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    Yesterday, 07:19 AM
    If that's what you think you've done, you're quite a cherry picker. That wikipedia article you selectively quoted from specifically has a passage about world building as a bottom-up process in which the world is built by focusing on the immediate need - hey, like the denizens of a dungeon. Of course, that section draws heavily from a resource directly related to world building in RPGs. So, it's...
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    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 01:46 PM
    Yeah, Hommlet is a lot more detailed. You could have said that you found that level of worldbuilding excessive and not what you favored and left it like that. I wouldn't know about the Chaos Scar adventures, but Return to Keep on the Borderlands wasn't a several hundred page tome. It was 64 pages - a substantial amount of it advice for new GMs about running adventures. It's actually a very...
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    Tuesday, 24th April, 2018, 01:03 AM
    The difference between Keep on the Borderlands and Village of Hommlet is the amount of worldbuilding.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 03:47 PM
    And yet, there you were, saying that it would be a railroad because, when faced with a PC searching for secret doors, the GM referred to the map of the room and told him that no secret door had been found because it relied on the pre-established map (aka "backstory") rather than the player's rolled check. The fact that there is such a thing as secret doors and they are reasonably appropriate to...
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    Monday, 23rd April, 2018, 06:34 AM
    Telling a player that something is impossible or doesn't work without a check isn't a railroad. That you personally prefer to have outcomes determined by dice doesn't mean that outcomes that aren't determined by dice are railroads or that you should use that pejorative term for them. That's just you being a dick. Is it a railroad if the PCs hear something coming down the dungeon hall at them,...
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    Sunday, 22nd April, 2018, 04:16 PM
    You may object to it as a style of play, but there's no connection between that and the definition of railroad. If the presence (or absence) of the secret door is recorded and independent of either the GM's or the player's desires for it to be there at the time and the GM isn't goading the players one way or the other, how can its presence (or absence) possibly limit the choices of the players?...
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    Sunday, 22nd April, 2018, 05:23 AM
    It does indicate that you have a highly idiosyncratic definition of railroad. If your definition of a railroad includes the fact that there's an element in the setting that exists independent of the players having their PCs actually interact with it, I'm not sure I can trust your ability to communicate this and other concepts in a manner where there's any form of mutual understanding.
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    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 06:59 PM
    A little advanced political science, particularly focusing on societies in conflict, or even asking that question around places like Turkey, the wider Caucasus region, or even Ireland will quickly illustrate that the definition you quote is overly simplistic. Of course, all you have to do is notice the "or" in that definition to see how subjective and fuzzy that quoted definition actually is. Is...
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    Thursday, 19th April, 2018, 03:11 PM
    Not as much apples/oranges as you think. Even nationalities are, in essence, imagined communities - ones that exist mainly because people agree to belong to them together. They're not a whole lot less arbitrary than communities that form around ideologies, in fact, they often involve quite a bit of disagreement about who really belongs to them or not.
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    Tuesday, 17th April, 2018, 12:58 AM
    Night Court star Harry Anderson has passed. I loved his magic act guest spots on SNL.
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    Monday, 16th April, 2018, 07:56 AM
    It's all about the audience. You don't have to establish your bona fides with your regular group - if they believe you when you say you aren't trying to stereotype a culture, they'll accept that even if your research could go farther. But with a general public audience, you have to establish your bona fides anew and constantly and, undoubtedly, with people who are going to have tougher standards...
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    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 10:25 PM
    That seems a perfectly good point in the thread to stick a fork in it and call it done.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Sunday, 15th April, 2018, 10:05 PM
    As long as you're not publishing, don't sweat it too much. The only people who'd be experiencing your campaign are your players and you and they should know each other well enough to know if you're putting in a good-faith effort to portray a culture in the game without denigrating its real-world analog. As far as I'm concerned, that's the only metric that really matters in a home game. For...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Friday, 13th April, 2018, 03:16 PM
