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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 11th November, 2018, 01:30 AM
    darkbard, sort-of following on from your post: If we assume that magic items are mechanical in some fashion (eg grant bonuses to checks), then once we allow that mechanics can extend beyond combat, we have a framework for making sense of "loot" in the way you describe. In 4e there're are also options for approaching bonuses a bit differently eg the signet of authority allows one reroll in a...
    7 replies | 304 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 09:19 AM
    Hey a Fantastic Four TV show! :erm: Well, maybe not. :D
    55 replies | 1158 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Saturday, 10th November, 2018, 12:20 AM
    Honestly? I found it MUCH better on the reread. Makes a TON more sense when you can read them one after another.
    21 replies | 838 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 10:59 AM
    Well, the first one was meant to be a pitch for a movie. But, yeah, I get what you mean by convoluted. There are just so many different stories mashed into the one series. Fun, but, yeah, it does get to be a slog and I've completely ignored the later books after the last one in the series. On the plus side, at least it's finished. :D
    21 replies | 838 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 10:24 AM
    This appears to assume, as I said in my post, that the PCs are strangers. What you describe may be an excellent approach for a novelist wanting to introduce his/her readers to his/her imaginary land (I'm currently 50 pages into a rereading of Dune - Frank Herbert is doing a lot of this). But if one of the players is playing a dwarf; or if any of the PCs is from one of the civilisations in...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 03:37 AM
    I don't know - why would they? I suggested that the GM should probably follow the players lead, which the player sketched out in the OP and was seeking some feedback on. Whereas my recommendation would be to answer the question Does a game in which a half orc paladin of conquest seeks divinty by eating the hearts of coutatls, devas etc sound exciting?. Presumably the player thinks it is, or...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 8th November, 2018, 03:30 AM
    The difference between (1) me, in the world, going to my place of work and saying hello to my colleagues, and (2) me, as a player, asking the GM to tell me where my place of work is, and what it looks like, and who my colleagues are, and what they are like, is huge! The second is very like having someone read me a book or tell me a (perhaps not super-gripping) story. But if the goal is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 10:41 PM
    No it wouldn't. The real world is something I live in and experience. My knowledge of it is intimate. It is not mediated to me through anyone's verbal narration of it. The most obvious way to emulate this in a RPG is for the players to stipulate elements of the setting as they need to. Not for the GM (or a 3rd party) to write up reams of fiction in advance of play. Providing a tool to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:41 PM
    Again, this is not my experience at all. When I started a Classic Traveller campaign, I rolled up the starting world in front of the players, after they had rolled up their PCs. We discussed how each of the PCs had got there - integrating the implict story resulting from PC gen (Traveller uses a lifepath system) with the implicit story of the world - and one of the players decided that this...
    46 replies | 1419 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:35 PM
    My experience is closer to cmad1977's. Reading someone else's story about what happened in some imagined place at some imagined time doesn't help my immersion.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:03 PM
    What you've set out sounds fun to me! Why would the GM not just follow the player's lead?
    14 replies | 551 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 09:09 AM
    As far as I know the god Dumathoin was first mentioned in DDG under the entry for Moradin, but nothing was said about him except that he is the "god of secrets under mountains". Vergadain and Dumathoin were written up by Roger E Moore in Dragon 58, as part of his "point of view" and demihuman god series. As far as I know this was the first appearance of Vergadain. This is reprinted as part of...
    2 replies | 198 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 08:39 AM
    Continuing in my persona as the man from 15 months ago: This was interesting, both in general and because I'm trying to get myself into the mindset to GM Dungeon World next year. I don't know BitD outside of this thread and a few other posts about it, so my thinking/question will be framed in (what I take to be) DW-ish terms. And also BW-ish terms. It seems to me that this issue of...
