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Laurefindel's page

3,107 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:
There is a special circle of hell for theater talkers.

... along with child molesters.

Although it probably will never be used in play, I like the Warhammer 40K Eldar pantheon where the only gods who survived is the Trickster god, and the maimed war god that can only be summoned through great personal sacrifice (the goddess of healing survived too, but she's kept prisoner by the Chaos god of disease...)

I like the idea that the heritage and the future of a whole race rest on the shoulders of the trickster, and were warriors either rest on their own prowess and nobility or yield to bloody carnage for a victory at great cost.

I prefer not to use historical pantheons unless the game is supposed to happen on Earth (or a Earth-inspired fantasy). So I don't like using the Greek Pantheon unless its some kind of Greek fantasy game (no matter how historically accurate or not); same goes for Norse or Gealic or Egyptian...

This thread makes me realize that I don't know many fantasy Pantheon other than Forgotten Realms' and the generic D&D Elven/Dwarven/Gnomish Pantheons. I can't say I *like* it, but that's the one I know. Forgotten Realms gods are colorful enough to inspire something, and there enough of them that two or three are likely to interest you of fit the needs of your campaign.

Other than that one, I like simple Pantheons, like the divine trinity that comes up in many game worlds (something like chaos, order and a third god that allows the two first to work together). Typically, that third "keeper of balance" entity end-up disappearing, going mad, turning evil etc and s!%@ start to happen.

I guess the hobby has more to offer than the "killing dragons" oriented Pathfinder and D&D, it's just that these two eclipse the rest so much that the mass don't even know they exist.

I remember seeing a lot more female gamer after Vampire:the Mascarade came out. It's more universal themes brought many female players in the hobby where I come from. Not the best game to advertise that RPGs are harmless good fun, but it did brought many different types of RPer to the hobby.

Josh M. wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
I don't think it's about eye candy at all, in one way or another. It's about making a game that can be inclusive for all, not just less repulsive for one gender. The game can work just as well with no beefcake, no cheesecake or no functional anything. These are all marketing tools, not the definition of RPGs.

I agree wholeheartedly. I'm posting from work(during breaktime) and had to keep it short. I had trouble expressing what I meant.

I fully support making games as all-inclusive as possible. I meant to simply use artwork as one example, not a foundation point.

You weren't wrong. Art contributes greatly to the game's presentation, and that affects the perception people have of the game.

In the other thread about this video, I was mentioning how many RPG (fantasy) books present the game as "being bad ass and killing dragons", even if this is a first degree reading of its cover. Even if this presentation is gender neutral, it does "talk" more to a young boy's audience than a young girl's audience.

That's cool to a certain extent; good marketing needs a central theme and a target audience, but I wish there was more in the way the hobby is presented that would also attract a young girl's audience. As I said in that other thread, I'm not sure how I feel about a "pink-packaged" RPG targeting girls specifically.

But the presentation of the game IS changing. That video is a change in presentation (assuming it was not aimed a the already converted mass). Perhaps there enough women in the hobby now to serve as role model for young girls to give RPGs a try.

Freehold DM wrote:

anti ship ballistic missile into a populated area.

This is why you will never be president.

Well I guess the idea is to zap them before they get to the populated area. Same goes with the jaegers for that matter; they seem to create just as much destruction as the kaiju themselves...

Josh M. wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Josh M. wrote:

Just let players play, and treat and players like you would treat anyone else.

If we stop singling people out for playing because of their gender/race/etc, maybe it'll stop being an issue altogether. Acting shocked and surprised whenever a non-neckbeard is interested in something geeky, just reinforces the stereotype and wards others away from the genre.

Shocked and surprised is one thing. Noticing the demographics and trying to figure out how to shift them is another.

Alright, that's fine too. I'm all for balancing out the cheese/beefcake eye candy, I'm a big fan of practical armor art for characters, etc. To be fair though, a few ladies I know are actually big fans of Seoni's attire, and scantily clad barbarians for that matter. More balance on both sides would be a good thing.

I don't think it's about eye candy at all, in one way or another. It's about making a game that can be inclusive for all, not just less repulsive for one gender. The game can work just as well with no beefcake, no cheesecake or no functional anything. These are all marketing tools, not the definition of RPGs.

RPGs have the potential to attract women just as much as men, but presentation of content makes it that people outside the hobby think that RPGs are a boy's club game. It's changing, but the fact that there are female players who are very much into RPGs around our tables doesn't mean that there's no perception issue; it only confirms that the game can please all. That's the crux of the issue; we as role-players know that, but we shouldn't take it for granted that those outside the hobby do know this as well as we do.

What I like about this video, and it echos my work with 10-11 years old kids when I was a camp councilor, is that education a young age will help fight stereotypes at later age. The message that struck with me is not that young girls ended liking the game, it's that they wouldn't have even considered trying the game otherwise. And boys, well, they were not about to invite the girls on their own either.

