Dr Lucky

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Hiya.

(semi-OT: If you want to watch a movie about what an *actual* D&D game session is like...go watch Your Highness. Best dang D&D movie ever, IMNSHO. :) )

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Snorter wrote:


As someone who's always aimed to play this way in every edition...I don't see how the new rules promote this.
What am I missing?

Granted, I've only read the Starter set, not the online rules or PHB, but what I've read would actually discourage this kind of descriptive approach.
Players make more effort with descriptions, when they believe they will be rewarded for doing so (a +1 here, a +1 there, the distraction allows for a stealth roll in the first place).
The rules I've seen, there's no reward for going the extra yard.
Any advantage beyond one, unopposed advantage is a waste of effort.
You can have advantage for the sack. OR the soot. OR the shadows. OR the slow approach. OR for having Stealth as a trained skill.
You got one, or you got all? Same difference.
And if the target is trained in Perception, or has any situational advantage whatsoever, the whole description is for nothing, whether you had one benefit, two, or a dozen. All cancelled out.

Given that any PC who intends to be stealthy, such as Rogue or Ranger, will automatically get 1 instance of advantage from their class...why bother trying for more?

What am I missing?

I think you're looking at it as a binary thing. It isn't. The thrust of 5e's rule set hinges squarely on the DM's adjudication role in the game. All through the rules are little blurbs mentioning "talk to your DM", "ask your DM if he's using this", "your DM may do something else", etc. This kind of "loosey-goosey" wording isn't for everybody; people who want to see absolutes in an RPG will likely find 5e's general tone undesirable. So it's not that you can have advantage for the sack, OR the soot, OR the shadows, etc. The DM takes the whole thing, not trying to break it down into "bonuses", and then decides if the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts. If he does, he may give Advantage...if he doesn't, then you don't get Advantage. He may opt for something in between...not giving Advantage, but giving you a +1 or maybe +2 on your roll. It's all about the current in-game situation and what "feels right for everybody". As I said...loosey-goosey.

As for the Rogue or Ranger "automatically get 1 instance"...you may get a bonus too. You can have both, but again, it's up to the DM to adjudicate this kind of thing.

All that said...one thing I for certain; the 5e rules play quite different from what they read. I, and my group, were all completely surprised that we actually liked 5e. We all have between 15 and 34 years of RPG experience each, and so we're pretty good at reading a rule book and noticing things we won't likely enjoy or think will "work" for us. We were reluctant at 5e. But, me and two players had about half-hour to kill before the other players arrived for our normal game, so I whipped out the Starter Set, they chose a pre-gen (halfling rogue and human fighter (archer)), and they found themselves on the Triboar Trail on their way to Phandalin. We only played for about 20 minutes. But in that 20 minutes, the game's ease of play and quickness of resolution made a *big* impression on us. Nobody was 'worried' about getting a rule wrong. Nobody was concerned about how something was specifically worded. The focus was on the intent of the rule, not the letter of it. All in all, the next session we played 5e as a full group. We've been playing it every weekend since. To us, 5e flows naturally and frees up everyones mind to focus on the campaign setting, the story, the role-playing, and all that other stuff without constantly thinking of math and specifically worded bonuses. In that sense it has lead to much more player involvement and description of action.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Terquem wrote:

Have you ever run a game set in an above ground ruin? With partial walls about three feet high, you know you describe this to the players and they are like, "meh, okay, so put the grid down and let's fight the monsters," right?

So last weekend I ran an off the cuff improvised 5e game for two players, playing a Bard (Charlatan) and a Wizard (Hermit)and these two fellows were attacked by grindylows in a watery ruin. A couple of the grindylows scrambled up the ruined wall and attacked the characters with spears from an elevated position.

What happened next warmed my aging heart. The players started asking specific questions about the walls, where they were broken, crumbling, how they could get up on the walls and get in on that advantage nonsense. Having this new mechanic, brought these players into the game in ways that Pathfinder never did (and they both are veteran Pathfinder players)

I'm not sure where I related this before, but yeah, same thing happening here. In stead of:

DM: You see Merchant Filder talking with a town watch Sargent about 50' away at the opening of the street into the alleyway you are hiding in. He looks around, places some coin in the watchman's palm and they continue whispering.

Player: I Sneak down...got a 19. Did I do it?

...in stead of that, I now have this...:

DM: You see Merchant Filder talking with a town watch Sargent about 50' away at the opening of the street into the alleyway you are hiding in. He looks around, places some coin in the watchman's palm and they continue whispering.

Player: What's around me? Are there piles of refuse? Garbage, crates, that kind of thing? I'll take some soot and cover my face, arms, and shiny metal bits on my armor and stuff...weapon blade, belt buckle, etc. Is there something I can carry in front of me...like maybe an old potato sack?

DM: Yes, lots of shadows and refuse in the ally. You paint yourself up and hold the potato sack in front of you as you creep forward...roll a Stealth with Advantage. :D

Basically, my players are FAR more engaged in their characters surroundings and what is actually going on in the imagination realm. They are much less involved in flipping through umpteen books to try and find "bonuses" to add together.

After our first month and a half of 5e...I can honestly say we will never be going back to Pathfinder (or any "d20" style game, really). Not that we were ever big fans of them, but 5e sealed the coffin of d20-style games for us.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Thomas Long 175 wrote:

Last session of D&D.

