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Scarab Sages

I have a canvas backpack from Offworld Designs that has Bag of Holding embroidered on it. It has lots of pockets, but the shoulder straps have no padding so it’s not very comfortable to carry when full. But I only use it to haul my gear from the house to the car and back to the house so the comfort issue isn’t a big deal. It holds my character binder, dice, item cards, extra pens & pencils, sticky notes & notepads, but no minis. I have a separate mini case for that. All my books are on my iPad Mini but I don’t like keeping my character sheets on there. Too much scrolling.

Scarab Sages

Greylurker wrote:

I want to do a campaign where the world is destroyed and the PCs lead a small band of survivors to another world. Just as they go the Gods of the old world empower the PCs to become the gods of the new world. The Gods then sacrifice themselves to stop the force that has consumed the old world.

The rest of the campaign would be about my players literally building a new campaign world themselves. Seeking out and claiming their own divine portfolios, guiding the rebuilding of civilization and defending their world against the remanents of the force that destroyed the old one, (reduced in power by the sacrifice of the old gods to something enough to threaten the PCs but not crush them like ants).

and then....when it's all over I want to run a regular campaign in that world my players created.

What a fantastic idea!

Scarab Sages

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The party enter a chamber to face the BBEG, who is a mummy.
GM: “A trumpet fanfare greets you.” Plays ‘sad trombone’ sound file from his phone.
Later, after the party have destroyed a golem minion protecting the mummy:
GM: “The pharaoh is angry that you defeated his golem.” Plays ‘sad trombone’ again.

Scarab Sages

Dire Elf wrote:
There was an article in an old issue of Dragon (pre-3rd edition) suggesting possible campaign starts. One of them had the PCs turned into statues or trapped in some kind of stasis and then released a century or more later. I've always liked the idea of doing something like that, and having all the characters have families or friends or businesses that would have disappeared in the intervening time. Either that, or they've somehow become legendary heroes during their absence and now everyone has ridiculously high expectations of them.

I’ve been thinking more about this idea, and now I’m thinking the PCs should be petrified/in stasis/trapped in a pocket dimension for much longer. In the meantime the geography of the world has been dramatically altered by some cataclysm that happened long enough ago that the cause has been forgotten or distorted into myth and legend. The PCs would be the only people who know what the world was like before, and now it looks like a similar cataclysm is about to take place that only they can prevent.

Scarab Sages

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From a Star Wars campaign:

Jedi is currently in a bacta tank while the other characters are under attack nearby.
Jedi player: Waves hand, signifying he’s using a Force power. “That guy misses.”
GM: “He’s outside the range of that power.”
Player: Gets up and walks across the room to where the GM is sitting, them waves his hand again. “That guy misses.”

Scarab Sages

Last week the party was on their way to a huge structure when they were attacked by three colossal scorpions.

The monk made a flying kick attack on one of the scorpions.
Bloodrager: "What are you doing? Make it cinematic!"
Monk: "You see a flying ball of fists and feet. It looks like a Warner Brothers animation of the Tasmanian Devil."

The shaman disintegrates one of the scorpions. His unseen servant begins sweeping up the dust left behind.
Monk: "Is it sweeping the dust into another dimension?"

During the combat, the wizard summons up an arcane cannon which keeps firing continuously. The wizard doesn't dismiss the cannon when the combat concludes. After all the scorpions are slain, someone appears atop the structure and makes a pompous speech, concluding with "Let all who would be wise listen!"
Wizard: "Boom!"

After the party enter the structure, a confusion effect causes the druid to attack the wizard. The wizard responds by using baleful polymorph against the druid, transforming her into a duck. Then the wizard becomes confused too and fires off a fireball at the rest of the party. The tengu monk rushes over to rescue the duck, not realizing she still has the hit points of a 15th-level druid.
Wizard: "It's bird-on-duck action."

Scarab Sages

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The party is in a long hall. The investigator looks toward the far end.
GM: “Make a Perception check.”
Investigator: “ 54.”
GM: “You can see a field mouse all the way down there taking a poop.”

The host’s cat jumps on the back of the GM’s chair and starts vigorously rubbing her head against the back of the GM’s head.
GM: “It’s hard to be evil wihen this is happening.”

Things are going badly. Many of the party members have been strength drained by shadows, and the warpriest has been possessed by a demon and is attacking her friends. Suddenly one of the hosts brings in a cat and hands her to the GM.
Host: “ I’ve brought in reinforcements.”

Scarab Sages

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Calybos1 wrote:

Secretive casting: The rule I use in my games is that casting a spell, under any circumstances, is treated exactly the same as drawing a sword: Always Obvious, Always Noticed, Always Treated As Hostile. And still my players ask if they can sneak in a cast while someone else is talking to the NPC.

What if the NPCs aren't familiar with spellcasting gestures? I suppose they could be like modern police, who may err on the side of caution by assuming that if you've got a roughly gun-shaped object in your hand that it's a gun. Assume that if the PCs are gesturing it's a threat, even if the NPCs don't know exactly what it is that they're doing.

But speaking of that, why do the NPCs always know about magic? I'm always disappointed to play a magic-user and every non-magic-user NPC seems to know not only that I'm casting a spell but what spell it is. I'd like to encounter some NPCs who are awed/frightened/intimidated by magic. See my earlier complaint about uniformity of spells too - if my character is of a different race or nationality, even another caster who knows that spell shouldn't necessarily recognize it the way I've learned to cast it. Maybe the way I pronounce the draconic syllables of the verbal components has a different accent they can't understand, or I don't use quite the same gestures.

