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Talakeal
2013-01-28, 09:35 PM
I have run across several rules in RPG books over the years where, if a player does, or more often becomes, a certain something the DM is allowed to revoke their PC status and take away control of the character. Of the top of my head examples include a vampire with a humanity below 1 in WoD, a PC who ascends to divinity in several versions of D&D, and in the RPGA there is a laundry list of offenses which boots character into NPC land ranging from becoming an evil alignment, to attacking fellow PCs, to a tauric character allowing themselves to be ridden (that last one is kind of WTF to me).

A while back I mentioned on this forum that I had once forbidden characters from looting fallen comrades to sidestep the WBL rules and was given quite the tongue lashing by the residents of the playground. That got me thinking, what do you guys feel about rules like the above written into gaming groups?

Is it ever OK for the DM or the author of the rules to limit player actions because they conflict with the game, either in tone or mechanics? If I am running a game that is PHB races only, do I have the right to forbid or give the boot to players who want to use one of the rituals in savage species to transform into a MM race? If I am playing a good game and require good characters, should I disallow a PC to change their alignment to CE and start tacking levels in vassal of Demogorgon?

These actions might be fully in character and what the player wants, but they just aren't conductive to running the game, either because they ruin the mood or simply throw off the mechanical scheme of things.

kamikasei
2013-01-28, 10:04 PM
Is it ever OK for the DM or the author of the rules to limit player actions because they conflict with the game, either in tone or mechanics? If I am running a game that is PHB races only, do I have the right to forbid or give the boot to players who want to use one of the rituals in savage species to transform into a MM race? If I am playing a good game and require good characters, should I disallow a PC to change their alignment to CE and start tacking levels in vassal of Demogorgon?

These actions might be fully in character and what the player wants, but they just aren't conductive to running the game, either because they ruin the mood or simply throw off the mechanical scheme of things.
Yes.

This is the sort of thing that shouldn't require set rules. It falls under "don't be a jackass". If you want to run a PHB-races-only game, and you tell the players that, and they agree to play in it, then immediately trying to get around that stipulation as soon as the game begins is being a jackass. If you say you want to run a good-aligned game, and they sign up for it, they shouldn't immediately cease to be good as soon as play begins.

There's a certain amount of give-and-take between the players playing along with the idea the GM had for the game and the GM adapting to what the players find themselves interested in once play begins, but that sort of give-and-take is something a healthy group needs to be able to handle without resorting to explicit rules, if you ask me. These players aren't stuck playing with you against their will, forced to make the best of a bad situation. If you say "I want to run a game like X and Y", and they don't want to play that, they can a) tell you that, and maybe you can make some changes to accommodate them, in which case great! or b) not play, in which case no one is playing anything they don't want to, in which case great! Taking the starting situation you set up for them and then immediately turning it in to something else is rude as hell: it puts whatever enjoyment they expect to get out of whatever thing they're doing above respect for the work you've put in to the game.

There are nuances, but somehow I doubt you're asking about a nuanced situation. Let me guess: on the loot thing, were the party taking the possessions of a fallen teammate and distributing them (or their sale value) among one another, then getting a replacement and a little less treasure on the way to the next level to balance out the temporary windfall? Or was one player bringing in a line of twenty characters to immediately get them killed off and let the party start with nineteen spare sets of starting gear?

It was the latter, wasn't it?

That player was being a jackass. That's not something that you need a rule for.

Deophaun
2013-01-28, 10:25 PM
Rule 1: DM's dictating to players how their PCs behave (including demoting them to NPCs) is evil.

Rule 2: Sometimes, evil is necessary. A DM should always have a cleric on hand for atonement.

It's not something that you want to have happen. It's something that you should do your best to avoid. If you have such a rule in place and a player violates it, you should first see if you can adapt the player's breach to your campaign first. But, if you can't, you can't.

valadil
2013-01-28, 11:24 PM
I try to avoid restricting actions. I find it very hard to believe in a world where a character is unable to pick up a weapon because he already owns too much stuff. I'd rather not put that sort of thing in my world. (In this specific case, I'd let the party go above WBL. If I cared to balance it, they'd get short changed until they were back to WBL.)

But some actions will break the game. I'm perfectly willing to tell a player he can take an action, but I'm not obliged to protect him from the party or to keep him in the game. If expressing the character requires that action to be taken, then so be it, the character is fulfilled. If the player decides it's really important that the character stick with his friends, so he'll be a little less stubborn, that's perfectly valid too.

The Glyphstone
2013-01-28, 11:40 PM
There are nuances, but somehow I doubt you're asking about a nuanced situation. Let me guess: on the loot thing, were the party taking the possessions of a fallen teammate and distributing them (or their sale value) among one another, then getting a replacement and a little less treasure on the way to the next level to balance out the temporary windfall? Or was one player bringing in a line of twenty characters to immediately get them killed off and let the party start with nineteen spare sets of starting gear?

It was the latter, wasn't it?

That player was being a jackass. That's not something that you need a rule for.

Knowing Talakeal's group (at least from what has been posted here), it's almost certainly the latter. Or at least 'player dies, loot and distribute, and expect the next character to have full gear and no reductions on treasure'.

ArcturusV
2013-01-29, 12:40 AM
Honestly? I don't even see it as evil. I've lost too many groups, too many campaigns because something has happened to ruin the group. Usually by a player doing something that is generally banned by the rules you mention.

Usually it's the Rogue/Thief's fault. They just can't RESIST stealing from party members for some reason. Or doing that Haley style, "Oh yeah, this room was already looted when I got here. Ignore the giant bag of loot behind me" sort of shenanigans. Things like that usually put pressure on a group. That pressure builds and eventually, bam, a totally Player Derived TPK in effect.

Now, there's some I would relax. I generally don't care if there are evil characters. I've run myself, and seen enough Evil characters to know that just because they are evil doesn't mean they are going to ruin your game or backstab everyone (Figuratively or literally). But stealing from party members is usually a no go in my book. As is PvPing lethally.

Generally attaining any sort of Unlimited Power/Immortality gets you retired in my games and NPCed. But I tend to end my campaigns a few levels before that stuff really happens anyway.

If your plan basically takes you away from "Adventuring" and you have no reason to be free to travel and do things, or desire to do so? I usually NPC you, maybe allow you to come back for limited cameos. Decided to take over the world? Well when you're running a global empire you're not going out to kill Goblins anymore, you got GUYS to do that for you. But you might show up to help the next generation of adventurers, or be killed by them, as the plot needs.

