The Magical Coffee Mug (Q&A with Mac Golden)

Open Discussion on all things C&C from new product to general questions to the rules, the laws, and the chaos.
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The Magical Coffee Mug (Q&A with Mac Golden)

Post by Mac Golden »

I have been berated to come out of my cave and post answers to rule questions, rule intent, game history, and company history.

I will give it a shot. My plan is for this to be like the old Dragon Magazine Q&A columns (the name of that escapes me, but I think Lakofka did it forever).

So, please remember that this is a simple Q&A. It is not meant to be discussion of alternative rules/houserules etc.... There are other places for those discussions.

My posts tend to be short and to the point. Ask follow-up if you like.

I actually have around somewhere some questions from Sieg from awhile ago and I will post those and the answers when I find them as well.

The format may change as this is an experiment in progress.

(Fiffergrund, can you sticky this to make it easy for me to find?)

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Re: The Magical Coffee Mug

Post by gideon_thorne »

Mac Golden wrote:
(Fiffergrund, can you sticky this to make it easy for me to find?)

Looks like he's busy, but I got it.
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oh o.k.

Post by Mac Golden »

I wondered how he did that so fast. LOL

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Post by serleran »

OK, here is one I would love an answer for...

Why was I asked to write the monsters?

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Post by Omote »

Let the deluge commence!

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Post by shadoes »

Sage Advice I believe is the column name of the Q&A in Dragon

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Post by Fiffergrund »

Wow, I don't even have to be online to sticky things.
Thanks, Peter.
Great thread idea, by the way. Thanks for doing this, Mac.
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yes

Post by Mac Golden »

Sage Advice! Thanks!

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monsters

Post by Mac Golden »

Ser,

You will have to ask Steve that one. LOL

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Post by serleran »

Alright, alright. Dang. :)

[As an aside: you might want to rename the thread so its intent is known. Something like "The Golden Rule..."]

OK, some real ones because I know they'll come up....

What can you tell us about the design of the experience point charts for classes (this one is going to come up -- might as well get it over with now.)

Why are most of the C&C spells derivatives of the SRD and not modified to be more like AD&D (ie, cantrips exist and so do "orisons" and light does not blind people?)

What was the reasoning behind the way off-hand (dual-wielding) works?

Why is there no official multi or dual-classing method in C&C?

What reason is there that fighters (excluding monks) are the only "warrior class" that gets additional attacks?

Why does the bard have d12 HD type?

How come there aren't many, if any, limits to the damage inflicted by spells?

How do you convert a monster from AD&D to C&C?

How do you convert a monster from d20 to C&C?

Why is there an alignment system?

What made you decide to use the "Vancian" spell system?

Who created the "SIEGE Engine?"

What is the "rule of six?"

When is the CKG going to come out? (Heh, I bet you say "Ask Steve.")

;)

Just thought I'd start it off with the most common...

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uhhh....

Post by Mac Golden »

Think that is enough? I'll answer one at a time.

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Post by Zudrak »

Great thread idea. Of course, I haven't gamed in a while and have no questions at the moment. I'll be keeping an eye on this one.

I agree with Fiff: Thanks for doing this, Mac!
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Post by serleran »

Sorry, Mac. Just wanted to get a bunch of really common questions out, with official answers, so we can put an end (or start another) to the debates. :)

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Post by Mac Golden »

serleran wrote:
How come there aren't many, if any, limits to the damage inflicted by spells?

Why is there an alignment system?

What made you decide to use the "Vancian" spell system?

...

I'm not following your question regarding spell damage -- why would there be a limit?

The spell system and alignment system are integral parts of the history of the game from which C&C derives. And, they provide a simple baseline for newcomers to understand and from which experienced players can modify or drop as they see fit.

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conversion?

Post by Mac Golden »

serleran wrote:
How do you convert a monster from AD&D to C&C?

How do you convert a monster from d20 to C&C?

...

These are not the type of questions I am seeking to answer here. But, even if I did, there isn't and really, shouldn't, be an official way to convert monsters to other systems. Having said that, I believe experienced gamers who have played those systems should not have any trouble converting on the fly. My advice, don't get bogged down in the details.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

I have a question for you, Mac, concerning subdual damage.

