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Avlis policy on: Detecting Changelings

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Avlis policy on: Detecting Changelings

PostAuthor: dougnoel » Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:18 pm

When a changeling uses the Changeling Special Ability, a message is sent to everyone in the area that the ability has been used. This is an OOC message.

When a changeling changes form, everyone in the immediate vicinity gets to make a spellcraft check (DC 16). This check is made automatically by the engine. If they succeed, they get a message indicating that the user of the power may be a changeling. If they fail, they get no message. If someone changes in front of your face, you do know that they can change form. However you do not know how they are accomplishing this feat unless you succeed in your spellcraft check.

When a changeling memorizes or purges a form, everyone in the immediate vicinity gets to make a spellcraft check (DC 30). This check is made automatically by the engine. If they succeed, they get a message indicating that the user of the power may be a changeling. If they fail, they get no message.

In both the above cases, the changeling does not know if someone made a check or if they succeeded at a check. When a changeling reviews their forms, no one gets to make a spellcraft check to identify a changeling.

This means that anyone without ranks in spellcraft will never be able to identify someone as a changeling. Those with some ranks will be able to identify changelings with a good degree of accuracy whenever they change shape or revert to their true form. Only characters of at least level 6 will have any chance of identifying changelings when memorizing or purging forms, and only epics with any degree of regularity.

If you cannot make spellcraft checks, the only other IC way to find out someone is a changeling is to have someone who ICly knows tell you that person is a changeling. So unless you succeed at a spellcraft check you do not know someone is a changeling, even if they change shape in front of your face.
Last edited by dougnoel on Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostAuthor: Velvet Embrace » Sun Oct 03, 2004 9:50 pm

Ummm...what about when they change right in front of you? I mean, a character with a 14 Intelligence isn't a moron after all.
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PostAuthor: Akchizar » Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:21 pm

Are those spellcraft checks made automatically, or would you have to make a spellcraft check through your emote wand?
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PostAuthor: dougnoel » Sun Oct 03, 2004 11:52 pm

Tangleroot wrote:
If you cannot make spellcraft checks, the only other IC way to find out someone is a changeling is to have someone who ICly knows tell you that person is a changeling. So unless you succeed at a spellcraft check you do not know someone is a changeling, even if they change shape in front of your face.


I see a dog change into a pig and fail my spellcraft check. What do I say IC'ly? "Damn pigdogs."

Or I see a man change into an elf?

Velvet Embrace wrote:Ummm...what about when they change right in front of you? I mean, a character with a 14 Intelligence isn't a moron after all.

They could be a shapeshifter, a wizard, a demon - you just can't pin them as a changeling.

Akchizar wrote:Are those spellcraft checks made automatically, or would you have to make a spellcraft check through your emote wand?

The check is made automatically by the engine.

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PostAuthor: Velvet Embrace » Mon Oct 04, 2004 12:02 am

dougnoel wrote:
Velvet Embrace wrote:Ummm...what about when they change right in front of you? I mean, a character with a 14 Intelligence isn't a moron after all.

They could be a shapeshifter, a wizard, a demon - you just can't pin them as a changeling.


No, but it narrows it down a might. Called 'deductive reasoning'. That would be more a Lore check than Spellcheck. Don't need to understand magic to figure some things out.

And by your statement, no one can tell what anything is, as a demon, a shapshifter, a wizard or a changeling could apear as anything else.

A character should be able to assume some things through RP. A character chaning in front of them MAY be a changeling. They May NOT BE as well. What that character deciedes is based upon thier past experiances not a roll.

A PLAYER can't tell anothers race/class except by visual and RP (A half-elf looks just like a human after all), so why is this even needed? *shrugs* Your world man, but you seem to be making it more complicated than it needs to be for no reason.
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PostAuthor: Jordicus » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:42 am

Velvet Embrace wrote:A character chaning in front of them MAY be a changeling. They May NOT BE as well.


this is exaclty the reason why this has been clarified. the perons MAY or MAY NOT be a changling if you see them change. You DO NOT know positively that they are. It's that simple. So if you see a changeling change form in front of you, and you have not made a successful spellcraft check, you can claim whatever you want. Avlis is about RP after all. However, you have no IC or OOC proof by merely witnessing the event.
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PostAuthor: Velvet Embrace » Mon Oct 04, 2004 10:44 am

Okay, I can see your point now. But if the roll is just ooc proof of the changling, isn't it? I mean, how do you present your spellcraft check as proof IC?

