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About lewpuls

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Date of Birth
January 22, 1951 (67)
About lewpuls
About Me:
See Wikipedia: "Lewis Pulsipher", "Britannia (board game)", "archomental".

Lewis Pulsipher, Ph.D. (military and diplomatic history, Duke University)
·designer of Britannia (1986, 1987, 1991, 2006, 2008), Dragon Rage (1982 and 2011), Valley of the Four Winds (1980), Swords & Wizardry (1979), Sea Kings (2015), Lew Pulsipher's Doomstar (2016, video (PC, Mac, Linux)); Eurasia (title may change) (forthcoming from Worthington), Germania (forthcoming from Plastic Soldier Company, UK), Seas of Gold (forthcoming from Excalibre)
·Industry Insider Guest of Honor, GenCon 2013
·Online audiovisual game design courses: https://www.udemy.com/u/drlewispulsipher
·Wikipedia entries: "Lewis Pulsipher"; "Britannia (board game)"; "Archomental"
·Google+ Game Design: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+Pulsiphergames
·Author of "Game Design: How to Create Video and Tabletop Games, Start to Finish", August 2012http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-6952-9; electronic versions also available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Books-a-Million
·pulsiphergames.com
·YouTube Game Design channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LewGameDesign
·Twitter: @lewpuls (https://twitter.com/lewpuls) https://twitter.com/lewpuls
·Game design blog: http://pulsiphergamedesign.blogspot.com/ and http://boardgamegeek.com/blog/435/pulsipher-game-design
·google.com/+LewisPulsipher
Location:
Gainesville, FL
Sex:
Male
Age Group:
Over 40
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If you can be contacted on social networks, feel free to mention it here.

Google+:
google.com/+LewisPulsipher
Twitter:
lewpuls
YouTube:
http://youtube.com/LewGameDesign
My Game Details

Details of games currently playing and games being sought.

Town:
Gainesville
State:
Florida
Country:
USA
Game Details:
RPGs: First Edition D&D, willing to try 5th, have played them all.

I design board and card games, most well-known are Britannia, Dragon Rage' latest is Doomstar (actually a video game in format). Looking for playtesters for card games and board wargames.

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Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 12:11 PM

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Sunday, 14th October, 2018 02:48 PM
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Thursday, 31st March, 2005
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http://pulsiphergames.com
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My Game Details
Town:
Gainesville
State:
Florida
Country:
USA
Game Details:
RPGs: First Edition D&D, willing to try 5th, have played them all.

I design board and card games, most well-known are Britannia, Dragon Rage' latest is Doomstar (actually a video game in format). Looking for playtesters for card games and board wargames.

Sunday, 14th October, 2018


Friday, 12th October, 2018


Wednesday, 10th October, 2018


Tuesday, 9th October, 2018


Saturday, 6th October, 2018


Friday, 5th October, 2018


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Friday, 28th September, 2018


Sunday, 23rd September, 2018


Saturday, 22nd September, 2018


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Friday, 5th October, 2018

  • 03:43 PM - Xaelvaen mentioned lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games
    I like your comparison between alignments and cooperation many times being at odds, @lewpuls - it is often the case unless the campaign specifically revolves around the idea that evil and good must somehow work together for a greater goal. Lawful Good and Lawful Evil both want the world to remain, so it's good to put aside their differences and stop the big bad Chaos from wrecking the Earth outright, as an example. As far as player vs player, the only time I've ever encountered that was back during 2E - I was playing a rogue that my DM asked me specifically to be a former member of an assassin's guild - he knew I'd handle it with grace and not go about being a murder hobo. His own son was playing in the campaign as well, and at one point, his won was getting a bit big for his britches, so one night at camp my DM slipped me a note. The note said that I had been given a kill order by my old guild - something you didn't refuse, and I was to execute the DM's own son's character. Talk about dilemma - I had never attacked another player, but to be honest, the other player was b...

