If you would say it could also be the story of how they became students of the vampire and became lords of death or the story of how they said "this country is screwed, let's head south", we agree.
We are so close to communicating here!
I see from what you've written, that you seem to assume that because I let them make the choices over what their characters do, that I don't have an "outside world, plot, or consistency".
I would say the founding principle of player choice having value is that their choices matter.
I am defining story as something that a DM determines must happen in a game.
Whereas my story-less games contain numerous NPC's, Monsters, Towns, Rulers all with their own agendas, plans and problems.
I don't know what's going to happen. The players decide to do what they want. The rest of the world will continue trying to accomplish their goals. There's no 'story' because I have not the first clue what the players are going to do. They can do whatever they want. Their choices when they play the game will have consequences and new things will happen.
And it is awesome. And I don't need a story, because it doesn't matter what I think should happen. It's not storytime because we are playing a game.
However, it is possible to look back upon the sequence of events and see foreshadowing (because consequences result from actions), drama (because conflict), morality (because choices in a cohesive world) and conclusion (because during the game conflicts are resolved). You may call this a story. In hindsight.
I have a couple of things to say in response.
Players cannot get 'behind' in XP because their is no predetermined outcome in my game - no threshold that they must meet by a certain point - no sub-par non-professional "story" that I'm shoving down their throats.
Players are playing a game. Players tell me what they are doing.
As far as what Mykull is talking about; Why would anyone play a game where we don't get to decide what we get to do on our turn?
I've walked away from other human beings that have been that rude to me before, but it never happens right away.
You see, I'm going to continue to make choices in play that seem intelligent. A great many of those choices will be things that won't fit with what the DM has decided must happen. I may not notice the first time things are rearranged, but it won't take long for me to figure out that what choices i make don't matter. I can't change whatever the DM has already decided, so if nothing I do matters, why am I going to waste my time?
Why would it?
Why would waxing your car increase your gas mileage? It won't, because that's not what it's designed to do.
Also, on a much larger scale than just one encounter, quantum details can save a huge amount of time. Imagine your game starts in the capital city and your players have expressed no major plans to leave. Rather than drawing up the whole kingdom, you make a half dozen interesting quantum locations. If the players ask what's to the west, you pull one out. The chances of them going through all 6 in one game is tiny and you didn't have to make a whole map to pull that off (especially if you're like me and get bogged down in details).
Note that this technique is explicitly different then deciding that no matter what the players do they are going to encounter all your encounters in the order you demand they should.
Don't take this the way it comes across, but you won't find those explicit points because you made them up.
The "Quantum Ogre" is a specific example of a specific situation.
Simple question: do you think that quantum encounters or locations are a good GM tool?
I think it is a very complicated tool, that can be used for an explicit specific purpose.
In my personal experience, due to years of published terrible terrible advice, it is often used poorly. I also think it is universally overused with good intentions to the detriment of many games - often by DM's who assume that by disregarding the autonomy of human beings that they are somehow improving their experience of life.
I also think that it is trivially easy to accidentally move from using non-specified events to destroying player agency.
As to the answer to your question, I would request what metric you wish to judge the goodness of the tool by.
I do agree that the 'prep time' difference is probably minimal with a skilled DM. I still think taking a monster or a mcguffin and deciding their location before the game is objectively quicker then doing it during the game. Because if it's done before it literally doesn't have to be done during, and the 0 seconds I don't spend doing it is shorter then the time I spend doing it while I'm playing.
Also, I disagree that it's fun to simply walk up and take the macguffin on a lucky guess (I can't find where you said this ATM), which would happen quite often in the example scenario if things were all set in stone. (If the players invest some time and energy into it, it's fine of course.)
As I said, you didn't find this, because I didn't say it. I also think players just getting something for nothing is not very fun, and indeed is destructive to games.
My points are laid out explicitly on my blog. I didn't say the above because they are not what I think.
I feel like either I'm not making myself clear, or I've misread your posts yet again. I've gone over them a couple more times, and while I can't find many passages to quote to argue against specifically,
I think you're only allow to argue against something I actually typed, instead of something that I never actually said.
I wrote what I wrote because it is what I think. Not something almost like what I said, but somehow meaning something different. If you have a question about something I said specifically, I'd be glad to address it.