Our APL 8 party took on 3 CR 9 Demons and a CR 13 Glazrebeau.
*snip*

Glitterdust. Great spell. Definitly helped even the odds. Exactly what a spellcaster is supposed to do. That, however, doesn't mean he "dominated" the encounter. He helped. *shrug*

Grease. Range 25' + 5'/2 levels. At level 9, you're looking at a range of 45'. If you were at the base of the "cliff", it couldn't be higher than 45' (assuming your GM lets you target spells to an area you can't actually see...). If you were, say, 20' away from that 40' cliff...you were out of range. I'm thinking your GM dropped the ball here, or we don't have enough info.
Also, I'm assuming those dancing demons were all size S or T? Because if they were M, they'd have to be holding hands. If size L, you'd only be able to get 1 of them. Max.
Lastly, if we are talking Vrocks (which I think we are...they are Size L, so only 1...but for sake of argument...), nowhere in the description of the Dance of Ruin does it say they have to be on the ground. They should have just flown up and did their aerial dance version.

Lucky your GM wan't paying attention... ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

cnetarian wrote:

A level 1 sorc with the color spray spell, which can usually affect at least 3 opponents and often end a combat by itself, takes an opponent out if they don't save. Compare to a level 1 fighter who, during the time it takes the sorc to cast color spray, can make one attack, which is more likely to miss than the sorc be saved against, and might do enough damage to take the opponent out of combat. Sure the sorc can only this around 4 times/day but that just encourages the party to stop after the sorc has blown his load.

Color spray, end encounter. Great. Two rounds later the ogre 'brute' in the next room comes to investigate. Now what? Another color spray? Ok. So, you've taken out the first 'guard room' of the complex. The bad guys will change guards or at least come to check up on them in...at most, say 2 hours. So, you have 2 hours to run away. Or continue on deeper into the Dungeon of the Iron Master so that you can rescue the merchants wife and kids before they are cooked and eaten in 5 or 6 hours. Yeah...hmmm....

;)

This is the sort of "proof" I get all the time. It's proof of one thing; a wizards spells are powerful. That's it. It doesn't prove that they somehow are "better than everyone else at everything". More diverse? Sure! Capable of 'ending' an encounter in one or two spells? Sure! But when pressed to actually "adventure" with everyone else...I still don't see it.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Blueskier wrote:
The grid is RAW and RAI. if using your imagination leads to less mooks being trapped by AOE effects then the imagination is working against the caster in an unsupported by the rules kind of way. My point is casters seem sucky in the op's table because they are going out of their way to make them so (not that there is anything wrong, have fun any way you like, etc).

From my reading "5'" and "square" are the same thing as far as the RAW. What I see is that "if you are using a grid, we assume 5' per square". Movement rates are stated in feet. Spells use "feet", not squares. Weapons have ranges in feet, and Reach listed in feet, not squares. So, basically, using "squares" is an option for those who want to use miniatures. It is, to my reading, NOT "required"...so saying that "imagination is working against the caster in an unsupported by the rules kind of way" is outright incorrect.

The reason why we don't see the "uber-caster" syndrome is still kind of a mystery to me. I'm guessing that our play style may be the reason, but as I said, one player still insists wizards rule.

Artemis mentioned the "15-minute work day" (re; when the caster(s) get out of spells, they rest)...and his contention that it's a GM problem has a deafening ring of truth to it. If a PF GM basically just sits there on their side of the screen and does nothing more than roll for monsters and read boxed text, treating the actual world in which the PC's inhabit as nothing more than a static backdrop...yeah, I guess I can easily see spellcasters as being seen as "overpowering". But that's not a rule-problem; that's a "GM doesn't know how to actually GM" thing.

I agree with Artemis's post. Players who expect the world to revolve around their 'heroic characters', with little or no consequences for their actions, deserve exactly what they get (and in my game, that frequently means TPK's). A hill giant should make stupid tactical decisions and have no idea how to cope with even simple battlefield control (re: throwing down a bunch of caltrops); hill giants are stupid, and a DM should play them that way. Likewise, a group of bandits should be about as average as anyone else; maybe not tactical genius's, but smart enough to adapt to 'typical' battlefield situations. And a storm giant should have multiple ways to deal with many battlefield situations, mundane and magical. If monsters are played with as much intelligence and forethought as your typical computer RPG mook/BBEG is...no wonder "spellcasters = win".

*sigh* I think I'm just going to have to accept that I'll just never "get it". I searched threads, read a ton about this phenomenon, and they all seem to say the same thing "If *this* is the situation, here's how wizards win...but if *this* is the situation, then here is how wizards win....and if the situation happens to be *this*, then here is how they win". Great, but those are individual single-special-situations that have, IMHO, absolutely NO bearing on how an actual game session/campaign plays out. Running away from a battle that goes badly for you is probably a good thing....just don't expect those bandits or the storm giant to sit around waiting for you to come back fully healed and prepared...

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Zalman wrote:

I miss the Olde Days, when no maps were drawn on the table at all, all descriptions were verbal, and a character had to explicitly carry ink, quills, and parchment to create their own map as they went, or risk being hopelessly lost. Descriptions took the form of:

Player: I look right, into the archway, what do I see?
GM: A stone corridor, 30' on the right, 40' on the left, corner right. There is a stone door on the left-hand side of the corridor, 20' away.

etc ...

Players who lost their mapping equipment would still receive the verbal instructions, but were forbidden from recording them. At the end of the dungeon, the players were left with their own replica of the GM's map, which we'd then compare, for fun.

What's this talk of "Olde Days"? When I first started reading this thread I was confused for the first half-dozen posts...then I figured everyone *must* be talking about "1-inch/5' 'squares' for miniatures" type maps. o_O Is this really the norm? Do most people play with mini's on big-@$$ maps? (I feel so old!)

I (er, we, my group and I) have pretty much never really done this. I have used a smallish whiteboard, with tokens, mini's, or whatever. But we found it more of a hassle than a boon. Besides, at the end of the adventure, the player(s) have a map that they drew themselves...with their own notes, scribbles and whatnot as well. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is cooler than seeing a player whip out a binder with a hundred-odd pages of notes, maps, scribbles, drawings, handouts, etc. for his 14th level character that he's been playing for 4 years. To be able to look back at where the character has come from and where he is now, with all the accompanying paperwork to show...it's, well, it's really frickin' cool is what it is.

