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The two handed sword

 
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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:00 am    Post subject: The two handed sword Reply with quote

The partys main fighter uses a two handed sword. I allowed the specialization rule so the ranger doubled up in the bow and the fighter did it with his two handed sword. Not double specialized for the sword but two slots to make single specialization. For the ranger i allowed the plus to hit "point blank" but did not allow double damage.

Things are alot different when you are the dm. When i was a player i loved the 2 hander. Now i see it detracting from the balance of the game. Last session i always made the fighter go last in melee cuz of the weapon speed of the sword. This did little do bring the balance back. Especially against large monsters.


What do you more experienced dms do with this weapon? Do you guiys use double damage from point blank range with a bow? Any and all discussion will be greatly appreciated.
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry, but I'm not sure what edition of the rules you are using. This sounds like 2nd, but I want to be clear.

My best, generic, advice is to remember that you should allow monstrous humanoids (goblinoids, orcs, even giants, etc.) to use those rules too. This will help balance anything you allow your PCs to do.

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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mostly 1e with the arcana specialization. using some of the 2e material.

I plan on giving all human fighters of at least 1 level they encounter to have weapon specialization. I used it in the tower and it helped a bit. Their druid is another problem. That fairie fire and heat metal are two extremely useful spells. Insect swarm is another troublesome spell.

In the tower i had the archers fire at the druid and that made him lose a couple spells. He was mad and thought it unfair. The whole process has been a learn as you go experience. This is my first time dming and i am already finding things i would do differently at the start. IE. not giving the druid the spell bonus for his wisdom. Not allowing specialization.

We have had two weekends of gaming and all things considered i think it has been ok. As i see it the two biggest problems are the druid spells and the 2 handed sword. I think i can handle the spells with missile fire and wandering monsters but i am still thinking on ways to handle the sword.

i appreciate your responding Xaris but honestly i am not sure about giving all the humanoids specialization. I am afraid it will make it unbalanced the other way. Have you done this in your campaign?
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that we all have learning curves as DMs, even as veterans such as myself. I've been playing this game since the 1980s, first as a player, and then later as a DM. I am constantly learning, so don't think you are alone in this endeavor. Anyone who tells you that they 'know it all' is full of themselves.

Here are my suggestions, and I am an avid 2e player with some 1e influences.

Use speed factors for all weapons. That two-hander is gonna lose init more often than not, and your fighter may have to start parrying instead of striking if he wants to survive certain encounters. I modify intitiatve based on BOTH Strength AND Dexterity, as well as magical bonuses to weapons and even weapon specialization, but that two-hander sword is still an ungainly, cumbersome, and heavy weapon to brandish.

Also, there will be times when using that massive weapon will be nigh impossible given spatial limitations, like confined areas. To use such a weapon effectively requires space, and a lot of it. Narrow corridors, thick brush, and the like, or even crowded combat will hinder the usefulness of that weapon, or make it impossible to employ.

What if that weapon is lost or destroyed (crit fumble and a failed saving throw would do it)? How readily available is such a weapon in your campaigns?

Trust me, nothing is perfect. True, that blade may dish out the damage, but it is slow to use and not always the best weapon in every combat. What about when the enemy is using guerilla tactics, firing from afar? That sword is as good as nothing.

As for the druid, I personally encourage you to use bonus spells for high Wisdom scores, in much the same manner that I allows mages to benefit from high Intelligence scores. The balance problem is less from the power of spells by their number, but a spell-caster still needs to rest and pray/study after their use. Are you using that rule?

Also...I highly suggest that you use spell components, if you are not already. I initially, as a novice DM, didn't, and I regret that choice. I see material components as a good balancing mechanism, especially for the abuse of some spells. If the druid doesn't have the component handy, the spell cannot be used. And even if they are present, they must be recorded and ticked off one by one after each usage. Also, some components can spoil, especially those of an organic nature. Finally, what about where do you have all those components on your person? I have my player tell me what he is carrying, in what pouch, and keep diligent track of placement, number, and encumbrance, if needed. It sounds daunting, and at first, maybe it will be...but it 'restores the balance,' to quote the druid himself... Wink

-Lanthorn
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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject: excellent Reply with quote

thanks Lanthorn. Like you I started out playing in the 80s which culminated in 1988 when we destroyed Lolth. It was my first year university and that was the last time i played the game until last year. This winter has been my first dming.

