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452. Filling a "dungeon digging permit" application form issued by the Ministry of Evil Overlords.

453. Interviewing the new "interns", and questioning the legitimacy of their references.

454. Petitioning a new grant for the new "Devil Labour Plan" in the nine hells.

Journey RPG excerpt: Damage, Wounds, Parry Points and Recovery

Journey RPG; Parry Points wrote:

All characters and creatures possess a pool of parry points. Parry points represent the character’s ability to roll with blows, block incoming attacks, dodge projectiles and step out of harm’s way. Parry points may also represents minor cuts and bruises, or else be attributed to a creature’s determination, large size or thick hide. In short, parry points are a measure of the character’s ability to avoid being mortally injured with a combination or skill, resolve and luck.

Journey RPG’s combat rules use a variation on the typical “damage makes you lose hit points” system. The main difference is in the semantics and interpretation of what “hit points” are. In this case, hits points are renamed Parry Points.

Parry points represent your ability to avoid being injured, but they are not an indicator of how badly wounded you are. For that, there is the wounded condition which you acquire if your opponent scores a wounding hit against you, of if you fail your saving throw to resist damage (from a fireball or from a fall for example). Wounds are bad, but they are not life threatening until you are also defeated in combat.

Parry points are an active defense; a character spends parry points (equal to the attack’s damage value) rather than losing some to an attack. This is an important precision since certain conditions (such as hunger and despair) limit your maximum of parry points while some effects (like discomfort caused by cold temperature or prolonged travel) cause you to lose parry points properly speaking.

When you run out of parry points, you are not killed but become spent. A spent character no longer has the will or the energy to go on. If you were engaged in combat, you are considered defeated and lay at the mercy of your opponents. Depending on who you were fighting, you might be left for dead, wake-up chained in a cell or forced to listen to the bad guy’s monologue, or whatever. Of course you could end-up having your throat slit; GMs have the option of being nasty here.

If you were already wounded when you got defeated, you are now mortally injured and may die if no one tends to you wounds. Chances of recovery are pretty high if you’ve got friends skilled in healing, but if you are wounded and defeated by the same blow, you are killed outright.

This system was designed to be simple of use and to remove the “regaining hit points = healing” element of the game. With recovery of parry points and healing of injuries being two different things, adventurers can cope better with mundane skills and the absence of a dedicated magical healer in the typical fantasy RPG sense.

It also emphasize the importance of other mundane factors such as the importance of the bard keeping the group’s morale high around the campfire, and the safety brought by the huntsman’s judicious guiding through the wilderness, both of which will ultimately give the adventurer more parry points. As one might guess from the title of the game, traveling is an important aspect of Journey RPG.


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Hello everyone.

Making a new RPG seems to be a hip thing to do nowadays; so here’s my own roleplaying game: presenting Journey RPG!

Rather than going all Big Wall Of Text on you, I thought of presenting the game with a FAQ-style Q&A.



Q. So you wrote a RPG?
A. Yep. It’s called Journey RPG, says so in the title… (gees, do try to follow…)

Q. From scratch?
A. Well, not quite. It relies heavily on the d20 OGL, but it draws from other games such as 7th Sea and The One Ring as well. At its core, it’s still a “roll d20 plus modifiers must beat DC” type of game.

Q. Isn’t there like 100 other games like that, not to mention Pathfinder RPG, 13th Age, 5th ed D&D and SKR’s new Five Moons game? Don’t you think your timing suck?
A. There are plenty of good games, but a little indie game with a particular niche never hurts. Besides, designing games is a good hobby of mine.

Q. So you just woke-up one morning saying “I’m gonna make myself a RPG”?
A. Gees no, that’s the culmination of many years of hourserules, tinkering and playtesting. I started to really get at it when it became clear that 4th ed D&D didn’t have what I was looking for as a post 3e RPG. So at the same time as Pathfinder RPG, roughly.

Q. Whatever. So what is that game’s “particular niche” about?
A. It has more of a down-to-earth game; less high fantasy, bit more late dark age/early middle age feel. Races and monsters a bit closer to norse and celtic mythology. More focus on day-to-day challenges, less on the magical trinkets than one collects to boost its stats…

Q. Oh, historical RPG then?
A. Not quite; it’s a fantasy setting, just with less gonzo. Think more like Middle Earth.

Q. So no full plates, no magic-user and crappy weapons all around?
A. Most typical weapons are there, but no fancy rapiers and the like. There are full plates too, just not high gothic ones. Dwarves make them, and some human cultures have good enough alloys to craft plate armours too. Each culture has its own “thing”, and heavy armour is not the only way to boost your defense.

