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Just chiming in briefly to say that I think this is an elegant and very workable solution to the problem of balancing some measure of verisimilitude against game balance in regards to firearms.

As a DM, I use this very bit of fluff fairly often myself in regards to warriors wielding heavy weapons. If they are fighting only a single opponent, I've been known to coalesce multiple hits on a full-attack into one big, bone-shattering strike landed amongst the various feints and parries.

Regarding the issue of multiple misfires, I'd say that it's easily addressed by simply stating that a given gun can only "misfire" once in a single round of attacking, and that a "misfire" doesn't preclude hitting and dealing damage with the gun. Seems fair to me.

My order from Barnes & Noble still hasn't shipped. Did they ever finalize that order, or should I just cancel at this point and buy direct?

Teks wrote:

Offensively If I saw a guy with two weapons I would charge him with my shield, knock him to the ground, and stab him to death. He has no chance offensively, or defensibly. He is screwed.

Now onto the mechanics a little.

The post is proclaiming the fact that the best shield build is two-weapon fighter. You can like it or not. IT's true.

The two weapon fighter with a sword and board gets an AC bonus with full attacks, He gets an attack bonus to his weapon, and his shield, and can use both in a standard attack.

If someone wants to be a historically accurate soldier this build may interest them, because beyond this sub-class the shielded fighter is under par compared to any other fighter type. And that is Bull!

This build effectively represents a Sword and board fighter in the sense that he has substantial battlefield control, and good offensive power that does not cut his defensive strength. He prefers to hold his ground, and loses his bonus AC, and extra attacks when he moves around.

You can argue that some tiny details are wrong, but you are ignoring the fact that shields are already a terrible representation of their actual strength.

The reason that shields don't get that kind of love in Pathfinder/D&D is two-fold. The first is simple game balance. In real life, there's a reason that folks never decided to take a pair of shields into battle. Despite the potential offensive power of a shield, you're just going to get in your own way trying to wield two at once. If shields were built according to D&D rules to be mechanically superior weapons, you'd have a bunch of yahoos running about attempting to dual-wield the things. It would get every bit as silly as the 3.5 ascendancy of the spiked chain.

Secondly, shields just ain't sexy. Consider this. The D&D weapon that sets the mechanical baseline for all man-on-man melee combat is the straight bladed European longsword/bastard sword. Every other weapon is balanced against it. Why? Because the longsword is the weapon of decision in 90% of fantasy and the European myth upon which it is based. Excalibur? Durendal? Tyrfing? Glamdring? Stormbringer?

Nevermind that by the advent of plate armor, such swords had fallen into relative obsolescence. Even then, those swords had come to symbolize the warrior virtues of Western Europe. So their failings get glossed over in the mechanics, because they're sexy. By extension, mechanically superior weapons get short shrift in dozens of ways, because the straight-bladed longsword is the default choice per the mythology.

Why should shields be any different? They're already granting a hefty bonus to AC; what else do you want?

sir_shajir wrote:

I noticed discussion about grapping a wizard at level 13, and how they had 30 intelligence at that level.

How does a wizard get 30 intelligence at level 13?

I am currently playing a level 13 wizard, and have 29 intelligence and am wondering if I missed something.

Starting 20 intelligence, + 3 permananent stas for levels (4,8,12)
+6 stat item = 29 intelligence at level 13. Did I miss something?

Yeah, he's not middle-aged. If he were venerable, you'd have your Int 30 and an extra 20,000 gp (or 10,000 if you crafted) to spend on a porch from which to yell at kids.

LilithsThrall wrote:

I think the discussion is dead.

At best, Green misunderstood what "backwards compatibility" means for Pathfinder. He thought it meant a claim that you can add a bunch of broken crap to Pathfinder and Pathfinder will magically make it balanced again (at the same time, you can not add all that broken crap and Pathfinder will still be balanced). Then, he was too embarrassed to acknowledge that he had made a mistake.
Once Ross killed the thread, it gave Green a chance to back out without losing any more face. I don't think you're going to see him wanting to pursue the discussion further.

Maybe. Maybe not. In any event, I was having a wonderful time, so I extended the invitation and have created a thread to host. I've poured myself a snifter of brandy and have a decanter on hand for him to pour one of his own. Cigars and pipe tobacco will be on hand, in case he wishes to indulge. The fire is roaring and we are set to have a vigourous discussion until all odd hours of the night.

All I need now is my guest of honor.

Kilbourne wrote:
Please link to the previous discussion, I would like to read in to the background, if you don't mind.


You'll have to wade through a bit to get to the part where we derail the thread, but it should give you the background you need.

Now if only Monsieur Green would get in here, we can get this civil bloodbath started!

Well, the Cavalier got peanut butter in my chocolate, so that's the one big misfire of the APG for me.

The other classes are, I feel, pretty well in line with the core classes to which they are closest in spirit. You gain some really nifty stuff, but you definitely have to give up something else that the relevant core class would have given you.

Hello? Testing, testing. . .

Ahem. . .

On August 13, 1961, a wall was erected down the middle of the city of Berlin. The world was divided by a Cold War, and the Berlin Wall was the most hated symbol of that divide. Reviled, graffitied, spit upon, we thought the wall would stand forever. And now that it's gone, we don't know who we are anymore.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, this thread is like that Wall. Standing before you in a divide between East and West, slavery and freedom, gamism and narrativism, crunch and fluff. And you can try to tear it down. But before you do, remember one thing. . .

Ain't much of a difference between a bridge and a wall.

So, where were we, Herr Green? You felt I had attributed to you something you hadn't said. It was certainly not my intention. Could you elaborate on precisely where you felt I represented you inaccurately, so that I may either clarify my own statement or explain why I feel that my reading of your position is accurate?

Mistah Green wrote:
Ederin Elswyr wrote:
Mistah Green wrote:
Ederin Elswyr wrote:
You're still misrepresenting my position. After I explained it. Again.
Misrepresenting is an ugly word. It implies a willful deception on my part. I'm sure you meant that you feel I misunderstood your position.

No, misrepresenting means exactly that. You are saying I said something I didn't. I never said this was deliberate. Only that you have done so more than once. Despite certain claims to the contrary I do not condemn people out of hand, I do so out of repeated problems such as this, only after pointing them out as I have and them not being resolved. As it is, it hasn't hit the breaking point so there is no problem.

In any event, it has been brought to my attention that our discussion is so far off topic as to be in a different time zone. I am still interested in our little debate, so what say we continue it elsewhere?

Well, the Paizo forum doesn't have a private message function that I can see. If you'd like, I could start a new thread just for us to have it out.

KaeYoss wrote:

While nobody can't reasonably deny that computer games have influenced RPGs, there's more to it.

I think the internet itself has influenced RPGs, just as they have influenced computer games. And I don't just mean the multiplayer part of computer games.

. . .

But nowadays, when anyone finds out some secret in a game, it is known to the world about 10 minutes later, and 9 of these minutes are spend by the guy high-fiving himself for being such a great guy.

And it extends to everything: ways to easily beat or bypass difficult parts of the game, exploits, loopholes, everything.

And this has changed roleplaying, too. Gaming groups are no longer isolated islands, with no way to communicate with other islands except by shouting to nearby islands or have one guy paddle over to the other (i.e. people playing in more than one group), and maybe messages in a bottle (Dragon magazine and other mags like that).

Nowadays, when one person finds a great loophole in the rules (If I use this Feat and that spell with yonder race, I can do really powerful stuff and side-step the penalty I am supposed to get), that person can tell everybody.

The advantage we (as roleplayers) have over them (the computer guys - though I don't want to encourage a "us vs them" mentality, especially since a lot of us are part of them, too) is that we have the GM, who can react to everything (well, in theory, as there are GMs who will allow everything, even if the game really suffers from it).

I definitely think the internet is the larger influence on the change in the culture of tabletop roleplaying, as you posit.

I think video games definitely had an effect on expectations, but the mass collection of shared knowledge on the interwebz has created the largest alteration in execution.

Mistah Green wrote:
Ederin Elswyr wrote:
You're still misrepresenting my position. After I explained it. Again.