Zarrgon
2013-01-29, 01:14 AM
Is it ever OK for the DM or the author of the rules to limit player actions because they conflict with the game, either in tone or mechanics?

It is Always Ok. In fact, this is one of the main jobs of the DM.


With any social activity, you simply have to have someone in charge. Why? Well, have you ever gone to a social activity where everyone just sat around for hours, argued about every detail, and no one really knew what was going on? That is why. This is why weddings have planers, and even the local pot luck has somebody checking dishes before hand to make sure there is a mix of food(and that say ten people don't all bring chilly).

GolemsVoice
2013-01-29, 01:27 AM
I'd say it's no problem if it happens before the game and is explicitely stated. As Kamikasei said, you're the DM, and it's your game and story, and you're free to tell the people you're gaming with your restrictions so that they know them and can make an informed decision. If they don't follow these restrictions, the GM is either free to veto their characters ("No evil characters, please"), or they have to suffer the consequences (Rogue in a campaign with many undead)

What a DM should not do is restrict players arbitrarily during play, especially ad-hoc, because then, players can never be sure of the outcomes of their actions. So if a DM spontaneously says: no, this spell doesn't work, or no, your roll fails, that's bad.

However, any DM is fully within his or her right to stop sillyness like the one that was obviously happening in the OP's group.

However, as always, the reasons for the DM's actions should be clear and explained, if neccessary.

Talakeal
2013-01-29, 03:33 AM
The looting thing wasn't actual in D&D. It was in Exalted where one player came in with a five dot artifact (incredibly valuable and powerful and cost him a good number of character resources during creation). He played for one session, got bored with the game, and suicded his character, and I had to tell the other players OOC that they couldn't loot the artifact unless they paid the building points for it, which they objected to because it created a conflict between in and out of character motivations.

However, the players in question were involved in a D&D game at the same time where every time someone died the party could loot their stuff and the dead PCs player could make a replacement with full WBL, and future loot for the party was never docked to compensate. As a result every time someone wanted to quit playing or change characters they would suicide and let the other PCs loot them.

Actually the question doesn't stem from any problems with my group (for once, gasp!). I am working on the spell list for my own homebrew system, and have a permanent polymorph type spell. I think it is important to have such a spell so you can have stories like the frog prince, beauty and the beast, fafnir the dragon, etc or a "mad scientist" turning people into monsters. But I was wondering if it was too inappropriate / meta gamey to put a note in the spell saying that PCs are not allowed to transform into creatures which the GM has not OKed as playable races.

ArcturusV
2013-01-29, 03:51 AM
Either that or have a caveat on what it can do.

E.g: Oolong from Dragonball style. Even though he COULD transform into a giant mecha or something... he was still just as physically frail as usual and had no great physical strength or prowess from transforming, and in fact was so weak he burned himself on his own mildly warm soup.

Least that's what I'd do. Polymorph is... well... horrendously broken in just about every game I've ever seen an effect like it in.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-01-29, 04:52 AM
The question asked in the thread title only has one correct answer: "maybe."

It's an entirely subjective point that individual groups have to decide on. Like any such point, it's best to discuss it before play begins or at least just before a player commits character resources toward it.

As for the specific instance that prompted the queston; general polymorph effects are bad (except baleful polymorph). It'd be far more balanced to limit buffing transformations to one form per spell. That is: there's no polymoprh; but there's instead polymorph (blue dragon), polymorph (astral deva), and polymorph (war-troll), all as individually learned and cast spells found at different levels on the spell-list depending on the power of the form in question.

Frozen_Feet
2013-01-29, 05:48 AM
When there are specific rules for GM taking control of player-made characters, it's by definition a part of the game, not the metagame, is it not?

I don't usually have a gripe with such rules. They're just an(other) explicit loss condition, kinda like character death (usually) is.

True metagame reasons aren't spelled out in the rules, but might some times exist. Preventing a player from using his characters to spite other players is a good example.

Another case would be when one player is absent, but his character is needed to react to some game event. I think it's perfectly fine for a GM to veto actions or suggestions for action that would cause destruction of said character. It kinda sucks when you miss a session only to find the game ended in your absence - not that it can always be avoided.

Kaerou
2013-01-29, 09:37 AM
in the RPGA there is a laundry list of offenses which boots character into NPC land ranging from |snip| a tauric character allowing themselves to be ridden (that last one is kind of WTF to me).

I think this is one of the worst and silliest rules I have ever heard, and the fact it is not a house rules but an RPGA thing has set me back in shock and stunned disbelief at the sheer absurdity.

.. Why..?

Yora
2013-01-29, 09:40 AM
Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the plot demands it!

And PnP RPGs are about playing together as a group, which demands that you don't steal from other PCs or try to kill them, or run off to completely separate adventures.

Jay R
2013-01-29, 10:01 AM
It's crucial to make the distinction between DMs who won't allow the players to solve the problem cleverly and DMs preserving the flow and structure of the game.

I won't stop players from using a solution I hadn't planned for, even if it short-circuits my plan for the game.

But if necessary, I would be willing to stop certain player actions, and even not invite players who wanted to commit those acts back.

Go read any half dozen threads in this forum, and you will see that there are many mutually incompatible ways to play D&D.

If a player wants his character to kill or betray the other PCs, rather than be part of a party of loyal comrades, I hope he finds a good game somewhere, but he won't play in my game.

If a player wants to ignore all quest hooks, kill random NPCs, burn down the towns, etc., he should find another game. He won't enjoy the game with us; we won't enjoy the game with him.

Similarly, I shouldn't play in a PvP game. or a game in which most players act out mayhem.

Having said that, I've never dropped somebody out of a game, or even threatened to, and I've never had to leave one myself. But that's because I'm very choosy about who I play with.

BlckDv
2013-01-29, 10:02 AM
If parameters are setup and agreed to at the start of a game, then I would not only accept, but expect that the result of having a PC willfully cross out of those parameters would be the removal of that PC from the game, whether by auto-NPCdom, vanishing off stage, death, or other means that would not leave a huge IC question mark.

The NPCing as a result of line crossing seems to serve primarily the purpose of allowing a game to have an answer to "What happened AFTER Bob robbed the Baron and tried to frame Sue?" It lets the DM keep the story line alive, but acknowledging that the actions of that character have passed outside of that scope of what the players are intended to have direct input on.