(Sorry if I'm being dense here. I'm just not seeing the use of this check :oops: )
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PostAuthor: GreyLynx » Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:15 pm

If you as a player sees a changeling shift in front of you, oocly you know they are a changeling, whether or not you make the check. The checks, however, are to let you know whether your character also knows he's with a changeling. As I understand things, if your character makes the spellcraft check, ICly that does not mean you have physical proof to show someone. All you can do is explain that you know enough of the ways of changelings that you are certain that the person/creature in front of you is a changeling. It's up to everyone else as to whether they believe you or not.

If your doesn't make the check, your character doesn't know - he can suspect, but deep down he would realize that what he saw is not sufficient proof to himself that he is looking at a changeling. The important thing to realize is that these rolls are not there so you can prove to others that someone is a changeling, but so that you as a player knows whether your character knows/believes he is in the presence of a changeling.

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PostAuthor: dougnoel » Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:27 pm

If your character does make a successful check, you will get some IC hints about why your character knows the person is a changeling.
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PostAuthor: Spell Singer » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:13 pm

dougnoel wrote:They could be a shapeshifter, a wizard, a demon - you just can't pin them as a changeling.


I am afraid that you are violating my suspention of disbelief.

My character sees a man change into an elf without casting a spell...he is a not a wizard as a wizard cannot do that without casting, and my character knows what a wizard looks like casting, he has even on occasion seen a wizard shapechange so he knows what it is like. The person might be a demon true...but well lets say that my character would know that detail as well, demons tend to radiate evil strong enough that my character knows when one is around. He knows about the existance of a race of beings who can change shape so I think he would be inclined to suspect the person is a changeling.

Now if the changeling changed from a man into a dog...I would assume he was a druid. If a druid told me that was impossible then see below.

If a changeling is stupid enough to change shape into something which a druid cannot do when anyone is around to observe this then they might as well put up a sign that says "Changeling."

And for this level of logic you need an INT of 10.

But more importantly you are also asking people to deal with OOC and IC knowledge in a way that will NOT work.

Sooner or later people will forget that they know this information OOC and use it IC. Even if this occurs by accident it will be passed to another IC and they will act on it IC and then there will come the whole...how did you know yadda, yadda, yadda. I have been there, done that, got several t-shirts and frankly trust me you don't want this. Giving people OOC knowledge and then saying but you don't know it is a recipe for disaster as once you the player knows it, that knowledge will affect how you behave and because of the whole thing it will be something that stick in your head.

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PostAuthor: WrathOG777 » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:28 pm

Polymoph self has no somatic component. It is an OOC game engine flaw that you see motion for that spell. No caster ever does motion to polymorph. It is also only an engine limitation that forms are limited. Casters should be able to change into anything appropriate with that, not just five things.

The same anything option goes for druids. They only have a limited selection of animals. They should be able to change into any animal they want. So a dog would be a perfectly IC form for a druid.

There are also shifters. They would have far far more options too. But the engine is limited them to only a few.

Rangers and clerics can also get polymorph self. There is also the posiblity of magical items. Polymorph is only a 4th lvl spell. Items that cast a forth lvl spell once a day are available. Rogues and bards could also fake the ability from a scroll, and might have the skill to stop others from noticeing with slight of hand. But all that is possible IC, not from the engine at large.

On the demons thing, demons is generic. Fairies have been known to shapechange too, or illusion in their case. Many mytical creatures can in one way or another assume other forms, good and evil.

That is my opinion, not nessasarily anyone else's opinon, might just be, but that would be a coincodence, and damnit, sometimes the crap I write is not even my opinion either.
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PostAuthor: Dralix » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:30 pm

In other words, while the player may know that polymorph and similar spells/abilities have limited forms, there is no reason that the character should think that.

