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Thanks! That's what I needed to know.

If a human character has a CON of 12, the alternate racial trait Heart of the Sea, and they are a Water Elementalist wizard with Water Supremacy, how does that work for calculating the number of rounds they can hold their breath?

Heart of the Sea says "they can hold their breath twice as long as normal" - but Water Supremacy says "you can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to four times your Constitution score" - does the x4 from Water Supremacy replace the Heart of the Sea, or do they stack somehow?

The character in question is a Human Necromancer 10/Archmage 10 with the necessary mythic spells and the mythic versions of Undead Master and Command Undead. And being the epic level end-of-campaign boss, I'm trying to maximize his undead army :)

The Guy With A Face wrote:

Its not used to build up your army quickly (that's what animate dead/command undead feat are for) so much as expand it further over time. Like I said (when I edited my above post), you can get rods of extend spell to double this spells duration so it lasts over one month per target. If you command one undead per day with this spell you've just gained 40 members into your army for only 3000 gold and one spell slot/day.

Using it on intelligent undead might be a little dangerous. If the spell breaks for any reason you now have a free willed intelligent undead who probably does not like being mind controlled and also controls sections of your army. It might be best to try to use diplomacy and bribes to get the intelligent undead to willingly work for you.

I see. What about undead that spawn other undead? If you're controlling the ones that spawn, would their spawn also fight on your side?

The Guy With A Face wrote:

You would be capped at controlling 20 HD of undead. You do not, through that feat by itself, gain the ability to control any more than your HD.

If you want to control even more undead make sure to pick up the Command Undead Spell.


Command Undead

School necromancy; Level sorcerer/wizard 2
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, M (a shred of raw meat and a splinter of bone)
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Targets one undead creature
Duration 1 day/level
Saving Throw Will negates; see text; Spell Resistance yes

This spell allows you a degree of control over an undead creature. If the subject is intelligent, it perceives your words and actions favorably (treat its attitude as friendly). It will not attack you while the spell lasts. You can give the subject orders, but you must win an opposed Charisma check to convince it to do anything it wouldn't ordinarily do. Retries are not allowed. An intelligent commanded undead never obeys suicidal or obviously harmful orders, but it might be convinced that something very dangerous is worth doing.

A nonintelligent undead creature gets no saving throw against this spell. When you control a mindless being, you can communicate only basic commands, such as "come here," "go there," "fight," "stand still," and so on. Nonintelligent undead won't resist suicidal or obviously harmful orders.

Any act by you or your apparent allies that threatens the commanded undead (regardless of its Intelligence) breaks the spell.

Your commands are not telepathic. The undead creature must be able to hear you.

I checked out that spell, but it can only be cast on one creature at a time. That seems like a rough way to build up an army. Would it be useful to use that on a creature like a Grave Knight who can control undead and then have them control groups of undead along side you?

I've been searching through the forums for a definite answer on this, and I'm not finding one. If a Necromancer uses the Command Undead feat to take control of several undead, we already know from the FAQ that the control is permanent until they make their save (for intelligent undead), someone else takes control of them, they are destroyed, or are set free.

However, the feat says "you can control any number of undead, so long as their total Hit Dice do not exceed your level." Is that limit per use?

The question is: if a Necromancer can command 20 HD of undead and use the feat several times a day - can they use the feat to command 20 HD (and since it's indefinite), do it again on 20 HD worth of different undead for a total of 40 HD? Then another 20, etc.

I'm trying to figure out the max number of undead HD a Necromancer 20/Archmage 10 can control and other means or ways to chain effects together to build their army. With Animate Dead and one use of Command Undead, I'm at 170 HD.

Seems like someone that powerful should be able to command more than that. I'm not above commanding undead who in turn command undead, or simulacrum of the necromancer etc. if there are any other tricks out there.


That's a real shame. This looks like it would have been really cool. Thank you for the quick resolution. Happy holidays!

I purchased the following PDF product - 0-System-Neutral-Ways-to-Describe-Combat-on-120-Cards

The product is described as having:

Indexed: PDF contains a full Index for the entire suite of cards
Searchable: PDF is not just images of the cards, but contains fully searchable text.
Selectable: Each Action Word and Description can be selected, highlighted or copied out of the PDF.
Layered PDF: There are some decorative items (like the color bars) within the presentation of the cards which you can choose not to print by unselecting the Adobe layer.
Cutlines: The PDF is designed for you to cut out the cards from your printed 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. Therefore we provide cutlines to help you line up your scissors or cutting board.

Instead, I received three excel spreadsheets and a PDF of tables. I looked at a preview of the PDF elsewhere and the PDF is nothing like what I received.

I would like to either get a refund for this, or have the correct package added to my account. If you can't guarantee I'll get the right product download - please refund me as soon as possible.

Thank you.

Buyer beware! I just purchased this product and the download is not as described. The archive contained 3 Excel spreadsheets and a PDF of the Writer's Grid with tables. It doesn't contain a layered PDF of the cards with cut-lines as described. Very disappointed.

