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R_Chance's page

2,738 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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The "hob" I first ran across was related to hobilar, a mounted medieval infantryman (sometimes referred to as a light cavalryman although they fought dismounted). A hobby btw is an active medium sized horse in medieval English. To "hobble" someone, or animal, is to prevent free movement. Hobilars either hobbled their horses to fight on foot or every 4th man held the horses.

I've seen the hearth reference, either Welsh or Old English, too of course, as well as "hob" or "hobin" being a short for Robert. Later "Rob" or "Robin" which makes more sense to modern ears...

Personally I find the connection of Hobgoblin (a trouble making Goblin also something to be dreaded) to Goblins and the term Bugbear (again something dreaded as well as a fey / goblin) interesting. A Goblin being the basic humanoid monster, the Hobgoblin being more dangerous and the Bugbear being the most dreaded version (which related the usage of hobgoblin and bugbear as something feared).

For me, in my adolescent mind (in the mid seventies), I connected hobgoblin to hobilar and it made sense for the hobgoblin to be a soldier-goblin. And that's what they have been in my game ever since. Larger, more militarized, and disciplined Goblins. Which is largely the D&D / PF take on them as well.

Given the multiple, and twisted, variations of "hob" just settling on something that makes sense in your own game, that has meaning in your own game world, is all you can really do. Well, and discuss the possibilities on message boards :)

Drejk wrote:
R_Chance wrote:
Drejk wrote:

The best known carpenter quit his job before becoming full-time god, and it played no role in his portfolio or dogma.
He was a stone mason actually, if you're thinking of the "J" man (not the Joker...). The carpenter bit goes back to a bad translation, as do all those parables about shaping men like wood. Given the area has a real lack of timber and a lot of stone it makes sense as well.

*conducts a quick search*

** spoiler omitted **

Is it evil to say I snorted at the 4th part of your spoilered bit? Probably :)

I'm familiar with the arguments (though not to the extent of researching it as you did), but I think stone mason / stone carver makes more sense given the severe lack of wood in the region, and the expense of importing it. Even in Lebanon, the Phoenicians had about eliminated cedar (and other woods) for shipbuilding.

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"Hob" in Welsh is hearth iirc. Putting hobgoblins in their with Brownies. And Puck was described as a hobgoblin. It's been awhile since I putzed around with the etymology of monster names though...

Drejk wrote:

The best known carpenter quit his job before becoming full-time god, and it played no role in his portfolio or dogma.

He was a stone mason actually, if you're thinking of the "J" man (not the Joker...). The carpenter bit goes back to a bad translation, as do all those parables about shaping men like wood. Given the area has a real lack of timber and a lot of stone it makes sense as well.

And you're right about smiths. Smelting metal and working it is often seen as a divine gift or magic by early civilizations. Hence the divine blacksmiths in pantheons.

Threeshades wrote:
The problem with mind flayers and beholders is the same as with using great Cthulhu in your campaign. They're way too iconic and well-known to be as strange and scary as they are supposed to be.

Even the most mundane monster can be strange and scary if played properly. Well, the evil ones anyway. The good can be wondrous, but not so scary...

Hitdice wrote:

The minis argument is always a bit weird. 3e is the first rulebook I remember that offered grid diagram examples in the PHB, but all the movement rates and distances in AD&D were listed inches, and the Gygax wasn't, like, speaking metaphorically.

I guess I'm on the players-not-rules-mandated side with TriOmegaZero.

Exactly, movement used to be defined in inches. We used miniatures and rulers from the beginning just like we did for miniature games. We used a grid for dungeon and indoor settings from the beginning because it made it easier. When non-miniature gamers began to get into RPGs is when theater of the mind became a thing. The idea that 3.x is the first set of rules emphasizing miniatures is what I find odd. I guess it just depends on when you started and who you played with.

We always used miniatures, but we started with the old Chainmail miniature rules and wondered into the original D&D game. The only version of D&D I haven't played / DMd is 4E. I read 4th (the original core 3 books) decided it wasn't for me and gave my books to someone who liked it. Honestly I don't remember much about the read through though. Miniatures always helped with visualization and eliminated confusion about what / who is where for us. So, yeah, I'd say TOZ has it. It's the players who dictate miniatures. I've known groups who've never used minis as well (although I've never hung with a 4E crowd, so I've no clue there). To each, their own on minis, maps, etc..

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Irontruth wrote:

An M1 Abrams tank could be used for my daily commute (they get about 0.6 mpg). That doesn't mean it's the best choice.

