Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

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Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by willpell » Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:04 pm

I've been going through the Ghostwalk book lately, and I'm currently having some time on my hands, so I'm going to start a new series of topics about Ghostwalk. I will eventually have some pretty decent-sized things to talk about, but for the moment I don't have the book handy, and my memory is failing me as usual, so I'm going to talk about one very tiny, petty thing which is all I can currently recollect.

Assuming that the feat "Skill Focus" exists in 3.0, which I haven't personally confirmed but strongly suspect is true, the feat "Saddleback" is completely useless unless it stacks with Skill Focus, and therefore I assume it does. So, for any human character born in Thurkasia (or a Fighter character, even if the "human" part is waived for one reason or another - maybe the GM decides to put the Killoren into that country or something), you can burn two feats and have a +6 to all Ride rolls. How much of an effect is this going to have on the viability of the Mounted Combat line of feats?

Not much of a question, admittedly, but it's all I have just at the moment. This thread can also double as a general discussion thread for the "Ghostwalk This Way" series; if there's a topic you'd like to see me cover, feel free to propose it here. (If it involves, oh just as a random example, the intersection of Ghostwalk with Spelljammer, I may not have very much authority to speak on it, but I'll try to come up with something, however uninformed and barely-constructive an opinion it might end up being.)

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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by thorr-kan » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:12 am

Skill Focus exists in 3.0, and it provides an untyped bonus, so it stacks.

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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by Big Mac » Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:42 am

willpell wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:04 pm
Assuming that the feat "Skill Focus" exists in 3.0, which I haven't personally confirmed but strongly suspect is true, the feat "Saddleback" is completely useless unless it stacks with Skill Focus, and therefore I assume it does. So, for any human character born in Thurkasia (or a Fighter character, even if the "human" part is waived for one reason or another - maybe the GM decides to put the Killoren into that country or something), you can burn two feats and have a +6 to all Ride rolls. How much of an effect is this going to have on the viability of the Mounted Combat line of feats?

Not much of a question, admittedly, but it's all I have just at the moment.
The Open Gaming Foundatation have an archived copy of the 3.0 SRD.

Skill Focus is there. You can download the RTF file to confirm the feat works the way you think it does.

What do you mean by "viability of the Mounted Combat line of feats"? I'm struggling to work out how that relates to Thurkasia. It sounds like more of a min/max discussion. :?
willpell wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:04 pm
This thread can also double as a general discussion thread for the "Ghostwalk This Way" series; if there's a topic you'd like to see me cover, feel free to propose it here. (If it involves, oh just as a random example, the intersection of Ghostwalk with Spelljammer, I may not have very much authority to speak on it, but I'll try to come up with something, however uninformed and barely-constructive an opinion it might end up being.)
There is no intersection of Ghostwalk with Spelljammer.

At a push, Ghostwalk intersects with Manual of the Planes/Planescape.

That's about it, although some of the feats in Ghostwalk have been raided from Forgotten Realms books, so it might be worth looking at other FR sourcebooks that might have similar content.
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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by willpell » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:03 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:42 am
What do you mean by "viability of the Mounted Combat line of feats"? I'm struggling to work out how that relates to Thurkasia. It sounds like more of a min/max discussion. :?
Well yeah, pretty much. Like I said:
willpell wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 7:04 pm
Not much of a question, admittedly, but it's all I have just at the moment.
Moving on...
There is no intersection of Ghostwalk with Spelljammer.
Well then why did you create this "[Manifestspace]" topic? I thought you were saying those setting did, or at least could, intersect.

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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by Big Mac » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:34 pm

willpell wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:03 pm
Moving on...
Big Mac wrote:
Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:42 am
There is no intersection of Ghostwalk with Spelljammer.
Well then why did you create this "[Manifestspace]" topic? I thought you were saying those setting did, or at least could, intersect.
That was looking for things in the sky...or said to come from space.

There is no canon connection between Spelljammer and any other campaign settings, other than Dragonlance, Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Mystara (that's a weak one), Planescape (that's secondary canon) and Eberron (a very weak one).

There are a few mentions in products associated with Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms subsettings.

Planescape is an easier thing to fit onto Ghostwalk...if you really want to connect something.

