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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:56 PM
    Here's some stuff from RuneQuest (Avalon Hill Deluxe Edition, 1993, p 8): The Player As a player, your first duty is to play within the limits of the characters you generate. Even though you are a chemistry major, for instance, your shepherd character cannot (without learning or training) stroll to a game world village and open an alchemy shop. Operating within your adventurers' limits...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:39 PM
    I think many readers of LotR would not agree with you that Aragorn's title was an "empty" one. Nor would everyone agree that Richard the Lionheart's claim to kingship is an "empty title" when he reenters England covertly to try and retake his throne from his sinister brother. I don't think the White Russians regarded their titles as empty either, but that is more debatable. So it's not...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:33 PM
    What's a realistic nobility-to-commoner ratio among PCs? Is it the same or different from the elf-to-dwarf ratio? The fighter-to-MU ratio?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:18 PM
    Yes and no! If it's really "no myth", then new challenges can be narrated! Or, in your "negotiate with the town" example, the GM can frame a situation (and associated check) that puts the PC's nobility to the test. This also takes me back to the alternatives to fiat (player or GM). Roll more dice!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 07:46 AM
    Maxperson, why don't you post some examples of how GM-driven RPGing produced moments of dramatic choice for the players?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 07:44 AM
    But it's possible to resolve all this stuff during the course of play. And possible resolutions aren't hard to think of - anything from the PC has been travelling incognito to the PC has been banished because on the losing side of a power struggle to the PC's family is impoverished and hence the PC went out to try and make his/her fortune. Again we see three things: (1) A strong assumption...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 05:18 AM
    I'm not being shortsighted. I'm saying that being offered a quest from my hermit to kill some orcs is not very dramatic or character-driven roleplaying (ie it lacks MEAT). This comes through in the questions you pose (as opposed to the "hundreds of other" that you leave as an exercise for the reader): Will the do what the hermit asks and abandon others that need them? How will they help...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:39 AM
    Your claim - which I have just quoted - was that if a player uses the uncle device to underpin an imputation to his/her PC of his/her knowledge about trolls, then that player will also want to use the same device to have the GM inform him/her about new, hitherto unknown weaknesses. But that claim was, and is, unfounded. ecause If a player don't actually know, then when playing an ignorant PC...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 03:18 AM
    I don't actually have an issue with 'this is unbeatable', in that case it isn't a monster, it is just some sort of obstacle you aren't prepared to beat. Of course most such obstacles don't kill you! Walls don't kill you, but you can't go through them (at least without special stuff). So, what should be true then is that the leeches/salt thing should be automatically known to the PCs, just...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Today, 03:05 AM
    Dying just has no real appeal. I mean, if I died because some fact was so obscure nobody in the party could figure out that the dragon had a peanut allergy, then really, killing all the characters was a positive thing? It was suspenseful? I just can't see it. I have DMed 1000's of games and really almost never seen something like that come back as "wow! Good game!". OTOH I've seen plenty of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 01:08 AM
    I think this comment can be generalised: Maxperson's assertions about how PC knowledge, PC background etc are to be handled may be true accounts of how he likes to play the game, but find little support in D&D rules texts, esepecially 4e. This relates to what AbdulAlhazred said upthread about PC backgrounds and PC goals being the MEAT of play. If the only significance of befriending a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:33 AM
    To me, it seems there are two uncontroversial ways it can become true in the fiction that a PC knows something: * The player has some knowledge and imputes it to the PC; * The GM informs the player of something that the the PC knows. The extent to which a GM is able to veto/gate the first approach will depend primarily on table conventions. Off the top of my head I can't think of any...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:45 PM
    I don't have any of the old alien modules, but have heard rumours of the Zhodani. I've done some free narration of "mystical" feats by the religious elite of Ashar, without trying to frame that within the technicalities of the psionics rules. There's no meta-currency in by-the-book Classic Traveller. There are three modes of improving a PC's stats/inherent abilities: * psionics...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:37 PM
    Your character has never encountered a trap before. Good roleplay involves intentionally triggering the trap to doom your character. ;) Ah, yes. Again, the previously discussed situation where the mental headspace of your PC exists as Schrödinger's Cat.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:47 PM
    Yeah. This line of conversation has borderline unnavigable for myself. When I’m talking about Discovery and Competition I have a particular meaning that doesn’t appear to be relatable to some. It’s central to player and mediated through a particular game’s principles and play priorities/goals. Competition is going to mean something slightly (or significantly) different in 4e than it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:37 PM
    Sorry, this is incoherent: it can't be the case both that something is automatically known to the PC, and that it is known to the player but not the PC. So I don't know what you're trying to say here. The point that I, hawkeyefan and others are making is that there is no reaosn to doubt that it is character knowledge. If the player imputes the knowledge to the character, then the player is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:04 PM
    I'm not sure I want my PC to be a food solution to the giant leech challenge, whether or not seasoned with salt!
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:16 AM
    Incidentally, player vs. game is a guiding tenet and point of identity for the OSR community. They largely agree this was the principle focus of the "old school D&D" era. And this is congruent with what pemerton and AbdulAlhazred have said. I know that Bedrockgames also has experience with the OSR community and games, so he may also have some insight to shed on this issue as well. This player...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:25 AM
    We played a session of Traveller yesterday. Following on from our previous session, the PCs all returned to their orbiting ship (some from another vessel in orbit; others from their on-world excursion); fired on and (thereby) degraded the computer of an an Imperial satellite that had stored transmissions concerning some of their on-world activities (but failed various checks to pick up...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:24 AM
    How is it an edge case? In a mediaeval campaign few people will have grown up in stone buildings, especially if you treat "advantages" like noble birth and the like as benefits to be rationed by the GM. And how does it prove anything less than your suggestion, upthread, that a character who grew up in a desert wouldn't know much about trolls? If my example is an edge case, then why is yours...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:56 AM
    Really? You know this for sure? Even if the PC background is being born and raised in a peasant village, living in mud-and-timber housing? But you're equally sure that they won't know what a troll's weakness is? It does baffle me that you cannot see that this is a completely arbitrary way in which to draw lines about what player knowledge a PC is or is not permitted to draw upon. Why are...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:04 AM
    This though brings up a line of reasoning which is one of the primary, if not THE primary, one that lead me to consider a more story/narrative/zero myth kind of an approach to most RPGing. There is not much value in gotchas. Running into some monster which has a weakness you cannot possibly know and which can't otherwise be defeated, or running into an almost entirely unanticipatable trap (one...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:50 AM
    I think Gary would tend to have said 'no' to that notion, either someone who survived the pit tells the tale, or when you arrive at that spot the pit is no longer hidden, or maybe the player describes his new PC as pretty cautious about where he steps! But I don't KNOW, and I would not swear that Gary or Dave was necessarily consistent either, or that they didn't change their minds at some point...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:45 AM
    'Everyone knows' is OK, or it can be a reasonably easy monster knowledge check. If the whole party manages to fail that check, well they be having a bum day... OTOH it is probably just as well to not make it a mystery but then reveal some other unwelcome truth, like that supply of oil you counted on to light your way out of the dungeon is now going up in flames. Sure, you beat the trolls, but...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 11:41 PM
    But Manbearcat, surely you realise that only "gamists" who wan to play D&D to WIN accept the sort of Schroedinger's Feywild you are describing here! Real roleplayers learn about the Feywild by reading about it in a book published by TSR/WotC.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 11:35 PM
    This is all arbitrary, though. The notion that there is some contrast between "unique" and "variant" is barely a rules construct, as opposed to a table convention. It's easy to decide that a creature's vulnerability will be reflected in its appearance or constitution in some form which is evident to those trained in arcane or occult ways. What does this mean, though? What is an "unusual" bump...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 10:11 PM
    On Competition So what you're saying here is that in your table's hierarchy of play priorities, (your perception of) "good roleplay" is a higher priority than "competition". To wit, when play at the table puts these two priorities at tension, "competition" becomes subordinate (possibly to the extent of rendering it null) to (your perception of) "good roleplay". Is that correct? (if its...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 08:10 PM
    LOL. So clear that you still had plenty enough disagreement about the issue. Hardly as clear cut as you like to pretend it is. You have an incredibly Manichaean approach to reading text. You remind me of Supreme Court Justice Gorsuch who made the argument (albeit before joining SCOTUS) that law should be read and interpreted as "plain text," which his future Supreme Court Justices (including...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 04:30 PM
    QFT. This grows tiresome and resembles baiting or bullying more than debate and analysis.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 04:10 PM
    That's only how you choose to run it, Max. It's also clear that players were supposed to use their knowledge and wits to overcome challenges to achieve the victory conditions of the game. ;) You should know better to equate silence with agreement or victory. Please, stop treating conversations as something to be won. The reality is that I don't necessarily want to pursue every single...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 03:33 PM
