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200 Pieces of advice for "Winning" the game (Winning = #90)


Advice

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Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

From an old list I put together at the beginning of 3.0e. Apologies for any references that need to be edited. Please, by all means, ADD to the list. With special thanks to The Tomb of Horror's Roger's Rangers, my gaming group, and misspent youth

1. Doing ANYTHING in a dungeon can get you killed. This includes doing nothing. Therefore, act. Tis better to die daring awesomely.
2. Never share a hiding spot with someone more foolish than thyself.
3. The easy way is trapped. The hard way is an ambush. The right way is hidden.
4. Levers are placed to be pulled.
5. Evil henchmen are often more potent combatants than their bosses. Be ready.
6. If the wizard dies with an uncast Fireball, he deserved it.
7. There is NEVER enough curative power.
8. Doors without traps lead to doors with them.
9. A fountain in a dungeon is a crapshoot.
10. Never trust a dead end.
11. Kill it first. That's what Raise Dead is for
12. When in a dungeon, NEVER let the DM think you're bored.
13. Whenever possible, do not have the slowest movement rate.
14. Posting a strong rear guard can deter the DM from attacking from the rear. This is not a waste. This is proper. If you don’t get attacked from behind, it was 100% worth it.
15. Always know which skill no one has, and be ready to depend on that skill.
16. When turned to stone, don’t panic. Monsters with petrification abilities come with Stone to Flesh items nine times out of ten.
17. Try to look unimportant, it might be low on ammo. If you’re the paladin, don’t b+*+%, you signed up for this.
18. Murphy was a fighter.
19. You’re playing D&D, not Marvel.
20. If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.
21. The first time you drop your guard, the DM will teach you a lesson.
22. So what if you met in a bar 10 minutes ago, and now you’re already hired. Learn about your comrades’ strengths and weaknesses ASAP.
23. A comrade that stutters, hems, or haws trying to pinpoint their weaknesses can add “Doesn’t know when they’re screwed” to the list.
24. A character with no weaknesses isn’t really good at anything either.
25. The thief doesn’t complain when the fighter doesn’t help pick the lock, the fighter shouldn’t complain when the thief doesn’t enter melee.
26. HP and damage potential are independent attributes. Four giants at 3/4 HP do WAY more damage than 3 fully healthy giants. Gang up on bad guys, do not make it a fight from Big Trouble In Little China.
27. Trust your experts. Don’t get mad at the thief if he misses a trap, and he won’t get made when the demon saves against your spell or the fighter gets mowed down.
28. You don’t need a body for resurrection, so don’t worry about leaving it behind.
29. Someone who ditches a group plan has signed up for whatever happens to them. Pay to have them raised, but don’t risk your neck for them.
30. When someone is getting themselves killed for something you screwed up on, suck it up and risk yours to get them out of it.
31. Never EVER EVER spend an action saying, “Go Team.” Watching for the impending second wave of baddies is a perfectly reasonable way to spend your time.
32. When the cleric says it’s time to stop, it’s time to stop. If the fighter says it’s time to stop, look at the healer for confirmation.
33. Communism and democracy gets a party killed. Situational Meritocracy gets you fortune and glory.
34. What the paladin doesn’t know can’t hurt him.
35. What the thief doesn’t know CAN hurt you.
36. Fighters get first dibs on tactical placement.
37. Never lie during triage.
38. If you decide to rest after you’ve run out of spells, you’re too late.
39. When the fighter yells for you to cast the fireball, listen. When the wizard tells you you’re going to get yourself killed, you listen. When the cleric flees you follow. When the thief gets killed by a trap, go get another thief before continuing.
40. Fighters are a wizard’s second best armor. Clerics are the best.
41. Spells should neither be whored nor hoarded.
42. What good is the reward if you aren’t around to use it?
43. Just because your cover is blown, charging isn’t plan B.
44. You’ll only ruin the game by turning in the thief for contacting the guild.
45. Listen when you’re not in charge, and lead when you are.
46. Portable Hole plus ballista equals success. See #20.
47. Always know which side the hinges are on.
48. ALWAYS listen after tampering with the door.
49. People can miss obvious sights, or shrug off noise, but scent is never missed.
50. The Atreides had a battle language, so should you.
51. Treasure can be used right away.
52. It costs five copper pieces to shoot an exploratory arrow into the darkness, and five hundred thousand copper pieces to get your Troubleshooter raised from the dead.
