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    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 04:01 AM
    No, and I don't think they were hijacked by edition warriors than anyone else - they were hijacked by people who thought that the GNS approach was convoluted and, ultimately, useless. Simulationist, gamist, and narrativist work far better and more easily among gamers to describe rules and the various tensions they exhibit between simulating some process, making it more playable but more abstract,...
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    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 03:29 AM
    No - not when 2e's main purpose was to regularize the rule sprawl that 1e had become. If anything, the attempt to enable anyone to track but still leave it a special purview of the ranger was a botch. Not only did non-rangers have to spend 2 slots for it, they suffered a -6 to their Wisdom stat when trying to roll under it. Why make it a generally available proficiency if the only character...
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    Monday, 16th July, 2018, 03:16 AM
    Opposite? Sure, that's because the internet decided to hijack the GNS terms and use them in a manner that's actually intuitable with respect to rule structures rather than the obfuscating crap they were. And as such, they're much more useful.
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    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 07:24 PM
    Actually, a perception check will absolutely involve any senses that are appropriate - so they certainly could use x-ray vision, super telescopic vision, and every other type of vision including normal. But that's not the point. The important distinction you keep missing is whether or not the check succeeds. With a failure, it doesn't matter whether or not the hiding character can be spotted by...
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    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 06:58 AM
    If the stealthy character is successfully hidden, in fact you can’t see them with normal vision—they’re too good at staying out of it. That’s the effect of blowing your perception check. The “invisibility”of being successfully hidden may be relatively easily broken by such mundane things as a change of vantage point without having to resort to magical means of cutting through an invisibility...
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    Sunday, 15th July, 2018, 06:04 AM
    You're reading WAY more into the argument than is being implied.
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    Friday, 13th July, 2018, 07:18 PM
    If that were more a factor in 4e's failure than Ted Serious's want of fans, then 5e would never have been green-lit. There's no real prospect of 5e meeting that standard either, but there was the real prospect that it would do significantly better than 4e and that's a function of bringing in more fans - old and new - than 4e.
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    Thursday, 12th July, 2018, 06:19 AM
    The creativity or dullness depends on why and where you're casting that transmute rock to mud spell. The fact that, barring interruption, it successfully turns rock into mud without an additional die roll strikes me as being far less important.
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    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 02:55 PM
    Your players will make that determination for you. If your sensibilities are a good fit for theirs, great. If not, adjust or find another group.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th July, 2018, 02:26 PM
    AD&D had multiple attacks - all the way back to 1e - they were just limited to the fighter types. In fact, they got a significant boost from specialization when it was introduced in Unearthed Arcana in the middle of 1e's run. And while to-hit bonuses might have been lower, the ability to hit certainly wasn't lacking. ACs were largely confined to a 20 point range overall, and most fell within a 10...
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    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 11:06 PM
    Part of the problem with the fiddly 4e modifiers was they weren't always self-inflicted. The self-inflicted ones were easier to track because you had planned for them yourself - the ones coming from another PC were, by 17th level, godawful.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 07:19 PM
    That depends on what constitutes a "3e adherent". Do you mean someone who stuck to the 3e family (including PF) rather than play 4e? Or do you mean someone who will pretty much never stop playing 3e until something with even more options comes along? Or do you mean people who like the options of the 3e family for when they want to scratch that particular itch, but are willing to play other games?...
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    Tuesday, 10th July, 2018, 05:51 AM
    Wow, the arrogance is breathtaking. I may not like the game that James Wyatt and company created, but I won't stoop so low as to actually insult them over it.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Monday, 9th July, 2018, 07:57 AM
    That may have been A problem with 4e, but it had problems far more fundamental than that. The main one is, I think, badly misreading their market and producing the wrong game for the majority of it. Basically, it's a New Coke problem - they were producing solutions to problems that weren't inherent to most of their customers. Like Coca-Cola producing New Coke in an effort to be more competitive...
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    Tuesday, 3rd July, 2018, 02:52 PM
    We tried using the subabilities of Skills and Powers in one campaign and I would never go back to using it. Skills and Powers was the only one of the PO series I bought back in the day because I thought it might be useful. But after giving it a thorough read, I realized it was largely crap.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 09:10 PM
    Harlan Ellison has passed away. I loved his rants. He was a gold standard to which I aspire.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 06:30 AM
    I'm not sure I'd agree 1e/2e were deadlier. I've killed more PCs in 3e, PF, and 5e than I ever did in 1e/2e - usually to crits, which didn't exist in the 1e/2e rules. Admittedly, the only TPK I ever inflicted was in 2e, but that was really more of a question of being executed for murdering a retired emperor than actually dying in combat.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 01:52 AM
    I think it's less telling the players how to play as much as it is telling the players what sort of game you'll run for the time being. They can choose to participate or not, but I'm not going to run a game I don't want to run. And if the game I want to run has certain ground rules and limitations on character types, then it has certain ground rules. If the players don't want to play it, fine....
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 28th June, 2018, 01:30 AM
    IF there was a character who had burned off wings, I'd first ask him why his wings were burned off to stubs. If there were a situation like this that came up in the game, whether or not the wings would regenerate and appear - and, if they did, how - would depend a lot on why those wings were gone. If that was the result of a curse and he was working to overcome that, then yes, I'd be OK with the...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Saturday, 23rd June, 2018, 02:50 PM
    For those of us with regular groups, it’s not that hard to predict how they will react to certain stimuli. But you still give them the choice and, if they do the unusual, you go with it. That avoids the railroading enough.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Friday, 22nd June, 2018, 07:11 AM
    I agree. That's why just facing an obstacle or challenge or roll of the dice isn't really all that suspenseful - at least not in my experience. You need some other information. That's why I was referring before to knowing something about the antagonist in the situation. A baccarat scene between a PC and an antagonist is a lot more suspenseful if PC knows his antagonist has a hand of 7 when he,...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 21st June, 2018, 01:04 PM
    Koko, the sign-language-speaking gorilla, has died at 46.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Wednesday, 20th June, 2018, 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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About billd91

