GM BB's First Shot

Game Master baggageboy

Trouble in a small town leads to an interesting proposition.

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I like Sorina's proposion. We all make mistakes, and I like Kasit's concept and don't find a small buff to that ability to be unbalancing. It has built in checks and makes you balance in combats effectiveness against out of combat effectiveness in a similar way a caster with slots would.

Also I do think I will go forward with a modified set of rules for concealing spells that everyone has access to. It won't be exactly what conceal spell is because that favors psychic casters more than I would like, but it will follow the general idea. One change will be that you will use your casting stat, whatever that is for setting the DC.

Once I get a chance to work through the proposed rule change's details I'll run it by you guys for your thoughts.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

Alright, that works. Let’s press forward :)

Cool :) I think we are waiting on your response to Sorina.

Both of you don't forget to roll for that Perception check.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

Will get it up as soon as I can. Was writing something up, but work blindsided me. Latest by tomorrow

No worries :)

So here's my proposed rule. This differed from the feat in few important ways.

-I added a bonus of 5 per component that must be hidden for those recognising spell casting is happening. This includes thought and emotion components. This makes it much harder to conceal spells that are not modified. So SLA's and Sp abilities get the biggest buff, and psychic casters get a slightly better than normal buff since they rarely have material component. However every caster gets a buff since this is now an option without paying the feats. If you pay the feats we'll come up with an enhanced version that is appropriate.
-You use your caster ability for setting the DC. This is a buff to all casters, and levels out the field a bit more.
-No extra chance of failure based on somatic components. This is all about leveling the field and is a buff to casters in general. This is allo accomplished by having the +5 bonus for the spell component being there.

Proposed Rule:
When you cast a spell or use a spell-like ability, you can attempt to conceal spell components among other speech and gestures, and to conceal the manifestation of casting the spell, so others don’t realize you’re casting a spell or using a spell-like ability until it is too late. The attempt to hide the spell slows your casting slightly, such that spells that normally take a standard action to cast now take a full-round action, and spells that normally take longer than a standard action take twice as long. (Swift action spells still take a swift action.) To discover your ruse, a creature must succeed at a Perception, Sense Motive, or Spellcraft check (the creature receives an automatic check with whichever of those skills has the highest bonus) against a DC equal to 15 + your number of ranks in Bluff or Disguise (whichever is higher) + your spell casting ability modifier; the creature gains a bonus on its check equal to the level of the spell or spell-like ability you are concealing plus 5 for each type of spell component that must be hidden.

If an opponent fails its check, your casting also does not provoke attacks of opportunity, and an opponent that fails its check can’t use readied actions that depend on realizing that you’re casting a spell or using a spell-like ability, or readied actions such as counterspelling that require identifying the spell you’re casting. Spells such as fireball that create an additional obvious effect (aside from the manifestation of casting that all spells and spell-like abilities share) still create that effect, though it might not be obvious who cast the spell unless it emanates from you.

If a character interacts with you long enough to attempt a Sense Motive check without realizing you have been casting spells, that character can use Sense Motive to gain a hunch that you’re behaving unusually.

So what are your thoughts? If one of you wants to go through the math behind some examples that would be great. My gut tells me that this is a pretty good way of allowing skills to be used, and get some magic into conversations without going too crazy in buffing casters.

So doing some of this math for my rule:

Looking at a high level case::

DC calculation:
15 Base
8 Bluff
5 casting stat
0 0 level spell
DC total: 28

For pleb commoner to notice:
Best of the three skills, probably a bonus of +3. So impossible to notice if no components to hide

For a decent challenge probably a bonus of
10 meaning it's a 15% chance of being caught if there are no components.

A low level example:

DC calculation:
15 Base
2 Bluff
4 casting stat
0 0 level spell
DC total: 21

For a pleb it's hard to notice if there's no components, but if there's even 1 component there it's fairly likely they'll notice. Add in multiple observers and it becomes very hard to hide

We could work some other test cases, but I think that that sets a framework for us. It looks to me to be fairly inline with what I'd like to see.

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

@Concealing spells: I think a main problem is that the balancing system fails for crowds regardless of the approach.

