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    Yesterday, 04:29 AM
    I think one way to build suspense is to feed the players more information that they wouldn't know but that show how their enemies are on the move. It's like the way a director keeps viewers on the edge of their seats - we see the main characters doing something, but we also see their antagonists at work - and now we're feeling tension and anticipation because we want the protagonists to prevail,...
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    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 08:40 PM
    Would that ceramic mug for your bear have "Hunny" written on it?
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    Saturday, 16th June, 2018, 03:09 PM
    Matt “Guitar” Murphy, band mate of the Blues Brothers, has died.
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    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 07:23 PM
    Player A's dice roll isn't to blame - that's the GM deflecting. The GM cut her off at the knees when he knew she had a plan she thought was really cool. That's a GM screw-up. He should have followed the player's lead and he really should apologize to her for screwing it up.
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    Friday, 8th June, 2018, 12:58 PM
    Anthony Bourdain has committed suicide.
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    Thursday, 7th June, 2018, 02:55 PM
    Well, that's a wrong reading. They overturned nothing about the rules governing discrimination against gays looking to buy wedding cakes. The decision affirmed the rights of gays to not be excluded. What the case was decided on, very narrowly, was the prejudicial attitude of the commission toward the baker's religious objections to making a cake for a gay wedding. It wasn't about artistry - it...
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    Wednesday, 6th June, 2018, 03:53 PM
    That's not really true. Gamers have always been pretty fractious. John Kovalic may have been writing for comedy when he wrote "Understanding Gamers" as part of his Dork Tower comic series (parodying Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics) but he skewered some aspects of the community when he pointed out that wargamers look down on role players who look down on LARPers, etc - and everyone looks down...
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    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 05:14 AM
    It’s when he plays one designed for naval warfare named Bob that you know you have to worry. Or perhaps a paint-utility warforged named Art. A beach-stormer named Sandy?
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    Tuesday, 5th June, 2018, 03:02 AM
    Robert Mandan, probably best known as Chester Tate on Soap has died.
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    Thursday, 31st May, 2018, 03:49 PM
    I'm going to continue to hit on this issue for a while - but again - salient to whom? And what assumptions are being made at the table? Based on your response to Umbran back in post #88 - apparently the gender of the character is only salient to you if different from the apparent gender of the player. But the job being done, as you said, is based on a few assumptions - 1) That the player...
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    Wednesday, 30th May, 2018, 08:24 PM
    And the salient features of the character are what now? Are we in agreement what they are? Are you in agreement with the rest of your table (of virtual table)? Are they what I, as the player of the player character, choose to make prominent in my portrayal or are they imposed externally by you?
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    Tuesday, 29th May, 2018, 03:23 PM
    That's really not your call, is it? Players may have internal narratives as well as external ones. Maybe they'll come out, maybe they won't. And that's OK, Mr. Badwrongfun. Well, that's a big assumption now, isn't it? Or... you failed to pay sufficient attention. Or you are making too many assumptions.
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    Sunday, 27th May, 2018, 08:41 PM
    I think you (and a few others) are reading way too much into the connotation of responsibility. It's not some kind of formal obligation undertaken with the utmost seriousness. It's recognizing that in this particularly social situation, you are obligated to be a positive contributor rather than take on all the attributes of a piece of furniture. And if we aren't responsible to be good to and for...
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Monday, 18th June, 2018

  • 03:01 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Lanefan, billd91 - Tony Vargas's reply makes the point that needs to be made aboout "realism" in a hit point paradigm. As far as narration of hp loss and zero hp is concerned - if you're narrating hp loss, and dropping to zero hp, in surgical detail, and then having your suspension of disbelief disrupted by the recovery that the game rules provide for, well, I would suggest changing your narration! As I posted upthread, as a former RM player/GM, and someone who was pretty familiar with the drfit from AD&D to RM, RQ etc in the 80s/early 90s, it remains very strange to see posters arguing for AC-&-hp combat on "realism" grounds, and to be distinguishing AD&D or 3E from 4e on that basis. Also, someone upthread (maybe Sadras) mentioned tinkering - the most trivial tinkering possible to a RPG is to change the short and extended rest durations in 4e or 5e. (I don't know how common it is with 5e; based on dicsussions on teese boards it was extremely common with 4e.)

