baalbamoth's page

341 posts. No reviews. No lists. No wishlists.

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was looking over the City of Fallen Sky again and looked over the campaign chronicle and saw this gem...

Fugitive from Numeria: You spent time studying the secrets of the Silver Mount and have acquired both a rudimentary understanding of its cosmic technology and the enmity of a dangerous organization. When you would be targeted or affected by an activated magical item, as a free action you gain a +2 bonus to AC and on saving throws against that item’s effects for 1d4 rounds. When this boon is used, cross it off your Chronicle sheet.

Cosmic Technology... Humm.....

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Nipples, undead, and bloody axes.

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Rictras Shard wrote:
baalbamoth wrote:

So, the real evil in the system is the need for the company to make money by selling rule books... I agree.

Though I see other options for fixing the problem, a complete rewrite, then restructure the company to need to make much less money (fire 3/4 of the staff or transfer them to other product lines) then rather than producing splat books or additional rule books, produce only APs and setting books free of rule changes. Problem solved.

Then people would complain that the game is stagnant.

And the people who say that would move to whatever trendy game is "the mostest bestest game evar!" being played ATM anyway.

Honestly I think that's why 3/4 of the people who play PF play it, not because it's got the best system or design of any game out there but because there's this "pathfinder is cool" vibe, when that gets old people will move on. I did.

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30 Habits of Highly Unsuccessful DMs

1) Isn’t prepared
2) Can’t wing it.
3) Can’t sell it.
4) Cant act it.
5) Cant make it.
6) No Girls Allowed.
7) Table Management Fail.
8) Cant Cope
9) Cant Say No.
10) Loves the Meta-Game
11) You Want A War…
12) Where the Choo Choo Go?
13) Cannot bend Like a Reed in the Wind…
14) One Skill to Rule Them All
15) Cant You Smell That Smell…
16) Who is Your Daddy...?
17) Your Soaking In It.
18) Cant Hack It.
19) Daddy YUP! YUP!
20) Captain Homebrew!
22) Lawful Anal/Chaotic Stupid
23) Die! Die! Die!
24) The Never Ending Story
25) DM’s Cant Cheat.
26) All Players Cheat.
27) You No Can Haz it!
28) Cheetoist
29) 20-4 meh.
30) Obsessive much?

1) Isn’t Prepared- the adventure is always left at home, or the encounter notes, or something that he desperately needs isn’t available which results in ending the game early or skipping encounters, etc.

2) Can’t wing it- he needs to have absolutely everything written down, and will spend three out of every eight minutes (yes I actually timed a DM like this once) looking up a rule or reading an entry absolutely killing any role playing, suspense, or action built up in-game. Also typically means if the dialog isn’t written down, he cant RP for the antagonists. About the only thing worse than the cant wing it DM is the DM who thinks he can and cant… see no. 18

3) Can’t Sell It-In professional wrestling “selling it” is convincing the audience the punches are real, in D&D it’s describing the scene or the action, in a way with a touch of emotion to really let the players feel like they are in-the moment with their characters. A DM who cant do this lacks an essential skill.

4) Can’t Act- Just has little or no ability to RP, every NPC sounds the same, uses the same speech patterns, uses a lot of modern slang, and the DM will often say something like “well he’s using a British accent but I cant pull it off” or “he sounds short” then speaks in a deep bass tone. Its typical that these DMs also have trait #1 and has to refer to notes or the AP to remember what the NPC needs to say.

5) Cant make it- If the game starts at 6 he doesn’t show till 7:00 if the players start showing up at 7:00 he starts showing up at 8:00, if he cancels a game night, he waits until everyone has changed their plans and is sitting at the table before sending the notice.

6) No Girls Allowed. Happens more than ya’d think, DM cant stop himself from using rude, profane or dirty language/conversations, encourages others to do the same, or simply cant RP with a girl without blushing or quickly changing players. Some DM’s have the same problem with GLBT players (I admit I have a problem with the T, and yah it actually came up once.)

7) Table Management Fail- Just generally cant control player demands, some players get all the spotlight, others get none, slow players never get the nudge, side conversations are loud and endless, game is constantly interrupted by cell phones or other distractions. Often leads to the next habit.

8) Cant Cope- either carpet bags all his anger till it explodes with yelling, cussing and/or throwing dice, or he gets extremely quiet and just reads books or shuts off when the game gets to be too much to manage, when called on this passive aggressive behavior claims its all the player’s fault.

9) Cant Say No- A-typical Monty Hall behavior, dm kinda sucks to begin with then hands out a lot of overpowering magic items, giving incredible amounts of XP, allowing access to feats or advanced class abilities the character cant qualify for to win back the favor of the players. This is often combined with…

10) Loves the Meta Game- yup wash his car get a +5 sword, Give him Pizza get a magic item tailored just for your character, bring an attractive girl to the table and watch her become the favored character of the week, plays favorites, holds grudges and generally cant take criticism without repercussions… often leads to…

11) You Want a War- I’ll give you a war… DM sees the game as a contest between the DM and the Players, and generally the players always loose until he feels guilty and goes all Monty/meta. In his game you’ll have flashbacks of Cartman saying “Respect ma Athorita!”

12) Where the Choo Choo Go? It go wherever the hell the DM wants it to that’s where… Your on the railroad and you cant get off. This DM cant freestyle anything, any attempt to do anything not covered by an AP leads to NPC’s forcing you back into covered territory, loss of everything your character values, world destroying cataclysm, etc. etc, in short if your in his game, neither you nor your characters have free will.

13) Cannot bend Like a Reed in the Wind… you cant solve the puzzle, oh well better spend two sessions going back to town, raiding a library, and getting back again, cant beat the unbeatable BBEG’s init? oh well guess you all die, make new characters. This DM gives you no hints, clues, help, or allowances if you cant tackle some aspect of his game. A little of this can be respected too much and your time is better spent on xbox.

14) One Skill to Rule Them All- DM has a way he likes characters to handle a problem… ONE WAY!, Either the diplomancer is god or everything is a nail to the fighter’s warhammer. DM rarely offers different ways to succeed at an encounter… this is often caboose of the Choo Choo.

