OOC CII

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We've been meaning to get into it. The fact the HBO refuses to take my money to watch it in any way other than buying cable tv service, then paying for HBO is the only thing that has kept us from seeing it yet. It will apparently be available for streaming once season 2 hits, so we'll be doing that then... :)

http://virtualshacklesimagestest.appspot.com/serve/game_of_thrones.jpg
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Epic × 2!
It just got released on DVD. Go get thee and thine a copy at the vid store. Really. You'll thank me.

Back to dreaming...
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Epic!
A bit off topic, but I was messing with Finneaus in CB today, trying to get him right, which is extraordinarily difficult to do.

Anyway, his Tome of Readiness should get retrained each level: it currently is listed as containing "Radiant Pillar," but it should have "Twist of Space."

What blows is that CB allows me no way to do this: I cannot get "Twist of Space" in, nor can I deselect "Radiant Pillar:" if you have any ideas, Scott, please make the change.

Vent: why does CB suck so much shit? I'm guessing MS Silverlight is one reason. This is some very basic programming and user-interface to do, but Hasbro hasfailed, pretty miserably, as far as I can tell: I can do this on paper more quickly and accurately.

CB has 2 uses: 1) I can get a sheet loaded into iPlay4e with it; 2) it has all the updated rules and powers.

The implementation is miserable, however.

/Vent
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CB has retrain issues. What I usually do when that happens is try to just record where the character is now, rather than tracking what got retrained into what. Sometimes it won't let you, though. I'll check and see if I can get it to behave.

Of other interest:

MechWarrior Tactics coming soon!
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Epic!
Also: the DM will be in Las Vegas for the next 5 days, where internet access is both spotty and expensive. This may slow down the mad-cap pace around here.

In the interest of moving things along, I'm going to just write up what Malkie finds out from the Thieves Guild and move it to the next morning.

All constables are going to be required by Delft to check in at Headquarters every morning. This gives us a nice way to reset the game and varying timelines, and gives you guys a chance to strategize for each day.

When the asynchronous time gets too out of whack, I will be fast-forwarding to get everyone back into the game, as in this case. Malkie's meeting with the Thieves Guild will be summed up, and I will be moving the group to the next morning at RHC HQ. Hopefully your characters have enough to chat about while I'm (mostly) away.
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Scott
CB has retrain issues. What I usually do when that happens is try to just record where the character is now, rather than tracking what got retrained into what. Sometimes it won't let you, though. I'll check and see if I can get it to behave.

Of other interest:

MechWarrior Tactics coming soon!


Yeah, thanks: I am able to get him the right power by level 15, so it's not a total disaster, just a pain.

I'm pretty "meh" on MW Tactics, but I do plan to get our game up and running again . . . things have been sooooo busy here, and I have too many projects going: I promise it is not dead, although I may de-crunch the current combat (i.e. bit of a hand wave): certainly I have some material I have to transfer over here from the Wave . . .

Speaking of which, have we saved our material somewhere, or does that still need to be done before April?
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Scott
We've been meaning to get into it. The fact the HBO refuses to take my money to watch it in any way other than buying cable tv service, then paying for HBO is the only thing that has kept us from seeing it yet. It will apparently be available for streaming once season 2 hits, so we'll be doing that then... :)

http://virtualshacklesimagestest.appspot.com/serve/game_of_thrones.jpg



Yeah, not commenting on the horrible feet . . . but we do live in a transitional time with this: Fox, for example, is way behind the times: e.g. they bought out rights for Setanta in the U.S. so that the few Americans who want to watch rugby here can't; Fox has no desire to show Setanta's content, they just don't want the rest of us paying for web streaming; similarly, I couldn't watch the ALCS or World Series online (Fox), but could pay like $2 to watch the entire NLCS (not Fox). I'm always big into the college BB tourney, and yes, I can spend $3.99 to get all 67 games streaming . . .