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 09:31 AM - Lanefan mentioned billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    (1) It's not "more reallistic". It's different, but it's not realistic. billd91 already covered this one, so...what he said. (2) What makes you think a 4e PC who swoons in combat, and then recovers to fight on, has "had the livin' tar beaten out of him/her"? Maybe you're into nonsense narration, but I'm not. Even in the most gamist and-or disconnected versions of what hit points represent in any edition that I've seen posted in those arguments, a common theme is that going to (or below, pre-4e) 0 h.p. means you've taken enough of a beating that if left untended you're quite possibly going to die. The rules of all editions also have it that going to or below 0 is auto-death (0e), is auto-death* if not treated or cured quite soon (1e-2e-3e), or presents a significant risk of death if not treated or cured quite soon (4e-5e). These deaths aren't being caused by fainting. So to suggest someone repeatedly going to or below 0 within a short time "has had the livin' tar beaten out of him/her" is "nonsense narration" falls well below your usual standard, sir; and...

Thursday, 31st May, 2018

  • 01:42 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    I don't think its the minis themselves so much as a heavy rule dependence on the spatial reality of the game. The early edition rules about space and positioning were easily handwaved. Not so much with 3e or 4e.That's what I said! But the biggest thing requiring almost pinpoint positioning of melee combatants was weapon reach - could you reach your intended foe or not? Not everyone cared too much about this, but in 1e RAW it's a thing.Rounds in AD&D are 1 minute, movement rates as 10s of feet per minute, and there are no rules for actually positioning in melee - only for getting cut down when you try to disengage from it! So while weapon reach can matter (eg in establishing first strike in a charging situation; for establishing how many soldiers can work together or fight one another in a confined space; etc) I don't actually see how you need minis/tokesn to track the ways in which it matters. (And I see that billd91 has made much the same point.)

Wednesday, 2nd May, 2018

  • 11:18 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    If we are also using the dice to make the decisions, then why are we bothering to include players?Casting lots to resolve a disagreement among a group is not a thing that I or my group (or Luke Crane) invented. And using dice to establish parameters for choice, as part of playing a game, is not a new thing either. And in the context of RPGing, it's actually pretty standard. I know you're not talking only about this particular aspect of social mechanics, but that was the context in which Hussar made his post that you responded to. it looks like windmills and not real positions you're tilting againstYou must have missed billd91's 5-point reiteration of his reasons for agreeing with Lanefan that the technique I described is "worse than awful". And Lanefan's reiteration of his contention about the technique I described, although on different grounds from billd91's.

Tuesday, 1st May, 2018

  • 01:35 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    I think you're arguing against something no one is claiming, though. Is there a specific post or poster you had in mind? I may have missed it.Yes there is. I posted some examples - reported by others (Luke Crane) and reported by me, from the play of my own campaigns - where social resolution mechanics were used to settle disputes between players (and thus PCs) about what to do next. Lanefan and billd91 posted saying that what I described was awful - Lanefan doesn't like using mechanics to settle an argument at the table; and billd91 claimed it was a signficant abridgement of player agency. My view is that players agreeing to toss a coin doesn't abridge their agency; and that - by pretty strict analogy - players agreeing to be bound by the outcome of a resolution process doesn't either. The difference is that one requires specific roleplaying, the other does not. I can react to an in-game coin flip however I choose. (Anger, reneging on the agreement, relief, etc.) But apparently there are restrictions on how I am supposed to react to somebody else's Persuade roll. "You can react however you want, as long as you are persuaded."I'm not 100% sure what you have in mind here. I was replying to a post by billd91, which was in turn a response to a particular post of mine, about using a mechanical system to resolve an argument between players about what to do next. Here is a re...

Thursday, 26th April, 2018

  • 05:50 PM - Ovinomancer mentioned billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    ...at bias, they just should be do so judiciously or rarely.) On both sides, this really is irrelevant as to who's rolling - the player or the NPC. However, for Camp 1, NPCs rolling checks against PCs tends to be viewed as irrelevant or unwanted. This is because the player can still do whatever they want, so the die roll is largely meaningless in regards to player decisions. Therefore, Camp 1 tends to adopt playstyles where NPCs don't initiate rolls against players but instead use their skills as challenge difficult benchmarks against player declared actions. Camp 2, however, seeing the information imparted by the rolls as binding, sees NPC initiated rolls as just another method for rolls to bind players and so doesn't draw a distinction between NPC initiated or player initiated rolls. But, the real core difference here isn't if NPCs checks can bind PCs, but how the results of a check are viewed -- is the result of a check informational or binding? Clearly, myself and iserith, billd91, and other are in Camp 1 -- checks are informational. Tony's and others are Camp 2. One camp or the other aren't better, but this explains the core philosophical issue that divides this discussion (I believe, at least). So, looking to other areas of the game beside social checks, does this continue to play out? Well, we'll have to divide checks into two categories: informational checks (which I'm discussing above) and those checks used to accomplish a task (like lockpicking). As for what constitutes the difference between a task resolution and an informational check, I going with whether or not you'd describe the result as something the PC knows or thinks is informational, if you instead describe a change to something outside of the PC that's task resolution. Firstly, for task resolution checks, I think both Camps engage the game the same way -- a success means the task is accomplished. There are other considerations for failed checks that I'm not going to go into in this po...