15) Cant You Smell that Smell- Ya show up to the game at his place and he hasn’t washed, brushed, shaved, or put on a shirt. The house is filthy, covered in fast food wrappers, maybe the detritus of 100 other gaming sessions, the garbage was last taken out with the previous tenant… and oh.. A hardcore/thrash heavy metal drummer would envy the stink coming off him… Lets be honest, the hobby attracts a lot of anti-social anti-mainstream society types and while I applaud this occasionally there’s always that one guy (player or DM) who just cant take care of basic hygiene needs.

16) Who is Your Daddy… and what does he do… well apparently he’s the DM. This DM is better than you, he’s right, always. He voted for the right candidate in the last election, worships the right god (gods/goddess or is a devout atheist) he cheers for the right sports franchise, and if you disagree with any of his true convictions, you’ll reap the whirlwind buddy, blue bolt, save or die, or just steals your chips and never ever apologizes and will often…

17) Your Soaking in It- “IT” being the preternatural glow of absolute perfection that the DMPC the DM shoved into your party seems to radiate whenever he passes gas. This DM really wants to be a player in a game with a DM as cool as him, one that knows why this absolutely bad ass guy he created needs and deserves to get all the best weapons rewards, xp etc. You can be sure 99% of the time, your adventures will likely be following this NPC around as he buys cities, fights gods etc. Face it if your in this game, your character is just one of the supporting cast to his ultimately cool main character. Probably the best thing you can do is find another game, failing that having your character become Gilligan to his Skipper and learn to endlessly repeat variant phrases of “that guy is SOOOO awesome!”

18) Cant Hack It- Just no system mastery, never knows the rules to the game he’s running, is easily played by a metagaming player, makes quick brash rulings that if you argue about just leads to bigger problems (ala no. 11) has a tendency to DM fiat and is even sometimes correct. Lots of times this is a secondary habit to no. 9, and this DM will occasionally have a lil buddy (husband, wife, friend etc) that has to be around to rules lawyer for him.

19) Daddy YUP! YUP!- when you arrive at this DM’s house you’ll quickly suspect he has a wholesale accounts with Playschool, Pet Depot, and the local goodwill. At this game the game is secondary to the responsibilities of the parent, the kids aren’t in school and the spouse is taking off. Every five minutes one of the droolers is at his knee arms lifted saying “Daddy YUP! YUP!” and demanding to be held, roll the dice, knock your expertly painted tailored minis of the table or better yet finding that the old led orc is missing an arm and it turns into a game of CLUE as to who ate it and needs to go to the ER etc,etc. meanwhile the 4yr old is chasing the screaming 3 yr old, and the three dogs and two cats are fighting over a milk bottle spilled on the couch that the DM just needs “a few minutes” to deal with. If you’re at this game, you’re now a walk on cast member of this guy’s own personal sit com, bout the best thing you can expect is that in-between “incidents” you might get to game a little bit, and there will probably be a barbeque and beer… BYOM! (no tofu allowed!)

20) Here I come to save the day!- This system sucks and Captain homebrew is on his way. Captain Homebrew really wishes he was a game designer rather than just a DM. Before you ever get to the game this guy has sent you gigs of his tweaker manifesto aka homebrew world/rules, and tells you that’s just a smidgeon of what you should read before your first session. He hates the magic system so he made his own, hated the standard ways of rolling characters so he’s got a stat/feat/class ability point buy system, hated the skills and combat system so he’s changed it to the resolution system of some game no one’s ever heard of complete with chips to spend, dice pools, and homemade combat cards. The bad news is if your playing in his game your really not playing the game he advertised as xyz edition with “some” homebrew rules, and you’ve got no idea what to expect. The good news is if you jump on board the crazytown express and agree with his mad ramblings and rants he’ll likely give you a character that has been min/maxed according to his twisted system that will absolutely pwon anything else at the table… (except for his NPC… no.17)

21) I WANT TO ROCK! This Dm requires the right music to set the stage for the game… get ready, its either going to be some Danish unholy black deathmetal bands, or darkwave trance. You’ll be lucky if his speakers only go to 11.

22) Lawful Anal/Chaotic Stupid- you don’t know how to play your character but this DM is gonna teach you. This DM generally demands that the game be serious to the extreme, has little sense of humor, and he has his own very ridged ideas on how races, alignments, background traits etc. MUST be played and failure to play to his sense of right and wrong will lead to the spinning of the great Gigaxian Wheel of Repercussions. Nobodies a winner, bring on the blue bolts and xp loss.

23) DIE! DIE! DIE! no he doesn’t use too many dice… he just wants your PCs to die. His game is lethal in the extreme. More like a game of Paranoia than a game of whatever it was you wanted to play, where if your character lived longer than half a session you should consider yourself lucky.

24) The Never Ending Story- This DM is the exact opposite of no.23, nothing in this game will likely ever kill you and all combat is usually avoided. The DM loves sticking japananime type plots into the game, choc full of mysteries you’ll never solve, twilightesque romanticized NPCs and of course non-stop conflict free story telling. And whatever you do… don’t ask them about their art, poetry, or spiritual views…

25) DM’s Cant Cheat- If ya get the feeling rolling a 1 is not much different than rolling a 20 on any knowledge or influence roll this is probably your DM. Secretly he may claim the rules tell him to roll behind his indestructible DM screen and to fudge the die rolls if it will help the game, but more often than not the truth is more likely that no die roll matters in the least as this guy wants to get to the end of his movie, and is often accompanied by the rationalization that…

26) All Players Cheat- This DM is of the opinion that all players are secretly min/maxing munchkin jerks plotting against him to ruin the game. He may require that all players use a dice tower or he spends as much time as necessary to triple check all figures on any check, stat, roll, etc.

27) You No Can Haz it!- this is the opposite of no.9, you spend three sessions and two party members die to eventually kill a BBEG or mega boss dragon and find the mountainous pile of treasure is made of coppers painted gold and the ancient magic sword is really an illusion or horribly cursed. This Dm tries to give you as little as possible and rewards no successes (possibly due to a strong belief in no. 26), often when you think he may have given you something worthwhile he will complain that it has overpowered you and soon something must come to steal it back or weaken you in some way in the great name of game/PC balance.