Tuesday, 23rd January, 2018

  • 04:04 PM - Jay Verkuilen mentioned lewpuls in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    Backgammon is a race, yes - it's like Ludo but better! <snip> It's a much easier game than chess (hence my preference for it!) - But it is a two-player, computable game with all information available to all players, so I think it counts as a puzzle in @lewpuls's sense. Yes, I think that's right. The thing is, backgammon is arguably the oldest game (with formalized rules) in the world. It's been played for millennia and I have little doubt it will continue to be played millennia hence. So one of his premises---that because it's a puzzle people lose interest once they know how to play it---seems wrong. [quote]I could be wrong, but I don't think that lewpuls is meaning to use "game" in the sense of mathematical game theory/decision theory. His reason for classifying (most? all?) cooperative games as puzzles, I think, is that they are (in principle) solvable and (once the solution is known) there is always a best move. Yes in theory (up to randomness) there is a best move for many games. Given that backgammon's randomness is fairly benign it can be easily incorporated into backward induction and thus optimized. I really fail to see what conceptual work "puzzle" does for many of these "games". (The fact that I have to put quotes around "g...
  • 08:54 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    ...enceforth. As I recall, backgammon is essentially a race between players... been a while since I played it. However, it does have an aspect of strategy and it clearly has a versus (or zero-sum) aspect.Backgammon is a race, yes - it's like Ludo but better! It's a much easier game than chess (hence my preference for it!) - at any given move, if you can calculate probablities across two dice in your head, then you can work out what move minimises your chances of being "hit" by your opponent (meaning that that piece has to go back to start) while maximising the movement of your pieces towards the winning line. A fully optimal move would of course include all the future probabilities for all the future moves, which I can't do in my head for even one roll beyond my current one, and which would require computing across 30+ moves for each player for a complete game. But it is a two-player, computable game with all information available to all players, so I think it counts as a puzzle in lewpuls's sense. The problem I have with the proposed terminology is that in mathematical game theory one thinks about both cooperation and competition. The proposed terminology seems to exclude cooperative games, for instance, which are studied in mathematical game theory alongside competitive ones. Indeed many games have aspects of both.I could be wrong, but I don't think that lewpuls is meaning to use "game" in the sense of mathematical game theory/decision theory. His reason for classifying (most? all?) cooperative games as puzzles, I think, is that they are (in principle) solvable and (once the solution is known) there is always a best move. I don't know boardgames or computer games very well, and so am working from a very limited palette of examples, but I'm thinking something like Forbidden Island/Forbidden Desert. I play Forbidden Desert with my 10 year old from time-to-time. We're a long way from having identified the winning play, but I can see how it can make sense to think o...
  • 04:08 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Don't Lose The Forest For The Trees
    I'm not getting this point: In games, especially games for more than two, there is no best move (frequently) <snip> Any definition of game that excludes chess and go is a poor definition that is only going to confuse the heck out of people.In lewpuls's terminology, chess and go are puzzles because there is a solution (though it's cognitively/mathematically in accessible to most players). I assume that backgammon is a puzzle for the same reason, although its parameters can change from move to move because of the dice results. Maybe I'm wrong, but I would assume that Diplomacy is a game in the relevant sense. And I guess many other blind declaration wargames (inlcuding CCGs) might count. As to the bigger issue of "why bother"? I assume that this sort of analysis is helpful to game design. (Also - as something of an expert on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, I can confidently state that his discussion of the word "game" has no bearing on the current topic of games vs puzzles, except in the trivial sense that he is pointing out that words can have varied uses. But making that rather banal point is not what makes the book an important work of philosophy; and the philsophical points have no bearing upon game design.)

Sunday, 17th December, 2017

  • 04:15 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tension, Threats And Progression In RPGs
    Ah man. After all the warm and fuzzies the last time around, lewpuls goes full on "git off mah lawn" again. :uhoh: I don't have a lot of ideas here because, to me, games should always involve some sort of conflict (I strongly dislike Eurogames, which are usually parallel competition puzzles, not games). Conflict implies the possibility of loss. Without the possibility of loss or failure, what tension can you put into a game? Umm, what Eurogames are you talking about? Catan certainly has loss conditions, or rather, a win condition which means you have a clear winner in the game. Pandemic has very, very clear loss conditions and you will likely lose as often as you win. Are we seriously going to entertain that the most popular games in decades aren't really games but are "parallel competition puzzles"? Whatever that is. How far back do we actually have to go to find the play style that is being talked about in the article? Dragonlance released in the early 80's, but, was being played in the 70's and the very early days of AD&D. Here...

Monday, 13th November, 2017

  • 12:23 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post The Most Important Design Aspect of Hobby RPGs Is The Pure Humanoid Avatar
    /snip Yeah. Hey, I'm not unreasonable. There are just some things that I'm probably going to push back pretty hard on. :D But, no, I can totally see where lewpuls is coming from here. It makes a great deal of sense to differentiate role playing games from other games this way since it is a pretty concrete difference. Note, that by role playing games, I'm certainly not excluding board games or other games. There are board games that are pretty much short play RPG's. And certainly video games as well.

Friday, 10th November, 2017

  • 12:41 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post The Most Important Design Aspect of Hobby RPGs Is The Pure Humanoid Avatar
    Yes and no though. The Dog in Monopoly isn't representing anything though. Nothing changes about your play if you are the dog or the thimble. An avatar, as it's defined here, isn't just a marker. It has an identity in and of itself, even if that identity is "this is a representation of me". If you change the avatar, you change the game play. Particularly in RPG's where your avatar defines how you interact with the game to a very large degree. Playing D&D as a fighter or a wizard is a very different experience, even though the player may be the same. I pretty much agree with everything lewpuls says here. It's actually a really succinct way to differentiate role playing games from other games. In an RPG, regardless of the medium, your avatar is the primary focus of play. Changing the avatar results in a very different game experience.