Pathfinder. That's all I have to say.

This is a long shot, but I read something somewhere (possibly 3rd party) that was some kind of effect be it a spell or ability of some kind and I need help trying to find where I saw it - here goes:

It was something involving planar combat where an attacker engaged in combat with an outsider forces the outsider to their plane, and jumps to an outsider's plane during the combat in order to permanently kill it. When the attack/combat is over, the attacker is returned to the spot they were in when they started.

Again, I have no idea where I saw it, and I thought I had notated it somewhere, but I didn't. Any help tracking this down would be appreciated. Thanks.

You would go in the order by which the actions execute, what options you have after each action, which ones you may or may not take and when you have met all the conditions to trigger each action. You need to read the fine print of whether something is an immediate action, a free action, or if it occurs as part of any action, and understand how all of these mechanics come together individually, and then a spart of a whole. Most of all, it also depends on how your DM wants to handle it.

So it would go like this:

Antipaladin uses Power Attack to resolve the attack.

First: If the attack hits, Cornugon Smash requires you to decide if you want to make the intimidate check at that time because it is an "immediate" check made as a free action. Operative word being "immediate."

Second: Since the attack hits, Conductive's conditions are met as the result of the "successful attack". Conductive does not require any kind of action, so it happens as part of something else (the attack). It is part of the attack since the target suffers "the effect of both the weapon attack and the special ability" at the same time (i.e. weapon damage and Conductive/Touch of Corruption). So you resolve the damage and effects of Touch of Corruption. Weapon damage always comes first unless otherwise stated.

Third: Spell Storing requires that the target "takes damage" from the weapon before its conditions for use are met. Since resolving weapon damage and Touch of corruption happened at the same time (see above) releasing the spell as a free action is the last step. If the creature was struck but did not take damage in the last step due to damage reduction or any other defenses, you cannot trigger Spell Storing.

And that's how you do it :)

Avianfoo wrote:
Silversheen wrote:
This shimmering paste-like substance can be applied to a weapon as a standard action. It gives the weapon the properties of alchemical silver for 1 hour, replacing the properties of any other special material it might have. One vial coats a single melee weapon or 20 units of ammunition.

I would say its a standard action to apply it to 20 units of ammo (as crazy as that sounds). Simply because silversheen is obsolete for ammunition when compared to weapon blanch.

Weapon Blanch wrote:
These alchemical powders have a gritty consistency. When poured on a weapon and placed over a hot flame for a full round, they melt and form a temporary coating on the weapon. The blanching gives the weapon the ability to bypass one kind of material-based damage reduction, such as adamantine, cold iron, or silver. The blanching remains effective until the weapon makes a successful attack. Each dose of blanching can coat one weapon or up to 10 pieces of ammunition. Only one kind of weapon blanch can be on a weapon at one time, though a weapon made of one special material (such as adamantine) can have a different material blanch (such as silver), and counts as both materials for the first successful hit.

250gp for silversheen or 10gp (2 doses) for silver weapon blanch.

Since ammunition have only a single successful hit anyway, weapon blanch is a must have for ammo.

I agree. That was the stance I took with it. The description for Silversheen clearly associates one standard action with applying the substance to "a" weapon. While it doesn't give a time for applying it to ammunition, the later sentence "one vial coats a single melee weapon or 20 units of ammunition" implies that they are effectively the same for the purposes of application; i.e. "a weapon" is either a single melee weapon or a single ranged weapon [i.e. its ammunition].

It does sound crazy, but combat is abstract in the game, and from a game play perspective, that makes the most sense. Weapon Blanch is pretty cool. I like the fact that it stays on until the weapon is used. Silversheen only lasts an hour, and it affects your damage to boot.

Silversheen reads "applied to a weapon as a standard action" and also states "one vial coats a single melee weapon or 20 units of ammunition." So a question came up at the table:

Is applying Silversheen to each unit of ammunition a standard action (per arrow or bolt)? Or does a take a standard action to coat all 20?

So, we're looking at roughly 6 seconds or 2 minutes. One argument was that you would need to take a few seconds to polish it into each arrow or bolt head, while the other side argued you could grab all of 20 arrows in a bundle and just dip them all in the Silversheen at once.

Then there was the argument of just pouring Silversheen into the quiver so it would pool at the bottom and the arrowheads would be sitting in it.

I know which position I supported, but what do the rest of you think?

