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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Today, 06:04 AM
    Like I said, for the price, fantasy grounds should be a hell of a lot better than it is. To give an example, the number of steps required to add something as simple as a single image is a bad joke. Find the pic, download it to your computer in the correct directory. Go back into fg find the file through the images tab, hope that you know the file name because good luck finding it otherwise....
    14 replies | 267 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 05:43 AM
    What would be a good name that was consistent with hp not being metagame?
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 05:24 AM
    So how come, then, a Cure Light Wounds spell can heal most ordinary people (in classic D&D, B/X, AD&D and 3E) from dying or on their last legs, to full health?
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Today, 12:27 AM
    I use Fantasy Grounds, but, I have to admit, I really have a love/hate relationship with it. Sure, as a DM, you get fantastic tools. Really great stuff for getting up and running. On the downside though, it's unbelievably expensive for what you get. I mean, an ultimate license is going to run you 150 bucks, another 150 bucks (maybe 100 depending on the discounts you get) for the core...
    14 replies | 267 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 01:41 PM
    It's an interesting juxtaposition. Obviously 4e, BW and Cortex+ Heroic (the three systems I work with at the moment) handle this very differently. 4e is closest to your (1), BW to your (2). Cortex+ Heroic is intermediate.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 12:23 PM
    Emerikol (and Lanefan and perhaps Saelorn ), you (and Lanefan) answered my question with a response about the implications on the gameplay paradigm; eg “it would make it more lethal.” This thread is about “metagame mechanics” and players making decisions based exclusively on (what you perceive as) observable phenomenon (biological, physical) from the character’s perspective. I’m looking for...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:32 AM
    On this occasion, we are in agreement!
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:57 AM
    But why do you need "patching up", if they're not being impeded in their performance? In my experience, the actual play of hit points and healing is all about making sure no one drops below zero; but how do the PCs know that any given PC is close to dying, if all they can see as some random assortment of minor wounds? To give a concrete example. A PC has 30 hp. Scenario 1: s/he takes four...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:50 AM
    This is all just assertion. Even the bit about not being able to control when you urinate.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 04:20 AM
    Why not? An AD&D monk can control when s/he goes into a cataleptic trance that feigns death, ro when s/he recovers lost hit points by way of self-healing. A 3E or 5e barbarian can control when s/he gets really angry. Why can't a 5e fighter control when s/he gets his/her second wind? I think there is some tension here. You don't seem to regard "moderately unrealistic" hit points as magic,...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:59 AM
    Or JRRT, who is about as sentimental as Disney. I think one solution to this is one that Gygax at least gestures towards in his DMG: narrate it one way (Disney-esque) for PCs, but otherwise for monsters and NPCs who won't be coming back. You probably won't be surprised that I regard 4e as the most coherent presentation of hp-as-sentimentality-towards-the-heroes: that's why they can be...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:28 AM
    If someone suggested that it was outrageous for a wizard to shoot a bow, and there was a response of "cast Magic Missile", I don't think that would create much controversy. Similarly, using DEX/Stealth is how a non-caster achieves the functionality of an Invisibility spell. My initial reply to you was mostly intended as humour; what's surprised me is that has generated all this contoversy. ...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 01:39 PM
    I don’t want to dig down too deeply into the rest of the hacking required, because I was trying to solicit solely the visceral reaction from Emerikol . I’m inthe same camp as Ratskinner ; the reaction to one type of mechanics or information organization versus another is primarily because of familiarity or the internalization of a set of stuff into a mental framework that you’ve settled into...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 10:09 AM
    I think this, more than anything is why you rarely see groups hiring. And in my experience dms as well hate the idea. Too much paperwork.
    59 replies | 954 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:21 AM
    Who said there is a problem? I find it tends to help things that I and my players are on the same page. If the GM is either going to move quickly through the blocking obstacle, or else there is an overnight rest and encounter opportunity, I'm not really seeing the meaningful choice or trade off. Why does the passage of ingame time, and the passage of time at the table dealing with that extra...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:07 AM
    You're wrong about 4e - it's in the rules for Stealth in the PHB2 that a succesful Stealth check makes you invisible to the person you're hiding from, which means that they can't see you with normal vision. (Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to see you with Blindsight or Tremorsense.) And as I've already said, 5e refers to being unseen - which in many circumstances is...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:02 AM
    You're not selling me on 5e!
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:00 AM
    The ingame explanation is the same way s/he knows s/he is breathing, or hurting - s/he feels it. There's no "gradually increaasing". You start being able to memorise (say) 1 1st level spell. Then you can memorise 2. Then you can memorise 1 second level spell as well. Then 3 1st and 2 2nd. (I'm using the AD&D charts.) Each step up corresponds exactly to a class level - so if you treat...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:32 AM
    One implication seems to be that in 4e you can play a ninja without using magic - you can have a rogue whose ability to stay hidden (by dint of camouflage, distraction, stillness, etc) is just that good - but in 5e, at least according to other posters in this thread, you can't.
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:29 AM
    Someone (maybe FrogReaver?) upthread posited that the suggestion in the OP was as absurd as a fighter declaring that s/he turns invisible. My response to that was that a fighter turning invisible equals making a DEX/Stealth check. In 4e that is literally true - a successful Stealth check makes you invisible. (As per the rules that I have already quoted twice upthread.) In 5e it is not...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:15 AM
    There is no need for combat reslutoin to involve metagame, just as there is no need for (say) climbing resolution, or swimming resolution, or resolving a friendly game of darts, to involve metagame. For instance, in combat each combatant makes a roll, adjusted appropriately by armour, weapon, etc, and the higher roll wins. Much as one might resolve a game of darts. The fact that D&D...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 11:29 AM
    I don't see what your issue is, then, with the ranger/cleric in 3E. The cleric does the odd bit of melee fighting, and wanders through some interesting terrain! Which is what a ranger does.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 11:24 AM
    There is also the opening sentence, that says that "he GM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding", as well as the bit that says "under certain circumstances, the GM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen." Presumably it is also possible in the world of 5e for someone who is...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 08:19 AM
    I agree with Tony Vargas in having a different view of this. In 4e, you get XP for playing and (via the parcel system) get treasure for earning XP, so magic items aren't a reward either. The "rewards" in 4e (as in, stuff that isn't a guaranteed result of playing the game, and which is obtained, or not, based on player decisions) are either in the fiction ("story rewards"), or else the thrill...
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:34 AM
    In 3E the "process" is defeating monsters. They might have been defeated via swordplay, or a mighty spell, or by being tricked into running off a cliff. The XP system is indifferent to these nuances. So what would it even mean to be "consciously trying to improve a specific set of abilities"? In your system, does a player have to use a ranger weapon to put XP into the ranger class? Cast...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 04:05 AM
    If you're not talking about cheating, then what does it mean for a chess player to "game the system" and thereby "win more often than s/he should"? Do you mean not giving the other player an appropriate handicap? That's on the borderline between rules and courtesy. In party-based D&D, though, what is it to take advantage of a fellow player? And what are the loopholes, unintended consequences...
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 04:02 AM
    Emerikol, let me pose you a question. I'm not sure you've ever GMed or played under the following paradigm, so let me lay it out. Try to conceive of simply switching out the HP model from your current game for a low overhead system that handles it in fictional terms that also intersect with action resolution (what action declarations might be permissible, what may be penalized). It looks...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 03:59 AM
    But in this case, you can just read the mechanics of encounter powers and the like into the physics of the world. Just like a character knows that being hit by a longsword will never maim or cause serious bleeding, but will simply whittle away staying power, so s/he knows that once between hour rests s/he can make an extra spurt of action (or whatever else it is that is on a short rest recovery...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 01:38 AM
    If you mean "cheating", just come out and say it. And then tell us what cheating looks like in D&D, or RQ, or . . . Given that the rules expressly suggest this, how can it count as "gaming the system"? And why don't we just call this playing well? As we would in chess, cricket, poker, or any other game?
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 01:29 AM
    What edition are you referring to? I already quoted the 4e rules for Stealh, and will quote them again (from PHB2, p 222): success on a Stealth check means "You are hidden, which means you are silent and invisible to the enemy". So it's not true, in 4e, that to become invisible requires something beyond successfully making a Stealth check. In 5e, the rules for hiding don't use invisibility...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:34 PM
    This depends on edition. It's true for Gygax's AD&D. It may or may not be true in 2nd-ed era, Dragonlance-style play, depending on the conventions that apply at a given table. It's not true for all those 5e tables using "milestone" XP. In my own experience it's not true for 4e, where - especially once the full suite of XP rules from the DMG, DMG2 and Essentials is being used - XP is basically a...
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 01:22 PM
    A "pounding" that doesn't slow her or impede her performance in any way. And what does "I did take a hit or two" mean when your PC has been fighting a dragon? It only got in a couple of bites?!
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:18 AM
