scroll/potion/spellbook, etc ... And practically anyone is either dead or at least so distracted that they can't oppose you.

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Rynjin wrote:


RDM42 wrote:
In my experience with Paladins more of the drama is caused by the other characters than by the paladin.

IME the drama with Paladins is never caused by the other characters, the other players, or the Paladin player.

It's always the GM.

Have to disagree with you here.

My current game group has had a paladin in each of the last 2 campaigns. Different player of the paladin and a different GM.

Both campaigns, the play often came to a screeching halt while the rest of the party argued about a paladin can't / must / always / never / should / wouldn't do whatever. The player of the paladin and the GM had already agreed whether the action was acceptable, iffy, or problematic. It was the rest of the table that wouldn't shut up about it. For a while we were getting less than 50% of time spent on gaming the rest was listening to them argue. Once I even ended the game early because of it and sent everyone home. They stood in the dark out in my front yard and argued for close to an hour.

The arguments would continue through about the first 3-5 levels of play until they finally got tired of it. Then it started back up again in the next campaign. For a while when I was GM I started changing the campaign pulling out anything that might be morally ambiguous because I was tired of listening to them.

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wraithstrike wrote:
Steve Geddes wrote:

It means running a game that the players and DM call "Pathfinder". What people on the forums who arent playing the game call it doesnt really matter.

Is there any confusion in the real world when someone says "I'm running a pathfinder game and here are my house rules"? Who cares if what you mean isnt what someone else on the internet means - whether it's high magic, low magic, race-restricted, anything goes, no-3PP,.... or anything else. Provided everyone at the table knows what's going on, I'm just not seeing a problem.

If you're telling some strangers "I'm running a game of pathfinder" and then surprising them when they turn up to the first session with a whole bunch of extreme houserules then you're being silly and self-defeating - but the problem isnt one of nomenclature.

I agree. From what I read of the OP's post people were mad when they were not given any notice about houserules. Once someone has a copy of the houserules they are free to stay or walk. If they stay, they should not be mad if the GM has been up front about everything.

I have met a very small number of people that get mad anyway.

When someone expresses interest in joining one of my games the first thing I do is get their email address to send them the House Rules and Suggestions being used for the campaign. On the first page is specifically says "This rule set is open for discussion. If part of it is giving you particular problems, let me know and we can discuss it as a group." There have been a couple of rules that were tried for a while then the group decided wasn't enhancing their fun. Sometimes it is 3 lines long. Sometimes it is 3 pages long (most of that is actually suggestions). More than half of my house rules actually allow things the PF system does not allow. Yes, I still call it PF.

A very few people have flat ignored the file I sent, shown up at my house with a build that breaks at least half a dozen rules, then demanded that I let them play that character since I said it was a PF game and they are using PF material.

I used to try and work things out with those people. I don't think I will anymore. If you're going to be that obnoxious, you can just leave. I don't need the aggravation as a part of my hobby.

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PRD wrote:

Mind Blank

School abjuration; Level sorcerer/wizard 8
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration 24 hours
Saving Throw Will negates (harmless); Spell Resistance yes (harmless)

The subject is protected from all devices and spells that gather information about the target through divination magic (such as detect evil, locate creature, scry, and see invisible). This spell also grants a +8 resistance bonus on saving throws against all mind-affecting spells and effects. Mind blank even foils limited wish, miracle, and wish spells when they are used in such a way as to gain information about the target. In the case of scrying that scans an area the creature is in, such as arcane eye, the spell works but the creature simply isn't detected. Scrying attempts that are targeted specifically at the subject do not work at all.

Gives continual Mind Blank

side effects:
Bestows a -2 on all social skills (look stupid wearing a tin hat), -2 on stealth (wearing a shiny hat), and -2 to AC for anyone wearing armor that would have had a helmet as part of it (foil hat doesn't protect much against weapons).
Additionally the wearer has a -2 on perception checks due to the distraction from the voices whispering in her head.

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I'm Hiding In Your Closet wrote:
Liranys wrote:
There's an Idea.. A magical Tin Foil hat that allows you to cast Invisibility x number of times a day. It is cast by putting the hat on, but when you attack or do something to break the spell, the hat falls off.... That needs to go in the Weird custom magical items thread methinks. :D
Not invisibility - mind blank!

I think I'm gonna have to do that. I'll actually give them a hat made of kitchen foil.

Gives Mind Blank
side effects:
-2 on all social skills and -2 to AC for anyone wearing armor that would have had a helmet as part of it.

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Te'Shen wrote:
The Indescribable wrote:

Tons of creepy old toys along with terrifying wooden statues that look like they could come to life and eat you.

** spoiler omitted **

Hmm... cool. I thought you were going to go with the Hall of Wooden Men kind of thing.

Once long ago (I think it was 2nd ed) we were on a series of quests for some Muckity.

Open the door to this large room with a couple dozen marble statues of fighting men. The cleric immediately used the scroll of earthquake she had been hording since there was no way we could handle fighting that many golems in our battered condition. Brought the stone building down on top of the statues.

The GM choked on his pop and turned purple because he couldn't breathe through his laughter.

Over the weeks of the campaign, seems we had forgotten that we were to retrieve a life size marble chess set.

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In my opinion, strength builds should be easier and generally more effective at combat than other builds.

From what I have been able to find out, it is very nearly universal in all forms of combat (not talking about missile weapons of course) that once they get past a certain level of expertise. The successful competitors spend most of their time strength training. It is the most efficient use of their limited training time.

Having a punch, throw, or block just that tiniest bit more technically perfect in form, speed, or precision is not as effective as more strength behind it.
Now it is different for those pursuing it as an art form rather than a combat competition. If you are trying to be the best at X martial art, you will be judged based on the form and precision.

If however, your goal is to come out of the cage match with most of your bodily fluids inside of you… Well, you will be doing a lot of raw muscle training.

Look at history.
Dueling swords were basically a way to say “I’m so well trained that I can win using this elegant blade rather than to simply hack you into pieces with those ugly commoner type weapons.” (That would be the analog of in-game needing a higher level character using a dueling sword to beat a brute with a greatsword.)
The samurai only added the two-weapon style fairly late in their history as an art form and a way to demonstrate their superb training. Even the acknowledged masters of it would say that in a serious fight they would use a single blade with both hands.
No army fielded frontline troops wielding an epee, whip, or twin daggers.
Sword and board in front with pole arms for formation fighting. Irregular troops usually used the biggest, heaviest, longest weapons they could get. Big axes, big maces, claymores, long heavy spears, etc...
Because that is what worked best.

The non-strength based fighting form only work as well as they do in games like PF because so many of the patrons want them so very badly to be as good or better than strength based fighting. If they didn’t write it into the rules the gamers would write it in themselves or switch systems. The other forms are only in shouting distance of strength based due to customer demand rather than all these cries of realism or balance. They shouldn’t be balanced and it would be unrealistic to expect them to be so.

Having said that. I also find it more fun to play a martial that uses something other than raw strength to win. I’m glad the system is written to allow them to be in the same ballpark. But I don’t think it should be just as effective to be a wiry guy using twin daggers as to a great big guy using a great sword.

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Well, I personally don't recognize most of the names you mentioned. It's been a long time since I had kids at home that wanted to watch fairy tale type cartoons and I'm not usually big on them myself.

I don't see anything wrong with unique or just weird characters. I would say most of mine are. But I don't think that requires me to not be part of the team or mess with the others reasonable plans.