Shimesen wrote:
Iron_Stormhammer wrote:
Part of the issue I've seen is that players running rogues are outpaced by the hit die of their opponents, meaning that as level up, an enemy's hit points outrun the rogue's ability to do damage. A lot of players I know hate saps because they can never deal enough non-lethal damage to knock someone out. It makes sense that knocking out an opponent with a weapon designed for knocking people out shouldn't rely upon attrition of hit points, nor should it require all of your feats and a couple of levels to do so, but it does. It's a simple fact that a common thug can knock someone out with a sap without much training or skill. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems like saps are nerfed.

if this is the case, then your players or their GM have failed to bring up the most important part of non-lethal damage knockouts: the enemy is knocked unconscious when their current hitpoints are lower than their current non-lethal damage. so if 1 sap-master rogue is fighting with a party of 1-3 other people and they are getting sneak attacks with a sap and the associated feats/talents they should be doing enough non-lethal damage in 1-3 rounds on an enemy to overlap the current hitpoints that enemy would have if their party members are also hitting that enemy.

heres an example: rogue + a group of 3 fighters against a baddy with 300 hp

fighters all take their attacks first while rogue sets up for sneak attack. - baddy is down to lets say 270hp

rogue attacks with sapmaster and all talents etc to maximize damage. he deals about 70 NL damage.

fighters attack again. - baddy is down to 240hp with 70 NL

rogue takes another 70 NL

fighters take another 30hp - baddy is at 210hp with 140 NL

rogue does another 70 NL - baddy is now at 210hp with 220 NL damage. he is now knocked out.

this fight took 4 rounds. without the non-lethal damage to knock out the baddy, it could have taken up to 10 rounds or more. this is a GREAT way to take out enemies WAY faster in large fights without...

True. Most players and DMs I've known failed to recognize the differences between lethal and non-lethal damage in this respect. However, your example is a larger combat situation where the party is whittling down a foe and the example assumes everyone is hitting each round and the enemy doesn't have any defenses to mitigate the damage such as DR etc. you are also assuming the rogue has invested everything (feats and talents) on making max damage and sap attacks. Most people want their rogue a little more well-rounded though - at least from what I've seen and may opt for things that help in other areas.

What I'm referring to is a rogue getting the drop on someone at full health, unaware. If a rogue is 6th level and has 3d6 sneak attack, sap adept and sap master, they can do a max of 45 damage without any strength bonuses etc. (1d6+3+3d6+3d6). If they sneak up on a 4th level warrior and they don't do max damage, lets say they roll a 4 and get 12 damage on each sneak attack roll for sap master, they get 31 damage. If the warrior has any con bonus, chances are that's not enough to knock them out. It makes the sneak past your enemy without causing a ruckus difficult to impossible. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm going to give this another look. I could be wrong. I am also not 100% sure if Sap Adept doubles the bonus based on the extra sneak attack dice rolled for Sap Master.

Daniel Chaplik wrote:

The issue isn't necessarily that the weapon or damage output is properly scaled, it's that the common thug is a level 1 warrior. The common citizen is a level 1 commoner. At these levels, the thug most likely is going to knock out the commoner in one blow; I mean, mechanically speaking, he automatically will as long as his Strength is at least 14, no matter what he rolls for damage.

When you're talking about mid-to-high level adventurers and their enemies, these are people FAR above and beyond the scope of anything you'll see happen in real life. At that point, comparisons and what we take for granted as common sense starts to break down.

A variant rule for "knock out blows" would be useful to remedy this solution for higher-level characters. I think there was something like that in the RIFTS RPG, by Palladium Books. But if you do that, you cheapen the rogue's Master Strike.

True. What I'm thinking of though is mid-level vs. mid-level and class vs. class. A 4th level rogue trying to knock out a 5th level fighter guard captain isn't going to fly if the fighter has higher than average hit points. And when we get to higher levels vs. higher levels, it still seems to work that way - comparatively speaking, a 1st level thug vs 1st level commoner, is almost the same as a 6th level rogue vs a 6th level character in terms of scale, as the two characters are both advanced, but theoretically evenly matched.

Part of the issue I've seen is that players running rogues are outpaced by the hit die of their opponents, meaning that as level up, an enemy's hit points outrun the rogue's ability to do damage. A lot of players I know hate saps because they can never deal enough non-lethal damage to knock someone out. It makes sense that knocking out an opponent with a weapon designed for knocking people out shouldn't rely upon attrition of hit points, nor should it require all of your feats and a couple of levels to do so, but it does. It's a simple fact that a common thug can knock someone out with a sap without much training or skill. Maybe I'm wrong, but it just seems like saps are nerfed.

I think a well-built, well-rounded fighter with the right player running it can be just as devastating as any other character. The one thing I see every player do is wade in and stand in one square and roll attack and damage dice every round. Likewise, they focus solely on dealing high damage with every option and feat they choose. Everyone takes Power Attack, Vital Strike etc. etc. Then they get blasted by everything on the board and say fighters suck. If someone uses their fighter feats strategically from day one and takes advantage of every option in the combat section such as fighting defensively, taking cover etc. they can be extremely dangerous. The only caveat to that is fighters usually fair better when the party works as a team and they receive buffs.

Yes. If the swordmaster ends the trance as a free action, they immediately become fatigued for 2x the number of rounds they were in the trance. Since they are fatigued during this period, they cannot enter a new trance. If you end a trance during combat, you have to end the fatigued condition that follows it before you can enter another one. If the fatigue is lifted before the encounter ends, you can enter the trance again - and if the encounter is still going when the second trance and the second fatigued condition ends, you can enter the trance again for a third time etc. Therefore, you can use the trance multiple times in the same combat provided the fatigue ends between each trance and the encounter goes on long enough to do so.

