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Law is not Legal.
DM Pendin Fust wrote:
Mace and pentagram, GM. Swords are for followers of lesser deities.
Besides, who wants to take fashion advice from Gorum?
At the risk of derailing the thread, I think that FAQ is being overstated. It says that being able to use dimension door as a spell-like ability counts as being able to cast dimension door for PrCs or Feats. Those kinds of prerequsites exist for things that enhance a single spell or type of spell: not for spellcasting in general.
An aasimar's ability to use daylight means they are treated as casting daylight, not '3rd level spells' as a category. While that is the same number of 3rd level spells as a 6th level sorcerer, who would qualify as casting third level spells, if you cannot see the difference I believe you are being willfully obtuse.
The FAQ does not need to be reversed or undone, just further clarified. It would not be a rules change: it would be a public announcement that some people misinterpreted it.
Evil Midnight Lurker wrote:
...wait wait wait Gorum was a participant in the sealing of Rovagug?! Okay, that's either an error in the text, an error in the myth, or proof that Gorum's a lot older than his worshipers give him credit for.
I take a more mutable approach to the history of Gods, and we've noted that Varg (the Orc deity) and Gorum have certain major similarities. What if Gorum is the name humans gave to Varg after cultural contact with the Orcs? That preserves the timeline and means Varg was present at the sealing of Rovagug.
I realize the Golden Mean is itself a fallacy, but I think a lot of people here are using false dichotomies.
There is a middle ground between 'You need to describe exactly what you do in character' and 'I don't need to know, my skill ranks mean my character can figure it out'.
(Just as there is a middle ground between 'Characters have no way to talk about their abilities in character' and 'Scroll cost is a law of physics'.)
To answer the original question, we need them for the same reason the game needs other items like waterskins, backpacks, bedrolls, mundane arrows, and torches.
Can you easily get rid of needing them? Yes. Do many groups handwave them or ignore them? Yes. But they are the kind of things it makes sense for adventurers, especially low level adventurers, to carry and equip themselves with. If you remove 'trail rations' from the book, then logically they should go too because someone will ask the same question.
Why do we need torches? There's always a spellcaster in the party who can cast light.
Why do I need a bedroll or blanket? There's no penalty for sleeping on the ground.
Why do I need a waterskin? I'll just create water at will into my cupped hands.
Why do I need to track mundane arrows? They're cheap enough for me to carry hundreds, and I take more off dead enemies.
Why do I need a backpack? If I just tie everything to my belt I can draw it as a move action instead.
Food is heavy (honestly, one pound/day is pretty minimal. Just try packing supplies for a camping trip on a weight budget of one pound/day/person.)
Do you need them? I guess not, since the Survival skill lets an average commoner survive in the woods by taking ten. Or at least, eat every other day if we assume 'hungry in the woods with no supplies' is stressful and thus precludes taking 10.
But If I were packing for an overland hike, or an excursion to hunt monsters in the wilderness, you can bet I'd pack some food, just as I'm going to bring a blanket and a bedroll. They might not be necessary, but I'm going to bring them because it is much easier to hike all day with a pack full of food, then have dinner ready than it is to:
1) Hike half the day, then spend 4 hours trying to catch a rabbit
You can live off the land in real life, too. Doesn't change the fact that most hikers and campers bring canned goods, jerky, and trail mix. It's easier and it tastes better.
plus there are folks who think that one arrangement of numbers on the faces of a tumbling dodecahedron produces less random results than other arrangements, so I eventually "retired" that die for a more basic one.
It's not less random if rolled properly, but if you're trying to cheat, it's easier to manipulate the roll on a spindown, because all the big numbers are clustered together.
In my heart, the only orc gods are Gork and Mork.
Operation Twisted Fog
Cpt. Claudia 'Collateral' Wolf Kills 0/4 (KIA)
Cpt. Wolf rounded up the squaddies and set out to clear the craft and bring back what we could. Evans and Morozova carried arc throwers, while Bernard brought the medikit. DeWitt was equipped with one of the captured alien grenades. Lt. Pillai was pleased to finally get her hands on Col. Braun's laser rifle.
