Frequently Asked Questions:
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FAQ 1.2: Who do I go to when I need my character approved? If I have a specific question about my character?
FAQ 1.3: Speaking of approval, how do I submit a character? What can I play? How do I roll stats? etc.
- Who are the DMs here?
There are six people that you could call DMs here.
- Ian - "Ian" in the forms and in chat.
- June - "JuneBarcarolle" in the forums, and usually in chat.
- Death Seeker - "Seekerthefallen" in the forums, and "Death Seeker" in chat.
- Kemian - "Kemian" in the forums and in chat.
- Shamsy - "Shamsy" in the forums and in chat.
- Mark (Pathfinder DM) - "Marek" in the forums, and sometimes in chat. Owner of the site's webspace, admin of the site's Pathfinder game, occasional moonlighter as a Forgotten Realms admin.
All DMs have the same powers, and are capable of doing character approvals, sheet edits, running of adventures, etc. (Mark isn't formally a Forgotten Realms DM, but he still has access to look at/edit character sheets, etc.) And while some DMs are charged with focusing on certain classes first to keep approvals moving smoothly, we are all equally capable of dealing with your PCs or assorted questions.
We're not always available to do DM things, of course--sometimes we're just passing by or otherwise occupied, but we try to be helpful whenever people have questions. We also have any number of site veterans who can typically steer you in the right direction as well.
FAQ 1.2: Who do I go to when I need my character approved? If I have a specific question about my character?
Who do I go to when I need my character approved? If I have a specific question about my character?
Any one of the DMs can approve a character at any time, and all of us can answer character-specific questions.
Each DM does tend to focus on a specific group of classes, both to lessen our load and to see that each class is approved by a DM that is most comfortable with how it works. Feel free to ask any one of us questions as you see fit, though, and if we don't know, we'll direct you to the DM that should.
Also, remember that it can take up to 48 hours for a DM to look over your sheet; posting or nagging about the character before then (save possibly one very discreet "I just subbed a character, do you know if it's been looked at yet?") is not a tactic that gets one into our good graces. Further, if the character isn't ready for approval as submitted, you will probably either get a Private Message (here on the site) or an e-mail (directed to the address on your character sheet)--if you haven't been approved yet, keep your eyes out for a message that might explain why. Also a character may be rejected back to Incomplete status if the errors are numerous or not corrected for a time.
Any DM can level a character up, add purchases to sheets, and do other general-purpose edits.
FAQ 1.3: Speaking of approval, how do I submit a character? What can I play? How do I roll stats? etc.
Speaking of approval, how do I submit a character? What can I play? How do I roll stats? What are you looking for in the character sheet? Can I have [this], [that], or [Real Ultimate Power] at creation? Etc.
Read the Character Creation page, please. We get a lot of questions along this vein, and while we don't mind answering them, we're a lot happier to do so if you've read what we've already written on the subject! If our writings don't answer the question on this score, post in the Getting Started forum, which is devoted to these sorts of questions, or find a DM in the chat.
When do the DMs usually run adventures?
There really isn't a set schedule for adventures, insofar as "DM X runs adventures on this night and that night," since the focus of the site is not exclusively adventure-oriented like a normal tabletop. DMs generally run scenes whenever they happen to be around and feel like it, or whenever PCs decide they want to investigate some previous plot point and track the appropriate DM down.
As a general rule, when adventures do happen, they happen during prime-time hours (6pm-midnight, give or take), and most of the DMs are on U.S. Central or Eastern Time (GMT -4/-5 during Daylight Savings, -5/-6 the rest of the year). On average, there are 2-3 such scenes per week, though some are continuations of previously-started adventures. The best way to catch these spontaneous scenes is simply to be in chat when they happen, and/or to play often and be well-acquainted with those who seem to come across trouble a lot, so they know to come recruit you.
Each DM, further, has a different schedule of when they are available, and each of those schedules can change frequently. Also note that DMs are not the only ones capable of running adventures--there are a number of players who have Player DM status, and run adventures on occasion, and any player can actually run an adventure! (See Player DM Rules for more info on that last.)
I didn't play for a long time, and now my character's gone. What gives?
