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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:18 PM
    DO YOU NEED TO SHOUT?
    19 replies | 436 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 09:58 PM
    The thing about milestone leveling that breaks the association of levels to combat is that it gets applied when you reach the milestone, *however* you reach the milestone. It doesn't have to be "you gain a level when you hit a milestone." It can be, "you gain some number of XP when you hit a milestone." And I think that fixes all the issues with milestone leveling you mention. People who...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 08:35 PM
    I think you are missing the point a bit. Folks are asking whether "violent" is the "natural state" for humans. They then have to turn and look for what the "natural state" for humans actually is... and wind up reaching for straws, because they want to find the thing analogous to the feral cat, when no such thing exists. Basically, "natural" human behavior is everything we already see. ...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 05:28 PM
    Tough crowd. It was OK.
    8 replies | 494 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:56 PM
    You aren't the only one in the thread that has tried to refer to something like the human "natural state". I was speaking to the entire concept with your post as merely a jumping off point, as it was the most recent to use the concept. No. Just as a wild cat is not "without cat influence". Wild is variously, "in a natural environment" or "undomesticated" - which I restated as 'without...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 03:34 PM
    Morrus started a thread Secret Faces of Velsburg
    Secret Faces of Velsburg. While traveling through the wilderness the adventurers come across a small hamlet plagued by a recent rash or murders committed by 'The Ghost'. The longer the party stay in Velsburg however, the quicker they realize that the supposedly bloodthirsty spirit preying upon the settlement is not the remote village's only mystery. In this sidequest to save Velsburg the PCs are...
    0 replies | 103 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 03:03 PM
    One option missed in the OP is "Ineffable: The exact nature of the gods is not known, or undetermined. Divine magic happens, but nobody has proof of why or how." This is how most of my games run - unless or until the actual nature of divine magic impact play (so, it becomes mechanically- or plot-relevant), then I don't bother to specify. This allows for more belief systems in the world.
    27 replies | 795 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 02:46 PM
    Sounds like Eric Noah's old April Fools joke from back in 2002. http://www.enworld.org/ericnoah/aprilfools2002/april02.html
    8 replies | 494 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 02:09 PM
    The plan is to upgrade from vBulletin to Xenforo, which is an entirely different software. No, there is no ETA.
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 01:03 PM
    Really. Both of you. @Riley, ordering people not to reply to you is not how to handle a disagreement. Either politely disagree, or use the block function. @Immortal Sun, calling people names is DEFINITELY NOT how to handle a disagreement. I will also add -- if you report a post, and then immediately respond to it with namecalling or insults, we are *not* going to look favourably on it. ...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 12:05 PM
    Yep!
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Friday, 14th June, 2019, 04:34 AM
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe. The question of whether we are born good or evil makes little sense, when we *define* good and evil only after we are born! There's a problem with discussing our "default state". Consider, for a moment, a housecat. There are housecats that have grown up without significant...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:12 PM
    D&D Beyond has provided yet another of it's data dumps of 12 million characters -- this time telling us character alignments are most popular in D&D. Chaotic Good wins, followed by my least favourite as a DM, Chaotic Neutral. Chaotic Evil is the least popular. The developer does say that this does not count the percentage of characters with no alignment selected. You can see the...
    103 replies | 2052 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 09:31 PM
    I can see it.
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 07:57 PM
    Paizo has just released the landscape GM screen art for its upcoming Pathfinder 2nd Edition GM Screen. "Protect your important notes and die rolls from prying player eyes with the Pathfinder GM Screen! This beautiful 4-panel landscape-style screen features stunning artwork from Ekaterina Burmak on the player's side, and a huge number of charts and tables on the GM side to speed up play...
    7 replies | 3071 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 06:57 PM
    You say that as if humans *have* an identifiable "natural state" - we are a tribal, social species and an extremely extended infant period compared to other animals. We, more than any other creature on the planet, are focused on *learned* behavior, not inborn, "natural" behavior. What is natural for us is to try out a large number of different behaviors, and see what works. I will push back...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 04:14 PM
    Simple. They aren't in any rush!
    16 replies | 573 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 02:13 PM
    The game's rules are certainly largely about combat. The *could* have rules that were as rich for dealing with social/political action, or other activity, but they don't. If we hand players a hammer, we should expect them to treat problems like nails... There are games that do better. The CORTEX+ based Leverage game, for example, does include combat. But that is only one out of five major...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 02:02 PM
    Not as written, no. But itís your game!
    1 replies | 94 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 11:28 AM
    The Swedish 1990's-set sequel to Tales From The Loop is now available from Modiphius. Based on the paintings of Simon StŚlenhag which portray a "retro futuristic suburbia", Things from the Flood takes the 1980s kids and makes them 1990s teens. Somewhere out there beyond the cordons, beyond the fields and marshes, abandoned machines roamed like stray dogs. They wandered about...
    7 replies | 783 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 05:51 AM
    Talk about your questionable choices. One reason why we are okay with violence, is that in the real world, some people have issues letting things go, and that tends to escalate.... Gentlemen, be warned - dragging around drama from closed threads is an astoundingly good way to get yourself a vacation from the site. Both of you drop it, now, please and thank you. I would, in fact, take this...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Thursday, 13th June, 2019, 05:41 AM
    There's "questionable choice" and "end up on the wrong side of the moral argument". Splitting the party to chase down goblins in the woods is a questionable choice, and when they did that, they handled the consequences. Becoming villains is what happens when you are on the wrong side of the moral argument. I think, on their first go ever at RPGs, having them hunted down and either executed...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Kid Charlemagne's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 09:15 PM