Tuesday, 17th October, 2017

  • 10:22 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post RPG Combat: Sport or War?
    I'd like to stress that when playing a 'grittier' RPG system, you have less freedom, in a way: Since combat is lethal, it's something that must be avoided at all cost. Players _must_ come up with ways to overcome their opposition by means other than open combat, otherwise your campaign is going to be short-lived.For me, this illustrates the point I've been making upthread, to Saelorn, Shasarak and billd91. In a genuinely grim & gritty RPG, ambushing someone with a sword, or a crossbow, should be (more-or-less) as dangerous as dropping a rock on them. It's purely an artefact of D&D's mechanics, which rates a sword at d8 or d10 but leaves the rating of a boulder to the GM, that results in a fighter being unable to kill someone in a weapon ambush but able- at least at the tables of those GMs mentioned - to kill someone with a boulder ambush. Which once again relates back to Aenghus's point, that the effectiveness of the boulder vs the sword turns primarily on end-running around the damage rules. It's entirely an artefact of mechanics, not of "narrative first". In a "narrative first" game involving people of "flesh and bone" (to quote Saelorn), an ambush with a sword or bow should be capable of lethality. (And in games like RuneQuest, Rolemaster, Burning Wheel, etc - ie with broadly simulationist action resolution mechanics - it is.) But D&D chooses to subordinate lethality and gri...

Thursday, 5th October, 2017

  • 02:56 PM - Coroc mentioned billd91 in post Charisma- Good ability ... or OMNIVOROUS DESTROYER OF D&D?
    billd91 do not get me wrong, i do not want to downvalue Cha to the 1st/2nd ed uselessness. I like how 5e gives every stat a purpose, but otoh i would have sometimes prefered the 3 saving throws of 3e because these add much more to believabilty and causality and make powerbuilds more interesting (E.g. resilience feat to get a powerbuild which is strong in all saves). If you view it the way -- oh a very charismatic Person (political leader / beautiful Lady e.g.) and you want to charm them, you canthink that they are eventually very used to people trying to get their favor, so even with to magical attempt they are more resistant -- and all makes sense again.

Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017


Tuesday, 25th July, 2017

  • 08:40 AM - Sadras mentioned billd91 in post Do you miss attribute minimums/maximums?
    Thanks @billd91. Something to watch out for then if and when I implement the change. Just regarding the two abilities you spoke of: Our table plays with encumbrance, so carrying capacity/movement is something the players do consider. We currently have travel movement and combat movement on the character sheets. Combat movement is only used when they drop their backpack with items. The party consists of a Sorcerer, Cleric, 2 x Wizard and a Fighter/Wizard. 4 out of the 5 classes have low STR. With regards to Leadership - I would also add the 5e Attunement rule. PCs would be deciding against number of attuned items vs bonuses to their social skills.

Wednesday, 14th June, 2017

  • 05:20 AM - FrogReaver mentioned billd91 in post Why I Am Starting to Prefer 4d6 Drop the Lowest Over the Default Array.
    billd91 This is not the statistical fallacy example you are looking for. In fact, if you brought this up as an example of using statistics/percentages to lie in a class the students would rightfully stare at you like you are crazy. The percentage in this case tells the story much better than those stating "but it's just a difference of +2" as if it's understood that a difference of +2 is universally known to always be insignificant!.

Friday, 21st April, 2017

  • 03:12 PM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    Let's be honest, now. You present techniques you dislike in the worst ways possible and always find examples to showcase it poorly!I've provided very few examples of other techniques. But the one about the attempt to reach out to the court, and failing for reasons of secret backstory, Lanefan embraced. The one about the attempt to separate the baron from his advisor being foiled by an unknown fact of kidnapping was embraced by Maxperson. And the one about no Calimshani silk being available due to off-screen turmoil was embraced by both Lanefan and billd91. And you gave XP to billd91's post embracing it! How are these presenting "secret backstory" techniques in the worst way possible? And if so, why are those who like to use secret backstory in their games embracing them?