Game of Thrones is on VUDU, but it is cheaper to get it from your local vid store (2 episodes per disc) or even just to buy the DVDs outright ($39.99 to stream the whole season on VUDU; $31.99 for discs via Amazon; $28.99 streaming on Amazon).

But yeah, some media companies are banking on Grandma flipping on ye ole tube. When Grandma dies, they're sucking ye hinde tit.
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As I'm eating lunch I've come up with some "sidekick" rules that I thought could be fun at some point . . . or not, but I thought I'd share.

1) Starting at 3rd level, each character may take a "sidekick," who has features of both PCs and NPCs.

2) The sidekick is designed exactly like a PC, but always remains 2 levels below the PC's level. The sidekick is controlled by the Player, unless the DM deems it necessary to take control of the sidekick as an NPC (see below).

3) The sidekick receives his or her share of experience for encounters (which should be calculated for difficulty bearing the sidekick in mind), but this experience is never attributed (only the PC's is, and the sidekick is always two levels behind the PC).

4) PCs are each given a single share of treasure, which must always be shared with the sidekick according to level-appropriate amounts (e.g. PC Harold gets 20k worth of equipment, but must give 8k of that to his sidekick). Treasure is not increased to account for the presence of sidekicks - it is shared by the PC. Sidekicks who do not receive their proper share leave service (see below).

5) The sidekick cannot operate fully independently, except in the presence of the PC he or she is attached to. A Sidekick may be ordered to do independent tasks, where the PC is not present, as long as such tasks are not obviously combat-oriented, and as long as the PC is also engaged in some meaningful task (e.g. Harold tells Vern, his sidekick, to go the the market to see what he can find out about the stolen bracelet, while Harold goes to assuage the magistrate about the gnoll attacks). The sidekick must always be given the lesser of the tasks when used independently in this way (DM's ruling, w/o argument). Narrative is always compressed when the sidekick is not with his or her PC (no RP, just report back). Guarding an already-scouted area ("that door") is fine, as long as the PC is within earshot/sight.

6) Sidekicks who are treated inappropriately (lack of booty; meat shields; trap runners; other obvious stupidity) will leave the service of their PC (this is unpreventable: they'll kill themselves if they have to: the DM will give notice if a PC is being abusive). Any PC who loses a sidekick in this way may not get a new one until gaining a level; further, that sidekick will trail the PC by 3 levels. If a second sidekick leaves a PC's service, the PC is blacklisted and can never get another sidekick. Sidekicks who die from non-abuse events may be raised, or a new sidekick may be gained after level-up with no other penalty. Sidekicks may be dismissed by the PC at any time, with another gained at level-up, although the dismissed sidekick may become an enemy (DM's discretion).

7) Sidekicks are normally incorruptible as long as they remain in the service of their PC; they cannot be bought, but magic (charms and the like) will work to cause them to injure their (or another) PC. Sidekicks will always try to aid their PC should their PC go down. Sidekicks can be given limited role play, but they are never, in any way, driving the party toward its goals.

8) Sidekicks get no Action Points, but they may spend their PC's Action Points as if they were their own, as long as they have line of effect to their PC, are within 20 squares, and their PC is able to take actions. The PC does not, of course, get his or her benefits from any AP spent in this way; the sidekick does get benefits according to his or her class/feats/paragon path.

9) If the PC should die (permanently), the sidekick will either leave the party or immediately gain the appropriate levels to match the party and become a full-fledged PC immediately (immediately, and again . . .). (This is a very good thing for RP continuity).

10) Restrictions: a sidekick may not have the same role as the PC to whom he or she is attached; a sidekick may not be of the same class as any other PC in the party (but same as other sidekicks is fine); a sidekick must draw from the same power source as his or her PC, unless this would violate one of the two restrictions above.