You gave some excellent suggestions. I had meant to use speed of every weapon but once we started playing i got caught up in it and didn't think of it until later and then decided not to go that route. I will definately use it next session.

The figure representing the fighter has a small base. I am gonna cut out a to scale base for all the figures representing space required for each of their weapons. That will help i think.

Like weapon speed i forgot to include the parry last time. Another must include for next session. I am not so sure it will matter. The pc is more of a toe to toe fighter type but i got plans. A dead dead killing stroke will change that attitude. Nothing like losing hit points from a falling constitution to make a player more cautious. To mean?

This guy is the son of the two handed weapons maker from Verbobonc so he will get another sword without to much trouble. I haven't been using critical rolls other than 1 is a miss and 20 is a hit.

Good call on the druid. Spell components are a must although most druid spells require mistletoe only. I read somewhere in the dm guide that mistletoe is a given for druids to have and not run out of. Still taking it into account will definately change the flavor of the game.

Another thing that i should have been doing but wasn't was stating what was gonna happen before initiative was rolled. Another aspect i am gonna introduce next session. Everyone says what they are gonna do and then initiative. This should change things as well.
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Argon
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcneilk,

The game is something that the DM and the PC's are meant to enjoy. Lanthorn has provided you with some useful advise. Sir Xaris advice was also good. Because Sir Xaris was basically saying whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

In other words if it's available to the PC's then it should be available to the Npc's.

Later

Argon
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SirXaris
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Argon wrote:
... Sir Xaris was basically saying whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

In other words if it's available to the PC's then it should be available to the Npc's.


Yep.

Lanthorn gave you some very good specific examples, like employing Weapon Speed Factors. I especially like his suggestion to allow a PC's Strength bonus to effect his initiative just like his Dexterity bonus does. It makes since that, though a Fighter can use a two-handed sword whether he is weak or strong, the stronger Fighter will be able to wield that weapon more quickly and, therefore, effectively than the weak fighter.

I suggest that you consider giving some of the bad guy leaders class levels to make them tougher instead of just increasing their hit dice. For example, the goblin chief could have a couple levels of Rogue (Thief) instead of simply being given +2 Hit Dice or the Minotaur can have a few levels of Barbarian (Fighter). That makes it easier to justify giving those special bad guys some of the same special abilities the PCs enjoy, like Weapon Specialization.

Better yet, just play the monsters like they were your own character. In other words, play them intelligently (at least as intelligently as their Intelligence score warrants). When the PCs invade their stronghold, have the first one that isn't instantly silenced shout an alarm. Then, have the entire complex mobilize to assault the PCs from every direction. Wouldn't the PCs expect their own forces to do that very thing if they owned a castle that was invaded by enemies? The main reason my own players keep getting their PCs killed in our current campaign is because they refuse to run away when they know the entire tribe of humanoids has begun to mobilize to defend their cavern homes against them. This is deadly to PCs who aren't willing to make hit and run attacks against their opponents.

Have humanoid leaders order their underlings to dogpile PC warriors or rush past them to attack the spellcasters in the back row. Have them try to draw the PCs out of 10 foot hallways and into large rooms where they can be surrounded. Have the bad guys build baracades in 10 foot hallways and man them with a couple rows of pikes. Have them pepper the PCs with crossbows from behind those baracades. Have kobolds throw their javelins at PCs from high in the trees. Have them set traps galore and retreat frequently to draw the PCs into chasing them and falling for the traps. Set up ambushes and have the PCs' foes use missile weapons as long as possible before engaging in hand-to-hand combat.

Play the monsters as if they were your own PCs and you wanted them to win the battle. Then, remember to temper your enthusiasm enough not to play unfairly and ruin the fun for your players. Wink

SirXaris
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:57 pm    Post subject: Re: The two handed sword Reply with quote

mcneilk wrote:
The party's main fighter uses a two handed sword. I allowed the specialization rule so the ranger doubled up in the bow and the fighter did it with his two handed sword. Not double specialized for the sword but two slots to make single specialization. For the ranger i allowed the plus to hit "point blank" but did not allow double damage.

