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DMMike
09-22-2010, 04:01 PM
You know you love it, when the "King of the Realm" takes personal audience (or even visits) a group of 1st level characters to assign a "mission."

Or when the "powerful wizard" asks the party to retrieve a spell component. When he could probably cast Instant Summons on it. Or send his sneakier, faster, familiar to snag it.

Can you think of, or have you experienced, other practicality faux pas that game masters should avoid?

Malruhn
09-22-2010, 08:57 PM
I'll argue this one...

Regarding that powerful wizard, tradition and mythology abounds with stories of items that could only be reaped/gathered/collected by human hands under the light of a full moon, with no magic assist and such strictures. I see no problem at all with sending out groups of flunkies to do your dirty work. Besides, for normal stuff, it's easy to just buy it - and for hard to get stuff, would YOU want your familiar to go out to collect it? How bad does it hurt again when a catoble-draco-daemona-goyle bites your familiar in half?

Then, regarding the ruler granting a personal audience, this is usually only done (in my experience as a gamer) for dire circumstances. He doesn't just invite the gang over for crumpets and tea, he's trying to send people to do important things. However, in my campaigns, this would usually be done by the seneshal, a warden or trusted adviser... rather than the guy with the crown, himself.

DMMike
09-27-2010, 01:17 PM
Submitted by video game writers:

Town guards who always capture or subdue unruly heroes (Arena, amongst other games). Why not just send those invincible town guards to save the land?

Dytrrnikl
09-27-2010, 09:47 PM
Any table-top pen and paper game that has the video game camp mechanic...rest over night and your all better...CRAP, CRAP, CRAP, and just plain CRAP!!!

wizarddog
09-28-2010, 11:11 PM
It really depends on how you want the heroes of the story to be portrayed. Why can't a group of heroes, even if they are 1st level, be the greatest warriors in the realm? The King is only king by virtue of his heritage, not by the grand deeds he accomplished himself. The heroes have earned their their reputations--that's what backgrounds are all about.

If you measure everything by level and mechanics, your just limiting yourself to good story telling.

Dytrrnikl
09-29-2010, 08:35 AM
...Why can't a group of heroes, even if they are 1st level, be the greatest warriors in the realm? The King is only king by virtue of his heritage, not by the grand deeds he accomplished himself. The heroes have earned their their reputations--that's what backgrounds are all about.
If you measure everything by level and mechanics, your just limiting yourself to good story telling.

I would argue that this would mean that the kindgom is going to be wiped out. A 1st level character or group of characters haven't had their mettle tested yet...they don't really know what they're capable of and are quite frankly wet behind the ears. They haven't done enough to warrant earning any sort of reputation. Backgrounds are to explain training and early parts of life, maybe a deed or two to describe how the character has moved toward what they are becoming. Of course, this is simply MY OWN personal opinion and by no means indicative of anyone else. I am the sort of GM and Player that follows the paradigm that characters just don't start of as being heroic at first level...they have to EARN there kudos, ie. advance several levels.

DMMike
09-29-2010, 12:17 PM
I stand by my FAIL. Mostly for Dytrrnikl's reasons. It's a bad sign, for the king if not the players, if the DM says to a group of 1st levels, "crowds gather around you, the greatest warriors in the realm, as you march to meet the king." They could be brave, the talk of the town, or really lucky, but hopefully not the GWotR.

On wizarddog's side, however, 1st level characters are twice the combatants that 1st level NPC classes are. So as long as the rest of the realm is (effectively) zero level...

Utgardloki
09-29-2010, 08:27 PM
I agree with the idea that the fate of the kingdom does not rest in the hands of 1st level characters.

In my campaign, 1st-4th level characters may be asked for help by the mayor, who can't spare the most promising members of her militia. 4th-8th level characters may come to the attention of the baron, especially for minor missions which are not worthy of the attention of his better henchmen. At 8th-12th level they might come to the attention of the Duke. Characters 12th level and above may very well be summoned by the Judges Council (which is "temporarily" governing in the name of the king).

kkriegg
10-05-2010, 12:30 AM
NPCs who have absolutely nothing going on in their lives, with their reactions and mood shaped entirely on whatever happened the last time they met the PCs.

Rowdy PCs always get due process and speedy trials, and their punishments are more quests for riches.

A good, strong, trustworthy fellow looking for work who shows up right after one of your party members dies.

And of course, I'm sure we could all go on and on about RPG economics.

This list is endless.

DMMike
10-05-2010, 02:38 AM
LOL at the trustworthy fellow.

Isn't the ubiquitous Friendly Local Tavern a bit of a FAILure? Someone mentioned in the Campaign Realism thread that the PUBlic house was paid for by the local lord to provide for the locals...so how does a Tavern (resembling, strangely enough, modern bars) make enough money to stay open? Unless it happens to be on the busiest road of a major trading city...

Lord.Sorasen
10-05-2010, 05:49 PM
Here's a few I've noticed.

1. The King of a "good" aligned land is old and physically impaired, either by old age, bad health (overweight, usually) or both. The prince, however, tends to be a capable warrior. Physically powerful kings are generally the result of a young prince being promoted. However, the Lord of an "evil" land will be a stronger warrior than that of his greatest soldiers, regardless of age. The lords of evil kingdoms will find time to train in powerful magics even whilst leading a city and enjoying the leisures of being a dictator. (many would say evil lords rule by power, so it makes sense that they'd be strong, but real life examples seem to contradict more than not.)

2. While the adventurers do seem to get stronger from a stat based outlook, they are destined to always be more or less on par with those they fight, forever.

3. A level 1, fledgling barbarian is walking armorless down a hallway. Suddenly a crossbow is shot at him, and the blow hits him directly in the neck. Calculating the damage, the barbarian takes 5x2 damage. He's in pain but remains stable enough to take himself to the hospital, or if he so chooses simply sleep it off within the next week.

4. Evil Gods encourage their clerics to reign in destruction. Other than "for evil" they seem to have no real motive for these actions. While an evil warrior may wish to enslave the world, an evil God really has nothing to gain.

Rmorrow
10-06-2010, 05:46 PM
Couple of things on these fails

The "friendly Local Tavern" being owned and provided by a lord is more accustomed to rural areas that did not make allot of money. The lord paid for it out of the grain/export of the local area. The larger "wealthy trade towns" usually sold off the rights to own and operate certain businesses (think of the american liquor license.

In the latter the local lord (most likely a baronet or marquise) would tax the Tap house for every barrel of alcohol that was bought by the tap master or brewed by a brew master if they where lucky enough to have one of those. (either at time of sale or by a regular tax man inspection)

The former, was given free room and was able to feed himself and his family from the stocks of the tap house as long as he maintained the business and didn't get caught skimming the tills. They usually didn't make allot of money and sometimes where actually a draw on the local economy, but they did keep the peasants docile and not thinking of how easy it would be to storm the lors house with his five guards and grab the local treasure. In this matter any visitor (easily known, due to small community) would be charged quite a price (locals 1cp per ale visitors 1cp + 1cp for lord +1cp for the tap master (with out lords knowledge usually). Not just that but for the lords that actualy cared for their people this was a gathering place the lord could get a one on one for the farmers and local population.

Sorasen

1. Good kings take care of their people and are quite busy with it this tends to let them develop into something less ideal for the battlefield (commonly not always the case). Also taking care of their subjects also invokes a bit more loyalty, allowing them to live longer than your average whip them till they bleed leader. The second part I agree with in allot of your points. However no one man rules a kingdom alone they tend to have many secretaries and advisors and what not to do allot of the real work. Their decrees tend to be to the effect of "I want more food for the troops" and then letting there underling deal with it. For the training bad guy mentioned in your post I can see this going one of two ways; first its the hands off approach mentioned before but to a greater extreme, where the Evil king is that mainly in title and has many people doing the real work of running a country/empire. while rebellions happen those with magical might or physical prowess easily nock their opportunistic lackeys back in line with a beheading or two. As far as being the strongest warrior if a evil ruler spent his entire career gearing up for or fighting a war then he would have ample training from the elite fighters of his army (the king only gets the best) and ample field time to get experience in combat (both on a mechanical rules perspective and reality tactical experience perspective. Point is few tweaks is all you really need to make this one make since)

Barbarian to a hospital: firstly I would never say to the neck unless it was a critical success (mind you I play D&D). As far as being ok after a cross bow attack if he was half hp or fewer I would say stumbles to the criergent rather than walks, and as far as sleeping it off most rules that allow you to do this define rest as somewhat restrictively light duty tasks. Meaning while yes a week is some generous healing times he would be able to preform physically (how ever the character should be informed to role play the uncomfortable itching and stretched feeling moving gives you when a wound is healing; as well as the protest, the mental acuity of hurting yourself again ect. ect.) of course I would have probably plugged him a few more times with the x-bow while he was walking of to the doc screaming like that don't jya (insert appropriate bar bar derogatory statement here).