    41 replies | 5165 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 06:00 AM
    When this has come up in my game we've handled it in various ad hoc ways. Remember that the player can always choose that "dropped to zero" equals unconsciousness, not death, so to a significant extent this will be about what the attacking player thinks makes sense in the fiction. I certainly have memories of the wizard player in my game using Colour Spray as an AoE when innocent parties were...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 05:55 AM
    Coming in a bit late (!), but this resonated with me. It may seem slightly odd, but I had the sort of feeling you describe when our group generated PCs for Classic Traveller. I'm sure it's clunkier than BitD, and probably not as "fiction first", but compared to some other systems (eg AD&D, or RM, or a certain approach to 4e) the characters felt real, with histories that could easily be seen as...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 05:19 AM
    Manbearcat, cthulhu42, I think this might be the thread: Blades in the Dark Actual Play. It was started by Campbell.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 03:10 AM
    I can't find the old post by chao and I that went very in-depth into Blades, unfortunately. I'm sure a solid effort to search should find it. I'm currently running a very intermittent Wild West hack of Blades rifted off of Red Dead Redemption (after considering a Space hack) retrofitting the Duskvol map and refluffing all of the gangs/power players therein. I'd be glad to run DW for you...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 7th November, 2018, 02:50 AM
    On these boards, I think Manbearcat has played a bit of BitD. Maybe Campbell also. I think there are a lot of RPG systems that are underappreciated and worth talking more about. That's why I keep posting about my play experiences with Prince Valiant, Classic Traveller, etc! Unfortunately I've not played any BitD and not much DW either, so don't have heaps to offer on this occasion. I am...
    5 replies | 269 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 02:25 PM
    On (1), one way to systematize it would be to mechanically gate every spell that is cast by an Intelligence (Arcana), Wisdom (Religion), Charisma (Perform), maybe Constitution (Endurance). Depending on how it’s subsequently systematized, there could be a few different emergent properties. One approach could be a success let’s you cast the spell normally, a success with a cost/Complication...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 06:46 AM
    What's your resolution system? Ie how do you decide if the PCs have escaped the dreams?
    6 replies | 267 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 05:30 AM
    Agreed with everything above and that (b) is most certainly the lynchpin. The only thing I'll add is that you forgot to add the savant-level memory component required to assimilate an (dare-I-say genre-defying?) overwhelming curriculum of precise arcane formulae (surely in ancient, nigh-impossible-to-articulate, tongues) and spit them out with absolute precision and reproducibility under the...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 05:11 AM
    Especially (b), ie the fact that spellcasting in D&D almost never requires a successful check. Think about what, supposedly, the fiction of D&D spellcasting involves - precise hand gestures, speaking complex arcane syllables of such power and profundity that only a few of them can be impressed into a human brain at any one time (ie Vancian spell memorisation/preparation), pulling various...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 04:50 AM
    You don't think the below are HUGE PARTS OF THE PUZZLE in the majority of D&D: a) the designers CHOSE (it didn't have to be done this way...plenty of systems don't...and they play VERY differently for it) to have a ridiculous number of codified spell effects covering an absurdly large number of broad, significantly gamestate-changing supernatural abilities ("I can expressly accomplish a, b, c,...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 04:29 AM
    What is on the table is how "player-facing" (or codified/explicit) prospects for martial action declarations vs "GM-mediated" prospects for action declaration affect the table. Personally, my sense is it affects the table as follows: 1) In "player-facing" systems, players who play martial characters KNOW FOR CERTAIN (before play ever begins) that (a) their conception of their martial...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 03:08 AM
    I've never played serious Pendragon, only one or two one-shots at conventions years ago. I got a copy of Pendragon 5.2 with Prince Valiant as part of the Kickstarter. It's an interesting system, and we're using the price lists and the map for our Prince Valiant game, but I don't think I could imagine actually running Pendragon as a serious campaign. Besides it's general "heaviness", I don't...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 6th November, 2018, 12:21 AM
    Gygax's DMG, pp 110-11: Serving some deity is an integral part of AD&D. . . . he accumulation of hit points and the ever-greater abilities and better saving throws represents the aid supplied by supernatural forces. This is consistent with the description of hit points on p 82, which includes the increase in hit points . . . reflect both the actual physical ability of the character . . ....