    I utterly disagree that worldbuilding is the root of the problem. At most, it's another avenue for the problem of the GM's inability to let go of what he wants to manifest itself. The problem is full on a railroading problem.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 06:34 AM
    No parameters have changed. I feel I just addressed this in my last post, so apparently I'll have to repeat myself. Picking a genre can say a lot about the world so it's not like the two ideas of genre and worldbuilding are mutually exclusive.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 12th April, 2018, 05:22 AM
    Why wouldn't both genre and worldbuilding exist? Depending on the genre, picking a particular one actually says a lot about the way the world behaves and what sorts of heroes or villains would be appropriate. For example, choosing to play a 4-color silver age superhero campaign means quite a bit even before you pick a city to be the main base of action and come up with a stable of regular...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, 04:50 AM
    Just because those particular building blocks aren’t very specific doesn’t mean they aren’t building blocks.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 04:58 PM
    I think that would indicate a fairly idiosyncratic definition of worldbuilding. I suspect for a good many of us, by defining the game as Default 4e and having an inclination to say Yes to inclusion and will to use the default settings, you've effectively done worldbuilding. Even selecting prebuilt campaigns and lore is worldbuilding your campaign simply by making that choice rather than making...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 04:02 PM
    Except you won't have a better chance to hit with two separate attack rolls. You may have a better to hit with one of the two, but you actually have a decreased chance to hit with both than packing everything into one roll.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 03:29 PM
    In the examples you mention - you're establishing that there is an Imperial Interstellar Navy (and an Empire, for that matter), that there are barbarians who prefer greataxes and eschew armor, and that there are armored knights. None of those are necessarily givens in any particular setting. Star Trek, for example, doesn't have an Imperial Interstellar Navy - at least not on the Federation side -...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Tuesday, 10th April, 2018, 02:39 PM
    Nevertheless, if that's part of the local setting, then it definitely is world building because it helps define characteristics and relationships in the world that other campaigns may not incorporate. You don't have to be defining specific creatures to be worldbuilding. This is even more obviously true if you establish lore in contrast to the default expectations of the game or players. For...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Monday, 9th April, 2018, 03:49 PM
    What roleplay potential is a move from 16 Str to 18 Str? Mosty, it means the character doesn't have to start maximized in his strength at 1st level - he can grow into being a bigger powerhouse instead of starting there - adding a relatively subtle mechanical reinforcement of a character's growth as their narrative progresses. That's been my take on stat boosting in D&D since 3e and why I've been...
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    Sunday, 8th April, 2018, 03:58 AM
    Order of the Stick webcomic.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Friday, 6th April, 2018, 01:42 PM
    With some relative newbs in the game, it might be worth starting the next session with a discussion about what's going on. Everyone should be made aware that PvP is an issue of serious concern. Not every group is able to handle it, and for that reason, it's often banned. For some groups, it adds an element of fun but for others it just breeds resentment that can break up a gaming group in short...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Monday, 2nd April, 2018, 04:44 PM
    Former Guatemalan dictator, Efrain Rios Montt has died.
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    Monday, 2nd April, 2018, 03:09 AM
    Steven Bochco, creator of Hill Street Blues, has passed away.
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Thursday, 29th March, 2018, 06:14 PM
    I'd argue that it's less RPGs that do this than the players taking advantage of certain bonuses the rules give based on stats and making their choices (as well as putting pressure on designers to allow more bonus concentration like having Dex boost damage instead of just attack rolls). D&D could do more to encourage stronger archers by imposing more stringent requirements on certain kinds of bows...
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  • billd91's Avatar
    Tuesday, 27th March, 2018, 11:03 PM
    I only answered Elric and Conan though I do know Drizzt Do'Urden up to the point I stopped reading because I felt they got too repetitive and redundant. I had absolutely no idea who Geralt is before googling and even then know virtually nothing other than he's the main character in stories I've never read and in games I've never played (or even seen).
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About billd91

