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Author Topic: Heart-seeking sharkpedoes (and other madness)  (Read 7564 times)
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Sholano
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« on: August 21, 2009, 03:33:31 AM »

Within our gaming group, we have quite a few players who are capable of breaking the game (3.5/Pathfinder) to a disturbing level, while not breaking a single rule. To illustrate this, I offer a few examples;

A dervish wielding twin rings of extended thunderlance.
A Shrunken harpoon-firing ballista, expandable at will.
One hundred football-sized bees unleashed from a cannon.
Self-resetting negative energy traps, placed within undead.
And, of course, multiple fiendish sharks, summoned mid-air at the same time, and aimed with True Strike.

You get the idea. Anyway, to counteract this sort of tomfoolery, we have begun to compile a list of things we don't think we can allow ourselves to do. A handbook, if you will, for dealing with the powergamer. Of course, any munchkin worth his salt can reverse-engineer this thing, but that's hardly the point.

The following is the list that emerged from our discussions (and catastrophes). Bear in mind this list is far from complete, it's just what our deranged brains have come up with this evening. Also, I'm mostly kidding with these, but...seriously, guys, bees. From a cannon.

First, the things that just plain aren't allowed. These are those features that we think are easily exploitable beyond reasonable doubt; they are, in fact,

Off-Limits
-First, anything homebrew.
     I really shouldn't have to explain this one.
-Leadership.
     With a capital L.
-Undead Leadership.
     And all other alternatives of Leadership. You know why, do not question it.
-Multi-Weapon Fighting/Multi-Attack/Anything with Multi-in-the-name.
     You don't need that many!
-Spellcasting Prodigy.
     Just take Spell Focus, you jerk.
-Tombtainted Soul.
     Switches your energy polarity to negative. Someone is thinking nasty - don't let 'em.
-Lichloved.
     Same reason. Also, ick.
-Parry.
     And all derivatives.
-Item Creation.
     Especially Wondrous Item.
-Monstrous Feats/Races.
     If it wasn't intended for PCs, that means you too. Now go to your corner.
-The entire Book of Nine Swords.
     You can what, now? Hell no.
-Gestalt characters.
     It makes Mystic Theurge playable. This should tell you something.

Next up, we have things that we have deemed worrisome. The sort of thing that makes any GM who's thinking a few steps ahead scratch his head a few times. Things that are

Questionable Content
-Spells 5th level and above.
     If you have a 9th level wizard and you haven't broken the game yet, you're doin' it wrong.
-Races with ECL penalties.
     Who're you trying to kid? No minotaur for you.
-Templates.
     Same thing, but worse. Besides, isn't half-dragon cliche by now?
-Exotic Weapon Proficiencies.
     It says exotic in the name. Come on, now.
-Spring Attack.
     Because if they can move, they will break your brain.
-Increased movement speeds.
     I just said this one.
-Book of Vile Darkness.
     Really, just never meant to fall into player hands.
-Expanded Psionics Handbook.
     This one may have been meant to, but...*shudder*
-Custom spells/items.
     Custom anything, really.
-Falling damage.
     From dropping an earth elemental on someone to trying to circumvent terminal velocity, this one's bad news.

And finally, we have that which should be watched. If a player is trying to pull any of these, they are probably going to try and ruin your game at some point. It is more likely than not that they will be
Trouble-Makers
-Minions of any type.
     Players aren't allowed their own NPCs.
-Bluff.
     I once convinced a legate I was on his side, then sneak attacked him. Twice.
-Diplomacy.
     Same deal, different approach.
-Five foot steps.
     Let's be honest, how many arguments have you had about these damn things?
-Any book that ain't the PHB.
     More reading material means more rules, and more rules means more cheat.
-Spells.
     Period.
-Druids, Monks, and the occasional Fighter.
     Spellcasters would be on here too, except for the above.
-Prestidigtation.
     I know it's covered in spells, but we've gotten a lot of mileage outta that cantrip.
-Physics.
     Yeah, I know how that should've worked. Shaddap.
-The Commoner NPC class.
     Just trust me.

And as the crowning jewel here, to truly demonstrate to you the power of the minds that bring you this level of ick, I present to you the Amulet of Giralon's Blessing. This was created by one of my players in a 12th-level game I'm running, and has been described to me as...well, you'll see. Turning the reins over to said player for a few paragraphs.

