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834 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.


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I have one player that is very into tracking his experience, so he does the tracking - and another player or two does so just as back up to make sure the math is always correct even if the normal tracker misses a session.

Beyond that practice, I only track experience earned within the session and hand it out at the end - except in other systems where experience is an individual character thing and is easy to hand out as earned (World of Darkness, for example) and every player tracks their own experience.

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As Bruno says, it is primarily a function of the setting and mood of the campaign - so take into account that my following answers are all about the mood I choose for the campaigns which I run within my own setting, and not me saying that the following is an accurate description of how things should be viewed when thinking of the Golarion (or any other published) setting.

The PCs have heroic potential by way of being 1st level PC rather than 1st level NPC - this is represented by having (typically) superior ability scores and by gaining experience at the rate of their accomplishments, rather than in a way that makes a 1st level fighter reach 9th level after 30+ years of military career.

They are the characters which will take the "starring roles" in the story of the campaign once all is said and done and the bards sing of their exploits - but that doesn't mean tat the character being heroic of proportion and deed is a foregone conclusion; the characters must use what they have been given to earn the power and respect deserving of true heroes.

That said, my settings tend to involve 98% of the population being "0-level" and the remaining 2% covering all PCs and NPCs with any levels in PC classes, and leaning heavily on the low end of the spectrum (i.e. if they were characters within my setting King Arthur and the Knights of the Round would be Fighters of 9th level and lower, and Gandalf the Grey would be a 9th level Wizard, and be at least 2 levels higher than any of the other Fellowship of the Ring members).

For me, it's a matter of style - and I have always felt it easier to make the PCs feel unique and "awesome" if the NPCs to which they are compared are only "superior" for half the campaign at most.

It is very important to note that not being in a situation in which you are actively benefiting from a feat is not the same thing as losing that feat.

In this instance, that means that not being within 30 feet means that you do not gain +1 to hit and damage with ranged weapons - not that you have lost Point-blank Shot.

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A completely insignificant peeve that occurred to me only after submitting my last post:

The player that insists he can't keep track of where the party even is in the dungeon they are exploring unless he has a map, and is sitting mere feet from a pad of graph paper and inches from a pencil, but yet won't start scribbling out a map to match my descriptions and help him keep mindful of what options for exploration are available.

Tormsskull wrote:
11. Players that don't accept the GM's ruling for the current session so that the whole game doesn't grind to a halt.

I cannot believe that I forgot to mention this - I absolutely hate someone arguing about the rules during a session.

Especially when the point being argued isn't actually continuing to be relevant while the argument rages on anyway - such as a few weeks ago in the game in which I am actually a player: Paladin player said that detect evil would let him pinpoint an invisible evil creature, I pointed out that an at-will ability of a 1st level character absolutely doesn't trump a 2nd level (or higher) spell - the invisible creature became visible as the GM and the rest of the players tried to continue on with the encounter, but the Paladin player just wouldn't let it go... and, as is usually the case when someone wants to spend session time arguing instead of playing on and dealing with the disagreement between sessions, about an hour later the Paladin player finally actually finished reading all the relevant rules and found out that he was wrong, even though I couldn't point him directly to the rule that proved it when I first made my counter-statement.

It is one of the few things which actually bothers me enough that I will remove a player from the game for doing it.

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
My GM pet peeve is when one of the players happily announces he'll GM a campaign to give me a break and let me be a player for awhile (I'm always the DM. For almost 30 years). Then they run two games and decide to stop.

I too am always the GM, though only for about 17 years thanks to my age... I don't count my disappointment by the brief campaigns that others try to run as a GM peeve - it's my only player peeve.

...and it is more that I get extremely irritated that a person says they will GM to let me play for a change, but then abandons the effort because their campaign wasn't running as smoothly as one with me in charge would have been - the implication that reasoning has is amazingly insulting, as the person is basically saying that they expected to be as good on session #1 as someone who is (doing a little math out of curiosity... woah) coming up on session #3,000 in just a few months.

I would say players interrupting me - but that is not a peeve which only applies to the gaming table; Anyone interrupting me in normal conversation receives scathing sarcasm as an award congratulating them on their self-importance and notable achievements in impatience.

Instead, I shall mention two other peeves which are a lot more "makes me sad" than they are "makes me feel like slapping people."

First, when a player doesn't try something because they think it isn't likely to succeed, thus ensuring failure rather than risking it - but acting like those two things are identical.

Second, when a player can't seem to consider a situation from an in-character perspective, so their in-character actions seem absolutely inappropriate for their "good guy" status - this one usually revolves around particular player, so I feel the need to provide an example:

Say there is an NPC in a room, reading books... and then this NPC sees a small squad of blood-spattered and grime-covered people with weapons at the ready come barging into the room. Say that NPC then, startled and afraid, draws a weapon to protect them self in case these rough-looking people mean harm.

This "good guy" goes straight to "Put the weapon down or I will kill you," no matter what his alignment is because he cannot picture the situation as one where it isn't obvious that he is a hero, rather than a villain - and he doesn't seem to realize that, should his character really intend to follow through on that threat, he would detect as Evil in that moment despite being Lawful Good because that is actively evil intent (according to me, anyways).

eldergod, where are these preconstructed spellbooks found? I wish to read about them.

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I don't sunder many PC weapons because I don't tend to take the time to custom-build monsters (I wouldn't have bought 4 bestiary books if I felt like spending my time with monster-craft rather than campaign-craft) - and there aren't a whole bunch of monsters that come pre-built with sunder.

Those that do have it, though, I make sure they try it at least once whenever I do end up using that type of monster.

It usually doesn't work, and at most gives a weapon the broken condition - people acting like Sunder is "going nuclear" or is some forbidden thing that permanently weakens their character... well, let's just say that I don't agree with a lot of of the advice and opinions bandied about as what "everyone" thinks.

No one argue with me, I am just providing an example of what I mean, and I am not saying how you can or can't enjoy your game: Take Wealth by Level - you might see someone mentioning about how you have to make sure that the PCs are at wealth by level... and then there is me, ignoring that chart entirely unless someone is building a brand-new PC at higher than 1st level, because the game rules have treasure type by monster and treasure value per encounter by level, which give the party enough money to pay for fixing up anything that gets lost or broken.

1. Does your spouse game?

Yes - both table-top and video games.

2. Have you ever asked/encouraged them to join in your hobby? How? Also, how did they respond?

I encouraged her to join in when we got together by simply saying "I'm going to be starting a new campaign soon, you want to try it out?" She responded very enthusiastically by starting to read any book she could get her hands on that related to the game I had planned.

3. How do you handle the conflicting interests (if they conflict)?

We only have conflict in that she wants me to run more AD&D (which she enjoyed because I can run it with nothing by a Monster Manual and some dice, as I have nearly the entirety of the other rulebooks memorized) and I won't do it because about half of the rest of our play group doesn't like the system.

I handle it by being very sincerely sorry, and by running her second and third favorite games as often as possible (Vampire, in both Masquerade and Requiem flavors).

4. Did you meet them at a traditional gamer event? (Tabletop session, Con, etc.)

Not exactly. I had befriended these guys that were running a little hole-in-the-wall gaming shop, she was a friend of one guy's girlfriend, and came to the shop for an after hours anime showing.