As a side note, I do have a GM who gave me a homebrew feat so other characters who try to identify my elementalist wizard's spells get a small penalty because she's from an uncommon school. And just for fun flavor, all of her spells have her element incorporated into them somehow. Doesn't change the effect, just the appearance of the spell. I think that's a simple way to differentiate spells - maybe if you're a cleric of a good deity your light spell is warm and golden while the light spell of a necromancer gives off a purple light that makes everyone look gaunt and cadaverous. Still light, still affects the same area, just doesn't have the same cosmetic effect.

Scarab Sages

Things that bother me:

Armor being treated as if it's all one piece that covers the entire body, even when it's described as a 'shirt' or 'breastplate'.

Nobody I know of ever plays characters in the middle age or old age ranges. We're always teenagers or young adults. While we're on the subject of aging:
Aging penalties. In the real world not everyone gets slower, weaker, or wiser as they age.

No permanent disabilities or even scars. Sure, I don't want my character to become a paraplegic, but losing a hand or an eye or suffering hearing loss or gaining a limp are things that happen in real life. Those kinds of disabilities don't completely ruin a person's ability to do the kind of things adventurers do.

It's fantasy. Why do any of the non-humans have to look similar to humans? Why do the humans even have to resemble real-world humans?

Why is there a barbarian class? Why not just a fighter who has battle rage? And why are all barbarians pseudo-Vikings?

Scarab Sages

DerNils wrote:

While playing Wrath of the Righteous, my Players bluffed their way into the BBEG's Castle in part 2. They are more or less his guests, and the BBEG is manic-depressive, so he doesn't really care about them being there most of the time.

They wander around a bit until they get fed up with the demons harassing them, the Wizard (Archmage path) Pops Invisibility Sphere and they start to Trail the bad guy during his wanderings. They end up with him and his Bodyguards at the place where the big bad ritual takes place. Instead of waiting for him to leave, they decide to go nuclear right there.

I told them I would need some time to prepare and think about this, as they had just decided to combine about three Encounters worth of enemies into one room.

It did work out in the end, but after that we decided that the Archmage would get rid of the "Any spell, any time" power. He was overwhelmed with the choice and I was completely unable to predict ANY Encounter with that in place.

Our group is playing through Wrath right now, and I'm running the Archmage. I took Wild Arcana as my first mythic path ability, but I'm so stingy with my mythic points that the GM doesn't really have to worry about me making wildly unpredictable choices to throw off the adventure. I also tend to die a lot, even with mythic tiers.

Scarab Sages

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GM: "What supplies do you want the quartermaster to look for?"
Investigator: "I need some more alchemical grease."
GM: "What are you using it for?"
Shaman: "Saturday nights."

Scarab Sages

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Last night during a sci-fi game, the PCs were in a forest where they were attacked by a creature the GM described as a snow leopard.
Player 1: “So it’s just a regular snow leopard? It doesn’t even have six legs or anything?”
GM: “Okay, It has six legs. Now it has two extra attacks.”
Player 2: “Keep it up, Player 1. Next it’ll have a bite attack at both ends.”

During today’s Pathfinder session:
The party encountered an unfriendly djinni.
Player 1: “Does the djinni like pina coladas?”
GM: “Yes, she does.”
Player 2: “She is evil, then!”

After the djinni was slain, discussion turned to the elaborate pectoral she was wearing. The party’s tengu monk has a reputation for wanting the gaudiest items; at one point he was wearing a crocodile mask, a fancy plumed hat, and a hand of glory amulet.
Monk: “Can I wear the pectoral until we get to someplace where we can sell it?”
GM: “It would be like a breastplate on you.”
Bloodrager: “Is it a big clock?”
GM: “Yes. It has a big gold chain.”
Monk: “I’m not wearing that!”
Druid: “It’s too tacky even for you.”
Shaman: “You could be Flava Crow.”
Monk: “I am not Flava Crow!”

Later the party found a skeleton wearing a bright red cloak of the mountebank. At the time the druid was wild shaped as a large earth elemental. The other players suggested the druid should take the cloak.
GM: “I think the earth elemental wearing the cloak would be funny. It would look like a napkin on you.”
Druid: “A teleporting elemental would be funny.”
Monk: “A telemental!”

Scarab Sages

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At the beginning of the session:

GM: “How’s the party doing for resources?”
Brawler: “Fists for days!”

Scarab Sages

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A GM in our group is thinking of running an Eberron campaign in 5th edition. I kind of wish he'd run it in Pathfinder.


Scarab Sages

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GM: "I don't think you've been told why the temple was abandoned."
Player: "Their Yelp review score was 1.5."

Scarab Sages

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The PCs have been forced to participate in a chariot race. All of the chariots are drawn by camels.
GM: "It's a clash of camels."
Player 1: "Clash of Camels, the new novel from George RR Martin!"
Player 2: "Is that from 'A Tale of Sand and Spit'?"

GM: "We haven't played the adventure path for a while. Let's start from the beginning."
Tengu: "I remember pecking my way out of the egg."
GM: "Here, let me show you in interpretive dance!"

One of our group's running gags is when a character is flying, we ask what style of flight - Superman or Dark City. Recently we added a 3rd option - Wonder Woman.
Player 1's PC starts to fly.
Player 2: "Are you flying Superman, Dark City, or Wonder Woman?"
Player 1: "Greatest American Hero."

