I have always felt the kill it if it pings evil is a GM problem. They way we always played it is detect evil is asking your deity's opinion. Pinging evil is your god directly telling you that, yes the person you are detecting is better off dead. If your don't want that well as the GM now is the time to speak up (as the paladins God) or forever hold your peace.
The rules are almost made for the good cop, bad cop routine, especially at lower levels.
At best any prisoner is going to have an indifferent attitude (like Grob the town drunk sleeping it off), but are more likely to be unfriendly if not outright hostile, making it a more difficult diplomacy check for any creature with less than 5HD. So you intimidate them first, then when their attitudes are temporarily increased you hit them with diplomacy permanently moving them up another step. So for a short while you have them up two steps then they come down one. I would also rule that if both interrogators are working together then they can also aid another.
Speaking from the experience of being a carny, a job pretty similar to sailors. You are never home, great way to not think about it too much, get a little drunk. The days are long and hard on a good day, even just sleeping can be difficult due to soreness, getting a little drunk can mean a couple extra hours of sleep. Everyone else is doing it, not drinking means not participating means being the sober guy at the party (the cha bonus is the only part of the rules I agree with). Getting a little sloppy can actually prevent injuries, while it isn't a muscle relaxer it serves much the same purpose because it lets you relax.
I haven't exactly figured out how I am going to do the rum rations I do know how I want it to work. This is my very rough draft.
Reasonable amounts of alcohol are not poison, and all pirates are addicted though not necessarily alcoholics, not getting your ration is unpleasant. In my world being a pirate means drinking.
Drinking no rum nets you no bonuses and a -2 to your charisma checks the next day as everyone sees you as a party pooper and not a team player as well as not letting off any steam making the character grumpy the next day.
Sipping your ration gives you a +2 bonus to sleep of any negative effects. This means your drinking just enough to keep your buzz mild.
Hard drinking gives you the +4 cha bonus to interactions with the crew, but you must make a fort save to not be hung over the next day (sicked maybe?). Anyone participating in drinking games is a hard drinker.
There are a few ways to drink more than your share, all of them are dangerous. A pirate is expected to be ready for duty at first light if his drinking prevents this then standard punishments apply. Anyone drinking more than their fair share should use the rules in the book con damage and all (wicked hangover).
As a reward the crew can be treated to a night of drinking (extra rations for everyone!), this raises morale considerably but the crew also expects to have a day to recover. You can choose to not take your extra ration(s) but it's use it or lose it. Participating in more than one drinking game per night requires extra rations.
But I'm not an expert nor do I have any more intimate knowledge of an ostrich than some random kid in an African village. You probably know more about squirrels than I do about ostrich. What I know about them is just barely over the minimum to handle them safely, expert knowledge would mean knowing things like how to vet them (we actually lost a baby due to our ignorance, including the owners that had them for years), or train them, etc.
To clarify, I'm saying there is a major difference between being familiar with a concept of something and the real living breathing thing. Having worked with lots of animals in my life this is just intuitive to me, but many people don't know that there is a distinction.
Depending on the game I am playing I do both ends of the spectrum. No encumbrance at all or full encumbrance.
What started the argument over in the other thread is should kit weights be errata to be equal to their constituent components or not. Then people got defensive, touchy, started attacking each other and nothing of value was communicated.
The way I figure it, the way encumbrance was abstracted (from all the way back to the beginning of D&D) was based on mass. Changing that now to a hybrid where "weight" is partially based on packaging with no explanation to how or why the specific number was chosen is just more work for those that care about encumbrance while not providing one lick of usefulness to those that don't care, well because they don't use it anyway. I just don't see any good reasons to change that but the developers disagree. Considering the fallout it caused on the forum, this smells like one of those compromises that isn't going leave anyone happy.
This all depends on what familiarity means to you.
The two relevant definitions of familiar over at dictionary.com are:
1: commonly or generally known or seen: a familiar sight.
Familiarity is experience not book learning, not being told about, not seeing a picture, but hands on experience. You could spend years reading about how a qwerty keyboard works from some village in Africa but you would never say you were familiar using one. You would be familiar with knowing what one looks like, but no amount of staring at a picture is going to give you 30 words per minute.
Animals take experience to become familiar with. I can tell you to watch out when walking behind a horse because it can kick you. But unless you have seen and interacted with horses by the time you recognize that the horse intends to kick it's most likely way too late and you get kicked.
The farther you are from an animals natural habitat the harder it is to be really familiar with them. Your instincts are just wrong. When I moved into my last place I had to take care of ostriches. Having grown up watching more discovery channel than any other kid I knew I though I was familiar with them. I wasn't I was familiar with the concept, I knew things like how fast they can run, what some of the sounds they make are and why, and that they can be dangerous able to kill a person in one kick. That didn't make me familiar with the actual animals at all, I was only familiar with them as a concept.
Familiarity came with experience, learning how to handle them, what their very subtle body language meant, when they were aggressive because they were laying on an egg and when they were just being grumpy or hungry. Eventually I could walk through their inclosure with very little danger to myself because I was familiar enough to understand them instinctively. There is no way to replicate that through book learning, or research, or talking story.
Knowledge skills though are a hybrid of things you can read about and skills you gain from experience. That's where the GM has to make a call.
For me that means a druids familiarity with an animal is based on location. There just isn't anyway to form the intimate enough connection with an animal you have never even seen before to replicate it's shape much less it's essence. In the case of a druid turning into a bipedal multi-ton dinosaur she has never even seen before how would the druid even know how to walk effectively? Remember it wasn't that long ago that every museum had the T-Rex standing straight up dragging it's tail. Same thing... kind of.
While it seems to me having to track both kit weight and it's constituent components weight seems like more work, I can definitely see what you are trying to do here, and I don't entirely think you are wrong, it just isn't the way I would go. I do think you are underestimating the number of simulationists that play D&D though, and the amount of grief having a bunch of exceptions to the rules causes some of us (same reason my spelling sucks, thank the gods for spell check). But thank you for your reply, it's good to know that even if you disagree you are aware and have considered our opinions.
