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Rob Hamilton - September 14 '02- 2:49 Eastern Standard Time

I have no ice tray. The room didn't come with one, which is apparently the standard, though last year my room, and most of my friends' rooms, had them. Since I haven't gotten around to going to a store that actually sells ice trays, I've been using smallish mugs to freeze giant blocks of ice, and reusing them as they get smaller. Jury-rigged ice! Man, I'm weird.

Printed all the letters I got, again, today. There's a 200% increase, that's progress!

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20-30% brainpower, eh? The skull departure thing worked!

Hi Chime,

Since you didn't get much mail yesterday I decided to write today. (now you'll probably get floods from your fanbase)

Just a couple questions

1) Which type of fighting style do you prefer in RPGs?
2) In NWN I have an elven ranger, is that wrong? (and I've managed to play it on a voodoo5 somehow)
3) Why and how do people suddenly disappear from the RPGamer radar?
4) How come when localizing a game the company changes the language in everything but the voice-over spells/special skills sometimes?
5) Do you think Xenosaga will be any good?

You can answer one, all, or none of these if you have an empty inbox again.

Aki coo coo kai, (I don't know what it means either)

*Operating on 20-30% brain power after reading yesterdays column.

I didn't really get flooded at all. Just these three you see here, in fact. They're all long, though, so total letter length isn't too far off from normal.

1) I find that many different types of fighting style can be executed well, and similarly, many can be executed poorly. Balance of abilities and enemies' power is more important than the actual style, it seems. For exmaple, I loved the very different systems of Final Fantasy VI and Secret of Mana, but the systems of Tecmo: Secret of the Stars (menu-based, like FF6), and Secret of Evermore (which is like SoM) were not as entertaining. Evermore's lack of entertainment value (in my opinion), however, might not be due to fighting style as much as the way it handled ability levels. The main problem, I think, is that powering up your weapons and magic was futile because you got better ones, from which none of your prior effort paid off. In Secret of Mana, your sword proficiency carried from one sword to the next, and your ability with Fire Magic was good for all fire magic. Also, SoE should have had it so that a second player could control the dog.
2) Nah, there's nothing wrong with elven rangers. The class and race go extremely well together, roleplaying-wise. In my opinion, they don't go together the best as far as abilities (for instance, elves' free weapon proficiencies don't help a ranger at all), but there's certainly nothing wrong with the choice. Dexterity helps rangers!
3) No one has ever come back to tell us.
4) You know, I'm not really sure. In some cases, I'd attribute it to oversight.
5) I just hope it doesn't have a battle system as tedious as gear fighting. (Reference back to question 1: the system XG used for humans was a nice concept, though it could have used more development. The system XG used for gears was abysmal. I believe that all gear fights should have been conducted as the ones in the Nortune arena were!)

I should work towards a PHD in PHB

Hey Chimera,

A few comments about your dissertation on racial selection.

On the whole, very good, but there are a few things that need to be mentioned.

First off, the bow IS indeed a prohibited weapon for druids, whether or not it uses metal in the arrows. If you use one your druid powers will shut off for a while. Metal or no metal isnt the issue, as a scimitar is allowed, and it IS made of metal. Its just the weapon itself. I personally think this is stupid, but thats what the rules say.

Secondly, you say "no core race gets an intelligence bonus". Partially untrue. Some elves DO get an int bonus. The grey elf subrace (detailed in the dmg), and the sun elf of the forgotten realms campain setting (both identical in every way other than appearance) get +2 to int, and -2 to con. They make exceptional wizards, but youd better put a decent stat in con or your going to get boned on hp.

My personal opinion on race is that Humans and elves are the best.

Elves get a hugely overbalanced load of special abilities from other races because if the designers had tried to re-balance them from original, people would have been very mad. In fact they SHOULD be a +1 level adjusted race,.. but they arnt. Truthfully an assimar is no more powerful and they eat the level adjustment.

Humans are also my favorite because of the bonus feat and skills, and the ability to have their highest leveled class be their prefered class. This makes them perfect for multiclassing and going for prestige classes.

One adititonal note,.. something Ive found to be VERY effective, is to have your character take one level of monk. For that one level, you get evasion (one of the best game survival abilities), +2 to every save, improved unarmed attack for free (1d6 normal punch damage, no provoking attacks), and the ability to add your wisdom bonus to ac in no armor. In addition, if your DM will allow the martial art rules from oriental adventures, you can trade your stunning attack ability for one of a number of free feats including blind fight and iron will. I like iron will for the additional +2 to will saves (a total of +4 for one level).

You dont have to be a genius to see how this might bennifit a wizard, or any other class fo that matter. Due to alignment restrictions(or training time ones), you may have to take the monk level as your first level.