    I meant the classical sense of "gorgon," since Medusa is actually the personal name of a gorgon. I thought that would have been obvious given the and/or slash. :shrug: That's only how you choose to run it, Max. Leaving your play preference snobbery aside, this was how RPGs were played before people got into their head notions of acting and voicing characters using silly accents. It's...
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  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 02:05 PM
    J. Michael Straczynski has reported on his Facebook page that Larry Ditillio has passed https://www.facebook.com/officialjmspage/
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 01:37 PM
    That's debatable. And regardless of original intent, D&D has developed its own D&Disms as parts of its game culture regarding its in-game assumptions about its settings and its monsters. So do I have to let my character be turned to stone and die like a chump to figure out that the medusa/gorgon turns people to stone with sight? How many times must I go through that ringer before I can play a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 01:23 PM
    But if the player already knows the answer then there is nothing to figure out. That's the point I've been making for many posts now. I've been posting this too, for about the same number of posts: if a puzzle is desired, then come up with one that the player's don't know the answer to.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 12:10 PM
    I think AbdulAlhazred and Hussar already responded to this - if my PC can know how to check for traps, etc, because that's "what people know how to do", then s/he can know about trolls because that's "what my uncle taught me as a kid".
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 11:59 AM
    You've changed your mind on this? I think you might be running two things together: a player deploying knowledge s/he already has, and imputing that knowledge to his/her PC; and a player seeking to acquire new knowledge.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 11:28 AM
    Have you told the players what you want them to do? I'm not talking here about plot elements and story colour. I'm talking about the practical play of the game - some of the stuf you've posted in this thread, like:
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 10:28 AM
    I think there are a a lot of points of difference that can be identified. Even with the plot-type stuff, does a repeat player with a new PC have to walk his/her PC into the pit? Make the same bad guess at the riddle?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 10:22 AM
    S'mon, what you say about the forgiving nature of 5e seems consistent with other remarks about the system. I didn't mind the way 4e handled some of these things (though I'm not sure if it was deliberate design or byproduct): the real "trick" is bringing the serious fire attack to bear on the troll. Even for a party of veterans that creates a tactical challenge, in the context of an otherwise...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 02:56 AM
    And this explains the basic Gygaxian position that PCs are 'default omnicompetent' (and hence there are no skill systems or checks in Gygaxian D&D). Note even how the original Greyhawk thief skills are phrased. ANYONE can climb a basic climbable wall, but a thief can "climb nearly sheer surfaces". Likewise anyone might disarm a trap or open a lock (simply by describing how the character...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 02:14 AM
    Yeah, that's why I said way upthread there's a collision of expectations. It's a while since I've looked through a RuneQuest monster listing, but at least in my memory they don't exhibit the same lists of immunities, vulnerabilities, etc. And I think there's a logic to that. Ron Edwards, in his "story now" essay, talks about "karaoke RPGing". He's got in mind a slightly different context,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 12:56 AM
    I think lying has different dimensions, though - in the case you describe the player just has to let the NPC go past. (Iin a skill challenge framing, that could be treated as one of three failures.) But in the troll case, if the player was in fact a newebie s/he could experiment with fire, etc however much s/he liked; but how does this work for the player who is not using the information? Roll...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 07:21 PM
    /golfclap But you forgot “kick them in the business when the attempt to declare actions, roll dice, or rebel and leave the premises!” And yes, Flashbacks (a la Blades in the Dark) is the best way to handle something like this. It’s unclear what system is being used, but Blades’ Flashbacks cost Stress, so tax the PC some sort of meaningful resource and give them a fictional advantage they...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 11:49 AM
    The GM policing action declarations in this way does seem to contain hints, at least, of "Mother may I". If the player knows the answer, how is the PC stuck? What's the point of putting puzzles in the game, but then not letting players who know the answer solve them? It absolutely baffles me. But if the player knows (because an experienced player) yet fails the check, how do you handle...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 06:08 AM
    I agree. While I don't know what the original intent or practice was in Wisconsin in the mid 70's WRT player knowledge I suspect that things like the nature and characteristics of magic items, monsters, and well-known traps and such was not really considered something you'd normally hold against a player for mining in a game with a PC who didn't obviously know the information. First of all...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 06:00 AM
    I would push this further, at least in the troll case. How does it count as a win to be allowed to use fire vs a troll if you already know that that's how one beats trolls? In his/her first ever troll encounter, a player wins by figuring out to use fire. It's impossible to replicate that win (short of a bout of amnesia or similar). Future encounters with trolls don't provide any opportunity...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 05:52 AM
    This is all about PC building, and how the player and the GM's conceptions of the shared fiction are to be integrated. Should the GM yield to the player? Should the player yield to the GM? Different systems make different suggestions, and different tables operationalise those suggestions in different ways. But it doesn't tell us anyting about whether the GM is entitled to direct a player to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 05:50 AM
    Why is it metagame knowledge? If the PC recognises the creature as a troll, and knows that it is vulnerable to fire, then this is just the player playing his/her character. To me, your number (3) seems rather contrived. The player is not reasoning what would my character think? The player is reasoning what story can I tell about my character to license the use of fire to attack this troll?...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 05:31 AM
    The qualification "in games" is redundant. Preclusion does not equate to inclusion in any circumstance. This is self-contradictory - they're not a puzzle, they're just something to work out so as to better succeed in the game! Playing my character as ignorant of something that I, the player, am not ignorant of is a textbook example of alienation! You played with Gygax and co? The only...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 03:17 AM
    My own 4e hack also allows for this, by the expenditure of your Inspiration (basically taking a bad turn based on some attribute of your character, but potentially deferred). You could, for instance, simply decide that you DO have enough water, because you thought to bring it along. Maybe the axle will fall off your wagon, but that's just all the more fun and drama ;)
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 02:39 AM
    A few problems arise: First we have the known knowns, that's easy, the PC knows it, and the players know that the PC knows it, like 'how to swing a sword'. Even then the player probably doesn't know the thing itself, so we run into the problem of being able to describe doing it, or even exactly what the results are. Still, no meta-gaming seems to arise here. Second we have the known...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 02:19 AM
    I think this is one of those areas where it is hard to really parse what Gygax, or, maybe even more importantly, Arneson, was thinking. There were BOTH aspects of RP, including a concept of being 'in character', AND aspects of 'skilled play' which originate in wargames; from which D&D is directly derived. Thus it is QUITE POSSIBLE that Gary or Dave might have considered some instances of skilled...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 01:52 AM
    I think you are quite rigid in your interpretation of what is within the bounds in D&D. Nowhere does 'classic' D&D really talk about backstory in concrete terms. It is something which exists at the level of simply things that participants might do, not do, etc. Thus there are no such things as 'rules' about it. You don't need to 'alter the game' in order for a player to establish such a fact,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 01:37 AM
    Dissociation, even!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 01:06 AM
    There's certainly an intermediate possibility here - the player can describe elements of the courthsip, which help frame checks etc beyond just "I woo VIolette", without having to actually narrate "Oh Violette, your hazel eyes do move me so . . . " etc.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 02:40 PM
    Indeed, so let me clarify further with this addition: "And if it seems reasonable for the player's sense of their character,..." So you only read articles with viewpoints that reinforce your own? Seems a bit limiting. I also have found myself at odds with many things that Angry DM has written, yet I still enjoy reading articles that present different viewpoints than my own because, I find...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 12:59 PM
    Okay. However, I would not say that a player inputing their knowledge of trolls into their characters is metagaming anymore than a player inputting their knowledge about apple pie to thermodynamics in their characters entails metagaming. Trolls are part of the world that the characters inhabit. And if it seems reasonable, then a player should have sufficient autonomy over their character to...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 12:33 PM
    And that's fine. But regardless of whether or not you are utilizing "or roll the dice," you are nevertheless arguing that the DM can say "no" to player characters knowing about troll weaknesses. I personally dislike how this can degenerate into MMI regardless of whether you are doing MMI or not.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 12:25 PM
    Of course it is true that these things may have more complexity in praxis at the table. However, this is also a long-winded way of confirming my point about how this makes my character prior knowledge's dependent on DM's permission, creating a sort of Schrödinger's Character Knowledge. And this suspicion is even confirmed by your most recent post: Translation: "Dungeon Mother, may I know about...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 12:18 PM
    I agree that "I diplomatize them" should be discouraged, but that's mainly because, much as pemerton above says, it fails to create any sense for the common fiction, the stakes, or the consequences for either the other players or the GM.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 12:12 PM
    I detect an elitist attitude of "BadWrongFun" in your post that I strongly dislike. Though I do not understand why you are indicating that third-person is wrong or indicative of a lack of engagement, when you earlier wrote: But the idea that the voice used by a player indicates their level of engagement is utter unsubstantiated malarky in my experience.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 11:32 AM
