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Interesting "Veterans Advice" thread...
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The Ruby Lord
The Ruby Lord


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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 10:18 pm    Post subject: Interesting "Veterans Advice" thread... Reply with quote

A cool old thread on the Necromancer Games message boards has been resurrected. I know several members here used to, or still do, frequent those boards, but for those who didn't, I think you may find it of interest and of use.

I'll see if I can post it all in one post, its big.


Veteran Advice of the Necromancer Games Forum
Version 1.0, October 11, 2002

Note: The original poster is noted in parentheses after each entry; in the case where duplicate entries were posted, a subsequent posters will also be listed, along with the number they originally had it under.

1. Always do your legwork. Investigate the town before moving into the surrounding areas. Knowledge is power. Use Gather Information and use your Rogue and Bard to get the inside scoop on what is going on. Have your wizard make magical inquiries. Have your cleric visit the local temples. (Orcus)

2. Pay attention to party composition. In general, you should always have a cleric (with some combat powers), a wizard, a rogue with maxed search and disable, and two capable fighters (paladins, barbys fighters, even rangers but they don't quite count as a full fighter). If you are running around with rogue/bards and monk/sorcerers you are probably going to lack the proper combat punch for Necro adventures. (Orcus)

3. Don't overlook the Leadership skill and getting hirelings. A few sell-swords may come in real handy. (Orcus)

4. Don't overlook your low level spells when you get higher level. Sure, it is tempting to focus on the big boom spells you can cast at higher level, but things like low level divinations and low level buffs like bless and things like that are very effective. (Orcus)

5. Be careful with creating high level characters. It is my experience that creating, say, 10th level characters you run the risk of falling prey to #4 above--you know the high level powers, but you don't know the ins and outs of the low level powers that can really come in handy. (Orcus)

6. Take proper preparation. Cast your buffs and have healing available, and do low level divinations to be as ready for an encounter as you can. Unless a situation is time critical, if you are in a position where you cant do those things, retreat and come back when you can. Generally, the bad guys aren't going anywhere. (Orcus)

7. Avoid head on confrontations. (Orcus)

8. Take out opposing spell casters. Generally, they can summon aid and cause problems. Getting rid of them or incapacitating them is a huge boon to you. Don't forget low level spells that might accomplish this: grease, for example, cast under a spell caster can be a big pain in the ass. Once again, I want to restate the power of knowing your lower level spells. (Orcus)

9. Keep the party together in general. One advantage is that the PCs work together to their benefit. Healing, buff spells, aiding a near dead friend, ganging up on enemies. Generally, you will outnumber high powered enemies. If you don't, run. If you do, then stay together. They can only attack a few of you at a time, your ability to gang up will turn the tide of battle. If you separate, you can't aid your friend and he cant aid you. This is particularly true of large monsters (see below). (Orcus; Stormdale 32; Eryx 57)

10. For DMs, resist the temptation to use the "one big monster." This is generally a bad design decision. Sure, the party is CR 10 so you say, "hey, here is a big bad CR 10 monster I have been waiting to use!" Don't do it. Use two CR 8s instead. As mentioned above, PCs can gang up on your one monster and deal more damage to it before it can kill even 1 PC. So use more smaller CR monsters. This cuts down on the advantage to the PCs. (Orcus)

11. Fight first, treasure second. Too many newbies run around looking only for treasure. "Lets press on for treasure." No better way to get butchered. What's the point of finding a +4 sword if you and your friends die getting it? (Orcus)

12. This isn't Diablo. You don't have to clear the level. In fact, playing like that will lead to death. (Orcus)

13. Players need to understand that in dungeons designed by people with a clue, there will be monsters of varying power levels. Guess what, monsters don't nicely divide themselves by "CR". Sometimes a den of dire rats is near a den of trolls. So don't metagame things and say "this is the first level of the dungeon, so the DM will only use first level monsters." WRONG! (Orcus)

14. Use tactics. Don't charge, retreat to a more tactically advantageous position. Generally small rooms or doorways are good as you can limit the number of creatures that can attack you. Large open rooms usually suck for the PCs. In fact, you can even strategically retreat drawing the monsters into an ambush. (Orcus)

15. If it looks too hard to beat, it probably is. Retreat, use divination spells and research to learn what is going on and come in at full strength. (Orcus; Fortinbras 55)

16. Always post a rear guard. OK, I will agree that it is a drag to be the guy guarding the rear. That PC wont get in as much combat and that isn't as fun. But the rear guard is key to survival--which often includes having a clear avenue of escape. (Orcus)

17. Make potions and scrolls. 3E rules are very flexible about this, making it very easy for PCs (particularly higher level ones) to be stuffed to the gills with low level potions and scrolls. You should make healing potions and scrolls of spells that are useful but not combat oriented, like knock or alarm to set an alarm on your nightly camp, or dispel magic (that one is key) for taking out magic traps or dispelling magical effects. (Orcus; skeetyrbug 72)

18. Two words: magic missile. If you are a wizard, make scrolls of your first level spells so that you can devote all (or most) of your 1st level slots to this spell. It is the best in the game. No save. No roll to hit. Does more damage as you get higher level. (Orcus)

LibertonPC: Disagree. Magic Missile is not "the best in the game." It's not bad, but it does about the equivalent of a fighter attack. For one spell. I usually demand something more of a spell I call "the best in the game."

