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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 12:49 AM
    Nagol replied to Suspense in RPGs
    Facing an enemy with an unknown weakness hits points a and c, at least. B is likely if the group takes casualties before discovering a method to success or changing response (i.e. running away). The combat with losses hits a, b, and c. BBEG battles can be suspenseful. They can also just be slogs or anticlimactic. It depends a lot on how the preparation and battle go. When it has...
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 08:59 PM
    Nagol replied to Suspense in RPGs
    I've been letting this topic rattle around in my head for a while as I've been distracted by other things. Stakes don't necessarily provide suspense. If I immediately claim my character would rather die than allow the villain to succeed and jump into the infernal machine to stop it with my corpse, there is no suspense. Chance of failure doesn't necessarily provide suspense. There isn't...
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    Thursday, 5th July, 2018, 11:43 AM
    The OP date indicates it was the 3e (not 3.5) errata. I just checked the WotC website and they have a page with working links to the errata, but the zip file appears to be corrupt. I can see the errata pdf, but it fails to open/copy out of the zip.
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Saturday, 30th June, 2018, 07:42 PM
    I find in-between -- anything over 50% main party killed -- to be more problematic than a TPK. With a TPK, you can either go "clean slate" and start a new group, go "whatever happened to..." and run a new group who can discover the fate of the old, or go "rescue the heroes after certain doom" to unwind the TPK. The upshot is the campaign history/context either no longer matters or is maintained...
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Saturday, 30th June, 2018, 01:53 AM
    I think you mean Dungeon #150. Dungeon #50 has 2e and Ravenloft adventures. If I'm right, you're looking for Chimes of Midnight in #133 followed by Quoth the Raven in #150. There is another Ebberon adventure in #143 (Riding the Rail), but it is unrelated.
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 09:19 PM
    I doubt Morlock will notice; he hasn't been active in more than 2 years. That thread is one of the recent spate of necros.
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Sunday, 24th June, 2018, 02:57 AM
    Perhaps Morlock is ignoring/being ignored by you?
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Saturday, 23rd June, 2018, 04:44 PM
    Actually, 1e Fireball was the only spell where the area changed outdoors. Fireballs are very big.
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 03:37 PM
    That description matches the Soul Bind spell proposed by Tony Vargas. The big drawback is having the appropriate material component on hand. Destroying/dispelling the gem sets the soul free and allow the various forms of resurrection.
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 12:30 AM
    Libram Mortis has Necrotic Termination (Cl 9 / Sorc 9 / Wiz 9) that will destroy the soul if the saving throw is failed and explicitly rules out everything up to Miracle/True Resurrection. It requires a bit of a work to set up and costs 1,000 XP.
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  • Nagol's Avatar
    Tuesday, 19th June, 2018, 09:11 PM
    It has happened a few times over the decades. The worst I can recall was an Aftermath campaign billed as a standard post-apocalyptic campaign set in the Mississippi delta region. We created characters using the character creation system provided; the fall of civilization was ~20 years prior, characters can be contemporaneous or even pre-date the collapse. One player built an older PC with...
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Friday, 8th June, 2018

  • 03:23 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Nagol in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Of course if it's the level of abstraction that is the issue with SC's for a few/some/many... a better explanation wouldn't have really helped. Some people just want finer granularity and tighter action association in their task resolution and mechanics. I definitely have some sympathy for this position (not because I hold it personally). Players like yourself and @Nagol have been very consistent on this point throughout many conversations over the years. If a gamer has strident Sim priorities and/or they have Sim priorities localized to their D&D play, then 4e's genre-logic and scene-based considerations/techniques (dramatic arc, escalation, narrative causality, fail forward) are going to be problematic, no doubt. And if you try to eschew all of these fundamental components to 4e scene-based play and smuggle in Sim priorities/approaches in their stead, the game is going to push back very hard. You're likely going to end up with boring, stale Skill Challenges where the situation doesn't change dynamically (or much at all), no dramatic arc arises, and it looks/feels like "an exercise in dice rolling." Our conversation many years ago (it was a good one) regarding "the gorge" is probably the benchmark for the dissonance you're ascribing to the game experience for you (and others like you). When your mental framework is predicated upon one very part...

Saturday, 14th April, 2018

  • 04:28 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Pre-authored the secret door is there for PC's and NPC's to discover or stumble across even before it is "established" (At least in the way established has been used in this thread) an example that jumps readily to mind, in some games elves, whether PC's or NPC's would have a chance to detect said secret door just by passing near it, I'm not sure how an ability like this would work in a game where a secret door is never pre-authored it would either mean the ability is virtually useless and never discovers a secret door or it is rolled for every time they enter a room leading to a strange overabundance of secret doors in the world, often in illogical or strange places. Abilities like this definitely seem like a reason to favor one over the other. Nagol has already said some stuff in reply to this; I'll say a bit more. The PCs "stumbling across" a secret door really means that, at certain points, the GM tell the players that their PCs notice a secret door. These moments of telling can be regulated via a complex interaction of pre-authored and pre-mapped architecture, movement rules that require tracking the PC movement on the map, and rules for determining whether or not a PC notices a door when within 10'. That's how AD&D does it. But there are other ways to generate moments of telling. One of the PCs in my Burning Wheel game has the Dreamer ability: as a GM, I'm obliged from time to time to narrate portentous dreams that this PC has had. In effect, the player has paid a modest amount of PC building resources to impose this obligation on the GM. An elven ability to notice secret doors could be handled somewhat similarlly. As far as NPCs stumbling across a secret door - I'm not 100% sure what you have in mind, but that seems ...