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Tuesday, 17th July, 2018


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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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Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 07:44 PM - Les Moore quoted billd91 in post Would you allow this?
    If the stealthy character is successfully hidden, in fact you can’t see them with normal vision—they’re too good at staying out of it. That’s the effect of blowing your perception check. The “invisibility”of being successfully hidden may be relatively easily broken by such mundane things as a change of vantage point without having to resort to magical means of cutting through an invisibility spell. But the basic equivalence of the condition is there as long as the failed perception applies. IMO, there are two different physical states. 1. Invisible- a state (brought on by magic, or some other agent) in which someone, can stare right at you, and not see you. You cannot achieve true "invisibility" with a Stealth check. 2. Unseen- That state by which you are literally "hiding in plain sight" but can be seen, if someone stares right at you, specifically looking for you. These are brought on by a Stealth check all the time. Failed passive perception happens all the time, and many cat owners who...
  • 04:24 AM - heretic888 quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    No, and I don't think they were hijacked by edition warriors than anyone else - they were hijacked by people who thought that the GNS approach was convoluted and, ultimately, useless. Simulationist, gamist, and narrativist work far better and more easily among gamers to describe rules and the various tensions they exhibit between simulating some process, making it more playable but more abstract, and reflecting a story-telling element manipulated by the player more than the character in the system. We'll have to agree to disagree. ;)
  • 03:41 AM - heretic888 quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    Opposite? Sure, that's because the internet decided to hijack the GNS terms and use them in a manner that's actually intuitable with respect to rule structures rather than the obfuscating crap they were. And as such, they're much more useful. Yep. As Tony pointed out earlier in the thread, Edition Warriors hijacked the jargon in order to demonize game systems they didn't like (in what context has "gamism" ever been used as anything other than a pejorative around these parts?). As opposed to the original intent of creative agendas, which was to talk about people's actual experiences at the table rather than dragging rules systems through the mud. They're certainly more "useful" for the purpose of edition warring rather than understanding game theory, if that's what you mean.

