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173 posts. No reviews. No lists. 1 wishlist.


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The black raven wrote:
pachristian wrote:
Moorcock, argues that extremes of law and chaos are equally bad: the pointless activity of chaos matched by the rigid fossilization of law. But Moorcock takes these abstract concepts to the point where the geography, even the reality of the world, changes with them; to the point where worlds are destroyed by either.

Just a note on something that always bothered me. Moorcock indeed professes to see extremes of Law and Chaos as equally bad things, but he only really shows bad examples of extremes of Chaos.

True in his earlier work. "The Dreamthief's Daughter" (2001) deals with law gone amuck.

And I really like your analysis of Japanese society as an example of conforming, lawful society. Good job!

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How many of you have read "Three Hearts and Three Lions" by Poul Anderson (1961)? This novel was published at the same time as Moorcock's Elric (The Dreaming City, also 1961). I think OD&D was influenced by both.

In Three Hearts and Three Lions Law is basically natural order, and, to a large extent, the progression of civilization. Crops can be planted and harvested at certain times, the local mill can grind grain, and so on. Life can proceed according to a plan. Chaos on the other hand, is whimsey, like your crop spontaneously changing from wheat into other plants. Chaos can be used, but not controlled. The fey in Anderson's book prefer chaos because, being immortal, they are bored out of their minds, and are willing to risk sudden destruction in hopes of getting some entertainment out of it.

Moorcock, argues that extremes of law and chaos are equally bad: the pointless activity of chaos matched by the rigid fossilization of law. But Moorcock takes these abstract concepts to the point where the geography, even the reality of the world, changes with them; to the point where worlds are destroyed by either. Anderson does not pursue the extremes; he deals with a more human-level story.

By the way - Three Hearts and Three Lions also gave us the paladin class, the D&D/Pathfinder Troll, and the Holy Avenger sword that dispells magic.

If you haven't read it, do yourself a favor.

1) I don't allow more than one "rest and recover spells" per day.
2) Like K177Y C47 said, have creatures come at them in waves.
3) If you can find it, read a copy of an old TSR module "Dragon Mountain". The mountain is infested with kobolds, and the author(s) wrote some superb direction concerning kobold tactics - which included firing missile weapons at sleeping members of a resting party, then running away (repeat every hour or two, nobody rests). The kobolds would approach in small groups coming from different directions, attack from range, and flee.

Finaly, the monsters will know - after the first attack or two - that they can't take the party straight up. But that doesn't mean they can't go find that bigger, badder, nastier monster that lives nearby, and tell him where to find a whole pile of loot, if he just has the guts to take it.

You have three characters who can use wands and scrolls of healing. The fighter-rogue might be able to as well.

Hope the GM is generous with treasure, and buy those wands and scrolls: One for each of the three demi-healers.

Oddly, your players who don't want to play clerics often don't want to use wands or scrolls to heal others either.

If you guys survive to 7th level, take Leadership and get a cleric as a cohort.

Or just let people die off. That works too.

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Bran Towerfall wrote:
Zhangar wrote:

The person being asleep next to a ledge because they got owned by Deep Slumber is a pretty important detail.

I'd probably have the maneuver to chuck the PC off the tower wake them up, but otherwise I'd say this was run right. It's the party's own fault they didn't bother to wake up the sleeping guy.

It sounds like your one player is going to be unhappy no matter what, and you'll need to figure out if you want to continue gaming with that person.

that's where we stand.....civil war between former and current gms

I hate this !@#$.......evrybody is loving the game except this one player. The funny thing is he said he would help me anyway I needed to make the game run smoothly, but he has been a constant hinderance stretching rule fights into long-winded 30 minute shoutfests

This post tells me everything I need to know about the situation.

Your move was hard core, but fair. I sounds like the player who's character was killed is ready for "round two". Your game is fine. Don't let one troublemaker ruin it for everyone else.