Not during a game session, but...
My husband and I are discussing new abilities for our Pathfinder PCs.
Husband, reading from a source book: "Inspire Minions."
Me: "I'm not your minion, you're all my minions! Elf, older and smarter than everyone else, duh!"

Scarab Sages

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I like to collect minis. While looking at Dark Sword Miniatures' 'Critter Kingdom' line of anthropomorphic animals, I thought, why not a campaign about a group of anthropomorphic animal adventurers? Perhaps they've been cursed or the victims of a magical accident, or maybe they come from another plane or country where anthropomorphic animals are the norm.

I like the idea that they're cursed. Then they have to persuade people to recognize them and take them seriously.

But I also like the idea of them coming from someplace where they're the norm, like a magical fantasy version of Zootopia, and then ending up in a traditional fantasy setting surrounded by humanoids.

Scarab Sages

GM MacShack wrote:
My main grievance is never having enough time to get through a campaign. Dead Suns? My group is just about to meet Gevalarsk Nor. Another AP I started GMing a year or two ago, they're about to fight the boss at the end of book 1. If by "about" you mean "whenever, if ever, we can schedule a game with more than one person coming"

Our group has been playing through one AP since 2011. We're in the 3rd book, I think. It's taken us that long because the GM is often unavailable. Our last session of that AP was in 2016. The GM kept saying he wanted to get back to it in 2017 or 2018, but he hasn't been around much. Evidence is beginning to pile up that he may have moved and canceled his mobile phone account.

I only recently finally finished painting a mini for my character, after being unable to paint minis for the past 6 years. I suspect I'll never get to use that mini again for that character.

Scarab Sages

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PLAYER to GM: "Wait, the villain's doing something else? It's my turn to do something else!"
GM: "Nope, nope, nope. He's a villain. They get seven standard actions."

The player-characters have slain three efreeti.
PLAYER 1: "We're just churning out some efreet sausage over here. It's spicy hot!"
PLAYER 2: "Efreet meat! Get your efreet meat here!"

PLAYER rolls a Knowledge (Arcana) check to find out about a desert drake's abilities. After asking a couple of ordinary questions...
PLAYER: "What was his college major?"
GM: "Draconic Arts."

A monster speaks in Ignan.
PLAYER: "I'm ignanorant of that language."

The druid, wild-shaped as a falcon, blasts some enemies with a call lightning spell.
OTHER PLAYER: "That's some bird poop you don't wanna mess with."

Scarab Sages

Oy, that makes me feel old, and sad. I was 14 when the original game was released, but I didn't start playing D&D until around 1996. I moved last year and all my old binders got tossed due to water damage. :(

Scarab Sages

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More moldy oldies...

The same party that included Pakkin the goblin NPC also included a dwarf barbarian/fighter named Rock.

A monster had tried to swallow Rock.
PLAYER: "It can't attack now. It ate a Rock!"

Rock's player was absent so another player was running Rock.
PLAYER (rolls a 1 on a Will save): "I broke Rock's Will!"

CLERIC: "[Enemy] is between a Rock and a hard place."

ROCK'S PLAYER: "Can I have a resurRocktion?"

Rock falls down a flight of stairs due to a failed Dex save.
ROCK'S PLAYER: "It's a Rock tumbler!"

GM (to Rock): "The creature slams into you and rocks you back."
ROCK'S PLAYER: "Uh-huh, I Rock here."

FIGHTER: "He Rocked her world."
GM: "That staggers her."
PALADIN: "Does staggering provoke an attack of opportunity?"

ROCK'S PLAYER: "I'm going to stand at the edge of the room and hate people."
GM: "[Fighter], what are you doing?" (The fighter and Rock were best buds.)
FIGHTER: "I'm hanging with Rock, but I'm not hating."
ROCK'S PLAYER: "Rock's all about the hate."

Rock rages during combat.
CLERIC: "Sorry, Rock is in a rage right now, if you'd like to leave a message."

Scarab Sages

I found an old document with some funny stuff from a campaign our group had 5-6 years ago.

The party had a goblin NPC named Pakkin. The name was the source of many jokes and puns.

GM: "You can borrow Pakkin's pants."
PLAYER: "Is he Pakkin pants?"
GM: "No, he's Pakkin heat. A slow, spreading warmth."

GM: "Pakkin is 'confused'."
PLAYER: "But that's his normal state so he doesn't have to make a save."

PALADIN: "This ring summons a huge monstrous centipede. Let's give it to Pakkin."
GM (as Pakkin): "I'm not hungry."

The party had just had dinner at a prince’s palace.
CLERIC: "Can we get a doggy bag?"
FIGHTER: "We all leave quickly and tell the waitress that Pakkin is paying for dinner."

Pakkin had spent most of his time with the party's paladin.
GM: "[Paladin] realizes that she can recognize the faithful of Elishar by the light in their eyes. Which means that Pakkin would have a very slight glow."
PALADIN: "He's kind of a believer?"
FIGHTER: "He's a dim bulb."

GM: "What spell is it?"
CLERIC: "Summon Pack and Herd."
PALADIN: "Summon Pakkin?!"

Scarab Sages

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Just Saturday I was talking to the GM of one of our games and was reminded of a thing that bothers me:
Spells that are shared by more than one class, and spell descriptions that make it sound like everyone, everywhere casts that spell exactly the same way.

Seriously, in the real world people from the same backgrounds don't all make food the same way. So why would all races, classes, and nationalities cast spells the same way, or know the same standard list of spells?

