Friday Five: 2011-04-08

Wow. There were tons of great posts this week, but to keep my sanity going, I’m just linking to and commenting on five of them this week. I’m really glad that I’ve expanded my horizons and added to my blog list of items that I follow. I know. I know. I still haven’t updated the blogroll for the site yet, but that’ll come in due time.

Avoiding the Early Out

Here I linked to this post about effectively ending combat early and within the confines of a role playing experience. It looks like this idea came back to bite Mike in the rear. He has some advice on how to improve on the idea and not show your cards to early in the fight.

Spell Levels Are Broken

I couldn’t agree more! Spell levels in (A)D&D have never made sense to me. I’ve always wondered why I had to be a 5th level wizard before I could cast a 3rd level spell. After playing for enough decades, I see the inherent balance in the system, but I’ve always wondered why the spells weren’t rated and arranged in the same system as character levels. This is probably the #1 question I’d ask Gygax and Arneson if they were still with us on the Prime Material Plane.

Quitting the Party Mid-Adventure

I’ve never dropped a character mid-adventure. I’ve had some die (or worse) and the party was unable to return the character back to normal. However, I do have a system for this. If a character dies and the party is unable to bring them back (or the player chooses to not bring them back) then the player can make a new character at the same level as the average party level, but their XP total stands at the minimum necessary to have the new character at that level. This will put the PC slightly behind the rest of the party, and in some rare cases one level lower. If a player decides to abandon a character whole cloth because they don’t like the character or the direction the campaign is going with respect to that character, then they can do so. However, their replacement character is one level lower than the rest of the party average and they start with the minimum XP necessary to be at that level. I hope this doesn’t sound too harsh to folks, but I’ve been doing this method for about a decade now and it’s really helped people create quality characters that will fit within the arc of the story (at least, as much of the story as they know) seamlessly. No one has grumbled or bitched too much about the lost XP due to death/retirement.

Hidden Hit Points?

Ahhhh!!!! I hate this idea. No. Wait. I hate this idea. Yeah. That’s more like it. A GM pulled this on me once (with warning) and the group went with it for a while, but I eventually revolted and left the game after the GM wouldn’t let us even know what our maximum HP were. He rolled the hit dice for us when we leveled. At first level, we received maximum HP, so we knew where we stood at that time. After that, it was a crap shoot. I hope I never get drunk enough at the table to start doing this to my players.

How Sleep Spells Turn Adventurers Into Sadists and Executioners

I love this post because it’s so true and to the heart of how adventurers think. I know that, as a player, I’ve been guilty hundreds of times over of heartlessly slitting the throats of magically (and a few mundanely) sleeping foes over the years. I really don’t flinch at it unless the GM goes the extra mile to describe how cute the [insert monster here] is snoring contentedly and twitching its fingers while it dreams in its slumber. I’ve only had GMs do that when they had a purpose to doing so, and in those times… well… I still slit their throats (and felt a little guilty about it) because I wasn’t about to drag them through the dungeon with me and I sure as hell wasn’t about to leave an enemy at my back.