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I think that is too much excusing. If nothing else, that is a way to make it an issue. Asking "how do you identify, gender-wise?" is not rude, and I have found that many are happy that it was not made an issue. If someone gets angry, that is when you tell them about the form of questions and why.
How did it go?
Meh. This is not a situation for negotiation. When the dice start thinking it is acceptable to ruin things for you like this, it is time to take off the kid gloves. Punish the dice. Find the most egregious offender and execute it in front of the others. I find that hammers work well. Once this is done, you will find the dice roll VERY well a period afterward... But after things start to sag again, another example is needed. Get new dice to replace those lost, and treat those VERY well. Do this, and you will have shown your dice that they serve you, not the other way around. You should be able to reach 10.5 quickly, maybe even a little bit more.
I guess I wasn't clear enough. I will commit these gladly. Excepting one thing I missed earlier: Paladins and casual sex. I wouldn't dream of punishing a character mechanically for roleplaying - the problems to follow would be golden material for me as a GM.
So: Yes, I demand the players roll in the open. I roll behind my screen. I have never been ashamed about it.
I use NPCs, weak and strong, to try to make a vivid setting. I never understood why having a strong NPC somewhere in the world means the players are useless. Sending these powerful NPCs out to accompany the PCs is not usually a good idea, though, unless it's for a short period of time (and will not usually focus on combat...) I vehemently HATE the GMPC concept and will not use it for any reason. If the PCs get a hangaround NPC to follow them for a while, it will be a weak one, but more importantly, it WILL be an NPC, i.e. it will be its own character, have its own motivations, and its own assumptions about the PCs.
I have pretty clear views on alignment, I share them if asked, and you know what? My views are what go because I am the GM. That said, I have never really had a complaint about my handling of it in a game. Paladins are nothing new, and I warn players about to change alignment clearly. I do not, as a rule, allow evil PCs unless the campaign is geared toward them.
I restrict whatever I feel like in a campaign. Simple as that, and anyone who prefers another setup is free to GM instead of me. If I would wait for them to do that, it wouldn't happen, so *shrug*. Theme and flavour are much more important to me than mechanics in why something is restricted or not... but I already have a group of players who don't want to play full casters due to paperwork.
I do try to follow WBL guidelines, simply because it's easy. However, if it's off by some margin, I could definitely care more. Complaints about not getting enough WBL would be filed in the round file archive until such a time as it is clear to me that the PCs are in over their heads in the campaign.
Abusive metagaming and people "roleplaying" through stating mechanical actions, well, I don't have time for it. The first would be an out of game problem to me, and I would discuss sincerely with the player about it... but might well kick them for doing it afterward. People not roleplaying, saying stuff like "I use diplomacy on the... was it a guard this time?", that's so pointless it hurts. I have better things to do with my time.
It depends on the situation what happens, I think, when someone gets mind controlled. I have been in a few situations where the player got flak afterward for stuff he was mind controlled to do, but decided on himself. I would rather not deal with that, so I may well decide to assume control of dominated PCs immediately instead.
I am happy to let players control their mounts, familiars, usually their cohorts and so on - lots of paperwork. The only reason I step in is because the players want their allies to do suicidal acts or stuff the character in question never would.
Well, all of them. I dunno about benevolent autocrat, though. Maybe more toward the tour guide, depending on your definitions. Smacking down on abusive metagaming would not be an in-game problem to solve to me, but an out-of-game problem. All the others, pretty much, yes. Especially disallowing tone-breaking characters and refusing evil PCs.
Don't forget the Animate Rope spell. Also we should start figuring out how many atonement spells you all will need for getting this entangled with a chaotic evil being.
Honestly, I am thinking after participating in this thread, the succubus might be in need of an atonement as well. What IS the evil counterpart to this spell, by the way? Detonement? Harald's efficient blink puppy kicker?
A strong character that needs to hold back to not outclass your character means, even if it never does a single thing to be overbearing, that the entirety of your character's existence, motivation, struggle, whatever you call it, becomes meaningless in a single stroke. If Superman is with us, why doesn't Superman solve every problem with the villains? Your character becomes a supporting cast character in Superman's story... and feels completely irrelevant.
Reality is not as firm as we think, or want to think, it is. It is enough to be tired to see illusions, i.e. False sensory input building on something real. This is the twig against the window you see as a hand from a bit away. Even more strongly, hallucinations (genuine false sensory input) happen often to people falling asleep and waking up. Add in drugs, various reactions to sensory deprivation (listen to enough white noise and you WILL hear voices, especially if you expect to), various traumatic experiences, severe anxiety disorders, light versions of psychotic disorders, and so on, and you will realize that there is more than ample opportunity for the human brain to use the canvas we call reality as a sounding board. If we expect to see something, stand to gain from doing so, or want to see something, that is what we will see.
kestral: I think the answer to this can be clearly expressed best by the old adage about why people don't like the Forgotten Realms: Because there are dozens of ultra-high-power NPCs running around. Basically, since these exist, why don't they always deal with the current world-shaking crisis? What space is there for a hero in the presence of all those giants?