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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.

Thursday, 19th November, 2015

  • 05:00 AM - Lanefan mentioned billd91 in post DM's: what do you do with players who miss time?
    That strikes me as an intentional misinterpretation of Lanefan's position. My interpretation would be more along the lines that NPCs and PCs follow the same basic rules of life behind the scenes. They aren't just narrative foils for the PCs, they have as much existence in the campaign world as the PCs have.Thanks, billd91 - not only did you save me the typing but you put it better than I probably would have. :) Lanefan

Friday, 30th October, 2015

  • 09:13 PM - El Mahdi mentioned billd91 in post Warlord Name Poll
    ... craft guild rank, or academic/musical) Headman/Hauptman (root of Captain and too authoritative) Proconsul (the Pro- makes it too authoritative) Shepherd (too religious, too bucolic, too Firefly) Synergist (too boring, and sounds like some kind of psychic) Armiger (exclusively military and noble) Sherriff (too noble, too law enforcement) Impetro/Impetrus (too authoritative – Imperial) Adjunct (too subordinate, too Star Trek Borg - Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One) Prolucutor (the Pro- makes it too authoritative, sounds like the person is a professional talker, and is just too hard to say) Warden (too Ranger) Leader(zzzzzzzzzz…) @3e4ever ; @77IM @Aaron Of Barbaria; @AbdulAlhazred ; @admcewen ; @Aenghus ; @Ahrimon ; @Ainulindalion ; @airwalkrr; @Aldarc ; @akr71 ; @AmerginLiath ; @Andor ; @AntiStateQuixote ; @aramis erak; @Aribar ; @Arnwolf ; @Ashkelon ; @Ashrym ; @Athinar ; @AtomicPope ; @Azurewraith; @Azzy ; @Bawylie ; @bedir than ; @Bedrockgames ; @bert1000 ; @billd91 ; @Blackbrrd; @Blackwarder ; @Blue ; @Bluenose ; @brehobit ; @BryonD ; @Bupp ; @Campbell ; @CapnZapp; @CaptainConundrum ; @CaptainGemini ; @Carlsen Chris ; @casterblaster ; @CasvalRemDeikun; @cbwjm ; @ccooke ; @Celebrim ; @Celondon @ChameleonX ; @Charles Wright ; ChrisCarlson; @CM ; @cmad1977 ; @costermonger ; @Creamsteak ; @Crothian ; @Cybit ; @Dausuul; @Dayte ; @dd.stevenson ; @DEFCON 1 ; @Delazar ; @DersitePhantom ; @Diffan ; @discosoc; @D'karr ; @Doc Klueless ; @doctorbadwolf ; @DonAdam ; @Dragoslav ; @Duganson; @EdL ; @EditorBFG ; @Edwin Suijkerbuijk ; @Eejit ; @ehren37 ; @Elfcrusher ; @El Mahdi ; @epithet; @erf_beto ; @Eric V ; @eryndel ; @Evenglare ; @ExploderWizard ; @EzekielRaiden; @Fedge123 ; @fendak ; @FireLance ; @Fishing_Minigame ; @Flamestrike ; @FLexor the Mighty! ; @Forged Fury ; @Fragsie ; @Fralex ; @FreeTheSlaves ; @froth ; @Gadget; @Galendril ; @GameOgre ; @Garthanos ; @Ghost Matter ; @Giltonio_Santos ; @Gimul; @GMforPowergamers ; @Gnashtooth ; @Green1 ; @GreenKarl ...