In the event of traffic jams it might just be perfect... ahem. Just thinking of my last trip down to LA :)

hiiamtom wrote:
SmiloDan wrote:
Couldn't they come out with "The Dungeons & Dragons Campaign Sampler" and include a bunch of campaign settings in it? Kind of how the DMG has details on a variety of planes (Arcadia, Mechanus, Acheron, etc.) and fantasy styles (Sword & Sorcery, Gothic Horror, Epic Adventures, etc.).
I think it could work well, but the only way it makes sense is in a PHB2 type book that has a major player rules expansion.

It would make sense if it was spun as a "multiverse" bit. Showing the connections between the core Forgotten Realms material plane setting and a number of other material plane settings. How they are connected, how they could be used in a campaign and, of course, information on the settings. More popular ones could get expanded treatment in other books (adventures etc.). Kind of a handbook of the planes for the material planes. And a regular handbook of the planes would be nice as well...

Original D&D. 15 years old. Fun times. Damn, I'm getting old... well, beats the alternative.

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We used to play Napoleonic and medieval miniatures in the early 70s. Added D&D in 74. "Grognard" has never been a negative term around here. Well, except when I have by British or Austro-Humgarian troops on the table...

I know the feeling. I'm missing a couple of Dragons and a couple of it's forerunner the Strategic Review. It's a bit of a pain to plow back through them looking for stuff despite several indexes, but fun just to see it. And the non D&D articles on Traveller and other games. They turned out a CD Rom compilation of Strategic Review and Dragon (The Dragon Magazine Archive) up through issue #250. It helps; you can print out miscellaneous articles if you want hard copy. It has a front end that allows you to navigate the files year by year (if you have the correct disc inserted) go to a specific issue, but all the magazines are on the discs in PDF format numbered. I generally just drag it out and drop a copy on my desktop. I really need to archive them in case the discs go south on me. A modern PDF viewer allows a much improved viewing format over the old program. It was turned out late TSR / early WotC. Alternity was new and AD&D (2E) still ruled. Good days.

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1974. Summer. July. One of my friends picked up a copy of D&D. Described it as "like the Chainmail fantasy appendix" (which we were already playing in miniatures). Great I thought. Played it, and it was better than that. YOU were in the game. Hooked immediately. By August me and my brother had our own copy. *sigh* So much time to play with... I'm surprised I graduated from high school :)

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Forgot, but you can get the Stars Without Number: Free Edition pdf on Drivethru RPG. For free, obviously. They have the free Mandate Archives PDFs as well, there are several of those. Another Sci Fi RPG, but not so simple, would be Mongoose version of Traveller. If you like older versions of Traveller, those are available as CDs, typically one per version (Classic, MegaTraveller, TNE, T4, T20 and the new Traveller 5) from Far Future Enterprises. Traveller, as much as I love it, is not simple. Especially T5. SWN has stayed fairly straight forward. Anyway, although SWN and Traveller have background settings they can be played without setting specific material. Other setting agnostic systems that I know / have are largely out of print.

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Stars Without Number. It's OGL, class based (standard 3 classes) and sandbox. Think of an OGL Traveller. Starships, etc. There are a number of supplements, free material and another related game called Otherdust (think a gritty nanite based Gammaworld). It's very well done.

Skeld wrote:
Greylurker wrote:

Season 2 seems to have gotten the go ahead only they are calling it a Sequel instead of a new season.

The distinction could leave them open to go a whole lot of different directions with it.

I came here to say that and post this.

Excellent! I, literally, just finished the last episode, logged on to check the boards before bed, and bingo, news that there's more to come. Life can surprise pleasantly on occasion.

Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Marc Radle wrote:
Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Is it me, or is the overall quality of the trailer falling short of a lot of fan CGI I've seen lately?
Wait ... what trailer???

Trailer released at Comicon I do acknowledge the movie homage in the opening sequence, given that the series and ship name is Star Trek:Discovery.

Does anyone else get it?

You mean the UFO sighted during STS120 by the Discovery? That was on 10/31/ ?year 2007 0r 8. This is the only thing that comes to mind right away...

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Hama wrote:

Friend seen it. Says it is not. :( That makes Hama sad.

Too bad, that would have been symmetry. Any way, there's a new Star Trek RPG announced by Modiphius using their 2d20 system. Called Star trek Adventures, it covers everything but the new movies with a summer 2017 release. Should be interesting. I'll probably wait a week before seeing Beyond; it's opening weekend tomorrow and it'll probably be crowded. Well, no probably, it will be crowded...

Hama wrote:

Final trailer

Ok, definitely NX-01?

Looked like it.