When something like this happens in one of my games, I will usually make an overt OOC check that the player is aware of what they are doing. "Ed, you do realize that if Rogan the Slim eats one more slice of cake he will be a glutton and we all agreed that gluttons are not acceptable PCs for this game, right?" or "Andy, if Flotsam the Drifter completes this plot to make the Lord of Smiles unwittingly kill his own Wife he will have crossed over to being evil and you'll need to replace him as a PC, do you really feel that his story is heading this way and you are ready to let him go?"

Sometimes a player comes to realize that the way a PC has evolved through play DOES lead them to naturally cross the lines, and that they may need to take actions no longer suitable for a PC. A mature player will likely come to the DM before this goes down and let you know, working with you to make the exit appropriate for the character and not too disruptive to the party. A less mature player may intentionally spring it as a surprise, and may even have allowed themselves to forget that this will take the character out of the limits of a PC.

Naturally what these limits are vary from party to party and game to game. (I had immense fun in one game in which we eventually learned that the relentless bounty hunter who was picking off the party one by one for the rewards on our head from a corrupt government had been a PC all along, betraying us from within. Many players would find such a game frustrating and upsetting.)

Zombimode
2013-01-29, 10:33 AM
Why did the chicken cross the road? Because the plot demands it!

And PnP RPGs are about playing together as a group, which demands that you don't steal from other PCs or try to kill them, or run off to completely separate adventures.

While I find this principle pretty convincing, it is apparently rather difficult to grasp :smallmad:
Thats the problme I currently have in the group I DM: most of my player play characters that are unable or unwilling to communicate and cooperate with other creatures as a group.

For my next group, I will state in big letters that I only accept characters, that are at least interested in forming a cohesive party.

kamikasei
2013-01-29, 10:52 AM
The looting thing wasn't actual in D&D. It was in Exalted where one player came in with a five dot artifact (incredibly valuable and powerful and cost him a good number of character resources during creation). He played for one session, got bored with the game, and suicded his character, and I had to tell the other players OOC that they couldn't loot the artifact unless they paid the building points for it, which they objected to because it created a conflict between in and out of character motivations.
Hmmm, this is iffy. IIRC, in Exalted they specifically say that the ST has to judge (on a case-by-case basis) whether wealth or artifacts acquired through play can just be treated as things you have (and can lose) or as new Backgrounds you need to buy the dots for with XP. In this case, it would probably have made the most sense to say, yeah, you can take the artifact, but you'll be in XP debt for its value and won't be able to advance your character until you've paid that off. Of course, Exalted is a system and setting where saying "you can take the artifact, but it literally won't let you use it until you've attuned yourself to it by paying for the Background dots" would be perfectly plausible, so...

Either way, for the players to look at that situation and see "we're being denied loot to which we're entitled!" instead of "cool, we got a windfall!" is a pretty bad sign.

Actually the question doesn't stem from any problems with my group (for once, gasp!). I am working on the spell list for my own homebrew system, and have a permanent polymorph type spell. I think it is important to have such a spell so you can have stories like the frog prince, beauty and the beast, fafnir the dragon, etc or a "mad scientist" turning people into monsters. But I was wondering if it was too inappropriate / meta gamey to put a note in the spell saying that PCs are not allowed to transform into creatures which the GM has not OKed as playable races.
This kind of thing is always tricky. If there are things the characters can do within the rules, which it makes perfect sense for them to do, and which it would seem contrived for them to hold back from... yeah, that gets difficult to judge. I don't think it's good to have it coded in to the rules, though. That just makes the arbitrariness seem more pronounced. On the other hand, I'm used to systems like Mutants & Masterminds where it's perfectly normal to have notes saying "this power can cause problems X and Y and the GM may want to restrict its use as appropriate to the campaign", which is perfectly reasonable.

For this specific example, a note pointing out that it can lead to shenanigans is perfectly appropriate - it leaves it up to the GM whether she's okay with them or wants to rule them out in advance somehow. There are a few ways to rule them out - if the changes is permanent, the players may simply agree that their PCs aren't the type to want to irrevocably give up their normal forms. If the change is temporary, it may be prohibitively costly to switch back and forth. It may require something unsavoury, in the same vein as lichdom in D&D 3.5. In short, a rule saying "this is an option, but should be denied to players" strikes me as bad, whereas a note saying "this may cause problems in a campaign, so the GM and players may want to discuss restrictions on its use, and here are some ideas on justifying those restrictions in character" strikes me as good.

RPGuru1331
2013-01-29, 10:58 AM
On the Exalted thing, it's generally a tiny iota more kosher to let them take the item, then have the plot conspire to remove it if they won't pay the points, but I suspect they'd have balked at losing 'their' super nice toy without paying the points for it and were more annoyed at htat then any in-character thing, from what you've posted before.

Raimun
2013-01-29, 11:01 AM
Limits are okay but only if they are told before the characters are made and the game begins.

... and everything has to be reasonable.

For example, PCs should be able to loot dead PCs (as in dead-dead, they're not coming back) but this should not be abused. Ie. no "mass suicide conga-get rich-schemes".

I mean who would join such a group? "Hey, you, join us! We get rich by one of us committing suicide so we could take their stuff. Your turn is next week."

kamikasei
2013-01-29, 11:06 AM
Limits are okay but only if they are told before the characters are made and the game begins.
Eh. I don't entirely agree. I fully agree that it's bad to have the rules by which the world operates change too much mid-game, to the point where the players can't plan or form a useful impression of what their options are - but at the same time, the GM should have some slack to adapt to unforseen problems rather than being bound to only the issues she explicitly allowed for before the game began.

Frozen_Feet
2013-01-29, 11:10 AM
And PnP RPGs are about playing together as a group, which demands that you don't steal from other PCs or try to kill them, or run off to completely separate adventures.

They don't have to be any more about playing together than any other board game. I've run a succesful campaigns where the PCs most certainly did steal, kill and otherwise inconvenience each other, and they split multiple times. I think the record was seven players spread among four locations.

Didn't stop people from getting around the same table weekly. As a GM, it was just a matter of impartiality, patience and giving everyone their time in the limelight.

Sure, there was occasional conflict between players who didn't like each others' style, but from what I've gathered, not unusually much compared to player groups forced to stick together.