Anyway, sidekicks.
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I like the sidekick idea. there are mechanics in place for temporary flint PD officers joining, similar to Glassman and his crew, but i like these being an option as well. I could even see staffing out the whole RHC with 4-8 sidekicks... Hoom...
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I thought you might - it's more work for you, but I thought the idea of the sidekick - being in the player's control in terms of creation and general doing of stuff, including combat stuff - would spread that load and give us some real versatility.

Also: bigger combats, which might be fun, especially since combats are rarer in Zeitgeist (so should be a gala affair).

Also: continuity, should someone die

Sidekick: a semi-npc in the player's control (and closely bound to the PC, beyond a single adventure).

The only thing I'm torn on is the power source restriction: I like the sidekick not being the same role as the bound PC or the same class as any PC, but I'm not sure the power source restriction is necessary or even adds anything.

Finally, because of the loot-sharing aspect of sidekicks, and the AP sharing, and the lower level, characters who decide to take them don't (I think) have some kind of advantage against those who don't. I do not think you have to take a sidekick to be viable, and it's a perfectly fine option not to have a sidekick. It might be useful to bind the sidekick further to the PC: the death of one resulting in the PC losing a surge and dropping to 1 hp above bloodied (if not bloodied), or, if already bloodied, losing a surge and a surge's worth of HP, (to a minimum of 1/4 full HP value): it's a bummer to lose your sidekick, man.

Thus, a sidekick makes a pretty good hostage, which again, prevents them from being the WIN! button.

Anyways, I figure Malkie needs a thrall ;)
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Epic × 2!
Pointer-left Katportrait_thumb
Kat
Hee. Love the idea of Malkie dragging a thrall around. I feel like Cazara would chafe a bit at the idea of a sidekick, but mechanically I'd love to have a defender for her.
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I should point out that the abuse rules cover cynical actions, not words: it would be perfectly acceptable for Cazara to be "assigned" a "partner" whom she doesn't even like and whom she generally treats like crap, as long as the crap treating wasn't of the nature of "stand in front of this gun while I test it," or "why don't you go first into the dragon's lair." ;)

The unwilling and stern teacher, however, who poor joe flunkie sidekick can never please, is a good role play device too.
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Epic × 2!
An addendum or two:

- Sidekicks act on their associated PC's initiative.
- If a Paragon-level PC uses their Action Point for the sidekick, should the AP bonus kick in? (maybe only once the sidekick has reached 11th level... hurm, but maybe sidekicks don't take Paragon Paths or Epic Destinies or Backgrounds or any other "optional" character elements, to keep them simple...)

One possible option for control is to use some of the rules form Summoning and Conjuring. Perhaps sidekicks don't get actions but it's a minor action (once per turn) to tell your sidekick to take a Standard Action. Maybe they move when you move, like animal companions. Maybe they have the "Instinct" trait from some of the summons, where they automatically do somehting if you fail to give them instruction (Defaulting to "use <this at-will> on the nearest enemy if you received no orders," perhaps?) I think if they defaulted to making a Basic Attack it would incentivize using the simpler Essentials builds. Hurm,,, some pretty broken Essentials builds with the right feats. Maybe sidekicks don't get feats, either? They're not the heroes for a reason. That might make the character-building boring, though. </stream-of-consciousness>
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I'd say, keep them independent in their actions - their not summoned; they are agents in the world, etc. No "instinctive" actions. If you do this, you impinge on the territory of summoners, which makes them essentially lame (a summoner with a sidekick won't have enough actions and be utterly superfluous).

Action Point share is just an option - could just deny them APs

I agree that they shouldn't get Paragon Paths

They should get feats; don't give them inherent bonuses, or the free pair of math feats.

I agree on the initiative -that will keep things moving in combat

So, just like a regular character, 2 levels down, with no free math feats, no inherent bonuses, no paragon path, no APs: this keeps them very simple; you could restrict certain Feat choices generally (no multiclassing; no hybrids; no Skill Powers - or even just restrict to Class and Racial feats only, which again keeps it quite simple yet distinct and still effective - I like that one - a sidekick elf Cleric really is a sidekick elf cleric - also simplifies level up).