28) Cheetoist- the DM is the opposite of no 22, he is a fun first game second DM, he is there to have fun and eat cheetos and if the seriousness of a game interferes with having fun or eating cheetos, something needs to change. This DM has tremendous difficulty addressing any adult or serious topics in the game, the characters and NPCs are typically over the top overdrawn stereotypes, and no effort is made to separate in-game or out of game dialog… unless its funny to do so. Bottom line, this is a goofgame, any desire for in-game seriousness will be punished with out-of-game public humiliation, so don’t try, eat a cheeto and do something stupid that everyone can laugh at and when it gets old (and it will) find a more serious game… or just buy more cheetos.

29) 20-4 Meh. Just a substandard DM in which every game he runs has 20 minutes of fun spread out into 4hrs of gaming. May have elements of all or none of these habits. Either way every week will be a pure meh experience and leave you wondering if there isn’t a better way you could be spending your free time and gas money maybe for years, actually I think this is the worst kind of DM to have.

30) Obsessive Much?- this DM has little or no life, probably spends every waking moment thinking about his game, characters, a new system coming out etc. He’s dangerous in that he has deep seeded largely idealistic views about what a game should or should not contain and what actions any type of player/dm should and should not do. A true onetruewayist. Just expect endless b#@@!ing and criticism. And oh yeah… he probably wrote a list just like this one once upon a time… ;-)

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knightnday wrote:
Fake Healer wrote:
Usually the happy ones, or ones without any real issues to discuss, tend to not post gloating, sunshiney posts about how great their game is going. People with issues look for help. That is why you tend to see more of those posts.

Maybe we should? That way this place will be less depressing and/or antagonistic!

My various groups over the years have been great and with only minor exceptions everyone has gotten along, no real drama, a few marriages have come out of the various groups. I miss my original group very much in fact.



Lol maybe we should have a gamer's thanksgiving and state something in a game were thankful for, I'll start...

I'm thankful for the player whos playing a cowardly uplifted octopus in my game, in our first game whenever he got nervous or scared he'd flail his arms around... Looking exactly like what you'd expect a scared octopus would look like, we all laughed our asses off for about a half hour after that, add in the embarrassment he role plays when he accidentally "inks" himself.... It's RPG gold...

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A number of people here site "good" and "bad" characters and this is is where the problem lies in pathfinder, a "good" character is generally perceived as one that is greatly effective, and lacks exploitable weaknesses.

System mastery assures that should you choose to be as effective as possible you will be able to do so.

But if given the choice a "mature" gamer will never choose to make an extremely effective character? I don't buy it, most of the players in my group are over 30 and very mature, but if you ask them "would you prefer to drive a race car or a jelopy?" Few if any would voluntarily choose the jelopy. That has nothing to do with maturity and everything to do with the options being offered.

The system absolutely does favor race car or power gamer type characters, and yes that is a huge gaping flaw in the system and one that only seems to grow and grow as the system bloat increases with every new unnecessary release just like 3.5.

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Snake Plisskin is a rogue, Riddick is a rogue, james bond is a rogue, pretty much almost every major bad assed character from any action adventure movie is a rogue.

what draws me to playing a rogue?
Rogues are bad ass.

does the math of totally optimized BS alchemist overpower the concept? not in my head. Alchemests and mages are runty nerdy geeks, bards are just ghey, druids and rangers tend to be flower eating eco-PETA retards, palidins and clerics... their the door to door "would you like to make a donation to... whatever" masterfully handled in the movie Airplane and always living under the thumb of some higher athority.

no other character has the freedom and pure bad assedness of the rogue. period.

does it matter that other classes leave them in powerlevel dust at later levels?

not at all, rogues get along with theives and assassins, got somebody more powerfull than you can take? you probably have the wealth from all your illgotten gains to put a bounty big enough to attract some 20th level super death assassin on em... they fail theres somebody else waitin to take the contract. Thats what contractors are for, and if an assassin PRC kills em, they cant come back no matter how many buddys they got with rez. besides, a rogue with enough money and enough patience/planning can kill anything.

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how many times have you defeated the BBG and found tons of copper you cant carry, or defeated some mage and there's a library of books, that weigh too much for the bag of holding, or seen some amazing statue that would be worth thousands but you have no way of getting it back to town...

wand of shrink item.

at 3rd level casting I believe it costs around 3k and you can turn any 6x6 non magic item into a small dishrag for three days per charge, plenty of time to get it back to town or keep using charges to keep it small. pry off some floorbords and use fabricate to make 6x6 crates, fill with whatver, then bring em back. seriously one of the best magic items you could have, the only magic item I know of that actually pays for itself.

I also like the pathfinder pouch from pathfinder chronicles setting book (1k for a 9x9 bag of holding that does not detect as magic! keep it in your loincloth!)

and I forgot the name of the ion stone, I thought it was grey spindle... the regen ioun stone, get it cracked&flawed, so for 3,400 gp it has a 50% chance at regen 1 hp per hr, because of the effect, it will stablize you, and eventually bring ya back to life. be sure to have it implanted.

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I'm no industry insider, just a guy who went to his first D&D convention at 10 yrs old in 1980, I had no idea who Ryan Dancey was, but after insulting the guy figured I better do a five minute search...

didnt even know about a living campaign fiasco...

when I looked up his name I got the refrence where he was the big pusher behind the OGL and predicted how this was going to be great for WotC.

later, on his own blog he then blamed the OGL as one of the main causes of the downfall of WotC, and how soon D&D would be nothing more than a hasbro tabletop boardgame. (is it just me that sees him working for Paizo as a little unethical?)

then I found this blog... ming/

I was shocked when I read the guy had been caught hacking into private emails of the GAMA board members to improve his chances for re-election,

(If he's going to mention his GAMA expirence, we deserve to know why he was forced to leave, all of this makes me seriously wonder if I want to give this guy my contact info and credit card numbers.)

then read his negitive comments about CCP.