Saturday, 31st January, 2015

  • 07:42 PM - Manbearcat mentioned billd91 in post Can a PC perform a miracle with a stat/skill check?
    ...I wrote above about GMing and system is directly in relation to that and that alone. It has nothing to do with techniques that follow from resolution procedures nor does it have to do with the GMing principles that underwrite those techniques. GMs will have a top-down agenda and principles and techniques for various component parts of play. I was trying to just dig down on this very specific component part of system, what it naturally presupposes, and in what direction it pushes play toward. With that said, I want to try to quickly address the lines of evidence that have drawn me toward the conclusion that 5e's ability check system is predicated on DCs and actions expected to be declared that are a direct expressions of phenomenon and what is objectively happening in the gameworld. Hence, they are attempting to model process. @pemerton did a good job just upthread of outlining a few of the larger lines of evidence already. I'm going to go there and elsewhere to elaborate. @billd91 and keterys have good posts contrasting objective/subjective although I don't agree with all of bill's conclusions. I think the nuance has a pretty dynamic effect on play as it directly feeds into other aspects of play and component parts of system (of which I'm going to stay away from breaking down for just a moment as I want to focus this post). First and foremost, several things that Mearls said about 5e's design ethos in articles during development were insightful: 1) Advocacy for "natural language" versus "metagame language/jargon" in the rules' text. 2) The "Narrative Cohesion" mini-essay which was sort of a kinder/friendlier version of the Alexandrian's Dissociated Mechanics essay. 3) Bounded Accuracy allowing for GMs and players to be able to "associate DC values with in-world difficulties." Both 1 and 2 push my perception that 5e aims to (a) hide/obscure the metagame and (b) present the game-world's phenomenon (as understood by the 1st person perspective of charact...

Thursday, 29th January, 2015

  • 11:29 PM - keterys mentioned billd91 in post Can a PC perform a miracle with a stat/skill check?
    I see no difference between the two editions in your examples, or am I blind?Correct! As billd91 notes, it's in how you design the adventures. But a DC 15 oak door in 5e stays DC 15 and a DC 15 oak door in 4e stays DC 15, no matter the level of the PCs. Now, a level 1 adventure might have a DC 15 oak door and a level 20 adventure might have a DC 35 unobtainium door, but that's a different issue. How you get there is also a different question. 4e is also fairly likely to say "Honestly it doesn't matter what material it is, just describe what your character is doing and we'll roll with it", 5e is slightly likely to agree, and 3e not to agree at all. Various editions of D&D will refer you to the Complete Book of Doors omnibus to assemble a DC based on a variety of tables. It's just a process approach.

Tuesday, 4th November, 2014

  • 11:17 PM - pemerton mentioned billd91 in post Character play vs Player play
    ...e neither played nor read Traveller). The PC shouldn't have any ability to determine the availability of the good they're looking for, so why then is availability tied to PC skill?I had a look at how this skill is handled in MegaTraveller - the text is changed, with similar flavour text but no "player authorship" mechanics (1987, p39): The individual is acquainted with the ways of social subculture (which tend to be simiar everywhere in human societies) and thus is capable of dealing with strangers without alienating them. Close-knit subcultures (for example, some portions of the lower classes, trade groups such as workers, and the underworld) generally reject contact with strangers or unknown elements. Stretwise expertise allows contact for the purposes of obtaining information, hiring persons, purchasing or selling conraband or stolen goods, and other shady or borderline activities. To initiate a gang of smugglers: Difficult This skill works in the way that MarkCMG and billd91 prefer. I think the reason for the original Traveller approach is that the game has no general, binding resolution for social conflict. So instead there is the player-authorship approach. The change in MegaTraveller seems to me consistent with the general trend towards illusionist mechanics in late-80s and 90s mainstream RPGing. A more obscure example of this in my D&D game was when a PC was on the moon in the citadel of Sehanine. She asked if there were any rocket ships available for purchase; I made a random roll (1-3 nope, 4-6 yes) and it turned out two were (I think I rolled a 5). She bought them both after going through some social conflict.A lot of interesting things seem to happen in your game!