    Casting a spell, or memorising/preparing one, also requires "specific circumstances and actions" which may need GM adjudication to resolve. Likewise the OP's suggestion that the player of a wingless or wing-scarred character might declare that those wings are magically regrown. That action in a RPG is in some fashion subject to adjudiction doesn't seem that significant a point.
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:12 AM
    I agree with the inverted commas, which means I don't really agree that any system can be "gamed" by players. Playing a system as it is meant to be played isn't gaming, it's just playing. It seems to me that the notion of players "gaming the system" is a result of years (decades) of groups using Gygax's AD&D resolution mechanics for games that don't have the same play goals as Gygaxian...
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 02:53 AM
    In 4e there were the following paragon and epic tier rogue abilities, that required training in Stealth: * You must already be hidden to use this power. You are invisible until you leave your current square. No other action that you perform makes you visible. * You must already be hidden to use this power. You are invisible until the end of the encounter or until you end the effect by...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 02:37 AM
    I think this is quite an idiosyncratic view. I would say that the reality of the D&D world is that people suffer light, serious and critical wounds, suffer maiming (which requires Regeneration to heal), and have mystical "life essence" which some undead can drain and which requires Restoration to restore. Nothing in an D&D rulebook or setting has ever made me think that hit points are the...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 02:18 AM
    From Gygax's DMG, p 85: If the relative value of the monster(s) or guardian device fought equals or exceeds that of the party which took the treasure, experience is awarded on a 1 for 1 basis. If the guardian(s) was relatively weaker, award experience on a 5 g.p. to 4 x.P., 3 to 2, 2 to 1, 3 to 1, or even 4 or more to 1 basis according to the relative strengths. For example, if a 10th level...
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 01:53 AM
    Classic D&D has many action declarations that are auto-successes - eg I cast Transmute Muck to Rock, assuming the character is a magic user of sufficient level who has memorised that spell. But a lot of people describe that as "creative casting", not "dull".
    156 replies | 4663 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 11:37 AM
    On Attributes: the attributes in In a Wicked Age are interesting: * Covertly * Direclty * For myself * For others * With love * With violence These are rated with dice, and every action uses two of them for its resolution.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:17 AM
    DW = Dungeon World.
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:15 AM
    Emerikol - there was a whole generation of fantasy RPGers who, because they disliked metagame mechanics, dropped D&D for metagame-free systems like RQ, RM and the like. (At the time, these were promoted as "realistic" systems.) Those systems all drop AC. They all drop combat-as-hp-attrition. (Though they may use hp for other purposes - as meat points in RQ, as a measure of bruising, blood loss...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 05:20 AM
    Or when one or both sides regard negotiation as demanded by honour or morality or custom. Or when one or both sides think they are better talkers than fighters. Or when one or both sides believe negotiation is more likely to deliver desirable results. Aragorn negotiates with Sauron's armies, once Sauron has been defeated, because that is what will serve Gondor's interests, and what is fitting...
    156 replies | 4663 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 04:21 AM
    Isn't that called making a DEX/Stealth check?
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 04:06 AM
    I thought the point of playing OSR systems is to have the classic D&D experience - and XP foe gold is pretty central to that. Otherwise, why not play DW?
    55 replies | 1179 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 01:46 AM
    I don't know anything about video games, but I think I missed the unsavoury monetisation schemes of 4e. I bought the books I wanted, but not the ones I didn't (Draconomicons, Eberron, most of the adventures); I didn't buy any miniatures (which in any event were being sold well before 4e was released); I paid for a couple of months subscription to DDI around 2011 to download all the Dragons and...
    269 replies | 7550 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 09:33 AM
    This doesn't seem very controversial to me. Here is a somewhat comparable thing that happened in my 4e game. Roleplaying in a RPG tends to mean "playing one's character". This is one way of playing one's character. Someone who describes the furniture in his/her PC's house isn't "not roleplaying" just because the purchase and arrangement of said furniture happened at some earlier, unspecified...
    189 replies | 6113 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 04:57 AM
    Classes and roles are fundamental to 4e PC building - much more so than in 3E or 5e. To get rid of them would be to rebuild from the ground up.
    269 replies | 7550 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 02:35 AM
    WotC is a commercial publisher - it is always trying to maximise profits! Every time posters on these boards celebrate the commercial success of fifth edition, they are celebrating WotC's maximisation of its profits. As far as respect for customer base is concerned - I'm not 100% sure what that means, but 4e did not contain dangerous components, or involve any sort of fraudulent...
    269 replies | 7550 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 11:12 PM
    On the contrary. This is a public thread and one entitled "a discussion of metagame concepts in game design". If it was one entitled "Emerikol's type of games" that would be different. But he says he wants purple paints but not yellow ones. He's perfectly welcome to say he doesn't like matt purples and only wants gloss ones. But this doesn't give him the right to arbitrarily declare a matt purple...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 08:57 PM
    What matters to me is what actually happens within the gameworld. My speculations about anything else including how and why other people made their decisions are just that. Speculations. To know for certain would require telepathy. Next time don't call playstyles objectionable if you don't want fire returned. And when I made a suggestion about simple spellcasters you rejected it.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 08:32 AM
    Is 4e too slow in play? That is a design problem (although obviously to some extent at least relative to taste). Is 4e too different from AD&D and 3E, and hence not popular with that market? That is not a design problem; it's a commercial problem, but doesn't tell us anything about the qualities of 4e as a game. (It's not inherent in the notion of game, or even good game, that it be...
    269 replies | 7550 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 04:48 AM
    There is a popular series of articles on these boards that stats up mythic figures (Achilles, Jean D'Arc, Lancelot, etc) for 5e. Those statblocks are almost entirely combat-oriented. They don't contain Ideals, Bonds or Flaws, despite these being a core 5e mechanic for expressing character personalities. The 5e skill system is very similar to the 4e one, but lacks a coherent resolution method....
    269 replies | 7550 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Sunday, 8th July, 2018, 03:10 AM
    It has nothing out of necessity to do with 80s games. It has everything observationally to do with 80s RPGs. Not everyone is you. I'd probably be quite happy playing a wizard in your game who came from across the sea. I wouldn't be happy playing a fighter in your game. To me this makes as much sense as a blanket statement as "the food I find objectionable I find objectionable no...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Saturday, 7th July, 2018, 11:55 PM
    their character they can use stamina, willpower, or blood pools as a physical representation of fate points. If I were to recommend the game I can think of with the fewest metagame mechanics I'd start out by recommending Apocalypse World - but I'm almost certain that it would be anathema to Emerikol on the grounds that it has a different player/GM relationship from the one he likes, and...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Saturday, 7th July, 2018, 04:08 AM
    Loads of emotion and personal stakes? Oh, noes, I have to get my multi-billion dollar company back because, if I don't, I'll only be the chosen one savior. Gee, yeah, totally see the stakes there. Like I said, the bad guy is a smarmy businessman who isn't actually all that wrong. Danny as CEO is a financial disaster. Like I said, the stakes are totally unimportant. If Danny fails, he's...
    33 replies | 867 view(s)
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  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Saturday, 7th July, 2018, 02:03 AM
    The problem is that I can predict with extremely high accuracy what you will consider metagaming and what you will not through one simple algorithm. Is it made from parts that are either classic D&D or from classic 80s physics-sim design. The problem is that this category is not anything to do with the sort of choices you make or resource mechanics you have. It is entirely and completely to do...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 6th July, 2018, 03:56 AM
    But, I think that's what makes Jessica Jones and Daredevil much better shows. Sure, JJ is an alcoholic, but, it's never "let slide" in the show. It's destructive as all get out. Watching JJ implode is a big part of what makes the show good. Same with Daredevil. His self-destructive tendencies cause so much of the plot. It's a big old dose of catharsis. And, there's the other point. ...
    33 replies | 867 view(s)
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  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th July, 2018, 01:44 AM
    On the contrary, 4e loved Spike. It just made Spike start from square 1, causing a lot of Spikes to quit in disgust. Indeed. 4e Forgotten Realms was a huge mistake. It was basically redesigning things for the people that disliked it (so wouldn't play it anyway). I'd have loved to see the original Dragonlance modules properly converted, with Tanis Half-Elven as a warlord rather than a...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th July, 2018, 12:56 AM
    Very good post here. I think each discrete part is very salient. I think the first part happens to be a big component of these conversations because a great many D&D players seem to have internalized an AD&D rules paradigm as representing something like the actual mental overhead that is going on in physical, hand-to-hand combat...when they, in all likelihood, have never engaged in actual...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    4 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 11:38 PM
    Mustrum_Ridcully - you're spoiler tags don't work. Just finished the series. The season finale was not what I was expecting, although, to be fair, it's foreshadowed quite a few times in earlier episodes. Much more low key. For a show about an invulnerable strong guy, there are surprisingly few actual fights in the show. I'm still mulling over whether I really like the season, or if I'm...
    33 replies | 867 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 10:06 AM
    Classic D&D XP is super metagamey. XP for "good roleplaying" even moreso. I don't know what system for awarding XP Emerikol uses.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 04:55 AM
    Heck pcs having standard hps are the norm in 5e. And, Rand hps for monsters so I can fudge is a pretty weak argument from my POV.
    359 replies | 7838 view(s)