Defending an argument that I didn't actually make doesn't seem like a reasonable position to be expected to take.
Actually, I did read them in order. And I still didn't like your argument style. What you're arguing against is "My Precious Encounter" which I agree is bad (it's basically heavy-handed railroading). What you keep writing about is the "Quantum Ogre" which is a separate issue.
I have to wonder if you're just messing with me now.
Those three linked articles are parts 2, 3, and an addendum.
There is another post that is the first post in the series.
That is why it seems presented badly.
You can find the original post by clicking on the 'quantum ogre' tag. You can read extensively about agency by clicking on the 'player agency' tag.
With "My Precious Encounter," the GM has an encounter planned and is determined that the players will encounter it, no matter what. . . I see it as mainly a GM-prep-time saver. I have three places and two encounters (the ogre and the macguffin). I don't need to decide up front where they'll be. Assuming the players walk in blindly, I'll just run them in a specific order. If they don't go in blindly, I might have to nail down some details. Once nailed down, those details shouldn't change unless in makes in-game sense that they should have changed. . . See, the thing is, the GM does lie to the players, or at least hide things from them. It's part of the job, and every player I've played with expects it. You don't tell them how much HP the enemies have left (though you might hint at it). You don't tell them there's a thief hiding in the shadows (or even that they just failed a hidden perception roll). You don't tell them that there's an ogre in the first glade (unless they scout ahead). . .
A casual perusal of the blog will show I agree with you 100%.
You can lie to the whole room 100% of the time if you're the GM since their willing suspension of disbelief permits that. This has nothing to do with them being stupid.
This isn't lying. Telling them "You don't know" or "Your character doesn't see anyone." or "You don't know how many hit points are left, but he looks ok." are in fact honest representations of the game world.
Again, I question if you actually read the text of the posts in question. The statement I make above is exactly the thrust of the article. The entire series begins with the quote "You think you're saving effort. You're not. You think you're making things more 'fun' for the players, but really, you're ruining their fun." because the whole series is about maximizing whatever is fun for your group
If the GM is failing to maintain that illusion, they're doing something wrong and should stick to writing the details down ahead of time until they get better at it. Any quantum anything should only stay unspecified until the players interact with it, which includes scouting, scrying, clairvoyance, etc. Arbitrary measures to prevent non-physical interaction is a separate problem.
I say exactly this identical point in the series. In fact, the statement you made is the whole point of why I wrote the thing.
I think if you'll peruse the tens of thousands of words on the subject I've written on the blog, you'll discover that you are arguing against a stance I am not taking. If you wish to take one piece out of context then that is your right as a reader, but it is not an accurate assessment of my position.
I'd like to take a moment and address a bit of a strawman. No one is suggesting 'do whatever you like and your GM will make it work out somehow.'
What is being suggested is that railroading is an intrinsically disrespectful activity.
Now, you make a very valid point about fun being more important then freedom. And I agree with you. But while exceptions exist, people in general do not enjoy being punched in the nose. It is fairly safe to assume that if you walk up and hit someone in the center of their face, they will be upset.
If you look at the meaning of the phrases "Non-interactive cut scene" and "Railroad" and the other things being discussed in the thread, you will see that they are, without question, related to activities that marginalize the importance and worth of other human beings.
Now, if you just read the above and don't read the following, you'll be wasting your time as well as mine.
This does not mean that games do not contain compromise, boundaries or limits. It is perfectly acceptable for actions to be triggered when players arrive places, to discuss where you're going to be adventuring next week, or what shape the next campaign will be.
so while my use of the railroad will be rare and as light as possible I am also not going to let a player say "oh.. you have a whole story line about us going to that castle over yonder on kings orders but I would rather kill the king and own this castle instead now make it happen"
Well, see that's the great thing about not limiting play that's so fun. In this example, let him try.
Three things can happen. 1) He will succeed, 2) He will fail and live, or 3) He will fail and die. All of these results are good for you.
If he succeeds, he has just given you one million plot hooks that he is intimately involved with.
not because i feel that I am the GM and the players should all bow to my will... but because I think that the players should to some degree respect that I spent hours out of game building a story for them so YES they have some obligation to at least try to go with it.