On approach, the craft was guarded by two mutons and another of their 'berserkers'. A great deal of fire was exchanged, to little effect. When the berserker got closer, it because the priority target, with the team successfully taking it down by combined fire. At this point, the armed mutons both shot Sq. Morozova, killing her. Two thin men leaped down from the top of the craft to join the mutons: Sq. DeWitt took them out with a rocket. Sq. Bernard patched up some wounds Sq. Evans had sustained. With capturing an Outsider still a priority, and with Evans carrying the last remaining arc thrower, it seemed important. The mutons began moving back toward the entrance to the craft, deploying their grenades against our troops in cover, leaving Cpt. Wolf bleeding on the ground, and the medkit already exhausted. Sq. DeWitt and Bernard were at this point able to bring down the mutons.
A third thin man appeared from within the craft: Sq. Evans pursued it, cornered it and put it down, only to find himself face to face with three well-entrenched mutons, who killed him before he could take cover or the other survivors could affect rescue. The mutons were covering behind pods filled with what looked like human captives, suggesting this is the type of craft implicit in the alien abductions.
Our remaining troops took the fight to the mutons. An alien grenade killed Lt. Pillai and brought Sq. DeWitt within an inch of death. Sq. Bernard used his rocket to injure the offending creature, allowing Sq. DeWitt to kill it with a burst of machine-gun fire. Around this time, Cpt. Wolf's vitals feed went flat.
These two then reloaded, and advanced to find the remaining mutons had retreated within the craft. With victory within grasp, and allies to avenge, they moved forward. Following procedure, they flanked a doorway, breached the door, and opened fire on the two mutons found inside. Their camera footage indicates they successfully wounded the mutons, but the mutons responded with yet another grenade, square in the middle of the doorway, killing them both.
With all vital signs at zero, Big Sky retreated to a safe distance, returning after the alien craft left. The aliens had left behind the bodies and their gear: even Bernard and DeWitt, who died inside their craft. Something fishy is going on. Braddock articulated it, "They clearly have the technological superiority to simply wipe us out if they desired. The thin men speak our languages, so if they had demands, they could convey them. They escalate the troops they send against us as fast as we can upgrade our weapons. It is almost as if they are toying with us. But why?"
These are the things I was trying to fix:
1) Exotic weapons really cover two things: Culturally 'exotic' weapons and 'weapons that go up to 11'. One of those need a feat, the other doesn't.
2) Ranged weapons seem sorted according to a whole different level of complexity compared to melee weapons (a crossbow is more complicated to use than a pointy stick.) A secondary concern of this is the ubiquity of the longbow and making other ranged weapons more relevant.
3) Blanket proficiencies make no sense from a simulationist perspective. Inversely, weapon feats applying to single weapons, regardless of similiarity, are oddly anti-gamist by restricting what types of captured/found gear a character will be interested in. It's oddly schizophrenic of the game to simultaneously say 'you can use any of these weapons, but you basically only want to use one of these weapons'.
On the topic of Weapon Focus:
I think this is because, historically, they've been a bit power-creepy. Originally justified as 'It's okay to get a +1 when using a longsword, because when you capture the orc warlord's +3 battleaxe the bonus won't apply or you'll keep using your +2 longsword to the same effect', it has become 'My fighter uses a longsword, and a magic weapon in any other shape is just funny-shaped gp that I'll use to buy a better longsword, because I have so many longsword-specific bonuses I'll never be better off switching to a scimitar, bastard sword, rapier, or short sword, no matter how magic they are'.
What good does that do, exactly?
Under your system, any character who really wants to fight with 'eastern' weapons can, without paying a cost. And the same for 'western' weapons. Why not just put them in the big Martial pool?
