Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Of the Tabletop, and other, lesser varieties.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:13 pm UTC

It works fine in a certain style of game (incidentally the style Gary Gygax played with his friends). When you're rolling a new character every so often, it matters less.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Xanthir » Mon Feb 01, 2010 3:18 pm UTC

I also like point-buy for the fairness, but I enjoy the randomness sometimes too. I think a card method (there are many) combines the best of both worlds - everyone ends up with the same total of attributes, and the range is guaranteed to be workable, but there's a significant random component that can introduce some interesting variation. And you still get to tilt it in your favor with your two +2 cards too.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BigMcStrongmuscle » Mon Feb 01, 2010 5:19 pm UTC

The card methods are interesting, and I've played with the idea of using them. Ultimately, though, I like 3d6 because its really really fast, and my game sees a lot of guest players who need to make characters within 15 minutes of sitting down.

Balance-wise, it works well because the slightly-home-brewed Castles and Crusades system I use generally doesn't award more than a +1 or +2 bonus to things for high ability scores. It makes the impact of your stats on game mechanics markedly less than the impact of your class choice and favored ability scores. The half-orc tends to get +1 or +2 to Strength, compared to a human's +0 or +1. And he's got Darkvision, too, which is a FANTASTIC superpower if you leverage it right - for one thing, seeing in the dark with no torches makes him an great rogue.

Also would this cheesemaker dwarf happen to be from Boatsmurdered? If Dwarf Fortress tells me anything, it's that cheesemakers (and soapmakers, and Animal Dissectors...) are the most likely to get recruited into the fortress guard and become multi-legendary skull-smashing Hammer Lords!

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby EmptySet » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:10 am UTC

Xanthir wrote:I also like point-buy for the fairness, but I enjoy the randomness sometimes too. I think a card method (there are many) combines the best of both worlds - everyone ends up with the same total of attributes, and the range is guaranteed to be workable, but there's a significant random component that can introduce some interesting variation. And you still get to tilt it in your favor with your two +2 cards too.


I've generally used point buy, also for the fairness, but we've also used a meld of random rolling and point buy which works approximately as follows:

1. Roll 1d6 to determine which stat will be assigned first. 1 = STR, 2 = CON, etc.
2. Roll 2d6+6. That's your value for whatever stat you rolled in step 1.
3. Repeat step 2 for the next four stats, in order.
4. Work out the value of your attributes in point buy. Assign however many points are left to the last stat.
->4a. If you have points left over (because of the diminishing returns or because you'd go over 18) assign them anywhere they fit, highest stat first.
->4b. If you rolled so high that you have too many points, subtract points in such a way that your character is legal, highest stat first unless that would put you below the point value. Eg. If you are two points over, subtract from a stat which is 16, not 18.

It does take a little longer than assigning completely at random, but it's fair and in general it produces decent variation.

Another way to do it is to take a standard array and assign each score to an attribute randomly, which is quick and easy but means that you're all going to end up with a similar stat spread - no extremely specialized characters or jacks of all trades.

There's also 4E's suggested method of randomness, which is to roll 4d6 and take the three highest, which I suppose makes the outcome more likely to be average and reduces the chance of getting a character with 3 STR who can barely carry his own clothing.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Tue Feb 02, 2010 5:20 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:There's also 4E's suggested method of randomness, which is to roll 4d6 and take the three highest, which I suppose makes the outcome more likely to be average and reduces the chance of getting a character with 3 STR who can barely carry his own clothing.

Aye the 4d6-1d6 method is the one I've run into most often for rolling enthousists these days, though my last good dm went so far as to add re-roll 1's.

Personally I actually go past point by into assigned stats. When I run I give everyone 18 16 14 14 12 12 to assign as they will. I like it because it ensures that everyone is really good at what they do, and pretty good at their second area of focus, (especially important in 4e I find since so many classes have secondary effects that work directly off a non-prime stat). As I've stated it before, everyone is good at what they're supposed to be good at, but your fighter isn't a rocket scientist and your wizard can't bench press a yak. I find it works well and makes sure that everyone starts on even footing. I suppose the arguement could be made that point buy would accomplish the same thing but I find it penalizes classes that have to work in moderation across a couple stats and benefits classes that can dump stat and frontload on a prime casting stat like wizards or druids.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby EmptySet » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:44 am UTC

