Monthly Archives: December 2016

Seven Sinful Feats of Sloth, No. 5

Having covered gluttony, lust, pride, and wrath, I’ve begun doing Sinful Feats of Sloth. When I get to 7, they’ll become the manuscript for a Bullet Points product, but you get them for free here first!

Slow Pace [Sinful]

You’d much rather take some extra time when doing something at a nice relaxed pace than risk having to redo any work. Work sucks.

Prerequisites: Slothful, Cha 13.

Benefit: If you take twice as long to perform a task you may take 10 on, and you take 10, you gain a +1 bonus to your total result. If you take twice as long to perform a task you may take 20 on, and you take 20, you gain a +2 bonus to your total result.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I have a Patreon to help raise funds so I can produce even more material! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

Seven Sinful Feats of Sloth, No. 4

Having covered gluttony, lust, pride, and wrath, I’ve begun doing Sinful Feats of Sloth. When I get to 7, they’ll become the manuscript for a Bullet Points product, but you get them for free here first!

Can’t Be Bothered [Sinful]

You barely have the drive to do the things YOU want to do. You certainly aren’t doing things OTHER people try to force you to do.

Prerequisites: Slothful, Cha 13.

Benefit: As a swift or immediate action, you decide to take no actions. You can do this even if some effect or condition would normally force you to take action or would prevent you from making this decision. Once you choose to be inactive you take no actions for a set duration. When you become inactive, you decide if this duration is 1d4 rounds, 1d4 minutes, or 1d4 hours. Once made this choice cannot be changed unless someone successfully make a Diplomacy check against you (taking the normal time to ask a favor) with a DC equal to 15 + your HD x 1.5 + your total Will saving throw bonus.

If some condition is controlling or limited your actions when you choose to become inactive, and that same force is still controlling or limiting your actions when the duration of your inactivity ends, you cannot choose to be inactive again for 24 hours.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I have a Patreon to help raise funds so I can produce even more material! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

Seven Sinful Feats of Sloth, No. 3

Having covered gluttony, lust, pride, and wrath, I’ve begun doing Sinful Feats of Sloth. When I get to 7, they’ll become the manuscript for a Bullet Points product, but you get them for free here first!

Lazy Load [Sinful]

If you have to have it, you’d rather bring it with you in one trip than make the effort to go back for it .

Prerequisites: Slothful, Str 11, Cha 13.

Benefit: Double your maximum carrying capacity. However, one you enter medium encumbrance by weight, you suffer a +2 max Dex and -4 check penalty rather than the normal medium encumbrance penalties (even if you do not normally suffer penalties for medium encumbrance). If you enter heavy encumbrance, you suffer a +0 max Dex and -7 check penalty rather than the normal heavy encumbrance penalties (even if you do not normally suffer penalties for medium encumbrance). You speed is modified by encumbrance normally.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I have a Patreon to help raise funds so I can produce even more material! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

Metagames and Ethics

A lot of people define the concept of the “metagame” differently, but the definition I run into most often is pretty close to “actions taken outside of normal defined gameplay that are driven by or the result of game rules, but not defined by those rules.”

So if you are deciding what cards to put in your CCG deck? Metagame. Sure which cards you CAN put in a deck are covered by rules, by actually choosing them and adding them to your deck is not defined, and you do that before you start playing the game itself with someone.

Choosing a feat to pick when you gain a character level and update between sessions? Metagame. Making props for your larp session? Metagame. Buying themed dice so your fireball looks cool because you have ten red-and-gold d6s? Still metagame.

But the definition I see most often can also cover actions that occur during the game. “Outside normal gameplay” doesn’t limit you to actions before or after the game, as long as they aren’t things controlled or referenced by game rules. And this can have expectation clashes. I have never had anyone get morally upset if I bluff in poker, but I’d expect everyone to be pissed if I used loaded dice in an rpg. But what is and isn’t acceptable isn’t always universally clear to players.