Yeah, we may be old, but the old way is the best way, IMHO. You can keep your digital-projected, full-color, blown-up, miniature-friendly maps...give me a fresh pad of graph paper, an HB pencil and a pink eraser any day of the week! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya

Arch_Bishop wrote:
It's a complicated feature but when used right, can produce many and various effects and ,in many cases, way too effective ones. Given the right circumstances, a single "charm person" can turn around and change a whole adventure, important event, the outcome of an encounter etc.

*sigh* The game isn't about, specifically, a series of "encounters". It's about what story those series of encounters tell. Just because the story goes off in a different direction that the one the module/GM planned for doesn't mean the wizard suddenly "broke it". It's just a different story...and one that is usually more surprising than the original.

Quote:
Of course, experienced GMs know how to handle such things , via direct or indirect counters,conditions etc.

Experienced GM's know how to go with the flow and adapt to the story the *player characters* are writing. Inexperienced GM's are the ones that "handle" it by (usually) blatant manipulations that more or less force the story on the players and their campaigns. IME at any rate.

Quote:
Too much versatility squeezed in this mechanism and many spell descriptions leave space for potential ab-use.

Abuse? I can see "abuse detrimental to a particular GM's campaign", sure. For example, if a GM's campaign has 'mental affecting' spells as some sort of evil-never-to-be-used type thing, then spells like ESP, Telepathy, Dominate, Charm, etc. would likely be considered "abuse" if someone used them all the time.

Anyway, as for the original Q...we played 3.x for about a year (I'm still stunned we lasted that long!). During that time we found spellcasters (specifically arcane casters) to be woefully innefective. One player really tried to make a wizard that was overpowered...didnt' work. All that it took was one or two bad rolls and blammo...dead wizard. Eventually he did make a character that 'broke' the campaign; a half-golem/half-minotaur hulking hurler. Sick, sick, sick! At that point we stopped.

But it wasn't because magic was uber-powerful...it was the opposite; because magic-defenses became uber-powerful.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya

Lemmy wrote:


Here's a build, you tell me if you'd really play it. So far, nobody has agreed that they'd do it, but it has awesome diplomacy and bluff and intimidate skills!

Human Level 5 Fighter
Str 18, Dex 10, Con 16, INT 7, WIS 7, CHA 7
SKills / Level : 2 (human + minimum)
Feats : Skill Focus (Diplomacy), Skill Focus (Intimidate), Skill Focus (Bluff), Persuasive
Favored Class Bonus (Skill points every level)
Skills : Diplomacy +8 (5 Ranks + 3 Focus +2 Persuasive - 2 Stat), Intimidate +11 (5 Ranks + 3 Focus + 3 Trained +2 Persuasive - 2 Stat), Bluff +9 (5 Ranks + 3 Focus + 3 Trained - 2 Stat)

Yes, no problem....he'd be a lot of fun...

Salvatore Kreegston. Grew up just at the edge of the 'bad side of town'. His father, Salvatore senior, was an ex-enforcer for the Galboni clan (a rough thieves guild), now he runs a (mostly) upstanding restaurant. After the birth of young Sal Jr., Sal Sr. was not going to have his son grow up the same as his old man. During his young teen years, however, the Galboni clan constantly tried to recruit young Sal. Due to his already impressive physical stature, even at age 16, Sal was good at the 'muscle' part. His father would have none of it, and forced Sal to learn how to resolve things through talking, not fighting (any trouble with the law that Sal Jr. had, ended up costing Sal Sr. *much* more then he could afford due to all the dirt the law held over him for his previous lifestyle). Sal Jr.'s lack of personal willpower and ego didn't let him stand up much to either 'side' (his fathers "learn how to talk it out with people, go legit" or the Galboni clans "learn how to knock out people, you'll go far"). The end result; Salvatore Jr. learned how to fight and was a natural...which was good, because he had no official training due to his fathers forceful teaching of the arts of the silver tongue. But at the same time, learned how to read people and tell them what they wanted to hear (or scare them into not asking in the first place). Now a young man, Sal has finally acquired the courage to strike out on his own. With no professional skill at much of anything, the high-risk, high-reward path of an adventurer seemed like the only choice. He is now searching for people he can trust, being smart enough to know he isn't smart enough to do it on his own.

Hmmm. Yup. Sounds like fun! :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

I've been playing SF off and on since it came out back in '82. Last I played it was last year (winter of 2012).

The best thing about SF, IMHO, is it's capability to be used for just about any style of campaign. I've run campaigns where the PC's hire themselves out to do whatever, I've run space pirate games, I've run corporate espionage games, I've run UPF starship-focused games, I've run games where the PC's all get transported to the FAR edge of space and have to find their way home. The beauty of SF is in it's far-reaching averageness.

The races are interesting enough to be desirable to play, but vague enough that a GM can add/subtract/multiply stuff to a race to get a totally different feel.

One thing I've always LOVED about it...is how seamless the character-to-starship rules are. It's dirt simple to have beginning characters be members of a ships' crew by simply giving them one single aspect of a starship skill (e.g., give a Tech PSA character "Astrogation - Find Location" and you've got yourself an ensign navigator in the making).

The fact that the "bad guys" (Sathar) are ever present, yet ever in the shadows gives you total freedom on how/what is going on in your campaign.

Great game. Great community too. Love it!

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Caveat: I'm a crusty old grognard...so...

We got to Fighter 22 (Friend), Magic-User 20 (Me), and Fighter 21 (Friend)...dropped to 15 after a REALLY bad fight with a vampire. This was all in 1st Edition AD&D. We played roughly 16 - 20 hours a week during school (weekends), and probably about 20 to 40 hours a week during summer vacation. This was all in junior high and high school up here in Canada. We would test new games every now and then (Star Frontiers was big for one summer, but Gamma World, Basic D&D and even Dawn Patrol at one point), these never lasted more than a few weeks to a month, tops.