Amulet of Giralon's Blessing
Wonderous Item
30,000 gp market value

This amulet is a use-activated magic item, casting Giralon's Blessing (level 3 cleric / sorcerer / wizard spell from Savage Species) on the wearer when they attack. When the wearer attacks, the spell is cast on the wearer, granting them with two extra arms, and subsequently two additional attacks which may be used starting the next round. These arms last ten minutes, per the spell.

This may not seem terrible, but let me give you an example. Bob the Fighter dons the Amulet of Giralon's Blessing and punches a wall. This attack triggers the amulet, Bob now has four arms. He can attack once per normal, plus once for each arm granted by the spell, so now he can attack three times per round. On the second round, Bob attacks the wall three times, granting him six more arms from the amulet. This process continues for just under ten minutes, by which point Bob has just over five hundred quattuordecillion attacks per round (5.15377521 10^47)

Here's some math:

The spell lasts 10 minutes, or 100 rounds. Every round, because each attack brings about two more arms, the wearer's number of attacks is tripled every round. 1 x 3^100 = 5.15377521 10^47

For a bit of perspective, there are approximately 8.87 x 10^49 atoms in the planet earth.(http://pages.prodigy.net/jhonig/bignum/qaearth.html)

See?!
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Prince_of_Destruction
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2009, 05:09:28 AM »

The simpler way to deal with this is to simply use the GM card. After all the rules are just guidelines. If they want to use them to hurt the game. Have the game hurt them.

Or you could just you know put a gun on the table.

In all seriousness, talk to your players and see if what they want out of the game is what you're planning on giving to them. If not there needs to be compromise. Preferably on that keeps the GM in control, but the players still creatively motivated.

Limitations have there place, but what it comes down to is the capacity of the GM. Know you're limitations and simply corral the players away from them. Or use tactics to diminish the players interests in crossing them.

After all isn't the point of Gamming to be fun?
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TwiceBorn
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2009, 10:32:45 AM »

Within our gaming group, we have quite a few players who are capable of breaking the game (3.5/Pathfinder) to a disturbing level, while not breaking a single rule. To illustrate this, I offer a few examples;

A dervish wielding twin rings of extended thunderlance.
A Shrunken harpoon-firing ballista, expandable at will.
One hundred football-sized bees unleashed from a cannon.
Self-resetting negative energy traps, placed within undead.
And, of course, multiple fiendish sharks, summoned mid-air at the same time, and aimed with True Strike.


Ummm... how did they get this stuff in the first place? Did they bring in existing PCs from other games, roll up high level PCs with tons of magic, or... did they come across this kind of stuff during adventures you GMed (somehow I get the feeling the latter wasn't the case)???
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Doomed Hero
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2009, 11:32:38 AM »

Ummm... how did they get this stuff in the first place? Did they bring in existing PCs from other games, roll up high level PCs with tons of magic, or... did they come across this kind of stuff during adventures you GMed (somehow I get the feeling the latter wasn't the case)???

Most of it comes from abusing the rules for Crafting your own Magic Items. Once a character can make Ring Gates it's pretty much all over except for the crying.

A lot of this stuff isn't from Midnight games. One of the reasons we like Midnight so much is that it tends to inherently discourage these kinds of things.

Although I do seem to remember discussion in a Midnight game of Gnomish Basilisk Cavalry

and lets not forget the Laser-firing Trap Elemental Bobsled

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Doomed Hero
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2009, 11:37:20 AM »

And, of course, multiple fiendish sharks, summoned mid-air at the same time, and aimed with True Strike.

lets not forget that these were also fired from a canon...
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Bogmoll
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2009, 03:37:30 PM »

I have a for my grope simple solution to this problem, I just say no.
My players have learned over the years, if they try to misuse the rules, or even if they manage to get one over on me I will simply kill there character, one or two dead characters later most people learn to play nice, or quit, and if they quit that tells me they where more interested in being uber then having a good time.

This is of course a worst case scenario.......but in my long years of being a dungeon master I have killed a lot of characters when there players get out of hand.
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TwiceBorn
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2009, 03:44:53 PM »

Guess my limited experience as a 3.5 DM has not yet subjected me to this kind of over-the-top power gaming, which I would hate, especially in Midnight (after 6 or so months of play, my group is still only 3rd level... I use the slow advancement column from PFRGP). And fortunately, I doubt I'll ever have to worry about it -- I know my players well enough to know they aren't into that.
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Doomed Hero
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2009, 04:02:23 PM »

I have a for my grope simple solution to this problem, I just say no.
My players have learned over the years, if they try to misuse the rules, or even if they manage to get one over on me I will simply kill there character, one or two dead characters later most people learn to play nice, or quit, and if they quit that tells me they where more interested in being uber then having a good time.