For those of you who like well written military history on obscure topics, I'd suggest "Medieval Maritime Warfare" by Charles D. Stanton. It covers pretty much all aspects of the topic including the ships, navigation, logistics, crews, strategy and tactics. To quote the back sheet "Covers the sea wars fought by the Byzantines, the Muslims, the Normans, the Crusaders, the Italian City States, the Vikings, the English, the French, the Hanseatic League". This is not a topic that has received a lot of scholarly attention and it's well written. Three of my degrees are in history, and sad to say, a lot of historians can't write. Really, really, can't. Not just kind of can't...

Anyway, the author is a retired U.S. naval officer who went off to Cambridge after serving to study history. His specialty, and prior book, is on the Normans in the Mediterranean. it's good too, but more specialized. This one is broader, a virtue in an underserved specialty.

Aside from being interesting in and of itself, my mind was ticking over the aspects of how it would adapt, and change, in an RPG. Always a bonus :)

SmiloDan wrote:

R_Chance wrote:

If you can't find a PBP game, it sounds like a VTT is your best bet then. I've considered several, but haven't settled on one yet. I GM face to face. I don't have the time to both GM and play. A VTT might solve that problem for me, but like any game, finding the right table and players is always a problem... good luck!

*edit* That's a bit odd. There was nothing below Nohwear's post, I took a minute to type and when I posted, bingo, a post from SmiloDan shows up ahead of mine. Oh well... back to work on my game. Prep work makes for a happy DM.

What does VTT mean?


Virtual Table Top?

Yes. Basically they are supposed to allow the equivalent to face to face gaming at a distance. With mixed success I gather. Still, it you don't have a local group, want to play or GM for a change, or want to play a different game, it seems to be a good method.

If you can't find a PBP game, it sounds like a VTT is your best bet then. I've considered several, but haven't settled on one yet. I GM face to face. I don't have the time to both GM and play. A VTT might solve that problem for me, but like any game, finding the right table and players is always a problem... good luck!

*edit* That's a bit odd. There was nothing below Nohwear's post, I took a minute to type and when I posted, bingo, a post from SmiloDan shows up ahead of mine. Oh well... back to work on my game. Prep work makes for a happy DM.

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I think a lot of people didn't notice the high barrier to entry for Pathfinder because they were already playing 3.5 and it was an easy transition. Unless you were new of course. It's easier to see looking back from 5E because of it's relative simplicity.

If you want a simple fast D&Desque science fiction RPG try Stars Without Number. It's an OGL (and OSR) game with great sandbox support and scratches that Traveller itch rather well. There are a number of supplements for it and a related (and compatible) Gamma World type game / setting called Otherdust. Mutation by nanites for that old school mutant feeling. They are both excellent and there are a number of free products (PDF) by the author that can add to your game. Really good stuff imho.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

I don't mind bounded accuracy with some proficiency thing, but what I WOULD LIKE is for 5e D&D to be more like AD&D than Pathfinder!

What do I mean by that?

Bounded accuracy actually makes 5e LESS like AD&D in just about everyway, from Thief Skills to Fighters (which in prior editions before 4e being able to hit better JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE FIGHTERS). Bounded accuracy makes the game more reliant on Ability Scores, than experience and class abilities.

Not at low level. In OD&D (and AD&D) Fighters got better faster as they levelled up. Everybody started out about the same (needing a 10 to hit an unarmored enemy). Fighters went up in hit probability in 3 level jumps, other classes in 4 (Clerics, Thieves) or 5 (Magic Users) level groups.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

Sure, Fighters get multiple attacks, but heads up...they also get multiple attacks in Pathfinder, AND in AD&D.

Multiple attacks was in the original Chainmail combat system that OD&D used. Not in the "optional" (new d20 based system from Book I of OD&D). Fighters did get multiple attacks against opponents of less than 1 hit dice in OD&D. That is Goblins (1-1), Kobolds (1/2) and Skeletons (1/2). You could add Giant Rats to that after Greyhawk. Other than that it was 1 attack in OD&D. AD&D gave multiple attacks slowly... iirc a 7th level fighter got 5 attacks in 4 rounds. Then it went 3/2 for level 7-12, then 2/1 for level 13+. Rangers and Paladins went up a bit slower in multiple attacks as I recall. I don't have my old books in front of me at the moment. 2E AD&D was a bit different too I think.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

What Pathfinder and AD&D (and OD&D before that and B/X, and BECMI, see a trend there??) did differently is that fighters could hit better with weapons simply because of what their class was.

After 3rd level, yes. Fighters weapon proficiency in 5E makes them better with a wide range of weapons from the get go.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

To me, that's actually one of the basic core tenets of D&D, and without it, well, you might as well be Paladium Roleplaying game or other systems where you have something similar to 5e.

