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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:26 PM
    Sorry Lanefan (yes, that is the sort of reply I was looking for) and @ Emerikol . I’ll get back to your guys’ responses as soon as I can. Pretty tied up. Yup, I was referring to Blades (also, I think you may have a different copy than mine because mine is H1 -H4; Lesser, Moderate, Severe, Fatal...no H5!)! Death Spiral is certainly a concern (because it’s not fun and not genre coherent)....
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:29 PM
    Links to four actual play examples.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 02:17 PM
    No. But knowing that you're in a skill challenge does help make decisions about what resources to expend (eg if I have a limited-used Nature buff, I might not use it on the first check if I'm still sussing out the fiction), and it helps you know what the payoff is for succeeding. It also establishes a context for making choices about how to engage the fiction: if its a complexity 5 skill...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 10:10 PM
    I definitely agree. Take Blades in the Dark, for example. It’s has 3 phases of play: Free Play Score Downtime Each of those are effectively “scenes” or multiple scenes. However, only in certain cases (eg the GM deployment of a Clock or Opposing Clocks - very much kindred to 4e) will scene resolution be cemented in mechanically (rather than “organically”).
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 07:17 PM
    @MwaO I’m not sure what you’re disagreeing with in my post. Can you hone in on the aspect you’re disagreeing with? Are you saying that you don’t believe there are inherent advantages to having closed scene resolution machinery player-facing or there aren’t inherent disadvantages to making the situation only GM facing? If you feel that way, could you maybe talk about other scene-based...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 05:03 PM
    Quite the thread! Surprised I didn’t notice it before. Just a few quick thoughts in relation to pemerton ‘s post on player-facing Skill Challenges . I’ve long been an advocate of transparency (including making everything player-facing) in mechanical archetecture of scene-based games. While 4e is a fiction-first RPG like Apocalypse World, it is not a free form RPG like AW. It’s more...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 01:54 PM
    If you want to have that discussion, you can necro the thread and respond to the posts there.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 01:14 PM
    Those daily abilities don't have to be hoarded/preserved., though. The "adventuring day" might involve one encounter, or a dozen, and it makes no difference to game balance. If the players all nova in the first encounter of the day, this doesn't allow wizards to outshine fighters. It's purely about pacing. Whereas other editions (and 13th Age) depend for balance upon an "adventuring day" that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 12:43 PM
    I think players need to know they're in a skill challenge if they're going to make reasoned choices about what resources to use (eg powers, action points, equipment, etc). In that respect I think the comparison to combat is apt. I don't see resolution as something separate from the "real" game.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 10:02 AM
    To be honest I don't remember any of that - it was a while ago now! I know that the paladin did stuff, as his player was the one who initiated the idea of taming rather than killing the bear. The fighter must have done something too, but I don't remember what that was: I have a vague memory of the bear being hostile to him, and him doing something in response (but I can't remember what, or...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 09:41 AM
    A follow-on from the previous post: skill challenges, like similar resolution systems in other (mostly indie) RPGs, work on the premises (1) that the GM is responsible for framing scenes, but (2) that the players are responsible for the choices that will determine how those scenes turn out. The significance of (2) is that it makes the scene, or encounter, the focus of play. There is no "the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 09:28 AM
    There are two things here - I had determined that the only way and hit the Orcs X times before the Orcs hit the PCs Y times. The latter is, more-or-less, what D&D combat looks like (where X and Y equals hit points divided by damage per hit). The former is about establishing stakes and modes of approach. There is nothing about a skill challenge as a mode of resolution that says that the GM...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 07:53 AM
    Succeeding at a check is something that takes place sitting around the table, in the real world, where a die was rolled, some number added to it, and the result compared to a difficulty. None of that happens in the fiction. In the real world, following the game mechanics as described in the PHB2, it goes more-or-less like this: Y's player rolls a Perception check, and X's player rolls (or has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 05:12 AM
    For me, "linear adventures"/railroading are fun when the characters are fairly vibrant (and so there is fun to be had bringing my character to life as part of play, given the other main bit of play - making choices that shape the fiction - is not really happening) and the GM/module is providing an engaging story that the vibrant characters fit into well. I've enjoyed CoC played in this style,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 02:28 AM
    The 4e rules are not a statement of in-fiction causal processes. They are a statement of processes of mechanical resolution. In this partiuclar case,succeeding on the Perception check (which is something a person at the table does, not something that a character in the fiction does) means that X loses hidden status, thus ceasing to be inivsible, and thus being able to be seen by Y's normal...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 01:05 AM
    This is another example of terminology drift. "Fail forward" is a technique that was championed by certain indie designers. The 13th Age rulebook (p 42) describes it thus: A simple but powerful improvement you can make to your game is to redefine failure as “things go wrong” instead of “the PC isn’t good enough.” Ron Edwards, Luke Crane, and other indie RPG designers have championed this...
