42 Responses to 692 – White Smoke Mountain • 60

  1. Whoa, new and larger panel format! *thumbs up*

    Re: the comic
    Come on, Morty, make a damn Listen check! They’re only two feet behind you! You’re a cleric, your WIS should be high enough even for an untrained Listen check. Or did 4E turn every class except rogues deaf?

    “No sense of priority”…. nice, Martin. You’re a weasel.

    Seriously, the group has three or four people who should be able to cast Detect Magic (warlock, cleric, wizard and druid) and even if Enkidu never took any arcane knowledge, Morty should be able to identify items too. Why the heck are they still letting Martin and Fleece anywhere near the loot?? Martin needs to have all his clothes dissolved, the magic on his pouch of holding nullified and tons of magic items he embezzled fall out for everyone to see.

    The first panel gives me flashbacks to the movie Labyrinth and David Bowie’s crotch bulge.
    Is that a really tight-fitting chainmail shirt, Bunker, or are you just happy to see us? 😉

    • In 4e anyone trained in the Arcane skill can identify magic items. While technically that could be anyone it’s only likely to be Martin and Enkidu. Take your pick.

      The new format was born of my having ordered the wrong size paper, and then really liking it. I hope everyone else digs it too.

        • I like the new format, too. It’s easier to read. ^^

          Martin screwing the whole party over by hogging the loot is pretty par for the course. At least they’ve caught on to him before, so they can do it again.

          If it’s a choice between using Martin as the Arcane identification expert and Enkidu, I still say Martin.

          • yes much easier to read. the previous format had a tendency to get cramped(see previous comic to see what I mean)

            I… guess this counts as ‘growing’ artistically :mrgreen:

      • And in 4e the rogue actually suffers the most about listen/search related checks, since it goes against the “planned build” the game developers made for it. It’s strong points are supposed to be STR, DEX, CHA, so if you go by that you end up with a rogue who can’t spot traps worth shit, while the cleric obviously has a built-in advantage, and even fighters are now practically required to have positive WIS.
        I really think they should’ve changed the “brute/highwayman” kind of rogue to not rely on STR, and put in WIS instead.
        Not like they couldn’t have made some excuse about it in their stupid, useless descriptions.

        • Oh goodie. My migraine started at the words “planned build”.

          Truly, my hatred for 4E is making me strong in the Force.

          • Orald/Christina, my kids are just now learning D&D, so I had to decide which edition. Your notes make me happy I chose the “original” instead of buying a bunch of new books…

                • Google for “Microlite20 – The smallest thing in d20 gaming”.

                  For more details, see my posting below.

                  • Thanks Christina – will do.

                    Actually I am teaching them AD&D 2nd ed., which I think of as “the original” just because version 1 was pretty bloody crude. To be precise I run a campaign that’s a variant of AD&D 2nd, with a totally reworked monk class, slightly different combat rules (but only slightly) and slightly modified spellcasting rules. It’s pretty playable IMHO – at least my boys are having fun, which is the only point, right?

                    • I wish I had a dad like you instead of, you know, a dead swine(who also didn’t want me to play D&D).
                      It’s sad how much the gaming culture here needs to pick up.

            • Don’t count on my word, I’m just a grouchy bastard(not even an old, grumpy one who’s earned the right to be grouchy at all ’em new things the kids are all in a rave about) who doesn’t like change in things that still work OK.
              Some new things in 4e are nice(So many in fact that I’ll spare you the details…And I’m also not sure what they are myself), some less so.
              I’m also not all that experienced- I’ve only really played D&D, and only 2e when I was 7-8 and can’t remember much about it(still had THAC0 or what’s it called). 3e&3.5e I know only from video games, and 4e I’ve played for a few months.
              You should definitely check out 4e, just to be sure.