Do your characters revel in not being part of the team or make things difficult for the rest of the team?

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vecnalives wrote:

I have DMed for 32 years and I totally agree.

we dont expect you to wear heavy armor or start doing pushups that your PC should be capable of doing. So why does a GM resort to this involuntary sense of expecting you to act out a high wisdom or intelligence. ...

Some do, but more of us don't.

As I've said in some other threads, I do expect something more than "I roll diplomacy."

I think of it as analogous to the tactics used in combat. Very few players just say I attack [[roll dice]] on their turn. Instead, you usually get at the very minimum something like, “I take a 5’ step around to the right (toward setting him up for flanking) then I use power attack.”
Ok that may have effects and responses. “Well the bugbear can tell you are trying to surround him and the hits are already hurting, so he backs into the doorway so you can only come at him from one direction.”

So give me your tactics for the social interaction. This a rewording of an actual example situation I encountered from a few years ago.

I would have liked something like these:
“I flirt with the Seneschal to get him to give us a good introduction to the merchant prince today.” OR “I will bribe the Seneschal.” OR “I will be polite but in the way refusing to leave until the Senschal lets us in to see the merchant prince”
“I try to point out to the merchant prince that helping with the caravan troubles will profit his clan and make the guild think he is altruistic.” OR “I will threaten to tell the guild leaders that the authority figure that is collecting fees to protect them refuses to pay for someone to take out the bandits.” OR “I will emphasis that it is his duty as a noble to protect those under his care.”
“I will tell the guild leader that I am composing a play in her honor to show the world that the victory would not have been possible without the generosity that she will surely shower on our endeavors.” OR “I will say that the merchant prince is willing to pay part of the fee, but not enough for the risk involved in us to taking out the bandits.” OR “I’ve heard rumors (and I will start them) that the reason she won’t pay for anyone to take out the bandits is because they really work for her.”

Those could make a difference both immediately and long term.
Maybe the Seneschal is gay or his spouse is standing right behind you. Or maybe he really is a horn-dog and will expect follow through on the flirting. Maybe your blaster sorc destroyed the caravan as well as the bandits. So the merchant prince lost money and the guild hates him for hiring you trouble makers. Might make getting the next job more difficult. Maybe your bard forgets (or never intended) to write a play. That betrayed rich woman is now a lifelong enemy.
Those give me ideas on how you are trying to proceed and what some likely ramifications are.

But instead the spokes person for the group just said “We go into town and roll diplomacy to get someone to hire us to take out the bandits. I got a 32.”
“So who do you talk to and what do you say to them?”
“Whoever seems best. I got a 32. That’s pretty good”
What can I do with that? Ok, I can either give you a big penalty for being an ash-hat and making my life more difficult or I’ll have to make something up.

So I said, “Ok, Cassi flirted with the Seneschal to get into see the merchant prince (he’s expecting you for a date tomorrow night), Gregor managed to convince the merchant prince to hire you guys. But he is expecting to see a profit and you better make him look good for the guild. And the guild leader is giving you guys some mounts and supplies and expects a successful play making her seem a generous heroin.”

Then I had a bunch of players screaming at me. “I wouldn’t flirt with a human, I certainly won’t go on a date with him! We would never guarantee that he’ll get a profit! None of us have the skills to write a play!” To damn bad. Then give me something to work with.

Do you just make 1 good attack roll and expect to win the entire fight? I would hope not. So why should this be different?

No. I don’t expect the exact words, facial expression, body language, tone of voice, etc… to be used.* Just like I don’t expect you to know the correct way to hold a claymore, perform a rising block, or what the exact angle of entry between the ribs to hit the heart. But I want to know in general what you are doing. In other words, the tactics of both combat and social encounters.

* I really don’t expect that level of detail. But I will say for those of you who can, I think giving more details helps the verisimilitude and role play experience of all at the table.

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Laurefindel stated it pretty well.

I agree your wife needs some time 'off' to be herself and have some fun. But so do you.

There was a time when all I did was eat, sleep, work, house work, yard work, and maybe a little bit of homework with the kids. Notice how much of that is work? Notice how little of it is fun? I was trying so hard to be a good everything, that I became a not very pleasant person much of the time and was actually not doing very well as a spouse or dad.

I eventually learned I had to make the time to do something fun to remain a sane person. But I had a job, wife, 3 kids, etc... So I had to schedule it. At first it seemed impossible. So I started really looking at it as a technical problem to be solved. (Can you tell that I'm an engineer?) Travel to, game time, and travel home should be about 6 hours. Is there really no way I can find 6 hours once a month for something I really want to do? That's less than 1% of the time in 4 weeks. That can certainly be worked into any schedule.

Talked it over with my wife and we just worked it in. The 2nd Saturday of the month I went gaming. The 4th Saturday of the month she went out with her friends. The 1st and 3rd Saturday we did something together.

All the crapola that I been doing on Saturdays had to be worked into the other days of the week. So I'd do laundry while watching the kids or mow the yard instead of watching another sitcom that I don't really like. Some of it was just dropped altogether. I decided I really didn't care if my yard didn't look as nice as the rest of the neighborhood. I'll mow the yard, but I'm not going to kill myself making it look perfect. I also stopped sleeping in until 10 on the weekends.

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Charon's Little Helper wrote:

Frankly - when it comes to teamwork feats - I don't think much of most of them unless you have a class which lets your allies count as having it. What they do just doesn't seem to be worth it considering they basically cost two feats, and are situational.

As to the rest - other than PFS (where I like my bard specifically because he can fill in the gaps), the groups I've played in have generally tried to be reasonably well balanced. We might not fit all of the four classic roles to not have any gaps, but we can get close enough that the group doesn't suffer.

Frankly - when we're getting a campaign together, I'll usually bring 2-4 character ideas which I've had on the backburner and try to figure out which one meshes best with the rest of the group.

I'm mostly not talking about the teamwork feats.* You can function as a team without taking any teamwork feats. I just haven't seen much of that recently.

Yes, PFS where you don't know who will sit at the table or what they will do in a situation is quite a bit different. I get that. But you can still guard the squishies, help setup flanking for the sneak attack, not charge before the buffs or area effects spells, etc...

* Though I think the teamwork feats are better than most people give them credit for being. Just as a quick example.

Outflank is one of the most basic. It gives you an additional +2 when flanking. My friend is making a melee summoner the eidolon will have 3 different attack types. he is irritated that he has to take weapon focus 3 times to get all of them a +1. He will be taking weapon focus on his long spear. He will be trying to set up flanking whenever possible anyway so he has a better chance to hit with is spear. My character will almost always be in melee with his eidolon. I will probably take weapon focus with my great axe. That is 5 total feats for a +1 to hit on every attack all the time. Instead we could all take Outflank. That is 3 total feats for a +2 to hit on every attack most of the time. We usually manage to get flanking set up on tough opponents that last longer than a round. If it wasn't a tough opponent to last more than a round we didn't really need a bonus to hit anyway.

By any math, if the party members cooperate and work together the teamwork feats are usually worth quite a bit more than many of the comparable 'common' feats that people take all the time.

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Malachi Silverclaw wrote:

"Jock was a strapping young lad...!"

Strangely, I never got any further when delivering this background to my group. : /

Damn You! Now I have to do this just because...

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No I'm not talking about yet another new management fad.

I'm curious, how many of you play in groups that actually build and function as a team instead of a loosely allied collection of possibly incompatible individuals?