WOW is a bad example because WOW is a MMO, not an pen and paper RPG that can be played with/on a computer. WOW must target the lowest common denominator. The more pen and paper RPGs try to emulate WOW the less reasons there are to play pen and paper (including digital pen and paper). D&D with a computer is a totally different animal than an MMO, what works for one rarely has anything to do with what works for the other.
I have played many a game where encumbrance is a major factor. Having to choose between dragging your ally back to town or taking the loot can have profound story implications. Not that you NEED a detailed encumbrance system to play that out, but it sure would make it easier and more natural in a world where a computer can take care of those details for you instead of having to figure it out on a case by case basis. Without an encumbrance system that can be automated then it isn't even a possibility, this is a very self limiting decision, and fixing it later if you change your mind will be a huge pain.
Sure it might not be everyone's cup of tea but many people very much do play that way now even though it isn't well supported. Encumbrance would also play a large role when going on expeditions. I do a lot of real life hiking, camping, and general exploring, and encumbrance is everything. What I bring depends very much on what I plan to do. Packing right can be a challenge into itself. This was even a major element of the Jade Regent adventure path (in the form of caravans). Some people like that, so much so there are entire RPGs built on that model.
I think not catering to simulationists is going to be a bad plan in the long run. It's not something that's easily added back into a system once striped out.
Here is the why.
"Computer" use to be a job description. Rooms full of people doing simple arithmetic based on per-determined tables. Sounds familiar right? Today my laptop and a spreadsheet app can do more calculations per second as every human "computer" that ever existed put together easily.
Hero Lab is just the beginning. With VTTs getting more advanced and able to handle the minuet it's only going to become more important to people. I seriously doubt people will even be using dead trees in twenty years. In a not very distant future OLED and eInk devices will be cheaper than books. OLED table tops will be common (and most likely in glasses free 3D like a giant 3DS). The game table will look more like a scene from Star Trek, each player has their own "PADD" a device that combines all of the separate features in the range of devices beginning at laptops and ranging down to the "eReader".
This will happen because that's what kids will be use to (the new Nintendo Wii is going this route), it will be normal for them. It also means that things like encumbrance, movement, attacks of opportunity, etc become a lot less cumbersome, therefor permitting a faster more "fair" games. Automation will be added, even to the point where monsters more or less play themselves while the GM focuses on the bigger picture. Pen and paper is going to hybrid (and already has in many areas) with video games. This is ultimately a good thing, as the less a GM has to think about the more they can focus on the stuff they want to think about.
The less inconsistencies in the core rules and official supplements means less edge cases and exceptions that have to be dealt with when the real programing starts, and means more people are willing to invest in creating those programs in the first place. It's also the reason programs like PCGen are so big and bug ridden and require vast resources to develop and maintain.
Love or hate Ravingdork, in this instance he is trying to prevent what we call "spaghetti code" in the computer world. Doing things the slightly harder but more consistent and logical way can save you many many headaches down the road, with very few drawbacks. You can always ignore features you don't use but getting them added into a system that wasn't conscientiously built for it or has a bunch of exceptions that have to be dealt with individually is a nightmare for those that do care.
But that's just my opinion, your mileage may vary.
I'll take that as a yes, then.
You and the rest of the fanboys have taken every statement to date not wildly praising Ryan Dancey's greatness, however it pleased you, before you even bother to read them. So feel free to take my words and mangle them beyond all reason and propriety.
I have already been compared to a pedophile at a BBQ, repeatedly accused of not reading the blog post like I am some kind of illiterate, had words put into my mouth, and my opinions made up whole cloth, while Ryan Dancey fuels the fires. What's the worst that can happen? You going to take my birthday away?
@ Ryan's Toadies
I have had everything from my integrity to my experience questioned without cause. Every mean spirited post by Ryan is followed by a small hoard of me toos, piling it on with hyperbole and insults.
The guidelines become rules and vise versa as it suits your argument, moving the goalposts.
How can you even make statements like:
Guidelines... in black and white even.
It's literally an oxymoron. This is a guy that thinks others haven't read the blog post, or that we are too stupid to understand.
And yet I'm suppose to be OK with being told I hate women because I'm not one and something is going to be done about it?! That's why we have vague/landmine/guidelines/rules/grey area/black and white/trustworthy/unexpected whatever I lost count.
Ryan you have become a bully, you encourage hate from your fans against anyone you disagree with. You push away anyone that disagrees leaving only those that will never tell you when you are doing wrong. The few that try to speak out are drowned in misrepresentation and bullying from your fan club creating a clear us vs them dichotomy. And your "I think you proved my point." is about as mature as Pee-wee Herman's "I know you are but what am I?" Instead of communicating, or even agreeing to disagree, or even politely disagreeing, you have gone out of your way to insult and dismiss any opinion not yours. Are you trying to make enemies? Do you want people to hate you? Do you want bad press?
At this point I am hoping you don't pull down Paizo and Pathfinders name down with this project. This is what happened to MC Chris when he got a little to big for his Pee Pants. He believed he was combating bullying also, became the bully himself. That's already happening here.
Edit: Now I'm a goon apparently... next I'' be communist, then probably an anarchist, and finally you will hit the bottom of the barrel and start making 4chan accusations. Because anyone that dares have another opinion or maybe even experience is obviously part of some conspiracy to destroy your community. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with your actions. I've been around since before the endless September, I have seen more than my fair share of mods, imms, owners and masters make the same mistakes over and over.
First I tried to contribute, you picked a fight. Then I tried to reconcile, then you insulted me. Your driving away perfectly reasonable potential customers in your refusal to listen. I don't need a crystal ball to tell me this future.
This actually makes me think of a very real situation in which Ryan's "landmine logic" has worked and has been working for over 50 years. The Korean DMZ. There is only one place that you can walk right up to that line, that's the JSA, and daring to cross it is suicide. For the rest 160 miles, there is an area 2.2 miles wide that if you wander into, you are fair game for either side. There are plenty of landmines there, too.