Paladium RPG? It's been a looong time since I played it, but I don't remember too many similarities... I just remember giant amounts of damage...

GreyWolfLord wrote:

If 5e just did something like...Fighters got to double their proficiency bonus with weapons...I might not have such a bad taste about 5e.

Fighter in 5E have the same starting advantage they always had, more / better weapons and more hit points. Everything else came later. It was "baked in" to the class, but I think fighters in 5E get better as they level up too.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

Similarly, prior to 3e, Thief/Rogues had skills that were special to them. Even 3e and PF sort of recognize this, and though others can get trapfinding...overall that's a speciality that identifies the Rogue or classes that replace your Rogue in your party.

It isn't normally going to be a Fighter with a Criminal background...etc...

Rogues get a bonus to a few skills of their choice in 5e, but it should be expanded to automatically be for specific Rogue skills. Rogues aren't necessarily a ton better or get a ton more skills than everyone else...and overall, success is more reliant on what their ability score for that skill is rather than how much experience or what they've put into the skill.

Yes, Thieves skills were specific to them... and they pretty much sucked at them. The only thing they were really good at in OD&D / 1E AD&D at 1st level was climbing walls. 87% for the win. The standard method of escape for them :) Everything else was 10-25% as I recall. You had more of a choice in 2E where you could pick where to put your percentages iirc. I think there is a truth in what you say about this, but it's a trade off between being better overall and having others play in your sandbox and being poor at it but no one else could do it (well, except Assassins and Monks).

GreyWolfLord wrote:

In otherwords, 5e made things FAR more focused on ability scores rather than what a class is and what a class can do.

I think the assumption is that you'll have higher ability scores in what your class focuses on and raise those abilities as you level up versus raising characteristics that aren't as useful for your class. They've given you choice in 5E, but that includes bad choices (for your class) or, if you prefer, more flexibility in play style for each class. People have been whining about the "lack of choices" in 5E character generation / builds without realizing the choice is there. Imho, of course.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

No one mentions this giant in the room, I think because most don't realize that in many ways this goes counter to what Pre-2000 D&D was, and in many ways still goes counter to what pre-4e D&D was.

In Pathfinder, ability scores are important...but your class has inherent abilities which grant you things that your ability scores can affect but not really dictate.

Which, to an extent, is why Pathfinder requires a ton of base classes arch-types to do what 5E does with fewer classes / arch-types.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

I feel 5e is different and focuses purely on the ability scores rather than what your class is and what things you gain from it. It dilutes the Experience system and how you gain and grow in power from your experiences.

To each, their own. I've played, and enjoyed, every version of D&D / AD&D (except 4E). They are all different from each other.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

In OD&D, the maximum bonus you got from your ability scores was a +1. That's right...a +1. In addition, you had to have a score higher than 16 to get that.

No. Not after Greyhawk anyway. A 13 Dex got you a +1 with missile weapons, and a 15 Constitution got you a +1 on hit dice. After Greyhawk Constitution got you up to +4 (only Fighters could get above +2) and Strength gave bonuses up to +4 (again, only Fighters could get above +2 iirc). And yeah, except for Dexterity bonuses required 15+. In the beginning only Dexterity (8 or under) gave a penalty (-1 with missile weapons), after Greyhawk there were penalties for low Strength and Constitution iirc. Mostly, the classes Prime Requisite effected experience gained, with bonuses of up to 10%. There were other odds and ends in there too.

GreyWolfLord wrote:

This idea of having to have a score at least as high as a 16 to even consider getting a +1 continued to AD&D (though DEX and CONS lowered to 15). B/X and BECMI reduced it to much lower, but AD&D 1e and 2e kept that spirit where your abilities as a class rather than your stats that you rolled, were more important.

5e throws that out to the wind in some ways...HOWEVER...I actually could be happy with 5e if it simply made it so a martial who had a 10 STR could actually hit better than a Wizard with 10 STR.

That probably would appease me, though a Rogue with expanded abilities beyond what 5e granted them would probably make me even happier.

PS: You could also include Saves into that as well...but overall, I don't mind the save system that much, in some ways it's just as broken as Pathfinders...though in some instances it is better, and in some it is FAAAAAR worse.

A "martial" with 10 Strength will hit harder than a Wizard. Because he has better weapons :) Just like the original game. 5E is a different game than previous editions. I think it's closer to earlier editions than 4E. And it's a game I'll play and enjoy. Which, mind you, I could do with 2E or OD&D with Greyhawk and the other supplements.

SmiloDan wrote:

If only there was a fellow time traveler who knows (of) the Flash AND Doctor Who....

