View Profile: Ralif Redhammer - D&D, Pathfinder, and RPGs at Morrus' Unofficial Tabletop RPG News
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:59 PM
    Most solo encounters are much weaker in 5e then they seem on paper because of the disparity in the number of actions a single creature gets vs. a full party. I wouldn't use your hatchling - it's a bag of HPs that if it hits does minor scratches, to be attacked by everyone else in the party and worn down quickly. Unless it stays far up, in which case the ranged characters will be the only ones...
    9 replies | 198 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:04 PM
    Blue replied to D&D CRPGS & You!
    BTW, in the same ida as the two Balder's Gate's games was Icewind Dale. Same basic idea, you know what you are getting into. Oh, and if you haven't played them yet, the old Dragon Age games and Mass Effect games. Which as first-person and not turn-based. It's three person teams and you only have full control over yourself in terms of both build and actions - you level up the others and...
    4 replies | 128 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:28 PM
    Just finished Night Watch by Sir Terry Pratchett. I've always liked Vimes, how can you go wrong with Fifth Elephant or any of the other stories highlighting him and the Night Watch? This one I especially enjoyed. Just who is Sam Vimes when he's free of any external expectations about who he is. (Well, perhaps except from some external pressures from himself, which is a sentence that will...
    14 replies | 318 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:23 PM
    Just remembered a bit of time travel in a less than serious game with rotating DMs. The party was in an inter-dimensional bazaar where anything was for sale, and they needed to be able to time travel (I don't remember why). So they tracked down a lead where to go and are heading there, when across a busy street they see themselves. The other set of them wave and yell out over the traffic...
    34 replies | 758 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:44 PM
    Blue replied to Suspense in RPGs
    Just to add to your list, players buy victory with a lot of non-mechanical currency as well. Trading in that favor they are owed. Accepting loss of face to the court to beg the king to intervene. Promising an open-ended favor to an honorable villain for him to withdraw his support from the irredeemably evil big bad. Sacrificing themselves to allow the ritual to be stopped and the world saved.
    23 replies | 423 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:44 PM
    I think it would work balance-wise. Something I don't know if you intended, but is a big feature for me, is that if you replace the equipment section with this it gives a lot more flexibility in describing the appropriate armor for your character without the potential to mechanically penalize yourself. Your street rat could be wearing leather jacket and chaps, your barbarian is wearing...
    50 replies | 1088 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 09:52 PM
    Plenty of love for following the direction the players put out. With the "super NPC" analogy, there's a writing big about "Kill your darlings" - in other words anything that you've fallen so in love with that it will warp the rest of your story needs to go. That doesn't mean you can't have cool campaign ideas (or cool NPCs), it means that you can't let them take the spotlight or the choices...
    26 replies | 610 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 05:38 PM
    Blue replied to D&D CRPGS & You!
    A spiritual successor to Planescape: Torment is out with Cypher system (Monte Cook) rules, called Torment: Tides of Numenera. While not D&D rules, I strongly recommend Pillars of Eternity. (Yes, Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire just came out. The first one is really good and worth playing first, then try the second one. I'm still playing the second one and found the first plot more...
    4 replies | 128 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 03:44 PM
    That is definitely one of the charms of 1e and 2e. The last time I played 1e, it was with a player that claimed he “rolled high.” Except, when we did ability checks, he suddenly would always “roll” low. Cheating didn’t stop his character from getting shredded by a Slaad. As much as I have a soft-spot for OSR mechanics, when 3e came out, I really dug the unified mechanics. But I also switched...
    22 replies | 422 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 03:38 PM
    There are plenty of books I could recommend, but let me start with a question: what kind of books do you normally enjoy? Any particular subgenres you dig, or are looking to get into?
    14 replies | 318 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 03:37 PM
    I really enjoyed the first in that series, and need to get to the second. The magic system and worldbuilding are glorious. But yes, it isn’t quite as jaw-dropping awesome as the Inheritance Trilogy.
    14 replies | 318 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 02:33 AM
    I look for something that is particularly different and compelling, and then hang from there. I like coming up with what's unique about the setting and crafting a story around that, which couldn't happen in a "standard" faux-european-medeival-wtih-magic world. Let me give an example of a D&D campaign I've got "on-deck" to show what I mean that the setting leads the story and the story the...
    26 replies | 610 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 18th June, 2018, 05:08 PM
    I've been involved in time traveling as both player and DM several times, but never in a D&D-type game. Well, not entirely true, there was an adventure in the far past, but it was very strictly limited in scope. Superheroes has been the most common time-travel genre, up to the point where one player had a character who was a time agent who worked to keep the timeline "correct". (In a game...
    34 replies | 758 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 18th June, 2018, 01:21 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    It's amusing, but as an analogy misses the point. All of the pieces of a color are controlled by the same player - they are more like class features, not individual characters. The two players are balanced in features - the primary difference at the state of the game is who has initiative. :)
    81 replies | 2779 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 18th June, 2018, 12:59 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    Because a DM balancing a min/max build without overwhelming the players with regular builds is actually a real challenge. If I was going to be snarky, I would make a comment along the lines of "if a DM doesn't know that, then maybe someone else should DM" - really it's easy to adjust your challenges to a group that on even keel, be it all min/maxed or all median, or all suboptimal. The game...
    81 replies | 2779 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 18th June, 2018, 12:54 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    While he doesn't describe my table, I have seen plenty of it, especially at the AL games at my FLGS. We shouldn't try to be gatekeepers, dismissing other's style or games as not part of regular play.
    81 replies | 2779 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 06:57 PM
    Blue replied to Balancing D&D
    Simplest doesn't always mean best though. The MC removal in particular sounds like using a shotgun to kill flies. Not as overwhelming as nuking ti from orbit, but still massive overkill.
    81 replies | 2779 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 12:54 PM
    That's only two encounters per day, about 1/3 of what you can expect. Let's talk about the majority of the time, when rage isn't active. Or let's invest more in barbarian to get more rages. That's why I was asking for numbers - I don't see being very good at the STR checks. I see having a medium STR that struggles to succeed half the time, and two combats a day having advantage which...
    11 replies | 349 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th June, 2018, 01:11 AM
    Welcome to ENWorld, have some XP! There was a recent change in the order for triggered bonus actions, that they have to happen after the triggering action. So you won't get your Shield Master shove (to prone) until after your Attack action has completed. Makes it less useful. 2 rages a day is about 1/3 of your expected combats per day. Is it really worth delaying Extra Attack for? ...
    11 replies | 349 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:53 PM
    Nah, I'm calling myself old. But more seriously I don't have time for that anymore - play on evening every other week after work instead of a 12 hour marathon every weekend plus some other games during the week. I want to get to the "good parts", not spend 90 minutes mapping a maze.
    62 replies | 1596 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:08 AM