DrDeth wrote:

In a medieval world, they didn;t put murderers in prison.They executed them. And, out "beyond the pale" many of some rank had the Right of High, Medium and Low Justice, right there on the spot. Heck, in most of the medieval world the local lord had the right. Only in England and a few other places did the right to trial by jury exist- unless you were a Lord yourself.

So, the Knight with the Right of Justice would be Obeying the law, and it'd be chaotic NOT to.

Actually, that's pretty much a myth. Throughout the medieval world, Western European, Eastern European, Islamic, Chinese and Japanese (sorry, I can't really speak for the African civilizations), the people in power were just as opposed to individuals taking the law into their own hands as they are today. A knight in Europe had the right of "low justice" ON HIS SUBJECTS. If he tried to Summarily enforce the law on somebody else's serf, then HE was guilty of a breach in the law.

Remember the lords and the knights (and Samurai, and the Celtic warriors, and Norse Thegns and so on) were the 1% of their day. They could get away with treating their peasants badly, because they had the monopoly on power. This did not make it "right" or "good". In fact, using Europe again, the church constantly preached against abuse of power (while members of the church abused power themselves, but that's another story.

Artanthos wrote:
Heymitch wrote:
"Kill them all. Let God sort them out." - Leland Gaunt, as played by Max Von Sydow in Needful Things, and an inspiration to Paladins everywhere...

Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius (Kill them all. For the Lord knoweth them that are His.)

-Arnaud Amalric

Not from a movie.....

And NOT a "Good" act.

DrDeth wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:

They'd probably be laughed out of town.

Remember, the primary reason we said "prophecy is dead" is that we find the whole "Prophesied hero" story element to be too tired and cliche to do much with of interest. And on top of that, players are already pretty good about doing what the GM doesn't expect—prophecy simply doesn't work well at all in a tabletop RPG.

And, I am getting rather tired of it in Fantasy Fiction (which I read a LOT of). If there is a Prophecy it always is true (even if misunderstood). Just once, I'd like to read a book where a crone utters a creepy prophecy , and have it not come true, whereupon someone asks "Hey, but that Prophecy..." and someone else say "Oh her? Yeah, she's always muttering on like that, and never been right yet."

Read "Darkness Weaves" by Karl Edward Wagner.

For that matter, read ANYTHING by Karl Edward Wagner.

Ponswick wrote:

Okey dokey, I think I'm wrapping my mind around the majority of the game and the feel. I think I'll try to get a session started soon. My interest is really piqued and I like the old-school feel even though I never played it before.

Is there anything special I should know about DMing? I really have no idea how to work XP. It seemed really confusing like with gold = XP and adjusted for LVL and junk.

I can’t resist this one!

At Origins ’78, I had the pleasure of talking to Gary Gygax about some of the rules for D&D. Among other things, I asked him about the “Gold = Experience” rules, which I found quite confusing.

Mr. Gygax explained that his original idea was that your character’s advancement in level was not just an advancement in personal ability, but also in social status, holdings, feudal responsibilities, and so on. “Gold = Experience” did not mean that if you had a fat wallet, your character was more powerful. This ‘experience’ that came from gold represented your character’s social, political, and economic station. Mr. Gygax was clear that the gold that became ‘experience points’ was out of circulation: You couldn’t go to the local magic shop and buy a +2 Flaming Sword with it; that gold was invested in your career path. (He was opposed to magic shops and ever buying magic items, for that matter!).

Understanding levels in this context makes rules like a fighter gaining a stronghold keep and followers at 9th level make more sense: Level is not just your personal can of wup-a**; it was how your character fit into the world as a whole. Sadly, none of this was really explained in the game rules.

I advise you to ignore “gold/XP”; most of us did.

Oh, and Marshall Jansen is right about the “B” modules. Pick up Temple of Elemental Evil, and start the players with the village of Homlett.

B2: Keep on the Borderlands should do the trick. This is probably the most-played adventure of all time: It was included in the Red Box "basic set", and was intended as an introductory adventure for both players and GMs.