Yeah, arrays work fine, though I generally prefer point buy. Is there any particular reason you chose 18 16 14 14 12 12, though? It's considerably more powerful than the standard 4E array and its variations (16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 or 16 14 14 12 11 8, for instance), and from memory it's also higher than the standard 3.5e point buy.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Goldstein » Tue Feb 02, 2010 10:57 am UTC

18, 16, 14, 14, 12, 12
16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10

It's not an exact +2 to each stat, but it works out as a +1 modifier to each. In 4e, that's about as good as a +1 level bonus.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:08 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:Yeah, arrays work fine, though I generally prefer point buy. Is there any particular reason you chose 18 16 14 14 12 12, though? It's considerably more powerful than the standard 4E array and its variations (16, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10 or 16 14 14 12 11 8, for instance), and from memory it's also higher than the standard 3.5e point buy.

I originally started using it because of the higher lethality in 3.5e low level situations. I found the extra boost in power tended to keep my players a little more on top without needing to fiddle with encounter difficulty too much. Secondly, it ensures that everyone has +1 modifier to every stat for skills, so I can be confident in everyone's relative level of power at any task, even if they don't have ranks (again, primarily for early play). Finally it makes sure that no one is too far off on a stat requirement for any basic feat, such that if they decide they suddenly want combat expertise, they need only wait till 4th level to get the extra stat point for it, even if they didn't plan on needing intelligence to start with.

I guess it just makes my party a little bit more smoothed out in power early on, with a little bit of a helping hand that isn't too obvious.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Chen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:48 pm UTC

I've been playing more 4th ed recently and I've found the lack of a real risk of dying slightly annoying. I liked the fact that in 3.5 things could just plain kill you so you to be careful. Dying is nearly impossible in 4th now. Even someone going down in combat doesn't happen THAT often and its easily remedied by your leader's healing ability or even a healing potion. Not to say 3.5 was the best in this regard since dying was a bit TOO easy, but some middle ground would have been nice.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Goldstein » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:41 pm UTC

I'm currently wondering how to deal with players that might get themselves into a fight with a vastly superior NPC. I'm sure this is no new problem, but the only realistic answer that doesn't involve obvious metagaming is to keep the big bad guys out of reach until such a time as they're a surmountable obstable. I don't like this as having the bad guys be known adds to the suspense. So let's say the players figure out that the dearly old woman down at the baker's has been orchestrating the thing the whole time, and that she's a Hate Elemental in disguise. Let's also assume that I want the players to live with this information for a while, and that I'm not about to turn her into a level-appropriate creature so that they can kill her just because they know of her true nature. Any suggestions as to how I could get my players to work with this information rather than getting themselves killed?
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Chen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 3:53 pm UTC

Goldstein wrote:I'm currently wondering how to deal with players that might get themselves into a fight with a vastly superior NPC. I'm sure this is no new problem, but the only realistic answer that doesn't involve obvious metagaming is to keep the big bad guys out of reach until such a time as they're a surmountable obstable. I don't like this as having the bad guys be known adds to the suspense. So let's say the players figure out that the dearly old woman down at the baker's has been orchestrating the thing the whole time, and that she's a Hate Elemental in disguise. Let's also assume that I want the players to live with this information for a while, and that I'm not about to turn her into a level-appropriate creature so that they can kill her just because they know of her true nature. Any suggestions as to how I could get my players to work with this information rather than getting themselves killed?


You could let them know at the start that they are part of a world. There are going to be things in the world that are stronger than they are. If they choose to try and kill things much stronger than them, they'll probably die. In our group we hate being railroaded through things so its always the player's choice. If there's a dragon running around loose killing people and I'm level 1, its really not wise to try and go attack it (barring some exceptional circumstance). Similarly if a Balor teleports into a fight we're in, it basically means its probably time to retreat or die unless we're like level 18 or so (even then). Basically you need to let the players know that not everything they encounter will necessarily be possible for them to kill the moment they encounter it.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Klapaucius » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:17 pm UTC

BigMcStrongmuscle wrote:Also would this cheesemaker dwarf happen to be from Boatsmurdered? If Dwarf Fortress tells me anything, it's that cheesemakers (and soapmakers, and Animal Dissectors...) are the most likely to get recruited into the fortress guard and become multi-legendary skull-smashing Hammer Lords!
Next character I play is probably going to be my first fortress' only hunter, Sparkleskull AKA Ganondwarf, who never ever let an animal live, became a Hammer Lord despite never picking up a hammer, because he wielded a crossbow, but only as a melee weapon.