You should very much allow the bow's double damage at point blank range, as the weapon becomes useless as soon as the character gets into close combat. The character will usually only have one round to even make use of this point blank damage benefit, as to even get that bonus the enemy will already be in charge range of the archer. Compare that to close combat weapon specialization where the bonuses carry over continuously from round to round. Bows are already hampered by dungeon environment where their range is not a notable strength at all, so to hamper them further by taking what little benefit they could have just sends players the message that the already handicapped bow is not even worthwhile when a character specializes in its use.

mcneilk wrote:
Things are alot different when you are the dm. When i was a player i loved the 2 hander. Now i see it detracting from the balance of the game. Last session i always made the fighter go last in melee cuz of the weapon speed of the sword. This did little do bring the balance back. Especially against large monsters.

What do you more experienced dms do with this weapon?

Other than using weapon speed factors and weapon vs. armor modifiers, the two-handed sword needs no modification. Sure, it is devastating, but the user is giving up a shield bonus. At early levels, that shield bonus is usually one point of armor, which doesn't seem like much. However, as levels go up, characters are getting hold of magic shields, and that bonus being given up gets bigger and bigger. And the monsters are hitting much more easily then too. The net result is that that two handed sword-wielding fighter is going to often get attacked first, and is going to get hit more often, as they go up in levels. And without a magic shield, they aren't getting that magic shield save bonus vs. certain attack forms either, and as levels go up that gets more and more important too. Hmmm. That magic shield and one-handed weapon are looking better and better as the levels go up. That combination of factors is why few characters in our campaigns ever used a two handed weapon, let alone specialized in the use of one (but a few did). Don't worry. Things will even out soon enough for your two-handed sword wielding brute. Evil Grin

mcneilk wrote:
Do you guys use double damage from point blank range with a bow? Any and all discussion will be greatly appreciated.

We very much used the double damage. It never, ever imbalanced anything, seeing as the archers were fairly quickly locked up in close combat where those bonuses were negated. I recommend giving such characters a chance to actually do something with the abilities they have purchased before they lose the opportunity to do so.
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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:58 am    Post subject: KCCO Reply with quote

many thanks to all who responded. I will take your advice to heart about everything including the double damage bow. When i start to stress about the big damage from the 2 handed sword i will just keep calm and DM on.

Thanks for moving this thread to 1e.
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 10:18 am    Post subject: Re: excellent Reply with quote

mcneilk wrote:
thanks Lanthorn. Like you I started out playing in the 80s which culminated in 1988 when we destroyed Lolth. It was my first year university and that was the last time i played the game until last year. This winter has been my first dming.

Good call on the druid. Spell components are a must although most druid spells require mistletoe only. I read somewhere in the dm guide that mistletoe is a given for druids to have and not run out of. Still taking it into account will definately change the flavor of the game.


McNeilk, you are surely welcome. It is nice to have fellows around hailing from the 80s...I am an anachronist at heart it seems. Maybe that is why I have doggedly clung to 2e in spite of the newer editions that have followed.

At any rate, I would not rule that mistletoe is a 'given' per se. Druids have to personally collect the mistletoe themselves via ceremonial observances (I believe at the height of the full moon too) or they suffer negative effects with respect to spell-casting (reduced durations, areas of effect, and the like). I can find that table for you, if you are interested. Mistletoe is the main material component for druids, serving as their equivalent of a holy symbol. Realize that it can be ruined, destroyed, and the like, and must be replaced. If you have access to Tome of Magic and Spells and Magic, you can allow your druid to "Create Holy Symbol" (as per 2nd lvl cleric spell...Creation sphere...but I've personally added it to the All sphere myself) to replace lost mistletoe.

Furthermore, realize that other druidic spells require more than merely the holy symbol (mistletoe) to enact. Faerie Fire for example needs foxfire. Summon Insects needs a flower petal and mud or wet clay in addition to the mistletoe...the list goes on and on.

Finally, if you have access to it, your druid would VERY MUCH benefit from getting the 2e Complete Book of Druids! Wink They've got kits in there, more description about role-playing AND DMing druids, and extra spells, too. It is one of my favorite "Complete" books.

