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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 08:18 AM
    I think I'm missing the illusion. Who is being deceived about what? With a level tolerance of (say) +/-3, I'm not sure it's a ton. But I think it's clear that 4e - as set out in the "tiers of play" in the PHB and DMG - assumes that the content of the fiction will steadily be changing as the game progresses. So it absolutely takes for granted that, at epic tier, we're done with keeping count...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 08:14 AM
    Adopting a liberal interpretation of "PH" and "two words", I came up with the following: Fighting Man. Magic-User. Wu Jen. Thief-Acrobat.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:59 AM
    Multi-classing doesn't mean particularly serious level limits eg 7/11 for an elf F/MU, or 8/8 for a half-elf F/MU, assuming decent stats. You can also build by researching spells, by pooling items, by choosing which items to keep and which to sell, etc. As you say, the rules aren't that clear. And you can always use wands, which tend to have good casting times.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:37 AM
    I'll agree on the easier arithmetic. I'm not sure about what you mean by "swingy" - if it's really an attack/defence treadmill then the "swinginess" is preserved just the same. This just leads back to the discussion about minions and swarms. In 4e I had more combats, and more interesting combats, involving giant hordes of weaker enemies than I ever did in AD&D or Rolemaster.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:28 AM
    If you build for it, sure. Which you can do in AD&D as a F/MU, or using powerful Bracers of Defence, or . . . But the wizard/invoker in my 4e game didn't strike me as particularly atypical - and has always had Thunderwave ready to hand - but gets absolutely pasted in melee. That the precise consistency of the paste might differ from its AD&D analogue seems a secondary point.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Today, 04:21 AM
    Hence battle captain!
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 10:37 AM
    The concept of "protagonism" in RPGing is (I believe) relatively well known. If it's unclear what I have in mind, here's the relevant remarks from the OP: If (to further self-quote) "the game rolls off the GM's 'plot wagon' much as it would if you were performing an elf instead" of a dwarf, then the things I've described aren't happening - the player's narration clearly is not engaging...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:57 AM
    For warlord I would suggest the Tolkienesque battle captain. But anyway I agree it's not a problem if you're not using WotC's IP (ie neither their text nor their trade dress).
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:52 AM
    Well, some people think that OSRIC is on the margins (or crossing the margins) of copyright infringement. S'mon and I have discussed this before - I'm a bit more doubtful of its legality than S'mon but he's the better IP lawyer of the two of us - so probably it's OK! (If only just.)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 07:21 AM
    Yes, in that context. I'll explain the qualification by way of an example from a specific system. Each PC in Marvel Heroic RP/Cortex+ Heroic has two Milestones. Here are two example milestones - one is from Captain America in the core rulebook, the other is one that I made up in collaboration with the player for the berserker in my Cortex+ Fantasy Hack Vikings game: MENTOR THE HERO 1 XP...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 06:40 AM
    I've not just heard rumours of, but have played through, counter-examples to this. Mostly in an AD&D 2nd ed context, but also CoC and Rolemaster. That's not my experience. You could perform your dwarf - reciting old bits of lore from the dwarvish halls, complaining about the quality of the local ale, remarking on the state of your beard, swearing oaths "by the Mountains of Moradin", etc -...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:50 AM
    I've got no idea where this comes from. As far as I know I'm the only Prince Valiant player who posts on these boards; am the only Cthulhu Dark player who posts on these boards; have played more Burning Wheel than most posters on these boards; am one of the relatively few posters whose primary point of reference for RPGing is not some version of D&D. I don't think anyone could say that I don't...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:38 AM
    At the risk of further controversy, I'll take up where you left off. One central feature of the D&D-as-wargame experience is that the player plays a single figure. This obviously creates some sort of invitation to performance ("playing out my guy"), protagonism etc. I wasn't playing in the mid-70s, but between reading around a bit and looking at some of the products that get published in the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:25 AM
    Yes. I'm not sure a hit-points/damage "treadmill" is inherently more virtuous than a to-hit/defence "treadmill". And it seems to have some side-effects ("sack of hp" monsters, for instance) that 4e largely avoided. I will concede the following: many D&D players seem to regard a +2 to hit that is (roughly) matched by a comparable +2 to AC on the GM side as an "illusion" of advancement;...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Yesterday, 03:00 AM
    Yes, I've done that. I get the setting in the sense of genre/colour/tone. Interesting. Maybe my use of "setting" is misleading, or just flat-out wrong? I'll try to explain what I was getting at, and why - for me - it's distinctive compared to what I'm more familiar with. Painting in broad brush strokes, and doing some classification on the run, I would say that I'm familiar with 3 main...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 12:23 PM
    I've been reading Vincent Baker's Apocalypse World rulebook over the past week or so, and noticed this. I didn't have it in mind when I started this thread, and as far as I remember I hadn't yet read it when I started this thread. But I've owned Apocalypse World for a while now and have skimmed the rulebook in the past, so maybe I have seen this and it was lurking somewhere in the back of my...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:43 AM
    My point was more narrow, I think, than what you've taken it to be. I was simply saying that the growing numbers on the PC sheet in 4e serve a purpose - namely, in conjunction with the published Monster Manuals they support a very clear "pacing", not at the encounter level or even session level but at the level of the campaign arc. Eliminating the level-bonuses on the PC and NPC/creature...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:33 AM
    I'm not thinking so much of establishing setting in play - I've done that quite a bit in my RPGing. What struck me about the AW instructions is that the setting is itself the situation, in virtue of having no status quo.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 10:30 AM
    Well not for me. Just to point to two things that have come out of it: I've learned that your conception of what makes for good RPGing is quite different from mine. And I've discovered a surprising point of overlap between me and Bedrockgames. Given what you prefer, I can see why you want well-written boxed text in modules.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 08:47 AM
    A literary endeavour is one which aims at having the virtues of literature. An artistic endeavour is one which aims at having the virtues of art. An intellectual endeavour is one which aims to contribute to knowledge. Etc. One can interrogate each of these in more detail, obviously, but the basic notion is pretty clear. REH in writing the Conan stories is engaged in a literary endeavour. He's...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 24th May, 2019, 12:38 AM
    That's not what the OP is about. REH isn't high art either, but clearly Tower of the Elephant and The Scarlet Citadel are literary endeavours. Read the recent posts from @hakweyefan or uzirath. Those engage with the theme of the thread. Here a quote from you from a way upthread: Assuming that you haven't changed your mind, then this is something that we disagree about. And it's something...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 02:40 PM
    For what it's worth, my sense is that you don't agree! I think you've appreciated that, in the OP, I said that RPGing requires narration and description. And as I've read your posts, I think you are saying that that narration/description should aim, or be conditioned with an eye towards, formal quality. Even if I've misunderstood you in that respect, I think there are people in the RPG...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 12:36 PM
    I think, here, that you are pointing out that RPGing involves authorship. That's undoubtedly true. But authorship doesn't take us to literary endeavour in the sense intended in the OP, ie quality of wordcraft. Authorship is needed to bring fictions into being (for whatever sense of "being" is apposite for fictions). But bringing fictions into being doesn't depend upon literary quality. When...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 12:15 PM
    Good post. And for what it's worth, I would say that 90% of my efforts as a GM over the past 30 years has been focused on this issue, of coming up with compelling situations. (Although only for about half that time have I had a vocabulary for describing what it is I've been trying to do.) The RPG product that had the biggest initial impact on me, in this respect, was the mid-80s Oriental...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:48 AM
    Time deaf, space deaf, maybe just deaf deaf . . . Anyway, here are the two options again: My players aren't too tone deaf. They can tell that the second description paints more of a "word picture" than the first. But is RPGing about enjoying word pictures? On the player side, I think it's about doing - about playing your PC as protagonist in the imagined situation. Which description...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 11:35 AM
    There's an approach to cultural studies and the study of communication which make the point that all communication involves word choice, choice of tone, etc, and hence that - when considered through that lens - there is no distinctive contrast between (say) EM Forster's novels and the instructions you give your kid when sending him/her to the shops. That may be true as far as it goes, but it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:54 AM
    The effect of the numbers in 4e, if you are working from the default Monster books and generally following the advice on encounter building, is that they progress the campaign through "the story of D&D". At the start of the campaign, the PCs will be confronting kobolds, goblins and the like; at the end of the campaign they will be confronting ancient dragons, demon princes and the like. ...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 23rd May, 2019, 10:43 AM
    I've been reading the rulebook for Apocalypse World. It's not the first Vincent Baker RPG rulebook I've read, and the punchy style and unequivocal evocation of the spirit of the fiction and the expected feel of play is not surprising. There's one particular bit that I wanted to post about. Discussing how to set up and run the first session of a campaign, and having laid out the process for...
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  • Mark CMG's Avatar
    Wednesday, 22nd May, 2019, 04:42 AM
    Steven Creech has passed. https://www.hshfuneralhome.com/notices/Steven-Creech https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-steve-creech-author-and-game-designer#/
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:38 PM
    In principle, I think it offers the same as any genre/setting-focused RPG. Burning Wheel makes it easier to play a pseudo-European game than a pseudo-Asian one. (And the designer even comments on this in the rulebook, noting that some lifepaths will probably have to be changed if the group wants an East Asian flavoured game.) That's a limitation of the game, but it also yields a sense of...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:28 PM
