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Lion Blade

Tacticslion's page

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber. 6,474 posts (7,823 including aliases). 2 reviews. 3 lists. 1 wishlist. 23 aliases.


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I was starting to wonder if I'd broken the Advice forum, or found something even they couldn't help with!

That's a really useful set of ideas. It does take until ninth level to fully come online, but that's a really nifty idea nonetheless.

Really cool idea! I'll definitely have to remember tanglefoot bags. Axes are definitely interesting. I've not heard of sliding axe throw before, but that's really cool.

Thank you, again! :D

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

Edited my post just a hair for better formatting and for slightly better descriptive flow.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I feel like no one has been reading my actual posts on the topic.
(Which is understandable: I'm needlessly verbose.)

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Those sound positively otherworldly, Indagare.



Also: hi, nice to see you again!

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So, this could be considered a game, more than anything else.

To that end, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to optimize this guy within the constraints of the character as he currently exists. Yes, I'm aware that I more or less made him a backwards bloodrager. I don't care, and it was purposeful.

If your purpose here is to tell me, "You built him wrong." please know that I am aware already, was aware when I was doing it, and really don't care. So, please do us all a favor, and don't post that - it will save all sorts of time and tempers all-round.

(Also, if you notice someone doing exactly this thing, please flag them and don't respond, even to tell them - I'd prefer to just keep this on topic as much as possible. Thank you!)

I do not claim that I will follow the advice given in this thread.

Instead, this is an intellectual thought-exercise that could double as advice that I follow - hence placing it in the Advice section.

The Rules:
- no retraining
- multi-classing is not impossible, but is discouraged
- presume you have, at most, three more level to grow him, but fewer is better
- general advice, such as "this weapon, because <X>" or "this armor, and here's why..." are just as acceptable in terms of optimization
- preferably building off of what he already has instead of abandoning it
- preferably something that allows him to be relatively humble in terms of design or style (peasant-ish weaponry, etc)

The Goal:
- make him as great and effective as possible within the constraints of what he already is and has
- gather some interesting and good advice from the forums revolving around optimizing a purposefully anti-optimized character.

The Optional:
- if you really care to, you may go through and read the gameplay thread which he is a part of

Thank you all for you participation, and God bless you!

EDIT: A bit more information
- he's effectively fallen into a defacto leadership position of the (very large) group that he is part of
- we are facing fiends; so far, we've fought 4 imps and, between the fourteen of us, killed 3 of them (the fourth escaped); "fiend" is a generic catch-all for "evil outsider" - hence, effects that apply to only devils in Core also apply to demons
- there is detective/investigation, combat, and social interaction implied

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Star Wars is great, Star Trek is great, and Stargate is great.

I've not seen Dr. Who, and Battlestar Galactica only aired when I wasn't watching tv (including present day).

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Balzej - I might have missed a number of responses that cover this. If so, I apologize. I'm just going to ignore the wish/binding side conversation because, frankly, I've run out of time to handle it or properly respond to the volume there.

Also, I apologize for the lack of links - it's for the same reason (and when quoting large things, the forums likes to cut stuff off).

Blazej wrote:
I wouldn't ever call the display of a power like this ever a con. It would be like says a con for fireball is that creates a big obvious ball of flame.

You would be incorrect to fail to do so. It is not nearly as significant as the other cons, and I never intended it to seem such.

Blazej wrote:
Both variations is a 10 minute/level spells making it more likely that you will see them cast outside of combat (or any event) rather than during it. Because of that the range and spell resistance (for the purpose of comparing these two, is somewhat irrelevant.

This is an interesting idea... but it seems just as likely to be manifest in situations where stealth and hidden communication is needed - not always something that can be done easily before hand.

That said, as previously noted, the fact that the spell requires verbal components is a drawback, not only for the fact that verbal components can be prevented, but because they make noise.

There have been several situations in which, after carefully planning something, a situation has come up and the manifester (or caster) would have liked to have a hidden communication to re-guess their situation and do so quietly. (It wasn't always possible for numerous reasons.)

Just because it's not as severe - and please note that it is not as severe - does not prevent it from being a drawback.

That said, I do agree that it's readily lending itself to an out-of-combat spell, and is often likely used in that situation.

Clipping a later post to put arguments together.

Blazej wrote:
Mind Link vs. Telepathic Bond. Telepathic bond has the advantage of not including yourself as well as permanency. I don't think that is worth being four levels higher.
Blazej wrote:
They ability to dismiss it is nice along with ability to exclude yourself, but I wouldn't even say that is worth +1 spell level.

I tend to agree, but the ability to make it permanent is significant, because it blends strongly with other caster tricks to gain free permanency. I shan't go into those, however, as others are debating that topic (or were).

All said, I must admit: I find telepathic bond thoroughly underwhelming as a fifth level spell.

That said, I wasn't specifically making a point other than "huh, it looks like there are more - and more subtle - differences than it first seems" which was interesting enough to me to do so.

Blazej wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
If you dropped the actual gate spell, as printed, directly into psionics, without taking any considerations to design space and methodology to 3.5 psionics, than yes, it will be more powerful...

Not ignoring the rest of that section which is pretty solid, but I don't think this is necessarily true for a few reasons.

As a 9th level spell/power, even if it has augment options it would read like: "You can call and control several creatures as long as their HD total does not exceed 17. In the case of a single creature, you can control it if its HD do not exceed 34.

Augment: For every additional power point you spend, this power can call and control one additional HD (for multiple creatures) and control a single creature with two additional HD."

There isn't a lot of room to augment that higher, but it is a matter of a few power points rather that may or may not be necessarily based on what you are calling. It would change the power difference a little, but not by much. Besides, as I mentioned before, it isn't the case that psionic methodologies would demand this require an augment for higher HD.

That's not really what I meant, though. I just meant the fact that you can use gate more times in a day - that is definitively more powerful, due to the ridiculous abilities of gate.

