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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 07:44 PM
    Fair enough. As would I were someone to hit nobility on the random chart; I've had to do just this a few times in the past. But note that the 5e example still has the noble status being determined at char-gen along with the background, rather than dropped into play on the fly. It's the dropped-into-play-on-the-fly bit I have problems with, in that a) chances are it's being done just to...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 07:14 PM
    Elf-to-dwarf would ideally sort of reflect the overall population ratio in the area, over the long run (i.e. if there's more elves in the local area than dwarves I'd expect to see more elves in play than dwarves and (though players can usually choose) I'd set up any random tables to reflect this. MU-to-fighter has a vaguely suggested ratio in the 1e DMG of about 1-to-4, which has proven...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 06:51 PM
    Problem is, starting with 3e that's how the game has worked by RAW: one person does their entire round's worth of stuff, then another, then another. Movement is almost like a mini-teleport, there's no consideration given for the time it takes and where you might be when something else happens (e.g. did you just run into that lightning bolt or not). No, unrealistic in that I can't change my...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 09:00 AM
    Any and all of which would have been really nice to know before the character started play in order that I and-or the player could have incorporated this aspect of the character into play. For example if the PC has been banished I'd like to know from where, and why, and then determine if anyone happens to recognize him during his travels. Character's gained the advantage of never being...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Today, 08:43 AM
    In most cases, I just tell the players that they should simply leave their dangerous pets somewhere out of town, or keep them hidden if possible, otherwise there is a high chance of trouble. Monstrous characters are a bigger problem, because I would have to tell the PCs themselves to stay at bay, meaning that they will be effectively out of the game for a while. Luckily, none of my players in...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 06:23 AM
    Way back in the day we used declarations, but abandoned them mostly because far too often the declared action didn't make any sense by the time your init came up. Example: my declaration is that I attack the Orc I'm fighting but by the time my init comes up someone else has already killed it; my declaration has me committed so either I chop at a corpse or I do nothing, where it'd be far more...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Today, 06:09 AM
    The bigger headache, no matter what the rules are, is if you're declaring you're a noble now that means you've in fact been a noble all along; which in turn means the question of your entourage (what it consists of, its general level of loyalty, its capabilities, and whether any of it would have come with you into the field) should have been dealt with before you first entered play. One of my...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 09:10 PM
    No worries. :) As long as you're applying disadvantages to cancel off advantages I'd likely have no problem with it were I in your game. I tend to prefer the zero-to-hero arc, particularly as it helps allow for some long-term growth and change during a long campaign. Indeed, but in my game almost all of that happens at char-gen which to me largely falls in the meta realm anyway. The...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:44 PM
    But as neither the players nor PCs know this it only makes sense that if they know about philacteries they're likely to bend some effort into finding/destroying them to prevent those liches from coming back later...particularly as the PCs would probably realize they just kinda peed those liches off by destroying their skeletal forms! If the priest is experienced enough to be defeating liches...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:25 PM
    I'm not sure I 100% follow you here so if I get this wrong please correct me, but the bit I bolded carries another aspect as well which is I think at (or very close to) the core of much of this discussion: that this advocacy for one's PC extends to trying to gain whatever in-game advantage you can for it. In the examples at hand, this includes: - advocating for use of player knowledge in...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 08:00 PM
    The bracketed bit about sums up where I sit, along with most of our crew here - we're old-school but we are concerned about the character/player knowledge split and take steps to try to minimize it (e.g. someone scouting alone has their actions handled by note, or by he and the DM going into another room for a moment, so that the other players don't now what's become of the scout; pleasant side...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 11:03 AM
    If it's in-character and has something to do with what's going on in the fiction, even if it's just a conversation with another character, I handle it by letting it go on more or less as long as it wants to. To me this sort of thing is part of the entertainment. But if it's out-of-character e.g. a long discourse on last night's hockey game, then on we move ASAP. :)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:54 AM
    Were it me, a PC with a peasant background would very likely have a penalty on such a knowledge check, while a PC with an engineering background or any sort of Rogue/Thief training would have a bonus or even not require a check at all (potential bonuses would be looked at first and if any existed then any penalties would go away). Earlier you were suggesting that if the player (but not the PC)...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Sunday, 17th March, 2019, 09:00 PM
    Never done it that way.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 09:46 AM
    I'd think it would be exciting as all hell to start with the raid, see what they do with it, and have 'em all* get knocked out and captured** by the end of it. It'll give 'em a bang-up combat right out of the gate, while serving as a warning that you're not going to pull your punches when things get real later. * - or hey, maybe one escapes capture and either frees the others later or meets...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 09:39 AM
    Right - back at it...sorry 'bout the gap there... :) Because in session 0 there's no here-and-now stakes, and no clear and obvious immediate advantage to the PC/player. In session 4 when the stakes have become serious it's a bit beyond the pale if Tommy pulls the answer out of thin air like that. And even then it's probably not the end of the world, except that if Tommy does this once what's...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 12:39 AM
    Correct. If it gives an advantage you can't select it; and the random roll aspect reflects the reality of some people just being born luckier than others. If it was decided up front that all the PCs would have some sort of advantage via their backgrounds, that's a fine table rule. The reality is, though, that the vast majority of people in ye olde typical medieval society were peasants who...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 16th March, 2019, 12:17 AM
    That which I've bolded might just be the most controversial statement you've ever posted in here. And though to argue it would re-open edition wars best left in the past, bait which I'll decline this time, don't assume for a second that silence denotes agreement.
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 04:46 PM
    It might also refer to the very tiniest of smiles that Carol gives to Thor. (which reminds me, we need a shrug emote here)
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 09:12 AM
    Quick thought... A lot of people who like complexity actually like their own complexity. Almost everyone I know who is a fan of high-complexity games uses house rules in RPG because they are unsatisfied by how things are designed by the authors. I might be wrong, but I have developed the feeling that their true motive is simply wanting to be in charge, and perhaps even wanting to believe they...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Friday, 15th March, 2019, 06:25 AM
    I've watched parts of an episode or two of Critical Role and Sirens of the Realm. It's an interesting idea but honestly it's not my kind of entertainment. Watching those quickly made me want to go and play the game or write adventures, for which I'm thankful but I don't think it was the intended effect. My feeling is always "why am I wasting my time watching someone else play?". (Before...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 09:16 PM
    They have to do something fresh with The Batman. The story and the character both are getting so stale and rehashed it is really hard to get excited by it. Shazam I suspect will work just as well as Aquaman did, and the Aquaman sequel will be fine too. The Suicide Squad? If they learn their lessons from the first maybe it'll be ok. It's a big if. Wonder Woman 1984 can't fail. The...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 09:04 PM
    It's kinda hard to tell the way they're standing over it like that. I did just notice that Tony is in the new suits scene, looking quite ruffled.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 08:58 PM
    First off, it wouldn't get to the point of a player just saying this. If a player wants to delve into their character's family history before puck drop that's fine, but it'd be handled the same way any other PC's family history is handled: you can choose basic stuff that doesn't give any potential advantages (e.g. you come from a long line of farmers or brewers or what-have-you), or you can...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 08:31 PM
    In order: 1. Yes. Knowledge level regarding a town (a part of the setting) would be GM-determined in concert with looking at your character's background and history to see if you've ever been here before or have any other legitimate reason to know much about the place. (and if you don't have a background/history done up, dice are plan B) 2. Maybe. This one would largely depend on class,...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 04:57 PM

