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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 03:32 AM
    Which means those benefits, have no bearing on weather a given class is a good choice for a 'Charismatic' concept. Exactly what does that do to inspire his party. PCs aren't mind-controlled by persuasion? How does that compare to doing the same thing /and/ giving them a nice bonus to saving throws? The qiestion is should you be rolling a fughter, at all if tgats the sort of...
    75 replies | 3419 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:44 AM
    While I in no way begrudge folks who want them their psionic classes, for me it always seemed the problem with psionics - and the reason game designers kept resorting to novel mechanics for it - is that it's not really that different, in fluff, from magic. A lot of what people who believed in magic would have called magic, is what we'd today call a 'psychic power' (or a temporal lobe seizure, as...
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 12:38 AM
    That's not what the OP is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Today, 12:10 AM
    Almost. In order to call back psionic power points, they made the encounter powers into power points that enhanced at-wills, the results were not terrible, but the exercises struck me as unnecessary - mechanical difference for the sole sake of being /mechanically/ different. The GOO Warlock even gets telepathy! So only Tier 2, then?
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:57 PM
    Wow. Had WotC over a barrel and Hackmaster is what the went for? Heh. OK, looking at what they have to say, they went to the effort of teasing out "just the mechanics, ma'am" - I'm a little surprised, at time's I've looked up something in OSRIC and it seemed word-for-word identical. While mechanics vs 'fluff' are presented more clearly in 4e, a lot of the wording that holds them together -...
    9 replies | 136 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:33 PM
    As I recall Hackmaster and the first OSR (OSRIC?) actually got some sort of permission? :|
    9 replies | 136 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:18 PM
    I've done both over the years. The former seems like the standard assumption. It leaves each player free to create his character and give it backstory independent of the others. I find the latter quite intriguing, but you need to have players into the idea of having history with eachother in the characters' backstories. I like it for starting campaigns with that right kind of player - or...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:14 PM
    Yeah, that's due to past organization. This used to be PF & Older Editions, the 4e threads were started then and haven't all petered out yet. Now it's just PF. (Dunno why those other threads haven't just been moved.) Rightly, you should put this thread in the D&D forum, with the 4e tag. Until they change it again, anyway. PRD? 13th Age is often called out as similar to 4e, and...
    9 replies | 136 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:17 PM
    Not a 4e a clone, but an OGL that's like 5e D&D but better? But we already have 13th Age. ;P I kid, but 13A did hit several of 5e's supposed goals more squarely than 5e did, supporting TotM, for instance, balancing classes with radically different resource mixes, for another, oh, and limiting the Xmass Tree effect, and mooks, and, well, more than a few, I guess. Well sure, it was...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:15 PM
    The question seems beside the point of whether we should equate these things.
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:47 PM
    Roll under runs into some numerical issues, like a stat of 20 being problematic, and modeling varying difficulties being a bit fraught. Open-ended bonuses and DCs leave a lot more room to work with, mechanically. A simpler, more honest solution to the 'odd stat out problem,' is just to toss them. Replaces stats with their bonuses: PC stats range from -1 to +5, end of story. I certainly...
    15 replies | 384 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:25 PM
    I think that a GM should probably be aware of storytelling techniques to inform and improve their games, but not necessarily literary ones. Literature is one form of storytelling. But GMing could also take cues from cinematic techniques. (Which doesn't make RPGs "film".) Plus, one could be aware of historiography and "Gesichte" to inform your stories, but that does not make RPGs history....
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:40 PM
    For what it's worth, my sense is that you don't agree! I think you've appreciated that, in the OP, I said that RPGing requires narration and description. And as I've read your posts, I think you are saying that that narration/description should aim, or be conditioned with an eye towards, formal quality. Even if I've misunderstood you in that respect, I think there are people in the RPG...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:56 PM
    A lot of the pieces are there in 5e. It would probably be easier to use 4E Essentials as the basis since there is more overlap there.
    18 replies | 552 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:52 PM
    A druid that taps into the world spirit/mind or psychic energies that connects every living creature. A ranger who adapts psionic attacks and defenses so they can better stalk the abberations that threaten the natural order of the world.
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:36 PM