              I’m also not sure what it is exactly that annoys me about it, apart from the actual change, there’s just something.
              Maybe it’s that it looks like they want it to be a video game with very clear definitions of what everyone does and doesn’t do in a party(some of it is good though, easier to make a well-rounded party), and it feels restrictive.
              Everyone having special moves/spells all the time also feels too MMORPG-ish to me.
              And all those spells they had? They’re mostly back under identical/similar names, but to sum it up: 3-3.5e Fireball=Massive Explody Death. 4e Fireball=Weak, Small and Forgettable, maybe like Scorching Hands.

              When I was trying to understand the new system I came to think of the new battle system resulting from such nerfed spells and smallish, common abilities(though you know the flavor-text will try to make them look awesome) as a slow battle of attrition.
              You probably can’t even kill 1st level baddies with one average Fireball, but you’ll just use another spell and another because half of them will replenish after this little skirmish is done(Encounter Powers) so you don’t have to worry about conserving your energy that much.
              In essence you’re wading through the battlefield in a hundred tiny, waddling steps instead of getting it over with with one fast sprint.

              • A fireball would most likely kill a first level baddie if you hit in 4e, but the really the mathematical calculations are all kinda different as far as spell effectiveness goes, and that’s one thing that doesn’t translate directly across the game versions. The wizard nerfing was loooong overdue though. In all previous versions of D&D the wizard becomes the preeminent badass of the party at about 10th level and everyone else is just there to keep him safe.

                Interestingly, I still view THAC0 as that funny new thing thing with the silly name.

                • It might, but I seem to recall it’s 6d6+mod DMG, and it doesn’t pick up after that(like almost all abilities, they stay stuck in their own “level” and only the modifiers change, if your attributes go up enough).
                  That’s about 21 average DMG(lets add 4-5 for the mod, so 25-26), and while some characters I’ve seen/made at first level had 25-26 HP, those are mostly the physically frailer ones.
                  So yea, it’ll probably kill frail/average char’s, but just barely.

                  But I’ve only played for a few months, made only one wizard and didn’t get the chance to play it for long(Some negative reactions of people fearing I’ll do tricks on their char’s, combined with a DM who wouldn’t let me use cantrips for anything creative, partly because of said fear and because it’ll make my wizard worth something and that just doesn’t sit well with said DM).

                  While I agree some of the changes were good, like some needed nerfing and added service-life for wizards(i.e they can cast again on the next encounter), I think turning everyone into the same class but with different names to their “moves” was kinda boring. And I think it got nerfed too much, resulting in said battle of attrition.

                  Still, it was fun enough to play, even if you can’t swing a damn sword without calling it in some fancy name and putting a completely exaggerated flavor-text on top of it.
                  Next update they’ll add little icons to them so you’ll be sure to properly recognize it in your combo-line when you play the DDO: 4e I’m sure they’re already brewing.

            • Actually, I use Pathfinder d20 these days. 4E rubs me the wrong way.

              I’m not a big fan of the “old-style” (A)D&D, although my introduction to Dungeons and Dragons was AD&D 2nd edition, and my husband is old enough and started gaming early enough to have once owned some old 1st edition boxes. But as D&D was not the first RPG or even the second that introduced me to roleplaying. That honor goes to Warhammer Fantasy, Harnmaster and Shadowrun 1st edition, and then once I became a university student within a short time I found groups playing AD&D 2nd Ed, GURPS 3rd Ed, World of Darkness 1.0, Paranoia, KULT and Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. I’m not one of those gamers who religiously stick to a single system, although I know people like that here in Germany… usually they play nothing but Midgard Fantasy or Das Schwarze Auge (DSA). 🙄

              BobbyT, if you want to introduce your kids to D&D-style fantasy RPG with easy, back to the basics simplefied rules, why not try the MicroLite20 (M20) RPG?
              The M20 rules are free to download, they can be printed out (or found at conventions) in the form of a small DIN-A5 booklet which not only serves as quick-start rules but contains the COMPLETE core rules for the game in less than 40 pages or so, most of which is spell lists anyway.

