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Gnome Trickster

pres man's page

7,598 posts (8,290 including aliases). 1 review. No lists. No wishlists. 10 aliases.


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Also there is something deliciously ironic about someone assuming everyone in the group was 100% lying when they agreed to the GM running a GMPC, but were 100% honest when they agreed with someone complaining about GMPCs. Isn't it possible that someone didn't really care either way and just agreed either way in order to not make waves?


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Jodokai wrote:
If you're a GM who has a character that goes around with the party and consistently fights their battles with them, most players aren't going to like it.

Let's say "many" not "most". It might be a majority, it might be a majority in one corner of the gaming community, or it might not be a majority at all. Since we have no valid way to measure it, lets avoid claims that it is absolutely a majority and just agree that it would bother a significant portion of the gaming community.

And yes, there is a preference from many gamers that GMs and players should keep their roles separate. I, myself, don't quite understand that viewpoint, but then I am more of a beer and pretzels type of gamer. I want to hang out with people I like and do fun stuff. I'm not looking to play a versus type of game most of the time.

Jodokai wrote:
They'll put up with it, and may even tell you they're okay with it, but most of the time, they're really not. They only do it because you're the GM, none of them want to GM, and if they make you mad you might stop GM'ing.

Look, I will be honest here. Anytime I hear something like this it strikes me as a "backfire effect" comment. The "backfire effect" is one someone who holds a strongly held opinion is faced with data (notice I am not saying proof or truth or fact) that contradicts that opinion. In some cases instead of reevaluating their opinion with the new data they try to dismiss the data. That is what this looks like to me. GMs and players that said they had good experience are being told, "You are too stupid to be aware that the players hated the experience and didn't want to upset you by telling you."

There are some groups that do in fact ask for GMPCs to be included without the GM suggesting it. There are groups that will go out of their way to resurrect a GMPC, despite the GM suggesting they not bother. Different groups have different ways of having fun.

Jodokai wrote:
I would bet 9 times out of 10 if someone did a hidden poll and the GM would never find out who voted what, there would be none of those GM run characters around.

I would bet that 2-3 people would say get rid of it, 2-3 people say keep the damn thing I love it, and 4-6 would say "Huh?" Of course there is no way to take a valid sample, so let's drop it how about?

Jodokai wrote:
Think of the difference between what I would call "Good" NPC's and "Bad" NPC's as in Dragon Age: Origin the dwarves Bodahn and Sandal are good NPC's, the dwarf Oghren would be a bad NPC.

Haven't played the game, could you give some context?


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The Last Ringbearer was indeed surprisingly good. It made me want to run a campaign where the heroes were monsterous races and the bad guys were the traditional races.

There can be DMPCs that are badly done under my definition, but they would be badly done like PCs are badly done.

Using DMPC to describe a character that is not in way, shape, or fashion like a PC at all would be like telling someone there is a dangerous dog out there only to come to find out they are talking about an alligator. Terminology means something and it just doesn't seem to make any logical sense to me to use a term, PC, to describe something that doesn't remotely match the way the term is typically used.

And I am not changing definitions, this is the definition I have used for more than a decade. I understand if others do not want to change their definition. I am merely showing why my definition is logically derived.


Non sequitur?


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DrDeth wrote:

I agree that "The above quote is a good starting point.." actually it's a excellent starting point. But sadly, DMPCs can and have been more powerful than a standard party member. of course then, they are almost always BAD DMPCs, but again, what we're doing here is defining the term DMPC (hey, I am a grognard so I get to use DMPC, OK? ;-) so that Bad DMPCs arent DMPCs at all.

But certainly there can be Bad DMPCs and Good DMPCs.

It would depend on what you mean by "bad DMPCs", if you mean a badly run character that in no way, shape, or form resembles a PC at all, then yes following my definition such does not exist. A DMPC to my thinking is a "DM run character that is a pseudo-PC". If it looks nothing like a PC, it can't in my mind be labeled a DMPC. Now if by "bad DMPCs" you mean a character that is equivalent in power and standing as a standard PC, but is run very poorly, then sure those exist. There are also poorly/badly run normal PCs as well as I am sure we are all aware of.

Now I am not saying that there aren't very badly run DM controlled characters, certainly they are. But if they don't resemble PCs in power and scope, then they shouldn't be described as DMPCs, using my definition. Perhaps a phrase like Abusive NPC or DM's Pet NPC or some such would be more appropriate.


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*cracks knuckles* Okay let's do this.