53. Know who your DM’s favorite D&D writer is and plan accordingly.
54. Female NPCs with names are suspect. Never score on a named NPC.
55. It’s always an inside job. When it’s not, the BBEG is a higher level than you.
56. Nine times out of ten when the DM wants to know your HP total, he’ll pull his punches. When he never asks, he doesn’t care if your character dies, act accordingly.
57. “Rush In and Act Accordingly” only works when you trust your teammates.
58. Dicing for mutually desired items leads to semi-content parties with less than optimal power. Voting to place the items leads to optimally powered, temporarily less than happy members (minus one). Pick one.
59. Always have enough to get your sorry butt raised, and make sure your party-mates know where that stash is.
60. Always know how many charges are left in the wand of curing, even if you’re not the cleric.
61. If the thief introduces himself with an alias, go along with it!
62. Unless you’re a paladin, when the thief introduces YOU with an alias, go along with it.
63. It’s okay to get screwed for not knowing the game setting, but keep your complaints to yourself starting the with the second offense.
64. When stocking up, assume every dungeon has a rust monster, a troll, a doppelganger, an incorporeal creature, and SWARMS.
65. It doesn’t matter what edition you’re playing, going down stairs ups the ante.
66. Double doors guard things with more HP than singe doors. As a corollary, the square footage of a door is directly proportional to the XP value of the thing behind the door.
67. The player who can name the campaign specific names for various coins gets first dibs on being the bard.
68. Two bards is a waste. I don’t care how different their feat selection is.
69. Two fighters are never a waste, but always use different primary weapons.
70. All other things being equal, enhance your character’s strengths before plugging up your weaknesses.
71. Just because rogues no longer get bonus XP for liberating treasure, and fighters per HD, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to stop playing that way.
72. Assuming people are basically good is asking for it. People by default are neutral.
73. Read the description for Diplomacy. Nowhere does it describe the powers of Bluff, Charm Person, Suggestion, Savoir-Faire, or Fast-talking. Don’t complain when the DM doesn’t let you get away with it.
74. Dragons are dangerous from the day they hatch.
75. A wizard who resorts to melee does so because that’s how they want people to remember how they died.
76. Assuming that every monster in the dungeon was meant for you to kill it is suicide. Sometimes you’re supposed to run away.
77. The party’s strategist may not be the party’s tactician. Any class can handle these jobs, don’t be cliché about this.
78. Even the A-Team accepted the reward. Take it.
79. Don’t make a pacifist character. It’s D&D. Fighting happens. Pacifism is for NPCs.
80. The time to fall back for healing is never lower than 1/3 power. Don’t wait until you’re almost dead, as it’ll become a cycle; heal, get hit, heal, get hit.
81. It’s only worth missing a round to get healed if you’re going to get healed for more damage than you take in 1 round.
82. If the wizard needs to fall back, it’s because everyone else is dead, or the wizard is executing #75.
83. No matter your class, always have a light slashing weapon ready for use.
84. Captain Kirk used red shirts, so should you.
85. If you can’t sum up your character in a single paragraph, he’s too complicated.
86. Everyone in the party should have a common language beyond simply Common.
87. Know your DM. Learn to tell when he’s throwing you a bone, and run with it.
88. “The natural cavern leads off into darkness” is typically DM-speak for, “This cavern isn’t part of the adventure, but is there in case I want to build on it later. Please don’t go down there, because I’ll have to wing it.”
89. Your cohort is never more valuable than another PC. Your followers are never more important than a comrade’s cohort.
90. It is, in fact, possible to “win” at D&D. A character who is the subject of nostalgic gaming stories long after a campaign has ended has “won” D&D.
91. If your DM uses plastic minis, but slaps down a hand-painted metal mini, treat it with suspicion and caution.
92. If you tell the party to “trust you”, then don’t let them down. If you do let them down, don’t be surprised if they don’t go with it next time you ask.
93. The DM’s love of the campaign world is directly proportionate to the level of motivation he has for a campaign with in it, and inversely proportional to the patience he has for people being ignorant of it.
94. The more proper nouns that appear in your character’s back-story, the more permission you’re giving the DM to mess with it during the campaign.
95. There’s nothing childish about a character whose motivations include power, riches, and fame. In fact, be honest with yourself, at some level isn’t that your own motivation with your character?