If there is a single target, with a 20% chance to detect your casting - that's a reasonable chance.
But if there are 10 of them, it's almost guaranteed you will be detected.

At the same time, if you are so skilled as to give them no chance, then 100 people surrounding you will be unable to discern what just happened.

It's a weakness inherent in the system, where the scaling is linear when really, it should not be. The same applies to e.g. stealth, and in a variety of situations.
E.g. the Teamwork Feat Stealth Synergy...which makes you stealthier the more people are trying to sneak.
It also works in the players favor, when everybody gets perception to notice an ambush or something approaching camp.

To be honest, I have no real idea how to fix it without breaking something else. Maybe only give a check to those who understand how magic works(i.e. have at least one point invested in spellcraft or Knowledge Arcana - normal commoners are unlikely to do that) or are affected.

Also, while I am all for empowering players: Basically everything Kasit as Kineticist will learn to do are SLA - if he focuses on concealing(getting the improved feat etc) he will effectively be able to use all his abilities undetected, all the time(even more so as manifestations don't influence this - ) - obviously as player I would benefit from that as he's on my team, but I'm not sure it's what either of you aimed for(plus, the classic argument I use for my players: what works for players also works for NPC's...and I'm not sure I'll want that).

It also feels weird that only the Ranks of Bluff are used, which hardcaps this. I have +2 racial, +3 Feat and +1 trait on bluff, for +15 to start with. At Level 3, with Rakshasa Bloodline, there's an extra +5, more ranks, and possible a circumstance bonus from an item.
Against someone not trained in Sense Motive, I could push for impossible lies and tell Kara that I'm her daughter, and she would have a chance to believe me.
I do understand that it's different applications of the skill, and am am not at all trying to double-dip on that - it just seems weird to place a hard limit on ranks+ability+15(or 10+class skill bonus+2) - most likely to PREVENT such shenanigans.

I am torn on that.
Also, I will post in gameplay in a little bit. Sorry, I see you are opting for a brisker pace - I do try to do 1/day but can't guarantee more.

I agree there's a weakness in the system. But given the system as it is, I think this is a pretty good rule. One thing you got wrong in your analysis though, the rule uses ranks in blue or disguise, not your bonus. So that part of setting the DC is capped at +8 for an 8th level character. So the high level example is about as high as you could set the DC in an E8 world. That makes is so that a person who invests in the skills will have a reasonable chance to hide spells against opponents that are a few levels behind, but it's never going to be great odds, and that's if they've invested effort into not having components to give them away.

As you said it does become nearly impossible 5o trick a large group completely.
If someone wants to really focus on not being detected when casting spells or using SLA's they'll have to invest some feats into it.

As far as pacing goes, I would like a faster pace, but it's ok. We go at the pace everyone is comfortable at. As long as we are consistently posting that's what will matter most. Right now we are waiting on Sorina to decide her path forward. I have peeped a post once that's set.

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

I did not get it wrong.
I said it felt wrong/weird that only the ranks are used to set the DC.

Because technically, the opposed check uses all modifiers applicable - racial, competence, feat etc...
So an Elf with Keen Senses, Skill Focus Perception and wearing Eyes of the Eagle and Perception as Class Skill will have a +13 bonus on top of ranks and ability modifier - with identical ranks that almost always succeeds.
Meanwhile, it's impossible to further raise the DC they compete against no matter how good you are at bluffing.

@Crowds: That was the other point. Here, with 10% per person or 5% per person and 0% chance to make the skill check:

With 1 person watching: 90%/95%/100% to be undetected
With 5 people watching: 59%/77%/100%
With 10 people watching: 34%/59%/100%
With 20 people watching: 12%/35%/100%
with 50 people watching: 0.5%/7%/100%
with 100 people watching: <0.01%/0.6%/100%

note that on a D20 roll, a single point makes 5% difference. So if they need a 19+ to succeed, scenario 1, on a 20+ scenario 2, and on 21+ scenario 3.
So at Level 7, I may struggle to fool even 5 people, while at Level 8, with one more rank and Attribute Bonus, I can easily fool 100, courtesy of the DC being 2 higher.