    I think that you may be projecting your own views here while dismissing how other play preferences or engagement modes that others people may have that are different from your own. When I look back at my own experiences and those of others I have played with, I would not be able to reliably say that the use of First Person or Third Person was indicative of the player's relative engagement level....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 10:36 AM
    Based on what you've posted, I would very strongly advise against this. The players' main goal seems to be to save the kid. GM-fiatting that they fail would look like "rocks fall" to me - ie killing, not saving, the campaign. From my perspective, this looks like your problem. The players want to save the boy, but you are trying to get them to ignore that element and go on fetch quests instead....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 10:21 AM
    Well, I'm saying that - in 4e - the player can impute his/her knowledge to the PC. Not that s/he has to. In your shard example, if the player wants to play his/her PC as ignorant that seems much easier than in the troll case (because there's no bad action declaration s/he's making when s/he knows what a good one would be). But if the player wants to play his/her PC as knowing, then sure. In my...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 10:14 AM
    I suspect I would fail at Doug McCrae's table but perhaps pass at S'mon's. I like characters - especially PCs - to be clearly drawn. For me, that doesn't have to mean first person speech - that varies at my table, depending on player, mood, stakes, etc - but I like a player's action declarations for his/her PC to reveal the character as a character. And as a GM I try to present situations...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 09:54 AM
    Retreater - the DMG2 has a good discussion of "circular paths". I've sblocked a post of mine from 2010 where I described some changes I made to H2 maps to increase their circularity: Another map-type change you might look at is to have pits, fires or whatever else behind your front-line soldiers that encourage your players to attempt forced movement even if their PCs are not optimised for...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 09:38 AM
    OK, let me try it another way: what do you anticipate as a likely outcome to this inquiry? We're talking about a very specific context of inquiry here: the PC is in a combat, declaring combat-type actions (including attacks in most cases); the PC almost certainly knows that fire is a viable attack form; the player knows that fire is a required attack form. When, and under what conditions,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 09:20 AM
    I remember suggesting this back c 2009 as a way of using Diplomacy or Streetwise to contribute to a secret/magic door skill challenge in 4e - I spoke with a , who taught me some passwords in one of the ancient tongues. My recollection is that some posters found it a controversial suggestion. 4e doesn't have a Stress resource, but the GM could certainly set a higher difficulty for such an...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 08:13 AM
    Well, I've posted from time-to-time about my Burning Wheel game where one PC's main goal was to redeem his balrog-possessed brother. In my current Traveller game, the initial patron was the friend of one PC, the (one-off, James Bond-ish) lover of another, and the fencing rival of a third. To me, good RPGing requires that the PCs be clearly embedded in the setting and situation - that's...
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  • AbdulAlhazred's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 05:53 AM
    I'd go further and say this kind of thing is GOLD. I am thrilled when a player takes this sort of initiative. There are like 1000 awesome things I can do with this as a GM! And another 1000 the player can do as well, it is so cool. I'm guessing that pemerton feels roughly the same way, its possible to frame a LOT of different scenes off of this sort of relationship and knowledge. Quite dramatic...
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 01:41 AM
    This is incorrect. 4E *encourages* improvised moves that make use of terrain, force movement, etc. Dynamic tactical combat *relies* on such, in fact. From the DMG, pg. 42: "Example: Shiera the 8th-level rogue wants to try the classic swashbuckling move of swinging on a chandelier and kicking an ogre in the chest on her way down to the ground, hoping to push the ogre into the brazier of burning...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 11:25 PM
    So how is this better play - everyone at the table knows what the situation is, but the players aren't allowed to act on it until they make a successful roll - than allowing the players to just make the choices they want to make from the start? I mean, there isn't any "gotcha" moment if the players already know.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 11:18 PM
    To elaborate on what Numidius said: (A) 4e is a tightly-designed game. Therefore it lacks terrible design. (B) Here is an example of terrible RPG design: the GM is encouraged to use puzzles, knowing that the players know the answers to those puzzles, but expecting that the players - when they play the game - will pretend that they don't know those answers. Because 4e lacks terrible...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 11:03 PM
    There are at least two differences here: (1) It is generally considered that sneaking a peek at a module is cheating. Modules tend to say things like "If you're a player, don't read past this point." Whereas learning that trolls are vulnerable to fire is not cheating. It's part of learning to play the game well. And related to this, re-playing a module you've already played isn't a core...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 10:56 PM
    "Fine print" normally refers to elements of a contract that are concealed/obscured from a consumer party to the contract. I'm not sure how you see this term applying in the case of a RPG. If a player knows that trolls are vulnerable to fire, the GM can't direct the player not to know it: if a player knows something, s/he knows it. What's the "fine print"? If a player purports to...
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  • MoutonRustique's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 10:19 PM
    My take would be to make it very, very advantageous for the PCs to get to the back lines ASAP. Here is my "how" on the mechanical side : - reduce the AC defense of the rear-rank by 2 or more - reduce the hp of the rear-rank by 1/4 (half bloodied value) - increase the damage the rear-rank deals by 1/4 (you can often simply add 1/2 the static modifier), but make it significant - enough so the...
    10 replies | 353 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 04:14 PM
    Instead of a new house-built system, I would much rather see Critical Role play non-D&D games from time to time.
    102 replies | 3309 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 04:07 PM
    But the point is that you can method roleplay that your characters are cognizant of troll vulnerabilities. The idea that they must method roleplay from a (DM) predetermined position of ignorance or be accused of "cheating" is the point of contention. Imagine that we were students in a college course and the class professor presumed that we should all be ignorant about a subject matter, no...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 03:44 PM
    So who gets to determine what "actions or activities their characters would have no knowledge of"? Does the GM get to determine that I have no prior knowledge about a town? Does the GM get to determine that I have no prior knowledge of basic math? Does the GM get to determine that I have no prior knowledge about a troll's weakness? If the answer is 'yes,' then we are indeed engaging the sort...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 03:07 PM
    Using fire to attack a troll is not an action that a character would have no knowledge of. Heck, the class table in the AD&D PHB even lists whether or not each class can use flaming oil (all can except monks). I'm telling you how the game was actually played, in the skilled play paradigm, at the time Gygax was writing his rules. It was taken for granted that players improved their knowledge of...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 02:59 PM
    It has been retconned over the years. Their backstory changed between Warcraft 1 to Warcraft 2 to Warcraft 3, which then becomes the primary background for WoW. However, WoW and its past, present, and future lore is also a mess. Blizzard has attempted to repackage the lore several times, most notably with the World of Warcraft: Chronicle lore book series. They only really received a biogensis...
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 02:58 PM
    Here is the passage about "metagame thinking" (DMG p 15). It says nothing about knowledge of trolls: Players get the best enjoyment when they preserve the willing suspension of disbelief. A roleplaying game’s premise is that it is an experience of fictional people in a fictional world. Metagame thinking means thinking about the game as a game. It’s like a character in a movie knowing he’s...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 02:34 PM
    So then why keep brining up the "pablum" red herring?
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 02:28 PM
    I haven't said it should be taken off the table. I have said that it carries a certain meaning. If you're playing with that trope, and you're aware of that meaning, or have it drawn to your attention, presumably you think you have some reason to play with it nevertheless. I think that what I've just said is similar to what Hussar has said: But to build on what Hussar said, this isn't...
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 01:26 PM
    There isn't such a class ability, at least in 5e. Legend Lore exists only as a spell in 5e. I believe that it was a bard ability in 1e, which forms the framework for Lanefan's modus operandi, but I am not sufficiently knowledgeable enough to answer how it operates in 1e. Having played DW from the perspective of a player, I don't think that it is the same. Similar, but not the same. In DW I as...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 01:03 PM
    I'm giving my personal observations too. This has nothing to do with "online culture". I am talking about people who were children in the 1970s and 1980s and could recognise that "evil savage" tropes placed them in a different frame from the white people around them. This is a real thing, and I don't understand why you will not acknowledge it. Yes. Because you seem to think that I am...
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 12:52 PM
    To me, this reads as confused. In Graeme Greene's The Quiet American, there is no suggestion that what happens to Fowler, Pyle and Phuong is more important in any objective sense than what happens to others in the war. But of course the story is primarily about them. In a RPG fiction, the gameworld is what it is: in my Traveller game, for instance, it's the whole of the Imperium, and there...
    1507 replies | 41494 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 12:32 PM
    Has anyone in this thread denied this? I haven't. You are the poster who keeps wanting to talk about intentions, when I (and others) have repeatedly posted that we are not talking about them and are not interested in them. What I'm denying is a different claim of yours: that only those with a certain "advanced education" will notice this. That claim is false. I've posted counterexamples -...
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 12:27 PM
    If the colour of a protagonist is never specified (is that the case for Hermoine? I believe that the author has said as much, but I've not read her books), then why would someone protest because that character - in a theatrical or movie versi - is cast as Black or otherwise non-white? I can't think of any reason that doesn't pertain to something in the neighbourhood (at least) of racism - eg...
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 10:33 AM
    I've never read it. I understand some people got upset when, in a theatrical version, Hermione was cast as Black; but that the author said there was nothing in the books to suggest she wasn't Black.
    624 replies | 14466 view(s)
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Sunday, 10th March, 2019