This is all pretty typical of children of this age mind you, with development of identity and all. But more so the point in showing our kids different avenues. Boys will still play DnD as G.I. Joes with swords and that may not interest a 10-year-ol girl, but at least they will know of RPGs and can play according to their own interests if need be. Activities and interests are polarized at this age but they generally meet-up a later age. Why is it not the case with RPGs (or in a more balanced proportion anyways)


Pyrrhic Victory wrote:
I think kids will want to do what their parents do and younger siblings will want to do what older siblings do.

Don't forget peer pressure, or at least the influence of friends, in one direction or another.

I've been a camp counselor for a few years, and I used to play D&D with my groups of kids (11-12 years old). I had groups of boys, groups of girls and mixed groups depending on the year. I'd say that with boys, 80% of them had a genuine interest in the game, and 20% were there just to be with their friend. Some of these tag-alongs ended-up enjoying the game, some didn't.

With girls it was almost the other way around; 20% had a real interest, and 80% were there to be with their friend. Again, some ended-up adopting the game, some dropped. Yet most of them wouldn't have tried the game otherwise.

Pyrrhic Victory wrote:
There is nothing inherently about girls or rpgs that keeps the two apart.

No one is saying otherwise. As a matter of fact that was the point of the documentary.

But that isn't necessarily the perception that people have of RPGs, and that too was a point of the documentary. Roleplayers often ignore this because a) they are female and they are playing already or b) they have female players around their table.

Much of RPGs' marketing is aimed at boys, even if it is done unconsciously. Fantasy RPGs are not only about being bad ass and killing dragons, but that's often the first image you'll see when picking up a RPG book. That's usually what you hear boys bragging about in the schoolyard. That's what the mass imagine roleplayers are doing.

Can girls enjoy being bad ass and killing dragons? Off course they can. Is there anything wrong about girls enjoying being bad ass killing dragons? Off course not. Is it wrong for us to encourage girls to be bad ass and kill dragons? That's debatable, but it can't be worse than for boys anyhow. Will being bad ass killing dragons attract more young boys than girls? I do think so, especially at that age.

That's why I'm not surprised about the fact that RPGs are perceived by the mass as a boy's game.

Aranna wrote:
We can enjoy RPGs as well as boys do. I think it's marketing more than anything. If you told people it's an interactive novel played by a group of friends I think you would have just as many girls as boys signing up to play. But marketing it as GI Joe with swords isn't very appealing to anyone except adolescent boys.

Can't agree more, but the thing is, we ARE making it GI Joe with sword. The covers of most RPG books points to that. The way RPGs are publicized points to that. Half the threads on these boards points to that. The feel when a girl approach a bunch of boys playing RPGs points to that. To a great extents, the culture of RPGs points to that. As an adult, you obviously have been able to see past that, but the documentary was about pre adolescent girls and boys.

I've been advocating what you said for years, sometimes with more success than others, but much of what people experience when approached for the first time about RPGs is mostly GI Joe with swords. These are not only my impressions, but that of those that I try to bring into the RPG world. And these are not necessarily female either.

K177Y C47 wrote:
As a self proclaimed brony (sort of. MLP is not exactly aimed at older girls either but meh), I must say, keep my D&D away from my MLP. Last thing I need is an Alicorn dropping in going all Super Saiyan and destroying the BBEG with love and friendship :P

Did I brought up MLP? I almost did, then retracted.

I'm torn with the concept of a "pink packaged" RPG (not that MLP is that pink packaged, but you get the concept). On one side, it would bring young girls to the world of RPGs, and once they are familiar to this world of gaming, transitioning to other RPGs would be easier at later age.

On the other hand, it would enforce the concept that there are RPGs for boys, and different ones for girls. While I do think there should be different types of RPG, I don't think they should be as polarized as gun-packaged G.I. Joes and pick-packaged barbie dolls (even if they are both essentially the same toy).

Still, the mainstream RPGs (or what the mass know of RPGs) can easily be perceived as G.I. Joes with swords... It is changing a bit, and I'm happy with the direction where things are going (and to give credits where credits are due, Paizo is very proactive about making the game as inclusive as possible for all).

All that to say that I am not surprised to hear that young girls are not attracted to RPGs like boys are, even if the game itself can appeal to all.

TriOmegaZero wrote:
Aranna wrote:
I think people are attaching beauty unnecessarily when in reality it's more about appearance.
Amen. Having a high Cha does not mean you are beautiful. It means you have a high appearance, and those things are not the same.

Most adventurers who see devils and demons with super high CHA score would agree. I mean despite its 23 CHA, the horned demon is not exactly a beauty-pageant winner... You wouldn't miss him in a crowd though!

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Scarletrose wrote:
It's really weird to me this whole "RPGs are for girls too" argument.

Yes, I find it weird too, but it doesn't make the fact that RGPs are mostly associated with boys less true.

