Hruggek's page

Organized Play Member. 10 posts. 1 review. No lists. No wishlists.


gnomersy wrote:

So I've been working on characters for the past little while but I'll be honest unless you have 14+ strength just carrying your armor and weapons will be enough to push you into medium encumbrance unfortunately the repercussions for that in game terms are particularly high on the characters who can't afford to put extra points into their strength. And when you couple that with the fact that just wearing traveling clothes somehow takes up almost 20% of your carrying capacity and even "light" armor takes up a third or if you want anything with an actual AC bonus for example a chain shirt you end up using 25 lbs for that at Str 10 that means you're just a hairs breath from the 33lb level which dumps you into a medium load and loses you all of the benefits of being one of those light armor people

*sigh* well I shouldn't be griping but it feels extremely weird that I'm seriously considering whether or not technically speaking you actually have to be wearing clothing because it would push me out of my weight class.

Does this bug anyone else?

Furthermore, LazarX is correct. Weight AND encumbrance affect the ability to make fine movements and free swinging combat maneuvers. My system takes this into account, though, by incorporating penalties to dexterity the more weight a person carries. It is far easier to swing a sword with all one's strength when carrying a heavy load (and the weight might even make it a harder blow,) than to gracefully pirouette into a slash and lunge maneuver with even a fraction of that, even if it is carried well.

A weaker person with a high dexterity suffers twice from encumbrance penalties in my system (suffering combat modifiers AND dexterity penalties.) This is the tradeoff that a character makes for dumping their strength in favor of dexterity. My system almost completely negates a "dexterity" fighter's chances of being successful in anything heavier than leather armor, which is the way it should be (in my opinion.) If they want to to take advantage of those heavier armors, they should be strong enough to...

gnomersy wrote:

So I've been working on characters for the past little while but I'll be honest unless you have 14+ strength just carrying your armor and weapons will be enough to push you into medium encumbrance unfortunately the repercussions for that in game terms are particularly high on the characters who can't afford to put extra points into their strength. And when you couple that with the fact that just wearing traveling clothes somehow takes up almost 20% of your carrying capacity and even "light" armor takes up a third or if you want anything with an actual AC bonus for example a chain shirt you end up using 25 lbs for that at Str 10 that means you're just a hairs breath from the 33lb level which dumps you into a medium load and loses you all of the benefits of being one of those light armor people

*sigh* well I shouldn't be griping but it feels extremely weird that I'm seriously considering whether or not technically speaking you actually have to be wearing clothing because it would push me out of my weight class.

Does this bug anyone else?

WEIGHT restrictions bother me quite a bit, as it isn't weight (strictly speaking) that slows people down or impedes their abilities, but ENCUMBRANCE. In older additions of the game, things had "encumbrance values" that were listed as "weight" in an attempt to even out this sort of situation. An example of this was that a long sword had a "weight" (which was actually an encumbrance value) of 7, whereas a 10 foot pole (which is just a long spear shaft) was 10. The long sword is clearly heavier than 7 pounds (given that most medieval long swords weighed in the 15 pound range, but the 10 foot pole probably weighed less than 10 pounds. Why the higher value for the 10 foot pole? Imagine if you had to carry a 10 foot piece of wood around everywhere. Would you make it into the elevator at work? How about into your apartment? And how would you have to carry it? And how would that affect your movement rate having to adjust it and shoehorn it into places?

Armor developed as weapons developed. Heavier armors like field plate armors from medieval times were actually easier to walk around in and carry than older plate mails and chain mails because they were designed so that the weight was carried differently. It made getting into and out of the armor more difficult, and it WAS heavier, so things that involved sheer strength (such as climbing into a saddle, or standing up from prone) were more difficult, but moving around and swinging a weapon and simply walking around were actually easier.

I use a house system for encumbrance based on the older games that makes more sense. WEIGHT restrictions are simply that - the maximum weight that a character can carry based on their strength. My system allows characters to carry certain gear in certain ways (such as in a pack) and only count a portion of the weight toward their encumbrance (which is what I use to affect movement and combat, not weight.) They still have to count all the weight against their maximum, though. The system is also designed such that the closer they get to their maximums, the more weight they have to count toward encumbrance, meaning that weight eventually counts more as maximums are reached. It involves a little bookkeeping, but I made a spreadsheet that takes most of the guesswork out of it for the players. All they have to do it put in the weights and how/where they are carrying that item (via dropdown) and it automatically calculates the encumbrance.

