Archive for the ‘Game Theory’ Category


Pondering Alignment, in the D&D / Pathfinder sense

14 September, 2012

So, we have been messing around with the D&Dnext playtest and we have a new player in that group, both of which led to a discussion of alignment in D&D (and similar games) and what it means.  These sort of debates is why my Sea of Stars campaign (which uses Pathfinder rules mostly) just ditched alignment entirely.

However, I thought that I would post up about what the various D&D alignments mean to me, I am making no claim to universal applicably in this, but this is how I interpret them:

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The Problem of Immunity (Rules Musings)

24 March, 2012

Burn it!

It won’t burn?

What, not even magical fire?  But it is such a little monster.

In Pathfinder (like 3.x before it), there are a number of monsters, and some classes, that gain flat and total immunity to a variety of things.  This was brought back to my attention by the comments on my review of the Genius Guide to: Fire Magic and has been discussed as a problem by Sean K Reynolds (and possibly others).

Immunities are just no fun, not for the player, not for the GM, not do they make a lot sense.  Sure, the King of the Fire Elementals cannot be harmed by fire, that makes sense.  But should not a 2HD small fire element be washed away by a powerful enough gout of flame?  Cannot a creature of electricity be ionized if overwhelmed by a massive stroke of lightning?

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Fear and Affrighted

12 March, 2012

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear.

-Mark Twain

I want to look at a different way to model fear in Pathfinder

Rather than have shaken, frightened and panicked conditions for fear, all fear effects are going to be mechanically increasing penalties.  We will call this condition Affrighted and it will be tagged with a number which is the current penalty it is imposing (see below).

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Pathfinder Rules Musings – Fortification

3 February, 2012

“Knife him in the gut!”

“I tried!  His armor stopped it!”

That is how the Fortification ability is suppose to work in Pathfinder (and 3.x), here are the actual rules as written:

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Answering Ten Questions from the Barking Alien

31 January, 2012

A variety of GM playstyle questions.

1) What is the most common type of environment or terrain encountered thus far in your current or most recent campaign?

Not really been a consistent theme, but they keep returning to the Complex which has a bit of a classic weird dungeon vibe to it.

2) What is the most exotic or unusual environment or terrain encountered thus far in your current or most recent campaign?

Well, the Complex, it is a place of interlocking tunnels so large that none of the characters has explored more than half of it and it is being expanded by the army of insects that live inside it.  Everything serves the mysterious Pattern which has not been explained beyond its goal to bring order.

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TPK Avoided . . . so why am I depressed?

20 January, 2012

So, we were playing Pathfinder last night and we got to the final battle, our four 5th level characters (barbarian, cleric, sorcerer and alchemist) against the Frost Rider -the big bad-, his ghoulish thug and four mephit minions.  The sorcerer is my character, more charming than combative but not useless in a fight.

All dressed up like an open grave

Better off dead?

Things started out rough as we were pummeled by an ice storm and then had to climb out from the snow and ice to close with our enemies.  The barbarian went down paralyzed by the ghoul, the alchemist was entangled by the frost riders horned helm and was being brutally stabbed whenever he used a fire bomb.  Both of them were only not brutally killed because the GM choose not to inflict the damage the villains should have.   The cleric and the sorcerer mopped up the mephits while the alchemist was allowed to burn the Frost Rider to death.  Not sure what happened to the ghoul.  Somehow, were were victorious, but for the life of me, I am not sure how in game we could have survived.

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Game Theory – Moral Dilemmas: Arranged Marriages

26 December, 2011

I was watching the video of Emilie Autumn‘s Marry Me (mildly NSFW for language) and it brought this issue to mind as a possible source of conflict, challenge and adventure.

While marriage does not usually figure as one of the major themes of roleplaying games, it is an important facet of human life and culture and often a major component to the actions of people in a world.  As such, it deserves to be looked at as a source of both character development and adventure ideas.  First, we will look at arranged marriages.

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Magic Items as Plot Devices

14 October, 2011

With the Sword of Amaros in my hand at last, I shall restore the Kingdom of Amaros to its era of glory!

Inspired by the October 2011 Blog Carnival: Making The Loot Part Of The Plot.  I will be talking about working magic items into a game as plot devices.  This can be done in a variety of ways:

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GM Merit Badges

22 August, 2011

A wonderful idea from Strange Magic, GM merit badges to help you fame your GMing style.  I think mine would run:

Beer and PretzelsUsually, My games are more of the Social, Fun and “Beer & Pretzels” style.  After all, we game to have fun, yes?


Improv My games rely on a lot of Improvisation rather than pre scripted content.  I work best with minimal scripting.


Story My games will tell an interesting Story, at least in retrospect.



Mirror I will Mirror back player ideas I think are interesting in the game.  After all, they usually come up with wonderful ideas too.


Fate Characters in my games are Destined for greatness, not random death.  Though being stupid will still get you killed.


Depending on the game, genre and players, my games can be:

GonzoMy games are Gonzo and can include a lot of strangeness.



ScaryMy games can be Scary.


But usually not both at once.

A fun exercise.  Go visit Strange Magic and see what fits your style.


Shared Campaign Worlds – the FORSE Project

18 July, 2011

Off and on across the gaming journals, I have seen the ideas of shared campaigns and shared worlds being discussed.  Back (in the dawn of time) when I first started playing D&D, characters bounced from campaign to campaign, world to world, depending on who wanted to DM but there was not really anything resembling a coherent storyline or plot, it was just a lot of storming dungeons, killing things and taking their stuff.

But, as campaigns became more structured and tied to game worlds, those days of easy campaign hopping faded into memory.  Sometime ago back when we lived in Oregon City, we tried a new version of a shared world, we called it the FORSE (Friends Of R’Lyeh Shared Earth) Project.   Read the rest of this entry ?

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