jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, if you've read my access-locked posts the conflict is still going on. ^^; Someone important in my partner and friends' lives keeps saying and doing things that unintentionally hurt everyone, and dealing with the fallout -- and helping people defend themselves -- has been a full-time job these past few weeks.

On the plus side, I just got my hardcover copy of War of Ashes: Fate of Agaptus, by Sophie Lagacé! And for a limited time, you can get a pay-what-you-want (as low as $0) PDF version on DriveThruRPG.

A book cover which shows a variety of Muppet-like, furry creatures, brandishing weapons to defend themselves against hostile creatures, in a grim fantasy world where the sky is grey. The caption reads 'Roleplaying in a Grimsical World of Fantasy.'

"Grimsical" is the best word.

It's a rather grim fantasy RPG, which stars cute furry characters. I love it. ^^; It has very good production values, and the author does a really good job of porting the best parts of miniatures-based RPGs into Fate Accelerated, with stunts and manoeuvres that affect and are affected by positioning.

Why does it have optional minis rules? Because it's based on the War of Ashes miniatures game(s) by Zombiesmith, the makers of Kami Tale! So you can get cute, monstrous furry miniatures for your grimdark roleplaying game.

... I want all of them.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, there is this game on Kickstarter called Invisible Sun, made by a dood named Monte Cook who also wrote D&D stuff and an extremely unfortunate tabletop RPG for children.

Here are the reasons why people are talking about IS:

  1. It flatters prospective buyers liek whoa, as you can see in the title.
  2. It promises to "change the way you play RPGs," but gives few details as to how.
  3. It starts at $197 USD. And goes way up from there, with the main draw being exclusive secrets that only you get.

Most of the discussion surrounding the game is privilege-y economics stuff. "It's worth what people will pay for it," "no one has to pay $200 for a luxury good," etcetera.

I feel like what people are missing is that inequality effs your community hard.

Read more... )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Rationalists are rarely rational,

Objectivists are anything but,

Realists hold views completely at odds with reality,

And nationalists have very little faith in their or their nation-state's future.

Don't get me started on people whose publicly-facing identities (like Twitter profiles) say that they're a husband, wife, father, mother, or Christian. The more they harp on it, the more they probably suck at it.

I've also noticed that neoliberal Reddit atheists have very firm beliefs about the nature of God and how one should relate to him, and aren't shy about preaching those beliefs. But if you've read my earlier entries, you already know that.

Clarification (or "wow, you seem upset")

I'm actually in a more or less okay mood right now. There's just been some drama going on in the tabletop gaming community, where a well-respected figure basically wrote an apologium for abuse and was publicly scandalized by someone getting mad at their harasser (of several years). A bunch of women called this figure out for making them less credible and their lives more dangerous, and he went on to write like five pages of 'splaining, while a ton of guys cheered him on.

So this has been one of those weekends. -_- And it's affecting people I care about.

On the plus side, new episodes of Steven Universe are running every weekday for the next two weeks, and apparently something big's happening. So, public service announcement: Even if you're normally okay with spoilers, [twitter.com profile] mcburnett, one of the series' writers, says that you really really shouldn't spoil these episodes.

Now to commence two weeks of nerve-wracking tension, including a three-parter separated by a weekend. o-o;

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

There's a danger in getting overly concerned with tropes, and the real point is to be free to draw inspiration from where you like while creating something that means something to you.

That's from the Yaruki Zero book, where Ewen talks about anime, but I feel like it addresses a problem we have been having with trying to make the erotic rpg we mentioned awhile back. Or any of our other attempts to make "universal" games, like [community profile] fursonarpg, and try to create stuff that we don't fully understand the appeal of on the basis that someone will want to play as it.

I think there's something to be said for opening up a game's rules or a setting's canon, to allow for something new to fit in. Sort of like how halfway through the game's run Games Workshop took the unusual step of creating an idealist faction, with clean lines and anime-inspired mecha, in Warhammer 40,000.

But I feel like this stuff is maybe best done gradually, and custom-made on a case-by-case basis. The Cleric and Monk classes in Dungeons and Dragons, for instance, came about because Gary Gygax's friends wanted to play a vampire hunter and a martial artist respectively. Meanwhile, I've been doing an ongoing freeform 40k RP, that started with ideas for my Tau characters and grew to encompass [personal profile] burning_ground's Chaos Daemons and Alias / [tumblr.com profile] spinecrawlerrush's Necrons.

Sometimes we think about game design. This is one of those times. >_>b

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So, lately I've taken to reading transcripts of the "FATAL & Friends" reviews on Something Awful, named after the legendary Worst RPG Ever. It's been very interesting to get a fresh perspective on games like Pathfinder, and see their flaws pointed out by an outsider.