Every once in a while (when we feel like it, or the registry is getting particularly clogged), the DMs take a look to see who hasn't logged in lately. If you haven't logged your character in within the last two full calendar months, a copy of the character is made, and the character is either removed from SCORES or transferred to a communal account for dead or abandoned PCs. The character can be re-approved and re-entered into SCORES if you contact us by any means (chat, e-mail, PM, IM, whatever). This is to keep the Demographics and Character Registry both accurate and easy to browse.
What happens if my character dies and I can't afford/don't want to be raised? Do I start over at level 1?
This depends on the character's level.
If the character was level 1 or 2 when it was killed, your next character will need to be made as per the normal character creation rules.
If the character was level 3 or higher when it died, and it cannot be raised for whatever reason (either you can't afford it, the character wouldn't want it, or something has happened to the body to keep it from being raised), you may make a new character at one level lower than the level of the dead character, just as if your old one had been raised. The new character begins with enough XP to put them halfway between their current level and the next, and receives 3/4 the appropriate gold for a character of their current level (see Table 5-1, DMG p.135). You may also, if you choose, make the character at any level between 1 and the level indicated above. For instance, if your 7th-level character is killed, you could make a new character of any level between 1st and 6th. This allows you to make a character suitable for use with a specific group of PCs if you wish, or even just to enjoy a character of a lower level if the mood strikes you (the journey is often as much fun than the destination, after all).
Reincarnation Note: The Reincarnation spell tables have been adjusted to remove overly powerful races and to incorporate all common FR races and subraces The actual tables are being withheld, however, to add a bit of mystery. Changes regarding race include racial abilities including feats. Skills are lost per level loss but otherwise remain unchanged. New levels gain skills per the new race. (The human bonus feat can be lost or gained while the human bonus skills remain or are gained with new levels.)
"Atheist" PCs: If your character is killed without a patron deity, they can not be reincarnated, resurrected, or otherwise brought back short of a miracle or a wish.
Note: If the DMs believe that your character death was the result of a purposeful attempt to gain an advantageous rebuild, we will require that your next character be made as per the rules for Abandonment, as opposed to the rules for IC Death. If you don't like your character or its build, that's what Abandonment is there for. (See FAQ 2.3.)
What happens if I get tired of my character and want a new one? Do I start over at level 1?
This also depends on the circumstances. We are understanding of the desire sometimes for a change of pace, and we know that sometimes a character just doesn't work out the way you want it to. Capricious abandoning of characters can hurt the flow of the game, though, and we wish to discourage that to some degree. (For one thing, every time you ditch a character, your new one has to establish relationships all over again, while the relationships of your old PC have to confront the sudden loss.)
As such, the rules for replacing an abandoned character are the same as those for replacing a dead one, except that the abandoned character must have been in-play for six months (or have reached Level 4, which takes most people about six months). You receive only half of the abandoned character's XP for the purpose of making a new one. You receive 3/4 of the appropriate gold for a character of that level (see Table 5-1, DMG p.135).
Note: We're not that picky about that six-month thing. But if you start going through PCs like I go through beer on Friday night, we'll start giving you the stink-eye and pointing you at this page.
What happens when I hit Level 20? Do you guys do Epic, or do I have to drop the PC?
As the site gets older and we finally start to see PCs approaching the highest levels of the core game, this question has started to come up. For newbies, there isn't a whole lot of concern: it will be several years on average before you're worried about this.
For those who do view this as relevant: We have elected not to support the Epic rules, because they're dumb. Like, really dumb. But we have put together some options for your PCs that hit Level 20:
- You may opt to keep your Level 20 character. You can and are encouraged to continue roleplaying that character, and you can even take it out on adventures. You will simply not be allowed to advance past 209,999 XP (1 point short of 21st level).
- You may opt to retire your Level 20 character from adventuring. It becomes an NPC, though you may continue to play it for roleplay purposes only. (And we do mean only.) You gain a fourth character slot, which you may use to create a new character up to 5th level.
- You may opt to retire your Level 20 character entirely. You may create a new character at up to 15th level, or a level-adjusted character of ECL 10 or less (limited to the normally-allowed LA+0/1 character races; see <a href="http://digitaldreaming.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=3566">Playing the Weird Races</a>).
How are Experience Points awarded here?
Experience points are awarded here in five different ways:
Daily login XP: Every day in which you log your character into the chat, you receive a certain amount of XP, based on your level. You receive 25 XP per day at 1st and 2nd level, and 5 additional XP for each level beyond that. This experience is automatically tallied by the character registry, and added to your sheet instantly upon login.