Monday, 27th October, 2014

  • 10:11 PM - innerdude mentioned billd91 in post What are your strengths as a DM/GM?
    Improvising NPCs, including believable motivations - I'm pretty good at coming up with interesting NPCs on the fly -- shopkeepers, town guards, random politicos, wandering bards, etc. -- that still manage to be consistent with the overall world. Creating interesting PC choices that link cohesively to their motivations and the world at large - Like Balesir, I have little desire to force the PCs to do anything, or shove them in one direction or another. I'm generally good at creating "hooks" or "scene frames" that say, "Here's what's happening, and here's what your characters expect will be the result should events continue," and then letting the PCs handle the approach any way they choose. Creating enough linked backstory to give players the illusion of "reality" while still giving them freedom to creatively change the fiction - This has been one of most positive changes to my GM style, largely facilitated by conversations here at ENWorld with posters like pemerton, Manbearcat, billd91, Celebrim, and others. I find that I enjoy GM-ing much more when players feel like they can meaningfully create and change details about their characters, and even some backstory to fit their vision and play style. Creating broad, interconnecting plotlines that maintain some semblance of consistency - Obviously PCs will disrupt our best laid plans at every turn . . . but I'm usually good at creating and interweaving backstories such that the PCs always have opportunities to engage in meaningful challenges, and have "creative space" in which to act and react in positive, forward-moving ways.


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Thursday, 26th April, 2018

  • 12:18 AM - Tony Vargas quoted billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    For a failure, when someone is bluffing/deception is better than the PC is sensing motives, how about "He gives off no indication of insincerity that you can detect." or "His sincerity seems genuine." The same works if the NPC isn't actually lying no matter what the PC rolls for insight/sense motive. It's still up to the player to believe or not believe what the NPC is telling his PC. For a successful sense motive/insight better than the NPC's bluff/deception - "He's shifty on the topic, possibly lying or hiding something." The only real constraint here on a PC's mental state is that he's no longer capable of believing that the NPC is speaking the honest truth as he knows it. And that's a whole lot less than manipulating someone into going on a quest or taking a lot of control of the PC away from the player. So avoid using the words "you think..." Reminds me of the 'you messages'/'I messages' thing. Don't say "you betrayed me!" say "I feel betrayed!" it's totally different... ...

Wednesday, 25th April, 2018

  • 06:04 PM - Tony Vargas quoted billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    I'm not really seeing how. Being subjected to bluffing and making an insight check involve the ability to read someone or a situation, judge motivations - not really seeing how that determines how someone emotionally feels about a situation. Well, back in 3e, Sense Motive was described as a 'hunch' or feeling about whether someone was being truthful. That could have something to do with it. It's not "you not changes in his pulse and galvanic skin response: he's clearly being deceptive" it's more like "there's something off, what he's telling you doesn't feel right" or "something about his story makes you feel vaguely uneasy." Or, at least, can be. Knowledge checks determine what the PC can recall at the time, what they might have learned in the past - again, not really seeing how that determines how someone emotionally feels about that information. Knowledge checks also make connections and judge relevance. How many times have you seen a medical drama were the arrogant senior surgeon ...
  • 02:12 PM - Aldarc quoted billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    I'm not really seeing how.That's fine. Being subjected to bluffing and making an insight check involve the ability to read someone or a situation, judge motivations - not really seeing how that determines how someone emotionally feels about a situation. Knowledge checks determine what the PC can recall at the time, what they might have learned in the past - again, not really seeing how that determines how someone emotionally feels about that information. I don't really see how affecting how someone feels about something, their emotional response to it, can be justified in the same manner as a roll to determine how much they can observe about the environment around them or what they know.Because making a reading or judgment is not entirely information-based, but is also rooted in emotions, feelings, and such. Cognitive science, behavioral psychologists, and the like have studied that "facts" and "information" often carry emotional, ethical, or "feeling" components and are not strictly some...
  • 09:47 AM - Aldarc quoted billd91 in post Game Mechanics And Player Agency
    But none of those "constraints of thought" actually tell the PC how they feel about the information they've received. None of them constrain what they must do. And those issues are, as I see them, fundamentally different from being able to spot a tell when being bluffed or being able to recall a tidbit of information.The idea of separating what we feel and what we think strikes me as an unhelpful false dichotomy in this case, as the point is that the narrative thoughts of the PC can and are curtailed by the results of checks. Because bluffing, insight, knowledge, etc. are not purely "information" but also rely heavily on the realm of human cognitive processing of feelings, intuition, and emotions.