The most important thing to remember is that the rules don't cover every situation; it's up to the GM to make judgement calls (all the time).

Wizards of the Coast updated the Tomb of Horrors to 3.5; What I remember most was the writer's comment that many of the events in that dungeon required "spot rules" in the original module; but were covered by standard rules in D&D 3.0+.

Congratulations! Now you understand WHY the games evolved.

Honestly, back in 1976, we were all pretty confused too. That’s why there were so many house rules. AD&D was written by hobbyists, not professional writers, and it shows. There are a lot of contradictory rules, a lot of assumptions, and a lot of rules are buried in strange places in the rulebooks.

Not that this helps – but when you look at D&D OGL (3.0, 3.5, etc.) you can see how far the hobby came in less than 25 years.

I suggest you check out some of the lower-numbered “B” series adventures (available as .pdf’s from, or via Wizard’s online store); especially modules 1 & 2 were designed to help you learn to play and GM.

Lobolusk wrote:
Well I guess my next question is this: is cleave worth it? i am playing a thd Great axe warrior and my original plan was to walk up then vital strike+cleave. or get surrounded and cleave my way out of the situation. this is my first real THD build so I am very new to the tactics of just a +1 impacting speed great axe.

Speaking as a mid-level greatsword fighter, Cleave is totally worth it. My GM regularly uses hoards of low hit-die creatures, and with Great Cleave, and decent luck with the initiative dice, I can take out five or six per round; often before they get to swing at me.

I'd be inclinded to give bonuses, called "Level Bonuses" at as characters level up. These level bonuses would not stack with magic item bonuses. So a fighter might get (for example) a +1 level bonus with a particular type of weapon every 4 levels. An 8th level fighter wielding a +2 sword would not stack the sword's +2 with his level bonus +2; so a +2 sword would not give him any advantage, expect for being 'magic'.

I like to start players out with a rogue(although I always sound them out, first).

The rogue's large number, and variety, of skills mean that they always have something to do in the game; that means the player gets to do a lot, and usually comes away with a good feeling about the game.

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Adamantine Dragon wrote:

To me "old school" is not about the rules set, but about the game play.


I started in 1975... That's about as old school as you can get.

Old school is not about a set of rules - the Pathfinder rules can be as old school or new school as you like. It's about attitude.

#1: There aren't rules for everything. A lot of old school gaming encounters were resolved on GM's whim. When you don't have rules for how to disarm traps, or bluff a monster, you have to role-play it out. The lack of rules was frustrating ("The giant kills you because {you} took the last coke, and I wanted it." - really happened), but it also forced creativity and role play. You can recapture this by not allowing the players to "just" roll the dice ("I don't care what you rolled on your seduction role; if you want to impress this girl, talk to her, tell me what you say." or "Your rogue can't reach the trap mechanism to disarm it. You'll have to come up with a way to disarm it that does not involve a 'disarm' roll.")

#2: Don't take advancement for granted. Pathfinder, and most modern gamers, are built on an assumption of appropriate level encounters, and appropriate level equipment. They became that way because players and GMS like it that way. Making level in an old school game was a big deal, because it was so easy to die on the way.

#3: Bad Stuff Happens. In 'old school' games, character death - even of high level characters - happened and was usually permanent. Level drains from undead were not 'negative levels'; your character permanently lost levels (and experience points!), and suddenly your 5th level fighter was 1st level again, and you had to start all over.

#4: Do Not Balance Everything. Instead of appropriate level encounters, the players had to figure out, in the game, whether not not an encounter was something they should take on, or avoid. Many classic adventures provided details of possible encounters that were completely inappropriate for your players. The characters were expected to figure out who to avoid, and when to use tactics.
A classic Gygax trick was a monster that could only be defeated by a certain weapon - which was in the hoard it was guarding. You had to figure out how to get past the monster, steal the correct item, then fight it.
In addition, mixed-level parties were the norm, not the exception. If your 1st level fighter is in a party of mostly 5th and 6th level characters, you just learned when to keep your head down, and when to jump in. You'd make level soon enough, if you had good judgement and were lucky. If you were the 8th level character in a party of 3rd through 5th's, you learned to take the brunt of the damage, and not to be a jerk (otherwise, they'd ditch you at the next inappropriate encounter and let you die).