    I don't want the Plane of Fire to be quite that deadly; portions may be, but overall I want it to be difficult and challenging but survivable for mid-level PC's. I've also got a variant Planar set up going: The elemental planes are located inside the (otherwise) hollow Earth. The inside of the mantle (facing in towards the center of the globe) is where the Planes of Earth and Water are -...
    7 replies | 295 view(s)
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  • Kid Charlemagne's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 07:45 PM
    The next big arc of my campaign (5E, players are 6th level) is likely to involve the Plane of Fire and the City of Brass, and I'm curious what other people have done with those. My plan is to make the Plane of Fire a vast desert wasteland with Egyptian motifs; sometimes places swallowed up by the desert end up transported to here. The City of Brass itself I'm kind of wishy-washy on; past D&D...
    7 replies | 295 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 07:06 PM
    Um, be careful there. You started with simulated violence, but then use *real* physical conflicts (minor ones, as toddlers) as your example. Apples and oranges. De-sensitization to violence *does* happen. If you are 11 years old, and you regularly see real violence in your home, in your school, and in your community, yes, you get de-sensitized (meaning - you have a decreased emotional...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 04:01 PM
    For something to currently be in the public domain it needs to have been created somewhere round the 1920s or before. The Black Company wonít be public domain for about 60 years yet.
    25 replies | 1256 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:59 PM
    Perhaps. But I would likely *position* it differently. See above - I was not going to run a game in which 13-year-olds end up on the wrong side of the moral argument. If I'm going to present the non-combatants as a challenge to kids, I'd position it clearly as a, "Well, nuts, you have to get around this without hurting anyone." Heck, in games for my adults, if the PCs choose the wrong...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:18 PM
    So, let me continue from the perspective of my experience - since it was a recent one in which I actively questioned the tolerances for many things in my game and presentation... At the root, we view some violence as okay, because we still live in a world in which violence is occasionally necessary. There are still (entirely human) monsters among us, and sometimes we are not left with...
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:11 PM
    A little while back, I taught my 13-year-old de facto goddaughter how to play D&D. That gave me an entirely new perspective on what "safe" means. There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another.
    153 replies | 4182 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 11:55 AM
    It's D&D, Pathfinder, AND WOIN! :D
    1 replies | 188 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 04:09 AM
    Dude. If it was a woman, you don't have to leap, because of the statistics involved. One in five women are raped at some point in their lives. 43% of heterosexual women report experiencing some sexual violence other than rape.* This stuff is so darned common, they don't even have to experience it to have a valid strong reaction, because they live in fear of it throughout their lives. And...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 03:57 AM
    That language is inappropriate, and unacceptable. Do not post in this thread again. Anyone else think they want to try to push the limits? This person is getting booted from the thread. The next will probably get a vacation from the site, with no warning or prior discussion. If you cannot figure out that you need to be on your best behavior when having a sensitive discussion, you have no...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:56 AM
    The question isn't about severity. It is about the logic and form of the argument. Oh, most times it isn't like Snidely Whiplash, twirling his mustache, going, "BWAHAHAHA! Now I will say bad things about people!" It is usually quite casual and seems reasonable until someone puts a spotlight on it. You specifically pointed out how you think their testimony came from a desire to seek...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:19 AM
    That's fair. And then what we are looking for is a list of things for people to rate a game on. There's an arti and science of that, too, which can get pretty deep. There are a few things that can get hairy when you are taking user ratings. Things like "complexity", where you might wonder if everyone has the same concept fo what you are talking about. But, you can sometimes get at what...
    44 replies | 1131 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Wednesday, 12th June, 2019, 01:11 AM
    Well, there may be some thigns that nearly everyone cares about - some specific questions everyone wants to know the answer to. That's okay. But you should approach it *from the question* rather than from the answer. Well, where I come from, the defining characteristic of a thing we call a "metric" is that it is *measurable*, preferably in as objective a manner as possible. I don't...
    44 replies | 1131 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:53 PM
    I work better deadpan.
    166 replies | 5297 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:33 PM
    Oh, we are quite accustomed to honesty of opinion. We are also accustomed to rather unsavory rhetorical practices. You are now at the point of leveling insinuations against people in order to bolster your position. People who claim there was crying are attention-seekers. Folks who react to your apparent lack of empathy are not used to honesty. You are resorting to ad hominem tactics. ...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 09:04 PM
    But you canít write rules under the assumption that people will ignore them.
    143 replies | 5531 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:50 PM
    And now itís my turn! What is an /s?
    166 replies | 5297 view(s)
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  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 08:17 PM
    Yep. That was the joke. It was a significant part of lots of peoplesí posts. :)
    166 replies | 5297 view(s)
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  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:53 PM
    Don't ask, "What would be a good metric?" Ask instead: "What matters to you about a game?" Not just as a thought exercise - Make an actual list of things that matter to you. We can try to separate what of those things are GM/group dependent, and what's rules-dependent, and what measures we could put that could be useful. Metrics should be chosen to answer specific questions.
    44 replies | 1131 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:49 PM
    The A TOUCH MORE CLASS Kickstarter is less than a week away -- it launches next Tuesday -- and the amount of content you can pick up is growing! Not only can you also get the original A TOUCH OF CLASS, the new A TOUCH MORE CLASS, but you can also get THE MASTERCLASS CODEX which compiles them both in a beautiful hardcover, along with much more! This Kickstarter allows you to pickup some...
    0 replies | 1678 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 07:42 PM