Misrepresenting is an ugly word. It implies a willful deception on my part. I'm sure you meant that you feel I misunderstood your position.

After all, if you truly felt I was misrepresenting your position, it wouldn't matter how many times you explained it. Because my failure would be ethical, not dianoetic.

Or perhaps you did mean to cast such an aspersion on my character. In which case, my previous two paragraphs are indeed an actual misrepresentation, if a more charitable one than you would deserve were that the case.

In any event, it has been brought to my attention that our discussion is so far off topic as to be in a different time zone. I am still interested in our little debate, so what say we continue it elsewhere?

Abbasax wrote:
PirateDevon wrote:
Good stuff

Good points.

Just throwing out more things here...
The language that players speak is, obviously, heavily influenced by the path they took to get in to roleplaying. Someone who come into it via fantasy novels will (probably) default into saying they want to do something like character X did in book Y. Where someone who come in from video games will (again probably) default into describing things they want their character to do in different ways (tanking, dps, etc). Not saying one way is better or worse then the other, just making an observation.

Yeah, back to the actual topic under discussion, huh?

I think the main thing that video gaming has brought to my gaming table is a expectation of systematized interaction with the world. The 3.5 Bluff/Diplomacy rules are a perfect example of the ways in which game design has occasionally supported this expectation. Get the numbers on your character sheet high enough, and you can convince anyone of anything at any time. On the other hand, there's no defined mechanic by which you can use these skills to haggle over prices with a shopkeeper, because that would play merry hell with the wealth-by-level guidelines.

What I find especially galling about it is that players generally are only rules-lawyers to their own benefit. Hence, the guy playing the Diplomancer build will argue RAW all day when he wants to turn the unfriendly and suspicious magistrate into his fanatical worshiper with a 100+ Diplomacy check. But when he wants to turn around and use that same skill to get a better deal on that shiny magic sword, he's all about the verisimilitude of his skill being useful in that regard, lack of a coherent system be damned.

I think that the advent of computer roleplaying started to get game designers thinking like computer programmers; if there's no script for this function then there is no function. So it led to a push for a rules system that covers every possible interaction with the world. Sometimes these rules systems create shocking disconnects from common sense, but the expectation of systematized interaction causes these dissonances to be embraced and exploited, rather than called out as an outlier or gaffe and ignored.

While Pathfinder's changes to Diplomacy and Bluff have eased up on this problem, it still crops up from time to time.

I have no problem with the notion that you should build the best character possible within the context of the concept you wish to play.

You're still missing my larger point, however. Perhaps that is because I was in a hurry to run an errand as I typed the conclusion to my last post, and I now see it was phrased in a rushed and sloppy fashion.

Rephrased, my larger point is that our reasons for picking up the dice in the first place are going to inform our priorities. For you, a thinking man's game that transcends mere equation. For me, a living breathing world and tales of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...

It's a really very different paradigm.

In your version, the primary draw is the opportunity to pit yourself against an obstacle and overcome it. In that context, it's absolutely ludicrous not to play the character with the greatest possible toolbox for success, because the character is an extension of your tactical mind. This is in no way meant to insinuate that you do not enjoy or excel in the roleplaying aspects. Those aspects are not, however, the primary reason you picked up the hobby in the first place, by your own admission. By the way, if I played at a table that operated within your paradigm, I'd adjust my expectations and my character design choices appropriately. And I'd have a good time. My primary roleplaying itch, however, would remain largely unscratched.

This is a good time to point out that different roleplaying groups have different cultures in operation, which each support the different paradigms to varying degrees.

My version is different. You would be unhappy at my table, when your perfectly rules-legal character was met with knowing groans from the rest of the players. See, we know that the mechanics can be exploited. We've been down that road from time to time, and the optimization arms race quickly wore out its welcome for us. I am the resident rules-cyclopedia at my table. I've got system mastery coming out my frickin' ears. I know how the math plays out if you let it. So we just don't let it. We tell our stories and inhabit our world and play our game.

As such, there are no "you must be this tall to ride" signs posted. Sometimes, that means a certain character turns out beefier than others. When that happens, we talk it out, outside the game. Ultimately, we've found a good group that jives within that paradigm.

That's the point at which I'm getting. In your paradigm, my approach is objectively wrong, as it renders me less capable of overcoming the obstacles that comprise the point of the game.

I can simultaneously completely understand that and wholeheartedly reject it. In my paradigm, your approach is an inexorable arms race which leads to immovable objects being subjected to irresistible force in a recursive loop. That's a narrative dead end for me. It's also a world completely beyond my suspension of disbelief.

To summarize, in your paradigm my approach is a recipe for failure; in my paradigm your approach is a recipe for sadness.

Mistah Green wrote:

. . .

And that is why I play D&D. The ability to have actual options in combat, to turn it into a thinking man's game instead of just an equation. There's still plenty of math in it of course but you aren't just limited to comparing numbers and getting a > or a < result. It is unfortunate that only the spellcasting classes are able to deliver what I want out of a tabletop game but it is nonetheless true that non casters are confined to a tiny portion of the game. Thing is, and what those who constantly pull the 'It's just your opinion' card would do well to learn is that I actually do like non casters, but am admitting they suck in spite of that. There is no subjective bias, I am posting as I do in spite of any subjective bias, not because of it.

. . .

There are of course other factors that interest me that can best be summarized as "I play D&D for the mechanics and the roleplay, and video games for strict number crunching."

I hope you will forgive that I have reduced your response to the two paragraphs that really illuminate the core of what we're discussing. The intention is merely to save a bit of space. I have also bolded the clause that really jumped out at me, for ease of reference.

But first, a cigarette. . .

Ah, now that I've taken care of that . . .

I play RPGs for different reasons than you. I play video games for different reasons as well.

I grew up a reader, an absolute devourer of thought committed to the page. By the time I was five or six, I had a thorough grounding in Greek/Roman myth, Arthurian legend, the Hobbit, and the Chronicles of Narnia (also dinosaurs, Mr. Jacobs). In elementary school, I often spent recess sitting with a book at the edge of sandbox, learning social interaction from watching the other kids over the top edge of whatever subject had caught my interest that week.

At the age of ten, I learned of D&D. My parents were of the religious persuasion, and still in the grip of the "D&D is Satanic" craziness, but I sought it out. For as long as I lived in my parents' home, I kept my D&D books carefully concealed, treasured. My reasons? I wanted to "own" the stories I grew up loving. I wanted to tell stories of my own. I wanted to create a world that breathed.

So I did. I've been running all my games within my own private mythology ever since. A single homebrewed world, and it's all mine. Well, not all mine. The players whose characters have graced its shores have taken possession of a nice little chunk. It's gone from 1e, to 2e, to 3.x, to Pathfinder.

I just like telling stories. When I play, I like being a part of a story. When I play RPG video games, I play for the story (then go on all the sidequests to make sure I've seen absolutely everything).

My reasons are different. My operating system in regards to the hobby itself is different. So my acceptance of your conclusions, no matter how well reasoned, is nullified by the fact that I don't have any care for the premises upon which those conclusions are based.

Skeld wrote:
Ederin Elswyr wrote:
Tsk, tsk. He is entitled to his opinion, after all. No need to get personal.

If you think I'm being personally insulting, feel free to flag my post and let the mods decide. He is entitled to his opinion. Unfortunately, I don't see his opinion, or his attitude, leading him anywhere fruitful.


Nor do I, but his fruitfulness in life is not my business. I've no interest in flagging your post, as that would be for M. Green to do, and his justification would be tenuous at best.

My comment was meant to be gently and playfully chiding, not scolding. As in all things, the internet has not yet learned how to convey a proper tone of voice.

Skeld wrote:
Mistah Green wrote:
My own knowledge and experience is constantly subject to improvement... from my equals and superiors.

Arrogance is the enemy of wisdom. With such an attitude as yours, you will find more and more doors closed to you, until you reach the point where no one is interested in listening to what you have to say or engaging you in discourse. That is where your path leads.