Evil Gods destroying the world: in the most common polytheistic pantheon, the gods live in the same exsistance as us cutting off their areas from us but desperately needing our existance for theres to be assured. That would be one good reason, another would be. Gods need our worrship to continue to exist destroy our world and no prayers for you. Or the machinations of an evil god attempting to steal the throne of the current ruling deity might be overlooked by some of the deities but when you steal the book of blagy blagy. then some real stuff goes down, and every one goes against you cause that book can destroy their tea party that is our world. Also why would an evil god even want to destroy our world, Evil isn't wanton destruction and chaos or every thing must die its more like supremely selfish (IMHO), remember that the gods have their world(s) and deal with other gods like you would deal with other people. they may be more powerful than us but allot of that is mostly negated when dealing with their own. They're concerns and wants should reflect their existence as much as ours reflects us. If we dont matter to them (no power no games they have little or no connection to us) the evil gods just would not care (and their followers fall suite) however if they are connected to us, such as the grecko-roman and many other pantheons then to destroy us is to destroy themselves. Either way your one argument for why they would let their followers reign destruction is actually a counter argument to your own proposal. An evil warrior wants to destroy existence to prove that he is the most powerfull being and that not even the gods can defeat him; an evil God really has nothing to gain from destroying the world.

These are based on the common, not the exception. it is perfectly ok to have that one evil god who hates himself and everyone else to the point of just wanting to end it all, ALL! or the local tap house that is friendly to outsiders because they are so bored with the humdrum of peasant life. But again these should be the exception.

Fails I've seen:
The party can take on most of the town guard so they get away with allot

but the rules state that I could jump off a 2km cliff and survive max damage is... blah blah blah (stupidity rules aply in my game. oh side note it takes less than 15 seconds for a pearson to reach terminal velocity at which point hey have fallen over 1500 feet. Feather fall my @22 instant decelerate from that speed I dare you!) rules do not take precedence over your stupidity.

Hi I have no family, am haunted by a dark secret, have deamon blood in my line and a destiny to be great, Can I join the party... We're going to bestest friends

But it works that way... um um its magic

their are ton more but I'll stop now

clintsylvania
10-07-2010, 01:38 AM
Well, a poor way for people to get matched up is usually at the pub. I as a GM have either had them meet in jail under false crimes, the city is under a massive attack and they just defend a block of a major kingdom.
I've played in a game where one gets duped into releasing an evil sorcerror. Or heroes of prophesy.
Well, you could also have them be a part of a mercenary group as fledglings.
These are just good ways to avoid the whole weird "Um... So I am , uh, Grandle. I play this flute and magical things happen... I see you carry a big sword and you fight well" role playing.

DMMike
10-07-2010, 03:03 AM
Speaking of the evil sorceror -

FAIL: magic is common. Wizardry is common, and therefore somewhat easy to accomplish. So, with common availability of low level spells like Obscuring Mist, Unseen Servant, Sleep, Disguise Self, Knock, Invisibility, Spider Climb, etc, there's still not rampant theft and burglary across the city/state?

Every tavern has a bouncer. Now, every shop needs a mage. :(

Rmorrow
10-07-2010, 09:24 AM
lol Mike I know what you mean; when I created the "Main" kingdom for my world I took a magic is common-ish approach.

The way it goes is this. All the races are actually refugees from another world. to get here it took twelve mages to create the world portal. While magic itself is not as common as a thief (say one in 500 people have aptitude for magic), it is still more common than in most campaigns and it has corresponding aspects in most lives. The easier spells (low level, with little or no material cost) are used to make signs that act out scenes, create private rooms with real privacy, or in general enrich lives (much like technology). this has applied to crime and criminal law as well. On the crime side rouges use potions of invisibility and other neat tricks to do there work, a guild enforcer might use a modified non-detection spell to mask who beat up the store owner. Of course others have figured out how to use magic in crime solving as well and while morally questionable mages create items and spells for the various criminal elements, the security minded mage creates spells used against such criminals. Of course their are still "common" criminals that can't afford to by these elevated spells and devices (while common they are still rather expensive).

I think this falls into the category of any stick that was not well thought out and incorporated fully into the game world.

Malruhn
10-07-2010, 04:30 PM
While I don't necessarily agree with you in the original post - NOW you've gone and made a GREAT argument for practicality fails... to the point that it should be spelled "FALEZ". This is one topic that I haven't tried to tackle - and don't think I will. There are WAY too many things involved that will make my brain explode.

Lord.Sorasen
10-07-2010, 04:58 PM
Couple of things on these fails

Barbarian to a hospital: firstly I would never say to the neck unless it was a critical success (mind you I play D&D). As far as being ok after a cross bow attack if he was half hp or fewer I would say stumbles to the criergent rather than walks, and as far as sleeping it off most rules that allow you to do this define rest as somewhat restrictively light duty tasks. Meaning while yes a week is some generous healing times he would be able to preform physically (how ever the character should be informed to role play the uncomfortable itching and stretched feeling moving gives you when a wound is healing; as well as the protest, the mental acuity of hurting yourself again ect. ect.) of course I would have probably plugged him a few more times with the x-bow while he was walking of to the doc screaming like that don't jya (insert appropriate bar bar derogatory statement here).

I as well meant a critical hit, actually. D10 bow, half of that is about 5, x2 is ten, and a barbarian's base hit points at level one is 12, which is a lot, really.

You might say he was stumbling, but according to DnD 3.5 rules any amount of hit points above zero and you'll be stable, and can fight normally.

Let's consider he cannot heal via rest because having an arrow in your neck strains. In fact, let's say it's in the back and not the neck. Now, according to DnD rules the barbarian could really just keep the arrow in his back forever. At first he's truly frail, with only 2 hp, but by level 2 he gains d12 again, making him at an average of perhaps 8 (2+6)... Which means that a level 2 barbarian with an arrow in his backside would still be more sturdy than a wizard in good health.

I might be understanding the rules wrong, though. I'm really new to DnD. Like, really new

Sascha
10-07-2010, 07:24 PM
You might say he was stumbling, but according to DnD 3.5 rules any amount of hit points above zero and you'll be stable, and can fight normally.
It's due to hit points being more than just physical injury; they're exhaustion and fatigue, they're dumb luck, they're skill at avoiding blows/spells, they're morale, in addition to being scrapes, cuts and bruises. HP represent your willingness and ability to fight - as long as you have at least one, you're capable of continuing the battle without penalty. (This is why D&D has no death spiral, like other games do; HP are pretty abstract. Might be better to think of them as "don't get hit points.")

Taking a shot to the neck is more the result of going into negative hit points: the character's out of the fight, and is at risk of dying, if not dead already (-10 or beyond). This is represented by the stabilization check (3E) or death saves (4E). Prior editions, I don't recall how it was handled. Been too long, and others can answer it better, anyway :P

tesral
10-09-2010, 01:27 AM
Murphy's Rules, I believe Steve Jackson games still sells it, a whole book of rules' fails from all sorts of games. No Sacred Cow let unbutchered.

Utgardloki
10-09-2010, 02:31 AM
About Taverns:

My homebrew has a goddess of taverns, who invented them as a way for travellers to reliably get hospitality in their travels. Many tavern owners are priests of this goddess.

As a result, some of her clerics have gone far out into the barbarian lands to set up "taverns" which are part tavern, part temple, and part fortress. Now that I think about it a little more, these taverns could even be a place where humans, orcs, hobgoblins and gnomes can meet to do business that is normally impossible due to their mutual emnity.

fmitchell
10-09-2010, 05:46 AM
As a result, some of her clerics have gone far out into the barbarian lands to set up "taverns" which are part tavern, part temple, and part fortress. Now that I think about it a little more, these taverns could even be a place where humans, orcs, hobgoblins and gnomes can meet to do business that is normally impossible due to their mutual emnity.

Yes, it was a dream given form. Its goal was to create a place where humans and humanoids could work out their differences peacefully. It's the last, best hope for peace.

