Ulzer Zandalus

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It's an old debate, but I find myself running with a group of newbies, and they're asking how "seven slashing damage" impales a commoner but inconveniences a (presumably mortal) barbarian.

So how do you conceptualize HP? Does it represent the same narrative idea in every situation (e.g. actual bodily injury), or do you like to throw out multiple, sometimes contradictory descriptions (it's just 'battle fatigue' this time)? Do you have any favorite ways to describe HP-loss?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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Bjørn Røyrvik wrote:
2) everyone plays a Vigilante and no one knows another's secret, leading to a farcical comedy of mistaken identities and silly antics.

I've seen the Glass Cannon guys use that to good effect over in the "side quest side sesh" podcast. That seems like the "natural" state of play for the class, and it honestly makes me wonder if it's even possible to play it straight.


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I love me some vigilante dual identity. So much so that I've been known to hand it out as part of a homebrew "amateur vigilante" feat. It does tend to raise thorny questions though.

How far will you go to preserve your secrets? How central will secret identities be to the game? And perhaps most importantly, is the vigilante player on the same page as their GM?

So here's my question for the GMs of the board. When you introduce secret identities, how do you go about making sure that the player is getting everything they want from the trope? How do you structure a campaign to keep it from becoming silly? (e.g. Why doesn't the party recognize Clark Kent?)

Comic for illustrative purposes.


Here's my situation. My big bad dragon had kidnapped one of the PCs are robbed her. That meant he'd gained an unusual variety of magical gear that I wanted to use against the party. Maniacal laugh and such, sure, there’s no listing for dragons on the Magic Item Slots for Animals chart.

Over the course of my research I encountered the wildshaping rules. Rangers discussed their animal companions. Paladins had questions about their mounts. The 3.5 version of the Draconomicon came up, and the always tricky question of in-game justification reared its horned head: “Such external dependencies are mortal crutches unbecoming of a true dragon!”

In the end I simply let my dragon wear its captured booty and nobody called me on it. I'm curious to hear how you guys would handle it though. What magic items do you allow your critters to wears? Do you fudge the rules in corner cases, or are you comfortable making a few judgement calls when it comes to weird body types and gear?

(Comic for illustrative purposes).


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
I miss those games. I miss that level of trust you're talking about DO. I don't know why all my players these days are so cynical and jaded they think every GM is a killer GM, or they think PF1 is just a tactical simulation, nothing more.

Might be time to break in a new group of first-timers. I found the opportunity to do that recently, and it's been crazy refreshing to see "that was so fan, I can't wait to play again!" after some simple clue-hunting and NPC interaction.


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You’ve prepped the adventure, and your GM game face is on. Your quest hooks are laid like bait in a bear trap. You’ve got bandits waiting in the woods. Deadly peril is prepared to spring from the darkness in A3 (the Old Mill) and B1 (Collapsed Passage). Excitement and danger are hovering just around the bend, and all the players have to do is walk out that door. But then:

“Come on, guys. Let’s faff about in town all session.”

“I’m going to talk to an inn keeper for several hours!”

It's tempting to shrug and give it the old "so long as they're having fun." Ain't nobody want a railroad after all. But my tables tend to split between a hurry-up-and-get-to-the-next-thing and I-love-side-questing.

Therefore, my question to the board is this: When is it wisest to tap the breaks on the "main quest" and let the party linger? When is it best to nudge them forward with Chandler's Law? ("When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand.") And how do you split the difference at your own tables?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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I've got a new campaign coming up this summer, and I'll be playing my first divine caster in ages. I'm have trouble wrapping my head around proselytizing in Golarion though.

When it comes to representing a polytheistic society, do you tend to favor state religions and devoted theocracies? If so, would a cleric get in trouble with the authorities for recruiting for her own deity? Or does your game world adopt more of a laissez-faire attitude? The existence of Hellknights suggests evil deities are cool as long as you aren't out there sacrificing people. But I'm genuinely unsure of the extent to which those faiths are tolerated when they become "active" rather than just passively existing.

