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pachristian's page

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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......

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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.

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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.

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