BTW, temples 1, 2, and 3 were sabotaged, and temple 4 simply disappeared.

tesral
10-09-2010, 09:31 AM
About Taverns:

My homebrew has a goddess of taverns, who invented them as a way for travellers to reliably get hospitality in their travels. Many tavern owners are priests of this goddess.

I might lift this. I like the concept.

Angelus_Nox
10-09-2010, 11:25 AM
Yes, it was a dream given form. Its goal was to create a place where humans and humanoids could work out their differences peacefully. It's the last, best hope for peace.

BTW, temples 1, 2, and 3 were sabotaged, and temple 4 simply disappeared.

You made my day.


@topic: I agree on the whole "Woop, I'm in a tavern, let's do this" thing being sort of... awkward, however convenient it may (suspension of disbelief also comes into play). Alternatives I used include accidentally being pulled into a planet-wide conspiracy due to being kind-hearted ("You want us to deliver this suitcase to that place just a few streets away? Sure thing! Hey, who are those guys aiming at us all of a sudden?"), the aforementioned prophesized hero story (split up into separate introductions for each character), unintentionally causing something bad and then feeling responsible to set things straight ("Woop, you just shoved a random guy down a manhole by accident" "After him!") and so on.

Utgardloki
10-09-2010, 07:51 PM
Yes, it was a dream given form. Its goal was to create a place where humans and humanoids could work out their differences peacefully. It's the last, best hope for peace.

BTW, temples 1, 2, and 3 were sabotaged, and temple 4 simply disappeared.

I love this idea. I'll have to use it.

The goddesses name in my setting was Inyr. I made her the daughter of Skade and Njord, with domains Travel, War, Protection, and Alchoholic Beverages.

Angelus's mention of 'suitcases' gives me the idea of using the "meeting in the tavern" for a modern game, instead of my planned idea of having the PCs meet on a random street corner.

DMMike
10-10-2010, 03:48 AM
Well, PCs meeting at a tavern isn't really a practicality Fail. It's just cliche. Although you might find a Fail in the tavern. Like a wanted poster. With text. Not many peasants are literate (maybe they can read "Wanted" and "Gold"). Also, a mission poster is pretty outlandish:

"To all adventurers! An evil orc horde encroaches on my lands! 1000 gold to whoever can turn them away!"

This type of message would either be delivered to the local military, or as a plea to the next higher lord.

tesral
10-10-2010, 04:36 AM
Literacy is not a fail in and of itself. After all are you running a Medieval style game? I'm not. In some areas of my world literacy is quite high.

A fail is a break down in consistency. If news travels by broadsheet, the sudden appearance of a town crier is a fail. A rule that simply defies logic or reason. I.E. the tenth level fighter than can survive any fall.

fmitchell
10-10-2010, 04:53 PM
If news travels by broadsheet, the sudden appearance of a town crier is a fail.

Unless there are class or regional differences in literacy rates, e.g. city folk vs. rural folk. Also, the written language might be as insanely complex as Japanese, which mixes a phonetic syllabary with Chinese ideographs; in medieval Japan, women and farmers read only syllabic characters, while scholars and noblemen (or their scribes) wrote in Chinese characters with only a few phonetics for necessary verb endings and particles.

tesral
10-10-2010, 10:37 PM
In that case you have a low literacy rate and town criers would be the norm.

It isn't to say that one must or must not have a literate population; it is to say that one should be consistent within the concept you do use. If people don't read, posters are pointless, town criers would be the rule. If the do read, town criers are unlikely, posters and broadsheets are common.

A world does not have to be consistent across the whole either. City folk tend to read, rural people don't would be one example, or a country with a high literacy rate in one part of the world while another country does not have high literacy.


Speaking of evil kings. Keeping the population ignorant would be one of the tools of the tyrant. One of he reasons for the American revolution was the relitivly high literacy rate of the colonists. It was easy to spread ideas through pamphlets and broadsheets. Likewise the antebellum slave holding states made it a crime to teach a Negro to read. The written word is a vital method of spreading ideas. Much more effective than word of mouth.

So good Kingdom Foo might have a high rate of literacy, you see printing presses (Also a tool of literacy, if you have nothing to read, how do you learn?) broadsheets, posters, and all the tool of the literate population, most people can read. In evil Kingdom Fee, printers are hung, people do not have access to written materials, anyone seeking to either learn or teach is seen as subversive.

Utgardloki
10-13-2010, 11:42 PM
I'm thinking that even if most of the population is illiterate, Wanted Posters would be directed towards adventuring groups, most of which would include at least one literate member. So Farmer Bob might just know that there is a price on somebody's head, but doesn't know how much and why. But he's not going to do anything about it. Brother Tom sees the poster, reads it, and tells his barbarian friend that there is a chance to make some money by bringing an outlaw to justice.

---------- Post added at 10:42 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:40 PM ----------

Also, in Audor, most PCs can read, but they are more likely to hear the news from a wandering Bard than they are to find a sheet of paper on which somebody has decided to write down what happened.

DMMike
10-14-2010, 01:50 PM
FAIL: Goblins are wimpy, green, suicidal monsters. That live in caves. (Remind you of any real world fails?)

1) There's a good reason why no human culture has lived exclusively in caves. They're not good for growing crops, and really, who wants to spelunk his way out of bed in the morning? Or wake up to find your enemies have trapped you in your own home?

2) Most creatures don't fight with reckless abandon unless they're defending their young or their homes. So why do goblins always take up arms against bigger creatures? (You'd think they would prefer beating up on kobolds...)

3) If goblins are somehow smart enough to not just survive in caves, but to create cities, have a Goblin King, and perhaps even manufacture metal weapons in these caves, shouldn't they be smart enough to not declare open war on every above-ground race?

tesral
10-15-2010, 12:08 AM
Which is why my Goblins do not:
A: Live in caves.
B: Behave like violent loons.

Sascha
10-15-2010, 11:19 AM
FAIL: Goblins are wimpy, green, suicidal monsters. That live in caves. (Remind you of any real world fails?)

[QUOTE=DMMike;150508]1) There's a good reason why no human culture has lived exclusively in caves. They're not good for growing crops, and really, who wants to spelunk his way out of bed in the morning? Or wake up to find your enemies have trapped you in your own home?
Erm, early humans spent quite a bit of time in caves, actually, as they're really stable shelter. Food domestication didn't come around until the past ~10k years, of the ~200k that H. sapiens has been roaming the planet. (And Neanderthals, who predate us by 400k years, were kicking around Europe's caves systems long before we did). It's true no culture was exclusively in caves, but dang, did we ever use the heck out of 'em. You're spot on 'bout potential threats sharing your space, though; cave-dwelling folk had to deal with cave bears back in the day (though it's not as one-sided as you might expect). Goblins could occupy a similar niche, with the added advantage of greater technologies than stone and bone tools.

Farming is only a requirement of supporting populations in the thousands. Goblins don't necessarily need such numbers, so a foraging subsistence strategy is more than adequate. (Also, if they're stricter carnivores than the omnivorous humans, farming ain't going to work out anyway. Adapt the dietary needs to fit the environment and you've eliminated one "fail" from the list.)


2) Most creatures don't fight with reckless abandon unless they're defending their young or their homes. So why do goblins always take up arms against bigger creatures? (You'd think they would prefer beating up on kobolds...)
They're not most creatures, obviously. Aggression goes a long way to driving out other species, regardless of size. For a great example, watch chimpanzees chase gorillas from fig trees.


3) If goblins are somehow smart enough to not just survive in caves, but to create cities, have a Goblin King, and perhaps even manufacture metal weapons in these caves, shouldn't they be smart enough to not declare open war on every above-ground race?
You might be looking at it from the wrong angle here. Goblin behavior doesn't have to conform to surface norms *because* of the caves: extensive knowledge of cave systems is a great tactical advantage over folks who don't, and their over-aggressive natures keep most other species from making meals of 'em or taking over goblin territory. Raiding surface communities is a bit like a free lunch, compared to that. (I'd also see them as highly opportunistic, chasing larger predators away from kills or scavenging leftovers.) As for goblin kings, "king" could be the human word, or a borrowing of a human term for "chieftain," solely to elevate perceived status; maybe they use it because it implies greater social organization than exists.

(Also, any species smart enough to venerate David Bowie gets a pass for other impracticalities :P)

Utgardloki
10-16-2010, 12:35 AM
I'm not sure exactly what to do with the goblins, but I am thinking of the idea that everybody is always beating up the goblins (except for the female hobgoblins), so the goblins love beating up anybody they can.

If a storm giant moves into the neighborhood, the goblins are likely to start thinking of ways of wishing he'd moved somewhere else.

