We Are Stupid Episode 149: Matthew Edition

Let’s not equivocate here: in Episode 149, I, Matthew, was undeniably stupid.

A step towards specificity: during the battle with the frost giant/centaur/stallion creatures, Fairaza, cornered, wild-shaped into a warcat and proceeded to wreak some havoc. It was a lot of fun. You’d have liked it.

Here’s the issue: wild shape acts as the spell Beast Shape III (as Fairaza is 9th level). Beast Shape III (as opposed to its earlier iterations) allows you to change into a huge creature, and, if you do so, gives you +6 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, and a +6 natural armor bonus. I, well, didn’t do that.

Instead, in my excitement, I got really stupid. Flipping through animal options, I came upon the warcat’s stat block and then just, you know, referred to that stat block for all of my stats for the rest of the combat (instead of using the actual adjustments from Beast Shape).

For shame.

No, but seriously: for shame.

I have no defense. None. And what’s worse, my stupidity had a serious impact on what happened. The AC I glibly quoted to Troy was, to put it mildly, inflated, so I would have taken more damage (and very possibly gone unconscious). My own attacks would not have been definite hits. Also, Beast Shape III only allows you to gain certain abilities—rend is most certainly not one of them.

Woof. Hugely stupid. Now, had I been thinking clearly, knowing all of this, I might not have elected to get up in the thick of things and chosen to wild-shape into something tiny or flying to get some distance so I could buff, debuff, or strike at range. Or I wouldn’t have attacked. But I just loved the story possibilities of Fairaza, who usually hangs back, electing upon the endowment of her new powers to STRIKE BACK.

Regardless, questions of whether or not Fairaza would have survived notwithstanding, my stupidity obviously did significantly overpower her and drastically reduce the difficulty of the encounter. So: irredeemably stupid.

For the past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. As we all know, I’ve been stupid before. And ever since you all pointed out the blunder, I’ve been asking myself the following questions, over and over again.

  1. Am I in over my head?
  2. Am I ruining the credibility of the game with these mistakes?
  3. Should I just quit while I’m ahead [sic] and just play a fighter?

Here are the answers I’ve come up with:

  1. Definitely.
  2. ?????
  3. Let’s be honest here—you really think I wouldn’t find a way to screw up the rules as a fighter?

But one of the great gifts, for me, of playing with this particular group is that they let me fuck up. That’s incredibly generous, and I’m very grateful for it. Because I love playing casters. I love it. So much of the joy of this game for me is the creative problem solving. I mean, what’s better than that? And I feel very lucky that I’ve been able to run before I can crawl and hurl myself headlong into the possibilities of magical solutions to those problems. And the group collectively finds ways to keep my stupidity all within the bounds of the story. Even more: they make it part of the story.

Holy cow, is that awesome. Does it skew the mechanical balance of the game? Of course. But these guys are willing to let the scale slide to a degree in favor of story and fun. And I will tell you what you probably already know: there’s nothing better than coming up with a creative solution to a problem that impresses the veterans in the room. Nothing. (Imagine, if you will, receiving an approving nod from Skid Maher.)

But of course those solutions need to be within the rules. And I will endeavor to be less stupid. But I KNOW that I’ll eventually be plenty stupid again. So here’s my thanks to group for creating a room where the answer to the question “Am I ruining the credibility of the game?” can be “No.” And then for ruthlessly and relentlessly mocking me for my mistakes for (literally) years.

And also, of course, to you all, for continuing to listen through the thick haze of stupid. (And for keeping us honest.)

Also, Troy has asked me to include a note about his own stupidity: early on in the encounter, Troy made the audacious claim that you can’t charge in a surprise round. This, too, is nonsense. You can of course charge in a surprise round (as a standard action), but you can only move up to your speed (instead of up to double your speed). So really, in a way, my stupidity is totally moot. Because we all would have been very, very dead when the frost giant/centaur/stallion creatures killed us in the surprise round.

So here’s to stupidity.

-Matthew

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22 Comments on "We Are Stupid Episode 149: Matthew Edition"

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Izunundara
Guest

Rule of Cool; The answer is also the same for “Was it legal?” Was Fairaza turning into BATTLECAT and slaughtering the Giantaur creatures cool? ABSOLUTELY.

Also Troy didn’t call you on it so hand’s off the chess piece ayyyyy
Rule 1 is “The GM is right”, Rule 1b is “Even when they’re wrong”

AJ Beebe
Guest

Making mistakes is the best and probably most common way to learn anything in life. These are all mistakes we have made. The rest of us have the advantage of not playing under a microscope. You will be fine.

jeff morse
Guest

Are you not all using herolab? If not, you might qant to give it a try. You go into the play tab, and hit the select button next to wildshape. It will than give you a window full of choices to change into. And the best part is that it will adjust everything for you.