Tuesday, 13th March, 2018

  • 11:08 PM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post Any Dungeon World players here?
    I would have pointed you to Cambelll and Manbearcat, but that already happened. I think Nagol also GMs Dungeon World. And I belive AbdulAlhazred has some experience. chaochou is an Apocalypse World player/GM and so might have something to contribute too. I've played it a little bit, and have a general grasp of its approach and methods, but am far from an expert.

Wednesday, 7th March, 2018

  • 03:04 PM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... be useful if you can answer if you've been swayed in any way. If there are any decent answers to the question you posed in the OP. What is worldbuilding for? If you reply to me, I'd hope you would not cut this question out a third time. I think it'd genuinely be interesting to see your take on it after hundreds of pages of this thread. Certainly there must have been some take away for you?I answered this a long way upthread, I think in multiple posts. A range of answers have been given. Worldbuilding provides material for the GM to share with the players as triggered by their moves - this is generally described as "exploration". On the GM side, this can be a creative exercise. On the player side, it seems to be described mostly in terms of immersion. "Immersion" in this context seems necessarily to involve someone else telling fiction to the player, but that characterisation has been resisted to quite a degree. Worldbuilding provides the players with "levers" to do things - Nagol is the main poster to have talked about this. It hasn't been fully analysed in this thread, but there are multiple ways this could play out. One is in what I would call White Plume Mountain style - worldbuilding provides material, by way of fictional positioning, that the players can directly engage to proffer solutions to the puzzles they are faced with (I call it WPM because the paradigm, in my mind, is removing doors from their hinges so as to "surf" down the frictionless corridor over the pits with super-tetanus spikes). Another, which is less OSR-ish/WPM, and probably therefore more typical in contemporary RPGing, is that the players - by engaging with the "levers" - trigger the GM to narrate stuff in ways that go beyond pre-authoring. When this really starts to reflect player pro-activity, I think that we may see a transition to player-driven play without anyone in the game having to get self-conscious about it. Now that I think about it, AbdulAlhazred has, quite a way upthrea...

Tuesday, 27th February, 2018

  • 06:27 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    1) principles play would be to curtail action negation through secret backstory. If it's never used, there's not point. No, instead, that was about the mere existence of secret backstory being enough to mean that the DM will not only occasionally veto a declaration, but that they will instead veto every declaration that doesn't fit their 'choose-your-own-adventure' novel backstory. This is clearly false. Well, that wasn't actually the question/commentary. The question was "if it is never going to use it to veto an action declaration, then why does it exist at all?" You COULD answer that, straight up, by providing some sort of reason. In fact some fairly plausible answers HAVE been presented. Nagol for instance suggested that a type of mystery story, and a type of exploration would both benefit from secret backstory or hidden world elements (which is a bit different but COULD be hidden backstory, they're pretty close anyway). I posed some questions, which we may yet examine :) 2) I don't think player-centered games provide all of the same depth of play experience. I think they provide a different play experience, one that can also be deep. This is a point that many have agreed upon, the chess vs checkers argument. The playstyles incorporate different approaches and goals and so can't provide the same experience because they aren't tuned to do so. You can mix and match a bit, but it's mostly importing some traits into a mostly DM or mostly player driven game. I think they can do different things. I actually tend to think that GM-centered play with hidden elements is MORE limited, but there are questions of aesthetics here and nobody can claim they own the final word on it,...

Monday, 26th February, 2018

  • 05:28 PM - pming mentioned Nagol in post Settling a player argument with Suggestion
    Hiya! So Charm Person lasts 1 hour per casting. Once it expires the person you charmed knows you charmed them and may not be all that receptive to you twisting their free will in this fashion. How does that days...weeks...months thing work in this case? I'll answer that for Nagol. He is/was playing 1e AD&D. In it, how long the spell lasted depended on the Intelligence of the creature charmed. If you were some sort of super-genius (19+ Intelligence), the duration was 1 Day. If you were dumb as a rock (3 Intelligence) it was 3 months. If you were of average Intelligence (10 Int, lets say), it was 3 weeks. Yeah...1e Charm Person is nothing to sneeze at. ^_^ Paul L. Ming