Thats where I saw the problem. It's a threeshold mechanism that combined with the fall-off means it goes from worthless to risky to overpowered. Thats what I worry about as it means either heavy investment or none at all, leading to either extreme scenario.

I got a little mixed up there forbsoem reason I thought your posts was Kasit's.

The rule allowing for the full bonus to be used in defence I felt was ok because this is essentially a buff to casters without any cost. The original conceal spell follows the same way, I didn't change that

I do see the problem with the crowds though. I had had a vague idea of the problem, but the math you did was perfect for illustrating it. However, while the problem is real in gameplay I think it's manageable. Consider that if a real magicial is performing for a crowd an it's likely that once you get to a certain size of crowd someone will notice you doing something. That doesn't necessarily mean your rise will completely fail. If 99% of your observers don't notice anything then you're still very likely to succeed.

Also rarely is a single person the focus of an entire crowd and trying to pull off such a deception.

There is still the problem of the whole d20 system in that you can either set up checks to be auto succeedable, or always have at least a 5% chance of failure.

What if we say that the check to notice something always succeeds on a 20. Then if you try to fool a large number of people without investing in feats to that end you will still likely fail. One of the benefits to having invested feats could be that targets no longer autosucceed at noticing when they roll a 20.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

How about keep it as is. And for times when it is absolutely needed not to fail, Kineticists can use 1 burn and spellcasters can burn an extra spellslot equal to the spell being cast.

It keeps it from being abused as this represents a serious resource cost. But it means that when it really matters, there is a way to mitigate the risk.

No, I think that would be too big of a free buff to casters. Consider that to remove components a caster has to use a higher level slot, that limit the spells that could be abused, and it also represents a much higher opportunity cost.

If we can't decide on a rule we'll just run it RAW except for a modification to Telikinetic finesse that allows burn to hide manifestations.

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Aye, but you do know that Conceal Spell is often considered flawed?

I do present Exhibit A - while it is limited to a class, it allows a SINGLE opposed check, using the full skill bonus with no limiters, and carries no penalties for components.
It even comes with the bonus feature of maintaining concentration parallel to casting.
It only costs a limited resource with alternate uses, but for that, it's well worth it.

Just saying.
All that said, I am not opposed to your suggestion. I just think it could have some unforeseen interactions with classes like Kineticist who are almost entirely based on SLA - who are easier to conceal. I am all for Kasit getting toys to play with - but I am not familiar enough with Kineticists to guess if that could be troublesome in terms of balance later.
And the inherent problem involved with participant numbers in D20 systems.

I absolutely agree that the conceal spell feat was flawed. It's simply too much investment for too little payoff. What I've proposed though is free, for better and worse. I do like the idea of an automatic chance to fail though.

The Spellsong feat could be the model for a feat that would improve one's chances of hiding a spell. It should cost something to use in a similar way that bards with that feat can only use the feat by spending a round of performance (though to be honest that's not a very high cost).

All of that said, I don't want you guys to feel put upon by the rule. It's meant to allow for greater flexibility and more choices for you as players and for me and a GM. If it'll be a problem though we can drop it.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

If it makes you feel better I have no idea what could happen later. But that is far away, as we are only 1.5 right now. I’m sure we can balance as we progress.

Also these rules talk is getting me confused. How about we head into the secret door?

:) Well the rules talk could have impacts right now. That said I'm all for moving the story along.

HP: 7/7 | AC: 16 / T: 11 / FF: 15 | Fort: +3, Ref: +1, Will: +2 | CMB: 4, CMD: 15 | Init: +1, Perception: +0 (Darkvision)

Hey, just to clarify: We can fast-forward dinner and jump to exploration - no worries there. I just figure
a.: we're not going missing when previously we said we would be eating.
b.: you did not share that quail and we are hungry.
c.: we don't know how long we'll spend exploring and if we get to the kitchen too late the good stuff may be gone or cold.

So...dinner first, then exploring with a full belly :D
(Plus if we get caught and thrown into the dungeon, at least we had a great meal before surviving on stale bread and bracky water until we find a way to break out).

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

I’m really sick right now. Finding it very hard to post. Will try and get something up by tomorrow

I'll be able to post throughout the day today, but they'll probably be short posts.