19. Spell penetration is a better feat than most other metamagic feats. When you get higher level you will be fighting creatures with SR. You want to be able to get your magic missiles through that demon's SR. (Orcus)

20. Don't be afraid to run away. (Orcus; Fortinbras 48)

thegrandoracle (117): He who runs away, lives to fight another day. Remember this one. Have spells (scrolls work sometimes), magic items that help, and a plan or two that make this possible under most cases. Too many players don't consider a way out important, believing the having the one or two extra combat spells to be the tide turner. At mid to higher levels this is dangerous thinking.

21. For DMs: Do your homework. I generally try to read the whole module twice before I run it (or the sections I know will be in the first four or so sessions for a mega-module) and then I read it again the night before I run the game. I will take notes the second read and go through my notes the third time. I know that everyone doesn't have that kind of time but at least try to read it twice and take notes. It really cuts down on look-up time and mistakes as well helps keep the action flowing. (Pale Writer)

22. Know your opponents. If you know you are fighting ogres or other creatures with reach, get some longspears. Nothing sucks more than reach in 3E. If you are fighting drow, get ready to deal with darkness spells. If you are fighting undead, get your blesses and other things in order or other protections. And carry some blunt weapons. Have flasks of oil for mummies. I am not suggesting that you should act on information your PCs do not have. But once you have fought ogres and learned how nasty reach is, it is totally understandable for you to have a burning desire to buy a longspear. (Orcus)

23. You know what, just make sure someone always has a reach weapon. It never hurts to have a longspear. Even if you haven't fought reach monsters yet, you would know that there are beasts with reach and a longspear is just a smart thing to have. Otherwise you subject yourself to an AoO (most of the time) just moving up to attack the beast with reach since they threaten an extra set of squares. (Did I mention monsters with reach suck for the PCs?) (Orcus)

24. Protect your spell casters. (Orcus)

25. Develop common tactics that you can execute quickly and even under magical silence for example with just a few hand signals. (Orcus)

26. Be ready to separate if you come upon monsters or spell casters that can affect all the PCs at once--wizards with web, clerics with silence or other area spells, etc. You should plan ahead of time who is going to do what. This makes it much easier. This is really the only good justification for the party not staying together. (Orcus)

27. Don't put the wuss in the back. Put the wuss in the middle (wusses, you know who you are). (Orcus)

28. Scout ahead. As an aside, the scout usually never gets ambushed. The ambushers usually wait for the main body to pass them. (Orcus)

29. Take advantage of special abilities like sneak attack and use terrain and situations to your advantage to flank or get cover bonuses. (Orcus)

30. NEVER, EVER decide to take an action just because it will get you XP. When PCs die it is usually due to them charging the monster with the high XP value instead of doing the smart thing and working together as a team. (Orcus)

31. If you can afford it (or even if you can't), have everyone in the party carry some kind of healing (potions, scrolls, items). If the priest goes down, or can't reach you, you're in a world of hurt. (Lythran Shadowbane)

32. Never underestimate the power of information. At low levels, this is usually limited to talking with townsfolk about local problems (what's marauding around the countryside today?). They live here, they sure know what's happening better than you. Maybe one of them has seen somebody else in town acting somewhat shady; a link to a nefarious plot, perhaps?

Don't forget to stay in contact with any organizations your PC may belong to. As Orcus said, priests have temple superiors, wizards have academies and masters, rogues have guilds, and fighters may have trainers. All of these people are important for knowing what's happening in your world.

As you get higher in levels, your skills and magical abilities will improve. This will garner you different ways of gathering info. Your wizard becomes an incredible scout with arcane eye and true seeing, the cleric can gain divine insight through spells like augury and contact other plane, and the rogue and the fighter make an effective good adventurer/bad adventurer team when interrogating prisoners.

There's something else to think about: when possible, don't kill all the bad guys. Subdual rules are in the game for a reason. Take as many prisoner as possible, then question them, mundanely and magically. The more you can get from them, the better. In a dungeon situation, the odds are already stacked against you. Every ounce of information you can get improves your chances for survival. (Mistwalker)

33. If you are EVER in a dungeon and a pile of dung attacks you, RUN!!! If by some fluke you forget this advice and decide to hit it with your sword (after all you've vanquished many a pile of dung in the past) and if by some stroke of misfortune your sword gets stuck...RUN. Swords are a dime a dozen, I don't care if it is a +5 to sneak attack, keen bladed, vorpal/holy avenger that does triple damage on all hits. You can always find another one. If you stay and wrestle with said pile of poo you are only putting more lives at risk because you know that one of your friends is going to be dumb enough to listen to your pleadings and try a half-baked rescue attempt, thus condemning an additional character to death! (Stormdale)

34. If the party cleric offers to heal you, take it! Don't put on a brave face and say, "nah, I've still got 58 hps left, I'm be right for another room or two." (Stormdale)