Especially at this age, girls are more likely to miss on an opportunity to learn about RPGs because this is a boy's club activity (and at this age, boys often play apart for girls and vice versa). The fact that most RPGs are "publicized" around killing monsters and stealing their treasure in order to become better at killing monsters may not attract your typical per-adolescent girl, despite the fact that RPGs have the potential to be much more than that that and equally please girls' interest (which I recognise as different from that of boys, if only as a construct of our society)

I don't want to go into gender stereotypes and whatnot, but it is unfortunate how girls and boys will miss on opportunities to discover new things that could define them as adult individual, simply based on how we presented to them.

Companies are making effort to make RPGs less repulsive to girls, but there is still lots to be done to capture their interest.

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Shaun wrote:
Sounds like unbelievable fun! I've come to the realization that there are a lot of these small-publisher games that I can't understand the appeal of in the least.

People around here like to make fum of Rolemaster for some reason, with stories that have more to do with stupid GM than stupid rules. Iron Crown Enterprise wasn't exactly a small publisher either, not until the 90s anyways.

As for the rules of Rolemaster, people have no idea how d20 is the love-child of AD&D and Rolemaster combined. Monte Cook's influence perhaps, who used to work at ICE before going all Planescape at TSR and eventually (co)developing 3rd ed for WotC...

Ross Byers wrote:

So by requiring 14 str for hand-and-a-half weapons, it means that you get these choices:

<14 Str (old rules) - Longsword one handed. Greatsword two-handed.

<14 Str (new rules) - Longsword two handed. Greatsword two-handed or longsword one-handed at a penalty.

>=14 Str (either) - Longsword one handed, or two handed at a bonus (more damage). Greatsword two handed (for even more damage).

This speaks to me, both mechanically and as a simulationist model.

I consider myself a low STR, high DEX person.

I don't have much training in (long)sword fighting, but I could definitely see a difference between 1-handed holding and 2-handed holding. In 1-handed, my sword arm would tire easy, my wrist would twist after parries, making me open for upcoming blows even if my "hits" were about as solid as my stronger friends'. I couldn't see a huge difference in the "damage" of my hits with a 2-handed grip (second hand would often even release upon a hit), but my parries were more solid, my counter-swings were quicker and I was altogether more efficient.

In game terms, I was suffering a penalty that a 2-hand grip was cancelling. I doesn't flatter my ego, but I works.

I like that it reinforces the "this race is generally frail and therefore use this weapon instead of that other weapon" trope which at the moment has no or few mechanical weight.

I guess that in a fantasy setting, I would rather use a lighter, quicker weapon like a hilted saber of some sort (no way I'd go without a shield!!!), which the game would allow me to use without penalties and with a similar rate of efficiency as a longsword (based of different quirks such as high crit thresholds and weapon finesse etc).


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
Heh! Actually, the last set of stats I rolled (for my Kingmaker paladin) was 18 17 15 15 13 5.

With stats like that, the "5" stands out even more...

I'm a big Star Trek fan, but I really LOVE Star Wars and its universe. (I also like Elvis Presley AND the Beatles...)

As much as episode I, II and III made me cry inside, CN's The Clone Wars made me fall in love with SW again. To be fair, episode I, II and III were really good to define the universe despite their bad dialogues and their character's questionable motives.

I like sci-fi, but I'm a fantasy guy and that's what Star Wars is. I just happens to be in space, but it's more a fairy tale than a true space opera.

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Looks to me that Pathfinder's strength is to give players a whole lot of options, and it seems to me that this is what many Pathfinder players find attractive. There's a certain beauty in systems that are kept clean, streamlined and simple, but Pathfinder's main attractiveness is in the complete toolbox that it provides, like a large collection of LEGO. Not all the parts need to be used in one creation, but they are there and available for further constructions.

As long as Pathfinder's new edition keep this philosophy, and I don't see why it wouldn't, I'm not afraid for their market niche and survival as a thriving RPG publishing company.

That being said, I do believe that some consolidation of rules, streamlining of the "core engine" and elimination of some redundant rules/concept are required at this point, maybe not as much as 5th ed D&D did, and perhaps not in the same direction but some nonetheless. I wouldn't expect a huge leap between what is essentially D&D 3.75 and Pathfinder 2nd ed, but A fresh start would be welcome from my part.

A game designer with a foot in each system and going for a "medieval" feel might use units that are easily translatable in both system such as the yard, which is close enough to 1 metre, or the league (about 3 miles or 5 km = about 1 hour of walk over flat land).

the furlong is a distance of 1/8 of a mile, which is about 200m; a long-range-yet-not-overland-distance unit that "speaks" in both imperial and metric.

The quart is close enough to 1 liter to be used a reference unit (although it being a fraction already, it would be weird to have volumes of "half-quarts" and whatnot. Not sure if it would really be necessary however...)

My user name comes from a elven fighter LARP character, so I chose an avatar that resemble me the most. My ears where shorter and my hair blonder, but it was otherwise close enough.

