Vincent Takeda's page

1,949 posts. Alias of tennengar.

I'm not quite sure how to put it, but I guess when I look at the characteristics that make a marysue or garystu, they seem to be...

What makes my character unique in a desirable way without adding depth?
By depth I mean drawback...
And by drawback I mean something I *actually* wouldn't want to have to deal with.

So, for example if your characters drawback were that they're a poorly educated antisocial brute that kills everything in its path, but the player really wants to play a poorly educated antisocial brute that kills everything in its path... Thats kind of a mary sue even though antisocial, poor education, and killer are 'drawbacks' that I wouldn't in real life personally want to deal with. But the person who makes this character, despite its drawbacks, is really looking forward to, not the drawbacks of such a character, but the joys of being 'Mongo just pawn in game of life'.

I look back on my characters and think... I always play characters that I'd want to be. Even when I have the option to choose drawbacks, I still choose drawbacks that I wouldn't mind having to face... (thus I've never played a dull antisocial brute that kills everything in its path for example... I've never played 'frail emo pixie' either...)

EVEN while such things might be considered a drawback to the CHARACTER... Those 'drawback's arent really considered to be drawbacks to the PLAYER... And by that metric I've played nothing but marys and garys.

If every thing I've ever played is something that I *wanted* to try playing, then EVERY of the things (even the ones with big drawbacks) were sues.

I mean... I'm no literary major, so I can't say I have an eye or an appreciation for 'character development' and 'character arcs'... While I do enjoy analyzing a character's personal tropes/perspectives/mores and finding ways to challenge them (force them to face those tropes/perspectives/mores in ways that either reinforce or debunk them...) I've never seen the character whose tropes/perspectives/mores being debunked (creating a transformative character arc) as necessarily very interesting to me. If being marysue is about having a character without consequence, and the drawbacks I have chosen in fact have consequences that I'd find either enjoyable or, worse, not consequential at all to me as a player... Then what's not a mary sue?

With that in mind my question is... whats on the other side of the spectrum? What characters have you played were characters that you're glad you aren't? If 'drawback' means not just a penalty or inconvenience, but one that you actually find annoying and not enjoyable... What drawbacks have you chosen that turned out to be more of a pain in the butt than you expected and ended up being every bit the drawback they had a reputation for being (and then some)? What are the characteristics of an anti sue? What are the characters and characteristics you've played that you *think* are anti sue and are they really?

Here's the situation:

Lets say I've got a player who has a strong desire to play 'proud, arrogant characters' like Dwarves and Wolfen Quattoria in rifts...

Characters that, to be portrayed to his enjoyment, would demand an aire of 'Hush your whining, silly manling!' or 'it takes time to earn the respect of a dwarf' kind of thing.

Would you join a table with that character? How would you interact with it?

What if, unique to the actual fighter class, whenever they took a combat feat that had an attribute requirement... Instead of it being a prerequisite, it instead is an 'untyped adjustment'...

So like when you take combat expertise, instead of requiring a 13 intelligence, it 'bumps your intelligence' to 13.

Or if you take lightning stance... Instead of requiring a 17 dex... it raises your dex to 17.

The feats still work the same they always have for every other class.

But for fighters...

That would allow a fighter to put his point buy and points for leveling into other attributes, like int for better skills...

It always seemed wierd to me the concept of 'you must be this strong or this quick to do this technique'... Instead shouldnt it be 'if you practice this technique, you will *become* this strong or this quick...'?

I've been gaming for decades and the natural order of things is that an adventurer has been 'out there man'... they've seen everything...

And yet after decades I'm surprised at the number of things that i've never seen happen in a game. This thread is in honor of those things which havent happened in a game where anything is possible, in order to find that thing which, in a world where anything can happen, is the least likely thing to have happened.

Now I'm not talking about really particular and specific things like 'making pancake syrup out of a gelatinous cube' kinda stuff here. I'm talking about stuff that on the surface of it seems like it sort of absolutely should have happened, and yet it inexplicably has not.... Like making omelettes from dragon eggs. I totally *expect* that to have happened. It would be odd for me if I'd been a gamer this long and not seen that.