35. Expect the DM to play the bad guys with creativity and intelligence. The guys in room 5 will not just sit their patiently while you mop up their mates in room 4, then give you a few minutes breather or hold off battle until "you've got your wind back." (Stormdale)

36. If you've alerted the whole complex to your presence and several underlings have escaped, assume the worst. They probably haven't gone to get mops and buckets to clean up the mess you've made! Instead they have probably gone to report to some really, really nasty people higher up in the food chain. At this time, deciding to rest up in store room #5 to get hit points and or spells back is possibly not such a good idea. The bad guys usually check the store rooms first! (Stormdale)

37. If everybody is down to half hit points (or less), the wizards are out of spells, the fighters suffering from strength draining attacks and cleric is dead, scouting or "taking a peek" at level 10 is probably not the smartest thing to do. (Stormdale)

38. Don't overlook Spell Focus for your favorite school. +2 to save DCs could make a difference between "six charred ogre corpses" and "six bloody adventurer corpses". (Melan)

39. It is very tempting to build a character around a specialized concept (like tripping monsters). Don't - in many cases, you will be completely useless to the party. And, when you are super-effective, the DM will hate you. (Melan)

40. Corollary to 39: it is even more tempting to take four or even more classes. Don't do that, either - it might be fun at first, but on the long term, the party will be extremely weak! (Melan)

41. Leave the "party-attack" and squabbling for downtime. Don't get into fistfights in a dungeon. Subdual damage may go away in a few hours, but those few hours are enough to kill you. (Melan)

42. Once again: just because it is there, you don't need to even go near it. If someone says "yes, of course, but think of the XP!", slap the idiot and get out of the room while he gets killed. (Melan)

43. Rope. Always bring silk rope with you, preferably two or three coils at least. A miner's pick, crowbar and other such items are also useful if you have room. You should also bring magical AND normal light. (Melan)

44. As a wizard, the 5d6 Fireball (or the high level Cone of Cold scroll) is tempting - you could use it on that ogre/giant/ooze... But don't forget that the ogre/giant/ooze is one opponent and easily brought down by the party fighters. On the other hand, if you are confronted by 40-50 troglodytes, you could do 100-200 points of total damage with a wussy scroll! Area effect spells are for grouped enemies, period. (Melan)

45. Don't swim in platemail. In fact, as kewl as it looks, avoid it if you can use a light chain shirt - you can move further, and you can benefit from dexterity. (Melan)

46. In computer games, one-shot magic items are rarely needed because you can reload a saved game. In an RPG, that little edge can save your life. (Melan)

47. Oozes are dangerous. Either avoid them or torch them immediately. (Also note: sadistic DMs will use Napalmous Cubes after a while - beware!) (Melan)

48. Don't allow any Lawful-stupid characters to dictate you actions. Yeah sure, the Shadowwraith high mage is evil and it should die Mr. Paladin, but we are not going to try and take it today...if at all. (Fortinbras)

49. Spend every dime. What good is your treasure when you die with it? (Fortinbras)

50. For that matter, if the wand has charges, use it. If you have a healing potion, drink it. If you have been lugging around a shortbow and arrows since level 1, try using it once in awhile. Never die with unused items. (Fortinbras; skeetyrbug 72)

51. Never assume your evasion special ability will save you "for sure" from the fireball. (Fortinbras)

52. If you find out some piece of information that would be useful to the party, DIVULGE IT. Too many secret mongers in a group leads to a very dead group, and a very frustrated DM. (Fortinbras)

53. Agree on a plan of action well before you get to the front gate of the Castle of Impending Doom. (Fortinbras)

54. It's only good advice if you use it. (twwtww)

55. ALWAYS check for traps! That's what a rogue is for. Traps can be deadly if you don't know they are there. (Eryx)

56. Never assume with monsters. Just because it looks like an orc doesn't mean it is an orc. Shapechanging and polymorphing abilities are fairly common amongst nasty monsters. (Eryx)

57. Always assume with traps. Always assume that the corridor/chest/door is trapped. The one time you don't check, it will be. (Eryx)

58. Stick to your objective. You have entered the dungeon/ruin/cave for a reason stick to it. Yes, you may have found the lair of the uber-warlock, but if you just came to scout out the place don't risk it. (Eryx)

59. Learn how to map. Be prepared - bring graph paper - and pay attention to the DM. (MerricB)

60. Get two players to both map. Just in case something eats your mapper. (MerricB)

61. If you get lost - get out of there! Don't go looking for trouble. Your objective should be to avoid encounters and find the way out. (MerricB)

62. Be nice to NPCs. Be wary, but don't provoke them unnecessarily. (MerricB)

Patrick Lawinger (67): If <scary, powerful, NPCs/monsters> back away from the little, innocent-looking <whatever> and call it "Sir" (or any other title). Don't walk up and slap <whatever> in the face and say, "You don't look so tough!" just to find out why everyone is so polite to him/her. Had a PC do that. The player got to re-roll, disintegrate is nasty when you fail your save ...