    I think, here, that you are pointing out that RPGing involves authorship. That's undoubtedly true. But authorship doesn't take us to literary endeavour in the sense intended in the OP, ie quality of wordcraft. Authorship is needed to bring fictions into being (for whatever sense of "being" is apposite for fictions). But bringing fictions into being doesn't depend upon literary quality. When...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:15 PM
    Good post. And for what it's worth, I would say that 90% of my efforts as a GM over the past 30 years has been focused on this issue, of coming up with compelling situations. (Although only for about half that time have I had a vocabulary for describing what it is I've been trying to do.) The RPG product that had the biggest initial impact on me, in this respect, was the mid-80s Oriental...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:48 AM
    Time deaf, space deaf, maybe just deaf deaf . . . Anyway, here are the two options again: My players aren't too tone deaf. They can tell that the second description paints more of a "word picture" than the first. But is RPGing about enjoying word pictures? On the player side, I think it's about doing - about playing your PC as protagonist in the imagined situation. Which description...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:35 AM
    There's an approach to cultural studies and the study of communication which make the point that all communication involves word choice, choice of tone, etc, and hence that - when considered through that lens - there is no distinctive contrast between (say) EM Forster's novels and the instructions you give your kid when sending him/her to the shops. That may be true as far as it goes, but it...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:22 AM
    His intent was clear. 4e has a more restricted license for developing potential content whereas 5e does not. So if one wants to expand content for something more 4e like (or an evolution thereof), then 5e would potentially serve as a better chassis due to its less restricted license. So how would one do that. If you wouldn't, then that's fine. Zardnaar, I would also look at the d20 3.X...
    18 replies | 552 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:14 AM
    I did a Fate one-shot set in a fantastical version of Renaissance Venice. The one shot adventure though was actually based on a Savage Worlds one-shot set on a college campus. The premise was that a merchant family had acquired a small island on the outskirts of the city which they planned to use as a storehouse for their shipping business (and contraband). The island belonged to a group of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:54 AM
    The effect of the numbers in 4e, if you are working from the default Monster books and generally following the advice on encounter building, is that they progress the campaign through "the story of D&D". At the start of the campaign, the PCs will be confronting kobolds, goblins and the like; at the end of the campaign they will be confronting ancient dragons, demon princes and the like. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:43 AM
    I've been reading the rulebook for Apocalypse World. It's not the first Vincent Baker RPG rulebook I've read, and the punchy style and unequivocal evocation of the spirit of the fiction and the expected feel of play is not surprising. There's one particular bit that I wanted to post about. Discussing how to set up and run the first session of a campaign, and having laid out the process for...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 05:02 AM
    It resonates with me, a bit. I feel like I run better 4e games, after running 5e for a while. I've reconnected with DMing techniques I'd had less need for in 4e. Oh yeah, what I love about 3e. I'll still play 3.5 if I get a chance to finally trot out some build-to-concept I never got a chance to play. Last time it was the mad kobold sorcerer with "imaginary friends" - and spells, from...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:24 AM
    Want to play Orpheus? Have a 3.0 Commoner with a kazoo. (You've got a funny hat, too, y'might just pull it off.) I think it's fair to say the system does that - both have very significant return on CHA, a Bard would conventionally be CHA-primary, a Paladin at worst, CHA secondary. To be fair, they are both explicitly optional, and not every table may opt in. Ironically, turning...
    75 replies | 3419 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:37 AM
    Heal? or True Polymorph? Yeah, a thing called a Lawyer. That kinda shout'n can True Polymorph all sorts of legal entities... ...but... ...certainly not after those legal bills.
    18 replies | 552 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:04 AM
    It's not an idea, it's the GSL. You can't clone 4e, it's not open source. It's not a limitation of the 5e (or other d20) mechanics - you can work from any open source engine, and replace most of the parts, if you want - it's a limitation of the license. You could create a 4e-ish game using a d20 OGL (any of 'em really), like 13A did, heck, you could take the Pelgrane Press Archmage Engine...
    18 replies | 552 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 10:09 PM
    Oh, the classes are very different, even within the same source or role (or in a few cases, Bard v Artificer, frex both) - nothing much to do with the big numbers floating around everyone. The one thing big numbers do, though, is provide an often-credible illusion of advancement.. The GSL seriously complicates actually publishing (even e-publishing) any of it, though.
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 09:30 PM