Saturday, 26th August, 2017

  • 08:52 AM - AnimeSniper mentioned lewpuls in post Pure Innovation Is Highly Overrated
    lewpuls Its sad when the game companies and their design teams try to rehash or make near mirror copies of earlier existing games to try and grab the market share of computer and console gamer's instead of seeing what made the game so well liked and then incorporating those features into their own near or future release titles. Innovation comes about in both small and large grandiose ways from the new crafting and settlement creation in Fallout 4 to better story line progression/tie in to earlier games or building off snippets from the previous games Fallout 3's mentioning of the Commonwealth for example. Tony Vargas that is also true and sometimes it works and other time it flops like a dying fish... New Coke, Crystal Pepsi, certain Mountain Dew with X-flavors for a game tie in release, and etcetera.

Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017

  • 06:55 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tactics And Combat In Fantasy RPGs
    ... be able to use them at all so then you get some limited reliable tactics and nothing else. Part of tactics is being able to accurately predict your odds of success. Unless it's the only possible option, no one chooses an option with a very low chance of success. Not when there are other options that have higher chances of success that are still viable. So, to use your example, if pushing the orc off the tower requires three separate checks, each with a 50% chance of failure (a ridiculous example, but, bear with me), no one is going to do it when they could just stick their sword in the orc and have a much better chance of success. And the problem with leaving everything in the DM's hands is that very, very few DM's are good at judging risk vs reward. If swinging across the room from a chandelier costs you more than you could benefit from doing it, no one does it. And, very often, when it's left up to the DM, options that are not rules defined are generally not taken. lewpuls even mentions the idea that stealth is something you do with the aid of magic. Why? Well, because using magic means that the DM isn't coming up with off the cuff rulings and your chances of success and failure are known. A group that doesn't have access to those magic items simply doesn't do the stealth stuff. I think some games have a story mode - or even an easy mode I guess. Fair enough. But, they also have hard modes too. Shouldn't games cater to everyone?
  • 04:46 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tactics And Combat In Fantasy RPGs
    ...ing on your DM, that you would try to push the Orc off the side of the Tower, or shove the Brazier on top of it or throw a Barrel at it. The problem is that there was no rules for that and there was no character button written on your sheet that you could mash to do those actions so really it was up to you and the DM on how worthwhile it was to try anything tactical. That's precisely my point. The game provides zero tactical options. Pushing that baddy off the tower or throw a barrel at it was 100% free form gaming. The DM decided, not the system. I can do that in any game at any point in time. The difference is, now, as a player, I can actually have some idea whether or not any of those tactics are worth trying. I should have a pretty decent idea of how hard/easy it would be to push that orc off the tower. Depending on the edition, I might just be able to do it 100% of the time. IOW, these become ACTUAL tactical decisions. I honestly have no idea what video games lewpuls plays to have the idea that the game will protect you and usher you along. About the only thing games do in order to allow that is save points, and well, that's been part of video games for a VERY long time.

Monday, 24th July, 2017

  • 04:11 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Tactics And Combat In Fantasy RPGs
    ...o switch out weapons, and you make your tactical choices accordingly. Or, take spells. Area of effect spells like fireball were extremely difficult to pull off. The blow back wiping out the party was very much a thing and a player that toasts his party generally got pelted with dice. :D Now, you have a battlemap (usually) and spells become exacting. You have the option of using pretty much any spell you want to use whenever you want to use it. Plus, you simply have FAR more spells to use in a given day. Particularly in 3e where you had cheap scrolls. Add to this the mechanical changes - forced movement, grappling, disarming, that sort of thing. Yes, I know that AD&D had grappling, but, let's be honest here, it was far more of a PITA than it was worth. So, not many people did it. Now, a grapple focused character is pretty easy to use and is quite effective. Thus, more tactical level choices. Note, I'm not saying one is better than the other. But, I do agree (SHOCK!) with lewpuls here in that there has been a pretty strong shift in D&D towards a different approach to combat.

Sunday, 18th June, 2017

  • 12:41 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    ... with AD&D were my introduction, the design of Keep on the Borderlands was fairly influential as well. While my friend's parents played D&D at the time, we learned on our own. And pretty much the first thing we (and everybody I met in school that were also players) did, was start to design our own Caves of Chaos copies, with lands around, dungeon and hex crawls. Add in the release of the original World of Greyhawk, and the writings of many in Dragon magazine, and that seemed to be the "proper" way to DM. You fleshed out the world for the characters to explore. In the example of play in the AD&D DMG there is no hex crawl. There is a bit of background narration, and then the PCs start at the entrace to the dungeon. The foreword to Moldvay Basic has the protagonist freeing the lands from the dragon tyrant, by slaying the latter using a magical sword gifted by a holy man. That doesn't suggest hex crawling or exploring the world. And before either AD&D or Moldvay Basic was published, lewpuls was writing essays arguing that the "wargame" style of D&D is superior to the "story" style. This is all consistent with Hussar's point: it's one thing to have a preferred style, and a personal history of how one came to and played the game; but that doesn't give a licence to distort the actual history of D&D play.