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If you have the misfortune of being a caster or a ranged combat specialist, a light slashing or piercing weapon isn’t going to do you much good from within the belly of the beast. That means it's time to improvise.

Nowhere in gaming is there a more flavorful situation. You’re being crushed to death in a monster’s throat! You’ve got to do something! On the other hand, nowhere in gaming is there a more nebulously defined set of mechanics. So like… Is there any way to cast fireball so that it doesn’t hit me too? How long can I breathe in there? Can my buddies try and give the monster the Heimlich maneuver?

Therefore, as an exercise in adventurer preparedness, I propose we brainstorm our best creative method for escaping from a “swallow whole” situation. Alternatively, I will also accept clever actions designed to harm your big-mouthed foe from the inside out. All clear? Alrighty then. See you down in the comments!

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


the David wrote:


There's plenty of reasons why:
- Pathfinder has that sweet spot roughly between levels 5 to 10 where the game is the most fun to play.

Are there any products that support E6 or E8 play? I doubt there's anything form Paizo aside from "string together a bunch of 6th level one shots," but I'm wondering if any third party types have down an E6 AP. It would be nice to stay in that sweet spot for longer.


I always seem to wind up going for big, world-shattering plots. We're talking about planar collapse, wars among the gods, and end-of-the-world(s) scenarios. The problem is that you run into superhero storyline problems when you go that route, always needing to one-up yourself and fight ever-larger critters. That way lies the neutronium golem.

So here's my question for the board. As a recovering "go big" addict, how do you move a storyline from "save the everything" back to "track down the bandits?" How do you avoid anticlimax if you want to keep that campaign going?

(Comic for illustrative purposes..)


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Sysryke wrote:
Off the top of my head, it's probably my current character's outfit. I took the trait rich parents. I then used most of my starting gold to buy a slew of masterwork tools and kits. The single biggest ticket item(s) though, are my clothes, which had to total either 150 or 250 gp.

Heh. I suppose that counts in the "as a percentage of total wealth" column.

Fun story about the 75 gp noble's outfit. It was a Crimson Throne gestalt campaign, and my two players were excited to play out the "gutter trash to hero" trope. When they got their first big score, they both immediately shelled out for the most ostentatious tailored suits they could afford. They even got their awakened poodle cohort a jeweled collar. They immediately went for a stroll in the city's rich quarter, then lost their s%%* when I flipped around the laptop to remind them of the clip from Dumb & Dumber.


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What is the most extravagant, expensive, and not-very-useful-in-combat purchase you've character has ever made? Was it a permanent spell effect? Funding for a new orphanage? A partial stake in a small business?

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This is a problem that I think of as “The Forest of Doom.” You’ve probably heard of it. Rumors of that fell wood abound in all the inns and ale houses of the kingdom.

“To set foot within the Forest of Doom is death!”

“That’s a cursed place, and no mistake! Those who venture beneath its boughs are never seen again.”

“I’ve head that even that shadow of the trees can kill. Beware, adventurer. Beware the Forest of Doom!”

Meanwhile my players are sitting there like, "Holy s+~& you guys! I bet there’s all kinds of treasure in there!" That’s because all those fun, fluffy rumors are typical quest text. NPCs are expected to play up the dangers of local dungeons, making players feel like a big damn heroes when they stride boldly forth. But if the Forest of Doom is in fact a straight-up death trap, and if it’s a DC 25 save to avoid insta-death every round you’re in there, then we’ve got a set of competing expectations at play.

Ideally, players show proper caution. The respond appropriately to the dire warnings. They note the dead woodland creatures that ring the edges of the Forest of Doom, and realize from context clues that, “Oh. This isn’t a proper dungeon. It’s a setting element meant to show us that the ancient Hex War left an indelible scar on the land. Let’s maybe not go in there.”