Tuesday, 24th April, 2018

  • 06:58 AM - Hussar quoted billd91 in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    The difference between Keep on the Borderlands and Village of Hommlet is the amount of worldbuilding. Fair enough, again, if you are insisting that all setting is world building. However, I would draw the distinction here. KotB has virtually no world building. We have no idea where the Keep is, how many people live in the Keep, what and who supports the Keep, who does the Castellan report to? No idea. Does the Castellan have a family? No idea. So on and so forth. Contrast with Village of Hommlet where virtually every household is described. Who is the weaver in Hommlet? Well, we have the answer to that. See, to me, the world builders have already won this arguement and I'm largely crying in the dark here. Look at the remake of Keep in Return to the Keep on the Borderlands. A 20(ish) page module is turned into a several hundred page tome. Even in 4e, when they remade Keep again with the Chaos Scar adventures in Dungeon magazine, the Keep's description is longer than the o...

Monday, 23rd April, 2018

  • 07:04 PM - Ovinomancer quoted billd91 in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    And yet, there you were, saying that it would be a railroad because, when faced with a PC searching for secret doors, the GM referred to the map of the room and told him that no secret door had been found because it relied on the pre-established map (aka "backstory") rather than the player's rolled check. The fact that there is such a thing as secret doors and they are reasonably appropriate to the fantasy RPG setting doesn't make adhering to the pre-established room design a railroad no matter how hard the player wants there to be one. This is not a case of the GM forcing the PCs down the GM's preferred path. In fact, many GMs prefer to use such pre-established facts, set long before the PCs got into the situation of fleeing pursuit, to avoid railroading the PCs (either in or against their favor) - using the pre-established facts as the authority control so that they can be more impartial rather than succumb to the temptation to go soft on them or stick it to them. The reason I accept tha...
  • 08:00 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    Telling a player that something is impossible or doesn't work without a check isn't a railroad.Nor did I say that it is. I added additional qualifiers. I didn't make the qualifiers up arbitrarily. They follow from a whole line of RPG design and play. Is it a railroad if the PCs hear something coming down the dungeon hall at them, they lob a fireball or other incendiary at it, only to find it's a fire elemental and it was immune to fire? Certainly both of those events - an unidentified creature coming down the hall, and PCs lobbing some kind of fiery attack at them - are within the typical constraints of moves in a FRPG.I'm not that interested in what is "typical", given that "typical" constraints of moves in a RPG include the GM having permission to declare the search for a secret door a failure on the basis that the GM's notes do not record the presence of any such wall in the door. As to whether or not the example you give is a railroad, it depends very heavily on context. As I said n...
  • 04:58 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    If the presence (or absence) of the secret door is recorded and independent of either the GM's or the player's desires for it to be there at the time and the GM isn't goading the players one way or the other, how can its presence (or absence) possibly limit the choices of the players?I'm not sure if you intend this as a rhetorical question or not. I will treat it as non-rhetorical, and answer it. To the extent that you intended it rhetorically, you'll probably think my answer inadequate - sometimes that happens in discussions among human beings! Here's the sort of thing I have in mind - it's a bit underdescribed but hopefully clear enough to get us on the same page in respect of it: <the prior events of play, together with GM narration, establish (i) that the PCs are in a stone building facing some bare walls, (ii) thay the PCs are being pursued through the building, and (iii) leave it open what might be behind the walls in question> Player: "There might be a secret door that we coul...

