Sunday, August 21, 2016

RPG a Day - Day 21

Already three weeks in? This is the most commitment I've shown to a writing project in a long, long time. Neat!

In any case, today's topic: What was the funniest misinterpretation of a rule in your group?

I'm not sure my group ever had any truly hilarious rule misinterpretations. The closest I could say is that, when we first picked up Sentinels of the Multiverse, our friend Adam would retroactively invalidate our victories the next time we'd play. "As it turns out, we were doing X wrong, so we probably wouldn't have won that match." Like clockwork. Not that it was his fault we couldn't follow the rules, but shooting the messenger can be very satisfying.

Instead, I think I'll share some of the best, most hilarious rules shenanigans I remember from 3.5 Dungeons and Dragons. They're not so much "misinterpretations" as they are "unintended consequences" from the over-accumulation of rules books. Splat books will do that to you.

The Jumplomancer

First up is the Jumplomancer. The idea behind this build was that you could build a character who would leap hundreds of feet into the air, and by the time he's landed, the awesomeness of this feat of athletic prowess caused all who saw it to become his fanatical devotees. Without focusing too much on the details, the steps this entailed:
  1. Acquire feature that allows you to substitute any other skill for a Perform check.
  2. Acquire feature that allows you to substitute a Perform check for a Diplomacy check.
  3. Boost your Jump skill and speed (related to jumping) into ludicrous levels.
There you go. People might argue about the specific combinations of feats and class features, specifically whether they interact in the manner intended to make this so ridiculous. Still, just the idea of the Jumplomancer is hilarious.

The Locate City Bomb

The other trick I'm thinking of is the Locate City Bomb. In this case, the shenanigans come about by the abuse of meta-magic feats, which served to alter the way in which mages cast their spells. The central misinterpretation is on the spell Locate City, which ostensibly a spell meant for finding civilization when you're far from it. However, because it was published listing it as having an area affect, and not just a range, that opened it up to meta-magic abuse. The general chain of progression:
  1. Acquire feat that turns it into a Cold spell.
  2. Acquire feat that adds frost damage to all Cold spells. 
  3. Acquire feat that changes the damage to Lightning.
  4. Acquire feat that adds a reflex save to avoid the damage.
  5. Acquire feat that pushes a target to the edge of the spell area if it fails the reflex save
There you go. It's worth noting that being pushed to the edge of the spell area causes damage per 10 feet traveled, and the spell has an area measured in miles. It's funny because the ridiculous chain of feats that has to be combined to make it happen, as well as the innocuousness of the original spell, speaks to just how abusive of the rules this is. 

That, and just imagine it's use in a game. 

"Hey, where's the nearest city?"
"Hm . . . That way."
"Never mind."

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