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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:35 PM
    pemerton replied to Carl Sargent
    I was sad to read this. I have a lot of Car Sargent's Greyhawk work on my shelves.
    4 replies | 302 view(s)
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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 | 324 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...
    14 replies | 559 view(s)
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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...
    46 replies | 1437 view(s)
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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...
    46 replies | 1437 view(s)
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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 | 1437 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.
    46 replies | 1437 view(s)
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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 | 559 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 | 209 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 | 5177 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.
    5 replies | 285 view(s)
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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...
    5 replies | 285 view(s)
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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 | 285 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...
    929 replies | 12813 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 | 283 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...
    929 replies | 12813 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...
    929 replies | 12813 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,...
    929 replies | 12813 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...
    929 replies | 12813 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...
    7 replies | 324 view(s)
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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 . . ....
    929 replies | 12813 view(s)
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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...
    929 replies | 12813 view(s)
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  • 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...
    929 replies | 12813 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...
    929 replies | 12813 view(s)
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  • 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 | 324 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 | 377 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 | 324 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 | 377 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.
    3 replies | 291 view(s)
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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).
    423 replies | 20300 view(s)
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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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  • 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.)
    3 replies | 204 view(s)
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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)...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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.
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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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  • 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?
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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.
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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!
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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...
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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?
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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.)
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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...
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    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 03:17 AM
    That's not my experience at all!
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    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,...
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    Friday, 26th October, 2018, 02:48 AM
    But it's simply not true that, the instant the GM says that, the result in the ficiton is magic missile streaking from the NPC to the PC. That's a "rule" that you're making up - and clearly it's not a rule that is consistent with the 5e rules, precisely because it can't accommodate pretty mundane features of those rules (like the Shield spell). Here's another, equally banal, example: a player...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 11:43 PM
    No shame in that!
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 11:40 PM
    There's too much going on in this to unpack it all. So I'll just say a couple of things. (1) The only meaning of author stance that I'm familiar with is Ron Edwards': In Author stance, a person determines a character's decisions and actions based on the real person's priorities, then retroactively "motivates" the character to perform them. This can be contrasted with actor stance: In...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 11:13 PM
    What am I supposedly agreeing on? It's very easy to see the places in Gygax's DMG where his basic principles come into collision with his detailed prescriptions, and one can also see tensions between what seem to be his own table practices and his advice to other GMs. But in any event, Gygax doesn't assume that the GM is the sole author of the ingame fiction. Here's one example, from his...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 09:49 AM
    But the Shield spell doesn't state this. Nor does Uncanny Dodge. Imagine a context where the GM says "It's the NPCs mage's turn. <rolls some dice> Tara, you take 11 hp from magic missiles!" That would not be atypical in D&D play, at least as I've experienced it. Presumably it doesn't preclude Tara's player declaring a Shield spell. Or an Uncanny Dodge. I think describing it as "time travel"...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 09:17 AM
    On despotism: clearly describing a ruler as an enlightened despot is not intended as a slander! And if one takes away the enlightened, or puts it inverted commas, that's not a slip-up but a deliberate expression of opinion about whether enlightened despotism is a genuinely feasable or desirable mode of government. Likewise in the D&D context: if someone deliberately describes a certain GM-ing...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 08:37 AM
    I want to say that, so far from barking up the wrong tree, I agree completely with you! There's not time travel; and the view that there is results from misinterpreting the relationship between mechanical procedures and fictional events. And I still think that someone who describes these powers as "time travelling" ie who misdescribes them, is undermining their credibility as an expositor and...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 08:32 AM
    In D&D, damage is a mechanical phenomenon - an adjustment to a hit point total. In the fiction, a character is hurt or distracted or worn down or otherwise brought closer to defeat. This occurs when the relevant action is resolved. In a system - like 5e - that permits interrupts of various sorts (like the Shield spell and the dropping-to-zero rules), the action is resolved once all the interrupts...
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    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 06:28 AM
    What's your basis for saying this? Suppose my PC has 16 hp left, and suffers 16 hp of damage. S/he now has the potential to be dying. I contend that that was not a blow that clipped the tips of my PC's fingers! It hit my PC somewhere that has the potential to be fatal. Narration around hits and damage in D&D has always been rather flexible - Gygax in his DMG argues that this is a virtue of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 06:18 AM
    This goes back to my comment about Maxperson's account of the 5e system. If you think that declaring the result of a damage roll ipso facto establishes some fiction; or that declaring a reduction to zero hp as unconsciousness rather than death is "time travelling"; then you're clearly interpreting the mechanics differently from how the 5e authors intended their mechanics to be interpreted. At...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 25th October, 2018, 12:38 AM
    But I was talking about the rolling of the damage. With a blowgun, if I'm hit then I know how much damage is coming in yet can use Shield. So why can't I wait until the damage from a sword blow is rolled - but then use Shield before it is opposed. (There's also Hriston's excellent point about rolling practices.) But how is knowing whether the arrow is coming for my head or my thigh...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 09:55 AM
    But that principle doesn't tell us whether or not the damage gets rolled before I decide! Here's one way to look at it - I'm more likely to cast Shield if the arrow is coming for my head than my thigh. And one indicator of that - in D&D - is the damage roll.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 09:28 AM
    Maxperson's "time travel" argument relies on a distinction between rolling to hit and rolling the damage. I'm curious what he says if there is no damage roll. And more generally, I find it interesting that Maxperson is very quick to tell us how the 5e rules should be understood (on this thread vis-a-vis clerics and warlocks; on another current thread vis-a-vis initiative), and yet is revising/...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 09:24 AM
    I agree. Even if we bracket the general rule, there's another issue - if the GM knows what the player has done, then s/he knows that any attack against the rogue will rebound, even if the creature doesn't, which makes action declaration hard on the GM's side. One option would be to reword the ability: on the creature's next turn, if it has a melee attack as a standard, move or minor action...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 08:47 AM
    What if it's an attack that does a static amount of damage? (Eg a blowgun)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 24th October, 2018, 01:37 AM
    It's an example from the published rules of AD&D. It's completely workable. You can tell whatever story you want to about how the 4th level mercenary captain worked his/her way up from the ranks, or was trained at the King's court, or whatever other fiction takes your fancy. You can even have the captain improve his/her command ability if you want - the point of the "incapable of working upwards"...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 11:27 AM
    I don't do a lot of horror RPGing, but recently ran Cthulhu Dark and enjoyed it. I've also played the Cthuhu variant of A Penny for My Thoughts which produced some pretty wacky stuff. I'd play either of those ahead of traditional CoC.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 10:26 AM
    What happens when a non-hencman NPC in 1st ed AD&D gains an XP bonus (eg from looking through a Deck of Many Things) or suffers an XP penalty (eg from reading the wrong magical book)? The rules don't provide a straightforward answer - the GM has to extrapolate and make a ruling. What happens if a mercenary captain loses a level to a wight? Can s/he - who is normally "capable of working...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 08:41 AM
    You seem to have confused a player declaration of effect with an ingame event. (And this rule is from 4e - one of many aspects of 4e that carry over into 5e.) OK. But that hardly seems relevant to interpreting the game rules. I ask again - do you regard it as RAW that a king's champion must mete out death, or must have meted it out, such that a PC fighter whose player uses the drop-to-zero...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 06:56 AM
    Levels in themselves are weird (and "gamey") because of the way they group together, and homogenise, various elements of human capability. Ability scores are similar in this respect (eg there are at least some human beings who have good reaction times but don't actually move very fast, and/or have poor balance; but in D&D these traits all tend to track one another via DEX). But it's especially...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 04:59 AM
    I don't think you'll find me saying that. The process of authoring a RPG is (obviously) different from the process of authoring a book: most obviously because the audience is also the author, and there is both the real-time dimension to that and the consequent lack of editing. I think Galahad is an excellent example. On a slightly related note, on of my favourite things about 4e is that a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 04:54 AM
    double post deleted
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 23rd October, 2018, 04:50 AM
    Maybe. It depends what's going on both in the fiction (given the established fiction, the framing of the (failed) check, etc, what sort of thing might happen next?) and at the table (what were the players looking for from the check? what was at stake?). Maybe in the crime lord situation, the lead they are talking to suddenly collapses - dead, poisoned! That could easily make sense if (eg) one...
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Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 01:35 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    ...tension to be managed from conflict to conflict and from scene to scene. So a "roll to hit" in Scene A is the same as in Scene B in terms of whether the target takes damage, but it's not the same in terms of the acting character's motions, intentions, and experience of the action. * It retains the key role of constraint on in-game events. The dice (or whatever) are collaborators, acting as a springboard for what happens in tandem with the real-people statements. Of course, nobody actually uses those Forgite terms accurately anyway. When people call 4E "gamist", for example, I can't help but laugh and roll my eyes. 4E is probably the version of DnD least suited to a Step On Up creative agenda. Meanwhile it maps to "simulationism" pretty cleanly with its fidelity to heroic fantasy genre emulation. All of which ignores the fact that Forgite creative agendas refer to gameplay table experiences and not to actual game systems. What a joke!I agree re 4e and gamism - though Balesir on these boards articluated a coherent gamist version of 4e which is nothing like Gygaxian "skilled play" but rather is quite "light", and is about showing off your schtick in a given encounter. LostSoul used to argue that 4e is a type of high concept simulationism as you suggest - I tend to agree with AbdulAlhazred, that it is best suited to "story now" instead. Not that it couldn't be done in a high concept fashion, but I think that would tend to make for more tedious play because the "heaviness" of the mechanics would still be there, but they wouldn't be giving as much payoff (with the outcomes pre-settled) as they do with a more "story now" focus. And I think it's pretty obvious how many 4e mechanics exhibit the features of FitM resolution that Edwards calls out in the passage I just quoted. EDIT: Just saw this follow-up post: most of what gets passed off as "story-focused" or "story-oriented" play around these parts, and would probably get labelled as "narrativism" ...