Add to the list of things you have never seen in a game ever, and favorite the one's on the list you've also never seen. In a world where anything is possible, we will find the thing in gaming that has happened the absolute least!

For example If someone told me 'i've never fought a dragon' I'd say 'that is unreal!'

By the same token this can kind of be like a bucket list... what are the things as a player you think by all rights you should have done by now but oddly, hasnt happened yet.

I've got a player in my group who very unselfishly chooses to be his party's healer every time. The trouble he's running into is that he often finds himself trapped in a state of having to drop a channel every round so he never has any time left over to contribute to combat in any other way, which makes combat for him atrociously boring.

I'm considering allowing him to use channeling as a swift action, which would limit its use to once per round, but not get in the way of him perhaps making another attack or casting a spell or any other potentially fun or interesting thing besides watching his turn pass by with but one immensely helpful yet immensely boring and flavorless option time after time after time.

Any potential drawbacks to this?

Disclaimer: I havent thought this through to any significant degree. My mind just happened upon the idea and I thought I'd explore it.

Just had a wierd kind of epiphany. The thing I like about the palladium system is that basically though character creation on the front end is a horrifyingly long winded task... it basically gives you all of your abilities up front. Nearly every skill... every trick... is completely valid right from level 1... you're levels are simply your abilities becoming more reliable or more potent... so the longer the campaign is the more time you have to fiddle with everything your character brings to bear upon the world... maximum versatility right out of the gate.

One of my big pet peeves as a habitual caster is that by the time you unlock a cool ability, the campaign is probably over. Capstone ability may be some outlandish reward for having survived a long campaign, but its kind of a BS reward because you'll never actually get to use it. Whats the point really...

Even fighters and monks. gunslingers... everyone talks about how 'this class really opens up at level so and so... which means theres sometimes a rather lengthy period of time where you're basically 'sucking' under the pretense of 'earning your way to being cool'... I hear tons of arguments about 'feat taxes'... which would still have to be paid, but the reward is that the cool thing you're grinding for you no longer have to wait for it to kick in until the campaign is already over... What then?

The inverse of that focus of course is that in order to be cool, theres a significant amount of actual game time where you have to suck... Philosophically I rail at the idea that you have to 'grow' into your abilities because the opposite is true. Until you've grown into those abilities... theres a big chunk of the game where the options you have chosen for your character simply aren't available even to you.... So while I think theres a whole slew of mechanics written in that if offered earlier to a class are already built to 'scale' in a way that at first level they wouldnt be very powerful, (you'd have the full gamut of feats and class options and such right out of the gate...) some of those abilities might just be kinda paltry at first level...

What if you got a 20th level characters worth of feats and class features and attribute bonuses packed into a level 1 character... Natural armor bonuses and hit points are tied to level (and maybe monk's hand to hand damage?) are tied to level but everything else right there out of the gate at level 1.

I'm interested in particulars here. Not generalizations. I'm not interested in 'so you're giving wizards 4 ninth level spells at level 1... clearly that blows'... I want specifics...

A 1st level wizard could cast a wish... Except he needs 25000gp to do so... and first level characters dont have that kinda money... That kinda thing.

I could go digging through 20 books right now looking for powerful stuff that would still be powerful at first level if offered that early... But this is a big community and everyone knows their particular baliwick better than I probably do...

Presuming you still had to wait for wbl and level based hit points... If your character had gotten all of its powers including level based attribute bonuses and feats and grit and ki and spells per day and spells known and yadda yadda... every class ability all the way to level 20 but instead got them all at level 1...

At the end of the day no matter how powerful you are and how many abilities you have, at the end of the day you're still operating with a middling armor class and a first level set of hit points for the time being... what you GET though is all those options that you'd normally have to sit around for 12 levels dreaming about.

What stuff could you have done at level 1 that would be 'unfun levels of power'

In another thread I've just discovered that in 30 years of adventuring in any system never ever once met a fat elf.

If paizo were to make one of the new iconics an overweight elf...

Which of the new classes should it be?

Vote by marking your favorite!