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PostAuthor: Khaelindra » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:45 pm

A related question:

can druids/shifters IC'ly only change to the few forms that are available in the engine, or is this a representation limited by the scope of the engine of an ability that is much wider?

In other words: i play a druid, and she can change into a bear, wolf, panther, badger and boar. I cannot have her change into for instance a chicken or a snake because it's not on the radial. Now when someone changes into a snake before my eyes, can my druid say "this is not a druid, because they have only 5 forms", or is the shapeshift ability representative of changing into ANY animal and should she not make this deduction IC'ly? (of course, OOC'ly it's a giveaway, that's not the issue)

Same question for shifters..the meta-idea is that shifters can take on just about any form (much like a changeling, but needing no example just skill and having otehr effects on changing), but the engine reality limits this to about 20. Can someone who is an accomplished shifter (and thus knows 'all' forms) eliminate the chance of someone being a shifter by saying "a shifter cannot shift into that."?

(yes, i heard some opinions, i'd like a Team statement... :wink: )

edit: meh, two posts in front of me while i post...well i'd still like the Team verdict... :roll:
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PostAuthor: dougnoel » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:47 pm

Velvet Embrace wrote:(Sorry if I'm being dense here. I'm just not seeing the use of this check :oops: )

The use of this check is to determine whether or not your character has enough knowledge about magic to identify an action as one being made by a changeling. If you don't know enough about magic, you don't know that they did anything out of the ordinary (in the case of the DC 30 checks) or you do not know enough about changelings to know that they are specifically a changeling (DC 16 checks.)

Spell Singer wrote:I am afraid that you are violating my suspention of disbelief.

I'm sorry you feel that way. Have you actually passed a check in the game and it caused you a problem? I have done my best to make the checks as IC as possible.

Spell Singer wrote:But more importantly you are also asking people to deal with OOC and IC knowledge in a way that will NOT work.

I have done everything possible within the engine to make sure that you only get a message if it is IC knowledge. If you don't know anything ICly, you get no message and can continue on blissfully unaware. I can do nothing about the Bioware-delivered message, which is the impetus for this code to begin with; nor can I do anything about how you as a player determine OOCly that someone is a changeling.

Spell Singer wrote:Sooner or later people will forget that they know this information OOC and use it IC.

Your example is an example of metagaming. I can't code a solution to that - which is why we have rules. Metagaming will get you into trouble, so don't do it. If you have trouble keeping OOC and IC knowledge separate, I suggest you take notes.

Spell Singer wrote:The person might be a demon true...but well lets say that my character would know that detail as well, demons tend to radiate evil strong enough that my character knows when one is around.

And that ^ is an example of cheesing. In other words, claiming your character has an ability he does not - in this case the ability to detect demons. Creatures do not radiate auras. If you are a paladin who has the detect evil abillity, you might be able to detect evil (although it's a very easy ability to save against), but all that will tell you that the creature is evil - not that they radiate the evil of an extra-planar creature.

I believe Wrath and Dralix answered the rest of your statements adequately Spell Singer.

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PostAuthor: CPU » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:55 pm

Another thing to take into consideration is the player view of NWN and Avlis. We, as players, get this great overhead view that can swing around 360 degree's, overhead to floor level. You see all this stuff, what happenes behind you, all sorts of things that your character can't. Even when it's dark outside, you still see quite alot and still from every conceivable angle.

The point here is that if you didn't have these sorts of advantages that you don't have in real life, you're character may not notice these sorts of things all the time. and if they do, would they understand exactly what they saw, anyway?

If a Changeling changes in front of you, broad day light, yeah, you might notice - assuming that there are no distractions of your character isn't looking away, facing a different direction, or isn't tired, etc... But the rest of the time, if you thought you saw a person out of the corner of your eye, or in a shadow somewhere, and then when you looked back and saw a dog, you wouldn't jump to think it MUST BE a Changeling. You would more then likely look for the easiest explanation that you just didn't see what you thought. Now someone with a skilled mind and understanding, might be more attuned to recognize what really happened - that it wasn't a trick of the eye or mind, that they've just seen a Changeling.

