Thursday, June 8, 2017

Forest Combat Aftermath

Here is the final count of experience for the party.

In addition, for objects found on the creatures, add 143 for Embla and Lothar, who don't receive an x.p. bonus, and 157 for Engelhart and Pandred.

This puts Embla and Engelhart both up a level.  I don't know if it gets Pandred there.  Lothar, I know, doesn't make it.

I'm going to work, but Embla should roll a d8 for hit points, as should Engelhart.  Engelhart, you gain a 2nd level spell at 3rd level, plus 2 bonus spells from your wisdom.  Therefore, you should choose three spells from this list.

This is all I have time for.  We'll sort out sage abilities when I get back.  I'm off work again tomorrow, so we have time to make sure everything is accounted for.


Embla Strand said...

Aha! I got an 8! That's 12 extra hp.

Shall we regroup behind the rocks to check out this ring?

Engelhart Askjellson said...

Whoa, Embla, you got tough!

I didn't do much worse, for once I wasn't let down by leaden dice: 7, making for a 9 hp bump from my Constitution.

I've got a loooot of reading to do on this spell list, hope Alexis isn't counting on a brisk decision from me (not that I'd have them memorized just yet, anyway).

Alexis: Pandred more than makes her level-up, I remember her commenting on how close she was after the first frogling fight down at the barrow.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

Uhm, not making commitments yet, rather a few scatter-brained thoughts and then some questions:

- Some of the choices are hum-drum and/or extreme corner-case faff (Detect Charm, Serpent Charm, Slow Poison)

- These oracular spells (Augury, Know Intent) seem like they'd be a huge pain the rear for a DM to keep tabs on. Makes me wonder what your experience with them is.

- Chant is enticing, even more so with a battle with a large number of participants looming, but it doesn't really gain traction with your xp rules, since a huge combat passing the character by feels like a criminal waste.

- Detect Life and Hold Person seem like nice and balanced solid choices. Shame that's not what the average player is on the lookout for.

- Aid is such a no-brainer that it hurts. Selecting this should keep the party afloat on the hit-point front for the foreseeable future.


1) Interaction between Chant and Sanctuary/Withdraw? Possible? (I'm guessing "yes" for Withdraw, at least).

2) Can Withdraw's effect be ceased as an action?

3) Spiritual Hammer _detached_ from the Cleric in conjunction with Sanctuary? Seeing as the Cleric is not wielding it or attacking with it, merely directing...

4) What are the rules as pertains to x.p. gain with spells? Does the caster gain x.p. from damage inflicted via spells? What about summoned creatures (Wyvern Watch, Dust Devil)?

This semi-inadvertently ended up as an homage to your latest comic, so sorry about that, but every question is straight-faced so do respond, please.

Lothar Svensson said...

A thought from me, Slow Poison sounds like a really good idea given the reputation certain frogs and toads have for exuding biologically reactive chemicals.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Engelhart, as regards spells.

Some spells exist because they make good scrolls. Or because a given cleric has a special need for serpent charm or the like.

I should point out that I have seen slow poison save two character lives in the past three years of running. Poison damage from a 7th level creature can easily equal 56 to 70 total; but since it occurs per round, slow poison can make it possible to pour healing salves, potions, antidotes and spells into the character before they die, or sometimes get them to someone who can cure poison.

I've never had any problem with augury or know intent. Perhaps they don't do what you think they do. A yes or no answer can be almost useless if the question is vague. The "intent" that is known is NOT long term, it is what the character intends to do in the next five rounds. That may not be indicative of something evil, dangerous or remotely threatening . . . and then five rounds after that they could put a knife into you. These are limitations that restrain the spell from being "all knowing." Remember that 10 rounds is only 2 minutes real time. That's all you get per day.

When you chant, you get every extra point of damage caused by a player for experience. Thus, Pandred rolls a d6, does 3+3 damage, then your chant adds 1 more. Pandred gets 60 x.p. You get 10 x.p. It can add up if you have multiple people all fighting within hearing range. It does cut down on the player's received x.p., as the enemy causes less damage, and it does mean that you don't get in the fight personally. Also, intelligent creatures will seek to target the chanter, recognizing what's being done.

I've seen players do remarkably well with detect life. Hold person is excellent for town and subterranean settings.

Sanctuary will not allow you to chant effectively, as everyone ignores you (not just the enemy; everyone!). Withdraw slows your relation of time compared to others, so your chant would just happen 10 times faster; and you'd be operating in a time bubble, so others would not be able to relate to you well enough to get a positive effect.