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    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 12:39 AM
    Do you think this is true of combat also - that it makes no difference adjudicating combat as hp attrition, or adjudicating combat via a GM's freeform opinion of when the players have done enough to defeat their enemies?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 17th July, 2018, 12:32 AM
    And if X is hidden from Y, then X can't be seen by Y's normal vision. You keep talking about Y defeating X's cover (by "walking around the box X is hiding behind") - but doing that means that X is no longer hidden from Y, which of course means that (assuming that X has no other source of invisibility) X is no longer invisible to Y, and hence it is no longer true that Y cannot see X with normal...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 01:49 PM
    I think the idea of "being stuck at a closed door" is mostly a feature of GM-driven/railroad play. In "story now" play, the story just is that the PCs didn't go through that door, so some other thing happened. I don't know what Matt Colville has to say about it, but the structure of a skill challenge serves the same purpose as the structure of combat resolution: it establishes a mechanical...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 01:36 PM
    And 4e/WotC did?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 01:35 PM
    Just as a point of intellectual history: you do realise, don't you, that The Forge is quite hostile to White Wolf/Storyteller, and largely indifferent to D&D but with a mild sympathy for its classic/OSR version. For someone who gets worked up about what you see as falsehoods by critics of 4e, though, you don't hold back in posting nonsense about The Forge and the "threefold model". From...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 05:43 AM
    What would be a good name that was consistent with hp not being metagame?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 05:24 AM
    So how come, then, a Cure Light Wounds spell can heal most ordinary people (in classic D&D, B/X, AD&D and 3E) from dying or on their last legs, to full health?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 01:41 PM
    It's an interesting juxtaposition. Obviously 4e, BW and Cortex+ Heroic (the three systems I work with at the moment) handle this very differently. 4e is closest to your (1), BW to your (2). Cortex+ Heroic is intermediate.
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 12:23 PM
    Emerikol (and Lanefan and perhaps Saelorn ), you (and Lanefan) answered my question with a response about the implications on the gameplay paradigm; eg “it would make it more lethal.” This thread is about “metagame mechanics” and players making decisions based exclusively on (what you perceive as) observable phenomenon (biological, physical) from the character’s perspective. I’m looking for...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 11:32 AM
    On this occasion, we are in agreement!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 09:57 AM
    But why do you need "patching up", if they're not being impeded in their performance? In my experience, the actual play of hit points and healing is all about making sure no one drops below zero; but how do the PCs know that any given PC is close to dying, if all they can see as some random assortment of minor wounds? To give a concrete example. A PC has 30 hp. Scenario 1: s/he takes four...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 09:50 AM
    This is all just assertion. Even the bit about not being able to control when you urinate.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 04:20 AM
    Why not? An AD&D monk can control when s/he goes into a cataleptic trance that feigns death, ro when s/he recovers lost hit points by way of self-healing. A 3E or 5e barbarian can control when s/he gets really angry. Why can't a 5e fighter control when s/he gets his/her second wind? I think there is some tension here. You don't seem to regard "moderately unrealistic" hit points as magic,...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 03:59 AM
    Or JRRT, who is about as sentimental as Disney. I think one solution to this is one that Gygax at least gestures towards in his DMG: narrate it one way (Disney-esque) for PCs, but otherwise for monsters and NPCs who won't be coming back. You probably won't be surprised that I regard 4e as the most coherent presentation of hp-as-sentimentality-towards-the-heroes: that's why they can be...