Saturday, 24th February, 2018

  • 10:17 PM - Lanefan mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...ans appropriate to their characters. Yet here we have a player who would rather use exploration and wise information gathering in order to go where the action isn't; in effect mitigating or sometimes entirely denying the DM the opportunity to frame these dramatic scenes as long as doing so allows character goals to be met, missions accomplished, etc. This to me is an important form of player agency that is entirely denied by 'go where the action is'. I rather badly waved at this idea a long way upthread; I'll try again here, using the example from pemerton 's game where the PCs were looking for a reliquary, and met some angels en route that showed them the way to get there. As written, the PCs conversed with the angels after which pemerton-as-GM went where the action is and framed the scene in the reliquary; and things proceeded from there. (note this might not be the best example to use but it's one I can remember the gist of without having to dig around) A player using Nagol 's approach loses out on gobs of agency here: - s/he doesn't get the opportunity to explore the approaches to and surroundings of the reliquary before arriving at the drama; which means - - s/he doesn't get a chance to explore the area around the reliquary to determine whether there's more than one possible approach or exit - - s/he doesn't get an opportunity to pre-scout the reliquary itself via stealth or scrying or whatever other means might be available in order to assess its occupants, threats, hazards, etc. - - because of this lack of knowledge s/he isn't able to mitigate potential risks or prepare for a potential encounter via pre-casting spells, downing potions, or whatever other means might be available - before all this, s/he also loses out on any opportunity to explore whatever might lie between the angel encounter site and the reliquary - by bypassing this the GM has arbitrarily decided there's nothing there of relevance rather than allowing the players to find ou...

Friday, 16th February, 2018

  • 02:23 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    On fiction and existence: this is a response to Ovinomancerr, Nagol, Lanefan, Michael Silverbane and chaochou. To begin: reading, listening, imagining etc are real processes that take place. Imagining involves causal processes in the brain. Listening also involves processes in the ears. Reading also involves processes in the eyes. I am taking the above to be uncontenious, so if you disagree you're going to have to let me know explicitly. There is more to these processes, too, which I will get to below. The process in the brain when these things - reading, listening, imagining - occur involve the linguistic capacity of the person to a high degree. I'm not really across the science of this, and am going to describe it in more colloquial terms: the person who is reading, listening or imagining forms and entertains ideas. Assuming that they know what they are reading, listening to or imagining is a fiction, however, then they don't form beliefs (other than prsently irrelevant beliefs, such as "I am now reading Hound of the Baskervilles"). ...

Wednesday, 31st January, 2018

  • 09:52 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...see the PF AP style as a descendant of this style. CoC is my favourite RPG to play in this style (with an evocative GM, and in modest doses). Then there is the "indie"/"no myth" style I like. There are variations in this style - eg I tend towards rather strongly scene-framed approaches, whereas eg Dungeon World is a bit structurally looser than that, with the GM decision-making a bit more on the micro-/granular rather than "big picture" side of things. But for the current thread these differences can be glossed over, I think. Then the "half-style": the one that is Gygaxian in some ways (pre-authored setting, but no fudging) but which has a scope and an approach that therefore makes player learning (through repeat attempts, use of divination resources, etc) hard; and makes the GM's role in choosing what to foreground about the setting much more important than the player's less mediated, more direct engagement with the dungeon map and the dungeon key. I think this is where you and Nagol probably fall (in terms of this thread - I'm not saying this is who you are as RPGers). I'll go this far in this post: I think this fourth style can tend to slip into a version of the 2nd ed style. Now just like there are variants in the "indie"-style, there are variants in that 2nd style. I'm running them together because the difference don't loom large for me (given my conception of player agency). Eg in a PF AP the players may be literally on a railroad (first encounter A, then encounter B, then C, etc). Whereas in some others that I'm putting into this category, the players can choose whether they go to A or B or C. From my point of view, though, the choice of A or B or C - if it is still a choice among things to be told by the GM - still makes the game a GM-driven one. The players just trigger which bit of his/her pre-written stuff the GM tells them. I think the fourth style can tend to slip into the "choose A or B or C" version of the second style. Without the clear stru...

Monday, 29th January, 2018

  • 02:15 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...erate some of those answers: * Worldbuilding - designing a setting - is a worthwhile artistic and/or intellectual pursuit in itself, that bring pleasure/satisfaction to the GM who engages in it; * The game can't proceed without setting, and one way to get it is for the GM to write it in advance; * Some players don't want to write setting, and so the only way to get it is for the GM to write it, and this is easier done in advance; * Some players want to know that the GM wrote up all the fiction in advance, because that supports their immersion. And the OP itself offered one answer - to confront the players with a maze/puzzle (the dungeon) to beat. The OP also suggested that, as the setting becomes a "living, breathing world" which exists mostly in the mind and notes of the GM, rather than maps and room keys that are - through various, mostly conventionally-established moves - cognitivtely accessible to the players, the maze/puzzle rationale tends to be lost. I think Nagol doesn't agree with this, which is what our discussion in the thread is currently about (though it's moved on a bit from my starting maze/puzzle way of framing the matter). By declaring that playstyles other than purely player-driven content amount to "being told a story by the GM" you very much are saying that other playstyles aren't viable as a co-operative play experience. I haven't delared that those playstyles are "being told a story by a GM". I have asserted that certain aspects of play, which are often presented in metaphorical terms ("the player explore the setting") or in in-fiction terms ("the PCs travel from A to B") actually - when we analyse them as the play of a game among actual people sitting around a table - consist of the players triggering the GM reading them stutf. This is how a typical CoC scenario works, for instance, and most of the Planescape modules I can think of (Infinite Staircase; Dead Gods). It's how the Alexandrian's "node based design" and "three ...