It's sad, really, to think there is no one who holds you in as high a regard as you hold yourself.


Tsk, tsk. He is entitled to his opinion, after all. No need to get personal.

Phazzle wrote: can also wear your left shoe as a hat PROVIDED you have a small head.

You can!

To whom were you responding?

Mistah Green wrote:
A wall of text to rival Ederin's. . .

See there? You did it again. You immediately began arguing from your core assumptions: your "operating system."

Again, your argument is solid. Math does not lie. Therefore, a person with sufficient skill at calculus could plot the location, velocity, inertia, and heading of every molecule in the universe and hence write an algorithm which would contain the entire history of everything that has ever been or will be. Even though no one could possibly be so clever as to do it, the equation must nevertheless exist just as if one could (paraphrased from Thomasina Coverly, of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia).

Admittedly, it doesn't actually work that way, because there's way more going on than just calculus, but D&D/Pathfinder is considerably less complex than a unified field theory, so arithmetic at least doesn't lie when it comes to that. You'll get no argument from me on this point.

The real heart of our disagreement, however, never found daylight within your response. Of course, it's hanging back in the shadowy places between every line.

Perhaps a refocusing is in order then, to bring it out into the sun. I shall use a simple question to elucidate. Why do you play D&D/Pathfinder/any other RPG?

P.S. I don't believe that there exists no common ground for discussion. If I really believed that, I wouldn't bother discussing it with you. Which is a pretty tautological response, I admit. I just think common ground is much like common sense. It's not nearly so common as people tend to assume.

Mistah Green wrote:
Ederin wrote:
Since you're only biting out of boredom, allow me to extend you this courtesy before I answer. Would you like the concise explanation which wastes a minimum of your time, or the involved one which will engage your interest?
This is interesting, so give me the details.

It has to do with the nature of axioms. In mathematics, an axiom is a proposition which is accepted as true, yet has no proof. It's a starting point from which other propositions (theorems) are built. To put it another way, an axiom is a proposition which logically follows from nothing at all. Which I think is kind of cool, from an epistemological standpoint.

Now, axioms in mathematics are largely self-evident. Despite the absence of a proof, they are usually so glaringly and irrevocably true that their suitability as a starting point for the construction of other true propositions cannot reasonably be called into question. Hence, if a mathematical theorem builds from a set of axioms and contains no errors, then it is every bit as "true" as the axioms from which it follows. You seem a mathematically-minded sort of fellow, so I'm going to assume you're completely with me up to this point.

Here's where it gets fun.

Despite the importance of math in a game like Pathfinder, the discussions with which we concern ourselves are rhetorical at their core, rather than mathematical. Rhetorical logic also builds from an axiomatic basis. After all, nothing can be deduced if nothing is assumed.

So then, what is a rhetorical axiom (other than a rhetorical question)? In the terms of logical argument, it's a premise, the A=A from which a given argument is constructed. Just as in math, it is the proposition which follows from nothing.

A rhetorical axiom differs from a mathematical one, however, in that it is only necessarily self-evident to the person making the argument.

Every person on Earth has a collection of such premises from which they operate, an "operating system" if you will. This operating system is comprised of the values, principles, and beliefs through which that person views everything in their world. Many things contribute to the formation of this operating system, but by the time most people reach adulthood it's hard-coded into their subconscious. The insidious thing about it is that most people are completely unaware of it, even as it shapes every opinion, interaction, and passion they have.

It forms the absolute foundation from which every argument is thence constructed.

But my operating system is not the same as yours. I'm a different person, with different genetic predispositions, a different upbringing, and different formative experiences. There is every possibility that the premises from which I operate are utterly and completely different from those from which you do.

Now, let me pause for a moment to acknowledge the inevitable interruption that comes at this point in the discussion, "Oh, so you're just saying that truth is subjective; how trite." That's a fair criticism of my thesis, or rather would be if I went on to say that all operating systems are of equal intrinsic value. Some operating systems are based upon a seriously skewed set of values and are utterly ridiculous and/or abhorrent. That fact has no ultimate bearing upon the point at which I'm driving, and it's a time-consuming tangent for my purposes. Are we content to leave it alone for now? We may return if it becomes relevant to further discussion. Agreed? Then I'll continue.

If you and I operate according to a sufficiently different set of core premises, then communication between us, especially in a matter upon which we disagree, is likely to be bewildering at best for both parties. You base your arguments upon your unstated assumptions and I on mine, and we never get anywhere. This is even more true when both you and I are vehement in our respective positions. If either party begins to take the disagreement personally, then our ability to communicate really devolves. Because ultimately, our disagreement, having no grounding in shared premises, begins to butt up against operating systems, which are usually unexamined and at the very core of our identity. So, now we're not arguing about our opinions anymore. We're arguing about our conception of ourselves, which is a whole new ball of wax.

Anyhow, to bring it around to an answer to the initial question, I simultaneously admire the rigor of your logic while disagreeing with almost everything you say because I recognize that you're operating from a series of premises from which your conclusion irrefutably follows. I then proceed to acknowledge that your operating system is very different from mine. As you are likely as invested in your operating system as I am in mine (actually, probably a lot more invested, since I'm constantly poking mine with a sharp stick and it's not had a sense of humor about it), I have thus far kept my engagements with you relatively minimal, lest we talk past one another and start bumping identity issues.

Which, interestingly, is probably why you do not yet think of me as an idiot.


Freehold DM wrote:
Awesome s#!*

Thank you. This adventuring group is now going into my campaign, owlbear and all.

Mistah Green wrote:
You can try and make = I expect him to attempt to make this next, as he is following the same pattern as all of the others. Not that he has done so yet. And indeed, trying to hide behind the 'anything is fine if it is fun' when discussing nonfunctional character builds does indeed mean that it is 'Fun to Fail'. Now my sarcasm detector is malfunctioning here so I can't tell if you are honestly trying to help, or are a skilled troll. I am assuming the former.

Ah. So in this case the apparent straw man is an anticipatory effect of your general cynicism in regards to the quality of argument you expect to receive. I understand now. In that sense, it represents a different fallacy, which you do exhibit quite regularly. That fallacy, however, springs from your irritation that people can be such "idiots," and not from any intent to mislead or gain unfair advantage in the argument. As such, it's more a quirk than a true fallacy. You are absolved.

Ederin wrote:
P.S. Although my post is not meant as sarcasm, it should be noted that despite the regard in which I hold your ability to put forth a strong proposition building from a series of premises, I generally disagree with 98% of your conclusions. Ask me how.
I'm bored, I'll bite.

Since you're only biting out of boredom, allow me to extend you this courtesy before I answer. Would you like the concise explanation which wastes a minimum of your time, or the involved one which will engage your interest?

Mistah Green wrote:
Things that make you worse at what you do, or that seem like a good idea but aren't are indeed stupid and wrong and you are wrong and either stupid or misinformed for doing it. Now you can try to make the trite 'it's fun to fail' argument which I will take as a concession you have no actual points but this in no way changes the fact that every edition starting at 3rd is a minefield of system mastery (the pre 3rd edition books were minefields of ability to read your DM's mind). If you step on a bomb, you go boom.

"Fun to Fail" is a strawman if I ever heard one. The thing I love about your line of argumentation, M. Green, is that it builds flawlessly from a series of axioms. Truly, sir, your logic is generally unimpeachable. That, along with your abrasive manner, makes threads upon which you get involved truly enjoyable for me to read. It's like watching an episode of House, in that way.

So it's somewhat disappointing to me that you've trotted out such a terrible fallacy in your response here. On the other hand, I can see how the axioms from which you are building might lead you inexorably to the conclusion that the scarecrow of an opposing argument you've foisted upon Brooks is in fact the only refuge left to him.

Still, it's a shame that you so blatantly leaped away from your record of avoiding such things. Somewhere, a rhetorician is weeping.


P.S. Although my post is not meant as sarcasm, it should be noted that despite the regard in which I hold your ability to put forth a strong proposition building from a series of premises, I generally disagree with 98% of your conclusions. Ask me how.