Separating them by culture makes little sense, because I have a hard time imagining that someone who knows how to use a longsword, greatsword, short sword, bastard sword (2-handed), scimitar, falchion, rapier, and dagger couldn't figure out how to use a katana. Or arguing over which swords are western and which are eastern. Or what to do with 'racial' weapons like dogslicers, and ogre hooks. Or what to do with a character that comes from the area between the 'East' and 'West' (i.e. the 'Middle East') Or weapons that are less 'exotic' and more 'ancient', like the khopesh or trident.
Lord Puppy wrote:
I hate that mechanic for commoners. It's purpose seems to be to ensure commoners are in fact worse than a magic-less wizard, while also making sure that if you actually need a stat-block for one it is proficient with the weapon in the block. It's really weird to think you can make a commoner that uses a Heavy Mace, but cannot also use a Morningstar (which is basically the same weapon), a Light Mace (ditto), or a club (which even wizards and monkeys can use.)
As discussed in an assortment of threads about crossbows and monk weapons, weapon proficiencies don't really work right.
Ross Byers wrote:
Exotic weapons are a mix of1) weapons that are mechanically superior to the 'martial' options, thus mechanically justifying a need for a feat. E.g. bastard sword, spiked chain, double weapons
2) 'Maneuver' style weapons that have a very different mode of use than 'put pointy end in that guy' (Whips, nets)
3) Weapons that aren't actually any better than the simple or martial list but are 'exotic' due to an assumed European baseline (monk weapons)
Martial weapons largely make sense, except the fact that so many classes have access to the whole list, which makes for some odd situations (see above quote).
Simple weapons mostly make sense: they're bludgeons, spears, and knives. A child knows how to use them just from looking at them. It you gave one to a chimpanzee, he'd probably be able to make good use of it.
Ranged weapons make no sense. Throwing a knife is way harder than just stabbing someone. Blowguns are not weapons any yahoo knows how to use. Slings take a good amount of practice to actually be good at. Crossbows might be relatively easy to teach, but they're certainly more complicated than a club. (The chimpanzee in the above paragraph would not know how to use a crossbow.) History tells us that becoming a good longbow archer was the work of a lifetime (even with modern compound bows, it takes a lot of practice to shoot effectively.) I'm less clear on where short bows fall in the difficulty spectrum.
Some of these can be rationalized, but the rationalizations don't make sense against the backdrop of the game as a whole: the rules most often apply to adventurers, so we can assume that if you're from a frontier town or you've decided to risk your life for a living, you taught yourself the sling as a child to hunt rabbits and pigeons, or you got the local sheriff to teach you how to shoot a crossbow.
Plus, the basic equivalency of Martial Weapon Proficiency and Exotic Weapon Proficiency, feat-wise means that you can get weird cases like a character learning how to use an exotic sword like a sawtooth sabre or a kopesh, but still be fumbling around with a normal sword.
1) Reshuffle misplaced weapons. Monk weapons go to martial/simple as appropriate. Most projectile weapons go up a level.
2) Just delete some redundant weapons. What was the last character you saw that used a shortbow? And darts are a relic of when Small characters couldn't use javelins properly. And the game doesn't really need a state where Rapid Reload and Special Weapon Proficency (Repeating crossbow) give the same effective benefit.
3) Relabel 'Exotic' weapons as 'Specialist' weapons, to get rid of the 'faraway land' connotation and to imply they're a cut above the more general weapons.
4) No more blanket proficiency. Martial weapons should be attached to Weapon Groups: the Martial Weapon Proficiency feat gets a whole group. Classes that currently get all martial weapons get a handful of weapon groups. Barbarians, cavaliers, paladins, etc. get three. Rangers get two, plus a special one determined by their combat style. For instance, for archers, they would get Special Weapon Proficiency (Longbow), see below. Fighters get four, because they're the weapon-masters. Perhaps they have some ability to trade one or two of these for a Special weapon, maybe they just reply on their supply of bonus feats.