Sunday, 15th July, 2018

  • 10:48 PM - Maxperson quoted billd91 in post Would you allow this?
    Actually, a perception check will absolutely involve any senses that are appropriate - so they certainly could use x-ray vision, super telescopic vision, and every other type of vision including normal. Yes, I was a bit focused on normal vision. Other vision types do work with perception. But that's not the point. No it isn't. The important distinction you keep missing is whether or not the check succeeds. That's absolutely the important part. The wording of invisible is "You can’t be seen by normal forms of vision." Not isn't seen. Not won't be seen. Not will not be seen. But can't be seen. As in, it's not possible to see an invisible person with normal vision. That means that the only important part is whether you can(as in it's possible) see someone who is hidden. If someone can(not will) see a person, that person is not invisible, even if hiding. With a failure, it doesn't matter whether or not the hiding character can be spotted by normal vision, with the f...
  • 02:46 PM - Maxperson quoted billd91 in post Would you allow this?
    If the stealthy character is successfully hidden, in fact you can’t see them with normal vision—they’re too good at staying out of it. That’s the effect of blowing your perception check. The “invisibility”of being successfully hidden may be relatively easily broken by such mundane things as a change of vantage point without having to resort to magical means of cutting through an invisibility spell. But the basic equivalence of the condition is there as long as the failed perception applies. That's a false in two ways which I have shown. First, a perception check doesn't use x-ray vision, super telescopic vision, or any other type of vision other than normal, so using it sees the hider with normal vision. Second is this gem, which doesn't even require a perception check. "Keep Out of Sight: If you no longer have any cover or concealment against an enemy, you don’t remain hidden from that enemy." All the enemy has to do is walk around the box you are hiding behind and normal vision sees yo...
  • 11:32 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Would you allow this?
    You're reading WAY more into the argument than is being implied. If the stealthy character is successfully hidden, in fact you can’t see them with normal vision—they’re too good at staying out of it. That’s the effect of blowing your perception check. The “invisibility”of being successfully hidden may be relatively easily broken by such mundane things as a change of vantage point without having to resort to magical means of cutting through an invisibility spell. But the basic equivalence of the condition is there as long as the failed perception applies.On this occasion, we are in agreement!
  • 06:34 AM - Maxperson quoted billd91 in post Would you allow this?
    You're reading WAY more into the argument than is being implied. He's using that argument in a vain attempt to refute the fact that you can see a hidden person with normal vision. The only way it refutes my argument is if the order of events is hidden-->unhidden-->perception check(normal vision). If he is acknowledging that the order is hidden-->perception check(normal vision)-->unhidden, then he is admitting that the person is not invisible, since to be invisible you cannot be seen with normal vision.

Saturday, 14th July, 2018

  • 03:32 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    If that were more a factor in 4e's failure than Ted Serious's want of fans, then 5e would never have been green-lit. There's no real prospect of 5e meeting that standard either, but there was the real prospect that it would do significantly better than 4e and that's a function of bringing in more fans - old and new - than 4e. I would actually interpret 5e as what you get when Hasbro pulls the plug on D&D because of that failure and WotC says "Yeah, OK, we'll just call it another toy/game brand and put 3 guys on it and see if we can make some money." That's basically what happened. They have maybe 1/5 of the staff of 4e at its peak, and 1/8th of the product. Now, maybe the ROI on that is better, it would seem so, so good for them. Neither 4e nor 5e was ever going to hit that $50 million mark though, and trying surely lead to a lot of grasping at revenue straws which were best left ungrasped. It certainly was A factor. Nor did I actually perceive some vast lack of fans. I found tons of people...

