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#61 Pingo

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:08 PM


Did any of you ever encounter people who played the Palladium fantasy game instead of D&D? And, if so, did you kind of think of them as like . . . third world fantasy players? It's like "you're playing what now? why would you do that? whyyyyy? do you live in a cave and not know any better? I live in a cave and I know better! Tangerine!"


I knew a group that played Palladium fantasy. From what I could tell whoever owned the most sourcebooks and invented the most ridiculous character was the winner. Doubly so when they decided to play the full Megaverse and just used whatever book from fantasy or Rifts they wanted.

One of the most fun roleplaying games I played used no rulesystem or pre-planning whatsoever. We just gave a basic outline of the sort of fantasy character we wanted to play and the DM went with it, we used a D6 when something with a random chance happened with the DM deciding whether we succeeded or not depending on what sort of character we were.


Most of our games for the last 28 years have been homebrewed. We only took up D&D again because we had children and they needed the structure of rulebooks. As it is, we still personalize the games a lot.


Spell casting. Boon to the creative, outside the box thinking player. Bane to the DM that likes to plan meticulously. :devil:


DMs hate it when I run spellcasters, because I hardly ever take the spells they plan for (fireballs, disintegrate, lightning bolt). I always go for the "what the..." spells, and make them work. Reverse Gravity is one of my favorites for that. But Shrink Item, or even Silence (it's amazing how many DMs forget about that one). I've even got one DM to sit motionless for ten minutes by holding an action, waiting until the main villain was about to run out the door, and using Mount to block the door.


One of my friends got remarkable good use out of the Bone Fiddle spell. Another basically saved a quest and a world with flower arranging.
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I built a boat. Spelljammer pictures here.


Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.
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"Therefore, O Painter, make your smaller figures merely indicated and not highly finished, otherwise you will produce effects the opposite to nature, your supreme guide"
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#62 Qwyksilver

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 06:24 PM

I loved using "utility" spells in combat.

Try using Stone Shape to drop an entire floor on an enemy's head to avoid the slaughter of roping down to the chamber beneath and having the party picked off one at a time. So I have how much volume to manipulate? Okay how thick is this floor? What are the dimensions of the room?

DM initially thought and expected me to create a second opening as a surprise. I countered with creating s narrow opening around the perimeter and letting gravity take its course...

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#63 Atramagus

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 01:00 PM

I will second the use of shrink item... I had a gnome illusionist who had a caltrop specially made at 16 times the size of a normal caltrop, or whatever that ratio was. Casting shrink item (or it may have just been called item in second edition) shrank it down to the size of a normal caltrop. I would have to recast it once a week or so to keep it in the appropriate size.

This gnome had a slingshot, and was usually a really good aim with it... At one point there was an enemy charging forward, roaring a battle cry. I loaded up my slingshot with my special caltrop, took aim, and rolled a 20. The caltrop landed right in the creature's mouth.

One command word later, the only problem the party had left was trying to get the gnome's prized caltrop clean.

:devil:
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#64 ReaperWolf

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:04 PM

I will second the use of shrink item... I had a gnome illusionist who had a caltrop specially made at 16 times the size of a normal caltrop, or whatever that ratio was. Casting shrink item (or it may have just been called item in second edition) shrank it down to the size of a normal caltrop. I would have to recast it once a week or so to keep it in the appropriate size.

This gnome had a slingshot, and was usually a really good aim with it... At one point there was an enemy charging forward, roaring a battle cry. I loaded up my slingshot with my special caltrop, took aim, and rolled a 20. The caltrop landed right in the creature's mouth.

One command word later, the only problem the party had left was trying to get the gnome's prized caltrop clean.


I applaud your creativity but as a GM that maneuver opens up a lot of potential issues turning an item + minor spell into a vorpal, i.e. instantly lethal effect which if the GM turned around on you or did something equally creative, would potentially lead to an arms race and some serious friction at the table.