(The nova effect.)

Blazej wrote:
Tacticslions wrote:
...they have no magic circle effect that mages do (and if they did, considering the design style, it would be too weak to function against the higher level creatures... unless they augment it, which would put it as weaker than the base magic circle)

While that is reasonable to suggest for the HD limit for gate, there is nothing within protection from evil or magic circle against evil that scales beyond the duration and spell resistance, both traits are things that automatically scale in practically every psionic power already (with the few that don't scale tending to be very special circumstances).

Even accounting for the design process for including augmenting when necessary, there is nothing in magic circle against evil that would negatively change in becoming psionic circle against evil. If an augmentation option was added, it would be one to increase the bonuses to AC and saving throws, an option that magic circle against evil does not get.

I base my presumption around the other effects that I've seen psionics imitate and how it functions within that regard.

I could be reading my own bias into it... but I think we both are, in that regard. It may well work like you say - increasing the AC -, or it may work like charm (see below) - increasing the creature options -, or it may work like daze - increasing the HD that it can effect.

All of these are valid interpretations of how the psionic paradigm may be expressed. All of them may be correct at the same time - perhaps augmenting increases the HD, increases the creature types, and/or increases the AC and save bonuses.

One thing to note about magic circle is that, unlike most defensive effects, it does have an offensive effect: the ability to trap a creature. I read the trap as the offensive element that it is, and thus suggested the idea of the scaling HD for augmentation.

Blazej wrote:
Summon Monster

Nice power-spell! I like it.

However, by actually looking at the dreaded (and unfortunate) expansion Complete Psionic, we can see that the design system of psionics doesn't follow that pattern in the least.

I pulled up three powers as my evidence:

- Ectoplasmic Swarm: 4th level power, 1 round manifesting time, close range, concentration+2 rnds duration, no save, no SR, 7 PP; summon ectoplasmic swarm in an empty space; Augment: spend 2 PP to share a space with creatures already present.

- Larval Flayers: 2nd level power, 1 round manifesting time, close range, 1 rnd/lvl duration, 3 PP; summon 1d3 larval flayers (all in the same square); Augment: (choose, not automatic) pay 2 PP to summon an additional larval flayer, or for every 2 PP beyond the base one creature you call appears already attached to a foe in range (you specify) and can use its brain sap ability (reflex negates the attachment)

Larval Flayers are a CR 1 creature <tiny aberration> that has a +6 touch attack that deals 1d3 damage, normally has a 15 ft. speed (but can burst and dimension hop 3/day), and has a special ability that allows it to deal 4 INT damage

- Shadow Eft: 4th level power, 1 round manifesting time, close range, 1 rnd/lvl, no save, no SR, 7 PP; summon shadow eft in an empty space; Augment: (choose, not automatic) pay 4 PP for each additional eft, or for every 2 PP one eft is automatically in a target's shadow (the target gets a spot check to notice automatically).

A Shadow Eft is a CR 5 creature <evil extraplanar outsider> that has 2 claws and a bite, 50 ft. speed, several powers 3/day (duodimensional claw, psionic lion's charge, truevenom) and shadow body 1/day, an aversion to daylight, and can use hide in any shadow, even while being observed

Thus the design elements of the augment and power point system, when bent towards summoning, only summon a specific creature, summon creatures that are (by CR) inferior to or just equal to the creatures that you can summon with fewer options and less variability.

EDIT: Okay, I have to mention, I would like to say that the above is not entirely correct. There are lower CR creatures on the summon monster IV list - however those are the ones that specifically retain spell like abilities and special variances that the higher CR creatures don't. This is tremendously variable. Also, lantern archons have two touch attacks per round. :)

EDIT 2: ALSO, I didn't say: augmenting it effectively only nets you the minimum increase in creature numbers compared to what a typical summon spell would net.

Blazej wrote:
Microcosm vs. Power Word Kill It is just a better version with the augment option.

Faulty comparison. As I noted here, microcosm is more comparable to imprisonment, and is demonstrably less awesome.

Blazej wrote:
Expansion vs. Enlarge Person: This isn't completely in the favor of expansion because this is personal and it only lasts a round per level. However it can be manifested as a standard action and there are augmentations that vastly increase the duration, increase your size even more, or manifest this as a swift action. Presuming you want to enlarge yourself, expansion is the better power/spell.

True, but then you're paying more. The power itself is a 1st level power/spell, but, when you pay the equivalent of a 1st level power/spell it's substantially less potent. You have to expend resources as if you're using a more potent effect to gain... a more potent effect.

Blazej wrote:
Psionic Charm vs. Charm Person Another case where augments just make it better than the magical version.

Please hear me: what I'm about to say sounds harsh, but I don't mean it in a harsh manner, and I can't find a way to change my words (it's late, and I'm tired). I really apologize for any rudeness - it's not intentional, though it's acknowledged that it could come off that way.

This - combined with the summon mosnter aside - seems to not understand the basic paradigm of how powers balance themselves. psionic charm isn't compared to charm person - it's compared to the charm spells, because that's what augmenting does.

Psionic charm
- 1st level equivalent payment = charm person (1st level spell)
- 2nd level equivalent payment = no particular equivalent charm (but includes the value of a different 1st level charm spell, as well as others)
- 3rd level equivalent payment = nearly as potent as a fourth level spell, but lacking the breadth of optional effected and may have a shorter duration with closer - but still not equal - breadth
- 5th level equivalent payment = 4th level spell (except not quite the full breadth of options)

This is the nature of psionic powers and what the augment does. More powerful effects can be achieved than spells, but only by expending more resources. The equivalent resource expenditure generally nets less per use.

The Augment trait sometimes - but not always - allows a power to imitate the effects of a higher level spell.

Despite that imitation, the fact is that charm and always will be a 1st level power.

This means, among other things, that lesser globes of invulnerability shut it down, no matter how many power points you put into it. It's just less, even when it seems more.