Friday, 13th July, 2018

  • 08:31 PM - Charlaquin quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    If that were more a factor in 4e's failure than Ted Serious's want of fans, then 5e would never have been green-lit. 5e would never have been green-lit had Hasbro not changed its policies.
  • 07:23 PM - Tony Vargas quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    ...then 5e would never have been green-lit. There's no real prospect of 5e meeting that standard either.... Apparently, the whole "Core Brand" concept that called for such an unrealistic goal was just dropped. If it had been dropped a couple years earlier, 4e may not have gotten the desperate Essentials-redesign... a few years before that, might not have existed at all. Business.

Thursday, 12th July, 2018

  • 03:25 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    AD&D had multiple attacks - all the way back to 1e - they were just limited to the fighter types. In fact, they got a significant boost from specialization when it was introduced in Unearthed Arcana in the middle of 1e's run. And while to-hit bonuses might have been lower, the ability to hit certainly wasn't lacking. ACs were largely confined to a 20 point range overall, and most fell within a 10 point range. Add in the lack of a constitution bonus for monsters (much less one driven higher for larger creatures) and combats were a heck of a lot faster. I didn't actually find combats to be any faster in AD&D, particularly 2e, than in 4e. If the fight was pretty much not worth fighting and low level, then yeah, but why bother? This is why 4e just tells you to skip that stuff. Call it out as a scene "you run into 2 hall guards, you kill them before they can so much as take a step." Meaty AD&D fights still take an hour or more.

Tuesday, 10th July, 2018

  • 11:20 PM - Tony Vargas quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    Part of the problem with the fiddly 4e modifiers was they weren't always self-inflicted. The self-inflicted ones were easier to track because you had planned for them yourself - the ones coming from another PC were, by 17th level, godawful. I have to consider allies' buffs as self-inflicted, too. You should at least have a safe word worked out with your 'leader...' "... I cast Mordenkainen's Multifaceted Munificence on Barg the Battl-" "er? ... flumph... FLUMP!"
  • 08:25 PM - houser2112 quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    That depends on what constitutes a "3e adherent". Do you mean someone who stuck to the 3e family (including PF) rather than play 4e? Or do you mean someone who will pretty much never stop playing 3e until something with even more options comes along? Or do you mean people who like the options of the 3e family for when they want to scratch that particular itch, but are willing to play other games? Those are, in essence, three different groups of "3e adherents", two of which will likely have no inherent problem adopting 5e if they like the game. Groups 1 and 2 seem like the same group of players, since Pathfinder IS that "something with even more options", and I dispute the notion that 5E belongs in the 3.PF family. Group 3, in their willingness to play games other than 3.PF, to me fail to live up to the definition of "adherent". 3.PF is just one of many games they like to play. They didn't stop fighting the edition war in 2009. And it's not like there was a plausible chance that eve...

Monday, 9th July, 2018

  • 09:43 AM - Dannyalcatraz quoted billd91 in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    That may have been A problem with 4e, but it had problems far more fundamental than that. The main one is, I think, badly misreading their market and producing the wrong game for the majority of it. Basically, it's a New Coke problem - they were producing solutions to problems that weren't inherent to most of their customers. Like Coca-Cola producing New Coke in an effort to be more competitive within the Pepsi-drinking community and in taste-tests (which their Coke-drinking customers at the time didn't care about), WotC was responding to company-driven needs to woo MMORPG players and make the game more online-friendly more than their customers' needs at the time. The key problem with New Coke was that- despite it beating out Pepsi (its intended target) AND the original Coca-Cola formula in numerous taste tests- Coke thought that their market data indicated they needed to replace the original with the New. Thing was, most Coke drinkers- even those who chose New Coke in the taste tests- didn’...