I don't know if it is a regional thing or just coincidence, but most of the groups and players I've met recently just do not do that. Game day starts and we have:
4 melee builds and PC's are struggling to get up to the enemy to strike
3 PC's with knowledge religion and no one with knowledge dungeoneering (or we have diplomacy and not sense motive)
Several blaster casters and not a buff, debuff, or condition removal among them
Martials charge to the enemy even though it leaves the squishies vulnerable
Martial immediately charges, then complains he didn't get hasted or got enveloped in the fireball
Anti-social misfit PC that refuses to cooperate or follow directions seem common

Before I moved; most of the groups/players, most of the time, approached things as a team. Not everyone and not all the time, but often enough that it was noticeable.

We'd discuss things as a group. We'd ensure that the necessary functions were covered OR have a plan in place to deal with not having it (maybe 1/4 wealth set aside to purchase condition removal scrolls/potions).
Both in combat as well as social encounters, everyone usually had a role to fulfill and knew about it ahead of time.
PC's would delay, ready, flank, aid, provide cover, guard, etc... whatever helped the group as a whole. Not just "What is best for me right this moment."
We often had 'standardized' basic battle plans that could be called out during a fight without alerting the enemy. Much like football or basketball plays. If my wizard called out Red-H-2, the martials knew to not get close to the enemy leader for 2 rounds or they would also suffer bad things. If the martial call a Green-H-0, we knew that meant he was immediately charging the leader, so someone else might need to protect the squishies (and they would do it!). The rest could buff the person that made the call, debuff the leader if it won't affect the caller, or deal with mooks.

I tried this again with current group. All but one of them came to the build/planning session with already 90% of their 1-15 build set in stone.
It was like pulling wisdom teeth to get everyone to agree to one teamwork feat at level 3 (no idea if I can get them to make collective use of it in play).
No one was planning to cover any knowledge skills, 1 guy has enough charisma to probably cover party face if he puts ranks into diplomacy (probably won't be too good and any other face skills), finally talked another guy into some ranks and a trait into sense motive, almost all of them are melee martial characters (again, since they assumed the others would do something different this time), etc...

I don't know. Sometimes it is just kinda frustrating. Don't get me wrong, sometimes the campaign set up is just a random collection of individuals is thrown together and has to find a way to succeed. Then it makes sense and might even be kinda fun learning to deal with what you don't have. But even then there is that 'find a way to succeed' phrase. Hey guys, we might need to actually make and carry through on some plans ahead of time.
But some of them are not like that. Some noble chooses a group to go do X. Really, he chooses this group? He must be an idiot.

Completely meta-gaming. Some of them are complaining about how we can never manage X, how are we supposed to Y, it's do dangerous to play Z since too squishy, how was I supposed to know you were gonna do that, etc...
Hey, I've given you the solution umpteen times now.

[/rant] Ok, I'm done complaining for at least a little while. It's probably really not as bad as I portrayed the situation. But sometimes it bugs me more than others.

Any suggestions on convincing people to at least try a bit more teamwork?

and then there is HEY! YOU KIDS GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

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Another thought to add on the power creep new stuff overpowered discussions.

A friend of mine finally got fed up with how over powered all the new stuff was because he was needing to go to APL+3 to even start to challenge the party. So he started the new campaign as CRB only. What happened? They still stomped all over his APL encounters. We looked at it together some with examples of what had happened. Turns out, the players have just gotten better at building characters and using effective tactics.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the newer spells, feats, and classes are a bit better than much of what is in the CRB for some things. But none of them are better at all of it than everything in the CRB. If you see what I mean.

The other change is that he has been allowing the good ideas, clever approaches, excellent role playing, and things like that to have larger and larger circumstance bonuses to non-combat situations. He also doesn’t (or at least rarely) set the non-combat DC’s out of reach of the group. The result has been that, all of the players are now optimizing totally for combat. Since all their social and investigative skills are low, he sets the DC’s pretty low. Since he gives them big bonuses for non-build stuff, they still succeed.

I am certainly not saying the way he is playing is wrong. They are having fun and he will probably not be changing his style of play.
What I’m saying is that, he is confusing causation with correlation. Every so often the group would add more books allowed. Over the same general period he started having more problems creating challenging encounters. Correlation. They both happened at the same time. But the books did not cause his problems.

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I don't think they were planning on the vampire lord fighting alongside them as a merc. It would just kill/spawn the provided victims who would then be placed in the towns and villages before they even rise as spawn.

In this GM's world, I think the PC's are already considered pretty high level. There will be some higher level, but not huge numbers of them. Though yes, that should be a threat they will eventually need to deal with. Fighting off an avenging team of inquisitor, paladin, and clerics could be really tough. Even if not substantially higher level.

I don't think some/most/many of the spawn having little effect would even bother them. Vampire spawn showing up (even if easily defeated) all over the place would still be something the authorities would almost have to do something about.

From what he has said, the PC's are being extremely paranoid about covering their tracks. They have been that way over their entire careers anytime they are doing something even slightly shady. Bluff, disguises, and anti-divination stuff is standard. My guess is they would try to set someone else up to take the blame.

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TimD wrote:

I disagree with pretty much everything Taku has said.

I've found an outright ban on PvP is generally more common amongst less experienced GMs or newly formed groups who are not able to deal with multi-dimensional planning & conflict. Which is fine, it's a learning curve, but implying "you’re doing it wrong" because someone else can't handle it is almost as insulting as it is laughable.

** spoiler omitted **


I will agree with you that saying any one that allows PvP is doing it wrong is taking way too extreme of a stance.

I am quite willing to say that in most groups, allowing PvP is probably not the best choice.

You are also correct in that it can be excellent. I have been in 2 groups that handled it very well and we had a blast.
But only if the entire group is ok with it (and I would say it should be clearly stated in the beginning that it will be allowed). If even one person in the group does not handle the PvP situations well, it tends to harm the player group. Sometimes slightly. Sometimes greatly. Other than those 2 groups, every time PvP was allowed it caused problems. Sometimes to the point of breaking up the gaming group or at least the campaign. Once destroying several long term friendships.

I also wish people would stop using 'adult' and 'mature' for this topic. It has nothing to do with age or maturity. One of the groups that did it well was when we were ~14. We were not adults and I guarantee you we were not mature.

I also know many well aged and very mature players that do not deal well with allowing PvP in their game.

It is a mindset. A way of looking at things. The ability to separate player vs PC feelings. The ability to take a mindset and personality that is alien to your own. And accept that others can and are doing the same. Not everyone can do that.

Then there are some people that can handle it, but just don't want to deal with that much hassle. I am sometimes in that group. This pastime is an escape from the reality and is intended to be entertaining. Fairly often, I don't find paranoia in guarding myself from murder by my closest colleagues to be entertaining.

Most groups I have played with have at least one person (usually several) that can not handle it well or doesn't want to deal with it.

When I am GM, I will not allow PvP with my current primary group even when they have asked to include it. We have at least 2 people out of the 7 that don't deal well with the situations when it even comes close to looking like PvP is likely. One gets nervous and agitated. The other gets quiet and withdrawn. But they are definitely not having fun in those situations. Just coincidentally, 'stuff' comes up and they are rarely able to make it to the next couple of gaming session. I'm not sure the one guy is even coming back. I don't think most of the other players or the GM at that time have even noticed since they won't say anything.