EDIT: Seriously, there are hundreds of games where players play against each other and are still expected to behave civilly towards each other. Failure to do so is mark of a sore loser. :smalltongue:

BlckDv
2013-01-29, 11:18 AM
They don't have to be any more about playing together than any other board game. I've run a succesful campaigns where the PCs most certainly did steal, kill and otherwise inconvenience each other, and they split multiple times. I think the record was seven players spread among four locations.

Didn't stop people from getting around the same table weekly. As a GM, it was just a matter of impartiality, patience and giving everyone their time in the limelight.

Sure, there was occasional conflict between players who didn't like each others' style, but from what I've gathered, not unusually much compared to player groups forced to stick together.

Yup, this is very much a what is your style item. I've had great success with split party play, giving the players with absent PCs some of the monsters or NPCs to portray. This only works because the players are more interested in the whole story and the discovery of the world than their own personal power, and have the mindset to play NPCs/Monsters to type, even when that means thwarting the goals of their party and causing themselves trouble latter on. I've had groups that handle splits fine but hate intra-party conflict, and parties that loved intra-party conflict but hated splitting up, the two are not really linked. I've had the same group of players love a game in which one party member was a raving pschopath and would do terrible things to other PCs, and then in another game running at the same time call foul when a party member sold secrets to a villain. It is all about what game you are playing and what social rules the players think that imposes.



As for the point about what is not allowed being declared at the start, while laudable for a GM to try, it is natural that they can't foresee everything players may attempt. For this reason it is important that not just the WHAT but the WHY of what is not allowed are made clear, and if something comes up in play, the DM can take the opportunity to explain OOC WHY that item is also a no-no and give the players a chance to elect an alternate course of action if they don't want to cross that line. This will also help by allowing conscientious players a decent chance to predict if unexpected things may be a no go, and perhaps clear them ahead of time before the party commits table time and resources towards a no-no goal.

Mystra
2013-01-29, 11:20 AM
Actually the question doesn't stem from any problems with my group (for once, gasp!). I am working on the spell list for my own homebrew system, and have a permanent polymorph type spell. But I was wondering if it was too inappropriate / meta gamey to put a note in the spell saying that PCs are not allowed to transform into creatures which the GM has not OKed as playable races.

This is a great example of Old School, for those who would like a great example. The DM says X and X is a rule. Period. No appeals, no whining, no saying ''but page 33 says''. The DM can say, right in the players faces, there is a spell, Awesome Polymorph, in this game that you can not have....unless I say so.

Most Old School games are full of things like this: the players can not get this or use this, just because.

But that being said. For spells at least, I like to do it the hard way: simply write an unabusable spell. A good thing to add is drawbacks. Make your permanent polymorph harmful. This after all fits in well with 'old stories'.

CarpeGuitarrem
2013-01-29, 11:20 AM
If the rules are so utterly unambiguous that no adjucation is needed, then there is no need for any GMing power (whether centralized or distributed).

What differentiates an RPG from a boardgame is the fact that it can and does go off the rails. So you need people to determine what happens when it does. That's something which a formula/rules can't provide. This is just a subset of that.

I also totally think that such a metagame restriction on polymorph is reasonable. It's not that different from Mutants and Masterminds, actually, where the GM is expected to curtail broken rules abuses, explicitly.

Frozen_Feet
2013-01-29, 11:28 AM
Limits are okay but only if they are told before the characters are made and the game begins.

That is a good joke. In ideal world, maybe. But in reality? You think one person can think of everything 4+ others can? :smalltongue:

I've had a player suddenly start a really detailed monologue on how he was going to horrendously torture a hapless a NPC. It would've never occurred to me to explicitly ban this, because a) I did not expect someone younger than me to have such wicked imagination and b) I don't normally think of such things at all. Ew.

I let it slide, because I'm not particularly soft-skinned. But from what I've read, this sort of thing can apparently break groups and would totally been ban-worthy to several other GMs. (You big wussies. :smalltongue: ) But the point stands - I was completely blindsided, because my mind doesn't usually run on those tracks (again, ew), and it would've never occurred to me to tell anyone to not do it beforehand.

This isn't the only time I've been surprised by heinousness of my players. It appears only extraordinarily emphatetic people will feel any compassion towards fictional characters from the outset. Most have to learn it, and devolve into complete sociopaths (or, in more familiar terms, "murder hobos") the first time they attempt roleplaying.

Jacob.Tyr
2013-01-29, 11:58 AM
That is a good joke. In ideal world, maybe. But in reality? You think one person can think of everything 4+ others can? :smalltongue:

I've had a player suddenly start a really detailed monologue on how he was going to horrendously torture a hapless a NPC. It would've never occurred to me to explicitly ban this, because a) I did not expect someone younger than me to have such wicked imagination and b) I don't normally think of such things at all. Ew.

I let it slide, because I'm not particularly soft-skinned. But from what I've read, this sort of thing can apparently break groups and would totally been ban-worthy to several other GMs. (You big wussies. :smalltongue: ) But the point stands - I was completely blindsided, because my mind doesn't usually run on those tracks (again, ew), and it would've never occurred to me to tell anyone to not do it beforehand.

This isn't the only time I've been surprised by heinousness of my players. It appears only extraordinarily emphatetic people will feel any compassion towards fictional characters from the outset. Most have to learn it, and devolve into complete sociopaths (or, in more familiar terms, "murder hobos") the first time they attempt roleplaying.

I always try and build in death-free ways of resolution in games I run. Honestly I don't even have anything die unless the players explicitly finish them off after combat ends...

I'd expect the other players to police these sort of actions, though. If the party hired a rogue to help with their adventures and they're noticeably being screwed out of loot I'm okay with them lopping his head off and going back to the temp agency. Player refuses to play a rogue any other way, and is set on being that type of character and they can just go do something else for the night, it's not okay to keep pulling that.

I'd also throw out a player who did most of what you mention... it's one thing to do some black market shenanigans behind the back of the paladin, it's another to completely flip alignment on the party and start working counter to everything. You build the character, write it's story, and choose their actions. Claiming it's IC to do pretty much anything is a bull**** way of passing the buck for being an asshat. If it's a good campaign and the players agreed to it, then their characters should actually be good and not filled with and constantly seeking ways to become evil. This kind of **** is immature.

hamishspence
2013-01-29, 01:22 PM
Players should also be thinking about "limiting in-character actions for metagame reasons- so that the DM isn't forced to step in and do it for them.

