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  1. Ath-kethin

    Mechanics for spell failure & consequences

    The 2nd Edition AD&D psionics system was based originally on the proficiency system; each time a character used a power they had to make a check. Each power also included two variant effect: one for perfect success and one for catastrophic failure. We ran many games back in the day that used...
  2. Ath-kethin

    5E Advantages of 5E spell casting

    The 5e approach to wizards (and really the entire WotC-era approach to wizards) attempts to downplay the advantage of a high Intelligence in favor of more general utility. In post editions, a properly prepared wizard (that is, one willing and able to research a situation ahead of time and...
  3. Ath-kethin

    Worlds of Design: Is Combat Now Passe?

    Combat has been just about the least interesting part of D&D to me for going on 30 years now. Rolling dice is exciting, but long drawn out battles are not. And the ejection of morale rules from the main rules set makes combat more likely to be lethal in nature, which I find ridiculous. Most...
  4. Ath-kethin

    The road yet taken; old timers: what is your White Whale setting?

    I can run a D&D game with only a single player too; I've been doing it here and there for almost 30 years. And requiring silver as a focus/component of casting magic (which is a conceit of the series if you aren't familiar with it) isn't a difficult change to make either. It would be nice to...
  5. Ath-kethin

    The road yet taken; old timers: what is your White Whale setting?

    My start as a DM was with Dragonlance, and I could never quite make it work to my satulisfaction. The Weis & Hickman novels and metaplot are so ingrained in that setting (at least in my mind) that any campaign seems either blasphemous or insignificant next to them. Taladas has some real...
  6. Ath-kethin

    5E Racial Min/Maxes on Ability Scores?

    I'm not a fan of racial ability score modifiers or mins/maxes in any event. I have no problem keeping the max mortal ability score as 20, removing the racial adjustments, and just providing guidelines (i.e., 'most halflings have Strength scores below 16 due to their small stature'). This...
  7. Ath-kethin

    5E How precisely do you run combat encounters?

    I'm another Theater of the Mind GM. If I want to play a board game I have my old HeroQuest set from the 90s ready to go. In my experience the game board makes players think very two-dimensionally, unless you have the cash to include terrain features, walls, etc. Giving the players something to...
  8. Ath-kethin

    5E The Most Popular D&D Classes & Subclasses

    Fiend is in the SRD too. These numbers are always interesting, but I hesitate to draw too many conclusions from then. They only reflect D&D Beyond users, after all, and many of us have still never even used it.
  9. Ath-kethin

    5E House Rules for Two Players

    This is such an obvious solution it blows my mind that people don't think of it first. I've been running 1 on 1 games (often with a DMPC but often without) for over 25 years and the answer is ALWAYS "adjust to the group."
  10. Ath-kethin

    5E Too Much Healing Going On?

    Healing in 5e is easy to but I don't find it to be a huge issue. In fact, I like designing tough encounters, and easy healing helps make those work. Also, it allows me to focus on encounters that can't be overcome just by having a lot of HP. FWIW, I give PCs max HP at every level too, and all...
  11. Ath-kethin

    Metaplots: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    I don't care about metaplots, but I think there's something often overlooked in the big metaplot changes: they are most often the result of edition changes, and an in-game means of explaining the resulting changes. Forgotten Realms had a big RSE going from 1e to 2e. Dragonlance didn't but...
  12. Ath-kethin

    5E Does your group use inspiration? If not, why not?

    Everybody in our group gets a point of Inspiration every session. I expect a high level of engagement and roleplaying from my groups anyway, and just having it be a regular thing both helps us remember it. This method also effectively always allows a player to take narrative control on a...
  13. Ath-kethin

    5E Feats that allow you to become a quarter caster?

    I made a whole chain of feats that provided increased access to spells, higher level spells, and spell slots for my Primeval Thule campaign. Each had the previous as a prerequisite and it topped off at 6th level spells. Playtests went well enough, but I should stress that I didn't allow any...
  14. Ath-kethin

    5E Dungeon room description

    A great suggestion I read once was that room descriptions should be no longer than two sentences. I think that's a good rule of thumb. I'm inclined to break that rule only if the description is meant to convey more than just the surroundings. For example, flowery language can be appropriate to...
  15. Ath-kethin

    5E WotC's Jeremy Crawford Talks D&D Alignment Changes

    My introduction to D&D was Dragonlance; in fact, the first I ever heard of D&D was when a friend's mother wouldn't let him read my Chronicles omnibus because of its association with the game. Thanks to those books, and other works by Weis & Hickman, alignment has always made sense to me and I...
  16. Ath-kethin

    General At what level(s) do you start your D&D campaigns?

    Level 1 only and always except when I'm trying to test out some higher-level mechanics. I've tried a few times to start a full campaign at higher levels but it was such a radically different game there seemed no point. This experience held true across 2e, 3e, and 5e; I've only ever started...
  17. Ath-kethin

    What's the most expensive RPG product you've bought?

    I backed the Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperboria 2e game at the PDF level (which was $15 IIRC), then after it was done realized just how foolish that was and spent another $100+ on a hardcopy of the book. I spent $169 or so on the Altar Quest boardgame, which I feel counts mostly...
  18. Ath-kethin

    OSR At What Level Is Survivability Possible?

    It was rare that ours made it there, but luckily back when I was in high school we had a big group that included 4 or 5 people regularly running games. That meant we had tons of campaigns and characters and options going on, and it also meant that we were all playing upwards of 3-4 campaigns...
  19. Ath-kethin

    General The Importance of Page 33

    Absolutely this. For example, I ran a campaign once in a setting where I had decided there were no full casters except warlocks. One of my players really wanted to play a druid, but it turned out that what they REALLY wanted was a character that felt more comfortable around animals than...
  20. Ath-kethin

    General The Importance of Page 33

    I wonder how the Kingdom of Magic word count compared to Gaz3. Cause it overall seemed a poor cousin to me, though another friend of mine who first encountered the setting through 2e still swears by and uses it. Different strokes, I guess.
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