5. How do they handle you spending on your hobby? (Finances can sometimes be an issue)

This we have had some struggles with. In the past, I have been pretty excited about various products, made purchases with her money (we a stereotypical, but role-reversed man & wife - i.e. she brings home the bacon, and I am the house "wife"), and then found that we really weren't using those products... and shelves full of stuff I don't actually want to use started to make us both very irritable on the topic.

We've reach a resolution that involved selling off everything I never intend to use and using the money to buy more supplements for systems that we play regularly - and have made a promise to each other that we will no longer buy a product unless we are absolutely certain it will be used often.

Um... Favored Enemy totally gives a bonus to determine that something is disguised as relates to either your enemy attempting to look like something else, and something else trying to look like your favored enemy:

That's the whole point of the Perception & Sense Motive bonuses... though I can see the confusion since the rules don't clearly spell that out.

DM_aka_Dudemeister wrote:


The thing about Dragons is that people treat them like the fine china. They say they'll only use them for special occasions, but then no occasion seems special enough and they just collect dust in the cabinet.

More dragons.

Yes, I caught myself doing just that... but then I realized that now (after my Bones minis arrived with so many cool dragons) is the special occasion - I've been working on an adventure path designed to feature dragons heavily in general, and use each of the dragon minis I own as "yes, what you see in-game looks exactly like the mini indicates," special monsters (even my old WotC pre-painted plastic colossal red dragon, which I have only ever used once since purchasing, and it wasn't even as a dragon, just a colossal animated object).

I can't remember the length in real-world time of most of my campaigns... some probably ran for a year or longer, and yet I only remember "that was a fun campaign, and it actually reached an end instead of just falling apart."

I like campaigns to reach the end of their story... though I don't tend to have particularly long stories to tell.

However, I do know that one of the campaigns I ran a few years back lasted for 2-1/2 years before I scrapped it - its memorable because I spent the bulk of that time being disappointed by the system we were using and trying in vain to "fix" things.

I also know that the campaign which I currently am running will meet for its 52nd session this Friday, and will be over in another couple of months unless our pace slows again because the party is growing quite near to achievement of their goal. (For those in the know - it's the campaign consisting of the T1-4: The Temple of Elemental Evil, A1-4: Scourge of the Slave Lords, and GDQ1-7: Queen of Spiders AD&D "super-adventures" - the party is about 1/4 of the way through G2: Glacial Rift of the Frost Giant Jarl, and will be zipping through everything after G3 with amazing speed because I kept to the original modules rather than adjusting the creatures to make CR-appropriate, so they are basically going to move through those sections unchallenged... which should help them feel like their characters are actually imposing enoguh to be ready to face Lolth.)

Zhayne wrote:
Welcome to 3e/PF magic, where everything's overpowered and martial characters don't matter.

Because some people might not realize exactly what it is that Zhayne means, allow me to point to the differences between Color Spray in Pathfinder, and the way it worked in AD&D:

Area: AD&D actually gave it a 20-foot cone

Saving Throw: Only allowed to creatures having more Hit Dice than the caster's level, or 6+ Hit Dice (and the way saves worked, higher level creatures saved successfully far more often than they do in Pathfinder against a caster that has improved their DCs where possible).

Number of creatures affected: 1d6 creatures within the area are affected in order of distance from the caster.

Actual Effects: 2d4 rounds of unconscious (nothing else) for those equal or lesser in level to the caster, 1d4 rounds blindness (nothing else) for those 1 or 2 levels higher than the caster, 1 round stunned for anything more potent.

The important details: random number of creatures affected; no multi-round duration of complete vulnerability unless the creatures attacked with the spell are already pretty non-threatening to the party.

As a GM that has had a player join his table that built characters in much the way you describe, and had previously had GMs let him run ruff-shod over everything by declaring use of diplomacy and/or bluff, I get being a bit worried about how you are going to deal with it.

My advise is simple: State clearly, concisely, and confidently "That is not the case in any campaign with me as GM."

It took nothing more than me saying "That's would take you a minute of conversation to earn a roll for, which you are fully allowed to do - just keep track of the rounds that pass during combat, and keep in mind that your ability to speak is being dedicated to the effort so you can't be casting spells with verbal components or doing your bardic performance in the mean while," for the player to realize that I was not kidding when I said "diplomacy doesn't do what you think it does."

mkenner wrote:
I seem to have lost my copy, but if I remember correctly the high level campaigns book published near the end of 2nd Edition had rules for going beyond 20th level. True Dweomers were the first attempt at epic level spellcasting rules.

More accurately, that book presented rules for never going beyond 30th level - the core books could take you to any level you wanted to.

Of course, that book also added some pretty interesting things, like a "fighter skill' which is both the origin of Whirlwind Attack, and for D&D 4e's "powers" since it plays just like a target: one enemy; str vs. ac; 1[W]+str damage, Special: if you reduce an opponent to 0 hit points with this attack, deal 1d8 damage +1d8 damage per 5 levels above 10th to all enemies within 5 feet of equal or lesser size and AC to the target slain power.

I think the puddings must taste the best, with the jellies following - but they can be a bit too sweet for my tastes.

Alzrius wrote:

This is a misconception. AD&D 2E did have a limit on how many levels characters could earn; it was just a "soft limit" at first, rather than a hard one.

I say "soft limit" to indicate that rather than having an express prohibition, the AD&D 2E PHB simply didn't present the information necessary for gaining levels beyond 20th.

I disagree with your assessment.

The AD&D 2e DMG states; "Theoretically, there is no upper limit to character class levels (although there are racial limitations."

There are other places in the book too which mention characters going beyond 20th level - in fact, basically everything is covered, except for spells:

Each class (except druid) had a clear point at which gaining a level took exactly the same number of experience points - such as a fighter of 9th level or higher needing 250,000 XP to level, every level, or a wizard of 11th level or higher needing 375,000 XP for each level.

Each class gains only a flat amount of HP after 9 or 10 levels, so you always know how many HP to add.

The books had a chart that list the improvement rate of THAC0 specifically so that you can calculate for levels 21+ - since they don't need to tell you the rate for any other reason because they also included a table that did the math for you up to level 20.

Saving throws had maximum values, which the PHB shows you the level at which you reach them - and for Wizards & Rogues that is 21+

The book tells you everything you actually need to know in order to see that you can level to your heart's content - they just expected that you weren't going to go past 20 because A) it took a ridiculously long time to gain levels after about 10th level, and B) Most characters didn't get much in the way of "new" stuff to do at those levels... something which, it seems, bored enough people badly enough that every edition of D&D (or D&D-like) games since then has been trying to fill each and every level with something "special".

Saying that there wasn't "express prohibition" of gaining levels beyond 20th is true - there was actually express permission, even though it didn't take the form of a "+X Experience/level" statement which was only ever pointing out the obvious in the first place.

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Orthos wrote:
Pan wrote:
Zhayne wrote:
I would rather PF have something like 4e's Inherent Bonuses, so that treasure became a perk, rather than a requirement. I would have no problems whatsoever playing in a game with limited items and money ... I would probably prefer it.
I'd rather see accuracy bounded then get back on treadmill design.
Can I get a tongues over here?