Again, the engine takes almost none of this into account. And we are spoiled by the view, and the lack of constant distractions and dice modifiers to mimic that. Even if you do not hit the rest fuction for what is days in Avlis time, you get no modifiers for the inability to concentrate or focus (halucinate?). NWN is more pristene (sp?) then it really should be, so I don't think it is quite beyond the suspension of belief. The spellcheck craft roll adds some of this back in. I mean how else can you know what your character knows and see's- short of metagaming, and just assuming thet they know everything you, the player does?

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PostAuthor: dougnoel » Mon Oct 04, 2004 3:55 pm

Khaelindra wrote:A related question:

can druids/shifters IC'ly only change to the few forms that are available in the engine, or is this a representation limited by the scope of the engine of an ability that is much wider?

In other words: i play a druid, and she can change into a bear, wolf, panther, badger and boar. I cannot have her change into for instance a chicken or a snake because it's not on the radial. Now when someone changes into a snake before my eyes, can my druid say "this is not a druid, because they have only 5 forms", or is the shapeshift ability representative of changing into ANY animal and should she not make this deduction IC'ly? (of course, OOC'ly it's a giveaway, that's not the issue)

Same question for shifters..the meta-idea is that shifters can take on just about any form (much like a changeling, but needing no example just skill and having otehr effects on changing), but the engine reality limits this to about 20. Can someone who is an accomplished shifter (and thus knows 'all' forms) eliminate the chance of someone being a shifter by saying "a shifter cannot shift into that."?

(yes, i heard some opinions, i'd like a Team statement... :wink: )

edit: meh, two posts in front of me while i post...well i'd still like the Team verdict... :roll:

The simple answer is: No. Basically, just because you can't take a form doesn't mean someone else couldn't. For example, we plan to change some of the shifter forms on Avlis. That means that someone from another world might see a shifter turn into a Coal Dragon. The player may think - Huh, must be a changeling because I can't take that form. - until they realize that they can in fact take that form on Avlis when they try and become a Drider. (Note - thre are no plans to replace the Drider with a Coal Dragon - it was just an example.)

If someone were to take the form of say a golem, a druid would know ICly that is not a form a regular druid can take. They may or may not know that it is a form that wizards, changelings and shifters can take. If someone were to turn into a chicken, this would be a normal animal form and something that pretty much anyone could take.

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PostAuthor: Liartes » Mon Oct 04, 2004 7:29 pm

Well-said CPU.
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PostAuthor: Guest » Mon Nov 22, 2004 9:18 am

[/quote]

My character sees a man change into an elf without casting a spell...he is a not a wizard as a wizard cannot do that without casting, and my character knows what a wizard looks like casting, he has even on occasion seen a wizard shapechange so he knows what it is like. [/quote]


Still spell and silent spell will hide all forms of casting, so just because you dont see or hear them dont meant they havent cast a spell

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PostAuthor: Salas » Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:24 pm

If the changeling that changed gave you OOC permission to know, as in:

Ask --> "((my character would know because he's a xenobiologist and a changeling himself but he doesn't practice spells, do I know what you are?))"

Reply --> "((Sure, I didn't exactly hide the fact))"

Or

Reply --> "((No, I'm trying to stay hidden))"



As I see it, the only reason for the roll is to stop idiots seeing a monster walk up and going "Oh it's just a changeling" when they have 6 int.

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PostAuthor: dougnoel » Fri Dec 03, 2004 6:48 pm

Salas wrote:If the changeling that changed gave you OOC permission to know, as in:

Ask --> "((my character would know because he's a xenobiologist and a changeling himself but he doesn't practice spells, do I know what you are?))"

Reply --> "((Sure, I didn't exactly hide the fact))"

Or

Reply --> "((No, I'm trying to stay hidden))"



As I see it, the only reason for the roll is to stop idiots seeing a monster walk up and going "Oh it's just a changeling" when they have 6 int.

