I think Nimon has the answer right on. It sounds like you do not so much want to DM, but rather would be happy to provide assistance to the individual running the game. The challenge in such a situation is, of course, making sure that you do not know too much and can enjoy the sessions as a player. If, however, you intend to simply be an observer (as I imagine this dislike of talking also extends to time as a player) and record keeper ... I see no issues/pitfalls at all with the two of you working together. Other than the standard pitfalls of working in a group that is (competing ideas, compromise, etc).
On a side note, I have been a part of three campaigns in which all of those participating in the campaign took turns at being the DM. We rotated on a per-adventure/per-module basis (so a rotation about once every 2-3 weeks playing once/week). There were 5 of us ... so you basically got the fun of being a DM for 2 weeks out of every 10 and the other 8 weeks you got the fun of being a player while having time to really build a great next module/adventure for when your turn came around. Those were great campaigns. Not linear at all ... multiple story lines keeping us all interested (with cameos or bits of stories crossing DMs) ... and a relaxing pace for DMing.
Drow are seriously only CR 1/3 in Pathfinder? Wow ...
Wow ... great suggestions ... and fast!
@HerosBackpack -- I had considered the Derro, though the 3 CR had turned me off and tinkering with their stats wasn't going very many good places.
@Fergie -- Mites are promising!
@caliga -- I probably will end up with at least a slightly custom creature and it's a good point that doing so will allow me to scale them as the campaign goes forward.
@Darksol -- I'll definitely throw some darkmantles in.
@TriOmegaZero -- I had considered the Sahuagin, but we're a little far from large bodies of water for it to make sense.
I appreciate the help ... off and running on some ideas now. I'll see how it turns out in about 7 hours ... hehe
Running a session --tonight-- (yes, I'm giving oh so much time for replies, heh) and running into an unexpected obstacle ... hoping to get some help/answers/pointers here.
The party is comprised of 4 characters, all level 2.
They will be discovering an ancient underground temple complex ( think more on the lines of the size of a village rather than a single building ) that was once dedicated to gods of good (btw, custom-built world ... not Golarion). However, long ago this complex was abandoned and an unknown chaotic evil has risen from the depths below the mountain.
The idea is that the characters enter an environment that is very ... cthulu-like in that there is an 'old one' partially awake in this underground complex tearing at the sanity of any who are there. They are entering this place in pursuit of a lesser bad guy.
What I need/want are ideas for underground dwelling chaotic evil creatures who may be twisted/insane and worship this old one. The kicker, however, is that they need to be of low enough CR for a level 2 party to handle.
Note: Goblins, Orcs, and Kobolds are out. I need something that's not quite so 'common'.
It would be cool to have a list you could randomly roll to generate Character personality with drives and such.
I think the point of showing the random generator that I did find is to show how you could absolutely, easily, build one that is customized to your world and your party's play-style. I highly recommend it if even one of you are interested in it.
I feel for you, but I've got to say that in 23 years of gaming I have yet to run into the issue you describe. Why can't the party move on without the barbarian and come back around to the curse side-quest when she's able to play again? It's just about being flexible as to when player specific events occur ...
1 - Talk with the DM about the game world and about the generalities of the campaign that we'll be playing. I'm generally particularly interested in our starting location and the types of motivations a character would need in the campaign (does it rely on us being 'adventurers' seeking jobs, for instance).
2 - Speak with the other players about general character concepts they have. This step is mostly for me to avoid conceiving a character that is antithetical to the party. There are some parties where certain personas just don't belong. From here I can generally figure a basic character concept, such as "surly war veteran" or "naive student of magic".
3 - Roll my stats and come up with a race/class combo based on the results and the previous discussions.
4 - When applying ability scores, consider how they might apply to a back story. If, for instance, I'm pulling the classic power-gamer CHA dump stat move (I don't, but let's say I am) ... I consider what may have made my character particularly unlikeable.
5 - During feat, skill, and trait selection I always work each chosen ability into the backstory that is starting to form. Sometimes certain feats, skills, or traits don't make sense at all ... so those are discarded, but other selections help build and flesh out the background and those I take.
