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Messages - Ghostmaker

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Media & Inspiration / Re: Banned... an RPGnet cancellation brings me here
« on: September 24, 2020, 08:28:20 AM »
They need to just wipe the Tangency board off the forum entirely.

Straight up say 'No politics. We don't care if you have a Donald Trump body pillow or Joe Biden's face tattooed on your chest. This is a place for games. And don't act like an asshat either.'

But of course, because they're actively involved in 'diversity' (except the intellectual/political kind) and 'safe spaces', they'll never narrow the rules down to something sane and normal.

Generally alt history only starts catching flak if it's utterly improbable.

When I say 'improbable', I am NOT referring to Alien Space Bat interference. That comes up sometimes. What I mean is changes that stretch the credulity of the reader by positing nigh-impossible changes.

WW2 Alt History A: Hitler, despite the temptation, decides to NOT attack the Russians and break the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. He has his hands full with subduing Europe and opts to purge the filthy Cossacks and their Communist masters another day.

That's plausible (even if Hitler was starting to lose his marbles around this time).

WW2 Alt History B: Hitler breaks the pact and annihilates the Russian army by utilizing powerful super-soldiers to back up his conventional units.

That's kind of the plot for Kieron Gillen's series Uber. Still workable even with a dose of Alien Space Bat magic.

WW2 Alt History C: Hitler breaks the pact and annihilates the Russians in the middle of winter.

Hahah no. There's a reason General Winter is a 'thing' in Russia. The Germans simply were not going to take Russian territory when they were freezing and low on fuel for vehicles.

Does that make sense?

I played a 20th level one shot last halloween where we were rescuing two small children from the local village held hostage by a sort of home-brew lich. 

Every round that fucker blasted an AoE attack of Necrotic Damage, sufficent to kill the little bastards. And they were chained to the wall. I don't know if it was teh GM or the module writer (I suspect a mix of both) but there was literally nothing a party of five 20th level characters could do to keep those little shits alive the whole fight.  The encounter seemed to have a hard counter to everything we brought to the table, like it was written with abusing the rules in mind. 

Just in case, I have since refused to play with that GM again. Even if it was the module he was using, his choice of modules indicates his severe lack of judgement.

THe entire experience of the night, up to that point, was that of playing against someone who had made an exaustive study of what experienced players did and then designing a series of challenges that deliberately subverted what players did, or made up new rules (creatures/spells/etc) that did not obey the rules of D&D to make normal solutions unviable.  It was one long night of 'no, you can't do that' and 'these things attacking you can't be damaged or dispelled' and 'the fire can't be extinguished or dispelled, its a curse so it needs to be 'remove curse' and so forth.

So, yeah, we didn't rescue any hostage children. Thanks for reminding me of one of the most frustrating gaming experiences I've had in twenty years.
Wow. That's the sort of experience that could make someone swear off RPGs in general. While I'm a firm believer in Rule 0, if you've cooked up a custom baddie it should always have a counter, or some other weakness that the players can figure out how to exploit. Even if it's mildly obscure, that's what divinations are for! And if the PCs outfox you, smile, chuckle, and call it a learning experience.

(Reminded of the BBEG in the Pathfinder adventure path Second Darkness. If you confront her with some element of her past -- her old clerical robes -- she actually freezes up for a round, then goes completely bonkers spraying spells in all directions (hitting allies and suffering a serious spell failure chance). The fact this wound up in a sidebar makes me suspect a Paizo playtester pulled it on the GM and they had to improvise.)

You have my sympathies, sir.

I was sorely tempted to write a character background for a bioconservative neo-octopus who persists in pointing out that, y'know, if you've just burned your house to the ground it's going to be hard to convince some people that fire is awesome. So maybe, just maybe, the Jovians have a point about eschewing certain technologies in the short term.

That and EP (at least, the editions I've seen) never explains WHY the Jovian habitats have such problems... which leads me to wonder if certain radical autonomists are sabotaging the habitats. Which would most certainly piss off a number of factions and not just the Jovians (Firewall would certainly disapprove, since there are MUCH more serious targets).

But yeah. Body dysphoria should only be a long running issue if you're sleeved into a morph that you're having trouble adapting to, or if you're literally rock-on-ground poor and can't afford a morph swap.