TimD wrote:
... We've found that the opposite "there is no PvP, so you can't actually stop Bob the Moron (appropriate apologies to those who share the name Bob) from ruining everything because he's had a bad week and now has decided to run his mouth or attack the +10 CR NPC" is far more destructive. Doubly true if you have new players. ...

This I very much disagree with. Passive aggressive in-game punishment does not solve out-of-game personal issues. Talk to the player out of character. If it is an in-game problem (which is not what you described) the group can in-character decide there is no reason to continue traveling with someone that makes things worse. Murder is not necessary.

I especially think that is a very jack-hole thing to do to new players that aren't doing what you think is right.

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Kirth Gersen wrote:
... At some point in the campaign, there's a contrived scenario where the entire world ends if monster X eats person Y. ...

I would have been very tempted to pre-emptively disintegrate person Y so there was not a body to eat.

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Hmm... Yes and no.

If it is out of balance to the point where 1 PC is like Superman, the rest are Lois Lane, constantly being saved, and just there to express admiration of the superman PC? Then I think that is a problem and most of the group will not be having fun. The lack of balance is not acceptable.

If the party is the Justice League except for one PC who is Joe Schmoe Average, can't contribute anything, and only survives because they other protect him? Then I think there is a problem and at least 1 player will not be having fun. The lack of balance is not acceptable.

If each PC has enough 'stage and shine' time to satisfy the players and contribute something to success? Then I think all is good even if not balanced.

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I doubt I would consider running away evil. However, it is entirely possible that it would be cowardly and disloyal. I don't know how bad the situation actually seemed at that point. I wouldn't let a paladin attack a person for that. On the other hand it might be reasonable for the paladin to never work with that person again.

I would find it very hard to justify caving in the only known entrance when my allies were not yet known to be dead. I have hard time saying that is not an evil act. You might have perceived it as necessary (the classic lesser of two evils) but still evil. I don't have too much problem with the paladin attacking you at that point.

If you had gone to the cave in point and waited to see if allies or undead came up then only caved it in if necessary, that would have been (in my opinion) a neutral to possibly slightly good act.

If you really think this is an in-game problem not a player issue, your only real possibility is to continue to apologize, try to make it up to them, and prove future loyalty.
Possibly a reasoned discussion along the lines of, "Look all the evidence said that we would all die an the undead would be loose on world. Is that what you really would have wanted to happen? I may have evaluated the situation poorly (please feel free to tell me where the error was in my reasoning) but there was no malicious or betrayal intended."

Totally meta-game, but did you have any fore knowledge that the GM would just let them live? Part of this needs a talk with the GM. If you make decisions based on what the GM has presented, then he just changes things after that decision has been made... Well, he is at least partially responsible for the incorrect decision.
Just one of the reasons I don't like GM's fudging things to make sure the party wins.

Virellius wrote:
Charon's Little Helper wrote:

I must say - pulling stuff like that is why I never allow CN characters in home games that I GM.

Player: I want to completely hose the rest of the group!

GM: Wait - what?

Player: It's okay - because I'm Chaotic Neutral!

GM: *facepalm*

CN implies that you are not bound to any moral or legal obligations save for those you consent to. You do good, generally, unless you choose survival over friendship. You act free, not bound to organizational ties or laws, but don't necessarily act destructive. You must have bad CN players.

I agree, but almost everyone I've seen playing a CN character plays it like that.

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Zalman wrote:

... kind of player myself, I am curious about how the other half goes about it. For those of you that start with a character concept based on fighting style, preferred class, etc., do you ...

then seek a campaign where your character fits? or ...

find a way to wedge it into any campaign through creative backstory? or ...

already know what campaign you'll be playing in, and so that part's assumed for you? or ...

something else?

I make lots more characters than I will ever get to play. When we get to new campaign time, I get the background info and an idea of what the others are playing.

Usually that narrows it down to just a few of the builds I already have.

I pick one then modify it some to fit even better with the campaign or group.

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Liranys wrote:


How can a GM be more upset by a short story that can easily be expanded upon than "nothing" or "amnesia"? How is that exciting and/or rich?

Since it isn't me, I can't be sure. But I believe the reasoning (such as it is) goes something like this.

With 'nothing' the response seems to be, "Ok this player won't participate in this part of the game. At least I'm free to make something up and use it as I see fit."

With 'simple, short, boring' the response seems to be something like He's throwing my reasonable request for a story in my face, That gives me nothing to work with but still limits me from coming up with something, and/or If you're not going to take it seriously and do a worthwhile job just forget it.

I think it is mostly a matter of being offended by not taking a particular aspect of the art as seriously as they do.
On the other hand. If

Liranys wrote:
... "I was born on a farm to some farmers who worked really hard, but I was born with a black thumb and everything I tried to grow or tend seemed to die. So my parents sent me to my uncle to train as a guard and I realized I was really good at sword work. About the time I was going to graduate from the academy, a caravan came along needing guards and my uncle gave me a good recommendation. I've been adventuring ever since and I'm looking for my next gig." ...

is good enough, I can see the point of people who say "Why should I even bother coming up with a back story if something that simplistic is good enough? It doesn't provide the GM with anything of any useful significance."

I don't get the GM's that expect a full, exciting, and rich history before 1st level. Ok, that just doesn't make sense. First; pre-teens don't topple governments (except maybe in Harry Potter). Second; if their history was that full, rich, and exciting, why aren't they back home managing their full rich and exciting life rather than investigating why a few horses are missing on the edge of town (remember adventures that 1st level PC's can handle).
Almost every time I read one of those 'ideal' full, rich, and exciting back stories I have 2 responses. Why are you not 7th level? And why are you here with us 1st level inexperienced puds?

Don't get me wrong, I try to come up with an at least moderately detailed backstory. (Though I do tend to come up with it over the first few play sessions as I decide on a personality rather, than before I create the character.) I usually try to throw at least a couple things in there that a GM could hang something on if he chooses. Only very rarely has a GM made use of any of my backstory.

When I am GM and a player comes up with something fairly unique I will try to make use of it. But if the player only puts together something very bland that's only 3 lines long, I don't feel any real drive to try and include something that obviously was not a central to the player within the campaign.

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Loren Pechtel wrote:
Xabulba wrote:
1 million gp in a vault that only can only be entered and exited once and all of them are gold bugs.

I wasn't that nasty. The treasure room contains a bunch of magical equipment far beyond their level. However, only living matter could be teleported to/from the treasure room--they couldn't take any of the loot away from there. (And they weren't of a high enough level to teleport out on their own.)

It never occurred to them that knowledge could leave--they could study the spellbooks.

I would have sold treasure maps to the place.

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Klaus van der Kroft wrote:

I leave the XP rewards for roleplaying in the hands of the players, not myself.

The system has evolved over the years and taken many forms, but currently it goes as follows:

-At the start of a session, every player gets a number of XP rewards (we call them "tickets") equal to twice the number of players sitting (so if 4 people made it that session, each gets 8 tickets).

-Players can dish out 1 ticket to another player whenever they feel they have roleplayed well enough, as a reward for a clever idea, or when the player does something that greatly improves the game.

-At the end of the session, tickets are tallied and converted to XP. The XP value depends on the number of players and the Average Party Level, recalculated so that the total number of tickets a player can give out equals 10% of the experience needed to get the next level (so in a game with 4 people with 8 tickets and an APL of 3, each ticket would be worth 50 XP, and a character who was awarded 5 tickets would get 250 XP for roleplaying that session).

