Why do YOU play the game?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Despite how much I seem to bash on Pathfinder, I actually do really enjoy it when I play with my friends. It's a well known RPG that's easy to set an adventure to, even if I do find character generation tedious sometimes. But for me, it's the experience.

One thing I notice on these boards though is the need for some people to replace the things that I find most interesting with a simple skill checks. I like the immersion that one can get through the game, by playing, but it seems like for many on these boards that any creativity past character generation is tedious.

Disabling traps, interacting with npcs, and figuring out puzzles. These are things that apparently should be decided decisively with single die rolls. Why? Why not just play a board game.

I see that people constantly compare these things to combat, but even in combat you make decisions. Should we just roll a single attack roll to see if the enemy is dead, not worry about which weapon we're using, where our character is standing, be oblivious to any sort of damage reduction, not worry about concious decisions to drink a potion when your health is low and the cleric is out. I'm sure many players haven't actually been in a real combat, nor are fantastic military leaders, but here we are.

It seems like a good portion just plays just for the combat, which is in itself not a problem and probably a sign that the different classes should be more balanced both in and out of combat considering the divide of people who care about different portions of them.

But maybe there really are people out there who like to design a character and just want to watch that character run, like a simulation, not really putting in real decisions for fear of ruining that simulation through metagame.

I personally feel as a player that the game is much more enriched when players put an equal amount of effort in and out of combat in their character's decisions. That rolls should affect successes, but player decisions should affect the methods. I never want the game to feel like Candyland.

So my question is, what is everyone else looking for out of this game?


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I play pathfinder because it's more intuitive than D&D 4e (where I started playing TTRPG's) much more roleplaying built into the system itself. It's also much less limited that 4e, where a fighter is a melee tank, a ranger either is ranged or dual-wields, nothing else.

That and the PRD is 100% free...

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Hm, slight disconnect between the title and the text... I'll start with the title, I suppose.

I play for a combination of customizability and shared storytelling.

By customizability, I mean the fact that I can bring a character with a set of strengths and weaknesses and personality that I chose, that's different from previous characters I've played, and is different from any character I've played alongside. Getting to bring something to the table of my own creation, and also see what everyone else came up with, is fun for me. I'll probably cry tears of joy if I see someone play a second kind of dwarf.

By shared storytelling, I mean creating stories that can only be created with a group, without one author deciding what happens. Do you ever watch movies and think "Why didn't she just do X?" or "Gee, how convenient for the plot that right when X happened, everybody with capability Y was somewhere else..."? I know I sure do. Things like that have always jumped out at me. In an RPG, I can do those things that seem like obvious-but-never-used solutions. In an RPG, I can bring in at least one or two of the types of capabilities that solve certain types of obstacles. I can have a real impact on how a story unfolds, and watch my tablemates do the same. One of my biggest pet peeves is a GM who blocks ideas or fudges dice to make sure things pan out the way they planned; if your fun is ruined when you don't have total control over which obstacles are or are not the nail-biters, you might be a good author but you're a bad GM.

As for the issues of traps, Diplomacy, and so forth... well, the system has some issues. For instance, the idea of "if it's a trap, a single Disable Device check can overcome it" is right there in the book. That's part of the very definition of "trap" in Pathfinder. If you don't like it, come up with a new system; I know I'm sure trying to.

Diplomacy is in an awkward position. On the one hand, some people fear that letting a check do the trick shafts roleplaying. On the other hand, trying to insist on in-character dialogue for Diplomacy checks to work has two nasty side-effects: one, that someone can dump CHA and roleplay up some circumstance bonuses to compensate; and two, that people (particularly those not terribly outgoing in real life) aren't allowed to tell stories about heroes who are different from themselves.

So on the one hand, I want a mechanic to enforce the consequences of stat decisions as well as to enable more storytelling; but on the other hand, I like a certain degree of "in-character immunity" where it's okay to roleplay without accidentally screwing yourself over. Similarly with puzzles, it seems weird for the 22INT wizard to be stumped while the 7INT barbarian solves it just because that's who's playing what; but puzzles are also fun to engage as players. It's a dilemma.