Blazej wrote:
I haven't gone through all the powers, but I'm relatively certain there are other examples out there. It is also reasonable to note that many of these are restricted to specific specialists. While there are cases of the magical variation being better, there are many examples of the magical version being equal or worse.

This is also worth noting. Many of the "better" effects are walled behind specialization - i.e., not available to most. This creates a very interesting limit to how well specialist function in their specialized field.

Anyway, I'm out for the night.


(And, despite myself, I've successfully at least half-read most of the posts. All very interesting, regardless of what side of the debate they're on. God bless you guys.)

EDIT: to fix coding tags. I'm not sleepy at all. (That's a lie.) ;P

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

Oh, I understand - but I wanted to. There was just... too much. It's at a really interesting character moment. :D I was just running more behind that I would have liked. But thank you much for your words. It's nice. :D

Also, looks like Dancing it is!

EDIT: to be clear - I'm not expecting or pushing for your responses to be too timely (despite being addicted to checking on this game!), but rather I had such strong ideas, I really wanted to put them down. Fun stuff!

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

Sorry it took so long. I was... oscillating between three different possibilities. I ended up posting them all, and letting randomness decide.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Blazej wrote:
Squirrel_Dude wrote:
- Characters must enter psionic focus (a full round action without a feat), as a DC 20 concentration check in order to manifest their powers.
I was trying to look that up but I couldn't find that rule. I saw things that consumed psionic focus, but nothing on lack of psionic focus stopping you from manifesting powers.

Fast answer that I know. You are correct, it is not - it is necessary to manifest them without their display.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber




Telepathic Bond: you plus 1/3 lvl within 30 ft., no SR, able to be dispelled, you can exclude yourself
- cons: V/S/M, level 5
Mindlink: 1st level, you can include +1/lvl (but limited to within 15 ft.)
- cons: M, must be level 5 to apply to creatures


Arg... being distracted. I'll look at them again, later, maybe.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber


Looks like I was substantially ninja'd? Oops. Sorry - haven't read them.

Also, I added spoilers for easier reading, and a clarifying thesis at the end, that I forgot to note were edits last time.

Blazej wrote:

There is a lot of focus on these specific set of spells. Is the current argument such that the primary reason psionics is more balanced (or less overpowered) than magic because of the spells on the list?

If simulacrum, gate, planar binding, magic jar, and so on were all available options to psionic characters would psionics be unbalanced then? Would it be worse than wizards or sorcerers because of the ability to allocate points to the highest level spells when appropriate? Is a wizard the Spell Point variant from Unearthed Arcana less balanced than a normal wizard?

It's a good set of questions, and the answer to a lot of these questions is, "partially, but not functionally in-game."

A very great deal has been made about a psion's ability to augment, as opposed to caster's ability to scale their spells for free.

The problem is that for many effects, there is no equivalent, and for those effects that do have an equivalent, the magical one is better.

The spell points system discussed in 3.0 is not actually the same thing as the power points system as ascribed by 3.5, though mostly this revolves around the idea of augmentation, and what that means.

Let's look at a few:

Simulacrum v. Mind Seed:
simulacrum v. mind seed: These are comparable, because they both create new allies of lesser power out of enemies. Of the two, simulacrum wins, hands down: it is a ritual that may be done on "off time" nets a larger suite of abilities, and has no save; it's drawbacks are that it needs a piece of the creature copied... far more easily than obtained than the creature itself (which is afflicted for a long time)

If you just transplanted the literal spell simulacrum to psionics, it wouldn't really matter too - it's a "down time" spell, not an "in-combat" spell, hence it's power wouldn't significantly change based on the system. The time and cost-requirements are the "balancing" factor - two things which don't care whether you're getting the effect from power points, spells per level, or scrolls.

gate has no direct equivalent, but, from the general psionics rules, we can extrapolate two different forms of what that equivalent would look like: it would either have a base amount of HD that it could draw forth and a very limited selection of creatures - the HD scaling improved by augmentation; or it would be a more potent "build your own" creature, like astral construct.
---=> In the former, its limited nature and the requirement that it be augmented to acquire creatures of HD-value which are granted for free by automatic scaling indicate that the psionic equivalent would be weaker.
---=> In the latter, it's flatly weaker than gate in all instances, unless the 'filter' granted by the ability was ridiculous... in which case, they're basically even, as gate can do the most ridiculous things imaginable already.

If you dropped the actual gate spell, as printed, directly into psionics, without taking any considerations to design space and methodology to 3.5 psionics, than yes, it will be more powerful... but it doesn't really matter, because, when used in down-time, the gate spell can allow you to "win" most anything, if used in a manner to do so, no matter what number of ninth level spells (or powers) you possess in a day.

Planar Binding:
planar binding v. ???: uh... hm... I'm not really sure it could be done, thematically, but let's just presume that the planar binding suit follows the traditional augment v. prepared ideals. How would that work? To determine, we need to look at planar binding as a whole, and any psionic equivalents that may have later been created. Incidentally, we can find a vague psuedo-equivalent in a power that already exists - astral construct - if we go to Complete Psionic, by using their Ectopic Form line of feats (and the prestige class that specializes in them). Quite frankly, it's telling that it requires a line of feats to enable a basic power to come close to equating with a basic spell... which, in actuality, it still doesn't, as the creatures you can conjure with planar binding are far more powerful than the ones you can create with multiple feats.
However, I can see that being a "meh" example, so let's build our own, using the guidelines of how spells and powers function. Effectively, the spell notes that you can spend some time to conjure a creature over the course of ten minutes, with varying hit dice values. A fifth level spell starts at 6 HD, a 6th level spell increases to 12 HD, and an 8th level spell increases to 18 HD. That organization is a mess, thematically, however, as a 1 spell level increase nets you 6 HD in one case, and it requires a 2 spell level increase to net you 6 more HD. Frankly... I've no idea how that would suss out in psionics. There are too many variables.
---=> option one: start with a fifth level power and 6HD and increase by 6HD for every 2 power points expended beyond the base
---=> option two: start with a fourth level power, but otherwise function as the above
---=> option three: as option one or two, save you start with 6 HD and increase the HD by 3 for every power point spent above the base; this last is the most potent of the options and allows increased flexibility, but it still doesn't overtake the power of gate until after epic levels