I've noticed it really makes people more committed to both their characters and to paying attention what everyone else is doing, since being able to give out rewards seems to entice them. It also seems to feel more rewarding to them, since it's their peers the ones who are rewarding them for playing well, rather than the DM. Of course, it also takes some work off my back.

I actually kinda like this. I'll see what the guys think. Since I'm not using the xp system though, I'll probably do it as hero point rewards. Say each ticket is worth a 1/8 of a hero point. I'll still give them away for things I particularly like though.

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Pan wrote:
Grey Lensman wrote:
An 87 page (single spaced) backstory for a character that had yet to be played, with the player expectation that multiple elements from the novella would be in the campaign and rather quickly.........

I recall a hilarious story I once read on a different forum. The player handed the GM about 20 pages of backstory. After the game had started the players made some pretty bad decisions which got the PC with the 20 pager killed. The player announces that, in fact, his PC is not dead because on page 17 paragraph 4 the PC was cursed to only be killed by a red dragon.

GM then said a red dragon comes out of the horizon breathes only on his PC and flies off into the distance. Then ripped his 20 pager in half and tossed it into the rubbish bin. :)

I would have just said, "What amazing luck! You managed to escape your awful Destiny."

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Hmm... At the risk of proving someone right, I've dropped xp. Most published material has the 'expected level' right in there. The stuff I make up, I know what level I'm planning on the PC's having reached. So every so often when a bunch of stuff has occurred or at a convenient break point, "Everyone is now level 7."

However, the groups other GM does still use XP for his campaigns. He calls it RP XP. But really it is XP for anything 'special' that came up during the session that really was in-character for the PC. J's lore warden came up with a really kool tactic. D's cleric managed to convert the heathen rather than kill them. M's sorcerer bluffed the dragon into backing down. Etc... It is usually pretty minor amounts of XP, but some people do like it as an acknowledgement of something unique or memorable that they have done.

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Poldaran wrote:
You know, it took me three mentions of 20 page backstories to realize that you all were saying that they were too long. I kept thinking "Yeah, that's kinda short." :P ...

Uhmm... I think you would be sadly disappointed in 90% of the people with whom I've played RPG's. I think I've only known 2 guys that regularly go over a page. One of those is because he hand writes it very messily.

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Lamontius wrote:
thegreenteagamer wrote:
Lamontius wrote:
you are not
Ah, but if I were to phrase my statement "I pick a class and race combo, I make it as powerful as I can, and then I double back and come up with a story that explains said combo" I would be derided as a rollplayer, power gamer, etc.

by who

thread people?
as above, who cares?

Yup. If you check up top I have most of my build at least partially fleshed out before I even start working on the personality. Then I have most of the personality before I try to figure out what happened in his backstory to make him the way he is.

And yeah. I've had people tell me I'm not role playing that way. They're full of something smelly and unpleasant.

I have fun playing my character. He's nothing like me. he's almost always quite memorable. Rarely has a group not liked my PC's inclusion. (The few times that were otherwise it was because some mechanical build aspect did not work as well as I thought it would.)

I've tried doing it the way some people insist is 'the one true way' of backstory, personality, then build. I just get a boring, unmemorable, soldier number six type of PC that I grow to hate. It just doesn't work for me.

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Liranys wrote:
KenderKin wrote:
"Let's go squish some guts!"

Because that is totally well spoken...

I've never actually played a game with a Kender in it, but I used to know someone who told me some hilarious stories about his Kender and their party.

I've also heard horror stories about parties with Kender in them. I'm guessing it really depends on the person playing it, right?

Very much so. If you've ever read the books, think about if a co-worker did all that stuff to you. Would you have kept working with him? Probably not. The author of a book can keep them together, but when it is actually separate persons...

If the player realizes that less is more, it can work. Pull pranks only occasionally in ways and at times so it doesn't always risk a death or mission fail and not constantly. Then it can be comedic.

But many players tried to do it all them time, no matter the consequences, picking on one fellow player, and without the authors ranks in humor. It would end up funny for about the first 15 minutes, then I'd be ready to start looking for a new group to play with.

I only saw one player who did it well. Yes, it was hilarious and highly entertaining.

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Triphoppenskip wrote:
... I tend not play pure casters, not because I don't like to but because I'm not good at it and the rest of the party tends to start giving me the stink eye after a few combat sessions. ...

As one of our group keeps telling me, "You'll never get better if you don't try to get better!"

About half the time I reply, "I don't want to get better cause then all you posers will leave me stuck with it all the time!"

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Gendo wrote:
For me creating a character is based upon my desire to explore some facet of my own beliefs or personality traits. ...

I have heard this from some other people.

I'm usually the opposite. If I focus a build on a belief or personality trait, I try to make it one that I don't have much connection to in RL. For me this is an escape from the worries and stresses of RL. If it starts to become too much like RL it stops feeling like an escape to me.

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Something is weird here.

First, although I let the players run their cohorts as they see fit (within reason), I build the cohort. They give me the generalities of what they are looking for (or sometimes they hire someone they've encountered). And I build to that but I use 5 less on the point buy unless they want an NPC class. I build a decent character, but I don't optimize it to the absolute limit.
This cohort is already in play so you're kinda stuck with it. But consider this for the future.

Second, there is no way a cohort at least 2 levels lower (even with extra buffs) should be making the entire party look bad. In PF, 2 levels is such a bump in power that it is sometimes difficult to keep someone 2 levels lower alive. Let alone out shining multiple characters 2 levels higher. That doesn't make sense unless the rest of the party is really poorly made.
Sounds like the rest of the party needs help building an effective character? Maybe come to the advice forums for some build advice and give them a discount on the retraining rules so get their PC's up to snuff.
{{ Note: I don't see anything in the OP that says he is making the other players buff his cohort. I see that first in chbgraphicarts' post. }}

Third, is the grievance really combat effectiveness or is it spotlight time. If it is spotlight time, it can probably be handled best by a private conversation with the player. "Hey with 2 characters you're using a bit to much of the table time and it's bothering some of the others that can't get enough table time for their character. Try to have both sets of actions planned out a faster so they don't have to wait twice as long."
Also you as GM can make a point of asking the other players what their characters are doing and asking for more details.

Fourth, maybe you need to talk to the other players and find out whether 2 or 3 really applies (or maybe both).

Fifth, Please, please, please do not intentionally kill off the cohort, have it betray him, or have it run away! This sounds like one of the very few players that is really doing a good job of role playing with his PC being kind and loyal to his cohort. That behavior should be rewarded not punished.

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fel_horfrost wrote:

So if i am a crossblooded bloodrager abyssal/dragonic

Would i be considered having the sorcerer bloodline abyssal/dragonic when i got to first level in dragon disciple thus going up in both like a crossblooded sorcerer would?

That is one of the major things people are unsure of. Many of us think it will be eventually ruled yes. But that isn't certain.

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Ok, this isn't on the level of some of those above, but I was pretty proud of it at the time.