Malk_Content wrote:

My problem with your interpretation of the rules is that it further enforces the tenant that only magic beats magic and the like. A character with +26 to a skill is like unto a god in that area. +26 is Sherlock Holmes levels of perceptive ability and thus should be represented as such. He should know absolutely that the is a roughly humanoid, but invisible shape in that square as he can tell by the exact displacement of the cobwebs (assuming he beats the zombies stealth check, he might not!) and should absolutely have some indicator that something is a wrong about the area above him "There is a small and undisturbed pile of dust among the cobwebs, greyer than the rest and obviously made of stone grinding on stone, something has been moved near here."

I agree that things should be role-played as much as possible, I don't think you have to remove the benefits of someone building their character to be great at a skill once they get to truly extraordinary skill levels (they will have but alot of ranks and possibly feat choices better served elsewhere into it.) I also think that such a character would be well within their rghts to take ten. After all when you a probably the most perceptive person you've met, how often would you have to give it your all?

This isn't about interpretation of the rules, although mine seem to be more in keeping with reality, game balance and simple good role-playing, this is about making the game about ROLE-PLAYING and not GAME MECHANICS. It is also about the difference between "observing" and "searching," which I am beginning to think are the same thing to people without a firm grasp of reality...

Enforcing the tenant that only magic beats magic is the way it should be, else it wouldn't be magic; it would be just another skill to be learned... (Which this game system has almost accomplished, anyway. And how players with a lack of imagination seem to like it; probably because they can't stand that their are some people out there that can do things that they can't, (and can't overcome,) much like what I see in most of them and their lives...) Simply put, if you'd wanted to be able to dabble in magic, don't be a rogue or a fighter, or at least take a couple of levels in wizard or sorcerer... If you can't, then guess what? You can't... You are forced to live with it... (Just like reality; imagine that.)

A +26 perception is certainly not "like unto a god," because it can be achieved at moderate levels (in the 6-9 range) by characters that choose to allocate their skills and feats appropriately... And, regardless of the over-abundance of magic in this system and the game world in general (which is why I don't play in it,) mortals are still mortals. The proof is simple... The invisible zombie has a 50 DC to its stealth, which this character cannot hope to even equal with a Take 20... (+40 for being invisible and unmoving (read the spell description), and Took 10 on its Stealth = 50 DC... And that is without any modifier to being partially behind the crate (which might be mitigated by the cobwebs, anyway.) The invisible zombie above the door should be considered even worse, as can the trap it triggers... The skeleton is behind a block of stone, which, unless someone has X-Ray Vision, cannot be perceive AT ALL, and how exactly would he be able to "check" the area above the door? Is he Plastic Man and can extend his neck out to "check" it? Its above his head, at the opposite angle, covered in cobwebs, and designed to be concealed... Same as the concealed door. The pit was designed to be concealed to begin with, its 10' away and covered in dust, which would make it harder to find, not easier... So, unless he actually SEARCHES (which, by default would require entering the room and poking around) simply observing tells him exactly what I described, and that was pretty generous, in my opinion, for ANY level character that got a 46 on its perception check for simply observing...

And, even Sherlock Holmes missed things. If you'd read the books, you would know that Sherlock Holmes relied on his powers of reasoning and deduction as much as, if not more than, his powers of observation... And, he never made his conclusions based entirely on simple observation. He even says (Repeatedly!!!) that things are not always what they seem...

So, unless someone can show me an example of how simple observation can give them the same information that actually searching can, I'm going to proceed with reality and assume that it doesn't...

1 person marked this as a favorite.

If "observing" and simply "noticing" things were enough, the GM would have just told you all about those things in the first place, and the check would have been unnecessary...

What you've presented isn't role-playing, its putting a fancy dress on the game mechanic simply giving you all that information without you having to search for it. A perception check when observing will never tell you that kind of information... Here is how I adjudicate it:

The GM knows that there is an invisible zombie that hasn't moved in a while in the middle of this somewhat cobweb-filled 30'x30' room standing partially behind a wooden crate; a pit trap covered in dust; another invisible skeleton above the door behind a balanced block it waits to tip out onto the party; and a concealed door behind the remains of a bookshelf along the back wall.

Rogue: "I carefully gaze into the room, making sure to look up to the ceiling and as far into the dark corners as I can. I'm going to Take 20. I got a 46 on my perception check." (This is allowed because there is no IMMEDIATE danger from failing the check... Had the zombie been in a threatening square, there certainly would be...)