The Giant had a pretty good article on the subject:
http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html


Decide to React Differently:
Have you ever had a party break down into fighting over the actions of one of their members? Has a character ever threatened repeatedly to leave the party? Often, intraparty fighting boils down to one player declaring, "That's how my character would react." Heck, often you'll be the one saying it; it's a common reaction when alignments or codes of ethics clash.

However, it also creates a logjam where neither side wants to back down. The key to resolving this problem is to decide to react differently. You are not your character, and your character is not a separate entity with reactions that you cannot control. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a player state that their character's actions are not under their control. Every decision your character makes is your decision first. It is possible and even preferable for you to craft a personality that is consistent but also accommodating of the characters the other players wish to play.

When you think about a situation, ask yourself, "Is this the only way my character can react to this?" Chances are, the answer is, "No." Try to refine your character so that you can deal with situations that conflict with your alignment/ethos without resorting to ultimatums, threats, etc. This will often mean thinking in terms of compromise and concession to your fellow players, or at the very least an agreement to disagree.

Doug Lampert
2013-01-29, 02:24 PM
Usually it's the Rogue/Thief's fault. They just can't RESIST stealing from party members for some reason. Or doing that Haley style, "Oh yeah, this room was already looted when I got here. Ignore the giant bag of loot behind me" sort of shenanigans. Things like that usually put pressure on a group. That pressure builds and eventually, bam, a totally Player Derived TPK in effect.

My last campaign ended a few weeks ago at level 30 (4th edition, started when it came out), and we had several characters steal from the party without causing trouble.

This is because our group's style and agreement said it was allowed, they'd asked for an evil group, of COURSE they can act evil toward each other when doing so is the most expedient course and will not cost them their precious membership in an association of like minded individuals.

If the group had been different or if they'd asked for a "good" party game then I might well have banned such actions.

Of course part of what made it work is that it was never the same character twice and people were expected to get away with what they could and in fact tried to take precutions (which was both in character and realistic).

One character gets handed a comission to get something done, keeps all the money, doesn't tell anyone, and cons the rest of the party into doing what was wanted for free.

Searching an underwater palace one character finds a hidden bag of "balast", the balast is shiney and in the shape of coins, but there's no need to mention it to anyone, it's just balast.

One character chases a foe arround a corner, runs into another foe, kills it and dumps the glowing magic mace into her bag of holding prior to anyone else catching up. That's what you get for taking the lead in pursuit.

Two NPC allies find a bag of platinum plus some useless shiney rocks when they go up while the rest of the party goes down in clearing a palace. They split the rocks and give the party the platinum. "Shame that one of the prisoners might mention all those useless bits of stone that were in with the platinum." "What prisoners?"

The NPC allies was done as a cut scene so everyone would know (out of character). The rest all happened at the table with no nonsense like hidden notes. I suspect the "hidden" part of stealing from the party makes more trouble than the "stealing" part. My CHARACTER can be fooled, but if you're trying to fool me I have to think you're treating the game as adversarial, which isn't what I'm interested in.

Doug Lampert
2013-01-29, 02:39 PM
Players should also be thinking about "limiting in-character actions for metagame reasons- so that the DM isn't forced to step in and do it for them.

The Giant had a pretty good article on the subject:
http://www.giantitp.com/articles/tll307KmEm4H9k6efFP.html

To paraphrase one of the better GMs I've ever played with when he disapproved a character concept.

(a) Try to design a character who could plausibly have lived past the age of five.

(b) There is no glowing rune on your character's forehead that says "PC", no one else is obliged to break character to fit your character into the group. Try to design a character that other people will want in the group.

Rule (b) cuts both ways, which is IMAO what Rich is talking about, EVERYONE in the group has an affirmative obligation to make a character that can cooperate in a group and within reasonable limits to have that character's decisions help people fit into the group. Your character is your responsibility, and in most RPGs your responsibility includes being a member of a group. It's part of your job to make a character that fits in.

kyoryu
2013-01-30, 02:40 PM
Rule (b) cuts both ways, which is IMAO what Rich is talking about, EVERYONE in the group has an affirmative obligation to make a character that can cooperate in a group and within reasonable limits to have that character's decisions help people fit into the group. Your character is your responsibility, and in most RPGs your responsibility includes being a member of a group. It's part of your job to make a character that fits in.

Absolutely. The most common abusive player (and yes, they're abusive) is the guy that comes up with a PC that would be kicked out of the group or killed in *microseconds* for his behavior, but he knows will be allowed to stick around because he's a PC.

The social contract cuts both ways.

icefractal
2013-01-31, 05:35 AM
... to a tauric character allowing themselves to be ridden (that last one is kind of WTF to me).This seems really bizarre, so I've tried finding more about it, to no avail. Do you by any chance remember where that was from?

Talakeal
2013-01-31, 01:00 PM
This seems really bizarre, so I've tried finding more about it, to no avail. Do you by any chance remember where that was from?

The 3.5 living greyhawk (or was it living realms by then?) RPGA rules packet. Yeah, I can't find a copy either atm. I assume it was simply because the rules for one PC riding another were somehow confusing or potentially exploitable, but I have no idea how.

Slipperychicken
2013-01-31, 03:27 PM
Yep. Communicate restrictions clearly and completely, make sure everyone's on board first (hear objections then, address them), and maybe come up with some IC exuses for what makes them act under these restrictions. As for looting friendlies, you instead send the items to the PC's designated next of kin, as agreed previously.

It's good if everyone agrees beforehand. If you spring this in the middle of a session on unsuspecting players slobbering over the +6 Longsword on Jake's dead body, you're gonna have a bad time.

Talakeal
2013-01-31, 03:43 PM
As for the specific instance that prompted the queston; general polymorph effects are bad (except baleful polymorph). It'd be far more balanced to limit buffing transformations to one form per spell. That is: there's no polymoprh; but there's instead polymorph (blue dragon), polymorph (astral deva), and polymorph (war-troll), all as individually learned and cast spells found at different levels on the spell-list depending on the power of the form in question.

Specific polymorph forms isn't really applicable in this case. The spell in question is a permanent, or rather instantaneous, effect that actually changes a being's "natural" species like the rituals of transformation in Savage Species. Turning into a astral deva, war troll, or blue dragon might be fine for the duration of the combat, but playing one of these races for the rest of the campaign is a bit too much. Even something as mundane as a bird, a raven, or an orc, would be no trouble as a combat buff but could cause major havoc on a permanent basis in a PBH races only campaign.