(The Original D&D review was also very interesting. Did you know that the reason Pathfinder has so many spells like Cloudkill and Hallucinatory Terrain is because they were originally supposed to be used in a Warhammer style miniatures game, to delete blocks of infantry or to create or obscure terrain?)

Fate Core in person

I also recently had the experience of going out to GM a starting session of Fate Core in person, for a Pathfinder veteran and his friend who was new to RPGs but was very interested when I described Fate.

In hindsight, I think I did things all wrong for the planned Capsule Contingency RPG. >_>;;

How wrong, you ask? )

So, for [personal profile] redsixwing and [personal profile] sablin27 ...

What should we do for our planned game? Do you want to just start it right now, and then help us come up with things as we go? Because I think that we could do that, if there is an understanding that it isn't going to be perfect. ^^; We could alternately discuss some of the ideas we had for where the game's going to go, so we can find out what stories you're interested in exploring and maybe get some ideas and stuff.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Thinking about my attempts at roleplaying online, and the work that I've had to do for them, and whether or not I enjoyed that work.

With D&D 4e

  • Basic rule explanation: NONE

The basic rules are online, in a free PDF. Its explanation is very concise. In about 10 pages it goes over which dice you roll for what, and all the rules you need to know for combat and movement. Another few pages explain skills in detail. The rest of it is DM advice or premade characters.

  • Character creation: A LOT

4e characters are basically "plug and play." There's an enormous array of options, but very few of them are actually bad, and the newer Essentials classes especially make things easier by giving more comprehensive packages of abilities.

The problem? Almost none of the character creation material, except for the "Class Compendium" remakes, is available online for free. The rest of it is scattered through sourcebooks and Dragon Magazine articles, none of which it is easy to link to. Most people seem to use the Character Builder online, and/or the D&D Compendium ... both of which require a paid subscription. Without those online tools, you're screwed, unless you want to a) email PDFs to your friends and b) write up your own power cards.

This last part took us an enormous amount of effort to do in [community profile] nentir_vale, even compared to what it would have cost to write up the power cards in person. Theoretically, though, once this part is done I don't have to redo it; I can just copy the templates I've already made to introduce new powers.

  • Game preparation: A FAIR BIT

D&D 4e rules make it easy to put together an ostensibly "balanced" encounter, meaning one that won't murder the player characters. I'm personally not used to having to balance tactical wargame considerations on the one hand, though, and roleplaying concerns on the other. Like, the D&D Encounters games I went to were basically half listening to the DM exposit, and half killing mindless foes that won't back down.

I feel like I have pulled it off fairly well before. The encounter I'm most proud of featured a pair of wolves as antagonists, and I tried to roleplay them as actual people instead of as mindless combatants. They were surprised at the carrion (a revenant PC) that fought back, and extremely wary when another player character showed up. The PCs, in turn, didn't see their goal as "inflict enough damage to reduce them to 0 HP," but were trying to drive the wolves off.

After another encounter went poorly, though, to the point where one of my players left soon afterwards, I lost most of my confidence in my ability to create interesting 4e encounters.

  • Running the game: A FAIR BIT

My workflow for running a 4e game consists of setting up the map and its tokens, then taking pictures which my phone automatically uploads to OneDrive, where I can rotate and share them with minimal effort. The circular cardboard tokens included in the post-Essentials D&D 4e boxed sets work very well for this, because you can see them most clearly from directly above, whereas if I were using miniatures I'd have to balance making them look good with making the map itself legible.

When there are questions and time-consuming discussions, they tend to be around players not knowing which of their powers to use in a given situation. I've tried to mitigate this by writing little "strategy guides" for each of my players, and I also try to allow players to do things not explicitly spelled out in their powers; those aren't the only options they have, just the ones which are always available.

In Pathfinder

  • Basic rule explanation: A FAIR BIT

The online Pathfinder Reference Document does an extremely poor job of explaining to new players how to play the game. Which makes sense, I guess, from the perspective of people trying to sell a product, but the Core Rulebook is basically a printout of its section of the PRD.

The only Pathfinder RPG product explicitly aimed at beginners is the Beginner Box set, and it's a) not available for free online, and b) verbose and poorly laid out. So it's not really an option here.

On the plus side, the basic Pathfinder rules are simple. On the down side, they have a lot of edge cases and confusing inconsistencies. I will never forget the look on the face of the girl across the table, when she was told that she doesn't roll to attack with her Sorcerer's spell; her target rolls to dodge it. Which is the opposite of how it works for people who attack using physical weapons, and for everyone in 4e.

