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D&D 3E
War! What is it good for? 
12th-Feb-2006 08:01 pm
Are there any good books that deal with armies fighting each other? I mean, I don't want to out and out simulate 20,000 soldiers fighting each other or something, but guidelines as to how far they can move, ways to treat whole armies as single units so I can quickly figure out wins, losses, etc.?

Also, would limited wish be sufficient to alter memories, or would wish be necessary? Or is there a lesser spell that would work?

Finally, I really hate my munchkin player. I've talked to him both in-game and out of game but he's still a thorn in my side. After 6 sessions, I shouldn't still be struggling to force the group together.
13th-Feb-2006 03:56 am (UTC)
the wizards of the coast book Heroes of Battle details how to do this. for a military battle/war campaign its a really good source, IMO
13th-Feb-2006 04:34 am (UTC)
What he said.
13th-Feb-2006 04:53 am (UTC)
Elaborate on the munchkin, and I'll have you clean his clock.
13th-Feb-2006 06:11 am (UTC)
A brief version of the email I sent him. Sorry for being a bit long.

What I did have a problem with was this. You were complaining about how expensive it was to research all your spells, etc., so I let you accumulate funds so you'd be able to afford to level up and stuff in the future. And then you wanted to turn right around and hire an army. It's like there's no in-between - you're either gimped or overpowered. Normal people don't hire armies! Fortunately there were some good ingame reasons to stop it, but yeah.

It's pushing the limits that really frustrates me. I've never DMed
before - you know this. And yet I feel like you are constantly asking
for stuff that more experienced DMs would say no way to. (And not as a
guess, either - I've actually asked other DMs abotu this.) Like, you
wanted to be a rich guy so you could have an interesting background
besides just bored adventurer in a tavern. Fine, that's interesting,
and it wasn't supposed to affect gameplay But it did! You became
unrobable, on the ins with aristocracy, throwing money around, etc.

As for the card thing [another player got a Fate card from a Deck of Many Things]- I wouldn't care if it ended up in the hands of
an NPC. That's no big deal. And I'd be just as frustrated with you if
you kept trying to steal his lunch. The issue is not the artifact. The
issue is that you are trying to steal from party members! That causes
extraordinary divisiveness, to the point that should Thugwar and
Stormwind find out it was Khadgar, they will probably never adventure
with him again and may even turn him over to the authorities for theft
or something. Boom, campaign over. It may be in character, but in the
grand scheme of things, you are still playing a game with your
friends, and sometimes you need to bend your character so you don't
upset your friends.

Orion's character is upset with you because he sees you to be selfish,
thieving, and generally dishonorable. Just because he let his temper
get the better of him in the past doesn't mean that he's not a dwarf
anymore. He is, and he's concerned with things like honor. In
addition, because of the events of last game, he will never be able to
see his family again, which is really, really hard for him. Orion as a
*player* is not upset, but Thugwar the character is.
13th-Feb-2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a Dragon eats him.
13th-Feb-2006 05:33 am (UTC)
1: There are a slew of books that (allegedly) deal with armies. I have yet to find one that does what I'd consider to be a good job, however --> the rules should be virtually seamless, flowing naturally from how small-scale combat works (with individual charachters) to larger "units" treated as single creatures.

2: Modify Memory is a 4th level bard spell. There's little reason that a wizard or priest could not research an identical or similar spell; if you believe in niche protection, just throw in an instrument. (In other words, YES, Limited Wish would do it.)

3: Repeat after me "if your PC goes off by himself, that's fine. But I'm going to resovle it with a single roll, and you'll be bored for the rest of the game." Works wonders for me. And when it doesn't work, and they don't respond to "it's a game, it has to be fun for everybody", I summarily boot the player.

OTOH, one man's muchkin is another man's good player. What exactly is he doing that you don't feel is appropriate? What are YOU doing to encourage or discourage said activity?
13th-Feb-2006 06:08 am (UTC)
First, he wanted to have the background as a rich guy, swearing it just meant he'd have nice clothes and stuff. I said OK, and then it did start affecting gameplay.

He's been keeping a lot of the treasure for himself.

He's duped one of the characters to do something that was against his alignment.

He hired a gang of robbers to mug one of the other characters.

Etc, Etc.

I tried addressing the first by taxing him severely, and the second by talking to him out of game. The third and fourth, I just emailed him about, and they will have in-game consequences... I'm just hoping it doesn't ruin the campaign.

He *has* been good at coming up with interesting subplots before the real plot-line starts, which is kind of nice, but they're all for maxing his character rather than advancing the party as a whole.
13th-Feb-2006 06:19 am (UTC)
Hiring a group to mug another character? That sounds like a civil offense. I'd have him arrested. When the details came back around, I'm sure the party wouldn't be in a hurry to bust him loose. There ya go. He's in jail, time for a new character.

