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304 posts. Organized Play character for Jiggy (RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32).

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Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Hey everybody, remember me? :)

I've just launched a Kickstarter for a brand-new family-friendly RPG called Rodent Rangers!

Rodent Rangers is a game in which players take on the role of heroic mice (or other small critters) living in a society which exists in secret right under the noses of oblivious humans. Think The Rescuers, The Great Mouse Detective, An American Tail, and so forth.

It's a lightweight system with an emphasis on cooperation and all that 80s cartoon mousey goodness that many of us have fond memories of.

To help make this project a reality, and even get an early playtest version and be thanked in the credits, check out the Kickstarter HERE.

Don't forget to spread the word as well!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Do you like one-page RPGs? Do you like goofy nonsense? Do you like murdering bunnies in their warren? If your answer to any of those was yes, then check out Best Served Cold, my first publication under my new company, Purple Aether Games LLC.

It's Pay What You Want, so you can check it out for free if you like. All you need is the rules, a bunch of d6's, and some folks you can laugh with. Enjoy!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I remember chatting about this a bit when the PHB first came out, and wanted to follow up on it now that some supplements and DM's Guild material has had a chance to accumulate.

5E has full casters (wizard, cleric, etc), half-casters (ranger, paladin), 1/3 casters (eldritch knight, arcane trickster), and non-casters (non-EK fighters, non-AT rogues, etc).

Here's the thing:
Full casters include both arcane and divine options.
Half casters are only divine.
One-third casters are only arcane.

Now, I believe Nefreet is already working on a divine 1/3 caster, so that's taken care of.

But what about an arcane half-caster? Has anybody made that yet? And if not, would there be an audience for it if I made one? Should that be my next project?


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Want a character that focuses on mobility and speed, beyond just taking that single feat? Want a character who can Sneak Attack Cthulhu with a boat? Want to attend Session 0 and say "Well, I could be the Zoomer" and actually do it instead of just leaving it as a pop-culture reference?

All that and more is now possible, and even better, it's Pay What You Want!

Click HERE to check out the Zoomer, free of charge. If you like it, you can always go back and re-purchase it for a non-zero amount, but you don't have to.

Also, if you want to keep seeing more content from me, pop in and tell me what you'd like to see, and maybe consider supporting my work HERE.

Don't forget to rate/review the Zoomer after you take it for a spin! Thanks!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I was kind of surprised, since there were jokes on social media about "I wonder how long until somebody makes a Zoomer class". I searched multiple parts of the forums for the word "zoomer" and got nothing. I'm a little sad.

But I'm also a little happy, because maybe that means there's room for the one I'm making. Yep, that's right, I'm creating a Zoomer! This is a 5E rogue archetype, with a focus on mobility and vehicles (alongside the core rogue abilities of sneak attacks and lock-picking).

It will be available soon-ish on the DM's Guild, and in the meantime, I've posted the alpha version HERE. Enjoy!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hey gamer friends!

In pursuit of my dream of designing awesome games for you to play, I've launched a Patreon page! Have a look, and please share the link to all your buddies!


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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I've finished designing a new RPG, and I'm moving on to playtesting!

This is a game which unshackles fantasy roleplaying from the frequent assumption that such games have to be about plundering dungeons or defeating ancient evils. Instead, Journey Away (working title; subject to change) leaves you free to explore a fantasy world as you please, facing whatever sorts of challenges you and your group enjoy.

This is accomplished with a clean, unified action resolution mechanic that's a breeze to pick up and can be used consistently for everything you do, rather than a complex system that's 80% combat-centric.

To put it another way: in Pathfinder and D&D, even the basic act of character creation makes it clear that you're either going to spend a lot of time in combat, or else get very little use out of most of the rules you had to learn to play the game. But in Journey Away, your adventures can be anything you want, and the same basic mechanics will support you regardless!

The system is also open-ended enough that you can swap in your own settings with ease, and lightweight enough that you can show it to your non-gamer loved ones without putting them to sleep so they can finally understand what's so great about roleplaying.

Interested? Post questions here, and/or send me a PM if you'd like to help playtest it!


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hey all,

I've heard that there are RPGs which contain subsystems for wilderness (or other) exploration, but aside from one that I'm about to try (Mutant: Year Zero) my exposure to such mechanics is zero. However, it's a topic I have an interest in and need to do some research into how different games have handled exploration mechanics.

Can anyone recommend some games with exploration systems for me to read up on? Bonus points if they're free/cheap or have some kind of SRD or something.


GM Notes:

Discussion thread created.

GM Notes:

Gameplay thread created.

The quiet, frontier village of Wood Creek has been growing due to the bountiful river alongside it and the abundant nearby resources. Recently, the village elder has struck a deal with a wealthy noble from a larger city: in exchange for eventual taxation rights, this noble will invest in the town's development by supplementing the town guard with his own knights and by financing some development projects.

Right now, the town is split. Although everyone agrees that the growth of Wood Creek will eventually result in the need for more defense (whether due to catching the attention of opportunistic pillagers or simply crowding against some of the more dangerous local fauna), nobody can agree on how to go about it. Some want to secure and renovate an abandoned keep a mile or two outside of town, into which people could retreat in times of trouble (and eventually transplant essential functions permanently into said keep). Others want to harvest large, sturdy logs from the nearby forest and build a town wall to protect people where they are, and simply keep expanding the wall every time the village outgrows it.

The elder put it to a vote of the people, and you've got the swing vote! You've been here a good long while, and the people respect you. Where will you steer the future of Wood Creek, and how will you deal with the consequences of your decisions? Will you bolster this town and help lead it into continued prosperity, or will you cast it into ruin? If you're ready to take action and see it through to the end, then suit up, because the people of Wood Creek are counting on you!

The Game

This campaign is a homebrew adventure using the 5E D&D ruleset. It centers around the village of Wood Creek, which lies on the outskirts of civilization, and the surrounding wilderness. The game will start at (approximately) 3rd level and will span at least a few more levels, though the exact endpoint is not set to a specific character level.

Characters in this game are residents of Wood Creek. The village and surrounding area will be the center of the story and action. This will be a campaign in which your choices matter; not only which project you endorse for the town at the outset, but even how you spend your time, what tasks you take on, and how well you complete your objectives. This means there will be a certain degree of "sandbox"-style play in which you can choose where to focus your attention at times, but there will still be a central theme and a clear progression of events for you to follow along with.

Character Creation

  • As mentioned earlier, characters are residents of the village of Wood Creek. You also need to be someone in decent standing with the town; no evil, no active criminals, etc. You don't have to be a square-jawed hero, but there needs to be a reason that some folks know your name and aren't interested in calling the guards when they see you.
  • All races from the PHB are allowed except drow.
  • All classes from the PHB are allowed, but no animal companions/familiars (we've got enough to keep track of with just the players, thanks).
  • All backgrounds from the PHB are allowed except for the noble and the spy; the former because it interacts weirdly with the campaign premise, and the latter because it over-sells the capabilities of low-level D&D characters. Custom backgrounds (per the PHB's rules) are allowed.
  • Don't bother with the trait/ideal/bond/flaw package, unless you just want to in order to inform your roleplaying. Instead, give me 3 single-word descriptions of your personality. These will factor into the awarding of Inspiration.
  • Characters get starting gear from classes/backgrounds, plus one potion of healing.
  • Multiclassing is allowed, but remember that stat boosts are based on class level, not character level.
  • Variant humans are allowed, and feats are allowed. However, the Lucky feat is NOT allowed, because it's a logistical nightmare in PbP.
  • I'm going to try out something different for starting ability scores: roll 1d8+7 six times, and arrange as desired. If you roll stats that are worse than the standard array, you can switch to the standard array.
  • Submit a 2nd-level character, but be aware that you're probably starting at 3rd level. I'll explain that part later.
  • When you submit your character, let me know which of the options for Wood Creek's defense (from the opening blurb) your character would support and why. I'll be using your post as a way of gauging how well you can communicate in your posts, which will affect whom I pick.
  • Although you don't have to create an alias at the time of submission, once you do make it, I require that you have your spell descriptions, class features, and so forth available for me to see in your profile. I should never have to post a question and wait a day for an answer, just to I can determine how the things you're doing will interact with the world/monsters.