  • Character creation: A FAIR BIT

All the Pathfinder rules and options are available online for me to link to. I don't have to write up power cards or anything. The downside is that a lot of the options suck, and are basically "traps" for those who don't know any better.

Just this Friday, the guy next to me playing a Druid in Pathfinder Society got all excited when he realized he could convert any of his prepared spells into a Summon Nature's Ally spell. Then he found out it'd take his entire turn to cast, and the snake that he summoned would last only one round.

  • Game preparation: A LOT

The biggest challenge, in preparing to GM Pathfinder, is making encounters that will challenge but not kill the player characters. Its "Challenge Rating" system doesn't do a whole lot to help, because there are special rules and edge cases that can make it basically impossible for the PCs to defeat a particular foe, and unlucky die rolls can screw PCs over a lot worse than in D&D 4e.

Pathfinder GMs have to do a lot of non-obvious things to get around this. For instance, the designers of the adventure we played this last Friday had to give us a way to beat the boss demon's Damage Reduction. Also, since Pathfinder lacks a Skill Challenge mechanic, several parts of the adventure just consisted of "you spend X hours doing " and then seeing a result, instead of the players collaborating around the table and finding ways to use their skills to solve noncombat problems.

  • Running a game: A FAIR BIT

Not using a map, for online play, in some ways reduces the amount of work needed. Since Pathfinder also relies a lot on positioning, though, I've often ended up having to redescribe the setting each time a player's turn comes up, or having to correct someone about who was where.

Beyond that, the simple fact that the PCs are fragile means I have to be much more careful about how I approach them. In some ways I find this fun; there's a temptation, in DMing 4e, to throw lots of tough mobs at the players just because they can handle it. Whereas in Pathfinder everyone's much more inclined to resolve encounters through roleplay, instead of trusting their fate to the dice.

The winner?

I honestly don't know. I think I like 4e much better, and enjoy the work it requires more. I'm just not feeling confident about my ability to DM it right now.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

After spending hours and hours and hours photographing the board, editing PDF character sheets, and writing up power lists on [community profile] nentir_vale, I can conclusively state the following:

D&D 4e was not meant to be played online, unless you have a D&D Insider subscription and use the online tools. Especially the virtual tabletop, which doesn't exist.

Pathfinder's much easier to GM online, partly because combat does not last all day or require a game board, and partly because all the stuff that you need you can link to directly online.

D&D 5e looks like it'll be closer to Pathfinder, but its "Basic D&D" rules are a gods-damned PDF, and are far from comprehensive.

If we ever get up the energy to do another online RPG campaign, it will probably be Pathfinder.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

Step 1. Pick up a copy of the Pathfinder Player Companion: Blood of the Moon, at your friendly local games store. It, another softcover Player Companion, and the contents of the Beginner Box are the only Pathfinder books that you own.

Step 2. Discover the Lunar mystery for Oracles. Decide that it looks neat. However, it’s for a class that your books don’t cover, and it grants a lot of weird spells.

Step 3. Discover the following paragraph right at the start of the book:

Transcript

This Pathfinder Player Companion refers to several other Pathfinder Roleplaying Game products and uses the following abbreviations. These books are not required to make use of this Player Companion. Readers interested in references to Pathfinder RPG hardcovers can find the complete rules from these books available for free at Paizo.com/prd.

Step 4. Go online and get the rules you need to play your character. Show up at the Pathfinder event your friend told you about, at your local games store, with a Lunar Oracle.

Step 5. Confess that you’d much rather be playing a Kitsune.

Step 6. Find out that Kitsune do in fact exist, and are in fact a legit choice for Pathfinder Society. However, you need to have a “boon,” which is essentially a signed permission slip from your parents, I mean the Venture-Captains, saying you’re allowed to play a fox instead of a crow. The only ways to get these are to go to a convention in another state, which you wouldn’t be able to afford unless you sold your own body parts, or to go to a certain thread on the Paizo forums to trade a different boon for the Kitsune one.

Step 7. Remember that you have an honest-to-Daikitsu signed “get out of death free” boon because you participated in the Beginner Box Bash a few years ago.

Step 8. Offer it up for trade, and get a response surprisingly quick.

Step 9. Receive, via US mail, a sheet of paper that looks suspiciously like a photocopy or computer printout, which contains the following sentence:

This Chronicle sheet must be the first Chronicle sheet for the given character, and you must bring a copy of one of the above-listed rulesbooks [the Advanced Race Guide or the Dragon Empires Gazetteer] to all sessions in which you play this character as if access to this race selection were granted by the Additional Resources list.

Step 10. Ask yourself, “WTF is the Additional Resources list?”

Step 11. Oh.