Of course, the relative power kind of ignores the very real fact that psions don't have the option of actually binding and trapping the creatures - they have no magic circle effect that mages do (and if they did, considering the design style, it would be too weak to function against the higher level creatures... unless they augment it, which would put it as weaker than the base magic circle). But let's presume that, for some reason, they have magic circle and they have planar binding. In this case... it does not significantly increase the power of a psion compared to a mage, as, once again, this is an ability best used out of combat to prepare or do things in advance, at which point the exact uses per day of a given ability are irrelevant (and the psion will be forced to expend uses on lower level effects anyway).


Magic Jar v. Mind-switch:
magic jar v. mind-switch: again, the equivalent is notably weaker in that the "target" gains full control of your old body instead of lying insensate,... but we don't really care about that - we care about the ability to use it a lot and augment it.

Looking at magic jar... once again, it doesn't significantly increase the power of the psion over the wizard. The duration is one hour per level - the psion is not going to be spamming this ability, unless something really weird is going on. When you first acquire it (at 11th level) one use will last for 11 hours; two will last for 22. No one is going to want to be terribly far away from their body for that long - too much of a risk of dying, horribly.


So... no, none of those effects, with the exception of gate (which is notably the most potent effect in the game) is more broken with a psion and it's ability to augment than a wizard, as most of them are "downtime" effects.

EDIT: to clarify

Again, this is pointing to the actual pound-for-pound spells that were listed. Gaining more gate is, frankly, ludicrous, and, if you're going to follow the line expressed above - that of "free wishes" being unreasonable to allow - than gate will have the same problems, regardless of the system used to acquire it.

I will note, however, that direct access to polymorph any object - without any sort of the consideration of the design space or style of psionics (for instance, without comparing the differences between the metamorphosis line and the polymorph line - will be excessively potent with free access.

Much of the problem, however, with directly porting spells is that they presume a free scaling system, which psionics does not have, as a form of internal censorship. Lacking that balance point, than of course having access to more is going to be more powerful. Actually utilizing that balance point as part of the design, however, would substantially change the nature of the effects in question... too much to accurately judge without seeing them earnestly converted.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

And when it does, it's REALLY irritating.

To clarify, when, as a player, you are absolutely forced to lose with no other option, it becomes a matter of how you lose. Losing, in general, is not fun (though there are plenty of specific exceptions).
- Do you lose and flee... when, according to the movement rules, you're not actually going to escape the thing that's chasing you (because you move 30 ft... and so do they, pulling you out of melee range, but putting them in melee range)
- Or do you go out in a blaze of glory, making it so that whoever comes next (very likely, your own next character) has less to deal with next time?

That's not to say that people couldn't and shouldn't die or be forced to flee... but it can feel like heavy-handed or poor GMing.

On the other hand, if the bad guys get away, it can be exceedingly frustrating for the Players... especially when, like me, they take precautions against that exact scenario, or when the bad guys take ridiculous seemingly preternaturally aware actions that allow them to functionally escape, despite the rules that normally work against that sort of thing.

This often represents an effective waste of a huge amount of resources on the part of the PCs and their players, and is the culmination elimination of a lot of planning... that only partially succeeded.

Now none of that is to say that good stories can't be made out of these events - they most certainly can - but the events can cause a huge amount of frustration along the way.

Of course, a creature that expects they will survive the encounter isn't likely to avoid running away just because weird mundane rules say they aren't going to succeed at running away.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

My FACE is spoilers!

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Nathanael Love wrote:
Polymorph Any Object can't do Outsiders-- it works like one of (baleful polymorph, polymorph, flesh to stone, stone to flesh, transmute mud to rock, transmute metal to wood, or transmute rock to mud), of which only Polymorph is a self cast buff.

That is demonstrably untrue in 3.5.

Polymorph Any Object, as our reference.

The first half of the first line seems to indicate that you would be correct, but the second half quickly dispels that notion.

This spell functions like polymorph, except that it changes one object or creature into another. The duration of the spell depends on how radical a change is made from the original state to its enchanted state. The duration is determined by using the following guidelines.

Point in fact, the first example of what PaO can do - turn a "pebble into a human" - is entirely beyond the scome of any other spell in the list below... as is the second and third ("marionette to human" and "human to marionette").

Added to the a later paragraph, it becomes clear:

This spell can also be used to duplicate the effects of baleful polymorph, polymorph, flesh to stone, stone to flesh, transmute mud to rock, transmute metal to wood, or transmute rock to mud.

I.e. polymorph is not the spell that determines your base of what this spell can do, but this spell can also (i.e. "in addition to the things above") imitate polymorph (and the other spells listed).

The only limits that are otherwise given to the spell, is the value and nature of what objects can be created:


A nonmagical object cannot be made into a magic item with this spell. Magic items aren’t affected by this spell.

This spell cannot create material of great intrinsic value, such as copper, silver, gems, silk, gold, platinum, mithral, or adamantine. It also cannot reproduce the special properties of cold iron in order to overcome the damage reduction of certain creatures.

Hence, while a GM might rule one way or the other, the only limitations indicated anywhere within the text is the non-living substance.

Nathanael Love wrote:
Lower level spells granting Wishes is an abuse or an exploit. You can play that way if you want, I do not and for the purposes of discussing balance you can't build the discussion based on assuming that those exploits are allowed. That's like me trying to argue balance against your house rules.