Scarab Sages

Reaper's Chronoscope line has some modern minis, as well as sci-fi and superheroes.

Most of them are holding guns, though, so that may not fit what you're looking for.

There's also Wargames Foundry's Street Violence line: https://www.wargamesfoundry.com/collections/street-violence

Hasslefree Miniatures modern & post-apocalyptic :

Copplestone Castings Future Wars:

Or go to www.coolminiornot.com or www.nobleknight.com or www.miniaturemarket.com and browse their shops. They carry a lot of different miniature lines.

I googled 'rpg miniatures modern' and '28mm modern miniatures'.

Scarab Sages

Different miniature makers have different body proportions. Reaper minis tend to have larger heads, but often when the body size is increased it will make the head look smaller if the chest and arm muscles are unusually large (just look at a professional bodybuilder - they all look like they have ridiculously tiny heads).

Other manufacturers make minis with body proportions more like real-life people, but that can make the heads looks small, too. And mini manufacturers don't all use the same scale for every mini they produce; they may all technically fit in the 28mm category (or whatever size you're looking for) but one 28mm mini can look bigger or smaller than another 28mm mini, depending on who sculpted the original model.

Like Cpt-kirstov mentioned, you didn't specify if you were looking for a mini to represent a person who's really muscular or tall, or a mini to represent a creature that is Large size category. That will make a difference. Especially if it's for a humanoid creature, there aren't a lot of Large minis out there, compared to how many Large size minis there are for monsters, for example.

Scarab Sages

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I'm embarrassed that I can't remember anything specifically exciting or dumb that I did when I started roleplaying. It's been nearly 30 years, and I didn't get into tabletop RPGs until I was 35. I never went through the phase of playing with a bunch of teens or tweens, with a GM who barely knew the rules better than the players did. My first group was with a bunch of experienced players who had all been playing for at least a decade, and they walked me through the rules so I wouldn't make n00b mistakes.

But I do remember some fun stuff that happened to other players in that earliest campaign. My boyfriend (now husband) got me started, playing RuneQuest. For those not familiar with that system, RQ doesn't have classes or levels. My husband was playing a warrior type who had become a Runelord of the god Humakt - kind of like a paladin, but without the lawful good requirement (no alignment in RQ, either). One of the other players had imported a character from Palladium to RuneQuest and that character had pretty high rolls in combat too, similar to my husband's Runelord.

RQ also has something called 'divine intervention' where a PC can call on his deity to help him - any player can do it. You roll percentile dice, and if you get a certain percent (98-100 if I recall correctly) the god will intervene and give you a boost, but you may suffer a penalty afterward.

Anyway, we were involved in a difficult combat with some tough enemies, and the Runelord and the imported Palladium character both really really wanted to best their opponents. I think some of the other PCs might have been in trouble, with disabled limbs and near death, so the two powerhouse characters both called for divine intervention from their deities. Amazingly, both of them made successful rolls. Suddenly the Runelord managed to ride up to his opponent and split him like a trout (not easy to do in RQ - the game uses hit locations and hit points per body part, so he had to exceed the enemy NPC's total hit point value to kill him with one blow). The other character literally kicked her opponent's head off.

The GM described the event as being like a fireworks display with a heavenly choir singing as the two characters massacred the opposition. I think the rest of the PCs just stood there with their mouths hanging open.

Scarab Sages

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It depends on the players and the GM. Typically my friends and I don't stay 100% in character through an entire session, because we're not there to be actors, we're there to play a game with friends. But we do try to keep in mind "what my character would do" based on the personality we imagine for that character. However, we have had players in our group who never think of their characters as separate individuals; their characters are just stats on a sheet of paper.

The GM also has to encourage that type of roleplaying; if the GM just pushes the PCs from one combat to the next, there probably isn't much opportunity for players to think about what their characters would do beyond choosing their next action.

Scarab Sages

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DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I can only run original campaigns. I just can't run modules or adventure paths. I've never been able to do so with any sort of competence or confidence. Plus my players prefer homebrew campaigns. Using the PF rules we changed from our 3.5 setting (which dates back to 2e). There are some great sounding APs out there, but I don't run them. Another reason is I can't afford them.

I think it can really be a challenge to run a pre-written adventure. One of our GMs is heavily modifying an AP to better fit the style and characters of our group. That puts a lot of pressure on him to figure out what to modify and what to leave alone, and how to adapt the AP details to fit the characters and relationships we've created. But another GM is just running the AP as-is, so it really feels railroad-y and our characters don't get much time to interact with each other while they're so busy following the tracks from one combat encounter to the next.

Some of the APs aren't terribly well organized, either, so if you're not good at juggling a lot of balls it seems like it would be really difficult. Having to go look up monster stats in a bestiary, or finding that the stat block for an NPC is only included in book 1 but the NPC shows up again in book 4 can be frustrating.

Scarab Sages

The good:
We finally got back to our long-delayed Wrath of the Righteous campaign and we've been able to play it quite a lot. I'm enjoying mythic tiers so far, and our GM does a lot to tailor the AP to our characters and our play style. I get to play a slightly unusual Wizard build that I'm really excited about.

Among the highlights was our Brawler getting a boost from the Warpriest so she could leap into the air and punch out a nabasu demon who was trying to fly away.