Tuesday, 7th March, 2017

  • 03:06 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Balesir in post Skill Challenges and Action Points
    darkbard - Milestones are achieved at the completion of 2 consecutive Encounters without taking an Extended Rest. - Skill Challenges are definitely Encounters. - Hence, Skill Challenges count toward the Action Point refresh due to Milestone achievement. Neither DMG1 nor DMG 2 nor RC canvass options for the deployment of Action Points in Skill Challenges. I've read all of Dragon and Dungeon and I can't recall any such article in UA or anything. I also don't recall there being anything on any of the design/hacking articles. Now that doesn't mean there aren't any, it just means that I don't recall (but my recall is rather good so I'm pretty confident). I know pemerton (and I believe Balesir may as well?) allows the deployment of APs for a myriad of effects; up front +2 (like a deployed SS), an interrupt to make an SS to add +2 or to cancel a failure. I think that usage is a house rule or perhaps something pulled from a module (or again, an article I'm unaware of)? I neither run modules nor pick them apart/use them for inspiration so I'm not aware of the content therein. While I don't use any AP Skill Challenge house rule. However, the Milestone Reward Cycle is still extremely coherent even if you don't use APs in SCs. This is because APs are meant to supplement the loss of Dailies, incentivizing the players to push on rather than turning back or attempting to make camp for a refresh. Dailies are meant to be deployed in Skill Challenges, earning at least 1 auto-success (DMG2 86). I universally give PCs 2 auto-successes for the savvy deployment of a Daily which is a thematic/mechanical match for the present fictional positioning of the unfolding situation. My ...

Saturday, 4th March, 2017

  • 12:24 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Balesir in post Speculation about "the feelz" of D&D 4th Edition
    ...ant numbers of different conditions with different durations, detailed action mechanics, etc. to be simply overwhelmingly complex. Thus they just bin everything that comes with 4e's combat system into an "its too complex" mental bin, and conversely everything in 5e's combat system into a "this is simple" bin, regardless of any objective measures of complexity or any reasoning about what might provide improved play or any kind of balance between complexity and quality of play. This may not account for all cases where 5e clearly is more complex or rejects 4e-type simplifications, but it does provide an understanding of the basic place that its coming from. Obviously stuff like calling out spells in monster stat blocks is something else entirely, which I would chalk up to stubborn traditionalism and unwillingness to admit there's an argument for 4e simplicity at all. This is good analysis, but I think there is another ingredient in the mix here as well. A few people ( chaochou , Balesir , Tony Vargas , Neonchameleon , and I believe yourself as well?) have very astutely pointed out that folks on these boards tend to substitute or conflate "familiar" with "rules lite" or non-complex. That conflation or substitution is obviously a product of, or at least heavily influenced by, perception bias. People (naturally) orient themselves toward a subject and begin developing a mental framework and concomitant investment in that developing framework. As time marches on, that mental framework may churn, it may refine, but it will just as likely (or moreso) ossify. Cognitive biases are born. Most often they're born out of the need for processing efficiency/functional cognitive shorthand/intuition/common sense (all models are wrong, but some are useful). Unfortunately, coinciding with all of this comes a profound seduction...the need to legitimize your own cognitive biases and cement them as legitimate/orthodox/normative/canonical. That is how "familiar" becomes non-...

