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Little Things That Ruin a Game – Ep201

Little Things
Sometimes there are cases when a GM gets blindsided by a minor power or rule that, on the surface, is innocuous but in the hands of trained professionals (read the players) they can break the game.

Cast – Brandi, Jayson, Shawn, Eric, Shannon, Dan, Mike and Brandon

Items Mentioned: Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder, Mutants & Masterminds, HERO System, Shadowrun

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  1. Scott Walker
    Scott Walker February 17, 2015

    What I would have done in the situation where the players were using Destroy Water to dry out their boots is say “Ok, you now have a pair of completely desiccated boots and they fall apart as you try to put them back on. You thought you were miserable in wet boots…well, now you are walking around in a swamp in bare feet. Have fun smart guy.;)

    • this_is_Dan
      this_is_Dan February 18, 2015

      I like the way you think, missed opportunity for me lol.

      Thank you much for listening!

  2. Tom
    Tom February 19, 2015

    I think a lot the spells/powers who nullify fear, disease, famine, intrigue etc.
    are there because D&D is written for a playstyle in which those topics should not
    be a problem for the player. You slay monsters dont deal with deseases.
    Other games are written to play with those topics. Warhammer Fantasy or Cthulhu
    come to mind. The rules for those games support a different playstyle and when
    you try to play D&D with them they would also break down.

    • Gamerstable
      Gamerstable February 20, 2015

      That is an excellent point Tom. WFRP and CoC definitely have a mood, but should GMs be hamstrung by the games that they are playing? That was the point that was made at the table. Those two games, that rely on a specific mood the setting requires, are also low-magic.

  3. JamesA
    JamesA February 23, 2015

    The destroy water scenario was an interesting one, but I would have nixed it really quick. While there is Rules As Written, there is also the spirit of the rule/spell… etc.. that must be considered. It would destroy the water that is within the container itself, not the water that is within objects within the container. If you put a closed container within an open container, it couldn’t destroy the water within the closed container, as this specifically runs against the spell’s description. The watered down boots are just glorified containers, and as containers they water within them are not “open”, but in fact trapped within the structure of the boot.

    As for the Shield Other spell, it isn’t as powerful as you guys were making it out to be. There are clear limits to the spell. The caster must remain within 25 ft + 5 ft per two levels, at all times, or the spell ends. Also while the damage is halved, it isn’t halved and goes no where…. the cleric is now taking that damage. So a fireball capturing both the cleric and the warrior… would really suck for the cleric… as they are taking ALL the damage from their end of the fireball and then half of the warrior’s.

    That spell could easily get clerics killed. I would also rule that the damage taken by the cleric through this spell does not retain the same damage type. So damage reduction would not be helping the cleric avoid this damage.

    • JamesA
      JamesA February 23, 2015

      On my point of the damage type not being retained, is “As Written”, since the spell does not specifically state that the damage type is retained. The source of the damage is now the Shield Other spell, and not the fireball or the slashing blade, etc….

      Overall I believe the point is that it sucks that GMs must combat these kinds of tactics by players with the same approach. This issue is not new to gaming. Spell interpretation goes way back to 1st edition DnD, and was far worse back then in my opinion. Spell descriptions were lacking a clear language, as they have in modern gaming systems. Spells are more codified.

      • Gamerstable
        Gamerstable February 24, 2015

        All excellent points James.

        In a game with players who milk any advantage they can, it is an overwhelming task for a GM to be “up” on all the rules. If they aren’t, there is the inevitable “that’s not how we’ve always done it” you get when something gets corrected.

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