"Organic Adventuring"

I have a hope of this adventure (and the PCs within it) feeling "natural" and "unscripted". I'm trying a few things to get this feel. The most obvious is the rolled stats. I don't normally go that route, but I'd like to try it.

But then there's the part where I said we'll start at approximately 3rd level but asked for submissions at 2nd level. The plan is for each PC, once selected, to roll on a chart that I'm working on preparing. Depending on what you roll, you'll get some mix of XP, gold, and/or magic items. The typical result will be to land somewhere within the range of 3rd level, with a bit of extra gold and/or a minor magic item. An extreme roll might instead go to one end of the spectrum: all XP, getting you to the cusp of 4th level but with little to no additional gear; or all material, leaving you still at 2nd level but with a significant extra helping of gold and/or magic item(s). Thus, everyone will be a little different (different magic items, different gear, leveling at different times, etc) but still remain within comparable power levels with each other.

Now, if that sounds unsettling, don't worry; I've played in a 5E game with different-level characters before, and as long as it's not a huge gap (which it won't be), you can hardly even tell. And with gear filling in the starting XP gaps, I think we can achieve "different but balanced" characters.


By submitting a character, you are committing to a consistent posting rate of once per weekday minimum. If you need to be absent for a while (like if you're sick or traveling), say so in the discussion thread and I'll "bot" you as necessary to keep the game moving. If you develop an ongoing trend of silence, you will be removed from the game.

I don't own the Monster Manual and usually am not in a position to reference printed stat blocks anyway, so all of the monsters and NPCs will be homebrewed. Additionally, I don't use maps; combat and exploration will be all "theater of the mind". Don't worry; I've successfully run campaigns under these parameters before, so I know it can work.

I welcome creative approaches to obstacles, and 5E's unified math makes the adjudication of unconventional actions a breeze. So if you want to disarm an enemy or swing from a chandelier or whatever, bring it on! We'll figure out the mechanics as we need them, and you might just get Inspiration in the process if the idea seems legitimate and in-character.

As mentioned in the Character Creation section, thorough character profiles are required. This means if I need to know something about how one of your abilities works, I should be able to consult your profile rather than a book. Additionally, I require a summary of various critical info (a "stat line", I call it) appearing under your name on your posts (I'll show you how to do that if you're picked), and this must be kept up to date. Consistent failure to provide these things will eventually result in removal from the game.

All in all, I'm just looking for some folks who want to have some fun, go on adventures, and keep the game moving for everyone. If that's you, please submit a character!

I'll be choosing about 5 characters for the campaign. Recruitment will remain open through October 18th (two weeks from now). I will announce my selections on October 19th.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm preparing a new homebrew 5E campaign, and I have an idea for character creation. (I'm planning on this being open recruitment for a PbP, but in theory it shouldn't be much different for a face-to-face group.)

See, something I've noticed is that, due to bounded accuracy and such, PCs don't have to be exactly the same level to still function together. A mixed-level party, as long as the gap isn't huge, seems to be able to get by without too many issues (or so it seems in my limited experience).

This got me thinking about past discussions I've heard about making characters feel "organic" and I had an idea.

Suppose that at character creation, everybody brings a 2nd-level character with an XP total of, say, 500. Then, everybody rolls percentiles and consults a chart I would prepare ahead of time. Depending on the roll, they would get some mix of gear and/or XP. At the extreme ends, they might get no extra gear but enough XP to almost/barely crack 4th level, or get no additional XP but get one rare magic item (from among a short list prepared in advance by me). Most rolls would result in XP landing you somewhere in 3rd level along with one uncommon magic item (again, from among a list prepared in advance by me) and/or some gold for upgrading starting equipment.

My thinking is that perhaps gaps in XP could be bridged with starting magic items/gear, so that everyone could feel different without anyone being relegated to "sidekick" status.

In my head, it sounds kinda cool. But I figure I should check it with other people's heads before I act on it. ;)

What do you all think?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Chris Lambertz wrote:
Just piping in quickly: let's not derail this into a debate about the online presence of our volunteer core. Tonya and I actually appreciate hearing feedback like what's been posted here. So as to not derail the discussion, but to if you'd like to kick off a different thread in Website Feedback or correspondence chain: what do you feel our forum policies or moderators could/should do in these cases? What do you want to see from Paizo and our staff?

Thanks for chiming in, Chris. :)

From a forum/moderator perspective, I'm not sure of any "action steps" to ask for. I mean, if a VO or multi-star GM over in the PFS forums gets verbally abusive, then presumably they're covered under the flagging system just like anybody else. The only thing I can think of is maybe a bit of information on which posts get removed and why.

For example, imagine this scenario:
Player: I thought I was doing everything legally, but my GM did X. Can anyone explain?
GM/VO: Quit trying to bludgeon your GM over the head with rules. Get found! Stop trying to compete with your teammates and "win" Pathfinder, you dirty powergamer! Pull that crap at MY table and you'd be booted, no questions asked.
Both: [back and forth, escalating]
Moderator: Removed some posts and the replies to them. Please be civil, thanks.
GM/VO: *goes away feeling satisfied at the deletion of the game-breaking munchkins disruptive posts, believing his own were only deleted because of being replies*

If the only people ever making it clear to certain members of the leadership culture that their behavior isn't okay are the players whom they already regard as errant children whose reprimands are unfounded, then they just keep snowballing their sense of moral superiority and justification in their actions.

Fortunately, I've seen a bit of a trend that direction in the last year or two across the forums, with moderator posts being a bit more clear. Granted, it doesn't help if the offender doesn't look, but the moderators' responsibility has to end somewhere, right?

Stopping for the moment; more to come later...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Hey there folks, I've got a mechanical question for the community:

Among the various tabletop RPGs you've played (or even merely seen), what different sorts of initiative systems have you encountered?

The D&D/Pathfinder model is simple enough: everyone rolls, then we all take turns with the winners going first. But I'm curious what else is out there.

What have you seen/played? What did you like? What did you dislike?

I'm curious to know, but can't afford to go out and buy a couple dozen RPGs just to read their initiative systems (or whatever they use instead of an initiative system), so I turn to the community's past experience.

I'm interested in all such mechanics, not just the good ones.


Hello all! My Adventures in Avonali campaign has a vacancy for a fifth party member, and I'm looking to fill it. You can view the original campaign description and character creation stuff HERE. Start with that, and then take note of the following developments/points of interest:

First, the party will soon be wrapping up the current story arc, at which point they'll be leveling up to 4th. Since that's where you would be inserted into the campaign, go ahead and build your character at 4th level rather than 3rd.