I hope you feel better soon Kasit :(

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

And I’m here. Sickness is now just a constant feeling of nausea. Also yesterday took my son to urgent care. Got his finger hit by a door, lost the top layer of skin on his finger (thank god it didn’t hit his fingernail or even worse the bone). Seeing the blood was...alarming. Wife cried more than he did.

But everything is returning to normal and I’ll be able to post again. Sorry for the delay

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Hej, no hurry, keep talking with Jorgen :)

I will be at a family event tomorrow, and may or may not get to post in the evening. If not, then the day AFTER, I will hopefully get to post in the evening. So what I'm saying: I'll be gone till monday with a few "maybes" until then. So if you want to chat a bit ;)
(You can also take the lead with exploring and we simply tag along until my return).

Guys, are we still good? Any questions or concerns? I figure for the moment the party is split, but I expect you'll join together again soon.

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Yes, good. I was just posting to Brookside earlier, and moving over here now. In fact, I was starting to post before your Discussion Post, which I only saw now.

Also, I did attempt a rejoin-event if Kasit has time after Dinner ;)

That said, a question did arise: With the Half-Orc leering and the Prank on the Maid: some innuendo should be on the menu and good to go, as long as we keep it PG-13 and anything explicit is only off-screen/hinted, right?
Not a focus point or first-order-optimal response, but if it seems a useful tool to achieve goals... *shrugs*

That's a fair question, I'd like to keep things closer to a PG regarding sexual type things, that said the prank on the maid was fine, I'll write up the maid's response soon. So in general yes, but let's keep any details very off screen. Does that work for you guys?

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Works good for me.
Just wanted to know where we stand.
They are survivors and opportunity-takers - wanderers and beggars. I think some realistic views regarding the value of their 18 Cha in influencing people one way or another should be expected.
They would use such approaches sparingly because they can backfire or have them end up in situations they did not want, but using womanly wiles is, in general, on the menu.
(E.g. one exit strategy for a successful con I had in mind for them would see Sonira pretend to stay with a mark for some private time, while Sorina makes her get-away...then Sonira excuses herself for a moment and vanishes as she gets dismissed - one reason I took Unfetter as spell.)

If you had ruled that such is strictly off limits and everybody is asexual for sake of the game, it's good to know beforehand :)
Not that any valid target for such tactics yet made an appearance, anyway.

I'm glad you asked, it's good to chat through these types of things before they get problematic in gameplay.

Kasit, here's a quick summary of Ionacu's stats. You'd have some knowledge of what to expect ddue to your history.

Ionacu Summary:

Snakebite Brawler 2

Str 16
Dex 12
Con 12
Int 12
Wis 12
Cha 12

Trained in the following skills: Acrobatics, Bluff, Disable Device, Intimidate, Knowledge (local), Perception, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Stealth

Notable Abilities:
Bullying Blow
Exceptional darkvision
Can see through smoke

Common Tactics: Strike from the dark or behind a smokescreen. Carries a well crafted tonfa, often beats subordinates into submission.

Couple of questions for Kasit:
- Would Ionacu know of your being wanted in Durauch?
- Would Ionacu have known of your ability to see in the dark?
- Would he know of your telepathy?

General complaint: It's really annoying you can't nest spoilers!

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

But you can nest spoilers:
You simply cannot give them a description.
like this
That means they remain blank and you have to add the qualifier in the test of the regular spoiler.
or this
Also, only one level deep to my knowledge.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

- Would Ionacu know of your being wanted in Durauch?
* Most likely the guard would have asked around to bring him in for questioning regarding the robbery gone wrong. The friend of his would have been part of the same gang, so Ionacu could put 2+2 together. So...not with certainty, but would at least suspect on why Kasit fled.

- Would Ionacu have known of your ability to see in the dark?
* Without a doubt.

- Would he know of your telepathy?
* To a very limited degree. Not enough to be thought of as a boon. But rather a neat trick. Kasit still doesn’t have Kinetic Finesse and is only lvl 1.5. Back in Durauch he was only beginning to have his powers awaken. He certainly wouldn’t know about the healing. Back then it was only as good as Mage Hand, to give a reference point.