    I'd actually go the other way around - it seems most interesting if the issue is all about escaping from the gnolls. (I'm thinking of Captain Haddock in the boat the first time he meets Tintin, in Crab with the Golden Claws.) If the escape is being adjudicated as some sort of skill challenge or via some comparable structured resolution system (5e has some stuff like this for the exploration...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:21 PM
    Ah, OK - in that case I retract the criticism of your teachers! For the sort of writing that I do and teach, making decisions about paragraphing - as one component of making decisions about structure - is a fundamental skill. A doctrine about minimum or even typical length would be no help at all.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:14 PM
    When I GM I would say that talk similarly to how I would in an enthusiastic hobbyist-type context. Eg if I'd been to a film with a friend and was talking about it afterwards. Or if, at work, I wanted to tell someone what I enjoyed about a seminar I went to. So probably a bit more focused than a supermarket chat. But still conversation.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:59 PM
    I know these questions are intended as rhetorical, but if I treat them as literal then the answer is I don't know. The game seems to be 3e D&D (Scarred Lands), but who are the PCs? Who are the players? Do they have any reason to give a toss about the glutton Titan Gaurak?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:35 PM
    Then, without being too mean about it, you had crappy English teachers. I'm a published author (of non-fiction). A big part of my job is teaching students (UG and PG) how to write. My partner is a published author (non-fiction, some poetry) and a high school English teacher. Most of her job is teaching students how to write. This thread is the first I've heard of this five-paragraph...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:13 PM
    It's pretty tangential to the thread topic, but there is something strange about being schooled on the meaning and connotations of "literary" by someone who asserts such bizarre stuff about the process and structure of wrting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 02:11 PM
    Huh? Says who? Here are the first three paragraphs of REH's The Scarelt Citadel (which was the first story I Googled, knowing that REH doesn't write in too long-winded a fashion): The roar of battle had died away; the shout of victory mingled with the cries of the dying. Like gay-hued leaves after an autumn storm, the fallen littered the plain; the sinking sun shimmered on burnished...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 06:12 AM
    Well, I did put it the other way round: the players don't find it interesting because, for them, it is not interesting/ Eg maybe the situation is something about kobolds on a hill, and the players (in general; today; because of the PCs they're playing; some combination of factors; etc) simply aren't engaged by that sort of situation. I don't know what a Vengaurak is. I know, therefore, that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 05:00 AM
    By this you're meaning not just gendered roles/classes/playbooks, but sex-based stat penalties? My guess - from the discussion of Conan in the OP - is that CapnZapp wants the play experience that would result from gendered classes/playbooks, but (1) isn't too familar with a wide range of RPGs beyond a certain sort of D&D, and (2) has a certain sort of "simulationist" sensibility that leads to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:33 AM
    OK. In that case I think it's fairly clear why two GMs might present the same situation with the same degree of clarity and at one table get buy-in while at the other table it falls flat. Or in other words, the answer to the question you posed here seems fairly straightforward: Those players who don't find it interesting are probably the ones for whom it is not interesting.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:28 AM
    CapnZapp didn't say that's how things are iRL. To the contrary, The phrase this world referst to the imagined world of the RPG, not real life. I doubt I would play the game that CapnZapp posits. I do play RPGs which, as part of their presentation of mediaeval life, note the significance of certain gender distinctions (Burning Wheel has some lifepaths that are women only; Prince Valiant has...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 04:02 AM
    To elaborate on my question, then: upthread Imaro seemed to assert, or at least very strongly imply, that whether or not a situation is interesting is a player-independent state of affairs. Do you agree? What do you think the GM should have regard to in coming up with situations? Lanefan, in other threads over many years, has posted that the GM should always author scenarios without regard to...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:54 AM
    Can I pick up on your example (bolded by me to call it out) and a possible risk in play? Not to denigrate the example, but to try to connect it into how I'm thinking about things. It seems to me that it is possible that the GM might narrate the koblds' drool and bloodshot eyes, hoping and intending to evoke a particular response and engagement from the players, only instead to trigger...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:22 AM
    I think there is another reason that books impose demands that are different from RPGing. The goal of a book (typically) is to evoke some sort of response in the reader in virtue of having read the book. This depends heavily on the craft of the narration, on its literary quality in the way the OP uses that phrase. Whereas the goal of a GM's narrration - I assert in the OP and reiterate here...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Tuesday, 21st May, 2019, 03:07 AM
    It is very close to it. The notion of the craft of the narration is as good as any other way of putting it. For my part, the limitaion in what hawkeyefan says is the emphasis on clearly conveying the situation. I think this is important, but not sufficient. As per the OP, What matters to me is that the players feel the significance of the situations the GM describes - that they feel the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    I started the thread. Hussar is free to say what he likes about the dependence of much RPGing on the logic of genres (it's something I myself have been posting about for maybe 10+ years on these boards). But those things don't rebut the claim in the OP, which is pretty clear: I don't think Hussar has inadvertantely taken that for a claim that genre plays no role in RPGing. And your...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 20th May, 2019, 11:18 AM
    This is fine if, by literary endeavour, you means an activity that deploys and/or relies upon some devices used in literary composition. But that's not what the OP meant, and I think it is fairly clear what the OP did mean: quality of composition, with particular reference to the narration and descriptions used by the GM. Using genre tropes and policing genre boundaries doesn't really bear...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:27 PM
    Why not CON? Like other stamina-related feats.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 19th May, 2019, 03:23 PM
    This is highly contingent on (i) system and (ii) ingame situation. To give one example, based on Burning Wheel: I stride down the hall sounds like a Conspicuous test, while I move cautiously down the hall looking carefully for anything out of place looks like a Perception check, perhaps also Stealth and/or Inconspicuous. In Prince Valiant the first might be a check on Presence, the second on...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:52 AM
    Notice that you've got three different action declarations here. Two of them are contrasting: * Grgur walks down the hallway, be cautious and looking carefully to see if anything is out of place. * Grugr strides down the hallway. And one is less specific: * Grugr moves down the hallway.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:47 AM
    Not at all. Imaro is the person who introduced clarity as a desideratum. My point was that clarity is not really connected to literary quality, and pointed to instructions as an example. If you agree that instructions don't typically display literary quality, then I think you should agree that - to the extent that clarity matters in RPGing - then that doesn't really bear on the issues...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 11:24 AM
    Thanks for the heads up - I've deleted the stray material in that post. As per the OP, it came from multiple recent threads. One was the boxed text thread. Another was the action declaration thread ("DC to know a NPC is telling the truth"). In that second thread, there were some posters who seemed to equate describing a PC's action as a component of action declaration with a florid or literary...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:46 AM
    People spend millions of dollars painting buildings, too. That doesn't show that painting buildings is per se an artistic endeavour - maybe it is (if we're painting St Peters), maybe it's not (if we're painting a block of flats to protect the exterior against the weather). I'm a published author in a natural language based but technical discipline. (Or in fact two such disciplines: law and...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:41 AM
    A complication for me in responding to Lanefan's question is what is the story which is not progressing?
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:36 AM
    Yes. This is my point, so I'm not sure why you frame this as disagreeing with me. But this is exactly what I'm talking about. As I posted I think in my last reply to you, I don't understand what role you think action declaration and the distinctive player role in a RPG are doing. As you describe it, it would make no difference if everyone was working through a rough script but improving the...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Friday, 17th May, 2019, 12:30 AM
    That's actually not what the OP says. Colour, obviously, is fundamental to heaps of RPGing. (Maybe not some classic dungeoncrawling.) I don't think the word "colour" appears in the OP. The OP does say RPGing requires narration: GMs describe situations - that narration and description will involve colour. My claim is about the focus of, and foundation of, emotional engagement in RPGing. As...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:42 PM
    I think that Choose Your Own Adventure books and boardgames are not very satisfactory vehicles for participating in a situation. Their structured natures make them relatively poor vehicles for protagonism. Video games I can't comment on. And I'm not denying that there are people who enjoy RPGs because they are entertained by performances or give entertaining performances. I'm denying that...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:39 PM
    Really? That's a surprise to me. When I read a letter from a family member I'm not really worried about the spelling or puncutation, let alone it's literary merit.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:30 PM
    It's not my distinction, actually. I never used the word content. That's Hussar's word. Hussar has suggested that I am eschewing description, but here's the OP: My point in this thread has been consistent: that what is distinctive about RPGing is that it engages by way of participation in situation, not performance to an audience. I don't think it's that hard to understand, whether...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:21 PM
    The point is simple: a novel probably won't move you if it's poorly written. A letter from a family member is likely to move you regardless of how it's written. RPGing is more like the latter than the former. It's about moving people through shared engagement with an imagined situation, not entertaining people by performing for them.
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 02:15 PM