6 - The next step is to figure out how I got from my homeland to the campaign start location. The answer may be as simple as "I grew up here" or as complicated as "I traveled interdimensional planes for thousands of years before landing in this place" (ok, probably not that one). Determining how I got to campaign start usually helps me round out enough to be happy with my background.
7 - With a background determined, it's pretty easy to conceive of a basic personality. Taking that, I jump into the first few sessions and let the personality build through interaction with other characters, with NPCs, and with the game world.
That's it ... not a very complicated process, but I find it works.
Logan 247365 wrote:
We do the same thing ... with the same result. I guess that goes to show that a class no one wants to play will never be attractive just because of stat changes.
Mr. Sandman wrote:
How many people do you have on video chat?
We run our games with 6-7 people on video chat and have not had any real problems.
A lot of it, of course, depends on your connection speeds (a 10mbps+ down connection should be fine ... which is low for most cable/DSL offerings today) and on your graphics capability (I'm fine even with a 256mb graphics card ... something better is obviously ... better).
Skype is great, but I've switched to using Google+ Hangouts. They work very well and there are some people developing an RP Tool specifically for Hangouts called TableForge which has some promise. Until then, I'm using MapTools.
In any case ... playing over video chat is great. I wouldn't suggest doing just audio ... I'd suggest everyone has a webcam (being able to see each other actually does make a difference ... you can read lots of non-verbal cues).
Alright ... player point-of-view and the rest of the party wanting to split up:
1 - Suggest pairings that minimize weaknesses. If you put, for instance, the fighter and cleric together and then the wizard and rogue together ... well, the wizard and rogue are going to die (the fighter and cleric might do really well though!). Change that a bit for fighter/wizard and rogue/cleric and both have an ok chance of survival (BUT ... both might die as well because neither pairing is 'ideal').
2 - Make sure that there is a reason for splitting up (even if it's "we just want to search both hallways at the same time") and that there are definitive (and limited!) goals for what is accomplished while split up and when you regroup. Mention at the table how dangerous it is to split. We actually have a somewhat spontaneous tradition at our table when someone suggests we split up ... somehow we've all ended up saying "Let's split up so Jason can kill us individually." It's not a rule, just something spontaneous that's happened. It reminds us all how dangerous it is at the same time we suggest it.
3 - Once you've accomplished your goals from splitting up, regroup immediately at a designated rendevous. Don't let other players keep extending the split-up time. Let's say it's the "explore both hallways at once" and you each see the first "room" at the end of each hallway ... don't let anyone just keep going. Both come back to the rendevous.
Alright ... those are my few pieces of advice for you as a player.
The adventure then became the "find water or die" adventure.
I aboslutely loved 2E Dark Sun precisely for these types of adventures. Characters who were careless with their mundane equipment had a rough time of it. Conversely, everyone had very high ability scores ... which made players who like to be badasses love it.
But me as a player I always found it a way to sort of cooperate with the DM - I'll relieve myself of excess cash on my own, thankyouverymuch
Honestly, that's all I've ever asked for as a DM. Let's work together to sink your money into stuff that's just fun to have (like a castle).
I also understand the idea of not wanting to get 'screwed over' with your base. I maintain that it's all a matter of balance and taking care of your players. If players know that the DM is going to ensure they have appropriate wealth levels and never actually 'screw them over', losing a bit of gold here or an artifact there as part of the storyline of a campaign isn't all that bothersome.
The real challenge is trust; players trusting the DM and the DM trusting the players. Once you have that, the whole money storage thing (including being robbed) just works itself out. Hell, I remember being a player and having our home base (we had occupied an abandoned fort several hours outside of a large city and even started growing crops) "reclaimed" by a noble lord and ourselves kicked out of it. We didn't mind as players (though we were PISSED as characters) because we trusted the DM to return things to us appropriately and knew the story we all told together would be awesome.
I've never followed the suggested difficulty numbers with climb ... or with most skills honestly. I set a number that I feel is realistic and go with it. My players haven't complained about it yet. Probably because I'm not the kind of dick who jacks up difficulty numbers arbitrarily just because someone is good at it.
In short: Ignore the climb setup and assign your own numbers, no one at your table is going to complain unless you're way out of line.
And this is why most Players are loathe to leave their swag in such a place. Unless they can put it in an immensely secure vault behind various deadly traps and sharks with beam attacks.