Zurai wrote:
Control winds is still absurdly powerful even if you can "only" get hurricane or severe windstorm force winds out of it, for the record. Hurricanes make Medium-sized characters save or be blown away, while the next step down is save or be checked (unable to move against the wind) for Medium size, and the radius is unchanged. You don't get the 1d10x6d6 (average 115.5) damage, but that much control is still incredible.

Oh, too true. Note that I'm not questioning the spell's power. I'm just feeling very thankful that I've actually worked out the balance of power in my world, so that I can comfort myself with the spell's rarity.

Zurai wrote:

Yes, it really is overpowered for a 5th level spell. Go and look up what tornado force winds do. Actually, here, I'll just quote it:

PRD wrote:

All flames are extinguished. All ranged attacks are impossible (even with siege weapons), as are sound-based Perception checks. Instead of being blown away (see Table: Wind Effects), characters in close proximity to a tornado who fail their Fortitude saves are sucked toward the tornado. Those who come in contact with the actual funnel cloud are picked up and whirled around for 1d10 rounds, taking 6d6 points of damage per round, before being violently expelled (falling damage might apply).


A tornado (175+ mph) destroys all nonfortified buildings and often uproots large trees.

And that's at 40 feet radius (so 80 feet diameter) per caster level, with a single standard action to cast it. The winds do not have a "wind up" time; they instantly go to full force. Control winds is THE single most powerful anti-army spell in the entire game. It's not needed, but adding wall of fire, wall of thorns, or other similar durational area damage effects just makes it even more brutal. And remember, you have to save every round, and unless you're Gargantuan you have to save to be able to move under your own power. If you're Large or smaller, you have to save in order to even stay still.

EDIT: A widened control winds at caster level 15 is a 2,400 foot diameter tornado. Think about that for a second. That's nearly half a mile wide.

This is one of those things that makes me so very glad that I worked out class and level demographics for my campaign world. I can look at this spell, realize that only Druids can cast it, then examine the population numbers of my world to determine how many actual Druids are capable of this bullshizz. Let's see: there are just over 185,000,000 sentient humanoids alive on the entire continent that comprises the "civilized world". Of these, roughly 2-3% have any levels in a PC class (different races produce PC-classed folks at different rates). Let's say 2.5% is a good average, for 4,625,000 PC classed types in existence. Now, I'll spare you the rest of the math, but my calculations from there give me approximately 450 Druids capable of casting control winds at all, for the whole continent.

Of those capable of casting it, far fewer can do what's being described. From a light wind, it actually requires an 18th level Druid to pull it up to tornado force wind (the spell description omits wind effects which have no combat effect, although they still count as steps in the spell's progression). But moderate winds (also omitted) are fairly common, so let's say the Druid has that on his side and can manage it at 15th level. So, my math gives me a total of 7 characters on the continent who are capable of that level of destruction. That makes me feel a bit better.

Oh, and for the record, 56 characters could manage it if they already had strong natural winds with which to work, and all 450 could pull it off if they had severe winds already kicking it. So take that for what it's worth.

FarmerBob wrote:
wraithstrike wrote:
@ the OP: This is the answer, and it is what I would do. I am sure you have spells you don't use, but just in case, just make an excel sheet so you can keep track. Once that sheet is saved on your pc the heavy lifting will be done. All you will have to do is annoy the DM. I would try to get 100 plus of each one. Don't him that up front. Just ask for prices. Most games wont last long enough for all those components to be used. I would also gather components for future spells. Even after you get more than what you need continue with the "detailed" behavior.

IMHO, before a passive-aggressive approach to annoy the DM (and probably the rest of the group), you might want to pull him aside and better understand what he's trying to accomplish. Is he doing this for "realism"? Does he want to limit arcane magic? Is this a game where resource management will be very important (ie, no access to civilization for extended periods of time [ I'm looking at you, Serpent's Skull ] )?

If there's a higher motivation, and other classes will also suffer (ie, armor/weapons start to deteriorate in effectiveness due to not being able to properly repair/maintain them), then maybe that's okay. But, if he simply doesn't like the rules around the spell component pouch, that's a different story.

If he really feels that purchasing/finding/tracking/maintaining components on a per-spell basis improves the quality of game that he runs, that seems problematic. Some of the components are perishable (live spiders, live crickets, raw meat, green leaves, etc). Does he want to spend game time having you feed your spiders each morning, or tracking the shelf life of the raw meat you have on hand?

There is a tradeoff between "realism" and playability. By its very nature Fantasy Role Playing checks reality at the door. Intense bookkeeping of uninteresting aspects really doesn't enhance a game, IMHO, unless there is something larger driving it.

It's also worth noting that the game designers assumed you WOULDN'T be tracking any component of a cost less than 1gp. If they'd made the assumption your DM is making when designing the game, they'd likely have changed the components of many spells to exclude things like raw meat and live spiders.

In short, the specifics of any component of less than 1 gp value is presumed by the game design to be pure fluff. It doesn't matter what it is, only that you have your component pouch at hand. If it were intended to operate at the level of granularity your DM is suggesting, the entire system of what components are necessary for which spells would likely follow entirely different lines.

Alternately, we rule that true seeing is actually a different beast than see invisibility. One of them is a 2nd level spell that allows you to divine the location of a person who is magically hidden in a very particular manner. All other illusory effects (including those which mask a caster's location) remain utterly unaffected.

The other is a 6th level spell which gives the caster utter immunity to 90% of the illusion school, much as mind blank grants utter immunity to 90% of the divination school.

I guess what I'm driving at is that since true seeing isn't called see invisibility, greater, there's plenty of reason to rule that it doesn't operate on the same principles. Hence, mind blank may not offer unbeatable invisibility against it.

I look at the rogue's ability to sneak attack from a structural engineering standpoint.

Give any jerk enough C4 and a working knowledge of how to arm and operate a radio detonator, and he can bring down a building. This is analogous to the musclebound fighter or barbarian with a sword the size of a door and Power Attack. He swings that thing with so much force that he's going to get results. Sometimes, his swing connects in just the right spot and he really gets results (critical hits).

But a demolitions expert can bring that same building down with a far smaller quantity of explosives. Why? Because he knows where and how to place them to collapse the load-bearing structures of the building, rendering it incapable of continuing to stand. This is our rogue with a dagger and a heart full of hate. So long as he's in a position to really choose his target, every strike is placed into just the right spot to get the job done with minimal force and effort.

So let's review those creature types in question, with these criteria in mind:

  • Corporeal Undead: Although no longer dependent on biological function to exist (the 3.5 criterion), a skeleton, zombie, or other corporeal undead has a body made up of moving parts. These moving parts comprise a structure, without which the creature cannot continue to effectively function. Because of the hit point abstraction of D&D, we must assume that undead can be sufficiently deprived of general function that the magics which animate them fail. So, when our burly fighter hacks the skeleton's ribcage apart with his axe, the creature eventually falls apart, as some critical threshold of functionality is surpassed. Our rogue instead slides in behind the creature while it's busy swinging its scimitar at the fighter. He slides his dagger in between the 11th and 12th thoracic vertebrae and levers them apart with a savage twist. The upper half of the skeleton falls to the cobblestones and instantly breaks apart, as its critical threshold has just been surpassed in a single cunning move.
  • Incorporeal Undead: This entity is utterly without moving parts. Its form is less an actual physical framework enabling function and more a representation of the humanoid creature it once was. No distinct moving parts and no anatomy means no critical hits and no sneak attack.
  • Constructs: The keyword here is "load-bearing." This is where the demolitions analogy best comes into play. Although a stone golem may be a single contiguous mass of granite, certain points on its body bear its weight more heavily than others (I'm looking at you, hips). Bring enough stress to bear on those sections, and the thing can't support that weight anymore. When a 9' tall, one tonne piece of granite collapses to the ground, the force of its impact has an alarming tendency to smash it into even more pieces (and yes, that has implications for the growing field of Tripping Golems for Fun and Profit, but we have to allow for some abstractions to remain abstract). So once again, there's a viable logical framework for a lucky shot doing more damage, which means there's a logic behind allowing sneak attack.
  • Elementals: An earth elemental is different from a stone or clay golem. How do I know? Because an earth elemental shares traits with air, fire, and water elementals, not constructs. Air, fire, and water elementals are immune to critical hits and sneak attack because their forms are both contiguous and fluid. They are literally formed from the raw element they represent. Try to attack a load-bearing point, and their form shifts to bear the load elsewhere. I must therefore conclude that earth elementals are similarly fluid. An earth elemental is not an animated statue, but a roiling, shifting mass of earth and stone in constant flux. Its earth glide ability offers further support to my theory. Even if it seems to have a solid form, its actual shape and structure at any given moment of time is transitory and subject to change from moment to moment. Hence, nothing to target for an effective critical hit or sneak attack.
  • Oozes: Well, duh.