I would say that it is a reasonable expectation to think that others will treat us with respect. However, the behavior of other people is outside our control. You don't decide what other human beings do, and sometimes they do things we wouldn't like. I agree that it's frustrating when people don't treat us with respect, but I think preemptively not treating them with respect is a bad move that leads to bigger problems.
I think the solution above, while not addressing the disrespect issue directly, does in fact resolve the problem, earning you the respect you seek.
The characters want to charge the enemy for xp or loot or simply out of fear because you taught them to do exactly that by using cutscenes!
If you let the players attack the death knight, and he devastates the party killing some members and gives his advice to the remaining living, they learn. If they kill him and don't find the information they seek they learn.
Do your players ever fail? If they don't experience consequences for their choices, then you are training them to make choices without considering consequences. That is what running an agency rich game gets you! Players who think twice before killing kings and attacking death knights.
My players think long and hard before fighting, creatively attempt to solve problems and actively engage with my game and world because what they do matters.
You don't get respect from players by taking away their freedom. You get it by showing them anything they want to do in your game is earned.
Hi. I'm the author of Hack & Slash.
The "example" I used is not an example. It was part of an ongoing discussion about Illusionism started at Beedo's Death in the Liche House blog in the post The shell game in the sandbox. He was talking about a similar situation to the original poster. Is it ok to move things around to get the players to experience the plot? Do you have a responsibility to force something interesting is happening?
Since the post is part of a discussion, the careful reader will note that they are tagged "series (Quantum Ogre)". If you were to select this tag, you would see the first post in the series, which makes this explicit, with a link to the originating article.
Since I did not post those links in this thread, I had nothing to do with the first post being not included.
I am unsurprised that you found reading parts 2 and 3 of a series a bad presentation of good ideas. Being the internet and a blog, I have minimal control over the method by which people peruse my blog.
In regards to the point of "If players don't know their agency is compromised, then it isn't actually compromised", this was brought up in the discussion. The general assessment is that this statement essentially assumes that your players are stupid. If a DM comes to the table with the stance that he can keep the lack of their agency hidden from the players, then it is likely he is going to treat them inappropriately in other ways. In fact, it is somewhat ignorant to assume that a DM can lie well enough to fool one person 100% of the time, much less a room full of people. Statistically speaking that is. Due to the absurd wealth of games available currently, I would, and have, walked straight away from a DM running a game like this. I don't wish to spend my hobby time around people who assume I am too dumb to know that they are lying. The thread discussing this particular argument is carried over here at Monsters and Manuals, another excellent blog.
I would say that it isn't necessary to be able to replay the tabletop RPG to find out your choices don't affect outcomes.
In regards to your final edit, I do not suggest "Telling players everything about everything". What I do suggest is. . .
Here are some examples of what I'm talking about:
A player shows up to play but his character isn't around. Don't make him sit for hours until it is 'logical' for his character to show up. Get him playing in five minutes.
The group is deciding what to do. The players tell you they've had a stressful week and just want to kill some things. Take the time to guide them to those options and not the ones that involve problem solving, domain management, or mysteries.
I've written a document to assist dungeon masters with interesting treasure placement.
It is system neutral, but I'm using it in my Hackmaster game.
It can be found under the Resources list at the right on my blog,
or at this post,
I hope it is of some use. :-)
Spes Magna Mark wrote:
The monks get a bonus on their bad save?
What save is that?
also, the fighter can't be banished, has better saves, can't have damage to his unarmored friend take him out of the fight, doesn't have to split his magic items, can wear (enchanted) armor, has options on how to be effective in combat (besides tentacle spam or pounce), more hit points *and* on top of being better by default can then be buffed.
Also the summoner can pay hp to keep the eidolon from being banished which happens at -con at which point the eidolon is unconsious. So that isn't as nice as it sounds.
it's pretty clear from raw that it only takes one hand to cast a spell. The text does seem to indicate that although you can cast you need the components in hand.
Eyolf The Wild Commoner wrote:
I'm currently running a gestalt gestalt e6 game. I have a slightly different set of feats, also I'm doing magic item replacement. ("boons" gained every level instead of crafting/magic items)
I'm not sure what it is you're asking. I would point out several things. Pathfinder characters can take on a much higher cr than ten, especially if it's only one opponent and there are no terrain issues. E6 makes melée more relevant.