    This is important. You are right about fluidity: actual play doesn't manifest discrete types or moments of the neat types we use in analysis and criticism. Some of what I had in mind in my post that you responded to is elaborated in my posts to Hussar just upthread. Here's a passage from Christopher Kubasik that also captures what I had in mind: The tales of a story entertainment are...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:16 PM
    I have no idea what the bolded bit has to do with the topic of this thread. What players contribute to the game is protagonism. Which in a RPG primarily takes the form of action declaration (though I think I have a thicker notion of action declaration than some other posters on these boards). Perhaps I've misunderstood something - but I've repeatedly posted about the centrality of action...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Thursday, 16th May, 2019, 12:08 PM
    I don't know what you have in mind by never references anything. We're playing a RPG. So there is a lot of talking. Exchanges between participants are the main currency of play. Action declarations are spoken. The player describes what his character is doing. I would hope it's obvious that, in denying that RPGing is a literary endeavour characterised by performance, I am not asserting that it...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 04:06 PM
    Right. Which is not consistent with the suggestion that the player has total authority over what the character thinks and feels. But they're not free to come up with the answer because he is smelly. That is, they're not free to make their perceptions non-delusional. Again, the GM - by declaring that the chamberlain doesn't stink - is able to exercise control over what beliefs and sensations...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 03:33 PM
    I agree with all this. Darkvision and poison resistance seem like elements in action declaration and action resolution rather than performance/presentation, so I'll put them to one side. In most FRPGing, grooming one's beard, choosing one's food, not liking boat,s is all just colour. If my familiarity with the underground, or the distinctive histories or politics of my people, actually...
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:37 AM
    This post is a follow-up to some of Manbearcat's posts in this thread, and to the idea - mentioned in the OP and taken up a bit since - that consequences can be implicit rather than express. I'm not sure how coherent it is, but it is trying to convey a thought I have. So, here's something from John Harper about making hard moves in Apocalypse World; I've bolded one sentence for emphasis: ...
    43 replies | 1967 view(s)
    2 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 11:03 AM
    The religious teachings could be TN, or not - from what's said we can't tell. But at least we have a canonical grounding for the need to fight a combat to gain an upper-level title! Would Chariot of Eratsus have the same ring to it?
    68 replies | 2244 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:45 AM
    Well tell me what you mean by performance, then. What do you mean by the performance of a character revealing the character to be (say) a dwarf? Who do you have conversations with? In the conversations I have, only rarely is the purpose to convey information (in the way that eg a newspaper or an encyclopedia does that). Typically the purpose is to generate emotional responses - to...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 09:29 AM
    You seem to be projecting.
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 01:08 AM
    I have used the words "literary" and "performance" in what I hope are reasonably clear senses. Theatre (typically) involves both. Salon repartee with Oscar Wilde or Dorothy Parker involves both. Conversation with friends typically invovles neither. I've also said - repeatedly, although lowkey13 may not have read those posts - that everything else being equal a mellifluous GM can be a good...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Wednesday, 15th May, 2019, 12:53 AM
    If a character's race or background or motivations or capacities figure so little in the action of play, then to me the problem at that table is not one of an absence of performance! Conversely, if the only way I would know a player was playing a dwarf was because of his/her Scottish accent (or whatever) but it doesn't make any difference to what that character actually does in play, then why...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 09:49 PM
    Again, interesting because we have agreement and disagreement here. I agree that the "simmer" (let's call it) of Game of Thrones has been essential to the cognitive workspace that viewers inhabit as they watch it unfold. But for my part, (more food!) oversteeping something can lead to a bitter, wrong-noted product. When I look at two of the primary character arcs that were just recently...
    179 replies | 4198 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 09:03 PM
    See, this is interesting to me (and one of the reasons I brought up gaming as a corollary or coincidental reference-point if you'd like). I've enjoyed the ramped-up pacing. If there is one complaint I've had about Game of Thrones and other modern media (Avengers Endgame, The Last Jedi, and Black Panther come to mind), its a combination of pacing and (mostly related) poor cutting (including...
    179 replies | 4198 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 06:08 PM
    DW and AW work off of the "shared intuitions/understandings of the fiction" model above, very much. However, a couple things work in concert to constrain GMs very much: 1) The explicit, focused, clear Principles, Agenda, and Move structure. 2) The fact that the game will push back against you if you deviate from (1). 3) The fact that if you just follow (1) devoutly, the game works...
    43 replies | 1967 view(s)
    3 XP
  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:38 PM
    Its been far from perfect yes. But I enjoyed it because I enjoy media in a very focused way. Its probably similar to the way I enjoy my gaming. In fact, I would say that the issues that I've seen being put forth by hoards of people on Reddit and by personal nerd friends have great parallel to TTRPG incredulity and disdain. Unsurprisingly, on these boards at least, I'm often on the opposite...
    179 replies | 4198 view(s)
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  • Manbearcat's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 05:17 PM
    Iíll second that emotion. Loved it. Loved this season (save for perhaps 3-4 scenes and transitions...which is a minor quibble). Clearly Iím just a bad, shallow Game of Thronesíer.
    179 replies | 4198 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Monday, 13th May, 2019, 04:12 PM
    There's a parallel here to saving throws. From the fact that, in mechanical terms, getting a save against a fireball is automatic, it doesn't follow that PCs don't have to try to save themselves. Rather, the mechanics take for granted that this is what PCs do. If a player describes his/her PC as standing unperturbed in the fireball making no effort to avoid or mitigate its effects, then...
    2689 replies | 85242 view(s)
    4 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 11:55 PM
    It would be interesting to see what you and others think of "the smelly chamberlain". Suppose that the players play their PCs as keeping their distance from the chamberlain, opening windows when he enters the room, etc - because the players have decided that their PCs think the chamberlain smells - while the GM, exercising his/her power to describe the environment, insists that the chamberlain...
    580 replies | 20951 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 01:32 PM
    You seem to be setting up a contrast - performance intended to creata a mental image of who the PC is vs dice bot with a heart beat - that doesn't correspond to my own RPGing experiences. Central to player-side RPGing is action declaration. That's how the player reveals who his/her PC is. Whereas being a dicebot suggests that someone else (perhaps the GM?) is deciding what the actions are. ...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 08:33 AM
    Yes. The action declaration is premised on some other elements of the shared ficiton established by the players - something along the lines of that such-and-such a character believes such-and-such a thing, and has shared that belief with other PCs. If the GM is intending to introduce fiction that reveals the PC belief to be false, and it is established or implicit in the fiction that the PC is...
    580 replies | 20951 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:41 AM
    Small point of order - I didn't. But as we all know, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet! (Ie, in less literary terms, what matters isn't labels but phenomena.) Obviously there's a lot of room between is equally important and doesn't matter at all. Upthread I said that, everything else being equal, a mellifluous GM is a good thing - though I also agree with Bedrockgames that,...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 06:32 AM
    Clear enough, but it doesn't capture what I'm talking about, because - for instance - it renders ordinary conversation a species of performance. That usage is fine enough for a certain sort of cultural studies or communication theory seminar, but doesn't map onto what I'm saying in this thread. Correct. Evard's tower is in the game because there is a character - Aramina - who wants spell...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:52 AM
    So, tihs is dead on-topic. And, to me, is strange. I'll relate it to something you've posted recently in another thread - not as "gotcha", but because I'm trying to work out where you're coming from. In that other thread, you were discussing approaches to adjudication, and expressed a preference for swift adjudication rather than (what you saw as) a lot of needless narration. But...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:43 AM
    This is all consistent with what I was trying to say in the OP. Further unexpected agreement!
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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  • pemerton's Avatar
    Sunday, 12th May, 2019, 03:40 AM
    I can't answer for Chaosmancer, although I get the sense that he (? I think) and I have some similar views here. The things the player characters believe, the things they say to one another, etc are a part of the gameworld as much as anything else. If a character is telling another character something about earth elemental, then that belief and conversation is part of the fiction. Now when...
    580 replies | 20951 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 05:31 AM
    Not always, in my experience. But in any event, what is the advantage in having the guard by my old friend Frances? Does the GM have no challeng to put before the players (and their characters) except that of getting past the gate? Huh? I don't think that the main purpose of RPG rules is to curb, or manage, dysfunction. They're to guide the play of the game. I don't think my table is...
    580 replies | 20951 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 04:12 AM
    I've made no assertion about your experience, or anyone else's but my own. I've said nothing about whether or not what you are doing is RPGing. As for your analogies: some unpunctuated writing is interesting avant gardism; most is just bad writing. Mutatis mutandis for film and theatre. I'm not making a claim about what can be done in avant garde RPGing. I have expressed an opinion about...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 04:00 AM
    I don't understand where this "monotone" red herring is coming from. I have compared RPGing to a certain sort of structured conversation. Maybe I just hang out with unusual people, but I can't think of anyone I know who converses in a monotone. People talk more loudly, and/or more quickly, when they are excited. They snap when they are angry or frustated. In short, they manifest emotions and...
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
    1 XP
  • pemerton's Avatar
    Saturday, 11th May, 2019, 02:56 AM
    I think we are broadly agreed on this. Perhaps a first! This, too, is very much in the neighbourhood of what I'm saying.
    687 replies | 13264 view(s)
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Saturday, 9th February, 2019