That would be a fun crossover.

SmiloDan wrote:

And as a side note, how bad of a break-up does a couple have to go through for one half to end up in DC, and the other half in the Marvel Universe?

Taylor Swift kind of bad. Her and any of her son... er exes.

I thought that was one of Travellers more interesting features. You had to balance stacking up skills / cash / a ship versus dying and starting over. It was it's own little game, especially with Mercenary and all the later supplements year by year career progression...

I may have to pick up the Mongoose version. I have all the other older versions, excluding TNE, and T5 is a bit messy. Is Mongoose Traveller still compatible with T5?

My favorite version, mechanically and minus the Rebellion which was a bit absurd, Megatraveller.

Cool to hear that Jessica and Crystal are getting recognition / panel time at GenCon. Sad that it's so controversial / extraordinary for some people based on their gender... people can be so... annoying at times.
Anyway, Congratulations ladies. And have fun. GenCon is supposed to be fun :)

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Several people up-thread have mentioned variations on "How do they know you're really a Paladin?". Probably because the real Paladins are going to cut you into little pieces if you're not... I doubt fake Paladins are going to get off easy. So, for awhile you fake it, word gets around and your head leaves your shoulders. And the next would be fake "paladin" considers a new scam.

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I think what DigitalElf is saying is that in the old days you explored the setting, discovered the fantastical. Your character was relatively mundane, the anchor, your point of view and the really cool stuff was what you found / discovered. Now people want to *be* the cool / strange stuff (stranger than a wizard?) rather than finding it. It's like the game has moved from exploring the world to exploring your character. I still prefer exploring the world myself.

This threads back? Third time I believe. Well, time to contribute... not so much obscure as just fun and fondly remembered. Besides my D&D fixation.

Empire of the Petal Throne. And later games set in Tekumel right up to the new game, Bethorm. Incredible setting. I miss Professor Barker. If you liked Jeff Dee's art, Bethorm is his game btw...

Elric / Stormbringer. Moorcock. Angst. Philosophy. The Lords of Chaos. And I love the armor as damage reduction rule using a dice by armor type rather than hit location.

Mekton Zeta. I used it to run a Star Wars campaign. Used the vehicle construction rules to build everything from TIE Fighters to the Death Star. Star Wars fits anime themes very well.

Bushido. Feudal Japan. Great stuff. And ninja. I tinkered with a Tekumel / game using Bushido rules / ideas. Never got to run it. *sigh*

Space Opera. An rpg that came out of a set of miniature rules (rather like D&D did), Space Marine. The game was a bit of a mess, but it had a campy sci-fi flavor. A nice break from the "realistic" feel of my favorite sci-fi rpg, Traveller. I still love Traveller, and I swear I will finish reading T5 some day. And speaking of Traveller feel...

Stars Without Number. Sandbox sci-fi retro rpg goodness. Like Original D&D and Traveller had a child together...

Severe nostalgia attack oncoming. I feel the need to unpack some boxes... the wife will kill me, but the urge is strong :)

BigDTBone wrote:

TOS pretty well borked Cochrane all by themselves. He was the human who invented warp drive and he was from Alpha Centauri. So yeah... anything TNG did with that was an improvement.

He was born on Earth. He invented warp drive. On Earth. He moved off Earth. He lived on Alpha Centauri later in his life. Probably after a life time exploring and travelling. Disappeared from Alpha Centauri to be found by Kirk and company later... makes sense to me...

Snowblind wrote:

James Jacobs wrote:

Snowblind wrote:


The deity-specific paladin codes are 100% meant to exist the "normal" paladin code. The normal code is for world-neutral generic paladins, and once a paladin worships a deity on Golarion, they're no longer world-neutral and must follow deity specific codes.

If a code doesn't cover a topic, then the paladin needs to extrapolate from the code. In this case, nothing in Shelyn's code says anything about using ANY sort of poison, so she's perfectly fine using knockout poison or any other to help her live up to the code.

(Remember, while poison is often used by assassins and other evil characters, poison itself is NOT evil. Guardian nagas and couatls both have poison that can kill outright, and both of them are lawful good. It's how you use the poison that affects alignment, as with any other tool, not the mere fact that you use it.)

And there we have it.