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 03:28 AM
    If someone suggested that it was outrageous for a wizard to shoot a bow, and there was a response of "cast Magic Missile", I don't think that would create much controversy. Similarly, using DEX/Stealth is how a non-caster achieves the functionality of an Invisibility spell. My initial reply to you was mostly intended as humour; what's surprised me is that has generated all this contoversy. ...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 01:39 PM
    I don’t want to dig down too deeply into the rest of the hacking required, because I was trying to solicit solely the visceral reaction from Emerikol . I’m inthe same camp as Ratskinner ; the reaction to one type of mechanics or information organization versus another is primarily because of familiarity or the internalization of a set of stuff into a mental framework that you’ve settled into...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:21 AM
    Who said there is a problem? I find it tends to help things that I and my players are on the same page. If the GM is either going to move quickly through the blocking obstacle, or else there is an overnight rest and encounter opportunity, I'm not really seeing the meaningful choice or trade off. Why does the passage of ingame time, and the passage of time at the table dealing with that extra...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:07 AM
    You're wrong about 4e - it's in the rules for Stealth in the PHB2 that a succesful Stealth check makes you invisible to the person you're hiding from, which means that they can't see you with normal vision. (Depending on the circumstances, they may be able to see you with Blindsight or Tremorsense.) And as I've already said, 5e refers to being unseen - which in many circumstances is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:02 AM
    You're not selling me on 5e!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 09:00 AM
    The ingame explanation is the same way s/he knows s/he is breathing, or hurting - s/he feels it. There's no "gradually increaasing". You start being able to memorise (say) 1 1st level spell. Then you can memorise 2. Then you can memorise 1 second level spell as well. Then 3 1st and 2 2nd. (I'm using the AD&D charts.) Each step up corresponds exactly to a class level - so if you treat...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:32 AM
    One implication seems to be that in 4e you can play a ninja without using magic - you can have a rogue whose ability to stay hidden (by dint of camouflage, distraction, stillness, etc) is just that good - but in 5e, at least according to other posters in this thread, you can't.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:29 AM
    Someone (maybe FrogReaver?) upthread posited that the suggestion in the OP was as absurd as a fighter declaring that s/he turns invisible. My response to that was that a fighter turning invisible equals making a DEX/Stealth check. In 4e that is literally true - a successful Stealth check makes you invisible. (As per the rules that I have already quoted twice upthread.) In 5e it is not...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 14th July, 2018, 06:15 AM
    There is no need for combat reslutoin to involve metagame, just as there is no need for (say) climbing resolution, or swimming resolution, or resolving a friendly game of darts, to involve metagame. For instance, in combat each combatant makes a roll, adjusted appropriately by armour, weapon, etc, and the higher roll wins. Much as one might resolve a game of darts. The fact that D&D...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 11:29 AM
    I don't see what your issue is, then, with the ranger/cleric in 3E. The cleric does the odd bit of melee fighting, and wanders through some interesting terrain! Which is what a ranger does.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 11:24 AM
    There is also the opening sentence, that says that "he GM decides when circumstances are appropriate for hiding", as well as the bit that says "under certain circumstances, the GM might allow you to stay hidden as you approach a creature that is distracted, allowing you to gain advantage on an attack roll before you are seen." Presumably it is also possible in the world of 5e for someone who is...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 08:19 AM
    I agree with Tony Vargas in having a different view of this. In 4e, you get XP for playing and (via the parcel system) get treasure for earning XP, so magic items aren't a reward either. The "rewards" in 4e (as in, stuff that isn't a guaranteed result of playing the game, and which is obtained, or not, based on player decisions) are either in the fiction ("story rewards"), or else the thrill...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:34 AM
    In 3E the "process" is defeating monsters. They might have been defeated via swordplay, or a mighty spell, or by being tricked into running off a cliff. The XP system is indifferent to these nuances. So what would it even mean to be "consciously trying to improve a specific set of abilities"? In your system, does a player have to use a ranger weapon to put XP into the ranger class? Cast...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 04:05 AM
    If you're not talking about cheating, then what does it mean for a chess player to "game the system" and thereby "win more often than s/he should"? Do you mean not giving the other player an appropriate handicap? That's on the borderline between rules and courtesy. In party-based D&D, though, what is it to take advantage of a fellow player? And what are the loopholes, unintended consequences...