You want to keep flavor on the one hand, but you also want to convey expectations on the other. So here's my question for the board: If you’re a GM, have you even been surprised when your players ignored all your dire warnings and did the “obviously stupid thing?” And in retrospect, was there any way to warn them more clearly?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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Lathiira wrote:
You use a jail? I annihilate them down to crimson dust particles in a burst of cosmic fire. Perform or be obliterated.

You see? If you treat your PCs with kid gloves, they won't treat consequences seriously.


If you're a GM, I assume you're the warden of your own dice jail. I've been thinking about upgrading my "drawer of shame" for some time now. I'm not much of an architect thought, and I want to make sure I get it right.

What's the best build? Do you paint the acrylic rectangular prism of a Chessex box like a tiny cell? Is it better to construct some sort of balsa wood dice gibbet? Or is the best setup an executioner's square, complete with stone block and hammer? Is there any one method that seems to get better results from your other dice?

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Do any of you guys do "event based planning?" I'm talking stuff like:

1. They wake up after their hangover.

2. They sheriff shows up with a warrant for their arrest.

3. They receive a sending from an unknown mage asking if they'd like their sword belt back.

4. Fighting the wererat gang members who insist they cheated at cards last night.

Event X: Looking for the missing party member at his favorite hangouts, A, B, and C.

etc. etc.

I mean, there's a tacit understanding that these events can be rearranged depending on what the players actually do, but I find it's nice to have a step-by-step of a "most likely path" to vary up and return to at need.


So often GMs get bogged down in the specifics of the craft (Dungeon design! Plot twists! Story arcs!) that we forget to consider our broader process. That’s what I’d like to talk about today.

How do you go about preparing for a game session? Do you have a "session notes template" that you could share with the class? How much time do you spend for a single session? How do you know when you're over-prepping? And how do you keep the hard work of planning from ruining the fun of improvisation?

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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
Neriathale wrote:

Daoud, human oracle

1. No personality
2. No roleplay
3. Polearm & shield

You inspired me to post yet again. This was a guy I ran back in 2e D&D:

Fen Equitar, Human Male Fighter

Axe


There is a reason we're doing this exercise. I think I played the same character. :P


When you’re noodling with a PC's visual design, I think there's a temptation to treat the character’s appearance as a living record of your adventures. You’re a complex, three-dimensional protagonist after all, and you want to convey the rich palette that is your dude. Therefore, rather than working towards a unifying motif, it’s all too easy to transform your character into chronicle: She got this dagger from the first goblin she killed, and there’s a bead from her dwarven foster father tied into her hair, and she has a scar on her throat from that time she got crit by a hag, and she bought these boots of speed last session.

So as a possible corrective, what do you say we try an exercise I learned back in undergrad? Describe your character using only three details. That’s about how many items a reader can fit into their head after a first impression, and the same holds true in the oral landscape of the tabletop. If you choose wisely, we should get a coherent picture of your PC and their personality. I’ll give you the usual race/class/gender stuff for free, so feel free to get specific with the other items. All clear on the ‘three details’ thing? OK then. Go!

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Ryze Kuja wrote:

With newbies, I don't even explain the rules anymore, because I used to do that and it was just "information overload". So now I usually like to run a 2-hour-ish one-shot with pre-gen chars.

My best experience with this style was "We Be Goblins." It seems to ease folks into different aspects of the game little by little.

Are there any mechanics that you introduce earlier or later? Is it skill checks > spells > combat (but don't tell them about combat maneuvers yet)?


I'm always terrified that I'll come off as condescending when it comes time to explain the rules to newcomers. My actions may very well determine whether a player has discovered a lifelong passion or a dull-as-dirt math problem masquerading as a game. I want them to be excited to play, not intimidated by the learning curve.

And so, in the hopes of getting better at this part of the hobby, I turn to forum. What are your favorite tips, tricks, and techniques for teaching new gamers? When is it appropriate to go into full rules-depth detail, and when should you go for a "just roll that one" approach? Is there a best order to teach subsystem?

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zza ni wrote:

there is a game mechanic built for this actually, you could have been a target of this ritual.

i was made aware of it thanks to this thread

Ha! That's hilarious. This trope is common enough that there's a specific mechanic for it.