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • Campbell's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 03:22 PM
    I am disappointed in Mike. I do not see the virtue in continuing to re-spark the flames of the edition war every 3-6 months like this. What's the end game here?
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 10:05 AM
    Now this I agree with.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 08:30 AM
    Sure, but then we need "codified rules" for how a martial PC gets to add a shield (or whatever) to his/her equipment list. And we probably also want some system - a fairly generic one is fine, even desirable - for working out how hard it is to throw your shield (or whatever) and stun three orcs (or whatever). I agree with Garthanos that if we don't go beyond what the GM envisages a strong...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
    6 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 04:49 AM
    You're foucsing on the fiction. I'm focusing on the gameplay. A rule that is at work in my 4e game - in virtue of one of the player's choice of epic destiny for a PC - allows that PC to wield bigger weapons that deal more damage. The fiction of the epic destiny is that the PC has grown in stature. I wouldn't mind if the fiction was, instead, that the PC has been injected with super-soldier...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 5th November, 2018, 12:33 AM
    I really don't see much evidence in the history of RPGs that this way of approaching it provides dynamic and capable "martial" characters. This applies to everything from the stuff Garthanos is talking about, to exactly how many orcs my Conan-esque fighter can slay per game-unit-of-action, to the need in AD&D for my fighter to PC to get a girdle of giant strength if s/he is going to emulate a...
    817 replies | 11065 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 05:30 PM
    No worries! Like I've said in a couple of posts now, I think it's a bit underappreciated. In five sessions I've used six episodes from the main book (three knightly challenges, a family in distress, a woman in distress, and rebellious peasants twice) and six from the episode book (Kenneth Hite's wild hunt, the episode called A Wild Hunt which is the Crowmaster one, the Blue Cloak, the Crimson...
    7 replies | 304 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 05:22 PM
    I would say "scenario" rather than adventure. It's generally a situation that will activate knightly intervention - attacks by bandits, rescues from bandits, helping out innocent women/villagers/ghosts/etc figure prominently. Ron Edwards gives some nice descriptions of how Prince Valiant scenarios work: . . . the character's judgmental and active presence is established and already in...
    4 replies | 347 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 03:39 PM
    My group has played a couple of Prince Valiant sessions since my last actual play report. The first of these (fourth session in what has turned out to be a campaign) saw the squire PC progress dramatically. The session started with some recap, a mixture of in-character and out-of-character: our fourth player, who had been absent from the previous session, was there, and so there had to be...
    7 replies | 304 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 4th November, 2018, 12:38 AM
    Sorry for the late reply! Yes, we use dice (evens for success) rather than coins, just because we've got plenty of dice ready to hand - and when a joust is on the rattle of the dice in hand emulates the thundering of hooves! I think your idea of using PV for Middle Earth makes sense. If you do it, I'd be interested to hear how it goes.
    4 replies | 347 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 3rd November, 2018, 10:34 AM
    I don't know if Libramarian still posts on these boards, but he used to have good ideas for this sort of thing.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 08:34 AM
    I think I see where I've gone wrong here. People are phrasing things kinda from the other end of where I am. Just to repeat from last post: It's not about doing what you want. It's about not doing things that someone at the table doesn't want to do. It's about the table, as a group, putting forth the things that they don't want to do and then the group agreeing not to do those things. ...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 08:27 AM
    To me, it's not about what you want but, rather what people don't want. Someone doesn't want X. If we do X, then we will exclude that someone. Is it worth doing X if that means that that someone is excluded? As far as gaming is concerned, I would say no. True. And we don't have to do everything together. Now, imagine that the group only plays basketball to the exclusion of all...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 02:21 AM
    Fair enough if you want to phrase it that way, sure. It's a social activity. Being a bad friend makes me a bad DM as well. It would be pretty hard to be one and not the other.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 12:54 AM
    I started watching Supergirl with my wife and really enjoyed season 1. Then they moved to the CW and turned it into a teen romance drama and both of us really tuned out. Just can't force ourselves to watch it. Quit halfway through season 2. Real shame. The show had potential, but, I can't just get into it.