    Sam sure seemed like he had a high Loyalty Base. A protagonist in fantasy/myth/legend, that is a) a warrior, and b) not exclusively on a solo quest the whole time, is probably a Charismatic Fighting Hero. He may grow into the charismatic part, especially in more modern fantasy offerings which often have coming-of-age elements, or he may have only occasional, temporary allies rather than a band...
    75 replies | 3419 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 09:17 PM
    Or Psionics or Artificer fans. Some of us want an Artificer who's basically just a wizard who specializes in making magic items, others want a steampunk engineer, or Johnny Sokko, or to be Q to their party's James Bond. Psionics? Magic or not? Points or slots? Should it even be a class - it wasn't in 1e! In any group of n on-line fans of x feature in y game, you probably have x^n + n^Y +...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 08:48 PM
    Sorry if I mostly riff off your post for humor purposes.... Any stat or skill could conceivably be rendered moot by the DM's style or choice of setting & challenges, I suppose. I don't see why not knowing anything isn't a meaningful consequence. I mean, recalling something useful certainly is. Is the idea that you start off not knowing anything, so you might as well try? ...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 07:19 PM
    Options like that go way back. I mean, 3e had 'fighting defensively,' sure, but back in the day DMs would assign all sorts of modifiers. Before there even was a barbarian, one DM I played with would let you 'rage' (I don't think he called it that) getting an attack bonus & taking an AC penalty - something my Druid in his game did on a number of occasions, because Celtic warriors, though not the...
    179 replies | 14582 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 06:32 PM
    Y'know, some groups have kinda done that, just organically, and it can be fun. Started in one edition and migrated to the next, with or without some in-campaign event (or time passage) marking the rev roll. My old AD&D campaign spanned 1e & 2e, but as 2e started out so much like 1e I didn't mark it in any way (though I did annoy one player by whip-sawing his exp table around, and kept an...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • darkbard's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 01:35 PM
    Are you familiar with Posterazor? It may take a bit of fiddling to get each map to exactly 1" squares, but it does precisely what you want.
    4 replies | 175 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 12:11 PM
    This is probably my favorite thing about 4e as well. The mechanics, the races, the classes, the characters, the monsters, and the cosmology are integrated into a cohsesive thematic whole by the its mythic lore. It still influences a lot about a number of my game worlds. And you can also tell that it influenced the world of Critical Role too.
    73 replies | 4588 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 10:19 AM
    So which class chassis did you use for the soulknife and wilder? I assume you used a fighter for the psychic warrior.
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 10:18 AM
    13th Age is probably one of the closest "kin systems" of 4E, being developed by the lead developers for both 3E and 4E. For Everyone: I also found a great Angry GM article where he reflects on 4E. He is critical in many places, but he is also incredibly open about the aspects he loved. Here is one part where he talks about the lore cohesion of 4E, which is something that I mentioned...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 04:42 AM
    Steven Creech has passed. https://www.hshfuneralhome.com/notices/Steven-Creech https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-steve-creech-author-and-game-designer#/
    142 replies | 8120 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 12:53 AM
    I converted B1: In Search of the Unknown, it's about as classic a dungeon crawl as it gets. Though more weird than brutal, and it's low-level, but classic with all the crazy D&Disms you could want. OK, 'converted' is giving me way too much credit, I didn't convert anything up-front, just ran with the 5e versions of what was there... sometimes even just used the old stats, mentally inverting...
    22 replies | 782 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 12:48 AM
    For my money it's the Circle of Oak in the playtest, I got to play one and it really brought me right back to the 1e Druid, real nostalgic fun - or the "Land" Druid in the 5e PH. The Moon Druid harkens more to the 3.5/WoW/4e shape-shifting-centric druid. While shape-shifting was a legendary Druid thing, and the 1e Druid did it, it wasn't with quite the same emphasis, not mainly about hulking...
    5 replies | 382 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    I suppose you could make some arguments about leverage and so forth... Ö but, nah "just dumb" sounds 'bout right. If you're gonna cut the gnome some slack 'because fantasy,' you might as well cut the amazon some slack 'because fantasy.' If you're not, well, "realism kills," as my BBS tagline used to say. ;)
    104 replies | 2557 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 10:43 PM
    FWIW 1e halflings had a lower max STR than other races. Though, that's for the benefit if the younger generation out there - I obviously don't need to tell you that, since, as I understand it, you still run 1e by preference?
    104 replies | 2557 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:32 PM