Some suggestions for old school material:

A) A lot of classic Judge's Guild material is readily available through online dealers (

B) Goodman Games converted several Judge's Guild modules to D&D 3.x. Check them out.

C) Wizards of the Coast archives includes a couple of classic dungeons converted to 3.x (White Plume Mountain, Tomb of Horrors, etc.). Check those out.

D) Read some of the literature that the 'old school' games were based on: Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson (source of the D&D Troll, the Paladin class, and the Law-vs.Chaos alignment), Dying Earth by Jack Vance, Swords series by Fritz Leiber (source of the Thief/Rogue class), Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock (expanded the alignment system, and inspired more magic swords than anyone's business), Quag Keep by Andre Norton; this novel was literally based on early D&D adventures, and yes, they often played just like this.

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It's not a matter of power gaming. He's on a dominance trip: He's trying to prove that he's in charge, not you.

Have you tried reverse psychology?

I've done this (and it worked):

Get agreement from the other players: Tell him that his character is the party leader, and the focus of the campaign. IF he dies, or wrecks a scenario, the campaign ends. He is not awarded experience points: Instead he gets EP's equal to a percentage of the EP's that other players earn with his help. If you have 3 other players, make it 35%, 4 other players, 25%+

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38. "The Prisoner" of Golorion
- "You are number 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10"

The entire adventure path only requires one village map.

Although I'd like to play in #6.

Humans and humanoids with class levels. Preferably ones that come with a social order.

Ever see the faces of a group of player characters who have just discovered that the orc warband they defeated last week has sent the whole tribe against them?

Check out the race building rules in the Advanced Races Guide.

As for class and abilities - how will he fit into the campaign? What are the other players playing? What is the GM running?

I know this is a discussion of game mechanics, but my belief is that a character's "uselessness" is based on the player controlling him (or her). Your optimized, campaign-perfect, well-equipped super-character with the awesome backstory, and completely appropriate equipment is still useless in the hands of a whiner who wanted to play something different, and who chooses to play stupidly or selfishly.

We've all seen them: The wizard who wants to charge into melee. The fighter who insists on sneaking and looking for traps, the rogue who whines because the GM "won't let him play his character (when he wants to mug the party's patron for the next stage of the adventure).

So to my mind there is no "worst 20th level character possible" only a "worst way to play a given character".

ImperatorK wrote:

A houserule I like:

Females get -2 Str and Con, but +2 Int and Cha (in addition to their normal racial ability score adjustments).

Made to encourage the trope that females are mostly archers, rogues or spellcasters.

I've got not problem with gender differences, but as David Kenzer said regarding the Hackmaster rules, making a rule for it causes more fights and arguments than it's worth.

Evil Lincoln wrote:
Roleplay to Respec: Any permanent character decisions, including feats, level/class selection, skill apportionment, etc. can by changed at any time. The character must express frustration with the choice in-game (or via email if appropriate) and resolve to try a different approach. The change may include some in-game actions, such as seeking out a new weapon to use.


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Favorite House Rule:
If the players start to bicker among themselves, the adventure is not dangerous enough. All monsters are bumped up by +2 CR.

Oh yes -
And the second list of "all the special powers that I honestly earned playing this character under 'my other GM'".
Naturally, this 'other GM' has recently moved to another city and "I don't know his address or phone number". When you ask for a name you are told "you don't know him".
I wish I was not speaking from experience.

You forgot to add the (thick) three-ring binder containing "all of his magic items and artifacts".

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260: This dungeon isn't so dangerous. I promise you will all walk out of here.