  • 01:35 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Anatomy of a Skill Challenge
    If I'm reading this correctly, you're suggesting that the situation should change, or at least "evolve in a narrative sense", each time a PC achieves an individual success. Is that correct? Could you elaborate? How would you change the situation at least seven times before winning the challenge? I haven't read the main posts yet, sorry, but saw this. In terms of rules/guidelines, that advice - that each check should change the situation - is found in the 4e DMG2. In practical terms, LostSoul was probably the earliest proponent of it on these boards and (like at least some of us) was influenced, I think, by experience with other systems that use similar "closed scene" resolution methods. Managing the fiction so that it can evolve with checks but neither success nor failure is foreclosed until the end is (in my experience, at least) one of the big demands in GMing a skill challenge. Here's a link to one of the ones that I think I did OK with.

Sunday, 7th October, 2018

  • 01:29 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ...e don't work out what a PC can do by comparing his/her bonus to the DC that is read off the fiction. We work out what a PC can do by reading that straight off the fiction and the logic of the game's genre - and when a player delcares an action for his/her PC that is consistent with that fiction/genre logic, the difficulty is then established using the relevant mechanical system (chart, table, dice pool, the definitions of the "moves" in DW, etc). In the 4e example of sealing the Abyss, there is no DC for sealing the Abyss, such that a player knows that when his/her PC's bonus gets to a certain level that feat is within the realm of possible accomplishments. Rather, at my table we know that the PC can attempt sealing the Abyss because he is an epic tier chaos sorcerer and emergent primordial. We know that Arcana is the relevant skill because the skill description says that it can be used to manipulate magical phenomena. And I then set the DC by reference to the DC-by-level chart. LostSoul described the contrast nicely (using 3E and 4e as his comparitors) in this old post: How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, if you can score a DC 120 balance check, you can balance on clouds; a +1 ...

Monday, 16th July, 2018

  • 01:35 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The roots of 4e exposed?
    ...he acting character's motions, intentions, and experience of the action. * It retains the key role of constraint on in-game events. The dice (or whatever) are collaborators, acting as a springboard for what happens in tandem with the real-people statements. Of course, nobody actually uses those Forgite terms accurately anyway. When people call 4E "gamist", for example, I can't help but laugh and roll my eyes. 4E is probably the version of DnD least suited to a Step On Up creative agenda. Meanwhile it maps to "simulationism" pretty cleanly with its fidelity to heroic fantasy genre emulation. All of which ignores the fact that Forgite creative agendas refer to gameplay table experiences and not to actual game systems. What a joke!I agree re 4e and gamism - though Balesir on these boards articluated a coherent gamist version of 4e which is nothing like Gygaxian "skilled play" but rather is quite "light", and is about showing off your schtick in a given encounter. LostSoul used to argue that 4e is a type of high concept simulationism as you suggest - I tend to agree with AbdulAlhazred, that it is best suited to "story now" instead. Not that it couldn't be done in a high concept fashion, but I think that would tend to make for more tedious play because the "heaviness" of the mechanics would still be there, but they wouldn't be giving as much payoff (with the outcomes pre-settled) as they do with a more "story now" focus. And I think it's pretty obvious how many 4e mechanics exhibit the features of FitM resolution that Edwards calls out in the passage I just quoted. EDIT: Just saw this follow-up post: most of what gets passed off as "story-focused" or "story-oriented" play around these parts, and would probably get labelled as "narrativism" as a result, is pretty much GM-authored railroading plot --- and therefore the complete and polar opposite of Story Now play. So, for example, when the developers of 5E went around claiming it was more a more "...

Friday, 8th June, 2018

  • 05:43 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned LostSoul in post Towards a Story Now 4e
    ...if that is fully desirable, or is a backsliding away from robust scene-framing; but I sometimes find that the absence of checks in a MHRP/Cortex+ Heroic Transition scene can make them a bit tricky to adjudicate. This is an interesting point of discussion for sure. I started out a few years ago writing HoML as just a sort of 'Fixed up 4e', but the more I customized things, the more I moved into a much more Story Now sort of a mindset and approach. So there are actually still a LOT of traces of the sort of informal "make a check to figure it out" sort of design which has existed in D&D since the invention of the NWP way way back in Oriental Adventures. In fact it is necessary to recast virtually all the various elements (except stuff that is strictly used in combat) in a way such to avoid this. So the question is whether that is the best approach. I think that maintaining the discipline of the General Challenge (basically an SC) as THE mechanism of resolution does have merit. I reread LostSoul's "Fiction First" hack and concluded that we're basically doing the same thing. He has a different set of techniques for forcing the story-driven approach, but the goal is almost the same, given we're shooting for different tones in our games. That is to say, when you have to use a challenge to resolve all conflict, then you move to the conflict AUTOMATICALLY. That's because conflict is the only way to play! Now, you could still move to trivial conflicts that only address GM concerns, which wouldn't really be Story Now as I understand it, but nothing is perfect. At least this way you do have conflicts and they're likely to have some heft to them by the time you burn through a dozen die rolls. Of course, the game might play very differently in other people's hands....

Thursday, 7th June, 2018

  • 02:59 AM - AbdulAlhazred mentioned LostSoul in post Towards a Story Now 4e
    MichaelSomething Yeah, I have looked at what LostSoul did. We have slightly different approaches, but I guess a similar agenda. I have gone a lot further in terms of 'hacking'. There is also a '4e Clone' that is brewing in the D20 forums of rpg.net. I think it is virtually finished now. Its a bit different in concept (full numerical compatibility with 4e but just providing a sort of 'core platform' which you could use to build fully realized games on). HoML is a game, draws a lot of inspiration from 4e, and is close enough rules-wise to be considered a 'd20 variant' (I would publish it using the OGL for instance as most of the terminology and such is drawn from D&D canon). Anyway: Some additional text. Let me know if these chunks are too big or too small, I can go either way with it. Legendary Heroes: Rules for Character Generation and Advancement Introduction Legendary Heroes provides the core rules used by players in HoML to create player characters and the definitions of their powers and other abilities. It also expla...

Thursday, 9th November, 2017

  • 09:03 AM - Hussar mentioned LostSoul in post Why does 5E SUCK?
    Good grief. This is a specific complaint about Sorcerers? Having seen high level Sorcs in play, I really have no idea where LostSoul is coming from. Sorcs can drop multiple spells per round, something no other caster can do. If your Sorc is weak, that's on you.

Sunday, 16th April, 2017

  • 04:09 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    you make a point about SCs, that only the players roll, in essence, and go on to talk about weak spots. In some scenarios, I've found the NPCs just being part of the 'framing' of the challenges a weakness, at times I wanted to have an NPC that opposed or monkeywrenched what the players were doing. In one case I actually ended up creating an NPC with specific abilities that could be triggered to mess with the challenge, exception-based design to the rescue yet again (it was almost as facile a 'solution' as DM Empowerment, that way). The Skill Challenge framework is easy to adapt to any game with otherwise straightforward/binary skill checks, but it'd be nice if it had more was of incorporating an opposing side (or interfering 3rd parties, I suppose) into the resolution. Yet, in d20, specifically, I personally find the most obvious mechanism, opposed checks, to be problematic, ie 'too swingy.'Under the influence of LostSoul, who used to post about this stuff in 2008/9, I do this via my handling of the fiction - ie I narrate NPCs doing things, the environment doing things, etc, which will be bad for the PCs unless they take steps to counteract it. It's a sort of "active defence" approach. It doesn't interface all that smoothly with the combat mechanics, but there are workarounds (including the old standby of spending an encounter attack power for a +2 to the check).