I think he ended up dying of starvation because he never actually picked up the animals he massacred because he wanted to find another prarie dog to blow up with his crossbow hammer. Should be a fun session.

Incidentally, being a non-traditional dwarf is loads of fun. Right now I'm playing a dwarf beguiler who talks his way into and out of situations where he rightly should have died after months of torture. He was a commander of the dwarven militia (and thus the standard dwarf in all respects) until a massacre of what turned out to be an innocent group of farmers made him take a Vow of Nonviolence and wander the earth like Jules, and now he pretends to be a doddering old man in order to infiltrate and then tear apart tyrranical governments.
It might be the most rewarding character I've ever played.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BigMcStrongmuscle » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:46 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
Goldstein wrote:I'm currently wondering how to deal with players that might get themselves into a fight with a vastly superior NPC. I'm sure this is no new problem, but the only realistic answer that doesn't involve obvious metagaming is to keep the big bad guys out of reach until such a time as they're a surmountable obstable. I don't like this as having the bad guys be known adds to the suspense. So let's say the players figure out that the dearly old woman down at the baker's has been orchestrating the thing the whole time, and that she's a Hate Elemental in disguise. Let's also assume that I want the players to live with this information for a while, and that I'm not about to turn her into a level-appropriate creature so that they can kill her just because they know of her true nature. Any suggestions as to how I could get my players to work with this information rather than getting themselves killed?


You could let them know at the start that they are part of a world. There are going to be things in the world that are stronger than they are. If they choose to try and kill things much stronger than them, they'll probably die. In our group we hate being railroaded through things so its always the player's choice. If there's a dragon running around loose killing people and I'm level 1, its really not wise to try and go attack it (barring some exceptional circumstance). Similarly if a Balor teleports into a fight we're in, it basically means its probably time to retreat or die unless we're like level 18 or so (even then). Basically you need to let the players know that not everything they encounter will necessarily be possible for them to kill the moment they encounter it.


That's part of the answer, but it only does half the job. I like the Rogue-like solution: you semi-regularly throw the PCs against obviously unwinnable scenarios and give them lots of one-use items to allow them to get away. Just *surviving* one is enough for a win. Hold Portal, Expeditious Retreat, Wizard Lock and Transmute Stone to Mud are all *immensely* underrated spells. Or if you can't afford magic items, a handful of cayenne powder and a bag of marbles work every inch as well as the Blindness and Grease spells. Iron spikes for sealing doors are wonderful tools, as are potions of invisibility (NOT greater invisibility - Being able to hit things is nowhere near as wonderful as a ridiculously long duration when you are trying to exit stage left), potions of spider climb, and the Wall of Stone spell.

It's important to handle topics like stealth and teleporting properly in that sort of game though - Even a Balor that Teleports Without Error can't follow you if it doesn't know where you are, or you are going someplace its never been.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Chen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:08 pm UTC

BigMcStrongmuscle wrote:That's part of the answer, but it only does half the job. I like the Rogue-like solution: you semi-regularly throw the PCs against obviously unwinnable scenarios and give them lots of one-use items to allow them to get away. Just *surviving* one is enough for a win. Hold Portal, Expeditious Retreat, Wizard Lock and Transmute Stone to Mud are all *immensely* underrated spells. Or if you can't afford magic items, a handful of cayenne powder and a bag of marbles work every inch as well as the Blindness and Grease spells. Iron spikes for sealing doors are wonderful tools, as are potions of invisibility (NOT greater invisibility!), potions of spider climb, and the Wall of Stone spell.

It's important to handle topics like stealth and teleporting properly in that sort of game though - Even a Balor that Teleports Without Error can't follow you if it doesn't know where you are, or you are going someplace its never been.


Purposely throwing unwinnable odds against the PCs and giving them magic means of escape seems a tad contrived, especially if it comes up often enough. Definitely a good idea to do once or twice over the course of a campaign though.

The Balor could always just Scry on you and THEN teleport. Really the utility spells in 3.5 D&D were a tad overpowered. I mean who actually had a campaign where Discern Location was a good spell to take? Either it was overpowered beyond belief at finding things...or the DM just made it not work because it would completely destroy a ton of stories.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BigMcStrongmuscle » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:28 pm UTC

Contrived? Not at all. I would argue that some means of escape should be part of the standard loadout for any adventurer. If I'm not carrying some way to run away, I frankly deserve to die the first time I'm outclassed. And you don't need to "give them" free stuff just before it's needed. Stick escape items in your normal treasure hoards. Potions of invisibility and scrolls of expeditious retreat are gear they should always keep available, not special items they'll only use once.