261: Of course my boyfriend will be back. His heart is mine forever.

F. Wesley Schneider wrote:
Michael Radagast wrote:

Ahaha - thank you very much, Master Schneider! That's precisely the line of thought I was looking for.

Incidentally, the meta answer is the reason I was looking for the in-world. I want to run the damn cool dungeon. xP

Live to serve. ;)

Hope you guys have a blast!

Played it a few months ago. Had a blast! Great dungeon.

I'd like to see a "pocket" edition of the core rules. Minimal artwork, no fluff, just the rules as we need them. It would supplement the core rulebook, and be a lot handier on the gaming table than the coffee-table monster.

Don Juan de Doodlebug wrote:

And after the spankings comes the oral sex!

Anyway, I can't believe I missed this thread the first time. Is anyone else floored by Mr. Erwin? He had me at "Post-Vulgate!"

I recently read T.H. White's The Once and Future King, which I found to be amazing and was hoping to read Malory by the end of the summer. Anyone have any alternative King Arhur-themed book, either old school or new, they'd strongly suggest?

Thanks in advance!

How about these:

Mary Stewart's "Merlin Trilogy": The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, The Last Enchantment, and The Wicked Day. (yes, four books)
Tells the Athurian legend using a realistic historical setting, with some magic from Merlin and others, minimum preaching. An excellent read.

John Steinbeck's "Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights". Steinbeck's last book. He was translating Mallory into modern english, but unfortunately died before he finished the book. Contains some modern interpretations, but still outstanding work.

Inca mummies were, I believe, freeze-dried. That is, they were made on mountaintops, where the body froze, but in such a way that the moisure was drawn out. Somebody more up to date on Incas correct me....

Indagare wrote:
You also should consider what condition the pyramids are in. We see them now in a lesser state than they would have been new.

I forgot about that! Herotodus saw the pyramids in ~450 BC, and he felt that the giant temple complex around them (which may have actually covered a square mile!) was every bit as impressive as the pyramids themselves.

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It is a cool idea.
How culturally accurate do you care about being?
Egyptian culture evolved as it did in response to several conditions:
1) A very reliable climate - seasons and weather highly predictable.
2) Wealth of natural resources - including extremely rich farmland, and resources of gold, precious stones, and so on.
3) Relative geographic isolation - it was difficult to invade Egypt.
4) Reliable transportation - "Civilized Egypt" was a line along the Nile, never more than a couple of miles wide. The Nile was, and is, a stable, highly boatable river. As a result, it was easy to move people, armies, and goods (say, heavy blocks for building a pyramid) around.
5) Strong central government - when they didn't have that, they did not build giant monuments.
6) Longevity of civilization - combined with the above effects, the culture survived thousands of years with (compared to the rest of the world) little change. My current campaign is set in the bronze age, at the height of the rule of Pharaoh Ramses II; about 1200 BC. Ramses is a member of the 19th(!) dynasty to rule Egypt. The great Pyramids were built more than 1200 years before his time, and even the Egyptians regard them as semi-mythical. The last pyramid built was built over 600 years before game time.

Your proposed catfolk civilization certainly has the potential: Give them a strong religious/military government. A climate like the eastern USA is possible: Just look at the mound builders of the Missippi valley. If they'd had more stone and metal to work it with, they might have eventually evolved into a pyramid building culture. (*might* I said, for you anthropological purists, *might*)

You might pull in an element of ancestor worship, where a revered ancestor is preserved as an undead, so that their wisdom is not lost to the future generations. A culture that regards undead status as something for the elite few, instead as something to be horrified of, is certainly possible.

Just PLEASE don't put in twinkly vampires......

In our group, most of the players use a spiral notebook for their character sheet. The 'official' character sheet is pasted in the book. Game notes and character's diaries fill pages (along with maps, references to NPC's, and so on). When a character levels, we paste a new character sheet in.