Sunday, 22nd April, 2018

  • 06:27 AM - pemerton quoted billd91 in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    A statement about what a railroad is is not a preference. It's not solely preference, in the sense that railroad isn't a synonym for bad game or game I didn't enjoy. But preferences feed into judgements about railroading. It does indicate that you have a highly idiosyncratic definition of railroad. If your definition of a railroad includes the fact that there's an element in the setting that exists independent of the players having their PCs actually interact with it, I'm not sure I can trust your ability to communicate this and other concepts in a manner where there's any form of mutual understanding.I've bolded your central claim. It's not accurate. I didn't refer to such elements. These are a common part of framing. I referred to the GM using secretly-established setting elements to determine the outcome of a declared action. This is not wildly idiosyncratic, either - after all, a whole school of RPG designers (Vincent Baker, Paul Czege, Ron Edwards, Christopher Kubasik, etc) desg...

Thursday, 19th April, 2018

  • 09:34 PM - Imaro quoted billd91 in post Hidden
  • 08:13 PM - Desdichado quoted billd91 in post Cultures in D&D/roleplaying: damned if you do, damned if you don't
    3) I'm not. It is my nation, your nation, that first decided to transcend the old definition and do something the world had never really seen before. It was and is a fragile and beautiful experiment, and to a very large extent WWII was fought over whether such an experiment could endure. Any day now, it might stop, and it won't be one side that will be to blame for losing the plot. That's an extremely... imaginative interpretation of the causes and motivations involved with WW2. As to who will be to blame for "losing the plot;" I have no doubt that there are many who are small-minded and petty enough, after running face first into the brick wall of reality, will turn in anger to the very people who were telling them, "Hey, watch out for that wall up ahead!" and find some numbskull way to blame them for reality not conforming to their delusional wishful thinking. But I already expect that. For that matter, I already see that on a regular basis. That's no longer a case of me saying that ...
  • 07:18 PM - Celebrim quoted billd91 in post Cultures in D&D/roleplaying: damned if you do, damned if you don't
    A little advanced political science... Wheaton's Law broken. This is going downhill fast. :( You don't actually know how much political science he knows. I don't know how much political science he knows. Don't try to pull an argument from authority, especially when you might not be the authority in the argument. Of course, all you have to do is notice the "or" in that definition to see how subjective and fuzzy that quoted definition actually is. The 'or' is new. Not that long ago, it used to be an 'and'. Nations shared a history, religion, language, race and culture by definition. Sometime around 1776, drawing upon the writings of British thinkers, a bit of Britain broke off and decided to try something completely new - a nation out of many nations, and not merely many nations under one sovereign (that is to say, the technical definition of empire). We took in the nations, and we melted them together into something new, becoming a nation among nations and of nations and b...
  • 05:31 PM - Desdichado quoted billd91 in post Cultures in D&D/roleplaying: damned if you do, damned if you don't
    Not as much apples/oranges as you think. Even nationalities are, in essence, imagined communities - ones that exist mainly because people agree to belong to them together. They're not a whole lot less arbitrary than communities that form around ideologies, in fact, they often involve quite a bit of disagreement about who really belongs to them or not. na·tion [ˈnāSH(ə)n] NOUN a large aggregate of people united by common descent, history, culture, or language, inhabiting a particular country or territory. So, nope. When you're making up your own definitions for words that contradict the dictionary, you should know that you've wandered way off the reservation. Although to be fair, Americans can be somewhat forgiven for not actually knowing what a nation is, despite it being right there prominently in the dictionary, because we've been repeatedly lied to about what a nation is for generations. But that's really neither here nor there. What a nation is is quite clear, an...
  • 04:02 PM - Celebrim quoted billd91 in post Cultures in D&D/roleplaying: damned if you do, damned if you don't
    Not as much apples/oranges as you think. Even nationalities are, in essence, imagined communities - ones that exist mainly because people agree to belong to them together. They're not a whole lot less arbitrary than communities that form around ideologies, in fact, they often involve quite a bit of disagreement about who really belongs to them or not. Although we can't really get deep into it here because it's politics external to gaming, the irony of right at this moment in history treating "Turkish" as a nationality and an nationality alone boggles my mind. There are people dying at this moment over the definition of "Turkish", and whether it is a nationality, an ideology, or an ethnicity and how those different constructed communities interplay with each other.

