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Having been mostly a GM for 35+ years, when I do get to play, it is always a problem. I constantly have to keep a rein on myself to not go into GM mode. It's tough. However, if you don't step on yourself, you end up with exactly the situation the OP has described.

MOst GMs are used to leading, so when they are a player, it comes naturally for them to go into commander mode. The best way I avoid this is with roleplaying. The most fun I ever had as a player was playing Toronto, the gnome lackey of the Great Gnome Ranger(TM).

But someone will have to speak to him. A warning that you'll quickly lose all other DMs if he doesn't tone it down. One way to possibly placate him, if he is the resident rules lawyer, is for the current DM to ask his advice on rules and/or rulings. Then the DM can agree or disagree, as he sees fit. "Yes, Alpha, you're right, but in my campaign, we're going to go this way...." And frankly, I expect there would be few enough of those situations, as long as his rules are generally fair.

If he criticizes the # of monsters, the tactics, that sort of thing, someone should say - in a friendly tone - "Dude, back off. You're not the DM, and this is how Carl gets experience." or 'Save it for after the game, Carl will probably appreciate some insight, but NOT NOW!"

Another, very good option - the alternate game should be in an alternate system. One he does not know. Star Wars Saga system is the closest thing WOTC has done to PF, and they even have a 10 adventure pack that is free to download. All the way to 20th (the only thing wrong with Paizo adventure paths, they stop just when they are getting good). And the rules are just different enough that when he tries to correct, you can come back with 'This isn't PF, it doesn't work that way here."

I agree, bartering all the way. As the sole combat (I assume you mean melee) type, you should have first choice of any useful found items, and turn your nose up at anything else. If the party finds a +3 sword, you belt it on without any discussion.

On possible work-around - gems are not gold. Gems are 'shinys'. You could pick up a bit of treasure that way, and then barter a shiny for some nice armor, and so on. Your character wouldn't know what it was worth, and consequently, you should probably vastly overpay for some stuff, and offer way too little for other, while not understanding why they don't want the 20 gp shiny in trade for the +2 amulet of natural armor.

My people very rarely shop. Kingmaker was an exception, but the format of that lends itself to shopping. Mostly, find or make. That's another option, having someone eventually make you some good stuff. If you take no gold for 9 levels, someone with the right feats should have gained enough - from your share - to pay for making armor or weapons or a nice belt of strength, whatever.

Now a gnome basketweaver, I'd allow:) Actually, I agree with whoever said use cohorts to fill the table up to six. Since we have six players, we never have or need cohorts.

Actually, for Kingmaker, the king did take leadership. He got one cohort, a kobold paladin. He equipped said paladin with a CLW wand, and ordered him to follow the party at a distance, in case he (the king) went down -- which actually happened quite frequently. Other than that, it was purely a roleplaying hook.

Over the years, we have found that cohorts, druid and ranger animal companions, etc, are really only much use at very low levels. We tend to always have two or even three strong melee types - we have a couple of people who rarely play anything else, and the companions are so ineffective compared to a fully tricked out fighter/melee type, it really is just more paperwork for a small result. If we had to run a small party of three or so, it probably would be a different story.

From the MIC - portable oasis. Kind of like your tent, but with a pool and dates.

Frankly, there is no reason not to. Getting a good bang for your buck, using the same module/adventure for three different groups.

I have done this numerous times. Just make a few notes so you know where each group left off at the end of their last session.

Also, I have found it most entertaining. Each different group will approach the adventure differently, biggest difficulty is avoiding temptation - when a prior group has come up with a beautiful solution to a problem, and the next group is fumbling their way through it. Also, I have made changes when the first group exposed a clear weakness/flaw, to end up with a better module for the second group.

SW Saga edition is actually closer to Pathfinder than 3.5 was. Not at all hard to convert. I wouldn't try to fit in the classes, just allow a Jedi and so on as legit classes.

Oh, and if you do go that way, you could use the rules for the Katanga from the old Living Jungle campaign.

1. Can shapechange to beast, human or hybrid. Once per day per level.

2. Shadow is always that of the beast form - a tiger katanga cast a tiger shadow no matter what form it was in. Kind of a neat RP hook.