Step 12. Read the following sentence from that link:

In order to utilize content from an Additional Resource, a player must have a physical copy of the Additional Resource in question, a name-watermarked Paizo PDF of it, or a printout of the relevant pages from it, as well as a copy of the current version of the Additional Resources list.

Step 13. Track down all the books that you need to duplicate the content relevant to your character from the Pathfinder Reference Document, which is an official resource published by Paizo itself and explicitly endorsed by a prominent paragraph on page 1 of Blood of the Moon, which says that those books are not required to use it.

Breakdown of expenses:

  • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook. Rules for creating and playing a character. Not required; your GM is assumed to own a copy.

  • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Bestiary. Game stats for the animal companion one of your revelations grants, and for creatures that your spells can summon. Not required; your GM is assumed to own a copy.

  • Advanced Player’s Guide. Game stats for playing an Oracle, and for three of the spells in the Lunar mystery’s list. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

  • Advanced Race Guide. Game stats for playing a Kitsune, along with the awesome Magical Tail feat. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

  • Ultimate Magic. Game stats for four of the spells on the Lunar mystery’s list, the first of which you obtain at level 2 after three sessions of play. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

  • Ultimate Combat. Game stats for one of the spells on the Lunar mystery’s list. $40 for a new hardcover, $30 non-mint, $10 for PDF.

Step 14. Realize that you have to pay a minimum of $40 to play a character you like, using rules that you bought and paid for and contained a large notice from Paizo itself telling you where to fill in the blanks. These PDFs would contain a prominent watermark with your email address, which is not information you want to disclose to men that you're casually acquainted with. Adding insult to injury, the PDFs themselves would be basically worthless for tableside reference, because it’d take much longer to look up rules text in them compared to in the PRD, on your phone. Even though that is the stated reason why you have to bring them on the Additional Resources page:

[…] we cannot assume that every Game Master will have the products listed below. As such, it's up to players to bring these items in order to familiarize their Game Masters with the rules.

Step 15. Realize that if your Kitsune character ever dies, you’re going to have to go back and repeat the whole process of finding another boon, if you want those $40 worth of PDFs that you don’t want to buy to do you any good.

Step 16. Go on the Paizo.com messageboards, to see if there’s any sign of the PRD being added as a legit “additional resource.”

Step 17. Find a ton of people like (and like-ing) this guy, who condescend to people who asked about it, dictate their own priorities to them, blame Paizo’s mixed messaging on them, ignore the fact that Paizo’s policies burden some players a lot more than others, and in general infantilize and insult them even more than Paizo already does by requiring things like signed permission slips.

Step 18. Give up and play other games instead, using books that you bought at the local games store that welcomes you and treats you like a person, instead of PDFs that you bought online from a company that doesn’t.

This is only a partly fictionalized account. I already knew about Kitsune and the Additional Resources list going in. What I didn’t know was that there’s a boon trading thread (i.e. that I had any hope of playing a Kitsune ever), and that newer Pathfinder Player Companions were explicitly telling people to go to the PRD to fill in the blanks, instead of burying the reference in legal text like they used to. So I tried to imagine what it would be like, for a newb to go into it this way.

Also, I’m still playing in Pathfinder Society, and buying Pathfinder Player Companions that I think are cool and want to use for my character (like the Animal Archive), instead of selling my Pathfinder stuff on eBay.

Why?

Because my PFS GM lets me use the PRD.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

That’s what we did, last month. >_>b

A photo of Jewelfox's side table, with an assortment of mostly-homemade board game supplies on it.

We used the downloadable quickstart rules on the BattleTech website, printed them out, and then used a glue stick (which was like $1.50 for a package of four) to put the maps and the counters on cardboard backing before cutting them out.

The mech data sheets we put into plastic sleeve protectors, so we could mark off damage boxes with a dry-erase marker. We did the same with the cut-out quick reference cards, and the rules themselves, to add durability. Finally, for the counters’ bases we’re using the Pathfinder pawn bases that came in the Beginner Box set (and are also sold separately, like $5 for 20).

We haven’t had a chance to play the board game yet, but at Free RPG Day we got a glossy, high-quality booklet (the red thing in the picture) which has quickstart rules for both BattleTech and Shadowrun … and unlike the one they had last year, actually had playable female characters. There were no character creation rules, but we and [personal profile] rev_yurodivy were able to pick up the game pretty fast and play a whole premade adventure together while there at the store.

Best of all, everything fits inside the Pathfinder box with our other books, so it’s easy to store in our tiny den. Except for the game board, which we just shelved in between other boxes.

Now we can actually play the game without buying expensive rulebooks, at least for the time being. >_>;

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This weekend was not fun, to the point where our laptop's hard drive failing last night is perhaps the least stressful thing that happened.