    Okay. But do you not recognize that means the strength of your argument comes only from your personal credibility? Do you even want that? Do you really want anyone to change their behavior based on what you admit is merely a subjective sense? I mean, apply that to basically *any other real problem people face* - do you want people acting on subjective senses, or real, solid information? ...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 06:52 PM
    Oh man, thereís loads of them!
    69 replies | 2057 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 05:54 PM
    "...the whole hobby..."? Where are you getting the idea that anything other than a few vocal people here and on social media even give a fetid dingo's kidney about this - or are even aware of it? I mean that sincerely - where are you getting the impression that any significant portion of "the whole hobby" is focused on something other than their own lives and gaming sessions? Remember that...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:04 PM
    It's not like a car. It's much more subjective and much more of an art. You can directly and objectively measure a car's horsepower or weight, but you can't do that with an RPG. I don't think anything can substitute for actually trying the thing. All the graphs in the world won't give you a sense of how you feel when you play the game.
    44 replies | 1131 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 04:04 PM
    I don't believe any of the victims of the Salem witch trials were running role playing games, so they are perhaps not a great example from which to extrapolate.
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 03:41 PM
    I think you have a problem in that you are discussing what you see as a general issue, in a thread about an incident that does not support your points well at all. Find a documented incident where public shaming had a major impact on a GM, and it turns out the public was really wrong, and you might have something. But here, what you have are hypothetical, things you *fear* can happen, but for...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 12:52 PM
    Heists are always fun to play. Heck, ex-D&D designer Rodney Thompson built a whole game around them. Now, the San Jenaro Co-Op is bringing 25 heists in a hardcover book to Kickstarter! The book is system-neutral, and includes different genres -- sci-fi, fantasy, and so on. You get a detailed map, information on guards and traps, and so on. Here's the fluff text: "Heists are some of the...
    7 replies | 1613 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 12:35 PM
    The official Acquisitions Incorporated Dungeon Manual D&D book has snuck up on us, and is releasing in the next week or so. Artist Aviv Or has shown off some of the artwork she did for the book on Twitter. "I started with designing Positions - a character's role in the company on top of their standard D&D class - as iconic characters. Like the Cartographer, who's about discovering places...
    14 replies | 1259 view(s)
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 11:00 AM
    We simply upgraded the sever to https.
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Tuesday, 11th June, 2019, 01:29 AM
    Completely inappropriate. Iím afraid youíll need to find some other community. Goodbye.
    143 replies | 5531 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 09:06 PM
    It hasnít proved to be a problem in any of my games.
    16 replies | 573 view(s)
    0 XP
  • darjr's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 05:02 PM
    There are still some hard coded non https links. Mostly the likes and smiles icons.
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Monday, 10th June, 2019, 01:02 PM
    Those of you who are fans of Richard A Knaak's Dragonlance novels, The Legend of Huma and Kaz the Minotaur, may already be familiar with his Rex Draconis novel series. Now you can grab a free 15-page D&D NPC collection from this world! "Rex Draconis RPG brings D&D novelist legend Richard A. Knaak's brand new high fantasy series, the Rex Draconis Saga, to the tabletop. Using the D&D 5th...
    7 replies | 1537 view(s)
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 11:36 PM
    thanson02 I am *terribly* sorry. There was a bug on the boards I thought was fixed, but apparently wasn't. It had the effect of erasing the content on your opening post when I tired to move the thread. I am *really* sorry about that.
    6 replies | 343 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 11:33 PM
    This should be over in the D&D forum. I'll move it...
    6 replies | 343 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 06:29 PM
    We're going to need you to show more respect for the other posters in the thread, even if you disagree with them. If you find you can't do that, please stop posting in the thread. And in case anyone might forget - this goes for everyone. Treat each other well, or please walk away until you can.
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 06:17 PM
    Enthusiasm. While a GM invested in the game theyíre running canít guarantee a good game, a GM not invested in it does guarantee a bad game. Our group is always happy to play any game or system which somebody is excited about running. Because the system takes a back seat to that.
    18 replies | 654 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 05:12 PM
    Umbran replied to I need quotes!
    Sarah Connor was always such an optimist.
    71 replies | 5429 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 04:54 PM
    Just so we are clear- if you can get into and out of it... by definition it is *NOT* a closed system.
    31 replies | 1147 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Sunday, 9th June, 2019, 03:39 AM
    Yes, if the con uses bad information, and then publicly announces an incorrect conclusion, yes they are at some risk of liability. But, that's huge IF. That isn't what happened here. This is a hypothetical boogeyman of a scenario. Upthread I mentioned, as does the blog post, *the con investigates* when there's a reported issue. They don't take word on the internet at face value - they go...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 10:05 PM
    Woosh. :) Itís a joke.
    166 replies | 5297 view(s)
    0 XP
  • darjr's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 09:40 PM
    There are still a few non https links giving those warnings. Most of the functionality seems to be there. Thanks for the help folks!
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Umbran's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 09:20 PM
    I am not sure where you are going with this, but let us be clear that the room captain was by no means the only way that the con had to contact them directly. From the UKGE's page, titled "Keeping you safe": And yes, if the room captain has gone off the rails, that does put a dent in one's confidence, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't at least try to use the recommended communication...
    419 replies | 16564 view(s)
    1 XP
  • darjr's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 06:46 PM
    Call me Chewie!
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 05:12 PM
    Wow?
    166 replies | 5297 view(s)
    0 XP
  • darjr's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 05:11 PM
    Clearing browser may help. also if you MUST you can 'trust' the site and it should work much better for you. But! There are non https links still. Mostly images and javascript at this point.
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Morrus's Avatar
    Saturday, 8th June, 2019, 01:12 PM
    I'm currently finding quote works with a double click, but not a single click. Can anybody confirm?
    76 replies | 3318 view(s)
    0 XP
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Wednesday, 5th June, 2019