3. Stuff didn't change with the shapechange, although enterprising players did come up with a 'katanga backpack', one that altered to fit on either human or tiger/gazelle/hedgehog/whatever, with a simple pull of a buckle. (cost 2xregular backpack).

4. Shapechange is EX, not spell-like. Not detectable as magic, although there was a specific detect shapechanger spell (or you could just use a light spell and look at the shadow:)

Use your imagination. I would rule that yes, the pregnancy takes, and the offspring will be a hybrid of the two. Oh, and yes, the pregnancy takes if she changes to different shapes as well. Not to sure about the final result. I.E. If she (a human) mates with a wolf, but when about to give birth she changes to a cheetah, I would probably still have it come out as a wolf/human shapechanger, rather than a cheetah/human.

I agree, the ally is unnecessary. If you want, she could be a ghostly presence that cannot aid magically or physically, but could aid with info - this could help offset your inexperienced players. "Use the flames, Luke" or 'The cold iron dagger will be with you, always". A couple of well-timed hints (only if they are getting frustrated) and things wouldn't be so bad. I also agree that CR11 is a bit too high, CR8 sounds about right.

Generally, it is accepted that those clerics/divine spellcasters who are tied to such things recognize when that is happening, no matter where they are. So she would 'know' when it is time.

Of course there are a lot of other issues there. If the party is not resting, can she (or any other spellcaster), regain spells? Since the party is expressly there to gain more loot, I would say no. Let them finish on the spells they have - makes it a bit more of a challenge. Of course once they find that out, they can make a point of resting, so it's a short term challenge, give them a few wandering monsters to burn up most of their spells, at least make them worry.

First of all, there was, in it's time, a general consensus that 3.5 was about as good as D&D could get. PF is better. However, there is only one reason we went with pathfinder, at least initially. It was because it was compatible with 3.5, and we owned most of the books. So we allow pretty much all of 3.5 rules.

The 2nd thing is that we like the expanded base classes in 3.5 MUCH better than the ones in PF. The swashbuckler, warmage, warlock, favored soul, are all popular in our game. Even the duskblade, which I admit was overpowered in 3.5. In PF, we find that with the enhanced base classes, the duskblade is no more (or less) powerful than anyone else. The only one of the new classes in PF that has drawn any interest at all is the alchemist, and that from the youngest player in our group, because he likes to blow things up.

Don't get me wrong, if you like the new classes, good for you. Enjoy them. But I do think that some of it is because the 3.5 classes were not OGL. I have to believe that PF would have come up with a swashbuckler had it been available. Too bad, because I bet they would have done a better job of it.

I see absolutely nothing wrong with this ring. My first reaction was how weak the curse was. Only one level? That's nothing.

Only possible change, to avoid totally nerfing a fighter, by having his strength go to 6, or a mage by nerfing his int, give them a choice. A random roll (tell them what it is), or their con. Frankly, the idea that the character is crippled is overreacting. It's only one level, that's really nothing at lower levels, and by the time you hit 9th level, you have other options. (If you don't have a cleric to do raise dead, you should have a mage to do reincarnate).

And even if the character is nerfed, so what? He might have to actually roleplay dealing with a curse? A fighter can get used to doing a lot less damage for one level, or a mage can depend on using wands and scrolls until he levels. Assuming mid levels have some stat boosting items, it might not even totally nerf them, just take away some of their higher levels spells for one level. Make them appreciate what they have when they get the level back.

Oh, and the argument that someone might not choose to be resurrected because they'd come back crippled? Crippled implies permanent. Temporarily weakened is more like it, and if they really wanted to come back, that would be no obstacle at all. In fact, it might be fun, overcoming a challenge to regain your power and prestige.

Aranna said wrote:
Also many players us out of game knowledge to to a greater or lesser extent. And although a lot of them hide that use of knowledge they still act on it. For example after a poor roll on a stealth check they opt to go a different less dangerous way

Two things to disagree with here:

1. Your players may use out of game knowledge, mine do not. They are much more likely to say "Since I clearly am moving quite silently, I will skip sneaking around the back, safe way, and move in right past the guards."

2. If the roll is an abject failure "I sneak past the suits of armor through to the treasure room". Roll a 1. DM - "Crash, clang, bangedy bang, crash, bang, clank, etc." Do you think there's a chance they might know they failed?