Sunday, 1st January, 2017

  • 12:43 AM - C4 mentioned Balesir in post Three Years in the Making...
    After three years of work, my Points of Light game is...still not done. But! There's enough to start playtesting and to finally start experiencing this thing I've been creating. PoL is my love letter to 4e D&D -- a sort of "What might 4e look like, if taken to its ultimate conclusion?" I think it's closer to 4e than other games commonly cited as 4e-successors -- notably 13th Age and Strike! -- but it's still very much its own game. Link to the PoL foreword. (google docs) Those interested are invited to PM or email me (Complete4th@gmail.com) for links to the PDFs! I call upon those who may be interested in taking a peek... @AbdulAlhazred, @Manbearcat, @Cyvris, @Igwilly, @Tony Vargas, @doctorbadwolf, @Tequila Sunrise, @Kelvor Ravenstar, @pemerton, @Myrhdraak, @shidaku, @tyrlaan, @MoutonRustique, @Balesir And finally, happy New Year!

Wednesday, 2nd March, 2016

  • 04:37 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    ...nts that are possible within the fiction that satisfy (1) and (2), yet nevertheless are causally downstream of the failing character's action. His argument is based on player enjoymentThis is his reason for affirming (2), yes. But on it own it tells us nothing about (3) or (3'). And that is what I am interested in. I disagree that this is Monte's position or reasoning for wanting to reduce character ineptness driven fumbles.I'm not even talking abot his reason for wanting to reduce ineptness-driven fumbles! I'm asking why, given that he wants to do this, is he moved to say that they should be mostly external circumstances? Monte doesn't even claim they shouldn't primarily or typically be major screw-ups by character incompetenceWhat do you think, then, is the meaning of the phrase far more often it should be some external circumstance? Which is used to contrast with such screw-ups as accidentally shooting a friend or dropping a weapon? But this is a secondary point (as Balesir has pointed out not very far upthread). Even if he thinks that incursions should, typically, be major screw-ups, he nevertheless contrasts major screw-ups with external circumstances that are not, in-fiction, causally downstream. Why? Why are these the two options he puts on the table? GM Intrusions are not necessarily big eventsI think you misunderstand what I mean by "big event". I used the phrase in post 302 upthread, which was a reply to you: if the idea is that a nat 1 result should, in some way, stand out from a typical failure, then something bigger and more distinctive has to happen on a nat 1. Otherwise, what is the point of the intrusion-triggered-by-nat-1 mechanic? different events and big events are not synonymsCan we please move on from semantics! In post 302 I made it clear what I am meaning by the phrase "big event" - I mean something different from a normal failure, that stands out enough to make the mechanic worth having at all. If you don't like the phr...
  • 02:10 AM - Imaro mentioned Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    ... @pemerton's point is that he doesn't see (and, incidentally, neither do I) that it is possible to have all three conditions true at once. "Proof" that you can have (1) and (3) without (2) on the grounds that Monte doesn't say you must always have (2) is irrelevant; if you are to have ANY GM Intrusion (i.e. not a simple failure: 1) that follows Monte's advice (of sometimes having an Intrusion not caused by PC incompetence: 2) you are going to have to have it arise from some factor other than the PC's action (i.e.: 3) unless you can find some cases that are different from a normal failure (1), are not the result of character incompetence (2) and flow causally from what the character is rolling for (3). In other words, if you follow Monte's advice, you must have GM Intrusions that are not caused by the character's action - or you must simply not follow Monte's advice (a perfectly admissible course, even if arguably not playing the game as the creator intended you to). @pemerton & @Balesir... The easiest example I can think of to disprove what you are claiming are equipment (armor, weapon, cyphers, vehicles, tools, etc.) failures and malfunctions... especially in Numenera where the technology is supposed to be poorly understood and re-jiggered to purposes it was never originally intended for. Flows causally, has nothing to do with PC incompetence and can have different effects than a normal failure...

Saturday, 27th February, 2016

  • 10:59 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    Balesir, thanks for the reasoned response. I didn't know about Harn's "Eye of the Gods" rule. Aldarc, it would be great to hear your thoughts/perspective if you're able to post something.

Saturday, 20th February, 2016

  • 06:32 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Balesir in post Who's still playing 4E
    ...ercome by a hoard of fleeing mutates and malignant, Far Realm mists. This is an example of a "Chase" SC. Nested in there was a combat. Here is an example of a "Seeking Shelter" Skill Challenge, level (6), Complexity 1 Skill Challenge which starts with post 18 and ends with post 24. Here is an example of a "Perilous Journey/Exploration" Skill Challenge, level (6), Complexity 3 Skill Challenge. It starts with post 27 and ends with post 44. Nested in there was a Combat and a complexity 1 SC to Pursue Fleeing Prey. Here is an example of a "Parley (Social)" Skill Challenge, level (7), Complexity 2 (in post 52, you'll see the denoument of the prior action scene where I gave the PC an Advantage to use in any upcoming social action scene), starting with post 53 and ending with post 72. There is a nested level (7), Complexity 1 SC in there. That covers a decent number of classic D&D tropes. If you have any questions, you can PM me or start a thread or post in the thread that Balesir linked to.