Second, although the campaign began in the town of Linhaus, the party has traveled quite a distance. It's still fine if you want to start in Linhaus (since the party can return and encounter you there), but you can also feel free to be wandering the wilderness or at a tiny unmapped village/trading post/watering hole that they might cross on their return journey. That works too.

Finally, this is a disparate group of strangers, so you don't need to know who they are or have any personal connections to them. I can figure some way to hook you up with them, though if you provide potential hooks of some sort (like some reason you might join a group of people traveling for adventure), that could make it easier on me.

If you've got any other questions, let me know! I'll probably leave this open for... maybe a week-ish? Thanks for applying!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Inspiration seemed like a neat mechanic when I read about it. In practice, however, I hardly ever see it used.

In my meatspace group (where I'm a player), I pretty consistently forget about the possibility of gaining Inspiration. (On top of that, I find that quite often the personality my character ends up with in actual play tends to differ quite a bit from the traits/ideals/bonds/flaws I wrote down when we started.)

In the Order of the Griffon PbP that I'm GMing, I decided it would be too much work to hand out Inspiration to players based on their traits, etc.; so instead I decided to incentivize regular posting by having each day in which a player posts at least once tick them up toward gaining Inspiration. (I thought this also might have a side benefit of preventing paranoid clenching, as players could see their next Inspiration coming and feel free to use what they already have.) However, it ended up being no less work for me, so I switched us to "nominate each other in Discussion". There's been, I think, one nomination to date. If I'm not mistaken, nearly everyone's had their current Inspiration for like five levels (reaching back to before we switched methods). It's just not getting used.

In the other PbP I'm running, I started us out on the "nominate each other in Discussion" method from the get-go. Not a single Inspiration yet.

In another PbP (where I'm a player), there was one day early on where the GM went through and named all the PCs who had earned Inspiration recently. Hasn't happened since.

The list goes on. I liked the mechanic when I read it, but for some reason it just doesn't happen. What have been other people's experience with it? Does it get used much? Any influential factors in your experience you'd care to share?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So my Thursday group is gearing up for Curse of Strahd, and after lots of aimless meandering through character options, I eventually decided I like the concept of someone who was a scout in the military (soldier background).

So that means I want someone with a "military" feel, and who is good at Stealth (and probably Perception). I'll probably also customize the background to get languages, since a scout needs to be able to understand what's going on in order to report on it.

But how do I build this guy? One thought I had was I could take the feat that lets you not suffer disadvantage on Stealth in medium armor. This would let me be sort of an "armored sneak", which kind of helps the military feel. But on the other hand, it means being a human (for the feat) and taking a class that has at least medium armor proficiency. This in turn means I won't have darkvision (and therefore can't really scout out anyplace dark) and won't have the rogue's expertise (and therefore wouldn't actually be any better at Stealth than anybody else). So it's a little hit and miss.

Alternatively, I could be an elf rogue. This gets me the darkvision for scouting, and expertise for better Stealth. So then I'm better at actually scouting, but the feel of the rogue doesn't really make it feel like my scouting comes from a military context.

I had some multiclass ideas, but we're starting at 1st level, so anything that's supposed to be based on my backstory needs to be represented in a single class.

Any ideas?

Discussion thread created.

Gameplay thread created.

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Adventures in Avonali

With my current campaign being more than halfway over, I've got the itch to get started on another. As I continue to explore my campaign preferences as a GM, this time around I'm going to try a semi-episodic, open-world, player-driven campaign.

The Campaign

This will be a 5th Edition D&D campaign in a homebrew setting. Rather than having to invent new geography or memorize an existing published setting, I'm going to shamelessly steal the world map from A Link to the Past and base the campaign's geography loosely on that. This does not mean this campaign is set in that universe, just that we have plenty of varied and engaging adventure locales (cities, wilderness, forests, deserts, mountains, marshes, caves, ruins, etc) whose general locations I can easily remember. What's to be found in all these locations will depend largely on the players (see below).

We won't be using XP for advancement. Rather, leveling will happen between arcs when you rest in town. It won't be after every arc (remember that they can vary in length), but you won't be needing to track XP or anything; I'll just tell you when it's time to level.

This campaign will be somewhat episodic in nature. That is, once you engage a plot hook, you'll move through a particular story arc (lengths will vary), resolve it, have a brief respite in town, and pick up a new adventure hook. This has a few benefits: we'll have plenty of opportunities to visit different locales and change up the action instead of spending forever on one thing, we'll have natural "break points" in case someone has to drop out for whatever reason, and I won't have to plan out an epic plot three years in advance.

The first "chapter" will be fairly straightforward, and get you together as a party. After that, the subjects of further endeavors will be largely determined by the players. I'll try to sprinkle your adventures with little details, and if one of them looks like it might have a story behind it, the next chapter could be about the party's investigation of that thing. I'll also put in a hook or two of my own, so you can make real choices about what you're going to do next.

Now this doesn't mean you get to decide how things turn out; sometimes you'll follow a lead and discover that JimBob was drunk off his ass and the fairies he saw were a hallucination, sometimes you'll follow up on something and it's relatively minor, and sometimes you'll engage something seemingly minor and it turns out to be a Really Big Deal. There's also no promise that whatever plot you encounter is perfectly tailored for your level; you might engage something that's a bit beneath you, and you might encounter something that you're better off running home and telling the authorities about or researching for alternative solutions.

You guys just decide what you might want to investigate, and I'll let you go have an adventure of some sort with it. As more story arcs get resolved and the world gets explored, there's also a gradually increasing chance of a new hook being related to something you thought was resolved, or something unexpected showing up that wasn't among any of your suggestions. There's no telling what adventures might be in store for you!


As the thread title suggests, the name of the primary area is Avonali. Avonali is situated on the western coast of the larger continent of Targarun. It has two major cities of note: the capitol city of Sempal in its center, and the bustling harbor town of Korkas on the coast. The former houses Avonali's rulership, as well as a strong presence of finance- and information-oriented industry (banking, libraries, academies/universities, etc). The latter is a major trade hub, where commerce reigns supreme and you can find exotic goods, exotic entertainment, and exotic cuisine. The campaign begins (and for at least a while, will center on) the town of Linhaus, a medium-sized city about a day south of capitol Sempal. The rest of the country is sprinkled with many villages, settlements, homesteads, and even nomadic tribes of varying populations.

This setting is populated by the humanoid races presented in the PHB, with two notable exceptions: there are no half-elves or half-orcs. Everybody's one race or another; if (for example) a human and an orc get busy, their progeny will be some assortment of humans and/or orcs, not halves. (That said, half-orc stats are still available; see Character Creation.) Additionally, the "drow" don't exist in their published form; rather, the third subrace of elves is the Water Elves, associated with the lakes and rivers in the same way that the Wood Elves are loosely associated with forests. (See Character Creation for mechanical adjustments.) Some of the "scarier" races (like orcs, tieflings, or dragonborn) might face some mild prejudice, but I'm not interested in making racism a predominant theme, so don't worry too much about that.

Further details of the setting will be developed as we explore the world together. :)

Logistics and Expectations

Let's make sure we're all on the same page as far as how this campaign will run.