But from what I can see, this topic is supposed to be (a complaint) about the Saddleback feat. :)
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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by willpell » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:52 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:34 pm
But from what I can see, this topic is supposed to be (a complaint) about the Saddleback feat. :)
Actually I finally sat down and went through the 3.0 book with an eye to figuring out that answer. Turns out, in 3.0 the Skill Focus feat only gave +2 to one Skill rather than +3, and the feats which gave +2 each to two feats (other than Alertness) mostly didn't exist yet, at least not in core. So part of the point to Saddleback was to allow Thurkasians to get up to a +5 on their Ride check, quite possibly for exactly the purpose of counteracting the automatic -5 to your roll if you try and ride without a saddle (the idea being that they're "always saddled" if they have these two feats). A few feats trickled out in various 3.0 books which added +2 to a pair of skills, but I suspect it wasn't until they created the 3.5 revision that they finally sat down, paired up all the Skills in the system, and created a comprehensive list of those feats, so that every Skill could be raised to +5 with two feats (or three feats to raise a specific pair of associated skills to +5 each).

In view of this, it seems clear that the Saddleback feat is an artifact of 3.0, and should simply not exist in a 3.5 Ghostwalk game. If used at all, its effect should be revised, so that it does not exceed the usual limitations of skill optimization. Perhaps something about waiving the bareback-riding penalty, which would allow you to ignore the need for a saddle while still getting the usual +5 from two other feats.

I'm unsure whether I should continue with the Ghostwalk This Way series. I finished reading the book once through, and these were about all the insights that immediately popped out at me, nor have topics 2-4 received much in the way of feedback. I do still have a hankering to run a game, but that will probably have to pass as usual, since it seems as though the Piazza doesn't really have enough people who want Actual Play for me, other than a handful of Mystara-philes, for me to have much chance of getting a PBEM off the ground.

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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by Big Mac » Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:51 pm

willpell wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:52 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:34 pm
But from what I can see, this topic is supposed to be (a complaint) about the Saddleback feat. :)
Actually I finally sat down and went through the 3.0 book with an eye to figuring out that answer. Turns out, in 3.0 the Skill Focus feat only gave +2 to one Skill rather than +3, and the feats which gave +2 each to two feats (other than Alertness) mostly didn't exist yet, at least not in core. So part of the point to Saddleback was to allow Thurkasians to get up to a +5 on their Ride check, quite possibly for exactly the purpose of counteracting the automatic -5 to your roll if you try and ride without a saddle (the idea being that they're "always saddled" if they have these two feats). A few feats trickled out in various 3.0 books which added +2 to a pair of skills, but I suspect it wasn't until they created the 3.5 revision that they finally sat down, paired up all the Skills in the system, and created a comprehensive list of those feats, so that every Skill could be raised to +5 with two feats (or three feats to raise a specific pair of associated skills to +5 each).

In view of this, it seems clear that the Saddleback feat is an artifact of 3.0, and should simply not exist in a 3.5 Ghostwalk game. If used at all, its effect should be revised, so that it does not exceed the usual limitations of skill optimization. Perhaps something about waiving the bareback-riding penalty, which would allow you to ignore the need for a saddle while still getting the usual +5 from two other feats.
It would appear that Sean K Reynolds agrees with you...or rather you agree with Sean K Reynolds, as he wrote this in 2003: ;)
Sean K Reynolds in the Ghostwalk Update for D&D V.3.5 wrote: Page 38, Saddleback:
Delete this entry. Since Skill Focus now gives a +3 bonus on any single skill, this feat is no longer necessary.
I didn't really get what you were getting at, with this topic at first, but now that I see that "Easy Rider" was actually referring to the feat, it's good to see a discussion about the mathematics.
willpell wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:52 pm
I'm unsure whether I should continue with the Ghostwalk This Way series. I finished reading the book once through, and these were about all the insights that immediately popped out at me, nor have topics 2-4 received much in the way of feedback.
Ghostwalk is more of a cult campaign setting than the campaign settings that The Piazza was originally set up to support.

If you look at the older topics, you can see that it took me a long time to get enough other people talking about it. And it's still only a "Level 3 forum". And off of The Piazza, there are less people talking about it. There is Flumph Stats out there doing actual-play podcasts, but I've not had any replies in the topic I created about them. (And their show seems to be on hold at the moment.)

It's good to have someone else writing topics, but I wonder if calling multiple topics "Ghostwalk This Way" is going to encourage people to open those topics. What does it actually mean? Is it the name you are going to give your Play by Post campaign or something?

And why didn't you just call the topic "Saddleback seems to be useless" or something similar that would let people understand what the topic was about, before they clicked on the link?