So, time to get to roughly 20th level in 1e AD&D, playing an *obscenely large* amount of time...6 years. If I had to guestimate the 'straight through' playing time...I'd call it 4 to 5 years of 'straight' 1e AD&D.

[Grognard Voice] Young whippersnappers nowadays, all expecting to get to level 20 in a year or two? Poppycock! Why, back in my day, you were lucky if your 1st level character survived the first battle! If you played well and used yer smarts, you could maybe survive to level 2! Getting to level 3 wasn't much better, but if'n ya did...well, that's something to be proud of! After you hit 4th or 5th, miracles of miracles, the skies the limit! Well, assuming you don't do anything too foolish and go off half-cocked believing yerself invincible or some other such malarkey! Kids nowadays....level 20 in a year! Balderdash I say! [/Grognard Voice]

** ;) **

^_^

Paul L. Ming


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

...or, as an alternative, let "creative" (re: ones that build a battering ram, or go back to town and get a crowbar/sledge/spikes, etc.) players bypass the door and then let the chips fall where they may...

That's my preferred method anyway.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

They only need to add one sentence to make it perfect now:

"The GM should use his judgement for situations that don't seem logical, with the stipulations above used as a guideline, for final determination if Stealth is broken or not."

Problem solved.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

Tried a few, read more.

For me, FASERIP Marvel Super Heroes Advanced easily beats them all. It is long OOP, but you can get, legally, all the books and goodies at: http://www.classicmarvelforever.com/cms/ I have never had a bad time playing that game. It handles heroes from street-level vigilantes, to cosmic-power wielding demi-gods (Kirby bubbles n' all! ;) ). Fast, simple, flexible and infinitely expandable.

The Champions book for the HERO system intrigues me. I own it (PDF with print outs), and love the idea behind being able to "build whatever", and that everything is based on points; from animals, to heroes, to vehicles to super-secret villain lairs and spaceships. That said...wow. The build-up time for creating all that stuff is NUTS. In my opinion, it's best feature (points for everything) is it's Achilles Heel. I would happily play in any HERO game...as long as someone else could make my character for me and I never had to deal with "points".

I've heard good things about Villains & Vigilantes. I have an old PDF of it. Interesting, but never played it. Maybe one day, when the new version is released.

The old DC Heroes (boxed set version) is pretty slick. Played that a few times. The ability to "push" your stat/power up to 4 points was hard for us to swallow though. Effectively, if you could lift 400 pounds, you could "push" it and possibly lift 6400 pounds. No. Sorry. No. Just...no. Oh, and the fact that Lex Luthor had about 7-septillion dollars (which, iirc, at the time meant he had more money than there was on the planet). Still, we did have fun.

Lastly, Heroes & Heroines. Wow. A decidedly "half-baked" system. Points based, and simple, but with a large number of powers that were quite customizable. I did run a few sessions way back when, and they ran pretty smoothly for the most part. Had to come up with a lot of house rules, but I had a blast creating my own super-hero "world", with its own heroes, villains, history, etc.

So...there you go. My go-to Super Hero system is definitely MSHA (FASERIP), bar none. Matter of fact, I may switch our current "zombie apocalypse" campaign to it. No "super heroes", so to speak, but it would be easy to do.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

What's more evil...stabbing someone in the face for asking you a question, or lieing to them?

Problem solved. You're welcome. ;)

Basically, the way I see it, if a paladin can attack demons, devils, undead and such "on sight", then lieing to them "on sight" is perfectly acceptable. It wouldn't go against the paladins code at all. Besides, lieing to a demon in order to protect innocents would probably be expected ("innocents" being the PC's and any people they happen to be around when the demon would have popped out and started fireballing everything...).

^_^

Paul L. Ming


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

You know what all this min/maxing reminds me of? That skit in "Monty Pythons the Meaning of Life" movie. It's a rugby match between college level rugby players and an elementary school team. The adults virtually kill (and almost literally) the 'opposing team'. At the end, as the kids lay scattered about the field, bleeding, broken, moaning in pain and near death, the college team is jumping for joy at their victory, basking in what they obviously perceive as sheer awesomeness because they won.

When someone shows me how they 'broke' the rules, I always see this little skit. Funny as hell though... :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

The biggest hang-up I have with the "no xp" thing is that it feels like it takes all control out of the players hands with regards to their PC's. It makes an, in my humble opinion, almost arrogant assumption that what the DM has "plotted" is superior to what the players want to do with their characters. Without XP, the DM is basically saying "If you do this, you get XP. If you don't do that, you get no XP", without actually dealing with numbers. In other words...the DM determines what a PC's actions 'value' is according to his/her whim or pre-determined milestones.

If the DM's plot is to have the PC's rescue a noble woman from certain death as orcs attack her coach, the DM has already decided "The PC's rescue her; advance plot; mental note towards level advancement". Now, if the PC's decide to *not* rescue the noble woman, and in stead let them kill her so they can follow the orcs back to their lair...the DM mentally decides "The PC's did *not* rescue her; plot doesn't advance; no advancement". This, again IMHO, just goes against the whole "players are in charge of their own PC's destiny" that RPG's are based on. So, one act of 'rescue' equates to a certain percentage of advancement to next level...but the act of tracking the orcs and clearing out their lair and taking their stuff equates to 0% advancement? Just seems...wrong.