Thursday, 4th February, 2016

  • 08:35 AM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Failing Forward
    ...e Dramatic Need. However, at the start of the story, the Protagonist doesn't really have much of a Dramatic Need. Their life is going on basically okay, until you... Add the Antagonist. This is the character(s) that provide the Dramatic Need - something the Antagonist is doing changes the world in a way that creates a Dramatic Need the Protagonist takes up. I submit that this is actually how much heroic fiction is structured. <snip> With my construction, how pre-authoring and scenario design fit in becomes obvious - it is providing a series of large and small scale dramatic needs. Now, again, the GM needs to have pretty solid grasp of the characters to provide such a series, or conversely, the player needs to be not terribly picky about what will provide a satisfying need. I think this approach poses some challenges for RPGing. Which you recognise in the last sentence that I've quoted, I think, but which I want to explore a bit more. In the approach to RPGing that Balesir, upthread, called "mainstream", the second disjunct of the final quoted sentence comes into play. The GM - via the authoring of the backstory, the BBEG, etc - provides a menu (perhaps a very short menu) of possible dramatic needs, and the players (via their PCs) are expected, as part of the social contract of play, to engage with an item on that menu. I think this is the sort of approach that sheadunne has called "pinballing", because of - in his case - the lack of connection he as a player feels to the stuff that, in the fiction, his PC is meant to be engaged with and caring about. What about the first disjunct? I'm not sure that the GM's solid grasp of the characters is enough, because - as per your Luke Skywalker example - the character may not be fully "given" or fully revealed when play begins. No matter how well the GM knows that Luke Skywalker's dramatic need is to get off this podunk backwater desert planet, that is not going to tell the GM that Luke's future dramatic need w...

Wednesday, 3rd February, 2016

  • 05:23 AM - Manbearcat mentioned Balesir in post Failing Forward
    ...ere inspired by Burning Wheel's Beliefs. 4e's Quests, Themes, Paragon Paths, and Epic Destinies (which naturally commingle/interface) are that system's analog. Does it become more difficult to integrate/maintain coherency/relevance as more players get in the mix? Potentially. It puts more pressure on overall table communication/calibration and player malleability I'd say (hence one reason why I only run games for 3 people anymore!). I have to strongly disagree with you. Most of what you have described above is a result of pre-authoring and using your own DM bias for the NPC antagonist you created to use at some point in play and to colour failed skill checks. The disconnect I think I see in a lot of these conversations comes from this: That "DM bias" you're detecting? That is the game's "bias" that your attributing to the person running the game. That is "running the game by the prescribed GMing directives/ethos and addressing the focused premise of play itself." Balesir's post above talks about play that focuses like a laser beam on protagonism, Dramatic Need, and antagonism interposing itself between the two. I think that is as good a way as any to put it. That Dark Elf that pemerton was pondering outside of play? That could have come in many shapes or forms. The play wasn't about the Dark Elf. He became a part of the setting mosaic when he was introduced into the fiction, yes, but it wasn't about him. Play turns on the Situation (a) challenging a Belief (or multiples) and (b) forcing the players to address the What (do I want out of this Situation) and How (am I going to resolve it). The Dark Elf is just the means for pemerton to facilitate that proper GMing (which isn't his bias). It isn't a story about his Dark Elf. It is a story about his players' Beliefs being tested in the crucible of high/dark fantasy conflict (over and over and over) and seeing what shakes out of it (character progression/evolution and story emergence). In this cas...

Saturday, 23rd January, 2016

  • 06:41 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Failing Forward
    ...nt from Dark Lord-wise or some similar knowledge skill reflecting the conjectured link between the identity of the ring and the movements of evil forces. When the check is made and resolved - if successful, the ring is the One and behaves as predicted, if not then it is not the One and the GM narrates something else appropriate ("fail forward") - the players, in character, learn something new about the gameworld. They didn't choose it - the dice did that. It was not under the players' control. It's true that Gandalf's skill in ring lore made him more likely to be right than would otherwise be the case, but that is entirely appropriate - when a person skilled in ring lore sincerely conjectures that a particular ring is the One, it should be more likely that s/he is right than when an unskilled person does so. In this respect the non-pre-authorship approach deftly solves the problem of how to reflect knowledge skills in play other than by playing 20 questions with the GM. (I think Balesir already made this point upthread.) What is under the player's control is forcing a determination of a particular issue. By declaring that the ring is thrown into the fire, Gandalf's player forces the table to address the question of whether this ring is the One, and forces the generation of some answer within the fiction. But forcing things to be authored is not the same as authoring them. To give a parallel example: the key for a classic D&D dungeon might have one room labelled as the orcs' barracks, with a notation that 30% of the time the orcs are sleeping and so make no noise, but 70% of the time are carousing and so can be heard via listening at the door, with a +10% bonus to the chance of success. A player, by declaring that his/her PC listens at the door, forces the GM to roll the % dice and find out whether the orcs are sleeping or carousing. But no one back in 1977 ever thought that this meant the player was authoring the gameworld and hence not learning a truth beyond t...
  • 08:53 AM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Failing Forward
    Whether the DM or players make the changes is completely beside the point.What changes? There are no changes. Authoring is not changing the fiction - it is bringing it into being. There is zero perception on my part that this Schrodinger's aspect of whether it was or was not the one ring was ever in play. I have never discussed the books or movies with anyone and received the slightest indication that they felt that a character not knowing a truth within the fiction made that truth in doubt to the larger story. I want the experience of being in the story that way.To me this seems to miss Balesir's point about immersion. For Gandalf and Frodo, sitting in Bag End, the truth is not known. There is doubt - and the possibility that the ring is not the One. So experiencing being in the story would mean experiencing that doubt - which, mechanically, means not knowing how the dice will roll. To me (and, in light of his post, I think also Balesir), learning the GM's pre-authored fictional truths is not experiencing being in the story at all, but rather having the meta-experience of learning the content of an already-written story. Relating this back to the example that you described as changing: the players in my BW game, both for themselves and in character, are wondering and debating the nature of the mage PC's brother. Was he evil before he was possessed? Unexpectedly, when looking for something quite different (the mace), they find the black arrows in his (now ruined) private workroom. This is a new, and hitherto unexpected, sign which suggests (i) that he was evil b...

Wednesday, 14th October, 2015

  • 11:13 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Improvisation vs "code-breaking" in D&D
    Balesir - your comments on game theory are well made. I don't understand what the mathematical theory of payoffs in interactive contexts has to do with The Forge, or D&D. In the case of "whacky electricity traps" and such like, though, I think a rod is made for the GM's back. Trying to say as a sort of shortcut to "rules" that something is "just like the real world, but, y'know, with allowances for magic..." is a recipe for muddle and pain.No disagreement with that, but surely you agree that the muddle and pain you describe is pretty core to a whole swathe of classic D&D tropes? The point I was trying to make was a descriptive one, not a normative one - namely, whether it's good or bad that RPGing involve that sort of improvisation, classic D&D certainly did, and hence it's simply wrong to assert that an absence of improvisation is of the essence of D&D. Were the Simulationist essays incomplete or unfair? I have an opinionSo do I. They're spot on. I've GMed hundreds (probably thousand...