For short term spll that would be nice in theory, but it would take up a lot of book space on mostly redundant spells.

Krazzman
2013-02-01, 05:25 AM
Specific polymorph forms isn't really applicable in this case. The spell in question is a permanent, or rather instantaneous, effect that actually changes a being's "natural" species like the rituals of transformation in Savage Species. Turning into a astral deva, war troll, or blue dragon might be fine for the duration of the combat, but playing one of these races for the rest of the campaign is a bit too much. Even something as mundane as a bird, a raven, or an orc, would be no trouble as a combat buff but could cause major havoc on a permanent basis in a PBH races only campaign.

For short term spll that would be nice in theory, but it would take up a lot of book space on mostly redundant spells.

Make bigger drawbacks. Loosing your ability to cast spells, don't being able to polymorph yourself (invent a beast shape one for short term duration into a few rodents, but still losing spell casting) right out with this spell, adding a (raising) DC will save to struggle for control over the true nature of the animal you has been transformed in. No forms over 3 or 4 HD. Etc. Basically making this a curse and not a buff. YOu can still convert commoners into "Monsters", you can transform the misbehaving prince into an ugly beast, the cocky king into a toad and so on.

EDIT:
Maybe look at pathfinders Beast Shape, Elemental Form, Dragon Form stuff?

Scow2
2013-02-01, 09:43 AM
Just ban the ritual. It's a dubious effect from a dubious book. You are saying Polymorph isn't a problem, right?

Talakeal
2013-02-01, 12:05 PM
Just ban the ritual. It's a dubious effect from a dubious book. You are saying Polymorph isn't a problem, right?

I have put enough limitations on standard polymorph that it has yet to be a problem in my game.

The thing is, I like the ritual. It is a very important part of the fantasy genre, and I want NPCs to be able to use it, if an evil wizard wants to become a dragon overlord ala Dark Sun or curse the prince by turning him into a savage ogre than more power to them. Also, if the PCs get tired of their race and want to swap between PC races, for example from an elf to a dwarf, well I would rather they do this than simply make a new character.

The problem is, while it is ok for NPCs to turn into monsters, I find it both against the theme of the game, unbalanced, and just plain unrealistic, for the PCs to transform into 3 war trolls and a dire tortoise for power gaming purposes.

I mean, imagine in real life if people could permanently turn into gorillas. I am sure a few people would do it, but the vast majority of people, even athletes and soldiers who would probably find it a huge boon, would turn down the loss of their humanity. The problem is when you have power gamers the loss of humanity in exchange for power is not something they consider a noticeable cost.

Also, I have thought about enforcing mental changes, that is what 2nd ed D&D did with polymorph other, but it just doesn't fit in some situations. It is fine for Fafnir to become a monster, but at the same time you have cursed people like the Frog Prince or Fin Razeal who keep their human mind and seek a cure. Maybe if the mental changes only happen for an increase in power?

ArcturusV
2013-02-01, 06:50 PM
Or here's a thing, and thus a simple solution:

If you WILLINGLY turn. Aka, you want to, etc. You run the risk of losing your mind the longer you stay in that form. You might skate by with 10 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. Spend a day in a form? You probably won't remember that you were ever anything else.

If someone curses you against your will, it takes, much, much longer. Instead of measuring the time in hours, you measure it in months.

The Fury
2013-02-02, 12:32 AM
On rule (b):
Back in the day it was pretty common for my roleplaying group to make characters that reasonably could get along but frequently ended up fighting each other over relatively trivial reasons like matters of wounded pride or just poor impulse control. Now I'm just as guilty as anyone in having done this, in fact more than most people in the group. At the time this was going on I'd probably be indignant if the DM tried to limit this behavior. Nowadays I try to be better about reining myself in so the DM need not have to step in.

With regards to the limits imposed:
Restricting the player party to non-evil alignments and PHB races is not unreasonable. In my opinion there should be a very good, (non-metagame,) reason why a player character should change to Chaotic Evil. I seem to recall that the ritual in Savage Species was pretty vague as to what it required, or how difficult it is to learn. I get that you like the ritual and you want to use it but if and NPC is performing the ritual, the PCs stop him and take his notes regarding the ritual for turning into a Pit Fiend... Well, it kind of becomes the big red button that says "Do Not Push," of course the PCs will want to do it after that.

Slipperychicken
2013-02-02, 12:50 AM
With regards to the limits imposed:
Restricting the player party to non-evil alignments and PHB races is not unreasonable. In my opinion there should be a very good, (non-metagame,) reason why a player character should change to Chaotic Evil.

You can also consider that D&D is fundamentally about heroes rising from all walks of life and ultimately putting their differences aside to fight evil. Having an evil bad guy in the party who betrays everyone (and who doesn't get murdered or otherwise defeated) just doesn't work in that narrative.

ArcturusV
2013-02-02, 12:59 AM
Well... maybe? Depends on your point of view. I mean take the original three Dragonlance Novels (Which if I remember the rumor gristle were in fact based off a campaign, and are fairly iconic examples of DnDness). Main spellcaster in the party? Raistlin, about as evil as you can get for a PC. Cursed, mean spirited, cruel, delights in pain and suffering of others, plans to warp space and time to become a God disposing the Evil Goddess, and eventually destroy everything.

Still ended up working out as a party member and contributed to the party's success in the Dragon War.

Course... evil doesn't have to, or should, betray people. Unless provoked. Or the Evil character in question is a complete fool, wanting to make himself a target of not just the villains he had been foiling to that point, but also the heroes he betrayed.

Narren
2013-02-02, 01:18 AM
The looting thing wasn't actual in D&D. It was in Exalted where one player came in with a five dot artifact (incredibly valuable and powerful and cost him a good number of character resources during creation). He played for one session, got bored with the game, and suicded his character, and I had to tell the other players OOC that they couldn't loot the artifact unless they paid the building points for it, which they objected to because it created a conflict between in and out of character motivations.

However, the players in question were involved in a D&D game at the same time where every time someone died the party could loot their stuff and the dead PCs player could make a replacement with full WBL, and future loot for the party was never docked to compensate. As a result every time someone wanted to quit playing or change characters they would suicide and let the other PCs loot them.