He's talking about assumptions of game design, specifically the idea of Bounded Accuracy - which is an awful name for setting an actual limit to things, such as a maximum AC so that every improvement that occurs in your attack bonus provides an overall improvement in chance to hit the max AC, rather than just being another +1 that can be offset by something finding another +1 to AC.

And then the idea of Treadmill Design - where the numbers on the sheet keep going up, so it looks like progress is being made... but in a practical sense - such as looking at the game specifically in the view that a character of a certain level will never face enemies below or above a particular level which is relative to his own level - nothing is really changing, such as having +4 to hit at 1st level and targeting ACs which average to 15 means you have a 50% accuracy, and if you have a +14 to hit at 10th level, but are targeting ACs which average to 25 means you still have a 50% accuracy and haven't actually gone anywhere - like running 3 miles, but you are still in the same room because you are on a treadmill.

Typically, systems built with Bounded Accuracy have characters unquestionably improve as they gain levels without requiring specific investment to make those improvements (see TSR era D&D), and often do not establish a "cut-off point" for when a particular monster is no longer worth any reward for battling, regardless of how many you face.

While "treadmill design" systems cause your capabilities to remain stagnant, or even grow progressively less successful, unless you invest your character resources into "keeping up" - see Pathfinder, 3.5, and 4e D&D for examples of such systems... basically any game where the players that enjoy the game say things like that you "need" certain gear at a certain level.

Tormsskull wrote:
Treat the PCs with kid gloves strategy. It can work if that's what the players want. I find it infuriates my players. If they make a poor decision, they want to suffer from that decision. They don't want the DM to suddenly make the chaotic evil dragon interested in preserving human life.

I'm not talking about kid gloves, though I can see how you take that away from what I said. I'm talking about how "chaotic evil" doesn't mean the creature has to answer annoyance with violence.

You annoy a powerful Chaotic Evil wizard, and he certainly does something to respond - but it's probably not dropping his most potent attack spell currently prepared on your soon to be corpse, especially because he is a busy fellow and doesn't have the time to waste with actually paying attention to you, and anyone that might see him kill you and decide that now is the time to seek vengeance.

As another example of what I am talking about, look at how extremely rare it is that people are killed (or even injured) for annoying someone in the real world - like the number of people that actually get crashed into on purpose, or shot at, or followed to where they are going and beaten for cutting someone off in traffic... it's barely a drop in the bucket when compared to all the times that someone cuts someone else off and the most that happens are angry shouts, obscene gestures, and retaliation without escalation (cutting off the guy that cut you off, rather than trying to actually cause a crash).

Tormsskull wrote:
I drop as many hints as possible to the players, sometimes they really think they can handle it or just want the challenge.

I've run into that too... and players that think the warnings you are giving them are actually just the adventure hooks - and then they get all upset because you "told" them to fight that thing/go that way and "killed their character on purpose."

Mok wrote:

What little bit of interest is that the Elite Array changed between 3.5 and Pathfinder:

3.5 = (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8)
PF = (15, 14, 12, 11, 10, 8)

You may want to re-check your Pathfinder rules on that, because there was no change made to the Elite Array - it is still 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8, and it is exactly a 15 point buy (7+5+3+2, -2).

I checked the PRD, my PDF of the core book, and the 1st printing to 6th printing errata document for the CRB - the numbers are correct in the PRD, in my PDF, and no errata is present on the subject.

Mok wrote:
For PF, the point buy of the Standard Array is awful, amounting to a 3 point buy spread. Compared to even low-fantasy point buy of 10 points, lowly commoner NPCs just plain stink.

That is certainly intended, so as to give the PCs that "cream of the crop" feeling even at level 1... at least, to a point.

As for my preferences concerning Point Buy and Rolling to generate ability scores...

I have each player roll 1 set of scores using 4d6 drop lowest, and then choose between that set of scores or the Elite Array - it alleviates my dislikes about point buy while simultaneously assuring my players that they will not get "stuck with a crippled character."

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Vivianne Laflamme wrote:
Tormsskull wrote:
When the PCs do so, the GM is left in the position of either foregoing fantasy realism (the dragon easily kill the PCs), or making up a reason why the dragon decides not to attack, and even flees from the PCs.
The dragon can attack and not kill the PCs. For example, a silver dragon could use her paralyzing breath rather than dealing damage. When all the PCs fail their saves, she can take trophies (the paralysis lasts 1d6 + age category rounds) then taunt them and leave. It's hard to build up a reputation if there aren't any survivors to spread tales of your magnificence.

Yeah... the whole "I used a dragon, they weren't supposed to try and fight it, but they did so I had to have it kill them," thing...

Let's just say that I have always used powerful monsters far beyond the sort that a party might be able to reasonably kill, and I have always been able to have the party realize how out of their league they are without someone getting a dead character in the process.

The way to do so is extremely simple, and doesn't even require using a monster like a silver dragon that is built for non-lethal take downs - though that is a very good idea as well.

Here is how you do it, present in step by step format:
1. Think of you and your physical capabilities, special skills, and available objects to use as weapons.
2. Think of an angry toddler.
3. Imagine that you - the immensely powerful monster - are under attack by this angry toddler - the PC that is far too low-level to defeat the monster.
4. Pretend that being evil, even of the worst sort, doesn't mean you respond to every attack with lethal force, or even equivalent effort - i.e. you don't pick up the nearest heavy object and smash a toddler with it for punching you, nor would you ball up your fist and punch the toddler in return.

...then, you just do what a real person (without serious issues, anyway) would do to deal with an angry toddler - which is to say you don't even treat it as a threat, and probably just physically relocate it so it can get over whatever made it angry in the first place.

Example using game terms: Party sees dragon doing dragon stuff, and someone attacks

Ranged attacks: Dragon keeps doing dragon stuffs, has plenty of HP to use to shrug off the pitiful attacks long enough to finish with dragon stuffs and leave at its own leisure.

Melee attacks: Dragon bull rushes you effortlessly into a nearby obstacle so you take a little damage, but see that the dragon is powerful enough to send you skidding backwards even if you manage to penalize it's combat maneuver check by hitting with the attack of opportunity it provoked for not having the right feat - which means it is plenty powerful enough to have just torn you in half instead, but didn't bother because you aren't even worth the effort of washing his hands when he is done.

...or you just outright tell the players at your table "You see a monster that is so obviously more than a match for you that your character knows attempting to fight it is tantamount to suicide," so that they are aware of exactly what they are getting into from an in-character perspective - because then it is their fault if they go attack it and end up dead as a result.

MagusJanus wrote:
TOZ wrote:
thenobledrake wrote:
Nothing else has quite such a potent ability to make me feel zero confidence in a GM.
Indeed. Don't pull the trigger if you aren't committed to the kill.

I'm on the fence on that one. If it is a case of the DM screwing up, then them fixing it doesn't strike me as bad. If it's a case of just bad luck... Well, the dice fell the way they fell. Even heroes succumb to the fickle feelings of Fate.

BBEG? That's definitely a time when death is permanent. This is the final battle, and that guy is actively trying to kill you.