    More like the fallout, the collateral damage - and what made forums blaze in the flames of hell, and gave mods all over the internet ulcers, of course. Not to mention the undiagnosed tragedy of Post Traumatic Edition War Syndrome. Sure, you do see continuations of the edition war in those threads, it's inevitable when you think about it. The Warlord was introduced in 4e, and it's a valid...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:32 PM
    I agree that the psion should be different from the wizard, but the argument becomes more challenging with other cases, especially with the idea of cramming all psionic archetypes into a singular mystic class. The psychic warrior, for example, fills an incredibly similar niche as the eldritch warrior. So it would be possible to put a psionic twist onto the fighter chassis to create the psychic...
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:29 PM
    Please don't equate my "won't" (for the sake of the thread) for "can't". Okay. I apologize that I misread your tone. Yes, Sacrosanct, statements like this are an assumption about what I was meaning: Or this: Or rude dismissive comments like this: But nowhere here did you ask for me to support my claim when you initially responded. You launched into a rant assuming what I wrote while...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:07 PM
    You also assumed a lot about what I meant by my statement. Furthermore, you did not initially ask me anything when you launched into your assumptions. Being pulled into your game of "proving it" does not seem prudent for discourse in this thread especially not when you are being needlessly hostile.
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:50 PM
    I lobbed bombs at no one. It was not directed at anyone in particular. I only noted that the traces of the Edition War have taken on new forms in a lot of Warlord in 5E threads. I have not accused you of being one. I did not even name names. I don't even think that most of the debate, vitriol, or criticisms in the Warlord thread are from "4aters." I do think though that your response has been...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:38 PM
    In principle, I think it offers the same as any genre/setting-focused RPG. Burning Wheel makes it easier to play a pseudo-European game than a pseudo-Asian one. (And the designer even comments on this in the rulebook, noting that some lifepaths will probably have to be changed if the group wants an East Asian flavoured game.) That's a limitation of the game, but it also yields a sense of...
    104 replies | 2557 view(s)
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:34 PM
    You are assuming a lot here about the very little that I said. I would recommend not incensing yourself into a rage about your assumptions. My comment was not directed at you. If you are not a 4ater, then my comment would obviously not apply.
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:28 PM
    I'd actually go the other way around - it seems most interesting if the issue is all about escaping from the gnolls. (I'm thinking of Captain Haddock in the boat the first time he meets Tintin, in Crab with the Golden Claws.) If the escape is being adjudicated as some sort of skill challenge or via some comparable structured resolution system (5e has some stuff like this for the exploration...
    13 replies | 399 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    Ah, OK - in that case I retract the criticism of your teachers! For the sort of writing that I do and teach, making decisions about paragraphing - as one component of making decisions about structure - is a fundamental skill. A doctrine about minimum or even typical length would be no help at all.
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:14 PM
    When I GM I would say that talk similarly to how I would in an enthusiastic hobbyist-type context. Eg if I'd been to a film with a friend and was talking about it afterwards. Or if, at work, I wanted to tell someone what I enjoyed about a seminar I went to. So probably a bit more focused than a supermarket chat. But still conversation.
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:59 PM
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak?
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:35 PM
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:13 PM
    It's pretty tangential to the thread topic, but there is something strange about being schooled on the meaning and connotations of "literary" by someone who asserts such bizarre stuff about the process and structure of wrting.
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:11 PM
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 10:09 AM
    This. But not so coincidentally, 5e Warlord threads are also what attract a lot of 4aters. Again pointing out how the Edition Wars have transitioned into the 5e era and the contrast between 4e fans and 4aters with 5e. I would not mind if WotC polished and more cohesively integrated what they have in 5e first: class, subclass and feat balance, ability checks (and skills), inspiration/bonds, and...
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  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 09:56 AM
    I would not prefer using the spellbook wizard for the 3e Psion. It seems like the Sorcerer would be a more appropriate fit. :erm:
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 07:29 AM
    Not a fan of TotM, but, since I don't see how it actually has any bearing, went ahead and voted for da Flavah. Bland bonuses are bland. Of course, in the olden days you didn't have to choose: your +1 sword most likely glowed (thanks, Tolkien), and your +1 armor was feather-light and needed no maintenance. 5e, likewise, has some cool options for adding extra seasoning to otherwise bland...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 07:22 AM