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  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 01:57 AM
    On the other hand the impacts are huge. I don't think that death spirals would be good for the game (and neither, from memory, did Gygax) - but far from being not worth applying this is a deliberate design decision to make hit points not represent anything much (Gygax claims it's absurd to think of them as physical damage) other than a mix of luck, fate, and stamina, to get a better game. And if...
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  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 01:54 AM
    Your players might surprise you; 4e eventually came up with the Elementalist Sorcerer which basically did elemental blasts and controlled their element. No long list of spells, and I had two players happier with it than they'd ever been with a caster before. "I burn it" and "I set them on fire" can be quite fun for the combat (no weapons needed unless the monsters were flame resistant) - and out...
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    2 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 01:29 AM
    Different post for a different tangent. Of course death isn't the only source of suspense in a game, but one of the things I have noticed is that (unless you are dealing with rust monsters) D&D both encourages characters who do not have connections to the game world, and in which there are few long term mechanical consequences for anything short of death (and even then there's always...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
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  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 01:22 AM
    Indeed. It just convinces me that we have an extremely different understanding of the world - and I think yours appears to derive more from historic Dungeons & Dragons rules rather than from the real world. pemerton has already pointed out a few that are metagame and explicitly pointed out as such by Gygax. Why do you care how other people have fun if it doesn't directly impact...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 12:25 AM
    This claim is controversial. AD&D saving throws are metagame: Gygax says as much in his discussion of saving throws in his DMG. AD&D hit points are metagame: see above. Barbarian rage, in 3E, is as metagame as martial dailies in 4e. Spell memorisation encourages highly metagame play, and the fact that there is a veneer of an in-fiction rationale doesn't change that.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 12:21 AM
    Aldarc's post makes an important point - there is no contrast, in general, between enjoys metagame mechanics and does not care about immersion in character. Rather, the metagame mechanics are part of the techniques used to achieve immersion.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 10:11 PM
    I'm going to float a hypothesis here. Almost all mature games that give any attempt at being even vaguely along the process-sim spectrum, that have survived playtesting, and that don't have designers deliberately keeping them rules light or rules medium-light end up overall at about the same "rules medium-heavy" level of complexity. This is because people aren't that different, and there's only a...
    61 replies | 1871 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 09:57 PM
    Wait, what? I live in a polytheistic country - Japan. And, I'm going to tell you right now that there ARE standardized rituals, and uniforms for priests and standardized holy days in Shinto. I'm not sure what kind of polytheism you are thinking of, but, most religions, whether mono or polytheistic, have pretty standardized rituals and holy days and easily recognizable priesthoods.
    119 replies | 3537 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 01:59 PM
    I'd say it might be worth a different thread rather than flooding this one with a tangent.
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 01:36 PM
    Ovinomancer , TwoSix , @ anyone else... I feel like digging down really deeply on the TLJ/4E tradition deviation comparison may (a) not be something that anyone else in this thread cares about and (b) while works into 4e’s “essence”, it may push the bounds of threadcrapping (and my next response would be long). What do you guys think? Anyone else care about that topic?
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 11:44 AM
    And here I couldn't disagree with you more. Depending who you ask and when you might get anything from a warrior from "I slew him" to each individual sword stroke in the fight and possibly boring the audience rigid. And you might get a similar range from the wizard. As for combat maneuvers not being used in common language in the real world, I've talked about third form kaitenage and a hip...
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 10:52 AM
    On reflection I think that the real difference here is between inclusionists and exclusionists. Inclusionists consider the important part to be that they are able to make decisions that are as similar as possible to their character, and if that leaves them able to make other decisions too then why worry? They just won't make those decisions because their character wouldn't. Exclusionist consider...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 08:40 AM
    I think that's actually quite impractical for a lot of RPGing situations. And also still doesn't do the job. No doubt there's stuff in the Lonely Planet guide to Melbourne that I don't know; but as far as knowing the shortcuts and alleyways around my house, I know them better than the Lonely Planet will tell you about them. I think having mechanics that allow a PC to pace him-/herself, and...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 02:54 AM
    I do however regard it as a limitation and one that if there is some way of mitigating it can be useful to do so. And here's the heart of the matter. Whereas I think that any warrior who isn't terminally stupid who is fighting kobolds and knows that they will be fighting a dragon later will deliberately pace themselves against the kobolds and go all out against the dragon. In the...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 02:25 AM
    What is the essence of 4e? Being released with half the development time it needed The worst at launch adventure ever (and you never get a second chance to make a first impression) Effects based rather than simulation based rules. More thought into the role of the fighter than all editions of D&D combined No need for a stereotypical party; no essential party roles (like healer/cleric). All...
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Neonchameleon's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 01:40 AM
    And this is where I have little understanding of where you are coming from. As a player I can not see what my character sees. I can not smell what my character smells. I don't know the history of the world or the smell of salt air on the breeze in the way my character does. No matter how much the GM describes I will not and can not see the setting in the same detail as my character unless my...
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    5 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd July, 2018, 05:02 PM
    Well, personally, I didn’t think 4e had much in the way of problems with its skill set up. In 4e noncombat conflict resolution and stunting, there are only a few relevant parts to action resolution and micro-story-progression when it comes to characters: 1) Can this PC realize their archetype through play (conflict framing > action resolution > story output)? 2) Through the realization...
    60 replies | 2557 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd July, 2018, 12:21 PM
    Hussar started a thread What no Luke Cage love?
    Haven’t finished the series yet but I’m liking it a lot more than the first season. Tighter story and better characters. Two thumbs up.
    33 replies | 867 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 06:16 PM
    Sorry for the delay in getting back. Alright, so my thoughts: I definitely agree with TwoSix's first thought above: a) "I imagine there's a decent correlation between those who disliked 4e and those who disliked TLJ for the same reasons; it didn't match their expectations of what "D&D" or "Star Wars" should be." I also saw on the TLJ thread on these boards that there are...
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 03:45 PM
    Emerikol - I agree with you that HD and Inspiration are metagame mechanics. (I think hp are also, but maybe you don't agree with that.) But I don't think I agree about action surge and second wind. These are correlates of the character, in the ficiton, trying harder and pushing him-/herself to his/her limits.
    388 replies | 7883 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Saturday, 30th June, 2018, 04:21 AM
    There is a significant range between "clerics never act like anything other than fighters with a spell list" and "clerics must have daily/hourly rituals which must be detailed out." I would just like to see cleric (and paladin and druid) players actually acknowledge that they have a patron diety once in a while and do anything at the table to make that part of the game.
    119 replies | 3537 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 04:47 PM
    And how does this tend to show the viability of fighters? They're not needed for DPR. They're not needed to defend "squishies". So what distinctive capability does a fighter bring to the table?
    412 replies | 18006 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    @Pauper I’m doing a poor job of communicating. There is clearly a large outcry over TLJ from SW traditionalists/the base. I’m not referring to them. I’m invoking a specific cross-section of folks who: 1) Identify as part of the SW base.
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 03:47 PM
    My take is that DMG1 didn’t have nearly a clear enough voice (while DMG2, design articles, and Dungeon articles were all very consistent) . There was an editor problem or a “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem with the writing/handling of various chapters and instruction. While myself and others saw it clearly in various 4e game tech and instruction, there are many others who didn’t see it....
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 02:28 PM
    Ted Serious Thank you for the response, but perhaps the thrust of my post wasn’t clear (as your response doesn’t hook into it). I was commenting on the curiosity of the non-universal application of the “don’t piss off your traditionalist base” axiom. 4e was routinely decried for its violation of it (we constantly heard the “New Coke” cautionary tale). Meanwhile, The Last Jedi (which...
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 01:55 AM
    Let me extend things a little bit to talk about cost as the relevant piece... So chao is talking about Sorcerer here, but its relevant. So the PC's big brother is the best man he ever knew. Raised him when their parents died. Is a retired, legendary Dog who lost his gun-fighting hand when a nasty infection from a wound took it that he got rescuing a child straight from the jaws of a...
    156 replies | 4663 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 12:19 AM
    Can we stop talking about fuding? It's irrelevant to this thread. (Maybe some people think that D&D can't involve escalating stakes without fudging? But even were that so, this thread is in General RPGs, not a D&D sub-forum.)
    156 replies | 4663 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 06:18 PM
    Do you mean my words per post have decreased or my posts include less arcane language? There are a reason for both of those things. My vocabulary hasn’t evolved (organically) so much as I’ve worked very diligently to talk and write differently. Sometimes it takes. Sometimes I revert (but usually in person where I don’t have time to agonize over communicating more “accessibly and pithy”). ...
    171 replies | 5747 view(s)
    0 XP
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Monday, 26th December, 2016