We also started a Mummy's Mask campaign, and that's been fun, too. We had one great session in which the whole party used feather fall to jump down into a gorge from the top of a cliff, then hammered a giant and a gigantic monstrous snake, all while my Druid was flying overhead in falcon form blasting everything with lightning bolts.

In our Star Wars Saga campaign, we finished up one 'alternate history' campaign in which the heroes of the Rebellion who destroyed the Death Star were the PCs instead of Luke, Han, and Leia. We've started a new campaign 10 years into the future from that, where the New Jedi Order is busy trying to maintain peace and stability between the Empire, the Republic, and the Neutral Zone. And I get to play a Jedi who's higher level than the other PCs. This is the first time I've ever played in a campaign where all the characters aren't the same level.

I haven't been able to enjoy my hobby of painting miniatures for several years due to my living circumstances. But one of my friends offered to let me store all my painting supplies at his place and go there to paint. I've been getting lots of painting done the past couple of months.

The bad:
Our Kingmaker GM has been mostly unavailable this year, so we haven't been able to play that AP much. It's been running for 4 years now and we're still a long way from finishing.

We haven't been able to play our D&D5 campaign, because the GM has been busy completing a 5-novel series. It's good that he's finally publishing books, but I wish it didn't take away from our gaming time.

What I'm looking forward to:
Continuing to play, and hopefully being able to finish one or all of these Adventure Paths.
Maybe getting back to D&D5.
My friends all maintaining good health and financial stability.
Continuing to paint lots of minis.

Scarab Sages

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Rathendar wrote:

I miss my variety. It feels like my current group overall only has d20 as their comfort zone. I've in the past ran games, campaigns, and one shots for more then a dozen other systems and settings. Le Sigh.

Hero System
Eclipse Phase
Powers and Perils


It's definitely better then no game however, and at least they are good people.

Right there with you. I miss original campaigns, too. We used to do RuneQuest, Warhammer FRP, Champions, Fantasy Hero, GURPS, Savage Worlds, D&D 3.5... And almost all of them were original campaigns, not modules.

Now we play Pathfinder exclusively, and it's all Adventure Paths. It's still fun, but not the same level of fun as when we were trying out all kinds of rules and all-original stories.

Scarab Sages

I have made this complaint before, but - why are there so many fire spells?

I'm playing a wizard in one campaign. She's a 5 Elements wizard, and her element is wood. She doesn't really like fire. It's not her opposition element (metal is the opponent of wood in the 5 Elements school specialization), but she doesn't like it and doesn't really want to cast fire spells. Plus, we're going up against a lot of demons that are immune or resistant to fire. I'd like to find some high-damage or area effect spells that aren't fire spells, but it's a challenge.

Scarab Sages

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Digitalelf wrote:
DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I've had to cancel more than one game due to my innards fomenting rebellion against the rest of my body.
Sadly, I've found that as I've gotten older, my once Cast-Iron stomach has rusted.

The things they don't tell you about getting old. It's not just wrinkles, gray hair, and arthritis.

Scarab Sages

My weekend was an utter and complete bust.

Saturday my spouse and I had tentative plans to go to the home of a friend and have a mini-painting session. Sadly our friend got a serious toothache and was so loopy on pain medication that he had to bow out.

Then we thought we'd go to a movie, but instead we both fell asleep for hours.

Sunday was supposed to be a gaming session. But between one of the players being the guy with the toothache, another player having a cold, and a third player (me) having some intestinal issues, we had to cancel the session. And I still didn't feel up to seeing a movie, either.

Scarab Sages

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I'm not the GM, but I am the note-taker in our group. I write pretty extensive notes and then type them up later as campaign journals that I post on my personal blog.

Our group's GMs generally open every session by asking, "What happened last time?" Then all the players participate in a short (15 minute) recap of the previous session. That allows us to recall names of NPCs or places (or get them if we didn't get them during the previous session) and refresh our memories. If the GM forgets about something later on, we can remind him of it. I write the names of important NPCs on my character sheet, too. It's not the GM's job to remember everything.

Scarab Sages

Gaming is always interrupted by the holidays.

My spouse and I don't go out of town or do much for Thanksgiving or Christmas. We'd rather game. But all of the other members of our group have extended families and family obligations during the holidays, so they're not available to play.

Scarab Sages

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Oops, hit Submit Post too soon.

The player whose PC is grappled by the penanngalen tries to speak to it despite having part of its anatomy down his throat.
GM: "It [the penanngalen] has dentist language skill, so it understands you."

Later, as the penanngalen flees by floating upward, the brawler tries to leap up at it and punch it but fails.
GM: "If you'd hit she [the penanngalen] could have grabbed you for snacks later. You'd be a human Capri Sun."
Other Player: "She brings her own straw."

Scarab Sages

The GM and a player are discussing a ruling. The player in question is also a GM of another campaign, and is known as the "Evil GM" of our gaming group.

GM: "I'll allow it."
Player: "You're not allowed to do that for evil. Only I am."

Not a one-liner, but made us laugh anyway: the "Evil GM's" character has been attacked by a penanngalen. It is attempting to force its entrails down the PC's throat. Our games take place at this player's home. He has a collection of rubber tentacles on the table. He picks one up and puts it in his mouth, continuing to play with the tentacle in his mouth (and talk around it) until the penanngalen is finally forced to release his PC.

Scarab Sages

Following the nighttime attack on the Crusaders' encampment, several members of the leadership group noticed Nurah shooting daggers with her eyes at Runa. The presence of small size footprints outside the camp had led Runa to initially assume that Nurah had somehow betrayed her companions, and Nurah was clearly unhappy about the accusation Runa had made against her.