That all depends. If you don't put thieves on them every time but only once in a while for plot hooks or to clear out excess wealth, it works alright. And that means not even robbing them every campaign. Sometimes my players manage their home base without danger at all.
Plus ... there's the added awesome of a home base ... or even individual character homes.
Am I the only one here who has characters keep stuff in chests or bags or hidden compartments at home?
Coins are heavy ... and not very mobile. For the first few levels, characters are generally light enough on cash to carry it and/or spend it immediately. However, pretty soon they start gathering a treasure horde of their own and that gets dumped into a 'home base' of sorts most of the time.
That home base is also subject to being robbed sometimes (unless, of course, NPC guards or servants are hired to be there while characters trek around the world).
If you're going to give an epic reward at the end of a campaign in which the characters are pretty much going to 'retire' after ... give them rewards that aren't based around game bonuses.
Give them land.
Basically ... give the characters something that makes their retirement glorious and comfortable, letting the players feel like they 'won' the game.
If you give the game-bonus type rewards ... your players will want to keep on with the characters they're playing ...
My favorite is allowing a character's mundane equipment to become magical based on heroic feats (or follies). Doing so allows them to become 'attached' to something like an heirloom weapon or a ratty old backpack and gives life to the character's equipment ... rather than just throwing old stuff out when a shiny magical item appears.
Basically ... it works exactly like giving someone magic items ... just sometimes items transform from mundane to magical rather than being stuff in a treasure horde.
Honestly, it looks like you're trying to shoehorn a skill-progression type system into a level-based system.
I know you're not talking about skills or skill progressions, but you're basically wanting to allow characters to dabble in doing stuff that belongs to another class, yet advance in relatively the same manner as single-class characters (thereby avoiding the ridiculous penalties a 4 thief/4 wizard/4 fighter suffers vs a 12th single-class character).
So ... what you want is a way to increase whatever skills a player wishes each level ... which still provides advantages for concentrating on only a few, but also allows for greater variety and customization.
You want a different game ... not a fix to multi-classing. Trust me.
And, btw, I actually prefer skill-progression games to Pathfinder myself ... it's just everyone and their brother knows how to play Pathfinder.
Alex Stolar wrote:
1. What's a good way to determine what loot to distribute?
1 - Look at the average wealth by level chart.
2 - multiply that wealth by the number of people in your party.
3 - Divide that wealth by the number of adventures you want to run between levels.
4 - Disperse the per-adventure wealth result throughout each of your adventures as it most makes sense. Should goblins carry a few silver? Does a wizard have Dust of Disappearance in his lab? etc.
Example: 4 players, 1st level, 3 adventures to 2nd level.
Average wealth at 2nd level: 1,000 gp
... now, split that into gold, silver, copper, gems, random jewelry or ornaments (silver cups? ornate paintings?) and magic items (potions are great for early levels) based on the adventure at hand.
Alex Stolar wrote:
Another question, if I want someone to roll perception or something like that, do I have the entire party roll or just a particular person. If just one person, how do I determine which person this is?
Personally, I usually have the party roll 5-10 perception checks at the beginning of the session and check them off as we go, telling people when they notice things based on the rolls made earlier. That way people aren't "on edge" whenever they enter a forest/etc because I had them make a perception check.
As for having one person roll or all people roll ... it depends on the situation. If only one character is in position to perceive then only one person should roll. I've also considered the idea of having a 'party perception' roll based on relative perception ranks of group members, their level of awareness (are they just strolling through town not thinking ... or actively hunting for someone and looking everywhere?) ... but often I let everyone roll their own perception if they are all involved and able to perceive.
Alex Stolar wrote:
Yet another question, is about the time lapse. If someone want so take, say a week in game to do something, is there likewise sort of way to track that, or is it just like "ok a week passes"? What are ways to combat this or is this acceptable?
You're on your own for declaring the passage of time. If there's nothing going on (such as goblin invasion, princess was kidnapped and about to be sacrificed, etc) ... you can feel free to just say "a week passes". Sometimes you may want to mix things up ... make things happen during the passage of time ... that's fine too. Really, that part is all up to you.