Also, the players are usually required to describe their intentions BEFORE rolling. It's not - "I am sneaking past the guards". Oh, I rolled a 5. "I meant I was sneaking around the back where the guards aren't." I don't run my game that way, and I doubt you do either.

Finally, 3.5 & PF have put the roll in question, no matter what you roll. Since a 20 is no longer an autosuccess on a skill roll, and a 1 is not an auto-fail, the players cannot be sure if they succeeded or failed, no matter what they roll. If the guards are asleep, and the player has but 4 ranks in stealth, a natural 1 will still succeed. If the guards are actually trained ninja, with a spot of 18, and the PC has a stealth of 8, even a natural 20 will fail (assuming the ninja are taking 10).

But it's really about the feeling of playing your character. If someone else rolls for you, no matter what the situation or result, you feel tainted/cheated.

There's only one real stinker in the list - rolling for their skills. I've been DMing since '74, and the few times I tried it, the players hated it with a vengeance. I hold them to a 'no metagaming' rule, they have to be good enough role players to not react to the roll with a metagaming move, and for the most part, they always are. If not, they pay for it and now, the expect to pay for it.

But players want to control their own destiny, and that means rolling their own dice. At this point my group (the newbie in our group has been there 15 years), if I tried to roll something for them, they would ignore it, and roll their own dice. And I couldn't blame them. Everyone knows the DM rolls crappy, especially when he's rolling for someone else.

Also, rolling so that the result is secret is a blatant insult to the players, saying - 'You're just not a good enough role player to be able to roll your own dice, I have to do it for you." WOuldn't go over at all in my group, or frankly, most groups of experienced playes I've seen.

Best way for druids to fight undead is to be a cleric.

Seriously, druids are historically rotten at fighting undead, and I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that. If you must be, fire works well against just about all undead, that would be really, the only way to go.

But accept the fact that you'll be lousy at it.

Personal preferences differ. My last PURE buff guy (his only offensive spell was a wand of magic missiles(1), which he used to hunt owls), was a sorcerer, and he rocked. There aren't a tremendous amount of buff spells (compared to the whole list), so the sorcerer's limited spell list works just fine, and he has a boatload of them to cast.

I do agree, otherwise, that any party that needs buffs can't do any better than a well built bard. Just too many options there, all of them good.

I agree. Use the little girl. I remember once we were playtesting Highlander rules (not the ones that eventually got published, those stunk. These were good, but the guys trying to put them out were not very organized).

One of the players had a viking who had come over with Lief Erickson, and spent 800 years slaughtering indians. He made the Kurgen look jolly. But I introduced an untapped immortal, an 8 year old who knew she was going to be immortal, and his heart melted. "Most people are no da** good, but she's not most people" was his quote. Eventually, he lost his head defending her, and counted it a worthy sacrifice. Of course, she was about as amoral as he was, they saw the world the same way, and that made for the connection.
Doesn't have to be a sweet little girl, just someone he can connect with, who is also helpless and needing of his protection.

IIRC, according to RAW, a limit of 32K means that 75% of the time, items under 32K should be available for sale in the town. Your call on how many of anything, of course (I always found 1 to be a good number). Except for things like CLW wands, and potions.

The 4d4 minor and 3d4 medium and major should be rolled randomly. If you have the Magic Item Compendium, that's a good place, it has a lot of unique and even fun items. Feel free to re-roll anything that doesn't fit your campaign, of course.

We've been playing since the late 70's, and I agree with those who have said - try it with the base rules - maybe even Core Rule Book only, for a while before you put in any houserules.

In the beginning, the only place to get new material was in Dragon magazine, which regularly published new classes. We assumed they were tested and belonged in D&D. It didn't take long before we assumed that everything in the Dragon was broken, and it was almost never allowed.

Over the years, through many, many different games, it almost always works out that if you stick to RAW, you are better off than trying to impose your own rules. Of course we had tweaks, we still do. But they are few and far between. Fortunately for me, my group took one look at the summoner and went 'Bleah!, and has never tried one. So I didn't have to rule them out (I also said Bleah when I looked them over).

As noted above, magic item creation is a zero sum game, useful only to let the party customize, or translate gold into items for THEMSELVES. We generally have people take one or more of the item creation feats, and the idea of selling it for money actually offends them. They didn't put in all that work to trade it for mere gold. They made something they or their friends want and need.