Saturday, 10th October, 2015

  • 06:28 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Improvisation vs "code-breaking" in D&D
    ...hey have made decisions that extrapolate, as best they are able, from some combination of the existing rules (for falling; for damaging objects with siege weapons; etc) and their own understanding of the causal processes involved (the furthest I personally have ever jumped into a pool of water is about 50' or 60'; I've never cut down a door with an axe, but have split wood for a fireplace; so those are the experiences I would draw upon). I don't know what label you use to describe that process of rules invention. Most posters on these boards call it improvisation. Various D&D texts have talked about adjudicating things or actions that the rules don't cover. At no point are referees to interfere with the game, as you say "improvise" by moving stuff around, removing or adding pieces as not directed to under the rules.But this is not the sort of improvisation that Celebrim, or I, or Roger Musson, is talking about. (Except for the bit about adding rewards - which, as I noted and as Balesir has further discussed, he regards as problematic or at least irregular in some fashion.) Celebrim has been emphasising the need to make up rules, similar to my previous paragraph. Roger Musson is interested in giving practical advice to GMs for when the players get to the edge of the map or get to parts of the map for which the referee has not yet written up any descriptions. That is what his Emergency Room Register is for. Musson clearly regards the ideal as one in which the GM has fully prepared the map and key. But he recognises that human time, energy and ingenuity is finite, and is offering advice for what to do when those limitations mean that not everything has been written up. NPCs and their behaviors as contained within their statistical design just like every other game component. They can be gamed through code breaking --the act of mastering a game-- and manipulating the game design. These statistics are largely in AD&D books, but mechanics like reaction rolls, ali...

Friday, 21st August, 2015

  • 05:44 AM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post Collaborative storytelling RPG, is it a thing?
    Burning Wheel was mentioned upthread by Balesir - it's very collaborative/player driven, but not mechanically "lite" at all (it's a cousin of Torchbearer and Mouseguard that aramis erak describes in the post above this one). A mechanically fairly light system that is still fairly traditional in its basic set-up (players build PCs with attributes, and confront GM-authored challenges with DCs) is HeroQuest Revised. EDIT: This website seems to have the Story Engine in PDF - a free descriptor, player-driven system that can be seen as a type of precursor to HeroWars/Quest. Story Bones is the introductory version, and seems to be free here.

Wednesday, 8th July, 2015

  • 03:18 PM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post What makes us care about combat balance in D&D?
    Rule 0 is not changing anything - it is the most basic, fundamental assumption of any system.Nonsense. Off the top of my head, here are three great RPGs with no rule zero: Marvel Heroic RP, Burning Wheel, and 4e D&D. When the DM alters some aspect of the system, he is creating the system as it exists in the world the characters understand.The concern with rule zero isn't its affect on the characters (who don't actually exist, and are not affected by anything that happens in the real world - including use of rule zero). The concern is its affect on the players - namely, it subordinates their agency to the GM's agency, which - as Balesir posted above - can undermine the whole point of playing the game. While this is perfectly fine as a personal feeling, you are not describing a problem with the system except insofar as that system does not meet your personal preferences. <snip> As for advanced, nuanced, and thesis papers on "good" games, a "good" game is a rather subjective idea <snip> Simply assigning positive terms to things you like and negative terms to ones you don't isn't very convincing.This is very confusing to me. If "good" is subjective, then how is anyone supposed to assign positive or negative terms except by reference to what s/he likes? If "good" is subjective, then when you assert that various non-4e RPGs are good, aren't you just reiterating that they meet your personal preferences? In which case, why are you rebuking another poster for doing the same? It may be a common problem that casters become dominant, but it's also a common problem that DMs do not know how to design encounters...

Saturday, 18th April, 2015

  • 02:29 AM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...ted in my last post, speaks to a more gamist aspect of process-sim, that it is ideally a process in which the DM's judgment is engaged as little as possible, thus insuring not realism, but a lack of bias. Bias in this case being measured as something like "if I ran 100 parties through this adventure their outcomes would distribute around some typical results" and no one of them would be able to say "you made it harder for us!" just perhaps "we got unlucky." <snip> The narrativist points out, quite logically, that his scenes are framed in narratively coherent terms and present elements asked for by the players, so they cannot possibly be 'biased' or 'railroading'. The naturalist points out that the sum total of the plot generated in this fashion is a long series of coincidences. My puzzle is what any of this has to do with railroading or player agency. Which was my question to LostSoul and JamesonCourage and, in a subsequent post, Saelorn. I think it is also the question that Balesir is asking. What you describe above is an aesthetic preference - that the world be "naturalistic", that if 100 adventuring parties arrive at the Garden Gate then the scenes the GM describes occur with roughly the percentage likelihood they would in "real life", etc. As you said, it's about "the world seeming authentic enough to provide a pleasing play experience". As Balesir asked, what do departures from this aesthetic preference - eg direct GM authorship rather than GM-authored random charts whose application is mediated via dice rolls - have to do with railroading? How do the players have more agency if the GM writes a chart and then rolls on it?

Friday, 17th April, 2015

  • 10:56 PM - Manbearcat mentioned Balesir in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...t can be distinguished from the narrativist one I would follow (at a more meaningful level than just "different results happened"). I can grasp, and once pursued, this sort of goal. The problem with it, fundamentally, is it simply cannot be achieved in any meaningful way. The DM is simply, IMHO, decreeing whatever events he feels like decreeing for whatever reasons he has. He may have some limits to how far he'll go with that, and he may well respect player agency within certain bounds, but he'd be just as well off to include player agency and dramatic considerations in there as not, it won't make his decisions any 'less realistic' because there is no measurable degree of realism in an RPG to begin with, at least in this sense. I was involved in at at the beginning (2.5 weeks ago to be exact) with this post on (at least) 4 cognitive biases that pervade any table and any GM aiming at the "naturalistic" approach. Posted others back and forth with Saelorn a bit but I'm so firmly in @Balesir's camp, and I've already posted on it, so I don't have much more to say. Suffice to say that (a) I believe it is all cost (GM-overhead and time consuming prep) and no benefit. The "no benefit" portion being because each party's cognitive and perception bias drift in real life...with their own 1st person conception...creates a mental model of any given situation that diverges, sometimes radically and/or in significant ways, from others around them. Consider that reality, then remove the 1st person conception and replace it with "GM as proxy/conduit/filter" (regardless of how good the GM is)...you get the picture. Long story short. I am a damn good GM. And I can do a hell of a job running scenarios with process-sim-intensive, "naturalistic" temporal and spatial considerations (and mechanics that support them). But that doesn't improve my players tactical/strategic agency over something like 4e, Dungeon World, Apocalypse World, or Dogs. Their opinion as well as my own. What's m...