Thursday, 28th June, 2018

  • 09:55 PM - Lanefan quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    I dunno. Is "mighty" a keyword that indicates how big the fireball is? Or does it indicate it's a member of the BossToneS?While it could perhaps be indicating "mighty big" as a size, to be in the Bosstones would need two mightys. :)
  • 09:52 PM - Shasarak quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    I dunno. Is "mighty" a keyword that indicates how big the fireball is? Or does it indicate it's a member of the BossToneS? And worse then that, if you drop the Fireball does it actually take falling damage or not?
  • 06:43 AM - Maxperson quoted billd91 in post "Run away! Run away!" ... what if they don't?
    I'm not sure I'd agree 1e/2e were deadlier. I've killed more PCs in 3e, PF, and 5e than I ever did in 1e/2e - usually to crits, which didn't exist in the 1e/2e rules. Admittedly, the only TPK I ever inflicted was in 2e, but that was really more of a question of being executed for murdering a retired emperor than actually dying in combat. Every other creature in 1e/2e had poison, and pretty much all poisons were save or die. Hell, even a freaking giant centipede with it's 1 hit point or whatever, still had a weak save or die poison that PCs were likely to fail at low levels. Many of the rest were energy draining undead that usually cost you your levels permanently, but even if you managed to get your levels back, you still started over at the beginning of the level. Then you had magic which could devastate a group since saves at lower levels were so god awful and effects were so powerful.
  • 01:42 AM - Sunseeker quoted billd91 in post Would you allow this?
    IF there was a character who had burned off wings, I'd first ask him why his wings were burned off to stubs. If there were a situation like this that came up in the game, whether or not the wings would regenerate and appear - and, if they did, how - would depend a lot on why those wings were gone. If that was the result of a curse and he was working to overcome that, then yes, I'd be OK with the wings reappearing. But if it were something more akin to a turning away from faith/heritage as a descendant of an upper plane ancestor, I might have demon wings appear instead. In any event, I would strive to make the original reason for the lack of wings matter when it comes to the player, in desperation, renegotiating on that particular topic. As an interesting twist, it'd be creative, IMO for a character to have some kind of terrible scars on their back and never know that they actually had wings for *reasons* only to be hit with a regenerate for the first time and would ya look at that!

Friday, 22nd June, 2018

  • 10:06 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Suspense in RPGs
    On definitions: Google gives me suspense = a state or feeling of excited or anxious uncertainty about what may happen. On outcomes: some outcomes (in films, say, or novels) are known. When I'm watching The Bourne Identity, and 10 or so minutes in Matt Damon's character is involved in some mad hijinks the lead to him being chased by security guards, police, etc - well, I know that he's not going to be shot dead (there's another hour-and-half of running time). And I know that he's not going to be locked up with no hope of escape. And, given the posters I saw on the way into the cinema, I can be pretty sure that he's not going to be arrested and put on trial - because this hasn't been billed as a courtroom drama! But there can still be suspense - anxious uncertainty over what may happen. So what is the event that is generating anxiety because it is possible but not certain? Let's say it's the manner and consequences of the character's escape from the security guards and police. What appr...

Thursday, 21st June, 2018

  • 09:11 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post Flipping the Table: Did Removing Miniatures Save D&D?
    It's not like 1e had significantly fewer issues with respect to this than 3e. Poisons were also outside the hit point system (usually save or die, not lose hit points). The saves were no more a luck mechanic than Fortitude saves were (is anything rolled by a die not, ultimately, a luck mechanic?), they were just more highly dependent on your class and Gygax's quirky design than your Constitution.When I say that poison saves in AD&D were a "luck mechanic", I mean that what they model is luck. Clerics don't have the best poison saves because they're tougher than anyone else, but because their gods protect them from death. Gygax's comments on poison saves that I quoted upthread (DMG, p 81) reinforce this: recall the justification for character hit points. That is, damage is not actually sustained - at least in proportion to the number of hit points marked off in most cases. The so called damage is the expenditure of favor from deities, luck, skill, and perhaps a scratch, and thus the savin...


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