  • Epic rules? Yes, please! Right now in my home-brewed game world (still going strong after 16+ years, through 2e, 3.x, and now Pathfinder), there are a couple (literally a couple, as in two) epic level NPCs inhabiting the material plane, along with one dead-but-dreaming demigod who's scheduled for a brief but climactic reemergence. I'm running a slow progression game that I intend to culminate with one of those NPCs setting a major cataclysm in motion when he attempts to hijack that newly reawakened demigod's power in order to achieve his own apotheosis. It will be up to my PCs to stop him (or really it, at this point). Right now, my PCs are merely 9th level, and we're not the type to go rushing about grinding for XP, so I've got time. It would be nice, though, if I had some good mechanics ready to go for when the game is ready to reach that culmination.

    I'm willing to wait, since I'm nowhere near needing it, but it's very nice to know it's coming. It's even nicer to know that you're taking the time to do it right.

    You guys are the greatest!

    pres man wrote:
    GodzFirefly wrote:
    Mistah Green wrote:
    Which leads to the question of what kind of mindset does it take to not regard accomplishing character goals as a victory? Do you consider failure to be a success?

    Simple answer, having fun is the victory.

    My characters goals are completely unrelated to this. If the story is entertaining, I have fun. Even if the entertaining part of the story is my character's hilarious-but-heroic failure. I consider that to be the win.

    As for me, I have to wonder what kind of person only considers the game to be rewarding if their character gets what he/she wants...

    So since "fun" is divorced from the actual game issues, why can't players have fun and have the dice fall where they may? "Succeeding" or "failing" isn't about "fun", having a good time with your friends is. Why do so many GMs feel they have to provide "success" or "failure" by fudging in order to get "fun" if "fun" isn't determined by those things?

    Because the dice aren't infallible either. Nor are they impartial, in the way we understand impartiality as an ethical trait of justice. Dice are merely random, which is a type of impartiality I admit, but not one to which any moral value may be assigned. They are meant to stand in for those elements of the story which can not be adequately determined by simple choice.

    A good mechanical system should render an appropriate outcome using the vicissitudes of that random element. But even the best mechanical system cannot account for the occasional statistical blip. A series of wildly improbable rolls can utterly derail an ongoing and engaging story at a moment where no dramatic purpose is served by said derailment. And when it happens, it's not the fault of poor DM planning or a flaw in one's gaming style. It's merely a wildly improbable outcome rendered by a statistical blip in a mechanical system intended to model a more pedestrian form of chance.

    So what then?

    GodzFirefly wrote:
    Mistah Green wrote:
    The 'win condition' people are taking offense to in no way resembles what I am saying it does, even after repeating the definition to.
    Actually, your definition exactly describes what I consider to be offensive about "win conditions." I know you feel that couldn't possibly be the case, but it is...

    I'm sorry to say so, M. Green, but you have been displaying a remarkable tendency towards rhetorical tautology.

    I mostly just said that for the dueling alliteration.

    Dire Mongoose wrote:
    Spes Magna Mark wrote:

    Almost every session. For example, a couple of sessions ago, my players went up against a devil-bound mite cleric 4 and a mite ranger 4. It couldn't have taken me more than a half hour to do both stat blocks.

    I'm glad it works for you, even if it never did for me. However, I'll point out:

    1) You're talking about two level 4 characters; it gets worse as you get higher level. 15th level cloud giant sorcerer? Uggh.

    2) Even half an hour is too much time to dedicate at the table -- you really need to have those stat blocks prepared ahead of time, which led me to

    3) The sheer time investment of custom stat blocks encouraged me to railroad my players more than I liked. If I buy a module, it really doesn't bother me if my players end up inadvertantly beelining through a dungeon to the BBEG and miss 2/3 of the encounters in the dungeon. An encounter I'd put even half an hour of my own time into, though? I'm sure going to try like the dickens to make you run into that level 4 jackalwere ranger one way or another.

    I realize to some degree that last is a personal failing and not an inherent flaw of the system, but, there it is.

    The Gamemastery Guide acknowledges that problem and recommends you save and recycle all the encounters your characters beelined past. Maybe they didn't encounter that jackalwere ranger this week, but much like Schrodinger's Cat, that means he may never have even existed.

    So save the stats and he can pop up in another session or two. Custom making NPCs is never time wasted.

    Another trick, that I especially like, relies on the fact that your PCs don't ever get to see the statblocks of your villains. Take a baddy you've already used and recycle him, refluffing and replacing a thing or two to make him feel fresh. The stats are running in the background; you can recycle a bit so long as you make the cosmetic and mechanical tweaks you choose matter.

    I currently run a game in which there are only two players, and another one for just my fiance, in which I play her traveling companion. In the two player game, I have created a pair of NPCs to fill in the Big Stupid Fighter and Healer roles.

    In the single player game I play far more of a true DMPC, since he's as much a focus of the story as my actual player's character. Interestingly, I don't have any other permanent members of that party working with them. There's a bit of a revolving cast of friends and fellow adventurers in various locales who might agree to accompany them for some particular event.

    It works fine, so long as you adjust your expectations of what the party can handle. Don't expect to run encounters with a CR equal to the pair's level as a standard encounter. Lower the difficulty a bit and pay close attention to the particular things that your player's characters can't do.

    FarmerBob wrote:
    Dosgamer wrote:

    And as I understand it, that makes speaking an immediate action? At least that's how we define it at our table.

    But yes, a free action is on your turn. An immediate action can be taken at any time even if it is not your turn. Hope that helps.

    I don't think speaking out of turn is typically considered an immediate action. That seems a little punitive to me. Eg, you couldn't yell "Look out, the cliff is giving way!" followed by casting Feather Fall, since they'd both be immediate actions then.


    seekerofshadowlight wrote:

    What makes you think they fudged dice? I heard nothing of fudging dice rolls. I could see what they did working with ease. Hell in my home games I ignore WBL and a group is happy, happy I tell ya to have a single magic item by level 6.

    I don't fudge the dice and have run very low magic settings with zero issue. But I dont sic ghosts on em if they have zero chance of dealing with em either.

    Mistah Green and TriOmegaZero have both been active posters (on opposite sides of the argument, obviously) on another thread about the relative benefits/drawbacks of the occasional DM fudging of a roll vs. letting the dice fall as they may no matter what.

    Mistah Green has taken the position that fudging die rolls is an a priori moral wrong, as it is essentially both lying and cheating. Given that TriOmegaZero is on the other side of this argument, M. Green is utilizing a picture of sweet and gooey chunks of delicious fudge to imply that any successes TriOmega may have had in running a "low-magic" game according to certain guidelines is actually due to TriOmega's proclivity for fudging dice rolls to keep said game from derailing.

    Hope that clears things up.


    Your friendly neighborhood spider climb man

    EDIT: I've been a bit unclear. Mistah Green and TriOmegaZero both also (obviously, if you've read this thread) have very different views on whether the Pathfinder ruleset can support a low-magic game, and how best to achieve that end. The purpose of M. Green's implication, in this case, is to invalidate TOZ's assertion that such a game is possible according to certain guidelines he lays out, by suggesting that the only reason such a game could possibly function without glaring mechanical breakdown is the regular fudging of inconvenient rolls of the dice.

    I have no comment on the relative merits of either TOZ's guidelines or M. Green's critique and/or assumptions. I'm just here to provide exposition.