Fortunately, [personal profile] burning_ground just happened to have a spare laptop-sized hard drive in the same capacity laying around. >_>b And we haven't lost any data so far, that we know of, although we're frantically backing stuff up at the moment. Aaand we're going to see our psychiatrist today, and hopefully get drugged up to the gills to prevent this from happening again. The bad responses to triggers, I mean, not hard drive failure.

Also we just started playing in Pathfinder Society, since a friend offered us a ride back from the store, and while Kitsune characters are restricted to people with a signed permission slip (seriously wtf) we've arranged to trade with someone online to get one, and are going to be playing a Totally Not Korean "Kitsune" Lunar Oracle who may or may not like the taste of humanoid liver.

Also Kobo just launched their Windows Phone app. *glee*

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

At one point I was GMing a game of Demon: the Fallen that took place in an AU where the Confederates won the Civil War (at Yuro's suggestion), and Yuro and Alias were trying to talk to this Christian homeschooling lady in a trailer park whose kids got possessed by My Little Pony characters after a failed attempt to summon Cthulhu, and in the front yard was a statue of Robert E. Lee beating up the bear of Communism, with the inscription "BETTER DEAD THAN BEAR."

This isn't a dream I had last night, this is something we actually did. That was an awesome campaign.

Ia Celestia ftaghn!

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

The following is a revision of the rules and fluff for the Ceilicans, as presented in Changing Breeds, a Werewolf: the Apocalypse 20th anniversary book. The W20 rewrite changed most of their yava to the weaknesses listed here, but still kept some obnoxious restrictions ... like having to change their identity once per year but not giving them any special ability to do so.

Ceilicans are one of the most well-known breeds of shapechangers, but much of what people (even other shapechangers) think they know about them is wrong.

Cats were often said to be the familiar spirits of people accused of witchcraft during the middle ages, and were put to death along with the "witches." Fera call the shapechanging cats of this time Ceilicans, and believe them to be descended from the Cait Sith, fey cats of legend. They are thought to have learned magic from the fey and from actual mages, and to be hiding in modern society using extremely powerful glamours. If you catch one, it's said, you can ask for a magical boon.

Most of that's true. But in truth, Ceilicans' magical powers aren't quite up to granting wishes, and many of their Gifts revolve around hiding from those who would try to exploit (or destroy) them.

After being hunted nearly to extinction, the "witch cats" have learned to hide their true nature in two ways.

First, they have access to a level one Gift which lets them appear to be of mixed racial or breed heritage, making them appear slightly "off" to some but usually no more than that. This allows them to blend in to different human societies, or appear to be small mongrel wildcats such as you might find in a group of other cat shapechangers. This gift requires a roll of Manipulation + Subterfuge, and the expenditure of 1 point of Gnosis, which doesn't return until the Ceilican dispels the glamour. While it is active, they can't benefit from the Pure Breed background.

Second, many Ceilicans know a rite that can replace their identity with a new one. Their memories and appearance are altered, and they may re-allocate skills at a rate of one dot per success rolled. Their Merits and Flaws remain, but their pryio and Backgrounds must be changed to different ones once the rite is completed. If any memories of their past life remain, they seem like dreams or half-remembered stories.

Ceilicans have three unusual weaknesses, all of which resemble legends told about them. Reciting a Ceilican's name backwards six times is supposed to be able to kill them; it really just makes them uncomfortable. The sound of churchbells is supposed to strike them deaf, when in reality it just entrances them for a moment. Finally, cold iron is said to burn their skin like a brand; as it turns out, extremely pure iron affects them this way, regardless of its temperature. Most Ceilicans are vulnerable to silver as well, like other shapechangers, but many -- called "moon cats" by some -- treat it as their plaything.

A Ceilican's feline form is the size of a housecat or small wildcat. Ceilicans with the Pure Breed background look like sleek, black domesticated cats, with emerald green eyes that seem to glow in the dark.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is a feat for the Pathfinder roleplaying game, inspired by the Ritual Casting feat from D&D 4e. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license and uses Open Gaming Content from the Pathfinder Reference Document. A D&D 3e / 3.5e conversion is also available.

Ritual Casting

You are trained in the use of rituals, which are versions of common spells that can be cast at-will, provided you have enough time and expensive reagents.

Prerequisites: 1 skill rank in Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Heal, or Perform (any).

Benefit: You obtain a basic ritual book (which has the same weight and game statistics as a common spellbook), which has two 1st-level rituals scribed in it.

You know how to inscribe new rituals into your ritual book, and how to cast rituals from it.