One of the really nice things about most all of the psionics rules as published to date, is that they tend to actively discourage this sort of table variance, allowing them to generally hold up more consistently across the board, when the rules are cleaved to as-written. There are certainly a few points of reference where table variance can and must be applied, but on the whole the number of such instances are substantially lower.

Partially, what we're coming across at this point is the unmitigated strength of the Conjuration and Transmutation schools themselves.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You just did...? ;p

But regardless, I've made the argument that an adventure should be the basis for conversion before. I've used the same daggum recommendation every time, not because it is The Best Evah!, but because it covers so many solid bases simultaneously: The Sons of Gruumsh.

Within, you have, as part of the story:
- skill use (information acquisition, set-up, and mystery)
- combat (random or otherwise; the random combat easily be eliminated, yet the feel is maintained)
- politics and deceit
- rescuing hostages
- defeating malevolent priests
- acquiring an important magical item
- stealth and infiltration... and outright direct assault
- betrayal and corruption
- talking creatures
- high magic rituals
- low, but flashy magic spellcasting
- others who are classified as adventurers - independents with no direct affiliation to the others or part of the main plot beyond interacting with the PCs

Eh, my list this time isn't as explanatory, but I'm tired and distracted.

Point is, it holds a lot of elements that are "classic" to D&D and D&D-style adventures - a lot of different elements that are combined to create a cohesive story. There level - four - is manageable, and the special effects, while intensive for direct spellcasting, are actually rather doable, over-all.

One of the reasons the level is important is because the mechanics are tied directly into the story (as it's currently written) in subtle ways: the difficulty of accomplishing things, how much magic or power is locally available, and the style and flow of the adventure.

Regardless, despite my myriads of notes that it would work well, it really doesn't have to be that adventure - any adventure that meets that criteria could function rather well.

Guardians of the Galaxy provides a similarly excellent template for a "get the band together" (introduce them to the audience, then each other, then go on adventure) style adventure. Star Lord was "the protagonist" of that film, yet it was clear that he relied on everyone as much as they relied on him - he became their leader by his charisma and encouragement, but ultimately they all worked together and needed each other.

Similarly, Avengers (though Avengers lacks the character-introduction and build-up that Guardians of the Galaxy had, as it relied on previous movies).

It was making the point that the 'good fantasy' out there is not somehow linked to a set of rules mechanics. I just can't see how you could have a good 'D&D' movie that is tied into a rules set.

Than you're not looking.

Mechanics aren't a story. Mechanics can inform a story - that is direct the high and low end of the story's flow.

This is something that a lot of people don't understand.

What makes a third edition module different from a fourth edition module? Lots of things, but, due to the mechanics of it, the third edition one will presume forced retreat and rest before the other. This must be built into the story itself. Thus, the story is influenced and directed by mechanics.

A story in which casters all have limited, specific effects per day that are variable by what they prepare or what they have innately known is going to flow very differently from a story in which everyone has specific limited uses of exertion each day in order to continue forward and that has limitless use of certain magical effects. Both of these will be different from, say, anything based on second or fifth edition.

None of these are wrong. None are bad. All of them have a style and flow and subtle identity based off of the rules set they are created from.

This is important: if you can't see how rules affect a story, than you simply aren't using them to their full potential.

None of this has to say, "He expends a third level spell slot, and deals 5d6 damage!" - that's asinine.

But it can say, "I have only a few uses of such powerful magic without resting; yet my magic should be more than enough to handle those orcs! Beware, though, as the ogre may survive, and the giant certainly will - such beings are too powerful, even for my magic, to destroy entirely." ... though you probably want to be less heavy-handed in the way you do it.

Hence, you now have a story informed by mechanics, a story that has an internal consistency, and a story that gives a built-in limited variance.

All of this boils down to internal consistency.

Many people seem to hate this idea, or scoff at it, for some reason. Fair 'nough - if they wish to have their games or stories or both completely disregard the rules that keep them internally consistent, that's fine.

But lacking that internal consistency can be jarring for others.

Game of Thrones has a rules set - as mentioned above, it's the rules set that Martin has in his head. If, suddenly, Tyrion gained the skill to know how to make nuklear bombs and FTL and could fabricate the former into existence and set them off at specific targets while river-dancing, that would violate the internal consistency of the books. It would be even more jarring if one were crafted by riverdancing, and the other was crafted by a high-end social, technological, and industrial revolution. These become internally inconsistent... and inconsistent from the tone the unwritten (and unknown to us) rules that govern the world function.

Tolkien had a rules set. In his case, his rules included the fact that all supernatural effects were, in effect, part of a cosmic meta-song originally propounded and created by Iluvatar (and messed with by a greedy Vanar later, before Iluvatar fixed it). Hence, excessive magic use was typically limited, as it required tapping into the local flow of that meta-song - which was difficult - and altering it - which was difficult - both of which could cause problems. His rules included reasons for why Gandalf could come back from the dead, but Boromir couldn't. They included reasons why it took Sauron so friggin' long to come back. They included the reasons and method of corruption by the Ring.
(Though he quietly retconned those rules between his books, and it's quite noticeable.)

The rules are not a story. This has never been in dispute. But the rules do inform a story, inform its ebb, flow, and style, and inform the methods by which a story gains its identity.

It doesn't matter what rules set is used - just so long as they pick one and stick with it. It is then that they can display the subtle cues that indicate that, yes, this is built off of the franchise that is associated with the game.

If fighters have the best saves across the board
- or instead have more combat options than anyone else
- or instead have specific martial tricks they can use
- or instead have the ability to push themselves to do something amazing or ignore their wounds
... or whatever, it does not greatly matter, so long as you're consistent in saying that the fighter can do that.

This is what it means to have a story based off the rules.

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Hence, trying to get it back on track.

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

Sorry. Three-year-old. :D

EDIT: should be fixed. I've got to step out, but should be back in... fifteen minutes to half an hour?

EDIT 2: might be longer. My three year old also managed to run my iPad battery dry while I wasn't looking, and I don't know about access to my (or any) PC. Sorry.