    55 replies | 1158 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 2nd November, 2018, 12:52 AM
    Ahh, the old guild trip chestnut. I spent the money, I did the work, so you have to do what I want to do. It's my ball, so I get to make the rules? Yeah, no thanks. Because it's an incredibly douchey thing to do to eject a perfectly good player just because you want to run something? It's not like you HAVE to run this specific game. Again, we're back to DM's who are apparently...
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  • steenan's Avatar
    Thursday, 1st November, 2018, 06:08 PM
    We typically play 3+GM or 4+GM. But it's not the same group every time - different sets of players for different games. I often GM, but I'm not the only GM in the group. Currently I play in a campaign my wife runs. Most of the people in our group run games sometimes. I think my wife and me are the GMs most often. In the current campaign: 2 females and 3 males (this includes the GM).
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Thursday, 1st November, 2018, 11:17 AM
    Fair enough. And, let's be honest here, it's pretty likely, unless there is some really compelling stuff, that the player will change their attitude. But, the point that keeps getting hammered home by some in this thread is that the onus is always on the player to change attitudes and that the DM never has to. The player is expected to accept whatever the DM is offering, or walk away from...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 31st October, 2018, 11:36 AM
    I've sblocked an account of a beholder fight in 4e. It was pretty good. I don't know how easy it would be to replicate in 5e.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 11:06 AM
    I'm going to repost my post to which you replied (and will explain why I've bolded what I've bolded): So I'll ask again, how did it become true, in this example, that the PC is moving across the room? You have once again said that the player's action declaration does not yield such a result. You have said (and I have bolded) that the GM narrates the results but in the original example the...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 12:51 AM
    Funny, the only, ONLY thing that I've claimed was bad DMing was booting a player for not wanting to play a specific campaign. But, hey, feel free to imply that the problem is the other side is unreasonable. Other than that one specific example, show me where I've, or anyone else for that matter, has claimed that forcing a DM to play a certain way makes one a bad DM. And, yup, I'll stand...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Tuesday, 30th October, 2018, 12:50 AM
    So, the DM has the authority to change any rule he likes but, really can't because that would violate the social contract. What's your point then? Does it really matter what the authority is when, in play, using that authority is considered bad play? IOW, saying "must" is a pretty accurate description of what's actually going on at the table. Bringing in "Well, DM's have authority to change...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 11:42 PM
    As I said, this is the crappiest approach to RPGing I can imagine. Fortunately, 5e doesn't mandate it. The Basic PDF doesn't state it or even imply it. The only edition of D&D that I'm aware of that comes close to this in its rules is 2nd ed AD&D, but I don't think even it comes out and says this quite so bluntly.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 11:36 PM
    Just to be clear: I posted about some experiences that had caused me to leave games. Lanefan and others then posted to say that I was wrong in my view that those experiences were examples of bad GMing, and that I did the wrong thing in leaving those games. So I think you've got it slightly backwards - I've been told I'm not doing my duty as a RPG player because I don't want to play with (what...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 11:31 PM
    It's one thing to have preferences. It's a different thing to interpret a game system. Clearly 5e works more like 5ekyu describes than as you might wish that it did. This is a little ironic given your other post that I've quoted! Because here you're saying that, in fact, the fiction does not unfold over the course of play, but is only established "as a block" when the GM decides what happens....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 01:58 PM
    pemerton started a thread Capture scenario?