Scribing new rituals

A ritual may be inscribed into a ritual book from any spellbook or scroll, provided it does not deal Hit Point damage. To do so, use the same rules and skill check DCs for adding Wizard spells to your spellbook, but substitute one of your ritual casting skills for the Spellcraft checks as follows:

Spell ListRequired Skill
BardPerform (any)
ClericKnowledge (religion)
DruidKnowledge (nature)
Sorcerer / WizardKnowledge (arcana)

Spells which cure Hit Point damage are an exception. Use a Heal skill check for them instead.

Spells from spell lists other than those listed above cannot be cast as rituals.

Casting rituals

At any time, you may roll a skill check as appropriate for the ritual (see "Scribing new rituals," above) to cast a ritual from either your ritual book or a scroll containing a spell which could be inscribed into one. If cast from a scroll, the act of ritual casting erases the text, just as casting a spell from it does.

The DC for casting a ritual is equal to 20 + caster level if cast from a scroll, or 15 + caster level if cast from your ritual book. (You may choose what caster level to use if you are casting it from your ritual book, up to a maximum of the number of ranks you have in the required skill.) To cast rituals from a scroll or from someone else's ritual book, roll a skill check as appropriate for the ritual to decipher it first, as with Wizard spells.

If you are casting the ritual version of a spell which would normally require expensive material or focus components, you must have those components on hand when casting it from a ritual book.

Casting a spell as a ritual takes considerably longer than casting spells normally does:

SpellRitual
1 standard action1 minute
1 full round10 minutes
1 minute1 hour
10 minutes1 hour
1 hour1 hour

Spells with other casting times, such as a free or immediate action, cannot be cast as rituals.

If you fail the skill check required to cast a ritual, you do not cast that ritual, and any consumable items required to cast it (including the scroll if you are casting from one) are lost.

To cast a ritual, you must have the required reagents on hand. These cost as much as the material components required to scribe a scroll of that spell, and take on a form appropriate to the skill required to cast the ritual:

Required skillReagent Type
HealEither rare herbs or incense
Knowledge (arcana)Arcane dust
Knowledge (nature)Rare herbs
Knowledge (religion)Incense
Perform (any)Arcane dust

You may also use residuum, which is a form of distilled magical essence obtained by disenchanting a magic item. To disenchant an item, a character with the appropriate item creation feat and a caster level equal to the item's must spend as long as it would take to create that item (maximum 8 hours). The amount of residuum obtained by disenchanting a magic item is equal in value to the gold piece cost required to create that item. Artifacts cannot be disenchanted.

Reagents other than residuum can be purchased at temples, magic item shops, specialty shops catering to adventurers, and from druids or rangers who are open to dealing with outsiders. A character may also roll Spellcraft or Survival to gather reagents, with one check representing one day's work and providing an amount equal to the gold piece value that would be added to an item with that Craft check result. The DM / GM may rule that you cannot roll this check if you don't have access to an appropriate node of magic or source of raw materials.

Converting to D&D 3e / 3.5e

Increase the number of skill ranks required to take the feat from 1 to 4, and reduce the maximum caster level when casting rituals from a ritual book from "equal to your number of skill ranks" to "equal to your number of skill ranks -3."

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

This is the character that we've been playing in Encounters. >_>b We finalized the design after reading a bunch of Dragon Magazine articles and pulling the concepts we liked most.

Content note: Fantasy violence.

Just one minute ago, the Aurilite shaman had been presiding over the death by exposure of his counterpart, from the weaker tribe in the valley. But before the bundle of rags in the snow before him had even stopped writhing, the outsiders had charged in like a winter storm, shouting and swinging their weapons. Literally throwing themselves at his warriors, as one towering Goliath picked up a hammer-wielding Dwarf and tossed him into the fray.

For a moment, he thought he saw shimmering wings bear up one of the younger outsiders, and wondered if a higher Power than Auril had somehow sent them to test him.

The next few seconds were a blur. The small, white-robed girl behind the winged warrior vanished like a candle in the wind, only to reappear an instant later much closer to the shaman's allies. Holding out one arm towards them, as a terrific storm surge blasted sparkling snow into their faces, leaving them choking and blinded. One man fell over backward and impaled himself on a tent stake, and the outsiders rushed forward as his allies coughed and sputtered.

The shaman watched from beneath his fur cloak as the girl strode towards him casually, her glassy eyes shining like moonstones. Snow swirled around the crystal orb around her neck as she held it out towards him. "Do you want to live to serve your goddess?" she asked. And though he had more than a foot of height on her, he suddenly felt very small.

"The Frostmaiden will return," he managed to get out, mesmerized by the display.

The girl looked down at the twitching sack of bones at his feet. When she glanced back up, her ears were more pointed, and the hand that held on to her orb had grown claws. "Perhaps," she said, grinning and revealing her fangs. "But where is she NOW?"