What is a GMPC? (according to pres_man)

"Allies come in two types: ... The latter function as party members and earn a full share of experience points and treasure just as any other character does. Essentially, these latter allies are adventurers who just happen not to be controlled by players. They differ from cohorts and hirelings (see below), who work directly for the PCs."
(3.5 DMG, p. 104)

The above quote is a good starting point for understanding what I view as a GMPC. Generally, if you didn't know it was the GM running the character and couldn't distinguish it then from any other PC, then it would be a GMPC. What does this mean? It means that the character would be built using the same character generation rules as the rest of the PCs (wealth, abilities, class choices, etc). This also means the character can't be played as if it has information about things it shouldn't have.

What isn't a GMPC? (according to pres_man)

A character that demonstrates abilities not inline with the PCs (either too strong or too weak) and/or demonstrates knowledge not inline with what PCs could have. Also a character that benefits more than the PCs from loot and storyline considerations. The basic idea is if the character doesn't resemble how PC would be built or run, then it can not be a GMPC because it doesn't match a PC at all. This means that most of the "GMPC"s that people complain about aren't GMPCs by my definition, because they don't resemble PCs in any way, shape, or fashion. If it can't be confused with a PC, it can't then be a GMPC.

How should a GM run a GMPC? (according to pres_man)

The GMPC should be a support character, there as an equal party member but as not the team leader. Most likely the GMPC should find itself either in the back of the marching order or in the middle, but not in the front. This means GMPCs shouldn't be scouts and trapfinders. If a party lacks a trapfinder, a GM should consider if including the traps even makes sense (Example where a trap might not make sense.) as a lot of times traps are included in illogical places and only there for a rogue type to have something to do.

The advantage of not being a party leader or scout as it avoids much of the concern of metagaming people have. If you are not in the front it is likely that someone else will walk into a trap before you get the chance, no conflict with ingame/outgame knowledge. If someone else decides a guard should be mind-controlled, again no conflict. That doesn't mean the character should be standing there passively waiting for orders, but the character should be clearly a "beta-(fe)male" type of character.

Why doesn't the above make the character inherently un-PCish? (according to pres_man)

Let's be clear, there is no one way for people to play. Some people play very Alpha characters, always pushing the party in directions they want to go. Often "suggesting" feat and equipment choices to others. Always looking to get the best gear for their character, no matter if such gear might benefit one of their party members better. Yet, not everyone plays this or wants to play this way. Many people rather take a supporting role and see the party as what is important. This means they might make suggestions, but are fine not making the final decision (basically the difference of a Spock vs. Kirk mentality). Because players and their PCs can be support, this means if a GMPC is played this way they are still being played in a way that a PC could be. This doesn't make them un-PCish, merely not an Alpha PC type.

Aren't GMPCs just NPCs? (according to pres_man)

Well technically yes, of course any character not controlled by the PCs is a NPC (and some that are might also be NPCs; familiars, mounts, cohorts, followers, etc). A GMPC as mentioned above is a special type of NPC ally, one that functions ingame (and outgame mechanically) identical to a PC. Most other NPCs do not function this way. But yes, technically a GMPC is an NPC.

GMs can't have the same experience as true players, right? (according to pres_man)

First off, let me point out that I have been discussing GMPCs, the characters, not GMs, the people running the characters. Yes of course a GM is going to have a different gaming experience running a GMPC than a true player will have running a PC. This is not relevant to the description of a GMPC though, nor to its use ingame. Experience players have different game experiences than novice players as well, we don't say their characters are not PCs because of this. GMs experience running the character, how attached the GM is to the character, or any other of a number of emotional issues are irrelevant to whether a character is a GMPC. All that matters is the character is treated ingame (and mechanically out of game) as an other PC. This means that if the GM "cheats" to keep the character alive, they should be "cheating" for all of the other PCs as well. If they are not, then the character is not a GMPC. If the GM puts specific loot for the GMPC, then they should be putting specific loot for the other PCs, otherwise it is not a GMPC.

Isn't metagaming always bad? (according to pres_man)

First we need to define what we mean by metagaming. I think how most people are using it we said it means using out of game knowledge to influence (usually to the benefit) the actions of a character in game. This is not always a bad thing. Consider when a player loses a character, this means the player has to sit out. But if they quickly make a new character and want to bring them into the group, it is often beneficial for the players to use metagame knowledge smooth over the introduction of the new character. Making the player sit out longer because, "we don't have any reason to trust this stranger", while perhaps good "role-playing" is poor gaming. It is also good metagaming for the GM to take into consideration the party make up when designing loot on occasion. A holy avenger isn't going to do a lot of good in a party without a paladin, you might as well drop more gp. While a monk might like to see some monk weapons on occasion (almost never included in random loot).

The way to avoid bad metagaming is to (1) avoid putting the character in a situation where you have to metagame (see above about avoiding being a leader or scout) and (2) develop a distinct personality and mode of behavior for the character. If the character never searches for secret doors unless another party member asks them to help, then it will not be metagaming for them not to search when the GM knows there is a secret door. When it comes to information in game, the default for all characters should be, "Why would they know that?" This goes for a PC encountering a troll for the first time as well as a GMPC arriving at a new town and looking for a contact.