Back in AD&D 1e there was a guy who was very "creative" and he often voiced new uses for old spells, his favorite was destroy water which he believed could and should kill any living thing targeted because most living things such as people are 70% water. He even lobbied with other players to get an official house rule added to the campaign. Thankfully the DM put his foot down and said no.

Another "creative" player conned a DM into allowing this gem of a maneuver: he cast weighty chest on a slingstone bullet. This was a spell in the AD&D 2nd edition Tome of Magic. Anyways the purpose of the spell was to make valuable items difficult to steal. When someone not nominated by the caster (or the caster himself) touched the chest the spell effect caused the toucher to believe the chest weight 2-5 times the weight of the toucher so an average 200 lb person would believe the object weighed 400 lbs - 1000 lbs. There was a save but the player asserted that since this was an illusion and that the toucher had no reason to believe this was an illusion, there should be no save even tough the description of the spell read otherwise. Anywho the "creative" player then cast the spell on slingbullets which he slung at targets. Conveniently the player worked out the force = mass x acceleration effect of suddenly being struck by an object weighing 400-1000 lbs traveling at the speed of a sling bullet converted into AD&D terms. Simply put, it was far more effective than any other spell of that level. In fact it was a game killer after the player upped the ante by throwing handfuls of the stones at enemies.

Feh!

Anothe creative type would carry dozens of quivers of arrows to turn over and drop on enemies from above because according to the rules the minimum damage from any successful hit was 1 point.

The list goes on an on. Simply put spells in some RPGs have fixed effects and shold not liberally be interpreted, in other games the effects are squishy and very open to interpretation and creative use. Players sometimes forget exploits work both ways but it almost always leads to unwanted conflict at the table.

For the record, I found your story entertaining as heck. Thanks for sharing. :D

>>ReaperWolf
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#65 buglips*the*goblin

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 03:08 PM

What Reaperwolf noted is why a good group is so vital. If you don't have people working out exploits you can have a lot of creative fun while still keeping things in balance. For us this sometimes means that what a spell does in one campaign is not the same thing it does in another.

The best way to counter over-creativity without disbarring its use is to make magic magic and not a science. Giving the DM (so long as it's a good DM you trust) an "out" empowers them to maintain balance without having to explain it. It's magic, so it's not always going to work exactly the same way every time. People use magic, but that doesn't mean they all know exactly how it works - and maybe some of the stuff involved in casting a spell (such as somatic components) are actually superfluous with no effect. But every caster does them because they believe it has an effect.

This introduces minor error into the process, and that's where the DM's out comes in. Sometimes things might just not work as intended and it doesn't need an explanation because the player character doesn't necessarily know why it didn't. And then, sometimes, maybe it'll work differently in a good way that pulls some chestnuts out of the fire.

Bottom line is, magic should be treated as magic. You can use it, and most of the time it'll work as intended, but you can never completely count on it. Never completely trust it. That's why people are superstitious, yeah?

And if the gnome gets clever with his shrink item and it turns out to be a little too clever, then reminding the gnome that there's a small chance one of these days the item may return to normal size in his pocket sooner than expected will significantly reduce the power of the spell. Maybe even make him a little paranoid. And that's good, because nobody should ever fully trust magic.

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#66 Pingo

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 05:13 PM

Reaperwolf's examples point out the problem of letting players assume they know how the world works.

Our GMs just ask the players why on earth they think physics exists. That way "destroy water" doesn't affect people at all -- they're completely different things. As for the sling stones, there is no reason whatsoever to believe that F=ma in a fantasy world. The player shouldn't have been allowed to argue away the saving throw anyway, since belief is not reality, and nowhere does it say that merely believing you are hit by a heavy stone will kill you, any more than believing the tea you just drank is arsenic will kill you.

The arrow in the quiver thing I regard as cute, and a sensible use of how the world works. But that's because I like taking the rules of a world and running with them and seeing what happens.

