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massey last won the day on July 25 2017

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  1. Yes, the explanation of how you want it to function is more important than the real world description of what it is. And add to that, often our limitations are only approximations of how we want things to function. Remember the scene from Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome where he leaves all his weapons before entering Bartertown? He drops off like twenty different guns. Then, of course, he's still got another one hidden on him, because he's awesome. There are several ways to represent this. In the film, we don't actually see them perform any kind of search on Max. It could be that his big show of dropping off all the other guns fooled them (Acting roll, or maybe a Presence Attack combined with a Concealment roll). They were so stunned by how many weapons he was carrying (and his apparent honesty at turning them in) that they just didn't think about looking for more. Alternatively, it's possible that Max "bought" the weapon as an IAF. IAF, where the description of the power is that people just don't find it. It's similar to the OIF "object of opportunity" idea. 8D6 Energy Blast, "thrown rock", OIF object of opportunity. Because for this character, there's always a rock or something around that you can throw. He's difficult to disarm because he can always grab a thing that just happens to be nearby (because that's why he paid points for the power), and he can throw that for damage. With IAF, the player wants the character to always have a concealed weapon that the guards just miss for some reason. Whether they just always do a crappy search, or its made of special materials, or he has a super-secret place to hide it, in narrative terms he's always got that backup weapon that nobody knew about. Hence he buys it IAF. Now that doesn't mean that every concealed weapon must be purchased that way -- it is a way to do things as opposed to the way. After all, you could just buy it with no limitation at all. Or you could buy it OAF (it's still clearly a gun) and just try to sneak around with it by other means.
  2. A sword cane is clearly less obvious than a normal sword, and clearly more obvious than an invisible blade. While we could create a "semi-obvious" limitation, the differences between -1/2 and -1/4 aren't really all that great. To me the answer is pretty obvious. The player determines which limitation to take, based upon how he wants it to function. A derringer built as an IAF is automatically concealed. No skill rolls, no worries. Unless you're subjected to a strip search or have to go through a metal detector, the guards will not find the weapon. A gun built as OAF with bonuses to concealment will be found easily, unless you make your roll. I think we should keep in mind that circumstances may affect whether a limitation comes into play or not, but that usually doesn't affect the value of the limitation unless it happens very frequently (or infrequently). A large pair of mechanical wings that a character straps themselves into would be OAF, even if you use them at night, even if you fly high enough to avoid detection. A sniper's camo gear is OAF, even though it helps him hide. Anyone who sees him wearing it knows instantly what he's wearing (you can't walk around town with it without people noticing). The type of campaign also has to be kept in mind. A werewolf may have his powers "only under a full moon", which may be a -1 or even a -2. But if you're playing a werewolf-oriented campaign, and the adventures only take place during the full moon anyway, it may be worth a lot less (or not even be a limitation at all). It just depends on what the game sessions are expected to be. In Vampire: The Masquerade, the characters only go out at night. But everybody is a vampire, so nobody goes out in the daytime anyway. It isn't likely to come up at all unless you run into human hunters.
  3. And they may be right, for their games. But it isn't universal. The core of this argument comes up with some frequency, but it takes different forms each time. It boils down to how much you can divorce the character description from the character build. In a game where you can define the special effects of your powers and abilities, what are the limits? The rules themselves don't establish any limits, you are free to define your character however you wish. But not all character descriptions are appropriate for all genres, or all campaigns. It totally changes the feel of the story to include supernatural powers where they didn't exist before. Die Hard is a great film, and if you're trying to duplicate that kind of story then you probably don't want John McClane to take X-ray vision or psychic powers. It might be a fun game to allow them, but maybe that's not the kind of story you want to tell. Depending on the level of realism you're trying to pursue, abilities like Combat Luck or Rapid Healing may or may not be appropriate. These kinds of restrictions are fine. In fact they are necessary to establish the proper tone of your game. Both the GM and the players should understand what these basic assumptions are, and why they are in place. Personally, I've found that many modern fantasy games are too heavily influenced by video games and anime. I don't play World of Warcraft or any of those games, and I don't watch anime, and I don't want that creeping over into my D&D. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm a grouchy old timer and that's not what I want to play. If somebody came in with their "AOE buff spell" character, I would scowl and complain. It isn't something I want in my games. Perfectly book legal, but definitely something that takes me out of the game. It breaks the verisimilitude. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying "I don't want this in my game". As I said, it's actually necessary to establish a campaign that's more than just a hodge-podge of thrown together stuff. But you also have to acknowledge that there are games where it fits in just fine. There's nothing against the rules in designing a character like that.
  4. Here's the final, true, 1000% correct answer. Anyone who disagrees with me is wrong. It is perfectly legal to take Distinctive Features: missing arm, and then not take further Disadvantages/Complications related to it, thus functioning the same as a character with two arms. The rules allow you to do this. Doing so will not be appropriate in all campaigns, and the concept will make some GMs have a conniption fit (see lane, zs). This doesn't make it any less book legal though.
  5. That's how it works in Battletech, so it's good enough for me.
  6. Anne Ramsey as Pussy Galore Jaleel White as Shaft
  7. http://surbrook.devermore.net/adaptationsmovie/asstd_movie/seagal.html One thing you won't find on that character sheet: the Acting skill.
  8. massey