If I lose a player, or is he gets tired of his character, I don't allow him to decide that he kills himself so the rest of the party can take his gear. If a player wants to leave or make a new character, then his character will find some reason to stop adventuring/traveling/whatevering with the party. And he'll take all of his toys with him. The player can certainly fill in the blanks on this, but he's not just giving the party all of his stuff.

Honestly, if I were in an adventuring party in which everybody killed themselves instead of retiring, I'd be a little unnerved.

Talakeal
2013-02-02, 01:24 AM
If I lose a player, or is he gets tired of his character, I don't allow him to decide that he kills himself so the rest of the party can take his gear. If a player wants to leave or make a new character, then his character will find some reason to stop adventuring/traveling/whatevering with the party. And he'll take all of his toys with him. The player can certainly fill in the blanks on this, but he's not just giving the party all of his stuff.

Honestly, if I were in an adventuring party in which everybody killed themselves instead of retiring, I'd be a little unnerved.

Well, they don't literally kill themselves, they just put themselves into a situation where the bad guys do it for them and forget to heal / protect themselves first.

ArcturusV
2013-02-02, 01:38 AM
Which if they did that, went in with arms wide, chin presented, saying "COME SMITE ME!" I'd probably have someone KO him and run off with the character, and all their gear, etc. taking the character and the items off somewhere while his buddies keep the rest of the party busy. Good luck finding your friend and his gear now.

Kelb_Panthera
2013-02-02, 05:55 AM
Specific polymorph forms isn't really applicable in this case. The spell in question is a permanent, or rather instantaneous, effect that actually changes a being's "natural" species like the rituals of transformation in Savage Species. Turning into a astral deva, war troll, or blue dragon might be fine for the duration of the combat, but playing one of these races for the rest of the campaign is a bit too much. Even something as mundane as a bird, a raven, or an orc, would be no trouble as a combat buff but could cause major havoc on a permanent basis in a PBH races only campaign.

For short term spll that would be nice in theory, but it would take up a lot of book space on mostly redundant spells.

Um.... silly question; what's wrong with baleful polymorph and a version of PAO that can only be used as a debuff? You can use the actual rituals in SS to represent permanent upgrade transformations.

Also, the necessary redundance was the point of my suggested polymorph nerf. Having each form as a seperate spell means that the player can't just prepare polymorph as a get-out-of-<unpleasant situation X> card. He'll either have to prepare one form for a specific, I-need-it-now purpose or leave a slot open to prep a utility form on the fly or both.

Narren
2013-02-02, 10:27 AM
Well, they don't literally kill themselves, they just put themselves into a situation where the bad guys do it for them and forget to heal / protect themselves first.

Same difference in my mind. If a player wants to retire a character, he just needs to tell me what that character is doing. Maybe he settles down with that barmaid he's been flirting with. Maybe he opens up an inn or or tavern. Maybe he takes a place a in the king's court. Maybe he just moves into the forest and lives in seclusion. Even a relatively low level adventurer soon makes enough money to retire forever, it makes perfect sense that some would want to quit while they still have their head on their shoulders.

Talakeal
2013-02-02, 12:58 PM
Same difference in my mind. If a player wants to retire a character, he just needs to tell me what that character is doing. Maybe he settles down with that barmaid he's been flirting with. Maybe he opens up an inn or tavern. Maybe he takes a place a in the king's court. Maybe he just moves into the forest and lives in seclusion. Even a relatively low level adventurer soon makes enough money to retire forever, it makes perfect sense that some would want to quit while they still have their head on their shoulders.

Well yeah that might be the "reasonable" thing to do, but if they did that then the rest of the party wouldn't get extra loot, now would they? You really have to keep up :)


Um.... silly question; what's wrong with baleful polymorph and a version of PAO that can only be used as a debuff? You can use the actual rituals in SS to represent permanent upgrade transformations.

Also, the necessary redundancy was the point of my suggested polymorph nerf. Having each form as a separate spell means that the player can't just prepare polymorph as a get-out-of-<unpleasant situation X> card. He'll either have to prepare one form for a specific, I-need-it-now purpose or leave a slot open to prep a utility form on the fly or both.

Wouldn't having a tag that says "can only be used as a debuff" be the exact same thing as putting a tag saying PCs can't use this without GM approval? I mean, it's not like there is any in character reason why a mage couldn't cast the same spell on an ally he would cast on an enemy?

Also, my system doesn't have a lot of creatures with innate magical powers, and those that do are typically spirits and magical creatures which are not eligible for polymorph anyway (only living beings allowed, no spirits, undead, outsiders, elementals, constructs, etc). So polymorph isn't really a get out of X card unless the problem you have can be solved by a simple change of body shape, in which case there are far easier spells to cast.


Or here's a thing, and thus a simple solution:

If you WILLINGLY turn. Aka, you want to, etc. You run the risk of losing your mind the longer you stay in that form. You might skate by with 10 minutes, 30 minutes, etc. Spend a day in a form? You probably won't remember that you were ever anything else.

If someone curses you against your will, it takes, much, much longer. Instead of measuring the time in hours, you measure it in months.

That is a good idea, and definitely a step in the right direction. It still probably won't be enough though, as it might actually make the problem worse. Your typical CE murder hobo munchkin will just be like "So if I turn into a red dragon I get a huge power boost, but I also have the irresistible urge to hoard treasure and kill anyone who crosses me. Where is the downside?"

Scow2
2013-02-02, 01:46 PM
[COLOR="Blue"]
That is a good idea, and definitely a step in the right direction. It still probably won't be enough though, as it might actually make the problem worse. Your typical CE murder hobo munchkin will just be like "So if I turn into a red dragon I get a huge power boost, but I also have the irresistible urge to hoard treasure and kill anyone who crosses me. Where is the downside?"

The answer is "The downside is that I take control of your character, because you are no longer Munchkinous Rex, the heroic X-level Halfling Warrior. Your newly formed mind is far too alien for you to retain control of."

randomhero00
2013-02-02, 02:21 PM
I've had it happen twice to me. Once was divinity, an end game character goal. The other, the character became (accidentally) too powerful and was evil on top of that (in a heroic/good campaign), in which case the story teller asked if he could NPC him. Both cases I was totally fine with. The latter blended into the story really well and he ended up a BBEG.

TuggyNE
2013-02-02, 08:51 PM
The answer is "The downside is that I take control of your character, because you are no longer Munchkinous Rex, the heroic X-level Halfling Warrior. Your newly formed mind is far too alien for you to retain control of."