That is sort of my point - if you are a GM and you don't realize that a critical from the monster you are putting into an encounter could kill a PC - a basic function of damage expression being greater than half the reasonable HP for the current level - then how can I possible trust that you have any idea how to even build encounters in the first place? Seeing that 2d8+7 (9-15) is a pretty large portion of the 5d4+10 (15-30) HP a 6th level wizard with a +1 Con modifier might have is not a difficult feat.

Basically, it's a situation where the outcome is either the result of A) the GM has chosen to set up a difficult encounter in which there is significant chance of PC death - making the resulting death anything but a mistake, or B) the GM is genuinely surprised that the monster he picked out deals a lot of damage - making the resulting death far more than a mistake, but a complete lack of understandings of the basic mechanics of the game.

And if it is genuinely just a mistake, I'd much rather a GM say "I didn't mean for this to be such a lethal encounter," and open a discussion about how we should proceed, rather than decide for me - I'm the type of player that is usually the GM, meaning I am rarely ever actually a player, and I would rather let go of a dead character and try something new because I know it is going to be years before I get to play another type of character otherwise - so it's extra disappointing to me to be put in a situation where I have to choose between telling the GM "No, I do not accept that house rule," or telling the player that comes to my character's rescue "Sorry you wasted the effort and resources, my soul refuses to return."

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My single "rebellion point" is when a GM tries to backtrack or "re-do" something because my character dies - such as the GM having the party ambushed by half a dozen ogres, and one of them scoring a high-damage critical hit, then I mention that my character is dead and the GM starts spouting something like "Oh, uh... I meant less damage than that," or "That kills you? Well... [house-rule that makes it possible to save my character's life that didn't actually exist until my character died]."

Nothing else has quite such a potent ability to make me feel zero confidence in a GM.

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I am a big fan of hauling in a chest overflowing with coins and gems, a few sacks full of jewelry and "art", and throwing around the wealth so as to live in luxury for a brief time - including the buying of "nifty things".

However, "nifty things" almost exclusively means magical items that most players would sell off in order to buy better "big six" items, or completely non-magical things.

I hate feeling like any wealth spent in a way other than getting the next highest bonus to something (abiilty score, attack/damage, AC, saves) is wealth wasted.

I have trouble playing Pathfinder without significant alteration to the assumptions made about magical gear, and prefer other systems in general.

Kthulhu wrote:
I think BECMI was a slightly different, but i have the Rules Cyclopedia in front of me, and so I'm using it.

While there are a few differences between the boxed sets of BECM and the eventual compilation of them that is the Rules Cyclopedia, level limits are not among them - excluding that the Mystic class wasn't actually fully detailed until the Rules Cyclopedia.

The Immortal rules, however, have some pretty significant differences between the original Immortal Rules boxed set and the Wrath of the Immortals boxed set that was released to be used with the Rules Cyclopedia.

...I think it was Wrath of the Immortals that I liked better because it had 36 levels to progress through just like the "standard" game at that point so the character progression didn't feel as disjointed as in the previous Immortal rules - but my memory of that portion of the game, which I rarely used, is pretty hazy.

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I am all for doing inventory to make sure that the players are actually being mindful of things like who is carrying what and how, and to make sure that the players aren't hoping that I'll forget that dice become involved in their characters' survival if they aren't packing appropriate supplies (food, water, tents, firewood, etc.)

...but I absolutely hate the entire inventory situation once the things being accounted for are dozens of treasure items the party is hoping to sell or trade for better gear.

In the former case, doing inventory actually feels important from an in-character point of view and my players also quickly and efficiently work through the process of figuring out how long their travels will be, what they will need to make those travels manageable, and then tack on a little extra "just in case".

In the latter case, doing inventory feels completely ridiculous from an in-character point of view because the players are trying to make sure they get the absolute best value for each traded or sold item even though their characters have no skill in appraising things and yet refuse to pay for appraisal services, and the whole process involves a lot of hand-waving away that the average merchant doesn't actually have the thousands of gold on hand to provide you with change when you use a single piece of art to buy some supplies... and my players are staggeringly inefficient with deciding what to do with large sums of wealth, and make the average "inventory/shopping" trip that deals with more than just "how much food? Climbing kits? Should we take horses?" something which requires 2 full sessions (at 4 hours a piece) that involve zero role-playing and zero progression - just them floundering about with every player trying not to be too selfish to the point that no one is actually making any decisions.

It's all a bunch of "Who wants armor?" type questions being responded to with "I wouldn't mind armor, if there isn't something more important that we should buy." type answers while I sit behind my screen struggling to find ways to actually get someone, anyone at the table to commit to a purchase and thus start the chain reaction of purchases which will end the shopping trip... and the whole situation is made worse by the fact that, in the end, the players have inevitably followed the exact same purchase strategy that they have always followed and yet always seem to forget about when next it is time to off-load their inventory and shop (that being to buy up armor/defense for everyone, weapons for those that use them, at least one bag of holding if they can find it, and handy haversacks for characters needing to access a multitude of potions, scrolls, or wands).

Here's a TL;DR version: I dig inventory in campaigns where there is no possibility of buying any magic items other than a few minor items (potions & scrolls) and a very rare instance of a particular item here & there (a family auctioning off a magical ring so as to afford to keep their property/holdings after falling on hard times or a wondrous item popping up in a bazaar full of rare goods, for example), and all the treasures you find should be kept or spent on food, lodging, and entertainment.

Otherwise, it's a soul-sucking experience I'd rather avoid.

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andreww wrote:
Pendagast wrote:

Im sure people will rail at me and tell me im oh so wrong,

But AD&D had it right... which is why character levels only went so far (10-12 if I recall depending on class)

People might well od this on the basis that you are actually wrong.

All but a few 1e classes (Assassin, Druid) had unlimited advancement. The Cleric and Wizard spells per day table went to 29. 2e as I recall wen to at least 20. BECMI went to 36 and beyond with the Immortals box set.

Let's go ahead and hit the details on this, because people constantly misquote or misremember the TSR era of D&D.

First, a disclaimer: Many people respond to the following facts with "Yeah, but no one ever even used those rules because they were stupid," because it is a common knee-jerk reaction to think the following details are not "fair" and it is easy to forget that these facts were what created what "balance" existed at the time and reinforced setting fluff via mechanics.

OD&D: Non-human characters had limits to their levels which I do not currently recall, and cannot reference because I don't own the Little Brown Books. Humans, however, could advance to any level in any class.

Basic, B/X, & BECM: Human characters could advance in any of their 4 human classes (cleric, fighter, magic-user, thief) as far as the level scale did reach (eventually to 36th level). Dwarves could reach 12th level, Elves 10th, and Halflings 8th - though each did gain additional special abilities at further XP totals.

AD&D 1e: Humans could be any class and advance to any level (only a few classes actually had specific maximum levels, cleric, fighter, magic-user and thief had no limit at all).

Other races had only certain classes they could be, and most were limited in what level they could reach in those classes (often with 1 or 2 extra levels being possible if they possessed a 17 or 18 in a certain ability score), but most non-human races (all but half-orc) had unlimited advancement in the Thief class (half-elves also had unlimited Druid advancement).

Worth noting is that Dwarves could only reach level 9 as Fighters, Elves could only reach level 11 as Magic-Users, and Gnomes could only reach level 7 as Illusionists.