-Lanthorn
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would echo all the "big C" noted and to further add (As also debated elsewhere on this site) All things do balance out.
Just as the Magic-user is woefully under-powered in the beginning... those that survive are feared in the end. It is the mix of "un-balance" that makes the party balanced. You as the DM must design your encounters to the strengths and weaknesses of all your PCs... and even more importantly to the strengths and weakness of your players... It is the best way to get your ENTIRE group engaged.. when each can have the opportunity to be the "Hero".
Remember to to give the "bad guys" a break too.... those that should be calculating and sneaky.... make them so.... usually brute force is not the ultimate key to success.
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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

again thanks to everyone responding. Lanthorn i would very much appreciate the tables of reduced spell because of bad mistletoe. I know the person playing the druid did mention he wanted to gather his mistletoe and i just waved it off.
I never realized how much work it was to dm. Crazy. Mostly alot of work because i really want it to be a good experience for the players.
With the resurgence of my interest in D&D i have been frequenting used book stores in search of anything relating to the game. I stumbled upon some old best of dragon magazines that are great. More on that later but i also found a book called Years of Adventure-a celebration of Dungeons and Dragons in another store. Its a good read.

The oldest best of Dragon is from 1980. From the Strategic Review and The Dragon Vols I & II. I also found best of vol II from 1981 and Vol IV. These are some great books with lots of pertinent facts and figures. In the pile was a book called Glossography-For the guide to the World Of Greyhawk fantasy setting. Written by gary gygax but compile by Pluffet Smedger, the elder of the royal university at Relmord. CY998.

All that and a city module from forgotten realms called waterdeep and the north for 17 dollars. Awsome eh?
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Dark_Lord_Galen
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcneilk wrote:

I never realized how much work it was to dm. Crazy. Mostly alot of work because i really want it to be a good experience for the players.

All that and a city module from forgotten realms called waterdeep and the north for 17 dollars. Awsome eh?

Good DMing is alot of work.. but have found nothing to replace t he unique satisfaction of the screams, wails, groans, and PC victory Dances at the occasional 20......
Seriously, some of the keys to success are:
1>be creative
2>be unpredictable
3>be a good record keeper
4>be reminded... its supposed to be fun

And Good DMs are like precious gems.... they are a rare find.

$17 bucks is an "awesome" deal... here is another.....
http://www.canonfire.com/cfhtml/modules.php?name=Forums&file=posting

DLG
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Page 37 of 2e PHB states the following:

"Mistletoe is an important holy symbol to druids and it is a necessary part of some spells (those requiring a holy symbol). To be fully effective, the mistletoe must be gathered by the light of the full moon using a golden or silver sickle specially made for the purpose. Mistletoe gathered by other means halves the effectiveness of a given spell, it it causes damage or has an area of effect, and grants the target a +2 bonus to his saving throw if a saving throw is appicable."

Page 122 of The Complete Book of Druids states the following:

"Druids use mistletoe as their religious symbol when casting spells, though holly and oak leaves both hold lesser mystic power for them as well.

All druidic spells with a material component assume the caster uses the greater mistletoe. Druids seek the mistletoe themselves on Midsummer's Eve (by the way, it is a FULL moon at this time, so were-beasts are out in force), cut it with a gold or silver sickle, and catch the cuttings in a golden bowl before they touch the ground. Lesser mistletoe results when druids harvest the plant themselves in any other fashion. Borrowed mistletoe is any mistletoe not cut personally by the druid casting the spell.

If a druid does not use greater mistletoe, the effectiveness of the character's spell is reduced as follows:

-Lesser mistletoe: 75% duration or +1 bonus to saving throw
-Borrowed mistletoe: 75% range (or +1 bonus) and 50% duration
-Holly: 75% range (or +1 bonus), 50% duration (or +2 bonus), and 75% area of effect (or +1 bonus)
-Oak leaves: 50% range (or +2 bonus), 50% duration (or +2 save), and 50% area of effect (9r +2 bonus)"

There ya have it! If you permit druids to "Create Holy Symbol" (2nd lvl priest spell under Creation sphere, but as a 'house rule' I have added it to the All sphere), you will have to decide which component is brought forth. Probably 'lesser mistletoe' is a good bet.