96. Multiple wizards in a party are like a sports team (or the X-Men arcade game). You need to “call the ball”. Don’t both of you waste your best spells at the same time. Alternate so as to maintain your level of firepower (See #41).
97. You might think it’s cool to keep your prepared spells a secret until the party sees you cast them, but it’s even cooler if they can plan around your selection. If there are two casters in the party, talk to each other when planning the day’s spells so as to not create a surplus or scarcity of certain effects.
98. If your DM wants to know which party member is carrying the map, the answer is always plural. (And it’s a good bet he’s the kind of dungeon master that will keep track of food, so be ready.)
99. The player that still uses the level titles (e.g. Veteran, Cutpurse, Deacon, etc.) gets first dibs on playing the thief (and trust me, they’ll call it thief not rogue.) They’re by far the most paranoid player in a dungeon, and likely the one most highly trained at recognizing highly probable places for traps.
100. It’s okay to let the DM know you’re bored when in town (See #4). But before you do, make sure you’re armed and ready.
101. If the DM asks you if you say or read something out loud, the answer is always no.
102. If you meet an NPC in a session with a proper name, be courteous and learn it.
103. If the same NPC appears in another adventure, be smart and learn as much as you can about them.
104. If the same NPC appears in another story arc, be wise and prepare to fight him to the death.
105. Don’t name your character after a famous person/character within the game, it’s distracting and will lead to jokes that break the suspension of disbelieve, which in turn will garner you less sympathy from the DM when you mess up.
106. Never cite The Lord of the Rings as justification for an argument for why something should work, and maybe, just maybe, the DM won’t cite Alien for the same reason.
107. Female NPCs exhibit a parabolic relationship with their comeliness score and their importance. If comeliness is 3 or 18, then pay attention to what she says.
108. If there’s a psionic party member, you can be sure there will be psionic baddies.
109. Assume every dungeon has an underground lake and a river of lava. Trust me, it’s better that way.
110. Unless you’re pressed for time, look for its lair, even if it’s a wandering monster.
111. Sometimes treasure is hidden in the stomach, the tauntaun treasure chest must not be overlooked.
112. You know what psych majors learn in college? Stereotypes are usually true.
113. There’s no such thing as an underground lake without a carnivorous creature in it. See #109
114. No it’s not good role-playing to run an evil character in a group with a paladin. It’s asking for angst that D&D is designed to provide escape from.
115. Never argue physics with the DM. It’s not worth the retribution, and you can never win an argument when the rebuttal can justifiably be “Magic!”
116. Plan C should never be “Every man for himself.”
117. Don’t freak out if the party rogue is neutral. Remember #72.
118. Never assume the BBEG is like a James Bond BBEG. Assume you’ll be killed quickly, efficiently and without warning.
119. Before play begins, find out what skill the DM says is relevant to determining success in the Indiana Jones, “gold idol – bag of sand” switch.
120. Never ever complain your way out of character death. It’s unmanly and you’ll embarrass yourself. If you’ve got a solid logical reason, give it. Once.
121. It’s D&D, “Because he’s evil” is always acceptable.
122. Before you draw from that Deck of Many Things, decide your drawing limit and stick to it.
123. If you’re playing 3rd edition, and you find a lone kobold, it’s obviously a high level sorcerer. If someone laughs at you for making that assumption, let them make theirs next time. If you’re playing older editions, that kobold is bait.
124. If you can’t solve the puzzle in 5 minutes of real game time, break it.
125. If attacked by ninjas, remember the power of a ninja is inversely proportionate to the number of ninjas involved in the fight. Ten ninjas are fodder, but a lone ninja will kick your butt. This goes for psionic characters too.
126. Playing a character of the exact opposite of the stereotype is also a stereotype.
127. Unless the DM forbids it, during character creation talk to the other players, otherwise don’t complain when the characters are hopelessly incompatible or everyone’s a fighter.
128. Default template for single file marching order is, in order of front to back, Troubleshooter, fighter, wizard, cleric. Always leave 5' of space between
129. There’s nothing wrong with making requests of the spell-casters for what spells to prepare for the day. Just like there’s nothing wrong with saying “no” to those requests.
130. Always carry a missile weapon. Unless your class prohibits you from using it, use it.