For starters, I won't be using maps for combat. This is partly because of technical limitations, but I also prefer the little bit of "wiggle room" that I can give you when combat is a bit more description-oriented. I find that 5E is pretty forgiving in this regard, plus I'm a little loose on certain rules (see Houserules), so mapless combat has been quite satisfactory to me thus far. :)

I want a game that can establish and keep momentum. As such, I want players who can commit to consistently posting a minimum of once per day. If you have something coming up that's going to get in the way (like when I went out of town for my wife's birthday), say something in advance. Do not use silence as an expression of agreement with the current plan. If you like what someone suggested the party should do, make a post to express your support. Don't leave us all trying to assume things. In situations where we're waiting on you (like if it's your turn in combat), if you don't post, I'll wait about a day and then either skip your turn or have you do something boring and obvious. Do not leave everyone waiting on you.

Speaking of your turn in combat, I will "clump" initiative somewhat. For instance, if we roll initiative and the order is Alice, Bob, werewolf, Charlie, cultist, cultist, Dana, Edward, dragon; then I'll have Alice and Bob act in whatever order, then have the werewolf act, then Charlie, then both cultists in whatever order, then Dana and Edward in whatever order, then the dragon. If the werewold is eliminated, the Alice/Bob/Charlie all merge into a single clump. Make sense?

Houserules, GMing Style, etc.

Most of this is fairly minor, but I want to be upfront about it all anyway. Most significantly, I will be pulling all monster/NPC stats out my ass. The only 5E book I actually own is the PHB, but even if I had the stats for monsters, I wouldn't always be able to conveniently reference them when I need to. Thus, monsters will be created as needed. Similarly, villainous NPCs won't be fully-statted with exact numbers of levels and HP and ability scores and spell lists and so forth. Instead, they'll have made-up stats much like monsters, and combat abilities befitting the type of character they are (even if that means a magic "spell" that isn't a spell in the book). In short, your enemies will be thematically and mechanically appropriate, but might not follow standard monster/character creation rules.

Along a similar vein is magic items: I'll be making those up as well (except the basic 2d4+2 healing potion from the PHB). This means it is extremely important that you read my descriptions of how they work, since they might be different (significantly or subtly) from how a similarly-named item from a published source works. On the bright side, this means we can throw out limiting mechanics like attunement; since I'm not rolling random pre-published treasure, there's no need to have stop-gaps in place to artificially control the usage of the items you find. Items like +X weapons and armor can have their plusses determined by an hour of examination (such as during a short rest); however, any more complicated abilities must be either discovered from use or ascertained via the identify spell (but don't feel like you HAVE to have access to that spell in the party; there are NPCs in town, and you're not going to have so many magic items that you break the bank trying to ID them all).

I don't like the limit of one "free" object interaction per turn (such as drawing a weapon). That limitation basically makes it an action type in disguise. That limit is removed. As long as you're not being dumb, don't worry about it. I have no issue with you switching from sword-and-board to bow for free on your turn.

When there's a skill check to be made (such as to see if you know the abilities of the monster you're facing), I will often post a spoiler tag with the type of check and the DC (such as "Arcana DC 13"). When I do this, anybody can attempt the check, and anybody who succeeds can read the spoiler tag. Trust me, this saves buttloads of time. On the other hand, just because I don't post a spoiler doesn't mean there's nothing you can try. I might have forgotten (or not thought of it in the first place), or I might want it to be something you actively initiate on your own without me pushing you to do so, or whatever. So if you think the altar's trapped or the NPC is lying, go ahead and try those checks! I want to see how you engage the world. :)

I will be rolling your saves (and some skill checks). Few things kill PbP momentum more than having the GM say "Make an X save/check", then waiting for that player (or God forbid, each player) to post their roll, and then wait for the GM to come back and post the results. That can turn a 2-minute GM post into a 2-3 day round robin affair. Screw that. If something in my post is gonna cause a roll on your part, I'm gonna go ahead and roll it. (This is also why the "stat line" is so important; see Character Creation.)

I will be taking a hands-off approach to Inspiration. The players can award Inspiration to each other as they see fit, announcing such awards in the Discussion thread. I might occasionally pop in to award Inspiration too, but that'll be the exception, not the rule. You guys handle it. Similarly, I'm not going to hound you about little things like how many arrows you recover after battle. I've got enough to track without micro-managing 4-6 players worth of minutiae.

Character Creation

Level: Characters start at 3rd level.

Classes: All PHB classes are available.

Races: All PHB races are available, with the following changes:
Half-elves - These do not exist and will not be allowed.
Half-orcs - There are no half-orcs, only orcs. However, the orcs of this setting use the stats presented for half-orcs in the PHB, and are allowed. So basically the half-orc player race is allowed, just don't write "half-" on your sheet.
Drow - They're not "drow", they're water elves, and are associated with inland bodies of water rather than with the underdark. Their skin has a slight bluish tint instead of the ash gray, and they have the ability to breathe underwater instead of the racial spellcasting and light sensitivity. They have standard darkvision, like other elves.

Ability Scores: I really don't care what your stats are. You can pick your numbers out of thin air, or roll them, or whatever. The only constraints are these:
Constitution - Keep it in the double-digits. I'm not going to bend over backwards to keep you alive.
Cap - Nothing higher than 18 after racials.
Weirdness - I'm unlikely to pick characters with all 18s, or all 10s, or a pair of 3s, or anything else ridiculous. (This applies regardless of whether you selected or rolled your stats.) I'm fine with you going bigger than normal to support a "MAD" concept or lowballing it for kind of an "underdog" thing, but don't be stupid. I don't have to pick you.

• Multiclassing is allowed.
• Variant humans and feats are allowed. However, the Lucky feat is banned for logistical reasons (seriously, it's a nightmare in PbP).
• Custom backgrounds are allowed. You can pick any combination of four skills/tools/languages appropriate to your background.

• No animal companions, familiars, purchased animals, etc. The PCs are enough to keep track of. Let's leave it at that.
• You get the MAX starting wealth for your class, PLUS the items listed in your background, PLUS another 150gp worth of stuff. (If you create a custom background, make sure to come up with 3-4 mechanically insignificant items to go with it.)
• When you make your character alias, there's certain information that I want abbreviated in the "Classes/Levels" field: Your AC, HP, all your saves, and any skills that you think might come up during one of my posts (at a minimum, Perception). The things put in that field will be displayed below your name when you post in Gameplay, which makes my job as GM a bajillion times easier. The less I have to open your profile to resolve common scenarios or see how you're doing, the better.

• I'm not interested in significant inter-party conflict. You can be grumpy or jaded or cynical or whatever, but not a psychopath who will leave everyone to die so you can make off with all the loot all by yourself. Create a character who can be part of a group.

• Characters don't have to have a permanent residence in Linhaus, but at a minimum need to have a reason to be there and be okay with being based there for at least a while. You also need to be the sort of person who would venture out into potentially high-risk situations, though it's up to you whether it's for money, favors, altruism, etc.

• There's no requirement for the PCs to already know each other. However, feel free to use the recruitment thread to talk to other applicants and feel out some possibilities regarding pre-existing relationships.

To the Recruiting!

If you're interested in this campaign, post in this thread with your character. I prefer that you post with the alias you would be using for gameplay, but I understand if you don't want to create Yet Another Alias without knowing you'll actually be in the game; in that case, you can post your character details in a spoiler tag labeled with your character name. Also, I don't mind if you recycle an alias (or even entire character concept) that you already had for a different game, as long as the character I see when I look conforms to the parameters in this post. Saying "Here's my character, I'll update later" is a good way to wind up in the Reject pile.