GM: "Okay, you see a somewhat cobweb-filled room with a wooden crate in the center of the room, and the remains of a bookshelf against the back wall. Cobwebs stretch from the crate and bookshelf to various points on the ceiling and walls. Several cobwebs look as though they are curving around a spot near the crate, as though there was something there, but it could be something behind the crate. The ceiling is about 10 feet up, although you cannot see most of it due to the cobwebs. Several long strands of webs connect to a section of the wall above the door you are looking through, and you can almost make out a dark spot near the top edge through the webs. The floor is covered with dust, and you see no tracks or traces of anything having moved through it recently, although you see a series of small ridges and indentations near the edge of the crate near its edge. You smell the odor of stone dust, musty wood and stale air, but mixed in is the smell of decaying flesh."

No matter how long the dwarf gazes into this room, there is ZERO chance of him seeing an invisible zombie standing partially behind the crate, a concealed door completely covered by a bookcase, an invisible skeleton behind a block of stone over his head, or a pit covered in dust 10' in front of him. There is also no way for him to search for the trap over his head as there are no visual clues from his position and any other type of search would involve moving into the room, thus setting it off. What his perception check has done, however, is give him the information just described.

Now, walking into the room will certainly reveal the skeleton (after the stone block falls,) the zombie (which will start moving through the cobwebs to attack,) and possibly the pit (if he dodged out of the way and into it, or if he dodged another other way and the dust revealed it, which I would give him another roll for.)

Okay, I'd agree with the Take 10 being allowed when there is a danger of failure. I never tell my players what DC they are aiming to beat, so if they want to opt for an average roll, okay. I guess it makes sense. But, the only reason most players even opt for this is because the player knows that his character is +?? to <insert skill> and this WILL result in a success according to the Core Rulebook, as presented; not because he actually thinks an average attempt by the character would actually yield a positive result. The CHARACTER should realize that "in real life" there is always the chance of failure and never just put forth an average attempt... But, if the player wants to do so, I guess this is acceptable...

However, I would never allow a Take 20 on any situation where there is any damaging consequence of failure. (And searching for a trap or searching a room with a hidden monster, or trying to climb a wall, certainly qualify as potentially damaging consequences...) The thought process here is that the character will be making as many attempts as they need to to get the desired result (the player rolling a 20.) As this assumes that they could get a failing roll prior to this, there must never be any danger in a failing roll...

And, your assumption that, in most cases, searching for a trap and failing will not set it off, is absolutely correct. But, the statement proves my position, not yours. The key words are, "in most cases..." That one chance is all that is needed to present the damage potential that renders a Take 20 off-limits... If a 1 on the roll would represent enough of a failure to set the trap off, it's enough. I usually rule that failing the check by 10 or more results in setting the trap off, which, coincidentally, would make a Take 10 a simple failure to find the trap... (Amazing how that works out, huh?)

And unfortunately for the person whose dwarf would sit quietly in the doorway, you could never gain that level of knowledge doing that. Ever. "Observing" is not the same as "searching" no matter how long you choose to engage in it, or how high your perception modifier is. Searching implies a distinct, active effort to discover things that are (by design) hidden from observation, like traps, secret doors and concealed monsters (where it very well might be the sense of touch that detects the edges of the door, or the trip wire, or the edges of the pit, or being close enough to hear the creature breathe...) Anyone who thinks that simply observing things can lead to anywhere near the same level of discovery as actually searching has been watching too many movies or playing too many video games. (And is exactly the type of player that I was referring to that is trying to get everything handed to them on the roll of a die for a skill that they can pound a bunch of points into...) Having been detailed to search for anti-personnel/anti-tank mines, IED's, booby traps, and people hiding in buildings for real, (and being quite good at it, if I do say so myself,) sitting at the edge of the field/stairs/road/room will NEVER yield that level of information or result... Ever. You are practically guaranteed to get yourself and your group horribly killed by doing so.

My point is that this skill (and quite a few others) has taken the focus off role-playing the character and placed it onto the GM in the form of a game mechanic. And the major (but certainly not the only) reason it has done so is that it has made the passive check for the trap (with this ability) just as effective as the active search, for which there is no justification whatsoever, especially since it is a non-magical ability, (Ex) instead of (Su). Now, instead of "I carefully scan the hallway for possible traps and prod ahead with my short-sword," (the result of a player role-playing his character in response to GM's descriptions, GM's get "I have Trap Spotter, so just tell me if I find a trap, my perception is +26," (which is game mechanics and has just rendered the description and role-playing parts unnecessary...)