-Lanthorn of the Wilderness
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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and the druid problem is solved

should have had this info prior to last marathon session. They gained lots of experience in those 22 hours. FF makes more sense at +1. This solves the two hander too. Not as many hits.

nice.

many thanks lanthorn of the wilderness
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Lanthorn
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcneilk wrote:
and the druid problem is solved


Happy Glad to be of service.

mcneilk wrote:
should have had this info prior to last marathon session. They gained lots of experience in those 22 hours. FF makes more sense at +1. This solves the two hander too. Not as many hits.


Better late than never, my friend. If I had a copperpence for every time I wish I had information prior to determining a gaming result...


mcneilk wrote:
many thanks lanthorn of the wilderness


Anything for a fellow player of the 80s...and a 1e/2e fellow to boot! Wink

-Your Friendly Neighborhood Lanthorn
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Jacqual
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2013 10:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't forget that the 2 handed sword is not able to be double specialized as per the limits in unearthed arcana 1st edition.
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mcneilk
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2013 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yes the two handed sword cannot be double specialized in and it takes two proficiency slots to get the single specialization.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SirXaris wrote:
I'm not sure what edition of the rules you are using. This sounds like 2nd . . .


Holy Mackerel! In the 1st Edition forum? Confused

Lanthorn wrote:
Page 37 of 2e PHB states the following . . . Page 122 of The Complete Book of Druids states the following . . .


Holy Mackerel! In the 1st Edition forum? Surprised

mcneilk wrote:
and the druid problem is solved . . .


HOLY MACKEREL! Solved by 2nd Edition rules stated in the 1st Edition forum!? Shocked

It's just too funny! Laughing Laughing Laughing

You guys crack me up. I need to check out these other forums more often . . . I'm always in the search for . . . a good laugh! Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Cebrion
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed. The "druid problem" is solved by looking at the 1E Players Handbook, page 54, left hand column, under the heading "Notes Regarding Druid (Cleric) Spells:". Never hurts to get ideas from other editions though. Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2013 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cebrion wrote:
The "druid problem" is solved by looking at the 1E Players Handbook, page 54, left hand column, under the heading "Notes Regarding Druid (Cleric) Spells:".


See? Was that so hard? Evil Grin

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mystic-Scholar wrote:
Cebrion wrote:
The "druid problem" is solved by looking at the 1E Players Handbook, page 54, left hand column, under the heading "Notes Regarding Druid (Cleric) Spells:".


See? Was that so hard? Evil Grin

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing



It wasn't hard AFTER it was pointed out to me. Also the druid problem was not solved with lesser mistletoe. I just stopped seeing it as a problem and it was fixed. When i came to realize that i was not actually competing with the PCs it was better.
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mcneilk wrote:
It wasn't hard AFTER it was pointed out to me.


I was just having fun with the mixing and matching of Editions, Mcneilk, no offense was intended or meant. Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I completely understand and did not take offence. Alot of my comments from this thread were at the start of my DMing career. I like to think i have grown a bit from there.

I think the mixing of editions is fairly common. Especially if you want to use information found on the interweb. Mixing 1st and 2nd is seemless. 3rd takes a bit of work and i have never seen anything in 4th edition.

Personally i enjoy your comments. They give me a chuckle especially the bwhaha laugh you use.
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PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I woudn't worry about the fighter with the two-handed sword. First, at least in first edition, fighters get very little in terms of "bling" let them have their weapon specialization from Unearthed Arcana and let the fighter go house. I think that sort of success goes a long way in a player developing fond memories and keeps the player coming back for more. Besides, there are plenty of challenges that can't be overcome with a sword, two handed or otherwise.

Second, I absolutely second requiring the use of material components. The dungeon and all the details of the dungeon really matter as some of the stuff-whether it's lichens, moss, fungi, bat guano, etc. just might come in handy as a material component. It adds a whole new dimension to the game. You'll also find it influences spell selection. For example, I refused to ever get the spell "Spider Climb" because I could not stomach the idea of eating a live spider every time I cast the spell! Bleah!
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