This also fits in the cave angle. Being able to maneuver and take advantage of caverns, especially using small passages and crevices against larger opponents, goblins find them excellent places to lair.

DMMike
10-17-2010, 08:03 PM
Sascha, your points drive me to take a closer look at dwarves.

Ut, empower those goblins. They'll thank you for it. Probably with a devious fecal matter trap.

Malruhn
10-19-2010, 06:27 PM
A fail is a break down in consistency. If news travels by broadsheet, the sudden appearance of a town crier is a fail. A rule that simply defies logic or reason. I.E. the tenth level fighter than can survive any fall.
I recall that when both Elvis and John Lennon died, people were running up and down the streets, crying, announcing to the world that their lives were bereft of any pleasure.

Does that count as a town crier (as in: screaming the news AND weeping uncontrollably)?? (insert girlish giggle here)

Sorry - feeling peckish.

tesral
10-19-2010, 07:06 PM
Me/ pecks Malruhn

Sgt. Cookie
10-20-2010, 10:03 AM
On the subject of taverns, in my homebrew (which is steampunk) taverns are not just places where people can sleep, but are more like buses as they travel along a set route between, normaly, 10 or 12 locations.

Sascha
10-20-2010, 01:09 PM
Sascha, your points drive me to take a closer look at dwarves.
Been pondering dwarves and come to the conclusion that, unlike goblins, they are full of behavioral fail. It isn't as easy to remedy the diet issue, as I can't quite conceive of caves large enough to support fungus cultivation on a scale that works (unless they operate with a similar behavior to South American leafcutter ants). There's two explanations that I've come up with, but it's hard to say which is more interesting :P

The easiest solution is to say dwarves aren't, in fact, wholly subterranean. They have farms on cleared and leveled parts of mountains, and engage in trade with nearby settlements for things they can't grow on a mountainside. (Or, I suppose they *could* be subterranean and subsist solely on traded foodstuff, which may be more interesting, but you still have a question of how they got there to begin with.)

Another take is a more mythological bent; dwarves aren't exactly natural creatures, and as such could skirt "real" biological limitations of living deep in caves. They'd be more like the Norse Dvergar or Svartálfar, ditching the "traditional" Tolkien-inspired image for one that's suited to being a critter living in a dark hole in some forsaken mountain. Interesting? Maybe, maybe not.

DMMike
10-20-2010, 10:22 PM
My dwarves got a bad reputation for living underground. It happened when some dwarven nobility moved into exhausted (?) mines. And when some castles were built on mountainsides. Otherwise, they're just as subterranean as you or I am.

But they did invent brewing. And those Dvergar sound interesting.

Sascha
10-20-2010, 11:13 PM
Course - and I'm surprised I didn't think of it earlier - having just watched Dr. Strangelove again, not too long ago ... maybe the reason dwarves live in caves is past dwarves were concerned with a mineshaft gap ...

fmitchell
10-21-2010, 10:46 AM
Another take is a more mythological bent; dwarves aren't exactly natural creatures, and as such could skirt "real" biological limitations of living deep in caves. They'd be more like the Norse Dvergar or Svartálfar, ditching the "traditional" Tolkien-inspired image for one that's suited to being a critter living in a dark hole in some forsaken mountain.

One variation I've seen a couple of times is that Dwarfs manufacture other Dwarfs, or find new Dwarfs embedded in stone. That implies that Dwarfs are short golems, wholly magical creatures, or at the very least not bound by human nutritional requirements.

Sascha
10-21-2010, 10:59 AM
One variation I've seen a couple of times is that Dwarfs manufacture other Dwarfs, or find new Dwarfs embedded in stone. That implies that Dwarfs are short golems, wholly magical creatures, or at the very least not bound by human nutritional requirements.
Now I'm imagining dwarves as the Machines from the Matrix orTerminator franchises :P

"Come with me if you want to live, Mr. Anderson."

tesral
10-21-2010, 12:17 PM
Dwarves simply are not numerous. Some huge natural caverns have been found over the years. An underground ecology does exist. Dwarven food will be light on the green vegetables, they have fungal replacements. And grow meat animals on same.

This is the Chapel of Saint Kinga Wieliczka Poland. It is in a salf mine. Note the size of the people. Over the centuries the mine was in operation the miners, many convicts who never left the mine, carved wonderful and huge spaces below the ground. The chapel is hardly the end of it. All of it made of salt. Make then shorter and hairier and you have Dwarves (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php/6694-Dwarves-in-Thindacarulle).
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b2/Wieliczka-saltmine-kinga.jpg

Malruhn
10-22-2010, 05:58 PM
Okay, there's several vulgar expletives that I'd like to use, but that is phreaking cool.

Yeah, I got my geek woody goin' on right now.

That's WAY cool!

magic-rhyme
10-28-2010, 10:32 PM
when the "King of the Realm" takes personal audience (or even visits) a group of 1st level characters to assign a "mission."

Is he a Politician King or a War Lord?

A Warrior King who was afraid to take a personal audience with a group of 1st level characters would be seen as a coward by his people!

Basically, a good game master can explain these things quite logically and believably -- IF that is what his or her players want!

I always warn my players that I know a great deal about fantasy and myth but I also know a lot about European history in the early, middle, and late Medieval periods, so if they decide to skoff about tried-and-cherished standard fantasy tropes, I can always run the campaign quite realistically. I can even run it so realistically that they all have to make saving throws every few game weeks for their characters to avoid the plague, with penalties for unsanitary water and spoiled meat, IF that is what they really want . . .

tesral
10-29-2010, 01:51 AM
The beauty of fantasy is you can play clean, hygienic, barbarians. "Crom don't eat that, you don't know where it's been!" "Ugh, you be right Morgog. We find fresh cow and kill it."

Somewhat related. The whole"raised pinkie" thing when drinking tea. It had nothing to do with polite. It had everything to do with demitasse tea cups. The demitasse cup has a handle too small to get a finger through. As a resut you had ot balance it. Extending the pinkie helped balance the weight of a full cup. As the demitasse cup of fine porcelain was something only the rich could afford it was seen as a "proper" behavior of high society, even now that the cup itself is long out of fashion.

Is this true. Well we have a couple of demitasse cups in the china cabinet. Yep, it balances the suckers.

DMMike
10-29-2010, 03:21 PM
Magic-rhyme: I think I see your point, but I'm talking about a practicality issue. The politician king 1) has no interest in talking to non-politicians, and 2) cannot physically spend the time to talk to everyone who wants to talk to him. Or everyone to whom he needs to talk.

Now I suppose it's a bit different with the Warrior-King, who probably rules over a smaller group - maybe 1000 to 5000 people. But I'm not talking about fear here, I'm talking about practicality. Unless the Warrior King is sending the PCs off to their doom, and he has to make it look honorable for the other barbarians, he's probably not going to talk directly to them.

Tesral: the demitasse lives on. Go to your local, snobby, espresso shop. I definitely can't fit my finger through one.

tesral
10-29-2010, 04:51 PM
Culture has a lot to do with it. King Politics is going to be looking at the advantages of meeting with the PCs. Just like the President can find time to lunch with a Boy Scout troop when powerful people are baying for his attention, King Politics will look at the advantage to himself. Big advantage to be seen sending brave adventurers off to do the deed, sure, he makes the time. No particular advantage? Some flunky briefs them, if they come back successful he will allow that they can bask in the glory of his victory.

The Warrior King is going to look at it from the practicality standpoint. If this mission is truly inportant he will brief them himself. He will want to be sure they understand. If it is a case of the party is being asked to prove how worthy they are on a dangerous, but not vital mission, he sees them once they prove they are worthy.

In either case the party sees the King of the task is legendary in nature. If it is a personal nature to said King, like rescuiong his daughter, of course he wants to view them and make sure they are up to the task.

In short it is difficult to make hard and fast rules. In Literature the quester is usually given audience before the high person if indeed an audiance is given at all. They may simply set out on the quest.

Demitasse cups? I don't drink coffer of any kind. Saves me a lot of money on over priced coffee houses.

gabe
10-29-2010, 05:53 PM
Here is a real practicality issue:

We were playing through a published adventure with a big dungeon. In the dungeon, in a spot where you had to come through water, avoid traps, climb ladders, etc., there were several opulent rooms with couches, beds, etc. We had come past random monsters, like oozes, elementals, demons, and other creatures who don't respect property rights and tend to mess up nice furniture.