When you make your post, I'd like you to give me a little "sample" of how you post. The subject matter is of little importance; could be your morning/bedtime rituals, part of a conversation, whatever. Just give me a post as though you were in the Gameplay thread (including proper formatting, such as bold for in-character speech and italics for internal thoughts, if applicable) so I can get a feel for how your posts read. Ideally, this will also help me get an idea of who your character is.

Recruitment will remain open through Sunday, March 20th. The party will be selected and announced on Monday, March 21st.

Let the recruiting begin! :D

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Dispelling the Myths: Caster-Martial Disparity
If you've done much writing or reading 'round these parts on the subjects of game balance or mechanics or class comparison (at least, as they relate to Pathfinder), then you've probably encountered the topic of "caster-martial disparity" (which I'll often be abbreviating to "C/MD"). In a nutshell, it refers to the idea that there's a gap between the capabilities of spellcasters and the capabilities of martials (that is, non-caster classes). Now, let's be clear: my goal here is NOT to convince you that the C/MD does or does not exist. My goal here is to make future conversations more amiable and productive by helping people get on the same page. Maybe at the end of this post you end up changing your opinion one way or the other, or form a new opinion where you previously had none, or even keep whichever opinion you already had. That's not the point. The point is that maybe the next time you come across one of these conversations, you can contribute to a healthy discussion that unites rather than dividing.

You can't have productive conversations if you're talking past each other because you think the other person is saying something different than they mean. We're all interested in open communication, right? Great! Let's get started clearing up some of the common misunderstandings about the caster-martial disparity.

Myth #1: The Caster-Martial Disparity is primarily a combat issue.
This myth is usually not stated like this, but rather couched in some sort of imperative aimed at the person complaining. Something like, "Just tell your casters to stop optimizing so heavily for combat" or "Remember that the game is about more than just combat". Generally, it's a statement that if the other person and/or their group/GM would just put less emphasis on combat, then the C/MD would more or less disappear. This, in turn, indicates that the speaker believes the C/MD is a combat-oriented complaint.

It is certainly true that the C/MD includes combat; however, this is only perhaps 20-30% of what the C/MD is actually talking about. The primary complaints actually center around out-of-combat situations and how the characters are able to interact with the setting and narrative.

For example, where a martial has to make multiple saving throws per day against extreme weather, a simple 1st-level spell completely bypasses that obstacle for 24 hours. A wizard with the 2nd-level spell invisibility active is better at Stealth (even with no ranks) than a rogue with several ranks and a high DEX. The complaint is that for any given non-combat task, the magical solution is typically faster and more likely to succeed than the nonmagical solution (if a nonmagical solution even exists at all), and at a relatively trivial cost compared to what's being accomplished.

Combat is practically an afterthought.

Myth #2: The Caster-Martial Disparity is the product of exploiting loopholes or assuming very liberal interpretations of fuzzy rules.
It is certainly true that there are some spells with unclear boundaries, whose power level varies greatly depending on how their effects are adjudicated. Somewhere out there is somebody who treats charm person as mind control and then cites it as an example of C/MD. However, if you encountered that guy and then assumed he was representative of what the C/MD crowd is talking about, then you've swallowed this myth. Even if everyone complaining about C/MD adopted your interpretations of the unclear spells, the issue would not be solved, because those spells make up a tiny minority of the C/MD complaint.

Many of the most common "C/MD spells" are completely clear. There is no ambiguity in endure elements' ability to keep you from having to make Fortitude saves against harsh weather for 24 hours. There is no doubt that overland flight can get you across more and bigger obstacles than using Acrobatics to jump. The list goes on.

The point is, the people complaining about C/MD are not just those who stretch and twist ambiguous rules elements. Such cases are the exception, not the rule.

Myth #3: The Caster-Martial Disparity refers to just a small handful of obviously-broken spells that are easily identified and banned/houseruled.
This myth has a strong correlation to the previous one, in that they both (mistakenly) believe that the topic is much smaller than it truly is. Whereas the previous myth identifies a handful of ambiguous rules elements and attributes the entire concept of C/MD to them, this myth identifies a handful of overpowered spells/abilities and assumes that the whole C/MD is just talking about those.

As with Myth #2, this is not the case. Yes, things like blood money and simulacrum exist; any of us could easily rattle off a list of half a dozen or more "repeat offenders" without breaking a sweat. And yes, these clearly problematic spells contribute to the C/MD. However, it is not only these spells (nor is it the sum total of these spells and the spells from Myth #2) which give rise to the notion of a C/MD. The idea of the C/MD comes from huge swaths of spells, not from an easily-isolated subgroup.

So, once again, the "obvious" spells that a speaker is thinking of when proclaiming this myth are the minority, not the baseline, in regard to the C/MD.

Myth #4: The Caster-Martial Disparity is only an issue if you're trying to compete with your tablemates, forgetting that you're supposed to be a team.
One of the more judgmental myths, this one presumes that the only reason that it matters if one class might be more powerful than another is if the players are deliberately trying to "one-up" each other, or (as a close corollary) trying to "break" the game or "beat" the GM. Believers in this myth think that the C/MD is an issue of malicious (or at least immature or misguided) intent on the part of the players.

However, there are plenty of reasons this is not true. First, consider the role of a GM in a campaign in which classed humanoids (rather than monsters) are the primary antagonists. If such a GM wants to design, say, a CR 12 encounter for his players, then in theory a trio of 9th-level NPCs should do the trick. If the classes are balanced, then the encounter should be roughly the same difficulty whether the NPCs are all fighters or all wizards. But if the C/MD exists, then suddenly the GM has to adjust the NPCs' levels based on what classes the NPCs are. Nothing to do with player one-upmanship.

Second, consider a single player who, over the course of their gaming career, makes more than one character. The potential presence of the C/MD can matter to that player each time they try to decide on a new character to play. Why? Because if the C/MD is real, then certain classes will offer less or more opportunity to engage the narrative, and (assuming that narrative engagement is something the player wants) the list of classes which can offer that engagement may have little or no overlap with the list of classes which can faithfully represent the type of character they want to play. That is, a player might be left having to make a choice between "stay true to my concept but mostly be a spectator until something needs its HP depleted" or "get to really engage the game but at the cost of having to violate my concept". Once again, no malice or competitiveness to be found, and yet the C/MD matters.

There are other examples, but hopefully this is enough to show that the idea of the C/MD indicating asocial gameplay is nothing but a myth.

Myth #5: The people talking about Caster-Martial Disparity want all the classes to be the same.
Also showing up in broader discussions about class balance, this myth is basically the idea that what the people complaining about C/MD are asking for is for all the classes to be essentially the same, with labels of "magical" and "nonmagical" slapped onto near-identical abilities. This one's slightly more complex than some others, as it can sprout from different stalks, so to speak. Let's try to unpack it.

Sometimes, this myth arises when somebody first hears about the concept of C/MD and sees someone say that a high level martial should be able to duplicate plane shift or dimension door by (nonmagically) cutting open a hole in reality. The listener then understands C/MD to refer simply to classes having different abilities from each other, but doesn't see any real "disparity". In this case, this myth is a simple matter of the listener's first impression coming from a non-representative sample. Yeah, there are some folks out there who would like classes who are functionally near-identical. However, most people who complain about the C/MD want their classes to still be functionally different from each other, just brought closer in power.

