Archive for 'Ramblings'

RSS Changes

This is just a basic site news post. You may be aware that Google Reader is going away. Well, with that, Feedburner is also disappearing.

This is not a promise that the site will start getting updated regularly or anything, but if you still have me in your RSS reader, and want to be notified when it does, you will have to point the feed to a new URL: http://criticalanklebites.com/feed/

Thanks to anyone who is still here. If you change your feed, you’ll be the first to know when/if I update again.

Warlords and Healing in D&D Next

I listened to the latest #dndnext podcast, and I have to say, I take issue with the discussion on warlords.

Specifically, Mike Mearls asks whether warlords should have martial healing, giving the following (paraphrased) example:

Mike Mearls: “If you get your hand cut off, and a warlord inspires you, the hand won’t grow back. He’s not really healing you.”

Now, I can kind of understand the point behind this. Words can’t heal a severed hand.

But you know what else can’t heal a severed hand? Ten minutes of rest and some bandages. Yet that is allowed to restore hit points.

Or, ignoring short rest mechanics, a month of bed rest can’t heal a severed hand, yet you’ll easily be at full HP due to that.

My issue with this statement by Mearls is that is flies in the face of what D&D hit points are, and have been since at least 1e AD&D. Hit points are a combination of stamina, skill, and even luck. In D&D, it only takes one blade to run you through – and hit points are what prevent every blade before that from doing so.

Significant wounds, like severed hands, have never been a part of core D&D, and aren’t represented by the hit point system. If such a thing is in a module, that’s fine. And if that module states that only magical healing can restore such lasting wounds, then I’m cool with that.

But that isn’t the base assumption of the D&D hit point system.

And so I ask you, Mike Mearls, why can Warlords not restore hit points (aka stamina/skill/luck/courage), when bandages and rest can?

High Level Play – Concerns

The latest Legends and Lore article on the WotC website worried me, and I responded in the comments. I feel this needs more visibility than hidden in comments and rage, however. Luckily, I have a blog I never use for just this sort of occasion.

What I wrote:

This post makes me the most concerned out of any L&L post ths far, as it seems that Monte doesn’t actually understand the reasons people think D&D breaks at high levels. This worries me.

I love the idea, the concept of high level play. The problem is, execution is always mediocre. In 3e and prior, the issue wasn’t just that encounters could be bypassed with spells, it was that the non-casters had to just sit aside twiddling their thumbs as the casters did so. The issue wasn’t that you could disintegrate hordes, it was that climactic fights could be 2 hours long, or 2 minutes, depending solely on how the Wizard’s luck went with those spells.

4e, despite all the complaining handles the tier changes the smoothest. Fights get too long, and the DM has to do a lot of work to give big challenges sometimes, but everyone remains useful, and everyone gets a chance to contribute to the game.

As a fan of Mages (as you said at DDXP), I understand fully why you’re a fan of high level play in all editions.

But please, try to understand why some of us, as fans of Fighters, Rogues, Paladins, etc, have issues with it.

I like the idea. I want the game to change. I want my Paladin to soar across the sky, mounted on a dragon, pummeling demon lords and saving gods.

But in 3e and prior? I never got the chance. Either the Wizard removed all challenge, or he failed and we TPK’d since we couldn’t get past the magical wards.

For me, the game broke.

Please understand this. And please let me pummel my demon lords.

I suppose my main point is that D&D doesn’t break as a game at high level by default. Rather, it breaks if you want to have a diverse party. If my entire 3e party were primary spellcasters, I’d be fine. But it absolutely sucks playing my high-level fighter alongside those characters.

Monte talks about the type of game where you create your own planes and lay waste to planets, teleporting around and disintegrating hordes. But he needs to remember that not every class gets to do those things. We need to make sure those classes are still fun.

If we can do that, and keep combat from ballooning into a 3-hour affair, then I’d officially call high-level play “not broken”.

Wherein I debate 4e and call Healing Surges realistic

So I was rolling around the RPG Bloggers network, and came across a post on The Labyrinth regarding asinine statements about 4e. I agreed with him that the statement was asinine, but for very different reasons than originally stated, and we discussed it for a bit.

So Labyrinthian, who runs the blog, decided to put forth his points, and air all his dirty laundry about the system, to get my responses on it.

Many of the points, I had heard before. I tried to answer all of them as best I could.

But, as I am wont to do, my comment in reply to him ended up something like 8 pages long.

As such, I’m posting it here, and leaving Labyrinthian a link to it. It… it’ll just work better this way, I think.

Go read his post first (as I don’t feel comfortable copying his questions here without permission). Then read my responses below.


Read more

Damn you, Dave! You and your… logic…

sarekThanks to Dave of Critical Hits, I have found some holes in my “no more ability checks” idea.