131. Before you do something REALLY stupid, make sure you know the DM’s policy on Atonement.
132. Burned out Ioun Stone + Continual Flame = best torch ever.
133. If you’re a middle level fighting class (cleric, druid, etc.) don’t rush in on round 1. Doing so will annoy the fighters trying to execute #36, and you’ll end up needing to use more curative magic. Round 1 is a buffing and assessment round for you.
134. Monk + Silence = premier anti-caster tactic.
135. Know when to retreat, and know which characters in the party would rather die than do so.
136. Once fireballs are added to the mix, the city watch doesn’t care who started it.
137. Behold the power of the Cantrip: Ghost Sound can save your butt against dumb giants, and Mending can redo the seal on the royal letter you stole.
138. If the reward seems too good to be true, be prepared for a double cross. This doesn’t mean don’t take the contract, it just means be ready to fight the person who gave it to you.
139. Whenever possible, use cover and concealment.
140. Flanking is key. Do it, and don’t let it happen to you. When moving to flank, the melee-tank-anchor should arrive before the sneak-attacker.
141. Decide to be aggressive enough, quickly enough. Better to have overkill than be killed.
142. Unless the details of your class require you to honor last requests, don’t.
143. After having finally slain the BBEG, take the precautions necessary, using whatever books the DM allows, to ensure that he cannot be True Resurrected.
144. When entering combat with a truly dangerous foe, don’t save your most powerful spells for “just in case”. Use them first.
145. Unless you have some kind of trump card, resist any and all urges to do melee battle with anyone on a ledge.
146. If you wipe the floor with the first wave of baddies, assume the next wave is going to be the toughest. The instant you have determined the level of toughness, first hand, of the next wave, be ready with #144.
147. It’s D&D, the moral implications concerning bribery are relevant to the mark, not the PC. Bribery is as valid a tactic as intimidation.
148. Magic items in which the word “of” appears two or more times will invariably become either a plot device or a homing beacon for trouble. Be prepared.
149. Monks will never be as good at melee as fighters or as sneaky as rogues. Monks are a “variable support class” They make excellent wing man melee fighters, and wing man rogues.
150. If you have a familiar, keep it in mind at all times. Otherwise you’ll have no recourse when it’s time to rely on it and the DM says Fido’s still back in town.
151. If you suspect a character has been replaced by a doppelganger, ask them to let you cast sleep on them. If it doesn’t work, they’re either an elf-blooded PC or a doppelganger.
152. If the DM asks if you’re setting watch, the answer is always yes.
153. Whenever reasonable, make the baddies come to you as you rain missile fire on them.
154. If you prepare spells, it’s worth it to have a “default non-adventuring day” list of prepared spells, so when the DM springs the adventure hook on you, you’re not caught with your pants down.
155. You should always know how each person in the party would answer the question, “You’re lost in the desert and the water supply is dwindling, how should you split it?”
156. If the DM forgets to include a penalty you’re suffering from, point it out. If he doesn’t return the favor, then stop. Immediately.
157. Take notes at the table. If you recall the name, race, and nationality of an NPC, it shows the DM that you care about the hours he put in on making the adventure. It may come up in rewarding you later. It’s also good gaming.
158. If your character can’t swim because of encumbrance, then you need a solution that will protect you from drowning. You need this before you approach anything wet.
159. If the DM takes the time to describe a new pattern of floor tiling, do not advance until the troubleshooter gives the go ahead.
160. Everyone in the party should know who the fastest talker is, the best diplomat, and the most intimating member. Don’t use numbers at the table, but know who each is.
161. The order of operations is always Diplomacy, Bluff, then intimidate. Never reverse these.
162. There should never be any excess space in an extra-dimensional storage container. If you’re successful enough to have one, you’re wealthy enough to fill remaining space with food and water (and ammo). As space is needed, ditch the ammo, food, and water.
163. Scouts should always return to the group for planning, never should the group advance to the scout.
164. The place to plan is never close enough that a double move will bring the enemy within their striking distance.
165. If the DM ever needs to vividly describe the specific actions of a trap, you must assume that they are using something more than the DMG for their traps. This brings a requirement of checking for traps immediately after disabling the obvious trap. If you see a "Grimtooth" trap book, GET A THIEF.