So this game will be as fun as taking a stroll though he Korean DMZ, the only place quantifiably worse than North Korea on the entire planet. With friends like you who needs enemies?
I wanted to talk about the subtleties of managing an world spanning online community. I got compared to a pedophile at a BBQ, and generally treated like an idiot.
At the other end of the spectrum, baalbamoth brought up the same thing, though in a far more antagonistic way for sure, but the response from the CEO of Goblinworks was to threaten him with bodily harm and an insult, breaking one of his very own rules I might add. Followed by others encouraged by this behavior, pontificating on additional tortures that he "deserved".
Insult and derision has been encouraged against anyone not in complete agreement on this subject.
I can't possibly fathom how you intend to manage an MMO when your forum already has a toxic environment.
This isn't a company I can trust to be reasonable, to see more than one side of a debate, or even hold themselves to the same standard they hold others. I said I was only going to lurk, but I feel I have more than enough information to make an informed decision, and I will not be playing this game, nor will I advise others to. In fact unless things change I will be doing the opposite. As much as you look down on me personally that isn't a good thing for a niche game, in a bloated genre, that's expecting players to be the content.
I'm not investing time into a game that's going to be antagonistic. I'm not a child, I can obey and respect rules. I don't want to worry while playing a game, I want to have fun, you want me to worry then I'm out.
I have moderated forums, admined muds, run guilds, etc. ranging from G rated stuff for the kids to adult only, and I have never had set people up or be vague to do my job.
You would obviously not like to talk about this subject so I guess I will be waiting to hear from others word of mouth how you handle your community.
If the speed limit were between 40 and 80mph, people would be getting popped for 52, 75, 68, etc. This in turn keeps people at around 40 sometimes 45. That is about how much they could theoretically get away with... but they'd have that thought popping in their head.
Google "selective enforcement" and more than one game has gone bankrupt due to it, governments have been toppled, and is generally considered a sign of tyranny. If you want the speed limit to be 40 you set it at 40 and deal with the inevitable rule breakers. If you must be absolutely sure, because of extenuating circumstances you set it at 25 like a school zone and you ticket everyone going over 25. If the rules are going to be vague, arbitrary, and antagonistic (land mines really?!) I'll just take a pass to play a more grown up game. One that is willing to communicate it's expectations so I can help maintain that standard.
Ryan Dancey wrote:
I want the exact opposite of a "clear" rule. That's just asking for the rule to be gamed. Community management isn't a game.
You don't want clear rules but you don't want to play games?! Seriously? You don't see any irony there? Your insistence that people only want rules to lawyer them is also a bit insulting. I guess I'll just go back to lurking.
@ Vic Wertz
Everything you wrote is understandable and I agree wholeheartedly. That's very good reasoning and policy.
@ Ryan Dancey
Sorry if I offended, it wasn't my intention. I do understand the sexism that exists everywhere including in our games. I have rolled a girl more than once just to see what the hubbub was. In my experience it's always been a mixed bag (getting free things for having imaginary boobs will never cease to amuse me), but I have thick skin. I can respect any line you set, it's your baby, but me and many others would like to be very sure we don't cross that line. One of my hobbies is doing the Rocky Horror Picture Show, and every other person I know from the cast plays D&D, MMOs, or both, so I'm pretty sure I'm not alone (and very sure from my days as a MUD admin, you players are dirty dirty people, yes we can read your chat logs), so I think it's a good idea that you are very clear on these policies so we don't end up on different pages.
As for the sexism thing, in my experience (including pretending to be a girl) its far more a problem with the immature being socially awkward no matter the sex, age, sexual preference, or any other demographic. But YMMV.
@ Ryan Dancey
> The sex-talk is a huge wedge that misogynistic male gamers use to play out their little Shades of Grey fantasies against women in on-line spaces and I don't want that nonsense in my game.
Now I'm just confused again. So because of a best selling book aimed mostly at middle aged women, that has by all accounts improved their sex lives (there are many articles on this I just googled several of them), we can't have sexy talk, because that's sexist?!
I don't want to get too graphic here, but every single experience with BDSM (hey you brought it up) in my life was initiated by women. In fact I found it to be a lot of work (but totally worth it).
I still would like an 18+ filter for my pub door. Sure some kids will lie to get in, but that's their parents problem for not watching them. All GW needs to do is make sure there is an "players age" form to fill out during account creation so you have done your due diligence (like facebook).
Keeping things tactful in public is obviously necessary, but what happens behind closed doors should be up to those behind those doors.
I'm guessing running a brothel is completely out of the question though.
What if we got pubs? They are 18+, can serve alcohol, and the proprietor sets the level of debauchery. Even put a sign on the door, rated R for violence and language. Let people vote with their presences what topics they are comfortable with.
Though extremely abusive behavior shouldn't be tolerated.
I would like some clarification on the difference between in character and out of character "bad communications" because if I am playing an antagonist "bag guy" like a highway man (something supposedly supported by the game) you're list really limits my RP. Does your list of do-nots include in character interactions? If so how do you expect people to RP "bad guys".
Any color other than light pink is darker than the standard Caucasian look.
Anyway... anyone read about segregation during the making of the original Planet of the Apes? They had to hire a bunch of extras to be apes, and like everyone expected they broke into groups of white, black, and Hispanic, but by the second day because it was just easier to stay in costume all day during breaks they broke off into groups of gorillas, chimpanzees, and orangutangs regardless of who was under the costume.
I don't see anything wrong with fantasy racism, for the exact same reason I don't see anything wrong with fantasy murder, or piracy, etc. Conflict is central to drama and a xenophobic conclave of any race would be interesting, and shouldn't need to be justified. Just like someone playing a thief or a necromancer doesn't have to justify their choice.
Heck a Gnomish KKK would be hilarious, while a raciest human organization would be a giant invitation to mess with them.