Homebrew forum. No setting mentioned. Discussing generic Paladin Code, honor and poison. It's already been mentioned upthread that a different code might change the use of poison... and various other Paladin Codes have been mentioned. If the code in question didn't have a poison prohibition we wouldn't be having this discussion. Well, not this specific one anyway. At times people in this thread has seemed to want a distinction between lethal and non lethal poisons for the generic code. And of course the "use poison or watch children be murdered" bit has been trotted out to attack the generic poison prohibition... pretty much your standard paladin alignment / code thread :)

Makeitstop wrote:

From the paladin description under code of conduct:

Additionally, a paladin's code requires that she respect legitimate authority, act with honor (not lying, not cheating, not using poison, and so forth), help those in need (provided they do not use the help for evil or chaotic ends), and punish those who harm or threaten innocents.

Poison use isn't forbidden because of alignment, it is forbidden because of that entry about honorable behavior. A lawful good character can arguably use poison without affecting their alignment. A paladin however has both alignment and the code to worry about, and by RAW, poison use is explicitly forbidden.

I personally prefer to alter and personalize paladin codes, and prefer to allow poison use.

Given a world with absolutes of alignment, why would anyone have a problem with codes involving absolutes of behavior? Absolute prohibitions in this case. The people who do probably have problems with the alignment system too. But as Makeitstop points out this prohibition has to do with honor. For me, the no poison rule is about honor. It's not supposed to be easy. Being a Paladin. You're supposed to give, and receive, hard blows. Hard to do when the opponent is paralyzed or asleep. What have you risked then? What have you sacrificed? It's a kind of medieval mind set, but hey, my game has a strong dose of that in it.

Further I would argue that lawful good is built around codes of behavior. Hence the lawful. The Paladin's code is just pickier and more exacting than most. I would expect chaotic good characters to decide behavior on the fly, situationally btw.

All imo, of course and, as always, ymmv.

Now, could you construct a different code for a different take on Paladins? I suppose so, but then there's no need to ask questions about poison use then.

SmiloDan wrote:

I'm talking more about Henchmen classes that can be run simultaneously with a PC classed character by a player. I'm not talking about NPCs that don't level with the party or DMPCs.

For example, a gaming group has only a DM and 3 players. Say, a bard, a cleric, and a wizard. Henchmen could be a fun way to fill out the party.

In PF, we had a party of 3, and the GM gave each of us a warrior classed henchmen to control in addition to our PCs. I think our party was a half-orc inquisitor of Desna, a human fighter, and a Dark Tapestries oracle. The GM had converted an old 1st Edition module, so we needed some extra bodies to keep the PCs from being dead bodies. And it worked really well and was fun.

I've used both PC and NPC classes in that role in 3.x. My players have adventured with NPC friends and had henchmen and hirelings of various classes, PC and NPC. A simplified NPC type class is less of a burden to run (for DM or PC) than a PC class I'd agree. I imagine I'll continue to use both depending on the NPCs role and origin. For me the NPC classes are very useful in populating the world, but that population includes the people the PCs move through and around...

JoeJ wrote:

Absolutely not. Locking everybody in the universe into just a handful of classes in 3.x was one of the dumbest ideas ever.

... A handful of classes? You have large hands :D

Original D&D with just 3 classes and zero level NPCs... that was a handful of classes.

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bugleyman wrote:

No. Personally, I believe NPC classes are contrary to the spirit of 5E. The game seems to take a conscious step back from that level of simulation (and imo is better for it).

I moved into D&D from miniature wargaming (Chainmail). For us, there was always a degree of "simulation" in the game world. NPC classes (and PC classes for that matter) were a convenient way to organize and rationalize this world.

Threeshades wrote:

5th edition has an NPC class. It's called the d8.

The prefabricated NPCs in the Bestiary have been made on the same principle every other monster in the game have been made.

That, in short, is "give it hit dice until it has the desired hit points, choose ability scores, determine armor class (either by equipment or natural armor), give it attack forms (again equipment and/or natural), choose proficiencies, spellscasting and special abilities and finally determine the CR according to the DMG table from what you made"

I find this method vastly superior to having NPC classes. The NPC is much quicker to make than if you had to keep to building from a class and there are no restrictions to what it can do.

For example in PAthfinder when you build an NPC whether from an NPC class or a PC class, you have to choose a level, then build your characters ability scores, add the level bonuses, count the number of feats it gets, find how many skill ranks it has, spread those skill ranks, add them together with ability, racial and class bonuses, check its BAB add it together with everything to get the melee and ranged attack bonus, CMB and CMD, choose feats and add all bouses from those everywhere and then check what the save bonuses are and add those with all the modifiers and then choose appropriate gear and add the bonuses from that everywhere. Oh and let's not forget figuring out the spellcasting if there is any.

In 5e you put down your number of hit dice, give the character whatever ability scores, special abilities and gear you think it should have, and choose any number of proficiencies with equipment, skills and saves. Then you check what CR it has give it the appropriate proficiency bonus and add it together with each ability score you need to figure out its attack, skill and save bonuses.