Who brought these things there? How did they get them in? I figured there must be a service entrance somewhere that we could use to bring in some mercenaries to kill the monsters for us. Once we captured the guy who ran the place, we went wayyy off-module by grilling him about how he got the couches in there. We also used it to torture the poor villain "We are going to tell your dark lord how much you spent bringing couches into the dungeon. Maybe you should have hired less porters and more bodyguards"

Our poor DM had no idea what to do. We all laughed about that module for a long time. I know there are some things that could explain it, but they get pretty wild pretty fast: "A wizard opened a portal and they brought them in", "they were teleported", etc. All that magic is really expensive. Without magic, it is even crazier. Did they hire a local carpenter and an upholsterer and guide them in? Did someone lure away the elementals, shovel the oozes away, disarm the traps, and help them carry the cloth and wood and such? What about when they are done? Did they kill the workers? Just imagine the scene -- evil cultists go to town and ask craftsmen to follow them for a few days, into this evil fortress and bring some wood and damask and batting, along with all their tools. They walk through these hellish corridors, crawling, swimming, climbing, and then go to this nice room and build some furniture-- Ikea-style, while more villains hold up lamps for them to work by.

Ever since then, "couches in the dungeon" has been a running joke in our group.

tesral
10-29-2010, 11:25 PM
You never know what will topple the old suspension of disbelief. One man's "fine with it" is another mans "Hey, what a minute."

Utgardloki
10-30-2010, 04:56 PM
Here is a real practicality issue:

We were playing through a published adventure with a big dungeon. In the dungeon, in a spot where you had to come through water, avoid traps, climb ladders, etc., there were several opulent rooms with couches, beds, etc. We had come past random monsters, like oozes, elementals, demons, and other creatures who don't respect property rights and tend to mess up nice furniture.

Who brought these things there? How did they get them in? I figured there must be a service entrance somewhere that we could use to bring in some mercenaries to kill the monsters for us. Once we captured the guy who ran the place, we went wayyy off-module by grilling him about how he got the couches in there. We also used it to torture the poor villain "We are going to tell your dark lord how much you spent bringing couches into the dungeon. Maybe you should have hired less porters and more bodyguards"

Our poor DM had no idea what to do. We all laughed about that module for a long time. I know there are some things that could explain it, but they get pretty wild pretty fast: "A wizard opened a portal and they brought them in", "they were teleported", etc. All that magic is really expensive. Without magic, it is even crazier. Did they hire a local carpenter and an upholsterer and guide them in? Did someone lure away the elementals, shovel the oozes away, disarm the traps, and help them carry the cloth and wood and such? What about when they are done? Did they kill the workers? Just imagine the scene -- evil cultists go to town and ask craftsmen to follow them for a few days, into this evil fortress and bring some wood and damask and batting, along with all their tools. They walk through these hellish corridors, crawling, swimming, climbing, and then go to this nice room and build some furniture-- Ikea-style, while more villains hold up lamps for them to work by.

Ever since then, "couches in the dungeon" has been a running joke in our group.

I think this is where Pathfinder differs from D&D 3.5. In 3.5, wizards and sorcerers have to conserve their cantrips because they never know when a quick Mage Hand or Daze might be needed. But in Pathfinder, cantrips and orisons never get used up.

I have a sorceress in Pathfinder who constantly uses cantrips to clean everything. The other PCs go through the dungeon messing everything up, and she goes and cleans everything up. She even did it after they rifled through a BBEG's room looking for stuff; she straightened everything out and even left behind a half-filled bottle of fine wine for him.

So, they could drag those couches through the ooze and muck, then use cantrips and low level spells to clean them up.

tesral
10-31-2010, 12:21 AM
Pathfinder: latest in a long tradition of each new version being more powerful.

DMMike
11-01-2010, 11:03 PM
Pathfinder is definitely a response to the Internet generation: "I know what I want, and I want it NOW!" Which, in D&D and Pathfinder terms, translates to: "Anything that kills me isn't a challenge, it's just an annoying inconvenience. Plus, I want lots of ready-to-use toys at my disposal."

/rant

Gabe: there might be a slightly more insidious FAIL in that module. Was the party wandering through a "dungeon," or a "completely impractical structure to harass adventurers?" Wizards looked into this issue with the release of their DungeonScape book (or whatever it was called). They point out all dungeons have to be built, and they're usually for useful purposes like holding prisoners, storing wine/food, accessing minerals, etc. Anything that suits no other purpose but harassing adventurers was built (or wished) by someone with a ton of gold or magic on their hands.

Utgardloki
11-01-2010, 11:11 PM
In my Audor campaign I had the idea that there were great wizards in the past who had access to magic unimaginable to modern "wizards". And so, for them, it was absolutely no problem to fit out a dungeon 1000 feet underground with impressively opulent furniture overlooking a spacious sports court. Plus it magically takes care of itself.

tesral
11-02-2010, 01:42 AM
Never personally been fond of the "golden age we can never equal" trope.

Utgardloki
11-02-2010, 02:58 AM
Well, in theory, the PCs could aspire to equal the great wizards of the past. Although in practice, none of my campaigns have ever lasted long enough for it to happen. But if it happened before, then in theory it could happen again.

fmitchell
11-02-2010, 09:12 AM
In my Audor campaign I had the idea that there were great wizards in the past who had access to magic unimaginable to modern "wizards".


Never personally been fond of the "golden age we can never equal" trope.

OTOH, I'm a big fan of A Wizard Did It (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AWizardDidIt). A world with structures no one knows how to build, and magic no one knows how to reproduce, makes the world more interesting, unpredictable, and, well, magical. Most post-apocalyptic worlds are built on that trope. (And, like post-apoc, I prefer to think that humans could rediscover vanished magic, given more time and less superstition.)

Or, let Gabe and Tycho explain:

3116

(source) (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/11/2/)

magic-rhyme
11-02-2010, 04:33 PM
Magic-rhyme: I think I see your point, but I'm talking about a practicality issue.

I understand your point, and on one level, I can identify with some of the frustration behind it.

However, in our country, too many people misuse the word "practicality": they treat the notion of practicality as though it were a universal, assuming falsely that what is practical in one place and time must be practical in all places and times.

Practicality is contextual, and it is culturally based. (Truth be told, it's ethnocentric for any person from one culture to demean people from another culture as "impractical" merely because they do things differently.)

So what is castigated as impractical according to a 21st century American eye may be in fact an eminently practical behavior from the perspective of someone in a quasi-Medieval fantasy world -- and any good game master can accomplish that.

Ancient kings are not like modern American presidents, modern American CEOs, or modern European kings and queens. Most often, they were singular powers with more in common with our modern notions of deities and superheroes than with our modern notions of political/commercial leaders.

The modern notions of delegation and bureaucracy did not exist in real world Medieval cultures, and so there is nothing impractical about a quasi-Medieval king who does not practice delegation and the like.

If the game master and players fail to understand this, the flaw does not come from a lapse in practicality; the flaw lies with the gaming group.

Utgardloki
11-02-2010, 11:17 PM
Perhaps a prime example of the kind of practicality/impracticality that magic-rhyme might be talking about, would be the Pyramids of Egypt. A modern society would never create anything like that.

tesral
11-03-2010, 12:08 AM
You mean like the Great Coolie Dam? Or maybe you were thinking of Disney World.

Or were you thinking of this:
http://www.visitingdc.com/images/luxor-hotel-address.jpg

define "Like". The modern world has produced plenty of works to rival the Great Pyramid. We simply don't make monuments by stacking blocks anymore. this is not to say we couldn't. Indeed modern man could build the Great Pyramid in a fraction of the time it took Kufu, if someone put forth the money to do so. If you fund it, they will build.

Feudal Europe is a mindset that most gamers have only a vague understanding of at best. Even the concept of Feudal Europe is not "correct". Conditions throughout the continent were not uniform. The form most gamers flail about with is the "English" model, or a barely recognizable shadow of that model. Norman custom and law overlaid on Anglo-Saxon custom and law, with a goodly shot of Norse custom and law.

England itself is a melting pot of cultures and ideas. To most gamers ideas like Divine Right, Noble Obligation, and Canon Law are things they might have covered on Tuesday in high school. Those that have made a life time of study have a firmer idea about such concept, but still do not know how to live them as they were lived.

Game worlds are ourselves and our attitudes placed over the props of the medieval era. Little if any of that era's ideas and attitudes are represented in any form recognizable by real people of that era.