    AH, I've been playing that long as well, started back with Red Box Basic. I've just had my tastes in what I look for in a game mature over time. :)
    62 replies | 1596 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:07 AM
    To me, this feels like arguments against climate change. "Well, some scientists say yes, and some scientists say no, so there is no truth." When really, well over 95% of climate scientists have some strong level of agreement that it's happening and the gross symptoms and causes, even if they may vary in what particulars they have studied. Same for balance. It's pretty easy to get a...
    42 replies | 1541 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 02:39 AM
    You had a longer, nuanced post, but I needed to comment on this specific part. Because it implies that you never do anything outside of combat that requires a roll. Because every, every, EVERY one of those ability/skill rolls made outside combat has disadvantage with even a single level of exhaustion. And with how slow exhaustion goes away, it can last for the entire adventure.
    37 replies | 915 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th June, 2018, 01:32 AM
    Avariel 18 Drow 13 Eladrin 22 Grugach 4 + 1 = 5 High Elf 25 Sea Elf 12 Shadar-Kai 11 - 2 = 9 Wood Elf 31 Grugach are so much cooler then those masby pamsy wood elves. They are all isolationist xenophobes - a non-evil race of elves that still isn't happy to see you. I like it.
    186 replies | 3586 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 10:33 PM
    Let me give an incomplete answer. 5e has cut down on the need and availability of "magic item christmas trees", where magic item pluses are part of character advancement math. Magic items are rarer, and pluses are not needed. It's much lower magic item then 3.x and 4e. 5e has cut down on the number of spells available to high level casters, especially reducing the number of most of the...
    52 replies | 1802 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 09:59 PM
    It really varies. While over the course of the campaign it might be in the same neighborhood as your once per 2-3 sessions, these things usually don't occur evenly distributed. They tend to bunch up against fights where we come in with poor tactics, or have a run of bad dice rolls that allow someone to drop and now everyone else is trying to pick up the slack and protect them and others drop. ...
    37 replies | 915 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 09:52 PM
    I'm not comparing against one subclass, I'm comparing against two other subclasses. For instance, Fighter (Samurai + Champion) can give themselves Advantage and take advantage of an increased crit range at the same time. Their power is straightforward increased as they both work at the same time in a multiplicative way. A Paladin (Devotion + Vengeance) will be able to benfit from both...
    12 replies | 289 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:50 PM
    Really good point. Channel divinity can join Ki as another example. And it could also be contention for other resources - for example if both subclasses grant special abilities that need a bonus action to activate, then it's either/or vs. other classes that could get all of their advantages at the same time.
    12 replies | 289 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:48 PM
    Wouldn't this be the opposite? Two of the same class are more likely to have overlap if they are picking two subclasses instead of one. That's not against the idea, just that that partial goal I don't think it addresses.
    12 replies | 289 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:43 PM
    I do mapping! Oh wait, I'm the DM. In reality, I make sure my players never have to do mapping. If I throw something like a maze at them, it's a skill challenge type-of-thing to work through it, not "you go 20 feet and can turn left or continue straight". I don't see the value in introducing meaningless points of decision. By meaningless, I mean that the players have no information to...
    62 replies | 1596 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:27 PM
    TwoSix said better than I can about how the best way to make the party look for non-combat solutions is to encourage those solutions, instead of making combat less fun / making players ultra-cautious. Even if exhaustion recovered completely every night, I don't think it's the mechanism for what you want - because the mechanics that support non-combat are ability/skill checks, and the very...
    37 replies | 915 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 08:03 PM
    Let me ask you the same question, but looking at the full impact of this. How could a few rounds of actions in a single combat possibly be as much fun as sucking on all in-combat and out-of-combat action for several days? How can a failed death save, with no long term consequences and easy-to-stand up with ANY healing compare to cumultive and crushing penalties for AT LEAST the rest fo the...
    37 replies | 915 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 02:00 PM
    I worry about how long it takes to all come together. At 5th level you have no ASI and are still levels away from getting the level 5 power bump. You're really hurting compared to others characters and aren't able to contribute at their level. At 5th other front liners are attacking twice with +4 to hit and damage, you're attacking once with +3 to hit and damage. With only a single attack,...
    5 replies | 14866 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 01:34 PM
    In the current campaign I run, it's one PC per player. In a different style of campaign I wouldn't mind a stable of characters - but I feel the campaign needs to be set up for that. Even then, it would be primarily one at a time, with occasionally RPing additional ones or rare circumstances where the situation demanded multiple characters from the same player to be present. Back in my...
    37 replies | 796 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th June, 2018, 12:11 AM
    Pardon me if the following reaction seems a bit extreme. NO! Okay, now onto a slightly more nuanced evaluation. Shadowrun had a Death Spiral, where taking damage made you less able to resist damage, which made you take more damage, which made you ineffective and unfun to play, and then it killed you. Exhaustion does the same.
    37 replies | 915 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 11:02 PM
    The Patrons all come from points where they have power and agenda. Determine why your dead brother had power, and what his agenda is, and some may leap out at you. If the source of your twin's power is his unnatural death (or alternately he gave his life so you could live), then The Undying from SCAG might be a fit. If you are allowed the UA subclasses, then The Raven Queen might also fit...
    1 replies | 135 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 10:51 PM
    I'm reading the Dreamblood Duology by NK. Jemisin. Hard to tell, I feel I'm nearing the end of the first book (The Killing Moon). I am enjoying the book, and I am definitely enjoying non-faux-European fantasy. It's quite good, but it isn't hitting the threshold of fantastic that The Fifth Season instilled. I think it may be the more traditional storyteller's voice she's using -- it's good,...
    14 replies | 318 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 09:56 PM
    Totally forgot to make a new thread! Shameful! Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth Wheel of Time book, is done. And one thing happened in the entire book that moved the plot along. Everything else was just moving chess pieces around the board to make it look like stuff was happening. Frustrating. Still I go onto the next book soon. But in-between, for the hour or two it’ll take me to read it,...
    14 replies | 318 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 09:55 PM
    Whoops, where did May go?
    32 replies | 989 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    I remember mispronouncing chitin, not as "ky-tin," but as "chit-in." Thanks Gamma World!
    59 replies | 1844 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 03:24 PM
    As a player, I love using the Help action in combat when my dice go cold. As a DM, outside of combat, the rule I live by is that the helper has to be able to help in the first place. In large groups, particularly, I resort to requiring someone to also be proficient in the skill being used. An adjacent skill might count – if the player can explain how it applies, that is. Otherwise, you’ll end up...
    121 replies | 3314 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 03:16 PM
    I’ll have to dig him, out, but I still have Shasak the Magic-User, a 30+ year-old character from when I was in 4th grade. My handwriting is marginally better, but thankfully, my spelling is greatly improved. I took a look recently and was aghast to see the word “boanus” written on it.
    59 replies | 1844 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 03:10 PM