I like that there's a built-in plot hook of "smash the maguffin" with that one.


Have you guys ever managed to make the old "my guy was super-powerful in his backstory" trope work? I'm talking about the kind of PC who gave up godhood because [insert backstory malarkey here] and now has to reclaim their lost power from level 1.

The appeal is obvious: You get to do the "prince to pauper" shtick, watching a Kuzco-type character learn humility. But it's also a wildly over-the-top backstory, putting a low-level dude with a pointy stick and a towering ego at the center of a GM's presumably-already-established setting.

So here's my question for the GMs out there: If you encounter this type of character out in the wild, how do you accommodate it? Is it possible to do this kind of PC without overshadowing a campaign (or the other party members)? Or is it better to ask the player to reconsider the concept altogether?

Comic for illustrative purposes


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Coidzor wrote:
PCScipio wrote:
Past 1st lvl, I always buy cold iron ammunition instead of regular.
There's no reason to buy regular arrows even at first level if stone is an option, since stone arrows do as much damage as regular arrows and are only 25 copper per 20.

Well sure. But then the other rangers make fun of you for not having designer arrows.


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Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

Main weapon of choice

+1 adaptive composite (+0) longbow
20-60 cold iron arrows with alchemical silver weapon blanch applied
sling, quarterstaff, and/or club at low levels
morningstar
adamantine heavy pick
daggers and/or handaxes to double as tools

I was wondering if I'd see weapon blanch in here. They always struck me as taking too much time to apply in the midst of combat, but I quite like the ammunition trick. Way smarter than buying actual adamantine arrows.


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Folks like to talk about the "batman wizard" who has a contingency scroll for ever situation. What about melee dudes though? Getting disarmed sucks, and so does getting neutered due to DR.

So supposing that you're a well-prepared fighter: What do you put in the old golf bag of holding? And since wealth-by-level is always a concern, what's the most economical way to cover all your bases? When you’re building up your arsenal, what tools do you positively, absolutely have to have in your toolbox? What threats are too esoteric to warrant prepping for? And perhaps most telling: what is your current melee dude carrying?

Comic for illustrative purposes.


Mark Hoover 330 wrote:
When I GM I homebrew, and usually I design most "adventurer friendly" locales around ACs and Familiars. If your town or city is cosmopolitan enough to have wizards with talking cats on their shoulders, why not make an extra GP off 'em? Taverns with special food/drink vessels for pets; accommodations to groom and pamper such intelligent creatures; special serving rooms with a measure of privacy so your Large-sized AC can hang out with the party while they plan adventures.

It's odd that Tolkien thought of it, but the rest of us tend to leave 'em out of our games.

"If you're looking for accommodation, we've got some nice, cozy, hobbit-sized rooms available. Always proud to cater to Little Folk."

You've got to wonder whether it's worth the investment though. I mean, what kind of return could an inn-keeper expect to get on a colossal sized room? I imagine that mess would only work in super-metropolises.


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Suppose you've got a monster cohort. Your sparkle pony might be a "magical beast," but it's got human-level intelligence, languages known, and the personality of a pampered noble. For all intents and purposes (aside from a share of the loot), this is another member of the party. The problem is that they still look like an animal.

So here's my question. How do you help a non-humanoid feel like people? If you're on an incognito mission, the indignity of a stable for your unicorn or a bowl of offal for your blink dog might be acceptable. But when there are no beds for young dragons in ye olde inn, how can a PC go about placating their picky monster-bro?

Comic for illustrative purposes.


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*Thelith wrote:

-1 perception per 10 feet.

-x perception per door/wall
-x perception from making their own noise.

100 feet down the hall behind a door while talking in a group is like -25 perception. When you're level 2 npc with 10 wisdom it's impossible to make the check.

The DC to hear the sounds of battle is -10.