5) Special Weapon Proficiency generally still gets only a single weapon: since it represents specialized training to learn the intricacies of that particular weapon. Some exceptions may exist, like Double Weapons can probably be a single feat. When appropriate, you must have martial proficiency with the relevant weapon group before getting a special version. No leapfrogging to tripping people with a khopesh without learning how longswords and short swords work. (Obviously, an exception is made when no martial weapons exist in a group, like bows.)
6) Weapon-specialized feats and class features apply to proficiency groups. That is, you take Weapon Focus (Swords) instead of Weapon Focus (Longsword)
Martial characters have skill with a wide breadth of weaponry, but allowing for regional or personal variation, and without requiring that every fighter have learned to fight with chains as well as swords.
For characters with only simple weapons (or with an even narrower list, like wizards) Martial Weapon Proficiency is more desirable than going directly to exotic, and is often a prerequisite.
Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, Dazzling Display, and others are no longer so focused that a Longsword-using character has essentially no use for a magic short sword. This makes placing treasure that is both useful and organic-looking easier. (But also avoids the slightly unrealistic situation of an expert swordsman suddenly switching to using a hammer, unless the hammer is either very magic or the current foe's weakness.)
Maybe we should make a separate thread for a discussion of revamping the simple/martial/exotic system.
That whole system is a holdover from when a fighter might actually be expected to stop using a +1 longsword when he found a +2 battleaxe.These days, with Weapon Specialization for fighters, and Weapon Focus baked in to the combat math for everyone else (not to mention things like not being able to Dazzling Display with non-focused weapons), the actual use out of blanket proficiency is minimal, and they lead to weird questions like "Is the fighter proficient with all these weapons because they're user-friendly enough that a skilled combatant can just pick it up and go, or because he went to a 'fighter college' and had to take a semester in 'Flails for non-majors' before taking 'Advanced Swording'?"
The first explanation means a kama or a nunchuck shouldn't be exotic, while the second raises all kinds of secondary problems. And neither jives well with real life, where archery is a specialty all its own. I'm much more willing to accept that a guy can transfer skills between swording and axing than between bows and crossbows.
Oenar, the Winter wrote:
I was just trying to illustrate how it doesn't take a level 6 elite archer to get more benefit from a bow than a crossbow. I did give other examples.
Matt Thomason wrote:
On the other hand, I find playing a superhero RPG with that kind of mix tends to work out just fine ;) It's down to whether you have players that will be happy with that kind of thing or not.
Absolutely. I think part of the problem, though, is that many people expect that the different roles in a team based game to be able to have comparable (not necessarily identical) impact and 'screen time'.
Some groups have the guy who is happy to be Green Arrow. Other groups, you have people calling 'Not it' to avoid being Aquaman.
For those that don't want the underpowered mundanes, they can just remove those from their game world. The only thing is that the option should be there in the toolkit for building the kind of world wanted for any given campaign.
One could argue that NPC classes exist to be the 'mundane mundanes'.
Some things, you can get away with in abstract. Raw damage can be the result of a powerful blow by a demigod, or a precise strike by an expert swordsman. Leaping 20 feet into the air from a standing position, however, tends to be pretty much fixed in the realms of fantastic abilities.
But it happens is lots of kung-fu moves, and is only slightly veiled in action movies.
Making all the options be high end fantastic removes that option from the toolkit.
Using 'less fantastic' mundanes results in the 'mundane' classes being measurably less powerful than the supernatural classes.
To use a comic book analogy, a party of adventurers is like the Justice League: a bunch of better-than-normal people with different powers working toward a more-or-less common goal. But if one guy is playing Batman and one guy is playing Superman, it is not the right time to worry about how many gizmos actually would fit in a utility belt: Batman, despite having 'no powers', needs be capable of some pretty damn impressive stuff, just to keep up and remain relevant.
(If you're not a DC fan, sub 'Avengers', 'Hawkeye', and 'Thor'.)