I built a boat. Spelljammer pictures here.


Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying 'End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH', the paint wouldn't even have time to dry.
-- Terry Pratchett


"Therefore, O Painter, make your smaller figures merely indicated and not highly finished, otherwise you will produce effects the opposite to nature, your supreme guide"
-- Leonardo da Vinci


"All alternate histories produce zeppelins."
-- Ken Hite's Law


#67 Caffiene

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:24 PM

Personally I think the answer to the sling stone one is just more physics...

Momentum is imparted when the stone is slung, but the stone doesnt gain weight until it touches the target. Conservation of momentum. p=mv. There is no reason to believe that the magic changes the momentum of the system, just the mass - so if p remains the same and m increases, the velocity must decrease. All you get is a much heavier but much slower moving stone, which will have an identical effect on the target as the original stone since it will be imparting exactly the same momentum.

#68 smokingwreckage

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:28 PM

An illusion of kinetic force isn't going to kill you. The sling stone is going to look super dangerous... but not be.

D&D assumes medieval elemental physics. There is a plane of fire. There are earth elementals. Casting Destroy Water on a living being would alter their personality (by reducing or eliminating one of the Humours) or, possibly, make them stronger, faster and fiercer since they are now proportionally composed more of Fire, Earth and Air.

Even so, it's Destroy Water, not Instant Death. I'm going to only Levitate the top of his skull! Instead of Fireball in the room I cast it in his sinuses! I wait for him to swing, cast Featherfall on his sword, and stab him while he's hanging off it like Mary Poppins! I Shrink his armour, turning him to paste! I'm going to Repel Evil right at his SOUL. So he DIES. And Grease his intestines right along the laminar tissue so they fall out his butt. I cast Haste but only on the left chamber of his heart!

As for the arrows, what, they disperse like a gas and then fall?

Naturally, he died because a wizard exploded.


#69 recruittons

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 06:43 PM

One spell I absolutely loved using was Spider Climb. 1st level spell in 2nd edition, and I would use it as a defensive/offensive spell. Basically, I had a minotaur wizard. High strength, high intelligence. I wore heavy leather gloves that were quite tough and then I would cast Spider Climb, walk into combat bare-handed, and proceed to strip weapons out of my enemies hands. My DM loved it even though it was supposed to be only for bare-hands and feet to work. She said it was magic and could totally be applied on the outside of my gloves. She even ruled that my hands were sticky enough to give me significant grapple bonuses (yes, third edition term, but it's applicable) on unwilling victims (if they failed a save vs. spell). So I could lift people up and gore them on my horns quite effectively. I had a lot of fun with that guy...
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#70 The Inner Geek

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

On the sling bullet spell...

If it's an illusion that you have to believe in to have any affect, it would affect no one anyway. Who assumes that every sling bullet has that spell on it? Or does the pc have to call a timeout and explain, "I'm about to shoot at you with my sling, but the bullet will weigh 1000lb when it hits you... really... believe that".

As for exploits...
Some friends and I in high school used to play a little Rifts/Palladium. In that world(s) vampires take damage from holy water, but also from moving water. So they can't cross rivers or streams without a bridge, for example. However, we found that a super soaker full of holy water took them straight out by combining the damage of holy water and the damage of moving water. The holy water was legit, but the "moving" water may have been a stretch.
 
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#71 Atramagus

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Posted 11 October 2012 - 09:40 AM


I will second the use of shrink item... I had a gnome illusionist who had a caltrop specially made at 16 times the size of a normal caltrop, or whatever that ratio was. Casting shrink item (or it may have just been called item in second edition) shrank it down to the size of a normal caltrop. I would have to recast it once a week or so to keep it in the appropriate size.

This gnome had a slingshot, and was usually a really good aim with it... At one point there was an enemy charging forward, roaring a battle cry. I loaded up my slingshot with my special caltrop, took aim, and rolled a 20. The caltrop landed right in the creature's mouth.