  • 04:55 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...ce. There's no notion of "downtime", because there's no notion of the adventure or the dungeon expedition as there is in D&D. There are different things that players might have their PCs do, that take different amounts of ingame time, and are resolved via different ratios of ingame to real-world time. We've already established that breaking interpersonal conflict out into distinct "combat" and "social" categories means that athletics competitions can't be accounted for; in Cortex+ Heroic there is no difference between these things at all, and - for instance - a character can cause another to wilt in shame by besting him/her in swordplay. Similarly, in the example of play for Marvel Heroic RP we see Wolverine using his Adamantium Claws in a dice pool used to inflict Emotional Stress (ie scaring off some enemy NPCs). This sort of thing is omething that D&D doesn't easily allow for. (Hence the recurrent discussions of why it is that bards are more intimidating than barbarians.) As darkbard said not far upthread, why not start trying to think about other RPGs, and the techniques and approaches they involve, on their own terms rather than through this narrow and distorting lens of 80s-style D&D.

Sunday, 24th February, 2019

  • 04:57 PM - Aldarc mentioned darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I am a little puzzled by this post. This thread wasn't started form a critique of non-puzzle oriented games.How the thread starts is not necessarily how discourse proceeds. And in this case, a new branch of discussion opened from Lanefan expressing vexation that "saying no" has somehow become unpopular, which I don't think that it has. Less popular maybe, particularly among indie games, but certainly not unpopular. What ticks me off a bit, is he can't seem to do that without belittling or refusing to see how other people approach the game. And that mentality is prevalent in so many of these threads on this kind of topic.In my own reading, I don't think that is the case. You may be making too much of too little offense, while also ignoring those with carry similar mentalities who are debating against pemerton. Though I also think that darkbard also has a good take on this situation. Obviously though, if players are there for the puzzles, they probably won't like a game that doesn't engage puzzle solving skill, but rather focuses on drama. The reverse is true as well.Most definitely, which ties back into my point that you quoted. SYORTD is a principle oriented towards a different play emphasis than games focused on player-skill overcoming puzzles. Why not? Not only is this not One True Way, but it's pretty much required if you want to enjoy a game. If I prefer 1e style games, I absolutely should be analyzing every RPG I come across on 1e design principles, play priorities/values, campaigns, etc. To fail to do that will eventually result in my purchasing or playing a game that I won't like, wasting my money in the process. Presumably people want to buy and play in games that they will enjoy, and the way to do that is to evaluate games on what they do that you enjoy vs. what you don't enjoy.I would suggest returni...