So much easier, so much more open.

In short you're custom building your NPCs. That's fine in an AP. I run a sandbox and I sometimes need to produce NPCs on the fly in fairly large numbers or pre prepare a batch of NPCs to fit a role and use them as needed. An NPC class serves that goal by giving you a framework. It works for me, but ymmv. Obviously :)

I used the idea of a d8 per level for all classes btw.

Yes, it does, to answer the original question. Keep it simple. Limit them to a 10 level class on the theory that anybody higher level than that should be a PC class. They're useful for world building / populating places. Simpler than PC classes, but more flexible than the NPC types from the MM. Rough out a chart for what level different NPCs should be (plus or minus a bit). For example what level should a master smith be? What level should a typical city watchman be? One of the best features from a DMs point of view, and imho, was the NPC classes. The virtue of the cookie cutter MM NPCs is simplicity, but they have the same issue 0 level NPCs had pre 3.x. You end up using PC classes when you want something that isn't a pushover or a clone. And if you keep building tougher cookie cutter NPCs you might as well have the NPC classes in place. All in my opinion of course. Ymmv.

*edit* And yes, I'm working on my own versions based on what I used in 3.x. I started messing with them when I went to convert my own setting to 5E...

Steve Geddes wrote:
Link to the PDF.

Thanks :)

Death House. An introductory adventure for Curse of Strahd. PDF link from WotC: y%20Adventure.pdf

Downloaded it; haven't looked it over yet. It's 12 pages.

edit: Sigh, my linking skill has failed me. Just paste it into your address bar and go... and it's put a space into of "Introductory" (r y)at the end and won't let me edit it out... paste it, fix that and go.

messy wrote:

the book mentions that dragon magazine ran for over 400 issues. how did the author get that wrong?

Probably including the digital 4E Dragons.

thejeff wrote:

I dunno, we've always played with the characters being drawn into the main campaign arc from the beginning - often around the edges of the plot, but enough to set the hooks. It's worked for us.
Lots of classic fantasy stories work that way too.

The nice thing, from my point of view, is that you can have your characters initial motivations tied to the actual plot. You can use "Reluctant Heroes" and similar tropes. Rather than having to have characters who decide to start "adventuring" for different reasons and then need another hook to draw into the actual plot.

Oh, I agree, it can be done but I find it easier to set the hook in a developed character. It also allows the players more choice in the direction their characters are going to go. My PCs have walked away from epic plots. And wandered straight into others. Or just poked around and hung out with friends. A lot of players like choice in their character creation and advancement options, but don't worry too much about choices in what they do in the world (at least once the campaign starts). I've always found that odd. The most reliable way to draw players into an adventure is through their long term contacts within the setting. Players will "help a friend" or defend a place they like more readily than dive into an adventure without reason. They will dig into the mysteries of a place they are familiar with more readily than someplace they don't know. The more setting knowledge and context they have (the more buy in as it were) the better the adventure. I've run the same setting for over 40 years and it has worked for me with multiple generations of players.

Kobold Cleaver wrote:

This sounds right to me. So basically, oldschool roleplaying is a tabletop enactment of Cerberus Syndrome.

Pretty much :)

Complexity and danger build as the character became more complex and more powerful. Gritty day to day survival stories can happen in a dungeon or city for low level PCs. It builds character. And a lot of the stuff that happens to low level PCs can be funny. If occasionally fatal. More complex character driven stories take time to develop and epic stories do as well. Many APs try to do this (level 1-15+), but the epic intent is there from the start and I don't really see low level PCs as being epic material. They need to level up a bit and find their feet before they're eligible for the big time or could survive being involved with it. I see PCs percolating around the sandbox through the first 3-5 levels before they get into important stuff. Then it becomes reasonable for others (friends or enemies) to involve them. In the old days "modules" were rated by level (1-4, 5-8, 9-12 etc.) and there may, or may not, have been any connections between them (although some are famous for having that). The modules could be plugged into existing games, and many of my friends did this. I'm a bit weird -- I always did my own stuff. I always found it "fit" the setting better and often the amount of time necessary to adopt an adventure wasn't much less than doing your own.