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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 04:40 PM
    Looking at this trailer I am picturing a boxed set with all of the MCU movies in one definitive set.
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 03:44 PM
    I'm not sure why you aren't sure how I envisage this working. It's called talking. The player talks to the DM, and together they determine whether a certain, shall we say fine print, in a characters backstory is set up, and whether that works for the story in question. There's no 'roughshod' implied, and taking something seriously doesn't mean it has to be agreed with or accepted into the...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 01:50 PM
    It's been some time since I've read the 4th edition rules, but I'm pretty sure that every edition of D&D has dungeon masters discretion written in. The player can't write up whatever they want into their characters backstory without talking about it with the DM first, yes? Otherwise what's to stop someone from making their character a former best friend of the BBEG's and by being that already...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 11:03 AM
    "Being told a story" implies you're just sitting there like a lump with no choice and no input to anything. Other than the most extreme of railroads and hard-wired APs, the players individually and-or collectively are always going to have input* into the story even in the most Viking-hat GM-driven game - if only because their decisions and actions (and sometimes their dice) are going to in...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 10:44 AM
    I've bolded the relevant bit here: taking on the role of a character means playing that role as if you were that character, using its knowledge*, its senses*, its feelings*^, its emotions^, and its personality^. * - the information for what these provide comes from the GM, and if it's not enough, ask for more. ^ - these come from the player (and both of these can be interrupted by various...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 10:20 AM
    Because for some reason you've conditioned yourself to pay attention to these things, and focus your play experience around the source of the fiction/information rather than the content. Your will, your way, I suppose... The "mess" I refer to is the post-hoc note-taking so that I can be consistent next session with the stuff I ad-libbed tonight, as I know full well I'll never remember it...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 07:55 AM
    In 3e maybe. In 1e - which is what I was referring to - Bards didn't have their own spells. They had certain abilities, of which Legend Lore was one*; and could cast a few Druid spells. * - some others were Charm, Item Knowledge, Suggestion, Sonic Attack Negation, and Morale.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 07:45 AM
    How did you not get alignment in there somewhere? :) Yeah, we're still aiming for that big target in the middle of the field but if the damn parachute doesn't open soon we're going to hit it a lot harder than recommended...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 07:41 AM
    Bracing myself... :) Legend Lore isn't a spell, btw; it's an at-will ability for old-school Bards. The main limitations on use is that it's a bit time-consuming in the fiction, and you can only use it once on any given thing until you gain a level. And for all that, the statue might be a fake - you still don't know that either. :) Depending on in-fiction circumstance, Legend Lore isn't...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 07:26 AM
    I don't appreciate the difference because in my view there is no difference, or at least none that's at all relevant to anything. Here's what both of those examples really are: The player makes a move that obliges the GM to narrate some fiction relevant to that move The GM narrates that fiction. Though I got the terminology wrong, in the end the mechanic still gets invoked. The...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 14th March, 2019, 07:09 AM
    Yes, which means they're metagaming. I'm just trying to point out that in some cases - of which this is clearly one - a DM can take some simple steps to help line character knowledge up with player knowledge... ...such as this; which is even more efficient than what I'd suggested. Yet when a DM changes things up e.g. with red dragons that breathe gas or trolls that can only be...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 10:05 PM
    Two quick observations: Re Orcish fecundity: as a D&D race they generally have much shorter potential lifespans than most - never mind the many who never live to old age due to mishap and adventurers - and thus in order to preserve their numbers (and to generate lots of warriors) it only makes sense that they'd breed like rabbits relative to the longer-lived races. Re the Washington NFL...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 09:39 PM
    If it wasn't for board rules it'd probably contain naughty words too. :)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 09:37 PM
    People are claiming I don't understand stuff, and in this case it's true. First off, can we agree that the following two steps are valid Step 1 - player-as-PC declares Spout Lore; or her Bard uses Legend Lore; or does whatever the system-in-use equivalent may be, if such exists; in order to gather some info Step 2 - on success, the GM in response provides some new information centered...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 03:12 PM
    I try my chances too... I think the Hide action tells that the others roll a Wisdom(Perception) check, so Passive Perception isn't used in combat by default. That's because Passive Perception is said by the RAW to be used (a) to represent average results for tasks done repeatedly, and (b) when the DM just doesn't want to roll dice. But then of course the DM can always choose option...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 10:35 AM
    "This is bad writing." "This is a narrative choice I dislike." It seems to me that people these day (intentionally or otherwise) get those two sentences mixed up. :hmm:
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 08:52 AM
    The DM can't, but there's certainly items in the game that can forcibly change one's alignment...and were a DM to force one of these onto a character it wouldn't be the first time I've seen it done. :) (a long time ago a PC got a bit - well, quite a bit more than a bit - out of hand and was put on trial; on being found guilty part of the sentence was a forced alignment change) Is it,...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Wednesday, 13th March, 2019, 03:50 AM
    Something like that, yes. :) Yup. I speak to ideals here, knowing full well they are often just that: ideals. Well, there'd be some in-character mental constraints - even something as simple as a caster considering what spell to cast next and realizing she's out of 3rd-level slots for the day. But other than things like that, you're right. I'm not so sure these are always penalties...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th March, 2019, 09:54 PM
    M:tG is almost nothing but metagaming, or so it sometimes seems. :) I'll counter by saying it's on the player to think as her character would think and use only the knowledge that her character would have. It's then on the DM to ensure that enough information comes out to allow the player a reasonable idea of what knowledge her character has or doesn't have. I'd say it would depend on how...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th March, 2019, 09:40 PM
    Catching up on several posts at once here... Interesting that your examples - whether intentionally or not - also imply a degree of social interactivity. Solving crosswords is usually a solitary pastime, while debating is by definition going to involve other people. Numidius ' analogy in the followign post regarding dinner preparation is much better, the only variable missing in the GM-made...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Tuesday, 12th March, 2019, 10:49 AM
    I checked her on twitchmetrics and apparently she's already streamed 82 hours of content this month, and her viewers have watched her 716920 hours this month. That's how you get them ad moneys.
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 11:04 PM
    When someone has the audacity to make a cover of a David Bowie song, and it works.
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  • jonesy's Avatar
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 09:52 PM
    Quite right. I suppose I'm sort of looking at it from the other direction, though: asking first what do I/we want from the fiction (as opposed to what we're getting) and only after answering that then asking what do I have to do to the system to make it work. And to answer the first question one has to be able to somehow analyze the fiction, and this is where the aspects model comes in handy....
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 09:43 PM
    There is nothing beyond the walls, the demiplane ends there, so you can't poke a hole and walk outside or throw something out, there is no "out". I can't say about whether I would allow poking a hole in the first place however. My first thought was to make the walls indestructible (but putting nails or carving the name of your sweetheart should not be a problem), and my second was to rule that...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 05:23 PM
    I love you guys. :angel:
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 04:11 PM
    The more I see of this show, the more excited I get. :D
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 02:30 PM
    Bioware is saying that they've found no evidence of actual permanent bricking. There has been quite a lot of hard drive data losses, which is still really bad and unacceptable (especially when the game is affecting save data other than its own). But, no actual consoles permanently broken, which is something, I suppose. :hmm:
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 02:18 PM
    Thought for the day (and possibly an unpopular opinion as well): I really don't like watching Twitch. It's laggy, I always have problems with sound quality there (and the sound is laggy too), I dislike the chat (I don't know if I dislike the crowd, because I have serious problems following what's happening in the chat, so I've actually stopped reading it), I have trouble finding anything there...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 11:14 AM
    To a point. The excitement would only start (with a real kickstart!) when I solved the puzzle, then continue as the combat went along. In musical terms it'd be kind of like a musical note with a very strong attack (solving the puzzle), then a small decay followed by a more or less level sustain (the combat) with perhaps a second kick at the end (when the Witch-King goes down), and a fairly...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 11:03 AM
    I'll concede this one is probably an exception. Not always. For example a hidden sniper shooting an unaware sentry from long range is certainly a part of combat, but doesn't really fall into this definition of it. I've been in poetry slams and believe me, they're far more combat than social! :) Further, and this'll come up again below, some things/actions/activities either span multiple...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 10:24 AM
    The real excitement here, were Eowyn my PC, would come not necessarily from somewhat-suicidally standing against a foe I couldn't beat but from the 'aha!' moment: the realization that due to his vulnerability maybe - just maybe - I can beat him where others cannot; with ongoing excitement as the combat plays out and I a) do beat him and b) survive.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 10:16 AM
    We aren't told if she otherwise knew about this vulnerability; but when the Witch-King says "No man can kill me" and she, thinking quickly, comes back with "But I am no man", the Witch-King has just given away his weakness. This gives her confidence that if she fights him she might have a chance of taking him out - which, as we know, she does.
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 10:03 AM
    Meh... I have trouble understanding both the RAW and the RAI to be honest. Of course, we can always resort to the RAF and allow a Warlock to summon her pact natural weapon... the claw!
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 07:16 AM
    Uhm... it rather sounds to me that the Tabaxi creates a precedent that it must be specified for a natural weapon to be usable as unarmed strikes.
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 07:08 AM
    I don't think so, there are many cases of melee weapon attacks: - melee weapon - unarmed strikes - objects as improvised weapons - specific spells The "melee attacks" section of the PHB combat chapter doesn't call them "natural attacks" but mentions monsters using claws etc separately from weapons, so it could be read either way as an important or unimportant distinction. But certainly...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 04:26 AM
    Captain Marvel is a smashing success at the box office. It has already made the same amount as Rogue One during the same time span, and 50% more than the Wonder Woman opening.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 01:11 AM
    Except here the monster actually - and rather foolishly - tells the heroes what its vulnerability is! Whereupon, of course, Eowyn then proceeds to exploit the hell out of it. That said, this one particular combat is my go-to example of why I always prefer flatter power curves in a game: a low-level nobody like Merry can still hit one of the more powerful monsters in the world hard enough to...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Monday, 11th March, 2019, 12:57 AM
    I'm talking about having deceitful elements as input rather than output; to wit, that the action declarations could be sometimes based on legitimately faulty information obtained or observed by the PCs. Examples: - the person you've been talking to (and maybe preparing to attack) isn't the evil baron but is someone in disguise; the real baron is the third guard on the left - the empty room...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019, 09:45 PM
    Why? I don't think you "wield" your natural weapons, just like you don't "wear" your natural armor. But if that had to be the case, I'd rather rule that tabaxi monks don't work than to be forced to rule something more general.
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019, 08:09 PM
    Well "natural weapons" definitely ARE mentioned in the MM! But indeed it's not easy to interpret the RAW on this case. My first feeling is the same as yours, that natural weapons are not unarmed strikes (at least there are monsters who do e.g. bites and unarmed attacks separately), but also aren't necessarily weapons. A monster does melee weapon attacks with its natural weapons but so does...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019, 07:50 PM
    I don't think that Alter Self creates a general rule for the game. The game is exception-based so if only Alter Self says that your unarmed strikes damage increase, it means it's a specific benefit of Alter Self.
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Sunday, 10th March, 2019, 06:06 PM
    Then don't. Too much explaining only creates more problems.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 11:15 PM
    What I'm doing is simply pointing out how what "the other side" (if in fact there's sides here rather than a bunch of individual viewpoints) is saying is rooted in the same underlying foundations as what I'm saying. That those underlying foundations were first hard-coded by an edition of D&D (as opposed to any other RPG) is of no matter. All that hard-coding does is put into words that which...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 08:56 PM
    Exactly - and if the character is disappointed one would kind of expect the player to also be disappointed, if only because she's playing in character. :) Sort of comes back to keeping player knowledge and character knowledge the same, such that their reactions will also mirror.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 08:50 PM
    Of course. But none of that saves me from the here-and-now situation of being surprised by my surroundings - in this case gin masquerading as water. (which, btw, could just as easily happen at home as in a bar) Which tells me that a) you don't like being deceived by elements in the setting (e.g. the water is actually gin) and b) you don't like being surprised when things aren't as they...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 09:22 AM
    Well, actually the GM does have some special status in that if she rejects the suggestion and doesn't add it in to the game there's nothing the players can really do about it. A GM can always say 'no' to something she doesn't want to run or doesn't want in the game. An obvious case is whether or not a particular GM will allow a particular expansion book for the in-use game system - if the GM...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 09:11 AM
    The risk? No. That it's a problem at all? Yes. Not quite. Closer to the point here would be a situation where you go to drink some water and find it's tainted, or is in fact vodka or gin. As would the PC; and this is perfectly fine. Same way I'd feel if I took a swig of water only to find I'd just downed a mouthful of Gilbey's Finest London Dry: I don't like gin, and so I'd be both...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 08:22 AM
    Homebrew 1e variant, both as player and DM.
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 01:12 AM
    They shot that before his death, but it was slightly altered for the movie to be a bit more touching instead of just a straight comedy shot.
    43 replies | 1315 view(s)
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Saturday, 9th March, 2019, 12:54 AM
    It feels like a Phase 1 movie, which it should have been. What I mean is, it would have worked better if they'd introduced her through this movie much earlier. The movie itself is alright. Not stellar, but not bad in any way either. It's got an ok rating on both metacritic and imdb, which leads me to believe that the Rotten Tomatoes audience rating is just being weird at the moment (the critic...
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Friday, 8th March, 2019, 09:27 PM
    **Unhands pastry by throwing it at orc's face in an attempt to temporarily blind it while I flee**
    624 replies | 14477 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Friday, 8th March, 2019, 09:17 PM
    Before starting to change something, doesn't it make sense to explore it first and figure out what you're trying to change and why? To learn the parameters of your in-fiction surroundings, and of the situation at hand? And then isn't it reasonable to first determine what means and methods of change, of those you have available to you in the fiction, have better chances of success* before just...
    1515 replies | 41808 view(s)
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Friday, 8th March, 2019, 03:07 PM
    No you're not. I always wished D&D was more accurate when borrowing monsters from folklore and mythology (even with the caveat that it's a natural trait of folklore to have many versions of everything), so that we actually learn something. I don't think there was ever any need to modify the nature of folklore/mythology creatures to make them suit the game.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Friday, 8th March, 2019, 06:59 AM
    Other than guardians of pie, of course.
    624 replies | 14477 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 11:47 PM
    Yes, the "try to" is often assumed at the table but for purposes of discussions like these - where nothing can be safely assumed - it's probably best to put it in. :) Then "I kill the orc" was probably a poor choice of example, as rare indeed is the system that lets a GM - without recourse to some sort of combat mechanics - outright decide how combat resolves when said combat involves PCs. ...
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  • jonesy's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 11:16 PM
    Best song in the game.
    8036 replies | 412125 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 11:07 PM
    "I try to kill the orc" is a valid declaration. "I kill the orc" is not, as it bypasses the game mechanics that might otherwise very well get in the way. And I don't think anyone here is suggesting that game mechanics are MMI.
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 11:00 PM
    As does 1e, if only by putting the DMG and MM off-limits to players. But in fairness 1e is conflicted on this one, as in other areas of the game (e.g. riddle solving) meta-thinking is almost demanded.
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 02:21 PM
    How about Mending? :)
    197 replies | 5341 view(s)
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  • Lanefan's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 11:36 AM
    A lot to dig into here. First, advancement of story and use of mechanics are not necessarily tied together: either can very easily happen without the other. Second, the difference between a movie and an RPG is that a movie has to use a montage in order to keep within time limits where in an RPG there's time to play the montage out in greater depth and detail. Third, a change in the...
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 10:00 AM
    I always loved the idea but indeed it is way more difficult than I can handle... For example, I like having places that don't follow Euclidian geometry (inspired by Lovecraft, of course) or where the timeline doesn't unfold linearly. But it's incredibly hard to keep it consistent. My "trick" is usually to keep the core fantasy world (whatever it is, published setting or homebrew, where a...
    42 replies | 1273 view(s)
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  • Li Shenron's Avatar
    Thursday, 7th March, 2019, 09:19 AM
    I do agree with the feeling that the monsters miss more often than the PCs, but I think this is by design, and the general intention is to increase the possible number of encounters in an adventuring day. If you want to change this, you can use higher-CR monsters, or use more monsters per encounter, or just play the monsters smarter in combat, but then you have to be prepared that the...
    84 replies | 3648 view(s)
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Tuesday, 19th March, 2019