An easy way to solve this problem is to make sure you have the claws trait and buy some claw blades as equipment. It turns your claws into light weapons and solves all the problems of two weapon fighting and feats not working with natural weapons. It doesn't help with the question of the feral combat and unarmed strike feats, or the use of monk abilities since they are not monk weapons, but it would open up at least one more feat you can use elsewhere.

Reecy wrote:

Well the Hero Complex has been warped dramatically over the years...

When this game starting back at good old 1.0...

The game worked differently

I want to do A... Ok Roll... Result = A B or C
depending on what you wanted to do...

As the game developed we moved away from the Imagination and true Character Development to Character CREATION....

To many Options that require this that and the Other... Characters Complexity used to be personalities and alignment and in depth Would my character do...

Now all it is basically opening a Menu Ordering some abilities

I attack I win I loot the Room Next.... I have seen so many games and players that it is repetition of certain actions and they almost start playing for everyone.

This is all very true, and I do miss that about 1st and 2nd edition. Its one of the things I loved about them. 3.x and Pathfinder however have vastly different rules and ways of handling things, and feats are an important part of how those mechanics work and resolve.

I will say this though, there are a lot of feats for things that really shouldn't need to be a feat - like grappling someone and using them as a shield or knocking someone backwards with a shield. That is a completely different thread for another day.

Taking feats out at odd levels would completely nerf the game system and make it extremely limited and boring. And to say that classes would still get bonus feats just imbalances and breaks it altogether. Not a good idea.

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This is a hot button topic for me. Its a big problem in my games. I find it extremely annoying as both a player and a DM. In the campaign I run, I keep the names relatively simple, usually historical and avoid using long or overly difficult fantasy names. That still doesn't stop players from purposefully mispronouncing the name to turn it into some tongue in cheek reference, or applying a nickname to someone based on some pop culture reference. Eventually, you become afraid to name anyone anything for fear of it becoming a joke. It breaks the ambience and disrupts the role playing, and it often lead to disruptions, endless side comments, inane potty humor, and distracting jokes. After numerous times, I find the players no longer take the NPC seriously, and go as far as calling the NPC by the nickname while role playing because they can't remember what their actual name is. As a player, it's annoying when you're trying to respect the DM and role play to their NPC, only to have someone next to you making stupid comments every time the NPC is mentioned.

There's really no way around it that I've seen work, except to show your displeasure and say something about it. Lately I've taken to having NPCs take insult to it when it happens in character. That's soured many an NPC relationship and cost them a few allies. When the do it to an enemy, I bounce their CR up one or two until they take them seriously. Still, it happens. When it leads to disruptive behavior I stop the game and go do something else until they get the point. Or I just come out and ask them how old they are and if they're finished.

In-character nick names are fine if they are legitimate (not pop culture or stupid references to potty humor) and role played.

David Fryer wrote:
Okay, lately some of my players have been complaining that Pathfinder has too many options and they would like to go back to the simplicity of 3.5 even with it's acknowledged flaws. Should I try and convince them to continue with Pathfinder or should I bow to their wishes and return to 3.5?

Here's a novel idea: Too many choices? Make them stick the core rulebooks. 3.5 was not simple, and I question their reasons for wanting to switch.

I switched the group to Pathfinder and never looked back. There were at lot of issues with 3.5 that Pathfinder fixed and the lack of rules bloat and splat content made it the best choice. We stick to the books in the PRD and the rest is home brew or a case-by-case use of official Pathfinder content. There's only been one or two instances where we used the Tome of Horrors. As for 3.5 content, any attempts to use 3.5 content have been a problem. With 3.5, we had twenty different books at the table at any one time, with people using content from each and it became really unmanageable. I find that if we allow one thing in from 3.5, then we're suddenly back to playing 3.5 as every player suddenly wants to use their favorite min-max, broken, 3.5 class/spell/rule of choice to recreate their old characters. If you say no to one and not the other, then you end up possibly dealing with people being unhappy. It can become a Pandora's box or can of worms easily. The only time I've even remotely considered 3.5 content was to include old monsters that were D&D specific and not covered under the OGL, but converting and balancing have made it not worth it. Pathinder is perfect and more than enough to meet our needs.

Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
Yep. Not sure if the hair actually occupies a square should that be relevant - I'd say no, but I could see it either way.

Agreed. I understand that it is effectively another creature for the purposes of the spell, but if it's not able to be targeted as a creature, I would adjudicate that it does not take up a square for the sake of simplicity. I can see it going either way, but that makes the most sense in terms of game mechanics.

Thanks for all your feedback Thanis!

Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
Iron_Stormhammer wrote:
The question then becomes, if they are concentrating to maintain the spell as a standard action, can they make Attacks of Opportunity? If not,does that mean they cannot make a melee attack and therefore do not threaten?
There is nothing in the rules for concentrating or attacks of opportunity that would prevent a caster from making attacks of opportunity while concentrating (presuming they are wielding a weapon).