Well, the signs above are definitely indications that the players aren't properly engaged, but not necessarily that they aren't interested. The fact that they are bothering to do things like trying to pick the locks on the chests or find the manticore lair are indications that they are at least moderately interested in the game (if they weren't interested, they wouldn't even bother with the manticore lair).
It sounds like there are two major issues:
1 - They have been playing with each other as DM for a while and have likely gotten into a 'groove' with how they play. They aren't paying attention to what you are presenting them because they expect c to follow b to follow a in all cases. They get loot, don't die, etc. It's classic player behavior following experience with new/bad/very basic DMs.
2 - They are all interested in other things. Pathfinder, to them, is just one of many activities they could be doing at the moment and might even be somewhat of a side-show to at least a few of them at this point in their lives. Maybe someone is there one night only because a girl didn't call him back ... or the session is put together only because there wasn't a party to attend.
1 - Take effort to pull the players into the game. When they say they're doing something that is stupid ... stop them ... re-explain the situation to them ... and ask them what they're doing. If they continue to act stupid, let them die. Don't have the adult manticores be absent from the nest ... have them wipe the party out completely.
2 - Ban cell phones from the table. Make it clear that sitting around the table for a session means you're all playing Pathfinder. Sure, let there be horsing around and stuff ... but it's Pathfinder time, not texting time. Take 10 minute breaks every hour or so and let people catch up on their texts/etc -- but AWAY from the actual table. Make that table a Pathfinder place.
3 - Throw in some "cool" stuff. In high school, I was all about fightin' dragons and having kick ass gear. It wasn't until college that I started really getting into the idea of gritty, medieval role-play or slow-paced campaigns (now I'm in my 30's and my campaigns are again totally different). Make things epic, they'll be engaged.
That's all I've got for you for now.
Very interesting article -- TY for posting it. I always knew that Blackmoor -> DnD had occurred in Arneson's basement and grew out of wargaming ... but I had never known of Braunstein or Major Wesley.
<voice-of-evil-Sicilian> You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: Never reveal too much of the storyline too early in a campaign </voice-of-evil-Sicilian>
The above advice of tying "extending" quests to the main storyline is your best avenue at this point. From there, the advice above about a progression timeline for your next campaign is essential. You may want to start the characters knowing about an ancient evil ... but perhaps it takes them a while to find the books ... or they find a book and don't know what it's about until they find an old sage (and getting to the old sage has some sidetracks) ... etc.
Pacing the "full reveal" of a campaign arc is difficult ... and I've been in your shoes before (and probably will be again). Good luck!
So even with the character holding on to the bag solidifies, that bag does not remain within the target? OH!!!!! So the only way for an object to solidify within the body of a character is by completely s%!+ting off the magic in someway... Via Dispel magic, anti magic shells or something like that, right? Then the fail safe of that spell where it sends the bad to expelled from the body or it being forced to stay in the ethereal plane is prevented! Would that be the case?
No, it would not be the case. Consider it an impossibility of the game world physics for an ethereal (or otherwise 'not solid') object to materialize within a living body.
Your question actually brought to mind several images. This image (not the joke that is typed over it) from the front of the 2nd Edition ADnD PHB has always seemed very 'quintessential' to me:
Of course ... you could also always go with this party:
Truth is, there is no single "quintessential" party ... and the stuff that comes from WoW is just video game optimization ... not translated well into classic ideas of a pen and paper party.
That said ... I'll try to build a somewhat 'classic' 5 person party:
1 - Burly Human Fighter, longsword and shield (male)
And just because I find them both inspiring and classic ... a few more images:
I think everyone here has already made the point that you're ready to DM. I'd like to offer a few small bits of advice, especially as it pertains to first pitfalls and to building a world:
1 - Don't stress the rules, just play the way you and your group have been playing (at least for a while). You probably already know most of the rules your table follows -- including house rules -- and can ad-lib the rest when you need.
2 - Accept that you will need time to get comfortable in the DM seat and that you will make mistakes.
3 - Don't let players talk you into stuff you don't want to allow just because you're unsure of a rule. Conversely, don't be so strict on them that the game isn't any fun. This rule of 'moderation' is probably one of the most challenging for a new DM.