63. Go on short expeditions where possible. It's better to go home with half your spells un-used, rather than end up at the bottom of the dungeon out of spells and in big trouble. (MerricB)

64. Prisoners. Sometimes you don't need to kill the bad guys. Sometimes its better to bring them to justice proper instead of killing them. (Eryx)

65. Players: never underestimate the value of good notekeeping and organization. Be sure to have someone with good spatial sense do the mapping, someone you can trust keep track of the undistributed loot horde, and someone who's meticulous keep notes of important NPCs, clues, etc.--keeping a regular campaign journal is even better. And whoever keeps the journal should review it every so often to remind themselves of any clues or information learned many sessions earlier that might come into play. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

66. Try to use neat handwriting on your character sheets--I've seen PCs die when their characters had magic items that would help them, but because they were scrawled on the back of their sheet in some obscure location, they forgot all about them. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

67. An excellent thing to have is a Heward's Handy Haversack loaded down with various tools and equipment from the PHB--hammers, chisels, crowbars, a bag of flour, marbles, caltrops, rope, extra arrows, skill tools, extra holy symbols, etc. You may never need to use it, but it's nice to have around, and the Haversack will let you access any item instantly. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

68. Never fully trust an NPC, especially in a Necromancer games product. You never know who is behind the problem. (skeetyrbug)


69. Henchmen/hirelings = cannon fodder. (skeetyrbug)


70. DMs love to prove kobolds can be tough. Watch out for "little guys." (skeetyrbug)


71. It is only very rarely that a dead end hallway is actually a dead end hallway (check for secret doors!). (skeetyrbug)

72. United We Stand, Divided We Fall - Not splitting up also means during combat in the same general area. Try to stay near to each other to avoid being flanked or overwhelmed. Gaining that flanking position on a monster is good, but not if you've suffered a hit or two from AoOs getting there or if there are a lot more bad guys than good guys as they will most certainly be flanking you soon enough. Be very choosey about going off as a rear strike force to get those protected mages/clerics...often you get stuck there and the rest of your help is unable to reach soon enough - it does work but be wary of these types of actions. (thegrandoracle)

73. Work as a team. Individual characters stepping on each others' toes in combat does a lot more harm than doing nothing. I've seen more damage done in some combats to PCs from their own fellow party member's arrow hits and area effect spells than the bad guys were able to do in total. See specifics in 79 below. (thegrandoracle)

74. Role play but avoid having PCs that ALWAYS do "their own thing" at a major expense to the groups fighting ability. Examples: Fighters that charge in when they could have delayed part of a round for the Wizard/Sorcerer's fireball to be cast, or vise versa the W/S that always has to cast a big damage spell in ever combat and expects everyone to ALWAYS get out of the way so they can roll the wad of dice. Also, firing arrows at the enemy is good, but choosing the target that is receiving partial cover from a friend of yours is not necessarily a good target (unless you have feats to limit the friendly fire aspect). (thegrandoracle)

75. Sure, have fun, but treat the game seriously most of the time. Not just when your character dies. (gondolin)

76. You're friendly neighborhood DM is a volunteer. He's not paid for doing his job and their is no reason he should take crap from you just because you disagree with him. (gondolin)

77. The good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one (one being you). (gondolin)

78. Don't grow too attached to your characters or their magic items. It stands in the way of good gaming and roleplay. (gondolin)

79. Create fun, interesting characters (not necessarily "unique"... just fun). A DM may have mercy if your character is interesting. If he is not, don't complain when that maxed out half-orc-chain-specialist-munchkin bites the big one and is somehow impossible to resurrect. (Melan)

80. Don't forget it's not Players vs. DM. It's a group effort to have fun. So if you're the DM, try to look at it from the player's perspective, and if you're a player, try to look at it from the DM's. (Setne; Thasaidon 112)

81. When something doesn't work the way you expected it to, assume you are missing something, not that the DM is purposefully thwarting you. (Setne)

82. Players and DMs should communicate with each other outside of the game and give each other constructive feedback. This will help make the game more enjoyable for everyone. (Guido 1999)

83. If you somehow find a secret door that was almost impossible to discover, or enter into an antechamber covered with unholy writings that send chills down your paladin's back, don't whine to the DM when you press on and your party gets slaughtered. See the references for "knowing when to run" above. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

84. Reference was made to the usefulness of low-level divinations and information gathering. These are extremely important. A well-timed true seeing or see invisibility can make the difference between a tough encounter and a TPK. A charm person on a minion early on can keep PCs from falling into ambushes and traps. And don't forget the importance of languages--it's always handy to have at least one PC versed in a bunch of them, especially since they're so cheap to buy in 3e. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

85. DMs: be sure your new players know of any house rules before you begin playing. And be sure to get their approval before introducing any new ones. You may love critical hit/fumble tables, but your players may not... (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

86. If the DM makes a ruling you disagree with, it's okay to ask him about it, and state your case. But when he's heard you out and makes his ruling, DON'T ARGUE WITH HIM. And "stating your case" doesn't mean endlessly repeating that you were screwed, or the game should operate in a certain way. MOVE ON. Don't spend the rest of the session whining or pouting about how you were given the shaft. Nothing will kill the enjoyment of the game quicker. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