  • 01:08 AM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...portunities. What's the PC's place in Korsos? Are people happy for him to turn back up? Was his family glad he was gone? All kinds of political angles seem to present themselves. Now, if the goal of play is not to get embroiled in the political situation in Karsos, these concerns don't need to be raised. Perhaps something else can be done with this bit of info. But the question is if this isn't the goal....if this isn't what the player wants, then why would they introduce this idea? Just to avoid being bothered by some guards in a potentially hostile town? Seems a bit of a big card to play for that reason. Does this interfere with the DM's plans? Or the other players? If so, can that be reconciled? I would imagine a conversation would happen, and the best way to proceed would be decided on by all.Some further thoughts on this example: what do the mechanics of the system say? For instance, if my PC is a noble, what are the rules for attracting and/or commanding an entourage? Lanefan's presentation of the example rests on some assumptions about the answers to those questions. But those aren't the only assumptions that are possible. For instance, in Cortex+ Heroic, an entourage would normally be either a resource or an asset (similar mechanical devices, but established via different mechanical processes). Neither can just be brougjht into being by way of player stipulation. In some versions of D&D there are Loyalty mechanics. If the PC has been absent from home for a long period, in those rules that would probably affect the loyalty of the entourage, and hence the likelihood of them willingly turning up upon the PCs' arrival. Etc. The bigger point is that most RPGs have ways of establishing fiction other than simply fiat narration (whether by GM or player). Posts that proceed on the assumption that the only alternative to player fiat is GM fiat; or that if GM fiat is abandoned, then player fiat will take it's place; seem to wilfully disregard this fact. ...