It's all make believe and play pretend anyway, your avatar only reflects that of yourself that you let it.
People want songs not notes. Evil Lincoln hit the nail on the head. Every VTT program I have seen is trying to sell access to components, but to me this is like trying to sell pianos by the key in a world where keys are easily reproduced with a couple mouse clicks.
Instead Paizo should focus on being the iTunes of VTTs. They could even enforce a copyleft style license where any unique resources introduced by a 3rd part would be required to be added to the general pool, including both art and rules subsystems (also Game Space should be scriptable).
The other thing that Paizo could sell would be hosting. A free account would have just enough memory to host a single campaign, while for X$ a month you get X megs of extra storage space. This would be an abstraction of what you are really buying (bandwidth) because having a single database serving all instances means that the art resources are not actually getting copied.
I would buy into such a system, and before long Paizo would have such an insurmountable level of content Game Space could become the de facto VTT.
Another way to encourage community addition of resources is giving each artist a small cut of Paizos portion of the profit when someone buys an adventure. This way everyone gets paid but only Paizo deals with the details.
Anyway that's how I would do it.
While I have read everyone's opinion on the subject there are seemingly two camps. Those that want a book about sex and those that don't. Not much point in writing a book for those that are never going to read it so this post is targeted at the former with an addendum for the latter.
Here is how I would outline such a book.
Working title: Sex Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll.
This is a book about how to referee the wilder side of social interaction. What it isn't is a compendium of bonuses for your dual wielded phallus.
Chapter one: Informed Consent.
How to approach and inform your players of your intended levels of content. Introduce a rating system that rates violence, sexual content, and vulgarity separately from G to NC17 (if you are looking for X this isn't the book for you). Each level for each subject would have a short list of what is and isn't to be expected as possibly coming up in game, as well as an appropriate boiler plate for privately addressing any concerns that a particular player might not be comfortable with and dealing with it maturely on a case by case basis depending on the intended campaign arc. Solutions would range from just avoiding the touchy subject, working around it through "fade to black" techniques, to politely declining a player because their desires don't mach the groups. This to me is the single most important chapter and could be useful for any game.
Chapter two: Sex.
This chapter would cover many topics from seduction to consequences. Races would each have rules for pregnancy (gestation times, probability, and other purely biological processes.
Rules for using diplomacy in common seduction situation (your gnome is going to have a awful time trying to seduce that orc) what races tent to find attractive attributes and what they do not (generalizing as an easy reference for GMs mostly), regional predictions (while the barbarians up north prefer muscles and alpha behavior, Chelixians prefer those with the power to engage in the taboo without consequences), and the social and legal consequences of impropriety.
Roll play tips and examples. Sometimes someone want's to try RPing outside their normal comfort zone but don't know the first thing about how to approach the subject. This sections would outline sexual subcultures and give RP tips and adventure hooks dealing with everything from wooing the governors daughter in a pirate adventure to impressing the countess of whips and leather with your... endurance.
The taboo, from rape to slavery. What exactly should one expect when the succubus comes to town. How to handle the subjects as tastefully as can be expected, and what is going too far no matter the group (even people that do the Rocky Horror Picture Show have limits).
Chapter three: Drugs
Rules for drinking and drug use. Uppers, downers, some that are basically poison. Effects on local populations to their introduction. Criminal hierarchies and enterprises and policing. Players could be on either side or even both. This chapter would be largely about the cat and mouse between the law and criminals, while not descending to making judgements about either side. Do you support the drug merchant that uses the local orphanage population to distribute his product or do you support the local authority even though without income the orphans could be homeless? Prohibition is rife with adventure possibilities and many grey areas that could make for exquisite RP opportunities.
Chapter four: Rock 'n' Roll
All about counter cultures and the cost and benefits of reputation. While a paladin's stuffy but exemplary reputation may serve him well in the king's court, it will do him little good at the seedy pub down by the docs no matter how charismatic he is, while the opposite is true of the gnomish bard who super charged his lute with a lighting elemental and is rousing the youth and rabble with lyrics of personal freedom and wild dress. This chapter would focus of broader cultural conflicts and how to handle them using a reputation mechanic. GM's could then have a better idea on how far the players reputations have traveled (at the speed of rumor) as well as what to expect when it finally catches up with them.
The most important thing in every chapter is exploring the conflict created by both sides of the explicit behavior, because that's where adventure is. The book needs be as useful for the evil party wishing to play out their perversions (this isn't a dirty word to me so bear with me) as well as presenting an accurate stereotype for opposing those behaviors without making them a shallow parody. Even a rape victim may find catharsis in stopping the slavers flesh trade if handled properly, this book is about giving GMs the tools to do so.
The problem is you are making piracy the better option. I don't have to worry about pirated files getting stolen/hacked/whatever. I don't have to download and learn encryption technologies. Having water marked files with my name on them is like having a ticking time bomb. Why even bother when with pirated files don't have those risks and are cheaper?
I don't need a lesson in encryption (I have been using it for over a decade, as well as far more secure operating systems like Linux), my argument is of the devils advocate type. If the files are already out there, then buying from Paizo is just giving them money to take on risk, and no other benefit that piracy doesn't already provide.
Plus some people do care about the doctrine of fist sale, and will not buy products that impose restrictions on them, legal or not.
Back when I was a MUD admin you couldn't get people to not use the same password for their email and our game, the idea that your going to get Joe user to secure their boxes (over a D&D book) is laughable at best. Expecting it, is only going to piss people off. It's the digital equivalent of storing your DVDs in a safe, overkill and inconvenient.
I don't need yet another responsibly just to own a few D&D books, if Paizo expects me to guard their gates for them, then they should be paying me and not the other way around.
I'm not going to encrypt my D&D books period, my electricity bill is high enough already without making my computer jump through hoops just to read a book.