87. Never underestimate the importance of good saving throws, especially Will saves. Nothing's worse than having your party's melee machine get charmed or confused and start hewing through the rest of the group. And fighter types with their low Will saves make juicy targets for NPC critters. Consider giving them a decent Wisdom score, and taking Iron Will. Conversely, enemy fighter types are good targets for your charm/confusion type spells, and so you should plan accordingly. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

88. Necromancer Games modules are designed tough. Real tough. DMs: be very careful before making NG adventures more challenging. A TPK is often the result, and bragging rights to the contrary, these are no fun for anyone. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

89. Don't hog the limelight. Yes, it's nice to be the guy who saves the party with a perfectly-timed lightning bolt. But chances are, the "Bull's Strength" you cast on the party's Barbarian is going to end up doing more damage over the long run. Teamwork means sometimes (or, depending upon you class, often) taking a "support role" - it's usually unsung, and noticed only if it's missing, but it is critical to the party's success in a challenging dungeon. (Ragathor)

90. Sometimes you CAN parley with the monsters. Particularly if you note something of "residential politics" going on in the dungeon, you may be able to work it to your advantage. See if you can negotiate. It may win the day, and it'll also give your bard a chance to shine. (Ragathor)

91. In 3rd Edition, XP is awarded for overcoming challenges, NOT JUST killing the monsters. Outwitting the goblin king to defeat him should be the same as killing him (DM's, TAKE NOTE!) XP-wise. If you can accomplish your objectives with more safety another way, do it! (Ragathor)

92. Be specific in your actions! It may depend upon the DM, but I will award circumstance bonuses for specific actions. If you are specifically searching "under the bed" for something, you may get a +2 or so to your search roll to find something there as opposed to someone who's just 'searching the room'. It also helps roleplaying, and visualizing the action for everyone. Just so long as you don't slow down the game with your detailed actions, it's a great thing to do, and helps keep the DM entertained. (Ragathor)

93. Remember that the DM is a player, too - he or she is there to have fun, as well. Make sure the game is fun for him / her as well (like the previous comment, "Keep the DM entertained.") While you may have adversarial roles while the screen is up, have fun with it. (Ragathor)

94. Pay attention to the little details. Sometimes they are just 'dressing', but sometimes they may provide a critical clue. Don't dwell on them, but don't ignore them either. (Ragathor)

95. Make sure the DM hears you when you say you are doing something. It sucks to have your PC killed because you didn't speak up loud enough to say you moved from where the DM thought you were.... (skeetyrbug)

96. More Clerics = more good, no clerics = dead party. (Tsathogga)


97. Spellcasters should support the non-spellcasters and let them kill most of the bad guys (see rule #89--its a golden rule). (Tsathogga)


98. Set goals, meet goals, set new goal; bail and rest. Clark alluded to this earlier. The real key is to hit as many things head on when you are all at full strength. Avoid meaningless strength-sucking encounters. No reason to kill the wandering giant slug when you might want to lure the gnolls into his lair later; he is not a threat (slow moving) and has no treasure. The same applies to wandering monsters...usually not worth the time or spells and hp to fight if they can be avoided. Fool and trick the bad guys. Scare them if possible. Anyone at GenCon who played with me in Clarks "Caverns" game realizes this. My wizard took an illusion spell instead of a fireball; sure the gnolls ran away from my 10 illusory dwarves, we got less xp etc. But...they ran away, and we were able to get to our real goal. (Tsathogga)


99. Use food, pets and slaves to avoid encounters. Animate dead things for use as 1-use wands of trap detection (pisses off DMs who love gelatinous cubes too!). Throw money and food at monsters to make them leave you alone (fake gems and fake gold work great). Use oil to block passages rather than to soak one monster. Arcane lock doors to prevent pursuit. Cast invisibility on your familiar to have it scout silently ahead outdoors…especially if it can fly. Hire henchmen fighters to guard the wizard and to carry light sources. Feed the griffon herd a horse to avoid combat; its been working for wildebeasts in Africa for years when crossing croc-infested streams. (Tsathogga)


100. Be mobile. If a monster is slower than you, run, shoot, run, shoot, run, shoot. Do not fight fair, do not fight hand to hand w/ the Grey Render. My monsters don't if they can avoid it. Anyone recall how nasty quicklings were? (Tsathogga)

skeetyrbug: Don't sit at Bill's table and fight 3 times your number of barbarians, some of whom are on horseback. I learned this one slightly too late. Have a bow with you at all times, even if you can't use it. Someone can...