I'm honestly still trying to figure a solution to that for my own games. Let me know if you have ideas.


I play the game because no one in my home group wants to learn a new game system, they are stuck in 3.0/3.5/PF.

Also the AP's despite their issues are really well written.

The rules were originally well written but now they are broken with all the splat books. Looking forward to a PF 2nd eidition to fix all the broken slpat items.

Sovereign Court

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A good time plain and simple. I don't worry about anyone else besides the good folk who share my table. Folks I disagree with are just that; folks I disagree with. I wish them the best and have no ill will against them or their play style.


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It's become a habit after 29 years.. lol.


Like pan, I play for the cameraderie at the table, and the fun and shenanigans that ensue when friends get together to game.

I started playing PF because 4e became too bloated with splatbooks, wich is also why I started playing 4e when 3.5 did the same. But now it looks like history is repeating itself yet again. not sure why older editions were so wildly popular with just like 5 books. After 30 years of gaming, it's been a real head-scratcher for me.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

I play this game to share with my players amazing events and interesting characters. Nothing makes my day more than seeing the amazed reaction to a great story reveal, the dread as the monsters shuffle onto stage, and the exultation following the final blow.

I still enjoy a well crafted build. I love a thoroughly fleshed out personality. But I like for both of those elements to be meshed together, allowing for the full experience of the game to be reached.

Most of all, I like having a good time with my friends.


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I play because it generally turns into three hours of shared laughter. It's also fun. You play video or board games and always think, what if I could do X. Here, you can, and we do.

Silver Crusade

I like the stories the game can tell. Not necessarily roleplaying, (though that can work too), but also stories like how the wizard's critical hit killed the harpy and saved the party, or how my brother destroyed an aquarium and unintentionally revealed the invisible enemy. That sort of thing.


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Why do I play?

In 2012, a child was prophesied to be born who would lead humanity to rise above the tribalistic squabbles that plague it. However, the child's essence was trapped by a demon like being named Mankaure, who sealed it within a comatose body in a long-term care facility. Mankaure enjoys the discord of humanity and feeds on senseless hate of others.

Ancient texts say that Mankaure will become mortal for a single day if a person born under a specific alignment of stars can become 180 people in 3 years. I was born under those stars. I play for the future.

Spoiler:
Not really, of course. I play to have fun. Also, where else could I use my ideas and find an outlet for my creative energies so easily?

Scarab Sages

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I play to flaunt my superiority over lesser mortals.

Spoiler:
Or maybe just to have fun, I've not decided which.

Lantern Lodge

I love theory crafting an analyzing data, so for me coming up with the character creation is what keeps me near.

Playing the game is full filling, it allows me to see if that interesting character concept can actually do what I think it does. That's the main reason I play.

Secondly, I play for the people.


Before Pathfinder, we used to play 3.5 (Riverport). The GM wanted something less stressful, I think. Pathfinder had a simple XP award system and there were a lot of other things that were simplified compared to 3.5. Having a Campaign Adventure Path was a saving grace. The game was a lot easier to run with it.

To me Pathfinder is just another game. I have played so many from D&D in the mid 80's to the other RPGs in College after that. Game after game after game. When I heard about what became of D&D in the 4th version I wasn't interested. This was a good thing, since neither was my GM. I have had a look at 5th and it really doesn't interest me that much. I'm not a GM, so I hope the guy who is sticks with this game.