Thursday, 14th March, 2019

  • 05:26 PM - Sadras mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    But the point is that you can method roleplay that your characters are cognizant of troll vulnerabilities. The idea that they must method roleplay from a (DM) predetermined position of ignorance or be accused of "cheating" is the point of contention. Imagine that we were students in a college course and the class professor presumed that we should all be ignorant about a subject matter, no matter how obscure that they may regard it, and they subsequently penalized us for having and exercising prior knowledge of the material. Why should my choices be restricted to going through the motions of feigning ignorance (largely for the sake of the professor's ego) or be penalized for having acquired prior knowledge in my experiences? And yet this is the scenario that we are facing. I'm sure you were aware my response was largely tongue-and-cheek, but you make an interesting point. I will attempt to play devil's advocate here, but I'm not all convinced of this position. I think @Lanefan or @Maxperson might probably do a better job defending this. In 5e, when one plays true to their character, one may be incentivised with an Inspiration Point. i.e. the penalty might be offset by a mechanical advantage that may be used in the fiction. I don't know if that is possible in earlier editions (3.x and earlier, including BECMI). Practically (in play) after the first round of attacks and only after some have hit (this is important), the DM could/should give the players a chance to roll an Intelligence check to figure out something with regards to the beast's vulnerability or they could just Say Yes and provide the information since the gotcha moment of the puzzle has been passed.
  • 03:14 PM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    or continually attempt actions or activities their characters would have no knowledge of."Using fire to attack a troll is not an action that a character would have no knowledge of. Heck, the class table in the AD&D PHB even lists whether or not each class can use flaming oil (all can except monks). I'm telling you how the game was actually played, in the skilled play paradigm, at the time Gygax was writing his rules. It was taken for granted that players improved their knowledge of the game over time. That was an aspect of what skilled play meant. In that respect, it was a form of wargaming. Lanefan, upthread, following the logic of your (that is, Maxperson's) preferences, said that it woudl be good roleplaying to let your PC be killed by a troll rather than rely on your knowledge that a troll is vulnerable to fire. That's the opposite of skilled play as Gygax describes it. Playing the game your and Lanefan's way will not mean that the PCs of more experienced players are more successful as adventurers, because - if the game is played your and Lanefan's way - then an experienced player will deliberately not draw upon his/her experience in playing his/her PC. What you and Lanefan are advocating is an approach to play that I would say had its first express system support in RuenQuest or Chivalry & Sorcery, in the late 70s. No doubt people were playing D&D that way in that time also, but in doing so they were disregarding Gygax's advice, not following it.
  • 01:26 PM - Aldarc mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    He wasn't talking about the spell. He was talking about the Bard's knowledge class ability.There isn't such a class ability, at least in 5e. Legend Lore exists only as a spell in 5e. I believe that it was a bard ability in 1e, which forms the framework for Lanefan's modus operandi, but I am not sufficiently knowledgeable enough to answer how it operates in 1e. The information provided is new to the player. My whole point is that it doesn't matter a rat's behind whether it's new to the GM or not, from the point of view of the player receiving the information.Having played DW from the perspective of a player, I don't think that it is the same. Similar, but not the same. In DW I as the player will have a grasp of the potential stakes inherent in the roll. There is potential tension involved with Spout Lore that amounts to more than "new knowledge" vs. "no knowledge." And if you are aware of how DW works, even as a player, then you understand that the DM is effectively drawing in the blanks as opposed to telling you what they previously drew. I've bolded the relevant bit here: taking on the role of a character means playing that role as if you were that character, using its knowledge*, its senses*, its feelings*^, its emotions^, and its...
  • 05:05 AM - Maxperson mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ... "nothing special." Sure, but only if the Bard picks up a rock or something off the ground, or uses it on some other mundane object. The vast majority of the time, the bard is going to use it on important/unusual things, which means that "nothing special" is not going to be sufficient. It's really easy to figure out what the important or unusual things are when you encounter them. This is never a proper response to Spout Lore. If the player asks and succeeds, then the location is important by default. This is a difference. Yes. Further, the different in fail states is massive, and that was the crux of my point. I'm not sure I would call it massive, but it's definitely a significant difference. In D&D if you fail the roll, you don't know anything about the thing in question. Well, Legend Lore is a spell, If it was the Bardic Knowledge class ability, then my answer is even more apt because the spell has no failure state if the target is actually legendary. Lanefan confused things by calling it the Legend Lore Bard ability. Legend Lore is the spell. Bardic Knowledge is the Bard ability. I figured that since he tacked on the "Bard ability," that he was talking about Bardic Knowledge. Dude. I'm running a 5e game right now. I'm on record saying 5e fights against a non-GM centered play, so I'm running a GM centered game. I like running 5e, it scratches certain itches very well, and my players enjoy it. If you'd bother to read my posts, I've specifically called out MMI as degenerate play -- ie, what happens if you use the tools poorly. GM centered play requires saying no, and telling players what's in your notes, and the other things -- in moderation. Take any of those to extremes and you end up with MMI, or Railroading (which requires MMI). Do them in moderation and with principled play and you don't. Fair enough, though I don't think Railroading requires "Mother May I." All it really requires is a lack of options or forcing t...