In d20 rules, once subdual totals over the current hit points the target is considered unconscious. I'm not sure how the rules work for C&C - they appear a little vague (or perhaps I'm a dunce ).

At first they seem to follow the d20 rules for subdual damage and unconsciousness. But it could also be interpreted that subdual damage needs to be counted until the target reaches zero hit points, at which point they become unconscious. The only reason the latter even pops in my mind, is the mention of "...-10 hit points or more of subdual damage..." and I'm not sure how that would be possible using the d20 subdual damage rules.

Sorry if I'm making this more confusing than it needs to be Mac...can you help me shed a little light on this?
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btw

Post by Mac Golden »

The title of the thread will become apparent in an upcoming issue of the Crusader.

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Post by Mac Golden »

serleran wrote:
Why does the bard have d12 HD type?

...

Is this a trick question?

Bards have d10 HD.

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Post by Pat Payne »

Two quick questions:

What was the reasoning behind removing the Paladin's spell capability (not that I'm complaining, as the divine aura is a elegant replacement)?

In the earlier printings of the PH, the assassin's poison table has named poisons (black byrony, laburnum, etc.) and somewhat different (IIRC) effects. Why the change to the more generic system depicted in later printings/revisions of the PH?

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Post by serleran »

Quote:
Why the change to the more generic system depicted in later printings/revisions of the PH?

I can answer that...

1) not a good idea to include real-world names of real poisons. This was my fault.

2) Steve did not like the cost / effect ratio and wanted a simpler system.

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subdual damage

Post by Mac Golden »

Sure Lord Dynel, happy to do so. This is going to be long-winded, so bear with me.
Lord Dynel wrote:
The only reason the latter even pops in my mind, is the mention of "...-10 hit points or more of subdual damage..." and I'm not sure how that would be possible using the d20 subdual damage rules.

O.k. First thing, let's forget the d20 rules. Throw them out. Better yet, throw them in the dumpster and fireball them.

Now, let's look at the PH section on Damage at the end of the combat section. I don't have my 3rd printing handy, but in the 2nd printing the rules are on pages 120-21.
Let's go through the Subdual damage rules paragraph by paragraph.
1st para.: This paragraph introduces the concept of damage other than that which actually inflicts physical or mental wounds resulting in the loss of hit points. Subdual damage we learn, is typically resultant from a fist fight between combatants (other than monks). Subdual damage is a type of temporary hit point damage and should be tracked separately from normal hit point damage.
2nd para.: Again, subdual damage typically results from unarmed combat. This paragraph clarifies, however, that most monsters with claw or unarmed attacks and a monk's unarmed attack cause normal hit point damage (unless the monk or monster chooses otherwise).
3rd para.: This para introduces a concept that needs to be spelled out more clearly -- the use of weapons to inflict subdual damage as opposed to normal hit point damage. This occurs in the game when, for example, a character wishes to "subdue" or "knock unconscious" an opponent. Subdual would to be to gain their servitude in some way, or to get them to stand down. Or, the goal could be to knock out the opponent and capture them.

A weapon used in this way causes subdual damage as measured by the damage roll and modifiers, just as if normal damage was being caused. The actual damage inflicted, however, only causes 1 actual hit point of damage for every 5 points of subdual damage caused. So, say Fafhrd strikes the thief that has been trailing him with the flat of his greatsword and causes 15 points of damage. The thief would suffer 15 points of subdual damage and 3 points of actual hit point damage.

The thief should at this point keep track of his actual hit points and temporary hit point damage from subdual. Let's say the thief has 16 HP. He now has 13 HP but only 1 HP for subdual purposes.
4th para.: Here, the temporary nature of subdual damage becomes more apparent. Subdual damage heals at a rate of 1 point every 10 turns. Normal damage heals as usual, which is 1 point per day if resting (see the end of the section on hit points on page 120).