  • 07:52 AM - MichaelSomething mentioned Umbran in post Should I play 4e?
    ...te: We haven't had to moderate folks for edition warring for a long time. But if you are going to be a jerk about editions, we will deal with you. Moreover, consider, for a moment, how not-fun all that was for moderators. And how much we will (not) thank you for bringing us back to that again. So - you are allowed to like a thing, or not, and say so. But treat each other with respect. And don't pay the pain of the past forward. Continuing blood feuds over how we pretend to be elves forward is... dumb. Okay? Any questions - take them to PM or e-mail, please and thank you. This is an example of another feature of 4E; Marking! Marking is an action "Defender" classes (or in this case mods) can do to discourage monsters (or in this case edition warring posters) from attacking the rest of your party (or in this case the rest of the posters in this thread/any edition of D&D). Note that Marking does not stop you from taking an action; it punishes you for it. Like how Umbran can't magically prevent people from edition warring; but instead promises punishment if you do. The idea is the threat of punishment prevents edition warriors from, well, warring.

Tuesday, 4th June, 2019


Saturday, 1st June, 2019

  • 05:47 AM - innerdude mentioned Umbran in post The MAYA Design Principle, or Why D&D's Future is Probably Going to Look Mostly Like Its Past
    Using @Umbran's evolution analogy, it feels like the RPG landscape is somewhat solidifying around five or six fairly distinct "genetic pools" in terms of rules systems. These are the ones where when we compare them to games we'll be playing 25 years from now, we'll look back and be able to trace their heritage to a common starting point. 1. D&D 5e is obviously far and away (85%+) the largest genetic pool. If individual players are "species members," at this point I don't think it's hyperbolic in any way to say that D&D 5e is the largest tabletop RPG "gene pool" / ecosystem in the hobby's history. And despite it now being a full 5 years following its release, it still doesn't feel like it's peaked in terms of popularity and economic viability. 5e isn't just a home run, it's a bases-loaded grand slam, followed by a triple, two walks, and another grand slam. Clearly there's going to be some "genus" of the 5e genetic pool in the hobby for 20 years or more. It hasn't fully killed off 1e/OSR, or 3e/Pa...

Wednesday, 29th May, 2019

  • 09:05 PM - hawkeyefan mentioned Umbran in post Is RPGing a *literary* endeavour?
    ...nent than the content. here is my reasoning: That's a great example, and I can understand why it was so compelling for you. Would you say that it was the prose itself that made it so deep for you? You say that the content and the mechanics of the game itself were not to your taste, so that's how I read it....but I don't want to assume that I get all the nuance. Would you say that this was a compelling experience as a game? Or more like experiencing a work of art? Were you invested in the play? An aligned thought: It occurs to me that the games where I most value presentation over content are games focused on personal drama (as opposed to resolving procedural action). It may be that people who only play procedural games don't feel the need for presentation as much. Certainly when I play D&D it's nowhere near as big a draw for me as when I play Fiasco, DramaSystem, Indie one-shots, Bluebeard's Bride or the like. Yeah, I think this has a huge impact on the discussion for sure. Umbran mentioned LARP, and that obviously has some significant differences from most other RPGs, despite also having similarities. I've played Microscope on a few occasions, and I've found that to be fun, and I think that the effort the group put forth was interesting and evocative....a literary endeavor....but I didn't really feel like I was playing a game as much as I do with most other RPGs.