Media & Inspiration / Re: Banned... an RPGnet cancellation brings me here
« on: September 23, 2020, 10:14:03 AM »
Honestly, the bizarre behavior of TBP could fill a thread, but I'll leave it at this:

The mods there are notoriously left-leaning, thin skinned, and blatantly play favorites. And as a friend of mine pointed out, nothing can be done about it in practical terms -- except leave.

Welcome aboard, soundchaser :)

It deeply worries me that we're having to go to Penthouse for clear thinking on the problem.

The RPGPundit's Own Forum / Re: 2020 Election Commentary
« on: September 22, 2020, 11:02:26 AM »
Honestly, at this point I don't really care. Trump is going to get another SCOTUS pick; the word is out that Romney will vote yes (I cannot help but wonder if someone passed him a note with Harry Reid's infamous response, when Reid was confronted about lying regarding Romney's tax returns: 'we won, didn't we?').

I also think it's very unlikely Sundown Joe will upset Trump. The Democrats have foolishly leashed their horses to the riots, and that will not make them popular no matter how many times they scream 'ORANGE MAN BAD'.

The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

Tenser's Floating Disk, sure would come in handy.
LOL, I'm an idiot. Completely forgot the ol' floating disc.

Depends on the system, obviously, but I would treat any normal-sized PC carrying a child in such a manner as at the very least encumbered.

If the kid is small enough and you can fashion a papoose or baby harness, I'd treat it as normal weight, or even reduce it a little.

PCs, obviously, have access to some useful tricks to getting around these issues. Reduce person for short periods can lighten the load (and of course lead to 'Honey I Shrunk The Kids' jokes). Summon monster might be useful to negotiate rough terrain for brief periods, and mount or phantom steed can make for easy carrying on the open road. Called and bound outsiders may or may not object to carrying children (and vice versa); while a hound archon or earth elemental might not complain, a bone devil might not be a great option.

Putting kids in an extradimensional space such as a portable hole is a questionable idea, unless you've got someone in there with them as a caretaker (in addition to the issues of air, food, water, light, etc).

Free range dragon farming. Oh lordy. Someone get a telescope, my sides are in orbit.

I am reminded of a truism that Bruce Lee used regarding martial arts and learning: absorb what is useful, but discard what is not. The same applies to campaigns and settings. If you're a DM, YOU are the ultimate arbiter as to what goes into your setting.

All this fol-de-rol about orcs is just people wanting to impose THEIR views on YOUR campaign.

Contemplate the following:

it is now considered alt right to defend yourself with weapons against physical assault and arson.

Only if those committing the assault or arson are "approved persons".
True. I stand corrected on that.

Most hard sci-fi, with rare exceptions, usually has one or two 'gimmes' (future tech, improbable event) to move things along.

A good example is The Martian. There are a few errors in the film, the most glaring being that Mars's atmosphere is too thin to generate that kind of tear-shit-up storm at the start. Still, it serves to boot the plot up, so I can forgive it.

2001, similarly, has the Monolith as well as HAL the artificial intelligence. Although humorously, there is one tiny but important special effects failure in the film; while riding the spaceplane, Heywood Floyd is served an in-flight meal. While sipping from his beverage, the fluid goes back down in the straw -- but in zero-g it wouldn't do that. A tiny and forgivable error, though, considering the limitations of filmmaking in that era (hell, I was impressed with the shot where the stewardess -walks up a wall- to the flight deck to deliver the crew's meals).

Never got around to trying it, but I've considered doing a campaign where Raise Dead works like Princess Bride and the distinction between mostly dead and all dead (complete with looking through pockets for loose change).  There's even an element of that in Raise Dead as written, with needing to have the body.  Maybe take it a little further, where Raise Dead only works if it is fantastical but plausible that the character is still there in a modern sense, but fantasy world medicine treats it as dead.  (In reality, the character is in a coma or has other problems that makes him look dead at first.)  You'd have to do a little toe-tapping around things like body decomposition, breathing, and the like.  So wouldn't work in just any campaign.  Something like your spirit hangs around if the death wasn't too traumatic, waiting for your body to give up.  Fall into lava or get decapitated, the spirit takes one look and decides it is out of there.  Some characters might even have a "Detect Life" spell that determines if the spirit is available.
So Westley's problem was that he had a ton of negative levels and was trying to roll saves to shake them off? :D

I had a magic items thread around here somewhere....

My personal favorite was the dwarven cursebreaker, which let you literally beat a curse out of someone afflicted.

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