Saturday, 17th June, 2017

  • 01:35 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Let's Not Save The World...Again
    But, how is this anything new? Going back to the early history of D&D - you have the GDQ series. One of, if not the most popular module series of the game. There's no going back. There's no revisiting. And it's all about getting to the next boss, which is bigger and badder than the last boss. Or the A series of Slaver's modules. Again, same thing. Even the T series was intended as this ongoing complete campaign. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against their being a story. But it doesn't always have to be "bigger and better" than the last one. But, since day 1 of D&D, it's always been thus. You go to the dungeon, do whatever, come back, gain XP, gain that level, go back to the dungeon to go deeper with bigger monsters and bigger threats, and then wash, rinse repeat. lewpuls is trying to pin this on video games. Good grief, this was part of D&D when video games consisted of Pong and Pac Man. And just to address lewpuls directly - you repeatedly claim that you cannot "prove" anything in 500 words. Then why are you trying to prove something? Why are you making claims about the "way things were" and "the way things are" when those claims are very contentious? Instead of making broad, sweeping claims about history that, perhaps focusing on means to compromise or resolve what you see as an issue might be more productive? ........ Edit to add Just to be fair, I do enjoy these articles. They are thought provoking, and they do have a pretty interesting point. The problem I have, is that the history is spun in such a way that it's very difficult to get to the message without first trying to address some quite questionable attempts to paint the history of the hobby in a very self serving light. No, it is not true that we've gone from local to wo...

Thursday, 25th May, 2017

  • 01:24 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    Ok, I've been cogitating on this for a while now, and I think I'll present my rebuttal to the original argument of this article. As I understand it, (between this thread and the thread that pemerton linked where lewpuls also posted a similar point) gaming has shifted from games of consequence to games of reward. Now, I'm going to focus on D&D, since this is an RPG site, to provide three examples of why this is simply not true. There has been no shift in games, not really. D&D started out with "game of reward" built right into its DNA. AD&D Examples of Game of Reward Example 1: Two characters, A and B, exact same in all ways save that Character A has a 17 in his prime stat and Character B has a 14. The two characters go through exactly the same adventures, meet exactly the same monsters, play identical campaigns. At the end of the campaign, Character B is high level and has 300 000 xp. Congratulations! Character A has 330 000 xp. Why? Because he has a high prime stat. Despite not doing a single thing to earn that significant xp award, Character A receives a reward for playing that character. Example 2: Same two characters, A and B. This time, identical elves. Same stats, same everythin...

Wednesday, 24th May, 2017

  • 09:08 AM - Libramarian mentioned lewpuls in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    <shrug> I'm perfectly okay if gamers of this generation are less competitive and challenge-driven, as a whole (obviously counterexamples abound) than gamers of a previous generation. So what? We're a little wimpier than our forebears? Oh well, we're nicer and better people because of it. This is a pretty odd comment. Firstly, there's no connection between liking competitive games and being a jerk. If anything, jerks tend to dislike and react poorly to (fair) competition. Secondly, competition is a separate issue from the topic of this thread. Thirdly, lewpuls doesn't actually say any of those things about gamers today. He's criticising a trend in game design, not gamer preference.
  • 06:23 AM - Lanefan mentioned lewpuls in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    ...l. Mine seem much more in line with Hussar's, even when the DM was using all or most of the rules that Lanefan mentioned. I don't think I've ever met an old-school dwarf who made it more than a few levels without somehow running into the Franklin Mint Dwarven Heritage Artifact Collection. Where in 35 years I've yet to meet a Dwarf in any game with any more than one of the set...and even then, it doesn't always work quite right. in my current game there's a Dwarf with a "Dwarven Thrower" hammer - when thrown it turns into a (usually screaming) Dwarf, splats against the target, returns to hammer form and flies back to its owner. My High School group played mostly published adventures and my first college group played mostly homebrew in the FR. I don't know how you miss all the treasure. Just put your finger on the wall and never let go until you've mapped and murdered the whole place.You must have had amazing luck finding secret doors. :) Also, can someone please define what lewpuls means by "legacy games"? Lan-"when used as a handheld melee weapon the Dwarven Thrower is - and behaves as - a very nice enchanted war hammer"-efan
  • 03:09 AM - Hussar mentioned lewpuls in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    ...the focus of play - Expert rules and more importantly the Isle of Dread, showcase play that is almost completely divorced from dungeon crawling. 2. The argument that challenge necessarily means "earning" rewards. Thing is, that's so subjective that it's virtually meaningless. What does that even mean? It presumes that the only rewards that are involved in play are the in-game rewards for your character, which in D&D means treasure and XP. Thing is, the issue with "Monte Haul" campaigns isn't so much about not earning the rewards, but that it futzes so badly with game balance. If everyone is hauling around a +5 sword, it makes adventure design so much more difficult. I remember an anecdote by Gygax in Dragon talking about how one of the players had a Vorpal Sword. The issue wasn't one of Monte Haul, but, that the sword was too powerful and it made encounters too easy. So, he maneuvered a way into the game to get rid of the sword. Not because the player hadn't "earned" it. lewpuls' notion that "earning it" only means having a high risk of PC death is simply mired in an approach to the game that I don't particularly share. For me, "earning it" means that you've played the game in such a way that everyone at the table has had a great time. Whoopee, you rolled a high enough Save Vs Poison on that trapped chest so you "earned" your magic sword for getting lucky and rolling high on a d20? How is that "earning" anything? It's like the old rules for bonus Xp for high stats. Has absolutely nothing with earning anything. You just got 10% more XP than the guy beside you because you managed to roll higher on your stats? What did you do to earn that 10% XP? Sorry, but, rewards in games should be for smart and entertaining play that makes the table a better place to be. Rewarding someone simply for getting lucky is just gambling. And I'd rather gamble if that's what we're going to do. Rolling this back around to war-games, I MUCH prefer my war-games that minimiz...