DMMike
11-03-2010, 01:40 PM
Tesral: LOL

Uth: I'm guessing you're referring to slave labor practices? Isn't there some debate on whether slaves were even used for the pyramids? (Side note: of course there's debate - everything from ancient history is debatable.) We have slaves in modern times. They just don't do metric-tonne labor anymore.

Magic: Practicality is practicality. Sure, its appearance changes given the context. But some things are practical, others aren't. Ancient kings did plenty of delegation; there was no other way to administer a state or chiefdom. The ruler who spends all week riding in a carriage so he can personally administer his territories is the same one who gets overthrown by the smarter ruler who uses delegation.

So that's the name of the thread. Practicality, or being inclined toward useful activity, of campaign ideas is what's under the microscope (crystal ball?) here.

tesral
11-03-2010, 02:53 PM
I was referring to the building method. Archaeologists are fairly certain the pyramids where not built by slaves, but public labor and contractors. They have located and excavated the area the workers lived in, the graveyard those that suffered industrial accidents were buried in, and so forth. All the evidence points to it being a freeman workforce.

Egypt is another head that people simply do not understand anymore. Trying to run an ancient Egyptian campaign and getting your players into the head of ancient Egyptians would be I believe an exercise in futility. Or even the general pagan viewpoint.

Polytheism tends to be treated like a bunch of competing religions, all separate and distinct. The history of the matter is it was more like a mall of religion. You went to the harvest god for good crops, to the Love goddess for help in getting a mate, to the sky god for good weather and so forth. Religion was a quid-pro-quo arrangement. "Yo, Poseidon, I'm heading to Alexandra this week, get my there safely and their is a sacrifice in it for you." Now you are expected to follow through. If you don't pony up in Alexandria Poseidon is going to give you the cold shoulder, or worse, big storm the next time. However when you need help with a road trip you don't go to Poseidon, you go to Hermes. Poseidon isn't going to be jealous, he doesn't do road trips.

Now, does a failure to "get" this head mean the campaign has a fail issue? Not really; unless you are being graded on historical accuracy. A game needs to be internally consistent, and really is not beholden to any outside judgment.

The main thing the GM needs to avoid is conflicting rule interpretations or events that blow the players out of the game. Hell, I've been taken out of the game by "correct" rule interpretations. Rules that simply fly in the face of logic and/or physics.

For myself I try not to violate physics too badly. Obvious things like magic and FTL are not the friend of realism, but it is a game and certain allowances must be made. "Never change reality more than is necessary to make your game world work." -- Garry's First Rule of Fantasy. The less you change the rules of reality the less you have to remember and keep consistent. The fewer moments of fail you get.

Utgardloki
11-03-2010, 06:39 PM
With regard to the Pyramids, I was thinking of how all that effort went into building these structures, for which there really is no profit. In the Modern World, before anybody even starts to build something big like that, a business case has to be made, and it better be pretty compelling.

My point is that you can have "impractical" things like the Pyramids, as long as there is a reason for them to be built. To the Egyptians, building the Pyramids made perfect sense. To modern Americans it is more like "You should build a giant shopping mall instead" (although even that seems to be changing as shopping malls across the United States are barely functioning due to the economics of trying to run a store in one of these malls).

I've always been a functionalist, looking for reasons why things might be done or reasons to do things. Back in the 1980s, Lew Pulsipher argued that underground complexes would be the most useful form of fortifications in a D&D world, because they would be more invulnerable to assault by flying monsters than a set of towers enclosed within great walls wide open to the sky. Labyrinths with trick rooms would be useful to foil those with teleportation abilities, who would need good intel to know exactly where to pop in. A "defense in depth" is important if only certain rooms can be shielded against astral and ethereal incursion.

So the question in my mind is "why would this work or not work in the society that supposedly produced this?"

tesral
11-03-2010, 07:11 PM
There indeed is the separation. For the Egyptians the Pyramids were not without reason and a vital reason at that. We fail to see their reasoning. That does not mean that important reasons did not exist. A "Business case" of keeping Maat. It was vital to keep the connection between the mortal world, the ka of the Pharaoh and Osiris. Their universe revolved around this and it was as real to them as anything in our world is to us. There is nothing impractical about the pyramids, nothing what so ever.

The deal there is that the structure has endured and the world that created it has not.

DMMike
11-03-2010, 10:35 PM
Valid points - why build your city so that it is exposed to the sky, when dragons can just dive bomb it?
Why build your keep in a simple/predictable manner, when that makes it so much easier for teleporters to get to your treasury?

This is another reason why I prefer low magic games.

But while no-one can yet teleport, we've seen cities get dive-bombed. It hasn't caused mankind to start building underground cities.

tesral
11-04-2010, 12:10 AM
It is a degree of managed risk. Bombing is a low risk. Dragons are a low risk. On the other hand a treasury will be built with anti-telepotation magics, just as vaults today have complex locks and security. I don't have a vault door on my house. Risk assessment and management. Spend your security money where it is needed.

magic-rhyme
11-09-2010, 05:39 PM
Little if any of that era's ideas and attitudes are represented in any form recognizable by real people of that era. True enough. But it is detestably ethnocentric for anyone to insist that this means that the ideas and attitudes of past eras are all "impractical".


Practicality is practicality. Actually, no. I would explicate this fully for you were it not a breach of nettiquette for me to do so; however, my doing so would only threadjack this thread with cultural scholarship and philosophical theory that most people would find out-of-place here.

However, if any of you happen to be interested in honestly understanding the cultural and ideological bases of notions of "practicality" and "impracticality", I urge you to take some university courses where you can benefit from some directed reading with Barthes, Eco, and Levi-Strauss for starters. (You might end up a student in one of my classes.)


My point is that you can have "impractical" things like the Pyramids, as long as there is a reason for them to be built. To the Egyptians, building the Pyramids made perfect sense. To modern Americans it is more like "You should build a giant shopping mall instead" (although even that seems to be changing as shopping malls across the United States are barely functioning due to the economics of trying to run a store in one of these malls). Exactly!

My point is that the people who condemn the Egyptians as "impractical" for constructing the pyramids only show their ignorance about what "practicality" means -- and embarrass themselves with their narrow perspectives.

tesral
11-09-2010, 08:39 PM
True enough. But it is detestably ethnocentric for anyone to insist that this means that the ideas and attitudes of past eras are all "impractical".

I never suggested it was.

DMMike
11-10-2010, 01:58 PM
MR, I appreciate your concerns over the academic consideration of "practicality" and what it entails, but the spirit of the thread is, hopefully, to discuss the idea in everyday terms. Which should be accessible to most users of the forums.

Most recent FAIL: SUCCESS! Merchants had hired mercenaries to protect their goods caravan over the open road. Which was actually bad for me - I played one of the hapless guards who quickly got kidnapped by orcs.

Have you ever caught merchants neglecting inventory security? (Beyond a Dispel Magic trap set in the storeroom?)

By the way, if dive-bombing from dragons is a real threat - what's the practical security measure?

gabe
11-10-2010, 05:26 PM
It may be a semantic quibble, but when I think of a practicality FAIL, I imagine that is essentially a Rube Goldberg machine of an idea. Of course the pyramids were impractical - they were hard to engineer, hard to build, hard to fund, etc. Practicality would be to chuck the pharaoh's body into the local waste dump, but they, like modern people, believed that proper religious ritual and grandiose treatment were what must be done for a figure like a pharaoh, DESPITE the impracticality of it.

It is a FAIL if the ratio of practicality to perceived benefit is comically far off. A skeptic of any era may laugh at the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids, the Sistine Chapel, the Great Wall of China, etc. I am sure that Chinese people around the wall said "all this work, only to have someone open the gates and let the Manchurians in anyway" or some such. To them, it was a comical failure. I am sure the Taj Mahal starts many fights... The girl says: "You would never do something like this for me", to which the man replies: "I am not the Shah of the Mughal Empire, but even if I were, I wouldn't go to all that trouble just for a damn tomb". To Shah Jahan, it was worth the impracticality of the project to honor his wife, project his power, or some combination of the two. To others, it is a big, beautiful, comically impractical tomb for a woman who had already been dead for 20 years.

In my opinion, a DnD practicality fail is what happens when a DM cooks up a goofy story to justify the super-dungeon he just spent three hours making. What wizard in his right mind creates a golem to guard a generic +1 sword and 500 gold pieces? Another example would be a trap that collapses a tunnel that he has to use to get into or out of his own lair, trapping him inside, or kidnapping the princess, just so he can take a lock of her hair.