Sunday, 28th January, 2018

  • 03:57 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...raveller only. Traveller and RQ were niche only in the sense that they weren't D&D. Hidden-design play has been the default (and majority) approach since Day 1. Most contemporary D&D play is not "hidden design" in howandwhy99's sense. Just to give one example: in hidden design play the ability to try again is crucial: you can go back into the dungeon and have another go (at mapping and thus unravelling the maze; at working out the solution to the green devil face or the orange mist; etc). But very few contemporary D&D adventures are based around retries like that - they are one-way trips through a series of episodes/scenes. I do think you are wrong in saying players have no agency in my style of game.I think that the bigger the "sandbox", and so the more that the players rely on the GM to present them with bits of it, to make bits of it salient, etc; then the less agency they have, because their cognitive access to the materials they need to beat the challenges (related to Nagol's comments uptrhead about "levers") becomes dependent on the GM. Part of the cleverness of the dungeon idea is that the parameters (geography; social relations between NPCs/monsters; the possible subject matter of clues found; etc) are confined, so that the players can learn stuff and reliably act upon it. Conversely, if, in the fiction, everything is connected to everything, so that pulling on one "string" gives the GM licence to evolve the whole of the fictional situation as s/he thinks appropriate, in ways that aren't even in principle able to be known by the players, then I think the players' agency is considerably reduced. Because I don't know the details of your game, I'm not making any judgement about agency or otherwise in your game. What I am doing is trying to explain what I think are some practical limits on running what howandwhy99 has called a "hidden design" game.

Saturday, 27th January, 2018

  • 08:14 PM - Blue mentioned Nagol in post The Narrative Campaign, Utopia or Doable?
    It could work, though as Nagol pointed out there are systems that are much better suited to that then D&D. I personally go the other extreme. Before the start of the campaign I sketch out a few ideas - they don't need to be consistent with each other or fleshed out at all. Just so that I have some clues if the players come asking. Some I might be attached to, others might just be "hey, what about this". Then comes session 0, where we work our characters and motivations and hooks - and that's going to form the basis for where the campaign is going. At that point I pick up need ideas from the players on where they want to go, see how the ideas they have can hook into my pre-campaign ideas (and which ones don't fit), and steer people who are looking for hooks and connections into those that others are already connecting into. I usually end up with three or so big arcs that have buy-in from several players, as well as ideas for character arcs to drop in. During play, I lay pipe (as in the screenwriter me...

Thursday, 25th January, 2018

  • 01:20 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ...e checks against a difficulty), that doesn't tell us why it is the GM's job to do the stuff you say. To be clear: I'm not asserting that there is no answer to the question. But answers that don't take account of the range of ways RPGing works will (necessarily) be incomplete. I mean, obviously setting provides depth - but it doesn't have to be GM authored to do that (witness the various examples I've posted upthread). So a more complete answer adds information eg Caliban says that many players don't want to contribute to establishing the backstory, so someone else has to do it; Mercurius says that he wants the GM to tell him the backstory as part of his process of immersion (to me that seems very similar to being told a story by the GM - I think Mercurius queries that characterisation, but from my point of view I'm still working out why, and also why it's considered pejorative - I went to the pictures recently, and had a story told to me, and that doesn't make me feel offended). Nagol gave some different reasons: GM worldbuilding establishes levers/tools for the players. It makes sense that someone else has to do this, in that being able to just deem your own tools into existence seems a bit cheat-y. To me, that speaks to a style of play much closer to classic dungeoneering, though mabye Nagol would not agree with that. Also, the very term "action resolution" is here a bit misleading. Yes a PC has declared an action, and that action gets resolved...but the resolution of that action only applies to the PC and her immediate surrounds, not to anything static within the rest of the game world. Why? And which game are you talking about? In Classic Traveller (1977 version), the rules set throws required on a player's Streetwise check for a PC to find a shady official willing to sell permits/licences at a good price. That is an action resolution that is not confined to the PC and his/her immediate surrounds. If successful, it estblishes that said official exists an...