Alexis Smolensk said...

You'll have to make your withdraw question clearer. I don't understand.

Spiritual hammer is an aggressive action. You are attacking with it. I don't know how it can be interpreted any other way. Attempting to us spiritual hammer would be impossible. Says so right on the sanctuary spell description: "physically restrained."

The rules say that for every point of damage you cause, you get 10 x.p. For every point of damage you receive, you get 20 x.p. Spells don't change that. Chant causes that extra point of damage. Some spells don't. A summoned creature would cause that damage on account of your casting the spell, so you would get x.p. for the damage caused.

Neither 2nd level spell you mention can take damage; but in any case, for a similar creature that was hit, the party as a whole would receive the general bonus experience for watching the creature be hit and take damage, but not the direct x.p. as though you yourself were hit. Understand?

For area effect spells that take damage, the rule is as follows:

The spell causes a pure amount of damage: a fireball, for example, does 1d6 per level. This pure experience can be multiplied by 10 to obtain a possible experience number. Thus, if the fireball does 20 damage, the caster might 200 x.p.

But, let's say a fireball does 20 damage to 10 people, or 200 total amount of damage. The caster would NOT get 2,000 x.p. for this damage, as the EXPERIENCE of casting the spell would be precisely the same as if the spell affected only 1 person. However, IF the total amount of damage caused, multiplied by 3 x.p., is higher than the expected 200 x.p. the caster would otherwise receive from the fireball's casting (in this case, 600 x.p.), then that number of experience is received. This reflects the caster's cleverness in hitting the most possible people with the spell.


Alexis Smolensk said...

Now let's say that your cleric casts hold person on a creature and then Lothar comes up and hits it; the damage would be automatic because the creature is helpless while held (see Helpless Defenders on the wiki). From this situation, half the experience from the damage would be receive by Lothar, and half by Engelhart.

There are numerous situations where x.p. is gained from spells, and most are peculiar to the spell used. HOWEVER, a caster should keep this in mind: casting is easy, lazy and safer than hand-to-hand combat . . . so any rule associated with x.p. gained through spell use will be designed against the caster gaining easy experience for taking relatively little risk.

If I find a situation where a caster is getting way too much experience from repeated casting of the same spell, I will CHANGE the rules of x.p. gain from that spell. And I don't care if the player likes that. This game rewards risk, NOT cleverness. Cleverness is nice, but if it is applied to avoiding risk, then the payoff for that cleverness will be reduced.

On the other hand, cleverness that increases risk? I'll reward the hell out of that maneuver.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sorry about the clumsy writing. I'm struggling to be clear and I'm pretty tired just now.

Lothar Svensson said...

Thanks for lining that out, Alexis. It makes sense to me.

Now about that ring... Who wants to put it on?

Alexis Smolensk said...

I have updated the sage abilities table on the drive. Engelhart, you've picked up amateur levels in Demi-Gods and Law & Policy.

This will mean you're able to identify the demi-god behind these froglings, as well as its sphere of influence. I'm going to need a little bit to think about that, as I made no plans for that particular bit of info (and how far it goes). It is a very soft study, as it goes, but I'm sure with some playing around we can fix your knowledge. It is an interesting improvement on your present knowledge.

Law & Policy will allow business dealings and acting as a solicitor. You'll need to assign the points to a given region (Rogaland, for example) within the large entity of your choice.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Embla, you've picked up an amateur ability in Heightened Senses ~ for which I have no rules at the moment. I'm under a lot of pressure from different things at the present, but I'll make this a priority; again, however, I am going to have to think about it. I have had some ideas lately on how to manage hear noise ~ the difficult thing will be to come up with one or two OTHER skills to compliment the hear noise ability. That will take a little reading.

Embla Strand said...

Sounds great!

Do the hit points I've just gained increase my total and current hp or just my total hp?

Either way, I can put the ring on.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

Alexis, thank you kindly for taking the time to expound at length on the system and its intricacies. You've covered a lot of ground, I'm much obliged.

Now, a reply to hone some finer points:

On Slow Poison: I appreciate that such a spell makes an excellent scroll. I'm willing to bet it was in just such a scroll that it found use by the two characters to such good effect. Even if not, 2 good uses for three years of play are fairly dismal odds to throw a precious spell slot away on, especially given the competition on display.

On Withdraw: the conceit is that the caster is encased in a time-warp bubble, right? I wish to know if the effect can be cut short deliberatly or if the caster must endure the full duration without stepping out. Sanctuary has a specific clause for dropping the effect, whereas Withdraw has none such.