And one especial place to leave out at the beginning is the archtypes/mutagens/etc from the APG. Run at least one AP with core characters, so you can get a feel for how much (and how little) things have changed. Then figure out your houserules.

Unlimited is fine. The dragon idea is particularly good, but it shouldn't be good dragon, a great red wyrm sounds about right. If they are focused enough on revenge, they won't care who their benefactor is.

1. Unlimited wealth, but it's NOT theirs. They can use what they need, provided they can justify to the dragon. Need 250K to buy a villa to blend into the social life in the town. Sure, it's in that chest. Need a +4 sword because according to WBL you should have that, the dragon wants to know if you've been feebleminded lately. Here's a +1, and it's silver too. That should cover anything you need in that area.

Of course some of the basic stuff (+4 str belt, +3 mace, +2 leather of stealth) can be picked up in the process of dealing with the BBEG's mooks. The dragon should be generous, letting them keep almost half of such stuff that they find.

Seriously, the only time WBL should come into play, if at all, is at the beginning. Otherwise, they can get whatever they want, provided they can justify it to the dragon. And even then, he'll have control. We need a Rod of Resurrection, in case someone dies. "Hmm, someone could die, and that would be inconvenient. Here's a wand that will take care of that" (reincarnate).

Of course it can go the other way, as well. "What, a group of trolls guarding the entrance to the cave where you need entry. Fireball wand. Nah, he's three meteor swarms on a scroll, bring it back if you don't use it all up." Every so often, hit them with unlimited wealth. "I'm told there might be a pair of glabrezu guarding that entrance. He's a Holy Avenger and a couple of scrolls of dismissal, just in case.

Also, at the beginning, emphasis should be placed on the idea that a lot of the time they might have little or no magic stuff. If they build that way, they can be very effective with little or no magic stuff. Mages take whatever feat it is that let's them remember spells with spell books, clerics memorize gtr magic weapon and bull's strength, fighters work on being good with lots of weapons rather than down the double-bladed axe focus/spec/ad nauseum path.

I don't recall seeing it in 3.5 or PF, but in the old days, crystal balls could come with clairaudience or clairvoyance, and they didn't really have a range. You might look those up and see if you can adapt them to what you need.

In 37+ years, we've played pretty much everything. Except Traveller, Gurps, and Shadowrun - OK, we played one of the versions of Shadowrun, but only for a little while. Oh, and we never played Tunnels & Trolls, which came out the same time as the basic 3 book boxed set.

Best - in order - Torg, Pathfinder, Amber diceless, 3.5, SW Saga.

Worst - Shadowrun (early editions), actually, that one stands out by itself.

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Frankly, it looks like you have the opportunity to run an adventure that will be talked about for years and years. Run with it.

Some considerations - and if you have to 'house rule' to make them happen, so be it.

Magic items should be subsumed into their cat forms, so if they get a +1 sword, they change to human, grab the sword, and change back to have +1 claws.

Since they are cats, they should be able to take pounce and rake. Added to backstabbing, and they'll do 1-2 +xd6. In Living Jungle, I once had a rogue reincarnated as a tree frog - his damage was nil +5d6 backstabbing. If they are willing to surround and pounce on something, they could be very effective.

Wonderful half-dragon mouse and string trap suggestions. Go with it, farther and farther out there. Yes, it's not pure D&D, but it could be wonderful fun. I would run something like that in a heartbeat.

I disagree on one point. Posters have been saying that since he cast it when you opened the door, it's less likely to be a teleport than invisibility. However, the door was opened to allow a barbarian to go in and beat the #$#&* out of him. If I was a wizard with a choice, that's when I would teleport.

However, I do agree that it would not be metagaming to wave your arms around, maybe throw some flour or dirt into the air, to see if he's still there. Since that would be the normal reaction if someone disappeared in your kitchen, in a world without invisibility. It would seem quite likely in a world with magic. Note - 8 int means he might leave the door open until it's too late, though.

Butch - 18 Str, 8 Int - Hey there must be some elves like that!

My wife has a book of exotic herbs that she uses, just like pharmas, they tend to lend themselves to good elven and half-elven names.
Caraway Paprika.