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

  • 11:12 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    ... be a challenge for the players to overcome - assuming they play intelligently, work together, and roll well when it counts. Failure should be an option for them, as well, or their victories will feel hollow.If the villain doesn't fail, has something gone wrong? And in what sense is the campaign world a "challenge" for the players to overcome? I'm not asking this rhetorically, or to deny it. To elaborate - I understand how the Caves of Chaos are a challenge for the players to overcome. And in a slightly oblique sense, I can see how this is true for the trader in the Keep (after all, sensible equipment purchasing decisions is an important part of classic D&D). But I'm not clear how (say) the cleric in a contemporary game who sells the PCs potions on the cheap, or heals their wounds, is a challenge to overcome. Or the NPC patron who sends them on a mission. There are lots of parts of a "living, breathing world" that do not on the surface look like challenges to overcome. (In Nagol's language from upthread, some of them might be "levers" for the players to use, via their PCs. Some might just be flavour.) I'll also admit that most GMs seem way too possessive about their settings and NPCs. It's immensely important to understand that the setting exists primarily as a vehicle for the players to reach their goals - to be heroes.OK, this is the crux of it: how do players form goals and then achieve them. I posited an example not far upthread, about a player trying to have his/her PC influence a religious organisation. I know how that would work in some approaches to play - I'm interested in how it works in an approach to play in which the GM is omnipotent in the way that Mercuruis and others have described. In the campaign style that I'm discussing--I can only speak for myself, but think it is basically representative of "traditional D&D" (not classic)--a PC has just as much agency as you and I have in this worldAnd I'm saying that this is unhelpful metaphor. I...

Sunday, 21st January, 2018

  • 06:26 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Nagol Ron Edwars has a couple of interesting posts about the role of ingame time in play: Metagame time . . . refers to time-lapse among really-played scenes: can someone get to the castle before someone else kills the king; can someone fly across Detroit before someone else detonates the Mind Bomb. Metagame time isn't "played," but its management is a central issue for scene-framing and the outcome of the session as a whole. in-game time . . is a causal constraint . . . it constrains metagame time. In-game time at the fine-grained level (rounds, seconds, actions, movement rates) sets incontrovertible, foundation material for making judgments about hours, days, cross-town movment, and who gets where in what order. I recommend anyone who's interested to the text of DC Heroes for some of the most explicit text available on this issue throughout the book. [An example of adjudicating in this fashion - ie prioritising in-game time as a constraint on "metagame time" and hence scene-f...

Saturday, 20th January, 2018

  • 06:14 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?'s what I'm getting at here.Understood, I think. This means that the GM is playing a very big role - s/he is the artist, and the players the (crtically engaged) audience. I mean yes some tables fundamentally change the world the campaign takes place in...but really that was part of the art to being with, the ability to change what exists within it. There are some worlds where this is not a fundamental aspect of the art and play is more akin to a choose-your-own-adventure story, there are pre-written "holes" that the players are expected to fill. In other campaigns the players are a "new variable" capable of changing up the existing dynamic written into the campaign. The "art" of the built world is either designed with the players ability to change the world, or it isn't. The latter can range anywhere from something more akin to an art viewing to a choose-your-own-adventure.This is very clear, thank you. I'm interested to see what others think of it (eg Sadras, innerdude, Nagol, Manbearcat, redrick).
  • 03:48 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    You differentiate between a dungeon puzzle and non-dungeon puzzle. You seem to be ok or at least understand the need to 'world building' a dungeon but not world-building beyond that? Why is that? The intrigue of a faction filled-city with a who-done-it theme is not a puzzle-solving game?Well, I offered some reasons for thinking they might be different, and tried to bring these out further in the discussion with Nagol. In a dungeon, the parameters of the puzzle are very confined. There is a maze. The maze has "nodes" (rooms) whose contents are largely static until the players interact with them (in the fiction, this means opening doors, dealing with inhabitants, taking loot, etc). This means that players can solve the puzzle over time by first scouting and divining; then raiding; using different equipment load-outs, spell load-outs, etc for each stage. (Gygax gives detailed advice about this in the final section of his PHB before the appendices.) Once the setting changes to something like a wilderness or a city, the parameters change dramatically if the setting is going to be even remotely verisimilitudinous. So techniques that worked in the dungeon context - obtaining information by way of sheer fictional positioning and free roleplay ("We open the door and look in" "We lift the lid of the chest" "How many goblins can we see through the peephole?") - become far less feasible. The players beco...