    Question on pathfinder

    I'm not saying that it's wrong. It's just not what appeals to me. I understand that I'm now the target demographic for Just For Men commercials, not whatever hip things the kids are doing these days. Doesn't mean I have to like it.
  9. They say art imitates life.
  10. massey

    Question on pathfinder

    One of my biggest complaints about Pathfinder is that eventually it just becomes obvious that you're adding numbers to beat the other guy's added numbers. "Cool" effects and powers are trumped by adding lots of little bonuses up and having a bigger number at the end. I don't like the "buffing" era of RPGs where it's all about stacking bonuses. My other complaint is related to it, and that's that there's a very video-gamey feel to it. It doesn't feel like the fantasy I grew up with, it clearly evokes a World of Warcraft vibe. Some of their character classes even look like they stepped right out of a video game (Arcane Archer, anyone?). It doesn't fit with my preferred early-80s "Excalibur", "Conan", and "Krull" style of fantasy. But that's a personal preference, I know.
  11. massey

    Defenses compared to Attacks

    I used to cram as many defenses on characters as I could. 3x the dice wouldn't be uncommon at all, and often I'd have something like 2.5x the dice plus 50% damage reduction (both sides). Damage Reduction was pretty standard in our group for many years. Within the last few years, I've experimented with other options. We're still a point-crunching, combat heavy group, so I've made sure my characters are still effective. But I've played with characters with far lower defenses than I'm used to. So far I've tried: --High defenses (3x or 2.5x with reduction) -- these guys are thick. Combats take a long time, and you can shrug off much larger attacks than the campaign average. You never bother to dodge, because avoiding a hit isn't that important. Pushed haymakers can sting, and often those (plus a good damage roll) are the only way to really Stun him. Every battle is a classic comic book slugfest where people are getting smashed through walls and then get up. --Below average defenses (~1.75x) plus high DCV -- they rely on avoiding hits, but one blow isn't catastrophic. Combats take a long time because you're always dodging. You need a higher Speed than your opponent if you're going to be able to attack back. As long as your Def + Con is higher than the average Stun roll (so in a 12D6 game, maybe 20 Def + 25 Con), you can probably survive a lucky to-hit roll, but don't count on it. This character requires a more active play style, because you're always on the knife edge of getting knocked out. But they can still be combat effective because most attacks will miss. You want a DCV at least 3 higher than the average OCV though (before dodging). --Pitiful defenses (less than 1.5) plus a special trick -- you rely entirely on your trick, if it doesn't work, you get knocked out (or hospitalized). Desolidification, Invisibility, Shrinking, things like that. These characters are somewhat frustrating, because it's a total rock/paper/scissors game. Either somebody has something that can affect you or they don't. You either have total free reign to do whatever you want or you get blasted into the dirt immediately. It also puts the GM in a bind, because they know when they're setting up the scenario whether the enemies will have the tools to counteract your "one cool trick". These characters tend to get played for a few sessions and then retired because you know the GM is gonna get sick of it soon.
  12. The GM only gets to be the GM because the other players allow it. At the end of the day, we're all independent people sitting around a table.
  13. Bright was okay. Worth an hour and a half, I think. But yeah, if you're okay with a little bit of Bright existing in your superhero world, that's fine. But the guy who wants a straight up 1940s Golden Age game won't be happy. Every campaign ends up a mixture of styles, that's part of what makes them unique. Of course now I'm thinking of a 1940s orc detective in a trenchoat with a fedora and a bottle of Jack Daniels.