Character profile behind cut )

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

So the session of D&D Encounters (the official organized play programme) that we attended this evening went pretty well! We played Skye, an Eladrin Mage, inspired by this artwork.


Mini Ari by ErraticRhapsody on deviantART

Skye carried a staff, and wore a fluffy white winter robe over a pink dress, but had a similar "elf mage girl" thing going on. (We'd probably also give her earmuffs.)

What it's like when [personal profile] jewelfox plays 4e

We're glad we decided to play an Eladrin at the last second. Because we were going into a building where a local official was being held hostage, and our brilliant plan was to split up the party into a group sneaking in by the balcony and a group that was going to crash down the front door. We were in the latter group, and when we realized that

  1. the ground floor was empty, and

  2. our DM was insisting it took twelve squares of movement (basically a whole turn) just to go up the stairwell,

we instead ran around the side and used Fey Step to teleport up onto the balcony. Then we spent an Action Point and used one of our illusion mage powers to make it look like the ceiling crashed down on the bad guys' heads, which dazed them for a turn.

It was pretty funny when we got to the "crash the door down" part of the plan, because the Barbarian who was supposed to do that rolled like a 3 on his Strength check and just hurt his shoulder on it. Then he tried the doorknob and it turned out to be unlocked. ^.^;

Meanwhile, upstairs our Goliath Fighter did this "Xena yell" and charged in from the balcony, only to get tripped up on the curtains and land in a tangled heap next to the wererat boss. Natural 1 on the attack roll FTW! Fortunately, most of us had better luck in the rest of the session.

We cast Fountain of Flame before our illusion even dissipated, so while the thugs were still trying to pull themselves out of illusory rubble it suddenly exploded in their faces, as a column of fire shot up to the sky. The wererat ran outside of it and crawled up the Fighter's clothes in rat form (!?), but she grabbed him and stuck him back into the fire, which only affected our enemies. After that, the Deva Cleric played Whack-a-Mole with a silver morningstar, and from that point it was just cleanup.

Trying to follow the plot

We're not really sure what's going on in this season of Encounters! Apparently this evil dood is, like, trying to usurp the post of Speaker for the town of Bryn Shander, as well as the rest of the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. So after we saved the Speaker of B.S. from the thugs (this is what the DM called her :P ) we raced across to the town hall, where evil dood was doing some speechifying.

The Speaker was all "you won't get away with this" and evil dood was like "yes I will, because I am awesome and can be in all ten towns at once! Somehow! And you'll never stop me! Ha ha!" and then teleported out.

And I was like "Well, he's got my vote! :D "

But then I had Skye roll Arcana to see if she could tell what kind of teleport spell the dood used, and she went o_o and was like "GUYS HE'S WITHIN 100 FEET OF HERE EVERYONE SPREAD OUT AND LOOK FOR HIM!" Unfortunately, we only caught a glimpse of his backside as he was taking off down the road through a crowd. Maybe next time we should station our catgirl sniper across the street on a rooftop or something.

OMG free stuff

They had some spares left over, so we got this nice poster map thing and a flyer for this season of Encounters! These were originally given out at the start of this season.

A photo of a small poster map of the Icewind Dale area, and a flyer for the Legacy of the Crystal Shard season of D&D Encounters, on top of Jewelfox's laptop.
Evil dood is the second one from the left.

On top of that, we still had the "Enchanted Heirloom" card that we won in a drawing the very first time we went to Encounters, which lets us reroll an attack once per session. We also brought our Fortune Cards, which are like an optional CCG deck where you draw a card each turn and can use its (highly conditional) power if you want.

Back in the day we earned several promos and bought like a pack every week, just because they were fun to play with. As it turns out, they stopped using them in Encounters, which is probably because of the backlash they got for adding a collectible card element to the game. >_< But the DM let us use them, because everyone else in the group had character themes and backgrounds and we didn't.

We're considering going back and redoing our character, since they seem to be allowing stuff other than in the Essentials core books. Even Hengeyokai, which are animal shapeshifters with an anthro form.

Why 4e all of a sudden?

Because we love D&D 4th Edition. ^.^;; Not the original so much as the post-Essentials 4e, which we feel has much more distinct class design and better monster statistics. It was also made after Wizards of the Coast realized the recession was cutting into their sales, so the Essentials products offer much better value in some ways; for the price of a hardcover rulebook you would get a huge boxed set, with a book, a published adventure, several sheets of tokens, and a map.

We love having so many things to fiddle with, and we also love how freeform so much of 4e is. Your options in combat are clearly laid out, but 4e doesn't try to put game stats for everything your character can do the way Pathfinder does, and a lot of stuff comes down to roleplayingness. Each skill even has an "Improvising with ____" section, which suggests possible uses for them instead of defining the only allowed ones.