AD&D 2e: Humans remained unlimited in their level advancement regardless of class (unless the class had a built in cap, which most still did not).

Excluding Half-Elven Bards, there was no longer such a thing as a non-human with unlimited advancement in their class.

Each non-human race other than Halfling did, however, see a noticeable increase in the number of levels they could reach in the classes available to them - Dwarves could reach Fighter 15, Elves could reach Magic-User 15, and Gnomes Illusionist 15, for example.

Now that I have gone through all that, I should mention that the reasoning behind these limits was that non-human races gained access to special traits (infravision, poison resistance, sleep resistance, stealth, or whatever else) which humans did not get and that those abilities should cost something.

That got compounded with the idea that having only certain classes available, rather than any class you wanted, meant it was okay to be able to advance in more than one at the same time, especially since you would still reach the limit in your classes while a human character was continuing on in their advancement indefinitely.

A final note: AD&D 2e followed 1e before it in providing no absolute limit to level advancement for characters with "unlimited" level in a class... at least, until the book DM's Option: High Level Campaigns was released. That book set an absolute maximum level at 30th, and presented rules that made high level characters far more potent than they already were.

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Peter Stewart wrote:
Lets look at some friendly Gary Gygax Quotes.

Thanks for quoting some actual Gygax - gives me a chance to finally clearly put it out into the ether of the internet why it is that I always felt I would be more likely to get up and walk away from Gary's table than to enjoy the guy GMing for me.

Peter Stewart wrote:
"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules."

That this is found in a book written by a guy that stuffed his version of the D&D game full of complex rules, tables, and warnings not to stray from what he had written at the risk of unbalancing your game... makes me feel like the author couldn't be consistent with his own preferences and decisions - and like I couldn't reasonably predict the outcome of my own character's actions because I could never know whether it would be the rules in the book or the rules in the GM's head that would decide the outcome.

Peter Stewart wrote:
"A DM only rolls the dice because of the noise they make."

Then there is this. He says that the dice are rolled for the sound - not to determine outcomes, randomize results, or anything like the rules in the book would indicate. No, the dice are just rolled so that the players can hear the dice having been rolled... and then the GM declares what transpires, even if he didn't bother to actually agree with the dice (or even roll the correct ones according to what the rules say about the roll he is making).

Not only are the rules themselves in question with him behind the screen - the dice are completely an illusion - obviously the man thought that a player (even one who sometimes DMed) would just sit there and accept that their character's fate was not to be decided by such things as Ability Scores, Hit Points, Armor Class, Saving Throws, and To-Hit Rolls, but by the guy behind the screen thinking "Yeah... the giant nails him with a rock for about 15 damage, then the harpies can swoop in and grab up the halflings and start carrying them off... ooh, but it'd be pretty cool if all these monsters failed their saves against the mage's next spell."

...and then, for the final nail in the coffin of me ever wanting to sit at Mr. Gygax's table for a game of D&D - the adventures he wrote. The encounters swing back and forth wildly from cake-walk to outrageously difficult, and the traps were typically hyper-lethal - meaning the only way to actually run the adventure as-written and give the party a reasonable chance of success is to do as Gary says and just toss out the rules and dice results (but keep rolling them to fool your players with the sound) and have whatever you're in the mood for be what happens.

A final note: I acknowledge that Gary Gygax has had many people sit at his table over the years and that most would consider it a fun experience - but I also expect that the reason for it wass that Gary did not actually follow half of his own advice (whether that half is the rules he wrote so thoroughly, or to ignore everything he had written and the dice too, will forever remain an unknown).

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Danbala wrote:
Is that what was originally intended?

That all depends on what you mean by "originally."

The D&D which Gygax & Arneson built assumed that higher level characters would have better chance of success - not just against "level appropriate" situations, but in general - for attacks and saving throws (and thief skills if you had them).

Higher level play meant being able to handle more orc- and goblin-level enemies, as well as being able to handle more potent threats.

In the transition from 2nd edition to 3rd, that assumption was changed - saving throws especially.

Danbala wrote:
Or is it more desirable that the game's difficulty remain constant as players level?

Difficulty vs. "level appropriate" situations should remain constant, or actively improve - chance of success in a likely to happen scenario declining as your character "gets better" is counter-intuitive to the point of detriment to the player experience.

Danbala wrote:
I could imagine that this kind of difficulty scaling might have been intended by the Gygax era designers. Many older "modules" (such as the infamous "Tomb of Horrors") were designed specifically to test a player's mettle as they avoided being killed. My sense is that having a high level character was meant to be an achievement back then. So I would speculate that difficulty scaling may be a vestige of that era. But assuming that is true, my question is: is this "legacy feature" desirable?

As I pointed out earlier, it's not a "legacy" of TSR D&D, but rather one of the intial design of D&D 3rd edition at the hands of the then WotC staff.

For a clear example: In AD&D, a 1st level character would succeed at a saving throw against a spell by rolling a 12+ (if a Magic-User), or a 17+ (if a Fighter) on a d20, and as they increased in level those numbers get lower and lower until a Magic-User only needs a 4+ and a Fighter only needs a 6+.

That gives an initial success rate of 45% or 20%, eventually reaching 85% or 75%.

In 3.x D&D or Pathfinder, those same classes go from +2 and +0 Will Save (the closest equivalent to a spell save) @ 1st level, against a CR = Level opponent that usually means a DC of 12 on average (at least DC 12 is the "target" DC for creating a CR 1 monster). As they hit 20th level and are facing a "target" DC for a CR 20 monster (27), the save bonuses are only +12 or +6.

That gives an initial success rate of 55% or 45%, that changes to 30% or 5% at higher level.

Basically, just to "break even" against "level appropriate" threats you have to find some way to gain at least +5, and as much as +9, through investment of ability score improvements, feats, or magical items.

Old-school is that you get better just by leveling up, and might even get better besides that by way of magic items... and that means all of your saving throws succeed 75%-95% of the time with zero investment - new-school is that you have to struggle to scrape together modifiers just to not get worse... and usually that means you have managed to make any "good" save into a 95% chance of success as a side-effect of struggling to make your "poor" save into a coin toss.

The majority of my players do not fiddle with their phones at the table.

One must respond to his phone if it makes any noises - well, one of his phones, anyways since he has a company cell and his personal cell - and has never had a problem of being distracted (meaning he never has to ask questions to which the answers have already been said, and is never less prepared for his turn than usual).

Two others use their phones only as a tool to quickly reference spells - this is actually an improvement over spell preparation requiring the two to take turns with each book, especially because one of them is an extremely slow reader (on purpose, so that he doesn't miss anything).

All of the rest except one don't ever get on their phone during a session unless they receive a phone call, which is usually a brief "I'm at a game right now, can't talk, call you later, bye." and a quick return to the game... or a "friend" in need of assistance that requires an early exist from the session, which I don't count as a problem since we have plenty of players at the table to continue playing without one.

...but I also have one player that gets on their phone when it isn't their turn in combat, or when their character has no interest in the particular scene outside of combat... and let's just say it is the only thing that my girlfriend and I cannot seem to see eye to eye on: She says shes able to multi-task, but I constantly see her lose track of what is going on, or worse, interrupt the game to ask about the cell phone game she plays with another friend at the table.