Monday, 22nd May, 2017

  • 10:15 PM - Libramarian mentioned lewpuls in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    You're speaking my language @lewpuls! I largely share your preferences and hope you keep writing articles here. It's interesting that old editions of D&D literally called XP an award while newer editions call it a reward. However I think D&D evolved in this direction not so much to appeal to a broader pool of players, but DMs. Most new DMs do not have the restraint and conscientiousness needed to run Gamist D&D. They gravitate to a storytelling style where they script everything of consequence in advance, and therefore find the greater predictability of modern D&D play a boon. E.g. the reduced risk of PC death is often advocated in terms of reducing player discouragement but I think more important is the fact that newb DMs don't deal well with random PC deaths or extemporaneous resurrection quests interrupting their plot. The players are there for hardcore gamist play. I recently picked up Battlefield 1 and was shocked to see how unforgiving it is for a modern AAA videogame to new players. I must have died 30 or 40 ti...
  • 11:32 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post Consequence and Reward in RPGs
    ...It was written as a tournament module and though it wasn't really converted that well for open play I sure had a blast (and so did the players) when I ran it a few years back. Good times!I didn't say it was a bad module. My point was only that it is a counterexample (one of several) to the "game"/"world" dichotomy drawn by Rygar. the Dragonlance modules that Hussar has already referred to belong to the 1st ed AD&D era.They're of that era in real-world time, but they're more of the 2e era in design and expected play/DM style.This seems like the worst sort of projection of the present onto the past! At the time the DL modules were written there was no 2nd ed or "2nd ed era". They were written, and published, and played, under the 1st ed rules, years before 2nd ed was written and published. They are an important part of the evidence for what constituted 1st ed AD&D play, and they show that dungeon crawling in the classic mode was only one component of the full range of play. lewpuls himself recognised the breadth of playstyles right back in his White Dwarf columns from the late 70s and early 80s. He had (and still seems to have) strong views about his preferred way to play, but he never made the mistake of thinking that it was the only way to play D&D/RPGs.

Friday, 18th July, 2014

  • 11:33 AM - pemerton mentioned lewpuls in post More DMing analysis from Lewis Pulsipher
    In the early numbers of White Dwarf Lewis Pulsipher (who posts on these boards as lewpuls) had a series of advice articles on playing D&D. I talked about one of these in an earlier thread. In this thread, I want to talk about the following passage (first published in White Dwarf 24, April 1981 - reprinted in Best of White Dwarf 2): Basic D&D styles range from the "simulation" through "wargame" to "absurd" and finally "novel". As one moves along this continuum the DM's procedures become less rigorous. . . . The simulationist wants to reflect reality as much as possible. A fight with a broadsword and chainmail ought to work just as it did in the Middle Ages. . . . These people have no place in D&D; D&D is solidly in the wargame camp, and simulationists should try Chivalry & Sorcery or make up their own games. The "wargame" style is how D&D is designed to be played. . . . As much as possible, all that happens should be believable . . . if you read it in a fantasy novel. . . . [T]he "absurd" style condones unbelievable occurences. . . . Monsters such as a "spelling...