Then found this forum

These people seemed to have a much better insight into the MMO gaming world than I do and one commenter said this...

"Only one of them (Mark Kalmes) has any useful experience with MMOs (or computer games in a more general sense).

Ryan Dancey on the other hand is an actual liability, as he was the marketing director for EVE when they went silly on "micro"-transactions (infamously the $70 monocle that was virtually impossible for another player to ever actually see). You can read about that here or here. And it seems to be this guy who is the driving force behind the Pathfinder game, the Paizo blog has Stevens saying that he approached her directly after he left* CCP.

So it's a case of whether Kalmes can offset Dancey to give us a neutral product. From reading the various blurbs, it reminds me a great deal of the press release stuff before UO launched where it was all big hopes and dreams and then the reality was a kind of broken world simulator that only survived because it pretty much invented the modern MMO (the only rival at the time was Everquest, which was the basis for WoW, but was somehow even less fun)

*I think this was a firing, but I can't actually find anything either way."

And all of this was just a 5 minute search, with that "destroying gaming" article comming up 3rd on the google search.

now again there are many more articles about how awesome this guy is, and what a great influence he's been on the hobby, personally I dont know anything about the guy and could care less about his background, but to ramble off how this Dancey is god's gift to gaming and gush about how incredible it is to have him onboard, making mention of his extensive background, while not mentioning any of these negitives in and clear ethical issues isn't giving people the whole story.

I'm sure if I do some more searching I'd find loads more on both sides of the issue.

Either way, I'm not liking the guidlines set forth for player communication, we'll see how the rest of it turns out...

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I love true strike when combined with bull rush and/or overrun, knock em forever away... off the cliff etc.

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when I worked in a mental hospital we had a term, f-ed in the head file, there were people with mental illnesses that we could create a treatment plan for, help, medicate, etc.

Then there were people who's level of mental illness was off the charts, trying to diagnoss each of their particular problems (drug addicted, schitzoid effective disorder, ADHD, Borderline personality disorder, organic drug induced diphasia, toxic paranoia syndrome, etc. etc.) were all but impossible. for them... they were f-ed in the head file patients, or dont even bother trying, drug em up and pass em along.

about three weeks ago here we had a 6'3 guy who stabbed the boyfriend of his grandmother 16 times with a large knife.

It turned out the police had come on two seperate incidents to the family of this guy. Once he broke into his cousin's house quietly in the middle of the night, naked, standing in their bedroom next to their bed while they were asleep, with a matchette. police said if the family did not file charges there was nothing they could do because there is no temporary mental health facility in our county. so they let him go.

second incident the guy grabbed the girlfriend of a relitive, and attempted to drag her by the ankle into the kitchen to "show her something" again, they were told if the family did not file charges they could do nothing and let him go.

now he's finally killed somebody and has charges... but jeezzz what is wrong with our laws when we have so many warning signs, and the law can do nothing? I really dont have a problem with rounding up all the f-ed in the head file patients and putting them somewhere long term, I dont suscribe to the escape fantasy scenarios that had all the long term care facilities shut down under Regan, and all the patients sent to the streets. that was not good for them, or society.

oh by the way, I knew this guy's family and had hung out with him at a burger joint once, and at a court appearance once... I would have never guessed he had the problems that were reported.

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Clone 001 reporting for duty! ALL HAIL THE HIGH PROGRAMER! ALL HAIL FRIEND COMPUTER! (where did I leave those corpor metal pamphlets...)

wow what a great topic!

It's a "role playing" game, and how you play a role is by acting and figuring out what the character's motivations are.

A character without a backstory isnt a "main character", its just a bunch of numbers and a loose idea of how it got that way, that might qualify as supporting cast or re-occuring character (like buddy the doorman), but not a major feature in a story. If a player just absolutely does not want to write up a clever backstory, even with help from me or other players... they want to play buddy the doorman with a sword or wand... thats fine, but they dont get to bitc# when the story shifts to deal with backstory and all the characters but his have more playtime/influence etc. buddy the doorman's player should be doing what buddy the doorman was designed to do... sit in the corner quietly waiting to roll more dice.

The way I run, I always create the subplots around the character's back stories and more often than not the subplots converge and become the main plot. (this is one of the main reasons I am not a big fan of AP games because what is most common to great movies, comics, and books is not present, there is no personal tie-in to the character's history)

As a former therapist I understand how important personal history (backstory) is to psychology. IF you want to play a convincing character, IF you want to RP well, the expirences the PC's have had before the game begins should be directly influencial to how you play them. (and I do give out XP penalties for playing "out of character") if your just making it up as you go along, I as the DM have no idea what is "in character or out of character" and backstory seems more like an excuse for irrational behavior than a story aid.

Generally I prefer point buy games (like hero games system) because your backstory is what pays for your character's abilities.

Even without a point buy system I will ask players in my game to come up with personality quirks, psychological issues (fears/phobias/secretes that must be kept, etc) and life events (traumatic expirences, organizations or groups who may be interested in the PC's activities and why etc) details about a few NPC's who have affected the PC's lives (family, tribe, instructors, guild members, former brothers in arms, etc) either positively or negitively, living or dead (or undead).

also, I generally allow players to take skills in powerful or useful NPC's that they know to be able to get info or aid from them. lots of times this will be much more important than say KS-local history in moving along a gaming session.

all of this helps to flesh out a character, and help the player to know what makes the character tick even if its not what makes the player tick. (does your character love it when the odds are stacked against them or do they only strike when they know absolutely they can win etc)

It also helps me as the DM to tie party members together (maybe having the same dueling instructor, or who both have angered the local asmodian merchants guild, etc)

To me, backstory is the absolute MOST important part of character generation.

As a side note... a L1 backstory should never look like a L20 backstory, if a player has a backstory similar to what Geraint was describing, I might even tell em to go for a different character idea or drop some class dips.

PS this DM loves reading 4-5 pgs of back story per character, the only time when I dont is when they are not rational (raised in a forest by wolves then joined the mages guild, then lived with the drow working as an noble hit man, then was tutored by a elder gold dragon etc.. and I feel like saying pick one or two of these and drop the rest.)