The solution becomes quite tricky because I don't want the rest of the table to feel awkward by forcing them to sit in on her and I arguing - but I have said "please put your phone down," so much that she probably thinks that's just the sound of me breathing.

...and before tons of advice starts pouring my direction: When I run games with less players (thus making less time between her turns, and shorter scenes in general) she never picks up her phone and stays fully engaged, so it's not that I am not running things she is interested in - it's that I have to find a way to make a 6 PC game of Pathfinder run as quickly and smoothly as a 4 PC AD&D or World of Darkness game does.

I'm not really even wanting advice (I've got some ideas I am working on to fix the issue already), and was just sharing my group's cellphone usage to show that it isn't all bad - and can actually be better at times.

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Calybos1 wrote:

For my group, outlawing gunslingers and guns was an obvious necessity. The existence of gunpowder in a game world is a 100% certain guarantee that the players will start devising grenades, bombs, land mines, rocket launchers, orbital death rays, etc. etc. There's no way to avoid it.

Because "Sorry guys, there are no rules which dictate the process of inventing new technologies, so we are just going to house-rule that it is something which requires years of dedicated research which cannot be done while also adventuring or maintaining a social life of any kind," is just too hard to say out loud - it's the world's worst tongue twister.

Avoiding what you describe is as simple as saying "No, one successful climb roll does not allow you to learn to climb the open air."

buy scrolls or wands of those spells to help you always have the buffs at the ready, and then actually have money to spend on things like houses, hirelings, bribes for information and so on... without feeling like you are "wasting" your money because you could have bought an expensive magic item instead.

Security measures in place depend largely on the wares typically sold by a particular vendor.

I find it best for the GM to come up with their own ideas as to what that means, but just look at real world stores for some inspiration - especially things like high-end jewelry stores where you can't even get in the building without an employee letting you in.

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W E Ray wrote:
You're right in that there are many Fluff arguments against firearms, including mine -- it's NOT D&D!

I'm not going to say that you have to change your mind - but your argument is absolutely baseless.

Murlynd, a character played under Gary Gygax as DM, linked by name to numerous elements in the game over the years, and eventually elevated to deity in a particular setting.

Gygax had zero problem with the character sporting a stetson and using a colt revolver... though he did, quite ridiculously in my opinion, make a distinction that there was no gunpowder, but rather the weapon operated by magic.

So yeah, in 1972 and beyond, a wizard that is also a cowboy has been a part of D&D.

Shopping is a very strange subject for me...

I want to be able to role-play the party checking into the various merchants in town, looking around old dusty shops and feeling excited by the prospect that they might find something interesting, maybe even haggle a bit, and have "wandering the market district" be another way that the players might find a story hook they feel like pursuing...

but the players I know only seem to be into that sort of experience when they don't actually feel like they "need" whatever they might find - basically whenever the "something interesting" I mention above is a fancy piece of jewelry my players are ready to spend the whole session role-playing shopping, but when "something interesting" is a magical item they want to treat shopping as a series of "do they have..." questions and book-keeping... that still takes up the whole session.

It is complete nonsense that it happens at all, but that's how it always happens... and it drives me crazy.

pres man wrote:
I believe the key was for the original guy not to be a douche and act in a way that was going to bring the party into that level of conflict. You are a basically asking, "So what if a player has their character act like a douche and puts your character in a position where he either calls the douche character or does nothing, do you do nothing?" How about asking the player of the character not to play his character as a douche in the first place?

Yes, that is basically what I have been saying.

I'll be responding to only a single thing this time around to try and make sure that my statements are not clouded by use of too many words:

carmachu wrote:
Ok, so what do you do then, to use an example, if you're playing a goodly character, and another player intentionally kills an NPC

In a game which I am running and have said "No PvP," there will not be both a "goodly character" and this other character which finds it okay under some circumstance or another to do something that would so gravely clash with the "goodly" character.

Instead, a character which might consider a course of action along those lines (intentionally killing an NPC without reason), but would ultimately choose not to piss off his friend instead might be in the party.

And okay, I fibbed a bit, one other response: If I know a person is against gay marriage, then that person is no friend of mine - to put that in gaming terms: If I am a character in a party, a character against gay marriage cannot be because one of us might cause a PvP conflict otherwise.

carmachu wrote:
Except......even doing so doesn't eliminate conflict.

You realize that I just said "make characters that won't clash with each other in ways that lead to PvP action," and you said "but that won't stop the characters from resorting to PvP actions."?

To your party example: Yes, the Bard and the Cleric will have differences of opinion - but that difference of opinion should not also be coupled with a "screw him, if he keeps disagreeing I'll just take away his ability to disagree," attitude.

For example of what I mean with a rooting in the real world: I have friends with staggeringly different political views. Rather than constantly argue about who is right, or resorting to thinks like him knocking me out so that he can watch some political video I don't want to see at my house, we agree not to discuss politics and to keep our political video watching separate - his at his own house, and mine while he's not around.

Conflict is fine - conflict that will escalate to PvP is not. Luckily, conflict only ever escalates as far as those involved are willing to take it. The key to a No PvP game, as I have said and will now say differently, is to make sure the PCs are not willing to act against their party mates in that way.

Doug's Workshop wrote:

"Roll to hit."

The usual response is "What?"

"Roll to hit. There's a goblin/skeleton/bear attacking you."

Again with the "What?"

"Do you want to spend your round looking around and figuing things out?"

After the combat, I let the players tell me how they met each other, and why they decided to come to the Caverns of Tremendous Doom (or whatever other named location I've placed them.

Let the players do some creative work for once. I spent all my creativity on working on the adventure, starting location, and NPCs.

You just reminded me of the way that I put a party together last year that left my players role-playing the entire session away and not realizing that hadn't actually done anything, which they enjoyed.

GM: "You start to wake up groggily, but quickly snap wide awake as you realize you are lying on a cold stone floor in a dimly lit room - which is not at all where you remember falling asleep."

Then it was just setting up that all the PCs were in the same room, in the same situation, and all pretty obviously being honest that they had no idea how they or anyone else got there...

The point of the campaign was to start at the "end" of a dungeon and have the party work their way to the exit... but the bullywugs, of all things, proved too much for the party.

Kolokotroni wrote:
They really arent exhagerated at all.

Yes, they are - proven by the fact that you just implied that it takes an experienced GM to compensate, when I know that all it takes is a GM that has read enough of the rules to know that 1) some monsters are very hard to deal with if you don't have certain kinds of weapons and 2) spells exist that make any weapon temporarily the right kind of weapons to deal with those monsters.

Kolokotroni wrote:
Also, what you describe with your navigation example isnt applicable.

You are too focused on the navigation part of the example. The point is that not having the easiest or best way to deal with a situation does not mean that you have no way to deal, nor that the remaining ways that you do have to deal with the situation are not easy enough.

Kolokotroni wrote:
The issue is, if you want your magic items to be a rare dish, then you have to compensate. Either you provide their benefits in other means (as I do with bonus gained as you level built into characters) or you have to mess with the Challenge Rating system considerably at mid to high levels.