Does the GMPC always end up being center to the story? (according to pres_man)

Well if you are running a module or AP, probably not unless you are using a provided NPC as the GMPC. But for more homebrewed games, this is a problem common with the GM's significant other or close friend playing as well. Why? Because those people and the GM tend to discuss the game out of play time much more than your standard player and the GM. The GM then has a better idea about what they find interesting and what connections can be made to the story. The solution to this isn't to tell the GM to get rid of the GMPC or make their friends and significant others not play.

No the solution is to interact more with the GM and give them more ideas about what you would like to see happen with the story related to your character. If you want your paladin to get that holy avenger tell the GM that and ask that they work it into the plot. Maybe the party could help someone and it is given as a reward at some point. You want a pegasus as mount, but don't want to take leadership, then ask your GM about it.

I know as a GM, I am always looking for ways to make games click better with the characters. Saying your character only cares about killing things and buying better gear is not all that helpful for developing a story. Also since you don't care why you are killing stuff or buying gear, then you shouldn't probably complain when it is around the story of the GMPC (or the GM's girlfriend's character).


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I think I figured out the problem, and the problem is language.

You say, "you cannot help us solve it" and yet you acknowledge the (undesirable to you) possibility of a mentor or tutor relationship, which as I am sure we all realize do help people to solve problems. The key there is that it is the people, and not the tutor/mentor that are solving the problems.

What you mean to say is not, "you cannot help us solve it", but instead "you cannot solve the problem WITH us." You want someone that gets equal enjoyment at the specific problem being solved as you do instead of vicarious enjoyment.


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BigDTBone wrote:
You dont have the option of "Help me figure out stuff"

Why not? You have yet to clarify what is wrong with that position.

Again, have you ever tutored someone before? This is the common practice, you don't tell them the answer and you don't just sit silently. There are other options.

Again, if a player is just plain ignorant or the GM is being willfully ignorant, how is the party more harmed in the latter case than the former?


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I guess I am confused here. A PC that doesn't know what is going to happen, just because the player doesn't know, is function identical to a GMPC that doesn't know what is going to happen because the GM chooses not to have the character know. In both cases the characters don't know. You don't punish players for being incidentally ignorant, I fail to see the issue for a GM being willfully ignorant. The party is no worse off in either case.


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As for the GM knowing all about what is going to happen, maybe I might expose you to the phrase, "The best plotted adventure never survives contact with the players."

Your emphasis is on "player" while mine is on "character". This is where the disconnect is. I am not saying the GM can be a fully realized player, you can't "solve" your own riddle for example. But the character, since the GMPC is a character I would think this is the relevant part, can be a fully engaged part of the party.

Let me clear though, as a player only, if I already know the answer to a riddle, I do not give the answer. Does that make me dead weight if I would rather the other players get an opportunity to figure it out? If as a player I am already familiar with a module/AP and I don't tell everyone where to go, what to get, who to trust and not trust, etc., does that make me dead weight? If as a player we come across a creature whose weaknesses and strengths I am familiar with (perhaps I have encountered it before in another game or run it in a game before), and I don't use that information for my own or my party's benefit, does that make me dead weight?

What I do do is give hints to my fellow players ("What do they mean by 'Speak Friend and enter'?"). I go over details we have already encountered. Basically I act to give those that don't know the details a chance to discover them. Seeing gaming to me isn't about "winning". I don't have to be the one that solves the puzzle. When the group solves it, I still get the benefit. I don't approach gaming from a "ME" standpoint but an "US" standpoint both as a player and a GM.


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If my character doesn't typically search for hidden levers, why would my character start to do so when I the GM know there is actually a hidden lever? And since my character doesn't normally search for hidden levers, why would his not searching for the one in this case cause the party to view him or me as "dead weight" all of a sudden? Play the character, not the player.


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Those of us who have tutored in areas of study like mathematics often know the best way to get someone to find an answer isn't (1) to tell them the answer outright or (2) say nothing. And I would hardly say that tutors are "deadweight". I think you might be holding all players and PCs to a specific standard that isn't valid when you say, "full-on party members". Certainly different players are active in different amounts when different aspects of the game are in play. Not everyone has to be Sherlock for them to be contributing members.


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So a party member that doesn't know the answer must be deadweight?

Could the GMPC be responsible for inventorying the clues up to that point for the group? That seems like an asset to any party trying to solve a puzzle and one extremely suited for a GMPC.


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Who knew I had super-human capabilities?


