Sunday, August 14, 2016

#RPGaDAY 2016 Day 11: Polymorph is also a strong spell

Which gamer most affected the way you play?

Oh here's another tough one. I would like to think that my own style of play is influenced by a lot of people, as I have had the privilege of having played with a lot of people. But it seems I have to pick one so hmm! (I know, I know. I bypassed the whole "pick one" thing in earlier posts, so why start now? Well I want to, okay?)

My pick would have to be +Christian Castell.

Xtian is a minmaxer. He once created a sorcerer with the master transmogrifist prestige class, which allowed him to be able to mix and match different monster traits. His favorite trait came in the form of making a hydra with the splitting ability of a black pudding. He also had the Arcane Strike feat, which allowed him to sacrifice a spell slot to add xd4 damage to all his attacks in the round, where x is the level of the spell slot sacrificed.

So in short, if he is in the form of an 8-headed hydra, he'd have eight bite attacks, which can each deal +xd4 damage if he spends a spell slot. Cut him up with a slashing attack and he splits into two eight-headed hydras. It was insane.

More importantly though, Xtian is an ethical minmaxer. He could deal an insane amount of damage (at some level he can have each hydra head grow medusa snake-hairs, which would each attack and OMG I don't want to think about that anymore,) but he always chose to deal damage comparable to those that his co-players can deal. You see, Xtian believed in table fun. He had complete mastery of the rules, but he knew that the rules are secondary to having fun with friends. And he even gave suggestions to his DM. Maybe Arcane Strike only works on the original hydra and not the clones. Maybe he will limit it to level 1 spell slots - his higher slots are more useful elsewhere, anyway.

I mention Xtian because his minmaxing style is my early template for GMing. Yes, I need to have mastery of the rules (more than the players, at the very least.) But I'm not here to outclass them. I'm here to have fun with them.

And while some of the things I do have evolved since then, I feel like I still hold onto the core principles Xtian had. Bend the rules to its limit, but don't break the game itself.

Xtian doesn't play D&D anymore (adulting got him!) But man, I'd love to see what he'd do with 5th Edition.