Furthermore, the Take 10 and Take 20 rolls are both pretty clear, in that they are active actions. Doing so involves actively searching for traps, (which if players decide to do so when the game-mechanic, passive Trap Spotter skill is just as good,) is most certainly the result of metagaming... Furthermore, both Take 10 and Take 20 state that there must be no danger and no consequence for failure, which is not true for traps. Searching implies poking around and carefully prodding things to see if they move, etc, etc, and failing to detect one while searching might set it off due to the search, (given a bad enough roll,) which makes Take 10 and Take 20 non-options for Trap Finding...

That being said, how can Trap Spotter (simply passing within 10 feet of a trap) be just as good as searching for a trap (poking around, actively searching, etc) yet carry none of the risks? The correct answer is that it can't be... Or, at least it shouldn't be...

So, I adjudicate it this way...

First, the skill is dependent upon clues that the Rogue must be able to perceive, visually or otherwise, which is why it is an (Ex) and not an (Su.) Therefore, if there is no quality that the rogue could perceive, then this skill simply doesn't work, period. Simply passing within 10 feet of a trap, no matter what the description says, is not enough to justify allowing the rogue an automatic chance at detecting something with no perceptual clues. That would make this the purview of an (Su) ability, not an (Ex) one... For example, a rogue walking down the right side of a corridor could not sense the trap on the other side of the 2-foot thick stone wall separating this corridor from the corridor on the other side, without some magical aid (X-Ray Vision, perhaps.) The rules, as written would seem to allow this...

Second, I automatically assume that the character relying on this sense is distracted (because he is actually doing something other than searching for traps (+5 DC,) magic traps are invisible when not actively searching (+20 DC,) mechanical traps with hidden triggers are considered invisible when not actively searching (+20 DC) and usually more than one unfavorable condition applies (+2 DC per condition, light, position, wind, darkvision only seeing in black and white and not being able to see shadows, etc,) so that relying on this skill makes it much less likely that a character will just simply notice a trap without actively searching. In effect, a GM can reasonably impose a +27 DC to just about any trap characters could detect with this skill. In fact, the "any character can make a perception check to detect a trap before it goes off" rule can be modified this way. The rules for perception are in keeping here...

This skill is the result of players preferring to rely on game mechanics rather than actually role-playing their characters by imagining the situation in their head and telling the GM how their character is acting. Instead, players are simply expecting the GM to tell them that there is a trap (which they don't even have to have described to them,) at which point they can simply throw some more dice and disarm it... Once the game reaches this point, the detailed descriptions and action by action accounting of characters (ie, roleplaying) is unnecessary, it is simply a matter of die rolls and game mechanics, in which case players should go play 4th Edition, World of Warcraft or other mindless games for people with no imagination or creativity to speak of...

Personally, I hate the Trap Spotter ability... It is WAY too easily abused, and simply just another way for players to get everything handed to them on the result of a die roll, instead of having to work for it. (And especially one that they can just pound skill points into to basically make the check an automatic success...) (Example: 6th Level Half-Elf Rouge with Trap Spotter - 6 Ranks + 3 Class Skill Points + 4 Sharp Senses Feat + 3 Skill Focus (Perception) + 3 Trapfinding Skill + 4 Canny Observer + 2 Alertness + 1 Pilgrim Trait = + 26 Perception, and given a continuation of skill points it will be + 35 at 10th level! Given a Glyph of Warding is a DC 28, this 6th level character has a 90% chance of finding this trap,and its automatic at 10th! Furthermore, at 10th level, this character could find this same trap 10% of the time in complete magical darkness with his hands tied behind his back!!! (Invisible +20 DC, Horrible Conditions +5 DC = 53 DC) At 10th level this character stands a chance of making this??? Just by passively being near it? What, did the rogue hear the glyph whispering to him or something? Or maybe he felt a disturbance in the force and Admiral Akbar appeared and warned him that it was a trap? I'm calling b***s**t...

While I love the game, this skill is pretty detrimental to game balance and good role-playing. A mechanical trap maybe, because a rogue is trained in such things, and knows what setting those kinds of traps entail, and can reasonably just pick out details of them easily, but magical traps should not be able to be found without an active search. In addition, a rogue cannot lay a magical trap, nor has the ability to understand and comprehend the level of magic necessary to disarm it, anyway. If they did, the modifier they should be using to disarm them is not DEX, but INT...

My solution to this was to create a spell - Obscure Trap. Fourth Level. Adds the caster's caster level + INT/CHA modifier to the DC for finding/disarming mechanical traps and completely eliminates the rogues ability to find/disarm magical traps at all by completely obscuring any evidence of the spell; rendering it undetectable to anything less than magical divination spells.