To prevent their enemies from attacking again, Irabeth tripled the number of men on sentry duty. A group of paladins used their divine healing ability to heal the injuries suffered by their leaders, especially Asami, who had been most sorely wounded. Afterward those men were not placed on duty in order to allow them to replenish their magic with rest and prayer. The rest of the group decided it would be wisest to rest as much as they could and restore their own magic rather than leaving after dawn to continue their journey toward Drezen.

Sosiel had told them that it was possible the ruined chapel at the top of the cliff might have a hidden store of goods they could use, and once everyone was rested and replenished they decided that it would be worthwhile to visit the chapel. Irabeth and Sosiel planned not only to search for the stash Sosiel mentioned but to clear and try to re-consecrate the chapel. Aron explained that in the aftermath of the First Crusade the area around Drezen had been dotted with chapels and shrines to various gods, all of them now fallen into disrepair and demonic infestation.

The atmosphere surrounding the party when they set off in the early afternoon was still unpleasant as they made their way to the staircase carved into the cliff face. The sky overhead was dark and tinted red. Asami and Jiro both found it particularly oppressive due to their affinity for the natural world. Kirara had not even peeked her head out of Asami's pack since being returned to the camp after her unwilling nighttime excursion. The rest of the army would not accompany the group to the chapel, instead going ahead to wait for them. Only Aron, Sosiel, Irabeth, and Nurah would accompany the five companions up to the chapel. Aron led the way to the stairs, which like the chapel had fallen into disrepair due to disuse. These narrow stairs ascended 90 feet up the cliff. Before the group started to climb, Asami surrounded herself with magical armor and Jiro cast a spell that would allow him to heal some of any injury to his companions. The steps proved challenging for some of the companions, especially to Asami, who slipped once and had to be hauled up on a rope by Zosta and then carried the rest of the way up by Runa. Even having Jiro grant her the counsel of his ancestors didn't help to make the climb less arduous for her.

At the top of the cliff they found the chapel surrounded by a courtyard full of rubble from broken statues, though surprisingly the stained glass windows were still intact. A stable stood off to their left, which Runa suggested they investigate first in case any demonic creatures had taken up residence in it. Bohgong picked up a piece of bone from the ground that appeared to be of non-humanoid origin. Jiro examined it and determined that it had been gnawed by some creature within the past few days, confirming Runa's worry that something still lived in or near the chapel. Jiro readied his morningstar. As he scanned the statues that lined the eaves of the chapel, he noticed something peculiar about some of them. Five or six of them didn't appear to belong there, their iconography incorrect for the deities they portrayed. When he pointed this out to his comrades, Runa loaded her heavy crossbow and fired at one statue that Jiro pointed out as wrong. The bolt bounced off the statue, but Runa observed that the 'statue' next to it flinched.

Zosta took a few steps back, preparing to make a running leap at the chapel roof, just as three of the statues transformed into gargoyles and swooped down from the rooftop, diving toward Jiro, Runa, and Asami. The gargoyle that aimed at Asami pounced on her with its muzzle and claws, biting and slashing. Zosta redirected her leap to land on the gargoyle, grappling it with her arms and legs and bashing it with her bladed gauntlets. Asami stepped away from the gargoyle and hurled her wooden spear at it but the spear went wide. She felt Jiro's energy heal some of the wounds the gargoyle had dealt her. Irabeth stepped up to attack the gargoyle nearest to Runa, while Runa cast a strengthening spell on herself and exchanged her crossbow for her sword. Nurah began to sing an encouraging song to bolster her companions. Aron and Sosiel joined Zosta in focusing on the gargoyle that had attacked Asami. Seeing that all three of them were fighting that gargoyle, Asami turned and threw her spear at the gargoyle that threatened Jiro, though once again it couldn't penetrate the gargoyle's stony hide. Jiro re-positioned himself so that he, Irabeth, and Runa could flank the creature.

At that moment another creature flew into the area and approached Jiro. This creature was nothing like the gargoyles. Instead it presented itself as a severed head, trailing entrails behind it as it floated along. These dangling organs wrapped themselves around Jiro's neck and began attempting to force their way into his mouth! Runa immediately tried to strike this monstrosity with her sword, but it was difficult to see and when she slashed at where she thought the head was her blade met only air. While Jiro struggled with the strangling entrails, the gargoyle also attacked him. Asami drew out a wand and fired three tiny missiles of force at the head, but to her shock the monster's tongue reached out and lapped them up like tasty morsels.

The combined might of Aron, Sosiel, and Zosta had eliminated the gargoyle they fought, and they now all moved to attack the other two gargoyles. Zosta told the two men to help Asami and ran to pummel the gargoyle behind Runa. Asami directed her missiles at one of the gargoyles, while the foul monster continued forcing its disgusting appendages down Jiro's throat. He had by this time realized that this creature was not native to Mendev or the Worldwound - it was a monster more likely to be found near his homeland in Tian-Xia, a creature called a penanngalan that would attempt to take control of his body if it could. But with its entrails in his mouth he was unable to communicate any of this to his friends.