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I remember having a conversation about DMPCs (it was on Wizards' site, back during the height of 3.5 days) and this fellow poster said that DMPCs knew everything that the DM knew. In fact, he went further and said that every single NPC knew everything that the DM knew by default. It was up to the DM to remove certain knowledge from the NPC, and that it was very likely the DM would forget to remove some knowledge from the DMPC and that is why they couldn't work. I mentioned that it seemed more logical to approach NPCs as knowing nothing and then adding what knowledge they should have. That way if you forget to add in something, there is little harm.


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I do find the whole, "The GMPC might have to interact with another NPC and that is just GM mental masturbation," idea a bit strange. I mean are there never two or more relevant NPCs "on stage" at the same time? A king, the queen, and the councilor? A general and his XO? Or is it always one "talker" NPC and a bunch of mooks?


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I am "Pro"-GMPC, and I will say that for myself, I probably shouldn't continue running one once the party gets to high level. Not because I can't do it and do it well or it will overshadow the party. No, it is because I lose the desire to run it at that point. It becomes a burden instead of boon. I have to level it up, I have to spend time picking more and more gear to purchase/upgrade, etc. At lower levels, this is a snap, but at higher level is it is a chore. If I am not excited about the character it is hard to bring "life" to them, you have to keep putting more and more energy into "faking it", and I have come to the conclusion I don't desire to do that.

Sissyl wrote:
When you play as a player, you invest emotionally in the character.

I get emotionally invested in a lot of characters, especially if they are done well and are interesting. But I think we probably have different definitions for emotional investment.

Sissyl wrote:
You want things to go well for the character. You want to stop things from going bad for him/her.

What I may "want" isn't the same as what I may be willing to do. And no, as a player I am sometimes fine with bad things happening to my character, especially if it makes a more interesting story/game. If someone has to hold the tunnel up while the rest of the party escapes, that will often be my character, because I want them to be heroes and sometimes that means sacrificing oneself for others, for example.

Sissyl wrote:
This emotional investment is a major part of the reason for the emotional payoff for playing the game. It works a lot like when you cheer for a sports team, I believe.

And there are some sports fans that may love their team but be disgusted when a cheating scandal happens.

Sissyl wrote:
This also makes you see the character in a brighter light than others do, and anyone working against your character will become more sinister than others would see them as.

Not usually for me. And there may be times when I run a character who is more like "The Agent" who knows they are a bad person doing bad things. I've also played characters that looked up to the other party members as true heroes, but don't see themselves that way, especially redeemed characters.

Spoiler:
Teal'c: Nothing I have done since turning against the goa'uld will make up for the atrocities I once committed in their name. Somewhere deep inside you you knew it was wrong, a voice you did not recognize screamed for you to stop. You saw no way out, it was the way things were, they could not be changed. You're trying to convince yourself the people you're hurting deserved it. You became numb to their pain and suffering, you learned to shut out the voice speaking against it.
Tomin: There's always a choice.
Teal'c: Indeed there is.
Tomin: I chose to ignore it.
Teal'c: Yet you sit here now.
Tomin: I sit here, and I cannot imagine the day when I will forgive myself.
Teal'c: Because it will never come. One day others may try to convince you they have forgiven you, that is more about them than you. For them, imparting forgiveness is a blessing.
Tomin: How do you go on?
Teal'c: It is simple. You will never forgive yourself. Accept it. You hurt others, many others, that cannot be undone. You will never find personal retribution, but your life does not have to end. That which is right, just and true can still prevail. If you do not fight for what you believe in all may be lost for everyone else. But do not fight for yourself, fight for others, others that may be saved through your effort. That is the least you can do.

Sissyl wrote:
This is why conflicts between characters so often ramp up into the real world also, and why they become so difficult to solve. In short, the emotional investment in a character is both the thrill and many of the problems with playing the game. A big part of playing a PC is that you are allowed to be in the spotlight of the campaign, to change things in the world, to unapologetically fight toward your goals, and to live larger than life.

My experience is that conflicts usually start due to personality clashes, not character attachment. The guy who backstabs the party because "it is what his character would do", isn't doing it because he is attached to the character. He knows that this will probably end with the character being killed and/or taken out of the game or controlled by the GM and turned in to a BBEG. No it is due to immaturity and generally doucheyness. Evil, murderous, scumbags have friends, find a reason why this wouldn't be what this character would do.

And no it is not because of the emotional attachment the people had to their characters (well not for everyone), it is about breaking trust by a jerk. When I used to play group games online (StarCraft mainly), and you'd get that person who backstabs you. It wasn't because I had any emotional attachment to the battlecruisers I was running that I got frustrated. It was because it was juvenile and douchey.


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If you have every played in a module or AP that you had previous played either as a GM or player, do you play as if you always have the answers and make the other PCs bystanders? Why or why not?