    Have you ever run a capture scenario? If so, in what system? How did it go? How did you adjudicate the rescue/escape? (I'm thinking especially of scenarios where the fact of being captured is the fosuc/challenge of play. The Slave Lords isn't a capture scenario, as the capture and release is just colour to set up a survival scenario.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 10:13 AM
    I've boded a few words/phrases in your post that seem relevant to what I'm saying. If certain things cannot or must be done, that implies that outcomes of declared actions are not all at the discretion of the GM. If certain things are left up to the table, that implies that outcomes of declared actions may not all be at the discretion of the GM. Which in my view is quite consistent with...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 07:18 AM
    Just to back up a second pemerton. In 5e D&D, which is where we'll stay for just the moment, social and combat mechanics are quite different. Social mechanics are very loosey goosey and require a lot of DM and player input in order to work. They are not particularly formulaic in their presentation. How we use skills is left largely up to the table. Combat, OTOH, is not. It is very...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 06:14 AM
    Well, as I understand a RPG it's about pretending to be a different person, often a more adventurious person, in some sort of challenging situation. It's not about suggesting to someone else what story they should tell. In other words, I don't play RPGs to describe what I want my PC to do. I play RPGs to (among other things) describe what my PC is doing. What you describe here appears to be...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 06:05 AM
    In the abstract, sure. But here is Hussar's argument: X is true because I believe X, I'm an English teacher, and therefore I would know. And here is your argument: X is true because I read it in a book, and the book is right because the people who wrote it would know. Those arguments are both appeals to authority. Maxperson, every argument I have ever seen you run is logically...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 03:36 AM
    Stephen Erikson's Malazan series would be cool
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 03:32 AM
    I've been watching the Flash with my daughter and she's loving it, so, it ranks pretty high on my list. Fun, not too serious and it's getting her into the genre so it's something we can share. Jessica Jones season 1 is definitely my favorite followed by Daredevil. League of Legends is definitely a guilty pleasure, but, again, fun and campy. Never really got into Gotham. Watched the...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 03:21 AM
    This entire thread has pretty much been that. Someone brings up an idea and adds an example to clarify - spend the next several pages ignoring the idea and focusing on deconstructing the example. Thus magic missiles are the issue, not the idea that 5e has numerous rules that allow for rerolls and changing the fiction after the fact. Don't like Shield? Ok, a Great Weapon Fighting Style...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 03:06 AM
    OTOH, I just watched the first episode of Season 3 of Daredevil. WOW. Not exactly standard superhero fare. Really good stuff. Slow, deliberate, and just atmospheric as hell. I'm deliberately pacing myself and not bingeing this one. :D
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 29th October, 2018, 12:15 AM
    Bollocks. Even Wikipedia has noticed that it's not: An argument from authority, also called an appeal to authority, or argumentum ad verecundiam is a form of defeasible argument in which a claimed authority's support is used as evidence for an argument's conclusion. It is well known as a fallacy, though it is used in a cogent form when all sides of a discussion agree on the reliability of the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 11:47 AM
    Maxperson, you might want to reread my post noting that (i) and (ii) refer to some steps that your (1) to (3) left out, not to your (1) and (2). I find this a bit hard to follow, because you say that the players work some stuff out but that nothing changes in the fiction until the GM works some stuff out. To be clear: is it your view that the players never bring about any change in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 11:39 AM
    OK, but your house rules don't constitute a "built-in assumption" (your phrase). In fact, if you had to house rule, the assumption probably wasn't built in at all! Are you talking about the fiction, or the real-world basis on which the fiction is established? Climbing is something that happens in the fiction. Rolling to hit and damage is something that happens in the fiction. (So is a climb...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 10:22 AM
    (1) Where is this assumption built-in? Not into AD&D, which uses different to-hit tables for a half-orc depending on whether the half-orc is a PC or NPC (see Gygax's DMG p 74). Not into 4e, which uses different character build principles player-side and GM-side. (2) The GM narrating the results is not "cutting to the chase". It's not a mode of action resolution. It's framing and/or...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 10:12 AM
    ENWorld is the only forum I know where "appeal to authority" is treated as a fallacy rather than good evidence! I've never been to France or spoken to a French government official. How do I know France's capital is Paris? I learned it from an authority! Fallacious me!
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 01:10 AM
    I'm sorry for laughing at this, but, it really, honestly, made me laugh. The contortions of logic required here are truly stunning to behold. That's just bloody impressive.
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 01:07 AM
    Sorry, but, no. That's not a mistake. 5e is chock-a-block with these sorts of mechanics. There's tons of them. Virtually every class has at least one of them. Many races also have them. You mentioned the similarities to Magic The Gathering, and, well, that's pretty apt. There's a shopping list of interrupt mechanics that let you "go back in time" by your definition. IOW, this is a core...