PPS I totally agree with John Woodford, being an adventurer is an extremely dangerous and rare thing, a character must have good reasons for doing something that most common people would think is completely nuts. (unless they ARE completely nuts.) Kobold Cleaver- if nothing of particular interest happened to the character before the beginning of the campaign... why would they become adventurers? a mostly suicidal profession?

PPPS mage4fun- that is awesome and exactly what I would want to see from every character and how I would set it up as well.

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Think I added cleave and improved cleave when I leveled, armor is +1 full plate, +1 mith sheild of bashing, +1 keen guisame, got a "custom" magic item "thorm body" CL3 as spell at will, (think I paid about 4k for it), human Kellid, stats rolled, Gorim Diety. If there are errors this was the first PF character I ever made, without direction and without reading a book, if there are errors here I didnt catch em and neither did the DM (or he didnt care)

nothing in this was fabricated, or lied about, and do you have a point with this or are you still just trying to make the same point

that being "the guy is new to PF and does not know what he is talking about and he's stupid so there! neener neener neener!"

Just because I am new and inexpirenced with PF does not mean that the arguements do not hold water.

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Arianna- exactly, I probably took it too far earlyer in saying pathfinder is more like dragonball z than D&D or that it is the monty hall system, but that is exactly it, all "common" builds work on creating synergy, that synergy does not simply increase powerlevel, it compounds it, so that the more you feed that synergy with feats, stats, magic or class abilities, the more power it gains, and at no point is there a limit in the system where it says "dont go past here or you are a powergamer"

Steve- well... I can see where he is coming from, I dont really agree that just because something has a weakness it is not overpowered for an average game (average meaning the powerlevel most pathfinder games are played at) but it does seem like its a metagame where the DM tries to establish the powerlevel he would like the game to be played at and the players either accept that, or try to build right up to the very limit without pissing off the DM, and again this isnt a very easy thing to establish.

In champions I could say "no attacks over 11 OCV and 60 active points" and everyone would know what that meant, and really there wouldent be a way to screw that up (any combination of powers or skills which created a synergy would also increase the active cost or OCV) champs using hero games system is both one of the most complex systems in the game industry and the least (depending on how many optional rules you want to play with)

but I have no way of doing that with PF, and I really should have one as a starting out DM for it.

I'm still thinking about if I was to give the players a hand out telling them what powerlevel I was shooting for, how would I do that? the players are used to rolled stats, so that wont change (but I wont be letting them roll without supervision the way the other DM did...) I want to let them use all the books because thats what they are accustomed to. but how do I convey to the players that min/maxed optimal combat characters should not be created? how would you even define a powerlevel in PF? that 20% rule I thought was a fairly simple thing to define (never go above 80% of whats possible) but Mist was right, to some it might just be a challenge to see how broken they can get following the rule....

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wraith- wow, I was talking about the grappling rules in 2.0 D&D, every skill level you put into punch got you a +1 to hit. then there was the origional wacky table system they had for a while.

but while were there... where is it that it says everything you run into at 20th level has a DR4+? Do all NPC's of that level get DR4? Is that even a fact? or were you just throwing that in there to get the sick sick damage of that build down from 400 pts to 200 pts? I really dont know PF, but it seems like that got pulled out of some dark place and it smells funny.

Chaos- just saying PF is not D&D or even D&D 3.75, when a new D&D comes out there is going to be an exodus. Heck its not even out yet and geek dad from wired is already writing articles about it. Thats where I first heard about OSR and thats what got me back into gaming...

PS- that was a post by Bloodytroll, saying something like "have you seen Treantmonk's Staff Magus write up?" then hit the numbers... I think it was under that "your thoughts on the magus" thread but not sure... I looked all over for a treantmonk magus but couldent find it.

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ROTFL, omg...

Its kinda funny wraith you seemed kina like a level headed guy a while back there when you were telling me that; sure there were OP builds but nothing that needed eratta, I was worried the iceman persona was going to calmly wipe me out, but your sorta loosing that calm demeanor now, shaking your fist at the heavens NOTHING IN PATHFINDER IS OP!!!

come on man, why dont you show me a build you know is OP....

Loyalist- everytime PF vs D&D comes up I cant help but to think of what the chinese premere said on the tonight show... Jay Lenno asks him "do you think western culture and influence will forever change the culture of China?" The premere says "western culture has influenced China, but China was here 4,000 years before America, and it will be here 4,000 years after..."

go ask somebody on the street "have you ever played pathfinder" and I think the common answer will be "whats that?" try the same with D&D and at least they will know what D&D is. dont get me wrong, 4.0 litterally got me to quit gaming for a long time, but the ancient heros are awaking from their slumber and crawling out of the mountians to take up arms... the grognardian hordes are rising...

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and wraith- re-read your last post... kinda funny, started thinking about having those options, who wouldent pick more powerful over less powerful, all of a sudden I was hit with thinking OSR is the lightside, PF the darkside... and yoda quickly came to mind...

Yoda:If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's (D&D's)apprentice.
Luke: Vader...(Pathfinder...) Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know...

yeah Yoda, I know, I know...

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Kobold- I go to sleep and get slammed with 10+ posts telling me what an ass I am and why. Some of those arguements are very well thought out, and I try to address the major points, some are just attacks and I generally adress those as they tend to be much more easy and quick to counter. I cant address everyting.

but to deal with this...

"You aren't convincing anybody of anything, since you refuse to give way on anything, and you certainly aren't going to be convinced when you don't acknowledge half the posts here"

I do read posts even if I dont directly acknoledge them, but half the posts here are also trying to make the same point as a extremely similar posting I had addressed earlyer, maybe I should go through 700 postings and link the previous arguements but I just dont have time for it. but I'll do what I can.