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Wednesday, 10th October, 2018

  • 03:43 PM - pemerton quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games
    War crimes are defined by modern treaties, not by any particular moral standard. I assure you, for most of human history what we're talking about was not a war crime (IF anything was). Aren't you imposing your personal standard and supposing it has always been the way people think and act?Not even close.I'm not making any suppositions about how "it has always been". I'm happy to condemn slavery as an evil thing, although I'm aware that there have been slave societies in various places and times in human history. For the claim that the laws of war aren't based on any moral standards, I'll only mention that there's a pretty signficant literature that argues to the contrary. Walzer's Just and Unjust Wars is the starting point for much of it. A recent representative publication is The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of War. EDIT: You mentioned alignment somewhere in there, I think. Gygax's account of alignment in his PHB and DMG has its flaws, but Good is defined as straddling most of the mainstr...
  • 10:47 AM - pemerton quoted lewpuls in post Worlds of Design: Tabletop RPGs Are the Most Naturally Co-operative Games
    Nonsense. It's OK to slaughter who-knows-how-many creatures, but you become evil if you charm one and use it for advancing your side's purposes? How stupid is that? This is war, not sport.Depending on the details, what you describe sounds like a war crime. So I'm not sure how that "war not spor" idea is meant to work.

Friday, 5th October, 2018

  • 09:32 PM - Mike Myler quoted lewpuls in post Mythological Figures: Queen Boudica (5E)
    The trouble with choosing ancient historical figures is that what you make up likely will have little or nothing to do with history. Boudicca wasn't a fighter, she was a symbol of her people's disgust with the Romans. How much she was the political leader isn't known, as we know next to nothing about the whole affair, aside from what Tacitus says. (E.g. Cassius Dio wrote about a century after the rebellion.) Not as bad as the "historical" industry surrounding "King Arthur", who likely never existed. So make up whatever you like. Some so-called "historians" do the same. King Arthur and Merlin. ;)

Friday, 28th September, 2018

  • 04:21 PM - pogre quoted lewpuls in post Some Social Aspects of RPGs
    (I view people who prefer GMing to playing with great suspicion!) Curious about this quote. I wonder if you might elaborate? I am curious because I am one of those people. The standard at my table has always been players have to be decent human beings. I am always quick to pull the plug on folks who are not meshing with us for whatever reason. Fortunately, I have not had to do that in several years.

Saturday, 22nd September, 2018

  • 05:44 PM - Greg K quoted lewpuls in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    Mearls' discussion might be posed even more simply. 3e encouraged the one-man-army, and power creep, and discouraged cooperation. 5e has returned to co-operation rather than individual "showing off", to adventure rather than power creep. Bravo. No, the one-man-army and discouraging cooperation was an issue with DM's not wanting to control their game by telling players, "No" and/or issues with certain players. I ran 3e for several groups and the one-man-army, lack of cooperation, and showing off never appeared in my game. The same goes for other DMs whom I know. We would look over various options and decide what to us and what not to use on a case by case basis just as the 3.0 DMG told us that we were in charge of what material is used. WOTC just neededto make it clear and continually reinforce the idea that new options are included at the DM's discretion. They had rule 0 in the 3.0 PHB, but it was not as explicit as in the DMG (well, it was in the 3.0 DMG) that the DM decides what i...
  • 05:03 PM - DM Howard quoted lewpuls in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    Mearls' discussion might be posed even more simply. 3e encouraged the one-man-army, and power creep, and discouraged cooperation. 5e has returned to co-operation rather than individual "showing off", to adventure rather than power creep. Bravo.Yet 4E had tons of options AND emphasized cooperation. You can, in fact, have your , uh, bagel and eat it too.

Friday, 21st September, 2018

  • 04:13 PM - DMMike quoted lewpuls in post Breaking Morale
    "Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Count Rugen runs away. Early morale rules came from a desire for the game to be simulationist. Now, players want the game to be theatrical. serious game players want to feel that they control their own fate, that what happens to them is a result of their own actions. They don’t want to be told that their character’s morale breaks and the character runs away. (I know I don’t!) They want to decide for themselves whether they run away. Odd, because panic/terror aren't exactly voluntary emotions. Being forced to run due to terror is the same as being forced to take damage from dragon jaws. Maybe players confuse that with just being cowardly? So, do you use morale rules in your games? Only for the opposition, or for the player characters (or just the NPCs) as well? I don't have a problem with rewarding PCs for running away, unless their character concept says something like "iron willed" or "mildly retarded." Th...