My RL hair is now much shorter and my beard much longer, but that's who Laurefindel will always look like.

Irranshalee wrote:

How would this change affect the classes up to level 11?

How would this change affect monsters up to CR 13?


Given your parametres and intention to streamline gameplay, I believe your houserule would work just fine.

Like Mauril said, it does make x3 ad x4 weapons less inviting since it's max damage for all, regardless of their critical multiplier (you could increase base damage of x3 and x4 weapons to mitigate that, or give them a flat damage bonus on critical hits).

Overall, damage will be lower altogether since STR bonuses won't be multiplied. This will particularly affect power attack and diminish the efficiency of power attacking creature so in the end, it will make combat longer since critical hits won't be as decisive table-turners at high-ish levels. The few max-damage critical that would not have been confirmed in a normal game won't quite make up for it, but it should compensate a bit especially a lower levels.

It will also make mobs of weak monsters a bit more threatening (20 being both an auto-hit and auto-critical can make goblins a bit more dangerous against heavily armoured characters).

Well, these are all a holdover from D&D 3.0 IIRC, or at the very least 3.5, so I don't think Pathfinder's designers are that demented. Well they may be, but not on account of this rule ;)

The values are off IMO, and doesn't account for acclimatisation, but I believe environmental damage should exist.

In the dead of winter, when I'm acclimatised to the cold, I can take a flat -30 when dressed properly for quite a long while, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't survive a night out, undressed at -10 with wind factor bringing it down to -30 if I fly to the antarctic in what would be the middle of my summer.

The rule is there to say "you can't waltz through a blizzard unprotected, or in a desert, or in the heart of a volcano, without some kind of risk*". Adjust the values to what makes sense to you.

*but since Endure Elements is a 0-level spell, hot and cold temperatures are such a ridiculously easy hazard to overcome that you might as well remove it from the game...

Kirth Gersen wrote:
JoeJ wrote:
Low magic does not necessarily mean low level or low power, however.
By 6th level, you can replicate most if not all of what Lancelot and John McClane can do. The only mythological sources E6 won't approach are things like the exploits of the Norse gods, or a few particulars of the Irish Táin Bo Cuailnge.

There is a certain satisfaction of playing mid-levels (let's say 7th thru 12th) that allows you to fight small armies of minions, surviving dangerous traps and avalanches, or being thrown out of the window after a good fight and still have the oooph to keep going. The problem is that at those levels, magic is starting to steal the show.

E6 does a good job of keeping magic under control, but it also does a good job of keeping what I call the "Hollywood cinematic action style" relatively tame. E6 does it great, but it doesn't solve every issue.

Level 7th to 12th are great, in many ways they are my favourite; it allows you to fight longer, fight creatures and overcome challenge of too large a scale for levels 1-6. Mechanically speaking, bonuses start to be meaningful, abilities are making a big difference between one class and another. The engine seems to run at optimal RPM. But by RaW, levels 7-12 is where magic starts to become problematic. Casters have enough spell slots to be carefree (let's say generous) with their spellcasting, characters really start to collect the big 6 and spells start having serious world-altering consequences. Magic becomes indispensable, not merely useful, and I wouldn't mind turning it down a notch or two, of figure out a way to play with magic on a dial of "1".

After all these years, I can't believe a 3PP hasn't come with a "how to run low-magic in your campaign" book that didn't become "forget about this game, play that one instead".

TL;DR: Levels 1-6 is "realistic" D&D, levels 7-12 is "blockbuster action movie" D&D, but it's also where magic become too much IMO. E6 solves many issues with remarkable simplicity, but low-magic 7-12 would be just awesome.

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1) The gods actually can't/aren't allowed to due to rules that are above them.

2) The gods ARE meddling and interfering; that's why there are clerics. For whatever reason, that's the best and most efficient way they found to influence the world.

3) The gods are less powerful that they'd like us to believe, and can't split their focus that much. Manifesting would mean thousands of clerics without power and that's would be really bad rep for business...

4) There are no such things as gods; only powerful individual (clerics), the believes and constructs of societies (religions) and a few benevolent/malevolent spirits than answer to divination spells. TIt's just a big mascarade and everyone powerful enough to know that agrees that it's better that way.

Aelryinth wrote:

Hit points are 'warrior's magic'.

You expend hit points to avoid debilitating injury.


Yeah, that's how I like to look at hp myself.

In my case, it doesn't have to be magical, but hit points are definitely spent rather than lost. Hit point is what you spend in exchange of not being severely wounded (and therefore you don't suffer penalties regardless you have 100 hp left or 1 hp left).

For me, hit points are like playing an old school arcade game driving a car and dodging incoming traffic. There's a part of skill, there's a part of luck, there's a part having a solid car, there's a part of knowing how much coins you still have in your pocket and there's a part of knowing that you're having a good stretch so far but your luck won't hold forever.