I don't know if this is the right place for this.
So, I let my players use expanded 3.5 material. Player comes to the table with a psion/warblade. This is fine but I've never had either of these (or any character from xpsi or book of 9 swords) in play.
Round one: expands focus, Linked power Synchronicity[synchronicity] takes his readied action.
Clearly you can also quicken it and such for the extra standard. My question is, is this what this first level power is supposed to do? Give you extra actions?
I searched the internet and was unable to find anything regarding this power at all. Any ideas?
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
clearly it's a swarm of mice.
Seriously though, I think the swarm are normal-sized rats (say the size of a soda can) and the 1 HD rats are closer to cat-sized.
Assuming Strict RAW,
Each character gets a Standard, move, and swift action. They declare what their actions for the turn are, (one at a time) and attempt to resolve each.
What happens in each of these cases?
A) Character moves any value less than 30' (half his 'fly spell' fly speed) and fails his fly check?
B) Character declares no movement in the air (say casting a full round action or making a full attack) and fails his hover check?
C) Character attempts to turn more than 45 degrees and fails his fly check.
D) Character attempts to fly straight up.
My understanding per RAW, is that the character falls out of the air, takes falling damage and lands prone in each of these cases. Possibly in case C) and D) The characters movement ends, possibly making him make another fly check per A).
Is this correct? Yes? No?
I would add that the low X save, and the fact that you as the summoner are made out of little white porcelain mice is a pretty big drawback in and of itself. (Then a 1HD 15' reach, one attack eidolon)
brent norton wrote:
OK, I am palying a halfing Summoner with a Bipedal Eidolon I gave him reach, bite and improved natural damage. The two spells I took were enlarge and mage armor. My gm is having some problems with him. What are the best arguements that this not unbalanced.
what problem is your dm having with it?
Two ways to handle number two.
A) no, because they did not take an action to wake them from magical sleep.
2) allow a perception check to the swarm?
Quicken spell also removes the need for somatic and material components of a spell.
You still sure about grapple? I agree with your statement, but since this is the rules forum, I was looking for where I could find proof of it in RAW. I can't find anything that says one way or another. (It's 'not addressed' as my player says).
Help is appreceated.
Kyle Schmaing wrote:
it's a modified e6 game. There is a certain force that will grant them investments to assist.
It's not about having to make a bunch of checks to move. It's about a dynamic shifting battlefield. One that affects the combatants in different ways, or possibly one where the goal isn't just kill a bunch of mooks.
Players better not read this. Here is some of what I have planned.
A combat against a red dragon on floating stone platforms in a sea of lava.
Someone please tell me they have more interesting encounters than dungeon corridors and the occasional patch of rough terrain.
so the intent is a hands free torch. Thanks.
Starting a new game. I have a design goal of having combats, battlefields, and encounter spaces being dynamic as possible for this campaign. I already have many ideas (which I will share later in these posts because I am sure at least one of my players is reading this) but was wondering what the most complex and dynamic encounters or combats you've played or ran was? Any ideas for battlefield secrets?
So, we're playing a lower level human only game. So light is a bigger deal than normal. The "plan" to avoid having to weild a torch in an actual hand is to cast light on a helmet. Is this a valid plan? Would it blind the user? Could they cast light on something else like a gauntlet? Is the intent of the spell a hands-free torch?
Abraham spalding wrote:
the original poster And laserx specified neither. Congratulations on being aggressive and wrong.
Yes, if you fail to meet the prerequisites of the feat, you do lose access to it.
A Fighter doesn't have enough Feats available to Focus (much less Specialize) in all of the weapons needed to cover his bases in a world of DR.
Well, this is just the thing, in that they do. A human fighter ends up with *21* feats. And the difference in spell focus is that the wizard can only do those spells on a limited number of attacks. In most campaigns, the vast majority of the time, the fighter is going to be using his weapon of choice to hit on nearly every attack roll he makes. If he, in some magical way decides to specialize (note the meaning of the word) in 2 weapons, then the benefit for those 8 feats is that he will never be without a focused weapon that will be useful against an enemy on any attack roll he makes the entire game.