Wednesday, 13th March, 2019

  • 11:49 PM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    why this disconnect exists between the various posters Differences of preference are not a disconnect. I'm not misunderstanding what Lanefan is posting. Lanefan perhaps doesn't understand some of my posts (and some others') because he seems not to appreciate the difference between a player move that obliges the GM to reveal some pre-established backstory (eg Bardic Legend Lore, a Commune spell, etc) and a player move that obliges the GM to author some new, immediately relevant, fiction (eg DW's Spout Lore move). People are claiming I don't understand stuff, and in this case it's true. First off, can we agree that the following two steps are valid Step 1 - player-as-PC declares Spout Lore; or her Bard uses Legend Lore; or does whatever the system-in-use equivalent may be, if such exists; in order to gather some info Step 2 - on success, the GM in response provides some new information centered around whatever it is the PC is inquiring about. Are we good so far? Excellent.I'm not good, for two reasons. (1) In DW, a player doesn't declare Spout Lore (either -as-player or -as-PC, whatever exactly that me...
  • 01:49 PM - darkbard mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    To expand, Legend Lore was/is just a more powerful way to pierce more closely guarded GM secrets. You're still asking the GM to tell you what's in his notes, which may be "nothing". Spout Lore obliges the GM to tell you something relevant and useful in accordance with what you ask. The difference is pretty big in use. Legend lore gets gets at more of the GM's fiction, while Spout Lore obliges the GM to create fiction in accordance with your question. Right. And this is a huge difference between player-facing and GM-facing games. Exposure to more than one of these categories might help you see this, Lanefan.
  • 02:45 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Wouldn't you say that this is probably the crux of contention? ;) The extent of the "problem" is generally exaggerated. I'm not so sure. All you are doing is creating a post hoc in-game justification for the metagaming (with big spoonful of self-delusion) rather than actually stopping the metagaming. :erm: Value system differences. I believe what Lanefan is putting a high value on is inducing a mental state during play which is focused on "thinking like the character", not on achieving goals or narrative, nor anything else particularly. Narrative serves then simply as a medium by which the proper inputs arrive at the players and they can adjust their pretended character mental state and shared understanding of the fictive world they form a part of. Other things are there, gamist considerations, player goals, etc. but only in a secondary place. At least this is how it looks if idealized, actual play is rarely so clear-cut. Aldarc is not really THAT interested in the character mental state and maybe it is simply a part of the general fiction state which conditions how the game proceedes. It may have mechanical constraints and systems associated with it, etc. The content of the fiction and narrative, and the fun derived from "doing cool stuff" (or something) prevails. I'd note that D&D (even 4e) has an absolute insistence on PC's thou...

Monday, 11th March, 2019

  • 03:22 PM - darkbard mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...h what the mechanics make room for. As GM I don't need to police the fiction; but when deciding what game to play, and when adjduciating a system as GM, I do need to understand how its mechanics work. pemerton addresses this above, but I just wish to emphasize the point: system; at least as much as genre tropes, social conventions, aesthetic preferences, etc.; necessarily restricts or unlocks how the players engage the fiction. Understanding what the system does allows a game to become fiction first, if that is the desired outcome; poor comprehension of system blocks allowing engagment of the fiction first, as players stumble their way through mechanics and play directives that work with or against their desired fictional outcomes. For this reason, I think it vital to understand not only a single game system but many: only in the comparison can one see the possibilities and limitations of a particular system. (This is why it sometimes becomes frustrating conversing with you, Lanefan (even though you are generally quite pleasant in your interactions): when others suggest you look at other systems (like, actually read the rules books) so that you stop viewing everything through your constant lens of D&D, you don't seem to follow through.)

Thursday, 7th March, 2019

  • 11:50 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I was wondering if Ovinomancer was saying that the GM saying "No, Roll to hit" would be Denial of "I Kill the Orc" and thus "Mother May I". (Frankly I'm still wondering). I'm going to assume that you're using "I kill the orc" as a declaration here, and not a resolution? Okay. In that case, absolutely not. A denial of the declaration, "I kill the orc" (or "I try to kill the orc," for Lanefan), would be, "No, you don't, because X,Y,Z" or, less obviously, "You try to but fail." The latter only becomes MMI if you have to use the GM's approved actions to progress. I find this MMI concept very confusing. It definitely seems to be a derogatory term but I can't get a clear idea of what it's supposed to mean. It seems to be applied to the normal processes of playing an RPG. MMI, simply put, is the GM having the power to deny action declarations. In other words, anything you try to do must first receive GM permission. This is often implied, as in you don't actually ask permission, but the GM has the authority to negate outright. D&D prior to 4e largely has this quality, and it's an assumed mindset in the crowd that insists a game is owned by the GM. However, if players can declare actions freely, and the fiction then reflects their action attempt, you're not doing hard MMI. If the GM then has authority over the resolution system, and uses that to effect the same result...
  • 12:12 PM - Numidius mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Right - and I'm sure that you're familiar with Vincent Baker's discussion of this in his designer notes for DitV.I had precisely DitV in mind. --- Weapon stat in BW: Power (damage/critical hit bonus), Add (dice added to location/damage), VA (versus armor), WS (weapon speed), Lenght (weapons are compared in a chart for bonus/malus against each other) In TB weapons are described in terms of how they affect your actions in Kill, Drive Off and Capture conflicts. Each is listed with the bonus or penalty dice for Attack, Defend, Feint and Manouver. Plus Special feature (eg: bypasses shield benefit), and Encumbrance value/location where carried. In TB ammo is not tracked, it merely takes up an inventory slot and can be lost through a twist. Maxperson Lanefan ;)

Wednesday, 6th March, 2019

  • 02:31 PM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...asure of realism. It's a basic premise of adventure fiction that the protagonists have inordinatly interesting and exciting lives. But the fact that, in my games, that adventure often results from social or interpersonal dynamics playing out in some challenging or threatening fashion, rather than from discovering some new purely external threat (like a new dungeon, or a new plot to destroy the world, or whatver) I would count as speaking in favour of realism. Because it grounds the situation in actual human motivations. Or in the more cosmic games, it locates the conflicts within the understood cosmic framework - which is taken to permeate the whole world of those games - rather than having all these (improbable both independently and in total) separate little unmotivated threats. What I don't think too much about when I think of realism in RPGing The issue of how far people can jump - and similar sorts of stuff around physical performance - which is probably a big deal for (say) Lanefan in relation to realism isn't a big deal for me. To stick to the jumping example, of the games I've mentioned the only one that ever measures distances in the way Lanefan takes for granted, let alone correlates them to jumping mechanics, is 4e. And who's to say what a realistic jumping distance for a demigod is? (The 30th level fighter in my 4e game can jump about 50'. At 10th level that was probably more like 30', which is world record level and thus probably about right for the pinnacle of heroic tier.) In Prince Valiant or BW, jumping is resolved by a Brawn + Athletics check, or a Speed check, respectively, against a difficulty set by the GM. If the tabel think the difficulty is unrealistic relative to the narrated fiction, then the difficulty can be negotiated until a mutually acceptable equilibrium is reached. In practice it tends to work the other way, that from the GM-specified difficulty participants will construct their own conception of what it is that makes it so difficult...
  • 12:23 PM - Sadras mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ... sufficiently enough for my table? Yes. For coin, time, inspiration and rests - I keep track of it on our shared online page. We use the average daily spend as listed in the PHB. Using the average spend means, meals, drinks, replacement/mending of clothes, maintenance of weapons/armour, purchasing of medi-kits, ammunition, light sources, paying for stabling, board and the like are all taken care of. So when adventuring characters are always at maximum in terms of medikits and ammunition (unless it becomes important to track, like for an extended time away from possible supplies). Would it be more real to keep track of these more accurately? I do not think so. Would it require more bookkeeping? For sure. Does the average daily spend sufficiently cover our table's conception of general adventuring costs? Yes Whether one keeps an accurate record/s or one doesn't is not an indication of what is more real or not. However having said that, I do agree realism can lie on a spectrum, so @Lanefan's table which attempts to account for equipment being damaged due to AoE attacks and environment damage (water, falling)...etc does seem to lean to towards a sounder internal consistency. I might use/allow equipment to be damaged as a possible stake, bargaining chip or even damage replacement. As an example: Player failed their roll for the character's attempt to leap onto beast's back. As DM I might offer Success with Complication. They succeeded, using their masterwork shortsword to grip into the beast's flesh - and hanging on, but the blade broke from the shaft in the struggle. So they still succeeded, but now they have lost their masterwork weapon. The player is free to refuse the fiction offered and just accept the standard fail. The above is certainly a real possibility for the fiction, but that might never happen in say @Maxperson's game depending on the system and homebrew rules he may use. That does not mean his game is any less real than mine though.