Q. Armours? With a “u”?
A. Yeah, I’m Canadian…

Q. So, no wizards? (and you forgot to say “eh” at the end, Canadian boy…)
A. Yes, yes, wizards are there. Wizardry is the youngest spellcasting tradition, alongside druids, rune-casters, enchanters and priests. Magic has received a complete overhaul. It’s not a fire-and-forget type of magic anymore, but it still relies on the concept of “spells”. Also, magic is very limited and spellcasters can quickly run out of spells without their wand, staff, crystal ball, stone circle, blessed relic etc. The scope of spells is also brought down a bit lower. In a lower fantasy setting, a spell allowing you to see in the dark can be quite powerful.

Q. Rune-Casters and Enchanters? Aren’t enchanters a type of wizard?
A. Wizards can cast enchantment spells (and can specialise in them), but enchanters cast from a different spellcasting tradition (i.e. different spell list and casting rules). Think Merlin the Enchanter; their spells are closer to D&D’s beguiler or bard, or 1st AD&D illusionist.

Q. You mentioned dwarves earlier, so you must have elves and gnomes and halflings and half-orcs as well?
A. Elves; yes. Halflings and gnomes; no. I’m trying to keep a tighter focus, but there are three human “races” to choose from. One of those branches out as half-elves, another human race branches out as half-orcs. Kind of.

Q. Ok, so we got realistic fighters and all but the most mundane abilities only available through magic… Wait, is this another “martials-can’t-have-nice-things” game?
A. Not at all! First, realism was never a design goal, and it is not a simulationist game either. As a matter of fact, the system has been simplified somewhere halfway between 3.5 and basic 5th D&D. However, the game does focus on more mundane challenges, such as environmental hazards, travel fatigue and hunger so that it becomes more about the characters’ heroism, less about their super-heroism.

Q. But I like fantasy superheroes!
A. So do I, but we have plenty of other games for that. This one is about fighting with more mundane assets and against less supernatural enemies, but without going overly gritty. The game is designed to be played in three tiers. Levels 1-5 is low-fantasy, levels 6-10 see a net progression for martial characters while spellcasters really come into their own at levels 11-15 (and where martial characters start to resemble D&D-style superheroes). The classes are segmented so that you can easily start at level 6 if you want, or stop at level 10 if you want to avoid the most powerful spells and abilities. Each tier has its own capstone ability and symmetry within the classes ensure that each character is about as powerful at these turning points.

Q. So you have five spellcasting classes. What are the others?
A. Bard, Huntsman, Knight, Rogue and Warrior. Warrior is kind of a fighter/barbarian hybrid while the knight is a bit like the Pathfinder’s cavalier and paladin. Huntsman is basically a bow-using ranger, Bard is as much a warrior as a poet and Rogue is more an agile fighter than a thief. Only the bard dabbles in magic, but nowhere as efficiently as the full spellcasting classes.

Q. No monk?
A. No, not for the moment. Journey RPG focuses on the people of the north and west. The Bruce Lee oriental-monk, the Aladdin acrobat-thief and the Jafar elemental-sorcerer will have to wait until the “east and south” extension.

Q. So five martials and five casters then?
A. Yep. The number five is kind of a design leitmotiv; five martial classes, five spellcasting traditions, five stats, five saves, five skill categories of five skills each, five schools of magic, five druidic circles etc.

Q. Alright; so the game is all finished and ready then?
A. I wish it was! It’s mostly all written, meaning there’s still a LOT to do. I’d like to have a few more monsters done too, and I’d like to expand on the travelling part, which is a great deal in this RPG. I also need illustrations. Lots. And editing. Whoah! But I hope that by posting this here it will keep me motivated and that I won’t have to compete with D&D 6th edition by the time I’m finished.

Q. And you really think this will interest anyone?
A. I was kinda hoping so… System design, open testing and designer’s notes always draw some interest, even if I’ll likely be the only one playing the game.

Q. Can’t you keep a blog like everyone else?
A. Hum, that’s an idea… For the moment, no blog; just posts.

Q. Well then designer boy, do you have anything to show yet?
A. Sure, there’s this character sheet here. I’ll post teasers weekly and see what people outside my gaming group thinks of all of this.

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Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
It was a fun massacre!

Well; that's something you don't hear everyday...

Haladir wrote:
Many genderqueer individuals don't identify with binary sex definitions.

This; intention was to be inclusive (since it was a post about inclusiveness).

Being rather clumsy when it comes to genderqueer-ness (<-- see can't even use the right word), I probably didn't use the correct term, or context.

The point was to acknowledge more than the traditional male and female as the only possible gender/sexual identities.

Makes me wonder about Pathfinder and Pathfinder Unchained...

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You guys keep attacking Kirth's post that was defending equality of sex. Go read it back and try to read past the first degree.