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 04:02 AM
    Emerikol, let me pose you a question. I'm not sure you've ever GMed or played under the following paradigm, so let me lay it out. Try to conceive of simply switching out the HP model from your current game for a low overhead system that handles it in fictional terms that also intersect with action resolution (what action declarations might be permissible, what may be penalized). It looks...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 03:59 AM
    But in this case, you can just read the mechanics of encounter powers and the like into the physics of the world. Just like a character knows that being hit by a longsword will never maim or cause serious bleeding, but will simply whittle away staying power, so s/he knows that once between hour rests s/he can make an extra spurt of action (or whatever else it is that is on a short rest recovery...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 01:38 AM
    If you mean "cheating", just come out and say it. And then tell us what cheating looks like in D&D, or RQ, or . . . Given that the rules expressly suggest this, how can it count as "gaming the system"? And why don't we just call this playing well? As we would in chess, cricket, poker, or any other game?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 01:29 AM
    What edition are you referring to? I already quoted the 4e rules for Stealh, and will quote them again (from PHB2, p 222): success on a Stealth check means "You are hidden, which means you are silent and invisible to the enemy". So it's not true, in 4e, that to become invisible requires something beyond successfully making a Stealth check. In 5e, the rules for hiding don't use invisibility...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:34 PM
    This depends on edition. It's true for Gygax's AD&D. It may or may not be true in 2nd-ed era, Dragonlance-style play, depending on the conventions that apply at a given table. It's not true for all those 5e tables using "milestone" XP. In my own experience it's not true for 4e, where - especially once the full suite of XP rules from the DMG, DMG2 and Essentials is being used - XP is basically a...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 01:22 PM
    A "pounding" that doesn't slow her or impede her performance in any way. And what does "I did take a hit or two" mean when your PC has been fighting a dragon? It only got in a couple of bites?!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:18 AM
    Casting a spell, or memorising/preparing one, also requires "specific circumstances and actions" which may need GM adjudication to resolve. Likewise the OP's suggestion that the player of a wingless or wing-scarred character might declare that those wings are magically regrown. That action in a RPG is in some fashion subject to adjudiction doesn't seem that significant a point.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 11:12 AM
    I agree with the inverted commas, which means I don't really agree that any system can be "gamed" by players. Playing a system as it is meant to be played isn't gaming, it's just playing. It seems to me that the notion of players "gaming the system" is a result of years (decades) of groups using Gygax's AD&D resolution mechanics for games that don't have the same play goals as Gygaxian...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 02:53 AM
    In 4e there were the following paragon and epic tier rogue abilities, that required training in Stealth: * You must already be hidden to use this power. You are invisible until you leave your current square. No other action that you perform makes you visible. * You must already be hidden to use this power. You are invisible until the end of the encounter or until you end the effect by...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 02:37 AM
    I think this is quite an idiosyncratic view. I would say that the reality of the D&D world is that people suffer light, serious and critical wounds, suffer maiming (which requires Regeneration to heal), and have mystical "life essence" which some undead can drain and which requires Restoration to restore. Nothing in an D&D rulebook or setting has ever made me think that hit points are the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 02:18 AM
    From Gygax's DMG, p 85: If the relative value of the monster(s) or guardian device fought equals or exceeds that of the party which took the treasure, experience is awarded on a 1 for 1 basis. If the guardian(s) was relatively weaker, award experience on a 5 g.p. to 4 x.P., 3 to 2, 2 to 1, 3 to 1, or even 4 or more to 1 basis according to the relative strengths. For example, if a 10th level...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 01:53 AM
    Classic D&D has many action declarations that are auto-successes - eg I cast Transmute Muck to Rock, assuming the character is a magic user of sufficient level who has memorised that spell. But a lot of people describe that as "creative casting", not "dull".
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 11:37 AM
    On Attributes: the attributes in In a Wicked Age are interesting: * Covertly * Direclty * For myself * For others * With love * With violence These are rated with dice, and every action uses two of them for its resolution.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:17 AM
    DW = Dungeon World.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 06:15 AM
    Emerikol - there was a whole generation of fantasy RPGers who, because they disliked metagame mechanics, dropped D&D for metagame-free systems like RQ, RM and the like. (At the time, these were promoted as "realistic" systems.) Those systems all drop AC. They all drop combat-as-hp-attrition. (Though they may use hp for other purposes - as meat points in RQ, as a measure of bruising, blood loss...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 05:20 AM
    Or when one or both sides regard negotiation as demanded by honour or morality or custom. Or when one or both sides think they are better talkers than fighters. Or when one or both sides believe negotiation is more likely to deliver desirable results. Aragorn negotiates with Sauron's armies, once Sauron has been defeated, because that is what will serve Gondor's interests, and what is fitting...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 04:21 AM
    Isn't that called making a DEX/Stealth check?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 04:06 AM
    I thought the point of playing OSR systems is to have the classic D&D experience - and XP foe gold is pretty central to that. Otherwise, why not play DW?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 01:46 AM
    I don't know anything about video games, but I think I missed the unsavoury monetisation schemes of 4e. I bought the books I wanted, but not the ones I didn't (Draconomicons, Eberron, most of the adventures); I didn't buy any miniatures (which in any event were being sold well before 4e was released); I paid for a couple of months subscription to DDI around 2011 to download all the Dragons and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 09:33 AM
    This doesn't seem very controversial to me. Here is a somewhat comparable thing that happened in my 4e game. Roleplaying in a RPG tends to mean "playing one's character". This is one way of playing one's character. Someone who describes the furniture in his/her PC's house isn't "not roleplaying" just because the purchase and arrangement of said furniture happened at some earlier, unspecified...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 04:57 AM
    Classes and roles are fundamental to 4e PC building - much more so than in 3E or 5e. To get rid of them would be to rebuild from the ground up.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 02:35 AM
    WotC is a commercial publisher - it is always trying to maximise profits! Every time posters on these boards celebrate the commercial success of fifth edition, they are celebrating WotC's maximisation of its profits. As far as respect for customer base is concerned - I'm not 100% sure what that means, but 4e did not contain dangerous components, or involve any sort of fraudulent...
