Sunday, February 5, 2012

Concentration Check: Prep Time, Player versus GM

I know what is going to happen  (well from my end) for my DC Adventures game.  This will probably make more sense once I post the recap for the session, but I'm having a hard time knowing exactly how to spell out the outline for this session.  I really want to have a relatively detailed outline, but there are some things that aren't standard going on.

I may have to force myself to be a bit more free form, and just make myself a few notes to make sure that I don't forget to hit some highlights.

I've found that having a decent outline doesn't keep my players from coming up with strange tangents I would not have thought about, but it does seem to narrow the 3600 different tangents down to six or so, all of which are easier to tie into the overall campaign arc that I have in mind, while still letting the PCs get there on their own terms.

While I'm pondering what form the outline will take, I have been taking some time out to work up my new character for the Shackled City Pathfinder game I'm in.  I wanted to make a character that I was going to enjoy playing, was tied to the setting (in this case, Forgotten Realms) better than my last character, and one that is going to be relatively useful to the party.

Also, I'm shooting for "not crazy" with this character.

It's looking something like this:


Male Half-Elf Magus 7
NG Medium Humanoid (Elf, Human)
Hero Points 4
Init +1; Senses Low-Light Vision; Perception +7
AC 17, touch 11, flat-footed 16 (+6 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 59 (7d8+14)
Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +5
Immune sleep; Resist Elven Immunities
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Dire Chime +12 (1d10+6/19-20/x2)
Special Attacks Arcane Accuracy +2, Spellstrike
Magus Spells Known (CL 7, 9 melee touch, 6 ranged touch):
3 (1/day) Displacement (DC 15)
2 (4/day) Bear's Endurance (DC 14), Cat's Grace (DC 14), Mirror Image (DC 14), Bull's Strength (DC 14)
1 (5/day) Magic Missile, Shield (DC 13), True Strike (DC 13), Lock Gaze (DC 13), Vanish (DC 13)
0 (at will) Disrupt Undead, Read Magic (DC 12), Light, Detect Magic, Mage Hand
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 10, Cha 12
Base Atk +5; CMB +9; CMD 20
Feats Fast Crawl, Fortified Armor Training, Power Attack -2/+4, Toughness +7, Weapon Focus: Sword, Bastard
Traits Armor Expert, Adventurer
Skills Acrobatics +0, Climb +3, Escape Artist +0, Fly +0, Knowledge (Arcana) +7, Knowledge
(Dungeoneering) +7, Knowledge (Planes) +7, Perception +7, Perform (Dance) +5, Perform (Sing) +5, Ride +8, Spellcraft +7, Stealth +0, Survival +1, Swim +3, Use Magic Device +5
Languages Common, Elven, Ruathlek, Tashalan
SQ Arcane Pool (+2) (5/day) (Su), Arcane Training, Elf Blood, Hero Points (4), Knowledge Pool (Su), Spell Combat (Ex), Spell Recall (Su), Wand Wielder (Su)
Combat Gear Dire Chime, Mithral Chainmail; Other Gear Adventurer's Sash, Backpack,
Masterwork, Potion of Cure Serious Wounds, Potion of Cure Serious Wounds, Wand of
Bear's Endurance, Wand of True Strike, Wand of True Strike, Wrist sheath, spring loaded
Arcane Accuracy +2 (Su) 1 Arcane Pool: +2 to attack rolls until the end of your turn.
Arcane Pool (+2) (5/day) (Su) Infuse own power into a held weapon, granting enhancement bonus or
selected item powers.
Arcane Training +1 CL for spell trigger and spell completion items for your favored class.
Armor Expert -1 Armor check penalty.
Elf Blood You are counted as both elves and humans for any effect relating to race.
Elven Immunities +2 save bonus vs Enchantments.
Elven Immunities - Sleep You are immune to Sleep effects.

Linderath Tiirimand is a half-elf from Nimbral. Linderath left Nimbral when the nation changed in demeanor following the death of Leira. He settled in Cauldron for a while, and set up a home in the city. As an adventurer, he traveled around the Tashalar, but every few months he would return home to Cauldron. 

The most recent time he returned home to his city, he found radical changes in the form of thuggish enforcers, punitive taxes, and refugees everywhere.  

Linderath's family maintained a bastardized version of bladesong. Not nearly as agile or graceful as a true bladesinger, he still learned the basics of being able to blend sword and spellcasting. Despite this, he tends to be a bit self-conscious around full blooded elves, especially if they seem to be, or know much about, bladesingers.

Linderath has no desire to see yet another home dramatically change, and has decided that this is the
time to take a stand when it comes to his adopted home. Linderath is Neutral Good and has taken to
worshiping Tethrin Veralde, patron of bladesingers, even though he feels a bit deficient in his practice of Bladesong.

Dire Chime is the family sword that he wields, named for the slight bell like noise the mithral blade makes when is cuts the air.

One of the things that kind of frustrates me about 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder, the more I examine it, is that I don't know what I should be doing for armor.  I feel like I should wear it, and make some token gesture to get my armor class up, but at the same time, without heavy armor and a shield, anything that deals serious damage is also going to laugh at my medium armor.

That's probably part of the reason I'm interested in seeing how the Ultimate Combat DR armor rules would work in actual play.  Unfortunately, given a lot of other subsystems in the Ultimate books, I'm not sure if that system will work as advertised or if it's something that got shoehorned in.  Maybe I'll get the chance to see at some point in time.

Also, in the course of researching this character, one of my gaming friends pointed out another one of those fiddly restrictions that bugs me about 3.0/3.5/Pathfinder . . . Dimension Door ends your turn.  Why?  Does it really break game balance to let someone move after they utilize a short term teleport?

I haven't found it yet, but that same friend pointed out that there is a feat or something that allows you to ignore this.  Which actually annoys me more, because there are way too many arbitrary, silly rules like the one above, which are actually compounded  by the fact that there are then feats and spells and items that exist solely to circumvent a really stupid, arbitrary restriction.

Ah well, I'll quit kvetching, because I'm actually pretty excited for our mini-campaign reboot.  I felt kind of lost jumping back in where I did in the campaign, but I've got a good feeling that this might be a good chance to be more invested as a player and as a character in the overall story arc.


  1. Nimbral? Nice, I'm making my character from Samarach, and I'm thinking the backstory is that (he's True N) he was a former Leiran initiate who was strongly anti-Cyricist after the ToT, ultimately being captured and converted by a cadre of Helmites. This is probably ten years before the present in the campaign. Still working on it. Your character sounds good--perhaps our characters can have worked together in the past to create more party unity.

  2. At the moment, I'm working on a Cavalier. Likely a Knight of Oghma, Eldath, or Selune. Still working on the mechanical particulars with Steven.

  3. I have to say that your prep for games makes me doubt whether I can ever pull off running one myself.

  4. Eh, in this case its mainly just a matter of taking the outline in my head and putting it on paper to keep me from forgetting something that might be important to tie in later on.

    Other games would take a little bit more. Pathfinder required some more technical work for me to be comfortable. If I ever ran a 40K RPG, I'd have to make sure to make some quick notes on what all of those little traits in the profile mean.