Monday, 18th February, 2019

  • 11:45 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    darkbard, obviously you know your table and you know your game's fiction, so I can only offer a couple of general thoughts: * The idea of clarifying intent, if it's not entirely clear, seems worthwhile; * In my Traveller game, part of what makes the subsystems for travel able to fit with a broadly "story now" approach to the game is the background setting, which I'll say more about. The background setting for Traveller is an Imperium, with a somewhat nebulously characterised government, a group of interstellar agencies (the Imperial Navy, the Imperial Marines, the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service), and communication between planets dependent on news being carried by starships. In practical terms, this means that more-or-less any planet the PCs travel to can have as much or as little of the prior backstory catching them up as seems appropriate given what is going on in play. That's not to say that there is nothing partiular to particular worlds - Olyx had the bioweapons research base...
  • 09:06 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    ...not "will we make it from X to Y?" but "will we rescue our loved ones?" It is perfectly OK to say that failure to arrive at all is in the cards. It simply must be true that whatever scene frame is thus entered serves to advance the story and doesn't thwart it or turn it in a DM-determined direction, at least to too large a degree.If we are talking about the sorts of systems that are the origin of self-conscious application of "fail forward", then whether or not failure to arrive at all is on the cards depends entirely on the details of the fictional situation and how it relates to what anyone at the table cares about. In my Prince Valiant game, most of the time the PCs' travel across Britain is simply narrated as occurring. There is no need for any checks, because everything that any participant cares about is premised on the PCs getting from X to Y. The travel is just a backdrop to the events that actually matter in play. Conversely, if you are going to call for checks - as darkbard is intending to - then you should know why you are doing that. What is at stake? If you don't know that, then you haven't framed your check properly. Once you do know what is at stake, it may or may not turn out to be the case that non-arrival is among those stakes. There's no way to ascertain that possibility in the abstract - it's all about the details of the fiction. (Of course in some RPG systems, travel always requires a check - which is to say that the system itself always puts some stakes forward as part of travel. Interstellar travel in Classic Traveller is an example of this. But 4e doesn't fall under that description - there is no rule of 4e that demands a check because the players declare that their PCs travel from X to Y.)
  • 06:04 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    As others pointed out : Fail forward = success but is only required when the goal of the endeavor is the singular and obligatory path forward. If the game/story can still continue with a "regular failure", then that shouldn't be taken off the table for [Fail forward] to work - it can work with the goal's failure. Right, and that forms of gist of a reply I would make to pemerton above. It is perfectly OK to say that failure to arrive at all is in the cards. It simply must be true that whatever scene frame is thus entered serves to advance the story and doesn't thwart it or turn it in a DM-determined direction, at least to too large a degree. That may mean that 'in the end' the PCs DO get to the destination. It is just that, really, play should be able to continue in most directions. Really the only thing that shouldn't ever happen is "you fail, you're now still no closer to your goal and nothing has changed." So the consideration of what darkbard should do next, is just advance the story in some direction, giving the players a sense of progress if they succeed and a sense of complication or cost if they don't. And make it genre appropriate and coherent with the rest of the plot and setting.

Thursday, 14th February, 2019

  • 05:53 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned darkbard in post Blades In The Dark
    ... didn't seem to correct the issue. Thanks for the tip. I will keep this in mind for player instruction once I get the opportunity to run the game. Yeah, that's a bit of advice that John Harper attributed to one of his players, and which I've used to encourage my players to take chances. It's a pretty nice way to boil it all down for them. Were they the second series of videos he did? I seem to vaguely recall that his first set did not seem to reflect the published rules. For example, one player using their social status for an extra die on their roll, though I could be misremembering here or confusing a discussion for position rather than dice. The first series can be found on John Harper's youtube channel, and includes Sean Nittner, Stras Acimovic, and Adam Koebel. This was done during the lead up to the final version of the rules, so there are some mechanics or rules that come up that are no longer in place, or that have changed in the final version of the game. But, as @darkbard mentions, it's a minor concern for the most part. The major mechanics are essentially intact. And changes are actually discussed at points throughout the series, which is an interesting view on the design decisions and development of the rules. But yes, here and there something will come up that makes you scratch your head if you're familiar with the rules. The second series you refer to, I believe, is the RollPlay: Blades series. I've watched a good chunk of this series as well, and this one seems to be working solely with the final version of the rules. This series is equally entertaining as the other, although perhaps a bit more serious and dark at times. I haven't watched either series in its entirety, though, so my impression may not apply in the long run. I'll add that I'm not a big one for watching streamed games....I've never been able to sit through an entire episode of Critical Role, for example, and most of my online viewing of streams has been more about seeing a system i...

Sunday, 10th February, 2019

  • 10:52 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    I think you misunderstand me, or perhaps I have misrepresented myself. I have no script in play, as GM, though I am speculating about potential scenarios and their range of outcomes. However, the players have expressed intent which will surely play out as action declarations, and I wish to honor a fail forward mentality in engaging those declarations. Now, certainly, PC actions, successful or not, may change the direction of the current fiction, but there is nothing about player-facing principles that works at odds to a fail forward framework. Story Now, to me, does not indicate a lack of goals or destination; instead, it means destination is determined through player exploration of their characters and that mechanics, rather than GM-scripted plot, determine how and if the PCs achieve those goals. Essentially, what you are suggesting is that "play to see what happens" and fail forward are at odds, and I do not believe that must be so. AbdulAlhazred, darkbard - interesting discussion! If the players declare that their PCs are heading for X by striking out through the wilderness, then we have intent and task. It seems that there are several possible ways this can unfold at the table. (1) The GM simply says "yes" and narrates the arrival, perhaps with a bit of travel drama laid on top. Ipso facto there can't be anything of significant cost here. This is how most travel in my Prince Valiant game, and some of the travel in my 4e and BW games, happens. Cortex+ Vikings is a bit different, because the PCs tend not to have a particular destination in mind, and the travel is punctuated by me dropping in appropriate action scenes (this actually gives it more of an "Arthurian wanderings" feel than Prince Valiant, where we use the map of Britain on the inside cover of the Pendgraon hardback that shipped as part of the PV kickstarter). (2) A version of (1) where the GM "bargains" with the players - you arrive fine, but knock of XYZ, where th...
  • 05:39 PM - Manbearcat mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    Doesn't really work in the sense that the concept is that the party DOES eventually arrive. At the very least the consequences of the SC must be other than "don't find their way back". Of course there are a number of possibilities there, too many to enumerate! ... I don't see these as CONFLICT per se. Just going to use these two pieces to bridge into a quick post. I don't agree with either of these positions above. 1) I'm not sure why your thought is that there is a preconcieved endpoint to darkbard 's game here. I don't see anything in the lead post that implies that. 2) If there is a preconceived endpoint (the group will travel from x to y and arrive unscathed in n time), then its pointless to treat the travel as an Action Scene. Just treat it as a Transition Scene, depict the journey cogently, and move the game forward to the destination. But that seems pretty anathema to the conventions of PoL! Further, in a PoL travel scenario, travel conflict would broadly be "does this obstacle or this series of obstacles (a) complicate travel thematically and (b) convey the conventions/tropes of PoL." If the answer is yes to both, then you have conflict that is coherent with the game's premise. Finally, my thoughts on travel in RPGs dovetails perfectly with The Perilous Wilds expansion for Dungeon World (and these are the journey rules I use in that game and the principles I use for pretty much all games): Journey When you travel by a safe route, through safe ...
  • 03:53 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    AbdulAlhazred, darkbard - interesting discussion! If the players declare that their PCs are heading for X by striking out through the wilderness, then we have intent and task. It seems that there are several possible ways this can unfold at the table. (1) The GM simply says "yes" and narrates the arrival, perhaps with a bit of travel drama laid on top. Ipso facto there can't be anything of significant cost here. This is how most travel in my Prince Valiant game, and some of the travel in my 4e and BW games, happens. Cortex+ Vikings is a bit different, because the PCs tend not to have a particular destination in mind, and the travel is punctuated by me dropping in appropriate action scenes (this actually gives it more of an "Arthurian wanderings" feel than Prince Valiant, where we use the map of Britain on the inside cover of the Pendgraon hardback that shipped as part of the PV kickstarter). (2) A version of (1) where the GM "bargains" with the players - you arrive fine, but knock of XYZ, where th...

Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 11:29 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    ... there is the potential for death spiral but in 4e at least I think that limiting access to resources works better as a type of penalty (if only because it makes the players sweat a bit more while not actually death-spiralling them given their depth of resources, at least above very low levels) than does imposing numerical penalties to actions, which can start to destabilise the maths. Ultimately I think that, in the context of 4e, having the fiction change in some adverse/undesired way is generally better than mechanical penalties or hurdles. (In BW it's different because while penalties can produce a death spiral they can also make it easier to get checks at the difficult needed to improve character abilities - whereas there is no analogue to that in 4e.) Lets think about this in terms of "play to see what happens". In that paradigm, arrival at the destination cannot ever be seen as a given. In fact in a truly 'story now' mode of play there is no destination. Thus, in those terms, darkbard's question becomes literally incoherent; that is, a game built to work that way is incoherent with his stated scenario. I don't want to sidetrack the thread, its clear enough that he's got some sort of 'scripted' play going on in which the GM has already constrained the outcome to arrival at the planned destination. However, it can be interesting to contrast the different techniques and see how their fundamental play architectures lead to different game experiences. So, in my story now HoML campaign, the PCs might strike out towards a remote destination across the 'darkness' of the world. If the player's stated interest is focused strictly on some element which has been narratively constrained in previous play to require the PCs to be at that remote location, then arrival there should be a given and any costs involved should be seen as 'stakes'. It might, thus, be appropriate to challenge the players, "how badly do you really want to do X, are you willing to pay N amount of resource...

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

  • 10:29 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    darkbard, looking at your PCs one possibility that occurs to me is this: * Failed checks on the way cause the PCs to be lost/delayed, and the PCs notice that shadow are pooling more heavily/dusk is falling earlier; * Overall failure means that when the PCs arrive at their destination, the shadowfell has already started to encroach on the town/homestead/other civilisational element that the PCs were heading to. Manbearcat - your advocacy of new tricks to this old dog is noted!
  • 10:22 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Failure stakes for a travel Skill Challenge
    Some rituals that can warn of enemies, or create safe environment, suddenly have a very high value.Most of my 4e play has been at levels/tiers well above darkbard's, but rituals to allows safe rest - since upper paragon, that's been Hallowed Temple - are valuable to the players/PCs, because as a general rule I take the view that "resting" in the Underdark or the Abyss doesn't enable any sort of resource recovery.

Tuesday, 29th January, 2019

  • 02:37 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    darkbard, I've heard a lot from various posters about BitD, including reading actual play reports from Manbearcat. How would you say the crew relates to the players? Is it envisaged as being driven by a constant set of players, or players coming and going? From your rules quote it almost seems like an element of setting, but I could be way off in suggesting that.
  • 08:23 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    I often get a sense - particularly from the story-now crew* - that the real interest lies in the stories of individual characters, with the story of the party as a whole merely tagging along for the ride. * - though I suppose these could almost be defined as post-NS. It seems like one of the "story-now crew," such as pemerton, Campbell, or darkbard would be better equipped to elucidate clarification on such matters then, if you are so inclined.Assuming that a RPG involves a party which, like the ship of Theseus, has an existence that transcends the relationships of its individual components, is already making a big assumption. I once ran a Rolemaster campaign that lasted 8 years. When the campaign started there were 4 players and hence 4 PCs. When the campaign finished there were 6 or so players, one or two of whom was playing a NPC sidekick resulting in 8 or so PCs. None of the players was the same as at the start. One of the sidekicks was a starting PC. At various points on the way through the composition of the group fluctuated as people travelled, returned from studies abroad, etc, and brought in old PCs or created new ones. There was no enduring "party". There were enduring characters, and enduring relationships between them; and obviously in the real world there was an enduring group most of whose members knew most...

Saturday, 12th January, 2019

  • 11:59 PM - Manbearcat mentioned darkbard in post Building a multi-goal encounter
    Just logged in to xp your play recap darkbard . Awseome! This is a great reference for would-be GMs trying to integrate Skill Challenges with a combat. Great job and thanks for spending the effort to put it in print.

Tuesday, 8th January, 2019

  • 04:40 PM - Aldarc mentioned darkbard in post Worlds of Design: “Old School” in RPGs and other Games – Part 1 Failure and Story
    ...d rather than the story being bigger than the characters. This one always red-flags to me as a bad (or at least very inexperienced) DM warning, in that if a game or story is built around a certain character then a) that character is inevitably going to be treated with favouritism and-or b) things have real potential to go sideways should that character perma-die or otherwise leave the party.This seems more an indication of personal preference than a "bad DM," an accusation that honestly gets thrown around too liberally on this forum at times. Though it is not my own preference either, I have personally seen this work to great success. I often get a sense - particularly from the story-now crew* - that the real interest lies in the stories of individual characters, with the story of the party as a whole merely tagging along for the ride. * - though I suppose these could almost be defined as post-NS.It seems like one of the "story-now crew," such as pemerton, Campbell, or darkbard would be better equipped to elucidate clarification on such matters then, if you are so inclined.