  • 10:19 PM - Sunseeker mentioned steenan in post DMs, Do you allow your group(s) to play Evil PCs and/or parties, & why?
    ... to preserve their ethics, even if that makes it harder to achieve their goals. Now mind you I like playing paladins. Really do. I like being the good guy, always have. But I like the idea that my character makes a conscious choice to do the right thing. Sometimes playing a paladin is just too easy and it makes the character flat and two-dimensional. They never really make any real decisions, their codes and alignments and religions have it all laid out for them where they should step and when they should take that step. Further: selfish motivations can be some of the best motivations. And really, I don't even see how a person would use questionable methods if they weren't selfish. You use questionable tactics for the simple reason that it is a faster way to achieve your goals. Maybe your goals are to help the poor, but if you think the best way to do that is to kill the bourgeoisie, that's a selfish decision. You have decided that your goals trump other people's lives. @steenan if your players are never selfish, I don't see how they could ever use questionable tactics. I will add though, it's one thing I've like that 5E and other systems have codified: that "ideals" (bonds/flaws, etc...) are something that should go down on your character sheet for the GM to reference right along with your attack mods and class levels. Even if your only goal is to get rich and retire young, that's a goal I can work with to put you in some interesting situations.

Sunday, 18th December, 2016

  • 07:05 AM - TheCosmicKid mentioned steenan in post Multiclassing
    This reads to me like you don't like classes and like multiclassing because it makes the game less of a class based system.No. Please don't put words in my mouth. GURPS and M&M have different design goals than D&D. GURPS is trying to be the Generic Universal Role-Playing System, and M&M is trying to emulate the superhero genre. For those goals, freeform is better than a class system. Which is what I said. But one size does not fit all, and for a heroic fantasy game like D&D, a class system is an excellent design choice. What, in your words, are the advantages to a class based system?I basically agree with steenan: ease of character creation and advancement and archetypal clarity. I've already explained how multiclassing detracts from neither of those things. To steenan I would add a clear and satisfactory sense of progress over a character's career, which, again, multiclassing does not detract from -- it just means the character has two careers rather than one. I ask because I believe we see different advantages. Multiclassing does take away from what I enjoy about the class based system of 5e. If you don't like classes in the first place, isn't it better to just play a different game? It just seems like the worst of both worlds. Yes, for people who don't like class based games, multiclassing makes that game less of that so for them it will be better. But why not just make it much better for you by playing something else?Between the two of us, you're the only one who is expressing dissatisfaction with a part of the D&D rules. If you don't like multiclassing, then why not make it much better...

Saturday, 30th January, 2016

  • 04:30 PM - The Fighter-Cricket mentioned steenan in post HELP! I'm a new DM
    Just a few quick most basic tips for anyone who dons the DM cape: - Relax You are not there to entertain, but to make play possible. If you don't know something or are lost in the job of DMing, talk the other players and tell them about the situation you are in. If you feel that your game night was unsatisfactory then talk to one another what would make it more fun for everyone. - Situations not Stories You lay out certain situations (see steenan's spot-on advice) in which the PCs can interact but you don't have to create hundreds of interlocking parts of a world. (And in fact: also shouldn't.) Pro tip: Write down three NPCs (maybe three helpful or neutral ones and up to three "bad guys") that can be of importance to the next 4 hours of play (or the next session if it's longer then 4 hours). Write down one (!) motivation/trait/quirk for these NPCs. When they appear (whether it's a magical pawn shop owner, a fighting military baroness, or a dragon librarian) try to go with the flow and improvise. (There are no false ways to do it.) - Let it go Don't try to control everything in the world or the gameplay situation. Let your and the players' imagination run wild if you wish. And don't let the rules stop you too much. (If you have e.g. a great underwater fighting scene with a demonic kraken and you keep messing up rules for underwater fighting: ditch them now and if you really wish, look them up later.) One of the most ...

Friday, 30th October, 2015

  • 09:13 PM - El Mahdi mentioned steenan in post Warlord Name Poll
    ...oogleEmpMog ; @Mon @MonkeezOnFire ; @MoonSong(Kaiilurker) ; @MostlyDm ; @Mouseferatu ; @MoutonRustique; @Nemesis Destiny ; @neobolts ; @Neonchameleon ; @Nifft ; @nightspaladin ; @nomotog; @n00bdragon ; @Obryn ; @Ohillion ; @oknazevad ; @Olgar Shiverstone ; @Orlax ; @Otterscrubber ; @Pandamonium87 ; @Paraxis ; @PaulO. ; @Pauln6 ; @Pauper ; @payn; @pemerton ; @peterka99 ;@ Pickles III ; @Pickles JG ; @pkt77242 ; @pming ; @pogre; @PopeYodaI ; @Prickly ; @procproc ; @Psikerlord ; @Psikerlord# ; @(Psi)SeveredHead; @Quickleaf ; @Raith5 ; @raleel ; @Ralif Redhammer ; @Raloc ; @Ranes ; @RangerWickett; @Ratskinner ; @redrick ; @Rejuvenator ; @Remathilis ; @Ristamar ; @RolenArcher; @Roland55 ; @RPG_Tweaker ; @Rune ; @Rygar ; @Sacrosanct ; @Saelorn ; @Saeviomagy; @sailor-Moon ; @SailorNash ; @Saplatt ; @Satyrn ; @Shades of Eternity ; @shadowmane; @sheadunne ; @Shasarak ; @shidaku ; @shintashi ; @Shiroiken ; @SigmaOne ; @sleypy; @sleypy01 ; @SpiderMonkey ; @Staccat0 ; @Staffan ; @steeldragons ; @steenan @STeveC ; @strider13x ; @Strider1973 ; @Sword of Spirit ; @Talmek ; @TerraDave; @TheCosmicKid ; @The_Gneech ; @TheHobgoblin ; @The Human Target ; @the Jester; @The Mirrorball Man ; @The Myopic Sniper ; @ThirdWizard ; @Tia Nadiezja ; @Tinker-TDC; @Tonguez ; @Tony Vargas ; @Tormyr ; @TrippyHippy ; @tsadkiel ; @tuxgeo ; @twigglythe Gnome ; @TwoSix ; @Uchawi ; @Ulorian ; @UnadvisedGoose445 ; @UngeheuerLich; @Us ; @Valmarius ; @Warbringer ; @was ; @wedgeski ; @Wednesday Boy ; @Wik ; @WillDoyle ; @Winterthorn ; @Wuzzard ; @Xeviat ; @Yaarel ; @Yunru ; @Zalabim ; @Zansy; @Zardnaar ; @Zeuel ; @ZickZak ; @ZombieRoboNinja ; @ZzarkLinux