Tuesday, 28th May, 2019

  • 07:27 PM - LordEntrails mentioned Umbran in post How do you get to GURPS?
    I agree with Umbran and others. You seem to be under the premise that complexity is good. Not all of us agree. For me, it was it was about personal development and growth. Different phases of my life I wanted different things. Decades ago I like crunchy and complex systems. I liked learning all the complex interactions and how things might go together. Then I learned how to "optimize" and as part of that I learned how to "break" these complex systems. And that was fun for awhile. But now, nope. I'm not interested in breaking systems or optimizing. So, I prefer simpler systems where we can role-play and use any character theme etc and not worry about balance or not accounting for some esoteric or obscure situational rule. Fun to me is now not about what I know or how lever I am, but rather the interactions I have with the other players.

Friday, 24th May, 2019


Thursday, 23rd May, 2019


Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019

  • 06:10 PM - acpitz 1 mentioned Umbran in post Completely Blank Posts?
    What is this about, acpitz 1? You appear to be a new member who has decided to start insulting us. Something up? As I said in reply to Umbran I stand corrected. But in these times of shadow banning is a norm it's just very suspicious that posts disappear like that.
  • 10:10 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned Umbran in post Completely Blank Posts?
    Morrus Umbran darjr I think I may have discovered the trigger for the posts disappearing: every one I know of that got blacked out was reported.
  • 07:44 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned Umbran in post Completely Blank Posts?
    Morrus Umbran darjr As I noted above, Iíve personally encountered two blacked out posts by spammers (whom I subsequently banned). The text wasnít merely color matched to the back, because the reported text didnít show even when I quoted it to check. What had been there was simply gone. Something odd is going on.
  • 06:54 AM - Dannyalcatraz mentioned Umbran in post Hidden

Thursday, 16th May, 2019


Saturday, 11th May, 2019

  • 01:55 AM - Hussar mentioned Umbran in post Avengers: Endgame SPOILER THREAD
    But Darth Vader didnít become a Sith because he was sterile.* I mean, really- imagine if the window into the Vaderís darkness revealed he became what he was and corrupted himself because he was infertile. But somehow, this is OK with Black Widow? * ďDuh!Ē, as his kids might say. Becoming a cold hearted killing machine wasn't because she was sterile. She was forcibly sterilized as part of her transformation into a cold hearted killing machine. Why would anyone even think that her "dark side" moment is because of her forced sterilization? The forced sterilization was a symbol of the horrific things they did to her to turn her into a monster, not the reason she became a monster. And then, when she destroys a family, she begins to try to redeem herself by switching sides - the whole "red ledger" thing. At the end, she balances the ledger by saving a family through her own self sacrifice. As I said, I'm really not seeing the issue here. Umbran, if the only thing you took out of my entire argument was that line, then, sure, there isn't much to talk about here. Talk about cherry picking an argument. Gamora? Maybe, you might be able to make the argument, because the death of Gamora drives Quill. But, even then, that's stretching pretty hard. Not every female character that dies is a fridging. Sometimes, it's actually ok to kill off female characters. Heck, why isn't the death of Vision being touted as fridging? Seems to be the driving force behind Scarlet Witch after all.

Thursday, 9th May, 2019

  • 03:55 PM - SkidAce mentioned Umbran in post GMs are an endangered species!
    Umbran , you are bringing sensibility to the parody of the sky is falling thread. Methinks thou dost protest too much....;)
  • 02:37 AM - DMMike mentioned Umbran in post GMs are an endangered species!
    You too can help the endangered species. Just for pennies a day your can help restore the species. Send $99.99 to Jasper add redacted redacted. That is just 27 cents a day. Oh who are we kidding just send DMMike 1 issue of prophylactics, 3 lipsticks, 3 pair of nylon stockings, Mickey can pay his own way to vegas. You forgot heels. I could work some wonders with heels. Umbran: ask, and ye shall receive: good DMs are non-existent. Spencer Crittenden: not seen since 2017. Wil Wheaton: no Titansgrave since 2015. Looks like everyone's in a bad mood today. I could have called the thread RPG Trends That Undermine the Traditional GM Role, but isn't that a little boring? Seriously, (I know, hardly the thread for it, /and/ out of character for me) GM - and, especially, DM - scarcity is self-correcting. The harder the game is to GM, the scarcer GMs become, the greater the 'reward' for DMing. The easier a game is to run, the more players can hop into the GM role when there aren't enough to go around. The system will tend towards equilibrium, even if the dynamic seems to favor one or the other. This actually is the thread for it. Although I'm not sure I buy it; if a game is hard to GM, doesn't that mean that people just choose a different game to play?