Tuesday, 5th March, 2019

  • 03:37 PM - Aldarc mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    This is why I don't agree with Lanefan and Maxperson that D&D-style resource tracking is more realistic. That degree of rational control over one's resources is unrealistic even for a modern bureaucracy, let alone the notional fiction of a typical fantasy RPG.To Lanefan's credit, I believe that he does attempt to account for this, at least along some axes of play. He has alluded to the destruction of resources and spellbooks caused by AoE spells. But these are part of his own house rules rather than a representation of RAW. I was also struck by the irony of this: D&D is full of elements whose principle function is to circumvent what would otherwise - at least notionally - be an element of play: If tracking encumbrance is boring, then why make it (pseudo-)mandatory for the first N levels of each campaign before dropping it?I agree. I'm not the biggest fan of these magical work-arounds for this reason. It is definitely interesting how so many "classic" magical items or spells were likely created for the sole pur...
  • 02:12 PM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    On "ridiculous levels of drama that are unrleasltic" - the suggestion is nonsense, and upthread I already explained why. How much drama occurs in Maxperson's game? Let's call it D. How much ingame time passes per unit of such drama? Let's call it T. Taking it as a premise that the drama denstiy per unit time in Maxperson's game is realisitc - so now we know that a drama-density-per-unit-time of D/T is realistic. Now let's call the amount of real-world time spent playing P. Suppose I spend a greater amount of real-world time on dramatic stuff than Maxperson does. I can do that, while maintaining the ratio D/T. All I have to do, if I'm increasing D, is to similarly step up T. Which I can do, by simply increasing the value of T relative to P: that is, cover more ingame time per amount of real-world time. Maxperson and Lanefan seem to proceed on the assumption that the ratio of T to P is fixed in some fashion, but that assumption is baseless. For instance, in my Prince Valiant game months or even seasons pass between sessions. In my Cortex+ Heroic game, seasons pass, travel takes indeterminate amounts of time, etc. Traveller's mechanics call for tighter time tracking (it's more "old school" in that way), but time passes at an average of around 3 weeks per session. So as I said, this whole idea . . . I find that sort of incessant drama to be ridiculously unrealistic. . . . is nonsense, because from the density of drama per unit of time spent playing, absolutely nothing can be inferred about the density of drama per unit of ingame time (ie the D/T ratio), and hence nothing can be inferred about realism.
  • 01:46 PM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...t the stakes of dramatic choice remain clear for players in the framing of the fiction and that these player choices will propel the narrative into a new set of dramatic frames where the process will (hopefully) repeat itself. And this will be made up of "small" dramatic decisions and larger ones.I think the account of the action of my Traveller session falls pretty well under this description. Maybe not all of your torches you bought are actually good working torches. Maybe a portion of your rations spoiled in the dungeon. Just because you bought 12 days of rations does not mean that all of your rations would naturally keep well in a warm, moist, moldy place. Does each attack action with a bow represent a single arrow or is the fiction more complicated? Or do all of your arrows remain intact through your dungeoneering? <snip> Overall, these are facets that are typically not given much attention even in the standard resource management game.This is why I don't agree with Lanefan and Maxperson that D&D-style resource tracking is more realistic. That degree of rational control over one's resources is unrealistic even for a modern bureaucracy, let alone the notional fiction of a typical fantasy RPG. I was also struck by the irony of this: Yeah, I'll willingly concede encumbrance is a bloody nuisance to track. Devices of Holding soon become everybody's best friend.D&D is full of elements whose principle function is to circumvent what would otherwise - at least notionally - be an element of play: quivers of endless arrows, bags of holding, continual light spells, Magnificent Mansions, etc. And typically these are gated behind levels in some fashion (either directly for spells, or indirectly for magic items). If tracking encumbrance is boring, then why make it (pseudo-)mandatory for the first N levels of each campaign before dropping it? Or if choosing when to rest is meant to be an exciting, skill-testing element of play, then why introduce a game ...
  • 02:34 AM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Aldarc, Lanefan - I've got a lot of actual play reports on these boards, so they would give a pretty good idea of what I have in mind by drama/excitement/thematic choice. Over the past 6 to 12 months the two campaigns I've played the most have been Prince Valiant and Classic Traveller. In Prince Valiant the drama is often social as much as physical adventure - whom to befriend, whom to snub, whom to woo. In Traveller the drama can be social/political, but more often is sci-fi adventure/thriller. In Sunday's session, the players (as their PCs) had to make choices that include: (i) how to deal with arms smugglers they encountered in orbit, while engaging in their own undercover activity; (ii) whether to break into an installation they were spying on; (iii) what to do when pursued after deciding not to enter the installation (that pursuit was a direct consequence of the decision they made at (i)); (iv) how to handle being interrogated, once they surrendered; (v) in one case, whether or not to "g...

Sunday, 3rd March, 2019

  • 03:18 PM - pemerton mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...ion. None of them puts your values - PC or player - to the test. None generates any pressure here and now. Which you seem to agree with, here: One of the things that I don't really agree with is the idea that events from the DM should confront one or more of the PCs in some dramatic way. Drama is drama because it's not the normal state of things. When drama is the norm, it's no longer drama.This is obviously wrong. Watch Casablanca - drama is the norm. Rick has to make hard decisions (about whether to help the young couple; about whether to support the Nazis; about whether to go with Ilsa; etc). That doesn't make it not dramatic - Casablanca is one of the great dramas of all time! Of course real life isn't terribly dramatic for many of us much of the time. But RPGs are fictions, and the ones I play are adventure fictions where exciting and challenging and dramatic things are the norm. And I'm not yet jaded, as this report of the session I GMed today will reveal. (Upthread, Lanefan asked how one would handle separated groups other than by precise tracing of times - this play report provides an example of an alternative approach, based on GM's sense of pacing/narrative imperatives.) Some of what the DM does should confront PCs, and some should just be normal stuff.Why normal stuff? And what is "normal stuff" in the context of an adventure-oriented RPG? Going to the library and do research on items that can make me a king doesn't seem very normal to me. Nor does going to the local lord and try to ingratiate myself with him to gain status. The difference between those things, and what I described, is that - on the face of it - those things are safe because nothing is really at stake. It's all maybe and in due course. Which is precisely what I'm saying it has not MEAT. EDIT: I read this post by AbdulAlhazred: It isn't about "compliant with my wishes", this is the straw man again which equates player empowerment over the direction of the game with some s...

Friday, 1st March, 2019

  • 04:15 AM - Wik mentioned Lanefan in post The New D&D Book Is Called "Ghosts of Saltmarsh" [UPDATED!]
    It came out of TSR UK, who had a different perspective on the game. One that was actually pretty ahead of its time in a lot of ways. The first Saltmarsh book and Blade of Vengeance where both modules I had as a young nerd running the game for my friends. Later I'd pick up Nights Dark Terror, also out of TSR UK. Any of them are excellent adventures that I'll pull out again and again to either use straight-up or mine for ideas. (I didn't get the rest of the Saltmarsh trilogy until much later in life and haven't really done much with them - but that first one I've run straight up and tweaked to use in a Ravenloft game and strip mined for a more modern setting game - it's a pretty versatile little scenario). Nights Dark Terror is an often missed gem. Several years ago, I played through the last half of it with Lanefan DMing. Was a highlight of his campaign. If I could find a copy of the book for under a hundred bucks, I'd pick it up. WotC will never reprint the thing, though - it's not one of the "Classics". *** As for the book itself - I'm excited! I'm particularly interested in the idea that they're reprinting old Dungeon stuff. Makes me hopeful we'll see some sort of DM's guild dungeon magazine type thing, which would be awesome. Plus, Tammeraut's fate was a fun module - defend an island from aquatic zombies, and then a dark aquatic horror similar to "The Abyss"' final act.