Which brings us to the answer to your question, I think. What is not stated in the 4th paragraph is that if you reach 0 hit points (or less) from subdual damage, that character passes out unconscious. Again, see para 8 of the hit points description on pg 120. It is important to note, that a character could reach 0 or less actual hit points and/or 0 hit points from subdual damage and either would result in an unconscious character.

Now, if a character suffers enough subdual damage that they reach -10 hp or less, AT THE CASTLE KEEPER'S DISCRETION, that character dies from taking such a severe pummeling. Otherwise, they are unconscious for a full 24 hours before they begin to heal.

So, taking our example above again, let's say that the thief only has 5 hit points. This time, Fafhrd punches the thief and causes 5 points of subdual damage. The thief takes 1 hp of actual damage, but the 5 points of subdual damage temporarily reduces the thief's hit points to 0. The thief is knocked out and Fafhrd ties him up with rope. Ten minutes later, the thief recovers 1 hp of subdual damage and awakes to see the Mouser smiling wickedly at him while fingering "Cat's Claw". Note, the thief would continue to heal at a rate of 1 point per ten minutes until he reached 4 hit points. Why 4? Remember, he suffered 1 point of actual damage from the punch. That last point must be healed normally.

Now, what if the thief had 5 hit points and Fafhrd decided to strike with the flat of his great sword. He does so and again causes 15 points of damage. The thief only has 5 points remember. The 15 points causes 3 points of normal damage and takes the thief to -10 subdual damage. At this point, the CK can rule the thief died, or, can simply rule that the thief is unconscious (and probably sporting a huge, purplish knot on the head).
Subdual Damage misc and interaction with other rules
-10 and greater Subdual damage house rules: As you can see, the CK has great discretion in ruling on the effect of subdual damage at -10 and below.

A common house rule is that a victim of subdual damage will only die if their actual hit points reach -10. Thus, a victim with 1 actual HP would have to suffer at least 55 points of subdual damage to reach -10 actual HP. That sounds like alot, but imagine a victim getting pummeled by a group of thieves in an alleyway.
At 0 HP: Really, though, once a victim reaches 0 HP from subdual damage, then the character inflicting damage can pretty much do as they wish with their victim. If they really want to kill the poor victim, they could do so as in any other situation where a character reaches 0 HP and passes out.
Natural 20 during Subdual combat: One house rule that I use is that if a character is attempting to inflict subdual damage and they roll a Natural 20 on their attack roll, they fail to inflict subdual damage but actually inflict normal damage because their swing just got a bit away from them.
Illusory Damage vs. Subdual Damage: Look at the section on Magic Damage just above the Subdual Damage section. You will note that psychic damage caused by an illusion that results in a victim reaching -10 HP dies from the shock to the system. Why? Because illusory damage is actual damage to the victim's mind/psyche that shocks the body.

Well, I hope that answers everything about subdual damage, but I probably just opened a new can of worms.

-Mac

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Post by Mac Golden »

serleran wrote:
What was the reasoning behind the way off-hand (dual-wielding) works?

...

Remember, the baseline of C&C is that a character/creature gets one action per round. This includes attacks. One attack per round. (I'm not going to go into all of the reasons behind this)

This breaks with tradition in some ways, especially 1st ed where a character could shoot 2 arrows, throw a couple of daggers, hurl 3 darts, etc....

So, by allowing a character to wield two weapons is kind of allowing them to cheat, or at least bend the baseline. Neither me or Davis wanted to include or even allow for two weapon fighting, but after much fretting and discussion, we believed it was necessary to include the rules because we knew there would be plenty of players and DMs wanting them. There are alot of popular genre characters who use two weapons.

So, if a character wants to use two weapons, there had to be a severe penalty for doing so, especially at lower levels. Thus, the -3/-6 mods.

It can also be thought of this way, each character has a "prime" hand in which they get to swing normally without a penalty. Their "non-prime" hands suffers a -6 penalty, thus in parallel to the normal attribute checks. When using two weapons, the skill necessary to balance, swing, and engage results in throwing-off the prime hand at 1/2 the difference between prime and non-prime: -3.