Friday, 19th January, 2018

  • 12:56 AM - redrick mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    This was the part of your reply that especially stood out to me. I don't know if you've read Nagol's post just upthread of yours, which I've replied to just upthread of this post. You'll see that I've honed in on a particular episode of play that Nagol describes, that seems like it might be an instance of what you describe in the passage of yours I've quoted. I've asked Nagol some questions about that; if you have any thoughts that are relevant to those questions I've asked, I'd be keen to read them. I don't really know what the contemporary standard is. I tend to prepare authors, perhaps locations, and ideas for vignettes, that I think might be interesting to use in the game. Yes, I read Nagol's situation upthread. It's a little different from what I'm talking about, primarily because it involves more work on the part of the DM! In Nagol's case, they are describing a situation where a piece of the DM's fiction is acting autonomously (from the players) and, in certain situations, takes actions behind the curtain that have consequences that might pop up in player view later. I ...
  • 12:01 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Maintain a world that extends beyond the immediate POV of the PCs. I want PCs to feel like the main characters, but I don't want it to feel like the world is constantly being ordered around them. I want a world where there is something different behind Door #1, Door #2 and Door #3 and I know what that is without knowing what the players are going to do.This was the part of your reply that especially stood out to me. I don't know if you've read Nagol's post just upthread of yours, which I've replied to just upthread of this post. You'll see that I've honed in on a particular episode of play that Nagol describes, that seems like it might be an instance of what you describe in the passage of yours I've quoted. I've asked Nagol some questions about that; if you have any thoughts that are relevant to those questions I've asked, I'd be keen to read them. My understanding is that this is more or less the standard approach to RPG adventure prep these days.I don't really know what the contemporary standard is. I tend to prepare authors, perhaps locations, and ideas for vignettes, that I think might be interesting to use in the game.

Thursday, 18th January, 2018

  • 07:41 AM - pemerton mentioned Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Please can you define what you mean by "worldbuilding"? <snip> Also, you're presenting a contrast between 'contemporary' and 'classic' gameplay, but are you asking what worldbuilding means in the contemporary context, or the classical one - or both?I'm talking about the GM writing up the setting. Most RPGs posit some sort of setting - an imaginary place in which the PCs live, and where their adventures occur. That's the "world". Nagol's post gives examples - maps and other details of places; descriptions of personages; etc. Because it's a fictional world, it has to be authored/written. When the GM does that in advance, that's "worldbuilding". Or, if you prefer, "setting design". But I see "worldbuilding" used more often, so I chose that word. I'm pretty sure I know what that setting design is for in classic Gygaxian dungeoneering - it creates the maze/puzzle that the players have to "solve" (by mapping it; by cleverly raiding it; by looting it; all without having their PCs die, and rather accruing XP and hence being able to tackle harder dungeon levels). But in the OP I posit that this style of play is comparatively rare these days; so what is setting design for now? I'm not sure that I agree with this definition of "world building."OK, but that seems a mere quibble. I think you've worked out what I have in mind, and I'm curious as to what the point of that is. Classic dungeon design isn't world buildi...

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Friday, 13th July, 2018

  • 01:21 AM - Emerikol quoted Nagol in post Suspense in RPGs
    It not just a risk of failure: trying to pick a lock runs a risk of failure, but is rarely suspenseful in and of itself. Part of suspense comes from the "what happens if" questions attached to failure. What happens if we misjudged how cowardly he is and he does stay on track? What happens if this gambit fails? What happens if we fall here? What happens if we bail out and the BBEG gets his prize? Sure you want to make the stakes as interesting as possible. I think the suspense is on the risk of the big goal. So sure most groups assume if they can't pick the lock they will find another way. It's a minor roadblock so there is minor suspense. So the two competing sources of suspense in my games is survival and original goal achievement. The original goal is the point of the adventure. Those sorts of points can be anything that motivates real human beings. Avarice, revenge, love, renown, etc.. I think in most of my campaigns my players have a long term strategic goal of advanci...
  • 12:25 AM - Emerikol quoted Nagol in post Suspense in RPGs
    What seems to provide suspense in my experience are situations where (a) the result is unknown, (b) the stakes can escalate as one or more sides vies for a preferred outcome, and (c) there is some uncertainty in how the participants will respond to the changing stakes. I believe facing an enemy you don't know how you are going to defeat can generate suspense. I believe if the group begins to spiral down with some characters nearing death, that creates suspense. I believe approaching a battle with the final big bad guy can be suspenseful. Having someone wager $1 million dollars against the ownership of the painting on a single roll of the dice doesn't generate suspense. Really?? Unless I was a billionaire, this would be very suspenseful. If in a game it would be if the PCs are risking all of their resources. Holding an auction where the participants each have about $1 million dollars of cash and cash equivalents to their name can generate suspense -- if at least t...

Monday, 25th June, 2018

  • 06:12 PM - Fleetwood C. DeVille quoted Nagol in post Wait, is THAT how that works?!
    Actually, 1e Fireball was the only spell where the area changed outdoors. Fireballs are very big. First rule of magic-users in 1st ed: Thou Shalt Not Cast Fireball in a 10ft wide, 10ft Tall Corridor...even at maximum range.