So we've beaten the poor horse dead about gms who wont let folks play what they want and players that wont let gms run the settings or stories they want...

It follow then that several things players and gms have always wanted to try have never been allowed...

This thread is their home.. The place for all your wish-I-could-have-had/done/played concepts... Repeatedly dashed against the rocks of fiat in either direction.

What thing have you been denied... Unfairly or not!

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate. 1 person marked this as a favorite.

66-84% on the roll... what weapon is supposed to be there?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

I mean come on. who really needs more than a feat or two, some cantrips and 2 digits worth of hit points anyway...

I'll apologize in advance for the wall of text.

Hmmm. So I was in another thread that was talking about quelling overpowered casters and someone recommended SKR's Hellenic Sorceress, which is a class SKR built specifically for the purpose of making an unprepared caster thats less powerful than normal for those 'low magic campaigns' that seem to be so popular on these threads...

That's not my purpose, but it did raise an interesting thought. Right now i'm running somewhat of a gestalt in our ROTRL campaign... Our gm feels like the classic 4 (fighter/rogue/wizard/cleric) should be part of every party build. I'm suspicious that he's so adamant about it only because he seems to want to discourage players taking any other kind of funky class. Everyone at the table, given the freedom to choose, each would rather take a funky class, so we suggested gestalting in such that every person at the table could choose one funky class and one 'classic 4' class, which would cover his desire to see the core 4 and also each player's desire to get their funk on.

We wound up with a rogue alchemist, a ranger cleric (two cores and nothing funky), an inquisitor monk (2 funky's and no core 4) and myself... The conjuration school wizard/first world evolutionist summoner (wizard being core, summoner being funky)... Of course right out the gate its funny that one player would gravitate towards 2 cores while another would fail to choose a core, which was the whole point of the exercise.... But it's been going well for 10 levels now... We're finishing up with hook mountain and everythings been pretty cool.

Despite our combinations not being 'optimized', our gm feels like our gestalts are still just a smidge too powerful and wishes the campaign were more challenging. At the same time the players are totally jazzed about the increased variety of character options that gestalting has provided.

I got to thinking that the trouble with gestalting is the defacto choice to always take the better of the two classes, which is true... Leaves you with a character that ends up being more powerful than either of the original classes. In EVERY case... And how I might try building my gestalt in a way that DIDN'T take the best of the two... Despite having more options, would that create the opposite situation where the gestalt sucked in comparison to its component classes EVERY time? Or would it at least bring the gestalt back into the comfort zone?

The first trick for me personally of course is that i'm gestalting a summoner and a wizard. So I was definitely the one my GM was most worried about. Being a MAD caster wasn't culling back the possible power of the combination in what he'd consider to be a measureable way. I found first world summoner which would bring the eidolon down in power without gaining much (arguably its a full on neuter of the eidolon with practically no return) so that was a way to keep things down. I also tend to choose 'utility spells' over 'blasty deathy' or 'buff' spells just because I've been there, done that. Kinda bored with it. Of course there's some 'buff' inherent to summoner just to make the eidolon useful so some of that can't be avoided.

The big nerf that he was concerned about was the number of spells per day. If I was going to hit level 10 and have 29 spells per day, that was going to be just too much for him to handle. So we settled on the philosophy that like everything else in gestalts, spells per day should not be 'added' but instead 'choose the best of the two'... So although I got the advantage of not having to memorize spells in advance and also got the advantage of a wizard's ability to learn new spells from scrolls, I only cast the number of spells per day as a wizard (wanting to get higher level spells faster trumped the more spells per day of the summoner...) Its a funky combination, and I think if I were choosing a lot of combat or attack spells, or if I tried making the summoner a synthesist or master summoner he'd probably say I was jumping the shark again...

Then I see this recommendation to check out the Hellenic Sorceres, and suddenly I'm thinking the same thing. What if I made a class that does everything I want it to do, and nothing that I dont... Knowing that there are certain things a wizard can do that summoners cant, which ones can I live without and which ones are the one's I can't live without... Knowing that there are certain things a summoner can do that wizards cant, which ones can I live without and which ones can go... And finally in the places where things can go, can I instead of gestalting and choosing the 'best of both worlds' choose the 'worst of both worlds' and keep the class within the 'power band'...