This is of course a worst case scenario.......but in my long years of being a dungeon master I have killed a lot of characters when there players get out of hand.

Well, there are games for which that approach is a very good one (I myself have voiced similar things about my approach to Midnight.) That flavor of game is often very rewarding, but occasionally we need a break. We need to be allowed to cut loose and spew out the madness that we've been holding in check for the sake of the more serious game.

Sholano's list is just a funny little compilation of the kinds of side-games we've run while we've had our main Midnight game going on over the last few years. Surprisingly, some of the crazy, abusive stuff we've come up with are things I've adapted and used for enemies.  twisted

Sometimes you just want to do something ridiculous  and fun. Like watch a Michael Bay film. Or fire giant bees out of a cannon.  Grin
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Sholano
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2009, 07:21:02 PM »

Sholano's list is just a funny little compilation of the kinds of side-games we've run while we've had our main Midnight game going on over the last few years. Surprisingly, some of the crazy, abusive stuff we've come up with are things I've adapted and used for enemies.  twisted

Sometimes you just want to do something ridiculous  and fun. Like watch a Michael Bay film. Or fire giant bees out of a cannon.  Grin
Like the man said. Y'all are taking this quite a bit more seriously than it was intended. Obviously, at any given time, the GM can just tell you that what you're doing is too ridiculous and you're not allowed to do it.
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TwiceBorn
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2009, 07:57:08 PM »

Like the man said. Y'all are taking this quite a bit more seriously than it was intended. Obviously, at any given time, the GM can just tell you that what you're doing is too ridiculous and you're not allowed to do it.

I see... Guess I misinterpreted the tone of your first post -- sounded quite annoyed to me...
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Doomed Hero
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2009, 09:14:53 PM »

I see... Guess I misinterpreted the tone of your first post -- sounded quite annoyed to me...

See Sholano, I told you that you aren't as funny as you think you are... Wink
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2009, 03:33:39 AM »

I suppose dripping sarcasm doesn't com across well in-post.

Is there a smiley for that?
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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2009, 04:40:17 AM »

I suppose dripping sarcasm doesn't com across well in-post.

Maybe it depends on how well you know the poster?
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« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2009, 11:23:46 AM »

Roll Eyes is the closest we have.
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« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2009, 09:01:15 AM »


Or you could just you know put a gun on the table.

I see you and I agree on GM/player negotiations.
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2009, 01:47:20 PM »

Within our group (sholano, doomed, prince of D, Gabboge, and because i'm too lazy to determine usernames, the guys who play Berodin, Xein, Aiden, Khaz, Fenrir, Fedwin (heh) and myself) we have come to the conclusion that there is no real need to ever play Toon, or any other light-hearted comedy based rpg, because there exists more opportunity for rich humor in a system in which there are highly specific mechanics which may be recombined in creative ways to make situations which are both comical because of what is going on, and comical due to the avenues utilized to create such a situation. Firing 100 football-sized celestial bees out of a cannon is chuckle-worthy, sure, but doing it in a system designed to let you do silly things like that just isn't as satisfying for most of us as it is to find a way to make it work in a more rigid system like D&D.

We have serious games, which are still rife with situational humor when the tone allows, and less serious games, which have more room for messing around. Doomed Hero's midnight game is a lot of work, it is a lot to take in, it is dark, it is suspenseful, it is sometimes genuinely stressful. that being said, it is by far the most satisfying role-playing experience I've taken part in.

sometimes dark and gritty and suspenseful is just fine.

sometimes, just sometimes, your winged goblin favored soul of heironeous needs a half-celestial rat cohort.
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2009, 02:03:19 PM »

sometimes, just sometimes, your winged goblin favored soul of heironeous needs a half-celestial rat cohort.

Just to be clear, this did not happen in the midnight game. There are no winged rats in midninght.

Though the Gnome Basilisk Cavalry incident and the Dwarven Heavy Air Corps did...
« Last Edit: September 12, 2009, 02:06:28 PM by Doomed Hero » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2009, 02:05:27 PM »

i can't help but think you're referring to K'tarl...
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