              They’re basically a condensed version of d20 3.5 rules. The core rules have only four classes (Fighter, Rogue, Mage, Cleric), four races (human, elf, dwarf, halfling), four skills (Physical, Subterfuge, Knowledge and Communication), a classic spell list, and no thousands of feats to confuse the roleplaying newbie. For those who find the core rules too minimalistic, there are upgrade rules available that introduce feats, additional skills, additional races, etc.

              Just google for “Microlite20 – The smallest thing in d20 gaming”
              or go to www[dot]microlite20[dot]net/

              From their homepage:
              “Microlite20 is a minimalist role-playing game designed to be usable with the majority of d20 supplements, rules and adventures with little or no advance preparation. The rules for character generation, combat, magic and level advancement take up a single sheet of paper, meaning it is perfect for introducing role-playing to new players, gaming one-shot adventures or tailoring into your own game system.
              Downloads: PDF editions of the rules, supplements, adventures, including pocketbook editions. These use the PocketMod folding technique to create miniature books of the rules, spell lists, monsters and more – true backpocket gaming!
              Core Rules : This is the real thing. Also available from the download section as a PDF.
              The Macropedi: Everything else. User-contributed House Rules, suggestions and expansions. Here you will find alternative magic systems, mass combat, and more.”

              • For the “don’t criticize it until you’re played it” crowd: I read the free promotional stuff the game designers of WotC put out prior to the actual publication of 4E, I read many online reviews (and watched videoblogs) with in-depth discussions about some of the changes, I have the first three 4E core rulebooks (PHB1, MM1, DMG1) as PDFs, and they all supported my early, instinctive reaction to 4E instead of dispelling my misgivings. The few things that I found that I liked, well they didn’t carry enough weight to counteract the rest, and I can always houserule them into my Pathfinder game if I want.

                Therefore I reserve my right to dislike what I’ve seen. I simply did not want to waste my time learning every 4E rule in detail by heart when I have other games to play and GM, thank you.

                I do not doubt that 4E does what it is supposed to do. It’s simply not the direction I want to go in.

                • Not so sure, Christina. What 4e was supposed to do was streamline the game and make it easier. I have found that while this may be true early on in the game, it swiftly goes the other way and gets even hairier than previous editions.

              • (Eh, that should be “Macropedia”, I accidentally deleted the “a” when I added the colon.)

          • Works the same in DDO…the rogue can disarm the traps, but the Cleric is the one who knows it’s there.

            • In DDO, a properly built rogue has no problem finding *and* disarming the traps. At least, that’s my experience.

          • The “builds” in 4e are meant as suggestions (mostly for people new to the game, in my opinion). You don’t have to follow them at all.

            Hating a system you’ve tried and don’t like is one thing. Hating something you have no experience with is silly.

            • I’m pretty sure I’d hate evisceration.

              Truthfully, I think 4e starts breaking down after 10th level. I love the idea of at-will/encounter powers, though I don’t care for dailies, but I think it should cap out at 5-6 different things per character. Maybe have the option of improving or swapping out an ability each level, and get a totally new ability slot every ten levels or so. (Spellcasters would have to work a little differently. Maybe they have a list that they can pick their abilities from every day, similarly to old fashioned picking spells.)

              For a while now I’ve been thinking that D&D has become more, not less, complex. Our well-equipped 17th level party fought one 18th level barbarian and a dozen 14th level gladiators. (with lowered hit points) The barbarian had some magic, the gladiators were point and shoot beat boys. Now by 17th level, you can assume that my players all know what they’re doing, and are at the very least competent at it. But this fight took four hours. That’s our whole evening. And probably 70% of that was spent bookkeeping and looking up powers.

              I’m making up a whole new rule set to play Gamma World with once the D&D game is done, based on flexibility and ease of use. I’m stealing from a lot of different systems to put it together, as well as some ideas I came up with myself. I’ll be sure to post the bones of it here when I get it done and you guys can have a look as well.