Red flags would be areas where the results are 'as good as one class but better than another' because thats a step up in power.
Green flags would be areas where the results are 'as good as one class but worse than another' resulting in step down from the original classes.

Closing arguments! Woohoo! Cant believe its almost over...

Thought it was somewhat ironic that the passcode to Travis's garage was 0187, the police code for murder/death...

Sorry for the TLDR... A little background...

When I was young I was a counselor at a camp for the blind in Nederland, Colorado. Some of the kids at that camp were fully unable to see. And yet despite this they would climb 30 feet into the trees and zip line across a river, because not seeing what they were trying to do meant they had no fear of that sensation of height. They went out on paddleboats by themselves and were able to navigate back to shore with the help of sounds. After following behind a sighted kart through a lap or two, some were able to navigate a go kart track! They were a truly inspiring group of kids.

I remember a show where people went to a restaurant where all the lights stayed off and nobody could see anything, but the servers were all blind so had no trouble serving you in that environment. The lack of the visual sense was said to heighten your appreciation for the flavor of the food and the quality of your company without being affected by your vision.

Both of these examples showcased an environment of implicit and remarkable trust, and were populated by very willing, engaging, curious and brave individuals, and memories of that kind of personality have a way of sticking with you...


In one of the advice threads it was discussed that players had a preference that the other players at their table didn't divulge any information about their character to them, with an interest in learning about their nuances and capabilities and backstory completely in character. We've done this at our table from time to time and I think it makes things interesting not to skip past the 'meet and greet stage' so to speak, if the folks at the table can make it interesting. I'm wondering though if any other tables have tried what we have and taken it one or two steps further...

Granted you'd have to be at a table where everyone really trusted everyone else... but there are two other versions of this that i'm curious to see if any other tables have tried:

1. Instead of keeping your character information hidden from the other pcs so that they're forced to figure out what you've created by interacting with you in character, have you ever ran a game where you concealed your information not just from each other, but from the GM!? So that even the GM has to take the time to feel out what kind of character you've made, interacting with you exclusively as a 'character' instead of as a 'class' or a 'stat sheet' over which they have absolute purview?

2. the reverse! This would take the table where the gm doesnt mind handling all the mechanics by him/herself behind the scenes... Have you ever ran a character where the gm asked you your name and your class but kept every other detail about your character sheet to themselves? You have no idea what your hit points or attribute score or level is... You still get to pick your skills and spells but the stat side of thing remains hidden from you? You have to rely on the gm 'characterising your feelings about how you feel' instead of looking at a hit point value to know if you're in a bad way... You kind of have to spend some time getting to know.... yourself?

Are there any tables here that have that kind of trust? Bravery? Curiosity?

A lot of folks are outraged that he said this because they think it just proves he's another 'out of touch' president who doesnt know what he's talking about.

But what if he used that term on purpose? If you look at it in context he's basically saying that even in an imaginary world this form of mind control wouldnt be possible. Even a president doesn't have the power to 'combine genres!'

And did you enjoy it?

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Certainly every character has places to be and things to do.
Whether its personal goals or AP tasks...
An every campaign has little snippets of downtime.
Surely the largess of pcs will fill this downtime with 'crafting' or 'drinking' or 'carousing with the ladies' or and the case of non crafters sometimes 'looking for work' (use of profession skills for profit)

Other than fighting, beering, crafting, working, wenching...

What do your characters do during their downtime that isnt 'goal oriented' but 'flavor oriented' instead? Does your table even bother with or care about such things? Do you get to know the locals? Does your table RP that? Play with the local kids? Offer up your services in volunteer work?

Magic items cost a fortune but mundane items not so much. Has your character ever said 'I dont need a +3 falcatta this week. What I really want is a nice little ranch. Check on my vegetable garden...' What does your character do that doesnt have anything to do with advancing your pocketbook, your stats, or the plot. Pure frivolous flavor.