166. Choose your attacks wisely. It might seem like a good idea to hit a melee monster with a physically devastating spell, but it likely won’t work. Blast the slow tanks, manipulate the weak willed, and debilitate the weak bodied.
167. The fact that Undectable Alignment is still a Paladin spell should give a clue as to what a Paladin is actually allowed to do. Nowhere does it say that the Code requires you to wear a neon sign that says, “I’m a paladin and I will judge you!”
168. Defense will only protect you, for a time, from defeat. It takes offense to actually conquer a foe.
169. The cheapest item in the PHB is a mundane item with the following abilities: potential circumstance bonus when used for nose plugs or earplugs, works as a timer for anything up to an hour, can check for air currents, can be a minor decoy, can make subtle markings on a wall to indicate exploration progress, and sheds a weak light. It weighs virtually nothing, so even the wizard can carry some. It’s called a “candle.”
170. Just because it’s gone from the game, doesn’t mean there’s no longer a need for bending bars and lifting gates. Make sure you have this covered. It’ll make your DM happy if you know what the best result a party can muster is on taking 20 for a STR check.
171. Always know how you’re going to spend a turn before your name is called to act. It keeps the game smooth, and encourages others to do the same. Your DM will thank you, and you’ll come off as having a more confident character.
172. Never split the party. Just don't do it.
173. If you are paired up. Never leave your wingman. Do Not Leave Your Wingman.
174. Know they escape route.
175. Every party should have a policy on when it's time to make a last stand.
176. If you can pull off an ambush, hold the line until the enemy is within melee range. Shooting a target from far way isn't an ambush.
177. Never ford a river at the ford.
178. When the plan goes wrong, go back to the beginning (or some other clearly designated point.
179. Never return from the dungeon the way you went in. Foolish is the bandit who attacks the party prepped to kill them all and let Heironeous sort them out. Wise is the bandit who attacks the resource depleted, treasure laden party.
180. Attack HVTs first. These are the blasters and characters with Save or Die abilities. (piles of easily fireballed minions not withstanding.)
181. If your character has a schtick, know they rules. Expect to be called upon to show the sourcebook. Have page numbers ready.
182. Thou shall not sunder treasure. If you're playing in an organized game, this does not apply.
183. Do not look down upon mundane equipment. Keep pitons, flour, and empty sacks on hand.
184. It is okay to tease someone at the table. It is not okay to tease them such that their fun is lessened.
185. Read the fluff first, and the crunch second. It's poor gaming to take a class, especially a prestige class based solely on crunch.
186. Pay attention even to trifles. This includes casting times, numbers of targets you can affect.
187. Even if the DM doesn't do it, pay attention to ammo.
188. Roll all your dice at once. Miss chances, attack and damage. This is more efficient. If you miss due to concealment, you can save time on the math.
189. Do NOT roll all of your attacks on a full attack at once. Your 5' step could be life and death. Use it appropriately, redirect your attacks as the situation demands.
190. Know which rules are often misapplied. You don't need to memorize them (though you should) but you do need to know where to find them.
191. Remember, in a no holds barred contest Batman bested Superman.
192. It is okay to think in terms of aggro, DPS, Uber. It is not okay to use these at the table. Ever.
193. Never keep a side mission a secret from your party unless ordered to do so.
194. Know thyself. Inside and out. Be familiar with your abilities, equipment, and spells. Prepare. Use note cards. The player with an entirely different sheet for their raging barbarian knows what's up.
195. Embrace the abstraction. An unexpected plan can surprise the DM forcing him to wing it. You have the advantage. Here is where you reap the rewards from #87 and most definitely #93.
196. Immerse yourself ahead of time. Playing a primitive fighter? Read some Robert Howard. Thief? Read Gord the Rogue. This will give you the language, attitude and aura of the character you're playing. Your newfound adjectives will increase everyone's enjoyment.
197. Beware of symmetrical dungeon levels. These contain Very Bad Things.
198. Beware of almost symmetrical dungeon levels. There's a secret door.
199. When expecting trouble it is not a waste to buff ahead of time. A 10 Round Bless cast 4 rounds too early is still 7 rounds of benefit. Six with the spell, and one where you didn't have to cast it.
200. Knowledge is power. Invest and use knowledge skills. If you have a regular party, spread the wealth. Ignorance is a choice. Don't make it.