That's what I thought. So technically, if the spellcaster is using Strangling Hair on someone 30' away, they would then use their standard action to maintain the spell, and their move action to move 30' and become adjacent.

At that point, they would be able to take an attack of opportunity with a melee attack, so they threaten the opponent, allowing an ally or Twilight Knife to flank.

Would that be considered legal RAW then?

Thanis Kartaleon wrote:
For the purpose of this spell, your hair is effectively another creature, though it cannot be targeted as such. The caster is not involved in the grapple at all. The hair might be considered to have the grappled condition, though that wouldn't change the statistics presented in the spell. In any case, the hair cannot threaten, flank, or take attacks other than as presented in the spell.

Excellent point Thanis! That makes the most sense to me so far.

MacGurcules wrote:
Based on the context, I read the provisions against allowing Strangling Hair to move an enemy as a restriction on taking the move option when maintaining a grapple. I wouldn't see it as unreasonable to to interpret it as a restriction on the initial movement as well, but that's not how I read it.

I agree, Strangling Hair cannot move or pin an opponent. If the spellcaster concentrates, they can still use their move action to move adjacent to and threaten someone.

The question then becomes, if they are concentrating to maintain the spell as a standard action, can they make Attacks of Opportunity? If not,does that mean they cannot make a melee attack and therefore do not threaten?

True, and I tend to agree with all of that. However, its been argued that since the spell can make an attack into those squares the spellcaster sort of threatens the opponent. It's tricky because the one spell provides a form of reach attack (that's technically not a melee attack), while the other is an oddity in that Twilight Knife kind of skirts the flanking rules because it is neither a creature or an ally, nor does it provide the spellcaster a flanking bonus.

Here's a question for the community: If someone casts Strangling Hair and they grapple an opponent from say 30' away, are they considered to be threatening that opponent for the purposes of an ally rogue or a Twilight Knife spell scoring sneak attack damage for flanking the opponent grappled by Strangling Hair?

blackbloodtroll wrote:
Want it more battle friendly? Nab a Chariot.

I'll suggest that, but it might be debatable whether or not it's faster and more maneuverable over terrain and through woodlands than a cart.

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Nab a Cart.

Find it's stats here.

15gp is pretty cheap. No need for expensive saddles, or special tricks.

Well, The idea was to avoid a cart. The party had one for a while and it got old really fast. For one thing, it slowed the party down while on the move, and it limited where they could go. There's a great deal of heavy woodlands and mountainous terrain in the region, so it got abandoned and parked for long periods of time, or else it took a lot longer to get to places. Besides, the players wanted the Ranger to be as swift and as mobile as possible.

VRMH wrote:
You'd need some sort of dedicated "saddle".

I was considering that. It would only make sense that it would need a space to accommodate its form.

Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Teach it to ride as a "trick".

Although the bigger trick is going to be finding a horse that will allow a 4' fanged, clawed vicious predator to lounge around on its back for hours...

Good point! Indeed, the horse is being trained to tolerate it. And the idea is between it being a mystical animal companion, and the ranger being able to train and handle animals, that he can pull that off. I had the same question, and chalked that part up to being the "fantasy" element.

MrSin wrote:
Small cats start out small don't they? I don't think its out of the question that a small creature, regardless of shape, could be put on the horse and kinda sorta ride it.

Yeah, the size is small. The size I gave however is the final, adult size of the Lynx. As a house rule we avoid the small/medium size jump when advancing HD according to the rules and go off of what the actual size should/would be. It'll stay small for its entire life, just become tougher and hardier as its HD goes up.

Here's a question that came up in our group recently: A Ranger has a small cat as an Animal Companion. In this case, it's a Lynx. For the sake of detail, the Lynx is approx. 4ft long, 28in at the shoulder and weighs roughly 60lbs.

Over long distance travel where horses are required, the companion obviously could not keep up for the entire day's ride. Horses can carry two riders plus gear, and hunters can ride horses back to camp with their kill slung over the back etc. so encumbrance is not an issue.

The group was uncertain as to the answer - and the question that came up was, can the lynx ride on the horse with the Ranger? Would there need to be any special considerations made, such as an exotic saddle, or modified ride checks? If it couldn't ride with the ranger, then what would be the best recommendation for transporting it?

I'm curious to see what the community thinks about this, being that our general consensus was that it's possible but no one's certain.


blackbloodtroll wrote:


Smashing miniatures together, and proclaiming they are fighting.

Grabbing the dice tin, and violently drumming on it.

Throwing his character sheet upon the table, and proclaiming "Math is hard! Why does this game have so much stupid math!"

Consistently reminds players, and the DM, that their miniature does not match their character.

Announces that his PC is attacking a NPC, or performing some other strange action, and seconds later stating his PC is not performing the action.

Has anyone else dealt with this kind of behavior?