Kapak Draconian


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Morzadian wrote:
GMPC is more often than not, a control device and a 'let me play too' move by the GM.

This factoid actually just statistical error. The average GMPC controls 0 groups per campaign. GMPC Georg, who games in his parents basement controls over 10,000 groups, is an outlier and should not have been counted.


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Also would you leave immediately if the GM introduced an NPC party ally? According to some, the difference between an allied NPC and a GMPC is the GM's emotional investment in the character. If you agree with that, then how would you know at least before playing in the group for a while how strong the GM's emotional attachment to the character is?

Spook205 wrote:
Of those folks who dislike the 'DMPC' idea, do you also dislike a campaign setting where the player characters are not the only heroes? Or campaign settings where the heroes know if they fail or falter, there might be horrible consequences but someone else might clean up the mess?

This makes me think of Jolee Bindo's story of the Jedi that had a destiny. LOL


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There is this part in Flash Gordon (1980) that gave me this kind of wacky idea. Ming offers Flash a deal.

Spoiler:
Flash Gordon: Why aren't I going with them?
The Emperor Ming: I've got other plans for you.

Flash Gordon: I can imagine.
The Emperor Ming: You want to destroy me.

Flash Gordon: It's the only way to save Earth.
The Emperor Ming: What if I granted you a kingdom?

Flash Gordon: If you what?
The Emperor Ming: Ming the Merciless, ruler of the universe, offers Flash Gordon of Earth a kingdom of Mongo, to rule over as his own.

Flash Gordon: You're crazy. Why would you do that?
The Emperor Ming: Because I've never before met your like. You're a hero, don't you see that? Who better to rule a kingdom? Your moon is very close now. Earth's end might come within hours.

Flash Gordon: You'd call off the attack?
The Emperor Ming: I could.

Flash Gordon: Everyone would be saved?
The Emperor Ming: Yes... and no. After the earthquakes and tidal waves, they won't be the same human beings. They'll be more docile. Tractable. Easier for you to rule, in the name of Ming.

Flash Gordon: You mean they'd be slaves.
The Emperor Ming: Let's just say they'll be satisfied with less.

Flash Gordon: What about Dale?
The Emperor Ming: We have decided to marry her. She's exceptional. We'll breed with her and send our progeny back to populate your Earth. Do you really prefer death to a kingdom? I'm disappointed. I'd rather see you on my side than scattered into ... Atoms. But as you wish.

Now what if in another parallel universe Flash seeing no way out takes it. We then get:

Spoiler:
The year: 1994. From out of space comes a runaway planet, hurtling between the Earth and the Moon, unleashing cosmic destruction! Man's civilization is cast in ruin! Two thousand years later, Earth is reborn. A strange new world rises from the old: a world of savagery, super science and sorcery. But one man bursts his bonds to fight for justice! With his companions Ookla the Mok and Princess Ariel, he pits his strength, his courage, and his fabulous Sunsword against the forces of evil. He is Thundarr, the Barbarian!

Thundarr is a descendant of Flash Gordon's. The wizards in the world are actually the descendants of Ming and his various brides. Ariel is a descendant of Dale and Ming. Heck, maybe Ookla is descended from Prince Thun (from the comics/cartoons). Thundarr has an opportunity to undo some of the damage his ancestor caused to the world.


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For the browncoats.

Bad GMPC: e.g. River Tam

Good GMPC: e.g. Shepherd Book


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There is no definitive "player experience". All players experience the game differently depending on their gaming history, interest, own personality, etc.

A person who has already ran through a module or AP as either a GM or player, is going to have a different player experience than someone who has not. That doesn't mean they are not having a player experience though, just a different one. Just as an individual player had a different experience when the came up against a troll for the very first time than they do when they come up against the 50th troll. Now if they are playing a character who has never encountered a troll before, that character should probably respond in a similar as the character when the player faced their first troll.

Player experience =/= Character experience
(unless you are not really running characters of course)

Let's also remember that not all players want to be Kirk, swinging his ... phaser around. Some players want to be Scotty or Sulu, that doesn't mean they are not having player experiences when they run characters that way. A player running a stand back and support character isn't running less of a PC than someone acting as the face of the party and always leading the way. Not everyone wants to stand in the spotlight, at least not all the time.

And some players root for other players' characters as well as their own, and they even root for NPCs or in rare cases the very cool BBEG. They may even root for their character failing if the failing is in an awesome way. Case in point, I was playing a SW:SAGA game and had a gamorean (sp?) who did a lot of charging. In the last fight we were trying to escape a planet with a sith on our loading ramp. We were approach higher altitudes. I told the GM, "I am going to try to bull (bantha?) rush him off the ramp. Now before I roll, if I roll a 1 I am going to say my character falls off and plummets to his death." Of course, I rolled a 1. It was an awesome ending to the character and though he didn't end up saving the day, I didn't regret the outcome one bit. The entire table laughed and enjoyed the development.