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I started playing RPGs relatively late. I was discouraged from it so it was late into high school that I started off with Vampire: the Masquerade. From there I went from Werewolf to GURPS, Fudge, Exalted and a ton of other RPGs. I got to 3.5 at some point but wasn't feeling it. I had a friend that brought along a lot of indie rpgs into the group. For the most part I was concerned with roleplaying over rules so tried to stick with the rules lite things. At some point I had been playing so many weird premise rpgs that I felt burned out. I wanted my fantasy itch scratched but everyone was playing games that exclusively worked off the wall premises. I also started to have a distaste for rules that tried to run my character and make me roll for for things like 'personality' 'love' and things that I should be determining of my own will, not dice rolls. I work at a game store and I found out that there was an employee Pathfinder game because we were only just having that in stock. I asked one of the employees about it. From his description I was interested enough to take a look and eventually got the Beginner Box. My first campaign didn't go terribly well, but I was enamored with the system. It just applied to a lot of sensibilities and had a flexible sense of fantasy. Also of all the systems I played it was the one where I felt compelled to actually learn. That's when I felt like I didn't want rules lite because it was too abstract. Choice was meaningless to me unless there was a different result. With rules lite systems I felt like my choices didn't functionally matter because I'd get similar results no matter what I did. I wasn't rewarded for being clever and it wasn't impressive when I made something weird function. But While Pathfinder isn't rules lite it wasn't rules heavy to the point of exhaustion like say, Hero system, the complexity came from an abundance of options not the core rulebook itself. It was abstract and simple enough for me to like it.

I got into pathfinder a few years ago and I stuck around due to third party products and the tone of the rules being closer to pulp fantasy than generic Tolkien inspired fantasy or D&D fantasy. This extends to third party contributions where If I want, I can adequately play fantasy-horror, fantasy-Scifi, fantasy-steampunk, fantasy-with-dinosaurs, ect without having to learn a new system. I'm a huge fan of pulp style fantasy and I with the more recent additions to the game playing a more fantastical Barsoom-like campaign is all more possible.


Back in the 80's, i read a module called "Queen of the Demonweb Pits" (by David Sutherland III and Gary Gygax), in which there was a description of another world:

Demonweb wrote:

F. Maldev

Looking through the gate, the party will see that somehow things
do not look quite right. The gate looks out upon a mountain setting,
but the mountains are too tall and sharply pointed to be real. The
sky is bluish-purple and partly overcast; the sun is almost below the
tops of the mountains. What stars are out are much larger than
normal, almost like small moons.

I knew that that was incredibly cool, taking the player-characters from one fantasy world into another, and I knew that there was really no limit to how deep we could go if we wanted to.

And that's when I was hooked on rpg's. I learned how to DM, and the art of telling an interactive story, as well as how to organize and how to get everyone involved and keep everyone involved. I'm not perfect, but I've learned that if you love to do something, you get gradually better at it.

A few years ago, I discovered Pathfinder, which seemed like a good, modern interpretation of D&D, with no-holds-barred and even a flare for a bit of horror and sci-fi. My friends and I picked it up and have been having fun ever since.


I work on average 60 to 65 hours a week. My time at home is usually spent ensuring that my home environment is the best I can set up for the success of my family; shopping, cleaning, etc.

I have 3 scheduled gaming sessions over the course of 2 weeks.

I like getting out with my fellow gamers and socializing. Sometimes if people are absent we'll play a board game. Sometimes if I arrive early we will sneak in a round of Marvel Dice Masters. Playing Pathfinder is my big opportunity to de-stress away from work and home. As much as I love being home for my family, if I didn't leave the house I would go crazy.

Liberty's Edge

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I play the game because there are imagined moments that I see players and myself potentially experiencing, and sometimes, that actually happens. Other times, moments happen that I didn't imagine at all and I glad I'm there.

Shadow Lodge

I play to have fun. Altought i have fun making interesting combos and trolling asmodeus. Some people dont consider that fun tought


I was hanging with some new friends once and one of the guys had "borrowed" a complete script for a sci-fi/fantasy movie that wasn't released yet - not even the teaser trailer. He thought we should make up PCs and play through it (Alas, I don't remember which gaming system we were using to stat out our PCs... everything was new to me then and I'm not sure we played that particular system ever again).

Five hours later we had our PCs built and broke for a snack-run, and then came back.

GM sets the scene, we ask about seven questions among ourselves plus discussion, and five minutes later we wrapped up the plot successfully.

Yeah it was a game, but IRL we (the players) teamed up and solved a complex problem in no time. Like Owly's comment above, this brought to my awareness something totally cool-fun-awesome that I had been oblivious to.