Some of the younger players have not chosen to keep a notebook yet, but they rely on the rest of us to remind them of names, clues, and so on. And they're learning fast. (Our GM expects us to remember stuff from previous games.)

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Players respond to tough challenges one of three ways:
1) Macho act: "We can beat it because we're PC's!" Run in with no strategy and attack. Often caused by a single player.
2) Whine: "Killer GM, he hates us!" Usually the effect of #1 not working. Sometimes results in players quitting game.
3) Brains: "We're not tough enough for this guy yet. Let's complete side quest #86 to stock up some XP and Magic before we go after him." Only occurs with mature players who do not have ego issues. Very rare.

You can only induce tension and excitement if the players let you.

One technique is to introduce some level-equivelent NPC's, who team up with the party a few times (one at a time) and establish friendships with the party and each other. The NPCs then form their own adventuring team. Every game year or so, they get together and party with the PC's, sharing adventure stories about the past year. Once the players see these NPC's as friends and equals (or as rivals and equals), then have the boss encounter wipe out the NPC party. The PC are asked to avenge their friends. This *should* be sufficient warning to the PC's that the boss encounter is above their level, and they will need careful strategy and proper equipment to win. Admittedly, this is a long-term set up, but it does fulfill the requirements you've laid out.

Beware of #1.

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Worst spells for a sorcerer?

Any spell where the GM and player will argue over what it does.

Draftamike wrote:
This post has officially scared me away from investing into this game. Who has this kind of time with kids, career and other responsibilities?!

It was having job and kids that got my wife to start running adventure path adventures. Having the adventure path laid out meant that she did not have to put extra hours of work in to create the world and the adventures. By using adventure paths, she could be sure that there would be a 'next week session', no matter how long we played. We did Rise of the Runelords, and are now working on Carrion Crown. And yes, with various obligations, it looks like about 18 months to two years is how long it takes us to finish a campaign.

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Thank you

And let's be fair to the game system: Number of arrows normally needed to kill man: one. Number of crossbow bolts to kill Richard I (considered the best knight in England): one. Check out information on Howard Hill - killed an Elephant with just one arrow.

Killing a normal 5th level fighter in Pathfinder takes 10-12 arrows... A PC 'optimized' as a fighter will probably take twice that.

Unless you are a stickler for encumbrance then, it is only fair to ignore the bulk of the arrows, and allow every archer to carry an "unrealistic" number of shots.

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An English Longbowman carried "four-and-twenty" in a quiver. This was enough to last about two or three attacks - about 4 minutes of steady shooting. If the king had been generous when funding his war, additional quivers were provided, and delivered on the battlefield by serfs. Henry V stocked his army with (if I remember correctly) 200 arrows per archer.

Mongols carried 80 arrows per man: two large quivers attached the horse's saddlebags. I don't know what their foot troops carried.

Arrows cannot just be 'bunched' together. An arrow's straight flight depends on the feathers (fletching) being in perfect condition, and the shaft being perfectly straight. This is not a problem for short flights (less than maybe 30 ft); you can fire a featherless arrow and be reasonably sure of hitting your target. Start getting to a decent range (100 ft plus), and one feather just slightly off destroys your chance to hit.

and Trust me on this: You do not want to try to draw a bow with a backpack on your shoulders. It hurts, and you will miss.

Fishing arrows don't use fletching(short range). Native Americans generally did not use feathers - they relied on short range shooting.

I stick to a 24-arrow quiver, and allow an archer to recover 1/3 of the fired arrows without a problem, and another 1/3 can be recovered and repaired during the evening rest period. I allow a saddlebag quiver to hold up to 50 arrows.

Can't answer your last question, but consider reading a couple of books:

1) Three Hearts and Three Lions, by Poul Anderson.
This is the book that the paladin class is based on (also the D&D troll, but that's another story). Outstanding read, although written in 1961, and so may offend some readers with its lack of political correctness.