The really funny part is when the DM tries to squirm out of the absurdity of it: "Oh, well actually my minions kidnapped her because they were eager to do my bidding"---"but the steward of the castle saw YOU teleport out with her!"---"I used a spell to disguise my minions when I teleported them in and out of the castle"---"all that for a lock of hair!?! God, you are an idiot! Now we're going to kill your golem and take your treasure."---"It is just a +1 sword and 500 gold pieces"---"To hell with this! I'm going to go play on my Xbox". :)

Malruhn
11-10-2010, 09:52 PM
By the way, if dive-bombing from dragons is a real threat - what's the practical security measure?
If you don't have herds of dragon-slaying adventurers around, the ONLY security measure is to STOP TRADING. Build underground and STAY THERE.

There will be no economic gains, no education or agricultural gains, nothing... but you will live.

tesral
11-10-2010, 11:41 PM
By the way, if dive-bombing from dragons is a real threat - what's the practical security measure?

Three words. Anti-Dragon-Artillery.

fmitchell
11-11-2010, 09:18 AM
Three words. Anti-Dragon-Artillery.

So, more than just a bloke with a lucky arrow, then.

Actually, sounds like a great scam. "We're increasing taxes to fund anti-dragon ballistic systems." Anyone who resists is a dragon-lover. With the extra funds, the mayor or lord buys crappy trebuchets and pockets the rest. The fact that no one has seen a dragon in three centuries bothers a few intelligent or skeptical people, who demonstrate the alarming amount of pro-dragon sympathy among educated classes and traveling adventurers. The resulting dragon-lover-hunt distracts everyone in the town from their faltering economy and corruption among high officials.

Nah, never happen. Just fantasy.

tesral
11-11-2010, 10:50 AM
Of course. The Government only wants your money for good.

Geode
11-11-2010, 09:33 PM
This one is a little more aimed towards video games, but I've been in a couple of sad sad tabletop games that used it.
Food = healing?! Unless it is enchanted, it shouldn't heal you. That tasty hamburger never healed that cut I got the day before!

And on the topic of healing.... How does that even work?
Take Emo the Barbarian. He "accidentally" cuts his gut open. Mr. Healy-Pants the cleric uses cure light wounds. The wound magically seals itself. Emo is still standing in a pool of his own freshly-spilled blood. Did the cleric not just create flesh and blood? So would the world eventually fill up with all the extra blood if clerics kept casting healing spells?
Hmm... I guess it might be explained better if you reverse time on the wound and use up the spilled blood. But it is never described as such.
... I suppose this is just one of those cases where I'm just supposed to suspend my disbelief. Magic is magic! XD

Still on healing, if you're using a healing potion... Why are you drinking it? How does that help your wounds? It's always you just take a sip and BOOM! Your wounds are healed! How did the liquid even have time to locate the wound in order to heal it? Or how did your body know to heal itself so rapidly as soon as you took a gulp?
It would make more sense to apply directly to the wound instead.
I guess you could just say "magic is magic" again, but I kinda feel like that is a cheap answer.

*shrug* Oh well. XD That's not changing any time soon.

tesral
11-11-2010, 10:16 PM
Does the world fill up with dead animals? No. The biological waste, which the spilled blood is, will be recycled. The healing magic provides the enegry your body needs to repair the wounds at a highly accelerated rate. The magic is the ability to do this without you having to ingest and process the food to power your body to heal itself. Energy provided and directed by the magic.

The "potion" is simply an activation method for the stored spell. You could equally have a piece of paper to tear, a powder you sprinkle on the person, and so forth. A spell is cast in the potion with the activation effect of target; the being that drinks this liquid.

Utgardloki
11-11-2010, 11:38 PM
In defense of healing: cure spells are conjurations. So they conjure the necessary atoms and molecules. Where do they conjure these atoms and molecules from? Somewhere else. It's quite possible that cure spells could be grabbing random atoms and molecules that are not being used elsewhere and using them to patch into the wounds.

I know I had a thought about this last night when my druid's animal companion was at -4 hp, and the GM said that there was something approaching fast. My druid quickly took out a "healing lozenge" and put it into the animals mouth and, presto, the animal was immediately up to full health despite having been eviscerated a moment before.

But as Tesral points out, it is a spell activation. The lozenge did not heal the animal. Whenn the lozenge was placed into the animal's mouth, it activated the spell. It would have worked the same if it were a lozenge of invisibility or Mage Armor.


About protection from dragons:

I've thought about this when I was thinking about a world where dragons are common. My idea was that the rich and famous would use teleportation. The others would just have to keep a low profile as they were travelling or shipping goods across the country, or else find a way to hire a dragon or other monster for a guard.

About a golem guarding a +1 sword and 500 gold pieces:

I can see this happening in my own game. I once had a treasure guardian who was guarding a respectable amount of treasure. Its treasure hoard included the items lost by the previous set of PCs, which included a matched pair of +1 rapiers.

This wasn't the first time in my games that a magic sword ended up being separated from its original owner.

I can see it where someone manages to take all or most of the treasure except maybe a few gold pieces. Then another party comes in, gets into a fight with the golem, and ends up losing a party member, a +1 sword, and maybe some miscellaneous gold. The current PCs' party comes in, destroys the golem, and finds not the original treasure the golem was guarding, but whatever the last adventurer happened to be carrying.

This makes even more sense in another campaign I had worked on, in which there were a large number of stone golems around. I reasoned that they had been employed by a previous civilization. Not all of them would have been guarding treasure, but if a random adventurer happened to have die there for some reason (such as being smashed by a stone golem), that's what the PCs might find.

Or, maybe the wizard spent all of his money making a cool dungeon and golem, expecting to replenish his treasury before he died, but ended up dying before he managed to replenish his treasury.

About kobolds:

I think my worst campaign fail was early in my DM career, where I had this kingdom that was being threatened by a kingdom of kobolds. This was back in 1st Edition when kobolds were synanomous with "going crunch under PCs swords, no matter what the PCs level." I never was able to explain how the kobolds could threaten this kingdom. Of course, it could easily be done now.

Malruhn
11-12-2010, 06:16 PM
If we're sharing our own campaign practicality fails, I think I win...

A 1st level paladin, in a first level dungeon. Enter the paladin, who finds a dead kobold in the first major room (without benefit of ANY encounters thus far). The kobold has a two-handed sword and a note that reads, "Take this Holy Avenger to the tombs. We don't want it to fall into the wrong hands."

Fail One: First level pally now has a +5 holy avenger, vorpal, dancing sword of wounding.
Fail Two: What the heck killed that kobold?
Fail Three: Why wasn't that killer still there?
Fail Four: Why a single kobold to escort that huge OMFG weapon to the holding area.
Fail Five: Why did they have it in the first place?
Fail Six: Why did I make that the FIRST encounter in the entire dungeon???

Oh, I am SO glad I've matured as a DM since then!!

BTW, that pally ended up with that sword, a Pally Mount of a Pegacorn/Unisus/horny-wingy-horse, AND the Invulnerable Coat of Arnd - before fifth level.

Now THAT is a fail!! And it was ALL my fault.

DMMike
11-12-2010, 11:26 PM
Food = healing? Yeah, pretty sure no one would ever die of anything other than old age if that were the case.

Some fails - like an uber-guardian guarding crummy treasure - can pretty easily be patched up, as Ut points out. Malruhn, the dead kobold with a relic in his hand - you could patch that up too. It would just take some tremendous effort. What was even better though, a paladin is honor-bound to return the sword, even if he'd like to keep it! Silly paladins...

Dragon-defense: hire a dragon slayer? This gets pretty tricky from an economics perspective. What does the market for dragon slayers look like? Can anyone actually afford the service?

Maybe dragons should be treated like forces of nature - with cities just hoping that it doesn't strike. Twice. Heck, if a dragon does strike, then fmitchell's politicians can collect on their acts-of-dragons insurance policy, and go retire somewhere nice or play the rebuilding heroes who want the city to be stronger than ever before. Then run for Emperor.

Utgardloki
11-13-2010, 12:22 AM
I think most of the time, if a city is attacked by a dragon, it will be a younger dragon working with an invasion force, probably headed by some sort of wizard, cleric or warlord.

Older dragons would be smart enough not to attack a city, unless working with an evil warlord or wizard or something like that. Attacking a city would be just asking for a troop of heroes to come along and slay you. So most cities would not really be at a risk of a dragon attack, most of the time, except as in a planned military attack.

tesral
11-13-2010, 12:30 AM
Yep, that is a lot of fail.

magic-rhyme
11-15-2010, 11:57 PM
What wizard in his right mind creates a golem to guard a generic +1 sword and 500 gold pieces?