Friday, 14th September, 2018

  • 10:22 PM - Saelorn quoted lewpuls in post Boss Monsters? I Just Say No!
    Video gamers would be disappointed if virtually every time they had a climax they won the first time; they’d feel cheated. This is a matter of expectations. The video gamers expect the boss monster, and they expect it to be so tough that they're going to die several times before they finally succeed.Seriously? You actually believe that? When I play a Final Fantasy game, I expect a boss monster to have a couple of surprises, such that I need to react thoughtfully as they come up. I expect them to have better stats, to have a ton of hit points, and to hit hard enough that I need to actively manage my healing over the course of the fight. It should be a fair test of my preparation and ability, though. If a boss has some gimmick that there's no way to predict, and I do everything right but still lose, then that's a cheap boss. If I need to go online to look up the right strategy, because only one weird approach has any hope at all, then that's a super cheap boss, and a mark against the entire ga...
  • 06:55 PM - 77IM quoted lewpuls in post Boss Monsters? I Just Say No!
    Video gamers would be disappointed if virtually every time they had a climax they won the first time; they’d feel cheated. This is a matter of expectations. Uh, no, that's pretty blatantly wrong. It's so wrong, it invalidates the entire hypothesis of this article. The only way a person could make a statement like this is if they were badly misinformed. Video games have many ways of ramping up the intensity and drama without just killing the player character, and a tough boss fight can be very satisfying even if you are successful on your first try. Even in games where you do die a lot, I would argue that lives in video games are merely a resource and that a tough boss monster therefore consumes more resources and that since D&D is, in large part, a resource-tracking game, tough boss monsters who consume more party resources should fit right into the game just fine. And there's abundant evidence to back up that stance (see the comments before mine for some great examples).
  • 06:41 PM - Umbran quoted lewpuls in post Boss Monsters? I Just Say No!
    The video game focus on “boss” monsters doesn’t make sense for tabletop RPGs. Video gamers are disappointed if the climactic monster doesn’t kill them several times; in RPGs, once you die, you (usually) don’t respawn. *looks at the end of the second sentence* *looks at rules through various editions of D&D ad the variety of ways to avoid and come back from death* I think you are mistaken on the respawn thing. The Boss Monster is *not* an artifact of video games, insofar as RPGs were using them before arcade and video games were. The Boss Monster is a simple example of the literary construction of "rising action", from which both RPGs and video games draw, and in that sense it is entirely appropriate in an RPG. The fictions that inspire our games have a beginning, middle, and end, and near the end of the story heroes typically face off against the most powerful things in the story, in some form of climatic scene, after which there is some drop of tension, denouement, and closing. ...
  • 04:55 PM - DMMike quoted lewpuls in post Boss Monsters? I Just Say No!
    We fled posthaste because we wanted nothing to do with the fire Prince. This is awesome. Did your DM's jaw drop? "But, you're supposed to fight it!" In tabletop D&D, unlike video games, if you die you don't have a save game to go back to, and you don’t respawn automatically. . . You could play tabletop RPGs that way, but would it be practical? Why not? There must be one TRPG that has save-games. I've thought about using the concept a few times, but I just settled on playing a game that offers alternatives to perma-death. What's the high-mortality game...Hackmaster?...in which you create multiple characters in the beginning? That's effectively using save-games. You can't lose a computer RPG thanks to save games, while you can lose a tabletop RPG by dying just once. I realize you're referring to the average CRPG here, but Hellblade is a notable exception to this. And I think Darkest Dungeon requires you to say goodbye to your heroes when they die. And if I may go 88 mph here, Gaunt...

Saturday, 1st September, 2018

  • 03:19 PM - Henry quoted lewpuls in post Resolutions for the Fantasy Hero
    Oddly enough, I've seen quite a few people over the years say they thought that was one of the best articles Dragon Magazine articles ever. To each his own. I still use that article. :)
  • 05:27 AM - Shasarak quoted lewpuls in post Resolutions for the Fantasy Hero
    “Presentism” is the imposition of contemporary morality on historical figures of centuries ago, usually resulting in criticism of those people. It’s nonsense, because circumstances were quite different, and morality was different, “back then”. Example: people think the Romans were evil for having slaves. Slavery is always bad, right? No. Romans enslaved prisoners of war (and virtually every year, Rome was at war somewhere). If you said to a Roman that’s wrong, the Roman would say, “what, you want us to kill them instead? We can’t afford to keep our enemies alive, they have to earn their keep - via slavery.” (The Romans may have been the nation in world history most likely to enable their slaves to earn their freedom, by the way.) So Roman slavery was not Evil because after they invaded your lands killing your family, destroying your home, kidnapping you back to a foreign place that does not even speak your language they at least had the decency to let you buy your freedom again? We...
  • 12:38 AM - Lord Mhoram quoted lewpuls in post Resolutions for the Fantasy Hero
    Oddly enough, I've seen quite a few people over the years say they thought that was one of the best articles Dragon Magazine articles ever. To each his own. Point taken, I should have phrased it "one of my least favorite articles". It seems to me that it's use would be great in a "Fantasy <bleeping> Vietnam" kind of game, but that is almost the opposite of my approach to RPGs. The fact I tend to high fantasy and more often Superhero games is an indication of that. :)