If we are to defend and promote that all have the same potential, I beleive giving free range all stats for both all genders is a good start...

Freehold DM wrote:
Aranna wrote:

For at least three editions running it was standard practice to toss an over the top book(s) out prior to switching to a new edition. Unearthed Arcana from 1e, Player Options from 2e, and the Book of Nine Swords from 3e.

Hm. Good point.

Interesting observation. Indeed, you can see much of the next edition in each of these books.

I wonder if they were "test runs" for the inevitable upcoming edition, or if a new edition became necessary after the new ideas brought by these books.

Tangent on Skills and Power; Player's Option

Freehold DM wrote:
Laurefindel wrote:
Haladir wrote:
Digitalelf: That's the first I've heard of the AD&D 2nd ed "Player's Options" book.

There were some good things in there, some less good.

Much was considered oh-so-broken (a wizard in studded leather; sacrilegious!) and a book for min-maxers (a paladin who can use weapon specialisation; you dirty powergamer!).

It was the dawn of character customization, even if it was still pale in comparison to 3ed in terms of system mastery.

agreed. As much as I love 3.x and pathfinder, I would have liked to go further down skills and powers road. I think the min maxing and other issues in the system would have been handled admirably by the book if allowed to thrive.

In retrospect, there wasn't that much game-breaking power-gaming stuff going on even then. Not to the degree that 3rd ed will bring anyways. It's just that is was new.

A ranger that can climb in wilderness as a rogue? A paladin who can specialize in a weapon like a fighter? A wizard proficient with a sword? These are not even raising an eyebrow nowadays, but it was breaking the class niche for the first (official) time I guess, and for the first time players were allowed to go scratch for a +1 here for a -1 there. Basically, it was a "built your own kit" toolbox, and most of the "abuse" I heard was when S&P were added to already generous kits.

Haladir wrote:
Digitalelf: That's the first I've heard of the AD&D 2nd ed "Player's Options" book.

There were some good things in there, some less good.

Much was considered oh-so-broken (a wizard in studded leather; sacrilegious!) and a book for min-maxers (a paladin who can use weapon specialisation; you dirty powergamer!).

It was the dawn of character customization, even if it was still pale in comparison to 3ed in terms of system mastery.

Freehold DM wrote:
Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:

10. Evil Lincoln is your GM. He asks "Was that your first attack of the round?" and you say "Nope." and he says "Your attack misses. No other effect."

Real suggestion: You left your sword in the scabbard. Miss, and spend a move action drawing the weapon.

That normal Lincoln guy sure sounds boring. Thank goodness for the far more interesting epic Lincoln. Despite his apparent evil.

And this was coming from the MYTHIC Evil Lincoln! Wait until you hear from the even-more-normal, not-mythic Evil Lincoln :)

thenovalord wrote:

TOR is like the books

Decipher LOR is more like the movies
MERP is good for settings in middle earth way before the books

It also depends on what campaign and style you want to play

The One Ring has mostly material specific to Rhovanion, (and soon north-eastern Eriador), which are not vistas familiar to readers/watchers of LotR and more reminiscent of Bilbo's adventures. Of all three choices, it presents themes and feel that are the closest to those of the books.

MERP, as thenovalord says, has a setting based almost 1500 years before the war of the ring and sometimes wander far from canon (if that's of any importance for you). ICE's products were also of uneven quality as it has been mentioned. Some are really good, some are terrible.

I'm less familiar with Decipher's LotR RPG, but I believe the described setting hovers more around southern vistas visited by characters in Peter Jackson's LotR (Rohan, Gondor and Mordor).

If you're willing to go outside RPG products for inspiration, I suggest Tolkien Bestiary. It's called a bestiary but it contains information on geography and flora as well, and it describes the "good guys" as much as orcs and ringwraiths.

18) Your quiver topples and empties its content on the spot and your attack misses as you curse the merchant who sold you the stuff. Further attacks are unaffected as long as you stay on the spot. Otherwise, picking up your arrows is a full round action.

14) Your opponent moves against the setting sun. You are momentarily blinded and miss an otherwise easy mark. Nasty DM version: you are also dazzled until your next turn.

15) Nothing happens. You hit if your total equal or exceeds your opponent's AC. This roll triggers an environmental effect. Your GM rules that rain starts to pour. Terrain becomes slippery on the following round

16) Bugger keeps moving. Rather than swinging wildly, you consolidate your position and thus end your round. All your attacks gain a +2 bonus on the following turn.

17) Loose rubble makes you lose footing. All further attacks this round are made with a -2 penalty.

It tends to vary, but I always enjoy a glass of wine early in the evening, and coffee later on. Beer works too and might be preferred with chips-and-candies type of snacks.

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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.

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