That's not wholly unreasonable, but (in the case of a dragon) arguably pretty strong DM fiat; dragon intelligence is not really that alien, unlike (say) a mindflayer or aboleth. And if there's any substantial tinge of fiat, the players who would try this will seize on that as an excuse to get upset.

Slipperychicken
2013-02-03, 12:17 AM
Your newly formed mind is far too alien for you to retain control of."

"In response to this immense traumatic confusion, I start murdering people for their valuables and hoarding it in a cave" :smallbiggrin:

Kelb_Panthera
2013-02-04, 03:30 AM
You don't just stick a tag on the end of the spell description that says, "PAO can only be used as a debuff," that'd be silly and blatant fiat. Instead you change the text to "this spell works like baleful polymorph (etc and so on)," then remove polymorph nad baleful polymorph from the list of spells it can mimic.

By tying the spell to another spell that is a debuff you make it implicit that PAO is also a debuff. Combined with baleful polymorph's clause about making a second save or having your mind changed to match your body and that pretty much does it.

Since you've apparently changed polymorph quite considerably already though, it might help if you posted your version of the spell for us to reference.

Talakeal
2013-02-04, 03:52 AM
You don't just stick a tag on the end of the spell description that says, "PAO can only be used as a debuff," that'd be silly and blatant fiat. Instead you change the text to "this spell works like baleful polymorph (etc and so on)," then remove polymorph and baleful polymorph from the list of spells it can mimic.

By tying the spell to another spell that is a debuff you make it implicit that PAO is also a debuff. Combined with baleful polymorph's clause about making a second save or having your mind changed to match your body and that pretty much does it.

Since you've apparently changed polymorph quite considerably already though, it might help if you posted your version of the spell for us to reference.

Sure, I guess I can post it, but my system isn't D&D so I am not sure how well it will translate, and you will be losing a lot of the context of the broader game, but here you go:

Ok, the three basic seed spells:
All are enchantments, which mean they last one encounter or until dispelled. They typically target a single living being within line of sight of the caster, although certain metamagics can change that.
There is no spell level in my system, all spells have the same cost to use and require a test to pull off, the difficulty determined by the power level of the spell and modified by metamagics.

Traits are like feats or flaws, although many can only be taken at character creation, and include things like large size, ambidexterity, fat, beautiful, etc.

Racial traits are traits which are unique to a particular species like a elves low light vision, a dwarves bonus on stone cutting, or a dragon's fire breath.



Sculpt Features
Difficulty: 10
A casting of this spell allows a single cosmetic alteration of the subject's features. The change can be anything so long as it is appropriate for a being of the subject's age, species, and gender. Some examples include changing texture or pigment of skin, eyes or hair, the addition or removal of markings, a change in the size or shape of a body part, or apparent ethnicity. The change must be purely cosmetic in nature, and cannot alter a beings statistics or traits in any way.

Flesh Like Water
Difficulty: 15
This potent transformation spell can drastically alter the form or features of the subject. This spell can add or remove any single physical trait which the subject's species has the option of selecting at creation. Note that the hybrid trait is off limits as it alters the subject's species.
Metamagic Notes:
The empower metamagic allows the caster to add or remove any single physical trait not normally found in that species. Traits chosen by this spell must be physical and biological in nature; mental, spiritual, or supernatural traits are not allowed, neither are those not possessed by living beings.

Metamorphosis
Difficulty: 25
This spell transforms the subject into a creature of a different species. The caster can only choose species which they are familiar with and have a decent amount of anatomical knowledge of.
Relative age, size, and gender are unchanged, and appearance will be as similar as possible between species, for example a large man with dark hair will become a large wolf with dark fur. Base attributes do not change, but the racial modifiers for the new race apply instead of the old one.
Physical traits are kept if they are possible for the new race to possess and injuries remain. Physical capabilities including racial traits, size, natural attacks, and natural armor are changed to those of the new race.
A character's skills and spiritual or supernatural attributes and traits never change.
When transformed into a drastically different form the target will count as unfamiliar for all physical actions until the form is gotten used to. It is assumed that beings with the ability to polymorph will practice with the skill during the down time, and should have a library of common forms whose bodies they know how to handle.
The new form must be in the same kingdom as the subject's initial form. Animal to animal, plant to plant, bacteria to bacteria, and so on.
The assumed form must be no more than one size category larger or four categories smaller than their initial form. This means that the smallest form a human can take would be that of a toad or a rat, a common curse for those who make enemies with a transmuter.
Metamagic Notes:
Each level of the enlarge metamagic allows for an additional mass rating of difference between the original form and the assumed form.
The empower metamagic removes limitations on kingdom; although multiple levels of the metamagic may be required to assume the shape of truly exotic life forms such as the energy based deva.
This spell can also be linked with the charm spell twist ethos or the mysticism spell mystic transformation to also transform the beings mental, spiritual, or supernatural attributes and traits.

Then we have two metamagics that only apply to the above spells:

Baleful Polymorph
Difficulty: -5
It is easier to destroy than to create, and it is easier to break down than to build up. This metamagic can be applied to any transmutation spell which alters the subjectís form, but only if the change is a negative one. For example using flesh like water to remove a merit or add a flaw or using metamorphosis to transform an enemy into a lower life form.
This metamagic cannot be applied if the change is not directly detrimental or if the subject is changed into something which cannot survive in the current environment, for example taking away a beingís ability to breathe in the current environment, removing an airborne creature's ability to fly or a subteranean creature's ability to burrow.

Transmogrify
Difficulty: +5
This metamagic can be applied to any enchantment which alters the form of the subject's body such as sculpt features, mimic, flesh like water, switch gender, or metamorphosis. The spell's type is changed to incantation* and the effects are innately permanent, lasting for the rest of the creature's life unless reversed by a further magical transformation. This magic actually alters the being's genes and may be passed onto future offspring.
If a character's character point total is modified by this spell they gain a debt** / surplus until the values are correct.
Mental attributes and traits are unchanged at first, but after a long period of time, at least one adventure, the character's mind will adapt to its new form and change the same way as their physical. A character's memories of a previous form will remain, but such memories may become fuzzy and alien as new instincts take over.
Player characters who transform into a species or select a racial trait not approved by the Game Master as suitable for player characters may become NPCs until the transformation is reversed at the Game Master's discretion.

*An incantation is like an instantaneous spell in D&D, innately permanent and considered non magical in the future.
** The equivalent of d20 ECL.