For example:

In the 1990s I played a game with some boardgame enthusiast friends that features a Bell, Book, and Candle (it was not Betrayal at House on the Hill, but I don’t recall the name). EDIT: It MAY have been Castle of Magic, though I am not certain of this.

It was the first time playing the game for all of us. Each player has a goal card, which outlines your victory conditions. You could have the candle lit or unlit, the bell rung or unrung, the book open or closed, and some other specific things could factor into it (are you out of cards, in anyone in their starting space on the board, and so on). If the exact combination of things your victory card says occurred, you won. Now many of these elements you had to just wait for, but everyone had some control over the bell, book, and candle. That meant if you moved for the book to be open, someone else could decide that meant having it open was on your victory card, and move to close it. Of course if they ALSO needed it open…

So obviously a big part of the game was figuring out other people’s victory conditions, while simultaneously concealing your own. Hoard resources to make a big state change when it’s close enough to your victory condition that no one can stop you, or make changes apparently at a whim so no one thinks you are moving toward your actual condition.

Since it was friends playing, we often wheedled each other about making or not making changes, which was part of trying to guess others’ victory condition while concealing our own.

Then when we took a break a friend took me aside, and suggested we team up. He had, he claimed, guessed my needed bell book and candle states, and he needed the same. He suggested a specific order we work together to fix those, and then whichever one of us managed to get out other needed conditions met first would win.

I like cooperative games, and it seemed reasonable, so I agreed.

So we worked together to fix the bell in one state. Then we fixed the book in another.
And then he won because the candle was already where he needed it. He didn’t need the same states I did. He lied, to convince me to help, and got me to agree to do things in a specific order so he’d win before I could.

Now, he and I talked it out, and came to understand where we were coming from. To him, this was all part of the metagame of what we were playing. No different from Diplomacy, or bluffing in poker. Lying was part of his game strategy, and only acceptable because we were playing a game that highlighted deception. To me, it was not something the game explicitly called out, and thus a lie is a lie is a lie. (Though, confession time, part of my social anxiety includes preferring a rigid adherence to rules, because that makes it easier for me to understand how I am supposed to react in a group, and when I don’t I sometimes panic.)

I took this as an example of a place where expectation conflict caused an otherwise fun game experience to end on a sour note, and have tried hard to remember what we appear to be encouraging players to do in game material I have written, developed, or consulted on ever since.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I have a Patreon to help raise funds so I can produce even more material! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

Seven Sinful Feats of Sloth, No. 2

Having covered gluttony, lust, pride, and wrath, I’ve begun doing Sinful Feats of Sloth. When I get to 7, they’ll become the manuscript for a Bullet Points product, but you get them for free here first!

Like a Log [Sinful]

Your rest is not easily interrupted.

Prerequisites: Slothful, Cha 13.

Benefit: When you are asleep or unconscious, and unable to take actions, you gain a +4 circumstance bonus to AC and all saving throws. If you are able to take actions (such as when operating in a dreamscape), these bonuses do not apply.

Additionally if you are awoken while resting you may choose to take the penalties for being fatigued. If you do so, you may count up to an hour of being aware as being asleep for purposes of preparing spells and regaining daily abilities.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? I have a Patreon to help raise funds so I can produce even more material! Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

Game Goals and Player Objectives

I remember the first time I realized I was playing a game where all the players had different objectives. I was between 5 and 8 years old. The game was Pay Day, a boardgame (and a pretty good one) my father had bought because it actually taught some microeconomics.

I enjoyed the game a lot. My family often played it together. Often, we would play it in a weekend, and get to some other event if we “had time.”

At one point while playing, I saw my sister was playing badly. Really, REALLY badly. She was actively doing the things most likely to cause her to lose. She was, in essence, throwing the game.

My father was playing badly, though not as badly as my sister, and doing all sorts of odd things that seemed pointless and often resulted in disadvantages for him.
My mother was playing badly, mostly because she wasn’t paying attention.

Unsurprisingly with all that going on, I was winning.

