Newly moved, newly minted, newly anointed…appellate as you like, the posts be flowing again.
The biggest impediment to my writing thatthat wasn’t financial or connective in naturewas the marked lack of game-playing which accompanied the afore-indicated impediments. I wrestled with the question: “Can someone who isn’t really gaming write about gaming?” But, I admit, i wasn’t wrestling all that hard, due to a return to the homestate, new job-action, and the ever-present excitement that is living with my Special Lady Friend. At this point, I believe we’ve trumped any previously standing records for most consecutive nights spent in the same building, and she’s barely been in town a month.
Anypants, before I delve into the meat of this admittedly brief post I want to stress that the Magnificent Amazonian and I do not yet have a relationship which would be grist for angsty, troubled posts. Besides, those would go on my live journal. Because I totes still possess one.
No, our last several disagreements involved:
- Whether Clay and Gemma were married
- Whether the two minutes of the beginning of this week’s episode, which I missed, referred to last week’s aired episode or the last week of in-universe time
- Skin grafts and premature babies*
*I should stress that this was actually two separate conversations, but the primary crux of both involves her medical background versus my “I’m a guy what knows things” background. She handily won both conversations.
Obviously, I am a fortunate man. However, I’m also a thoroughly introspective and reflective fellow, so every time my fiancee and I engage in an exchange of comically raised voices I’m given to consider other arguments and disagreements I may have had.
This leads back to gaming because I’ve just made my very first Pathfinder character for this organize play chapter. Maulmouth is differentiated from Napan, the character in this
game, who has been featured before. The latter character is a 4th edition Runepriest githzerai liberally stained with PF flavor; the former is a half-orc alchemist built in full-on PF style.
Returning to the heady days of 3.5 brought the value of a single +1 into a perspective I’d all but forgotten, what with 4e’s generous paired stats to defenses and level-based modifiers to stats. Suddenly, I was sweating over every skill rank and ability mod in a way I never worry about my 4e characters. Suddenly, I was explaining just why I needed a 7 Cha over an 8…explaining this in my head, mind; vetting arguments ahead of time to be ready if I was challenged.
Of course, there is no need to challenge me on a 7 Cha; my 1st level character’s 10 hp aren’t much impediment to a pair of solid swings or a lucky crossbow bolt, so my MAD-suffering pirate is hardly game-breaking.
But I’ve been away from the thick of gaming long enough to be extremely conscious of how valuable every +5% has suddenly become to my character. The fact that the last time I worried this much about numbers was as a DM in Tinderbox only further illuminates the issue; as a DM, I can always find a few +1s, especially since PbP 4th runs best with group initiative. Flank here, bull-rush there, and the elite with the impressive attack will get his hit even on a shoddy roll.
As a player, though, I’m left scrabbling for every modifier I can find. I’ve already spent a few days pondering ways for Maulmouth to compensate for his weaknesses (Poor Dex in a system where I can’t use my spellcasting stat for my spellish attacks) while maximizing his strengths. In turn, I’ve spent a few days reflecting on how rarely I need to do the same thing in 4th, where 2 good stats and a single decent one usually see you through the battle.
The stark divide between the way I’m thinking of my half-orc pirate and the way I’ve played games for the last few years has me thinking about modifiers, fighting for them, and allowing them. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about adding a rule to games that prohibits players from fighting over less than a +2 modifier in any situation, in any edition. Obviously this is a wild hair of a concept at present, something barely formed, but it’s weighing on my mind. Would letting players know that no +1 bonus would ever be debated (you either have it or you don’t, in most cases gaining it through the pronouncements of the DM) break the experience of the game? Or would it speed and streamline things, allowing players greater opportunities to get lost in the hackery?