    Superior? Different. Willing to adopt the new can be seen as positive or negative, depending on your PoV, but it's certainly different from defending the old. Edit: But, hey, if thinking of yourself as superior matters so to you, you can always spin it hard in the negative direction, something like: former 4e fans must be a bunch of uncritical WotC apologists who automatically adopt the...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:12 AM
    Well, I did put it the other way round: the players don't find it interesting because, for them, it is not interesting/ Eg maybe the situation is something about kobolds on a hill, and the players (in general; today; because of the PCs they're playing; some combination of factors; etc) simply aren't engaged by that sort of situation. I don't know what a Vengaurak is. I know, therefore, that...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:58 AM
    They're very closely linked topics. The 5MWD is all about timing encounters vs rest for maximum advantage to full casters, and, thus, the PC side of those encounters. It was a very potent strategy in 3.x, when players would plot an attack, execute it, and retire to recover all-important spells. In 1e, it was vital to rest & recover spells frequently, just to survive 1st level. I've been...
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:36 AM
    There's always griping, of course, merely not adopting is a live-and-let-live 'rejection' of a new ed, if that's as far as it goes.. But, CoC notwithstanding, there was lots of edition warring here - and it's not exactly entirely gone, either. Look at how quickly 4e leading in even a trivial little poll like this drew the attacks.
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:07 AM
    Yes, and your argument is proven wrong by the conspicuous lack of an edition war raging against 5e. I understand that you want to establish an equivalency between the more extreme demands of the playtest, and the extremes of the edition war, but they were fundamentally different: all the demands, posturing and vitriol if the playtest was fans wanting to get what they wanted into the coming...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:00 AM
    By this you're meaning not just gendered roles/classes/playbooks, but sex-based stat penalties? My guess - from the discussion of Conan in the OP - is that CapnZapp wants the play experience that would result from gendered classes/playbooks, but (1) isn't too familar with a wide range of RPGs beyond a certain sort of D&D, and (2) has a certain sort of "simulationist" sensibility that leads to...
    104 replies | 2557 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:33 AM
    OK. In that case I think it's fairly clear why two GMs might present the same situation with the same degree of clarity and at one table get buy-in while at the other table it falls flat. Or in other words, the answer to the question you posed here seems fairly straightforward: Those players who don't find it interesting are probably the ones for whom it is not interesting.
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:28 AM
    CapnZapp didn't say that's how things are iRL. To the contrary, The phrase this world referst to the imagined world of the RPG, not real life. I doubt I would play the game that CapnZapp posits. I do play RPGs which, as part of their presentation of mediaeval life, note the significance of certain gender distinctions (Burning Wheel has some lifepaths that are women only; Prince Valiant has...
    104 replies | 2557 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:02 AM
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    0 XP
  • MwaO's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:53 AM
    What you're describing as quantum, I consider realistic? If you're an Ogre fighting an 8th level PC, you fight differently than if you're fighting a 16th level one. Just as a highly trained fighter fights another highly trained fighter much differently than a world class one or a beginner. Watch an out-classed boxer fight Mike Tyson ó he had 9 fights against opponents lasting less than a minute,...
    179 replies | 14582 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:22 AM
    I think there is another reason that books impose demands that are different from RPGing. The goal of a book (typically) is to evoke some sort of response in the reader in virtue of having read the book. This depends heavily on the craft of the narration, on its literary quality in the way the OP uses that phrase. Whereas the goal of a GM's narrration - I assert in the OP and reiterate here...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:07 AM
    It is very close to it. The notion of the craft of the narration is as good as any other way of putting it. For my part, the limitaion in what hawkeyefan says is the emphasis on clearly conveying the situation. I think this is important, but not sufficient. As per the OP, What matters to me is that the players feel the significance of the situations the GM describes - that they feel the...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 01:42 AM
    It's really just peeling another onion-layer off action declaration. Implicit in many action declarations is a reason for the choice of method that goes with the goal. If that reason is predicated on knowledge and the PC having or recalling that knowledge is in doubt, then in calling for the check the DM is just breaking down a declared action into necessary smaller actions. DMs have been...
    580 replies | 20850 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 01:14 AM