On x.p. from spellcasting: consider me enlightened - The Fireball example is rather representative (I had it as a fast-track to x.p. wealth) - and the summoning is all cleared up.

I'm sure you've gathered by now that I'm a rather risk-averse person, which makes your valuing of "cleverness that increases risk" something of an oxymoron to me. Cleverness is something that decreases risk or at least enhances payoff, but much preferably the former.

There's still a couple of odd points, nothing too substantial:

- The entry for Helpless Defenders finishes by stating that no x.p. is awarded for attacking targets under such condition, could you clarify?

- Can summoned creatures benefit from Bless/Chant/etc?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Embla, yes. Please add your new hit points to your present hit points. Both maximum and present should go up by 12 points. 9 for Engelhart.

Engelhart; in both cases the character had taken slow poison as a daily spell. One was a cleric, the other a druid. But not at 3rd level, admittedly; they waited until they reached a higher level.

All spells can be cut short at the caster's will (I know of no exceptions) where the caster's continued concentration is needed. Of course, coming out of withdrawal has a move penalty, as expressed on the spell description. Sanctuary can be ended at will also.

As regards cleverness vs. risk. Consider that cleverness that sustains the individual does tend to reduce risk ~ however, personal sacrifice for the greater good is arguably also clever: Horatio at the bridge, who saved Rome at the cost of his own life, was able to rise above his fears through weighing his own importance against that of others. As a modern example, I propose the recent film, Dr. Strange, whose enlightenment comes in understanding that it isn't about HIM. This is something that all these supposed heroes in role-playing games seem to have lost.

Oh. Regarding Helpless Defenders. I had wholly forgotten I had made that stipulation. As I remember, it was because I considered attacking a helpless person as cowardly. Disregard the splitting of experience, then. I stand by the wiki entry; I never did like that experience was rewarded for ease of killing, I just forgot that I had already taken steps to fix it when I made the explanation last night.

Hm. Summoned creatures benefitting from bless & chant. While, yes, they are unquestionably allies, I would point out that neither the wyvern nor the dust devil are intelligent creatures; therefore, they are not "believers." However, a more intelligent summoned creature would get the benefit, yes. With bless, provided they could be physically touched.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

Also, the Sage abilities are rather nice! The Demi-Gods study is right up my alley, Law & Policy is rather more mundane but you never know...

Do prioritize Embla's, though, she's our eyes & ears and her getting a leg up in the spying game is much to our collective benefit (she already can stealth a bit better on account of her level up!)

Embla: as previous experience serves, you do immediately receive your Hp bump. That means you're still good to go, pretty much exiting the combat with MORE Hp than when you entered, same as me.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, Embla's the priority. But I do have a motivation to slow things down for the moment, until we can have Pandred back.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

Thank you again, then, all's clear on my end!

My choices:

- Aid

This one's just too good to pass up on. It's the next tier of healing, good for the whole party.

- Dust Devil

An additional combatant, and one that has the move capability that the party in general lacks. I'm expecting it to be rather useful at helping us with crowd control.

- Hold Person

Even without x.p. attribution, this one can be a game-changer. It would have trivialized this combat we've just had with but a couple of failed saves on the part of the frogs.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Regarding the ring, Embla.

While there's no evidence from observing the inner surface of the ring, it feels slimy going on; while on your finger, it gives a distinct sense of being wet and distasteful. You have no idea what it does.

Alexis Smolensk said...

You can see from the spell list and the lack of duplication how originally clerics were designed to be much more combative.

Embla Strand said...

Ick. I take it off. Maybe our Apothecary friend could tell us more.
Something to do with water, perhaps?

Alexis Smolensk said...

A bit about magic.

I'm not going to tell you what things are or what they do, but I do want to give the opportunity for making things work: therefore, I'm not going to impose secret words or movements on magical items. If you want to make a magic item function, even if you don't understand what it will do, feel free to express a desire to "will" it to function. If it can, and it applies, then something will happen.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, let me add to that: if the effect causes something to happen that is not detectable, then that may mean not understanding the item's effect (say, the item enables an individual to read minds within 60 feet, and there is no mind within that range, the item would seem not to be functioning).

Embla Strand said...

Thanks, Alexis.

I put it back on. Suggestions, folks? I'm thinking water control or making water or something else water-related.

Is there like a puddle or something nearby?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Afraid not. Standing water only occurs in basin areas, the stone is too porous. Right now, you're on a gentle slope between Store Stokka on the east and the Atlantic on the west.