Ah, but the wizards who aren't in their right minds are often the most fun!

In the stories by E. Robert Howard and Fritz Leiber, the studies of dark magicks almost never left a wizard in his or her right mind!

In worlds where wizards are far more penurious with their magicks, or where wizards are more magical assemblyline workers and accountants than grand investigators of those realms where angels fear to tread, the presence of the golem would be a show of ostentation on the wizard's part, enough to send a chill down the spine of any savvy adventurers.


Another example would be a trap that collapses a tunnel that he has to use to get into or out of his own lair, trapping him inside, or kidnapping the princess, just so he can take a lock of her hair.

Those collapsing tunnels were based on real life tombs which had traps intended to kill grave robbers by trapping them inside to starve to death and then serve the buried lord or pharaoh in the afterlife forever. While not "practical" by modern American belief systems, they were quite practical according to the belief systems of those who built them. :)


By the way, if dive-bombing from dragons is a real threat - what's the practical security measure?

Payment of tribute!

Thus the logical reason why most fantasy RPGs present dragons as intelligent creatures with whom one can bargain.

In most of the faerie stories, how do you deal with dragons? You either feed said dragon a virgin female once a year to keep your town safe, or you deal with the gods who chose to send said dragon as a punishment. Again, it all makes sense -- but it is not "practical".

Just once, I would love to encounter a game where the dragon wants to eat virgin men instead of virgin women. A town encounter in which the town has agreed to feed the dragon any visiting adventurers would make for an interesting time for visiting adventurer PCs.


Still on healing, if you're using a healing potion... Why are you drinking it? How does that help your wounds? It's always you just take a sip and BOOM! Your wounds are healed! How did the liquid even have time to locate the wound in order to heal it? Or how did your body know to heal itself so rapidly as soon as you took a gulp? It would make more sense to apply directly to the wound instead.

I guess you could just say "magic is magic" again, but I kinda feel like that is a cheap answer.

You drink healing potions to be healed for the same reason that you drink communion wine to achieve oneness with the Christian messiah. Or would you consider a reference to a real world religion to be cheap and another version of "magic is magic"? :lol:

If you read about magical theory as it was genuinely argued about in the Medieval world(s) of Europe, you will find the theory that contact with one part of the body is the same thing as contact with the entire body. So, just as contact with a single lock of Sir X's hair is enough to cast a spell against Sir X's leg to make him lame, so contact with the lips and mouth of the person being healed is enough to cast a healing spell on that person's wounded leg.

This is why in the Narnia tales Lucy's magical healing potion only had to touch the lips to work.

Not "practical" by modern American standards, no, but eminently practical by the standards of Medieval Europe! :biggrin:


Ancient kings did plenty of delegation; there was no other way to administer a state or chiefdom.

Actually, the most ancient kings or emperors didn't. What we now call kings were not heads of countries but rather masters over an aggregate of citystates, each ruled by its own lord (prince, count, baron, etc.).

So long as the lords under these kings remembered to send in their tribute of gold or soldiers or foodstuffs or whatever, and so long as these lords remained nominally faithful to the king's seldom-used authority, the ancient kings really didn't care WHAT the lords under them did. This is why ancient lords had so much autonomy despite having allegiance to a king -- and why ancient lords would panic those rare times the king actually bothered to visit their provinces and present his authority.

The notion of the unified country is more recent than the notion of kings, historically speaking.

A historical fact which makes for some awesome possibilities in a quasi-Medieval RPG! :biggrin:


or kidnapping the princess, just so he can take a lock of her hair.

Living out a romantic fetishism of a single lock of hair or a single kiss is an excellent example of how people IN REAL LIFE behave for romantic motivations and NOT for what modern Americans would label "practical" motivations. Really, if you think about it, very few of us expend much energy doing practical things, nor do the wealthiest people in our nation (what is so practical about Michael Jackson's wanting the skeleton of the elephant man, for example, or the construction of the Winchester Mansion?). :confused:

Personally, it completely destroys for me any suspension of disbelief whenever all the NPCs in a campaign world behave with tedious practicality, for in the real world, the majority of our motivations throughout history have involved pride, tribalism, status, agreements, honor codes, and romantic motivations such as the hunger to obtain a lock of a beautiful woman's hair or bid for the infected water of a Star Trek actor at a Star Trek convention to get "the Q virus" or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a toothbrush once used by Elvis.

Utgardloki
11-16-2010, 01:12 AM
Ah, but the wizards who aren't in their right minds are often the most fun!

In the stories by E. Robert Howard and Fritz Leiber, the studies of dark magicks almost never left a wizard in his or her right mind!

In worlds where wizards are far more penurious with their magicks, or where wizards are more magical assemblyline workers and accountants than grand investigators of those realms where angels fear to tread, the presence of the golem would be a show of ostentation on the wizard's part, enough to send a chill down the spine of any savvy adventurers.



Now I am picturing creating an iron golem to guard the collection of Star Wars figures in my cubical.



Personally, it completely destroys for me any suspension of disbelief whenever all the NPCs in a campaign world behave with tedious practicality, for in the real world, the majority of our motivations throughout history have involved pride, tribalism, status, agreements, honor codes, and romantic motivations such as the hunger to obtain a lock of a beautiful woman's hair or bid for the infected water of a Star Trek actor at a Star Trek convention to get "the Q virus" or spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a toothbrush once used by Elvis.

But it would be a lot easierer to sell the guy a toothbrush that you SAID was once used by Elvis, than to find a toothbrush that really WAS used by Elvis.

But then, there is medieval reference for that, too.

magic-rhyme
11-16-2010, 01:18 AM
Now I am picturing creating an iron golem to guard the collection of Star Wars figures in my cubical.

There was an old Dragon magazine comic in which the adventurers discovered the dragon's entire treasure consisted of his prized postage stamp collection!

tesral
11-16-2010, 03:47 AM
I have a gold dragon that collections books.

DMMike
11-16-2010, 11:37 AM
Dragons would go extinct pretty quick if they weren't smart. (Notice a lot of huge creatures walking around unchecked in the real world?) So yeah, they have to choose their battles. Where it gets interesting: what sort of deals do they make with invading forces? Does each party have an incentive to keep their bargain? To cheat?

Rhyme - you're dead on about people being impractical. Two sorts of practicality persist: survival and successful. People will do all sorts of dumb/impractical things, as long as they do what it takes to survive as well. The other practical behaviors are anything that breeds success, like organizing in large(r) groups, selling a better product, making dungeons economically. In Michael Jackson's case, selling albums was his practical behavior, the rest was impractical icing on the cake.

By the way, I would also love to see a dragon that demands male virgins as tribute.

magic-rhyme
11-16-2010, 04:02 PM
Rhyme - you're dead on about people being impractical. Two sorts of practicality persist: survival and successful. People will do all sorts of dumb/impractical things, as long as they do what it takes to survive as well. The other practical behaviors are anything that breeds success, like organizing in large(r) groups, selling a better product, making dungeons economically. In Michael Jackson's case, selling albums was his practical behavior, the rest was impractical icing on the cake.

Your thoughts remind me of some notions I was taught in grad school:

"Individuals are impractical. Societies are practical."

"Individuals can be impractical because their societies are practical for them."

"A successful society is one which can accommodate and benefit from the apparent impracticality of individuals, for creative innovation and leaps of genius are found primarily in what appears to be impractical from a survivalist point of view."

Keep in mind that impractical, self-destructive societies can still last for centuries before their impracticality destroys them!

So when a single wizard wastefully assigns an iron golem to defend a +1 sword, I don't worry about it. If a decadent, ostentatious, or borderline-mad society wastefully assigns iron golems to defend +1 swords all the time, I don't worry about it, and I'm not surprised if that society lasts another two hundred years before it finally destroys itself with its impracticality. But first, I assume that there must be a practical reason for the use of iron golems that I don't know about -- for example, this particular society may have had a breakthrough in which iron golems are cheaper and easier to construct than wards or tripline traps, or it may have a huge surplus from a war, a surplus that it is desperate to find uses for since no one wants a loaded iron golem just wandering around.

Let's not forget that societies of two hundred years ago, when aluminum was a rare and precious metal, would be shocked to discover that we moderns are so "impractical" that we freely use aluminum for our disposable foil for cooking cheap meats and then toss it in the trash afterwards!

Does that relate to what you're thinking?