    JMD031 wrote:
    Paizo has already said they will not be doing an Archmage PrC. Instead they are going to try to incorporate most of the abilities through feats which essentially will do the same thing as having a PrC but you still get to keep your favored class options etc.


    Spes Magna Mark wrote:

    While this is a problem, it's one we've studiously ignored in my group. If the intention of a spell is to, say, affect each and every square around a creature, then that's what the spell does, and grid intersections can go pout in a corner.

    It's not a great solution, but we manage. :)

    I've also considered getting some sort of durable, clear material and cutting out actual circles with center points. I had no problem with circles in 1E. I don't see why I'd have problems with them now.

    Mark L. Chance | Spes Magna Games

    Yeah, this is pretty much where I am too. My interest in this problem is more of an academic one, to be honest. I just noticed it and was completely baffled that the rules really worked in the way that I was reading it.

    Thing is, there's a reason I never noticed before through all of 3.x.

    I don't use the grid or miniatures in the games I run. When positioning is important, we mark our locations with tokens right on the table. AoE and AoO have never been difficult to adjudicate, since all our tokens are of a size. I keep a tape measure handy for when something's in doubt.

    But plenty of other people do use the grid, and I really do think that this is a serious issue in the rules. The fact that I have a fix for my own table is immaterial. I guess it bothers me as much as it does because A) it is new to me, B) this particular abstraction operates in a way that "forgets" it's an abstraction and creates a concrete model with no relation to the reality from which it was abstracted, and C) it encourages a level of metagaming with which I am uncomfortable.

    It'll never matter at my table, but I never know when I might play at someone else's, so I'd like a clearer understanding of how this was intended to work.

    the hunger for more wrote:

    According to the Survival skill description, you need a Survival DC 15 check to avoid getting lost, whenever the situation (the DM) calls for it. I guess that's typically if you are in the middle of the jungle, or in heavy fog, or something like that.

    It also says "If you are trained in Survival, you can automatically determine where true north lies in relation to yourself."

    But wouldn't it be impossible to get lost if you know where true north is all the time? Does this mean that anyone who is trained in Survival can ignore the rules about getting lost?

    How do you interpret this?

    - thulsa

    The Spider-God's Bride and Other Tales of Sword & Sorcery

    Knowing where North is doesn't tell you where you are. At best, it gives you the starting framework by which you can begin to figure that out.

    By way of example, let us pretend you are trying to locate the Lost Ruins of Pendraal. You have an ancient map from the times in which Pendraal was the largest city on the continent. The city in which you acquired the map did not exist when the map was drawn, but more recent annotations by subsequent cartographers estimate that the Lost Ruins lie 50-60 miles from where that city now stands. You march off into the wilderness.

    Three days in, you've been traversing trackless wilderness for dozens of miles. How many? It's hard to say, given that your rate of travel has been quite uneven. At times, the ground is clear and level and you proceed as quickly as you might on a well maintained road. An hour later, you're hacking through thick underbrush with a machete and clambering up and down steep inclines. So, how far have you come and how much further before you reach the city? Might you have already passed it, only a couple hundred yards away but hidden from view by the thick foliage? Should you press on in the direction you're going, adjust your course, or double back?

    If all you can manage at this point is to point out "true north," you're probably never going to see another friendly face again.

    Apethae wrote:
    All of this talk of Spark, Create Water and Prestidigitation is just begging for some Rube Goldberg-inspired trap-crafting action. Can probably find many a combat effect for both, but you'll need a creative & resourceful gnome to find all of them.

    And again, cool and creative. If a player wants to build a Rube Goldberg machine that runs off of cantrips and orisons, I'm all for it. The time and effort that went into making the device negates the problem of cantrip spam.

    Mr.Fishy wrote:
    Water wieghts about 8 lbs./gallon. So a 5 gallon bucket. Think knee high paint bucket about weights 40lbs. Water is heavy. A barrel weights say 10 lbs. Create water fills the barrel with 10 gallons of water which now weights 90 lbs. Push it off a ledge and it could kill or injury someone. So the spell could be used in combat if you prepared for it.

    But that's cool and creative and requires planning and preparation. Also, barrels. So I don't have a problem with using create water in this fashion. It's a component of a plan, but it doesn't do the job on its own, nor is it spammable beyond the number of adequate containers you've got handy.

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    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    You're right, every time I encounter a burst effect in the game, I have to throw down my dice in disgust because it yanks me out of the immersion. :p
    Dr. Horrible wrote:
    Wow. Sarcasm. That's original! :-|

    I have yet to throw down my dice in disgust, Mr. Reynolds. On the other hand, I chose to stick with 3.5 rather than switching over to 4e because the former made some effort at modeling a coherent reality in which things like physics matter. Pathfinder is an obvious improvement, partly because certain things work cleaner and more elegantly and the mechanics are therefore less intrusive. So, for me and much of your target audience, immersion and verisimilitude are concerns, and valid ones within reason.

    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    The fact is, elements of the game take place on a grid. If you place bursts in the center of a square and use the 5/10/20 ft. radius as currently presented, it means you're only affecting half-squares along the edge of the effect, and you're still having problems with corners. If you change all spell effects to be 2.5 ft./7.5 ft./12.5 ft./17.5 ft. then all spell area descriptions are either really ugly ("a 7-1/2 ft. burst" looks blech on the page) or worded for people too dumb to measure in feet ("a 3x3 square centered on you").

    I don't have a problem with the notion that areas of effect have corners. I understand why that happens on a game that tracks combat on a grid, and I can draw a perfect circle of the proper radius and see that the squares covered by the grid give a relatively realistic assessment of the area in question. No worries there.

    And I further agree with you that adding 2.5 feet to every radius spell description is confusing and inelegant.

    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    The game is an abstraction. A human or gnome doesn't take up an entire 5 ft. square, and a 10 ft. radius burst centered on a corner isn't affecting an exact plus-shaped area on a grid. We accept these things so the wizard's turn doesn't take 5 minutes to resolve and so you're not counting 1 foot increments so the fighter's long bastard sword gets a reach bonus compared to a goblin's dagger. We have these abstractions in the game to speed up play. In the spectrum of slow-but-accurate-simulation on one side and fast-but-unrealistic-simulation on the other, D&D and games derived from it have fallen somewhere in the middle.

    Of course the game is an abstraction. Every game is an abstraction, from Monopoly to the UFC. In the Game formerly known as DnD, we accept that a radius "circle" is actually a collection of squares and that the melee reach of a bastard sword and a dagger are functionally equivalent because we want to keep the game moving without adding needless levels of complexity.

    Sean K Reynolds wrote:
    The world doesn't end if fireballs have jagged edges, nor does the world end if a 10-ft.-radius burst centered on a creature's corner leaves an unaffected square adjacent to the creature. Especially when you admit you can't find a spell in the game where this is a problem.

    And here's where you lose me. Citing an unrelated abstraction is a red herring. In the first example, the abstraction generalizes the area of an effect for ease of play. In the actual example in question, however, the abstraction actively alters the effect in a manner that invites absurdity.

    Finally, I never said that I could not find a spell in the game wherein this is a problem. I said that I didn't care at that moment to go searching through the books looking for a good example, so I made up a nonexistent, but plausible spell that easily could exist, and that illustrated my point clearly.

    Your dismissive reply, however, has positively inspired me, Mr. Reynolds. Behold, examples!

    • Antilife shell (a 6th level spell, 10' radius, centered on caster) cannot fully ward off a pack of wolves. Or any other group of living creatures. Furthermore, because the effect instantly collapses if you force it into a creature's space, it cannot even be reoriented on a succeeding round after that wolf has gotten to you (assuming such reorientation were even allowed).
    • Same goes for antiplant shell and repel vermin.
    • Antimagic field cannot save you from the spectres, wraiths, or shadows. Nor can it protect you from suffering sneak attack damage at the hands of the invisible rogue with a short sword. He can get adjacent to you without the field ever disrupting his invisibility, so long as he can discern where the effect sits (not easy for him, but doable).
    • Magic circle against evil doesn't actually keep all summoned evil creatures at bay, so long as those creatures have manufactured weapons. Those with reach weapons can attack from all but two angles.
    • Zone of silence does not buy privacy for a party of five characters, including the caster.