This is the exact exaggeration that I referred to before. Ask yourself this: If a character is expected to have a particular sort of equipment at a particular level in order for CR values to function as written, then why does adding defenses like "DR 5/Magic" alter the challenge rating of a creature?

Kolokotroni wrote:
Or the game becomes considerably harder (with greater chance of deaths, and a far more restricted set of options that can function character wise) then the game normally has.

None of those statements have to be false in order for the game to still be easy enough, contain only reasonable chance of deaths, and have plenty of character options that function just fine.

Kolokotroni wrote:
You can choose any of these 3 things, or some mix of them, but in the end you need to be conscious of the fact that there is a significant change in the game.

I am conscious of the significance of the change made to the game by making magic items not so prevalent - I run campaigns in both the default Pathfinder style and my preferred style (where having a permanent magic item means saving on a few buff spells, and not much more) with the same group of players... they enjoy both styles (except a session or two at the end of each adventure in the default Pathfinder campaign where we all get together, excited to continue the story... and instead spend the whole session shopping and/or crafting)

The way in which a party is formed can heavily influence that party's attitudes toward each other... so I tailor the way the party is formed, and whether that happens somewhere before the beginning of play or as the first few scenes of the story, to fit the style and theme of each campaign.

Below, I will include the last few party formations used in my campaigns (some of which where Pathfinder APs, and some are non-Pathfinder campaigns):

1) The party formed out of a large group of villagers sent to deal with bandits plaguing their home town - the only survivors being the PCs, and them finding further threat to their homeland being the launching of the campaign.

2) Travelers that didn't get to know each other until getting shipwrecked and stranded together.

3) People meeting at the funeral of a mutual friend and finding reason to investigate together.

4) A group of servants put together by their masters each loaning them to a singular patron as repayment of a debt, and that patron having them all work together long-term, so naturally relationships formed that kept them together once it was their choice.

5) A small circle of friends and family that grew up together and still live in the same area.

Anzyr wrote:
I'm honestly confused that there are people who don't play with the magic item availability that Pathfinder suggests. Those who don't are going to run into a host of issues as suggested in DM Blake's post upthread.

Some of us feel that the "host of issues" people claim you will run into without magic items having a certain level of availability is greatly exaggerated.

I don't assign fault - but people get used to doing something a certain way and complete miss or forget that there are other ways - like if someone were to have their Maps app on their smartphone crash and/or their in-car navigation system stolen... that doesn't mean you are doomed to be lost, it means you need to go buy a map.

Anzyr wrote:
Realistically, magic items are very common in Pathfinder due to how easy they are to make and how long they will stick around after being made. I mean in a game with plane travel power, why would the fantastic be rare?

The issue is that "the fantastic" is usually made so by being something truly special, which is complete counter to also being available on every street corner.

Let's use food for an analogy: Some people want magic items to be a dish you can only get at one place that was designed by a master chef... and Pathfinder's default approach is to have magic items be sandwiches that you can buy just about anywhere you go in varying qualities, or get the proper bits to make a bunch at home pretty cheap.

And, of course, that traveling from plane to plane being possible doesn't automatically include things like "hat that makes me smarter" since smart hats are not the means by which one crosses the barrier between dimensions.

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I am now imagining the way that a custard covered onion would taste... and I'm not liking it.

Pink Dragon wrote:

Not so. Death of a character should be a result of bad decisions by the character or a very bad string of luck, and should be permanent. Death for trivialities like one failed saving throw or because the DM wants the character dead shouldn't happen at all.

Obviously there is flex as to what is a bad decision, and some DM's can be "a**holes" but that is besides the point.

And as a final point, the DM's will is in the end the only factor in the game, and this starts at scenario design. However, because DM's are not infallible in designing encounters, some "fudging" might be needed by a reasonable DM when the scenario wasn't designed equitably.

Okay, I think I get it...

To translate it into how I would provide you the experience you wanted as a player while I were your GM: house-rule out any situation where a 1-roll-death is possible without various bad choices and unlucky rolls preceding it, and any way to come back from the dead.

Then run the game exactly like I do normally.

To your final point, I find that players are a lot more favorable to me saying "sorry guys, this scenario is not shaping up quite how it was supposed to - how about a do-over?" than they are to me making on-the-fly adjustments including ignoring or altering dice results.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
First off, I shouldn't have to explicitly state that the characters have a verbal discussion first.

Yes, you do. Otherwise you force me to assume something, and that assumption will either show that you did not provide enough information because I assume all information you meant to be present is present - or will make me look like an ass because I assume something not stated that differs from what you that was "obvious."

Rarely will someone that you force to assume something actually assume the exact thing you expect them to assume.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
Obviously there's going to be dialogue. But here, as in life, you can't often just argue away someone's moral position especially in a life-or-death situation.

Firstly, the argument at hand is not a "life-or-death situation." No one dies if the argument continues - it's not like the Paladin and his party are arguing between which color of wire to cut to stop the bomb that is about to go off.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
Assume here that both sides feel strongly enough about it that words have failed to convince them.

Words have yet to convince either side. That is spectacularly different than words having failed. Mostly, the difference is that the example scenario does not involve any kind of immediate, obvious, and assured negative outcome if the wrong decision is made or if no decision is made soon.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
Second, PvP =/= violence, As I said in my last post. Using spells, non-lethal combat maneuvers, and stealing from party members is just as much PvP as "kicking the crap out of Gary". If one of these happens, the "No PvP rule" has been broken. The above scenario can end in two ways:

I believe that to be a false statement. There are more than two possible outcomes. For example, I shall provide a third and fourth possible outcome:

3) The paladin and his party members agree that a decision must be made, acknowledge that their strong feelings on the issue are getting in the way, and find another person or group of people to entrust with the decision.

4) The paladin and his party members agree that they are not going to convince each other of their positions - so they devise a compromise: release the accused, keep him under surveillance, and gain the needed evidence to sway one side of the argument.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
1) The players treat the problem as the way they would if the paladin were not controlled by a player (subdue him in some fashion, which is PvP)

I refute that it is a distinction of PC or NPC that determines whether the party would find subduing the paladin to get their way to be acceptable.

It is, rather, a case of whether they have any conscience about the action because of emotional attachment or personal belief: if they count the paladin as a friend, then PC or not they should not think it is okay to incapacitate him to get their way.

If instead the paladin is not protected by any kind of relationship with the rest of the party... well, then this can't possible be a PvP situation because the scenario laid out that this was a Paladin and his party - not just some strangers that don't share a bond of trust and respect, which all party members should share with each other because you don't put your life in someone's hands if you don't have that bond with them, and parties basically always leave their life in their party members' hands.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
2) The players have a meta-argument and are then forced by the rule to act out-of-character; someone backs down even though their character would never and has never acted that way before.

You are missing a very important part of a "No PvP" campaign style - characters which would clash as drastically as you describe in the scenario as to only see the two outcomes you have mentioned are not possible at all.

You don't say "No PvP, but build any style of character with any attitude that you want," and create this mandatory-out-of-character-behavior situation - you say "No PvP, so make characters of similar desires and ideals so that no problems arise during the campaign."

Ellis Mirari wrote:
And Gary being a "good friend", as I've said, is not relevant.