Saturday, 6th June, 2015

  • 04:29 AM - Manbearcat mentioned steenan in post Let's Talk About Metagaming!
    .... If you want to ensure the death of your enemy (story), you choose to use your shortsword that does 4d6+10 damage (rules). You use the rules to create the story. Metagaming is one step removed from gaming. When you're metagaming, you're not trying to ensure the death of your enemy (story). You're trying to do as much damage (rules) possible, and using your 4d6+10 weapon (rules) to do it. It's a subtle difference, so I'll boil it down a little bit (a lot?): Gaming is using rules to make a story. Metagaming is using rules to affect other rules. I have to admit, I'm struggling to find the distinction that you're making here between Gaming and Metagaming. I think what you might be aiming to imply is that Metagaming is "using rules to affect other rules with disregard for the (perhaps aberrant) fiction that is created (hence genre/trope-incoherent story emerges)." Is that what you're meaning? If it is then we've completed the circle and we're back to LostSoul's and steenan's well-constructed points above (and pemerton and my own). If the system incentivizes PC build choices that produce genre/trope-incoherency or aberrant fiction, then the blame needs to be placed on the system...not on the players.

Thursday, 4th June, 2015

  • 01:02 PM - pemerton mentioned steenan in post Let's Talk About Metagaming!
    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find game rules that don't correlate to anything in-game. Metagaming, then, isn't about what has an in-game correlation; it's about intent. If your intent is to impale a foe, you're not going to hop off a charging horse with your lance to do it. <snip> Let's not chastise players. But let's hold them accountable when their metagaming causes other players to see the table, dice, and rulebooks, instead of the battlements, sunset, and flaming arrows.I don't really follow; and I see LostSoul's post as making a pretty similar point to mine. If the rules of the game make a PC more likely to impale an enemy by attacking on foot rather than mounted, then what is wrong with the player having his/her PC attack on foot? Conversely, if we want the players to have their PCs act as if attacking on horseback is a better way to impale, why don't we make the game rules reflect this? EDIT: I hadn't read post 16 yet. steenan makes the same point too. A well-designed game shouldn't give rise to conflicts between fiction and mechanics.

Tuesday, 17th March, 2015

  • 01:47 AM - Neonchameleon mentioned steenan in post I suck at DMing. Can anyone help?
    ...most any acceptable PCs in and they will in theory come out the same way. So. I'm going to make three suggestions. The first is a book of guidance. Play Unsafe which is basically what we can learn about stories from improv drama. It's going to be a completely different way of looking at things from the one I think you have - but a really useful one. The second is Fiasco - an RPG made by boiling down the Five Act Structure into a mechanical system and playing from there, You can use it to write a Cohen Brothers movie in the time it takes to watch one - and it really teaches about relationship maps, the five act structure, and tilts. To see how it works watch the Tabletop playthrough - and remember that that's a good playthrough but not an outstanding one. The third is a new RPG - Apocalypse World. (If you've got a group for it then Monsterhearts can be even better, but I doubt you have the right group). Apocalypse World is the non-D&D parent game of Dungeon World (mentioned by steenan), and it flows quite a lot better. It also has two real things that DW (and for that matter D&D) doesn't. First is PC investment in the setting during character creation; D&D (and DW) has you create PCs as near islands; AW character creation and character classes represent your place in the world from the local boss (the Hardholder), the local gang leader (the Chopper) to someone trying to get by (the Operator) or even a lethal drifter (the Gunlugger). Second is the narrative dynamite. PCs don't just get more skilled as they gain experience, they also change even to the point of changing Playbooks/Class. This can be obvious career development (e.g. Chopper->Hardholder as the gang leader takes over), a reversal (e.g. Gunlugger -> Angel (Medic)), or just something that kinda happened in play and looks like a really interesting direction for the character (e.g. Operator -> Hocus as one of the Operator's schemes involves them founding a cult and their cult becomes their defining drive). Al...

Sunday, 21st December, 2014

  • 06:04 PM - Manbearcat mentioned steenan in post How to design a game where players don't seek to min-max
    Great post steenan . Its a pity that it hasn't gotten more traction with/commentary from other posters in this thread. Unsurprisingly, I agree. Players will always min-max, no matter what you do. You can only try to make it a suboptimal choice by making the game as varied as possible instead of a primarily combat game which seems what you are designing now or by minimizing the direct influence players have during character creation like with career based character creation seen in Traveller. This isn't always true. While it is true that a great many systems do line up classic TTRPG incentives (win/achieve your primary goals and you progress/advance your character) to create a feedback loop that rewards min/maxing, that isn't the only primary goal:xp paradigm out there. You can make character progress/advancement either outright at tension with or orthogonal to "winning". This creates a dynamic where "winning" is irrelevant to or outright adverse toward character progression. Obviously, th...

Sunday, 14th December, 2014

  • 04:35 PM - D'karr mentioned steenan in post Saves and 4th Edition and Jim Darkmagic *SPOILERS*
    4e has several mechanisms within the base framework that can be used/modified to act like some of these desired effects. For example I've used the Disease Track to evoke the feel of short term and long term injuries. Something similar could be done to evoke the feel for a long term domination/charm, similar to Saruman's hold on King Theodred of Rohann. But I agree with steenan that these should be used as part of a "high stakes game" in which the player is interested in playing out the effect, not as simple save or suck effects. I would have really liked to have seen WotC put out a book like Unearthed Arcana with variant things like this.

Friday, 12th September, 2014

  • 12:36 PM - pemerton mentioned steenan in post It needs to be more of a sandbox than a railroad?
    ...So I did provide something interactive for the players, drawing on the material provided by the module. But, contrary to the paragraph from mcbobbo in the middle of the quotes, the players didn't have to take their PCs into the caves. All of us (players and GM) followed the adventure where it led. Either your DM allows for you to leave the area and ignore Giants/Temple (playing a sandbox campaign) or forces the issue (railroads the campaign)Similar to my discussion with Quickleaf, I think it misdescribes the range of options to treat sandbox and railroad as two extremes on a spectrum. There are other approaches. For instance, if the GM describes the Keep being under attack by hobgoblins from the Caves, then that is "forcing the issue", but - provided the GM is actually framing the PCs into a situation of interest to the players - then they are not just going to have their PCs leave the area. But this goes back to the issue of D&D adventure design, raised upthread by Yora and steenan. D&D modules have a tendency to be very weak when it comes to the situation. So instead of suggestions for forcing the issue by dropping the players into the action ("You are in the Keep when hobgoblins assault it - how do you react?"), they tend to either set out a rather static situation (static, at least, as far as the PCs are concerned - eg KotB, GDQ, etc) or else set up a "hook" which the PCs have to follow if the adventure is to go anywhere at all (countless examples could be given, but Dead Gods and Expedition to the Demonweb Pits are two that come straight to mind). That's one reason why I'm fairly choosy with the modules that I use. A railroad gives that emotional narrative and provides a strong direction, but sacrifices player agency. With more active or critical players it can lead to moments without a strong sense of motivation and a sort of "why do I care?" attitude.I think the tension in this paragraph brings out my own objections to railroading - they purport to g...

Monday, 9th June, 2014

  • 03:41 AM - dd.stevenson mentioned steenan in post Old School Exploration in 5E: A Dungeon World Hack
    Inspired by the feedback from steenan and DMMike , I've rewritten most of the questions--hopefully in a way that will be more appealing to players. I've also attempted to clarify what these skills grant during ordinary gameplay without spending an HD. Naturally, I'd love to hear any and all comments on these rewritten skills.