I agree on the bard, although the lack of high level spells might be a problem.

Could go buffing sorcerer, picking up a few of the Remove Cursey type things with scrolls and wands. The idea of channeling for damage really doesn't apply, because you have four basic damage dealers, pick up a fireball or ice storm to take out the big bunches of mooks, the bbegs will be handled by the tanks. The rest can go for buffing, and there are some nice backgrounds for the sorcerer build. (infernal might work especially well in CC). As far as healing, buy the paladin a lot of CLW wands. Sorcerers with the high charisma also have an innate advantage on UMD.

I do admit that a cleric with lots of buffing would also fit well. Heroism/strenth domain.

My group sounds like the OP's group - minus the druid, and adding an extra dwarf cleric and a wizard. They had obtained a wagon, and found out about the drinking, so they sent the two dwarves in with barrels of liquor - supposedly, the sorcerer, ranger, and wizard were hiding in the barrels, the rogue underneath the wagon.

The only thing they had problems with was the owlbear - the two dwarves had all they could handle. The rogue stole the show - a two handaxe guy, he put down three of the mooks by himself, met the stag lord in hand to hand combat, and with a pair of crits, finished him off in two rounds. Ok, he was really hot, but the good planning and use of a reverse ambush meant that it wasn't going to be a real contest. Sometimes strategy worked. Actually, to toughen it up, I had one of the mooks start invisible, so he could release the owlbear. Otherwise, it would have been an easy run.

Oh, they were all pretty much 4th level by then.

I'd go paladin, and not really worry about overshadowing the party. Remember, someone else got a 17, which means 3 18's, 2 14's, and a 13. Sounds pretty powerful as well.

And yes, as a paladin, you will overpower the other three - in melee. Of course as the only up front fighter, you would also overpower them in melee if you had all 13s and 14s. (You'd probably arrange that somewhat differently, but the fact remains).

Actually, I usually allow my PCs to respawn, provided they are below 9th level (raise dead level), and/or don't have access to a reincarnate. That is purely a function of time, we don't want to wait for someone to create a brand new character. We've been gaming for 35+ years, been there, done that.

When you come back, you are naked. You get the dead PCs equipment, nothing more. Of course we have never even looked up WBL, believing it is a useless rule, unless you are starting a party at more than 1st level, which we never do. And the idea that someone would respawn because they lost an item - when they come back, the item is still gone. That seems non-negotiable.

I hadn't thought of the Pokemon aspect, but you're absolutely right. Cards = doing well. And, you can keep the # of cards roughly even, even if they are not all getting magic at the same time. "You got this glowing sword, and your sister got this nifty lantern that almost acts like a flashlight. It's called a bullseye lantern, and it's expensive!'.

It's all in the presentation.

RSF - I knew there would be someone disagreeing as soon as I typed that. Methods and preferences differ.

One thing we do to encourage roleplaying even while people are advancing in level, is the fact that you earn XP for surpassing obstacles, no matter how you do it. So roleplaying your way through an obstacle is just as rewarding as hack'n'slash.

When I was running my kids through 2nd Ed, it wasn't the level that interested them, it was what they could now do. My daughter, who was 5, probably had no real grasp of what level she was (she was running an elven fighter/mu. The big thing was when she got to 5th level MU, and could fly! That made her day/week/month. After that, she wasn't too concerned. Until she hit 7th, and could polymorph into a pegasus.

Someone mentioned magic items as a reward. For children, I STRONGLY suggest that if it's going to take several months to move from one level to another, that the treasure be of a 'and in this strongbox you ffind (1 item per PC)' rather than 1 item this week and another in two weeks. That's one of the benefits of levels as a reward, everyone gets them at (usually) the same time. Also, I suggest imagination. For a 7 year old, a +1 sword is a pretty boring reward. Instead, it should be a "Magic sword, that glows with a blue light when you draw it!'

I can appreciate your wanting to all your kids to have time to appreciate and learn the characters with a slow pace. However remember a couple of things.

1. The single biggest reward a PC can get is advancing a level. And the most exciting will be the first time they do it.
2. The single biggest advancement in power and survivability is from 1st to 2nd level.

So you might consider a little faster on the first advancement, then move to a slower pace.