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More or less my point exactly. (Although that wasn't really a great movie.)

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Ask your GM.

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You know, it just occurred to me: I think most of my GMs might have been female. I might just be going through a weird brain blank, but the preponderance of them might have been. Huh.

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More 3.5 Psionics, less other things?


(Some great ideas, though, guys! Love that feat, Sslarn!)

((Normally, I'm not opposed to a good derail, and, in fact, love it, but this particular thread was built with the purpose of having a "reference" thread to show others at a future point in time. The "first case" is intended to be just that - a "first case", instead of the "only case".))

EDIT: Incidentally, Sslarn, you, uh, wouldn't mind... putting that feat here, would you? No, no reason... no reason... :)

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

By the way, that soup was delicious! :D

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)


Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

Incidentally, you made me go make soup. Sadly, I had no beef-and-vegetable soup, so I made a can of Clam Chowder. You jerk*. :p


* EDIT: I'd even forgotten to go eat lunch entirely! But you had to force my hand like that, didn't'cha?!

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It's better than the world! Egad, man, that's where I keep all my stuff!

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Not if it's set up properly in advance.

I don't expect Iron Man to always use his expensive missile trick to solve every problem repeatedly, because I see the missiles used up... and even if I didn't, I understand that missiles are a limited resource.

A simple explanation that the wizard only has so much magic to go around is readily accepted enough.

Even without that, it's not inherently going to be a problem. Gandalf didn't use his spells all the time, and it wasn't jarring. It fit with the flow of the narrative well enough that he didn't always do so.

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Holy mackerel, I didn't even notice the duration difference.

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)

Running to pick up my son, going to be back in about 10 minutes!

EDIT: Aaaaannndd back!

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)


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Ooh! Thanks!

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"Hello! Look!"

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... she was? Where are her stats? I've been looking for those!

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"Hey! Listen!"

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You are correct - Ydersius was significantly before Aroden's time, by all indications.

However, I think Ross only meant "again" as in "could defeat Ydersius like he was defeated last time" instead of "could defeat Ydersius for the second time in a row."

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I'd actually recommend a different supplement altogether.

However, the idea of it has substantial merit in general, and was inspired by your words and earlier posts. :)

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Gunslinger 4EVA!

(Psionic Gunslinger?! A soulknife archetype?!)

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)


I've edited the last post I made several times.

Site eating it, and, when I finally copy/paste the "final" version (which may still be missing things), we end up with a NoStore/Server Down. If anything in particular looks like it's missing, let me know. I've had to rewrite the thing a few times.

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Nathanael Love wrote:
Psions have 9th level powers as well. A 20 PP power is equivalent to a 9th level spell.

This is only true insomuch as the given 20PP power is actually equivalent in power to a given 9th level spell... which isn't, actually, a given.

They are "equivalent" insomuch as most of them are considered to have "caster-level-like" effects based on a 20th caster level, (very) roughly equivalent power-tiers, and similar DCs.

They are equivalent in the same way that a 20th level sword-and-board fighter and a 20th level god-wizard are equivalent: vaguely, and only if you put them in certain situations that expressly favor the sword-and-board and not the wizard.

As a (very rough) example, if I apply Heighten Spell to magic missile, it doesn't matter how much I heighten it, the effect is never going to equal another ninth level spell, even if it's heightened to ninth level. This is due to the inherent weaknesses of the system that it uses for its free scaling (a system that actively favors it as a spell instead of a power).

This is what you seem to not be getting (or at least not acknowledging): augmentation, despite allowing more power to be pushed into a single effect than its base power, is not actually innately changing that power to an equivalent of ninth level spells. It can alter the power to a degree, but that degree is not nearly the amount that you seem to think it is.

Again: look at all the spells that you can get, for free, with just the summon monster line up. Holy. Crap. I can double my spells known, as a sorcerer, and have an exceedingly solid in-combat and out-of-combat utility as a sorcerer by spending nine of my limited spells known on that.

(Being neutral is a huge help with that.)

Gate is another prime example. There is nothing on the psionic spell lists that can equal that level of raw power.

The equivalent shapechange effect (an amazing spell, by the way) goes from something anyone of that level (except for a few who specialize away) can use to something only specialists can use, and, in addition, costs XP to use. Microcosm is strictly inferior to Imprisonment. Shades gives you every conjuration spell in the game of 8th level or lower, all prepared in a quantum state of readiness for no cost, though at a slightly inferior power. Both timeless body and time regression are strictly inferior to time stop and the latter can only be used by certain specialists. Genesis is a psionic power that doesn't exist in the player's handbook, so comparing the two of them the psion comes out ahead... but there is an arcane equivalent power, and it's more powerful than the psionic version. Etherealness is mostly the same, except the psionic ones explicitly state that everyone has to have linked hands, whereas the arcane one does not.

The big blasting power/spell comparison is tornado blast and meteor swarm.

At its base, tornado blast does 17d6 damage... compared to a meteor swarm's 24d6 damage (plus up to 8d6 additional bludgeoning damage) from the first moment you get it. At 20th level, tornado blast can still only deal 20d6 damage. Additionally, tornado blast is a single 40-ft. radius effect... while meteor swarm is four 40-ft. radius effects... which, while each effect is a fraction of the damage, allows you a tremendous number of larger options for where to place that damage.