Wednesday, 1st May, 2019

  • 12:29 PM - pemerton mentioned Umbran in post Stakes and consequences in action resolution
    ... failing is bad" is not what I have taken that to mean. <snip> Or reading the next few posts, is knowing the consequences for an action are simply bad, and that failure will have an effect on the game, all you were going for? Because if that is the case, then I see no reason to tell the players this before every single roll, which was what I was arguing against in the original thread.I've honed in on these bits of your post because I think they might be the best place to start. I personally think the issue of telling - if that means explicitly stating as a precursor to the roll - is a bit of a red herring, because in RPG play, especially among participants who are used to playing together, there are many ways to convey information and establish expectations other than explicit telling. But I think reducing what is conveyed to [/I]consequences for an action are simply bad[/i] is not correct. And that's really what I see as the focus of the discussion. It's not irrelevant - Umbran canvassed, upthread, that a consequence of spilling might be good (eg if it stops the BBEG getting the fluid) and that's a possibility that is excluded in the context of my play example - but it's too simplistic. What's the nature of the badness? Who is implicated? What sorts of things might be required to effectively respond to it? I've played games in which the answers to those questions are known only to the GM, and the players can't act on them except by way of either (i) guesswork, or (ii) declaring actions that will get the GM to release the answers, or bits of them (which is the analysis/study I referred to in my OP). Whereas in my example, the player knows the parameters of the answers to those questions without having to guess and without having to engage in further action declarations. The player knows that the badness will pertain to something that the player has put forward as significant in the game (in virtue of his PC build) - the master/servant relationship, the prop...

Tuesday, 30th April, 2019

  • 04:29 AM - Elfcrusher mentioned Umbran in post What does it mean to "Challenge the Character"?
    Yes, my character has no training whatsoever in persuasion and a below average Cha, but, because me the player can do good talky talky, I don't need to spend any resources there because I know that most of the time anyway, I can convince my DM that I don't need to make a check. Play the character you brought to the table or bring a different character. Umbran, did you include this one in the spreadsheet?
  • 12:33 AM - pemerton mentioned Umbran in post Good, Evil, Nature, and Druids
    Umbran, I'm not talking about colloquial anthropomorphisation - "negative charges want to be near positive charges" and thst sort of thing. What I'm saying is that there are, in fact, in the real world of religion and philosophy (some forms of Buddhism and Hinduism, some forms of Hellenic philosophy, a certain reading of Aristotle, etc), people who think that (i) there are natural laws which will preclude evil people from experiencing certain forms of wellbeing and/or capacity, and (ii) that this has nothing to do with decisions by a sentient being to punish or otherwise withhold benefits. Positing a similar thing in the gameworld is therefore, in my view, quite coherent. And doesn't require supposing that the nature in question is sentient, or is "taking steps", to punish the evil.


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Friday, 14th June, 2019

  • 05:06 PM - GrahamWills quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I'm basically suggesting that all humans are, for our purposes, domesticated I guess that if you define "humans living with other humans" as not in a natural state, then, yes, you come to the conclusion that humans do not have a natural state. It seems a bit extreme to me, honestly, but OK.
  • 04:37 PM - Kaodi quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe. The question of whether we are born good or evil makes little sense, when we *define* good and evil only after we are born! Ethics: What is good and bad? Meta-Ethics: What are good and bad?
  • 04:02 PM - GrahamWills quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    The scientific community recognizes "good" and "evil" as human concepts, not natural states of the universe Absolutely; but the theological community tends to believe they are natural states. I was drawing a parallel between the theological community's age-old search for an answer to the theological question "is humanity naturally good/evil?" with the scientific question posed by this thread. In general using theology to inform science works poorly, so I definitely wasn't suggesting that! There's a problem with discussing our "default state" ... There are no humans in the "wild" state - where "wild" is "without human influence". We are social animals, so our natural state is *with* human influence. Our "default" is "adapted to live within a community of other humans". I am not sure why you conclude that there is a problem -- in fact, on the face if it, you seem to be supporting my conjecture. I stated that research indicates that humanity is innately social -- and you confirm that "Our ...
  • 10:18 AM - Samloyal23 quoted Umbran in post Setting Idea: Arcane Dyson Sphere
    I admit I am coming at this from the direction of a physicist, so accept that bias... But you can't go using a tool to make a structure *on the scale of a solar system* without knowing why that tool works. That sounds implausible, to me. I mean, the structure itself is implausible to start with. The idea that the makers don't know why the tools they used to make it work? That stretched credulity. For me, anyway. It would only make sense if they had found the tools left behind by a more advanced civilisation and just fiddled around with them until they figured out where the ON switch was...