Monday, 16th January, 2017

  • 05:06 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    And when, new players come into D&D and hear troll, most are not thinking Poul Anderson's version which is the basis for the D&D troll. They hear the world troll and are probably are thinking of the troll in "Billy Goats Gruff", the war troll from The Lord of the Rings movie, or the trolls The Hobbit movie which are completely different from Poul Anderson's version. So, by the same token, perhaps we should rename the D&D troll to something else. The next version of D&D shouldn't just exercise lore, it should exercise the monster names as well! Remathilis, your post doesn't address Greg K's point. The D&D troll doesn't help new players orient themselves in the gameworld. I remember finding it weird (and not very Billy Goat Gruff) 30 years ago. I don't think Anderson's work is any more familiar today. So my question is - why are you, and billd91, and Shasarak, insisting that the reason you value lore is because of the epistemic function it serves? Whereas examples like this show that in many cases there is no such epistemic function. Likewise, the fact that module writers don't feel beholden to it undermines its supposed epistemic function (eg players of RttToEE can't infer that they won't meet any blue dragons, and hence don't need to memorise lightning resistance spells, simply because they are not entereing into a desert). Despite these cases where lore apparenlty doesn't serve any significant epistemic function, you nevertheless still seem to value it! Why not articulate those reasons, instead of setting out a purely instrumental account of its value which doesn't seem to do justice to your evident passion for it? (A conversation that TwoSix tried to kick off not too far upthread.)

Friday, 13th January, 2017

  • 05:09 PM - Jacob Marley mentioned billd91 in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    And then the value of the lore is . . .? I mean, if an individual GM is free to place a blue dragon wherever s/he likes; and WotC is free to publish adventures with blue dragons wherever they like; then what work is the lore doing? Eg how is it creating a "shared experience"? I'm not arguing that lore creates a shared experience, that is billd91's argument; he can defend it. For my purposes, the value of lore is to serve as an inspiration for my game. If I like the lore presented I'll use it; if not, I'm fine with changing lore to suit the needs of my campaign. I am also fine with WotC changing lore to suit the needs of a changing consumer base, or to open up story-telling possibilities. My objection was to using RttToEE as an example of a blue dragon violating established lore as 3.0/3.5 made it clear that environment lore was mutable. As to what work lore can do if it is readily changeable - When I ran my 3.5 West Marches-style sandbox, I did make use of the environment lore. Blue dragons existed on the random encounter tables for temperate desert hexes. My players knew that by entering a temperate desert hex there was a chance of encountering blue dragons. They also knew that there was a 5-25% chance of roll on a neighboring hex. This meant that if they encountered a blue dragon outside of a temperate desert hex, the...
  • 03:05 PM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    Lore doesn't create a shared experience. Playing the game does that. Lore just helps(many peopl greatly) color the shared experience that the players are creating. It absolutely helps with the shared experience, just as work you do helps with it.When billd91 talks about "shared experience" he is meaning shared across groups, not within groups. If lore is essentially ignorable - eg the MM says blue dragons like desert but every blud dragon actually encountered in play is an exception like the one in RttoEE - then how is that shared experience being created? Your blue dragon was the RttToEE one; my blue dragon was another exception, living in a forest; etc - where is the shared experience built on common lore? Some aren't that creative. Others don't have the experience yet and don't want to step out onto that limb.What limb? If it's OK for Monte Cook to ignore the MM and put a blue dragon wherever he wants, what is going to happen to a GM - rookie or otherwise - who does the same thing? What is the (metaphorical) risk of falling of this (metaphorical) limb? The MM writers do occasionally make those changes, and it throws off some DMs and players who rely lore and who know about the prior lore.Throws them off how? And how worse than the...

Tuesday, 3rd January, 2017

  • 02:31 PM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    ...nd the minutiate of its PS progeny. (And as far as repurposing is concerned - have you read Worlds & Monsters? They had deep regard for what came before. To pick on our favourite eladrin, for instance, they explain in detail why the Feywild, magic-oriented high elves and the fey outsiders of Arborea warranted unification.) this time more successfullyI assume you mean here "commercially successfully". You haven't given any real explanation of why it should be regarded as a greater aesthetic success. Or more successful form the point of view of gameplay. I actually kinda like 4e's take on the lore, once you remove it from any previous context.Some of us like 4e lore within its context (previous and current). D&D and its history and traditions is not the sole province of PS fans and 4e critics. Old-school players want light-lore or multiple choice versions because its world-building friendly. Newer players prefer the model of "one lore" that is shared among all players.But billd91, who presumably thinks of himself as old-school (or, at least, not newer) longs for the shared experiences of the old late-70s/early-80s module days. I'm an old player who has really no interest in world-building (I prefer indie-style "world emerges through play") but is happy with light lore, or multiple choice lore, or rich lore where that is interesting. Because, as I 've said, I will take what I want and ignore the rest.