No.

dougnoel wrote:This means that anyone without ranks in spellcraft will never be able to identify someone as a changeling.

dougnoel wrote:If you cannot make spellcraft checks, the only other IC way to find out someone is a changeling is to have someone who ICly knows tell you that person is a changeling. So unless you succeed at a spellcraft check you do not know someone is a changeling, even if they change shape in front of your face.

You may tell someone ICly that you are a changeling, but you can never tell someone OOCly that you (or anyone else) is a changeling. That's metagaming.

And this...
my character would know because he's a xenobiologist and a changeling himself but he doesn't practice spells, do I know what you are

Is cheesing.

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PostAuthor: Arkonswrath » Sat Mar 26, 2005 6:33 am

I have a question I haven't seen addressed yet.

Druids vs Changelings in Animal forms.

Now I know that the official statement on them say that their entire physiology changes when they take on a form, however their mind does not. Would a druid (using animal empathy and with a high wisdom score) know that the creature they are dealing with is not a normal animal.

I mean, they may not know the creature is a changeling, to them it may very well be another Druid who took that animal's form instead of the ones the other uses. But It would seem to me that a Druid is going to know if they are dealing with a normal animal of nature.
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PostAuthor: Sarmanos » Sat Mar 26, 2005 7:35 am

On another note, not sure if Dopplegangers exist on Avlis but who knows, it could be one, eh?
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PostAuthor: dougnoel » Sat Mar 26, 2005 8:20 am

Arkonswrath wrote:I have a question I haven't seen addressed yet.

Druids vs Changelings in Animal forms.

Now I know that the official statement on them say that their entire physiology changes when they take on a form, however their mind does not. Would a druid (using animal empathy and with a high wisdom score) know that the creature they are dealing with is not a normal animal.

The short answer is you can't use skills on other PCs without their consent. If two players want to work something like this out together, then they are welcome to; but just like Bluff or Persuade checks, you can't force an Animal Empathy check on someone.

The long answer:
3E SRD wrote:Animal Empathy (CHA)
TRAINED ONLY; DRUID, RANGER ONLY

Check: The character can improve the attitude of an animal with a successful check. To use the skill, the character and the animal must be able to study each other, noting each other's body language, vocalizations, and general demeanor. This means that the character must be within 30 feet under normal conditions.

Generally, influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute, but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.

This skill works on animals. The character can use it with a –4 penalty on beasts and magical beasts.

Retry: As with attempts to influence people, retries on the same animal generally don't work (or don't work any better), whether the character has succeeded or not.

Animal Empathy helps you get a better reaction out of animals, but it isn't Knowledge (animal behavior). However, this really depends on a DM call when dealing with an NPC. For PCs, the rule is you cannot force your checks on them.

Arkonswrath wrote:I mean, they may not know the creature is a changeling, to them it may very well be another Druid who took that animal's form instead of the ones the other uses. But It would seem to me that a Druid is going to know if they are dealing with a normal animal of nature.

That depends. What if the changeling has spent the last 20 years being a chicken or a dog or a cow? He might act very much like that kind of animal if he's been pretending to be one for a while - and physically he's identical. There is a certain burden on a changeling in animal form to act as an animal if they do not wish to be discovered. But without DM intervention, there's no way for you to be ICly suspicious unless a changeling uses a power in front of you and you succeed at a check. If someone is acting inappropriate for the form they've taken and you feel that they are abusing this ruling by using it to do things they should not, then please report the incident to the team.

If a player is using their changeling forms to grief, they should be treated like any other griefer. Report them to the team. Otherwise, you should be able to work things out in-game with a few tells.

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PostAuthor: Godron » Sat Mar 26, 2005 11:59 am

Are the checks shown in the message window ?

If not, could you state which of the texts shown are OOC and IC for those of us who do not know how the changeling mechanics work. By this I mean the actual texts.

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PostAuthor: Serineth Swiftpaw » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:07 pm

If you succeed in the check, you get some yellow text appear in the Server window saying something like "blah twists and turns before your eyes, changing into a new form".

It's very obvious if you ever see it.
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