Unfortunately, yes. I am currently dealing something with this myself. I won't get off-topic trying to diagnose the guy, because there's really nothing to discuss other than DM advice. So here goes:

You're the DM. Period. You're putting in your time and effort to provide an entertaining and engaging experience to your players. You should not have to tolerate this kind of behavior, or be disrespected in such a way. Regardless of whether or not you're the host, you need to be firm and professional about it. You're still the DM. Call him out on it EVERY time he does it. Stop the game. Make the other players suffer just as bad as you are. They will eventually either side with you and put the pressure on him, or they will agree with you that he needs to go.

Bottom-line in my opinion: Kick him. He doesn't respect you or the other players by doing what he's doing. Address it. If it doesn't change. Kick him. If his buddy gets upset and leaves too, fine, the group will be better for it. Trust me, I've done it. I've told people at the table to get up and get their things and go. One time I told someone to walk, and his friend piped in. I told him that if he didn't like, he could go join his friend and they can go play together. They both left, and we moved on.

On two items in particular:

"Math is hard!"

Pathfinder is simple addition and subtraction. It's not calculus or algebra. Sure, it's a lot of math, but a little time and prep, knowing the rules and owning a calculator will go along way. Next time he declares that math is hard, and he can't calculate his attack bonus, he automatically misses, he automatically fails his skill check. Period. If anyone objects, then have them figure out his math, and continue combat. If they're still helping him, skip them. People will get it eventually.

"Announces that his PC is attacking a NPC, or performing some other strange action, and seconds later stating his PC is not performing the action."

That is the biggest, most aggravating offense of all at my table. Players do that CONSTANTLY. They'll be talking to an NPC, and I'll say something like "after he says this, he turns and walks over to the table" and someone will jump in and say "I stab him in the back" or something inane like that. Whenever I would pose the question "what is your character doing right now?" I would get really stupid answers, some of which I can't even repeat on the forums. Sometimes the action is directed towards another player. For me its probably the most disruptive thing of all. It disrupts everyone at the table, and often invites them to join in. It breaks the scene, and everyone's concentration and focus at the table. As DM, I began to start feeling like I couldn't say anything without opening the door for someone to say something stupid.

When this happens I'll reply with something like "Come on, are you going to role-play seriously or not? If not, don't play." or my favorite - roll with whatever they're saying and punish them in game for it. If they say they're stabbing the NPC in the back when he turns around, make them roll and start the encounter. If they refuse to roll because they "didn't really do that" - roll for them. Then throw guards at them when the person calls for help, or better yet, make the NPC and their friends wipe the floor with them. In the case of a player who is disruptive about searching for treasure (they keep asking for something in particular that they simply would not find lying around), I simply say "no, come to think of it - there's nothing of value in the room. Sorry." I'm waiting to see how long it takes them to realize that every time the guy does this, they find nothing where treasure should be.

The last player to join our group plays a Gunslinger. The first major NPC he met, he said "I put my pistol to his head" because he didn't like the guy. I started the encounter as if he really did it, and when the player protested with "no, I'm not really doing that, ha-ha" I told him that next time he says something like that we're rolling with it and he better be ready to back it up. So far, he hasn't done it again.

Like I said, at the end of the day, you're the DM. You make the rules and you need to enforce them. Keep the people who respect you, kick the ones who don't.

Wicht wrote:
Iron_Stormhammer wrote:

Assassin Eye

Since you asked. I have to agree with the judges on the fact that its essentially a remote controlled fireball.

Beyond this, your text is too wordy for what is conveyed. There is no real excuse for you to be over the word count with this item. Figure out how to tighten up and combine your sentences so that you are saying the same thing with fewer words.

I also think, mechanically and textually, you are trying too hard to cover too many bases and and thus making your item too complicated for what it is. Why would I even imagine a solid metal sphere could just pop into and out of dimensions. There is no need for that tidbit of negative information to be there. Also things like the "smooth floor" convey too much information and yet not enough. Will it work on carpets? What if there is gravel in the cave?

I have yet to make it to the top 32, so take this for what its worth: My main advice to you would be for you to figure out how to tighten up your ideas and text.

Excellent. I appreciate that and I sincerely agree with you. You're right about "too much/not enough" because like the smooth floor, the dimension part was to prevent people from sending it through portals and the like, but not necessary. Very good observations. Thanks for your time.

Neil Spicer wrote:
Iron_Stormhammer wrote:
Assassin Eye

*You were disqualified. The contest rules require that you also include your item's name in the body text (as well as the title of the messageboard post). As such, it counts toward your total word count. That put you over the limit. Here's what we said in the judges' forum:

*Yet another item that goes over wordcount if I include the title in the submission text. This is what people get for flirting too close to the word limit.

*In addition, it's basically just a remote-controlled, delayed fireball. Yeah, who wouldn't find that annoying at 4,800 gp a pop?


Word-count limit is a word-count limit. An oversight on my part. I understand that. Disqualified on a technicality is fine. I bear no ill will for being disqualified. However, I have to wonder how many people fell into this trap. This was something I questioned several times after re-reading the rules and looking at the submission form. Reading this now makes me realize that you also wanted the name above the aura and other information - no doubt about it. However, one would think that the name appearing several times in the item description counts as the "body text" when you look at just the submission form, and the top field (messageboard title) is allocated for the item’s name. That may have been just my assuming too much, but as a humble suggestion, I recommend that the difference be made a little clearer in the future.