    To be fair, I only credit 1e with those qualities. I'd quibble with 2e, since it did pour on a /lot/ of er stuff. ;) But 1e and 5e both have something going on that isn't quantified in the rules or just the sum of the sub-systems or anything quite objective or tangible, it's the DM's freedom to explore way from the system that's a big part of it. 1e had that going for it more or less by...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 12:54 AM
    Curiosity peaked. Which three?
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:07 PM
    Edition warring, in the brief 4e era, during the playtest, and right now, in this thread, has generally been initiated /against/ 4e. This is no exception. 4e is dead, you got to help kill it, you got to dance and spit all over it's grave. But, now, with 4e taking a /slight/ lead, in a trivial little 2nd-favorite-edition-after-5e poll, you're at it again. Why? What possible threat could...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    4 XP
  • MwaO's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 10:15 PM
    Err, that's not exactly what the person was talking about. Basically, if you're using an at-will, you should be able to defeat low level creatures really fast. That's what happens in real life when a martial arts sensei goes up against someone with minimal combat training. The martial artist takes them down really fast, because they don't even know what's going on. In any case... The...
    179 replies | 14582 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 07:13 PM
    Yes. 5e is both easy and hard. It's hard to DM, requiring a lot of skill/talent/experience/gall/whatever to just take up that imaginary absolute power and run with it - but, if you /have/ meet that preq somehow (or you just don't care), it's also /easy/ to just wield that power and have fun with it. I'm not sure if it's 'conversely' or 'by the same token,' or both, but from the players'...
    46 replies | 1765 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 06:48 PM
    Not to mention liking 4e and some prior editions (I was a straight-up 4venger, but I'm also one of those old guys for whom nothing will ever match what I had with 1e, for instance - and more on that below, since you bring it up...). THE biggest reason for preferring one older edition is that it's the edition you started with. It's just a powerful emotional connection, I guess. The 1e...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 05:07 PM
    Well, there is a PF forum. I suspect if you put this poll up there you might see the result you'd expect. BTW, I'm curious why you play 5e rather than 3.5 or PF?
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    I started the thread. Hussar is free to say what he likes about the dependence of much RPGing on the logic of genres (it's something I myself have been posting about for maybe 10+ years on these boards). But those things don't rebut the claim in the OP, which is pretty clear: I don't think Hussar has inadvertantely taken that for a claim that genre plays no role in RPGing. And your...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 12:00 PM
    Having a Psion class is a good call. I agree with CapnZapp that a lot of past psionic archetypes could easily be ported to subclasses of preexisting classes: * Psychic Warrior: Fighter Subclass * Soul Knife: Monk or Rogue Subclass * Wilder: Sorcerer Subclass * Ardent: Bard or Cleric Subclass
    68 replies | 2091 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Aldarc's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:53 AM
    I voted for 4E. My foray into D&D technically began with me trying to figure out "whiskey tango foxtot is going on?" during two final sessions of 2E before the group planned on switching to 3E which would soon release. So 3E was really my actual first D&D system. It was new and fun, and I have probably played more games using 3E's d20 skeleton than any other system. So I have a lot of...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:18 AM
    This is fine if, by literary endeavour, you means an activity that deploys and/or relies upon some devices used in literary composition. But that's not what the OP meant, and I think it is fairly clear what the OP did mean: quality of composition, with particular reference to the narration and descriptions used by the GM. Using genre tropes and policing genre boundaries doesn't really bear...
    602 replies | 11718 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 04:01 AM
    Selective memory of the present? There is no edition war being waged against 5e.
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 01:51 AM
    Fans of 4e were necessarily drawn from the segment of the fan base most willing to give a new ed a fair shot. You had to be, to look past the rocky introduction and the vitriol of the edition war, and form an honest impression of the new ed. 5e's introduction was a lot more considerate and measured, there may not have been a lot of enthusiasm for Next, but when season 19 rolled around, we...
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Tony Vargas's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 11:33 PM
    Consider that this is being asked in 5e forum. The most effusive praise I've heard of 5e has come from 2e fans. 0e/1e/OSR and 3.x/PF fans have their things, so may not drop by here. 4e fans, by definition, were those most willing to give a new ed a chance. So what you're seeing isn't absolute popularity of editions, but a prevalence of 2e & 4e fans within the 5e community.
    179 replies | 5423 view(s)
    2 XP
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Friday, 3rd May, 2019