And you don't even need magic items, most of which are absurdly expensive anyway. A few escape tools that nearly every serious character I make owns:
  • Rope, a grappling hook, and a knife. Throw the hook, climb the wall, cut the rope when they try to follow.
  • Caltrops to drop while running. Mix these with oil or grease and a scattering of marbles for Extra Fun Times.
  • A hammer and iron spikes. Quickly mash the spikes into doors to block them, use them for climbing, or tie a rope to them.
  • Smoke bombs, if the system allows. Otherwise an oilskin of grease is good - just spill and add one torch.
  • A way to quickly disable foes in hand-to-hand. A blinding powder is choice, but a taser would work well in Shadowrun.
  • A bag containing a lot of coins. This one's for crowded marketplaces and city streets. Throw the money in the air and escape in the chaos. Sometimes your pursuers will even stop to go for it.
  • Dried meat. It's amazing how well this distracts wild animals.
  • A ten-foot-pole, if you have a bag of holding, or carry one for trap-checking. They are great for vaulting over open pits.
  • Fire - Either a torch or a lamp. It's amazing how quickly someone will stop chasing you when their house is burning down.

And the trouble with utility spells in D&D is that lately the designers build everything around combat balance and are totally at sea regarding how to deal with them.

EDIT: Oh, I see what your objection is, Chen. I don't mean constantly throwing encounters at them designed to beat them into the ground. Just toss an tough encounter or two in their path that maybe isn't worth fighting. Big monsters with no treasure. Animals and vermin in the forests. Wandering patrols of humanoids who (like sensible people) left most of their valuables at home. And then make a few of those encounters tough enough to warrant running from. Stupidly powerful cackling liches not required.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Goldstein » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:54 pm UTC

Alright, I shouldn't have made reference to a Hate Elemental. It's not too difficult to gauge the power of a dragon or a balor, but what level is a Human? When is it sensible to attack a single Human being? It's obvious if he's the Mage of the Tower that he's got a few levels under his belt, and a little less obvious if he's the captain of the guard, but there still needs to exist a power gradient among humans, and clearly Humanoids can rise to the most ridiculous of strengths. How do players size these guys up while things are all peaceful-like?
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:01 pm UTC

By a suitable intelligence roll, I'd imagine.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Griffmo » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:05 pm UTC

I'm teaching my local librarian Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, and she seems to be running with it pretty cool. It took a little while to explain it wasn't a video game, and that it doesn't turn kids into Satanists though. Hopefully she's going to host an official D&D Club, which would be pretty rad.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:05 pm UTC

You talk to the bartender. Preferably in a large city and to many bartenders. If every bartender in a large city has heard of this dude living in a half-falling apart shack in the middle of a swamp a day or two away from the city, alarm bells should be going off in the heads of the PC. Dude is powerful simply because he's known.

Outside of some assassins and rogues, people are going to get recognized for their exploits. I'd say in a low power campaign (Average BadAss Large City Guard Captain being level 8-12) Character Level Squared is how many miles away people have heard about the individual in question as a rough guide. Your level 20s will almost be world renown... Your 10th level guys will likely be national heroes, assuming a city-state-ish scenario. This doesn't mean that every person knows the name Mad Martigan and reacts in awe, it means that the people who hear the news - your traveling bards, merchants, bartenders.. your political heads, guardsmen, rulers... they will know of the person and a few of their exploits. The closer you get to the guy's home base and/or last area of action, the more likely people will know the name.. of course, they may not know why ol' Ben Kenobi lives by himself in the desert, but everyone nearby will know of that crazy old guy should people start asking around.

Now, if you're playing in Forgotten Realms or a similar power level game, that goes out the window as you can't take three steps without tripping over a level 20 something or other.

Griffmo wrote:I'm teaching my local librarian Dungeons and Dragons 3.5, and she seems to be running with it pretty cool. It took a little while to explain it wasn't a video game, and that it doesn't turn kids into Satanists though. Hopefully she's going to host an official D&D Club, which would be pretty rad.
Best way I've found to get rid of the "D&D TURNS KIDS TO SATAN" mindset is.. the Dead Ale Wives skit.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:09 pm UTC

Presumably, taking a look at the humanoid's armour and arms, whether it's seen use, their stance, the way the people around them treat them, would allow you to just look at them and have a fairly decent chance of sizing up your odds against them.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Griffmo » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:11 pm UTC

The one question that I actually had to think about answering was "How do you win?"