TL/DR: what a player experience is different for everyone, characters experience things that players don't, not everyone needs to be the center of attention, some players are cool with their characters failing/dying.


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Using items as a means to deal with missing a certain role seems to be at least as dangerous as using GMPC. The GM has to constantly be giving the group access to supplies either through the items directly or through extra wealth and access to markets and time to purchase them.

Sissyl wrote:

If the GM can remain impartial regarding the GMPC, though, then it is an NPC and not a GMPC.

The only difference between the types of character is that a GMPC has a GM who actively roots for it and tries to get a player experience through it, while an NPC does not. This is contentious, many try to make GMPC mean merely NPC. I am uncertain why they do this. Notably, they are also very vocal on this.

There seems to be a lot of subjective assumptions here. I have no idea what you mean by "a player experience". When I run a PC, I don't go all Blackleaf with it. If the character dies, gosh darn. Oh well, time to roll up a new one.


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DrDeth wrote:
2. No Cleric*? Let them play without one and LEARN. You gotta take the training wheels off the bike someday.

And the lesson they will learn is bend the arm of the most passive player until they give in and play a character they don't want to. I don't value lessons like that.


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Big Lemon wrote:

Where, exactly, are people drawing the line between "Recurring Non-Player Character" and "Game Master (controlled) Player Character", because those names alone imply different things.

Namely, that the GM is taking on the role of a player as well as that of a GM, which is not ideal for anyone.

Before anyone can answer that you'd have to clearly define what you mean by "the role of a player". Keep in mind the definition must be able to withstand all play styles all players might exhibit.


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Pan wrote:
For me GMPCs fail on a concept level. I feel its up to the players to build a team that can handle the adventure. If they choose to become a party of all wizards, then its on them to figure out how to make it work with no meatshield or divne caster power. There are plenty of options within the game rules to shore up weaknesses. With that said, I wont as GM kick a group in the nutz to make a point if they do have a weak spot, but i'm not going out of the way to avoid it either. I am not going to prop them up with an empty shell that agrees on all decisions and dispenses whatever the party requires of it mechanically.

From my experience, that isn't how it goes down though. Instead you have the most experienced and/or aggressive players pressuring the least experienced and/or passive players to play the support roles.

P1: I'll play the wizard, P2 you should play the cleric and keep us all healed.
P2: Well, I was actually thinking of playing a rogue.
P1: Look, P3 is already playing a rogue. We all need to play our part. I mean, look, I'm going to play the wizard. We need you to play the cleric, don't you want to be a team player? Stop being selfish.
P2: Ah, sure I guess.

I am personally opposed such and if I can avoid it or minimize it by possibly including a party NPC, I have no problem doing that.


Four days to go and it has made its goal as well a few of the stretch goals. Space ship battles for the win.


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Why I dislike defining GMPC in terms of how the GM "feels" about the character or how it is played:

1) Unless a GM specifically says they feel like they are acting as another player, you can't know exactly what is in the person's mind.

2) A character that is mostly support and doesn't venture much suggestions for plans and such isn't necessarily acting like an NPC. There are PCs that are played this way and that doesn't make them less of a PC.

I pretty much restrict the term to NPCs that are built using PC standards (WBL, stats, level, classes, races) and function in game as an equal member of the party. Feelings and specific roleplaying choices don't determine what a normal PC is, why should they determine what a GMPC would be?

Mythic Evil Lincoln wrote:
Otherwise, just remember not to glorify your own PC at the expense of others: that is the cardinal sin here.

I would say that is a cardinal sin for any player and the character(s) they run. It is a group game, and people that forget this or never realize it lower the value of the game for everyone involved, including themselves.

thejeff wrote:

There's also the related issue that even if the GM is doing it well, he can be perceived as showing bias towards his PC. The players obviously have an incomplete picture and when something good happens to the GM's PC, it's easy to see that as favoritism.

Avoiding the perception of bias is a difficult problem.

One thing I have found that helps is a willingness to roll in the open.


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thejeff wrote:
Of course it's possible for a GM to do similar things to benefit one player's character, but the temptation is stronger when the GM has a strong attachment to his own character.

Stronger than one's significant other, offspring, or other family member or close friend, let's say? I wonder what that says.


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"A [bad version of a] GMPC is one that a GM thinks of as their character."

Consider seriously the implications of the idea that by running a character as a player would run their PC would be necessarily disruptive. What does that tell you about your own views of players and what is expected behavior by them?