Party is sleeping in the woods (yes, one was on guard). But they are all awoken by something large roaring and crashing through the woods. They have 2 rounds to prepare. They are getting ready to flatten the giant whatever before it can attack them.
Then the one with darkvision can see an ugly old female hobgoblin rushing toward them surprisingly fast carrying a squirming blanket wrapped bundle in her arms.
Sudden "Stop! Damsel in distress!" (Even if old and ugly.) Obviously we have to get whatever is chasing her (they can just see the shadow of something very big at the edge of the darkvision pushing trees aside) and somehow protect her (which means much more care with the AoE spells). They all move forward to stop whatever is pursuing her.
She rushes straight through their campsite and throws the bundle into the remains of their fire on her way past.
"Wait what?!?"
Cleric rushes back grabs the bundle... And takes 1 point of damage as the singed, howling, bear cub swipes at his hand. "A WHAT?!?"
Momma dire bear crashes into the clearing to see a line of blocking humanoids and behind that another humanoid holding her cub that is howling in pain.

Just to add insult to injury, several sneaky hobgoblins start throwing paper wasp nests into the clearing around the party.

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Eltacolibre wrote:
Something worth noting...Bloodragers are full casters can make bloodragers liches, just saying at level 11.

That just might be truly awe-ful to encounter

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My dissatisfaction with leadership is not all encompassing and prohibitive. But I do have some specific issues with it depending upon the group.

1) Time in combat. We already have several players that have difficulty keeping track of what their PC can do and what the effects are. Ok, I've got a +1 from his bless, then blessing of fervor with the +1 to hit, I drank a potion of bulls strength but it only gives me a +1 to hit and +2 to damage because I have the belt, etc... I already get to spend way too much time watching people do math. I don't want to double it.

2) Party size. We sometimes have 6 players with PC's at the table. Especially indoors or underground we have issues with some not being able to get into the fight. You make it 12 characters and a lot of people may spend time doing nothing.

3) Fragility. Sometimes I find it difficult to make an encounter that will challenge 12 characters that are up to level 10 without just wiping out the characters that might be as low 6-7.

4) Nonsensical builds. Some of the builds that players want only make sense within the context of it being his particular follower. The character is very nearly non-functional otherwise. It doesn't make sense that someone would go into an incredibly lethal profession the only work on skills that are useful to one particular teacher. With anyone else he will die in his profession.

5) Magic item factory. This one kinda bugs me. I was at a group for a short while where 3 of the 5 cohorts were basically sweatshop slave workers.

On the other hand I do allow them sometimes. When the group was small because people moved, they got a front line tank cohort.
The group currently has a cohort samurai/expert that is their ship captain (with a secondary skill set of lawyer). They wanted that so they could have someone they trust taking care of that rather key post. But the cohort does not normally adventure with them.

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Sorry, lost access.

TheJayde wrote:

... but then I have a really good group that I've played with for 20 years now. Though I do play with a group that has a trouble player that I would assume... well I know that he does this sort of stuff.

I just enjoy the PvP aspects as it allows for more.. uh... realism when dealing with mature players. ...


Skeld wrote:
The core players of my group have also been playing together for 20 years, but that's mostly irrelevant. It's a question of playstyle, not experience. Some groups are going to like PVP, while other groups won't. ...

I've played with a fair number of groups over the various incarnations of the game. Two of them could well handle PvP, Evil mixed in a Good party, wildly conflicting goals, etc... Most of them could not.

I think that is because of the numbers. For a group to handle it well, every single player (including the GM) need to be the type that handles it well. If even one of them doesn't handle it, there will likely be problems.

If the group doesn't allow intra party conflicts to get out of hand, there is a difference. If one guy could have handled those conflicts, it doesn't cause a problem, other than that one guy maybe missing this aspect of the game that he enjoys. But it doesn't break up the group or friendships.

I also wouldn't use the term 'mature player' since these issues have nothing directly to do with maturity. (People can and have made the case that no one playing the game is mature.) It is more of a way of playing the game, an outlook, or the type of game desired.
I know very immature people that can handle horrific PvP.
I know very mature people that can not handle (or at least don't want to handle) any PvP.

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TheJayde wrote:


Also I find inter-party strife to be something that can help get less active players more active in the environment, and help develop characters further. ...

I have usually found exactly the opposite. Two characters (or players)start arguing/fighting and everyone else gets quiet and uncomfortable. People shut down and don't roleplay anything at all because apparently, that just leads to arguments. If it happens very much, the group and maybe the friendships break up.

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Continuing the off topic side trek.

No where near all the schools have anywhere near enough computer hardware to skip teaching how to write in a legible manner.

Nearly every week I come into work and someone on the late shift has left a completely unreadable note on my desk.

Every work order packet on the shop floor has forms and signoff sheets that still have to be filled out by hand.

When some takes a phone message, it is almost always a hand written note. Most of which I can not read. If I'm lucky I can read the name or at least the number to return the call. Though often I can't even read the numbers.

Just a couple years ago I was volunteering at the high school and asked to grade some tests. They just had to write a single letter to indicate their choice. Almost 1/3 of the test had letters that I couldn't be sure what they were.

The technology that might someday make handwriting irrelevant is simply not yet pervasive enough.

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Bioboygamer wrote:
I'm relatively new to GMing, and I've been having some trouble with a few things. Of course, most of my players are also new to Pathfinder, but I still want to do the best I can. ...

Welcome and I hope you have a blast! Rarely is the situation as dire as we think it is.

Bioboygamer wrote:


Firstly, I've found that I have trouble with NPC dialogue. "Spontaneous" ... Does anyone have any advice on dealing with a lack of improvisational ability? ...

I'm not great at that either. A few things can help.

1) Use some PFS scenarios or other published materials. Either for the adventure or for ideas. I will occasionally pull an NPC and his dialogue straight out of some other published material.
2) Prep for it. If I have a significant NPC the players are probably going to converse with. I will try to imagine the conversation going in 3 different ways. Then figure out what he will say in each of those 3 ways. Usually what the players actually do is close enough to 1 of my 3 ways that I can use that prepared dialogue.
3) If it is a really minor NPC, who cares? Don't put in any significant effort and don't worry about it being 2D.

Bioboygamer wrote:


Secondly, I can't figure out if I'm being too easy on my players, or too hard on them. ...

This is actually the easiest. Ask.

"Hey guys, I thought the last 2 sessions most of the combats seemed to go pretty easy for you guys. Do you want more or less of a challenge or is it good like this?"

Bioboygamer wrote:
... and after I made the mistake of allowing him to make his own spell, he uses it almost exclusively. Annoyingly enough, it does more damage than any other cantrip, and apparently creates magical snow that can be eaten to regain 2 HP, but only once per day per character. He points out his 2 HP of healing incessantly, constantly argues that the cold spell should freeze or slow the enemy, ...

I rarely let players make new spells, weapon, magic items, etc... There are so many in all the published and online material that there is really no need. I would certainly never let a new player make something like that.

In this case...
"JimmyJoeBob, sorry I was wrong. That spell is horrifically overpowered for a cantrip. We're either gonna have to get rid of it completely or make it a 2nd level spell."

Bioboygamer wrote:
... constantly argues that the cold spell should freeze or slow the enemy ...

Nope. Spells that slow are specifically stated to do that. This is not a realistic simulation. This is an abstract approximation that is playable. Besides do you want every ray of frost, snowball, ice dagger, alchemical liquid ice, or cold thing that hits one of you to cause slow?