What I dont get, is why do I have to give way on anything to convince someone an observation or assertion that I've made is correct? I didnt realize that the establisment of facts requires compromise.

this "The fact is, people can be powergamers and be roleplayers. People keep saying this. But whenever somebody gives an example, you either ignore it or nitpick it."

that is something I have said on oh about 10 previous postings, EVERY "role playing game" and EVERY created character requires a level of min/maxing and a level of roleplaying. why is it people keep conviently forgetting that I have acknoledged this?

my issue is and always has been that the game has a general imbalance in that devotion of feats, stats, and or skills to the roleplaying aspect of the game, detracts "too greatly" from the combat side of the game to such a point that when squeezed and twisted by a rules lawyer player a character who was not optimized for purely combat, becomes almost completely inneffective, or crippled in compairison. telling me "there are many ways to deal with that" does not discout the existance of the imbalance or the severity to which it effects the game.

because "I" do not want that level of imbalance in "my" game I started this thread to give me advice on how to control it. so far the most common answer has been talk to your players, good advice and if they listen it will work. the second most common answer has been "the imbalance does not really exist, you are a fool for claiming that it does, and you must suck as a DM if you cannot counter the problems you have easily." meanwhile the new threads that begin like this...

"Please help. one player has figured out within the rules I set to make it almost impossible for me to send anything at the party that is within there level to defeat. if I send a creature or puzzle or group this one player is so powerful the thing wouldn't even be a threat. frankly she doesn't even need the rest of the party. so I have set things up to make it more difficult on her to take her down to the rest of the parties level so to speak. this is upsetting the player. problems are as follows.

wizards ability to teleport out of any danger
intelligence so high character can beat any dc out there for knowledge even more then the bard and an ac so high I almost need to send a god to be able to hit"

continue to pile higher and higher, and its very clear I am not the only person who sees these problems and who has trouble dealing with them.

I am not saying powergamers cannot be roleplayers, the very fact that they are playing a "role playing game" means (drum roll please..) ALL POWERGAMERS ARE ROLEPLAYERS (ZOMG!) the problem is the level to which the system allows players to powergame and the level of imbalance it creates.

Wraith- when I get to work later tonight, I'll address each point made with links.

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I was just thinking... no matter how you build your first level character in AD&D, any first level character has a good chance of killing any other first level character, but thats not the case in PF.

and by the way D&D came out in the 70s...

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so your telling me the four armed alchemist/twf-2hf is what Paizo intended, the wildcaller with that eldeon shooting 36+ arrows a round, that was intended?

I'm not talking about "every possible loophole" I am talking about the loopholes with the giant neon flashing OP signs pointing to them.

sure I would like to see PF changed into something different, or to be completely honest I wish more players would find the joys the OSR gamers have known about since RPGs began.

I'm not sure what game your talking about other than I know its not HGS because thats still being sold, and new products come out quarterly.

I dont think your right about the balance level, I do belive the rules were written in a "spirit" of the game. I do belive the more legalistic optimized write ups are intent on breaking that "spirit" to the detriment of the party or group. I think the box (or at least the bell curve) is real.

Sure as a DM you may be able to counter the optimized character. your other players might not feel slighted... much... when so many efforts must to go into countering one or two players in a group. but there is no reason Paizo could not write a little blurb "hey, you cant have more than xzy arms on an eledon, and for every ranged weapon attack and eledon has he must have an additional head..(whatver,etc)" thats it, deal with a few of the biggest game breakers. not a lot of work.

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The big dumb guy...

Ive seen this character in a lot of games as well, and I've even played em a few times. but the same thing always happens. Its a bad joke that is insanely funny the first few times it gets told. but then the joke just keeps getting told. The dumb guy does not understand so he breaks or kills something. same joke told again and again, and again, week in week out. pretty soon, the player is sick of his own character, so are the other players, and the DM.

about the only people who seem to keep finding this funny and entertaining in the long run, are people in the 5-8 year old age bracket who watch saturday morning cartoons. HULK SMASH, Hulk save kitten.. comedy gold to a 6 yr old, but not something I would want to endure in my game past 3-5 sessions.

PS.if you want to make this character even more entertaining... give him a pile of phobias, he's afraid of fire, deep water, hights, snakes etc. he fears nothing on the battlefield, but a kid with a lizzard and he runs and screams like a little girl. should give him a few more sessions of play before everyone is plotting his death.

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flesh- so there was this this punk band in LA in the 1990's called "the junkies" they really were just 6 heroin junkies with some musical instruments they could borrow, there were no songs I dont believe, just a lot of banging, blaring, and yelling...

but the lead singer did have quite a finale... he would pull down his pants, grab a sirenge, load it up with a truly incredible amount of heroin and.. well.. I guess you can guess what came next... but he would fall down and begin to OD... every time the band played... nobody would call an ambulence or anything, they'd just drag him to one side of the stage, let him shake and vomit, and just keep playing till somebody threw them out. ya never knew if he was gonna die or not...

oh and that guy... he was my roomate.... so I know a little about true nihilism, but I never really got into it for reasons I hope are easy to understand. (and I dont think your anything like that guy was)

oh and dual masters in therapy MFT/MST gotta have both to get the job that I had.

Memorax- "That's the problem. Players want to make different character concepts that encourage roleplaying yet the system penalizes you if you do" my issue with PF is the penalty is HUGE, the difference between just putting one higher stat in a non class benifiting stat, spend a feat as general feat, and a few non-survival/ks based skills, and suddenly your whimpy mc whimpmyre the mayor of wimpsville, when compaired with captn kills'alot min/maxer. so do I make every character spend feats, skills, and put stats into non-class/combat optimizing areas, or do I let poor whimpy get dominated every gaming session and tell him "it was your own damn fault for not making a combat monster like everyone else!"

Crane- I can understand a fighter picking up a new combat feat that isnt really mystical, you can say it was something he was trained in he just didnt specialize in it (fighters are better trippers even without the improved trip feat) and you can RP this in the game, "every morning I pratice my low swings, I'm planning on getting improved trip next level"

but thats another issue I have with PF that pains me... the reward system is all screwed up. magic items, make em or buy em their everywhere (heck you dont even really need a healer because wands of cure light seem to be sold on every corner.) wild new abilities making you much more effective dont require any training or any special in-game sacrifice. every reward that is "special" that you can offer a player is a motivation and builds expectation and desire for the game, take those rewards away and the game becomes more and more like a math or legalistic exercise.