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/skills/perception/

Under these conditions (100 feet down a hall behind a door), a group of 4 goblins with a -1 to Perception still have a ~68% chance to hear combat at the gates.

The issues isn't overhearing conversation during the initial approach. The issue is reinforcements converging from the rest of dungeon as soon as the first combat breaks out.


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This is a problem as old as dungeons, and it’s one that every GM has to figure out. How do you justify battling your way through a dungeon without fighting every inhabitant all at once? Why don’t the monsters seem to notice the sounds of slaughter emanating from the next room?

Typical answers include:

-- The monsters are selfish, and don't care about their comrades.
-- Infighting is common in this lair, so a bit of scrapping isn't cause for alarm.
-- Sounds carry strangely in the dungeon.
-- My guys do respond intelligently! I have cascading guard stations here, here, and here. Doesn't everyone?
-- I suspend my disbelief and play the damn game.

I’m betting you all have your own methods for this one. So as an exercise in better dungeon-building, share your rationale! (And, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that “dungeons don’t make sense which is why I don’t use them” is a less-than-useful answer.) All clear? Ready? Go!

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


I've been thinking about this one lately due to a house rule on the Glass Cannon Podcast. In GCP games, a natural 20 on an attack still gets "exploding damage dice" if it fail to confirm. That means a rogue who fails to confirm can still reroll all the 6s on their sneak attack and add the bonus damage. This helps to mitigate the feels-bad moment that accompanies a failed crit.

What's the community's thought on this sort of thing? Does it throw off game balance too badly? And are there other options for taking the sting out of unconfirmed critical hits?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


Ryze Kuja wrote:
The Evil Wizard conveniently arrived via Gate spell after the unofficial tour was over, and while the PC's were talking to him about their dilemma, any time he needed anything from around his mansion, he would simply open a Gate, nonchalantly reach through and grab whatever he needed, and then end the Gate, as if casting 9th level Gate spells were like cantrips to him.

You ever read Zelazny's "Amber" books? Initiates of the Logrus reach through the multiverse to grab any item of their choosing. There's a great moment where the protagonist asks a gobsmacked human from our Shadow Earth what he wants on his extra-dimensional pizza.

The need to impress "this guys is powerful" on PCs is definitely a related idea. Especially when you're dealing with evil parties, the question, "Why can't we just kill this guys?" is something that you have to answer almost every time.

Nice job with the solar though. Brutalized prisoners is a solid evil trope.


When you want to show off a new BBEG, kicking puppies and heartlessly slaughtering your own minions can be an efficient introduction. Mistreating your own guys is useful shorthand for “I am a bad guy.” It's also slightly old hat.

My question to the community: When you’ve got your own BBEG to introduce, how do you convey to your players that they’re pure, dag-nasty evil?

Comic for illustrative purposes.


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VoodistMonk wrote:
Adopted: Tusked. Lol.

I've always wanted to run a fighter/sorcerer gestalt build I call “Kitsune-Kitsune.” It involves beating your opponents to death with all nine of your very-fluffy tails. Because Kitsune-Kitsune was raised by a tribe of kobolds, she gets the tail terror feat. And through a liberal application of magical tail, she gets a lot of natural attacks along with a lot of spell-like abilities. Is it legal? Probably not. Fight me. :P


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My go-to example for this sort of mechanic is the ever-popular Wayang Spellhunter. If you've ever piloted a magus, youj're probably familiar.

Archives of Nethys wrote:

Wayang Spellhunter

Source Dragon Empires Primer pg. 14
Category Region
Requirement(s) Minata
You grew up on one of the wayang-populated islands of Minata, and your use of magic while hunting has been a boon to you. Select a spell of 3rd level or below. When you use this spell with a metamagic feat, it uses up a spell slot one level lower than it normally would.

Is it game breaking to ignore that region prerequisite and let players take this kind of ability willy-nilly? Or is the restriction a necessary part of game balance? What if you're playing in a non-Golarion setting?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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VoodistMonk wrote:

I poorly ran Kingmaker a while ago, which has extensive downtime opportunities for the party. And while, if I was to run Kingmaker again, I would never dedicate a whole session to kingdom building ever again. That is, quite literally, doing taxes... and is best handled through emails between sessions.