Aron and Sosiel pounded the gargoyle beside Runa into a heap of stony dust. Irabeth attempted to smite the penanngalan with divine power, but its blurred appearance prevented her blade from connecting with it. At the same time, the monster appeared to become more robust, as if it had absorbed her divine magic to strengthen itself. Nurah tried to help Jiro free himself by casting a spell on him to cause his body to become covered in grease. Asami shouted to Aron that he should keep the remaining gargoyle away so she could help Jiro. She then ran toward him. Irabeth swung her blade at the penanngalan again and this time struck its flesh, but those closest to her saw it again absorb her magic and grow stronger. Jiro's face had grown pale at the same time, his eyes rolling back and his flesh appearing emaciated. Nurah moved closer to him, casting a spell that removed some of the harm the thing had done him. Asami attempted to dispel the effect that made the monster so difficult to hit, but failed. Bohgong began pulling on the penanngalan's entrails, trying to remove them from Jiro. Irabeth struck it again and it grew stronger. Runa moved closer and cast a spell on Jiro to give him greater endurance so he could better resist it. Then Jiro used the end of his lamp pole, which he still held, to write in the dirt beside him that the creature was susceptible to cold. He wrote in the characters used in Tian-Xia, so only Asami could read it, but she quickly shared the information with her companions. She had only one spell prepared that could do cold damage, so she sent a ray of frost-coated leaves at the thing, but its magical protection caused her spell to fail to find a target. Then Jiro mimed at her and wrote in the dirt that someone should use a spell to cause his body to transform into a gas. Asami had no such spell prepared though she knew of it. Using the divine inspiration of Iomedae, she was able to recall the spell and cast it on Jiro. But to her horror, both Jiro and the penanngalan became gaseous!

The penanngalan began to float away. Jiro, now free of its grasp, thanked Asami. The rest of the group all began to attack the monster before it could escape. Asami dismissed her spell, causing Jiro and the creature to assume their solid forms, and Jiro summoned a tetsubo of energy. As it attacked, the penanngalan tried to grab at Jiro with her tongue but missed him while his weapon struck her. The monster then released the three missiles she had been holding in her mouth at Asami, all of them striking her unerringly. Then the monster floated away, ascending too high for any of the group to hit her and disappearing from sight before Runa could reload her crossbow.

When the creature had gone, Jiro was able to recall more about it. He realized that this was not a typical penanngalan, but one of a special variety that was not an undead creature and was also capable of creating more of its kind. When he explained this to his companions they all shuddered in revulsion at the thought of such a hideous creature on the loose. They could only hope that it would not return to trouble them again.

Scarab Sages

The group I belong to has been playing through the Wrath of the Righteous AP. I've read several reviews of this AP that complained the monsters weren't powerful enough to threaten the party - though of course none of the reviewers described what kind of party they had running through the adventure.

I'm always confused by this kind of review. Unless the whole AP is made up of fighting 2nd-level tiefling rogues and some goblins, I can't imagine the monsters being too weak to challenge most parties. Our party doesn't have a cleric or paladin. We'll always be limited in the amount of divine firepower we have available to us, and I foresee that being a major challenge for us. Instead of powering up the monsters to challenge us, the GM may have to de-power them or level us up faster so we'll be up to the challenge.

We're in the midst of the 2nd book, Sword of Valor, right now, and I know we're going to be meeting up with swarms of something nasty soon. Swarms terrify me. My wizard doesn't have any area-effect blasting spells. The only party member who does is the warpriest. I envision us being eviscerated by the swarm before we ever get to the big fights with demons and large monsters that are ahead of us. We're always more interested in roleplaying something fun than in optimizing for the adventure path we're playing.

The only time I've ever seen our group walk through an adventure was years ago in an AD&D game, when one of the elves used his 'detect secret doors' ability to find the treasure haul without us ever having to go into the dungeon. That was just an accident, not character optimization or bad rolls from the GM. Well, maybe a little bit of bad dungeon design.

Just how do you end up with a party that is too powerful for the adventure, anyway? Can anyone explain to me how that happens?

Scarab Sages

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From today's session:

As the party scale a giant beehive, the DRUID asks,
"Does it look like a honeycomb inside?"
GM: "Yeah yeah yeah."
SHAMAN: "It's not small?"
GM: "No no no."
(This one probably only makes sense to Americans who are over 40.)

After the part have been attacked by two shalkeshkas in the desert and have slain them both, they find that the desert hunters' pit nests contain some loot from previous victims.
PLAYER picks up one of the minis used to represent the shalkeshka and begins to shake it at the other mini, berating it.
"If someone would take out the trash, there wouldn't be all this loot here to attract adventurers!"

Scarab Sages

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When I joined a Star Wars campaign about a year and a half ago, I bought a Star Wars dice bag.

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some Star Wars spiral notepads and a Star Wars pencil case. Because our current campaign is set 10 years after the previous one, I bought a new mini for my character, since she was a teenager during the first campaign and is a young adult now.

And to carry all my Star Wars stuff I bought a Star Wars drawstring backpack.

If someone made polyhedral dice sets with the Death Star or Darth Vader or an Imperial emblem as the one, I would buy some of those, too.

Scarab Sages

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The party have stumbled upon a camp of gnoll slavers and their captives in the desert. The druid wild shapes into a large lioness and joins her animal companion, also a large lioness, heading toward the main group of slaves. The gnolls have hyenas as guard dogs. On seeing the lions, one of the hyenas suddenly decides it needs to be somewhere else.
SHAMAN: "Hyenas usually gang up on the weak. But those two lions aren't weak, and they're smart."
GM (in a mock upper-crust accent): "Why don't you go after one of those Harvard lions?"

