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Ockham's Spoon

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Ockham's Spoon last won the day on March 8 2013

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  1. Brownies, because they are delicious by themselves, while chocolate cake usually needs frosting to make it really good. Breakfasts that could be deserts: Doughnuts vs. Pancakes
  2. Gazebo, because I got married in one. Also because Phil Foglio had a comic strip in Dragon magazine (What's New with Phil & Dixie) decades ago that introduced the superhero Gazebo Boy (who found his sole power of turning into a gazebo useless against the giant termite). Next up: Battle of the Artists Phil Foglio vs. Erol Otus
  3. Otyugh. This monster is practically an animated pile of offal which makes a neo-otyugh a new pile of animated offal, which is an oxymoron. Besides which, did we really need a next generation version of this monster? Back to the giant worms: asteroid worm from Empire Strikes Back vs. the sandworms from Dune
  4. Griffin. King of beasts + King of birds is going to trump the offspring of a mare and a griffin (and lord knows why the griffin didn't just eat the mare in the first place) Unusual non-human fantasy races: Cat people vs. Lizard people
  5. This is related to some of the other reasons or could overlap, but one that I think deserves a specific classification is villains who have a sense of entitlement. This may be because they think they are better than others (because they are supers or because they are white supremacists or whatever) or because they feel they have been wronged by society and so they are going to get their fair share by force. Villains like this don't perceive themselves as actual villains even if they break the law because they have justified their actions in their own minds.
  6. I would agree that giving the players a narrow common background tends to stifle their creativity and they end up having less invested in the game. I think Doc Democracy has an excellent idea in having the players come up with a reason they would want to be on a team. That gives the PCs a more organic reason to stick together rather than being forced into it. One twist on the police force team I enjoyed was a group of reformed criminals, organized by the government into super team as part of their restitution to society. The one caveat the players had was their characters couldn't be overtly violent or casual killers - they wouldn't be chosen for the team in that case. The policy argument was that it was cheaper than imprisoning them or trying to fund an additional government super team - better to put nonviolent supers to work helping others both for their own benefit and that of society. This set up led to lots of good backgrounds, conflicts with past associates as well as other super teams, and plenty of role-playing discussions over what made a hero a hero.
  7. My uncle didn't get the tree out to the curb for the scheduled tree pickup in the first week of January, so it sat in their house until late April, at which point all the needles had effectively shed onto the floor. In order to get rid of it without having to pay the extra fee or face the embarrassment of putting it out that late, he used a hacksaw to cut it into little pieces and put them in with the rest of the trash in bags so that regular garbage pickup would take it.
  8. How does Durkon have a Protection from Fire spell ready to go the instant after being raised from the dead? I guess Thor must have given him a full set of spells off-panel.
  9. It sounds like the players are meta-gaming rather than acting like real characters. They may not have some heroic code of ethics, but ask them point blank if they were really in a situation where someone could die would they be so flippant about it? This isn't supposed to be like a video game. If they are going to be callous enough to risk the lives of innocents (a 5 story fall probably won't kill anyone and we can heal later) then public opinion of them is going to go sour when someone gets hurt, and they can expect less cooperation from law enforcement and other heroes, even if everyone gets healed ultimately. "The end justifies the means" is hardly a heroic sentiment. You might also put the shoe on the other foot. Team them up with a 'hero' who has a dangerous AoE attack who uses it indiscriminately and blasts his teammates along with the villains. Afterward, he explains it away "You are all tough heroes, I knew you wouldn't be too hurt by it, and besides your mage can always heal you." Or have him injure one of the character's DNPCs in a similar situation and shrug it off saying "Well nobody died. No harm, no foul, right?" Alternately, you might have them in a situation where they are depending on the mage to fix their mistakes, but the mage is unavailable or incapacitated at the time.
  10. Boosted EGO only vs. Mental Paralysis is probably the easiest way. Mental Defense wouldn't work unless the Mental Paralysis is bought with the Limitation "Mental Defense Adds to EGO" Mental Damage Negation will work (I asked Mr. Long about this sometime back) and with enough levels seems to me to be the closest mechanical fit to "immune" to Mental Paralysis. Cost-wise it probably comes close to the boosted EGO cost: 8 levels Damage Negation, only vs. Mental Paralysis (-1) Active: 40, Real: 20. The exact limitation amount would probably depend on how common Mental Paralysis is in your game. I don't see Invisibility working without some serious hand-waving; mental powers require Line of Sight, but that just means you have a targeting sense that can detect the target, which leads to buying Invisibility vs. Sight and Mental Sense with the Limitation: Doesn't make character invisible to Sight except for targeting by Mental Powers, which is pretty wonky.
  11. This question gets to my core problem with most magic and supernatural abilities and effects - the underlying mechanics aren't explained well enough to spec them out. What is it about holy places/items that cause vampires difficulty? Is it the power of a god that opposes their corrupt nature or perhaps a subconscious mental effect generated by strong faith, or something else entirely? And once you figure that out, why do vampires avoid garlic? But then trying to enforce logic on myths and magic is a losing battle unless you allow that some superstitions are misinformed or baseless. As for your PC mage, why doesn't he just create a spell that will generate sunlight? That will be similarly damaging to the vampires and avoid the whole issue of whether he can create a 'holiness' field with his arcane powers.
  12. Steven Seagal as the title character in a remake of "The Jerk" Jerry Seinfeld as the next James Bond Kristen Stewart as the lead in a biopic about Rosa Parks
  13. Fantasy RPG is easier to conceive of and run, because society and technology haven't advanced as far. You might argue that magic complicates things, but really magic is handy for anything you need to do or explain away because you can just fall back on the plot contrivance "it's magic". Superhero stories (and Sci-Fi too) require a lot more thought and imagination on the part of the GM and players to envision a more complex world and tell stories about it that don't have plot holes. And while magic might exist in a superhero story, the interaction with modern society is a lot more complicated. Also, as noted above, Fantasy is easier because it is much more black and white. Rescue the princess, kill the evil wizard. Superheroes can't kill with abandon, and morality tends to be more nuanced, which again makes it harder to play. More rewarding perhaps, but harder. Which is not to say Fantasy can't be nuanced and complicated too, but generally speaking it isn't.
  14. As mentioned earlier, it depends on what you want critical hits to do. Max damage is kind of the default, but not the only option. In my games if the roll is under half of what is needed to hit, the player can roll twice for the damage and then take the greater (or lesser) of the two rolls. That means really good To-Hit rolls tend to be more effective, which makes intuitive sense, but it isn't max damage so it isn't as unbalancing. Also, because PC's tend to have better OCV & DCV relative to low-level thugs, it is a mechanic that mostly benefits the players.
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