2) The Threat from the Sea (trilogy), by Mel Odom
Odom writes paladins better than any other gaming writer. His paladins are good, but not self-riteous, honorable, but not stuffy. The central character in this trilogy is a future paladin, and Odom examines his life philosophy, and how it applies to the world and the people around him. A good set of novels too.

Make sure the wizards are screened; players should not be able to reach them easily. Give the wizards a chance to set up defensive spells before they engage PC's.

Well, I just sold my wife, daughter, and daughter's gaming group on Pathfinder (they were using 3.5).

So - YES!

Tiny Coffee Golem wrote:

Anyone who builds a stronghold in a world where scry exists is going to sandwich lead into the walls/floor/ceiling of at least the important rooms where he/she spends his/her time. If they don/t have the foresight to do that they deserved to be scry'd and fry'd.


As a GM you have to remember that the current batch of player-characters are not the only high level characters who have ever existed. So, yes, the evil overlord's castle is lead-sheeted. And yes, the Frost Giant Jarl has his tribal cleric cast Immunity to Fire on him every day.

But is a lot more work for the GM.

I'd go with Paladin, and make a request to the GM that he/she make sure that a wand of cure light is in an early treasure.

Or arrange for the party to pool their money from the first adventure or two and buy a wand of cure light (my last group always did that).

I did like a comment by Michael Moorcock: He argued that the science fiction/fantasy field had become incestuous; writers were largely reading other science fiction/fantasy, and all the books were starting to look alike. His recommended solution was to read other forms of fiction, and non-fiction, to broaden one's horizons.

But never stop reading.

Incidentally, I've run games set in magical worlds, with gunpowder, for years. How many of you play Warhammer?

I've never found it particularly disruptive. To save space, by grossly simplifying: Pistols are about as effective as crossbows, muskets slightly more so. Both have a high misfire rate (historically, a 15% misfire rate on a flintlock is not unusual). The biggest problem is the noise. Especially in a dungeon; characters go temporarily deaf, loose night vision, and the tunnel quickly fills with smoke. The players learned to rely on swords, thrown weapons, and bows or crossbows in dungeons. They also learned that a "Heat Metal" spell - or any sort of fire or lightning orb was NOT their friend. On the other hand, you can Quick-draw a loaded pistol.

How about fireworks?

Tolkien has fireworks (and a bomb for blowing a hole in the wall of Helm's Deep). But nobody ever argues that there isn't any heroism in Middle-Earth because there are explosives. Nor are explosives a significant part of the story.

Hand "gonnes" were in use in the 1200's. But guns did not become the military standard until the 1600's. Swords, pikes, and cavalry charges went out of use in the late 1700's and early 1800's - and remained in use outside of Europe until the 1900's.

500 years of development? It comes down to the flavor you want in the world. But never assume that gunpowder is a superweapon.

So how many fireballs equals one barral of gunpowder?

How will this varient affect monsters?

First and foremost, a player is responsible for helping his fellow players - including the GM - have fun.

Not knowing the basic rules, or bogging down scenes because a player does not know their character's capabilities is irresponsible at best, and D*D annoying at worst.

Eating a dragon heart gave Siegfried the ability to understand birds - I believe there is another Germanic myth where it conveys the ability to understand all languages. Bathing in dragon blood made Siegfried invulnerable (natural skin armor? acts likes Bracers of Armor perhaps?).

As for the Valkyries, I don't know that angels are a good comparison. Valkyries are the bar-wenches of Valhalla, but they have names like Rota ("sleet and storm"), and are sometimes referred to as the Death-maidens. I like using an Eryines ("Fury") for Valkyrie stats.

My group also only meets twice a month.

All of my players on are Facebook. I created a Facebook group for the game. After every session I post a game summary, including experience awards, key NPC's dealt with, and any related commentary.

Other threads include uploaded maps, character portraits, etc.

Players are encouraged to add comments. They also post game fiction (lots of wannabe writers in this group), and hold character discussions via the group.

It works.

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