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    5 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 08:32 AM
    Is 4e too slow in play? That is a design problem (although obviously to some extent at least relative to taste). Is 4e too different from AD&D and 3E, and hence not popular with that market? That is not a design problem; it's a commercial problem, but doesn't tell us anything about the qualities of 4e as a game. (It's not inherent in the notion of game, or even good game, that it be...
    334 replies | 10427 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 04:48 AM
    There is a popular series of articles on these boards that stats up mythic figures (Achilles, Jean D'Arc, Lancelot, etc) for 5e. Those statblocks are almost entirely combat-oriented. They don't contain Ideals, Bonds or Flaws, despite these being a core 5e mechanic for expressing character personalities. The 5e skill system is very similar to the 4e one, but lacks a coherent resolution method....
    334 replies | 10427 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 5th July, 2018, 12:56 AM
    Very good post here. I think each discrete part is very salient. I think the first part happens to be a big component of these conversations because a great many D&D players seem to have internalized an AD&D rules paradigm as representing something like the actual mental overhead that is going on in physical, hand-to-hand combat...when they, in all likelihood, have never engaged in actual...
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 10:06 AM
    Classic D&D XP is super metagamey. XP for "good roleplaying" even moreso. I don't know what system for awarding XP Emerikol uses.
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 12:25 AM
    This claim is controversial. AD&D saving throws are metagame: Gygax says as much in his discussion of saving throws in his DMG. AD&D hit points are metagame: see above. Barbarian rage, in 3E, is as metagame as martial dailies in 4e. Spell memorisation encourages highly metagame play, and the fact that there is a veneer of an in-fiction rationale doesn't change that.
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
    3 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 4th July, 2018, 12:21 AM
    Aldarc's post makes an important point - there is no contrast, in general, between enjoys metagame mechanics and does not care about immersion in character. Rather, the metagame mechanics are part of the techniques used to achieve immersion.
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 01:36 PM
    Ovinomancer , TwoSix , @ anyone else... I feel like digging down really deeply on the TLJ/4E tradition deviation comparison may (a) not be something that anyone else in this thread cares about and (b) while works into 4e’s “essence”, it may push the bounds of threadcrapping (and my next response would be long). What do you guys think? Anyone else care about that topic?
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 08:40 AM
    I think that's actually quite impractical for a lot of RPGing situations. And also still doesn't do the job. No doubt there's stuff in the Lonely Planet guide to Melbourne that I don't know; but as far as knowing the shortcuts and alleyways around my house, I know them better than the Lonely Planet will tell you about them. I think having mechanics that allow a PC to pace him-/herself, and...
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd July, 2018, 05:02 PM
    Well, personally, I didn’t think 4e had much in the way of problems with its skill set up. In 4e noncombat conflict resolution and stunting, there are only a few relevant parts to action resolution and micro-story-progression when it comes to characters: 1) Can this PC realize their archetype through play (conflict framing > action resolution > story output)? 2) Through the realization...
    60 replies | 2670 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 06:16 PM
    Sorry for the delay in getting back. Alright, so my thoughts: I definitely agree with TwoSix's first thought above: a) "I imagine there's a decent correlation between those who disliked 4e and those who disliked TLJ for the same reasons; it didn't match their expectations of what "D&D" or "Star Wars" should be." I also saw on the TLJ thread on these boards that there are...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 1st July, 2018, 03:45 PM
    Emerikol - I agree with you that HD and Inspiration are metagame mechanics. (I think hp are also, but maybe you don't agree with that.) But I don't think I agree about action surge and second wind. These are correlates of the character, in the ficiton, trying harder and pushing him-/herself to his/her limits.