101. Do not whine. Do not whine because the monster attacked you. Do not whine that the trap went off. Do not whine because you thought you were hiding. If the DM is good, they are playing by the rules, and the only time that they are bending them is in YOUR favor. Whining about anything bad happenning is usually making everyone else hate you, and making them wonder why they invited you to play in the first place. (Fortinbras)

102. Remember, it is only a game. (Fortinbras)

103. Never underestimate the power of an Animal Companion. Especially if you have a magic user in the party. Haste, bull's strength, and various other spells can make one itty bitty ally into your best friend. (Thanks for that one Bill.) (Quiet Rayne)

104. Always remember that Lawful Good does not mean Lawful Stupid. (Quiet Rayne)

105. Think about your alignment before you act. Just because it's something you would do does not mean that your character would do it. (Quiet Rayne)

106. Caltrops are your friends. If you have just a little bit of blacksmithing or know something about fishing, that little caltrop can be turned into a fishing hook. Aside from that, they're great to leave behind you. Owies on the feetsies. (Quiet Rayne)

107. Flour and salt. Good things to have on hand, even if you have just a small pouch of them with you. Sprinkle over a corridor, and you'll be able to get an idea of how often it's used if you want to have a little bit of patience. Another fun note: they're great for cooking too. (Quiet Rayne)

108. By all that is unholy, someone in the party should have at least one rank of Profession (cooking). Particularly nasty DM's might make you roll to created a particularly tasty meal from that vorpal bunny, grass and seawater. (Quiet Rayne)

109. Remember that you can't think in modern terms. Values of today are not the values of the time that you're playing in. Slavery and racism aren't acceptable by today's morals, but they may have been common place in the setting that you are in. (Quiet Rayne)

110. Use mind-affecting magic to get your way. Hold person is awesomely powerful for a spell of its level. Crank that DC! (Thasaidon)

111. One of the best low level Cleric spells is "Augury". You should scribe them to scrolls and, generally, use, use, use them! [My party avoided certain TPK several times by this!] Higher level div spells are also useful. (Melan)

112. Identify! Don't leave this to the end. If you have a magic sword and you are battling giant insects, that sword could well be an Insect-bane +2 Longsword! (Melan)

113. Not all cursed items are unusable. A creative player can use most of them just as well as a normal item! (Melan)

114. DON'T go down the well... (grimbold)

115. Never forget your 5-foot step before casting or casting on the defensive when in a threatened space (remember your opponents reach, as stated before)! Forgetting to do this has almost resulted in a TPK for my party too many times! (grimbold)

116. If doing much dungeon exploration, try to ensure the entire party has darkvision or the equivalent. Nothing says "Here monsters, dinnertime!" louder than a torchlit party. If you have a lot of humans and are planning multiple or extended sojourns, try preparing lots of scrolls of darkvision or crafting/buying goggles of the night. But be sure to bring backup light sources as well, just in case. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

117. Just because a new character joins the party, don't assume that he is on your side. Always check the character out, he may well be a minion of the villain. (Eryx)

Damien: As a DM, I've pulled this one on my group before. They were shocked when their longtime NPC rogue companion made off with an artifact of theirs at the conclusion of the Night Below campaign I ran. On the other hand, it did create a memorable villain!

118. Plan your egress. Make sure you have some plan of escape if things go south. There's tons of possibilities available to any party, but if you wait until your window of escape is closing before trying to come up with a plan, you may be doomed.

Over a dozen great ways to flee:
a) Create an illusion that the plank you used to bridge the pit isn't there.

b) Wall spells, stone shape, grease, entangle, web, stinking cloud, or plain ol' caltrops tossed between you and pursuers at choke-points. It may be all you need to slow down your opponents and extend your escape.

c) An ILLUSION of your party fleeing another way (or an illusion of their footprints)

d) Toss the torch-bearer at 'em. Oh, wait, that's Hackmaster. Toss some gold their way. If your pursuers are of the more chaotic mindset, they may realize that if they don't grab their personal fortune NOW, someone else may grab it while they are chasing you.

e) Rope Trick. One of the best spells for creating a temporary hidey-hole if you can avoid the monsters seeing where you went. Better than hiding out in a storage room.

f) Obscuring mist, wall of fog, darkness, or other spells work almost as well as the more direct means of slowing pursuit.

g) Once again, preparation is key. Make sure your escape path has been kept clear of "back-fill". If you suspect the enemy has taken position behind you and cut off your escape, do NOT keep pushing forward without very good cause.

h) Invisibility, flying, spider-climb - available now in convenient potion form! Make sure everyone in the party has at least one!

i) An ILLUSION of concealment, even if disbelieved, will STILL offer you concealment bonuses against enemy ranged attacks.

j) Ghost sound of people fleeing in another direction. Hopefully it will confuse the enemy, forcing THEM to split up if they think YOU split up.

k) Pass without trace for those extended, long-term chases where you don't want the enemy catching up to you while you are resting.

l) Dump your gear to increase your running speed, if that will help. You might lose your gear, but it's better than losing your life. Besides, you can probably get most of it back again when you come back for revenge in the very near future.

There's probably a hundred other ideas, and then tons more that are very situation-specific to your particular adventure. Just remember to avoid getting into situations you don't know how to get out of again. (Ragathor)

Damien: Stow small-sized slow-moving halflings and gnomes in your bag of holding. If you're kind, you can leave the top open so they can breathe. Then your faster-moving people don't get held up by them. Heck, you could even have them poke their head and upper bodies out and cover your retreat with arrows, albeit at a circumstance penalty to hit. But be sure to try this tactic out in a non-combat situation first, and be sure that you won't overload the bag's weight/size limit. And make sure they don't have anything sharp and pointy out when they go in.