Lothar Svensson said...

Maybe water breathing? Augmented swimming? The ability to turn into a fish?

Embla Strand said...

Looks like we'll need to return to Store Stokka to figure this out.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

What we do need is to link up with the guard before our toad friends bring buddies.

Even without Pandred we have quorum to make that decision, I'm all for moving out of here, you?

The ring: it is possibly a signet to pass through some sort of magical barrier or alarm. Makes the most sense for a roving patrolsman to be carrying it around.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'm good with your having a quorum. I'd like to get Pandred's x.p. confirmed, but that is secondary. Where do you want to move; you know where the soldiers were, if that's your intent.

Embla Strand said...

Who is carrying the spears? I can take them, although I'll drop to 3AP. Also, how distinctive are the spears? I don't want the guards to confiscate them.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I am not the sort to have a rational leader confiscate legitimately obtained booty.

Please add +1 lb. to the weight of those spears in calculating encumbrance.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

Heh, our escape will have to be made on the basis of 3 AP, it would seem.

But our followers can maybe share some of the burden?

Alexis Smolensk said...

That's what your followers are there for.

Alexis Smolensk said...

[please forgive any long lapses from me: I'm going to be working on a comic, and that tends to focus me more deeply that other things - I still have a phone on notification, but it seems to miss a lot of posts]

Lothar Svensson said...

I'm at 3 AP and can take 9 more pounds before dropping to 2.

Bergthora is at 4 and can take 10 more before dropping to 3, or 30 lbs before dropping to 2 AP.

Lothar Svensson said...

Also I am for heading back to the soldiers.

Alexis Smolensk said...

[thanks again, all. My comic is done and I'm going to relax a bit before doing a little writing. We can take a break for the weekend while I work and I'll try to do an hour or so meaningful running Monday morning]

Alexis Smolensk said...

Embla, I have rewritten the THAC0 table. You'll notice that your thaco is reduced to 19, so you will hit 5% more often.

Engelhart, you'll see that reaching 3rd level has also reduced your thaco to 19. Lothar's thaco was already there and if you're right about Pandred, the whole party now hits a little better. That should help.

Personally, I've never seen what's difficult about thaco. We learned to subtract in grades 1 and 2, yes? It's not like its multiplication and division!

Pandred said...

Hey guys, I'm stealin' wifi to let you all know I'm not dead. I'll be back and ready to run late Tuesday, so get your frog-stompin' boots on!

Thanks for not letting me die!

Also, holy crap that's a lot of XP. I should drop into the negatives more often!

I can't stick around for replies, I've already got a foot out the door, but thanks everyone for being understanding and accommodating. I miss the game like crazy: my family is sick to death of hearing about it!

Engelhart Askjellson said...

How are we supposed to express the reduced Thac0 when rolling, Alexis?

It's pretty much just a "+1" to hit, which feels the more practical approach to me, though I've seen you write that you "hit AC x" after a given roll.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Actually, since determining the die number's relationship to what armor class is hit is most relevant, rather than add +1 to your die, why not express your roll in terms of what AC you hit? I rolled a 13 adjusted to a 14; I hit AC 5!

That's as simple as it gets.

Embla Strand said...

I'll just hold on to the spears. I'm at 3AP, but I can carry another 20lbs before dropping to 2, and carrying 2 or 3 spears won't change that - Bergthora can hold on to her AP.

Also, Alexis, now that I have weights for Petar and Willa, they each have 3AP, not 4.

And I am also for returning to the soldiers.

Alexis Smolensk said...

If that is your general consent, then you will likely follow back along the path Lothar leads, as he'll have the best idea of how you got to where you are now. You share the weight out as you've described and begin on your way back.

And now, horribly, I'm going to roll a random wandering monster encounter. I understand these are just so gauche, now, but in fact the forest is full of wandering things and I have to see whether or not you stumble across one.


[i'm going to have breakfast and then put up a new post]

Alexis Smolensk said...

Oh, I do need to know: do you plan to increase your present hp by healing of any kind? Better tell me now.

Lothar Svensson said...

Engelhart, I could sure use a Cure or an Aid right about now.

I've got one last healing salve I'm planning to give to Valda (@ -1) unless a proper party member needs it. Pandred?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Pandred does need it. Engelhart can't cast aid unless you want to give him half an hour (15 min. per spell level) to pray and focus on obtaining the spell for the first time. I don't remember if he cast cure light wounds at the outset.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Time's out; the next post is up.