Saturday, 23rd June, 2018

  • 06:52 PM - fjw70 quoted Nagol in post Wait, is THAT how that works?!
    Actually, 1e Fireball was the only spell where the area changed outdoors. Fireballs are very big. Glad to know we got fireballs right at least.
  • 05:06 PM - Staffan quoted Nagol in post Wait, is THAT how that works?!
    Actually, 1e Fireball was the only spell where the area changed outdoors. Fireballs are very big. The relative area of all AOE spells changed outdoors. That's because all distances were given in scale inches, which equaled 10 yards each outdoors and 10 feet each indoors - with the exception of spell AOEs, where each inch was still 10 feet, meaning that their radii (or sides) were effectively divided by 3 outdoors. There's a bit about it on page 39 of the 1e PHB, where Gygax says, only slightly paraphrased: "For God's sake don't forget to divide areas by 3 outdoors!" Fireball had the additional trait of spreading beyond its normal radius if the volume was too small. It also, as you wrote, mention "cubic yards" as well, so the PHB is slightly inconsistent on the issue.

Sunday, 10th June, 2018

Saturday, 9th June, 2018

  • 11:40 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Nagol in post How different PC motivations support sandbox and campaign play
    By that measure, no RPG (except perhaps Phoenix Command) has a combat system. Its either fiat or left to chance with dice rolls... Some RPGs and RPG supplements have an amount of thought/mechanical subsystems to model an economic system plausibly* enough for the type of game expected by the designers. * as in, not getting in the way and/or presenting outcomes that lie within the expected range for the players You're 100% right! No RPG has a real world combat system, it's all up to fiat and chance. Good catch, very excellent reinforcement of my point!

Friday, 8th June, 2018

  • 10:51 PM - Manbearcat quoted Nagol in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Certainly, had the DMG1 had better explanation of when to use/ how to use / why to use AND had actually proofed the math so that the mechanic gave the results advertised then I think they'd have gone over more smoothly. I don't disagree. Explanation and iteration were certainly part of the problem, but smuggling in play priorities that don't mesh with dramatic/abstract scene resolution (whether rightly or wrongly) is also a problem (which can circle back to explanation). I also think if most everyone who ran/played 4e had experience playing/running dramatic scene-based games, the machinery would have been easily understood and deployed in a coherent fashion. For instance, you don't see Blades in the Dark GMs/players or Cortex+ GMs/players complaining about Competing Clocks or Social Action Scenes or Heists being static, dice-rolling affairs. Even if you're a GM who can and has run more scene-based / narrative-based games, it doesn't mean you want all RPGs you run to operate t...

Wednesday, 9th May, 2018

  • 10:35 AM - pemerton quoted Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    But world-building offers more than "enjoying the experience of learning them by way of second-person narration". Dungeon World expects world-building e.g. "Draw maps, leave blanks". World-building, as has been pointed out over and over again in thread, offers other value. Not least is the establishment of common expectation.Sure, but does that mean that we can't talk about one particular feature that has [I]also/I] been repeatedly mentioned and extolled in the thread? The first scene of the campaign almost always involves some world building (where are the PCs? Is anything other than PCs present? Do any non-player defined relationships exist?) In fact, every scene transition involves either new world-building (we've never been established this location before, what's it like?) or relies on previously established world-building for its initial conditions. From the player's perspective, whether that world-building is happening a priori or pre-hoc is indistinguishable.I don't thin...

Tuesday, 1st May, 2018

  • 11:05 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Nagol in post Simple Superhero Systems
    If you're offering pregens, I'd seriously looks at Champions. The crunch is all upfront during character design. Gameplay is straightforward. True as far as it goes. Make everyone speed 4 and you don't even have to bring the speed chart (cool though it can be) into it. But, if you're not an old hand at Hero, making said pregens is probably more than you'd want to tackle.
  • 10:29 PM - Doug McCrae quoted Nagol in post Simple Superhero Systems
    If you're offering pregens, I'd seriously looks at Champions. The crunch is all upfront during character design. Gameplay is straightforward.I respectfully disagree. I've only experienced a single combat encounter lasting three sessions in one system and it was Champions.

Thursday, 26th April, 2018

  • 09:00 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    You are incorrect in that DW combat is neither war not sport, really. It's more performance art. Congratulations, you just filled in some of the excluded middle between 'CaW' and 'CaS' - 'CaPA!' ;) As far as dull vs cool moves are concerned, this seems to be a system thing. What you say is true for AD&D and 3E. It's not true for 4e or Cortex+ Heroic. (And BW is too complicated in this respect to make a simple evaluation.) But, I guess it'd be 'orthogonal' to world-building. (Edit: I'm only feigning anti-intellectualism, here, I promise, but you do like dem two-dollah college words.) Right. At least in my experience, provided the systems creates the mechanical space for it, players aren't going to declare boring stuff or silly stuff when exciting and/or interesting stuff is also possible! The proviso is one reason why I choose some systems over others. Well, some players consider silly stuff exciting & interesting, but yeah, at least initially, players sit down to a game to h...
  • 08:23 PM - Lanefan quoted Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    You are incorrect in that DW combat is neither war not sport, really. It's more performance art. Combat as performance art? Now there's one I've never heard before. :) That said, I was taking the sport-war analogy and applying it more to the whole game rather than just combat. Exploration-as-war means deadly traps, sometimes-harsh environmental conditions, real risk of dangerous resource depletion (e.g. no water in the desert), etc. Social-interaction-as-war is a bit harder to define other than that NPCs will have their own sometimes-secret agendas which will inform if not outright direct their responses to the PCs. I don't think of the player-DM relationship as inherently adversarial. I think you'll agree that a DM's role cannot support full competitive play during encounter design; the power disparity is too great. I can imagine every session starting "Rocks fall. You all die. I win again!" at least until the session (likely the second) where the DM looks around the empty ro...