Tuesday, 20th November, 2018

  • 12:27 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post More Prince Valiant Actual Play
    darkbard Character build is pretty simple - choose an occupation and give your character a name and description. Then assign 7 points across Brawn and Presence (max 6 to any one), then assign 9 points to six skills. You start with a base 500 fame. The default occuption, as you say, is knight. Knights need at least 1 rank in each of Arms and Riding; start with a coat of arms; and start with a standard set of equipment (arms and armour, horses, fine clothes, some coins). Because being knighted is worth 300 fame, a knight PC starts with 800 fame. The "advanced" rules add skills to the list, and allow other archetypes. A squire or man-at-arms also must start with Arms and Riding, starts with lighter armour, no fine clothes and less coin. One of the knight PCs in my game started as a squire before being knighted by Sir Lionheart - the player wanted a backstory (being the son of a wealthy town family hoping to get ahead by marrying into the nobility) which didn't suit being a knight. Othe...

Monday, 19th November, 2018

  • 12:09 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    as far as I can tell it is mechanics first: we don't have a prior, in-fiction conception of how tough a 15th level fighter is, and then set DCs and stat up creatures that respond to that. We don't know how tough a 15th level fighter is until we see what s/he can do, taking certain mechanics published in the MM as given. That's not fiction-first. It's mechanics first.That's not true unless you are purposefully ignoring the same descriptions of tiers in 5e that are present in 4e. This seems pretty much identical to 5E in that regard: the narrative comes first, and the DM deems an appropriate DC based on the narrative.So Imaro, Parmandur - tell me more about your fiction first 5e play. To be frank, this is why I say that I'm not getting a clear picture of how DCs are set in 5e. I'm told that it's bounded accuracy - that the AC of the hobgoblin is 18 whomever the combatant, that (as darkbard has said) the DC to break down the door is 15 whoever is trying. But I'm also told it's fiction-first, and that I can set a DC for the hands-in-the-forge moment that reflects the fact that the PC is a 15th level fighter and the toughest dwarf around - and which, by implication, would therefore be a different DC (impossible!) were a 1st level fighter to try it. But then I'm told that the way to produce this doable at 15th level but impossible at 1st level thing is to set a DC of 25+. Which is not fiction-first. Or to put it another way: if the DC follows "the narrative" (which I am taking to be synonymous with what I and others are calling the fiction - ie an understanding, prior to mechanics, of what is and is not feasible for the protagonists) then what is the role of bounded accuracy? They are different methodologies - opposed, almost. Thus, as I said, my confusion on this point. Right. Which is the case in 4e as well, it jut approaches it from the question of "How hard of...

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 01:30 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Prince Valiant actual play
    darkbard, sort-of following on from your post: If we assume that magic items are mechanical in some fashion (eg grant bonuses to checks), then once we allow that mechanics can extend beyond combat, we have a framework for making sense of "loot" in the way you describe. In 4e there're are also options for approaching bonuses a bit differently eg the signet of authority allows one reroll in a skill challenge that is about asserting authority; the jewelled prayer beads allow one reroll in a skill challenge where religious truth is in issue, etc.

Saturday, 4th August, 2018

  • 01:23 AM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Out of combat balance - skills trained and known
    darkbard - if we had constructive threads about useful techniques, then where would we find the time to argue that metagaming is not really RPGing! Garthanos - I don't think it would break the game to identify ways for fighters to have strong INT- or CHA-based skills. But I don't hae any suggestions on how to change the system to allow this. But as the game is currently structured, here is my take: recognising the heraldry of the local realm, or making friends with a town mayor, is Heroic tier or perhaps low Paragon tier activity, and a fighter (especially with training) can be as effective at this as a bard, warlord or wizard. But once we get into upper Paragon or Epic tier, we're talking about feats comparable to Luthien's charming of Morgoth. These are things a fighter is not likely to succed at (though the upper Epic tier fighter in my game did succeed in an Intimate check in a skill challenge involving Yan-C-Bin - naturally Yan-C-Bin wasn't scared of him, but the threat was effect...


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Thursday, 14th March, 2019

  • 12:32 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    Feel better, Brendan! I may disagree with you on this and other issues, but I certainly don't wish you ill! Thanks Darkbard, very much appreciate the kind thoughts.
  • 04:55 AM - Maxperson quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    As I said in my initial post (last year): you *infer* that others are twisting words, so you deliberately twist words. I infer nothing. What happens is that I will say something. They get it wrong. I explain again. They get it wrong. I explain yet again. They get it wrong. When it gets to the 5th, 6th, 7th or 8th time that they get it wrong after being corrected, it's no longer possible that it's an accident. They are deliberately twisting things at that point. I have no patience for nonsense like that. Participate in good faith, or don't participate at all. Do not EVER tell me what to do. If you want to have a conversation with me, all you have to do is respond nicely, instead of with the rude and crass behavior that you have demonstrated in this thread. If you don't want to have a conversation with me, then you don't have to. You have no right or ability to tell me what to do, though. The next time it happens I will report the post to the mods and let them deal with you.
  • 03:25 AM - Maxperson quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    No, Max. I believed that about you before that post. It only confirmed it. How does confirming that I treat people like they treat me(what I said in that post) equate to not discussing in good faith?
  • 03:17 AM - Maxperson quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Hahahahaha. Oh, man! You're killing it tonight! I always. 100% of the time. Discuss in good faith with people who do the same for me. You wouldn't know that, though, since you've decided to take that one comment I made in that old thread out of context.
  • 02:42 AM - Maxperson quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I really can't speak to what you do or don't understand, Max. But I can state with confidence that Lanefan's posts, in general and in this specific instance, demonstrate that he filters his observations through a very particular scrim. And this specific post of his to which I responded demonstrates a conflation of two very different game design principles. If that isn't misunderstanding, I don't know what would be! He didn't say it was exactly like the Legend Lore ability. He was saying that it is similar enough to still be in the "wheelhouse" of classic D&D, and it is. They are similar enough. Ovinomancer was also incorrect in his statement about the Bard ability Legend Lore/Bardic Knowledge. If a Bard in 3.5 used his Bardic knowledge to find out about an important place, it's purpose wasn't get at DM secrets. The DM probably doesn't even have secrets about most of the important places, items and people that the Bard could use the ability on. In all likelihood, the DM will have t...

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019


Tuesday, 12th March, 2019

  • 08:55 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    You find it odd that, in a thread analyzing the parallels between orcs and colonialist progaganda with regard to racial stereotyping, you make repeated calls for moderation and I posted one of the most famous statements in history about calls for moderation in the face of racial injustice? I found the use of that letter very odd, yes. Because I merely used the words 'my critique is fairly moderate' and you used that to bring up Martin Luther King Jr's rebuke of White Moderates during the Civil Rights Struggle. I don't think the connective tissue is there. In fact, I will say I know it isn't. Because I know myself and my thoughts. And I know where I stand in terms of the letter. But we are talking about media tropes.