Anyway, I'm definitely "old school" (I suppose by default; 31+ years behind the screen will do that I guess...). That said, I have successfully merged both together on more than one occasion. Actually, my current Dark Dungeons (BECMI clone) campaign uses that; I give a lot of XP and every couple sessions I give them a full level bonus. The main reason for this, which was explained at campaign start, is that I (we,actually) wanted to try some of the more high-level stuff (DD goes to level 36 + Immortals)...like running a kingdom/domain, plane hopping, mass battles and wars, etc. For the last decade or so we've pretty much been in our normal comfort zone (low'ish levels... 1st to 7th, usually), so we figured we'd change it up a bit.

PS: As a player, there's also just something special about being given XP after each session and seeing your character slowly accumulate XP...and when you finally crest into next level, that burst of endorphin and sense of accomplishment. Well, honestly, that's hard to beat. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hiya.

I difficulty? Move away from letting their characters decide the outcome of situations via all their whiz-bang uber feats, items and spells....and place more decisions firmly on the shoulders of the players.

Don't let them get away with "Huh...well...roll roll...with my Knowledge : Arcana, I have a 27, so how does this magic item work?". Reply to that with, "A 27...you get a hint; the item is used in some sort of movement or travel based capacity". (e.g., don't say "its a ring of flying").

This is one of the things that makes BECMI/1e/2e play significantly different from 3.x/PF/4e. Success and failure was more often than not dependent on player ability and experience. Players had to earn their keep, so to speak. Some say that a door that says "This door can only be bypassed by a Cone of Cold, Ice Storm or Otilukes Freezing Sphere spell" were "arbitrary and dumb". What things like that did was to force players to think outside the box, and use the vast resources they have available to them. Divination spells, Augury, Contact Other Plane, Commune, or even such 'mundane' solutions like consulting a sage on the area/dungeon, hitting the library to delve into what the supposed builder of the dungeon was like (e.g., did he favor poison traps? shifting/falling stone? magic guardians? fire spells? illusions? ...ice spells...? ;) ).

Anyway, you could make it more difficult by making your players thing and work for their victories...or you could go the more mundane rout and just up the numbers of everything (which, imho, won't solve anything nor give you or your players and sense of 'more difficult'...just 'more/higher numbers'). If you want to do the numbers thing...I'd suggest tossing in encounters that will * obviously TPK EVERYONE* every now and then. Seriously. Don't make it an unavoidable surprise, but place them in locations where the PCs would really like to go to/through. Like, a mated pair of big-ass dragons that block a mountain pass. The other side of the pass is where the PC's need to get to in 2 days...and the pass is the "only way" to do it in that time. The players will "know" they will die if they try and fight the dragons...so this forces them to be creative and think about how to overcome it. Thinking is hard, apparently, so this situation will be seen as "difficult". How do they get past the dragons? I have no idea...that's not my problem as DM...that's the players problem. Let them figure it out. Maybe they'll surprise you... :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Right then...lets get to it... :)

Broken Zenith wrote:

The most important part of playing with a Paladin is communication. Before even considering the fall, you must determine what the Paladin's codes are. Does he follow the rule of law, or his own personal code? Does he favor the greater good or the immediate good? What God does he follow?

Yes, but this should be done at campaign start, and not by a "character by character basis". A paladin doesn't, by definition, "follow his own personal code". That would be the definition of Neutral Good or Chaotic Good...Lawful Good follows an 'outside' LG edict (e.g., his deity and/or order).

At the campaign start, any player playing a paladin needs to have the "Paladins Code" given to them. This should generally be constant, regardless of deity, but with some added deity-based restrictions. So, all paladins in a campaign might have the edict to "Protect the weak and innocent", but a paladin of the god of the sea might have an additional "Protect the sanctity of the seas and oppose all pirates".
In short, there is NO "greater good" vs. "immediate good". Good is good, regardless of what the paladin wants it to be, and the paladin code (rules/laws) is the paladin code, regardless of what the paladin wants it to be.

Quote:

If you did not warn him, he should not fall. This is the most important rule.

The fall of a Paladin should never come as a surprise. It is the DM's duty to warn the paladin of any wrongful course, should the player (if not the character) be unable to see it.

I completely disagree here. If this were to be taken seriously, then a paladin would *never* fall unless he wanted too. It's like taking a multiple choice test where the student hovers his pencil over "A" and looks at the teacher who says "Are you sure? That answer isn't likely correct..."...so the student moves down to "B"..."Are you sure?..."...he moves down to "C"..."Are you sure?..." ...he moves down to "D"... --silence-- ... student circles "D".

At this point, the DM is the one making the 'hard' decisions for the paladin player. Which is, IMHO, always a bad move.

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Lose/Lose situations are not grounds for falling.

This could be a DM style preference...but I disagree with this as well. Sometimes a lose/lose situation happens. It sucks from a paladin perspective. I've played a paladins before (one of my highest level characters is a 1e 13th level paladin)...and I've had him in lose/lose situations. But, they have always been of the "lesser of two evils" camp; I loose paladinhood, seek out atonement, and get back on the horse. That is one of the key elements to a memorable hero (re: paladin). Making a hard choice that sucks hard...and then redeeming oneself as proof to others that even if you make a bad decision, or a situation has you in a lose/lose situation, you can continue on to rise above it and fight the good fight.

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In most games, there are two ways to play lawful characters. Those who follow the law of the land, and those who strictly follow their own personal code.

Again, I disagree...to a point. I agree, up until when you say "own personal code", that right there is the definition of Chaotic. A paladins "lawfulness" is in line with his deity/orders...otherwise he wouldn't have been accepted/blessed as a paladin. Period. It's silly to assume that a paladin "picks" what to follow...a paladin follows what he follows because it's part of his soul. His person. His very being. Kind of like Michaelangelo being a painter...he didn't just "choose" to do it because it was a job. He choose to do it because being a painter was what he was born to be, even if he resisted it at times.

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Most of the confusion comes from greater good and immediate good. Find out if the paladin favors greater good over immediate good.