I have a weaponmaster character, and hes dodged so many dragon breaths and spells for no damage with his evasion (weap master gets good dex saves) not getting a +1 base attack for one level was totally worth it. The bonus to will saves are also immensly valuable to figher types.


Your point about elven druids is well taken. I've played under house rules that allow druids to use wooden versions of other types of weapon (with reduced damage dice or critical modifiers, in some cases), and though I knew that the damage rules were clearly house-made, I didn't realize that it wasn't in the core rules for them to be able to use makeshift wood weapons at all.

Yes, Sun and Grey elves get an intelligence bonus. By core races, I meant to refer to the base racial statistics in the PHB. However, these types of elves do get the bonus, and do make great wizards. Drow and tieflings have an intelligence bonus as well.

I'm not sure I agree that elves deserve an ECL, but I do agree that Aasimar and Tieflings are not significantly more powered than elves are. Genasi aren't more powered at all.

On the subject of taking a level of monk: this is something I've done before, with a couple characters, and it is indeed quite useful. It also falls into a category of gaming that many of my fellow players call "cheese." I'm frequently guilty of cheese, and I don't criticize it too harshly, but I would offer a word of caution: don't take class levels if it doesn't make sense to your character history. A rogue who was trained by the yakuza could easily have a level of monk, sure, but not a street-urchin-turned-pickpocket-turned-adventurer. That said, monk levels are most useful for characters who don't rely too much on their armor, and whose wisdom scores are high enough to grant benefit. A rogue with decent wisdom can benefit greatly from a level of monk, but a fighter is unlikely to. Clerics have good wisdom, but they also almost always use heavy armor, in my experience. Wizards stand to benefit from more AC, definitely. The problem you face is that it delays your spell progression significantly. Taking a level of monk means that you'll be missing spells at critical times--at 5th, no fireball, at seventh, no polymorph self, and at seventeenth, no wish.

Evasion is certainly a worthy thing to want, but three levels of rogue can also grant it (as well as 2d6 bonus damage in many situations), and that tends to be less out-of-character for most people. The rogue class barely even means an actual rogue anymore, in many cases--it's perfectly reasonable to a law-abiding citizen to follow the class due to its skill benefits.

For my next mythological manifestation, a hecatoncheires!

Dear Chimerasame, who now is great at acting more like a reborn Pheonix then a three-headed Chimera...

Anyway, I am glad you're back (at least for a little while longer)! Now, on to my questions...

1.) What makes a computer geek a computer geek? See, I think just because you know a lot about the computer doesn't mean you are a computer geek...

2.) Does Googleshang own a Sphynx Cat? I saw on Jay Leno during one Headlines bit a picture of a Sphynx Cat that looked like absolutely creepy, so I just thought...

3.) Seriously, do you think you will be invited to be Q & A legitimitely again later on in the year? I would be nice to see you again on Q & A later on in the future...

4.) Finally, as a true RPG question, can you give me a good example of a truly hard RPG and an RPG where a lot of playable characters don't screw up with the story? After reading the latest Roundtable Discussion of RPGamer, I am quite curious of your opinion about what makes an RPG hard or easy and whether little or lots of characters affect the gameplay or plot of the story?

Well, that are all my questions for the day, so have a nice weekend!


Neo-Omega K1

P.S. Box Car Racer rules!!!

1) Well, that depends on your definition of "geek." Also, of "computer," and of "what." I'm not good with defining social groups (or antisocial groups), and I've never really come up with a concrete opinion. I'd say if you know a lot about computers and you spend more than a couple hours a day using one, then you're probably a computer geek. But I suppose you don't have to be both of those things!
2) Not that I know of.
3) It's possible--I'd have thought it unlikely, but I wasn't even expecting to be back this weekend, so what do I know!
4) Hmm. Suikoden II has a great plot, and many characters. Chrono Cross has lots of players, and I didn't like the plot that much. The difficulty of each is on about the same level, I'd think. I don't think there's a great relationship between character number and plot (unless the number of characters is one; that makes plot difficult.) Difficulty, as well, is a seperate issue. Tetris has only a handful of very two-dimensional players, and its plot is amazing.

Chiming out:

Ah, yes, another one of these nights betwixt and between various layers of dorkdom. I sit here, having finished sitting around at an anime club showing, where I am now staff, working on an online column for a site based on video games, thinking about playing an MMORPG for an hour or so, and tomorrow I'll be at my standard saturday D&D game most of the day.

Well, it's geekery, but it's not completely hopeless as a life; the anime club, at least, has lots of women. (Column readership has some too, but most of you tend to be less local...)

admiral "It's a trap!" ackbar

heheh, somethingawful's photoshop phridays and comedy goldmines own me

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