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Sunday, 28th October, 2018, 12:35 AM
    Like I said, interesting. Watching the implosion of characters is interesting. At least to me. That's why I love Daredevil and Jessica Jones.
    21 replies | 710 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 10:44 AM
    There is a step or two missing here - between the players describing what they want their PCs to do and the GM narrating the results of the adventurers' actions, we need to (i) work out what actions the adventurers take, and (ii) work out what the results of those actions are. Step (ii) is more than just the GM makes it up. 5e D&D has dozens of pages of action resolution mechanics. Step (i)...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 04:56 AM
    Right. This was one of the possibilities I canvassed in a post upthread. It's a matter of table practice, taste, mood, how much the GM wants to taunt or be generous or whatever . . . I tend to do my best to follow what seems to be the logic of the system. 4e tends to emphasise information for tactical choices; Burning Wheel tends to emphasise blind declarations - just to contrast two systems...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 01:55 AM
    Sure. Even a character not immune to Magic Missiel by default can rasie a shield spell if targetted by it. But in cases where this doesn't happen, to target a creature is to damage it. Just as to hit a creature with a weapon attack is to damage it, as the 5e Basic PDf indicates (p 73, emphasis added): You make the attack roll. On a hit, you roll damage, unless the particular attack has...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 01:47 AM
    Says who? This depends entirely on the system. It's mostly true of 4e, but not completely. It's not true of Burning Wheel, Marvel Heroic RP or Prince Valiant. It's only partially true of Classic Traveller (which applies morale rules to PCs). To me, this seems like an irrational principle. The mechanics happen in the real world. Characters in the fiction influence one another. PCs can be...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 01:30 AM
    Right. The game rules are what they are. They can be inconsistent, eg if one rule contradicts another with no apparent way for resolving the contradiction; but that's not the case here. The Shield spell not being liked by Lanefan doesn't mean that it's a mistake. That might be a statement of your preferences. It's not relevant to making sense of the 5e rules, though. 5e is not a blind...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 01:10 AM
    But being targetted by magic missile and being damaged by it are the same thing, in the fiction - because a magic missile automatically strikes damages whomever it targets. So if it's not time travel in one case, it's not time travel in the other either. Whether the GM announces the targetting prior to rolling the damage, or does the two simultanesously, is simply a matter of table practice...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 27th October, 2018, 01:06 AM
    Does the adventurers denote the PCs or the players? It's most naturally read as the PCs, given that the players of a RPG aren't doing anything especially adventurous. Which implies that when the GM narrates the results of those actions, it is already established, in the fiction, that some actions have occurred. Who establishes that? Presumably the players.
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:39 PM
    I'm not sure what you mean by "freeform". In this thread I can't tell whether you (and other posters) regard a player deciding the names, occupations, etc of his/her PC's parents as "freeform" or not. I would have regarded my RPGing as pretty conventional, mostly playing pretty traditional systems, if it wasn't for threads like this. The idea that generating a particular response in a NPC, or...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:30 PM
    Whose theory? That's the whole point of my post, which is an elaboration of one aspect of what (I take it to be that) Aldarc is saying. Some people like to play a RPG in which the GM decides everything that happens except (perhaps, if there is no fudging of the combat rules) who gets beaten in fights. Others don't. And it's hardly a new idea. I already cited Classic Traveller which has rules...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:22 PM
    Storyline is one thing that isn't part of the RPGing approach that Gygax advocates. I don't know what his actual play was looking like in 1978-79, but his PHB and DMG don't contemplate storyline play. They have detailed advice on dungeoneering play; some advice on hexcrawling; and have hints about urban play, but don't actually present urban environments as anything beyonds places to restock and...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:17 PM
    Yet that is exactly how the 5e Shield spell works: Shield 1st-level abjuration Casting Time: 1 reaction, which you take when you are hit by an attack or targeted by the magic missile spell . . . An invisible barrier of magical force appears and protects you. Until the start of your next turn, you have a +5 bonus to AC, including against the triggering attack, and you take no damage...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:08 PM
    So you're not actually interested in talking about the sort of play that Gygax advocated in his DMG?