With all due respect to the judges: To simply belittle and write the item off as an overpriced, remote-controlled, Delayed Blast Fireball doesn’t offer much of a critique or food for thought. In regards to feedback, several other items critiqued got some pretty good opinions and thoughts. I have a feeling this one didn’t because it was disqualified outright for word-count and not given much thought.

That said, I would like to bring the following points to the community for discussion for some opinions and constructive criticism of the item itself. If this needs its own thread, I’d be happy to oblige. I just want to hear what other DMs and past and currently aspiring RPGSuperstars have to say based on what little feedback I was given (I ask that those replying keep it professional, respectful and civil):

The item in question offers any character regardless of class the ability to safely reconnoiter an area using the Arcane Eye aspect of the device up to three times. This can be done safely and the item deactivated a few times before the item self-detonates, preventing players from abusing that part of it. And the Fireball part of it is fairly devastating at 7d6 points of damage, considering that you’ll most likely be catching targets off-guard and flat-footed etc. A perception check offers opponents the opportunity to detect the device and avoid or lessen its impact - a pretty reasonable check-and-balance.

Players using it in a dungeon situation, could easily roll it under a door, scout the area, navigate it down a corridor and assassinate a monster or group of enemies without ever entering into direct conflict. To me that offers a lot more latitude and tactical options than having to wait until your Wizard is 13th level to deploy a 7th level Delayed Blast Fireball.

I don’t think this is an item a DM would want players using all the time. Hence the 4,800gp price tag. Pricey yes, but for the abilities it offers it seems like a fair trade. A character with the appropriate spells and feats can crank these out at 2,400gp a pop (or less depending on the DM’s economics). The price was calculated using the item creation rules with a little adjusting; that I didn’t think was unreasonable.

At 4,800gp it’s comparable to a Type III Necklace of Fireballs. Just swap out the two lower beads for the ability to propel it at range, using it without putting the character in danger, and the ability to scout an area with it more than once before detonating it.

This may or may not be RPGSuperStar material. I stay open-minded and really don't keep an opinion of my own work. So I'd like to hear opinions. Thoughts? Comments?

I'd like to thank the judges in advance for any feedback and constructive criticism that can be offered regarding my submission. Knowing where the submission erred and what tier it may have ended up in will definitely be taken seriously in preparing for next year's competition. I have my suspicions why it didn't make the cut, but I will leave the critique to the experts. I believe this is my submission as it was entered:

Assassin Eye

Aura moderate divination and evocation; CL 7th
Slot –; Price 4,800 gp; Weight –;

This small metal sphere has a fine gold pattern etched across its dark surface. When placed upon a smooth floor and purposefully set into motion, the possessor of an Assassin Eye can control its movement and view its surroundings until they choose to detonate it. Upon detonation, the sphere explodes, dealing 7d6 points of fire damage to every creature within a 20-ft. radius.

Once activated the possessor can propel the Assassin Eye up to 10 feet per round (100 feet per minute) along any smooth surface, to a maximum distance of 340 feet in any direction. While it is moving, the possessor can view the Assassin Eye’s surroundings as if using the Arcane Eye spell. Once detonated, an Assassin Eye explodes as a fireball spell (Reflex DC 14 half).

An Assassin Eye can travel outside the possessor’s line of sight and pass through openings up to 1 inch in diameter, but cannot pass through solid barriers or enter another plane of existence. An Assassin Eye is neither invisible nor silent. Creatures can detect an Assassin Eye with a successful Perception check (DC 25). If an Assassin Eye detonates on the same round in which it is detected, the round in which it is detonates is always treated as a surprise round.

To use an Assassin Eye the possessor must concentrate and can take no other actions while using it. An Assassin Eye will remain active indefinitely while the possessor continues to concentrate. If the possessor ceases to concentrate, the Assassin Eye will become inert until retrieved and activated again. An Assassin Eye always detonates automatically the third time it becomes inert.


Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, Arcane Eye, Fireball; Cost 2,400 gp

After seeing the D&D Experience previews on 4e, I have to say that I must recant my previous statement. I still think the message boards are terrible, but that's not anybody's fault other than the people who go there and ruin it for everyone else.

As for the Dungeon and Dragon sections of the site, I am still very sore and disappointed about not getting my magazines every month. So maybe, just maybe the Insider will cure that. The previews from DDE looked really good.

I just wish they'd give the mags back to Paizo. I've been picking up Pathfinder and other Paizo goodies at the local shop, but it doesn't beat getting the magazines every month.

I stopped going to the boards altogether. I agree, it is very unlikeable and unpleasant. You say one thing in criticism, and you've got 60 people jumping down your back, insulting you, calling you names and otherwise being just plain rude. That's OK - WotC allows someone to post a reply calling you names, but don't you dare post that you hate the way classes and races are in the preview books! Instant deletion.