Personally, I don't know of a single gamer who would be happy playing at 1st level for six weeks or two months (which is roughly the 8 levels in a year pace you mentioned). - assumes weekly sessions.

When I ran my kids through AD&D - at ages 5 & 10, they moved up every two to four weeks. Faster at lower levels, of course, longer at higher (I remember a wizard going from 17th to 18th is just over a year).

Other people call them Drume. Among yourselves, it's Drumheads:)But they better smile when they call you that!

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I completely agree on the Summoner. With very few exceptions, it just kills the game flow completely. Also, we have six players in our group, at least two of them play only fighters or melee types. So if someone summons monsters, they are generally useless. The highest level monster a druid/conjurer/summoner can summon just don't stack up against a PC fighter or other melee type. By the time they get in there, the battle's almost over. The eidolon might be effective, but it's still filling a role that several other PCs are already filling. We're much better off with a spellcaster who blasts/buffs/heals/battlefield controls.

Actually, in the past, if someone really wanted to summon monsters, I made them have the stats at hand before we started play that night. Also, I required that when the used a specific spell, they got the same monsters all the time. It actually led to some decent roleplaying, as we had one wizard who summoned a pair of dire wolves, Hansel and Gretel, every time. She got to know them, and so did the rest of the party.

Other unfavorable classes - most of the onces from the APG. Alchemist is fun, especially if he's a gnome, and Cavalier can work in an adventure like Kingmaker, but the rest seem a bit.. off. For all of it's faults, 3.5 had better alternate classes - i.e. Warlord, Warlock, Beguiler... I do admit that had they still been available for Paizo to do, they would probably have done a much better job with them.

A couple of points.

1. People have been saying that point buy speeds things up. Maybe it's because we're all old-timers, but the one time we tired point buy, it took forever. Figuring if I drop this one 1 then I can put 2 more here, and so forth. My people just roll the dice, decide on a background, arrange the stats to fit, and we go. Probably just a practice thing though.

2. The 4d6 drop lowest example of 3 18s for one guy, and nothing over an 11 for the other. If you have someone consistently getting 3 18s, check their dice. We have been gaming for 35 years, with literally hundreds, maybe more than a thousand characters created over that time, and I have seen maybe 2 PCs that started with 3 18s (not counting racial bonuses or such). And since 2E, when we went from 3d6 to 4d6, I have seen exactly three characters with stats low enough (no net bonus at all) to merit re-rolling. Finally, I don't see how it messes up the adventure to have people with different stats. As a DM, you are not out after the fighter, or the wizard, you're after the whole party. If they party works together, they can handle the challenge no matter who is strong or weak.

We've done this in our campaign clear back to 1st edition. The inspiration for it came from a book called "Berserker Planet" by Fred Saberhagen. Not so much for the layout, that was just your basic 64 man down to one winner tournament. But as I was drawing up the NPCs, the names were a huge help, as well as the different weapon types they used. Thomas the Grabber, Omir Kelsumba, and Vlad the Nomad became NPCS to be reckoned with for years and years after the tournament.

For the martial, I recommend no magic at all, evreyone has masterwork everything. The answer we always give when someone whines about not getting to use their +6 gauntlets, or whatever, is that 'It's about who's the best fighter, not who has the best stuff."

I agree that comparing strength damage to sneak attack doesn't fit.

However, if you are looking at earlier editions to justify the one sneak attack per round, there are a couple of other things you should do, in fairness.

Fighters, for instance, got 2 attacks per round - at 13th level! Before that it was 1, then 1 in the first, two in the 2nd. Unless you are also putting in those restrictions, your game is unbalanced. (although a hasted 7th level fighter did get three attacks a round, but haste also aged him a year every time it was cast).

The scale, or horn, or claw, of a gold, or red, dragon - FREELY GIVEN. Those two words can make a simple battle into an epic quest. It also makes the PCs think, rather than charge in and slay. Or if you want it to be REALLY epic, Tiamat or Baphomet(sp?).

The smile of a beholder.

The most valuable possession of the caster (and of course, it has to be real value, not just the highest GP item). I did this once to a wizard who was an evoker, and had all kinds of spells/feats to enrich his fire castings. So he gave up the ability to cast fire spells.