Friday, 31st August, 2018

  • 11:58 PM - MoonSong quoted lewpuls in post Resolutions for the Fantasy Hero
    “Presentism” is the imposition of contemporary morality on historical figures of centuries ago, usually resulting in criticism of those people. It’s nonsense, because circumstances were quite different, and morality was different, “back then”. Example: people think the Romans were evil for having slaves. Slavery is always bad, right? No. Romans enslaved prisoners of war (and virtually every year, Rome was at war somewhere). If you said to a Roman that’s wrong, the Roman would say, “what, you want us to kill them instead? We can’t afford to keep our enemies alive, they have to earn their keep - via slavery.” (The Romans may have been the nation in world history most likely to enable their slaves to earn their freedom, by the way.) What I see here is some people imposing their standards of morality (from the current oh-so-safe wrap-kids-in-cotton-wool modern world), on people in life-and-death adventuring situations. And it’s just as much nonsense as presentism is. None of us here are lik...

Monday, 13th August, 2018

  • 02:56 PM - pemerton quoted lewpuls in post Plight of the New RPG: Shattered Dawn - Part 2
    There is no ability number generation in SD, and only three numbers that seem like ability numbers: stamina (used up by such actions as running, and rapidly regenerated over time), health (hit points), and potency (manna for magic/spell points, more or less). <snip> Everything is skill-based. If you want a sneaky/stealthy character who can cast spells, you don’t choose magic-user and rogue as classes, you just pick skills that achieve what you want to be. You get two new skill slots per level, and you rise in levels quite rapidly. (The latter is just about inevitable with modern gamers who are often used to rising rapidly in video games.) But the advanced skills are level limited. The second tier of any skill cannot be attained until the character’s sixth level, and you wait until 12th to be able to take a third tier. This means the character will have 10 different skills as they reach 6th. (Level cap is 50th.) <snip> In SD you’re allowed to fire into melee without danger of hitti...

Sunday, 12th August, 2018

  • 02:00 PM - Umbran quoted lewpuls in post Plight of the New RPG: Shattered Dawn - Part 2
    Wargaming (via board games) is a Baby Boomer hobby, and wargamers are few and far between. Cite, please? It would be good to avoid characterizing what various hobby groups are like if you don't have evidence. Don't expect folks to take in on your say-so.
  • 04:38 AM - aramis erak quoted lewpuls in post Plight of the New RPG: Shattered Dawn - Part 2
    The boardgame renaissance is not wargaming, it's non-wargaming. Wargaming (via board games) is a Baby Boomer hobby, and wargamers are few and far between. There are lots of video games involving war, but mostly so unrealistic that they're not wargames (often, they're resource management games). After all, you can LOSE a wargame, you can't lose many video games. Warhammer - cheesy as it is - is alive, well, and making stupidly high profits via high-priced minis and regular rules churn and player-turnover. It's a wargame of the minis variety. Likewise, Gaslands is seeing regular play at my FLGS, as are X-Wing and Armada. There's no shortage of wargamers of the minis flavor; at the local con, Warhammer players (40K or AoS) comprise about 20% of the gate. Sure, there aren't many different minis-wargames - let's count the ones I've seen played at the con... Warhammer 40K current edition Warhammer Age of Sigmar Some game the name of which I don't know, using tablet/phone and tag...

Saturday, 11th August, 2018

  • 11:50 PM - R_Chance quoted lewpuls in post Plight of the New RPG: Shattered Dawn - Part 2
    The boardgame renaissance is not wargaming, it's non-wargaming. Wargaming (via board games) is a Baby Boomer hobby, and wargamers are few and far between. There are lots of video games involving war, but mostly so unrealistic that they're not wargames (often, they're resource management games). After all, you can LOSE a wargame, you can't lose many video games. We are not "few and far between"! *looks around* Well, it has been awhile since I could find anyone to play "War in the East" or "Drang Nach Osten". After all, what's the big deal about spending a few months simulating the eastern front in World War II? *sigh* Time for a little age related nostalgia and depression... Those were good days. Have to admit I don't have the time to do that anymore. If it takes more than an evening it doesn't get played these days. Well, other than D&D and even then time can be hard to find.

Thursday, 26th July, 2018

  • 05:15 AM - 77IM quoted lewpuls in post Plight of the New RPG: Shattered Dawn - Part 1
    There's a lot I disagree with in this article but I'll just pick out this one point: Second, I’m more likely to find experienced players who already know a particular game if I stick to the most popular game, D&D. I have found the opposite to be true. A wide variety of of experience levels (ha ha) play D&D, including a lot of excellent experienced players, but also a ton of total noobs. Conversely, people playing non-D&D games are MUCH less likely to be rank noobs, and therefore much more likely to have a certain amount of role-playing game experience under their belts. Obviously if the new game has just come out they won't have much experience with that particular game, but once a person has played RPGs for so many years, that becomes less relevant. Not that there's anything wrong with playing a game with a bunch of total noobs: that can be really fun if they are good and creative players, and not yet set in their ways. My point is that if you are in the mood to play with more exper...


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