Comments: This question about Charm Person got me musing about a problem with the spell. Obviously, you can't cast Charm Person in the middle of a forum to sway an interlocutor to your side without the other 20 persons noticing the foul play. And yet, I'd find it incredibly cool if it was somehow pulled off in a game.
My question is thus : Is there any mean to covertly cast a spell in d&d3.5 / Pathfinder ?
I've thought about Quicken Spell but nothing in the feat description indicates that you're not noticeable in doing this (as the spell still "takes an action", be it a swift one).
Gamer Forge Response:
This was a hard one. No joke, it was difficult. But when getting the most of a charm, DCR says:
1. You're gonna need a distraction. It's called a Tennessee Shuffle. When everybody is looking left, you move right. Have one of your companions run interference by causing a commotion. Fake a seizure or something. Uncontrolled outburst from the gallery. Something. This will give the player the moment he/she needs to begin casting the charm. It's not very sophisticated, but when being sneaky, its all about subtlety.
2. Just how subtle can you be? You've got several dozen, if not a hundred people actually watching you as you do this. No pressure, right? The key to winning this will be hiding the charm in your argument. We were reminded of an old "Pinky and the Brain" episode where a scheme involved hiding a subliminal message in a paragraph. This phase of the plan will involve all of your wits and charisma, as one slip of the tongue and you are BUSTED! To tip the scales in your favor, construct your argument to include certain phrases and the final sentence will have a sort of "trigger word" to have it take effect. But none of that will matter unless...
3. Do your homework. Find out who will be attending the gathering and make sure that no one will be actively looking for magical influence. This will be the easiest step, and the most crucial to the plan. None of this will work if you have the extra scrutiny centered on you. In general, when making and executing a dastardly plan like this, just take precautions. Oh, and have and escape plan!
Gamer Forge Listener Email:
Name: Jacob Stevens
My name is Jacob and I live in Raleigh, North Carolina. I have been listening to your show over the years. I started way back when it was just Revan and Malak. Those shows were interesting to say the least but over the years the show has really matured and grown into a really solid show.
Even with the ups and downs you have experience over the years.
So down to my question.
When running a campaign, especially one with newer players mixed with optimizers, is it a fair call to limit the variety of books available for play? For feats, classes, prestige classes, magic items and spells? (or whatever other variants exist in whatever other system and it's expanded rulebooks)
It seems that this would be quite unfair to the optimizer, but not doing so comes across as unfair to the beginner. Barring the idea to just separate these two breeds into different play sessions, is limiting the variety of books a sign of fair DMing, bad DMing or neither?
Gamer Forge Response:
Yay! We got to do two topics this week! When laying down the ground rules, DCR says:
1. If you're not sure, just start simple. Especially when introducing players who are new to the RPG experience, it's best to have finite options. It can cause a great deal of frustration for a new player to have to pour over a mountain of books to find something, when a core class will do just fine. Besides, it's counter-productive to have more information than you need. Just ask a librarian. Start your game by allowing only the core rulebook for the players. More experienced players may scoff and give you some sass for this, but this is your game, and you run it as you please.
2. Grow with the players. As the players grow, and characters live and pass (as they tend to do in a good adventure), slowly grow the source materials in which they are allowed to draw. We feel that this cultivates a true "win-win" situation for both new and experienced players. Compromise is best when resolving issues between players.
3. It's best to understand. Rather than force your will on others (which we are almost always against), clearly and concisely explain what the decisions are and stick with it. However, don't thumb your nose at logic and reason. These are your friends and deserve your respect and consideration. If someone comes up with a good reason to play as something out of a different book, take a closer look and make a decision after getting the facts. Starting a new game should be neither tedious nor heart-breaking.
*Bonus XP: Always be on the lookout for players' ingenuity! If a player has access to a phone app that has a full spell listing for your game, then more power to them! Let them use that. If they use their tablet computer to store their books on .pdf files, then that makes the GM's job all that much easier. These are some great "win-win" scenarios that can make a new player feel more efficient and adapt to a new game with ease.