  14. I agree. If somebody wants to play Batman, except he's angry because orcs killed his parents, and so he patrols the streets of Gotham fighting orcs, then... umm... what? You're doing what now, Batman? "Orcs killed my parents, so I'm hunting them down." "There are no orcs in Gotham, Batman. This is not a fantasy world." Now maybe the idea sounds awesome, and everybody decides that orcs in Gotham are totally a thing now. No problem. But we all have the right to walk away from the gaming table. Nobody can force you to play in a campaign that sounds stupid. If the GM says "no, this is lame. It's not what I want to run, I'm not running that game" then that's his right. We do this for fun, and if one person is being unreasonable about it and ruining other people's fun, that's something that needs to be discussed among the people at the table. Sometimes that's a player who is ruining the fun, sometimes it's the GM. For most fantasy games, I don't think the one-armed man is any more unrealistic than the blind ninja. I'm reminded of a character in Street Fighter 3 who only had one arm, and it doesn't affect him because "he's that damn good". It sounds like the player wants it to be purely cosmetic, like Nick Fury's eyepatch. Now, maybe that ruins the game for some people, but I don't really see it being a problem in most campaigns. An ultra-gritty game? Probably not appropriate. But fantasy? I don't see an issue. For me anyway.
  15. massey

    Making an Area Holy

    To go with a more game mechanics-oriented answer, somebody has to pay the points for it. It doesn't matter who, but somebody's got to. Let's say that Larry the Vampire takes some disadvantages. He can't enter church grounds. He takes x2 from Presence attacks from people wielding a cross (and he buys some of his Presence "not vs people with crosses"). Larry sets up what restrictions he wants to come into play, and he gets points for it. If Larry wants to be affected by all religious symbols (so a Scientologist can drive him away with a VHS copy of Battlefield Earth), then he gets more points for that. The disadvantage is more severe. If he wants only certain things to affect him (you've gotta have a cross made from certain materials, or that has gone through a ritual, or you've gotta have a campaign specific "True Faith" perk), then he gets a lot fewer points. It's not much of a disadvantage by that point. In that instance, Larry is the one who "paid" for it, because he knowingly took the points for the disadvantages. You don't have to pay points to trigger Larry's disads, because Larry already did that for you. At the other extreme, let's say that Bob also wants to play a vampire. But Bob's vampire is different, because of Anne Rice or Twilight or something. He's a vampire priest, and he still goes to church and takes communion and everything. Well he just doesn't take those disadvantages, so the normal anti-vampire tactics don't work on him. But now Dave the vampire hunter comes along, and Dave wants a cross that doesn't just repel vampires -- it obliterates them. Dave buys it as a 6D6 RKA, only vs vampires. Even though Bob's priest vampire is normally not affected by crosses, he's affected by this one, because Dave paid for it. In this game, it seems that vampires normally have some kind of vulnerability/disadvantage versus crosses and other holy objects. But this specific holy cross has a greater effect than normal. It's better than a normal cross for some reason. In this instance, I'd suggest that basically God paid the points for the cross. A priest or somebody might be able to pray and convince God to make another one (maybe through roleplaying, maybe with a Change Environment, maybe by just paying the points themselves), but it's not something that can be accessed for free with the mage's VPP.