4 - Don't "railroad" your players. Railroading is when a DM forces a group to say on a set path, not allowing any deviation from the prepared scenario/campaign. A player will be happier if you allow a little deviation (even if you screw up horribly with the free form) than if you railroad them down a set path.
5 - Do engage your players. Ask them about their favorite RP experiences, about classes they like, and about experiences they find tedious or boring. You may know a lot of this info already, but I always find more insight on my players just by talking about old gaming sessions even after 20 years. You'll get insights into what motivates your players and how to make things fun for them.
HOMEBREW WORLD ADVICE:
1 - DO NOT BUILD EVERYTHING AT ONCE ... build a general idea and flesh out a very basic history ... and then accept that your world will build organically over time. The entire general idea, basic history, and list of races/classes available should not take more than 3 typed pages. It should be that simple.
2 - Talk to your players about the type of campaign they would like and then start detailing out the starting location for the campaign that results.
3 - When you have a starting area (including at least a little map of the area), talk about the setting with your players and engage THEM to flesh out more details during their character creation process. Players can give you ideas for character homelands, minor world history events, town/village/city/kingdom names, topography, etc. You'll take it all in and make sure it fits your world before accepting it of course (maybe with an adjustment or two) ... but this step allows you to both avoid doing all the work yourself AND engage players further into the campaign and get them invested in the game world.
4 - PUT YOUR GAME WORLD ON A WIKI. Seriously. You will lose pieces of paper. You won't be able to navigate a .doc very well. Put stuff on a wiki (mediawiki is the framework used for Wikipedia and is free ... if you're not at all tech savvy, there are many services that offer a sort of wiki for you at very low cost). The beautiful thing about a wiki doesn't lie just in being able to navigate your info easily or in keeping everything from being lost ... but also in being able to assign everyone in the group a tag and allowing players to make proposals to the game world when they wish (again, subject to your review).
5 - Notice that I haven't mentioned a world map at all? I'm not saying one isn't important ... but it's less important than fleshing out and individual campaign and building a custom world is A LOT of work. If you really want, just sketch out a very basic game world map ... but fill in the details only as you need them. Your players will understand and really ... will characters know EVERYTHING about their world? It's still a mystery to the characters ... why can't it be to the players as well?
I do think that it should be 'easier' to critically hit as you go up in level, but the way we have always handled the situation is pretty simple:
You roll your original crit-range ... which gives you a "chance" to critically hit. Afterwards, you have to roll a second time and simply "hit". Since characters tend to hit more easily at higher levels, the chances that a possible-crit becomes an actual-crit are higher.
I use sense motive in a way that's very different from sensing truth or lie. My purpose in using it is to allow the character a sense of whether or not the target is basically acting deceitful, out of malice, in self-interest, altruistically, etc.
A person can be telling the truth and hate you for it ... in that sense, a successful roll might result in me telling the players "You sense that this person really doesn't like you."
A person can be telling the truth, but acting on purely selfish, and not entirely 'good', goals: "You get the feeling that so-and-so is telling you more for his own benefit than for yours."
Etc, etc, etc.
(I should add ... I usually don't actually mention whether the target of Sense Motive is telling the truth or a lie, though I do try to hint one way or another based on success/failure ... with greater successes giving strong hints).
I'd say that what you're looking at are two separate issues:
1 - Players who aren't bothering to take the responsibility to handle their own characters (know their rolls/bonuses/etc). In that case, a player should not be getting bonuses to their roll that they forgot to apply themselves. Pretty soon after instituting that rule, everyone always remembers their own bonuses and things move more smoothly.
(Remember that 1E and 2E could also get very complicated if you wanted -- including charts for bonuses/penalties of each weapon against each different type of armor).
2 - The 'fantasy' level of DnD/Pathfinder 3E+ is huge. It is. You can try to pair it down, but it's naturally a very super-fantasy game. I remember, before Pathfinder was released, our group actually created our version of Medium and Slow advancement charts because the 3E advancement was insanely fast.
In my gaming group, those of us who are the more 'serious' players would very much like to switch systems/games, but the more 'lazy' players just don't want to bother learning a whole new rule set. So ... we stick with Pathfinder and just do the best we can. It's not terrible ... but I really do miss 1E and 2E sometimes.