Penalties: as I mentioned above, plus if the sidekick goes unconscious, the PC is Dazed (save ends)

Think about that one: I think that's a formula for a reasonably helpful non-heroic sidekick - simple, distinct, useful in combination with a PC but limited when alone . . . not a scene stealer.

-E
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I think one more excellent simplification is this: sidekicks only get a Standard action and a Move action (1 less than the heroes); they can, of course, cannibalize either to do a minor instead.

This, particularly, keeps sidekick healers from being as good (or nearly so) as PC healers, but still allows sidekick Monks to use full disciplines. It also keeps them simpler in combat.

I'm starting to like sidekicks: simple, non-heroic, yet useful and familiar in combat; simple in development, with very few chances for "killer combos" with feats limited to Race and Class only. Somewhat costly to maintain; painful if you let them get seriously hurt or killed.

...and another: no background benefit; no theme, so...

New Summary (Sidekicks: TL;DR)
All class and race choices and benefits, except any party PC classes or Bound PC role
No themes
No background benefit
No inherent bonuses
Normal ability scores
Normal skills
Normal powers
Class and Race feats only
No free math feats
No action points
2 actions (standard & move, either of which may be cannibalized to minor)
Acts on bound PC's initiative
2 levels behind PCs
No Paragon path
No Epic Destiny
Affect encounter difficulty, but not treasure
Must be rewarded out of bound PC's share
Unconscious = Bound PC Dazed (save ends)
Dead = Bound PC damaged and loss of surge
Dismissal from service = new sidekick available next level
Leaves service due to abuse of actions (e.g. trap runner/dragon bait) = PC is progressively fucked
-E
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Scott, I posted a sample sidekick (who, y'know, I might actually use) on CB - have a look: remember that he'd be around when the PCs are 3rd level.
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He's big; he's bad; he climbs.
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I'm starting to get the Blue Tigers Battletech side populated, so now you too can watch the snail's pace.
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Alright boys and girls - I've built a character sheet basis over in Blue Tigers. Have a look: feel free to edit what I've done so far, but let's keep the structure as is for now: I'll be building links for skills and traits, so things will be online as much as possible. Will be cool when it's there.
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Epic!
D&D 5th is Warhammer, basically: "keep it simple with modular rules that affect the core . . . sell sell sell, who cares about balance"

Again, thanks, I like 4e

http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/20120213
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Spoiler with quotes inside: check it!

Dice Rolls => Results = Total
d20 => [19] = 19
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Epic!
After that week off for weddinging, I've been working non-stop to catch up at work. (Weekends? psha! we don't end weeks around here!)

Hopefully, things will settle down by next week and I will be able to think about D&D again...
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Best News:

http://montecook.livejournal.com/251404.html
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Epic!
A ton of info on the awfulness of 5e, for those who like that sort of thing:

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Can I have the TLDR version of all that..? :)
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three choice quotes from three different commenters:

"Prior to getting the pdfs, I assumed that they might, as a base module, create a really simple basic game which might please some OSR types, and also be newbie friendly as well.

Nope, it's just 3e. With seven defenses."

-------------------

"One thing I did notice immediately was that they've continued the old tricks of making every class have specific strengths and weaknesses, and then giving only Wizards a way to counteract their weaknesses."

-------------------

"It's like 3e, only:
Wizards get at-will powers. No more crossbows!
Fighters still don't get shit.

They're adding the bits of 4e /which made things more fun for wizards/, and leaving out the bits /that made the game more fun for everyone./"
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Epic × 2!
I feel like D&D has a deal going that is similar to the George Lucas tax... though, I just got invited to join a local *2e* game... not sure I'll even be able to process...
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Wow. So, for kicks over the weekend I rolled up 12 1st ed. "Expert" set characters absolutely according to the rules. Since I could not choose a class until after rolling, I didn't end up with a viable wizard.