Roleplay XP: Every so often, the DMs take a look at who happens to be playing on a given night, and award an extra 25 XP accordingly. It doesn't happen every night, but usually a couple times a week, and it tends to reward those who play most consistently. This XP is not given for adventures, just common roleplay.
Recommendation XP: We have on this site a procedure by which characters can be rewarded by their fellow players for exceptional roleplay. To award another player for particularly good roleplay in a social scene, send a PM in the forums to one of the DMs, including an excerpt of the scene (you can just send the last screen's worth of text), along with a clear note on who is being recommended and when the scene took place. Recommendations from other players are worth an additional 10 XP per character level.
Adventure XP: During DM-run adventure scenes, in addition to the potential XP sources above, each participating character earns an amount of XP up to 25 XP per character level per session. This amount varies based on participation, quality of roleplay, good ideas, etc. at DM discretion. (The Player DM Rules have some insight on how this is tallied.)
DM XP: Players may decide they like the idea of running their own adventures on occasion. We encourage this, and have a system set up for such things (see Player DM Rules). Players who run adventures gain maximum XP as if their characters were participants, 25 XP per level per session, for the character of their choice. (see Player DM Guidlines)
Note that XP is not given here based on the methods in the books. Whether you defeat a great wyrm dragon or a band of orcs, or nothing at all, has no effect on the amount of XP you get for a given session of play. (Some DMs may occasionally give a small "danger bonus" for overcoming challenges far beyond your level, but that is totally at the DM's discretion.)
Do I need to document my roleplay to earn XP, or otherwise let the DMs know when I've played?
No. Daily login XP is tallied automatically by the character registry. Adventure XP is always added by DMs, and roleplay XP is only added at DM discretion. The only time you should document roleplay (other than for your own records, if you're into that sort of thing) is if you wish to make a recommendation, in which case a cut-and-paste of the last screen's worth of text is fine.
This system of XP seems pretty slow, compared to tabletop.
This XP system feels slow because it is, and it's meant to be. With consistent roleplay, spiced with the occasional adventure, the average PC hits level 2 in about a month and a half, with additional levels taking 2-4 months each depending on activity. Our highest-level PCs typically take at least five years to hit level 20.
Because of the nature of the campaign (real-time, with no glossed-over downtime), this tends to make advancement at least slightly more realistic--using a normal experience system, we would wind up with teenagers in Epic, which is just wrong. Further, doing XP this way gives you plenty of time to explore your character in roleplay at each stage of his or her career--it's not just a mad rush to level 20--and encourages people to roleplay rather than just run out to kill things.
And to forestall any other questions in this regard, the XP system has been this way for as long as this site has existed, and it will not be changing anytime soon. Some people don't care for it, and we're fine with that, so long as those people realize it's not going anywhere.
So what happens when I level up? Who do I tell, and how do I do it?
When you have enough XP to level-up, you need to contact a DM. Any one of us will do--it doesn't have to be the one that approved you, or anything like that. Trying to find us in the chat is best, but a PM in the forums works just as well. Be sure when you're ready to level that you've made all the necessary decisions first! Namely, have ready what class you're planning to take, what changes are made to abilities, what feats and skills you're taking, and what spells the character is learning (if applicable).
If you want advice, we're happy to give it--just don't tell us, "I want a level of wizard," and expect us to read your mind! On a related note, be sure to tell us which character we're looking for--we have many PCs, and we sometimes lose track of who is who. And finally, if you'd like us to update your PC's description and such on its character sheet, this is a swell time to send those changes along as well.
If you're looking for some help on how to level up or precisely what info you should give your DM, check this page out.
I've noticed PCs seem to be poor here. What's with that?
There are a couple of notes that must be made to answer this question.
First off, the decision was made at this site's inception that having equipment rather than abilities, powers, or personality define a given character is not a desireable situation.
While said situation is unavoidable in some cases (given how the game itself is written), we believe that reducing the overall level of wealth forces PCs to rely more on innate talents and creative thinking than on the one-size-fits-all toybox. This tends to make for more memorable play.