The monk sneaks up for a closer look at the camp. He spots several gnolls, and a tent that appears to be occupied.
MONK: "It's [GM's] game, so there's probably some mega-gnolls in the tent. Five of them, and they'll combine to form a giant gnoll."
DRUID: "It's Gnoll-tron!"

The party found a roc's nest, but were taken by surprise when the roc returned and attacked them to defend her egg. Unfortunately they ended up killing her. The fatal blow was a fire breath attack from the monk.
SHAMAN: "We need a huge roc pot to cook this thing."

The party members decide not to destroy the roc egg or sell it. The shaman uses 'lesser planar ally' to summon a janni to take it to Elysium to be hatched and then set free.
GM: "Would you like to name it?"
TENGU MONK: "Flappy."
Long stare from the other players.
DRUID: "We're never letting you name anything ever again."
TENGU MONK: "What? It was my mother's name!"

Finally, the party faces off against a creature with the torso and head of a humanoid woman but the body and claws of a scorpion.
GM: "The woman says something in her weird scorpion language..."
BLOODRAGER (pretending to speak for the scorpion-woman): " 'Roll for initiative' ."

Scarab Sages

I've been having some nostalgia for Eberron lately. Aside from the cool magic-powered technology, different spins on classic races, and new races, part of the appeal for me was that the countries didn't all feel like analogues of real world nations/cultures. It didn't have a pseudo-Western Europe, a pseudo-equatorial Africa, or a pseudo-feudal Japan. Everything felt fresh and unique.

And I really wanted to visit Xen'drik someday. Sigh.

Scarab Sages

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
I'm on the bleeding edge of not allowing hyrbrid races in my next campaign. I've already made half orcs their own race, not a hybrid between humans and orcs, so half elves are nearly on the chopping block.

One thing I liked about Eberron was that half-elves were their own race.

My grievances today are threefold:
Boob armor/bare midriff/boob windows on female characters;
Sexy poses on female character art; and
High heels on females.

Anyone who knows armor would know that shaping that to a woman's breasts would be a bad idea. It would create a spot for weapons to catch on, among other things. I realize this isn't really a concern for PF, but it still annoys me that depictions of female characters always give them boob armor or other ways to indicate that the character is female.

Female characters also get the "sexy" poses much more than males. Males get masculine "stand fast" or action poses.

Females also get heels. Women have not traditionally been the only wearers of heels until the 20th century, and no one going out to explore a dungeon or fight a dragon would wear heels, male or female.

The audience for these games is no longer predominately male, so why are artists still catering to these tropes? I know, I know, change doesn't happen overnight.

Scarab Sages

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GM (after forgetting a detail in his description of some enemies): "The clockwork constructs have halberds, too."

Player: "So they're halborgs?"

Scarab Sages

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On Sunday my GM threatened to ban tablets from the table because I had become obsessed with looking at character images on Pinterest with my iPad.
(shame face)

Scarab Sages

As a player, I wouldn't want my character to become pregnant. That's a complication I don't need in my gaming experience.

This reminds me of a rules grievance I have: why are there half-elves and half-orcs, but not half-dwarves or half-gnomes or other hybrids?

I know that it stems from the "half-elves" in Tolkien, like Elrond (who wasn't actually a half-elf in the D&D/PF sense; he had a human great-grandfather, but he could also have been considered an aasimar, since his great-great-grandmother was one of the Maiar).

Clearly the character races in D&D and PF have diverged from that source material, but it still doesn't make any sense that humans seem to be the only race that can interbreed with other races, but not all of the other races. Even if you treat it like breeding horses and donkeys to create mules/hinnies, there should be more detail to it. Mules and hinnies are usually sterile. Should half-elves and half-orcs be incapable of reproduction? Or should it be possible for all humanoid races and their offspring to interbreed?

If the other races did interbreed what would we call them? Dwelves? Quarterlings? Dworcs? Gnelfs? Gnaflings?

Scarab Sages

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GM_Beernorg wrote:
Owl bear in Kingmaker, also Munguk the hill giant (he rode the owl bear!)

Oh yeah! We befriended Munguk in our Kingmaker, but we've never freed him from whatever holds him to the fort where we found him. We also befriended a black dragon, and our fighter keeps trying to make friends with all the fey, even the evil ones.

Scarab Sages

DungeonmasterCal wrote:
My grievance is one of my best players who only recently rejoined our gaming circle after being gone for many years falls hard and fast for any man she dates. She's by far our best fighter but she's already said that now that she's met "the love of her life" after only one date we won't be seeing her very much anymore.

My friend is kind of like that too. Plans for moving out of town to live with the new romantic partner were in the works pretty quickly. Then it all fell apart and Friend is too depressed to GM.

Scarab Sages

I can't even remember what I've said in this thread before, and I'm too lazy to go and look.

A campaign in which only non-core races are allowed - no humans, dwarves, elves, gnomes, half-elves, or half-orcs. No tieflings or aasimar, either. Nothing that looks closely similar to humans. Only anthropomorphic animal races like catfolk, grippli, vanara, ratfolk, etc. There used to be humans, and maybe other humanoid races, but they all disappeared.

There was an article in an old issue of Dragon (pre-3rd edition) suggesting possible campaign starts. One of them had the PCs turned into statues or trapped in some kind of stasis and then released a century or more later. I've always liked the idea of doing something like that, and having all the characters have families or friends or businesses that would have disappeared in the intervening time. Either that, or they've somehow become legendary heroes during their absence and now everyone has ridiculously high expectations of them.

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