Friday, 17th March, 2017

  • 03:49 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Judgement calls vs "railroading"
    ...ndering monster tables that do a similar thing for random encounters. Also, in the classic dungeon there is generally no assumption that creatures encountered are automatically hostile. There are reaction tables, and racial or alignment-based conflict penalises reactions but (with some exceptions for specific creatures) doesn't dictate it. So the general idea is that, in a dungeon, the players will feel the full consequences of their actions, but these will be (more-or-less) level appropriate. And if the 2nd level PCs venture to the 4th dungeon level in pursuit of richer treasures, well then the players have taken onto themselves the risk of stirring up more than they can handle. Once it becomes common to play the game in less contrived settings than those classic dungeons - with populated lands, rulers with armies at their command, etc - then the idea of splitting the setting, and hence the consequences, into level-appropriate chunks becomes trickier. It can be done - eg LostSoul did this in his 4e-based sandbox game. And because there were no dungeon levels to send the signals, he just told his players what level different areas were, so they could choose how much risk they wanted to take with their PCs. But some of the difficulties of combining sandbox precepts with a level-based game set in a non-contrived world help explain why, from the early-to-mid 80s, the mainstream of D&D play shifted from Gygax amd Moldvay-style dungeon/sandbox to more GM-driven Dragonlance "high adventure" style. 2nd ed A&D then cemented this shift, making the Dragonlance-style GM-driven game the clear default. It's also not a coincidence that other late-70s games that are aimed (at least in part) at sandbox play - like RQ and Traveller - aren't level based, and so don't feel the need to send signals about what is or is not a viable opponent quite so clearly as D&D requires. And those games also have other devices - eg world law levels in Traveller; social connections that are...

Wednesday, 8th March, 2017

  • 02:45 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Skill Challenges and Action Points
    ...ombat, which (roughly) doubles damage dealt. Sounds like some of the pure mechanical usages of a Fate Point... though a full reroll when you dislike the results is basically more like a +4 almost 5 to effective skillA player who is only 1 or 2 short will take the +2 to guarantee success; otherwise they take the reroll. I'd be careful about awarding APs in skill challenges unless you plan to have 4 combats in a day and the PCs are not strongly optimized. That then gives 3 APs for 4 combats. If you have less combats than that or the PCs are optimized to gain APs elsewhere, then you can easily end up having APs for every combat. Which is not really an intended result.I think this worry assumes that players won't be using APs during skill challenges. But at least in my game, that's not the case. One thing that is relevant to this, I think, is making sure that each success or failure in the challenge changes something in the fiction (DMG2 stresses this, and before it came out LostSoul on these boards used to make the point very clearly and forcefully). So if, say, the player of the fighter fails a social check in the challenge (not terribly unlikely for a typical fighter build), the reason for spending an AP to try and turn it into a success is not just the overall context of succeeding at the challenge, but that particular context of the player not wanting his/her PC to be ignored or not get his/her way or look like a fool or whatever other consequence, in the fiction, is going to follow from the failure. This is more-or-less what happened in the Yan-C-Bin and Marut SCs I mentioned upthread, which is why 3 (I think - maybe even 4) of the players came into the tarrasque combat without APs.

Saturday, 30th January, 2016

  • 05:02 PM - Imaro mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    ...ith dispassionate words. By god, when I'm framing scenes, and I'm in the zone, I'm turning a freakin' firehose of adversity and situation on the character. It is not an objective outgrowth of prior events. It's intentional as all get out. We've had a group character session, during which it was my job to find out what the player finds interesting about the character. And I know what I find interesting. I frame the character into the middle of conflicts I think will push and pull in ways that are interesting to me and to the player. I keep NPC personalities somewhat unfixed in my mind, allowing me to retroactively justify their behaviors in support of this. And like Scott's "Point A to Point B" model says, the outcome of the scene is not preconceived. So the DM creates point A... and upon failure controls point B... so the players only control point B in succeeding... is that correct? The introduction of complications is not meant to be independent of the GM's inclinations. As @LostSoul said, you play with someone because you like their ideas, and they way they deploy them. But the GM has no capacity to control outcomes, for the reasons I already stated in this post. (Notice also that Czege contrasts the use of "secret backstory" with scene-framing/story now/"fail forward"-type techniques.) Youu haven't shown at all what (outside of the logic of the surrounding fiction) constrains the DM in forcing the story to go the way he wants to. Even @Manbearcat concedes that there are no rules that totally safeguard against this. As to @LostSoul 's comment... I totally agreed with him. I suggest you might want to go back and se how this tangetn started and what my actual stance is before continuing to argue against the position you think I hold. The phrase I have consistently used is "pre-authorship". I have contrasted play based on pre-authorship - and attendent techniques in play like adjudicating consequences by reference to secret backstory, and the players, by the p...
  • 04:13 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    ...es in games I've run recently. . . . I'm having trouble capturing in dispassionate words what it's like, so I'm going to have to dispense with dispassionate words. By god, when I'm framing scenes, and I'm in the zone, I'm turning a freakin' firehose of adversity and situation on the character. It is not an objective outgrowth of prior events. It's intentional as all get out. We've had a group character session, during which it was my job to find out what the player finds interesting about the character. And I know what I find interesting. I frame the character into the middle of conflicts I think will push and pull in ways that are interesting to me and to the player. I keep NPC personalities somewhat unfixed in my mind, allowing me to retroactively justify their behaviors in support of this. And like Scott's "Point A to Point B" model says, the outcome of the scene is not preconceived. The introduction of complications is not meant to be independent of the GM's inclinations. As LostSoul said, you play with someone because you like their ideas, and they way they deploy them. But the GM has no capacity to control outcomes, for the reasons I already stated in this post. (Notice also that Czege contrasts the use of "secret backstory" with scene-framing/story now/"fail forward"-type techniques.) 1. You pre-prep all the time. 2. It's not actually about pre-prepping for a campaign it's about how/when you introduce the pre-prepped material. <snip> Ideas aren't fully statted up NPC's... the whole point of improv is that you don't have to do all that non-play, pointless workThe phrase I have consistently used is "pre-authorship". I have contrasted play based on pre-authorship - and attendent techniques in play like adjudicating consequences by reference to secret backstory, and the players, by the play of their PCs, discovering or exploring the fiction that the GM has pre-authored - with play based on authorship in response to player action declarations. Writin...

Friday, 29th January, 2016

  • 07:18 PM - Imaro mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    It's funny - I get the exact same impression with you with regard to improvisation and narrative styles. I'd like you to give actual game examples of improvised sessions you've run where you felt yourself to be railroading the players so we can see how you managed it, since that is something you've claimed happens. Oh, I understand and even enjoy narrative and improv styles with the right games... 13th Age, FATE (Gods & Monsters, Kerberos Club), Numenera, etc. So please don't assume... However when I see one playstyle (or set of tools) that I also use being blatantly mis-represented by people who have admitted to not liking/using them... well I tend to argue for the other side. Speaking of mis-representing...Where did I claim railroading happens due to improv in sessions? In fact here's my actual stance as I posted it much earlier in the thread while addressing @LostSoul... Hey @LostSoul I think you might be a little confused as to why this tangent sprung up... I'm not saying the bias should be gotten rid of or even that it's a bad thing, but if you can argue that pre-prepping + human nature will make me more likely to "railroad" towards what I have created... I in turn believe having free reign to improv anything within the realm of it fitting the fiction coupled with human nature will lead to one being more likely to "railroad" towards the story I want or envision. If you look back at my previous posts I don't believe either of these to be a result of the particular tools of the respective playstyles but more based in the DM running the game. The reason I am bringing up the biases, preferences, etc. in relation to the story now playstyle is to provide a counterpoint to the assumptions around pre-prep railroading. Which was in response to this tidbit originally posted by @Manbearcat... 3) The lack of temptation to subvert player action declar...