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:05 PM
    I agree that blind declaration is sometimes more exciting. If less tactical. But that's not the argument that Lanefan and Maxperson were running. They were talking about "time travelling", not what makes for more or less fun at the table.
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:01 PM
    I said that Gygax doesn't assume that the GM is the sole author of the ingame fiction. In the example, who authored the existence of a high bluff overlooking a river suitable for the building of a small concentric castle? The player did, not the GM. That is not an example of GM-driven play!
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 09:50 AM
    For me, the issue is not about whether or not a GM is playing a NPC "wrong". It's about who gets to influence the content of the fiction. In real life, people sometime act in surprising ways - surprising even to those who know them well. Sometimes people who seem unbreakable or incorruptible succumb to pressure, or to temptation. This was at the heart of the debate in the Traveller thread I...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 09:35 AM
    This goes to the heart of your argument with Aldarc. Where is this rule stated - that a player can't change the fiction?
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 09:30 AM
    So the criterion is realism, except when it might contradict D&D rules, and then the criterion is simplicity? If simplicity is the key, then it's simple to roll attack and damage together, and to allow the Shield spell to be declared in response to a hit even though the damage has been rolled. (And to echo Ratskinner - I think the "simplicity" of D&D is easily overstated.)
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 09:16 AM
    You pose the question "What else is the GM supposed to do?" and then ignore the answer I provided - use the system mechanics! And it's not as if that answer is purely hypothetical - I've been running Classic Traveller that way, and there are other systems (some more modern than Traveller) that have even more elaborate social mechanics. EDIT: noticed this in your post which hadn't registered...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 08:55 AM
    Well, kinda sorta. The advice here is that unless there is some compelling reason not to, then the DM should say yes. And note, the location - 100 miles from a border town - isn't subject to the DM. He needs a bit more information about the area, but, if he had that information - say they had already scouted that location and knew there was a bluff there, then the DM wouldn't need to be...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 08:07 AM
    Well, other than the power to eject them at any point in time. Plus the power to dictate what classes/races/details of their characters they may take. Plus the power to dictate the entire world around their characters. But, other than that... :erm:
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • Hussar's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 03:22 AM
    Well, there is some truth to that. If you run into a situation where there just is no possible compromise, then fair enough. I was presuming here though that, since the player had been playing good characters, the player didn't hate playing good characters, but, rather that the player just wanted to try an evil character. The whole point is, no one, not the DM nor the players, should feel...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 03:17 AM
    That's not my experience at all!
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 03:15 AM
    Why do you think the world "you" refers to in your sentence? Here is what I am sceptical of: that there is such a thing as farily refereeing the Duchess's reaction, which is comparable to fairly refereeing the result of poking a stone with a 10' pole. I think the reason is obvious, but in case it's not I'll spell it out: the reactions of stones to being poked are fairly simple, fairly obvious,...
    1794 replies | 57404 view(s)
    0 XP
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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...

Thursday, 22nd August, 2013

  • 06:11 AM - pemerton mentioned steenan in post Is 'Good vs Evil' fantasy better for long-term campaigns than more 'amoral' Swords & Sorcery?
    My experience is similar to steenan, dd.stevenson, Ratskinner and others - a long running campaign needs a conflict that the players are engaged in (via their PCs), and that means that the conflict has to be something that speaks to the players. I find this is easiest if it's a conflict that they have helped to build, either through PC backstory or in the course of play: I tend to find that my campaigns take a little while to warm up, as I start with small conflicts that are immediately salient to the PCs, and then - as the backstory becomes richer and the players' interests better defined - these can be linked into the broader themes and concerns that become the focus of the mature campaign. For me it is not as simple as good-vs-evil - often my players (and their PCs) aren't all that sympathetic to the official good goods or rulers, and have their own views on how the world should be arranged - but the campaign has more energy when the concerns of the PCs go beyond their own narrow self-interest. Ratskinner is als...


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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 - 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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