Monday, 13th April, 2015

  • 11:13 PM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Balesir in post The Best Thing from 4E
    You can have the DM describe each conversation in vague terms as it is overheard, and only go into detail if the player indicates that they want to pay attention. Mention that there are some people over there talking about the weather, and someone at the bar who is drinking heavily and complaining about her boss. If you get too many people in a room, it becomes difficult to tell what anyone is saying, so that problem is somewhat self-regulating. As long as there are few enough conversations as to be ineligible, the DM only needs to figure out what they're saying at the same rate as the players can ask, which isn't too difficult. (A problem roughly on par with coming up with names for these characters, should they become relevant.) I think Balesir's point is that we can extend this to every possible common situation which will now and then present some interest to the players. In fact in a real living world we are bombarded all day with a myriad of information. Today I've seen 1000's of cars, 100's of people, overheard 10 different conversations, talked to several people, heard a bunch of stuff on the radio, and observed a vast number of other rather mundane and trivial facts. Of course I am a pretty mundane person living in a mundane world, I'm not looking for things that are out of the ordinary or interested in getting into anyone else's business as a general rule. What if I was an adventurer? Every day I hang around in streets and alleys and shops, frequent bars and taverns, talk to people both familiar and unfamiliar, and all in the course of some sort of agenda, while probably watching out for possible enemies, rivals, allies, etc. Clearly there is simply no way, not even close to any way, to reproduce the full texture ...
  • 01:46 AM - pemerton mentioned Balesir in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...utcomes of play. It is a GM-driven game. If the players don't feel like their choices matter, then it could be a failure of the DM to present the world, or just a mis-match between player and DM expectations for the game. One of the problems with a strong-DM system is that it is prone to failures of the DM.By "matter" I think you mean "affect the GM's narration." It's clear in the example being discussed that the players' choices affect what the GM narrates. So would the players choosing whether the GM should reveal his/her left or right hand (one with the black ball, the other with the white). But that wouldn't make the choice meaningful from the player perspective. To the extent that "mismatch between expectations" is in play, that seems to be an issue of metagaming - the players aren't able to read the GM's preferences for tropes, plotlines, narrative elements etc. Which strikes me as plausible, but somewhat at odds with what I took your preferences to be. (Eg upthread when Balesir talked about the importance of metagaming the GM in this sort of way, I thought you disagreed.) The players don't choose to encounter the mysterious stranger. Encounters are determined by chance and circumstance.The players don't choose to encounter the stranger, no. My point is that the GM chooses whether or not they do, by choosing where the stranger is imagined to be. If the GM makes that choice independently of the players' choices (eg writes down on a bit of paper the inn the stranger is in, and doesn't change that regardless of the players' later choice of inn for their PCs) then the fact that the PCs never meet the stranger is not reflective of the players being in control of their destiny (which is how you described it upthread). It is a result of the GM being in control of secret backstory. There's a difference between players deciding to undertake actions - to pick up one of many plot hooks - and the DM deciding that something will happen regardless of player actio...


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Wednesday, 18th April, 2018

  • 06:12 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Balesir in post Demonomicon of Iggwilv: Artifact or Magic Item?
    Well, the "Why?" is because that is explicitly what artifacts are in 4E. One of the neat little modifications made in 4E, to my mind, was the removal of the naff definition of artifacts as "level 10 spells, but for magic items". 4E has a simple, functional and most importantly useful definition of an artifact as an item tied into the game world, the background and the game situation rather than a player resource for character expansion (possibly earned through adventure). This makes so much more sense than the "same as magic items, but uber" non-definition that we had earlier that I find myself just facepalming that it's being regressed (and that the regression started with Essentials, in point of fact)... So, my answer to your second point - there is no such thing as a "minor" artifact. An item with magical or special powers in 4E is either a levelled magic item, designed and intended by the DM as a player group resource, or is a unique and DM-controlled entity that is designed to fulfi...

Monday, 25th April, 2016

  • 09:13 PM - Ovinomancer quoted Balesir in post Harassment in gaming
    I think it may be important to inject a bit on language here. Specifically about "responsibility" and "guilt". This will be relevant for any number of cases where one is part of, or heir to, a group that committed some wrongs. In colloquial use, we don't often differentiate between these terms, but discussion becomes *tons* easier if we do. If a person is "responsible" for something, that actually means that they are expected to do something about it, to take some action. If a person is "accountable" for something, then when we go looking for why it went wrong, we are going to look to them. If you are looking to punish, or assign guilt, you're actually looking for the person who is accountable for it - "the buck stops here" tells you where the accountable person is. So, in a completely non-criminal example: If you have a software project, the engineers are responsible for writing code - it is their assigned task. If the overall project fails, however, it is the project owner w...