    471 replies | 10149 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 29th June, 2018, 04:47 PM
    And how does this tend to show the viability of fighters? They're not needed for DPR. They're not needed to defend "squishies". So what distinctive capability does a fighter bring to the table?
    412 replies | 18065 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 03:57 PM
    @Pauper I’m doing a poor job of communicating. There is clearly a large outcry over TLJ from SW traditionalists/the base. I’m not referring to them. I’m invoking a specific cross-section of folks who: 1) Identify as part of the SW base.
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 03:47 PM
    My take is that DMG1 didn’t have nearly a clear enough voice (while DMG2, design articles, and Dungeon articles were all very consistent) . There was an editor problem or a “too many cooks in the kitchen” problem with the writing/handling of various chapters and instruction. While myself and others saw it clearly in various 4e game tech and instruction, there are many others who didn’t see it....
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 02:28 PM
    Ted Serious Thank you for the response, but perhaps the thrust of my post wasn’t clear (as your response doesn’t hook into it). I was commenting on the curiosity of the non-universal application of the “don’t piss off your traditionalist base” axiom. 4e was routinely decried for its violation of it (we constantly heard the “New Coke” cautionary tale). Meanwhile, The Last Jedi (which...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 01:55 AM
    Let me extend things a little bit to talk about cost as the relevant piece... So chao is talking about Sorcerer here, but its relevant. So the PC's big brother is the best man he ever knew. Raised him when their parents died. Is a retired, legendary Dog who lost his gun-fighting hand when a nasty infection from a wound took it that he got rescuing a child straight from the jaws of a...
    161 replies | 5108 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 12:19 AM
    Can we stop talking about fuding? It's irrelevant to this thread. (Maybe some people think that D&D can't involve escalating stakes without fudging? But even were that so, this thread is in General RPGs, not a D&D sub-forum.)
    161 replies | 5108 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 06:18 PM
    Do you mean my words per post have decreased or my posts include less arcane language? There are a reason for both of those things. My vocabulary hasn’t evolved (organically) so much as I’ve worked very diligently to talk and write differently. Sometimes it takes. Sometimes I revert (but usually in person where I don’t have time to agonize over communicating more “accessibly and pithy”). ...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 05:59 PM
    It’s not enough “vomit a pile of words all over the screen while wandering aimlessly for a thought” to be me!
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 04:05 PM
    This may not the thread for it, but I mentioned it in another thread. There is a very significant overlap in long term Star Wars fans/traditionalists and D&D (no surprise as these were two of the seminal zeitgeists of that era). I would think that one of the takeaways of 4e (essence) is: “Don’t piss off your traditionalist base.” 4e was and has been relentlessly murdered for that.
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    0 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 27th June, 2018, 12:00 AM
    Fudging is a red herring in relation to Vincent Baker's remarks. The play of a RPG can establih that something is at stake in action resoution, and that the players care about that, without any need for GM fuding. I also think a focus on the risk of PC death is spmewhat misplaced. I do'nt think the threat of protagonist death is necessary to create suspense. And in RPGing, relying on that as...
    161 replies | 5108 view(s)
    1 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Tuesday, 26th June, 2018, 07:35 PM
    Just checked back on this briefly. That is a great and extremely insightful post @Pauper . Just a couple of thoughts on those lines: 1) An appropriate analog to your “don’t leave adventure design in the hands of those that don’t know your system” for this thread (and every other one dating back to 2008) on “the essence of 4e” would be... “Don’t let people who - don’t/didn’t play your...
    171 replies | 5817 view(s)
    5 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 23rd June, 2018, 02:38 AM
    True, but not with RPG techniques attached! OK, that's a technique, thanks! In my BW game, the PCs getting word of the marriage of the Gynarch of Hardby to an established nemesis NPC played a similar sort of role. To go back to the Star Wars example: How do we set up (something like) Han being frozen as a possible cost of finding a Jedi Master?
    161 replies | 5108 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 01:12 PM
    I'm with Garthanos - the biggest change is not the way of generating probabilities and comparing them to target numbers! Uniformity has an obvious simplicity to it, and saves having to muck about with lots of dice. But there are issues with making everything have the same granularity. I've been playing a bit of Classic Traveller lately - it uses mostly uniform rolls (2d6, occasionally 3d6)...
    61 replies | 1905 view(s)
    0 XP
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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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Gygax Memorial Fund
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EN Publishing
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EN Publishing
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ZEITGEIST
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ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution
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WotBS
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War of the Burning Sky Adventure Path
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D&D
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Dungeons & Dragons
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