If your players have mentioned that they can't get in a word edgewise with the more experienced player directing things, then try asking the experienced player to avoid solving situations and ask others -- IC -- what do do.
I know you've stated that everyone has had the ability to give input and/or be a part of the game ... but sometimes people can be "intimidated" into silence by an experienced, knowledgeable player who takes the initiative.
Maybe one of your silent types would have had the same idea, but didn't say it because the experienced player already did? Maybe another one is interested in interactions, but doesn't feel anything needs to be added after the experienced player gets their bit in.
Talk to your experienced player and ask him/her to pull the others into the game and stop solving problems, but rather ask the others for solutions. At least for a bit.
My personal opinion is that taking magic completely out of a game hurts some of the fun and mystery of it.
The Romans believed in magic of a sort. They had oracles. They had secret religious 'cults'. Many soldiers believed that the Germanic barbarians they fought had witchcraft/magic.
The trick is not so much removing magic from the game, but making it rare, special, and awe inspiring. As such, it's not exactly a good idea to allow characters to be of a casting class, though perhaps I would allow something akin to "You may increase one level in a caster class for every 5 total character levels".
Additionally, I feel that one of the best ways to make magic awe-inspiring is to make it slow-casting ... as in, spells are mostly about scrying and curses and blessings ... not combat-round attacks. Cure Light Wounds may heal a person unnaturally fast, but unnaturally fast may be "one day" rather than "one round" and the spell may involve many prayers, the use of herbs, etc.
Don't remove magic ... just make it rare and special.
( http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic-items/magic-weapons )
"Ranged Weapons and Ammunition: The enhancement bonus from a ranged weapon does not stack with the enhancement bonus from ammunition. Only the higher of the two enhancement bonuses applies.
Ammunition fired from a projectile weapon with an enhancement bonus of +1 or higher is treated as a magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction. Similarly, ammunition fired from a projectile weapon with an alignment gains the alignment of that projectile weapon."
... leads me to generally prefer magic bows/crossbows/guns to magic arrows. Especially since there is limited information on actually crafting magic arrows.
The way I generally handle magic arrows/bolts/stones/bullets/etc is to follow the magic item creation guidelines ( http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/magicItems/magicItemCreation.html ) and allow a 'single creation' to encompass a set of 20 pieces of ammunition.
Hope that helps a little at least.
I think he is inferring that in Paladin Code Threads there is no wiggle room because all the troglodytes come flooding forward to 'Hurr durr' Paladins as hard as they can.
Even more interesting to me than troglodytes coming forward and flooding Paladin threads with a hardcore case of 'hurr durr' is the belief by those of the opposite persuasion that there is a whole bunch of 'hurr durr' where it's not.
So far in this thread I have seen a bunch of people talking about how Paladins are honorable and honest and then discussing the finer points of when honor and honesty potentially get in the way of doing good and how one might react to that.
I think everyone -- even the one person who stated that feinting was lying -- admitted that Paladins should be allowed to feint.
I think everyone agrees that Paladins can use bluff actions that are not specifically lying.
I think everyone agrees that Paladins do not have to randomly spout off every detail of everything they know to the enemy.
In the end, it's all about the player working to ensure his character acts with as much honor as possible. When doing so, 99.999999% of DMs are going to let a Paladin engage in many activities that are not purely straightforward. The other minute quantity of DMs just want to see Paladins burn and there's nothing you can do about that.
In the end ... the biggest difficulty with Paladins -- at least in my experience -- has been with players trying to treat them as fighters with some additional cool abilities instead of as 'knights' with a strict code of honor that is of extreme importance to their character to hold to.
A proper Paladin would face their enemy head on without undue advantage. A Paladin is the epitome of the honorable knight and is not afraid of a fair fight.
Again, however, please note that I stated already that so long as a Paladin did not make a habit of it, I would let feints occur. The same would go with surprise attacks.
A proper Paladin prefers to face his or her foe head on, but should they be involved in a flanking situation I would think nothing of it -- as long as they were not the individual running all over the mat just to create flanking situations.
Using any combat manuever.
Combat maneuvers are not dishonest, deceitful, or dishonorable by themselves. I don't see anything wrong with them at all.