Foresight v. Metafaculty allows... one ability that I would argue in psionics is more powerful than the arcane equivalent, which is good, because the arcane equivalent is a lower relative effect than the heroism spell we discussed up thread.

assimilate and affinity field have no arcane equivalent (in the player's handboook), but, then again, there are no direct psionic equivalents to:
- Freedom: Releases creature from imprisonment.
- Mage’s Disjunction: Dispels magic, disenchants magic items.
- Prismatic Sphere: As prismatic wall, but surrounds on all sides.
- Refuge M: Alters item to transport its possessor to you.
- Teleportation Circle M: Circle teleports any creature inside to designated spot.
- Hold Monster, Mass: As hold monster, but all within 30 ft.
- Power Word Kill: Kills one creature with 100 hp or less.
- Crushing Hand: Large hand provides cover, pushes, or crushes your foes.
- Weird: As phantasmal killer, but affects all within 30 ft.
- Energy Drain: Subject gains 2d4 negative levels.
- Soul Bind F: Traps newly dead soul to prevent resurrection.
- Wail of the Banshee: Kills one creature/level.

Now, there may be augmented psionic equivalents - I'm not looking at all of their lists, just the one I posted earlier (the one that I'd forgotten my original purpose in doing so).

That is a lot of ground to cover.

Note that I left out several spells from the 9th level list that do have equivalents... but those equivalents are, in fact, usually^ less powerful.

20 pp psionic dominate is pretty cool... but no more inherently^ powerful than dominate monster (depending on your reading, see below)^, and, technically, slightly less versatile, as the latter doesn't actually care what the creature type is, while the former has a specific list that it effects (though the number of cases in which the latter's variability will come in handy are relatively rare). The psionic dominate does have the ability of controlling multiple creatures, however, which is not only very powerful, it can be considered "more than enough" to make up for that fact. Of course, it's still entirely negated by a first level power, still, and no matter how much it's augmented it will never overcome a different 4th level spell.

One thing I'm not sure of off the top of my head (as I have conflicting memories, and the rules don't specify one way or the other) is if, when augmenting, you gain all the benefits of augmenting to a certain cost, or only those chosen. I remember (in our games) using it as you gain all the benefits of augmentation, but, upon reading the power, I can see an argument being made that you only gain the benefit of what you augment for (so, in other words, you pay up to four to get all the creature types listed - i.e. "all the creature types listed above" - and additional targets, but the duration is still concentration... while the spell is strictly 1 day per level (making the dominate person spell superior in every way to the equivalent expenditure of a psionic dominate effect).

All of this indicates that the psionic equivalents are, in general, less powerful than the magical equivalents, and, those that aren't (or are definitively more powerful) are easily shut down by lower-grade^ magical effects.

EDIT: very, very ninja'd

^ EDITed in for clarity. It was an accidental omission. Some make quite a bit of difference in the meaning!

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Liranys wrote:
Waglinde wrote:
How does one know if a blink dog, blinks?
How many blinks could would a blink dog blink when a blink dog blinks?

A blink dog would blink as many blinks as a blink dog could blink when a blink dog blinks.

Male Agathion (Leonal) Gestalt Monk-Paladin (with bardic performance!)
GM Rednal wrote:
You know what? I'm giving you 115 EXP just for the good roleplaying, bringing you up to 2500. You've earned it.

Woah! Thank you!

I never expected anything like that!

That's so awesome!

Honestly, I couldn't see her doing anything else.

The powerful realization of the stone box = Axis = Hell = the stone dungeon was just too powerful to pass up.

It's literally the first time in her new life the anarchic Heksfazia has ever experienced freedom and anarchy blessed and condoned from the environment itself.

Not only is it the the closest she's felt to the Abyss since... well, since the Abyss...

Added to that, well... celestial fetish and celestial taint. Nothing physical - or even physically metaphysical, really, taint-wise. Just a memory of having that, at one time, as a part of her, however briefly, is enough.

Besides... Elysium gave birth, directly or indirectly, to Marmael!

She is entirely and instantly smitten by Elysium itself. She doesn't know if planes can have "lovers", but she's gonna give it her all to be exactly that.

(Though dalliances with celestials from the lawful Heaven are certainly still things she'd be all over in an instant.)

Regardless, this is the first time in an eternity she's felt like herself, whatever that means, anymore.

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Tels wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
(Tels doesn't like brilliant energy - I tried, and it just doesn't do it for him.)
That's because it doesn't work as a brilliant energy blade is incapable of cutting through a piece of yarn.

Depends on how you build and read it, Tels. I understand your position and source of disagreement. :)

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It certainly can make things easier on the GM, if the player knows what they need to do to succeed! Time saver!

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"Up" is a preposition.
Also, you missed an apostrophe.
(And man, if I had a hundred dollar bill for ever time I've done that.)

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Oh, and yet one other thing (well, one thing I've already covered, but it is something that bears repeating and reiterating in a different manner).

Citing specific cases and games is not only allowed, but encouraged. This is for 3.5, but, since it's meant to be a learning tool (and besides, many are engaged in 3.5 games at present), stories and "here's how it happened in my game" are entirely necessary for any sort of dialogue to happen at all.

Please be open to "the wizard doesn't work like that" or "that's not something that can be done by a wilder of his level" or "uh... what?" because that'll likely happen.

In this way we learn what happened in specific situations, but also we can internalize the ideas behind the failures and apply those important lessons to future situations, whether we alter our play style or not.


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In any thread where a hotly debated topic exists, there are going to be opinions that are strongly stated in various amounts of firmness. Sometimes these opinions will look like they are being stated as fact. Sometimes those stating the opinions believe that they are, actually, fact (and hence have formed said opinion). Some, on the other hand, are natural Internet Forum Discussion hyperbole.

I would suggest and request that, when discussing such matters, we assert what we are certain of, but being open to the idea that our "fact" (whichever side we are on) may well turn out to be opinion - easier said than done, I know.


For general discussion and argumentation, or for any concept that requires assistance, requests for aid, or anecdotal evidence (which, in the end, is anecdotal, but must be considered in things like this, as, ultimately, this is about a system who's value lies in how it plays out) it is important to clarify differences from the normal presumptions of the game system in general.


Having differences from the normal presumptions of the game system in general is not, inherently, a bad thing, nor does it mean you're playing the game wrong. Instead it means that you need to understand that, yes, the system functions differently for you than it does from others, and here's why. Thus arguments made (ranging from "wizards are more powerful than psions!" to "psions are more powerful than wizards!") do, to some extent, depend on your table variation. This is a perfectly fine thing, but it's important to know when discussing things.