Now my family were all pretty smart folks, so I was baffled for a turn or two. Then, it dawned on me.

My sister didn’t want to play the boardgame at all. She wanted to go to the mall. So she was making sure that she’d be as far behind in the game as possible to ensure she didn’t accidentally extend it by having a score close to the winner, causing us to carefully count everything twice.

My father didn’t care about winning. He was a professor of economics, and was curious how the game would handle corner-case economic theory. Since it was a game the answer was often “not well,” and discovering that was more fun for him than beating his under-teen children or wife at a boardgame.

My mother had food in the oven, and was making sure my sister and I weren’t too bored. She didn’t care if she won, she just wanted everyone else to have a good time.

Only I was playing with the objective of winning.

It would be some years before I ran into a game where the point was for the players to all have different objectives, but it taught me a lot about play styles, game balance, and objectives.

After that, it was much more common for me to play the game with just my father, which suited my mother and sister just fine, though sometimes they were in a mood to play and those games were better than when it was a formal all-family activity.

Seven Sinful Feats of Sloth, No. 1

So, I actually wrote and released seven sinful feats of wrath, which will become the first new Bullet Point pdf I’ve done in a long time, likely sometime in January.

So I think I’ll do more… and while it would be funny to do Sloth last, I actually had an idea I liked and ran with. So since I’ve DONE this now, it seems more in keeping with the sloth theme to post it now, rather than do more work just so save sloth for later.

Slothful (Sinful)

You love sleep and inactivity, and can’t be kept from it.

Prerequisite: Cha 13.

Benefit: You can fall asleep at will, even if in a condition or affected by an effect that would normally prevent you from sleeping. If you use this ability, you sleep for 12 hours unless awoken by outside stimulus. You take a -30 penalty to Perception checks when sleeping (rather than the normal -20).

If you successfully sleep for 12 hours without interruption, for three hours after you awaken the gratification you received grants you a +1 morale bonus to one of the following (selected at the time you awaken):  ability and skill checks tied to Constitution, Intelligence, or Wisdom (your choice); caster level; or weapon damage. You can only have one bonus from Slothful in effect at a time, and if you use the ability again before an old bonus fades, the original bonus immediately ends. Up to three times in the 12 hours after your bonus ends you wish to renew it, you may do so by getting 1 hour of uninterrupted sleep. This renews the bonus for 2 hours the first time you do it, 1 hour the second time, and 10 minutes the third time.

Additionally, on any round when a mind-affecting effect would cause you to take an action you do not wish to take, you may choose to instead do nothing for 1 round. If outside of combat, you may choose to sleep for 12 hours, even if a mind-affecting effect would prevent you from doing so.

The Sinful Feat Type

While sinful feats are not restricted to evil characters (you don’t have to be entirely without sin in order to be a good person), and using them is not an inherently evil act (like most abilities, how you use such feats determines if the act is evil) they do draw on the power of sin itself. As a result characters who gain power in part from having a good alignment (such as paladins, who must remain lawful good) cannot gain or use sinful feats. If such a character loses his alignment and the power that comes with it as a result of an act tied to one of the seven deadly sins (avarice, envy, gluttony, lust, pride, sloth, and wrath) the GM may choose to allow the character to swap out any feats relating to the lost power for sinful feats linked to the appropriate sin.

For example, Balantrodoch is a paladin with the Extra Mercy feat. Having fought a massive battle to save his home temple from rampaging kobolds, he is tired, but not out of spells and daily abilities. When villagers comes asking the paladin exert himself just one more time to protect their village which is under attack, Balantrodoch decides he’ll rest a night first, and set out refreshed in the morning. When the village is destroyed overnight by drakes driven into a frenzy by the last surviving kobolds, Balantrodoch loses his paladin abilities for this evil act. The GM allows him to trade in Extra Mercy for a Sinful feat focused on sloth.