I did end up with about 5 viable characters: they were viable insofar as they'll die the first time they get hit, but they only get hit about one time in ten by the monsters they'll be facing. The Thief will die more often, but hey, she really shouldn't be in combat anyway: she's the skill person of the party, the Swiss Army Knife, and she can even succeed against low-level monsters about 15% of the time . . .

One thing I noticed while going through the unfun hell of generating these characters (and why? to see how bad the old ways were), was that actually, Int, Cha, and Wis didn't matter one whit, even if you were a wizard or a cleric . . . sure, Int let you speak a few more languages, Wis improved a very narrow set of saves (vs. magic) and Cha gave you more henchmen . . . wait a second, this is reminding me of something . . . oh yeah, 5e.
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Reading further, I'd say this is an infinite list of dumb ideas: 1d4+1 minutes to remove heavy armor?

A) really, we're rolling dice for this?

B) random, really?

C) I don't think they know a goddamn thing about armor, so the 1d4+1 only seems to simulate taking it off, (by requiring an arbitrary roll) but it's a bad simulation.

Movement in feet, really? here's an idea: let's make the squares 5 feet and give movement in squares, or is that too 4e?

I have books and books of shitty ideas that don't work and screw everyone out of as much fun as is possible; why would I need more?
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Dumbshit
Take the defences. Yes, each stat acts as a kinda 3e style 'save defence' vs spell-like attacks. This is a huge mess. Hard to keep track of, impossible to balance- remember kids: using the optional array, one of your defences is going to be a sixteen, and one of them is going to be AN EIGHT. That eight will be used for *SAVE OR DIE EFFECTS*.


Seriously? but since its save-or-die, it doesn't matter: you're going to fail some rolls somewhere along the line. save-or-die never worked, but they'll bring it back anyway. If I wasn't clear before, I have no interest in this: I have plenty of rule books with this kind of bad idea.
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Best Quote that sums it all up:

Oh Yeah!
If we're fessing up to having seen the 1.0 playtest, it's pretty mind-bogglingly regressive. Some highlights from the materials:

-Part of the class description for the wizard is copied verbatim from the 3.5 PHB class description

-Nine alignment axis is back :cryface:

-Magic items that are mechanically based around alignment are back (Helm of Opposite Alignment, Swords that damage Chaotic creatures)

-At-wills/Dailies/Encounters are gone for martial classes, but are still around for wizards, sort of

-*Twenty* different conditions that can negatively affect a character. 20. What's the difference between Blinded, Dazzled, and Dazed? Between Enervated, Sickened, Frightened, Shaken, and Panicked? Buy 5e and find out

-Different types of weapon damage. Piercing, Bludgeoning, Slashing

-Healing surges are gone, now with a rest you get a certain amount of hp back OR you can be healed by a magic user, of course

So...yeah, it's bad. It's really bad. Unless you really, really liked 3.5! Or you are Monte Cook, I guess. Or wanted your rules to be written in the most obfuscatory language possible. Hopefully they can scrap the whole thing and build on 4e's improvements, but the design team has really strongly shown what they want the next edition to look like, and it looks like 3.5 with a few tweaks here and there.
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Wait, no, I have a better one!

Right on!
As has been the general trend, they are deliberately making their system opaque to look at and tedious to use in order to appeal to people who like bad games.


lol

/rant
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Thanks for the summation. I always thought 4e did a great job simplifying the game (compared to 3.5), but this seems like a major step backwards.
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Epic × 2!
Anybody else able to get into co-Meeting? It is completely dead on my end - bugged; kaput; big red "Failed" :(
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Pointer-left Katportrait_thumb
Kat
Yeahhhhh iz ded. D:
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yup. was in the middle of reporting on the hockey game Erin and I just finished... okay, the hockey period.... that took over an hour... need to work on streamlining.
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OK - I just sent them a problem report. This has been happening far too often - I just wrote a bunch of responses to your stuff, Scott, and it didn't save them :( So I rewrote a very short version.
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