Monday, 25th February, 2019

  • 09:24 AM - Sadras mentioned Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...ndars available in various setting supplements and travel speeds are in the PHB. How far a barn is from x I can agree that is 100% colour, except when it is not due to GM fiat. And yes it sounds like Traveller, based on what you are saying, includes time in the action resolution mechanic, whereas I think that only occurs in D&D combat - using initiative, follow up saves, duration of spell effects and the like. And here's another example: if the players have their PCs spend X weeks resting, or researching spells, or whatver, then their enemies can presumalby recruit Y new recruits. What is the value of Y? I don't know of any D&D rule that answers that question. (Traveller does have such a rule, in the Mercenary supplement. Whether that makes the game more or less realistic I'll leave as a judgement for others.) If that is the case, then that is pretty impressive for Traveller, although without having read such supplement I would imagine they have all sort of tables. I mean like Lanefan says later on, given the variations that exist (type and number of creature, motive/goals of BBEG...etc) it would be tricky to come up with a one-size-fits-all. This is what I mean when I say that time is colour. It suggests various possibilities to the GM, but it doesn't actually generate action resolution outcomes. Understood.


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Tuesday, 19th March, 2019

  • 09:06 PM - hawkeyefan quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Fair enough. As would I were someone to hit nobility on the random chart; I've had to do just this a few times in the past. But note that the 5e example still has the noble status being determined at char-gen along with the background, rather than dropped into play on the fly. It's the dropped-into-play-on-the-fly bit I have problems with, in that a) chances are it's being done just to gain an advantage in the here and now, and b) as the PC has thus always been a noble who knows how much previous play would have to be looked askance at - or worse, outright retconned - had this information been available all along. Sure, a lot of this may happen at character generation. This may apply to many games, and 5E as presented does expect for a background to be selected when the character is created. But, there's no reason you can't let's say allow a player to delay the choice and then select his background at some point during play. This would allow for our spontaneous noble example. Or some othe...
  • 08:16 PM - Aldarc quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    You think they don't? :)You should exercise faith in your players. I think that players have a widely diverse array of character concepts that they want to play regardless of what choices other players make.
  • 06:01 PM - hawkeyefan quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    As long as you're applying disadvantages to cancel off advantages I'd likely have no problem with it were I in your game. Sure. I don't know if it's as formalized as that....generally speaking, all the backgrounds in 5E come with a benefit of some kind, so each player will have some equivalent perk associated with what they've chosen. But then, I pretty much just use that choice as a starting point for the fiction, and use it to help shape the events and complications that they face. A noble just comes with all manner of connections and obligations and so forth.....so I use that to help inform the challenges the party will face. I tend to prefer the zero-to-hero arc, particularly as it helps allow for some long-term growth and change during a long campaign. I tend to prefer a variety of character types and backgrounds and so on. Nothing wrong with a zero to hero type story, but there's no reason to limit everyone to that approach. Two problems leap to mind. One, if player A clai...
  • 01:33 PM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    That these systems build such things right into their mechanics indicates a baked-in expectation that the nobility-to-commoner ratio among PCs is going to be much higher than among the overall population. Fair enough, if unrealistic.What's a realistic nobility-to-commoner ratio among PCs? Is it the same or different from the elf-to-dwarf ratio? The fighter-to-MU ratio?
  • 10:03 AM - Harzel quoted Lanefan in post I Do Declare! Do you? (POLL)
    Way back in the day we used declarations, but abandoned them mostly because far too often the declared action didn't make any sense by the time your init came up. Example: my declaration is that I attack the Orc I'm fighting but by the time my init comes up someone else has already killed it; my declaration has me committed so either I chop at a corpse or I do nothing, where it'd be far more logical and reasonable for me to move to another foe even if I lose my attack for the round. Unrealistic, and dropped. Wellll, yeah, it's 'unrealistic' if you imagine that the whole you do your entire round's worth of stuff, and then I do my entire round's worth of stuff and then the Orc does his entire round's worth of stuff is actually what is happening in the fiction, which is pretty, um, what's the word I want, oh, yeah --- unrealistic. Don't get me wrong, there are reasonable criticisms of using declarations with you-go-I go; it just doesn't seem to me that 'unrealistic' is one of them. (Unless y...
  • 07:44 AM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    The bigger headache, no matter what the rules are, is if you're declaring you're a noble now that means you've in fact been a noble all along; which in turn means the question of your entourage (what it consists of, its general level of loyalty, its capabilities, and [most important to play!] whether any of it would have come with you into the field) should have been dealt with before you first entered play.But it's possible to resolve all this stuff during the course of play. And possible resolutions aren't hard to think of - anything from the PC has been travelling incognito to the PC has been banished because on the losing side of a power struggle to the PC's family is impoverished and hence the PC went out to try and make his/her fortune. It's an even bigger issue if you're like me and have nobility actually mean nobility, and not just as some empty title and a PC who wears nice clothes, and is stuck up. If a player is nobility in my game, they have access to tremendous resources and ...
  • 06:58 AM - Maxperson quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    The bigger headache, no matter what the rules are, is if you're declaring you're a noble now that means you've in fact been a noble all along; which in turn means the question of your entourage (what it consists of, its general level of loyalty, its capabilities, and [most important to play!] whether any of it would have come with you into the field) should have been dealt with before you first entered play. It's an even bigger issue if you're like me and have nobility actually mean nobility, and not just as some empty title and a PC who wears nice clothes, and is stuck up. If a player is nobility in my game, they have access to tremendous resources and influence compared to other social classes. That sort of advantage is not something that I will just let a player pick at the drop of a hat.
  • 06:50 AM - Maxperson quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Max, I think you got this one backwards: DMs are in fact instructed not to encourage that sort of thing. Bah. I meant "Instructed to discourage." :blush:
  • 01:08 AM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    ...portunities. What's the PC's place in Korsos? Are people happy for him to turn back up? Was his family glad he was gone? All kinds of political angles seem to present themselves. Now, if the goal of play is not to get embroiled in the political situation in Karsos, these concerns don't need to be raised. Perhaps something else can be done with this bit of info. But the question is if this isn't the goal....if this isn't what the player wants, then why would they introduce this idea? Just to avoid being bothered by some guards in a potentially hostile town? Seems a bit of a big card to play for that reason. Does this interfere with the DM's plans? Or the other players? If so, can that be reconciled? I would imagine a conversation would happen, and the best way to proceed would be decided on by all.Some further thoughts on this example: what do the mechanics of the system say? For instance, if my PC is a noble, what are the rules for attracting and/or commanding an entourage? Lanefan's presentation of the example rests on some assumptions about the answers to those questions. But those aren't the only assumptions that are possible. For instance, in Cortex+ Heroic, an entourage would normally be either a resource or an asset (similar mechanical devices, but established via different mechanical processes). Neither can just be brougjht into being by way of player stipulation. In some versions of D&D there are Loyalty mechanics. If the PC has been absent from home for a long period, in those rules that would probably affect the loyalty of the entourage, and hence the likelihood of them willingly turning up upon the PCs' arrival. Etc. The bigger point is that most RPGs have ways of establishing fiction other than simply fiat narration (whether by GM or player). Posts that proceed on the assumption that the only alternative to player fiat is GM fiat; or that if GM fiat is abandoned, then player fiat will take it's place; seem to wilfully disregard this fact. ...