  • 06:52 PM - pemerton mentioned darkbard in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    Just to follow up on what darkbard posted - I've found the discussion around the role of performance in RPGing interesting, as clearly there are different views about that. (Hopefully mine are clear.) But in some ways the most interesting response so far has been uzirath's, because of the connection drawn to teaching RPing/GMing. Part of the motivation for the OP was to respond to a trend in GM advice that I've noticed on-and-off for years (decades), and that seemed to be implicit in one or two recent threads, which emphasises the need for GMs to work on their performance skills. Whereas when I have (recently) been GMed by a new referee, the performances were fine (in the sense that sentences were produced without monotone, words were utterly clearly, etc) but the evident real demand on the GM (which he did a good job of meeting, I felt) was to manage situation and consequence. In fact when it came to consequences, he did a better job (I think) than I have done in GMing Burning Wheel, at least in appreciating the ful...

Saturday, 23rd March, 2019


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: ďOld SchoolĒ in RPGs and other Games Ė 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: ďOld SchoolĒ in RPGs and other Games Ė 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: ďOld SchoolĒ in RPGs and other Games Ė 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...


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Sunday, 28th April, 2019

  • 04:23 PM - pemerton quoted darkbard in post Cthulhu Dark - another session
    In the early stages of play, before the two PCs' trajectories coincide, how much of your session was dedicated to each PC's story, and how did you manage splitting this time at the table?I started with the butler, because that player is more adept at answering questions ("What are you doing in London?") and introducing the necessary story elements (like the Earl being "indisposed"). I wan't keeping time, but moved back and forth between them maybe every 10 or so minutes? Basically at appropriate break points in the action - and meanwhile trying to establish parallel/overlapping elements so the intertwining could happen - like making sure that the apartments of Smythe where Appleby was visiting were next door to the apartments of Livingstone where Randal had his evening appointment. And in due course connecting Smythe as well as Livingstone to the East African colonies. And Appleby's player helped here, by presenting the Earl as an adventurer/explorer type and hence a good candidate to have c...