Monday, 11th March, 2019

  • 09:52 PM - Lanefan quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    pemerton addresses this above, but I just wish to emphasize the point: system; at least as much as genre tropes, social conventions, aesthetic preferences, etc.; necessarily restricts or unlocks how the players engage the fiction. Understanding what the system does allows a game to become fiction first, if that is the desired outcome; poor comprehension of system blocks allowing engagment of the fiction first, as players stumble their way through mechanics and play directives that work with or against their desired fictional outcomes. Quite right. I suppose I'm sort of looking at it from the other direction, though: asking first what do I/we want from the fiction (as opposed to what we're getting) and only after answering that then asking what do I have to do to the system to make it work. And to answer the first question one has to be able to somehow analyze the fiction, and this is where the aspects model comes in handy. Some players/GMs want to focus on one particular aspect (the names ...
  • 09:11 PM - Riley37 quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    May I just say how impressed I am that, despite a very few obviously baiting remarks intended to inflame, this conversation has remained as civil as it has! (Knocks wood.) So many similar conversations here have been derailed and shut down because of a lack of serious intent, and I'm delighted that hasn't really happened here. Me too. In the first ten pages, I wanted to respond, but restrained myself because maybe someone else had already made the same point. I was pleased to reach page 44 and find the thread still taking responses. I expected it to have already ended with a mod's ruling of "Okay, we're done here." (I had a strong response to a post on page 35 or so, so now I'm gonna wade back until I find it again.) I'm gonna quibble on a minor nuance: I think that a few of the usual derailers DO have serious intent. Not one that I respect, but one which they hold seriously. (shrug) It's not my place to say which of my fellow posters has what intent, but I can say this much: Thanks, mods...

Sunday, 10th March, 2019

  • 02:14 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    The part of your post that precipitated mine was your charge that those of us posting in favor of the possibility of reading orcs as partaking in racist tropes, etc. are somehow disingenuously refraining from showing you how we really feel about the matter. That we are cowardly and hiding behind groupthink, whereas you are the lone, bold champion of truth. This is the post I meant to quote in my previous post. Will fix when I get to computer. Sorry for any confusion
  • 02:08 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    The part of your post that precipitated mine was your charge that those of us posting in favor of the possibility of reading orcs as partaking in racist tropes, etc. are somehow disingenuously refraining from showing you how we really feel about the matter. That we are cowardly and hiding behind groupthink, whereas you are the lone, bold champion of truth. I wasn’t saying that at all. I think you clearly believe what you say and you are well intentioned. But I know for a fact many people agree with me and are afraid to weigh in (because I’ve spoken to such people). This happens on social media all the time. Normally most people ignore it to avoid the headache. But bad ideas and bad ideologies can take root that way. So I think it is increasingly important for people to give their honest opinion and not just the opinion that is good for business or keeps them out of trouble. That is why I said to Hussar that I welcomed his viewpoint even if I disagreed.
  • 01:57 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    I see: you are somehow being compelled to post the truth here. And the rest of us are likewise compelled to participate in this conversation but somehow won't represent how we really feel for fear of some kind of reprisal. Yeah, that must be it. No one is forcing me. I am forcing myself. I don’t want to be in this position. I don’t like it and it is very risky. There is nothing to gain and everything to lose. And it is clear the vast majority of posters disagree with me. But the majority can be wrong and I think we have a responsibility to say when we think it is wrong.
  • 01:55 PM - S'mon quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    Also, Bedrockgames, you really seem to have a chip on your shoulder about your level of education and that of others. You shouldn't: your posts here demonstrate you to be plenty smart, and degrees are merely pieces of paper, not the be-all-end-all measure of cognitive ability. I guess conversely we academics, who like playing with ideas, and sometimes taking a bit of a devil's-advocate position, could maybe stand to be more cognisant of how our words may be taken by those outside our milieu.
  • 01:54 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    I see: you are somehow being compelled to post the truth here. And the rest of us are likewise compelled to participate in this conversation but somehow won't represent how we really feel for fear of some kind of reprisal. Yeah, that must be it. I think it is important, given what happens in history when bad ideas take hold and people don’t speak up because they don’t want to appear stupid or be attacked, for people to give their real opinion on big issues like this. A lot of people share my view but are not saying anything because they are afraid of being dog piled by smart posters who are very skilled at debate.
  • 01:51 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    Also, Bedrockgames, you really seem to have a chip on your shoulder about your level of education and that of others. You shouldn't: your posts here demonstrate you to be plenty smart, and degrees are merely pieces of paper, not the be-all-end-all measure of cognitive ability. That said, many times you post about academics or intellectuals as if they are not too part of your "real world." Do you not see how that might come across as dismissive and offensive (plus, just plain wrong!)? I am not trying to come off as having a chip on my shoulder. I worked hard for my education and respect the teachers who helped educate me. I just think there is a narrow wing of academia represented in this conversation (one more from the literary criticism side perhaps). That isn’t the only way to look at the world. And while I don’t have a chip, I think people don’t realize some of these concepts are complex for those not trained in them (just coming from a different discipline where words sometimes mean diff...

Saturday, 9th March, 2019

  • 11:15 PM - Lanefan quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    OMFG! How many of these conversations have you partaken in over the years?! It seems like you learn nothing from this interaction: you're so locked in to the parameters of D&D c. 1988. Why not actually read a rulebook from some other game methodology and see how it challenges the preconceptions you take for granted as built in to RPGing? I honestly don't understand the impulse to partake in conversations like these if you're not going to do the basic work of understanding where other posters are coming from! EDIT: I acknowledge the above might sound harsh, but I don't mean it personally. I just really don't understand what you (or others!) might hope from these conversations if you don't take the steps of understanding where the other "side" is coming from. And posts like this indicate that you're not even listening, let alone following up on what is said.What I'm doing is simply pointing out how what "the other side" (if in fact there's sides here rather than a bunch of individual viewp...
  • 09:20 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    Honestly, no, I don't consider it a bit much. I think calls for moderation should always consider what they're actually calling for. MLK's admonition is to remember the inherent deleterious values conveyed by such a call for "moderation." This is no different than the other posts here that ask you to consider your motivations (perhaps those that escape your own conscious awareness). A bible verse he probably had in mind when penning that one’s from Revelations: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” Moderation has a rightful place in civilization and discourse, but it can be problematic if the issue is in the practitioner’s blind spots.
  • 08:16 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    Honestly, no, I don't consider it a bit much. I think calls for moderation should always consider what they're actually calling for. MLK's admonition is to remember the inherent deleterious values conveyed by such a call for "moderation." This is no different than the other posts here that ask you to consider your motivations (perhaps those that escape your own conscious awareness). I agree with the letter, I don't agree with its application here at all though.
  • 08:07 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post Do orcs in gaming display parallels to colonialist propaganda?
    Martin Luther King, Jr., "Letter from Birmingham City Jail": First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Don't you think that is a bit much? I said my critique was fairly moderate. I don't think Martin Luther King Jr. had this kind of conversation about ev...

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 12:52 PM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    You keep leveling this charge against @pemerton, but if memory serves you jumped in during the initial thread at the earliest opportunity by taking offense with his posts despite the fact he used the term "Mother-May-I" in quotations, following the original poster's usage, and proffered his own, less pejorative term half the time instead; and then you went on to say you had no issue with the OP's use of the term. Perhaps you are looking for offense where none is intended, particularly where pemerton is concerned? As you say in one of your posts, you believe you and he rarely see eye-to-eye, so perhaps this colors how you infer tone from his posts? I would 100% agree my objectivity is probably not the best when it comes to Pemerton. I think though, I am more objective than he is when we have our exchanges. I at least understand I am dealing with an intelligent poster who has given a great deal of thought to these things. And I try not to be insulting of anyone's intellect in these exchanges. ...


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