    This. The player I had that would do stuff like this ended up getting booted from the group for some really heinous behavior later on. I put up with a lot of garbage player behavior on account of him being a friend, and in hindsight I wish I hadn’t.
    26 replies | 756 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th June, 2018, 03:00 PM
    Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth Wheel of Time book, is done. And one thing happened in the entire book that moved the plot along. Everything else was just moving chess pieces around the board to make it look like stuff was happening. Frustrating. Still I go onto the next book soon. But in-between, for the hour or two it’ll take me to read it, is an awful tale of a different sort. The Eye of...
    32 replies | 989 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Monday, 11th June, 2018, 04:33 PM
    I think that this has to be an out-of-game discussion. I generally outright tell my groups that they need to stick together. If a PC wants to go do a specific thing, they need to get buy-in from the rest of the group to do it. It’s no fun for the rest of the group to just sit there while one person does the thing for 5+ minutes. In most cases, I’ve found that players that do this are just...
    26 replies | 756 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Monday, 11th June, 2018, 04:03 PM
    Sound advice. I do try to make Nat 1’s more interesting than just embarrassing failures. In hindsight, I probably should’ve had the arrow of dragon slaying stick into the ice, rather than shatter. That way, it would’ve created drama and tension, with the potential for an up-beat moment if they can free it in time.
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Monday, 11th June, 2018, 04:01 PM
    Oh my. They must have been some serious damage dealers to take on an Ancient wyrm at that point in the module!
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 11th June, 2018, 02:06 AM
    That just made my house rules list. That's brilliant. It keeps doesn't increase player down time even with more creatures. (Well, it still can increase it if there are less summons then players for those without, but still.)
    31 replies | 2552 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th June, 2018, 08:27 PM
    Okay, looking at them both. Will start with a stream of conciousness, and then circle back around when I know more to evaluate. Starting with the House Rules: Hmm, don't know any of these subclasses mentioned. Strongly dislike language barriers in actual play. Something that should take up half a session of the entire campaign and then people should be able to move forward and play. ...
    5 replies | 256 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th June, 2018, 06:39 PM
    As a house rule, I allow Bards and Paladins to pick INT instead of CHR at 1st level for their features if it's more thematic.
    18 replies | 509 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:05 PM
    Nice! My PCs did very well versus Glazhael, which was why I figured I ought to make Arauthator that much harder. The funny thing was, they gleefully marched down to fight the white dragon in Skyreach Castle, but were utterly terrified of running into the vampire.
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:02 PM
    They were outright told by an NPC that all the previous adventurers had died, so they ought to have had an inkling. And I did mention that Arauthator goes back a ways in the lore, at the very least to a Dragon magazine article in the mid-nineties. I don’t mind putting the PCs through the wringer now and then, but I like it to be honestly tough, not just because they all somehow had bad luck...
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 06:56 PM
    That’s a great way to break up the action in a fight, and get some RP into combat. I will definitely try to use that more in the future.
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 04:02 PM
    Yes! That’s some right proper deduction! I actually kept him mostly on the ground – the last dragon they fought, Glazhael Cloud-Chaser, mostly kept to the air, so I didn’t want the fight to be the same thing as the last white dragon fight. By fighting on the ground, he was able to keep most of them boxed up in the choke point, too. I think this group suffers from not having a dedicated...
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 09:05 PM
    Heh, sometimes an orc gets promoted on the spot, I guess. I don’t mind throwing tough fights at them. That thrill of danger makes victory all the sweeter now and then. But this, a whole table with single-digit dice rolls, again and again, just was unbelievable.
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 08:59 PM
    Ooh, that's a good idea. Very Bloodborne, too, which is a game I love. Other than an increased chance of criticals for the dragon, it wouldn’t have changed much, since with their high attack bonuses, the dragon was already hitting more often than not.
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 06:29 PM
    Heh, yeah, that’s happened. It’s okay and totally cool for the PC to trounce the enemies now and then. But then other fights ought to be ones where they start wondering if they’re going to make it this time. I actually did have the dragon arrogantly provoke an OA from the one lower level PC. Doing that, and mentioning the sneering look on its face was enough to get folks fired up. If not the...
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 06:25 PM
    What’s obvious to the DM isn’t always obvious to the players, so true. I’m thinking about, at the start of the next session, mentioning how much as a DM I love when PCs interact with the environment to their advantage. Because, yeah, I'm a sucker for swashbuckling moves and clever stunts.
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 06:18 PM
    No, no one was bored-looking, that's for sure. And they certainly considered it a big win by the XP they got!
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 05:15 PM
    I think both players and DMs need to be conscious of players getting to have their moments. I’m always trying to give PCs opportunities for moments of awesome. It sounds like Player A didn’t mean to end up in that position, though. I’m not sure why the GM would’ve ruled that way, but I wouldn’t say it was the other players’ dice cutting out a player’s awesome moment, but the GM, making the...
    24 replies | 934 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 04:02 PM
    Yep, I was using all of those, plus the environment. The white dragon caught them in a choke point. The rogue got boxed in with a wall of ice, and the freezing clouds and falling icicles wreaked havoc. And only one PC thought to get out of the choke point (or get creative with her actions, getting good use out of oil and alchemists fire over time). But most of the PCs just hammered away...
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 03:01 PM
    Feeling in need of a little venting about last night’s session. Everything had been going swimmingly with the game. People had done some great role-playing with an NPC (so they were all full-up on Inspiration) and then we get to the big fight with the dragon. The fight opens with some solid hits on both sides. And then…the ranger rolls a nat 1 with her shot using the Arrow of Dragon-Slaying....
    31 replies | 991 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 03:35 AM
    I'd like to add another poll option (not that we can): Tension/Pacing. When a DM can keep you riding the edge of your seat, not knowing if you will survive or even knowing you won't - there's a talent there. Not only questioning if you can survive the airship crashing, but also keep it airborn long enough to give you some distance between the entire battalion of orcs you were bombing who are...
    37 replies | 1087 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 03:13 AM
    Great question. The just-one poll choice - as intended - was a tough point. I went back and forth several times, but finally went for adaptability. I see this from two aspects. One is improv - being able to do an entertaining, rewards, and meaningful session when you are completely off your tracks. (But that has Organization as a foundation for that, since if you know the big picture...
    37 replies | 1087 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 07:31 PM
    Gary Alan Fine’s study, Shared Fantasy, while falling later than this era, still is one of the earliest professional examinations of gaming. And in it, he describes cheating within the hobby as “rampant.” Whenever I find myself dealing with a cheater, it’s some consolation that this is something that people have been dealing with since the dawn of the hobby.
    92 replies | 3412 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 03:41 PM
    Neat! Peterson has a remarkable ability to uncover all sorts of documents you'd think would be long-lost to time. One wonders what was on his spell list, but considering the date, I imagine the answer would must be “all of them.”
    92 replies | 3412 view(s)
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  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 03:31 PM