The central issue is this: Alice and Bob are out adventuring, fighting tooth and nail against an evil orc chief. Setbacks, crises and difficulties abound, but in the end, Alice and Bob manage to kill the orc chieftain. The year of struggling, the death of Charlie, the intrigue to make the threat known, the wounds, the uncertainty... it all feels like it MEANT something. Why? Because they fought through it all and won through their own skill and determination.
Now Alice and Bob hear of a new threat. A necromancer has risen in the North and needs to be fought. So they recruit Dave, a wizard. Dave is a massively powerful spellcaster, far beyond Alice's and Bob's growing skills. After this becomes obvious and leads to a conflict within the party, he tells them "Don't worry, I will only use my full power if it becomes absolutely necessary. The rest of the time, I will stay at your level."
That should have improved things, but didn't. See, as soon as anything seriously threatened the party, Dave blasted it, flew them through it, conjured something to solve the issue, at one point he even went toe-to-toe in melee against the blackguard and didn't break a sweat in killing it. See, Dave knew there was a serious risk this enemy might kill one or more of Alice or Bob, and thus it was "absolutely necessary".
They did kill the necromancer (or rather, Dave did). After this, Alice and Bob retired from adventuring.
If I understand this situation correctly...
The far right is whining about a subpoena that will show that the horrors of homosexuality has been a serious focus in their sermons, and are grabbing at any kind of straw that might help before it's too late and it goes through.
Once it does get through, of course, the main story in this will be how much trash the right wingers talk in their sermons about homosexuals.
It might carry a price to pay, of course. Everything does. And there is the point: Right-wing churches will pay a far worse price for decades of preaching intolerance.
Zombie news is the simple fact that by the time the general population gets word of news, they have been reheated at least four times. Not to mention gone through a heavy censoring process where media high-ups cancel news that are seen to carry a risk of "causing public unrest". So, next time you watch CNN, listen for the moans and the "Braaaaaains..."
The next poster will tell us how he discovered a far more literal reason for the term.
I dunno. I would be very interested in NEW material for Planescape. A rehash of the old material, with the stylized art replaced by generic "adventurer doing action-y stuff" like in fourth edition, without the language, likely without the deeper understanding of the setting that was its starting point, that would feel like merely a way to wring money from it. YAY! I can now play Planescape in fifth edition... which amounts to a Points-of-Light setting full of the standard warforged, dragonborn and various shades of elves PLUS rogue modrons and bariaurs, where some characters have faction membership, doing the standard action-heavy adventuring... Let's just say it has all the elements needed for exquisite suckage.
Documentation is important later in a slow process, and it's good that you're seeing progress. Congratulations. And caring how you look is human, not narcissistic. Talking about it in a place like this is sharing good news, not being narcissistic. =)
I have been gaming for ages by now. I have done the extreme power character so many times that I find it a) too easy, b) usually boring to chew the rules that hard, and c) unnecessarily disruptive to a campaign which usually ends up with the GM flubbing the challenge for some participants (either challenge the power freaks and kill the others or challenge the others and bore the power freaks). I want my characters to have weaknesses, and if someone exploits these in interaction or story-wise, that is usually the sign of something that I will enjoy playing.
Sure, the rules system allows for freakishly strong characters, usually these are good at only One. Single. Thing. Glass cannon is a thing. Players who make these tend to whine insufferably if their One. Skill. can't be used in an encounter, say, a trip master who encounters an ooze. See, it's not just the mechanically strong build, it is also about players trying to shape the game to give the player in question maximum returns for the build. Other characters are designed to be so overwhelming (say, in damage output) that the GM has to adapt every encounter to counter tactic X or see the character flush it down the drain, which is also a drag after a few encounters. Encounter variety is a significant part of the interest in playing the game, at least for me, so anything that limits that, I will consider a problem.
Finally, the idea that it's a good idea to have a mechanically superior character, but not use it fully so as not to annoy the other players, is frankly a pitiful one. The only sense this makes is if you are so afraid of "losing" that you MUST have an answer for precisely everything. I can understand that playing with a "killer GM" may lead you to this perspective, but really, give it a rest. Relax, calm down, nobody is going to kill your character to show they are superior to you. And so, if you have a character that can kill any monster in the four manuals in a single blow, CONGRATULATIONS. YOU WON. Now let's put that character in a permanent retirement demiplane somewhere and make some new ones that can actually be challenged.
Laws are not necessarily lawful. Repeat that until it sinks in. Why must every alignment thread always rehash the same boneheaded arguments? Lawful laws are those that promote order, predictability and procedure, and strengthen organizations. Chaotic laws do the opposite, i.e. Break down order, predictability and procedure, and strengthen individuals. A law saying that the king can have anyone he feels like killed is the very epitome of a chaotic law. It is... Getting grating to hear the usual cries of "paladins must follow every law waaaaaaah".