Tuesday, 24th April, 2018

  • 04:20 AM - Lanefan quoted Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    In a player-facing game, no one (including the GM) will know whether the result is a #2 or 3. If the players fail to find a door, a later result can generate one anyway to fulfil a new consequence in a plausible way.Well, yes they will know; as in theory you can't fail on a high roll even though you should be able to if there isn't a door there to find.

Friday, 20th April, 2018

  • 05:54 PM - Blue quoted Nagol in post What are the most interesting non-D&D systems you've yet to play?
    Blades in the Dark. Specialized rules for a specific niche. Downtime activities that matter. Blades in the Dark tops my list. It's genre is a personal favourite and I see good things about it all the time. I'm not playing it because I'll have to run it rather than get to play and my current campaign shows no sign of winding down. That I really want to play? That would be Blades in the Dark, already mentioned above Wow, Blades has quite the "I wanna play but haven't yet" vibe going on.

Saturday, 14th April, 2018

  • 03:24 AM - pemerton quoted Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    After the search action is resolved as a success the secret door exists in the fiction, which for the purposes of these discussions means it now exists as an element of the game being played and - even though it's not sitting there on your game table - is still going to have influence on what happens going forward in the game. (and if you must keep it real-world, it'll probably cause players to say different words than they otherwise would have) To say otherwise is nothing more than obfuscation. We're all completely aware that none of the imaginary stuff exists in the real world, but what exists in the real world is utterly irrelevant when the point of the conversation is what exists in the fictional world and by whose authorship and-or what means it comes to be there.In the Sherlock Holmes stories, Holmes from time to time meets charaters who, up until then, have not been written about. From the point of view of the reader, they are new characters. But no one asserts that Sherlock Holm...

Friday, 13th April, 2018

  • 10:28 PM - Imaro quoted Nagol in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Completely agree. Innately, player-facing and DM-facing designs are different tools that serve similar yet different purposes like a cake pan vs. a spring-form pan. Innately, one is not better than the other, but if one bakes a cheesecake, one will preferentially use a spring-form pan. Pick the tool that best fits the experience desired. If DM-facing, once the secret door is established it can begin to pressure the other fictional elements even if the players are unaware of its existence. If player-facing, it won't. I think I agree with your last sentence though not with the post you quoted... Pre-authored the secret door is there for PC's and NPC's to discover or stumble across even before it is "established" (At least in the way established has been used in this thread) an example that jumps readily to mind, in some games elves, whether PC's or NPC's would have a chance to detect said secret door just by passing near it, I'm not sure how an ability like this would work in...

Wednesday, 28th March, 2018

  • 09:26 PM - diaglo quoted Nagol in post What Has Caused the OSR Revival?
    Yeah, but revivals aren't fueled by the people already engaged; they're fueled by all the new people trying it out. Otherwise it ain't a revival. but i'm buying their stuff. it is the closest to what i use and requires the least conversions. i'm not buying PF or 5ed since it requires more work. and there is plenty of OSR available.

Tuesday, 27th March, 2018

  • 10:56 PM - diaglo quoted Nagol in post What Has Caused the OSR Revival?
    My guess is a combination of nostalgia and a contrary reaction to comprehensive/fiddly rule sets. i've been pushing for OD&D(1974) to be in print since 1979 when it went out of print. i have wanted new stuff for it for decades. i even bought all the other editions so i could convert the material for my OD&D(1974) campaign. diaglo "it ain't nostalgia if that is what you are playing" Ooi see my signature.

Wednesday, 14th March, 2018

  • 01:28 AM - Gardens & Goblins quoted Nagol in post I evil??
    I was pranked by a boss once. I pranked back. Went over very poorly. I didn't understand the expectation that pranks only went down the hierarchy -- never up. Any time one party holds enough power that the other party feels the need to ask if their belongings can go back on the shelf if they don't like the new arrangement is too fraught for pranking in my view. You have to gauge things, exercise some awareness. This is where some would would say emotional intelligence comes into play & practice. I've pranked the higher-ups and things have been fine. Then again, over the years I've learnt to recognise which higher-ups can be pranked and which ones can't. One is not all of them, after all - and basing a world view on one being all would mean I'd never prank anyone higher up again! Heck, 'higher up' 'peers' 'charges' -- emotional intelligence comes into play regardless.

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