It is absolutely relevant in every instance where the other party members are not sociopaths. A person does not do bad things to their good friends unless tricked or forced into doing so, and incapacitating someone for disagreeing with you is a bad thing.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
Maybe the NPC is just as good friend as they are but the world is at stake and the benefits of the many outway the benefits of the few.

If everyone in the scenario, even the accused, are good friends, then it is even less likely to result in the group resorting to PvP.

The accused can express his opinion - such as the heroic "No, they're right... you have to kill me, it's the only way." - and that might sway one side to agree with the other... or they all, not wanting to harm, kill, or mistreat their good friends, work together to find another solution - like life imprisonment rather than outright death (hey, look at that - possible outcome #5).

Ellis Mirari wrote:
Maybe the group has only been together for one or two adventurers they were hired to do and they don't actually know each other that well.

If they are just hired to do this job and don't know each other, then they have no grounds to be arguing - whoever hired them told them what to do with the guy, and the paladin and party members have no investment in the outcome that would drive them to argue about it. If the Paladin thinks the guy is innocent and the job was to kill the guy, then the Paladin would never have taken the job and either he is an NPC (his player making a character that agrees with the rest of the group), or the rest of the group are NPCs (the Paladin being on a solo-quest while the rest of the players come up with characters that don't clash with the Paladin).

Ellis Mirari wrote:
Focus only on the scenario, not the specific relationship you imagine would be present.

I am. You should too.

Your scenario stated that the Paladin and the fellas he is arguing with are a party - that implies a specific relationship, much like if I were to say "So this cop and his partner are arguing about where to eat lunch," you would expect that those two cops have whatever you believe is a typical relationship between partners because I didn't say anything to the contrary, much like you didn't say this is a newly formed party, or a party of childhood friends, or a party paid to do a specific thing that one or more are now deciding they don't want to do.

Ellis Mirari wrote:
The specific circumstances do not matter

The specific circumstances are all that matters.

Otherwise the scenario is just "somebody killed somebody for some reason."

Ellis Mirari wrote:
The paladin is not their good friend. All characters, NPC included, know each other just as well. There.

If the Paladin means no more to the party than the guy they are actively arguing should be killed on the spot, then what you are describing is 100% a party that would never exist within a campaign with a No PvP rule.

Again, as I said earlier in this very post and now multiple times within the thread: You don't forbid PvP by saying "Nope, can't do that," when a player tries to act upon PvP motivations - You forbid PvP by saying "Nope, you can't play a character that would be motivated to PvP actions."

Much like you would not let a player build a character that is a dwarf, play the character in the campaign, and then go "ah, nope - you can't tell that guy you are a dwarf, there are no dwarves in this campaign," whenever it finally comes up in play - you would say right at the beginning of character creation "No dwarves."

Pink Dragon wrote:
However, in general, death should be permanent. I absolutely despise raise dead, resurrection and the like. I would rather have a DM fudge a die roll than have a character brought back from the dead. All bringing back from the dead should be banned from the game, IMO.

I don't think I have ever seen someone express this opinion in quite this way.

I have seen "the DM should fudge so that characters never actually die."

I have seen "death should be permanent." In both flavors (with, and without 1-roll-deaths).

I have never seen the combination...

Wouldn't a GM fudging to prevent death, but permanent death if a character dies, mean that PC death only ever happens because the GM basically said "rocks fall, but only some of you die."?

Perhaps it's just my past experiences with GMs that abused their position of "power", but that's the only time I have ever been genuinely mad about a character death - when I knew it was because the GM chose that outcome, rather than letting chance decide.

As a GM, I set up encounters so that there is more than one way to "succeed" and always an option to attempt avoidance or escape (though sometimes the "escape" option is to go deeper into the unknown - such as a cave in behind the party leaving their only way to escape the monster in this room to go down a passage they have yet to explore).

I work very hard to make sure of multiple possible outcomes - and so I have no fears of or qualms about letting the dice do what the dice do.

If that means the party makes it to some point where the players are deeply invested and they suffer defeat which ends the campaign (or necessitates a dramatic change, such as playing the characters in their post-defeat state as slaves/undead/existing as spirits on another plane working to ascend the ranks toward being outsiders of appropriate alignment) then it is because that is where the players took the game. I am not in control in any way - I didn't put the PCs in that fight, I didn't stop them from fleeing, and I didn't decide their actions that resulted in failure.

As a player, I expect similar behavior from a GM - I expect that what happens to my character is as a result of what I chose and how the dice rolled, rather than the result of his predetermined design or worse, his whim at the moment that it would be "so cool," if some particular thing happened no matter what.

That said, I do have to make one other statement as a bit of a disclaimer: Because of the above, I have a preference for gaming systems with more predictable success rates - such as games which use a pool of dice to determine numerous successes, or just AD&D or D&D Next where the game is built so that gaining levels means that the chance you have to succeed at something you do increases, rather than the Pathfinder style of rules where some things (attacks) have to be heavily invested in to keep your same effective success chance as you level up, and others (poor saving throws) grow steadily less likely to succeed in situations you actually get into.

For a quick mechanical contrast to illustrate what I am meaning:
In AD&D, a character started with a certain chance of succeeding at a saving throw - let's use 40% as an example - and would eventually see that save increase all the way to 80-90% likely to succeed.

In Pathfinder, a character starts with a certain chance to save against level-appropriate threats - let's say 40% again for our example - and will have to heavily invest in that save to keep the same success chance because the DC he is looking to beat increases much faster than the standard rate of improvement for a saving throw (target save DCs are 12 at CR 1 and 27 at CR 20, an improvement of 15, but a saving throw bonus increases only by 10 or less without investment - meaning you'd have to make up the other 5 to 9 points by investing in the right things just to not actively get worse at making saving throws).

Kenji Elindir wrote:
Make him play I Wanna Be The Guy or I Wanna Be The Boshy for 15 minutes and he'll see what 'hard' and 'unfair' (mostly Guy here, Boshy has a lot less LOL F U moments) are. There's no point playing this game, or really most games, if there's no challenge whatsoever.

The existence of something "more unfair" does not actually affect whether something is "unfair" or not.

That's like saying that a MacDonald's cheeseburger is free because a cheeseburger at Five Guys Burgers & Fries is more expensive.

Ellis Mirari, you seem pretty stuck on the idea that the characters involved in your scenarios are going to inevitably resort to violence.

I do not think that is a fair assumption to make.

The Paladin wants the accused to live so he can be sure of any guilt before a punishment of death is delivered, and the rest of the Paladin's party want to just get the death-dealing over with because they are convinced that the accused is guilty.

Whether those people are NPCs or PCs does not affect that the Paladin does not wish to see his party members harmed or killed, and his party members do not wish to see him harmed or killed either - each wants to convince the other that their course of action is right, but none of those involved are sociopaths lacking the conscience to prevent their thoughts turning from "I'm going to explain to my good friend Gary how he is wrong and I am right," to "I'm going to kick the crap out of my good friend Gary, kill this guy even though my good friend Gary asked me not to, and then the two of us will keep on being friends," or "Gary disagrees with me about something... I guess we aren't friends like I thought we were, so I should kill him, kill this guy he is trying to stop me from killing, and then go on about my life."

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