The good part about d20/D&D/Pathfinder is that hit points can be visualized/interpreted the way you want because the fluff is just darn abstract.

The bad part about d20/D&D/Pathfinder is that hit points are fluffed back into injuries because healing is just darn specific.

I'm not sure if I liked 4E way of regaining hit points by being yelled at, or losing them be splitting your focus on your enemies, but they at least fully embraced the abstract nature of hit points and I wish Pathfinder was going a step further than 3.5 in that regard.


Witch's Knight wrote:
Would you be willing to give up the sacred cow of scaling Hit Points with your level if you had working dodge/parry mechanics to mitigate damage with instead?

No I wouldn't, because (as it was said above) damage scales too much with levels (or CR).

After a few levels, missing an active defense save or receiving a critical hit (or whatever gets to you immutable pool of health points) would immediately spell death, which becomes a bit to much binary for me.

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137ben wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:

from a purely campaign setting perspective, I think that in a world where arcane/divine magics are perfectly opaque with each other and with all spell-like abilities and most (all?) supernatural abilities across all known planes of existence, psionics ought to be opaque as well.

Under the default ruleset, arcane and divine could not be more transparent to each other if they tried. Protection, detection, and dispel mechanics work equally well from both sides. What do you see that's opaque? Differing spell lists alone do not define opacity.


The biggest divide between arcane and divine I can think of is prestige classes which advance arcane casting but not divine and vice versa. That also applies to psionics even under the default transparency (prestige classes which advance manifesting don't advance casting, and vice versa).
In fact, even under the default magic-psionic transparency, psionics is still more opaque with magic than arcane and divine magic are with each other, since psionic powers count as spell-like abilities. An arcane caster can counterspell a divine caster, but not a manifester.

yes, I meant transparent, my mistake, which is why I said psionics ought to be transparent as well.

LazarX wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:

from a purely campaign setting perspective, I think that in a world where arcane/divine magics are perfectly opaque with each other and with all spell-like abilities and most (all?) supernatural abilities across all known planes of existence, psionics ought to be opaque as well.

Under the default ruleset, arcane and divine could not be more transparent to each other if they tried. Protection, detection, and dispel mechanics work equally well from both sides. What do you see that's opaque? Differing spell lists alone do not define opacity.

Sorry, got confused with wording. Let me correct it:

From a purely campaign setting perspective, I think that in a world where arcane/divine magics are perfectly transparent with each other and with all spell-like abilities and most (all?) supernatural abilities across all known planes of existence, psionics ought to be transparent as well.

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Kazaan wrote:
The "serious blow into a less serious one" relates to the massive damage rule. If you have 101 or less total HP, massive damage applies if you take 50+ damage in a single attack; if you take 50+ damage from any single attack, you must pass a fort save-or-die.

Like thejeff, I too believe that it relates to the fact that a hit dealing 20 hit points is a killing blow for a low level character, but only a good scratch for a high level adventurer. The fact that it has more hit points doesn't mean its skull got thicker or that its body contains a higher volume of blood, but that he has learn to turn a lethal blow in a less serious one (i.e. more hit points)

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from a purely campaign setting perspective, I think that in a world where arcane/divine magics are perfectly opaque with each other and with all spell-like abilities and most (all?) supernatural abilities across all known planes of existence, psionics ought to be opaque as well.

I think that if the game was less reliant on constant use of magic; it would work. Otherwise, a setting's believability relies so much on its inhabitant's ability to shield themselves from magic, protect their home with magic and dispel magic with magic that the prospect of having powerful psions wrecking havoc in the antimagic zones and whatnot frightens me. I guess i could make an interesting settings where psions double-up the mages and priests for protection against rogue psions, or where psions "traps" are set here and there create a climate of paranoia from the population etc. It would have to be a central theme to the game, but the ramifications of such a setting are daunting...

Playing low magic in d20/3E/Pathfinder is going to be a different game; same basic system, but a different game nonetheless. I requires adjustment on the player and GM's sides.

Playstyle needs to be adjusted.

Players' expectations need to be adjusted.

Tactics and strategies will need to be adjusted.

Monsters (and their CR) will need to be adjusted.

The same way playstyle, expectations, strategies and challenges need to be adjusted when going from D&D to Warhammer fantasy, or whatever. Only, the rules are more familiar.

If one comes to a low-magic game expecting things to run as RaW, he/she will have a bad experience. As joe said, some potential problems end up being a non-issue with the proper style of play, or forces another dynamic turning the problem into an interesting dynamics.

Healing in one example; it will take a few days to go from niet to full. That changes the pace of adventures, 'cause that's the pace to be expected in a low-magic game (houserules non withstanding). That would likely be the same with other low-magic RPGs.

It means that this monster with DR 15 is now crazy powerful. That's OK, just treat it as a powerful monsters. Pathfinder is full of powerful monsters, and a GM who wants to over CR its encounters will do so regardless of low-magic/high-magic.

boring7 wrote:
Thinking further on the topic, Low magic settings also usually just don't make sense. If magic is real and magic works (...)

why are you making this assumption?