Secondly, balancing the level of wealth on a site like this is, compared to a standard tabletop game, next to impossible. With ever-changing parties of varying level, varying levels of activity among the player base, etc., there is no simple way to ensure that all PCs will have the same amount of stuff.
Some PCs will be very close to our desired limits, while others will lag far behind the norm, and the best the DMs can do in the interests of fairness is to try and work everyone into a vaguely similar range. While we like to reward active, enthusiastic players, we also want to make sure everyone is playing as close to the same game as possible.
The above noted, the answer really amounts to: PCs seem to be poor here, at least compared to a typical tabletop, because they are and we kind of want them to be. Ideally, PCs will have at least 50%, and up to 75%, of the wealth they would typically be expected to have by the various DMG tables.
The process for ensuring such is constantly a work in progress, and we're always considering tweaks to treasure tables and other rules when we establish that they are resulting in too much or too little wealth. We hope that our players are understanding of this goal, and of the spirit in which it is pursued.
Are there any limits on the alignments we can play?
Short answer: No.
Long answer: As anyone who has played around here for any length of time knows, this is not a traditional tabletop game. Among the many differences between this game and those is that we don't focus on a single group of 'heroes.' Instead, we focus on a wide array of characters that fill many different niches in the game, even some of those that might normally be filled by NPCs--and in some cases those that would be traditionally considered antagonists. Further, because this game focuses at least as much on roleplay as on the traditional motifs of a tabletop game (stabbing green people in the face and taking their stuff), there is more opportunity to explore your character's personality in depth. As such, we not only allow, but actively encourage players to explore the entire alignment spectrum.
Lawful, chaotic, good, evil, every possible combination is represented by one or more PCs, and we feel it adds a lot of depth to the roleplaying experience for all the alignments to be represented in this way. (We also feel that there is room for any alignment in even a standard party of adventurers--if there wasn't room for evil PCs, why did Wizards come out with Champions of Ruin, a book designed for the very same?) However, and rather obviously, this stance leaves a lot of room for inter-character conflict, especially given that several classes seem pretty well built to be lightning rods in this regard. The way we see it, this is actually part of the fun; if everybody got along perfectly, roleplay would get boring pretty quickly! But so long as people are responsible, recognize that the conflicts are in-character, and keep them there, everyone should still feel right at home.
So what alignments are most common here?
Well, for my statements on encouraging any and all alignments, good and neutral alignments still predominate. Just anecdotally, the most common alignments are probably NG, CG, and CN. Many non-paladins, for whatever reason, tend to avoid LG. CE is generally the least successful alignment, as those on the evil end of the spectrum mostly succeed by remaining subtle, a concept foreign to many (but not all) chaotic characters. LE is by far the most common evil alignment, probably because it lends itself most readily to co-existing with a non-evil society. NE and LN are probably the alignments selected most rarely, for whatever bizarre reason. (Poor Kelemvorites, so lonely.)
I want to take a feat/prestige class/etc, but you don't allow the book it's in. Why?
We have a narrower list of allowed materials than some games, but a wider one than others (I've seen some that are FRCS + three Cores, for pity's sake). Because we limit the list of allowed materials in any way, however, we run into cases of people occasionally wanting stuff from a book we don't allow.
To answer this question as briefly as possible, because of the number of players and the wide range of expertise with the rules between players and DMs alike, approving a new book takes a lot of effort. A new batch of four books was approved in late 2009, and even that limited number was the culmination of several months' review by DMs. (Plus there were still a few unforseen issues found post-approval.)
We take things very slowly when it comes to approving new sourcebooks. If the book you want hasn't been approved yet, it's probably because of something on this list:
- The DMs have not gone through the book yet. One or more might have read it, but they haven't collectively evaluated it for the purposes of determining its suitability for use in our game.
- The DMs have gone through the book, and determined that a substantial portion of the book is either unsuitable for our game, or would require heavy house-ruling to make it so.
- The DMs don't feel that the book brings enough to the table, so to speak, to warrant inclusion into our game. If there's only a few nuggets worth looking at, it's typically not worth the aggravation of dealing with it.
- It's not a WotC-written book. This line has been drawn pretty clearly in the past, and it's not a knock on non-WotC books (or a note of admiration for WotC), but keeping to books written by one publisher tends to allow for the most coherent possible ruleset.