Monday, 11th April, 2016

  • 11:04 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    *Shrug* I guess I'm just not the target audience -Did you ever love D&D? You're the target audience. Stop dodging, let WotC draw a bead on you, already. ;) I'm still not getting it. 4e magic items were a party build tool - the only one - and as such had a unique role in the game.OK, now I don't get it. Do you mean item sets? I seem to remember items being used in optimized character builds. And party balancing??? As GM, why in blue blazes would I want to have any part in that?You can tune it to whatever your campaign demands. For instance, if you wanted to go outside the box and have a Hero/sidekicks kind of dynamic in the party, you could make it happen. Or you can establish balance in spite of, say, differing levels of system mastery.
  • 10:32 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    Mmmmm, yeah, that is a point. Its like 4e minions can be trivial or a real menace, but if you translate weak monsters into 5e they always come down on the 'menace' side of the coin.Quite apart from how you translate them (I'd just pull the closest thing from the 5e MM, there's little point to 'designing' or 'converting' monsters), just sheer numbers count for so much under Bounded Accuracy. If there's 20 monsters, it's going to be a problem, it doesn't much matter what they are. Either an AE can automatically wipe them all out, or they're going to add up to some pain. While its true that high level 5e monsters work OK as a sort of 'solo' in some respects things get pretty skewed with the weaker ones, particularly for low level PCs. I really think that KotS would be best approached as being a level 3 adventure in 5e.That'd help tremendously. I'm not sure what you do about things like the kobold lair. I guess the only really viable answer is that the players have to be given some sor...
  • 10:25 PM - MwaO quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    Quite so - I should feel excited about this (as either a player or a GM) why, exactly? As I noted earlier, I think one of the things that 4e generally got slammed for was the idea that the important thing was fun at the table rather than the DM being in charge. One of the big problems D&D has in terms of growing is that being the DM either takes a special mindset or it sucks. 4e? You can throw an encounter together in a few minutes. Other systems? If you do that, you really need to know your group or it will be a walk or TPK. I think the way that 1e-3e+5e compensate that is by creating artificial tension in the form of gotcha powers. Which if they work, tend to leave a player not doing a whole lot for the rest of the combat. Which is why 5e emphasizes speed of combat. Have lots of little combats, have some gotcha powers, maybe a monster rolls well, and then a PC gets warped for a round or two. But because martials have so few complexity dials, that round goes quickly. Which makes it a reall...
  • 05:36 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    Except 4e had Artifacts, to cover just this "need". It seems that some GMs got stuck on the "magic item" term, though - just as some players found class names to be a sticking point.Not the same issue at all. It's not that 5e has DM-moderated 'just better' magic items, as well as make/buy items as a component of player-designed 'builds,' it's that it has DM-moderated items [i]instead of[i/] make/buy items. It's DM empowerment, but, IMHO, one thing 5e got wrong was building for DM empowerment as if 'empowerment' were 0-sum. That, in order to empower DMs they had to disenfranchise players. "The Return of the 3 Pillars(!)" was one of the clarion calls of 5e development. Exploration was especially invoked. It guess it's a little odd to 'return' to something you just made up. In that sense, I guess 4e 'returned to Class Roles' and 3e 'returned to system mastery.' ;) They could have gone with the Basic version of exploration mediated by tight play procedures and a neutral refe...

Sunday, 10th April, 2016

  • 11:18 AM - Manbearcat quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    I'm not sure about that second sentence. Anyway, unless I'm missing something something, yeah, that's a 2e-ism, but not particularly Empowerment related. I was contrasting with Basic here. "The Return of the 3 Pillars(!)" was one of the clarion calls of 5e development. Exploration was especially invoked. They could have gone with the Basic version of exploration mediated by tight play procedures and a neutral referee: - Exploration Turns @ 10 minutes:120 movement, 1 in 6 will be rest, check for Wandering Monsters every 2 turns, if yes, roll table and then encounter distance (etc). Instead they again went with the AD&D 2e fantasy world psuedo-physics/ecology simulator mediated by GM discretion (simultaneously managing the role of lead storyteller...which is certainly not neutral!). As far as I can tell, you just end up with all the ecology stuff and the GM discretion advice about triggering random encounters (contrast with Basic) on page 85. Again, "GM empowerment." No...

Thursday, 7th April, 2016

  • 11:56 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    Player-applied leverage is inevitable and fine as far as it goes, but I prefer if it doesn't become the main focus of play. Especially for me as GM. Hence system mastery is preferable to GM manipulation, but it should prefereably provide only quite limited advantage (but not none).Sure. 'None' isn't a plausible goal, but a well-balanced system mutes the effects of mastery. To get such a state it's important that the system is shared with the players in a full and transparent way, and that it be well balanced. With GM judgement based systems it is hard to have transparent sharing of the system (because it frequently only becomes firm at the moment it is invoked) and resistance to imbalance tends to be limited.True. A clear/consistent/playable/balanced system can not just be played transparently, it works better when it's played 'above board' like that. A 'judgment' system works better when more resolution is taken behind the screen, with little or no transparency - you get the full bene...
  • 10:14 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    I'm not really talking about improv, as such. If I run 4E or PrimeTime Adventures or 13th Age (or, I expect, Dungeon World and other AWE games that I haven't got around to running, yet), I don't need to house rule or make judgements 'on the hoof' - the rules work just fine as they are. As GM I get to "just play" and see what happens.OK. I find a big issue with "judgement GMing" is that, once they figure out that there's more mileage in leading the GM to judge your DCs softly and in reading what the GM thinks is a "good idea" than there is in making bold character decisions, intelligent players focus their play there, rather than on the character decisions.That is absolutely true, yes. The other end of the spectrum, a very consistent, functional system, lends itself to leverage from system mastery. It's not like there's a 'happy medium' in-between, either - a system that 'compromises' with mostly-OK mechanics and 'only when needed' DM intervention is just vulnerable to both forms of manipul...

Wednesday, 6th April, 2016

  • 11:39 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post 4th to 5th Edition Converters - What has been your experience?
    I guess it depends what you mean by "style of play", but that seems to me to completely obviate the one style of play that I increasingly find that I enjoy, as a GM - giving the story over to the players and the dice. If I as GM am deciding what type of game we are playing, how hard it is to do whatever players decide to have their characters do and the relative difficulty of every alternate approach to the characters' "mission"I actually find the 'Empowered DM' emphasis works well for improv, as well, just 'everything's a ruling' instead of 'everything's a house rule' and zero prep instead of tons. The only approach you have to worry about resolving is the one they actually take. It can be 'that worked, and this stuff happened' or 'that didn't work, and this other stuff happend' or 'roll DEX + Macramé DC 35' or whatever else seems like a good idea in the moment. You can riff off what the players are interested in and ask about instead of trying to fill the whole world in ahead of them. ...

Sunday, 20th March, 2016

  • 02:50 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Balesir in post [4e] Paladin (feat) advice needed
    That can happen if the players hoard treasure to their character and buy items individually, for sure - which was encouraged by the equivalence of items and money. Where I really think the player-realm items shine, though, is in being party-level customisation. It's part of character building, but it's done across the party as a whole because, unlike all other build-resources, it's not tied to the characters. For my next campaign I intend to experiment with separating residuum and money. Residuum will be more-or-less priceless stuff that can be combined with ordinary items to create magical ones. Destroying the item will destroy the ordinary item, but leave the (full) residuum behind, so that residuum is eternal but it costs gold (effectively) to convert it from one form to another. Consumable items and rituals also just cost gold (or bought ingredients). Hopefully, that will make the residuum a party build resource and the gold more of a short-term or transformation resource. Artifacts, of ...