'Less fantastic' mundanes are certainly possible, but in doing so, you have to remove the most fantastic of the supernatural elements as well. One option might be to remove the 9th level casting classes (and thus spells like wish) from the game.
Because shocking burst and thundering on the same weapon is thunder and lightning, which is a pretty metal combination?
It's also a level 6 spell. That would be extremely expensive to place on a sword as an always-on effect.
By the guidelines in the Magic Items chapter, such an item would cost 132,000 gp, or more than a +8 weapon. That's not necessarily a mandatory artifact, but it is pretty expensive for a sword that's great at killing spellcasters, but pretty awful at fighting monsters or another guy with a sword.
I mean, if I was a barbarian king with a big pile of money to commission the most badass weapon ever, with which to smite my enemies, I'd much rather get a +3 shocking burst, thundering, wounding weapon.
And like spells like true strike, I think this is a case where the assumed drawbacks of a 'You' range spell mean that the price listed above is rather conservative.
Damian Magecraft wrote:
Also the scroll use rules.
Oh my god yes. I can't remember the last time I treated a scroll as anything other than a wand with a single charge. (By which I mean that scroll mishaps and the several additional rules for casting a spell were ignored, and no one has ever cared if it's an arcane or divine scroll.)
Orc bloodline is... odd. I prefer to see it as simply being a bloodline particularly common in orc-sorcerers, so other races came to associate it to orcs. Or maybe descendants from an orc deity, etc.
I think of the Orc bloodline as how the Arcane bloodline runs strong in some Elven families. It's an accumulated racial magic.
Orcs just love fire.
Tels, consider a creature like a dragon: it casts like a sorcerer, and if it takes sorcerer levels, they stack. It's an innate power of the dragon. Not something their ancestors did (other than be dragons, I guess.)
I inherited all kinds of genetic traits from my parents and ancestors. That doesn't make my accomplishments and talents theirs instead of mine.
And bloodlines, as it has been repeatedly pointed out, don't have to literally mean half-breed ancestors.
Aberrant can mean that a Lovecraftian horror has reached out to you, through no fault of your own.
Celestial, Infernal, or Abyssal can mean someone, possibly even you, made a pact with an outsider for power.
Elemental can mean you grew up in a strongly elementally-aligned area and you have come in tune with it. It can be almost druidic for a Fire bloodline sorcerer to come from a scorching desert or a volcanic island, no weird ancestry needed.
Destined can be about things your descendants do, rather than your ancestors. Or just that you're special.
Undead can be the result of you personally being afflicted with necromantic power.
Arcane can mean anything from living under the 'power lines' near a wizarding college, to having a wizarding ancestor, to having a natural gift with magic to the point where you really do memorize spells instead of recording them in a spellbook.
Hopefully if you're picking a bloodline it's for a reason other than just the bonus spells.
I don't think it really makes sense that a Fire bloodline sorcerer has to wait until level 5 to cast scorching ray. It doesn't have to do with the quality of the spells: these are the spells you're supposed to be good at, and you have to wait longest to cast them.
A wizard casts that spell at level 3.
Waiting till level 5 only makes sense for spells that aren't on the sorcerer/wizard list at all, so it's all upside, regardless of when you get them. But for spells other sorcerers can also cast, it makes very little sense for you to have to wait even longer. For instance, if the Elemental Bloodline gave you flame strike, then even two levels behind, you're the best sorcerer at casting that spell, because the Fey guy can't cast it at all.
But for spells already on the sor/wiz list, of all the classes with access to the Sor/Wiz list, the elemental sorcerer is the absolute worst at casting scorching ray. And that shouldn't be.
but that would nerf a sorc pretty bad, since quite a few bloodline spells aren;t very good.
Getting a 3rd level spell at level 5 is strictly better than not getting them until level 6. How is that a nerf?
Even if the spell you get isn't that great, it's at least thematic (since its part of your bloodline), and you can use those 3rd level slots you would not otherwise have to cast lower level spells. Possibly with metamagic.
Bourbon is whiskey. Scotch is whisky.