And even if it does, perhaps not everyone can become a caster. Kind of a Star Wars/jedi relation

Even D&D had had a descent low magic-setting (Birthright)

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Arthun wrote:
I am curious - what are the reasons a player has for wanting to play a low magic campaign?

there can be a few

1) Player is tired of the impression of magic-wins-all.
2) Player is tired of blinging-up like a magical Christmas-tree just to keep-up.
3) Player wants to play in a setting akin to (insert low-magic fantasy movie or book).
4) Player wants to have a feel that magic is rare and mystical.
5) Player likes d20/3e/Pathfinder but doesn't like that 50% of the game is about casting spells/receiving spells/saving against spells.

d20/3e/Pathfinder is magic-heavy. In order to function as intended, magic occupies a huge amount of the game. Magic isn't just a useful tool; not having magic is a huge handicap.

Please see this comment as an observation rather than a negative criticism. For most players, magic-heavy is fun. For others, the default level of reliance on magic is just too much. Yet d20 is very strong and flexible RPG engine, and one that most players know, so people want to "fix" it to fit their preferred style of play.

Rachel Carter wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions. I'll have to double check with my players if it is really something they are interested in... One played a system where something like this was part of it as mentioned above (L5R I think) and they brought up the suggestion. Thanks for the feed back everyone.

I think that if you and your group are interested in this mechanics, you should try it. People on this board are pretty vocal against damage penalties, but there's nothing like first-hand experience to make-up your mind. What people mean by "not fun" generally means "not fun for them".

There are a few reasons as to why damage penalties in D&D/Pathfinder often don't work as intended however.

1) Unlike L5R and 7th Sea, d20 doesn't offer much strategies to fall back to when you start to run low on hit points other than "hitting harder and hope the baddies will drop before you do". At best you can do nothing and put yourself in full-defense, but offense almost always trumps defense in this system, and there are few alternate supporting actions.

2) Damage penalties rarely affect spellcasting, thus making casters yet-again superior to melee characters who are more likely to end-up with those penalties in the first place.

3) Yet another thing to track/remember. Pathfinder is rule heavy; it doesn't take must more to make it unbearable. You can somewhat circumvent this problem by applying existing conditions, such as 50% hp = fatigued and 10% = exhausted for example.

4) The nature of hit points make it more abstract to start with. One could argue that even at 1 hp, his/her character isn't wounded but rather worn down, or strained, or just running out of luck. The 50% hp = seriously wounded isn't that clear to start with, so the "realism" argument in favour of damage penalties is hard to defend.

In the end, damage penalties is a fun concept when it prompts players to change/adapt their strategies, or else forces them to accept defeat and consider flight as a valid option. Saying that d20 is not meant for neither would be wrong, but they aren't what the system focuses on.

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Samy wrote:
The Shining Fool wrote:
I have way too often seen straight dudes playing female lesbian characters who spend the entire game trying to have sex with every female they come across.

Would it be better if we just played straight male characters who spend the entire game trying to have sex with every female we come across?

If "no", then cross-gendering isn't the problem, it's the player's sexuality level.

There are two issues at hand here:

1) player plays with themes not accepted around the table (sexuality, regardless of gender or sexual orientation)
2) player makes a ungrateful parody of cultural group (in this case gay/lesbian community)

The player's sexuality level is not the only problem; there's also a matter of respect for groups/genders/cultures that are different (although I agree that both are form of lack of respect).

A jerk will be a jerk, but it's worse when its animosity is targeted toward what's different than toward what the jerk really is. Blatant disrespect aside, I can tolerate better those who make a parody of themselves.

Aranna wrote:

Comedic goblins? The Golarion writers play too much Magic the Gathering.

...or played Warhammer 40K. Or read the hobbit. there are quite a few sources of comedic/maniacal/sadistic goblins...

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Hama wrote:


While, yes, point buy is there to mitigate injustice and make PCs relatively similar in ability, it gives them a sort of uniformity which is beginning to annoy me.

I am seriously considering of going back to the old system of roll 4d6, drop the lowest, 6 times than distribute as desired. Re-rolling all of them if the combined bonus of all the stats is +3 or less.

Any thoughts?

my prefered method is every player (even the DM) rolls 4d6, drop lowest. reroll stats under 7, write all arrays on a sheet of paper.

every player is then free to use any of the stats array rolled around the table and asign the stats in order they like. given a typical table of 4 players (+1 DM), there's usually one excellent array, one more spreaded out array for MAD classes, one array with one good stat and one terrible one etc. NPCs created by the DM uses these arays for that campaign too.

this way, players get the thrill or rolling, that player than can't roll a character to save his life still get a decent array, fairness among players is preserved and limited degrees of choice and control is allowed.