Saturday, 10th December, 2016

  • 04:13 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Do you care about setting "canon"?
    ... in 4e aren't "Good" in alignment, they can be any alignment so they are just as likely to have a chaotic good bent as a lawful evil one... You as a DM are choosing to give them a CG bent. That's my point. The suggestion that 4e eladrin have nothing more in common with 2nd ed AD&D eladrin than they do with djinns is odd. Needless to say, I don't agree. 4e eladrin are other-planar elves of a CG bent. (There are exceptions - the Prince of Frost et al - but that is surely addition, not rewriting!) 4e djinn are continuous with earlier edition djinn, too. And are unaligned - which is something of a return to the original neutrality. (On the alignment of genies - Book 2: Monsters and Treasure tells us that Efreet tend to be Chaotic, and Cook/Marsh Expert sticks to this; whereas in the original MM they are N (with LE tendencies); and then the d20srd tells us that they are Always LE - despite these rather dramatic changes to "canon", which seem comparable to the Storm Giants changes that billd91 is concerned about, I don't ever recall seeing many complaints, nor reports of gross confusion resulting from uncertainty among players as to the alignment of Efreets, or genies more generally.) So you're saying both official alignment as well as the entire cosmology changed... and yet Eladrin (a race tied to cosmology) somehow stayed the same as they were in the previous 3 editions even with said changes?The tropes are preserved - they are otherworldy elfin creatures of a CG bent. The details change - how could they not when the cosmology changes? It may be that you are not sensitive to the distinction between continuity of tropes and continuity of fictional details - this is what is suggested by your comparison of changes in comic book lore to having Superman be an ordinary person who is super-good at computer programming. If so, fair enough. I think that the 4e designers were very consicous of this distinction, and they explain - in Worlds & Monsters - how it affected t...

Saturday, 5th March, 2016

  • 07:55 AM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Boy, that escalated quickly...
    ...n, and is still not being allowed to get to the real action. Hence the significance, here, of say yes or roll the dice. And looking at this from another angle: if the GM did want to treat sneaking in as high stakes, and was adhering to say yes or roll the dice, then the failure should have been more dramatic: the PCs are spotted climbing the wall, and captured, and are brought before the sister to be interrogated/put into the same prison cell as the sister/etc - whatever makes sense given the context in which the sister is in the house, and which gives effect to the failure while still pushing towards the goal. But, in fact, from everything both Hussar and the GM of this scenario have posted, it's not a say yes or roll the dice game at all. It seems to be a very traditional game in which the GM establishes the backstory and the players then work there way through the scenario discovering what that backstory is, and if they don't, or they get it wrong, combat ensues. As billd91 says, that's a valid playstyle, but if it is turning sour for a participant the GM can hardly put the blame on someone else's shoulders. In this sort of game, the onus is on the GM to make sure it all works out as fun. As a player, I don't expect the DM to allow me to control the movement of enemy troops or the conditions by which I'm allowed unfettered access to a dangerous zone. I wouldn't really want to play a game where I did have such control for any real length of time. I'd expect the DM to have a reasonable set of obstacles set between me and my goal, and I'd expect to either have to overcome those obstacles, or abandon the goal.Sure, in the traditional sort of "explore the backstory" game the players don't get to exercise control over the fiction via eg knowledge checks, I-meet-up-with-my-old-friend-Lando checks, etc. And the GM doesn't author or adjust the backstory in real time either, to reflect the dynamics of play or the goals of the players. And action resolution is d...

Wednesday, 24th February, 2016

  • 09:55 PM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Monte Cook On Fumble Mechanics
    Err... so depleted resources don't increase the challengeThis was answered by billd91. Your retort was that you can think of "GM intrusions" that don't increase the challenge either. To which my retort is, those don't sound like very good "GM intrusions". As well as what billd91 said - which was a relatively extreme case of a high level character facing a single orc - there is a more typical way in which resource depletion doesn't increase the challenge. Unless the PCs are expected to exhaust the bulk of their resources in each challenge/situation, then depleting resources needn't increase the degree of present challenge. Rather, it makes future challenges potentially more difficult. I normally see the results of a failed check as 'nothing happens'. This isn't typical in classic D&D: *A failed reaction check in classic D&D may leave the NPCs/monsters hostile. *A failed climbing check often results in falling. *A failed pick pockets check has a reasonable chance of being detected by the NPC whose pocket was to be picked. *A failed check to open a lo...

Friday, 11th December, 2015

  • 06:04 PM - Reinhart mentioned billd91 in post Failing Forward
    billd91 wins the prize! Fail Forward is nothing new. People just didn't always have a clever term for it. Every competent GM uses fail forward in some way at some time. If you think that you don't then you likely are thinking of the term in a narrow and loaded manner. The usefulness of naming and defining a concept like Fail Forward is that you can communicate more effectively about it. New GM's don't have to learn about these things through trial and error, and game designers can consider how they fit into systems involving task resolution and dramatic tension.