Again, I disagree. Good is good...greater good is the more dangerous one for a paladin, IMHO, but immediate good can also be a slippery slope too. This is where the lose/lose situation can frequently come into play. The paladin shouldn't be thinking in terms of "greater good" when it means that innocents suffer/die. He should be thinking in terms of what is the least amount of damage he can do. Even this may cause him to temporarily fall from grace (re: require atonement). Nobody said being a paladin was all about looking good smiting evil all day long...sometimes it sucks...but the paladin willingly takes that suckage so that others don't have to. Even if it means his own 'fall'. As I said, Good is Good, and weather or not the paladin thinks of it for the "greater good" or "immediate good" is irrelevant to the multiversal definition of good.

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The fifth criterion is the one where you can have the most flexibility, and the most fun.

Finally! Something I agree with! :) A paladins god, as I mentioned in #1, may have 'additional' codes, but they all have the base LG ones. As a DM, you should have worked out the 'code' that the paladins and clerics of Deity X have and how they are expected to behave. Lots of fun can be had here...as long as the tenants of LG are adhered to, of course.

Phew! That was a bit longer than I had anticipated. I guess what I'm trying to say is...no, I don't think those 5 criteria are good to follow for trying to determine if a paladin should "fall". There are no "varying paladins"; a paladin of the god of the sea and a paladin of the god of healing are going to have much in the way of identical values; only in a few select areas will the differ. A sea-god paladin may say "That pirate ship is aflame. We should rescue those pirates and try to change their ways. Those that choose not to we give one day of food and water each and set them on a boat in the open sea, leaving their fate to the Sea-God." A healing-god paladin may say "That pirate ship is aflame. The pirates who are injured should be rescued and healed. With the Healing-Gods blessing they may see that kindness and compassion is a better path than that of piracy." But both paladins would agree that killing the pirates floating in the water would be a bad thing.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Use the characters skills instead of magic. I see faaaar too many "new" (re: less than 10 years of RPG experience) players think that Problem A can only be fixed by using Special Ability/Spell Y. So, go back to basics...

Ask to see the character sheets of everyone there. Find a skill that someone has (Knowledge:Nature would be ideal, but others may work), then ask for a respectively low DC check (like 10, 12, or 15 max, lets say). If they make it, tell the PC he may know of some plant/herb/fungus that could slow down or temporarily halt the transformation. If they don't make it, tell them they don't know what plant/herb/fungus it is, but they do remember reading something about it...maybe if they seek someone out who has more expertise in it...

Of course, I would also give them a penalty of some sort ("The strange mushroom stew tasted rather good, but you are seeing things a bit strangely...like everything is under water...you have -1 to all mental stuff and -2 to physical things, but +1 to Fortitude saves").

That said, I do like the idea above about the light thing...maybe work that in as well? The key thing to do is make it dangerous; give the players something to worry about other than how many hit points they have or what their AC is...something that isn't based on "game mechanics". Trust me...players will remember those incidents WAY more than they will remember yet another time when they needed an 18+ to hit their opponent.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

I think the problem some are having is reading the rules and noting things that aren't there as if they were specifically excluded during the writing of said rules.

Corren28 wrote:
Because the rules don't say wood is a valid material for burrowing. Sand, loose soil, gravel, stone, these are all materials that can be burrowed through. Wood isn't on the list. So that would be why burrowing is stopped by wood, because wood isn't on the list.

(not trying to 'pick on' you Corren28, just using your quote as an example)

The above rules also doesn't reference air, or water, so, because it isn't on the list, the resulting (false) logic is that the Burrow ability actually can't be used. Ever.

Of course, that isn't how the rules are supposed to be used. The rules are there as base-line "here's the gist of it" guidelines for running a RPG campaign of some consistency. Using non-specific words like "soil", "sand" and "gravel" are not specific for a reason. This way, a competent GM can read the rules, look at the situation, and then make his own decision for his campaign.

So, basically, why "can't" a creature with Burrow mow through a ship's hull? No reason other than it was never specifically mentioned. If it makes sense for you to have a bulette tear through a ship's hull in one round...do it. If you think it's not cool, disallow it. Most likely there will be some middle ground (e.g., the bulette is considered to always to maximum critical damage each round to the wood, for example). The point is this: The rules are not about specifically excluding or including specific things...the rules are about "here's the baseline, use your own brain to figure out the weird situations". If a GM can't make up his own decision on how to handle things in game, maybe GM'ing isn't for him/her.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

If you want to *really* see some fun (re: the characters Rage starts to actually spill over into the *player*...)...make something that is ALL defense. Don't worry about trying to out damage him. Just build on silly AC and abilities/items that give you second chances to avoid being hit/grappled. Then...just go full defense on his hairy, raging barbarian @$$. ;)

During combat, make sure to taunt him with things like "Are you *sure* you're a barbarian? I thought they could hit things in addition to acting like a crazed toddler..." and "Really? You have a whole round to tag me...and *that's* the best you could do? LOL!". Eventually the player is going to realize he can't hit you reliably. And then it will dawn on him...a barbarians rage eventually runs out... >:)

When he un-rages, kick the ever living crap outta him until he's unconscious. Then shave him bald head to toe (*every* inch). Dress him in a courtesans dress. Sprinkle him with glitter and perfume. Put make-up on him. Then pimp him out to some *bigger* barbarian while he's still unconscious.

Or, you could go the other way and take a page out of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising and make *50* identical bards. He'll eventually get sick of killing your guy over and over...especially if none of them get any sort of a rise out of you (re: something I suspect the player actually enjoys most about his particular play style). Take that satisfaction away from him (the player)and he may "see the light" and relax on his PvP'ish'ness.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Ok...I may get some heat from this, but hear me out.

First, make a character sheet that has Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive blacked out. Draw a box around Gather Information.