Now I have a few Pathfinder books I got a my local shop, and I was seriously interested in buying some PDFs soon (been pretty broke), but if there is any chance at all that Paizo is going to punish me if they leak out (leaks happen to everyone, your bank, the government, everyone) then the deal is off.
Those PDFs are going to end up on the torrent sites one way or the other, it's going to happen. All you are doing Paizo is punishing a paying customer if you retaliate in any way. There is nothing you can do to prevent piracy, other than good prices and quality customer service.
I will still be buying dead tree, Paizo's products are just too damn sexy not to, but if you want some advice, Gabe Newell said piracy is "almost always a service problem" (googling that quote will get you many articles on the subject). Doing anything other than ignoring piracy can only hurt you in the long run. Instead focus only on what you can control, making your products worth buying.
Having to encrypt my HD just to download an RPG PDF isn't good customer service. In fact expecting your customers to guard your products that for the most part are already out there, just seems crazy to me.
Please don't hate me for this post Paizo, you guys are still my favorite.
For those wondering how to apply aid another to a diplomatic roll, there is a ted talk about the subject.
Ways a second (or more) player can boost a low diplomatic roll:
1. The slow clap, the difference between genius and insanity is a fine line, so make it thicker by being the slow clap guy.
2. Nodding and paying attention, even something as small as saying "I want to hear what he has to say" can give a major advantage, be a team support each other.
3. Intimidate the other guy, you don't have to threaten him, but the half-orc standing just a little too close can really put someone's debate skills off their game.
There is also the implied threat, that would be using diplomacy to aid an intimidate roll.
"That's because droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose" -- Han Solo
All of forward momentum and speed crossbow bolt has, it received from the crossbow string that pushed it forward. That means that, if bolt was moving faster than sound, the string had to do it first. Which means that crossbow string broke the sound barrier - along with the accompanying deafening sonic boom and shockwave - something like 6-12" from the shooter's face :D
You know the loud noise that's made by a gun? That's mostly the sonic boom of the bullet. You know that "pop" a whip makes, also a sonic boom.
What you are forgetting is that only a very small portion of the potential energy of things that do create sonic booms goes into the boom. Most of the energy goes into useful work (flying through the air), and heat. If your x-bow had enough potential energy to create a dangerous sonic boom, the boom would be the least of your problems, just shooting the thing would at the very least rip your arm right off.
So for balance reasons Golems do not detect, and a justification was etched out of "detect magic".
I wish the designers were a little more open about their decision making processes, because shoehorning in these exceptions for balance that don't fit the fluff is what leads to these arguments.
So from what I have gathered Golems don't show because James Jacobs didn't want a cantrip based radar giving away what's behind that door.
I think the book every DM needs to read is Requiem for a Dream. Or at the very least watch the movie. This entire conversation conveniently ignores the responsibility of the DM to make his world consistent with the rules. D&D worlds are not real, all consequences are dictates from your DM, there is no "real life" forcing grey areas into our morality models. To argue how things work in real life is ignoring the medium, real life doesn't apply.
Did your paladin player torture, well it better come back to bite him if you are good at all at DMing D&D. That's how objective morality works, the ends never justify the means because the means create the ends. Let me repeat that because it's important, in story telling the means create the ends, every fiction writer knows this, every DM should practice it. That's one of the most important reasons why you have a DM and not a computer.
If evil actions are begetting good outcomes, then you are not really playing D&D you are playing some home brew, it's central to the mechanics of the world where good is good, and evil is evil, and there are gods, spells, magical artifacts galore to spell it out in giant capital letters that cannot be argued with or you get smited. If a character wanted to know his alignment there are many ways to do so.
What all that means is yes, your BBEG is supposed to be cartoonishly evil, he doesn't think he is good, he knows he is evil and just doesn't care because "what are you going to do about it" or he think that evil is correct "might makes right" also known as social Darwinism. That's the difference between chaotic and lawful evil.
Nihilism has no place at the game table, it's not compatible with imaginary worlds, where consequences are decided by fiat. You can surely act like a Nihilist but the very fist time you see a cleric slinging spells you should have some psychotic break due to your irreconcilable crisis of faith.
Remember alignment isn't about real life morality, it's a dictate on how morality is modeled in a fictional world. Any discussion that doesn't take the existence of the DM and that we are playing a game based on collaborative story telling, is inherently flawed. YMMV.
I loved the fact that the track from the movie was in the game. I walked there before they released vehicles. After vehicles we raced there, a lot. Set up a ranger tent, blow off some fireworks. Sexy dancers, men in hot pants.
I had a cloths house and a regular house because I ran out of item space.
Yes, SWG had the perfect amount of bottle necks. I saw Vader just waiting for the shuttle off planet. I pulled a Han Solo and immediately opened fire, then died. It was perfect. One day out of the blue Vader is out on the ass end of the universe and I'm a rebel with a gun. Sure I didn't have a chance but I really think it was better that way. I mean, I got to die a Rebel terrorist, and try to assassinate Darth Vader, and he wasn't just some static spawn.
I was on Calistra. I loved just how easy it was to fall into role play, and the large number of emotes that were available. You could pretty much just type /any_basic_action_you_can_think_of and your character would do it, from dancing to tapping your foot in boredom. I used to use /tap a lot, it actually hurried people up.
One of my proudest moments was when I purchased a mouse droid (one of those little tiny black droids on wheels) and I filled it full of beer and took my droid and a fishing pole to the one little mud hole on Tatooine and started fishing and drinking beer. About five minutes later some random person stops and asks what I am doing. I tell him drinking beer and fishing so he joins me. Then a second person. Then their friends, and their friends friends, and it was a beach party, on Tatooine.
That wasn't "Starwarsy" enough apparently for Sony, but I had a heck of a time.
It was before that, I'm pretty sure. I'm assuming it happened more than once but you could be correct I'm just misremembering. But it just goes to show how amazing SWG really was, how many other mat drops do you remember from other games? Heck I can't remember nor care to most boss fights, but one little mat drop, and I am still telling stories about it years later.