As for content I think comedy, drama, romance and horror are all necessary for good character development :D

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I started in wargames (miniatures and board) and picked up playing D&D in 1974. I've said this before, as have others here, we didn't have backstories. The characters story was written in game. Partly it was a lack of information about the character. You had a vague idea about your fighter, he was a knight or a barbarian or a Viking or a hardened mercenary. You filled in the blanks while playing. Role playing came with knowledge of your character and his fellow adventurers. That took survival. Low level characters often had little detail to them. The character who made it to 4th or 6th level (or higher) became more "real". You had deeper story driven games with those higher level characters. My game, then and now, has a sandbox adventure area (dungeon, caverns, dark forest, etc.) where characters gain their first few levels. Players develop their characters ... character (as it were) on adventures and in town between them. As they go up in level (and have spent more time in the setting) they get more involved with the local NPCs, make friends and enemies, and do things beyond simple adventures. They wind up hip deep in a story driven game at that point. That's always worked for me (and my players).

This has always seemed fairly reasonable to me. I developed background generation systems DMing to give players a bit more information about their characters. They didn't do it, so I made up tables based on class and race. I still use them (players are free to roll or choose, always were. Nationality was also a table (or choose your own). You rolled characteristics, chose race, chose class, rolled / picked nationality and social background (tables based on class). I had to push this onto players who wouldn't have worried about how they fit into the setting. Not exactly a problem anymore :)

Personally I don't think it needs to get deeper than that for a new PC (although players are free to develop more). Fresh off the farm / manor house / squalid shanty / magical collegium characters probably don't have huge complex stories attached to them. Mostly anyway. They're beginners. Competent (hopefully), promising (maybe), inexperienced (definitely). They build that big story in game.

To me, that's old school. Ymmv, and I suspect does for pretty much everybody.

thejeff wrote:
CBDunkerson wrote:
Krensky wrote:
I've said it before, but I have to wonder how much of Fox's stubbornness regarding the Richards family is due Fox and Disney supposed positions on the opposite sides of the culture war.


Is Disney considered somehow 'progressive' in some lower circle of Hell that I am unaware of?

You're aware of it. We normally call it Fox. :)

Actually, I have no real idea if there's any truth to that. The entertainment side of Fox has always been less culture war driven than the news side.

As I recall, Fox does not have a "news division" anymore. Fox News is part of the Entertainment Division. Which might explain their version of the news...

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Douglas Muir 406 wrote:

Well, I can't really say that's "equivalent". I mean, it's nice. But it's two books. The PFSRD is 60+ books plus all rules, feats, NPCs and monsters from every module and AP, all lavishly hyperlinked to each other, and the whole thing regularly updated by a devoted fanbase. This is not really in the same class.

Doug M.

There's not that much 5E material yet. The two basic books and the Unearthed Arcana free articles are a good start though. There have been a half dozen (? 7 now) or so UA articles.

WotC hasn't finalized a license for 5E, so no equivalent to the PFSRD or SRD yet. And you won't get that until (and if) they settle licensing issues and determine what (if anything) is "open content". A lot of the current 3PP material is produced using the existing OGL. Except the WotC hardbacks produced by partners...

Personally I'm fine with the lack of material. It's not difficult to create / adapt things for 5E and I enjoy doing it myself.

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Krensky wrote:
That's why you should have bought a PS4. ;)

You meant PC right? :)

Ogre is a great game. Just tell them to read Keith Laumer's Bolo books. In one the Bolo is referred to as a "troll" by post apocalyptic humans. Hence the game "Ogre".

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A lot said about "old school" that I remember, some, not so much. Games differed. A couple of things I recall though and haven't seen too much on in this thread...

It wasn't about the PCs progression, it was about exploring a world. It could be a dungeon / nearby village or a massive city and huge setting but what was around the bend was important and unknown. And exciting. Exploration. And mapping it yourself :)

And character "story / backstory" really was written in game not pre game. What was important was what happened with your friends. That's where the stories were.

Campaigns weren't meant to go "1-20", they just went. Until they didn't.

Our games were sandbox, very little overarching save the world type stories. Possibly because getting to high level took forever without a "Monty Haul" DM :) Players set their goals in the world and the DM expanded his game to accommodate the players direction.

I run the same homebrew campaign today that I started with in original D&D. It's changed edition by edition (except 4th - I stuck with 3.5 and then PF). I'm not sure if it's really "old school" or "new". I'm immersed in it, it's built a history and mythology for itself. The adventures practically write themselves (and I have recycled material on occasion). And it saves me from spending a small fortune on adventure paths :D

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Kthulhu wrote:
It is representative of my deep and abiding love of kittens.

And how did you like them? Baked, fried, barbecued, kabobs... raw? Or was it in soup? Maybe as incense? :D

R_Chance. Random Chance. Been using variations on it for years. Played a lot of shooters with it (Doom series, Quake series, Unreal Tournament series, etc.). Got to the point where I answered to it. As for the avatar... I'm old, it fits :)

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