To use a counter example IRL - Ebola. Been around since 1976 yet we still don't have a vaccine for it. Given the power, education/training, and capacity our governments and national medical institutions have I ask:

Why did they wait nearly 40 years till the current crisis to be putting real effort into a vaccine?

The Ebola problem seems analogous to the five minute RPG session to me. Somehow IRL things never work that smoothly. So that's why I game - IRL is chancy and boring/terrifying... and then you die. Gaming is chancy and exciting/wondrous... and you can get raised if you die! :D


I game in general for the fun. Sometimes it's the tactics of out thinking the enemy on the battlefield, sometime it the total character immersion into personality, sometimes it the tinkering with builds. I do enjoy the mechanics and I tend to read rulebooks and build stuff away from the table, spending more time on that than at actual play at the table.

Pathfinder specific - it's a lot of the mechanics - I house-rule, and build my own classes, archetypes and such. But I don't play Pathfinder in a group - it's one on one play I do with the wife. So while tactics and combat are fun.. if all the fights are lopsided my way, I don't care. That play is for wish fulfillment, and for just having some nice time with the wife. Because it is one on one gaming with her, I can also dive a lot deeper into the personality and emotions of my character. I'd never waste a group's time with a 2 hour roleplay session between my character and her significant other. or doing a mostly non combat "day in the life" ... but in solo play that is just fine.


I play RPGs to socialize with my buddies. PF is the game of choice, and Paizo keeps it that way by putting out lots of canned scenarios. That's really the key - high quality scenarios so we don't have to make them up to play.


It is one of the easier fantasy settings, has lots of material and is slightly less unbalanced than D3.X . That's what it made the "classic fantasy" RPG of choice for me at the moment.
If a GM asked my which system he should gm for a group I could participate in I'd, most likely, suggest the original warhammer fantasy RPG. Don't know the newer editions.


I like to see growth in power even in non-RPG games. I would take a weak team in a sports game, and play dynasty mode to grow them into champions. However I still do not like level 1 on PFS.

I also like strategy, and the game has a lot of that involved.


I game for fun, for socialisation & for empowerement. It's nice to control a character that actually has some moderate control over their environment.

Pathfinder itself I play for the mechanical diversity and it's "pro-player" construction. A lot of other systems have little mechanical diversity, little built-in capacity for player collaboration, and few choices. Pathfinder has near infinite choices, and most of them make the player notably better, so it's possible to play a game that doesnt feel like a constant struggle.

Anyways, that's me.

Havent "clicked" with PFS yet though. I prefer overarching campaigns.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4, RPG Superstar 2015 Top 32

-It's the cleanest version of the most versatile D&D-esque game I've found.

-The products are works of art, with consistently high quality across the board and top-notch production values.

-99.9% of the complaints I've read about the game online have never come up at my table.

-The adventures and support material are wonderful.

-The game is robust enough to provide a multitude of options while allowing me to wing it as a GM frequently.

-Paizo's track record indicates to me that future editions will focus on polishing up an already excellent game rather than rebuilding from the ground up.


I enjoy it's freedom. The mechanics are but a thin guideline of what your character can do. I've had the most fun when mechanics are hidden like bones on a humanoid. Playing a game with so few real rules is completely liberating when done correctly. Sadly mechanics engrossed my last character or two. I've come to realize what I truely enjoy about the game again, and hope to bring that to the table.


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I play for I enjoy the creation of epic stories and epic characters. The more books, the more material to fully create a well fleshed out world. I highly encourage Paizo to continually add more.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

I play RPGs in general for the collective storytelling experience, including playing the roles of other characters and solving problems within the confines of the game-world in-character.

To me, game mechanics are completely secondary to the collective storytelling experience. The rules provide the framework on which the creative part of the game hangs. As such, I tend to downplay game mechanics at my table.

I play Pathfinder primarily because I find the Golarion campaign world to be extremely compelling, and the Adventure Paths to be so consistently well-written. It's a whole lot less work converting the game stats to another system. Also, my players are most familiar with the D&D family of games, so PFRPG isn't that much of a stretch.