And obviously he can't play evil characters. Simple solution do not allow evil characters. And if you think a good or neutral character could hire a group to mug another player, you're wrong without EXTREME circumstances. Same thing with forcing someone into doing acts against their alignment. You hear about the viscount who has his rivals "eliminated" and holds people under his sway? Evil! It's your first time dming as you have said, so insist on a "heroic" party.
14th-Feb-2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, I forgot about one other thing that he did - he went around town casting Knock on people's doors and then having a friend rob them, so he coudl sell them his Arcane Locks. :p

Yeah, I took the alignment quiz and he's totally chaotic evil. I'll probably throw him in prison and make him reroll. I'm just hoping he won't quit altogether - he already sent me a whiny email saying that "fine, if no one likes me, I'll play the shocker lizard animal companion." :rolleyes:
13th-Feb-2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
He's been keeping a lot of the treasure for himself.

He's duped one of the characters to do something that was against his alignment.

He hired a gang of robbers to mug one of the other characters.

I read elsewhere in this journal that you don't allow evil characters. Have you considered pulling out and adopting one of the (many) alingment tracking systems for D&D, and forcing him to use it? The three acts above all fit my definition of Evil ("sacrafice another for one's own gain"), and if he keeps it up his "rich, interesting PC" is going to wind up as a "Rich, powerful, dangerous NPC."

I also advise not to bend the game just to punnish him: doing that reeks of combativeness, which will only encourage further inappropriate gaming. Logical in-game consequences make a bunch of sense, instead.

Also, FWIW, if the rest of the players are enjoying him gaming this way, why not just let him do it? There's no hard and fast rule that you CAN'T be a rich PC -- in d20 Modern, there are even feats that allow you to start off that way.
13th-Feb-2006 04:33 pm (UTC)
They're not enjoying it, which is the problem. They were tolerant at best, and now with the whole hiring folks to mug the other character thing, 3 of the other 4 are going to hate him.

I won't have to do too much bending to punish him. In the last session, besides stealing the artifact that they were supposed to steal, he also stole the Divine Oracle's crystal ball. You tell me that THAT's not gonna get scryed out. Uh-huh. So the temple leaders are going to be chasing after them. In addition, Thugwar's player already said that as soon as he gets the opportunity, he's going to hire a cleric to Zone of Truth and maybe even Discern Lies on the munchkin.

Maybe, when the Oracle shows up with a couple pet paladins, their Detect Evil radars will go off on him as well. Hmmm...
14th-Feb-2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
Being a rich guy can also have its drawbacks. If he ever wanted to be incognito, he'd have difficulty because he would be easily recognizable. Also, he'd be a target for ever beggar, scammer & con artist around. Also, when fighting monsters, they'd think "He got pretty clothes. Me kill," and all their attacks would target him. Also, having contacts in the aristocracy isn't all its cracked up to be either. If he's so wealthy, why is he adventuring? Did he do something to embarass himself? Or is he pursued by a wronged business partner or client or someone? I can see it now:
Him: "Lord Something, I need your help."
Lord: "You! You're the one who impregnated my daughter! Guards!"
13th-Feb-2006 01:29 pm (UTC)
have you read heroes of battle? I thought it did a great job on explaining things, about while there is a war going on, the DM should keep the game focused on the party and their part, how to do so and keep the battle going. I just love the idea of although the party won their battles, the could lose the war. Personally, it had the best information out there. While it may not be perfect for war camapaigns, its by far the closest.
14th-Feb-2006 01:14 am (UTC)
I thought it did a great job on explaining things, about while there is a war going on, the DM should keep the game focused on the party and their part, how to do so and keep the battle going.

I haven't read Heroes of Battle, but from everything I've seen it's just a re-hash of the same "so you're too lazy to make up your mind" systems that they had back in 2nd edition.

If I was going to go for a "not combat" system, I'd probably pick up Skip William's Cry Havoc or one of the verisons of Mongoose's Open Mass Combat System before Heroes of Battle. In fact, as I could get both for the price of Heroes of Battle, I don't have a real good resaon not to.

I'm going to have to put some thought into a mass combat system -- and put some funds into getting my website back up and running.
14th-Feb-2006 04:15 pm (UTC)
Heroes of Battle focuses more on the role of an adventuring party in a wartime campaign and smaller-scale scenarios as opposed to huge combats.

So yes, if you're looking to determine the outcome of a large battle with die rolls, I'd agree with your choice of the other two systems. If you want to have the PCs directly influence the outcome of the conflict through a series of small skirmishes and courses of action, I'd suggest Heroes of Battle.

It's actually the only 3.5 book I have not regretted purchasing at one point or another.
14th-Feb-2006 07:29 pm (UTC)
Awesome, thanks for the ideas!
13th-Feb-2006 05:47 am (UTC) - As for the munchkin;
Don't force the group together. If he wants to run off and do his own thing, let him. And pit him against encounters meant for a group.

Think of it like a real combat situation. Just because a soldier leaves their platoon doesn't mean the Japanese battalion over the next hill just shrank to a squad.

Always remember that the rewards system for enounters is calculated with the idea that the players are in a group of 4. And preassembled encounters (like say, an adventure you buy at the store thats already thought out) are built around the idea of a 4 player team also.