It honestly makes me wonder if you could make it fly as "prompts for and improvised encounter."

Like, if you did a round of downtime, then created an actual scene / encounter out of the results, it might feel a bit more like the normal course of play than that ultra-crunch addon system.


Base building is not for everyone. For some players, a base-building session is tantamount to hearing, “We’re not gaming tonight. We decided to do taxes instead.” That's why I've taken to cannibalizing the Downtime rules, using it for inspiration rather than as-intended.

It's not an especially complex subsystem, but I find that it's just technical enough -- and just divorced enough from the business of adventuring -- to bog down play. For that reason, I find myself using use it as a shopping catalogue (e.g. A palace costs 19,640 gp? Good to know.) and a random encounter table (e.g. The party has a house? Cool. I rolled a 66 on the event table, so here's some RP with their fussy neighbor.)

Does anybody else have any tips for getting the most out of these rules? I like that they exist, but I'm never quite sure how to make them really fun.

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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mikeawmids wrote:
Do you not have another web comic link to illustrate the above point?

In point of fact, this one expresses my feelings nicely.


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Java Man wrote:

OP: you started this discussion last year:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs43286?The-Phoenix-Down-Problem#1

Well crap in a hat. I really ought to take better notes. :/

We're getting to the end-game of my mega-dungeon at the moment, so it's on my mind again as my players still have that un-used wish item. I'm beginning to fret that it's going to deus-ex the finale.


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I’ve been there. You’ve been there. We’ve all been there. The party has got the perfect item for the job, but it’s a single-use potion/scroll/whatever, and there’s no way you’re sacrificing your precious for commonplace purposes.

I think of this as the "phoenix downs" problem, referencing the trope of Final Fantasy players ending their playthrough with a trove of never-used resurrection items.

My question to the board: As a GM, how can you encourage stingy players to actually use all those fun one-shot items? Are there additional incentives that can help tight-fisted players loosen their grip on a potion hoard, or is this a spot where GMs should remain hands-off and let players do what they do?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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Leon Aquilla wrote:
I wouldn't really worry about what 1d4chan.org thinks.

It's just a convenient example of the mindset.

Where I've personally encountered it was a Ravenloft game over in 5e. It was my father-in-law's group, and he absolutely loathed the idea of "you're trapped by the magic fog and can't leave." He's more sensitive to railroading than most, so even though the GM on that one went out of his way to tailor the campaign, he still felt as if he were being forced down a narrow path.

In other words, even though it was a well-executed campaign, he let the notion of being in an AP ruin the experience for him. This thread is more-or-less a direct response to that experience.


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James Jacobs wrote:


A GM who doesn't read and study adventures written by other people is neglecting one of the best resources out there to self-improve.

Great line, James! I do a bit of 3rd party stuff over at Adventure a Week, and I always like to say that 1st party adventures are a great way to understand how designers imagine their game to look like in practice.

Even if I plan to transition into homebrew, you better believe that I'm reading the adventures when I encounter a new system. It's one of the best ways to grok gameplay quickly.


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Certain preconceptions seem to follow APs. The introductory explanation from 1d4chan serves as a good example. There we learn that modules are, “An accessory to games that companies sell for a gamemaster without the time or creativity to make their own adventure.”

You guys already know that gatekeeping is force for evil. That bit isn’t news. What’s more worrying to me is the next line in the 1d4chan entry: “A module contains a premade adventure the GM should be able to run for his group with minimal modifications.” More than the condescension, it’s this fundamental misunderstanding that bothers.

Let me be clear: you absolutely can run an AP “with minimal modifications.” You can also read quest text at your players verbatim using your best Ben Stein impression. These practices are how you wind up with a community that thinks of modules as GMing for dummies.