Friday, 28th February, 2014

  • 09:51 PM - Neonchameleon mentioned steenan in post Things to do in a tabletop rpg that are not combat related?
    I am wondering if my group is just hack'n'slash. We have 6 players, could maybe be 7. 2 are power players, 1 likes sandbox, 1 doesn't really care to much and like 2-3 of us kind of prefer RP'ing rather than crunching numbers. Find a different game than D&D I'd suggest. D&D is very combat heavy - find something that gives as much weight to non-combat solutions as it does to combat ones. It's what the rules point you at; they give more weight to combat than anything else except spellcasting (and that mostly for combat). steenan's already suggested Fate Core, Smallville, and Mouse Guard. To that I'd add Apocalypse World, Leverage, Hillfolk, Nobilis, and Fiasco. Monsterhearts if you feel up to it (many won't, for good reason). 2. What are some things you can do in a table top RPG that are not combat related? Like I've read you can have PC's goto a tournament. Do they compete? What can they compete in? Hmm... just current experiences for me. Last night in my Firefly game, (not linked because this is the playtest version) the PCs were in a cheat-like-there's-no-tomorrow boat race. Which included trying to drive their boat, trying to keep it afloat, trying to investigate the other crews to work out how they would cheat, trying to shame the race organiser into giving them their winnings, and above all trying to stay afloat in the boat race enough to win - which included when they were sinking and the only boat in front of them had no engines, driving their boat up the other one's back and using its bouya...

Tuesday, 25th February, 2014

  • 05:41 PM - Cadence mentioned steenan in post 4e/13thA immersion question and 5e/13thA DoaM question
    Thanks for all the suggestions! @(Psi)SeveredHead for asking about the surroundings and looking for the coolest move @steenan for thinking about whether some powers focus a lot more on the system than the story @Dragonblade for suggesting to think about how each power should play out for the character @TheFindus for focussing on what the character would do in the situation @Dungeoneer for avoiding analysis paralis by trying to simplify some things in the build @Balesir for thinking about what I want to achieve and then grabbing a power that helps that, instead of the other way around Next game is tonight. One of the other players suggested printing out the various spells and powers (index card size) instead of literally having them on a big list. I'm hoping that having them sorted into thematic piles will make it easier to follow the suggestion to think about what I want to do, and then grabbing the action that enables it. (Seems obvious thinking about the power cards in 4e, but something I'd never used in the editions I've played more). Since a bunch of the domain powers are buffy/quick actions, I...

Monday, 24th February, 2014

  • 03:47 AM - pemerton mentioned steenan in post My happiness or yours.
    I don't get this whole "my turn" thing. And agree with steenan, the Jester and others: buy and play games you enjoy, don't buy and don't play games you don't enjoy. If you are compromising in playing a game with friends that is not your favourite, well that's not the publisher's problem. It seems to be a result of friends having different tastes. Most of us have worked out ways to deal with this, from choosing pizza to choosing movies to choosing games. For WotC it is a commercial problem - how to maximise their market uptake - but I can't see that it has any moral dimension. No one has an entitlement that a commercial publisher deploy its resources to make a game well-suited to them. Heck, design your own game and then invite your friends to play it with you! (I think there are some posters on these boards who have done just that.)

Thursday, 23rd January, 2014

  • 01:13 AM - pemerton mentioned steenan in post Do alignments improve the gaming experience?
    ... correctly up until the point where you have 3 hit points left, an unscathed giant is bearing down on a mother and her child and you think... sacrificing myself in a hopeless situation isn't REALLY about commitment or duty... it's just senseless stupidity... and so you decide to hide or run as the mother and child are killedThese characterisations of "advantage", or of "temptating the player of the paladin to have his/her PC act expediently rather than honourably", seem to me to make a whole lot of assumptions about both mechanics and playstyle. The mechanical assumptions are that the paladin player will be more mechanically effective when making attacks that are sneaky rather than honourable. That is not true across all RPGs, and not even true across all versions of D&D - for instance, it is not really true in 4e, where the paladin's powers are designed so as to mechanically support the play of an honourable warrior. (This is 4e's approximation to the sort of approach suggested by steenan upthread.) The playstyle assumption is that the GM is not adjudicating in a "fail forward" style, and hence that, unless the PC achieves immediate victory in the confrontation, the player will have "lost" the game. Once you change that assumption, the player does not need to worry that if s/he compromises her conception of the PC's values, s/he will lose the game (eg by having his/her PC die and hence his/her participation in the campaign terminated). I don't understand whether this is a rebuttal to the quote you posted or simply a development of an interesting point about gaming and philosophy in general (or both!). Who says the mindset of the Paladin is that the universe is on the side of good?This actually relates to the issue about weaknesses and advantages. There is a moral/cosmological tradition - found in Plato, and also in a number of mainstream religions - that the good person cannot suffer. If this is true, then the paladin who succumbs to expedience is not gettin...

Tuesday, 21st January, 2014

  • 12:02 AM - Manbearcat mentioned steenan in post Do alignments improve the gaming experience?
    ...D&D. I don't know the Dungeon World version of this, but it is similar to Beliefs in Burning Wheel, or to Milestones in Marvel Heroic RP. In these approaches, it is generally accepted (I think) that the player has primary authority over deciding when the trigger has been meant: ie provided the player makes it clear in play that in (say) forcefully suppressing the testimony of the farmer who is being stalked by the werewolf s/he is doing so in order to stop a village-wide panic, s/he gets the benefit of the LN trigger. The GM's role is simply to judge player sincerity as part of overall game management, not to second-guess whether or not the farmer really is innocent, nor whether or not preventing a village-wide panci is really a social benefit. Hence these approaches don't exhibit the features that I am critical of in relation to traditional mechanical alignment, of requiring the player to subordinate his/her evaluative framework to that of the GM. Right on the money (and good post steenan). steenan's post is very much like Beliefs in Burning Wheel and Milestones in Marvel Heroic RP (first thing I thought of), and to a lesser extent, like Dungeon World (and I agree with steenan that the feedback in Dungeon World is less provocative). The facets of such a system are very different than classic alignment in D&D. You have: - Transparent, codified, non-negotiable trigger mechanism requiring no real adjudication. - Immediate, positive mechanical feedback. It produces a very different sort of play than what classic D&D alignment produces. Further, I would say that it functionally, in play, fulfills the promise that D&D alignment promised (tight thematic play that challenges on an ethical/moral basis and allows those answers to emerge in play) whereas D&D alignment so often has sown dysfunction and angst at the tables I have overseen. I say that as a GM with a considerable background in philosophy and ethics and a very stringent moral compass throughout my life. Regard...

Tuesday, 10th December, 2013

  • 01:38 AM - Trit One-Ear mentioned steenan in post Player Preference Survey
    This is some solid advice. If I were starting a game from scratch, I would probably do more of what steenan and Quickleaf are suggesting. We've luckily played together on and off for a year now, so we have a decent idea of how we like to play together (or at least, I hope we do). That being said, I'm definitely going to take some of these questions and thoughts and inject them into my original survey. I like el_stiko's way of giving the heroes two clear options to decide between, but I'm wary of making players who like a mix of play give me a polarized opinion. His 1-5 rating is more helpful for me as a GM to deduce where my player like to spend the most of their time. I'm sure I will get varying responses from my group (composed of multiple age groups, experience, gender and of course personalities). By counting up which responses get the highest number however, I can take a general reading for the group as a whole. Will this mean I'm crafting the "perfect" game for everyone? Extremely doubtful. But I can at least give player A enough hack-and-slash while balancing that with player B's lov...

Monday, 9th December, 2013

  • 02:49 PM - DMMike mentioned steenan in post Top 8 Monsters and Spells!
    steenan: those sounds awesome! What the heck are they? Let's start a list... Monsters (level): Kenku (1), Kobold (1), Goblin (1), Skeleton (1) Kuo-Toa (2), Rot Grub (2), Lizardfolk (Reptillans?) (2), Zombie, Human (2) Werewolves (3), Doppelganger (3), Bugbear (3), Ghoul (3), Ogre (3), Dire Wolf (3) Minotaurs (4), Gargoyle (4), Flock of carnivorous butterflies (swarm) (4), Chocobo (4) Werebear (5), Gray Render (5), Basilisk (5), Slime/Ooze (5), Mind Flayer/Cthulhu acolyte (5) Will o' Wisp (6), Vampire, Dwarf (6) Aboleth (7) Dragon (10) Demon (from between the stars) (92) Lich (just a vampire who hasn't been keeping up his appearance) Quasar Dragon (no idea) Consider levels (and several of the above are arbitrary) to mean "general danger level." And if you have an interesting twist to put on some of the simpler ones (kobold?), chime in!