Honestely, if I had my druthers, we'd be using more free-form, rules-light game system like FATE.

Sovereign Court

I play both Pathfinder and more rules-light games. (The last game I played was a round of Call of Cthulhu)

In general - I find rules-light games to be better for one-shot games, in part because I don't want to spend a ton of time making a character for only 3-4 hours of gaming.

I think that crunchier systems like Pathfinder tend to work better for longer campaigns as you see your character grow more, and that's part of why one plays a long campaign in RPGs.


As far as the title I goes, there just aren't any good multiplayer video games where you hit things with swords. Plus, I like the whole creativity aspect of it, getting to make your own character and solve problems in out of the box ways.

As far as skill checks go, for our party play can be almost as important as skill checks. Some of our super high CHA characters flub bluff checks all the time because the player isn't a good liar.


Great question, Ragnarok.

I started playing D&D way back in the red box days.

We moved on to AD&D, then 2nd Edition, then 3rd Edition. When 4th Edition rolled around, I and my gaming group (mostly friends from college by that point) decided it wasn't for us and liked the feel of Pathfinder more.

I guess you could say it felt like a better progression of the rules to us.

I personally liked how PF guided players away from multiclassing mayhem, beefed up some classes that needed it (sorcerer, for example), and rewrote some of the more problematic 3.5 options such as the Scout class in order to bring them back down to earth.

Today we play Pathfinder because we're still running one campaign that started about three years ago, and the other GM who is just starting out is using PF because he's most comfortable with it. The general consensus seems to be that we're getting ready to move on to 5th Edition D&D, though.

PF has just become too "bloated" for our tastes -- there are many ways to describe this, but the one that comes to mind first (because I've been doing it this week) is that it takes forever to pore over every PF book that exists trying to build characters for fear of missing some interesting or competitive option. Don't look at me like that -- if there's ONE powergamer at the table, EVERYONE has to be one or they'll be swimming in his wake the entire campaign.

So, the short answer would be -- I switched to PF because I didn't like what I saw in 4e, but I expect I'll soon be switching to 5e because I'm seeing it as a possible refinement of PF, or maybe a palatable synthesis of 3.5 and 4e, as I realize PF has grown to have lost much of what I liked about it in the first place.


Quark Blast wrote:


Why did they wait nearly 40 years till the current crisis to be putting real effort into a vaccine?

They might have been distracted by some other deadly virus that has been around for roughly the same span of time...


I played 3.5 for a few years and gave 4e a try and found it to be too focused on combat and felt more like a video game than what I wanted from a tabletop RPG. Don't get me wrong, I love a good video game, but it is far more restrictive than a tabletop RPG. Pathfinder felt like the next logical step after 3.5.

Another reason I like playing games like this is that my friends and I formed a group back in college and continue to meet and play to this day. It is a time where everyone can get together, catch up on life, and take part in an epic story. Being both a player and a GM, I look forward to every session just to see what ideas my friends and the campaign have in store for us.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Froth Maw wrote:
As far as the title I goes, there just aren't any good multiplayer video games where you hit things with swords.

If that's all you want, sometimes you gotta go back to basics.


An intersting question, for which I can remember a few key details from my youth which I will detail chronologically. When I was about 6 and MTV was still young, I remember the Def Leppard video Rock of Ages being in regular rotation. My favorite part was when Joe Elliot found the glowing sword. You know how kids find go through a period where they watch a Disney movie 5000 times? Mine at age 7 was the animated Robin Hood with the animals. When I was 10, my older brother passed down his collection of basic and AD&D books.

But to answer the question in a more general sense, I love heroic (or mostly heroic) fantasy adventure stories and role-playing with friends.


Werebat wrote:

PF has just become too "bloated" for our tastes -- there are many ways to describe this, but the one that comes to mind first (because I've been doing it this week) is that it takes forever to pore over every PF book that exists trying to build characters for fear of missing some interesting or competitive option. Don't look at me like that -- if there's ONE powergamer at the table, EVERYONE has to be one or they'll be swimming in his wake the entire campaign.