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Wednesday, 20th June, 2018

  • 11:35 PM - Tony Vargas quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Well Gygax clearly thought so. They're (avoiding getting)hit points, in EGG's treatise. ;) At least, in large part. Gygax was pretty clear about what he thought, whether you like it or not. He also thought that a one minute combat round was a good idea, which just feels... wrong.It works for boxing. The hit point arguments are far more about the degree of abstraction . They were, in the very cogent sense that abstraction has meaningful definition that applies. But, those arguments were prettymuch settled 40 years ago. I mean, we were still having them back in the day, but between appealing to the authority of the DMG, and the treatise not being a terrible rationalization, things were mostly OK. If someone really couldn't handle the abstractions of D&D combat - taking a minute to make 'one' attack, Armor causing misses instead of absorbing damage, damage not even necessarily being physical injury anyway, etc - they'd eventually find RuneQuest or something). than whether or...
  • 08:57 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Suspense in RPGs
    I keep thinking of the late scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's Notorious. Cary Grant is with Ingrid Bergman and they have to escape her Nazi husband who has been poisoning her. But they keep drawing out the scene even though we've also seen her husband and his Nazi cronies and we know that if they don't get a move on and get out of the house both of them are in deep trouble. So there's this massive tension and you wonder if they will escape in time or she will die of the poison.But isn't this a bit like Vincent Baker's example of Babe? We're pretty sure, aren't we, that Ingrid Bergman will survive - so what exactly is generating the suspense? That's not to object to the sorts of reveals (and cut scenes?) that you mention in your post, only to wonder more about how they're related to the generation of suspense. Another issue has to do with making a RPG work - which is what I was trying to get at with Tony Vargas upthread. If the players fail their check, and so they don't get out of the house...

Tuesday, 19th June, 2018

  • 04:17 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    That depends on exactly how abstractly you want to look at it. In 3e, had that orc chief rolled a crit threat and failed to hit with the confirmation, you could argue the armor saved Frodo's life in a way that works with the depiction in the book. It was a hit, maybe the orc rolled high damage, but didn't crit which would probably have killed the hobbit. D&D really doesn't have a good way to represent "he's stunned and out of the fight". Your crit example works well: He got knocked down to 0 hit points but wasn't killed because the crit didn't confirm. Of course, the way hit points work has some "Murphy's Rules" aspects. This is but one. The other realization is that mithril armor of LotR quality could be credibly represented as magical, particularly given the subtlety of some magic in LotR. IMO this is a good interpretation. The mithril coat is a magic item. In D&D this usually is run as "has a higher AC" which has a uniform and evident effect. However, the way it's described in L...

Monday, 18th June, 2018

  • 11:59 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Honestly, I think the bard still fulfills that role pretty well - Song of Rest offers bonus healing other characters are already spending some of their hit dice to heal. Having played a bard, I find that ability largely superfluous in most circumstances. It's so small as to be relatively meaningless unless you take a lot of short rests and it barely scales. It's MUCH more useful in Adventures in Middle Earth, where healing is rare, as are long rests, so your hit dice are very helpful and getting more or less a free one every time you rest is useful. The kind of thing I'm thinking of is having the bard be able to activate your hit dice during combat, possibly with a "kicker" of some sort, say having the ability to use Bardic Inspiration (ugh... terrible name given that it's the same as Inspiration Inspiration) for healing too. Example of my thinking: The bard can use Bardic Inspiration. One use of Bardic Inspiration is to spend a hit die and add the Inspiration die to it. The charact...
  • 03:29 PM - Kobold Boots quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    ??? That sentence makes no sense to me. I strongly doubt JRRT had mixed feelings about Frodo’s fate when the orc chieftain speared him. Depends on how you define ambivalent and whether or not you break the fourth wall. As an author, I know whether or not I'm actually killing a character when I write the piece. I can stabby stabby all I want if I know the character is going to be alive on the other side of it a few chapters later. Similarly, I know my intentions as a DM when I'm running a campaign. I let my players turn the dials prior to campaign start on the "high magic, low magic", "high fatality, low fatality" scales and it pretty much works for the table. For the record the dials at my table usually skew towards high fatality and mid to low magic. KB
  • 03:10 PM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    ??? That sentence makes no sense to me. I strongly doubt JRRT had mixed feelings about Frodo’s fate when the orc chieftain speared him.But (as an author) did present "contradictory ideas". Ie generates a sense that Frodo is dead, while also generating a sense that, as the protagonist, Frodo will survive. The contradiction (or ambivalence) is subsequently resolved in favour of the latter.
  • 02:18 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Not really. Everyone’s going to have different tolerances for the differing levels of abstraction, even in variations on dealing with hit point loss and recovery. Assuming that just because there’s one level of unrealism going on means that any other level must be accepted is really just a fallacy. This is a very, very good point. Everyone's also going to have varying tolerances for different kinds of abstractions, too. Many years ago, Monte Cook defended hit points---something that often bothered me before I read his argument---as one of the prices we pay for having a game that can handle things of drastically different scale without really bogging down. Essentially his point was that hit points were one of the things that let us have dragons and pixies on the same board with each other. I can't find his post on this anymore but it was a good argument. The "bloodied" condition was something 4E did kind of neatly because it connected being at half hit points to qualitative things. ...
  • 08:44 AM - MichaelSomething quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    It takes even less effort than that to just say everyone regains all their hit points after every fight Is that a knock against wands of cure -blank- wounds and/or healing surges??
  • 07:02 AM - MichaelSomething quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    No surgical narration is required to see a disconnect in starting death saves and being at 100% after just a night’s sleep and finding it jarring, even in the fantasy genre. It’s one of the elements of 5e I’m not too keen on myself, and I otherwise really enjoy the game. It takes less effort to say you recover everything then spending a day casting all of your cure spells to recover your missing HP and then resting another day to restore your healing spells. If you're one of those unorthodox parties without any source of healing, spending 2 weeks to heal after every major battle could get real old real quick. Though partial recovery rules could go a long way for making resource attrition/time management more of a thing, ease of use is always an issue.
  • 05:55 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    No surgical narration is required to see a disconnect in starting death saves and being at 100% after just a night’s sleep and finding it jarring, even in the fantasy genre. It’s one of the elements of 5e I’m not too keen on myself, and I otherwise really enjoy the game.But the fact that you're fine and dandy at 1 hp in AD&D, so that every injury in AD&D is one that causes death unless tended to in which case it lays you out for a week, causes no issues? I'm not the one who raised the AD&D zero hp rules as a marker of realism, precisely because the above is not very realistic! (Whereas death saves, for instance, are easily treated as a metagame mechanic rather than a marker of ingame status.)