I never actually got that far...
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BigMcStrongmuscle » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:12 pm UTC

By the way they act when faced with the prospect of danger, generally. If Joe Enpeecee screams like a little girl when you bluster at him, he's probably not much of a threat. If he backs off without cowering in abject terror, and tries to find a way to protect himself, odds are he's been in danger before. If he draws a sword of his own and stares them down, he obviously thinks he can do something with it. If he draws it and sneers, odds are he thinks he can take you easily. And God help you if he doesn't bother drawing and laughs at you. In that case, you might want to reevaluate remaining within five miles of him. If he's trying to fool them about this, a hefty penalty to the Bluff check is probably in order: Fight or flight is a tough instinct to override.

You can also tell a lot by the way they are dressed. Usually, the nicer the armor, the higher-ranking or more successful the warrior (the exception being a Zatoichi or Robin Hood sort of character). If a guy in street clothes or robes directly stands up to a guy in armor, odds are he's a talented magician of some sort. If he's got hair that flows in the wind while indoors, and a crackling nimbus of power around his head, you should probably run.

And if its an NPC they know they are going to have to deal with ahead of time, they would be fools not to ask people about him before they meet.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

Griffmo wrote:The one question that I actually had to think about answering was "How do you win?"

I never actually got that far...
"The same way you win at Improv Acting. If everyone had a good time, you win."
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Chen » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

Goldstein wrote:Alright, I shouldn't have made reference to a Hate Elemental. It's not too difficult to gauge the power of a dragon or a balor, but what level is a Human? When is it sensible to attack a single Human being? It's obvious if he's the Mage of the Tower that he's got a few levels under his belt, and a little less obvious if he's the captain of the guard, but there still needs to exist a power gradient among humans, and clearly Humanoids can rise to the most ridiculous of strengths. How do players size these guys up while things are all peaceful-like?


Through gathering intelligence from the townspeople, local guilds etc. There are spells that work too. They can be overt (Know Alignment, Detect Evil) or more subtle (Contact other plane, the whole slew of divine divination spells). Even Detect Magic is pretty useful. Its unlikely a normal peasant human is going to be running around with powerful magic items (well assuming you're not somewhere like Sigil). And frankly if the PCs DON'T do things like this before picking fights, well they're asking to be outclassed at some point or even just killed (Wail of the Banshee isn't terribly discriminating).

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BigMcStrongmuscle » Wed Feb 03, 2010 8:32 pm UTC

A friend of mine had a house rule for 3.5 I rather liked, where you could use the Sense Motive skill to size a guy up. If you succeeded, you could gauge how tough he was relative to yourself or someone you knew well, judging by his Hit Dice. The scale he used was "pathetic", "weak", "a match", "intimidating", "terrifying" or something like that. It kinda skewed the scale in favor of big monsters with lots of hit dice for their CR, but frankly, I'd be okay with that. Scary monsters are scary.

I don't remember what he compared the check to normally, but I think it was a fairly low static number. If the other guy was trying to fool you, I think he got to use whichever of Bluff, Disguise, or Intimidate made most sense with his approach. And needless to say, this became a class skill for most of the warrior classes.

I could see this also working well if you based the gauge on Base Attack Bonus instead of Hit Dice.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:00 am UTC

SecondTalon wrote:
Griffmo wrote:The one question that I actually had to think about answering was "How do you win?"

I never actually got that far...
"The same way you win at Improv Acting. If everyone had a good time, you win."

Alternatively, for people who won't accept something as a game unless there is an objectively achievable goal, I like to explain that how you win can be different every time you play. Sometimes you win by slaying the dragon and claiming the treasure, sometimes you win by rescuing captive royalty, sometimes you win by triumphing over an evil cult, and sometimes you win by simply not dying in the Tomb of Horrors.