Wednesday, 27th January, 2016

  • 02:44 PM - Imaro mentioned LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    Here's the thing: You play with certain people because you like their ideas. This means that, for a pre-authored game, you like the content that the DM pre-authored. It also means that, for a no-myth game (or whatever - pemertonian-scene-framing, fail-forward, etc.), you like the content the DM authors as the scene plays out. No one wants to get rid of bias. Hey LostSoul I think you might be a little confused as to why this tangent sprung up... I'm not saying the bias should be gotten rid of or even that it's a bad thing, but if you can argue that pre-prepping + human nature will make me more likely to "railroad" towards what I have created... I in turn believe having free reign to improv anything within the realm of it fitting the fiction coupled with human nature will lead to one being more likely to "railroad" towards the story I want or envision. If you look back at my previous posts I don't believe either of these to be a result of the particular tools of the respective playstyles but more based in the DM running the game. The reason I am bringing up the biases, preferences, etc. in relation to the story now playstyle is to provide a counterpoint to the assumptions around pre-prep railroading.

Thursday, 24th September, 2015

  • 05:13 AM - Manbearcat mentioned LostSoul in post For 4vengers: What is your preferred fallback edition?
    This one is tough for me because I have been a huge fan of every single one of these editions (save 0e) and have GMed each of them an absolutely absurd amount. I'm going to do like other folks and cop out a bit, but I'll put a vote in here. When I GM D&D it is for two very different purposes: 1) Heroic/Romantic Fantasy campaigns where genre-coherent story emerges organically over the course of years merely by following the rules and being creative and proactive. 2) A grim expedition into a nasty dungeon/wilderness locale that is meant to test players' skill and nerve as they try to (a) survive at all and (b) come away with as much loot as possible. This is going to be the time investment of a single evening. The only D&D (brand) I will GM for agenda 1 above is 4e. Neck and neck with 4e for 1 is Dungeon World with Cortex + Heroic Fantasy and 13th Age (in that order) a wee bit down the line. I would run Burning Wheel for pemerton and LostSoul, but my normal group wants a lighter rules system (and I tend toward that direction as well). The group that I run 2 for has historically been partial to Basic (by the book) and my house ruled 1e. However, I've gotten them into Torchbearer and the results have been terrific. Consequently, with that buy-in, it will be my new go-to for 2 above. So...to bring it back around to the poll. Sans TB for 2, you're probably looking at Basic. So there is my vote.

Saturday, 6th June, 2015

  • 04:29 AM - Manbearcat mentioned LostSoul in post Let's Talk About Metagaming!
    ... of these things. If you want to ensure the death of your enemy (story), you choose to use your shortsword that does 4d6+10 damage (rules). You use the rules to create the story. Metagaming is one step removed from gaming. When you're metagaming, you're not trying to ensure the death of your enemy (story). You're trying to do as much damage (rules) possible, and using your 4d6+10 weapon (rules) to do it. It's a subtle difference, so I'll boil it down a little bit (a lot?): Gaming is using rules to make a story. Metagaming is using rules to affect other rules. I have to admit, I'm struggling to find the distinction that you're making here between Gaming and Metagaming. I think what you might be aiming to imply is that Metagaming is "using rules to affect other rules with disregard for the (perhaps aberrant) fiction that is created (hence genre/trope-incoherent story emerges)." Is that what you're meaning? If it is then we've completed the circle and we're back to LostSoul's and steenan's well-constructed points above (and pemerton and my own). If the system incentivizes PC build choices that produce genre/trope-incoherency or aberrant fiction, then the blame needs to be placed on the system...not on the players.

Thursday, 4th June, 2015

  • 12:59 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post Let's Talk About Metagaming!
    I think you'd be hard-pressed to find game rules that don't correlate to anything in-game. Metagaming, then, isn't about what has an in-game correlation; it's about intent. If your intent is to impale a foe, you're not going to hop off a charging horse with your lance to do it. <snip> Let's not chastise players. But let's hold them accountable when their metagaming causes other players to see the table, dice, and rulebooks, instead of the battlements, sunset, and flaming arrows.I don't really follow; and I see LostSoul's post as making a pretty similar point to mine. If the rules of the game make a PC more likely to impale an enemy by attacking on foot rather than mounted, then what is wrong with the player having his/her PC attack on foot? Conversely, if we want the players to have their PCs act as if attacking on horseback is a better way to impale, why don't we make the game rules reflect this? EDIT: I hadn't read post 16 yet. steenan makes the same point too. A well-designed game shouldn't give rise to conflicts between fiction and mechanics.

Sunday, 19th April, 2015

  • 09:53 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...nky's fix in a morbid game of chance/tempting fate...rather than not dieing (or he wouldn't be playing Russian Roulette and risking his life!). It is sort of the analogue to an adventurer recklessly risking life and limb for treasure and a player risking their character's death for the thrill of success over challenge and attendant advancement. The GM is the guy who hands them the gun. Presumably, the idea is that the GM's hands are clean with respect to cognitive bias and any perpetuation of "what comes next". The player of the game has agency insofar as they can (a) involve themselves in the first place or not (eg pick their adventure/dungeon level) and (b) they can roughly figure their odds of success (assuming they can perform the necessary maths as rounds compound).I think that (a) and (b) are roughly in place for Gygaxian play (at least til you get to the point where players are ostensibly barred from reading the rulebook). I think they're in play to at least some extent for LostSoul's game, too, but I don't know how much his players are privy to his content-generation tables. But once we are talking about secret backstory, in the form of timelines, or random tables the payers aren't privy to, as well as NPCs of unknown and generally unknowable level (I'm thinking back to the notorious chamberlain and the court magicians protecting him), then I think (b) is out the window and mostly (a) as well. At that point, it seems to me that the GM who protests that s/he has "clean hands" is like the player who writes up and CN or CE PC and then defends his/her disruptive play by saying "I'm just playing my alignment." The player needs to own up to his/her choices; and so, in my view, does the GM.

Saturday, 18th April, 2015

  • 03:58 PM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    I think I'm done with that, as far as you're concerned. Very Delphic. Not very helpful, though. An observation that also pertains to my conversation with LostSoul: The only unequivocal example of railroading that has been provided in this thread (at least recently) is Saelorn's story about the corpse-eating demon, which also seems to have lead to illusionistic backstory manipulation to get the game "back on the rails". I don't see how it would have been any less problematic, in all the ways that it was, if it had come about because the GM rolled on a random table and it happened to be the result that came up. If my example of a PC falling through the Elemental Chaos is supposed to be railroading (which I don't remotely see - what player agency was blocked/negated?), how would it have been less so if it had come about because I rolled it on a random table? And more generally: railroading pertains to the relationship between the GM's introduction of new fictional content, and the past player decisions, PC actions, etc. But random tables, use of freeze-frames etc are all just variations on GM-side techniques for making a decision about...
  • 02:29 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...to present a pleasing play experience. <snip> Beyond that is the bias objection, which as I stated in my last post, speaks to a more gamist aspect of process-sim, that it is ideally a process in which the DM's judgment is engaged as little as possible, thus insuring not realism, but a lack of bias. Bias in this case being measured as something like "if I ran 100 parties through this adventure their outcomes would distribute around some typical results" and no one of them would be able to say "you made it harder for us!" just perhaps "we got unlucky." <snip> The narrativist points out, quite logically, that his scenes are framed in narratively coherent terms and present elements asked for by the players, so they cannot possibly be 'biased' or 'railroading'. The naturalist points out that the sum total of the plot generated in this fashion is a long series of coincidences. My puzzle is what any of this has to do with railroading or player agency. Which was my question to LostSoul and JamesonCourage and, in a subsequent post, Saelorn. I think it is also the question that Balesir is asking. What you describe above is an aesthetic preference - that the world be "naturalistic", that if 100 adventuring parties arrive at the Garden Gate then the scenes the GM describes occur with roughly the percentage likelihood they would in "real life", etc. As you said, it's about "the world seeming authentic enough to provide a pleasing play experience". As Balesir asked, what do departures from this aesthetic preference - eg direct GM authorship rather than GM-authored random charts whose application is mediated via dice rolls - have to do with railroading? How do the players have more agency if the GM writes a chart and then rolls on it?
  • 01:54 AM - pemerton mentioned LostSoul in post The Best Thing from 4E
    ...thing under the hay is a bundle of weapons. Hence I describe to the players a scene at the gate as in my scenario 3 upthread. Would that be railroading? If so, the implication seems to be that virtually all content generation is railroading - even the random tables that are the stock-in-trade of classic D&D. If not, why is it different if the same outcome is determined by GM decision at the point of the encounter, rather than by rolling on a table that the GM wrote up a week ago? How was player agency blocked or overridden in one case but not the other? I know you don't.I was hoping that you might explain your reasons. I agree that the description of play (and "freeze-framing" in general) was a railroad.How do the players have more agency if the GM rolls on a random table rather than making a choice? What is the difference, from the point of view of GM influence on play, between the GM writing up a table and then rolling on it, and the GM just choosing? And to both LostSoul and JamesonCourage, who seem to think that rolling on a table makes a difference to whether or not an episode of content-introduction is railroading, would it make any difference if the GM wrote up the encounter table and sub-table on the spot and then rolled on it? Or is the important thing that the GM write up the table in comparitive ignorance of what is likely to matter to those participating in the game at the actual point of content-introduction? If the answer to that last question is "yes", that is an interesting aesthetic preference; but what exactly does it have to do with player agency?