Thursday, 14th June, 2018

  • 07:59 PM - Flexor the Mighty! quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    But AEDU refresh rates, of course, weren't the only aspects of the 4e structure that invoked MMORGs to some of us. The way powers were structured and picked up, the way PC roles were reflected by mechanics, they all reminded me of City of Heroes in particular (not WoW which I have almost no experience with). You and other 4e fans didn't see the connection - fine. I don't really care that you didn't - but I did. What always galled me (and still does in this thread) was attempts by 4e fans to 'disprove' the connections and connotations I was seeing. Thank you! City of Heroes/Villains, which is what I was playing back when, was exactly what I thought of when I read 4e and talk of strikers, controllers, tanks, etc. It was using the exact same terminology as I was getting in that game. Then reading the powers and such the main thing in my head was this is a MMO on the tabletop. And it turned me off right away right or wrong.
  • 04:27 PM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Yes true, but the actual PHB (not some D&D gimmick accessories) presented the powers in card blocks. Presentation matters a lot.The 1st ed AD&D had spells presented with "data sections" then descriptions. Adding a bit of colour to that doesn't, to me, seem to make it a card block. refresh rates weren't standardized the same across all classes for all powers, previously they weren't necessary for all classes to play the game without constantly referencing the book The AEDU was hard coded into the system for EVERY class.Most of this seems to be about how the game handles resource management (which, as far as hp are concerned, had always been a thing for every class). But doesn't seem to me to be particularly evocative of "cool down" rates. (And in AD&D you had to reference the book for every class if you wanted to look up spells, thief ability chances, or - for fighters in particular - weapon vs armour charts. To the extent that people copied all this down onto their PCs sheets, likewis...

Tuesday, 5th June, 2018

  • 09:17 PM - Lanefan quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    3.X had Unearthed Arcana published as a set of potential house rules along with the tons of third party content and games based on the D20 ruleset, so I'm not sure I'd agree with the assertion about 3.X. 4E to me felt much less easily alterable, with many more pretty clear dependencies among its parts. There seemed to be much less other people publishing with 4E, although that may be more to the way WotC handled the license.My 3e experience was all from the player side, watching the DM try to tweak the game to suit what he/we were after - a more-or-less 1e style using the 3e chassis - and seeing/playing through the results. We didn't use many if any add-on books, just 3e core and maybe some setting-specific stuff...and whatever monster books the DM could find. :) Six years in he switched the campaign to 3.5 on the fly in something of a gesture of surrender, and abandoned many of the changes and tweaks he'd done in favour of a more RAW-based approach. Most of the problems he'd found invo...
  • 05:44 PM - Jay Verkuilen quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Lanefan's criticism of the difficulty of modifying 3e because of too much interconnectivity was very common from some AD&D fans shortly after 3e debuted. Oh sure, definitely.... Then, once more people got a feel for 3e, the argument continued on but against 4e. Yeah that's a classic loop of people offended by new developments all over the place, not just in games. :) Think about what old fans often say about bands that change their sound, to say nothing of politics. But I'm not sure the criticism is entirely misplaced. 3e and 4e are part of a trend in integrated game mechanic design considerably more advanced than earlier iterations of D&D and AD&D. Those editions are less piecemeal in their approach. It is easier to isolate certain aspects of the game in 1e/2e. Certainly it's harder to mess with things when the rule system is much more integrated. In some ways, that integrated design was a benefit because many game mechanics worked together better, a hindrance in others because...