(Side note, never play Tomb of Horrors with a DM who likes house rules and limb severing. I knew I was in trouble when scrolls of regeneration were the most commonly purchased magic item prior to the game starting o_O)
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby BigMcStrongmuscle » Sat Feb 06, 2010 3:12 am UTC

I dunno, Hilariously, limb severing is LESS deadly than a lot of the crap in that module.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Vaniver » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:33 am UTC

Yeah, there's really no way to do considering other people right. The party makes its living by going up against impossible odds and winning- knowing that the captain of the guard is a famed swordsman who has never lost a fight is an invitation to be the first person to beat him. There's little point in making them roll to know that they're overmatched ("hm, you rolled a 1. I guess I can't tell you that this guy can mop the floor with you."), instead of just telling them outright that there's a strong chance of death. Even then, many parties find a way to pull it off.

The best way to delay a combat is to find some plot-related reason to delay. Perhaps the witch, if killed, will just come back to life unless you have Item X when you kill her; perhaps they'll get run out of town and their name blackened if they kill the swordsmaster without getting convincing proof of his evil deeds* first.

*Not his alignment; few, if any, jurisdictions would think that being mean is a capital offense.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby The Utilitarian » Sat Feb 06, 2010 4:36 am UTC

BigMcStrongmuscle wrote:I dunno, Hilariously, limb severing is LESS deadly than a lot of the crap in that module.

Well yes except most of the other stuff is still in there, so the parts where you previously used to have a break from no save disintigration is now filled with double-amputee doom.
Watch your back, shoot straight, conserve ammo, and never, EVER cut a deal with a dragon.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby RetSpline » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:24 am UTC

I was thinking about the various base races (just the ones in the PHB) and I got to Half-Orcs. In my mind, they're the race, perhaps alongside Half-Elves, with the least defined culture and stereotypes. So I got to thinking about what sort of Half-Orc society I would create in a campaign world.

First of all, they're outcasts in both Orcish and Human societies; Orcs view their cousins as weak and useless, while Humans see Half-Orcs as dumb brutes good for only menial labor at best. Unable to find acceptance or peace in their homes, most Half-Orcs struck out on their own, typically as mercenaries or adventurers, where their natural traits could be best put to use. Over time, these wandering Half-Orcs began to get homesick, or they met up with their fellows, or they just wanted to settle down by themselves, but eventually enough organized to form a fledgling society. Adapting their skills as warriors and sell-swords, they became a mostly hunter-gatherer group, nomadically following the plains and hills of the world.

I honestly can't come up for a good enough reason for a purposefully hunter-gather society in a world of walled cities and magical transportation that would appease an anthropologist, but I just think it's an interesting idea, and ties into my ideas for the actual structure of the society.

As a society of racial outcasts from all over the world, there were two decisions they could make: become vengeful and aggressive, raiding Human and Orc cities and kidnapping any Half-Orcs, eventually disdaining civilized society in favor of the rural, almost feral existence; or they could form an organized, egalitarian government promoting freedom and equality. The niche for aggressive bands of uncivilized warriors was already filled by Orcs, so I went with the latter. My Half-Orc society travels the world, not only following herds, but also visiting Human and Orc cities and finding Half-Orcs who might be feeling ostracized or disenfranchised and would agree to join the traveling Half-Orcs.

I guess the more I think about it, the less logical sense it makes, but I think it's interesting and unique, so I'd like to hear what others think.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:30 am UTC

It sounds like less of a tribe and more of a mercenary group.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Azrael001 » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:40 am UTC

Gypsies maybe? Like the elves in Dragon Age.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Decker » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:55 am UTC

I always wanted to do a city of misfits concept. I would get people and creatures in there acting completely differently than you would expect.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:07 pm UTC

Decker wrote:I always wanted to do a city of misfits concept. I would get people and creatures in there acting completely differently than you would expect.


Ragnokk "Hello weary travelers, I am Ragnokk the friendly Ogre-Magi Horse merchant."
Ranro (ooc) "Thats like 2000 xp, Kill this monster!"
Bleevate (to the DM) "I cast disenegrate on Ragnokk!"
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Decker » Thu Feb 11, 2010 2:31 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Decker wrote:I always wanted to do a city of misfits concept. I would get people and creatures in there acting completely differently than you would expect.


Ragnokk "Hello weary travelers, I am Ragnokk the friendly Ogre-Magi Horse merchant."
Ranro (ooc) "Thats like 2000 xp, Kill this monster!"
Bleevate (to the DM) "I cast disenegrate on Ragnokk!"