Or is it always 'full speed ahead'

Your downtime is your uptime with less attack rolls (unless i'm wenching!)

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Many people talk about how powerful wish is.

I'm not talking about how to subvert a wish or how a wish was 'bent'.

Other than the ones that are listed as 'no big deal' in the actual spell description, I'm curious to see what ideas made it past your gm's 'nerf/subvert' filter and were just totally granted without complaint/qualification!

I see all the time threads that show how to really crank up this or that. How do I make such and such a thing unmitigatably such and such... And most of them end up being 'how do I throw this on top of this on top of this and make a 'this sandwich' where all my feats and skills and items all point towards my one amazing thing.

I also have had the pleasure of reading about how fighters don't have much to do because they sink their entire build into specializing. I'm not interested in having those discussions per se, but I am interested in the ramifications of running a game where nothing stacked.

Clearly you'd still get your +1 attribute bonus per 4 levels, but say an inherent attribute bonus didnt stack with the enhancement bonuses from the big six... That kind of thing.

A duellist doesnt have to waste a feat slot on improved initiative because they'll get those bonuses at level 8 anyway, and the only thing that'll happen if they take it is they'll get the +4 earlier but it doesnt 'change' to a +8.

The rules for this discussion so far are

Presume such 'not-stacking' also applies to enemies/monsters as well and
Ignore the notion that 'this kind of thing would be a lot of work for a gm'


The recent '2e old school style pathfinder' thread and the 'how to handle wishes' and finally the 'new way to handle aging effects' thread got me thinking...

There arent really many ways to age a character in pathfinder.

Wishes dont do it anymore...
Haste doesnt do it anymore...

It looks like theres a curse that will age you a year per day till you make the save but other than that I don't see anything in pathfinder that ages you anymore except the passage of time itself...

Am I missing something?

There are 6 general questions to answer concerning the elements of casting... Those elements are

  • Which type of spells am I casting
  • How many spells can i cast per day
  • How do i learn spells
  • How many can i learn
  • Do I have to prepare them in advance
  • Which attribute provides the bonus to the casting

In every other way a gestalt is supposed to take the best of 2 like options... So each of these questions is handled independently...
If my hit dice for a barbarian fighter is d12 and d10.. thats d22! no no no... best of the two not both...
so you just figure out which one would be higher (based on your level and your attributes) and thats what you get!

Some combination examples...

  • In the case of a cleric/wizard that would be arcane and divine and never the two shall meet. They have to be handled independently
  • Same with sorcerer/oracle or any combinations like these...
  • How many spells per day? well lets see.
  • How do i learn my spells? Again divine and arcane should be handled separately but if its a sorcerer/wizard or cleric/oracle combo then just choose which one works best for you.
  • How many can i learn? Sorcerer has a limit where wizard does not... I presume your character is smart enough to know which option is the better one in this case...
  • Do I have to prepare them in advance... Nobody wants to if they can avoid it, but if you went and chose two classes that both have to prepare in advance then no choice for you.
  • Which attribute for bonuses? Wizard uses int, sorcerer uses cha... again. you dont get both... pick one and stick to it.

My personal build for our campaign is a summoner/wizard so the questions work out as follows.

  • What kind of spells are they? Both arcane... Easy peasy.
  • How many do i cast per day? Definitely not added... take the best of the two, which changes on a level by level and spell level by spell level basis as i advance.
  • How do i learn spells? A summoner can learn 2 per level through osmosis when he levels... A wizard gets 2 at leveling also so i'd get 2 either way, but I can also learn more spells by using spellbooks and scrolls.
  • How many can I learn? Summoner would be restricted but wizard is not... I choose not restricted.
  • Do I have to prepare them in advance? Wizard does but summoner does not. I choose not.
  • Which attribute provides the bonus to casting? I chose charisma but again you'd just have to make the decision for yourself.

All the advantages, none of the disadvantages, but at the end of the day i still have weak saves, low hit points, and cant cast more spells per day than i could as either other class.
It's not super overpowered until you start to think of my eidolon, but from the sounds of it they notoriously become underpowered the higher level you get since their hit dice aren't 1:1 with the caster.