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Tuesday, 13th November, 2018

  • 12:25 PM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    ...ining to Paragon and Epic Tier heroes. Eg from p 29 of the PHB: In the epic tier . . . [y]ou navigate otherworldly realms and explore neverbefore-seen caverns of wonder, where you can expect to battle savage pit fiends . . . Whereas p 28 tells us that, in the heroic tier, The fate of a village might hang on the success or failure of your adventures, to say nothing of the risk to your own life. You navigate dangerous terrain and explore haunted crypts, where you can expect to fight sneaky goblins, savage orcs, ferocious wolves, giant spiders, evil cultists, and bloodthirsty ghouls. Such a person has no hope against a pit fiend. You asked "what would you do in 4e with a 1st level PC attempting to strike a Pit Fiend?" And I answered that I can't imagine it coming up. Therefore I don't need a theory of how to resolve that action declaration. But I don't need such a theory to know that the 1st level fighter would have no hope, as the fiction tells me that. I will repost LostSoul's post that makes this point as clearly as I believe it can be made, about the sequence of fiction and mechanics in 4e compared to other editions (he focuses particularly on 3E, but I think the point generalises): How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the ...

Sunday, 11th November, 2018

  • 02:14 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Mike Mearls on how 4E could have looked
    I also just noticed that it is literally impossible for any PC to hit a DC 30, until Level 5...that is, until Tier II. So a certain gating is definitely built into the system.Couldn't a 1st level PC roll with +2 for proficiency, +4 for Guidance, +4 for 18 stat? Which would be a 1 in 80 chance to hit DC 30. Lol... I made this point earlier to @pemerton. That there are in fact things that can be accomplished by higher level PC's that can't be by lower level PC's (from a mechanical standpoint). My question is fairly simple - what is there (given bounded accuracy) that is feasible for a 15th level fighter but impossible for a 1st level fighter. DC 25 or 30 doesn't fit that description: a 15th level fighter has +4 or +5 to CON, and even with +2 from Remarkable Athlete has almost no chance of succeeding at that attempt. (Literally no chance against DC 30 without further buffing, and even then the chance is very small.) As I posted upthread, DC Heroes tries to deal with this issue via unbou...

Sunday, 7th October, 2018

  • 01:29 PM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Mearls On D&D's Design Premises/Goals
    ...e don't work out what a PC can do by comparing his/her bonus to the DC that is read off the fiction. We work out what a PC can do by reading that straight off the fiction and the logic of the game's genre - and when a player delcares an action for his/her PC that is consistent with that fiction/genre logic, the difficulty is then established using the relevant mechanical system (chart, table, dice pool, the definitions of the "moves" in DW, etc). In the 4e example of sealing the Abyss, there is no DC for sealing the Abyss, such that a player knows that when his/her PC's bonus gets to a certain level that feat is within the realm of possible accomplishments. Rather, at my table we know that the PC can attempt sealing the Abyss because he is an epic tier chaos sorcerer and emergent primordial. We know that Arcana is the relevant skill because the skill description says that it can be used to manipulate magical phenomena. And I then set the DC by reference to the DC-by-level chart. LostSoul described the contrast nicely (using 3E and 4e as his comparitors) in this old post: How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, if you can score a DC 120 balance check, you can balance on clouds; a +1 ...

Saturday, 28th July, 2018

  • 03:20 AM - AbdulAlhazred quoted LostSoul in post Morale systems
    1. Act as a flag for the DM: the situation has changed, the NPCs need to respond to that. It's easy to forget about changing NPC motivations in response to the situation with everything else that you have to keep track of, and making the check is a way of reminding the DM that this is important. But, since the GM now has to not forget to track morale (which in AD&D is rather complex BTW) I'm not sure the goal is actually achieved. The reason I advocated hit points as the core mechanic for it is that it is ALREADY kept track of, and thus has very low overhead. I think adding new mechanics to 4e is already problematic, and I want them to be very 'cheap'. 2. Act as a way for players to overcome an encounter that's not killing everyone. I've done this as a player, especially when outmatched. This is always desirable and every encounter should have these. Anyway, in 4E I would probably put this in the encounter design space instead of as a global rule. The system would include rules on how...

Monday, 25th June, 2018

  • 12:41 AM - heretic888 quoted LostSoul in post 4E Hack: "Fiction First" Playtest
    The result of the reaction roll sets the number of successes needed in the skill challenge before three failures. "Uncertain, cautious, and wary", the most common result, is 6 and it goes up and down from there. That doesn't necessarily mean there will be any conflict, so there may not be any rolls needed. The PC only rolls when there is conflict and the way I determine that is if I don't know how the NPC will react. That seems to work. I can go into more detail if you'd like. The extra dice are bonus/penalty dice, which I find easier to use instead of adding or subtracting modifiers. There's a little more to it than that, but it's a complex issue about basic resolution - when to roll, what a roll means, etc. Hi LostSoul, any chance you'd be willing to post an updated document for us? :)

Sunday, 17th June, 2018

  • 08:52 PM - vagabundo quoted LostSoul in post 4E Hack: "Fiction First" Playtest
    More than a few years! Still playing the original campaign, though the players have changed over time. Right now Dhalia is headed into the asteroid belt past Mars to find an "Astral Seed", a new pocket universe, guarded by... I forget her name, but a giant centipede exarch of The Jailer (Torog, we've changed the gods somewhat) whose duty it is to protect the seed. This being also has the goddess of the hobbits imprisoned and is in love with her. Dahlia has a small fleet of "rocket ships" - most of them use nuclear power, but the Plutonian (Githzerai) "squid ships" use portals. One of her ships is destroyer- or cruiser-sized, an Epic-tier craft. It's pretty crazy but the basic rules seem to work in space / with laser guns without any changes, though we haven't had a real space combat. (There were some with smaller craft but no massive naval battle.) I built the map in the same way, translating elements into space terms. Space "weather" and "terrain" is rather fanciful but it works a...

Thursday, 31st May, 2018

  • 03:41 PM - vagabundo quoted LostSoul in post 4E Hack: "Fiction First" Playtest
    THREAD NECRO!! An update after many months. The urban experiment didn't work. I need to put more thought into that. While thinking about it, I decided that I didn't really want to play with some of the old group; they were far too reactive for the type of game I wanted. That led to a change in how I handled XP. Most of the XP is now by Quest or Goal, and I divide "regular" XP by 10. Anyway. I got some new players (well, St and her boyfriend, whom I play 3E with), made a new hex map (and started coming up with a new hex map generation system), and started playing. The most satisfying D&D I've played. As we play there are major changes I want to make to 4E - I want to change how damage is calculated, and I'm currently using a different method of generating NPC defences - but so far it's been great. The players have engaged with the settlement system, going so far as to clear some hexes and start up two different settlements. Time is working well as a resource, as are GP...

Wednesday, 8th February, 2017

  • 06:04 PM - Myrhdraak quoted LostSoul in post Changing the Combat Parameters of 4th Edition
    One full day of rest, not just the overnight rest. You can't get back your daily powers either. The real key to this is to make sure that time is part of the game's economy. That's an interesting thought. I might have used time as a factor for travelling to certain destinations, or tied to puzzles or combat events, but never really considered the time for healing and recovery as a time factor you could use in the game. I you are set against the clock for some major game events, and healing takes long time, every damage you take would count.