Second, when you sit down with the players to present the campaign, tell them the campaign is going to be heavy on the role-playing and intregue, and because of that, the above skills are not used other than...

Third, Gather Information only gathers *basic* information; it may provide clues, hints, inclings, suggestions, etc....but it will *NOT* provide you with the name of the head of the super secret underground resistance movment leaders name.

The reasoning for the above is that, as I see it, the skills I mentioned are for "quick n' dirty" results for games in which the standard focus is on adventuring into ruins, caves and dungeons, killing monsters, and taking their stuff. Generally, that style of campaign leads players to want to just sort of "hand wave" (re: make a Sense Motive check, or Bluff check) so that they can get on with the killing and looting. For a campaign that is going to focus on the PLAYERS abilities to solve complex social situations and conundrums, you don't want it to boil down to "I rolled a 26 on my Bluff".

So, that's my suggestion. Drop all the "dice-rolling-for-role-playing" skills if you want to have a good RP/Intregue campaign.

Edit: Pre-Rolling is new? Wow...sometimes I *really* feel old. For added fun, do the same with PC's, but have the players make the rolls before game. I used this on a few occasions back in the 80's (and not just d20's; maybe a half dozen of each die type). Perfect when a character needs to make a save they have no idea they're making. ;)

Edit-Edit: Another tip - throughout a game just roll some dice and scribble stuff down on paper. Every now and then, ask to see one of the players character sheets but don't tell them why. Oh, and for added fun...especially in the campaign style you want to run...write a note on a piece of paper to a player that says something like "Ignore this note, don't show it to anyone. Now hand it back to me after writing 'Something' on it. Thanks!". >:) Variations of the above "secret note" work wonders for intregue/spy/sneaky games. Sometimes have the note ask the player to roll some dice and/or then name a character or prominant NPC's name out loud. Muu-ah-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

I haven't read all the posts, but here's my 2¢.

Next time he summons an animal companion, tell him that he has an *extremely* odd feeling about it. That he can 'sense' what the animal is sensing, know what it is feeling and wants, etc...on an empathic level almost.

Then, give him the ability to use the wolfs (assuming it's a wolf) Perception roll in place of his if he wants (basically he will get 'two' Perception type checks...Listening, Smelling, etc.), anytime the wolf is within, say, 100'. This would proove escpecially useful when he is sleeping. Play it up.

Of course, if he ever does something that directly injurs his animal companion, he takes an equal amount of damage, *as a percentage of HP*. >:) In other words, if he does 15 points to a 30 point wolf, he takes 50% of his HP. This could proove...quite dangerous.

At least this way he can see the companion as what it is...a boon, and a hinderance.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

[snip multiple paragraphs where I go on about the same thing...boiling it all down to...]

Not your DM's fault. From his perspective, he has no choice. Your characters are designed specifically to "win" by utilizing certain feats/skills/abilities/tactics. If the DM counters those, you loose because your characters can't really do/rely on anything else. Ergo, you see it as being "unfair".

Fix your own characters and the game will fix itself. Stop optomizing. Stop trying to find "combo's" that "win" 9/10. Start trying to work *with* your DM to create cool characters, with strengths and weaknesses, desires, dislikes, goals, a past history, etc.

Good luck!

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

First...1969 here. Playin' since '80.

Second...I've actually found that as a DM, my players attitudes (same players for at least 10 years...25 for some) towards the role of DM do change based on the game system we are playing.

And, I'm sorry to say, when I did DM Pathfinder, the attituded was a much more "modern" one. What that means is they, as players, felt entitled to 'stuff'; more XP, buying magic items they want in town, being allowed to use Feat X or Class Y from Book Z, etc. When I tried to use...ahem..."logic", to make a ruling on some situation that came up, I would more often than not find myself arguing about why I'm not using rule such-n-such, or why I'm modifying the bonus/penalty/DC for whatever. They rules in Pathfinder seem to subconceously encourage rules-debates with the DM. It's as if they think that because they read it in the PHB/AdvancedPHB/BookOfTheMonth, that *anytime* situation C shows up in-game, result N *must* be used...not realizing that a lot of the time the DM (re: me) knows about stuff that's going on that they have no clue.

Last time I DM'ed Pathfinder was back in...maybe last summer? After that we did some Star Frontiers, some Marvel SH Advanced, some GURPS (I was a player in this one! :) ), some Dark Dungeons, and some 1st Ed AD&D. Just starting another Dark Dungeons campaign, set in Golarion as we were all intregued by it when we did play DD in it previously. Anyway, I noticed a strange thing. When playing those, my players started to deffer to my judgement more and more. They have stopped flipping books all session, and in stead just look at their character sheet and ask things like "My Secondary Skill is listed as Farmer/Gardener. Can I tell if the food in this inn is fresh?". Another had the Trader secondary skill and asked if she recognized any of the merchant houses symbols on any of the crates they found in a dungeon store room. This was significant because they generally NEVER used to think "outside what narrow skills and feats they had" when we played PF. By the time last weekend hit and everyone made new DD characters, one of the players (a former 3.x optimization min/max addict) actually told me: "I'm making a half-orc barbarian by the hand out you gave...but if there's anything you want to change on him now or later, let me know, it's no problem."

I guess for me, the rules system with a 'more broad' approach to skills and abilities and whatnot tends to place more of the notion of the players looking not to a book to find an answer to an in-game question, but more rightfully to the DM. Maybe it's just me and my style of DM'ing, but IMHO the players need to find a DM they trust to make decisions that they find enhance the RPG session. If a player is playing with a DM that is making decisions that are "dumb", "annoying", or "wrong" in his mind, that player should go find another DM. The DM isn't "bad"...the DM just sees and runs a game differently. Give me the good ol' days when DM's had a reputation...some were good, some bad, some were labled 'killer DMs', others 'Monty-Hall DMs'...but one thing was certain; back in the day, players had a lot of variety to choose from in terms of campaign style, outlook, and quality. I'd take that over the homogenized-and-neutered-GM's that seem rather previlant after the onset of 3e.