One command word later, the only problem the party had left was trying to get the gnome's prized caltrop clean.


I applaud your creativity but as a GM that maneuver opens up a lot of potential issues turning an item + minor spell into a vorpal, i.e. instantly lethal effect which if the GM turned around on you or did something equally creative, would potentially lead to an arms race and some serious friction at the table.

Back in AD&D 1e there was a guy who was very "creative" and he often voiced new uses for old spells, his favorite was destroy water which he believed could and should kill any living thing targeted because most living things such as people are 70% water. He even lobbied with other players to get an official house rule added to the campaign. Thankfully the DM put his foot down and said no.

Another "creative" player conned a DM into allowing this gem of a maneuver: he cast weighty chest on a slingstone bullet. This was a spell in the AD&D 2nd edition Tome of Magic. Anyways the purpose of the spell was to make valuable items difficult to steal. When someone not nominated by the caster (or the caster himself) touched the chest the spell effect caused the toucher to believe the chest weight 2-5 times the weight of the toucher so an average 200 lb person would believe the object weighed 400 lbs - 1000 lbs. There was a save but the player asserted that since this was an illusion and that the toucher had no reason to believe this was an illusion, there should be no save even tough the description of the spell read otherwise. Anywho the "creative" player then cast the spell on slingbullets which he slung at targets. Conveniently the player worked out the force = mass x acceleration effect of suddenly being struck by an object weighing 400-1000 lbs traveling at the speed of a sling bullet converted into AD&D terms. Simply put, it was far more effective than any other spell of that level. In fact it was a game killer after the player upped the ante by throwing handfuls of the stones at enemies.

Feh!

Anothe creative type would carry dozens of quivers of arrows to turn over and drop on enemies from above because according to the rules the minimum damage from any successful hit was 1 point.

The list goes on an on. Simply put spells in some RPGs have fixed effects and shold not liberally be interpreted, in other games the effects are squishy and very open to interpretation and creative use. Players sometimes forget exploits work both ways but it almost always leads to unwanted conflict at the table.

For the record, I found your story entertaining as heck. Thanks for sharing. :D

>>ReaperWolf


I do understand where you are coming from here (I was the primary GM for my group all throughout middle and high school, and for a while afterward, and more recently with Pathfinder) but, and this is the important part, it was not an instantly lethal effect. I showcased the one time when it was, because it was entertaining. This spell is the same level as fireball, but usually did far less damage - I couldn't place the caltrop in the enemies mouth every single time (in fact, it only happened one other time, when fighting a dragon - it hurt the dragon a bit, but the creature was too large for it to do serious damage) and so it simply increased the damage to make his ranged attack a bit more potent.

The cases that you present seem to be abuses more than anything, and most of these can be countered quite easily. Ask the person who wanted to disintegrate water to show how his character found water in the body? Cut a person open and you don't see nice, clean water, you see blood. Blood is a vital force in magic, and thus is it's own separate element. Or state that the spell only works on something that is visibly water, obviously water, etc... It's good that the DM said no rather than caving in. There were a few times when some of my players tried something similar, and if what they wanted to do was suitably game breaking, I just explained to them that magic is not science, and what they wanted to do would not work the way they intended. They were a bit sad that their idea wouldn't work, but moved on to try something else.

As to the arrows, I think I would rule that the successful hit in this instance was the entire contents; he basically tried to upend the arrows on someone, and without the force behind it he may have been able to scratch the enemy a bit (hence one point of damage), it's just going to tick the enemy off. Basically he was trying to ruin the game on a technicality, and at that point the game stops being fun.

As a GM myself I try not to squash creativity - but if someone does try to bend the rules too far either it won't work, or (even more fun), it may not work in the way they intended. Or it may just not work as well as they would have liked. It varies from case to case, but being able to come up with ways to handle these kinds of issues on the fly has always been a strong suit.

Thanks for your reply, always fun to get feedback ^_^




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