So in essence, having Ionacu around complicated things. He knows enough for Kasit to be in trouble, but not so much that all of his tricks would be known. To Ionacu, Kasit would be seen as being a burglar who can see in the dark and knows a magical parlor trick.

Thank you! That's still less than ideal, but it's a big step up from what I thought before. I'd been giving them titles so that's why I failed. This is why I air complaints like this. Again, thank you!

1 person marked this as a favorite.

@Kasit. Cool, I'll use that info then. I wanted to ask before, but I didn't want to spoil the surprise :)

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

And a surprise it was!

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

You are welcome :) I was unaware of the possibility and limitations myself, until another player showed me, so by passing on the knowledge, I just paid the karmic debt incurred. ^_^

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

@Kasit: I understand you enjoy your talk with the Dwarf, but do tell if you want to keep doing that for a while.
(Switching to a language we can't speak kind of excluded us from that, and not suggesting that you move on/do something/skip time ahead and only responding/talking suggests you want to remain in conversation)

In that case, the Girls won't find you when they come to pick you up - and start exploring by themselves - you can always join later but I'd prefer to keep going :)

(12 chatposts between you now and no sign of an end. And since I am neither there nor speak Dwarven, I tend not to look at the spoilers so no idea what's going on.)

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

Said conversation seems to have concluded

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Ah, ok...sorry then :)
I thought you would do some action as well if you are done - go eating, return to your room, whatever - I seem to have misinterpreted that it was only talk - apologies, I did not mean to pressure you, just state that I was ready to go on.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

No, it’s all good. Unless the GM initiated a half-orc beating Kasit’s face in, I think we are ready to reconvene and check out the secret door

Any questions or concerns?

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

No, it’s just hard to make posts requiring thought during the weekend. Weekends are usually slow for me

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Same here, between family time and other responsibilities, I find little time to post, usually. I do usually manage to post on weekends - but limited and usually not all games - and try to prioritize those games were short posts will suffice or an update is waiting on me.

No worries, then. Weekends are a crapshoot with me. Sometimes I can write nice long posts other times there's no way to post anything. Usually you guys post before me in the mornings which was why I was asking.

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Aye, only got 2 workdays this week before some extended family stuff - so those workdays are full, and I can't really afford to take many breaks. Often I fetch some coffee and use my morning break to write a post or two. Not this week...

Map is updated. What happens next is very much in your guys court. Let me know what you want to do and we'll move to that. For now not much time has passed while you've been in the secret room. You can wait there longer, or soup out and do other things, it's up to you guys.

Just an fyi, I haven't forgotten you guys. I figure we are at a pause as Sornia is busy with family stuff. If you guys are ready to move forward just let me know.

Wounds (0) NL (0) HP (15) AC (16/14/12) Saves (6/7/0) CMD (13) Kinetic Chirurgeon VMC Magus (1.5)

I’m good with waiting, especially with a 2 PC game. All good on my end!

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Hej - I'll post in the evening. Hoped I would have some more time right now, but nay, one toddler already awake again. :)
(Just pointing that out as Brookside is the only game I managed to post in right now...and you are both over there, too :) )

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Just a quick question: Is there a "Legend" you could black out, for the map? It would make navigating easier if we have the information at hand :)
(e.g. I don't remember, was 11 an open courtyard beyond the main entrance? Or a hall with ways off to kitchen and the double-doors into the courtyard etc - where was Karas room? Is there another floor on top?)

That is an excellent idea. I'll try to put one together sometime tomorrow, though tomorrow will be a pretty busy day for me, so no guarantees.

HP: 13/13 | AC: 15 / T: 12 / FF: 13 | Fort: +2, Ref: +2, Will: +4 | CMB: -1, CMD: 11 | Init: +2, Perception: +1

Thanks, and no worries :) I'm not particularly fast in posting, currently - and while convenient, it is not a necessity to keep going - so whenever works for you!

Sorry guys, it's been a very busy couple of days. I have updated the map with a list of the areas for your reference. If you guys would like I an push the story along tomorrow, or if you guys chose a course to follow we can follow that. I know it's generally a bad idea for pbp, but this adventure is fairly freeform. The frame is there, but you guys have a lot of choice as 5o when and how to move forward.

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