 

Seven Sinful Feats of Wrath, No. 7

Well, I have now written (and given away for free) an entire Bullet Points pdf worth of Sinful Feats of Wrath. I explain why, and what sinful feats are, here with some of the other feats.

It’ll be interesting to see if this impacts sales of the pdf, or not. 🙂

Too Mad to Care
Your anger fills your mind until there’s room for nothing else.
Prerequisites: Wrathful, Cha 13.
Benefit: When you are in a fury (from the Wrathful feat), rage, or bloodrage, you can choose to be immune to the effects of emotion and fear spells and effects. The effect still applies to you, and if your fury, rage, or bloodrage ends before the emotion or fear effect, it applies its effects normally. If you choose to apply this immunity, you also do not benefit from morale effects. You must make the chose to be immune or not as a free action at the beginning of your turn, even if under the effect of an ability or condition that would normally prevent you from acting on your turn. The immunity then lasts until you deactivate it, or your fury, rage, or bloodrage ends.
(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)

100 Questions: 51-60 Player Character Context

These questions are designed not to lead anyone to the “one true path to roleplaying,” nor even to find and excise undesirables. Instead, they are tools of conversation. Hopefully they’ll help members of an RPG group discuss some philosophy, some game theory, and some silly shit.

These are best handled in person, while feeling casual, likely with beer and pizza (or the age & culturally appropriate equivalent).

51-60 Player Character Context

Characters are often described in terms of appearance, or role in the group, or background. And that’s all good! But fictional characters are in a way a form of personal art, and art can sometimes use some less literal descriptions and less direct context.

  1. If your character was going to be played by an actor/actress in a good live-action movie, who would that be? What if it was a television show? What if it was a terrible, cheesy movie?
  1. If you character had a representative icon that was a single object and a single colored border, what would that object and border be?
  1. If your character had a theme song or soundtrack, what would it be?
  1. What did your character want to be when growing up, other than what the character is now? Why didn’t that happen?
  1. Where does your character feel safest? Why do they ever leave that place?
  1. What is your character’s favorite food, flavor combination, or scent? What is their least favorite? If they don’t eat or smell, pick one sense they do have and describe their favorite artistic sensation for that sense.
  1. What does your character wear to formal events, or would if forced to if they’ve never been to one?
  1. What is one vice your character is tempted by but doesn’t indulge in? What is one vice they find distasteful?
  1. What would be the perfect pet for your character, or object that fills a pet-like role? What is the worst possible pet?
  1. What would have to happen for your character to stop engaging in the primary activity the campaign is assumed to be based around? (Why would they stop adventuring for a typical d20 fantasy rpg? Why would they stop struggling to survive in zombie survival horror? Why would they hang up the mask and cape for a superhero game?)

This post was Sponsored By: That Boomer Kid!
Want even MORE things that make you think about your character differently? From Pathfinder RPG game material to memes and designer notes, go check out That Boomer Kid! With rules and concepts that are part of a complete breakfast!

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! You could even become a sponsor yourself!)

Seven Sinful Feats of Wrath, No. 6

Still doing Sinful Feats of Wrath. I explain why, and what sinful feats are, here with some of the other feats.

Towering Rage (Sinful)
Your rage makes you stronger and tougher.
Prerequisite: Wrathful, any 2 other feats with Wrathful as a prerequisite, Cha 13
Benefit: Once per day you can rage as a barbarian for 1 round, +1 round for every 6 full hit dice you have. You must use your full duration, and suffer the normal effects for your rage ending. If you are normally immune to being fatigued, you suffer the same penalties as being fatigued for this duration instead.

If you already have rage or a similar ability (such as bloodrage), you can only use this feat while already raging, and your bonuses to Strength and Constitution increase by +2. You must use rounds of your normal rage equal to the duration of this feat, cannot use this feat if you don’t have at least that many rounds of rage left, and must end your normal rage when the benefits of this feat end.

(Do you enjoy the content on this blog? Why not become a patron, and support the creation of more free material! Or you could even become a sponsor, and get me to link to YOUR content!)