So when your 3 level 1 characters go against their CR1 encounter, they'll have a hard time but will probably still make it through. When the single level 1 character goes against a different CR1 encounter at the same time, he'll most likely be screwed.

Then reintroduce him to the team in the form of a prisoner needing rescueing from whatever dungeon / forest / swamp / city they're improsed in.

In regards to battle resources, as mentioned earlier, Heroes of Battle is an excellent resource for such things. Well worth the money spent.
13th-Feb-2006 09:19 am (UTC)
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<<Then reintroduce him to the team in the form of a prisoner needing rescueing from whatever dungeon / forest / swamp / city they're improsed in.>>

Hate to say it (although foxsable already did), I doubt the other three party members would jump to spring him with activities like this. ^.^;

But frankly, yeah, don't dumb down encounters if said munchkin goes solo. And remember if the other three players complete encounters, only divy the experience between the three of them.

I don't think you are going to win on the topic of his character needs to mesh with the other characters. If he was for that, he would have created a character that followed that concept long ago. Right now I agree with planesdragons's #3 and foxsable's initial paragraph. Seeing as you should have to set up pretty much a separate game for said munchkin, yeah I'd be all up for planesdragons call there. If you stick with this person though, his character really needs to learn 'cause-and-effect'. I can't imagine (unless you were extremely skilled) how this person can pull off many attempts of stealing from his party and the rest of his party not even bother to suspect something amiss. Why hasn't this happened yet?

Wasn't this situation something you asked about before? Maybe it was in a different forum? (If so, what DID you decide to do about the money?)

13th-Feb-2006 09:23 am (UTC)
((Ugh... ignore the above error. Stupid thing doesn't like it when I use <<'s )) -Omni_sphere
13th-Feb-2006 03:33 pm (UTC)
Yep, I did, and for awhile the situation improved. Saturday's session just sent everything down the crapper again.

He's going to face the serious consequences next session. Probably be thrown in prison or something.
13th-Feb-2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
Heres something that I have used in the past...what the GM giveth, the GM taketh away.

So what if hes rich? I have had players in my games that were rich and when they tried to use their coin while in another area, the merchants refused because they had either 1) never seen the coinage before 2) refused to believe that one person would carry that much money around legally.

There are plenty of things to screw with this character.

He hired an army? Thats well and good, now make the Army go ransack a small hamlet or kill some people that it should'nt have. With him/her at the head, they will be the one that gets the axe.

When it comes to the other players, heres something a group of mine years ago did: A certain rogue was lying to the group and duping them about treasure and its worth. Turns out when the players found out, the wizard cast a sleep spell on him and the others tied him up. They proceeded to go through his clothes (he was awake by now) and belongings, taking majority of his gear, items and clothes. They then took the goods and had them exchanged for coin, which they then used for their orignal quest (which I believe was to rebuild an ancient temple)leaving the rogue with hardly more than what he started the adventure with.

They then gave him an option, either stop what he was doing or the next time they would kill him. Sure enough he tried it again and when his character was killed, it ended the problem. (player wasnt to happy, but the group remained whole after that)

Just some ideas...
13th-Feb-2006 02:58 pm (UTC)
Actually, hiring the army could take care of two problems. Armies are expensive. Having them stand around doing nothing for a few months will cost him more than he could ever expect. In addition, bored soldiers can be a handful in and of themselves (civil disturbances from getting drunk and beating up civilians.

Sickness runnig through the army drains funds for medicines. Armies eat food in addition to being paid a wage. All of these are financial sink holes. Your rich warlord is going to end up a pauper alone.
14th-Feb-2006 03:22 am (UTC)
I just gotta say, that icon is seriously awesome. Is that a charicature of your WoW character or something? Looks really cool.
14th-Feb-2006 04:02 am (UTC)
Yep! Duerma, 53 gnome warlock on Feathermoon. The icon was made by the talented triese.
19th-Feb-2006 02:07 am (UTC) - Bastard Munchkins...
Exactly what is his character class, race, level...? I've had munchkins before, and I love them to bits... Literally... They CAN be entertaining, but usually they just want to mess up your well-laid plans... The fun part is dealing with them... Most of the time they're just some maxed out fighter, but I've had rogues cause major problems with their 'leading others into temptation' and stuff... Solution= "Mark of Justice" The party gets a Paladin or a Cleric to cast it on the munchkin, stipulating that 'any act of bastardism' (defined by the DM) activates it... Geas/Quest could also be useful...
Or just have him eaten by Dire Maggots, whatever fits your game type...
19th-Feb-2006 05:11 pm (UTC) - Re: Bastard Munchkins...
He's a 1st rogue/5th wizard. He likes doing the whole "Alter Self" thing to wreak havoc.:p

I think what we are going to do is have him swear on an "Oath Rod" (a la Robert Jordan) that he won't do anything bastardly to party members again. The guy who was assaulted and rob just happens to be the son of an 18th level cleric.... :evil grin:
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