    Until 3e, weren’t rangers required to be good-aligned? That may limit your options, depending on how much the books adhered to that rule. But there might be trackers and bounty hunters that could pass for rangers. He’s not D&D (Or is he, what with the Lycanthrope entry in the MM?), but the first evil ranger that comes to mind is Gaston from Beauty & the Beast, of all things.
    11 replies | 462 view(s)
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  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:17 AM
    Back in AD&D 2ed when a vorpal sword was 20=insta-kill I gave one out. However, I told them that it wasn't quite made correctly, and not to roll a 1.
    48 replies | 1715 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 02:15 AM
    Most excellent! I've seen DMs who said they were doing something like this, but still the lion's share of XP was from combat such that it didn't make a difference really. We'd still engage in combat at the drop of a hat because a session with a few encounters would be worth 20x the XP of a session with no encounters but full of good RP and moving the plot. Maybe not that much, but "you get 200...
    33 replies | 877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 04:20 PM
    Agreed on both counts. If you look at some of the most famous magic items, like The One Ring and Stormbringer, they come with drawbacks and prices to be paid. The only time I actually put just a straight negative something magic weapon out there was back when I a kid and the one player was being a jerk. Rather than doing the mature thing (in my defense, like I said, I was a kid!) by telling...
    48 replies | 1715 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 04:16 PM
    Congratulations! That’s no small feat.
    17 replies | 599 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    When I was a teen, a local used book store opened up called Chapter II Books. A friend mentioned that the font made it look like "Chapter 11 Books". Sure enough, it didn't survive. Though one smart thing it did was used textbooks for the several neighboring colleges. Those things were dang expensive.
    32 replies | 989 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 07:42 PM
    The lack of details would make me hesitate on that price tag. Heck, so would the price tag alone, for that matter! What they showed during the Stream of Many Eyes looked cool, but nowhere near enough to justify that price for me. I don't use battlemaps or minis, so those features would lost on me. Also, you could totally see the Wizards hosts’ faces turn to stone when the Beadle & Grimm...
    15 replies | 1181 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    Nothing directly, at least that I saw. But in Mearls’ Jocks Machina session, Paul (the Big Show) Wight was playing a half-giant from Athas, so there’s that.
    533 replies | 21127 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 03:50 PM
    Cosigned, a thousand times.
    48 replies | 1715 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 02:33 PM
    Your statement - resisting a save-or-suck spell you would otherwise fail vs. a single round of keeping a foe close - is generally true. But the frequency of them coming up makes a big difference in utility. I'll say that being very hard to hit, most foes will not want to concentrate on you. Getting up to one and marking them (soft forcing them to concentrate on you if they stay adjacent) is...
    23 replies | 1075 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 02:16 PM
    I think I would boil this down to a simpler point: If the game mechanics defines the players "winning" as the group overcoming obstacles, then getting to be more competent/powerful will be a player goal. If the game mechanics defines the players "winning" as telling the best story, then having lots of hooks and ways to mechanically use flaws and rising/falling tension The game mechanics...
    32 replies | 1060 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 02:59 AM
    Hopefully then I can give you better math that whomever calculated it out. The problem is that the XP budget is calculated with a modifier based on the number of foes, but that modifier doesn't affect the XP actually awarded. For a party of 3-6 people, if you have a foe per PC then it's a x2 modifier. So each PC ends up getting about half the XP per enounter listed. Sure, sometimes it's a...
    33 replies | 877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 01:19 AM
    Are your rates the same for different activities as long as they are meaningful? For example, is an hour long meaningful combat with good player focus and a hour long meaningful interrogation session with good player focus both worth the same?
    33 replies | 877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Monday, 4th June, 2018, 01:12 AM
    So we're looking at about 3 weeks to 20th level if they happen to adventure every day? 19 advances. 18 of them at 8 challenges, 1 at 4 challenges is 148 challenging encounters. If we go for the recommendation of 6-8 combat encounters (avg 7) per day, it's slightly more than 21 days. I don't know how many challenging non-combat encounters you have, but all it will do is lower the number of...
    33 replies | 877 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd June, 2018, 05:05 PM
    Except that hurts more than it helps. Because the goal isn't just to be well defending, it's also to defend the others in the party. This is done two ways - sentinel and cavalier marking. Cavalier's Unwavering Mark has two aspects. The STR times per had doing extra damage isn't for this low-STR build, so the foes marked having disadvantage is the big part. And that only works within 5 feet...
    23 replies | 1075 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Sunday, 3rd June, 2018, 04:11 PM
    I don't think you can have a legal character doing these at level 5. Please post.
    35 replies | 8132 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Saturday, 2nd June, 2018, 02:51 AM
    Halaster returned at the end of the D&D Open two Origins ago. I was sure what turned out to be Tomb of Annihilation was going to be Undermountain-related, so it's long overdue. Also, glad I'm not the only one that saw that Zardoz reference, folks!
    272 replies | 12078 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 09:39 PM
    I'm going to spin this around a little - what's a good rate that you and your players like to level? I bring this up because adding task-based XP on top of encounter XP will mean more total XP per session and more rapid levelling. Since I don't like rapid levelling, I find the question expands from non-combat XP, to rebalancing all XP. I tend to ignore the combat vs. non-combat portion. ...
    33 replies | 877 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Blue's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 08:04 PM
    Varies if I'm a player or DM. OAs are serious, but not the end of the world - there are times they should be accepted in order to do something else. If I'm the DM, I run creatures based on intelligence, aggressiveness, pain tolerance, etc. Some will, some won't. As a player, I'm wary of triggering and OA but not afraid of it, but I'm in a minority. It's a good rule - it really makes...
    42 replies | 1685 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 07:33 PM
    Now I'm picturing Elminster in Mario Kart.
    10 replies | 631 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 07:15 PM
    You’re not talking about The Bandit Kingdoms are you? There’s actually a book that chronicles the events of that LG region, and that description sounds a heck of a lot like what's described therein. I’ll certainly agree that the LG system definitely relied more on individual excellence (or the lack there of), whereas AL provides a more uniformly quality experience.
    7 replies | 300 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 04:09 PM
    Heh! Flametongues taste like cinnamon. Frostbrands however, just taste "blue." You know, the color that masquerades as an artificial flavor. I joke, but I'm sure some PC has tried it.
    48 replies | 1715 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 04:02 PM
    I think DDAL at cons seems to be organized enough. At the stores and homes, who can say? For a time, Baldman Games was the only organized play group that would routinely give you feedback survey. And I think it showed in the quality of the DMs. One thing I do kinda miss is the region-locking and oversight of Living Greyhawk. The idea of mapping real-world areas to locations in-game might...
    7 replies | 300 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Ralif Redhammer's Avatar
    Friday, 1st June, 2018, 03:53 PM
    Wow, that looks amazing. I’m very curious about the pre-publication version of the Tomb of Horrors. Preorder appears to be available at Amazon. Also, it's the number 1 best-seller in "Warhammer Game." Heh.
    11 replies | 625 view(s)
    0 XP
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Monday, 5th March, 2018