Shadow Lodge

Fantastic!


Good stuff!

Liberty's Edge

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This is great, thank you for these tips. Never again shall I underestimate the candle.

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

One that's popped up in my group after one too many dungeon delves: "Given the choice between going up stairs and going down, always go up first. Up is finite in fantasy; down, less so."


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Quote:
68. Two bards is a waste. I don’t care how different their feat selection is.

The only one of these that made me frown, especially with pathfinder archetypes. Since you have 200 listed, that's pretty good.

A++ will read again.


Need to email this to my group! Awesome!


Awesome! I'd add as a corollary to 32 that you should never let a player who is about to go out of town and miss a few gaming sessions talk the group into "one more encounter" when the party is low on spells. And I'd like to suggest 201. Before tumbling to get into flanking position, make sure you'll be in range of help and/or healing. Using acrobatics to get into flanking position (and getting sneak attack damage for rogues) early is tempting, but is an easy way for a rogue or monk to get killed.


Love it


oh my players should read this it woulds save them a lot


Amazing work! I'm going to print a copy for each of my players!


While I do not agree with many of these, it was still a very entertaining read. Thank you for sharing this!

Sczarni

There's not a whole lot here that needs to be updated for PF, I don't think. You refer to "the thief" instead of the rogue, but then later you do call them rogues, so maybe "thief" is just to evoke a specific kind of rogue. I can see some contention over #149 if only because it mentions monks, and #73 mentions "savoir-faire" and "fast talking" as though they're specific feats or abilities, but that's about it.

I'm trying to think of a few to add that are specific to Pathfinder. Maybe one about Channel Energy, or archetypes?

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

Thanks for the feedback!

Savoir-faire and fast-talking are from GURPS. There are some contentious ones in there, and some even make me cringe, but I didn't want to edit too much as the nostalgic factor is pretty high. I wrote this so long ago that I'm studying it myself before playing Bonekeep at Gencon this year. :-)


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Also, I apologize for the horrible grammar, misspellings ("they" often is meant to be "thy").


Most Excellent! And dangerous to read while drinking thy daily caffeine.

Liberty's Edge

Good Stuff! May I add 1 more

Mirrors in a dungeon are a thing to be avoided at all costs


Wow.... what a list.