    I have a few more from the APG, including one that really throws a curveball to the distinction between "10' radius, centered on creature" and "all squares within 10' of creature."

    WWWW wrote:
    It worked the same way in 3.5 I believe.

    I know it did. I just never noticed before, because the other way seemed so intuitive. I've been running these effects "wrong" since at least 2003. It's been even longer if 3.0 was handled the same way, but I don't have access to those books anymore.

    Majuba wrote:

    Very interesting points Ederin (and I believe like WWWW that this isn't a change from 3.5).

    I've always ruled "radius from creature" effects as from the edge of the creature's space, so that they *are* bigger for bigger creatures.

    And that's a perfectly valid and intuitive way to rule, except that it creates some wonkiness when the colossal dragon throws down an antimagic field that blankets a total of 96-100 squares (depending on how you rule the corners) in dead magicky goodness, only 36 of which he actually occupies. That's 60-64 squares of dead magic for his enemies, compared to only 20-24 squares of effect for the medium sized wizard casting the same spell in the same slot. That seems like a bit too extreme a fringe benefit based upon the creature's size. It also seems like a good way to see a lot of size-increasing spells get cast on the wizard before he drops his radius effects centered upon himself.

    Tom Baumbach wrote:
    Ederin Elswyr wrote:
    The second implication/ambiguity is more philosophically interesting than the first, in that it glaringly reintroduces a concept with which 3.5/Pathfinder thought it had managed to do away: Facing.

    I disagree with this assessment, nothing links the intersection with the direction a creature faces.

    The rest is apt, and an... unfortunate consequence of gamism, but hardly a cause for FAQ; the system works as described, even if it a bit wonky.

    As far as changing the intersection of the area: if the spell allows for redirection, there's rules regarding that (a move action). If it doesn't then no worries.

    I didn't mean to suggest that the placement of the center of the effect actually means that the character is facing in a given direction, just that the nature of the rule grants a character an effective facing with regards to the effect. In other words, the character's effect on the battlefield changes depending upon the direction from which he is approached. Especially for those effects which protect the target or harm adjacent foes, the rules create a virtual facing, in that it is more advantageous to approach from one side than another. Which is a big part of what caused facing to be problematic in a game like D&D.

    I cannot think of any spell which centers on a creature that allows for a redirection of the intersection within RAW. So if they cannot be changed once cast, then no radius effect centered upon a small or medium creature can actually affect a radius around that creature unless the area is 15' or more. The opposite corner of the creatures space from the chosen intersection is always clear (most of the adjacent space is actually clear in the case of a 5' radius).

    While I can appreciate the appeal to abstraction, as I noted in my original post, I have to admit that radius effects that don't actually manage to affect a radius is a big problem. Amongst other things, it completely breaks immersion and verisimilitude, especially for new players.

    Imagine, if you will, a spell that deals 1d6/CL fire damage in a 5' radius, centered on the caster (as far as I know, no such spell exists in PF, but I don't really feel like poring over the book to find a spell that illustrates my point as clearly). New Player 1 (Let's call him Newp) sees this spell and decides it would be awesome for his wizard, to punish those pesky foes who manage to get in close to him. In one of the early sessions, Newp finds himself surrounded by goblins and decides to let fly with his spell.


    DM: "Okay, decide from which corner of your space the effect bursts."

    Newp: "What? It's centered on me, right?"
    DM: "Well, yes, except that all spell effects originate from grid intersections, so you have to select a corner, from which the effect will spread out 5' in every direction."
    Newp (grasping the implications): "But wait, that means I can only actually affect 3 goblins. There are 8 surrounding me!"
    DM: "Yeah, so which 3 would you like to affect?"
    Newp: "But it's a 5' radius around me! Aren't all these goblins within 5' of me? It should get all of them!"
    DM: "But the rules state that area effects always originate from grid intersections, so it can only affect the ones adjacent to the corner you select."
    Newp: "That's STUPID! I want to pick a different spell!"

    Now, obviously, since no such spell exists, it's a non-issue. But plenty of other effects do exist with similar problems. Calling it a radius effect centered on x creature is a bit of false advertising, and the ruling means that these effects don't actually do what they're supposed to do.



    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Mikaze wrote:
    Ederin Elswyr wrote:
    jasin wrote:

    When you sneak attack a human with inflict light wounds, it's 1d8+X + Yd6, right?

    When you sneak attack an undead with cure light wounds, it's 1d8+X + Yd6, right?

    When you sneak attack a human with cure light wounds, it's 1d8+X + Yd6, right?

    I totally see it. The ninja cleric!

    "Tell my wife (cough) that I (painful gasp) love h- . . . no . . . wait . . . I, um, think I'm okay, actually."

    "Who was that masked man?"

    Speaking of.

    So . . . um . . . Father McNinja, then? Brother McNinja? Reverend McNinja?

    Wait, I've got it. Archbishop McNinja. "Your Excellency, I didn't see you there."

    "That is because of my excellency."

    jasin wrote:

    When you sneak attack a human with inflict light wounds, it's 1d8+X + Yd6, right?

    When you sneak attack an undead with cure light wounds, it's 1d8+X + Yd6, right?

    When you sneak attack a human with cure light wounds, it's 1d8+X + Yd6, right?

    I totally see it. The ninja cleric!

    "Tell my wife (cough) that I (painful gasp) love h- . . . no . . . wait . . . I, um, think I'm okay, actually."

    "Who was that masked man?"

    4 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

    I've been playing D&D since 2e, through the life of 3.x, and have now transitioned to Pathfinder. In all that time, I have primarily DMed rather than played.

    Just a few minutes ago, while reading over the PFCRB (I'm still reading it constantly to make sure I know all the tiny changes from 3.x), I came across a dilemma that had never occurred to me before in any edition. According to the rules as written, any area of effect spell is always centered upon a grid intersection rather than a square itself, while any small or medium creature (let's leave the larger ones out of this for a moment, as they present a whole new level of potential complexity) always is assumed to occupy a square rather than any intersection. What does this mean for spells which specifically says they are centered on a creature?

    In looking over the Archives, it would seem that the intention is that the caster chooses from which corner of the creature's square the effect originates. After all, there is no explicit language to say otherwise, and the RAW does state that every spell with an area originates from an intersection. On the other hand, if that is the case, then the phrase, "centered on [creature]," is rather clumsy and misleading. Also, it carries with it a whole new battery of implications and ambiguities.

    The first and most disturbing implication is as follows: a 10' radius effect centered on a small or medium creature always includes a single square directly adjacent to said creature which is outside the area of the effect. Look at the shape on page 215 of the Core book and think about it for a moment. If it helps, stand up and get a tape measure. Determine the area of a circle around a given point with a 10' radius. Stand anyway you like, with a foot touching that point. Now consider that if this were D&D/Pathfinder, a halfling with a dagger could get close enough to shiv you to death without ever entering into the circle you've just created, so long as he approached you from the right "angle." Now, I'm the first to admit that D&D is a game of abstractions, but 10' is a long ways when you're talking about melee combat. To have a spot within 5' of you somehow manage to fall outside the area of a 10' radius effect which is supposed to be "centered" on you seems like a pretty glaring problem from a verisimilitude or even purely gamist standpoint.

    A 5' radius effect is somewhat less problematic, but still a bit weird, as it actually only affects an arc of 3 adjacent squares, since you are forced to occupy the other square included in the effect at all times. In other words, a radius effect which is centered on a creature doesn't actually affect a radius around that creature, unless said radius is at least 15'.

    It's actually less problematic when you work up into larger creatures. Since the creature itself takes up so much more space, it stands to reason that a 5' or 10' radius might not be enough to cover bits of the creature's fighting space. So long as you accept that a larger creature shouldn't be entitled to a greater effect from the same spell, you can easily accept that the spell might not be enough to adequately cover the creature.