If you’re really giving it your all though, and if you’re embellishing and tailoring the adventure to your players, then you’re operating at a level of creativity every bit as valid as a homebrewed game. Rather than devoting your energy to worldbuilding or plot-crafting, those hours go toward fleshing out NPCs, incorporating player-specific subplots, or adding side-quests to the mix. That level of agency is exactly how you bring players into a game world, and it’s just as easy to do in modules as in homebrew.

So here's my question to the board: Have you ever run into that "modules are dumb" mindset in the wild? How do you respond to it?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


Mysterious Stranger wrote:
Had a character is 1st edition Gama World that died getting off a boat. You rolled up all your mutations and the beneficial mutations were mixed in with the defective ones. In some cases you got lucky and had no defects, but not this character. Every single one of his mutations was a defect. I tripped over a dog (had a mental block that I could not see canines), fell in the water (Which was like acid to my character) and panicked trying to get out which triggered an epileptic seizure (Another mutation) that ended up with the character drowning while dissolving from the water.

Great Gygax in the sky! That's a lot of bad luck. How did the poor mutie ever make it to adulthood?


For my part, my own least-satisfying death came from this jerk:

https://www.d20pfsrd.com/bestiary/monster-listings/animals/felines/cat-grea t/lion-cave-tohc/

It was level three, and the gnome bard was marching at the back of the party. Them module specifically said that the lion would go after small and isolated PCs. Stealth + Pounce + Rake = dead before anyone got to act. Real friggin' fun, I tell you what.


What do I mean by “stupid death?” Such pathetic ends lie in an ill-timed crit from an ogre at level 2. In the “oops I forgot to heal” between goblin fight #2 and goblin fight #3. And at higher level, in charging out for death and glory against a non-boss enemy without taking the time to buff, do a little recon, or think through a proper strategy.

So as a combination of heroic memorial and catalogue of cautionary tales, what do you say we share our own “stupid deaths?” Was it bad dice luck, or did you make a critical tactical blunder? Let’s hear all about your most derpy dearly departed PCs!

(Comic for illustrative purposes)


WatersLethe wrote:

That reminds me of Starfinder's combat maneuvers. Hit their KAC+8! Good effin luck!

I've never understood why combat maneuvers are so hard to pull off in that game. I really ought to hunt for dev commentary on the subject, because I find that mess baffling. :/


Encouraging player creativity is a good thing, but does that remain true even when the plan is ill-advised? Should GMs go out of their way to “let it work?” Or is it incumbent on creative players to accept negative rulings with good grace?

For example, suppose an excited first-time player declares, "I've got it you guys! I know how we can cross the chasm! I'll just cast a fireball at my feet, and rocket jump like it's TF2!" Do you go out of your way to "yes, and" such a maneuver, or is it time for 6d6 fire damage worth of painful lessons?

(Comic for illustrative purposes.)


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Mark Hoover 330 wrote:

for a "diva" to exist, they need an audience. Do you see your fellow players and GM as passive observers there to heap praise on you?

This hobby brings folks together to actively spend their time creating a mutually enjoyable experience. They're not an audience, they're your peers, your equals.

On the contrary. In the performative situation of an RPG, the guy across the table from you is your co-performer AND your audience. The key is figuring out when to switch frames, come forward into the spotlight, or to recede into the background.

As a case in point, imagine a GM grinning across her screen, watching as the players battle back and forth (all in character!) without her having to lift a finger. During these RP-intensive moments, the GM becomes an audience for her players' performance.

A little light reading on the subject of RPG-as-performance:

https://www.amazon.com/Fantasy-Role-Playing-Game-New-Performing/dp/07864081 54


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VoodistMonk wrote:
Ah, yes, first we must define our terms. We seem to have differing instinctual definitions of what a "Diva" is, exactly...

The GMG is interesting in that it describes almost all of these "archetypes" as potentially problematic, but not necessarily so. In my mind, a diva type player is all about being the center of attention. That's great if your group needs a bit of momentum to help break them out of moments of passivity, but it's less good when people feel like their on characters are being overshadowed.

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