We created our own stories on SWG. I remember my first Rebel Alliance quests. I was still just a newb and the best PvPer on our server would attack me the moment I attacked the Imperial spawns. After the second time, I learned to watch my radar really really closely. Given a big enough head start I could retreat far enough away he couldn't kill me. We cat and moused for hours and hours, sending back and forth death threats, mockery, but OOC he gave me tips on PvP, exchanged pleasantries, etc. It was the most fun I ever had grinding quests. I legitimately felt like part of a civil war even if that feature was barely supported. The more structure they tried adding to the game the worse things got until it just wasn't worth playing anymore. It was so much more when everything was player driven.
As a SWG player since a few months after release Alexander's post is right on the mark.
300k was a lot of users when SWG came out.
People didn't want (though a very vocal minority always claims otherwise)narrative arcs and still don't (last I checked The Old Republic flopped and it's almost entirely narrative).
The number one factor that kept away large population on SWG was mistrust of Sony. Every patch they would break something that worked, "fix" something that wasn't broken, and ignore major bugs like chat glitching out causing characters to become invisible/mute to only some people in your group only fixed by logging. Staff and product vision would change quarterly. Boards full of well designed fixes to balance the classes were ignored (honestly many of fan the rebalances were the best I have ever seen). Many classes had skills that the world didn't even support (mobs only spawned when you were within a certain distance, that distance was so small that many of the scout/ranger tracking skills were literally useless). Half of everything was blamed on Sony's choice of database (we can't do that because database was their mantra). The nerf/buff cycle was ridiculous, never ever hitting the middle ground (the game became Star Wars Pokemon for a few months at one point because of over buffing the monster trainer class then nearly killed the concept a couple patches later making them useless as well as nerfing non-trainers pets that were never a problem). I can go on all day like this, SWG only had one real problem from the very beginning, mismanagement.
Despite all that they still had 300k subscribers back when that was a decent number. People wanted to play SWG (in all it's sandbox glory), it was Sony that killed it.
I spent so much time creating my own adventures in that game I was one of the most popular characters on my server, and I pretty much chose the worst class combo possible (ranger/squad leader/carbineer) but because of my contacts, equipment (not just top of the line stuff, carefully created and balanced, that took several professions working together to create, and a huge amount of research), built in features (needing specific classes to take out fortifications), my build wasn't just playable it was enjoyable. I literally tried to create the games worst character and ended up on point for massive PVP battles. I wore the most ostentatious armor I could find and while I couldn't hurt a fly I was deceptively robust (even a few levels in carbineer could allow you to absorb huge amounts of damage if you had the right equipment/buffs)
Afterward I would use my ranger skills to put up a huge tent, call in my entertainer buddies that would show up with an entire band, doctors to heal/buff everyone, armor/weapon/etc merchants to replace damaged items, all before the combat types even had a chance to make it back to a major trade hub to spend their cash. It wasn't long before I was taking out groups of a dozen or so out for hunting trips to farm whatever new drop was needed by my guild. I would keep these groups mixed new and old players, the newbies would take extra missions to stretch out the payday while the experienced players did the killing while I focused on getting the newbies up to speed and finding them good guild fits (also creating more long lasting contacts/friends).
By the end of my first year on SWG my money was no good. I would submit orders for special armor/weapons/droids/pets/etc and my merchant friends would track me down to deliver them (I didn't have a need for much money so I was infamous for just dropping huge amounts of hard to collect resources on my guilds merchants).
One month after the random reset of mats there was a really good mat that dropped from a lowbie mob. Nobody wanted to farm them even though the mats where good because they dropped so very few. So I gathered together newbies nearly every day that month, hooked them up with the best equipment their character could use (newbie equipment was cheap) and showed them how to take the mission for the mob I was looking for. Together we would go out (in groups of three to six) and in exchange I would get the mats that dropped. I just used the honor system and it worked so well I had groups tracking me down days later (I was always so proud when my groups would stick together when I left) just to dump even more of the mats on me. Ended up with over a years supply for my guild. We were the only ones that could make some of the higher end equipment that needed that mat for a long time, making our guild a small fortune eventually.
All of that happened organically. I was just playing the game, I never even intended to be a social butterfly, but the game had lots and lots of subtle design strategies that pushed people together in good way. There was a lot of organic role play, created from the verisimilitude of the crafting/combat system.
For example I learned how to socialize first by begging people to sit in my s!+!ty scout camp (you got XP for this). This lead a couple of more experienced players told me about popular places people killed mobs so I set up camp there and XP poured in, but having nothing better to do than sit a chat I learned all about the needs of the combat types so I could bring them to trade. Then it all exploded from there.
I never picked a class or skill because it was the best, you didn't have to, you could pick what was fun and not be punished. That was the greatest strength of SWG, something I have never seen before or since.
Sorry about the wall of text, I think I had way to much coffee.
A charismatic lawful evil lizard man, among pirates. If you are lawful you need the permission of the captain to kill anyone aboard his boat that isn't self defense. But you are evil so a frame up isn't out of the question.
Get the captain on your side some how, lie, cheat, and steal if you must. If this guy has been the center of attention for very long a paranoid pirate captain isn't going to like him either. For a few gold coins and maybe this captain will even be open to the idea of cutting out the turtles flapping tongue before keelhauling him.
If that fails challenge him to a dual of honor. Just make sure you poisoned him the night before.
You are lawful evil, act like it.
Here is how I do it.
Evil is for NPCs at my table. Those evil NPCs stick to easily identifiable tropes. This page will be your best friend. In a world where good and evil are tangible forces this keeps things simple.
This doesn't mean I don't challenge my players with moral decisions, it does mean those challenges are more about overcoming the temptation of taking the easy (evil) road for the heroic one, and ultimately leads to greater reward.
I play it this way because it keeps arguments down at the table for less experienced or nuanced role players (most of the people I have played with). It also keeps the adventure on track when the only reason to continue forward is "because we are heroes and heroes never quit".