  • 10:33 PM - robus mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post Napoleon's Army with Magic and Air Support and More
    I'd also check out the Temeraire novel series which features dragons as aerial warships and describes many interesting combat scenarios: His Majesty's Dragon: A Novel of Temeraire by Naomi Novik Link: http://a.co/0KHHv0g Edit: And now I see Ralif Redhammer already noted this :)

Monday, 17th April, 2017

  • 05:46 PM - LordEntrails mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post I need help with my Kobold filled Dungeon!
    Listen to Ralif Redhammer. Don't just put in traps because. They should be there for a reason, and the kobolds that live there have to live with the traps. That means they can't get in the way of daily life. If they do or would get in the way of daily life, then they would be bypassed, disabled or circumvented by the kobolds themselves. Paths through/around the tripwire and pressure plates would become so regular detecting them would be trivial. As for Tucker's Kobolds... read it for inspiration, but I would never suggest someone actually setup play that way. It's... well, goes back to the days of adversarial DMing and IMO really isn't the best way to create an adventure that players enjoy.

Wednesday, 29th March, 2017


Monday, 20th February, 2017

  • 06:28 PM - LordEntrails mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post Name My Axe
    I like Ralif Redhammer 's suggestions. But you can also go with any name. The name does not have to be related to what it does. It could be named after a hero or king who wielded it. It could be sentient and have it's own name. Talos, Graken, Fury, Greybeard, White Blade, Dumarion, Stonewall...

Wednesday, 15th February, 2017

  • 03:23 AM - Chris633 mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post Help me build Urban Fantasy NYC
    ...e day. I also just like the idea of the Queen being a professor at NYU. I like the idea of half-demons running Hell's Kitchen. They would also run many of the vices in the city. I like the idea of NYC sitting on a nexus of magical ley lines and thus drawing creatures of magic to the city. Not all humans can be in the dark. Some know what is going on. I feel like the mayor has to know and I am going to have a secret unit of Secret Service agents who also work to keep knowledge of the supernatural hidden (think Warehouse 13). I love the concept of Sorcerer Corporations down on Wall Street. Magic could soooo easily be used for personal gain and profit. I feel like I can also use fey to fill in lots of random and weird things in the city. Central Park! The possibilities are endless here. Thanks @NMBlockhead for the ideas there. MichaelSomething - That book looks awesome! Even if I don't use it for this, I LOVE detailed city books like that. It is now on my must buy list. Ralif Redhammer - St. Mark's and CBGB's! Brilliant. What is Mother? That's one I'm not familiar with. I'll blame it on being from NY.. lol..

Thursday, 5th January, 2017

  • 09:39 PM - Grogg of the North mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post Have you ever played a pacifist character?
    Igwilly, I think that the murder hobo term comes from the fact that some players are more focused on the mechanics and combat than anything else. Their PCs go from dungeon to dungeon killing and looting only to do it again and again. The kind of PCs that have more GP value in their clothing than the entire kingdom's treasury but don't have two coppers to rub together to afford a night at the sleaziest inn in town. The kind of PCs that cannot even remember the name of the king that sent them off on their quest in the first place and think Monty Haul is their best friend. Ralif Redhammer I proposed a healer that suffered from hemophobia as a character. It was shot down pretty quick.