Other times, this myth comes from a faulty mindset about the nature of balance. Many people wisely acknowledge that total balance among various game options is not possible (or even necessarily desirable). In fact, I think most people would agree to that. However, some folks seem to make one of two logical leaps: (1) believing that since perfect balance isn't a goal, improved balance shouldn't be a goal either; or (2) believing that the people who are complaining about C/MD are themselves striving for perfect balance. Please believe me when I say that neither of these is the case. While there might be a few outliers out there who wish for perfect balance, the bulk of C/MD discussion centers around simply improving balance, not smoothing everything into a homogeneous blur of nothingness.

Regardless of how one may have come to believe this myth of the desire for same-ness, please recognize that it is just that: a myth. The C/MD discussion is not about trying to make all the classes the same.

Myth #6: The Caster-Martial Disparity assumes a "Schrodinger's Wizard" who somehow manages to always have just the right spell prepped for any given situation.
This myth is the belief that those who complain about C/MD are somehow forgetting or understating the restrictions inherent in having to select your spell preparations at the start of the day. That is, despite a wizard's or cleric's access to a wide variety of spells, on any given day they have to choose which ones to prepare; they might prepare a spell to deal with situation A and then instead encounter situation B. This myth is the belief that the only way to conclude that the C/MD exists is through the ignorance or fudging of this reality; that in practice, the inherent limits of having to select your spells in advance is enough to balance the power of those spells. However, this too is a myth, for two reasons.

First, some spells are simply so versatile, able to overcome so many obstacles, that they're always worth preparing. For example, overland flight increases your travel speed, makes you immune to difficult terrain, helps bypass all sorts of geographical obstacles (rough rivers, cliffs, etc), keeps you safe from enemies whose danger comes from their melee power, and so forth. Summon monster spells can give you access to combat power, utility abilities like Earth Glide or Tremorsense, or even other spells (by means of a summoned creature's spell-like abilities). You don't have to guess whether such a spell will come in handy, because you can almost always find a use for it.

Second, for the spells that truly are situational enough that guessing which ones to prepare could be a real limiting factor, that potential limit is sidestepped by the scroll economy. Lots and lots of situational spells (like invisibility, remove blindness, lesser restoration, see invisibility, etc) are of relatively low level (usually about 1-3). This makes them relatively affordable as scrolls, which can be carried around until needed, without having to make the kinds of tough decisions referenced earlier. On top of that, casters typically have less need of magical weapons or armor, opening up a huge chunk of their budgets for the collection of these situational scrolls. Even in campaigns with relatively low access to the necessary markets for purchasing these scrolls, any spellcaster can take the Scribe Scroll feat and make their own. (Wizards even start with Scribe Scroll for free!)

To put it all together, the existence of scrolls gives casters a way to carry those situational spells without having to make the tough choices of preparation, freeing up their slots for the more powerful spells that give them consistent value day after day. Thus, although Schrodinger's Wizard might show up in an internet argument from time to time, he is by no means a required ingredient for the existence of a C/MD.

Myth #7: The Caster-Martial Disparity only exists in theory; in actual gameplay, it doesn't really happen.
Closely related to Myth #6, this myth gets tossed around a lot. Unfortunately, it's difficult to discuss because the people who say it tend not to give much to go on. Often, they just sort of declare it and expect that to settle the matter. It's also difficult because it usually comes alongside other myths.

For instance, someone might start by declaring that C/MD is just the work of theorycrafters and isn't present in actual gameplay. Then someone tells a story of a caster ending a fight in the surprise round, and the original speaker then invokes Myths #1 and/or #4 ("the game is more than combat"/"stop trying to compete with your friends"). Then someone else offers another story, and the speaker dismisses that one too by invoking another myth. Then another story, and another myth-based dismissal. This repeats over and over. The speaker might hear six different stories and dismiss each with a different myth. If he were to look at the big picture, he would see that he just encountered six different stories from six different people who encountered something he thought wasn't real.

Often, this turns into a pointless cycle: someone claims that C/MD only exists in theory, then they're given stories of actual gameplay. But then they dismiss the stories of actual gameplay as not counting for one reason or another, so people try to demonstrate their points more abstractly. But then they go right back to saying it only exists in theory. And no matter how many times they go around, all they see is an ever-increasing pile of outliers, rather than a trend. In the end, this is the most difficult myth to debunk, because doing so is a matter of getting people to accept that others can have legitimate experiences that are different from their own, and that's not something that you can get most people to do through reason alone.

Going Forward
Again, let me reaffirm that I'm not trying to change anyone's mind about the C/MD. You get to have your opinions. What I'm after here is to help people see that the differing opinions they may encounter might be of a different nature than they originally thought. Hopefully, this can help pave the way for smoother, more informative, more friendly, and more productive conversations in the future. Happy gaming, everyone. :)

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

So, I've heard a lot of chatter about how cool 5E's "lair" rules are, but all I have is the PHB. Can somebody explain what the lair stuff is, how it works, and maybe give some examples?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Getting an error message when trying to post elsewhere, doing a test post here...

EDIT: And now all is well. No idea what that was about. Oh well, carry on. :)

Gameplay thread created.

Discussion thread created.

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So I have this ancient artifact called "TurboGrafx 16". With it is a fun little licensed AD&D game called The Order of the Griffon. It recently occurred to me that converting it into a 5E campaign could be lots of fun.

The nature of the campaign:
Good amount of old-school dungeon crawls, but with particular objectives in mind; you're not just there to kill things and take their stuff. Bit of overland travel as well, and you'll interact with some important NPCs. However, it won't be the sort of campaign where you're frequently at high-society events. So mostly dungeons, wilderness, and some in-town NPC interaction. There will be exceptions of course, but that's the bulk of it.

Also be advised that, in the process of conversion, I'll be making up monster stats and simplifying dungeon maps and modifying NPC interactions to help make the general feel of the campaign translate well into both the system and the medium.

Character creation:
First of all, the premise of the campaign is that there are rumors of a vampire in the land who is generally stirring up trouble, and a local bigwig hires a group of adventurers to investigate. Make the type of character who would take that job. You don't have to be a square-jawed heroic stereotype (though you can be if you want), but you need some kind of motivation to be on this adventure.

There will be a variety of enemies encountered, including both monsters and humanoids. If it matters, probably the single most common type of enemy would be undead, but there's plenty else too, including more than one chance to fight a dragon.

For stats, if you like you can do the 4d6-drop-lowest thing (using the forum dice roller), and build your character from there; or if you prefer a concept-first method, pick a set of stats that looks about in line with what a rolled array might look like and just build a character you like. Don't have to mess with an exact point-buy or anything, just make a character that I would want to include in the party. :)

For races, anything in the PHB is fine, including the variant human. As you might guess, this also means feats are available.

You can use either the listed starting equipment for your class, or the purchase method (using average gold for your class), whichever you prefer.

Start at 1st level.

I'm sure I've forgotten something relevant, so feel free to ask questions. I look forward to seeing everyone's character submissions!

Discussion thread created!

Gameplay thread created!

This is a solo campaign between me and DungeonmasterCal, so anyone else reading, you may as well move on, sorry.

DMCal, once you're here, go to the Gameplay tab and post there. That'll put this game in your "Campaigns" tab in your profile, making it easier to come back and find.

In the meantime, this is where we can discuss character creation and any other pre-game details.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

First, I realize that the preferred first step if someone has a question about a moderation decision is to email Paizo's "community" inbox. I did that already, and didn't get a reply. I waited a while because it was close to GenCon so I figured you guys were swamped, but I think it's been long enough now to assume it got lost in the shuffle. I spent a good long while waffling over whether to come here and ask or just let it drop, but I really would like an answer, so here it goes.