David Folsom
Guest

In the heat of the moment of pure excitement making that kind of mistake is acceptable. It was fun to listen too, and totally AWESOME.

Dell
Guest
You have made SO many great strategic choices with your spell casting! Many of them were even legal! The episode was so much fun, I literally cheered when you said Warcat. When we used to play, in blissful obscurity with no one recording us, we screwed up constantly! If we ever did happen to find out (“What do you mean dwarves can’t detect magic? We’ve been using that rule for years!”), we’d just either make it a house rule or forget it ever happened. Always play casters Matthew, I love the way you play. First, kill all the lawyers, preferably… Read more »
Bill
Guest

We (I) still love having you on the show no matter (well almost) how much you screw up. The show would not be the same (or as good) with out you, and the perspectives your characters bring to the show.

jes
Guest

It pisses me off when people go off on you going, “He can’t play a caster! Scoff! He should just go fighter and swing a stick 3 times at something.”

It’s like, fuck you! Everyone makes mistakes during RPGs, especially goddamn Pathfinder, and anyone who’s ever played knows the system is ridiculously easy to mess up.

Tl:dr, fuck the haters, keep on trucking, Matthew.

Gandave
Guest

To be fair, the comment that Matthew should play a fighter was meant as a joke by the person making it. Unfortunately, sometimes written sarcasm is difficult to notice. I don’t think anyone would ask Matthew (or any other player) to step down just because he made some rule mistakes. It’s just that this week’s mistake was rather important, similar to how the Orc Ferocity thing had an sizeable impact on the Siege of Trunau, and hence people were a bit more vocal about it than usual.

Alejandro
Guest

None of you are stupid <3

Guest
Guest

Well….

Haydn
Guest

I love these sweet boys. You keep swinging for the fences, Matthew!

Curtis Brown
Guest

God we fucking love you guys, the only freaking podcast who tries to follow the rules. Every single we are stupid just makes the podcast even better. Keep at it. How can you learn without making mistakes. Keep being awesome!!!

Leith
Guest
Mathew, you are not ruining the credibility of the game. If anything, you’re making it >more< credible. I'm someone who loves complex characters, and spends literally days on said characters looking up all the rules and memorizing them. My boyfriend is someone who loves complex characters and looks up the rules as he uses in them in the game. These are both ways that real people play the game (and honestly, they're both valid. Because it's a game. The only way you're doing it wrong is if you're stopping people, yourself or the other people IN YOUR GAME [not in… Read more »
NewMutant
Guest

I ain’t mad atcha! Pathfinder/D&D/rpgs are meant to be fun, played by humans, who make mistakes. That’s why DMs can make hoise rules on the fly, to keep the game flowing, and even retro mistakes into precedents, or plot twist interventions by the gods themselves if need be. Hell, Fairaza deserved the Mother of All Mulligans for the entire L’orc Returns episodes.

AnnMarie Trumpinski
Guest

To answer your question, I think no to all. Fairaza is a lot of fun and in the fun of the moment we all mess up. Please stick with the caster!

Travis
Guest

Someone needs to remember to drink their FodJuice

John
Guest

Also, as long as we’re on the twin topics of “stupid” and “episode 149,” those creatures were not giants, so all their anti giant mechanics – weapons, favored enemies and the like – should not have triggered. That one is on Troy for ruling as such.

Penttini
Guest

He admitted to that during the game though, but he ruled them as giants because, frankly, it would be stupid not to classify something that has the upper half of a giant, a giant.

Rob
Guest

I’d have ruled the same way. They were definitely giant-ish, and I’d rather just, as a GM, say “yup” then spend however many minutes figuring that out. It was a reasonable call to make. If the GM says they’re giant subtype, which I think is totally reasonable for the creature, than the GM is right, no matter what the rules say.

Rule zero for any tabletop RPG is that “the GM is always right, except if he is egregiously wrong” and “have fun at all times.”

Erin Hill
Guest

Your characters just all have the flavor feat. Nbd

Dave Turner
Guest

Rule of Fun, Matthew. Rule of Fun. You may have been stupid, buy by God, you made stupid FUN! Next time you need to become a T-rex. 🙂

Eric Kaiser
Guest

New Rule: +2 Str/Dex to any Dinosaur Matthew shapes into until Troy watches Jurassic Park.