Sunday, 15th April, 2018

  • 10:40 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted billd91 in post What is *worldbuilding* for?
    That seems a perfectly good point in the thread to stick a fork in it and call it done. heh, I think its beyond 'well done' at this point and more on the level of 'burnt to a crisp'. ;)

Friday, 13th April, 2018

  • 04:46 PM - Imaro quoted billd91 in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    I utterly disagree that worldbuilding is the root of the problem. At most, it's another avenue for the problem of the GM's inability to let go of what he wants to manifest itself. The problem is full on a railroading problem. I'd go even further and contend that eschewing pre-authored content doesn't safeguard a game form the GM directing play towards what he wants... he can do it in either playstyle.

Thursday, 12th April, 2018

  • 06:02 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted billd91 in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    Why wouldn't both genre and worldbuilding exist? Depending on the genre, picking a particular one actually says a lot about the way the world behaves and what sorts of heroes or villains would be appropriate. For example, choosing to play a 4-color silver age superhero campaign means quite a bit even before you pick a city to be the main base of action and come up with a stable of regular villains to catch. By picking that particular genre, you're defining the world to be substantially different from an iron age, grittier superhero game. And, as I see it, any time you're making those decisions, you're in the process of world building. It's just more from a top-down direction rather than a bottom-up direction. Pemerton just seems to acknowledge the bottom-up direction as worldbuilding, but he's missing a whole chunk of the worldbuilding spectrum by doing so. It feels like you changed to parameters some. It was worldbuilding when Pemerton chose to say "everything in the 4e books will be free ...
  • 04:17 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted billd91 in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    Just because those particular building blocks aren’t very specific doesn’t mean they aren’t building blocks. Yeah, I think we're into semantic fine lines on this part. I would call a monster manual a 'game resource' not 'world building' and I wouldn't, obviously, have a problem with it. Particularly since any such book is just "here's stuff you could use." As pemerton says, you could say "I'll only use MM monsters" and its still not really world building in the sense that you haven't defined how or where or if any of them are actually to be found in your world, just that all the monsters in it are a proper subset of the ones in the MM (which technically means there could be none at all). Does saying that tend to help elicit a specific kind of world? Yeah, probably so! To that extent there's some very slight world building that might be said to be implicit in it, but I'd call it more 'genre definition' and point out that by your definitions genre almost doesn't exist, its all world building.

Wednesday, 11th April, 2018

  • 03:43 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted billd91 in post Why Worldbuilding is Bad
    In the examples you mention - you're establishing that there is an Imperial Interstellar Navy (and an Empire, for that matter), that there are barbarians who prefer greataxes and eschew armor, and that there are armored knights. None of those are necessarily givens in any particular setting. Star Trek, for example, doesn't have an Imperial Interstellar Navy - at least not on the Federation side - so you're clearly not doing a far future utopian/Star Trek campaign. A campaign based around the Three Musketeers is unlikely to have greataxe-wielding barbarians or armored knights (in the traditional Medieval Romance or Game of Thrones mode anyway) so you're probably not doing a campaign like that. By establishing the parameters of the setting, you are worldbuilding. Well, now I'll take pemerton's side of this discussion. Again, compare WoG with FR. They utilize almost entirely the same lore. They have the same overall cosmology, same lists of creatures, etc. Yet they are not the same world, at ...
  • 12:35 AM - doctorhook quoted billd91 in post What do you expect out of dual wielding?
    Except you won't have a better chance to hit with two separate attack rolls. You may have a better to hit with one of the two, but you actually have a decreased chance to hit with both than packing everything into one roll. Hmm good point. I stand corrected!


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