    The second implication/ambiguity is more philosophically interesting than the first, in that it glaringly reintroduces a concept with which 3.5/Pathfinder thought it had managed to do away: Facing. Think about it; if you must pick a corner of your square from which the effect originates, then your position on the battlegrid has been assigned a directional orientation. Your effect on the battlefield becomes dependent upon which corner is chosen. If you placed the effect upon yourself (you "control" it, in M:tG parlance), can you change that corner while the spell persists? How about if you don't "control" the effect? If you can change the corner, and you take up more than one square, can you change the square from which the corner is selected?

    If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we must determine the action necessary to effect that change. Is it a swift action (you may elect a new corner/square once per round on your turn, giving up any other potential swift actions to do so)? Is it an immediate action (you may change the corner/square at any time, but only once per turn and you lose your swift action on the following round)? Is it a free action (you may change the corner/square any number of times but only during your own turn, and it remains in that corner until your next turn)? Is it something else? No matter what answer you choose, all creatures with any sort of radius effect centered upon themselves have effectively been made subject to rules regarding their "facing" within the combat, even if only to adjudicate the effect in question.

    None of this is adequately addressed within the rules as written. I've a pretty simple solution that I'm already contemplating, but as this is the rules question forum rather than the homebrew forum, I think I'll keep it under my hat until I've heard what everyone else thinks.

    Developers, I'd especially be interested to hear your thoughts, since they may include axioms or assumptions with which the game was designed, that I've not yet considered.

    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    I've condeded any number of times that those circumstances can indeed arise... but I've recommended a mechanism that (a) is transparent to players and DM both; (b) limits fudging to rare occasions; and (c) puts some of the choice in the players' hands. So far not one person seems willing to acknowledge that any of those three things might be preferrable to hidden DM fiat.

    I'm willing to acknowledge it, certainly. No worries there.

    On the other hand, Hero Point mechanics can have issues of their own at some tables. But that's another thread.

    Kirth Gersen wrote:
    Another reason for the need for strong statements as to why fudging can be bad (note: "can be," not "is") -- judging from the replies, it seems to be a default assumption ("Of course I can fudge -- I'm the DM!"). Challenging the status quo always requires a bit of extra commitment.


    Of course, I'm a big proponent of the notion that the DM is almost always in a position where that same logic applies. To my mind, any DM who begins and ends his/her justification for anything with "I'm the DM!" is one with whom I've no interest in playing.

    Whether the possibility of an occasional fudged roll exists or not, the DM is in a position of unbridled power with regards to the characters in his game (note: not over the players, who've the ability to walk away from the table or pour sugar into his gas tank). Nothing stops him from dropping an adult red dragon on a party of 1st level adventures. Nothing stops him from sticking an all-caster party in a dead magic dungeon. There are many, MANY ways for a DM to abuse the power he has over the games he runs. Fudging rolls is, indeed, one of those ways. For DMs prone to adversarial attitudes, or those with issues about control, giving them license to fudge a roll so that things go their way is like putting a live grenade in the hands of a downsized dot-com programmer with a grudge. It will work out poorly.

    So, it is certainly cleaner and easier, in looking at all the ways a fudged roll can be abused, to issue a blanket statement that all fudging is bad, at all times. This statement may in fact be completely true.

    Of course, as some mystics have said, "Nothing is true; everything is permitted." A quote originally attributed to Sabbah, but echoed in the writings of Taoism and numerous other sects throughout history (yeah, they didn't just make it up over at Ubisoft). A more Westernized expression of the same notion might be, "Rules are made to be broken."

    That shouldn't be read as a license for DMs to fudge dice rolls at whim. Merely an acknowledgment that circumstances may exist in which a judiciously fudged roll (objectively a bad thing, at all times and in all ways) may improve the gaming experience at your table, in a specific circumstance about which we cannot now hypothesize.

    Your mileage may, as in all things, vary.

    Brian Bachman wrote:

    I don't think anyone wants to interfere with someone expressing their opinions, so long as they are clearly acknowledged as just that, opinions. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion. What various folks, including myself, react to is when various posters present their opinions as fact and try to force them on others, without any acknowledgement that any other opinion could hold any validity.

    Some of the problem is with language, and one of the weaknesses of the Internet as a communications device, in that nuance is frequently lost.

    For example, even in your own excellent, moderately phrased and thoughtful post, you use the phrase "any fudging is wrong", without any modifiers such as "I believe that" or "in my experience". By just using "is", you've transformed your statement from subjective opinion to objective fact. I don't think that was...

    Well, Brian, to advocate the other side for a moment, the full phrase was, "please don't come down on us for saying that any fudging is wrong. That is our view, and we are entitled to it." That sounds like one hell of a modifier.

    There are plenty of valid examples upthread of folks begging the question in their phrasing of fudging as objective wrong. You chose the wrong example.

    Kirth Gersen wrote:

    And that's your fault, entirely, for throwing Bob against an enchanter without giving Bob something so simple as a 1st level protection from good spell or the Iron Will feat. I mean, honestly, come on. You've been planning this for months and it never once occurred to you during that time that one of the PCs is an enchanter? Mid-fight is too late for you to be asking for more prep time, which is in essence what you're trying to make up for by fudging.

    Now, if the PCs had been studying Bob, and knew he had those defenses, and the PC spent his last two feats on Spell Focus and the party dispelled Bob's protection immediately, then it can actually be quite exciting when Bob goes down in one round -- because the anticipation is in seeing if their preparations were enough.

    Every fight with a BBEG does not need to be dragged out to last 16 rounds for the game to be fun. In fact, after a couple of those fights, it gets to be boring. "Oh, we've just found the bad guy? Okay, I cast scorching ray every round until I run out of slots. See you in a couple of hours -- I'm gonna go get my oil changed."

    I think you're being a little unfair in how you're framing this. Camelot's original example involved the BBEG rolling a 1. Protection from good aside, that means that the BBEG is jumping into lava whether he's got Iron Will or not. Hell, even mind blank doesn't guard against a natural 1 in PF. Either he's got an effect that grants him blanket immunity to compulsions, he's got Improved Iron Will to allow him a RAW reroll (which still doesn't preclude 1-in-400 odds of two 1s in a row), or the climactic encounter to which this game has been building for months just became stupid.

    Furthermore, we're not necessarily talking about a situation in which the PCs spent time and energy concocting the perfect plan (which I agree should sometimes be allowed to go off without a hitch, to reward the players for their effort and creativity). We're talking about a fluke auto-fail vs. a save or die effect in the first round of combat. Sometimes, these things happen, especially at moments when they really shouldn't.

    So as a DM, I have a judgment call to make. If I let the roll stand, I've been fair and impartial. If I'm playing in Society play, this is certainly the correct call, in the interests of fairness. On the other hand, that call may rob my players of the sense of drama, danger, and ultimate accomplishment that comes with such a confrontation.

    Alternately, I fudge it, and let the villain save against the effect to preserve the encounter. Personally, I'd fudge it in those precise circumstances, but only after checking the situation against my personal DM's fudging checklist.

    1. The fudge may only be employed to prevent something that would actively detract from the enjoyment of the majority of players at the table.

    2. The fudge may only move the dice in the direction of the most likely outcome of a given action. The action needs to have had a 70% or greater chance of turning out the way I'm calling it.

    3. The fudge cannot negate the effect of a PC's heroic awesomeness. By heroic awesomeness, I do not mean the PC doing something that his build allows him to do trivially. But if the PC(s) are going above and beyond the call to try something clever or desperate, then the dice stand.

    4. An encounter that's gone on for 3-4 rounds has gone on long enough (the villain has likely already done the coolest thing he/she is going to do). No fudging to extend its duration beyond that point.

    5. If a player has seen the die roll already, you can't fudge it.

    6. Only fudge on the PCs behalf to prevent a TPK, when all above conditions have also been met.

    7. When in doubt, let the dice stand. The fudge is only for an extreme corner case scenario.

    You may disagree with my approach, but I think it's a mistake to call this an objective flaw in the way I run my games or to accuse me of shoddy preparation.

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