Friday, 18th March, 2016

  • 11:12 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Balesir in post [4e] Paladin (feat) advice needed
    To me this shows how different strokes will suit different folks. As a GM I found the 4E approach to items a breath of fresh air - and I'm talking about the original one, not the (personal opinion warning) nauseating "rarity" gumph that came later. The split between (player controlled, roughly) "magic items" and (totally GM controlled) Artifacts was genius. If I'm going to foist on the players stuff that I think is cool/want their characters to have I feel much better having the decency not to pretend it "belongs to them", now. Not that I can't see the attractions of McGuffin scenarios where you have to visit Mount Zapp and combat the Zapp Monster to get your Zapp-o-Matic staff, but I view them as rather a cheap motivation source and for use only when otherwise uninspired. And then I would probably just assign a level to the site and let the players choose a suitably thematic item to acquire. Actually, a DungeonWorld style roll might be fun: state what you are seeking and do a research task. ...

Wednesday, 9th March, 2016

  • 10:42 PM - Tony Vargas quoted Balesir in post D&D4: Most Unique and Interesting Powers.
    That clarifies things a bit, for me. 4E is certainly not good if this is the world style you want; to be honest, I don't think any version of D&D does it well. Perhaps you could frig it with 2e or 3.x, but I never tried D&D isn't ideal for a world where magic is terribly rare and unexpected - but it does work just as long as PCs are among those few with magic. In fact, it makes the PCs with magic that much more effective and important, because most potential enemies (and virtually all bystanders and potential victims) are unprepared for their abilities. Which, maybe, stretches 'does work' in a certain direction. ;) And, 3.x and 4e don't assume that PC classes are universal. 3.5 assumes class/level is universal, but has low-impact NPC classes, so there's no reason a lower-magic would couldn't have had a population with (virtually) no other PC-class casters and few Adepts - but lack of magic items could be an issue. 4e didn't even assume classes are universal, so NPCs were whatever the DM ...

Sunday, 6th March, 2016

  • 11:29 PM - Saelorn quoted Balesir in post D&D4: Most Unique and Interesting Powers.
    "Ha ha - pop through the door and give Mikal a fright!" "Funny, but I can't - I can only jump to places I can see"If the mysterious faerie creatures start explaining their powers, then the world stops resembling pseudo-Medieval-Europe-but-with-magic. You could get a similar result if you had wizards go around and try to explain their spells to everyone. Magic stops being magical if random Muggles start understanding how it works. You could make a world where everyone knew that magic was real, and even the constable was aware of standardized counter-measures against spellcasters, but that seems like the exception rather than the rule, and it wasn't the world we were playing in.
  • 10:57 PM - Dannyalcatraz quoted Balesir in post D&D4: Most Unique and Interesting Powers.
    Thay wouldn't need to see the game rules - just have non-violent relations with an eladrin for a while. It stands as an assumption if all humans and eladrin ever do is fight (in which case what has being a crminal go to do with anything?), but hang out with one another for a while and it'll become fairly well understood. "Ha ha - pop through the door and give Mikal a fright!" "Funny, but I can't - I can only jump to places I can see" That assumes they're willing to reveal that weakness in front of other races. I'm not sure that's exactly realistic. There might even be a strong cultural taboo against it.

Friday, 4th March, 2016

  • 10:52 PM - Imaro quoted Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    And whaddaya know - I was right! :lol: :D So tell me because I asked earlier and all you've done is everything but clearly state what it is you are arguing for... What is the point you are trying to make? Or is this question so hard to answer because ultimately you don't even know what it is?
  • 10:33 PM - Imaro quoted Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    Thanks for the condescending cheap shot, but that is the discussion between you and @pemerton and nothing to do with what I was responding to. So reviewing the conversation that you jumped into the middle of and responded too is condescending. I can't even... This is tangentially related to what I was responding to, because the representation of what was originally asked and your response was not quite like this. What I was responding to was these comments about the possibility of "unexpected reinforcements": Context is everything... thus the recap... you jumped in the middle of a conversation between me and @pemerton and apparently didn't understand the context of the discussion going on... and now instead of admitting that, you've created a separate conversation around posts taken out of their original context... the point of which only you seem to have known (I guess I should have read your mind and realized it was a separate tangent). My "point" is that all of this is a great bi...
  • 10:20 PM - Saelorn quoted Balesir in post What's your style?
    1) Consistency = the models that the players hold in their heads of the imaginary situation in the game are the same; i.e. they are consistent from one to the next. 2) Consistency = no set of established facts about the imagined world are directly contradictory; i.e. if A, B and C have been established as true, in no case should A and B, either independently or combined, make C nonsensical.The second one is what I consider more important, but from a practical standpoint, I'm not sure how you would go about guaranteeing that unless you have one "true" situation that you're checking against, as the GM is imagining it. If you're just establishing facts as you go along, without checking each against a central authority, then you would need to check each new fact against every other fact in order to guarantee that there is no contradiction. If the GM is imagining the "true" situation, then you only need to check each new fact against that one model, and you'll know that none of the facts contrad...
  • 03:11 AM - Maxperson quoted Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    By that measure, wouldn't the PC missing because the opponent ducked be "external"? Sure. Internal and external are basically decided by the narrative. It's all in how the DM describes what happens. As an aside, most if not all plausible ways I can think of for a sword to actually break arise directly from the interplay of moves by the fighters - in other words, they do very much depend on the relative skills. Skill has nothing to do with flaws in the sword. That's at a minimum one plausible way for a sword to break that doesn't involve skills, relative or otherwise.
  • 12:26 AM - Imaro quoted Balesir in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    This doesn't really hold up to scrutiny. By this measure, it is a "failure of perception" that we don't know the location of every other creature on the planet - this is obviously false. Perception isn't about being aware of some creature or not - it's about when you become aware of a creature that may interact with you. If I have no idea if my neighbour across the road is at home or not, that's not a "failure of perception". If I miss them leaving via their front door, it's more a matter of happenstance whether I happen to be stood by a window that overlooks their front door than any skill on my part. If I miss them coming in my front door (while I am in the house), on the other hand, the claim of "failed my perception" would hold considerably more weight. For the reinforcements, nothing so far said (as far as I can tell) suggests that they have to pop up in close or even melee range of the PCs. They might be 30 or 40 yards away or more, emerging from a wood or a nearby village, or closer ...


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