Monday, 4th November, 2013


Monday, 7th October, 2013

  • 02:36 AM - howandwhy99 mentioned steenan in post Running proactive campaigns
    Hey Derren, We should be more specific about what we're talking about here. Obviously steenan and I run very different styles of game, yet both are currently using the same label of "character driven" games. You should know they are vastly different due to the style of game assumed being run. 1st is the follow the path game. This isn't the one you are looking for, I believe, to help create proactive players, but the players are actively following the path too. So it could certainly be considered a proactive campaign. The 2nd is the new story-game post-modern game design where all participants are players and all are trading off in expressing themselves to create a narrative. Goals, plans, achievements are used strictly about the characters, not the players. They are part of the story. Player proactivity comes when each player gets time to express him or her self and be creative. The 3rd way, the old school one I've been talking about, is a pattern recognition game where the players actually have to actively strategize and attempt movements in the game in order to achieve an...


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Friday, 13th January, 2017

  • 07:35 PM - MonkeyWrench quoted steenan in post What happened to the punk aesthetic in D&D?
    So, it's not that people are not creating their own material. They just do it using different games and typically write on different boards. ;) This is very true. The DIY attitude is alive and well in the OSR and the games that have spun off from it.

Sunday, 8th January, 2017

  • 04:16 PM - knasser quoted steenan in post Explain to me again, how we know the Earth to be banana shaped.
    Observing that Earth is round is simpler. Choose two points, preferably on the same meridian (for ease of calculations). Measure how high above the horizon the Sun is at noon in each od them. From the difference between the angles and the distance between measurement points you can calculate the Earth's radius with not much trouble (it's distance/angle, with angle in radians). This kind of measurement has been performed successfully in ancient times, by Eratosthenes, IIRC. Thank you also. I guess I can't really do a flat earth because for the sun to rise and set in anything like our own world, the flat world would have to be very small, I guess. I mean, assuming the sun goes round the world.

Friday, 6th January, 2017

  • 10:49 AM - pemerton quoted steenan in post Twist. Just DM enjoyment or OK for Players?
    ...e twist fits the social contract and metagame conventions of the campaign. For example, in most games I run, the story is strongly player-driven. When I create NPCs for players to encounter, I make no assumptions on whether players will like them or not, if players will trust them and what will come of their interactions. And players know about it. NPCs have their beliefs and motivations and it's not that rare that a genuinely moral person is opposed to PCs for some reason. But in a quest-driven game, there is a metagame convention that quests are accepted. If players become distrusting and refuse to accept quests (or haggle too much on rewards, or demand explanations why the patron does not handle the matter themselves, or ...), the game grinds to halt. The group, for metagame reasons (fun play) ignores this kind of concerns and skips to the quest itself. So if a patron betrays the party, it's not only an NPC abusing PCs' trust. It's also the GM abusing the social contract.I think steenan's analysis of the dynamics of this in a "quest-giver" game, where the job of the players is to "follow the story", is a very good one. My suggestions in my previous post are intended to straddle the two different sorts of approach - by avoiding having the quest-giver be the villain, and by locating the twist in a different NPC.
  • 08:21 AM - 77IM quoted steenan in post Twist. Just DM enjoyment or OK for Players?
    There are two important things about twists to be taken into account. One of them is foreshadowing. Events that seem meaningful but their full meaning in unclear until the twist is revealed - and then everything falls into place. Foreshadowing ensures that the twist does not come out of the blue. When it happens, players think "Why haven't we realized it earlier? It should be obvious from the facts we knew!". And maybe they do realize it earlier. In this case, the GM should accept it, without trying to change things behind the scenes and take the well deserved success from players. A twist well foreshadowed is like a good detective story - fun whether the reader deduces the solution or not (getting the "I should have noticed that" moment). The other aspect is how the twist fits the social contract and metagame conventions of the campaign. For example, in most games I run, the story is strongly player-driven. When I create NPCs for players to encounter, I make no assumptions on whether pl...

Thursday, 5th January, 2017

  • 12:53 AM - pemerton quoted steenan in post Fairy tale logic vs naturalism in fantasy RPGing
    On the other hand, a world that runs on "realistic" logic makes it easier for players to make predictions and exploit the way the setting works. While it's possible in fairy-tale logic too, the world behaving like our one (plus magic, monsters etc. and their implications) allows players to use scientific reasoning within the game, and that gives them a powerful tool.Depending heavily on how adjudication and resolution work in that system. To go back to @I'm A Bananna's example, for instance - in one sense being able to defeat the elves by burning their crops may be a powerful tool, but how does burning the fields get adjudicated in the game? In high level D&D a Firestorm-type spell answers that question, but what if the PCs are low or mid-level and trying to do it with flint, tinder and torches?

Wednesday, 4th January, 2017

  • 06:49 PM - Tony Vargas quoted steenan in post Fairy tale logic vs naturalism in fantasy RPGing
    I don't think either one is more valid or inherently preferable for D&D than the other, and you often need a mix of both in a single campaign, just as JRRT mixed them both in his works. Nod. Like most "there are two kinds of..." saws (or three kinds in the case of GNS). At its best, combining the two can get you something like the literary genre of "magical realism." There are dangers, though... D&D, since it has mechanics, can easily fall into a mostly-'naturalistic' (or deterministic, or simulationist, I suppose) rut that sucks the fantasy/fairy-tale/mythic feel right out of it, elevating the mechanical details of the rules system to a sort of de-facto set of laws of physics that dictate the nature and development of the world and characters. Mixing the realistic and fantastic can also result in a double-standard in which some game elements are mundane and marginalized while others are miraculous and run the show. In a fantasy game grounded in realism, all the PCs have to be in about...
  • 01:27 AM - pemerton quoted steenan in post Fairy tale logic vs naturalism in fantasy RPGing
    Thanks all for replies/posts. I've picked out a few to respond to that struck some particular chord in relation to the ideas that prompoted my OP. I don't know if the question here is "how to rationalize it", really. It's more of a question of "Does it help the game to rationalize fantasy?" Should you, as a DM, have answers ready if your players want to find the "man behind the curtain", as it were? Or should your players have an expectation that such systems exist at all? Assuming your players do go looking for explanations, my go-to rationale is extraplanar activity. D&D players are pretty conditioned to accept weird stuff from other dimensions as a reason for situations not working the way they normally do. This is indeed something I typically do not like featuring in our stories, unless we're playing old-school dungeon crawls, but even in that case I avoid ecology-based monster and prefer undead, golems/elementals, outsiders etc.I think it's not a coincidence, relative to my...

Monday, 26th December, 2016

  • 10:16 PM - Sunseeker quoted steenan in post DMs, Do you allow your group(s) to play Evil PCs and/or parties, & why?
    ... to preserve their ethics, even if that makes it harder to achieve their goals. Now mind you I like playing paladins. Really do. I like being the good guy, always have. But I like the idea that my character makes a conscious choice to do the right thing. Sometimes playing a paladin is just too easy and it makes the character flat and two-dimensional. They never really make any real decisions, their codes and alignments and religions have it all laid out for them where they should step and when they should take that step. Further: selfish motivations can be some of the best motivations. And really, I don't even see how a person would use questionable methods if they weren't selfish. You use questionable tactics for the simple reason that it is a faster way to achieve your goals. Maybe your goals are to help the poor, but if you think the best way to do that is to kill the bourgeoisie, that's a selfish decision. You have decided that your goals trump other people's lives. @steenan if your players are never selfish, I don't see how they could ever use questionable tactics. I will add though, it's one thing I've like that 5E and other systems have codified: that "ideals" (bonds/flaws, etc...) are something that should go down on your character sheet for the GM to reference right along with your attack mods and class levels. Even if your only goal is to get rich and retire young, that's a goal I can work with to put you in some interesting situations.

Friday, 23rd December, 2016

  • 11:56 PM - Lanefan quoted steenan in post DMs, Do you allow your group(s) to play Evil PCs and/or parties, & why?
    Anything goes around here. As DM, if the party want to spend all session pranking each other or whatever...even killing each other, if it comes to that...I'm cool with it; I can sit back and have a beer. :) The only rule is that it stays in character: Eldrahon arguing with Tamarrik is fine, John arguing with Cindy is not. And while the party's busy arguing the opponents are busy doing whatever they're doing that the party was supposed to be preventing... Long-term experience tells me that in any party there's always going to be a run - usually early on - where they want to do each other in, after which it (mostly) settles down. As player, any game where I was forced to play altruistic or heroic characters all the time would lose me pretty fast, as would this: I run campaigns for PCs that are idealistic. They may have bad tempers, they may use questionable methods sometimes, but they can't be focused on selfish motivations (eg. money).As the player who invented the alignment "Neutral Gree...