My initial thought was that doing this was dumb. It's just like handing out 40 points of damage for free - even if you don't min/max.
Then I thought, why nerf melee? I mean letting people hit harder isn't going to break anything.
Then I remembered that appropriately specced fightan types usually do average hit point damage equal to murder a appropriate CR encounter in one round of full attacks. Then I thought it was dumb again.
Remember, you get a feat every 2 levels. A feat prerequisite that provides a benefit (especailly to power attacking fightan types) throughout their whole career as well as opening up feat chains is plenty powerful - if the feat is so good that there is no build that will not take it, then it should not be a feat but a class feature.
Brodiggan Gale wrote:
You do indeed gain skill points on a level up.
Just noting that the skill rank per HD for each +2 Int it confers is set upon creation of the item. When creating this item, you have to decide what skill it will boost, you don't get to pick every time you put it on.
Enjoy your bonus skill points.
This also might be relevant to the discussion, from:
Jason Bulmahn wrote:
clearly indicates by RAW that you, as a defender in a grapple, do NOT need to make a CMB check in order to make an attack.
These two threads seem to indicate that if my ediolon (or anything with rake) gets grappled that they can indeed make a full attack + rake.
I'm confused, isn't grappling a foe defined as having the grappled condition? If it's not, where is grappling a foe defined.
Think of it this way, if you must. When you initiate the grapple, you sort of have the grapplee at your mercy. If you are grappling something with hind claws (the rake ability), you have grappled it in such a way that it can't bring those claws to bear. It has to gain a dominant position to regain use of them, that is it has to reverse the grapple - becoming the grappler - and hold it that way for a round before being able to use its rake attack.
Yes, this was my DM's argument. I understand it. What I can't find is where the book supports "sort of have the grapplee at your mercy" and "Grappled in a specific way". The 'dominant position' is defined only as +5 to continued grapple checks and the ability to release grapples as a free action.
I have all the rule sections up and have been reading them and re-reading them. What I can't find is a definition of "Begin it's turn grappling" as anything other than starting it's initiative count with the grappled condition.
I've been sort of debating whether the rules read as if there were those two defined positions, or if you just get the one ability (+5 and can release the grapple as a free action) if you initiate or reverse the grapple.
If there are those two defined positions as you say (initiator of the grapple or Grappler versus one who is being grappled or graplee), then if I am the grapplee, under the section "If you are grappled", I have three options.
A)CMB to Reverse
If they are *not* two defined positions, then when you have the grappled condition, no matter if you started it or not your options are as listed under "Grapple". Only. With the special exception of If you started the grapple, or if you won a check to reverse it, you get +5 and have the ability to release the grapple as a free action. In this case you would need to succeed on a CMB to damage your opponent. The 'if you are grappled' section in this case outline in this case only the circumstances how you can get that special exception and the text following "You can take any action. . ." is referring to the previous section.
"Grappling a foe" and "Start the turn grappling your opponent" have different meanings depending on your interpretation of the two above styles - If they are two defined positions, then you clearly need to be the grappler to use a rake. Also, "Grappling a foe" means you're only considered grappling a foe if you are the controller of the grapple.
I appreciate the responses. It sounds like there are well thought out opinions. What there isn't is any clear linguistic reference in the book that makes the above explicit. I have not perused all the monster abilities or such to glean any inferences they may give us. I'm going to look and see if I can find any verbiage that gives me information on exactly how these rules work.
Again, it requires the raker to "begin its turn grappling" its opponent, not merely having the grappled condition. So, I'd rule that, at minimum, the creature with rake needs to have started or reversed the grapple.
Beginning it's turn grappling isn't every defined as anything other than starting it's initiative count with the grappled condition. You say it's 'not merely' that, but there's no text anywhere in the book that says otherwise.
And if you lack the ability to release the grapple and you don't wish to maintain, reverse or escape it?
2)The benefit of maintaining the grapple, instead of releasing and full attacking, has to come with the penalties of the grappled condition. Losing dexterity bonuses and being immobile suck for lots of creatures. Having to make concentration checks to to cast spells is very detrimental for spellcasters. Getting more than just one natural attack is a bonus of having rake. Grappling is a powerful tactic, having rake makes is a better option.