One of our most impractical builds was a summoner. Actually, I guess he'd have been a conjurer, a specialist from 3.5. Had all the feats to beef up his summoned creatures, they could kick a>>.

BUT - the party (of six) had a barbarian death machine, a fighter only a little ways behind him, and a ranger/archer all tricked out. By the time he summoned his creatures, the battle was usually nearly over. Therer were even several times when the melee guys chopped there way through his summonings to get to the bad guys. He was just filling a role that the party had no use for.

To this day, since we have a group of six, and nearly always two melee guys, sometimes even more, no one has even considered playing a summoner, it is frustrating to have your best thing be something the party has absolutely no use for.

Yes, we have played through the entire AP. And my players had considerably more than 16-20 BP flowing in per month. And yes, if you're willing to go with the cheapest possible armies, your consumption is not terrible, but it's also not much fun. I don't remember all the exact figures, but they saved up for their armies, and had well over 500 BP when they started, and it melted away like sugar in the rain. Remember the BP cost for an army is per week, but BP income is by month. Also, 1/2 their CR is only if you take a plain vanilla army with no enhancements whatsoever.

So I will yeild the point, it is probably POSSIBLE to wage the war with no MIE. It's just not nearly as much fun (for my players, at least), nor do the players have as many options.

I agree, a polite question at the beginning is fine. A questionaire with a list of skills and a check box. I think, if I was being polite, I would crumple it up and throw it at his head (not seriously, but it is what I would like to do). What I would do is hand it back to him immediately, and tell him I'll think about filling it out after the game is over:)

This would immediately mark him as a rules lawyer who is going to spoil the fun for the others at the table, and I would do my best to ignore/keep him as quiet as possible, so that he doesn't spoil the fun for the others. Even if that is not his intent, as it clearly seems it is not.

Ditto to what others have said as well - that's the last thing a DM usually has time for, especially if it is multiplied by six different requests.

Good intent, really, really awful, terrible, unworkable idea.

Actually, I think the kingdom building rules are quite inspired. Best I've ever seen. Do they have flaws, sure. But they have some built in safeguards as well.

For instance, one of the criteria for starting adv. #5 is to have your kingdom as 80 hexes or more. Preferably at least 100. The armies you can recruit are severely limited if you have a small kingdom.

Another method I found that kept cities in balance was to turn a city over to one player. While they understood the metagaming involved, no one wanted to do that for THEIR city. In general, they tended to strive for a balanced city. "I'm out here in the grasslands, I need a mill, a granary, and a stable." "I'm only two hexes from the capitol, so I'm going to build a city for the rich to retreat to." And indeed, that player insisted on spending more. Instead of docks, she had a marina. Twice the price, same effects as a dock.

The MIE can be troubling, but when it comes to paying for armies, it's almost impossible to do it without MIE.

Nosig, you are right. The D&D books (the three paperbacks), had saves. Like you said, self-editing memories, but I believe they became saving throws when the first AD&D book - PHB, came out, circa 78 or so.

And having just been at a con with one of the old timers (the guy who actually invented the bulette), I don't believe there was any deep thought process behind it. They called it that for convenience, and that's how it stayed.

Example - The bulette came about because someone sent Gygax a bunch of plastic, pink, yellow and purple Japanese monsters. They picked a few out and decided to make them monsters. They did NOT know about the Saturday Night Live skit when they also called them landsharks. But for us old timer, the hunting call of the bulette will always be "Candygram".

Play the barbarian, just make sure you do what you can for saves and HP. You'll be fine. Even better a gnome barbarian (that way someone in the party can pick them up and throw them into traps, safer for everyone else.)

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Pixel, I think you have the right idea. The best (read - most fun to play in) party I was ever a part of had almost all the required roles filled, including:

Fearless leader, damage causer, and face (The Gnome Ranger).
Actual damage causer, his little brother, a dragon slayer (Gnome fighter).
The Gnome Rangers fearless sidekick (Toronto, gnome sorcerer with a 24 con by the time he was 6th level, necessary since he always went in front).
Entertainment - halfing bard who never took a single vocal skill, she did it with dancing.
Business mgr - half-orc cleric who specialized in Knowledge-the Oldest Profession.
Resident pervert - Druid with a wolf companion - Wolf was never permitted to fight, since she and the druid were 'very' close.