Tuesday, 20th December, 2016

  • 09:30 AM - Sorcerers Apprentice quoted steenan in post A simple questions for Power Gamers, Optimizers, and Min-Maxers.
    It is only a problem when the group uses a ruleset that doesn't fit their style. Using a system that rewards build optimization and then not optimizing and complaining that someone optimizes is like using screwdrivers to drive nails and get offended when someone uses it to drive a screw instead. If the group is not interested in playing the optimization game, there's a lot of systems that cater to this. The game systems that have the most potential for optimization are often the ones that are not designed with optimization in mind, since those tend to have balance holes big enough to drive a truck through. The only systems that are close to impossible to optimize in are extremely rules-light and narrative-centered, but if you want to play a system with detailed rules then it will invariably have tools for optimizers to work with.
  • 07:45 AM - Sword of Spirit quoted steenan in post Multiclassing
    TL;DR: It's not about classless system being better than one with classes or vice versa. Multiclassing combines disadvantages of both with no significant gain. I don't agree with the italicized part, but the rest of your post was excellent. I never understand why many DM's feel the need to dictate arbitrary restrictions on rules as written in the core books... The next part of your sentence actually answers the implied question: ...since the core rules are the foundation for everyone's shared hopes and expectations for the game experience. We all develop our own idea about what D&D is about and how it is meant to be played (we may have more than one of these). However, every few years these people we pay to make official products seem to want to change the texts that these assumptions grew out of it. So new people coming to the game are going to pick up a book and start having their impressionable minds imprinted with a version of what D&D is about that may not be the same a...

Sunday, 18th December, 2016

  • 12:13 PM - Arial Black quoted steenan in post Multiclassing
    I fundamentally disagree with you. Why have classes instead of a freeform system? There are a few good reasons: Classes allow for easy character creation with no system mastery necessary. All choices that need to be made are described in the class and, if it's designed correctly, all combinations of such choices result in a good characters. There are some archetypes important for the game - basing classes on them ensures that PCs will be relevant to the type of stories the game is intended for. Each class can be designed as a whole and, because of that, is much easier to properly balance than a freeform system where all combinations of abilities must be taken into account. And here's the other side:- * Classes may be easier, but 'easier' =/= 'better' for everyone. There are those of us who prefer complex characters, enjoy imagining and creating them, and like to think that the time spent on our hobby (and the resulting system mastery) can be rewarding. Whether our choices r...
  • 12:38 AM - TheCosmicKid quoted steenan in post Multiclassing
    I'm not dco, but I share his viewpoint, so I think I may try to explain it. Why have classes instead of a freeform system? There are a few good reasons: Classes allow for easy character creation with no system mastery necessary. All choices that need to be made are described in the class and, if it's designed correctly, all combinations of such choices result in a good characters. There are some archetypes important for the game - basing classes on them ensures that PCs will be relevant to the type of stories the game is intended for. Each class can be designed as a whole and, because of that, is much easier to properly balance than a freeform system where all combinations of abilities must be taken into account. But then, by adding multiclassing, we lose most of these advantages. The number of possible combinations increases very significantly compared to pure classes, but the entire structure is much more complicated than in a pointbuy or slot-based freeform system, so it is even...

Saturday, 17th December, 2016

  • 11:27 PM - ad_hoc quoted steenan in post Multiclassing
    TL;DR: It's not about classless system being better than one with classes or vice versa. Multiclassing combines disadvantages of both with no significant gain. This is why I don't like multiclassing. I think subclasses are an elegant way to handle it.
  • 10:39 PM - hejtmane quoted steenan in post Multiclassing
    I'm not dco, but I share his viewpoint, so I think I may try to explain it. Why have classes instead of a freeform system? There are a few good reasons: Classes allow for easy character creation with no system mastery necessary. All choices that need to be made are described in the class and, if it's designed correctly, all combinations of such choices result in a good characters. There are some archetypes important for the game - basing classes on them ensures that PCs will be relevant to the type of stories the game is intended for. Each class can be designed as a whole and, because of that, is much easier to properly balance than a freeform system where all combinations of abilities must be taken into account. But then, by adding multiclassing, we lose most of these advantages. The number of possible combinations increases very significantly compared to pure classes, but the entire structure is much more complicated than in a pointbuy or slot-based freeform system, so it is even ha...

Thursday, 15th December, 2016

  • 03:40 PM - lowkey13 quoted steenan in post A simple questions for Power Gamers, Optimizers, and Min-Maxers.
    My point is exactly that such system does not exist. Each game rewards some behaviors, just because of how the rules are build. Each is based on some assumptions and the only difference is if they are hidden or clearly communicated. A lot of problems at game tables come from assuming that games are style neutral just because they are popular and then getting frustrated when they are not. I think it's the second biggest source of issues after miscommunication within the group. That's a contentious point. This gets to an issue that we can loosely define as power control and conduct control, as you might see in a slightly different rule set; a legal code. Power control might be a set of laws regarding what people can and can't do, administered by the government. Conduct control might be the set of norms about how people should act, administered by society. There are advantages and disadvantages with each system. Conduct control is easier, informal, and carries a great amount of weight (it wil...
  • 01:03 PM - dave2008 quoted steenan in post A simple questions for Power Gamers, Optimizers, and Min-Maxers.
    It is only a problem when the group uses a ruleset that doesn't fit their style. Using a system that rewards build optimization and then not optimizing and complaining that someone optimizes is like using screwdrivers to drive nails and get offended when someone uses it to drive a screw instead. If the group is not interested in playing the optimization game, there's a lot of systems that cater to this. What if a ruleset supports both play styles?
  • 12:12 PM - Cap'n Kobold quoted steenan in post A simple questions for Power Gamers, Optimizers, and Min-Maxers.
    It is only a problem when the group uses a ruleset that doesn't fit their style. Using a system that rewards build optimization and then not optimizing and complaining that someone optimizes is like using screwdrivers to drive nails and get offended when someone uses it to drive a screw instead. If the group is not interested in playing the optimization game, there's a lot of systems that cater to this. Such as D&D 5th Edition? Generally, the complaint is not the purely mechanical "someone is optimising". Its a social issue derived from the way that a player is using an optimised character. Its quite possible to be disruptive to the enjoyment of the other players without playing an optimised character, and its quite possible to play an optimised character in a fashion that probably won't impact the enjoyment of the rest of the group. A lot of problems at game tables come from assuming that games are style neutral just because they are popular and then getting frustrated when they are not....
  • 02:14 AM - TarionzCousin quoted steenan in post A List of All the Elements in RPG's
    YMMV, but in my experience when I've polled my players I typically get "just D&D, you know?" or at best a genre of fantasy "something like Glen Cook, Tolkien, etc."Yeah, I've already received those replies. I think you should specify what kind/genre of game are you thinking about and what does an "element" mean to you. Otherwise, it's hard to understand why you lump things together in some cases and separate them in others.It's probably going to be 5E. I couldn't define element to my satisfaction, so I tried to keep what I called "elements" at approximately the same level of description: fairly high-perspective, no detail. Such a taxonomy describes the cataloguer more than the game, really. The world and thus the struggles within it are constrained only be the game designer's imagination. The scenario designer will often extend the game past even that. The typical elements of a RPG should match up pretty well with typical elements of the genre the game is attempting to emulate. The ...

Tuesday, 13th December, 2016

  • 11:02 PM - Lanefan quoted steenan in post A simple questions for Power Gamers, Optimizers, and Min-Maxers.
    Playing with the rules only detracts from the game in two cases: 1. When the rules are used against their authorial intent. This means either twisting words and interpreting them against a known spirit of given rule Which to some might be the very definition of powergaming - twisting and squeezing the rules to gain any possible advantage, regardless of the rules' spirit or intent. or not knowing the intent of given rule because it's not clearly communicated in the game text (which falls under the case 2). 2. When the rules are poorly designed and have no clear intent, don't support their design goals or the goals conflict between different rules. This requires house ruling by the group to fix the problem if it's minor of just discarding the game and using a different one if such problems permeate the whole ruleset.Yes, this can be a (or greatly add to the) problem. The difference, I think, is between those who don't (or can't, due to ambiguity) know the intent of the rules and thus viol...


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