Laurefindel wrote:
but again, since binding an angle is technically a GOOD spell, your depraved EEEEEvil aligned caster can't summon it.

stress on aligned caster

... but how many aligned arcane casters are there actually?

If there aren't any and they're the only one to get planar binding, is its really an issue?

Odraude wrote:
Ross Byers wrote:
Because I'd rather an evil spellcaster prefer to call a demon to do his bidding, rather than bind an angel and force it to commit atrocities for s*~#s and giggles.
I'm actually more of the opposite on this one. I've played in a campaign where an evil lich bound and forced an angel to do terrible things. The resulting fight had us free the angel and after he helped us fight the lich, we went on a quest to redeem the angel back to his celestial glory. So I think that we shouldn't limit evil creatures to evil people, since it would close off cool storylines like the one I played through.

but again, since binding an angle is technically a GOOD spell, your depraved EEEEEvil aligned caster can't summon it.

@ Ross

scroll isn't an elegant option because the aligned caster actually knows the spell but can't use it for this purpose; got it.

Isn't this more an issue with aligned spells than planar binding however? Evil cleric can't ward itself from demons or undead, sounds a bit off "fantasy logic"

Ross Byers wrote:
This also means that the exact details of each calling/binding spell can vary based on the type of outsider. Making a deal with an Inevitable is going to be different than trying to bargain with a Protean.

Yes, the bargaining will be quite different, but the method to call it, trap it and bind it until it is coerced to help doesn't have to be different. Unless the flavour of the spell is changed to a deal/no deal type of summoning, but then it may be simpler to add planar ally to the wizard/sorcerer's list, or create some kind of lesser gate spell since it already has that "do you accept this in exchange for" without the somewhat messy "otherwise you'll be trapped forever" mechanics.

As for the infernal sorcerer, why can't he/she purchase a scroll of protection from evil for that one time? The prospect of planar binding being cast frequently enough for this to become an issue is a bit frightening. While we're at it, why should abjurations of the sort be aligned spells? It only leads to settings were evil can't fight evil properly and perhaps more importantly, good has no weapon against good.

I'd rather see planar binding like wish; a single, high-ish level spell with a list of things it can do and of things it won't (or could at a cost), rather than a dozen of scattered spells (which annoy me more as a spell tax than having to know the requisite spells to conduct the ritual).

[edit]however, splitting planar binding in [subtype] binding I, II, II as standalone spells would be more coherent with the methods used by Pathfinder in the past, even if it pleases me less.

Ross Byers wrote:
As written, planar binding has issues.
  • The reliance on magic circle (and dimensional anchor) creates a Spell Known tax on spontaneous casters, and creates problems for aligned casters.
  • It treats all outsiders the same, regardless of alignment or ethos: There is only a minimal difference between binding a demon and an angel.
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Still according the the fantasy trope, binding powerful entities is not a quick affair and is usually the culmination of many preparations. D&D represented that with the requirement of casting magic circle (and dimensional anchor) with a spellcraft check to top it off.

Personally I'm not a fan of spells that do all kinds of things simultaneously. I find it not only acceptable that planar binding relies on two other spells (and potentially assistants casting suggestion as a third spell), I find it immersing. If it were up to me, it wouldn't be a spell, but rather the result of several spells/steps as follow

A spell (or series of spells) that makes a magical prison.
An other spell (or series of spells) that somehow locates and brings the entity to the prison.
A final spell (or series of spells) that completes the binding.

Planar binding shouldn't be a spell to be cast in a hurry, or often, or lightly. If planar binding is going to give you something more than summons/controls of comparable levels, than it should also be more complicated to cast. Scrolls should be able to fix the spell tax issue, and aligned casters typically have planar ally to rely on, and perhaps it's a good thing that aligned casters cannot easily imprison the planar forces of their enemies.

Ross Byers wrote:

As written, planar binding has issues.

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  • It has jagged cuttoffs determined by spell level, not caster level, making evaluating bound outsiders an exercise in system mastery and corner-cases.
  • And the big one, it is a poorly-bounded spell (HD is a poor indicator of potency) that gets bigger with every Bestiary, and as a result exhibits loopholes, like making wish into a 6th level spell if you're not in a hurry.

Conceptually, planar binding attempts to recreate a staple of fantasy culture/literature, that is, controlling otherwise uncontrollable entities or forcing them to act in accordance to your will. Typically (still according to this fantasy trope), binding dangerous entities involve certain part of risk that the bound creature might break free, exert revenge or otherwise ruin your plans.

Except that in Pathfinder/D&D, there are plenty of ways to control powerful entities (via spells that gate, summon , dominate, command and the like) or if you can't control them, you can often manage to become one yourself.

Therefore the only niche that's left to planar binding is basically the ability to perform all kind of shenanigans that other spells prevent. IMO, the raison d'être of planar binding is always going to be able to perform things that a spellcaster can't do with other spells. Perhaps it would help to define those things and codify them, like what has been done for the wish spell.