Sunday, 4th December, 2016

  • 01:46 AM - pemerton mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post Control is the Root of All Gaming Issues?
    ...e, rather than a game-related one. Sometimes there are players who want to play the game, but they have social issues which manifest in the game. I think RPGing probably attracts more than the human statistical norm for this sort of person. Eg they have a tendency to attack or trick other PCs. This is the same person who, in a wargame, always breaks alliances even if it hurts his/her own position. I don't think there is any game-related solution to this either. Then we get to issues that arise from how the game is run - stuff that tends to get described as viking hat GMing, railroading, player entitlement, etc. I think a lot of this stuff results from a combination of (i) a lack of clarity as to what the players are meant to be contributing to the game, relative to what the GM is contributing, and (ii) poor rules, or inadequate procedures/techniques more generally (not all of these are spelled out expressly as rules). I think that this last category is the sort of stuff that Ralif Redhammer is describing as about "control". Communication is one way of solving these issues: different people want different things from RPGing (both in general, and in any particualr campaign/session/moment). I happen to like The Forge's way of describing these differences, but no doubt there are other ways of thinking about the same basic point. As well as communication, though - ie getting clear on who is hoping for what - there is then actually the need to reach agreement (and I don't think there is any distinct magic for RPGing in this respect, any more than working out which film to go to or where to meet up for lunch). And once agreement has been reached, there is then the need to actually give effect to it. This can require both GMs and players learning how to do stuff. At this stage of things, there's no substitute for practice.

Saturday, 12th December, 2015

  • 03:58 AM - DMMike mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post MMOTRPG - Can it be done better?
    kalil: any MMO with a recharging healing power has healing surges. The reference, though, was to D&D 4e's attempt at taking MMORPGs to the tabletop. And I'm saying: great idea! MMORPGs have a lot of appeal. Now, I have yet to see the RP side of any MMORPG, but I hope that's just because I'm a n00b to the games. Ralif Redhammer: VRPGs can go a long way toward assisting imagination. What I want to know is: can we take some of the benefits of being Internet-linked with other players, and bring that to our tabletops? Here's another example: Post your PCs' equipment lists online. So when the thief in your party goes to filch something, or breaks into someone's house, the GM has not only the equipment list of things to choose from, but the character who will be out for revenge as well. Just imagine the excitement (for lack of a better term) when one of your PCs discovers one of his valuable items missing! And there's a "real," "live" PC out there who is trying to get away with it. If nothing else, it's a good system for creating a recurring rivalry.

Friday, 30th October, 2015

  • 09:13 PM - El Mahdi mentioned Ralif Redhammer in post Warlord Name Poll
    ...@JeffB ; @Jester Canuck ; @jgsugden ; @jodyjohnson; @Joe Liker ; @JohnLynch ; @Johnny3D3D ; @KarinsDad ; @kerbarian ; @kerleth ; @Kinak; @KingsRule77 ; @Kirfalas ; @Kobold Stew ; @koga305 ; @Lanefan ; @Lanliss ; @Leatherhead; @Libramarian ; @Li Shenron ; @LuisCarlos17f ; @lowkey13 ; @Manbearcat ; @MarkB; @MechaPilot ; @Mecheon ; @mellored ; @Mephista ; @Mercule ; @MG.0 ; @MichaelSomething; @Miladoon ; @Minigiant ; @Mishihari Lord ; @Mistwell ; @MoogleEmpMog ; @Mon @MonkeezOnFire ; @MoonSong(Kaiilurker) ; @MostlyDm ; @Mouseferatu ; @MoutonRustique; @Nemesis Destiny ; @neobolts ; @Neonchameleon ; @Nifft ; @nightspaladin ; @nomotog; @n00bdragon ; @Obryn ; @Ohillion ; @oknazevad ; @Olgar Shiverstone ; @Orlax ; @Otterscrubber ; @Pandamonium87 ; @Paraxis ; @PaulO. ; @Pauln6 ; @Pauper ; @payn; @pemerton ; @peterka99 ;@ Pickles III ; @Pickles JG ; @pkt77242 ; @pming ; @pogre; @PopeYodaI ; @Prickly ; @procproc ; @Psikerlord ; @Psikerlord# ; @(Psi)SeveredHead; @Quickleaf ; @Raith5 ; @raleel ; @Ralif Redhammer ; @Raloc ; @Ranes ; @RangerWickett; @Ratskinner ; @redrick ; @Rejuvenator ; @Remathilis ; @Ristamar ; @RolenArcher; @Roland55 ; @RPG_Tweaker ; @Rune ; @Rygar ; @Sacrosanct ; @Saelorn ; @Saeviomagy; @sailor-Moon ; @SailorNash ; @Saplatt ; @Satyrn ; @Shades of Eternity ; @shadowmane; @sheadunne ; @Shasarak ; @shidaku ; @shintashi ; @Shiroiken ; @SigmaOne ; @sleypy; @sleypy01 ; @SpiderMonkey ; @Staccat0 ; @Staffan ; @steeldragons ; @steenan @STeveC ; @strider13x ; @Strider1973 ; @Sword of Spirit ; @Talmek ; @TerraDave; @TheCosmicKid ; @The_Gneech ; @TheHobgoblin ; @The Human Target ; @the Jester; @The Mirrorball Man ; @The Myopic Sniper ; @ThirdWizard ; @Tia Nadiezja ; @Tinker-TDC; @Tonguez ; @Tony Vargas ; @Tormyr ; @TrippyHippy ; @tsadkiel ; @tuxgeo ; @twigglythe Gnome ; @TwoSix ; @Uchawi ; @Ulorian ; @UnadvisedGoose445 ; @UngeheuerLich; @Us ; @Valmarius ; @Warbringer ; @was ; @wedgeski ; @Wednesday Boy ; @Wik ; @WillDoyle ; @Winterthorn ; @Wuzzard ; @Xeviat ; @Yaarel ; @Yunru ; @Zalab...

Friday, 23rd October, 2015


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Wednesday, 20th June, 2018

  • 04:16 AM - Lanefan quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Everybody Cheats?
    Any notions of the game's "integrity" strikes me as farcical levels of over seriousness here. If these are the sort of things that makes a person stop DMing, then maybe they should not be in the business of DMing to begin with. Out of all the issues to kick someone out of a tabletop gaming group, this one seems kinda miniscule, especially if they are your "friends." If I ever did that, I would think that my priorities in life were wildly out of whack. There are ways to deal with a serial cheater. If they cheat with dice, then you put them in situations where dice can't save them. Give them other dice to use. You don't call for a roll. You provide greater incentives for those who aren't cheating. All of which are things I-as-DM shouldn't have to do, and wouldn't be in the position of having to bother with were I just to punt the cheater and have done with it. So for me this is less about the "cheating," and more about when the person's playing becomes unreasonably disruptive for the group. I don't...