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cranewings wrote:

A side note, a long time ago I felt that the best way to control Power Gamers is to assist all of the other players into making characters nearly as strong, and then raising the stats of the NPCs, so that it isn't possible for the Power Gamer to get a statistical advantage.

Sure it changes the nature of the game a little, but I think it is well worth it. Oddly, I've found that it even makes power gamers happy.

just popping back in before running off...

thats kinda funny, I had almost this exact conversation with the DM. it was after he read some 3 page thing from the AP and I got pretty bored with it... a while later I said I was used to a more fluid gamestyle not using APs but where the DM kinda plans out the major encounters but generally makes things up as the party goes along... he said something like "yeah well I wish I could spend 12 hrs a week just planning out encounters but I'm running three PF games a week, and I just dont have time for that, the AP's are awesome though... you'll see"

He was upping the encounter levels though, thats sorta why the 8 armed demon with the pincers both critted and focused all its massive attacks on the PG character, and why when he went down it pretty much would have killed the whole party without the DM bending back its abilities... but there was/is in my mind a huge disparity between the PG character and the other characters in the game.

and basically if your telling me... "the APs are great and well written but they were written before most of the optimization became possible, and they were written for teh vanilla characters, and because most players now optimize, the average party today will breeze through the AP encounters..." then I would say again, there seems to be very large problem with game balance.

The DM cannot achieve it easily, and will have to put a lot of time into "fixing" the APs, the players dont really know where the limits are (and creating your character with no limits clearly leads to problems unless everyone else is going for the max as well)and if one player in the party builds a character to fit a great background story that isnt focused on explaining away a tricky set of optimized choices and is therefore "non-optimized" while the DM is lots of time everything more lethal... ugg what a nightmare..

(I'll get back to catching up on the posts, that one just stuck out though)
oh and the AP is rise of the runelords...

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ugg... im fading here, I need sleep and I'll have to scramble to get to the game after I wake up.

I'm just going to leave it as this...

a while ago I read a post, cant find it now, google wont tell me.. but it was about a guy who watched some kids playing hide and go seek, one of the kids was clearly better at it than all the others... he found the perfect hiding spot one where the guy knew none of the other kids would ever find him and he would be sitting in that spot, missing out on all the fun of running and hiding again and would likely ruin the game for the rest of the kids as he would never ever get found... so the guy yells "GET FOUND!" hoping the kid would give himself up

essentially thats the core of powergaming, or min-maxing, or optimization, or monty-haul players or whatever you want to call it.

people who are damn great at it, make the game less fun for most players (unless all the players want to hide and never get found). if hide and seek had a DM, the DM could ban the hiding spot (ban specific feats or archtypes), or he could demand they play on another field without such a perfect hiding spot (go to a different system)but essentially because a DM would have to do these things, the feild with the perfect hiding spot, is essentially broken.

players dont have to take advantage of it, but the fact that it is there, the fact that it is possible, means the game "can be" ruined...

oh yeah... and there'd always be the guy who complained when his favorote perfect hiding spot was denied...


I'll post characters or whatever later...

oh yeah... and its my personal opinion, the PF hide and go seek feild... has a hell of a lot of perfect hiding spots...

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Kaisc- this was the perfect def of powergamer to me

while people may not be able to finger a precise dictionary of "power gamer" (back a bit ago they were called "munchkins" and true us old-timers call them "monty-hall players"): The game-derailing kind of power-gamer is the one who has a knowledge of the rules (but often argues ways to break or "flexibly/favorably interpret them" to that player's advantage), but who looks for ways to exploit unforeseen combos, gaps in the rules, and such in an abusive way, intending to bring them to the campaign table (and not for a fun one-off where everyone is in on it). They don't necessarily help the other players build their characters, but tweek out their own so as to dominate as much of the session as possibly (perhaps not consciously). They are the kind of player who doesn't mind if the DM gets frustrated (rather than has fun), or other players, as long as they're having fun. (This is of course an extreme version). There have been "problem players" in this way for as long as the game has existed, I've played with some (and I've been one a couple times, though mostly because of an "arms race" among players and I've often taken the DM aside and suggested rules changes to fix things*). thout-weakness

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Carn- his wil save... Extremely poor so the DM cast confusion on him, he attacked the nearest party member did something like 96 pts of damage, and killed him. He then went to attack the next party member and if it wasnt for grease and other spells would have killed him too, Luckily the party member that died was the NPC member but it would have killed any of us. So no, that ended up being a terrible way to "fix" the problem...

Lincoln- the flaw in that line is that the GM increases the danger against "the party" but the power gamer does not care. If the other party members die, he'll get even more magic items because likely he'll be the last to die.. And since he doesnt really care about character progression, developing a backstory or anything but combat he also cares less about character death, it's just a new chance to try the other outrageous build he read about. He is playing against the other players, not with them. So when communication does not work what's the answer?

Ossian- ok and if his idea of fun is making everyone else not have fun IMHO he needs to want to have "less fun" or a different kind of fun. Only way I can think to do that is to penalize him, or limit him in some way. And let's be honest... How much work does it really take to look up a guide on this forum and only pick the blue feats? The only work he's really putting in is trying to justify a gross race or magic item buy etc. And if your telling me having a character concept where your character is tough or competent means your trying to "win," Your probably right then... I do want to win D&D.

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Controlling Powergamers in Pathfinder

Since we all know and agree there are HUGE balance issues, and min/maxed optimized characters with insanely unbalanced abilities are very easy to create, and after level 12 many power combos can effectively one shot most AP encounters, on another post I proposed getting rid of (most) feats, AOO’s and multi attacks to help balance the game and speed up combat. This was met with much flame. Essentially breaking down to

a) Its impossible
b) It won’t work because there are too many other core abilities (scorching ray spell etc.) that would be affected.
c) It wont really work because there are too many other ways to unbalance the game.
d) It would not really be pathfinder, and essentially you’re creating an entirely new system pathfinder players wont want to play.

I decided they were absolutely right. So rather than just hating on PF forever and never running or playing again, I figured I’d ask more helpful questions to solve the problem of powergaming.