Anyhoo. I'll see if I can surf past your other topics. I've been busy recently and haven't looked at Ghostwalk too much.
willpell wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:52 pm
I do still have a hankering to run a game, but that will probably have to pass as usual, since it seems as though the Piazza doesn't really have enough people who want Actual Play for me, other than a handful of Mystara-philes, for me to have much chance of getting a PBEM off the ground.
Play by Post isn't the primary niche of The Piazza. Ashtagon set up The Piazza to replace the Other Worlds section that Wizards of the Coast deleted from their forum. There are some folks here, who want to play Play by Post games, but you are looking at a subset of the people who want to talk about games.

It would be nice to have more Play by Post fans here, but you can't really do that without finding PbP fans to market PbP topics to. It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. The Piazza is on the social media, so topics can get a social media boost, but if PbP fans are not looking for PbP topics, they could be missed.
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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by willpell » Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:29 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:51 pm
I didn't really get what you were getting at, with this topic at first, but now that I see that "Easy Rider" was actually referring to the feat
.

Well I thought it was a very obvious "clever" pun-title, but it wouldn't be the first time I've outsmarted myself....
willpell wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:52 pm
It's good to have someone else writing topics, but I wonder if calling multiple topics "Ghostwalk This Way" is going to encourage people to open those topics. What does it actually mean? Is it the name you are going to give your Play by Post campaign or something?
It's just the title for an article series, like "Unearthed Arcana" or "Ask the Sage" or whatever.
And why didn't you just call the topic "Saddleback seems to be useless" or something similar that would let people understand what the topic was about, before they clicked on the link?
I didn't know I was doing Saddleback until after I started writing the "this is the first installment of Ghostwalk This Way" copy. I could have gone with a more obvious title for the particular installment, but I felt like being clickbaity would serve me better; if you leave something enigmatic, it may trigger someone's curiosity, while clear titles will simply tell people what isn't interesting or worth their time. I try not to go to a BuzzFeed level of this kind of thinking, but a little of it is reasonable.

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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by Big Mac » Sun Apr 21, 2019 12:27 pm

willpell wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:29 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:51 pm
I didn't really get what you were getting at, with this topic at first, but now that I see that "Easy Rider" was actually referring to the feat
.

Well I thought it was a very obvious "clever" pun-title, but it wouldn't be the first time I've outsmarted myself....
I do like puns myself.
willpell wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:29 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:51 pm
It's good to have someone else writing topics, but I wonder if calling multiple topics "Ghostwalk This Way" is going to encourage people to open those topics. What does it actually mean? Is it the name you are going to give your Play by Post campaign or something?
It's just the title for an article series, like "Unearthed Arcana" or "Ask the Sage" or whatever.
Ah. So like having a blog...only without actually having a blog.

If you ever actually set up an actual blog, that title might work well.
willpell wrote:
Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:29 pm
Big Mac wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:51 pm
And why didn't you just call the topic "Saddleback seems to be useless" or something similar that would let people understand what the topic was about, before they clicked on the link?
I didn't know I was doing Saddleback until after I started writing the "this is the first installment of Ghostwalk This Way" copy. I could have gone with a more obvious title for the particular installment, but I felt like being clickbaity would serve me better; if you leave something enigmatic, it may trigger someone's curiosity, while clear titles will simply tell people what isn't interesting or worth their time. I try not to go to a BuzzFeed level of this kind of thinking, but a little of it is reasonable.
Well you can call topics whatever you want. But I'm not too sure that mysterious topic titles are more likely to get people to open a topic than plain English topic titles. Maybe it's worth an experiment.

Anyhoo, the conclusions about Saddleback are interesting. You basically came to the same conclusion as Sean K Reynolds.

I wonder if anything else could be be done with the Feat to make it into something that would be worth having in both a 3.0 and 3.5 game.
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Re: Ghostwalk This Way #1: Easy Rider

Post by willpell » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:45 pm

There isn't really enough info about Ghostwalk to form a blog out of as far as I can tell (especially given that I don't do well with secondary sources). I went through the whole book and really only got those four topics.

But fixing Saddleback wouldn't be too hard. I could do better by rereading the description of Thurkasia and homebrewing a Region Feat for it (there are several of what are effectively Region Feats in the Ghostwalk book, and someone could definitely put in the effort and put together a full RF system for Ghostwalk campaigns, similar to how Forgotten Realms does it). But just off the cuff, you could simply make it something like a +1 dodge bonus while mounted that stacks with Dodge, or grant the ability to take 10 on Ride checks even when distracted, or something like that.

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