Saturday, 2nd June, 2018


Friday, 1st June, 2018

  • 02:23 AM - Hussar quoted billd91 in post Comfort withcross gender characters based on your gender
    I'm going to continue to hit on this issue for a while - but again - salient to whom? And what assumptions are being made at the table? Based on your response to Umbran back in post #88 - apparently the gender of the character is only salient to you if different from the apparent gender of the player. But the job being done, as you said, is based on a few assumptions - 1) That the player isn't playing cross gender and 2) that you can correctly guess the gender identity of the other player. Well, really? You've played with people that you actually didn't know what gender they were? In short, you're basically assuming that the job of portraying the gender of the character is completed by simply being a player who is that gender. that seems contrary to the goal of pushing players to role play the salient aspects of their character as it's based on an assumption based on the nature of the player, not the role they play. Don't get me too wrong here - you can't really hold the o...

Thursday, 31st May, 2018

  • 07:46 AM - Hussar quoted billd91 in post Comfort withcross gender characters based on your gender
    And the salient features of the character are what now? Are we in agreement what they are? Are you in agreement with the rest of your table (of virtual table)? Are they what I, as the player of the player character, choose to make prominent in my portrayal or are they imposed externally by you? Now, honestly, this is an interesting question. By salient, I'd generally default to stuff that people would pretty much automatically know about you within 10 minutes of meeting you. So, yes, gender (although that can depend on the species of the character, it really might not be apparent, or heck, even exist - my Star Frontiers Dralazite (think giant sentient amoebas), is often pretty apparent when you meet someone. It should certainly be something that the other characters in the group knows (again, there are specific circumstances where this might not be true such as hiding your gender for some reason). So, yeah, dropping the odd hint once in a while isn't too much to ask is it? Or, be...

Wednesday, 30th May, 2018

  • 09:00 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Comfort withcross gender characters based on your gender
    your posts on this topic read a whole lot like being very judgey about someone else's role playing as well as they way they play. And frankly, you should knock that off. Well, since all we're discussing is personal preferences, then, well, it is my call because it's my personal preference. If you want to play a character where everything about that character only exists in your head, go write fiction. In a game about shared fiction, SHARING is the important part.I'm not sure I agree 100% with Hussar about what counts as good roleplaying, but I do agree 100% with the idea that we can talk about what we think makes for good and bad roleplaying (politely and respectfully, of course, and perhaps generically rather than with too much pointed reference to individual's posted examples). We're talking about a creative endeavour - the collective creation of shared fiction - and so criticism, both of technique and of product, seems fair to me.
  • 04:17 AM - Hussar quoted billd91 in post Comfort withcross gender characters based on your gender
    That's really not your call, is it? Players may have internal narratives as well as external ones. Maybe they'll come out, maybe they won't. And that's OK, Mr. Badwrongfun. Well, since all we're discussing is personal preferences, then, well, it is my call because it's my personal preference. If you want to play a character where everything about that character only exists in your head, go write fiction. In a game about shared fiction, SHARING is the important part. Well, that's a big assumption now, isn't it? Or... you failed to pay sufficient attention. Or you are making too many assumptions. But shidaku's bottom line on all of this, and I agree with him, is your posts on this topic read a whole lot like being very judgey about someone else's role playing as well as they way they play. And frankly, you should knock that off. So, someone comes to the table with a character, makes zero attempt to actually display that character to the group, never once references any...

Tuesday, 29th May, 2018

  • 07:16 PM - Lanefan quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    Did Eric and his DM use miniatures, to play out Eric's assault on the gazebo, and the gazebo's response? Did the players in the Head of Vecna incident need minis to establish relative position while one of the PCs cut off the other's head? Did the player who delivered the Powder Keg of Justice speech have a mini on a board, at the time, and did it matter whether the paladin was 1 square or 2 squares away from the captured cultist? In all of these cases, as I wasn't there at the time and thus don't know what other factors may/may not have been involved, I can only answer with "I don't know". But to carry on with the example, if one PC is cutting off another's head to replace it with the Head of Vecna and my PC wants to intervene and prevent this, having minis or some other visual representation would quickly tell me whether I'm close enough to even attempt such. You write as if the combat pillar were the entire game. It's a part of the game; it's how the game *started*; but some of ...


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