A while back, there was a certain thread that eventually got locked. It was the "Original Gamer argument annoying?" thread. It started off with a bit of grar, but it rapidly cooled as multiple voiced compatible opinions. There was even some levity in the thread; certainly not looking like there was a lock-worthy problem.

In fact, the thread was so happy that someone concluded that there must not be an age/experience-based elitism problem after all. I made a reply to this, asserting (politely, I thought) that yes, it really is something that exists in the community, even if it wasn't looking like it in that thread. I didn't name any names, I didn't cut down anybody (i.e., "Clearly they're acting out of moral/social failing X"), or anything like that; I just asserted that the issue existed.

Within about an hour or so, the post was deleted and the thread locked.

I'm curious to know why. I didn't attack anybody, I didn't think I did anything delete-worthy (let alone lock-worthy), I merely acknowledged an issue, in the same way one might make a general acknowledgement of racism or sexism among the gaming community, without naming names or saying nasty things about those involved.

Is my understanding of acceptable discussion flawed, and I need to recalibrate my sense of how to approach topics like that? I don't think that's the case, as I've seen innumerable examples of very similar posts on a wide variety of topics, which were not deleted and their threads not locked. However, I would rather ask than assume.

Thanks! :)

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Sadly, the GM for this campaign has disappeared. With no sign of him coming back, I now have an effectively dead campaign taking up space in my campaigns tab without a GM around to mark it as inactive. Is there a way to hide it on my end?


Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Now that it's the time of year that RPGSS tags are appearing under my name in all parts of the forum, they're forcibly widening the page in any thread where I post (rather than breaking up onto two lines), such that I have to scroll back and forth to have conversations.

Is there any sort of workaround for this?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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...because they keep flanking me.

There's normally a sidebar on the left-hand side of my screen when I'm perusing the messageboards, showing recent activity. Except when I'm looking at the blog (or a discussion thereof), in which case it's instead on the right.

Except lately, it's been intermittently showing up on both sides when I'm viewing a forum or reading a thread. Can't figure out why, but it's leaving a lot less room for the actual content of the site.

IE9, if it matters.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Note that this doesn't mean he WILL favorite ALL your posts, just that you can ASK him to do so. ;)

Hey Tacticslion, will you favorite this post?

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The normally-quiet rural village of Linhaus has been full of excitement since sunrise. Today is the annual Gordon Lightfoot Celebration, a festival held to honor the town's local hero and commemorate the day, three years ago, that he tracked down the mayor's lost daughter in the forest and saved her from a whole pack of wolves that had been killing livestock and keeping people in their homes after dark for nearly a year.

After a morning of games and pie auctions, the townsfolk begin to gather in Town Square, where food tents have been set up for lunch and sweets. Having won a raffle, two elves and a tiefling share a table with the hero Gordon, and are just about to begin eating.

Then, a swift blur and a loud noise stun the group. As your brains catch up to your senses, you realize that a human man has fallen from above and landed in your midst, shattering the table around which you all sit. The man is obviously dead, though it's less obvious whether the cause of death was the fall or the large dagger lodged in his chest.

The excited chatter of the festival is quickly replaced by unsettled murmurs and nervous whispers.

Obviously, the people at the table are you guys. What would you like to do?

Discussion thread created!

Hello gamers,

I'm recruiting for a new homebrew 5E campaign. It's going to be kind of "open-ended", with me starting us off with a plot hook and then crafting the campaign based on what happens and what the PCs decide to do. (That's not to say you'll never run into a dead end, just that I won't have pre-planned rails.)

Even the setting itself will be something we create together as we play. When it becomes relevant to encounter or hear about a given location, religion, creature, artifact, etc; I'll come up with something and that becomes canon.

So, that's the general idea. Here's the starting point:

Our initial "blank slate" will be a fairly generic pseudo-european medieval fantasy setting. The PCs will be starting in a mid-sized town. The campaign will open with one or more events happening, the PCs will respond, and the rest is up to us to create. :)

Character creation parameters:
No evil characters.
PHB only.
This stat array: 15/14/13/12/10/8
All PHB races are allowed (even drow), but be aware that some of the more exotic ones might draw attention.
No pets (animal companions, familiars, etc).
Feats are allowed (including the version of humans that gets one at 1st level, though the standard human is available too).
Your choice of standard gear or gold/purchase (for the latter, pretend all your d4's rolled 3's).
You can either take one of the standard backgrounds, or you can just come up with a pair of values and a flaw and pick some combination of four (total) relevant skills/tools/languages.
Characters will be starting at 1st level.

Gameplay notes:
I don't know the D&D pantheon. Combined with the "create as we go" style of this campaign, this means in-world religion will mostly be generic references to "the gods" until such time as greater specificity is needed. As such, clerics need not pick a deity; you can be a "concept cleric" who is passionate about some particular virtue/domain.
I don't have the MM. I also don't like the possibility of "[MONSTER] would be thematically appropriate here but is too weak/strong for this fight." Therefore, I will be pulling monster stats/abilities out of my arse. Hopefully the result is a renewed sense of exploration and the unknown. :)
Everyone should put a line containing their HP (current and max), AC, and saves into the "Classes" line of their character's profile. This makes it appear under your name in your gameplay posts, so I can see it during play without having to open your profile. Seriously, keep this up to date.

Other considerations:
I want a good pace of posting; at least once per day. I get that sometimes things come up, but if you don't think you can establish a "norm" of at least 1/day, then please don't ask for a spot. Even if it's just "Doofus nods in agreement and follows Buttface into the room," get in there and be a part of the momentum that you want to see. If you anticipate a lapse (due to travel, holidays, etc), please announce it in the discussion thread.

Keep rules discussions in the discussion thread rather than the gameplay thread.

Be a team player, be a part of the fun!


I'm sure I probably missed something obvious. Feel free to ask questions!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

I'm pondering starting up a new PbP, and wanted to see how much interest there would be, before I start putting any real work into it. Here's the idea:

It would be D&D 5E, and characters would be PHB-only.

The campaign would be something of an experiment in open-ended storytelling, with a story arc not fully formed in advance. That is, you would encounter a plot hook or two, you would decide what you want to do, and I would sort of form the campaign around you. So I guess you could call that kind of "sandboxy".

The setting would be created/discovered together by players and GM as a joint narrative. Things not relevant to the story don't exist yet; existence of setting elements begins as said elements become relevant.

Monsters would all be custom-made (partly because I don't have the MM, partly because "[MONSTER] would be thematically appropriate here but is too weak/strong for the party" is lame).

No idea where this would end up. It'd be a shared spontaneous creation of a story and world, where I create things as you explore them.

Does that sound like something I could get a full four(ish) people to play? Let me know if you're interested, and feel free to ask any questions. :)

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Anybody else watching this show? My wife and I are following it, and it's been pretty good so far.

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Hi there,
So, Chris just (understandably) locked a thread in the PFS forums regarding the recent SLA FAQ reversal and its implementation in PFS. The thread has indeed gotten pretty nasty at times. By this time yesterday, I'd have totally agreed with the decision to lock it.

Since then, however, the tone has shifted significantly. Some truly calm and well-reasoned posts have been made, and there are some folks really listening to each other. Heck, there's even been more than one person self-initiating apologies for their own behavior—on the internet!