DM "The Police Force, consisting of a Maralith, An Ancient Black Dragon, and severy Mind Flayers show up. They look unhappy since this probably going to mean lots of paperwork later in the day."
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby SecondTalon » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:00 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
Decker wrote:I always wanted to do a city of misfits concept. I would get people and creatures in there acting completely differently than you would expect.


Ragnokk "Hello weary travelers, I am Ragnokk the friendly Ogre-Magi Horse merchant."
Ranro (ooc) "Thats like 2000 xp, Kill this monster!"
Bleevate (to the DM) "I cast disenegrate on Ragnokk!"
Well, if you're playing the sort of game where Players draw weapons at "Monsters" who seem more interested in talking than in fighting, perhaps a city of misfits concept isn't the best thing for your game.

I mean, in a game I'm in, to make a long story short, we came across a Necromancer Black Dragon. So what did we do? Talked to it for a while, found a common enemy in the demonic invasion, got a lift back to the surface and took a nap while the Dragon obliterated a demonic foothold. Sure, I'm playing a Paladin in that game, and yes, I (the character I'm playing and I myself) know full well the creature was evil. But I'm not playing an idiot. Nor is anyone else in the party. Given the current state we were in, while we may have been able to take on a Dragon, one or more of us would have died AND the Dragon was far more interested in someone to talk to than in combat.

Did we get the XP for beating the dragon? I don't think we got the full amount, but we got some. Do we still know where the dragon lives and can come back at a later time, prepared to take down a Black Dragon with an undead army? Oh hell yes. But that's later.

And even then, we may just use that information in a trade with the badass Red Dragon that lives somewhere in the region..... because, again.. none of us are idiots.
heuristically_alone wrote:I want to write a DnD campaign and play it by myself and DM it myself.
heuristically_alone wrote:I have been informed that this is called writing a book.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Ixtellor » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:28 pm UTC

SecondTalon wrote:Well, if you're playing the sort of game where


I was just joking/ imagining a campaign going terrible wrong.

SecondTalon wrote:we came across a Necromancer Black Dragon. So what did we do? Talked to it for a while,


My thoughts would have been:
1) Its ok to to parley with evil. Reacting with violence instantly is not a 'paladin' trait and if the evil comes seeking to speak, the paladin should respect that.
2) I think working with evil, is on the fence. I probably would have required my paladin players to pray or get some divine guidance.

There is no right way to play/DM a paladin, but thats probably how I would have handled it.


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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Chen » Thu Feb 11, 2010 3:36 pm UTC

Ixtellor wrote:My thoughts would have been:
1) Its ok to to parley with evil. Reacting with violence instantly is not a 'paladin' trait and if the evil comes seeking to speak, the paladin should respect that.
2) I think working with evil, is on the fence. I probably would have required my paladin players to pray or get some divine guidance.

There is no right way to play/DM a paladin, but thats probably how I would have handled it.


Yeah I pretty much agree with this. In D&D the problem is there are ABSOLUTE evils as opposed to the general grey zones of real life. This was always an issue with Paladins (or in 3.5 any exalted characters). An evil act, even for the greater good, is still something a paladin should generally refuse to do and should consequently lose their powers for doing, at least as per the books. It tends to come up more if your DM puts you in frequent "bad or worse" situations since there's rarely an easy "all around good" option that doesn't require massive sacrifice.

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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby MHD » Thu Feb 11, 2010 4:59 pm UTC

Currently I really like the concept that WOD: Mages have. I am working on a campaign that uses d20 rules instead of the WOD ones.

Furthermore I like making RPGs more than playing them. Currently I have one that combines Prototype-esque (the PS3/Xbox360/PC game) shape shifters with Psyren (a pretty awesome Shonen Manga) style psychics in a futuristic setting.
I also have ideas for one where the players take the roles of psychopomps with abilities akin to the ones seen in the Hunter X Hunter manga.
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Re: Dungeons and Dragons (and other tabletop RPGs)

Postby Vaniver » Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:20 pm UTC

So, a friend is thinking of starting up a PBP game. Having been burned by PBPs before, I don't want to play D&D or similar games, or possibly even rules-light games. What I'm interested in is a system designed for PBP, essentially- the basic framework I'm thinking of is combats taking a set number of rounds, capped at five (but hopefully less), and everyone issuing orders simultaneously.

Since it's a PBP, we're liberated from the d20 mechanic, although that's still something we could use. Does anyone know of a system that would fit these characteristics, or have any ideas for one?
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