This forces players to actually roleplay their rogues instead of expecting the GM to do it for them...

james maissen wrote:
VictorCrackus wrote:

Thus, that is when a DM must metagame, or they aren't playing the creature to its fullest potential.

I disagree with this entirely.


Actually, this is how most previous editions of the game (and just about every gamemastering book, including 3.5) have advised GM's to play monsters of such high intelligences. Beings of such high INT and WIS have insights into situations that normal mortals are not capable of understanding or emulating (including Gamemasters, no matter their level of arrogance or ego-centrism...) Disagree all you like, but how do you give a good accounting of a creature with a 40 INT and WIS? It is certainly capable of out-guessing and out-planning a party of adventures whose highest INT or WIS is 28 or so... So, designing a plan and sticking to it that lets the party defeat this creature is foolish and not playing this monster to it's potential... It's playing it to YOUR potential...

Polymorph and Shapechange are the spells most open to abuse by players if DM's do not carefully read the rules. I've had a player with a wizard character that has been trying to gain a permanent great wyrm gold dragon form using PAO. His rationale is that he can make a permanent change from Half-Elf (22 INT) to Wyrmling Gold Dragon (22 INT) via Same Kingom (+5), Same/Smaller Size (+2), and Same/Lower INT (+2). At that point it is easy to see the progression of sizes and INT up to Great Wyrm status, because you only need 1 to be the same or lower at a time because you get Same Kingdom (+5) and Same Class (+2) along with either Same/Lower INT (+2) and/or Same/Smaller Size (+2). However, this is in DIRECT violation of the description of the spell:

1. The spell description of Polymorph Any Object specifically states that it functions like Greater Polymorph, which, in turn, specifically states that it acts like Form of the Dragon I. This allows ONLY a change into a MEDIUM sized dragon, no matter what form is being changed. No matter how many times this spell is used it cannot enlarge the dragon past MEDIUM size, which limits the Gold Dragon (whether permanent or not,) to Very Young status...

Further, I add the following rule to the mix:

2. Use the "base" INT for the creature type being changed to AND from, as taken from the bestiary or the racial average for a player race, NOT the INT of the character doing the changing. In my opening example, the Half-Elf (average INT 10) is trying to change into a Wyrmling Gold Dragon (INT 14.)

Furthermore, I add the following rule, but I can find no rule that says that it is necessary:

3. Any magical effect placed on a target with an identical effect already in place cancels the first effect. As the duration of these polymorphs is "permanent" and not "instantaneous" any previous "permanent" polymorphs are cancelled by the latest casting, meaning that caster is basing the change off of his "original" form, not the form he was polymorphed into...

This makes polymorph and shapechange into spells that still retain a modicum of power and preserves game balance (which seems to be something sorely overlooked by most DM's and players of this version of the game,) and prevents abuse by players (which seems to be the norm.)

James Risner wrote:
Tom Qadim wrote:

I'm a little fuzzy on the rules for removing the effects of baleful polymorph. I ruled that a dispel magic would reverse the polymorph spell as long as the caster beat the caster level check.

Was I correct to allow this?


Baleful Polymorph is an instantaneous effect, which Dispel Magic cannot undo.

You Need Wish, Limited Wish (possibly), or Break Enchantment to remove it.

Ummm, incorrect... Baleful Polymorph has a duration of "Permanent" NOT "Instantaneous." Permanent effects are CERTAINLY able to be dispelled by Dispel Magic, given a successful caster level check. Personally, I am of the opinion that anything that can deprive a target of its fundamental "self" certainly should be higher level than fifth, if the case for it being unable to be dispelled is to be made. If we consider the spell "Polymorph" (which is also 5th level;) ONLY works on willing subjects, has a limited duration, does not change the mental status of the target, and can be ended by the recipient, then why should Baleful Polymorph be so much more powerful against an UNWILLING target? Consider the spell Flesh to Stone (a 6th level spell;) it is "Instantaneous" (and as such not subject to Dispel Magic,) but does not change the nature of the target, merely the substance. A Stone to Flesh reverses it and gives the target back all of the qualities it had.

And in case that explanation is not good enough, the description of Dispel Magic is quite clear: "A dispelled spell ends as if its duration had expired" and "The effect of a spell with an instantaneous duration can't be dispelled, because the magical effect is already over before the dispel magic can take effect." This is quite clear, and the implication as well that anything other than "Instantaneous" can be dispelled...

If Baleful Polymorph were not able to be dispelled, why isn't the duration "Instantaneous?"