This system still leaves space for character traits like the barbarian having a short temper, the thief that pockets the odd useful item when nobody is looking, and so on. But when it comes to the big things I prefer to have my players discussing how to solve their problems heroically. By making it the goal from the very beginning that the party is adventuring toward a heroic manifest destiny we can get to kicking monster ass much more smoothly.
If it wasn't for Sony there wouldn't have been Jedi at all. The break down of the game started when everyone started grinding random classes because their holocron told them too. Many of the first to go were the merchants. Having the money to grind through the fastest they abandoned their markets in mass. Before holocrons and Jedi knowing a good weapon smith meant a major advantage. A fully optimized gun wasn't that much better than the average but it was enough, that when combined with the other dozens of small optimizations that were possible, you could really dominate a battlefield.
I remember myself and a small group were able to dominate PvP, not because of greater numbers, or even throwing money at the problem but because we had great relationships with our crafters. We would spend days hunting down and collecting the best of the best mats. Our crafters on the other hand would spend days figuring out the perfect combination of armor, cloths, weapons, foods, ect. to make us almost invincible. There was no way to reach that level just by buying stuff from the market. You had to be involved, you had to know people, and above all you had to participate. No crafter would take on those uber personalization jobs for money alone, but deliver them a stack of rare hides from some out of the way corner of Dantooine before the next reset and they would be willing to do almost anything.
I was one of the very few master Rangers on my server so I was always arranging off planet hunt and collects. It wasn't that long before I stopped worrying about money at all. I would just drop off mats and once in a while I would get an email saying my armor and/or weapons were ready. For a while I actually managed to transcend the economy. I was doing what I was doing just for the fun of it. It was some of the most fun I have ever had in an MMO dating all the way back to MUDs.
All that died when the Jedi grind stared. Nobody wanted to waste time perfecting a squad. Those that did couldn't make a living because the market was saturated with ground out crap in epic proportions. It was a very sad day for MMOs.
I though the very same thing before writing my proposal. The reason I didn't want to make it entirely money based is like in real life it's too easy for one successful person/group to end up dominating.
Also in every D&D campaign I have played there has always been things your character does during down time, and I wanted to simulate some of that also. This includes stuff that would otherwise have to be hand waved away anyway becoming its own game. If you have ever seen a blacksmith working even a simple horse shoe takes a good ten minutes to pound out using traditional techniques, that's assuming the forge is already hot, stuff like that.
I also wanted to tie NPCs to player population, that way you don't get very well funded "Player cities" that are really just a half dozen wealthy individuals dominating everyone else.
Also in my system the wealth redistribution serves a meaningful purpose. Instead of being just another sink it's another economy. For the newer players who can't afford or are too low level to raid fat loots in dungeons, the small NPC wages actually mean something. Even earning just enough for a couple heal potions for your next adventure can make a major difference at lower levels. While higher level players would be making more than the lower level players it would most likely still be a pittance compared to their online activities meaning they would instead use their offline time doing things like training or whatnot. As you progress in levels offline activities should become less and less valuable compared to online activities. Plus it would make access to labor much more meaningful to city governments. Offering high wages to get more newbies in your town where they could mix with established players instead of being delegated to the newbie helpers handing out charity.
Lots of good ideas guys. Lets see if we can weave this into something workable.
1: Provide a means for casual or busy players to advance without having to be logged in.
2: Simulate the continued socioeconomic contributions of a character who although his player isn't present would still have an effect due to living and being part of the world.
3: Reduce busy work.
4: Integrate and balance the above goals, into a cohesive system.
So here is my proposal.
I imagine that our characters are heroes, the movers and shakers of the world. Maybe you don't have the leadership feat but that doesn't mean you are not going to attract followers even if they don't call themselves that. The grand wizard of the Order of the Tenth Circle, still has an ingredient pouch that needs to be filled with some rather mundane stuff from his garden. Who has time for that? That's the helps job. Meaning we need NPCs available to do the really mundane stuff, watch the pot boil so to speak. Stuff that would previously be hand waved away anyway, or batch jobs that might only need to be supervised.
So where would these NPCs come from, where would they be available, and how much do they cost? If NPCs are a function of the nearness to heroes then they could be a tradable commodity, based on the number of hero levels in a community. To keep things in balance, prevent crowding, and further our goals especially number two, these NPC levels would only be available when off line (with exceptions for those with the leadership feat). Also NPCs would require a certain level of safety meaning they won't follow you into the wilderness or into a dungeon. So the most common place to hire NPCs would be in villages, town, and cities. Other options are available though. Fortified camps, mines, etc could also have a limited selection of offline options.
How it would work in a village, town, or city. Each player would have an NPC class reflecting his base class. If you are a wizard you would be able to spawn an Adept, if you are a Fighter you are able to spawn a warrior, etc. Everyone is able to spawn a commoner if no specialist NPC classes are needed. For every level of your character some % of your levels are available to create NPCs. Major cities would have permanent jobs available. Jobs like street sweeper (spawns a commoner, picks up dropped loot and garbage to recycle into gold for the city coffers, also increases the cities health score assuming there is one), guard duty (spawned warriors to watch the wall or patrol the streets), laborers or experts to work the back end of the leather workers shop and whatnot.
If you take a job you get paid at a set rate from the city multiplied by the number of NPC levels you have available. If there isn't 100% employment then everyone gets one share of the work available per NPC level. So if there is a pool of 10 commoner levels but only 5 are being used everyone would get paid 50%, thems the breaks. The city would have available all the committed NPC levels in a pool, that they could apply to projects (maybe it costs 200 commoner hours to build that new cathedral so putting 200 levels of commoner would get it done in one hour, 100 levels two hours and so on), or rent them out to active players (Alchemist Bill just got an entire shipment of regents to make an entire stockpile of potions but needs extra hands to finish the batch in a reasonable time frame, it's complicated work so he needs 4 level 5 adepts to finish by the end of the day, so that would be 20 levels of adept). All of this is managed by the city government. Freely donating your offline time for the benefit of your community could also be an option.