As far as GleeMax goes - that site is stupid, horrible and pointless. I was especially irked over how one day, I could no longer log on to WotC and I was forced to go register all over again at Gleemax to access the DnD forums and Insider.

Oh BTW - don't you guys just love the Dungeon and Dragon sections of the WotC site. There's SO much cool and awesome content up there - the magazines were never that great. There's so many awesome adventures coming out each month and so many cool Dragon articles - NOT!!!

And they're going to charge for online content????

I'm all for giving 4e a chance, but if it's anything like what the last few months have demonstrated - no thanks.

I'd love to have "Book of Fiends, Vol. 2: Armies of the Abyss" - I emailed you.

As a semi-pro writer and veteran DM, my suggestion is to start with a central locale to begin the campaign. Make this locale a focal point for the campaign, a home base if you will. Flesh out the place in some good detail, add some secrets and hooks and plots to keep the PCs there for a while. As the game progresses from session to session, you can start building things ahead of them based on where the game goes.

Flesh out the personalities, goals and most important stats for the locals and build a central villain to occupy the players, even if the first few adventures deal with unrelated events or minions of the villain.

If you work out too much ahead of time, you risk the PCs de-railing your plans (or worse, wasting your time writing filler that's not important) so keep it open-ended and let them think they're going in the right direction.

Most of the time, if they're good players, they'll set things up for you to take advantage of by virtue of their actions.

As far as the world is concerned, don't go into too much detail about the world at large - as long as its in your head or in your personal notes, you can relay the info when asked or simply make it up on the spot. Remember, in a typical medieval setting (as was true medieval times), most people don't travel more than a day or two ride from their homes.

MaxSlasher26 wrote:
Nearly all of the issue is dedicated to a new mini-setting based on a book or story (I'm not familiar with it). It sounds cool, though. And Wolfgang Baur wrote it, so it should be neat-o.

Now that sounds very cool indeed!

Negative. I have not recieved my issue yet and usually would have received it by now. It comes out on the stands in 4-6 days (depending on where you buy it), so I am certain that it is now safely considered late or no-show.

This has always been an issue of heated debate amongst players and DMs and it really does boil down one thing: Meta-gaming.

Who's going to win here, the DM or the players?

My advice, don't open this to debate and reasoning. Give them a choice, warn them and then let them face the consequences.

If you as the DM feel that its not safe for the party to camp in the dungeon or if it doesn't fit your idea of the adventure, simply tell them to make a survival or dungeoneering check. The result of the check tells the player its not safe to camp there.

If they press it and ask why, you can try to give them a simple answer. If they stall the game or argue with you or stand around in said dungeon and bicker amongst themselves about why its ok to camp there - attack them.

Just pull out an encounter they already faced and run it again. It comes up behind them from the area they though they cleared. Just jump in and say - roll initiative.

You should never shout at them that something is stupid. Tell them that its not a good idea. If they ask why or demand a meta-game answer, you can simply reiterate that its not safe and at the risk of tipping your hand you'll leave it at that.

Right off the bat I thought - Yes, its a highly defendable choke point, but do you really want to defend a choke point while low on spells or while you're half-asleep or fatigued? No one wants to fight a battle after being shocked awake in the night. If they're not any safer in an inn, its probably even worse in the dungeon.

In my book, if I don't want anyone to escape or restock, then I make sure we're prepared or willing to take the battle all the way to the end or we make arrangments to deal with camping.

It boils down to common-sense. If this were not a make-believe fantasy where the players should ultimately win and survive to be heroes, and the threat of death were very real - would people still camp in a dungeon?

Probably not.

The whole "this-many-encounters-uses-80%" and ECL and CR have really hit dungeon crawls in the hamstrings. I don't remember this ever being an issue in earlier editions. This is all the more reason for players to pay closer attention to pacing and stamina in longer dungeon crawls - the adventures almost demand an in-dungeon rest based on mechanics. The true challenge players face is to hold back on their powers long enough to finish the job and avoid that.

I live in Clearwater (in Pinellas county due west of Tampa) and I game with a group that I've been DMing for almost two years. We have a hard time finding serious, committed players and we really could use one or two more dedicated people at the table.


As for shops, Emerald City in Seminole is nice for minis and accessories, but if you're specifically looking for WotC books, I suggest going to The DugOut on 66th street just south of Bryan Dairy Rd./118.

The guy who runs the place has been running a special on his WotC books and his prices on books and minis are the lowest anywhere, including the internet!!!

Doug Sundseth wrote:
..if I were to change the rules, my change would be to treat anyone who is flatfooted as having a DEX of 0 (thus a base AC of 5).

I wouldn't advise that. That would actually compound the penalty for being flat-footed.

The AC baseline in the SRD is 10. I think that by dropping the AC to 5, you actually make being flat-footed worse than many of the other conditions in the DMG. Being stunned for example denies a character their Dex bonus and drops a -2 AC penalty.

So why would being flat-footed be worse than being stunned!!!?

Read the rules.

Of course, everyone has their own take on the game and their own house rules.

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