I would say this, if you were a player and learned that your character was benefiting from an incorrect understanding of a rule by a group/GM and you chose to stay quiet about it because it was in your favor, then I would say you probably should not be running a GMPC as a GM.

Of course that is not a problem of running a GMPC, but a problem of you being a cheater. In that case I probably wouldn't want to game with you at all anyway, whether you were behind the screen or in front of it.


leo1925 wrote:
I am pretty sure Foggy knows that Matt isn't like the other blind men, also it didn't seem to me that Matt was trying really hard to keep his super senses from showing and that's the Matt now as an adult, i am guessing that a kid (and then teen and then young adult) Matt would be even worse at hiding it all the time.

I can't speak for anyone else, but I can tell you, I don't actually interact with blind people in anything that could remotely called a common way. The people who have been seeing impaired that I have interacted with in the past on a regular basis were legally blind, i.e. not fully blind. If Foggy's experience is even remotely like mine, Matt might be the first and only fully blind person he has interacted with on a regular basis and thus might have no idea how "other blind men" act other than in a stereotypical way, which Matt does.


Maybe there should be a distinction in the conversation between intensity and energy.


Malachi Silverclaw wrote:
I've never actually seen an episode of The Kardashians. Is it the kind of show where the stars are seen in their best light?

Hardly, though I haven't watching any episodes. My impression though was that Jenner was generally viewed positively based on the show. Was that because they were really a nice person or just in comparison to the other "characters" on the show? I can't say.


If you are interested in a spaceship battle game there is a kickstarter going on right now. Or if you just interested in some spaceship miniatures.

Shadowstar Corsairs


I am still not sure what the droid is suppose to ... do. I mean, R2-D2 was a repair droid. His trashcan shaped body had various tools in compartments for repairing things. C3-P0 was a protocol droid. What does this thing do? Rolls. Okay. Looks cutesy. Right. But what function does it have? It looks like it still speaks in bit-code (or whatever droid speak is called), so it couldn't even carry messages from one place to another (well maybe holograms). No tools to speak off, at least that we can see, I don't even think it could interface with a computer. Is it just a companion cube ball?


My thought ...

Spoiler:
I found the Kingpin pretty blah. He was too much Sonny and not enough Michael or Vito Corleone. I didn't really ever see him make a decision that was "criminal mastermind" level. He basically got pissed off a lot and beat people up and/or killed them. I think they had his character and Wesley's backwards.


I would guess that it might be a toss up on which is developed first, assuming both are possible within the setting. I would wager that which ever is discovered first would be the only one that would be used assuming it continued to work. Once you have a technology that is able to work, there is little reason to explore alternatives and research and money would be diverted to the working method.

For creatures/dangers that would exist in these forms of travel, I might point you to movies like Event Horizon and From Beyond.


Though I would caution using language that could be taken as threatening even on a site like this and even if it is just hyperbole and/or joking. Sounds like the poster is still attending school, and with the current climate of over reaction to any kind of threats they should avoid setting themselves up for extra harassment from authorities. I mean when a kid gets suspending for biting a pop-tart into the shape of a "gun", you can't be too careful.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
pres man wrote:
TOZ wrote:
It was an area effect.
Munchkin.
Oh hey pres man, found any good PF rules to port back?

I haven't been doing a lot of gaming (actually practically none at all) for the last two years, so haven't really looked at a lot of the newer stuff.


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TOZ wrote:
It was an area effect.

Munchkin.


You might check out Goblin Games. I haven't been in there myself, but if they are typical of other game stores, you might be able to find a group there. Though it looks like they may be closed on Sundays.


thaX wrote:
No one, for example, has pointed out that one may be able to use the Klar with other weapons when TWF and still get the AC bonus from it. Wonder why?

Because that would be an incorrect reading of the text.

Feat wrote:
You can use an earth breaker as though it were a one-handed weapon. When using an earth breaker in one hand and a klar in your off hand, you retain the shield bonus your klar grants to your Armor Class even when you use it to attack. Treat your klar as a light weapon for the purposes of determining your two-weapon fighting penalty.

The feat allows you to (1) use an E.B. as a one-handed weapon, without limitation, (2) treat the klar as a light weapon only for two-weapon fighting penalties, (3) allows you to retain the shield AC from a klar even when attacking with it as long as it is used with an E.B. The feat does not allow you to keep the shield bonus when fighting with a klar a different weapon.