Bluh... This again. EVERYONE has rules they live by. Everyone. The difference is where people find these rules. A lawful person gets these rules from an external, strictly codified source like a religious text, while a chaotic person thinks more in terms of traditions and an internal list of principles to juggle. These two do not match. A lawful person will consider a chaotic person dangerous specifically because they do not have a codified set of rules and are therefore unpredictable, something very problematic to a lawful person. A chaotic person sees the lawful person as dangerous to the freedom of action of the chaotic person, something the chaotic person isn't going to just accept. There is no common ground here, but these characters can work together on a case by case basis, because they share a more important goal, or because they respect one another.
The key difference between LG and NG is that LG has more and firmer answers. LG wants the same as NG, a good life for all, but they see chaotic concepts such as freedom, conflict and disagreement as more universally a disruption of society. NG see these things as necessary FOR society, and are more willing to consider differing viewpoints, see conflict and disagreement as ways to improve society. LG can often be pegged as crusaders, builders and champions, while NG tends to work as healers, diplomats and redeemers. Granted, the differences can be subtle and difficult to apply, but try to put these things in action within the party. When differences of opinion arise, the LG will aim to convince of their view while the NG will make it a priority to let everyone voice their opinion and will weigh various options, leading more often to a situation where she may have to settle for the least bad option, perhaps because it is what people can agree to work toward. There will also be a difference in willingness to work with untrustworthy people, how you handle prisoners, and so on.
Re-release? As in, print The Factol's Manifesto & co again? Doesn't sound like a solid plan. The hardcore fans already have them, others won't be all that interested. Making new stuff for it? Sure, but I'd expect them to print a campaign guide, a player's guide, and one adventure, just like they did for Forgotten Realms and Dark Sun in 4th. I can tell you for free, I ain't holding my breath (and I'm one of the above Planescape freaks).
Always, always, always have alternate routes for the players to find stuff out. They WILL miss things, even things you consider clearly labeled as hints. When given a choice, players will focus on why the guard captain is stuttering or why there is a pile of horse poop on the square 100% of the time. Make sure there is more than one way to find out. If they miss all your hints, beat them over the head with it. Seriously, this is dangerous ground.
I have had interactions with the police too from time to time, only once about me in a minor infraction, and I have been well treated. No personal complaints.
However, it is a legitimate concern for EVERYONE living in a society that the police force works decently. They are the agents of the state, effect the monopoly on violence (along with soldiers, which have a similar issue, no?), and can potentially become a very serious problem in two main cases: First, if the state were to become corrupt, meaning society is turned into an authoritarian police state (see, there's that word again, wonder if it has any relation to the police force and their policies...) Second, if the police were to be severed from democratic influence and act like a mafia. See, the police are, and need to be, tied to both state and public, and severing either of those ties leads to very bad places.
So, complaints about the police ARE important. As stated above, a few bad apples spoil the whole barrel. We are today in a situation where much of the trust the police OUGHT to have does not exist, partially due to various spectacular f!@&ups, insane policies and poor transparency in the police force itself, partially due to bad policies from the national level that the police are forced to follow. Now, even if this is not all the fault of the police force, and even if turtling in and getting defensive is completely understandable, it is an important, larger issue. At some point, when trust is gone, you have to open up to accountability, transparency and criticism - if you want to do a good job.
And calling every complaint about the police "mindless hatebashing" does nothing but polarize the issue further.
It doesn't hurt me to consider those people vile for what they did. I have no problem feeling empathy, letting people close, caring, showing kindness, or anything positive. What remains is a sad, sad conviction that I am basically worthless. This, too, has gotten better, but it exists, and will probably stay with me all my life. Someone doing that to me is not someone I have to forgive, or would feel good about forgiving.
There is a current story in Sweden about a woman who was contacted by her bully twenty years after the fact, and asked to perform a stand-up comedy act at his pizza joint. She is decently successful today as a comedian. When she got this mail, she said basically that "I could have taken ten grand to tell everyone there about what you put me through, but I won't." However, she managed to unintentionally miss blurring his name in one location when she published her answer on the net. This caused an internet meltdown between the "you have to forgive and move on and not publish his name" and the "bully scum are subhuman s@$% who deserve everything they get" crowds. It is interesting to watch the outpouring of support for her, even if she did apologize for publishing his name.
Okay... Agreed about your first sentence. There IS a difference. But, pray tell, who gets to decide which is which? The "malcontents", the "scumbags", the "fascist oppressors", the "guv'ment", the "cop lovers"... And where do you belong, Rysky?
There are four people who have actively bullied me. One of them got hurt when I pushed him away, and never touched me again. His hangarounds then wanted me to be the new king of the pile of s*+&, to which I told them to get lost. The other three took over from 9 to 12 years of age. These three, if I met them today, I would spit on the ground and leave. People talk about forgiveness as if it is a duty. They scarred my confidence for life, they hurt me worse than anything anyone else ever came close to. Because of them, I always doubt myself today. And the thing is, that happened without any sort of serious violence. I can honestly say that if any of these three contacted me to apologize, I would tell them "So you said your piece now. Good for you. Now you can pretend it never happened, that you are a worthwhile human being. You can even pretend I forgave you." or something to that effect.
Bullying is a disease. Bullies are the worst sort of pustule on humanity. Then again, I have met few if any good people who weren't bullied - and few if any bullies who did not crash and burn as adults.