Saturday, 27th April, 2019

  • 03:09 PM - Ovinomancer quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Thanks for the response; I don't find it lacking in details in the least. If I were to summarize your view, I guess it would be something like the sequential narrative mirroring the sequencing of events in real life is a high priority. While I don't share that priority (and disagree that this makes for a "more realistic" game), I certainly understand why you might hold such a priority.Yup. Prefering this kind of sim play is cool, but it doesn't make the fiction any more "realistic". You can do this and still have unrealistic outcomes (the fighter that survives the fireball but none of his gear does, frex). "Realism" doesn't depend on a specific mode of play. This has been the point since the OP.
  • 09:10 AM - Lanefan quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Why? Considering all that has been written here, why do you insist this somehow adds to your sense of realism in the game?I could go on for ages answering this, but it's late so I'll just give the Reader's Digest version. Why does this add to my sense of realism? Simply put, because reality happens sequentially. Time only moves in one* direction. Therefore realism suggests you do things at the table in a sequence based on the time sequence in the fiction: you choose your gear first because that is what happens first, and then you attempt the score. (and before any of that you do your research/casing/etc. to inform your gear choices, among other things) Playing through the score first and then blaming failure post-hoc on choice of gear is unrealistic and inauthentic for two reasons: first, there's no way of knowing what the player/character would actually have chosen (as opposed to whatever the failure result said she didn't have) had she been able to do her own choosing; and second, be...
  • 03:55 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Why? Considering all that has been written here, why do you insist this somehow adds to your sense of realism in the game? I think its just his preference. We can argue about what is possible, and what different kinds of play can and do produce, but I won't argue with anyone's preferences. I will say that BitD's mechanic might be more authentic to the idea of an experienced thief, but that isn't really relevant to the guy who enjoys thinking out his equipment list because the RP he enjoys is doing that thinking. He needn't justify it at all.

Monday, 15th April, 2019

  • 02:25 PM - Von Ether quoted darkbard in post Game Design Like a Boy Scout: Week 2 - Jenga
    Good write up! And I've heard about the above mechanic before but never seen it spelled out. How have you (and others) applied Jenga to resolution mechanics in TTRPGs? I'm intrigued by the mounting tension of the players mirroring the imagined tension of PCs.... Simply put, when something risky is being done the GM tells the player to remove a piece. If the tower falls, they die somehow. The GM has to manage the pacing a bit and you'd hope that players wouldn't fight each other (it did in our one-shot.) And one-shots is pretty much the game's wheelhouse. I can see that without a PC you have opinions about, the game could be more about the player projecting themselves onto their avatar.

Friday, 12th April, 2019

  • 04:22 PM - Numidius quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Ah, I see: this is formalized through rolls rather than freeform narrative building. That is quite different than DW's collaborative campaign building.Formalized thru rolls only when the two sides at the table do not agree anymore on what is established via narrative. Narrative enforced by slots spent/marked on the char sheet (by players; the Gm uses fiat until asked to roll, but Gm resources are limited to the actual setting, and once spent them cannot be used again to force the fiction. Eg: since the trolls have already been used by Gm and dealt with by the ranger, now they cannot be present in the siege as troops of the invading army)
  • 12:53 PM - Numidius quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    In any event, cool stuff to be thinking about! Thanks :)
  • 12:51 PM - Numidius quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Do you see this setting creation as fundamentally different than the Dungeon World method of shared creation at the game's outset, particularly as that outlined in The Perilous Wilds? In any event, cool stuff to be thinking about!I have not read PW. Would elaborate on that? The difference I perceive from DW, is that I'd put in place a procedural frame to be followed as RAW. In which Gm and Players are not pulling their punches, since in any moment one can mandate the other to roll, and then another Frame dictates who narrates Success and who Failures (who rolls narrates Failures... the other Player the Success: so in the above Bard & Princess story arc Negotiation, the Gm would roll for the social stuff regarding the Princess and her promised Cousin: Gm fails and narrates that Yes The Princess now loves the Bard, but he captures her and flee into the dungeon helped by his noble house relatives --- note that The Dungeon was already in the fiction, so who narrates may incorporate anything that...

Saturday, 23rd March, 2019

  • 04:07 AM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    You guys keep doing you. The posting history makes clear what's what. I am not a troll, if that is what you are suggesting. Heck this thread was started as a refutation if one of my own posts. Just because people disagree with you about something, that doesnít make them a troll.
  • 03:20 AM - Bedrockgames quoted darkbard in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    At this point, I hope we all might be less concerned with attacking the troll with fire than not feeding the troll, defined by Wikipedia as one who "In Internet slang [...] starts quarrels or upsets people on the Internet to distract and sow discord by posting inflammatory and digressive, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into displaying emotional responses and normalizing tangential discussion, whether for the troll's amusement or a specific gain." One could make a strong case that the OP veers into trolling territory.

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


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