Kalindlara wrote:

From its original appearance in 3.5's Pathfinder Adventure Path #10: A History of Ashes,

New Feat: Thunder and Fang
You have mastered the ancient Shoanti fighting style of Thunder and Fang, allowing you to fight with increased effectiveness when wielding an earth breaker and a klar. As you swing at foes with Thunder (your earth breaker), you slash at them with the Fang (your klar).
Prerequisites: Str 15, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (earth breaker), Weapon Focus (klar)
Benefit: As long as you are fighting with an earth breaker and a klar (and you make attacks with your klar as your offhand attack), you can fight with both weapons as if you were wielding a double weapon, and retain your shield bonus to your Armor Class granted by your klar. Treat your klar as a light weapon for the purposes of determining your total penalty to attack.
Special: A fighter may select Thunder and Fang as one of his fighter bonus feats.

Hope this helps. :)

Thank you Kalindlara.

@thaX: Let's compare the original text to the current text. We see that the sentence from the descriptive text, "As you swing at foes with Thunder (your earth breaker), you slash at them with the Fang (your klar)." was removed. This would seem to support the idea that they wanted to change from the idea that you had to use the two together, instead of that you could use the two together. On the other hand, it may have been that they thought the wording was awkward, making it sound like you attack with both weapons at the exact same moment.

In the mechanics text, they changed the discussion from the weapons working together as an effective double weapon to instead treating the earth breaker as a one-handed weapon. Why do this? The view as a double weapon would make a lot more sense as these two weapons need to be used together. As a double weapon would mean that the "on-hand" end would be treated naturally as a one-handed weapon and the "off-hand" weapon would be treated as a light weapon. You wouldn't need to "clarify" that the earth breaker is treated as a one-handed weapon, as that is implicit by the nature of a double weapon. So why change the text, unless they wanted people to have the option to use them one-handed in all contexts?

The only possible reason I could come up with is that they didn't want people to benefit from the single good thing about double weapons, they can easily switch between two-handed mode to double-weapon mode. That is you can use just one end as a two-handed weapon (say in the situation where you can only make one attack) and then on a later round use it as a double weapon (when you can make multiple attacks). This is the only reason I could see changing the text, but in that case it seems a pretty short sighted change.

I guess I would ask, let's assume a player wants to use two e.b.s or one large e.b., do you consider the fact they have to invest in four feats (1. TWF, 2. WF[e.b.], 3. WF[klar], and 4. T.&F.) as making this choice game breaking? Seems a pretty poor choice to me, in fact the reason to ban it may have more to do with protecting players from falling into a "trap" then because it is over powered.


Reach is a property of the weapon and not of the size. Greataxe does not give reach, thus a larger version would not give reach. The increased reach a larger creature gets using it is based on the larger creatures normal reach, not on the greataxe.


I need to look at my player's guide where the feat first was placed. I have the feeling that the line about wielding the earth breaker one handed was not in it. If that is actually the case, and the line was added later without the "fluff" text being changed, this might be a case were it wasn't edited very well.

Again, assuming the line wasn't originally present, then this would seem to indicate to me that the feat was changed to in fact allow for using the weapon one-handed, two of them, or a large one two-handed. If that is the case, then the player wouldn't be "abusing" anything.

Again, I will check later and see if I am right that the line wasn't present originally.


Some semi-random thoughts.

Fluff & Crunch. Crunch (mechanics) is the skeletal and muscular structure of the game. Fluff (flavor) is the skin and nervous system of the game. Both are important, of course. The crunch gives you tools to do things, but the fluff tells you what you want to do and how it will look.

Still, one can "reskin" the game, say playing a pseudo-Star Wars game with PF mechanics. Likewise, one can graft the "skin" on to another frame, say playing a game set in Golarion using the 4e system. Yet, not all frames and skins fit perfectly, and some due to the design choices fit better with each other than something else might.

When I might indicate that mechanics are more important than flavor is when someone says something like, "I want to play a paladin, but I'm not sure I can trust my GM." I suggest reskinning a ranger, for example, and playing that as a paladin. Since there is no alignment restriction, you can play it as you see fit without fear of your GM making you lose your abilities. Basically you can be a paladin without having levels in the class "paladin".

But this doesn't mean flavor in general isn't important, just that perhaps one particular flavor is not all that important.

By the way wookies would be bugbears. Gamorreans would be orcs.


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I don't think anyone link this yet, so here it is.


I think it is pretty cynical to assume that they made the comment in the belief that it would cause people to give them property and death threats so that a website run by a conservative pundit (Glen Beck) would set up a fund raiser for them and it would raise hundreds of thousands of dollars that they will of course get 100% of it despite it being set up by someone else. I mean, that kind of planning would be a level of genius that frankly the owners in the interview did not convey, which I guess is just more proof of their genius.

Most likely the reporter mentioned the other wedding related cases (florists, bakers, photographers, etc) and the owner then responded with her comment about not being willing to do that as well.

Frankly, I would wager that most people would much rather continue living their lives without death threats, than to exchange that for almost any amount of money. "I live everyday in terror as to what someone crazy will do, but hey at least I got a few bucks in my pocket."

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