Take in mind, anyone could just say “well you look over their character and if it’s too powerful just say no” but that does not account all the time the player put into building his character or the fact that just about every instance of opted min/maxing is not only accepted but encouraged by the rules.

So ultimately,

If you were going to run a game and wanted to give players a set of directions and/or restrictions that would stop any character created from “greatly” unbalancing the game, at any time during his/her progression… what would those directions/restrictions be? Or, (If your not up to that challenge)… what is one direction/restriction you feel should be on that list?

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Xortal- happy guy says "I just bought a lamborgini, WOOT! its awesome!" killjoy says "I drove that lamborgini yesterday, its got no breaks and your headed towards a cliff"

what is the proper grace period to warn somebody about a problem they are not aware of, that could help prevent them from doing something they might greatly regret?

for me, that would have been the very first night I played PF...

Gorbacz- Your right, I'll start another post on advice about fixing the problems rather than b@$%#ing about it, maybe you can convince me I'm wrong about all of this.

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ok so Alien are we all supposed to just go "ZOMG YOUR SO TOTALLY RIGHT, I'LL NEVER PLAY ANY OTHER RPG AGAIN!!!" because to say anything remotely negitive about a game someone is enthusiastic about is pissing in his breakfast, or marks you as being a "hater"?

I'll say this too... I was pretty excited to get into my first PF game, all the players were raving about how great the world and system was, as I was a new player and they were feeding my enthusiasm. By our second game they were admitting the faults, by the third game they were complaining about gross imballences, telling me which rules they wished were different and though they didnt say they would rather be playing another system they were going on and on about what their personal fav past systems were.

Dont get me wrong, although I am discouraged by many of the decisions of the designers, I am having fun playing PF but i'm very glad I can play the game without spending money on it. If I had ran out and spent a lot of money on the books, I would have felt let down by my 3rd game.

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3.5 Loyalist wrote:

Welcome, and good on you. But as a stuck in the mud I am going to say this Sam, not all of the rules are fantastic or better, the additional abilities can lead to more crunch and accounting. Classes are stronger but balance is more off compared to 3.5--more means balance is more difficult. Optimisation and powergaming are more rife than ever. Some pathfinder adventures are superb, others are poor and some npcs in the books will make you ask, "really?"

I loved beta, then became very disappointed, then took what I liked back to 3.5.

In the grim future there are only complaints on boards.

I'm not into 3.5 either, but I agree with loyalist. PF has a great setting (actually a lot of em), they have got wonderfull fluff (well, except in the magic item dept.) but there are HUGE ballence issues and theres so many ways to opt/min-max a character its hard not to. (at least for me)

I havent been through many APs but the ones I have been in have been very good. It seems most people here really like the feat/combat system, I have some serious problems with it but it seems I'm very much in the minority.

oh and like what was said above... I have yet to buy one PF book... SRD works just fine.

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Dude, I keep telling you... ITS NOT A TAIL... and if you keep pulling it out in public they are going to arrest you.

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38. "Oh goodie, the only ingredient left to collect for the create litch potion is the still beating heart of a good aligned human... did I say that out loud?"

39. "I'm sure it's just a rash and has nothing to do with that mummy I created"

40. "I'm telling you these nuggets are not made of chicken..."

41. "dead wenches never say no"

42. "The girls I date moan rather often"

43. "I cant go because I've got a date tonight... oh and can I borrow your shovel?"

44. "they were dead when I found them... now not so much"

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Super Powered Fantasy vs. High Fantasy- warning… Grognard rant ahead...

Ok so were playing the rise of the runelords AP, were in the tunnels beneath Sandpoint and the guardian is attacking us in the hallways… the combat has taken not one but two gaming sessions and were still not done with it.

The rogue character is attacking, he rolls and says “I don’t think I hit” then people start calling out modifiers, don’t forget the + whatever for the bards inspire courage, don’t forget the protect from evil, don’t forget the blankidyblank, we then do a lot of adding and subtracting and arguing and then he says “ok then I think I hit” and the Gm goes “yeah but your forgetting about..” and another few minutes of diving into the rules to see what the actual modifiers are… we finally establish that he hit with his first attack and he’s rolling like 4d6, and 8d8, a couple of D4’s and a few more dice… he starts adding these up and then the modifiers start getting named again, then the DM is using the damage reduction and doing more math on his side… and now we got three more attacks… and then the next character gets to start rolling, adding, and arguing, and gods forbid he casts a spell and needs to break out the other three books…

After another hour of this, I look up at one of the other grogs at the table and ask… “Do you remember when we used to play D&D… this is my fighter’s round… “I roll to hit with my battle axe” and roll a d20, then roll a D8, and say “with strength and magic that’s 12 points… next” he guffaws and says “yup, and he was considered a total bad ass….especially if he was getting (zomg) two (!!!) attacks a round.”

Later we started talking about other differences… the level dipping, trait and talent min-maxed characters of the new games… about how soon two of our players were going to start new “dragonkin” characters…

I mentioned about how one of the things I truly hated about 4e was characters flying, teleporting, and turning invisible at 1st level, about how characters were not just fighters and thieves anymore, they were class 5 superheroes wearing chain mail… to accentuate this I mentioned how I think my next character should be a shape shifting ninja, with a Technic League cyber arm, firing a gatling gun, from his T-Rex special mount… (woot!)

I mean seriously guys… when did playing a “fantasy” game stop being enough? Why is it that we need to have giant databases on archetypes and prestige classes, mile long lists of hundreds of talents or special abilities, rules for creation of your own magic items, spells, and constructs… It used to be if you wanted to run a different sort of character, you appealed to the DM and he said yea or nay and made up the rules on the spot, now we gotta have piles of books and internet search engines to look up all the options… 50 page class optimization threads on forums…

Agh… I don’t know if D&D Next will solve all these issues but I sure hope something does and soon…

And PS- I don’t need to hear “well dig up your old books and go play em” I live in a small town with a small gamer circle, we play what the other 8 or so gamers in town want to play, and I’m not a DM (player only) and have no desire to try and find younger new players/DMs to “go retro”