I feel like we were just starting to get some traction on helpful dialogue when the thread got locked. For that reason, and maybe I'm being too hopeful for the thread here, but I'd like to humbly beg you to consider reopening that thread. Thanks.

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I'm wondering if, via Style Feats and the Brawler class, it might be possible to make a PFS-legal character reasonably close to the CP9 characters from One Piece.

Here's my thoughts so far:

Human (for now)

STR 18
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 10
(Stats could change, that's just a starting point.)

Brawler1: Weapon Focus (unarmed strike), Toughness (or something)
Brawler2: Flurry, Pummeling Style
Brawler3: Snake Style <-- Piercing damage for Finger Pistol
Brawler4: Knockout (not really relevant to conversion, but whatever)
Brawler5: Weapon Spec, Tiger Style <-- Slashing damage for Tempest Kick
Brawler6: Not much here
Brawler7: Power Attack
Brawler8: Pummeling Charge

Any thoughts to boost the concept and/or power level? This is just kind of a first draft at the moment.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

Tomb of the Mad Elementalist

Silver Crusade

Hey all,
Just hit 4th level with my human bloodrager (arcane bloodline). Here's what I look like so far:

STR 18 (15 + 2race + 1lvl)
DEX 14
CON 14
INT 10
WIS 10
CHA 13

Traits: Indomitable Will, Friend in Every Town

Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Improved Sunder (also Eschew Materials as a bonus feat)

I have the Spelleater archetype, replacing Uncanny Dodge (and Improved) and my normal DR with getting Fast Healing while raging. Later I'll also be able to "eat" spell slots for some minor, swift-action self-healing.

Anyway, the big thing right now is I need to pick two spells known. With my CHA score, I get 2/day, so I shouldn't pick spells I'll want to cast repeatedly. I also won't have high save DCs (only DC 12 for my 1st-level spells), so "save negates" spells don't seem like a good idea. On the other hand, bloodragers (unlike rangers/paladins) have a full CL instead of level—3, so effects that scale with level are more usable.

So far, I've considered blade lash for some extra combat versatility, burning hands for swarm-killing, feather fall for the occasional "oh crap" moment, shield for tough-looking fights if I don't think my rage-blur will cut it...

I dunno, it seems like there are lots of reasonable options, so I'm having trouble picking. Any thoughts? Thanks!

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Pathfinder has a long list of conditions, such as fatigued, exhausted, shaken, entangled, and grappled. Each of these has different effects, but those effects are pre-defined. That is, a spell or ability can simply say "fatigued" without having to spell out the actual mechanical implications of that effect. However, the downside to that is that until you've memorized all these conditions, you have to go look something up every time such an effect is implemented (or use the handy-dandy Condition Cards).

Now imagine a hypothetical universe in which none of those terms were pre-defined, and instead, any given effect simply told you exactly what it did (such as "you get –2 STR/DEX and can't run or charge"). This would lengthen the word count of new spells/feats/etc, but a given player never has to learn more than what currently is affecting him, and doesn't need to follow up being told a condition with a second step of having to look up what it actually means. But, that also means there could be a potentially infinite variety of conditions, along with some inconsistencies among what it means to, for instance, be magically made tired.

I can see pros and cons to both models. What are the community's thoughts on the topic?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8 aka Jiggy

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Soulshifter Staff
Aura strong necromancy; CL 13th
Slot none; Price 90,000 gp; Weight 5 lbs.
This smooth, unadorned staff is carved of pristine ivory on one end and dark onyx on the other. It allows the use of the following spells:

  • Vampiric touch (1 charge)
  • Breath of life (2 charges)
  • Slay living (2 charges)

Additionally, this staff’s power can be used to control the flow of life energy beyond the normal limits of the spells listed above. When using the soulshifter staff to cast vampiric touch, the wielder may spend 1 additional charge to divide the temporary hit points evenly among any number of allies within 30 feet. Whenever the wielder kills a creature with slay living, he may spend an immediate action to cast breath of life, targeting any creature within 30 feet. Conversely, if the wielder successfully revives a slain creature via breath of life, he may spend an immediate action to cast slay living against any target within 30 feet, using a ranged touch attack instead of a melee touch attack. Spells cast as immediate actions in this way consume 1 more charge than normal.

Requirements Craft Staff, Quicken Spell, breath of life, slay living, vampiric touch; Cost 45,000 gp

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

By that I mean, sometime in the last day or two I've noticed that whenever I'm viewing a thread, the page is wider than normal. I end up having to scroll back and forth to read posts. No idea why.

If it matters, I'm using IE.

Grand Lodge 2/5 RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Why do you roleplay? Why do you GM? What aspects are important to you? Why? Please try to stick to "I prefer" and not "This is The Way". It's okay for people to want other things, and your desires are no more important than theirs. This is an opportunity to learn about each other, to discover the ways in which we might not be as much the "norm" as we think we are, and thereby grow. :)


My interest in Pathfinder includes some of the same things that motivate all my pastimes: having fun, socializing, etc. But the reason why I spend a given block of time playing Pathfinder instead of doing other things I enjoy is largely my ability to influence how the story plays out. I love movies, but PFS is my chance to switch from "Why didn't they just do X?" to "I do X." Although I love and embrace classic storytelling tropes, roleplaying is my chance to turn those tropes on their heads, to make the story actually play out differently for a change. It's the only story-related experience where I get to help shape it. It's also the only story-related experience that I can't predict (at least, without turning my brain off, which I often do during movies so I can experience "the ride").

It's my only outlet to combine storytelling and agency. I can get the former with movies and the latter with other games, but roleplaying is the sweet synthesis of the two. :)

When I GM, my main goal is that the players are free to enjoy the game for their reasons, not mine; though I do always hope to see a little of "my kind of stuff" if I'm lucky. :)

That's me. How about the rest of you?

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

Not sure if this is the right place for this sort of question, but here goes:

I'm writing a new d20 fantasy roleplaying system. It was originally intended to be somewhat Pathfinder-compatible, but it's evolved to be so much of its own thing that it couldn't possibly be considered such.

Even so, there are a few basic similarities, and I want to make sure I don't run afoul of the OGL.

1) My game's core mechanic for success/failure is rolling a d20 and adding modifiers, trying to meet or beat a target number. Do I need to worry about OGL stuff for that concept?

1a) Does it make a difference whether I say "roll" or "check"?
1b) Does it make a difference whether I say "difficulty" or "DC"?

2) My game uses six stats: three physical, three mental, like Pathfinder. How does that relate to the OGL?

2a) Does it make a difference whether I say "attribute" or "ability score"?
2b) Does it make a difference whether I say "Dexterity" or "Agility" (and so forth with the other stats, though I'm not sure of an alternate word for "Strength")?

3) Characters grow in power by gaining "levels". Is that OGL, or is it generic enough to not matter?

4) Certain noncombat activities involve what I'm currently calling "skills", which are similar in concept to Pathfinder's skills (and still use the "d20+mods vs target number" mechanic), but it's a different list of skills and their implementation is different. OGL?

4a) Does it make a difference if I come up with a term other than "skill"?
4b) Does it make a difference if some of the skills do or do not have the same name as a Pathfinder skill? (Frex, I'm not sure of an alternate word for "Acrobatics".)

Aaaaand that's about where the similarities to Pathfinder end. I want to do this proper, so any guidance is appreciated. Thanks!

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