^^^ Hit the nail on the head with that one, especially the last sentence.

The Exchange

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Werebat wrote:

Great question, Ragnarok.

I started playing D&D way back in the red box days.

We moved on to AD&D, then 2nd Edition, then 3rd Edition. When 4th Edition rolled around, I and my gaming group (mostly friends from college by that point) decided it wasn't for us and liked the feel of Pathfinder more.

I guess you could say it felt like a better progression of the rules to us.

I personally liked how PF guided players away from multiclassing mayhem, beefed up some classes that needed it (sorcerer, for example), and rewrote some of the more problematic 3.5 options such as the Scout class in order to bring them back down to earth.

Today we play Pathfinder because we're still running one campaign that started about three years ago, and the other GM who is just starting out is using PF because he's most comfortable with it. The general consensus seems to be that we're getting ready to move on to 5th Edition D&D, though.

PF has just become too "bloated" for our tastes -- there are many ways to describe this, but the one that comes to mind first (because I've been doing it this week) is that it takes forever to pore over every PF book that exists trying to build characters for fear of missing some interesting or competitive option. Don't look at me like that -- if there's ONE powergamer at the table, EVERYONE has to be one or they'll be swimming in his wake the entire campaign.

So, the short answer would be -- I switched to PF because I didn't like what I saw in 4e, but I expect I'll soon be switching to 5e because I'm seeing it as a possible refinement of PF, or maybe a palatable synthesis of 3.5 and 4e, as I realize PF has grown to have lost much of what I liked about it in the first place.

I switched to 5e a couple months ago and it is refreshing....the bloat from PF made higher level games a grind and lower levels were a constant scouring of books so you didn't miss something that your character would love. I may look at Pathfinder 2 when/if it comes out but D&D 5 would have to really make some mistakes with splatbooks to lose me now.


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I play to kill the monster, to take it's stuff, to save the world, and spend my reward on ale and whores!

Huzzah!

Sovereign Court

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boring7 wrote:

I play to kill the monster, to take it's stuff, to save the world, and spend my reward on ale and whores!

Huzzah!

Pffft I play to get away from real life.


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Earlier I said it had become more like a habit, and to a large degree that's true. It's the one hobby I have left that I truly enjoy, and I'd miss it terribly if for any reason I stopped playing.

I love the fellowship of good friends, the hair raising action of a well described and well played scene in a game, and the escape from my often less than satisfactory real life.


Ciaran Barnes wrote:

An intersting question, for which I can remember a few key details from my youth which I will detail chronologically. When I was about 6 and MTV was still young, I remember the Def Leppard video Rock of Ages being in regular rotation. My favorite part was when Joe Elliot found the glowing sword. You know how kids find go through a period where they watch a Disney movie 5000 times? Mine at age 7 was the animated Robin Hood with the animals. When I was 10, my older brother passed down his collection of basic and AD&D books.

But to answer the question in a more general sense, I love heroic (or mostly heroic) fantasy adventure stories and role-playing with friends.

Hehe, that was my favorite Disney movie as well. That & the jungle book. Gotta go and watch that again.


I just bought RH this year "for my kids" and watched for for the first time in about 25 years. I was honestly worried that it wouldn't hold up to my memory of watching it as a kid, but am happy to say that it did hold up very well, and that there a few "Aha!" moments during it that actually gave me some insight into my early development, concerning my interests and the way I role-play. Ooh da lollie!


But if I don't play then the dragon eats everyone,the mad wizard turns off the sun and the Asmoday ends up in charge.

ANd we can't be having with that sort of thing.


Honestly, I play to get to know my friends better, to get closer to them, to share something awesome in common with them.

And my circle of friends just keeps growing. What started as two nerds and their wives playing on Sunday nights has grown to be two groups, for a total of eleven nerds. (Yes, our wives are now hopeless, unrepentant nerds now.) We're probably going to have to form a third group as soon as we can train another GM there's been so much interest.

I also like doing the voices.


@OP I'm interested. How would you design trap disabling? I think that would be cool to make it more like roleplaying, but honestly I can't think of how to do it.