Bioboygamer wrote:

... Finally, and I save this one for last for a reason, is that one of the players annoys the heck out of me. He only ever uses cantrips, even against incredibly powerful enemies ... and his idea of roleplaying is to talk in an awful indian accent. He has almost no interest in doing anything himself in combat, placing more focus on his monkey familiar than his character who's backstory was directly ripped from a book series that the player had talked to me about at the time. His character's name is literally "Gandalf" wit one letter changed, he refuses to use an actual paper character sheet rather than fumbling with a PDF file that takes 3 minutes to load whenever he goes from one page to another, he seems to fail to grasp the concept of "Just because this creature shares a name with a creature from Harry Potter, it does not mean that they are the same creature", and he repeats things 7 or 8 times, even after people have told him that they understand or that they heard him the first time.


Careful. You are associating very different issues as one issue. If it really is that bad that everything adds up to an intolerable "YOU ANNOY ME" you just have to kick him from the group.

If it is not to that level and you want to try and improve things you have to separate the issues.

I've had people try to relate everything to Tolkien, never Harry Potter. But I'd handle it the same way. After about the second or third time they start to say "But orcs act like..." I interrupt with, "Sorry different legend..."

Many, many people have a hard time with any backstory or naming. I am often one of them. Deal with it. I don't know why so many people thinks it harms their game that my characters personality, backstory, name, or whatever came from a novel or movie. I'm not an author. So what. Most GM's and players are going to ignore (or possibly use just the tiniest bit of) my backstory, name, and personality anyway. I just can't see how it hurts anyone else's gaming experience. [/mini rant]

complete aside:
I usually find that almost everyone does this at least in part. Parts of their name, backstory, or personality are from a book or movie. Sometimes several. They may not realize it until you talk about it for a while, but usually the idea for their PC came from someplace. Sometimes I'm just more obvious about it.

Roleplaying is a greatly variable topic. There are groups that approach everything like a broadway musical. There are groups that sit around and mumble, while rolling a handful of dice, listening to screech metal, and smoking pot. (I didn't stay at either of those groups for even an hour.) Most are somewhere in between.
Most people will slowly learn by example and adjust. If you and the other players are descriptive on what your characters are doing and saying. He is likely to eventually migrate in that direction.
Personally, I won't try to speak in voices or invented accents. However, I know a lot of people love it.
I would give this significantly more time to see if he can adjust to where the group likes the game on the role playing spectrum.

Some of the personality issues may or may not be improvable. It could be his is just a bit nervous and acting out because of it. As he gets more comfortable that might ease up.
Or maybe not. That just may be the way he is. Give it a while and then decide if you can live with it.
We have a guy that we have to keep reminding to "use you inside voice" because he just gets louder as he talks.

Bioboygamer wrote:
... I'm aware of the fact that the vast majority of my posts basically boil down to "I'm a newbie GM, can you fix my problems for me?", but I just don't feel confident enough in my abilities to try to fix these kind of problems, given the possible consequences if I make the wrong move (people leave the group, my players start to resent me, etc.).

No problem. We've all been there. Even if it was bloody decades ago.

Several Paizo published adventures are free for download. That is a great place to start. HERE are several of them. They are pretty durn great learning tools for GM's and players.
I usually recommend brand new GM's use published material for a while before trying to build their own world.

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PF combat is a not terribly precise approximation. It is in no way a realistic simulation of combat.

There have been and probably still are more exact simulation systems out there. The problem is they all bog down horribly. You end up spending several minutes or more trying to figure out every single action and its results.

PF system is used, not because of its realism, but because it is 'good enough' while still being usable in a timely fashion.

What you are talking about is just basically ignored by the system. The skull of a bear, moose, or rhino is much harder to pierce than its belly. Doesn't matter. The creature has X armor class.
Same with the tortoise. It has AC 25 period. Doesn't matter where you are standing, how tall you are, or where you are shooting your arrow when you try to hit one.

It's not realistic, it is just a playable approximation.

If player really pushes, I'd say "The legs are the AC 25 and the shell is AC 60. The game just assumed you weren't stupid enough to try and carve through the shell."

I've had GM's try to make house rules for called shots to different parts. It would work fairly well for a few obvious monsters. Then it always ended up devolving into arguments about whether you could reach/target X portion of the body from Y position with Z weapon or spell. Then it would start into well this type of weapon should do more damage to the knees because ...
Rarely ends well. We always ended up going back to the basic standard rule set for simplicity.

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Kazaan wrote:
... Disagree all you want; it doesn't change the inherent logic of my position. ...

I said nothing about changing your logic. I mostly disagreed with the exaggeration.

Kazaan wrote:
... Additionally, did you notice the negator "not" in my statement? "The GM is not your King, your Emperor, nor your God." That quite literally is the opposite of the claim you attribute to me. And I don't mean literally 'figuratively'... So I don't really see why you claim to disagree when you attribute a claim to me that I never made (moreover, I made the precise opposite claim) and then parrot my own claims back at me. ...

Ok... I will be a little more precise. When you make very exaggerated claims stating very emphatically that it is not X, you are implying that someone else made that claim that it is X. No one else made that claim. You are, in effect, attributing a claim to them that they did not make. So that claim came from you.

Kazaan wrote:
... You even repeated my very sentiments in saying that'd you'd be willing to compare the GM to a President/PM which is precisely what I put forth, ...

Yes, now you are also upset where I agree with you. ...

Kazaan wrote:
... The only place where you fall flat is in persisting in the claim that the GM "owns" the campaign (which, btw, goes right back to placing him in a position not unlike that of a "king") ... The game belongs to all players involved. ...

Uhmm... No... Owning something has virtually nothing to do with being a King. My wife and I own our house. That does not make us royalty over anyone else that may live in the house with us or that stops by for a visit. But yes, we are reasonably in charge of what happens at our house. If others don't like the way we run our house, we may be in it all by ourselves. which sometimes seems like it would be a nice thing. {sigh} ;) The closest example might be a party. If I throw a party at my house. It is my party. Even if a bunch of others help me. And even if it would be nothing without all the people that attend. Guess what? It is still my party. Doesn't mean I should be a jerk about it.

Kazaan wrote:
... just because he puts, "more time, money, effort, and responsibility into it." Well, a Politician puts lots of time, money, effort, and responsibility into the running of a country; does that mean he "owns" the country? Many may think that they do, but that is incorrect. ...

Well if we are going to be picky... I would say a politician puts a lot of other people's money, huge amounts of other people's effort, a fair bit of their own effort, and the impression of responsibility into getting and keeping the job of running a country. I have seen very little evidence of significant money, effort, or responsibility into actually running the country.

No a politician does not own the country. A metaphor only goes so far. Also a politician does not create and provide the country. I guess you are correct. The President/Prime Minister/politician metaphor is not very applicable.

Kazaan wrote:
... It is incredibly lop-sided to claim that the time, money, effort, and responsibility that the non-GM players put into their characters is somehow "less important". ...

Again you are implying a claim I did not make. I never said anything remotely similar to "less important" in my post. So again, that claim came from you.

Importance has nothing to do with ownership. I think the guy that made the smoke detector in my house has a vitally important job. That does not make him a joint owner of my house. The family that currently owns the company I used to work at does nothing important for the company. They meet twice a year to say either "you are doing a good job" or "make me more money." I don't think many people would call that important. But they sure as heck own the company.

Kazaan wrote:
... Without these players, the GM is just a single player sitting alone in the dark and his time, money, effort, and responsibility be damned. ... He puts forth that time, money, effort, and responsibility for the benefit of the group as a whole, including himself. If the GM wanted to tell a story in which the characters act completely in accordance with his own views, he should not be a GM; he should just write a book. ...

Agreed. That is why it would be a poor strategy to be a jack-hole about it.

