Friday, 26 July 2013

Let's Talk Clerics

They are all "lawful." They are lawful in that they are obedient to the decrees of their God. This morning, their commands that all his/her Clerics, everywhere, do twenty pushups, no Cleric of said God decides, 'Naw, I'm not going to do those pushups.' They do the pushups; they are loyal to their God.

They are "lawful." The decrees and laws of men do not enter that equation. Whether the God is Lawful, Neutral or Chaotic simply refers to the God's attitude towards the "world of men." Is the God helpful to the world of men, harmful, or just doesn't care?

Clerics are not obligated to obey the laws and decrees of the King, Duke, Count or Baron, just as the Paladin isn't.

But, what I really want to talk about is: Spells. The spells of Clerics have no "level," not really. No Cleric can "heal" a person of his/her own volition. This is confirmed by the fact that Magicians can't heal people. When Clerics cast their spells, they are, in truth, asking their God for a favor. The nature of the spell determines just how big a "favor" the Cleric is asking for.

I use the spell levels, of course, it simplifies matters . . . but there are exceptions: three of them. Raise Dead (5th), Resurrection (7th) and True Resurrection (9th). These are "big favors" and there is nothing you can do to earn such a favor. Will your God bring this person back for you, or won't he/she? That's what my percentile dice determines. Your character's "level" plays no part whatsoever.

Neither does the dead person's religion. In the computer game Temple of Elemental Evil, your group fights Iuz. Some of you will die. St Cuthbert will appear and will cast True Resurrection upon anyone who's died. 

Wait a minute! What if We Jas doesn't want her follower Resurrected?

Too bad, because Cuthbert raises everybody. The Gods make their own "deals." Your God can and will Resurrect anyone he/she wants to, period. But, will your God do it for you.

In other words, if a 2nd level character in my game wishes to attempt Raise Dead, they are welcome to try. There's no such thing as "it's a 5th level spell!" Not in my game. Any Cleric can ask his/her God for this favor at any level they wish to, the percentile die will determine whether or not it works.

Does the percentage increase for higher level Clerics? Sometimes, it depends. On what? Well, it's not going to work "better" just because you're a "higher" level character. As a higher level character, it is presumed that you have done "more" for your God's worship, though that is not necessarily true.

It is assumed – and in my game I'll know – that you donated more money than a lower level character, you've converted more people to your God's worship, you've erected more temples in his/her name. All because you have – presumably – been doing it longer than a lower level Cleric.

But levels also reflect Hit Die, Hit Points, Skills, Feats, et al. So it is possible to be 20th level and have a poorer chance of Raising someone than would a 5th level Cleric. Why? Because you're "greedy." You give less money and less time to your God. Money and time necessary to build a temple. Time necessary to gather and convert worshipers, etc.

So these three spells – Raise Dead, Resurrection and True Resurrection – are available to all the Clerics in my game, regardless of their character's level. That's just how I play it.

No Cleric will ever bring someone back from the dead of their own power; only the power of their God will do it. So, does your God feel like doing you a favor? Have you given him/her a reason to?

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

For the Love of Older Editions

There's a reason why I prefer the "older" Editions and that's because of all the changes that took place between Editions. With the advent of 3rd Edition – quickly followed by 3.5 – the "min/maxers" took over the game at the creative level.

I haven't really given it enough thought to put into words my thinking, but then I never had a blog before now either. Two posts rally got me to thinking about this again and I think that these are two posts that should be read by anyone truly interested in the game's development. One can be found at boingboing and the other is located at Gnome Stew.

The first post – Old School Dungeonsand Dragons – talks about how the game started to become "rule bound" and "combat oriented" and both statements are true. The new "Rules" were accompanied by more than a few Charts and Tables; it seems everything would be left to the dice, rather than to the DMs imagination.

Rather than "storytelling," the emphasis was placed on making the most powerful character possible using the "new" Skills, Feats and Combat stats. Role Playing was almost completely taken out of the game. When you consider the fact that the game was originally built upon Role Playing, that's quite a reversal.

The second one -- Classical Play;Niche Protection -- talks about the limitless "Skills" that were created for the new Edition, which only serve to make some Character Classes obsolete and unnecessary. One character can do anything! Man is that boring.

This post points out how a character can become unnecessary by certain other characters taking the appropriate Skills needed to eliminate the need for some characters all together. A character in the "new" Editions could legitimately become a "one man show."

At any rate, I'll allow these posts to "speak for themselves." I encourage you to read them. You might just find them as interesting as I did. They reflect my own thoughts and views on the matter quite well.

Thanks to Peter Bebergal and Walt Ciechanowski for sharing their thoughts with the rest of us.

For myself, I'll stick with the older Editions, like 2nd, and let my imagination run wild!


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

3.5 Feats & Other Things

Do I need to mention that there are too many of them? Didn't think so.

I remember when just being a 1st level Character made you . . . "special." No more. Now we need an overabundance of Feats to make "us" even more "special."

Monsters are given Feats randomly, just had discussions about that in my RPoL game. "These guys don't even qualify for these Feats!" Dear Lord, somebody told you Life was . . . fair? Haven't really been living on your own yet, have you? ROFL

Life is never fair. Life is a Bitch . . . then it has puppies. I know, some of you thought that Life was a Bitch and then you died. No, trust me, the Bitch we call Life is definitely going to have a litter of puppies along the way. Believe that, you will experience the "puppies" before you go!

Anyway, there are just too many Feats in this Edition of the game for me. Add to that the fact that now players can be "Outsiders" and have "Estimated Character Levels." What kind of nonsense is that? What's your effective Character level? Then you cannot cast Fireball! If that isn't the biggest waste of time I've ever heard of. Nonsense.