It's easier to make a fun (or furry) character to play in 4e than in Pathfinder, IOO, and it's much easier as a DM to put together a balanced encounter. I don't know how much time we put into balancing, writing, and rewriting stuff for Pathfinder. Maybe we will again later -- we don't hate it or anything -- but the biggest reasons we started playing it instead of 4e were technical problems with DMing 4e online, and our open-source everything obsession. Neither are factors anymore.

We'll keep you posted on how Encounters turns out!

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

It's like the freaking WordPress of tabletop RPGs.‏

Everyone uses it. Everyone knows how to extend it. Everyone knows how to break it. Nobody cares that it's broken.‏

The people who love it most are the ones who make money off of selling stuff for it so you don't have to write your own.

It wasn't as bad in the 3.5 days. 3.5 classes were as bare-bones as you can get. Some of the rules were really messed up (how the heck does polymorph work, anyway!?), and Pathfinder fixed some of those and clarified some things that were ambiguous.‏

But the biggest thing Pathfinder added was options. Loads of options. Tons of options. Lots more system complexity. Lots more moving parts bolted on, until it was like a blinged-out drag racer with fins and chrome hubcaps and flashing police lights.

Ranting and explanation )

I'm trying to think how to take the good parts from both 3.5 and Pathfinder. Here's what I'm thinking of so far:

From D&D 3.5

  • The basic core mechanics. How most spells work. How most classes work. Cleric domains. Each class should be only a page or two long in description. Psionic stuff's probably okay as optional add-ons.

From Unearthed Arcana

  • Action Points, ideally as the only secondary resource for most classes. Being able to add a +1d6 bonus to any roll you make really makes level 1 characters feel more heroic, and takes the frustration out of missing your attacks and skill checks.

  • Spell Points instead of spells per day. Clerics, Druids, and Wizards still prepare spells each day, but they cast them with Spell Points, which makes it feel more worthwhile to experiment with interesting spells because it's not as much of a waste if you never cast them. Plus everyone gets the concept of "mana" or "MP" more readily.

  • Certain optional class archetypes. Monk fighting styles aren't much more complicated than Wizard schools. Paladins shouldn't have to be Lawful Good to begin with. Whirling Frenzy is a neat Rage variant. So long as they don't add too many moving parts to keep track of, I'm cool with thematic abilities.

From Pathfinder

  • Advanced Race Guide rules for creating a species, but trimmed waaaay the heck down to stuff that'd be useful for anthros.

  • Certain bloodlines, mysteries, and the like could be simulated using feats, maybe. It'd be sort of like 4e multiclassing: You gain a class skill and a cool ability, maybe one for your familiar too if you have one. Higher-tier abilities depend on the lower-tier feats. Don't have enough feats? Take an Unearthed Arcana weakness, why don't you.

  • Clarifications on some spells, like polymorph.

  • Character traits, just as options. If you want you can take another feat instead. Could probably make these a lot simpler than Pathfinder has it, anyway, especially since most of the traits seem like reprints of each other (+1 to a combat stat, +1 to a skill and it's now a class skill).

Jury's still out on whether Combat Manoeuvres are an improvement on how 3.5 handles it. I think that they're doable as long as we make them an optional system, and stuff all the "fancy tricks you do in combat" into it.

We're open to suggestions and stuff.

jewelfox: A portrait of a foxgryphon with a beak, black fur, magenta hair, fox ears, and a neckband with a large jewel on it. (Default)

First, a new profile.

Second, a new old community, [community profile] fursonarpg. We promised some local furs a draft of our RPG rules, and have been hastily writing and editing. Here's how far we've gotten:

Basic Rules: http://fursonarpg.dreamwidth.org/1161.html

Fursona Creation, part 1: http://fursonarpg.dreamwidth.org/1455.html

Fursona Creation, part 2: http://fursonarpg.dreamwidth.org/1546.html

We're partly doing this because of all the times we've had to help walk people through Pathfinder's character creation process, and we want to just do all the work at once and make it so people can easily understand how to do it on their own. Also because we like a lot of things about World of Darkness' character creation, and noticed some ways we can make Pathfinder work like it without actually changing the underlying math too much.

What's frustrating is that when our web hosting went down without warning, we lost all the stuff that we wrote on our old WordPress site. This includes [personal profile] cereus' story (I've contacted them about it but received no reply), and all the Fursona RPG stuff that we wrote. Remember, kids, keep local backups.

Let us know what you think, if you're interested.

About us

~ Fox | Gem | Rei ~

We tell stories, paint minis, collect identity words, and share them all with our readers. If something we write helps you, let us know.

~ She / her ~

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