- Not all of the DMs have access to the book. From our experience, the only way to truly know a book enough to reliably DM with it is to have it in physical form to read cover-to-cover, re-read, and reference as desired. Therefore, every time a new book is allowed, any DM that doesn't have it really needs to go buy it.
- At the moment, the DMs simply feel like the available resources are sufficient for the game. Even well-vetted books need house-ruling and a break-in period where the little quirks are shaken loose, and this takes a while. Add to this that when you allow new books, you have to give PCs some chance to take advantage of the new options they present. Thus, bringing in new books is work, and the DMs aren't necessarily always able or willing to put that work in at any given moment.
Feel free to ask a DM at any time if the book you want has any prospects of approval in the near-term. Manage your expectations, though; the answer's usually "no."
How is PvP (Player vs. Player) combat handled?
The popularity of evil and neutral characters waxes and wanes on this site, and with it tends to wax and wane the popularity of PvP combat. Even so, many people are curious as to how often it tends to happen here and what our feelings on it are. To wit:
Our Feelings on PvP: PvP combat can be an accepted part of roleplaying. If treated maturely and resorted to sparingly, it can enhance the RP experience without derailing the plot too badly. However, it can very easily be abused or treated blithely, in which case it becomes a big pain in the butt. Basically, we don't ban PvP here, but if you can resolve your differences between PCs in any other way, we'd greatly appreciate it if you did so.
Also remember that, while risk is the part of the game that makes it fun, PC death itself is never fun for the player of the dead character. Any time there's a risk of it happening, we want to make sure an impartial DM is there to make sure everything happens fairly and by-the-rules (something I'm sure we'd all agree is for the best).
How PvP is Handled: First of all, keep the following note in mind: if PCs intend to start a fight with one another, a non-participating DM must be present. (Player DMs don't count for this, either; a full DM must be present and in a position to adjudicate the scene.) If a DM isn't around or in a position to adjudicate, PCs should either pause the scene or find some way IC to de-escalate the situation. A DM does not need to be involved until the point where violence is actually about to occur.
Let me reiterate, just to make sure it sinks in: If a PvP fight takes place IC without a DM present, it did not happen. Any IC effects are voided, and players will be instructed to act as though the fight never took place. Multiple or egregious violations of this policy may result in character loss or site ban.
If you're on an adventure with a Player DM and your PC is about to get into a fight with a fellow party member, please consider the impact on your fellow players and DM, and don't engage in this stuff blithely. Because of the disruptive effects PvP can have, if the combatants don't have a really good reason for shanking one another, expect your DMs to be cranky.
Fields of Triumph: This room is specifically set aside for non-lethal combat. PvP is both allowed and expected there, so long as the combat remains specifically non-lethal. If it turns lethal--that is, if one PC decides to specifically attempt to injure or kill the other, a DM must be present, as per the policy above. (And just so it's made clear: in a non-lethal combat, there is no way to 'accidentally' do lethal damage, through either a natural 1 or critical hit. That would defeat the entire purpose of the "DM must be present if there's a chance of PC death" thing.)
Some In-Character Thoughts to Keep in Mind: Waterdeep is a city generally ruled by the principles of law and order, and violence is taken care of quickly and efficiently--even in the grungier sections of town, there are those that seek to avoid drawing attention from the Watch to the area, and will thus act to put down this sort of thing. On the streets, you can assume the Watch (or other NPCs in some cases) will show up rather quickly to most altercations; some will take bribes, some might look away, but as a body they are not incompetents.
That said, Waterdeep is a large place. Most gathering places are sufficiently traveled that altercations will meet with quick response, but there are many little alleys, alcoves, and side buildings where official response may not appear for such time. If you believe such a scene has been set, notify the DM when his or her involvement becomes necessary.
Put more simply overall, there are NPCs in most places that do not take kindly to violence. Your characters would know this, and players at least should take it into account.
In-Character Punishment: Violent crime is dealt with on a case-by-case basis, but for a true brawl, characters can expect to spend at least a few days in the city dungeons, if not a few weeks depending on the fight's severity (and recidivism on the part of the partipants), and perhaps pay a fine as well. If the fight results in death and the perpetrator is caught (in a circumstance other than provable self-defense), expect to lose the character. Period.
Outside the city, and in locations like Skullport, the rule of law doesn't have much sway...so circumstances may vary widely.