Thasaidon: Not just the little people. Use reduce to make the entire party smaller and thus more transportable (whether by conventional means or teleportation). I noticed a WotC product recently mentioned this tactic, which my players have been using for years.

119. Remember that things which do not need to breathe can easily be buried and commanded from a distance to rise up and grab your characters. (undead, constructs and so forth). Things that DO need to breathe can find ways around this as well. When I play, I personally make it a point to let my DM know that my character will generally be looking at a road for any freshly dug areas. I've also done this to players who started getting a little careless... (Pale Writer)

120. Dungeons etc. have tons of neat things you can use. Those wall sconces can hold your torches while you investigate the room. Those moldering old books make great tinder. As do used up scrolls. (mythusmage)

Eryx: Sconces also make a good place to tie ropes to when you need to.

121. When the DM mentions oil lamps, and you're battling a wererat, put the two together for a unique light show. (mythusmage)

122. You can't Spell Resist a rock. (mythusmage)

123. Damage Reduction ain't all that hot against strangulation. (mythusmage)

124. For DMs, please try to give the party a personal reason for doing whatever you want them to. This keeps them focused on the prize and generates more interest than the standard "Undertake this action for the good of the Barony, blah blah blah." Further, players are much more likely to contribute to the "created storyline" when the plot hits them hard in a personal spot. One good way to do this is to create and keep up continuing NPCs which become dear to the PC's hearts. (sessestophelzine)

125. For DMs, most of us need a home - a place to prop up your feet and relax for awhile. We PCs don't like being 'on the run' all the time and just need a haven every so often. So provide one for your PCs. They will appreciate it. (sessestophelzine)



126. For DMs, spend a few minutes checking your module/ notes/ script for how YOU would tackle the situation at hand. You'd be surprised how often the party follows suit, and it gives you means to balance things out (or polarize them if need be). Thinking your actions/intentions through beforehand saves so much grief afterwards, it's frightening. (sessestophelzine)

127. For DMs, PCs need not be killed to make a point. They can be banished, branded, publicly chastised, jailed, or, my favorite... geased. (sessestophelzine)

128. For DMs, a major job of DMing is crowd control. Above all else, be true to yourself and use intuition as often as possible. Don't let PCs and their players try to change you or your game - it is always your game. Yes, the PCs help create the story, but it always has your stamp. Be God-like, but also be a benevolent and caring despot as well. (sessestophelzine)

129. For DMs, your foremost job is Communication. It's up to you to describe adjectives, feelings, senses, create mood and atmosphere. It's also up to you to complete all the little administrative details and continually poll the players on how they think they're doing and if they're enjoying the process. (sessestophelzine)

130. For PCs, skeletons and zombies are the most cost-effective magical-item-carriers known to mages. The cursed items they might bear could go off upon them, but who cares? (sessestophelzine)

131. For PCs, items and spells which emulate extra skill levels will get you the farthest over the long haul. Make everything Masterwork if you can't get it magical. Augment every possible stat you can that applies to your profession's skills. A masterwork longsword wielded while under a +4 Strength from bull's strength equates to 3 fighter levels when swinging the sword. Anything, especially skills, that gives you more attacks is better over the long haul as well. (sessestophelzine)

132. For PCs, when fighting, Reach and AoO possibilities are the big differentiator between 1E and 3E -- use 'em to your advantage. (sessestophelzine)

133. For PCs, spellcasters should take metamagic feats that allow them to cast their fave spells at differing spell levels. The 7th-level Mage could become a gatling-gun of pain when need be while memorizing magic missile at levels 1 and 2, then fireball at levels 3 and 4 just with the usage of the Silent Spell metamagic feat alone. (sessestophelzine)

LibertonPC: Of course, this isn't required. I can always fill my 2nd level slot with a magic missile, even without a feat to raise it. Says so in the PHB. It's nice to have Silent Spell, if you are going to cast them at the higher level anyway, but not necessary. But after playing several mages, I've come to the realization that metamagic isn't all that and a bag of chips. Spell Penetration, maybe Spell Focus. Those are the way to go and help BIG.

134. For PCs, spellcasters should key upon spells which have no save or a reduced-penalty save. Power words and cones of cold are good fail-safe weapons. Use Spell Penetration at high levels whenever possible, and seek out scrolls written at higher levels than you are at every turn. A 16th-level-written fireball is more effective versus Spell-Resistant critters than a typical 11th-level-cast disintegrate. (sessestophelzine)

135. For PCs, not all your dungeon denizens need be fought. In fact, it's much much more fun to play them off of each other, as if you were playing a game of Illuminati or Diplomacy with them as opponents. Strong divinations before entering could alert the PCs as to who the main power brokers are in a dungeon, and often it doesn't take a genius to figure out how they can be manipulated for fun and profit. (sessestophelzine)

136. You have chosen Feats, Skills and Spells. Use them all. If they seem unusable, provoke situations that make them effective. (Othmaar)

137. If you are getting burned out, take a break. If your DM is getting burned out, give him a break (not a physical one, as in no arms, legs, ribs etc..) (Fire Mephit)

138. Have fun. If you're not having fun, find out why, and talk to your group. (Fire Mephit)

139. Bring some damn food and drinks to share with your fellow players. It's common courtesy. (Frost)

Dire Flumph: Do not steal the DM's rightful snacks. Woe to you if you pick up his pizza when he's not looking.