The Exchange

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13a. If this proves to be impossible, start thinking about other options. Either escape options, or options for your next character.
28a. However, if you have a chance to grab your dead buddy's pack or favorite sword, he'll thank you later.
122a. 'Zero' is an acceptable choice!
135a. Offering to carry their dying words to their loved ones is a nice gesture, but should be attended to before the fighting breaks out.

202. Fear is an in-game penalty. Caution is an out-of-game class benefit.
203. The saying, "It is better to be a live dog than a dead lion" was invented by people who were not going to have the option of later telling the tale of their death to an admiring audience. See #90.
204. If it's valuable, but too massive/fragile/cursed/radioactive to carry back to town, it's not really treasure.
204a. If it's useful, but not really valuable, it's actually treasure.
205. Learn the distinction between 'obstacle', 'opponent', 'enemy', and 'nemesis'. Prioritize accordingly!
206. Pranks are funny... between adventures. During adventures, they're a capital offense.
207. Just because you can't hurt an opponent doesn't mean you can't help your ally hurt them.

(Yes, I know that #202 and #203 directly contradict each other.)

The Exchange

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(I overlooked Azixirad's mirror one. Assuming that I give it #208 retroactively, here's...)

208a. The following things are also always bad news; gypsies, vending machines, and any altar that radiates magic.
208b. The following things are almost always bad news; divinely ordained quests, free money, and a new player who wants to bring in the PC his last GM let him play.

In reference to the original list: I think what I'll do is print out one of these rules each week in a large, friendly font and paper-clip it to the outside of my GM screen: sort of a "Points to Ponder" for my players. I like 'em that much.


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209. No matter how funny or awesome your lie is deliver it smoothly and in character as if nothing is going on. The bigger deal you make of it out of character raises the DC that your GM will make you roll your bluff check.


Vote for Lincoln Hills #205 to be added to the list.

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I have forwarded this to my gaming group (most of whom don't necessarily troll this board as much as I do). It has been universally praised...well done.


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210. If the Wizard player calls out for the session, the game is off. Do not attempt to play without him, even if he says someone else can run the stats.

Grand Lodge

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Evil Lincoln wrote:
210. If the Wizard player calls out for the session, the game is off. Do not attempt to play without him, even if he says someone else can run the stats.

We had a standing joke about this. We'd always call the player who cancelled and say, "Dude, we found a book that radiates magic, but we don't know the school. The DM specifically wants to know which one of us reads it. We volunteered you." It was funny every time.... until the day it wasn't a joke.


I actually find Lincoln's 205 to be great advice for gm's as well.
We have a gm who in an effort to 'make things more challenging' tries to make every encounter into a nemesis fight, even if it was only written to be a minor encounter or resource drain or distraction... Not every fight has to be a near death experience for the party.


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211. There exists a mysterious energy, known by the wisest scholars as "experience," that only adventurers can harness. Use it wisely.

Perhaps a warning against multiclassing...


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212. If you arrive at the dungeon and the guards are dead, wait and prepare an ambush for whatever went in.

This completely changed an adventure I was in. Made it easier, we got all the loot, and the enemy's wizard was almost out of spells. Fun times, turning the tables. The GM had a blast too.


That is awesome

Liberty's Edge

213. If by chance you and a party of 4 fighter types with no spellcasting capacity are in sandpoint and lets say the party's wizard, priest and bard decide that it's vacation week. Do not listen to the NPC priest and descend into the collapsed lighthouse into what can only be described as an entrance to Hell.

Do not accept no matter how many wands, potions are offered. Nor how desperate you are to play because you get together 1 time a month.

The Exchange

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214. When confronted with a mysterious object or container that the rogue has not yet examined and the wizard has not yet identified, the odds are very, very, very low that it is a toy. Therefore, do not play with it.

The Exchange

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147a. Honestly, since your usual Plan A is unprovoked slaughter, how exactly is bribery more objectionable?

215. GMs love poetic justice. For this reason, any plan that involves giving your enemies a disease, setting their headquarters on fire, or imprisoning them in a tomb with an angry vampire should only be used if there truly is no alternative.