YMMV, of course. :)

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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*with the sound of creaking bones, the audible grunts of a painfully slow walk, and the unforgettable aroma of Ben-Gay, in walks an "old tymer"...*

Hiya.

...ok, I'm not *that* old, but I did start in '80. :) What follows is a perspective from an old grognard. This is NOT meant to start any kind of flame war or "my version can beat up your version". As I said, just an olde guard here typing out my somewhat disjointed blatherings about the halcyon days of RPG's...y'know, back when playing a half-orc was "way out there" in terms of the exotic. So...

The 2nd edition AD&D system was right "in between", oddly enough, the ideals of 1e and 3e.

With 3e, the game focused heavily on what the CHARACTERS could do. Tasks are overcome with dice rolls, feat look ups, and rules minutia on what stacks with what and if there's any synergy bonus, etc. There are specific "absolute values" for much of the rules; you can jump X feet based on X DC. If you get X result on your Diplomacy check, your opponent moves up X reaction levels. If you have Feat Y, you can do Y...if you don't, you can't do Y. That kind of thing.

With 1e, the game focused heavily on what the PLAYERS could do. Tasks were overcome with thinking, role-playing and then the DM taking that and the characters general class/race/background into consideration, and either outright saying "Yes, that works", "No, that doesn't work", or, more often, comming up with a statistical chance and letting the dice fall where they may. Skills? Nope. Closest thing we had were an *optional* "Secondary Skills" found in the DMG where the player randomly rolled d100 to see what he/she grew up learning (Blacksmithing, Clothier, Scribe, etc.) No actual "skills", just a general background knowledge of what someone doing that particular job would likely know. And, before you ask, a characters "Primary Skills" would be what he can do as his Class (Fighter, Thief, etc.).

With 2e, the game was kind of at a cross roads. It still had a LOT of player driving forces, but it was starting to develop more and more rules and dice convetions for propabilities. We had more detailed 'proficiencies', taken from and expanded the 1e Dungeon Masters Guide and Wilderness Survival Guide. We had the introduction of 'kits', that further defined specifics on what the CHARACTER could do (or do more easily). Initiative was more detailed as well; no longer was it a simple d6 vs. d6 roll...it was d10 +/- adjustments due to weapon type, vision, environment, etc. Spells were starting to get more defined as to what they could/couldn't do or be used for, and the role of a characters race started to play less into role-playing aspects and more into modifiers to stuff.

Now, what is the point of this little observation on my part? Well, you asked what to expect from 2e. You can expect less "game rule specifics" than you are used to in 3e. There are no specific rules, for example, on exactly how far you can jump. There are also Level Limits and Class/Race limits. You can't play a Dwarven magic-user, for example. You and your DM can come up with whatever reasoning you want on that, but the most common is that dwarves are not magical creatures (in fact, they get a bonus vs. magic saves and have a chance for magic items to just *not work* when they try to use them), so they can't learn to be magic users. Another BIG thing...the game play assumes that YOU, the *player* are the one trying to figure things out and descern information. You won't be making "diplomacy checks" to try and convince the goblin bandits not to kill you all and take your stuff...*you*, the player, will be doing all the talking, bribing, or whatever else you can think of. How successful this is will be up to your words, tact, appropriatness of bribes or whatever, and then the *DM* (not you) will likely make a roll. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. The DM plays a MUCH larger role in the game. If you have a sucky DM, you *will* have a sucky game. If you have an awesome DM, you *will* have an awesome game. As there are less "fiddly rules" than 3e, the competance of your DM and your fellow players will play prominently into your enjoyment and success.

Hope that helps, but I figured it would be better to give you the low-down, from my experience, as to the "feel and expectations" of the game than any rules stuff.

^_^

Paul L. Ming


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Hiya.

Huh, lots of different ideas. :)

Me? I treat HP's as HP's. A 1st level charcter has less than a 10th level character. The 10th level character *can* take multiple stab wounds and keep going, while the 1st level'er can't.

Lets say the 1st level guy ("A") has 10hp, and the 10th level character ("B") has 100hp. Both take a sword to the gut for 8hp damage. Now A is clutching at his guts, trying not to simultaneously pass out and soil himself. Next to him is B, who looks down, pokes an entrail back into the wound and says "Tsss....eee..yeah. Kinda stings.", then steels his brow for the counter attack. Both took the *same* wound for the same amount...but B is so used to this kind of thing he doesn't panic or anything, and he uses his inner resolve, training and experience to keep his blood pressure up and also positions himself so as to lessen the pain and potential to injure himself more.

The cleric heals them both...for 9hp each. Both wounds close and bleeding ceases. Same wound, same healing, same effect.

Pro boxers can take a solid hit to the jaw...but Melvin Smelnick the 98lb accountant takes the same hit and drops to the ground like a bag of mouldy tangerines. The both take the same "damage", but the pro boxer is used to it and knows what to expect and how to compensate. He isn't surprised or panicked when it happens.

That's how I look at at anyway.


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Hiya.

Like Zimith says, the GM only needs to roll once per 'area' the thief's player says his character is searching. "I'm checking the corridor for traps as we move down it", for example, yeilds a secret GM check. If the corridor had two traps, a pit trap in 10', and then a deadfall trap in another 20', the GM rolls once for the first trap encountered (re: the pit). If the roll is a success, the GM relays that he found a pit trap. If the roll is a failure, the thief falls in. The GM then rolls again for the next trap (or not...I'd assume that the thief continues to try and look for traps all down the corridor, as that is what the player intended). Rinse, repeat. Simple.

^_^

Paul L. Ming