GM: Where are you standing?
Rogue 1: Next to the trap.
GM: Like, how far away from it?
Rogue 1: Arm's length.
GM: Are your shoes on or off?
Rogue 1: Why would I have taken my shoes off?
GM: Which wire are you cutting?
Rogue 1: The right one.
GM: Okay, the trap explodes in flame.
Rogue 1: I meant, the correct one.

Oh, oh, maybe like chase cards. One check leads to another until you've disabled it completely--Perception DC 20 -> Sleight of Hand -> DC 15 -> Disable Device DC 20. But, hmm, then isn't that just a series of rolls and hasn't really solved anything?

I really want to know.

Grand Lodge

It's heaps of fun and gives me an outlet for creativity. What's not to love?


Dustin Ashe wrote:

@OP I'm interested. How would you design trap disabling? I think that would be cool to make it more like roleplaying, but honestly I can't think of how to do it.

GM: Where are you standing?
Rogue 1: Next to the trap.
GM: Like, how far away from it?
Rogue 1: Arm's length.
GM: Are your shoes on or off?
Rogue 1: Why would I have taken my shoes off?
GM: Which wire are you cutting?
Rogue 1: The right one.
GM: Okay, the trap explodes in flame.
Rogue 1: I meant, the correct one.

Oh, oh, maybe like chase cards. One check leads to another until you've disabled it completely--Perception DC 20 -> Sleight of Hand -> DC 15 -> Disable Device DC 20. But, hmm, then isn't that just a series of rolls and hasn't really solved anything?

I really want to know.

(After Rogue makes Perception roll)

GM: There's something odd about the door. There are some fine wires attached to the handle and running into a hole in the frame. It could be a trap.

Rogue: I'll try to disarm it... I rolled a 23.

GM: You can sort of trace some of the wires. It looks like the second one from the top is the trigger. You're pretty sure that if you cut that with your dagger it will disable whatever this is. Is that what you want to do?

Rogue: Um... wait. What happens if the trap goes off?

GM: You can't tell. Part of the mechanism is on the other side of the door. Are you going to cut the wire?

Rogue: Yeah, I guess I'll cut it.

GM: (to the rest of the players) Where is everybody else standing?

The key here is careful description and the control of information. The player knows how well they rolled to Disable Device, but they don't know what the DC was. The ultimate outcome depends upon both the die roll (representing the character's ability) and the player's choice to either accept the roll and cut the wire, or decide that it's too risky and try a different approach.

In this simplified example the other players simply waited, but they could just as easily be moving around, casting spells, offering advice, or anything else they can think of to help out.


JoeJ wrote:

(After Rogue makes Perception roll)

GM: There's something odd about the door. There are some fine wires attached to the handle and running into a hole in the frame. It could be a trap.

Rogue: I'll try to disarm it... I rolled a 23.

GM: You can sort of trace some of the wires. It looks like the second one from the top is the trigger. You're pretty sure that if you cut that with your dagger it will disable whatever this is. Is that what you want to do?

Rogue: Um... wait. What happens if the trap goes off?

GM: You can't tell. Part of the mechanism is on the other side of the door. Are you going to cut the wire?

Rogue: Yeah, I guess I'll cut it.

GM: (to the rest of the players) Where is everybody else standing?

The key here is careful description and the control of information. The player knows how well they rolled to Disable Device, but they don't know what the DC was. The ultimate outcome depends upon both the die roll (representing the character's ability) and the player's choice to either accept the roll and cut the wire, or decide that it's too risky and try a different approach.

In this simplified example the other players simply waited, but they could just as easily be moving...

Hmm, I like that. Come to think of it, that's how I run disabling traps half the time. Just to be clear, the GM is still only asking for a Perception and Disable Device check, right? Just being really descriptive about it.

Now I don't run disabling traps that way all the time for the same reason I don't describe every swing of a sword in meticulous detail. It gets old. But this conversation has helped me remember that the party's rogue needs some to shine too. Thanks.

Shadow Lodge

Because it's fun and as close to being social as an awkward guy like me gets.

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