Monday, 18th March, 2019

  • 06:34 PM - hawkeyefan quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Correct. If it gives an advantage you can't select it; and the random roll aspect reflects the reality of some people just being born luckier than others. If it was decided up front that all the PCs would have some sort of advantage via their backgrounds, that's a fine table rule. The reality is, though, that the vast majority of people in ye olde typical medieval society were peasants who really didn't have much going for them at all; and I don't mind if the game reflects this at least to some extent. Sorry to take so long to reply....I had a busy weekend. I think the bit I quoted here is really just about preference. I know based on our past discussions that you prefer to play with the expectation that the PCs are "no one special", they're just another person in their world. Which is fine, of course. I don't really care to try and hew to some kind of quasi-medieval social class expectations; my players come up with characters they want to play, and I work with them to make that ha...
  • 04:35 PM - dragoner quoted Lanefan in post Role-Players vs. Actors
    If it's in-character and has something to do with what's going on in the fiction, even if it's just a conversation with another character, I handle it by letting it go on more or less as long as it wants to. To me this sort of thing is part of the entertainment. But if it's out-of-character e.g. a long discourse on last night's hockey game, then on we move ASAP. :) It's not about last night's sports ball. You see concurrently in this thread of what happens is that the other players can disconnect. I probably find it more distracting, and slightly frustrating, as it's advice to take the exact opposite tactical track or something. Then I have to guide everyone back towards what is happening.
  • 01:35 PM - Hussar quoted Lanefan in post Role-Players vs. Actors
    If it's in-character and has something to do with what's going on in the fiction, even if it's just a conversation with another character, I handle it by letting it go on more or less as long as it wants to. To me this sort of thing is part of the entertainment. But if it's out-of-character e.g. a long discourse on last night's hockey game, then on we move ASAP. :) Heh, it all does come down to what you want out of the game, yeah? For me, as a player, if another player decides to go on and on in an in character conversation, I'm pretty much checked out after a pretty short time. I just don't care. Sorry, but, I don't. My gaming time is extremely limited. I get my 3 hours a week, and that's it. Spending an extended time on stuff that isn't really moving the game ahead bores me to tears. Ok, you've talked to that NPC, let's move on. Not that I'm in any way saying anyone else is wrong here. Just that for me, spending significant amounts of time on the "in character conversatio...
  • 12:37 PM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Earlier you were suggesting that if the player (but not the PC) had the requisite knowledge then there wouldn't even be a check; that the knowledge would be automatic.Sorry, this is incoherent: it can't be the case both that something is automatically known to the PC, and that it is known to the player but not the PC. So I don't know what you're trying to say here. if you're using player knowledge over character knowledge then he's right: you're role-playing yourself rather than your PC.The point that I, hawkeyefan and others are making is that there is no reaosn to doubt that it is character knowledge. If the player imputes the knowledge to the character, then the player is using character knowledge. Maxperson is asserting that the rules of the game forbid the player from imputing such knowledge to a character, while asserting at the same time that there is no problem with imputing to the character knowledge of how to search for traps, look for secret doors, etc. My claim, in response,...

Saturday, 16th March, 2019

  • 11:49 AM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    It's when players start talking in-character about their late companion and how they need to go back to town and find a replacement when they don't and can't even know she's dead yet and she's not due to return for another hour or so...that's when the smackdown hammer comes out. <snip> I ask why are they suddenly moving now when they'd agreed to wait here for at least an hour for her to get back - are they intending to abandon her? And if the answer comes back "well, she's dead" then someone's probably about to get yelled at.The GM policing action declarations in this way does seem to contain hints, at least, of "Mother may I". it's probably not the end of the world, except that if Tommy does this once what's to stop him doing a similar thing - that his PC just happens to have the answer to a situation or puzzle or whatever - again, every time his PC is stuck but he-as-player knows the answer?If the player knows the answer, how is the PC stuck? What's the point of putting puzzles in...
  • 02:39 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    If one of the PCs legitimately knows about troll vulnerabilities then one would hope she'd tell the rest of us before we die. But if none of them know then none of them know, and it's on us as players to play accordingly even if it means running our PCs into a ditch. :) A few problems arise: First we have the known knowns, that's easy, the PC knows it, and the players know that the PC knows it, like 'how to swing a sword'. Even then the player probably doesn't know the thing itself, so we run into the problem of being able to describe doing it, or even exactly what the results are. Still, no meta-gaming seems to arise here. Second we have the known unknowns, this is fairly easy in the sense of we just don't know, the PC and the player will find out through play, dungeon exploration at work. Third we have the unknown knowns, and this seems to be where we are stuck now, which is that we don't even know that there is something for the character TO know, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know ...

Thursday, 14th March, 2019

  • 10:10 PM - hawkeyefan quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    First off, it wouldn't get to the point of a player just saying this. If a player wants to delve into their character's family history before puck drop that's fine, but it'd be handled the same way any other PC's family history is handled: you can choose basic stuff that doesn't give any potential advantages (e.g. you come from a long line of farmers or brewers or what-have-you), or you can randomly roll to see if there's anything more significant but you're stuck with whatever you roll even if it's something you could have chosen. If the earlier rolls had come up saying there was another adventurer in the family I'd probably give an overall check to start with to determine just how much info was passed on, i.e. did your uncle tell you tales of adventure every night or did you almost never see him, and base any subsequent checks* on that. * - including monster knowledge; and things like dungeoneering, survival skills, and so forth at low level until the PC would have learned for herself...
  • 01:26 PM - Aldarc quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    He wasn't talking about the spell. He was talking about the Bard's knowledge class ability.There isn't such a class ability, at least in 5e. Legend Lore exists only as a spell in 5e. I believe that it was a bard ability in 1e, which forms the framework for Lanefan's modus operandi, but I am not sufficiently knowledgeable enough to answer how it operates in 1e. The information provided is new to the player. My whole point is that it doesn't matter a rat's behind whether it's new to the GM or not, from the point of view of the player receiving the information.Having played DW from the perspective of a player, I don't think that it is the same. Similar, but not the same. In DW I as the player will have a grasp of the potential stakes inherent in the roll. There is potential tension involved with Spout Lore that amounts to more than "new knowledge" vs. "no knowledge." And if you are aware of how DW works, even as a player, then you understand that the DM is effectively drawing in the blanks as opposed to telling you what they previously drew. I've bolded the relevant bit here: taking on the role of a character means playing that role as if you were that character, using its knowledge*, its senses*, its feelings*^, its emotions^, and its...
  • 12:55 PM - Numidius quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    On a broader scale, I wonder if part of our differences lie in that I usually tend to see the PCs as small-ish fish in a very big pond - sure they might have an effect on some things but the world went on for a long time before them and it'll keep on going long after they're all dead - where you see them as the biggest or only fish in a pond that only exists for them. Immersion. Thermal baths. Ponds. I see a recurrent methaphor. I will add 'diving', then. The immersive type 'might' be content enough of just bathing in the open water, knowing the ocean had been there for billions of years and will be in the future, or else enjoying a rest on a desert beach in a remote island after encountering a monster of the abyss along the way. The main goal would be to forget their past lives and habits, so no cellphones, no motor boats, no canned food. The diving type also craves the open water, but prefers a precise location, an involving, focused, experience, in order to obtain which, doesn't disdain ...
  • 12:52 PM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    I wonder if part of our differences lie in that I usually tend to see the PCs as small-ish fish in a very big pond - sure they might have an effect on some things but the world went on for a long time before them and it'll keep on going long after they're all dead - where you see them as the biggest or only fish in a pond that only exists for them.To me, this reads as confused. In Graeme Greene's The Quiet American, there is no suggestion that what happens to Fowler, Pyle and Phuong is more important in any objective sense than what happens to others in the war. But of course the story is primarily about them. In a RPG fiction, the gameworld is what it is: in my Traveller game, for instance, it's the whole of the Imperium, and there is no particular reason to think that what the PCs are doing is the biggest deal in the Imperium. But obviously it's the biggest deal at the table - we are playing a game which will reveal what is going on with these PCs. Within the context of our play, the P...
  • 10:31 AM - pemerton quoted Lanefan in post A GMing telling the players about the gameworld is not like real life
    Because for some reason you've conditioned yourself to pay attention to these things, and focus your play experience around the source of the fiction/information rather than the content.If you mean I'm conditioned to recognise the difference between playing a game and being told a story, then sure. I wouldn't have thought that's a very unusual thing to be sensitive to.


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