Has nothing to do with ownership.

Kazaan wrote:
... The GM is an arbitrator of the rules. That quite literally means he is a referee contrary to what Marcus wrote earlier; his tasks in the game are to play the NPCs, narrate the parts of the story that need to be parceled out to the players based on the results of their checks, and referee the game. That's it. It may very well be a demanding job; I never said it wasn't. What I objected to was the attitude that the GM is "always right" and that the increased responsibility entitles the GM to "own" the game. The entire play group "owns" the game; the GM is just exercising stewardship over it. ...

Disagree. Ownership vs. responsibility/investment have a very nearly one to one correlation in standard usage of the terms. I believe it is very nearly exact in legal usage of the terms. I can think of very few instances where they are not very closely related.

However, there is also some lesser responsibility and investment on the part of the players. If you really want to get obsessive about 'ownership' of the event (which I wouldn't normally bother). I would put it approximately like this:
GM owns the game, world, and campaign (which includes the rule set).
Players own their PC's.
GM and players have joint ownership of the story produced in the playing of the campaign. But I would still say the GM is the highest percentage owner. Maybe in the ball park of GM at 40% and the rest split among the players.

Kazaan wrote:
... PS: Some people may associate 'job' only with paid employment, but there are other definitions for which pay doesn't enter the equation or is an irrelevant distinction. To GM a game is most certainly a job. It may or may not be a paid job, but that distinction is inconsequential to my position.

I just looked it up to be sure. Of the 7 basic definitions. The first 3 are directly related to paid employment. One is not applicable to this conversation. Two imply paid employment. Only the 7th is not related to paid employment.

So yes, you are technically correct that the word 'job' can be used in this context. However, it is always advisable for an author to consider how their creation will be received as opposed to how it was intended. I would posit that it is not unreasonable for the average person, without a dictionary open right in front of them, to assume the standard use of the word to indicate paid employment.

But you don't need to get so defensive about it. It was a very minor quibble about what I would do.

Because I am one of those people that associate the word 'job' with paid employment which I also consider to be very nearly a necessary evil. I would not put those negative connotations on the GM.

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As far as the GM is concerned, the questionable decision is at the start. I would very actively discourage someone from playing a paladin in a group that is trying to do an infiltration of an illegal operation. The way most people seem to play paladins just invites trouble in this sort of situation.

Other than that. Killing the other PC may or may not be an alignment infraction. If the GM is going to try and impose things like that for a divine caster, the 2 of you should define the limits of what your deity/religion/order/church/cabal/cult dictate for behavior.

Some GM's will say PvP is an alignment shift just to discourage PvP. If that is what is happening, I would say that the other guy exposing our operation is the start of the PvP situation.

Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

You know that expression "When all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail" ?

This whole issue in your party is a source of dramatic tension. This could be an incredible game in progress.

Try to step back out of the character's perspective for a moment and ask what the story needs, rather than what you want.

The dramatic tension between your investigation and another PC's actions is great for the story! Embrace it.

But just because your character sheet is a long list of killing powers does not mean that killing or even violence is the solution.

Interact with this conflict. Take action, but don't finalize it. Try to stop or work around the other PC, don't just draw steel and stab him.

But, as far as I can see, this isn't a "questionable call" on the GM's part -- this could be a great game happening right before your eyes. All you need is a little shift in perspective.

I like your take on this. It could really add to the campaign.

But it only works if everyone is willing. If one guy is just being a jerk and you try to make it part of the story, he wins. So he will almost certainly escalate the jerk-ish behavior.

I haven't been at this particular table, so I can't say in this case. I think it is pretty obvious that the OP thinks the person is being a jerk.

I guess I would suggest to have an out-of-game discussion with the guy about how the 2 of you can make it a part of the campaign without ruining the campaign.

If that doesn't work? Honestly, I'd just find a new game. A person that is trying to be a jack-hole will always succeed. I have too little leisure time to waste it dealing with something like that.

Kazaan wrote:
Marcus Robert Hosler wrote:
Regardless, the GM is always right from a rules perspective. The GM's words are the rules...
Incorrect. The GM is "the final arbiter when it comes to rules". That does not, in any way, form, or shape, translate to "he is always right" or "his words are the rules". His job in the game is to arbitrate. He is, in effect, President or Prime Minister of the game; he runs it, he doesn't own it. It belongs to the entire play group and he is only one individual among several in that group; maybe an individual with a very particular job, but an individual none the less. The GM is not your King, your Emperor, nor your God. He is another player in the game who has a specific job in the game. Period.

I disagree to a certain extent. I definitely disagree with your exaggeration. Nobody claimed he was King, Emperor, or God except you. With only slight hyperbole, I might not have problem with saying he is the President of the campaign. Whether some people want to admit it or not, the President is not an autocrat and his/her powers are severely limited. And if too many bad things happen under his/her watch, he/she won't be President too much longer.

Generally speaking the GM has significantly more time, money, responsibility, and effort invested in a campaign than all of the players combined. I have no problem saying it is his campaign and world. I think most good GM's get a lot of input from their players on what will happen, goals, house rules, etc... but it is their decision.

I would also use the word 'task' rather than 'job' unless of course you are planning to pay him/her. Most people associate 'job' with paid employment.

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Lamontius wrote:


and I stopped reading after the part about you all pooping on another character

Well I doubt we would actually do that (though with some gamers it's difficult to be sure). But if someone has an Oread so that he looks like a statue... All bets are off.

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Hama wrote:
You can try reserving the first hour and a half of the session to BS, and declare that after that you have to play.

One of our group likes to cook (I consider him insane) so he normally fixes dinner for the group. So we try and keep most of the BS and socializing contained within the 30 minutes or so while we are munching.

Triphoppenskip wrote:
Bacon666 wrote:
A mystery game is fun, but if it turns out to be a mystery between clowns in a circus... Expectations aren't met.
Yeah the story can and should dictate a lot of the characters' reactions. We are playing two different APs at the moment. We are starting Book 2 of Second Darkness and so far the lack of seriousness hasn't been a real issue. But we are well into Book 3 of Carrion Crown and that's the one that's really ruining my immersion. I'm a big horror fan and I love horror themed campaigns but I'm having a hard time enjoying this as much as I should because we have made it less Lovecraft and More Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.

Some of this could just be related to the bolded part. I personally like playing a serious campaign, but to me horror themed stuff is just not serious.

I am not a big fan of horror movies/stories. Most of the things people try to do for horror; I just find to be annoying, frustrating, perplexing, or occasionally even childish.

Some examples I have run across in GM attempts at horror games.
1) GM described some foe in very exacting detail. Turns out he was trying to let us know it was the monster from some old horror movie and we had to kill it the same illogical way they did in that movie. None of the players had ever seen the movie.
2) The GM will use horror or insanity checks. Ok, I've been fighting undead for 12 levels but at the sight of this ghoul eating someone I don't know I'm suddenly going to run screaming into the night?
3) Haunts that you have to figure out what bizzare even led to their forming. I usually can't figure out how determine what happened. So there can't really be any horror. We put up a sign that there is a problem here and move on before it resets.
4) GM described how the evil figure was running his land. Eventually I said "So basically he has some power but acts like a spoiled 12 year old? Got it."

That doesn't even begin to get into the mechanics. Most of the things that seem like they could be horrifying actually aren't because raise dead, restoration, heal, and remove X are all so easy for even a mid level PC to get cast.

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