One NPC found in the books is a 12th level Wizard 4th level Thief and 3rd level Fighter, or something like that. I remember the Wizard part because they said this guy was a Lich. Really? He's only a 12th level Wizard, so how did he ever cast the 9th level spell required to become a Lich? B.S. in the extreme.

Edition 3.5 has gotten things so jacked up with unlimited Feats and ECLs that the people who play this Edition think they can do anything, including becoming a Lich as a 12th level Wizard! The people who write this stuff can't even keep things straight amongst themselves! A 12th level Lich . . . B.S.!

Anyway, I can see these "short" posts becoming more populous as I continue to learn more about 3.5. No wonder Maldin and I have never abandoned 2nd Edition! Although, I will admit that I'm beginning to like d20 a little more than I like THAC0.

But don't tell anybody that! Sssh!

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Variant Rules

Ahh! Solving mysteries! Nothing quite like it.

You know, the more I play my RPoL game, the more I learn about 3.5 and 3.5 players. You guys are desperately in need of . . . toilet paper!

I play a Table Top game every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, Eastern Time. Those guys really know the rules. That is, they think they know the rules. You see, I've started using some of those rules in my RPoL 3.5 game and I've been getting asked: "What are you talking about?"

Enter "Variant Rules."

These are rules that are not from the Core Books. No, they were created by Gamers and can be found on the D&D Wiki site and other places. It also turns out that there are different variations of the Variant Rules!

My favorite, and the one that recently came up, is "Critical Failure." On Saturdays my Wizard rolls a natural 1 with his crossbow attack. "Oh! That's a 'Critical Failure,'" cries the DM. "You broke the string on your crossbow!"

As I have recently learned, that's not how it works. Just as with a "Critical Hit" you need to "roll to confirm" the "Critical Failure." Fortunately – for the player – you do not have a "spread" for this one. No, it requires another roll of "natural 1" to confirm, otherwise, it's "just a miss." But, if you do confirm, then you get to roll a d100 with all sorts of "goodies" to choose from. And like I said, one of my players has shown me variations of this rule.

And all this time I thought that 3.5 was a codified system of Game Play, when in truth, it is a mish-mash of all sorts of "made up" stuff, each DM picking and choosing what he wants and even "making it up as he goes along!" No wonder 3.5 is such a nightmare!

Anyway, I'm really learning the "Core Rules" DMing this Edition of the Game. I'm also learning just how much "trash" you 3.5 aficionados talk . . . and why there are so many disagreements. You're all making it up as you go along.

I must tell you that would aggravate the Nine Hells out of me as a Player. So don't look for me to be joining any of your games. I also no longer "wonder" at why I find my Saturday game so confusing, frustrating and disappointing – I "live" at the whim of an unintelligent – and worse – unimaginative DM.

No, I'm having fun with my RPoL game, but I think that my heart will always long for 2nd Edition.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Role Playing on Line

Yes, I have discovered the web site "Role Playing on Line." I joined a game as a player, alas, it only lasted a couple of weeks, and then the DM/GM embarked upon a move to the West Coast, bringing the game to an abrupt halt.

I then investigated several other games, but they were all using various gaming systems with which I was unfamiliar and possessed no desire to learn them Add to that the fact that some of them were in Game Worlds which held no attraction for me, or they involved a Modern Setting, which is a complete turn off for me. During this search, however, I learned that players come and go. I remembered this when I started my own game. I "advertised" it only as a "Greyhawk Game."

 I had 11 players within 36 hours. LOL

Yes, several told me that it had been "too many years" since they had had their "Greyhawk fix." Ahh, gratification! I allowed 11 players because I knew some would quit. Ha! Was I wrong about that! I allowed them all to Role Play together at "the Inn" and on the journey to their destination. Once there, however, I split the groups and acted as though they never knew each other. In fact, they do not exist in each other's "world."

I separated them according to the frequency of their posts; a "fast" game and a "slow" game. Yikes! They have been moving along at the same pace ever since! Let me tell you, I am busy. From morning until night, from East Coast to West Coast, I have post coming in – and I respond as frequently as I need to. Whenever something is posted to which the DM should properly respond, I am "there." A couple of them – whose only gaming is via RPOL – have told me I'm running their "favorite game," they're playing in several. And here I am, a "newbie" to RPOL.

Busy with this though I am, I'm now considering running a second game. A couple of my current players want to join in that one as well; another Greyhawk Game. I'm using a module, "Barrow of the Forgotten King." I thought I'd use a module to "lighten my load" while learning the computer necessaries for running a game on RPOL. Heck I have since discovered Photobucket and using html to transfer images. I keep up-to-date grid maps of my players' moves posted to The Game thread. I'm having a ball!

Of course, there are problems. Sometimes the players don't really pay attention to what's been written/said. "I move to square "x" and cast healing on Fred." "Uh, Bill? Fred moved to square "q," he's not 'there' any more. You wasted your Healing spell." This, of course, makes me "unfair," at times. Somehow it's my fault and I should let them retain their spell.

I don't. Pay attention to what's going on in the game! Stop your "speed reading!"

Oh, well, it's still a blast. Perhaps I should post some of the game to Canonfire! I'll think about it. Heck, these two Groups – playing the same game – almost made me forget about my blog! Can't let that happen! Busy that I am, I'll need to get back to this and keep you guys abreast. If nothing else, boy, am I learning 3.5!

Ah, the joy of . . . "Spring Attack!" My new "favorite" Feat. All melee fighters should have it! The Varag of Monster Manula IV use it. They are the V1 and V2 seen on the map. Of course, given the fact that they have a "speed" of 60 feet, it works really good for them. Mwahahahahahahahaha!

Until my next break!