140. Always keep track of your character's hit points. It's easy to forget when you're down a few, and only remember when you get ambushed. And if you are down in health, let the party healers know! (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

141. Commune spell can be extremely useful when you can get a hold of it. The xp cost (100 xp) is often worth it. Before casting, be sure to make a list of yes/no questions to ask, and save it for when you have more than one or two questions if you can. Even if the DM decides to answer your questions with replies like "unknown", your deity is unlikely to ever lie or mislead you.

Some things you can find out with this spell:

a. If there are any secret areas you missed.

b. If stepping through a doorway/messing with an idol/jumping in the pit of inky blackness is inadvisable.

c. Whether any of your recently-found loot is cursed, and if so, which item(s).

d. Specific properties or effects of an unusual magic zone, or specific strengths and weaknesses of a particular creature (using the "20-questions" method)

e. Information about an unexplored area (are there monsters? are they living? do they possess magic items they can use against us? are there any traps? etc.) (Damien the Bloodfeaster)

142. Never trust beautiful women in dungeons, especially if they are imprisoned, fleeing from some menace, or in groups. They are almost certainly, vampiresses, evil werecreatures, hags or the like. But that does not mean you should fireball them outright. Be wary of an ambush when first meeting them, and if they do join your group (appealing to the paladin for protection, etc.), keep a sharp eye on them. Check them over with divination spells, but keep in mind that they may have a misdirection type spell up to counter this. When they travel with you, position them behind someone with good armor and saves, and in front of someone with good Spot/Listen scores and initiative. And get them out of your party as soon as you can without violating your alignment. See also entry #141 above for a good means of ferreting out whether or not they mean you harm. (Damien the Bloodfeaster)
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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! Took a couple of edits, but it posted!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome find!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quite a list. Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might have to copy/paste that into Word and print it out for some bedside reading. The spots I did read were pretty good, hoss.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff there, funny some of it is exactly what I preach to my new troops before they deploy...
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good stuff. Thanks!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was more to that thread, as I recall.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There was a lot there I disagreed with, such as "don't clear out the dungeon." Never leave a live enemy behind you, is my motto and it has worked out well. Besides, skipping parts of the dungeon = missing out on treasure, potentially useful information/plot devices, and most of all fun.

Also, #142 is subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt. My players know that they will almost certainly encounter a band of monsters/cultists about to sacrifice a beautiful woman to their dark gods. I throw them in as extra treasure Cool .
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 8:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taranthyll wrote:
There was a lot there I disagreed with, such as "don't clear out the dungeon." Never leave a live enemy behind you, is my motto and it has worked out well. Besides, skipping parts of the dungeon = missing out on treasure, potentially useful information/plot devices, and most of all fun.


I'm with you on that one, hoss. As a player once, there was this "settlement" of goblins (mainly females and young of the goblins we were fighting) and I fought the party tooth and nail to allow me (us) to exterminiate those goblins, too. I lost the debate (my shining point was that without proper male supervision, the young would become even bigger degenerates that they would have already Razz).

Quote:
Also, #142 is subjective and should be taken with a grain of salt. My players know that they will almost certainly encounter a band of monsters/cultists about to sacrifice a beautiful woman to their dark gods. I throw them in as extra treasure Cool .


My table extends this to any normal looking fellow, male or female. They are classic paranoids.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I think I had to take out my eye balls and give them a polish a time or two before making it through that post. Very Happy

Good read.

- Jay
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eh, I gotta say that is a lot to do about nothing. I coma from the old way that the DM/GM/CK whatever, job is to make sure that everyone is having fun. With my seat_of_the_pants GMing I am maneuverable enough to later things to maximize the fun for my players. This isn't a testament to non-death but my players do not feel compelled to read a dissertation on how to game. We just have fun... a fun hobby.

To each his own though.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ironside...I think that post was made in jest. I might be mistaken, though. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir Ironside wrote:
Eh, I gotta say that is a lot to do about nothing. I coma from the old way that the DM/GM/CK whatever, job is to make sure that everyone is having fun. With my seat_of_the_pants GMing I am maneuverable enough to later things to maximize the fun for my players. This isn't a testament to non-death but my players do not feel compelled to read a dissertation on how to game. We just have fun... a fun hobby.

To each his own though.


Having fun, sure. But what you call fun isn't what everyone else calls fun. so there has to be rules as well, so that everyone knows what to expect from the game. And all that advise is pretty good stuff for someone who wants to take the game seriously.
Besides, just because you think something is obvious doesn't mean there isn't someone who didn't realize it.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sir Ironside wrote:
HatterMadness wrote:

Having fun, sure. But what you call fun isn't what everyone else calls fun. so there has to be rules as well, so that everyone knows what to expect from the game. And all that advise is pretty good stuff for someone who wants to take the game seriously.
Besides, just because you think something is obvious doesn't mean there isn't someone who didn't realize it.
To each his own though.



It always amazes me how people can ignore parts of a comment just to make a point.
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