Casting any spell that makes them better than their opponent.
Just as someone trains to be better than others or buys better armor or gets a better weapon, they may also use magic. Nothing even remotely dishonorable here.
Smiting against a foe not superior to them.
Smiting a child who is punching a Paladin would indeed be evil, but there are very few other cases when an IC Paladin would actually know whether or not the foe was inferior or superior. Even then, smite is meant as an attack against evil ... so why would a Paladin not smite evil whenever fighting against it?
where does the line get drawn?
Paladins are not stuffy, no-fun-having, zealots ... but they have a code of honor and it is very serious to them. Think of it in the sense of a mythical knight or samauri. The Paladin does not think about what is most likely to give them advantage over an opponent, they think about what will most likely enhance their position of honor.
Can a paladin use disguise to sneak past a guard?
I would say that a Paladin would hate doing such a thing and consider it a stain upon their honor. Playing it out that way I would not make a Paladin lose their abilities, but they sure as hell wouldn't do it willingly without good argument for why they must be deceitful or look forward to doing it again. They may even regret doing it for some time afterward and wonder if there was a more honest way.
Can he lie by ommision?
The answer to that one is all in the situation. Sometimes omitting all of the facts is an act of compassion, "Your mommy had to go away so I need to take you to your uncle's house" (really mommy was killed by goblins ... so did 'go away' ... but the child doesn't need to know the whole store)
Can he let someone else lie and simply no correct them?
The Paladin may defer to the person telling the lie during the moment, but then confront them after. If the Paladin is particularly offended by the lie, they might speak up during the telling.
And at what point does evil just win by getting to put the paladin into situations where if they tell the truth horrible things happen but not doing so even by speaking means something just as bad will happen?
A Paladin does not fear facing evil or the consequences evil threatens to bring on them. They do, however, fear staining their honor or abandoning their code and/or their god.
I'm actually rather surprised that so many people in this thread think that "lying for good" is not an inherently dishonest or immoral act. It's classic "ends justify the means" Machiavellian philosophy and it definitely does not jive with being a Paladin.
Bluffing to fool someone is, under my judgement when I DM, definitely against the Paladin code.
Bluffing to pass a secret message is totally legit.
Bluffing to feint is very un-Paladin (fight with honor, face your enemy head on, skill against skill with no tricks, etc), but unless a player was feinting early and often I would probably allow it.
That's me ... and as said above, every DM is different. I would, however, strongly disagree with anyone who states that it's ok to "lie for good".
Sounds like you have rather resourceful players.
Do your 'enemy' wizards use magic items/potions/scrolls that they have?
How about avoiding direct combat whenever possible?
When my players have wizard adversaries, they usually have to deal with scrying, monsters and mercenaries sent their way, magical nightmares, being trapped in illusory mazes, etc ... rarely do they ever get to actually FIGHT the wizard. When they do, the wizard can usually at least get off a fireball or similar ... enough to scare people with the HP damage.
Your best bet is an online game.
Google Hangouts rocks ... and you pretty much get very close to the "around the table" feel with it. Just remember to wear pants.
You can supplement your Google Hangouts with MapTool and get a really great experience.
What we really need is an online-game-finding service ... which maybe one day I'll sit down and code up.
I'm against, as spells can be very powerful already. Magic Missile CANNOT miss ... so getting hit with 20 of them is not exactly anyone's (monster or character) idea of a good time.
There is a reason spells top out. It's to keep their power-level reasonable.
As for wizards being able to take down parties ... I often have to make my casters WEAKER than they would normally be when fighting parties or they will annihilate the group easily. That said, however, I also tend to play my NPCs/enemies as being 'active' for the entire adventure, not just after players enter a room and the combat-scene begins.
As someone who played the older DnD games (Original Red Box, 1E AD&D, and 2E AD&D) quite a bit (we had actually 'mostly quit' because we were done with college by the time 3E came out), I do not recall any situation in which AC was even half as much of an issue at high levels as it is in 3E - or that winning initiative would guarantee a win/loss in combat.
Not disparaging 3E or Pathfinder (enjoying Pathfinder currently and not playing 2E so you have my ultimate choice there in my chosen actions), just pointing out that AC vs Attack was definitely different in older editions.