Making Bull Rush an Athletics check steps on the toes of at-will forced movement powers like “Tide of Iron”.  A Fighter trained in Athletics would actually find it slightly easier to Bull Rush than use “Tide of Iron”.  The only disadvantages would be the lack of damage and the lack of marking.

But this is not the kicker.  This can be accepted and dealt with, especially for powers like the Warlord’s “Opening Shove”, which allows an ally to shift or make an attack.

Rule 42.  Actions the rules don’t cover.  Ability checks come in during some of these, as attacks without weapons are essentially ability checks.

Trip: Strength attack vs Reflex

Throw sand in their eyes: Dex vs Fort

etc.

So, unfortunately, ability checks can not be completely done away with.

(But the little boxes on the character sheet that people keep confusing with their damage bonus, or vice versa?  Yeah, that can probably be removed.  Or at least moved away from the ability scores box.)

32 hours of D&D gaming party!

Remember the bigass 32-hour gaming event my FLGS (GameKnight) hosted last Game Day?

Well, they’re doing it again.  It’s starting… right now, actually.  I probably should have mentioned this earlier.  Oh well.

If anyone in Winnipeg didn’t know about this and wants to come down, get your ass down there!

I’ll write about it after the fact, and maybe post something before I crash tonight.  I will also have a twitter feed going once I get there this afternoon.  Check it out, if you’re into that sort of thing. This liveblog/livetweet/whatever won’t be on the site until later, however.  My schedule lately didn’t give me enough time to set that up.

UPS? More like You Pee… Freely… or something…

unexplainableDear UPS,

The next time a package comes to me from UPS that isn’t handed directly to me with no additional charges or trouble, I’m refusing shipment.

You attempt delivery, I ask you to hold it so I can pick it up.  You attempt again, I angrily ask you to hold it, as I plan to pick it up the next day.  I go to pick it up, OH LOOK IT’S OUT ON THE FUCKING TRUCK!

And you have the tenacity audacity to charge me $40 for the privilege.

Your service sucks.

Fuck you,

Graham

EDIT: Just to note, this is just the latest time I have been screwed around with by UPS.  I have yet to have a good experience with them.

So… Notice anything new?

changeDamned straight!  I finally got the new site design finished and up!  I listened to the feedback you gave us, too.

The navigation is primarily the same, but you’ll notice some changes.  For instance, the gravatar of the post author is at the top left, beside the date.  Just below is the author name and the number of comments, followed by category links.  This all used to be (inconveniently) at the bottom of the post.  Now you can tell who wrote the post right away.

How does everyone like the new header?

That’s right, a Critical Ankle Bite is a melee basic attack.  Speaking of which, I have yet to relate that story here.  Odd, considering the site is named after the event.  I should also credit Josh/Daelkyr over at EN World with originally creating the 4e icon font used in the header.

I know some of you may be missing is the Wiggum quotes.  But have no fear, for I did not leave you lacking in this area.  Just hover over the title image (or Gah the gully dwarf in the top left) for the random Wiggum quote.

I may replace these with something else, however.  Lately, around the game table, we’ve been keeping a list of “things that have made Nonnie/Alabaster’s player giggle”…

So yeah.  Change: Scary and confusing.  But also awesome.

I hope you agree.

Comments are welcome. :D

Story Time – Chicken Mage

chicken-hatIn a discussion of encumbrance rules, we got onto how chalk is weightless according to D&D (and I will often buy 200 pieces of chalk at chargen just to wipe out my starting gold and mock the encumbrance system while I’m at it).

And from there, buying senseless cheap animals (guinnea hen, mongoose) in 2e was mentioned.

Well, along those lines is my Chicken Mage.

Essentially the first character I ever made in 3e, using that character builder program from WotC, I decided to make an elf wizard.

And after buying the tiny amount of gear I needed, I had about 10 gp left.

So I tried to find something else to buy, and came across the trade goods tab.  I bought a goat, and spent the rest on chickens.

But these were not useless, pointless chickens.  Oh no.

These chickens were to be used as spell components.

Chicken Mage: “Magic Missile!”

Chicken, being thrown: “Buckaw?” *whap*

CM: “Fireball!”

Chicken: “BUCKAAWWW!!!” *FWOOMF!*

I never got a chance to use the character, however.  We’re still not sure whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.

I’ll post more of my insanity in the future, for sure.  How about any of you?  Any crazy character concepts you never got to play and wish you had?  Or did you play them?

There are comments!  Use them! :wink:

Whoa…

…they’re rereleasing the Dark Sun novels?

Could this be a sign of what the next WotC campaign setting will be, after Eberron?

We’ll see, I suppose.