Saturday, 16th June, 2018

  • 12:33 AM - TwoSix quoted Ralif Redhammer in post What are you Reading? June 2018 edition
    Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth Wheel of Time book, is done. And one thing happened in the entire book that moved the plot along. Everything else was just moving chess pieces around the board to make it look like stuff was happening. Frustrating. Still I go onto the next book soon. Book 11 is definitely better, I think Robert Jordan's declining health may have imparted a sense of urgency.

Wednesday, 13th June, 2018

  • 12:33 PM - carrot quoted Ralif Redhammer in post What are you Reading? June 2018 edition
    Totally forgot to make a new thread! Shameful! Crossroads of Twilight, the tenth Wheel of Time book, is done. And one thing happened in the entire book that moved the plot along. Everything else was just moving chess pieces around the board to make it look like stuff was happening. Frustrating. Still I go onto the next book soon. That was such a dreadful book. Nothing happens of note until the last chapter... Fortunately the next one is more interesting. Currently reading The Superpowereds:year 3 by Drew Hayes. It's not great literature, but for some reason I'm finding it hard to put down!

Tuesday, 12th June, 2018

  • 10:01 PM - Janx quoted Ralif Redhammer in post What are you Reading? May 2018 edition
    I'm so confused on where I'm posting now....
  • 03:21 PM - Sacrosanct quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Post your oldest PC!
    I’ll have to dig him, out, but I still have Shasak the Magic-User, a 30+ year-old character from when I was in 4th grade. My handwriting is marginally better, but thankfully, my spelling is greatly improved. I took a look recently and was aghast to see the word “boanus” written on it. LOL, when I started playing at age 7 (and lasted until probably age 9), I kept spelling and pronouncing words like "alg-a-ment" for alignment, and "orge" instead of "ogre"

Monday, 11th June, 2018


Sunday, 10th June, 2018

  • 12:01 AM - Eltab quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Bad Luck (Nearly) Ruins Boss Fight, News at Eleven
    Nice! My PCs did very well versus Glazhael, which was why I figured I ought to make Arauthator that much harder. The funny thing was, they gleefully marched down to fight the white dragon in Skyreach Castle, but were utterly terrified of running into the vampire. I began in my group as a player, and transitioned into DM'ing half-way through Skyreach Castle. I decided to finish this up as quickly as I could (reasonably) and get into the other book with a clear field. I took the vampire out of the fight by using her (fake Dracula accent and all) to explain what the Cult of the Dragon was and why it was suddenly plundering everything in sight. The vampire teamed up with the group, as a representative of the Old Guard (undead) Cult, to fight the Red Wizards and hinder the New Guard (dragons) Cult leaders. One of the Red Wizards survived the group's Alpha Strike on their room, turned invisible, and jumped out the window (wearing a Ring of Feather Fall, but the PCs did not know that). The vampire ...

Saturday, 9th June, 2018

  • 12:09 AM - Quickleaf quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Bad Luck (Nearly) Ruins Boss Fight, News at Eleven
    Feeling in need of a little venting about last night’s session. Everything had been going swimmingly with the game. People had done some great role-playing with an NPC (so they were all full-up on Inspiration) and then we get to the big fight with the dragon. The fight opens with some solid hits on both sides. And then…the ranger rolls a nat 1 with her shot using the Arrow of Dragon-Slaying. And from there, all the players’ rolls tank. The table is a large one, yet we still went whole rounds without anyone landing a hit on the dragon. The PCs’ HP are dropping. I can see the frustration and exhaustion building on the players’ faces. I suggest stopping mid-battle and picking up next time, but no one wants to do that. I shave some HP off the dragon to speed things up (being a large table, as stated above, I tend to increase monster HP for the big fights so they’re not over in two or three rounds. But when they can’t even hit it, that doesn’t matter much. I think about throwing a cave-in to change...

Friday, 8th June, 2018

  • 06:29 PM - Eltab quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Bad Luck (Nearly) Ruins Boss Fight, News at Eleven
    I actually kept him mostly on the ground – the last dragon they fought, Glazhael Cloud-Chaser, mostly kept to the air, so I didn’t want the fight to be the same thing as the last white dragon fight. I did the reverse. I had the Giant lord come down into his basement with the PCs, because I didn't know if they would need help. (They didn't.) Glazhael epic-failed his Stealth roll to hide clinging to the ceiling but the group made their Perception check. They began peppering him with arrows and thrown weapons. When the Giant Lord's turn came, I had him cast Shatter at the ceiling; the dragon failed another roll (DEX check) to hang on. He crashed clumsily to the floor. The Giant told the PCs "now you can deal with him," and stood back to watch them pound the dragon flat. The dragon tried to escape at 10% HP, not successfully.
  • 05:59 PM - Schmoe quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Bad Luck (Nearly) Ruins Boss Fight, News at Eleven
    No, no one was bored-looking, that's for sure. If they weren't bored, and if they were engaging with the encounter (rather than just "I swing - and miss"), then I would consider this a great outcome, even if the player dice went cold. So good job! Sometimes if a battle gets into a repetitive cycle I'll consciously try to mix it up by having the opponent change its approach. I like to have opponents talk to their prey (er, the PCs), so after 2-3 rounds of complete failure on the part of the PCs, the dragon might hold its attack and offer mercy if they agree to serve it, with a healthy dose of taunting, of course. Or the dragon may get bored and try to snatch one PC and fly away with him/her. Or the dragon may just continue the same effective tactics but begin gloating about how it's going to capture them and eat them slowly, over a week, while their companions watch. The key point here is that you have one interaction (combat) that is in an uninspiring cycle. You can either directly introdu...
  • 04:18 AM - jayoungr quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Who Was at Fault?
    It sounds like Player A didn’t mean to end up in that position, though. I don't think Player A was aiming for that specific outcome, but I did think the choice of whacking the hound on the nose when PC-B was holding its jaws open was a strange one. At the time, I was thinking, "Why are you doing this? Why not bite its tail or try to leap on its back--attack anything but the snout?" The GM was "at fault," unless there is something in the Feng Shui rules I'm missing. There was no real reason for the GM to rule that Player A took Player B's place in the hound's mouth, which is ultimately what spoiled the moment. I kind of suspect the GM was trying to set up Player A to have a cool death for his character (which did happen, as it turned out, although not on this particular maneuver). In post-game discussion it became pretty clear that they'd discussed the possibility of PC-A dying during the final showdown. That being said, I'm not sure I see why it is such a big deal that it would blow up into dr...