Note, however, that the mods are not so severe that, as a character rises in levels, they prevent the player from recreating their favorite genre character, such as Moonglum or the Mouser, for example. To a 15th level dual wielding character, probably wielding magic weapons, that -3/-6 is going to be much less restrictive.

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Post by serleran »

Quote:
Well, I hope that answers everything about subdual damage, but I probably just opened a new can of worms.

Actually, I'd say you helped explain a lot of the reason behind illusions causing damage. :)

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Post by Thoom »

Mac Golden wrote:
Remember, the baseline of C&C is that a character/creature gets one action per round. This includes attacks. One attack per round. (I'm not going to go into all of the reasons behind this)

This breaks with tradition in some ways, especially 1st ed where a character could shoot 2 arrows, throw a couple of daggers, hurl 3 darts, etc....

So, by allowing a character to wield two weapons is kind of allowing them to cheat, or at least bend the baseline. Neither me or Davis wanted to include or even allow for two weapon fighting, but after much fretting and discussion, we believed it was necessary to include the rules because we knew there would be plenty of players and DMs wanting them. There are alot of popular genre characters who use two weapons.

So, if a character wants to use two weapons, there had to be a severe penalty for doing so, especially at lower levels. Thus, the -3/-6 mods.

It can also be thought of this way, each character has a "prime" hand in which they get to swing normally without a penalty. Their "non-prime" hands suffers a -6 penalty, thus in parallel to the normal attribute checks. When using two weapons, the skill necessary to balance, swing, and engage results in throwing-off the prime hand at 1/2 the difference between prime and non-prime: -3.

Note, however, that the mods are not so severe that, as a character rises in levels, they prevent the player from recreating their favorite genre character, such as Moonglum or the Mouser, for example. To a 15th level dual wielding character, probably wielding magic weapons, that -3/-6 is going to be much less restrictive.

I have a question regarding these rules: it states that these penalities are affected by the DEX modifier and that STR only apllies to damage inflicted. Let's say the character has a DEX of 16 and a STR of 13 and is fighting with two weapons. The -3/-6 becomes -1/-4 because of the DEX bonus of +2, and when he attacks he adds d20 + BtH + (-1/-4) only and not his +1 from STR?

On a related note, does the weapon 'Main gauche' affect this? For exemple, if fighting with two weapons, one of which is the main gauche, and the character decides to use it defensively (to get the +1 to AC) does he still suffer -3 to his primary hand in that round?

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Post by Mac Golden »

Thoom wrote:
I have a question regarding these rules: it states that these penalities are affected by the DEX modifier and that STR only apllies to damage inflicted. Let's say the character has a DEX of 16 and a STR of 13 and is fighting with two weapons. The -3/-6 becomes -1/-4 because of the DEX bonus of +2, and when he attacks he adds d20 + BtH + (-1/-4) only and not his +1 from STR?

That is correct. Instead of gaining the bonus to hit from Str, the character's Dex modifier adjusts the bonus to hit. Str still applies to damage though (whereas Dex does not).

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Post by Mac Golden »

Thoom wrote:
On a related note, does the weapon 'Main gauche' affect this? For exemple, if fighting with two weapons, one of which is the main gauche, and the character decides to use it defensively (to get the +1 to AC) does he still suffer -3 to his primary hand in that round?


Good question. It would seem the answer is yes, but it is not. Why? Because the use of the main gauche in the second hand and gaining the +1 to AC is no different from gaining a +1 from a Buckler.

If the main gauche is used as a weapon instead, then normal two-weapon fighting penalties apply.

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Post by Lord Dynel »

Thanks a million, Mac - you really straightened it out for me!
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Post by Mac Golden »

I am at your service m'Lord Dynel.

no problem

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Post by Thoom »

Yes, thanks for taking the time to answer questions! Much appreciated

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multiclassing

Post by Mac Golden »

serleran wrote:
Why is there no official multi or dual-classing method in C&C?

...

It was much debated, but in the end, Davis and I decided that the focus should remain on the Archtypes. That was how the game was conceived and designed, and to begin immediate variation and breaking away from that would take away from establishing the tone of the game.

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