              • I think this just comes with wanting to have a better game. I have noticed with older games across all genres that they had 3 or 4 skills for every character and these could improve over time and level but generally once you got to level 10 or so you got to play with most of the skills. This made the game easy to understand and battles could be huge and awesome because the battle sequences flowd quickly. Now people want in-depth skill sets that change based on any number of factor combinations which makes for endless customization and awesomeness but if players and gm/dm are not super familiar can lead to hours of ‘research’. I played WarHammer 40k some 15 years ago and I remember spending 20 minutes figuring out how to attack and the consequences for a 5 second dice roll. Of course the anticipation only grew once I learned what I could do.

              • “I’m pretty sure I’d hate evisceration.”

                See, I have no problem with this statement, because it’s not an absolute statement – it’s a guess. Now, had you actually said “I hate being eviscerated”, well then, I would have to call you out and ask how can you know for certain if you’ve never actually been eviscerated?

                P.S. – It’s hard to talk with your tongue in your cheek.

              • You do not say how many characters are in your party, but 13 bad guys is a lot for a 4e encounter (at least double a “standard” encounter). So taking two or three times the length of an average encounter (1 1/2 hours – YMMV) sounds about right.

                I am surprised that a lot of time was spent looking up powers. Character Builder has the little power cards for each power which helps a lot in my experience. I do get annoyed when players look over their powers every turn deciding what to do. They should have some idea of what their character can do and plan ahead on other players turns so when it is their turn they can act more quickly.

                • No one was looking up powers in the book. We were looking up various rules questions and the players were trying to figure out how their powers would apply in the situations presented. Several players had “crossing fields” of powers where every time they took an action, three or four things would happen to different groups of enemies… and it was just as bad when the bad guys went, activating various reaction powers around the table.

                  I still enjoy my game, but at this point I think I may be enjoying it despite the rules rather than because of them. Thankfully I have a wonderful group of players who make it easy for me to love my game time.

              • What? Simplicity was the only reason I tolerated 4e. I assumed, “Well, I like 3.5e better but at least 4e is less complicated so I can see why others might like it and I’m fine with trying it too.” I knew the combats were the same or longer from other feedback I’ve heard, but I assumed having more rounds was the reason. Oh, and I reserve the right to hate things I haven’t tried on account of trying all of the 500 stupid things out there would be incredibly dumb. Reading comments by the game designers and existing players helps a lot in making a decision.

                Also, Martin’s actions are why DM to player note passing is great.

                Yeah, planning your turn in any system is a great idea. As is preprinting anything you plan to do. I’ve been trying 4e lately and was given printouts of power cards. I put jelly beans on all the encounter powers and dailies. I eat the bean after I use the power. This might be a factor in my enjoyment of 4e so far.

  2. Bunker needs a lot of space for certain pats of his anatomy, after all. 😛

    Also, i am currently wearing a geeklabel t-shirt with the inscription;

    Move Silently,
    Pick the Lock,
    Check for Traps,
    Die anyway.
    I love this game!


    That was just in the interest of full disclosure.

  3. Off topic: There’s a little comic I read, http://www.erfworld.com/ , and in that comic there’s a place called Gobwinknob(Gobwin=Goblin). The comic is full of cultural references and jokes.
    So, I’ve just come across the slang term Knob-Goblin(something derogatory it would seem), but can’t find the meaning so I could appreciate the joke that’s been staring me in the face all this time.
    Urban Dictionary lists several contrasting definitions, all of them containing penis(but that’s also the case for every damn word there).
    Anyone knows what it means? I’m just not that good about American slang.

  4. Morty failed the listen check due to his player stuffing his face with nachos. Happens all the time. Anyway, if Martin and Fleece are being played by the same guy – it would be something like “internal dialog” and no one would hear it anyway. That or it’s 2 players whispering off in the corner and passing notes to the DM.