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

  • 05:13 PM - Gardens & Goblins quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Bad Luck (Nearly) Ruins Boss Fight, News at Eleven
    Typically, a challenge is perceived as a "slog" when the outcome is basically known but you're just rolling it out and it's taking forever. This is why when folks refer to boss fights, especially in the context of D&D, alarm bells ring. For drama, we should not know the outcome - if we do, then we're in slog territory*, where we're running the numbers, party resources vs monsters, just to get to the end. This in and of itself is not necessarily a 'bad thing' - some folks love watching values slowly tick over as they make choices from a pool of options. However, it can be greatly improved by shifting the focus of the encounter, by allowing loss/losing to be a perfectly valid option**. This can be achieved with a time through a technique that is sometimes referred to in game design as 'displacement', though its not unique to games. Displacement (a technique/tool that encourages/forces player action) is common in film (ticking time bomb) and games (simplest form being a time limit). A more colourful ...
  • 04:39 PM - iserith quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Bad Luck (Nearly) Ruins Boss Fight, News at Eleven
    Yep, I was using all of those, plus the environment. The white dragon caught them in a choke point. The rogue got boxed in with a wall of ice, and the freezing clouds and falling icicles wreaked havoc. And only one PC thought to get out of the choke point (or get creative with her actions, getting good use out of oil and alchemists fire over time). But most of the PCs just hammered away ineffectually at the dragon with plain melee attacks. Heck, the paladin neglected to move his moonbeam spell back onto the dragon after it moved, opting instead to swing his sword and miss repeatedly. In the end, when loss finally was a given, yeah, the dragon fled. But until then, I just couldn’t justify fleeing when two PCs had gone down, and at least three more were at single digit HP. Perhaps, looking at your advice about them using the environment, I could’ve given them hints about how “the low-hanging icicles above him shake and shiver precariously as the dragon roars” to encourage them. Haha, you're ...

Wednesday, 6th June, 2018

  • 02:08 PM - TheSword quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Two New Settings For D&D This Year
    Nothing directly, at least that I saw. But in Mearls’ Jocks Machina session, Paul (the Big Show) Wight was playing a half-giant from Athas, so there’s that. That's the thing. Generic medieval. That's what is stale and boring: Pseudo-medieval and pseudo-European. It doesn't matter how you try to make the elves mysterious or add more blood and mud, it's all been done to death. It's always been recognised that D&D doesn't need to be pseudo-medieval or pseudo-European, even before Dark Sun was first published we had adventures set in Hyperboria, Atlantis, Wonderland and Blackmoor (post apocalypse with remains of advanced tech). But in the last few years we have been served and endless diet of pseudo-medievalism. It may not be a setting you like, but it is a setting... for all the reasons I gave earlier. For the reference, a game of politics and kingdom building vying for power has a lot of merit. Kingmaker fits into a similar setting and is one of Paizo’s best received Adventure Paths. Game o...
  • 05:47 AM - Goblyn quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Player Responsibility for the GM's Fun??
    -Don’t smell -Don’t cheat (whether by dice or rules "mistakes") -Show up on time -Be ready on your turn -Engage with the DM’s world -Don’t purposefully tank the DM’s plotlines (I'm not going to railroad you, but don't try to sabotage my campaign, either) -Don’t cause trouble with other PCs I know it's several pages passed, but I'm stealing this list.

Monday, 4th June, 2018


Friday, 1st June, 2018

  • 08:53 PM - Oofta quoted Ralif Redhammer in post DDAL: Is It Organized Enough?
    You’re not talking about The Bandit Kingdoms are you? There’s actually a book that chronicles the events of that LG region, and that description sounds a heck of a lot like what's described therein. I’ll certainly agree that the LG system definitely relied more on individual excellence (or the lack there of), whereas AL provides a more uniformly quality experience. I believe it was the bandit kingdoms. Another aspect of the region was that we were told our characters (who happened to be good aligned) would never be successful in the region because of what you needed to do to beat certain scenarios. The point of my story is that while I have no problem with certain story lines or alignment restrictions in a home campaign, open/living campaigns should welcome the majority of people without such restrictions. I miss the days of Nyrond and the feeling that my PC was contributing to the success of the kingdom. I put up with the slightly generic feel of AL because while it's a compromise, I thin...
  • 05:09 PM - Oofta quoted Ralif Redhammer in post DDAL: Is It Organized Enough?
    I think DDAL at cons seems to be organized enough. At the stores and homes, who can say? For a time, Baldman Games was the only organized play group that would routinely give you feedback survey. And I think it showed in the quality of the DMs. One thing I do kinda miss is the region-locking and oversight of Living Greyhawk. The idea of mapping real-world areas to locations in-game might have been neat when transferred to AL and the Realms. While I enjoyed regions in LG, in part that was because I happened to be in a good region (Nyrond). Other people were not so lucky. We went to a con in a neighboring region and let's just say that if it had been our home region we would not have stuck with LG. When female PCs can be kidnapped, raped and impregnated by a god-like dragon it's just offensive. That and they had a "killer" attitude reflected in their mods by setting up scenarios you could not hope to survive unless you had a special "get out of jail free" certificate. Didn't play the correc...
  • 03:53 PM - lowkey13 quoted Ralif Redhammer in post Love/Hate - Magic Items!
    Love: Frostbrands and flametongues – they just look cool (okay, and they’re powerful items). Yes they do. They most certainly do. Which is why you shouldn't lick them.

Wednesday, 30th May, 2018

  • 01:13 AM - Water Bob quoted Ralif Redhammer in post MYTHICA - GOOD LOW BUDGET FANTASY MOVIES?
    Also just found Tubi via the Firestick. It does indeed have a bunch of, ahem, “good” stuff. Even has a category “Not on Netflix.” Compared to say, Hulu, it is pretty heavy on the commercials, though. Yeah, Tubi has Space: 1999 for free, too, both seasons.


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