Tuesday, 7th February, 2017

  • 10:37 PM - Myrhdraak quoted LostSoul in post Changing the Combat Parameters of 4th Edition
    I left spells and prayers tied to a five minute rest*, and you could spend as many healing surges as you'd like during that time, but you'd need to spend a full day of nothing but rest to regain a healing surge. Then I did some other things: NPCs get tougher over time XP isn't tied to killing monsters Gaining levels takes a long time Tied GP to time via "Get a Job" I haven't played a PC in my game much, but it's a bitch to decide when to rest and when to head back out there. * Exploits are different. Correct me if I am wrong, but you only allow the recovery of 1 HS after an extended rest, right? So a Fighter with 12 HS, would have to rest 12 Days to be fully recovered - or am I misinterpreting what you say? It would really slow down the level progress. If I compare to real life I would say it takes 10 years to reach CEO level at a large company (my personal estimate). To reach divinity and godhood in 4th edition will take 2 months (2 extended rests for each new level, times 30 levels). In...
  • 08:33 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted LostSoul in post Changing the Combat Parameters of 4th Edition
    I left spells and prayers tied to a five minute rest*, and you could spend as many healing surges as you'd like during that time, but you'd need to spend a full day of nothing but rest to regain a healing surge. Then I did some other things: NPCs get tougher over time XP isn't tied to killing monsters Gaining levels takes a long time Tied GP to time via "Get a Job" I haven't played a PC in my game much, but it's a bitch to decide when to rest and when to head back out there. * Exploits are different. Yeah, I got rid of XP totally, though in my system gaining levels is tied to boon acquisition, so in principle a character can advance at any rate the GM wishes to support. GP and such are now 'minor boons' and not explicitly regulated by the game mechanics. A 'job' would be in effect an encounter, or possible a whole adventure, and would probably net you some 'loot'. So, when you say 'NPCs get tougher with time' I'm assuming you mean in an overall strategic sense (IE they tend to 'level up'...
  • 09:41 AM - Mishihari Lord quoted LostSoul in post How important is game balance to you?
    No it's not. If resolution bogs down in some area, whoever's action needs to be resolved is going to sit in the spotlight. If it takes 30 minutes to do a "psi-battle" in some imagined game, where only one PC can act by the rules, that's taking the spotlight away from other characters. You'd think this would be obvious. This is the "decker issue" from games like Shadowrun. Nothing at all to do with spotlight balance.

Thursday, 12th January, 2017

  • 07:37 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Fairy tale logic vs naturalism in fantasy RPGing
    Can you give an example of how this would play out? From the play example earlier in the thread, I got the impression that if you succeed in the task resolution mechanic, you are given a great deal of narrative control over the result.I'm not 100% sure what the "this" is. But when I talk about using the mechanics, I'm thinking of something like the example of play in Moldvay Basic. The PCs enter a room, the GM rolls for wandering monsters and some hobgoblins come into the room through a secret door. The elf PC, who speaks hobgoblin, says in a friendly way to the hobgoblins "It's OK, Gary sent us" (or words to that effect - I'm relying on memory). The GM rolls a reaction roll (2d6), adding a bonus for the friendly greeting. (I recall the bonus being +1; to give a sense of scale, the bonus for 13+ CHA is also +1, and for 18 CHA is +2.) As it happens, in the example the reaction, despite the bonus, is poor, which the GM narrates as the hobgoblins first being non-plussed by the elf's remark, ...

Friday, 28th October, 2016

  • 01:17 PM - AbdulAlhazred quoted LostSoul in post Simplifying 4E
    The simple answer to making 4E a simple game is to only use page 42. If you want characters to function differently, you'd need to do something. e.g. x PC deals low damage normally but when another character is at bloodied HP, x deals mod damage. y PC can deal high damage 3 times before resting, but typical damage is low. I believe there was an article that showed how status effects related to page 42. Right, that's your basic core system. Feats and powers just kind of layer on top of that. You could forget about those and use basically 5e-like classes with nothing but class features (and whatever sort of magic system). You could build your magic system around "you can do these other special effects that nobody else can", perhaps tie character's 'specials' into plot coupons or an expanded HS system. My own hack uses a much expanded 'Vitality Point' concept where you can pay to recharge powers. They also subsume action points into one resource. It works well, but I have retained powers....
  • 09:20 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Simplifying 4E
    The simple answer to making 4E a simple game is to only use page 42.Throw a grenade, why don't you!
  • 08:33 AM - Xeviat quoted LostSoul in post Simplifying 4E
    I believe there was an article that showed how status effects related to page 42. Oh man, I'll have to comb through my insider account. I suppose as long as you got 1-4 super 42s and 1-4 mega 42s a day ... Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Tuesday, 29th March, 2016

  • 05:44 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Thoughts of a 3E/4E powergamer on starting to play 5E
    ...ven fighter/cleric to test whether the PC could stick his hands into a forge to hold an artefact steady as the artificers tried to grasp it with their tongs so as to reforge it. The rulebooks don't set a DC for that: rather, they tell us (in broad terms) what it means to be a mid-paragon tier PC, and I as a GM then extrapolated at my table by reference to those broad terms in conjunction with the details of our play. Is it a permissible check for a 1st level PC to try to persuade a King to hand over crown and kingdom? No - the description of the tiers makes that pretty clear. What about a 21st level PC? Depending on the details, a check may not even be required - the GM might just "say yes" because, in the fiction, it makes no sense that the king would even think about saying no to a demigod. To my mind, that's pretty much the opposite of "codified results", accept for the basic principle that once the check is framed, then if the roll is a success the desired outcome occurs. LostSoul had a good post, a while ago now, on this particular feature of 4e: I think this has to do with the relationship between colour and the reward system in 4E. How the imagined content in the game changes in 4E as the characters gain levels isn't quite the same as it is in 3E. I am not going to pretend to have a good grasp of how this works in either system, but my gut says: in 4E the group defines the colour of their campaign as they play it; in 3E it's established when the campaign begins. That's kind of confusing... let me see if I can clarify as I work this idea out for myself. In 3E, climbing a hewn rock wall is DC 25. That doesn't change as the game is played (that is, as fiction is created, the game world is explored, and characters grow). Just because it's DC 120 to balance on a cloud doesn't mean that characters can't attempt it at 1st level; they'll just always fail. The relationship between colour and the reward system doesn't change over time: you know that, i...

Friday, 29th January, 2016

  • 09:00 AM - pemerton quoted LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    How would you run the 4e module Cairn of the Winter King? I guessing you are familiar with the module as sometime ago you mentioned you were to run a blend of it with another adventure.I haven't run it. I think I might have been going to mix some of it with Heathen, or perhaps G2, but didn't. The only thing I remember adapting from it is the mechanic for having Intimidate checks do hit point damage to the main antagonist - I used a version of that in the concluding combat in Heathen. As to how I would run it - I don't remember it very well now, as I haven't looked at it since I got it (in 2010? whenever Monster Vault came out). But getting rid of the fetch quests would have to be a part of it. A player asks me which kingdoms host training centres for wizards? Which kingdoms are at war? Which is the deity of agriculture? What is a particular deity's emblem?...etc. With pre-authorship I have those details out the way already instead of having to think on the spot. In fact having those det...

Wednesday, 27th January, 2016

  • 03:09 PM - Maxperson quoted LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    The issue is that your pre-authored content may not reflect the themes that the players have focused on in their story. You don't know where the story is going to go, so your pre-authored content may simply fall flat and fail to be emotionally engaging. Like a great Cthulu-ish city in the midst of an Arthurian tale. The reality is that pre-authored content is very, very rarely that far off. Your fear of pre-authorship on those gounds is not very reasonable.
  • 02:46 PM - Imaro quoted LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    The issue is that your pre-authored content may not reflect the themes that the players have focused on in their story. You don't know where the story is going to go, so your pre-authored content may simply fall flat and fail to be emotionally engaging. Like a great Cthulu-ish city in the midst of an Arthurian tale. Why are you assuming pre-prep can't be done as the campaign progresses? Say game session to game session? When done like that it is very easy to take into account the themes your players are focusing on and where the "story" is going...
  • 02:44 PM - Imaro quoted LostSoul in post Failing Forward
    Here's the thing: You play with certain people because you like their ideas. This means that, for a pre-authored game, you like the content that the DM pre-authored. It also means that, for a no-myth game (or whatever - pemertonian-scene-framing, fail-forward, etc.), you like the content the DM authors as the scene plays out. No one wants to get rid of bias. Hey LostSoul I think you might be a little confused as to why this tangent sprung up... I'm not saying the bias should be gotten rid of or even that it's a bad thing, but if you can argue that pre-prepping + human nature will make me more likely to "railroad" towards what I have created... I in turn believe having free reign to improv anything within the realm of it fitting the fiction coupled with human nature will lead to one being more likely to "railroad" towards the story I want or envision. If you look back at my previous posts I don't believe either of these to be a result of the particular tools of the respective playstyles but more based in the DM running the game. The reason I am bringing up the biases, preferences, etc. in relation to the story now playstyle is to provide a counterpoint to the assumptions around pre-prep railroading.


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