It may be that you're not sure where your group differs from the baseline presumptions of the game, or are only aware of some elements. That's fine too - you are not excluded from the conversation because of it. Instead, we will, together, see how that works out in action.


In any event, it's important that this thread remain as civil in discourse as possible. If an idea is debunked, you may certainly say so, and explain how it is debunked, however it would be appreciated if, in general, lots of people don't continually chime in with "THAT'S DEBUNKED!" because, at that point, conversation shuts down and little is learned or accomplished.

If, in the debunking, a particular aspect was missed, by all means, feel free to add in that aspect.

Similarly, if nothing but agreement is intended, it might be more productive to favorite a post, or make a short post akin to, "in general, I agree with <post here>, for <reasons>." or (hard as this is for me, personally), remain silent.

Although it feels like it at times, those who agree with each other on a given issue are, in fact, not a collective, but rather a loose group of individuals who... agree with each other on a given issue. This note applies to those who agree with each other on an issue as much as to those who do not agree with that "group apparent".

Due to this, it is important that you, whoever you are, and wherever you reside on the agreement/disagreement spectrum maintain at least some level of autonomy for the purpose of disagreeing with another poster you otherwise might tend to agree with.

As an example, I tend to love Ashiel's and Sslarn's posts and respect them as posters, however I've disagreed with them on a number of assertions or ideas expressed in the past. Names cited for being the most in-depth detailed not-me posters in this thread to date.

In this regard, if someone you otherwise agree with makes a statement, assertion, or presumption that you do not agree with, please do not hesitate to repudiate, refine, or suggest an alternate explanation or idea. Of course, such response is generally preferred to be polite, friendly, or acknowledging of the things gotten correct (ex: "I agreed with everything in the post, but <X>, and here's why...") for the purpose of clear and open communication.

The above actions all work toward a singular goal: that of increasing general knowledge or awareness, and avoiding the appearance or sensation of a (colloquially) "dogpiling" on anyone.

Thank you all for participating in this thread, and I want us to continue to clarify and examine various ideas and relative powers in an open, welcoming manner!

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I would like to propose a concept: two highly defensive-focused builds. One psion, one wizard, both 3.5, both with only the most basic rules (Player's Handbook, and Expanded Psionics Handbook*).

This proposition is not to be the sole activity of this thread (in fact, it shouldn't be), but rather an offer to allow people to make their arguments with builds.

If you participate, please put forth a good-faith effort to demonstrate why the build holds true in general principles rather than the specific build. In other words, "this is true in more than one corner case" type things.

Multi-classing is allowed, and they do not need to be optimized, so long as you're working to get a solid build out of the whole thing, and are predominantly a solid caster.

We can then compare them to the monsters in the monster manual.

I am going to opt out of doing this myself, as I get bored and distracted easy (Attention Deficit), but many enjoy building such things, so I'm offering this as a proposition.

the basic idea:
- AC compared to AC
- general defense compared to general defense
- special niche builds

Other considerations with each comparison build
- what can the caster or manifester do after they're solidly protected?
- action economy and viability during a typical adventuring day?
- how does this impact a team's abilities in general?
- how flexible are they for non-combat encounters?

Bear in mind that any considerations need to be made and explained in your builds.

MOST IMPORTANTLY OF ALL: You also need to apply an even amount of system mastery to each build.

Participation in this exercise is strictly optional, naturally, but realize that, if you do so, your build can (and will) be critiqued (or possibly criticized) by those who disagree with your choices. Please be ready to defend them, accept the challenger as correct, or explain why you chose a different route than the most optimal (i.e. "I was comparing these two aspects together, rather than the most optimal method of self-defense").

While I have specified defensive builds, I do not do so in order to limit the comparative builds here, but rather to offer some minimum coherence for how to go about things.

I would not mind seeing other builds - blasters, controllers, manipulators, socialites, minion-masters (whether mind-control or conjuring), creatives, and so on.

A reminder - the point of such exercises is not to show that a given system can be broken - of course it can be - but to show the relative balance (or lack thereof) with the two systems, and how they interact and handle themselves.

When discussing builds, it may be polite to place said discussions behind spoiler tags so those not interested in the specific arguments or discussions can skip them.

For example,

The Build Tacticslion did:
... would go here, if I was going to make one, which I am not. But various notes about it, or responses to it, would go in a spoiler like this.

Obviously, no one is bound to these rules - they are there almost entirely for the benefit of the thread in an optional participation for those who are interested. But it seems like a good place to have common ground to talk about things.

Thank you!

* For those who are new, let me explain the name very briefly: it's very badly named. The "Expanded" was added to separate it as a 3.5 product that, hypothetically, built off of the groundwork for the 3rd Edition produce (appropriately titled "Psionics Handbook"). It is not, actually, an expansion of that product, so much as a complete reworking. Whereas the original 3rd Edition Psionics Handbook utilized a hardcoded rules system called psionic attack modes and psionic defense modes, and utilized a number of game-distorting effects, the 3.5 "Expanded Psionics Handbook" removed all of the excess rules introduced in the 3rd Edition one save the utilization of power points, re-balanced all of the classes around a moderate line, introduced the concept of Augmentation (or at least implemented it) for powers - the 3rd Edition system used the exact "tiered spell" structure from wizard spells, such as charm person and charm monster -, and was generally superior in every way, while maintaining only the barest of elements similar to the 3rd Edition one (i.e. power points and some nomenclature).

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Heh. Nice. (Though that is hotly debated.)

However, we're getting really off-topic.

Let's keep this running forward, eh?

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(Tels doesn't like brilliant energy - I tried, and it just doesn't do it for him.)

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The notion that there's only one GM in a given group of players has always struck me as exceedingly odd.

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