Your offline NPC levels could also be used for personal projects assuming you have a shop or lab or whatever. This way a ranger could fletch his own arrows during down time by setting his NPC levels to the task. That's just one example, but assume there are a bunch of options depending on your class and level. Editing this in here because I don't know where else to put it. Offline time could also be used for training, where you spend x gold for y time so next time you log in you gain an XP multiplier effect.
In the wilderness. NPC levels could also play a role in the wilderness, or even be traded to neighboring towns as needed like any resources. This would require a caravan though, the NPCs would be packed into carts and brought to the work site. Once there if supplies are available they could be set to work building quick fortifications (materials also brought in by caravan) or defensible mine entrances etc. NPC's would be rented like this at an hourly rate running out of money or getting them killed forfeits your deposit. Once a fort is up and running and the players occupying it can then log off and replace themselves as NPCs like in a town but with less options. A treasure chest to pay wages and armory for the guards could be looted by other teams. In any major operation you would want to have at least a couple of PCs online at all times to stand watch and rally the guards in an attack but it would be better than having to abandon your claim because it got late. In smaller operations your NPC would go without pay but in bigger ones the pay scheme would work just like in cities.
Some final thoughts and addendums. Whatever city town or village you live in setting it as your home gives it some levels of NPCs to use weather you are online or offline. Maybe 1/4 of your total levels. This would make NPCs available even during peak hours. As well as making and keeping a population important.
This system could be expanded as the primary mechanic for nation building activities. A wealthy city could buy NPC levels at a very high rate attracting a greater population, helping them to grow.
As long as the original government hasn't lost control you would wake up wherever you logged off at. If the camp, fort, or city has been destroyed you wake up where ever dead character would wake up anyway, any further penalty would be up to the developer to balance.
If the number of NPC jobs currently in operation exceeds the number in the pool then at the next tick (one hour, four, eight?) then NPCs are removed from the game. First ones to go would be those with he shortest contracts (things like basic laborer and guard would always be a one hour contract to keep things from getting gamed to bad).
That's all I got for now.
Adding to what Valkenr said, it can be optimized pretty easily also. Are you in a group +20% volume, have someone targeted +%, white listed +%, in crowded rooms no more than 6 streams get sent and one of them is just a backdrop crowded room sound effect on loop. This would make crowded areas bearable.
Some loot ideas:
Each creature should have a plethora of lootable items depending on it's type. Lets take the common boar for example. Tusks, hide, meat, and bones would be a good start. To keep people from just loot>all make each item take some small amount of time if done in the field. Also each lootable item has some % chance of being destroyed in the fight that killed the creature. A fireballed boar reduced to ashes is useless, even the ashes have been scattered in the blast. Was it taken down by a slashing weapon? Well there goes any chance of pulling a good hide out of it. Poison? Now the meat is bad,and so on. To receive the maximum utility from a boar it should be hunted with piercing weapons, and processed at a butchers shop. But if all you need are a couple of pigs feet for a spell component or something it wouldn't be too cumbersome.
Carts and horses. There is no reason that mobs have to be field striped. Why not just pile up those boar on a cart where the local butcher can do a better job (bonuses for access to masterwork shop tools for example), and do it faster (batch jobs require the correct facilities), at some cost (gold or a % of the loot). In a system like this merchants needing supplies could hire adventures to do the killing while they pile up the cart.
Back in civilization you get a bonus to butchering when in a butchers shop or well equipped kitchen, if it's going to take a considerable amount of time to transport or processes a wand of purify food and drink could prevent spoilage. Also being in town makes it easier to separate and store the bits and pieces, skins could more or less just be stacked on a shelf but you are going to need jars for eyeballs, a barrel for the livers and salted or dried meats, etc. This would require a robust container system, something I would love to see.
You are not going to just throw a bunch of unprocessed pig parts in a backpack and towing around all the necessary containers is a pain (especially if there is a breakage mechanic). But it's sill useful to field strip a pig if you find yourself out in the middle of nowhere and need rations or maybe just a specific part or two.
Also carrion should attract carrion eaters.
The same system could also be used for logging, fishing, mining, etc. Raw goods should come into town (mostly) raw, where they are processed and put on the market. Wile collecting raw goods gives opportunities for players to interact as guards, collectors, caravan handler, highway men, etc.
Addendum: some processing could be done in field camps. A lone ranger could make a decent living as a trapper/hunter bringing in a stack of skins he treated and tanned in a field camp. A logging camp could cut the logs into rough planks for ease of transport if they are not floating the logs. A mining camp could do some basic smelting, and so on. Anything more advanced would require returning to civilization.
Trade marks are a great idea. As long as they are optional. That means if caravan trader Bill wants 100 swords to sell three hexes over he can order them with or without trademarks. He might have to pay extra to buy unmarked merchandise, but that's on him.
Another thing that can be implemented is the Appraise skill. Depending on your levels in Appraise, (or maybe lore, or other relevant skill, trait, ect.) you could determine from what region an item was made, it's quality, and for high levels of Appraise you could even know the name of the items creator. Bonuses could be had for previously buying a particular crafters wares before, or if the item was made in your home town/hex/kingdom. Penalties could be added if the makers mark was rubbed off by pirates or smugglers.
Also it would be interesting if items could be unmade to determine the components needed to make them. Using Appraise you could dismantle your new crossbow and find out exactly what kind of wood it's made out of (depending on your roll and the rarity of the material). The process isn't 100% foolproof though a poor roll could result in misinformation.
A system like this simulates the idea that your character is a citizen of the world he lives in and might have knowledge the player doesn't. Particular styles and fashions would say a lot about an item but because of the art budget not every item can be have a thousand plus subtle variations that would exist in the real world. Very valuable items could even come with a certificate of authenticity, containing whatever information the merchant wants to communicate, tied to the item via some magic spell (adding yet another thread in the web).