Adjule wrote:
Ability scores won't be anywhere near previous, except maybe pre-3rd edition levels. They cap at 20, and point buy caps at 15 and 8. It won't be like in Pathfinder, where if you don't have a 20 at level 1 in your primary stat, then you are doing it wrong.

They cap at 15 at 1st level without racial adjustment, which are more generous than ever, but you're right about them being lower than in PF, but they'll be significantly higher than in 1st or 2nd AD&D. Perhaps that's a good balance point.

[edit] Actually, I expect ability scores to be comparable to 3.X/PF, only, they'll be more evenly distributed across the board and less heavily invested in one single stat.

[edit 2] ...unless players use feats, which I expect they will, in which case stat boosts will be more rare.

thejeff wrote:
It may not actually be true that they go up faster in practice, since I think they're won't be such easy access to stat booster items. Meaning base numbers go up faster, but effective numbers might not.

I hope there won't be easy access to stat booster items or if there are, that they only allow stat to be increased above 20. The answer may be in the open document; I haven't read it that thoroughly.

I've been working on my own system for the last two years (well longer than that, but the most recent iteration dates from late 2011, give or take). After reading the basic rules (never took part of the playtest), I realize I made similar decisions and took a very similar route about many aspects of the game.

I think bound accuracy is for me the main selling point, but I wonder if it will bother me that for two character with the same ability score, difference between being "untrained" and "very good at" is only two or three points on a d20 for the first tier of play, without much granularity in levels of expertise (feat change that perhaps?)

Bound accuracy also mean that attacks, skills and saves progress at the same pace, allowing the option of swapping one for another. Not sure if that's in the game, but the prospect is interesting.

Also, while proficiency bonuses progress slowly, ability scores increase a lot faster than in any other previous iteration of the game so in the end, bonuses will still escalate quite fast. Since feats use the ability score boost option, it may not be an issue.

Looking at classes, I'm still daunted by all the options and abilities. It still gives that "oh my, I need to know ALL of that" feeling that makes it daunting at first sight, and kill the simple and straightforward play that was somewhat promised.

Overall, it looks good and promising. I won't buy it until I get to see the whole PH and DMG, but it looks like a product of excellent quality.

Ciaran Barnes wrote:
The tide moves at the speed of the plot, but can just as easily he rolled for randomly.

Once you're in the game, you can randomly roll to figure out when players arrive in relation to the tides, but when designing the game world and setting, these things can be relevant (or may not, depends what you intend to do with the info)

To the OPer: if there are some intentions with the lunar calendar that are not explained in the OP, it might be easier to state what you want (or what your game needs) and work from there, rather than the other way around.

As Ciaran said above, tell us to what speed your plot needs to run, and we'll figure out that of the moons, tides and lunar calendar.

I haven't played much Reve de Dragon, but I don't recall any combat for my character.

Ars Magica, any of the World of Darkness series (except of Werewolf perhaps) and 7th Sea all have great potential for combat-lite games without feeling like 2/3 of the game's engine is lost.

Zhayne wrote:
Costless material components/the spell component pouch are also irritating to me, mostly from a visual standpoint. Playing around with bat crap or butter or toy telephones is just ... BLEAH.

I like the idea that you need to give something for magic to work with; either as a prop, a catalyst or the fact that some things magic cannot create (as opposed to recreate or multiply). But I agree that present material components feel like a bad joke or simply a price tag on a spell (as opposed to a rare but appropriate substance). I'd take more of this alchemical element of magic, or less, but I'm unhappy with this in-between.

Since we're speaking about semantics...

Dexterity (a term about "how well you do with you fingers") is used to describe one's agility with the whole body, as well as coordination.

Constitution (a term about how big, healthy and strong you are) has no baring on one's strength, stride or weight.

Intelligence in game term is about being "knowledgeable". While it is not technically wrong, this provokes conflicts about how one should roleplay its character (especially vis a vis how one should use reason), and fail to acknowledge other type of intelligence (street smarts vs book smarts effect).

Wisdom has similar issues, whereas "being wise", both in modern and archaic sense has little to do with what the stat actually does in game.

Charisma (a measure of how likable and how ready other are willing to follow you) is also used to represent how strikingly hideous creatures can be.

Strength is about the only attribute which the game use coherently with its description.

At least PF changed the name of "stat" from abilities to attributes. In a game full of "abilities", the name was rather clumsy.

Neronoxx wrote:
So i am going to be running a homebrew campaign where magic is basically non-existent. The PC's may only take levels in non-caster classes (sans gunslinger) and are each going to have a random spell-like ability, and this is the only form of magic in my campaign. Does anyone have any experience or advise for running such a campaign?

Some experience here.

From what I've seen, the system works quite well with one exception: monsters are designed with the assumption that magic is available. CR is a good scale for parties for which magic is available.

As long as you take that into consideration; the game works perfectly fine.

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