Thursday, 13th June, 2019

  • 08:09 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    I will push back on the idea that, since very young kids can be observed being rough with each other, that violence is the human "natural state". Human children are not born with a full suite of natural behaviors that they get conditioned out of. Human children are more blank slates - they *experiment* with behaviors, and they observe the behaviors of others, and they learn and develop. . I am no scientist but this seems quite wrong as well. I mean I did at least minor in philosophy and even there blank slate theory wasn't taken particularly seriously. I don't think celebrims conclusions seem accurate either, but there is at least some amount of truth to people having a natural state (like any other animal) and part of that natural state probably includes a certain amount of violence. My understanding is we have a natural resistance to killing each other, but we also have a natural need to defend ourselves against predators and rough play is pretty common in not just human children but a...
  • 11:48 AM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Talk about your questionable choices. One reason why we are okay with violence, is that in the real world, some people have issues letting things go, and that tends to escalate.... Gentlemen, be warned - dragging around drama from closed threads is an astoundingly good way to get yourself a vacation from the site. Both of you drop it, now, please and thank you. I would, in fact, take this exchange as an indication that neither one of you should be responding to each other in this thread. It does not seem that either of you has cooled off well enough to resist the temptation to take pot-shots. Why am I getting warned, I didn't bring the other thread up. I was talking about this thread.

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019

  • 10:27 PM - Bagpuss quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Perhaps. But I would likely *position* it differently. See above - I was not going to run a game in which 13-year-olds end up on the wrong side of the moral argument. If I'm going to present the non-combatants as a challenge to kids, I'd position it clearly as a, "Well, nuts, you have to get around this without hurting anyone." Heck, in games for my adults, if the PCs choose the wrong side of the moral argument, they are apt to be treated by the world like the monsters they have become - meaning that they have made it moral and ethical for others to kill the PCs and take their stuff! I think kids could also handle consequences to their actions, if they make a questionable choice.
  • 07:25 PM - Gradine quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    Um, be careful there. You started with simulated violence, but then use *real* physical conflicts (minor ones, as toddlers) as your example. Apples and oranges. De-sensitization to violence *does* happen. If you are 11 years old, and you regularly see real violence in your home, in your school, and in your community, yes, you get de-sensitized (meaning - you have a decreased emotional response to it). And yes, it seems that de-sensitization correlates with violent behavior as a young adult. But this isn't about kids pulling hair when they are two. This is about seeing people getting threatened, beaten, or shot. What is much less clear is whether realistically simulated violence in a specific context (like videogames, or movies) has anything like the the same impact on a person's behavior as the multi-context exposure to real people getting hurt around you I described above. And, to be clear - the current rollback on the idea of video games having an impact is based mostly on noting h...
  • 03:28 PM - Bagpuss quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another. Hence my footnote. Of course you aren't going to throw the same situations and dilemma's at a 13 year old kid as you might to at a University student or an middle-aged bloke like myself, or if you did they wouldn't react the same way. I still think you could probably throw the hobgoblin women and children at all of them.
  • 03:12 PM - lowkey13 quoted Umbran in post Why are we okay with violence in RPGs?
    A little while back, I taught my 13-year-old de facto goddaughter how to play D&D. That gave me an entirely new perspective on what "safe" means. There's a little-realized fact that there's no such thing as a no-holds-barred safe space. Safe spaces need boundaries, and the boundaries that are useful and safe for one group may not be for another. Yeah, as I wrote originally, this nagging idea re: violence first started when I was reading through B2 and preparing it for kids.
  • 08:52 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Umbran in post What would be some good metics to evaluate RPG rules/systems?
    Don't ask, "What would be a good metric?" Ask instead: "What matters to you about a game?" Not just as a thought exercise - Make an actual list of things that matter to you. It may just be me, but what matters to me depends on all kinds of things. Worse yet, those things can change depending on other things. ...which is why Iíve invested so much $$$ in so many different RPG systems. ...and why- even though HERO is my favorite system, and I feel I can model whatever I want with it- I prefer other systems for other kinds of games. I mean I have actually done Fantasy HERO campaigns that simultaneously modeled playable versions of character classes from multiple editions of D&D and it ran just fine. But Iíd rather play a D&D campaign in a D&D system. And I wouldnít even dream of trying to run a Fantasy Trip/In the Labyrinth game In Fantasy HERO because that would kind of miss the point of playing TFT/ITL in the first place.
  • 03:45 AM - Tony Vargas quoted Umbran in post What would be some good metics to evaluate RPG rules/systems?
    . I don't know how to measure clarity of writing. Google it It's not like "I know it when I see it," it's a thing. And, yes, Clarity is a major plus for any rule system that's not trying to evoke the DM-centric feel of classic D&D. It cuts down on the need for rulings, makes the game easier to understand, run, and play, and cuts down on the kinds of endless arguments that ruin sessions, but keep internet discussion forums thriving... ...er, on deeper cogitation clarity is surely an exemplar of those great philosophical imponderables, no game should be expected to, or could be said to manifest a supernumary surfeit of, nor contrarywise, to evince.an alarming paucity of clarity on anything but a wholly subjective basis.
  • 02:01 AM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    My wife is a rape survivor. I cannot, within the rules of EN World, relay her opinion of that statement. You could turn this around for a moment. For just a moment - accept what they say is true, and accept that they are not particularly abnormal. Just for sake of argument. What does that say about the experience they had? I think people are mixing up what I am saying here. I am not saying a rape survivor crying is abnormal. I am saying a group of people crying in that way, together, as half of them are in a position of authority handling the situation, strikes me as very non-adult. I am saying something about the interview sets off alarm bells for me. You don't have to share that feeling. But I don't have to adopt your interpreting of it either.