Well done Mr. Marsh. Excellent list and it shall soon be sent to my fellow players.

Just in time, as we will be starting Runelords (Level 1) very soon.

Best advice was probably the need for a secret battle language. Even a few simple code-words can make the difference.


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216. boats stay away if you can, if not be prepared to get wet

Scarab Sages

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Nothing can be truer than #90.


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Chris Marsh wrote:


52. It costs five copper pieces to shoot an exploratory arrow into the darkness, and five hundred thousand copper pieces to get your Troubleshooter raised from the dead.

128. Default template for single file marching order is, in order of front to back, Troubleshooter, fighter, wizard, cleric. Always leave 5' of space between

159. If the DM takes the time to describe a new pattern of floor tiling, do not advance until the troubleshooter gives the go ahead.

I appreciate your confidence in my abilities and concern for my safety.

The Exchange

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217. If you think you're ready to take on a god, look up the word "pantheon" and consider the implications.


About 191, when did that happen? and please don't say Frank Miller's the dark knight returns part 2.

Other than that, very good list, thanks for sharing it.

The Exchange

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218. Any time your GM uses the words "appears to be" rather than "is," you should pay close attention.

219. Holes are there so you'll fall in them; liquids are there so you'll drown in them; gases are either explosive, poisonous or moving at hurricane speeds. And solids are there to lull you into a false sense of security.

Silver Crusade

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220. Getting two attacks at a lower attack rate only allows you to miss twice.

221. Think like a soldier: Always have recon on what you're getting into.

222. When you see what appears to be the final chamber, get out every buff you can.

223. The following applies regardless of your class: when you see a figure in a robe, a mask, or holding a staff/wand, GET BEHIND COVER. If you followed 221, you know what you're afraid of. If not, you should be doubly afraid.

224. Have a backup plan for every combat maneuver and trap you know of.

225. Sometimes the greatest puzzles have the stupidest solutions.


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226. Do a few things very well. Don't try to do everything well, because you'll end up doing everything mediocre, and mediocrity gets killed.

227. If somebody in the group has already made a character that does something very well, don't make a character that does the same thing. A good party does do everything well through varieties of characters, and it's a role playing game for pete's sake. Embrace another role.

227a. If you play the same class/race every game and name your character after yourself every time, nobody actually likes playing with you in your group.

Silver Crusade

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228. Don't be afraid to set your own traps.

228a. Record the most interesting traps you find. When designing your fortress, use those same traps.

Silver Crusade

This is friggin great, i have forwarded to my friends. This needs to be pathfinder dogma.

Oh and as a Blaster Wizard I am on board with 166


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A list evidently done back when women didn't play rpgs. Sadly that advice is probably still applicable to a lot of games.


leo1925 wrote:

About 191, when did that happen? and please don't say Frank Miller's the dark knight returns part 2.

Other than that, very good list, thanks for sharing it.

Well its an obvious Dark Knight reference but the principle is simple. Be willing to exploit the weakness of others especially with those who will not exploit your weaknesses.

If the rules of fair play say no hitting below the belt. Hit below the belt.


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Lincoln Hills wrote:
217. If you think you're ready to take on a god, look up the word "pantheon" and consider the implications.

217b. when someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"!


Hmmm. Funny :) just a question, as I think to translate it in Italian: what's a HVT?


Thanks for the charity laugh. :)

I believe 'HVT' stands for 'High Value Target.' Per Wikipedia: "In United States military terminology, a High-Value Target (HVT) is a target (a person or resource) that an enemy commander requires for completion of a mission."


DungeonMastering.com wrote:

Thanks for the charity laugh. :)

I believe 'HVT' stands for 'High Value Target.' Per Wikipedia: "In United States military terminology, a High-Value Target (HVT) is a target (a person or resource) that an enemy commander requires for completion of a mission."

Ty. As I'm italian I don't always recognize acronyms or figures of speech in english :)

Shadow Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion Subscriber

229. Coup De Grace first. Channel Energy second.

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