Yes, if you grapple your opponent or succeed on a grapple check. That is not the section I am questioning.
If you are grappled, it gives the specific option to escape or reverse, or an option to decline those two, and then lists actions you have the option of doing without rolling anything.
As I also stated in the original reply, you have to be the grappler, not simply have the grappled condition. So, if the bebilith (or any other creature for that matter) grapples your "cat", here is how things have to go, if you want your "cat" to use his rake attack.
You original response was accurate. It *seems* this way from the wording to my DM. It *seems* the other way to me.
There is a grappled condition. There is a statement about starting a grapple with a penalty to avoid having a grappled condition.
The fact is, I can not find in the rules anywhere it's explicit that there is a 'grappler/grapplee' distinction. If there is not, then anyone with the grappled condition is a grappler, and will get torn up by a rake, which is the point. Yes, you can succeed at a CMB check to gain the option to release the grapple as a free action, OR escape the grapple - this doesn't introduce some undefined sub-condition such as 'grappler/grapplee'
If you have to succeed at a grapple check to control the grapple, and then you can release the grapple as a free action if you do, then I do not understand the benefit of rake.
I don't mean to be difficult, but it does not say under 'you're being grappled' that you have to make that CMB check to do the one hand thing, it's unclear everywhere about this "I started/am in control of the grapple bit"
To rephrase the 2 things I'd like to know.
My contention is that if the cat is grappled, then . . .
PRD bestiary wrote:
In addition to the options available to all grapplers, a monster with the rake ability gains two additional claw attacks that it can use only against a grappled foe. The bonus and damage caused by these attacks is included in the creature's description. A monster with the rake ability must begin its turn already grappling to use its rake—it can't begin a grapple and rake in the same turn.
A) It's been grappling (i.e. has the grappled condition) since the start of it's turn.B) The person that it is involved in the grapple with is a grappled foe.
so, since it can take any action requiring one hand INSTEAD of rolling to control or escape the grapple, it can use a natural attack. Since it has rake, and it is attacking, it "gains two additional claw attacks" that it is using against a grappled foe. Seems to grant the advantage to having someone grapple him - which I was denied in game.
I don't want to house rule these rules, or change them, I just want to be able to understand them.
Thank you for responding.
I don't mean to sound unappreciative, but this is the point in contention. It is not clear - in fact there is nowhere that it's stated as the grapplee that you need to make a CMB to attack. The phrase "Instead of attempting X, You can Y." indicates to me that you *don't* need the roll.
The only problem I have with this, is that in referencing the combat section regarding grapple, the grappled condition, and the rake ability is that the above is never stated.
There is no indication from the 'things you can do while you are grappled' that you need to make a CMB check to do something with one hand (though my DM seems to agree with you), and it is totally and wholly unclear that you get to apply your rake attacks and damage when you make that natural attack.
Well, I'm in a grapple, and I have rake.
The book says, as a grappled creature, I have three options. I can A) CMB to escape the grapple, B) CMB to control the grapple or INSTEAD of those two options I can do anything requiring one hand.
I have the grappled condition, My opponent has the grappled condition, and he is in the nebulous state of having started the grapple. Since I'm grappled I don't have to 'continue the grapple'.
I can do anything requiring one hand. I don't have any limbs involved in maintaining the grapple. I don't want to end the grapple, and I don't want to control it. I just want to damage the opponent, which, since I'm an ediolon and have natural attacks seems to be something I should be able to do. Do they mean I can do anything with one hand except make a natural attack?
I do not understand why something that choose to grapple me is suddenly immune to my rake attacks. I have to make a check to use those - they aren't just bonus attacks.
So for instance, I, as human wrestling specialist, could grapple jaguars all day, and since they are the ones being grappled, they are pretty much unable to use their rake attacks unless they use their turn to control the grapple, and then on their next turn if they can maintain the grapple, then they get what is the equivalent of a full attack - note that once they were in charge of the grapple they could release it as a free action and get *the* *same* *number* of attacks.
So, excepting pounce, what is the point of rake?
so when it says "if you are grappled you may breake the grapple or take control of the grapple or instead of these options you may do anything requiring one hand", I have to succeed at a cmb check to do anything requiring one hand? I can't use natural attacks as that "one hand" action?