OF course, everyone can see that for a true adventuring group, there is one role that is glaringly absent. I'm talking, of course, about the Orchestra. We adventured for 12 levels before finally filling that most important role. I'm sorry, but audible glamor (for when the Gnome Ranger appears), just didn't cut it.

In time, we got our 'folding bandstand' (box, wagon, bandstand), with Frankie the Flesh Golem to pull it, and a dozen lesser air elementals trained in music to act as our orchestra. It took 12 or more levels of relentless adventuring, but the orchestra was always our party's goal.

So, in other words, with a good group, you can make just about anything work.

What's not to like about gnomes? We have always had gnomes in our party, in 1st & 2nd ed, they made by far the best illusionists (which in 1st ed was actually a seriously overpowered class). I have had gnome paladins, gnome dragon-slayers, and just about every other kind of gnome in my game.

In fact, when 4th Ed came out, one of the reasons that we chose to go PF instead of 4E was the initial 4E did NOT have gnomes. Seriously, at least two of my players stated that as the primary reason for voting for PF.

Besides, as for the other races
Elves are all sissies
Dwarves are all grumpy.
Humans smell bad.
Half-elves and Half-orcs are okay, but limited.
Halflings are morning people, and should be shot. Repeatedly.

Leaving .. gnomes!

Frankly, that was one of the understandings we had when we went to Pathfinder - we had a lot of 3.5 books, and they were still usable. So we're pretty much backwardly compatable for everything - sole exception being stuff PF has reworked/rewritten, most of the time we go with that.

We'll agree to disagree. I see it that you are trying to set false difference between a number of very similar things. What is the difference between fudging a dice in combat, and letting the PCs not use the dice they roll for hit points? Houserules, or cheating, whatever you call it, it's still fudging.

I would like to redefine the definition of fudging. If fudging dice - ever, no matter how rarely, means that the DM is cheating, then the following list should also be defined as cheating. Yes, some of it is legal according to the rules, but so is fudging dice(rule 0).

1. Changing a dice to alter a situation. (I do this, not to save a PC, or a monster, but to heighten dramitic situations. In the entire kingmaker campaign I think I did it twice).
2. Point buy - Makes sense for PFS, but in your own campaign, why would you not have the players live with their own dice rolls for PCs?
3. Average hp, or max hp, or anything but what the players roll.
4. Hero points (we don't do this in Pathfinder, but have used them in games like Star Wars, and they work fine. We just choose not to).
5. Adjusting an encounter on the fly - changing hp, HD, attack rolls. (yes, I do this too).
6. Adjusting an adventure on the fly, skipping an encounter with a couple of mooks so that you can get to the BBEG before the night is over, for ex. If the adventure was written a certain way, it should be run that way. (I do this occasionally, usually more in the interest of time than adventure balance.)
7. Adjusting treasure to fit your party better. As the MIC says, if the treasure is something your PCs absolutely cannot use, you haven't given them any treasure. Yes, I will occasionally do this.
8. Handwaved or otherwise facilitated a res, or a new PC coming in, in the interest of not having a player sit for three hours being bored while you get to a good situation to bring them back in. They died, they deserve to be bored to tears while everyone else has fun. (I'm terrible at this. In the World's Largest Dungeon, I once avoided a TPK by letting them bring in replacements BEFORE the battle was over. It led to a TPK&1/2, I killed 9 PCs in a six player party. Since it was WLD, they all had four PCs, so the replacements were literally camped 5 rounds away, but it still gets talked about).

All of these things, in someone's campaign, would be considered cheating. Yet, I have yet to see anyone on this thread who doesn't do at least a couple of these things. And they SHOULD. Someone who would insist on none of these things would be the textbook definition of a ... not very good DM. I know of only one DM who ever tried this, he had several campaigns fall apart before he learned better.

To say that only dice fudging is cheating, and everything else a DM can have in his toolbox is fine seems to be hairsplitting of the highest order. We all fudge, just in different methods, and to adjust to our players. And that is as it should be.

I agree about the slight resentment. I think whatever you decide about hero points should go across the board. Players will put up with a lot as long as they feel they are being judged fairly. Personally, I'd go with whatever the majority votes on. Tell them you'll try it that way for a few months and then revisit to see if they have changed their mind. Can't be fairer than that.

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