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019

  • 10:50 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    This may be a critical juncture for your discussion. Rather often, once one dips into such approaches, things do not end well. How many other people will you say bad things about to hold up your position? Okay, I think I am being fairly mild here. And I am not trying to say bad things about people to bolster a position. There were some things on the thread (like people seeming to embrace public shaming) that troubled me, and I said so. Other things like some of the cruelty in the way people were talking about this guy, also troubled me. When it comes to the crying, I am not trying to attack the person in question. But my honest reaction to a group of adults crying in that kind of situation (especially when the criers include the game convention personnel sorting out the problem) is this does not seem like normal adult behavior to me.
  • 09:22 PM - Beleriphon quoted Umbran in post What would be some good metics to evaluate RPG rules/systems?
    Metrics should be chosen to answer specific questions. I think there are a few good metrics for rules that are universal. Organization, clarity of writing, really anything one would use to evaluate whether any reference book is good at doing what it is supposed to do.
  • 05:58 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    "...the whole hobby..."? Where are you getting the idea that anything other than a few vocal people here and on social media even give a fetid dingo's kidney about this - or are even aware of it? I mean that sincerely - where are you getting the impression that any significant portion of "the whole hobby" is focused on something other than their own lives and gaming sessions? Remember that we are talking about literally *millions* of people. Where are you seeing millions of people focusing on this? At this point I will not accept hyperbole for effect as an argument. You want to start talking about supposedly real dangers, you need to speak for real, not in hyperbole, or we won't get anywhere. It is a subjective sense of course but this topic is getting a lot of discussion on social media among gamers (including this rsther long thread). Any time this sort of thing occurs it tends to become a big topic of discussion. I donít think Ďall gamersí care about it. But a very vocal portion of ...
  • 05:23 PM - Bedrockgames quoted Umbran in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    I think you have a problem in that you are discussing what you see as a general issue, in a thread about an incident that does not support your points well at all. Find a documented incident where public shaming had a major impact on a GM, and it turns out the public was really wrong, and you might have something. But here, what you have are hypothetical, things you *fear* can happen, but for which we don't have evidence at hand. Without some validation that the fears are reality, what you have is, in effect, a slippery slope argument, and we all know the rhetorical weaknesses of that. Obviously I disagree. I think we are seeing the whole hobby focus on this one individual over one incident and many are calling for him to be banned from other cobs, for him to be pushed out of the hobby, and for reforms like all cons using X cards as a result of all this. I think it is fair to question whether this is moving in a good direction, whether this response is appropriate and whether it is going ...
  • 04:23 PM - billd91 quoted Umbran in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    I think you have a problem in that you are discussing what you see as a general issue, in a thread about an incident that does not support your points well at all. Find a documented incident where public shaming had a major impact on a GM, and it turns out the public was really wrong, and you might have something. But here, what you have are hypothetical, things you *fear* can happen, but for which we don't have evidence at hand. Without some validation that the fears are reality, what you have is, in effect, a slippery slope argument, and we all know the rhetorical weaknesses of that. Online campaigns have almost certainly colored a number of firings in the computer game (online and console) game world. Alison Rapp, Jessica Price, Peter Fries. I don't think you have to find a case of an innocent GM being targeted to be wary of social media campaigns and the impact they can have on real people's lives. Fact is - the tool can be put to evil uses as well as good (depending on your persp...
  • 03:58 PM - Elfcrusher quoted Umbran in post Players 'distressed' by gang-rape role-playing game
    I think you have a problem in that you are discussing what you see as a general issue, in a thread about an incident that does not support your points well at all. Find a documented incident where public shaming had a major impact on a GM, and it turns out the public was really wrong, and you might have something. But here, what you have are hypothetical, things you *fear* can happen, but for which we don't have evidence at hand. Without some validation that the fears are reality, what you have is, in effect, a slippery slope argument, and we all know the rhetorical weaknesses of that. In before "Salem witch trials!"

Monday, 10th June, 2019

  • 09:22 AM - thanson02 quoted Umbran in post 4E D&D: Brainstorming for the Next Tier of Adventures
    thanson02 I am *terribly* sorry. There was a bug on the boards I thought was fixed, but apparently wasn't. It had the effect of erasing the content on your opening post when I tired to move the thread. I am *really* sorry about that. Okay............ I will re-write it when I can.


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